Thursday, September 27, 2007

Just call me Mrs. Griswold

Ellen that is. And for that matter, you can now refer to my darling husband as Clark for we are the Griswolds reincarnated.

I've often thought it. I've suspected it on a number of occasions. But last weekend's outing has solidified my fear that we are, in fact, the real-life version of the National Lampoon's Griswold family. Not exactly the roll models I had aspired to in my youth, needless to say. Much, much less graceful.

It began before we even got married. I should have heeded the warning signs. But I didn't. Since then, the Griswold-ness has shown itself on numerous occasions as we blunder through one event after another. And last weekend was no exception.

It started out as a relaxing Sunday afternoon walk in the park after a lovely roast lunch. Our oldest had her bike, our second had her scooter and the baby of the family would be in his all-terrain buggy. Except hubby took the wrong pump to inflate the deflated tire. So our 13 month old ended up in a kangaroo carrier meant for babies and that resembles all too much something one might find in an S&M catalogue with all its ties and buckles hanging about.

A big sigh and off we went...

Up the path, the happy family. And then Clark suggested we take a right because that's where, he was certain, we would find mushrooms (despite the then lack of rain). Our oldest charged ahead on her bike followed closely behind by her scootering sister. We followed up the rear as our toddler struggled to climb up papa's back, most likely to escape the humiliation of being seen in such a reputation-destroying contraption at such a young age.

On we walked. Through the forest, down a hill, around a bend.... And then we were confronted by a massive hill, especially in the eyes of a 7 year old with her bicycle and a short-legged 5 year old with a scooter. When looking back at these events, I often wonder what exactly I was thinking and why I don't speak up when I should, but as in the past, I again chose not to say anything. Instead I put on my best happy face and encouraged the girls to do their best to climb that hill. I ended up pushing the bike to the top. Clark trudged behind, dragging the scooter. Baby was still on daddy's back and was still attempting an escape. The girls plodded on.

The top of the hill was the breaking point and I finally questioned our destination, only to find out that Clark's internal navigation system was as broken as ever and we had been headed in the opposite direction for the past 15 minutes. But lest I fret, he had a solution and it was, according to him, simple: we had to go off-road.

Again, I need to stop and question these things, but I suppose I still have faith despite it all.

And so we went cross-country. 3 kids, 1 bicycle, 1 scooter. Lots of trees, roots, rocks, leaves, mud. Too much whining, whinging, "Mummy I'm tired", and "Are you sure we're going in the right direction, daddy?"

We did finally emerge from the thick of the woods, much to our surprise as well as that of the other families out on their Sunday stroll. But we didn't look like those families, the ones who stayed on the trails and remained all cleanly attired and civilized. We were aware of our mud-covered shoes and slightly disheveled coiffures laden with bits of pine needles and branches as we slunk off to find our car.

It wasn't exactly the Sunday stroll that you read about it books. Just in blogs.

Wonder what we have planned for this weekend.

Tagged - Oh Dear

Well, I've now been tagged twice. Of course, being me, I have no idea what this means so I've had to go hunting on others' blogs to figure out just what this all means and whether or not I should be happy about the whole thing.

As it turns out, being tagged means I have to choose 6 or 7 (depending on who has tagged me) random facts about myself. Share them with the entire world apparently, though I sincerely doubt the entire world is subscribed to my blog. But maybe.....

So here goes. 6 (or 7) random facts about me

1) My driver's license claims I am 5ft3 although I am only 5ft2. I had high hopes at 16 years old of growing at least another inch.

2) I constantly move my feet when lying down. I can't help it. I don't even realize I do it. But I do.

3) I speak to myself in various languages, but fortunately none of which is made up!

4) I was asked to leave an outdoor piano bar when I was 10 for playing Scott Joplin's The Entertainer on the piano. The customers boo'd the staff who asked me to leave, but I was mortified anyway.

5) The song I most can't resist dancing to is Waterloo.

6) Mums who think that good parenting means following the rules 100% bother me. I try to avoid them.

7) I teaching myself to speak Dutch. Just because.

And now I guess I get to tag 6 more people.... please excuse me for this and feel free to ignore me!


Saturday, September 22, 2007

ChichiBoulie's First Collage

Here it is. My first attempt. Not 100% sure it's the final result I've visualised in my mind and there are a few mistakes I won't mention. For a first try, I'm pretty happy with the result, but I have more things planned.
Printed bits of my watercolours are then hand-finished before being pasted to a decorative paper and watercolour paper backing.
I think it would work well in either a child's room or adult area....a first for me!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Shake Rattle & (Loo) Roll

It doesn't seem that long ago that my now 1 year old was enthralled by simple things like his fingers, a speck of dust in the sun's rays, or even a baby rattle. Back then, it seemed, we were off to a good start. All babies delight in the discovery of their fingers after all. And what baby doesn't love a good shake of the rattle?

The good old days. They are gone. For now my darling son has moved on to grander horizons, no longer satisfied with these simple things that life has to offer. Even the brightly coloured, battery operated train that we bought him is no longer proving interesting enough. He's had to seek more intriguing entertainment elsewhere. And elsewhere (much to my dismay) happens to be the bathroom.

Yes, this entry is dedicated to my 1 year old's obsession with all things toilet related. I'm not sure if it's because he's a boy and as such naturally attracted to dirt or all things dirty (or potentially so). My daughters certainly were never more than passingly interested in the loo. But but my son? Well, he is obsessed.

He senses when the opportunity arises and is not one to pass it up. It's an innate ability to know when the bathroom door is even slightly ajar, thus allowing him access to the forbidden territory, sneaking in when no one is watching.

But we know. Oh yes, we know when he's been there. The signs are too clear to go unnoticed. Some are blatant such as miles of loo roll piled on the bathroom floor, sometimes torn to bits in fits of glee, other times dragged throughout the house in a trail leading back to the scene of the crime, most likely pasted to the perpetrator's foot or sticky hand while making a hasty retreat. Other are less obvious. Signs like the bits of rubbish found behind the sink, bits that have been removed from the bathroom bin for closer inspection and determination of their potential, then carelessly discarded once they have been found to be no more interesting than a speck of dust or baby rattle.

The worst though.... the worst this fearless intruder has offered up to us is the dreaded Toilet Cornucopia. What ,you ask, is a Toilet Cornucopia? Simply put, it is toilet filled to the brim with whatever isn't nailed down and is able to be lifted by a slightly undersized 1 year old. Yes, he has found a way to satisfy his curiosity and zest for throwing and splashing with a highly amusing game of throw everything into the toilet. Nothing is sacred to this young hooligan as I have fished out items ranging from deodorant to loo roll to magazines to brushes. Once, in a very bold yet brash act, even his dummy (pacifier to you Americans) went in, only to be found later by my 7 year old, only a little too late....

It has thus become part of my daily ritual to make runs around the house, checking that the bathroom doors are firmly closed. I tug firmly at each door and am satisfied only when I hear that confirming click that tells me all is safe and no little fingers will be able to pry it open.

Yet all the while, I know it's a futile effort. I sense it. Those tiny ears listening, seeking out any weakness when maybe the click wasn't strong enough and perhaps an opportunity still exists to sneak in. He lurks. Waiting. Planning the next bathroom attack...