“Well, you need to live where you live. Because if you don’t live where you live, then you might miss out.”
She could easily teach me a thing or two.
“Well, you need to live where you live. Because if you don’t live where you live, then you might miss out.”
She could easily teach me a thing or two.
It’s our wedding anniversary this week. My husband remembered. (I forgot. Again.) I also forgot Valentine’s Day this year. Valentine’s Day. My husband NEVER forgets. So for all the years I’ve forgotten, and the anniversaries I have also forgotten (I know, I suck), this one’s for my husband.
You may have already met my husband. AKA Mr Bodysoluble. This guy.
Yep, that’s him.
He is extremely good with kids. There was this one time when we were new parents with just one baby, and one night at about 2am when she had been crying in my arms for what felt like ten years, and I was losing my mind; he came over and took her and rocked her to sleep. Even though it took him half an hour and she fought him on it. By then I was about as useful as a wet rag, in the corner mumbling homicidal poetry to a stuffed toy giraffe and rocking back and forth.
He just calmly put on the baby sleep CD of whale songs and water whooshing noises, and rocked and rocked that baby, and when he finally got her to sleep, he put her down and we all stopped breathing in case she woke up, and she DIDN’T and I slumped on the floor and almost cried from relief. He walked across the room to turn off the CD, and stepped on this rubber duck toy and it went
Like a pteranodon in mortal agony. I think that’s the actual name of the squeaker insert. We both totally froze, and looked at the baby, and she murmered and shifted a little, and then stayed asleep, and we both started breathing again, except then we realised at the same time that he had his foot still on the toy, and sooner or later he was going to have to raise his foot off the toy or stay there forever. I was going a kind of purple colour and spluttering out of my nose from trying not to laugh, but he just had this look like he would definitely pick up the baby again if he woke her up. I really appreciated him in that moment.
On the downside, he’s ridiculously messy. There have been other times when I wonder just how messy he really is, and whether
he makes any attempt at all to be more tidy. If he is, it doesn’t show.
It’s annoying, because I dislike extreme mess. Meanwhile the other four people in the house seem to prefer it. They all generate quite a lot of it. Sometimes I walk into a room and say “oh my gosh, it looks like something exploded in here!” and then I tidy up. This morning my eldest daughter walked into the playroom and said “oh my gosh, it looks like something exploded in here, something like a TOY-VOLCANO.”
So I lose my nut over mess pretty regularly. He never does, because he honestly doesn’t care. In a way it’s liberating. He doesn’t care if it’s kind of messy, therefore doesn’t care if I don’t clean and polish like a maniac. I do anyway, time permitting, but when I do it’s for me, not him.
Mostly he stays solid as a rock, while i lose my mind at something.
Or when I am struggling with absurd, obtuse instructions.
Seriously? So what on Earth do I do below it??
He almost never does housework, so he kind of fails that, but on the up side, he does a heck of a lot of last-minute and/or late night running errands. Except he can be pretty literal at times. Like, really literal. For instance, I asked him last week, “Can you go to the grocer and buy a bag of apples. Oh, and if they have eggs, get a dozen.”
So off he went, and half an hour later he’s back again, unloads his car, and fills the kitchen with apples.
I looked around and said, carefully, “um, honey, can you please tell me what is happening?”
But he deserves some focus for a change. Because this guy has my back.
He deals with the blood, when there is blood. And honestly, with small kids, trampolines, bikes, scooters, bunk beds, and general tomfoolery, blood will happen sooner or later.
He has saved each child from choking on something at least once. One of them tried to eat a box of tissues when she was very tiny and her mouth was so full and her airways so blocked that she couldn’t make a sound to let us know that she was choking. I glanced over at her and screamed and my husband threw furniture out of the way to get to her fast, and scooped them all out. Maybe she would have been ok anyway, but I’m seriously glad we never had to find out.
This other time, one of our children was potty training, she was about 2 years old, and doing pretty well at it for the most part. we had also learned to recognise her signals, of when she needed to go. This one time, she obviously needed to go, like, REALLY needed to go, and for some reason the potty wasn’t where it should be, and she had already gotten herself ready to go, so she was panicking and sort of half-sitting and past the point of no return.
In other words, she was about to defecate on our brand new carpets.
My husband, bless him, realised there were no options left. He closed his eyes and turned his face away and stuck out his hands and caught the poop on the way down. My daughter ran off happily. My husband stood up and ran VERY CAREFULLY to the bathroom.
So, happy 7th anniversary, Mr Bodysoluble; watch out for the Toy-Volcano, and here’s to the next 7 years. We’ll be having apple pie for dinner. Probably for all seven of them.
I hate trumpet vine. I only found this out recently. A year ago, I didn’t know what it was. Today, it’s my nemesis.
It grows all over my back yard. I’ve been systematically hacking away at it for months. Digging it up, watching it sprawl and send out shoots that grow a new head, much like the Hydra in Greek mythology – cut off one head, another grows in its place.
(Actually there is a plant called the hydrangea named for that mythical beast – but it is WAY easier to dig out. I know this, I have tested this, because I hate them too.)
Hydrangeas are long gone. But the trumpet vine lives on.
I went out to face it again today.
It has mad tendrils and grows super fast. And it seems that while I’m cutting down this part, another piece will pop up and grow somewhere nearby, but just where I can’t see it.
When you read about trumpet vine online you find it often paired with words like “Murder” and “obliterate” and “willing to try anything”.
It’s taken over the garden, and I am not even kidding when I saw if I had a time machine the first thing I would do is go back in time and find whoever planted it and STOP them from doing it.
I do understand that once upon a time it probably was little and pretty and it seemed like a good idea. Grows easily, birds like it, pretty flowers, what’s not to like?
After a while I needed a break. My arms felt like they were put on backwards and my back felt like I had given an elephant a piggy-back ride through a swamp.
So I went inside to play computer games. Admittedly this sounds like the early cop-out of a teenager who just can’t be bothered. But I really had spent hours digging a medieval moat around the thing, and I was legitimately tired.
For some reason I have been re-playing the Witcher 2 lately. It’s one of those games where you have to be a guy and you have to have swords and kill monsters. I like it. I really don’t like the fan sites for it, because I’m a girl and they tend to think I’m either doing it wrong or I’m just trying to impress a nerd.
Or you know. Both.
But then I get to this monster, the Kayran.
This thing is famous for being hard to kill. Tendrils whip around and slam you dead in an instant. This is one of those sequences everyone changes the game from hard to easy for, or loads and reloads about a thousand times, while screaming and kicking things and saying things like “just one more time, I’ll try just one more time.”
Me, I took forever to kill this thing. Which is frustrating, because I play games to have fun, not to feel like I’m doing a harder job than the one I abandoned to play games in the first place.
And the whole time, this crazy woman is on a bridge nearby screaming “trap it with the Yrden!” (Yrden is a trap spell. I like stating the obvious.) She says it over and over. “Yrden! Trap it with the Yrden!”
Or maybe she says it once, and I re-loaded so often that I just *heard* it a million times.
She said she was casting helpful magic, but I didn’t see her do anything at all.
Next time I see someone struggling with something incredible difficult, I’m going to just stand there and tell them that I am casting useful magic. It’s not like they could prove I’m not.
So anyway, after a short time of that (ok several hours) I gave up. Felt like fighting the damn trumpet vine would be the easier task.
It’s not the first time I’ve been wrong.
I’ve had to stop again, because my elbows are screaming and I’ve just about dug my way to France and I STILL can’t get all the roots out. Oh, and the sun went down. Piker.
Tomorrow, though, I’ll be back out there. Running around madly, hacking away at it. Casting Yrden spells at it.
Unless of course it rains. Oh PLEASE let it rain.
Then I can stay inside, and work on building my time machine.
Oh, and while I was busy with all of this, the kids had so much chocolate, mud and vegemite that they ended up looking like cheetahs.
Yes, it’s chocolate. Or mud. Or vegemite.
If only I knew some kind of trap spell to keep them in one spot while I worked.
It’s probably good that I don’t, because I would never stop using it.
So I was reading to my kids the other day.
And I get up to the bit where Santa and the reindeer land on the roof. So far, everything is fine.
Until Santa starts naming all the reindeer.
Let’s see… There’s Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donder and Blitzen.
(Just between us grown-ups, now that I read this as an adult, these names are kind of weird. To my ears the first four sound like strippers and the last four sound like condoms. I mean, who WROTE this? What was THAT all about?)
So anyway, he names them all. (After strippers and condoms. Seriously?)
And there’s this glaring omission. I’m sure you know then name of the one who isn’t there.
3 year old interrupts, distraught.
She says “MUM! Wait!! Where’s … where’s… ” and it is obvious that she can’t remember the name for whatever she’s looking for. Her 6 year old sister fills in the blanks.
“Hey, yeah, mum, where is Rudolph?”
Eventually, in a surprise burst of inspiration, I say “see that night sky? Clear as day. No fog here, so he doesn’t NEED Rudolph. Remember? He only gets Rudolph when it’s too foggy to see. This is NOT a foggy night, so Santa can do it all without Rudolph. Rudolph is probably at home eating a whole lot of reindeer food right now.” I sit there, feeling about as smug as pie.
Silence, while this sinks in.
Nothing happens. So I open my mouth to keep reading, and I’m cut off again.
I ask, “What is it this time?”
“Where are the elephants?” She says.
We all stare at each other. She’s actually looking kind of angry. She says it again.
“Where are the elephants??”
Now she’s exasperated.
“Where is the lightning?” She demands.
We all look back at the book.
I get the weirdest feeling that I’m letting her down.
I thought Christmas would be exciting enough for a kid, what with the toys and the food and the people and mystery and tinsel and the civic decorations and the festivities and the hype and the whole mythos and cultural experience – if anything you’d think it would be overwhelming, not insufficient.
But after a moment, I start thinking, you know what, she’s right. There’s plenty of things in here about this magical (and oddly judgemental) guy with apparently endless funds who delivers presents on a fairly dubious honours system, there are some magical reindeer, whose main skill is flight, and then toys happen. But it’s somewhat lacking in the *excitement* department.
Oh wait I forgot, there’s also a tree. A heavily decorated fir tree. Sometimes, even, with flashing lights!
That’s exciting, right?
Nobody wants to make, let alone watch, an action movie about a slightly magical postman who gets all the mail delivered on time. (Well, not unless they also include the four strippers and four condom brands. And even then it’s still only a maybe.)
To be fair to the illustrators, the poem doesn’t actually make any mention of elephants or lightning. But then, it doesn’t specifically say that they WEREN’T there, either. Am I right?
So here it is. Especially for my action-packed little three year old, I am pleased to present an arguably more thrilling alternative to the standard Christmas scene.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
So today, I have a car full of tired kids, a screamy crying baby, a roll of carpet and a ton of groceries. (Rounded up to the nearest ton.) Easy enough to get the kids to go inside, with me walking behind them… slowly… at their annoyingly frustrating kid-pace of 1 foot per minute. After they are all inside, I go back to the car. I get the first few grocery bags, and walk back to the house. It’s a hot day today.
Then I saw the wheelbarrow. The empty wheelbarrow. I walked on. Put the bags inside the door, quickly, so the flies don’t come in. Then turned around and went back to the car for more.
It was on the way back to the car, that I again looked at the wheelbarrow.
I started thinking, man, it would be great if you could just use your wheelbarrow for all your groceries and the other stuff in the car… and I walked to the car.
And then I walked back to the wheelbarrow, and was like, I am totally doing this.
I filled that baby up. All the grocery bags, the carpet, my bag, my other bag, the baby bag, our lunch boxes, drink containers, discarded clothing, the works. Took it to the back door. Was about ready to unload the loot to just inside the back door. Stopped myself, and stood there for all of a quarter of a second before deciding that I was taking it all the way.
Wheeled the whole lot to the kitchen. I mean, if I unload at the back door, flies come in. Then I have to walk the individual bags all the way to the kitchen, and put them away.
I’m nothing if not lazy.
I will definitely be doing this again. No elbow pain from carrying too many heavy bags, no trekking back and forth in the heat. No danger of dropping things out of split bags.
Out of ten, I give it a score of Awesome.
So we’ve basically all been sick for the last 5 months, in various combinations. This week, I’m not sick, but everyone else is. Here is a picture of how happy this makes me.
So I went to the toilet just before. It occurred to me at the time that it was the first time I’d sat down for 7 hours. Three kids is more work than a full-time job. It is hard work. Someone smarter than me once pointed out that any number of kids is a lot of kids. This is true. Especially if that number is three. Some days are rather good, or at least my mood is sufficiently bolstered to see the good in anything at all. I might not get anything done, but I can appreciate that nobody died and we probably ate more than one food group over the course of the day. Probably.
That, and at this point we are up to the third child, we have the skills and confidence to handle things that totally freaked us right out when we had that first child. It helps sometimes to step back and just appreciate how far we’ve really come. I like to take a little pride in the progress I’ve made.
There was one day recently where the children-of-chaos activity-meter was just off the charts, and I actually had to dress them in pretty clothes to make it easier to be nice to them.
Some days are so overflowing with evil that even the cupboards are against me.
This feeling is compounded by the endless, tedious, despicable housework, and also riddled with guilt over the irreversible psychological damage I figure I must be causing to my children, pretty much daily. Just by, well, being me. It stands to reason.
There are times when I’ve had the house to myself for a short while. They are rare, but they happen. I tend to squander them, by using that time to tidy up, which often means throwing away other people’s stuff, which I then have to hide underneath something else in the rubbish bin.
Green child upset me quite a bit last week. I picked her up from school, and announced that I’d just bought her a ton of painting paper, paints, brushes, art books and a rather full bag of all kinds of things to get super creative with. She says flatly “ok, but what about getting me a present that says ‘I love you’?” I was so upset I had to take her home immediately and dress her beautifully again. Five-year-olds will hurt your feelings, man.
But she works well at the other end of that scale, as well. Yesterday when I picked her up from school, I asked what she had learned for the day. She said this:
I thought, well that’s hardly fair. What about that kid with the invisible eye-brows? Or the twins who walk their cat to school? What about that family who ride those bicycles with no pedals? But then she explained that they were learning odd and even numbers, and our family has 5 people in it. That makes us odd.
Basically, raising kids is an emotional minefield, or rollercoaster, or some kind of juggernaut. Or possibly an emotional cyclone. Or quite likely all of the above.
Some days it must be written all over me, when I’m running out of … whatever it is that I’m using up when raising children. That would be will to live, I suppose. Or, “Life”, as we know it, for short. I’m running out of life, and some days it must be just written all over me, in black and white print. Because there are times when my husband looks at me, and says:
Because I’ve had a HARD DAY and I Don’t Want to Talk About It. Plus, in all honesty, I am suspicious of my husband’s motives at times. It’s like: he’s a man… I’m exhausted… I can’t be too careful.
Thankfully I can recognise when I’m being a complete twit, and when to show appreciation. Although I am not great at reciprocal affection. I have lots to learn about that, in fact.
Mind you, I regained some of my will to live the other day. Pink child was refusing to go to sleep, my husband kept putting her in bed, she kept getting up again. She kept insisting she had to tell me something so I wouldn’t forget it. Eventually he caved in a little, and let her come down to see me in the study. I asked her what she wanted to tell me. She said:
Which is cuter than a bug’s ear, coming from a 3 year old. So I said good night again and began to usher her back to bed.
And then she said this:
My will to live is now completely restored.