Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Top o' the mornin' to ya!

Well, it looks like Winter is scurrying away with its icy tail between its legs. Spring is upon us! Well, technically it will be here on Saturday but no doubt many of you will have caught the preview. Yesterday was such a happy Spring day that I just had to go outside to the nearby park to enjoy the sun, the warm breeze and the smell of flowers. I promptly had a fit of hayfever and spent the rest of the afternoon hiding under my desk. And I don't even have red hair! So I broke out the drugs (the hayfever drugs) and braved another pre-Spring day. I even managed to shed the coat today, so mild a morning it was. Yep. It looks like Spring is here.

This is a good thing. It means the kids can play outside more. That is mostly what Spring means to DW and I. And the kids love playing outside. Occassionally they will even play nicely together but that usually ends in tears. Mostly Little Man's but he is increasingly holding his own against Princess and isn't afraid to play dirty. He's not above throwing a handful of sand in her face if she annoys him. Still, he's only two so we do what we can but for the most part, he will just have to learn.

Because DW's folks are away on their annual winter pilgrimage to anywhere warmer, they asked us to drop into their place for a couple of nights. Apparently its required by their insurance, but it also gives us an opportunity to have a little holiday. At least, that was the plan. Having worked some overtime I had a day's worth of FLEX up my sleeve and so last Friday, I took the day off and DW and I decided on the spur of the moment to do something impulsive. Not very impulsive, just a little impulsive. We had already discussed the possibility several times but we hadn't ACTUALLY decided until Friday morning. So as soon as Princess was back from Kinder, we packed up the car with all manner of clothing, food (because there wouldn't be much there) and miscellany and headed off (we did pack the kids too).

Princess did her best to keep herself awake by talking constantly, but she and Little Man were pretty tired so they fell asleep uncharacteristically early. It was a beautiful day for a drive in the country, lush and green from the recent rain. The trip passed without event and we arrived in the middle of the afternoon. The kids, fresh from a nice sleep, descended on their grandparents house like a swarm of locusts. Ok, so two kids might not seem like a swarm but if you had been there... Toys went everywhere. As it happens, Grandma is a former Kinder teacher and has a large number of toys still from those days and having had several kids of her own. I don't think she or Grandad play with the toys much now so they sit quietly until Princess and Little Man or the other grandchildren arrive. BOOOM!! Toy salad!

Eventually we dug the kids out and fed them. Unfortunately they had to forego their bath due to the fact that the water hadn't heated sufficiently but DW had the wood fire blazing merrily so the house was nice and cozy at least. I may have mentioned before DW's disconcerting ability with fire. Seriously, I believe she could get a fire going with nothing more than a box of matches, a newspaper, several firelighters, a handful of kindling and some bone dry wood. (Truth be told, she is very good at lighting a fire.)

Anyway, we decided to try Little Man in the porta-cot, which is harder to climb out of than a normal cot, though apparently not much harder. Little Man was out of there like a shot. So we decided to set him up in another room, which had not had the benefit of being heated so was considerably colder. That didn't bother Little Man. He worked up a sweat running around and bouncing off the walls in that room. At least there he was less likely to wake his sister. Unfortnately, Princess doesn't go back to sleep easily, so considerable effort went to convincing her that this holiday was supposed to be relaxing for ALL of us, not just an opportunity for Princess and Little Man to go nuts.

Anyway, after a pretty much horrible night, we decided to take the kids to a special adventure playground not too far from the grandparents place. Just far enough to play the "Are-we-there-yet?-shut-the-hell-up-or-so-help-me-I'll-turn-this-car-around" game a few times. When we got there, we had some lunch and proceeded to chase the two kids around the park, trying to keep them from leaping off high forts, eating sand and jumping in the numerous ponds and lakes. Yeah, lots of fun.

So then we took them over to the beach, popped on their shorts and thongs and wandered along the shore. Then we chased them trying to keep them from leaping off the high dunes, eating more sand and other things, and jumping in the one very large pond. After a while we gave up and decided to let them get their feet wet, which unfortunately meant we had to go in as well. So we rolled up our jeans as best we could and held on to the kids and faced the biggest waves they had ever seen. The first few didn't actually reach us, so big were they. Soon, however, the water rushed up and engulfed our ankles. I don't mind saying that it was cold. So cold that squealing like a girl seemed like the thing to do. So the four of us squealed like girls, but the kids at least were enjoying themselves.

In the end, we had to drag them away from the water, both of them far wetter than we had intended, but still squealing happily. We changed them back into their dry clothes, after some difficulty getting them to wash the sand off, and had an ice-cream. Then we hopped back into the car hoping they would be so worn out that they would sleep, and sleep they did. It even took them a few minutes to wake up after we got home, and wake up they did. With the renewed vigour that comes from a half-hour powernap, they threw themselves into running, fighting, throwing, kicking, crying and generally being annoying. Fortunately we were able to give them a bath which did settle them down somewhat.

I wasn't going to be fooled by Little Man twice and decided to put him in his own room from the start. He wasn't happy but eventually settled. Princess on the other hand did her best to stay up later but eventually she went to sleep as well. When the clock hit 4:50am, Little Man woke up and threatened to wake up everyone else. So I got up and settled him. And settled him. And settled him. And so on until 6:30am, when the sun had risen enough that there was no way he was going back to sleep. So I got him up and gave him breakfast, hoping at least Princess would sleep in for a bit. But she didn't. Just before 7am she came into the kitchen demanding food. So I obliged them both and tried to keep them calm until 8am, when I served DW's breakfast. After that, DW watched the kids while I had a bit more sleep.

Then we faced the cleanup. After being thwarted by the kids at every turn, I focussed on distracting them while DW packed, swept, washed, tidied, folded, tucked, picked up, mopped, vacuumed, hunted and cleaned. Amazingly she had the place looking great quite quickly. I still think keeping the kids occupied was harder. Anyway, we piled into the car and headed home. It was a long trip because although both kids were extremely tired, they didn't want to sleep. To keep themselves awake, the fought. Princess yelled and Little Man squealed. This didn't stop when we got home. It didn't stop at bath time. It didn't stop at dinner time, or story time or bed time. It stopped when Little Man got a mouthful of Phenergan. Peace at last. Peace ended at 4:50am. D'Oh!


Thought for the Day: Sorry. Too tired. I got nothin'

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Halt! Who goes there?!?

Its ok. You can pass. Up for a bit of bloggery, eh?

Well, let's see what we can do. Since I finally finished the first draft of my novel, I have been a little slack when it comes to writing. I guess I've been on a little break. However, my life has not been on a little break and has been as busy as ever, only more so. I have made another short film for the Diet Coke Short Film Competition (http://www.dietcokefilms.com.au/) and it has been selected as a finalist. It will be shown on the 14th of September. I also entered a short story competition with the ABC but I won't hear back from them until 1st of November.

Anyway, now those little endeavours are out of the way (though still hanging over my head) I can get stuck into editing my 140,000 word novel. Oh, the joy! I was also working on another short film when we put it on hold to do the Diet Coke one so that will be back on in the next week or two. Work has been very busy lately and promises to be so until the end of the year. But I would like to get back into the blogging so I'll make a bigger effort to be more regular. On with the show.

To start with, Little Man has just turned two, not that he waited for his birthday to start throwing his two-year-old tantrums. Not when he is already so good at kicking and throwing and stamping. This delightful little boy can go from heart-meltingly adorable to axe-wielding psychopath in the blink of an eye, though I wouldn't recommend blinking when he's around. We now keep the axe in the garage. If he can't find something to hurl, he will resort to hurling himself. He has been known to throw himself so hard at the floor that his screams of anger become screams of pain.

Its the two-year-old curse. Basically, he can now communicate enough of what he wants to get the idea across. "bisit" means "biscuit", for example. "bodoo" means "bottle". "Fruck" means "truck", at least we are pretty sure it does, because he occasionally uses it when there are no trucks around. It is possible that he is actually swearing and he just happens to find actual trucks...surprising. Anyway, when he starts yelling or kicking things he shouldn't, we try to ascertain what he wants. If he says "bisit", we then have to go through the variety of biscuit options, though this has become a little easier now that he can say "chokabisit".

Actually, in the last couple of weeks, his speech has improved dramatically. It still has that babyish cuteness to the pronunciation, but he is starting to express more complex thoughts. Telling us that he wants a "bisit" isn't enough anymore. He likes to say things like "Yummy bisit. I like bisit. No No. Chokabisit." We have even got him saying "ice-cream Yay!" and raising his arms like a tiny little one-toddler mexican wave. This has become part of his routine declaration of ice-cream, even if he's terribly upset and crying. Through the tears and snot and the trembling lip, he will continue to say "i-i-ice--cr-cr-cream (sniff) yay (sniff)" but he doesn't lift his arms as high.

Up until a month or so ago, if Princess went anywhere near Little Man, and he started bawling, it would almost always mean she had hurt him in some manner. More recently however, she might simply pick up one of her own toys, not even one he was playing with, and he will scream like a banshee. Big tears, pointing and sobbing between howls. More often than not, he will then belt the person trying to help him, such is his frustration. He's also got a very good throwing arm.

And still he doesn't sleep through the night. He will scream his little head off at 2:30am until someone comes in to see him. Sometimes it can seem a little fake. When you leap out of bed and dash into his room and hear "WWWAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH hello daddy" it can be a little hard to believe him.

It is still Little Man's birthday so I will try to write some more about him tomorrow. Now, on to Princess. Actually, there is probably less to tell about Princess. Having completely mastered the art of annoying DW, she hasn't really set herself new goals yet. The truth is she is suffering the effects of broken sleep because her little brother has his own agenda and the rest of us be damned. She is going through an attention seeking phase which started shortly before she was born and shows no sign of abating. However, she does try to help more around the house and has even learned how to make her own bed.

Little man managed to learn how to click his fingers before Princess so she was absolutely determined to do it. After several months of failed attempts, watching Little Man get it right pretty much on his first attempt, she steeled herself and was clicking like a champ two days later. When Little Man started showing some interest in whistling, Princess was determine not to be outdone again and can now whistle, barely. Little Man doesn't seem to care either way. Ah, sibling rivalry.

Well, that will have to do for today. Hopefully another update will follow shortly. Until then...


Thought for the Day: Rhyming is not for the workplace