Sunday, November 30, 2008

You're just going to have to believe me

I SWEAR, I did not pose Scraps! He was like this alongside the LGBB when I snuck in...

This is how I found them, on holiday, all of them flaked out after a very long, tiring day.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ok, stop..... Showertime

I'm curious to know who has ten minute showers. Current shortage of water aside, who EVER had the need for a ten (or twenty) minute shower???

I've heard people in the past - radio announcers, others in passing conversations and the likes over the years - claim to have these luxurious, ridiculously long stints under running, wasting water. But honestly, I can't fathom how one needs to be under there for that long.

Unless I'm just smelly and not washing myself proper-like.... Oh. There's always that option.

Seriously, though, what's there to do for so long? Why are people requiring timers to get them out in under five minutes? No really, it's a serious question! Personally, I take under two minutes to lather up and wash AND rinse from top to toe (on days when I don't wash my hair). Am I doing something wrong? Or merely getting on with it? If I wash my hair, I can be in, shampooed, conditioned, body-washed, rinsed and out in five. One time, I timed what I thought was a deliciously luxuriant, naughty long shower. Seven minutes, internet. Seven. And that is including the time taken to set the temperature of the water and also switch off the taps each time I lathered my hair (with two shampoos and a conditioning treatment) - I tend nowadays to stop the water while I do it, then turn the taps on to rinse hair, turn the taps off again and repeat, and so forth. The only time the water is running without interruption is when I am soaping myself or cleaning the shower itself.

So how do you get to ten? Or worse still, to fifteen or twenty, dear heavens above? And do you do this still? Not that you ought. How can anybody think it's still okay, in this climate (literally), to shower for this long? Regardless of whether they clean the shower at the same time - that's just a very poor, silly excuse, because you don't need water running over you while you clean it.

If you've been taken aback a little or want to take offense at this entry, I'd advise you take a good hard look at just why you're wasting so much water (and time) in that little cubicle.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Is Santa taking elf helper applications?

Because I think someone *points down at photo below* would be good for the job. Just stick a little pair of pointy ears and a red hat with a pompom on her head, a pair of curly-toed slip-on shoes.... green pinafore and a pencil tucked behind an ear perhaps...

No? You can't see it?

The LGBB beams as Santa apparently tries hard to
abide by that restraining order???
(WTF is with the 1/2 metre of chair space between their bottoms?)

When I think of the past two years, never ever hoping for a smile ever, almost suing a local shopping centre for hiring "a santa who looks like a wino!", as I recall sobbing into the phone to Steve whilst in the throes of despair that the LGBB's first Christmas photo had been "RUINED! RUINNNNNED!" because Santa had a lazy eye and wasn't looking at the camera - what a jaded princess I was when full of breastfeeding hormones - I couldn't have imagined that just two Chrispins later, she'd be grinning her Guy Smiley chops off.

Steve, as I recall, took my call to his place of work very calmly. He said soothingly, "Lenny... I know it feels really sad to you right now... but I think you'll laugh about this in a few years." Poor Lenny. He really is so very patient with his little Vesuvius. And he was right *damnit, again??? she says into her sleeve*

What a difference a year and less hormones makes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Once upon a time

I had a meltdown. Once upon a time last week. And probably weekly or close enough to it before that.

The vicious circle of stress creating overactive adrenals, which triggers thyroid problems and oestrogen imbalances, which then plays havoc on your concentration, your mood, your stamina, your health, just finally got to Enough's Enough stage. My house was a constant mess, further feeding the feeling of claustrophobia, depression, the "I'm not good at this, everyone else surely does it better" attitude.

I knew before I sat on my bed crying uncontrollably, shamefully unable to stop and doing this in front of Steve and a very concerned but gorgeous LGBB, spurred me into action. I'm going to be on a naturopathically prescribed recipe of various Go Gettem's in under 48 hours, once my delivery arrives.

What caused the final crack in my latest facade, I hear you ask?

A ladybird.

One single, solitary ladybird. Sitting in our ensuite sink as Lolly brushed her teeth. She loves ladybirds. She saw it there. She was pointing and ooh-ing and ahh-ing. I had had enough, for reasons I cannot recall now, and wanted the day to end. Wanted her in bed, wanted to sit and stop. Wanted to not be needed anymore that day. I was desperate to escape my mind, but I couldn't. And all she wanted to do was see the ladybird.

Which would have been fine, had the bloody thing not crawled towards her. That's when all hell broke loose, she screamed loudly, so shrill anyway but intensified a bazillion decibels in an echoey bathroom, which caused the ladybird to do its Transformer moves with its wings, which of course made the LGBB hysterical. And I could not even console her. The sound and sight of her, of it, repelled me and I felt horribly ashamed that I, the mother and adult in the situation, did not have anything left in me to be rational and do something so simple - something I knew I ought to be more than capable of doing (and do do, the other forty-seven times a day that I need to be the nurse, the maid, the comforter).

I lost it. I completely came undone and backed out of the room, leaving Steve to placate our daughter.

I sat sobbing, unable to suck it up, not when he came to sit by me, clueless as to how to begin to offer a place for me to start. In that instant, I felt like I have seen one too many perky-boobed, cap-hatted mums strut past my fenceline with her designer pram, heard one too many "my kid is perfect in every way" anecdotes, been told to "think of it this way" in order to try and snap me out of "it".

This is the ugly side of child rearing. The one so often not acknowledged, not admitted to except between friends. To say it happens to you is certain to spell "failure" in some eyes, in some homes and belief systems. But if you seek comeradery and nods of recognition outside of those one or two people, you don't often hear mothers attest to their own moments, you don't see too many hands shoot up. Well, I don't anyway. There is an over abundance of people appearing to cope but not so many willing to say how shite it can be sometimes. How pushed to the brink you can become, creeping up on you so silently over weeks and incessant months that it suddenly causes you to snap and yell. Or snap and cry. Or snap and break/leave your husband/opt out of life/*insert chosen method of snapping here*

I suddenly felt like I was sick of feeling like nothing was funny anymore. Tired of feeling the pressure of people around me believing nothing was needing fixing. But in reality, nothing could be taken off me, for the pressure I felt was/is all placed on me by me, ultimately. I don't try to appear to be perfect, not by a long shot. But I live in a world where I am bombarded by it. From every magazine cover (urgh, I'm sorry Bec and Lleyton, but you're my object of spite this week) to people walking past, apparently. And really, when I stop and rationalise, a week out from my latest "I can't DO this" moment, I have no idea (nor right to judge) what that strutting mother is dealing with - God, for all I know, she may be out for a stroll because it's all she can do to stop climbing the walls with a baby who won't sleep, eat or shit "right"; she might have catastrophic relationships she has to deal with, she could have anything at all happening for her and it's not right of me, in my lowest moments (where self-esteem is in severe deficit), to project anything onto anyone. What if, what if, I engaged the next mum-with-stroller in a quick conversation next time I see one? *taps chin* Heaven forbid I meet someone I like. In my neighbourhood (for once - all my damn friends live too damn far away, damnit!)

Anyway, when the LGBB then came over and took my face in her hands and said "Happy mummy?" with the most tender of half-smiles across her concerned face.... well, gee, I felt a million miles high and 2cm tall at the same time. I was gutted that she had seen me do what I mostly leave for times when she is not here.

They know. They always know somehow. Children are incredible barometers of adult pressures. Fortunately and unfortunately.

At the time, I guessed that the trigger (the ladybird in the sink) was considerably significant. Since then, three people have mentioned seeing ladybirds/ladybugs to me. Three in under a week. That's significant, when it's not really something one says very often (not to me, anyway). I looked up Ladybird, but decided I ought to probably just put it here. Once again, in case it's of any use to anyone else (and here you are, K, this is mainly for you! xx):


When a Ladybird (Ladybug) alights upon you, it announces a time to check on your hopes, dreams and wishes. It is time to take responsibility for your future path and ask yourself about the how and the what you have asked to be brought into your life. Is life turning out in the manner you have hoped for? Are your wishes coming true?

As a child, I knew the nursery rhyme:

Ladybird, Ladybird, fly away home
Your house is on fire
Your children have gone

This little jingle may be seen as a call for you to go check on your inner home of hopes and wishes to see if they are not burning up from lack of attention. Have your children (that is, your ideas and plans for the future) gone up in smoke while you were not looking?

The presence of the Ladybird totem suggests that you take time in constructing your wishes. When a Ladybird lands upon you, think about what you want to ask for and see if it is what you truly need. Then release your wish to the Ladybird as it flies off. The caution here is to be careful what you wish for because you may just get something you don't need. Then, from hereon in, it is time to work toward what you wished for. The life of a Ladybird is between 9 and 18 months and this can indicate the period in which your wishes or gifts may unfold. You are also warned not to push too quickly in order to receive what you hoped for. Instead, let the fullness of time reveal your wishes taking shape and present you with the outcome. Pushing for quick results may prevent the realisation of your dreams.

Ladybird signals a time of abundance and good fortune. When Ladybirds breed, they may lay around 800 eggs which emerge in Spring - the time of new growth. When we wish correctly for our needs and not just our wants, there will be new abundance and rewards. Gentle Ladybird asks you to move about without pushing towards your goals, for too much deliberation may prevent things from happening. Make your wish and move on with what you intuitively know you need to do.

The colour of the Ladybird serves to warn off potential predators. This can indicate your need to check if someone or something is preventing your progress. Could it be that someone around you needs warning or advising of your intentions so that your progress and endeavours are protected?

Ladybirds, also known as Ladybugs, are friends in our gardens. They eat aphids which damage and destroy plants, an indication to you that you may need to look out for those pests and intrusions that may interrupt or damage your new plans and limit their growth for the future.

I think I know what my pressure may be now. It's something personal, for me to chip away at. And it was a timely reminder that I don't need to "push for quick results". It's coming. My time is coming. My soul's impatience is what is contributing to my feeling of coming undone. That's all.

What has your experience with Ladybug been recently, if any? Would love to hear what prompted its presence in your conscious awareness.

O Chrisman Twee, O Chrisman Twee, your branches are so lovely

"Can you say Christmas?"
"And can you say tree?"
"Ok, now say Chris-mas Tree."
"Chrispin traaaaay!"
"Christmas tree!"
"Chrisman tweeeee!"

I hereby give you our Chrisman twee, being decorated delicately by the LGBB:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Heart soar

Yesterday, while driving home, the LGBB was doing her regular singing of nothing in particular.

"Whez my sister?" I suddenly heard. I didn't answer because I didn't know if I had heard correctly. And then, "Muuuum? Whez my sister gone?"

I braced myself and headed in to the conversation, there was nothing else for it. "Where's your sister? Your sister Ella?" I repeated, clarifying for her as well as me what she had asked.
"Mmm," she confirmed.
"Well, Ella was a baby. She was Mummy and Daddy's baby... just like Lauryn is Mummy and Daddy's baby too," I said. I glanced in the mirror and saw her sitting purse-lipped and solemn, staring straight ahead down the road. I pressed on, trying to think of the simplest way to put it.

"She died."

The car fell silent. It seemed to stop Lolly's curiosity. She doesn't know what death is yet. We saw a bird once at the door of a shopping centre. It had been stabbed and a murderous pool of blood had seeped out from underneath it. Before I could avert her eyes, she had pointed and said Look, the birdie's asleeeeep, awww. And I said, Yes, on a red blanket. It was enough that time.

And the simplicity of those two words was enough too. This time. It reminded me again the importance of a solid base with other adults around Steve and me, when she asked me out of the blue. They too have a very important role to play in terms of rounding off her understanding. It will be hard for those who can't even acknowledge Ella to us. We'll see how they go when the LGBB starts asking them the tough questions. Perhaps I ought to forewarn them that they've already started. And I'm excited, really. Even though it was very confronting, I was extremely proud of her for even forming the question and having comprehension of it. I was caught off guard. But my soul lifted at the same time. Oh that's right, I remembered, we have somebody to share Ellanor with. Her sister. Her dear, rock solid, in tune little sister.

God, I think I'm going to suck at this explaining thing. I simply have to trust that the words will come to me each time she brings up new questions. And that I will find the strength not only to explain it but also support her fully as the realisation hits her too.

Her sister died. That's a reality I'm not sure I'm ready for her to face. But it's not up to me.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My baby don't care for fingers

Last night, we made meatballs for tea. It was the heartiest meal I've seen the LGBB tuck into in, well, probably a few months. She has avoided using a fork where she can, will sometimes tolerate the use of a spoon. But mostly, because she knows it's something we try to encourage her out of, she wants to use fingers. The little monkey.

The secret? You'd think it would be something like "Oh, just the bestest most tasty meatballin' kick-ass flavours" that made her do it. No. It wasn't.

Cutlery. A knife and fork. I must say, too, she was getting the hang of it very well. Stabbing with the fork, slicing inaccurately with the bluntest knife in all the world. The look of determination on that set little laser-face could have cut through sheet metal. But she did it, damnit. She mastered it, if not very awkwardly.

All of a sudden, there she was; a fork and knife-wielding little person. Next she'll be saying she wants to move out to the shed because she needs some space away from us.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Weeping world

I have had a heavy heart since hearing about the tragic drowning accident of a father and his two young sons. Every now and then it enters my mind in a flash and thoughts turn to his fiancee, their mother. What a tremendous burden she has been delivered. It reminds me of a passage in my book, where I try to capture in words (so many, many futile words really) how I felt when newly bereaved. Laid so open and bare. As if I was the world's own beating heart and every tiny whisper of wind seared me like a hot barb. I wonder if it is the same for other mothers and fathers who have lost children? I don't know. What I do know is, it was this that spearheaded my decision (nay, my realisation of my need) to expand on my newly open heart. I didn't want it to close again to the world's hurt. But I knew I had to go down the path of harnessing my hurt. Using it.

It is this ongoing quest that compels me to continue my learning at Peace Space, more than anything.

That passage in the book reads:

I knew perfectly well that ours was by far not the “most horrid” or saddest or tragic or desperately awful story in the world. At times, I actually felt closer and more connected and more bled dry in my sadness and compassion for people in such situations because of the place I now found myself. I spent my days with thoughts turning to how it must be for parents to have no answers as to why they lost their baby – “I am so grateful,” I would say to myself, “that we have some answers, at least.”
I often thought about parents of older children, of adult children as well, who pass away ahead of their parents. Children who are lost in tragic circumstances, or after years of operations and illness, their parents standing by helplessly. In my newly grief-laden thought processes, I considered those situations no more or less sad and deeply painful to our own. But, again, the attitudes of the wider community about even this became clear to me the day I visited an elderly relative for some tips on, of all things, knitting.
I had found it extremely difficult to suddenly stop my handiwork – making cot sheets and pram blankets and little outfits – and I had found the knitting pattern of an adorable soft white sweater and bonnet in the weeks after Ellanor’s death so beautiful that I ached to make it for her. So I began to make it for Cathie’s baby girl instead. Knowing nothing much about knitting, I sought out someone who was a dab hand at it.
While I was at Joan’s place one morning, receiving her useful advice on the knitting of this garment, she took it upon herself to offer me what I can only presume was designed as comforting, authoritative words from the wiser, older, “know better” generation, on the matter of death and personal tragedy.
“You know, at least she wasn’t older,” she started. I froze. Oh God, what was coming next? I braced as I waited for her clarifying opinion.
“It would have been worse to lose her if she was older,” Joan continued.
“How? Why would you say that would be any worse?” I asked, not even attempting to mask my shock and hurt. “I can’t believe you just said that, Joan!”
“Well, imagine if you’d had her for years. It would have been worse if she’d died when she was, say, fourteen or something. You’d have so much more to clear up.”
It was a ghastly thing to hear. Not least of all because of the fact that, yes, while Ella had been alive I had already begun to project what it might be like as she reached early childhood, adolescence, adulthood; would she make it to each of those milestones? Would she survive every heart operation we had been informed she would have to have? Our lives had been turned upside down before Ellanor had drawn her final breath and part of the reason for that was because of wondering just how far she would make it in her life. To hear somebody cluelessly saying we were lucky she had died early was beyond my comprehension.
No matter how she justified it, I couldn’t accept this opinion as being founded in any sort of experiential expertise. I knew what Joan was trying to get at: that the older a person was, the more loose ends there were to tie up. Bedrooms of memories to sort, clean and pack away. Schools, government departments and other agencies to inform. Bank accounts to close, if the person had them. Messy stuff. Stuff that’s necessary and so difficult to pull together and concentrate on when in a time of deep, dark grief.
But there it was. The wedge that drove between me and this person whose company I had previously enjoyed for years now. I never interacted with her again after that day. I felt as if Joan was comparing the death of Ellanor to that of the family pet, describing the birth and upbringing of a child as “having” them. Just like one would talk about the family Labrador they’d “had for twelve years before we lost her last October.” It just seemed so cold and even though I knew it could not possibly have meant to be received this way, the generational differences I observed that day just cemented for me the difficulty in conveying just how hard it was to describe the depths of despair about losing a life that was made up of half of your genes. How on Earth could I hope to describe the depth and pain of my loss without constant fear of hearing people’s take on it or way of making okay and bearable what had happened? I understood their need to do this, but where was the acceptance and understanding of my need to air it? It was my grief to own, for heaven’s sake! I couldn’t make sense of this apparent societal rush to smooth over what I had to say and confront. I was not asking for anyone to fix or help me, however I was desperate to be heard properly. And that’s all.
If it was deemed acceptable and tolerable for someone to say something like what Joan had, then surely I had equal rights (if not more), as the person experiencing the raw emotions, to react in any way I saw fit and not be judged for it. I would come to learn this was far from the case. Apparently, we had to not only listen to our loved ones as they justified and excused, on behalf of the culprit, the things that were said but we also had to find some sort of super-human inner strength to not lash out or speak out and say it was unacceptable to us. It was completely bogus, as a concept, and it happened time and time again.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Forgive me, Steve, for I have sinned

Well, correction: we have sinned. Me and Lolly.

We went shopping today (I was on assignment) and, oh, wouldn't you know.... it was to a DFO. And what's at DFO's, primarily? Homewares and manchester shops.

Sooooo..... we had a look in a few girly shops and, uh, came out with some things for the LGBB's Big Girl Bed, which is coming after Christmas from a friend whose daughter has outgrown it - a Holly Hobby (remember her!???) white wrought iron post bed. Oh. Be still my giddy heart.

I only got these because they were bargains. Bargains, I tell you. $100 sheet sets for $40??? How could I not get two? Patterned "Fairy Garden" sheets *swoon* And a pink velour rectangle pillow and another green and pink lacy spotty matching fairy garden pillow.

We were both. In. Throw pillow. Sheet set. Heaven.

He's not rotten. Just misunderstood.

Watching LazyTown this morning, the LGBB came running over for a cuddle. It was her nervous "I'm scared and I don't quite know why" gesture.

I glanced up and saw Robbie Rotten under a sheet, pretending to be a ghost and scaring the kids in LazyTown.

To cut a long story short, I believe the LGBB cut to the heart of Robbie's issues (and resultant apparently incessant need to create misery and havoc in the lives of the people in LazyTown): when the sheet was ripped off him and the dastardly villain was revealed underneath it, Lolly piped up (in a rather patronising "(tut) Oh you again" patient voice), "Oh Robbie Roppen.... he's sweeeeeet."

What's the bet Lolly will befriend all those kids in school who create mischief and drama just because they need attention (any attention, even the bad kind). I'm tippin' ....

Would you believe...

The moon?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Choose your poison

On the last night of holiday eating-out, the LGBB decided she'd gotten the hang of this. No sooner were we seated at our table than she pulled a menu towards her authoritatively and started running her finger down it, thus (above).

I'm proud of her observation skills - it was the wine list. I asked her to choose me something with a clean palate. Note Steve's white-fingered grip trying to prise it from under her before she becomes quite the connoisseur.

She made her choice and stuck with her newly found favourite (yes, we caved - she had her first vino...... I mean, milkshake). The strawberry kind.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Still trying to tell myself

It's okay to make mistakes. It's okay to keep doing the same mistakes, no less, over and over.

But is it? Is it okay? Once you recognise what you're doing, wouldn't a sane person stop torturing themselves by continuing to make the same blunder over and over?

On Wednesday, I'm going up to Peace Space again. This month is Amber Ray. I realised today with a bit of an intake of breath that I am up to the colour that poses the greatest question to me, the biggest mystery. My keenest hope of understanding my purpose, and that of Ella's (and our involvement together), resides in this colour ray. Long, long, long before I even started dipping in to the learning on offer at Peace Space, I had that dream - surely you've all browsed this story, where I quote the part of my dream that has intrigued me for over five years now.

"It is the place of coming, It is the Amber Connection, It is for the children". That's what he said.

All I really know of Amber Ray is that it pertains to the astral level of our 'spheres. That our incessant, human (humane and inhumane) thinking - idle thinking, positive thinking, negative thinking, towards ourselves and others - is all sitting as a murky mess of matter above our heads. I believe it sits just outside the Earth's stratosphere?? Outside of the air we breathe, but close enough to make one helluva big impact on the vibration of the Earth as a whole. People/living things who come and go all have to get through this quagmire.

I know I have been challenged greatly this past fortnight with remembering what my thoughts are doing. Who they are turning towards, what I am thinking about them. I didn't realise that Amber was coming up until Saturday and since then, I have been kicking myself even harder for turning my thoughts towards one person in particular.

How much time and energy I have wasted in the belief that somebody out there was, if not "doing it all" better than me then at least well and truly denying any imperfections. As a world has come crashing down somewhere (a world within a world) and a family is picking up shattered pieces, I am looking at the situation differently. Theirs was not idyllic. And it was none of my business to continue to cater to that assumption in my own mind. I have lost days and nights with my guessing that "happy families" were being played.

I slap myself today as I am at the same time mildly relieved, shocked but not all that shocked at the same time, and ultimately really sorry for all the players involved. I have no right to think anything of it (although it is hard because it involves people I have felt wronged by in the past so I am now feeling somewhat like some weird score has been won) and as is human nature, I have judged, I have listened, I have formed opinions behind closed doors. I'm not perfect, that I can say loudly.

But I do know what I am responsible for, including my conscious thoughts and what they are contributing to. It's time to own up to that responsibility.

Who are you thinking about? And what are you thinking towards them?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Two Mommies

While we were away, the LGBB rediscovered her fascination with One Of The Many Mels in her life. They first met twelve months ago and Miss Blissbomb was all cheeky grins at her then too.

Last week, I was superseded for a younger, fresher, trimmer model Mummy for the day when we went with two families of friends to Dreamworld. Mel and I giggled about it, the day got longer and longer and the cheesy grins in Mel's direction just got more cheesy. The poor girl had to lug my daughter around the fun park endlessly. She says she did so happily... probably wasn't one of the toughest gigs in the world, I suppose. Lolly has a real habit of making you feel like you are the most loved person in the world. That day, it was Mel's turn (Miss Leesa got her little taste of one-on-one when we ducked in to see them on an ill-fated journey in the hire car back to Coolangatta Airport - it was so lovely to see yet another of my dear friends enjoying a daughter of mine *sniff*).

It's not the only ditching Lolly did that day.... she also upgraded her little man friend, Zac, for the more worldly four year-old, Thomas.

But that's an affair in photos best left for another day.

The following photos were taken when we were all taking the train from Wiggles Somewhere to Nickelodeon Elsewhere (I don't know) - when Steve and I downloaded the card from the camera that night, we rolled about laughing at the Cheshire Cat in the pink hat who had been sitting next to me grinning and gazing lovingly at her beloved Mel. As if Mel was talking to her (she was *shock gasp horror* actually having a grown-ups conversation with the other mummies and daddies at the time, as I recall).

"Oh really, Mel, you don't say!" The LGBB interjects.

"My Mel. I'll love her and pet her and stroke her purdy hair"....

"Oh you!" Lolly thinks Mel is sooooo funny and Thomas wishes his mother would just butt OUT already and stop taking attention away from his new lady friend.
And Zac realises his love is well and truly lost. To Mel.

"She's mine, allll miiiiine. Can we take her home, Mummy?"
Lolly stakes claim on her newest bestest friend as Thomas
is well and truly ditched in Lolly's favour of his mother.
Hey, what can I say - my girl has taste ;-P


Urrrgh. I thought she'd forgotten about it. But she said it last night. Adamantly. And before I could stop myself, a grimace inched across my face so she went for my jugular.

"PLAY DOUGH! Mummy, Mummy, Mummeeeeeeee.... Play dough. Play dough? I play with play dough? Mummy. MUMMY! *angry eyes* I want tha play dough."

So of course, I got it down and said "Sure! Why not? I love it when we play with play dough and Mummy finds it for weeks afterwards, even though, strangely, you didn't even move from your spot while playing with it." HOW does that happen? There ought to be a grant to study play dough teleportation and how it ends up in the places it does.

I can't stand it. Play dough, that is.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A whole new world

I had the utmost pleasure of meeting a squishy little bundle of pink baby girl and her lucky (if not sore and tired) Mummy whilst away on the Gold Coast. The LGBB was beside herself with excitement at going to a hospital (it's an ambulance thing, she has a current obsession and often asks me to take her to the hospital - about a 10 minute walk from here - so we can... do hospital stuff, I guess). And when she realised she was going to meet a new baby, well. It was just a delirious outing. I picked up this gorgeous pop-up card and have half a mind to make some of my own for various occasions. Dunno. It's a nice idea but I guess I'll probably never get around to it. After all, there's so much else to finish first. Like that book of mine, for starters.

For the rest of the day, and sometime into the next morning, all we were asked was, "Where's the baby? Where's the baby's mummy? Where's the girls? Where's my friends?" We were staying close enough to the hospital that we could just thumb over our shoulder and say, "Up there. In the hospital." Then I got regular, "What she doing? Mum? MUM! What's the baby doing now?" to which I had several replies at the ready: "Having a bath", "Having some milk", "Making smells." It was all very intriguing (and satisfying) to Lolly.

Welcome to the world, precious little Minnie. Congratulations to Tanya, Chris and Minnie's big-sisters-in-waiting.

Friday, November 14, 2008

And now for the barrage of photos

Horrrighty then, now to the more positive, less disparaging highlights. In photo form (of COURSE!).

Day 1:
A pro at flying, the LGBB had a few "Whoaaaa" moments as her stomach dropped while the plane was climbing (which were very sweet, even if she was pinching my forearm skin until it came up in little red bruises). It could have been so different - she hates noise and I really really don't like flying - but we both stayed strong and if not genuinely, then definitely feigned enjoyment and settled into our inflight entertainment: colouring. I teared up as I glanced over her little blonde head at Steve. And not just from the pain of the pinching in those little toddler-pincer grips. He was a bit teary too as he smiled at me. We both knew what we were doing here. We were witnessing and assisting in creating new wondrous experiences in somebody. Very humbling.

"Can you see Nana waving at you? Remember she said she was going to
when she saw your plane go past?"
That old trick was nevahhh gonna work on the LGBB, who gazed disdainfully at us then nonchalantly looked out the window and said no, so as not to spoil our fun I gather - but Nana tried it, bless her.

Day 2: Something which began early (from the first day) by the LGBB was the use of the word "holiday" - we encouraged it because it allowed us to highlight the point that it was special because we were on holiday, sort of a softened way of saying "don't get used to this, it's only because we're on holiday that you're eating xyz or seeing abc", etc. We had holiday bedrooms in our holiday house, a holiday car, holiday breakfasts, holiday milkshakes. And so forth.

Get me to this beach of which you speak, where I can do my "beaching".... STAT!
One gorgeous little ritual that I was sure might come undone whilst away (because of it's repetitive necessity) was the application of suncream. We do this at home and she seems to love standing at the mirror and copying me. Thank goodness the LGBB still saw the novelty in it day after day, several times a day - I think she is convinced it is part of her beauty routine (and rightly so, for it is something that she will have to continue for the rest of her life if she wants to avoid more freckles - oh and wasn't that a tragic day, when she first discovered a freckle on her wrist that she couldn't shake or rub or scrub off..... we didn't hear the end of it for hours, but they've made friends now apparently).

Day Two Bushed.
Meet Horace. He's a very special new soft-as-silk Plushie beanie bear. Mummy bought him for only $3.99 on Day Two when she spent over $20 on anything instore at Angus & Robertson! How ironic, then, that she only went in to said bookstore to purchase this book (so that it staved off any attempts to throw herself off the holiday balcony). So far, she's so glad she made the purchase (of book and bear). Note how dear Scraps sits dutifully by, in the background. He knows the affair will be short, hard and fast, like it is with any new friend of the LGBB's - she'll be back. She always comes back to him and takes him ev-er-y-where, her scruffy, dirty, stinky, dependable little dog.

Day 3: Currumbin Sanctuary. A mecca for meeting our indigenous animal friends.

Oh. My. Gaaaahd! You didn't say they'd sit on your head!
Daddeeeeee!!!! You are too funny.
And here we have it. We've reached the stage in every toddler's photo album where each photo has a total face-scrunched grimace-grin when asked to smile. There are going to be loads in Lolly's album.

Nobody said they'd shit on me so profusely.
They're birds, Steve. They do what birds do *shrug*

After feeding the birds, tu'pence a bag, we went and cuddled a koala. And if she wasn't stunned giddy by that one...

Mini Steve comes to terms with meeting Avon the baby koala
and then sadly having to say goodbye without bringing her back in our luggage

...then we went and completely blew her mind by letting her loose with the kangaroos.

The most obvious display of affection for anyone meeting the LGBB is her patented stiff-backed shoulder-hunching neck-disappearing compliment. If you receive this, you are SO in. The kangaroos got this accolade from her, big time.

Oh and holy crap, they DO hop!!!
Lolly witnesses for herself that the kangaroo certainly does jump with a jumpity-jump (he never walks when he can jump and people shout to him in the street, 'Goodness, gracious, what big feet!')

By this stage, I was in tears again. How could you not, when you see your kid softly chatting to these animals and slowing movements to a gentle brush here, a ginger touch there? It was one of those moments where I got to witness what I'd wondered (ie. how would she go if we got her a kitten, a hampster, any other small animal requiring delicate handling).

Oh groaaaaan, not another toddler

I mean, hello little girl, will you be my friend?

So what do you make of the global financial crisis, Rooza?
The LGBB chews the fat with her newest friend.

Steve and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to
get a photo with Mrs McGillicuddy

And so concludes the first three days. Next instalment...
Summer Holiday Romances and Other Important Things

A rundown in brief

• When we left for the airport, we were still stressed from rushing to organise ourselves and a recently uber-defiant Miss 2.4. Oh the joys. The stress will just wash off when we're on the plane, we said to ourselves. It didn't. It kind of fell away the most it was going to only the day before our final day.

• At the terminal, we realised why Tiger Air is called No Frills. It was really rather putrid, to be honest. But I still couldn't really understand why people call these sorts of setups cow sheds or tin sheds. If it was a portable building, it was hard to notice.

• Browsing for a magazine to take on board, the overly simpering store attendant complimented me on my neck pendant. Standing at the counter being served to buy my trashy mag, the guy says my necklace is beautiful. Thanks, I reply. It's really stylish, he continues, adds to your sense of style. Buddy, I want to point out, I am standing in a tin shed out the back of Melbourne Airport because I'm flying a tincan airline because I'm a tightarse. Does that smack of style to you? Enough about the necklace already! (can you tell I take compliments kinda poorly?)

• We got all the way to our destination without any real hitch. Had to collect the keys from the rental office a few suburbs away but it was on our way. No dramas. Get into the (Fort Bloody Knox and that was with a keypass) carpark and someone's parked in our bay. Great. So we hastily park in one close to it, scribble a note and leave on our dashboard saying something about moving first thing in the a.m. Get in the lift. The LGBB fading fast. It has been a massive day for her and no arvo sleep to break it up. We can't go any higher in this lift than ground floor. HUH?? Get out of the lift, walk around outside in the dark, completely disoriented, and realise there are two towers to this complex. Ah. Steve goes and investigates. The LGBB and I distract ourselves (she from her desperate need to sleep and me from my desperate need to pee) by making friends with a local cockroach that scuttled past. What is it with Queensland and the cockroaches, pray tell? Eugh.

• Finally find our room after much flailing and faffing about. Fall into bed and promptly drift to sleep.

• Wake up time on the Gold Coast is 5.30am! Thanks to an exciting "holiday bedroom" and the lightest of sunlight beams streaming in the room (even with heavy drapes, it seeps in around the edges). Yes, the LGBB woke us every single morning at 0530 hours so we learned from day 1 to go to bed straight after her and were in bed by 9pm every night. Which kinda cut the night short for any decent Mummy Daddy Adult Time.

• Speaking of Mummy and Daddy... we have made one big decision whilst away. We're going to call ourselves by our first names when talking to each other from now on. We began while still in Southport and it's already begun to make a difference to our frazzled and challenged relationship. Hearing my name from the person I am in partnership with, rather than being referred to by That Name I so often hear (and so often have to ignore because it's said about 1,497 times any given day... before lunch), is refreshing and seems to be separating the Mum me from the Me me.

• Gloria Jeans in Australia Fair was looking to hire a store supervisor. And boy, did they need one. Took nearly ten minutes to get my coffee and there was only one order ahead of mine. Gahhhhd. It's only coffee! It's not a sponge cake you're making there, love. Snappy, snappy. Urgh.

• Friday night was girls' night out, which consisted of me and some very dear Brisbanite friends catching up for hours straight over dinner - how quaint was the restaurant... it was kind of like the Fawlty Towers of the food world, the way they served us dry toast (yes, toast, and just plain ordinary white bread toast) with three plops of dip for our starter. And then broke a glass over me and in my bag. And fumbled over, well, virtually everything (perhaps the girl was new... hey, perhaps she was dazzled by my necklace), before closing up at 10 o'clock - must be a Qld thing - and leaving us outside sitting in our chairs in the semi dark! Nobody even came over to advise they'd be closing soon. Perhaps they thought we'd get the hint when they stacked some of the chairs around us (some, not all, oddly). It was funny. That is, until spiders and leaves and geckoes and drop-bears n' shit started falling down all over and around us *shuuuuuuddder*

• We went to Currumbin Sanctuary. A MUST if you're up on the Gold Coast and have very small kidlets. It's an interactive native furry (and feathered and scaly) animal day.

• We did two of The Worlds. Seaworld (which the LGBB rechristened Sesame Street) and Dreamworld (a great day out with friends we caught up with whilst there - more on that in my next post). I don't think I've ever delighted so much in sharing new experiences with Lolly than those days, possibly because I've been torn about my feelings towards her these past few weeks as she's changing and challenging and stretching her boundaries with me (us). So it was beautiful to see her face lit up like a beacon and thoroughly enjoying herself.

• At the end of the trip, I found out why these cheap airlines get their "tinshed" name. We were literally carralled into a carport lined with chain fencing to collect our baggage. While waiting for the carousel to start up (an agonising wait, isn't it? It just. Won't. Start. Spinning those bags around! Teasers), Steve leaned against the fence, arm above head, nightclub pickup style, and said to me, "So, how long have you been here in detention?" I nearly wet my pants.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Trampoline Day

Recently, we got one of those Ebay deals on a 14' trampoline. Imagine my horror when I discovered yesterday, while hunting out for a friend the Ebay Store we won it from only in August, that they have done the dirtiest of things and scarpered with people's money since last month! Thankfully, we were always going to pay COD so there was never any danger of that for us - but still. There so very nearly could have been. We must have been one of the last to pick ours up.

And it is sooooo ace. Let me illustrate with pictures.

You can run this way on it.

You can run that way on it.

It's good for impromptu headstands.

You can lie down on it.

Oh yeah, and you can do that thing it was mainly designed for too.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

By the time you read this...

...we will be well under way on our holiday. By the power of Blogger, I am posting this long after I've hopped on that plane, jetted north and navigated Steve in our hire car to our holiday destination (a beautiful apartment overlooking the sunny ocean).

I have it on very good authority that we are heading for great weather, despite the forecasts we've been eyeing nervously. So, yay!

This morning, the LGBB reminded me once more for good measure just what we were embarking on:

"We're going on holiday. We're going swimming. And beaching."

So, see you after the beaching is all done!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The cat who stole the cream?

If you're going to get caught with your hand in mummy's face cream and covered in it... at LEAST get a less guilty looking face.

Ah, young Lolly-hopper. You have much to learn.

Something to help you obsess for the next little while

It is addictive.

I was warned but did I listen? Consider yourself duly warned.

Edit 3:10pm - well thank God for that. I was a bit nervous there for a while. President-Elect: Barack Obama!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hooray. Hooray. It's a Holi-Holiday.

This week is a week of mayhem and hectic pulling together of last-minute packing and tying up loose ends at work before we go away.

I have to admit, I'm getting excited. That is, despite the forecast for bloody rain (well... not, you know, literally) the entire week we will be on the sunny east coast of Queensland.

It starts tomorrow for me. Tomorrow Steve and I are taking the LGBB on her very first long train ride. We're going in to the city to meet two other families who can only be described as our non-blood relatives. We have other families like this spread out over the country but these are the two girls in Melbourne who make my life worth living *sniff* There. I said it. You know the kinds of friends I mean - they're the ones who know you infinitely better than any of your family put together, these days, and they're always there with a ready email or a text message about something big or something so microscopically tiny (like who they're having obsessive thoughts about, such as SamRo and LiLo, or when Rhys Muldoon is on Play School playing a hysterical character in the storytime bit...). I just love the nonsensical off-the-cuff contact. It keeps me going.

Stop me before I get too whimsical.

Lolly keeps gasping great big long intakes of air every time we mention "holiday". We started preparing her for it on the weekend and, well, I think the kid might actually self-combust before we make it to the airport. It'll be one of those things where, as a kid, you've look forward to it soooooo much that you have surprise-special-sensory intake overload by the time you're experiencing it for real and so only manage to absorb about 20% of all the exciting stuff you're seeing and doing.

We have been told by the LGBB in no uncertain terms that this is a "swimming holiday". We told her there would be pools. And a beach. And even though I've never properly sat down and gone over the concept of beaches and waves and water and sand, she's watched enough Play School and seen enough books to know what it is. And that she LOVES it already. We'll see. Little Miss "I Don't Like It, It's Bit Funneeeeee" who shrieks this exact sentence every time her bare feet meet grass may not be so keen on sand. I shall watch with interest.

So the swimming holiday begins in earnest on Friday. And Friday night, oh my giddy aunt, I get to meet up with some of my most favouritestest women on the Gold Coast. No, not the meter maids. Actually, to be technically fair, they're in Brisbane not the Gold Coast, anyway. Still, what I wouldn't give to see them in those gold bikinis. HAAAAA HA HA HA HA.

Okay now I'm just being silly for my own amusement *insert evil-devil-horned smiley here* Bring on pancakes! Bring on Thursday! Bring on no work for a week!!

Don't forget to check the mail, have I put the timer on the living room lights? Oh and.... and... and... BYEEEE!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Like a bad smell

For a couple of weeks now I've had sealed plastic food containers sitting on my bench. I daren't open them because each time I do, the stench of evil that is lingering within comes spilling out, offending my senses like nothing I've quite known before.

Yes. It is that bad.

I can't remember what was in them, but I found them in the back of our fridge and ohhhhhh boy, am I sorry. Sorry I pushed them to the back. Sorry I found them. Damn sorry I don't know how to get the smell out.

So I've googled. And here's something interesting I thought I might try:

Food-container deodorizer. Stuff a balled-up piece of newspaper into a plastic container, seal it, and let sit overnight. By morning the paper will have absorbed lingering food smells.
I am guessing, mind you, that this is for incy-wincy pansy food smells. Like the container you used for that leftover tuna. Or the egg and mayo mix you've made too much of and will use up for tomorrow's lunch.

Ho ho. No, no, no. This needs some industrial-grade biohazard solution. So if the newspaper thing doesn't work, I'll let you know. And then I'll most likely have to contact Hazmat to come in, wrap our house in plastic and wearing those body suits to come take the containers away.

In the meantime, any surefire suggestions? Aside from turing them, I mean (which I don't necessarily want to do - we're talking good Tupperware and D├ęcor brand stuff here)? And yes, I've already smacked myself silly for being so tardy on the issue.

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