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.
"Mum, can I paint on my easel?" Jessie asked for the fourth time. I sighed, but painting is usually manageable when she is alone and she has a painting shirt on. "Okay, sweetheart, I'll get Woody eating something so he won't get his hands in the paint, and then I'll come and set it up for you."
That was the beginning of the story. For the short cut to the ending of this story, read my post title above.
The long way to the ending is this. For half an hour, Jessie blissfully painted while singing a La-la-la-la! song to herself. Woody ate and then came to join her outside. I tethered him in the Fisher-Price swing above her head to keep him out of reach of the paint. Mr de Elba came home and stood transfixed at the sight of her painting and the sound of her sweet singing, with a look of love all over his face. After she had filled four pages with colourful swirls, squiggles and "a seagull carrying a kid", Buzz came home from school and they painted side-by-side. Then, in a moment of mental abstraction, I absent-mindedly took Woody out of his swing, put him down, and meandered back inside.
Soon after that, Jessie came inside brushing her hair back from her paint-streaked face and announced, "Mum, look what Buzz has done with my new orange paint."
I went, I saw, and I composed the title of this blog post in my mind. The next five minutes were filled with my annoying voice shrieking from height to strident height as I discovered more and yet more disaster involving acrylic pigment.
"Oh oh oh oh OH! Buzz, oh sweetheart you aren't allowed to squeeze paint out by yourself, that is a job for grownups and as you can see this new paint is really runny and OH NO can you just grab this rag and wipe the pavers and oh my goodness can I just reach over you there and wipe this off theOH NO Woody stop lying down in the paint, oh no! Can you just - oh my goodness look at your clothes what was I thinking when I took you down from the swing and let you wander around and just look at this over here! Oh my word are there any more rags over there and can you justOH NO I think it's time for you to get in the bath Woody and Oh don't grab that! Yes, well you may cry, of course your hands will be a scary blue colour if you grab the palette with all that blue paint on it. Just come inside and we'll get you cleaned up, you too Jessie, you've done some great painting but now it's time to finish, just come here into the bathroom -NOT you please Buzz, I am going to need you to use up that orange and that blue on these new pieces of paper here, just let me peg them onto the easel -NO WOODY don't touch that, don't step in that either, oh goodness. Buzz fill those bits of paper with orange and blue and try not to get any on your school uniform - yes I know your uniform is orange and blue but it's not going to look good so do your best to stay clean, now WOODY AND JESSIE! Come into the bathroom!WOODY! Sweetie please no, your blue hands have made the side of the bath all blue, please don't touch anything at all okay, now arms up, let's get your shirt and jumper off and now pants, nappy, socks, please don't touch that stuff, just wait here until the water is nice and warm, now hop in and hold still while I get some soap to get the paint off your face and hands, here rub this into your hands and the scary blue will come off, nowJESSIE can you step out of your painting clothes and your dress, leggings, socks, oh goodness how much Napisan do I have? And now you hop in too ... look at your face, hold still while I get some soap on here, now close your eyes and look up at the water with your eyes closed - eyes closed - and rinse it off .... (breathe) .... now just have a little soak."
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.