31 March 2010
30 March 2010
We've got French in our heads here. We have read Léo le Chat a number of times and graduated to "Boucle d'Or et les Trois Ours" (Goldilocks and the Three Bears) which we read at least once a day, first in English and then in French. It's mainly for me. I've been sad to see 97% of my highschool French lost from my sieve-like intellect, and it's been great re-learning vocabulary and verb conjugations.
(Did I just use the word "great"? I wonder why I did that.)
Jessie has been learning a few (a very few) words and phrases. However she shows little to no comprehension, pulling out her stock phrase from Léo le Chat: "un peu" (a little) whenever she wants to say anything in French. Which would be good if I'd only asked the correct question in the first place, correct questions like:
Me: Jessie, did you eat ANY of that food?
Jessie: Un peu.
Me: Do you think you could manage some time today without asking me questions?
Jessie: Un peu.
Me: Is your nappy dirty?
Jessie: Un peu.
See? All it takes is to ask the right question, and she really has a very good grasp ... of the phrase "un peu."
Both Buzz and Jessie are learning the Goldilocks formula: Three Things - one big, one medium-sized and one small. They were highly amused when I noted that we had "trois kids" (we haven't come across the word "enfants" yet so I just used "kids" for comprehension purposes. I hope you'll forgive me.) "Un, deux, trois. Un grand kid, un kid de taille moyenne et un petit kid."
Jessie really loves the exclamation Goldilocks gives having broken the small chair: "Stupide Chaise!"
All this French reminded me this morning of how my father shared a staffroom with my highschool French teacher and how he loved to frustrate her with his deliberately awful French pronunciation. He would read it as if it was English, and put a very obvious broad Australian accent on it.
As I stood at the kitchen sink this morning, I remembered how in my first year of highschool, I was learning very basic French and Dad had been reading some of my homework exercises. His eye fell on some fictitious character introducing himself as Henry. "Je m'appelle Henri," my book read.
"Jeemy apple, Henry," Dad said. I knew he was being funny, so I just smirked and left it at that. But my French teacher thought he was serious. She was aghast when he announced he'd been "helping me" with my pronunciation, and then demonstrated with "Jeemy apple, Henry."
One day outside the staffroom, my French teacher, my Dad and I were discussing a French poem I was learning in order to enter into a recitation competition. When Dad suggested he might give me some coaching to help with my accent, my poor teacher tripped over herself to strongly dissuade me from taking his advice without insulting him right there.
And this morning, standing at my kitchen sink, I smiled with the memory. "Jeemy apple, Henry," I said out loud.
"What?" asked Buzz. "What does that mean? Did you say Jeevy Apple Hemrick? What is a Jeevy Apple Hemrick?"
I sighed and attempted to unravel the long train of thought that began with reading library books and ended up with me murmuring the phrase "Jeemy apple Henry" at my kitchen sink. Buzz seemed to understand a little bit, and then I took him off to school, with him repeating "Jeemy apple Henry" as he went.
People must think we're mad.
This is a tandem post with THIS ONE.
Crazy Sister: Hi, it's your sister here.
Me: That's a co-incidence, because it's yours here!
CS: What? Is that you?
(She was on her mobile, I was on speakerphone.)
Me: Yes. How may I be of assistance?
CS: I need some advice. I'm standing outside the Bank ...
Me (thinking): Oh no, she's been arrested...
CS: ... The automatic teller machine ate my card the other day and I'm trying to get it back. Now they've told me there are three cards on this account, but we only have two.
Me: That's weird.
CS: Yes. And the other problem is that we didn't know which cards to cancel, because we don't know which ones are the extra card and the lost card. So she's sent me outside to call Yummy Hubby to work out which card he has, so we know which two to cancel.
Me: Okay, so ...?
CS: Okay. So. Now I've just looked in my purse and I've actually found the card I thought I'd lost. I've had it all along.
Me: That is SO something that would happen to me.
CS (laughing): So here's my dilemma. Do I continue with this charade of having a missing card so I don't lose face, or do I just go back in there and admit it all?
Me: Ooooh. Tough one. Um - what about you go back in and ask the teller, "Hypothetically speaking, if I just by pure chance found the extra card in my purse, should I tell you about it or just go through with this lost-card charade to save face?"
CS: I guess that's the other option.
Me: Are they nice in the bank?
CS: They are ... officious.
Me (assuming officious means "efficient" but finding out later that it doesn't): Hm. Well. I'm not sure if my advice is any good.
CS (laughing): No, it was good. Thanks for your help!
Me: I was a HELP? Seriously?
CS: Yes, I think I'll do it.
Me: Okay then! Best of luck! Bye!
Ten minutes later, a text from Crazy Sister came.
"Bank lady just laughed and said, "Oh Bless! You must have been stressed!"
29 March 2010
28 March 2010
I enjoyed myself immensely this morning, playing piano in the worship band at church. It seemed that numbers were down a little which should have been a relief for my first day. However, nerves do a weird thing to you, and I found sweat coursing down my back while I hit some pretty ghastly wrong notes which hardly anyone noticed and I tried to ignore myself.
And now for something completely different.
My About Me page is now up. Please visit it to read the story of Lesley and the Fly, and also the details of my first kiss.
And now for something else completely different to that.
Tonight I looked up from my kitchen sink and saw the moon rising from behind some leaves of the trees outside. It was beautiful. I decided to take a photo so I headed off to put the following ingredients together: camera, long lens, tripod, and the moon.
I patiently explained to the clamouring children ("Can I have some milk please?" "Can you stick this onto this bit of paper please?") that I was just going to take a photo, and I took my tripod and camera outside. While I was fiddling with the settings and wondering how to take this photo on full manual mode, the clouds completely obscured the moon. I went back inside. I could have left the camera on the kitchen bench and tried again when the clouds cleared, but I didn't because of the old adage "Expensive Photographic Equipment and Butter Don't Mix."
My photographic career is not an auspicious one.
27 March 2010
I recently labelled all 600-odd of my posts. Doing this reminded me of things I'd written in the past.
What struck me from my writing 12 months ago was the number of things I was mourning the loss of as we moved away. A church I fitted in, friends I loved, a coffee-shop home group, playing piano in worship bands, a lovely house and a mental plan regarding where I will send my children to kindy and school.
Amazing really. We now have a great house in an awesome location, a church we love so much that we became members after 6 months there, a new coffee-shop home group, a great kindy and school to send my kids to and (buckle up!) tomorrow I am playing piano in the worship band for the first time!
At the rehearsal today, my soul went "Aaaaaahh! It's good to be back!"
At my last church I played in front of up to 200 people. Tomorrow it will be in front of 800 to 1000. And I'm doing a solo for communion. Oo wow. Goodness.
I'm just remembering to thank God for the opportunities He has opened up for me here.
Thankyou also to YOU my readers who stuck by me through the dark and grumpy days. You encouraged me so much, and reminded me that through blogging I've contacted many real and wonderful people who are able to offer support and love.
Thankyou. That's all I've got for tonight. Thankyou!
25 March 2010
Today I have been pollinating pumpkins. Despite the fact that pumpkins have been hitchin up and doin the deed without human involvement until now, when you don't have a lot of bees around, when you only have one or two plants, or when you don't want your lovely little punkins crossed with zucchinis, giving them a little help never goes astray. This is my first crop of pumpkins and seeing that we eat so much pumpkin at our house, I don't want to have a failed crop.
A few short months ago, I didn't know a single thing about growing pumpkins. Now I know the following facts about growing pumpkins:
1. If you bury garden scraps containing 316 discarded pumpkin seeds, you are likely to get 316 pumpkin plants growing in the exact spot.
2. I now know what embryonic pumpkin plants look like.
3. I know that if you want a pumpkin plant growing in that spot, it's okay to pull out 315 tiny pumpkin plants and allow just one to grow.
4. I know that the one remaining pumpkin plant will take up an unimaginably enormous amount of space.
5. To a pumpkin lover, this is a truly wonderful sight:
6. This is what a male flower looks like:
7. This is what a female flower looks like:
7b. This is a cucumber, don't let it confuse you if you're growing them side-by-side.
Actually, it would only be me who would be confused by this. Please ignore what I just said.
See the difference? Vive la difference.
8. My mother told me that you'll need both males and females and you therefore shouldn't go hacking off any of your radials until you are sure you don't need them. Even if you think your broccoli seedlings need the sunlight, do check before you go lopping off anything.
These two radials have grown through the sweet corn bed, and are now taking up my broccoli and cauliflower beds. They are a bit of a nuisance, but they are bearing female flowers. If I chopped these two off, I wouldn't be able to go cryin' to my Mum when I got no pumpkins.
Sorry, that was a bit dramatic.
9. Now this is the bit where you should avert your eyes if you want. The inside of the flowers are different. The male looks like this:
and the female looks like this:
I want to shout with joy, "It's a boy!" and "It's a girl!" when I see these pictures.
10. What you do is get the pollen from the stamen of the male flower and get it into the stigma of the female flower. It seems that you can't go too wrong in this step, but for more detail on knowing when male and female flowers are ready and different -er- pollinating techniques, read this great article. It begins with the marriage service of a male flower and a female flower.
11. Before you know it, the female flower dies and you see a Leetle Baybee Punkin:
I really have no right to go on about this like I've been doing it for years. I only mention it because it's what I've been learning recently. I hope that in a few months I won't be lamenting my non-crop of pumpkins, shamefacedly admitting I shot off my mouth on 25 March, appearing like the expert I'm not.
But that's a worry for another day.
23 March 2010
Over the last 6 months ...
"Look Mum, I'm cleaning up! Our house is so clean! Cleaner than A Old Lady's CAR!"
Buzz's Wallace & Grommit game was put on hold while Grandma visited briefly. She said she needed to go a few times, but stayed a little longer to see photos of Buzz on Mt Tabletop. Buzz asked a number of times to get back to his game, but to no avail. Finally he said, "Grandma, remember you were going to go?!"
Late September, on a secondary school camp, Buzz and Mr de Elba came upon a pair of highschoolers who had coupled up and were getting physically amorous. Reminding them of the camp rules, Mr de Elba said, "You know you probably should cool it guys," and Buzz added, "You shouldn't do that til you're married."
Playing a game on the iPhone: "Ooh, sorry to kill you. You could have come to tea if you weren't killed."
Buzz has been learning about the emergency services at kindy. One day he said, "If you shout at me, I will call the Police." I asked if he knew how to do that and he said, "I do. You get the phone and do zero-zero-zero and they will say 'Police, Fire or Ambly-ance'."
A few months later, I wanted to have a short rest so I asked the children if they could watch their movie quietly while I went for a 20-minute rest. I said that they didn't need to bother me. Then I said that if there were blood or flames, I did want them to come and wake me because I'd need to deal with that. Buzz replied, "Okay, I'll wake you. But not for flames. I can deal with that myself." "Er, can you?" I asked. "Yes," he said. "I just call zero-zero-zero and tell them, 'Police, Fire or Ambly-ance.'" It made me so nervous I didn't get to sleep.
Buzz asked for a drink one day and I asked if he wanted milk or water. He thought for a very long time and settled on milk. While he was drinking it, he said, "Know why I chose milk?" "No," I said. "I didn't want to waste the dams," he said.
Buzz and Mr de Elba had been talking about the events Buzz could enter in the Olympics, being such a good jumper. They discussed High Jump, Long Jump and Triple Jump. Buzz came out into the kitchen and announced "I can go in The Long Event! And The 5-Jump!"
"My favourite colour is RED! Well it's EVERY colour. Except pink."
22 March 2010
Labels: good times
21 March 2010
20 March 2010
19 March 2010
Time to resurrect a segment I used to call "Givinya de Answers." I still call it that, in fact. You ask me de Questions, and I get into the business of Givinya de Answers.
Jen1986 asked me:
"I love the porridge you give your family for breakfast. My biggest problem with porridge is getting it cool enough to eat and doing it QUICKLY!! My children always like to tuck in so quickly and they burn their mouths before I get a chance to cool each bowl of porridge individually. I know this is a silly question, but do you have any tips on the best method to cool porridge (or any food) down quickly?"
Not a silly question, Jen1986, not at all! We have a similar problem here. I guess a more organised mother than I would suggest that the entire pot be cooled down before they come to the table and the porridge is ladled out. But I'm not that hypothetical organised mother.
I have seen people put a bowl of food in a freezer for a few minutes to cool it down. I find this a slow way of doing it. I think it has something to do with a bowl of porridge having a high thermal entropy but I'm just not into the second law of thermodynamics enough to know if I'm right. Or how to explain it.
My method was inspired by seeing my own food cool down too quickly when put on cold plates or spread out across the plate.
I put the porridge in cool bowls and stir it continuously while blowing on it.
Makes me feel a little faint that early in the morning. After cooling three children's bowls of porridge down this way, I slump on the table and close my eyes for a minute.
My children however have their own favourite was of cooling porridge quickly. They put an ice-cube on their porridge and chase it around with their spoon until it's melted. At least that give me time to feed the baby.
Hope that helps.
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Do you have a question and would like somebody to be Givinya de Answers? Please email. There is a vague, tired, distracted mother of three young children waiting to attend to your request.
Labels: givinya de answers
17 March 2010
14 March 2010
10 March 2010
They say you should never judge a book by its cover. Easier said than done. Remember I was concerned about my lack of a doctor (GP) and wasn't sure if Dr M would be too brusque, incomprehensible and (worst of all,) male?
You wanna know something? I really like him. He loves a good chat and if you get him going, he will chat for ages. Today I got him going. Five minutes talking about blood pressure and 20 minutes talking about languages, countries, people and racial tensions. The more he talked, the easier I found his speech was to understand. I always knew he was a good doctor, but I didn't know how learned he has had to become, how travelled or how good he is at understanding how people work.
He speaks 6 languages. He has a wife with whom he has raised 6 children. He has managed gaps in his own school education due to war. He has managed educating his own children in different towns to his home and work, and he has continued their education while moving between countries. He has lived in a few different countries that have seen civil war and apartheid. He has worked in railways and in medicine. He has seen how speaking someone's language can diffuse racial tensions. He has been shown great kindness by people with different skin colour, and he has been judged by people with the same skin colour. Presumably, he's seen it all the other way around too.
Initially I was concerned because the conversation didn't flow freely in the early days. But sometimes all it takes is to get someone talking, and when they open the pages of their life, you see the picture so much clearer than if you've just got the cover to go on.
Oh, and one other thing - sometimes his clinic runs a little behind time.
09 March 2010
Now here's a little song that takes some thought. Well, it took me some thought.
Un sa joli soir que main comme par une boule a bonne,
Un deux de chez d'oeuvre cou la bas tres,
Ete sang assez satane ouate t'il y boule a bol de,
Huile comment valsant Matilde oui mis?
Valsant Matilde, valsant Matilde,
Huile comment valsant Matilde oui mis?
Et la gauche Cannes biere d'Asie passe par la boule a bonne,
Huile comment valsant Matilde oui mis?
[L'en Vert (aka Len Green), The Australian]
Mr de Elba didn't learn French, so he tried an Online Translator.
"One its pretty evening that hand as by a ball has good, One two from work neck it low very, Ete blood enough satane wadding you it swell there has bowl of, Oil how valsant Matilde yes put? Valsant Matilde, valsant Matilde, Oil how valsant Matilde yes put? And does the left Cannes beer of Asia pass by the ball has good, Oil how valsant Matilde yes put?"
Hmm. Not such a great idea.
So what do you think? Like the song?
07 March 2010
Updated: Thankyou all so much for your encouragement - it is going fine and I really couldn't compare current feedings to what you usually go through in the first few weeks! And yet, it's never pain-free unless you possess no nerves in your -er- thumbs. Do remember that ultrasounds of feeding babies' mouths show a nipple stretch of up to 2.5 times the usual length, and pause to wonder why it doesn't hurt for some people! (Lucky ducks!) It's quite normal for some women to say it's never nice. Try stretching your earlobe to 2.5 times its usual length five to eight times a day, and then wonder why some professionals say it "should be painless"! Joseph and I are doing fine, but I for one am looking forward to the day I will reclaim my body as my own, and finally buy some nice non-maternity undergarmentry that actually fits (and isn't six years old.) Until then, I am more than happy to keep on going. And remember that just because I keep on going will NEVER mean I judge women who don't, okay? Thanks for your comments - I know that if I did call it quits, I have heaps of support out there (in addition to the new undergarmentry I have promised myself.)
Breastfeeding. Some mothers love doing it. I think the only way I can explain what it's like to someone who loves it is by asking them to imagine that in some twisted, different universe, nourishing your child could be achieved by pounding your thumb with a hammer.
From when that baby pops out of you until around their first birthday (or sooner or later,) multiple times every single day of every week of every month of that first year, whenever that baby needs his or her tummy filled, you can achieve it by giving your thumb one good solid thump with a hammer.
It hurts every single time. Sometimes it hurts worse than others, but every time the baby cries you get that "Oh no, the baby is hungry, I'm going to have to do it all over again" feeling. And you head on out and pound your thumb with that hammer.
Some of your friends who are also in the thumb-pounding stage of life don't have any trouble. They claim that thumb-pounding is easy for them, and they and their babies immediately fell into a happy rhythm after the birth, getting skin-to-skin contact and starting the thumb-hammering right then and there in the delivery room. They hammer their thumbs every twenty minutes, they hammer their thumbs while walking around the house getting on with life, they hammer their thumbs while side-lying in bed. And for you, hammering your own thumb is painful and difficult and it never gets any easier.
They label their babies "good babies" because their thumbs don't hurt after being mercilessly pounded with hammers. You feel the sting of the implication that your baby may possibly be a "bad" one because your thumbs actually hurt with one good whack of the hammer, not to mention repeating the torture eight times a day.
Your thumbs hurt constantly and the pain does not subside before the baby is hungry once again, meaning you have to pound thumbs that are already sore and sometimes bleeding from the last pounding.
All the current literature says that if you keep on pounding those thumbs regularly every time the baby whimpers, they will suddenly stop hurting when the hammer falls. "Just persist," writers suggest cheerily. "It will get better."
In addition to the literature, there are a group of professionals who specialise in this field. They are called "Thumb-Pounding Consultants." Some of them understand that for some people, smashing the thumbs with a hammer actually does hurt and always will hurt every time. But some of them seem to be employed solely to convince you that there will be no pain if you start pounding the same thumbs with the same hammer, but using a slightly different position.
So you try all sorts of positions, but it seems to you and the Thumb-Pounding Consultants positioning is perfect while your thumbs are being pounded. If you then confide to the Thumb-Pounding Consultant that you're actually suffering toe-curling pain, she will recommend that the thumb-pounding be stopped, everyone involved should change their position slightly, and then you reattempt to pound your thumbs. But you're still in pain. It's easier to tell a lie and say everything is much better, just to stop the consultant from annoying you while you grit your teeth against the pain.
Imagine too that there is a quick, easy and relatively inexpensive way to artifically infuse your baby with nourishment that avoids any thumbs being pounded with any hammers ever again. You notice that babies being nourished this way suffer the same number of illnesses, are at the same risk of allergies and appear to develop at the same rate as the babies who are nourished while their mothers pound their aching thumbs with hammers.
However, for no reason other than that you are certifiably insane, you continue with the thumb-pounding method. For a YEAR. Because it makes so much sense.
I bet that if one was forced to whack one's thumbs with a hammer each and every time the baby fed, one wouldn't "demand-feed." Wouldn't feed until your child was one. Would laud the day your child started eating "solids" instead of waiting as long as possible.
Sometimes I envy those of you who find it easy.
Not least because in the week after giving birth, soaking off blood-encrusted breast pads in the shower is no fun.
06 March 2010
I was at the library recently and I overheard a lady with her little girl about Anna-Lucia's age. They were speaking to each other in fluent French. I learned French in highschool and loved it, and now my closest contact with the world of français is dear Suvi, whose inclusion in a French immersion class has me quite green with envy.
It inspired me to check out if there were any beginner French books to borrow for Nat and Anna-Lucia. I found a few, and brought them home. We read them often and it's amazing how quickly the French seeps into their little minds!
Yesterday, Anna-Lucia had an itchy spot on her leg, and was scratching it.
A-L: Un peu.
Me: Où? Fais voir.
A-L, pointing at her leg: There's my 'là'.
05 March 2010
I know that if you're participating, you're supposed to do your "Not Me!"s on Monday. Well, this may be my first "Not Me":
I did NOT get so fed up with a bunch of things that I posted my "Not Me!" three days early.
There. Now there are a few other things that have been rattling around in my brain and I feel the best way to express them is by stating most emphatically that they are NOT the case.
Okay. Well, to start with, I have NOT allowed my blog to go for days without a post. I didn't let it languish into a whole other month. And if I ever did, the reasons would NOT be these pathetic excuses that follow:
- 1. I have NOT experienced wirters block, oh no, NOT ME! I never get that. I always find a heap of wonderful, witty, insightful and intersting things to blog, every single day.
- 2. I have NOT been spending too much time mucking around with my blog template instead. That would be a waste of time. I would most certainly just make a template, get it right, and be done with it.
- 3. I do NOT have a major problem with a navigation bar I made for my new template, and I do NOT have a major problem with the comments disappearing from my posts in my template-making blog. Nope! Everything I need to know is easily Googleable and HTML is a piece of cake! Ooo yes indeedy.
- 4. I am not putting a pathetic plea right here for anyone who can help me with a little HTML to please come to my aid and help me out of my puddle of HTML woe.
I am NOT a little behind in housework. I had the place really nice on Monday and Tuesday, and there's no way that it would be a tad untidy by Friday. In particular there are not damp globs of baby-chomped bread on my floor.
After cooking something quite amazing and absolutely exhausting (highly recommended: try it or regret it) last night, I have NOT collapsed in a heap today and am blogging instead of preparing my chosen meal for tonight: that which a small family friend calls "sketti bol". Nope, I am on the ball every single day around here.
I think I will now NOT pour myself a small glass of red wine.