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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

You’ve got to hand it to Tiddles McGee. When The Pixie and her little friends recently declared her room to be GIRLS ONLY, he did what any male would do.  He put a pillow case over his head, and patiently sat outside the closed door, hoping to “surprise” them.

Eventually, The Pixie opened the door.

“We all know it’s you, [Tiddles]!” she said, with scarily well-honed teen-style exasperation for a six year old. “Look, you can come in but only if you pretend to be a dog.”

“WOOF!” Tiddles piped up immediately with great enthusiasm.

“Aw, look everyone!!! It’s a really cute puppy!!” The Pixie exclaimed tenderly, as she led her brother, crawling on his hands and knees into the GIRLS ONLY zone – like a whipped cur.

The Pixie, herself, is prone to the odd bit of role play – “odd” being the operative word here. Her latest thing is that she likes to play ‘Robots’ with her friend Little Miss E.

They go around asking questions about the world such as “What is that?” and “Why are you putting it in your mouth and chewing it?” and then even “And what does ‘chewing’ mean?”. I, personally, am waiting for the “What does ‘What does that mean’ mean?” question, at which point I think my head will completely explode.

One day, I found The Pixie completely distraught because Little Miss E had told another little girl a special secret.

“What was the secret?” I asked.

“I can’t tell you,” she said, sadly.

“You can tell me anything…” I told her. “Anything!”

“Okay, I’ll whisper it in your ear,” she said and leaning into me, whispered: “I’m a robot.

“Oh!” I said. “You know, you guys were playing that game and she  might have thought it was just part of the game.”

“It’s not a game,” The Pixie replied solemnly. “I really am a robot.”

“Oh, okay,” I said, unsure of how to react to this rather surprising news. “Uh… how long have you known?”

“I’ve known since I was a baby,” she said simply, before adding reassuringly: “But it’s okay, Mummy! I’m happy being a robot.”

“Well, I love you whether you are a robot or a real girl or some kind of mutant cyborg,” I told her and gave her a big hug. She felt like a real girl, but apparently that’s because her metal bones are covered with soft rubber. Nice.

Anyway, it turns out that having a robot for a daughter is not without its benefits.  For one thing, I’ve discovered there’s a switch to the side of her head which I can turn to get her to sleep. I wish I’d known about that when she was a baby.

Also, apparently I never have to worry about her being lonely.

“Do you know who will be with me until I’m very very old?” she asked my husband. “Little Miss E! She will always be by my side!”

Since this revelation, further intelligence has come in that her friend Little Miss E is a robot, too, and that there is a giant robot spaceship above the clouds which will take them both away when they are “all growned up”. Apparently, Little Miss E’s dad – my Facebook Friend – is guaranteed a place on the spaceship because he’s a cyborg, a fact that quite possibly came as somewhat of a surprise for him.

Now, I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m really hoping to prove my own cyborg credentials and secure a place on that robot spaceship. What with all the flooding and bushfires ’round these parts in recent times, it’d be good to know there was an exit strategy when the shit really goes down…

________________________

Just for the record, I asked The Pixie if I could blog about her being a robot. She nodded sagely and said “But only if you tell everyone that it’s real.”

It’s real.

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When I was 21, my family doctor asked to bring in a urine sample for my next appointment.

The morning of the appointment, I duly filled up a large vegemite jar and brought it into the surgery, where I sat, awkwardly, in the waiting room, desperately wishing I’d brought along a bag.

When my doctor was ready to see me, I quickly thrust the jar into his hands.

“Good effort, [NDM]!” he said, encouragingly. “But, actually, I only really needed *this much*.”

And he indicated with his fingers an amount of liquid that would probably get a itsy-bitsy-faerie slightly tipsy, but certainly not so drunk she wouldn’t be able to drive home.

What can I say? I always like to exceed expectations.

So too, my husband – or so it turns out. You see, he’s been feeling poorly over the Christmas break and his doctor ended up giving him a specimen jar the size of a small keg to collect his ‘stools’ for three days in a row.

Now, how he went about harvesting his own faeces, he thankfully kept entirely to himself – although he always returned from the task looking a mere shadow of his former self.

“You didn’t fill the jar, did you?” I couldn’t help but ask on the third day, after he’d delivered the samples to the pathologists.

“Oh, no, not at all,” he said. “I only did *this much*.”

And he used both hands to indicate how much.

I shuddered. I mean, I love my husband and all, but I didn’t really need to know that.

Anyway, it turns out I had other shit to deal with.

Later that day, I was at the park with The Pixie and she suddenly announced she needed to do a wee. There being no public toilets within striking distance, I was left with no option than to attempt the Bush Wee.

Now, anyone who has ever attempted the Bush Wee with a little girl knows it generally has a 3.6 degree of difficulty and the only way you can do it without getting wee on her shoes, your shoes and the shoes of anyone standing within a twenty metre radius  is by removing all her clothing and lowering her into position using a hydraulic crane winch.

Having found a bush large enough to conceal us, I took off her undies, trousers, socks and shoes and put them at a safe splash-free distance and then stood back, waiting for the deluge to hit.

But it didn’t.

Instead, the Pixie suddenly started shouting “Ouch! Ouch! OUCH!”  and then thoroughly surprised us both by letting a poo the size of a small loaf  fall to the ground.

“OH SHIT!” I exclaimed. It was one of those occasions when swearing in front of my child seemed entirely appropriate.

Anyhoo, I’ll spare you the details of the clean up, but suffice to say, they involved bottled water and (if you’ll excuse the expression) a shit load of tissues and only left me feeling  frazzled *this much*…

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The other day, I was singing that “cheeky monkeys on the bed” song with Tiddles McGee. You know the one that goes:

Five cheeky monkeys jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head
Called up the doctor and the doctor said
“No more monkeys jumping on the bed!”

And it got me thinking…

The mother in the story is quite fortunate to have such a relationship with her GP. Quite fortunate indeed. I expect that if I were to call my GP at night, rather than just advise the cheeky monkeys against jumping on the bed, he would remind me that our telephone conversation was billable and perhaps inform me of some state laws against keeping monkeys in my house without a proper permit, before finally suggesting I call a vet instead.

Anyway, the truth is that I don’t even have my GP’s private number. So I’d have to call the Nurse-On-Call helpline, wait forty five minutes to talk to someone, only to then have them tell me to take my monkey straight to emergency anyway.

And once I’ve gone through that whole process with five monkeys, that’s the whole night gone. Stupid time-wasting cheeky monkeys.

It then got me thinking about some children’s rhymes that need a real-life rewrite. Off the top of my head:

Little Jack Horner sat in a corner
Eating his christmas pie
He put in his thumb, and pulled out a plum
And his mother said “Please use your spoon and stop eating like a goddamn animal, Jack.”

One, two, three, four, five
Once I caught a fish alive
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten
Then I let it go again
Why did you it it go?
Because it was under-sized.

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey
Along came a spider
Who sat down beside her
And bit her and she died.

You put your right hand in,
You put your right hand out,
You put your right hand in and you shake it all about.
You do the hokey-pokey and you turn around
And that’s what it’s all about.
Except that’s not what it’s ALL about. There’s other stuff like sex, religion, finance, global warming and reality TV stars but let’s not sing about all that right now.
Oh, the hokey-pokey… (etc).

Sing a song of sixpence, a pocket full of rye
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie
When the pie was opened, the birds were dead.

Ten green bottles sitting on the wall
Ten green bottles sitting on the wall
And if one green bottle should accidentally fall
Your husband will be really cranky because them there’s his Heineken, bee-otch.

Twinkle twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Even though I just stated that you were a star.

Baa baa black sheep
Have you any wool?
“Baaaaaa baaaaaa”.

Anyone else got any others to add? C’mon! Together, we can crack this thing wide open…

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It’s inevitable. Any time I empty the car of all its crap, I can pretty much be guaranteed within 24 hours to be needing at least one of the items I’ve removed, such as a hat on a sunny day when I’ve forgotten to pack one for the kids, or a spare pair of kids’ underpants after an untimely ‘accident’, or a slightly-deflated Batman ball to entertain kids on a grassy verge by the road while waiting for the roadside services, police and/or TV camera crews to arrive.

But funnily enough, I never seem to need those petrified crusts of toast again. Unless, of course, I one day find myself strolling through the Dutch countryside and discover that one of the dikes has sprung a leak and have to run to the car – which I’ve had sea-freighted over to Europe at great personal expense in case of such an event – to grab a handful of petrified toast crusts, reinforced with a paste of mushed biscuit crumbs and sultanas, so that I may fix the problem in a jiffy. And yes, that’s rather a long bow I’ve just drawn but I think you’ll find any story where petrified toast crusts come in handy is going to be similarly fanciful. Shit, you people expect a lot from me.

Anyway, the other day, I made the most gruesome discovery in my car ever: a week-old bottle full of urine stored neatly underneath the front passenger seat. And before you judge me, let me just say the “Pee In A Bottle” method has saved me from many a toilet disaster – well, not me in particular (before you judge me even further) but Tiddles McGee, whose anatomy lends itself easily to this method and whose toilet management skills are almost as poor as my husband’s ability to answer the “Do you need anything at the shops?” question (for the record, his answer generally comes after I’ve already started bringing in the shopping bags in from the car).

With the “Pee In A Bottle Method”,  I usually empty it down the nearest storm water drain immediately, but on the occasion of the bottle in question, I was parked on a rather hip’n’happening street, full of groovy young things sitting al fresco and it had already been embarrassing enough to have pulled open the Starwagon sliding door in front of them only to have, along with my brawling children, four empty water bottles, a half-eaten apple and a barbie head roll out onto the sidewalk.

So I’d ended up stuffing the bottle under the front seat instead, else it ended up rolling around the car and be mistaken for a ready-mixed bottle of Gatorade by my husband at a later date (I’m nice like that). And then I forgot about it.

I really should have applied those learnings gained from in-clothes toilet accidents had while out and about. You know that plastic bag that you invariably put the soiled clothes into with the intention of taking them home to wash them? That bag’s nothing but a garbage bag, people. Go on, put the whole thing directly in the bin – else it end up wedged, forgotten, between the child seats and uncovered months later, harbouring its own micro ecosystem.

ANYHOO, all this just makes me think that it’s time my Gallery Of Domestic Godlessness had itself a new wing. Yes, I’m starting a “MY CAR SHAME” section. Contributions can be sent to notdrowningmother@gmail.com and will be treated with the utmost confidentiality, of course.

Because nobody needs to know your car looks like this:

Tasty!

Or this:

Is that my car floor or did my children's wardrobe just vomit?

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Let’s face it: there’s an awkward gap between bedtime and actual sleeptime.

In this household, this gap is traditionally filled by the kids listening to storybook CDs in bed, something which require no parental input – except, of course, when the CD needs changing, at which point Mr Justice will call “Finished!” and the parent in charge will call back “Coming!” and try to find the remote control to pause the DVD he or she has optimistically started watching, but for some reason Mr Justice will not quite hear the call or will grow rapidly dissatisfied with the parental response time and will roar “FINISHED!” again, forcing the parent to roar back “COMINGGGGGG!!!” and accidentally knock over a glass of wine or trip over the homicidal cat, which will delay them even further and cause all three children to chime together “FINISHED!” and make the parent burst a blood vessel when they shout back “I’M COMMMMMMIIINNNNNGGGGGG!”.

Of course, with all that shouting and carry-on, sleeptime is pushed just that little further back. Nice work, everyone.

In the middle of this year, we made the interesting decision to put the boys in separate bedroom from The Pixie so now we have two CD players to manage. Sometimes, I feel like a flippin’ DJ working two dancefloors or that I’m living in the middle of one of those Crazy Warehouse Guy ads, what with all the shouting and banging for attention.

It can be a little… annoying.

But add a few more things to the mix and it becomes interminable.

For example, add a puppy. And not just any old puppy, but a puppy who automatically cranks the dial up to 11 the minute the kids are tucked up in their beds, like she’s just been directly injected with yellow food colouring mixed with pseudoephedrine.  She just runs around from room to room, bed to bed, revving everyone up. But don’t try to put the puppy outside. Oh, no. She’ll only recreate that famous scene from The Shining where Jack Nicholson breaks down the door – except instead of an axe, she’ll just be using sheer enthusiasm.

Now add a four year old who claims to be “so scared” and insists that he needs “somebody to sleep wid him” – that “somebody” being me and not, say, the freebasing puppy.

And then take away my husband. Yes, that’s it. Put him on a plane and send him interstate. Don’t bother reminding him it was his idea to get a puppy before going away for practically two weeks. He’ll deny it. Because he can. He’s 800km away, you know.

With this heady  mix, my evening ends up like one of those children’s games where you whack one thing down with a hammer, only to have another thing pop up elsewhere – usually in the form of a figure at the doorway informing me that her contractually-agreed “fresh water” hasn’t been provided or, just as I’m creeping out of the bedroom away from the now-sleeping four year old, a puppy rushing at me with such great speed that I get winded and the four year-old leaps up and shouts “I’m awake!!” quickly followed by “And I’m scared!” when he realises I’m trying to make a getaway.

Is it little wonder that, three nights out of four this week, I’ve ended up drinking wine and watching ‘Arrested Development’ with the four year old sleeping on my lap and the puppy gnawing the side of the sofa we’re sitting on because I’m sooooo way past the point of giving a shit? I mean, if that gap between bedtime and sleeptime is going to be so interminable, it may as well be filled with cheap wine and good TV. No, really.

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I have often said that when Tiddles McGee turned three years old, it was like we turned a corner and found some remnants of our old “pre-children” lives waiting there. Life suddenly seemed full of possibilities again…

Now that he’s turned four, however, we seem to have turned another corner – and found a puppy waiting for us there, wagging her tail and with one of my perfect red shoes already in her mouth.

I’ve only got myself to blame. You see, I have also often said “We can’t get a puppy until Tiddles turns four.” It seemed a safe enough thing to say when he was two, for example. Or even three. But when it was a week before his fourth birthday? Not so safe. I should have set the goal posts further away – fourteen or, better still, forty-four – but I was only echoing what the experts said. Stupid experts. They really should know better.

I tried to put the kids off, saying it’d be better to wait until Christmas (and such) but then my husband started in on me, too.

“If we don’t buy the puppy today, I’ll then be away for work for two weeks and then it’ll be practically December and every man (and his dog) will want a puppy for Christmas and we’ll have missed out all together,” he whined.

The general gist was that if I didn’t let him go out and buy a puppy At That Very Moment, we’d never ever get a dog and the kids would blame me, like, FOREVER. I was in the midst of pre-party “planning” so I just agreed with him so we could go back to talking about the important stuff, such as where to hang the disco ball and why I couldn’t find any coloured stockings that weren’t “Tangerine Explosion” in the local Coles.

Of course, when he took me to see the dog he’d found, I fell in love with her.

“You fell in love with the cat, too,” my dear friend KT warned me. “And look how that turned out.”

“Well, I didn’t know that the cat was going to grow up to be homicidal!” I exclaimed. Of course, as I’ve admitted before, calling him Genghis Cat instead of, say, Fluffy Fluffkins of Fluffville Manor, may have contributed to this a little.

So here I am. With a puppy. She’s half-Staffy, half-Jack Russell and 100% Love. And her name is Roxy.

(An aside: I thought Roxy was a safe enough choice until KT started singing a song from ‘Chicago’ that reminded me that ‘Roxie’ was a fame-hungry murderer. I’m hoping the ‘y’ instead of the ‘ie’ will make all the difference, frankly.)

In the days leading up to Roxy’s arrival, people took great pleasure in telling me how having a puppy was like having a baby in the house. And when she first came home, I cried alternate tears of happiness and of grief and had to have a Little Lie-Down shortly afterwards.

But then there I was the very next day, showered, fully-dressed, drinking a hot cup of coffee and about to leave the leave the house – WITHOUT THE PUPPY – and I thought “There’s no way in fuck this is like having a baby.” And I simply stopped panicking.

As for Tiddles McGee, whose birthday was a little hijacked by Roxy’s arrival, and who had the unnerving experience of opening a big cardboard box and finding a living creature inside instead of, say, a Kung Zhu Battle Hamster Ninja Training Ground Dragon Alley U-Turn set… Well, all I can say is he’s stopped hassling me for television quite so much when his siblings are at school and I regularly hear him saying to her stuff like “Would you like cheese, Gromit?” in his best Yorkshire accent and “Let’s get on my pirate ship, puppy. You can be my pirate dog!”.

Yes, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship… for all of us. Except for my shoes and the distinctly murderous cat, that is.

Happy Birthday, Tiddles-McGee-Who-Is-No-Longer-Three

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Every night, I lie next to The Pixie in her bed and read her a few pages from this dreadful book she chose from the library involving fairies, princesses, wishes, magic spells and unicorns. The only thing missing from that heady line-up, as far as I can see, are the pony mermaids. But we’re only half way through the book so there’s hope yet.

It took me about a fortnight of reading this book before I realised that she wasn’t actually listening to a single thing I was reading.

“Uh, Pixie,” I said to her as I put the book away one night. “Did you actually listen to what I just read?”

“Yes, Mama,” she nodded, her grey-blue eyes all wide.

“Oh, okay. So who is going to help Sebastian and Maddie get to Mountain of Clouds?” I asked.

“Lelolala!” she said, brightly.

For the record, there wasn’t a character called ‘Lelolala’ in the book. There wasn’t even a character whose name even vaguely resembled ‘Lelolala’. In fact, I think it’s fair to say, there isn’t a single character in all of literary history called ‘Lelolala’.

And yet, knowing she’s not really listening, I keep reading the book to her each night. I’ve worked out that she’s just using the book as an excuse to snuggle up to me in her bed and listen to the sound of my voice. And now I’m just using the book as an excuse to have her snuggle up to me – oh, and to listen to the sound of my own voice.

You see, my little girl is growing up and these are the things you cling to.

Recently, I had the great pleasure of going to the school disco with her. Mr Justice had come with us, too, but he had scuttled off into the shadows at the first opportunity, reemerging only to beg for more money to buy glow-in-the-dark sticks so he could make the longest-ever-chain-of-glow-in-the-dark-sticks and whack his friends with it.

The Pixie, in stark contrast, wanted me to dance with her.

Have you ever danced with a bunch of six year olds? It’s hard not to feel incredibly conspicuous, like Gulliver pop’n’lockin’ at the Lilliput Senior Prom. Especially when you’re completely sober, wearing glow-in-the-dark bracelets and holding two bottles of water, two jumpers and a large handbag.

But after a few songs, I found that I no longer cared.

In fact, before I knew it, I found myself leading a bunch of kids in ‘The Marcarena’ and cutting loose to ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ and then, when Mr Justice came up to me in the middle of ‘Cha Cha Slide‘ asking for money to buy a ZooperDooper, I felt legitimately annoyed because I couldn’t hear what Mr C the Slide Man’s next instructions were. And then my friend Mistress M turned up out of nowhere and she began dancing with me and the kids, too, and she was holding a half-eaten hot dog but it didn’t stop her from joining in the actions to ‘YMCA’, which the school principal was leading us all in from a stage which he was sharing with a DJ wearing a Warwick Capper wig. And amidst all this, I looked down to see my little girl looking up at me with the disco lights dancing on her face and I saw such love and happiness in her eyes and I realised that this was one of the best times I’d ever had – not least because I knew that this time next year, my daughter would want me to drop her off at the door of the school disco and would, most likely, ask me to pretend to be the Nanny.

Indeed, when I asked her a few days later what her favourite part of the school disco was, she was quick to answer “Dancing to [Justin Bieber’s] ‘Baby’!”.

And with that, she wandered off to her room, singing “Baby, baby, baby, oh!”.

“Ah…” I thought to myself. “It begins.”

It begins.

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