Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I read this blog post awhile back and decided it was something I would try with my Zoe.  
My Zoe who I can't get to sit still long enough to listen to me when I want to talk properly with her.  
My Zoe who has a bottomless pit of need when it comes to encouragement, love and affection. 
My Zoe who I find myself telling off all the time.  
And when I come to tuck my Zoe in at night I realise I probably haven't said a positive word to her all day so I try and end it on a good note by kissing her goodnight and telling her I love her.  
It's usually less than 5 minutes after that that she's up out of bed and pushing some boundary....again....so the telling off starts....again.....

That's why the diary idea in the blog appealed to me - I can write positive things down for her...special messages and she can read them whenever she wants, as often as she wants and know what I love about her.  
We started it two days ago and so far she is loving it....I am getting lots of 'I love you Mummy's' throughout the day, and it's not just when she wants something.  
I can't say that I've noticed any decline in the amount of telling off required but she does seem a little more responsive when I do tell her off.
She seems more contented for now and I am hoping it will last.
In true Zoe style, here is her second note to me in the book.......

Friday, February 24, 2012

Taking time to see the flowers....

Wednesday was hard.  Harder than I expected.
But today is easier because of it.  
It was healing to stop, press pause and remember.  
To acknowledge the impact of what happened that day.  
To pay respect to those lost.  
To admire the bravery and courage and tenacity shown since then.  

And the flowers were awesome.  
You see, road cones are everywhere in Christchurch now.  They are as much a feature of our landscape as powerpoles, trees even.  You can't drive anywhere without going through roadworks of some kind, or swerving around a cone left to mark the latest hole in the road from the aftershocks.  
Driving through rows of them, each with a flower, some with entire bunches of flowers, in them made me cry.  
Little bits of hope crammed in to each one.  
A collective act of defiance against the destruction.  
In the midst of the mess, we will make something beautiful from it.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Public Failure

I am failing big time.  
At the most important job.  
And it cannot continue.  I need to figure out what's going wrong with my (& Iains) parenting.  
Erin is great, at 22 months she is still at the 'cute' stage where the tantrums are containable and the naughtiness slightly endearing at times.  I feel like I am, mostly, a good mum to Erin.
But with Hamish and Zoe, nothing seems to be working.  They are rude, naughty and unpleasant most of the time at home and I am a grumpy, ineffective and frustrated mum in response.  
I have read everything I can about it.....Nigel Latta to Diane Levy.  
Googled 'lying kids', 'siblings fighting', 'toilet training'.  
Tried reward charts, timeouts, grounding, bribery, threats.
In fact as I type this Hamish is sulking because he is at home with me instead of at his cousins birthday party. He was in timeout and decided to pee on his bed, soaking it right through to the mattress as a way of showing his displeasure with being there.  
I am at a total loss as to why it is this way in my house?  Noone else I know has this level of dysfunction happening with their children.  And I know deep down that I try as hard as they do to be a good parent but it's just not working.  I work really hard at it, I lose sleep over it.  
Or maybe we are all just really good at hiding our dysfunction as families.  Maybe some of you reading this are astonished that this is going on in my home because you've met my children and they were lovely.  
Zoe wasn't lovely last night when she told the babysitter she would kill her.  
Hamish wasn't lovely on Friday night when he willfully pooed his pants and then smeared it on the shower walls because he was angry at me.  

Please don't give me parenting advice in response to this post, I am a research addict, I know all the development theory and techniques.....they are just not working.  By all means though if you have the magic bullet let me know and I will eat my words, glad to be proved wrong on this one!
And I know it takes a village.....but where is the village?  I'm having trouble finding it.  The village are either working, too busy with their own families, or would rather not know.  
I've asked the 'officials' in the village too, but there is usually a cost or a waiting list involved.  As well as the fear that the 'officials' might judge that I am a bad parent afterall.
And somewhere along the line I have bought into the lie that says I have to do it on my own.  I know in my head that I don't so I write this blog in the hope that admitting it all publicly I will drag my reality, kicking and screaming in line with my ideals. 
So there you go, it's out there in all it's ugliness....my failure as a parent....my helplessness at fixing it.  
"Almost any difficulty will move in the face of honesty. When I am honest I never feel stupid. And when I am honest I am automatically humble."  Hugh Prather

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Time for a Break

It's been a blissfully quiet weekend in my whare with only Erin and I here.
Iain took the older two to the Sounds for a McConnell clan holiday and with Erin only just recovering from the chickenpox we couldn't risk her sharing with her cousin who's in the middle of leukemia treatment.
So with just the two of us it has been very relaxing, time to catch up on some sleep and recharge after having the lot of them home over the holidays. Erin has enjoyed some time to explore and do her own thing to without so many 'helpers' around.

I love my children and I am grateful for each one of them, but it is just so exhausting with three of them around. There is always someone who wants something from me or who is fighting it out with someone else.
I am really looking forward to seeing them tonight when they return and I am looking forward to them starting the school year tomorrow morning...now that's what you call perfect timing. :)
I found it funny to reflect that I would have completely stressed out at the the thought of being left alone to care for Zoe when she was the only one. Now it seems like a walk in the park, having three has certainly upped the anti.
Another 'break' to mention is that I have broken up my blog.
I looked at the description I had written when I started this blog and realized that I didn't actually write about parenting or community or God that much anymore.
I also realized that I still wanted to write about those things and not just roller derby!
So I have started a new blog solely about my derby delights and dilemmas, you can follow it on here if you want.
Hopefully this will encourage me to still write about the other parts of my life too.
I'll let you in on a little secret....I mostly write these blogs for me...because I enjoy writing and because it helps me think about things and process what's happening.
I write them to help me reflect and keep me honest.
And I share them because I have appreciated reading the honesty and reflections of others over the years. They have helped me grow and learn and feel less alone.
So even though I write for myself I hope that in some small way by reading it that you can feel less alone too.
'To know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.' Waldo Emerson

Monday, January 16, 2012

Surviving scrimmage

I've scrimmaged and lived to tell the tale....and here it is.....
It's fair to say I was a little nervous at practice on Friday night....okay....so I was packing myself.
I really didn't feel like I was up to having my first full hitting scrimmage with the old meat.
I had just had a long break over Christmas from skating and exercise, like most people I guess, except that I had the perfect excuse in the form of a mild concussion that I'd got at practice beginning of December. Drs orders meant I could enjoy a lazy break guilt free. 
So come Friday I was close to wimping out actually....except that I didn't get a chance to.  
I was pretty much told that I was going to scrimmage (interesting to note that I am more scared of our coach than of taking part in scrimmage.) 
I decided that I would try the first couple of jams, and when it became obvious to everyone that I was way out of my depth I could ungracefully bow out for the rest.
But there was a flaw in my plan...
I couldn't stop after a couple of jams because I was having too much fun! 
And I wasn't completely useless either.
Turns out I have gotten fitter and can now skate more than one jam in a row without feeling like I'm going to vomit.
And all the strength exercises must be starting to make a difference too because I didn't feel like a rag doll on wheels out there, and I didn't fall over every time I got hit (just 90% of the time but hey baby steps....) 
Towards the end of the practice I got really brave...yep I actually tried to hit other skaters.
Wimpy, ineffectual hits.... but I willingly made aggressive contact with another skater in a pack....look out I tell you I'm on a roll...(very bad pun unintentional but duly noted). 
I still have a ways to go and lots of hard work to do but I was encouraged by the progress I have made.
I'm beginning to feel cautiously optimistic that I could be bout ready in time to join Team Glee on the track come February 25th...
Awesome doll my mum made me for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hard knocks and the bout at the end of the rainbow.....

So I am finally skills tested and it feels awesome.
But quicker than you can say 'bask in the glory of your achievement' I am back to square one with another goal to reach and so much to learn.
You see now I'm not just skating around, occasionally practising hits.  In drills you almost always know when a hit is coming- you expect it and brace yourself for it.
Not in scrimmage - in scrimmage you get hit all the time when you're already busy.
Busy trying to see where your jammer is (so you don't get in their way), where their jammer is (so you don't let them skate right past you on the inside line making you look like a complete moron), what the refs are doing (so you know to go off when they call you for back-blocking and cutting the track...again....) and other important things like remembering which team you are on (so you don't try and knock over your own pivot).
It's while you are trying to do all that that you get hit in scrimmage, and you get hit hard, and you fall hard in a pack with a bunch of other skaters.  Kinda like this...............

..........but with 4 times the wheels.

And the teams were announced for our next bout 'Rainbow Spite' on the 25th Feb.
Team Gaga vs Team Glee.
I have been put on Team Glee with the condition that I am good enough to bout by then.
So I am excited but I'm also a little freaked out.
I have work to do - lots of it.  I need to build up my strength so that I don't fall down everytime another skater even looks like they are going to hit me - it's not safe for me or them!
I also don't want to skate my first bout until I am good enough to be useful - to pull my weight in the team, I don't want to fill a spot just because it's there.
I'd say it's 50/50 whether I can get to the level I need to be in time but it's good to have another goal to aim for.
It would be awesome to skate on Team Glee, we have some guest skaters coming to skate for us, one who just skated with Team New Zealand in the Roller Derby World Cup.
So that would mean that I could skate with someone who had skated with Suzy Hotrod....one degree of derby seperation to this.....

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Confessions from the derby heart...

So I am hoping to be fully skills tested by the end of the week and I am super proud of how far I have come but I also have a confession to make.......
I am still ridiculously unfit - and I am not exaggerating.  
I started at the gym two weeks ago and I have had 2 assessments with a personal trainer (who also happens to be an awesome roller derby sister) and I am floored by how unwell I am even after doing regular exercise for 6 months.  
To begin with we tested my resting heartrate, which was 101 beats per minute.  
To be fair it wasn't greatly rested (having just sculled my morning coffee, rushed the two older children to school, and left my little one in childcare for the first time ever) and I was likely a little anxious about the whole thing but still.....
Gave me a bit of a fright actually and was very motivating to keep exercising!  
So like I do most things I googled it when I got home - it turns out that if I was in the 65+ age bracket my heart rate should be under 84 bpm to be in the healthy zone.  Holy Moley - am I glad I took up derby...maybe I could buy one of these tshirts.....

It's funny because when people find out that I've taken up derby a lot of them think it's a bit foolish, risky even....I could get badly hurt.  
I think that finally finding a sport that motivates me enough to get fit and active far outweighs any injuries that I might get.   
The last time I had to claim on ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) it was when I hurt my knee learning derby, the time before it was when I hurt my back lifting something out of the car - I know which I would rather have happen.
In fact I used to hurt myself far more doing normal stuff before derby - my body was in such bad shape it was in no condition to cope with everyday life. 
So here's to a healthier heart, fitter body, and finally passing my minimum skills test (fingers crossed.)