Monday, August 31, 2009

Caught Being Good

Our school has a Caught Being Good Award where, as the Principal says, random acts of kindness & senseless beauty are rewarded. The children -one from each class- who are Caught Being Good receive a certificate and a book and get to stand up in front of the whole assembly. It took poor Climber until Grade 2 to win his first one, not because he is bad, (in fact the troublesome children are far more likely to receive these awards early on as an inducement to behave well in future) but because he was slipping under the radar... and possibly because his first 3 teachers' admin skills were not focussed on fair and equitable doling out of this award. I have to tell you that eventually -and I waited 2 and 3/4 years before I did so- I nagged someone about it and said Surely my child should have had one by now? And lo, next assembly he was "caught". In complete turn around, this year he was the first child in his grade to receive it, not because of any outstanding behavioural improvements, simply because his teacher rewards good behaviour with lollies and my sweet-toothed child was assiduously doing all sorts of helpful tasks for her. "Always helping clean up the classroom without being asked" the award stated, loosely translated to "will work for sugar".

The Cherub is far more front and centre where the radar is concerned and is also taught by a wonderful woman who I had every confidence would have a system for making sure everyone received one during the year. He is also far more inclined to notice if he is missing out on anything (second child syndrome?) so during the year he occasionally had a little weep and wail about how he NEVER got caught being good. (His brother on the other hand never seemed to notice.) I said Patience sweetie your time will come.

Today it did. My goodness he felt proud.
proud boy 438

He was rewarded for being a "super star reader and always persisting with his work".

And I must tell you that when his name was called out he was observed to pump his fist. Yessss!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

That Was the Friday That Was

On Friday, Fixit sat the exam for Electrical Fundamentals. Capacitors, resistance, ions and atoms are just some of the words he keeps trying to edge into discussions with me, despite my best efforts. He was feeling so good about his grip on this subject that he announced his intention of achieving 100% for it. It has actually been really good watching him study this time round (as compared to how things were); he has been extremely organised, focussed and motivated, and once more I say: Zoloft is our friend. And I will be flabbergasted if he scores less than 90%

On Friday, a mere 19 months after writing this post, the dream became a reality. A woman came to my house for 2 hours and cleaned it for me, in exchange for some money. What's more, she is going to keep doing that every fortnight, and when I am not feeling like a capitalist lazy-arsed exploiter, I am very, VERY happy.

Book Week Pde 391

On Friday, it was the Book Week Parade at school. Mister Cool, aka the Climber, went as Artemis Fowl (that is the C-Cube and not the Rubiks' Cube he is carrying for the purposes of this dress-up, you'll only know what that means if you've read the books. Which I reckon are very good - the first book pits Artemis-the-master-criminal against The Fairies and you spend the whole book trying to work out who you are siding with) and Cherub is Darth Vader. (What? He IS in books, those crap books they make after the movie which are my least favourite sort of book to read to the children)

I quite like this picture; the store-bought Vader and the home-made one.
two vaders 394

Climber made that mask a few years ago, possibly with help from Fixit, and I think it is a bloody-bewdy, as we say. Our dress-up box is full of handmade cardboard masks (or maskehs as Cherub says), and I just love them.

A good Friday, all in all. The boys had their regular swimming lesson to finish up and then it was fish-and-chips for dinner in the nice clean house and my only complaint was that the bottle of '94 Tahbilk (a gift from Pa Fixit) that we planned to drink was corked and we had to pour it down the sink.

i am dark vadere 409

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Favourite Man.

Scene. Kitchen. Fixit is at the sink surveying the mess. Stomper Girl walks through, en route to the Grown-up's Room.
Stomper Girl (to Fixit): If you pour me some wine you'll be my favourite man. Actually, you already are my favourite man but could you pour me some wine anyway, please?
Fixit: Okay.
Scene. Grown-Up's Room. Cherub is in pyjamas waiting for his story, drawing. He has partly heard this exchange.
Cherub : Who is your favourite man?
Stomper Girl: Fixit is.
Cherub: Oh. I thought your Dad was.
Stomper Girl: He's my second favourite.
Cherub: Oh. [pause] Who is your third favourite?
Stomper Girl: [considers]...
Cherub: Am I?
Stomper Girl: No! You're not a man!
Cherub: Yes I am.
Stomper Girl: No, you're a boy.
Cherub: I thought boys were mans?
Stomper Girl: Well, when they grow up. Not yet.
Cherub: Oh.
Stomper Girl: But you and Climber are my equal first-favourite boys.
Cherub: I thought I was.
Stomper Girl: What?
Cherub: I thought I was your favourite boy.
Stomper Girl: What, you think I like you better than Climber?
Cherub: (completely matter-of-fact) Yes.
Stomper Girl: No! I like you both the same.


Stomper Girl: Why did you think I liked you better than Climber?
Cherub: (completely matter-of-fact) Because I'm cuter.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I've lost my sparkle a bit this week. The Fixit stress stuff, followed by the disappearing cat and then last week poor Climber had some schoolyard trouble. It's mostly okay now; he was being ostracised by association and the association was not a good friendship to start with, all talk and no listening, if you know what I mean. I think by dint of talking it over with him, and raising it with his teacher that we have probably sorted it out, although it may take a bit longer to shake down. But it gave me a nasty shock seeing my normally happy confident child crying on my knee for nearly an hour as he told me he had no-one to play with and that he felt unable to stand up for himself.

Anyway, the upshot is that I don't feel like I have much to say. Meantime, I am trying my hand at stitches and craft and finding it quite therapeutic.

rain 384

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The family fridge gets a make-over.

Defrosting the fridge is Fixit's job. Always. As is fitting a new door seal, although it is my job to order the door-seal from the internet.

(He said don't show a photo of me wearing that stupid Harley shirt, people will think I like them. He doesn't okay? He got the shirt free from his previous place of employment, and wears it only for doing chores.)


Mopping the floor after the fridge is defrosted is usually my job.
Fair's fair.
I'd rather mop than defrost.

Deciding to clean up and re-arrange the magnets was not so much a job as an exercise in fun for me.

Numeric and alphabetic order, if you don't mind.

I like a fridge full of magnets and photos. Especially those alphabet and number magnets, I couldn't wait to have children so we could get some.

Well, all right.

That's a slight exaggeration.

I'm a big fan of Judy Horacek's work. I also have some tea-towels and an apron by her.

horacek magnets

We already owned these very cool penguin magnets and I quite enjoy finding them in different positions on the fridge following Cherub's sporadic magnet-play sessions.

pengies and kitties

The cat magnets were some retail-therapy in the wake of Bertie Wooster's continued disappearance.

kitty magnets 270

They are no longer sitting in a neat line, though. They were dispersed around the fridge-face the instant Cherub discovered them.

I decided to put this photo of Cherub and my cousin into one of the magnetic frames during the course of the clean-up. No point to having a magnetic frame if you don't put a photo in it, hey?


By the time I got round to photographing my handiwork the Cherub had vetoed this decision. In his opinion it was no good, because you couldn't see all of the photo.

new frame

I do like that he took matters into his own hands though, rather than just whining to the management.

fridge magnets

I also think his love of magnet re-arranging may have come directly from me. Can you spot the kitties now?

Meanwhile, the Fixit genes are strong with this one.

Power tool training 332

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cherub's First School Concert.

If you wanted good seats at the Prep Concert last night you had to be prepared to brave the scrum at the theatre door. General admission can be a dangerous thing at a school concert, I'm telling you. I banded together with Nell and my 2 Prep K girlfriends (all experienced and determined queue strategists) and we steered our families to the 5th row without hurting or losing anyone. Here's my part of the row sitting nicely and waiting: Pa and Grandma Fixit with Mister Fixit, Climber and Nell.

proud audience 289

Now, if you thought the crowds went off at U2 or Justin Timberlake concerts you ought to have seen what it was like at Colour My World last night. The curtain opened to reveal the whole grade sitting on stage in neat rows, just about to launch into I Can Sing A Rainbow and some Italian songs, when the screaming, whooping, cheering and clapping began. And went on. And on. My lord we were excited. Some of us cried. The kids on stage looked back at us in equal excitement but with rather more restraint and began peering out trying to locate their families. There was a lot of waving. From stage and auditorium.

The theme of the show was colours so we watched the Purple People Eaters, the Blue Suede Shoes and the Lallow Sumbaweens (well that's how I say it in my head -that's Cherub's fault, that is - but you probably know it as the Yellow Submarine), and they were adorable.

But our row was waiting with bated breath for the last of the four classes to arrive.

Ooh! Here they come! Being lead on magnificently by my little Pink Panther. Dead-ant, dead-ant, dead-ant dead-ant dead-ant.

cherub leads them on

Then they sang When The Red Red Robin Comes Bob Bob Bobbing Along which I swear I sang when I was in Prep. They were fabulous.

prepK concertmontage_1
prepK concertmontage_2

After Prep K left the stage to rapturous applause, the entire grade came back on stage to sing Colour My World. Another golden oldie, it was a 70s revival. I noticed Cherub looked very emphatic during this number, when he sang just colour my world he was looking quite stern and bossy and you wouldn't want to be the minion who had accidentally made everything sepia frankly.

you can colour my world

Then it was out to the foyer to collect the little stars.

after the show312

He was on such a high after the show and it took a lot of work to get him into bed, and I reckon the same would have been true for all his classmates. I also think their adorable teacher will have a class full of little grumps this morning, but she is so wonderful that she will handle it with ease and grace.

Well done little Cherub. Excellently well done.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Life as a Dot Point

  • A neighbour got my hopes up by telling me he'd seen Bertie the missing Badcat mooching around the local school, but seeing as he waited a week to tell me this, and despite our going to the school every night and calling and rattling the food container, we still have no kitty.
  • Getting my hopes up again and having them dashed a second time was pretty upsetting and I ended up crying in front of the children which is probably not a bad thing but made me feel slightly guilty nonetheless.
  • Usually when I'm sad I get pet therapy from cuddling the cat and hearing him purr. My friends are all advising me to pat the Cherub instead.
  • All the rain this week makes me worry about him in case he's stuck out in the elements, because he always used to come in absolutely outraged about the wet stuff from the sky that made him all wet! and would meow loudly and indignantly at us each time it happened.
  • In happier news, my mother came to Melbourne for the weekend. In fact, on Sunday we saw both our mothers -*in one day*-! This is a very rare occurrence. It was of course lovely to see them and as a further benefit there is nothing like having both your mothers come to your house to make you clean up in the wake of Missing Badcat Depression. I'm sure neither of them expect me to do that, but I say whatever works.
  • Climber and a friend entered a poster in a science competition. Climber was a ring-in because another child pulled out. The two boys did a great job and worked surprisingly really hard. The best thing was their loony sense of humour in the presentation which the judges commented favourably on.
science poster 224
  • I have been helping out in Cherub's classroom with their concert preparation, which has been excellent fun. I have to cancel my Thursday night Tap Class this week so that I can go and be a stage-mother, I am that excited. Little preppies doing their first school concert, squee!
  • We had a Trivia Night on Saturday night for our ex-creche, and Astrid and Elda and Pea Soup and Ulishoes came, plus some lovely creche pals. As ever, the night was a lot of fun despite the really awful pizza (bacon and barbecue sauce, bleah) and this was mostly due to the excellent company at our table.
  • Fixit took money from my wallet before I left and didn't put the wallet back in my bag. This meant I turned up without a cent to my name and now owe Astrid $16 for the ticket and drinks to all of the above. But I'm good for it!
  • Sadly, we only came third because the questions were kinda hard this year. Unlike last year when we only got one question wrong. The thing about our team is that we're quite good on the names of celebrity children but not so strong on random facts like what percentage of animal kingdom is comprised of insects [90%] or what Australian town was the birthplace of some Tour-de-France bikeracer [I forget]. And I don't want to be ungracious in defeat or anything but I strongly suspect a man wrote the questions this year, hmph. Not that I'm competitive or anything.
  • We ended up winning a minor prize for correctly answering all the How Well Do You Know Your Creche Staff? questions. There was a fair bit of strategy utilised in taking out that title, including trading answers on the Guess the Celebrity Face sheet and offering Pea Soup's delectable home-made dark-chocolate-and-raspberry-fudge as a bribe.
  • In the end I think I have to blame Nell for our not winning; she selfishly went to Goulburn to see her mother's exhibition opening instead of coming with us, and I feel sure we would have won if she'd come because the difference between us and the winners was a mere 31/2 points which Nell is totally good for.

Thursday, August 06, 2009


We had Pyjama Day at school yesterday, a Junior School Council initiative to raise money for charity, which is always cute and doubly so this year because I sent TWO boys off in flannel jarmies and badly-fitting dressing gowns. Of course, to send them out looking halfway respectable meant [a] searching around various piles of washing to locate a pair of matching top and bottoms for each child (because their preference in night-time attire is to mix it up a bit, yo) followed by [b] sewing on a crucial button, because no-one wants their pants to fall down in the schoolyard, do they? But having put in this effort the night before I was rewarded by the easiest ever get-the-kids-ready-for-school routine that next morning.

pyjama day 09 219

I have decided that Grade 3 might be the age of self-consciousness; and furthermore that it could be that age in between accepting whole-heartedly and without question the concept of coming to school in your pyjamas, and that of coming to school in your pyjamas in the spirit of charity or irony or crazy fun. I reckon two-thirds of the boys in Climber's class elected NOT to wear bedtime apparel to school this year, which was not the case across the rest of the grades, nor in previous years. And although Climber was happy to dress up in his pyjamas, he was massively worried that he was going to be the only child there who did. He spent the entire morning asking me are you sure it's today? and was not reassured by my constant assertions that I was sure. When I said have you ever known me get something like this wrong? he merely replied no, but I don't want today to be the first time you do. He was only really satisfied when I promised, in the unlikely event of me getting my dates muddled, to drive him back home for a change of clothes.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

In which I say Rest-in-Peace but hope I'm proved wrong

I feel slightly guilty to be constantly banging on about the missing badcat, but it's pretty much the main thing going on round here, in my mind at least. I had an enormous big private weep for him last night and maybe that helped a bit. Today I was at least and at last able to shrug off the inertia of my sadness and start to bring my house back into order. I swept and mopped the (disgusting from last night's Great Fridge Defrosting) floor today and this led me to the discovery of a couple of little catty toys (a jingle ball and his favourite, a pipe-cleaner) and then I looked down at the cat-food dish with the dried food in it (in case he arrived back when we were out) and I thought well, I may as well pack that up too. So, in the spirit of cleaning up, I want to commit to the record:
  • That Bertie Wooster used to love Climber's football socks and used to steal them - and only them- out of Climber's sock draw and leave them in odd locations round the house. Occasionally we'd catch a glimpse of him carrying the enormous socks in his little cat mouth, with his I'm on a very-important-mission walk.
  • That if we ever saw him having an absolutely ballistic play with something, it was probably a pipe-cleaner.
  • That his favourite daytime sleeping haunt was on top of the boys' wardrobe, curled up on the sheepskin rug that I used to put the boys on when they were babies.
  • That he and Cherub had this great game they never tired of playing where Cherub used to run around the backyard trailing a skipping rope and laughing his head off, whilst Bertie leapt at and pounced on and chased after and caught and then let go so he could start it all again.
  • That he had worked out Cherub and Fixit only let him sleep with them if he stayed on TOP of the doona but if he slept with Climber or me he could snuggle under the doona, which is pretty smart when you factor in that Fixit and I share a bed.
  • That really he preferred sleeping with Climber or me because he liked that under-the-doona option, and used to alternate every couple of days between us.
  • That he knew Climber was for cuddles and Cherub was for mad-kitty berserk fun.

And that the 18 or so months that he had been with us was not nearly long enough, so we still really hope he comes back.

Bertie Wooster_5418

I haven't yet stopped jumping for phone calls and door-knocks but I suppose that will happen eventually. But maybe now I can shut up about it. You know, unless there's some good news. Thanks for listening and thanks for kind comments and thanks for sympathising. It has actually helped carry me through.