Thursday, February 28, 2013


Just when you think the kid's getting a bit wiggy, someone suggests it's possibly early-onset-Nobel Prize...
..get outa town?!!

I was staggering up the beach, recently sprayed with wet-dog-shake, struggling to make it to our towels so we could head home.

The Orange Dog was dancing around us, so relieved we’d stopped swimming beyond his depth and therefore negating any impending lifesaving duties. He’d scratched us to pieces in the water with his claws doing his circling-shark impersonations; such a well-meaning and neurotic dog.

I was simultaneously tripping over our dry-land-circling-shark and dragging She-Who-Worships-Pink by one arm trying unsuccessfully to stop her rolling in the sand while she's still very wet.

Only moments earlier, when I’d told her we had to go, she’d shot off down the beach barking at seagulls.

I said; "Can you please stop being a puppy now and go back to being a little girl? You're not a very well trained or well behaved puppy and you do much better listening when you're a little girl."

She looked up at me and said:

I have this little girl Lulu. She is small and very funny.

I don’t know if you know the Charlie and Lola books and cartoons by Lauren Child? 

They are wonderful. Non-violent, non-shouty, the music doesn't make you want to Van Gogh your own ears. Everyone speaks nicely (Even Marv with his East London accent) and everyone displays good manners and consideration for others.

I actually bought our first Charlie and Lola book because Lola reminded me of our girl; with her comical expressions and untidy blonde, sticky-uppy hair.

In one story, Charlie becomes concerned and then embarrassed that Lola won’t stop “being an alligator”.  Well I’m waaaaaay past embarrassed, because my girl often finds it very hard to get ‘out of character’ too, but for her it’s mostly about puppies.

She turns doggy frequently and inconveniently and, as I told her this day on the beach, she’s not a very well behaved puppy. But you can rest assured she will stay a puppy for “completely ages”.

The pup-act usually comes into play when we’re trying hard to be somewhere on time. She’ll sit on the floor and wiggle her bum (pretend tail-wag), busy herself in a pretending-to-poo-squat or pretend-cock her leg on the furniture. Nice. And every pleading moment her response will be ‘arf’.

Am I worried? Do I look worried? Well I confess due to an increasing amount of time spend touring the realms of Imaginaria, I did what all parents do; I Googled it.

According to the experts, it’s not only normal, it’s desirable?! 

That’s easy for them to say – they don’t have to drag wet and sandy pretending-puppies up to the beach showers for a hose-down. Or wait until someone’s taken an imaginary dump on the living room carpet then demanded it be bagged up, before you can leave the house.

Anyway they seem convinced by their research and there's sure a lot of it:

“An important benefit of early pretend play may be its enhancement of the child’s capacity for cognitive flexibility and, ultimately, creativity (Russ, 2004; Singer & Singer, 2005).”

I take it that’s a good thing.

“The research reviewed by Berk, Mann & Ogan, (2006) and Hirsh-Pasek, Golinkoff, Berk, & Singer (2009) suggest that make-believe games are forerunners of the important capacity for forms of self-regulation including reduced aggression, delay of gratification, civility, and empathy.”

My girl could do with learning a bit of delayed gratification – she’s already going on about next Christmas… But the really encouraging passage in this article (from was this one:

“Root-Bernstein’s research with clearly creative individuals such as Nobel Prize winners and MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant awardees, indicated that early childhood games about make-believe worlds were more frequent in such individuals than in control participants in their fields (Root-Bernstein, 2012).”

So what they’re saying is that if we survive the pretend puppy phase, the imaginary pets; (lions, tigers, ponies and guinea pigs – because they all get along so well), the imaginary planets: (have you ever been to planet Biscuit? We have a resident of that planet living under our roof)..

… after all that, we could have a Nobel Prize winner on our hands?!!

OK. Cool I’ll look forward to that.

Today I happened to walk past the school ground at recess and I saw my girl alone with a skipping rope wound around one leg pulling hard on something that clearly wasn’t there. So I asked her about it on the walk home.

“I was having a tug of war with my Lions” “And I was winning mummy!!!”

Monday, February 25, 2013


I have come to the startling realisation that my daughter needs subtitles.

And perhaps an interpreter, (or that could be me).

I've said this before but I will, as repetition is the theme of the day, say it again; My girl's speech therapist was an overachiever.

Lately I feel like taking a vow of silence just so I don't have to give any more responses, or repeat anything I've already said.

The fact that we are teaching Little Miss Hava-chat a second language (her father’s native French) sometimes seems like a totally insane idea. Bad enough the questions come thick and fast in English, right? Hey maybe it will slow her down – we can but hope.

My mum was staying with us, from her home interstate, so she could attend Little Miss Hava-chat’s first day at big school. A lovely sentiment and huge effort considering she's in her eighties (Nanna of course) and not as mobile as she used to be. But as she said, she's been to all of her grandchildren’s first days, so tradition must prevail.
But on the previous 'first day at school', Nanna was twenty three years younger and I feel that this one wasn't as easy as the previous few, and might not have lived up to expectations.

What with Hava-chat’s speed-chatter and relentless questions, when even the answered ones, will often be asked again, and again, (why??) I almost lose my voice with the repetition.
If you’re hearing is at all impaired or even if you have a head cold you haven't a hope in hell of following the dialogue. And Little Miss Hava-chat will GET CROSS!!

I had to tell her off for being snappy with her Nana one afternoon. Her angry response was; "Nanna doesn't understand ANYTHING!!!"  (Well many of us don't, when your mouth is in hyper-drive honey.)
I told her Nanna couldn't help not hearing well, “or not knowing all your imaginary pet’s names, and maybe you could slow down and explain a bit more?”, but it still didn't win the sympathy vote.

With this little chatterbox, you need to be an active member of the "Conversations About Random Stuff I'm Into at the Moment" club to give her ramblings some context and this is where you need an interpreter. Hard enough to keep up with the dialogue, but when it's pertaining to the imaginary guinea pig she took care of last week, or a new character downloaded onto mum's iPhone, well you really had to be there. Even the Daddy-Person steps on this conversational landmine with regularity.

Anyway, so after our discussion about being very nicer to Nanna, I told Little Miss Hava-chat to apologise-

And it went something like this:

"I'm sorry I was snappy, Nanna"

"What's that love? You worried you're happy?"

Hava-chat repeats (with a 'see, I told you so' glare in my direction)

Nanna says "you're sorry and chatty?"

"No, I was SNAPPY!" she snaps.

Nanna tries again "you were snatchy?"

Hava-chat, about to explode needed an  intervention.. again. Then I repeated the apology with increased volume and enunciation.

Nanna and I, about to have a giggle over this exchange, suddenly felt the heat of the “don’t-you-dare-this-is-so-not-funny” glare coming from the smallest person in the room, so we shut our traps.

And this is how I spent my afternoons - playing emotional referee to two sparring partners who have a 78 year age gap. And then Mr Frenchie came home for another round of his own.

This could be why I wasn't writing a whole lot at the time? :0)

The day Nanna was due to leave us, Lucie was saying: "I wish Nanna could stay and live with us," and the next day after school, she asked if Nanna had come back yet?

Kids huh?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Lunchbox Lush

When it comes to the school lunchbox, I am a bit of a Lush. 

If you cant sip a chilled glass of something while you're standing in the kitchen doing whatever, then why on earth would you stand there in the first place? Wine is the only thing that can coax me into that daunting space (except for the joy of cleaning it and making it sparkle).
 Isn't it bad enough that I'm forced by my obsessive compulsive disorder into frequent bouts of school dress pleat ironing?

The thing I found most daunting about my girl's start to big school was the loss of a professional in-house-chef. For three years I didn't need to worry too much about nutrition because of the insanely diverse and well planned nutritious menus that were supplied by her day-care/ preschool.

Then all of a sudden, Gaaaaaaa! IT'S UP TO ME!

Me who is so severely culinarily challenged.
Me with my food preparation phobia, and loathing of sandwich cutting.
Me who can break out into a rash at the sight of a recipe book.

I have to come up with something nutritious and tasty EV-ER-Y- DAY.

Huston we have a problem.

Then I met Donna Hay, or her Sweet Potato and Pea Fritters at least, at a kids party. OK, I loved them but Lucie didn't (too much herby green stuff). But with Donna as my muse, necessity gave way to a new culinary invention....HUGELY successful 22 in 20 minutes, Lazy Bones' Cheese & Veggie Pikelets.

So there's a new page in town mums; check it out -  Lunchbox Luxe for the time-poor (or just cant be arsed like me).

And by the way, anything you see on my foodie pages come guaranteed low in labour and full of shortcuts.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Have you ever been so tired you cant even try to listen or speak to another person? 

Who said big school makes kids really tired in the first weeks? I have a Duracel Bunny whose mouth moves as fast if not faster than her legs AND her favourite question is 'why'. All the way home from school : YYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

She could talk the legs of a table. She talks to the dog, she talks to her scooter, the TV, the iPad, she talks to her stuffed animals, and all the while trying to draw me into the conversation with "muum-meeee.. " "why is ... " "why does... " "why cant.. " "why don't..." "why do..." "why wont..."

One conversation went like this:
Slurping noises are coming from the dog's corner;
Sighing, because this is question number 1.243.802; "yes?"
"Why does Buddy lick his bum?"
"Because he's a dog."
"But WHY?"
"Because he can"
Buuuut WHY does he?"
"Because he's a dirt-bag, I don't know honey, it's just what dogs do!"
"BUT WHY????!!!"
At this point I tell her I have to go to the toilet (my universal Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free-Card), and I proceed to flush my head in the bowl. Well not really, but oddly I feel like I need to.

The Daddy person has his own theory on this situation: in big school you have to be quiet in class right? So maybe Lucie's verbosity (like that word much?) builds up and builds up, then erupts like a fountain of linguistic larva as soon as the bell rings.
I am then engulfed in a river of fast moving molten dialogue until she goes to bed. Incidentally she has developed a new self settling technique: she talks herself to sleep - uh huh!
We get her in bed at 7pm and even in the dark, if you listen at her closed door, you can still hear her chatting amongst herself, asking her sleepy-toys questions - sometimes till nearly eight!

If only there were some way to remove her batteries....