Sunday, January 24, 2016

January 22, 23 and 24 2016

On Friday I had the orientation day at my new workplace. I decided to err on the side of discretion (I know, who would have expected that?) by not taking along my ginormous camera. Consequently I don't have any 'proper' photos from that day. It's a lucky thing - it was so humid that I literally couldn't put any makeup on because it was genuinely sliding off my face. Great look, huh? I had to wait until we were in the car and apply the air conditioning before such social niceties could be considered.

This is the only photo from Friday, taken through the window as our large car navigated the truly deep waters of Marrickville. But it does confirm the high humidity of the day. If you look closely in the reflection of the window you can see that I was looking over my new timetable for Term 1, 2016.

The next day was a surprise to all - Book Club was meeting in the daytime. Not even that, we were meeting before lunch. It may very well have been the first time we met where there hadn't been a bottle of wine opened nearby. These events need to be documented and archived. We were off to enjoy the 'luxury cinema experience' ironically to watch a movie about how greed will be the downfall of humanity so...yeah. Way to make an uncomfortable metaphor out of our outing, Mr Pitt. Also - start buying shares in water.

Book Club, and then the family, met up in Sappho and I saw just how tired Ted was. But he wasn't tired; not when he fell asleep in the car on the way there, when he knocked over his chai or when he cried about leaving or when he became upset about potentially not going in to the bookstore next door. Just in case you were wondering.  I was supposed to organise a new phone but due to a lack of service in the Telstra shop and the Tedster's emotional fragility, it was a hightail it out of there kind of excursion. Situation: Critical.

But after a little down time at home, we found that Ted was ready to rumble after all. Once he found the Opal cards for himself and Harriet, there was immediate discussion about how to use them as soon as possible. And that didn't mean on Monday. Oh no, that meant within the next hour. So I suggested we go to the local German club and James suggested we take a detour to Sydenham on the train to get there and suddenly everyone was happy and off we skipped to the train station.

Of course, using the cards for the first time was thrilling.

And when one is young and immersed in a thrilling situation, the only response is dance:

The Time Warp's got nothing on doing the Opal Dance.

And the fun didn't stop there. We traveled to Sydenham and then...well we traveled right back. It was GETTING OUT OF HAND. We had to wait for the return train for twenty minutes on the platform and Ted was writhing around all over the place, stepping backwards out on to the path of incoming trains and the like, so in order to maintain life we attempted to engage him in a game of Twenty Questions. It worked. Just.


It was a late night at the German club and Ted found a couple of young ones to run around with at first but soon enough the children had deserted the grounds and he was left on his own. It looked as though he decided to spin for much of this time. He stopped briefly to eat, then play a mythology game with Harriet (also involving much running around) and then, as we were one of the last groups to leave, we decided what was in order was a family game of Bullrush. Actually it was more Ted's idea. Actually it was entirely Ted's idea and involved persuasive techniques of an impressive quality to drag the remaining three of us out on to the lawn and sprint across the fields. 

Don't even tell me you think this assured us of sleep-in from Ted.


This morning Ted had a laser tag birthday party to attend. So he and I went off to see how much energy a human is physically capable of burning off in a 12hr period, while I had a delightful discussion with another school mum.

I had again forgotten to bring along the big camera, so I snapped this innocuous shot as we walked down to meet the other half of the family. I showed Ted how to tie laces once. Once. And now he's fine (and prefers to do double bows for safety). Some things we really do need to give him credit for. Have I mentioned that he drives me crazy and that I really LOVE THE HELL out of him?

We completed a few errands on King St, including me picking up a new phone (the store person seemed a little perplexed at my absolute negligible level of interest in phone choice - in fact I was going to downgrade to a dumbphone until I realised that a few activities we have planned in 2016 might do well to have me accessible by email on the move).

And then it was home - with sumo wrestling, lightsaber fighting, hedge clipping, and a late night from Harriet who has drawn some adorable interpretations of popular characters. I'll ask her in the morning if I can upload some images here for you to see.

Up to date! Huzzah!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

January 21st 2016

Welcome to the Starship Enterprise. Or, just Ted using a slap band in a range of unexpected ways. The funniest was when he slapped it across his belly and it stayed there.

Today was hot. Human-body-turned-melting-wax hot. We had friends come over and we put with the heat at home for a couple of hours until we threw up our hands and gave in to the icy domain of our local friendly Swedish superstore.

 Surprisingly not every parent in the inner west had decided upon the same thing, so it was only a relatively short wait for the boys to go into the play area. Meanwhile they kept themselves entertained with an interpretation of dodgem cars that involved small stools, a smooth surface and a lot of volume.

These two are besties and spent their time essentially acting like maniacs, and not the good kind. At one point Teddy got lost, found me and was sobbing, red-eyed and exhausted, but still obstinately refusing to calm down.

Tomorrow, there will be a calm discussion.

We stayed there for four hours. Four delicious, refrigerated hours. When we returned home the paddling pool we had set up in the morning was full of hot water. This new pool has a thrilling new depth to it that the old paddling pool did not, and this is how they spent the time until dinner was ready.

The heat didn't break until after the rain began and we flung open doors and windows, swung fans around to capture the breeze and  stood outside in the delicious rain attempting to catch drops.

The children fell into bed exhausted. Tomorrow they are up at 6.30. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January 20th 2106

So, as promised, we had errands to run that necessitated leaving the house. For the record it's not me that resists moving beyond the front door but the children. They love staying at home. Odd. One time James had to practically prise them off their seats in order to go toLuna Park - true story.

We visited our usual haunts on King St, including me grabbing a coffee at Shenkin because I really enjoy their coffee. Harriet had embroidered a Totoro figure on a t-shirt yesterday and I meant to take a photo but it unfortunately slipped my mind while we were out and about - this is about as good as it gets, with a glimpse of kawaii Japanese animation between triangled arms. But I think you can still see the awesomeness in there.

Of course no-one is surprised to hear that we stopped in at BRTD (this time to purchase a birthday present) but what was exciting was when one of our favourite people, Amelia, showed us her new tattoo. Oh yes my friends, that there is Harriet the Spy. Harriet the Spy! I hope you now understand why she is so beloved. At any rate these two also shared their love of nerd glasses and the fact that we were on our way to purchase said glasses for Harriet meant she was jumping around in anticipation (to be fair it was well-reserved and patient anticipation).

When we first arrived there was a slight issue - it seemed I had received an SMS alert that was only applicable for Ted's glasses. Harriet's were nowhere to be seen. Cue crushed emotions, controlled sobbing at the bitter disappointment and general anger. Teddy, oblivious, happily received his glasses.

Then...oh joy! The accidental uncovering of Harriet's name in the 'arrived' section meant there was scurrying in boxes until - ta da! The triumphant uncovering of Harriet's deeply loved nerd glasses. Both of them have the lightest prescription required and then it's only for reading. Which meant that Harriet walked around with a book under her arm in case a sudden need arose for reading (Freedom Ride by Sue Lawson for those keeping tabs at home).

After a few other errands we were due home to chat to the woman who will sell our house and go over a few ideas with her. And on that vein we attended a (disappointing) open home when James came home.

Ted has, for some unfathomable reason, disavowed himself of the Percy Jackson series until after his birthday party. Don't ask me. This is where he sat for the entire time we were wandering around the open house. Harriet had had the 'game' of real estate viewing explained to her on the ride over and played along beautifully - speculating on the benefits of certain features, tut-tutting over visibly broken drawers and contemplating possibilities in the backyard. She's so grown up! I love her!

But it was so hot today that when we came home from a dinner out, I just let the two of them lounge around waiting for the cool change to plough on in. Harriet spent most of her time lying on the lounge reading and watching videos from old blog posts which was cute (and a telling reminder of why this is such an important space for our family).


We both particularly liked this one:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January 19th 2016

I forgot to mention another event of note around these parts yesterday - Cletus made an appearance. Ted finally lost the little baby tooth sitting next to his front two teeth. I remember when Harriet lost the equivalent tooth and I couldn't help but exclaim over the instantaneous hillbilly effect such a tooth loss caused. In true Ted fashion he resisted any requests for me to photograph it, but I managed to snap one that captures little more than the idea of it for posterity's sake alone.

When I mentioned I was up to the PAD Challenge again you probably thought A chance to read about the thrilling adventures of a family in the inner west or even An insight into the concerns and considerations surrounding a family's holiday experiences.

Instead you have this. The empty nothingness of genuine holiday down time. As boring as it may be to read about, I can't help but point out just how lovely it is to live in. I hope you can feel a 'but' coming on, because here it is - but for the ongoing battles with Ted about doing everyday activities. Harriet gives me hope and is a shining beacon at the end of the dark tunnel that is Ted's obstinate refusal to engage in family-required domestic activities. Even something as simple as picking up the Lego in the playroom (for reasons of safety - it is all over the room and we are all walking across it every day). We are not unreasonable people. If there is a game in progress at bedtime then by all means just push it off to the side. I am happy to listen to your explanations of why it should be left out. But...BUT. There is a limit. And working with this little boy is made incredibly difficult when he refuses to engage in discussion, mutual consideration and the like. But there is no entitled white male bollocks going on here, in this household. Oh no, sirree.

Tomorrow we have a day of errands. We will need to leave the house. Stay tuned for photos that include sunshine.

January 18th 2016

Ok - whoops! I just completely forgot to write a blog post! Sorry abut that. No reason for it, it just completely slipped my mind.

Perhaps it was because the day was dipped into the tepid tedium that is a stay-at-home-holiday-day. No plans, no needs, no drama.  We stayed at home. Ted literally walked in to the dining room as James was walking out the back door - a seamless line of male members of the house. We played Castle Panic while he was still rubbing his eyes. There is no down time here.

Another activity for the day was when Ted drew a starship and asked me to do the same. It's fair to say that I have a great deal of anxiety surrounding even the most innocuous of artistic requests, so it took me a while to get started. Ted tells a story while he's drawing his works which gives them such life. Of course drawing with a flashing, colour-changing pen and wearing Star Wars red& blue 3D glasses makes most things come more alive (or so I'm told).

Ted has such fabulous free-flowing lines and absolutely no hesitation or self-censoring in his drawing. So fun to watch. I thought it might be fun to take a little video of him doing it but of course when I decided to film him he fell quiet, but there is still a glimpse of the rampant babble that usually accompanies his work there.

Harriet and Teddy spent the day essentially playing together while I read the (bitterly disappointing) The Other Side of the World. Ted went on a sniffing mission to the wardrobe in our bedroom to see if we have sneakily purchased any early birthday presents for him. And whilst there he found my wedding dress. He loves my wedding dress and so it was that he and Harriet played kings and queens for quite a while as a result.


As we do of a Monday, we had our Mexican experience. And I was met with the insane generosity of my friend Amelia, who had read my Facebook status the night before that read "I need a cake delivery service" and then...voila! A cake! She made me a cake! It was too insanely wonderful (and delicious).

In fact it was a wonderful Monday evening - our mountain folk came along, we ate, we drank, we stayed until 9pm, we received a parking ticket. But did I mention the 9pm? Because although it cost us, it was still lovely to sit there in the warmth of the day, late light around us, chatting until then with no concern or consideration for the time the children need to be at home for an appropriate rise for school the next day.

Because on the 19th we had a hot day of nothing planned.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

January 17th 2016

This morning's cinematic experience was brought to you by Mister Dave, Skye and Quentin Tarantino. We managed to spend half a day in a cinema watching sumptuous 70mm because Dave and Skye generously donated their time to ensure the contraceptive effect of babysitting was going to last as long as they needed it.

Meanwhile James and I squeezed our way along the restrictive aisles of Event Cinemas' 70mm cinema and proceeded to immerse ourselves in the Tarantino experience. Squished as we were between two rather unexpectedly suburban older women (never judge a movie by its audience members), we had a great time. Luckily I took in my socks to wear with my sandals. Three hours of cinema airconditioning plus the subject matter and I was popsiclised (new verb) by lunchtime.

Teddy held on as valiantly as he could. but as soon as he saw us it was a collapse into the screaming, writhing mass of hunger and exhaustion that bookends most experiences with people other than the immediate family. He does love to get worked up with excitement.  He had been to see TFA at IMAX with Mister Dave and was kaput. Harriet had been meandering around the city having a hands-on and hands-off artistic/lost experience with Skye.

We proceeded to take them on the Swedish cuisine experience of a lifetime in downtown Tempe, followed by some soft textile decision making to supplement the outdoor furniture decisions of yesterday.  Hobbes gave it all the seal of approval.

Then, while James and I were reading in the front room, the children were busy at work in the backyard creating another of their amusement parks. Harriet and I ended up somewhat worse for wear after I decided that the 'water play' area functioned much better as a 'water attack' area. We were sodden within three minutes. 

There were also sports areas (I gave the skipping a go), a board games area (we didn't see Ted and James for quite a while), a hopscotch area (I introduced the children to the concept of the stone throw), a reading palace and a cushion area. I'm not sure why the cushion and reading areas weren't combined to start with, but I offered a suggestion along those lines which was met quite cordially. Soon enough Harriet and I were lounging around amongst the pillows. Hard life, this Sunday business.

After a bbq dinner it was time to discuss time travel, have meltdowns about tidying up Lego ("I can't do it because I keep getting SIDETRACKED by the Lego itself!" - a quote from guess who) and then fall into bed.

Fingers crossed for a sleep in tomorrow morning.

January 16th 2016

 Honestly? There's just another morning waking up to spread out mess in the playroom.  I'm all for the children leaving their games 'in-play' so to speak, but if they haven't been touched for a couple of days and the stuff (often Lego) is preventing me from easily accessing the back door and/or laundry, then things can start to get tetchy.

Love the children. Love their extended and prolonged pretend play. But also love being able to move through the house easily.

Finally we had a day where there were two adults home and an inclination to pack up the Christmas tree. The tree and decorations live up in the attic, so I wasn't quite capable of the lifting a heavy box above my head as I would have liked to perform the clean up during the week. And there was some serious Leftovers watching to be done at night during the week, preventing it from being a priority.

Just when I thought that the face-touching was on the decline with Harriet, Ted decided to pick up the trait and run with it. Perhaps he was nostalgic for my ever-running-commentary on controlling Harriet's tics and decided to dive on in to ensure I kept the verbal background noise going. At any rate it's comforting to see that the behaviour management of parenting is still a required entity. God forbid I started to feel unwanted.

Although the great thing about (slightly) older children is the opportunity for a sleep-in. After returning from last night's adventure around 1am, we were able to sleep in until nearly 10am while the children entertained and fed themselves. Oh the glorious happiness of a sleep in! I mean, sure they were supposed to go to swimming lessons at 8am, but they'll be fine. Shallow water for another summer and a fulfilling sleep agenda? Sounds like a sound compromise to me.

We did need to address the issue of a crumpled and sun-ravaged outdoor setting. So off to Bunnings we drove, looking for a short-term stopgap designed to fulfill our immediate summer needs. We found it and I was dropped off at USyd in order to meet up with a uni friend pre-semester.

When I returned home there was much focus on food. Ordering it, at any rate. Seeing as I hadn't eaten since breakfast, it is safe to say I inhaled my container of noodles during a particularly dramatic Gilmore Girls marathon.

Ted, not one to love the GG in the way the rest of us do, had absconded with the iPod and was off in the backyard doing...something. Mystery prevailed until I managed to extricate myself and found him in the backyard.

What was he doing?  Well, he was cutting a rug, Ted-style. And thankfully I have video capabilities on my DSLR.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

January 15th 2016

Remember I mentioned that thing about Ted looking up DIY the other day? Well he woke up ready to burst with enthusiasm about any and every project under the sun. In fact when I arose he had already painted a colour wheel and was working towards a Lego stop motion animation. He's done them before, but a new purpose, a new reason to make a new one.

Seeing as he was so into his projects for the day, we focused on a little at-home-ness. Harriet was settled, I had a new book, and the house was as if a bomb had exploded somewhere in the back half of the house, but that was ok, I could handle that. Until I just couldn't and I had to tidy.  We finally had a free bin, so I managed to control some of the cascading rubbish, controlling the edges of the crazy that is Teddy in full project mode. Harriet happily focused on producing a watercolour for her DIY project. She used some of the techniques learnt the other day from the YouTube videos (hey, she isn't going to learn these skills from me, so thank you sharing people of the internet) and produced a wash background and then some other stuff. That's about as technical as I could get. She combined it with her other love - succulents.

 Then we had hightail it out of the house around midday to maintain sanity.

We had a few more things to offload to the op shop, so we performed the drop off with perfunctory skill (the result of much holiday de-cluttering experience) and then headed in. Harriet was intent on securing some new clothes for Yuki, I was hoping to lose Ted somewhere in the aisles and browse the books along the way.

In the children's books we managed a small score - three Star Wars encyclopedia-style books and a huge Mythology book that had its own embedded quill in the back cover. Ted was finally intrigued into silence, while I was excited to find a few books I'd been looking for on the shelves. I've actually read most of these, but am hoping to convince my book club into considering The Other Side of the World for next month (and that was even before I found it in the op shop!).

Even more exciting than a great book haul is a practical haul. I unearthed this gorgeous leather satchel and decided what the hell, I'm going to buy it. Expensive as it was (for an op shop find) I decided to purchase it and have been smug and elated ever since. Perfect for carrying around a laptop and some books to a new job, even if I do say so myself.

Then, as mentioned previously, we were back home, cleaning the house in anticipation of going out to see Quentin Tarantino, Fred Schepisi and Tom Keneally discuss The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith. The horror of it all was that the screening was at The Star Casino. To know me is to know I am not a casino person. I was walking around in cloud of bewidlerment until a lovely staff member came up to me and gently queried "Tarantino event?" to which I gratefully fell into her arms sobbing for directions out of that snaking, labyrinthine design.

Have you ever seen The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith? Me neither. Tarantino had said he wouldn't do the event unless it was projected in original 35mm film and the difference in cinematic experience was staggering. For one - you could *hear* the projectors whirring. For two, there was a depth to the colour that was unlike anything in the digital realm. For three, it had that upper corner dot to indicate the time to switch rolls and you could hear the rolls cranking as they started up. It was sublime. Of course the plastic cup of red wine balanced precariously on my knee sort of killed the olde worlde vibe a little.

After the Q&A they were also screening Mad Dog Morgan, but we had babysitter timetabling issues and chose instead to head to the bar downstairs for a chat with our friend Mister Dave. Our chat was held under the cinematic-style glare of multiple enormous screens beaming sports from around the world. It was truly the stuff dreams are made of. The kind you wake up from with a cold sweaty sheen and the scream still lingering in the back of your throat.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

January 14th 2016

Before 8.30am Ted had explored acids and bases with his science kit and pH strips, made two pennants for his Capture the Flag game, held a toga-wearing sword fighting lesson and started a Lego stop-motion animation. It was going to be one of those days.

Luckily he and Harriet were momentarily on the same page and decided to embrace the summer heat by playing together in the bath for around an hour with their Pokemon figurines. I'm not too sure what the game involved but it was detailed, fun and involved what seemed like an inordinate amount of thrashing and cheering.

But there was no shying away from the main aim of the day - the optometrist appointment. It is safe to say that Harriet was a little excited about it. The fact that she kept having happy flashes the night before (causing some issues with falling asleep) and throughout the morning about the upcoming appointment is testament to her dedicated focus (ha!) on acquiring glasses.

Venturing out into the heat, we managed to make it to the optometrist without melting. Teddy, however, was having one of his all-over-the-place days, and had seemingly lost the ability to sit still. I mean it. He was climbing over the chair he was 'sitting' on, could barely read a page of his book in one go, and wouldn't stop talking. If this had occurred when he was two I would have called it a developmental spurt of some kind. As it was today, I'd just call it annoying.

 I thought we were going to have more issues with Teddy's appointment, but it appears that Harriet was the one with more concerning issues. She can manually move her eyes in different directions vertically (it's kinda weird, and I'll try to remember to take a shot of it) and there is concern that this may have something to do with her history of febrile seizures and a loss of muscle strength as a result, so we received a referral that we need to see our GP about.

However she received a light prescription for reading glasses and she was thrilled. She found a pair that fit her nerdness bill straight away and would not be deterred (I preferred a different pair on her but this girl knows what she wants).

It was lovely to hear that Ted's eyes are fine but due to his high volume of reading, the optometrist recommended him to have a pair of reading glasses to help relax his eyes a little. This photo shows the closest Ted came to being still at any time during the day today. He was on a spinning chair and consequently the woman had great difficulty in organising the photo of him that she needed; so much so that she called over an assistant to hold his head steady. Yep, as expected.

I felt like I was under siege in the shopping centre - two children excitedly yell-talking to me simultaneously and without taking a breath. I took a very deep breath and told them to CALM THE HELL DOWN. *ahem*

I told the children that when we returned home they were going to do whatever they wanted to do but I was not to be called upon, asked for anything or questioned in any way. I did not have to be the audience member for a show or a play or a song. I did not need to set anything up, play a game with them, mediate an argument or listen to them. I was going to go home, set up the lunch board, eat with them pleasantly and then retire to the bedroom where I was going to finish my book.

And, remarkably, this happened. The book was Six Impossible Things and was very sweet. Once I'd finished Harriet was on the way to starting dinner - this time a kale, cannellini bean and pumpkin salad with a honey mustard dressing. I'm kicking myself that I missed the goggle-wearing onion cutting, however she was still gorgeous whilst cutting up pumpkin for roasting. She's developing a real flair for cooking in just a couple of days.

 After dinner it was on to a series of Uno games - I managed to scrape in to victory only once and mercifully Teddy didn't win at all, allowing us to be saved from his rather pointed victory laps and self-congratulatory cheering.

There was also some list-compiling from a brief foray into the DIY website, so lets' see what tomorrow will bring. It's an early night out as James and I head to a talk with Quentin Tarantino (along with over a thousand of his closest ticket-buying friends in the cosy, intimate confines of The Star).