31 March 2008

Top This Arsenic Hour!

If I ever changed the name of my blog, I'd change it to

"I Swear I Am Not Making This Up"

But we'll stick to the fly & the ukulele, in case nothing this noteworthy ever happens again, which, on reflection, wouldn't be all that bad.

I was preparing dinner and needed to preheat the oven. From the early days of our marriage, I have obsessively checked the oven before preheating, as my lovely husband forgot this step once and we lost some cutting boards.

Inside I found a plastic container that Sonny Ma-Jiminy had put in there yesterday. It contained imaginary food for his baby to eat, and it was "keeping warm". I was proud of myself for finding it before preheating the oven!

What I did not find was the plastic spoon that had fallen down under the heating element. I started preheating and then prepared the salmon with its parmesan-crumb coating. When I turned around to put the tray in the oven, when I saw bright orange flames leaping about inside.


I opened the door and thick billows of acrid black smoke mushroomed out. I slammed the door shut again and tried to get Smoochy Girl out of the poisonous smoke and black falling ash that was lightly dusting my kitchen.

The first silly thing I did was to think, "this will be great in the blog." The second silly thing was deciding against taking a photo. Well, getting Smoochy Girl and Sonny Ma-Jiminy out of the smoke was probably my priority, so perhaps it wasn't as silly as I think.

I quizzed Sonny Ma-Jiminy about what could possibly be in the oven. I showed him the container I had saved, and asked if there was anything else in there. He said, "Oh. It's a spoon in there." Mmm, a disposable spoon.

Great. A plastics fire in my oven. Way to go.

A lovely neighbour cooked my fish for me. The house still smelled quite putrid, so I decided to buy some chips from the local fish & chip shop instead of cooking the usual steamed potatoes and beans I do with this dish. We ate it on a picnic rug on the front lawn.

No major harm done, but I need to add the following item to tomorrow's List Of Things To Do:

"Clean out filthy blackened oven."

30 March 2008

Smoochy Girl!

Smoochy Girl!

Thanks to you who voted! Today we had a dedication service for Smoochy Girl at church and a party in the park afterwards. It seems fitting that today, she receives a new blog name. And to celebrate, here are some pictures of her smiling!

Some people have pointed out that most of the photos on this blog of my children involve them crying. Fair comment. I usually don't post too many photos of them on this more public blog, and it is true that the recent photos posted were of them crying hard.

I think I do this because the crying photos are much funnier. And much more representative.

This is Sonny Ma-Jiminy at one year old crying over his porridge.
See what I mean? Hilarious!

29 March 2008

In which Sonny Ma-Jiminy thinks he sees a Gecko and tries to take a photo of it

28 March 2008

The Case of the Macerated Sponge Cake

I have avoided blogging this event until now, working on the assumption that if I don't blog it, it doesn't exist. However I feel that now is the time to share the story, if only to provide some relief from the tedium of bed bugs that my sad sorry blog has become.

Earlier this year, my husband's Nana turned 95. I love Nana. We all looked forward to her party at Sizzler, and as the day drew closer, Sonny Ma-Jiminy expressed a strong desire (well, I used leading questioning techniques to pretend that it was his idea) to make a Strawberry Cake for Nana.

Our Strawberry Cakes are simple affairs - quick and easy double-layer sponge cakes with strawberry jam, chantilly cream and fresh strawberries. They look quite magnificent, even if they don't take long to prepare.

On the morning of Nana's party, Sonny Ma-Jiminy and I stood at the kitchen bench and made Nana's Strawberry Cake with great care. The finished product looked spectacular, with snow-white cream and lovely red strawberries peeking out from between the layers.

The only part that didn't go according to plan was the lack of "NANA 95" on the top. I had planned to melt some cooking chocolate and cool it on a baking tray, then cut out the letters and numbers using the wonderful alphabet cookie cutters that I used to make my Gingerbread Salutations last Christmas. Unfortunately the cutters didn't cut the cooled chocolate cleanly enough and the "NANA 95" was too crumbly to be used as a cake topper. Nevermind, I thought, it looks good enough as it is!

I packed the cake into my cake-storer and kept it in our coolest fridge until we left. Then my husband and I proudly packed it into the car along with Two Clean And Smiling Children and all the paraphernalia that the 2C&SC might require, and headed off for Sizzler.

When we arrived, the cake was not in the same state. Friends, it looked like some maniacal goblin had emerged from somewhere in the car, picked up the cake-storer, given it a good shaking, and put it back before creeping back into his hidey-hole. The top had slid sideways off the bottom, and the cream and strawberries in the middle had dropped out and rattled around in there.

I nearly cried.

Initially, I planned to hide it away in the car and take it home without telling anyone about it. Then I thought of Sonny Ma-Jiminy's delight in making it and instead I did a brave thing.

I asked the staff at Sizzler to take it into the back, to do their best patch-up job on the poor sad piece of dismembered baking, stick a sparkler on it, and serve it up anyway.

Yes, good decision, I thought. We walked to our tables which were already full of aunts and uncles and cousins. It was lovely to have The Cake Problem in the hands of experts and to be able to focus on friends and family instead.

Soon, I learned that Sonny Ma-Jiminy's 10-year-old Culinary Cousin had also made a cake for Nana. Now let me give you some background: Culinary Cousin is loving, kind, caring, humble, and above all, a very good cook! She is a gracious and faithful friend and a warm encourager, and in my embarrassment that was about to unfold, she did everything possible to save my Catering Dignity.

Culinary Cousin's cake was a delicious fruit cake immaculately iced and decorated in marzipan whose crowning glory was a "NANA 95" on top! Here is the best picture I have of it, but it doesn't do justice to the wonderful creation this cake really was!Oh me oh my. For the second time that day, I nearly did a bunk on my mutilated little sponge. Could I dash out the back and implore the chefs whose difficult task it was to save my miserable attempt at a cake to please return it to me so I could hide it in the car while I enjoyed Culinary Cousin's sweet, moist, non-dissected fruit cake?

Again, I thought of Sonny Ma-Jiminy and how proud he was to help in the preparation of the strawberry cake for Nana. I swallowed my pride (what little was left) and allowed our very-obviously patched-up cake to be brought out, sparklers shining, and proudly placed before Nana. Its "best side" is pictured here:We sang Happy Birthday as the sparklers burned, sending a thin layer of grey soot to settle into the cream on top. We cut both cakes, we ate both cakes, and we enjoyed both cakes. And, dear Culinary Cousin, if you are reading, your grace and humility that day was a beautiful thing. You saved your poor aunty from being too embarrassed about the whole sorry story, and you allowed your cousin Sonny Ma-Jiminy to enjoy his moment of presenting Nana with our cake, in whatever shape it came!

But just quietly, your fruit cake was totally awesome!


Some of you have been asking whether my legs have really been left looking as ghastly from the bed bug bites as I have led you to believe.

Well, let me say that these bites have been the itchiest thing I have ever experienced. Over the summer, I have ignored 80% of the itching, biting my lip to stop myself from tearing away at the bites which are driving me mad.

But still, there were many nights when I woke up scratching feverishly, wishing to tear some layers of epidermis off my legs just TO MAKE THE ITCHING STOP.

I have often got up in the middle of the night to literally PAINT calamine lotion all over my legs and lie under the fan, hoping the coolness of the drying calamine would soothe the itch.

As you can imagine, this has not been good for the skin.

You want me to prove it with a photo? Okay.

You want me to take a photo of my own legs and post it on the internet? No way!!!

The best I will give you is this: a picture of some pantyhose model (which I'm NOT) which I have PHOTOSHOPPED to represent my own perception of how my legs look at this current time.

And I warn you, my own perception of my legs might not be quite as bad as the real thing, owing to the fact that I have not been able to bring myself to actually look at my legs in the mirror for about two months now. I am currently in denial.
Artist's impression only - real legs may differ.

27 March 2008

Liars are usually better at it

Sonny Ma-Jiminy was struggling upstairs with Daddy's very large jar of lollies. "Mummy, can I have a lolly?" he puffed.

Mummy was too tired and distracted to give an appropriate response, instead falling on one of the standard responses that parents resort to when tired: "Umm, ask Daddy."

Sonny Ma-Jiminy replied, "I did ask Daddy. He said 'No'."

I realised sadly that he came to ask Mummy certainly not as a Higher Authority, and probably not even as a Second Opinion: most likely as a Tired & Distracted Permission-Granter.

It has come to this.

Better than a Rain Dance

I can make it rain. Truly, I can. All I have to do is put all our bedding (current and spare) out on the deck in the baking sun to kill any possibility of bed bugs, have a quick nap, and when I wake up it's clouded over and rained on the lot. Sorry I don't have a photo to prove this. Getting all the damp woollen blankets inside was my priority. And last night I discovered that a pile of damp woollen blankets is quite a smelly thing to sleep next to.

As I slid all over the slipery deck desperately getting heavy wet blankets and sleeping bags inside, I was dimly aware that I'd just slept through an interview with Sonny Ma-Jiminy's pre-prep teacher about enrolling him after the holidays. (I'd slept so long because I'm now getting sick.)

Then Chubbity Bubbity who was out on the deck with me picked up a drinking glass and dropped it, and started playing in the broken glass (so today failed the blood-and-flames test). Why was there a drinking glass on my deck? Earlier, Sonny Ma-Jiminy decided that Puppity Doggity needed a drink and that she needed it from a drinking glass. In my sore-throat-swollen-glands addled state, I'd forgotten to remove it before we all slept.

Now I'm beginning to see my blog slide slowly downhill. At a time when my readership is increasing (and I'd like to welcome those of you who have joined me over the last few days!!) all I seem to be blogging about is bed bugs and daily tedium. So for those of you who have recently joined and are considering leaving me to live my desperate little life by myself, I'd like you to please visit some of my more interesting posts from my pre-bed-bug days:

That'll get you started. I'll return to that sort of blogging again one day. But just for today, I'll try to dry these smelly blankets!!

26 March 2008

Just wipe the makeup off so I can put some antiseptic on my bites, thanks

To my Mary Kay Cosmetic Consultant,

You are no doubt wondering why I cried off all my makeup once we were done today, and why I went home without spending lots of money on all your Simply Must-Haves.

Perhaps I can ask a few questions so we can determine exactly where I am coming from. Questions about YOU.

When you go to sleep at night, do you have a bedroom? Do you sleep in a bed? I don't.

Do you store your clothes in a cupboard? Do you have a chest of drawers? And where on earth do you keep all your wonderful Mary Kay cosmetics? A make-up box, or something? I don't have any of those things.

Do your children have their clothes neatly stored in cupboards and drawers in their own rooms? That doesn't happen here.

Are all your possessions easily accessed? Perhaps your possessions are not inside thirty black plastic bags in the sun.

Are you able to spend money on more cosmetics without worrying about the costs of current medical tests and treatment, plus the concern of ongoing medication costs? I can't say I am free of those worries.

From the sound of your Lovely Legs Pamper Session, it seems that you and many other women have legs that have not been ravaged by parasitic blood sucking insects for months on end. Lucky you. Perhaps you do not try to hide your legs in every occasion, for fear they will be commented on. Again, lucky you.

So, just to clarify, you don't have people in your life who ask (and ask) question (after question) about your bed bug bites, pressing (and pressing) for more information on the horrible disfigurement that is now your legs. No? Just checking.

And let's just think for a moment about the purpose of the cosmetics you're selling. Do you have somebody in your life over the age of five who has time to look at your face for long enough each day to actually notice that you've gone to the bother of using makeup? What a charmed life.

Well, nevermind. Perhaps we're just a little too different. Maybe you shouldn't expect me to stock up on cosmetic products to the extent that you have.

Oh, by the way, thanks for the lovely little blurb you gave us on how wonderfully your life works. All that wife-ing, mothering, part-time work on top of your Mary Kay Cosmetic Consulting. You are really tremendously perfect aren't you? How wonderful for you to have it all worked out.

How I envy your perfect little bed-bug free existence, with your attentive, loving husband, two perfect children, and your wonderful Ultimate Mascara with Smart-Wiper Technology.

I tried to see the purpose in the Creme-to-Powder Foundation, the concealer that honestly could be used all over my face, the Eye Primer, Eyeliner and Eye Colour, oops I forgot the Mascara, the Age-Fighting Lip Primer, Lip Liner, Lipstick and Lip Gloss, and then the Signature Cheek Colour. Sorry I had to call a halt after that. I can't imagine how drastically my priorities in life would have to change before I even CARED enough to consider spending money on any of these products.

I cried off all the eye makeup. Then I dealt with the stuff on my lips by consuming an unwisely large amount of Sonny Ma-Jiminy's leftover birthday cake.

Regards, Givinya de Elba, (givin' ya de huge elba' today!!)

25 March 2008

I'm Three Now

I had a blogging break over Easter. During this time, Sonny Ma-Jiminy turned three. I will post this quick poem about what it's like having him around, and then I'll slip into blogging hibernation again until I have some reports for work done.

I'm Three Now

I’m such a big boy I can eat spicy food;
I’m too little to greet adults; instead I’ll be rude.
I’m big enough now not to need my sheet;
I’m just a small baby and can’t walk on my feet.

I’m really quite small and can’t eat spicy food;
I’ll charm all the adults cos I’m such a big dude.
I’m a tiny small baby and need my sheet;
Because I’m big now I can walk on my feet.

I’m big and I love a really long shower,
I’m a baby so at dinner I’ll take half an hour,
I’m such a big boy and help Dad mow the lawn,
Don’t ask me to tidy cos I’m only just born.

Babies like me hate having a wash;
I’m big and will eat all my pumpkin and squash.
If I’m invited to help mow, I’ll scream and I’ll yelp.
I can clean up my room ... but demand you all help.

21 March 2008

Potentially very depressing

I must stay positive *twitch*. The only way we'll get them all is to lie there night after night, being bait for them *twitch* so they emerge, run throught the powder, feed *twitch*, run back through the powder and die. Staying out on the couch in the loungeroom might make them hibernate *twitch*. I must keep positive and I must stay happy *twitch*

On the Plus Side, we had a great sleep! We woke up in the daylight hours now that the children are back in their own rooms! Chubbity Bubbity slept very well of course, and Sonny Ma-Jiminy had a few wakings but because Daddy was there to stop him running riot, Mummy had a good sleep. And this was good for everybody.

20 March 2008

You can't have nightmares if you never SLEEEEP...!

We've had a couple of shocking days here. We had a horror 5:00am morning yesterday because these two little cherubs are sleeping in the same room.
If you've recently joined my blog, they're sleeping in the cot room together because first this happened, then this, then this, and if you can believe it, this happened next. I promise I am not making this up. The whole thing is pretty much ongoing, with one or two detours along the way.

Now for my readers from the northern hemisphere, please remember that right now, we're heading into Autumn/Fall and things are DARK and middle-of-the-night-ish at 5:00 am. So getting up then, waking one's baby sister, turning on the light and mucking around with toys while the sister cries is not the diplomatic thing to do.

Now because of the awful 5:00am morning, yesterday I read the riot act (not enough sleep makes Mummy cranky) and last night we gave him a long and serious pep-talk about when he wakes up: if it's dark he must just lie there, NO WAY may he turn the light on, and he must not wake Chubbity Bubbity up under any circumstances.

Improvement? Of course not!

Overnight I was woken three times to give Chubbity Bubbity drinks of water or cover her up. So when I saw their bedroom light on and heard the sounds of Riotous Sibling Mucking-Up at 4:30am this morning, I despaired. Did they get back to sleep again? Of course not! What a silly question. And frankly, I'm surprised at you for even asking it.

I was up to them six times between 4:30 and 5:15, optimistically thinking if I was scary enough, I'd get them to stop mucking up and lie down, hoping that they would realise that they were as tired as their Mummy was and they were really quite tired.

However, as I am the only person in the family who has not has a good sleep since 20th March 2005, they did not have this motivation to break up the party, so they kept going strong.

At 6:00am, I got up, put my contact lenses in, took my blood presure medication (just a little medical distraction from pest control), took my Nurofen for the sleep-deprivation headache I wake up with each day, and got Sonny Ma-Jiminy to help me with the vacuuming of his room prior to moving back in.

Today is the day, I promised myself, that this charade finishes. I am now 101% sure the bedbugs have all gone, and therefore he must move into his own room. It's easier to squash early morning high spirits when he's alone without his Number One Fan giggling at everything he says and does.

So here it is: Sonny's room, livable again. His makeshift chest-of-drawers with all his clothes is still in the kitchen (yeah, that's been so convenient!) and sundry other possessions are on the front balcony covered with a tarpaulin or under the back deck in black plastic bags, but the important thing is the bed is in there! And he sleeps in it! Alone!

Our room has no bed yet, but we will sleep in there tonight to check if the bugs have all gone. The scientific method by which you discover if they have indeed all gone is to sleep in there and to see if you get savaged while you sleep. Even then, it's not 100% fail-safe - there could potentially be eggs somewhere in the room, waiting for you to re-stock your furniture and move back in so they can hatch and start feeding on you.
If you can't kill them before they have five feeds on you, shedding their skin each time, they will be of an age to lay more eggs. But we are so confident that we've broken their reproductive cycle that after sleeping in there a few times without being savaged, we'll buy our new bed and move back in.

Then I'll treat myself to a big big sleep. A pre-20/03/2005 sleep. The thought of that sleep has been the only thing helping me to put one foot in front of the other these last few weeks.

19 March 2008

A new name for Chubbity Bubbity

Chubbity Bubbity will be turning one in mid-April. She will no longer be a Bubbity and she never was very Chubbity anyway.

We need a new nickname for her. I've whacked ten options there below for your perusal. Some are good, some are not, and I reserve the right to decide against the concensus anyway.

So please vote!

Chubbity Bubbity needs a new name! What do you think it should be?
Spunkity Monkey
Blossomy Possum
Smiley Child
Smoochie Girl
Little Tiny
Crazy Daisy
Flower Child
pollcode.com free polls

Arsenic Hour

It's called The Arsenic Hour. Is it called that because the mental trauma is comparable to physically suffering from arsenic poisoning, or because sometimes we secretly wonder if taking some arsenic would make it all go away?

It's usually not an hour anyway. Sometimes it's two, sometimes it's four, and sometimes it's so bad that it seems like a week.

For me, Arsenic Hour begins with Horror Food Preparation. I usually love cooking, but the excitement and fun is sucked right out of the activity when you have a young child (e.g., Chubbity Bubbity) crawling around the kitchen and trying to climb up your legs, while her moaning turns to crying turns to screaming.The middle of Arsenic Hour is punctuated by Chubbity Bubbity spitting out any foods that don't please her majesty (with respect to taste/temperature/texture) and throwing them on the floor.
However my particular least-favourite characteristic of Mid-Arsenic Hour is the recently-instigated I-Don't-Want-Dinner-I-Don't-Even-Like-Dinner Tantrum. (Truth be told, he does like dinner and he does eat dinner soon after. He's just decided for reasons of Parental Control and Domination that the tantrum is essential prior to eating.)

It ends with Nightmare Child Showering. Sonny Ma-Jiminy loves showers. He always has. But now, as a grisly preface to his half-hour soak while gleefully playing with a thousand bath toys, he goes through an obligatory I-Don't-Want-A-Shower-I-Don't-Even-Like-Showers Tantrum.Some days, my dear little cherubs suck the very life out of me. I told this to Sonny Ma-Jiminy, who strenuously disagreed. I kissed him. So he dropped to the floor, screaming, "I didn't WANT a kiss!!" Some Days!

18 March 2008

Something New

There's something different about me today. Can you guess? I'm looking good, feeling terrific ... it can only be one thing!

Yes. I'm wearing new undies. That always gives a person a spring in their step.

These are nice ones: very funky with bright vibrant stripes. I think it's time to break out from the classic black and try something fun.

It's odd though. The washing instructions say to wash with "similar colours".How long will I have to wait, I wonder, to collect a decent sized load of bright tangerine and aqua striped clothes?

17 March 2008


Tomorrow is D-Day for bed bugs. Well, it's one of the D-Days for bed bugs. We've already had three, tomorrow will be the fourth, and there may be one or two (or three) after this. But I think we're getting on top of the problem, so there may not be too many after this.

We've been busily evacuating two rooms in order to be finally done with these things. Half-way through the evacuation, our room looked like this... ...and Sonny Ma-Jiminy's looked like this... ...and this is now our current chest of drawers... ...and this is Sonny's... ...and we're pretty much sleeping on and living out of makeshift furniture in multipurpose areas and squashed-up cluttered corners of our home until this whole sordid thing is sorted out. Where did we put our clothes and bedding and books etc from our now bare bedrooms? On the back path in black plastic bags in the sun to kill any bugs that may be living in there... ...and then it rained.

16 March 2008

Steamed Up

Finally after months of waiting, our whole family went on a steam train ride for Sonny Ma-Jiminy's birthday next week. We'd kept it a secret all this time, for fear he would be so excited that he wouldn't be able to wait for today.

But no such problem occurred. Instead, as we drove towards the station, Sonny Ma-Jiminy said miserably that he was tired and wanted to go to sleep.

But he cheered up when he saw the train and was excited to get on board our carriage. As Chubbity Bubbity sat on my lap, three of the four seats in our little alcove were occupied by us. The fourth was occupied by a stiff and proper elderly man who was silent and to be honest, a little anti-children for the whole journey.For the first ten minutes, things went well. Sonny Ma-Jiminy was happy to wave and shout "Hullo!" at people who had come out of houses and shops to see the steam locomotive. Chubbity Bubbity showed off her Leet Handwaving Skillz while shouting "Ulla!" along with Sonny.Then Chubbity wanted out. She whinged and moaned for most of the rest of the trip. Mister Misery in our alcove did not appear to be too happy about that.

Sonny Ma-Jiminy became a little difficult to manage when the novelty wore off too, and he stood up and sat down repeatedly, steadying himself on Mister Misery's legs as he did so.

I (the clever Mummy) proudly brought out a few biscuits for the children. This didn't make them much quieter, it just made them messy. Thereafter, Sonny Ma-Jiminy's habit of steadying himself by putting his grubby hands on Mister Misery's slacks (silly word, but there is no other word for this type of pants) was received with icy silence.

I then gave Sonny Ma-Jiminy an apple. He made his usual half-chewed apple mess while Chubbity cried and whinged. Sonny, bless his heart, gave some pieces of apple to Chubbity which she sucked, screamed at and discarded.

I tried some water bottles, but Sonny wasn't interested and Chubbity threw hers on the floor, making a bit of a splash. I gave Chubbity some pureed fruit, but that made a fair bit of mess too.

Despite packing as lightly and compactly as possible, we were the family with too many bags and too much stuff. We were constantly unzipping, rummaging and re-zipping, only to have to unzip again in half a minute's time.

For 90 minutes, Chubbity moaned and asked to be on the floor, no: up off the floor, no: in Daddy's arms, no: in Mummy's arms, no: taken for a walk up the carriage, no: you guess what I want this time.

At one point, Sonny Ma-Jiminy leaned too far out the window and lost his cap, his lovely little cap that we've all become so attached to over the two and a half years we've had it. Never mind that it was too small and coming apart a bit at the seams. I was going to retire it and put it in his memory box one day, but too late. We wore it one last time, and now it resides for al time in a field somewhere in south-east Queensland. (For the final photo of this lovely cap, see above!) Sonny had a loud cry when he realised that we couldn't go back and get it. Mister Misery looked on, disapprovingly.

If anything else of note happened, I can't remember it. I've been too busy wondering why an elderly man who obviously isn't all that fond of children would go on a steam train ride full of children. It was advertised to familes of young children, and being at Easter time it was called "Bunny Egg-ventures" or some similar nonsense. So why was Mister Misery on the 10 am express to Parenting Nightmare Station?

"A steam train afficionado?" you ask. "Unlikely," I reply. If that were the case, I would have expected him to be interested in the locomotive and the carriages and to ask questions of the volunteers who assisted on the ride. But instead he sat for the whole time, eyes fixed down towards the other end of the carriage, determined not to respond to anything Sonny Ma-Jiminy and Chubbity Bubbity did or said.

Perhaps he was an undercover cop or a private investigator, tailing some person seated at the other end of our carriage. But the whole carriage was filled with hapless parents of young children, all wondering why we thought it a good idea to go on a 90-minute steam train ride with people to young to be confined in a carriage for the duration.

Beats me.

Calm Down, Mummy

Because Sonny Ma-Jiminy doesn't always snap to it when I tell him to do something, I often accidentally use a voice that is much louder than the one I meant to use.

Take today for example. Circumstances had found us at the end of the day sitting on the trampoline eating roast chicken and veggies. I had Chubbity Bubbity in my arms, some pieces of chicken and veggies cooling for Chubbity, and the roast dinner balancing in the middle of us when Sonny Ma-Jiminy decided to jump on the trampoline.

Subconsciously, I must have decided that Sonny was unlikely to respond to me telling him to STOP jumping in a normal voice.

What I meant to say in a low, firm voice was "Stop jumping, Sonny, No!" But although I said those words, I failed to use the low firm voice I'd planned to use. I accidentally shrieked. And people, I gave it all I had.

I used the sort of shriek you'd use if your child just got bitten by a poisonous snake.

The sort of shriek you'd use if a large vehicle was bearing down on your whole family.

The sort of shriek you'd use if someone had crept up behind you very quietly, and sliced your legs off.

I then heard the neighbour taking the washing off the line just over the fence and collapsed laughing on the trampoline, realising how over-the-top my correction of Sonny Ma-Jiminy was. Poor kid. Needless to say, he'd stopped jumping. Then he laughed with me and said, "Did the laughing stop you from shouting?" I had to admit that it did.

Plague, Pestilence & Parasite Pyjamas

So the evacuation of two whole rooms is currently underway, so we can be absolutely certain we'll kill all the bed bugs. We don't want to do a half-hearted effort only to find that we weren't thorough enough, and we have to do the whole thing again, properly!

While I was packing Sonny Ma-Jiminy's room up, I found last winter's pyjamas there waiting for cooler weather. And while I found them cute last winter, this year I'm shocked and horrified:Yep folks, Bed Bugs. What was I thinking? Well to be honest, last year I knew precious little about bed bugs. I had no idea how easy they were to get if you travel or camp, I had no idea what desecration they can wreak on your skin and I had no idea how difficult they were to get rid of. I wouldn't have thought they're cutesy-wootsie buggy-wuggies that belong on kids' pyjamas, but I guess I thought there were benign little things that could be dealt with using a can of Baygon.

I realised a scary thing. Somewhere out there, there must be a bunch of Kids Fashion Designers sitting around a table throwing around ideas for cool designs for Size 3 Boys pyjamas. Someone hazards, "What about parasites? We haven't done them since the Summer of '84." And amazingly, everyone nods and agrees. "Awesome idea: parasites! I like your thinking!"

So I've decided to join the madness and help them with their next range of pyjamas.

Now this is where my leet computing skillz fall down in a sad sorry heap. I can't use Photoshop. I'm hopeless. This is strange, when I can use Adobe Premiere Pro to edit videos and I'm familiar with using layers from making pretty pictures in Ultra Fractal 4. However, I've never learned how to use Photoshop, so I'm a complete dummy from here in. I've managed to navigate my way around a few basic functions to make some designs in my own "Vermin Sleepwear" range, but as you will see, they're pretty miserable attempts at being clever.

The challenge is on! Are there any Leet Photoshoppers out there among you Lovely Lurkers (all 9 of you!) who could make a much better looking item in the Vermin Sleepwear range? Contact me through "Comments", and we'll go from there!

14 March 2008

AUDITIONS - Presenter in New Reality Cooking Show

Auditions will be held for the position of television presenter to front a new reality cooking show called "THE PRESSURE COOKER". The standard format of cooking shows will be modified to present a more realistic perspective on the culinary pressures experienced by 90% of the cooks in the country.

The show will be composed of the following segments:

Part 1 will be set in a supermarket and will involve the presenter shopping for the ingredients required in the day's dinner time menu. To increase the realism, the presenter will be accompanied by a number of small children.

The first will be too young to walk but will scream when placed in the seat of the trolley and will need to be carried all around the store. The second will strongly object to everything the presenter says and does and will end up screaming and dragging him/herself around the store, complaining loudly that his/her "legs don't work" because they are "broken."

Additional children may be added as the series progresses.

In Part 2 the presenter will demonstrate for the audience the preparation, cooking and serving of the episode's recipe. The children will again feature in this segment and will demand attention from the presenter in various ways.

  1. The preparation will be done in small spare areas in the kitchen that are not taken up by dirty dishes, various piles of mess and non-kitchen-based items as placed there by the children such as plastic golf balls rolling around on the floor. No other production staff will prepare the ingredients and put them neatly in little glass dishes ready for use: the presenter will start from first principles using ingredients hastily taken out of the still-packed shopping bags.
  2. The cooking will be done while one child attempts to climb up the presenter's legs, moaning and whinging, and the other child loses control of his/her bowel and bladder outside on the path requiring instant cleanup done by the presenter.
  3. The serving will be achieved after a search in the cupboards, drawers and dishwasher to find the appropriate number of matching plates, knives, forks and drinking glasses on which to serve the recently-prepared meal. During this time, one of the children will use coloured markers to desecrate an area of the house and require instant cleanup done by the presenter.

After the presenter completes a quick segment involving bathing and dressing the children, reading stories and putting them to bed, the clean-up will be completed (again with no input from other production staff, as is common in other cooking programs.) In this segment, the presenter will be allowed a large bottle of wine to assist in the process.

Features of this segment will include pieces of sticky rice adhering to the presenter's feet during the cleanup, slight intoxication of the presenter, avoidance of physical obstacles e.g., unpacked shopping baggs, inability to use the sink zpace to rinse dirrty itemz due to the fact that the sinks have been piled high with same drty items, a growing intoxicaatiion of the presntrr, the shock discovvrry of a meltd puddl of ice-craem leaking from one of the unpacked shopng bagss, a quick lie-down on the couch, jsut a quick one wake me up in ten minutss, zat one of the kids cryng? Somebody? Um.. nother ten minntss....

12 March 2008

Killing a Bed Bug with a Ukulele ...

I am very upset today. I've had two nights back in my bedroom, sleeping on a single bed mattress on the floor. And I'm afraid I can't yet report that we are Bed-Bug-Free.

On the first night, I thought I was being plagued be Psychological Bedbugs. As I lay there, I thought I felt things creeping all over my skin and biting me. But when I got up and turned the light on, I couldn't see any bugs. When I woke up in the morning, I thought I hadn't been bitten.

Boosted by a belief we'd kicked the bed-bug problem, Husband and I went looking for new beds. We found the mattress of our dreams - I can't wait to sleep on that piece of heavenly comfort. We can get a very good sale price on it before Friday so I'm feeling a bit of pressure because of the deadline. But we can't bring it into the house only to have it immediately infested with bedbugs! We've got to be absolutely certain they've all gone.

As I drove away from the bed shop, I absently scratched an itchy spot on my arm, which on further inspection appeared to be a bed bug bite.Not possible, I thought.

No way.

Surely not ....?


I slept in the bedroom again last night and this time I felt nothing: no psychological bedbugs, no bites, no creeping things on my skin. Then as I woke up this morning, I scratched my left leg. And my right knee. And both my arms. And my scalp. Husband, who had an early start, then found in the early-dawn light a LIVE BED BUG CRAWLING UP THE WALL! That was the first depressing thing to happen today.

The second was the result of a phone call to the boss at the Pest Control Company (who says the word "literally" more than Jamie Oliver does.) Here is a brief summary of the outcomes:

  • We are extremely unlucky to have "an infestation" of this magnitude in a normal dwelling (Cheers for that!)
  • This difficulty in getting rid of them was always on the cards
  • And mark my words, it will be EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to get rid of them now we know that they were not just in the bed
  • There's nothing more the pest people can do (chemically) until we find the "harbourage" - that's a fancy-pants word for "Nest of Filthy Writhing Parasites, Filled With MY BLOOD"
  • We need, more than anything, to find the other nest or nests, the one/s in addition to those we found on the base of the bed before.
  • The next step is to remove absolutely everything from the room, looking for the nest/s
  • Then we get the power points off and look behind them for the nest/s
  • Then we rip the carpet off and look under it for the nest/s
  • Then we tear the whole house apart and burn it, killing the unfound nest/s, discard all our clothes, books and furniture and start again somewhere else.
All this is to be done in the hours of spare time that hang so heavily upon a mother's hands, using all the spare money that burdens us young homeowners in a climate where the costs of living and interest rates are rising quicker than if they'd sat down on something extremely sharp.

So this morning I took all eight drawers of clothes out of the dresser and put them in the sun on the back deck. I needed to check every individual item for evidence of the bugs, and this gave me a good opportunity to sort out clothes we won't need. Once I was finished this job, I was planning to leave them in the sunshine to kill any bugs I might have missed. But three-eighths of the way through this process, Sonny Ma-Jiminy quite unreasonably woke Chubbity Bubbity up from her nap so I've been doing Mummy Duties since then, leaving the clothes sunning on the deck, checked for bugs or not, sorted out or unsorted.

While I was playing with the kids, Sonny Ma-Jiminy asked if I could cut his toenails, which I did. This allowed me to discover about 10 savage bed-bug bites on his legs. THEY CAN'T BE IN TWO ROOMS!?!?

I've already spent hours taking Sonny Ma-Jiminy's room apart. I replaced his mattress, washed and dried all his bedding and pillows, got rid of unwanted items under his bed, sorted through all those bags of lovely clothes (some very nice things in there!) and, when I found absolutely no evidence of bed bugs, I put his room back together again and returned Sonny Ma-Jiminy to normal sleeping habits. The thought that there still could be bed-bugs in there somewhere is completely totally utterly demoralising.

Still, I thought with a wry smile, it could be worse (although I wasn't sure how.) And then I found out how.

While I played with my kids, leaving our eight drawers of clothes sunning on the back deck, it clouded over and started raining on the clothes. Our clothes. ALL of the clothes we own.

Because that's just what I needed right then. I allowed myself a quiet little weep. I must confess, I'm losing my joy. Today, things are looking bleak.

11 March 2008

Some good old-fashioned comfort

Sonny Ma-Jiminy has always sucked a sheet. He's done this since he was old enough to pack the fabric tightly into his own mouth.Chubbity Bubbity now does the same. And today I discovered that the doll (that was given to Chubbity but reclaimed by Sonny, and christened "Sonny's Chubbity Bubbity") sucks a sheet too, albeit not voluntary.
Ah, there they are, watching TV together.

A tribute to the late great Larry Norman

In honour of two great men of God: The late Larry Norman who brought the world some of the greatest Christian music, and my lovely husband who is usually late when we are racing to get to church.

The way to church
is really far
it takes some time to drive there in the car
---I wish we'd all been ready

Your glasses case
is underneath
the mat you stand on while you brush your teeth
---I wish we'd all been ready

There's no time
to change your shirt
we're off to church and you'll be left behind
---I wish we'd all been ready .... (etc)

I assume that I'll know about it as soon as he's read this post!

10 March 2008

A Very Good Feeling

I used to have many disorganised plastic bags of kids' clothes stored untidily all over the place. Friends and family have been wonderful and generous (thank you very much, those of you who are reading!) and they have helped us out so very much by giving us great clothes that their kids no longer need. We have saved a large amount of money because of your generosity, and we appreciate it so much!

However the process of clothes acquisition fell down when I gratefully accepted these clothes and FAILED TO SORT THEM OUT.

Time and time again I thanked my wonderful benefactors and shoved the bags wherever they would fit, in the assumption that I'd sort them out "Someday Soon". But of course "Someday Soon" never comes and the sorting-out never happens. Not once have I been sitting around thinking, "You know what I'd love to do a bit of right now? I'd just love to sort and fold some bags of kids' clothes!"

So I've never really known what is in each bag. When Sonny Ma-Jiminy or Chubbity Bubbity have outgrown their current size or when the seasons have changed, I've had to go on a big search to find what I'm after.

This won't happen any more. After three years, I have finally come up with my favourite solution to keeping and storing babies' and kids' clothes. Here it is.
Archive boxes, neatly labelled and easily accessed. Clothes nice and dry before storage and three or four bars of nice-smelling soap in each box. I am tremendously proud of myself.

I tossed up whether or not to use "Space Bags" instead. The two benefits would be (1) much less space used in storage, and (2) clothes would stay that little bit fresher if they were completely dry when stored. The two problems with Space Bags would be (1) they are much more expensive, and (2) I wouldn't be able to easily crack one open to grab a jumper in summer or an item of a different size when friends' kids came over and needed something. Since then, I've discovered more problems with Space Bags that I hadn't thought of.

I decided that I could easily live without those two benefits, and the two drawbacks would drive me nuts. So I went with archive boxes.

Look at them. Aren't they neat?

09 March 2008

Wake Up!

Oh dear. We're all off to have haircuts at 2:00pm and everyone is asleep. Chubbity Bubbity is very asleep, she didn't wake up when I moved her from the car to the cot when we got home from an outing this morning. Then she got into this position:

Sonny Ma-Jiminy was grumpy and tired, but I thought we'd keep him awake. However when he and Daddy crashed out on the couch, I couldn't complain. They look lovely together.Well, it's 1:36pm and we really should be heading off. Hmm. All so very peaceful. I think I'll just give my hairdresser a quick call ...

06 March 2008

Too, too weird

I wish to report a theft. A very weird theft.

Yesterday, between the early morning and late in the night, something went missing from my bedroom. The room was shut up the whole day, quarantining the bed bugs from the rest of the house. Sonny Ma-Jiminy and Chubbity Bubbity were at Day Care.

In the morning, my Lovely Mother and I spent some time in there cutting apart the bed base, searching for bed bugs, cleaning the books and dusting the bookshelves, etc.

Then in the mid-afternoon, a Pest Control Guy came and suggested that Lovely Mother move out of the room while he laid powder to kill the bed bugs. Ten minutes later, he emerged and the room remained shut up until late at night, when I discovered that something was missing.

Something weird.

It was ... er-hr'm ... a quantity of ... hmm.

Okay. It was a number of the things that the shops call "personal hygiene products." Sold in the aisle that men avoid, and if they have to go there, they walk very quickly.

Now I ask you - isn't that weird? I quizzed Handsome Husband late last night - no idea. I called Lovely Mother early this morning - no idea. The children are ruled out. I was not involved.

This only leaves a Pest Control Guy and a load of dying bed bugs as the culprits.

Too, too weird.

05 March 2008


I found them! Three Pest Control Guys hadn't found them and two separate treatments hadn't killed them. I couldn't find the nests even after taking the bed apart - literally. I took some scissors and cut the ensemble base open, but we didn't find them until we tipped the base up on its side. Check it out!

This the base of our ensemble up on its side.
It has nine castors: little wheels that screw in.

Sadly, there is a little square of thin cardboard between each castor and the bed. And bedbugs are known for nesting in books, so I guess they liked these cardboard squares.

And they love living in the dark under things like sewn-on labels on mattresses or between slats and bed bases. So this was The Ritz for them.
All the classic things we've been searching for. Shed skins, mess, spots of blood (maybe they drink too much of my blood and throw up a bit?) and bugs.
And the Pest Control Company, bless them, came right around for some Bed Bug Genocide. Well, Pesticide anyway. Dead, dead, all the bed bugs dead.We're still sleeping on the couch, but we're sleeping easier. Soon we'll have a new bed, a pest-free room, good nights' sleep and I might, just might, have pretty legs again. Well, you know...

04 March 2008

Winnie the ...

Sonny Ma-Jiminy has acquired a compulsion for weeing in his pants, taking his pants off and pooing on the path every time he's playing outside in the late afternoon. You could bet lots of money on it and get very rich.

Today after he ate his dinner, I hustled him outside to play while I bathed Chubbity Bubbity and gave her milk and put her to bed. I entreated Sonny Ma-Jiminy not to wee or poo outside; I pleaded with him to do anything that needed to be done in the toilet and only in the toilet. I explained it and coached him. When quizzed on this process of monumental complexity, he indicated full understanding.

While Chubbity Bubbity was in the bath I looked out the window and had cause to ask, "Why are you naked from the waist down?" to which the expected answer came immediately: "I did a wee." I implored him to do any poo that *might* be coming in the toilet, the downstairs toilet, and only the downstairs toilet, to which he meekly said, "Okay."

While I was giving Chubbity Bubbity her night-time milk, I heard the sound of the downstairs toilet in use and shrieked downstairs (much to Chubbity Bubbity’s shock) "What's going on?"

Stunned silence. "Are you doing the right thing or the wrong thing?" "...The right thing... I dzust doo'd a poo." "Ah ... oh. Err..." "I doo'd two poos. I doo'd one in the toilet and one on the path. Oh. I should have doo'd it in the toilet. Sowwy Mummy."

There was not much I could do at that point. I told him to come upstairs and hop in Chubbity Bubbity's bathwater and wash, which he did (a measure of thoroughness could not be taken at this time) and went downstairs again.

I finished feeding Chubbity Bubbity and sang her sleeping song and put her in the cot. Then I went downstairs to survey the wondrous poo. I found Sonny Ma-Jiminy half-naked and busily digging a hole in the garden in which to bury the poo (always a bad idea but we did it once so that's what we do now. A pot-plant always has to go on top to stop Puppity Doggity digging up the poo, so now we have a little 'garden of poo-pots' which is a thoroughly stupid idea in anyone's language. Only a garden of potted poos would be stupider. And we should never rule that out before Sonny Ma-Jiminy turns 21.)

First I drew Sonny Ma-Jiminy's attention to the words Husband has written into the path using his high-pressure hose (yes, I said a 'high-pressure hose' - I blow my nose at your Level 6 Water Restrictions and your Anti Climate Change Regulations. We have a special dispensation for hosing under The Poo-On-The-Path Clause.)

Husband has scrawled the words "Don't Poo Here" in hyper-clean hose writing on the path. Following intensive coaching over the last week, Sonny Ma-Jiminy was able to tell me what it said. For a while we discussed the meanings of the words "Don't", "Poo" and "Here" and then we explored what "Don't Poo Here" meant. We talked about how he had obviously missed the point behind this most complicated of directions. Then with trowel, hose and toilet paper I dispatched the fragrant excrement while he said sadly, "Sowwy. Sowwy. Sowwy Mummy."

Sonny Ma-Jiminy thought he was being actively involved in the cleaning process, so he was happy. But really I just stopped him touching anything and stepping in poo. When Husband came home Sonny Ma-Jiminy ran to him excitedly saying, "We cleaned up the poo! You’ll be so proud of us!" showing he again had totally missed the point.

This sort of thing happens most days. Particular details differ, for example sometimes his wet pants are put in a container of water and a shovelful of dirt from the garden is dumped liberally over the top. I used to get neurotic and upset when it happened but now I've gone through all the Stages Of Grieving a poo-free existence and have arrived at the final stage: "Acceptance."

I now say to Chubbity Bubbity while I’m cooking, "How much time will we have before he does a wee and takes his pants off?" and "Will we be able to get this pumpkin in the oven before he poos on the path, do you think?"

And if you're a Mum of young kids, none of this is foreign to you. I don’t know why I even shared; you could have told the story yourself. It's your turn next time.

03 March 2008

Why did I SAY that?

I say such stupid stuff when trying to get Sonny Ma-Jiminy to behave the way I want him too. Parenting kids properly, in particular disciplining appropriately, swiftly and consistently is only possible when you can direct your full attention to the task. In the average day, that opportunity doesn't present itself very often.

This is why I find myself in distracted moments saying stupid things. Things like:

"If you eat too many snacks now, you won't have any room for your dinner. See, if you keep eating bananas and apples, you'll never have enough room for your ... err, your pizza ..."


"You're putting way too much on! Don't eat it now - you'll get ... um, Mayonnaise Poisoning!"

See? Senseless.

01 March 2008

Woman lost under underwear

BREAKING NEWS: Reports are coming in of a 31 year old mother who is currently trapped under a pile of clothes in her living room. It appears that after days of washing clothes and manchester, she failed to fold the items and put them away, collecting them instead in a number of large washing baskets.

Emergency services in are attendance. The co-ordinator of the rescue reported that the trapped woman's voice has been heard on a small microphone lowered down into the clothes pile.

"She was in good spirits, hoping to dig her way out before nightfall," he said. "The main barriers to the rescue now appear to be a bra entangling her arms and a baby's bib lodged in her mouth."

A short time ago a shocked neighbour was interviewed at the scene. "I know that she wastes a lot of time on her computer and drinking coffee," she reported. "She also tends to spend time playing with her kids and, yeah, I admit that folding and putting clothes away is not her forte, but wow - this - nobody should have to endure this. Trapped under her own washing piles like that. Horrible."

Locals and family members have volunteered to help in the rescue efforts. "I'm sure everybody is shocked by the news,'' a spokesman for the family said. "There are some kids and a husband who are looking for answers ... and some clean underwear today.''