Perfection Personified?

In our house, once food is served, that is it. Everyone usually gets a say in what goes on the menu, but once it hits the table - that's it. Discussion over.
Miss J is not always happy about this house rule, so this week she has came up with a way to show her displeasure and express her fussy streak, whilst still abiding by the rules.

This week Miss J has decided she will not eat any piece of fruit that has a "yuck bit" on it.
Not until I have removed the offending yucky bit, anyway.

Now, it may not seem like such a big deal - simply removing a spot from an apple or extracting a stray dog hair (opps!) from a banana every now and then - but did you know that it is possible to find up to 5 yucky bits on every single piece of fruit, if you look hard enough?
It's true. And Miss J can prove it.

All week I have spent snack times taking bites out of Miss J's food in order to remove the yucky bits and return it to an acceptable state of perfection. I realised after the second day of yuck removing duties that I may be allowing a bad habit to form - but I decided it was not a battle I was up for fighting. So I continued removing yucky bits... And boy has Miss J continued to find them!

After biting off the 6th yucky bit from a single banana today I kinda sorta lost my patience for a moment.

When Miss J held out her banana again, I said to her, "Not everything in nature is going to be absolutely perfect all the time, Miss J!"

She replied, "Why not? I am."

Yes, thank you

It is now almost 2 weeks since I fractured my foot. I still have another 2 weeks to go before I will hopefully be allowed to throw away these horrid crutches and get back to "normal".

In light of my previous 2 weeks of immobility, yesterday, we had no food in the house. Nothing for us and nothing for the animals.
The day before, our neighbour offered to do some shopping for us. With another 2 weeks before I can attempt any kind of decent shop myself, do you know what I said?
"No thanks, we'll manage."

We have a nanny (our wonderful, amazing, hippie version of Mary Poppins) who usually hangs out with us Monday afternoon and all of Friday. Before I fractured my foot, she had arranged to take 2 weeks off, from us and from her other families. After I fractured my foot, she offered to spend all of her now free two weeks with us.
With 3 very energetic children who are hard enough to keep up with when all your limbs are working, let alone when 3 off them are out of action (it takes both arms to walk with crutches!), do you know what is said?
"No thanks, we'll manage."

Nelly is our foster puppy. She is going to be an assistance dog when she grows up. Right now though, she is a border collie puppy with more energy than all three kewl girls put together. Like all dogs, she becomes very destructive when she gets bored - so the key to a content, well mannered pooch is keeping her occupied. There is only so much you can do to occupy a dog with that much energy when you are a person with that much less energy... Nelly's wonderful trainer realised this and offered to find her a place in "vacation care" until I am back on both feet. Instead of thanking her kindly and wishing Nelly a happy holiday, do you know what I said?
That's right, "No thanks, we'll manage."

Now, I am not a liar. We have managed -

I let the animals loose in the veggie garden and we went to the shops and got as much food as the girls could carry (because when an attendant asked if she could help us with anything I replied, "No thanks, we'll manage.").

Mary is enjoying her two weeks off and when I explained to the kewl girls they would need to help their mum for a few weeks, they agreed to make it easier for me to keep up with them (now instead of sprinting off into the distance they just run rings around me).

Nelly is being kept busy enough by me throwing tennis balls into the scrub at the back of our house for her to fetch (even though I am getting RSI in my shoulder and have almost kneecapped all 3 kewl girls with the crutches when trying to bend down to pick up the ball).

Yes, we have managed - and will continue to manage - But I am not so ignorant that I cannot see I could be managing things better, with some help.
So I wonder, why did I just decline the neighbouring teen's offer to wash the dogs for me?! The words, "No thanks, we'll manage", had escaped my lips before I even realised what the offer was that I was declining!

Why do I find it so hard to say "Yes, thank you"?!

This morning Miss V had a massive meltdown because she could not work the zip on her jacket. I offered to help her multiple times and each time she declined. Eventually she cracked it good and proper, so we dealt with her meltdown and not until she had calmed down did I offer to help with her jacket again. I was tempted to just do the jacket up while she was screaming, but she had said NO and I wanted to respect that.
I understand that as a 2 year old, a tantrum over not being able to do something herself is nothing to worry about - she is just learning how to manage her emotions. It did get me thinking though...

I have no trouble at all empowering the kewl girls to say NO, and mean it - but what about empowering them to say YES?
Am I teaching them that it is OK to ask for and accept help?
Definitely not by my recent actions.
I might be better at managing my emotions than 2 year old Miss V, but am I really any better at managing my abilities? (Amazingly enough, now I would very much like to answer YES, even though I know the honest answer is NO!)

Whether fortunately or unfortunately, I am a kinaesthetic learner - I am unable to learn something without applying it practically. This means that all of the above ramblings will remain just that, ramblings, until I put them into action.
So - instead of spending the next two weeks swearing about how restrictive and inconvenient my fractured foot is - I am going to set myself a practical learning challenge.

I am going to manage my abilities and my disabilities more effectively.
I am going to graciously accept help when it is offered.
I am going to practice saying YES, and meaning it.
I am going to start tomorrow right now, by calling the neighbouring teen and asking him to come and wash the dogs.

And now that I have blogged about it, I am making myself accountable.
So there.

What's that? Would I like a piece of chocolate to start my 2 week YES challenge? Well.. If you're offering..

Silly mum

Miss F loves taking photos. In fact, give her a camera and she will amuse herself for up to an hour - That is how much she loves taking photos!

When she is in one of her arty photographer moods, it is best not to disturb her - She gets quite cranky when you interrupt her flow. If she could make such an offence punishable by death, I honestly think she would consider it.
I have learned the hard way that asking to look at her photos before she has finished with the camera counts as interrupting. I do like to see what she has captured though, so we came up with an acceptable alternative. When the memory card is full, we hook the camera up to the computer and go through her shots, saving to good ones and "clearing" the rest.

This morning Miss F spent an hour taking photos in town. She took so many photos that when we got home the camera was flashing "Memory Card Full", so we sat down at the computer together and started clicking through her photos. To her credit, Miss F is not afraid of good honest feedback, nor is she precious about her photos - most of them get "cleared" without so much as a second thought.

Today, after "clearing" 20 or so similar images, I started to have second thoughts. My mind went back to poor James and the forty four photos I sat through before finally realising I was looking at more than just grass. I started to think that maybe today's repetitive images also had a deeper meaning, so I asked Miss F to explain this photo to me:

She said,

"Silly mum... That's you and dad playing music in the sky."

I love "No. Go. Tell."

We went to the local park today. We love our local park... There is a small playground there - with swings and a bouncy thing (to use the technical name) - There is also lots of open space to run and explore, a pond to admire and picnic tables to eat at.
It is a beautiful spot and it's not just children and families who appreciate it.

Today we were sharing the park with a young couple. They were sitting about 10 meters from us on a bench under a tree, trying to swallow each other very much enjoying each others company.
The kewl girls were playing on the swings and didn't notice the couple until they came over to the table for food. When Miss F spotted them she was not impressed...

Miss F, "HEY! That's a sexy touch!"
Me, "Yes it is, and those people are grown ups, aren't they?"
Miss F, "Ye-ah.."
Me, "It is OK for grown ups to be sexy like that, when they both want to."
Miss F, "Ye-ah. But that's private. That's a sexy touch."
Me, "You're right, Miss F. What do you think we should do?"
Miss F, "I think they should go to their room!"
Me, "That would be a great choice for them! What about us? What do we do if someone is being sexy in front of us and we don't want them to?"
Miss F put her hand up, traffic director style, and shouted, "NO!"
Me, "That's right! Then what?"
Miss F and Miss J started running on the spot and yelled, "GO!"
Me, "Yes! So what will we do now?"
Miss J, "Let's go!"
Me, "Hooray! Let's go!"

Then Miss V cracked it because she wasn't ready to leave, so we just moved to another table... But that is not the point.
The point is - The kewl girls recognised a sexy touch!!
They remembered that being sexy is private!!
We took action!!

We said NO!
Then we said, let's GO!
And when we were at a safer table, I asked the kewl girls to TELL me what had happened.


Miss J has used NO GO TELL before, to keep herself safe at daycare.
We used it today, because we decided watching two people trying to swallow each other was not something we could swallow.

Some people may find our actions a little extreme - Moving tables just because a couple was kissing on a bench, 10 meters away.

You know what I find extreme?

The prevalence of child sexual abuse is said to be one in three.

I have three children.

While I do not live in fear, I refuse to live in ignorance, either.
I value self protection skills and we practice them all the time. Today was a perfect teachable moment and I am thrilled that the girls are applying the things we learn from books and games to real life situations.

Knowledge is power, and self protection is a power we should all have.

Yep. I love "No. Go. Tell."


Yep. In two places.
Well, it's actually fractured in two places, but as the kewl girls struggle with F words I thought "broken" would be a safer explanation.

As you may have gathered, my foot took on a bowling ball and my foot lost.
"Ouch" would be the understatement of the century.

I have been feeling very sorry for myself - Six weeks of immobility! - What's that F word again?
This afternoon I was sulking on the couch while the girls were making tents with my crutches. Miss V left the game and her big sisters to come and see me. In my sour state, I was more focused on snapping at her to be careful of my foot than being appreciative of her concern. She braved my bitterness though, and squeezed in next to me. She patted my head, looked sadly at my foot and said, "It's broked, mum..."

Then she handed me the sticky tape and said, "Here, now we'll fix it."


(And again, ouch!)

Wordless Wednesday: Foot vs Bowling ball


"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly."
~Richard Bach

"Look mum! Daddy's flying!"
~Miss F

Miss J's Lullaby

Miss J sometimes has trouble going to sleep. We have tried lots of different things to help her at bedtime - lately putting on some soft music has been a winner.

Tonight Miss J got up after bedtime and came to ask if she could put some music on. I said yes, as long as she put it on softly.
A little while later I crept down to her room to check on her, but when I opened the door I cracked up laughing...

Instead of Beethoven at Bedtime or Sounds from the Sea or any of the other multitude of gentle bedtime music CD's she has, tonight Miss J's chosen lullaby was The Cat Empire. Specifically, "Hello" on repeat.

Miss J was fast asleep.

Miss F, however, was now wide awake, jumping up and down on her bed and playing her teddy like a trumpet. She didn't notice me at first, but when she did, the timing of her reaction was so perfect we couldn't have done it better if we tried.

The trumpet sounded, her teddy was played, she swung around to face me and together with the Cat Empire she said,

"Hello, hello."


"Teeny Weeny Greeny McSeedy"

~ Sprout by Miss V - Our resident green thumb ~
~ Photograph by Miss F - Our resident "photo-grower" ~
~Title by Miss J - Our resident name "maker-upper-a"~
~ Post by Alison - for Photo Challenge day over at Mountaingirls Musings ~

Heads or Tails #46

Heads or Tails - The Tuesday Meme
This week theme is: HEADS - Anything starting with the letter O

Obganiate: To irritate someone by constantly repeating oneself.

Miss V and I seem to have this down to a fine art.
In fact, we are so good at it we can irritate each other simultaneously...

Mum? Can I have a smarshmellow?


Mum? Can I have a smarshmellow?


Mum? Can I have a smarshmellow?


Mum? Can I have a smarshmellow?


Mum? Can I have a smarshmellow?


Mum? Have you had enough of repeating yourself?


Can I have a smarshmellow?


But MU-UM!!!

Can I have a smarshmellow...?

In the end, I'm not sure who is more irritated:
Me, by constantly being asked the same question... Or Miss V, by constantly getting the same, dissatisfying answer.

Either way, I am OVER smarshmellows!!

Magic Moment

I love tax time.
I love working with figures... Finding ways to be clever and different within a system.
Talking to my accountant is exciting and our conversations are always interesting and progressive.
Organising receipts and statements and making estimates and adjustments and calculations is such a fun way to spend every evening.
Oh yeah - I love tax time...

Almost as much as I love positive self talk!

In all seriousness... This year is actually a big step forward for me. It is the first year since M died that I am getting involved in my taxes.

As a couple our finances were greatly intertwined. Even though M had his own business and I had my own work, we also had a shared business and our marriage, our children and our choices meant that tax time was very much a family affair - Something I'm sure most couples relate to.
We were both fairly good with numbers, and we really did enjoy working with figures and finding ways to be clever and different within a system. We'd sit together in our own world of calculations, occasionally coming together for a comparison or a congratulations when we were on roll. M - smarty pants that he was - would always remind me to take a "brain break" every couple of hours and then he'd make me laugh by asking, "Is it hard being so smart?".

Since M's death, the thing I have struggled with about tax is that even when a person dies, their records don't. M is no longer here, but his business, our business and the results of our choices are still alive and kicking. Or more to the point, alive and taxing.
For the last 2 financial years I've left everything to the accountant and a financially savvy friend. I preferred to deal only with the idea of doing tax without M, and not the reality.
This year I decided it was time to stop hiding, stop pleading ignorance and take responsibility...
Time to get real.

So this week I've been doing our taxes. I've been talking to our accountant and organising receipts and statements and making estimates and adjustments and calculations.
I've spent hours sitting in the office alone - Half the time working, the other half crying.

Yesterday, after a good hour of tears followed by a good hour of calculating, Miss V came in to see me. She climbed on to my lap and sat for a while, sucking her thumb and stroking the side of my face as I worked.
Then she turned her body to face mine and leant back into my line of vision, telling me it was time to focus on her now.

I put my pen down and kissed her forehead. Miss V sat for a moment, then reached up and tucked a few stray hairs back behind my ears. She looked into my eyes, holding my gaze and melting my heart, then she asked,

"Mummy? Is it hard being so smart?"

To read more Magic Moments or join in with your own, head over to Mountaingirls Musings.

Love a happy ending

Miss J directed my hands in a puppet show this morning... She says it is a "drama series"... I think it is more of a comedy, with a touch of horror and a rather - intriguing - ending...

Miss J, "Lefty was walking in the park and she saw Righty walking in the other park. They got closer and closer and closer.. No closer mum!.. Yeah like that... And closer and closer, then KABAM! They joined their heads together!"

Me, "Owww! Owwww! I'm sor...."

Miss J, "Mum! You can't speak, remember! ... So then Lefty fell all the way down but Righty only fell a little way. Then Righty fell up again and so she helped Lefty fall up, too. Then... It's not funny, mum!... Then Righty said 'Woof! Hello Lefty, it's nice to meet you!' and Lefty said, 'Hello Lef..' I mean 'Righ..' I mean.. Yeah.. 'Hello Righty! Awoool! It's nice to meet you, too, as well!'."

"Then they ate each other and lived happy never after! Pip.. RAY!"