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What a morning.  Saturday mornings at 11 McBean always has his swim lessons – or more like water familiarisation lessons.  He can’t really swim yet.  Most Saturdays Clark takes him, it’s her things she does with him.  This morning she didn’t want to, so I was up.  It’s always somewhat of a drama.  McBean is a high maintenance high energy little man, and it’s never easy corralling him.  More often than not he will bolt from his lesson towards the infant pool, and a life guard will have to retrieve him.  Multiple times.  It can be hellish on a normal day.

This morning was like a Shakespearean comedy, it was one farce after another.

We have a cloth swim nappy for him, so normally get him ready just before leaving home, strip him as soon as we get there and dump him in the water.  This had been going on for a while, without any dramas.  This morning, McBean does a giant pee in the car seat, so he’s completely wet before we even get out of the car.  Consequently so is the car seat.  And then the pusher that I have to transfer him into.

There were no car parks close by the aquatic centre this morning, so we were forced to park in the shopping centre car park and hike all the way back to the aquatic centre.  In the pouring rain.  Getting even more wet.  Bear in mind that this is in street clothes, and I have no other change of clothes for him, because it’s never been necessary before.

We get there with just enough time to get clothes off and into the water, that’s a positive.  But McBean doesn’t want to go to his swim lesson, he wants to go play in the infant paddle pool.  So for the first 10 out of 30 minutes he was whinging and struggling and refusing to cooperate and just generally being a monster.  Finally he calmed down and participated really well, didn’t run off, floated really nicely on his back for a bit, which was a new thing, and generally did really well from then on.  Okay, so that’s a good thing.  Instructor was impressed, commented he did a 10 out of 10 this week, which was nice.

As a reward we went to have a play in the paddle pool.  McBean was having a ball, splashing around, eyeballing all the other kids, jumping on me.  So we’ve been there maybe 10 minutes when he gets the straining face on.  I was like ‘Holy shit’, whipped him straight out of the water, and sure enough he’d pooped in his nappy.  Thank god I was watching him intently, otherwise it could have got really ugly.  I race him off to the change rooms, and of course there are no family change rooms free, so I have to go into the main change room and keep him contained while changing him and myself.

With a messy wet swim nappy.  Lovely.

And somewhere between the pool and change room it seems that he also managed to vomit a little bit, as when I flipped him over on the towel he had a line of puke dribbling down the corner of his mouth.  Don’t even know what happened there.

Oh, all this and then I had to get him back into wet clothes, because that’s all we had.  Noice, very noice.

I nearly collapsed in a heap by the time we managed to make it home.  God I hope nothing like that ever happens again.

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No hope for a brighter tomorrow

Ran into a colleague whist getting a hot chocolate this morning, and I mentioned that I was scared of the results of the election tomorrow, and she turned to me and asked what difference it would really make. I had to pause and think for a moment, and then concede that really, it wouldn’t make a great deal of difference. It certainly doesn’t feel that way, that there’s much of a difference. Both parties are so entrenched and full of conservatives that we’re effectively functioning in the dark ages.
Traditionally I have voted Labour under the guise of it being slightly further left than the extreme right Libs, but this time around I’m finding both parties lacking even more than normal. Maybe it’s just because I’m more politically and socially aware this time around.
I have this entrenched paranoia that the Liberals will be elected, and it drives me insane when I hear swing voter on Insight saying they are leaning coalition. But rationally, eh…
Who are we kidding, thinking this backwards conservative piece of crap country will actually elect a party headed by a woman. They’d rather a crazy right-wing religious wingnut.
Don’t get me wrong in anyway, I damn well want Labour to come through tomorrow, preferably with flying colours and no doubt. My ideal outcome would be that Labour wins, Libs lose seats, Greens win Melbourne and a huge increase of seats in the Senate. Go Greens getting balance of power. And how could I forget, Fielding getting turfed out on his bigoted ass, preferably with the whole Family First party crumbling into the dust.
However, I despair.

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I was getting better there with posting, but then I got a call from my previous work and they wanted me to help out for a few weeks.  Seven weeks later and it’s been a little hectic around here.  I feel like I’ve barely got time to breathe anymore.  Also doesn’t help that we are down two computers as both our desktop and netbook went kaputski within the same week and now we’ve commandeered FenFox’s clunky old box to get by.  Bring on our tax return and a new computer!

Lot’s of stuff going on around here.  I am job hunting, not as easy this time around, when I’m looking at part-time and set days each week.  Not much around that fits the bill, and competition is fierce.  There’s the larger overbearing issue of what I am going to do with my life too, still unresolved.

McBean has been through a wildly naughty and traumatic (for us) stage, where he was being a bugger about sleeping, waking up sobbing inconsolably every day and every nap and getting up to as much deliberate mischief as he could manage.  He’s now being lovely and practically angelic (for him), he is a delight to be around which is so very nice.  He’s been to a paediatrician about his delayed speech and she is investigating.  Had his hearing tested, concluded he has adequate hearing for speech development, so we’re now facing a full developmental assessment.  More on that later.  His speech is progressing slowly without further assistance so far, but we’ll see.

FenFox is getting more and more tweeny.  Had a little cry at the breakfast table this morning because the art teacher had “abused” her about her poorly made clay pot, which required a quick pep talk from Clark.  Mostly FenFox is so like R1 that it’s absurd, and then, like this morning, she’ll display an outstandingly Clark-like quality, such as getting upset that she is not good at doing something (like working with clay).  The mind boggles sometimes.  You just have to keep reminding them that in the grand scheme of life, the practical application of making pots by hand out of clay is not so important, and that you just need to move on through these little trials.  They get so bogged down in the minutiae of their lives.

Clark is beavering away at work.  She’s doing a lot of training for child inclusive practice, she’s off to a conference in Darwin in a couple of weeks, she’s got some research ideas for a paper she wants to write.  It’s all happening for her.  Full time is a hard slog though, so I’ll be glad when I finally secure something which means she can drop a day.

Election is upcoming, much discussions about that.  I worry that the mad monk will scrape in, somehow.  No matter who I talk to they are disparaging about him, and yet the polls are still close.  I guess I’m lucky that I don’t associate with the caliber of people who vote Liberal.  Disappointed in JG and her same-sex marriage stance, still hope that she gets in.  What’s the alternative in any case?  Shudder at the thought.

Election night we have plans with close friends, it will be her first time she can vote since recently becoming a citizen and the last time we’ll see them for a very long time, as they are moving to France in a couple of weeks.  We’ve know it was happening for so long, but it feels that it’s snuck up on us, and we’re no where near ready to lose them.  Every time we go over (which is often because FenFox is spending practically every spare moment with her best friend before she goes) the house is emptier and emptier, and it becomes more bleak and real.  Hopefully at least the election will be good news, so we can bid them farewell without the specter of the mad monk and the xtian right hanging over the country.

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Breakfast in the PBX house

Single-minded determination – it’s really the only way to describe McBean’s eating style at breakfast.  He normally gets a bowl of mixed cereal or porridge and some sliced fruit, and from the time it’s put in front of him until the time his belly is full he’s like an eating automaton.  Spoon after spoon of cereal goes in the mouth in a steady progression, interspersed with bits of fruit being stuffed, and I mean stuffed, in alongside.  It’s quite remarkable to watch.

Breakfast is the only time of the day that McBean can be guaranteed to eat with gusto.  He will often have a good morning tea also, but come lunch time he’s as likely to refuse to eat anything at all.  Same goes for afternoon tea and dinner.  Some days breakfast is the only solid meal he eats.  Some days he eats more than I do.  I figure it all balances out over time.

Counter breakfast time McBean with breakfast time FenFox.  I’ve honestly never encountered anyone who faffs around as much and eats as slowly as FenFox.  Some mornings you quite literally have to harangue her for every single bite, otherwise she’d still be sitting there at lunchtime with half of her soggy breakfast in front of her.  It is one of the most incredibly frustrating experiences.  Sometimes she’s talking too much to eat, sometimes she’s just staring vacantly into space.  Reading has been banned at the breakfast table on school days.  She’ll come home from school and take 90 minutes to eat afternoon tea, because she’ll be stuck in her book.

We have the tortoise and hare children at breakfast time, except in our case the hare does win.  Meanwhile Clark is rushing around getting ready for work while I am trying to manage the kids and get breakfasts / lunches ready.  It’s a rare work day when we can all sit down for breakfast.  I am more likely to scrounge something vaguely breakfast like and eat standing up in the kitchen while I do other things, and several times a week Clark takes breakfast with her, a toasted sandwich or some such.

Clark and I are a bit like the tortoise and the hare in the mornings also – Clark leaves getting up too late and so has to rush around to do everything, whereas I allow for how slow I know I function in the mornings and get up early, when McBean hasn’t already made that choice for me of course.  It can take me 15 minutes to get my lunch and snacks together when I’m working, which Clark always finds funny;  I can stand in front of the pantry for long periods in contemplation.  Pantry meditation…  There might be something in that concept actually.  I’d never make a chef, I’m too slow and methodical in the kitchen.  It takes me hours and hours to meal plan, let alone cook.

I wonder are everyone’s mornings so erratic.  I consider it a good morning if FenFox is out the door by 8:45 without too much nagging and Clark walks to the train station (rather than having to drive, which then means McBean and I need to pick the car up within two hours).  We’ll get maybe one or two good mornings in a week, if we’re lucky.  Mornings are so crazy.

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Pipe dreams

So this blog has been a bit of a lame duck really.  Picture a western ghost town with accumulating filth obscuring the windows and tumbleweeds bouncing down the long and dusty street.  We were going to kick it off again on June 1 with LGBT blogging for families day, but it’s hard to commence things on a given date.  It’s much like saying you’ll start your diet on Monday, or next month, or whatever.  Never works.  You just find another excuse to procrastinate and put it off.

So today I was feeling somewhat inspired, I thought I better go with it.  I’m not sure how it happened, it must be due to the lightheadedness or something.  Feeling quite flu-y and consequently drained and sleep deprived, but oh well, you take these things as they come.

I have been reading Frances Mayes Under the Tuscan Sun, and I almost can’t stand it it’s so beautiful.  I can practically smell the herbs and wildflowers, feel the sun beaming out of the pages of the book.  It’s killing me in my currently weakened state.  This miserable cold weather we’re having makes me want to shrivel up in a little ball and cry.

I’ve actually been to Cortona where the book is set, so I know exactly the markets and the laneways and the terraces and the fields and I can visualise it so clearly.

Given the state of what the fuck am I going to do with my life that I am labouring under at the moment, I have been playing the what would you do if you had all the money in the world and could do whatever you want game lately, and right now… Right now I would pack up everything we have, find a lovely run down villa in the Tuscan hills and fix it up.  Have a huge vegetable garden, eat off the land, preserve for the winter, have a chicken coop, have fruit trees.  Have the whole garden as a massive kitchen garden.  I can see it.  FenFox would go to the local school and during the summer while away her time reading under the fruit trees, when she wasn’t jaunting off to France or Australia or having friends stay by us.  Have a live in nanny or manny on hand for McBean, so I could spend my time in the garden and kitchen if I wanted to.  I can picture him so clearly there – a little half naked  Raphael cherub roaming the countryside getting up to mischief, brown as a berry from the sun, with his blond hair and eyes the colour of the sky over Siena.  Clark could set up an office if she wanted to work from home, or else commute to Firenze.  Clark of course would be the sticking point with her hatred of the heat, but we’d be so close to the Swiss Alps that I might be able to get away with it on the promise of yearly skiing trips.

Sigh.

There’s just something about Tuscany that is so amazing and welcoming and home-like.  I mean, I know I am part Italian, but my family comes from the deep south of Italy, and I’ve never felt comfortable south of Rome.  I think it’s more than that, with Tuscany, but then I also think a lot of people feel that way.  It’s an amazing place.

So I’ll stop now, lusting over my beautiful Tuscan villa.  It’s a very nice dream to have, but doesn’t answer the very practical question of what the fuck AM I going to do with my life that is looming and omnipresent.

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Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy is a weird word.  I can never spell it right the first time round, and it’s one of those words that just look wrong.

Perhaps I should have labelled this post Absence, considering the extreme absence we have displayed in our posting habits.  It’s always crazy busy around here, and then when it’s not so crazy busy we tend to fall in little heaps and go blah, and posting somehow gets bumped to the bottom of the priority list.  Pathetic yes.  But reality.

Back to my choice of title – hypocrisy.  I immensely dislike being thought of as hypocritical.  So I am having a little bit of a dilemma at the moment.  I find myself to be fascinated with the thought of what the hell my high school colleagues are doing these days, who they married, if they have children &tc.  I think it’s because I’ve recently started hanging out with a lovely old school friend who lives in the area, and she occasionally will provide me with snippets of gossip and things she hears.  She is the younger sister of a classmate of mine, so the people she hears about I know but are from a few year levels below me and therefore not quite satisfying.  Also, Clark seems to be inundated lately with Facebook friend requests from people she went to school with.

This is where the hypocritical aspect enters the equation – I know that Clark did not get along with most of these people in school, and now they’re all having meet-ups and are all buddy buddy on Facebook.  That bothers me.  Like Clark, I did not get along with many people in high school.  Actually, I should clarify.  Clark had some issues in school, not the least that her father was the principle, whereas my not getting along with people was entirely down to me.  I haven’t changed – I’m just as much a blunt, abrasive bitch now as I was then, with no time for shallow, ignorant people, and back then I had even less reason to hide it.  So you can imagine for yourselves the contempt in which I held those people who were more interested in make up and cars and drinking and drugs and relationships than school.  I was hardly the most popular kid in school.

Anyway, now I’d be really interested to know what everyone is doing, but I have no more desire to initiate any kind of relationship now than I had then, hence my problem.  I can’t exactly message them on Facebook and say “Hey, we haven’t seen each other in 15 years and we hated each other’s guts back then, but what are you doing now?  By the way, don’t friend me as I’m not interested.”  That’s a little blunt even for me.  Maybe they did a reunion and everyone caught up that way.  I wouldn’t know, I deliberately like to keep myself elusive and not easily contactable, but then it backfires on me in these kind of situations.

So there you have it.  I think I’ll just have to keep wondering, as my desire to not be a hypocrite and to not start friending people on Facebook overrides my need to know.

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Somebody answer me that.  I’m sure it was McBean’s birthday about 3 days ago, and now all of a sudden it is 24th December.

Of course, this is also a good thing because it means I don’t have to go back to work for 11 whole days – count them.  Yes 11 days.  Am I a little excited by that?  Can you tell?

Christmas is exhausting.  We are having the usual family Christmas Eve dinner here tonight, and so not only have we been frantically baking and finalising gifts edible and otherwise and shopping and wrapping and doing all that stuff, now we also need to frantically clean and sweep and vacuum and dust and mop and wash and then cook.  I’m running on less than empty right now.  Tomorrow I am going to fall in a heap and do nothing except read my awesome new cook book that I am getting while Clark plays her new Sims3 expansion.  No surprises this year, it was too hard to coordinate shopping separately and besides this way we know we’ll love our gifts.   And possibly the same the day after as well.

I am going to attempt to get as much rest as possible over this break.  We’ll see how that actually works out.

McBean had a pretty good day at childcare in the end.  He ate two servings of lunch after a shaky start at morning tea time, had a 1 1/4 hour nap – which is not bad on a mattress instead of in a cot, and was reasonably cheery when we arrived.  He was being held by his primary carer when we arrived and looked perfectly content, and one of the other carers said that he’s always happy to have a cuddle with any of them, so that is good to know.  Not that he’s a cuddly baby, but at least he’s happy to be comforted by them if he needs it.

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