Monday, May 28, 2012


O my Sprocket and O the joy of my heart.
You turned three and a half recently (I'm not going to publish exactly when in case you get your dad's privacy phobia, but recently) and I thought I'd try to capture who you are at three and a half.
You are - although this almost goes without saying - mischievous. You have a quirky way of looking at the world and a wide range of expressively humous faces. Authority in your view is something that either a. should be yours or b. should be circumvented. You are very good at this. You practice doing funny walks and your whole face glows with glee as you tell us "that's funny!" when something makes you crack up in giggles.
You do not think you should be told off and, while you might knock your sister over as you run through the house or snatch her doll, you don't think anyone else should tell her off either. I sit the Poppet on my knee to explain to her at length why we don't bite people and you, my Sprocket come up. "Naughty Mummy! Not happy. Bubba is good!" Even if the Poppet is in trouble for hurting you or destroying your stuff, you still don't like her to be told off. (Except by you...)
You are so affectionate. You love hugs and kisses, holding hands and lying in bed nose to nose just talking. Last night as we lay talking, holding hands, one of your arms slung around my neck, you told me I was "Not other people's Mummy. My own Mummy,"and I went a little teary as I told you that you were "My own Sprocket, my own darling boy."  You save it for special occasions, but your sweet little "I love you's" are priceless.
You have superior reflexes and co-ordination. Of course, I would say that, because they're already way better than mine. But yes, climbing, catching, throwing, summersaulting. Not a problem for you. You can even (and this is an amazement and a wonder as well as a delight) keep in time and dance to a beat. (Unlike myself and the Poppet.)
You are starting to sing a lot more. "Move aside, make way, its Fireman Sprocket,"  can be heard floating around the house. You love The Grand Old Duke of York, Baa Baa Blacksheep, Ging Gang Gooli and What Shall we Do with the Drunken Sailor and can, and do, listen to them twenty times in a row. Recently you decided for two days that all you wanted to listen to was "Glory to God." My voice gave out.
You are beginning to listen very well to story-time at playgroup. This is because of blatant bribery on my behalf, but I think it sets you up well for work-for-pay in later life. Also for learning all about deferred gratification.
You still do not like your food to be tainted by being in touch with other food. Particularly anything remotely resembling a vegetable. However when I mentioned this at childcare they looked at me as if I was crazy. This is something you save for home... Hmmm.
You are still my little water baby. You love swimming and leap into the swimming pool with delight (often stopping to pose first). You will swim under the big mat at the pool happily and put your face underwater to search for fallen toys. You do not as yet really understand the concept of sinking, which is scary. Your swimming gets better every week.
You are a problem solver. Already you are studying your daddy as he does the combination on the lock on the shed. If I were your daddy I'd get a lock with a key and keep it around his neck.
While you are quite happy to take the Poppets toys, no one else is allowed to. When I took a little cloth doll from her she had swiped from her Great Nana's you climbed up the bookcase to get it back for her. You will take other kids dolls to give them to her. This is embarrassing, but very sweet.
You have keen observation powers. You know fine well we were amused as well as cranky about you locking your daddy in the shed. When your daddy was trying to catch you a few nights past to put your jammies on you told him "I'm not happy with you, daddy. Ghee will lock you in the shed!" Not having been locked in the shed myself, it took me awhile to stop laughing.
My Sprocket at three and a half - gutsy, determined, imaginative, stubborn, humorous, co-ordinated, strong, courageous, affectionate. You love robots and tools, sticks and blocks. You like watching Fireman Sam, Lunar Jim and Chuggington.
When you walk, you walk with a little-man-swagger. But you'll still always come running for a hug. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Little Hands

Holding Hands can be a big thing. Little kids holding hands is a guaranteed sigh-maker. 
Recently we drove down to the big-smoke to my parents place for a belated birthday for my Papa and my little niece (and her parents!) was over as well. 
As yet* my kids only have one cousin, so it is very special when they see Little Cousin Sophia. My Sprocket rolled four summersaults in a row on the hard pavement showing off in front of her. My Poppet held her hand as they walked to the park. 
For not-quite-two-year-olds (Little Cousin Sophia is 6 weeks younger than My Poppet) holding hands requires a lot of negotiation and auspicious timing. When My Poppet was ready to hold hands Little Cousin Sophia would be looking at a leaf, when Little Cousin Sophia was ready to hold hands My Poppet would be distracted by a passing dog. However, when all the planets aligned and tiny chubby hands met and held and stayed holding as they trotted along, all of us big people sighed and awwed and demanded who had a camera.
(None of us did. Six adults and none of us had a handy smartphone or camera! You'd think we were living in the dark ages!)
And yet, I think we might remember the moment more without the photos. 

Two tiny girls holding hands in the gloaming as they toddled under the big autumn-coloured oak trees on the way to the park, giggling and occasionally squealing and with cries of 'dog' and play-ground'! as the wonder-place drew close. 

*We do have a standing order for more cousins, so we live in hope.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Angels from the Realms of Glory (or Queensland!)

Angels (in the form of my Beloved's folks) flew down to our house last week and made our house, and most particularly our yard, miraculously new. 
Our garden, cleared of junk and jungle, seems three times the size and finally kid-safe. All sorts of fantabulous garden toys have been left that can demolish trees in seconds and dig holes in moments. Many of the new, special-magic-mummy-toys are ridiculously addictive and my Beloved has put in force strict limits of only-cutting-what-will-fit-in-the-green-waste-bin. Which is very hard with a little gadget that cuts through branches in a twinkling. 
It seems very wonderful that just when we were feeling overwhelmed with all the stuff the needed to be done on the house, help arrived and everything was made delightful and full of promise. 
My Beloved and I have been wandering around our garden going 'o look! I didn't know that was there!' (In a good way, not a - 'the people we brought this house from were clearly ill and/or deranged. Why did they leave 50 hospital bracelets, 4 coat-hangers and 2 kettles tied into the overgrown garden walkway?')
The kids have been running around in all the new space, peering in the now usable sheds and checking out their new found kingdoms. While at first my Sprocket wailed 'stop taking my trees away!', when he got his own special shed and discovered new trees that had been hidden, he quickly recovered from the loss. 
With all the new room unearthed and made usable all sorts of delightful plans are beginning to form - move the sandpit to there, a rock-garden here, transfer the veggie patch to there and the citrus trees to over here...rhodedendrums here... My Princess obviously needs more lilies... (her middle names are Rosa and Lily, and while we have heaps of roses we only have a few ginger lilies) I will have to start scouring through Pinterest and gardening books for ideas...  Fun, fun, fun...

When Daddy Gets Quiet Time (and Mother's Day)

While I was at work today my Sprocket shut his daddy and baby sister in the shed. And bolted the door. 
Then my Sprocket went back to the house to raid the fridge and watch TV. My Beloved tells me that every so often my Sprocket would stroll back down the garden to check on his daddy and sister. Having satisfied himself all was as it should be, my Sprocket would then ignore his sister's plaintive and then infuriated 'Bru-tha? Bru-tha? Bru-tha!' and his daddy's attempts at negotiation and return to the house. 
Finally, after an hour or so (according to my Beloved's story) my Beloved managed to put out the tiny back window to the shed and climb out. It is a very small, high window and my Beloved is not particularly small, so I am a little regretful I do not have photos. 

Meanwhile, warm and snug at work... I was writing...

You gave me a big long hug for mother's day, my Sprocket. You hugged me for a long long time and held my face in your hands and I looked into your lovely eyes and wondered that you were my own.
You put your cheek to mine and told me 'hug', my Poppet, then demanded 'the other side' for more milk. And I couldn't believe how lucky I am that you are mine.
 My kind and courageous adventurer and my creative and mischievous princess. You are both my little snuggle-up-aguses - and there's no such thing as too many hugs. 
Thinking of you both I grin and am catapulted back to my very-first-mother's-day as a mummy. 
My Sprocket, you were still summersaulting inside me and about the size of an orange, with teeny tiny hands and feet, fingers and toes. I lay huddled in jumpers and robes and quilts in bed at our coast house feeling freezing cold, horrifically sick and euphorically happy that you were on your way. That every day you were growing bigger and were closer to coming out into the world where we could meet you.  I'd just thrown up my mother's day brunch and was sucking desperately on an anti-nausea lollipop. At the foot of the bed a wonderful armful of heady smelling lilies sat on the bookcase and I looked at them and put my hand on my still-fairly-flat-tummy (about the last time for that! sigh...!) and thought that if our precious little bublet was a girl there would be a lily in her name as they smelt and looked so divine. And of course we had you first, my dearest Sprocket and from the second I saw you I knew you were the most beautiful, miraculous thing in the whole entire universe. (But we saved the Lily for your sister!) 

And do you know, apart from the sheer joy of having such an enterprising and entertaining rapscallion of a son, and two healthy, happy, beautiful children, I do believe one of the best presents I got this mother's day was not being the one locked in a dark and freezing shed for an hour...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Around the house (in Pink!)

Being a girl is just fun. We can spend hours putting things into bags and taking things out of bags, dressing dollies and undressing dollies. As long as we have our bag, our doll, our phone and our book all is well in the world! (And never underestimate the wonderful benefits of pink!)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dreaming of the Sea

Dreaming of the sea now...
We haven't gone down to the beach for awhile & a lot of weekend work coming up means we probably won't be able to go until June. Which is weeks away! (I'm spoilt, I know!) Sigh.
So I'm dreaming of the surf and the space and... well, just the sea.
To keep me going I'm looking back over sea photos from our last beach trip...
Here are some favourites... No wonder I'm homesick!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Falling For the The FitzOsbornes

I've just finished reading the final book in a fantastic trilogy  - The FitzOsbornes At War by Michelle Cooper.
And it's a find.
I've been finding a lot of finds recently. Such a thrill!
My interest was piqued when I read a review claiming the first book in the trilogy A Brief History of Montmoray was possibly better than I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith and, being a great fan of Dodie Smith (also the author of 101 Dalmations and The Twilight Barking) I had to find out for myself. And do you know, I think that reviewer might just be right. In fact (gulp) I think I liked the Montmoray Journals series more than  I Capture the Castle... which makes them classics.
A find.
The 'Montmoray Journal' series was based around a brilliant idea superbly executed.
Cooper's brilliant idea was inventing a small island nation (Montmoray) and plonking it in the Bay of Biscay (the bit of Sea on the Atlantic side that's cupped by France and Spain) The island is pretty much uninhabited except for the somewhat eccentric royal family who are, at the stories beginning (I still need to read the first book in the series,) teenagers. The series is set in the lead up to World War Two and during World War Two with the second and third book in the trilogy being based largely in England.
As rulers (in exile) of their own country the FitzOsbornes meet all sorts of interesting people and I was massively impressed by the historical accuracy and detail. The casual mention of Rosalind Christie, Agatha Christie's daughter, as a debutante was a nice touch. The description of the Kennedy family (of J.F.K fame) when Senior Kennedy was an ambassador in the UK was... thought provoking. The loopy Mitford clan came out as loopy as I always thought them. And very interesting stuff about Edward and Wallis Simpson...)
And then... even though I thought the series historically superb, the details never got in the way of the story.  Hitler's rise to power and the political build up was brilliantly depicted in The FitzOsbornes in Exile while The FitzOsbornes at War was a simply stunning (in a heartrending way) depiction of countries at war and how everyones lives were shattered... and then rebuilt. The heroine (who is writing her journal) is strong and sweet and the family is (despite their Montmoraian heritage) very quirkily English. In a good way. Already I'm looking forward to re-reading. A find, a find, a good find!

I started reading The Fitzosbornes in Exile yesterday, finished it by eleven last night and immediately downloaded The FitzOsbornes at War. Well, I had to. (Spoiler Alert, sort of) The FitzOsbrones in Exile ends with World War Two breaking out, so I had to see that everyone survived the war and found happy ever afters...
I've just finished The FitzOsbornes at War which was perfect. By which I mean I can't think how it could have been better. (Except, well, someone died who clearly should not have. But..) It was tragic and terrible and uplifting and romantic and sweet and completely heartbreaking and I finished it in tears - but they were good tears. Truly! 


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Kids, Kipple and Killing my Inner-Pack-Rat

I discovered a new word recently when reading Phoebe North's blog post The War on Kipple.  Kipple is a word invented by the author Philip K. Dick which means stuff that accumulates, seemingly on it's own, possibly by breeding. Or possibly just by people possessing inner-pack-rats.
We have a lot of Kipple. I, by my very own self, accumulate whole seas of kipple. (I acquired this trait honestly via my folks. I'm not sure what my beloveds excuse is and why we need those 5 extra computers stored in the shed. Not that any of my old computers are going anywhere. Um..) Add the kids kipple to that and we have managed to cram oceans of the stuff into a not particularly large space. We've decided it's time to act. 
No more kipple! Down with kipple! Death to the Inner-Pack-Rat!
If we don't love it, if we don't need it, if we haven't got round to mending it in a year, it's going to go. 
I feel all catharasised just thinking about it. OMMMMMMM.....
The inner pack-rat, the one that says... oooh, pretty... has to be brutally slain. The other one that says... 'hmmm. In the event of a nuclear holocuast/global meltdown we might need this,'  will also have to be killed. 
From now, we're going with the minimalist look. 
We've started on the kids playroom - two garbage bags of rubbish, and two garbage bags of toys to go. The remainder of the toys will be stored - except for the 5 toys the kids will get to play with each week - and which will rotate. 
The same thing is going to happen to their books... My collection policy will be brutal. 
Then we pare down the linens and the kitchen 'stuffs' and... gulp... my books and then move on to clothes... 
And we might actually be able to keep things in a relatively orderly state. 
And when it's all gone? 
Then we start guarding against the insidous onslaught of more kipple! (It's coming to get us, it's after us!) 
I think we're going to start with a blanket ban on plastic toys. And then start a one thing in - one thing out policy. 
We can do this. 
We can kill those Kipple-loving Inner- Pack-rats. (We're not thinking Angelina Ballerina style little fluffy things here, we're thinking vampire rodents with red eyes and fang like teeth. We will brace ourselves and stake those creatures-of-the-night!)
A bit of poison, a few traps. Sorry...  a lot of will-power and a few dozen garbage bags...