Thursday, 31 March 2011

Doing it froggy style

Every year about this time, the frogs in our garden start to migrate. If the terrace is wet, they will hop right up to the French doors of the living room.

I say they migrate, but I suppose technically they attempt to migrate because our row of houses is a rather insurmountable obstacle. This doesn't seem to bother them very much though - they just get it on right outside the window.

Shagging frogs

I always love the arrival of the frogs - partially because they stay nicely the other side of the window and disappear again after a couple of hours without leaving any mess, and partially because they make such a big show of being happy to be alive after Winter and positively extatic about multiplying and starting the next generation of slimy little hoppers.

You're no use, I need the other kind

This year, I was extra happy as it provided a few hours of entertainment to Marie, temporarily distracting her from the tiresome business of testing her mother.

"LALALA! I can hear you, you know!"

I just thought I'd share the joy with you all. You've got to love a frog in Spring.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Blame it on the kids, 'cos that's well mature likes

Having been stuck in the house for weeks now with the whole family playing musical illnesses (even on our weekend away three of us were sick), I have convinced myself that Snickers are a food group all by themselves. As are Oreos - surely the most addictive substance known to humankind. I think this happened about the time that Marie got a urinary tract infection, peed all her trousers, was put into Charlie's nappies and then promptly decided never again to use a toilet. For any reason, liquid or firm. Yes, I think it was about that time that I started to leave a secret stash of chocolate and cookies next to the kettle so that I could sneak some any time I got a cup of tea. There's something about having to clean up a three year old's poo that will drive a woman to self-medicate with sugar and chocolate. Or this woman in any case.

Another vice I have picked up during my phlegmy vacation from all things joyful and rewarding is a brand-new addiction to my iPhone. I now get why all the other nerds are fused to theirs. It's only taken me a year since first getting the phone, but now I am also app-obsessed (appsessed?). I can spend hours rearranging them just so, downloading better shopping list compilers and prettier versions of Spider Solitaire.

Three of my new apps are called TargetWeight, CalorieCounter and DietApp. I was hoping they would come in handy to tackle the Snickers-Oreo belly of shame - until I found myself lying to my TargetWeight app about my weight. I think maybe I should forget about getting back into shape until my little snotty jailers let me out.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

I may need some help with this

You know you have a serious blogging problem if you find yourself away for the weekend in a great house in the Belgian Ardennes with lots of lovely friends and instead of being downstairs playing party games you are locked in the bathroom upstairs checking your comments and blogging on your phone. Hypothetically, of course.

You will know you have an even bigger problem if you lose the entire post and then you end up trying to recreate it verbatim in your darkened bedroom while trying not to wake the baby.

Have an excellent weekend, my darling people. And remember that even if you have free wifi you are not obliged to use it. You may elect to do something else. Like play party games. Hypothetically. Of course.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Last orders at Bar Mama?

This stupid cold has really knocked me for six. I've been quite sick with it for a couple of weeks now, and it really is just an ordinary cold. It's making me reconsider my new-found breastfeeding zeal. I have been running on empty for too long, doing without enough sleep and taking it all on by myself. I think it's time to accept more help, sleep more, and not be the only one who can feed that gorgeous Charlie around bedtime. With Jack and Marie, I stopped after six months. Charlie's had seven and a half months now. I think it may be last orders at Bar Mama.

Awwww. I'd miss it loads!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The perfect birthday...

...,for a start, is not really a birthday. It also has many delights, including being woken by the whole family bursting into bilingual birthday songs. Breakfast in bed, walks, pancakes. I even attended a birthday party, though it wasn't my own. (Son's best friend's - not to be missed.) My present was an electronic piano! How cool is that? I've been meaning to learn. I must dig out my "Piano playing for dummies." (I'm not kidding.) In between I had time (generously donated by Babes) to have a long, long, long shower (including time for deforestation) and a long NAP! Then tonight the babysitter came and we went out to the cinema to see The King's Speech (excellent film) with tapas and cocktails after.

One could mistake me for a real woman today. One with a life. Who has fun. And all this while I'm still - technically - quite sick.

Excuse me while I go to have a lie down.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

My girl

Out for our girls only lunch, Marie got to pick a present from the toy shop. She dithered for a while around the Hello Kitty display, fingering the pens, sizing up the hula hoops - until she broke away and went for this:

That's my girl!

Friday, 18 March 2011

In which I turn the spotlight back on YOU and then embarrass myself a little (again)

My people, you know I love you, right? Yesterday, I asked you all to amuse me on my mobile with your comments and you did not disappoint! You did not disappoint at all. Best walk I ever had. I froze my fingers and my nose off checking my phone on every corner while Charlie slept blissfully in his buggy. I laughed weirdly while I was waiting in the grocery shop, I pushed the buggy with one hand - all the time giggling wildly - and miraculously managed to miss the hordes of grannies who were also in town for their shopping.

I was going to do some kind of awards show today, but then I realised that I couldn't do better than to point you all at the comments section of that post anyway. They're the funniest, and at times most human, thing I've read in a long time. Do visit all the lovely commenters as well. They are ALL worth a visit. Oh and if you haven't commented yet but you would like some visits too (from the most wonderfullest selection of bloggers ever - truly), you can always tag your comment on at the end. I realise that so far it only represents a subset of my usual visitors. By all means join the party! (But what do you mean you don't visit daily? You have a life of your own or something?)

Finally, thank you all so much for making my day yesterday! And thank you to all those who didn't visit or comment yesterday but are visiting today! (And while I'm being all soppy anyway thank you also for making my year and stopping me from going insane. And for being such good friends. I love you all! (I realise this is getting embarrassing. If this was a real awards show, they'd be dragging my tearful butt off the stage now, with me screaming I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH and sobbing all the way, my face mascara-streaked and my feet kicking wildly at the security guards in the hope of stealing just one more second on stage in which to fully express my appreciation for you all.))

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Queue up here for your special brownie points!

So hello! I'm still here. No end of the world just yet. Phew!

Today, I'm having an extra-special day of denial. I have my misery-blinkers on so I can only see the fluffy and adorable. It's taking all my strength to manage this, but nevermind.

So - while Charlie has finally got sick and is trying his best to drown in his own phlegm, I am grateful
  • for the good health care he is getting
  • for the aerosol machine which I torture him with each morning and evening
  • and for everything he's learning just now: he's waving, rolling, sitting, crawling, playing peekaboo - he's acting more and more like a child rather than a fish and I love it.
Of course I have also caught his bug (damn that creche) and while I could be complaining about my dripping nose and the greyness of the weather, I will not because I have many happy things to rejoice in today:
  • I have boiling water with a shot of orange juice to soothe my throat
  • I have my emergency stash of balmy tissues to keep my nose from falling apart
  • I bought a magazine full of fashion, gardening, cooking and make up tips instead of the newspaper which promised only doom and gloom
  • and, AND, a-ah-a-and (!) I finally got myself mobile internet!!!
    Yes, my darling internet people. After having my iPhone for more than a year, I finally got myself a data subscription for it. Scandalously late, I know.
So, here's my brilliant plan: later on, I will go out to get the kids from school and go shopping - that kind of thing - and anytime I have a spare minute I will check my email. While out! Revolution! And - please help me out with this bit - you will all leave me a comment so I have something to check! (*) (Ta-daa!) No pressure, people. Really. Pretty please? (**)

If you don't have anything to say about all the interesting topics above (sick babies, runny noses, mobile internet, to name just a few), I will give you a little help here:
  • "Hello" is a perfectly decent comment. It will generate a notification email as well as any other comment.
  • If you've been dying to tell me something tricky, here's your chance! Tell me I should really change my boring blog theme, tell me which words I overuse or what topics you like and hate. If you know me in real life you can finally let me know if I have a particular personal hygiene problem. Perhaps you think I have too much facial hair? Too little facial hair? Do you think I should grow a beard perhaps or whiskers?
  • I've never had a troll. Trolls leave comments. Comments are good. Just saying...
  • I like expletives, as long as they're not used as a description of me. Anything else that's rude will make me smile.
  • How about a good joke?
  • Perhaps you want to embarrass yourself instead? Go ahead.
So, I hope I have now made my desperation clear. To increase my chances, I will provide you with an incentive! Brownie points will be handed out for all comments. Here's how they will be allocated:
  • One brownie point (BPt) for any comment whatsoever.
  • One extra BPt for a comment that makes me giggle.
  • One BPt for comments which make me want to do a happy dance.
  • Another BPt if you tell me something I didn't know yet/need to know.
  • One BPt for sharing something about yourself, two if you make it embarrassing.
  • One BPt for a rude comment.
Now if that's not a challenge, I don't know what is.

You're welcome.

(*) Reading this post does not oblige the reader to leave a comment. All readers are understood by the writer to be an adult person with a fully developed personal will.
(**) No children will be harmed, ignored or otherwise disadvantaged in the process.

(I'm going now... With my mobile all pretty and online... No pressure...)

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Doom! Doom, I tell you!

I have this overwhelming end of days feel. Japan, Libya, Christchurch, terrorist attacks all over the place. Earthquakes, tsunamis, civil war, misery. You know, the usual news these days.

I'm sure I'm not the only one, as revealed in this most helpful question put to me by my cleaning lady, Diana: "Do you think it's the end of the world?" I assured her I did not. I am after all the elder of the two of us, and arguably in a position of authority (although my unending gratitude to her combined with my cluelessness in household matters probably do much to undermine that by now rather theoretical position), so I duly made the required reassuring noises and told her that our end is most likely not nigh.

What I didn't tell her is that I'm half expecting a plague of locusts, followed by the rising of the dead. You know, next week or something. I then spoiled my pretense at a cool demeanour by telling her she should go and get her free iodine tablets as recommended yesterday by the government, just in case the local nuclear power plant blows up. Just in case. But I'm sure it won't.

I got my own boxes of iodine tablets today as well, and it felt pretty surreal standing there being told by the pharmacist that in case of a nuclear accident I am to wait for the go-ahead from the government (on TV, if it still works) before administering the medicine to my family and what exactly is the right dose for a baby. The talk at the school gates turned towards the same topic. Apparently, we're not to collect the children from school. We have to lock ourselves into our houses and the schools will keep the children inside until help arrives. I don't like that idea at all. I also half-heard something on TV about having to breathe a certain way for minimal damage to your system, but I can't remember if it was "breathe only through your mouth" or "don't breathe through your mouth." Very useful information, really.

You have to wonder at a world in which it's considered acceptable to build nuclear plants which no one is quite sure won't cause serious death and destruction to the population around it at some point in the future, just so we can keep our billboards lit up all night and produce more packaging for our food that we will throw out uneaten anyway. At least our plant isn't built on a faultline, like those in California. I heard a middle aged male scientist convince himself on TV yesterday that they are completely safe and can resist any earthquake. And middle aged male scientists are always right and know everything. That is a very well known fact.

Strangely the gorgeous weather is not helping me get rid of this feeling. It's all sunny and you can feel Spring in the air. When I took the children to the park after school, they played with their coats off in the sunshine. To me, it looked just like one of these idyllic scenes in a disaster movie in which everyone is going about their rosy lives not knowing that an asteroid is flying their way and all that they know is about to be blown to pieces.

Look, I know it's not the end of time, or I sincerely hope it's not in any case. I heard that the end of days is not scheduled until next year anyway so even if it is, it's not for tomorrow. It's just that all the chaos and destruction in the world is really getting to me just now. I am half considering turning the TV off and not buying a newspaper for a few weeks so I just don't have to know any of it any more. On the other hand, we did just get a very pretty flatscreen and how would I know when to take my brand new iodine tablets if there was a nuclear disaster if I didn't have the TV on?

Monday, 14 March 2011

Still chewing my fingers but now in mystification

So yeah hi I'm back! Sorry about ignoring you all so callously. I had planned to blog while in Austria, but then my days looked like this:
  • no sleep
  • no sleep
  • nursing
  • no sleep
  • childcare
  • breakfast
  • skiing, pub-crawling, skiing, eating, skiing, back to pub (oh yeah, woe is me - that part was pretty good)
  • childcare
  • fall asleep in the bath
  • childcare
  • nursing
  • eating
  • childcare
  • no sleep
  • no sleep
  • no sleep
... and repeat. So it was pretty good, but there was no time whatsoever to even check my email (well, maybe I peeked at your comments just once), in spite of all the free internet in the hotel. I should have scheduled some brilliant old posts, of course, like that time I had my PENIS for the length of my TWAT. (Please new readers, click through - it isn't nearly as rude as it sounds. Honest.) Yes, that would have been clever. And it would have meant that you all didn't spend more than a week crying over my absence. (You have permission to stop weeping now. You're welcome.)

Charlie didn't get sick in the end. I did spend the two first nights feeding him pretty much continuously and felt tremendously proud when my mother said I had "nursed him through it." I'm not sure there's any such thing as nursing a baby through an impending ear infection but it felt good anyway. So, now I'm back and I need a holiday (the return journey took nearly fifteen hours), but I will try and post more often.

I will leave you with the mysterious tale of the multiplying Hilfigers. Going on holiday, I took one pair of jeans. (Hilfigers - ooh aren't I posh? (Outlet jeans which make my bum look peachy, what can I say?)) Coming back, I found two pairs of Hilfiger jeans in my suitcase. When I went to put on my jeans this morning, I thought they were awfully roomy and they felt a bit weird.

They're a size bigger than the other pair I took but the same length. I just don't get it. It's not like housekeeping ruined my other pair and cunningly replaced them, because the original pair were still in there as well. We were in a room with just the five of us, so no similar-size girls around, unless Babes isn't telling me something. I am mystified, and at the same time I wish they'd been a size smaller because I could do with another pair of jeans that actually fit me. Ah well.

Friday, 4 March 2011

For a start I should stop chewing my fingers because that's quite unbecoming

Reasons why I'm being incredibly stupid:
  • We're going skiing in nine hours and instead of packing or sleeping I'm blogging.
  • I'm taking Charlie on said skiing holiday, even though he's kind of maybe getting sick.
  • This means six hours in the car tomorrow, four the day after, and nine on the way back. With three children, and one of them quite possibly with an ear infection. As in - the baby.
Reasons why I'm also kind of clever:
  • I have told my mother we may be a couple of days late if Charlie's not up to travelling tomorrow.
  • I have taken Charlie to the doctor and have stocked up on medicines just in case.
  • Staying home if he doesn't actually get sick would be a bit stupid.
  • We're not wasting a skiing holiday with a non-skiing grandmother who is willing to babysit.
No, that second list didn't really help. I still feel very anxious about the combination sick baby - skiing holiday, and even more about the combination sick baby - six hours in the car. I'm also anxious about fighting my corner if I do think we shouldn't go quite yet. I should probably just get some sleep now. Or pack a little. Maybe things will be clearer in the morning.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Important warning

If you're thinking of getting a kitten (a fluffy, cute kitten to play with, oh such fun, and so cute, and won't it be adorable), I urge you to think again. You will enjoy it for a while. It will wrap its incredibly soft little paws around your hands and face; you won't be able to stop yourself falling in love; it will play with a bit of fluff or run after the reflection of your knife on the wall while you're eating and you will be sure that this delight will last forever. Only you won't realise that one day, thirteen years later (you can feel the doom even in that number), you will be cursing the day you thought it was a good idea to acquire said lovely cute kitten and his brother because now you're doing the washing in the laundry room you foolishly agreed to share with the cats after the move six years ago so you can't even leave any clean washing in there and you're wondering where the cat pee smell comes from, that smell you remember so well from the first cat-related disappointment when those little kittens scratched your brand new turquoise leather sofa until it was torn and looked about twenty years old and then proceeded to pee on the stuffing through the slashes in the leather so that for ten years you would have to live with the occasional whiff of cat pee emanating from your manky turquoise-and-brown-scratch sofa (no amount of Febreze would make it go away), until you could finally afford to replace it with a brand new fabric sofa which your toddler will then vomit all over but that's quite another story, anyway, you remember the smell and now it's in your laundry room and you wonder if one of the cats has gone senile and is this the smell that will linger in your guest bathroom (which is just off the laundry room) for the next couple of years until the cats finally die after what will no doubt be a long and costly deterioration dotted with many more puddles of urine, faeces (preferably runny) and bile. If you still get that kitten you can't say I didn't warn you.