This is an area to discuss the things I've done to support my relationships with my two children, things I've discovered about different forms of school in the United States and New Zealand, and any other random things we've done together.
......a quick update to my most recent post about how gross my kids are. My daughter decided to search the Internet for short hairstyles for girls after our "self-care" discussion.
We made a joint hair appointment and she is now sporting what Pinterest calls an "Asymmetrical Pixie Cut": shaved mostly in the back with long, sweeping bangs in the front. The ladies at the shop were taking pictures and even put chalk paint in her hair to celebrate the new cut.
I trimmed an inch off of my curly mop. Super exciting. No pictures were taken. I didn't even get styled.
This week has been 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit (because although I know the temperature in Celsius, it still doesnt' quite mean anything to me) and roughly 85-95% humidity. I am completely jealous of her cut.
And she is loving it.
Don't get me wrong: I love my kids to death.
Recently, however, they have started morphing and changing. They are getting smellier. And their hair is oily and matted. And acne is popping up on their faces.
My kids are becoming teenagers. And teenagers are gross.
I have taught my kids to bathe regularly. They go to the dentist regularly, the doctor regularly and I make sure their hair is cut and their clothes fit. However, they have gone into a stage where they fight me at bathing time and they refuse to actually comb their hair daily or seem to not notice that their body odor could knock over an elephant. And I'm an evil bitch for pointing said issues out to them.
But, I finally had enough last night: I sat them down at shower time, massaged out their scalps and combed out their hair before they jumped in and explained to them why shampoo is necessary to remove oil from their hair (not just water). I even put oil in water and showed them how, when you add soap and scrub it in, it gets the oil out of the cup.
The best response of the night? My daughter saying "Being a woman is hard" followed by "I want to shave my hair off".
At least they smell good today.
Ever taken your kids to a movie? For some of us, it can be anything but relaxing and fun. I spend most of the time making sure they really are behaving, sitting still and not disturbing other people at the show. My son is really no problem: he has always vegged and zoned out like a champ when a movie is on. My daughter, however, is a movie-goer of another breed.
She cannot sit in one position for a long time. At home, it's not a big deal: she doesn't bother anyone. In a theatre, she spends her time draping herself from side to side, stretching her arms forward and back and standing up in the chair. She doesn't seem to even notice she does it. And she asks questions and makes comments constantly. She is at that age where one begins to unravel the complexities of subtext in cinema. So she asks for clarification a lot. I must admit, even at home this tends to get on my nerves. And we've been shushed enough to make me panic a little everytime she does it. I admit: parenting has given me a weird combination of the most banal PTSD issues I never imagined.
I went through my normal paranoia while the movie started. Make sure drink bottles are open and next to the right kid. Open up packages during the opening ads so it doesn't happen during a crucial scene. Turn off our devices. We were all good. Movie started and it was just like most we go to. Some shifting about, a few stage whispers. But, when the scenes on the Amazon island started and little Diana ran out to watch the warriors train, the cutest thing ever happened. A group of 5 girls close to the front (about 4-5 years old) stood up in their seats and gave this crazed war-cry. I braced myself for those poor girls and their poor mom about to get yelled at.
No yelling happened.
Almost the entire theatre giggled or cheered approvingly. I felt so much love in that one moment that I admit I was a little overwhelmed. Those girls cheered for a strong female character that they loved and an entire theatre approved. Let them be kids and geek out.
Other kiddos started cheering and clapping throughout the movie. It wasn't annoying: it added to the experience. My daughter joined in. Hell, I joined in a few times. I saw a few other random adults doing the same. There was also one particularly cute time when the 5 year olds in front got very expressively grossed out by the kissing scene in the movie. I've never heard so much laughter during a kissing scene.
Yes, this movie is good. Yes, I'm glad a strong female lead from comics got her own movie. Most importantly to me, it is the first time in quite a while that I fully relaxed at the theatre with my kids. It's rare that you feel a moment of bonding with everyone in the theatre at once. I love that this movie gave us that moment.
Literally. My kids started music lessons recently.
After moving, we didn't force the kids to join anything or jump into any programs because we were just so focused on finding a place to live and making sure we could find work and food. Now that we are a bit more settled and have a routine down, we've started poking the kids to find out where their interests might lie. We were pleasantly surprised to find out they both wanted to do something other than sports. They wanted to learn how to play instruments.
Music and the arts are a big part of school life in New Zealand. Sports culture (mostly around rugby and cricket) exists, but it isn't quite the factory of kid's programs that you find in the US. As a matter of fact, I have really struggled to find information on sports programs in general for kids. But music, acting and voice lessons are a dime a dozen. And the kid's school, Balmoral Primary/Intermediate, has a strong music program they are very proud of. And my kids both told me they want to try out for bands next year. So, lessons started up.
My daughter chose the clarinet as her instrument of choice (she wants to try out for Orchestra) and my son chose the drums (he wants to try out for Rock Band). I was a little wary of the squeaky clarinet noises, but the drums aren't purchased (yet). He just practices on a pad for now. However, I haven't really been annoyed by it. As a matter of fact, every time they start practicing, Keith and I just kind of smile at each other and enjoy the moment. It's just good to see them passionate about something and enjoying them selves.
There are a lot of things I really like about living in New Zealand. Affordable Health Care. Laid back school systems. The fact that even though it's close to Australia, not every living thing surrounding you will kill you. However, it's humid. And with humidity comes bugs.
Bugs freaking everywhere. Ants all over the place (picnics are a bitch). Cockroaches chilling on the sidewalk. Cicadas twerking in the trees and giving me headaches (I honestly wonder if they killed all the birds. I actually miss the birds). Flies and freaking mosquitoes. Daddy long-legs hanging over your head in every structure that you can imagine. And people are totally chill about it. Like freaking hippies livin' and lettin' live. And I'm a psycho for twitching out every time I feel a hair touch my bare skin on my shoulder and start swatting the air with a broom everytime I go into my garage to grab my bike. I also don't care if I spray every mother f*ing bug I see with whatever will kill it fastest and cackle in delight as they die.
I honestly don't understand how so many of the Kiwi homes I visit are totally fine leaving their un-screened windows wide open and living as one with the bugs. Every once in awhile we get a fly or two in the house and I go on a psycho manhunt with the flyswatter it took me half a year to find in this country (aka my best friend). And I go to a friend's house and they have spider webs in their bay windows and eat right next to it, with some gnats hanging out around the food in their kitchen and act like it's cool. It's not! It's gross! I'm flummoxed.
Our latest issue with Kiwi lifestyle has been in the form of the kid's checkups at the beginning of the school year. I was asked by the GP if I've de-wormed my kids. To which I looked at her and said, "Like a dog?" She calmly explained that because kids in NZ walk around barefoot all the time, it's a good idea to de-worm them in case they picked up something walking around. Not too worried about that: my daughter likes her bare feet, but she still wears her shoes a majority of the time and my son still can't do the bare foot thing. However, she also asked if we've been doing our weekly lice checks and washes. I said no and she warned me that it's fairly common for lice to go around the schools. A lot. I said OK and went on with life.
Guess what? My daughter got lice. I found it because she wanted to cut her hair in a pixie cut and I was playing with her hair while we were waiting around in the mall for her appointment. And a bug crawled out of her hair. I flipped my shit. Cancelled the appointment, ran to the closest pharmacy, got a family-size bucket of lice shampoo and went home. And, if any of you are a nurse, you know what happened next. That's right, I sanitized the hell out of my house.
I know, lice aren't bedbugs. But they might as well be.
I couldn't sleep for two days. I actually think I gave myself a migraine from using too much lice killer spray in our house (warning label says too much can cause "neurogenic side effects"). But I can guarantee that there are no freaking lice in this place. No sir.
Doesn't mean I'm not sitting her itching my head like crazy just because I'm writing this. F*ing bugs.