Thursday, March 30, 2006

Li'l Snotnose

It's a cold.

I've had a sore throat all day, which is a sure sign; what confused me was that normally I get the sore throat before I start sneezing my head off.

Anyway, I must've passed it on to Baby because she's still really snuffly too. It'll be her first real cold. (In fact, its my first cold too, since before she was born.)

We've had the steam vaporisor on in her room, for the last couple of nights (as well as the heater), and from tonight I'm putting a little Vicks VapoSteam in the water too. Tonight the snottiness was so bad that I couldn't even give her a comfort feed when she was having trouble getting to sleep, because her teeny nasal passages were so congested. We both gave her big, long cuddles and - third time lucky - finally she fell asleep to the boy's deep voice.

It must be nice to be able to send a child to sleep just by talking to them.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Snot...nose poo...boogers...

My anti-hayfever nasal spray ran out a couple of weeks ago; I've been using the spray just about every day for two or three years now (and before that, just in Spring) but this time I decided to try going cold turkey.

After the first big headache, it seemed that either being a mum had cured me of hayfever (it certainly seems to have helped my complexion - or is it that I just don't notice the zits and scaly bits any more?). Then, at the weekend, I started sneezing and sniffling constantly; my head was all congested and I remembered how it used to be if I spent all day sitting in long grass without any (antihistamine) protection.

But now I've noticed that Baby has a snotty nose too. I can hear it move up and down her nostrils when she's feeding, and I worry that if its consistency gets any thicker she'll suffocate in her own nose poo (which is what the Cantonese for bogeys, at least in my mum's dialect, translates to).

Omigod...have I unknowingly caught a cold and inadvertantly passed it on to my itty bitty baby? Or is she displaying early onset hayfever?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Craft

The Craft is such an old movie that it's a wonder I hadn't seen it before now, and the only reason I did was because the DVD was on sale for ten dollars. And what a good movie it is, too!

It's about four high school girls in LA who use witchcraft to get what they want; one wants a boy (played by Skeet Ulrich) to like her, another wants a bigoted teen queen (played by Christine Taylor, now married to Ben Stiller) to stop picking on her, the third simply wants "power" and the fourth wants to be rid of her disfiguring burn scars.

All four get their respective wishes, but of course everything soon starts to go terribly wrong...

Apparently that terrible excuse for a TV show on witches, Charmed, was directly influenced by The Craft - the show's theme tune was even lifted straight from the movie's soundtrack (I always thought the tune sounded like the Psychedelic Furs, but it's a Smiths song).

But it's way better than Charmed. In fact, The Craft has much more in common with Willow's story arc in seasons Five and Six of Buffy. It's dark and a little bit creepy (especially the scene where goth-witch Nancy floats in the air with her witchy-pointy shoes scraping the floor...moments before her friend's boyfriend is hurled out of a second storey window). It's about being careful what you wish for; it's about how power corrupts and it's about how meddling with supernatural forces can get really out of hand.

The other DVD I bought yesterday was Season Two, Part Two, of Father Ted.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Sun, surf and a free babysitting service

Recently I read in one of those travel brochures that are always falling out of newspapers, about a resort in Fiji which caters to families; apparently the place is chock full of employees who just love taking care of guests' children.

Just imagining being able to leave Baby with a nice local mama, confident that she's going to be well looked after (at least until her next feed) while I learn to snorkel (or kayak, or just toast my skin), makes me want us to go there (I've been to Fiji before and it's not a favourite destination).

I casually mentioned this place to the boy, hoping he'd be interested enough to suggest a wee tropical island holiday - our first holiday since almost exactly a year ago. But I only managed to say "I read there's a resort in Fiji that -", before he finished my sentence. I guess he'd been reading the same brochure.

At this point in my life, an ideal holiday would be one in which we are surrounded by loving, wise nannies and studly drinks waiters. Okay, just the nannies.

There's nothing definite, but I think I'll look into renewing my passport.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

When you can't think of anything interesting to say... baby photos.

Baby eats Food (and for once doesn't try to spit it back out) and goes wild on the Jolly Jumper (it only took five or ten minutes for her to work out what to do - we're so proud).

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I'm the hostess

I felt that I couldn't get away with it for much longer; just about every one of the mums in my mother's group has already hosted the fortnightly coffee morning/afternoon at least once. One mum has left the country (a rather extreme method of avoiding it, I know), the sole dad in our group claims his house is unsuitable (is it because he does even less cleaning than I?) and the rest stopped turning up altogether.

So they're all coming around on Friday afternoon. Unfortunately that's Baby's most challenging time of the day - which makes it a good time of day to get her in the buggy and go out to mother's group meeting somewhere else. I guess we'll manage somehow.

It means I'll have to vacuum the lounge for the second time this month, and perhaps even mop the kitchen floor (because it's right next to the lounge). I was planning to bake some ANZAC cookies for the occassion, but if the first half of this week is anything to go by, they'll be lucky if I remember to stop and buy some Mallowpuffs while I'm driving Baby to Slumbersville.

Maybe if everyone sees how "relaxed" our home is, it'll encourage those domestic goddesses among them to drop their standards a little.

Or maybe they'll see the 42-inch Plasma TV and be jealous.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Whenever Baby has one of those let's-see-how-frequently-I-can-wake-mum-up nights, I swear that she's going to be an only child. I cannot imagine how anyone who's already been through child-rearing once could possibly volunteer to do it all over again for a second child.

But here's the thing. Remember that day we almost left Baby with one less fingertip? Well, after we'd put her to bed with extra cuddles and a dose of Pamol, the boy and I were sitting back on the sofa trying to un-tense our neck and shoulder muscles. And then the boy popped the question. How did I feel about us having another baby?

The all-consuming tiredness that comes from never getting more than six hours of sleep at a time (and usually just three or four), wasn't quite a distant memory yet.

I explained that, while Baby is surely the most gorgeous wee creature on the planet and I was joking every time I threatened to take her back in exchange for one that sleeps, I wasn't sure I had it in me for a repeat.

But the boy would like a son, no doubt a feisty wee nipper whom he'll play computer games with and teach how to hold a knife in a fight. What could I say? I told him to ask me again in six months.

And you know what? The next day, while I was walking Buggy around in the buggy for two hours in a fruitless attempt to extract some Z's out of her, I found that thinking up boy's names took my mind off that long, steep hill back home.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Car going cheap

Now that my old Honda has been listed for auction on TradeMe for exactly three and a half days, I find myself needing to constantly check to see how much interest it's generating.

A mere hour after the listing went up I got an offer to buy it right away for six hundred bucks. Unfortunately, TradeMe's rules didn't allow me to accept it in those particular circumstances.

So here I am, going online every few hours to see whether there's been any advance on the first (and so far only) bid. The auction doesn't end until the end of the month, so I shouldn't worry. But I do. I'm worrying that the dozens of people who've seen the listing are just sitting around not bidding, just because the contact phone number is hidden in the middle of a huge list of questions and answers about rust and WOFs.

We thought that a low reserve would get prospective buyers' bidding juices flowing. Instead, it might mean that I'm practically giving the car away.

And you know how I hate to get a bad deal.

Friday, March 17, 2006


My smartphone has stopped working. First, all my photos disappeared. Then it stopped saving new photos. Now it won't even start up; it just displays the logo with a creeping bar underneath, as though it's in a start-up loop.

Now, in the old days, if you bought something from a shop and it stopped working a mere five months later, you just took it back and let the retailer sort it out for you. Usually you'd get a new replacement.

With hi-tech products, it's apparently a different process. First, you go to the product manufacturer's website and look for an answer in their help pages. Then you look in the website's discussion board in case other people have encountered the same problem and found a solution. Then, if you still come up empty-handed, you fill in an on-line form which is emailed to the support team.

In my case, it took less than 24 hours to receive a seemingly helpful reply. Unfortunately, the instructions in their reply didn't work, so I sent them another email.

And then I realised that the support people I've been communicating with aren't even human. They couldn't be; the language used in the emails is stilted, as though English isn't their first language, but that's not all. It's as though Cyber-boy hasn't been following the thread.

It's a bit like that Buffy episode where April shows up in Sunnydale looking for a guy named Warren. She's pretty and nice, but there's something just a little bit wrong about her. The Scoobies can't quite put their respective fingers on it, but they know - she's a robot.

And that's how it is with Cyber-boy.

I'm going to give it one more email. If Cyber-boy continues to talk to me funny and give me instructions that don't make sense, I'm going to visit Dick Smith Electronics and demand to talk to a human.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Will she run out of fingertips?

Poor Baby. Every time one of us tries to trim her nails, she protests and wriggles and tries to escape from what she is absolutely sure will be the end of at least one fingertip.

Since the last time I nicked her thumb, I've been way too afraid of doing it again; I've tried to bite her nails off when I remember, if she lets me.

But she keeps scratching herself here and there, and those little nicks make her look like she's been in a fight with the next door neighbour's cat or something; nail trimming just cannot be avoided for long. And so the boy has taken on the job.

But last night Baby struggled so much that a sizeable piece of skin was inadvertantly snipped from her left middle finger. Amidst the terrible screaming I thought I could hear her yelling "I bloody TOLD you so!".

The blood just would not stop dripping from her little wound. Pretty soon, there were stains all over the boy's jeans and Baby's babygro.

We took her to the E & R which, fortunately, is just around the corner from home. The nurse on duty was really sympathetic and even offered a family anecdote; her mum got the fright of her life when, as a new mother, she clipped her newborn's fingernails and they started bleeding (apparently babies' fingernails bleed when they are only a few days old).

By the time we got to see a doctor, the bleeding had stopped and Baby had woken up from a Pamol-induced nap. The skin is going to grow back in a few days - we just have to stop Baby from stuffing the plastered finger in her mouth and causing it to bleed all over the place.

Needless to say we were all very traumatised last night; this morning I've been spraying a lot of stain remover on laundry.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

watch out for me on the roads

My Toyota Echo, according to the NZ Consumer magazine, is one of the two "small" cars recommended for safety and reliability.

But I don't think that's supposed to take into account the effect of getting behind the wheel on less than six hours of consecutive sleep; it's apparently akin to driving drunk, if the article in the latest Mother and Baby magazine is to be believed.

I do try to avoid it, but sometimes when Baby refuses to go to sleep in the afternoon, it's easiest just to strap her into her comfy carseat and go for a long drive.

The problem is, the car ride works almost as well on me - the driver - as it does on her.

Here's a solution - hire someone to drive the both of us around the bays, and Baby and I can both get some sleep. Anyone want to volunteer their chauffeur services?

Monday, March 13, 2006

a slight faux pas

I saw the Editter today at the supermarket. See, last time I had heard from her, she was happily preggers. So when I saw her coming my way, I craned my neck to peer at her tummy and jokingly told her she still just looks fat.

Now, if I'd left the house just an hour later than I actually did, I would have been home to answer the phone when she rang to tell me that she'd miscarried last night.

My embarrassment at having made such a faux pas was overshadowed by my sorrow at the news.

I'd been looking forward to telling her of all the trials and tribulations she could anticipate as a pregant woman. I'd been mentally going through Baby's newborn clothing and picking out the outfits she might like to borrow for her little one. I was going to recommend pregnancy and parenting books. And now I can't.

rabbit fiends

Finally, finally, I got hold of the Wallace and Gromit movie, The Curse of the Were-rabbit.

Rave rave rave.

Way funnier than almost anything I've seen in the last twelve months, including Family Guy presents Stewie Griffin - the untold story (which was in fact not as funny as the television episodes).

Anyway, back to Wallace and Gromit. You must see it. The humour is very English, but you don't even have to be English, have been to England or know any English people to get the jokes.

One of the more interesting extras in the DVD is excerpts of the film as dubbed in Cantonese, French, German and other languages (I wonder how they do the Northern accent in a foreigh language...).

It's a beautiful day, dammit!

Baby's still fussing day in, day out, over those little toothy-pegs (the cute name the boy uses to refer to Baby's soon-to-appear teeth). It's affecting her naps, and each time I put her down in her cot I've found myself spending up to an hour afterwards listening to her not sleeping and getting all wound up about it.

At the end of the day I realised that I have missed a whole day of clear blue skies, warm temperatures and almost no wind, just by spending most of it fretting about Baby's non-sleeping. She does get her sleep eventually (usually with the help of a healthy dose of Pamol), so I'm wearing myself out unnecesarily by worrying about it.

If tomorrow is as lovely a day as today, I must remember to go outside once in a while and enjoy it.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Seven months

Baby turned seven months yesterday.

She can sit up on her own for up to ten minutes but will keel over and face-plant the moment you look away.

She gets more joy out of being thrown about in the air by her daddy than she does from lying around shaking rattles.

I can tell when a big, soft outfit-changing poo is on its way, because the big one is always preceded by a couple of little hard, brown nuggets.

It's been at least seven months since I last had eight or more hours continuous sleep; soon it will be time to train Baby to desire the same thing.

This week I pick up the Jolly Jumper which I bought on TradeMe. I know she's going to love it.

Despite all the on-and-off fussing, crying and general unsettled-ness of teething over the last few weeks, I still can not see a single tooth in her mouth.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Rice Kings and Rice Queens

I was reading Rice Daddies, and came across a term I've never seen before - rice kings. Apparently a rice king is a nerdy white guy who only dates Asian women (and we all know of at least one, right?)

So I thought, I must be a rice queen, because I'm an Asian woman who's only ever (with one regrettable exception) dated white guys (and I've had my nerdy times too).

But no - a rice queen is a gay white man who only dates younger Asian guys - not to be confused with a potato queen, who is a gay Asian male who only dates white fellas.

There is a whole world of terms for men's dating habits, out there.

Friday, March 10, 2006

doggone it

All the cute photos of Baby which I took on the smartphone since last weekend, have disappeared.

I don't know what happened; I can take a photo and save it, but it then disappears into a black hole.

There were so many great shots of her cackling away at my rendition of Old MacDonald; bouncing in her hammock wearing her auntie H's hand-knitted Anarchy cardigan; and sitting up all by herself and looking up at her mummy.

I suppose I shouldn't be so upset because we have the real thing right here, but still...

By the way, Baby's sleeping peacefully at last, after a full day of teething fussiness erupted into a full-blown hissy-fit at bedtime. Pamol is my friend.

She bakes cookies ! *

I have the Edmonds Classics cookbook from the library, and it's mostly full of recipes for biscuits (i.e. cookies if you're in North America), cakes and slices. The temptation for a sweet-toothed domestic goddess-in-training to try some of the biscuit recipes, was too great to resist.

First up was the recipe for ANZAC biscuits. They're full of coconut and rolled oats, so it's easy to pretend that you're actually doing your body a favour by eating half a dozen in one sitting - never mind all the butter that went into them. I did have a slight problem in that, even though I set the oven to exactly the required temperature, I had to remove the biscuits after five minutes to avoid ending up with a mess of sweet charcoal.

This recipe gets 9/10 for being so easy to make and 10/10 for yumminess.

Next up, the recipe for gingernuts. To make these, I had to cream a large hunk of butter with brown sugar and golden syrup.

I have vague memories of "creaming" from school cooking classes when I was about twelve, but obviously I had completely forgotten how much hard work this is.

Attempting to transform refrigerated butter (and sugar and syrup) into a light and fluffy mixture, is foolhardy without a cake mixer.

Attempting it with dodgy wrists is simply insane.

The resulting biscuit wasn't as pleasing as the ANZACs; I'm not sure if I worked the batter into sufficient fluffiness, but I am sure that I won't be making these again - not without a cake mixer anyway.

The recipe for gingernuts gets 2/10 for making my arm nearly drop off, and 5/10 for not tasting ginger-y enough.

I've typed in the recipe for ANZAC biscuits below:

ANZAC Biscuits

1/2 C standard grade flour
1/2 C sugar
3/4 C coconut
3/4 C rolled oats
100g butter
1 Tab golden syrup
1/2 teasp baking soda
2 Tab boiling water

Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Mix the flour, sugar, coconut and rolled oats. Melt butter and golden syrup. Dissolve baking soda in the boiling water and add to butter mixture. Stir butter mixture in the dry ingredients. Place level tablespoons of mixture 4-5 cm apart on cold oven trays. Flatten with a floured fork. Bake about 15 minutes or until golden (for me it took only 5 minutes). Makes 22.

* A reference to the Barbara Streisand movie, Yentl, in which Barbs dresses up as a boy in order to enrol into school. It's all very Mrs Doubtfire/Some Like it Hot, and a girl falls in love with Barbs-boy because he is so sensitive. There's a line in the movie where the lovelorn girl exclaims "You bake apples!".

Thursday, March 09, 2006

It's the teeth again

These are the things I tried when Baby's teeth started bothering her this afternoon:

1. A teething rattle which has a water-filled piece at one end, straight from the fridge.

But she wouldn't take the hint and bite on the damned thing, so big failure there.

2. Nursing.

Funnily enough, although nursing is usually the panacea for just about all of Baby's woes, this time it didn't work. She either cried harder as soon as I laid her on the pillow on my lap, or arched her back and studied the mobile hanging from the ceiling.

3. Bonjela.

I rubbed a pea-sized amount on her gums and waited for her to recognize the yummy flavour. She didn't care, and continued to wail.

4. Bouncing her on my knees.

This worked great, but after an hour my legs got tired and my voice was starting to go hoarse from so many repetitions of This is the way the parson rides, parson rides, parson rides...

5. A rusk and a spell in the vibrating rocker.

Again, a big winner. But only for about half an hour. Also, the vibrations tend to stimulate Baby's poo-making muscles so we don't want to overdo it.

6. Putting her in the hammock, with a lullabies CD on the stereo.

I was surprised that the lullabies, set against a background of wave sounds, really did settle her, as promised on the CD cover. She only started fussing again when her hunger finally caught up with her (it'd been over five hours since her last feed).

...then the boy came home and put her to bed, leaving me to wallow in the fatigue which set in even before the TV news had ended.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Anyone want to buy a 1991 Honda Civic?

Parking spaces are at a real premium in my street, which is why I'm so grateful that I have my own garage. But my new car resides there now, and my old Honda is taking up space on the street - space sorely needed for the boy's car.

I'm thinking of selling the old 'un via the Internet, but my experience with on-line auctions to date has been limited to items less than fifty bucks and no bigger than a golf umbrella.

And there's that whole thing of, is it safe to have strangers coming over to inspect the vehicle during the day, when Baby and I are home alone? If prospective buyers want to take it out for a test drive, should I go with them, or hold onto their Rolex until they return? much to think about...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Mind candy

Yesterday I very nearly bought one of those women's gossip magazines, and I blame it on Brangelina.

The headline on one - I think it was New Idea - told me that Brad has left Angelina; another magazine - Women's Weekly, perhaps - announced that they were getting married.

And now, even though I never actually cared about Hollywood goings-on, I'm really curious as to what's going on with those two.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Going automatic

Later today I'm trading in my trusty old 1991 1300cc Honda Civic sedan for a nifty little Toyota Echo; it's an automatic, with air conditioning, ABS brakes, a decent car stereo and only 35,000 kms on its mileage-o-meter.

The Honda has served me well; it never broke down on me and only needed expensive work ocassionally in its ten years as my "wheels". But I will not miss the crappy stereo, the boot cover which has knocked several unsuspecting passengers (and myself) on the head, its oven-like atmosphere on hot days and its inability to go up those big hills in fourth gear.

But I probably will miss my life savings which will have gone into its purchase.

Still, this will make getting Baby to sleep on those "difficult" afternoons, a little more fun.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

I'm a goody two-shoes

I found it at Pants, pants, pants.
You Are 18% Evil

You are good. So good, that you make evil people squirm.
Just remember, you may need to turn to the dark side to get what you want!

Where are the cows?

Last night the boy went out on the town with some business associates, leaving me in charge of Making Baby Stay Asleep. She wouldn't go to drop off on her own, and I had to go in and feed her to sleep after an hour of wailing, but in the end she was down for the evening.

For entertainment I had two choices - watch Bram Stoker's Dracula on the telly, or Bride and Prejudice which I'd rented out on DVD (and which the boy had successfully avoided watching all week).

Being fond of vampire stories, I initially chose Dracula, but wasn't able to get past Keanu Reeves' terrible performance. Now, I'm the last person on Earth to get all snotty about people's acting ability, but if I can notice when someone's doing a bad job then he really must be doing a bad job indeed. So, despite Gary Oldman's freaky turn as the Count, I put on the DVD.

An aside - I've watched lots of English-language Indian movies, and I get the impression that featuring a huge, exuberant Indian wedding must be compulsory for any Indian director. Like the need to include a steamy sex scene in almost any Hollywood thriller.

Doing a Jane Austen Bollywood style sounded like such a clever idea, but I have to say that this movie didn't do it for me. I'm thinking that if I were a Hindi-speaking Indian, I probably wouldn't enjoy the real thing. As far as musicals go, I'd still prefer to watch the BtVS episode Once More With Feeling.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

How TV makes me want to clean

Despite strong resistence to reality TV shows in general, I've started watching How Clean Is You House every Wednesday. Each week, a pair of housecleaning professionals visit a particularly unkempt house and turn it into something the health inspector wouldn't throw a wobbly at.

One reason I enjoy seeing strangers' homes put to the test, and failing, is that it makes me feel so much better about the state of my own home.

The other reason I'm compelled to watch the show is that it motivates me to do something about that corner of my bathroom, behind the toilet, which is almost never cleaned because it's too dirty.

I'm sure I'm not the only person on the planet who won't clean something because it's too dirty.

Besides, I'm going to have to host a mother's group one day.

Guy stuff

Guy Food
One of the reasons I decided to be the cook in this household was to ensure that there would always be vegetables for dinner. However, our dinners don't tend to have a lot of fresh vegetables in them, and this is why - I've been cooking guy food.

Apart from the odd (meat-based) salad, and stir fries when I can't be bothered going through any more cooking books, I've found myself making mostly stodgy cheesey dishes. Those're the things that the boy likes and comments on. I like them too, otherwise I wouldn't continue risking my lactose-intolerant tummy's several times a week.

But really, there has to be more clean, green stuff in our diets. That's why I'm resisting the idea of adding cauliflower cheese to the menu; sometimes vegetables ought to be just naked.

Guy Movies
The boy brought home Sin City last weekend. I'd already read many reviews and knew what to expect - violent stories told with a testosterone-y twist. I was absolutely right. Two things about this movie stand out:

- a scene in which a psycho cannibal murderer, played by Elijah Wood, is tied to a tree trunk. His limbs have been lopped off and his own dog about to devour him.

- the actress who plays Rory in Gilmour Girls as a streetwalker turned tattletale.

It wasn't a bad movie; it certainly wasn't a boring movie. But it really wasn't a nice movie.