Thanks for stopping by. Mummy Mayhem is no longer updated. I now have a new, albeit smaller blog over at www.jodieansted.blogspot.com.au.

Drop by anytime. :)


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

When One Teacher Can Make All The Difference

Most teachers are great. Some...not so much.

So far, for the most part anyway (fingers crossed), the 6yr old and the 8yr old have had teachers who have given them a great start to their school education.

The same, however, can not always be said for their swimming instructors over the years. We’ve had some real doozies. At the first swim centre both boys attended, for some reason the swimming instructors there both decided they would just dump them under the water, without notice. That little plan cost us over a year with the 8yr old’s progress, and about 6 months with the 6yr old.

When the 8yr old (then 5) finally started to become confident enough to lay his head right back in the water during his back float, his teacher at his new swim centre decided to just let him go. He fell under, swallowed a bucket load of water, and once again – his progress was on hold. In fact, he went backwards for quite some time.

Finally, at the end of his Kindy year, the 8yr old went to swimming lessons with his school. I think that the repetitiveness of going 4 days in a row for 2 weeks really helped. At the time, he also had a new teacher at the swim centre who was very patient with him, as well as very encouraging. Together with the school lessons, and her help, he moved up a class within a matter of weeks. I remember having tears of joy and relief when it happened, and it’s always makes me smile to think of how genuinely excited she was for him at the time. A great swimming teacher.

Since then, both the 6yr old and 8yr old have progressed in leaps and bounds. They’re not racing up the levels - not by any stretch of the imagination - but they’re doing ok. They can swim. They’re confident, and I feel confident of their ability when they’re in the water.

The 3yr old started his swimming lessons at the beginning of this year. Apart from his initial hesitation, he settled in very quickly to his weekly lesson. In fact, his progress was probably much faster than that of his older brothers' at the same age. It was all going well. Very well. 

And imagine my excitement, after I managed to change him to a slightly later class on a Monday morning, to find he had the same swimming teacher that had encouraged the 8yr old! And then imagine my disappointment at the end of that same class when she announced she would not be his teacher any longer due to timetable changes. *Forehead slap*

He got yet another new teacher. She seemed nice. Friendly, encouraging etc. But then a few weeks ago, after a couple of lessons with her, this teacher was returning him to the platform by the edge of the pool. His head was down, face completely in the water. He hadn’t quite got to the stage yet of trying to paddle his way to the water’s edge. In fact, even reaching out was proving a challenge. Everything else was great though. He was putting his face in. He was allowing the teacher to assist him in swimming under the water. He even jumped in to the pool off the mat floating on the surface of the water at the end of each class, striking a Superman pose just before his jump. He was having fun. He was confident.

But on this day, three weeks ago, his teacher left him to his own devices. There he was, face down. I watched, waiting for the teacher to pick him up and assist him to the side. No doubt, she thought she’d leave him to try and work it out – perhaps to see if she could prompt something in him that resembled a swimming motion of sorts. He did nothing. He just lay there, face down, trying ever so slightly to wriggle his body to move. I waited for her to see the signs that he wasn’t going anywhere too soon, but still, she observed only. I moved to the edge of my seat, ready to run over and pull him up. I hesitated, only because I put trust in the idea that she knew what she was doing, and I didn’t want to act like an over anxious mother (because really, I’m not).

And still, he lay in the water. That’s when I saw him start to struggle. I could imagine, instantly, how he felt. He was no doubt starting to panic, and was trying to take in a breath. He started to thrash around a little. No swimming motion though, just a thrash. Finally, his teacher lifted him out of the water.

When I write it, it sounds as though it was probably longer than what it was. But by the same token, it was too long. He was face down in that water for much longer than what he should have been.

Obviously, he was upset afterwards. He was spluttering and crying at the same time. After that, he no longer wanted to put his head in the water. (Who could blame him?)

Since then, he has not been keen to go to swimming lessons. He keeps saying, “I don’t want to put my head in the water.” I know it will pass eventually, but in the meantime, I can’t help but wonder how much time we will lose over this? There’s nothing more frustrating than watching your child spend a whole swimming lesson, week in and week out, trying to gain enough confidence to put his head in the water – just once – especially after he previously had no problem with doing so.

Fingers crossed, the mistakes will be few and far between from hereon, because it’s really costing the 3yr old his confidence, and me my sanity!


Monday, March 29, 2010

What Was Your Standout Moment on the Weekend?

My stand out moment this weekend was definitely my speech. I finally did it this weekend. Three times, in fact.

It went really well. For most of Saturday, I was pretty relaxed about the whole thing. I had read it through a number of times, and knowing I could have it in front of me was reassuring. (When I did those speech competitions over 20 years ago that I mentioned in this post last week, we were allowed palm cards only for our 8 minute speech.) However, just after lunch, re-reading it again, I started to feel the butterflies. That churning in the pit of my stomach. Nothing major, but there, nonetheless.

I was ok in the afternoon. My wonderful friend, Jen brought dinner and we had all our kids eat before church. Then we walked down to church and arrived just in time. The kids were very good. By the time I got up (it's was a long mass this weekend!) I felt ok. Not bad at all. I was a little bit nervous, but I relaxed in to the speech about 2 minutes in. When the first one was over, I felt incredibly relieved. The first one was the hardest.

Both speeches the next day went well. I wasn't as stressed out as I thought I would be getting the kids over to my friend's house by 7.10am. It was all pretty easy. 

Now it's done, I'm relieved. I got a great response from many, so that was really nice. 

And so my speech follows. It's about my personal faith as a Catholic. Therefore, it contains my religious beliefs. (For those of you who follow Mamamia, you may have read a little of this before, as I commented on one of Mia's post detailing my becoming a Catholic.) 

I am not posting this speech to convince you to believe in what I do. Not at all. I don't judge anyone for their choice of religion/belief system. I don't preach. What you believe in, is your choice. I am posting this speech simply because I knew some people would be interested to read what I talked about. That's all. 

Anyway, enjoy. Or not. Whatever. Here it is...

Once upon a time, I was not Catholic. In fact, even though I was raised Church of England, my parents were not churchgoers.
The first time I attended church (apart from some relatives’ weddings and baptisms), I was about 10 years old. My friend, Kim Adams, and I decided we wanted to find out what this whole “going to church thing” was all about, and so we put on our best frocks, hitched up our skirts, and rode our bikes to the local Anglican church. We attended regularly, and even joined the Sunday School there. In fact, I won a bookmark there once, and decided that it was a sign that God must be very pleased with my attendance!
Then in 1993, I started seeing my husband, [Hubby]. A Catholic. And Christmas Eve, that same year, I was asked to join him and his family for Christmas Eve mass.
To be honest, I was nervous about it. I was worried I would do something wrong and embarrass myself. My future mother-in-law was great. She said, “Just do what I do.” And so I did. When she sat, I sat. When she stood, I stood. And when she kneeled, I kneeled. And before too long, I was feeling part of the community, and quite confident in following what was going on.
A little too confident though. At one point, I thought that the priest was about to make the sign of the cross. As he raised his arm, so did I. But he, ah, didn’t make the sign of the cross at all. And so I quickly pretended to shoo a fly away. It was summertime in Perth, so I think I got away with it.
But after that, I attended church regularly with [Hubby]. I felt as though I had finally found the missing piece of the puzzle in my life. I felt more complete for going to church, and praying as part of a community.
Then one weekend in 1995, I felt a strong need to attend mass. [Hubby] and I had missed a few weeks due to other commitments, and I was insistent that we go.
As we stood in my parent’s kitchen washing the dishes - with my hurrying [Hubby] along - he asked, “If you weren’t seeing me, would you still go to church?”
“Yes,” I replied. “I like going. I always feel better afterwards.” And then I said, “Who knows? Maybe I’ll become a Catholic someday.”
As we arrived at church, the priest was inviting a guest speaker to address the parishioners. She got up, introduced herself and then she said, “Some of you here tonight may have thought about becoming a Catholic, but don’t quite know how to go about it. I’m with the RCIA programme (which is the ‘Right for Christian Initiation in Adults’) and I’m here to tell you how you can go about it.
I was amazed. Immediately, I felt that this was a message from God to me. After the conversation with [Hubby] in the kitchen, and my strong desire to attend church that very night, I believed and still believe wholeheartedly today, that it was God’s plan that I be in that church the moment the woman from the RCIA spoke.
At the first RCIA meeting, I found that the priest who was coordinating the program was the same priest who had married my bestfriend and her husband two weeks prior. It was he who suggested my bestfriend’s mother be my sponsor. When I first asked her about doing it, she lowered her head, and I thought that perhaps she really didn’t want to do it at all, and was about to tell me just that. But instead, she raised her head, crossed the room to embrace me and expressed her relief that I had asked her. She had just, that morning, cancelled a trip back to her homeland of Northern Ireland (which would have coincided with my catechisms), as she didn’t feel ready to see all her family, and had hoped instead to get more involved with the church again. And there I was, standing before her, giving her that opportunity.
Both [Hubby] and my parents were very supportive. [Hubby] only had one stipulation when I announced my plans to become a Catholic: that I do this for no one other than myself. And that was my plan. But there was someone else other than me that I felt I had to do this for. I had to do this for God.
And so, on Easter Saturday, 1996 (almost 14 years ago) I became a Catholic.
My faith in God did not start that Easter Saturday. Nor did it start that first Christmas eve mass, or even when I won that bookmark when I was 10. You see, even though my parents didn’t take me to church, they, and in particular my mother, are the reason I have such a strong faith in God today. 
When I was 20, I went on my first overseas holiday. For the 6 weeks I travelled through Europe and the UK, it all went pretty smoothly. Well, except for that one night in a German bier hall when I indulged in a little too much of the local beverage. Ahem. However, one day during that trip, I called my Mum – reverse charges, of course - upset about one thing or another, and she was great. She consoled me and she comforted me, and then 5 days later, when I arrived back to my hotel in London, there waiting for me was a letter from my mother. In it, she wrote something in relation to my phone call that I have never forgotten. She wrote: “God has a plan, and in the end, everything works out for the best. Have faith.”
My mother knows a thing or two about the importance of faith. In fact, her own faith in God was tested 20 years before she wrote that letter to me in London.
During Easter time, 1971 - on Good Friday in fact - my 17-year-old sister, Valda, and her 20-year old boyfriend, John set out to drive north of Perth to Geraldton. Both ballroom dancers, they planned to compete in a dance competition there. However, they never made it. Their car was involved in a car accident, and they both died. I was not quite 7 months old at the time, so fortunately for me I can't quite recall what it was like in those early days after losing Valda.
But I have no doubt that in the hours, the days, the weeks and the months that followed my sister’s death, my mother questioned her faith in God. No doubt, she asked, “Why?” a million times. And yet, growing up, you might be surprised to hear that it was my mother who taught me about God from a very early age. She taught me how to pray to God, and, in fact, how to talk to him. She taught me to believe in Him. Put my trust in Him and to have faith in Him. Which, as a mother of 3 boys today, I can appreciate just how strong that faith was for her, and continues to be, considering all that she, and my father, went through in losing a child.
My mother strongly believes, as do I, that God will determine which path our lives take. It may not suit us at the time. It may not be part of our plan. And we may not understand His decision as to why certain things happen in our lives, but we we should know that in the end, everything will be ok.
My faith is strong, and I owe much of that to my mother. It's just as she wrote in that letter to me back in '91. God has a plan for us all, including me. I just have to have faith.
How about you? What was your stand out moment this weekend?


Friday, March 26, 2010

Hot or Not? Justin Bartha

It's Friday. Know what that means, don't you? It's time for Hot or Not?

Well, it seems "funny" is also known as "hot", with Hamish Blake coming up trumps in the voting in last week's Hot or Not?

Out of all the comments, there was only one for "not". All the rest were a definite for the "hot" vote. Seems Hamish will have no trouble at all finding himself a long line of admirers to choose from when he decides he wants to give the dating thing another go!

This week's inspiration for Hot or Not? comes from the following tweet I noticed the other day from Bern Morley (@Bern_Morley) of So Now What?

Now I'll admit it, I had no idea who Justin Bartha was. Hello Wikipedia! Apparently, he's had roles in such films as the National Treasure series (I think there's 3), in Failure To Launch and The Hangover.

He's also "attached" - he's been dating Ashely Olsen since 2008 (sorry, Bern!).

After looking at a few photos on the Internet, admittedly, in some he looks rather Meh!, but in others...like the one below...noice! He might be one of those actors that you have to see in "action" on the big screen. Brad Pitt was a bit like that for me. Never thought him anything much until I saw him in Mr & Mrs Smith and the Oceans films.

Anyway, I found this trailer for The Rebound:

Well, whaddya think? Is Justin Bartha Hot, or not? You decide.


* This weekly post in inspired by Insomniac Mummy. Check out her Hot or Not? each week.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Everything Happens For a Reason

I’m a strong believer in the theory that everything happens for a reason. Admittedly, sometimes I’m not sure at the time why it happens, but I do know that it will eventually become apparent at some point.

Regular readers might remember a post I did a few weeks back called Mediocre Me (read that here). I was feeling incredibly low for a 24-hour period. When I wrote that post, I did so sitting at a cafĂ© that overlooks my 3yr old’s sports class. It took me the whole hour and a half class to finish it, simply because I had to keep stopping due to the tears that were blurring my vision.

My confidence was low. That was my main problem, I think. At the time, I couldn’t imagine feeling good about myself again.

But by late afternoon the following day, I was feeling better, and then that night something happened that gave me a renewed sense of both confidence and sense of purpose.

I attended an information session about my 8yr old’s upcoming Reconciliation (which happens tomorrow night, actually). As I entered the church, my parish priest approached me, and asked if he could see me afterwards.

My immediate thought was that he had discovered my blog, had read my latest post, and was concerned for me and planned to counsel me. I sat there worrying about how I was going to convince him that I really was ok now, because I felt fine! And I certainly didn’t want to re-live it all over again. I had already begun to move on.

Afterwards, I tentatively approached him, and he had a huge smile on his face. He explained that during Lent, rather than the priest giving a 7-minute homily after the reading of the Gospel, he would give a 2-minute version, and he was asking people to give a five-minute talk about their faith immediately following. A “Personal Reflection”. He said, “I was wondering if you would be interested in doing one?”

Now, I’ve done public speaking in the past. A loooong time ago though. I even competed in a couple of speech competitions. I did ok. Both in Year 11 and Year 12, I got through the first heats to gain a spot in the Quarter Finals. But I didn’t progress any further after that, as I was hopeless at impromptu speeches (which were introduced in the Quarter Finals, but not a part of the heats).

I’d get nervous. Really nervous. In fact, I’ll let you in on a little secret…as soon as I stood up in front of a crowd, I’d get this kind of twitch in my bum cheek going on! The only consolation about this was that at least my arse was not facing the crowd. ;)

But I was still young, and now that I’m older and far wiser (*cough*), I’ve relaxed a little. But that doesn’t mean I’m completely Zen about talking in front of a crowd.

Having said that though, the minute my priest asked me to do it, I said, “Yes.” And it wasn’t a moment of thinking, ‘I can’t say no.’ Nor did I say yes because I tend to be a bit of a “yes” girl, and I'm getting better at saying "no" these days (read about that here). I just knew I wanted to do this.

But just like in high school, I felt the nerves start to take hold. I felt incredibly anxious about the whole thing at first, and when I found out that Hubby wouldn’t be here to see it (he is flying to Perth for his brother’s 40th birthday – so he has a good reason!), that only added to my anxieties. Who would I get to watch the boys? How would I cope?

And I think it put me off writing the speech at first. I wrote it over and over in my head for the first couple of weeks, but I couldn’t decide exactly how I wanted to approach it, and avoiding writing it. I knew pretty much what I wanted to say, but how?

Then one night, I sat down and I wrote it all in one hit. And I’ll be honest – I’m really happy with it. It says what I wanted to say, and in the end, the process was far easier than what I imagined it would be.

Since then, I’ve been feeling pretty relaxed about the whole thing. Doing the radio interview last week really helped also. I had to speak “off the cuff” on that – no planned responses, as I wasn’t sure what the questions would be! And I survived. So a planned speech with the paper right in front of me? Should be a piece of cake. Right?

In any case, this weekend, over three masses (Saturday night, and two on Sunday morning), I’ll be giving my speech to, potentially, hundreds of parishioners. And you know what? I’m ok with that. I’m feeling remarkably calm. And just this morning, I was able to sort out what to do with the boys – I’ll have support from my friends. (Thanks to my two wonderful friends, Jen and Fiona - thanks gals!) That certainly has taken some of the pressure off.

Besides, what’s the worse that could happen? That my bum twitch will return?

The confidence is back, people. From a real low, to a real high in the space of a month. Yep. Everything does happen for a reason.

I'll post the speech I'm giving next week. Stay tuned! :)


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Carly's Meme

Carly over at Everyone Wants This posted this meme last week, and I loved it. I am "borrowing" it.
What? She said I could!
i am
feeling: Lucky. Life is good.
wanting: More time to get everything done!
loving: My family. They are whom I live for.
wishing: For a house with more space.
missing: My parents, my sister, my niece, nephew & great nephew in Perth
thinking: About my speech I'm doing this weekend, and hoping it goes well (fingers crossed). (More details about that later.)
listening to: Whatever's on the radio. My iPod hasn't worked in months, unfortunately!
watching: The Tudors (Season III), Desperate Housewives (Season 5), Brothers & Sisters, Grey's Anatomy, Cougar Town. All quality tv. Ahem.
stressing over: Organising my boys this weekend when Hubby is away and I have to be at mass three times to give my speech!

i love
clothes: Anything from Esprit. It's practically my one-stop shop.
shoes: Actually, I'm not in to shoes much. My Crocs are the most comfy. (Boring, I know!)
underwear: Bonds knickers, and an Esprit bra I bought recently. (The most comfortable EVER!)
makeup: A mix. Revlon lipsticks & mascara. Clinique face powder. MAC eye shadows.
song: Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap (Sounds kinda 80s. I love it!)
movie: When Harry Met Sally (One of my all time faves!)
band: Can't think of one. (SO out of touch!)
actor/actress: Henry Cavill (natch), although Andy Garcia and Matt Damon are noice / Meg Ryan (I still love watching her after all these years!)
book: The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Antonia Fraser (Loved it. Read my review here.)
handbag: My floral (fake) Gucci bag. Bought it on a street in Rome in 2005. It's a great size just for me, and I get so many comments on it. If only they all knew...
brand: Esprit. (Again!)
habit: Twirling my hair. (Read about that here.)

i dislike (changed this from 'i hate' because I don't feel strongly enough to hate much!)
clothes: Strapless dresses/tops. (I, ah, don't have the "goods" to keep them up. ;) )
shoes: Running shoes. They feel hot, and cumbersome. Give me sandals in summer any day!
underwear: Strapless bras. (just like Carly! Uncomfortable!)
makeup: Too much foundation. Feels awful. Looks just as bad!
song: Anything from Dire Straits. (Oh come on - it all sounds the same!)
movie: I think it was called The Frighteners? Some strange ghost story thing. Starred Michael J Fox. It was the first, and last, movie that I wanted to walk out on, it was so bad.
band: Dire Straits. Can't stand their music.
actor/actress: Not sure on this one.
book: Confessions of a Park Avenue Plastic Surgeon, Cap Lesesne MD. Probably not the worst book I've ever read, but I didn't like the way it made me feel about my body! (Read my review here.)
handbag: Anything with a lot of bling on it. Think: big, chunky locks and sparkly bits!
brand: Gap (for kids). I'm sure many would disagree with me, but the few pieces Hubby has brought
back from his travels in the US just haven't gone the distance.
habit: Procrastinating.

And as Carly said, feel free to borrow!


Monday, March 22, 2010

What Was Your Stand Out Moment on the Weekend?

Last night, I was thinking about the weekend, and I was wondering what my stand out moment was - kind of like a little review in my head of the past two days - when it suddenly hit me... Why not make this a regular post every Monday and ask all of you which moment stood out for you?!

So, it will take some reader participation. I'm counting on you. All you need to do is leave a comment letting me know what moment stood out for you over the weekend. It can be any sort of moment - fun, happy, sad, disappointing...whatever. Just tell me about it.

Here's mine...

I had lots of great moments this weekend. It was an exhausting one. We had a garage sale on Saturday. It was really hot, and looking at all our stuff laid out in our carport and on our front lawn brought mixed emotions for me (but I'll write about that later). I loved watching the boys lazing on our couch (for sale), positioned under a shady tree, then later filling bottles with water and throwing the water at each other until they were soaking wet. We laughed a lot.

My 6yo had his (very) belated birthday party yesterday, and it was great watching everyone have so much fun.

But my stand out moment was a simple, quiet, slow walk to the local shop with my 3 year old yesterday afternoon. He pushed his toy trolley along, ready to store our few items needed for dinner, and as we walked we chatted. We talked about playing putt-putt that morning and about all we had to buy at the shops and where we were going this week. Then at one point, he reached out his hand and grabbed mine, with the other pushing his trolley. Not to cross a road or anything, just because he wanted to, and I felt so lucky to be a mum. It was a moment where we had no rushed deadline to meet. No pressing timeframe to follow. It was relaxed and easy.

Life's little moments, huh?

So tell me - what was your stand out moment this past weekend? Would love to read yours!