Archive | September, 2009

Sick? Growing up?

28 Sep

It would seem the little turtle has a penchant for getting sick every time the hubby has a three day weekend. This time it was, the doctor said, some kind of strep throat – the kind not picked up by the swab I felt they should do before prescribing antibiotics. So even though he wasn’t 100% sure that it was strep he prescribed antibiotics because the little turtle’s throat was “red enough” to justify it, even though doctors “go on about the over-prescribing of antibiotics”. Sound, I thought. He knows what he is talking about. The little turtle had stopped breastfeeding the day before, so I was more worried than I normally would be. Antibiotics will sort him out. Brilliant!

Then we got home and tried to give him the antibiotics. He got one dose. He would not take another. By that I mean he fought, kicked and screamed like a banshee. There was no getting it into him, even with the hubby and I both trying. You would have to see it with your own eyes to believe it. A “sick” fourteen month old boy getting the best of two grown adults, determined to try and give him his medicine. There was no way. (Even if my mother insists that if she were here she’d “get it into him”.)

We rang the pharmacy. Tried to find out if there was another flavour. No joy. Illuminous pink bubble gum flavour would seem to be it. And no other form. No suppositories.  Nothing.

In the end, we made the executive decision to give up on the antibiotics altogether. Any boy who can fight like that and somehow make medicine squirt out of his nose can get better on his own. And that is what he seems to have done.

He also seems to have given up breastfeeding. Cold turkey. He fed all morning and most of the afternoon on Thursday, so much so that I thought he would never stop and sat in the chair dreaming up ways to get him off me, so that I could at least go to the toilet.  Then he just stopped.  Now I know it must have had something to do with his sore throat, but he’s over that now. I think that’s it for the breastfeeding. He’s done. He did the same thing with his dummy, when he turned 6 months. Just stopped. Give him one now and he looks at it bemusedly but won’t put it in his mouth for love or money. It’s the same now with the boob.

I’m not sure how I feel about it. On the one had I’m excited. My body is mine again. And I’ll be able to buy proper bras again. Not the boulder holsters I’ve become resigned to over the last year and a half. On the other hand, my baby is growing up! He’s walking, talking, and feeding himself (even going so far as to forage in the cupboards when Mammy isn’t paying attention to the time). I’m also a little scared. Breastfeeding isn’t just about food. It’s also about comfort, security and love. It has given us a closeness that I’m not sure we’d have had if I’d bottle fed him. My dilemma now is how to continue to parent my little boy so that he continues to be the sweet and happy soul he has always been. Breastfeeding has been such a huge part of our relationship, I’m not sure what to replace it with. Sloppy kisses and hugs are what he’s been giving me to ‘replace’ (?) our milky connection.

Maybe it’s premature worrying about this now. Maybe he’ll wake up in the morning, mad for Mammy’s milk. And my dreams of bras will have to be shelved for another while. Maybe. But probably not.

A mother and her son. A relationship constantly in motion.

“Mammy said ‘No’!”

25 Sep

My mother used to always say this to the little turtle. About such mad things as cola, biscuits, and tea. Of course Mammy said no, but it used to p*ss me off royally to hear this, well catchphrase, being bandied around the house all day every day. Mammy was a big mean so and so, but Granny would happily hand out treats and whatnot if only Mammy would let her. I tried explaining it to her, but got “You’ll have to say “No” to him sometime, you know.” And I did know. As a matter of fact I have no real problem with the word “No”. I think the human race would not have survived without it. It obviously has a place. It’s just not appropriate to tell a six-month old “No cola, Mammy said.” Then there’s the whole “No, don’t touch that”; “No, you’ll break that”;”No, no, no, no, no!” Some children must think that their names are “No!”

So I try not to say the word “No”. Or “Don’t”. Or “STOP”. All that negativity can’t be healthy, can it? At the same time, if it were appropriate (if he was hurting someone or in danger), of course I’d say it. As I also have a slight aversion to the whole airy fairy “Our hands are for kindness” school of thought, I kind of have to use it. In fact, if you ask the little turtle what Mammy says about posting things into the potty or the toilet he’ll say “Mamama ah-ah!” (Ah-ah being No). He has to have some boundaries, but they have to be age-appropriate and not just based on Mammy’s whims.

I think I’m winning. Without me ever having to resort to shouting “Noooo!” at the top of my lungs, or having to go into a big long explanation about how “we” don’t do such and such. I do explain things. But not to death. And I hope I’m giving him the scope to be the great person I know he’ll be without stifling him.

Real discipline is not about getting a child to do as he is told, to go to bed at a certain time or to put his toys away. It is about helping him to grow up independently, with a respect for others and control over his own destiny. It is about getting him to care enough about himself so that he can develop self-control.

Montessori Play And Learn, Lesley Britton (p.26)

Mammy may well say “No” from time to time. Mammy is human. As is the little turtle. As long as he has the freedom to grow, I think we’ll be okay.

Treasure house

24 Sep

I kind of covet one of these

At the same time, I must wonder about myself. And I absolutely must conclude that if I were an eskimo, people would have no bother selling ice to me. None whatsoever. Because as I survey the domain that is my dining room (slash study slash computer room slash toy shop) I can see that the little turtle has all manner of containers filled with “treasure”.  Indeed if I take a short walk to the kitchen he has an entire cupboard filled with “treasure”. Things he has swiped, magpie-like, as interesting and shinyas well as things I have contributed as “educational” and fun (not to mention shiny!) In fact, when we were in Ikea at the weekend, the hubby vetoed the idea of getting pot holder yokes, because “I understand the idea of them, but I know they would just end up all over the house and never save the table for hot pots”. I think the poor honey is upset that his obsession with preference for coasters is being ignored by everyone, especially the youngest member of our household who can not be persuaded to leave them alone and is verging on being as obsessed with them as his daddy! Poor daddy! He said just the other day that he is just getting used to having things lying all around the house. Apparently it used to make him really uncomfortable (in a skin-crawly kind of way). Now he has to shake out his boots every morning before he puts them on because they are the best hiding place for treasures that the little turtle has found.

I love the idea of treasure baskets though. And I love the look on the little turtle’s face when he gets hold of “real” things. He’s delighted with himself. Usually he’ll just try and play the drums with whatever it might be, but sometimes he tries to copy what he has seen us do. The best “toys” in the world belong to mammy and daddy. Pity it doesn’t stop mammy and daddy from buying more toys because in reality he needs very little. Daddy’s boots, a tupperware container and a few spoons can keep him amused for ages.  Real life “toys” are the business!

Ta daaaaaaaaaa!

22 Sep

I really should make myself a list of things to do more often. Maybe then things might be accomplished around here! I have finished “the world’s most interminable blanket”!!!!!! And doing a jig as I speak. I’m really proud of myself, even if I hate the colours. It can be in the guest room. Or I could parcel it up for the in-laws for Christmas. The size of it though makes the thought of wrapping it seem impossible. And what is a present if it isn’t wrapped. No good. That’s what.

Anyway here it is!!

crochet 001A glory of browns!

These are my favourite squares:

crochet 002And I’m glad I scalloped the edges (shell stitch?):crochet 003All in all a good day’s work! Even if it took months and months and months!! 😉

To do list

21 Sep

Obviously, you must take it as read that I have all of the mundane everyday things to do too. Hoovering, laundry, dishes, sweeping, mopping, dusting, window-washing, you name it, I need to do it. Except ironing. I don’t believe in it. And won’t be doing it. Ever.

I also need to get my ass in gear in the garden – we got a list of ‘violations” in the door this morning, but what with the hornets and everything else I can’t really take the little turtle out there and it is usually dark by the time the hubby gets home. Gardening in the dark? I think not. Can’t have the lights on at night until next month because of the turtles anyway. So we have until Thursday to sort the garden out, otherwise the rental company will send in their people and charge us $50 to cut the grass and not do anything else on the list. So we’ll be back in the doghouse next week. It’s military housing, so we have to meet military standards!

So what about this “To do list”? Alright, these are things I want to do to make myself feel more human again. I have found it hard since moving over here to meet people. So have no friends. Just a crochety teething baby for company during the day and a crochety, overworked husband for company in the evening. I’d like to become more self-reliant when it comes to amusing myself and making myself happy.  Self-fulfillment is perhaps what I’m after.

  • Read more. So less TV! And mindless hours on the internet!
  • Get back to studying Japanese. I used to be proficient to a conversational level. And Kanji (the Chinese characters) fascinate me.
  • Finish the interminable blanket I’ve been making. I may not like the colours, but I’ll happily do a jig and display it proudly when I’m done! I just have to scallop the edges, because they’re a bit wonky and uneven.
  • Yoga – I used to go to a class when I was in Japan, and while I was useless, it was great fun. So I need to make time to do it again. If I can’t find a class, I can do it by myself.
  • Crochet, once the interminable blanket is finished, I’m not to give up! I have Christmas decorations to make, as we are starting from scratch this year. And if the decorations are crocheted, the little turtle won’t be able to break them (I hope!)
  • Walking – I need to get out of the house more. And as I can’t drive, this may well be my only option. Good thing I enjoy it! I just need to make sure I’m orgaised enough in the mornings to get out before it gets too hot, at least until it cools down a bit.
  • And a short term one – sort out bed linens for our new bedroom. We’ll be moving upstairs next week and the hubby and I will have our own room for the first time since we got married. I’m terribly excited. I want it to be special. As much as I love the little turtle, I’m looking forward to having a space that is just ours.

He put my heart crossways!

18 Sep

We went down to the beach yesterday evening, as we do on many an evening, to stretch out the time my little turtle can last until dinnertime so we can all eat together. He was in all his gear. Swimming nappy, check. Trunks, check. Swimming shirt, check. Aquasocks, absent – they just filled with sand last time and made him fall over. We can’t just go to the beach “for a walk” because he is like a whirlwind and I can’t stop him from getting in the water. Well, of course I CAN stop him, he’s only small. I can take him. But he’s much more determined and energetic than I am. So there we were, wandering up and down the sand, in and out of the water. Having a ball. I was very wet, despite being in an airy fairy skirt and top – no walking to the beach in a swimsuit for me, ever. And getting dressed/undressed with a small whirlwind in close proximity to the water. It’s just beyond my capabilities.

We were having great fun. Then the turtle sat in the sand. And I let go of his hand, as the water was quite a bit away. When in crashes a big wave, knocks him flat on his back and (in my mind) pulls him into the ocean. It was, in reality, an inch or two. But at the time……..

He put my heart crossways!!

And what did he do? Stand up and start running towards the water.  He would not be deterred. Laughing like a hyena. Shaking his head to get the water out of his ears. Blathering away to himself. Not a bother on him.

I had to gather him up and bring him home.  I’m still not right.

Him though? Raring to go.

June-July 226


16 Sep

We moved into this house about two months or so ago.  If I knew what day it was I might be more precise – sleep is a rarity around here at the moment – I barely know my own name. Anyway, we moved here so that we’d have a garden, or a yard. Somewhere for the little turtle to play outside – safely. First it was too hot. Then we discovered that some of the grass was thorny (we have the worst looking lawn in the neighbourhood, and it’s not likely to get any better as we don’t know how to take care of lawn in this climate. Watering the grass sounds like insanity to me!!) Then there were ants. Now, now there are hornets. So we can’t play in the yard even if it is a bit cooler. Thwarted by Mother Nature and her steroid-ridden Floridian bugs.  Florida’s Mother Nature is not the airy-fairy kindly figure I’d imagined. She’s mean. I don’t think she meant for human beings to live here.

bird feeder

This is my “bird feeder” that saw not one bird. Not one.  How then is it empty? Ants. Ants climbed up the tree and ate all of the seed. What now do I do? Leave the rest of the bird seed in the garage to go mouldy? Or feed the ants. The nasty biting ants that I don’t want to encourage. The birds don’t really need feeding. They are able to look after themselves. So are the ants. But the little turtle loves looking at birds. He is much better at spotting them than I am, with my poor old myopic eyes. It’d be nice to have them in the garden.  But it would seem it is not to be so. Thwarted by Mother Nature again.

So all of my thoughts of “getting back to nature” must fall by the wayside. Nature doesn’t want me near her. But I’ll figure out how to get rid of hornets and I’ll show her! At least until she has an alligator or something move into my backyard.

Where dreams come true?

14 Sep

We went to Disney’s Animal Kingdom over the weekend. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting. A zoo, thronged with people and some animal-themed rides and what not. Oh and loads and loads of gift shops and over-priced restaurants/food stalls. What we actually found there was amazing. I loved it! Despite all the people and the rain (yes it was raining, would you credit that, so much for the “Sunshine State”!) I always think it is going to be sunny, which is why we ended up with a small boy looking like this:Drowned rat(in an adult sized poncho).

The park itself is set on over 500 acres – when I read that, I thought “Oh God, the trekking we’re going to have to do to see some poor caged creatures. Why am I here?” In actuality, a lot of the bigger animals – giraffes, lions, elephants – were not. There was a Safari “ride” where you went in a jeep and could see them on rather large tracts of land (with predators separated from prey, obviously!) The main “theme” of the park was conservation – presented in an entertaining and fun way. Lots of interaction. And guides to answer questions about most of the animals.
Of course Mickey and Minnie and the rest of the gang were there too, but only really in the “Meet and Greet” stations and the gift shops (naturally). What we loved most was Nemo, the Musical. It was fantastic. My little turtle was especially enthralled. His mouth was agape the entire time. Concentrating intently throughout. He didn’t look away from the action once. I think I enjoyed it more because he was sitting on my knee. I could (if I squinted a bit) see it through his eyes. Things are always cooler when seen through a small child’s eyes.

Now though, I’m a tad worried that I will end up with a very jaded three-year old (for example, he could quite easily be a jaded four, five, six year old) who has seen and done everything. Is interested in nothing and “bored” all the time. The nearest I got to Disney was the cinema (once or twice) until I was twenty-five or so. Are we overloading him now? Will familiarity breed contempt? Oh, I hope not. Although we will be moving away from Florida (and all of its’ theme parks) next Summer.

I don’t understand how people vacation here for weeks at a time. Going to the parks every day. Hubby was on for going to two parks last weekend. I said I wouldn’t be able to cope. And I wouldn’t. Once every few months is enough. Whatever about the Animal Kingdom being a zoo, the whole of Disney World is a melee. It brings out the worst in people, me included, even if I just direct my anger and frustration towards strangers. I certainly don’t understand the people who travel hundreds of miles and spend thousands of dollars to bring their families to Orlando and then choose to battle with their children over the daftest of things. One I heard was “Lift up your feet when you’re walking”; girl “I am”; Dad “Lift up your feet”; “I am”; “If I have to tell you ONE MORE TIME” which, of course leads to a major meltdown.

I’m still working out what kind of parent I am. I hope to be the woman standing beside the puddle while my child jumps in it (be it in rags or his “Sunday best”), laughing, maybe joining in. Not the woman a few yards away, shouting “If I have to tell you to get out of that puddle ONE MORE TIME…”

Crush, the Turtle in Nemo, the Musical sang it best:

Crush: Let us see how Squirt does flying solo.

Squirt: Whoa! That was so cool! Dad did you see what I did?

Marlin: Well, I’ll be a sea monkey’s uncle.

Crush: You so totally rock, Squirt! You’re such an amazing kid.

Marlin: Children, huh?

Crush: It’s awesome, they’re eggs on a beach, then coo coo ca choo. They find their own way back to the big old blue.

Marlin: All by themselves? But what if they’re not ready? I mean, how do ya know?

Crush: Well, you never really know. But if they’re ever gonna grow, then you gotta let ’em go. Ya know.

Crush: Just go with the flooow…

(Back up turtles: That’s the only way to do it. Just give on over to it. Rip it, roll it, and curl it. Ride it, slide it, and swirl it./Bah bah bah bah….)

Crush: When you’re raisin’ sons and daughters, it’s like surfin’ in the muddy waters. Whoa whoa whoa.

(Back up turtles: Go with the flow…)

Women’s work

10 Sep

You think you are doing so well. You are on the verge of congratulating yourself. Then the smallest thing knocks you flat on your back. You wonder if you’ll ever be able to get up again. Then you see something like this and you tell yourself to cop on. For all of the drudgery you think you’re dealing with, there’s always more. There’s always someone worse off than you. It doesn’t make the burden on your shoulders any smaller though, does it?

The wonderful world of finger-painting

9 Sep

We braved the world of finger painting yesterday. And to be honest, I thought it would be a nightmare. But there was surprisingly little mess. Especially seeing as I didn’t put a smock or anything on him, and there’s the fact that I got overexcited and forgot to cover the table and the floor. He seemed bemused by the whole thing. But much more into it than when we did “finger painting with yogurt” at the group we go to on Fridays. He didn’t even try to eat the paint! It didn’t look very appetising – very gelatinous – not at all what I was expecting. I thought they were like poster paints. It would seem finger paints are a whole different animal, one that didn’t exist in Ireland in the late 70s and early 80s!

Anyway, here are the results:

turtles 021turtles 022turtles 023turtles 024Which I cleverly transformed into:PictureI was going to do all kinds of frip-frappery with them, but then I thought “Nah, then they’ll be more about me”. So I just stuck them on some construction paper and wrote the message outside. (Yes, I only have one red and one blue marker!) Better than some Hallmark noxiousness methinks!

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