Thursday, 30 May 2013

My yoga epiphany and girl crush.

This is not me.  Or Tania.
I have a tiny crush on my yoga teacher.  Her name is Tania.

What I love about Tania, is that while she's an expert yoga instructor, she isn't particularly thin.  She's by no means overweight, but she's just...well...normal shaped.  Soft and a little roly around the middle.

As a highly qualified instructor and yoga practitioner, she can turn herself inside out if she chooses, and occasionally does, to illustrate a posture. But she's not showing off.  She's comfortable with her skills and wants to share them with you, without overwhelming you or making you feel inadequate.

And she's healthy, her eyes glow, her skin is clear, she clearly loves teaching, and you can tell she gets as much out of the mental parts of yoga as she does the physical.

But perhaps because her daily activity isn't highly cardiovascular, she still has a softer shape.  But my goodness she's stretchy, and bendy and strong.

I wish I was stretchy and bendy and strong.  And glowing.  But I'm not.  I'm tight and scrunched and my forehead is all wrinkly.

It's similar I think to the face vs bum conundrum we all have to decide upon.  There are those who love the hard run, the heightened heart rate, the growing of strong muscles.  They have the potential to have a flat belly, no tuckshop arms etc.   I like the idea of this too, but I don't think I'm a slave to it.  I think I might be leaning towards yoga.

I want bright eyes, and clear skin and a peaceful brow.  I want the mental peace that comes with having even a tiny bit of control over what my mind is thinking about.   At the moment I have no control over my mind at all, meaning it spends far too much time thinking about stupid stuff I can't fix and not enough time on useful things which will help me and my family.

I have an excellent friend who is my personal trainer.  I love her classes.  She wants me to be fitter (I want me to be fitter), but I will never be reed thin with a rock hard physique.  I will always be soft and a bit squishy.

And as I do more yoga, I'm starting to enter the headspace of it.  And thanks to the way Tania teaches, I don't feel bad at all because I can't turn myself inside out, or do a headstand, or even bend over and touch my toes (tight hamstrings).  I've felt bad all my life because I can't touch my toes, but apparently my legs are proportionately long and my body short.  So it's just harder for me.  (Cue violins).
Can't do this.  Not even close.  But it's not my fault.  I'm poorly proportioned.  
Tania has told me this and that's why I love her.  She also told us that yoga was invented by Indian men with tiny pelvises (and lots of spare time) and it should be heavily modified for western women who have had kids.

I'm hearing you sister.

She props us up with bolsters, blocks and blankets so we can do each pose without herniating our discs or dislocating our shoulders.  And we are getting better, and stretchier and need less support.  So it's working.

I will always do training, and running and cardio stuff, so I can keep eating the food I love.  But not for the love of training, more for the love of food.

But yoga, I could see myself doing it just because I love it.  And Tania.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

How the homework was forgotten

Fear of forgetting homework

On Friday, we forgot the homework.  

Which raises the question, did WE? Or did they?  Because whose responsibility is taking homework anyway? 

Well, I think it might be at least partly mine.  Because I've never let them forget their homework before.  

You see, I remind them, and I remind them and I nag them and then eventually I just give up and put it in their bag.  

And if they do forget it, I take it up to school.  

Yes, this is seven shades of wrong.  Mollycoddling, helicoptering, over managing.  How are they ever going to learn if I do it for them?  I know.  

Mainly, I think, if I'm completely honest, if they forget their homework, it reflects poorly on me.  

So, last Friday at 6:15am I received a text from our band conductor telling us he was ill, and couldn't come to rehearsal.  Which started at 7:45.  Believe me, texting and emailing 45 families to tell them band isn't on is WAYYY harder than getting everyone out of the house early for band practice.  

By the time we'd let everyone know, and done the usual morning routine, it was 9am and I was just grateful to get everyone off my hands.  At drop off I met a friend, we decided to walk to get coffee.  We met some other school Mums and had a chat.  And one of these fine ladies was on her way into school WITH THE FORGOTTEN HOMEWORK.  

Suddenly I realised, that unless my kids had experienced a memory and responsibility miracle, both Josh and Sarah's homework never made it to school.  It was complete, but it was still at home.

I stayed calm.  I didn't rush away and abandon my walk.  For a moment I even considered not going up to school at all.  But I couldn't do that.  Because I'd always been too hands on with their homework.  I'd never let them forget.  

They'd never had to learn the hard way.   

And today wasn't the day to start.  I made them wait for a while though.  By the time I got to school, Josh already had his name on the homework wall of shame.  Sarah on the other hand, told me later, that she knew I'd come and bring it, and I did.  It appeared magically on her desk while her class was outside.  

She's nearly 10.  This isn't good.  I can't keep mollycoddling her.  But it was a bit of a tricky morning.  

So, this week I've warned them both.  On Friday I'll tell them they need to pack their homework and I'll leave it at that.  And if they forget, I won't be going home to get it.  They'll just have to suffer.  

I'm going to do it with library day too.  Because I'm fierce and ruthless. 

Sunday, 26 May 2013

How I made the bird bleed, but not to death.

 Cute and Birdy. 
I love our birds.  They are so cute and birdy.

Not everyone loves them.

You see, the thing is, with birds, is that they can fly.  And they need their wings clipped if you don't want them flying around your house, and down the stairs and out the front door.

Once I took one of them to the vet for a wing clipping.  It cost $70.  The bird cost $30.

So I asked the man at the pet shop at the Mall if I could do it myself and he showed me on one of his birds.  It looked pretty easy, just cut along the line of feathers and leave the longest pair for show.  He said to just cut one side so they can't fly in a straight line.

The pet shop (a different one) we bought our bird from said NEVER cut just one side because it's so undignified to fly in a circle.  Or is it more undignified not to fly at all?

This blog does not attempt to answer such philosophical conundrums I'm afraid.

I put off the self clipping.  I didn't really want to clip their wings because I was afraid of cocking it up.  But I didn't want to pay $70 either.  Twice.  Because I am a tight arse.

Eventually I bit the bullet.  Captured the small stupidest blue bird, or Noodles as he is known,  fanned out his wing while he bit the shit out of the webbing between my thumb and forefinger, used Issy's craft scissors to snip up the line of feathers as I'd been shown.  Repeat on other side.

Now, just to backtrack, when we bought Noodles, the man clipped his wings for us before we left the shop.  He was very over keen in his clipping.  Noodles was also biting his hand at the same time.  He is a biter, is our Noodles.

The man (possibly in revenge) cut his wings so short that all Noodles has ever been able to do is take sort of short hopping jumpy leaps all over the floor.

If Nibbles shoves him hard enough during a hissy fit, he pushes Noodles from his perch and Noodles can't do anything but fall helplessly to the floor of the cage.

Noodles wings hadn't grown back much since the pet shop butchering, but I gave them a trim anyway.

Then I trimmed the crazy yellow bird's wings, leaving his long feathers long as suggested by the pet shop guy, but doing both sides because I don't believe in lopsided birds.

And the result? The yellow bird can still fly so high he can get himself into trouble.  Or fly straight into the window and give himself a concussion.  The blue bird still can't fly, but he never could.

And my hand is very badly bitten.

The next day, I walked past the birdcage.


I kept going.  Thinking it was a trick of the light, a strange shadow.

I came back.  Yep. Blood.  The kids realised what I was looking at and all started screaming.  They thought their bird was dying.  I thought their bird was dying.

Turns out Noodles had done one of his falls to the cage bottom, and bumped some part of himself on the cage as he went down.  For a while we thought Nibbles had nibbled him.  And we watched Noodles anxiously for signs of weakness.

I cleaned the cage, removing all signs of blood to stop the screaming.

We couldn't bear another Smuggler episode.  That just broke our hearts.  This bird needs to stay alive.

You see, birds are so small, they don't have to bleed much before it's too much, and they die.  Or they get infected and die.  Or just die.

But then I found out that it was his feathers that were bleeding.  Because I'd cut them a smidgen too short and when he bumped them, he'd made them bleed.  According to my excellent friend Clare (who knows birds) this has happened to her birds too.

Once I'd cleaned up the cage, got the bird out, been bitten to shreds again while I tried to clean the wound/feathers, I was a nervous wreck.  A friend offered Ti tree oil so I smeared that all over him with a cotton bud.

He seemed fine.  Still does.  But my goodness it gave us a fright.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Our big day out.

And so verily we travelled for many minutes by black Mazda to come upon the hallowed ground of Hickson Road and the Sydney Theatre Company.  

And it was this day that all writers did gather, and those who thought maybe they would be writers, and those who are retired and like lining up for free stuff did also gather in droves.  

And the clouds they did also gather, and chuck down at us but we were safe inside listening to the wisdom of the published and creative.  

And there were many dark hues and draped fabrics, highlighted by splashes of colour.  There were berets.  There were boots and there were converse and there were hush puppies.  

There were panels of mighty smart and talented authors.  

There was rain, and harbour and very cool friends who love the same stuff I do.  

Look at these people.  Who could not have a great day in such company.  

And pulled pork rolls and vegetarian burgers and coffee and chocolate brownies and bookshops.

So many of my favourite things in one place.   I nearly popped with happiness.

There was a fascinating session on writing memoirs.  I bought a book .  Got it signed.  Only one of the authors in a row of ten was getting any business.  So even if you're a published author, speaking at the festival, you can still suffer signage envy when someone else on the panel you're on, attracts more people at the book signing than you do.  

And we loved the signage.

Boom tish. 
Totally great day.  I feel all writerly and inspired.  Long may it last.   

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Holey Moley.

Excuse me for the break in transmission.  The Issy post took it out of me.

Thankfully she is better.  Or maybe she is the same and I am better.

I put much value in the act of venting.  And that was a serious vent.

So, here we have holes.  In the hallway.
It has to get worse before it gets better.  Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.  
And in Issy's mouth.

The toothless wonder.
Yesterday it fell out into her afternoon tea orange.  It took a while to find it, because it looked exactly like a seed.  She wrote a long note to the tooth fairy.  Or Josh wrote it, as dictated by Issy, who has him firmly under her spell.  

The tooth fairy had to write a long note back answering all the questions.  In specially constructed handwriting.  The tooth fairy is tired.

Every day, our house has fewer walls.  Every day the builders take longer to re-attach all the plyboard bits for overnight security.   And every morning they open us back up again.  The kids love it.

And I am loving my upstairs flat.  It's small, easy to clean and cosy.  And the view is great.

Downstairs is dusty, holey and dark, due to having no electricity.  It's still full of Acro beams although steel bits are arriving every day and being carefully placed.  For now I'm happy.  Progress is steady and I've even been given an extra 200mm which I've shared between the future spare bedroom and guest bathroom.  Imagine that?  Being given space.

Just like my third pregnancy, my third renovation feels familiar, and I'm increasingly certain that I will never do this again.

I have picked my new front door.  In an act of complete sheepness, I've selected one stolen straight off the neighbours.  

Yes? No?

If it's going to take nine months and we are nearly four weeks down, that's one ninth of the way through.   Talk about time flying.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Me and Issy and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

Look at us.  In happier days.  Loving each other.
I think now it's the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.  We just clash, about everything.

She is impossible.

If I ask her to do something, she does the opposite.

If I say stop, she keeps doing it.

This morning after an endless series of run ins between us, I said it was time to go to school, NOW.  Did she run for her bag and the door?  No, she ran for the felt tip pens.  So she could write on the plywood 'Flowers in the Attic' wall on her way out.

Then she tried to hide them up her sleeves and sneak past me.

Then I exploded.
Cute.  Appealing.  Deceiving. 
Then I ranted.  All 100m to school I roared and raved (Thanks Pamela Allen for this excellent phrase).

She had to carry her own bag.

She was covered in dust down one side.

To the untrained eye, she looked pathetic and vulnerable.

Yes, very cute when asleep. 
In reality she's about as vulnerable as a rattlesnake.

I refused to hand hold.  I walked so fast she couldn't catch me.  She gave up and dragged behind, head down, pigtails bobbing, the picture of misery.  No-one could refuse her.

A lady out on her morning walk overtook Josh and I and gave me a look that clearly said 'youterriblemotherhowcouldyouleavethatpoorchildtowalkalonewithabigbag'

I flipped her the bird.  In my head.  

Living with Issy is exhausting.  From 6:01am when her eyes pop open until 7:01pm when she falls asleep on the couch during stories, she is relentless in her quest for...something.

She begins her first attempt to get into bed with me at 6:02, to be sent back to her own bed several times until I give up and let her climb in.

She will be quiet for maybe...30 seconds and it's really nice, then she starts asking when she can have breakfast.

By now it's maybe 6:13.  We normally breakfast at 7 so as not to wake Sarah who sleeps in like a champion.  The current dining table location is next to Sarah's room.

So in the intervening 47 minutes, I'm asked for breakfast about 24 times.   And so on through the morning.

Constantly getting up from the breakfast table - check
Walk around eating her toast - check
Pouring too much cereal, milk, sugar into bowl, despite me saying hang on and I'll help.  I'm never fast enough - check
Eating only half of enormous breakfast she's served herself then convincing me she's full - check
Return to ask for second breakfast after clean up because she mucked around so much she never actually ate anything - check

And it goes on:

Fighting with brother over prime cleaning teeth positions - check
Be found playing Barbie dolls in pyjamas 20 minutes after being sent to get dressed - check
Tell me I'm lazy because I've not finished making her lunch - check
Keep sneaking into sisters room to play with her stuff - check
Break brothers newly constructed Lego masterpiece - check
Insist on wearing tights and skivvy then constantly complain her neck is strangled and her legs itchy - check

This is just a sample.  A tiny percentage.

As I'm writing this as I should be at dance pick up, but I'm delaying.  Because I'm dreading seeing her again and the next fight I'm going to have with her.  I'm beyond picking my battles.  I'm ready to give her away.

I know it's a low point and it won't always be like this, but she's taken all my energy.  I am empty.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Update from the trenches

If you don't like to hear about other people's renovations, click away now.  Here is my weekly update on Chez Christensen's transformation.

Week 3.  Day 12.  Demolition.  

On our middle and lower floor we have no ceilings, lots of dangly wires and a box covering the loo and sink for builder modesty when caught short.  

Because they've knocked out a lot of walls to create our openish plan, we have lots of steel beems called acro beams holding up the roof.  There are about 20 of these on the bottom floor.  They are like a forest.  But better than the house falling down no? 

My laundry is outside.  Our rear staircase is gone.  I don't miss it.  

Soon we will have a lot of steel bits delivered which will somehow be inserted into our ceilings to make it stay up without acro beams.   Once this happens, they can begin coving up the exposed bits with new walls and ceilings and stuff.  


In the fullness of time this will be the kitchen.  
Our builder is called Chad.  He is way cool.  He looks exactly like a Chad.  Like all builders he listens to Triple J.  I can feel myself becoming cooler by association (in my dreams).  Triple J are currently playing reruns of old Hottest 100 CDs from late 1993 onward so I even know some of the songs.  I regularly show my age as I sing along.

Chad and a series of labourers have been knocking the s**t out of the house.   He doesn't like technology, he likes wood, because it does what he wants.  I agree.  Wood is certainly better behaved than both words and children.

I love progress, even when walls keep vanishing. 
So there you have it.  A lot of smashing.  A great deal of dust. Many many acro beams and no ceilings.  Quite a few holes in the floor. At least 6 skips full of house have driven away.  

Upstairs, it's mainly serenity.  The stress of moving and throwing out is over.  There's much less to clean.  A fine layer of daily dust and Triple J coming up through the floor into the study below but I am rolling with this.  A new beautiful house being constructed below me.  

I know it's early days, but it's not bad at all.  

Monday, 13 May 2013

Getting our inner hooligan on

Big high jumpy ball catching manoeuvre . 
On Saturday we went to the Rugby.  On a bus.  From our local cafe Ck's bites, who did a sterling job of organising.

There was food, there was drink.  And more food, and quite a bit of drink.

There was a backstage tour guided by a team member who wasn't playing that night.  We got to see the Waratah's gym, their kitchen and their physio room.  The kitchen had lots of watermelon rinds left on the bench.  I felt at home immediately.

There was no smell of Dencorub in the physio room.  I thought that was strange.

Waratahs look very nice in suits.  They are very tall and strong.  We enjoyed this part of the night immensely.

Jeremy the tall, well suited Waratah.
We opened the fridge in the kitchen and found an enormous carton of eggs.  Who knew they made egg cartons this big?  Two dozen?

The Waratah's assistant coach came and gave us his take on the upcoming game.  He said the Waratahs needed to get through the Stormers defences.  Yup.

The game was good.  Bit of a nail-biter near the end.  I stood up at the right spots and waved my blue flag, while maintaining an almost unbroken conversation with my girlfriends.

We now know you can buy champagne at the football, if you go in the same queue as where you buy cans of mixed spirits.  It was much shorter than the beer queue.  Although if you are the type who only drinks French, you might want to be designated driver.

We ate blinis with smoked salmon at the beginning of the night, but by halfway through the second half, were hoovering buckets of hot chips.  Our inner hooligan was now out of control and when the Waratahs won, we stamped and waved our flags and screamed like banshees.

On the way home on the bus, for some reason I'll never know, I told the story of how Mike and I started going out.  A very garbled version. To about half the bus.  Whether they wanted to listen or not.

In my retelling of this touching tale, I left out the part where Mike's mate, on wondering which girl in the Myer credit card department he had his eye on, wondered aloud if it were the girl with the 'big tits', or the other one.


It was the one with the big tits, you dickhead.

On Mother's Day morning, while my husband thought about the wisdom of drinking too much red wine, I joined a couple of girlfriends for an exercise session in the park.  One is a personal trainer, and she's whipping me into shape.  It was beautiful and I'm glad I did.

Mother's Day has dawned, and we have champagne credits.
She good.  She very good. 
Just in case, you can find her website and details here.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

My Mother's Day prediction.

What do these items have in common?

A tea light holder in the shape of the Eiffel Tower (with tea lights included).

A box of Cadbury Roses and a Who Weekly

A CD of Spanish love songs.  Or love songs in Spanish.

A scented candle from Glasshouse

A teddy bear wearing a t-shirt that says "Worlds Best Mum".

A small tube of hand cream wrapped in glad wrap.

A Country Living Magazine and a KitKat.

A heart woven out of sticks hanging from a string.

A mug that says "I Love You Mum".

A pair of black and white pyjamas (size 12).

These, my friends are some of the offerings at the Mother's Day stall at our school.  I have seen them.  And as I write this, lots of little children are being brought to the stall, to pick for their Mum, the perfect gift.

And even though some of those items I have listed, are not MY perfect gift, they are very likely to be someone else's.

And I am Saying Nothing and Acting Casual (mostly).  I think that's the best approach here.  Because on Sunday morning all the Mum's who receive these gifts will be plastering big smiles on their faces and hugging their gorgeous kids, who will be closely watching in the detective fashion that kids have, to see whether their gift is indeed, the perfect one.

So some Mums who don't have baths, will get bath bombs/salts/bubbles.

And some Mums who dislike proximity to chocolate (for reasons of self control or actual dislike) will receive an enormous box of the stuff.

And some who never want to hear another Spanish love song, will have to play the CD, and smile.

Doesn't matter.

They will light that scented candle or tea light holder.  They will sit in the sun and and eat chocolate and read that Who magazine.  Even if every bone in their body hates sitting and reading and eating chocolate.  Oh please please let that be me...

They will hug and smile and eat burnt toast.  They will prop and reprop up cards made of printer paper that keep falling over every time someone walks past.   And they will smile some more.

Because being a Mum rocks.  And is totes amazeballs.

This is what makes Mother's Day rock. 
PS.  The most massive props to the organisers of Mother's Day stalls everywhere and their groups of helpers.  The ones at our school are particularly fabulous, but perhaps I'm biased.  You too are totes amazeballs.

PPS.  I promise never to use the phrase totes amazeballs ever again.  But it's been fun.  

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Snippets of total moronic tedium.

Sorry guys. 
The birds spent yesterday in the bathroom.  They had builders demolishing the lower level and the carpet/couch cleaner man to contend with on the upper level and it was kinder just to balance them in the sink.

I cooked a curry.  Assisted by my Clare who helps me every Tuesday.  Without Clare I might fall to pieces.  And I know, if I can cook a curry in my current set up I have NOTHING to complain about.

The first thing Joshie did when he got home yesterday was spill his full bowl of curry onto the freshly washed carpet.

Heavy sigh.

At 3pm on the dot the skip man arrived with his big skip truck to remove and replace the skip that was full of staircase and back deck.  Does he not know where we live?  That you could throw at rock at the school and hit it?  That people consider a park outside my house at 3pm a prize spot?

Does he not know the story of the school mum and the bus driver who got out of their vehicles one fine weekday afternoon at 3:10, right outside our house, the better to rant and scream about each other's poor driving skills, in complete disregard for the traffic banking up in all directions.

The bus won.  Biggest vehicle always wins.  The furious lady did a wild and crazy reverse manoeuvre into a driveway across the road, taking up a good bit of turf at the same time.  I've never seen her again.

So yesterday the poor skip driver took one look at the school traffic, and drove away quickly, returning after 4 to do his business, leaving us with an empty skip.  This morning it contained 1 battered red suitcase.   This is our first instance of unauthorised skip usage.  I'm worried the word is getting out.

The (clean!) couch cushions were still damp in the evening.  So we kind of camped on the floor.

My child most likely to suffer an injury has really kept me on my toes this week, with a turned ankle during the Cross Country race on Monday and a fall on the way to a maths class this morning.

I've had to take her home early both days.  And apply ice and comfort.  And in this morning's case, take her to the doctor in case she had a broken wrist.  X ray has been taken, we await results.  If it's broken, I will eat my iphone.  She's milking it while she can.

While waiting at the Xray place, I made a call to my mother just under this sign.

And after an hour of tagging around with me doing chores I think Sarah was desperate to get back to school.  She is now beside me, doing Mathletics, interrupting me approximately every 90 seconds.

Yearning for pastry. 
So even though they've been back at school for 6 days I've not yet had two child free days in a row.  I have extremely high hopes for Thursday and Friday.

Tomorrow is my day to shine and be very productive, I can feel it.  After I finish helping at the Mother's Day stall and in Issy's classroom.  She has started reading groups.  She is in Koala group.  I hope this is not a reference to her energy levels while at school.  Knowing Issy, it's unlikely.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

A scary yet wonderful, yet scary time.

My baby, my tiny little, much wanted but slightly unexpected baby is about to be 10.

Much wanted because, der...who wouldn't want perfection?

Unexpected because while I knew I was pregnant, very pregnant,  forget swallowing soccer balls, beach balls, more like fit ball pregnant.

See?  Fit Ball.  
(I was a fit ball with legs and arms.  And a tiny little head with short hair.  I so regret my short haired years.)

Unexpected because first babies aren't supposed to come until 40+ weeks, blah blah, you'll be waiting around the house etc etc, you'll be desperate for it to come yadda yadda yadda...


Unexpected because as I lay me down to sleep on the night of 5th June 2003 and settled my enormous bump into the mattress, my waters broke, requiring a very nimble and nifty removal of my large self from the bed and into the bathroom.

Whereupon Mike followed me.

Whereupon we looked down at the floor and looked back up into each other's eyes for an 'oh fuck' moment I'll never forget.

I should have known it was coming.

I'd cried over the roast lamb that evening.   Because my Mum (who was visiting) and Mike disagreed on the cooking of the aforementioned beast.  And I was sick of being the middle and the conduit for snarky, passive aggressive comment from both sides.

So I chucked a hissy and cried a bit, which brought them together in the cooking of lamb rack.  And cleared the air a little.

This interaction was reasonably common between these two protagonists in my life, so common it barely registered with me normally and so for it to make me cry was definitely a sign.  Of...something.

Of course the obstetrician's appointment that afternoon where he told me I'd already started dilating and he expected to be seeing me in hospital well before my next (weekly) appointment was also possibly a sign.

But what about all those other people, those experts who told me first babies never come early, they'd gone 10 days overdue, they'd been induced, why I never should have finished work at just 37 weeks.

3 days off I had before she came.  Count them.  3.  That's all folks.

So, yes she was unexpected.  And she was delivered safe and sound by emergency C section at 10 to 4 in the afternoon of the following day.  But I digress.

She is now nearly 10.  She is beautiful in many ways.  But she is changing.  She has read her first Judy Bloom novel. Some of her friends have deoderant.  Some have face wash.  Some have both.

Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret
I must, I must...
So today, at the supermarket I decided Sarah too, should have these personal care products.

I went to the face wash aisle.  And stared, and stared.  Picked up a couple of things and put them down again.
Too. Much. Choice.
I accosted a random stranger.  Did she have daughters?  Yes she did, 15 and 12.  Paydirt!

What did she recommend for face wash?  According to a friend of hers who was a skin/beauty/specialist/therapist somethingie, all Sarah needs is a warm wet washer.  No soap, no chemicals.

It makes sense.  Why put all those nasty chemicals on nearly perfect skin, even if it's about to start festering a wicked oily T zone.  And so, weirdly disappointed.  I didn't buy her face wash.

Next, deoderant.  I stood in front of the shelving.  And stared and stared.  Picked up a couple of things and put them down.

Only very slightly less choice here.
The helpful lady had gone, I felt chasing her down the aisle might be a bit stalkerish so I was on my own.  Unable to help myself, I texted a friend who I knew had bought her daughter some.  Unfortunately she is not a quick replier.

I left, empty handed and still weirdly disappointed.

At home I retrieved a washer/flannel from the linen cupboard and designated it "Sarah's washer".  When she returns from school I will give it to her and instruct her in its use.

I think I was expecting a rite of passage, as I gifted her the sacred items of feminine beauty and personal care and started her down the long road of unnecessary worrying about how you look and smell.  Which is completely unnecessary at this point of her life, if ever.

Although it does pay to worry about how you smell occasionally, especially if you've just been to the gym.

BTW the extremely helpful and kind random stranger told me that puberty comes in waves, so they might have a few pimples, which will go away, or have a bit of BO but then it goes, or be a bit moody and get better, and slowly but surely the new, hormonally infused teenaged girl/woman/daughter emerges.

I'm not sure whether I find this frightening or reassuring.

Oh 10.  Please don't take my Sarah away.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Random acts of unexpected kindness.

I'm totally feeling the love. 
Today someone bought me a cooked chook.

Someone else picked up my biggest kid and took her to early dance practice.

I helped marshall the Cross Country race at school.

The entire afternoon's carefully laid plans went to pot several times, but were saved, and everyone got to where they should and home again.

Someone's friend came for a playdate.

The neighbour's little boy dropped over for a visit (on his balance bike), but we had to send him away as we were on the way out.  We promised him a proper tour of the premises as soon as possible.

I dropped a couple of kids to soccer, and another couple to gym.

Someone picked up my kid from soccer and the other from gym.

Four families have invited us for dinner sometime.  Because we are living in close quarters with limited facilities.

The weekend we were moving upstairs, another family invited us over to share their dinner (at impossibly short notice).

We cannot reciprocate.  They know, and still they give.  We will have to be like elephants and have long memories.  And make 2014 the year of the dinner party.

(I am also approximating an elephant due to a problematic addiction to choc honeycomb pieces.)

We are living in a whirlwind of kindnesses by our friends.  And a whirlwind of dust and destruction by our builders.  Soon to be exciting reconstruction once the demolishy bit is over.

The cooked chook is no longer.  We are a hungry family.

Thank you all.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Flowers in the Attic

Ok so who remembers these books?  Four kids, locked up by their gold digging mother in their grandparents mega mansion.  A secret door led from their small bedroom up to the attic, where they went to play.  

Well now that's us.  Sort of.  

Our builders have built us a little box around our staircase and given us a doorway at the bottom, hiding us from the rest of the house.  We come home, walk through the mad, dust filled building site our ground floor has become and walk through the new door to our top floor eyrie.  

Our new door to the 'attic', just behind Sarah.  
So it's not really like Flowers in the Attic because we like it up there.  And we're not trapped.  And no-one's giving us donuts coated in arsenic so we don't spoil their second marriage (read the books, they're totally warped).  

The view is pleasant and being so small, it's easy to clean.  However fights break out often due to the lack of space.  

You can't swing your hoodie around your head because it might (will) break a lamp.  The lamp is now in the skip.  The hoodie is back on the coat rack.  

Because there is nowhere to put anything except its designated spot, most things end up in the right place, meaning less mess and fewer shouty rants about mess.  

And when you're in the kitchen with the dishwasher open, no-one can move in or out.  This doesn't stop people asking you to do things for them or feed them.  

I have already barricaded myself in here twice and tried to read my book.  Both times it was less than a minute until they found me.  

Going to do the washing is like an expedition.  You need to find shoes, a jacket, and never do it after dark.  The new laundry is outside, through the building site and has no lights, making nighttime laundry impossible.  Damn.   

My old kitchen.  GONE! 
The very early beginnings of our new kitchen.  
We have no outside light, so approaching the house after dark is difficult.  We come home after dark several days a week, and Sarah is dropped home after 7:30 two days a week.  I have taken to packing her head torch in her gym bag to help her find the front door.  

I've purchased a large torch and a torch I can hang off my belt from Bunnings.  Maybe I'm subliminally afraid of the dark?
I also bought a mini kitchen whiz thingie.  Cause my kitchen is mini.

One week down.  About 34 to go.