Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Lesson in English

'Look Mum, I slide-ed down on my car seat,' The Bombshell tells me.

'You slid down on your seat? Cool,' I reply.

'No Mum, I slide-ed down.'

'Well, the correct word is slid.  You slid down.'

'No it's NOT Mum,' she starts getting angry.

'Look,' I tell her, getting cranky myself. 'Who do you think knows more about the correct use of the English language?  A 30 something mother with three university degrees or a four and a half year old who hasn't finished Kindy yet?'

She opens her mouth to reply. Funny that the car door should close at that exact moment so I don't have to hear it.

I take a deep breath and walk around to my side of the car.

As I slide into my seat, I glance back in the mirror.  Her mouth is still open, she is waiting for me.

'I did slide-ed down in my seat Mum.  Gosh,' she says (sounding a lot like me), 'I know what I do-ded.'

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A very UnHappy UnBirthday

There were balloons taped to the back of the chairs.

A Happy 4 1/2 birthday sign greeted her when she came home from daycare.

There were presents on the table (two for her, one for her little sister, whose half birthday we forgot a few months back - I suppose she had better get used to it, soon-to-be-middle-child).

A pink candle was on the bench, next to the camera, waiting for the inevitable happy smiling pictures of a grateful, loving child.  A child who turned four and then all her Kindy friends promptly turned five.  She has been waiting (not so patiently) to be five, I wanted to buoy her spirits with a Half Birthday.

I even made special dessert.

I don't know why I bothered.

Children obviously lack that part of the brain that sees all the effort behind an event, or the time put into a triple layered jelly and custard trifle in specially bought plastic goblets.

With crushed up multi-coloured mini meringues to go on top.

But I'm not upset.

To be fair, a lot of adults still don't have this part of the brain.  The just see what is in front of them, not noticing whether something is handmade, or thoughtfully put together. They merely see the object, not the shadowlands of effort behind it.

I really should have known better, shouldn't I?

I really should admit that I probably put the whole thing together for myself, rather than for her.  She's four and a half.  She'd celebrate the opening of a new box of Cheerios.

I think the thing that got me the most (apart from the complaining that there were no pink balloons, that she didn't like her dinner, that she was sitting in the wrong chair etc) was that later on in the bath, she told me I was a Mean Mum.  I think I had told her to wash her feet properly because they were filthy.

Some days, like today, I have to remind myself that she is four and a half.  She is not just a little adult, shrunk down into a size 6 with long blonde pigtails.  She is a child and still learning about the subtleties of human relationships.  I am the adult, though I admit I sometimes don't act like it.

Look at me, sitting in my room, sulking on the computer to you all because my four and a half year old didn't react the way I had hoped she might. 

I still have so much to learn about being a parent, and even more to learn about myself.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How to Torture a Pregnant Woman

I think it’s hilarious when I take one of my children with me to the obstetrician, it’s almost cruel really.
I remember being pregnant for the first time, sitting in the waiting room, having absolutely zero experience of children.  A woman who had returned for her 6 week post-natal check asked me to sit with her brand new baby while she went in to see the doctor.  She vanished behind closed doors before I could splutter a ‘what? Are you mad?’ 
Naturally, as soon as she left the baby began screaming. 
Naturally I had no clue what to do and just left it in the pram. Screaming.
Naturally, by this stage she had her knickers down and was in the middle of a post-baby pap smear.
It was awful and I still resent her assumption that I knew anything about babies just because I happened to be pregnant. 
I have found a less invasive way of horrifying future parents.
I took my four and a half year old to my 24 week check-up, and we sat together in the waiting room.  Well, she sat for about a minute before she was pacing the room, asking if it was our turn next.
‘No dear, there were two others before us. You just have to wait patiently’.
Patient.  Four year old.  Ha ha ha ha ha.
‘I need to do a poo,’ The Bombshell announced to the room.
Stunned silence.  One of the dads wrinkled his nose.
‘Ok sweetie,’ I said smiling on the inside.  I turned to an 8-monther who had just walked through the door and asked if she needed the bathroom to do a pee sample. Her eyes were wide and she just shook her head.  The Bombshell was already hitching up her dress.
I locked us in the toilet much to the Bombshell’s disgust.
‘But I don’t need you Mum, you can go outside if you want,’ she said.
I thought it prudent to stay.
The Bombshell then proceeded to provide a blow by blow (or poo by poo) account of her evacuation.  At the top of her voice.  So everyone in the waiting room could hear every word.
‘One, two, three poos Mum. Ohhh this one’s a bit hard to get out,’ she said wiggling around on the seat. I won’t continue with the verbal outpourings, because one day the Bombshell might read this and hate me forever, but suffice to say, she had plenty to say about her poo.
Finally, we emerged from the toilet and resumed our seats in the waiting room.  I saw one dad snigger, his wife looked mortified and kept rubbing her belly. No one looked me in the eye.
Two minutes later, and after two more ‘is it our turn now’ from the Bombshell, she had fallen silent again. Only the rustle of Marie Claire and Interior Living magazines filled the almost full room.
‘Now I need to do a wee,’ she told the room. This time I sent her alone.
Maybe I will bring the two year old next time.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Not My Definition of Fun

Imagine, if you will, about a thousand small children and their parents in a confined space.

Add to this approximately 600 prams each the size of a Rav 4.

Add to this one bouncy castle, three face painters and one petting zoo.

Welcome to the Playgroup Annual Fun Day.

If I had read this post before I left the house, I doubt I would have made it past the front door.  A thousand small children?  Sometimes I don't cope with the two I have.

Driving into the carpark, a full ten minutes before the event was due to start should have been warning enough.  Hundreds upon hundreds of cars, predominantly SUVs (I have one, so I can make jokes), all with the tell-tale black sock in the back window, faded to a dull grey.  Many have the 'Little Dude on Board' signs or those family stickers on the back window: GymJunkie Dad, Red-Eyed Mum, Annoying Pre-schooler, Whinging Two-year old, Stretch-mark-making baby. Do they make those stickers?  Maybe they should.

Streaming from these cars, a hoard of pre-schoolers and babies in pram, dragging their mothers along. Dora and Ben10 t-shirts from here to eternity. Nappy bags the size of a small suitcase. Picnic rugs, picnic baskets, bottles of suncream the size of a 4L milk carton.

At least, some people were sensible enough to bring these things.

I remembered the toddler and thought I was doing well.  Afterall, who expects to go to a Fun Day and there BE NO FOOD? I live for cake stalls.

I shouldn't complain because I am a member of Playgroup, have been since the Blonde Bombshell was about 8 months old, and she and Miss Curly Mop love their weekly playgroup sessions.  The Fun Day is totally free, put on by the organisation and full of activities such as a petting zoo, face painting, Scitech stall and bouncy castle. 

But I will complain, because did I mention that there were probably 1000 children?  And three face painters.  You do the math. I'm already good at math.

This was the queue for the face painters 10 minutes after the event opened.
From my vantage spot under a shady tree, toddler still strapped inside her pram, the queue for the face painters stretched like one of my dubious analogies.  I was mightily impressed with the patient children and their patient mothers, but I was wondering how long things would stay calm, until one of the children made a run for it to the front shouting 'My turn!' or a mother snapped and ran shouting 'My sanity!'

It was a short-lived morning for us, the trek back to car an exercise in precision pramming, trying to avoid half-crazed three year olds trying to wedge themselves under the pram wheels.  Above the rumbling of our stomachs, the constant droning of the PA system identifying lost children by the colour of their hair and the superhero on their t-shirt.

If the car park was stuffed full when we arrived, it had vomited by the time we left. The look of resignation in the eyes of mums endlessly circling the carpark turned to manic desperation when they saw us leaving.  I felt sure there would be an incident when two station wagons faced off for my car park.  I will be watching the outcome on the 9 News tonight.

We made it out alive, with our orange playgroup balloon and bag full of brochures about the zoo and baby photographers. And strangely enough, a free dummy. Perhaps they were included to quell the cries of of hungry toddlers.

* This post is dedicated to my good friend Louise, who told me in no uncertain terms that I need to write more because there is nothing decent on TV.

Daycare Drop-Off

'Mum, can I do my own buckle?'

Sure thing.

'Mum, can I get out your door today?'

As long as you don't push any buttons on the way out. It took me ages to figure out what that beeping was last time.

'Hold my hand. Hold my hand.  Look Mum! We're holding hands.'


'Hewo. Bye bye.'

Darling, don't frown - that's the letter box.  They don't say hello back.

'Hello everyone.  This is my sister!'

They know darling, we come to daycare every week.

'C'mon, let's play.'

Remember that this is the little kids room, not for big kids.  Wait, too late.  She's off teaching the two year olds how to draw flowers.  Might just... sit... on... the couch... for a while.  Grunt.

'Not much longer then.'

I'm sorry?

'Your baby.  You look like you are very close now.'

No, I am only 24 weeks, I just eat a lot of donuts.

'Mum, I think the Mop smells funny.I think she has done a poo'

Time to go.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My life by the numbers

Lately I have been feeling a bit rough around the edges, a bit tired and grumpy.  I'm sure I wasn't always this irritable. I'm sure I used be a rollicking good time, full of fun and energy.
I am only 34, so what is my problem?

I will tell you what my problem is...

Since September 2006 I have been pregnant for 23 months (so far).

I have breastfed for over 20 months.

I have had morning sickness for a whole year.

I have gone on or off two different types of pill 10 times or more, with all the hormone changes that comes with it (good times, huh hubby...)

I have gained and lost over 30kg (more gain than loss though).

I have been to over 400 Mother's Group and Playgroup sessions.

I have done over 700 loads of washing.

I have done over 3,500 pigtails.

And I have changed over 1,600 nappies.

Those numbers terrify me a bit, especially when I think about the fact that they will only get bigger (especially the weight gain one).

There are other numbers, harder to calculate perhaps, but more important.

I have cuddled my daughters more than 20,000 times.

There have been hundreds of 'I love you Mummy'.

I have had over 1,600 nights of being able to watch my child sleeping peacefully (why are children so beautiful when they are asleep?)

When the Blonde Bombshell was born I was so enamoured I told her I would kiss her a million times before she turned one.  My maths ability had obviously disappeared along with my waist line and it took me a while to realise this would mean I would need to kiss her almost 3,000 times a day to achieve this.  That's two kisses a second, not leaving much time for anything else.

Perhaps if I had spent more time kissing her and less time doing laundry then I might not be so grumpy four years down the track. I'd probably also be quite stinky by now, so we could have nixed Baby Number Two and Three.

I'm still working on those million kisses, but it is a number I am willing to achieve. The good thing is, now the Bombshell is at an age when she can help me, so we are working on it together. 

I don't know what number the little kiss on the nose she just gave me would have been.

It's probably not important anyway.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Exercising with Children


We are in the car on the way home from Kindy.

'Why didn't you make me sandwiches for Kindy?' asks The Bombshell.

I looked at her in the rear view mirror.  'I made you quiches,' I said.

'But I don't like quiches, I like sandwiches.'

Grrrr. This is a complete fib, I think to myself. I watched her eat eight in a single sitting once.

'I thought it would be fun to have something new at lunch,' I say. 

She changes tack.

'I don't like the big ones, I only like the small ones,' she tells me.

Now I'm getting cranky.  Miss Curly Mop is watching the exchange with interest.  She finds it fascinating when Lexi gets yelled at and she isn't.  She can probably tell what is going to happen if the Bombshell continues down this path.

'Why don't you like the big ones, they have exactly the same ingredients as the small ones, they just have more.'

'But the black ones...', she says.

'I didn't give you any black ones,' I say.  As if I burn my mini quiches!

'But I only like the black ones...'


The Bombshell and I are in the shower and she has pointed out that I have some red spots on my back.  She helpfully gives them a poke as she counts them.

Naturally I cannot see them, but for some reason I think if I twist around I will be able to see my own back.  Pregnancy is doing nothing for my common sense let alone my agility.

I give up trying to look at my own back.

The Bombshell shrugs.  'Maybe you're just getting old,' she offers helpfully.


Still in the shower, the Bombshell is covering herself in soap suds.

'I like this,' she says.  'It smells like lemon.'

'Pretty smart,' I tell her.  'It's called lemongrass.'

She looks up at me, her eyes wide.  I can tell she has just had a big idea.

'Ooooh lemongrass, that's a nice name.  Maybe we should call the baby Lemongrass.'


The Bombshell and I are out of the shower, and I am twisting around in the mirror to find these red spots on my back. 

I don't like what I see.  It's all a bit blobby and wobbly, and those aren't even the bits that are pregnant.

I must have had a frown on my face, because the Bombshell walks up to me, wraps her arms around my legs and tells me: 'Mum, you're perfect just the way you are.'
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