I am the Mum. If life was a circus, I would be the plate-juggling lady with monkeys on her shoulders who stands on one leg on a horse's back as it canters around the ring.
I am the Writer. I use too many commas, dashes and dot-dot-dots, and I often start sentences with conjunctions because I like my blog to look the way it sounds in my mind.
I am the Hero. Life is a bit like a superhero action comic, except that the superheroes are tiny children dressed in super-suits who possess no actual powers, while I just get them food, break up fights and clean their super-suits.
Buzz is the Superhero who saves my day. He is a faithful friend and brother, willing to lead his sidekicks into intergalactic adventures ... to infinity and beyond.
Jessie is a feisty cowgirl who knows her mind and is willing to give anyone a piece of it. She is wild and spirited, she loves large animals but is terrified of small harmless critters. Jessie would rather find a rattlesnake in her boot than have her hair washed and brushed.
Woody loves rounding up his gang and charming the crowd. He's not keen on the war-whoops of the other varmints or on being smothered with too much affection, but he loves seeing the lay of the land while riding high in the arms of his Sheriffs.
Rex is the much-awaited newest member of our outfit. He joined us in July 2012, and is therefore too young to have much said about him. He drinks a lot of milk and all he can say is "Rarr!"
"No, Buzz, I AM your father."
Mr de Elba is dark and handsome with a loud laugh. He is a fun and loving father who enjoys spending time with his children. He's great at computers - this means I have my own personal IT Guy, but also that he often falls asleep in front of computer games at night. He makes great coffee, does the best Chicken Tikka Masala, cooks a mean barbecue and plays guitar frightfully well. He is, however, no good at doing accents.
Bullseye has been contributing to Blue-Tongue Lizard and Bandicoot Attrition Rates since we moved in to a new house which backs onto some forest. She either moves in quantum motion or possesses the power of ubiquity. She can often be seen, apparently simultaneously, at both the side door and the back door. Her arch-nemeses include dogs and other animals smaller than her. She harbours a deep envy of aeroplanes and birds who possess what she so desperately craves: Altitude.
Before Nat was born, I was in hospital a few times overnight having my blood pressure taken every two hours. That was fantastic for my stress levels, and consequently it was great for my blood pressure. But medicine knows best.
Anyway. It was interesting being an inpatient on the maternity ward before actually becoming a mother. I had the opportunity to hear many different babies crying all through the night while the nurses' bell rang over and over again. At one stage the door between the ward and Birth Suite was left open for a time and I enjoyed the soothing sounds of a woman in hard, active labour, most probaby the pushing stage. It gave me a unique opportunity to look forward to my turn the following day. It was a wonderful way to spend my final few nights of non-motherhood before I had to -you know- have interrupted sleep every night for the next decade. But medicine knows best.
I got a little carried away in the previous two paragraphs, but I was trying in a roundabout way to introduce the topic of Other People's Babies And Their Cries. During those nights (and the night when I was hospitalised before the birth of Anna-Lucia for the same reasons) I lay awake listening to Other People's Babies' Cries. Some of them were hoarse and raspy, others were insistent and grating, and some were just plain bizarre. All of them made me think, "I bet that mother is mortified to know that her baby has such an embarrassing cry, and we are all listening." I sure was arrogant. But I share my weaknesses with you.
The first night in hospital after the births of Nat and Anna-Lucia, I watched them as they screwed up their tiny faces, opened their minuscule mouths ... and ROARED. "I must say," I congratulated myself, "they are loud, but they have very normal cries. Not too hoarse, raspy or grating, and nothing bizarre."
And lo, I filled with pride.
But God wanted to remind me that pride goes before ... a fall, and so when He was creating sweet Joseph, he dipped into the Bottle of Weird Wails.
On Joseph's first night in the hospital, I watched in puzzled amazement as my beautiful baby boy opened his tiny mouth and cried, "raasssp ... SNORT! raasssp ... SNORT!"
From, as you probably know, "Are You My Mother?" (c) 1960 P. D. Eastman.
But since two surgeons had just sliced me open and most probaby allowed a cat and a dog to fight it out inside me, I decided I couldn't care less about the cry my little bloke was emitting.
He's seven months old now, and he still snorts.
On Sunday a friend of ours did the devotion part of the church service before communion. It was great, but we struggled to hear what she was saying over our children who took turns becoming frustrated and loud.
At the end, our friend said, "Now let's share in the communion entirely free of distractions."
I turned to the couple behind us who had a 2½ year old girl and whispered, "Did she just say 'free of distractions'?" "Yeah, we had a laugh at that too," they replied.
So on we went with communion. Communion is open for all who love Jesus at our church, and so once our kids get some basic concepts about God, Jesus and Jesus' death on the cross for us, we let them join us if they're in "the right place" and can focus on the meaning of it.
I was trying to hold Joseph while I got two pieces of bread and two minuscule cups of juice to share with Anna-Lucia. Then Joseph grabbed a cup and spilled it on the little tray.
He went on to be loud and difficult while I gave Anna-Lucia her bread and juice, and continued arching his back and whinging as Anna-Lucia and I said quietly, "Thankyou God, for Jesus."
Then during the final prayer he arched backwards right over my arm, and he sucked in one great big
It was later commented on by someone sitting several rows behind us.
I am a part-time speech pathologist, and try to cook, keep a garden alive and take photos that don’t make us look like we are pharmaceutically affected or dangerously homicidal.
I often suffer from Mumfail but I keep hanging on to the One who picks me up when I fall. If you email me, I’ll answer.
And if all that is too much, just read my “Best Of."
I know. It seems crazy to go back to pseudonyms now that Mister Internet knows our real (first) names. I blogged for 8 months with real names because I love the names that I gave my children, and I wanted my friends to know us better! Now that you do, I'm ready to go back to my original blog genre using pseudonyms, so here we go.
This does mean that "Jessie" is onto her fourth Blog Name. What can I say? I've never found the perfect one.
Jones quips, "Hence the expression - Givin' ya the Elber!" (giving you the elbow, i.e., pushing you around.) I thought that Givinya de Elba was a half-decent pseudonym for someone who likes to joke and push people around, and I stuck with that.
"Er, sweetheart, killing a fly with a ukulele is probably the wrong thing to do ..."
I thought it sounded like something I'd say; something that summed up the parenting experience quite well. A bizarre yet offhand, languid suggestion that pest control was best achieved without the use of musical instruments.