Wednesday, 28 March 2012

is it really March already, almost April!?!?

New bedroom! by Crit Chicken
New bedroom!, a photo by Crit Chicken on Flickr.

Failing at this blogging deal, but trying to catch up 7 months worth. I finally uploaded some pics to Flickr. You oughta check them out... It might give some idea what we've been up to. Facebook has taken over my life, but I'll try to get a longer post up soon.

OK. so I've just been to a parent/teacher interview at D's school, so I'll start with him. After a tricky year, where it took him most of the year to settle in, he decided that maybe his new school wasn't so bad after all, at least no worse than his old one. He liked his teacher and had made some good new friends, without losing contact with some of his old besties. Win win! This year, there was a change of school again, kind of. His new school follows a kind of US style thing with Junior School (years 3-5) being on a separate campus from Middle School (6-8) (Early Childhood is split between the two campuses, and Senior School is on the same campus as Junior). Fortunately though, he's moving with all his mates, so it's really not a drama. Much less than last year. He's in a class with two of his good friends from last year, and while his core teacher isn't that inspiring, he's got electives this year, so he's exposed to a broad range of teachers. His favourite elective seems to be Theatre and Performance (aka 'Drama') which is great. It's something I've been trying to encourage him to do for years, as I had a feeling that drama might somehow fill a niche for him - he's always been what I call a shy extrovert. He loves to be the class clown, but then doesn't know what to do with the attention once it's on him. His teacher said that that behaviour was a problem at the start of the year, but seems to have diminished. Partly, perhaps because she discouraged it, but I'm hoping it's because he also has an outlet for it. Other new things for him..not much - he's determined not to play any sport, but is keen on trying fencing. This plan had to be put on hold, as he broke his arm at the end of the summer holidays. Stacked his mate's scooter at low speed, but that was enough for a greenstick fracture. He was actually quite pleased with accomplishing one of the rites of passage I think, and I was pleased it was so non-traumatic. He's had the cast off for about 3 weeks now, but it was one of those fabulous fibreglass ones that you can shower and swim in, so it wasn't any trouble at all really.

Erik is pootling along being 3. He settled into childcare quite well, once he got 2 permanent days a week. They're talking about moving him into the pre-school room after Easter, although his birthday isn't until June, as he's getting bored, and is the oldest in his current room (the curse of an early June birthday, when the school year cut-off is the end of April, so he's not due to start formal pre-school until the beginning of next year!) He's really keen to start reading, he's asking about letters and what sounds words start with.. he can recognise his name and 3 or 4 letters other than E. We moved him into his own room at the beginning of the year, and he took to it pretty well. We still get occasional visits in the night, but it's manageable, and his bed is big enough that there's room for me in it with him if I have to. He's also really getting the hang of using the toilet (finally!!) and is pleased with himself there. Swimming lessons started 2 weeks ago and he loves it. We'd always meant to take him when he was tiny, but time got away from us, and now at almost 4, we're doing it. Another new skill is that we've borrowed a balance bike from a friend, and he's taken to that fast too. Scary!

Having spent last year losing weight, I've decided to spend this year getting fit. I've joined a gym, and I'm loving Zumba classes, and a boxing workshop. I've also been running voluntarily for the first time in my life, which is totally unexpected, but kind of fun really.

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!