I’m totally not a lifestyle blogger

Omg guys, this is just too much!! Like, for real?

(Crying laughing face emoji x 100)

My turn!

Describe your house in two sentences: Sorry about the mess. Kids, y’know.

Describe your style in three words: I hate shopping.

Where is your home and who lives there with you: I live in Wellington, with my husband and our kids – D age 3, B age 1, and a long suffering scraggy ginger cat, Freddie.

First thing you do when you get home each day: Dump all the stuff in the corridor and remind D to go to the toilet.

Best new buy: Sheepskin slippers from the Number One Shoe Warehouse, which has an excellent range of slippers.

Proudest DIY moment: We have shelves that my husband built for our first flat and that is genuinely true and they’re beautiful and I love them and one day he hopes to have time for woodwork again but right now all hobbies are on hiatus.

Favourite spot to relax (and what do you do there): On the couch after kids are in bed to zone out on the internet.

Best kept secret about the area you live in:  The park right around the corner – huge green field for the kids to play in. Almost always quiet.

Best money I ever spent on the house: Last year we got the shed removed because the roof was a) asbestos, and b) decrepit and falling to bits especially in high winds. We borrowed money from my parents to do this and haven’t paid them back yet.

Favourite way of entertaining: Inviting friends over on a Sunday afternoon when we’re sick of the children.

Best kitchen tool and why: A good knife. Duh. There is only one right answer. (Wait, now I’m second guessing. A wooden spoon is also very useful).

I can’t live without: Air? Water? Sleep?

Favourite piece of furniture: My bed, not because it’s an especially nice bed, but because it is a bed.

Favourite artwork or family treasure and why you love it: Our ketubah. I once suggested we should ceremoniously read it together after ever fight and my husband rolled his eyes to me and said “go write your blog”.

One thing I’d like to change around my house: The general chaos.

What’s your signature dish: Peanut butter on toast.

What’s your quickest dinner idea: Peanut butter on toast.

How do you feel about unannounced guests: Like, it’s not really a thing nowadays because everyone has mobile phones on them at all times?

Shoes on or off in your house: Off. Definitely. Unless you’re the baby in which case you can leave your shoes on because otherwise you walk around trying to find me while holding your shoes and saying “ouuu! bou! ouuu! bou!” which seems to mean “I found my shoes! Please put them on my feet or I will eat them.”

Favourite/least favourite household chore: Favourite is putting washing on the line, it’s kinda peaceful. Least favourite is gardening because of the bending and the dirt and the pointlessness because weeds are plants too. My husband loves gardening so that’s good in theory but in practice our garden is a mess (see: hobby hiatus).

What’s one domestic/housework/gardening trick you’ve learnt over the years: If you can afford a cleaner, definitely get a cleaner.

Favourite flowers: Irises.

Favourite colour combination: Purple and gold.

Best baby proofing hack: Put the cat food outside and just accept that you’ll be feeding half the cats in the neighbourhood but whatever at least the baby isn’t eating cat food.

Best bub

I haven’t written enough about my delightful peach of a baby. He’s one now, and walking with a stumbling bow-legged waddle, but he’s still a baby. He’s so good at being a baby! He does all the baby things really really excellently. He is soft and rosy and chubby with a fluffy head. He has four and a half teeth and does a funny scrunch-faced grin to show them off. He gets his cute on whenever we’re ignoring him, toddling up to me with a ball and saying proudly “booouuuu!!!!”, or catching my eye then hiding his head and starting some peek-a-boo. He brmmms his cars around the floor for ages, going round and round the house entertaining himself. He dive-bombs the cat, just like his brother used to, with the same squeals of delight.

He looooveeeed his bath tonight. The little dude was ready for bed, but little baby soft-cheeks had a late afternoon nap and wasn’t tired. So he stayed in the bath with Mr Daddy and splashed and splished and lay on his dad’s legs with just his round belly poking out of the water, for ages, and when I re-emerged from D’s room to get him, he beamed at me and showed me his splashing skills.

I got him out and wrapped him in one of the white towels mum bought us because she wanted the babies to have soft new fluffy towels, because a baby in a white towel is a perfect thing. I took him through to the lounge to get dressed, but he wriggled so much I set him down on his feet, and he toddled back along the hall, the towel falling behind him, bare bum still extra pink from the warm water. He giggled as he walked and turned straight back into the bathroom to try and climb into the bath again.

He wasn’t ready for bed – we were ambitious in our sights of bedtime – and he chirped and chatted, keen to play for ages after we got him dressed. At one point I put him in the cot to go and change into my pajamas and get a drink of water before trying another take at bedtime, and he went quiet while I was getting changed. Hopeful he’d miraculously fallen asleep, I peeked in through the open crack of the door. He was standing at the edge of the cot, looking towards the light, waiting for someone to return. He saw me and laughed as if to say “BEST PEEK-A-BOO EVER, MUM! You really had me going there!”

I lay on the bed and put him on my tummy, tried to snuggle him to sleep, but he rolled away and hid his face in the bed then sprang up onto his knees and started bouncing, and laughing. No-one could fail to adore this baby! Such a charmer! I kissed his neck and rubbed his tummy and he laughed, and said “moah”, and we had a little game of tickle snuggles, until he pushed my hand away and rested his head on it, then turned to me and tugged at my top. I brought him to me for a breastfeed and he went cosy and snuggly, and fell asleep, perfect angel face resting on my arm. Milk-bellied cuddle bundle, content as ever.

Poet

Friday, D stayed at my parents’ place and he asked for some particular songs but my mum didn’t know the words, so they made up new words. She told him making up words is what poets do and maybe he could be a poet when he grew up.

The next night, putting him to bed, D said he wanted to be a puhwat when he was a grown up as his job. I thought he was saying “pirate”, having not heard the poet discussion, but he set me right, then told me he’d made a poem:

I am growing, I am growing

All the time, all the time

When we go to Nana’s house, when we go to Nana’s house

Everything is fine, everything is fine

 

Supermarket shopping with kids

Supermarket shopping before kids was so easy.

Supermarket shopping with a three year old and a one year old is quite a challenge.

For a while we got our food delivered, but Countdown is so much more expensive than Pak n Save, and it doesn’t sell my favourite kind of hummus.

I’m pretty good at supermarket shopping with the kids now. I have two major hacks, and several minor hacks:

Major hacks

  • Go weekly or fortnightly – they must be accustomed to it. If it is a rare event, they will surely misbehave. Knowing you’ll usually go weekly takes the pressure off trying to buy everything you might need.
  • Buy a small number of things in large quantities. Flying round trying to get a long list takes time. A few foods need to be bought weekly, but most things keep for ages. Once you get into a pattern, you can go shopping weekly and buy a list of maybe 10 things in bulk plus 5 things that go off, and you’re only buying 15 things at a time, and that’s manageable. You’re not trying to do the super intense bulk buying thing where you get a month’s supply of everything in one go, which sounds hellish. You’re just buying three kilos of rolled oats whenever you get low of rolled oats, easy! It means that once you’ve bought a thing, you don’t have to worry about running out of that thing for ages. And when you do run out you’re more likely to remember, because it’s a deviation from the norm. So, never buy just one bottle of dishwashing liquid – always buy two or even three.

Minor hacks

  • Buy online sometimes when you get an email with a good discount voucher and use it as a chance to stock up on stuff you usually get that is currently on special at Countdown.
  • Give the kids a bread roll or a baby food pouch to munch in the trolley.
  • Buy a treat to eat in the car once the shopping is all done. We decide what treat together, which gives us the opportunity to practice compromising and fantasising about all the different potential treats.
  • Park undercover by the entrance to the ramp. Zoom up and down the ramp so the older one has a reason to accept being put in the trolley.
  • Leave some boxes in the boot and pack directly into the boxes from the trolley.
  • Enlist the big one to help – his job to remember one of the items off the list, etc.
  • Go when you’re feeling a bit meh. Don’t waste a good mood on the supermarket! First thing in the morning is quite good – supermarkets open early and kids wake early and parents are in meh moods early. Also it’s quiet in the morning.
  • Do a pep talk in the car reminding them of the supermarket rules (“don’t take things off the shelves”, “gentle hands with each other in the trolley”, “sitting still in the trolley”, “don’t yell at people”).
  • Never ever ever ever buy check-out confectionery, are you completely off your rocker?! Tell the children the chocolate is put there just to tempt us and we have to resist the temptation and it’s a challenge but together we shall overcome!
  • When you get to the check-out, that is when kids are most likely to start playing up. Thank them for being so co-operative and helpful so far. Give the older one the make-work job of carrying the receipt to the car (he thinks this is important, I’m not sure why he thinks it’s important, he knows that it just ends up in the graveyard of car rubbish). Remind them of the approaching treat we’re all going to have in the car once we have the shopping packed into the boot.
  • Once you’re in the car having the treat, text your beloved life partner and co-parent with a triumphant report of your recent successes, specifically eliciting praise and appreciation for your efforts in managing the household.

(File under “posts you can point people to when trying to explain unequal chores burdens and the unseen organisational component of chores done predominantly by women”)