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Friday, February 26, 2010

the first time ever i saw your face

I still can't work out this photo business.

Here's one I prepared earlier, just to keep you going while I fight with technology. (You're welcome.)

In the bottom right hand corner, you can just make out the Bear's hour-old, newborn head.
And this was the look on the Gig's face when she saw her beloved baby brother for the first time.
Now am I forgiven for not posting lately?

i'm still here

And now we will resume our normal programming...

Sorry about the break, all 2 of my readers (Hi T, Hi A). It's just been such a full-on week, topped off by the Bear refusing to have day sleeps any more, boo hoo. He still goes into his cot for an hour, but that's it. And honestly, by the time I've done all the stuff I can't do when he's awake, theres'not much time left for blogging!

But fear not - as we speak, I'm attempting to upload photos from my camera, now that I've found my USB cord. It was "up high", as mentioned in a previous post. So "up high", in fact, that I lost it for over 6 months. Perhaps I need to sort out my clutter, do you think?

(Oh, new software to download. Hmmm, that's sure to be quick and easy.)

Ok, it didn't like me leaving the download window and coming here. I've lost it now.

Excuse me while I throw my computer out the window.

I'll be back, hopefully with pictures next time...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

of mice and ...puppies

What is it with children and comfort objects, lovies, cuddlies, call them what you will? And more to the point, what is it with puppies and an almost magnetic attraction to said comfort objects?

The Gig has a deep and abiding affection for a little pink elephant, imaginatively named Ellie. When I say pink, of course, I’m being kind. Or nostalgic. Or something. You see, Ellie is now a dingy shade of grey. And she looks more like a mouse than an elephant, due to the Gig's unfortunate childhood habit of chewing on Ellie’s trunk. The Gig asked me, when she was about 5, where Ellie’s trunk was now. “Sweetheart, you just don’t want to know...’’

Ellie has seen the Gig through thick and thin. She has been on sleepovers, she has travelled around the world with us, she’s been happy to be dragged around the house 24/7, or alternatively to sit on the Gig's bed with a resigned and patient expression on her trunkless little face, waiting for her girl to return and fill her in on the day’s activities.

When the Bear came along eight years later, we were prepared. TWO lovely, soft, sweet little elephants had been purchased, just ready for the Bear to love and cherish. Well, wouldn’t you know it - he wouldn’t have a bar of them. Oh, he’d hold them while he played, but there wasn’t that…magic. “Oh well”, I thought, “this one’s just not into comfort toys.” I was a little sad, but also somewhat relieved that we wouldn’t have to spend at least three quarters of every waking moment making sure we knew where the damn toy was.

Until one day, when the Bear was about five months old I picked up a little toy mouse (free with outfit) and handed it to him while I changed his nappy. Fireworks exploded, bells chimed, fairies and angels sang – it was truly love at first sight. Mousie (we’re good with names) was now an official part of our family.

So, feeling a bit like the Farmer’s wife, I chopped off Mousie’s tail with a carving knife. (Actually a pair of scissors.) Please don’t call the RSPCA; it was all about safety. The Bear's safety, obviously, not Mousie’s. That tail was too long for comfort, especially as I’d already seen the Bear try to stuff it into his mouth. This operation left Mousie looking more like a teddy bear than a mouse, but, in the interests of confusing all babysitters, we kept his original name.

So life went on. Mousie was loved, cuddled, sucked, vomited on (frequently, but that’s a whole other post) and generally subjected to all the attentions usual to comfort toys.

Until, that is, we went mad and brought home a puppy called Jasper.

Remember those fireworks? Those singing angels? The chiming bells? We heard them all again the first time Jasper laid eyes on Mousie. Jasper is obsessed with poor old Mousie. Whenever the bedtime cry of “Where’s Mousie?” goes up in our house, you can be sure that Mousie is being loved by Jasper somewhere out in the back yard.

An interesting fact of nature is that puppies have far sharper teeth than children do. And puppies have a propensity to chew. Anything. (Everything, in fact.) Especially if they love something as much as Jasper loves Mousie.

First it was an ear. A big, floppy, lovely to hold between the fingers and stroke mindlessly ear. I nearly cried, but the Bear, like the loyal little trooper he is, merely looked at Mousie, touched the place where his ear once was, and snuggled Mousie under his chin.

Then it was the other ear. Mousie soldiered on. Then an arm. Mousie was beginning to look like he’d been in the trenches. All this made no difference to the Bear. And wash after wash, this brave little mouse hung together.

Then Jasper decided to eat Mousie’s other arm. Then his right leg. By now, the re-christened Daniel Day-Mousie was left with his head, his torso, and his…er…left foot. But still Mousie soldiers on. And the Bear teaches us all about true love, as seen through the eyes of a child.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

a letter to my family

Dear Bear,
Please stop letting the dogs into the house when Granny is here. She really doesn't like them, and it's not funny to hear her squeal when Harlan licks her feet. Ok, maybe it's a little funny, but still, please don't do it. Oh, and while I have your attention, please remember that after 6am is bearable (just), but before 6am is the middle of the night, thankyou very much young man!

Dear Gig,
I know you hate homework. I do too. Trust me on this one. But come what may, you have to do it. And thanks for doing the vacuuming downstairs. I didn't expect it and I'm very grateful. But you can't vacuum ribbons, wool, stuffing from toys, paper bags and so on. Unless you think it's funny that I had to spend 15 minutes painstakingly unclogging the vacuum cleaner. As an aside, craft projects really should be cleaned up...

Dear Jasper,
For the love of God would you stop barking at anyone/anything that walks past our house? You are not a tough dog, and no one believes you for a second. Also, if you're going to bark, why not bark at the door-to-door salespeople who actually enter the yard? Why do you love them, but hate the little old lady who lives down the road?

Dear Harlan,
Good dogs don't dig. Full stop. And please don't lick Granny's feet. She doesn't like it. And please, please, please don't eat any more cane toads. We love you and don't want to lose you. Meanwhile, feel free to carry on being so cute.

Dear MOTH,
You do know I'm not, objectively, prettier than all those women on TV, don't you? But I love that you always say I am. :)

And finally, Dear Rain,
Please stop before the roads flood, so I can pick the Gig up from school safely.

Love from Mummy/Millie/the Bearer of yummy doggy treats

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

how i really feel...putting it into perspective

Where should I start?

Upset, mad, devastated, worried, panicky, scared, angry, sad, overwhelmed, disappointed...the list could go on and on.

I'm talking about the Bear's (formerly known as the Toddler) speech issues. We are at the beginning of what I know is going to be a long and arduous road for all our family, especially the Bear. I'm usually pretty much okay with his diagnosis (not that it's official yet, but it will be), but every now and then, like right now, I get really angry and upset about the whole thing. It's so unfair on my poor little man. I worry that he'll never talk properly, never have any friends, he won't manage at school, if he even goes to mainstream school, he won't be able to hold down a job...and so on.

It doesn't help when people point out other children who have overcome their speech issues. That is not my child, and they don't have the same condition. However, when I hear about a child with the same condition, who is now speaking well, it brings me great hope.

So, I thought, as I'm feeling so negative, maybe I should take a look at where we are at in reality rather than Mummy-freakout-zone.

Okay. The Bear has (almost certainly) Verbal Dyspraxia. Also known as Childhood Apraxia of Speech.
(But he's still my Bear)

He is having Speech Therapy.
(And making good progress)

Tomorrow he starts Occupational Therapy.
(This will help the speech therapy as well)

He is under the care of a Developmental Paediatrician.
(Who is really caring and compassionate. We were lucky to get onto his books)

He has failed an early screening test for Autism.
(A tough, non-prescriptive test with a high false positive rate)

He may not have Autism, but probably has PDD (Pervasive Developmental Delay).
(This diagnosis can be lifted, and will allow us access to funding and services for the Bear)

He will start attending a special needs kindy soon. It's attached to a local Special School.
(He will get extra therapy from qualified and dedicated teachers)

There are no guarantees that he will attend the same school as his sister. He may well end up at the special school for a shorter or longer time.
(If so, that's where he'll thrive the most)

But you know what?

He's still my precious, funny, happy, cuddly, laughing boy. How lucky we are.

how i really feel

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

more puppies

And this is our little fella, Jasper. He's 10 months and quite insane.
They are both loving, affectionate and gentle little dogs, perfect with children. They're King Charles Cavalier Spaniels. The only downsides to the breed are that they MUST be on lead outside the yard, as they're prone to running, and they moult like nothing you've ever seen!
BTW, this wasn't meant to be two posts. I've still got my L plates on!


This is our big guy, Harlan. He's 7, but we just adopted him a couple of months ago. He came from a family with two toddlers, so he fits right in with our family. They had to move overseas for work, so we got to add to our family!

Monday, February 8, 2010

photo flashback

Back when the Toddler still had blue/grey eyes...

The Tween's were always brown...

I told you they were gorgeous!

in the wee small hours of the morning...

I have a sick boy. Not a very sick boy, I hasten to add, (and never forget to give thanks) but a miserable, snuffly, hot, blocked-up, sad boy, who had trouble sleeping last night.

So, we co-slept.

Now, I'm emphatically not a co-sleeper. I have nothing against it, but I just can't do it. I love the idea of all my chicks being in the one basket, so to speak, but my kids and I, we're just not good at it. The MOTH is - he snores away merrily whenever we have tiny guests in our bed. Me? Not so much.

You see, I'm a very selfish sleeper. I like to be completely still and not touching anybody before I can go to sleep. The Tween comes in for a cuddle after a bad dream every now and then, but the Toddler is like me, in that he really prefers his own bed. Unless he's sick.

I firmly believe that a sick, scared or miserable child deserves to be in his/her parents' bed. I just really wish I could get some sleep, any sleep while they are sharing my bed. And I have to tell you, while no one wants to wake me up for no good reason, if my kids need me in the night, I am Florence Nightingale and Elise Keaton all rolled into one. I am the best (she said modestly) night-time Mummy in the world.

So last night, as the MOTH slumbered peacefully beside me, and the Tween dreamed lovely dreams in her room, the Toddler and I snuggled, cuddled, sang songs, cried (him, but I wanted to), had little chats about how in the world Daddy can sleep through this racket (ok, maybe that was just me), and generally got each other through the rough old night.

One doctor's visit later, and tonsillitis was confirmed for my poor little munchkin. And right now, the Toddler is fast asleep in his own cot, in his own room.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to bed myself.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Please drive carefully

I witnessed an accident yesterday.

A car turning across an intersection obviously didn't see the motorbike coming straight ahead.

The motorbike smashed into the side of the car.

The rider was thrown over the top of the car, turned over in the air and landed flat on her face.

It was peak hour, so there were a lot of witnesses.

I got out of the car to see if I could help.

The woman wasn't moving.

The man who had been driving the car was shaking. Visibly.

Someone called the ambulance.

A man started directing traffic.

My 2 year old was screaming in my car. My 10 year old was trying to calm him down.

I got back in my car, and was directed away from the scene.

Later, I rang the police to give them my details. I explained why I hadn't stayed. The police officer told me I'd done the right thing by leaving. After all, I couldn't help; I had two kids in the car, and there were at least 20 other people there to help. Getting my car out of the way, he said, was the best thing to do.

So why do I feel so guilty?

Please keep the motorbike rider and the driver of the car in your thoughts/prayers.

And please drive carefully.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

but where does he find them?

Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a Mummy and a Daddy whose only child, a little girl, was six years old. So the Mummy and the Daddy decided to replace their old, ugly sofas with new, lovely ones. Because their little girl was a very sensible child, they thought they could get away with buying one deep aubergine coloured sofa, and one...cream...sofa.

Fast forward four or so years, and their little girl was ten, and their semi-surprise (that's another post) little boy was two. And one day, the little boy found a ball-point pen. So he did some "dorwee"* with the pen. On the sofa.

The purple one?

Noooooo, of course not! It wouldn't be nearly as satisfying to draw on a purple sofa as a cream one, would it?

So the Mummy tried a few methods of cleaning it. Sadly, none of them worked. And she put ALL the pens in the house up high, well out of reach. Then, a few days later, she went downstairs to get the mail. On her return, she saw that the little boy had produced more "dorwee". Where?

On the cream sofa, of course.

There's a photo coming, as soon as I find my USB cord. It's up high somewhere.

*The Toddler has very limited words. "Dorwee" is one of them. "Mummy" is not.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The difficult second post

Having opened to rave reviews, I now have early onset writer's block.

So how about I tell you about my gorgeous children?

The Tween is 10, and she's just started year 6 at school. She's a funny, friendly, caring person with some serious mess issues. She's extremely talented at art, so maybe that's why? I tell you, her room is an absolute pigsty 90% of the time. But she's so sweet and helpful that as long as her door's closed and no food ever enters her room, I'm willing to overlook it. Until I have a ranting hissy fit and tell her if it's not clean she's never doing anything fun ever again, and don't think I don't mean it, young lady!

The Tween loves her ipod and her Nintendo ds, and adores Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Robert Pattinson. She's a really good reader, but has very different tastes from me, so I struggle to find books that she'll read. The MOTH (Man of the house) usually has more luck there.

As for the Toddler, he's a typical two year old in most ways. He's loving, affectionate, hilarious, stubborn, and very, very cute. He loves drawing, Maisy Mouse, eating and his comfort toy, Mousie. He also has a significant speech/language delay. His speech therapist is sure it's verbal dyspraxia, which is where messages sent from the brain to the mouth for speech get garbled, thereby making planned speech extremely difficult. His Paediatrician is yet to make a formal diagnosis, but doesn't disagree with this view. He has also failed the mchat test, which is an early screening test for autism. This is not to say that he has autism; this test is designed to catch ALL children on the Autism Spectrum, so there are a lot of false positives. We're hoping desperately that he's one of them. This is all fairly recent news, so I'm not yet a mine of Mummy info, but I'm working on it ;). So, for the interim, lots of speech and occupational therapy, a special needs playgroup and a lot of hard work for Mummy. He sees the Paediatrician again in April, so we might have some more answers then.
Anyway, my kids are easily the most beautiful and amazing creatures on earth. Don't you agree?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Helloooo out there!

Well, after weeks, if not months, of procrastinating, I've finally decided to start a blog. Who knows where it will take me...

The biggest decision was, of course, what to name said blog. I've named two kids (5 names in all; our daughter is yet to forgive us for only giving her one middle name whereas her little brother has two), and let me tell you, it's much easier than naming a blog. For one thing, the children's names don't have to be pithy and clever. Nor do they have to describe anything about me. Except to make crystal clear that I'm not a bogan, of course ;).

I toyed with a few ideas.

"Mama Bear"? Nah, makes me think of that character in "The Hotel New Hampshire" who dressed up as a bear. Vague memories, but icky.

"Grumpy stressed-out Yelling Mummy"? Perhaps just a tad negative.

So in the end, I stole my blog name from James May's t-shirt (you know, the clever, funny, non-obnoxious Top Gear guy). It's an old British WWII slogan. And, to mix up my war-time catchphrases, life as a mum is life in the trenches. You do sometimes have to batten down the hatches (oooh, I've gone all naval now). And finally, my King and Country may not need me, but my beautiful family certainly does.