Archive for the ‘Gold Coast Bulletin’ Category
Every Saturday morning I start the day with a half hour of bellyaching laughter.
My mirth comes courtesy of the local under 7s soccer team, of which my son is a member.
I use the word member loosely.
He wears the uniform, tells everyone he meets that he’s part of the ‘Bulldogs’ but when the time comes to actually put up and kick some goals, he’s hard to find.
Oh don’t get me wrong, he’s there on the field … he’s the one holding his arms out, eyes shut, doing zombie impersonations. He’s the one having play fights with his imaginary friend, or sitting on the ground taking a well-earned (not really) rest, oblivious to the needs of his team.
You’d be fair to ask if the team gets annoyed with his antics but it’s okay because he’s not alone. Most members of the under-7 Bulldogs are equally random in their behaviour.
Last Saturday one player refused to run on. His poor mum drove 45-minutes for the game and didn’t get to see her son kick the ball once. He absolutely would not have a bar of it … sat on the sidelines for the entire match, despite coaxing from all the mums.
The dad who coaches the team deserves a medal … for patience, persistence and positivity.
Where mortals like me would have run from the field in frustration weeks ago, he’s always there calling encouragement and the occasional stern word from the sideline.
Reality television is bringing my family closer together.
No really, it is.
I believe the popular variety shows can teach my boys valuable life lessons.
Before you call the welfare officers be assured I’m not talking Big Brother or Beauty and the Geek.
But I am proud to say that most Sunday nights I sit on the couch with my boys (big and small) and settle in for some good old-fashioned entertainment.
Earlier in the year it came courtesy of Matt, Marco and Masterchef.
Now our attention has moved to The Voice.
Just as I spent my formative years engrossed in Young Talent Time, lusting after the contestants and the clothes, and coveting Danni Minogue’s life, I believe my sons can learn some valuable lessons from Matt, Marco, Seal and Delta et al.
Not only do these shows present the opportunity for us all to sit and cuddle on the couch once a week with a shared wholesome interest, they also provide great entrees into some important conversations.
Don’t believe me? Read on for my favourite pieces of wisdom as taught by reality TV.
Some people know exactly how big their family will be.
‘Four kids – two girls, two boys,’ – they declare.
‘One will be enough for me,’ say others.
Of course life doesn’t always go according to plan and what we want and what we get are often miles apart.
Pre-kids I had no idea how many I’d like. Keen to hedge my bets, I suggested, ‘Let’s see how we go with one.’
Alex arrived and we did okay – he was a happy baby although sleep wasn’t his strong point.
I’m an only child and it wasn’t a life I wanted to give my son so we signed up for another.
James arrived just over two years later, healthy, happy and thankfully a better sleeper.
It seemed easier the second time round. Maybe it was. Maybe I was better at it. Maybe the sleep deprivation has screwed with my memory.
We thought ‘this is fun’ let’s have one more. Secretly I thought it might be nice to have a girl to even up the numbers in our very male-dominated house.
We fell pregnant quickly and miscarried nearly as fast.
The next pregnancy took longer to come. It ended in hospital – ectopic pregnancy, goodbye fallopian tube.
The boys were growing older and we quietly gave up on having a third. Our boys were happy, healthy and we loved them – what more could we ask for?
Life was beginning to find a rhythm and return to a sense of normality. Everyone could dress themselves, nappies were a thing of the past, we’d given away our strollers and baby clothes, sold the cot … life was good.
That said, secretly at the back of our minds we knew that if a third baby happened we wouldn’t be upset. Each night as we kiss our growing boys goodnight, we know that the days of those gorgeous baby hugs, smoochy kisses and cute baby sayings have all but disappeared.
Then late last year came a surprise – a very unexpected pregnancy. Sadly another ectopic. We said goodbye to my final fallopian tube and to our hopes for a third child.
I am comfortable with this and am focused on enjoying our two wonderful (albeit naughty) blessings.
Our family is complete.
A version of this article first appeared in the Gold Coast Bulletin. Read my parenting column, Family Matters, in the Bulletin every Wednesday.
My five-year-old recently discovered an old trophy of mine, collecting dust in the spare room.
It was a journalism prize and one of very few trophies I’ve ever won in my life. A sportswoman I am not.
‘Why did you win this,’ he asked.
Because I was judged best on the day, I told him.
His face went all serious and he said, ‘But that’s not fair, what about the other people in the race, why didn’t they get a trophy?’
For the next five minutes we debated the merits of mummy winning a trophy and the other contenders going home empty handed.
My son remains unconvinced of the strength of my argument – that I was judged best on the day and was subsequently awarded for my effort.
That’s because he’s been raised in this brave new world where every child wins a prize.
There are no winners and losers in his world, it’s all about being involved; having fun; trying your hardest.
All admirable qualities, I agree. But real life isn’t like that. At what point should we introduce our kids to the harsh realities of life?
Five sleeps until school goes back.
And yes I AM counting.
The money has run out – as has my patience – enough of this lazing about, let’s get this 2013 show on the road.
But before school can return there’s the school supplies to buy.
Just when you thought you were broke you find the booklist. Hello overdraft.