Thursday, January 31, 2008

No gaming gene

The boy has been very patiently attempting to turn me into a gamer-lite. But so far it hasn't been very successful. The brain gym was fun, but the latest game has been more than a little frustrating. I suppose that gamers (and teenagers) would find the Nintendo DS game, Mystery Detective (or Touch Detective) perfectly logical. But I don't. I can't solve even the first mystery, even with the help of a cheat sheet (though it is written in bad English, which doesn't help).

But then, I have trouble doing crosswords, even the non-cryptic ones. And on the rare occasion that I play something in a video game parlour, I usually either crash and burn (if it's a motor race), or shoot all the wrong characters.

I guess I'm just no good at games. But I wonder what significance it has for my IQ...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

On the possibility of sudden employment

I sent them my CV, thinking that they'd either: 1. email me back and tell me to get some qualifications, or 2. put it in a filing cabinet with all the other CVs, in case a vacancy comes up.

The last thing I expected was that they'd call me and ask me to come in for an interview.

The thing is, in the back of my mind I wasn't expecting any action for a few months (like after TLM turns 3, when I'll be able to put her in daycare for 20 free hours per week). If I were to suddenly start working in the next few weeks - even part-time - I'd need to find extra childcare in a hurry. And then there's the settling-in period for TLM, who still much prefers to play with her mummy, not to mention a probably setback to her already-tortuous potty training progress.

So, I've been a bit preoccupied, really excited, pleased, and...terrified.

p.s. wish me luck with the interview :-)

Monday, January 28, 2008


Well, TLM's little bath-wee escapade has turned into a major bath phobia. While she is still enthusiastic about playing with water, she no longer wants anything to do with being in it. Last night's bath was ruined by hysteria and panic on TLM's part; this morning's outdoor water play was done with all the toys in the tub, and TLM's body outside the tub.

Truly, toilet-training is the new sleep-training.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Educating yourself into depression

One of the reasons I've never sought out Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II, is because I knew she'd committed suicide soon after the book was published. I figured, if the book was depressing enough to make the author lose all hope, then I probably wasn't going to enjoy it either. I had enough of a downer when I was reading sections of A Thousand Splendid Suns, when the bully Rasheed was beating up his wives and almost killing his daughter - and that's a novel, not a body of well-researched history.

But now that I've read an article about Iris Chang and her state of mind at that time, it seems that she was depressed for many other reasons too.

Although I'm still not too keen on reading about the details of the Chinese holocaust at Nanking.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Givin' the guilts

The boy often accuses me of trying to guilt our daughter - you know, like "well if you're not going to sit on the potty then I guess you'll just have to wear a a baby". (I know it's probably wrong, but I guess it runs in the family). Anyway, up till now she seemed too young to be affected.

But I think she's now old enough to get the guilts.

Earlier today, I let her play in the bathtub, because it's burning-ly hot outside and we have no shade. And when she wee-ed in the bathtub just a few minutes in, I wasn't able to completely hide my irritation.

Well, tonight before bathtime the poor darling insisted on sitting on the potty, and wouldn't get off to have her bath. But when I suggested we skip the bath, she happily hopped off it to get her night-time nappy on. She must've been really worried about the possiblity of another bath-pee.

Ah, bless.

Stuff I wish I knew when I was a new parent

The boy sent me this link to some utterly hilarious Do's and Don'ts of parenting. I laughed so hard, I had tears running down my face and didn't stop wheezing for about ten minutes. Go have a look - I dare you.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Lawn guerrilla tactics

Once more, I am on the lookout for someone to mow my lawn. The last people I hired, well Frank and his team of Maori landscape gardeners did a great job of peeling the vine from TLM's bedroom window and our attic. They cut down the taupata tree that grows weedily between the house and the fence. They removed the prickly thistle that made a walk down the path sound like something out of We're Going On A Bear Hunt ("through the thistle; scratch-tear, scratch-ow!, scratch-tear, scratch-ow!"). Every 2 to 4 weeks, a truckload of cuzzy-bro's would screech into my driveway, fall into my back yard and spend about ten minutes shaving the place.

Then they didn't show up for about 3 months. Actually, it's been more like 4 months by now. The backyard is waist-high on me - and neck-high on TLM ("through the grass; swishy-swashy, swishy-swashy"), and spews its highly allergenic pollens onto me whenever the wind blows (which is a LOT). Are they doing this to make me desperate? So they can charge me more money while I'm too asthmatic to complain?

The quote I got yesterday, from the nice young man with the limp handshake, was more expensive than what the cuzzy-bro's used to charge me. I guess it's time to find out how much it costs to buy a lawnmower - a garden shed to keep it in.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

On making friends with your kid's friends' parents

These days, the only adults I hang out with are fellow parents. And increasingly, I find myself choosing to hang out with people whose kids play well with TLM. This works out well when us parents enjoy each others' company as much as the kids do. But there are some friends whom I'd like to socialise with, but don't because our respective kids treat each other as unwelcome interlopers. I suppose those get-togethers have to happen when our respective offspring are at creche or whatever.

On the other hand, there are some parents I'd like to hang out with simply because TLM gets along with their kids. Some of these parents I don't know very well; some of them - I suspect - think I'm boring or stupid or full of bollocks, and daily pray that I don't invite them over for a playdate.

And then there are the playdates that don't happen because the other kid's primary caregiver parent is a man. I know a few of those, and - with one exception - I'd feel awkward about organising a playdate where it's just me and him and our respective toddlers. Although, when I think about it, there's really no logical reason to feel this way. It's not like I'm a single parent on the look-out, or an unfaithful one.

It's just one of those boy-girl things.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Hot air

It's fairly tropical in these parts right now. It's humid, it's hot, and there's a cyclone just around the corner. I'm not used to it; it makes me sweat, it turns the southern end of the house into a sauna (and I can only stand those things for about 10 minutes before I really need a cool shower), and my feet feel like a couple of large boiled potatoes.

My Swiss friend thinks it's way too windy here. What we call breeze, the Swiss apparently would refer to as gale force winds; what we call gale force winds, they call "time to batten down the hatches, bring in the goats and tie down the skis"; what they call wind, we regard as brownian motion.

It's what you're used to, isn't it? What I call tropical pre-cyclone weather, the Hawaiians would probably call Spring.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The million dollar question

I've been thinking about paid work again (like, when the hell am I going to start send ing my CV to potential employers!). Now, I know that I'm really very fortunate to be in the position of being able to to just think about paid work, rather than having to do it out of necessity. But just bear with me.

Most of the people I know who have a kid TLM's age, have jobs - at least part time, if not full time. Those who are still full time parents, have two or more young kids (i.e. a kid TLM's age plus a sibling up to one year old). So, I'm the only parent I know who only has a single toddler/nearly preschooler, and doesn't also have a job.

So I'm wondering, am I only looking for work because I feel guilty about still being a SAHM?
And the answer is - partly, yes (it's also because I miss hanging out with "grow-mopes", which means grown-ups in TLM-ese).

So, if we won a million bucks in Lotto this weekend (which we won't, because we don't buy Lotto tickets), would I still want a paid job? Perhaps not, though I'd hire a part-time nanny anyway, and go lunching a lot.

So, if my bout of navel-gazing has brought me to one conclusion, it's that I'm still a hedonist.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


I just had this thought when I saw an ad on tv for Scratch 'n' Win. With Scratch 'n' Win you buy a game card, use the edge of a coin to remove a square of coating from it, and hope that underneath is a message congratulating you for winning megabucks.

But I'm an eczema-sufferer, right? So whenever I see that ad, I just think "If only! I'd be super-rich by now!".

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

You're soaking in it *

After yesterday morning, I became convinced that The Little Madam was actively "holding on" whenever I sat her on the potty, and saving her poos and wees for when she was off it. That thought happened right after she fought her way off the potty, only to deposit a poo as big as one of Obelix's menhirs, into her pull-up, about 5 seconds later.

So I decided that she had a lot more bowel and bladder control than I'd previously thought. The obvious answer was to put her in big girl underpants and see what happened.

What happened, was that she went through 5 pairs of undies in about 1 1/2 hours. And every single time, I accidentally stepping into her puddle. After that, I ran out of knickers and put her in a nappy, and washed my feet. And then I had a wee lie-down on the sofa (luckily the boy was home by then).

* a reference to an old, old television advertisement for Palmolive dish detergent, supposedly so mild it was good for your hands. Yeah, right.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

You can't have one without the other

I've heard it said that smokers who make a habit of lighting up whilst drinking, find it really hard not to smoke if there's already a pint (or a shot glass or whatever) sitting on front of them. And vice versa.

Well, I seem to find it hard not to go clothes shopping every time I watch one of those fashion-rescue shows on tv.

(Beware: the following paragraphs are a bit of a link-a-palooza for women addicted to fashion self-help).

First there was What Not to Wear shows (that's the BBC series i.e. this one and this one). These shows made me realise I could possibly get away with never going to the gym again, if only I can find the right clothes.

When I started reading the Trinny and Susannah books (the latest being The Body Shape Bible), I couldn't decide whether I'm a shapelier-calved cello or a wider-waisted hourglass. But I was inspired to chuck out tonnes of stuff that I never wear any more - I just have a very crowded hallway, because all those bags of op-shop destined garments have to go somewhere, for the time being.

There was, briefly, even a Kiwi fashion-rescue show, called Does My Bum Look Big? (as you can tell, we Kiwis just get straight to the point with our tv show titles). They used letters of the alphabet to categorise body types. I smugly put myself in the "X" category and determined to find clothes that defined my waist. But, y'know, if I had a tiny waist like true X-er Marilyn Monroe did, then I wouldn't need to.

That's not to mention the botox-friendly Ten Years Younger, with its overtly posh-sounding host, (and its Kiwi version), and How To Look Good Naked, which spends most of its screen time advising each client how to look good un-naked (there is nudity, but host Gok is a bent as a Quasimodo lookalike so I guess that's pretty non-threatening). Funnily enough, Gok is always advocating the use of those industrial-strength, flab-controlling undergarments euphemistically known as body shapers.

And now that Tim Gunn's Guide to Style (hosted by that most helpful and judicious man from Project Runway) has started showing on Friday nights, I am more likely than ever, to spend my occasional free hours hunting and gathering through the cowpat-ridden fields of fashion.

Friday, January 11, 2008

At the gardens with Fairy Lily

According to the ad in the paper, Fairy Trina would tell stories at the Botanic Gardens this morning. And several mums and dads I knew, had arranged to meet up for an hour of girlie fairy wings and songs.

Being the total carparking wuss that I am, I decided that TLM and I would go by public transport. That meant a bus into town, then a cable car up to the Gardens, then a stroll down to the Dell. In all, it took us about 40 minutes.

Fairy Trina must've been having a mental health day, because apparently we got Fairy Lily and Fairy Gilly (a boy fairy) instead. Don't ask me if they were any good, we were too busy checking out the other kids' fairy gear. TLM had her circlet, skirt and wings on (it was hard coordinating both the fairy circlet and the sunhat), but they were poor imitations compared to some of the other outfits. Some of the parents must surely have gone to the kiddie boutique at Kirkaldies for their costumes.

At the end of the performance, the kids were invited up on stage to sing and dance. TLM nearly pulled my finger off trying to get me to accompany her to the stage, but I wasn't having any of it. Surprisingly, she ended up wandering up by herself, clambering up the steps to the stage, and dancing with all the other kids there. Shock, horror, The Little Madam has not inherited her mother's selfconsciousness!

Potty training on the move

Now I know why they say that you should stay at home for potty training. I am so over carrying either the potty or the toddler loo-seat with me every time I take TLM out for more than a couple of hours (which I do to give her frequent opportunities to win a jelly snake or dinosaur). Most of the time when we're out, she is happy to sit on it, but she never ever does anything while she's there. Performance anxiety, maybe.

Understandably perhaps, she really hates sitting on public toilets, even those that are kept extra-clean and tidy for the tourists. I suppose I ought to be grateful that she seems to save up her poos for when we get home. Anyway, next week she starts back at daycare and I'm expecting she'll be just the same there - happy to sit on the potty (especially if she's allowed to snack at the same time, which is another issue to be dealt with further down the track), but will probably wee in her pull-ups and save her poos for home.

Now, I hope that wasn't Too Much Information for you.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Quick but cute

TLM loves to play on her keyboard. She also has the very impressive-looking habit of memorising the words of her favourite books, and quoting them as she turns the pages.

And now for the next step...ta da! TLM was heard playing on her keyboard AND singing along! Nothing recognisable, but still...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The slightly useless DVD top 50

Because we frequent Whitcoulls' DVD section - well, frequently, I got an email from the shop inviting me to vote for my favourite DVD movie. If I vote, I'd be in the draw to win all 50 titles.

So I went to their website to to register, and checked out their Top 50 list. Well, having seen what's up there, I've decided I can't be bothered voting for Zoolander to get in the draw. Because, of those 50 titles we already own most of those that are any good (e.g. the LOTR trilogy, Fight Club), as well as a few that aren't (e.g. the Star Wars collection, the Pirates of the Carribbeans), while others I've already seen too often on the telly (e.g. The Green Mile, Whalerider).

Perhaps the only ones I might wish for, are The Queen, Borat and Little Miss Sunshine.

So thanks, Whitcoulls, but no thanks.

Monday, January 07, 2008

I just say no

I know that there are probably hundreds of blogs out there that I would find interesting, accessible, even addictive. But finding them by using Blogger's Next Blog button might not be the most efficient way of finding them.

There are some features of blogs that will put me right off reading them (or reading them again):

-In a language other than English - unless it's chockful of beautiful photographs

-If it's chockful of pornographic photographs

-Or chockful of references to God. It's nothing personal, but I'm agnostic and will only read about Christianity in a comparative religion context, or if it's really funny

-If no attention has been paid to reasonably correct grammer and punctuation; it's just too much hard work trying to make sense out of it

-If the posts are really long, it's too much strain on my attention span. But if it's really long and I enjoyed reading the whole thing anyway, then it's definitely worth bookmarking

-But I have little patience with poetry, even though I know that, if I did have the patience, I might really like some of it

-If it reads like it was written by a teenager; we'd have nothing in common

-If it's covered in big pink frilly things, love-hearts and pictures of cute cartoon girls, then no

On the other hand:

-If it has the same template as mine, I will - quite illogically - want to like the blog

-If it's by a Chinese New Zealander, I will read it in the hope of finding a like-minded soul

-If it makes me laugh, I'll bookmark it

-If the writer seems to be living a soap opera, then I can't help but want to know how it ends

-And if the writer leaves a comment on my blog, then I will visit it at least once

What's the plural of Curriculum Vitae?

I have an awful lot of different versions of my CV, on my laptop. It's probably because I never settle on one particular type of job, when I'm job-hunting. But I have a different-looking CV for every job I've applied for in the last six years, each one trying to highlight a slightly different array of skills and experience.

Job-hunting would be so much simpler if I could just sent my entire working-life story to each and every potential employer. But then, job-hunting would probably be a lot less successful.

So I've just put the finishing touches on my latest CV, which I plan to send to any junior tech-writing vacancies that come to my attention. But if I see a library-type position advertised then I'll have to go find one of my older CVs and create CV-version-twenty-something. I suppose all this re-writing of CVs must be good writing practice. Or something. But I also makes me nostalgic for the days when I was in the same job for years, and expected to still be there now.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Hair I am

I'm starting to regret now, that I always just let my hairdresser do whatever she wants with my hair. Basically, I sit in the chair and chat, and 30 minutes later - voila! - I have lost inches off the locks, inches I didn't even know I wanted removed. Next time I go (which will be months away, because I'm slack about my haircuts), I want to bring pictures of halfway-decent haircuts. Because I want to take responsibility for my own bad hair days.

I've bookmarked a few possibles here - what do you think? I have a roundish face that goes pointy at the chin when I smile, and a jawline just screaming out for some kind of facelift operation.

This one is possibly too close to the haircut I've already got (and yet it looks so much better on her!).

I like the flicky-outy bits in this one, but the long fringe would probably drive me insane.

This one
is cute also, but I bet would require pretty religious maintenence.

And this one may be no more than a platinum blonde version of the previous ones.

Yeah, so if you could just leave a comment before my next haircut, that's be great, thanks.

Friday, January 04, 2008


When I wrote here that "the boy has a bit of bogan in him", I had no idea that folks in England might take it completely the wrong way. And when I was informed of the possible misreading, I laughed so hard I need my asthma inhaler (but wasn't able to suck any in for about ten minutes).

So if you're English and guffawing your head off (or if you're a shocked English relative), I'll just say right now that the boy does not, and never did, have any part of a bogan's body up his bum.

I hope that clears it up.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Old four-eyes is back

About five years ago, I had my eyes lasered and said goodbye to contact lens anecdotes (y'know, like the one about plucking away at your eyeballs because you forgot that you've already removed your lenses) forever.

But I was destined to revel in 20/20 vision for only a short period of time, because soon after the operation my shortsightedness started to creep back. The last time I had my eyes checked (about three years ago, when I got my bus-driving licence), I had to squint like a cartoon Japanese villain, to see all of the letters on the chart.

And now, well recently I started wearing spectacles again. I just wear'em in the evenings, but it seems to make a difference to the frequency of headaches - which just shows me how much I've needed them. Thankfully, My eyesight isn't as poor as it was pre-laser. So the lenses are nice and thin, utterly unlike the coke-bottle bottoms that once made me look like a beady-eyed Super Dork.

In fact, the boy says he finds my librarian look rather sexy.