Saturday, September 30, 2006

Technical difficulties

Ever since the boy moved in with me, I've had to live with his need for constant upgrades to our various electronic appliances. I'm sure it's a boy thing as well as a geek thing - if I were still single I'd still be using the same VCR I bought about 8 years ago (instead of a new-fangled DVD recorder) and the 17" television my mum loaned to me 10 years ago. I would've bought myself a PC eventually, but I probably wouldn't have upgraded to broadband without the boy's insistence. And I'm pretty darned sure I wouldn't have a 42" plasma television on my living room wall instead of a nice, block-mounted poster of Venice.

But now that I've gotten used to living in a high-tech house, it's all the more upsetting when the gadgets stop working properly.

Last week the boy came home with a new, improved router for our home computer network. Being a computer-whisperer (I tell him that when he fixes his staff's computer problems he should first bend towards the relevant hard drive and talk to it softly, just for effect), he confidently spent the three hours required to reconfigure all get the network connected up via this new router.

And he was really very upset when, less than 24 hours later, I told him that the laptop and the internet connection were no longer on speaking terms. Much cursing and general grumpiness ensued, including an implicit accusation that I did something to the laptop to cause this rift.

I don't know why, because I'm not a complete techno-cretin, but sometimes things stop working around me. VCRs stop recording as programmed, DVDs become "invalid" and home computer networks crash and burn. Maybe it's something to do with leylines, or bad feng shui. Or maybe there are electomagnetic hotspots on my body. Whatever it is, I can actually understand why the boy acts like I'm some sort of anti-Midas.

So now you know why I didn't get online until now, after the boy's gone to sleep, so I could use his computer.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I don't know why I bother

My mum is not only hard of hearing, but also has a memory even worse than mine.

It's a recipe for frustration, really. Whenever I try to tell her anything, I have to repeat it many, many times, each time more loudly. She'll hear me in the end, but forget it after five minutes.

I promise this will be my last grumble about my mum. At least for the rest of this week.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A day with my mum - an oven-roasted self

I just spent the whole day with my mum today, and it was hard - but not in the way I expected.

She's been staying with my brother, having just got out of hospital for an angioplasty; she's now on new meds and we didn't want her to be on her own while she's testing them out. To help out, I offered to entertain Mum during the day while he's at work (his family's away up the coast for a few days), then get her back to his place in time to cook him dinner.

Anyway, I was a bit nervous about spending all day with Mum, because she has a tendency to tell me how to run my life. Even a couple of hours with her could result in high blood pressure and an urgent wish for the boy to transfer to another country.

But it didn't happen that way.

Her critiques on my child-rearing, dress sense and housekeeping ability were minimal. What did bother me was that I ended up sweltering in oven-roasting temperatures all day because my mum is a human popsicle. She was snuggled up in three layers of polar fleece, and still wanting me to turn the heat up. I was stripped down to a (supportive) singlet and rolled-up jeans and still having one long, hot flush.

And of course, she warned me several times that I ought to put on a sweatshirt because it's cold out and she didn't want me to catch a chill.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Kinky boots

What a good film this was.

When it first came out at the cinemas, I wasn't particularly inspired by the reviews I read; it came across as a cross between The Full Monty and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. These are two great movies, but who wants to go see a movie which is as derivative as this one sounded?

But last night we were sitting in front of the telly with a copy of Kinky Boots in front of us, and nothing promising on the telly.

And it turned out to be way better than anticipated. In short, it's about a shoe factory up in the north of England which is in danger of going under due to competition from cheap imports. The young man who's inherited the factory from his dad goes to London in search of buyers, meets a black cross-dressing nightclub performer and comes up with the radical idea of diversifying into women's shoes for men i.e. sexy thigh-high boots for cross-dressers.

It's a feelgood movie, like Monty and Priscilla. It's got a fairly predictable plot, yet it's based on a true story and anyway that very predictability is part of what makes it such a happy movie.

Isn't it nice to watch a movie you thought would be rubbish, and find that it's genius?

Monday, September 25, 2006

The brushing of tiny teeth

Apparently you're supposed to brush your kids' teeth as soon as they start appearing, and this post in Blogging Baby tells you the recommended way to do so.

The Little Madam's teeth-cleaning procedure consists of chewing on the bristles of her little duck-decorated toothbrush, then chucking it overboard in favour of a little plastic cup which she uses to empty bathwater out onto the kitchen floor.

I've tried brushing her teeth for her. I've tried and tried and tried. But TLM just will not let me get the toothbrush anywhere near her mouth. It's much like how she reacts to the sight of a spoonful of food.

Hopefully TLM's brush-chewing action is enough to remove any food that might be stuck to those little incisors (of which there are now five), because even though milk teeth are going to fall out anyway, what kind of mother would I be to allow her daughter to grow black toothlets?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Group bug

It seems that all three of us have colds this weekend. This means that I have little energy and no patience, The Little Madam is whingy and has no appetite, and the boy is sh*t out of luck if he thought he was going to get a break this weekend.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

In which I nearly kill the boy with my cooking

Now, I would be the first one to tell you that burgers and anything else made with minced up meat must be cooked thoroughly before eating. And yet I've been guilty of giving the boy a local version of Dehli-belly twice in the last couple of months.

The first time was with a couple of venison burgers. The one I cut into, to test for done-ness, was nice and brown inside. The one one my plate and the second one on the boy's plate had lovely pink interiors. Who knew that commercially processed burgers would need such variable cooking times? (I was fortunate enough to find out before I was halfway through my venison sandwich - the boy had been too hungry to notice.)

The second time was last night, when I decided to make hot dogs out of a packet of Kranskys I got from the supermarket. (There are some strange items in the sausage section at the supermarket these days - I saw some small, purple cocktail sausages with the words "purple cock" typed on the label. I kid you not.) I pan-fried those Kranskys till their respective skins split; surely that was a sign of cookedness? But the boy was apparently in and out of the loo all night (I didn't notice - the only thing that wakes me at night these days is the sound of a baby crying), and I was glad I'd only had one.

As I get older and grumpier, I have moments of insecurity in which I fear that the boy might go off me and leave for someone younger, more pert and better in the kitchen.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Cheeky monkey

Just a quickie, before our crappy Internet service bumps me off again...a photo of our TLM in all her cheeky-monkey glory.

Monday, September 18, 2006

A moment of grumpiness

There's this saying that keeps cropping up - now that I read so much parenting stuff - about how you should spend plenty of time playing with your kids instead of trying to keep your house clean, because when they grow up they aren't going to look back and wish their parents had cleaned the house more.

To that I say rubbish rubbish rubbish.

I'm no Bree van der Kamp (I can't cook, don't keep my house spotless and don't care if TLM wears mis-matched clothes), but I do think it's important to keep to a minimum standard of cleanliness.

The reason people don't look back on their childhoods and wish they're parents had spent more time on the housework might be because they already died from a terrible bacterial infection caused by a dirty toilet.

The stalking shuffle

I haven't posted for a few days because I've been overcome with a nasty tummy bug, possibly that very same virus which felled The Little Madam a couple of weeks ago. Secretly I'd hoped it would lose me a couple of kilos over the weekend - it would have been fair compensation for all the vomiting, stomach cramps and other stuff you won't want to read about in detail - but the bug didn't hit me that hard. Either that, or I had so much excess fat on me that any illness-related weight loss was barely a drop in the ocean of fatness that is my post-pregnancy self.

But I do have an amusing little anecdote about TLM. It's even a short and sweet one...

The Little Madam's bum-shuffling is now a sort of crawl-shuffle; unless she's got something in her hands, she moves forwards by putting both hands down, then shuffling her legs up to her hands. So if you were nearby, you'd hear a distinct thud-shhh...thud-shh as she gets herself around the room.

TLM has also taken to following us into the bathroom. Unlike some parents who think it's a good idea to let their kids see what goes on in the grown-ups toilet, and aren't bothered by the whole lack-of-privacy thing, I prefer to keep the bathroom door closed when I go about my ablutions (especially if they're of the tummy-bug variety).

Now imagine you're me, sitting on the toilet and minding your own business. There's nothing going on in your head, for a change. Then you hear an ominous sound, the sound that goes like this...thud-shh...thud-shhh...thud-shh...which gets louder and louder until it's right outside the toilet door. You sigh in relief that the door is closed. Then it comes...bang! Bang! Bang! You remember that the door's closing mechanism is a little faulty, and sometimes it just opens when there's a strong draft or persistent 13-month-old.

And's only a matter of time before she's caught you with your pants down.

Friday, September 15, 2006

First music love

I tried to instill in The Little Madam a good taste in music. From the library we borrowed classic children's favourites from the Fifties and kid-friendly world music. From my own collection I frequently played Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the album (which I still prefer to Radio Sunnydale), Bach and a selection of lounge-y acid jazz (not trendy, I know, but it comes from a very partying time of my life). Next for TLM's musical education, was going to be some Chemical Brothers.

But all that could be for nothing, because what she really loves to hear is The Wiggles' CD, Big Red Car.

Oh, well.

The song about a dog who barks all night gets her giggling, as does Five Little Joeys (jumping on the bed). It's too cute to sneer at, really.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Baby toupees

The boy sent me the link to this site which sells baby toupees. I think they're for real, too.

If I get the urge to disguise The Little Madam as Donald Trump, Bob Marley, Samuel L Jackson or Li'l Kim, I'll know exactly where to go.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

In praise of the boy

Last week the boy came home with a bunch of gorgeous mango-coloured tulips for me, for no reason.

Tonight the boy brought home a bunch of white roses, and it's still not my birthday.

After I jokingly told him that there is nothing sexier than the sight of one's life partner cooking dinner and putting the offspring to bed, he made me dinner and did naptime duty all weekend.

See, he's not just a pair of stunning high cheekbones and fantastic legs worthy of a drag queen, you know.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What do you get when you cross mummy-brain with inner-blondeness?

That bag of peas in the freezer has a twist-tied hole in every corner because each time you needed peas, somehow you didn't notice there was already a hole in it for pouring them out.

You will absentmindedly top up your baby's sippy cup of rice milk, with cow's milk, which she isn't allowed.

And sometimes you will attempt to steam vegetables without putting any actual water in the pan.

Welcome to my world.

Early to bed and early to rise, makes this woman end up with red in her eyes

The Little Madam has been waking most mornings between 4am and 5am. I'm not sure why she's doing this; I thought it was because she'd been sleeping through, but some nights she would wake up two or three times for a cuddle, and still be ready to start the day well before dawn.

It might be because we're heading into summer, and the days are getting longer - but she still happily goes to bed at 6pm and anyway, if it's still dark when she wakes up I can't see how an earlier sunrise is going to affect her.

Or it could be that, now that I've stopped feeding her at night, she gets hungry a lot earlier in the morning. Also, I haven't been giving her midday breastfeeds since the weekend, so maybe TLM is simply still adjusting to the idea of getting some of her calories via the sippy cup.

This is why I'm looking forward to the start of Daylight Saving. In about three weeks time, her bedtime will magically become 7pm, and she will equally magically wake up around 6am. That sounds almost normal.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Weekend fun

It was bound to be fun, because I had some guaranteed baby-free time.

Yesterday, in that period between The Little Madam's lunch and after her afternoon nap, I escaped into the city centre and went shopping for books and DVDs. My retail booty included Bill Bryson's latest book, The Life and Times of Thunderbolt Kid (which I haven't started yet because I'm in the middle of a re-reading of Jung Chan's Wild Swans), the movie Sione's Wedding (the official DVD) and a pair of warm-weather jeans from Shanton, which is having a relocation sale (fifteen bucks!).

Sione's Wedding was great fun to watch. It's a Samoan chicklit-for-boys story, about four immature guys who are banned from a big up-coming wedding because of their reputation for causing trouble at social gatherings. They're given strict instructions not to turn up to Sione's wedding unless they show up with a girlfriend each, to prove they've grown up somewhat.

There's Albert, who's a shy insurance worker still living with his mum; Stan, who is hanging out to meet someone he met on a phone party line; Mike, the hunky bicycle courier who prefers honky chicks and Sefa, who does actually have a girlfriend but acts like he's single. Kind of a brown, male, Kiwi Sex in the City.

While there's nothing really new in such a plot, it's done quite well and it's funny. The boy liked it too - I could tell because he kept shouting relationship advice at them.

We took TLM out to lunch today. It's not often the three of us all eat together, so it was a big deal to me. TLM got a chance to try beef lasagne, pizza crust (the boy was too hungry to give her any filling), salad and shoestring fries. She definitely liked the lasagne, so that's something I'll have to learn to make at home. And on the way home, we took a scenic route via Toy World (she now has a Heffalump, one of those hammer-banging toys and a shapes jigsaw toy).

After all that excitment, an afternoon nap was out of the question.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Voracious eating

I tried to write this yesterday, but I've been having trouble with the Internet this week. It turns out that the (free) firewall I use, ZoneAlarm, sometimes goes a bit spastic and prevents the laptop from connecting to the ISP. And all the other times, the ISP is the problem - I can tell because when I try to ring the technical support line, I get a recorded message advising that I have a 25-minute wait to get a human being on the line.

So anyway.
The Little Madam really is making up for tummy bug time. Whilst sick, she barely ate and slept lots - 11 solid hours at night and several 1-2 hour naps during the day. Now that she's all better, she's whining for food every couple of hours during the day, and waking up desperately hungry during the night.

Just as an example, TLM ate 1 1/2 slices of wholewheat toast for breakfast this morning. And that's in additional to most of a small banana and half a pot of baby yoghurt. And two hours (and one failed nap attempt) later, she had three small sandwiches and a big drink of water. At this rate I'm pretty confident that she'll quickly regain that 1/2 - 3/4 kg that melted off her body when little was going in and tons was being spewed or egested out.

I hope it won't be long before she's all caloried up and able to eat and sleep more normally again. It was hard enough night-weaning her the first time around, and now I'm going to have to do it again. This weekend, I plan on cutting down to two daytime breastfeeds. I reckon it'll work much better if I'm not around her at midday, when she normally gets a breastfeed, so I've warned the boy that I'm going out around that time. I'm sure the boy has a sneaky feeling that it's just an excuse for guaranteed weekend baby-free time.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Herself again

I think the worst is over. The Little Madam has been puke-free since yesterday morning and hasn't produced another foul-smelling poo since the one which interrupted yesterday's morning nap. Plus, she's replaced her recent behaviour of sleeping all night and napping lots during the day, with her more usual wakefulness. In fact, right at this very minute she's resisting my second attempt at getting her to take a morning nap. She's also laughing lots and shuffling about looking for trouble. The old TLM is back.

But I'm feeling a tiny bit of nausea, myself. Either I've caught what she had - which has a quite high probability - or I'm being paranoid.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Just in case you're wondering, The Little Madam is still in the throes of her tummy bug. Just when I thought she was getting better - right before we went to the doctor's - she surprised me with more big pukes and truly vile diarrhea.

The latter was so bad this morning that the boy, who'd opted to stay at home and help out, was motivated to get out his machete and clear away the jungle of vine which had been sealing TLM's bedroom window shut. Then he had to stamp out the small family of cockroaches which had immediately tried to migrate into the room while the window was open.

My poor baby has lost a fair bit of weight, as you can imagine. She's never been sumo-sized, and I fear that it won't be long before she starts to resemble those starving kids you see in Save the Children advertisements, all eyes and devoid of baby fat. I left a message with the doctor to keep him up to date, but really I don't know what he could do to help. The only course of action I know of for these situations, is intravenous rehydration in a hospital, and he didn't think TLM is that dehydrated.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Just sick to the stomach

Since Thursday morning, we've had to clean up two or three small pukes, about four enormous pukes and two massive middle-of-the-night bouts of diarrhea. My toddler-care book tells me that vomiting is normally over and done with after 24 hours, but The Little Madam has gotten worse over the weekend, not better.

Father's Day has been a major non-event - I didn't get around to buying anything for the boy, so I told him that today he could do anything he liked i.e. play online computer games. However, I had enlist his help in distracting TLM during some of her more irritable episodes (poor thing, babies shouldn't have to suffer from tummy aches).

So it looks like tomorrow morning's appointment with the pediactric dietician will be cancelled, in favour of a follow-up visit to the doctor.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Can The Time Traveller's Wife be geekily correct?

Finally I have finished The Time Traveller's Wife. If you're planning on reading it, or are in the middle of this novel and not finished yet, you may want to skip the rest of this post because it's going to contain spoilers. (You might also want to skip the rest of this post if you've got this far and are bored already).

One thing about this story - it's really quite sad and depressing. Poor Claire seems to spend practically her whole life waiting for Henry to come back from whenever he is. Just before he dies, he tells her to get on with her life once he's gone. Then he tells her that he'll appear to her when she's about 82 years of age. What a bloody horrible thing to do to her - what kind of man willingly causes his loving wife to put her life on hold for thirty-odd years, waiting for the next time she'll meet him?

Then there's this other thing that is bugging me - One of Claire's artist friends talks about her latest exhibition. Apparently this friend creates computer viruses, then exhibits the HTML code. Now, I couldn't write a computer virus if someone put a gun to The Little Madam's head, but I'm pretty sure that you can't write a computer virus using HTML. HTML isn't even a computer language - all it does is make web pages look nice. Or am I talking out of my rectum?

Friday, September 01, 2006

It's a gut feel

I took The Little Madam to the doctor's this afternoon to check her out. After examining her ears and throat, and listening to her chest, the doctor confirmed that she has something.

I thought it would be okay to give TLM fruit purees, seeing as her pukes seemed to always follow solid food (breastfeeds seemed to be no problem). But one hour after her late lunch/early dinner, after she'd been exploring the hallway and geting acquainted with the dehumidifier, banana and pear puree (surely much more than she'd swallowed in the first place!) gushed out of her little rosebud mouth.

There was puke on the carpet. There was puke on the rug. There was puke on the over-sized jigsaw puzzle-cum-playmat with a picture of the Solar System on it. There was puke on the linoleum. And of course, there was puke on TLM and there was puke on me (prompting TLM's third emergency clothing change today, and my first).

Funny though; she was initially upset about all that puking, but mere minutes later was happily looking for something breakable to play with again.

Gagging for it

There must be a gastric bug going around - The Little Madam threw up at breakfast, and again at lunchtime. She's got a temperature and doesn't want to do anything except watch the telly and cuddle her mummy. She's not normally a puker, so I'm guessing she's sick. Again. I bet it was one of the kids at playgroup on Wednesday, and it was the first time in weeks we'd actually managed to make it too.

Libido help. Help!

Perusing the Huggies forum yesterday, I came across something called horny goat weed.

And it is what it sounds like - an aphrodisiac. There's hope for the boy yet.

Apparently the Chinese have been using it for thousands of years, for mojo-related purposes. And look how many Chinese there are in the world.

I'm a little surprised that the boy hasn't been slipping it into my cuppa every evening (or, if he has, it mustn't be working). Perhaps he just doesn't want to risk getting blood and guts all over the duvet (side effects include dizziness, vomiting, dry mouth, thirst and nosebleed).