Sunday, February 25, 2007

Down on the Farm.

This morning I took the boys to Bundoora Park. Note their slightly farm-boy appearance, I like to dress for the occasion when possible.

The park has a children's farm, pony rides & a hay-ride behind a tractor, and lots of great playing equipment. We had a really good morning there.

We went there to meet some friends who were rewarding their daughters' reformed "going to bed like good children and NOT mucking around or getting up again" behaviour with a Pony Ride!! My boys just got a free treat really.

Climber, being the innately cautious lad he is, said afterwards that the ride made him feel a bit nervous and that he was worried he might fall off. He was led around looking very solemn indeed.

Cherub was far more gung-ho and enjoyed himself immensely. He spent the entire circuit saying "aaaahhh" because he wanted to hear his voice go wobbly from the pony-ride (which is straight from a Charlie & Lola adventure).

We even managed to get some special treatment for Cherub when we were at the Children's Farm at bottle-feeding time. If you would like to get similar VIP privileges for your child, make sure you follow these instructions precisely. (Step 2 is the pivotal part.)

1. Arrive in pen just slightly too late for your child to be one of the lucky ones with a bottle. Take this philosophically and exhort child to pat the goats/sheep instead.

2. Whilst still in the pen, move back suddenly at the exact same time that your child moves forward and elbow child sharply in the forehead.

3. Child will then start crying, and, as he is feeling pathetic by now, will notice all other things wrong in his small world, including the fact that the other kids in there have feeding bottles and he doesn't. Child will then start bemoaning this fact and kind-hearted farm employee will take pity on his tear-filled eyes and offer him a special treat.

4. Follow kind farm employee to get the special and enormous bottle for feeding the new calf. Sad child will cheer up slightly at the honour of carrying the extra-big bottle all the way to the cattle pen. Other parents and kids, hopeful of some more action, will follow behind.

5. Between you and your now non-crying child, enjoy the special fun of giving a bottle to the super-gorgeous calf (called "Chocolate" because of her glossy brown coat) and only just manage to hold onto bottle as Chocolate gives it several energetic pushes. Do all this with child on your hip and camera dangling uselessly round your neck.

6. Try not to meet the eyes of other slightly jealous parents and children as you thank the kind woman who gave you the treat. Also try not to look smug.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

It started with some jam...

This morning I had another Meeting In Real Life with fellow blogger Shula. (Aren't I just the social bloggerfly?) Which came about after I admired her jam-making and she promptly and generously offered me a jar. So we came together for coffee and breakfast at a cafe and we talked and talked - as if we'd known each other for ages. Gee it was nice. Cherub eventually informed us that he'd like to go home (he behaved admirably well and let us gab to our hearts' content) and we walked back to my car and only then did I remember that I'd brought my camera along with the intention of letting the Cherub try out his photographic skills. So no pictures I'm afraid. Maybe next time.

I think after years of waitressing and teaching I can do chat with new people. I used to be shy, which had a lot to do with an annoying and agonising propensity to blush. I remember my father telling me that I would grow out of it, which is mostly true (although it can still happen and when it does I swear you could see my face from outer space), but that is NOT MUCH HELP when you are 13 and paralysed in social situations involving members of the opposite sex or indeed anyone with a modicum of sophistication. However, these days, apart from a tendency to talk too much to overcompensate for any potentially awkward pauses in the conversation, I am mostly able to cope in any social situation. Today it didn't even feel like I had to draw on those hard-won skills. We just had a lovely connection and that was and is a good thing. She is as you'd expect her to be if you've read her blog. Funny, truthful, straight-talking and good company. So thanks Shula. And thanks for the jam too!!

PS. Blogger just tried to corner me into the dreaded upgrade but I dodged. Ha! (I hope these aren't famous last words...)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

All Aboard!

For the second time this year the Cherub has been running around our front garden without a stitch of clothing on. The reason this time was the welcome cool change. We went outside (at bath time hence the nakedness) to look at the rain and suddenly Climber said Let's run.

So we did. Running and laughing in the rain. Fixit stood. Three of his family prancing around like lunatics in full view of the street was a good enough representation as far as he was concerned. But I recommend it. I felt like I was 6 again, happy and silly and free.

Our morning was spent braving the 39 degree heat at an outdoor birthday party for a 3-year-old. The location was a Miniature Railway, which we will be going back to visit for sure! Such fun for the little train enthusiasts. And tickets only $3 per ride which apart from being nice & cheap was extraordinarily good value if you think about how much money those little rides in shopping malls sting you for and what you get in return.

We had tunnels, bridges, level crossings, bush scenery, waving at other trains, points and signals. And FUN.

When we came home I found this near Fixit's stuff:

Does this mean I should take him shopping for an anorak now, dyathink? Or maybe just a dinky little Casey Jones hat?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Little Tappers

The little tap darlings from Saturday morning.
C for Cute.

I finally bit the bullet and separated the classes so now I have my Kindy Tappers (ages 3-5) :

and my Junior Shufflers (school-age to Grade2) :

It is fantastic. The concentration levels are so much better and I can do proper young stuff with the littlies and much harder stuff with the big kids. The progress is great. Today we worked on a couple of new routines...

... because the kids have been asked to do a couple of performances in late March. They are also great at just following my calls.

Cherub does both classes. Well, you know if Climber does it, then Cherub wants to.

That's fine by me. Both of them are making me proud.

It's a stinkin' hot weekend in Melbourne and I was blessing the air-conditioning in my hall today.

I have a choreographic chore to be getting on with, a potentially very exciting one! Fingers crossed that it comes about. I've been inspired by Ms Poppalina (aka Shula) and her Creative Act task whereby she commits to do something creative every day for a month and post about it. While I'm too late to be part of this, I am hoping to make the effort and try and set aside 30 minutes every day to work on choreography. So far so good, but Sunday's soaring heat might mean a day off ...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

This is what my romantic son took it upon himself to make last night. She's not allowed to know who it's from!! I have to hand it to her teacher in secret tomorrow morning and ask her to slip it to Halle. He's also wondering hopefully if anyone will send him one. I hope he doesn't find out the hard way that love can be cruel...

All of the kids in Grade One at his school were filmed yesterday for the Channel 10 show 9am with David and Kim. I think the item is a kids-eye-view on Valentine's Day and Love In General. Little kids doing Vox Pops. Awww. There are about 70 kids in his grade so I will be surprised (but thrilled) if Climber makes the cut. Here is what he told me went on (warning; spoiler ahead!) :

Interviewer: How old do you think you have to be to have a girlfriend?
Climber: 6
Interviewer: How old are you?
Climber: 6
Interviewer: So do you have a girlfriend?
Climber: Noo .. well actually I have two.

My Valentine and I are going out for a romantic breakfast on Valentine's Day using a freebie voucher we picked up at the Creche Trivia Night last year. Because that's what all the trend-setters are doing this year, didn't you know? Candlelit dinners are so last-century. No need to worry about babysitting or finding an eatery with any free tables-for-2 on one of the busiest nights of the year. Just drop the kids at school and creche and chill out with my fella in groovy Westgarth. Not that we're heavily into Valentine's Day or anything. But we needed to use the voucher and frankly, we just almost never go out, just the two of us, for Quality Couple Time. So, bacon and eggs and romance, that will be us tomorrow. And coffee too. Natch.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Yes, really, A (non-disastrous) Cooking Post!

Fixit and Climber grew the rocket.
The lovely and gracious Joke blogged the recipe.
I followed instructions.
It was a success!!

Actually. I went one better than that. Joke had a typo* in the recipe and was obviously relaxing with the 2.5 hours of sleep he allows himself per night when I frantically emailed to query said typo. Which left me no option but to make an educated guess ...

... and I was ezzackly right**. So haha Burnt Bog Girl! Take that Burnt Water Girl.

Obviously I have to post the results of such culinary excellence. The recipe is simple and easy to follow.

Make the gremolata.

Prepare the rocket salad. (That's the dressing on the side to keep any salad leftovers fresh for Fixit's lunch the next day.)

Grill the chicken. Top with gremolata.

(Actually I pan-fried the chicken The [very clear and easy-to-follow] instructions sounded like what I think of as pan-frying. Because in my mind grilling involves this contraption:

This may be a cross-cultural linguistic thing? Or I just might not know what the hell I'm talking about.)

Put on plate for delectation of self and loving partner. Enjoy!

Receive the verdict.


High praise indeed.

Thankyou Joke.


* About which he was mortified and apologetic, and I only mention it here because (a) if anyone wants to try the recipe out they would need the new proportions and (b) to highlight what a nice man he is because he emailed me back prontissimo and couldn't have been more worried for me.

**The typo specifies only 4oz chicken. The requisite weight of the chicken should be 1lb, cut into 4 x 4oz pieces. Because I was unsure I made double the gremolata just in case so I may have piled it on a bit thick! But the 4 x 4oz thing? I did that! Which is only exciting if you know my track record.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Why Nell Went to The Dentist.

(alternative title : More Reasons to Stop Smoking)
Cherub to Nell : (having just noticed some nicotine stains)
"Have you got poo on your teeth?"

How a 6-year-old's brain works.

Fixit : (barking at Climber as he tries to chivvy him into getting dressed for school) Why are you hopping?
Climber : (hopping energetically towards the bedroom) I'm pretending I've got a broken foot.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Bad Moments in Parenting

We are still playing Kid-Swapsies on a daily basis with our nice new neighbours. And we're still trying to work out the ground rules and the boundaries of it all. The other morning I heard Next-door-Dad exhorting Next-door-Boy (5) not to be a serial pest. This because Next-door-Boy hoists himself atop the fence and yells out Climber! Climber! ... It's me, Next-door-Boy! Climber? If that doesn't work he calls out Stomper! Stoooooomper? Can you get Climber for me? or Can I come over and play? My Mum says it's allright. And of course, Climber does it right back too.

So, the rules we've established involve always checking with myself or Next-door-Mum if it's convenient. Letting the Mums know if you wish to leave the premises to go back home so that you can be walked back to your front door. And NOT bringing toys over. Because you don't want to lose them! Neither Next-door-Mum or I run spotless establishments. Both houses look lived-in, in the sense that they are lived in by young children with waaaay too much lego and other crap, and the general pick-up of detritus probably only happens after the children are in bed and if the detritus is not in a walkway or an area where the grown-ups inhabit sometimes not even then.

But yesterday Cherub slipped though the loop. For a start I don't always notice if he has a small toy clutched in his hand. Despite the fact that I should know HE ALWAYS has a small toy clutched in his hand; it's like a security blanket with him. The favourite toy (see left), Lightning McQueen aka Stickers from the movie Cars, is not even his, it was a Christmas present to Climber. But poor old Climber has lost the war on this one. Cherub knows in theory that the toy belongs to Climber but he ain't nevah gwine give it up.

Anyway, at some stage after Cherub has returned back from a play Next-door, he realises Stickers is missing and a right old hue-and-cry ensues. And after a while the noise is annoying enough to send me over Next-door to hunt it down. But I want to be quick so I just run out, shutting the front door behind me, while the kids are occupied - Climber with the lego, Cherub in the toilet. And I'm over there hunting high and low and I can hear Cherub doing more carry-on but I figure he's safe and it's just because he can't see me. What I don't know is that there's been a smudgy-undies episode which has distressed him a lot. And what I also don't realise is that while Cherub is too short to let himself out the front of our house, his big brother can do it easily and will apparently do so without qualms when asked.

When I give up on the hunt for Stickers and walk out onto our street the first thing I see is Cherub running up and down the footpath next to the road. (back and forwards in indecision like a duck in a sideshow alley game).

And he is:


Crying hysterically and calling out Stomper ... Stomper, through streaming tears.

And holding a pair of smudgy-undies.

As my sister says. Sometimes there are no words.

PS. Stickers was found that evening at our house.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Weird and wonderful.

No I'm not talking about the 6 Weird Things Meme that has been sweeping the corner of the blogosphere that I inhabit. Although that has been fun to read.

Its this damn interweb phenomenon. It's wonderful because you make friends, you can share your life with people who don't see you often and you can have your own little soapbox.

But as 2 recent communications to myself demonstrate, it can lay you open to some weirdness.

Firstly. The sms I received recently:

Carol contact me if your [sic] single and looking 4 a good time

I'm assuming this person found my mobile (cellphone) number via my business website for my tap dancing. As well as my name (he/she didn't actually get it right but we're in the ballpark here). And I think he or she has seen the nice flattering photos I have of myself on the site (well only a fool would put up the ugly photos of themselves, right? And they're not raunchy pics or even the littlest bit come-hither. They are pics of me looking like a dancer.) And this person may have thought that tap chick is totally hot, I'll just leave a message and see if she's up for it. Like my sister says: If ya don't ask, ya don't git.

Honestly, though! What are the chances of a chick receiving an anonymous request 4 a good time and thinking what the hell, could be fun?

I have to admit I'm at a little bit of a loss for the correct thing to do in this situation. What I'd like to do is call the cops. (In a perfect world they would have a neat little register of phone numbers where you could report anyone leaving unsolicited requests 4 a good time. And then if I were found dead in a ditch at least the cops would be on to them. Of course, it wouldn't help me that much but at least I'd have some knowledge of justice coming to bear at a later date.) But I think realistically my options are (a) trashing the message unacknowledged. (b) Sending a return message along the lines of Thankyou for your offer but the truth is I am an exhausted and harried mother clinging desperately to the last days of her 30s who hardly ever bothers with make-up , rarely brushes her hair, is regularly seen out in trackie-daks and whose interest in gratifying the needs of complete strangers is non-existent. Better luck next time. I'll probably choose option (a), though, as I don't want to be seen to be entering into a dialogue on this matter.

Now for freaky internet thing #2.

One of my previous posts was obviously accessed by a google search and as a result I received a very peculiar email. Now I don't want these people coming back so I'm going to talk gibberish at you for the next bit. The phrase from that previous post that attracted the l0onies (whoever they are because I WILL NOT be visiting the loony website they want me to just in case it's under investigation by Govt. Furniture Items of Checking Out People** or equivalent) rhymes (badly) with Irrational Maturity Skirt* and the loonies have a website devoted to Irrational Maturity Skirts and they accessed my blog as someone who might be interested in Irrational Maturity Skirts and exhorted me approximately 30 times in the email to check out the Irrational Maturity Skirt website. And NOW I see via my sitemeter stats that I have been visited by a BLOCKED REFERRER which may mean the Govt Furniture have already checked me out OR that the loonies are seriously scarey.

The previous post that I assume led the loonies here was a joke! Not even a political one.


So. I am a bit slightly freaked out. I trashed the email.

I will try and end this post with a semblance of normality. A lovely birthday photo of the Birthday Boy and his grandma who made the trip especially to be with him for his birthday, something she doesn't get to do much. And who cooked us a truly magnificent Osso Bucco and who was quite clearly worried about the extreme over-decoration going on with his birthday cake! Did I mention Climber is a minimalist? I think these things tend to skip a generation.

* Go here if you need clues with the bad rhyming.
** See the comments box for clarification on the furniture ref.
*** Except on a need-to-know basis.