Monthly Archives: January 2017

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Making the punishment fit

Category : Family

Four kids in a house designed really for two, means that we are often in each others way and space.  There simply is not not enough room for all of us especially when we are all confined to the house for extended periods.  I mean, everyone sitting around watching a movie is fine, but when everyone wants to do different activities, well, that’s when the wheels sort of come off things.

Today was a good example.  We were sort of forced inside because of the heat and the flies (flies will be the subject of another post later on…they are unbelievable), and after a morning spent at the movies, the itchiness to do something was just proving too strong.  Especially for a certain 4yo.

Tom had found some amusement in some nano blocks he had purchased with a Christmas voucher, the girls were content with trying out Biddy’s new water speakers (they spurt water up and down with lights in time to music).  The problem was, they needed my computer to hook up to power.  So we all sat around on the living room floor listening and watching the water speakers (which really are pretty cool).

Henry, on the other hand, was not so content.  He was hell bent on cracking open a packet of “Bunch of Balloons” that the kids had been given for Xmas and getting out in the heat and flies to throw some around.  I told him that he could, but just needed to wait until the searingness of the heat had gone out of the day.  Every minute, he came and asked me about doing it, and every time my answer was the same;  “Yes, but not right now.  It is too hot outside”

Clearly, this wasn’t good enough for him and while my back was turned to help one of the girls do yet another craft project that they pulled out, he helped himself to my computer.

Now this is a known NO NO.  Our computers – mine, Mark’s and the farm one – are out of bounds for the kids unless we are directly sitting next to them watching.  Even at 4yo, H knows that from previous experience and punishment, that he is not allowed to play around with my computer.  So when the music suddenly stopped, I knew he was doing something he shouldn’t be.  And as such, he got a smack on the bum.

Now before I get any bleeding hearts or visits from the authorities about child abuse, let me say, it was not hard and did not even leave a mark.  It was his pride that was affected more than anything, but a stern and solid reminder that he must not touch the computer.  EVER.

Less than 15 minutes later, I go into the lounge to pack up all the stuff (because let’s face it, that’s what mums are for right?) and flick open my computer only to discover that there is a dirty big crack running from top left to bottom right of screen.  Right away I knew who had done this, but I gave them all the benefit of the doubt and screamed at all of them accordingly.  At this point, they were all guilty until proven innocent.  It really came down to between Bella (aka clumsyclots) and Henry (aka the devil).  Both were adamant and full of tears and wringing of hands that they were not to blame and it was not either of them.

I knew it really had to be H, so like the great mother I am, I played them off against one another.  I told Bella that there would be no water balloons until the person that did the breakage came forward.  All would suffer for the actions of one.  It wasn’t very long until H came out and owned up.  He had stood on the computer.  Although it is unclear if it was from spite at being punished, or just a thing that kids do when they are walking around and fail to notice things under their feet.

Now, my inner turmoil begins.  H is 4yo.  He knows basic right from wrong.  He knows that it is bad to lie.  He knows about the computer ban.  He knows that actions have some consequences.  But at the end of the day he is 4yo.  And this time, he owned up to the crime (alright….after some prodding by the others…..but he owned up).  So given that he has no money of his own, has no capacity of working it off, will have forgotten about this whole episode most likely before the day has ended, what is the most appropriate punishment?

A quick call to the computer shop eased my heart (and bank balance) somewhat as there is a single crack not a smash, and this is covered potentially under warranty.  Otherwise, it was a $1000 repair.

So returning to the punishment…..what should I do?  Well, I can tell you, that after 11+ years of being a mum, one thing I have learnt is that whenever something like this occurs, it is always a smart move to either remove them from your line of sight, or you from theirs.  Give yourself a minute to regroup and truly assess how bad it all is.

When I was a younger mum, Tom bore the brunt of my very explosive anger.  Now, really only Mark cops it.  But he’s big and ugly enough to take it on the chin.  I have learnt since that my kids don’t respond to that kind of anger.  In fact, the opposite is probably more effective.  We are a loud family.  We yell, shout, make lots of noise.  I’m grateful that we don’t live in the suburbs.  So when I go quiet….really quiet, that’s when the kids freak out.  So that is what I did.  I just told H to get away from me, that I was angry that he broke something of mine that I was sad and that it was going to cost a lot of money to fix.  And he also got another smack.

But the biggest punishment of all……..I let the other 3 kids go outside and play with those bloody water balloons, and yell and scream and laugh and run about in their togs.  And I made H sit inside and watch.  And it KILLED HIM.  The screen can be replaced with little effort.  But H learnt a valuable lesson today, and inside I knew that I wouldn’t have to deal with this particular issue ever again, all because of missing out on playing with some latex and water.

Because after all, what more does a 4yo want to do on a hot day?


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Position available – part time milker

Category : General Farm

This is an exciting development for us, because in almost 10 years, we have not advertised externally!  So this is a unique situation that rarely presents itself.

We have an opening for a person that is interested in being part of a wider team, operating primarily within the milking team.  We have recently changed our full time staff to a 10/4 roster situation and we are looking at employing someone who can work in filling the gaps of this roster.

The position will initially be offered as a casual position for the first 2 weeks, and if the person is suitable, will be transferred over to  part time role, incurring all the benefits attached to that (pro rata annual and sick leave etc).  The days of work will likely to be Thursday through to Sunday with various weekends off by arrangement.  The hours are expected to be between 20 – 30/wk depending on various times of the year.  Weekend work is expected of this position.

This position is likely to suit a high school student, someone looking to only work a few days a week or someone that is interested in entering the industry.  Experience is not necessary and all introductory training will be provided.

The successful applicant will be provided with a uniform and necessary training both on and off farm (to comply with OH&S).  The renumeration will be based on award wages for new entrants and we are open to discussion regarding above award wages for those that apply (and referees check out) with experience.

Our current team is a strong and well established one, so the successful applicant will have to work with the exisiting members, take direction and add to the overall value of the business.  We encourage females to apply as we are a family based operation with 2 females already working within the business (at operational and administrative levels).

A position description is available on request.

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2016 can piss right off!

Category : Family

Well, it’s been a while since I was on here.  The last time I updated, I was still in the hospital following surgery, and here it is, 2nd January 2017.  The time between these two posts has gone fast…and slow.  Crazy really.

I had these grand plans of what I was going to do with the enforced 12 weeks recovery that was being imposed upon me (FYI, I was a good girl and did follow recovery instructions).  Maybe I followed them a bit too well, because I pretty much did squat.  Nothing.  Nada. Hardly lifted a finger.  Well, for the first 4 weeks anyway.

We were very lucky in having my mum drop her entire life and come and live with us for about 4 and a half weeks.  I think on reflection however, mum has a new found respect for what I deal with on a daily basis.  Over the years, my mum has often come to our house (she’s here a number of days most weeks) with these grand plans of what needs to be done, what rooms needs to be cleared out, what should be planted and how something or other is going to be redeveloped.  But after spending those 4 and a half weeks of just keeping all the shit together here and keeping the place sort of functioning, I am confident that I won’t hear of any grand plans for a while.  I mean, for me, if everyone has clean undies on, is fed and I haven’t killed anyone, I’m having a good day.  If there is something else that gets added into that mix, well that’s just a bonus.  And I deserve a bloody medal!

So as I said, I had all these grand plans about what I was going to do with my limited physical capacity over the 12 weeks.  I was going to sort out the hell hole of a mess on my computer.  I was going to back up and sort out the half a million photos that we have on various computers, solid state drives, flash discs and dropbox.  I was going to finally get around to putting all the kids professional photographs into the various albums (one for each kid, one for the family and a school one), I was going to be super organised and get out Christmas cards to all and sundry in an end of year last gasp of card making.  And I was going to read through about 3 years worth of New Scientist magazines that have been piling up and causing me much angst because they are wrapped in biodegradable plastic (which turns out REALLY is a thing and REALLY does disintegrate all over the place).

But I did nothing of it.  And here I am, 12 weeks down the track and I have nothing to really show for my recovery time.  Except for the fact, that I am recovered.  I do have some residual pain in my neck – which is a bit frustrating because I never had ANY pain prior to surgery on a constant basis!! Ironic hey? – but I am whole, healed and not about to die anytime soon.

In the time of my recovery, Mark’s back became a lot worse than it has been in years (he’s had it operated on before for a bulged disc and had a microdiscectomy, by the same surgeon I had, back in 2009).  Mark came with me to my post op review and after determining that I was fully functional, and the surgery was a success, Greg lost interest in me and turned his attention to Mark.  We left that office with me off pain meds, and Mark on them and an MRI slip in his fist.

In the weeks since that meeting, Mark’s back has really deteriorated, however finding the time to get the MRI and knowing it will mean surgery with a 12 week recovery period is not something that Mark wants to face right now.  On top of that, the damn staph infection that he developed months back reappeared and needed to be retreated.  In the end, he felt so crap that he relented and went see the local doctor about general poor health.  A full blood work up has shown that he is sick, but we won’t really know too much until mid week when specific tests come back.  And there is still the back issue, just waiting there and reminding him everyday that it is not going anywhere and in fact, is getting worse.

About 3 weeks ago, Biddy had to have a colonoscopy and gastroscopy for ongoing and acute abdomen pains (happening since she was 3yo).  She was 9 on Christmas Day, so 6 years is long enough to dilly dally around the edges and do bloods and stool samples.  The surgery was at Cabrini Hospital in Melbourne, so due to the nature of the preparation, we had to go down the night before.  I will just say right here that I am NEVER TAKING BIDDY TO SURGERY AGAIN.  Ever. Ever. Both times she has gone into theatre, it has been a traumatic, upsetting, emotionally charged event.  And  that is just for me and the theatre staff!  On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is completely chilled out, relaxed and calm and 10 being over the top nervous, anxious and upset, Biddy ranks a 20.  I’m not kidding.  We had 2 goes at getting her into surgery and then because she was sedated to get into theatre, she didn’t remember going in and screamed the place down about not being done and that she had to go back.  Recovery was an absolute nightmare!!!!  The theatre nursing staff were so pleased to see us head back up to the children ward!!  Initial results are showing that she is likely to be developing Coeliacs but this is not the reason for the pains in the first place.  Oh joy!  Another kid with allergies! We await more results in the New Year.

New Year’s Eve saw me back in the doctor’s office with tonsillitis and on penicillin.  Honestly!  Can one year get any worse?  From a business, health and financial perspective?

I can honestly say, I have never looked forward to the end of a year before.  We have had some crappy things happen (Henry’s anaphalatic episode, his increasing allergies to various things, Tom’s migraines, my surgery, Biddy’s surgery, Mark’s back, Mark’s staph infection, my aunty dying unexpectedly, the damn dairy crisis, the death of a few family pets etc..) but I have to admit that we did have some good things happen too (trip to Carins and Port Douglas, one cousin having a new baby and another 2 announcing that they are expecting in 2017, the girls doing ballet and acro and participating in the end of year concert, Bella finishing her first year of primary school etc..).

Honestly though, I don’t believe that the good has outweighed the bad this year.  If I were an accountant and I ran a “T table”, we are in deficit.  Whilst I know that 2017 is still going to provide us with health and business challenges, I hope that we move forward into it, with more positives than negatives.  I look forward to getting back into the pool with “my kids”, I look forward to planning the development of our new property at Gellibrand, I look froward to spending time away with us just as an immediate family and – after my sort of close to death experience – I am looking forward to doing the things that I want to do and not worry so much about what I think others want me to do.

On behalf of Mark and the kids, I wish all our readers a very happy New Year & 2017 and hope that you make of your’s what you want.

Mark, Sam, Tom, Biddy, Bella and Henry Billing on Christmas Day 2016