How to make up after yelling at your kids

It can happen even to the calmest moms and dads out there. I mean, it happened to me recently. I was having a stressful day and Alexander did a number of really naughty things (smearing paint on our white walls, spilling water on the ground and "cleaning" it with his feet). Despite my best efforts at peaceful parenting, I just lost my cool. Words were said. Doors were slammed. Unfair treatments were given.
It happened before I could stop myself and of course, I felt an enormous amount of guilt for yelling at Alex and took steps towards making things up with him. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, here are the things you can do to make up after yelling at your kids.

Step 1 – take a breath. Being angry puts our body and emotion in a high alert, meaning your breathing becomes shallower, muscles are tensed, heart rate is up, and thinking is not clear. Get your body and brain back on track with some deep breaths. Go out for a bit if you must. Just don’t do anything else until you feel at least a bit calmer.
Step 2 – take responsibility without BUTS. Adults do this too! The fact is, it doesn’t matter who started it. This is a good time to teach your children how to take responsibility without you switching the blame to someone else. Do this by saying, “hey, I’m sorry, I let my anger get out of control.” Put the focus on you, but never add “…but you should know better.” Or “…but next time.”
Step 3 – be wary of re-triggering anger. Your kid might not be ready to call it quits or give out the fight. Sometimes it’s easy to get worked up when the issue resurfaces. Just remind yourself that you’re the one in charge of your actions, and similarly, you can be the model of self-control regardless if you blew it a while back.
Step 4 – start a do-over. You can now begin to fix the real issue by offering a do-over. You can do this by saying “ok, I’ll do it again, but this time, without yelling” or “Wow, I got so angry I don’t think I heard what you were talking about.” Say, you begin to feel angry again, take a short break and try it again later.
Step 5 – make the proper amends. Your children may feel disconnected to you if harsh punishments were given or if hurtful words were said. Following the steps above, set the situation aside for a bit, then wait on giving consequences and concentrate instead on repairing the relationship with your kids.
·      Bring your kid somewhere special (I brought Alex to Luna Park for a ride on the Ferris wheel), or treat him or her to Hoyts Cinema in Erina Fair to watch a film he/she likes – this works wonders! It shows them that you’re sorry and you feel responsible for your actions. It can also provide a short break and allows you the bond and talk over things in a lighter note.
·       Talking with your kids after the worst of the issue has passed and everyone has calmed down is also beneficial. Try to find the trigger – what pushed your buttons, and talk it over with your kid. Try to find a pattern that makes you respond with anger. (In my case, Alex was acting out because i wasn't giving him enough attention, I was busying making work calls and sending emails).
If you find yourself getting angry often, or if you find yourself swinging between a calm parent to an angry parent, perhaps it’s time to get some outside help. You may seek out a parent friend, a therapist, or a parent coach to open up and ask assistance. Admitting your issues is a sign of a good parent. I wish you the best!

Mudgee weekender

Mudgee is a wine region approximately 3.5 hours to the North West of Sydney, which is generally speaking a relatively easy drive from home.

Reality: We had just driven about a few hundred metres from our driveway when Alexander started and persisted with the "Are we there yet?", "Holiday house?", "I can't see it?", "Nearly there yet?" questions, making it what must be the longest 3.5 hours of Stuart's and my life. Luckily Alex was able to amuse and distract himself for parts of the journey looking at the trucks and diggers along the way, singing along to the Wiggles, so we managed to arrive sane, albeit a lot weary. It helped that our accommodation or "holiday house" as Alex calls it, looked like this:
Trelawney Farm, Mudgee

We were joined by two of our closest friends for the weekend. We visited numerous vineyards where Stu and our friends partook in wine tasting and spent too much money, while Alexander and I went on little adventures, exploring each vineyard's property; for example, meeting a dog which was taking a dip in the dam that had somehow been trained to catch stones in its mouth, meeting farm animals, getting up close and personal to a grater digger truck with wheels as big as me, and exploring a very productive vegetable garden against an amazing backdrop where we found the most enormous cauliflower I've ever seen in my entire life.
We also attempted using the outdoor woodfire oven for the first time of our lives. Firing it up took 3 long hours, but it made some of the best pizzas Stu had ever made. One night Stu and I even managed to duck out or a special dinner date at the hatted The Zin House where we enjoyed an absolutely delightful degustation meal made with the whole garden and farm produce ethos. Highlight dish of the night was a vegetable tart tartin, a savoury twist on the French classic, made with the lightest of puff pastry. Mmm, my mouth's watering at the mere recollection of it.

How was your weekend?

Review: Dermalogica IonActive Treatment

Last week, I was invited to try Dermalogica's new professional skin treatment called IonActive at their VIP room.
The change of season has left my skin feeling parched and looking quite dull so it really was the perfect time for the customised facial therapy supercharged with machinery such as Ultrasound and Microcurrent with one of their lovely and very knowledgeable skin therapist, Andrea. (Lucky me!)
After an in-depth skin consultation about my current skin care routine and concerns, I was brought to the treatment room where Andrea cleansed my skin and started my skin analysis. (Turns out my forehead is quite dehydrated, which explains the congestion in that area). Following that, Andrea customised my treatment to my skin type, starting with the application of the IonActive to target my dry and dull skin, using a Microcurrent followed by the use of Ultrasound to ensure the supercharged ingredients was better absorbed into the skin.

My favourite part of the treatment was the use of the ExoThermal Gelloid which is a self-heating formula that warms with the natural heat of human hands. As Andrea expertly massaged the Gelloid onto my face, it just felt so wonderfull warm and relaxing! Finally a hydrating concoction of serums, primers and creams was lovingly application into my now supple skin, and then I was ready to go!
When Andrea handed me a mirror, I was amazed at how noticeably clearer and brighter my skin looked after just one treatment. It has been just over a week now and my skin still looks and feels wonderfully soft. For maximum results, Andrea recommends a series of one treatment per week for 6 weeks. Now I just need to find time to do this.

Thank you Dermalogica for the opportunity to trial this wonderful professional treatment, my skin and I love it!

Conversations with my nearly 3 yo

My nearly 3yo has an obsession with dinosaurs and eggs.
Nearly 3yo: "Alex Mummy go cave?"
Me: "Yeah sure, we can visit a cave one day."
Nearly 3yo: "And find dinosaur?"
Me: "That might be a bit hard."

Me: "Can you help Nanna find her knitting?"
Nearly 3yo: "Mystery, can't find it."

Me: "Come sweetie, Mummy give you a kiss."
Nearly 3yo: "No, Mummy sick. Germs come in my mouth, make me sick."
Me: "Oh yeah, that's right. Just a kiss on your forehead then."

Me: "Hey, Mummy has a surprise for you!"
Nearly 3yo: "What is it?!"
Me: "You guess."
Nearly 3yo: "Egg?"

Nearly 3yo, counting money from his piggy bank
Me:" Hey sweetie, put the money back, you don't need it."
Nearly 3yo: "Alex need it!"
Me: "What for? What do you need to buy?"
Nearly 3yo: "Chicken, egg, ice cream!"

Party planning - Alexander's construction themed birthday

Alexander's birthday is still a couple of months away but he was quite adamant we started planning after attending a couple of his friends' parties and so we did. We started off by making a list of people he wanted to invite, he named a couple of his favourite friends, before deciding it might be a good idea for Mummy to be there. And then as an afterthought, he invited his Daddy too.
Then we had to decide on the theme which was an easy task, seeing as Alexander is just obsessed with construction and diggers and trucks. Never in my life had I imagined I would be planning a construction themed party but there you go, we found these gorgeously appropriate invites from Tiny Prints which got Alexander's big tick of approval. I ordered them together with matching envelope liners, wrapping paper, decorative stickers for use on goodie bags and even I got all excited at the thought of having Alexander and all his friends having a ball digging around with their diggers and trucks.

We're so ready to party!
Except, Alexander has had a change of heart and has now decided, "Nobody come to my party!" And guess why? Because he doesn't want to share his birthday cake.

Toddlers. They're tricky.