Tuesday, May 25, 2010

too meke

the kid had me in tears last night. howling blinding tears. of laughter that is, not the other! let me explain.

andrew and i were sitting on the couch having a rare wine (not seen often in our house - ahem), and amelia was wafting off to sleep on our bed - to be transferred later. a plaintive cry was heard, repeated at regular intervals: 'i need someone to come and hold me, i need someone to come and hold me.' i went and did the 'holding' as instructed, lying down and cuddling her. she wriggled around to face me, wrapped her arms around my neck, pulled back and stroked my face and said: 'i miss you mummy.' i replied 'but why, i am here with you.' she contemplated that for a moment, then asked: 'are you here with me?'. i said 'yes, you doofus', at which she giggled. 'i miss you mummy' she said again, ruffling my hair. i cuddled her a little more tightly and said 'when?' (getting the hang of it). she cogitated for another moment, and said, ever so mournfully, 'when you and daddy go to the movies'. for some reason this made ME giggle, something about the manner in which she said it and the facial expression that accompanied it. i said: 'really? what happens then?' 'katie holds me; katie has to hold me'. again, her expression kind of undid me, and i erupted into laughter, which she joined in with laughing at me rather than with me.

andrew came in to check, and she announced 'mummy's funny dad'.

he asked 'why is mummy funny?' (i was almost incapable by this moment - it had been a day of immense hilarity - THAT KID!)

'i said somefing to her dad, and now she's funny.'

'why is mummy laughing? he asked.

she looked at me, and gave me a little noogie on the top of the head, and said 'because she's a troll.'

well, that was it for andrew then as well, and we both ended up in tears as amelia looked on delightedly at the pair of us, kept rubbing my head, and repeating that i was a 'troll'. he then shamefully led her into investigating what KIND of troll i am, and the consensus was (stated firmly by amelia) that i am a 'stinky troll'. not long after that she was on the couch lying on me to go to sleep, something we both love happening. probably all sorts of discipline reasons for NOT allowing this, but hell - this stage is fleeting. a few years and we won't get a kiss goodbye out of her, so i am milking it for all i can get. plus, its going to come in handy for traveling - already has if we are out for dinner at someone's place and i can get her to sleep on my knee.

the photos are a tad fuzzy, but give you some idea of the gorgeous day we had last week at burleigh heads, our new home all going well. we have a hankering to be somewhere where we can walk to the beach . . . and this place is awesome. will keep you posted! while andrew and amelia were exploring the rock pools, we saw a pod of dolphins swimming lazily amongst some surfers only metres off shore - most awesome, altho i disgraced myself by looking up when i heard someone behind me say 'look, a whale', and seeing a large grey sleek shape curving itself back below a wave, and i too cried out 'look, a whale' while registering it that whales (orcas anyway) are not grey, don't have fins of that shape, and don't curve like dolphins . . . luckily andrew didn't hear me first time, so i was able to modify my cry to include 'dolphin' the next time.

Friday, May 7, 2010

mother's day 2010

well, almost!

what a year this is turning out to be. the midget is changing on a daily basis- as kids do, and we often find ourselves trying to embed her funny little sayings and doings deep into our memory banks, because they are so priceless, and often go unrepeated.

on a daily basis, we are getting HUGE hugs and soft sighs, accompanied by the words; 'i love you SO much.' sometimes these are followed by 'i miss my daddy and my katie and my chelsea'. then we have the conversation about work and other countries etc . . . and i get EVEN more hugs as a result. i once asked amelia if she missed me, and she said indignantly - 'NO!' i asked why not, and her reply was that 'you're still here with me!!!'

dragons are still de rigeur. andrew has been well slapped for laughing and encouraging her when amelia pretends to saddle my legs, announcing that 'mummy is my dwagon, and i am haircup. we going to fly fly FLY.' he tends to fall over sideways when she says this, leaving his flanks vulnerable to punishment of the matrimonial kind . . . she also declares that thomas is her dwagon, but knows not to actually sit on him, so she simply stands over him and drops into a crouch instead. he remains oblivious - his blindness and deafness is a definite advantage given some of her current schemes. one of these, now we are talking about them, was a new COLOUR scheme. thomas, it appears, was too boring being simply grey. so, two days ago while i was on the phone, amelia disappeared under the kitchen table and called out spots spots spots - i was talking to a mortgage broker at the time, so tried not to get distracted . . . when i got off the phone, i discovered that 'spots' referred to the fluoro orange blobs all over thomas's coat - made by a highlighter pen. amelia also had bright orange fingernails and toenails. on a daily basis i am grateful that we have such super effective cheap non-toxic cleaning and personal care products in the house, because otherwise, cleaning her up would be unbelievably costly both healthwise and financially. i love you SOLUMEL (removes permanent marker from almost anything!).

daycare has become a real adventure for her since a new male carer started work in her room. while ramasharan - the female carer - takes the kids in Thai language lessons, and yoga, and relaxation, Sean likes nothing more than getting out in the field and booting soccer and rugby balls around - which amelia ADORES. (definitely more like her mother than her father here - if she ever starts making sandsaucer gardens, then that assessment may change) she even took her own rugby ball (maroon for the state team) yesterday, and before i had signed her in, she was out in the field with Sean and two of the boys kicking and hurling and running - with her ball in play. she didn't notice as i left - to busy sprinting to retrieve a long kick. she delights in playing catch with andrew, maroon ball again, and is very good at throwing also - she may have gridiron career ahead. she certainly has the physicality and build for it . . . before we leave daycare, we have to spend at least 15 minutes running madly around the play area assigned to the bigger kids' rooms. this involves many pieces of climbing apparatus, and suspense bridges and the like. once we have helped her put her clothes back on (she invariably strips to her underwear - so homer simpson-like), she races to the adventure course and blitzes it over and over again until she is hauled off screaming to go home. of course, once we get in the car, and the fight about putting seat belts on is over (almost evvvvery time), she then happily demolishes the few remaining crumbs from her lunch box and starts planning what we will all be doing when we arrive home!

night times are fun, on many levels. there is the big catch up on what happened today, and book reading and playing with dad, random passionate cuddles to be demanded, and question after question about what is going on at any given time. this is punctuated with regular trips outside to see 'our' ringtailed possums (protected species) come home to 'bed' (every night at around the same time, they turn up - climbing up the cable TV cables to the corner of the roof above amelia's room, and then disappearing into the adjacent tree . . . this is a handy cue to remind us that it is also her bedtime, and she goes quite happily to bed, although she has an elaborate and physically demanding process of winding down. she reminds us of a puppy scratching a bed for itself by turning around and around in one spot while rucking the blankets with its feet. she doesnt quite do that, but does do headstands, rolypolys, one-legged dog yoga stands, down dog yoga stands and the like, usually turning herself to face up and down the bed at least 20 times . . . then there is the ritual of putting to bed the baby of the day - which goes on her pillow with a carefully selected blankie, and is then patted and read to. dad reads her a story or two, or she is allowed to 'read' the dragon book on kts Iphone. finally, she is left to fall asleep reading - the favorite book at the moment is 'the lion king' given to her by chelsea last time we were home for a visit. sleep happens within 10 or 20 minutes, and is punctuated by dreams and sleep talking - and some sleep walking, because she gets out of bed and into her wardrobe sometimes - altho usually is just to be found fast asleep standing at the door trying to open it. her nights are also quite active. she often wakes up and changes her clothes in the middle of the night, especially undies - looking for quite specific ones - ie 'the ones with the butterflies' at 2am! she is not waking us much tho - we just wake up in the morning finding her bedroom light on, and amelia wearing her togs in place of the clothes she wore to bed.

speaking of sleep . . . we currently have 'jeff' the wiggles figurine, and one of her koala pals (bath toy) 'sleeping' on the bottom of our shower at present. they are lying on their backs, with flannels over them as blankets. we are reminded 'shhhh, don't wake the babies' every time we get in the shower, although amelia spends much time rearranging them of a day when she has her daily ablution session. babies can be real or imaginary, with many invisible creatures being put to bed around the house - a minefield when selecting a chair or couch.

current phrases much in use are: 'you're welcome' - when anyone says thank you. she also says this to herself, once she has said thank you! 'of course you can' is her usual response to any requests we make, and again - this is also said to herself when she asks what we now realise are rhetorical questions - i.e 'can i please have some milk?' because she is getting super independent and making her own sandwhiches and pouring her own milk (supervised, and still has to ask and be told yes before proceeding - the kid needs reins!)'come on buddy' is used to encourage thomas to cooperate with her plans for him, as is 'lets GO guys' when we are going out and she considers us to be tarrying overly much. 'akshelly' and 'weally' are used as qualifiers, and the dreaded 'why' has arrived . . . altho used in conjunction with specific questions, such as 'mummy, why did you using daddy's pen?' etc. 'yeah, dat be cool' is the usual answer if we propose to read her a book or play a game, and she is very solicitous of our wellbeing - fetching blankets if we are cold, and patting anything we identify as being sore - i.e. tummies and heads and knees.

last night, andrew was standing at the kitchen table when his phone rang. he picked it up to look at the screen, checking to see the caller's identity. he made a funny face and answered: 'hello?' i was sitting on the couch watching him, so didn't notice that amelia had picked MY phone up and called him until i heard her voice saying 'oh, hullo dadda' and saw katie fall over laughing.

zumba is being promoted on a daily basis to the kids and teachers at daycare, with a good result - 4 of the carers are now regular attendees . . . excellent. the carers take photos most days, and have captured her asking other kids to dance . . . and to come to zumba with her.

we are off to see a movie at the local observatory today called 'secrets of the dragon' - it is an animated story about two kids who ride on the back of a dragon to discover the secrets of the milky way . . . its held in the actual dome, and is supposed to be very good. as i write she is standing in front of andrew saying, 'we all going to see da dwagons, all a us (all of us is too much a mouthful), holding up her fingers counting '1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, ALL A US' . . . we think she may be keen.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

this is the way we tidy our room . . .

the red box in these pictures is one of two that sit in amelia's wardrobe and hold her shorts/trousers/yoga pants etc.

after she decided (as is her common practice) to tip every single item in both boxes onto the floor, looking for something 'diffwent' to wear, she was asked to put everything back in the boxes and then put the boxes back in the wardrobe.

it didn't go well. a few minutes after the request was made, i went in to check and found her sitting completely still with one of the (still empty) boxes on her head as in the top photo. the second and third photos record two of the various permutations and writhing yet silent protests she then undertook in order to avoid the task.

it was on; the challenge was made and there was no backing down (on EITHER side). our stance is that she is free to tip her clothes out if it is the only way to find a specific item, but that she must then replace the items spilled. her stance was (is) quite the opposite.

so, after a few well placed smacks on a muscly little rear end later (and the usual 'death looks' that resulted), the boxes were back in order, and all were smiling once again. full torrid sunshine after a brief but stormy interlude.

as is always the case, the discipline was interrupted by bouts of uncontrollable laughter from both parents, expressed well out of the kid's sight and hearing, accompanied by both of us exchanging looks of what the heck is next . . .

special 'tweats'

if you happen to be in amelia's vicinity when she is in possession of a pen, crayon, or other writing/drawing object, then you are in line for a 'special tweat.'

let me explain: 'special tweats' are artworks created on parts of YOUR body, by amelia and whatever she has in her hand at the moment.

some tweats are invisible; these, generally speaking, are my favorite; if given a choice, i would take one of these over the other options. if we are in a cafe, she will colonise a water-glass, move in close to her intended target - schmoozing unashamedly - and say sweetly - 'what you wanna be, fweetheart? a boodiful butterfie? aw a DWAGON, aw a TIGER?' that is your cue to choose, and having chosen, to then submit gracefully to what is to follow. she will then dip two fingers, pope-fashion, into the water, and begin work on your face. 'close eyes fweetheart, close eyes - stay vewwy VEWWY still pwease' are the usual exhortations, as little fingers stroke masterfully across brow, eyelid and cheek. WARNING: if there is no glass of water available, she will use her own saliva . . . i kid you not. i put this warning out there because she will sometimes start 'painting' before you know what she is up to. if you are chatting to someone else, odds are that you may not realise until you have been well covered in spit.

special tweats also take the form of individual artworks on hands or feet. permission is usually asked, and often granted, with the lucky recipient needing a good scrub within seconds of the first sign of their own acquiescence . . . andrew's tweat seen above is a spider (only 7 legs though - we think she is a bit SLOW), katie's is a very respectable jellyfish on the calf, and mine a barbed-wire design anklet. seeing her sit astride the couch arm this morning, hunched in total concentration while she scrawled on my ankle, we thought it likely she will end her days as an artist, but most likely a TATTOO artist if her current form is any indication.

this is but one face of the drawing stage. our house is covered in samples of her work - MOST of which are on legitimate surfaces - we have thus far escaped any truly dramatic wall/door/floor or furniture art . . . thus far. the little easel we got for her in Belgium is used every day - not quite for the purposes intended - the blackboard is covered in whiteboard marker marks, the magnetic letters are covered in whiteboard marker (she carefully colours them in and then brings them to us as gifts - yesterday it was the number eight, once bright yellow, now dark blue, placed on the bridge of my nose as amelia announced that these were my 'g'asses' . . .), and the legs, shelf and frame have been boldly redecorated on an ongoing basis. we just know what amelia's school desks are going to look like after a few days of her being in residence. i recall mine all too well *shudder* while andrew says he NEVER did such a thing. sadly, i believe him, so will man up and take full artistic responsibility for this phase of amelia's career in the world of design.

on the dragon note - katie downloaded the book of How To Train Your Dragon on her iphone, so now amelia happily sits up in bed next to andrew, while the book is read to her from the phone at the same time as andrew reads his real paper book . . .

a new take on a much loved family tradition!