Saturday, 13 August 2011

Game Changer

I started writing a reply to the comment in the last post, and realised that it really needed to be a post all on its own.

I said that the first haircut is a real game changer. On the surface what I meant was that, especially with boys, it's that moment when they go from being your mostly genderless baby to being a real little boy. For Erik it seems that it's more than just that.

So the haircut was Friday. On Thursday we went to visit a daycare centre that we might use for occasional care, or on a more regular basis, as my boss wants me back at work a day a week. Erik liked the look of it (as did we). The room leader is a man, and seems reasonably clued it, he managed to keep order on a rainy day, which is impressive. Erik doesn't seem alarmed that if he goes to daycare, I won't be there with him every time, so I'm going to take him along again next week for a bit more orientation and see hwo he goes with me out of the room for a while. One of the main things that they like to have happening in the 3-4 year old room is relatively imdependant toileting, or in Pull-Ups at a minimum. E has been a bit slow on this front, but will use the toilet very occasionally, and only if he's already undressed. So today we bought some Pull-Ups, and he was keen to try one on. The boy ones come with Buzz and Woody printed on the front, and you get an incentive sticker chart. I pointed out that the idea was that they're different to a nappy, easy to get on and off, and that if he needed to do a wee, he ought to tell me, and we'd get him to the toilet. He did tell me, several times, and got it together each time. Then he announced that he was going to do a #2 on the toilet. So he did. Awesome! I've known for about a year that he was ready for it (he's been announcing his plans for about that long) but he hadn't made the decision to actually do it. Either it's the discussions around it at the daycare centre (and my explanations, and showing him the toilets - inculding having a quick sit on one), or possibly just the incentive of the Buzz/Woody Pull-Ups but he seems to be in the "I'm a big boy" zone, and wouldn't let me put a regular nappy on at bedtime.

Also this week, he seems to've decided that he doesn't have an afternoon nap anymore. I tried to persuade him one day, but he said "I'm not having a sleep today" and he didn't.

Now just to clear some space and get him in the big bed, in his own room. Woot!

Friday, 12 August 2011


IMGP1988 by Crit Chicken
IMGP1988, a photo by Crit Chicken on Flickr.

Today was the day. Here's a before shot. He loved it, D also had a trim, and went first, though E was keen to go first. The lovely hairdresser (who has always cut D's hair) commented on how relaxed he was.

And here's an after pic...


With another one for good luck...


In the first pic, he's got his bag on, ready to go to the hairdresser. Yesterday we visited an occasional care centre, as my boss wants me back at work one day a week for a while, and the beloved is going away in the middle of it, so won't be able to be the childcarer then. E thought the centre was pretty good, and today was all fired up to go 'to school'. In his bag was Ow, and a teddy, his scarf, hat and gloves, and his water bottle. Because of when his birthday is, preschool isn't until 2013, which is a long time away. I think we'll have to get him into some kind of pre-preschool...

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Bitten by the bug

IMG_0131 by Crit Chicken
IMG_0131, a photo by Crit Chicken on Flickr.

There's been an ice-rink set up in the middle of the downtown area here for a few weeks (and it's here all month!) I took the boys one morning a couple of weeks ago. The beloved, despite having his own skates, is a bit big for skating, so the actual ice action was left up to me. This was fine except for the fact that the last time I went skating (some time in 2005) I fell so hard on my arse that I thought I'd actually fractured my tailbone. In short, I was terrified, and spent most of the time clinging to the edge. D'Arcy, on the other hand was more confident and did pretty well, while Erik was on double runners so was pretty stable. The ice itself at this place was not too easy to skate on, and it's a very small space, but the boys had a great time and begged to be taken again. We did go again a few days later, and I did much better, as did D'Arcy, though Erik fell on his face right at the end so that spoiled it a bit for him. Meanwhile D'Arcy went off to his dad's, and pestered him to take him skating. We'd already decided not to go back to the outdoor rink, but to go to the indoor one. The beloved had sorted out his skate issues, having found some to fit. So yesterday D's dad took him to the indoor rink, and today we did. D'Arcy has really got the hang of it, still not very controlled, and he's doscovered it goes better if you go faster, so he's a bit of a loose cannon at times, but prety good now. I've improved enough that I did a couple of circuits of the rink without having to hold the side, and Erik was on single blades and actualy spent some time on his feet being pulled along by me. I think I'm hooked. I'm already pricing skates for the beloved to look into when he takes his mum home in September, as the hired ones I used today were seriously uncomfortable, and we know that double runners for E are really cheap, and will last him for a while. D is probably stuck with the hired ones for now as his feet have a lot of growing still to do, and there isn't much of a market for used ice skates here ;-) Though as we arrived at the rink today, he suggested "so, when the rugby season is over, you don't mind if I quit and take up hockey?"

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Sport pt 2

There's a small post-script to the last entry on sport. Yesterday was D's rugby game. The opposition were from a country town about an hour away. They were also on the top of the ladder. They turned up with not enough players, so in order for them not to forfeit, some of our boys played on their team. I'm not sure if they were drafted, or if the coach took volunteers, but D'Arcy was one of the ones to play for them. His attitude to it was a bit odd, in that he said afterwards that he tried to sabotage them. I don't think much that he could do would influence the result, as he's really still pretty clueless about the game. In the end, his school team won, but not by a great margin, and the boys who played for the other team got a 'courage award'. So we'll see if that has any effect on how he feels about the game in general. I couldn't stay to watch, as E had a birthday party to attend, and the beloved had to stay home and supervise the electricity company put our power underground (and drive over our garden tap with the cherry-picker, as it turned out, but they fixed it by the time we got home from the party).

And now, the beloved has gone to the US for 2 weeks for some work, but he's bringing his mother back for another visit. She hasn't beebn for a while, as funds were too tight last year to get her over, so it'll be good for her to see the boys again!

Saturday, 18 June 2011


D'Arcy decided to play rugby at his new school for the winter. It was a pretty interesting decision on his part I thought. He's not really built for rugby, being not very tall and under 30 kilos. He'd played basketball for a few years with a local club, and convinced a friend to join with him, but last season he got quite jaded with it, complaining that the other boys "never pass me the ball". So he decided to give that up, and spurred on by eagerness by his new peer group at school, and the fact that his teacher is also arugby player, he wanted to give it a go. Of course now, about half way through the season he's over it. "The other boys never pass me the ball, and some of the others have METAL STUDS". Part of me wants him to man up and deal with it, and the other part wants me to get him away from such physical danger (especially after hearing some of the stuff that's been in the media recently about football players of all codes, and long-term brain damage). I've ended up saying to him that he should stick it out for this season and then we'll reassess. He doesn't want to go back to basketball, but I think playing some kind of sport is useful, both for the physical aspect, but also the social. I'm hoping that it will help him forge bonds with his new peers, but maybe I'm wrong. The other thing, I guess, is that at his old school he was in the chess club. My dad is a keen chess player, and encouraged him to learn, and then join the club. At the end of his time at the old school, he'd had enough "I always lose" and it's true that he'd gone from being on the top of the ladder to close to the bottom. I'm not quite sure how or why that had happened, possibly not enough one-one-one tuition, but whatever the reason, he didn't want to join the chess club at the new school "because they meet at recess time, and I already do library duty that day at lunch, and I'd basically have no free time"... I don't know, am I being unreasonably pushy in wanting him to do club things?

Saturday, 11 June 2011


IMG_0065 by Crit Chicken
IMG_0065, a photo by Crit Chicken on Flickr.

Oh dear, poor neglected blog. It's been a busy time since March, mainly dogged by sickness as it turns out, and it's not over yet. Erik and I went to a great folk festival over Easter, and D'Arcy came for a few days when he wasn't sick or bored. He's been variously sick (and bored) ever since - mostly with colds and other URTIs, enough that he's had two and a half weeks off school in the last month. He was finally well enough yesterday that we got him the first round of his vaccination. He got 4 shots - 2 in each arm, and of course he was a legend. Didn't flinch at all. His arms are pretty sore today - especially the one that got the tetanus shot. In all he got: Meningicoccal; tetanus/diphtheria; measles/mumps/rubella; and polio. Next round in a month is more MMR and Polio, and maybe chicken pox, though I'm not all that keen on that one. My arm swelled up mightily when I got it 18 months ago, and E threw up after his (he's not normally a spewy child, and had had no reactions to any other vaccines)

Having had two weeks off school D was surprisingly keen to get back yesterday after his shots, even though the nurse suggested the day off. His class were giving presentations on a piece of homework that he'd been really keen to do, even though he was sick the week before. Their task, in line with their current unit for study, was to make a replica house/dwelling from the Victorian goldfields of the 1850s. D'Arcy had made a tent-frame, and I helped him use my hand-crank sewing machine to make the cover for it, and he also made a tiny pair of trousers for the miner to wear, that were stored in a little chest he'd made out of cardboard. He's really been enjoying this unit, which is not jsut about gold, but money in general. They've been doing a role play thing where they are miners looking for gold, and they get play money that they can spend to increase their chances (buying a shovel or a bucket, or a gold pan) or lose by being robbed - another teacher was a bushranger a few weeks ago and robbed all the kids, they thought it was great, and made "wanted" posters. They also seem to do quite a lot of sharing of resources, which is nice. D'Arcy often says when I pick him up that he gave his shovel to a friend who didn't have one, or that someone gave him five pounds. His presentation went really well, the mark the kids get is assigned by the teacher, but he takes into account what the kids reckon, so D got a much needed confidence boost from that.

It was Erik's birthday last week, and between the sickness (him, me, and D) and the international travel (the beloved went to Singapore for a few days for a conference) we decided to ignore it until today. Erik woke up in the night with a fever and a lovely cough, so we had to downgrade our celebrations from a party with friends and family to a party with family and one friend who wasn't too worried about getting sick. The boys had a nice time together, and D'Arcy was very helpful making fairy bread and blowing up balloons. The mother of the friend had wonderfully volunteered to make a cake for me to ice. My oven is notoriously dodgy, as are my cake making skills at the moment, for reasons I don't quite understand. She produced a lovey even flat butter cake for me to cut and ice as I needed. And I did need. Erik is currently obsessed with a couple of things, one of which is the Aardman movies, espeically The Curse of the Were-Rabbit so he was very keen to have a "big monster rabbit cake". I think I did OK with the icing job. I'm not known for my artistic skills so i was at least pleased that it was recognisable as the "big monster rabbit". Erik was very keen to eat the eyes, but I managed to persuade him to eat a hand instead. It was a yummy cake, and Erik even at some of it, instead of just licking off the icing as toddlers are wont to do.

The beloved had bought him a "Real Buzz (Lightyear)" in Singapore, and he was totally thrilled with it, to the extent that he refused to have his afternoon nap today because it meant that he couldn't play with Buzz. Buzz had a sandwich with hummus for lunch with Erik, and has not really been put down since. It's been really nice having a low-key birthday. I tend to want to go over the top for both of them, but he's been perfectly happy with this arrangement, and I hope it's been useful for D to see that birthdays can be small and quiet.

At the beginning of the year I joined a popular weight-loss group with the friend who made E's cake. She's since given up, but I'm still going. I've lost 13 kilos so far and feeling so much better for it. I've still got a few more to go, I'm not quite at pre-Erik weight, but I can see that it's achievable at least. It really was one of those things when I got to the first meeting and stepped on the scales for the first time of "wow, how did I get that heavy?" but losing it hasn't been that hard. Much easier than I was expecting. I need to think about how to exercise with a toddler and a husband who is either away or at work a lot of the time. I'm not coming up with anything other than aerobics in my loungeroom on the days when Erik deigns to have a sleep, which is getting boring. Also, having been sick recently, I have no energy for anything at all, so I'd better get my act together or I'll be putting those 13k back on again!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

So, summer has been and gone, such as it was, though you won't hear me complaining about the lack of heat. It was a very mild one, and very wet! We've had to continue to mow the lawn regularly, and the tomatoes took ages to ripen, though once they did they were pretty good. We're right in the zuch glut, and the beloved has been away, so they've got away from me rather. When he's here, we grill them on the BBQ, which I reckon is the best way to do them, if you're not going to put them under the griller with cheese on them. We've had a couple of enormous one where I didn't check them for two days (it was raining) and when I looked again they'd taken over the garden!

D is settling into his new school. It's taking a while, but I think it will be OK - he seems to be making friends fairly well. Today was the school fair, and it was really nice to see how many kids said "hi D'Arcy" as they saw him. he spent most of the day hanging out with one boy in particular, although he's not one I've heard of already. The school is a lot more disciplined than his old one (public/private dichotomy). He's already worried about getting a detention for anything from forgetting his hat to failing to do his homework to rudeness and insubordination. It does seem to be helping his 'responsibility' issues. He's been notoriously bad at giving a shit in general - losing clothes, forgetting to pick up homework, failing to do homework, apalling handwriting...Last week when he came here from his dad's he'd actually started his homework (that he got two days earlier) and was up-to-date with most of it! It still looked like he'd scrumpled it into a little ball and taken it in the bath, but it was done! He's also been losing teeth at a great rate (2 in two weeks, one of which was a molar) but still believes (kind of) in the tooth fairy. he was very disppointed when "she forgot to come" for the second one. She remembered the next night though.
He's having a break from basketball for the winter season, in favour of rugby (which he's never played before). We'll see. He's not really built for contact sports, but he's keen to give it a go, fuelled largely I think by his new peer group and his respect for his teacher, who coaches the under 10 boys (so not D) and talks it up, it would seem. This 'respect for his teacher' thing is a good development. He didn't think much of his teachers at the old school, and one of them (who he had twice) actively disliked him. I suspect his dad and step-mum were fairly openly critical of them and that rubbed off on D too.

Erik is going well. He likes going to drop off and pick up D, we usually play on the play equiment for a while, as we wait for the traffic to calm down beofre we head home in the mornings, or get a hot chocolate at the school cafe (yes, the school has its own cafe!).

Saturday, 15 January 2011


Austracantha minax
Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
My friend on facebook informs me that this is Austracantha minax and google supports that suggestion. S/he ws hanging from the washing line where it's badly bent towards the ground courtesy of young Mr D.

Lots going on. The whooping cough is subsiding. E still has a spectacular cough, though it's not as chesty as D's. E's nasal swab came back negative, but we gave him anti-biotics just in case, as he had a cough. The beloved's came back positive, and so he also had anti-biotics and then got on a plane to Paris for a conference in Toulouse. No cough from him though. My tests were all negative, so I got a booster shot that gave me a sore arm and I slept funny on it, which made my shoulder and neck seize up like nobody's business. Then it was Christmas. Erik had a good time, D'Arcy was reasonably grumpy, but managed to snap out of it by the afternoon, when we went to my mum's house for a late lunch.

It's been raining and our water restrictions have been relaxed, so I've finally managed to plant some vegetables. I've put in tomatoes, basil, zucchinis and chillies, the asparagus has come back, along with some feral potatoes, and I put in a few strawberries too. So far the only thing that's going is the basil. There hasn't been enough sun or heat for the tomatoes to ripen. There is a lot of fruit on them, but it's all green still. I'm hoping today and tomorrows hot and sunny weather will remind them what they're supposed to be up to. We've had one zuch so far, which was excelllent, and I'm looking forward to the glut.

But now it's bed time. Tired.