Oh sweet memories!

Growing up in Ireland, one of my most favourite memories is my mum’s home baked apple tart made with Granny Smith apples. She made the dough from scratch and had the recipe written on a piece of paper. She made it so many times – it was that popular it was one of the first baked goods to sell out at our local baking fundraising events. Us kids grew up and got busy with our lives and the apple pies became less frequent. We then moved house and the recipe was lost, but I remember how happy I was every time I smelled sweet apple tart being made. Continue reading

nine things about nine year old boys

Do you remember being nine years old? It’s an interesting age, and somewhat stressful for the parents, as their children’s bodies, emotions and friendships change. I don’t remember a lot from that time but one thing I do recall was the friendships and social circles. How important they were to me and how I wanted everyone to like me. Gosh how times have changed! Now you either like me for me or you can keep on walking 😊

My eldest is nine so we will always go through the firsts with him. He’s a quieter and more reserved child than his brother. He looks for encouragement though can be quite competitive. But boy have we experienced all the emotions possible over the past six months or so! When it first happened I was confused as to way he was raging or becoming upset over something that seemed irrational to me. There were a lot of heated arguments which ended in both of us in tears. I couldn’t understand what was happening to my boy. He didn’t feel like my son.

Anxiety also made an appearance and it came out of the blue. While he is the more cautious one of my two boys, this was next level. I initially couldn’t pinpoint what had started it until a friend asked if he’d recently had stranger danger classes at school. Sure enough he had and it was around this time anxiety raised its head. Although he’d had these classes before, for an unknown reason and one he couldn’t even identify, this class triggered fear and anxiety about someone coming into the house and killing him. Every window and door was checked numerous times to make sure they were closed and locked properly. There were tears if we wanted to leave the front door open with the screen door locked to get air into the house (this was the middle of summer!). Forget about me even being in the kitchen and him in the backyard – I can see him from the kitchen window but no. If he was outside then I had to be physically there. If he couldn’t see me in the room he’d call out to me, asking where I was and what I was doing – there were some great toilet conversations! It was never ending and exhausting.

I looked for all the advice, guidance, reassurance that I could on nine year old boys but I didn’t find much. Most articles just said it was hormones or a testosterone surge. But he was 9! Isn’t that too young? And if it was that, how should I deal with it? I ended up reaching out to our GP after noticing some body changes and she confirmed that he had entered puberty (there were tears and a bit of disbelief from my husband and I). I also reached out to some parents with similar aged kids and it was a relief to hear that a couple of them had kids experiencing the same. I enrolled him for two resilience classes; one that focused on the different emotions we feel and how they’re all good but need to be managed differently, and the other on friendships and what it really means. Both of these have been so good for him and it’s like a light went off and out came the boy I know.

Now, puberty goes on for a few years and he’s just entered it so not everything is going to change and happen straight away. We have spoken to him and explained what’s happening. He turns 10 at the end of the year and while we haven’t delved too far into the detail, just what he needs to know for now, I know other conversations are going to have to happen. His brother thinks it’s hilarious!

Below I’ve listed nine things I know about nine year old boys.

  • Emotions are high and while it’s not directed at one person in particular, mum tends to bare the brunt of it. One minute everything is hunky dory then the next minute they’re moody or there’s tears (for no apparent reason!)
  • They can hit puberty at this age. It’s not uncommon. Puberty takes a few years and they are only entering it at this age but it brings emotional and physical challenges
  • There’s noticeable changes to their body
  • They want to be more independent but crave security from those they are close to
  • One that crosses over a few ages: they think they know it all but then question their decisions
  • Friendships are important though peer pressure appears too. I’m reinforcing the statement ‘Run your own race’ which I hope instills confidence in themselves
  • Anxiety that may never have been there before now appears. This can be anxiety over a number of things and may occur from them hearing the news or a death happening in the family
  • There is more of a focus on sport activities with the same gender. Catch ups with girl friends are fine on a one-on-one basis. These are girls who are friends, not girlfriends – there’s a difference!
  • They seek more responsibility like getting to a friend’s house on their own. But ask him to increase this chore responsibility in the house and he’ll look at you like you have two heads!

While it’s a roller coaster of emotions that I’m sure are only the start, there’s also the cuddles at home or in the evening when he wants to lie on me and have his time with me. His cuddles, his wanting to be with me. My arms wrapped around him, kissing the top of his head. A request for a head massage to make time last a bit longer. It’s at this time I’m made very much aware that he’s still so young yet trying to manage all these big changes and emotions that are coming his way. And everything else that might have happened during the day is forgotten.

The list above is based on my experience with my son. I’m sure there are many other things to note. What else would you add for parents navigating this age?

Smashing it!

And just like that, it’s time to get organised for school. These summer school holidays have gone fast and I’m a little sad about that – and that’s the first time I’ve ever admitted that! I’m not sure I’m ready for the madness of school/sport/extra curricular/ social calendars to kick off again. While Australia had extreme weather conditions unseen of before, and while the kids understood what was happening, they went about their school holidays making memories and enjoying what they could. Continue reading

Gifts that teachers want!

Teachers. I admire them for taking on my children and hundreds of others six hours a day, five days a week, up to 40 weeks a year. They deserve a Christmas gift and so much more! It can be hard trying to think of the best gift that isn’t underwhelming or cliché so I’ve put together a list of ideas based on feedback from parents, students and teachers over our four years at primary. Do you have other ideas you would add? Continue reading

Domestic goddess I am not

I’m not a domestic goddess and never will be. I’ve come to accept that and I think my husband is slowly coming around to it, even if its 17 years later! I do, however, like to keep a clean home with everything having its place – a clean and tidy home definitely keeps my mental health in balance. And as much as I’d love to have a cleaner come in and do a deep clean and those unfavourable chores, I’ve always thought the money was better spent elsewhere. Continue reading

Weird and wobbly at Sea Life

Winter is here and there is so much happening in Sydney at the moment. We decided to have a family day out and made our way to Darling Harbour to see the light festival and visit Sea Life. We all like different things at the attraction from penguins to sharks and dugongs to jellyfish so it’s a rush to see who gets their favourite animal first #itwasntme . My favourite part is the Day and Night on the Reef exhibition – the weird and wobbly jellyfish are just mesmerising and calming! For the month of June there’s also a great activity for kids with glow-in-the-dark activity sheets and a fun-fact trail that leads to a Jellyfish Garden. Continue reading