Or You Could Just Hide In the Cupboard

Or You Could Just Hide In the Cupboard

Quote of the Day/Week/Month/Year or Until I Change It!

‘Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.’

Mohandas Gandhi


Pondering the choices we make at our crossroads is like revision in the school of life.

Regretting the mistakes or taking for granted the successes, means we have learnt nought.

An attentive student will gain wisdom from the mistakes and joy from the successes.

Cartillyer – 2008

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Daughter Leaves Home… Daughter Returns and She's Not Alone

I was relieved when The Apprentice asked if she could move back home; she couldn’t afford to get a place of her own and was stuck living in a relationship with someone she didn’t love. Having her at home meant I would be less stressed; I worried about her day and night.

We were all looking forward to the strange and amusing things she said. Like the time she tried to make Mr T feel better about his baldness by telling him he wasn’t bald, he just had a large forehead. Or calling me after she drove to her home in the western suburbs to tell me she had the sun in her eyes the entire time and that they really should think about where they put suburbs.  

What I wasn’t looking forward to were the two young felines she’d adopted during her time living away from home. I’d never imagined the stress that two young cats would create for me.

It’s been a long time since I lived with a cat, so I’ve grown used to not having to brush cat hair off my clothes, the couch, the curtains … my food! How on earth do cats escape baldness after continuously shedding copious amounts of hair?

I’ve now gone from child locks on cupboards to keep Miss Flora out of everything to chasing two thieving felines – that have absolutely no respect for authority – off of the kitchen table and benches.

Just when I thought the feline felons were learning their place and my stress levels were dropping, the youngest one developed diarrhea, which wouldn’t have been a problem if he’d made it to the litter tray in time. At least he was on the floor and not jumping on my kitchen bench when it happened.

The vet prescribed cooked chicken breast to remedy the foul, feline frustration. Thankfully, the health department never has a need to inspect our freezer, or they’d be asking me to explain why I have several packages labelled ‘CAT’. Obviously it is for the cat, but it could be misconstrued when it’s next to packages labelled ‘BEEF’, ‘LAMB’ and ‘CHICKEN’.

With the diarrhea cured and the disobedient furballs finally learning their place is on the floor (we’re still working on the lack of respect for authority), I started to relax … maybe a little too soon. The Apprentice sends me an sms while she’s at the vet with one of the cats. ‘Urgent! Don’t let kids touch cat. Will explain later’.

I lock the other cat in the laundry with the litter tray, food and water, wash the kids’ hands and then wonder what exotic disease has found its way into our home on the back of The Apprentice’s cats.  By the time The Apprentice arrives home I’ve researched every possible cat disease and am still no wiser.

‘They have ringworm,’ announces The Apprentice.

Ringworm I can handle, but trying to keep three children aged between 1 and 4 from touching the cats until the ringworm is eradicated is a whole new stress.

‘Don’t touch the cat!’ ‘Did you touch the cat? Wash your hands.’ ‘Leave the cat alone.’ ‘Wash your hands.’ ‘I told you not to touch the cat.’ ‘No! Don’t touch the cat.’ ‘Aaaaarrrggghhhh!!!!!’

Two weeks later, the ringworm is gone, the cats are too terrified of the consequences to even consider jumping on the kitchen table and the kids have learnt to ask before touching the cat. Despite the hair, poo and total disrespect for authority, the youngest feline does a good job at entertaining us each night as he races from one end of the lounge room to the other like a greyhound lure on amphetamines. If he only knew the irony when he chases a cursor about the computer screen; a cursor controlled by a mouse!

Just as I relax and think to myself, ‘at least The Apprentice didn’t have any children while she was living away from home,’ the hyperactive kitten starts to entertain himself by hooking poo out of the litter box and batting it around the floor. Maybe a couple of grandkids wouldn’t have been so bad after all.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Didn't Marry A Handyman!

Mr T can be quite creative when he needs to reach the guttering and doesn't have a ladder. Fortunately he didn't fall and break his leg/back/neck; unfortunately it also means I didn't get a good video to send to 'Australia's Funniest Home Videos'.  

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mr T's Dilemma

Mr T is one of those men that will suffer through random bouts of pain if it means he can avoid going to the doctor. As long as the pain subsides occasionally he’ll soldier through it, because it’s easier to cope with than hearing a medical professional tell him that his blood pressure is too high, his cholesterol levels are worrying and he needs to lose weight.

I have since clued our doctor up on Mr T’s procrastination when it comes to his own health, so when I do get him there, the doctor orders a battery of tests. This presents me with the next challenge – getting Mr T to the pathology rooms.

After four months of further procrastination by Mr T, I tricked him into committing a morning to his blood tests. He thought I was asking for help with the kids; the realisation that I had tricked him reminded him that he had married a woman that wasn’t worried about bending the truth if it meant her husband would take better care of himself. Unfortunately for Mr T, and unbeknownst to me, the doctor had ordered a new test that he’d not had before – the 24-hour urine test.

When Mr T returned home from the pathology rooms, he walked in the front door with a wad of cotton wool stuck to his arm, a ‘why me’ look on his face, and a large plastic shopping bag in his hand.

‘What’s that?’ I asked as I looked at the large pathology emblem plastered on the side of the bag.

Mr T sighed, pulled an empty, 4-litre, plastic bottle out of the bag and said, ‘I have to pee in it.’

He looked miserable, so being the compassionate wife I am, I laughed long and hard, and then proceeded to tell Uni Student about Mr T’s dilemma. She tried to stifle her amusement for a couple of seconds, which was much more restraint than I’d shown. As soon as we stopped laughing, Uni Student’s boyfriend (USB) walked through the door, so we filled him in on the joke. He was his usual polite self and didn’t laugh. He even tried to make Mr T feel better by telling him that USB’s mother had performed the test several times in the past. And that was the end of Uni Student’s and my fun … or was it?

Mr T had to spend twenty-four hours filling his 4-litre bottle with urine. It wasn’t the amount of urine or how long he had to use the bottle for that worried him. It was walking back into a crowded, pathology waiting room with a massive bottle of urine. Pathology waiting rooms aren’t always crowded, but they are when you have a very large, transparent bottle of urine in your hand.

Maintaining a compassionate demeanour while injecting humour into the situation isn’t easy. Determined to make Mr T feel better, I made a few suggestions.

‘I could take bets on how full the bottle is at the end of twenty-four hours.’

Mr T frowned.

‘I could document it with the new video camera!’

Mr T growled.

Sometimes he needs a little encouragement to laugh at himself, so while he was at work I started documenting with the video camera. He’d come around to the idea … eventually … I think.

I soon discovered that it’s not easy coming up with witty things to say about an empty, 4-litre, urine bottle, so I enlisted the help of Boywonder.

‘This is the bottle Daddy has to pee in for twenty-four hours. Do you think he’ll fill it?’ I asked.

‘Yes! Can I pee in it too?’ replied Boywonder.

What boy doesn’t want to share experiences with his dad?! Of course I said no.

When gently telling Mr T about the first instalment in the urine bottle documentary, he announced the idea of his four-year-old son helping fill the bottle as brilliant; healthy young urine would dilute any evil results present in Mr T’s.

My other challenge was ensuring Mr T always used the one toilet that had his wee bottle in it (we have three toilets in our home), so I stuck a note that said, ‘wee wee in bottle’ on the door of the other two toilets. He didn’t find this very amusing either, but I documented it as well (for the sake of posterity).

I’m proud to say that Mr T did very well and toddled off the next morning with his bottle more than half full! Fortunately for us (unfortunately for him), we get to repeat it all again in six months time. Well, he does, we just get to think up new urine bottle jokes.

And the results? – Mr T’s blood pressure is good, but he does need to lose a little weight to help lower his cholesterol. As for the documentary, I saw a smile playing about Mr T’s mouth as he watched The Wee Wee Challenge so I’ve declared it a smiling success.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Comical Quotes

Some comical quotes straight from the mouths of my children...

Apprentice trying to make Mr T feel better about his baldness – 'You're not bald, you just have a big forehead.'

Boywonder offering to look after USB's laptop – 'I'll keep an eye from it.' (Because we all know how eyes like to attack laptops. Unfortunately he could only keep one from it at a time.)

Apprentice driving to her home in the western suburbs at dusk with the sun in her eyes – 'They really should consider where they put suburbs!'

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mothers Day or is that Boys Day? (2010)

Originally posted: 5 Sept 2010

I mentioned in a previous post that Boywonder wanted a day for himself, but since he hadn’t set a date we didn’t take it too seriously. We discovered today that he had set a date - Mothers Day!

At 9 am, after we finished eating breakfast and unwrapping my presents, Boywonder said, 'Well, that was a good Mothers Day.'

He then put on the badge he'd received on a birthday card last October and declared the day his. He called it ‘Boys Day’.

Cheeky sod!

I spent Mothers Day doing what I do best, being a mother.

I did the ironing and then I washed Apprentice’s clothes, because she doesn't have a washing machine and ran out of time to wash them yesterday. She was coming back to do it today, but I knew she wouldn't get it dry in time. Then I helped Uni Student with research for an essay she was having trouble with about the changes to the workplace acts.

Five minutes after posting this I will begin some ‘me’ time; I will have access to a timed assignment that I must complete before 10pm tomorrow night.Some may gasp and splutter, 'that's not 'me' time', but to me it's very much about 'me'.

Some might think my day sounded as bad if not worse than any other day, but I don’t have to cook any meals today, and that is a big help. Helping my children always makes me feel good.

Happy Mothers Day to all those hard working mothers out there.I think this rose is symbolic of the love, blood, sweat and tears that comes with the job.

Miss Flora's First Birthday.

Rights and Responsibilities under the Fair Work Act 2009
Miss Flora enjoyed tucking into a wheat-free tea cake, which had a thin layer of chocolate icing. We were hoping it was enough icing to get a nice, ‘messy face’ photo, but not enough for the cocoa to upset her belly. She spent the early hours of next morning throwing herself about the bed restlessly, so her small intake of cocoa was too much for her to handle.  At least she enjoyed her hot chips for dinner and cake for dessert. We also had pavlova, because she loves it and doesn’t react to the sugar and egg.

She wasted no time ripping open her presents after dinner and gave us strange looks every time we threw the brightly coloured, ‘noisy when it crinkles’ paper away. I know I could’ve saved a lot of money by buying her a couple of packets of coloured cellophane paper, and making scrunch balls for her, but her ability to consume copious amounts of paper in one sitting was a little worrisome.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Thin Line Between Beauty and Vanity

I’ve always thought it important to instill self-confidence in our children. It’s also important to ensure that they’re not over-confident; there’s nothing more annoying than extreme vanity. The more I thought about the many children I’d seen who were obviously vain, and compared them to those that lacked self-esteem, the more I realised what a thin line there is between the two. I had no idea as to how I’d keep my three youngest children balanced on that line, but I knew the challenge would be filled with amusing experiences.

The first one came after helping Tomboy dress and do her hair one morning. Her hair had been washed the night before so it fell in ringlets down her back. Everyone has a colour that sets off his or her features perfectly and red was definitely Tomboy’s. She twirled around in her new, fluffy, red jacket and then smiled her Angelina Jolie lips at me. Her blue eyes twinkled with delight; there was no mistaking her pleasure in her new jacket.

I said to her, 'Aren't you beautiful.'

'Yes, I am,' was the reply.

'I love you,' I said next.

'Yes, you do,' was her reply. 

I raised my eyebrows as I watched her skip away. At least (or so I thought) Boywonder wasn't so vain. After he finished dressing himself, I said, 'Aren't you beautiful!'

His reply – 'I'm not beautiful … I'm handsome!'

That thin line suddenly felt a whole lot thinner.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Who Peed In The Garden?

As I entered the kindergarten foyer to collect Boywonder I overheard a worrying conversation between some of the other mothers.

‘… one of the kids went to the toilet in the garden.’

Memories of an enlightening conversation with Boywonder the previous summer came flooding back to me …

Prior to starting kindergarten, Boywonder spent a year attending daycare one day a week. The thrill of learning things from someone other than us guaranteed he was soon bringing home new habits – both good and bad. He was always proud to tell us about his new friends and what he’d learnt from them. It was soon obvious he was more of a follower than a leader.

Then one scorching summer day, Boywonder proved us wrong; he showed me that he was a leader. We were sitting around the wading pool trying to cool down when Boywonder announced his urgent need to pee, but instead of asking for the potty, he asked if he could pee in the garden. I looked at my very pregnant belly and swollen ankles, thought about how often little boys peed behind a tree when I was growing up and said, “Sure.”

Boywonder wasted no time stripping his swimmers off and racing to the edge of the garden. He placed his hands on his out-thrust hips and began to pee. His stance was as comical as it was knowledgeable of how to pee in the garden; it was also obvious this wasn’t the first time he’d done it. Ready to blame his peers for leading my son astray, I asked if any of the other kids at day care peed in the garden.

 “Yes,” he replied.

“And who is that?” I asked.

“Me!” replied Boywonder glowing with pride.

… The classroom door opened and my thoughts snapped back to my present predicament. I cast my eyes about the kindergarten foyer, wondering if anyone knew which child had used the garden as a toilet. The other parents and I shuffled along the short hall that led from the foyer to the classroom. By the time I reached the door I was holding my hands behind my back and looking at my feet like a naughty child about to be punished.

I entered the classroom and Boywonder ran up to me, ready to go home with the teacher happily waving goodbye to us. As we walked out the door I saw the teacher attempting to catch someone else’s attention. It was impossible to see which of the twenty parents she was beckoning to, but I was convinced it was the parent of the outdoor urinator. I could empathise with the parent, so I did what any concerned parent would do. I told Boywonder we were in a hurry and ushered him to the car quickly; if I was going to quiz him about which child peed in the garden I had to do it before he became distracted and forgot.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

What About My Day???

As Mr T finalised the Mother’s Day shopping on behalf of Boywonder, Tomboy and Miss Flora, Boywonder asked a very valid question. ‘What about my day?’

It made perfect sense to Boywonder; he’d just watched Daddy open birthday presents last month, he’d be watching Miss Flora open her birthday presents in a couple of days, and he’d just finished helping Daddy buy presents for Mummy to open on Mother’s Day.

We explained to Boywonder that he already has a day each year; it’s called his birthday. Despite explaining this several different ways and using examples he’d understand, Boywonder was still determined to have ‘his day’. Each time he heard Mother’s Day mentioned he’d remind us about ‘his day’, and since he hadn’t set a date we let him prattle on about it.

By the time Mother’s Day arrived Boywonder had forgotten about ‘his day’ – or so we thought. At 9.00 am we’d finished eating breakfast and I’d unwrapped all of my presents.

Mr T was asking me what I’d like to do next when Boywonder interrupted with, 'Well, that was a good Mother’s Day.'

He then put on a badge he'd received on a birthday card the previous year and declared the day his. He called it ‘Boys’ Day’.

Boywonder strutted around the house wearing his badge and reminding everyone that it was ‘his day’. He was so proud of his ingenuity at turning Mother’s Day into ‘his day’ that we let him have his moment of glory. Besides, once he realised he wasn’t getting any presents, the novelty soon wore off (just in time for my Mother’s Day dinner).

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mouldy Highchairs and Outrageous Bills...

It was a lovely autumn day in Melbourne today; the sky was clear and we had a top of 22C, so we decided to go for a drive up Mt Dandenong. Boywonder and Tomboy had a lovely time kicking their feet through the golden leaves on the ground and I got some great photos of the autumnal trees and some interesting toadstool and plant shots to use as inspiration for the fairy world in one of my chapter books.

Lunch was a little disappointing. The food was great, but we weren’t entirely happy with the service. I understand that some people cringe when they see a couple with young children arrive at their upper class restaurant; let’s face it there are a lot of people that let their kids run riot through restaurants. But our kids don’t create loud noise and they remain in their chair the entire time we’re in the restaurant, unless it’s to visit the toilet. We’ve often received compliments on how well behaved our children are.

The restaurant we attended didn’t have a children’s menu, but they did have a high chair, so that says to me children are welcome. I shouldn’t have been surprised to see that the straps and the edges of the high chair seat were covered in spots of mould. At least half the restaurants we visit provide high chairs with mould on them and they are usually the more expensive restaurants.

Is it their way of ensuring you don’t return with your children? At first I thought it was because they didn’t have children, but when the hostess removed our plates at the end of the meal she asked Boy Wonder and Tomboy how old they were and then proceeded to tell us how old her children were. Maybe I should’ve asked her if she’d place her child in a high chair with mouldy straps.

Two other tables received complimentary bread rolls; we were overlooked, but so was the table next to us. They didn’t have children, but the woman was Asian; maybe the restaurant was anti-children and racist.

When Mr T returned from paying the bill I asked how much it was. When he told me $136 I sent him back to ask for an explanation. His and my meal with our wine totalled $80, which meant we were being charged almost $30 each for Boywonder and Tomboy’s lunch. I wasn’t surprised to see them apologising for charging us another table’s bill and refunding $46. Needless to say, no tip was left.

But how was the food you ask? It was nice, nothing to rave about and certainly not memorable enough to overshadow the memory of the high chair and bill!