Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Forever a student ....

While I am still all nostalgic, I thought I would mention that 15 years ago I was studying in a hospital bed and very quickly mastering the act of studying and cuddling.

Considering I am still studying, this skill has come in very handy. (It is worth mentioning that I have graduated three times since then). I love learning, but I am not very good at the "study part". At the moment it is not a subject I particularly enjoy, but it is compulsory, and it is making me grumpy.

I am also attempting to use the highlighters Buglet got from UIG last week (click here for that post). Sadly they are not actually very easy to use so I am going to have to go back to my normal one. Also I have decided that blue highlighters are not the best for highlighting notes.

I thought of this post last night, and was a little proud of myself for not writing it then. Blogging is a very useful procrastination technique. So is housework, cutting and painting your toenails, showering, and counting stars - just in case anyone is wondering.

I am particularly brilliant at procrastinating, and not only procrastinating, but procrastinating by doing something useful so it is easy to justify. Counting stars probably does not come into the useful category.

Tonight was going to be a light-hearted post, but in truth I am tired, and grumpy. It was a long day in the office. My dance class and Tink's soccer training were cancelled. In some ways this was awesome; I got to finish a project I'd been working on at the office (and I am now living in a "file fort" - see my facebook status if this doesn't make any sense!). I also had intended on doing some study reading during Pixie's dance class, I managed to take the wrong text book so this was swapped for a novel and that was nice. It was also nice to watch a bit more of her class than I usually do.

But tonight, despite all the good bits, I am tired and grumpy. I am sad I only got to see my big girls for about fifteen minutes; they put themselves to bed almost as soon as I got home.  Pixie had a tantrum because the dog ate an art project she had left lying around (clearly her sisters' fault and nothing to do with her!).

Maybe I've read one too many posts today about mothers pushing themselves too hard. Maybe I am just ready to give myself the brilliant advice of "go easy on yourself, you are doing the best you can" that I am always telling other people (this is good advice by the way!). Maybe I am just grumpy because Pixie is watching Charmed and I would rather be snuggled with her. Sadly, tonight's assignment needs to be done at my desk.

I am often told I make it look easy. I do usually focus on the positives, life is much nicer that way. But tonight's post is dedicated to keeping it real .....

.... now I am going to finish this damn assignment so I can concentrate on my gorgeous Guides tomorrow night and sneak a sleepy cuddle with the Pixie. I am also going to eat chocolate, and chicken twisties. Not together. That would be gross.

Mmmmm ..... chocolate .......

Monday, 26 May 2014

15 years and counting ....

Today my Buglet turned 15!

15 years and two days ago, I had successfully made it to week 12 of uni and had massively disappointed everyone by not dramatically going into labour during class (about a year later when I was pregnant with Tink I realise I had all the classic signs of pre-labour that last day of uni, but hadn't realised). As a side note, I made it back to my final class the week after.

My waters broke about 1am the Monday night, and at 18.02hrs on the Wednesday, Buglet was born. I got to announce to everyone there that she was a girl. An hour and a half after that Mum had gone home to get my four lovely sisters (my fifth sister wasn't born yet), and I got to show them their beautiful new niece, and introduce my daughter to four of the people who would have the most impact on her life.

15 years ago, I was snuggling my baby-girl and watching Blue Heelers. I would like to say I was reflecting on something deep, but that would be a lie.

My facebook message to the Buglet:
"Happy birthday to my amazing, talented, beautiful eldest daughter! Where have the last 15 years gone?

Hugging you this morning it is hard to believe that 15 years ago, I told those present that you were a girl and my universe changed forever.

I am so proud of how hard you work. I am proud of the things your teachers have to say about you, and I am proud of you for working at the subjects you find the hardest. It blows me away that you are old enough to be teaching dance, and I am beyond proud when other parents tell me how wonderful you are with the younger students (and how well you cope with your sisters). I am proud of you for making grown-up decisions when it has come to your health and dancing, and for taking the time to follow medical instructions *and* for not giving up. 
I admire your grace, your dedication, and your quiet achievements. I also am thankful for your ability to only cook, but I am also in awe of your talent of presenting it all beautifully. Thank you baby girl, you make my life easier in more ways than you will ever know.
I love the moments we get to share, just the two of us, whether it is at Guides, about books or movies, or just the random moments that make up our lives.

Most importantly, don't ever forget that I have loved you since the moment you existed, and I will love you long after my final breath."
I probably should have mentioned her amazing Pixie-wrangling skills.
Speaking of the Pixie. This was her birthday present to her sister. She even gave her the option of having glasses added so it looked even more like the Buglet!


Sunday, 25 May 2014

Armed and dangerous: Part 2 of my weekend

Sunday is family day. I try to stick to this. Mostly unsuccessfully, but it is the thought that counts!

Buglet managed to convince us that she should have her birthday present's today. Her reasoning was that Daddy was spending the day with us and because tomorrow (her actual birthday) is a Monday, and that Monday's are super busy. This is true.

I mostly gave in because one of the Buglet's birthday presents was The Host (on dvd, she got the book last Christmas), and that made a nice diversion between Tink's soccer and the main attraction of the day ..... lazar tag!

Today was a just a "house family" celebration. With a massive family, birthday celebrations can go over the whole month. Originally we were going to do something with her friends, but that didn't work out so a family session at lazar tag it was. I do maintain my right as their mother to claim their birthdays as my special days too! Not only am I the one who actually gave birth, each year is another year I get to celebrate how much they have grown, and that we all have survived.

Lazar tag was not only great fun, it was very educational too.

What we learnt at lazar tag:
  • we are all ultra competitive;
  • real men can wear pink;
  • Tink has the makings of an officer;
  • Tink has a scary number of tactics;
  • don't get on the Buglet's bad side, she started a vendetta against the other dad playing who was the only person to obtain a higher score than her in the first game;
  • DB refuses to follow instructions especially when the instructions are "don't shoot me I am on the same team";
  • three out of five of us really need to work on our aim; and
  • despite my best efforts the girls still didn't know who C3PO was (the character name Tink was given).
Some of these things we should probably have known earlier.

Proud mama moments of the day ~ lazar tag edition:
  • my girls weren't the ones sulking when they got hit; and
  • Tink obeying the international law protecting the injured even from the other side (aka a small crying child who was lost).
There is something ironic about shooting other people's children celebrating a parenting milestone. Or possibly therapeutic. Probably better for family relations that we were all on the same team. DB suggested paintballing. Lucky the girls are not old enough. I really will need to work on my aim before then!

A day of glorious ordinariness: Part 1 of my weekend.

I have had an amazing weekend! Amazing enough, that I am going share it with you in all it's glorious ordinariness.

I know I have said this in earlier blog posts, the weekend began on Friday with picking up the new car, and going to the movies.

On Saturday I woke up a little confused because there was a baby crying. We do not have a baby, nor were we babysitting. Turns out Pixie had turned the tv on a some point. This is a relief, I would hate to think I would forget we had a baby in the house.

Buglet then came in and woke me up properly with scrambled eggs on toast. Parenting tip of the day: Have at least one child who loves to cook! This is much easier if you let them cook. This is also much easier if you are seriously undomesticated and can handle the stress of children left in the kitchen.

Saturday was full of mother stuff. I went to dancing. I drove the girls to dancing. I walked the dog. I did stuff around the house (not that you can tell *sigh*). Pixie and I went shopping for presents for the Buglet's birthday. We ate cupcakes as a special "just us" thing. I love cupcakes, birthdays, and spending time with my babies. I do not love shopping, or housework.

Another thing I love is children with the same tastes in books and movies as me! We got Buglet all three of the books in the Divergent series. It was the movie we saw Friday night and us there "big girls" all loved it. I promise it really was a present for Buglet, but Tink and I will enjoy it too, and most probably Pixie when she is old enough to read it.

I slept most of the afternoon. Being woken up by a dog jumping on you and a child singing: "Hands in the air, rock-a-bye a bear, Mama's now asleep, shh, shh, shh", is not particularly pleasant (and a little counter-productive because I was not asleep by the end of it). However snuggles and cuddles and "I lovells you Mama" are the things that make life wonderful.

I spent some time sorting through old paper work last night. I found a box from approximately ten years ago. It was filled with baby stuff of Pixies, notes from my Honours thesis, Guide stuff from when I was chairing a state committee, pictures from Tink's daycare days, and Buglet's first letters to me.

"Dear Mummy, I hope you have a lovely time at Guide House". I am assuming the pictures are of them waving goodbye to me! The girls spent a lot of their baby and toddler years at Guide House.

Lots of lovely memories, and I got some stuff sorted out that I have been meaning to do for ages. Added bonus is it was stuff I could do while watching a dvd with my babies, and got to share these memories with them too.

Today I am thankful for the precious moments I spend with my children, and for lovely day care staff and teachers who put dates on pictures.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

"Introducing .... Paris" or "How the cars got their names"

We have a new addition to the household. Yesterday I picked up our new car formally known as Paris the Yaris.

As you can imagine a new car has meant lots of discussion, most of it surrounding what the car should be called. Personally, I was ok with just referring it as "the car", "the white car" or "the Yaris". I was over-ruled on that one. My suggestions were Paris the Yaris or Yaris Hilton. I may not have particularly wanted to name the car, but I do think that I am hilarious.

The Pixie voted with Paris the Yaris immediately. She loves all things French.

Tink: I am voting Sherman.
Me: Hmmm ... I am pretty sure it is a girl car.
Tink: I am still voting Sherman.
Pixie: Paris!
Me: What about we put it to a facebook vote?
Tink: No I will lose.
Me: Well, Paris it is then.
Tink: Ok. I will call Daddy's car Sherman then.
Me: I am not sure he will like that.
Tink: I won't tell him.
Pixie: Yeah. We will just start talking about Sherman and see how long it takes him to work out what we are talking about.

I would like it on the record, that I in no way encouraged this plan. I will keep you updated on the progress of DB's noticing though.

Because every girl needs her accessories!

As for our old Subaru, I have been telling it all week it only has one week to go. It has had a hard life and deserves a good retirement.

Me: Good car. Just a bit more to go.
Pixie *stroking the dash*: Good car. Then you can go to the car retirement village.
Me: Where is that?
Pixie: Our front lawn, with the BMW. Or Grandad's house. That's where Daddy puts the cars he doesn't want anymore.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Oh Mama! Did I tell you about my refugee?

For those of you who missed the facebook post, it went like this:

I don't normally drive the girls to school. This is possibly the reason why. I  had  been attempting to get information out of the Pixie about her school disco.

Me *sigh*: Oh Pixie.
Pixie: You always say "sigh, oh Pixie"! Why is it never, "sigh, oh Buglet", or "sigh, oh Tink", it is always "sigh, oh Pixie"
*continues on like this for a while.
Buglet: Sush Pixie.
Pixie: Mama! That's what she says... to me on the bus too! Even when I am not being naughty, but I am just talking and telling her about stuff and or just talking.
Me: Talking or waffling?
Pixie: Just waffling. I don't really make much sense.
Me *sigh*: Oh, Pixie.
Pixie: Mama! You said it again *pauses mid-rant* Oooh! I didn't tell you about my refugee!
Me: You have a refugee?!

First things first. I did manage to eventually find out about the disco. The Pixie went and it may be her last primary school disco (sad mama moment) and a wonderful time, ate too much fairy floss, and wore something entirely unsuitable for cold rainy weather. I have a horrible feeling I may be saying similar things about her well into her twenties. In my defence, I  told her to pack suitable clothes and the friend's mum who had her after school and dropped her at the disco tried to make her borrow a jacket. [In case you were wondering what the rest of us were doing, I took the big two to the movies to see an un-Pixie suitable movie and it was great! The movie, not the no Pixie bit].

Parenting tip of the day: Sometimes you just need to let them make their own mistakes (tell yourself this if for no other reason than to stop a tiny part of mother guilt).
Ok, second point. I would like say that upon further investigation, Pixie does not have her own personal refugee nor is she in the process of acquiring one. Their school had someone from the Red Cross come in and tell them about refugees and the horrors of war.
"My refugee" actually meant a refugee who came in to tell the school about his experience. Pixie recounted the reasons why he left and the dangers he faced and about his time in a detention centre in Australia. She told me in no uncertain terms that "there is no such thing as illegal immigrants"(in terms of refugees) when I was very clumsily trying to find out if he was a "boat person" (very proud mama moment).
Pixie told me about the game they played. They had to list just six things to take, and just five people they could take with them on eleven separate pieces of card. Then bit by bit stuff got lost or damaged or had to be left behind.
"Mama, I took you and Daddy and Buglet and Tink and FlipFlop and Misty [the rabbit], but then I got to a border and I only had four passports so I had to leave FlipFlop and Misty behind. It was only a game but I was so sad".
Today I am thankful for my daughters' compassion, I am thankful for the refugee who took his time to share his story, I am thankful for the Red Cross and other humanitarian organisations, and I am very thankful that my girls attend(ed) a school that goes the extra step to teach my children about things that will make the world a better place.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Over-thinking over education

This is a big year for us school wise. It's Buglet's last year in lower high school, Tink's first year of high school, and Pixie's last year of primary school. This is meaning some big decisions.

The Pixie has to apply to go to the same high school as her sisters. I refuse to tell them  what to write, but I was tempted to change my mind after the things the Pixie came up with to include in her application when we were brainstorming:
  • She likes extra science but not what's on the curriculum (please note, curriculum was her word).
  • She doesn't like being bored.
  • Her favourite thing about Guides is s'mores.
  • She doesn't like organising things but she is going to pretend she does.
  • Flip-flop is her favourite.
  • She likes the dancing part of dancing.
  • She is a llama but Mummy said "no llamas at high school".
We did a lot more brainstorming.

Meanwhile I am constantly worrying about Tink having taken on too much with an academic extension program, soccer program, and then being on the student council. She is happy and loving it all, but I do still worry.

Buglet is at the point where she needs to think about a post-secondary schooling. She has said she wants to go to the same uni as me which is lovely, but I don't want that to be her only reason for going there. Her first day on campus was at 6 days old (I didn't want to miss the final class with the exam tips) and she's been there for one reason or another ever since.

I am also finding it hard because when I was in year 10 I knew four of the subjects I wanted to do and my parents told me double maths would be easy marks for the uni entrance exam. They lied (NB after me saying this for 15 years dad has recently qualified his comments by saying they expected I would do some work. I think that was silly. Although it was also silly I didn't take into account that they have degrees in Maths). I also knew what I wanted to do at uni, and I was lucky enough that it turns out I loved what I studied and it all worked out for me. It is so much harder as a parent when you are worried about someone else!

Buglet on the other hand is not so sure and it is making picking subjects for her last two years of school a little harder. We are having lots of conversations about studying what you enjoy, and alternative pathways to where you want to go, and that the world does not end with high school.

Meanwhile we are also going to information nights and I was very much looking forward to uni open days and all the cool stuff that happens there. Until tonight's episode .....

.... so we were at the Year 10 careers information night
Me (to Buglet): I want one of the highlighters.
Uni Information Guy (UIG): You have to take a university guide if you want a highlighter.
Me: It's ok she's got one.
UIG: But you need one too!
Me *laughing*: But I've already graduated from your uni three times.
UIG *mortified*: I am so, so, so sorry. *to Buglet* is that your mother?
Me *realising what he meant*: It's ok. It happens all the time.

UIG spends rest of the evening giving Buglet free stuff.

Buglet spends the rest of the evening giggling with her friends.

Buglet's comforting words: It's ok. He told me he thought you were year 11 or 12, not year 10.
Oh good .... and I was wearing grown up work clothes and everything.

Despite appearances I do take parenting and the girls' education very seriously!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Je t'aime

If you thought the most aggressive way someone could say "I love you" was when it was said by an angry teenager, I think you may be wrong.

DB taught the girls a new trick this weekend. Fortunately the big two lost interest by the time they came home. Pixie on the other hand mastered the shouting and the loving her mama bit, but missed the point of the rest of the exercise.

I am not sure what is worse a tiny little angry Pixie shouting "Attention! I love you!" when you are not sure what you are doing wrong, or a big man shouting "Achtung! Ich liebe dich!" in your face when you are not sure what he is even talking about. At least then you do not need to respond. At least I know they care, right?

My lovely moment today was watching Tink and the Pixie helping at a crèche this afternoon. There is something wonderful about watching your children teach younger kids games and songs, and be the caring big ones. They grow up so fast! And then Buglet  making us a beautiful steak dinner (well, minus steak for the vegetarian child) including the mushroom and mustard sauce I love, but that none of the girls like.

No more writing for me tonight, the Pixie wants a cuddle, and watching how grown up they all were today I have been reminded that  wanting cuddles won't last forever.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

There is always a Plan B

Pixie on planning: "You need to talk to B's mum about organising a meeting so we can plan stuff. We are too old for play dates now."

Personally I would have thought there was a middle ground between play dates and meetings, but apparently not. One of the problems with being the Guide Leader and the mother is that not only I am there on the spot to ask, I also have a doubly vested interest in the issue.

The way our Guide unit tends to run is that the girls as a unit pick a theme and a rough plan and the girls form small groups to plan the actual night. My official line on this is that it is teaching them leadership skills and very valuable planning skills. This is actually true. The unofficial line is also that I am lazy and this makes my life a lot easier. This is also true. Really it is a win-win situation.

The above quote was followed by "Oh, and you better make it a sleepover, because our night is 'Gryffindor' and 'Harry Potter' and we need to watch the movies".

Hmmm .... as I realise that the alphabet theme we are doing this term means that I need to fit this in within the next fortnight.

I have a sore throat, and a stuffed up head, and I very whingey. Considering I have still managed to do everything I meant to do today, I am diagnosing man-flu.

Other then being whingey, I am a little disappointed because we were supposed to have friends around for dinner, baby cuddles (me cuddling their baby, not them cuddling mine), and Star Wars movies (this is important for the girls' cultural education). Clearly man-flu is dangerous and not safe for babies! Also, it is not a good idea for busy mothers of little babies, and most definitely not safe for fathers as we know how lethal man-flu can be for men *waves at aforementioned friends and sends lots of virtual germ-free cuddles which will have to suffice for now*.

This does however mean Pixie and B are having their sleepover and watching Harry Potter movies. Important life lesson! There is always a Plan B (and the alphabet has another 24 letters, see how this ties into the term's theme?). Hopefully they put this into their planning.

I am supposed to be doing an assignment that I didn't finish during the week, because of the stupid man-flu, but DB told me today in no uncertain terms that now I have a blog and I've told everyone about it I need to write every day, so to any or all of my 70+ facebook followers who have read to the end of this waffle I am waving enthusiastically at you and I am so excited you are following me. I am also excited I now have a brilliant excuse to procrastinate while I am sitting down. Much better than housework. I am sorry today's post isn't more about the girls, but they've been at dancing today so I have barely seen them**. I will spend more quality mothering time with them tomorrow.

Oh, and I would update you on how the meeting is going but the Pixie has banned me; she wouldn't let me pull Guide Leader rank either, apparently that doesn't count at home.

**The Buglet is shattered from a day of dancing and is being a teenager and pointed out I was supposed to be studying. Tink is at the football.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Mother's Day

This was the Pixie last year on Mother's Day:  "If we were going to make you breakfast Mama, which we're not, how would you like your eggs? Now go walk the dog and make it a long walk".

Mother's Day*. The day that is supposed to be all about mothers. I have to admit, I adore it.

When I was younger I loved bossing my younger sisters and brother into making mum and dad breakfast in bed and was so sad when mum put an end to it (cooking is not my strong point!).

I love the home made presents and cards, and the gifts my girls pick out from school. I love the cuddles, and for that for one day I can use emotional blackmail to stop the girls from squabbling and not feel bad.

This year I wandered around the shops while my Buglet supervised the Pixie in a shopping trip. I need to say here that clearly I had no idea what they were shopping for. I am a mother, I know all about selective comprehension.

This is what they made me.

Buglet gets her cooking skills from her father. He also taught her beautiful presentation. My breakfasts in bed always come with a flower (sorry Mum! You really were ripped off, but I promise your breakfasts were made with love).

And this was dessert. Tinker is claiming this one as her idea.

I am pretty sure the fact the girls made me breakfast dessert means I am doing something right!

*or is it Mothers' Day? I really struggle with this. If I am talking about someone particular I make it singular but when I am talking about everyone I make it plural? Anyone else?