Friday, November 28, 2014

Canteen superheros

You could be an astronaut, you could be Prime Minister, you could save lives for a living - but trust me, nothing will impress your kid more than when you strap on an apron and pop up behind the counter of the school canteen.

When it comes to being an involved school mum I truly am 'guilty'. Working 4 days a week Ivy spends a lot of time in before and after school care (which luckily she likes as her friends go too) and the one day I am home I am wrangling Poppy who's attitude to school can be summed up as BORING! In fact the other day she just outright asked me - why do we always have to come here mummy? WHY? (somehow I suspect her induction into school in a years time will not be as smooth as her big sisters.)

So when I do, do things at the school I'm reminded of just how much it means to Ivy. So recently I managed to wangle a day off and do canteen duty.

Red apron on, fortified with coffee (love that our school has an espresso machine in the canteen) and I was inducted into the ways of the canteen. After making 45 individual rolls from scratch I was ready to lie down on the floor but no, it was recess time.

Hoping the kids wouldn't see my counting on my fingers to work out how much change I owed them I served what felt like a tsunami of kids at the front window. From the tiny lisping cute kindy kids (some dodgy despite angelic looks trying to roll me for freebies or "sumfing I can can buy wiv this" and holding up 5 c) to the amazonian 6th class kids who look like they should be in year 10.

And there amogst the crowd is my girl - she is dancing about w her friends, pointing and smiling and calling out "that's MY mum".

Little things mean a lot to little people - it's one to remember as we take a break and re-calibrate before we roll into a busy 2015.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Poppy and the bird leaves

At the age of 2 and 4 months Poppy is talking up a storm. Noisy - but good as the shrieks and screams of frustrations of not being understood are subsiding as she picks up more and more vocabulary.

Of late she's been initiating conversations - including swaggering out the other night and announcing "I'm not going to sleep tonight" before throwing herself down on the couch and looking very pleased with herself.

She's also telling Ivy off ('very sad eye fee') and patting me on the arm and telling me "well done mummy" when I do certain things.

She's keen on singing and thanks to her big sister can sing quite a few numbers from Les Miserables, Annie and more unfortunately One Direction "it's bitiful mummy!".

My hands down fave, heart melting Poppy saying was this morning when she came inside with Ed having found a big white birds feather. "Look mummy.....a bird leaf".

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

When Dick and Fannie became Rick and Frannie

I had the pleasure of guest posting this on the wonderful Lenore Skenazy's blog freerangekids a few weeks ago - had to share it here too.

When I was a kid one of my favourite writers was Enid Blyton, the much loved British children’s author. Her books featured terribly English children having terribly marvellous adventures in the 1940’s and 50’s and have sold over 600 million copies worldwide.

 As a youngster in Australia I devoured her books, and the ones I loved best were The Faraway Tree series, where three young children (Fannie, Bessie and Jo) move to the country, discover an enchanted wood and a magical tree. The kids, and sometimes their cousin Dick, regularly headed off to the woods for adventures.

If that wasn’t cool enough, at the top of the tree magical lands came to visit – some were nice, such as land of take what you want and the land of treats, while others struck a delicious fear into my 5 year old heart, particularly the land of fearsome Dame Slap, who wasn’t averse to doling out corporal punishment to anyone naughty.

Another thing I loved about these books was the almost entire absence of adults. While the children’s mother popped up occasionally to demand that they did some household chores, they were often then rewarded entire days  in the deep dark woods unsupervised.

Now I’m a grown up with a 5 year old daughter.  Keen to share the Enid Blyton love I took her to the local bookstore recently to buy a new copy of the Faraway Tree as my childhood copy had fallen apart. At bedtime we opened the book excited to start reading but from the first page I knew something was horribly wrong. In this new version Jo had become Joe, Bessie had become Beth, and worst of all Fanny was now Frannie and cousin Dick had been turned into some kid called Rick!

It seems an overly politically correct publisher somewhere down the line had decided that the names Dick and Fannie (giggle giggle) were far too rude for today’s small children and changed their names to something a bit less titter worthy. Outraged, I head to the internet for more info. Thanks to Wikipedia the picture becomes clearer. Sometime in the 90’s the changes were made to the names by the publisher; because of the “unfortunate connotations” of the names Dick and Fanny. For good measure Jo became Joe because that’s a more common spelling these days and Bessie became Beth because, it’s more contemporary. What’s even worse is when I read that the fearsome Dame Slap is now the totally lame Dame Snap who instead of smacking children just shouts at them.

I take the book and chuck it in the recycling. While I can manage to change the names back to the original ones as I read to my daughter I don’t think I’m up for making up an entire chapter revising lamo Dame Snap back to Dame Slap. And who knows what other little overly PC touches I might find further into the book – would the land of treats now be the land of ‘sometimes food” or ‘fruit and vegetables’?

Of course in my ranting and raving about Dicks and Fannies I am pulled up by a little voice, my daughters. “Mummy, what’s wrong being called Dick and Fannie?” she asks, “I think they sound nice.” And that’s why I realise I’m so mad, apart from messing with a childhood classic  thanks to an adult’s perspective on these names, suddenly it’s an issue. I’d never thought twice about the names when I was a kid either – it’s only when I became an adult that it became funny and or rude. So now I have to have a conversation about dicks and fannies that I don’t really want to have with an almost 5 year old.

And that’s the problem, when we start projecting our adult persepctives onto the world that kids live in, things can get more confused than if we’d just left them alone in the first place. And where do we draw the line? Should Jane Austen’s “Emma” be renamed “Britney” to make it more ‘contemporary’? How about Tom, RICK and Harry?

And as for Dame Slap turning into Dame Snap my five year old sums it up perfectly. “That’s dumb.” She sighs. And she’s right, so now I’m off to search Ebay for some old editions of Enid Blyton tales Dicks and Fannies and all.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Real Love chemist style

It's almost Valentines day..and...well the most Valentiney thing I've received this year is a card that Poppy "made"me, ie: her lovely and creative childcare carer made with Poppy adding a few scribbles.

But Eduardo and I aren't really into St Val's - nor anniversaries. In fact we've only been married for 3 years and were hard pushed to remember the date recently. Major Fail.

However we have some majorly big love going on...and here is a little rewind post that sums it right up for me.

Last weekend I discoverd that true love ain't about diamonds, flowers, chocolates or candlelight dinners......oh no true love is setting off to the shops with the kind of shopping list that would have most men trembling in their boots.

The list in question was this:

Nipple shields
Thrush cream
Anaesthetic cream
Heat pack

And my Edward showed true grit by setting off with this very list in hand and returned with the said items in record time. To add insult to injury it was his birthday, what a guy.

In case you think I was just being very cruel or testing the limits of our relationship I must explain. Last Sunday I had the most horrendous bout of Mastitis which is an unbelievably painful infection of, well I won't beat around the bush, the boobs. In agony I was willing to try just about anything to relieve the pain and after consulting the net, friends and doctors I had amassed a list of things I wanted from the chemist but unable to to leave my house to obtain these magical objects I had to send Ed instead. I am impressed. It's funny you know, once upon a time my step-grandmother commented on the fact that she worried that seeing as we ain't married that perhaps Ed wouldn't 'stand by me'. Well I'd say this is the ultimate litmus test.
So my advice is this - Ladies if you are worried about your man not standing by you, don't send him to the altar, send him to the chemist instead.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

A two wheeled time machine

Ed loves getting me surprises - and mostly (damn him) he is bloody good at it. This Christmas he was looking particularly pleased with himself and I for the life of me could not even imagine what he had in store for me gift-wise.

I must be getting old, because short of a million bucks, a full time nanny and a new house I couldn't think of anything I wanted. It's a nice place to be in your life though, when you feel like you have everything you could ever want. Then I discovered that some of the best presents are the ones you don't even know you wanted until you get them.

This beauty was Ivy's idea - the madness of a four year old or sheer genius? Ed bought it and my parents were coerced into hiding it. It...which quickly became a "she" under my ownership was stashed in the garden for me to discover Christmas morning.

Apart from being glorious to look at, from my first ride I realised she could give me so much more than just looks. She gave me freedom, fun and the ability to fly back to that feeling I don't think I've had since I was a kid.

Riding her along the waters edge near our home brings my 70's childhood zinging back. Suddenly I recall zooming around my hilly neighbood at a kid, at sunset, on my own, with my friends, singing Abba at the top of my lungs and more often than not pretending that my bike was a much desired horse.

The horse, sadly, never happened but these days the bike gives me the same feeling. And now being a responsible grown person, a partner, a parent and now a boss jumping on my bike is just all about fun and no responsibility.

When the kids are driving me nuts, work is stressing me out - Ed just tells me "go on, get on yer bike, you always come back smiling." And I do - I am addicted.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Like a tiger

When I started this blog this title came from a description of some presents I'd received for my 31st or 32nd birthday. I lived in a sharehouse with 3 friends and we had a pretty good, non responsible kind of smoking drinking life.

On this particular birthday I was the lucky recipient of a beautiful cream teapot with a curly silver handle (thank you Emma) and a massive bunch of hot pink tiger lillies. (thank you girls from the opera house - my fave flowers in the world.) Hence the phrase Tigers and Teapots.

Once I met Ed and we headed overseas for a year this blog was named after those two domestic things but quickly became reality as we travelled south america drinking endless cups of tea and working with wild cats (the locals called my cat a Tigre) and then onto Thailand where we got to do our fair share of cuddling real live tigers.

When I got home I lamented my life had become "less tiger - more teapot" and it certainly did. Ed and I bought a house with a white picket fence, we made a baby, I stayed at home for a year, went back to work, starting going to bed at a sensible hour and kind of grew up. Then I got pregnant and had another baby - hello Poppy and it seemed that tigers were a long way from my life.

Until Poppy got a little older - by the age of 14 months Poppy fell in love with a toy of Ivy's. A lovely soft floppy toy tiger with big soft paws and a sweet face. His name? "Tigery". Soon enough Tigery became Poppy's bed companion and best friend. Then Poppy started growling and "rahing". My mum accused me of teaching her but I swear I didn't. In the mornings I'd go into her darkened room and the first thing I'd hear was "ah-raaaahhhhhh". My tiger baby was here. Then our tiger child started growling at people and her favourite - birdies. Her standard answer to what you say to birds is "raaaahhhhh!"

Then my sister bought our tiger baby - a toy baby. This particular toy baby is dressed like a tiger, odd? yes. Suitable for Poppy? Absolutley.

Then at a garage sale recently I spotted another lovely toy tiger for 2 dollars. Before I could say a word she snatched this tiger up and covered him with kisses. She is amassing quite a collection.

I explained to her carers at childcare not to be alarmed if she starts growling or rahing and while some of them looked perplexed, one of them - a chinese lady called Jing said "of course Poppy likes to growl - she IS a tiger" Huh? "She is born in the chinese year of the tiger." SO there you go - it was meant to be.

So now I really do have a tiger AND a teapot in my house once again - funny how life comes full circle eh?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On ageing and dying

A quote from Fran Robson in the Good Weekend this weekend:

"I just want to live until I die, like the song says. What's starting to filter through though, is that the world we're accustomed to actually dies before we do.In undertaker speak it precedes us. The real pathos of ageing isn't the inevitability of death but the long slow shuffle into an alien landscape."