Sunday, July 13, 2014

Not Another Poo Story


The Bombshell and the Mop ran breathlessly into the kitchen where I was clearing up the remains of dinner. They were both completely nude.

‘The baby pooped in the shower,’ the Bombshell squealed.

‘Yeah, she did a poo right on the floor,’ added the Mop.

They both looked very excited and were jumping up and down.

‘Why are you telling me?’ I asked them as I wiped the bench.

‘Because Dad told us to,’ said one.

‘And it’s really smelly,’ added the other.

‘We don’t want a shower anymore, we want a bath,’ they said.

Groan.

I followed them into the bathroom where my husband was shoving reams of toilet paper into the loo. Baldy stood in the shower forlornly, looking at the floor.

‘Did you have an accident in the shower?’ I asked her.

‘Poo,’ she said rubbing her face.

‘Don’t rub your face,’ my husband said grabbing at her hand and squirting soap on it. He threw the bathmat at me. ‘Put this in the wash, will you?’ he asked.

‘Does it have poop on it?’ I asked, holding it away from my body slightly. He nodded.

‘How?’ I asked.

‘She picked the poo up and threw it out of the shower,’ he said matter of factly.

Oh.

The last thing I heard as I wandered into the laundry was my husband yelling at the older kids to get in the shower.

‘Neverrrrrrr,’ they declared, then footsteps bolting for their bedroom and a door slamming.

Can’t say I blame them.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Emotion With No Name


I had only been asleep an hour or so when I was woken by a blood curdling scream from downstairs.

I looked at the clock – 11.30pm. Assuming I could be stuck downstairs with Baldy for the rest of the night, I grabbed my glasses and dressing gown.

I wrapped my gown around me as I stumbled down the stairs, mentally preparing for what I might find.

“Mummmmmy, Daddddddy,” came the howls.

There might be vomit, I thought, listening for the gagging noises. There might be fevers, wondering how high I had left the heater.

I opened the door a crack, inhaling deeply, trying to detect a smell. Poo? Vomit? No.

The light fell across Baldy’s little face, her hair messy and wild.

“Dummy. Gone!” she wailed.

You’re kidding, I thought.

Those screams were worthy of being axe murdered, a Huntsman dropping on your face or your bed catching on fire. They were real screams of terror and fear. But a missing dummy? You have got to be kidding me.

I gingerly patted down the sheets, still expecting to find a pool of vomit. Nothing.

I ran my hand around the edge of the mattress, between the side of the cot looking for the rogue dummy.

“Dummy. Gone!” she wailed.

We need to get rid of the damn dummy, I thought.

She shifted impatiently and I heard the tell-tale sound of the plastic chain. I picked it up and clipped it back onto her sleeping bag.

She immediately stuck it back in her mouth, lay back down, head on her pillow, and went to sleep.

I looked at the clock. 11.35pm. I knew it would easily be 1am before I would fall asleep again, so I certainly wasn’t going to hang around. I was glad she wasn’t sick, but I was bloody irritated at having been woken for a missing dummy.

That feeling, the one only parents understand, that is an equal mix of relief and annoyance, was strong as I trudged back upstairs.

They really need to give that particular emotion a name.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Is There Such a Thing as a Simple Trip to the Shop?

It was just meant to be a simple trip to the shop.

Silly me, there’s no such thing as a simple trip to the shop.

I usually avoid taking all three girls out as much as humanly possible, so on a day when it was just myself and Baldy Baby (no longer bald, or a baby!) I decided to head to a rather fancy shopping centre in search of nothing more complicated than some exercise videos (long story), and some strawberries and bananas.

Having failed miserably on the exercise video front (although I did pick up a copy of ‘Belly Dancing Blitz: Shake off those pounds’!) I went in search of some fruit. As I pushed the pram into the lift, a Dad already inside with his little girl a tad younger than Baldy shot me a look. He tousled his daughter’s hair. ‘Rosie refuses to go in the pram anymore, don’t you darling. You’re a big girl now.’

Rosie was too busy picking her nose to notice her Dad’s smarmy comment, and I just smiled and nodded. 

He wouldn’t feel so superior if I let Baldy out of her pram and she somehow set off the shopping centre’s fire alarm and all the fire sprinklers flattened his carefully blow dried hair. (She would, I don’t know how she’d do it, but she would… so I keep her in the pram for everyone’s safety and sanity.)

In Coles I quickly found some strawberries and bananas, and placed them on the hood of the pram, before becoming distracted by some ham and cheese buns. Suddenly Baldy reached up and flipped the hood, pulling it down over her face. ‘Raining!’ she declared (was she having visions of the fire alarm going off?).

The punnet of strawberries flew across the air before smashing on the ground, popping open and spewing strawberries across the floor. The bananas followed in a graceful arc.

I swore quite loudly.

As the heads swivelled in my direction, I mumbled to myself as I squatted down and began picking up the fruit salad. Baldy watched with interest as she kept flipping the hood up and down.

I nabbed a packet of the buns and sped off towards the checkouts. Seeing an empty space I pushed between a lady and her trolley and began poking at the screen in front of me. She was staring with her mouth open.

‘That’s not a self-service register,’ she hissed. ‘There’s a line,’ she said indicating the three people behind her, also staring in shock. I had been poking at an advertising screen, which was now telling me that I really needed new insurance in case I suddenly died. I could only hope.

I wrestled the pram past the woman and her trolley full of cat food, and went in search of the actual self-service registers. After realising that Coles registers weren’t likely to accept my Woolworths rewards card, I finally managed to escape. I just needed to get back to the car.

‘Bun please,’ Baldy asked, poking her head around the side of the pram.

I stopped the pram in the middle of the mall, and pulled out of a still-warm ham and cheese bun and handed it to Baldy. I had only taken a few more steps when she declared ‘yuck’ and threw the bun out of the pram, which landed exactly in front of the back wheel, which then gracefully rolled straight over it.

Struggling to not swear, I grabbed the flattened bun and deposited it in the nearest bin before practically running to the car.


And the funniest thing of all – this was actually a GOOD trip to the shop.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Apparently I have No Friends and am About to Die

Last week I took my seven year old daughter to a presentation ceremony for the Kids Who Give WA project. This is a great initiative which encourages kids to give back to the community by donating their time, skills or raising money. We had a little group of Year 2 and year 4 girls, having raised money for a local bushfire appeal with a large garage sale, after the kids donated their toys and books to sell.

The ceremony was held at Government House and as we were the first group to arrive we were met at the door by the Governor and his wife. It became awkwardly apparent that the girls didn’t really know whose hands they were shaking, but they were rather more taken by the fact that we were going to be sitting in the ballroom, a majestic room with enormous chandeliers and – naturally – a throne. Yes, the actual throne the Queen sits in when she comes to visit Perth.

The Bombshell had shaken hands and been sent up to our seats, but she shortly returned. She bluntly looked at the Governor’s wife and said ‘Can we sit in the Queen’s chair?’ I giggled nervously, silently thanking her for actually asking first and not just throwing herself in it. Surprisingly, the answer was ‘yes’ and later on they would get the chance to sit in the throne.

The eight groups who presented their giving projects were very diverse – from entire year groups to tiny little groups like ours, poor schools, very rich schools, year 2s to year 7s, some raised a lot of money, some just donated their friendship.

A group of girls from my old high school got up to speak about their project – they donated their time and skills to ‘help the elderly’. They explained that while there was a lot of worthy groups in the community, they had decided on ‘the elderly’ because ‘they can’t do much anymore, they don’t have any friends, and they might die soon.’  A lot of grown-ups in the room laughed and shook their heads upon hearing this assessment. Their giving project involved playing bingo, listening to stories and helping sweep and garden.

There is a large seniors home near the school, and girls have been doing community service there since before my time, but I was mildly concerned when one of the girls mentioned that one of ‘the elderly’ had used to be a teacher at the school.

I couldn’t help myself.

At lunchtime I abandoned the Bombshell to her lunch and found the girls from my old school. I crouched down beside them and heard my knees creak in protest. So did they, and their heads collectively swivelled towards me.

I explained that I used to go to their school a few years ago. ‘’Oh yeah?’ one asked. ‘What house were you in?’ ‘Riley’ I responded. Two of them high fived each other and the rest accepted that yes, I was indeed one of them. I asked them if they remembered the name of the teacher who was now ‘an elderly’ person.

They looked at me closely, as if they were calculating how old I was, and if I could possibly know someone who was elderly. They could only recall her first name which wasn’t much help as my school was very proper and we never would have been told a teacher’s first name.

I then told the girls that my 20 year school reunion was coming up in a few months. ‘A what?’ they asked. I said that it had been twenty years since I had graduated from Year 12. They almost fainted. 'Twenty years!' they cried, and the consternation as how very very old I must be was clear upon their faces.


I quickly realised that through their young eyes, I was probably already in their category of ‘elderly’ and so I stood as quickly as my creaky old knees allowed me, and ran off before they could start tending to my needs and playing bingo with me.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The ABCs of Me

My friend Eva over at The Multitasking Mummy tagged me in a post the other day, and when I saw it I got those happy chills and may have just weed a little bit in excitement. It was a questionnaire. And I love questionnaires. So here goes, no kids today – this is all about ME.

A. Attached or Single? Attached. Usually by a chain of drool or boogers to my two year old. But I am also married.

B. Best Friend? I am lucky to have lots of amazing people in my life, but top of my list is probably Danika, my best friend from high school, who unfortunately lives on the other side of the country from me. I tell her all my dirty little secrets and a lot of other people's secrets too. 


C. Cake or pie? Cake.... but I really like pie too. If you have said ‘cake or icecream’ it would have been a no-brainer. For some reason I just don’t really care for icecream. Still eat it though.
D. Day of choice? Is it totally awful to admit that my favourite days are day-care days?

E. Essential Item? A pen. I am a writer and I never know when a brilliant idea or quote is going to explode in my brain and I need to get it down. I hate not having pens within reach at all times of day – I even have a whiteboard stuck inside the shower.

F. Favorite colour? According to my four year old, ‘rainbow’ is a perfectly acceptable answer to this question
G. Gummy bears or worms? This is a stupid question. It should be ‘chocolate or lollies?’ But that’s too hard and I refuse to answer in case I offend either the chocolate or lolly gods. Next.
H. Home town? Perth, Western Australia

I. Favorite Indulgence? Going out for dinner or breakfast.
J. January or July? July – because January is waaaaaay too hot where I live.

K. Kids? The Blonde Bombshell is 7, Miss Curly Mop is 4 and Baldy Baby (who I apparently referred to as Badly Baby in a recent post, and which is much more accurate) is 2.
L. Life isn’t complete without? Physical affection. Ah, get your mind out of the gutter: I am referring to hugs.
Fierce hugs, gentle hugs, wet hugs, naughty hugs, group hugs, forgiving hugs, good morning hugs, I’m sorry hugs, feel better hugs, thank you hugs. All types of hugs.

M. Marriage date? 13 February 2000. I was a child bride.

N. Number of brothers/sisters? One beautiful older sister, plus a handful of awesome sisters- and brother-in-laws

O. Oranges or Apples? Grapes. Preferably fermented.
P. Phobias? Not being able to find a toilet. It means I pee constantly when I don’t actually need to ‘just in case’ later on I need to and can’t.
And heights. I don’t do heights well.
And this weird thing when I drive over bridges my hands try and turn the wheel so I go over the edge. That’s freaky.
Q. Quotes? The way we speak to our children become their inner voice. Peggy O’Mara.

R. Reasons to smile? Being able to write. Being home for my children. Dumb things kids say. Downton Abbey. Dinner Club.  Blogging. That time in the evening when you can go to bed and read and not be interrupted.

S. Season of choice? One that isn’t above 28 degrees during the day but is cool enough at night to warrant a doona, rains only when I want it to, isn’t humid, sun rise at 5.45am and sets at 7pm. So… none of them.
T. Tag 5 People. Tag you're it! I don't think I know five other people with blogs who haven't already done this, who might want to, so if YOU want to answer one or more of these questions, feel free to leave your wisdom in the comments.
U. Unknown fact about me? When I was in my early twenties I qualified as a counsellor. I can bend down the top joint of my middle fingers. I am an anthropologist. I know how to take blood but I don’t like doing it. I always intended to call my daughter ‘Amica’ which was a brand name written on the bottom of a snow globe I had as a kid but it also reminded me of my best friend’s name (my husband vetted the name).

V. Vegetable? Anything you can roast.

W. Worst habit? Tidying things away while people are still using them.


X. Xray or Ultrasound? Actually MRI – I have PVNS in my knee so I have had quite a few MRIs in my time. Then ultrasound because of all the babies. Do people even have xrays anymore?


Y. Your favorite food? Something that I haven’t had to cook myself


Z. Zodiac sign? Leo

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly


THE GOOD
It started well enough.

Last night as we were about to leave to collect my two year old from daycare the Bombshell asked if we were going to stop and buy a fresh, hot Turkish bread from the shop around the corner. As we are occasionally known to do.

‘We can if you like,’ I said.

‘Yay,’ she squealed. ‘I’m going to get some money.’

Hang on?

‘You don’t have to pay for the bread honey, I am happy to buy it.’

She looked at me seriously, sensing my surprise. ‘I want to Mum. I want to pay for the bread.’

Fine by me, I thought. So she skipped off to her room and she soon returned with a purse with $6 in it and a big smile. She was so proud.

‘The bread is only $4,’ I told her, knowing she already knew this.

‘We might need to buy something else,’ she said.

My heart was singing that she was so generous and thoughtful. I let her and the Mop go into the shop, order and pay for the bread by themselves. They looked so small and proud. As usual, the guys behind the counter turned to me and gave me the thumbs up through the window.

It was all so happy and gorgeous.

Then…

THE BAD
This morning as I was picking up discarded undies and socks from the floor I came across the Mop’s money box on the floor. I picked it up. It was empty.

The Mop can’t reach her money box.

The penny dropped and with it my heart.

I approached the Bombshell with the empty money box behind my back.

‘Where did you get the money to pay for the bread last night?’ I asked as calmly as I could.

You know that look you see on the cartoons when the character realises they have just accidentally taken the pin out of a grenade and they are about to explode in two seconds?

That look. Mixed with a whole lot of guilt.

But no words. Her mouth just hung open as she madly searched for a reasonable explanation.

‘Don’t lie,’ I said plainly. ‘Just tell me the truth.’

She had the decency to hang her head. ‘From the Mop’s money box,’ she said quietly.

‘And yet you told me you were going to use your money?’ I asked.

She nodded.

I was shocked. But what was more upsetting? Pinching money from her little sister? Pretending to be generous with someone else’s money? The lie?

It got worse…

THE UGLY
‘So if you only put $6 in your purse, where is the rest of the money? The money box is now empty,’ I asked her.

She reached for the purse and pulled out the extra $2 and held it out to me.

‘No, the rest of the money. She had at least $10 or $15 in there,’ I said.

She stared blankly at me again. I could see her trying to remain calm, knowing she had been caught, wondering what was going to happen.

‘Under my books on my bookshelf,’ she finally admitted.

‘So not only did you take your sister’s money for the bread and pretend it was yours, but you took all the money she had and hid it?’

She nodded.

It was at this point I really began wondering where I had gone wrong. How my newly turned seven year old would even think of doing this. Taking the $4 I could understand. Trying to get credit for being generous, I could understand. Taking every cent and hiding it under a pile of books. That’s just mean. And she’s not a mean kid.

I was a LOT older before I began pinching money (sorry Dad) and I never would have been so stupid or bold as to empty an entire money bank. Was I upset that she blatantly left the empty money box on the floor, as though she wanted to be found out? Or did she think I was too dumb to figure it out. Would I have been more upset if she had been sneaky enough to put it back, so I probably never would have realised.

I made her return all the money, then asked her to give the Mop $8 from her own money bank. I could hear the words coming out of my mouth ‘disappointed’ ‘sad’ ‘surprised’. There was a lot of head shaking. I was guilt-tripping her. It was automatic, and at the time my head was reeling trying to figure out the best way to deal with it. Even now I’m not quite sure what else to do.

This evening as she skipped along to her room after her shower she stopped me in the hall in a fierce hug.

‘I’m sorry about this morning Mum. About the money and not telling you.’

‘I’m sorry too…’ I floundered.

She looked up at me. ‘I’m glad it’s all over now,’ she said with finality in her voice. ‘And I promise it will never happen again.’


With that she flounced off. I think I believe her. She has probably been dwelling on it all day. So do I just leave it now? Did I over or under-react? What would you do?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

There’s Poo in the Fairy Garden

At first it was just a few tell-tale gurgles in the kitchen sink. My heart sank. I knew that noise.

I went into the bathroom where my husband was supervising the nightly shower ritual, which tends to involve ‘Let It Go’ played very loudly on repeat, lots of yelling over the top of the loud music and masses of water on the floor.

Last night was no different, but this time I had to put a stop to it early.

‘Keep the showers short tonight,’ I said. ‘The drain is blocked and the kitchen sink is filling.’

My husband shot me one of those looks. The ones that have to suffice when you really want to swear but you’re surrounded by lots of impressionable children.

As he finished the showers, the bubbling in the kitchen sink was joined by gurgling in the toilet. Awesome, I thought. It won’t be long now. It wasn’t.

Kids in bed, we started our search for the LED torch and the plunger. We could find neither. Using a cheap plastic Toy Story torch, about as useful as a glow in dark necklace, we tried in vain to locate something to attack the drain with. A quick trip to Bunnings later and my husband valiantly removed the lid from the drain.

What happened next was like something out of a horror film, but unlike films which manufacture slime and other hideous things out of dough and clay, in our case, the hideous things were actually made of… well, shit.

As the content of the drain ran freely and happily into the garden, I watched a little poo bob to the surface and float merrily along where it bumped into the Fairy Tree.

The fairies aren’t going to be too happy about that, I thought.

Putting the lid back on the drain was no longer an option so we went inside to call an emergency plumber. 

By this stage it was 8pm.

Now mums, here is some good advice: if your kids want a trade consider plumbing. The first plumber we called wanted $279 for a call out fee plus an extra $55 per 15 minutes. Our mistake was to dither, because the by the time we called another company, the time had ticked by and the call out fee was $460 with an estimated arrival time of between 10pm and 1am.

It is a phenomenal amount of money, but probably well deserved, because apart from the parents who have to deal with the faecal output of their own cherubs in the wee small hours, I can’t imagine many other people who relish the fact of dealing with free flowing poo in the middle of the night. Not that parents probably relish it either.

We decided to leave it until early the next morning.

This morning when we woke, all the kids wanted to see was the poo in the garden. Instead, overnight, large rags and squares of fabric had bobbed to the surface, as well as the distinctive appearance of shredded toilet paper.

‘I can’t see any poo,’ the Mop said looking out the window. She sounded disappointed. I couldn’t see any either, and I wondered what the Fairies had done with their little poo friend.

The Bombshell was clutching herself awkwardly. ‘I really need to go to the toilet,’ she said worriedly.

‘Go,’ I said. ‘Just don’t flush.’

A couple of hours later, and everyone else was at work, school or daycare. I was waiting for the Water Corp to fix the problem so I sat down at my desk (the kitchen table, right next to the drain) to start work on my final uni assignment. All I could see was brown water and toilet paper and those enormous rags. I closed the blinds and tried to ignore the brilliant sparkles reflecting through the glass as the sun valiantly shone on the pool of raw sewerage. It felt as though it was mocking me with its glorious happiness. Shiny happy poo.

The Water Corp arrived and unblocked the drain and did a pretty good clean up considering what they were working with.

We stood and surveyed the damage.

“It will be pretty good for the garden,’ one said helpfully.

Raw sewage?

‘But not for the fairies,’ I told them. We perused the fairy garden, still with wet toilet paper wedged against the mushrooms and garden gnomes.

‘Tell the kids the fairies have gone on holiday for a week,’ the other suggested.

A wise suggestion.



Oh, and by the way: if any of my up-hill neighbours ever read this and are responsible for throwing rags in the toilet, please know this: the fairies have put a curse on you.

I have resisted to put in a picture with obvious visible poo... or have I?

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Real Truth Behind Birth Days


May 23rd, 2007 is probably going to end up being the most significant date in my entire life.

Apart from being World Turtle Day, that happens to be my daughter’s birthday.

But why it is really significant for me, is that it was the day I became a mother.

Nothing I had done prior to this, and probably nothing I will do subsequently will ever come close to the momentousness of becoming a parent for the first time. It changes literally everything about you, from the way you think, to the way you look, to the way you sleep.

Becoming a parent affects everything, from the big (your legal status and financial responsibilities) to the small (going to the toilet with the door open no longer concerns you). Although some might argue that how you spend the next ten years toileting is actually quite a big deal.

Becoming a parent is hands down the most intense, rewarding, exhausting, terrifying, unpredictable and hilarious thing I have ever done.

And the thing is, on the 23rd May all those years ago, sure, my daughter got born. But I was the one who did all the work, so (and I am going to be brutally honest here) why does she get all the presents today?

She didn’t have to do anything yet somehow, she is one with the brand new Lego set, a new umbrella, books, clothes and a fancy highlighters from Smiggle. She is the one waltzing into school with 24 chocolate cupcakes and a ‘birthday girl’ badge, getting slaps on the back and hugs from her friends.

Excuse me, what about me? My left hip will never be the same again after your ill-positioned position in utero and don’t even get me started on my poor boobs.

Isn’t it about time that we remember what birthdays actually are: the anniversary of a birth. And the poor schmuck who actually gives birth should be more than just the person who is expected to bake those 24 chocolate cupcakes.

[Ring ring. Ring ring]

Oh wait. Someone is telling me that is actually what Mothers Day is meant to be for.

Okaaaaay. Sorry about that. Let’s try a new tack…

On the 17th of February, again in 2007, I had my one and only baby shower

It was a pretty special day, because it happened to be my mum’s birthday and also in attendance was my now deceased grandmother. My mother reminded me that exactly 59 years prior, my Grandma had been in labour with her first child, in a time before baby showers, and ultrasounds, and most of the things we now take for granted. Like Facebook.

She asked me to acknowledge this during the baby shower, as she wanted to recognise that her birthday was actually a very special day for her mother.

Just as today, I am feeling pretty special. I look at my daughter, finally seven (only seven!) and think of everything I have already achieved and how much I have ahead of me.

She will prove to be my greatest teacher.

So, as well as wishing the Bombshell a Happy 7th Birthday, I also want to send my love and appreciation to all the other mums out there who are celebrating the most momentous occasion of their lives.

Happy Birth Days, mums.

We did good.

The Bombshell, two months old

Happy 7th birthday


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