Archive | August, 2009

Welcome to the family….

31 Aug

Welcome to the newest member of our family:

bubblesThis is ‘Bubbles’ – so named because the colour of the car is champagne.

BC has christened the car with the full name ‘Bubbles Nemo Big Car’ and has fallen so in love with the new car that when I picked him up from kinder last week with our still very reliable and loved (but much smaller) Subaru he cried inconsolably all the way home ;-).

The car is a Toyota Avensis and is a seven-seater. It’s lovely to have so much extra room!

It’s the little things…

29 Aug

I was on the phone to a friend the other day, just chatting.

She asked how BC was going. This is how the conversation went.

ME: Oh, he’s doing great! Guess what he’s doing right now???

HER: Walking? He’s walking isn’t he?

ME: Umm. No. But he is sitting in the kitchen, on his own, eating a yoplait yoghurt from the tub!!

HER: Oh (disappointed underwhelmed voice)

ME: (excited voice) He’s never been able to coordinate holding on to the tub with one hand and using the spoon with the other. This is something he’s only just figured out! OH and he opened it himself too!

HER: Oh, um, that’s great. It’s great that he loves his yoghurt! My kids love yoghurt too…..

OK, so I know that I shouldn’t expect my friends to celebrate every little thing that BC does. And I don’t. I’m not writing this post to say anything negative about my friend, who is a great support and a lovely person.

I don’t really expect a parent of kids who learn all these skills just as a matter of course to appreciate the little journey that has preceded this success – the many, many attempts by BC to open a yoghurt lid on his own. The many, many different types of spoons that we’ve used to find the perfect one that allows BC to have a good enough grip and enough control to keep whatever food is on it from the bowl/tub all the way to his mouth. The many, many discussions about using a ‘helping hand’ and a ‘doing hand’ that have helped BC work on the focus required to do two different things with two different hands. The special chair and table that he uses. The non-stick mat that we put on the table so that it’s easy for him to set the tub down without it falling and lift up again without knocking it over…

I could go on. But my point is this – these little things, these micro milestones, are very exciting to me. They are each a tiny little piece in the jigsaw puzzle that when complete will say ‘INDEPENDENT!’.

The actual physical act of him eating yoghurt out of a tub IS a little thing, but it’s a GREAT thing.

And yes, oh yes, as my next line in the conversation went:

I am glad that he loves his yoghurt too ;-).

Friends

27 Aug

It seems that since I wrote that blue post about kinder duty, I am seeing kinder in a whole different light. A more positive one.

And positive things keep happening that prove that my concerns on that day were groundless – nothing more than me being a worry wart of a mum ;-).

Yesterday, when I picked BC up from kinder, his teacher asked me to wait so we could have a quick chat.

I thought it would probably be about the funding application that we are preparing for an additional assistant at kinder for next year.

But it wasn’t.

Instead, she wanted to share with me two lovely things that happened during the kinder session.

Firstly, at snack time, BC had walked from his table across the room to put something in the bin and then walked back again to his table. Unassisted (but using tables and chairs for support along the way). She told me that all the kids stopped eating and talking and watched what he was doing and when he sat down again they broke into a spontaneous round of applause. Four and five year olds celebrating the achievements of their peer. Beautiful. We both had tears in our eyes as she told me.

Next, she shared with me a series of photos of BC doing a puzzle with one of the girls in his class. BC and friend doing puzzle She told me that they spent ages working on it together.

(It’s me who cropped out his friend in this second pic, not their BC-centric photography. I know it looks a little weird but I don’t think it’s my place to put pics of other kids online without permission. But I still really wanted to share the pic because it’s such a lovely pic of them hugging).

BC and friend cuddling

Today, when I picked BC up from the childcare centre that he’s been attending once a week since he was 2, there was a rush on from the other kids to give him a hug good-bye. And one of them made us wait while she pulled out a page from her scrap book with a picture she’d just finished drawing.

‘It’s for BC’ she told me proudly, ‘because he’s my friend’.

Here’s the picture, which I really do think is worth a 1000 words.

friend

Book sharing Monday

24 Aug

Not too surprisingly, we have been reading lots of books about babies in tummies and about new babies in the house recently.

Two have proven to be favourites.

The first is called:

“What’s in your tummy, mummy?”, written and illustrated by Sam Lloyd.

whats in your tummy mummy

It’s a very entertaining lift the flap book which charts the growth of mummy’s tummy, while speculating hilariously on just what might be growing inside. Both my boys love this one. Only criticism is the pop up on the final page is a little flimsy and very easily torn.

It’s wiggling and jiggling and making a fuss.

I think it’s an…

Octopus?

Second up is preparation for later, after the baby is here. It’s called:

“You’ll Wake the Baby” by Catherine Jinks, illustrated by Andrew McLean.

You'll wake the baby

It’s a previous ‘Children’s Book Council of Australia’ award winner.

It’s also a great book for one of our favourite reading time tricks – changing the character names to the names of the boys. They LOVE to hear their own names in the story!

The book is about two lively children who try hard to play quietly enough to not wake their new baby sibling, but no matter how hard they try they find it quite difficult to find  a quiet game! It’s beautifully told and has a lovely ‘twist’ at the end.

It was a rainy morning. Andy and Annie were playing inside. They were playing Monster Wars. Andy was the green monster, and Annie was the purple monster. But they were making too much noise. ‘Ssh!’ said mum. ‘You’ll wake the baby!’.

Happy reading!

Kinder Duty – take 2

20 Aug

Yesterday saw me back at kinder for duty again.

I was very keen to get ‘back on the horse’ after my last session two weeks ago that left with temporary kinder duty blues.

And I am so glad I did.

What a difference a few weeks can make. As well as a sunny day and a positive attitude.

I decided to take Bean along this time. I was keen to see how he’d go joining in with the big kids.

BC was thrilled his little brother was coming along to kinder and super thrilled to have mum back at kinder so quickly.

The sun shone for most of the afternoon – the first time we’ve had such lovely weather in a long time – so the kinder teacher took advantage and we spent much of the first two hours with a picnic lunch followed by outdoor play.

After quickly scoffing down his lunch (no time to eat! gotta play!) BC took me around to each piece of play equipment one by one, showing me what he could do (including very impressively climbing up and over and rather tall A-frame rope ladder structure!). Bean wasn’t too far behind loving all the equipment and the busy busy big kids.

We then ventured into the chook run where BC confidently fed the chickens. Bean was also impressed with the chooks and was very brave around them as this photo shows!

Bean meets the chicken

BC also had lots of fun playing with the shaving cream, getting himself very icky gooey – including choosing to use some to ‘wash’ his hair, much to the amusement of himself and the other kids (sorry had too much shaving cream on my own hands at the time to take a photo!).

When we finally went indoors, there was some dancing and singing. I was impressed to see BC putting his hand up without any prodding to suggest an action for ‘If you’re happy and you know it’ (he chose ‘nod your head’).

And then it was on to indoor activities. BC started by doing a threading activity, but was definitely far too distracted by the goings on in the nearby ‘hospital’ to give it his best effort.

We abandoned the threading after a little while and took to the hospital. At first, he was happy to be the patient, but after a few minutes of being virtually bandaged from head to toe by the other doctors and nurses, he decided to transform into…..

Dr BC

Doctor BC

Seen here operating on his first patient. And YES he IS standing up on his own, with no support other than leaning against the operating table, balancing sufficiently to also manage preparing the bandage for his patient!

I don’t think I’d be more proud if he actually did become a doctor ;-).

He had a great time playing in the hospital, operating on several patients including helping to give birth to triplets! He had to literally be dragged away when it was snack time.

Bean, in the meantime, spent all his time playing with the play dough, and for the first time ever actually played with it (as opposed to trying to eat it).

Bean PLAYS with playdough

So, kinder was great.

I went home on such a high.

Doctor BC came home and set up a hospital for his teddies, but has demanded that I buy him a doctor’s outfit – as apparently you’re not a real doctor without one (including the glasses he assures me!)

Dr BC 2

Poo

18 Aug

Yes. You read right. Poo.

It’s not that I am obsessed with poo, but you know that you spend too much time taking care of the toileting needs of others when an email arrives in your inbox first thing in the morning with the message “Click here to watch the poo explosion!” and you automatically click the link, thinking, ‘sure! why not!’. (Turns out it’s an ad for nappies).

And you also know that it could be time to start seriously looking at toilet training your 2 year old when he is far too quiet in the op shop while you’re busy looking at clothes and you realise that’s because he’s put his hands deep into his very full nappy and is now proudly smearing poo all over the front of his shirt.

And you know you need to get some more detailed information when your 4 year old, sitting on the toilet, having just flushed away his business for the day asks you ‘Where does the poo go mum?’, is very dissastisfied with the answer ‘through lots of pipes under the ground’ and asks  ‘And then where does it go?’. Umm. Sorry BC. Really not quite sure how to answer that one in a simple sentence….time to do some research…

And why not, of course, by chance or by fate wouldn’t BC choose one of my all time fave books to read before bed tonight – ‘The Story of the Little Mole who Knew that it was none of his Businesss’

Yep. It’s been a stinky kind of day. ;-)

Little Mole

Book Sharing Monday.

16 Aug

Book Sharing Monday

Thanks to Bron at BigBrotherLittleSister, I recently found out about this great idea set up by the Canadian blogger at Serendipity. The idea is to share a children’s book every Monday. I am not going to promise to remember every Monday, but will do my best!

I’ve found it too hard to choose just one book to start off, so decided to go with a theme – being ‘WOMBATS AND POSSUMS’.

First up is ‘Possum in the House’ by Kiersten Jensen, illustrated by Tony Oliver.

Possum in the House

It’s a great book  about a cheeky possum that causes havoc as he romps through the different rooms of a family home. Dare any young one not to giggle as he rips up daddy’s shirts in the washing basket and best of all lands in the toilet ;-). Lovely story with great illustrations to match.

There’s a possum in the house and he’s hiding in the pantry.
“Help, help!” screamed Mum.
“Oh drat!” yelled Dad.
CRUNCH, CRUNCH went the cornflakes.
“Screech, screech!” went the possum as he ran into the…

Next up is an Aussie Classic ‘Possum Magic’ by Mem Fox, illustrated by Julie Vivas.

Possum Magic

It’s the story of two possums – Grandma Poss and Hush. Grandma Poss has made Hush invisible so that she will be safe. But when Hush decides she wants to be visible again, they need to go on a journey to find out what food will make this happen. Beautiful pics, a very sweet story and a great introduction to some yummy Aussie food for people from other places (some recipes for which can be found on Mem Fox’s website).

Grandma Poss made bush magic.

She made wombats blue

And kookaburras pink.

She made dingoes smile

And emus shrink.

But the best magic of all…

Now on to the wombats.

First up, ‘Wombats Can’t Fly’ by Michael Dugan, illustrated by Jane Burrell.

Wombats Can't Fly

Join two young wombats as they plan their first adventure in flight. It’s a very sweet simple story. LOVE the final illustration especially.

‘We’re going flying,’ they told their mother. ‘Don’t be silly,’ she replied.   ‘Wombats can’t fly. Wombats can chew roots with their strong teeth.’

Diary of a Wombat

Next, ‘Diary of  A Wombat’ by Jacky French, illustrated by Bruce Whatley.

Wombats are not well known for their super active lifestyles, so this ‘Diary’ is a funny little look at daily life for a fairly lazy animal that might not be quite so lazy as it seems!

Monday
Morning: Slept.
Afternoon: Slept.
Evening: Ate grass.
Scratched.
Night: Ate grass.

The Magic Pudding

Lastly is ‘The Magic Pudding’ written and illustrated by Norman Lindsay – another Aussie classic, this time for for older readers, about a talking pudding that never runs out. In this book, the possum and the wombat are the two scoundrels spending the book trying (mostly unsuccessfully!) to steal the pudding off the pudding owners Bill Barnacle the sailor, Bunyip Bluegum the koala, and Sam Sawnoff the penguin.

The plain truth was that Bunyip and his Uncle lived in a small house in a tree, and there was no room for the whiskers. What was worse, the whiskers were red, and they blew about in the wind, and Uncle Wattleberry would insist on bringing them to the dinner table with him, where they got in the soup.

Happy reading!

Cheeky sausage.

15 Aug

Chicken sausages were on the lunch menu for the boys today.

I put some cut up cucumber on the side, just for the illusion of a balanced healthy meal.

Both boys like their veggies, but like their sausage more, especially BC.

He finished off his sausages very quickly and asked for more.

I told him he needed to finish his cucumber first.

A minute or so later, he brought me his plate, empty with the order ‘All finished. More sausage please’.

I looked across to Bean, who was happily munching on the suddenly increased pile of cucumber on his plate.

I asked BC ‘Did you eat the cucumber or put it on your brother’s plate?’.

He gave me a cheeky smile and said ‘For my brother. But look. He’s eating it. He wanted it. Now can I have more sausage?’.

How could I possibly say no?

chicken sausage

In training

13 Aug

swimming pool

When I was swimming laps at the pool yesterday, another swimmer who often swims at the same time as me asked me between laps, ‘So, what are you in training for?’.

‘Childbirth’, I told him.

He blushed, smiled and swam away.

I wasn’t trying to make him uncomfortable.

I was telling the truth.

Having had the experience of a birth going about as pear shaped as it could possibly go the first time around, I was naturally quite nervous when I fell pregnant with the little Bean.

However, even though I was given the option of choosing to go for a caesarean, I really wanted to have another natural birth – only, a much better one. Partly because I hoped it would be healing and partly because (I’ll be honest), I was more scared of the thought of the c-section operation than I was of another natural birth.

I consulted with two different obstetricians before falling pregnant to discuss the risk of the same problem that led to BC’s traumatic birth (shoulder dystocia – which means his shoulder got stuck). And they both concluded that the risk was limited, unless the baby was another big one (BC was 4kgs).

So I got it into my head that if I went into swimming training during my second pregnancy, I could slim down the baby as well as myself, have my body better prepared to birth and reduce the risks to all.

It was not really the most logical argument, I know, but it made sense to me and worked brilliantly to keep my mind off any possible negative birth outcome. It just couldn’t happen again if I was super fit. No way.

AND luckily, I found the swimming itself incredibly enjoyable and grounding. I swam 1.25kms,  3 times a week without fail right up until the day before my waters broke.

And had a wonderful, blissful, uneventful, normal, (but yes, very painful) almost drug-free birth (gave in on the gas right at the last minute, just for about 30 seconds or so), during which time I felt strong and in control and confident in both my body’s ability to get it right and also that the baby would have absorbed all my fitness and make his way out, just fine.

So naturally, my intended course of action had been to do the exact same thing this time around with baby number 3.

However, my training schedule went out the window when my head went down the toilet. I swam up until the morning sickness kicked in, but then I was having enough trouble walking to the front door without throwing up or least having to have a little sit down half way along the corrider, so swimming wasn’t really an option (I could barely even manage a shower!).

BUT as soon as the morning sickness eased, I headed back to the pool. And I’ve been back again every 2-3 days since and have stuck to my 3 times a week schedule – and even upped my lap rate. I am now swimming 1.5kms each session and doing it in less time than it took me to do 1.25kms last pregnancy.

Not bad.

I have also started taking a once a week mums-to-be exercise class at the hospital, run by a physio. I had fully expected it to be lots of lying around on a mat doing cat poses and gently neck stretches while listening to classical music, so got quite a shock when it turned out to be a pretty decent aerobic work out to Kylie Minogue tunes.

I am loving the classes and enjoying the physio’s input into not only exercise suggestions and techniques but also general pregnancy health and body strengthening too.

So I feel like I am well into my training now. And right no track.

I’m not looking for a gold medal, a blue ribbon or a trophy, just a healthy little baby and a worry free pregnancy along the way where I just don’t allow myself to consider that any outcome other than a perfect one could be possible – as long as I put in all the hard work during the next 23 and a bit weeks.

And maybe I should think again about the trophy, after discovering this website which actually really does sell ‘baby trophies’. I have to admit they are kind of cute!

Baby trophy

It’s a ….. new car!!

11 Aug

Well, not quite new. Second hand.

And no. We don’t have one YET. It just isn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be.

Sigh.

Every since we knew Ogol was on the way, we knew that we would be needing a new car.

With Aunty J living with us it’s already a very tight squeeze in the Subaru sportswagon that we have. And with baby number 3, we are going to need something bigger, MUCH bigger.

I have never owned a big car before. Actually, I have never even driven a really big car before.

So the thought of buying a people mover has been pretty daunting.

Especially given that I have a bad enough track record with the little car that we have.

I NEVER hit other cars (or people!) but have a real knack for hitting fences, letter boxes, taps, stupid little poles that should never been where they were in the first place and (most recently) the garage door.

Luckily, I am not too car proud and I must confess to actually even liking the little dings all around the car as I always get a chuckle when I remember how it happened (nothing like laughing at your own clumsiness!).

But the thought of a BIG car is daunting. More surface area to make contact with other surface areas More paintwork to damage! Harder to park! Maybe harder to drive! EGAD!

We’ve been searching for a few weeks, and thought we’d come up with the ideal car – a Kia Carnival.

It gets a very good rating on the car safety website howsafeisyourcar.com.au and is massive enough inside to fit us all, along with a kaye walker, a pram, BC’s stroller and other bits and bobs.

We went and looked at one this afternoon. It was a 2004 model, looked brand new inside with very nice trimming, even a DVD player! Low kms, full service record, one owner etc. And was within our price range. We were almost ready to buy on the spot!

BUT the owner fatally mentioned that this was the better model because previous models had faulty engines, which this one did not.

So on my return home (and after reading a similar negative comment on a forum I am part of), I googled Kia Carnivals and engine problems.

This is what I found.

I’ll save you the trouble of reading it. All the reviews basically point in the same direction – dodgy, dodgy engine. Further research led me to other websites that seemed to reach the same conclusion.

Man. If it were just one or two negative reviews I might be OK with it, but it seems against the odds that all those people would have thrashed their car to an early death or have been just plain unlucky. I was particularly swayed by the comment that rated the only ‘pro’ of the car “makes a great cubbyhouse for the kids”.

So. Back to the drawing board.

There are several other cars on the market that tick all the boxes, except for one – price. They are just so much more expensive!

I’d particularly like to get one of these:

Citroen c4 Picasso

If it weren’t for the fact that it was about $25,000 above our budget.

So now we’re looking to check out one of these:

Toyota Avensis

There aren’t as many on the market as the Kias that are in our price range, but they seem to get pretty good reviews all around (although it’s a shame they aren’t reviewed on the ‘how safe is your car’ website).

And I love Toyotas. My first ever car was the super loyal and incredibly reliable 1976 Toyota Corolla, lovingly known as ‘Flo’. Many an adventure was had during my Uni years as we went ‘with the Flo’.

There  might not be a lot of Avensis cars for sale, but I consider that a good sign – people are holding on to them. And we will keep looking. After all, we only need to buy one of them ;-).

Any suggestions of other cars, advice or $20,000 donations (haha) would all be gratefully accepted as I really don’t enjoy buying cars (this will be only my fourth car in 18 years of car ownership!) and can do with all the assistance I can get.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.