Sunday, September 16, 2012

5 Awesome Spring cleaning ideas

I don’t know why, but it’s universal – Spring makes you want to clean things out, shed your skin and come out of the darkness and into the light. Or something similarly metaphoric. There’s something primitive about it that I love. I’m about to get serious about my Spring-cleaning and I’m bringing out the big guns. These are my 5 big-ticket Spring cleaning recommendations:   

1.     GET YOUR LOUNGE CLEANED – My lounge is putrid.  It’s almost ten years old too, which doesn’t help, but the constant filth it’s exposed to each day is just unfair.  I thought it couldn’t get worse after the breastfeeding years, when it was covered in spew and rancid breast milk, but it’s only been downhill since then.  Enter peanut butter, vegemite and fingers sticky with jam or honey.  Add snotty noses wiped haphazardly pillows, lolly wrappers hidden by small people who weren’t supposed to eat lollies, filthy feet dancing on cushions and my very favourite, popcorn that hides where even a Dyson can’t reach.  This is my lounge at the moment.  I’m not buying a new one until the kids are 21, so instead, I have it cleaned once a year.  See details of my awesome cleaning dude below…

Watch this space...
2.     GET YOUR CARPET CLEANED – Our carpet is ten years old too.  And almost white.  We were a drunken blur of DINK-dom when we layed it.  (Remember? Dual Income, No Kids...It was a lifetime ago). I must say, it’s held up pretty well, probably because of my incessant vacuuming, but if you take all the crap the lounge gets hammered with and add juice, paint and coffee spills, you start getting a picture of what the carpet is really like. Our recent addition to the family, Ralph, hasn’t helped much.  Tiny poops and yellow puddles are the latest carpet trauma.  Luckily I have William.  He comes once a year to clean my carpet AND lounge with his magic, and is more responsible for the relative good looking-ness of my carpet than any amount of vacuuming could ever be. He has removed some killer stains, and this week I’m giving him a challenge with the one attached.  I’ll post the result after the cleaning takes place. Stay tuned.

3.     GET YOUR WINDOWS CLEANED – I haven’t done this for ages, but am well and truly ready for it.  Last time, my sister-in-law recommended her cleaner, who was not only reasonably priced and did a very fantastic job, he was also young, ripped and took his short off while he worked.  I liked that, so I called him immediately.  His father turned up.  He was little, old and a bit grey all over. I really didn’t want to see him without a shirt and thankfully I was spared. That’ll teach me for being an old cliché pervert.  Still, Pops did a great job on the windows, and although my husband tells me he’ll get the gurney on to it and save us $200, I’m planning another visit from the window-cleaning fairy.  I just hope he’s not wearing a tutu. 

4.     HAVE A BIG THROW-OUT – Choose a day when the kids aren’t home, because if you throw out the Zhu Zhu Pet burger joint and ballroom there’ll be hell to pay.  Ditto their thousand craft creations, ant farm and blow-up guitar. Start with one room and 3 garbage bags. Use one for things you'll pass on to charity, one for things you never want to see again. The last bag is for passing old crap to unsuspecting friends and relatives whose kids are the right age for your kids' battery-chewing pink barbie car, toys that take 20 minutes to set up and 1 minute to play, and annoying magic wands that play repetitive songs in Chinese. Don't stop with the kids stuff, do your husband's crap too!* They don't throw ANYTHING out. My friend's husband has 44 pairs of undies in his drawer (she counted them during an argument) and I'm sure my husband has at least 625 T-Shirts. Be ruthless and throw.
*Disclaimer - The writer will not be held liable for any argument or marriage breakdown following this suggestion. It is a suggestion only and has not yet been trialled in a proper household. 

5.     GET YOUR INSIDES CLEANED – If you don’t like gross stuff, don’t read this, it’s gross. Just as junk collects and sticks in your home, it collects and sticks in your gut too. Especially in winter. A good cleanse helps get rid of that winter sluggishness and gives you the little kick up the butt you need to spring into summer.  You may have guessed that butts are where I’m heading with this. The gross bit. But I’ll do the nice bit first. Try a green smoothie cleanse. You can do a quick little three day cleanse, or something more radical.  Check out the green smoothie website.  After that, if you dare, try a colonic.  I won’t go into it, it really is gross, but you’ll feel amazing afterwards. Fresh, clean, energetic and clear-headed. It’s the physical and mental equivalent of cleaning your rooms, your lounge, your carpets, your windows and even your garage.  If you’re in Sydney, go to Boda. They’re awesome.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

5 things about same-sex siblings

Must I buy a new one every time?  Anyone want them?
I was recently in one of those conversations with some soon-to-be-second-time parents, when they were asked if they knew the sex of their unborn child. Of course they did - it would be a boy, to go with their lovely little girl. This was followed by the usual oohs and ahhs, starting with ‘now you’ll have one of each,’ and ending with ‘just as long as it’s healthy.’ Personally, I'm of the mind that you get what you get and you love it regardless. Having said that, as a mum of two girls born very close together, I see pros and cons for same-sex siblings each and every day - from everyone’s point of view!  Here are 5 of them…

1.     RE-USABLE TOYS – On the plus side for baby number 1, she gets mountains of brand new everything; toys, books, games, puzzles, DVDs, Barbies, ponies.  You name it, she’s got it. New. On the downside, she has to share it all with a slobbering infant.  The upside for the slobbering infant is that she gets to play with things that are just beyond her skillset, making her a fast learner and turning her into a baby genius. The downside is they may be pre-coated in slobber and year-old mashed banana and if they actually still work, they’re likely to be in need of new batteries, which Dad is never going to replace.

2.     HAND-ME-DOWNS – Baby girl number two is the unwitting recipient of tonnes of used and unused clothing.  While previously spewed-on Bonds baby rompers may not bother her as a 6 month old, the jeggings that weren’t cool enough for Miss 6 and the stockings that made her legs itchy just give Miss 5 the shits. The real winner here is that mecca for children’s fashion, Target, because with the usual pangs of motherly guilt, I inevitably over-shop for Miss 5 during every 20% Off Kids Clothing Sale, only to return days later when I realise Miss 6 will be walking the streets practically naked in comparison to her decked out fashionista younger sister.  

3.     BIRTHDAY CANDLES & CAKES – Do you re-use the red and white numeric candle you’ve bought every year for your firstborn?  It’s only been used for a moment before being blown out with 15 kids’ spit and shoved back in the cupboard, but when your next child turns one there’s something that screams ‘TIGHT-WAD’ if you re-use it. Ditto the cake.  Does it matter if they get different versions of Dolly Varden or different colours of the Princess Castle? Of course it does! They’re indi-bloody-viduals, and you can’t fool them with a different shade of icing. So far I’ve clocked one Dolly Varden, one princess castle, one sand castle, ponyland, a fairy garden, the Number 1, a toadstool house and a replica of Boo Boo – my second child’s teddy bear.  Seriously, I'm surprised and impressed myself!

4.     SCHOOL UNIFORMS – Number 2 will be starting school next year, presenting another conundrum; new or recycled uniform? When your first one starts school, you love how perfect, girlish and nerdy she looks in her navy and white dress with matching hat and little socks.  The winter uniform is even more exciting because the navy and grey pinafore, hat and stockings remind you of the French girl in the Petit Miam commercial, but altogether it amounts to about $250 and you know it’s just going to get trashed and washed and washed trashed and tumbled dried forty thousand times.  Surely last years’ stuff is OK, isn’t it?  Then again, if number two was a boy, this wouldn’t even be an issue, would it?  Can you see where I’m going with this?  Can someone please get me my wallet?

5.     SEEING DOUBLE – The negatives: Sometimes, they just loooove the same thing.  It’s usually something very annoying and faddish.  Dizzy dancers, Zhu Zhu pets, Mermaid Barbie or baby Care Bears in balls. This means you have to buy two of each, otherwise someone’s going to end up with a patch of hair missing (Yes. Girls pull hair. It’s not cliché, it’s very real and painful). This is costly and doubly annoying when one sibling loses or breaks their precious object and the other refuses to share the surviving one. The positives: Sometimes you get two for one deals, so you can avoid arguments AND save money.  This applies to meals and transport and extends to toys and clothes. Basically, you buy two but in different colours or styles. Unfortunately when it comes to clothing, this leads to a certain kind of Von Trapp-ism, which I’m sure is a mega downer for the kids! 

 The moral of the story?  I don't think there is one this week.  Just that whatever your family gender mix, there are going to be crazy moments, blissful moments, arguments, shared toys and shared spit.  As long as everyone retains their hair, everything is fine. Except for Dads, who might have no choice in the matter.