Thursday, December 22, 2011

Post-Humbug.


Feeling very, very post-festive around here. Is it just the season? My mood? The feeding of a wee fat babelet every three hours making a real 'rest' difficult?

I think I'm going to check my thyroid levels. My fatigue and stressometer is higher than it should be I think.

Still, Nanna is enjoying her new house by the beach even though her smallest grandbaby looks like she's hatching a sinister plot.

Summer is slow in arriving but a cloudy eve doesn't stop one enjoying a sausage sambo down at the beach.
Georgie's first neurosurgery follow-up was very positive (although she's been back at the hospital TWICE since with a tick in her eyelid and a subsequent infection. ) Enough with the drama George! You're the third child and you need attention. We get it.

Ivy and Ted grab the sunshine wherever they can get it; Ivy fully, unnecessarily kitted out and Teddy naked as a bird.

And me and my little ones watched some belly dancing down at the Christmas markets. A moment of quiet in the maelstrom.


At the tail end of three family Christmases and all the lead-up that comes with, we're all a little befrazzled. The tent in Ivy and Ted's room captures the mood around here. I might just crawl in for a little quiet time myself.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sisterly Love

Incoming...



Incoming...



Contact!



Ivy and Ted have been playing a game they call Fetch It lately, where he pretends to be her dog. I encourage this game because she is kinder to him as his owner than as his sister.

Overheard from outside their bedroom door tonight:

Ted: And then I will be eight and I will be a girl.
Ivy: (long-suffering tone) No, Ted, I've told you, you will always be a man.
Ted: (long pause) And then I will be fourteen and I will be a girl.
Ivy: No, Teddy. (Long pause). Well, you can pretend to be a girl.

She's in his corner.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Life and That.

Do you still think of yourself as a blogger when you are too busy to blog? I compose my thoughts in the shower. I take pics of moments as they catch my attention, and I think I might write them up.

But then somebody needs a cuddle or a new nappy or an arrowroot biscuit with butter on it, and another hour has passed. Suddenly, the end of the day appears, we finally get everybody off to bed and vanquish the washing-up, and there is a brief period in which Keith and I can do grown up stuff. Sometimes we hang out on the couch with duelling laptops, and I manage to post. But often the bath is calling a siren song and I need to soak my sore bones. And then it's bedtime again.

So much is happening, and I itch to record it here; preserving some moments, releasing some tension, revealing myself to myself through words. Writing my life.

Alas, I'm a little too busy living it right now. I think this blog will be a little neglected for the next while as I juggle all these balls.

But right now, it's Saturday night. Keith is off at a rare party in the city, the kids are asleep and George, too, is down for a while. It's the end of a jam-packed few days of baking and craft and Christmas prep while Keith has been in Canberra working. Time for this Mama to relax-ay-voo, go through a few photos, and and then kick back with a cup of tea and some Real Housewives. Party time!

Here's a random selection of what's been happening lately:

Ivy rocking one of her party outfits. I think this hydrangea headband is beautiful.

She's really into taking pics with my phone. Here she snaps me and little Gigi.


There's been lots of craft. Mainly about flowers. Here, some butterfly flower action.

Some Pippi Longstocking inspired floor-scrubbing sponge-skates.

And lots of toe-counting needed to fill out one of Dad's homework sheets.

Ted, here, captured in a rare pensive moment with his baby sister. (Currently, he is more like a newborn baby giraffe, all super-powered, uncontrolled limbs. At three, he is equal parts heart-melting and crazy-making. As in: 'Mama, I am growing every day like a flower, you know,' followed by 'Mama, I did get three fingers in my poo nappy!' ) George, meanwhile, is travelling really well, doing everything she should be and bringing us enormous happiness with her great goofy smiles. Her first follow up appointment with the neurosurgeons is this week.

Ivy really loves these comedy glasses. I don't know where she gets her nobby sense of humour.

Here she captures Ted in them too.

This week, a fabulous Xmas Mamabake with Jen and Lizzie making lovely little bits and pieces to be boxed up as teacher gifts.

The T-Bone hardly ever takes this hat off, but usually he teams it with nudity. Less is more.

Late at night, feeding, I visit all my favourite blogs often, but one-handed, I find it difficult to comment. I'm feeling very much like a lurker, but I have run out of the time to commit, although I am thinking of many of you struggling with stress and illness. I send you all my love and best wishes for joy and happiness and hydrangea headbands this Christmas.

...and the baby wakes

...and so it goes.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In Which Ted Is a Comedian and Ivy a Disgruntled 80's Tennis Champion.


Yesterday was a good day. I set up the painting stuff outside in the sunshine while the baby slept. It started off like this.

But canvases, as usual, were quickly abandoned. I don't know why I bother trying to constrain these freewheeling hippies.


I called time when they began to advance upon me (Teddy with a particularly evil smile. )

And they barreled inside to spend an hour in a party bath shooting each other with a water pistol.

Today was more stressful. Ted embarked on a whinging festival, we ran lots of errands and Ivy kept erupting into random bursts of anger like a tiny McEnroe. Teddy was working on a new comedy bit where he took Ivy's most precious objects, one by one, and asked 'Is this rubbish?' as he ran cackling to the bin. We did not find this as funny as he did.

At Ivy's worst point, she slammed a door so hard it came off its tracks. I shouted 'Go to your room!' to which she shrieked 'Don't you scream at me!' and so I screamed ' Well, don't you scream at me!'
,
Parenting low.

But this five-year-old. She kills me. Tonight when I put her to bed, I leaned in for her goodnight cuddle. She turned her back, scrabbled under her pillow for a while and then turned to me wearing her comedy nerd glasses.

Even Gigi thought that one was pretty funny.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Colour Blocking The Bookshelves.


In the midst of my current spring-cleaning psychosis I made the rash decision to colour block our bookshelves. It caused me immense psychic pain over the weekend, but the outcome brings happiness to my soul. So when I look at the laundry pile and think 'Arghhh!' I can turn to my soothing, beautiful bookshelves and think 'Ahhhh.' Look away. Look away. It's the only way to true housework/happiness balance.

The bookshelves themselves have been a labour of love from Keith, growing since 2009. Bit like this belly of mine.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Grateful for Nanna

Life continues to spiral in a happy-wards direction, with the most exciting news that my Mum and Dad have sold their house in Sydney and moved down the coast to my little town.

It is beyond exciting for all of us. Pop wants to learn to surf and Nanna has all sorts of new adventures in mind. The kids are thrilled. Big smiles all round.

This morning I forgot Teddy's lunch. (Man, he wailed like I had cut his leg off.) Chatting to Mum on the phone at home, just like I do most days, I told her I was about to bundle George back into the car in the rain to drop his lunch-box off. 'Oh, shall I drop it off on my way through?' said Mum.

My brain did a double-take. I'm always telling Mum on the phone about my domestic mini-dramas, but it ends when I hang up and sort them out alone. But suddenly...my Mum lives in my neighborhood.

My Mum lives in my neighborhood!

Happy weekends, all. More happy grateful over here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Days

I've been meaning to update this blog every day, but I feel like I rarely get two free hands at once, what with all these little people at my heels.

We are doing really well here in our little patch of sunlight. George is in fine form. We're trying to give her lots of help with baby school right now, to encourage her to meet her milestones. (I'm sure Keith and I will finally feel like everything is OK once she has her double degree in aeronautical engineering and interpretive dance. )

So tummy time it is, like it or not. (She doesn't like it.)


For the rest of us, life is grand. We've been cracking out some tunes with the Family Band, and even harvesting a few veges, and enjoying our days. Keith is working and soccering and wall-building, and I am deep in a spell of spring cleaning/clutter vanquishing madness. Madness! I am so keen to get rid of stuff and simplify our space that I should probably start head-counting the children at the end of the day. Maybe it's related somehow to the anxiety I feel about Georges accident, and trying to take control where I can. Regardless of psychology, it is so deeply satisfying to haul armloads of unwanted stuff to the op-shop. It's one of our favourite outings, me and my little gang. (Although we did recently overhear Ivy threaten Teddy 'If you don't stop that I'm going to drop all of your speciallest things to Vinnies!' so perhaps I've gone a little too far.)

Here's the tiny despot this week, in her best pearls and purple Saltwaters, taking a little break in the Salvation Army book aisles and clutching a pristine kids baking set, find of the day.

Ivy is so much fun these days. Currently she's into cracking gags with her Whoopee Cushion. Her favourite is to honk it loudly and then roll her eyes and say 'Do you think you could lighten up on the farts, Mummy?' Last night she set it all up under a towel at the dining room table and then asked me 'May I present to you your chair?' Five is a great age and Ivy is a word nerd like me. Yesterday she got out her sewing kit and asked if I needed her 'thumbkin', and when we are belting 'Perfect' by Fairground Attraction, one of our family band numbers, Ivy insists that the second line runs 'It's got to bee e e e e... werfect.' (Also she has fully mastered the finger-wagging expressive dance move, which fits almost any tune.)

I love it.

We are preparing for school next year but I find myself thinking more and more about home-schooling. We're considering how it might work. Meanwhile, Ivy loves to practice school stuff - and wear her uniform - and we all feel lucky that Keith working from home means that we get to have lunch together every day.

Ivy is very excited about going to school and if she really understood what Mummy had in mind with the homeschooling notions she would smack Mummy in the nose.

Meanwhile Teddy Bones is becoming clumsier by the day. A few days ago he actually managed to twist his legs so that he fell over while he was lying on the floor. It is truly a gift of some kind. This rambunctious, hilarious, stammering comedian refuses to wear pants.

Oh Ted.

Just thinking about him makes me laugh.


As for my sweet, smallest possum, here she perches today on the bump destined to be her buddy. The bump belongs to my beautiful friend Jen, who I count as one of my many, many blessings.

In short, we is good, and hope you is too.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Three Months



Just the single giant dimple. She gonna be cheeky this one.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The George Report

Wonderful women of the blogosphere, thanks for your kind and supportive messages. This is Georgie just this morning, in the big bed with her brother and sister. She is recovering really well, despite the fact that in this picture she looks a little like a London gangster I once knew called Billy Braincell.

She is behaving as well as we could hope. No vomiting, excessive dopiness or scary business. We are treating her at home with lots and lots of kisses.

She just smiles and squeaks and demands more milk to build up those chubby thighs. I can't quite catch her lopsided grin on film, but trust me, it could melt ice caps. My heightened adrenaline has subsided a little, and my heart doesn't jump into my mouth every time I look at her and remember what happened.

Now we just wait to have our follow-up appointments with the neurosurgeon and the Brain Injury Unit, which start in a few weeks. Other than that, life goes on as normal, apart from some extra-vigilant protection of Georgie's poor sweet little head. There is no predicting the future, of course, but babies are resilient, she seems to be doing wonderfully and we feel very optimistic.

Thanks again for your kind words.



Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sweet Baby George.

As I write, baby Georgette snuffles softly in her sleep, tucked into her Dad's lap. We are heading into a new week, shocked into something of a 'new normal' in the family, a shift in plans and scheduling and lifestyle after a scary accident this week.

A supermarket shopping trolley tipped over and deposited George on the concrete last Wednesday. We ended up at the Children's Hospital, where they did a CT scan and found that our tiny baby had fractured her skull and bruised her brain.

We are home now, and keeping George very close to us these last few days, very close and very quiet. She needs calm, darkened, peaceful cuddles while she recovers from her injury, and after that we will be under the care of the Brain Injuries Unit at the Children's Hospital, who will monitor her development for some time.

She is doing very well though; behaving just as she should. Her chances of making a full recovery are great. Me, I am a little shaken, and gripped with emotion every time I see that big lopsided dimple, those hugely fat legs, that goofy expression. I can't stop rubbing my face against her delicate, fragile little head. And we have cancelled all bunga-bunga parties at the Mogantosh Ranch for the near future.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Studio Bambini

Thanks all for the supportive commentary through that recent battle with Plague. We are all feeling so much better. (Although this morning Ted did ask me how old I was, and when I said 'Guess', he offered 'A thousand?')

I tried to capture a photo of all three kids yesterday. It is impossible to get one shot where one of them does not look odd, except for George, who maintained a deranged, unblinking expression almost the entire time.

Check it.

Teddy is gormless. Preparing for a future of asking the magistrate 'Who's paying for my bus ticket today?'

Ted and Ivy both smiling. But why shut the baby down?

Teddy's 'photo face' is not as appealing as he thinks it is.

Here Ivy looks haughty and Ted looks constipated.

And here, only George would open her eyes.

Photos with three kids. Any tips?

An important note - the world map cushion the kids are sitting on is made by the brilliant Cath from Chunky Chooky. It was Ivy's 5th birthday present, an object of absolute beauty. You can buy it here.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Black Death in Three Acts

This last week or two we have been trapped in some kind of perfect medical storm. Absolute craziness has gone down. The idea of relaying all the details gives me a nervous twitch, so I'll just give you a few vignettes that paint something of a general picture.

When Ivy Channeled Linda Blair

Ivy's croup settled this week into a standard-issue miserable feverish snot-festival. She passed the virus onto Keith whose body morphed it into an evil, scary, proper influenza complete with shivering and raging temps and then, by Thursday, a full overnight of vomiting and nausea. Next morning Keith was a shambles, I was exhausted and Ivy was looking shabby. Poor Ted was full of three-year-old beans and climbing the walls. Nobody had the energy to play with him.

Keith staggered out to lie on the deck in the thin sunshine, while I fed the baby in the bedroom. 'Muuuuuum, ' Ivy moaned, 'I neeeeeeeeed youuuuu.' 'Just five minutes, ' I begged. 'I'm feeding George.'

Suddenly there was a strange, loud barking yawp. I knew it was Ivy and was up out of my chair and down the hall before I could think. (I dread to imagine what happened to my nipple.) Poor Ted got under my feet in the hallway and I sent him flying. In the lounge I found Ivy throwing up. The urge must have come on her suddenly and violently, because she was running in freaked-out circles around the room, spewing in a centrifugal arc.

I thrust the baby at Keith and tended to the vomitron. Teddy was weeping bitterly and we were running late. I had to dress Ted, pack him up for day-care, clean up the crime scene and set up my two invalids to look after themselves while I made it to our doctors appointment.

I had not yet had coffee, washed my face, cleaned my teeth. Repeat. Not. Coffee.

(Ivy and Keith display their sick-bed princess craft. Ivy has gone for after-5 glamour while Keith's frock speaks of Mary Tyler-Moore-ish 1963 gal-about-town whimsy.)

When I Wanted To Kick My GP Up The Cranny

Ivy's allergy test results were in. I explained to my GP that Ivy wasn't with me to pick them up because she was home with the Black Death. When I asked the doctor about what point I should worry about flu, she had a sort of freak-out about being asked to diagnose at a distance. I said I understood, but that Ivy had been to emergency twice that week, had a giant tick removed, suffered a series of hives and swellings and was now chucking her guts up. The doctor gazed at me stony-faced. But she's still your patient, I thought confusedly. This is her appointment. She's not here because she's too sick. We sat in silence for a little while. 'Well, she's got an egg and milk allergy', she told me off-handedly, and then, as a final salvo: 'And you look like you're going to cry.'

When I Failed To Get A Urine Sample

Saturday morning, Georgette spiked a temperature of 38.6. I rang a health-line to check how to manage a baby fever and they said it was Georgette's turn to hit the hospital. We didn't make it home until Sunday afternoon, after they admitted her for observation and ran a series of blood tests. Fever in babies under three months can get serious very quickly and they had to rule out meningitis and other nasties. Roll on Saturday night on a lumpy fold-out armchair, reading New Idea and eating mystery casserole.

Before they would let us leave on Sunday I had to 'catch' a urine sample. This involves holding the baby on your lap, watching for action and catching the wee in a specimen jar when it appears. This is much harder than it sounds. I stared unblinking at Georgette's nethers for an hour-and-a half. I sang every water-related song I could think of, from 'Islands In The Stream' to 'By The Rivers Of Babylon.', but I failed to catch a wee. (I do feel confident that I could pick my daughter out in a line-up though.) Eventually the nurses attached a plastic-bag apparatus. So there we sat, me and the George, on a peeling vinyl armchair; she nude from the waist down with a swinging plastic bag in place, and me in yesterdays clothes, watching the Celebrity Apprentice. 'George,' I said, 'I think we've both lost our dignity.'

This week, things are looking up. Although I feel a little ground-down, I have only low-grade cold symptoms. Last night I made an egg-free cake, decorated it with a giant chicken with a cross through it and we hoofed it down while watching Punky Brewster (season 1.) Nobody threw up. Not a one. Happy times!

And alls well that ends well with little baby loved-a-lot.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Celebrity Death Match : Croup Vs Fairies

I thought the monster tick allergy would fill our medical emergency quota for the month, but nay, my friends. Ranch Mogantosh is once again bedeviled with the pox.

On Monday night, Teddy stumbled into our bedroom, flushed and overheating. He slept between Keith and I that night (thank god, for once George stayed in her bassinette between feeds), tossing, kicking and waking up shouting about tigers. (He's afraid of tigers, Ted. Tigers and pigeons.)

Next day, he was loony and hyper, we were frazzled and Ivy started to get fractious and hot. My careful to-do list started to fall a bit behind. Late that night, Ivy started barking in her sleep. I went in to check and had one of those scary midnight-moments where it dawns, in stages, that something is not right. She's breathing weird. Is she breathing weird? She's breathing really weird. She's not saying much. Can she talk? She can't talk. Then Keith and I went into trip-to-emergency mode; moving fast, speaking slowly, hyper-calmly, while on the inside the panic is rising, rising.

Ivy, of course, was having a blast. Attention, adventure, all in the middle of the night! Her breathing was raspy and laboured, but her eyes shone with the thrill of it all, and as she and Keith pulled out of the driveway, she waved at me from the front seat - the front seat, Mum! - with absolute elation.

At the hospital they diagnosed croup, that old bastard, doped her with steroids and sent her home. Ivy, having been in that same emergency room just days before, worked the nurses big time. 'By any chance,' she asked, 'might there be a lollipop?'

Yesterday she was still unwell and called us to her bedside time and again. I gave her Panadol and tucked in beside her for a while, as requested, cramped like a mantis in her little toddler bed. Finally I said I was going to my own room. She complained. 'I'll check on you in ten minutes,' I said.

'Okay, ' Ivy relented. 'But then I need you to check on me ten minutes after that and ten minutes after that and ten minutes after that until it's the morning.'

'Anything else?' I asked.

'Not at the minute,' she said.

This morning, Keith went down in a sweaty, fevered mess. This virus is harsh, and he's only got mantibodies, you see. With him sick, my whole show really went to hell in a handcart. At lunchtime everybody needed trays in bed. Then Teddy chose today to start acting out some attention issues by urinating next to his potty and also crapping his Wiggle underpants dramatically. (Those babies went straight into a plastic bag in the bin. Sorry, the Earth. Please understand I just could not add scrubbing gussets to my day today.)

Of course I've been desperately trying to shield George from all these coughing, sneezing germ machines. Tiny baby with croupy virus - bad news. So far she's OK.

But I'm pretty rooted. There is wet washing in the machine, and dirty dishes on the table. There is no bread, no milk and no fruit in the house. My long lists of cooking, cleaning and crafting preparations for this weekends flower fairy tea party are looking a little...ambitious.

Pox - 1.
Fairies - o.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy Anniversary


Two years ago today, I married this brilliant, kindly, goofy boffin. Our relationship is the most important, precious thing in my life and I plan to cherish and nurture it for the rest of my days. (I would say nights too but they are currently taken up with breastfeeding and blanket-replacing and reassuring little people that tigers aren't going to eat them.)

Happy anniversary K Dog. This one goes out to you.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Andiamo!

Georgette is dismayed by the savagery with which her siblings attack the (egg-free) chocolate cake mix.

Well creeping Jesus, that was quite a week. On Friday, skipping happily into the hospital emergency room, Ivy said 'It's all about me again, Mum, isn't it!' Yes, I agreed, trying not to let my face betray the sick anxiety I felt over the vicious red rash that was covering most of her body and the giant tick I had just discovered embedded in her head. 'Ivy, Ivy, Ivy, Ivy, Ivy!' she shouted with joy.

The tick was duly extracted and since then, her rash has almost entirely cleared up so hopefully the series of allergic reactions she's had this week have been caused by that, and not the egg allergy the docs are testing for. Imagine my hilarity when her forehead and nose swelled up hugely on her day of kindy orientation. It was not an auspicious start - Ivy was cranky at me for not respecting some princess-related demand of unreasonableness on the way to school, so on her first meeting with her new teacher she looked like a small disgruntled Neanderthal. Gifted and Talented classroom? I asked. Just down the hall is it?

It was scary stuff. Meanwhile, she's in fine form and obsessed with craft so while the house is an shocking mess..at least half the mess glitters, which is not nothing. Ted remains a small, affable lunatic, always looking for nude fun, and still crapping in corners.

George is our beautiful squiggly buddy, who's decided she will only sleep when held by an actual person, so we are living in squalor. We're so confined to barracks right now what with the breastfeeding and the toilet-training.

Next weekend, Ivy is having a flower fairy tea party for her birthday. We have house-guests plus a small contingent of five-year-old fairies to cook and craft for. This week my plan is purely domestic. I'm declaring war on clutter and I plan to be super-organised in order to not end this Friday night like the last, where Keith sent me to Time Out at 7pm for being a stressed-out, neurotic pain in the arse with my crazy eyes too desperately focused on the clock counting down to children's bedtime.

No jury would have convicted me mind you. In fact a jury of mothers would have bought me a drink and two soothing Italian manservants for just making it to 7pm Friday without taking off for a little anonymous hotel down the coast and a nice lie-down, and a fluffy bathrobe, and a room service club sandwich, and a bath...and...and...

Where was I?

Yes, next week, onward and upward. I plan to be on top of all my tasks and maintain a level of good-natured amusement at all antics from glitter glue on the floor to poos in the shoes.

Breathe. Smile. Stomach in! Tits out!

And forward!



Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ivy.


My big girl turned turned five this week. I want to linger with my thoughts over a five-year-old Ivy post, so more on that later. But here she is on her birthday morning.


My sweet girl.

Right now I've got column deadlines, overflowing laundry, ploppy-pants (not mine) and a possible child's egg allergy (jeez, no, please) to manage, so

I'm

audi

for now.

Love and kisses to your missus.