Saturday, November 24, 2012

Please Ignore My Daughter

‘Come in,’ I said to the man who had arrived to give me a quote for a painting job. ‘Please ignore my daughter in the corner.’

‘What? Why?’ he asked.
‘Oh,’ he said.

The Mop was sitting stark naked on the potty in the middle of the family room. Next to her a roll of toilet paper, her undies and her dress. She clutched her favourite toy, tears in her eyes.
She had been there an hour.

I should have known better than to allow a tradie to come by at 5.30pm on a Friday. It’s not a time typically known to be particularly relaxed in most households with small children. Dinner was burning on the stove, the baby was screaming because she was hungry, the Bombshell was sulking because I wouldn’t let her start painting five minutes before dinner. And my husband was nowhere to be found.
The Mop, in her own good time, had finally decided she should start using the potty. It’s been going ok, except for the bit where she had diarrhoea for a few days. Somehow, good fortune had it that she was always in a nappy at the times her bottom exploded. Like bedtime. Awesome.

Except today, when she ran inside to do a wee on the potty, her bottom decided to explode. I didn’t realise this initially, as I was making meatballs and couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.
‘I’m afraid of the stick,’ she wailed.

‘What stick?’ I asked. ‘Did you step on something outside?’
‘No,’ she moaned. ‘The stick, I don’t like the stick.’

‘I think she means the stink, Mum’ the Bombshell said helpfully, from where she was reclining next to the potty. ‘She smells pretty awful,’ she added.
‘Then move!’ I groaned. I went and sat down next to the Mop. She looked so miserable. ‘Stand up honey, and I will wipe your bottom,’ I told her. She shook her head. ‘I don’t like the stink’, she said.

‘Honey, poo always smells funny. It’s just that you haven’t noticed before because it’s been in a nappy. Trust me though,’ I added, ‘Mummy has noticed.’
I tried to pull her up off the potty, and she started screaming hysterically. ‘Well you can’t stay there forever,’ I said.  ‘Yes I can,’ she told me. ‘I want a nappy,’ she moaned. It’s a bit late for that, I thought.

I knew the painter guy was only minutes away at this point and decided not to risk hauling her off the potty and having her have a poo melt-down all over the walls (although, they were going to be painted in a day or two). So I went back to the meatballs.
Every few minutes I would check in with her. ‘Can I wipe your bottom now?’ I would ask. ‘No. But can I have dinner?’

‘No dinner on the potty,’ I said.
The doorbell rang and I invited the painter in. He said hello to all the girls, including the naked one on the potty, which I think was awesome. I hate it when people ignore my kids in their own house.

Still she sat there. She was waiting for Daddy, she said. I wondered if she thought Daddy would magically take the stink away. I had already sent him two text messages warning him of joyous task that awaited him when he got home. The second one simply read ‘she’s been on there for half an hour. HELP!’
I took the painter outside to show him downpipes that needed painting. The roll of toilet paper got stuck on my foot and it rolled outside after me. He bent down and picked it up for me. Now that’s service.

Finally, after an hour my husband, the poo saviour, walked through the door. The Mop burst into tears. ‘I did poo. It stinks,’ she told him. He went to change out of his white work shirt and I took the painter out the front to look at more downpipes.
A few minutes later, with a new nervous tic in his eye, my husband reappeared with a clothed and nappied Mop. ‘Got a tummy upset, has she?’ was all he asked.

Something like that.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Life Intruded

Do you think that's a good name for a novel?

If I ever get around to writing my autobiography, I think that is what I will call it. Because it will explain why despite my best of intentions (and the occasional good idea), I never got around to finishing my novel.

Life has a knack of getting in the way of my writing. And by 'life' of course, I mean 'kids'.

I wrote a while ago that this was NaNoWriMo and I was going to make a crack of getting 50,000 words of my first novel out by the end of November. Today is the 20th and I have written about 17,000 words. You do the math. Unless aliens come down and kidnap my three children and take them to the best creche in the universe - for ten days straight - there is no way I am going to make it.

I even have a good idea for a novel. Two in fact.

I spent the last two weeks of October writing a detailed plan of one novel, with character studies and a plot (though, alarmingly, no ending. That should have rung alarm bells immediately).

Then while I was standing on the corner of George and Liverpool Street in Sydney, on the last day of our holiday, I got a new idea. Two weeks of preparation went down the toilet and I ran straight into NaNoWriMo with a new story with no plan whatsoever. I do have an ending though.

And if I say so myself, it's a little bit naughty. So much so, that even if I write the damn thing, I would be reluctant to let anyone I know actually read it, unless they can't look me in the eye afterwards. Or look me in the eye with a raised eyebrow and a saucy, knowing grin.

November was always going to be a tough month for me to write with abandon. We were in Sydney for the first 3 days, then my husband was away twice for work. Less than 6 hours after he hopped on the plane for his second stint in Adelaide, the Mop was vomiting with a tummy bug. I spent the next 24 hours doing four loads of washing because I rather stupidly kept remaking the bed in between vomits. Nice... but stupid.

So, just in case you think I am giving up - I'm not. I will continue to keep going with my novel. Even if I make it to 25,000 words this year, I think it's a decent first effort.  But this is where I ask for help.  Every now and then (not every day, because I will go mental) will you drop me a line and ask how the novel is going.  Maybe a bit of external encouragement will keep me going.

And then in about a decade (don't they say it takes ten years to write a first novel?) you can all read my saucy little novel, and all stare at with me with a raised eyebrow and saucy, knowing grin.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

When Good Intentions Go Bad

The Curly Mop has a little blanket with an elephant head called Ella.

Really, it's not as creepy as it sounds.

Because the Mop developed such an attachment to Ella, we went out and bought a second one, so there was always a spare in the drawer if she got covered with food, or vomit, or if we ever lost one.

We lost one.

Our family has just returned from a week in Sydney. Unfortunately, Ella did not make it home. She disappeared on the last day. Whether she was dropped inadvertently, pinched by a two year old pickpocket or just decided she liked the bright lights of Sydney more than she liked Perth, we'll never know.

The Mop was distraught, but knowing that we had a spare waiting at home I told her that I was sure someone would find Ella and get her home to us in Perth. Sure enough a few hours after we got home, I dumped spare Ella on the front doormat, rang the doorbell and bolted.

The Bombshell was most impressed that Ella had returned home and asked all sorts of sticky questions about how the person knew where we lived etc etc.

The Mop just squeezed and squeezed and wouldn't let Ella go.

Good on ya Mum.

Then this morning the Mop asked for her 'other Ella'.

Umm, excuse me?

'My have two Ellas. My need the other one,' the Mop said. 'She's in the drawer' she added very helpfully.

Oh crap.

So I had to come clean to the Mop (and the Bombshell) that the other Ella did *not* in fact make it home to Perth, and that she had been lost in Sydney, and there she will stay. Her face just crumbled and my heart dissolved. So I did what any mother would do: I offered her someone else's toy.

Baldy Baby has two little blankets with bear heads.  Again, not as creepy as it sounds. She is 8 months old and hasn't shown any interest in them (probably because they are in the drawer and she has never even seen them) so I offered them to the Mop and said she could choose one to be Ella's new friend.

She promptly grabbed both of them and tossed the remaining Ella in her bedroom.

Mum fail.
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