Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What would Jo Frost say?

There was a massive tantrum on the way to school yesterday morning. I'm tempted play the martyr and describe how much I suffered with my six-year-old's transformation from cherub to fiend, but the truth is that I deserved it. My son M and the fostie didn't, but I did. Technically, I guess you could say that I'm the person responsible for instigating the riot, but I blame Roald Dahl. After all, it was him who wrote "The Twits".

The previous evening, in true supermum fashion, I was reading to C at bedtime. We've graduated to chapter books now - one chapter a night is just right. Of course C has been skipping ahead to see what happens next but like most kids, she loves having it read out loud. Being a somewhat eccentric person (that's what the title of my blog says), I've thrown myself into the characters: voices, expressions, even the bad smells when I can manage it. Evidently I must be quite clever at it because the other night, she wouldn't let me stop. My voice was tiring of Mr Twit's nastiness and I was itching for the "fart in the bucket". As I tried to leave, C reminded me that she still hadn't read her school journal to me. What kind of mother would I be if I didn't let her do her homework? Thankfully Zeeb arrived and I sensed my escape: "Read to Zeeb!" C wanted Mummy.

I tried to be polite but C is in Group 17 for Reading now and this story was long. Noticing a brown felt tip pen, I devised a cunning scheme. As C was focussed on her book, I drew a beard and moustache on myself. When C saw it, I was able to excuse myself to run to the bathroom and "shave" - leaving Zeeb in charge. Clever, huh? It only took a second to wash it off straight away.
Dramatisation: This is not the actual fake facial hair on my actual face.
The next morning, I was getting C ready for school when I realised what a fantastic role model I really am. She had found the felt tip and grown her own whiskers before going to sleep.

It didn't wash off.

I tried covering it with makeup. It didn't work.

I tried cleansing creme. It didn't work.

Soap...didn't work.

It was time to go to school. C didn't want to leave the house with a moustache and fluff beard. It got pretty serious so in one of his helpful moments, M carried her kicking and screaming to the van.

I lost the keys to the van.

C ran upstairs to the bathroom while I found the keys. M had to carry her downstairs again.

It was a painful journey to school. My ears still echo with the screams.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A wee thought

 As some of you probably know, I'm a very deep thinker. Okay, I admit that I can be a little shallow at times but at least I'm profoundly shallow. Yet another thought was planted in my head the other day when one of my friends asked the Facebook community for opinions on how mums (and dads!) have dealt with nappy rash - for their babies, not themselves. I don't think I've had nappy rash in recent years although I did have shingles once which got into a very sensitive area...perhaps that's a little too much information.  Various lotions and potions were mentioned with Sudocrem and Bepanthen rating quite high. A few of us mentioned having a bare bottom for a bit (again, for the baby, not the mum), which is something I think the Chinese may have perfected here:
The most offensive thing about this picture is that those yellow shoes just might be Crocs
So all this got me thinking about how parents coped with pooping, peeing offspring before the nappy was invented. I don't know if God created a supply in the Garden of Eden. So what did Eve do when Cain and Abel came along? Who knows, perhaps the whole concept of murder came about because Cain had issues relating back to his early toileting years. Anyway, I thought I'd found a really helpful suggestion in the form of Infant Toilet Training.  Apparantly it's as simple as watching Bubs really closely and reading the signals. Then it's just a matter of doing this:

 Ummm...Okay, so maybe there is the advantage of no nappies to wash but seriously, this is where we clean our teeth! Cute baby and all that, although she doesn't look especially happy being dangled over a gaping hole in tattooed arms. No, this is not something I have tried and I can't imagine that Henry VIII and all his royal ancestors were ever toilet trained that way. So, I googled it. Apparantly the wee bairns were wrapped in strips of linen and didn't get changed for a number of days. Eeyew! I don't even think a barrel of Zinc and Castor Oil ointment would deal to the nappy rash that would have produced.  It seems that other cultures used leaves, rabbit skins, whatever was available...while others in warmer climates just let their kids fly commando in the breeze. Hippies!

It's been a while but personally I can testify that nappies are a luxery. When I had my third child, Flitwick was training as a nurse and we were scraping by on a Student Allowance. I could write an entirely seperate blog on the things we did to eke out a frugal existance for a number of years. We had a few cloth nappies from his older siblings (donated by grandparents when Number One was born) but they were a bit thread bare by this time. So using gool ol' kiwi ingenuity, I chopped up a couple of flannelette sheets I'd found in the op shop. Occasionally we'd treat him to a disposable if we were feeling flush and going away from home for a few hours, but generally my son wore pink and purple stripes on his butt and it hasn't made a blind bit of difference to his intelligence or his ability to use the bathroom later on (although it hasn't helped his aim any). He may want to meet with a counsellor if he ever reads this blog and finds out, but for now he's blissfully ignorant so let's just keep this our little secret.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

It's easy being green

If you were to ask me where my favourite place is to eat, I would have to say the lunch table in our staff room. I love my job. I love my co-workers and I love the kids I work with. The best thing I love about my job is lunch time. In fact, I the only reason I go to work is to have lunch with my friends, which says a lot because I'm only a part-timer and get paid until lunch time. After that, it's my own time so I guess when I stay for lunch (every day!) it's overtime. So evidently I'm a dedicated worker and therefore extremely valuable to the team as a whole.

Lunch at work can be a little weird sometimes, which is probably why it suits me so well. We've got one character who steals lunches and constantly snatches cups of tea right from out of the rightful owners' hands, a couple of us are a bit OCD, we have another one who guzzles all the milk before showing his appreciation with a loud burp (he also claims to have seen one of my nipples as I was searching for something in my Double A filing system once - something which I categorically deny) and everyone (except the lunch stealer) brings in goodies such as chocolate and cake. Another thing I really enjoy about lunch is the random conversation.

Halloween has just been and gone, not that it's a festival I celebrate. Most years I get involved in our church's Halloween alternative, known as the "Light Party". This year I got throw on a clown costume and make balloon animals - after just 1 1/2 hours of training. It's all in how you hold your tongue.
Just some of the cool stuff we made

Meanwhile, Smiley lives in the coolest area on Southside. It's so cool that the people in her street have decided to call themselves a gang. They don't need much of an excuse to throw a party and even have their own exclusive Facebook page. Smiley is a gang member. She'll be wearing a patch soon. So to think of an anonymous equivalent to their name here)...the "Strange Gang" (tee hee!!) had a Halloween party and Smiley was telling us all about it at the lunch table.  Now that she has lived in New Zealand for four years, the pavlova has become Smiley's kitchen specialty. If you're not familiar with the pavlova, google the recipe. It's fabulous and it's ours (and don't let the Australians try telling you that they invented it!)

So for the Strange Gang Halloween party Smiley added her own special twist to the recipe. She made the pav green, with black cream. Normally a pav is white, fluffy and pretty but this one had to be spooky. Apparantly it took a lot of food colouring to make it look this gruesome:

Scary, isn't it!
And that's how the conversation at our lunch table turned to green. At that point Smiley wasn't talking about the pav. She was referring to the effects of the pav...if you catch my drift. Thankfully, she only took a photo of the pav before the systems of those that consumed it. Apparantly it stuck around for quite a while. I'm not so sure if it was the green food colouring; I think it was the black cream.

Naturally I had to put my two cents worth and raise the topic of chooky poo. My kids and I had been watching the baby chicks when one of them screamed out that there was green poop in the coop. We spent quite a bit of time trying to work it out. I was about to turn to Mr Google when my six year old daughter suggested that the red cabbage her daddy had thrown in there might be responsible. OMG! This child is SIX! By golly I think she had something because she was remembering the time I showed her how red cabbage leaves can be used as a pH indicator.
My braniac 6 y/o in her Light Party costume. FIrst prize went to a pink star fish, but there were no "sour grapes"

Speaking of chicken of my chickens came up the steps and took a dump on the back deck (that's kiwi for "patio"). Does this mean that it's now a "Poop Deck"? :o)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Check out my Zumba Arrrrbs!

There's a craze sweeping across this country and I'm in on it. ZUMBA!!!! Yup, I'm an athlete now. I've been to three lessons. And I ran in a quarter marathon once - in a kind of walky-skippy sort of way - but I had a sports drink in a sipper bottle so that pretty much qualifies me as a pro.

Zumba classes started at work a few months back but with having kids to pick up from school, I wasn't able to go along. Most of my friends went and I was left out. Sad. Then Zeeb asked if I wanted to go to a class with her in the evenings - Beloved could babysit. Woo hoo! Zeeb's friend Ren joined us. Yipee! No oldies' classes for me - I'm mixing it up with the hip under 20s crowd now. I love Zumba. The music is awesome and it feels just like a dance party. Not that I've been to very many dance parties - or any dance parties - but if I had, I'm sure it would be just like a Zumba class.

Zumba isn't easy and if I'm honest I'm not especially good at it, but it is a lot of fun. The instructor is a gorgeous little asian lady - Vietnamese or Thai I think - with the most beautiful smile this side of the harbour bridge. How does she look so cheerful while she's doing all that energetic stuff? How does she make her hips do the things they do when she's "thrusting her core"? How come she only has a cute glow while the rest of us are sweating like Jabba the Hutt in a sauna? How does she manage not to trip over during the cool down stretches? 

The gorgeous instructor wears the coolest Zumba gear. She's got the shoes, the racer back top and the cute pants - all with the proper logo. She always has one leg of her pants rolled up. Just one. I'm not sure what that's about. Maybe it's something like a karate black belt. Maybe you're only allowed to wear one leg rolled up when you reach that higher level of double-jointed hip rolling.

I wear trackies - I think that's what unco-ordinated novices are allowed to wear.

It went okay for a few of weeks, then Zeeb had to go off to do a Defensive Driving course and I was too shy to go on my own. Well, that and the lure of "Coronation Street" being on telly. Let's just say I forgot to go to Zumba once Molly and Kevin started snogging on the park bench outside the Rovers.

Zeeb's back in business now so I have been back. I love going to Zumba with Zeeb and her friend Renee. They're fun to be with and I'm hoping for a washboard stomach while I'm at it. However, I was somewhat mortified during a partner segment when I was flying solo. I was happily faking my way through it, skipping and shaking my booty out of time to Cotton Eye Joe, when some do-gooder oldie who had paid her eight bucks to gatecrash the lesson pointed at me and bellowed to the entire class that I didn't have a partner. What the???!!!  It wasn't as if she said it just once. When the lop-sided pants lady didn't hear her, the woman just kept saying it louder until I was sorted out.  

Clearly these are not my Zumba Arrrbs. I have a navel piercing. These arrrbs don't
I wasn't able to go this week. I had an invitation to go out for a banana split at Denny's. What's a girl to do?

Check out my Banana Split Arrrrrbs!