Friday, June 26, 2009

In which 10-year old Teddy and I have a wild Saturday night of occupational therapy.

The upside to being shaken suddenly out of slumber several times in the night by wailing babes or toddlers with odd requests (Mum, I haffa have a jam sandwich in my bed NOW!) is that you remember your dreams. Much more than when you peacefully come to a natural state of alert.

Last night I had a great one.

Teddy was about ten, and he and I went off to the RSL for our favourite Saturday evening outing - a night called Fancy Apartments.

There were big boxes everywhere with labels like 'Lounge-Room' and 'Den', and lots of tables set up with cardboard houses. We all hung out and arranged furniture, picking through boxes and admiring each others decor.

It was sort of like Play School meets Grand Designs.

Just a top night out.

If only it could be real.

Lemon cordial.

Bag of lemons, cup of sugar, internet connection for access to this recipe, and a toddler soux chef: $5

Practicing fine-motor skills with a crap-shop plastic funnel: $2

Watching a baby eat a lemon: priceless.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bread bag.

More often than not, this blog is the place where I vent frustrations, tootle on about my kids, expouse crackpot theories and follow ridiculous thoughts to pointless conclusions.

Thanks for listening.

But I do actually put my typin' fingers to proper use every once in a while. And since some of my favourite blogs detail the practical everyday parts of life, I've decide to make more of an effort to do the same.

To that end, I bring you:

Bread Bag!

Terrible pics, but nonetheless: I made this on the weekend. Tea-towel, velcro strip, hand-sewed around the edges.

Baking the bread we eat every day, wrapping it up in a piece of practical prettiness, and storing it in the pottery crock that lived on the kitchen counter of my childhood
everyday happy magic for this old dog.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

On discipline

For July Coastkids Magazine.

It’s been an intense month or two around here. Illness, tantrums, and breakdowns: physical (kiddos) mechanical (cars) and mental (Mummy.) Teddy, post-flu, went through a stage where he would only sleep in my arms or lying on my pillow, nose-to-nose. I tried to explain some fundamental physics to him: Mummy is occupying this exact place in space, so you can be next to Mummy, but you can’t actually be where Mummy is. He didn’t get it. Continued trying to burrow through my face for comfort I couldn’t give him. Last night was the first time he's slept alone at night for weeks.

Ivy caught a strain of flu where one of the symptoms was extreme naughtiness. It really forced me to face my own inadequacies as a disciplinarian. To paraphrase Kierkegaard: ‘Parenting can only be understood backwards, but must be lived forwards.’ Disciplining a toddler is like trying to get a wetsuit onto a peeled banana. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, it wriggles out of your grip. And the mess is everywhere.

I consulted a groaning pile of books. They basically told me not to bother – most punishments are too abstract for a toddler. Supervise, they say. Make the space safe, provide entertainment and divert attention away from the seductive appeals of bad behaviour. I’m sure this would work if I never had to do any other jobs. No washing-up to clear. No teetering piles of laundry to put away. No squashed sultanas to excavate from car seats and ear-holes. Especially, no sick and sooky sibling who needs to be carried everywhere. It’s true, Ivy is good as gold with all my attention upon her. It’s when I have to take my adoring eyes away that the naughty demons take over.

Time to start imposing some rules on this little pantomime. First we tried the naughty corner. It worked briefly, and then became a fun place to visit. Ivy would perform some forbidden act, look up excitedly and ask ‘Corner?’ Next, we tried the high shelf. The Wiggles DVD, Ivy’s car, Daddy’s lunchbox, or the treasure-of-the-moment would end up there. Sometimes all at once. On occasion, the naughty shelf was piled so high it threatened the stability of the house. I knew the naughty shelf had stopped working the day Ivy got the hopeful look and asked ‘Shelf?’

Last week, during the virus of naughtiness, I tried shutting Ivy is a dark bedroom for a couple of minutes of Time Out. It occurred to me later that this method is perhaps not optimal. In fact, it’s sort of Victorian. It could be the first step on a slippery slope that ends with sending her into the coal cellar to think about Hell for four hours.

It sort of worked, which is to say that she screamed her head off for a minute and then stared wheedling ‘Mummy, come back here…’ I put my stern face in place, and had a conversation with her that went something like this:

- Ivy, do you know why Mummy put you in Time Out?
- I have to watch Wiggles Go Bananas.
- Look at Mummy. Mummy put you in Time Out because you kicked Teddy.
- I want the Wiggles to come at my house.
- You kicked Teddy, didn’t you, Ivy? Do you remember?
- Can Murray Wiggle ride to my house on a horse, Mummy?
- Just listen, please. We don’t kick or hit. Say ‘I won’t kick Teddy’.
- I won’t kick Teddy.
- Thank you. Off you go then.

Moments later, Teddy is wailing, I am defeated and Ivy is excited. ‘Corner?’ she asks hopefully.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nice melons.

Kindly and lyrical Amber over The Nutrients Of Life sent me a Watermelon Award - which says that my blog is sweet and refreshing.

Or seedy, dense and bad with beer.

Or something.

Thanks Amber!

Its not like I have to dust off my mascara, wax my legs and thank my heavenly father, but still, it's not often I get an award! (If I did, here would be my top picks: 1. Nicest snack pack. 2. Best making-a-banana-dance-in-the-front-seat-to-amuse-the-kids, and 3. Most patient response to wee on the carpet/kick in the head/keys down the toilet. )

So I'm supposed to name 6 things that make me happy, and then pick 6 of my own favourite blogs.

1. Number one with a (chocolate) bullet: Keith, Ivy and Theoodore, my three beloveds. It's some kind of karmic Lotto that I get to wake up with, go to bed with, and hang out with them every day. Bliss indeed.

2. Dark chocolate, a new issue of Grass Roots magazine, a free hour and a hot bath.

3. Tucking tracksuit pants into socks, and t-shirts into tracksuit pants, as Keith and I joyfully slide into middle age.

4. Coming home and hearing Teddy trip over his own feet and hands as he tries desperately to crawl at a gallop up the hall to Mummy. If he was a cartoon, he'd be a gormless puppy with legs cartwheeling in the air. Oh, to be loved!

6. Watching series TV on DVD with Keith while babies sleep. Currently - The Wire and the L Word are nicely feeding the two sides of my brain... where I just might be a hip Californian lesbian with an edgy haircut, a desk in Homicide and an unresolved dark past.

And now, to share the sweet and sticky love:

Jo: one half of the Thorneley funny-twins. Jo's best moment- when she realised that 'swine flu' was the past tense of 'pigs fly.'

Shelley: the other half. Also wet-your-pants funny. And if we ever get the band back together, we can revisit our three part harmony to 'You Are My Sunshine' on the nose-flute.

Christel: A new eco-for-kids blog with interesting links and a little Gallic style.

Tori: Food. Porn.

Total Sustainability: Such a great blog about an inspiring way of life.

PottyMouth Mama: Sweet, personal, quirky. Humour and love for her family infuse every post. A great read.

Thanks to you all for sweetening my days.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A lovely time.

Tonight, constructing vege burgers, I tried to be cool as Ivy practiced climbing in and out of Teddys high chair in the kitchen. I was nervous.

I've been musing on 'stepping back' lately, and allowing her to be more of a danger mouse. Of course, I know that this means she will break her neck and I will burn in a Hell of my own making.

Such are the sweet thoughts of motherhood.

Ivy chanted 'Be careful! Be careful!' to save me the trouble as she arkwardly clambered in and out. Teddy rearranged the Tupperware drawer to a pattern in his head and and shouted 'Bah!' in delight.

Finally, Ivy rested in trumph, sang a few lines of 'Click Go The Shears', and then said 'We're having a lovely time, Mummy.'

'Yes, we are,' I said.

Plus, she was wearing this hat.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This little girl makes us happy.

Ivy and I found her on the YouTube Sesame Street channel. I was desperate to inject Naughtybuttons with some happy juice. It worked!

Fly me to the moon (away from all the whinging.)

Not much time to write this week. I've been spending a lot of time managing Ivy's whim of iron. This week she has been possessed by a whinging demon. Poor little one has had a cold, and when she's not demanding blueberries she's picking her nose and then instructing: 'Hold my boogies, Mummy.' She's complaining about everything, but one incident really says it all.

On a walk this weekend:

'Daddy, ' Ivy wailed, 'I want the MOON!'

Request repeated a few times, volume rising, in case we hadn't understood. Finally, Dad cracked. 'You CANNOT have the moon, Ivy, ' he said. 'It is a celestial body and not a toy. Daddy cannot get it, and you cannot have it.'

Next, a pony.

Friday, June 5, 2009

a funny thing happened to a liberal backbencher...

Poor Jason Wood had a brain explosion in Parliament yesterday. Result: comedy gold.

The benefits and risks associated with genetically modified orgasms?

The mind boggles.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

up, up and away

I was feeling sentimental as I mixed up Teddy’s first bottle of formula this week. ‘My baby,’ I thought sadly. ‘No more breastfeeding with my tiny, gentle little boy…’ and then the thoughts trailed off as I watched him bite into that plastic nipple, chewing and worrying it like a Labrador with a rubber chicken. Funny, my nostalgia just melted away.

At nine months, he is getting very strong and wriggly, and with four teeth up top, and two below, he’s developing a fine pincer grip. Breastfeeding is becoming less like an intimate, sweet symbiosis between mother and child, and more like the early scenes of a horror movie. I know I’m going to scream, but I just don’t know when.

He eats everything I put in front of him. The Italians would call him 'a good fork.' I know he's getting enough nutrition without needing breast milk so much now.


Say it isn't so.

Monday, June 1, 2009

In which i drink a little Shiraz and come over all Dada

Should breastfeeding mothers wear alcohol-inhibiting ankle bracelets?

I went out for a girls night this weekend with my new local crew. Keith and I don't like to leave the house much these days. We prefer to play banjo and write up the times our neighbours enter and leave the street in a little log book.

I had a really, really good time, but I did wake up with some drinkers remorse.

A few glasses of red, and I've made two obscene speeches. Like, really obscene. And also, bizarre. My friends in Sydney were out on at the same time. Reports in from that gathering have it ending with two friends photographing their genitals and then asking passers-by to rate the photos.

Possibly, Coledale got off lightly. Also, the wedding could be interesting. I might rethink the plans for video.

But get this - next morning, Teddy woke me for a feed at 7am, then went back to sleep in our bed, and he and Ivy didn't wake again until 9.30! They've never done that! How did they know Mummy had the Shiraz-flu?

Top kids.