Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mopping up shit.

You don't have to read this, but then again, you might be in need of contraceptive motivation.

A faint smell of poo wafted toward me. I went to the toilet to check it. There was a smear of poo on the toilet seat and down the outside of the bowl, drips of poo on the toilet floor, drips down the corridor to the bathroom, a big puddle of poo on the bathroom floor and on the swiss ball in there. There was a rather stinky and smeared small child too. Now she's having a bath. I asked her what happened, she said
"I left a trail of poo prints and a trail of pee prints and I wanted a bath."

Was she on the toilet when she started to poo and rushed, pooing, to the bath? Was she in the bathroom, did a huge wet poo, rushed to the toilet as it leaked down her legs, almost made it on, but not quite and then waddled back to the bathroom because she was covered in poo? Did she mean to make the trails or is that just accurate description? I had spent the day encouraging her to pee in the toilet instead of on the floor, is this a demonstration of how much worse things could be?

Could be worse indeed. If I was a mother cat I'd have had to lick her clean.

Matters of fact.

"Hey, you know my dead friend," I started,
"Yup," said Hazel,
"I'm not a dead friend," Iris said, with a little ferocity.
"No, you're not, Alison Morton is my dead friend."
"Oh." said Iris.
"I was thinking I'd like to go and see her grave today and take her some flowers because today it's been exactly eleven years since she died."
"Okay," said Hazel.
"I want a pear," said Iris, "p-p-p-please".

Eleven years dead, and longer since we last hung out yet I can still see her apricot hair and generous grin. I intended us to become closer friends as we got older, but she isn't getting older. Thus I learned that this one is the day to seize.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Hindsight and babysitting.

Once upon a time I was engaged to a very pleasant youth for a year. After we parted my friends said that they were pleased and surprised to see me get wild again. I was somewhat irked at the time; I didn't think I'd been hiding my little light under a bushel, oh no, and I didn't want to add 'having toned myself down' to the list of stupid mistakes I already knew I'd made in the relationship I had so intended to be permanent.

When I did Honours in Philosophy it was like I'd moved to Honours. I didn't see much of anyone except the other people who lived there, we spoke a different language, and our local issues and gossip were not very interesting to people who hadn't also moved there. When I moved to Bloomington, Indiana, it was similar. I popped back to see my sister wed and found it hard to explain or express my American life.

I started this blog about 6 months ago, when Hazel was trying to learn to swim and we went to Kapcon XV, because the children were just independent enough to let us go. Hazel did backstroke today in her Preschool 3 class and they've got more and more independent. With their independence rising I find myself coming out wilder again as I commute between motherhood and kid-free life.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


We went for a walk this morning, we were going to get in the car but the girls pointed out that the weather was too nice for a car. We walked around and ended up at a bus stop, where we decided to go to the zoo. When we got their it turned out to be hugely popular, cheap too, well, cheap for other people, we got Hazel a cub pass a while ago and so it's free for us.

My kids are really growing up. I saw all these folk with huge prams filled with capacious bags stuffed with important supplies for their toddlers-in-arms and I had these little people with me; walking on their own four feet, and only a spare pair of undies in my handbag just in case. They even carried their own drink bottles and coats a fair bit.

It was a gorgeous day at the zoo, and this time no lions ravaged any keepers we'd been talking to a moment before, and no black and white ruffed lemurs escaped to run around the top of their cage, it was all nice and proper (I've been a little concerned that it's Iris's vibes that makes the animals wild, I'd never seen anything ever go wrong at the zoo until I started going with her). Proper only until the fornicating flying foxes, but they were nice at least, quite huggy and licky in fact. Actually I thought we'd see more Spring behaviour but they were the only ones. Maybe we were a little early.

If Anything Ever Goes Wrong at the Zoo
It's a good book.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


That was a gorgeous day. Gorgeous and full of laughter.

Friday, August 18, 2006

A new schema: scattering.

I was organising stuff in the kitchen when the scandal broke.
"Mum! Come here! Iris is on the table and she's throwing food!" Iris was frisbee-ing bits of pizza to the edges of the room. I got her down, sorted things out and said I couldn't have that, but that if she really wanted to throw we could, and if it was food she desparately wanted to throw we could go and feed the ducks, and if she needed to be on a table we could find one that was okay to be on, or maybe she'd prefer to be up on something else, like a climbing frame, or that if she was really into scattering we could arrange that.

"Scattering!" said Iris, slowly letting the desire drip off her tone, and then she zoned out, her eyes glazed and her face relaxed into estatic contemplation.

I diagnose a schema. Other people say schemas are repeated patterns of behaviour that have a common thread of thinking at an abstract level; and, now I think about it, it is true she has been scattering folded washing, rice, cat food, and urine lately. But I find the absorbed passion that leads the child into unusual trouble is the most obvious marker of a new schema.

When Martha's car arrived to pick up the kids for Playcentre this morning Iris immediately said
"Marfa! Today at Playcentre I want to do some scattering because I so love scattering."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Geek breeding programme a success!

Today I asked the girls if they wanted to role-play; they did a very credible job. Hazel's ideas were powerful and Iris really understood what she was trying to do. It was intense, they were enthralled. Hazel started taking over plot elements pretty fast and Iris swapped characters after her first combat.
Hazel's character Lucy
Hazel says it was "Great" and she loved rolling the dice. She says she will GM for me and Sean.
Iris liked "the map and just role-playing".

... Blow by blow:
Iris's character HarryI asked them whether they wanted to play children or adults and they said adults, we had some pictures of characters printed out which I displayed as I asked who they wanted to be. Hazel chose "this girl" (right). I said that her name is Lucy and she had been waiting more than an hour for a train that had her brother Harry on it, they haven't seen each other for a very long time and she is very excited that he is coming. Iris shuffled through the pictures, claimed the one on the left and said that she was Harry. I drew them a quick sketch map with a station next to a straight North-South railway, a road curving in and back to the west, a bit of woodland in the North-West and farmland to the East of the tracks. Hazel added a dot that was where Lucy was standing on the platform.

I told them that the train was just chuffing into the station with a squeal of brakes and a plume of steam and Harry could see Lucy out the window of the carriage. I turned to Iris (who, being only 2 1/2 to Hazel's 4 1/2, I guessed might be the less confident player) and said "Okay, so your train has just arrived, what do you do?"
She leapt off her seat and rushed over to hug Hazel saying "I get off train, go hug my sister."
"Oh! I haven't seen him for so long! I missed you!" said Hazel.
"I say: 'I back now sister' to Lucy," Iris said.

I told them that after the noisy train left they could hear a strange "Tch tch tch tch tch tch" sound. (I thought it would be a big wierd brightly coloured bird and they might talk to it and hitch a lift or something). Hazel took over; she said
"My character looks out over the fields (gesturing at the map) and up the hill beyond. She can see that what is making the noise is a ghost!" (Yes! I thought, not only playing but going hardcore! That's my baby!)

"Right, you see a ghost, what do you do?" I asked them.
"I tell Harry. 'See that ghost up there?' and I point," was Hazel's response.
"I shoot it with my gun," Iris said. Well, he would have one, it's 1944 and he's an officer, but how does she know?
"The bullets pass right through like mist." Hazel informed her. I said "hold it" and got Iris to roll first (we did a simple highest number on a d10 gets the narrative success system), Harry's shot missed. Meanwhile Lucy was going into the station and telling the people in there (a stationmaster and a family of three) that there was a ghost outside. Hazel, decided to roll for telling each person and then said she asked the ones who had believed her to convince the others while she went out the door to the road to see if there was anyone else to tell. I said there was a priest coming along the road and described his cassock and hat (quite Father Brown). Hazel amended the map so it had a footpath and put a dot for the priest. Once the priest understood the problem he offered to bless Harry's bullets and Iris mimed getting them out of the palm of her two-fingers gun and holding them for the blessing. She then rolled high and I rolled low and so I said that the ghost had completely disappeared with that one shot.

Hazel wasn't having any of that happy ending stuff. She ominously intoned "The ghost disappeared but where it was there are now two ghosts." At this point Iris got a bit nervous, climbed onto the GM's lap and said that she would be a baby now. I said that the baby was part of the family inside the station. Hazel said that Lucy rushed into the station and told everyone they had to get in their cars and drive away as fast as they could because there were now 128 million ghosts coming over the hill, and she amended the map to include cars for the people to get into. As they drove the ghosts came closer and Iris said her baby grew wings and could fly to go and spike the ghosts. Hazel claimed the ghosts were merely tickled by this, which Iris thought was pretty funny, and that was where we left it, on a bit of a cliff hanger.

They said they want to play again tomorrow and I wrote what their characters had done on the character sheets (as a way of giving recognition rather than XP).

"You are in two role-playing groups now Mummy." Hazel told me, with pride.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Fever dreams.

Iris had fever dreams last night: a bird in her room so vivid and frightening that I needed to check the cupboard and under the bed, a puddle where her rug is that she didn't want me to step in, and
"Mummy, you dead!"
"No, I'm fine."
"Mummy, you not dead?"
"No, I'm fine. I'm sleepy and confused but I'm not dead."
"Oh." She looked at me, discerningly, "I come in your bed where you not dead."
Their dreams are not as scary when they sleep with us. I don't know why.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

We plumbed!

My great-great-grand-father was a plumber and today the sink was blocked and with Iris's help it runs free again. She turned pipe connections and sat on the dishwasher lid paddling her socked feet in the interior and bailed it out. Meanwhile, I was picking up loads of slime in my bare hands, wiggling my long flexible rod around in the pipes, pumping the plunger, and wiping the floor. What an achiever am I.

Yesterday I ran that game I talked about a while ago for the first time and Sean laughed so hard he wept. I think that's a good sign. Now I needs must edit it while it's still fresh in my mind. Perhaps before I play anything else and confusion sets in. Oops, too late, for now it is time to sleep.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lousy party.

Hazel says, scratching,
"The bugs in my hair have still not finished dinner or pudding because they are still eating me. I don't know when they go to bed, probably midnight."
The mammals are winning though; each day I catch fewer nits and nymphs and I haven't got an adult louse since the second day of combing.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Housekeeping hints for Slatterns #2

Moab couldn't remember having had his dinner tonight. He asked plaintively, politely and yet with increasing incredulity for dinner. Finally he fended for himself.


Friday, August 04, 2006

Reading the new-fangled colloquial typing.

You might have noticed something strange about my writing over the last six months; it's a little on the old fashioned side. I use whole words, most of which Jane Austen used too, I spell fairly well and I quite like punctuation, and I'm happy with that. But now I've found the Urban Dictionary I will be able to understand the rest of you too!

Ahem, "w00t!"


Emo. When was this word coined? I've only heard about Emos this year (although the phenomenon looks very familiar).

All the other primates think laughing is the kind of thing one should do when one feels threatened. Is that why jokes in poor taste get a bigger laugh than they deserve judged only on their merits?

Three things would look better here but do I seriously think I can come up with another one at this time of night?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Lice bad, Pixies good.

The kids have head lice. Hazel's got lots and lots of nits and Iris had none last night but I got one louse off her this morning. Nit picking's quite instinctively satisfying, and the children are displaying a healthy scientific curiousity about them but despite the educational benefits I think we're about to go and buy some combs or chemicals or something, it's hard choosing where to start as I don't remember ever having had nits myself. Thank goodness for the internet, but doesn't reading about them make your head itchy?

loudQUIETloud was good; the soundtrack was lots of Pixies music and that's why I went, but it was interesting as well. The story I saw was about people a bit older than me, who made astounding music and did some hard yards, finding enough maturity to play together despite being "the four worst communicators in the universe" (according to Kelley Deal). My friends thought it was sad though; that being such a great band and so influential didn't make them superior persons in other ways or something. I think it's on again on Friday at 4:30 if you want to decide for yourselves.

I also noticed that seat booking favours the lone viewer; my seat was much better than my friends who'd booked earlier but were sitting in pairs' seats.