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Posts Tagged ‘illegal use of a hose during water restrictions’

The other night, as I was cooking dinner, two alternate scenes kept flashing through my head.

In the first scene, Mr Justice’s little face was all lit up and he was saying “Gee, mummy. This is the bestest meal ever!” while the other children clapped and cheered enthusiastically in the background, all three dinner plates were licked absolutely and utterly clean, and somebody somewhere voted me The World’s Greatest Mum and I got my photo in the paper and everything. 

And in the second scene, Mr Justice was holding his throat and dry-retching, Tiddles was spitting his food into my hand and The Pixie was exclaiming “This is bisgusting!” without even tasting it, while I stood by and prepared to scrape the whole damn lot into the bin and sob myself to sleep face down in my pillow. 

You see, I knew from experience that whenever I try to make something new for dinner and/or attempted to hide vegetable matter in it (like some kind of vegetable-hiding married-to-a-celebrity fool – see “Like Mushrooms for Chocolate“), I always do it hoping for the Best (Scene 1) but thoroughly expecting the Worst (Scene 2). And let’s just say a whole lot of food, untouched by even my children’s forks let alone their lips, gets scraped into the bin.

And, yet, I still persist in trying to extend and challenge my children’s palate. Which is an admirable pursuit, but perhaps not the wisest one on this particularly day I’m talking about, which had seen me almost pushed into the Yawning Abyss of Parental Madness as it was. 

Anyone who has toilet trained a child will know that there are Bad Toilet Days. Even with ostensibly “trained” children, there are still Bad Toilet Days (I shudder to think how many more years I will have to endure those days). And sometimes, like groups of women who know each other really well synchronise their monthly cycles, my children manage to have their Bad Toilet Days on the same day just to give Mummy a Very Special Treat Indeed. 

Tiddles McGee, who is in the initial stages of toilet-training, is having a Bad Toilet Month and has taken to leaving little puddles of piss all around the house all day long. He’s worked out that he’s supposed to pull his training pants down before he pisses, but not yet that he should only pull them down and piss into the toilet and not wherever he happens to be standing at the time. His hot spots, on this particular day, included my favourite cardigan and my husband’s pillow (shhhh don’t tell). And he also made two little “deposits” – thankfully outside – that made Mr Justice shout at him “Tomorrow in class I’m going to have to choose the angry face on the mood chart because I’m angry about all this poo!”. He’s not going to be alone in that, I thought to myself, as I hosed down the pavement in yet another illegal-use-of-a-hose-during-Stage-4A-water-restrictions incident (again, shhhh don’t tell).

The Pixie, in the meantime, suddenly announced she had “done a big fart”. Which was an upbeat way of labeling one of those things in life I really wished had been all hot air and no substance. And so I got to scrub some underpants as well – but hasten to add that the hose wasn’t involved this time, however much I’d wanted to blast them clean with a jet of water from a safe distance. 

And finally, just to top things off, Mr Justice – who has claimed that the Snuffleupagus of spiders is living in the toilet and only comes out when he’s there alone – wanted me to stand in the very confined spaces of the toilet with him while he did his evening ablution. And whatsmore, he wanted me to look at him while he was doing it. Let’s just say it didn’t sit well with me for a whole host of reasons, although, ostensibly he was the one doing the sitting. It’s also hard to smile encouragingly at your child when you’re dry-retching. 

And so, it wasn’t really the best day to go experimenting with new recipes (and ones containing mushrooms at that) but I found that I really truly needed a Big Win in the kitchen to salvage the day – and serving up plain mince along plain pasta just wasn’t going to cut it. So I took the risk. And I’ll be damned if the three of them didn’t scoff the lot down and that Mr Justice really did proclaim it the Bestest Meal Ever and I was saved from falling into that Abyss, yet again. Even the fact that all that food would ultimately turn into poo and wee and I would get to dance the whole merry jig again the next day didn’t bother me one jot. Because at that moment – and that moment alone – I truly was the Word’s Greatest Mum. Quick! Someone take a photo!

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The recent heat wave turned the Mild Mannered Lawyer’s son (Little L)’s birthday party from a “Super Hero Party” into a “Wet and Wild Party” – although I should stress that any resemblance to the heavily trademarked “Wet’n’Wild World™” on the Gold Coast was purely coincidental. So instead of all the kids sweltering in superhero costumes made from unnatural fibres and giving each other little static electric shocks, they came in their bathers to splash around in the assortment of paddling pools in the back yard. 

There were two main exceptions, however, and both of them were the offspring of my dear friend KT.

Master J –  KT’s son and a child who is truly committed to the art of Dressing-Up (check out his dress-up box carnage in the Gallery of Domestic Godlessness) – was wearing an Obe Wan Kenobi costume and working the party by repeating the line “I am Obe Wan Kenobi” over and over again. “Why does he keep saying that?” Mr Justice whispered to me. I had no answer to give him other than that sometimes an excess of polyester in the heat can do strange things to people’s brains. 

And Cyclone Bella – KT’s daughter – was dressed in what one might have described as “the most darling little white party dress you ever did see” if A) you were inclined to speak like a slightly-unhinged female character in a Tennessee Williams play; and B) you’d managed to see her in the first five minutes of the party. Because after that first five minutes, it looked like this:

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Move over, Miss Haversham!

“How is it at all possible that something like that could happen so quickly?” you might well ask. Well, to understand the answer to that very valid question, you would also need to understand these two things: 

Thing One: the nature of the child called Cyclone Bella (there is a small clue to that in the nom de guerre I have given her)

Thing Two: the nature of my three children, particularly when faced with the delights of backyard water-play.

The minute I saw the state of Cyclone Bella’s dress, I knew that my children must have played more than just a small part in its de-dazzling. And sure enough, when I ventured outside to see how effectively my husband was supervising their water-play, I was faced with quite a sight. 

If anything, my children are industrious little creatures. They had quickly teamed together to systematically empty the water from the paddling pools onto the lawn, but at the same time were mindful to replace that water with dirt. So soon they had reached a happy equilibrium where the pool water was as muddy as the ground. And they had also saved me the trouble of applying any further sunscreen to them by lathering themselves with said mud as well. Such thoughtful children. 

And my husband? Well, let’s just say that I think he – along with the other dads out there – might have seen his brief as backyard supervisor as primarily ensuring that nobody drowned and was therefore regarding anything else as unavoidable collateral damage. 

And the MML? Well, when she wandered outside a few minutes later, I was surprised (and relieved) by how calm and gracious she was about my children aerating her lawn with all that water and their little prehensile toes. But she did request, somewhat wisely, that we all leave the premises via the side gate rather than leave a trail of mud and destruction through the house. 

“Will this be blogged about?” she asked, sitting down next to me. I couldn’t tell if she thought that would be a good or a bad thing, so I kept my answer deliberately noncommittal. 

“Not sure,” I said, shrugging nonchalantly all relaxed and casual-like, as if my children weren’t in the middle of destroying her garden. “Depends on whether or not I find anything amusing about this.”

And all the while I was thinking to myself that the only amusing thing I could find was that, for once, it wasn’t my lawn that the kids were destroying. But I kept that to myself, thinking the MML might not see the joke and, by simply shifting positions slightly in her seat, start legal proceedings against me. Those lawyers, no matter how mild-mannered they may appear to be on the surface, are like that.

And it’s not as if I’m not already in enough trouble with the MML, considering that I accused her of “shit-stirring” in a recent post (see “We Got Ourselves a Cake-Off!“). But considering the end result of Little L’s birthday party, I might have to upgrade that allegation to “mud-raking”, wouldn’t you say? Oh, I do knock myself out with my own funnies sometimes, I really do.

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The Love Bus has many admirable qualities but functional air-conditioning is not one of them. And so, with the recent heatwave that has hit our fair city, we have found ourselves under house arrest.  

My friend KT rang and said “I don’t know how Anne Frank did it.”

What do you mean? I asked.

“Stay in those small rooms for so long.” she replied. Uh, I expect the fact that her country was being run by people who wanted to kill her might have played some small part in her staying power. The heat – however ferocious – doesn’t quite match the intensity of the Third Reich. 

But still, here we are on Day Three of temperatures of 43° C and above (that’s 109.4° F, baby), with a “cool change” predicted at some point soon, sending temperatures plummeting to a positively chilly 35° C… And all this has dovetailed nicely with the end of the six week summer break, so everyone is on their most charming behaviour anyway. 

I found myself on Day One wondering out loud on Facebook (as you do) about how much TV would be considered too much when it was over 40 degrees outside. ValleyGirl came up with the most reassuring answer:

Um – enough is probably enough when the sun has gone down, they’re all asleep on the sofa and you want to transfer them into their beds. Aww, those tired little glazed tv eyes, so cute.

Meanwhile, another friend, who I think has now converted to Foxtel as her new religion, said that the TV was simply turned on with the air-conditioner the minute the heatwave truly hit. After the TV had been on for more than four hours, her ex-Steiner educated son turned to her and said “This is the best day ever!”. 

Anyway, here’s a little diary I’ve kept of my own TV and air-conditioner usage over the last few days:

DAY ONE OF HEAT WAVE:  Implement stimulating morning program of painting, drawing, waterplay, science experiments, the collective- making of frozen chocolate-covered bananas (etc). Air-conditioner turned on at 10:30AM, TV on at 12:50. Both stay on for longer than my conscience would normally allow. 

DAY TWO: Air-conditioner on before 7:00AM. After shouting at the children for painting each other’s bodies before breakfast, TV resolutely switched on at 9:30am. TV switched on and off throughout the day, as required (turns out it is required a lot). 

DAY THREE: Air-conditioner still on from the night before. TV on at 7am. Most likely will be on all day. Past. Caring. 

At least I have air-conditioning. When friends of mine bought their house a year ago, they tossed up between fixing the garden or installing an A/C and the husband persuaded his wife that the garden was far more important. When I last spoke to his wife, she was muttering menacingly about making him do the gardening in the 42 degree heat when he got home from work that night 8pm. And yes, it really was still 42 degrees at 8pm that day. 

My own husband came up with the brilliant idea of squirting the kids with the hose before I embarked on the short walk to KT’s house for dinner last night. He said it would “keep them cool” and I believed him. Being the responsible parent that I am, I of course informed the kids of my plans well in advance and actually got them all excited about it – after all, water restrictions make the hose even more off limits than the treats cupboard. But when I actually did the squirting, Mr Justice burst into tears because “he wasn’t ready yet”, The Pixie started wailing because I had “RUINED. HER. PARTY. DRESS.” and Tiddles McGee just screamed like I was torturing him. All I could do was laugh the long hysterical laugh of a woman who had been shut up far too long with her children during the school holidays and squirt myself with the hose. And then go to that Happy Place in My Mind during the longest and hottest five minute walk of my life, whilst everyone else managed maintained their rage. 

So to all the other mothers in my fair city – and beyond – who have found themselves confined to small quarters with small people, I lift my TV remote in salute to you all and offer a silent prayer that the cool change comes in soon. I don’t know about anyone else but 35°C is looking pretty good right now from where I’m lying.

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