Thursday, 28 February 2013

Raising Men

It’s not so easy to be a man today. What is a good man these days? Do you know? Do you think your son knows?

I have always had my feet planted firmly in the raising adults camp as opposed to the raising kids playground. It just makes sense to me. Start as you mean to go on and all that kind of logic. Having two sons means that I am deeply entrenched in the business of raising men. Good men. Men who will succeed in love and life and happiness and self. It is one of the greatest challenges of parenthood to have the foresight to teach the right lessons for an outcome that may not even exist.

I am constantly, CONSTANTLY thinking about the right lessons to teach my boys but, to be perfectly basic, it’s just so confusing. I am an empowered woman. I am empowered because my society has empowered me. Our focus has been and is to teach girls that we can be anything we want to be. Anything. Because the greatest power you can bestow upon someone is freedom. Choice. Independent thought. I know what a good woman is. A good woman is anything you want to be – unless you’re a bad mother. That is the mother of all sins in womanhood... pardon the pun. You can choose not have children. You can choose to adopt your children out. You can choose multiple fathers for your children. You can even choose to end a pregnancy to avoid having children. But if you’re shit at raising them... god fucking help you. 

I digress.

How can I teach my sons to celebrate their own selves when there is very little room to do that? 

Consider this – a young girl doesn’t like to wear dresses so much. She prefers to rough and tumble in a pair of shorts on the soccer field. Her parents are so proud and delighted that she’s so strong willed. They call her a tomboy. She’ll be able to do anything when she’s older, their friends say. On the other hand there’s  a young boy who’s not so keen on sport. He prefers to play music and dress ups and have tea parties. He likes pink. He’s interested in mum’s make-up and likes the feel of silk on his skin. His parents try to channel his masculine spirit into any sport then can. They downplay his creativity. They call him different. He’ll probably be gay, their friends say. As if that's a destination or a definition.

A strong willed girl is going places. A strong willed boy will have anger management issues. An emotional girl is understood. An emotional boy is a cry baby. A boy who gets into a playground fight school is aggressive and a trouble maker. A girl who gets into a playground fight at school is tough and can ‘hold her own’.

Don’t mollycoddle your boys is the message I get loud and clear. They should be strong. Why are you crying little Johnny? Only girls cry... are you a girl? So, girls are allowed to cry and fight. They’re allowed to be girlie and tough. But boys? Boys are expected to act like men.  

And how should a man ‘act’? In this age where the traditional family unit is predominantly non-existent, there are no more villages to raise our children and we have CONSTANT access to every type of media, our boys’ role models are confusing. And, I suspect, confused. How does our society focus on our men today? By adoring massive sporting idols covered in tattoos who drink too much, take drugs, mistreat women and believe in their own infallibility so much that they jump from the sky expecting to survive. By glorifying our criminals in ridiculous television franchises like Underbelly. Today’s male tv sitcom characters are socially inept geeks, bumbling idiots, overtly camp or useless husbands berated by their wives. Our male politicians are represented as sexist, racist, backstabbers or just dickheads.

What the fuck happened to our men?

For me to raise good men I must be able to explain what a ‘good’ man is. I think this will mean explaining to my sons that, like their female friends, they also have choices. They can choose their own paths too. To be sporty, to be musical, to be creative, to be tough, to be emotional, to be open, to be loving, to be scared, to be brave, to dance, to be true, to cry, to be shy, to sing, to be competitive, to be alone, to be honest, to like dressing up, to be a reader, to be dependable.

Could a 'good man' simply just be a grown-up 'good boy', after all?

Sunday, 24 February 2013

I am woman. Hear me raw.


I am a working mum. My days follow a strict routine which involves ‘just another 10 minutes’ in bed every morning, regardless of what time I wake up. Those 10 minutes feel like those delicious stolen moments with a lover... but better because I’m alone in the bed and I can stretch out and remember my days when I didn’t have ‘a side’. In those 10 minutes I lament the too few hours sleep preceding them and dread the rat-race following them. I mentally check through my wardrobe and decide what I’m going to wear and hope to god that I’ve washed it and if I have, hope that I have hung it up and not left it in the washing basket. It is the only quiet time I will have to myself all day.

There are boys to be dressed and teeth to be brushed. Bags to be packed and lunches to be made. Husbands to send off and make-up to be slapped on. School to be walked to and teachers to touch base with. Meat to defrost and washing to be put on. Emails to answer and coffee to make. Traffic to negotiate and cars to be parked.

Then a day of work which, most days, is good but some days is not.

Followed by errands to be run and calls to be made. Appointments to squeeze in and dinner to be cooked. Washing to be hung out and coffee to make. School to be walked to and bags to unpack. After school snacks to prepare and homework to be helped with. Sports to be driven to and tables to be set. Baths to be run and stories to read. Dishes to be done and washing to put away. Uniforms to lay out and beds to collapse in.

It is gruelling and draining and gratifying and real.


I was a stay at home mum. My days didn’t follow any routine and I was almost totally at the mercy of my sons’ needs. Breastfeeding on demand. Tiptoeing around the house at nap-time. Scraping soggy teething rusks off the carpet. Rinsing off poo on sheets/clothes/cushion covers. Throwing out bibs that had mashed banana on them ‘cause that shit just does not come out in the wash. Toilet training. Manners training. Sleep training. Rich play. Fine motor skill development. Gross motor skill development. Socialisation. 

Some days time would stand still and I would wait, desperately for the husband to come home so I could turn myself off for 10 minutes. Just 10 minutes to not be the one who had to pick up the crying baby. Just 10 minutes to be alone and not feel guilty for the pleasure that would fill my bones to be quiet. And still. Other days time would steal my life away and I would despair that I didn’t have longer to float in the wonder of seeing the world through the new eyes of my baby. I would feel it slip through my fingers as I traced ‘round and round the garden’ on chubby little hands. I would watch it run away as I delighted in seeing those first, wobbly steps. I would look up, after feeling like I had only just sent the husband off to work to see him return and watch my son run to his arms. Happy to see another face. Eager to tell fresh ears about his day. And I would wish for just another 10 minutes to be alone with my boy.

It was exhausting and demanding and rewarding and real.

Long ago

Before I was any kind of mum I was a girl. Those days were all about me. They were about finding my place in the world and deciding where my world was. It was about working and partying and loving and earning and yearning. It was about learning. And the only real way to learn is to fail. So it was about failing too. It was about heartache. It was about self doubt. And it was about wonder. There were no 10 minute increments in those days. Going out for coffee lasted for hours. There was no grocery shopping. If I needed anything, I picked it up on the way home from work. There was only clothes shopping. Phone calls lasted all night on a phone with an extra long cord which would reach all the corners of my unit and never ran out of battery. Friendships were the most important relationships in my world. Other people’s children were to be seen, not heard. Mothers were to be ignored. Boys were to be toyed with. Washing was to be done in the middle of the night and hung out on the backs of chairs. Dancing was to be done. All night.

It was arduous and confronting and fulfilling and real.

Every day

Throughout it all I have been me. I have not always known who I am but I have been defiantly ‘me’ nonetheless. All my life stages are real. All my chapters are fulfilling. All my dreams are valid. All my pains are confronting. Being single and childless was tough. Being a stay at home mum was demanding. Being a working mum is challenging. The next path I travel down will also test me.  Each life stage presents something new to learn and overcome and enjoy. 

My journey is not unique. My lessons are not new. You may relate. You may disagree. You may learn. You may cringe. You may just quietly be thankful that someone else is struggling to get it all right too.

I will laugh. I will sob. I will exalt. I will grieve. I will succeed. I will fail. 

I will live.

It’s my story and I will share.

I am woman. Hear me raw.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

I can't keep up with the Joneses

I love my home. Sometimes I think I’m even ‘in’ love with my home. I love it. I love the location and the character and the way we’ve renovated and the different entertaining areas and my laundry cupboards and my outside speakers and my fireplaces. I love it. I feel happy at home and I’m always having people over because I want to share my home with them. I want them to be happy here too but lately I haven’t been 'feeling it'. Lately I've been making excuses and I blame other people. You know... the "Joneses".

Sometimes I hate visiting other people’s homes. 

They’re all neat and tidy and colour co-ordinated. Colour schemes that start at their feature walls and end at their collection of vintage bottles on their Scandinavian side board. [The closest I get to Scandinavian furniture comes with an allen key in a flat pack]. They have timber sayings in their kitchens and black and white photo galleries in their halls and real art on their walls. Their kids have names on their bedroom doors [that they didn’t do themselves in craft] and their walls are clean. Their bedside lamps match each other. Their coffee tables have books about photography and interior design on them and there’s not a corner protector in sight.

When I go to their toilet there’s no wee dribble on the floor or skid marks on the toilet bowl. Their handtowels smell fresh and don’t have the mud that someone failed to wash off in their 7 second attempt at hand-washing. There’s no toothpaste residue in the basin or evidence of last night’s bath in the tub. Their spare room looks like a guest room and not the dumping ground for everything that hasn’t been put away yet in the mad scramble before visitors arrive. Their splashbacks gleam, their cook tops shine and their kitchen floors mock.

I don’t find jocks hidden behind their cushions on the couch or chip wrappers stuffed into the creases of the lounge or half a bowl of popcorn which was dropped and surreptitiously brushed under the furniture for fear of reprisal.

It’s depressing... HOW do they do it??

No matter how I try, I just can't seem to keep up with the Joneses.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

30 Lessons in Love

Dear Boys,

because mummy loves you, I'm going to help you out with a few tips. Well, thirty actually. It's not a complete list but it's a good start. You can thank me later xx

1. If she’s just broken up with her ex – stay away for a while. The rebound guy never wins.

2. Be chivalrous

3. If you ask her out – you pay... for everything.

4. If you pick her up, go to the door and knock. Don’t sit in the car and beep.

5. If you drop her off, walk her to the door or front gate. The same goes for when she leaves your place, walk her to the door or the front gate. It's manners.

6. If you love her – tell her. Many times and in many ways. There is no shame in love.

7. If you love someone else – you shouldn’t be with her.

8. If she lives at home, do not call after 9.30pm.

9. If she’s studying – let her. Encourage her even. You may end up spending the rest of your life with her.

10. No really does mean no. All the time. When she’s pissed. When you’re pissed. Even if your hand’s up her top. Or her bra’s undone. Or you’re half way through. You do not have the rights to her because she’s your girlfriend.

11. If she wants to hang out with her girlfriends don't whinge that she'd rather be with them than you. Be thankful that she has her own life and for the time you can hang out with your mates.

12. Don’t be too eager. It’s gross.

13. If you need to cry, that’s ok. Just don’t make it that ugly cry. That’s a huge turn off.

14. Go clothes shopping with her. It’s more fun than you think.

15. Don’t try to be one of the girls. Her friends will think it’s weird. And yuck.

16. Don’t talk to her in a stupid baby voice.

17. If you’re gonna have nicknames for each other, make them G rated. You’d be surprised just how easily they slip out at the worst possible times.

18. Orgasms are a joint venture. You should be aiming for a win/win result.

19. Brush your teeth.

20. Do not expect her to be responsible for contraception. Wear a condom. I’ll buy them for you if I have to. And don’t let me hear that you won’t because it doesn’t feel as good. Know what feels worse? Months WITHOUT having sex because of your BABY. Oh and herpes. If it’s not on, it’s not on.

21. These girls are not options – your friend’s mum. Your friend’s daughter. Your cousin. Your teacher. The emo [too much baggage]. The goth [too black]. The gold digger. Your brother’s girlfriend. The one that’s rude to your mum.

22. Hip Hop music is fun but it ain’t no way to treat yo woman... dawg

23. Don’t fart in front of her. Or on top of her. Or in her face. Or in bed and then put the covers over her head.

24. Don’t say anything if she accidentally farts in front of you. She’s probably DYING inside.

25. Be respectful to her parents. Both of them. Whether they’re still together or not. And DO NOT swear in front of them.

26. If you expect her to play some video game of mass destruction with you then she can expect you to watch a chick flick with her. Do not roll your eyes or sigh or say ‘as if’ or ‘gay’ or spoil it for her. Just hold her hand. It will earn you massive ‘love’ credits.

27. If she’s silly enough to send you nude photos of herself, do not show them to your mates. Even after you’ve split up.

28. Your erection is not her responsibility. Even if she’s responsible for it. Carry a spoon around in your back pocket if you can’t sort yourself out.

29. When she says "It’s not you, it’s me"... agree and move on. She’s probably right.

30. Do not get a tattoo of any girl’s name. Unless her name is ‘Mum’.

DISCLAIMER: where appropriate, please use ‘boy, ‘he’ and ‘him’ in place of ‘girl’, ‘she’ and ‘her’  ;)

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Dear Chrissie, I have a confession too...

I'm addicted to judging.

Your raw, live confession of your inability to give up smoking while you're pregnant did not shame YOU. 

It shamed ME.

Let's get some things out of the way. 

I'm not a smoker. I completely and utterly detest smoking. I do not and did not allow smoking in my house or my car even when smoking was the cool thing to do. I am anti cigarette advertising. I don't believe people should smoke in the vicinity of non-smokers. I don't believe people should smoke in the vicinity of children. I don't believe women should smoke when they're pregnant. Not even 'just a couple' to get them through.

My view remains unchanged.

But here's the thing. I have always KNOWN smoking is an addiction. An illness. I have always KNOWN this unrefutable and logical fact. Many people in my family were smokers. My own father died very young of throat cancer from the smokes. So I have had a lot of exposure to the mental illness that drives addiction. I understand it and will happily tout my opinions intellectually around a dinner table. You would think that understanding addiction so well and campaigning for the fair treatment of addicts would manifest itself as compassion.

You would think.

Yet, it seems, that I am only compassionate in theory. I have seen many pregnant women smoking. It would anger me. It would disgust me. I would feel compelled to make eye contact with that woman and scowl as I shook my head at her grossly irresponsible and SELFISH behaviour. I would think horrible things about that woman. I would judge her as uneducated, poor, rough, undeserving, disgusting and negligent. Never would I consider how impossible it is for some people, even pregnant women, especially pregnant women, to stop an addiction dead in its tracks. I would feel only contempt for her. Never compassion. Ever.

I'm proud of you and inspired by your courage. It is true, you only came clean once you knew you would be 'outed'. Your confession was born of shame and fear of your deceit being discovered. It's still courageous to be honest though, regardless of all that. It is also true, that as a public figure there is always the risk of being snapped doing something you wish people would not ever know about you. You still have a right to choose what you share and don't share though

I've been reading lots of online discussions from people on either side of the fence. Many defending you but so many condemning you. I'm not on either side of the fence. I feel like I'm impaled ON it. I'm sorry you are imprisoned so surely by your addiction that you would justify risking harm to your unborn baby. I'm sorry that I am one of millions of women who have made it seem impossible for you to ask for help. 

I'm happy that you have been forced to 'come clean'. As you have learned, that is always the hardest step to make. So many have said things along the lines of 'would you care if it was someone not so famous or well loved?' The answer is 'NO' and that is the point. What better way to be an influential public figure than to share your own pain to teach us all a lesson in compassion? We do love you. We do relate to you. To hear a woman we know, love, relate to and respect share such heartache and shame is very confronting. You're not a slapper bogan living on the dole with 3 kids from 3 different men with a burnt out car in your front yard and hydroponics in your roof. [see what I did there???] Your confession is shocking to us.Your confession gives us perspective. Your confession is catalystic.

I'm embarrassed that I have been such an arsehole but I'm grateful to you for pointing that out to me.

I'm going to try to kick that habit too.

Love and strength to you Chrissie,

Tan xx

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

So what do you do?

I went out drinking with the girls and met someone new. Yep, that shit still happens and I like that it still happens. Even though I'm not recruiting. My dance card is full, after all, but it's always a pleasure meeting new people. Except that there's always that one question that gets my back up. You know the one. You've heard it. You've asked it. It's not that it's a bad question. It's not offensive and I'm confident it's asked with the kindest of intentions. But it shits me nonetheless. I fantasise my response to that question all the time and next time, dammit, I'm gonna do it. 

It goes something like this...

"Hi Tania, nice to meet you. So what do you do?"

What do you mean, what do I do??

Are you referring to how I spend my days? Because that’s easy.

I have two sons. I play. I teach. I nourish. I discipline. I give in. I despair. I complain. I crave sleep. I cuddle. I clean up. I cook. I clean up again. I shop. I can’t wait for their father to get home. I negotiate. I love. I scowl. I laugh. I learn. I wash. I yell. I listen. I rejoice.

Or are you referring to how I unwind

Well, that would be enjoying a glass of wine in the quiet. I read. I watch really bad tv and am addicted to Grey’s Anatomy. I do Facebook. I write. A blog. A journal. An sms to a friend. I drink coffee. I sit by the fire and listen to the rain. I lay in the sun by the pool while the boys try their hardest to splash me with their ‘epic bombs’. 

Sorry... maybe you’re asking about what I do to energise myself

I socialise. I talk on the phone. I make skype dates with my interstate friend. I go out drinking with my local friends. I listen to music really loud. I have people over to my home for dinner, drinks, coffee, talking, gossiping, swimming and chats. I create opportunities to laugh.

I dance. 

When I was growing up I had the 'cool mum'. She dressed cool, hung out with cool friends, listened to cool music and was an AWESOME dancer. Mum would often, I mean really often, put the music up really loud and dance around our tiny lounge room. Sometimes she'd get my brother and I to join her, other times we'd just lose her for 3 minutes. Now, as a Mum myself - I get why she did that. It is the one thing that simultaneously relaxes and energises me. When I was growing up, Michael Jackson was black and he ruled our stereo for a while. This definitely IS NOT a Zumba body and I may or may not have done a little bit of a wee when I was dancing around... I am, after all, a 40 YEAR OLD MOTHER OF TWO who never really committed to pelvic floor exercises :-/ 
This is me, tipping my proverbial hat to Mum...


Oh no, wait! You must be referring to how I earn money.

I work.

What do YOU do?

Sunday, 3 February 2013

10 Parenting Rules – and I broke them all


I was one self-righteous, know-it-all bitch Before Children [BC]. It’s true. I knew it ALL. Anything wrong with a kid? It’s their mum’s fault. Sometimes their dad’s. But mainly mum... because she CHOSE the dad after all. In my, far from humble, opinion parents were entirely responsible for everything their kids did, thought, said and broke. 

And I knew WHY. Those parents didn’t FOLLOW THE RULES. There are rules in parenting that will guarantee a perfect child. Simple rules that I would often remind parents, even when they hadn’t asked, to help them. To guide them. To fix their brat.

Rules I swore to myself I would uphold. As the perfect parent embarking on raising the perfect child. *Insert wild, unhinged laughter here.

#1 - I will not use a dummy

It took me less than a week to let go of that one. Oh sweet, sweet dummy. How I loved the feel of you in my hand as I groped in the bassinet next to the bed under the blanket of darkness in the dead of the night to plug the screaming hole of my first born son. I brought a packet of them to hospital when my second son was born. I BEGGED him to take it. I tried every shape and size, even coating them in breast milk to TRICK HIM INTO SUCKING IT. Be careful what you wish you for. Turns out with number two I WAS the dummy. Take that you pious bitch.

#2 - My child will never sleep in the same bed as me

It's the second night of my life as a new mum and the midwife offers to take my screaming newborn to the nursery with all the other babies so I can get some sleep. 'Ok' I said as I watched her wheel him out of my room, ripping my heart out as she did. He was gone 15 minutes before I went to get him. This is how Mark found me when he got to the hospital in the morning. I promised myself it was just to get us through that one night.

Ahem. You know that feeling when you haven’t slept for 3 months and you’ve got up so many times in the night that you can’t remember putting the baby back to bed... where is the baby?? Did I feed him last time or just change his nappy? Did I feed on both boobs, or the same one twice? Why is he crying? Shhhhhh... rock, rock.... shhhhhhh... rock, rock.... shhhhhh rock, rock. Oh forget it, just lay next to me. THAT was how I broke rule #2 at home. And how, 8 years later, I simply just move over when I hear the sound of my 5 year old’s bare feet padding down the hall to my room in the middle of the night. He’s warm and cuddly. It gets a bit crowded when the 8 year old joins us every now and then, but I don’t turn him away either. Still feeling smug Tan?

#3 - I will not ‘pick my battles’. Every battle is worth it… and they need to learn that I’m the boss

Aahahahahahahaha. Ow, my sides are splitting. Dear BC TAN. You were an idiot. There are sooo many battles that have never been fought, won or lost here. Yes, you can wear your swim rashy on top of your jumper because it matches your rubber boots to the shop. Why not? Yes, you can take every teddy bear you own to bed because they will be sad without you tonight. Of course. No, you don’t have to eat the toast that I accidentally cut into triangles instead of squares. I understand it doesn’t taste the same. Just don’t cross me at bed time. That’s not negotiable. Most of the time.

#4 - I will not use food as currency to bribe my child

Well... what kind of values does that teach? I never understood the power of a promised [insert biscuit/yoghurt squeezy/ice-block/cupcake/smiley-face biscuit here] to ‘encourage’ a wilful kid to do just about anything really. Parenting Tip: carrying around any number of those bribes in your oversized handbag can make or break a public outing.

#5 - I will only feed my child organic, additive-free food

What?? Best intentions and all that.... My kids actually eat well. I’ve been pretty good at keeping their diet healthy. Additive-free is a stretch though and only organic? I’d have to take out a second mortgage to pull that one off. I have fed them McDonalds too. Oh the shame....

#6 - I will limit my child’s television viewing to no more than 30 mins per day

Oh don’t look at me like that. How was I to know that I would do anything to have an uninterrupted telephone conversation or cook dinner without tiny 'helping’ hands or do a poo on my own or just sit and be quiet?? And with the new ABC stations there’s ALL DAY kids shows WITHOUT COMMERCIALS. The cheapest babysitting you’ll ever find. And you get to have a perve-fest on Sportacus. Eye candy eating sports candy... hmmmmm.

#7 - I will not ‘give in’ to my child’s constant nagging for something at the supermarket cash register

Unless I’m on my own with the kids and everyone looking has a grimace/scowl/frown/look of pain or pity on their faces. Oh wait. That’s every time.

#8 - My house will always be spotless… because that’s all I have to do. Look after my child and clean my house. Easy.

Yes, I’m shaking my head in disbelief too. One time while the tv was babysitting so I could enjoy  one of my uninterrupted phone conversations, my, single, super-neat friend said to me “I spent all morning cleaning and my floors are so spotless you could eat off them” I looked around in despair and replied “You could eat off mine too... ‘cause that’s where all the fucking food is”

#9 - I will never yell at my child. Yelling is just a loss of control reserved for incapable mums

Yes. I was deluded. I yell at the tv when someone’s annoying. I yell at bad drivers on the road and cyclists who forget that they’re sharing the road with bad drivers. I yell at my mum, my sister, my brother, my husband. I yell at the PLAYROOM when it’s in a mess. I yell at weeds when I pull them out and the root breaks off and stays in the fucking ground. I yell at my cupboard if I’m out of coffee. How the hell I thought I would EVER not yell at my kids, who drive me insane, still astounds me. I yell. They look alive. I buy myself 2 minutes peace. They go back to whatever it is. It’s a loud, predictable dance.

#10 - My child will not dictate my schedule. They will fit into my life, not the other way around

Oh.. shut up.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Big dreams in little bodies

It's been a big week for the boys.

School's back and that means the return of routine, early morning, get-ready fights, book covering and reunited friends. 

Nathan is doing cricket, tennis and swimming this term. He also starts pre-season soccer training. He just got back from a weekend away, boogie boarding with his best mate at Middleton. I ribbed him when he got home, his hair stiff with salt and sand still in his eyebrows "So, did you get sick of Charlie while you were there?". He looked at me, simultaneously perplexed and disgusted... 

"Mum. He's my best friend. You don't get sick of your best friend". Boom. 

Nathan's not much of a socialiser, unless it involves sport. So this year, again, he has opted to forego a birthday party for a trip to Melbourne to watch his beloved Blues instead. He's heavily campaigning that Charlie goes too. We've got a couple of months to work all that out but Nathan's a planner. He's really keen to start making some connections at the club because he intends to be drafted before he turns 18. Which, of course, means we will need to move to Melbourne. He understands that it could be difficult for Stefan to leave school though, so he's already in discussion with his Aunty Pauline to move in with her until we're ready to follow him over there. Righto. 

Then, over dinner this week, he announced that it was probably time for him to start working in the family business. Which, of course, is our hope too but we were expecting him to finish school first. He made a reasonable case that he could work part-time and even from home if the business would supply him with a lap-top and a phone. He could help pack wine but he doesn't have a forklift licence, so he probably couldn't do that yet. Mark said he's discuss with the board and get back to him. 

Meanwhile Stefan is, as always, travelling to the beat of his own drum. As he sat at the breakfast bar watching me cook dinner this week he asked when I would allow him to get a tattoo. He thought he might like one on his arm to begin with and thinks a dragon might be appropriate. I've always known his penchant for pictures on his skin as he's been doing his own texta tattoos since he was a baby. I was taken aback though, that he is keen on piercings too. He calls them screws. Screws in the skin. Sigh. 

I told him that we would talk about it later which he seemed to accept. His next request was for a blue mohawk. Are you picturing what I am? My beautiful boy with the sides of his head shaved, a bright blue spikey strip down the middle, a dragon sleeve on his arm and screws coming out of his face. 

I wonder if he will still sneak into my bedroom in the morning, hold my face in his hands and kiss me, whispering 'I love you mum' while he thinks I'm sleeping. 

He has no plan to play footy or live in Melbourne with his brother. He talks about having lunch with me at the Eiffel Tower and he fiercely disagrees with Nathan that Psy is the best singer in the world. "Adele has the best voice. Ever. Even better than Michael Jackson. Because he's dead." He told me, on the way home from a trip to the beach where Mark and the boys did some body surfing in the shallows, that he was going to teach his kids to do that too. "When I'm a Tato [dad], I'll stay with them in the water until they know how to do it. They'll love that Mum. They're gonna love me

Time has a way of creeping up on you. It can steal your plans and hijack your dreams and slap you in the face with stinging reality.

I'm excited that my boys can see their futures. I'm proud that they're navigating their way through life and setting goals for authentic journeys. It warms my heart that they value good friendships and understand the important things that parents do and see no shame in loving. 

I just wish that time would slow down a little. 

Am I happy that my sons share their dreams and have these conversations with me? Absolutely. 

I just didn't expect them to be 7 and 5 when they did.