HIKING WITH (our) KIDS

Talk, talk, talk. We are incredibly good at talking about all the awesome things we wish to do with our kids – unfortunately, we are less good at actually doing it. Something to work on there, for sure.

 

VIEW

Hiking, for example. Ever since Abby was a teeny tiny human we have talked about all the amazing hikes we wanted to go on with her. Hey, fair enough, we have been hiking with her, but not nearly as much as we would like to. Especially after Billie has joined our little tribe the frequency of our hiking adventures has stagnated rapidly.

Then the talk continued. I started talking about getting a backpack carrier to carry Billie in. She has never been a huge fan of being in a regular baby carrier. Thinking back we should have gone all-in on slings and ditched the Ergo carrier from the beginning. How annoying is it to get your kid into the Ergo when you’re alone? Or is that just me? Not a fan here. Anyways, I had a hunch that she would be more comfortable in a backpack carrier and I was right. Originally I wanted to get it for our holiday in Thailand in January/February. Well, that didn’t happen. And boy, do we regret that now – because we have just learned how good such a carrier is.

A couple of weeks ago I was doing some Flybuys window shopping and I found this Phil & Teds baby carrier in there. It looked pretty decent AND we had enough points to buy it. Instantly redeemed.

So, a week later we received our brand new Phil & Teds Escape child carrier at our front door. Two days later it was time to test it out.BILLIEJOSHCARRYOur first real hike in like forever was a huge success. We chose an easy track suited for beginners and children called the Brokers Nose Summit Traverse. For any locals reading along we went to the top of Mount Ousley and stopped at the truck stop on the south bound side. From there the trail goes North-ish into the bush and since the trails are non-marked it was a tiny bit exciting if we were actually on the right track. I must admit that I was slightly doubting our route at some points, but we managed to find our picninc destination/turning point where we indulged in food and snacks as if we hadn’t eaten for days…We had lunch just before we left home. One gets hungry from all that hiking, I tell ya.HIKELUNCHVIEWHIKEJABILLIEFOODBillie and Abby were little troopers on the entire trip. On the actual hike Billie was mainly in the carrier – which she loved. She, however, did let Abby try it out for a little while – she loved it too. ABBYJOSHCARRYABBYDADHIKEActually, she loved it so much that she refused to walk any longer when we told her she had to let Billie get her seat back. She just sat down and refused to move any further.ABBYTIREDHIKEAt this point we had walked about 200 meters from our picnic/turning point. It seemed like a very long 2 km we had left to walk. Then something got to her and she, literally, ran and laughed the entire way back to the car. At one point she ran so fast that we lost her for a moment. That girl sure can run. We got some decent exercise on our way back and to Josh’s big pleasure we put some meters behind us – fast.

It was a hot day and when we started hiking it only got warmer and warmer. Good thing we brought a lot of water – to drink and to splash in our face when things got hot.SPLASHABBYWe didn’t have too many expectations to begin with and basically just went with the flow at the pace of the girls. We definitely didn’t get disappointed. The track is not very long – we walked around 4.5 km. in total – but it is very varied with cliffs to climb, open areas with breathtaking views of Wollongong and if it hadn’t been so dry lately there would even have been creeks and small waterfalls to splash in too. We can definitely recommend this little trail if you are looking for an easy, yet fun hike in the Wollongong area.ABBYSTICKWHATISTHATHIKECLIMBHIKEABBYRUNMORBILLIEBILLIECUTEHIKEHIKEThere are bush trails everywhere in our local area and we have no real excuse for not going exploring them anymore. So, just bring on those bush walk adventures. Bring on kangaroos. Bring on waterfalls. Bring on rain forests. Bring on scenic views. Bring on rock climbing. Bring on fun family times.

Bring on tired kids after long, active days outside!BILLIESLEEP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TODAY I LOST IT

Half an hour ago I had one of my least proud moments in my ongoing career as a mum.

I yelled at Abby. I yelled at her because she wouldn’t listen to me. I yelled at her, because she challenged what I said. I yelled at her because she did something very, very natural for a four-year-old child to do. I yelled at her because she yelled at me. I yelled at her because I lost it – and it was wrong of me to do so.

22070477_10155552093410499_1130148116_o

For some it might not seem like a big deal. I am aware that yelling is relatively normal in some households. For us it is not the path we wish to go down.

Instead we believe in guiding rather than disciplining and constantly correcting. We believe that children actually want to do the “right” thing, sometimes they just don’t understand what this “right” thing is. I do not believe in naughty children. They are simply just immature and need to learn how to behave in our society and we need to teach them. Teach them by doing – ‘doing’ is not yelling at them when they don’t listen. What does that teach them?

Often, in our case, the so-called bad behaviour comes down to one or more basic needs – such as sleep, hunger, over/under stimulation – which has not been fulfilled. In those circumstances our children simply aren’t capable of controlling their own behaviour in a matter that seems acceptable with adult eyes. Can you blame them? How are you acting when you are tired? Or hungry? – Or as we call it in our house, HANGRY!

In Abby’s case today it was a dangerous cocktail of the latter. She was up too early, she didn’t eat much breakfast, and she was bored and under stimulated at home with Billie and me.

But, was Abby actually being ridiculously unfair? Was she over the top annoying? Can I, by any means, justify that I yelled at her like a maniac in a traffic jam? The short answer is no.

The long answer is that it in reality had nothing to do with Abby. She has been waaaaaaay more intense and challenging in the past and there was nothing extreme about her behaviour today.

Nope, it all came down to my own state of mind.

My mental energy level has been relatively low recently, that combined with and partly caused by Josh working nightshift the last five nights has made my mind tired and fragile. From I woke up this morning I could feel that I didn’t have the surplus of mental resources that it takes for me to be on top of things around here. Even tiny things annoyed me and my patience was basically non existing. It didn’t get any better as the day dragged on.

Most days when I feel that way I am able to pick myself up. I eat some good, healthy food.  I put some happy music on. I have a green smoothie. Then I have coffee. Lots of coffee. However, not even the coffee seemed to do the job today and all I was thinking about was when Josh would wake up so I could have a break.

My state of mind combined with Abby running low on several of her basic needs was a vicious cirkel where we kept forcing each other into a worse and worse position.

I basically just hated my life right there. So when Abby pushed my already threadbare buttons again and again, I snapped. I took all my frustrations out on her which I genuinely loathe doing. As we were yelling at each other – about something silly as a wheely bug – my guilty conscience already began to kick in. I knew what I was doing was everything converse of my ideal parenting style. To cut it off I grabbed the damn wheely bug and on the verge of crying I went into the bedroom. All I wanted to do was to throw myself on the bed and stay there for the rest of the day. Doors closed! Instead I woke Josh up and told him that I was loosing it. That I had just yelled at Abby and that I needed him now. Abby needed him. I think he immediately knew I was not fucking around. He went to her and I could hear them talking. Nicely and calmly she explained the situation to him. No screaming. No yelling.

After I had changed Billie’s pooey nappy – because shit always happens – I went to the lounge room to find Abby sitting on Josh’s lap. She looked at me with a bit of insecurity in her eyes.

I sat down next to them and instantly told her, that I was sorry for yelling at her and that it was wrong of me to do so. She looked at me with relief and we were good again. Just like that.

I believe it is important for parents to show their children that adults can make mistakes too – and they should also own it and say sorry. Today I was unfair to Abby. I did not help her when she was struggling, instead I tried to fight her and nothing good comes from that.

I am not proud of myself today, but I am proud of Abby and her level of empathy. She actually felt bad for me – for yelling at her. Little darling.

I didn’t learn anything new today, but I got reminded that I have to take care of myself in order to be able to be the parent that I wish to be, the parent that my children deserve. I tend to forget that.

One Of Those Mornings – Following One Of Those Nights

Confession time: all I was thinking about this morning was to get my children out of the house, to preschool, and I did not spare no effort to get them there. Or well, I kinda did. I cut all the corners I possibly could to achieve my goal of the morning, actually.

I did not brush their teeth. I promise to brush them extra carefully tonight. Promise!

I did not brush their hair. Not that it makes much of a difference, since I am absolutely incapable of doing their hair nice, anyway.

I almost – ALMOST – didn’t bother buckling them into their carseats. I reconsidered that as a scenario with a drug addict in a Commodore rushed before my eyes.

Ohh, and Abby is still wearing her pyjamas pants as I write. Or well, it’s not actual pyjamas pants, it’s the same pants she was wearing yesterday, which she slept in because getting her ready for bed last night was priority: non-excisting. No, last night her adorable little sister took all the attention.

Billie could not settle at all yesterday and as bedtime was approaching she got more and more whiny. I have never really believed in the full moon having any impact on the human sleep cycle, but I am seriously starting do doubt my otherwise tenacious scientifically based beliefs – after conducting a profound analysis of the situation, of course.

I checked her temperature, it was normal.

I looked for new teeth coming through, couldn’t really see any.

I checked her body for a rash, nothing out of the ordinary.

I offered her food and drinks, didn’t want any.

I changed her nappy, didn’t make a difference.

I put her doona on. I took her doona off.

I sung to her.

I cuddled her.

I even asked her if she was in pain – she said ‘nej, nej, NEEEEEEEEEJ’ (Danish for ‘no’).

I could not find any ‘normal’ toddler sleep issues causing her restlessness. A restlessness that kept on the. ENTIRE. night.

They say the sound of a crying baby is the most stressfull sound in the world. I tend to agree with them. Especially when you are already tired and thought you were going to have some relaxing kid-free time and indulge in red wine from your newly purchased wine glasses.

Instead of enjoying my wine in the evening, I was stressing about getting my restless child to sleep, and later on in the night I was stressing about my own sleep deprivation caused by afore mentioned child.

While I was lying in bed listening to her wimp every 5 minutes, I kept focusing on how uncomfortable it was. How annoying it was that I didn’t have my personal space and that she was, literally, lying on top of my head. I need my sleep to function. And I was tired.

Then my mind wondered off – it does sometimes. Often, actually.

It went to a scenario that will happen in less than two weeks. 11 days to be exact, but who’s counting? When I will fly alone with the girls to Denmark. Our first flight is nearly 15 hours long – 15 HOURS!

If I could only have the luxury(!) of lying down during the flight – even if it did include a 18 month old kicking me in the face – it would make the trip a breeze. And, believe it or not, this little mind trick that my own mind played on me actually had a positive affect as it made me relax and basically accept the situation.

So yeah, I still didn’t get much sleep – but at least I didn’t stress through the entire night, either.

I did stress this morning, though. Billie was still a bit sooky and Abby was craving attention. I was not in the mood to parent at all. I had a goal to reach, right. Kids aren’t that goal inclined, I have learned. Unless the goal is ice cream or a new pony. Going to preschool early isn’t really on their list of awesome goals to achieve.

We left the house with the radio running, the heater on, the milk still out on the kitchen bench. And I still only managed to get them to preschool at 9.30am. That’s pretty average. So if I achieved my morning goal – not really. I did, however, go out in public in my pyjamas pants.

Now, I think I might go and brush my teeth.

18493613_10155125937460499_1556468646_o

Happy Friday, peeps ❤

 

How Small Changes Can Make a Huge Difference

All children are different. Even my children are different. So figuring out and satisfying their individual needs really is a question of observing, analyzing, adjusting, modifying, experimenting, and occasionally just going with the flow.

18296956_10155103664015499_1136175154_o

So yeah, sometimes parenting really makes me feel extremely exhausted and lost even to the point where I just want to throw in the towel and run away from it all. Honestly, that used to be my solution to any sort of problem back in the day.

Now, giving up is just not an option. This is it. This is my life. And I just have to deal with it. And I try my best…

Lately, we have realized that the girls, especially Abby, have been somehow under stimulated with our daily routine.

It has come to show by a rising number of conflicts between the girls or with us, concentration difficulty, less in-depth play, less imaginary play, more destructive behaviour, and all-in-all less laughter and more whinging.

To try to deal with these challenges that we are facing, we have made some minor but efficient adjustments to our routine and to our surroundings.

LESS STUFF, MORE PLAY

First of all, we have tried to get rid of a lot of stuff and make our home a tiny bit more minimalistic. It might sound a bit irrelevant when it comes to the girls’ stimulation and wellbeing, however, it actually works for us. Somehow having a tidy home with less clutter and even less toys to chose from has made it easier for the girls to concentrate on playing with the toys they do have.

Another benefit of having less stuff is that our house is generally less messy than it used to be, which definitely helps to reduce stress for all of us. And even the girls are now helping tidying up every(other) night. It’s highly recommendable to get rid of the clutter.

THAT DAYUM SCREEN-TIME

Second of all, we are doing our best to cut down on screen-time. We are not fanatics when it comes to screen-time limits, but we have noticed that the number of conflicts are much higher when the TV is on for longer periods of time. So for us there is no doubt that too much screen-time has negative consequences for our children. I am still very guilty of putting the TV on whenever I need some time to make breakfast, lunch or dinner – or when I just need a little break from the craziness of having kids – but I am slowly getting better at turning it off again too.

GETTING OUR ADVENTURE ON

Third, and quite importantly, I am trying my best to get out of the house (and the garden) with the girls every day. Preferably to spend time outside where the girls can be physically active. It can be a trip to the beach or the skatepark, a bush walk or even just a bike ride to the local playground. The most important thing is that they get some fresh air, that they get to explore new, exciting places and first and foremost, that they get to use and challenge their bodies in a healthy and fun way.

Abby has always been very physically advanced and she is simply a happier child when she gets to move freely, so it only makes sense to get out there and get active. Besides, Billie has had a little bit of difficulties with her balance and general physical development, so making sure that we challenge her every day greatly supports her development and lately it has really paid off. Her balance is improving, she is getting a lot more confident with her movements and she even climbs things now. Our little trooper.

On days where we have been out and about the girls play so much better when we get back home and they sleep so much better when they go to bed. Even I get more energy in the long run. It really is a no-brainer that it’s good for everyone – I just have to get a little bit better at organizing snacks, lunch, drinks, naptime and bla bla bla, so we can go on more and better adventures in the future.

18338905_10155103664150499_469507576_o

LET THE KIDS

The last thing, that we have actively taken a decision to go along with, might be a little bit controversial, because we are actually giving our two, young children a lot of freedom to roam. Both the girls have very free range to play and explore in our house and in our garden – without our participation or involvement. Of course we keep an eye and two ears out for them, but we also give them privacy and room and time to just do their own thing.

Billie is getting quite good at focusing on one activity for longer periods of time and it really has made Abby’s creativity flourish. The amount of things that she has created so far is seriously incredible. She’s such a problem solver and a creative soul. To give her free range to create, explore and build is one of the best decisions we have made for her lately. And basically we haven’t done anything, really. On the contrary.

MORE LAUGHTER, LESS GUILT

So, have these little adjustments made our family all happy clappy? No, definitely not. We still have our conflicts and our challenges, like any other normal family, I guess. However, the overall mood in our home is better than it was a couple of weeks ago and no doubt it’s a work-in-progress – but very importantly, simply just addressing the matter instead of letting it grow bigger has reduced my parent guilt and made me less inclined to give up and more inclined to keep on keeping on.

I’ve got this!

18297017_10155103663995499_1955251294_o

 

A BIT OF HUMPDAY DREAMING

Today is a pretty average Wednesday in the Dalsgaard-McMahon household.

Josh is at uni and Abby is in pre-school all day. That means I have a whole day alone with Billie, which again means more time to focus on her needs and more opportunity to give her attention and kisses, since there is no threenager going “MUM! MUM! MUM!”…all. the. time.

But hey, it also means I have a tiny bit of time to myself when Billie naps. Such a luxury. Seriously. As a matter of fact, she is sleeping as I type. I could, and probably should, spend this time doing chores around the house. It sure would be sensible. I am not always the sensible type, though.

Instead I sit here in front of my laptop, listen to music, drink coffee, and dream big and small about the summer that is fast approaching.

Yay! I absolutely love summer. Especially here in Australia where the weather is guaranteed to provide us with sun and heath waves. Ohh, you won’t hear me complain about it being too hot. This viking, from the land of the unstable summers, is soaking it all up.

So here I am, getting all cheery and happy dreaming of what to come.

14787479_10154494967190499_851648622_o

I dream of going road tripping with my little family. Just pack the car with tents, surf boards, sunscreen & snacks and leave all our worries behind for a while. Byron Bay, I hope we finally get to meet.

I dream of summer evenings in our garden watching the sunset over the lake & the mountains while the girls are getting exhausted from playing outside all day long.

I dream of getting away on a surf trip without kids. Ohh, wouldn’t that be awesome. 

I dream of finally getting that charcoal barbecue and taking it to the beach for lunches and dinners and indulge in an abundance of slightly burned sausages and corn cobs.

I dream of a flourishing veggie garden that provides us with organic goodness all summer long.

I dream of getting a pool in our backyard. A small one will do. For now. 

I dream of getting a hair cut. Sure need it.

I dream of hanging out with the girls at the skatepark teaching Abby that girls can be just as awesome as boys in a concrete playground.

I dream of getting back in shape, go for long runs in the heat and getting soaked from sweat. Just to get home and jump into our pool in the backyard. 

I dream of exploring Sydney. There is still so much of that city that I haven’t seen. And so many places that I wish to get back and experience some more.

I dream of sipping drinks and drinking cold beer with friends on our terrace. 

I dream of going with the flow and having lots of time with my little family during the holiday with no plans and no stress.  

14787681_10154494985330499_127835693_o

 

Hopefully dreams do come true.

Lets make them!

 

10 RANDOMS ABOUT ME

There is this little game over on Instagram where people post 20 random facts about themselves to let their followers get to know the human behind the pretty little squares.

I have been tagged in this game a couple of times, but I have not yet shared any facts let alone 20. However, I actually do like the idea. So, I have decided to join the game, not on Instagram but here on my blog.

Instead of 20 facts I have cut it down to 10 facts for now. My idea is to throw in 10 RANDOMS about me & my life whenever the urge to do so emerges. Most likely after one of my runs – just got back from one now – since they often make my thoughts jump all over the place. That’s another story, though.

Now, here we go. The first 10 random facts about yours truly.

  1. I was born in Odense, Denmark in 1982. That makes me 34 years old now. Wow. I still have to show ID when I buy alcohol, though. I choose to take that as a compliment and always feel a little bit sorry for the alcohol-shop-dude when he realises how old I am. He always gets embarrassed and comes up with a bunch of excuses. “Dude, you just saved my day, okay. Thanks!”
  2. My dad used to own a chocolate factory and it was pretty much just as awesome as it sounds. Not so much because of the chocolate, since I actually found it kinda boring to eat chocolate back then, but I absolutely loved hanging out at the factory itself. It was only a 5 minute walk from our house and it was definitely my happy place when I was a child. So much to explore, so much to experience. Unfortunately it got sold when I was around 12 years old. I swore back then that I would grow up, get rich and buy it back one day. Still waiting around for that day to arrive. Hmmmm…
  3. I am a cat person. I am not a big fan of dogs. I find most of them rather annoying and I don’t trust them. At least with cats you know they are little a**holes and the worst they can do is scratch, whereas dogs can seem so friendly and loving and then bite your head off the next minute. Seriously! Okay, I guess I am scared of dogs.
  4. I was a major tom-boy when I was a child. I actually wished I was a boy for many years. I even looked like a boy and most of my friends were boys or other tom-boys (see photos above). I still find it a lot easier to be around guys than girls/women, especially initially when I meet them. I think it is the reason why I sometimes find this mummy world a bit daunting.
  5. I love beer, especially craft beer. Always beer over drinks. Unless the drinks are free. Free always tastes good.
  6. I am currently on antibiotics for my ingrown toe nail. It has been bothering me for years and I am finally getting something done to it. First antibiotics and afterwards an operation. I can’t wait to be able to run, jump, surf, walk, swim…anything really…without pain again. Bring on the active summer!
  7. I love coffee, but not in the morning. Unlike most people I need to eat my breakfast and wake up a bit before I have my first (of several) coffee of the day.
  8. I have never broken a bone (knock-knock) in my body. I blame that on quite a decent balance and a great bunch of luck.
  9. I only just got my license last year. Yep, still on my red P’s (the license system here in Australia lets you drive with restrictions in the beginning) like all the other young mums in the area. However, I am ready to go for my green P’s now. Hopefully I will nail that test so I can drive a bit faster when we go for road trips this summer – as we have several in mind. Yay!
  10. I held the record in the javelin for years in high school. Even several years after I graduated my name was still on top of the record sheet.

Boom!

That’s it for now, folks. I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about who I am. It was actually easier to do this than I had anticipated, so maybe it won’t be long until another 10 RANDOMS hits this little blog of mine.

 

 

WHAT THE F*CK, ABBY

Abby swears and I don’t really care. Yup, that’s fucking right, folks. I am not going to spend too much energy correcting her, so called, bad language. There is a balance, of course. Too much swearing sounds ugly even in my ears, but unless she turns into a trucker with a full grown beard or starts using swear words to intentionally hurt anyone, I am not going to give it much attention.

14489723_10154433482955499_1334165616_o

As most children, Abby is a little parrot and, hey – I swear. Josh swears. Not a lot, but we do put a “fuck that” and “ohh, shit” in occasionally, so how are we supposed to be teaching her that swearing is a no-no? To be honest, I don’t think it hurts anyone when swearing is used occasionally.

Actually, newer research suggest that swearing can be a sign of a high IQ. I don’t make this shit up, you can read about it in this study and since we are also a bunch of night owls with messy desks, this family is a fucking smart hub – according to science.

Words like “fuck“, “shit“, “crap“, etc. might be perceived as negatively value-laden words, however, if you think about it, they actually don’t really hurt anyone on their own. In a way they are just empty words that some people have chosen to be offended by. Now, offending other people will never be something I will actively teach my children to do, but if someone gets offended by a bit of swearing – too bad, mate.

Another reason why we basically have chosen to ignore Abby’s swearing (even though it is very hard not to laugh sometimes), is us hoping that she won’t find it exciting or confronting and in that way keep her swearing at an innocent level. It has worked so far.

14456918_10154433478515499_748760510_o

However, my lenient attitude towards swearing is not a sign that I just don’t give a flying fuck about my children’s language and choice of words in general. It is more me choosing my battles – and putting an effort in to guide and correct in the places where I find it most necessary.

At the moment there is particularly one word, that Abby has started to use a lot, which we are very mindful of.

I might not find a lot of people who agree with me about this, but in my point of view, this word can potentially hurt all the way into adulthood. She has picked it up from pre-school and that actually makes me a bit uncomfortable.

The word is; “naughty“.

She calls everyone naughty, even herself. And I don’t like it.

The reason that I don’t like when she puts that label on others or get it put on herself is somehow long and complex, but in short it has something to do with self-image.

A person’s self-image gets build up or broken down by so many things – amongst that the words she gets labelled by. If a child gets told over and over again that she is naughty, she might begin to believe it. She might even begin to think of herself as “the naughty girl” and I believe that is quite problematic.

First of all, if she, like me, associates naughty with a rather negative personality feature, she might think of herself as being worth less than others or go further down that lane of thought. That in itself is very undesirable.

Second of all, it might lead to a correction of her attitude and personality to fit that self-image. Let me explain: If you truly believe that you are naughty – and that everyone around you think you are naughty – then you better act like a naughty girl, right? No reason to try to act like a “good girl” when everyone expect you to be naughty anyway. And we all know how extremely hard it is to break free of any personality box we have been put into – by ourself or others.

Therefore, we really, really try to avoid using words like “naughty” and teach Abby not to use them either.

In fact, any kind of label that you can put on children, which places them in a specific personality box, is undesirable in my point of view, even “good girl”.

A child is just a little human with a bunch of complex feelings and emotions and there should be room for all of them. Abby is a wild child sometimes, but she can also be very emotional, helpful and shy or cheeky and confrontational, maybe even naughty – and it is all okay.

It’s fucking okay to be a little, naughty, funny, crazy, annoying, cheeky, clever, lazy, good, wild, loving girl – and it is also okay for parents to be exhausted from hanging around all those different personalities. Can’t blame a mummy for swearing a bit. You fucking can’t.

14438747_10154414619475499_1018218372_o

So, yeah…You will never hear me call my children “naughty” for swearing – instead I will try to be a good example and keep my swearing at an innocent level and have an extra drink on those days where they act like adorable, little maniacs and then sneak into their bedrooms when they are asleep like fucking, little angels. And I will probably keep laughing a little bit, when Abby says…

“What the fuck, it’s Friday!” 

It sure is…Happy weekend, everyone ❤

P.S. There might be put in some extra swear words here and there in this post. Might 😉

 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin