Sunday, 27 July 2014

When the cat is away ....

I ran away this weekend. I took a break from reality and ran away. No blogging when you are being a runaway.

I took Friday off work. I slept in, got my nails done, took Flip-Flop to the beach, had a spontaneous lunch date, and had a (very) long nap. (I also did a few loads of washing, and went to the doctor to get my iron checked, but that is heaps less exciting and not fun at all).

The reason for this extravagance was it is that my best friend from primary school is getting married and I am honoured to be one of her bridesmaids. We have been friends since we were five, and I am so, so excited to be a part of her day!

This weekend was the hens' weekend, so we had a catch-up sleepover Friday night, wine tour Saturday, and we drank and ate and laughed long into the night. Grown-up pyjama party at its finest! I met some lovely new people, and had a wonderful time (I think she did too!).

Also did you know you can get coke macarons?! They are amazing. This is fairly irrelevant to anything, but I thought you should know.

From a selfish point of view, I gave myself a very much needed break from real life, and I almost feel ready to face the final sprint of my study.

My running away meant the girls spent the weekend with DB. DB having the girls for the weekend meant that he spent a fair bit of time at my house while they were at dancing because of all the running backwards and forwards. DB being at my house meant that the rabbit's hutch has been turned into a new veranda for Flip-Flop's kennel. Apparently if the rabbit returns she is getting a new hutch that he's been planning anyway. I don't actually get consulted on these things. I should point out that DB had made the old hutch so it wasn't destroying something I had bought to make it. Although, he did use a set of shelves I had been planning on using for storage to make the hutch in the first place.

It also meant that my pond has finally been finished! I am very excited. The water feature has been sitting in the corner of my bedroom for 10 years. The pond has been sitting in my study for about 18 months. The pond and installation of the pond was my Christmas present from 2012 and my birthday present from 2013. I still need to put plants and pots and stuff in, but I am really pleased with how it is looking.

What I had not been expecting was the addition of new pets. They are a present. The fact the yabbies being a present means that I am not allowed to be annoyed that I wasn't consulted, apparently. Fortunately they are yabbies so fairly low maintenance. They were named by the time I got home. I have been informed that this was part of the present. So I may now be the proud owner of yabbies called Stephen, David, Abbey, Gabby, Bobalina, Sushi, Raisin, and Pixie Jnr. No prizes for guessing which of my children named them!

I am now reiterating to my children that you don't give pets as presents unless the recipient has okayed it, even if you do think it was a lovely gesture.

I have given up trying to teach DB this lesson. He has also promised Tink and the Pixie axolotls. Sigh.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

The pit falls of puppies

Firstly, a quick re-cap. In case you missed my earlier posts, Flip-Flop is the girls' puppy. Not mine. This is particularly handy when it comes to certain things, like me not having to clean up her mess. It would be even handier if she realised this and didn't try to sit on my lap when I was studying, or blogging (Like now. Flip-Flop sends big slobbery kisses to you all).

She had a big sulk this week when I wouldn't talk to her when I was finishing an assignment.

"Fine. If study is more important to you than me, I will destroy these curly things. So there."
I feel so strongly about her being the girls' dog, that I almost woke Pixie up to tell her to clean up her dog's mess in my bedroom the other night.

Pixie has asked me before why Flip-Flop is her puppy when I am mad at her. Tink pointed out that I say the same thing to their father about them when I am not happy. See? I don't play favourites.

I have known a few people who have got pets to practice before they had children. I never did this. Partly because I was 18 when I was pregnant with Buglet, partly because I never actually thought of it. Plus when I was 17 I acquired a 4 year old sister and an 18 month old sister. Clearly this didn't deter me from being a young mum so I doubt a pet would have.

However, I have finally worked out why it might be considered practice.

Tuesday night Flip-Flop got me up at least once every hour being upset by the storms. Also the Pixie woke me up when she came into bed with me, then woke me up again to swap sides.

Wednesday night Flip-Flop woke me up to be let outside. Then got distracted and ran down the road. Then came back inside. Then realised she hadn't actually been to the toilet. Then was super excited to see me. Then Pixie yelled at me for waking her up yelling at Flip-Flop. Then Pixie yelled at me in the morning for not letting Flip-Flop go sniffing down the street in case she'd been following the rabbit's trail (Our rabbit has escaped. A storm casualty). Apparently the fact it was 1am, I was in my pyjamas, and it was raining is not a good enough excuse.

I now get why pets are good practice for babies, or toddlers. I was standing there trying to reason with a dog in the middle of the night. I have been well and truly reminded about some of the positives to my baby and toddler days being over. Two nights of broken sleep have been rough! This is the reason for no blog posts. I have been too tired when I have made it home. I had forgotten what it was like, and have no idea how I managed for 6 years without sleep.

I suspect I am going to be a very slack grandmother.

Just in case you are in any doubt about how much I love the puppy, my favourite thing to do at the moment is to make her rush past the girls to say hello to me. This annoys them a lot. Just saying.

I also suspect I am a mean mother.

The puppy loves me though. She comes to "kiss" me goodnight. It took me a few nights to realise that is what she's doing, but she comes and nuzzles me before she goes to bed. Just like the girls. I blame the Pixie for teaching her to "kiss" people. This is much nicer after the first few times when I dragged my butt out of bed to let her outside, only to be given the "Huh? What are you doing?" look. She really is like the girls. They do that a lot too. None of this is helping with the campaign to get another dog.

Monday, 21 July 2014

It's all in the socks

My name is Catherine and my children don't wear matching socks.

There I have said it.

This is mostly because I am too lazy to match their socks. Life is too short. This is my excuse and I am sticking to it. This does not affect my life, but it does surprise me that other people find this so traumatising.

I am not against matching socks. My socks always match. I  don't like wearing mismatching socks, they feel funny. But if the girls can't be bothered wearing matching socks, that is their choice. Unless it is ANZAC Day (or other important Guide occasion), or school photo day then I do insist on them. Ok there may be a few other times, but I can't think of any at the moment.

This has had some side effects:
  1. They also don't wear matching ear-rings (this is a plus: lost ear-rings don't matter in our house unless they are mine. I get upset);
  2. The Pixie has argued with Guide leaders about whether it meets uniform standards if both socks were white but clearly not matching (it wasn't an important occasion);
  3. When I do want them to wear matching socks I pretty much always have to buy more socks; and
  4. The Pixie once got a 'Shining Star' certificate because it was the first time the teacher had seen her wearing matching socks (she told me afterwards they weren't actually matching but she didn't want to disappoint him).
An occasion where the girls were all randomly wearing matching socks.
They insisted I took a photo.
This post was inspired by an awesome article I read the other day about a Dad's point of view on his son wearing dresses. To me, this is parenting at its finest. He thinks about what he wants to teach his kids, and overcomes his own discomfort about the judgment from people who don't matter anyway. (Some of the comments by readers distressed me from the point of view that we still have so far to go in equal treatment of the sexes, but that is a whole other post).

My girls have dressed themselves, and picked their own clothes, from the time they were tiny. There were rules. It had to be weather appropriate. Some days Mummy got a say so if you wanted that top it meant one of these bottoms and vice versa. Some days what Mummy said wasn't negotiable, but most days they got to pick their own. This meant that when I did want a final say there was very little argument, because it wasn't normally an issue.

Buglet was given two silky nighties for her second birthday. Buglet loved silky things. She was particularly impressed by this present. So impressed that she insisted on wearing one of them pretty much every day over her clothes. Some people were horrified. I still don't get it.

Once Tink decided to dress herself she decided she was going to do it well. Properly meant as many clothes as was deemed appropriate by Tink. She did not consider herself properly dressed unless she was wearing leggings, skirt, t-shirt, dress and a jumper (for example, but always something along those lines). When you are good at something, you should do it to the best of your ability. Tink was about 20 months when she mastered this skill.

A little bit later Tink developed her own theories on what "matched". There was one particular occasion where she was wearing a pink and purple stripy top, black and white stripy leggings, and two different stripy socks. Tink's version was that they clearly went together because they were all stripy.

Tink's school photo from Kindy features her with her hair ribbons undone. I had gone out and bought the girls new ribbons for their school photos. Tink was adamant that they were prettier undone flowing with her pig-tails. That was 9 years ago and I still smile every time I look at that photo. It is a real snap shot of my Tink.

Why does this matter? Honestly, despite what some people think, it doesn't. If it makes you and your family happy, and it isn't hurting anyone, it is the right decision for you. This goes for either point of view.

For me, I think that giving the girls the freedom to express themselves (with some guidance) when they were little, has given them confidence to express themselves now. Even now, I bite my tongue (most times) if they are wearing something that I just don't like. What it has also meant is that if I say they are not to wear something because I think it is inappropriate, they mostly listen. I am a little bit proud of myself for having a 15 year old who accepts my "rules" when it comes to some types of clothing and will get changed if I tell her to. I am more proud of the fact that most of the time they dress appropriately for their age and for the occasion. I am super proud of them for dressing to please themselves and in what makes them comfortable. Confidence in themselves and comfortable with how they look, isn't that what we want for our children?

  1. The big two might actually wear matching socks more often than not now, I haven't noticed for a while.
  2. I am actually wearing one pink and one purple bed sock. I bought a set of two pairs, but I can only find one of each colour. I blame the children.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Pixie party!

We have finally had the Pixie's birthday party. Have I mentioned before my family is extraordinarily good at moving birthday's to when they suit us? We always do presents and have an icecream cake  on the actual day, but with three "sides" of the family to fit in the rest of it can be somewhat spread out.

We don't always have a "proper" party, but there is always something with friends. Most often a sleepover now they are older. This is partly to help alleviate the mother guilt about lack of play dates (not child manipulated guilt either).

This birthday party has reminded me of a few important life lessons.

Firstly, I love Guides. The main thing that stresses me out about birthday parties is having to clean the house. (Most of the time I have managed to avoid this too). I have worked out over the years that I just tend to treat them like organising a Guide meeting. I would like to say that this is not intentional, but this is what I seem to do.

As the girls have gotten older it has been even easier. Sleepovers are awesome, because the girls can organise most of it themselves. They love organising things so for them this is a big part of the fun.

The Pixie did everything this year with a bit of help with the shopping. Massive bonus. She was so proud of herself and excited to be doing it, and it kept her happy for ages. There was a bit of confusion with the invites where she had the party going from Friday night to Sunday morning (apparently I am not always that good at proof reading), but we overcame that hurdle. Thank goodness! Just because I can handle five 11-year-olds for a weekend, doesn't mean I want to.

Another part of minor confusion arose when the Pixie wanted to know what time Apple and Mr Apple were coming. She had made them lolly bags, and she was very anxious about how the pizza would arrive if they weren't here to pick it up. I did point out that usually you invite people if you want them to be at your party. Pixie was adamant that they didn't need an invitation they would just be there "because that is what they do". They were there, and the pizza was collected.

It also reminded me why being on good terms with your ex can be very useful (even when you are not talking to them).

Sorting out the cake is DB's job. Although considering he dropped the cake off with three very hyped up girls who had eaten chocolate mousse for breakfast (the Minion is filled with mousse, I am not exactly sure why, but it was yummy) and then left ..... I have a sneaking suspicion that when it comes to sleepover parties he has sussed out the easy part of the deal.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

When I count my blessings ....

This has felt like the longest week ever.

Yesterday I had to text Tink's soccer coach and say the reason she wasn't at training was partly because I forgot it was Tuesday. I blame Pixie for telling me it was Wednesday. This excuse is a lot flimsier when you realise I was at work, in front of a computer, with emails telling me what day it was, but I am sticking to it.

But I am in the final countdown of my course (3 weeks and 2 days to go), it is mid-year, and I am just tired. I would like to say that as a long-time uni student I am very much used to 13 teaching weeks at most. This 30 week course business is killing me.

Then today, when it I was just over it all, I was reminded in no uncertain terms how wonderful life is:

  1. My sister-in-law made her facebook announcement that my beautiful new niece has been born, so I got to tell the world too (and have a cupcake). I messaged my sisters to brag that I have a new niece, and one sister messages back and ....
  2. Tells me I have a new nephew too. She acquired a new (foster) son today! How often do you get to announce you're an auntie again twice over on the same day unless it is twins?!
  3. I had two cupcakes. I had already had one in celebration of my new niece, so I had to have one in honour of my new nephew too. You can't play favourites.
  4. One of my gorgeous friends checked in to see if the girls were well enough for her to have yet. I don't feel guilty about abandoning my babies on people if they offer. (Tink is still sick so I am keeping her, and Buglet hasn't been 100% and wants to go to the movies with a friend tomorrow. Mother-guilt also removed now I don't need her to babysit the Pixie. I try very hard not to exploit the big two).
  5. One of the Pixie's God-fathers (aka the abovementioned friend's husband) picked her up so I got to have a coffee with him. Massive bonus because I haven't seen him in ages ...
  6. ... and he fixed some random stuff on my computer which have been bugging me.
  7. I have a wonderful work place ...
  8. ... some clever person invented template letters which has made my life sooooo much easier today.
  9. Another wonderful friend has had two job interviews, which makes me so happy.
  10. Chocolate.
  11. Text messages.
  12. Winter nights that were made for pasta and a red wine and snuggly pyjamas (and my awesome new  pyjamas - I don't care that I have mentioned them before. I love them).

Random picture from the farm, because going to the farm just makes me happy.
I always come home relaxed and refreshed :)
However I would like to point out that it was a bit neglectful of my sister to wait until I tell her I have a new niece before she tells me I had a new nephew ... and then not give me any details for another couple of hours. Sisters!

Counting my blessings today, and some of them I am counting twice xx

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Facebook: The case in support

There are a lot of arguments against facebook, in particular that it is possibly one of the biggest aids to procrastination that this century has produced.

It doesn't suit everyone, and that is fine. If it doesn't make your life a happier place, it may not be the right thing for you. I could just as easily write 'The case against Facebook', there is definitely a case for that too.

My darling youngest daughter might think I like arguing (my parents and sisters probably also agree). However, I would like it on the record that the fact I don't actually enjoy arguing for the sake of it, I have spent a lot of time and effort (not to mention incurring a stupidly big HECs debt) learning how to present both sides of an argument. This is very useful, if somewhat annoying (to me, and I imagine to other people), and if anything means I argue less because I don't often bother discussing things if people are incapable of considering things from a different point of view. Or it could be because I am lazy these days.

But today, I am arguing in favour of facebook. Today, the Entourage were home alone. After feeling a little ignored and anxious all day (in between stressing over work), I posted this status: Reasons to have facebook: Your teenage children will like/comment on posts even when they don't reply to text messages or call you.

Subtle much?

It also reminded me of the Buglet's first babysitting experience. I went to my primary school reunion two years ago. This meant travelling to Kalgoorlie, so I booked us into a hotel just down the road from the adult only evening event with strict instructions to call me if they needed me for anything. Within five minutes Buglet had the laptop connected to the internet (even though I had spent half an hour trying and gave up), and was on facebook. I got a text message later from one of my best friends telling me not to worry, if anything went wrong facebookworld would know because she would suddenly stop appearing in their newsfeeds and someone would ring me. How helpful is that?!

Pixie is a little addicted to seeing how many likes our facebook blog page has (she isn't allowed facebook yet, but she likes to check up and see via my page).

Tink is a binge facebooker. I will get massively excited because I suddenly have 20 plus notifications, to find they are all from Tink. At least she likes me enough to facebook stalk me. This is a good thing right?

Apparently being a facebook addict is hereditary.

I love this top. I don't wear it in public, but I have it hidden just in case Buglet tries to claim it.

So here are my top 10 reasons for loving facebook:

  1. I am really busy. I use facebook to keep up to date with people who matter to me. I know it isn't the most personal method, but I feel more connected, and often I can read between the lines and make sure there are more personal messages, calls and visits too. Facebook chat is great for every day conversations as well as for proper letter-type messages. I also have depression. For me part of this manifests in anxiety and feeling guilty if I don't catch up with people. I know, egocentric much?
  2. One of the hardest thing about being a single parent is that you don't have someone at home to share the little things with. I noticed this a lot when I was on my own when my big two were babies. I haven't felt that as much this time. Partly because I have super awesome friends who I text and share all my news with, but partly because thanks to facebook I get to share my proud mama moments without feeling like I am harassing anyone.
  3. I wouldn't have called myself an attention seeker, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I might be (Blogging about my life?! This may also be a sign). Hmm .... also see point 1.
  4. I like writing. I get a lot of enjoyment out of writing (what I think are) entertaining updates.
  5. I make a genuine effort to focus on the positives in my life. This is a big part of the way I handle my life. Facebook helps me channel the positives.
  6. I love seeing pictures and hearing stories about all the adventures other people have. Sometimes it is inspiring, other times it is just fun to live vicariously through other peoples holidays.
  7. I have had a chance to connect with family members who live in the Eastern states. I grew up on the other side of the country to most of them and we haven't seen much of each other since annual visits in primary school. I have had two families of cousins come to stay with me in the last few years, and thanks to facebook it hasn't felt like strangers.
  8. I like reading random things and I am insanely nosey.
  9. I am a massive procrastinator.
  10. It is another way I can communicate with my teenagers, and anything that helps us bond in a positive way has to be a good thing in at least some ways.
But in addition to using facebook to parent, I am also a big fan of bribery. I told the girls if they were good today and didn't fight, I would take them to get some dvds out tonight. Pixie also did an amazing job of not annoying her sick sisters and she cleaned her room so it is spotless! This feels frozen-coke-spider worthy. (I am ignoring the fact I have been asking her to do this for weeks, today she did it without being asked .... so let's focus on the positives!).

Monday, 14 July 2014

We came, we saw, we took photos .....

Sorry, I haven't posted for a few days. However, those of you who read my I-hate-being-at-work-when-my-kids-are-at-home-on-school-holidays-even-though-the-rest-of-the-year-I-love-my-job self-pitying whinge last week will be pleased to know that the reason I haven't posted is because the Pixie and I had a weekend of adventuring while the big girls were on camp (and I did an assignment too, but I am not writing about that because that is nowhere near as much fun as adventuring).

My Pixie loves taking photos at every given opportunity so ... tonight's post is our weekend (mostly) in pictures.

DB dropped her to me at work Friday afternoon, complete with a sushi snack (and one for me). Pixie sulked because she couldn't leave a note for the Minion. She did decide the new assistant in our area would be a worthy substitute. I love that I have colleagues who are pleased to rock up to work to a note saying "thanks for being my new boss minion" rather than being offended!

After she had checked all the stamps, my job was to distract all my colleagues having Friday drinks in the kitchen so the Pixie could sneak in and get a biscuit. This failed for several reasons:
  1. The kitchen is tiny and the biscuits were the opposite side to the door.
  2. I announced that I was supposed to be distracting everyone.
  3. The Pixie is not a sneaky ninja at the best of times.
It did work in her favour though, because she was told off by everyone for only getting one biscuit when she had two hands! Two biscuits is definitely a better deal.

We had cupcakes .... and Sir Hilton of the Paris Yaris was awarded the Order of the Cupcake.

The Pixie taking arty pictures
We went to the movies to see How To Tame a Dragon 2, and I amazed the Pixie by telling her I remembered the first time the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were at the movies.

See! I could be a sneaky ninja turtle, Mummy! Or at least a ninja turtle!
We went home fell asleep watching How to Tame a Dragon. The first one. See I can be rebellious. Watching movies out of order!

Saturday we went on a road trip to Brookton. One of our friends is a farmer out there and she took us adventuring.

I thought we could be archaeologists. The Pixie disagreed

Exploring the ruins of one of the original houses
Me: Oooh! We can practice being archaeologists.
Pixie: You don't want to be an archaeologist. You want to be a boring lawyer.
Me: That is a bit ...mean. I had a history degree first. So there.
Pixie: Well it is true. You study for 10 years to sit in a court room and listen to people argue. You must really like arguing. The only reason I like persuasive writing is because I get to argue with the teacher.
Me: I liked arguing a lot more before I had children.

She is also a monkey
Pixie was very excited to see three foxes. She was a bit bemused to find out farmers would not think this was as cool as she did.

If Pixies don't eat sheep, neither should foxes
And we found other wildlife to look at ... famers also don't like caterpillars

Pixie: He shall be named Bobilina
Me: Your child naming privileges have been revoked.
We picnicked, we climbed, we explored and the Pixie slept the whole way home! It was an awesome day. I always come home from the farm feeling happy and recharged.

That night we went to a chocolate a board game night. Pixie refused to be on my team and went on Apple's instead. My team won. There is a lesson in that for all you children reading this.

Sunday we had a Guide leader meeting (and Pixie, but she got to have a super awesome breakfast too) and then we went to one of my best friend's graduation party. She is now a nurse. Pixie went as an army doctor ("Because that is what Leo is in Charmed") and I topped off an awesome weekend by finding pink and purple pyjamas with hedgehogs on them. I went as a patient and I had been looking for ones with a "fixing" type slogan, but I fell in love with these. Sooooo much happy!

If you look carefully you can see where I spilt some of the "stool sample" we took as food (aka chocolate mousse with chopped up lollies in it)
Then I got my big girls home from church camp. Such a lovely weekend, spent with wonderful people who remind me how lucky I am to have them in my life.

Thursday, 10 July 2014


At the risk of sounding like I am bragging, I have studied through a lot of things.

I have studied full time through two pregnancies of non-stop morning (and all day and all night) sickness. I vomited through nine months while I was writing my Honours thesis, and did the rest of it with three children aged four and under. I can type and bounce a baby with one foot. I can study on trains, in planes, in hospital beds, at soccer games, in the dance studio, with a sleeping baby/toddler/child on my lap/chest/leg. I have pulled more all nighters than I care to own up to (I really am the worst example of being a student! Luckily the girls have seen this is a bad idea). I have written way too many assignments through clouds of tears (mostly mine) when my personal life has been in tatters. I have juggled work and family and volunteer commitments and friends and household responsibilities. I have developed serious caffeine addiction, gained way too much weight, and spend my life justifying the revolting state of my house to people.

To be fair, my marks aren't brilliant, but dammit I have done it, and I am proud of the letters I have after my name.

I also freely admit that if facebook had been around when I did my first degree, very possibly the only degree I would have would be a Bachelor of Procrastination with a major in facebook, but luckily it wasn't. As a side note, I have said to my children "back when Mummy did her first degree, I had to procrastinate without facebook". True story.

Pixie came up to me once and the conversation went like this:

Pixie: What are you doing?
Me: I am studying.
Pixie: No you're not, you're on facebook.
Me: Yes I am, look. I am great at multi-tasking.
Pixie (sadly): I wish I could do two things at once.

What I was going to say: Don't worry baby, you will learn when you grow up.
What I actually said when I remembered she is her father's daughter: Never mind baby. You are good at lots of other things. Mummy can't draw.

Pixie went and drew me a picture. See, she is easily distracted.

(Does this make me an awful person?!)

And now, now I have been beaten. I officially can't study with a puppy on my lap.

And just in case there was any doubt that Flip-Flop wasn't a lap dog here she is. Luckily it is only my lap that she sits on. I think she is trying to be like the Pixie.

And just like that, ladies and gentlemen ... that is me done! Beaten by the puppy. Good night!

PS Yes I am supposed to be doing an assignment; luckily I didn't discover blogging much earlier.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

You win some, you lose some

It is school holidays here at the moment. And I am one sad Mama. Not because it is school holidays, but because I am grumpy I am at work when the girls are at home.

My work has a purchased leave scheme, which is amazingly useful when you have school aged children. For a few years I was lucky enough to be able to take off all of the two-week school holidays and half of the Christmas school holidays and be home with the children. Work still has the scheme, but my role has changed to the point where my workload means it is too hard to take that much leave.

I am also super lucky that now the girls are bigger it isn't too hard to find the balance between leaving them at home, having people drop in and visit them for a few hours, and I have some wonderful people in my life who always ask if they can have them during school holidays for part of the time. I am truly blessed to have these people, and to have an amazing flexible work place that has let me develop my career around my family, so please don't for one minute think I am ungrateful. But I am still a sad Mama.

This week I have left for work leaving my babies all snuggled up in bed asleep (ok this might be more jealous then sad).

Sunday night
Buglet: What time are you leaving for work tomorrow?
Me: Between 6 and 6:30.
Buglet: Don't wake me up then.
Tink: Me either.
Pixie: Goodnight-goodmorning-Iloveyou-goodbye!

Then to make it worse, Monday night Buglet politely requested that I didn't text her until I had heard from them as I had woken her up. Humph.

Then when I get home I get to hear about all the fun things they have done, often with with my friends. I  happen to love spending school holidays at home with the girls. No work, no dancing/soccer/Guides and I get to catch up friends and catch up on housework. A change is definitely a good holiday.

There has also been a definite decline in the amount of housework I do now I don't get to spend two weeks out of twelve at home. I am not devastated about that so much, I don't miss the doing housework, but my house may be devastated about how neglected it is.

Admittedly, I am learning to delegate the housework. Yesterday I told the girls that if they cleaned the bathroom, the kitchen and their rooms we would go to Sizzlers for dinner. Definitely worth the bribe. Even the Pixie got right into it and her sisters were very good at making sure I knew exactly how hard she had worked so I could be properly appreciative. No idea why it worked so well this time. It is a bit hit and miss, I am wondering if it is because I told them by text message so they had it in writing? I may have to experiment more.

Tonight I abandoned Buglet and Tink at a church camp for four days. Pixie has gone to spend two nights with her Auntie and Uncle and their babies. She is a bit worried. The youngest is only a few weeks old and the big one is (almost) two. The concern is that they might cry at her and that babies don't like her. This might be something to do with her disdain for small babies because they take all the attention (and I quote, this is usually her big complaint about babies). Personally I think she is going to have a wonderful time. And I think it will be a great chance for her to play with Master 2 without Tink. Tink is beyond amazing with babies and children, I call her the 'Baby Whisper', but it does mean that Pixie hasn't had much experience with them.

I had to laugh though. I came home to this note after abandoning the infants ......

Tink didn't even trust me enough for that. The last thing she told me was that she'd put it in the lounge, on charge, and that she had the only game on it all ready for me. Today's confession: I discovered some-game-I-can't-remember-the-name-of (Farm something?) over the weekend and I am slightly addicted. I am feeling very loved (and I am ignoring the slight feeling of being patronised because I am used to that. Put it this way, they've all had folders on their home screen called "Mum's games" because that is about the only bit I can get to without being confused).

So why I have a quiet house, I am going to stop whinging, and be thankful for some guilt-free study time (as well as for all the things listed above). I only have one more assignment to go after this one so I am a little bit excited!

I hope you are all having a wonderful week, and that you are finding rainbows in all this rain.

Cath xx

PS if you were wondering about what happened with Spike, the vet found his owners and he is home safely.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Pyjamas, butterflies and taking over the world

I wrote a little while ago about Buglet and Pixie's career plans. This post is the one I meant to write last Wednesday after Tink's parent-teacher interviews, but it is one of the posts that just didn't happen last week.

Last Wednesday reminded me that Tink has always been Tink. She was in her student councillor uniform and could not only tell me every room that I had to go to, but also tell me who each teacher had seen before and after me. Not that I knew the people she was talking about, but that is not really the point. Every single teacher said that she is enthusiastic, talks a lot, and asks lots of questions. As I said, Tink has always been Tink and as I take you through her changing views on careers you will see why.

My earliest recollection was when she was about 2.5, possibly a little bit older, and I made some comment about working. Tink was most adamant that "Mummies don't work. Mummies go to uni and go to meetings". There was nothing I could say that would convince her otherwise. Once I thought about it, in her universe that was what mummies did do. I had been at uni her entire life, and my mum works on the same university campus. When I babysat my little sisters at night, or when my mum babysat my girls it was very often because either Mum or I had a meeting. From Tink's point of view that was just the way it was.

Fast forward a year or two, and we were at one of my best friend's place and Tink was playing "house" with my God-son. Nothing traditional about this game. Tink told him that she was the mum, she was going to a meeting and that he could cook dinner. She handed him the baby, picked up her bag and left. My gorgeous God-son picked up the baby and turned to the stove. There were two very proud mums that day.

Tink then went through a bit of a slump. When she hit the "what are you going to be when you grow up" stage at school, you know where they look at lots of different jobs, Tink came home every day being absolutely adamant that she was going to do nothing.

Me: So you are going to look after the house while Mummy and Daddy are at work?
Tink: No. I am going to do nothing.
Me: You are going to go to uni?
Tink: No. I am going to live at home and do nothing.

I don't believe in pushing children, but I did decide that then was a good time to have a conversation about needing an aim in life. Tink soon decided she was going to be a butterfly. That's an aim, right? Better than doing nothing on my time that is for sure.

Tink has never actually mentioned being a giraffe, but she is very attached to her onsie .....

I should say here, that Tink likes to do things, but she likes to do them her way. Even at 5 the idea of being told she should be thinking about what she wanted to do clearly didn't sit well.

Later she decided she was going to be a hairdresser two days a week and a music teacher three days a week. That was her plan for a long time. Now she is a bit bigger and it is all becoming real she is thinking about teaching. There is also the dream that her soccer talent may lead to something, but we will just have to wait and see.

Me? I think my wonderful middling daughter has amazing leadership skills. Common predictions for my Tink by other people include State Commissioner for Girl Guides, Prime Minister of Australia, and possibly President of the World. I am just sure that her energy and drive will mean she will make a positive difference whichever way her life takes her.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Be careful what you wish for .....

On Saturday I took Flip-Flop for her own playdate at the beach with a friend and her two dogs (and her baby so I spent a lot of time babbling at the baby. Flip-Flop didn't care about the baby).

She had a wonderful time. I had been a bit worried because she hadn't met these dogs before, and I didn't know how she would go with them.

Sandy puppy. The Pixie insists that after-beach selfies are now a tradition.
I had always said if I got a dog, I would get two so they weren't lonely during the day. We got Flip-Flop as an "only dog" so the issue had never really come up again. Her beach adventures made me re-think.

I may have mentioned this to the girls. (Please note, I do realise that this may not have been my most sensible move). Buglet and Tink thought it was a great idea. Pixie thought it was a horrible idea. She can't imagine loving any dog as much as she loves Flip-Flop. I reassured her that lots of people worry about that when they have their second baby.

Me: Do you think I love Buglet and Tink any less because I had you?
Pixie: Yes!

Oops. Maybe not the best converation to have with my diva baby! On the upside, at least she isn't worried that I don't love her. I did find out later though that Pixie told Buglet that her real concern is that Flip-Flop will love the Pixie less if she has another dog to be her friend. This makes a lot more sense.

Fast forward to today .... I get a phone call in the office.

Buglet: So we have a big little friend visiting us.
Me: Huh. Who's there?
Buglet: We have a visiting dog.
Me: What do you mean?! Where did a dog come from?
Buglet: It came up and was barking at the rabbit and he doesn't have a collar.
Me: Where is this dog now?!
Voices around the office. A dog? Did she say they have a dog? What have they done?
Buglet: In the house.
Me: Where is Flip-Flop?
Buglet: Outside.
Me: Get the dog outside and put Flip-Flop inside. I will warn Apple there is a dog there when she comes to get you.
Buglet: Pixie wants to call it 'Mr Fluffykins'.
Me: No! I am sure he has an owner.

Get off the phone to fill my colleagues in on the other half of the conversation. I am so glad they find it amusing rather than getting annoyed by my phone calls with the girls.

Follow an exchange of text messages. Buglet wanting to walk to the dog. Finding out that Buglet was outside keeping the dog company (I should have got her to do some weeding while she was there). Buglet telling me that his name was Spike (Buglet and Tink outvoted the Pixie apparently).

Apple to the rescue! 'Spike' is now safely at the vet, with my name and number though in case they can't find his owners.

If I get a call I will let you know. Just to be perfectly clear, my conversation was not a message to the universe that I need another dog at this point, and tonight I will be discussing dog etiquette with the girls.