Wednesday, April 30, 2008

bad eggs

For a long time now, I've been avoiding serving TLM eggs, because the boy and I both have egg allergies. But she seems okay with cakes and other things that have small amounts of egg, so in the last month or so we've been baking together, with eggs. The idea was to allow TLM to receive the extra nutrients in egg, which she isn't getting from cheese and meat (which she hardly eats).

Unfortunately for me, it's impossible to bake goodies and not eat them.
It's just as well my allergy isn't life-threatening.

Monday, April 28, 2008

First day at work

Frankly, I was less worried about my work performance, than I was about how TLM would find spending a whole day without her mummy. But I needn't have worried, because when I returned home after a full day's induction (getting a scant 15 minute break to gobble down my lunch) she was having a terrific time with her new best friend (the babysitter). She even napped!

So far, so good. Tomorrow, I take her to daycare for the morning and she'll be picked up by the babysitter for the afternoon. There's a chance TLM will protest tomorrow, now that she's aware of how long I'll be away. Or maybe she won't.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Eureka - more amusing than brainy

We've been watching Eureka on DVD. Eureka is a small town which is populated by scientific geniuses, all of whom are employed by - or related to someone employed by - a secret government organisation. A norma-IQ US marshall, Jack Carter, stumbles upon the town and saves the populace, and the world, from the various mishaps that arise from dangerous scientific experiments.

So far I've only seen the pilot and a couple of other episodes, but here's my opinion anyway.

It's a fun show full of likeable characters, but I wouldn't say it was ground-breakingly intelligent or transgressive: I've only seen one woman scientist (and none of the women characters are less than stunning, which I can't say about the male characters) and I'm annoyed by how these supposedly highly specialised scientists seem able to turn their hand to anything. The latter doesn't remind me of Renaissance polymaths like Leonardo da Vinci, rather The Professor in that old tv show Gilligan's Island.

I wondered whether the writers are getting their ideas from another tv series, Heroes. In one early episode of Eureka there was a time-freeze effect which allowed the bad guy to get away - very reminiscent of Hiro whatisface who could bend space and time. Then, it turned out that Eureka's bad guy wasn't freezing time, but in fact destroying people's short term memory - which is what the Nigerian dude was doing in Heroes.

Another thing is that the hero of Eureka is a relatively dumb, but intuitive, cop, saving the hyper-intelligent locals from themselves. I may be taking this the wrong way, but isn't the show glorifying dumbness at the expense of intelligence and higher education?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

25 hours, give or take

I was a bit annoyed yesterday, when I went into the office to meet the people I'll be directly reporting to. I'd been told I'd be working 25 hours per week, and had duly organised childcare for those hours. But now it seems that I'll be needed (and paid for) for only 20 hours per week, occassionally going up to 24 hours per week during the month-end panic.

If I'd been told this a couple of weeks ago, I'd have been estatic - I'm all for 5 hour days. But having promised my young and enthusiastic - and probably poor - nanny a set number of hours, I'm loathe to renege and take away several hours of pay from her each week. But if I don't, then I'll be paying for childcare that I don't need.

One option is to just cut the nanny's hours anyway, to the bare minimum. But then she might get pissed off and burgle our house.

Another option is to keep those extra hours of childcare and use them as child-free leisure time. But oh, the guilt!

A third option is to explain the situation to the nanny, shorten her hours but keep her fortnightly pay the same, and ask her to make up the unworked time by babysitting for the boy and I while we go out in the evening. This would mean that the boy and I would have to get off our arses and actually organise evenings out; plus, it'd mean a big increase in our entertainment outgoings.

On the plus side, once TLM turns 3 in August I'll get my 20 hours of free childcare and paying for a few unnecessary nanny hours won't seem quite so extravagant. There's also the chance that I'll be so wonderful and efficient in my new job that they'll give me more to do and increase my hours as appropriate.

Hey, thanks for listening. I think I know what I'll do now.

Rest time is the best time

As you know, TLM's daytime naps are on the way out. Unless she's poorly, most days she goes willingly to her bed with a couple of books, only to spend the next 30 minutes or so singing, talking and making experimental noises. Then I get her out of bed and she's fine right up until bedtime (a comfortingly early 6.30pm).

But on the few occasions that I've assumed no nap would be forthcoming, and simply kept her up past naptime, TLM is a big grumpy cranky-pants by late afternoon. It can only mean that a simple half hour of entertaining herself whilst cosily horizontal, makes all the difference to her refreshment levels.

It's just a bit off-putting when I'm trying to write an intelligent blog-post, with all that oinking and screeching wafting through the air.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I just never learn...

I should have learned by now, that allowing unrestricted access to kiwifruit, to a child who hasn't quite got her bowels under control, is not the wisest of choices.

But, by the gods, I'll make sure to keep those hairy little poo-looseners under strict ration from now on.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

On being a kept woman

At the risk of getting into trouble with the boy, I'm going to post this mini-rant about why it'll be a good thing for me to start earning money again.

Even though he has never actually refused to hand over money to me, I can always perceive a reluctance to do so. It makes me feel as though I'm asking him to pay for designer shoes, cosmetic surgery and spouse-less trips to Paris. Well, I'm not; it's all for Bills (apart from the recent work-clothes splurge, which I think of as more of an investment in my career).

Even though most of my pay will go towards childcare, I can safely predict that most of what's left will go towards the dreaded Bills. And then I can cut back on the asking-for-money process, which always leaves me a bit tense.

It also means I can syphon a bit off into a separate savings account, in case I need to buy another pair of shoes in future.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Out of the mouth of TLM

"I know an old woman who swallowed a fly.
I don't know why she swallowed a fly.
Perhaps she'll die."
Her screams woke me up at 1.30am. I went in, hoping she hadn't had a nightmare (the last time that happened, we were up for hours trying to resettle her). TLM pointed to a dark patch, next to her head on the mattress, saying "I die, I die" in a shaky voice. So I told her she wasn't dying; she'd just vomited.

Now, we've not been discussing the concept of death with TLM - I don't know when I will, either. But we have been reading together a beautifully illustrated book of the rhyme above. I can only assume she'd been dreaming of the old lady who, by the last page, has kicked the bucket due to ridiculously inappropriate ingestion.

TLM went on to wake up in puddles of vomit until 4am (which is how our laundry hamper went from empty to chockful overnight). But at least she no longer thought she was going to die.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The appeal of a man in uniform

All over town today, men are standing on street corners collecting donations in the name of ANZAC Day. Many of them are senior citizens who've no doubt done their respective tours of duty in one war or another. You've got to admire them for being willing to stand around for hours, when having a few beers at the RSA club instead would be a lot kinder on their bodies.

But I noticed that some collectors were far from old; they were young men, fighting fit and easy on the eye. And better still, they were in uniform. Mmm...

I'm not saying that I'd give a coin to the handsome guy in the Navy suit, but not to the old codger down the street. What I am saying is that sex sells, even when it comes to charity. (And those Greenpeace membership marketers know it!)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I've done it

I sent a story in to the NZ School Journal - not the Rice story, but my second one. Apparently I won't hear from them for several months, but it's quite nice to have got past the point of no return on this one.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bottom chef

Top Chef is one of only two reality tv shows that I love (the other being Project Runway). There's no way I would want to be a top chef. But it would be nice to be able to whip up a nice meal or munchable batch of cupcakes now and then.

Lately I've been doing the baking thing with TLM, and I know she just loves to stand on a chair and break eggs or stir muffin batter until it's all over the floor. Unfortunately, we haven't managed to produce many items that she will actually eat - the pikelets were a bland, shapeless mess; the bran and banana muffins turned out fine, but TLM won't eat them (not enough chocolate chips, I'm guessing); and the cheese muffins were a hit only until the third bite.

The only things we've made - with or without TLM's assistance - which I'd call a success, have been 1) gingerbread and 2) muesli bars. At the very least, this means she won't have to live off raisins and crackers at daycare.

There are only two reasons I persist in this wannabe-Nigella thing. One is the idea that homemade versions are more healthy than the factory-made ones. The other is that it's messy fun with potential for yumminess.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This head is occupied

Quite possibly, the only thing that could clear my head effectively would be a gym workout, or a 2-hour life drawing class. Because at the moment my head is full of the kind of stuff that I've already blogged about to the point of boring you to death, and yet it's still there, in my head, not allowing anything interesting to come to the fore.

Preoccupied, that's what I am.

I should be editing my children's stories, especially since I've had some useful feedback. Or I could be doing our household budget (though, to be honest, I would probably only do that if our lives depended on it). Or I could be taking up the hems on those work trousers I bought, which will otherwise languish on my hanger until they are no longer in fashion (or too tight).

Perhaps I should take a long walk, but I walked home from town this morning and ended up dwelling on the same old stuff again (will I be any good at my new job? will I look like an idiot in those cuban heel-ed shoes? will TLM be miserable with her new childcare arrangement? will I be too tired for sex (well, more so than now, anyway)?).

What do you do to clear your head to shake out those unproductive thoughts?

Sunday, April 13, 2008


TLM is currently very fond of the concept of doing things together. Perhaps it's a social developmental thing. She'd rather go on the trampoline with her two cousins ("togeddah!"), than by herself - even if it's safer when it's less crowded. She'd rather go shopping with both parents ("togeddah!"), than with just myself or the boy. And, it seems, she'd rather express emotions in a group situation too.

Take this morning, when TLM was watching Thomas and Friends on my lap while I discreetly read the Sunday paper. She turned her head, frowned in that way which is so cute on a 2 1/2 year old, and said "TLM cross". My first inclination was to ask her what she was cross about. But instead I said, "Are you cross? Would you like Mummy to be cross too? Then we can be cross together". Then I put on my Zoolander frown. She cracked up, and that was the end of the crossness.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A personal paradigm shift

Up until last Tuesday, I've been assuming that I wouldn't be able to afford a nanny to look after TLM while I work. I'd been ringing around childcare centres, visiting them, getting on waiting lists and, eventually, making regular visits to one in particular.

But now I'll be working and earning as a self-employed contractor, and therefore earning way bigger bucks than I would as a permie. And now it appears that I can afford a mid-range nanny to cover all of my working hours.

Oh, the luxury! No worrying that 7-hour days in a busy childcare centre will tire out my little madam; no rushing in the morning to get TLM out the door with a snackbox full of cheesy crackers; no needing to stay at home if she gets a snotty nose. There's always the chance, of course, of the nanny getting sick and needing a day off work.

My take home pay would be shrivelled, just enough to keep me in cafe-bought lunches and the occasional haircut. Whereas, if I continue with the childcare centre plan, I'd be able to match the boy's own spending habits and pay off our credit card. The third option is to split it two ways - 2 days home with the nanny and 2 days at the centre (or a combination of mornings and afternoons).

What'll be - the money or the nanny?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Jetlag without the travel

I'm still trying to get used to non-Daylight Saving time (nDSt) i.e. going to bed an hour later than I was whilst getting up around the same time in the morning as before. It's making me very tired. I'd intended to simply have earlier bedtimes e.g. at 9pm nDSt instead of 10pm. But then, I'd miss out on the second halves of Bones and House.

It's either that, or eye strain - a friend came over to visit this afternoon, and she stopped mid-anecdote to ask if there was anything wrong. Nothing was wrong - TLM was napping, I'd had time to peer at the Internet, the washing was on the line and the sun was still shining. It was my watery, blood-shot my eyes, you see. She thought it was something she'd said. Well, yes it was. It was the fact that I felt more-or-less fine, but evidently looked like shit. But I didn't tell her that, because she's actually a lovely person whose company I enjoy.

I don't blame her. I blame non-Daylight Saving time...or eyestrain.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I jumped with joy...

Today TLM managed to poo in her potty twice, and did not poo anywhere inappropriate all day. She was rewarded with a bowl of ice cream each time. Normally, if the desired poo-thang happens, then it seems to be just a coincidence. This afternoon was the first time that she announced her impending poo and willingly deposited it in the right place.

While there is every likelihood of her backtracking once her routine becomes disrupted (i.e. with the changes in childcare arrangements), this is a major toilet-training milestone for me.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A slight panic

Argh! I have only 20 days to find a nanny to look after TLM, until a space at her new daycare comes up.
A friend sent me the link to a babysitter/nanny website, but for some reason most of the women (because I've not seen even one "manny") are 19 years old. Though it might be nice for TLM to have someone young and energetic looking after her - a nice change from me.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I hope it's not bad luck... tell the world I now have a job, when I don't get to see the contract until Friday.

Verbally, I've been made an offer - I know what my hourly rate will be, how many hours per week I'll be expected to work, and my start date. Verbally, I've expressed joy that I only have to work 25 hours per week, spread out over 4 days. I've also accepted their offer.

But what a bummer it would be if something happened between now and Friday morning, to make a lie of this blog post...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Bye, Summer...

When you don't have young kids, you welcome the end of Daylight Saving Time because it means you get a sleep-in on the first morning after the clocks go back.

When you do have young kids, all it means is that they are suddenly needing to go to bed when it's only about 6pm.

I was intending to keep TLM up till 6.30 tonight (she has been going to bed at 7pm Daylight Saving Time), but she got so stroppily tired that it ended up being a little earlier than that. It'll take a week or more of gently pushing the envelope (so to speak), before she's back to a 6.30-7pm bedtime, I think.

Once I start working, I'll be facing the prospect of rustling her straight into dinner, bath and bed, right after I get her home from daycare - and with no time for parental playtime in between. Summer, I'm missing you already.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Yeah well, THAT was a surprise

You Are Chinese Food

Exotic yet ordinary.

People think they've had enough of you, but they're back for more in an hour.

It's not really complimentary, is it?
Thanks, Cesca, for introducing me to another site full of useless yet amusing quizzes.

Friday, April 04, 2008

A wet sausage

I've been busy organising a fundraising sausage sizzle for TLM's childcare, and it's to be held tomorrow. We'd had the date booked for a month (because the site - outside a superstore - is so damned popular). Less than a week ago, the newpapers were predicting that our Indian summer would last at least until May.

Isn't it just my luck that we're suddently in the grip of a cold snap, and the forecast for tomorrow is...rain. Sob.

Next Tuesday

Next Tuesday, I get to see the offer that my would-be employer will be making me.
In the longest ever job-hunt courtship I have ever experienced, I worry that I will sign the contract just to get closure on the darn thing.

Maybe that was their dastardly plan all along.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

It's all a bit tarty

TLM has become very enthusiastic about nudity lately.

We have a playdate on the beach, the other kid takes off his long trousers to avoid getting them wet, and - wham! - TLM is taking off her jeans, her underpants and her t-shirt.

It's a hot, sunny afternoon. I put the baby bath outside, fill it up with water and plastic toys and encourage TLM to do "the washing up" - wham! - off come her clothes, and she's not even thinking about getting into the tub.

TLM is bouncing on the trampoline at my mum's house, with her cousins. The up and down movement is helping gravity to pull her jeans down a bit. There's a fair bit of bum-crack. Oh no! TLM does a flip, the jeans and the underpants are suddenly on the other side of the trampoline and she's jumping about almost in the nudey-rudey.

My mum thinks it's a dangerous habit that could lead to a lifetime of looseness.

I just think that Autumn is really not the best time of year to start eschewing clothes.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Should I change my name to "Smith"?

Bleedin' telemarketers.

It's bad enough being asked to partake in a 5-minute survey that actually wastes half an hour of one's life. But I don't like being called up by Chinese-speaking telemarketers trying to flog off cheap international toll call packages between here and Asia.

And I know it's not just people who are listed in the phone book with Chinese surnames; it's also Europeans whose surnames are Young or Lowe or whatever. But at least they can more quickly convince the caller that they're a wrong number.

When I get a caller speaking in Cantonese, I can't automatically tell them to sod off and hang up, because it might be one of my many aunts, uncles and cousins in Hong Kong (not that they ever ring). So I have to wait for them to speak a while, and before I know it I'm hissing into my mouthpiece and wishing my mum had taught me Cantonese swear words.

Well, that's my petty rant. There's not much else to report in this neck of the woods.