Friday, May 27, 2011

Little Notes

The Climber is a great one for leaving little messages, and he doesn't restrict himself to random bits of paper either. In the last week, I have found a memo on my phone:

As well as an 'appointment' on my calendar:

He also sent me an email from school:

I've sent little replies to him too. I think this is a beautiful habit of his, and I hope he never grows out of it.

Cherub received a note last night too.

This is the first time we've had trouble with the Tooth Fairy, and she was clearly mortified because she left him an extra dollar. Some kind of late fee I suppose.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Four microwaves (and a tooth)

Seeing as Mr Fixit's fixiting skills didn't quite extend to repairing the touchpad controls on our broken microwave, I headed off to buy us a new one. But (and I'm still not sure why) instead of driving straight to the nearest K-mart or Target, I somehow decided to have a look at a nearby large factory outlet for electrical goods. And having stopped there, I proceeded to purchase a microwave from them, one that said it retailed for $250, marked down to $99. Only the microwave I'd paid $99 for wasn't actually a factory second, as we found to our dismay that night when we unpacked it from the box. It was a faulty one that had been repaired and it still had the scorch marks inside it from where it had previously blown up, not to mention being pretty dinged up on the outside. Still, we'd paid the money so we cleaned it up and gave it a try; but I was rather relieved when the touchpad on it stopped working within 24 hours. I took it back the next morning, and they told me they'd replace it. No, no, I said, I want my money back, which led to a 15 minute discussion where they claimed they couldn't give my money back and I said they could because they'd sold me stuff that didn't even work. Eventually and mostly because they seemed nice-ish /not sleazy and I am soft, I walked out with a replacement microwave that I made them check in the shop and which appeared to be fine. Only the next day it had a white spark explosion inside which shorted our fuses, and this time I sent Fixit back with it, looking strong and grumpy. They handed over the $99 immediately, and he went to K-mart and bought us a brand new one for $79.

I think the lesson to be learned here is that there are some electrical goods where it is a good idea to get a reconditioned one and save your dollars, but microwave ovens do not fall into that category. Also that I will never shop at Boom Electrical again.

The End.

PS Cherub's other top tooth fell out this morning, and was not swallowed. It has gone to school with him for Show and Tell.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Melbourne celebrates International Tap Dance Day 2011

... with a group Shim-sham-shimmy, on the steps of Parliament House, never mind the rain. Fun.

(I'm in the purple coat in case you couldn't already tell and you can *just* see Climber between me and my friend in the red coat, wearing grey trackies and a dark greenish hoodie, plus my old purple tap shoes.)

And just for good measure, Climber discovered he could wing down the steps. I love his satisfied nod at the end.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hello Possums.

Anecdotally, the two most common lies told to susceptible first time tourists to Australia are:
(1) there will be kangaroos hopping down the main streets and
(2) it is dangerous to walk under eucalyptus trees because koala bears (also known as drop-bears) could fall on your head.

Whilst I have actually seen kangaroos on urban streets, it is a rare sight in the inner suburbs. The last time I did see one, the roo was clearly lost and was being shepherded back away from the main road by a couple of police. As for the drop bears, well, I have lived here all my life and it's only recently that I've even seen a koala in the wild, and let's just say we don't really call them drop bears.

However. For a bit of good old Australian fauna in an urban setting you can't beat possums. (Well, possums that are outside, anyway. No-one wants a possum to take up residence in their roof.) Tonight our Mothers Group took advantage of a warmish evening to gather for pizza in a favourite park. We've been doing this semi-regularly over summer when the days were long, but last night it was dark at 6pm and suddenly a multitude of possums came out to play. They turned out to be well accustomed to humans, and we all delightedly watched them play and even got to feed and pat some. So tame, so soft!




Our boys came home on a great big happy high. Best pizza in the park ever!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Three questions.

Q1. Did you watch the Pirate episode of Doctor Who? And if so, did you sit on the couch or did you need to get Inside a Box, Under a Doona like Cherub?


He ended up on my lap and made a lot of creeped-out groaning noises, but if you suggest to him that he's maybe too young for the show he denies it strenuously. I only let them watch in daylight so they don't have nightmares.

(Lots of people tell stories of watching Doctor Who from behind the couch when they were little. Suse told me a charming story of needing to jump up quickly after watching the show that was on before Doctor Who so she could turn the tv off before the scary Doctor Who music & titles even started. The stresses, she says, of life before remote controls were invented. I used to feel that way when my parents watched Callan, now there's a show with seriously creepy music and at the end of the theme was a gunshot. Scared me to death, I used to lie in bed with a pillow over my head until the music stopped.)

Q2. Has anyone got any tips about cat physio?


Basil re-visited the vet today, because although he is recovering magnificently, he still won't put any weight on the bad leg and has instead turned himself into a very efficient tripod. The Vet sedated and x-rayed him (ouch!), and seems to think nothing is actually amiss, just that Basil needs to start working it to reverse the atrophying nerves and muscles. He's giving us some anti-inflammatories soon, and meanwhile we have to jiggle Basil's gimpy leg around a bit to encourage movement and weight-bearing. Just call us the Amateur Feline Fizzy Old Therapists. Apparently swimming is excellent therapy. That would be fun wouldn't it, making your cat swim.

Q3. Are you my Perfume Fairy Godparent? I ran out of my lovely French perfume around the time Basil ran under a car, and decided I couldn't afford to buy more until the finances were healthier. But this morning in my mailbox were two little samples for me, and I don't know who left them there.


Gosh I'm happy about it though. Smiling from ear to ear. I was pining for the Samsara, I was. Now I'm not. Thank you, thank you Kind Perfume Fairy.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Cast On, Knit One.

Turns out Cherub's small buckle fracture was also a Salter Harris fracture, ie there was damage to his growth plate, the cartilage at the end of the bone that controls the bone's growth. This means Cherub is now the proud owner of a full cast and will have to wear it for the next 4 weeks. They gave him a choice of colours too, he rejected my suggestion that the purple cast was pretty awesome. Instead he chose his favourite blue, which looks rather fetching with the bright red Stop-sling. The good news about a full cast is that people can sign it properly, so we bought a special marker and he hawked his arm around the school yard. People love to sign a cast, don't they? I noticed a few special adults in his life looking particularly chuffed as Cherub asked for their autographs. Here is the new cast, enhanced, I think, by his crazy front teeth, we're expecting the sideways one to fall out Any Day Now.


Ironically, whilst having a broken pet meant we spent all our savings and borrowed money too, having a broken child means we're saving money, mostly on sporting tuition. It's as if Cherub took one for the team. Thank heavens we live in a country with a proper health care system.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sling Your Hook

DSC_6838, originally uploaded by stompergirl.

According to Cherub, the doctor's assertion that wearing a sling would prevent kids in the schoolyard from being too rough in Cherub's vicinity was untrue. Heaps of people banged into him he said, and a mean Grade 3 (or 4?) girl was cited as the most blatant offender because she just pushed him and didn't say sorry or even notice the sling. Added to its lack of deterrent power was the uncomfortable-ness of the hospital issue sling, which was deteriorating and tangling.

So in an effort to make him less anti-sling, I decided to make a replacement one. The bright red fabric seemed to be the perfect way to ensure that other kids saw and kept away from the injured arm, but Cherub insisted I also sew the word Stop! on to it. Just to make quite sure.

He wore it to school today and it was a success!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mothers Day

The boys gave me a rose scented bath-bomb & some loveheart chocolates (Climber; spent his whole $6) and some rose hand-cream (Cherub, spent some of his $6 and went to the canteen with his change). Both boys are to be congratulated for choosing well and not buying anything that said World's Best Mum on it.

There was no sleeping-in or eating breakfast in bed. Instead we hauled ourselves to the soccer ground by 8.15am ready for the 9am kick-off, only to watch poor Climber's team get massacred by some formidable opponents.

At half-time, with the score 7-nil to the opposition, Climber was handed the goalie's shirt and gloves, surely the worst position on field when the other team is killing you.


But he surprised us by playing a corking game in goal, doing save after save. At the end of the match the score was 9-nil, and Climber walked off to the congratulations of his team-mates, asking please could we buy him some goalkeepers gloves of his own.


Then we came home and I had a bath and a nap, while the human males amused themselves and Basil-cat curled up next to me, delighted to have someone with whom to share the serious business of the Afternoon Sleep.

Friday, May 06, 2011


Dear Mavis,

This Sunday will be your kids' first Mothers Day without you. I know, I know, that Mothers Day is primarily a retailer-generated celebration (buy Mum an expensive present to show you love her!) and therefore not to be taken too seriously, but it is so very all-pervading at the moment. Your poor boys can't help but notice it.

I was looking after your big boy earlier in the week, in between swimming lessons and soccer training, and I suddenly remembered about the Mothers Day Stall at school. See, I've volunteered at that stall in previous years, and I know what happens. All the kids troop down by class and pick out a gift for their mum. I thought to myself that it could be a truly horrible time for your boys, particularly if they weren't prepared for it. You know? Anyway. I dithered, I didn't know what to do but in the end I thought that I ought to say something about it to your big boy.

I approached it delicately, I explained that I knew the stall was going on and that I was worried it might make him feel a bit rotten to suddenly find himself in the middle of this Mothers Day frenzy, particularly if it took him by surprise. I said that sometimes it can help to be prepared, to have a plan. Maybe he'd like to buy a little gift for his aunt or au pair instead, maybe he just needed to arm his mental defences (I'm not sure what that means but it sounds like the sort of thing a boy might get) for what could be a sad time.

He didn't want to discuss it, he really didn't want to. Not that he said that, but the shutters came down and he was deflecting like a force-field. That's fair enough, I reckon. You were a very private person too, when I think about it. (Sometimes I catch a glimpse of him at a certain angle and he looks so much like you that it wallops me.) I backed off immediately. Then I ended up emailing their Dad to confess my meddling. I was concerned I might have made it all worse. For good measure I also told your boy's lovely teacher, and so she had a gentle word to him too. She promised to let your younger boy's teacher know as well, because he might have been in even more difficulties really; the junior grades often make cards and such-like. So I guess we did what we could, to try and smooth their way a little bit.

It's so hard, this first year, isn't it? The path just really can't be smoothed to any great degree. They're probably far too young to even take comfort from well-meant attempts at kindness. They just have to deal with all those horrible firsts in the wake of your death.

The boys are going to take some flowers on Sunday to the tree where your ashes rest. I hope they have a cry and let the sadness out. Meantime, we had your big boy round on Thursday and he was fine and not at all resentful or withholding so that is a relief.

Today was the day of The Stall, and I kept an eye on him. He sat alone while the other kids shopped and he coped, but I thought it looked hard for him. Fortunately their class came in just as the bell rang for recess so it was all over very quickly for him. I hope he put it all behind him with a vigorous game of Four-square.

I'll be thinking of them on Sunday. I'll also be thinking of my Mum, who, like your boys, is walking that rocky path of the First Year.

To make you laugh, I'll just point out that we have to be at soccer at 8.15am on Mothers Day, so you wouldn't have got a luxurious sleep-in if you had still been here.

Caroline x

Monday, May 02, 2011

We Are The Soccer Team.

Apparently there is a theory linking violence in soccer-fans to the high levels of frustration caused by the small number of goals scored per game. That's as may be (did they also study the socio-economic backgrounds of violent soccer fans, hmm?) but if it were true then at least the families at Climber's first ever soccer match were in no danger of being beaten up on the way out.  A grand total of 8 goals scored, 7 of them by Climber's team.  It was a pretty exciting match, it made the early start on a cold Sunday morning almost bearable.  I did feel sorry for the other team who had less players on the field than us and no reserves;  they played so gamely and we all cheered hard when they finally scored a goal. 


Climber had a great game, playing strongly in defence, and came off the field at the end on a great big happy high.

I'm pretty impressed with our coach. The only stuff he shouted from the sidelines was either positive tactical advice or Good Boy [name of player]! when they made a good play.  As in Good boy Climber! in a wonderful booming and slightly Italian-accented voice.  It was ace.  And he made sure the boys gave 3 cheers for the other team, and lined up properly to shake hands at the end.  And then he sent them back into a team huddle and told them to make up a team song.  Here's what they came up with: 

We are The [Name of Team], 
We are The [Name of Team], 
We are The [Name of Team], 
We are The [Name of Team]!!!

No actual tune to it yet, but it's early in the season.

(The half-time score.)