Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Cherub's Day

The Cherub was at creche today. We're driving home, and I'm asking his big brother the Climber about school when a little voice pipes up.

Cherub: Max hit Timberley in the face
SG: Max hit Kimberley* in the face?
Cherub: Yeah. And Timberley drumpy wis him.
SG: Kimberley was grumpy with him? Did she say No Hitting Max
Cherub: Yeah. And Max cried.

Fast forward to later tonight. Both boys have been in bed for 30 minutes.Climber has crashed out immediately (school is very tiring). Cherub is taking his sweet time about falling asleep. He calls me. He needs a drinky watter. Fixit comes in too because he loves this time when Cherub is placid and adorable.

SG: You tell Fixit. What did Max do to Kimberley at creche?
Cherub: Max hit Timberley in the head wis a spade.
SG: Was Kimberley cross?
Cherub: Yeah. And she say No Hitting Max (pointing his own little fat finger, emphasising each word)
SG: And what did Max do?
Cherub : He have to say sorry to Timberley. Max cried. And Max sit.
SG: And were you grumpy today Cherub?
Cherub: Yeah. I sad.
Fixit: Were you grumpy?
Cherub: (points to his eyebrow) Yeah. And dis go down. (pushes eyebrow down to show us)
Fixit & SG : (exchange doting glances with each other)
Cherub: (by this time standing up in his cot and feeling pretty pleased with himself for keeping us in there, embellishes the "grumpy" face by frowning the eyebrows , closing his eyes and smiling his widest cheeky grin)
Fixit & SG : Good night Cherub.

Recorded for posterity because I just want to remember these moments when he's a surly, smelly teenager.

*Creche carer. Lovely girl. Cherub adores her.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Stompin'

Happy me, Stomper Girl. As opposed to happy mother of gorgeous children or contented in my personal life. Because I did something quite cool today and it went well and I'm quite excited. Me, in my professional capacity. A guest artist.

I am not above grumbling its not what you know but who you know when I think someone undeserving has got a gig that I might have done. But I am also quite happy to benefit from the same system, believe you me. Having my cake and eating it too. That was me today.

I was a bit nervous but they were all so nice. Took a few takes. Completely dried up on the first one!

But I think it sounds good!
*pleased wriggle and happy smile*

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Shopping

This is the little haul of books I got from the election day fete thing at the school down the road. They wanted to charge me $2 for the lot, but I talked them up to $5. My friend Nell says I don't understand how haggling works.

Today Nell and I went into the city for my first stab at Christmas shopping this year. We had one of those letters giving families and friends of Myer an extra discount on top of the big sale already on. Not that I fall into that category but I know someone who knows someone who does if you see what I mean. I wish I'd taken my camera, it was such a good Melbourne experience. Could have had a visual record of the lovely hologrammatic stars they've decorated the tram lines with this year, the Myer Christmas windows and the nice little laneway cafe where we had lunch for a start. Anyway, you'll be pleased to hear that I saved a lot of money today with all that shopping! And Nell and I had a nice time, we shop well together.

I find this part of Christmas weird and stressful. Having to do this mad amount of shopping, making, feeding, partying and consuming. And this huge emphasis our society places on "stuff" - get the latest, get the designer version, get it with bonus features. We already have a mountain of stuff in our house. I can't keep up with it all from a housewifely point of view. But in a month's time we'll have even more. Madness. And trying to do it on a shoestring budget gives me a tension headache.

I'm trying to make sense of all this blatant commercialism and consumerism by:
  • imagining the pleasure on the faces of people when they open the gift I chose specially for them. (Fingers crossed!)
  • giving people charity presents (like a year of school supplies for a Bangladeshi child) along with their Myer-sale booty.
  • trying to do a little making/baking of some presents to make them personal.
  • explaining the story of Christmas to the kids (even though we are not a religious household).
The part of Christmas I love is the creating of the Christmas atmosphere in our house. I like making my own Christmas cards, and last year we decorated our own wrapping paper. I love putting up the tree (a real one so the house is full of that gorgeous pine smell). I love wrapping the presents and putting them under the tree. I even loved making the kids personalised Christmas stocking which involved sewing. I love helping the kids do a letter to Santa. I love leaving beer and carrots out for Santa and the reindeers. I'm just a big kid.

There's so much more to do. It's not even December.

But at least I've started.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Angelina Angelina please bring down your concertina

If I could afford it I would be a regular purchaser of trashy mags. This is frowned upon by several people like for example Fixit, but I say how can I be expected to perform well at Trivia Nights if I'm not well-versed in popular culture? Anyway, when I have spare cash or if the cover story grabs me, I will slip one in the grocery shop. My last one
(NW featuring Britney Spears:
how she dumped loser Kev by SMS and lost 25KG)
came with a free tote bag - my choice of "I lost my boyfriend in Paris" (tacky) or "Angelina Stole My Husband" which I thought was quite funny, so sucked in, I bought the mag.

***************
The Climber has been doing school swimming lessons. And I'm very underwhelmed by them. Climber does weekly swim classes at another pool and he's getting very good. He has a fantastic teacher Simon (and I don't mind perving on one of his colleagues, a spunky peroxided tattooed Adonis who is so cool he looks attractive in the budgie-smugglers and yes, I've caught myself trying to check them out but the water level is too high)... Anyway. Where was I?

Oh yes. So. I've been a parent-helper, coming on the bus and assisting in the changerooms on Cherub's creche days and on the days when I have Cherub at home we tend to turn up anyway, bring the car and lend a hand so I can watch the class. The school told us all about the benefits of 2 weeks of classes for the preps and I suppose most of the kids have really improved, particularly those who have never done any swimming. But I feel like its been the worst $85 I've spent recently. This is why:
  • Climber's teacher (lets call him S) clearly dislikes young kids and looks tired and frustrated when they chat, play or muck around. Hello, what does he think 5 and 6 year-olds do in the water?
  • During the first week there was this ghastly incident involving Andrew, the weakest swimmer in that class, who was clearly being asked to do things outside his skill and confidence level and S started hounding him, barking in his face "get off the wall Andrew, we're not stopping this till you get it right" for almost half the class while the rest of them were virtually ignored. Andrew kind of took it on the chin at the time, being a nice little kid, but he was apparently in tears till 10.30 that night and adamant that he wouldn't go back to class.
  • A few discussions took place (I ended up telling the school the next day after worrying about it all night) and things never got that bad again. But now Andrew's parents and I attend EVERY class.
  • Because of the Andrew debacle, S started to teach by standing on the edge of the pool rather than getting in with the kids.
  • This meant Climber stopped listening because he responds much better to face-to-face teaching as opposed to orders barked from on high.
  • I think that S decided Climber was a troublemaker because of the not-listening thing so S started ignoring Climber. Well that's my theory. I know he never seemed to see the fact that Climber would be doing the wrong stroke up the pool or was 'cheating' by pulling himself along the wall.
  • I had a talk with Climber saying this is not good and if you want to improve you need to listen and try hard.
  • The next day he did and he swam the lap as asked, got to the end looked over at me and said "Did I do good?" and S barked at him "No you did NOT do good because you are not listening to me."
I'm just so unbelievably frustrated by this. I feel like bursting into tears when I watch it. And the crazy thing is that because Climber is exhausted from these daily classes, we haven't been able to attend his regular classes (despite still having to pay for them of course) where he gets quality tuition and is achieving like gangbusters. But there's only one more day to go and I can't be bothered, I'm not going to watch it and put myself through the stress. We'll be back with the lovely Simon on Monday. And the cute blondie.

On a nicer note, turns out Climber has a new girlfriend, made during the bus-rides to and from the pool. Her name is Angelina. They love to hug. They find each other in the crowd, smile and then ask "Cuddle?" and then wrap their arms around each other. It's just so nice. I looked at him today as he stood there tall and handsome, with his arm casually and affectionately round her shoulders and was staggered by how like his father he is!!

The class is at the end of the day, so when I have the car there is the option for him to come with me back to school rather than ride the bus. He said today that he wanted to come in the car, but then in the line-up, he and Angelina found each other. I said "are you coming in the car with me or do you want to cuddle Angelina on the bus?"

He chose the bus.

So Angelina stole my husband. And now she's after my son.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Hey Jude

Our boys have many good friends in their life.
Jude is one of them.

Jude is in the boys' extra-good books this month, because she was kind enough to send them a copy of the dvd of Cars. Jude quite often sends them cool presents like this, because not only is she a very kind and thoughtful person, she is also quite well connected in the relevant trade.

So lately we've been obsessed with all things racecar in our house. All the matchbox cars we own are on the floor or being clutched by a small pair of hands when we leave the house.

The artwork has changed.




(Guido)








(Mater)






The games have changed. There seems to be a constant hum of screeching tires or crash noises emanating from one or both of them. Somtimes they race each other on foot, or on the bikes outside. Other times they sprawl on the floor and let the matchboxes do the talking. Climber can quote quite large chunks of Cars dialogue verbatim.


It's been what you might call a smash ! Many, many thanks to Jude for making 2 little wheels-freaks very happy.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Burnt Bog Girl

Cartoon by Kaz Cooke
Her work has made me laugh many times in the last 20 years of my life.
(Good Lord has it really been that long?)


Burned the bloody dinner AGAIN last night. Well, the underneath of it anyway, ie the bit that got too hot at the bottom of the saucepan. When I say dinner, please note it was also the bulk batch of bolognese sauce for freezing. With which I'd taken some actual time and effort, using my Stephanie recipe and fresh herbs from the herb garden. Grrrr.

At an (apparently) critical moment I got called away to spend some quality one-on-one time with the Climber to help him build lego.

And when I came back there was a burnt, charred smell in the kitchen.

And yes, the whole batch has a distinctly smoky flavour now.

And the third thing Fixit said as he walked in the door (after Hello and What's for dinner?) was What have you been burning now?

And today apparently my new name is "Burnt Bog Girl"

*****************************************

So today I'm wondering why so many people actually enjoy cooking. All that work for what, 15 minutes pleasure? The way you HAVE to stay in one place to make sure you don't mess it up. No guarantee at the end of your slaving that the little fusspots you cater for will actually eat it. Likelihood of culinary efforts being met with an affronted look and a suspicious voice telling you they don't like it before they've even tried it. And going through the same grind almost every bloody night. Thank God for Take-Away Night. And my favourite, the very rare Eating Out At A Restaurant Night. (Take me out, someone, anyone...pleeeease!!)

signed (grumpily, refer cartoon above)

BBG

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Gratuitous David Beckham photo

I'm sure I could find far worthier things to be outraged about in this day and age. But today I choose ... shallow.


If Victoria Beckham chooses to turn herself into a toothpick in designer threads, I suppose that is her prerogative.

But how dare she pretend to also have a rounded luscious arse?


That woman weighs, I would say, a good 20kg less than me and she is packing more back than I got.

Posh, if you want a bum like that you should choose food, not Photoshop.

To bring some much-needed depth to this post I will now include two worthwhile links. This one was posted a little while ago by Kirsty : a great example of the sort of treatment Posh would need to get that bottom.

And this one, based on the same theme of real beauty. But I warn you it will probably make you cry.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Why I haven't posted for a few days.

Gastro..... uurrgghhh.

Just me and my nephew, struck down on their last day here so that my poor sister had to pack herself out of our house with virtually no help, in between looking after her vomiting diabetic son and her 18-month-old daughter, while I lay uselessly in bed feeling like death. And Fixit had to take the day off to manage our kids and me and try to help the outgoing visitors. Fun.

And being a bit of a Pollyanna type, I tried to find a silver lining to having my guts turned inside out and this was it: I hope I lose weight from this. Is not that a telling comment on our thin-obsessed society?

Actually I did achieve some rather fetching cheekbones from my ordeal. But they were a bit lost in the pale and drawn visage surrounding them.

Our house is still a disgrace. The day I planned to use setting it to rights (after living with 4 kids under age 6 for the week) was spent recuperating. I had to tell the babysitters not to look at my floor, and blamed my now-absent sister for everything. (And by the way sis, you left a heap of stuff behind)

Some snippets from the week.

We all went for afternoon tea at our uncle and aunt's house. The kids roamed happily outside as we grown-ups had an amused conversation about my nephew, laughing about his predilection for finding the dangerous electrical outlet, dismantling everything he came across and generally getting in where he ought not be, when my uncle glanced outside and saw said nephew carrying the Very Sharp Garden Shears. My uncle at once relieved him of the Shears, at which my nephew asked in all seriousness, but what will I cut your plants with?

Climber had a bit of girl trouble this week. He said they surrounded him in the playground, snatched away his special* treat of nanny-noodles**, told him he had to share them with Tyler and then informed him that Tyler was not his friend. This is why I shouldn't go to school, said Climber, darkly.

* because : mean parents hardly ever give him $$ to spend at the canteen.
** our healthy canteen's alternative to crisps and not their actual name but buggered if I can find out what the real name is.

He tried to tell me all this on the car-trip to my uncle and aunt's house as he sat wedged between his younger brother shouting bus, bus, bus in one ear and his cousin asking what are you talking about? in the other. And now I have annoying things on BOTH sides of me! he grumped. I took pity on him and let him travel the rest of the journey in the front with me.

But some of the girl trouble followed him to Halle's birthday party yesterday. When we arrived to pick him up, we found all the other kids playing and a very grumpy Climber barricaded in the cubbyhouse because Jessica had called him a big fat hippopotamus.


**********************

Our table came second at the creche Trivia Night last night.


I suppose that's quite good. But last year we won.

Not that I'm competitive or anything.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Last one in's a rotten egg

Doing my first ever meme. Hooray for me.

48 things you could not care less about

  1. First name? Caroline. Not to be confused with Carolyn. But I think all Carolyns and Carolines just answer to both. This is because apparently if you know a Carolyn before you know a Caroline you can only pronounce me as Carolyn. And vice versa.
  2. Were you named after anyone? No. But I like to claim Neil Diamond’s classic song as being for me.
  3. When did you last cry? I get teary-eyed at the drop of a hat. I blame parenthood. Don’t usually let it go as far as a big sooky howl though. Unless I’m watching Steel Magnolias.
  4. Do you like your handwriting? Yes. I’m very neat. And a touch arty.
  5. What is your favourite lunchmeat? Ham from a proper Christmas ham. With honeycup mustard.
  6. If you were another person, would you be friends with you? Yes. But I would find me annoying.
  7. Do you have a journal? Only this. And I don’t get that personal here. Well. Apart from telling people about my UTIs.
  8. Do you still have your tonsils? Yes
  9. Would you bungee jump? No
  10. What is your favourite cereal? I really like Crunchy Nut Cornflakes but I don’t buy it for myself. I try to do the good, healthy breakfast with lots of fibre and vitamins and acidophilus. Because I'm good like that.
  11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Never
  12. Do you think you are strong? Bits of me are. I have very weak thumbs though.
  13. What is your favourite icecream flavour? I used to work at a gourmet Melbourne Ice-Creamery and I liked their: Lemon Cheesecake. Cinnamon. Ginger. Raspberry Sorbet. But to be honest I really don’t eat much icecream any more. My mother and sister are the icecream addicts in my family.
  14. Shoe size? Virtually a 9 since the second baby.
  15. Red or Pink? All the colours of the rainbow are my friends but I’m a natural red-head so neither of these two figure highly in my wardrobe. More of a purple girl.
  16. What is your least favourite thing about yourself? My teeth
  17. Who do you miss the most? My cat
  18. Do you want everyone to send this back to you? If they wanna..
  19. What colour pants, shirt and shoes are you wearing? It’s all black & purple.
  20. Last thing you ate? A chocolate cream wafer biscuit. Allright, about 6 of them actually.
  21. What are you listening to right now? Melbourne Cup award ceremony. The sound of my nephew playing. All the other kids asleep.
  22. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be? Purple
  23. Favourite smell? Gardenia. Frangipani. Daphne. Early Cheer Jonquils. Can’t narrow it down any more than that.
  24. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? My sister (she’s at the Cup, I was checking whether my nephew would eat vegemite)
  25. The first thing you notice about people you are attracted to? Their conversation.
  26. Do you like the person you stole this from? Well, I like all the blogspots I’ve read it on.
  27. Favourite Drink? Tea. Dilmah or English Breakfast. NEVER Earl Grey. Made in a bone china pot with proper tea-leaves, served in a bone china mug, (must be white on the inside) 2 sugars in first, then pour the tea, add the low-fat milk last. Just the way Fixit makes it.
  28. Favourite sport? I really loved playing softball in my youth. I was the catcher and batted at number one because I could hit anything. I wouldn’t watch it though. I like watching dancing.
  29. Eye colour? Green
  30. Hat size? 56cm. Same as my 5-year-old son’s.
  31. Do you wear contacts? No
  32. Favourite food? Cooked by someone else. As long as there are no mushrooms, sausages, olives, anchovies, bananas, custard or an abundance of chilli in the mix.
  33. Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings
  34. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be? I’m happy here in Melbourne
  35. Summer or winter? Winter
  36. Hugs or kisses? Depends. You know how old men like to plant those big sloppy wet ones on you? Go the hug then. But my little boys can give me as many sloppy wet ones as they like.
  37. Favourite dessert? Tiramisu. Lemon Tart. Hot apple pie.
  38. Who is most likely to respond? Read the comment box in a couple of days time
  39. Least likely to respond? See above
  40. What books are you reading? Skeleton Key. The Player and the Rebels. The Ringmaster’s Daughter
  41. What's on your mouse pad? Winnie-the-Pooh (Disney version)
  42. What did you watch last night on television? I worked last night, no TV.
  43. Favourite sounds? Songs that make me want to dance.
  44. Rolling Stones or Beatles? No preference.
  45. The furthest you've been from home? Which is further: New York or London?
  46. What's your special talent? Empathy.
  47. Where were you born? Canberra
  48. Who sent this to you? No-one. I took it upon myself.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Zoo Sunday

Animals seen:
  • some big cats
  • turtles
  • the seals
  • the bears (getting jiggy with each other, oh look sweeeties, the bears are having a lovely cuddle)
Children mislaid:
  • Only my two, at separate intervals, and neither for very long...

Other fun :
  • The carousel. I wouldn't do the dodgem cars at the Royal Melbourne Show but I enjoyed the pace of this ride..
More pics here.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Where's My Floor?


I take my hat off to anyone who has FOUR kids under the age of 6! We are enjoying a visit from my sister and her 2 kids (nearly 5 and 18 months) and its lots of good fun, but seriously. Where is my floor? Actually, don't bother. When you clear away the toys and crap that are covering it you can see how dirty it is.

Fixit and I are minding all 4 of them today & Tuesday while my sister lugs her enormous camera out to the races to take (professional) photos of the horseys. The hardest part for me is being in charge of her eldest, who has diabetes. Just because its an extra worry, in that we have to keep an eye on his sugars and try to make sure he doesn't go into a high or a low. And we know what to do really, and he's terrific about all the testing and stuff but I just get anxious. I want to prick the poor kids finger every half hour, just to double-check. I restrain myself!

And on top of the kiddie-chaos, our hot water service went phut this morning. So the landlords came round and to their credit, we now have a new one (same day installation, that's pretty good service) but now our floor is even dirtier because of the initial leak and the subsequent removal of the clapped out system. I hate it when the landlords come over and the house is a shit-heap. Which it is because I didn't mop last night because I thought sweeping was enough effort seeing as they'll all just trash it tomorrow and we couldn't do dishes this morning because no hot water plus four young kids eating and playing equals M.E.S.S. I'm sure the landlords will go back to their immaculate (I'm talking plastic covers still on their lounge furniture - seriously) house and whinge about their feral tenants. But what can you do? Oh and Mrs Landlord tried to insinuate it was our fault the hot water went, because the system wasn't that old so maybe we were using it too much? Hello?

Climber took a little moment in the sun yesterday morning at school because we took his cousins into class for roll-call and he got to stand up and introduce them. And then all the Prep T kids said hello to them both, very politely and enthusiastically. Sweet.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Fine thankyou, apart from the following

List of ailments in this abode over the last week and a half.

UTI : Me (caused by this, in other words sex is bad for you)
Mild Kidney Infection : Me (because my little UTI had delusions of grandeur and wandering feet)
Thrush : Me (Caused by antibiotics to treat the previous 2 complaints)
Flu : Cherub and me (but I got it more severely due to being weakened by previous attacks on my immune system and a visit from "Aunt Irma")
Moderate Gastro?/ Food Poisoning? : Fixit (only rotten for one day- but insisted on soldiering on at work. Like he gets paid enough to do that!)

and to cap it all off...

the crowning glory...

Headlice : the Climber

I'm sure we'll all get it though. As will my visiting sister and her 2 kids. Does anyone else get an itchy head just reading or hearing the word headlice?

Unbelievably, after all these years in childcare and kinder, this is the first time our kids have had nits. I had to treat with what we had to hand, which was a really old bottle of KP24 shampoo (probably made from Agent Orange), a pretty decrepit old fine-tooth comb, and a bucketload of conditioner which I've been told to leave in as it stuns the little critters.

So I've been told tea-tree oil is the go and Kirsty recommends the robicomb. Time to go shopping!!!

scratch, scratch, scratch...