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!