Day 407

Dear Elliot,

You are officially a toddler. You have been walking for a couple of weeks now and you are getting better and stronger every day. You have been very near for so long, surfing the furniture as you move your little body from A to B but now you can do it on your own. You are a careful walker though. You are not pelting from one side of the room to the other, helter skelter and tripping over your own feet at every opportunity. You are stepping one foot at a time, placing each down before you take the next step. Occasionally falling back on your bottom but moving further and further each time you venture forwards. You have the core strength that stops you looking like an orangutan with its chest puffed out and its arms seemingly flailing at the sides but really there to keep balance. You march more than you waddle and I am aware that this stage of your life will pass so quickly turning you into my little cheetah that is so fast…and hides everywhere.

EJ_8Mar-2

So it becomes ever apparent that you not only like to climb places still but you like to hide as well. Or perhaps not hide exactly as you are not yet fussed whether we know you are there or not but you like to secret yourself in small spaces. Frequently. I am used to you playing with the plastic bowls and cups that sit at the bottom of one of our cupboards in the kitchen. I came into the room the other day though to find you actually inside the cupboard with most of the plasticware on the outside. That is not the way it’s supposed to be, buddy. And every Sunday in crèche, there is usually some point at which you will be found inside the toy kitchen. I have been told it is where you seem happiest in the midst of the cacophony of sound and movement that double digits of children generate. The toy kitchen is unfortunately missing most of its shelves but this makes it perfect for your little body. As are the shoe lockers by our front door your father tells me. I would have thought you’d be a little too big for these but he assures me no. You can disappear inside one of these completely. So there is a new place that we can lose you until you get too big. At least we can keep you indoors at the moment. We will be in for some real trouble when you can open the front door by yourself.

EJ_8Mar-3

You have taken a real liking to being outside. If one of us deigns to go outside without you, you will stand at the screen door and bang and shout as loudly as possible. You want out. And you’ll throw a tantrum if you don’t get your way. Like you always do now. If we put you down and you want to be held, you scream. If Genevieve tries to take something off you that you are still playing with, you scream. If we pick you up but you want to be on the floor, you throw your body away from whatever it is you don’t like and if we ignore your demands and tell you no, you headbang whatever suitable surface is available. I am hoping that last one is a phase that is going to dissipate more than it is going to develop. Screaming as a response to displeasure is not preferable either but it’s also not something we’re going to get rid of anytime soon as that is precisely how your sister deals with it and we haven’t cracked that one yet either. Although at least you sometimes scream because you’re happy.

EJ_8Mar-4

For some reason, when you see me after being apart for a while, you have taken to screaming in excitement. It’s not really a conventional way to greet people, just so as you know, but it is always nice to know that you’re happy to see me. It’s nice to get your cuddles and giggles and it still brightens my day to see you smile. I still not sure if we’re actually getting purposeful words yet but you seem on the verge of speech as well. If prompted, you have Mama, ta and car and we think you try and say bottle and chicken but unbidden, what comes out of your mouth is more like babble so I’m not sure. But neither am I paranoid. You are a boy, you are a second child and you are exposed to far too much tv so you get more leeway before we start to question your development.

EJ_8Mar

One thing we certainly do not have to question developmentwise is your teeth. You have cut all four of your molars! No wonder you have reverted to waking 3 or 4 times a night. Your teeth are probably giving you grief. Those molars that most kids see between 15 and 16 months? Yep, you decided you needed them at 13 months. Got to be able to rip into those steaks, huh? On the down side though, they probably don’t feel so great when you’re trying to go to sleep. I get it. I’d be unsettled too if I had that many new teeth. Actually, I’d probably be worried because I’m not supposed to get any more teeth at all but you know what I mean. You are handling it brilliantly. But it’s still be nice if you slept in longer stretches at night.

Much love,
Mama

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Month Ninety-One

Dear Husband,

It’s really like adding insult to injury isn’t it? How many more water problems are we going to have? We’ve had from the top down and the bottom up. From the outside in and by nature of it having to go somewhere, the inside out and now we’ve got stuff leaking through the middle! Elliot is yet again boosted from his room due to wet carpet as we now have a leaky shower. Brilliant! Which needless to say did wonderful things to your stress levels. The fact that it took so long for us to get back to being able to use the shower was not so good for mine either.

I left the resolution or the course of action up to you and we discussed ripping the bathroom apart or just siliconing the crap out of it and hoping to blazes that it would hold water for the mean time but you have got to admit that you dithered. It was well over a week that we were bathing and prevailing upon the goodness of family and neighbours to take a wash which was a pain in the backside really. At least I have my shower back now though. When I am under the scalding hot water behind a shut door it’s that heavenly “me” time that helps me function. In a perfect world, no one would be allowed to bang on the door or scream “Mama” at me when I’m taking a shower but I’ll take what I can get.

Of course, what we also have is now a bathroom that may just have a precarious fix at best. We’ve got no idea how long it will hold out. And by hold out, I mean hold water in. We also are aware that we have mould between the walls. As part of your trying to figure out what was wrong, the neighbours came over with their bendy camera thing so you could get a look in the wall to see if you could locate the leak. You were not able to but you have been concerned ever since that there is a mould problem in Elliot’s room that is making him sick. I honestly don’t know. As you so often point out, I can’t smell jack in regards to stuff like that.

On more than one occasion you have more or less berated me with exasperated versions of you seriously can’t smell that!! Unless its excessive, apparently I can’t smell musty, mouldy, smoky and otherwise malodorous scents. On the other hand, I seem to have a poo radar. If I get within a couple of metres of one of Elliot’s soiled nappies it’s my turn to exclaim can you not smell that! Sometimes I am positive you are just leaving him squelch in poo so I will be the one to change the nappy because you can be a turd like that but at other times, you honestly seem surprised that he is dirty. Maybe that’s a boy thing.

HubbyFeb17-2

And, because we needed something else to go wrong this month (like we needed a hole in the head), the hot water heater blew up. Or rather, it didn’t really blow up like a Mythbusters hot water heater blowing up. I’m not sure if that would have been better or worse. I mean, in Mythbusters, no one gets hurt. At least that’s the theory. And if there was an explosion and the house was largely cactus, we could rebuild it but it would be damned inconvenient and we could potentially lose a lot of stuff we have no desire to lose so I’m sure we had the lesser of two evils but it wasn’t exactly in the budget this month to buy a new water heater. I must say though, I was impressed that you resolved this situation in a very expedient manner.

First thing I the morning, we came out to see that the bung had burst from the top of the system and water was pouring out of it at a rapid rate. By the end of the day, you had sourced a new replacement locally and pulled some favours to have it installed and ready to go by that evening. That was pretty cool. Or rather it was hot. Thank God.

Then we come to the car. Because this month we also had to deal with some idiot who doesn’t know how to park and had hit our car. Or rather, we didn’t have to deal with them (or I would hazard to say her because the note left was in lipstick) but you had to deal with the insurance company as you wanted to be sure that our vehicle hadn’t been damaged. Since we have previously been affected by bent control arms and busted ball joints or whatever they are, you didn’t want to get stung with heaps of repairs later so you asked that the car be looked over and checked out. Which apparently takes forever. That wasn’t really our problem though because we got to drive Sonia Kluger for a couple of weeks. I got to revel in the new car smell and feel like we actually had money and could buy a new car like that which right now, kinda feels like it’s never going to be the case in my lifetime. Oh well. She chugged a bit of fuel too but it was a silver lining to the month.

HubbyFeb17

The highlight of the month though was our day trip out to Junee to the liquorice and chocolate factory. It was a day just for us and the kids and it was nice to spend some time away from things. I got to take photos without feeling like I was pushing everyone into it and we could just take our time. You are right, we should do more of that. I do get caught up with it feeling like and effort and an expense beforehand that is taking me away from something that I feel I should do but that can easily wait (I won’t reminisce about a clean house when I’m 60). When I don’t know what to expect, I am warier than I should be but I did have fun and we should have days like that more often.

Chocolately Yours,
Your Loving Wife

Week 209

Dear Genevieve,

It’s your birthday time of year. You know how I know this? 1. Because I am your Mama and I am totally supposed to know these things. 2. Because you mention it all the time. That and your party. Which seems to have a different theme every five minutes. When you turn 4, you are going to have a minions party. No, wait, an Angelina Ballerina party. Actually, you would like a Cinderella party. But you might like a Sophia the First party. Maybe you should have a Princess party. You could have a pirate party. Then again, maybe a Mickey Mouse party would be better?

gb_november-3

You couldn’t fix on one thing at all. Which for the most part was ok cause I could just smile and nod and not put any significant effort into trying to theme the party cause there wasn’t a consistent theme going. Then we had to make a call. Which became remarkably easier when we saw that the Cinderella Party paraphernalia was at least half price and then slightly more complicated when we realised that the majority of your friends are boys. Thus we came up with a Cinderella / Jake and the Neverland Pirates themed birthday, heavy on the princesses. And we bought a whole heap of stuff, most of which we probably didn’t need.

I still have dreams of creating a pintrest worthy party. Lovingly handmaking food and games for beautiful children to enjoy. I know that in reality, if I was to try such a stupid feat, I would get pissed off, leave half-finished projects lying around and end up buying a number of things anyway so we saved a little stress and less money and just went to the party supply shop. We are looking forward to the party though. Your aunt is coming and your best friend so that pretty much takes care of your happiness for the day. The rest is just sugar and sunshine. Hopefully.

gb_november

And in other news, you are definitely laying on the love with your brother these days which is both pleasing and frustrating depending on the time of day. One of the things you have started to do is sing to him when he is upset and neither your father nor I are in the room. A couple of times we have heard you sing the Doc McStuffins song to him:
Hey, what’s going on? Tell me what’s wrong.
I know there’s something we can do…
Tell me what’s wrong, what’s going on?
So choosing to ignore the fact that this may mean we let you watch too much tv, it’s really cute. It doesn’t work of course. When he is already upset, he is really not interested in you singing him a song but we think it’s quite lovely. What is not lovely is that sometimes you just can’t leave him alone. If I had a dollar for every time I have asked, pleaded, ordered and yes, yelled can you just stop grabbing your brother from behind! I know, I know. Sounds kinda bad out of context…

Sometimes we would like you to let your brother do things for himself. He is learning and we would like to afford him the same opportunity that you had, except you didn’t have any older siblings. You constantly take over for him and he will have to get used to that. You are also sometimes possessive of what is yours and if he picks up something that you are playing with (or not playing with occasionally) you will just go ahead and take it back. I can see that is going to happen a lot in the next couple of years. What is really frustrating for me to watch though is when you grab him from behind and essentially pull him over. Sometimes you are trying to cuddle him, other times move him and sometimes help him but he never seems to like it. You are constantly doing it though so we are trying to curb that behaviour.

We are also trying to curb the constant asking of the same question when you have already received an answer. And for some reason this happens both when you get the answer you don’t want and the answer you do. I can understand the playing off one parent against the other although the execution somewhat eludes you. Like when we were in the card waiting for Dad and you asked if you could listen to Playschool. I said no, not this time, we will listening to my music. Five seconds later, your dad gets into the car and you ask if you can listen to Playschool and he says sure honey. That one did not work out the way you had planned. You did not in the end get Playschool.

gb_november-4

At other times though, you might ask if you can have something specific for lunch when you get home. I will say yes and then shortly thereafter, you will ask your dad (or even me sometimes) the same question. Do you forget that you received the answer you wanted? Or do we seem that fickle and changeable that you fear 10 seconds is enough time for us to change our minds and rip the carpet out from under you so to speak? I know that the more times you ask me can I have something, the more I am tempted to say no. Even if I first said yes.

And then there is the thing where apparently you can only receive an answer from the one to whom the question was originally asked. Whilst we are all together, you might ask a question of your dad but I will answer in his stead. You then continue to ask your dad. Either he or I will tell you Genevieve, you already have an answer to your question but you are all no-ooo, I asked Dad in that threenager way you have that is so rolling your eyes, disgusted with dumb parents that don’t get it, hardly done by attitude. I’ll show you attitude in a minute…

And then we just go back to thinking that you are gorgeous.

gb_november-5

Alles Liebe,
Lexelah

Month Eighty-Four

Dear Husband,

I want to say that this was a really shit month. Like the worst one we have had in a long time. The one in which we reached a new low and the one where really bad things happened. Starting with the fact that I got incredibly mad at you. Not just annoyed or peeved or aggravated but spitting chips mad at you. Livid in fact. Apoplectic. So absolutely furious that I had to leave the house and just walk away. A long way. To the other side of town. As quick as my legs could take me. And it took me at least forty-five minutes to work off the worst of my mad and get to a point where I wasn’t ready to punch you in the head. I then had to turn around and get all the way home again and it took me the rest of the long walk home (and becoming sufficiently worn out) to stop thinking of you as a sanctimonious jackass.

And it was over something dumb too. It was over tax invoices.

Having just passed the end of the financial year, we needed to invoice a place of business through your personal ABN. Something I had been asking you to do for a while. Something I had been reminding you about for even longer. Something I can only assume you had been putting off till the last possible moment. It wasn’t like you didn’t know you had to do it but I felt like all of a sudden, I was being made out to be the bad guy for trying to force you into something. And then the push back started. I didn’t realise what it necessitated. I was naïve and didn’t understand the work involved. I was clueless as to the sheer amount of effort and diligence it would require to ensure that all legalities were addressed and accounted for in such a task…I kind of felt like you were saying I was too dumb to have any idea what I was talking about.

Didn’t I know we had to have an accounting program? That’s the only real way to keep everything together, to allow things to be accurately communicated and collated at tax time. Invoices must have comprehensive information on them after all. Did I honestly think I could just open a template invoice in Word, whack an ABN on there and address it to someone with a name and street location?? What about tax? What about Super? What about Centrelink benefits? How was I going to take those into consideration? What on Earth made me think that I could issue an invoice in the middle of a reporting period instead of at the end of a reporting period?

You were totally on your high horse as Mr Judgy Judgepants and all ensuing conversations did not go well. At all. When you then produced an accounting software based invoice complete with receiving business addresses, multiple email contacts and ABN etc that did not have what I felt was the most basic and relevant information (ie. actual hours worked and rate of pay), I finally lost it. I told you I just had to leave before I would say something I’d regret. You said well at least you would regret it. That wasn’t your finest moment.

I’m not saying I was right. Well, actually, in terms of being able to issue an invoice in Word midway through a Centrelink reporting period and reserving 30% in tax to pay back at the end of the financial year, I’m pretty sure I am right, but in terms of my behaviour, not so much. I was snide, combative, defensive and I probably did as much to prolong the situation as I did to try and diffuse it. So I am sorry. Because that wasn’t the only crap thing this month. The pain of that particular day was nothing compared to having to say goodbye to Reuben. That really sucked.

hb_july

I know that we made the decision to put him down. I know why we made the decision. I know that the decision was even the recommendation by the vet but that really doesn’t make me feel any better about the decision itself. Like you, I asked myself again and again, are we doing the right thing? Are we doing a convenient thing? Is there a better way? Is there another solution in which I will not find myself in this situation? Which is probably why it really didn’t help having everyone else do the same thing.

I know everyone meant well but when the first response is have you thought about this or couldn’t you do that, its not really helpful. If they didn’t have the other information, I can understand why that would be the first response but the conversation would usually be something like:
We have to make this decision.
Why?
After talking to qualified professionals, because of a, b, c and d.
Oh. But can’t you just do c or d?
No. No we can’t.

Or rather, yes. We could. But I have just explained the reasons to you why we won’t. So when you who has no qualifications in animal behaviour or veterinary science suggest that I should question my second opinion or respond with something equivalent to well, I’m not in your situation so I really don’t know all the ins and outs – you will do what you think is best of course – it is no consolation to the loss of a friend whatsoever.

So that sucked arse. And I was as devastated as you. The only saving grace for me was that Genevieve just took it in her stride. We always thought we would have a distraught child when it was time to say goodbye to Reuben but apparently not so much. She was just very matter of fact. Reuben is not here anymore because he died. Just like that. And thus we had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad month. Except for the fact that we went on our first family holiday in, like, ever. Your mum was awesome in offering to take care of us so we could just be. Be out of our house. Be together. Be distanced from the broken routine that would remind us of what we’d lost. Be rested.

hb_july3-2hb_july3-3

I didn’t realise how tired and stressed we had become till we went away. Until we were on your mum’s schedule of kids should have a bath around 5:30 because dinner is at 6. Because after that, the kids would be in bed by 7 and all of a sudden, we were free. Free for adult time. Free for a movie or going for a walk or for anything. So what did we do? We went to sleep. We crawled into bed by 8pm on some nights and just went to sleep.

hb_july3-5

It wasn’t an escape though, it was refreshing. I got out the camera every day to take stuff of the kids and we did stuff together. We didn’t watch hours of tv but spent time with each other. That shouldn’t be something that is harder to do at home than it is to do away but somehow for us, it is. We make way for distractions at home instead of making time for fun. I’d like to say that when we get home we will try to continue as we have been while we were away but we probably won’t. One day.

hb_july3-4

In the meantime, as much as you started out the month infuriating me, the end of the month was awesome. I love having a family with you.

Familiarly yours
Your Loving Wife

What’s Wrong With A Dozen?

Dear Woolworths and Children’s Cupcake Manufacturers,

My husband mentioned this the other day and I am inclined to agree with him – what is it with the mixes that only make 10 cupcakes? Are you both too cheap to let us make 12? This number makes more sense to me. I mean when you get out your cupcake tray to make it easier to get the little suckers in and out of the oven, you don’t have a tray of 10. You have trays of 6 or trays of 12. I’ve never seen one with 10. I’d say that baking just makes you lean more towards the dozen but a baker’s dozen is actually 13. That’s still more than 10.

I find it hard to believe that in a mix of cake ingredients where you only need the purchaser to supply an egg, some butter and some water that you are unable to make a mix that will facilitate an extra 2 cupcakes without the need for another whole egg. Its not about the extra patty cake papers either because there are always extras of those in the packet anyway. And the current provision for icing could definitely stretch another 2 but no. You have the dumb number of 10.

Why would you only want to make 10? Recipes don’t make “10” serves. Recipes make 4, 6 and 8 serves and you double recipes where required to make more but who wants only 10 cupcakes when you could make 12? If you have 2 kids, you could divide that number in 2 but with 3 kids, you’d be stuffed. To divide evenly at that point, you have 1 left over and most families have 2 parents so again, dumb number. 4 or 5 kids (with or without token leftovers for parents) “might” work but if you have that many kids, they’re going to be energetic and boisterous together and 2 measly cupcakes are going to do squat. And if you have 1 kid, theres no way you are letting them have the whole batch of refined sugar there and you’re still doling it out to 1 kid and possibly 2 parents so someone still loses.

I tell you, 10 cupcakes is a cop out number. Plus, those suckers are not the large light and fluffy cupcakes that mums used to make for birthdays. Those mixes only just scrape the number they are morally and legally obliged to provide as per the packet advertising and not a skerrick more. The only way you sucker people into buying the product in the first place is Disney brand recognition. My 3-year-old is in love with Cinderella and Frozen and as perhaps overly indulgent parents, we have purchased them for her. Only when they are on sale of course because perhaps they don’t sell as well as other products since everyone else knows that they are an overpriced and under catered option for your table!

So I guess more fool us for getting suckered in on more than one occasion. Perhaps next time though, we will just walk a little faster down that aisle and whenever we have the urge to do some baking, we will come home and really be wild by, you know, reading a recipe book. One that is going to give us a mixture for more than 10 cupcakes. Just saying.

Hungrily yours,
A sweet tooth

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Dear Genevieve,

Some of the stuff you say is hilarious. Sometimes it’s a word that you haven’t quite mastered like Murrumbateman which frequently comes out as Murrumbacon. However, sometimes it’s the connections that you make in your head or like the mis-heard lyrics of a song, the mondogrens that come out of your mouth. I wanted to tell you a couple of my favourites.

The first happened some weeks ago now but I have only just remembered that I never mentioned it before. It came about when you, your father and I were all sitting together and your dad was being silly. He was winding us up by getting you to agree or disagree with things and side with him against me. Its not a new game and its not one that works in your father’s favour all the time either but on this particular occasion, you got the best of both of us. He put on a silly face and stated that the day I married him was the best day of my life. In keeping with the game, you started to laugh and said nooo, so I thought yay, siding with me, until you said Mummy doesn’t have a life! Thank you darling. Thank you very much.

The next came after I was playfully pointing out that on occasion, you can be a less than perfect little girl. You were only half taking notice of me though as I went through the list of things you can be: bossy and rude and pedantic etc. It was when I got to the last one in my list that you responded. It wasn’t a trait that you understood however so when you went to repeat it back to me in question, you said the closest word you had. I said self-righteous! and you replied gorgeous? Not quite my sweet, not quite.

This last one had me really stumped for a minute or two. You have got to understand though that when you quite earnestly talked to me about eating leotards when Christopher Robin was here, I thought I was not without context but I still didn’t get it. I mean you asked the question on the morning you were to go to ballet. Where you wear the same uniform every week, leotard and all. And as we have taken to leaving Winnie the Pooh on overnight for you to listen to, I was confused as to how this fit in with your statement. I eventually figured out though that I was using the wrong context. You were asking this question the day after we had had guests for lunch and the real topic of the conversation therefore was the lemon tart we had when Kevin and Robyn were here.

So you continue to amuse us with your words and stories in addition to your sense of humour. You’ll take after your dad and grumps, I’m sure. You didn’t seem to be listening to me the other day so I asked if you were hard of hearing. You responded with what? I’m not convinced you didn’t do that on purpose. I am happy to cultivate this side of you, just try not to sass people too much if you don’t know you can get away with it, otherwise one day it’ll land you in a lot of trouble.

Alles Liebe,
Lexelah

Washing Woes

Washing_Line,_Iceland

Dear Husband,

Moving really does bring out the best in you doesn’t it? I mean last time we moved, a completely able-bodied woman was regarded incompetent in terms of moving furniture and taking due care of a 60 year old house. Albeit with brand spanking new polished floorboards. If I so much as walked on those floors with heels or threatened to lift (not drag) a piece of furniture without sufficient felt padding underneath, a torrent of admonition would rain down upon my head. Probably to scare me into never doing such an idiotic thing again.

Of course, fast forward a couple of years and we have a great dane with claws. A hound who liked to let us know that he would either like some attention…now…or he would really like to get on our bed by scratching said polished floorboards. I was the one that then tried to pad the area with bits of carpet and would get madder at him for destroying the finish.

Now however, we have carpet. So we have thankfully avoided a repeat of the original problem. Although having sad that, all of our furniture now has bits of felt on the bottom of it which tends to come off as it is moved across carpet…Anyway the new doubt in my ability seems to be in regards to the washing. A task for which I have had the responsibility throughout our marriage. Now, all of a sudden you are concerned that I am going to place a wooden spoon in the dishwasher. Nope, not me. I’m pretty sure I knew that was a dumb idea at 10. My mum is way better at scaring me into not doing something than you.

Also, after blithely chucking all your woollen jumpers into the washing machine (yourself for once!) the other day, you eventually turned to me and asked you’re not going to put them in the dryer when they’ve finished are you? Which you then followed up with I don’t know if you actually take care of my clothes and pay attention to what goes in the dryer and what doesn’t! If you are not careful my friend, I will never wash another item of your clothing again!

So a couple of things that are now going through my mind:

  1. For your information, I wouldn’t have shoved all those woollens in the washing machine in the first place. I would have put some inside of wash bags and others would have been hand-wash items…because I take care of our clothes.
  2. I never put anything woollen in the clothes dryer because I prefer not to shrink things.
  3. I actually refrain from putting clothes in the clothes dryer that can be put in there if I think that they are good / favourites as it prolongs their life…and some of them I might add are yours.
  4. Thank you so much for your apparent faith in my ability to perform the task I have been expected to take care of for years. Did you just never care before that I might have been surreptitiously (or inadvertently) ruining your wardrobe or has it just occurred to you now that I might be clueless when it comes to clothing care? Just wondering.

The domestic house goddess,

Your Loving Wife