Friday, September 29, 2006

For the memory banks

Since he started at Prep, The Climber has been introduced to jokes. I think he is not sophisticated enough to get jokes yet, but he always laughs at them. Just sometimes not for the right reasons, I suspect. Anyway, his latest thing is to make up his own jokes. Absurdist jokes is probably the best way to describe them. Here's one I'm saving, just in case he decides to be a stand-up comedian when he grows up:

Climber: Why does the car drive underwater with the octopus?
Stomper Girl: Why?
Climber: Because ... it wanted to eat seaweed!!!!

(SG : hahahahahahaha...)

SG: Why did it want to eat seaweed?
Climber: Because it doesn't like grass.

Also for posterity, a couple of unexpected things that became emotional triggers for the Climber. He's not actually a sooky kid at all, hardly ever cries so stuff like this sticks in my head quite vividly.
  1. He has started biting his nails and I am mildly paranoid about this developing into a lifelong habit. Mostly because Fixit bites his down to and past the quick, which I find revolting. So Climber & I had a chat about it, and I said we might try painting his nails with Stop 'n Grow if he keeps biting, just to help him get out of the habit before it gets too ingrained. But the thought of evil-tasting fingernails makes him burst into noisy tears, even when he thinks of it out of the blue, so now obviously I'm buggered and can't use that approach. Back to the drawing board with that one.
  2. Last term his class had a student teacher called Sarah and when she left we were all asked to contribute small items for a new teacher's stationery pack, like cute erasers and novelty pencil-sharpeners. So I decided to give her a pack of coloured chalk and some stickers. Then I wrapped them up separately and on the stickers I wrote "for putting on your GOOD students" and on the chalk I wrote "for throwing at your BAD students" and added that we hoped she'd have more good students than bad. Harmless enough, I thought. But the concept of Sarah piffing the lovely coloured chalk that he'd given her as a present at naughty kids (which could conceivably be him) caused hysterics, and took us 30 minutes of fast talking about how teachers never did mean things like that anymore but in the olden days when we were at school.. I could only come up with one instance of mean teacher behaviour (Miss Gorton in Grade 4 who kicked me) because I was a girly swot but Fixit had quite a long list, ranging from ear-pulling, caning and being locked in a cupboard... as I said to Climber, I don't think Fixit was a model student somehow.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Show!

I'm surprised I've got the energy to blog today because we went to the Royal Melbourne Show this morning! Hauled ass out of the house before 9am, parked at North Melbourne station for free, caught the express train straight to the showgrounds and then ... dodgem cars, free ABC kids show featuring Fifi and Bumble, animal nursery (ohmigod, got a little bit claustrophobic in there! As Fixit said it was worse than Ikea trying to get out. Luckily there was a little mini-tractor ride in the middle or one of us would have had a breakdown), miniature Gordon train ride (from Thomas the Tank Engine for those of you who don't have small boy children) , bouncing castle, fairy floss, Freddo Frog showbags, hot chips. And another train ride out of there. An excellent family outing. Lots of photos here. Worth checking out just to see how much fun Fixit is having on the Dodgems. He was itching to get on some of those death rides too. I felt sick just watching them.

"Can we go again?" asked Climber as we left. Sounds like a seal of approval to me.

In other news, Climber and I made his cake, the one he made up.

With just a little guidance, he invented and wrote down the recipe and mixed it all up, but sadly I think the actual document went out with the recycling. It was quite a nice cake. Cherub just licked the icing off his slice, slowly and lovingly; as his Great-Aunt Anne says, you should just give them a bowl of icing. So I pinched the centre out of his cake (well, he wasn't going to eat it and I didn't want the licked bits) at which Cherub exclaimed "oh, trockodile cake" picked it up and said "snap, snap". As you do.

Monday, September 25, 2006

A good gene pool

Fixit's Pop will be 90 on Tuesday. Ninety! He's in incredible shape really although he's shuffling round with a frame these days due to the clapped out knees and hips. He's still pretty with it too. He hasn't been in the nursing home for all that long, and before then he was pretty active, mowing lawns and fixing stuff for needy neighbours.

We had a surprise afternoon tea party for him at the nursing home on Sunday. Some of the other residents looked a bit grumpy, despite the influx of laughing children and afternoon tea goodies. It was a break in routine and clearly some of them really like their routine. One of them leaned over to Pop and said "I think you could have told me you were having a party". Hey, I'm sure he would have if he'd known about it... I don't really know how to talk to super-old people, I don't know why. I was a waitress for years, I can generally do small-talk. So it was good to have the kids along as an ice-breaker, and to see that they could bring a smile to a few faces. Cherub has a very infectious laugh.

God, though. Nursing homes ... I know the will to live is pretty strong, but I'm thinking it might be preferable to die before you need live in one. Unless they have computers and you can just sit and blog all day. That could be good. I hope all my favourite blog-sites are still going, we can bitch about grumpy other residents, boast about our great-grandchildren and complain humourously about all our ailments.

Friday, September 22, 2006

In the wee small hours of the morning

5.45am Friday 22nd September: Awake to the sound of Climber yelling my name loudly and repeatedly. His wobbly tooth fell out! Decide not to put it out for the Tooth Fairy until tonight so that we can properly inspect and admire the tooth. Go back to bed. On way walk past Fixit and Climber both standing at the toilet bowl doing their morning wee together. Nice father/son bonding, guys.

9.00am Friday 22nd September : Check Climber's baby diary to work out how long he's had that tooth. (5 years, 2 months and 8 days. First to arrive, first to fall out). Realise will probably not be able to do the same thing for poor second child. Sorry, Cherub, your baby diary is full of blanks.

He looks so different. Will take a while to get used to the gappy smile!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

School Holidays

Aaahh, school holidays! Our big plan for these ones is to chill out, because I think the poor Climber is absolutely knackered and in need of some time out at home, playing lego and watching tv,that's right, I said watching tv. I'm going for a healthy mix of creative play and veg-out here, and yes, its a plan, not neglect, in case you were wondering.

We're still doing stuff. On Tuesday we visited the Kew indoor pool and its amazing water-slide (just the big kids, the littlies went to creche) with school-friend Ben. Apart from breathing in chlorine fumes for 3 straight hours and feeling like I'd spent too long in a noisy sauna, it was the easiest parenting gig in history. The boys stayed in the water till they got hungry and just played or rode the slide. More pics here.

We had a charming Sunday with pancakes for brunch; boy, were they ever a smash success! (Note to self, always cook at least 7/8 of the pancakes before serving up to the ravenous hordes or you may find that when you eventually sit down there are none left!)

The pancakes were followed by some family park play, here are the boys following the Fixit lead.

Beyond that, Climber has been having a really good time joining in with what are now everyday-Cherub-activities. Such as the Gym Creche (whilst I git funky at Body Jam), and Creche - he entertained the entire complement from the little kid's room for an hour in the sandpit! Monday Mother's Group was also more fun for all concerned, the Cherub joined in and played happily instead of badgering me, and the Climber was delighted to hang with Pippa and the younger girls. Lots of showing off on the trampoline.

The wobbly tooth is hanging by a thread, I fully expect the Tooth Fairy to visit tonight.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I just got invited to join my first ever Flickr photo group and I got a little bit excited because it was like a blogging project and I could be with like a group! The theme was There Goes Ya Neighbourhood. I decided to go with the neighbourhood where I choose to hang out, that I know intimately, where we used to live; rather than the one where we now live, which I just tolerate. So Climber and I spent an hour this morning taking photographs of some of my favourite places :
  • the recently revamped spire on the Hungarian church which gleams in the sunlight and makes the Cherub call out "oh, roof" whenever we go past.
  • bluestone gutters because they represent inner-city living to me.
  • our old street sign.
  • Robina's wall, both a loving and lovely memorial to Robina who died aged 55. (I didn't know her but I like the wall)
  • Piedemontes Supermarket which everyone loves even though they whinge about how expensive it is, and which has the scariest carpark in Melbourne (daily fights and crashes according to staff!)
  • the "blue park" which our family has visited probably every week for the last 5 years.
  • the "stars bridge" where it's always a kid-bonus if you see a train going over.
Anyway, such was my enthusiasm for my little project that it wasn't until I put it all together that I realised that my presentation is pretty much a plagiarisation. Worse, I've copied from that stylish designer chick Aunty Cookie, who was the person who invited me to join the group. And now I can't be bothered to re-style it. I figure she's an experienced blogger/ designer / Flickr grouper so how she does it is right and good. I just mention this firstly as an apology and secondly because I'm vehemently anti people who think its okay to steal ideas and pass them off as their own OR people who don't acknowledge their sources/past teachers. (I've coloured those words in because I'd just love to make them links to a couple of cases in point, but I'm not gonna because at least one of the offenders I'm not linking to has a propensity to set her expensive lawyers onto people. But if she's reading this, you know who you are and btw my father is a lawyer who specialises in intellectual property. So back off.)

I should stop, I think I've got chlorine poisoning from our school holiday activity today. I will blog about that tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


... but there are many bad spellers.

I don't get irritated by this sort of spelling though:

(On the weekend I played at the park. At night. I felt tired because I was late)

or this, or this:

This last was the Climber's contribution to the Prep T book entitled "Questions About Chickens" which was about the class egg-hatching project. The answer to his question was : Chippy Papadopolous. Well, for one lucky chicken anyway.

Other language stuff going on around here. Climber and I had a good little chat about swearing after my Pyjama Day experience. Sounds like the other kids have introduced him to the phrases "the F-word" and "the S-word". Obviously he knows the F-word, although I reckon he thinks the actual word is F*** en. But the S-word is not what I automatically assumed; Climber thinks the S-word is stupid . I'm happy to leave it at that.

The Cherub meanwhile continues to create magnificent language of his own. From yesterday :
Mr Fixit: I'll do it
Cherub : No, I want a turn a I do it"

Other things they say, just for the record.
Climber still saying aspose and betend for suppose and pretend.
Cherub says dood for good and eats torn plakes for bwekwist.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Pyjama Day

Yes, its Pyjama Day at our school - you donate a gold coin and send your little snuggler off in their jarmies. I was wondering if it would make them all a bit sleepy and docile for the day; apparently not! Which was a shame, because it was my day to be classroom helper and I had to work with a group of 5 boys, including my own, who should never have been grouped together. Insults and interference and lack of work round the table. Had to ask for help from the teacher they were so vile to each other. They got into this 'cone of testosterone' and became deaf to all adults. One needed to go to the toilet and therefore a toilet buddy, the student teacher recommended the wrong child, so the one who didn't want to go pushed the toilet-needer twice when they were out there - tears. Another pair traded insults to the point where the insulted one ran up to the student teacher and said "he called me f***en stupid" (official confirmation that the Climber's recent use of this word is definitely from the schoolyard, not us. Not that we don't swear, mind. We do.) The Climber showed signs of wanting to be involved. One of the key troublemakers is also his best friend / chief-button-pusher. But bless his blue jarmies, he listened to me and obeyed. Just. I was glad to get out of there today. Here's a pic of the little darlings.

The lovely man that I am not married to, aka Mr Fixit, knew I was in meltdown yesterday and stopped off at the florist on his way home from work to get me these. He also charmed the shop-girl enough to score a bonus bunch of these. And got her to hold the push-bike for him while he organised floral arrangements into backpacks etc. What a guy. Hey, we might be poor, but we're 'appy.

Meltdown induced comfort baking today. Thanks to Pa Fixit we have a stash of fresh home-grown rhubarb, so I decided to try an internet rhubarb cake. Here's the batter in the pan, mmmm
Here's the cake going into the oven, now with brown sugar and cinnamon topping, yummee.
Here's the masterpiece after I tried turning it out from the tin, uh-oh.

And here's my sad atttempt at salvage.
The good news is that it's absolutely delicious. Looks aren't everything.

Friday, September 08, 2006


I've just been reading about the offended scientists storming out of the Climate Change Conference because of this balloon dancer. And my reaction was sympathy for the performers, just a fellow-dancer thing. At first I wondered if the offended people had missed out on the Burlesque Revival (there's at least 3 groups in Melbourne that I know of) and whether they knew the difference between burlesque dancing and strippers. But then I tried nailing myself down about the difference and I found I couldn't articulate it accurately either ... beyond, um ... the Burlesque Gals keep more clothes on ... and I think they're going for a saucy performance as opposed to pornographic ... could be more about art than sex ... and something about reclaiming ownership of their bodies and being empowered ... but then if you listen to any stripper talking about her craft, they usually mention the word empowering so now I'm confused. All I ever imagine are the drooling bogans and drunken obnoxious suits in the crowd and I'm not sure they quite get the empowerment thing. Anyway. My littlest boy was doing his own balloon dance this morning and there was nothing offensive in that.

Driving to school this morning. Some poor woman stalls her car in front of us and then in absolute mortification and panic about holding everyone else up, begins starting and stalling her car about 10 times. I think a lot of us have been there. I'm not a road-rager, I'm into treating other drivers like you would like to be treated, so I didn't beep or yell. I waited patiently, feeling sorry for her. Then I hear the Climber from the back seat saying "f***en driver." I had to take a minute to think about the best way to handle that! Decided to explain that she'd had car problems and wasn't doing anything wrong, and then said he wasn't to use that word because it was not a good word for kids, maintaining a calm manner and serious tone. I ended with that parental classic "I don't ever want to hear you use that word again" to which he asked, quite seriously, "Would I have to go to gaol?" No darling, you'll just make me very angry, which would be worse than gaol.

A bit further on, we're listening to Sean Micallef and crew on the radio and they insult my ears with Bryan Adams' Summer of '69. It's immediately switched off with the words "we are not listening to that song". Climber, evidently remembering a previous conversation, asks "Is that The Final Countdown?" which is my all-time-worst-song-ever-made. I know there's about a million lists on the 'net of Worst Ever Songs but I'd love to hear other people's.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Who cleans their house on the same day they've invited a school friend and his older brother home for a playdate after school? An idiot, d'ya reckon? Yep, that was me yesterday. Hey, there's nothing like the knowledge that someone you don't know very well (ie the playdates' mother) will be seeing inside your house to get you away from the computer and actually doing that housework. It's as motivating as a deadline. And really, they didn't do too much damage, mess-wise. A few more crumbs on the floor than normal but it takes the same amount of time to sweep up.

The older-brother-from-grade-2 invited himself (I love how kids can do that!) and how could I refuse him? It was no big deal, the Climber likes both of them. But I felt sorry for the younger boy who was really excited to come over and play at our house and ended up being a bit left out because the Climber gravitated towards the big kid. As you do.

Nevertheless, it was good to shake off the unnatural Martha Stewart pose (what with my sparkling-clean house, entertaining of offspring and friends, offering of home-baked cake and preparation of family dinner for instant dishing-up as soon as guests leave) to go out with the girls last night to the groovy Panama Rooms in Smith Street. We were photographed by a dude from the Melbourne Magazine so its confirmed, we are way cool and hip. Well, we will be if they use the photos of our group... and you know, that felt good because the girls in this case were the Mums from Prep T. And it felt really good to eat someone else's cooking, to have slightly too much red wine and to have a good laugh with a really fab bunch of women. Love a good girl's night out.

This morning Mr Fixit took our car in for servicing so the boys and I caught the tram to school. It's one of the joys of parenthood how kids can change the status of something that could potentially be a drag into an exciting adventure (or vice versa!). Anyway, apart from it being very squashy we had a fun trip and I think it was marginally quicker by tram. The Cherub was just the right height to be knocked around by high-school-kids' bags so it was good when someone offered us a seat eventually. More photos here.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Party, party, party

We have been in celebration mode all weekend - Father's Day today, the boys' cousin's 3rd birthday party on Saturday and my cousin's 21st on Friday night.

Father's Day
We took time to spoil a very special dad, Mr Fixit. Here's the booty from the boys, including the lovely message that the Climber wrote all by himself at school. Mr Fixit was let sleep in (very rare because like all men should, he brings me a cup of tea every morning while he runs the breakfast shift with the boys), then was showered with presents and hand-made cards, and then fed pancakes. Afterwards the whole family went to the Melbourne Museum. I've posted the pictures here.

The 3-year-old's party
A bouncing castle and oodles of yummy kids party food. Need I say more.

Here's my little Dame Ednas on the way home, modelling their party loot.

My cousin's 21st.
She is addicted to fake tan, so the theme was "fake tan formal". Actually not a lot of formal (especially the men) but quite a few funny takes on the fake tan theme, including someone dressed as a carrot, and somebody completely blackened. It's been too cold for me to think about exposing any flesh so I left the fake-tanning to the young 'uns and just went formal in my friend Nell's frock. It's an Anthea Crawford which has only been worn once and Nell felt sorry for it, moping in the cupboard, never getting out to be admired. Which it was.

Food, delicious. Alcohol plentiful (sadly I was the designated driver) and company excellent. But the speeches ...

My aunt made a thoughtful and loving speech. The boyfriend (absent, in China) sent through a pre-recorded thoughtful and loving speech. Both of which were touching and entertaining. But then the mates of the birthday girl got up and proceeded to give hilarious speeches, depicting my cousin as a drunken, bad-tempered slut. All the family and family friends were exchanging looks and shaking their heads but the young 'uns loved it. Must be the done thing nowadays ... who knew? Not me, that's for sure. I was pursing my lips with the best of them. Take your place, Stomper Girl, its official, you are now one of the oldies!

Anyway, it got me thinking about speeches, and whilst of course, I am still in my thirties and important birthdays requiring speeches are ages away, this is what I request:
  • Make it thoughtful and entertaining, but not at my expense.
  • Don't try and embarrass me with stupidly amusing things I've done, doesn't matter how young I was at the time, because I will hate it and it will be all I remember about the speech and will probably make me wonder if you've always hated me (was that the thing about me that you feel needed bringing to public attention?) It may even make me cry.
  • Make sure you've put in preparation and research. In return I promise to give you due warning that I'd like you to speak. (Unlike my Mum at her 60th saying to me 15 minutes before the speeches that actually, she did want me to speak. Now all the family & friends think I suck at speeches, which is not necessarily the case.)
  • Make it about me, not about you.
  • Extravagant compliments rather than insults, please.
And fingers crossed, if the youth of tomorrow are still making hilarious speeches when my kids turn 21, I hope that I'm extremely hard-of-hearing.