Saturday, March 31, 2007

Parenting meme

Daddy L, over at The Jasper Chronicles has tagged me and I'm going to be very nice and oblige him with my answers...

1) What was your biggest surprise when you became a parent?
That some of those gooey, chocolate-box moments which made me want to gag when I heard about them as a childless singleton, now make me tear up. Like how utterly sweet it is to see your child give you a big smile at the end of a morning apart. (Or how heart-rippingly ugly it feels to leave her.)

2) Name some things you vowed you'd never do, but find yourself doing now?
Like Daddy L, I never thought I'd be eating TLM's leftovers. But unlike hyim, if it's already been in TLM's mouth then there's no way it's going anywhere but the rubbish bin.

Also, I'd really hoped I wouldn't become a baby bore. Unfortunately, a lifetime's worth of interesting pursuits has boiled down to a blog in which I mostly write about babies.

3) What's the one thing you thought you would do, but actually don't?
Am I the only one who saw herself as a future yummy mummy - made up, beautifully shoed, toned and stylish - only to succumb to the boring old baggy t-shirt + jeans + clumpy boat shoes and no makeup uniform?

Friday, March 30, 2007

A man about the house

The boy has taken the last three days off work, supposedly so he can spend more time with TLM and me.

It's quite possible that he'd envisioned spending some of that time with just me, in the bedroom, catching up on the sort of activity that couples tend to do a lot of, pre-children. So I hope he's not too disappointed that most of the time he's been left to look after TLM while I go galavanting around town looking for red-hot action.

Not really. Mostly I take TLM out to the park (or daycare) for the morning, and in the afternoon the boy gets do some father-daughter bonding while I go for a brisk walk before visiting my mum in hospital ( she's apparently been discharged today) . Yesterday they went to the zoo and shared some unhealthy fries. Perhaps today they will go to the liquor shop for a dozen beers, and share a meat pie.

There could perhaps be a bit of couples excitement tonight though, because we've organised for TLM's ex-nanny to come and babysit for the evening while the two of us do something.

The pressure is on to make the most of this spare time (movie, dinner, dancing, nooky...) but really I just hope I can stay awake well enough to appreciate it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Heart beats

But just in case you were disappointed not to get a TLM update, I've got one of those for you too...

This morning I was ready to ring in and tell the daycare folks to forget about it, we weren't coming back ever, because if TLM won't let her own beloved daddy bathe her and cries tragically whenever I go to the toilet then there's no chance that she'll allow me to drop her off at daycare with a bunch of relative strangers for the morning.

Then I re-read a section in Robin Barker's The Mighty Toddler about separation anxiety, in which she advises parents not to let this developmental phase stop them from leaving their kids with a trusted caregiver, and my resolved hardened. So before that same resolve melted again like an ice cream on a hot day, we set off to daycare. Along the way I repeated to TLM what we'd be doing. The first time, she said "No no no". The next few times, she quietly clung to Cheeky Monkey and - I imagine - tried not to breathe in the cigarette fumes drifting from the hospital workers having smoko on the footpath.

And you know what? It didn't go that badly after all. TLM screamed hard when I started to leave, so hard it reminded me of that time we accidentally snipped off the tip of her finger while attempting to clip her nails. She screamed while I waved goodbye, got my coat, left the building, closed the gate behind me and walked down the driveway.

The caregiver had promised to call me in ten minutes, but it felt like at least half an hour had passed since I'd left the daycare and walked around the block three times with mobile phone firmly in my grip. She called and told me that TLM had in fact quietened down and was now playing. But my heart rate probably didn't drop to normal for at least another hour. And my neck and shoulders are still as tight as the proverbial coiled spring.

I went back at midday, after TLM had woken up from a not-usual nap in her buggy (that's what happens when separation anxiety strikes at 4am and she refuses to go back to sleep). I was so proud of how well she'd done so I put a little butterfly sticker on her otherwise unadorned lunchbox, and gave her the rest of the packet to play with. She done good.

Flushed Away

At last, a post about something other than a particularly mind-bogglingly cute but terribly demanding toddler...

We recently received a batch of movies and TV shows on DVD recently, from one of the boy's workmates who has been working in one of Asia's hotbeds of movie-pirating. That would be why all of a sudden I've got something else to talk about.

Flushed Away was a film I'd really wanted to watch because I'm a huge Claymation fan - although this film is in fact your common or garden CGI animation. In short, it's about Roddy, a pet rat in a posh Kensington household whose home is invaded by a dodgy, dirty and bad rat from the sewers, while his (Roddy's) owners are away. The invader flushes Roddy down the loo, sending him down the sewers into a veritable rat-London (shades of Neverwhere and the second Matrix movie here). Roddy tries to get back home, meets a Lara Croft-like rat rebel and saves the (rat) world from a toad with a grudge.

It's really funny, and I think I probably only got about half of the jokes. The boy had to fill me in on some of them, because the humour is apparently very very English. Which makes me wonder whether this is the reason it didn't do particularly well in the American box office.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The limpet - with more suction than a super-sucky vacuum cleaner

I've been reading up on separation anxiety in toddlers, on the 'Net, and still can't decide whether we should persist with trying to get her settled into daycare, or whether to pull her out of there until it passes (apparently it usually disappears around age 3, which gives me another 17 months to wait through).

On one discussion board, someone suggested that those heartrending (not to mention earsplitting) screams are less likely to happen if the dad drops the little limpet at daycare, because supposedly they are better at hiding their own anxiety about the situation (or maybe they aren't anxious about it in the first place). So, if tomorrow morning goes as badly as last Friday morning did (the daycare rang me less than half an hour later and asked me to come back), the boy has agreed to try the next drop-off.

Tonight, TLM didn't even want to have bathtime with her daddy - she clung to my legs and wailed through most of his singing- and got upset when I put her down in her cot at bedtime and left the room. That can't be good.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Wheels for young and old

I suppose that when you have both an aging parent and a just-walking toddler, the idea of owning a double-buggy starts looking attractive even if you don't have a second child.

But even though her legs tire easily and she needs to rest every 100 metres or so, my mum is far too proud to try a walking frame - she has only accepted the advantages of using a walking stick in the last year or so.

However, her current spell in hospital has made it clear that, at least while she's rendered weak from a combination of an infection and it's affect on her various other ailments, a walking frame is a pretty handy mobility aid.

It also makes for a fab toy. TLM's daily visits to her Poh Poh had stopped being a novelty (especially when I wouldn't let her play with the power points and the monitoring equipment), but since yesterday this grown-ups version of a walking trolley has been her favourite plaything. One time she even grabbed it right off my mum, leaving her standing in the middle of the lift foyer, and pushed it around the waxed floors until it was needed for a trip to the loo.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Limpet, mine

Oh no. The dreaded separation anxiety has struck TLM.

I'd gotten used to telling people that TLM really only gets separation anxiety if she's sick, tired or hungry. But she's mostly over her cold now and lately, even if she's just woken from a 12 hour sleep and been fed and watered, she still gets upset when I leave the room.

We went down to daycare this morning, just as we'd done two times last week. Only this time when I left TLM burst into tears and was still crying after one of the carers tried to engage her in her favourite games. I'd just got home and changed out of my "messy" clothes when the phone rang - it was the other carer, telling me I needed to go back. TLM had been crying so hard and so long that there were little red bumps on her temples (presumably from the stress because they disappeared later on). Even when I was around, she kept looking for me and coming over for a comfort cuddle.

I might be wrong, and TLM is still just affected by her cold. Or I might be right and I can say goodbye to weekday child-free time for the next few months. Or years.

Ah well, it's nice to know she loves me.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

That Bond movie

I've always disapproved of Bond movies. Even when I was a kid, the action scenes, for me, were always overshadowed by the womanising behaviour - the way women's clothes just seemed to slide right off them in his presence. It just made me...I don't know...indignant - such arrogance, such cockiness!

Last night I only managed to watch the first half of Casino Royale before heading off the bed, but I did actually enjoy it. Much of it is due to the fact that this Bond is a whole lot tastier than either Connery or Moore. What also helped was the fact that, in the first half at least (I'm sure the glamorous accountant ended up between the sheets with him), the groiny bits between Bond and the skinny-yet-busty married woman are pretty tame, and Bond even shows signs of having formed a emotional attachment to her.

I hope to see the rest of the film tonight, but so far it is to Bond movies what Batman Returns was to the other, camper Batman movies.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Gooey moments

These are the TLM moments that make me go a bit gooey:

  • At 19 months old, The Little Madam can read the numbers 1-10.
  • When I put together the giant Solar System jigsaw puzzle, TLM can name Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and Mars. I didn't point to Uranus because I'm totally certain which one it is, and also because the name still makes me chuckle.
  • She is greatly amused by the act of hand-feeding me popcorn.
  • As long as she doesn't end her bath prematurely by pooing in it (it must be the relaxing effect of the warm water, eh?), TLM loves identifying the colours of the blobs on the shower curtain.
  • We can make each other laugh by making sneezing noises.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Between extremes

Maybe it's just another aspect of toddlerdom or maybe it's because she's still labouring under a super-cold, but The Little Madam has been alternating between angelic sweetness and 360-degree neck-swivels whilst speaking in tongues.

She'd happily play by herself at daycare (who were okay with her being there as long as she wasn't too sick to enjoy herself) for a minutes at a time, then burst into tears because she can't pick the last raisin out from the bottom of the box.

Each time we've gone to see my mum in hospital (who's recovering nicely but feeling understandably fragile), TLM would reward complete strangers in the lift with the most gorgeous smiles. Then we'd get to my mum's ward and she would turn into Monster Child, who must be kept harnessed in her buggy or wander about the ward donating her cold viruses to post-surgery patients. No snack, drink, book or toy could keep her amused for more than about 3 seconds, but as soon as we left she'd be flirting with strangers again.


I suppose it could also be a case of familiarity breeding contempt (on her part, that is).

Monday, March 19, 2007

How to have a terrible weekend

(I know that really, I should count my blessings because in general my life is good, but just bear with me while I grumpily recount the events of the weekend..)

1. Pick the weekend that Daylight Savings ends, because you've been trying to reset your toddler's eating and sleeping patterns since last Wednesday.

2. Ask the weather gods to ensure that most of the time it will be cold, wet and windy.

3. Then let your toddler catch the cold virus to end all cold viruses. She's not just snotting, cough-y and grumpy, she's got snot for Africa and the coughs sound like the entire population of France is trying to escape her breathing passages (y'know, frogs). It's so bad that the television is on during most of her waking hours, because Wiggles DVDs distract her from both illness and cabin fever.

4.And just before the weather turns nice on the Sunday afternoon, get a call from a family member who needs to have an embarrassingly located boil lanced at the hospital.

5. When you get to the A & E, you're enraged to find that you'll have to pay for parking. Then you find out that you didn't after all, but not until you've already pushed $4 down the parking meter slot.

6. Because it's an especially busy day at the A & E, there will be long delays. By 8pm that evening, you haven't been home in 8 hours.*

7. You're been advised that the boil removal requires a surgical operation, so now you've got something else to worry about other than the fact that your child at home is too congested to sleep.

8. When you get home, the boy is exhausted from caring for, and worrying about, the sick toddler. He's in no condition to look after you.**

* An icing on the cake would be that the homeless person who used the reception's phone before you, left his characteristic homeless person-smell AND some dodgy beads of moisture on the handset. And you only find out after you've put it to your ear.

**On the plus side, the boy wasn't too exhausted to record Gilmore Girls for me.

Friday, March 16, 2007

It's so quiet

The Little Madam is at daycare this morning, no doubt dousing herself with water and painting her hands, and I'm at home checking out blogs.

Unaccustomed as I am to having "me" time during daylight hours except when TLM is having her nap, when I went to the bathroom I found myself tip-toeing around her bedroom.

Old habits...

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I ended up having to hem up my new jeans by hand* , but when summer suddenly ended at the beginning of the week (as suddenly as it had began, right after Christmas) I was able to slip into something toasty warm - my new straight-legged, high-waisted jeans.

After a couple of days wear, those jeans are finally feeling mostly comfortable. I say mostly because that high waist is still a bit constricting about my middle. In fact, if I wear those jeans with my new bra which still hasn't "worn in" (i.e. stretched out), I can actually give myself an asthma attack.

The other thing about this particular cut of jeans is that I have to put out of my mind just how similar they are to those jeans we all wore in the 80s. I remember now how some girls had to lie down in order to zip theirs up. I also remember how just being able to sit with my legs crossed, whilst be-denimed, was usually a challenge and often a lie.

Really, the only difference between these and those, is that the new ones are stretchy and shouldn't be teamed with anything shoulder-padded.

*Because my sewing machine is broken, my sister-out-law's is in parts because they're getting ready to move house, and the only other person with a sewing machine who's offered to lend it to me is on the far side of town.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Gore in the kitchen

TLM's first real day at daycare was apparently fun-filled and separation anxiety-free. As expected, she spent about two hours in standing in front of the outdoor water trough, scooping it up and pouring it down her front. In fact, she seemed to have had such a good time that she didn't eat a thing all morning except for a small pot of yoghurt and two gingernuts.

She made up for the lack of appetite at dinner time though. Just in case she's displaying a renewed food pickiness, she's getting cheesy pasta 'n' peas for lunch next time she goes to daycare.

This little domestic tale could have ended here, if I hadn't stepped on a bit of glass just as I was getting TLM out of her highchair.

This tiny bit of glass embedded in my heel was no doubt a missed remnant from a couple of nights ago when the boy broke his second-to-last wineglass. It was surprisingly easy to remove though, and I soon resumed to pottering around the kitchen putting away TLM's leftovers.

I didn't know it at the time, but I'd been spraying foot-blood all over the kitchen floor. TLM was fascinated by the little red puddles and my efforts to wipe it up with paper towels were too slow to stop her from dipping fingers in the stuff.

That's when I remembered a movie I'd seen as a child, in which someone was poisoned when he unknowingly sipped a drink containing a small amount of someone else's blood. Please let that be utter fiction.

And just as I mopped the smudges of blood off the floor, I heard the distinct "chink" sound of yet another glass fragment...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Luke, oh Luke!

Here in New Zealand we're about 4 episodes into the latest season of Gilmore Girls and, although I keep forgetting to set the DVD recorder for 5.30pm every Sunday, I think I've seen enough to know that there's something not quite right about this season.

I'm not absolutely sure whether it's because some of the pop culture references seem a bit forced (like that string of lame references to Gwyneth Paltrow in episode two), or if it's because Lorelei seems a little less witty than I'm used to, or simply because I'm disappointed that she broke up with Luke and has started dating her ex, Christopher.

Or maybe, subconsciously, I've been prejudiced by the unenthusiastic reviews I've read already.

Anyway, I hope that old tension between the two L's doesn't dissipate entirely because their possible romance, plus the baggage that was Lorelei and Christopher, was one of the main things keeping me interested.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Cheaply cheerful, and a bit of skirt seems that these days all I post about is The Little Madam and shopping. Oh well. Anyway...

Today I went on the hunt for cheap, throwaway clothes that TLM can wear to daycare, stuff that she can get covered in purple paint and glue and it won't matter if it doesn't wash out.

You see, yesterday TLM went through 4 clothing changes, mainly because she couldn't seem to stay away from the big water-play basin just inside the entrance. In fact, her first clothing change of the morning was about ten minutes after our arrival.

"Just buy a load of stuff from the op shops.", the other parents told me, "It doesn't matter what they look like as long as it keeps 'em clothed and protected from colouring themselves pink and green."

So, due to TLM's aqua-philia, I bought some trousers and tops from the Opportunity for Animals thrift shop (only 50 cents per item, and it all goes to animal welfare charity). I have to admit though, that I couldn't bring myself to completely disregard how the items looked. I bypassed all the tapered trousers and the really ugly tops, in favour of the cargo pants and the hot pink shirts with the monogrammed flowers.

I also purchased a cheap vinyl raincoat and some cute but too-large gumboots (which I'll have to return for the smaller ones with the ladybirds on them). If I'd found one of those plastic aprons with sleeves - which I've seen used at the local playgroup - I would've bought one of those too.

After all that sifting through bargin bins, I felt almost when I found myself gorgeous skirt at Red and forked out a relatively large sum of money for it. But then, I really am quite excited about this skirt because it fits perfectly and actually looks good on me. Until this afternoon I thought I'd never wear a skirt in summer again (I am, after all, astoundingly difficult to fit and have always had an aversion to looking too girly). See, here it is. I'm going to wear it forever.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Stepping out

Friends with toddlers have warned me for months, that once TLM started walking I should expect to do a whole heap of chasing around. And now I believe them.

For some reason, TLM is irresistibly drawn to kerbsides. I don't know whether she's just curious to see what those floaty things are in the gutter, or whether she just wants to get a bit closer to those large, fast-moving beasts called cars, but if she's on the footpath that's where she'll head.

TLM also seems to love trying out the automatic doors at banks and other offices. At least when she was limited to bum-shuffling, it was pretty easy to catch up with her before she went out the door and into the path of an oncoming skateboarder. But she gets around much faster on two feet than she did on her bum cheeks, and no amount of hand-holding will deter her from her path of destruction.

My only solution so far has been to stock up on sweet buns or biscuits, so that when I scoopTLM up and forcibly harness her wriggly body back into the buggy I have something to distract her from pulling a tantrum to end all tantrums.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Just so's you can see for yourself, here is photographic evidence of TLM's recent conversion to bipedalism. Sorry about the lack of focus, but once she got up on her feet she wouldn't stop for the camera!

I noticed today that when she's heading to the washbasin (ostensibly to clean her hands, but we all know that she just wants to play with the tap), she reminds me of a pint-sized, cute zombie.

She's been very smiley and obviously happy about being able to get about on her own like her friends.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Wide legs, skinny legs and boot legs

Because I needed to designate at least one outfit the get-dirty playgroup outfit, and because the jeans I've been wearing all summer (with legs rolled up as a shorts substitute), I've been shopping for jeans.

In the old days - i.e. when I was fitter and flatter of tummy - it was simply a matter of trying on a few pairs of bootcut jeans (recommended for shorties by just about anyone who gets paid to dress women) and finding the pair with the best fit around the hips and the biggest back pockets (because they make your bum look smaller) .

See, all I really want is to look leggy, slim and hip. It's not that much to ask, really.

But now high-waisted, skinny-leg jeans have mostly taken over as the look of the season and I've not been successful at resisting it.

There's a bit of an art to finding the right jeans style, as most females know (which is why advice is always handy - here and here, for instance). And most of the advice I've come across tells me to stay well away from those jeans which cling to your legs like wet seaweed, zip up all the way to your bellybutton and apparently only look good on Kate Moss.

So when I went into Jeans West yesterday and tried on every single style in store, I was astounded to discover that the ones which fit me best were these Silver Star Slim rock-chick pants.

And the added bonus? They were size 10 (which I think might be a 6 or an 8 in American sizing), whereas I'd had to settle for a 12 in all the others styles.

Look Ma, no hands

The Little Madam is now officially a toddler in the fullest sense.

That's right, folks. The wilful, chatty little girl who pokes her index finger at random objects whilst "counting" from three to ten, sings along to the Wiggles (and knows the actions) and throws major tantrums if you don't let her play with your glass of juice, is now walking all on her own.

From the tentative steps between couches exactly one week ago, she is now walking up and down hills and has finally worked out how to make her sit-on car go forwards.

I'll get around to posting a photo soon, I promise.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Yesterday it all ended. My contract finished, my replacement (temporary until they find a full-timer) is all set to take over and my nanny has said goodbye (although she came back a few hours later to return the spare house key).

This means that from now, if TLM sleeps in, I don't have to get up at 6.30am anyway to get ready for work. It means that if I want, I can attend Tuesday morning Yoga Babes classes (those are the classes where you can take your little one to class with you).

It also means that, apart from two mornings per week at her childcare, I am once again solely responsible for TLM's education and entertainment.

It's not that playing with TLM isn't fun, fascinating and often quite wondrous, but I'm thinking about getting another job.

Admittedly, there are probably very few jobs out there which are both interesting and require only 7-8 hours of attendance per week. So I'm thinking of perhaps re-training as a technical writer or something similar. My written communication skills are fairly good, but I'd need to learn lots more about web-editing software, MS Word and so on. And of course, I'd have to start showing more interest in software in general, because that's what I'd be expected to write about.

I'd really rather not end up stacking supermarket shelves or shelving library books though.