Procrastination & Momentum & Babies & Momentum

Yeah, awkward title.

Procrastination & Momentum

Anyway! I read this theory once about procrastination and momentum, and it was the first time that procrastination ever made sense to me (i.e. how to stop it). I can’t remember where I read it, so here’s my shabby summary:

When we’re procrastinating, we have a certain momentum in the direction that we’re going. We’ve set a certain pace, we’re stuck in a certain track. We’ve decided to browse YouTube movie trailers, so we’re dawdling, and once we see one, then we see another couple thumbnails for other ones that look interesting, so we decide that it won’t hurt to watch another couple, so we go on, and on, and on… and on… then we do something else, then something else, then before we know it, three hours have passed and we haven’t done what we set out to do.

To stop procrastinating, we have to kill that momentum. It’s not good enough to get up and make a cup of tea – we’re just ready to sit down again and continue what we were doing. We have to break the spell. After dinner, I might quickly fall down a procrastination/distraction hole, but at some stage I’ll need a toilet break, and then I force myself to also wash my face, clean my teeth – stuff that doesn’t need doing yet, but I know the longer I stay away from my computer, the more I break the spell.

Of course, this is easier said than done – often when you’re stuck in the momentum of procrastination, you don’t even realise it. BUT. Now that I’m more aware of what’s happening and how to stop it, I find I do stop it more often.

Babies & Momentum

The same thing happens with babies. (I say “babies,” but to be honest I mean “babies and toddlers.” But before I actually had a toddler, the word was kind of meaningless to me. Toddlers still seemed like babies.) Again, I’ve read this somewhere but I have no idea where:

Babies (and toddlers) get stuck in their own momentums. If they are doing one thing – like playing with all the toys in a room – they find it hard to switch to something else. For example, they find it hard to realise that they’re getting upset/frustrated because they’re hungry, and to communicate that they want food. They find it hard to realise that they’re tired, and to communicate that they want sleep. And if someone suddenly tells a baby, “OK, we’re going now,” and expects the baby to just stop what they’re doing and to walk out the door, the baby might angrily set the house on fire.

Many good parenting resources (like Raising Children) talk about this, and recommend giving babies lots of warning when they’re going to need to change what they’re doing. 10 minute warning, 5 minute warning, 2 minute warning, 1 minute warning. True dat.

Also – weirdly – sometimes you see the moment when you break the momentum spell for them, and you find that they’re actually relieved. They might have been doing something they no longer really wanted to be doing… but it’s like they’ve been stuck doing it!

Earlier today, I let my two year-old play on my phone, and by the time I’d done a bunch of things that needed doing, he had been playing on the phone longer than I’d anticipated. I said, “Hey buddy, time to give the phone back, okay, I have to go in the car now,” and I saw the spell break, and an expression of relief on his face; he practically threw the phone at me and started watching what his dad and his baby sister were doing, happy to be playing with them again!

Zen MF Progress

So, how am I going with the whole Zen Mothercuss thing?

Haha. Funny you asked.

The other evening (evenings are the worst, the kids have less patience and I have less patience and I’m running to a tight deadline because the kids are hungry and tired and everyone has to be fed and bathed and bedded before things really go to pot), I was running the bath and heard the sound of paper rustling. I had been about to move my stash of christmas wrapping paper back into the storage cupboard, but it was still sitting in the hallway. I stepped into the hallway and saw that my two year-old had unwrapped one roll of paper and was about to destroy it.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOO,” I said. Loudly.

Then I felt like shit. I don’t want to be a parent who says “NOOOO” loudly. I also felt bad because it was my fault – if I had returned the paper to the cupboard yesterday, it wouldn’t have happened. And who can blame a two year-old for seeing a roll of colourful paper and wanting to un-roll it?! Not me. He was bored, it was late in the day, he was frustrated! All he wanted to do was play an iPhone game or watch TV, because he was bored of everything else in the house, but we had said he couldn’t, because it was bath time.

And, worst of all, I know that anything I do, my baby will imitate and learn from me. I don’t want him to shout “NOOOO!” at other people! Argh! I did bad.

Sigh. All I can do at those times is to feel bad, but forgive myself, and try not to do it again. I really admire my gentle, incredibly patient partner when it comes to this stuff. He never raises his voice. He’s a good role model for me.

I’ll keep trying. For the most part, I’m doing okay. I’m not often stressed and I’m usually loving and calm with the kids. Usually.

#peace.

Happy New Year!

In the past, a new year really felt like a sparkling brand new year to me. I’d be on one or two weeks of holidays from work. I’d usually be wearing different kinds of clothes on holidays, so I’d be feeling different. I’d organise some little celebration on NYE, so it would feel like a thing. I’d have a few gifts from Christmas – like a new bag, new diary, new pens (yes, I am that simple) – which would make me feel like the new year was a fresh start and had new, different possibilities. I would love thinking about some changes that I’d like to make – in myself, in my life – and in the holidays, I’d work out my plan for those changes.

Well!

On NYE 2016, my sister came over and we watched Lethal Weapon. (Terrible.) She left around 11:40pm and I crawled into bed, 110% fatigued, and put in earplugs so that I wouldn’t hear the fireworks or the dog barking at the fireworks. (I could still hear the dog barking at the fireworks.) I was too tired to send anyone a “Happy new year” message or anything like that.

Well.

Anyway.

I did get a new bag (a mummy backpack! haha), new diary, new calendar, and new pens.  So that feels nice. (I am like a child going into a new year of school!)

Kit is now 2 years old and Sky is 9 months. I didn’t have much motivation or brain-space for a long time, but I feel like it’s gradually coming back. I’m getting really good quality sleep now, but I think it took a few months of quality sleep to make up/catch up on the many previous months of broken sleep.

I’m now able to think clearly about what needs to happen to get this house organised (for example, I want to get a big storage unit from IKEA to store all of the toys and books in one place). I have no trouble doing life-admin now (like making a phone call to the power company to change a setting in our account). Before, that stuff felt so difficult!

I’m reading books, making plans, getting organised, feeling pretty good. Tomorrow I’m meeting up with a friend – we’re working on a little side-project together.

Hope you are well.

Happy new year kisses!

x

    

Little Kids’ Music & Apps

Good Music

  1. Medeski, Martin & Wood (try Let’s Go Everywhere)
  2. Caspar Babypants (try Sing Along!)
  3. Justine Clarke (try Pyjama Jam)
  4. “Kids & Family” playlists on Apple Music e.g. R&B, Soul, etc! (Search for “kids family” to find all the playlists)

Good Apps

I have a huge bunch of apps for my wee kid (who’s now 2, but I started showing him apps before he was 1). Initially, I just had “baby” ones, but then I realised that even if an app is too old for him, he still plays/experiments with it in ways that are fun for him.

For example, he likes playing the “Endless Wordplay” app, even though he doesn’t know how to spell anything. He likes looking at the letters and asking about them, and he likes tickling the robot who drops the letters.

 

PAGE 1

  1. Baby Karaoke – 10 songs with animations, made by the fantastic Raising Children crew.
  2. Fisher Price Animal Sounds – animal sounds.
  3. Toca Band – get characters to play in a cool band together.
  4. ABC Kids iview – videos.
  5. Fiete – little games/puzzles.
  6. LEGO Trains – train ride story with little games/puzzles.
  7. Fiete Choice – little games/puzzles.
  8. Sandra Boynton’s The Going to Bed Book
  9. Sago Mini Babies Dress Up – dress ups.
  10. Tachin Tachan – little musical animations/games.
  11. Fisher Price Storybook 1 – 2 nursery rhymes.
  12. Fisher Price Let’s Count Animals – simple animations.
  13. Sandra Boynton’s Moo, Baa, La La La! – book.
  14. Toca Fairy Tales – dress ups.
  15. Toca Kitchen Monsters – feed monsters.

 

 

PAGE 2

  1. Fiete Sports – little games/puzzles.
  2. MarcoPolo Weather – play with the weather.
  3. Sago Mini Friends – animals visit each others’ houses – includes little games/puzzles.
  4. LEGO Food – make burgers, sandwiches or ice cream in a little story-game.
  5. Avokiddo ABC Ride – little games.
  6. Fisher Price Learning Letters Monkey – 4 learning games.
  7. Endless Wordplay – learn to spell.
  8. Sandra Boynton’s But Not the Hippopotamus – book.
  9. Go Go Thomas! – racing trains game.
  10. Peekaboo Fridge – learn names of food items.
  11. Bugs and Buttons – multiple games/puzzles.
  12. Fisher Price Storybook 3 – 2 nursery rhymes.
  13. Toca Dance – create a dance, then watch it.
  14. Sago Mini Holiday Trucks & Diggers – shovel & transport snow.
  15. Toca Doctor Lite – help the doctor fix a patient.

 

 

PAGE 3

  1. Fisher Price Giggle Gang – little animations.
  2. Fiete Farm – little games/puzzles.
  3. Crayola Colorful Creatures – little games.
  4. LEGO Ice Cream – my kid’s favourite. Go on a search for ice cream! Story with games.
  5. Fisher Price Shapes & Colors – little animations.
  6. LEGO Circus – put on a circus, feed the animals.
  7. Sandra Boynton’s Barnyard Dance – book.
  8. Sandra Boynton’s Blue Hat, Green Hat – book.
  9. Fiete Match – little games.
  10. LEGO Animals – story with games.
  11. Fisher Price Peek ‘n’ Play – little animations.
  12. Kinderling Kids Radio
  13. Avokiddo Beck and Bo – little games.
  14. Toca Hair Salon – cut and style hair.
  15. Toca School – play being at school.

 

 

P.S. While writing this, I have also downloaded Fiete Christmas, Fiete KinderZoo, Toca Hair Salon Christmas, MarcoPolo Ocean, MarcoPolo Arctic, MarcoPolo Recall, Endless Reader, Endless Numbers, Mr Potato Head, Endless Learning, the Hey Duggee Christmas Bumper Bundle, and the full version of Toca Doctor. I might hide these in a folder and gradually release them over the next year.

P.P.S. Avokiddo Emotions is fabulous, but James has that one on his phone.

POV

Every now and then, if I reflect on everything that has happened since buying these babies from the Baby Shop, I think:

  • I must write about stuff I would recommend for new mums/dads (I always meant to write a “Babby Stuff 3” post after Babby Stuff 1 and Babby Stuff 2, but then couldn’t make the brain-space for it)
  • I must write about apps that are cool for little kids
  • I must write about music that’s cool for little kids
  • when you are a stay at home mum/dad, by gosh it is isolating
  • a million other thoughts
  • AND
  • this whole experience has been a lesson in how, when something in your life changes,  fundamental beliefs can change too.

Of course, we have periods in our lives where we gradually, at a snail’s pace, evolve, and we emerge through the other side with some core tenets of our personality changed.

I remember being about 17 and watching OLD PEOPLE go into a “over 30s” night club on a Friday night in Hawthorn, and thinking:

  1. I will never grow that old! That is so old!
  2. Ewwwww! Old people dancing! That is so gross!!!!!!!!!
  3. I will never, ever, ever, stop dancing. But I will also never grow old.

Then, one day I’m in my thirties and I remember that little passionate moment. And I remember how strong my beliefs were – I was unequivocally certain that I would never feel any differently.

I also remember, in my twenties, thinking that I would never be a boring person at work. There were some boring people in one of my first jobs – they came in on time, left on time, didn’t socialise, did the bare minimum of work, and were really jaded. I would never ever be like that!

Then, one day I’m in my thirties and I find myself hating one of my jobs – going into the workplace and knowing that even though I had spoken to my manager about my work dissatisfaction, nothing would change; even though I was currently job-hunting for something better, I didn’t have hope that something better was out there. I was going into the workplace on time, leaving on time, not socialising, feeling (and looking) utterly jaded.

Yep.

But there was a long gap, a long evolution between those kinds of transformations. At least a decade each time. And they’re the sorts of changes we have where we can be a bit dismissive of our previous selves – because of youth, or naivety, or ignorance, etc.

The transformations after having a baby are much more immediate, and so you don’t dismiss your past self so easily. You realise how much your past self – a fully grown adult, hopefully not too ignorant – was a complete DUFUS. A close-minded dufus.


An example:

A few times, in my past, I’ve come across advertisements where people were seeking to re-house their pet, because they now had a human baby. Each time I saw such an advertisement, I thought: “How can they! What cruel people! That poor dog/cat has known them all their life, how can they discard them like that! Even if they are super tired or whatever, surely it will be better for the dog/cat to get a few months of being ignored and then they will be able to resume their love & attention for their old friend!” – and I also thought – “I would never do that!”

Well. Overnight, my beliefs changed. After my first baby was born, we asked my parents to look after our dog for a couple of weeks, because we knew we’d be very sleep-deprived. But as time went on, I was dreading getting the dog back. It wasn’t just that I was sleep-deprived. I also had a huge amount of stress and emotion, and I couldn’t take on one more responsibility. When we did get the dog back, I didn’t handle it very well. I found it really hard to even feed him dinner. He was one more layer of stress. There were times when I was super tired, and I had just lulled the baby to sleep, and even though I was so deeply tired, I was desperate to have a bit of alone time – to just sit on the couch and gather my thoughts – and then the dog barked. I cussed. I shouted. I was so cold to the dog. I wished, very much, that he was around people who could look after him and give him some TLC.


It’s confronting when a belief changes that quickly. And it makes me think about all the other beliefs that I hold, or beliefs that other people hold, and how, with a couple of little tweaks in our lives here and there, I could probably see their viewpoint, or they could see mine.

That’s one of the reasons I get bummed when people disparage Trump supporters, or anti-refugee protestors, or One Nation supporters, or the people who voted for Brexit, or men’s rights activists. We don’t get anywhere good by being mean. I feel like Obama gets this.

(OK OK OK OK OK OK. There are many other examples of ways my beliefs have changed since having kids, but I seriously need to get on with some other tasks now, and I need to stop writing here!)