Friday, February 26, 2010

Style Envy

I won the most adorable dress by Brusselsprouts for Ivy in a giveaway a little while ago, and it arrived in the post yesterday. No camera, so no pics, dammit, but I can tell you this little frockeroo ties on one shoulder and has a tiny teapot on the front pocket.

It could not be sweeter if it was delivered with a bucket of puppies wearing hats.

But also, the package itself was a thing of such beauty I am bestruck with a great honking case of Style Envy.

So the parcel itself is red, which excites one immediately. It has a funny little label on it and it's sealed with a quirky little apple sticker. Inside is a spotty paper packet, tied with string and adorned with a little dog badge and a couple of funny postcards.

I hereby beseech you all to buy every present you ever need from now on at the fabulous online handmade-emporium Georgie Love. It doesn't even matter that the products themselves are lovely - the package they come in will be enough to raise your serotonin levels to happy-plus-even-a-bit-more-happy.

What's the Cultural Identity of the Mogantosh Family?

I just had to answer this question in a form for Ivy's pre-school. It might have been easier if we were Greek-Australian, or Wiccan, or Orthodox Jedi.

I thought for a while and in the end I wrote Anglo-Saxon atheist bourgeois-bohemian bogans.

She'll make her own way, I know, but I hope she'll never forget her roots.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Efficiency of The Sloth.




The koala has a nice set-up. I'd like to sleep 23 hours a day and then chew a few leaves for a while. But here I am, living with two tiny tornados that keep wanting me to feed them and make cardboard hats. *

This morning, for instance, we've had a tea party, dragged Ivy's bed out to the loungeroom and set up a new nest, covered Ted in sticky labels, put the trucks into a garage, surfed around the house on a boogie board, and emptied the tea-towel drawer.

In between, I cleaned up breakfast, threw a loaf into the breadmaker, made the beds and put load of nappies on. I was disappointed to discover that what I thought was a tea-towel around my neck was in fact, the leggings that Ivy wee'd on this morning. They only made it halfway to the laundry.

Now, Sesame Street is on and I am taking a little koala time. Sit down, chew on a coffee and have a think.

I have two columns to write these days, and various domestic projects waiting patiently for their turn to come to the top of the pile. Also, I have books to read, baths to float in, a husband to chat to and blogs to surf.

I've decided the key is to be slothful, yet efficient. To Maximise My Lazification. Last night, for example, I watched Big Love, then Brothers and Sisters, THEN i watched half of the film Couples Retreat. It was like a relationship-dramady binge. (Can you tell Keith is in Canberra?) In the ads I cleaned up the kitchen and during the borning bits I sorted out my admin box. It was deeply lazy and yet highly productive, all at once.

That's multi-tasking, people!

*ps: do I sound like I'm complaining? I'm not. I'm as happy as a pig on a potty.

Monday, February 22, 2010

In which surprise skulls arrive in the mail!

The sweetest package arrived in the mail on Friday from the wonderful and quirky PMM.

No pictures -dang that camera! I can't document my moments!

*pause for early morning new-century existential crisis*

But it's a yard of the funniest fabric: flowery, colourful skulls, ready and waiting to be sewn up into something fabulous for Ivy-Cakes. Quickly, before Feb is over...

(The skulls are still talking. And living in her kidneys. If I ask her what her skulls are up to and she doesn't feel like the conversation, she snaps 'Shh! They are all asleep, Mum!')

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Colour Me Stupid.

My camera is busted, which is a shame, because today we reached a new low in grooming here at the derro-fabulous Mogantosh ranch.

Ivy, Ted and I spent a funny half-hour on the deck this afternoon playing with big bowls of water. I refilled them a lot, in crazy colours, because sometimes I'm Fun Like That. And, crucially, because I thought food colouring just washed off.

Ivy and I spent an especially long time squirting Teddy all over the hair with little baby Panadol syringes. He likes to be a fun puppet for the ladies. I let Ivy squirt me in the face, and then I called an end to the party and hauled everybody off to the bath.

Where the stains didn't come out.

What the what?

Ivy and Teddy have preschool and daycare tomorrow. He's got greenish hair and a stripe down his nose, and she has multicoloured streaks all over. Plus, she reached five stars on her Rewards Chart, and got the current favourite prize from the box- a sheet of temporary tatts. No prizes for guessing the design...yes, skulls and crossbones all over her stomach.

Me, I scrubbed off OK, except for a faint blue tinge all around one eye. It doesn't look good... for Keith's standing in the local community.

I have to do some work in the library tomorrow, where I already have a bad reputation. Possibly, they may look a little more kindly on me now that they know I'm a battered wife, struggling to cope with an early-onset psychiatric disorder in the family.

And on that topic, thanks all for your kind words yesterday. I'm on Team Ivy too, all the way. (To the locked ward. )

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ivy is a lunatic. But she's not a lunatic.

I ran into my friend Sarah at the park this morning and she told me something that was, at first, hilarious, and increasingly since, disturbing.

'Is Ivy OK?' she asked. 'Because I was talking to this girl- she doesn't know you but she's read your column, and she said to me that Ivy had Multiple Personality Disorder.'

'Yes, totally, ' I laughed, and then while she looked at me confused, I added slowly, 'but, not, you know, pathologically. Just in the way of a three-year-old.'

We both looked down at Ivy, who was practicing hoop-di-doo, her own dance move that involves putting her head on the fround and raising one foot in the air. 'Who are you today, Ivy?' I asked. Without a pause, she answered 'Big Oscar.'

Sarah's friend had read this column, a light piece about life with an imaginative child. It never occured to me that someone could read it another way.

I've been feeling wierd and worried about it since. Is this woman just a fruit bar? Or should I put some sort of caveat at the end of everything I write stating 'These opinions are intended as charming comedy, even if reader finds them nobby and humourless.' ?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In Which Keith Dances Through a Masculinity Crisis.

Keith is lying on the lounge with Ivy, telling her chapter 15 of his on-going story about Tortellini, the fairy that rides about on Ted's shoulder and sleeps in Ivy's shoe. She makes their tricycles fly, and they usually need to fly at some point in their adventures. Tonight Tortellini's friends Spaghetti, Fettucine and Ravioli (the chubby one) are over to ride grasshoppers around the garden.

It's a sweet sight, this little ritual.

It makes up a little for an hour ago, when Teddy, all post-bath and coconut-massage, clean jarmied and fresh-nappied, poured his milk on the floor and started frantically stomping it everywhere. I called out to Keith to stop the madness.

Did Keith help?

No, he didn't.

He continued to dance a one-legged cha-cha on the rug, waving his crutches and singing along to 'Lean On Me' on the radio.

He feels emasculated, he jokes, because he can't walk and I am doing his Man Jobs, like hauling the bins half a kilometre up the dirt track to the main road. But I think only a true man can really inhabit the emotional landscape of an overweight fairy, and interpret 80's calypso pop through dance , even when he must crawl to the toilet.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Work of House.

Keith is hobbling about on crutches tonight. It's an improvement from this morning when he was shuffling along on his bum like a Great Dane with itchy worms. He buggered his foot playing soccer. I am now on full parental/house duty. Ivy is going through a changeling pre-school adjustment phase: now adorable, now certifiable... My only relief? A good, hard whinge.

February Column - CoastKids Magzine

Recently I suffered an attack of bursitis. I could walk okay, but it was less of a supermodel-slink and more of a wino-waddle. I took my sore and sorry hip off to the osteo, he of the soothing tones and the healing hands. ‘Ice it at night,’ he told me. ‘And don’t walk too much.’ Easy done, I thought, mentally absolving myself from the arduous task of planning the three long walks a week I never take.

Oh, how wrong I was. I had never really thought about the kilometers walked in a day around my house, just to keep the family alive, semi-hygienic and not suffocated under the weight of unfolded washing and half-chewed sandwiches.

A typical morning starts with breakfast. One-year-old Teddy throws everything on the floor and then pours milk on it. Three-year-old Ivy requires four types of food and at least two surreal discussions on life, testing the contents of the fridge and my brain capacity at 7.30am. I get them cleaned, dressed, de-nappied, re-nappied, and ready for a day of rambunctious destruction.

I take a deep breath, and begin on a looping schedule of mess management. Constant meals must roll out of my short-order kitchen; all requiring shopping, planning and washing-up. A load of laundry every day, at least. Nappy-changing, cloth-nappy chores and toddler toilet-management. Vacuuming. Sweeping. Settle in, friends! I’m just getting started here.

Bed-making. Filling and emptying backpacks. Toilet-scrubbing. Toy-tidying. Bread-baking. Meal-freezing. Snack-packing. Mystery-stain soaking. Doctor-booking. Swim-classing. Nail-clipping. Random and disgusting occasional jobs, like excavating ossified fruit from car seats and bleaching high-chair straps. And just running in to pick up some milk. (Five times a week, at least.)

Let’s call that Whinge A: a predictable, consistent list. But there’s also Whinge B: the random work of managing the debris created by two small children. Picture, for a moment, the eight-armed Indian goddess Kali; wandering my halls and throwing objects into all the far corners. Sometimes I feel I’ve lived a whole day before 8am.

Between tasks, I’m sure Ivy and Teddy regard me as in-flight entertainment and will, any day, just point the remote at me and press ‘Play.’ I might be made, like a performing monkey, to dance like the Wiggles, create a cubby out of four sheets of toilet paper and a lettuce, or make toy animals go to sleep and wake up again forty-five times in a row, while wearing a hat made of a Weet-Bix box. Often, I must pause for sibling relationship counseling or tantrum management. At three and one, Ivy and Ted need almost constant supervision. There’s a fine art to intervening at the moment the game ‘Lets poke each other with breadsticks,’ turns from giggling hilarity into hysterical recrimination. It’s a little like trying to manage a dinner date between a lunatic and a drunk.

Sometimes I’m sure that they actual conspire. ‘OK, we’ve got five minutes while she puts the washing on. You take the kitchen, I’ll take the bedroom. Here’s your texta – it’s permanent so don’t hold back. One-two-three- go!’

Home life with two preschoolers requires so much multi-tasking that I end up running all over the place like a madwoman’s shit. There’s no solution. So here’s what my osteo should have said: ‘Your hip’s buggered. Your best bet is to find a way to publish a long-winded lengthy diatribe about the housework. It won’t help you recover, and it will be five minutes of your readers lives that they’ll never get back, but it just might take your mind off the pain.’

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Toddler Pants from a T-Shirt

Teddy wears cloth nappies. He has a big bum. He needs pants. Using this video tutorial from the excellent website RookieMoms, I made him some from an old t-shirt of Keith's. Actually, I buggered up the steps a little bit, and checking out their sources, I might go with this tutorial from redcurrant next time.

This old Nelson Mandela shirt is super soft. I tried to feature the text but my brain doesn't work that way. It's upside down.

Still, they are very light and great for summer, and even though I did a bodgy job, I think I know where I went wrong. Am I causing pain to you good and decent seamstresses out there with my loose threads and my twisted elastic? Does it help you to know that I am a little bit ashamed? A little ashamed. BUT a little proud, too. ..cause I made them - as Ivy would say - all by my own.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Amazing Opportunity

Check this ad out: could you live in a 'smart home' for a year and write ongoing reviews of technology (Iphones, hybrids, etc)? Rent, energy and water free.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Kids Clothes for grabs at Georgie Love

Portal of all-things-fabulous Georgie Love is hosting a giveaway of kids clothes by Brusselsprouts. Ivy starts pre-school tomorrow and I keep thinking about it. ... What should she wear? What should I wear? What to pack for lunch? Will I breach some public nuisance law if I poke binoculars through the fence?

To be in the running for a piece from the range, like this Kitchen Dress:

Just head here.

Random Snatches of Comedy, Tenderness and Dream-Life

Lately, I've been having vivid dreams with a lot of jazz ballet in them. Last night, I was a waitress and Keith was my boss. I tried to convince the other staff that every time we went into the kitchen we should do that finger-snapping, knees-bent jazz walk past the customers. I thought it was so hilarious that I woke up snorting.

Last week I dreamed I went down to some dangerous docks, where a dozen sailors were hanging from railings and crouched on the planks, in your classic West Side Story jazz-criminal poses. I was doing a sort of seductive chicken dance while they snapped their fingers menacingly.

Then last month I dreamed that I tried to sew Keith a pair of shorts, They ended up as a panel of carpet at the front, with a g-string at the back. I was embarrassed but gave them to him anyway and he wore then to be supportive. I dreamed about those shorts twice.

Ivy's Imaginarium continues to fascinate us. This week: 'I have secret eyes, Mummy. They are green and when I put on glasses I can see things. Penguins. Thomas tooting. Sharks biting fish.'

The skulls are still with us. In conversation she might say 'Hey! My skulls are talking!' but when I asked her the other night how they were she said 'They are dead. My skulls are dead, your skulls are dead, and Teddy's skulls are dead too.' I think it might have something to do with understanding dinosaurs, or else she's starting her Emo phase really quite early.

Ted is cruising along, all fluffy blondness and violent cuddles, and so much happier these days now he has enough language to make his inner life at least partly understood. Yesterday I took him for his 18 month vaccinations. I was armed with the big guns - a Chupa-Chup- for the inevitable tears and anguish. Not a peep! Just a little 'what was that!' face, and on with the show. He amazes me, often.

I'm working on improving playtime with the kiddos this week. I read about some research that says that half an hour spent in play-directed by the kids- is worth much more than hours of the 'that's a good tower' comments while washing up and folding laundry.

Without beating myself up- somebody has to fold the nappies!- I'm aiming to find that every day; a conscious and dedicated half-hour of just play, without distraction. I'll see how I go...and report back. I hope you all have a lovely rainy Wednesday, and that your skulls tell you that they like your shoes.