Saturday, 27 December 2008


We had a lovely Christmas, and this pic kind of sums it up - lots of mess, but lots of fun. The Meccano was a hit, though "it is a bit complicated". The instructions are not super-easy to follow, and D'Arcy needs some adult help to make the projects. Erik got a good collection of board books and toys - including Where is the Green Sheep from Auntie Laura with a soft green sheep as well. His other current favourite is a Lamaze toy tiger that has crinkly ears and a tail that you pull which makes the whole tiger buzz.

I have some video footage of Erik cacking himself with Jan and D'Arcy but it needs some editing before I put it up.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008


A big shout out to Jackie from Purple Turtle Toys. The new Meccano set arrived this morning, and thought I haven't unwrapped it (it's sitting under the tree in its shipping bag) I'm assuming it's all fine. So if you have any kids' toy needs give them a burl. I don't think their range is huge, but prices seem good, and their service rocks!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Finally, the dental update.

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
Recovering well from the dental woes now. He's quite pleased with his new pirate tooth, and has been warned not to eat Minties, toffee or Redskins while he has the crown, due to the risk of it separating from the tooth. Not a lot more to relate. He's kept the tooth in a surgical bag that the dentist put it in, but hasn't yet left it out for the tooth fairy. it's all at his dad's so I can't put a pic in here right now. It only had two roots left, which is kind of scary, but means it came out easily. He coped well with the sedation, but it took a long time for him to come 'round afterwards, and he was wobbly for the rest of the day. The hole is healing up nicely, but still looks a bit scary, so I have kindly not included a pic of that either.

Erik is still toothless, but I keep thinking it can't be long now. He can sit unsupported for a very short time, and we celebrated his half birthday by going to the annual birth centre picnic and seeing our midwife who is still lovely. Erik sat with her for about 20 mins, after a bit of screaming initially. He's reached that point of "ooh, strangers, not sure about this" but with some people it doesn't happen still. There's a cafe we go to sometimes, and the (Vietnamese) proprieter took him around to meet all her cow-orkers last time we were there. He was fine. Not a squeak, no complaining at all.

D'Arcy has gone to his dad's for an early christmas tomorrow, and he'll come back to me on Tuesday or Wednesday. I got a phone call fthis evening from someone at a mail order company where I ordered a Meccano set for D. The woman was very apologetic, and said that the set I'd ordered has sold out, but that she would upgrade us to another (more expensive) set at no extra cost, and it would be couriered to us on Monday. So here's hoping. I'm impressed so far, will update when it turns up (or not).

Yet again, I have failed to send cards to my friends and loved ones. I actually looked at some photos form a forgotten camera yesterday, hoping to find an appropriate one of the boys to make into cards, but to no avail. Sorry. Especially to anyone who has sent one to us. I think all the present buying is finished, so it's time to stop stressing I guess!

Thursday, 27 November 2008


Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
The beloved brought back some genuine western wear for the boys from his recent trip to Texas. Here are some resulting photos.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Who'd'a thunk it?

grown up eating
Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
Erik, at 5½ months is ready for solids. For a couple of weeks now, whenever we eat in front of him he watches the passage of food to mouth, and drools, and chews experimentally. So today I decided it was time to start. I think he enjoyed it, he ate most of the rice cereal I made up, some went on his hands and face, but not too much, and he even opened his mouth for the spoon after the first couple of goes. Let's hope he proves to be more interested in food than his big brother.

D'Arcy has been saying he just wnts to "get it over with' in terms of his dentistry, which is an interesting attitude. I keep reminding him it's only 2 weeks away. Perhaps it's because I've promised him some new Pokemon cards for his recovery phase.

The beloved came home from his 2½ week trip to the US and Erik cried when he saw him. A lot. It only took about 15 mins for him to be happy again though. My mum came over and told the story of when she went to hospital for 2 weeks (when I was 18 mths) and for some reason decided that it would be less traumatic if I didn't visit her there, so when she came home I didn't know her, and ran away. I guess there's a lesson in that.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Advance apologies to the squeamish.

DARCY teeth 2
Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
So, here's a picture of the left side of D'Arcy's mouth. As you can see, the 6 y.o molar is, indeed, pushing on the 2 y.o molar. In fact it has almost totally destroyed the root of the 2 y.o molar, leaving a nice space for bacteria to grow into the kind of abscess he had last week. In about 2 weeks the paediatric dentist will take it out, on the grounds that there's plenty more crowding that will have to be dealt with in coming years, so teeth moving around to take up the space isn't such an issue. He will also fill a cavity on the other side, and put a stainless steel cap on another badly decayed tooth. There was a stern lecture on the value of good dental hygiene, at which D protested "my dad doesn't let me clean my teeth". You can probably imagine how this went down! I admitted to complacency, as I have reached the age of 39 with no holes (yay, flouride!) and we have a renewed campaign of toothbrushing twice a day and flossing with the little floss-on-a-stick things that the dentist reckoned would be easier for small people to operate.

D'Arcy is understandably nervous about all of this. He'll be under sedation (because the dentist thinks it's better to do all three at once, so he can't have one done and then get cold feet!) which is a new and scary thing, but is trying to be stoic I think. He's a good fellow really.

Fortunately Erik still has no teeth, though he's been carrying on like a pork chop for the last couple of days, so perhaps they aren't far off.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Another poo post (sorry)

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
It had been almost 3 weeks since the last real, big poo. This afternoon Erik had been kicking on the floor with his nappy off, and it was only a couple of hours until bath and bed time. "He hasn't been in cloth nappies much" I said to my mum, and thought I'd put one on. So I got it, laid it out on the floor and folded it confidently, explaining to mum as I put it on that if you tuck it around the legs as you bring the middle bit up, you get a neater nappy and that as long as there was no gargantuan poo, it should be fine. I spoke too soon. After the preliminary cleaning up, a bath was in order, and here is a very satisfied, post-bath boy in his lovely hooded towel. All that remained was to soak the nappy, and the cover.

In other news, D'Arcy's second ever course of anti-biotics is going well, and he's going for his mouth X-ray tomorrow, with his step-mother. Day off school. I feel a bit sad - I'd like to go with him for hand-holding, but also glad that he's comfortable enough with her that it's fine if she takes him. I think he's smart enough that if he wants me there he'll ask me, unless he gets into "I don't like to ask because mummy's often busy with Erik and it might be easier if she doesn't have to take me". I'll check in with him tomorrow about that one.

Edit Ah. I just realised that I hadn't blogged about D'Arcy's dental woes. Right.
Last weekend he said "mum, my tooth hurts" and I said "that'll be a trip to the dentist then" and promptly forgot about it (well, he went to his dad's). When he came back to me on Wednesday, A (his step mum) said "I think D'Arcy has an abscess on his tooth". I had a look, and it wasn't pretty. My mum had a look and said "it might be what they used to call a gumboil" she being the tooth-abscess expert in the household. A made an appointment at the dentist for the next morning, and offered to take him. She arrived at my place around lunch time bearing a prescription for penicillin. Turns out he (like his dad) has a mouth too small for all his teeth. His (still emerging) 6 year-old molar on that side is kind of impacted and growing into his 2 year-old molar next to it, causing irritation and infections. This is likely to continue until the 2 year-old molar falls out in 4 years time, by which time there will be even less room in the mouth. His dad had four teeth removed and braces as a teenager. Bugger. Bugger bugger bugger. The mouth X-ray is a precursor to an appt with a paediatric dentist on Wednesday, so we'll see what he has to say. One thing they could do is take out the 2 year-old molar, but as it's 4 years until its permanent replacement is due to grow in, in the meantime the other teeth will all move around to take advantage of the space and the problem continues. He's already got overcrowding in the front where he's lost 4 teeth, but the two middle ones are taking up all that space...Blah.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Most excellent birthday present

We finally got around to opening the rest of D'Arcy's birthday presents last week. These were from a girl friend of his, and while he wasn't particularly thrilled ("oh, books" just like his bloody father in that respect!) I could hardly contain myself. I haven't read any of the #1 Ladies, but they are on my "must get to" list. D'Arcy was convinced to start Akimbo and the Elephants the other day and read it to my mum. She observed, as I have, that he reads aloud with no expression whatsoever. I'm trying to remember if this is normal or not.

Erik has a new chair to sit at/on the table with, which he hates, as he does with anything new, but we're persevering. Pic on Flickr. screaming now, must feed. Bye.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

I love The Onion for many reasons. Mainly this today.

Our yard signs showed up just in time (around 11 am) and we had a few people around to watch CNN with us. D'Arcy got home from school during McCain's concession speech, and watched Obama's victory speech. He's been pretty interested in the whole thing. The beloved is slightly bummed that it looks like Al Franken won't get up in Minnesota. Apparently it's time for a recount there, and he's headed home with Grandma Joyce just in time!

Monday, 3 November 2008

Catching up

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
Last weekend (what a long time ago it was now!) we had a long weekend in Sydney, to show Grandma Joyce some of the sights. So we did the usual touristy things - ferry trip to Manly, ride on the monorail to Darling Harbour, Aquarium and Wildlife World, stand on the steps of the Opera House. We had a good time, but we all came home very tired, and D'Arcy came back with a cold. That would have been OK, but it was his birthday this last week, so he had to have another day off school to be ready for it.

Sadly I have no photos to prove that he is now 8, despite the fact that he had 4 birthdays: one with his dad and family a few days before; one at school in his class on the day (well, just cake really); one with my family on the day; and one a the local laser-tag place with some friends yesterday. At the two events where I was present I was either trying to wrangle food, or babies, or children, and didn't have a spare hand for a camera. No-one else thought to take any either, sadly, but perhaps I can get a snap of him opening some presents from his party that came to my house yesterday.

We are gearing up for the election, hoping our yard signs arrive in time for our party at least (they were on back order, and didnt ship with everything else), and inviting all the ex-pats we know. Still cautiously optimistic and not putting voice to the many fears of nightmare pre- and post-election scenarios (and there are plenty of them, trust me)

Erik can now roll from his back to his front (there's video of it, but it's still on the camera), but not the other way, and he gets grumpy if someone else doesn't rescue him and flip him back over. He's also very interested in his toes, and in shoving everything that comes within reach into his mouth, also becoming excited about watching us eat and tracking the progress of food to the mouth. He'll be 5 months this week, which is very hard to believe.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Moving right along...

So the poo post wasn't very popular in terms of comments was it? Sorry. We got to 10 days, just in case you were wondering.

I bumped into a friend at the shops the other day who I haven't seen since Erik was born, but she said "I've been reading your blog" and so she knew that E had arrived. She said "I found out about it through X" which was also a surprise, as i didn't know that she was reading either. Perhaps it's time I got a stat counter? What do people recommend? On that note, kind of, if you're lurking, please leave a comment now and then so that I know that you're out there!!

My mum's sister-in-law (who is known as 'Melbourne Jan' to distinguish her from my mum, or 'real Jan' as D'Arcy once called her) was visiting for the weekend. She brought a lovely quilt that she made for E. So far I only have a dodgy photo but it's better than nothing! It really is stunning, and I'm thrilled! She made me one when my marriage ended and I moved out of the house that I loved and away from my chickens, garden and cat, that I'll have to post a pic of some time. Anyway, here's Erik on his quilt, having some 'tummy time' to stop his head going flat on the back!

The other good acquisition news we have is that the box of Obama campaign merchandise we ordered a few weeks ago arrived today. They don't ship internationally, so we had to go through a dramatic rigmarole of getting it sent to a friend who sent it on to us. Here is someone displaying his son, dressed in his Obama-baby onesie. We got big people T-shirts too, but they'd run out of the kids sizes, so D gets a sticker instead. He's quite interested in the process of elections at the moment, since our federal last year. The household Americans have already voted, and sent their ballots off to be counted. Phew. I'm now quite optimistic about the results of this one. Shame I can't vote.

Off to put the small boy in the bath, and hope that Blogger's current spasm of inability to save fixes itself!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

It's been eight days now

Some of you may know that when a baby is fully breastfed they can go for some time between poos. In some ways this is good and convenient (fewer nappy changes in general and much easier to deal with). In others it's a real pain in the arse (so to speak). It seems that as the time period between grows longer, Erik gets progressively more cranky, and sleeps less. The overall effect of this on you is that I blog less. Sorry. Yes, it was all just an apology post. I fiinally managed to put some photos up on Flickr yesterday, and am today managing to write a post. Kind of. See, I don't get to sleep during the day when E is cranky, and he also sleeps less at night, keeping me awake more. It's not a very sensible strategy from an evolutionary point of view is it?

On the developmental side of things, Erik has started to reach for things and shove them in his mouth, which is very cute. His grandma Joyce is having a lovely time (he's her only grandchild) and this is her first time out here. We've been spending lots of time in cafes (as you'll see if you look at the flickr pics) which seems to work out fairly well for everyone.

I've just bought a new baby carrier for Erik. It's an Ergo, and it's more comfortable than the previous options I had. I expect I'll be using it later today when we go to meet our friends Trish and Andrew who are in town.

D'Arcy is still enjoying his brother most of the time, he's got school this week, after some holidays, and he's looking forward to his birthday, which is coming up soon!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

From this:

To this:

Well, it's not quite a reliable replacement yet, but I think we're on the way. he's certainly sucking it a lot when he's awake.

In other news, he did roll over a couple of times the other day (front to back), but then forgot how.

D'Arcy is on school holidays this week and next, so I'm trying to think of amusing diversions for him, without much success. We might go down the coast a bit in the second week, depending on how we go this week. He's been a bit sick again lately. This winter term is so hard on young kids, it goes on for ever with no public holidays to give them a break, and they all get sick. D's teacher said that there were only 14 in the class for the last couple of days (out of 23)!

Having the MIL here has been good, very low-key, and she's thrilled to see her grandson. He's the only grandchild she will ever have, so it's pretty special for her. I'll try to get some photos of her with him for the American relatives to see

Monday, 15 September 2008

A Photo a Day While Daddy's Away 15

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
I have a boy who smiles! He's very pleased with himself here.

D'Arcy reported that he got $2.20 from the tooth fairy, that her name is Veronique, and that her favourite colour, like D'Arcy's, is black. These were answers to questions he asked her in the letter he wrote her.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

A Photo a Day While Daddy's Away 14

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
Erik turned around in response to his name, I think. Not long until Daddy gets back (2 sleeps - well, 2 of my sleeps) and Erik gets to meet his Grandma Joyce!

D'Arcy lost a tooth this morning (at 6 am) so he took it to his dad's house today, and he's written a note to the Tooth Fairy, apparently, so we'll see how it goes. I've got off lightly with the tooth fairy recently. Almost all his teeth have fallen out at his dad's.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

A Photo a Day While Daddy's Away 13

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
The swing has not been a Great Success, I'm afraid. But my mum has slowly and patiently been trying to get Erik to sit in if for short periods and acclimatise. Today's effort was the best so far, about 10 minutes before he started to complain.

Friday, 12 September 2008

A Photo a Day While Daddy's Away 12

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
D'Arcy took a truckload of photos of Erik this morning, and lots of them are lovely. Not always well centred in the frame, but he got some good facial expressions, which is more than I can usually do! There are more like this one on Flickr. I took Erik to the clinic to have him weighed this morning, and he'd put on 400g+ in 10 days, but I suspect that a lot of that is poo, as he hasn't done one for days. The clinic nurse warned that it would be huge when it finally came!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

A Photo a Day While Daddy's Away 11

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
A boy and his grandmother. He's been having a fairly grotty day today, not much sleep. And I though we'd been moving into a nice routine...

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

A Photo a Day While Daddy's Away 10

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
Someone who had just woken up. In his bassinette.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

A Photo a Day While Daddy's Away 9

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
Taken this morning by D`Arcy, who needs to work on focus, in more ways than one!

Monday, 8 September 2008

A Photo a Day While Daddy's Away 8

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
Someone doing one of his favourite things...

Sunday, 7 September 2008

A Photo a Day While Daddy's Away 7

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
Here is a boy sitting on the sofa almost smiling at his grandmother. He's wearing a lovely suit that a friend of my mum's gave him which says "le girafotte" on it, despite the fact that she bought it in Italy. Even though it's in girly colours it doesn't seem to make him look very girly, or perhaps it's just because he's my boy. You can see (almost) that he scratched the left side of his head with his extraordinarily long finger nails while he was having a big scream today.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

A Photo a Day While Daddy's Away 6

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
If you think this is a weird grainy photo, you'd be right. What i didn't do, though, is save the original (a black rectangle) and all the stages in between. Basically it's a really low-light shot, without flash of Erik asleep in his car capsule. At least I thought he was asleep, but it seems he was more awake. The only tool I have is iPhoto, which has brightness/contrast adjustments and an 'enhance' button. Using a combination of these, I transformed my black rectangle into a weird grainy photo of my boy. I like to think of it as being like a painting by George Seurat. Or something.

D'Arcy's Favourite LoL

more animals

D'Arcy has been exposed to the hilarity that is ICHC. Actually they work well on him, as his literacy level is such that reading them makes more immediate sense to him than standard English,and unlike adults his brain hasn't become fixed to standard English spelling yet.

Friday, 5 September 2008

A Photo a Day While Daddy's Away 5

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
Another Jolly Jumper pic, this time at my friend Amanda's house. Amanda's daughter Emily 2¾ put the funny hat on Erik's head.


Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
Here's someone trying to remove his own tooth so he can get the dough frtom the tooth fairy earlier...

Thursday, 4 September 2008

A Photo a Day While Daddy's Away 4

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
Two boys on the sofa, looking solemn, but at least Erik's not screaming. He was, but I managed to snap him when he wasn't. D'Arcy is going to his dad's tonight, as his dad is getting married tomorrow (I know, on a Friday). D'Arcy is very excited - he gets to wear a suit and look after the rings, and he gets to see his Adelaide grandmother.

My mum has been here, and we've made a big mess in the guise of cleaning things up getting ready for Grandma Joyce to come. It is very good.

Also in the good category - Erik has been asleep for 2½ hours this morning. Showing some signs of waking up soon, but not there yet. So I've been looking through cooking magazines for nice things to eat over the next week and a half. Lots of fish.

Ooh, Erik is making his "I'm waking up" squeaky noises.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

A Photo a Day While Daddy's Away 3

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
Bouncing in the doorway in his Jolly Jumper with his Grandmother encouraging him. He really likes it, I think, or at least he did yesterday. Today he was a bit tired and due for a sleep, so he got grumpy.

There was a picnic at D'Arcy's school today for their literacy festival, but it was freezing and cloudy, so we didn't stay for long. Long enough to eat a sausage roll and some vegies and hummous.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

A Photo a Day While Daddy's Away 2

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
In the bouncinette looking at his Canberra Grandmother who was making funny faces to try to elicit a smile.

A Photo a Day While Daddy's Away 1

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
Beloved has gone to the US for work, and to pick up his mother who is coming for visit. So I thought I'd try to take a photo of Erik every day for him to look at. Sadly I got off to a bad start - this is yesterday's. In the car capsule, wearing his Highlands hat that Auntie Laura brought back from PNG for D'Arcy a long time ago now. Also wearing his emu suit from Stringybark Graphics (which I'll ge the URL for soon).

Sunday, 31 August 2008

My friend Sara posted this list...

From British food blogger Andrew Wheeler's blog, Very Good Taste, a challenge:

"Here’s what I want you to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results."

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses (I had to look; a pungent cheese from France)
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras (sorry)
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese (no, but I've eaten brains)
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl(Sara says:a staple on the Oregon coast)
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float (no, but I've done Guinness spiders)
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat (I make a mean goat vindaloo)
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal (I looked it up, it's a curry hotter than vindaloo)
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/US$120 or more
46. Fugu (why would I eat something that might kill me?)
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores (I know, born in the wrong continent)
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake (beignets in New Orleans, yum. Churros at all the folk festivals.
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong the tea, I assume. Tastes like creosote. Yuck.
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky (I can't remember, but possibly)
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers (pansies, borage, nasturtiums, calendula, violets, lavender, roses....)
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

A surprising number of these I have eaten with Sara, which is kind of cute. We met in 1981 when her family moved to Aus for her Dad's work for 2 years. We've stayed in touch all that time, and I've been to see her a few times.

In family news, the big boys went to see some wrestling last night and it was well received I think. D'Arcy has been talking about it all morning, and is challenging everyone to wrestling matches.

Erik is still screamy, and in fact, ready for a feed now, so I'd better cruise!

Saturday, 23 August 2008

If you don't do anything else this weekend, at least give this a go

Our friend introduced us to these tonight. The first is a bit long, but well worth the time. The second speaks for itself...


Erik's. Two and a half hours of it. Yesterday afternoon. I cooked dinner for the first time in 11 weeks. It was my lamb stew where you just chop everything roughly and throw it in your cast iron pot and chuck it in the oven for 3 or 4 hours. Worked a treat.

Time moves strangely in these first months. Erik was 11 weeks on Thursday, and got his first round of immunisation. He hated it, as you might expect, and he's been reasonably grumpy since then, but then that's normal for him anyway, so who can tell if it's related.

Big news that has changed my life - we got someone to help clean our house, which is just great, so nice to be able to see the table again! We can start having people around again without feeling bad about it. Sure, the baby will still scream at them, but it'll be in a nicer environment.

Sunday, 17 August 2008


more cat pictures

Where can I get some of those LoLmagnets?

Still in sleep hell. We seem to have a bad day followed by a less bad day, ie one where Erik won't sleep at all during the day followed by onw where he will sleep a bit. Today is in the second category so far. He's been asleep for more than an hour. Cautiously optimistic.

Nevermind I see I can get them from ICHC.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Interruption to normal programming

We've just returned from a 4 day stay at QEII (the family centre, not the ocean liner) where we've been trying to get to the bottom of Erik's screaming. It was a positive edxperience, but he's by no means fixed yet. The only thing they could tell us was that he's "unsettled" and we've found that he'll sleep reasonably well at night, no matter where he sleeps, but in the day time, likes to be on me in a sling or the Baby Björn poouch. That would be fine, but it hurts my neck and back, and not much gets done. So we're trying to teach him to sleep on his own. Easier said than done really, when he has a sleep cycle of about 20 mins and is unable to settle himself when he wakes. Having said that He's been asleep for more than an hour now, so some progress must have been made!

Anyway, all this means that I will be intermittent for the next little while! Feel free to email me though, I'll try to check in.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

This is not my beautiful wife...

more cat pictures

These are not my cats, this is not my oriental rug, not my green laser pointer either, but it all could be. I'm offically freaked out!

Because I changed the name of the blog I can now also say (to tie in with the title of the post a bit more) that I'm really enjoying the new track by The BPA featuring David Byrne.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

self starting

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
Here's a pic of someone amusing himself, drawing a picture. On its completion he said "can you get this hung in the art gallery, mum? person X got their pictures in the art gallery". All I could do was sigh heavily, as I do at the mention of the names of the "friend"...D has a really good friend, but they're not in the same class this year. His mum and i are going to agitate to have them reunited next year. He claims his new teacher is good, but I haven't met her yet, as D was at his dad's untik today, and the Beloved dropped him at school and my mum picked him up while I was at the physio....

In Erik news, we finally caved and bought him a dummy ("pacifier" for the US readers). It seems to help him sleep when he's overtired or is colicky. One of the clinic nurses had said that sucking can help move gut problems along, but she didn't specifically mention dummies.. Still, if it gets him some sleep and us a break it's OK. I still feel bad about it. I am a dummy nazi. I refer to it as 'the plug', and try to save it for emergencies as a last resort. See, I'm still justifying it. I really hate them. He gets this kind of dead look in his eyes when he's sucking it, just before he passes out. I want him to find his thumb and be done with it. I sucked my thumb for years, and it was great, very comforting. I'd rather have him suck something warm and alive than a piece of silicone. Sigh I guess I'm just lacking in confidence with my parenting right now. It will get better (my latest mantra).

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

It's not all bad...

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
I love this photo from the weekend, it reminds me that things are actually going well. Since the colic diagnosis and feeding less things are going much better, Erik is much more settled, and so we are much happier parents. The beloved and D went out and bought me a lot if flowers last week too - lillies, roses, tulips, the house is colourful, if messy. I'm hoping that E will start sleeping in his bassinette a bit more soon so that I have two hands to clean with!

As usual there are more baby photos at Flickr...Oh yeah, and I changed the blog name.

Friday, 18 July 2008

My day

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
Well, actually not quite treu of tday, but the last week or so...erik hit 6 weeks with force. he is a screamer. we took him to the clinic where the nurse said 'it sounds like colic, try feeding him a bit less'. needless to say he slept through the visit like a charm and didn't show off his magnificent lung power. I've been feeding him less, though the mammaries aren't impressed, and i'm wondering about the wisdom of it at the 6-8 week appetite increase. the last 2days have been easier - much less screaming, only at cactus hour (now). hoping for continued improvement, and now off to feed!

pls excuse tyops, this is all one handed while holding e in the sling....

Monday, 7 July 2008

Back to my usual shallow posts...

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
Here is D'Arcy showing off his light sabre talents. The sabre in question was his 'prize' for sleeping on his own for 3 weeks running, including when the beloved and I disappeared in the middle of the night, leaving my mum to hold down the fort, while we had a baby. I've told him that the regular supply of Pokemon cards is now at an end, and he seems cool with that. I've also told him that there is a new bed in the offing - a loft style thing with a desk underneath and drawer-steps instead of a ladder. I'm hoping that the shop where we saw them still has them. It'll free up some space in his (tiny) bedroom.

Erik is becoming a bit of a screamer, which is trying us somewhat, but as long as we get enough sleep between us we should manage to avoid selling him to the white-slavers. He's eating like a champion and putting on weight. We took him to the baby clinic for a weigh in today and he'd gained something like 700g in 2 weeks. As I was feeding him there the nurse looked at the milk gushing out of me when he pulled away at one point, and said "it's a good thing the last lady who was here can't see that!" she'd had supply problems apparently. Luckily for me and my boys that hasn't been the case. I have photos of D'Arcy at about 5 months where he's almost unrecognisable as the same child, he's so fat!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Grieving for the unborn child

Other people have blogged about this phenomenon in the past, women in my life - friends and familly - have struggled with it, or discussed it, strangers in the parents' room at the shopping mall have raised it. Now it's my turn, I guess.

The thought really struck me as I was in the shower one morning recently: My days of being pregnant are over. I won't be having any more babies. This makes me very sad. Don't get me wrong here, I love my boys, they bring joy into my life every day. For a long time I thought I would have no children at all, not necessarily because I didn't want to, but because I didn't feel like I was ready, or that my relationship was ready. Then at 31 things changed and we decided to have a child, so D'Arcy arrived in the world. That was it, we said. No more children. One is enough. It was for my (now ex) husband, but after some time I wanted to do it again, only not with him.

It's a funny thing I suppose, but I'm not really cut out to be a mother in some ways. My emotional state is fragile at the best of times, and I don't have endless patience. This last pregnancy at 38 was really tough on me, physically and emotionally, and even before I was pregnant I was saying - this will be the last one. 38 is my upper age limit for child bearing. But almost as soon as Erik was born, I was thinking "hey that wasn't so bad, I could do this again". (His birth was so easy in comparison to D'Arcy's). I am surrounded by older women giving birth. In the mothers' group I went to when D'Arcy was tiny I was the youngest at 31. The oldest woman of the 4 was 37, and she went on to have another child at 39. The others were 36 and 34. In D'Arcy's class at school is a girl who lived in our street when D'Arcy was small. She is 6 weeks older than he is. Her mum had her second baby a week and a half after Erik was born, and she is my age. One of the teachers at school has a surprise pregnancy at 41, and another parent just gave birth at 43. However, I just don't think I'm up for it.

Of course the underlying thing here is that I have sons. I have no daughter. I feel the need to grieve the unborn daughter that will now never be. She even has a name, but I can't tell you because it makes me cry too much. It's the name we would have given Erik, had he been that girl. But he isn't. He's my beautiful boy, my Teeny Little Super Guy. My last child. I don't know why I suddenly want a daughter so much (perhaps because I don't have one?) because when D'Arcy was born, I was relieved that he was a boy, that he didn't have to go through the hell that girls do, especially modern girls. And I didn't have to go through the whole pink/shiny/frilly nightmare that may have been the end of me. Instead I have a gentle, caring, thinking boy. Probably two.

It's true about the strangers in the parents' room. Yesterday we were in there changing and feeding Erik, and struck up the usual conversation with another mother there.

Her: That looks like a new baby
Me: He's 4 weeks today? How old is your daughter?
Her: She's 5 months...they grow so fast don't they? This is my last baby so I feel like I have to hold her as much as I can while I still can. Keep them close.
Me: (surprised look). Definitely.

I am lucky. I have not suffered through miscarriages, or had to terminate pregnancies. I have been able to conceive when I wanted to, reasonably efficiently. Others are not so lucky. I have close friends who have undergone fertility treatment in order to conceive a much wanted child, others unsuccessfully. I get to choose. It's a powerful and important decision, but I get to make it.

New Cardi

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
Here is the boy in his wonderful new cardi, as made by Michelle. Astute or regular readers of this blog will know that I used to live next door to Michelle and her mister before I moved to this house. I lost touch with them when she and the mister also moved, to a suburb close by, coincidentally. Even better, I ran across her again when she commented on Ampersand Duck's blog. We always say it's a small town, but it's also a small blogosphere apparently. Thank you for this lovely gift Michelle!

In other news the baby is sleeping right now (finally!), so this is all happening one-handed. Lovely Ampersand Duck went to Garth Nix's book launch and picked up a copy of his latest, Superior Saturday. My association with Garth goes way back - his family were good friends with my best friend's family, so we did stuff with them sometimes, and as an 8 year old I had a HUGE crush on his youngest brother. Thank you Ms Duck!

D'Arcy's wonderful new teacher is leaving at the end of the week, and we don't know who will replace her. We're getting a bit pissed off with the constant personnel changes, particularly for this group of kids, who were initially placed with the first wonderful teacher for very real reasons. So that will be three teachers in three terms, which is too mny in my book.

The beloved is trying to organise getting his aged mother over here, which is proving to be a headache for all kinds of reasons, not least that she has a cataract operation that needs to be scheduled.

My neck hurts like buggery from having to hold Erik in the sling so he'll sleep for a decent amount of time. Only occasionally will he skeep if I put him in the pram, or the bed or the bassinette - and even in the sling he wakes up a bit every 20 mins or so and needs me to walk around to put him back to sleep.

That's about it for now.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

A Poor Excuse for a Blog Post....

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
But there are new photos up at flickr...thanks to Sophie the american cousin of the beloved for the Ramones suit, we love it!

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Trying to remember how it all works!

We're bumbling along here. D'Arcy fairly predictably got sick last Thursday with some vomiting thing, and we managed to pack him off to his dad's for that night, which was good as it was one of those newborn baby nights where Erik screamed between 3 and 5am. Not much fun. On the upside, he's going really well, putting on weight, feeding nicely and sleeping sometimes (like now). D'Arcy is still the besotted big brother and nothing pleases him more than being asked to hold the baby while I do some other task. There are some more photos at Flickr, but nothing very new I'm afraid. I'm remembering that the first few weeks really are chaos, and that no-one gets much done in the way of housework or personal hygiene, and as for sleep, grab it when you can is the household motto right now!

We've had a few of those reflex smiles from Erik - the ones the baby does in his sleep, or the ones where everyone says "it's just wind:" I don't think it's wind, but I do think he's just practicing for the moment at 4-6 weeks where he really means it. Getting the muscles ready so that they work.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Turns out it was Nesting after all.

Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
Here's a rundown of my Thursday 5/6/08

2am, wake up for a wee and as I'm getting out of bed think "hmm, that would be my waters breaking". Wake up beloved.

2.30 ring midwife "my waters just broke". She said to go back to bed and try to get some sleep.

4.30am get up again as the contrations are getting more intense and I keep thinking of things that I need to pack in my bag. Ring my mum to come and be with D'Arcy.

5am (ish) contractions are regular and 4 mins apart, so ring midwife again. She says "meet me at tthe birth centre at 5:45"

5:45 arrive at birth centre and get settled in our room.

6:15 midwife does an exam and says "you're only 3 cm dilated, if it was your first baby I'd send you home, but let's see if you crack on in the next hour and a half"

Needless to say we did crack on, and at 8:15 I was holding our new son in the bath where he was born.

D'Arcy was rung, just as he was about to leave for school, and the news was delivered to him. Plans were changed and he and my mum went to her house for a few hours, before coming to the birth centre for a first look at Erik.

Later that day D'Arcy came back to the birth centre to spend the night with us (they have fold out sofas in the rooms for such events, which they encourage) and this photo was taken the next morning (Friday) before D'Arcy did go off to school to tell all his friends his news. As you can see from this photo he is a very proud big brother.

Vital statistics: Weight 3.21kg (7lb1½oz) Length: 50 cm (no imperial translation, sorry) So pretty average size all round. Feeding pretty well, and when the midwife weighed him today he'd only lost 120g)

Forgive us if we're somewhat off the air for the next little while.

Monday, 2 June 2008


I've been cleaning like a maniac today. The kitchen was filthy, and now is less so, but still not perfect. At least those grimy spots on all the door frames and walls where people lean when they're going in or out of a room, or turning on the light are dealt with. As are the kitchen cupboard doors. I just wish I could get to those spots on the kitchen celiing where the beloved dropped a container of chili and it went absolutely everywhere. And whoever invented textured benchtops needs to be taken out the back and shot. Or at least made to clean the bloody things. The boys have both been sick. D'Arcy for weeks it seems, on and off, and the beloved hexed himself by saying "my worst fear is that I'm going to get a cold and be bedridden when you go into labour". Sure enough, he's now in bed, but I'm not yet in labour so that is a good thing. I ought to put a photo with this post, but I can't remember if there are any good ones to upload from the camera. If I find one you'll be the first to know! Now, where are my raspberry Tim Tams?

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Scary, huh?

3 in a row
Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
As of last Monday, D'Arcy has lost 3 teeth in a row from the top, this leaves a massive gap, through which he can poke his tongue, but claims he can't poke a straw. I don't believe it for a minute. He has at least one more wobbly tooth (on the bottom), and some of the new ones are growing in now.

A week of marriage, and not much is different, but I heard from various adults in D'Arcy's school life that he'd been tellling them about the wedding.

My belly has expanded alarmingly. Well, it hurts and the midwife was slightly alarmed, especially when I told her it's been hurting and I feel like throwing up most of the time. She suggested rest, hot water bottles and Panadol, which is helping, but I'm totally buggered all the time now. I'd like to be cleaning and going for walks, but I just can't summon the energy. If I can't do it with a hot water bottle on my belly, it can't be done. Lots of time on Facebook (feel free to look for me) playing Scrabble is on the agenda for the next little while.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

"I know what I'd do if I was Prime Minister" by D'Arcy, age 7

I would give money to poor people who have no home and I would build a stage where the prime minister works, hire rock singers so I could have a band. I would give my property away and getter better stuff than what I had. I'd get cooks and chefs, and they would also make food for my servants.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

My Day

In a nutshell...

Here we are with our celebrant. The thing on the tripod is a microphone, connected to the laptop which facilitated a Skype video hookup with St Paul, where the beloved's family are.

We had a lovely day, very small, with just my immediate family and one friend each. Went to a restaurant in the country for fabulous lunch, and then home for more drinks (for the drinkers amongst us).

You can see a bit of my belly in this shot, and when I get it together I'll put more photos up on Flickr.

Edit: and now I have. The ones that are there so far were taken by my sister, on my camera. There'll be more soon taken by my dad and step-father.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Look ma, no teeth

Look ma, no teeth
Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
D'Arcy's third tooth fell out on the weekend and he has three more wobbly ones - the other top one, and the one next to it, and a bottom one. Apparently the tooth fairy didn't leave him any money, although he then said "she hid it under my Pokemon cards, and made the water in the glass blue". Weird things happen at his dad's house sometimes.

In other news his new teacher's first day was today, she seems pretty good so far, she has a 6 year old daughter called Darcy. D is bit self-conscious about this, but I've explained to him before, and I did again, that when we named him, we didn't think of it as a girl's name at all. It really isn't here, not like in the US. It's an old school Aussie blokes name, a bit Irish. We named him for D'Arcy Niland who was married to Ruth Park , and wrote The Shiralee amongst others.

We've had some wild dog/cat action. The dog has been a bit stir crazy since the beloved has been away, and he hasn't been getting the exercise he needs, so he's been sleeping on my bed, the sofa, D'Arcy's bed, and the cats' bed (photos on Flickr). Tonight he disgraced himself by ripping into an unopened bag of dried food I'd left in the kitchen. Perhaps he was trying to get his own back for my forgetting to feed him at all last night. Obedience training started a couple of weeks ago, and it is interesting to learn how to train him. It's going fairly well so far, though we missed last week's class, and at some point the arrival of a new family member is going to intervene. I pointed out to D'Arcy today that the baby is due in about 6 weeks, and he was surprised I guess I'm surprised too.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

School Holiday project

Why is it that everything falls apart at once?

First up it was the central heating, in October. Fortunately we didn't need it much to heat the house, but I do use the fan in the summer to cool in the evenings. I rang the guy to come and fix it, and he failed to do so for the next 6 months, until I gave up and got someone else in. It's pretty much terminal - the fan has busted, and the circuit board won't be far behind, so we need to replace the whole thing.

Next up was the back door. It was a cheap hollow-core number and the surfaces separated from the insides one morning after it had been moist overnight. Fortunately we were able to staple it back together for a few weeks until the new one was ready.

The third thing to go was the TV. It was one that my dad had handed on to me. I realised recently that at the age of 38 I have never bought a TV set. So it was about 10 years old when we got it 4 years ago, and the tube was suddenly starting to go flickery. Again, fortunately I knew that my dad had again upgraded, and had a spare TV set, so I rang him and the beloved went around to pick it up. He bought dad and the TV home for dinner and they set it up. Strangely the video, through which the set top box was routed, refused to power up, and continued to refuse to work, so I pulled out the TV (no mean feat, it's bloody heavy) and unplugged the set top box and plugged it in differently.

Later my mum and stepfather came around to help get some order into the house, since the beloved has gone away for 3 weeks, leaving in a hurry and leaving boxes and other things I can't move all over the place. I got them to take away the old TV and they were going to take the VCR, until I said "wait, it's school holidays. I know someone who would like to take that apart" and behold, we have a project. Lucky really, since I've been falling apart too. I have a cold and would rather be asleep than entertain a 7 year old.

Of course the other thing to bust has been the toilet. It's not too bad at this point, but it's only a matter of time I'm sure. I guess it's just the house's way of telling us it's time to renovate. Bad timing. There's no way we can get it done before the baby is due, but we need the heater pretty soon!

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Here's how I spent my morning...

Caturday morning
Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
Pokemon cards are our incentive for D'arcy sleeping in his own bed - if he spends two nights in a row in his own bed, he gets a new deck. As you can see here, as of last night, he now has two decks, enough to play a game with, so that was his heart's desire this morning. I tell you, it takes a while to play a game, and takes up a fair bit of brain space. I was suprised to find out that it's not all that bad, either - a combuination of luck and strategy. For those of you in the know, you'll be able to see that I won, but only by one.

In other news, not much to report. We spent the rest of the day getting a new back door installed (the old one fell apart a few weeks ago) and putting together shelving units for the bedroom and the shipping container with help from my mum and stepfather. As always, Larry and Honey had a fabulous time chasing balls and each other and D'Arcy around the garden. The house is slowly falling apart around us: bits of the bathroom; ditto kitchen; the back door; and spectacularly the gas furnace for the DGH. W're trying to figure out whether to embark on the major renovation plan, which includes removing all the asbestos and insulating, before mid-June, or to try to make it through this winter with a small person in this version of the house... dilemma.

Someone (not me) has a wobbly tooth, and is obsessively wobbling it in the hope that it will fall out tonight.

Someone else (also not me) is going to the US next week for 3 weeks, so any offers of support (concrete and moral) gratefully received. At least he will return with a lot of shoes that I don't have to bend over to put on.

Someone else (still not me) keeps kicking/punching me in the bladder.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

In the Shadow of the Moon

We got invitations to an advance screening of this tonight, and dutifully trooped off to the luxury seating of the cinema. (Trust me, not so luxury at 28 weeks gestation.) I think it went on for a bit long for D'Arcy and he needed more explanation than I was able to give him in a crowded cinema, but I think he got something out of it. I think that part of his problem is that having grown up totally in the information age he's a bit blase about this whole "we went to the moon" caper. A few weeks back we took him somewhere where there was a sample of moon rock you could look at, and he was kind of non-plussed about how awed the beloved and I were about it. His take was pretty much "what's all the fuss? It's a piece of rock". Our take "yeah, but it came from THE MOON!!! Some guy wandered out on to the surface of the moon and picked it up, looked at it, decided it was worth keeping as a sample, put it in his bag of moon rocks, and brought it back to earth FROM THE FUCKING MOON" he still didn't get it. He still doesn't get it. Are we doing something wrong here, or is he just 7? On Friday his class is going to the art gallery to look at stuff including, as he pointed out to me today some aboriginal art that is thousands of years old. He seems to have a sense of awe about that (kind of) and he is fundamentally less interested in "art" than he is in "space". What is it about going to the moon that is so ho-hum? Actually part way through the film when Jim Lovell was talking about Apollo 13 (and I explained that things went wrong, there was an explosion and the astronauts didn't get to go to the moon, but had to fix the problem and come back instead) D'Arcy asked, pointing to Lovell on the screen "Did he die?" and I realised that the documentary style wasn't working for him so well, and said "No, that's the actual guy who did this. It happened to him, and he's still alive." Hmm... End confused-parent rant I think.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

The Blog Post that Evolved From a Comment

I started writing this as a reply to Julie's and Duckie's comments about the lamentability of trash writing for small boys...

I know, it's the literature snob in me.... something about "surely you don't have get right down to the level of the 7 year old to get them to be interested". But then I can't remember what I was reading at 7, probably patronising little books about Dick and Jane. And was (and still am) a girl. I don't remember "learning to read". I vaguely remember the Ladybird series of readers. The ones D gets from school are better from the patronising point of view, but no more interesting. Very basic reference/non-fiction type books, or things with ultra simple story lines. Therein lies the challenge, how to keep the reader's interest while aiming at the correct reading level. Things happen in the Captain Underpants books, and that is good. I'm not sure how great his comprehension is though. I quizzed him occasionally on the events of the book as he was going, and got an "I can't remember". But If I asked him "why do you think they did/said that?" I got a better result, so he's clearly getting something out of it.

There's a way in which it's peer pressure that's got him to read them too. Some of his peer group (I hesitate to refer to these ones as 'friends') have them read to them at home, and are right into the toilet humour mentality, so it's part of D'Arcy trying to fit in with the 'in' crowd. Similarly we got the Scholastic Book Club forms the other day. The house rule is that D can get something from the club, but it has to be primarily a book (the Beloved and I refer to it as 'plastic crap club') and what he wanted was a set of Yu-Gi-Oh books. He knew to play his cards right this time. Last book club he got nothing, as when we sat down to look at the catalogue we had a fight which ended with D'Arcy saying "why does it always have to be fucking books?!?!?" and me chucking the catalogue in the recycling. So this time, he said "I know I need to only look at the books" and argued well for these. He's become very interested in cartoon-based trading cards. We use Pokemon cards as an incentive scheme for solo sleeping, but even they aren't totally reliable so he ends up on the floor in our room fairly often, and his card collection isn't growing as he'd like it to.

Thursday, 13 March 2008


The Beloved brought back some of the dreaded Captain Underpants books from the US. Now, I don't usually approve of these, but by God, the boy can read them! And he does. This afternoon and evening he's read about 60 pages BY HIMSELF!!! (well, with supervision and help on a few tricky words) but he's powered through it. And as soon as he'd finished he got out the second book to look at....All of this from a child who's struggled to stay engaged with an 8 page reader. I know, it's peer pressure, and non-literary, but I am strangely excited by the development.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

General update

New bed, sore foot
Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
So, Larry broke a nail some time last week, quite badly. Badly enough that the vet had to clip it right back until it bled, so he's now on antibiotics for 5 days, and has to stay off it for that time.

D'Arcy has a new teacher, a man, who I think will be good for him, but D'Arcy now isn't in the same class as his good friend from last year.

The beloved has changed jobs, for the better we hope.

D'Arcy is getting used to the baby idea, talks to it sometimes, and has felt it kicking, which is exciting.

I've been a bit out of sorts, heart palpitiations led to an ECG last week, and then followed by a migraine, which was no fun at all...

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

About Bloody Time

We were there. The atmosphere was buoyant, before and after the PM's speech. Many complaints about the opposition leader's speech, and many turned their backs on the screen.

D'Arcy weathered the speeches reasonably well.

We saw friends, and had there been a breeze you could see that the three flags are the Aboriginal Flag, the Torres Strait Islands Fland and the Australian Flag

And a surprise performance of "From Big Things Little Things Grow"