Monday, 30 April 2012

The usual suspects

The baby monitor is the parent's best friend (apart from a full-time live in house-keeper slash child minder, but who actually has one of those?).  I was in the kitchen when the three musketeers decided to go and play elsewhere.  I was in a crucial stage of clean-up, with my hands encased in long rubber gloves and involving a broom and copious amounts of strong detergent after someone had tipped a whole mess of who knows what out of the dust-buster and onto the floor and painted a picture with the result, so I decided to let them go for it.  They disappeared into the depths of my bedroom.

"Don't create havoc up there!" I yelled after them as a precaution that mainly satisfied my own misgivings only.
"No, Mama," they yelled back down.  "We're not doing anything."

For a while, all was quiet, and I went on with the mess disposal.  Then I had a brain-wave - switch on the baby monitor.  The child-part of it is located in my room so that I can tell if they are going to sleep or not from downstairs, but it is normally off during the day.  Nervously, and with my teeth, I managed to switch it on, my hands still out of action in the industrial-strength gloves.

And that's when I heard the fateful words from Sam: "And then if we move this, we can put all the animals into the tent too!"  

I started running, but I was too late.  Too late, as it turns out, to do anything about the makeshift "tent" built in the middle of the room out of the king-size duvet, all of the pillows off the bed, and inexplicably, a set of about ten DVD covers (minus the DVDs).  How on earth, in the space of a few minutes, did that happen?  And if not for the trusty monitor, what else could have happened?

It might have made the mess I was cleaning up in the kitchen look positively pretty...

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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Caught napping...

I have been enjoying the development of what I call "The Art of Dissembling" which I see coming to the fore in the twins at the moment.  To put it simply, they are becoming cunning, not in a sneaky or underhand manner, but in a blatant, open manner that makes the Sweetpea and I laugh out loud at times.  Their comments are so witty and observant, most times unintentionally so, but at other times, just down-right calculating.

The Sweetpea had a cold last week and so was thrown out of the communal bedroom to sniffle, cough and snore downstairs in the guest bedroom by himself while he got over it.  I actually personally believe he quite enjoys these times of "freedom", where he can do his manly thing, lying sprawled across the extent of the king-size bed down there without a wife or small daughter kicking him in the ribs or asking him to turn over.  Needless to say, when I suggested that he remove downstairs, he agreed with almost insulting alacrity.

He was down there for about a week, and the boys started liking the new management of the bedroom.  Nromally, when he says it is sleep time, it is actually sleep time.  He does not tolerate the scratching around, shining of torches on the ceiling, rustling in the beds to get comfortable (which can really be overdone at times), and general commenting on the nature of life like I do.  Normally by that stage of the evening I am so exhausted I lie in a stupor on my bed and listen to all of the shenannigans going on.  It is as much as I can do to lift my head and say "Sleepies time now" every so often. Most often not even that.

Last night, a night I like to refer to as "The Return of the King", the Sweetpea was finally deemed better enough to return to the family fold.  He was lying in our bed with me pressed up against him and the Litte Miss Snoopy sprawled over the other three-quarters of the bed, when a small voice piped up: "Daddy, are you going to spend the whole night here?"

Thinking that the little one needed reassurance, the Sweetpea answered him:  "Of course I am, darling.  Don't worry."

There was a long silence while this was being processed.  He was wondering how to let on that he wasn't strictly worried about his dad leaving.

 "I am worrying that you will catch me being naughty," the boy eventually said.

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Friday, 20 April 2012

What's up, Doc?

The concept of "Man-flu" starts at a very early age.  And after today, I can confidently say that it is definitely a mother that starts it.

Today was the twins' immunisations.  I am not sure which health professional decided that it would be a wonderful idea to combine the two sets of injections into one clinic visit.  Obviously someone not in tune to kids or with no children of their own.  I mean, even the village idiot is bound to have thought it through:  another injection will have to be given to a child who has just had one; a child who knows what is coming next.  Obviously it's not rocket science to conjecture what is going to happen next.  Anyway, the twins were no exception to the rule. I have to admit, I chickened out a bit and sent them along with the Sweetpea to the doctor.  I think I would have set them off before the time and we would never have made it past the doctor's threshold.  But the Sweetpea had some story about tiny superheroes being injected in to them to fight all the bad bugs, etc. and what ever, it seemed to work.  Both boys were quite excited to go to the doctor to see these little super heroes.  That is, until after the administration of the first injection.  On the first child.  There is definitely such a thing as twin-to-twin non-verbal communication.  By the time the injection came for the second one, there was a mutiny occurring in the ranks. As the Sweetpea put it, he had to "hold them down a bit".  It could not have been pretty.  

But after all of the tears were dried, and the emergency sweetie stash administered, they perked up a bit and all was well again. Until they saw me.  Both ran up to me crying and whining.  "A bad man pricked me hard!" yelled the one.  
"I don't want the injection ever, ever again!" wailed the other.  

And manly stoicism in the presence of their dad morphed into a whiny, sniveling, rest-of-afternoon-and-into-evening pity-fest of some caliber for their patient mom. I think the Sweetpea might have told them to suck it up at some stage, but I ran around like the aforementioned village idiot, getting sips of water, administering panadol, and picking stuff up off the floor that they had dropped, because "my arms are too sore to pick it up, Mama".  Even though I knew they were milking the situation for all it was worth, I still complied because, after all, they are my babies, and some bad man had just pricked them with a needle.

And thus the next generation of "Man-flu" sufferers is born.   

Oh well, I guess I'll just let some other woman deal with it in about another 25 years time...

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Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Addendum to the saga of the Laundry Spider

Sometimes I think a post just begs for a follow-up - this one is no exception to that rule.  

After the Sweetpea hurled the hapless Laundry Spider into the bushes, having rescued his child and woman from the ravages of the beast, we did not see the creature for some time.

I have off-loaded several (thousand) baskets of laundry, each time shaking out the pants and jackets in the off-chance that the spider has made his way back into the house again from his exile in the nether reaches of the garden.  Yet for a while, we have been ominously spider-free.

Until last week.  

I was walking into the house, carrying the large tub of laundry.  I know what you are thinking - there is the spider in the basket as usual.  Well, you would be wrong.  As I was walking into the house, the cat rushed past me from its hunting safari in the garden.  He was acting very suspicious, darting around and behaving in a generally sneaky way.  I followed him into the house and in the middle of the lounge carpet, he spat out his ill-gotten gains.  It was the Laundry Spider.  Or if it was not him, it was his twin brother.  Before we could stop him (we have grown quite fond of the spider in the loosest possible terms), the cat pounced on him and ate him down to the last wriggly scrap.

I have faith in that spider's ability to bounce back from all sorts of adversity, but I have a feeling that even he, with his numerous lives and sheer dogged tenacity, will have a hard time returning from this ultimate exile.

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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The saga of the laundry spider

For the past few months, it seems as though our lives have been dogged by a certain spider.  Now, I am not saying that I believe that it is the same spider every time, but even I have to admit, it is starting to look suspicious.  I have started calling it the "laundry spider".

I know that it is "spider time" here at the moment, but it certainly seems uncanny that every time I bring in a load of laundry off the line, no matter how carefully shaken out, by the time I get it into the lounge, there is a rather large spider sitting in it, waiting to jump out at me. (Okay, this being NZ, it cannot count as large really.  In other countries, it would be classed as medium-ish to small.  But I have to admit, I have gone past the days where we used to catch spiders in a two-liter ice-cream tub and not manage to fit in the legs. Suffice it to say that I now believe that our "laundry spider" is large.)  I also find it extremely inconvenient and insensitive that the spider only makes an appearance when I bring in the washing, and not when the Sweetpea does (who finds this whole scenario very amusing).  I have been known to throw an entire set of pajamas off the balcony on discovery of said laundry spider.  And the weird thing is that I actually don't mind spiders, and will go out of my way to trap them under a glass and take them outside.  It all just seems a bit rude.

Worse is when the laundry spider bides his time (only a he could be so calculatingly annoying), sitting inside someone's shirt or undies until a suitably inopportune moment to make his appearance.  Take the other day, for example.  I had strapped all three kiddies into their car seats when Paddy mentioned that he was getting cold.  I raced into the house and grabbed a freshly-laundered fleecy jacket out of the basket and, because we were late, put it over his head and arms without getting him out of his car seat, just releasing the belt.   I fastened him in again, climbed into my own seat, did up my belt, and it was at that moment that the laundry spider chose to make his presence felt.  Obviously disturbed from the lovely nest he had made inside the sleeve of Paddy's jacket, he crawled out of the arm hole and began dancing around tauntingly on Paddy's hand.  The boy's reaction was not what you could call manly stoicism in the face of peril.  How ironic that a boy dressed as Spiderman should have such a reaction to his namesake.  Long story short, there was a lot of chaos that ensued.  In the heat of the moment, I could not release myself from my seat quickly enough, and neither could Paddy, and the spider ran rings around the both of us.  It took the manly intervention of the Sweetpea to eventually save the lot of us (after he recovered from his hysterical laughter), trapping the spider under a glass and then throwing him back into the garden.

To wreak havoc in another load of laundry, another day.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Oh dear - another year!

Just when did birthday parties become so complicated?  I remember (ahh, the good old days) when all you had to do to satisfy the kids was plonk a few chippies in plastic bowls, throw heaps of sweeties around and you were all set to go.  Now, bigger is definitely better, especially when it is bigger.  No more pass the parcel here, thank-you very much.  It has to be a jumbo-size jumping castle or your kids aren't in with a fighting chance.

In our wisdom, the Sweetpea and I decided that combining the three birthday parties into one this year would be a Good Idea.  We have had these Good Ideas in the past.  Notably amongst them was the time I decided that it would be great to tile the bathroom three days before our wedding (I subsequently got stuck in the shower and had to boost my way out over the wall by standing on the soap dish).  So one would think that something would have tipped us off by now that a Good Idea is sometimes just a Bad Idea with a positive attitude. Anyhoo...

Because we have two boys and a little girl, I thought it would be unfair, in spite of the combined party, to have only one boyish birthday cake.  So we had to have two birthday cakes.  After all, a Captain Mac rocket did not seem to be fitting for the Little Miss Snoopy.  So it was back to the drawing board for cake number two.  We decided on the traditional dollie stuck in an ice-cream dress, so that we could serve it with the jellies that I had made (blueberry and lemonade jelly in plastic champagne glasses with a jelly worm swimming in them).  Although there was much heated discussion, amazingly (unlike other years past, where our efforts have almost come to blows), neither the Sweetpea nor I threatened a divorce over the construction of the cakes.

To make the party easier (we had invited 15 kids, and then of course the parents too), we held it at the local swimming pool.  After all, I have white carpets in my house and I did not want to know what would happen if 15 kids were allowed to run around on them carrying their pieces of bright blue rocket cake.  As an experiment, it just did not seem to make much sense.
So we packed off to the pool, bearing all sorts of inflatables for the kids to play with, and all the goodies loaded into huge plastic hampers.

All the adults were encouraged to swim with their kids (I even broke out the old, and by now quite saggy, swimming costume, even though the hairs on my legs were long enough to french plait).  It was a blast.  Everyone had great fun in the pool (wish I had remembered not to wear mascara in an attempt to look decent) and before we knew it, it was time for tea.

And despite all the rigorous planning and huge effort, the ironic part of the whole party was that the kids enjoyed it the most when we blew up balloons for them and then let them go squealing and zooming off around the room (both balloons and kids).  Would they have had more fun with pony rides, professional face-painting and a full theme park?  I like to believe they wouldn't.

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