Thursday, August 26, 2010

Happiness 101

I'm frequently late to many things, including motherhood, pre-school drop-off and fine cheese appreciation. Fancy cheese all smells a bit like bum to me. I'm classy like that.

So it follows that I'm late to respond to a happiness meme sent on by two of my favourite bloggers. Here they are pictured below, when we took it REAL-WORLD-STYLE! Lexi from pottymouthmama is on the left and Anna from rummey bears is in the middle. Don't look too closely at that little wombat in the sling. She'll put your ovaries on high alert, I warn you.

Here's the game: you report on ten things that make you happy, and you pass the challenge on.

So here's my happy list:

1. Keith: The many faces of. In particular: Tucking my wintry feet under his warm ones while reading books in bed. And watching him put together IKEA flat-pack furniture. Hot hot hot!

2. Moments of pure joy with my two small, square, squidgey children, like when Ivy and I had a dance-off yesterday to Gloria Estefans 'Turn The Beat Around' in the cereal aisle of Franklins.

3. Telling Teddy the Bear to 'tuck in!' and have him do this:

3. Feeding both the high and the lowbrow parts of my soul in one session. For example: putting down a really engrossing Quarterly Essay to ponder some issue of social import and realising Wife Swap is on the TV. Cup overfloweth.

4. Wallowing in the bath reading books and eating chocolate.

5. Learning how to make and create objects of usefulness in my everyday life. It is deeply thrilling to feel like I've created something with my own hands, slightly shrunken our footprint and stuck it to the man at the same time.

6. Adrian Mole.

7. Talking to my Mum and my sister on the phone and ending every conversation abruptly with 'Oh - gotta go!'

8. Using pineapples as interior decor.

8. Finding reasons to joke about 18th century French novelists. (Ah, Balzac. Thanks for being you.)

9. The two coffees I try to restrain myself to each day. If I'm out and about, one in my fantasticKeepCup.

10. Writing this blog, and reading all the witty, smart and interesting blogs I love. Some of which make me laugh out loud and snort number 9 across my keyboard. To that end, I'm throwing this out to 5 blogs that never fail to make me laugh:

I hope your week is filled with whatever brand of happiness you love.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Life's Too Short To Stuff A Mushroom.

My darling buddy over at Lost in Bellambos wrote such funniness about her housework shame epiphany today.



Or feel smug and virtuous.

Either way, you win.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

We're Selling Some Crazy Over Here.

The baby bears have been keeping me pretty busy. Some travelling, some last-of-winter lurgies. Ted has embraced his toddler-hood with real boy energy. Piles are for tipping over, drawers are for emptying and life is for living at full speed, and then some.

Meanwhile, his big sister grows more eccentric and busy by the hour. She plays circuses, restaurants, shops, schools and 'packing', while Ted tracks her every move. Each game involves piles of components that mix up with the previous pile of bits, until at the end of the day I feel I am living on some kind of public health blacklist, a raggedy witchy-haired lunatic trying hopelessly to make order from the chaos and begging 'Ivy! I will start counting! Don't make me start counting!'

Today Ivy went missing. She'd sneaked out to the giant rock in the bush over the road she calls 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat.' When told she can't do something, she's taken to doing it anyway and saying jokily 'But I'm just tricking you!'

Here are some of her latest pronouncements:

On Evolution:
So the puppy lays a puppy and then that puppy get big and then it lays a puppy and then that puppy gets big and then it lays a puppy and then that puppy gets big. And then it lays a puppy.

On Refusing to Wear A Jacket:

I can't, Mum. My arms have to be able to see each other so that can talk. Because they are very good friends.

On Political Elections:

So you do pick the one who has the idea you like? Well I have an idea. Everybody love everybody. That's my idea.

On Natural Childbirth:

Mummy, when I have a baby I will not have too much of that gas.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Portrait of a Happy Man.

But only for one more week.

Soccer season ends next weekend. I'm trying to be understanding, and so I'm going to treat Keith like I wished he had treated me when Season 2 of Masterchef finished.

I shall give him time and space to grieve. There will be next season, I'll tell him gently, and in the meantime, we'll be here for you if you need to talk about it.

For Theodore Fox, On The Occasion Of His Second Birthday

Dear Ted,

Gosh, that went fast. Seems like only 365 days since I last wrote you a special letter.

Two years old! Man, you are a funny, funny thing. Too adorable for your own safety, T-Bone, to be honest. Many's the morning I must resist the urge to cover you in with butter, sprinkle on some cinnamon and just eat you right up. But I do fight it, Ted. I fight that urge every time it overcomes me, and so far, I am victorious over my own desires. Because Mummy is not a monster.

Two years old! You're a love-sponge, Teddy. A source of significant income to the osteopath. No amount of carting about and and cuddling is ever enough, and frankly, you're messing with your own chances of a sibling. (Or is that your cunning plan?) When I consider you and your adorably eccentric big sister, my heart bursts, and I am suddenly, intensely and absolutely gripped with the desire to produce and nurture more of you. At the end of a long day (and night) filled with 'Mummy, up!', I worry whether this old body could take the strain. But faced with a platinum-headed, blue-eyed, barrel-chested laid-back surfer baby, arms out and begging 'More kisses!', whats a Mama to do?

Two years old! You are musical, Teddy-Bones. Daddy and I gave you a ukelele for this birthday and you've clutched it joyfully ever since. You are a huge fan of Dan Zanes, The Wiggles, and Play School Meets The Orchestra. You have a list of changing musical demands that must be met before you'll go to sleep at night. You even have your your own dance move where you nod your head to one side and stamp on stiff, jerky legs. It's sort of like you're simultaneously channeling Stevie Wonder and Peter Garrett.

Two years old! You love books. Rock Group is a particular favourite but you're across many genres, including the under-appreciated area of the catalogue. A good catalogue can amuse you for weeks, until it finally crumbles, a victim of your enthusiastic love. When you're not reading, you enjoy putting buckets and boxes on your head, playing Fraggles and making spiky dogs out of Play-Dough.

Two years old! You love to give people food, and your play oven is one of your favourite toys. Perhaps you will be a chef? 'Dere go, Mum! Dere go, Dad,' we hear often as you generously hand us some half-masticated old cheese you found under the couch.

Two years old! You're an animal lover, Ted. In particular you adore dogs, ladybirds and slater bugs - and once a headless dead rabbit - but your deepest affection is saved for the stinky purple bear you call Barbie.

You are so sweet-natured, Ted, and you're permanently agreeable. 'Yah!' you answer to any suggestion, and you love to ask after people's welfare. 'Har you, Nanna?', you question tenderly, and if asked back: 'How are you, Teddy?" you answer 'Good, danks.' Nobody really wants to hear about your struggles with incontinence and your problems with effective spoon management. You've learned early to keep it polite, and keep it light. Now that's conversational sophistication , Teddles. Where's that on the milestone charts?

Two years old! You love your big sister Ivy. You call her Ay-Ay, and now, so do we all. You follow her around, repeat her wild assertions (My arms are talking to each other, Teddy!), keep her company while she's on the toilet and run, shouting, into pre-school for pick-up, like she's been away at war. 'Ay-Ay! Dere's Ay-Ay! Mum, deres Ay-Ay!'

Two years old! You're a talker, T-Bone, a word-nerd like your mother. You're a baby raconteur. A tiny toastmaster. Sometimes I'm amazed what pops out of your mouth, and the idea of having years of conversation with you ahead of me makes me so happy.

Thanks for another year of happiness, Teddy. We love you more with the gift of every day.


Thursday, August 12, 2010


Today the ladies of my local land had a crazy bake-off.

Inspired by the geniuses at Mamabake, we got together after pre-school and school drop-off this morning to spank each other with frilly underpants and have tickle fights.

(That's for you, Keith.)

No, we baked. Baked baked baked. We baked hard and we baked long, my buddies. We chopped, we stirred, we fried and we rolled. We laughed and we cried. (We really did.) The premise of Mamabake is that you gather together, cook up a storm and go home with a selection of different meals for the freezer.

We all arrived feeling a little like this.

Me, I decided to start chopping two pumpkins, nine onions and a slab of bacon during the pre-school prep. I am disorganised, and I am irrational. But I am enthusiastic, dammit, and it drags me forward, even though my pants fall down perhaps more often than the average person.

We had such a good time. My favourite memory (apart from the unexpected appearance of Alicia's spectacular lady-humps) was this conversation:

Baker A: I feel like I am really shouting too much at the kids.
Baker B: Actually, when I'm losing it I just emotionally withdraw. I think that's worse.
Baker C: Oh no. I think it's good for them to have a steady amount of each.

Somebody left an unattended Ted at the pastry station.

The lovely Sarah had a pleasant time. Because brandishing a big knife at a beloved toddler going through a whinging phase is frowned upon in most societies. But nobody judges you for really going to town on the potatoes. So she diced those babies. Diced 'em good.

Al checked for poison.

Jen was so smokin', she even busted out some Solid Gold moves while (wo) manning a stove.

And in the end: Booty!

Pumpkin and bacon tarts, sausage rolls, chicken casseroles and minestrone. Extras of everything packaged up for our beloved Chrystie, who is pregnant as anything and ready to drop.

Two more women in the hood are peachy too, so our next couple of Mamabake sessions will be in honour of the new babies. Babies! Buddies! Coffee! Cake! Unexpected comedy nipples! What's not to love?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Night Shift.

During the day Ivy is blessed with full control of her arms and legs.

But in the night she is struck with a terrible syndrome that means she must call her parents to replace the blanket every time she kicks it off her feet.

And 'toilet -trained' might be rather a strong term for a child who is not above wetting the bed twice in the night, despite having been led groggily to the toilet. (Where it has to be said Keith and I have our favourite sleepy conversations with Ivy as she recounts her dreams. Last night she said 'Shrek took my bed to sleep at his house and he left all my friends behind. That's not right, Mum.' 'No, it's not,' I agreed, but not strongly enough for Ivy. 'It's NOT RIGHT, MUM!' she shouted earnestly, holding my chin.)

Meanwhile Ted cries out once or twice every night, having confusedly wedged himself into a strange position in the bed from which he can't find his dummy or his bear.

We should perhaps not go to bed at all, but rather sleep sitting up in the corridor, armed with dummies, fresh sheets and strong coffee, poised for the next command.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Not Drowning, Mothering.

Do you guys read this blog? Oh lord, is she funny. This post really, truly cracked me up today.

Happy Monday, my fellas.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Every Day, In Every Way, I Get A Little Bit Crunchier

Lately, I've been using my soap to wash my face. It's really creamy and lovely, and then I've been using organic olive oil as moisturiser.

The idea of avoiding using chemicals on my face is very appealing, and opting out of another kind of marketing sell just makes me feel all happy and socking-it-to-the-man fantastic.

Of course, there are risks. One morning, George Colambaris might appear, roll me in a parmesan crust and pop me a in low oven for forty-five minutes. The other risk is that I may not be keeping myself at peak marriage-hotness. Yes, it's true that Keith thinks the joy of marriage is to let oneself go. And he's not one to have his eye turned.

But what about all those nubile young lady-geeks at the solar lab, showing just a hint of lacy pocket-protecter as they lean seductively into the plasma-enhanced chemical vapour-deposit machine?

I shall stay alert, but not alarmed.

Thursday, August 5, 2010 The Brains Of Children.

I love a good podcast. Sometimes when the kids are engrossed in trashing the joint in some imaginative way, they throw me a bone and let me listen to some beautiful minds as I go about the general business of cleaning up around them.

One of my favourite places to find podcasts is, who have some really great twenty-minute rambles by creative and off-beat thinkers. Today they're listing a series of talks related to children's brains. I love, love, love reading about neuroscience, especially all the stuff about the marvellous crazy plastic brain of small people. I can't wait to listen through this series of talks.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Teddy's Book Club

Little Ted has a rock and roll heart. He loves the Wiggles and Dan Zanes with a passion, and one of his favourite books is called Rock Group. The pics here are not great, but the book is a masterpiece.

It explores the life of the professional musician with un
flinching honesty. For example, when the lead guitarist meets the manager for a cup of tea, the tension is palpable.

You can tell the manager because he is wearing a tie. The rock musician has wild, unkempt, creative curls.

This is my favourite page.

The books says that all the hard work 'has been successful' but on inspection it does look as though only two people have attended the gig. Was it something to do with all the knobs?

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Fruit Tree, An Aging Placenta and A Very Nice Day.

Yesterday some thin but delicious wintry sunshine drove us out into the backyard to plant a mandarin tree. Teddy's placenta has been in the fridge waiting for a chance to be planted under some meaningful and lovely botanicalia. Not the freezer, I stress, to our shame. The fridge.

Teddy is two in a fortnight.

At this point you might want to don a face-mask, update the public haelth blacklist and switch your allegiance to another blog whose inhabitants Keep Themselves Nice. No offence - thanks for the visit, and I understand you must return to your own people.

Those beloved slobs who remain: I salute you. You probably would also be understanding about Teddy playing with the headless dead rabbit last week.

Anyhoo, I digress. But you might be interested to know that a placenta kept refrigerated in a sealed bucket really lasts quite well. I believe the McDonald's Happy Meal has the same ability.

Look, a worm!

Dirt is squishy. It feels almost as good as eviscerated entrails.

Action Dad.

Sweetness in boots.

Ivy channels her inner mandarin.

Not for everybody, fun with old placentas, but for us, a beautiful Sunday at home.