Monday, April 30, 2007

Good morning. Its Monday morning on the last day in April. Wheee!

I probably sound like I'm full of fake cheer, or full of something anyway, but what the hell. I'm tired. Anyway, it occurred to me over the weekend that I have been blogging for just over a year. Yep, my first blog came online mid April 2006. I set myself a goal of reaching 100 posts by the end of 2006, and I am still not quite there. Hopefully I will reach 100 posts by the end of this month but perhaps I will refrain from promising anything.

Reading back over a few of the posts over the last year has been amusing. Its interesting to see how my two children have grown, both in stature and in mental development. It is also interesting to note how DW's and my life have changed in twelve months. Not much, it seems. However, I should note that while things may seem to be the same, they have actually changed. Twelve months ago Little Man could not walk and knew only a few words. Twelve months ago, Princess was slightly shorter than she is now. Twelve months ago DW was still employed.

You see, just before Little Man was born, DW went on 12 months maternity leave and was still on leave a year ago. After the twelve months expired, she extended the leave to 24 months (which her employer permits under certain conditions). So while she did receive payments for the first 12 weeks, she has been on unpaid leave ever since. We have satisfactorily balanced our budget to ensure that the decision to return to work was not dictated by financial concerns. And so, after much consideration, DW decided that in the best interests of Princess and Little Man, she would continue to be a full-time home-maker (I believe this is the politically correct term - if not, please substitute as appropriate). This meant formally resigning her position which was not easy for DW to do, as she has long prided herself at being extremely good at her job.

Anyway, DW prefers not to think of herself as unemployed, but rather that she now has someone to work for her. I think she keeps herself pretty busy at home. Princess is only at Kinder 3 half days a week and Little Man does his best to fill the void. He has become quite adept at creating almost as much havoc as she could. I sometimes envy DW as I walk away from a slumbering house on a cold morning, or like this morning, when they were all up and waving goodbye as I left. Sometimes I wish I got to be more involved in the day to day living.

But by the end of the day we are all tired and from when I get home at 6pm, its nice to see just how excited my arrival is for the kids. They both come hurtling to the door to see me and basically swarm around me until dinner is on the table. DW doesn't get to experience that and I know she wishes she did. That is one of the sacrifices she makes. By being home all the time, she gets taken for granted, and in a strange way, that's what kids need. They need to be confident that mum or dad will be there for them, so they can focus on living rather than surviving.

Its a tough job and I'm not sure I could do it. DW gets frustrated with me when I look after the kids on occasion and manage to do the housework as well. But I have explained that it is not just the doing of these tasks that is challenging. Its that these tasks are now your entire job, they are how you spend your working time. I can sweep, mop, stack, wash, hang out, fold, vacuum, make meals and tidy up just about as well as anyone on any given day. And look after the kids. But when people ask me what I do, I think of how I spend most of my working time. DW has had to give that up to be taken for granted by two little kids and a much bigger kid. Well, maybe not the latter, at least not all of the time. I guess my job, in part at least, is to make sure the kids remember to say thank you. I guess its lucky then that Mother's Day is coming up. Nothing says thank you like not having to sweep, mop, stack, wash, hang out, fold, vacuum, make meals and tidy up. Some breakfast in bed and a special dinner might help also. Maybe a present or two...


Thought for the Day: Barney from "How I met Your Mother" makes blogging look uncool.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Greetings. I should warn you, my mind has wandered this morning and while I wait for it to return, I thought I'd write my blog.

A brief excerpt from a conversation between DW and Princess:

Princess: "Hey Mum. I don't want a baby girl anymore."
DW: "Oh, why?"
Princess: "Well, Little Man's kinda cool"

This is an important step because in the months leading up to Little Man's emergence into this world, Princess was adamant she wanted a little sister. It got to the point where she would burst into tears if anyone suggested that the new baby might be a boy, or how great a little brother might be. As it was, we had no idea what the sex of the impending child would be - though DW was certain it would be a boy. She likes to tell people how "she just knew" which is usually when I chime in with "you were just as sure Princess was going to be a boy" - but that's another story.

Anyway, Princess was so excited when Little Man was born, and had been reminded many, many times that it wasn't up to us to decide the sex, that she accepted Little Man as the beautiful little baby he was. Also, he had a penis, which was a novelty we hadn't prepared her for. So the tantrums over having a little sister were a thing of the past, but she still mentioned it occasionally for a long while after. Well, Little Man is now 20 months old and Princess and he are playing together more and more. It is very gratifying as a parent to see your two children playing happily together, not demanding your attention or bothering you. It can last several seconds before Little Man bursts into tears because of something Princess has done to him or taken from him. Or because he is tired or because the wind shifted. He can be a bit of a sook.

Princess has taken to blaming Little Man for pretty much anything she thinks she can get away with. Oddly enough, she doesn't actually get away with much, but she tries anyway. She also lies without thinking twice. Perhaps if she thought twice, her lies would be more convincing. A couple of days ago, she came to tell me that Little Man had let himself into the study, somewhere they are not allowed to go unattended. Now Little Man is so called because he is little, and a man, but mostly because he is little. He cannot yet reach high enough to turn the door handles. So I decided to challenge Princess but she refused to back down so we conducted an experiment. I asked Little Man, recently removed from under the desk in the study, to try to open the door to the study again. Little Man was not privy to the experiment and quite happily obliged, but as I expected, was not able to open the door. Interestingly, he had grown tall enough since I last saw him try and can now fully grip the handle, but as he is on his tip-toes, he still isn't able to turn the knob.

Princess and I were watching this process, and when it became obvious that Little Man wasn't going to be able to open the door, Princess decided he needed a demonstration, so tried to teach him on the spot. So I stopped the experiment, satisfied that I had made my point, and a little unnerved at how close Little Man had come to opening the door. Still, Princess wouldn't back down. After several more minutes of me questioning her story, she caved and admitted she had opened the door.

I am told this is a very natural stage of development. It shows her creative mind jumping in to save her skin, so to speak. I remember doing the same when I was little. I was quite good at lying. I discovered early that to lie successfully, you had to believe what you were saying, and to stick as close to the actual truth as possible. Too little detail and the story is hollow, but too much detail is impossible to keep track of. So I would tell the story of something that happened that was almost indistinguishable from the facts, differing only in the part relating specifically to my guilt. Occasionally I would have to tell a whopper but that was usually too much work so I refined my process to be less grand. I saw the amateurs around me fall on their lying faces, tripped up by some ridiculous detail or the outlandishness of their fabrications. I was caught out making a few rookie mistakes, but I moved on and became adept. It would seem that Princess is following in my footsteps. Of course, she might be following in DW's footsteps, as it is possible that DW is even better at lying than I am. I mean, if she were really good, how would I know? Hmmm. That's food for thought. Still, I guess it comes down to the fact that when DW tells me a story, I believe it, and when Princess opens her mouth, I am given to doubt. However, she is only five in two weeks so I probably should refine my lie-detecting skills because she is going to be dangerous when she becomes a teenager.


Thought for the Day: I have found a clue to becoming immortal - "All good things must come to an end."
What the Fwuck?!?

I know it sounds a little rude but it is all very innocent. You see, Little Man LOVES trucks. He loves cars and buses too, but he really loves trucks. Only he calls them "fwucks". He even makes the sounds - "Brrooommm, brrroooommm!" Its especially cute to hear him do the train noise - "whoo whoo ch ch ch ch" while rolling his shoulders. I'd love to get it on video, but he doesn't perform for the camera. Well, he does perform, just not what I want. A few days ago, he discovered the delight that is making himself so dizzy he couldn't stand. Seriously, he couldn't have been funnier if we had gotten him drunk. It was one of the funniest things I have ever seen but he wouldn't do it for the camera. Instead he wanted to be a frog. Its not that his frog impression is frighteningly accurate, its just not as funny as him staggering like a drunk and falling over.

Anyway, back to his speech impediment, though I guess learning to speak is not widely considered an impediment. It is quite amazing how much he picks up from Princess. He can now squeal, throw tantrums, scream "MINE!" and has a mean right hook. But he has also learnt to say nice things as well. For instance, when he says "sangsu" he means "thankyou", and "piss" means "please". Oddly enough, "lolol" means "water". He also loves to say "sorry" and he actually seems to use it in context and even mean it sometimes. "I'll gedit" and "I'll doit" are also favourites.

He also has a temper. It doesn't take much to annoy him and its almost worth doing just to see the reaction. He yells and stomps but it is his hitting of things that is really funny. He gives a big wind up and BANG, he slaps whatever as hard as he can. And he has quite a swing for a little guy. Whenever I pick him up when he's angry, I have to remember that he can give quite a clout, and has done many times. Occasionally he will hurt himself hitting something hard like the bench and I amuse myself occasionally by quickly stepping back and letting him miss when swinging at me. But soon the little storm subsides and he is ready for a cuddle and to say sorry.

Princess also has a temper, in case anyone was still wondering. She doesn't try hitting DW or me, but Little Man cops it occasionally. Actually, frequently would be more accurate, though it is less hitting him and more overly aggressive cuddling with an intent to maim. With us, she is more argumentative, very ready to try and talk over us, but completely intolerant of being spoken over. She has taken to stamping her foot and running off to her bedroom, slamming the door dramatically. Still, she is nearly five so what can you do. She can behave reasonably, she simply chooses not to.

I just remembered a funny little thing that happened on the weekend. We hired "March of the Penguins" and all sat down to watch it together, which we don't do very often. Anyway, it was quite a good film and one thing it did very well was the photography. Especially when the penguins found their mate. DW was particularly impressed and pointed out to Princess how wonderful it was to see them cuddling. However, after all that cuddling, the penguins decided to get down to business and Princess turned to DW and asked "What are they doing now?" DW went bright red and said "They are just cuddling a different way." Princess replied, "They don't look like they're cuddling. He's behind her and she's fallen over." DW set the matter to rest by saying, "They are cuddling and that's all now eat your dinner and stop asking questions if you want any dessert." That retelling might not be entirely accurate but you get the gist.

Oh, by the way, DW found out what Princess wished for with her wishing stone: a tutu and dancing shoes so she could go to dancing lessons. We can probably manage that.


Though for the Day: Most household lightbulbs are bayonet style - meaning no one screws them in. Thousands of jokes are now pointless.

Friday, April 20, 2007

pig = bacon
lamb = chops
cow = steak
chicken = chicken

You know, I'd have thought the last one would have been a pretty big hint for Princess but no. It was a charming little kids film called "Babe" that first introduced Princess to the concept of us humans devouring cute little animals. I hired the movie for her after telling her it was about a cute little piggy that could talk. She thought that sounded wonderful and was eager to see this phenomenon for herself. Unfortunately, she discovered that the little piggy was going to be eaten and refused to watch such any further. I explained that the pig doesn't get eaten in the story. She asked if I had seen the movie and unfortunately I haven't. So then she asked how I knew the pig didn't get eaten and I explained that the fact they made a sequel made it pretty obvious. But the damage was done. She asked if all pigs get eaten. Why do we eat pigs?

The situation wasn't helped when I decided to cheer her up by hiring Charlotte's Web. I knew that pig didn't get eaten but apparently just the threat of being eaten, and the fact the movie reinforced the notion that MOST pigs get eaten, did not make Princess happy. Also, she freaked a little at the talking spider. Just when she decided she actually liked the spider, the bloody thing went and died. Anyway, its back to the Tellytubbies. I expect they'd fry up pretty good too.

Little Man has started sleeping through the odd night. I know you'd expect me to be a little more happy or even ecstatic about that but I remain cautiously optimistic. You see, just because Little Man has slept through "a couple" of times, Princess has decided to wake up and get me out of bed for some reason or another, on most of those nights. Still, it may be that Little Man is turning a corner. I know that he won't be able to stay in a cot for much longer. It hasn't yet occurred to him to try to climb out but the day he does try it, he is outta there! We have already started thinking about putting him in a bed, but that is one GIANT hurdle we are not quite ready for yet.

One small developmental change for Little Man is that in the last six weeks, he has developed an interest in the TV. He loves Hi-5 particularly and also Tellytubbies, mostly because the look like dancing lollies. He even sings along to some of the songs that come on. Its interesting that we now have to start monitoring how much TV he watches as well. We try to keep it down to a couple of hours, which is much easier on Kinder days for Princess. Fortunately Little Man is able to occupy himself with toys better than Princess ever did, so he is just as happy with the box off. Also, he sleeps during the day, twice if we are lucky.

Anyway, things are mostly pretty quiet at our place at the moment, aside from the screaming. But in just a couple of weeks, Princess turns the big 5 and planning for the party has begun. The theme is "Rainbow" and everyone has to dress up in their favourite colour. Could be fun. Will be hard work. I'll keep you all posted.


Thought for the Day: IUTMA (I Use Too Many Acronyms)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hey, Hey! I'm back. Its been a long, dry, wordless spell in the blogless night. But no more! I can't guarantee the words will make any sense but they shall be words nonetheless. Possibly even sentences but more likely just words. Now, you are probably wondering why I haven't written for such a long time. Fair enough.

So much has happened in the past month I barely know where to start. Obviously it would be good to start at the beginning but I can't remember back that far, so I'll just go back as far as I can.

Yesterday Princess went to a "Fairy" party where a "real" fairy was in attendance, presumably to ensure that the fairy party was conducted in accordance with fairy party rules. They really can be a bunch of sticklers. Anyway, this bureaucrat with wings gave Princess a flat glass bead thingy and called it a "wishing stone". Princess dutifully placed the "wishing stone" within a suitable radius of her sleeping head and closed her eyes and silently made her wish. She believed with all her little heart that her wish was going to come true and given how eager she was to check the backyard this morning, I suspect she wished for Smartie rain.

However, her hopes were dashed and she came to me just as I was about to leave for work and asked why her wish hadn't come true. I asked her what she had wished for, in case it was for $1.45, which I happened to have on me, but she informed me with a very serious face, that to "tell" of her wish would guarantee its failure. Despite the obvious failure anyway, you might think that she could tell me but no. She stuck to her fairy-believing guns. So, now we are faced with the "magic" dilemna. Is it real or is it not? Do fairies exists or did the werewolves eat them all?

DW believes in fairies. I've noticed that everytime we watch Peter Pan she silently mouths "I do believe in fairies, I do, I do." So we have not yet travelled down the path of shattering Princess' belief in the irrational. It is a twisted web of lies and deceit as we hop from thread to thread, explaining why Santa doesn't like to be seen, how a great big chocolate-loving rabbit can sneak into our houses at night, leaving neatly wrapped Easter Bunny poo in all sorts of tricky places, and still be in every damn shopping centre we visit.

Princess is starting to wonder at the legitimacy of our arguments. She has taken to challenging them occasionally, wondering about the how's and why's and the what if's. Yet should I ever look like caving in and telling the truth, DW is there with a look that tells me that even if I don't believe in magic, she would find a way to turn me into a toad. It is a convincing look.

Little Man, on the other hand, believes in food. He doesn't care whether DW or I or a giant rabbit or anyone else for that matter, gives him food. He wants any sort of food. He's not big on vegies, but he'll eat just about anything else, and even vegies if enough "other" food is covering them. So when Easter came, Little Man gorged himself on chocolate-covered vegies. I think he would see a giant rabbit just as unprepared meat.

Anyway, now DW and I have to come up with a convincing explanation as to why the stupid "real" fairy's dumb wishing stone didn't work. If only she'd taken the $1.45, we'd be out of this mess. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow I can tell you about the latest discovery. pig = bacon


Thought for the Day: I was going to tell someone that "it's never too late" but they had already left.