Tuesday, February 28, 2006

No time for a "real" entry... here is our life (in brief) (in photos)...

Marianna Grace today.
"Let me out of this cage... I am not an animal!"

Our cabin at Burrinjuck Dam, where we spent last weekend visiting Marie, Rodney and Ben (joined by a bunch of our nearest and dearest).

Here are the kangaroos we found outside
our cabin on Saturday morning.
Here is Will and our cat Lloyd
a couple of weeks ago.
Just because it's so damn cute!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Just 'cause it's a good
"mother and daughter" pic!

It's Sunday night and it's been an enjoyable weekend. The battleground seems to have cleared somewhat and Will has been happy most of the time. I'm not sure which one of us is taking a step back but either way I feel a bit more relaxed and less like the sky is going to fall in on me.

Started Saturday with a whirlwind tour of the supermarket, then Will's swimming lesson. He's been seperated from his swimming buddies Ella and Callum. Initially I was upset but it worked out well. Just that one lesson was much better because he was concentrating and not fooling around with his friends. Let's see how the rest of the terms goes but (as Big Kev would say) "I'm EXCITED!!!".

Saturday morning and afternoon I spent cooking. Sometimes I just love to spend the day in the kitchen cooking a few freezeable meals to take the weekday dinner pressure off. So yesterday I did a huge batch of Osso Bucco in the slow cooker... with lots of vegetables, tomotoes, Moroccon spices and a handful of red lentils to thicken the sauce... yummo! Then a pot of spag bol sauce which freezes so well and has 1001 uses... well at least three. I also pre-sliced heaps of chicken fillets for stir fries and generally got myself organised.

Then mum came over in preparation of babysitting the children while we buggered off for a night of Chinese food and Billy Connolly. It is sad for me that mum feels like a stranger in my house. Because we live "so far away" (about a 40 minute drive) she doesn't come over very often, with us making the trip to her place 20 times for each one of her visits. That's all fine but when she comes over and doesn't know where anything is or what's going on here, I feel kinda weird. I wish things were different... but as Jason would say "some people don't even have mothers!".

The night itself was good but odd. Our friends brought friends we don't really know. We all met up at a reasonably good Chinese restaurant (Golden Century Fox at the ex-Fox Studios, now EQ). The wife immediately got p'd off because it's called a "seafood" restaurant and she doesn't like the stuff. However, it's just a Chinese restaurant and serves pretty much any beast, fish or fowl (including pigeon and jellyfish). I was quite sure she wouldn't go hungry but before you could say "lobster sashimi" she was off crying in the toilets. Look we've all had our off days but it does put one off somewhat when a shiny, new night out (without the kids) (and a night out which in total is going to cost more than the gross national product of Ghana) is bathed in silly petulence within the first five minutes. The night went on, as did this woman's storming in and out, on and off crying into her serviette. Obviously there was more going on than an aversion to crustaceans and I do have some degree of sympathy for pissed off women but come on now, I'd really been looking forward to this night.

Anyway, dinner whimpered to an end and we all shuffled off to the less than ambient Hordern Pavilion for the gig. Now I've been to the Pav a few times to see the odd band, UB40 and The Black Crowes are two that spring to mind. It's basically a big barn of a place with very few memorable or redeeming features. It would have been way down (or not even on) my list of venues to host Mr Connolly. Having previously seen him at the Opera House and the gorgeous State Theatre I was used to a more convivial environment. This was a damn schamozle. We sat on folding frigging!!! chairs and the air conditioning was working at less than optimum capacity (on a bloody hot day). The seats were so uncomfortable I spent most of the night fidgeting and trying to find an adequate position in which to place my bottom. As the seats were those with the bottom bit cut out I kept kicking the poor woman in front of me every time I crossed my legs. She didn't complain but I felt really bad. I was also very hot and thirsty and at one point contemplated trecking down to the stage and asking Billy for a swig of his Perrier.

The man himself was his usual brilliant best. When they coined the phrase "laughed till I cried" they had Billy in mind. I don't know why I bother wearing mascara to these things, it all ends up smeared round my eyes, racoon style anyway. Needless to say he had the usual dig at John Howard and George Bush (what I wouldn't pay to hear a comedian poke fun at, gee, let's say an evil shithead like Saddam Hussein or Ossama). I mean Jesus *(&#ing Christ we get the picture, people. Obviously democracy just doesn't seem to be working for you Billy, so why don't you bugger off to live with more "liberated" folk like, say, in Lybia or the Sudan. They are full of like minded George Bush haters, you'd be right at home.

But I digress. Apart from these "to be expected, I'd be disappointed if you didn't mention it, isn't John Howard a dickhead" comedy routines he was also bloody funny. His bit on the uncontrollable oily discharge caused by "Fat Blaster" type diet pills was amazing and I loved his comments on all the British tv chefs, stuffing plums up the bottoms of trout, watched by millions of Brits (and citizens of other parts of the world I must confess) stuffing themselves with pizza. There was so much more, all good, all funny, and all almost enough to make me forget how bloody uncomfortable I was.

Then there was the exit strategy. Fox Studios, EQ, whatever the damned place is called, is fun in it's own insipid way but it just doesn't cope with large events when it comes to the parking situation. To cut a long and boring story short it took us over an hour to get out of the car park, time I could have spent sleeping. The show ended at 10:30 pm and, after dropping home our friends Claire and Simon, we walked in the door at home at 12:45 am. What the...? It's really more than my diminished parental powers of endurance can cope with these days.

Today has been a very relaxed day. Lazy morning followed by lunch at my dad's ex- (sort of, don't know what's going there, don't ask...) girlfriend's place for her birthday. Quite fun actually. Nice people to chat with, good food, not too far from home... all good. Then we signed Will up for Auskick (his career as a top ranking Swan's player in the year 2020 starts NOW).

Jason went off to see "Munich" (personally I'm quite comfortable with my level of hate towards the Palestinians, don't need to add any fuel to that fire) and I stayed home to do the nighttime routine. All went well, not too much screaming or weeping, and the kids were good too.

Well, that's me caught up on the humdrum nitty gritty of my so-called life. Adios amigos.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I'm drained. I can't really remember feeling this drained and defeated before (though of course there must have been other times). I sound like a completely whinging, whining, pathetic cow, but I must admit to being overwhelmed with parenting Will right now. He is challenging us every minute of the day. There is only peace when he is at school or asleep. Every normal, day to day activity is becoming a surreal, migrane-inducing nightmare. When the children fall asleep at night I collapse in a heap, barely able to watch some tv or read to relax, I am literally twitching with the stress.

It's so difficult to describe the problem. It is petty, it is unrelenting and it is just plain horrible. Every request is ignored or challenged. He can not have a shower or eat a meal or get in or out of the car without some small act of defiance. He is constantly touching and poking Marianna in ways which annoy her or me or us both.

He is obviously distressed and very unsettled within himself. His behaviour is not making him happy. He cries and he lashes out at us. It is impossible to get him in a co-operative mood, even by indulging him with favourite treats and/or activities. Tonight the simple act of showering and asking him to wash his hair (which hadn't been washed for a couple of days and was starting to be a bit smelly) reduced him to a sobbing, screaming mess.

My nerves are jaggered and I dread the mornings and the evenings. How did it become like this? I know it is a stage we must go through and it is probably classic sibling jealousy, or a variation of it. But I'm sure it wasn't this bad before. It has intensified significantly since Will has returned to school two weeks ago.

I know this will pass and our old Will will return. But right now I am so sad and worn out. Last year when we were waiting for "the call" I felt I was slipping into a form of depression but compared to the way I feel know that was a walk in the park. I don't ever think I've experienced anything so emotionally draining.

Marianna is doing well. She is happy and curious and busy exploring her world. But my general testiness is making me less tolerant of her smallest demands. If she cries I want to find whatever will make her stop as quickly as possible and if I can't I am on the verge of tears. It's like a few layers of skin have been removed and my nerve endings are that much closer to the surface.

Well, boo, bloody, hoo me! I read this shit back and the logical part of me thinks "snap out of it, you silly cow". And I know that I will, despite it all the naturally optimistic part of me is trying to fight back and regain control. I need to find a way of going with the flow a bit more, of not taking Will's behaviour quite so personally. I need to help him deal with this but I don't need to take the "blame" or allow it to become just about me.

My mantra is: Parenting is the worst and the best.

I'll ride out the worst and keep hoping for the best.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I'm writing this from the comfort of my own dining room... my messy, crowded-with-broadband-setup-periphenalia dining table. The damn wireless router still isn't working but we're back on broadband. Wouldn't you know it it was one of those tiny stupid problems (firewall related) which caused all the problems. Sheesh!

It's Wednesday night. The children are sleeping and we've just watched the season final of Judging Amy. We've been watching it since day one and while (like all shows) it has gradually, season by season, lost its sparkle, its dazzle, the charming wit and whacky writing which saw us so hooked on it all those years ago.

Jason's on the phone so I've paused the episode of Six Feet Under we're watching (we've been loaned the first four seasons on DVD and are up to episode three, season three). What a brilliant show. I have to say after the intensity of the first two seasons so far season three is a little flat so I'm fearing/hoping a little more craziness enters the lives of the poor old protoganists, because so far it's just a little too much of their day to day humdrum for my money.

Will has tested my parental werewithall again today. I just can't seem to find the right place of balance between relaxed, don't give a stuff mum and uptight, discipline-freak mum. While we had our skirmishes this afternoon, it does strangle my heart with love, pride and unbridled joy when he says to me, as we are laying in his bed tonight, "mum, I love you big big much", as he stretches his arms out as far as the can reach.

Parenting is the worst and the best.
I have a true love/hate relationship... with technology, that is. I can't imagine my life these days without the gadgets and the cyber-technology which makes my life so much better (and yet so much more complicated). What did we all do before tiny mobile phones (I still remember my dad's first mobile phone in the early '90s - they weren't called "bricks" for nothing), email, internet information at our fingertips, home fairy floss makers... but I digress.

I do love the technology which makes my life so much and easier and so much more interesting but why does it have to be so bloody hard to get going???!!! Once they're up and running, short of some sort of catastrophic computer crash or virus or other natural disaster which may befall our technological helpers, all runs smoothly. However, there is a big lump of pain involved in setting up our new technological friends. It's never a matter of plug in and play. It always requires a great deal of angst, confusion, swearing, the threatening to throw things, possibly the throwing of things, a long period "on hold" for the Help Desk and - HOPEFULLY - a final, blessed resolution.

Most of you may not know a Wireless Router from a bathroom grouter but this previously unheard of beastie is sitting on my dining room table as we speak. Last night it threatened to both my fragile mental health and our fragile household equilibrium. It all started when we had cable broadband installed on Monday. Because they couldn't run the cable to our bedroom, which is where our laptop normally lives, we settled on having it in the living room. They suggested attaching a wireless router so that we could then use the broadband connection anywhere in the house. Easier said than done. Now we have a wireless router, a broadband modem, a laptop, a whole lot of cables, wires, CDs (why don't they provide you with a REAL bloody manual anymore??!!) and a hell of a messy dining room table ... but nothing that works.

I had to give up on the whole frigging mess last night and retire to the bedroom for some Desperate Housewives and some meditation on the good things in my life (as Jason so wisely said "some people don't even have a computer!" - "lucky bloody people" I say). Now I'm hoping that some help will come our way on Saturday when some of Jason's IT buddies from work come over for a BBQ ("hey, did we show you our new wireless router? you couldn't help with a tinsy winsy little problem we're having, could you?").

With a bit of luck and some smiling from the IT gods I may be updating my blog from the comfort of my own bedroom in a few short days. I never had these problems with my trusty old IBM Composer...

Friday, February 03, 2006

We resume regular service in 5... 4... 3... 2...

Where does the time go? I don't even know where to start! Best to summarise I guess...

We're home, life is good. During the past six weeks we have chipped away, bit by bit, until we have something very much resembling a routine to our days and weeks. I love routine, crave it, need it. I also believe childen thrive when surrounded by a comforting routine. Our trip was amazing and challenging but I so love having our lives back.

Marianna is a terrific baby. I think she read the child development book before she met us because she is doing everything right on cue. She has slept fully through the night for over two weeks now - is there anything better in a parent's life than a sleeping child? She eats everything not nailed down and is very adventerous with what she will try. She started crawling three days ago which has certainly introduced a new challenge to my day to day life - watching her every second she is on the ground for the world is full of interesting yet potentially dangerous objects, all conveniently located at baby's eyesight, touch and feel level.

Will is fabulous. He has returned to school this week and is settling well into Year 1 - or 1C. He is with his best friend at school Nicholas, which is great. His teacher seems lovely and there are only 19 children in his class - who could ask for more. There is a "but" though... his behaviour is very up and down right now. I guess it's to be expected but it is really testing our parenting skills. I recognise that a lot of our conflict is more about our reactions than just his behaviour and we have a lot of work to do - where the &*#$ is Super Nanny when you need her? Say it with me now: "That is unaceptable behaviour!!!"

Antony and the Johnson are sublime. I shared the beauty of their music with my sister a few weeks ago at the majestic State Theatre. He is an artist like no other (that I have witnessed). He is so fragile, so vulnerable - especially on stage, where he is so raw, so unpolished in some respects. Yet that stage persona compliments his songs, his words, his beautiful voice in a strange way. Everything about him is feeling: hurt, fear, love, hope, anger, joy. Every word in every song overflows and the person he is on stage in front of us, open, fearful and fearless, so much NOT the "entertainer" (if there was an entertainment spectrum Antony Hegarty and Robbie Williams would form the two furtherest points) makes my heart ache and soar. He is a gift to me and I am so thankful.

CocoRosie are not a gift. They are an abomination and the definition of "Emperor's New Clothes" when it comes to avant garde "culture". This musical travesty somehow appeared as the opening act for Antony and the Johnsons and boy did they piss me off. While their so-called music is very much reminiscent of the noise made by a cat as it is run over by a slow moving steamroller at least they did provide some wonderful comic relief, as JB and I giggled manically in the beautiful butterfly ladies' room at the State Theatre. You have been warned.

This weekend brings a return of Will's Saturday morning swimming lessons, a chance to hang out with JB on Saturday night while Jason plays golf and poker (boys will be boys) and some casual Sunday afternoon entertaining. Possibly a Friday night movie with my friend C - North Country or Brokeback Mountain?