Wednesday, January 31, 2007

In our own image

I do my best not to let The Little Madam watch too much TV. I give her half an hour of kiddies shows in the morning while I shower and half an hour of Baby Einstein or The Wiggles in the evening before her bath, and that's it.

But TLM is probably doomed to grow up a TV addict anyway.

For one thing, both of her parents are avid TV watchers. We're quite discerning though, mind you, so there's a good chance she'll turn her nose up at reality shows too.

Another thing is that TLM just loves sitting on the boy's lap in front of the computer, while he's gaming. His game of choice is World of Warcraft, which means his monitor is always filled with fantastical animal-creatures. TLM watches them pounce around and roars. She sees them hit each other over the head and yells "Boom!". It's probably more fun than watching cartoons.

And then there's the fact that the boy sometimes watches old animated episodes of Dungeons & Dragons on DVD (like me, you probably didn't know it was a TV series either) with TLM on his lap.

Oh, no...she's doomed to become a gaming addict!

(Ahem...the naked look of the picture was purely unintentional.)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Corpses 'n' stuff (another post about television)

Murder mysteries have come a long way since the days of Miss Marple and Ellery Queen, haven't they?

Right after dinner tonight, while the boy did the dishes (a small miracle, but one I won't question in case he takes it the wrong way and never offers again), I kept the TV on and watched Bones.

To be honest, I tend to shy away from shows about murder these days. For one thing, the victims always seem to be female, and I'm not really entertained by constantly exposure to stories about men killing women. The other thing is that most of the shows are called CSI: something. It's like walking into a clothing shop and seeing nothing but black crew-necked t-shirts with stupid quotes on them.

The only reason I decided to watch Bones is because David Boreanz is in it. (And the only reason I watched an episode of Kitchen Confidential was because Nicholas Brendan is in it. It wasn't worth it.)

Yes, there were yucky bits (i.e. close-ups of a partially-decayed female corpse plus foetus) and yes there were forensics geeks aplenty. But the story was quite compelling and the main character is...well, such a character. She's like X-files' Dana Scully crossed with Buffy's Anya, minus the sexual tension of the former and the money-philia of the latter.

Trouble is, I'm not sure I'm going to get any sleep now that I've got murderous foetus-stealing mums on the brain.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The end of the TV silly season

Once upon a time (i.e. shortly after I purchased my first VCR and blank tapes), television was something that simply got in the way of my social life. Now, television is my social life. I suppose that's why we have a telly that's almost bigger than the wall it hangs on.

It's also why I get excited about new television shows. House is back on Tuesday nights, Ugly Betty has already started and What not to Wear will soon be starting on Friday nights.

Although apparently Trinny and Susannah won't be in it, as they've defected to another TV channel. I can't imagine the show without their cruel-to-be-kind bluntness, so I'm intrigued as to how the new presenters are going to do it. I'm also curious how T & S will continue to produce new makeover books if they can't use the What not to Wear title any more.

It's all very thought-provoking really.

And you thought my life was unexciting.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Wasted nights

Theoretically, I could quite possibly start attending life drawing sessions again, because they start at 7pm - not long after The Little Madam has gone to sleep - and finish at 9pm - leaving me an hour to get home, have a snack and go to bed.

Theoretically, I could spend every baby-free portion of my evening doing something highly productive.

In that short but precious two hour period which is free of toy-strewn floor and the little finger that points at what she absolutely must be given to play with, I could be doing all sorts of things. Like catching up on all that literature I haven't gotten around to reading (though Dostoevsky may never get a look in, unless a braincell-rejuvenation treatment is developed in time). Or getting seductive and romantic-like with the boy. Or doing some exercise. Or cleaning the mould off the shower walls. Or laying on the couch in front of the telly, with my dinner in a bowl...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Shoe fetish

The Little Madam's girly pink trainers were getting a bit scruffy and one of the laces had already broken off. So I looked around on the 'Net for some replacements.

Bobux seems to be the king of baby & toddler shoes around these parts, and here are some examples to prove it. Aren't they just good enough to cover with icing sugar and serve on a doily?

But a friend of mine told me where I could find something just as delectable, for a much smaller price tag, and that's where I went.

So when the soft orange leather shoes with navy blue flowers turned up in my mail box, I was pretty keen for TLM to do the proverbial twirl in them.

I had quite of trouble getting her feet into them though, even though I'd ordered a grow-into size. Perhaps it was due to the extremely thick fur-lining, something I hadn't remembered seeing in the photos.

And then I had an A-HA moment. That wasn't fur lining. It was stuffing, purely for the purpose of keeping the shoes' shape whilst in the post.

Naturally, when I told the boy about my moment of daftness, he said I should blog about it to make you lot laugh.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Plane-spotter and engine-driver

Public holidays always come as a surprise to me. That's probably why we tend to spend long weekends alone at home - everyone else got organised and left town already.

It's been a reasonably good weekend too, despite the boy being unwell and pretty much house-bound since Thursday (I won't go into the gory details, even if it wouldn't be TMI for you).

On Saturday I took The Little Madam to the beach, along with our Winnie-the-Pooh bucket, spade and sand-mold set. It just shows how little time I've spent on the beach, that I was surprised the molds didn't work on dry sand. TLM loved it though - she pointed at the airplanes in the distance as they made their descent onto the airport runway, making airplane-descending noises. There was also quite a bit of action on the beach itself, as surf life-saving people jogged around and got into outboard inflatable dinghies to prepare for some kind of competition.

In fact, she liked it so much that when I tried to leave she did the whole back-arching, screaming tantrum thing that is becoming more and more familiar to me now.

It's been a social weekend too. Yesterday we attended a barbeque and, though we didn't get to eat much (TLM was having too good a time and I was too busy cleaing up spat-out sausage off the floor), I did enjoy watching my little girl shuffle around after the boys (all walkers) and make cutsie-eyes at the grown-ups. And this morning at the park there was no shortage of young'uns to chase TLM through the tunnel, down the slide and around the pretend-fire engine.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Make me over

It was when the weather suddenly turned warm and humid, that I had a wardrobe crisis. Where I live it's only really warm for a couple of months a year, so I have an excuse for having mainly winter/autumn work clothes - long pants, leather coat, tweedy skirts, ankle boots (to wear with the trousers), knee boots (to wear with the skirts) and tops with long sleeves and little natural fibre, all mostly in black or a similarly slimming shade.

Add to that the fact that my waist has spread somewhat since after The Little Madam's gestation and birth, plus the fact that I now wear only shoes I can walk home in, and what I can actually wear to work on a not-cold day is down to one skirt, no shoes and two tops which only look good with trousers.

Actually, it's not quite that bad. Last weekend I spent my baby-free exercise time at the shops, searching for summer outfits. I came home with two cleavage-y tops and one pair of floaty, drapey trousers which I can't wear until I get them hemmed up (the shortness of my legs is the bane of my style-life. I can never buy full-length trousers or skirts and just wear them the next day.).

Common sense would tell me that I'm only going to be working for another 6 weeks or so, so it's a waste of money buying any more nice gear that can't be machine-washed. But common sense has never stopped me in the past.

I've got three Trinny and Susannah books on reserve at the library though. If those two What Not to Wear dudesses can't help me find a couple of decent ensembles, I don't know who can.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bullet points

  • I had a quick look at the preview of new Kiwi movie, Black Sheep, on You Tube and it looks like fun. Especially the catchphrase, "Violence of the Lambs".

  • The Little Madam has learned a new word. After several viewings of a Wiggles DVD called Toot Toot!, this afternoon she poked me in the eye several times and gleefully exclaimed "Eye! Eye!".

  • I'm currently enjoying a book called Dime Store Magic, by Kelly Armstrong. It's one of the boy's fantasy novels, but isn't full of unpronouncable names with too many consonants and not enough vowels. The world it's set in has demons, half-demons and a generations-old feud between female-only witches and male-only sorcerers. It's probably how Charmed would have been if it hadn't been an Aaron Spelling production.

  • I'm having trouble leaving comments on some people's blogs. Is anyone else? Once I click the "Publish" button, I get a pop-up screen full of html-ish error messages. So if you didn't get a comment from me today, I did try.

  • The boy and me have been invited to a Wii challenge this weekend. I think we'll do well in the ten-pin bowling, but the tennis won't exactly be a walk in the park. The last time (and the first time) we played doubles tennis on Wii, I actually experienced muscle fatigue in my serving arm.

  • That's all folks, until I can produce another worthy-ish brain dump.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Almost the only lonely only (try saying THAT fast)

It seems that everywhere I turn I see people who're having their second babies soon after their first.

First there was that friend whom I heard from about once a year - the last two times were birth announcements; then a friend in the UK, whose daughter is around The Little Madam's age, recently sent me photos of their newborn second daughter; then another friend, whose son is four months younger than TLM, told me on Monday that she's well into her first trimester of offspring number two; then the very next day I meet a lovely couple with an 18 month-old bum-shuffler (bum-shufflers of the world, unite!) and her not-much-younger sibling.

Now, I've already posted about my ambivalence regarding a possible Little Sir or Littler Madam so I won't go into it again. But all this sibling-creation going on around me is definitely forcing the subject back into my already-crowded little brain.

Plus, it was a good excuse to post a silly subject title.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A fine soiree

Shock, horror! Last night I went to a party alone (The Little Madam and the boy stayed home) and didn't get home until after midnight! Although I must admit that the last half hour I was at the party, was spent waiting for friends to decide whether they needed me to give them a lift home or not.

Still though, I went to a party. On my own. All dressed-up and made-up and everything.

Though I didn't drink at all, and about 70% of my conversation was about kids.

Does it still count?

A big bonus to being present at this little birthday bash, was that the art-loving hosts own several works of mine.

Yep, these guys actually paid good money to possess and display some of my paintings and prints. Some of the other guests even uttered ego-stroking remarks about the prints, while the drunker ones examined the nude and wondered out loud whether it was a self portrait (to which I hastened to reply that I'd painted it before I had a child so it would be impossible to compare it to my present figure, and in any case how the hell does one paint a self portrait of one's back?)

Of course, all this fun would have been impossible for me if it hadn't been for the boy's willingness to perform babysitting duties.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Not Nigella

I cooked dinner over the last couple of evenings - individual shepherd's pies (with pastry and everything! Though it was shop-bought...) on Wednesday and minute steaks with salad last night. Both dishes were really very simple (I wouldn't have bothered otherwise), and yet today the thought of making all that effort again...well it was like how I used to feel every Sunday night knowing that tomorrow I would have to go to work and pretend to care about it.

So after the boy had put The Little Madam to bed, I sprawled on the sofa like a heat-exhausted, prospect-less dole-bludger, and asked if we could just not have dinner tonight 'cos I couldn't be bothered.

Does anyone else get tired at the thought of organising and cooking dinner every night (though, to be honest, it's more accurately 3-4 nights per week), or am I just a total sloven?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Performance artist

Is it too soon to post another cute photo of The Little Madam? TLM is 17 months today (only one more month of non-walking before we're referred to a specialist), and we celebrated by taking in a trip to the zoo. Before that though, I engaged her in a spot of painting. She really gets into it, eh?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Bye bye

The Little Madam knows how to wave, but she usually doesn't quite get her timing right. By the time she responds to someone's farewell, they've already left the building and gone round the corner.

Today though, after visiting friends with an energetic and sociable 19-month-old, TLM not only waved at our hosts as we were leaving, she also said quite audibly, "Bye bye" - twice.

Those aren't her first words, but for some reason they're the ones that have made me go all squishy.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The big date

Just before Christmas, our lovely nanny told me she was available for evening babysitting. Two weeks later (last night, that is), the boy and I headed out for an evening of celluloid and popcorn.

It was quite tricky deciding on the movie, because it had to be showing at a time that was after The Little Madam was in bed, but not so late that thirty minutes in I would disturb the rest of the audience with my snoring. I wanted us to go see Night at the Museum, because anything with Ben Stiller in it has a chance of being wildly funny, but the boy wanted to see Casino Royale (because he's a boy).

In the end Casino Royale won out, because The Empire was screening it at a reasonable time (8.10pm).

The night before, TLM had been really resisting bedtime - it took about an hour for her to settle down - and my fear was that she somehow knew what we were up to and was planning to disrupt it. Fortunately, on the big night she quietened down not long after the nanny arrived (early, to allow for time to master our many TV remotes).

We arrived at the cinema in plenty of time to get food at the adjoining cafe, and I sauntered up to the counter to buy our movie tickets. Too bad it was sold out, eh?

Why the hell didn't I get the tickets in advance? All the way back to town in the car I mentally beat myself up. (The boy berated me for doing so; he could quite easily hire professionals to do it properly, he joked. To which I replied that we ought to be trying to save money and surely it'd be heaps cheaper if he just did it himself.)

By the time we arrived at the cinemas in town, we were too late for the early-ish screenings and too sleep-needy for the late ones.

Plan B was to have a nice dinner instead. So we did. We went to Big Thumb, that superb Chinese restaurant with the very odd name. Afterwards, we strolled down the main strip (the first time I've been down there on a Friday night for a looong time, let me tell you), browsed in a Whitcoulls (he looked for DVDs and I searched fruitlessly for a Trinny-and-Susannah -makeovers-for-fat-mothers book).

It was a nice night, and hopefully the first of many.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A good start to my New Year's resolution

Before The Little Madam was born, I used to walk home from work. I did this right up until I was about 8 months pregnant, and before I was forced to start getting the bus instead - due to massive hugeness - the journey took me about 45 minutes in the middle of summer.

It was around about that day when, no doubt due to some traffic jam in the middle of town somewhere, it took me 50 minutes to get home on the bus (mostly including a half-hour wait for the damned thing to arrive at the bus stop), that I wondered whether it might be just as quick for me to do the homeward journey on foot, after all.

So this afternoon, I left the office the very nanosecond the clock struck midday. I strode as quickly as my short legs would allow, dodging old ladies and kids on their school holidays, getting nicely warm and hopefully also developing an attractive glow.

I was home in 35 minutes - or 33 minutes if you go by the time on my kitchen clock, which is conveniently a couple of minutes slow.

If I can keep this up for the rest of my work contract, I can expect to earn at least a little firmness around the bum. Then I'll have to work on the tum.

Monday, January 01, 2007

I said, "Say hi to the New Year for me"

An old friend came to town for the New Year. For some reason, none of his more sociable friends are in town, so he decided to spend New Year's Eve with us.

He's known me since I was a that thirty-something party animal with mostly male friends and a weakness for much younger men. So I hoped he wasn't disappointed when I told him that the boy and I weren't planning on seeing in the New Year with bubbles, dancing and a crowd of drunken strangers.

In the end though, it was great catching up with him - it's been a few years since he took off on his big OE and became the darling of Essex's female population. But it was only 9.30pm when I offered to drive him home (the boy was indulging in a feisty red wine and was therefore ineligible) so I could get to bed at a decent time.

And so I didn't get to say "Hey" to the New Year - at least, not until around 6am this morning when The Little Madam's siren wails rudely disturbed my sleep.

I think this year I will break my long-lasting policy of not making New Year's resolutions. This year I resolve to get myself into shape. Not necessarily great shape, even a so-so shape will suffice for now. I just refuse to permanently become an Asian version of the "fat Italian mama" stereotype.