Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009

state of the art exuberance

video 1: antwerp zoo - kids and the art of instant friendship

video 2: not long before we went away - proving that white girls CAN indeed jump . . . in this case to 'ice ice bubbles', as the song is now known.

randomicityness . . .

jet lag in progress


frankfurt on our final day in europe - buying a hello kitty balloon

dang balloon came with us all the way to the security area before boarding

naked sudoku - must have been influenced by all that contact with the finns

more hello kitty, boots this time, wouldn't take em off without a fuss, and woke at night demanding them . . . and not much else . . . she is not a fan of clothing!

Friday, December 25, 2009

evillest of them all

we are now home, in the brisbane heat and humidity, after a heavenly trip. good food, plenty of sleep, and constant amusement by the munchkin. we spent a little time at the frankfurt airport - some of it in the JAL business lounge - which was fitted out with some blimmen marvellous toilets. i happened to mention to andrew that there were a few 'surprise' functions on these toilets, described a couple, and said it would be a hoot to try them out on amelia (yes, i know, *sigh*, we are bad evil parents - but she is such a good sport!!!!) . . . next thing you know, she is trotting off to the loo by his side. a few good minutes later, out they come, her looking bemused, him beaming from ear to ear. apparently he had pushed one of the 'wash' buttons, and she jumped about a foot off the toilet when the jet stream hit her rear-end . . . see for yourself - about 12 buttons in all, including A DRIER!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

das boot! the fabled rubbish barge of venice!

we FINALLY managed to get this thing posted! one of the highlights of venice for amelia! you will notice that she sits extremely still while watching - the only time she is still is when she is watching something of great interest - diggers, cranes, cherry pickers, leaf-blowers, street sweepers etc. or, when she is deeply asleep (light sleep means flailing limbs and mad rambly mutterings). the rest of the time she is on the MOVE!

s'no business

we did this the wrong way round. we hitched a tram to the shopping centre and had our waffels and hot drinks first. ideally, you should head for your waffels and hot chocolate AFTER you have been out in the snow. this was one of amelia's favorite haunts in ghent. icecream (australian nonetheless, so called because the woman who financed the enterprise LIVED in australia; bizarre sundae names like coupe aboriginal!!!) for amelia, and a waffel for dad (or mum, and/or mum) . the waffels, to give them their full title are 'luikse zuiker waffels' or gauffres chauds de liege' . . . made fresh in huge waffel irons, and have a sugar filling that melts as it heats. bloody sensible food if you ask me, given the weather. and the hot chocolate consists of hot milk, with a huge great lump of REAL CHOCOLATE dropped in the cup to melt.

above is the look she gets when she is up to no good - in this case whipping off the mittens (notice hat is LOONG GONE!)

and below is the smile you get AFTER you take your mittens off!

don't think this needs much explanation! she walked and walked and jumped and rolled and ran and slid and 'built snowmen', and threw snowballs (well, tried to, she would get a snowball together and walk up to andrew to toss it, then lose it and laugh too hard to do it properly) . . .

we coaxed her up this hill thinking that she would sink deeper and deeper into the bank of snow, but to no avail. evil parents that we are. notice the mittens are STILL off. apparently you can't make snowmen and snowballs with those bloody things on!

whether we make it out of germany on thursday or not remains to be seen. planes from all major cities in this longitude are delayed or cancelled. you've probably seen the eurostar debacle - well, we have a thalys train to catch to germany on wednesday. as it was, andrew went to amsterdam for a lecture and on saturday found himself hopping on and off regional trains in an effort to get back over the belgian border, as all international trains were either cancelled or badly delayed. at one stage he pictured himself walking the 20 k's or so to get into belgium - would have been a mission given the blizzard conditions. still, we have travel insurance, and our bond just came back in CASH... so we think we should be FINE . . .

and that would be a BLIZZARD then . . . . . . .

watch this space - photos of the whiteout in process will soon be posted. the enfant terrible and her evil father just brought a friggen SNOWBALL (taken from the stack on our balcony) into the computer room and the E.T. THREW it at me, while the E.F. laughed!!! methinks we will be making snowmen, throwing snowballs, creating snowangels and eating WARM WAFFELS WITH HOT CHOCOLATE very very soon!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

FINALLY, we got onto youtube

if you can stand watching this to the very end, we are there on you tube.

people have their own reasons for attending such commemorations of course, ours were pretty simple.

just over 90 years ago amelia's great-great uncle was marched through menin - most likely on the road that we ourselves trod. he died of wounds in September 1918, like so very many, never making it home.

her great-great grandfather was killed in the north sea in 1918, also never returning to his home and family. we have been to the site of his memorial and will return again, because they are her family, our family. and because she, had the war not taken place and our families not been affected as they were, would never have existed.

how frail and short-lived we are. a good reason to celebrate every precious second of whatever lifetime we have.

amelia says the darndest things

the vocab is fair rocketing ahead. not all words are suitable for company of course . . . ahem.
we get woken up by a tow headed creature shuffling along the hallway in darkness (stays dark til 8am . . .! yay), pushing open our door, flicking on the light and saying: 'guys, guys, what happened last night?' (this phrase is frequently used now, with a series of different 'add-on' clauses: i.e. w.h.l.n on the table? w.h.l.n in the bath?

she has also just been introduced to the idea of women having 'babies in their tummies' . . . as a friend of ours 'the uvver one roofie' is pregnant. we told amelia over dinner that ruth had a baby in her tummy, and she immediately began asking if peter (ruth's partner), me or andrew also had babies in our tummies. ruth explained that she was the only one, and showed her the baby bump. immediately, amelia got some dolls clothes, stuffed them up her jersey, and said she had one up the spout as well. luckily not many people here speak amelia-english, because she asks if random chubby type people also have b's in their t's when we are on the tram, train, or in the supermarket. he he he, she saw a metre high father christmas doll, gazed at him wide eyed for a while before announcing that HE had a baby in HIS tummy. nice.

phrases like 'i don't KNOW mummy,' 'd'jew like a coffee?', 'i just go to work now, ok?', 'i fink so', are sprinkled liberally through her conversations, and she has a habit of saying 'what's that amelia doing?' when she is trying out something new or dodgy - she uses the same phrase about us, and other people, substituting a name or label for amelia. she will repeat the question many times regardless of how we answer, as though some internal needle has become stuck on her record like tongue. the habit of repeating things gets quickly tiresome when she is asking for things and being told no. even tho we have shown her this youtube clip a number of times, she still doesn't stop pestering us . . . dopey kid!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

time for the number 4 tram

catching the tram is that much more interesting when you are ankle deep in fresh snow!

normally, amelia keeps our fellow passengers waiting at the tram stop well amused by shouting out the phrase 'number 4 tram' . . . but this time, the snow took precedence.

p.s. she is not as wide or short as the video suggests - andrew's camera phone managed to slightly distort angles and proportions. she looks kinda midgety huh?

its enough to make me want to deck the halls!

she has lucked out with weather this time around - from extreme indian summer when we first arrived, to unseasonal heavy snow (usually no snow in ghent until january) - she is a very happy camper, spending much time gazing out our windows at people biking and walking in the snow.
snow falling, dadda, and a promise of ice-cream at the underground shopping centre!
andrew bought amelia a bennetton hat from milan, with little fur flaps - it won't see much action in brisbane (hahahahaha), but it sure was useful in sub-zero temperatures in ghent. poor kid has proper snow pants on, and a million layers underneath. for a kid who emulates her uncle alex and drops her gear as often as possible, winter living is not always fun. once she is outside she is fine, but she gets so dismayed when we show her how much she needs to wear.
first footsteps in snow . . . EVER! or as she calls it - frozen stuff!!!!

fellow swashbucklers ahoy!

amelia instructs bas in the finer art of viking weaponry
the challenge!
a little private practice of her two-handed cutlery management . . .
elephant-hat-thingy bliss . . .

last sunday we went to the house of one of andrew's colleagues, who has three boys - otto 9, max 7, and bas 3 - which boys happened to own SWORDS, AND LIGHT SABRES AND VIKING AXES (all plastic - phew!) . . . and a weird elephant hat/sun visor thing. amelia was in 7th heaven, and launched herself constantly into the midst of the older boys' light sabre/baseball bat fight (sounds a lot worse than it really was), wielding the viking axe (which had a small button that when pressed set off satisfyingly loud and clashy metallic noises), which had max defending himself vigorously while she giggled maniacally- feminine as a feminine thing, that's our girl!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

monkey business

the last word

the mole situation (see earlier post) has become dire. amelia now regularly attempts to either pull or pick the darned things off, and is HELLISHLY persistent.

i tried to stop her from ripping away at one the other night, and she kept putting her hand back.
i started by saying firmly: 'stop it please, you are HURTING mummy' . . .

she kept on trying, so i repeated myself, adding, 'they are mummy's not yours, so you need to leave them alone please' . . .

her response? (in a voice that suggested i was an idiot not to realise this already)

'but I'm a DOCTOR!!!'

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

sometimes parenting involves just too much effort

a few years back, andrew had an accident in which bones in the outsides of both of his hands were broken. as a result, ordinary tasks involving certain hand movements can cause him a lot of pain.

in a related story, amelia has recently embarked on a passionate love affair with walnuts, which she refers to as WARM-NUTS and wants them opened day and night(as you can imagine, andrew goes to great lengths to get her to ask for these, small minds and easy amusement etc etc). because we have marble floors and no nutcrackers, my way of opening the things is to toss them violently on the floor where they shatter to the great satisfaction of amelia who exclaims 'oh MUMMY' as she dashes off to gather the edible bits.

andrew has a slightly different method - bashing them against the tiles on the kitchen walls. as i discovered a few days back when trying this for my self, his method comes with its very own sound accompaniment.

as i whacked the tough (grown on a bio-farm, seriously hard skinned) old things against the wall, amelia started up a strange chant of (edited for the eyes of the more tender reader) 'f . . . it, f . . . it, f . . . it'. apparently, on just one occasion, andrew hurt his hand rather badly when cracking some warm-nuts , and responded verbally without remembering what was standing right next to him soaking it all up, the result being that she now uses that phrase every time a warm-nut is whammed into wall or floor.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

the day the red trousers lost favour

andrew is in bologna for a few days, wining and pasta-ing his socks off, in between buying us guilt-induced presents, so amelia and me are having a four-day sleepover, which involves lots of singing, reading books, playing until we are both laughing hysterically, and her sleeping in our bed, with a solemn 'how many sleeps til daddy comes home' countdown every night. as mentioned previously, stuff from his little bedside cabinet is hauled out for regular checkups every night, and tonight i lay very still 'sleeping', feeling a wild wriggling going on next to me, and hearing the puffing and blowing of great exertions, with the odd kick in the back thrown in (she hasn't yet realised that her cloven hooves can cause great hurt when she flings them about and connects with a soft fleshed parent . . .) until i couldn't stop myself from 'waking up' and i peeked . . . . if you look carefully you can see the discarded 'red trousers' lying nex to her - they just don't stand a chance against the glamour of dad's turquoise paisley fitted briefs!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

ALMOST asleep: yeah right

andrew's drawers (as in bedside, not underwear, altho THAT is the subject of another post) are of great interest to amelia - so when she is put to bed for a sleep, she often delves into them for a wee recce while winding down. a few days ago i came to check on her progress and found her sitting up in bed, 'reading' a novel of mine, wearing these. priceless isn't it?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

a small lesson in mathematics

andrew is away in switzerland at a conference. skype and telephone calls from him come with the strangest musical accompaniment - accordian music to be precise; plus he has seen his fair share of plaits and lederhosen.
i have been determined to get a good night's sleep while he is away - because amelia tends to wake up asking for him, so yesterday, she and i left the pram at home and walked to the gym via a city park and shopping mall!
the resulting maths lesson is thus fairly straightforward:
+ 2 hour walk,
+ 1 hour play with kids at gym,
= the attached images.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

sight of the week

we have introduced amelia to a wind-down stage before sleeping where she gets to read, or play a little, in her bed before we turn the light off. we check on her every few minutes (as she well knows, because she holds up one hand with fingers outspread as we leave the room, saying 'FIVE minutes'). this is 'her' time - as long as she stays in her room and is reasonably quiet, we don't mind what she does. sometimes she sits at the office desk in her room playing with a little yellow plane and a set of blocks. other times she reads to her bunny rabbit and koala, yet others, the babies are 'put to bed' and 'fed' while she pats them and sings. it makes for a quiet night's sleep anda fairly painless 'lights off' operation.

last night she opted to wind-down in our bed. i went to check on her, saw that she had taken off her pyjamas and was instead wearing something in a dark fabric, which she was busy patting into place around the bulge of her night-time nappy - i walked a little closer to the bed to find that she had knicked a pair of andrew's undies and donned them, hiking them up around her waist. i can't describe the look on her face- priceless.

i sent andrew off to look, and he too snorted and doubled over at the sight, coming out to the sitting room with tears of laughter in his eyes, saying 'this one's not for the blog.' my response was pretty well 'au contraire, but it IS' - although by the time he had pulled himself together and went back for a photo, she had stripped off the offending item and put it back in his drawer.

Monday, November 16, 2009

in which amelia gets back to her roots, and LOVES it

'more pipes, more PIPES dad' . . . amelia's response to the remembrance day commemorations at the menin gate ieper on November 11th . . . 'drums, DRUMS, DRUMS . . .' in fact, the drums left such a vivid impression that last night she lay in bed making the noise that drums make when first starting up a march. we didn't actually film anything ourselves, but look for my red hat and snippets of amelia's pink and grey hat in this . . . the piper was around 7 foot tall and very impressive!

she laughed out loud when the poppies poured through the 3 occuli at the end of the commemoration, and tried catching them as they fell managing to grab a good handful for herself.

you can see her hat again here as she dances to 'it's a long way to tipperary' with the belgian lady standing alongside of us. in fact this video ends on her hat! apparently all she needs is a good bit of drum and pipe action and she is fit to go!!!

throughout the more quiet moments, including the 2 minute silence, she was remarkably restrained - NO DRUGS INVOLVED EITHER! - so our neighbours on either side congratulated me on my delightfully quiet and well-trained daughter - who if they had only known was using her technique for visiting 'bouncy castles' (aka gothic and medieval churches), where she whispers and talks sotto voce with a knowing little finger held gently alongside her turned up harvie honker.

what she didn't notice, as i and most other people did was this; the face of modern warfare, confronting and visible, and sobering if you consider the millions of suchlike young men maimed or killed during WW1, and that sights such as this were all too common all across the Empire and Europe for years afterwards. not to mention the 58,000 without a known grave whose names are engraved on the menin gate (the large marble edifice in which the commemorations take place).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

MY bart

amelia has a tendency to claim any new people she befriends as HER people - MY peter and woofie (ruthie), MY Yulia, and so on. hence a few images of amelia walking with HER bart. the bond is usually immediate, and very dramatic, with her conversation over the next few days and weeks including mention of the new person/people. bart she has met once before, when she was 8 months old. these photos were taken after we had eaten lunch with bart, and she was more than happy to wander off hand in had with him over her beloved cobble-STOOOONNNES.

medical misadventures

these happened a wee while ago, but the kid's memory is acute (and cute), so she makes regular and happy mention of both events and the visits to the doctor that ensued, even laughing as she does so (they were BIG ADVENTURES!) and spends a lot of time 'bandaging' andrew's arm (placing yellow plastic coasters on a couple of recent burn scars and asking him tenderly if he's 'awwwight now?')

the first
is the result of a tumble down our extremely steep back stairs - on my watch this time, when i was unaware that she could open the damn door to the stairs. i learned pretty fast though, believe you me. we had the paramedics arrive and check her out, and she was of course, totally fine. i needed sedating, as did andrew, but she was unscathed except for surface bruising and scrapes. we know it is only the start of things like this, but its good to have a record.

the second
happened about a week before we left aussie, and is a burn that resulted from her reaching up and grabbing a cup of tea on the bench. poor katie was looking after her inside, and didn't realise she could reach to that height. i was outside, and heard a crash and a scream, and belted up the stairs and sort of ran with amelia into the shower while katie rang the local medical centre. she had silvascene (not sure of spelling) applied within 10 minutes of the burn occurring, so has NO SCARS - although the bandage looks a little grim.

we know it is only the start of things like this, but its good to have a record.

a very important little peron in amelia's life

amelia talks about thomas a lot. she misses him not in a melancholy or sad manner, but just in a matter of fact 'i would like to see him now' kind of way. the poor little bugger has been very very ill, literally at death's door, first with a paralysis tick that saw him end up on a respirator, and then ANOTHER one two days after he went home, with more paralysis. he now has a corneal ulcer and it looks like he will possibly lose an eye. we told amelia that he was sick, and that katie had taken him to the hospital, and she was okay with that - having had a little experience with medical treatment herself . . . (post and photos to follow). however, it was not immediately clear that he would recover, and he was on the verge of heart failure - which of course we did not discuss with amelia. however, that night, she got out of bed at 4am and came into our room, something that she never does, and asked for a cuddle and ning. soon after that, she sat up in bed, and patted the duvet heartily, calling 'thomas, THOMAS, come on up here. come on puppy, come here.' all we can figure is that she picked up on my anxiety re thomas, although unspoken in front of her, and it was weighing on her mind. it was a very sweet, and deeply touching moment for us all.

Friday, November 13, 2009

if nothing else, ACCESSORISE!!!

said bag

said shoes

toilet training reached a certain crescendo this week, going from 'tappies' all day and night, to frantic calls of 'my poo, my poo' and a little rear end being clutched as it runs to the toilet, followed by 'YAAAAAAAAAAAAY, my pooooooo' when said deed is done. (this after a brief but misleading period of toilet usage, which turned out to be merely a series of experiments about the places in the house or outside that one could go to 'make' things appear). now though, it is all over bar the shouting, which will continue full tilt and unabated! however, we have discovered that a girl must be porting, as in every situation, the correct and appropriate accessories . . . these, subject to change, include (at this moment in time):

1. your 'poo shoes' - this case purple crocs
2. your dolls pram, pushed up to the pedestal base so you can rest said 'poo shoes' upon it

3. 'poo music' - brahms lullabies played on mum's laptop
4. 'poo photos' - photos of your older sisters as infants and toddlers perched on toilet and potty
5 your green bag shaped just like a frog

it is also appropriate and necessary to go thru one by one, and painstakingly, a litany of names of all the people and animals, that one knows, saying of each one that they too perform certain ablutional acts . . . (sorry folks, you are ALL implicated, no-one gets excluded), and for the parents (present at every performance, although sometimes being banished into the hallway with a preemptory and stentorian 'go away, shut door, light off!, so that the tiddler is left alone, and in the dark, perched atop the large white porcelain object) to repeat the litany (actually, it is more in the line of a rosary now i come to think of it), and agree vigorously both by word and action, and to applaud when it is all over.

when truth is stranger than fiction

funnily enough, a word that many belgians use to describe amelia when seeing her nut-bar personality in full flight sounds VERY similar to one that andrew and i often use when we are reaching the end of our ( short and not nearly flexible enough, given the circumstances) tethers.

the flemish phrase, usually uttered by older women who seem entirely enchanted, . . . is schatje - and i am sure i don't need to spell out the one that WE mutter sotto voce!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

this bunny belongs to . . .

amelia LOVES, as most two year olds do, being read to . . . and is at that gorgeous stage where she knows all the words to the favorite books, and will finish phrases and sentences, usually shouting these out with her usual irrepressible vigour.

the books de semaine are '7 little postmen' - a little golden book, and 'this rabbit belong to emily brown' - the said rabbit's name being stanley.

following the pattern of ALL bad parents who laugh at their children while maintaining straight face s(including our own, evil reprobates that they are, laughing at us like that, as if we don't know!!!), we find it hard to contain ourselves when we reach the part in the book where emily brown, determined to keep her rabbit out of the clutches of the rotten queen gloriana, who wants a REAL toy of her own, and has decided THAT rabbit is the one, says very VERY firmly: "his name is not bunnywunny, it's STANLEY," but amelia BELLOWS: "his name not bunny wabbit, it's STAN-WEEEEEEE . . ."


Friday, November 6, 2009

in which she grows manners

manners are a feature these days, with 'coo me' and 'ank oo' being quite popular. 'coo me' comes in rather handy when barging ones shoulder into the ample buttocks of fellow shoppers as one wants to get past, and 'ank oo' has a number of weird uses of its own. namely, when i put grocery items in the trolley (in which amelia is STANDING, DRIVING it while andrew pushes- no sitting in trollies for this dollie no sirree); i find that to be thanked for placing a bag of onions or a packet of coffee in said trolley by a little voice saying 'OH, ank oo mummy!" - as if i had just given her a huge bag of sweets - is bizarre but sweet.

pwease is still in regular use, as is ARSE (ask), when she realllly wants something. 'ohh padden me' comes after a burp (and etc), although the and etcs are also often followed by a loud and raucous rollocking 'oooh, 'melia's farty bottom, hahahahhhaaa' and 's'mee farty mumma' - tact and discretion are the next lessons on the agenda.

we have taken to having 'tea parties' with her little purple with white spotted teaset, and drink pumpkin soup from the teeny cups, after pouring it ever so correctly from the teeny teapot, and eat miniature peanut butter sandwiches from the equally teeny plates. amelia even manages the sticky out pinky finger, without any prompting from me - very genteel - although we are still negotiating the meaning of the words 'careful' and 'gentle' when placing the porcelain crockery back on the table. i haven't managed yet to convey the message that bashing the stuff down full force while saying the words careful and gentle, does not actually equate to the actual qualities themselves . . . perhaps they will take root when tact and discretion are firmly under her belt.

in which amelia learns braille and takes to painting nudes

to be fair, she has taken to drawing IN THE NUDE . . . because we bought her a flash little easel that came with a whiteboard and a chalkboard (two sided!), and its own set of magnetised letters and numbers. it is a favorite activity, and for some reason, it is more fun to draw au naturel, than with clothes on. the numbers and letters come in handy for slinging around the neck of the pens BEFORE she starts drawing, and dangle precariously as she does so, acting as odd little stencils. planes and heddicotters are a feature when we get involved, and all planes need wings, a tail, a rear window with amelia waving out, and a set of stairs being climbed by a man, or by people.

as for braille . . . she has taken a keen interest in the few raised moles on my face and neck for some weeks now. she has tried on many occasions to see if they come OFF, digging away at them with her sharp little fingernails, but after many pain-induced reminders from me that they are ATTACHED and that they HURT when she does so, she has reduced her activity to running her fingertips over them in a strange sort of ritualistic manner. she flicks my face over to one side so she can scope out my neck, and then up and over my face she goes. even in the dark, when i give her a cuddle before sleep she asks "where's smoles?" and up come the fluttering fingers, ever so delicately, not resting until all have been accounted for.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

realisation hits . . .

i was feeding amelia a couple of days ago, and asked her one of those inane not-thought-thru questions we parents are famous for . . . "are you having NING?" (inane is really not a strong enough term is it?), and she replied, "no, it's MILK!!!" with a face full of new discovery. apparently she has believed that i produce NING, and milk comes from the fridge. she was delighted to announce, and inform her ignorant mother in the process, that there was actually MILK in them thar nings . . .

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

little miss more than cute

sometimes you jest feel a little bit shy is all . . .
just fooling around
what happens when you put your tights on your head because mum is on the computer . . .

these are a few of her favorite things, and more . . . .

amelia's favorite dancing man of the moment . . . she has taken to dancing in imitation of his style, including getting up on the coffee table in the living room.
second favorite

altho to be fair, the last two are not dancing anythings, just ones she finds hilarious. remember, you just need to click on the red type to go thru to the webpage.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

updated vocab

as can be expected, the midget's vocab is increasing every day, and with it some hilarious word combos that should not be missed . . .
1. mine's wake up/amelia's wake up/my's wake up morning - we hear one of these, or a combo, coming from her room every morning
2. mine's here my room/amelia's here my house- if we don't respond to the 'wake up' announcements fast enough
3. ABC KIDS - YAAAAAAAAAY - shouted out with two raised fists pumping in the air as she runs down the passageway to watch breakfast TV
4. i tex't katie now - as she picks up phone to text - yes - katie the big sister!
5. i'ma wake up soon/i'ma still wake up - when dad wants a cuddle and she's not quite ready for such things - incidentally, he says pretty much the same thing to her when she is bouncing on his stomach trying to get him out of bed in the morning . . . . .
6. i'm hungry yet/i am eat sandwich/my's tiny teddies/mines have ice-cream/mines have peanut butter/more meat/more cheese/mines not finish yet - all used to get extra food coming her way - a relatively new development-as she has been a picky eater for a few months, now andrew struggles to keep up with her. we think she is channeling uncle alex leach, or her dad when he was 19 or so!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

10 rules, or seven: well, here are the rules anyway

for the benefit of family and friends who may be in the position of babysitting (so not appropriate when describing a period of time spent with amelia - try maintaining a state of detente or glasnost), we thought it timely to outline the rules of engagement.

1. always always ALWAYS use precise language, paying particular attention to verb forms. don't use present tense when you actually mean future or past.
2. promise NOTHING that you can't actually deliver. don't attempt to bribe her with things that never eventuate. she will remember; and you will be reminded (again and again and again and again and so on ad infinitum)
3. remember that she has the memory of an elephant, so YOU need to remember episodes, situations, people and toys that she has encountered from birth, including injuries to her person that she has accrued, and you will be expected to be able to recount them in fine detail if (in fact WHEN it comes up in conversation.
4. be prepared to dance, sing, act the goat, spin in mad circles, swing, jump or just generally let off huge amounts of energy in public, while keeping her warmly dressed.
5. be prepared to explain, in teeny weeny detail (but big words are ok) diggers, trucks, trains, machines, cranes, jackhammers, hedicotters (helicopters) planes boats and the like. the questions will start with wassat (which is a generic term meaning what it is, what does it do, how do you make it go, and WHY) , and will continue with same word until you have given her the works. you may have to repeat the explanation a few times, as in each time you see said item; her quest for knowledge never ends.
6. have a large selection of songs available to sing when requested. generally, the standard nursery songs are good, but she likes it when you muck up the words a bit. as in, the old danny kaye favorite - 'there's a hole in the bottom of the sea' becomes 'there's a hole in the bottom of my sock' with a toe in the hole instead of a frog in the hole, leading all the way to the head on the body on the bum on the leg on foot on the toe in the hole etc etc etc . . . .
7. learn to wake quickly and easily at 3 (or 2 or 4 or 1) am . . . and to respond immediately to the deep conversational openings that will come your way. these include discussions about people amelia has not seen for weeks, or toys that she once used in a cafe months and months ago. or the red car with the funny man that honked as it went past last tuesday afternoon. or the 'happy birthday cake' she would like to eat immediately now please because she is hungry. dog poo is a favorite, as well as 'what was man doing? . . . guesswork is recommended in such instances.
8. work on being truly creative with food. olives are to be eaten when stuck on the fingertips of a tiny little hand, and yogurt is to be smeared across ones face like expensive skin cream. ice-cream is first to be eaten slowly and steadily with a salt-spoon, in teeny weeny frozen mouthfuls - and then from the tiny fingertips again, and if there is enough, a whole hand or two will be dipped into the cone and come out blue. bananas are good for drawing on walls (keep her in a highchair!!!), and sandwiches exist to be opened up and burrowed into so the butter and toppings can be licked off. water is apt to be dribbled down her face as she does singing exercises (thanks to what she learned while showering with a certain sibling who does her singing exercises in said shower . . . no names mentioned katie) and cucumber slices with skin on get lined up into rows of 'rainbows' as the flesh is consumed and only the arcs of green remain. peas will be arranged in neat little rows and picked off one by one like targets at a gun range, and spaghetti exists to be picked up in whopping great handfuls and stuffed in ones mouth as if one has not eaten for a month of sundays.
9. get a sense of fashion, and be ready to help try out all the latest gear in amelia's cupboard. get rid of all your old 'this goes with that' thinking - there is a whole new world ahead of you where you will be swept into a mad whirl of anything goes.
10. above all, be ready for gusts of instantaneous laughter that will rock you almost off your feet as this tempestuous personality blossoms in front of you. she will shock you, surprise you, bring tears of joy and love to your eyes, drive you batty in an instant, and move you to want to hug and kiss her cute little ears off (although she is not the biggest hugger in the world, unless you are in possession of serious ningability).

Sunday, October 25, 2009

this is the part where YOU do the talking

i really have to watch my words around amelia.

recently i woke at around 5:30am, snuck out of bed to go and make coffee, and found andrew perched at the kitchen table tapping away on his computer (it was LEGENDARY that he be up, let alone AWAKE before me or the shrimp) with a coffee cup close to hand . . . i put off making my coffee, and we sat and chatted for a few minutes, before dulcet air-raid like tones erupted from the said shrimp's room. she banged her way out of bed, up the hallway and into the room, flung herself on me for ning while giving me a good whatfor-ing because she had woken up and found me gone.
i apologised, and told her that i hadn't meant to upset her, saying that her daddy and i had just been having a coffee.
she sat up abruptly at the mention of coffee, raised her eyebrows, fixing two beady little eyes on my face and giving me a look of complete disbelief, - beady eyes again - slowly scanned the table for signs of said coffee-having activities - coming briefly to a halt at the cup next to her father's hand, and sweeping the space in front of me a number of times before looking back at me with a face smothered in accusation, eyebrows raised and eyes staring right down the barrel of my own.

i fell over myself explaining that i had been GOING to have a coffee with daddy, but hadn't quite got around to making it yet, and all the while the two blue gimlets fixed me in place whilst i wriggled and squirmed much in the manner of a moth on hatpin (while struggling not to explode into amazed laughter - andrew, weak-willed thing that he is - was not so self-restrained and lost it completely)
i throw this one over to the audience (i know you're lurking, just saying nothing)
WHERE did that cynical, critical streak come from - and how the HECK does a two year old know enough to practically demand that her parents use explicit, concise and accurate language (for that matter, how come she grasps the different nuances between 'having' and 'intending to have' at her age, AND at 5:30am?)???

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fun in Venice and Ghent

Click on any image to enlarge . . .

amelia on a swing in ghent with Julia (pronounced Yullia) from Finland - we have PLAYDATES!!! and in Venice - eating an apple on the sumptuous bed, and gazing out the window of a vaporetto (water taxi/ferry) at the Ca d'oro . . .