Thanks for stopping by. Mummy Mayhem is no longer updated. I now have a new, albeit smaller blog over at www.jodieansted.blogspot.com.au.

Drop by anytime. :)


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rule Breaker or Rule Follower?

Some people break the rules all the time. Some always follow them. What are you? A 'rule breaker' or a 'rule follower'?

I am, for the most part, the latter. For example:
  1. I wouldn't pick up a grape from the fruit and veg section of my local supermarket and eat it. Nor would I let my children do so ("That's stealing," they would probably say - my influence).
  2. Unless there was no one around, and I was certain I wouldn't inconvenience anyone, I would never intentionally drive the wrong way down a lane in the local Westfield carpark. In fact, I've been known to take the extra long route, in the opposite direction to the exit, just because I wouldn't drive down against the arrows. And if I saw anyone driving in the wrong direction, I would shake my head and "tsk, tsk" them. (Sad, but true.)
  3. I wouldn't park illegally or in front of someone's driveway, even if I was in a real hurry to get somewhere. I just couldn't do it!
  4. I wouldn't drive through a red light, even if it was 2am in the morning and there wasn't another single car in sight.
  5. I wouldn't keep any extra change someone accidentally gave me. I would always give it back.
  6. Even if people invited me to join them in a cue, and I know I would save myself a lot of time waiting, I would more than likely decline and just move to the end of the line!
  7. I couldn't lie about my details on any sort of application form. I couldn't live with myself, and I'd be equally concerned I'd be found out.
Having said all that, I did start receiving once, just out of the blue one Sunday, a copy of both Sunday papers. The first couple of weeks, I assumed the delivery address was incorrect, and it would be corrected by someone else without me having to do anything. Then after a few more weeks, each Sunday I would vow to call "someone" (I didn't know who) to let them know I was getting newspapers I hadn't actually ordered or paid for. But each week I'd get to the following Sunday morning and realise I'd forgotten to do so. Then eventually, after a few more weeks, I decided I quite liked getting the Sunday papers, and surely it wasn't my problem they were being delivered to me? (And let me tell you, the first Sunday I walked out to find there were no more papers, I was so disappointed!)

But for the most part, I'm a rule follower. I'm not comfortable breaking the rules.

How about you? Do you break a few rules? Which of the above would you break?


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

School Daze...

The whole process of finding a school for your child is not easy. At all. In fact, it can be quite a gut-wrenching ordeal!

But not for the reasons you might think. I mean, yes, it is quite stressful going through the whole schooling process. It starts early. I recall sitting in my mother’s group, my 7yr old only 8 weeks old at the time, and one of the mums asking, “So, which school has everyone put their child’s name down at?” What? We hadn’t even given schools a single thought at that stage. And in fact, didn’t start the process of listing our boys’ names down anywhere until years later.

And especially when you’re not native to the city you’re living in; it’s hard to know which school to choose. Which school is best for him? And then after a while, once you start the process, you start thinking: will he even be able to get in to the school of our choice? Already, we’re at a disadvantage with many of the schools here. Many give preference to sons of “Old Boys” (fathers who attended school there) or siblings (brothers of boys already there). We’re from Perth. Our schooling was in Perth. And the 7yr old is our first son. And places are limited. At one school last year, only 1 new family (from what I’ve been told) got a place for Year 3 this year. All the other places were given to siblings or sons of Old Boys. This year, that same school has approximately 90 applicants for Year 4 next year. Only 20 will be offered a spot. That’s not great odds. It’s not bad, but it's certainly not great either.

And I have some good stories that would make your hair curl about just how far some parents will go to secure a spot for their kids at the school of their choice. We know one parent who offered a big “donation” to a school to secure a spot for his child (it was not accepted), and parents we suspect baptised their child a certain religion (not their own) so they could get their child in to a school of the same religion. (Why else would they do that?) One woman I worked with once wouldn’t even attend other children’s baptisms, because she so wholly does not believe in God (her choice), and therefore, doesn't agree with the process of baptising a child. She planned to send her son to church on weekends so that she could ask the priest for a reference when applying to a well-known prestigious Anglican boys’ school. (I was appalled to say the least.) There are parents who have their primary school-aged kids tutored on a regular basis; often for years, to help increase their chances of passing entrance examinations. That's definitely not for us. My concern is: what happens when the child gets in, and he/she can’t keep up?

But even with all that in mind, it’s not whether the 7yr old gets in to the school of our choice or not that’s bothering me. It’s not like he’ll be without a school. He won’t. There are plenty of great schools around, and you can’t put all your eggs in one basket, and I don’t know anyone that does. It’s more about how he feels about the possibility of not getting in to the school of his choice. His decision about which school he likes is based on a) how many of his friends currently go there or plan to go there; and b) because he's been there a couple of times and feels comfortable there. It's what he knows.

Nope. Choosing a school is not fun. It’s not easy. If fact, the whole process sucks. But for me, it’s more about my kids. Yes, I want them to have the opportunity to receive an education at a good school. I want that school to reflect our own sense of morals and values we teach at home. But most of all, I just want my kids to be happy. To be given a great start to life, but to have fun in the process. They must have fun. It'll all work out in the end.


Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm Back

I'm back blogging and tweeting. To be honest, I quite enjoyed my little break, but I did miss ya'll.

We had Hubby's brother and his wife come to stay for a few days. Since we moved to Sydney from Perth in December 1995, we've have many, many visitors. The first year was the busiest. I think we had one 6 week period where we were not without a visitor for a single day. One would leave and another would arrive. Everyone was interested to visit our new home, and I guess it was a good excuse to see Sydney too.

It's not easy having visitors. There's forward preparation, we lose our study for the most part for their stay (that's the spare room) and there's always more dishes in the sink. We also stop doing what we normally do. Ironing (yeah, like I need an excuse to stop that), washing, paperwork, tv viewing, blogging, tweeting...you get the drift. Life stops for a little while, and after our visitors are gone, we spend the next week trying to catch up on all that stuff.

But it's worth it.

Apart from the time an old friend of Hubby's from school stayed, and spent his days eating our food and leaving the dishes stacked in the sink, I love having visitors. (Although, short stays are best. I have friends who have family stay for 6 weeks at a time - like you, Mardi! - and I'm not sure how I'd cope with THAT!) It's nice to sit on the couch after dinner and have a good chat. It's also always helpful to me, because the kids are amused. They LOVE having people over. It's always bittersweet really, because whilst they have a great time vying for the attention of someone else other than Hubby or I for a change, it makes us realise how much they miss out on not having family around. Their Aunt and Uncle have just left, and already they keep asking when they're coming back. :(

I like that I can just dash down to the shop to pick up some supplies without 3 kids in tow, because our visitors are always happy to watch them and spend some time with them. It's all good.

And then they leave, and it's quiet again. Some of that's good, and some of that isn't. It's a Catch 22.

But in any case, I'm glad to be back. And now I have more time to blog and tweet again, which is always a good thing. Right?


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I'm Off and Running

Can you believe it? I'm too busy to blog.

Life has come at me full force. I have so much to do right now, and barely enough time to write it down.

We have family coming to stay (they arrive TODAY), and the spare room is a complete shambles. Mostly with that ironing pile I keep talking about, which continues to sit there, mocking me. But today - I'm tackling it. As well as trying to clean up around here, which will include a lot of chasing my own tail, so to speak, because the 3yr old will probably make more mess in one room as I'm cleaning another. Clean rooms and tidy book shelves are like a moth to a flame for my kids. I can't tell you how many times I've tidied the 7yr old and 6yr old's desk, only to find them sitting at it 10 minutes later, with every piece of paper they own covering it.

So, apart from this brekky break I'm having right now (Cornflakes - yum) which I'm using as my excuse to blog, I wanted to write this to tell you I might be missing for a few days.

Will you miss me?

But I'll be back, because I have a lot to say.

So, enjoy yourselves until then. I hope to fit in a little blog reading if I can, but please don't be upset with me if you don't see me commenting and chatting on Twitter for the next little while.

But rest assured I haven't gone forever!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Today I Said, "No"

Today, for the first time in a long time, I said “no.” And I'm quite proud of myself.

For the most part, I’m a “yes” girl. I say “yes” to most things, because I’m afraid of offending. I’m afraid I won’t get asked again, and I don’t like to let people down. And so I say “yes” - far more often than I should.

Last year, I joined the school’s fundraising committee after spending the first couple of years of my 7yr old’s school years not being able to put my hand up for much, because of the 3yr old and 6yr old at home. To be honest, when I was asked if I wanted to join the committee, I did so mostly because friends were asking and I like them, and I like spending time with them. But to be honest, my original plan did not include working on the school fundraising committee. I kind of thought about being a Class Parent or helping out in the school Library (because I LOVE books and it’s, you know, quiet in there).

But I found myself on this committee. Then, not long after I put my hand up for that, I was approached by the school’s P&F Secretary to possibly take on her role on the school’s P&F for 2009. I told her I’d think about it. To be honest, I had always planned to get involved on the P&F (it’s more my kinda thing), but I wasn’t sure I was ready. Yes, my 6yr old was due to start school the following year, and I would have the 3yr old in daycare 2 days a week, but I had planned on spending another year getting to know how the P&F really worked before trying for a role on it, not to mention finding my feet at home after being so flat out with everything for so long. (Two days on my own was a real relief after so long.)

But I said “yes” in the end. Because I really wanted to do it, and because Hubby also thought it would be good for me to do. And because I was asked.

But then I found myself on two committees.

During the course of the year, apart from my roles, I took on “little extras”. I said “yes” to writing an article for the fundraiser’s magazine about the parent sponsors for the school fundraiser. I conducted an email interview with all of them, and wrote it from there.

I said “yes” to putting together a sort of min-manual to explain the school’s “intranet” (a website for the use of school parents and students), and show parents how to access it and use it.

I said “yes” to attending extra school meetings relating to boys education, taking notes, typing minutes etc.

Now, some people can juggle lots and lots of things. They can spread themselves thin and thrive on it. I know a number of parents who do this. Last year taught me something: I can’t.

Don’t get me wrong: I like to keep busy, but if I overload I start to stress out. I walk around anxious, and it shows. I’m short with the kids. I’m short with Hubby. And really, why do something for your child’s school if you can’t be there for them? Either physically or emotionally?

I should have dropped the fundraising committee role when I took on the P&F role. But I didn’t. I didn’t want to let anyone down. And by the end of last year, I was stressed. I was juggling writing in the school newsletter and acting as editor for the P&F pages, which swelled every week the closer we got to our annual fundraising event. I continued the normal role of the Secretary as well. All of which took time.

I wasn’t the only one. Everyone was stretched thin. Our school’s fundraiser is a major one. It makes a lot of money for the school. But it’s also a lot of work for a lot of people. Not just me. So people would call/email me and ask if they could send their contributions in for the newsletter later than the Monday night cut off for Wednesday’s newsletter. And I said “yes”. And then I’d find myself sitting at the computer on Wednesday mornings before school, the P&F pages due in at 8am, madly trying to add in the extra pages, format it and send it off, whilst trying to get my big boys to school on time and deal with my toddler’s antics.

It was tough. By the end of last year, I was burnt out with it all. Over it. I so needed the break. And I vowed this year, I wouldn’t do the same.

Firstly, I started by not renewing my position on the fundraising committee, even though many others take on their roles for 3 or more years. I stayed with the P&F, but I took on a VP role instead. I can do the newsletter, but I don’t have to worry about taking minutes, typing them out, enquiries and typing agendas, etc.

I also sent an email last week to all the P&F committee members and the Class Parents letting them know that the Monday night cut-off for the P&F pages of the school newsletter is for real. I explained that I didn’t want to get myself in to the same position last year of doing it all last minute.

And then this morning, a fundraising committee member who worked on publicity and coordinated the fundraising magazine approached me about taking on the role of coordinating the magazine. This time, I said, “no”. And I’m proud of myself. Even though I know I would love doing it, I just can’t. Not this year. When the 3yr old goes to school in 2012, I’ll be in. I’ll have more time and I’ll be hands on. But right now, I need to think of my boundaries. What I am, and what I am not capable of.

And I’ll be happier for it.

What about you? Do you take on too much sometimes? How does it make you feel?


Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentines, Schmalentines

Hubby and I don't "do" Valentine's Day. Haven't in years. It's not that we don't welcome a little romance from time to time, it's just that it's so....scheduled.

Hubby and I started seeing each other on 19 February 1993. That's when we shared our first kiss. For years, I denied that I was the first to steal a smacker. But it's true. It was me. There you go - I've FINALLY admitted to it. (Quite frankly, if I'd waited for Hubby to make the first move, we'd still be sitting here smiling shyly at each other.)

5 days before that first kiss, on Valentine's Day, we sat in a beer garden, joking with each other (as was the way our conversations always went). I asked what he'd bought me for Valentine's Day? "This," he announced, holding up a single blade of grass.

"You are so romantic," I said, a hint of sarcasm in my voice. "I bet all the girls are lining up to date you."

"Yep," he replied, and laughed.

By the following Valentine's Day, we were in fully fledged love-fest mode. I made up a basket of goodies for Hubby. It included everything cliched and typical of such a gift for such an occasion. Chocolates, a balloon and even, embarrassingly, a pair of silky, printed boxer shorts, with love hearts or the like on them. And YES, I had it sent to his work. He sent me a dozen, long stemmed red roses. I loved them.

You see, up until I started seeing Hubby, I had always looked forward to the day when I would be the one dating someone on Valentine's Day, and I would be the one that went home with the flowers, instead of being the one watching everyone else struggle to get their bunch of helium filled balloons in to the car, or carry their flowers down the street.

And yes, I had had a couple of Valentines surprises before I met Hubby, but from no one particularly special. That first Valentine's Day with Hubby was fantastic.

Then the following year, I was at work, and waiting for the delivery. I knew it was coming. And it did. Flowers arrived again, and once again, they were beautiful.

And whilst I could never tire of receiving flowers of any description, admittedly, by our third Valentine's Day together, it occurred to me that I wasn't particularly excited on what is supposed to be the most romantic day of the year. Because I knew what was coming. In fact, I had come to expect it.

I didn't like feeling that way. It didn't seem right. So after that, I went home to Hubby and said, "You know what? Let's not do Valentine's Day anymore. I don't like knowing that you're going to send me something. I'd rather you bought me a bunch of flowers just...whenever you felt like it."

And so that was it. We never did "do" Valentine's Day ever again. And honestly, I barely notice it's here when it does roll around each year.

However, the whole "buy me flowers whenever you feel like it" was maybe not the smartest move I've ever made. I mean yes, occasionally Hubby comes home with a bunch from the shops - just for fun - but more often than not, we're also expecting guests for dinner (they make a nice centrepiece).

And so I find myself in a very odd situation. Here me out here. I canned Valentine's Day because I didn't like that I was expecting flowers, and now I find myself thinking, 'Well, if Hubby was to buy me something on Valentine's Day this year, it would be a surprise!'

There's just no pleasing some people, is there?

Oh, and BTW - I do, however, recommend a special dinner for each other. Not necessarily on Valentine's Day - just whenever...and here's one on Mummy Mayhem's Recipe Box that might be just the thing...view here.

Until next time...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mediocre Me

I'm not at my best right now.

When I was in primary school, around the age of 6 or 7, there was a time when Mum would drop me at school, and I would immediately start to cry. She would ask, “What’s wrong, Doll?” (Doll was an affectionate nickname for me when I was a kid.) “I don’t know,” I would reply, and continue to cry. And I really didn’t know the answer to that question. Still don’t. I was a bit of a Mummy’s girl, I guess. So perhaps I felt some anxiety about Mum leaving me? I’m not sure how long this went on for. Perhaps it was days. Perhaps it was weeks. But eventually, it did pass.

Towards the end of my final year in high school, I also experienced what I would call a “slump”. I woke up every morning feeling down. I felt it hard to motivate myself to do anything, and I would weep at the drop of a hat. I couldn’t pinpoint any one particular reason for this, but I would guess a broken relationship, a strained friendship, and coming to the end of my schooling without any idea as to what I would do next, may have had something to do with it.

Then one morning I woke up and I was fine. Slump officially over.

Generally, I’m a fairly happy, upbeat person. I’m jokey. I like a good laugh and a good chat. I’m social. But I have off days. Doesn't everyone? And mostly, you wouldn't know. I can hide it if I want to. Sometimes I can't. But mostly, you would think I'm my usual happy self.

Yesterday, around lunch time, I started to have a “moment”. It actually started with a lovely, positive email from someone I admire. Feeling not so great about something I had written that this person had read, I wrote to her in relation to my writing, “I’m just going off to crawl in to a corner now...” I was joking, of course, but then I received her lovely reply, in which she wrote, “No crawling anywhere at all! Your article was great…out of the corner and back to the writing desk!”

I don’t always cry at things that upset me. I can cry when someone compliments me, or encourages me. I’m not a cry baby, but there are days where I can feel more emotive than others. And the slightest thing can set me off. Yesterday was one of those days.

And so I did write. For some reason, I had the sudden urge to write about my sister, Valda, who died when I was 7 months old. I wrote 1500 words incredibly quickly. The thoughts and words just flowed. I had always planned a post on Valda closer to Easter, and in my mind previously, I had written it over and over again. But this post came out quite differently. It was almost as if I wasn’t writing it. I’m not saying my sister had hold of the keys (typing was not her thing!), I’m just saying that I had no particular power over the words. They just popped in to my head and I had no choice but to write/type them down.

I cried. It’s an emotional subject that I can sometimes talk about without feeling any kind of sadness, and other times with an acute sense of pain. The pain is because of what I didn’t have, rather than what I did have with her. (And I will post about this at some stage, just not now.)

Later that day, and still feeling fragile, I logged on to Mamamia to check what new posts were up, and Kerri Sackville had a guest post. I love Kerri’s writing. I never miss a post of hers. I can relate a lot to what she writes, and particularly so to yesterday’s post, because it was (partly) about her sister who had died suddenly two years ago. Writing my response to her post, the tears flowed again.

And to be honest, they haven’t stopped. But it’s not just about my sister. And it’s not just because my Mum is going in to have an operation next week. And it’s not just because my 3yr old has been home unwell since last Thursday night, and I haven’t been anywhere. And it’s not just because I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed with all I have to do. And it’s not just because another P&F member at my P&F meeting last night suddenly went to criticise me for something (but was, thankfully, cut off – because last night I could not have handled such a confrontation, even though her opinion is in the extreme minority).

I mean, yes, it’s all a little of that. But it’s more. And just like when I was in primary school, I don’t know why I feel sad. I thought a good night’s sleep would do the trick. Often, it does. But not this time. I woke this morning feeling the same heavy heart. I’m still crying at the drop of hat, regardless of the wonderful support I experienced from my 7yr old last night, when he noticed my red, puffy eyes and said, “Are you ok Mummy?”

I said, “I’m fine, honey. Thank you for asking. I’m just tired. That’s all.”

He asked, “Have you been cutting onions?” I had to laugh.

“No. I just have sore eyes,” I replied.

“Maybe you should lie down?” he suggested. Now that would be nice.

And then I received a lovely, supportive email from a Blogger and Twitter friend asking if I was ok after seeing my response to Kerri’s post. And when Hubby came home and asked how I was and I cried again, he was supportive and sympathetic. And when I cried again to a friend after the P&F meeting last night, she put her arm around me, and held me tightly for support. And then Hubby hugged me again on my return and asked if I was ok. And when I told him I feel mediocre right now. A mediocre Mum. A mediocre wife. A mediocre daughter. A mediocre friend. A mediocre writer. Just ok at a lot of things, and not really good at anything, he disputed it and told me it wasn't true. And that's why he's my husband. And my best friend.

The first thing he asked me this morning was “Are you ok?” My answer was. "No, not really." Because I’m still feeling awfully sad. And I still don’t really know why. I’m hoping it passes soon. Maybe it will last 3 more hours. Maybe 3 more days. I hope not 3 more weeks. But I know it will pass.

I just hope it’s soon.

Until next time


Friday, February 05, 2010

The Curse of the Chermoula Paste?

Every now and then I develop a "theory" about something. I'm a Virgo. I like to analyse. Can't help it - it's what I do. And after a trip to the Emergency department with the 3yr old (again) last night, I was forced to put the theory out there that perhaps my recent purchase of chermoula paste had something to do with it.

About 7.25pm last night, I was brushing the 3yr old's teeth after his bath. All was going well. Everything was on track for all 3 boys to be in bed by no later than 7.45pm - right when my Moroccan chicken tagine (that I had lovingly prepared from Jane Kennedy's new book Fabulous food, minus the boombah) would be ready to eat.

You could say I'm doing a sort of mini version of Julia & Julia, but instead it's called Jane & Jodie. So far, I've made 3 dishes from the book, with plans to make more. But my plans became thwarted this week.

This particular dish had been three days in the making. You see, on Tuesday, I went on the "great hunt" for the chermoula paste (a mix of yummy spices). I searched half of Sydney for chermoula paste - visiting no less than 6 stores and calling two others before I found it. It was like searching for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but I was determined to succeed. (In fact, in one delicatessen, I almost had it. They had just sold their last jar five minutes before I got there. No doubt another Jane Kennedy fan planning to make the same dish I am, I thought.)

Anyway, when I got home that night, and opened up my paste ready to make my chicken, there, right on top, was a big, fat chunk of mould. Dammit! No Moroccan chicken tagine that night.

The next night was the 6yr old's birthday, so we all went out to dinner, and then the following day (yesterday) I finally returned my chermoula paste and was given a replacement (the last available jar), only to find (after checking in the store) that this jar also had mould forming inside. Sigh.

Just when I thought my Moroccan chicken tagine would not be made (or I'd have to make my own chermoula paste), the store presented a chermoula spice mix, that I could just add water to, to make my paste. Done. I vowed my Moroccan chicken tagine would be made that night.

And so last night, the chicken was on the stove, almost cooked to perfection, when disaster struck.

I heard the 6yr old calling from his room, "MUM! [The 3yr old] is vomiting on my mat!" I raced to the bedroom to find, indeed, the 3yr old throwing up all over the 7yr old and 6yr old's rug. (Side note: why is that when kids vomit, they always choose a rug or couch or the like to do it on? Our house has barely any carpet. The study has carpet, there's a hall rug, a couple of rugs in the family room and the rug in the big boys room which, of course, was where the 3yr old was throwing up. Why not the bathroom? Why not the wooden floors in the bedroom? Why not the tiled family room floors? Sheesh.)

The 3yr old couldn't seem to stop. It just kept coming. I noticed him chewing, and when I looked around, I found broken pieces of a burst orange balloon (from the previous day's birthday celebrations). "Have you put something in your mouth?" I asked him frantically. God. Could he have swallowed some balloon? Could it be stuck? "Yeaaaaah," he cried, before throwing up again. Shite.

I carried him to the bathroom (at arms' length) where Hubby took over helping him to throw up in to the bath (nice - fortunately it had been emptied moments earlier) where we quizzed him about what he had eaten. The frustrating thing was, that every time we'd ask him a question like, "What did you put in your mouth?" or "What colour was the balloon?" (to test if he had actually put something in his mouth or not - surely he would know the colour?) the 6yr old or the 7yr old would pipe up the answer before the 3yr old got a chance to: "a balloon!" "orange!" That's all a 3yr old needs, a little prompting and then they run with whatever has been said. Agh!

Eventually, the vomiting stopped, and the 3yr old was his usual, bouncy self. But he still insisted he had swallowed some balloon.

After a phone call to our GP, we decided it best to take him to the hospital. As she said, "It will probably be nothing, but you don't want to regret not having him checked out." 'Nuff said. I packed to go.

And it was then I remembered my Moroccan chicken tagine.

By now, it had been cooking about 20 minutes more than what it should have been. I asked Hubby to serve it up. I knew that if I didn't eat now, I'd be the one throwing up (with hunger), and for God's sake...this dish had been 3 days in the making! I was going to eat it, dammit! I hurried it down. This was no sit down, wine in hand, kids in bed type meal as I anticipated it would be. No siree. I stood at the kitchen bench shovelling it in, mentally doing a check list of all I should take to the hospital with me.

But more about the chicken later.

We were off. The 3yr old was quite chirpy. He seemed fine. And recalling our last trip there in December (read about that here) and knowing the length of time we may wait, admittedly, I may have coached the 3yr old a little bit. I said, "Honey, when we're there, can you, you know, act a bit 'sick' for Mummy?"

"What do you mean, Mum?" he asked.

"Well, you know, when you were being sick at home, you were coughing a little. Can you cough a little? Oh, and don't act too happy. Be a little sad and quiet. Ok?"

"Ok Mum." Good little puppet. I mean, boy.

We'd been standing in line about 10 minutes to see the Triage nurse, when Hubby called. "How's the little guy?" he asked. "Fine. I mean, (*raising my voice slightly*) I hope the BALLOON he may have SWALLOWED isn't STUCK or anything."

"Well, I have a problem here too," Hubby said. "The dog has just started throwing up everywhere." I gritted my teeth, and preparing myself for what I knew would be the answer, asked tentatively "Where?"

"On the rug in the family room." Great. It just keeps getting better. I told Hubby where to find the good old Martha Gardner wool mix, and he went off to clean yet another rug. Sigh.

Finally, the triage nurse saw us. We filled out the forms, during which, the 3yr old vomited up the water he'd been drinking in the car. Fortunately, I had a couple of cloth nappies hanging over the stroller that I'd placed over him in the car to catch any rogue vomits, and was able to "catch" most of it. A nurse finally brought one of those little plastic sick bags, and he finished off a tiny bit in there. And then decided it would make a nice hat. You get the picture.

Turns out, after seeing the doctor, the 3yr old may have a bug. After 6 sips of apple juice, just after some anti-nausea type medication, he threw it up. We waited for 10 minutes, and then did 3 sips every five minutes through two cups of apple juice, with the 3yr old entertaining the paediatric ward with his rendition of Hi-5's "High 5 baaaaand, Hi-5 baaaand", banging a toy hammer on a table as he did so.

Finally, at midnight, we left the hospital, and after getting the 3yr old to bed, and then locating the big boys' school shirts to throw in the wash, and having a shower myself, I was in bed by 1am.

Today is my "day off" when the 3yr old is usually at daycare, but today he's here, and we're playing the waiting game. It's possible once this medication wears off (around 10am), he may start again. Fingers crossed that won't happen. I am SO not keen to make another trip to the hospital today.

And now to my theory. Was the chermoula paste responsible in some way for these turn of events? Was I just not supposed to make this Moroccan chicken tagine after all?

After much analysing, I believe the answer is "no". Because even though it was a little dry after my over-cooking, the Moroccan chicken tagine was bloody delicious. And even though I wasn't able to enjoy the eating experience, due to the aforementioned circumstances, I still bloody enjoyed it. And I'm planning to tempt fate again. Next time I make Jane's dish, I WILL eat it with the kids in bed and glass of wine in hand. I WILL enjoy it. I know it.

Until next time...

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Happy Birthday to the 6yr Old

Much has been written about the 3yr old, and a little on the 7yr old, but regular readers may have noticed that not much has been written on my (now - as of today) 6yr old!

You know that old saying don't you? No news is good news. Well, it's a bit like that with my birthday boy. I haven't written much about him, because, well, usually when I'm posting something, I'm kind of complaining or venting or writing about difficult and/or demanding behaviour at times. (Which sounds awful. Like I'm bitching about my kids all the time. But it's such a great release to write things down to help find clarity with a situation. It puts everything in to perspective. A mother may complain, but it's just her way of voicing how she feels, trying to work it out, and looking for support. I'm in that group too. It's natural. It doesn't mean we don't love our kids. It's just part of the process to help us understand this parenting gig.)

But I digress.

The 6yr old has had his not-so-great moments. Oh, my, has he! Plenty of them in fact. But they're few and far between. Pretty much, he's quite cruisy. He's also quite different to his brothers.

Firstly, he looks different. Both the 7yr old and 3yr old have darker hair (auburn and fair to reddish blonde respectively). The 6yr old however, has bright orange hair. Orange is his preferred description for his locks. He LOVES his hair. Absolutely loves it. He worried out loud once as to what happens when he grows up? "Will my hair not be orange anymore?" I am, of course, enjoying this opinion of his hair while it lasts.

His brothers have brown eyes, his are bright blue. And he has the fairest of skin. He's also more gentle in both his nature and demeanor. It's just a personality thing. His brothers are just a bit more boisterous (not a bad thing - just noisy)!

He's very thoughtful of others. When I was hugely pregnant with the 3yr old, my two big boys and I had made a mad dash to swimming lessons for the 7yr old, who was 4 at the time. It was a hot, sticky day, and the lesson was at a hot, sticky swimming centre. I got there only just in time for the lesson. I was exhausted. Both physically and mentally drained. It was one of those bad days.

No sooner had we started to undress for our lesson, the 7yr old (then 4 remember) announced he needed to go "poo-poo". It was the last straw. We had to walk back to the toilets, and then afterwards, rejoin the half hour swim class - 15 minutes in.

I couldn't help it. I started to silently cry. I think I felt a bit of a failure at the time. (Why didn't I get there earlier?) I tried to keep it from the 6yr old, who was 2 at the time. But he noticed. He kept putting his hand on my shoulder and asking, "Are you ok, Mummy?" in his quiet voice. He didn't move from my side. Just kept asking if I was ok, rubbing my back, placing his head on my lap. I can't tell you what a comfort to me he was that day (and many days since).

He has always had a sort of sense of things (not to mention his sense of others). I remember the time he announced, very confidently, that our friends were expecting their first baby. They were coming for dinner that night, and had yet to arrive. We hadn't heard any such news. But sure enough, about half an hour after they arrived, they announced it. We were quite flabbergasted! And that's just one example of many.

He's a little in his own world at times. When he started Kindy last year, his teacher commented that he would talk to himself and sing to himself in class. Even though she thought it cute, it was distracting others (all the class thought it quite amusing). I started to wonder if he was ready for "big school" (he turned 5 not long after he started Kindy). Then one of the admin gals at the school mentioned his singing. And she said, "You know why it's so lovely? It means he's happy." And I think that's true.

He is a pretty happy little guy. He responds incredibly well to encouragement. He loves attention. (Don't all kids?) His teacher last year encouraged him so much, by the end of the year, he was doing brilliantly at school. And singing only at playtime or during music lessons!

He could talk a hind leg off a horse (as my Dad would say). He loves when people come to visit and stay with us. He'll give them toys from his room for "company" when they stay in the spare room. He giggles. He's very big on rules (unless he chooses to break them). He likes Chess (especially on the computer). He loves his brothers and he wants more siblings (um, sorry...can't help you there, buddy). He idolises his big brother. He's into whatever the 7yr old is in to. He loves the Nintendo Wii and his DS. We call him "the little engineer", because he can work anything mechanical or technical out pretty quickly. (I once found a bunch of photos on my Mac computer that he'd added effects to. All of him. Hilarious!)

There is so much more I could write - about him and his brothers - about what I love about them all.

But most of all, I love the 6yr old because of the beautiful person he has become. And I made him. Well, Hubby and I. Amazing.

Happy Birthday Big 6yr Old. xxxxx

Until next time...