Thursday, 15 December 2011

Bringing up baby: Drunken Master

The warmed beverage is enthusiastically guzzled. Milk is quaffed and splashed in a wide radius; impressive mess as it is a no-spill trainer cup. However child-proof items rarely survive the first encounter.

Guzzle guzzle. He barely comes up for air. When his thirst momentarily abates, he merrily waves his cup about, cheerily inviting the world to join in his happy hour.

He clambers to an uncertain upright position with his grip strongly on his cup. He wants to toddle to the other side of the room but he is off-balanced by his cup.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Bringing up baby: cushions and cuddlies

He enthusiastically throws down the stuffed soft toys perched on top the couch. His cheeky grin, his apple cheeks, the two lower teeth shining testament to his fun.

And when they are all down, why he picks it up off the floor and starts all over again.

His wee butt wriggling and shuffling to no avail as his short legs provide insufficient leverage to climb back on the sofa.

His bright brown eyes see a solution: he flings his arms round my neck, and clambers on my reclining body to reach the sofa seat.

Atilla has terrific problem-solving skills.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Bringing up baby: beach ii

Done. Went to beach - Mission Bay - with Atilla. He was nattily dressed in his UV-protected one-piece with a hat on. Slathered in sunscreen for protective measure. Staying mostly in shade under blooming pohutakawa trees for cooling value.

Picturesque Rangitoto looming in the close horizon, clear waves lapping the sandy beach, adventure playground in direct line of sight. He preferentially picked the fallen brown pohutakawa leaves under the park bench.

He was gently introduced to the waving waters of the Waitemata. His toes curled away.

We had lunch.

I attempted a more inviting approach. Nope.

We sat some more while he explored the park bench. I enjoyed the restful scenario. I wish I could do this more often.

We finished with a session on the funky swings.

Now, what other daydreams do I want to fulfil before my time is up?

Monday, 5 December 2011

Bringing up baby: toilet training

Ok let's work on 2 things:
* asking to wear underwear instead of diapers
* staying dry for at least two hours at a time during the day

This should hopefully be helpful at daycare next year.

Your child does show many of the signs of being ready to start potty training, but since he or she isn't yet 18 months old you may want to wait a little longer before thinking about starting to potty train your child.
Most experts recommend against early potty training before a toddler is 18 months old. If you really think your child is ready, be sure to talk to your Pediatrician before getting started.

You said that your child has the following signs of readiness to start potty training:

is in a stable and fairly predictable routine, and not experiencing a big change in his life or usual routine, like the arrival of a new baby, change in daycare, or family move
is having regular bowel movements at about the same time each day
is able to follow simple instructions
is generally cooperative and not in a very negative phase where he says 'no' to everything
is uncomfortable in dirty diapers
is able to sit down quitely for 4-5 minutes at a time
is telling you when he is about to urinate or have a bowel movement
is showing you, either with his facial expressions or his posture, that he is about to urinate or have a bowel movement
is able to walk to the bathroom
is happy to please his parents
is proud when he does something that pleases you
is trying to imitate what other children or family members are doing, especially using the potty

You said that your child has the following signs of not being ready to start potty training:

is not at least 18 months old
is not staying dry for at least two hours at a time during the day
is not staying dry after naps
is not able to say (or sign) simple one-word expressions, like 'poop' and 'potty'
is not asking to use the potty
is not able to help take off his diaper and undress himself
is not asking to wear underwear instead of diapers

Monday, 28 November 2011

28th November 2011: an afternoon at the zoo

Today was a successful outing at Auckland zoo.

Attila was an excellent little boy, excited about climbing onto picnic tables and reaching out to grab and explore leaves and all sorts of new experiences. In many ways he was a real little monkey using all his senses to discover his new environment.

We were lost several times despite the map. If only it had a route recommended for people with wheels.

Next time an outing will include the following paraphernalia: white cloths to reflect heat and absorb sweat on sunny days, sunscreen for sunny days, more snacks/food for everyone. As if a nappy bag were not enough weight and baggage.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

story 5.5

Atilla was sad. Nothing was happening. He had waited and waited. But no doing. Life wasn't all grapes and biscuits. Oh well.

He wondered what Cousin Qwerty was doing. He sighed. Leaving Brisbane was hard. Getting to the airport was easy enough. Except for waking up early in the morning. It was the emotional aspect he had a hard time with.

He was already missing Auntie M-, Uncle B-, Cousin Qwerty, Cousin Amy. On the other hand it would be very nice to play with his own toys again. He was sure they missed him.

Atilla didn't think very highly of the airline food. He became glummer. Nothing was happening. There was a very low chance of not returning home.

"Everything is fine," Mum said soothingly. For the second ninth time. He humoured her, and smiled innocently.

Dad backed her up. "See? There's nothing to worry about," he said distractedly.

Atilla re-iterated the hypothesis he concluded last year: Adults are strange.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Bringing up Baby: memories A Lovely Day

We had a lovely day.

Atilla did not cry to sleep for his morning nap. He slept in his cot. He napped for an hour.

I found our picnic mat. We had our first picnic in our garden. Atilla kept his sunhat on. He ventured onto the grass. He played with the bucket-picnic basket. He didn't get bit by ants or mosquitoes.

After that we finished lunch in the house. He kept busy snacking grapes while I did the dishes. Then we played very many. It was lovely and heartwarming. He chortled and giggled and smiled toothily. His fifth and sixth teeth are coming out.

Atilla didn't cry to sleep for his afternoon nap. He napped for an hour. He was in his cot.

He awoke crying, becoming inconsolable as we hunted around the house for person or people not there.

Eventually he allowed me to feed him. This afternoon meal took an hour. We played some more, marking time until Daddy arrived home to take a bath wih Atilla.

Atilla 'knows' silliness. I pretended to drink from his water bottle, and it prompted a wide smile.

Atilla didn't cry to sleep for his evening sleep. He fell asleep in his cot.

We need black-out curtains.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Bringing up baby: weaning

Atilla is experienced in the art of being fed.

I offer a bread course - toast with marmite, or variously baked yoghurt toasties - which he accepts unhesitatingly to munch away. Until he sees me preparing his mains. Then the bread (or bread substitute) is tossed aside contemptuously and the yodeling begins the demand for his proper meal.

Happily at this stage Atilla does not pay significant attention apart from to his next spoonful, I can prepare his fruit course in relatively aural-free mood.

This trend of habit was noted only recently, and I'm playing catch-up with his development.

P.s. I have tried offering commercial jars of baby food. He doesn't like 'em. So for now we're staying with home- made food.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Bringing up Baby: memories Peek-a-boo

His latest trick: Atilla initiates a "peek-a-boo" game. He fumbles with an opaque object, such as a plastic lid from a take-away container. He hides his eyes and face. He quickly moves it away from his face and his eyes are staring into yours. He waits expectantly.

"Peek-a-boo!" the audience says.

He shrieks with joy. He hides his eyes and face with the lid. He quickly moves it away from his face.


Ad nauseum.

Gradually his movements are less precise. Sometimes the lid wanders over his head, but he still makes the quick removal, so the game continues.

He is not much tolerant of variations - no taking turns with the lid, and not the audience hiding.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Bringing up baby: memories

Atilla has an endearing habit right now.

He's very keen on the opening of closets. After his bath, if I have forgotten to lay out his evening wear, I head to his closet to open it. And oh! The wide excited grin on his face! His happy chortle of expectant adventures! A gurgle of pleasure as I run my finger past each of his clothing to decide the right one.

He rolls over and wriggles and shuffle-crawls across the king-sized mattress in his eagerness.

His wail of disappointment when he is reminded t-shirts go over his head, his hands go through the sleeves. Or, the buttons on his growsuit needs to be fastened on a well-dressed toddler.


One memory I miss of him already is his graceful plump baby hands. He looks to the left, and his right hand motions gracefully in a slight twisting gesture.

I miss the faces he made at me.

I miss his grin as he suckles his milk. In the beginning his closed eyes, and milk stupor. Then, eye contact as he stares. Then, his grin of happiness. Then, when I could make him smile by making a joke (silly sounds).

I miss his sleeping smiles.

I miss his muppet imitation, where his inflexible tongue is centered in his mouth in a wide open smile, his head is tilted, and he looks so cute!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

story 5.4

The family and extended family units sauntered down the road, with the exception of Atilla who was being grandly pushed in his stroller.

Phew but it was hot. He was beginning to sweat away his sunscreen and becoming very smelly. Cousin Amy promised that the Tentical Gardens was worth it. So he was being very staunch and stoic.

Brisbane was smelly of dust and exhaust and pushy people. It was very nice to receive the smiles from people, but he would much rather be at the Tentical Gardens right now.

Atilla stifled a whine. Now there was a long stretch of road ahead of them, filled with people and tables and chairs.

What's this? Oh, it was a shopping mall. With food! He perked up. Where there was food, there was the prospect of ice cream!

The air was much much much cooler in here. He wiggled his toes and luxurated in the crisp air. He looked around. There didn't seem to be that many ice cream odd. That's Brisbane for ya.

Mum gave him a straw in a cup of juice. He made the best of it.

Uncle B- grinned at him with encouragement. "Look, we'll be having lunch at the Botanical Gardens in a few minutes."

Atilla smiled in return. "That sounds like great fun."

Cousin Amy took her turn in pushing his stroller. Cousin Qwerty walked beside them, keeping company. He pointed to the stands of bicycles on the side roads.

"There are bicycles at the Botanical Gardens, but not like those ones," he explained to Atilla. Atilla nodded knowingly, not knowing what he was agreeing to.

Mainly Atilla was keeping a sharp eye on the bag of lunch Dad had bought. It was swinging languidly from Dad's wrist, with the occassional precarious encounters with other pedestrians.

Friday, 30 September 2011

story 5.3

He cheerfully kicked his heels against his chair.

His mum was very nice this morning. His dad was sleepy. Brisbane was turning out very nice.

It had been an eventful evening the previous night, what with meeting his cousins again. And he had been so tired! but now he was rarin' to go again!

Mum was peculiarly pleased with the breakfast she had prepared for him. Atilla couldn't understand why, but he was willing to give it a go for her sake.

He had stared at the yellow-cubed hashings upturned so-called temptingly on his plate. He used his forefinger and thumb to explore them.

"Mmmm, yummy mango," Mum mimed the eating of the fruit. Presumably he was supposed to join in her appreciation. Or vice versa?

"Yes," he disagreed politely. He ate the marmite fingers which had been provided as a staple side option. Occasionally he would squidge a yellow cube.

Mother made no further comment, practically ignoring him as she looked at the horizon past the balcony, smiling as she picked at the mango on her plate.

Atilla noticed a flicker of motion just to the left side of his field of vision.

"It's Cousin Qwerty!" he exclaimed excitedly. "Do you like mango?"

"Hello Atilla," Cousin Qwerty greeted him. "Yes I like mangos. Amy loves them even more."

"Let me share mine with you!" Atilla said generously.

Mum grinned.

"Dad!" Atilla spotted his paternal unit through the glass wall alongside the balcony.

Dad waved, and entered the balcony scene. He yawned. "There's no escaping past you, young sir." He helped himself to a marmite finger.

"You should have some mango. Mother made it especially," Atilla said reproachfully.

Mum grinned soppily at Dad. Atilla carefully ignored it.

The day had started now that Cousin Qwerty was here!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

story 5.2

"Brisbane Brisbane!" Atilla yodelled.

The flight was lots of fun. He was given lollies and toys and a puppet cow! Yvonne the cow, named after Yvonne the cow.

On arrival at BNE and conveyencing through the building, mother had helped him strip down to his t-shirt and shorts. He was barefoot! This adventure was beginning very well, from his point of view.

Now they were travelling in a taxi under the starlit streetlight-lit Brisbane evening.

"What a beautiful blue bridge," mother admired the blue-lit bridge overarching the Brisbane river.

Atilla grizzled. He was tired and sleepy and he couldn't relax in the humid heat of the Brisbane spring evening. "Brisbane," he grumped.

"Just a few minutes more," father said.

"Yes, just a few more minutes," mother encouraged Atilla's stamina. "You're holding up very well. We'll see Auntie M- and Cousin Qwerty and Cousin Amy and Uncle B-."

Atilla yawned.

Monday, 26 September 2011

story 5.1

Little Atilla was quite excited. "Brisbane Brisbane Bris-bane!" He jumped and hopped in circles, flapping his arms; he couldn't contain himself.

Uncle Fox drove them all to the airport and waved 'good bye'. They arrived early "to avoid the crowd" said Mum, which didn't explain to Atilla why she dragged them up and down the airport to look for The Spinnaker Lounge that wsn't there.

Dad praised Atilla "well done" as the family was speeded to the front of the Departure queue. This adventure was fast. And then it slowed.

Everybody was bunched up and waiting on seats at a Gate. Atilla climbed onto his seat and jumped down, repeating this activity several more times.


A melodic female voice was on the speaker, then people rushed to queue. There were a scattering of babies ahead of them.

Persistently they shuffled forward. And then they were off! shuffling and striding down a narrow hallway.

At the airport! To an aeroplane!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

story 4.5

"Have a great time in Brisbane." She waved 'goodbye' to the familiar-looking kid.

"Yup. Brisbane!"

Bobbi continued her pace past the Chinese & European food takeaways. She enjoyed these random walks and encounters. It had become a lovely sunny day, just perfect for a picnic.

With a few coins in her pocket, her time to call her own, other people at work, why! this was a wonderful day that allowed her to run about and shout, "Freeeeedommm!"

Even the kids were at school (apart from the kid she met) (maybe he needed to be at school too?) those who were too young to partake of formal schooling were fenced behind tall railings, pushing wheelbarrows and pulling hoes, called into class by the sound of a bell.

She revelled and shivered ecstatically at the thought of the potential in her day. She walked onwards, not knowing where she was heading to or what she would see.

Bobbi hoped she would see oliphaunts and kauri, rosellas and olive trees, pukekos and rimu.

Right now all she saw were flags and pennants, "For Sale" signs and "Sold", cats and dogs.

In any case, tonight she would return to her holiday home, safe and sound, ready for another adventure tomorrow.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

story 4.4

Bobbi admired his confidence. She said so.

"Say, kid, I admire your confidence."

He made a graceful bow. "Thank you."

"I do hope I don't become ill," he added.

"Yes, that would suck majorly," Bobbi agreed. "You would have to stay in bed and can't go out."

"That's what happenned to me one time," the boy said with surprise. "Did it happen to you?"

"Of course. It's a well known symptom and correlation."

"Well," said he, "I shall be less surprised in future."

"Yup," said Bobbi, "we learn something new everyday."

"So very true," her acquaintance sympathised. "Did you know you're not supposed to talk to strangers?"

Bobbi raised her brows in astonishment. "I'm not?"

"Nope," he averred.


He paused. "That's a poser," he agreed. His eyebrows drew together in a thoughtful frown. "I shall ask my mother when I see her," he announced.

"When will you see her?"

"When she's finished in the dairy." He pointed through the shop doorway. "She needed more milk, and I wanted to go to the playground."

"Hey, I saw that playground. It's really brilliant!"

"Yes, I think so too! I'll miss it when I'm in Brisbane," he said. "Brisbane Brisbane Bris-bane!" he roared.

"Nah, I bet you'll have so much fun with your cousins, you won't have time for playgrounds."

He beamed. "Brisbane!"

Friday, 16 September 2011

story 4.3

Bobbi paid more attention to the kid in front of her.

"You look familiar. Where have we met?" she asked the young squirt.

"You may remember me from such encounters as by my letterbox," he reminded her.

"Your letterbox?"

"Yes, you helped me by giving me the mail. You said you wanted to sleep."

"Oh yea that's right. Glad I could help."

"Thank you for that. Did you sleep well?"

"Yes I did. Amazing what one can do with a nice smooth bed."

He nodded earnestly. "I agree. Lumpy beds are very hard. As it is, I have difficulty sleeping longer than thirty minutes at a stretch."

Bobbi raised an eyebrow skeptically. "That would be very tough."

The kid sighed. "Yes, it's a harsh life. But there you go."

"Where do you go?"

"We're planning to go visit my cousins!" he exclaimed excitedly.

"That's an adventure in the planning," she said.

"Maybe. I'm very excited. Brisbane Brisbane Bris-bane!" he chanted. He jumped about. "Brisbane Brisbane Bris-bane!" He pumped his fists in the air. "Brisbane!" he roared.

"I hesitate to mention," Bobbi began, "but do you think you will be able to sleep on your trip?"


"Well...what with your having difficulties sleeping for longer than thirty minutes in a go..."

"Ah. I don't know anything about that." He paused thoughtfully. "We'll deal with it when it happens!" he declaimed.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

story 4.2

The postcard was carefully addressed to Bob Oshawat, c/- her hometown, Route 1. It was he who had suggested that she venture outside of her territory.

I'm having very good adventure. I'm so glad I answered the advertisement for cheap accommodation. I'm so lucky my room has a magic wardrobe. I'm so glad this world doesn't have any snow.

Bobbi shivered reflexively. Her journey encompassing the avalanches still chilled her to the bone. She banished the memories from her present.

I wonder what I can give Bob as a souvenir? Some things don't travel well. She mused darkly about samosas. She sighed. It was a shame. It was truly a magnificent samosa. Maybe some other sort of kitsch? Manuka flowers?

The postbox was somewhat taller than she preferred. However she was prepared. Crampons on, rope slung, she clawed vertically to the postslot and inserted the purpose for which she came. Now she free-styled down to the pavement, successfully.

Bobbi made a pirouette, and finished with a right-handed upstretched 'V' sign. "Oh yeah!" she crowed.

"Congratulations," a familiar voice politely congratulated her.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Rules to live by Fathers and mothers and kids, oh my

my list for being a mum/dad/caregiver:
* be respectful,
* be trustworthy,
* be there,
* be fun,
* be loved.

Monday, 5 September 2011

story 4.1

The weather here is very fine. The people appear obsessed by penguins and an olive-shaped ball sport and poor public transport. Otherwise the people are very fine and friendly. As you told me, I am wearing thermal underwear. I am enjoying myself. Wish you were here.

Bobbi heaved a thankful sigh. Ta-dah! Postcard duties completed. The rest of the day was hers to live as she wished, so long as she remembered to post the missive.

She put on her pocketful overcoat, and made sure to tie her bootlaces and to lock up her abode. Yes, everything was secured so now she was ready to set off.

She jumped down to the driveway, and sauntered along the crescent-shaped street. Lovely Gingko trees lined the grassy verge. Truly, this suburb is blessed, she mused happily.

The neighbourhood was prone to dogs and cats. Two black labradors fenced behind metal gates stared glumly at her. One small barking curly-haired dog, secured by white fencing, announced her presence to all and sundry. One brown curly poodle-cross growled at her temerity to glance at the separating wooden fence. Oh, and the cats! Annointing and burying all over the place. Bobbi could smell it. Them.

Markings on the road warned her to 'Child That Mind'.

This was a small price to pay to reach the postbox. There was no longer the option to use the blue post - it was now defunct. The default postage was the red post.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

4 September 2011: Happy Father's Day @ Masala Restaurant

Oh yeah! Father's Day!

The restaurant was carefully selected because:
1. a subset of 'we' had lunched here three times previously,
2. we wanted to try the Banquet menu,
3. I was keen on the poppadums.

We turned up at our appointed time and as advised, carrying baby.

The waitress seated us shortly at a table for 7 people. Person Seven sat at the 'head' of the table, which was in the direct path of the service to the balcony. Literally. There was barely sufficient gap between the seat and the table behind it to accommodate a plated wait-person.

Aside: there were several wait-persons on the floor. The restaurant was busy emptying of paid diners after the main lunch crowd.

As experienced diners we didn't want to make a fuss. Taking an executive decision, we moved the table slightly away from the balcony service path so that Person Seven was less apprehensive about food dropping onto him from behind.

The menus were delivered: several lunch menus, one normal menu, one drinks menu.

We had to share the normal menu so all could discuss the Banquet option.

A prolonged discussion was held, whereupon agreed - one Vegetarian Banquet, one Masala Banquet, peshwari naan, two lunch specials. We congratulated ourselves on arriving at this decision.

And we waited for our order to be taken. And we waited.

Person Seven eventually flagged down a waitress. She took our drinks order easily enough (beers and mango lassis) but we stumped her with the food order.

Twice stumped. Something about the banquet menu being for two people. Or possibly "one banquet per table". She asked us to wait while she referred to a higher authority.

And we waited.

The higher authority smoothly approached and discussed our order. I was at the other end of the table and heard faint traces. Something about "not sharing banquet". Or "not sharing entrees".

Talk about a mood spoiler.

After much communication we got what we wanted - one vege banquet for two people, one masala banquet for two people, peshwari naan, two lunch specials.

And we sat and waited to get what we wanted. Beer was served, fruit juices were served, mango lassis was served...

oops. One mango lassi downed the back of Person Four. Mango yoghurt sloshed down the back of her top and trousers and on her chair.

Kerfuffle ensued! Clean up attempted!

Person Four exited to a private area to clean up. Distraught glass taken away. Chair cleaned up and swapped with one from an adjacent empty table.

Banquet entrees served!

Can I taste the Masala Banquet as well as the Vegetarian? I am still unclear.

Person Four returned with a make-nice smile on her face. What a good sport.

But where is my mango lassi? My mood is deteriorating. I flag the first wait-person I see and demand my mango lassi.

And it was served. It was a nice mango lassi, taking the edge off my irritability.

Taking my time, I half-finish my lassi. My water glass was still dry and emptied. I asked Person Five to flag a wait-person to get water for the table.

Yay! we got water.

Empty entree plates were removed, as were our utensils and paper napkins. Fresh utensils and paper napkins were put in place. Nice.

And we waited. And watched other tables with lunch specials being served.

Aside: there were maybe three other occupied tables in our area.

And we waited.

Person Seven flagged the wait-person wandering past to enquire the status of our mains.

Without consulting the kitchen, she automatically said, "It will be ready in five minutes."

I advised Person Seven to start the countdown. This was rejected.

After uncounted minutes, mains arrived - lunch specials (poppadums inclusive), vegetarian banquet, masala banquet, peshwari naan.

The more pricey peshwari naan was quite burnt on the base. Staying with my precept of not eating burned food, I removed the badly burnt areas. Person One and Four were also doing the same. We ended up with a good collection in one of the naan baskets. Another side result was that the peshwari stuffing scattered everywhere. Ah well - the peshwari naan was religious anyway. As in, the stuffing fell out of the burned holes. The bits I ate of the naan was nothing to rave about. Such a disappointment to my palate which had been educated by pashwari naan from Oh Calcutta.

I tasted the curries. Uhm. Given that the curries overlapped on the seasoning (variously: korma, paneer, butter, etc) it doesn't disguise the fact the lumps of mains (variously: vegetable, cottage cheese, prawn, chicken, beef) had not absorbed the flavours of their respective curries.

I ate seconds anyway because I was very hungry. I confirmed my first impression. I didn't have thirds.

The plain standard naan bread was very nice. Burned flakes on the base, but at least I didn't need to deal with scattering dessicated coconut, and random red and green preserved fruit.

By this time baby had had enough.
Aside: no high chair had been offered to seat baby. (Note: we did bring a capsule. However in other eateries, e.g. Cafe Melba in Ellerslie, we were still offered the option of a high chair.)

I reminded the bill-payers to check we were only charged for two mango lassis. The reminder was opportune as a third had been added to the bill.

The diners went our separate ways.

At this end of day, I realise we hadn't even had the end of the meal: Tea/Coffee.

Neither do I know whether the restaurant offered a discount for the meal as a sop for parts of our unpleasant experience:
* prolonged wait to place an order,
* mango lassi downer,
* need to clean Person Four's clothing,
* prolonged wait for arrival of mains,
* burnt naans that equated to half of what Person One, Two, Four were served. (Persons Five, Six and Seven are less food-anxious.)

Verdict: poppadums delicious. I recommend this restaurant for it's $10 lunch special. Nothing else. I wouldn't choose to dine here again.

Addendum: Reviews for Masala Indian Restaurant

Aside: Sorry Daddy but the experience is too weird to not note it. We'll have a better day next year. Luv, S&P

10 Sep 2011 Update:
1. yes, we were not supposed to share the banquets;
2. after some discussion with the cashier, we received the 3rd mango lassi for free (note: the mango downer happened in full view of the bar/cashier area);
3. no sops were proffered to compensate for the poor service, 1/2 basket of burnt naans.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

story 3.5

Tatilla slinked off the table, gracefully easing his way down. Tigers choose their time.

He nonchalantly strolled on all fours to the plains of his domesticated savannah. Flat land, two paces by five paces. As if it were sufficient exercise for a clambering lounging stealth lord of the jungle.

He camouflaged himself behind the couch, all the better to launch a surprise pounce on the intruder. The spread of blue-white-yellow patterned cloth that was the couch protector made a great disguise, providing a sheltered and shadowed effect.

The clattering and chattering at the front door announced imminent presence. Rustling paper sounded promises of mail. Scent of cold cinnamon enticed a different future.

In his tigerish mind he envisioned whirled scrolls of pastry bread coated with custard and cinnamon and sultanas, croissants lavishly enveloped by sliced blanched almonds, madelaines dusted with icing sugar, kouign aman with its layered caramel...

Atilla emerged, blinking rapidly as his eyes adjusted to the clear winter light shining through the windows. Mother had returned home, laden, and it was time for tea!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

story 3.4

The plateau had sharply dropping edges, easily deceiving the unwary to skid off and plunge to their doom.

Tatilla grimly pinioned himself to the surface. ~fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me~

Not that falling mattered, as tigers always land on their feet. Majestic, tigers every movement always purposeful.

From this peak vantage point Tatilla surveyed his domain. Prey was scarce today. The land was parched, granite grey and bereft.

The lone tiger perched and scented the discrete minutiae affecting his locale. He twitched his whiskers. He swivelled his ears.

He was not alone!

Was it the impertinent ginger fluff? Was it a birth parent? Was it another family member?

Tatilla's muscles were taut with tension.

Monday, 22 August 2011

story 3.3

The undergrowth 'neath the faux timber was luxuriant. Furry gathering in the windbreaks at the base where wood met ground.

No-one had been here for a while to mark their territory.

Tatilla sniffed tigerishly to scent any remnants of previous ownership. Nothing but last night's moussaka permeated the still air.

He rubbed the roughenned texture of the wooden stands. Yes, yes...the last creature to leave his mark was a dragonish type. The sheer exuberance of the ecstatic careless permanent blue marker was a real give away.

The ground-level held no more interest.

Tatilla prowled and writhed and analysed the best leaping point to attain the heights of the table-top.

One chair was full of laundered clothes. One chair was decisively balanced with used coats lounging on the back. One chair had envelopes, advertising circulars, newspapers. One had been recently vacated, intimidated by the resident pent-up tiger.

Tatilla lept into the empty chair, and lept once more, onto the table-top.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

21 August 2011: excerpt

Today was very exciting. Atilla displayed recognisable signs of intent and purpose.

He was happily playing “roll the ball” with his father - his ball handling skills are improving wonderfully - he can 'catch'/stop the ball and roll it in a chosen direction. Dad was so pleased and called Mom - who was inattentive sitting behind Dad - to look and pay attention to this.

Mom was so pleased with Atilla's skills, she clapped her hands together with joy.

Atilla laughed, and rolled the ball to Dad again. Dad and Mom cheered him on. Atilla laughed his stuttering half-gurgle. He caught the ball, and rolled it back towards his parents.

Dad caught the ball, and Atilla bubbled into unhappiness. Whatever was the matter?

The ball rolled in the direction he had directed.

However Atilla had been looking at Mom when he rolled the ball. Mom wondered perhaps Atilla meant for Mom to catch it.

Testing this out, Mom joined in the game. The formation became a triangle: A, M, D.

M rolled to A. A gurgled in pleasure. A rolled to M. M caught it. A gurgled in joy. M rolled to A. A happy.

And so forth for a couple of rounds. The ball went off-course and was diverted to inattentive D (who was on the computer seeking images of “mantis cocoon”). D perforce rejoined the game.

A couple more times the ball rolled off-course in the same way - A rolls towards M but unstable ground diverts to D. Atilla then began to (seemingly) roll the ball even further to his right, away from the contentious ground, so M had to reach for the ball - unlike previous rounds when the ball rolled directly to her (more or less).

Right now he is asleep in his cot. Bless. He's stirring, so all the best.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

story 3.2

Tatilla snarled at his reflection, a fearsome grimace. His eyes narrowed into slits, his upper canines sneering, his lips drawn into thin lines, his whiskers drawn down in a display of displeasure.

He turned his back to his reflection and stalked away, showing his contempt for his helpless situation. He couldn't stop the twitching of his black-banded tail, swishing side to side. Tatilla stalked majestically to his wooden shelter, and he crouched there among the upright faux-timber.

Occassional suppressed rumblings emanated from deep inside his chest.

A new animal had entered his territory, Tatilla knew it. A fluffy-haired ginger tabby cat was prowling around, marking vehicles and fence posts and trees and houses. The cheek!

Mother, bless her un-tigerish heart, didn't know the seriousness of this presumption. Father did.

"Blast that pesky cat!" he would roar, and blast he did with the water blaster.

*psh!* *psh!*

A stream of water shot from the porch to the fence on the other side of the lawn. And the cat would shoot away from the fence, and the birds and chicks were safe again for the nonce.

Dad's strawberries though were again exposed to the full pillage of the starlings and sparrows.

Monday, 15 August 2011

story 3.1

The magnolia tree was blooming full of pink-purple flowers. Mother snarled and sneered at the pesky moth-plant vine which threatenned to strangle the trees.

She said there wasn't much she could do about it this year. Atilla hoped she'll feel better about it next year.

There were many unusual occurrances so far this year, so far as he had been told about.

Mainly to do with the weather. Plum tree blossoming and leaving in early winter. Warm spring-like picnic weather in winter. Snow in Auckland!

Dad was pleased about the snow. He was disappointed that all he saw was hail.

Atilla was disappointed that the wild weather meant he still didn't get to the playground. Mother said she didn't want Atilla to be blown over by the Antarctic polar wind.

It was a real shame, as this could have been the opportunity to use the tailwind and set the world record for going over the bar on the swings.

So here he was, a caged tiger prowling his territory. Growling at the outside world which he is cruelly deprived from enjoying. Pouncing at perceived prey.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

10 August 2011: excerpt

It was lovely to have a few hours to be with husband. Lunch for two, a walk on the beach, a nap.

Sitting down across a table, seeing husband as a person, experiencing smiling and relaxing.

I really enjoyed the time away from being a mother.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

2 August 2011

- baby pulling faces at me,
- parents,
- husband,
- sunny day,
- lavender,
- sleep,
- game time,

6 best:
saw - baby pulling faces at me,
taste - crumpets buttered with love,
touch - baby-soft skin warmed by sleep,
heard - burblings from baby/ SIL,
did - hugged husband,
smelt - warm clean bathed baby.

2 August 2011: excerpt

7mo Atilla pulled a face at me this morning.

Husband held Atilla on his lap, and the grown-ups were chatting away. Then all of a sudden Atilla's lower lip extended towards his right.

I was very taken aback. I stared.

He did it again. I remonstrated reflexively.

Husband twisted his head down to look at Atilla. The babe was the picture of innocence.

'Who, me?' his wide-eyed gaze protested maternal accusations.

We ignored Atilla for a bit.

Atilla pulled his lip again, and the tip of his tongue stuck out for good measure.

Well, I thought, not every baby can do that controllably.

"Well done Atilla," I congratulated him.

It's a shame we didn't have a camera ready. No saying when I'll be privileged to be targeted by a baby making faces at me.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

baby eats: oat cereal

Stage I, Stage II.
Makes at least 1/4C.

  • 1/4 C rolled oats.

  1. Put rolled oats into grinder/food processor.
  2. Pulse oats until finely ground (texture like powder).

To keep: Cover, and use within 24hrs.
To refrigerate: Cover, and use within 3 days.
To freeze: Put into flat container with lid. Cover, and use within 7-10 days.

Homemade ground oats may go rancid if it is kept too warm. It may get freezer-burn if kept with too much moisture. Treat it as you would crumble topping =)

I've made 1/4C today. We'll see how it goes.

baby eats: fruity oat cereal

Stage I, Stage II.
Makes approx. 1/8C (30ml)

  • 1t ground rolled oats,
  • 3t hot boiled water,
  • 2-3t fruit puree (e.g. pear).

  1. Put ground oats in small bowl.
  2. Measure in water.
  3. Mix well, until smooth as possible (may be lumpy-ish).
  4. Mix in fruit puree.

This makes a runny meal.
For a more solid texture, reduce quantity of water or puree at the appropriate stage.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

story 2.5

"I'm sorry," Atilla expressed his sympathy again. "Would it help to take flowers to her? It works in all the ads on tv."

“Flowers?” Cat1 perked up. He drooped again. "How will I keep the flowers fresh?"

"These flowers," Atilla proudly pointed to the daisies, "like rain, sun, air, and dirt. That's why they live here."

“Soooo,” Cat1 said thoughtfully, "if I take a bit of dirt and flowers, and keep them with rain, sun, air and dirt, the flowers may stay fresh until I give them to her..."


“Do I have your permission to take some dirt, flowers, rain, sun, air and dirt?”


Atilla observed the hover-craft laser around a small patch of topsoil and accompanying winter daisies. The patch of soil levitated into the craft easily. A container emerged and waved purposefully in the air, and returned into the craft.

"I've got another brilliant idea," Atilla said. "Wait here."

Cat1 waited, while mein host climbed the porch steps and disappeared into his home. He looked bemusedly at the plant-life co-habiting his cockpit. Mayhaps it ought to be put into the storage hold? Except the cockpit looked so much friendlier with the sunny yellow centres of the flowers in the environment.

Atilla returned triumphantly with clenched fists. "I remembered the ads also like to give these to girls."

He opened his hands and displayed his prize - dark lumps.

"I got them from my dad's stash. It's chocolate for grown ups. I'm sure it will be a hit. My granddad likes them, and so does my uncle, and my mum. My auntie can't eat it because it's too hot spicy. I can have some when I turn fifteen."

“Thank you very much,” Cat1 received the contribution gratefully. He waggled his ship to signify thanks. He wiggled his ship to signify farewell. “You're a great help. I'll be sure to tell her. See you around.”

"Good bye," said Atilla, and waved him good-bye.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

story 2.4

"How are you?" Atilla reciprocated the friendly enquiry.

“I'm good,” Cat1 said, “but I need to work on my orientation skills.”

"Oh, I see. Are you working on it now?"

“Yes, mostly.”

"My mum says I can use the Southern Cross to point my way home," Atilla offered the advice. "Maybe it will work for you too."

“I'm good,” Cat1 said. “I'm not looking to go to my way home.”

"Oh I see. Where are you going?"

Cat1 coughed embarrassedly. “Er, I'm looking for Alberqueque.”

Atilla nodded his head sagely in sympathy. "It sounds like a most marvellous adventure. My dad would enjoy it." He perused the statement. "Actually he would say that I would enjoy it."

The saucer-craft bobbed and weaved in the air. Eventually Cat1 asked, “Atilla, do you know how I can get to Alberqueque?”

"I'm sorry, I don't know the answer to your question. I know how to get to the playground. I know it's not Alberqueque."

Cat1 sighed. This shortcut was turning out not to be a good one. He was becoming ever more late for his very important date.

“That's it,” he moped, “I'm lost.”

"Oh, surely it's not as bad as that," Atilla sympathised. "We can go to a police station and try to help you get to Alberqueque."

“I'm good,” Cat1 said sadly. “Maybe she'll forgive me.”

27 June 2011

- parents,
- husband,
- sister,
- baby,
- sleeping baby,
- 'Yes Minister',
- knitting,
- playground,
- Union,
- great boss,
- email,

6 best:
saw - happy playing baby,
taste - hot salmon cooked by husband,
touch - knitting,
heard - big belch from unsettled baby, who then promptly settled,
did - held unsettled baby until big belch,
smelt - hot seasoned salmon.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

story 2.3

The daisy patch grew underneath the denuded plum tree. The tree was bereft of leaves and plums and blossoms, and it was magnificent with twigs and branches. This meant sunshine easily found the daisy patch and warmed it up.

Atilla crouched down and inspected the flowers. He racked his memory to remember what the best daisies look like. He remembered that daisies in the golden heat of summer were pink-tipped, white petalled, and yellow centered. These winter daisies were all white petalled and yellow centered, and short stalked.

Would Mother like such pitiful looking ones?

"Hey, kid-"

Atilla looked up from his reverie.

"Yo," he said.
"You're in Auckland," he informed the hovering saucer-shape, "Did you forget to turn left at Alberqueque?"

"I'm good," said Cat1. "I was just in the neighbourhood."

"Oh, okay."

There was a lull in the dialogue.

There was a prolonged lull in the dialogue.

Atilla squinted. "Was there anything else?"

"I was just wondering what you were up to," said Cat1. "Was your mum's mail all right?"

"Yes, it was all right. She did say that I oughtn't talk to strangers. We haven't been introduced," he reminded his associate.

"Yes," agreed Cat1. "I'm Cat1. Hello."

"Hello," replied Atilla, "I'm Atilla."

"Hello Atilla. What are you doing?"

"Hello Cat1. I'm inspecting my garden."

Cat1 brought up the visuals of the garden. He looked carefully at each creeping vine, each lichened branch and twig, each leaf straining for the sunshine, each insect zipping in the weak warm sunlight, each bird evading Atilla's notice, the cat patiently waiting at the other side of the fence, each pink manuka flower blooming with radiance.

The dominating aspect was the large yellow grapefruits ripening on the tree, and the swelling orange-coloured tangelos ready to burst on their tree.

"It's a good garden," Cat1 congratulated his host."


26 July 2011

- sleeping baby,
- roti,
- fresh coriander,
- mum,
- dad,
- husband,
- sunshine,
- playing in playground,
- sleep,

6 best:
saw - happy laughing rolling baby/ husband agreeing to random activity,
taste - fresh coriander,
touch - husband,
heard - husband looking after baby,
did - no laundry,
smelt - fresh coriander.

Monday, 25 July 2011

story 2.2

Atilla jumped from the porch and landed safely on the grass below. He kicked the weeds clustered around the wooden steps of the porch.

That activity satisfactorily concluded, he turned his attention to other available interests in the garden.

Many seeds from the mothball plants had fallen on the lawn. Atilla practised his precision grip and picked them up, collecting the seeds in his right pocket.

Sometimes the fairy-bits fell off. He found fun in picking them up, and blowing them so it floated off into the blue yonder. Mostly the fairy-bits fell to the ground again.

As Dad hadn't cut the grass yet this week, daisy flowers arched their heads towards the small patch of sunshine which found its way past the neighbour's home shadow.

Atilla jump-jumped his path to the daisy patch. They look so pretty and clean. Mum would like flowers. Especially since there wasn't that many in winter.

25 July 2011

- sleeping baby,
- cha kway teoh,
- sister,
- parents,
- playing with baby,
- knitting,

6 best
saw - happy laughing baby,
taste - crumpts, toast/ sushi/ fried noodles,
touch - kissed baby,
heard - babbling baby,
did - go out with sis,
smelt - dinner.

Friday, 22 July 2011

22 July 2011 - i'm very tired

i'm v tired. didn't do much. looked after baby in morning, went to playground, strolled around neighbourhood.

had a nap. and now still mentally fatigued, unable to deal with ird.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

story 2.1

It was a wet day. The sun was shining. Birds shook off the rain, and chirped to their heart's delight. One song even included several telephone rings.

Atilla gazed at the scene without joy. It was still too wet to go for a walk to the playground. Mum was insistent on that.

He had on his galoshes and play clothes so he could walk in his wet wet garden. Dad had not cut the grass yet, so it was as tall as his knees.

Walking in it was an adventure. He might find a squelchy grapefruit. Or tangelo. Or loquat. Or cat poo.

story 1.5

Paper was flung out of the letterbox with no regard to tidiness or ownership.

Bobbi's head popped out again. "Say, stranger, you're right. My bed does feel comfier now."

"My pleasure." Cat1 toggled his flight controls so his ship made a gracious bow. "Well, kid, how goes? Got what you need?"

Atilla beamed with happiness. "Yes! I'm going to take all this to my mum. She'll be so pleased with all her mail."

Young Atilla carefully gathered the scattered pieces of paper: colourful catalogs, rectangular envelopes, plastic-coated advertising. There was an awful lot and they overflowed his small hands.

Being an enterprising little fellow, he tucked some under his arms, some in the elastic waistband of his trousers, and more under his chin.

"Thank you," he said politely to the two strangers.

Cat1 waggled his craft. "My pleasure. See you around." He zoomed off into the blue yonder.

"Likewise," yawned Bobbi. "Anytime." She lowered the lid of her bedroom, and a discrete snoring emanated shortly after.

Feeling very pleased with his achievements, Atilla entered his home and proudly presented his prize to his mother.

21 July 2011

- sleeping baby,
- happy baby,
- parents,
- husband,
- clean dry laundry put away & almost cleared dining room,
- tidying knitting ends,
- Pokémon,
- Big Bang Theory,

6 best:
saw - baby mouthing his right foot,
taste - sausage with mustard and ketchup,
touch - holding baby while Wii Fit Plus,
heard - husband home,
did - playing w/ baby: rolling ball, Wii Fit Plus, jumping/ talking with husband,
smelt - fresh air,

blackbird singing sound of ringing telephone.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

story 1.4

Bobbi lifted the lid from her bedroom. She blinked at the bright sunlight, and squinted vaguely around her. Down was a small squirt of a humanoid. Up was a hovering object.

Atilla frowned. He had a fearsome frown. A crease appeared between his eyebrows, his eyes narrowed,his nostrils flared, and his lips pursed.

"What are you doing in there?" Atilla asked.

"Not sleeping," Bobbi grumbled.

"Why do you choose not to sleep in our letterbox?"

"It's cosy," she explained.

"Oh," he said.

The three were at a brief stalemate.

"You could ask her about your mother's mail," Cat1 suggested to Atilla.

"Good idea," Atilla congratulated his ally.

He addressed the wee head atop his letterbox. "Please can you give me my mother's mail?"

Bobbi yawned. "Dunno. I think I'm not supposed to tinker with her majesty's post."

"I think you won't have to pee on it," he said earnestly. "Better not to, actually."

"Give the mail to him. Consider it one way of making your bed more comfortable," Cat1 advised.

"You're real full of it, aren't you?" Bobbi said admiringly. "Sure thing. Here we go-"

20 July 2011

counting blessings:
- play time with baby,
- neighbourhood walk with baby,
- shower,
- 2 hour nap with baby,
- parents,
- husband,
- breastfeeding baby,
- sunny day,

6 best:
saw - happy baby,
taste - spiced corn chips,
touch - calming baby,
heard - laughing baby,
did - play with baby: Wii Fit Plus, playground, gym mat,
smelt - husband.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

story 1.3

"Good grief," Bobbi muttered, "It's impossible to sleep in with all that racket outside."

"Keep it down out there!" she hollered.

Atilla glared suspiciously at the letterbox. It never spoke previously. He decided to ask the hovering thing for a different favour.

"Can you find out why the letterbox told us to be quiet?"

Cat1 considered. "Sure," he said, "as long as I'm not taking mail that I have no right to."

Through the visuals of his craft, he inspected his latest assignment. It was mostly green, and there was a protruding line which might, if design were standard in the multiverse, be the entry to an opening.

In an unsympathetic world, force would be expected to apply to open a closed object.

Cat1 applied natural philosophy. "Hello. Why do you want us to be quiet?"

"Gods' blood," the words echoed hollowly from the letterbox, "I want to sleep."

"It wants to sleep," Cat1 explained to the kid.

Atilla was more suspicious. "I had bedtime last night," he reasoned aloud, "and I've had breakfast, and I haven't had lunch yet so it's not naptime yet either. No-one is asleep now."

"Well I sure can't sleep if you keep talking," griped the letterbox.

19 July 2011

counting blessings:
- feeding baby,
- local playground,
- sunny day,
- parents,
- husband,
- baby,
- internet,
- game time,
- Wii Fit Plus,
- content baby,

6 best:
saw - baby on swing, baby at playground keyboard,
taste - homecooked spaghetti bolognaise,
touch - hugged baby while doing Wii Fit Plus,
heard - neighbourhood sounds on sunny day,
did - take baby to playground/ write story,
smelt - ham & egg pie.

Monday, 18 July 2011

story 1.2

Being a natural philosopher was no advantage at a time like this.

Cat1 scratched his armpit idly. Yep, he was lost. He rotated his map to align it with astronomical navigational aids, as he had been taught in orienteering basics. No inspiration.

The next action to try was thus:
"Hey! kid!"

The kid turned his head to the voice above him. Being a young'un, Atilla did not overthink being hailed by a flying saucer hovering over him. It seemed a natural occurrence.

"Yo," the kid replied.

"Where am I?"
"Auckland," said the kid.

Cat1 dropped his jaw in a stunned gape. "Suffering succotash! I should have turned left at Alberqueque."

The kid commiserated. "Yep."

Atilla then asked for help in return. "Can you help me get my mother's mail?" he asked the flying object.

Cat1 considered the matter carefully.

"It's against the law to fiddle with other people's mail," said the flying saucer.

Atilla concentrated. "I'm not asking you to use the post as a violin. I just need some help to get the letters for my mum," he explained.

"It's against the law," Cat1 repeated.

18 July 2011

counting blessings:
- midnight hickey on chin from baby,
- sis,
- husband,
- understanding baby,
- sunny day,
- game time,
- 3D Zelda Ocarina of Time (? issues w/ too much screentime),
- love,

6 best:
saw - happy smiling feeding baby,
taste - hot tea,
touch - baby's plump wrist,
heard - contented baby,
did - held unsettled baby,
smelt - hot chips and chicken burger.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

verse: my dear i've lost my wits and brain

my dear i've lost my wits and brain
incessant burbling driving me insane
poopie spectacular in particular
adorable smiling privately to sunshine
tufted hair what a trick weaken me
live well darling

Saturday, 16 July 2011

17 July 2011

counting blessings:
- baby asleep in cot,
- sister,
- husband,
- weather,

6 best:
saw - baby's long eyelashes closed in sleep/ sleepy baby lungeing for a feed,
taste - slow stewed squid dinner,
touch - baby's soft skin,
heard - incessant burbling of baby,
did - fed fresh milk to baby while sitting at Kohimarama beach: seeing Rangitoto, blue sky, white clouds, feeling fresh breeze, seeing a happy baby smiling and enjoying his time,
smelt - aromas from restaurant.

story 1.1

Young Atilla toddled down his driveway. It was a grey concreted wide drive, wide enough for twice ten Atillas. Right now only the original Atilla occupied the space.

Despite Mother's remonstrances to hold her hand when walking down the driveway, Atilla believed he knew better than Mum about what he could do.

He could, to start, unlock the front door. He knew, and did, turn the doorknob to open the front door. And he had had much practice and experience walking out the door.

He put all his knowledge into practice, and now he had arrived at the letterbox.

Atilla was stumped. The letterbox was a puzzle which needed to be cracked step by step.

Item one: the letterbox was much higher than he could reach without help.

Item two: it was a locked box so a key would be needed.

Item three: the letterbox was quite deep inside, and he might be unable to find his hand afterwards.

Friday, 15 July 2011

16 July 2011

counting blessings:
- dream smiles (2x!) from cuddled baby,
- woollen knitted large blanket made with granma's love,
- sunny day,
- baby playing in sunshine,
- beetroot,
- family picnic,
- good eggs,
- unconstipated baby,

6 best:
saw - baby playing in sunshine/ baby dream smiles/ dad playing with son,
taste - beetroot/garlic & rosemary mushrooms,
touch - sleeping baby snuggled close,
heard - sis,
did - family pcnic/ playing with baby on gym mat,
smelt - clean fresh air after storms.

verses: rain drops on roof tops

winter rain
it thunders down
drowning out
night-time sounds

no squeaking insects
no startled birds

pit pat
pit pat

it stops.

it stops.

lying next to him
his soft sighs
oblivious to the storm outside.

his softly warm body
delicate hands
baby-fine hair.

wriggle wriggle
for a small kid
he takes up the whole bed.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

15 July 2011

counting blessings:
- mum, dad,
- understanding husband,
- cuddly baby,
- healing skin,

6 best:
saw - in bed with waking alert baby, bright wide brown eyes looking interested around as much as he can see lying on his back,
taste - chicken satay,
touch - playing with baby,
heard - talked to AF,
did - follow up at medical centre,
smelt - jalapeno corn chips with day-old chilli.

14 July 2011

counting blessings:
- mum,
- dad,
- appreciative husband,
- sleeping baby,
- dinner,
- reduced laundry drying in dining room,
- working internet,

6 best:
saw - winter rain storm bucketing down while I'm cosy indoors,
taste - hot tea!
touch - lying down on baby's playmat, and playing with him,
heard - sighs of sleeping baby,
did - lying down on baby's play mat and playing with him,
smelt - contented husband.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

13 July 2011

counting blessings:
- parents,
- mum,
- dad,
- understanding husband,
- sleeping baby,
- knitted a few rows,
- 'Columbo',
- heat pump,
- nice home,
- terrific washing machine,

6 best:
saw - sleeping baby,
taste - cooled boiled water made with love,
touch - hugged husband come home from work,
heard - acknowledgement from baby's grandpa re. not over-tiring baby before nap time,
did - spoke to baby's grandma & grandpa re. not over-tiring baby before nap time,
smelt - close husband/sleeping baby/rose hand cream.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

12 July 2011

counting blessings:
- sleeping baby,
- wonderful husband (lets me sleep in),
- parents,
- mum,
- knitted 20 rows!
- large burger dinner,
- 'Jeeves & Wooster' dvd,

6 best:
saw - sleeping baby (0921-1121, 1305-1405, 2005-2200, 2243-)
taste - venison/beef burger with trimmings dinner,
touch - extra springy spring for baby hammock,
heard - love and carng in husband's voice,
did - feed baby/knitted 20 rows,
smelt - homemade rose hand cream.

Monday, 11 July 2011

11 July 2011

counting blessings:
- parents,
- understanding husband,
- forgiving son,
- warm sunshine,
- half-dressed baby crawling,

6 best:
saw - half-dressed baby happily crawling,
taste - duck noodle/ open sandwich dinner,
touch - cuddling sleeping baby,
heard - love in husband's voice,
did - feed baby,
smelt - golden free-range egg yolk.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

10 July 2011

counting blessings:
- sister,
- husband,
- financial situation,

6 best:
saw - sister,
touch - calming baby,
taste - tuna dinner,
heard - advice to go to sleep,
did - sleep,
smelt - bathed baby.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

8 July 2011

counting blessings:
- mum,
- dad,
- apple crumble,

6 best:
saw - happy jumping baby,
taste - crumble topping,
touch - soothing ice-pack,
heard - windy day,
did - knit 4 rows,
smelt - warm baby.

7 July 2011

counting blessings:
- homemade jaffa cakes (lemon curd, and the lessons have been learned),
- aloe vera,
- ice packs,
- home freezers,
- parents,
- husband,
- sleeping baby,

6 best:
saw - doctor & nurse,
taste - cold smoked salmon,
touch - soft baby skin/ cold pack,
heard - 'worst case scenario: 2 weeks to heal',
did - get scald professionally treated,
smelt - rose hand cream.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

6 July 2011

counting blessings:
- www, Tim Berners-Lee,,
- parents,
- husband,
- lovely child,
- great friends,
- jaffa cake recipe,
- great mum,
- great husband,

6 best:
saw - Grease movie, Big Trouble in Little China,
taste - salt,
touch - holding sleeping cosy baby,
heard - lover's voice all loving and caring/ baby's voice so chatty,
did - napped 30 mins,
smelt - husband (intimacy).

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

5 July 2011

counting blessings:
- baby slept 2016-0745!
- easy to understand baby -wake, eat, nappy, play upright, eat, play, carry, sleep, wake, nappy, eat, lie down, jump one hour, sleep, nappy, eat, play, eat, carry, bath, eat, sleep-
- recipe for homemade gripe water -fennel seed infusion-
- internet! and people providing information on internet,
- parents,
- husband,
- bed,

6 best:
saw - fruit picked from own garden,
taste - wan tan hor fan (yummy!),
touch - cuddly baby not struggling,
heard - loving reassurance from husband/ husband giving support for homemade gripe water,
did - make homemade gripe water/ completed 1 leg warmer for baby,
smelt - husband (intimacy).

Monday, 4 July 2011

4 July 2011

counting blessings:
- jolly jumping baby (1 hour!)
- parents,
- sleeping baby,
- lovely husband,
- heat pump,
- "Big Trouble in Little China",
- sausage casserole,

6 best:
saw - active baby,
touch - home-made rose hand cream,
taste - sausage casserole,
heard - sighs from sleeping baby,
did - put baby into cot for afternoon nap,
smelt - chinese roast duck.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

3 July 2011

counting blessings:
- supportive husband,
- loving child,
- big plate of dinner,
- sunshine,
- helpful parents,
- forgiving child,
- 5 min nap,

best six:
saw - cleared kitchen table,
taste - breakfast and lunch and dinner made by supportive husband,
touch - kiss from husband,
heard - comfort from husband,
did - helped husband put baby into bed,
smelt - fresh clean baby.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

0244-0312 3 July 2011 0324

*heaved sigh*

Atilla started crying out while asleep. No amount of stroking or low level murmured words would comfort him, or penetrate his dream.

I picked him up and it seemed to help. His lower half was extremely warm, which was concerning. Investigating further, I surmised the cause to be the hot water bottle at the foot of his bed.

I carried him for as long as I could - given my state of consciousness, state of my back, his slumbering moments.

It was cute in sporadic outbursts: he turned his head from side to side, seeking available feeding comfort (futile effort as he was at my neck height and I received wet kisses).

I anticipate it will become much colder at 5 or 6 am, so I decided to put his woollen trousers on him. My actions brought him to a higher state of wakefulness.

'Nothing for it', I thought to myself (functioning on reduced sleep), 'let's put these on him properly.'

The rough handling corresponded with his full waking.

My time was now pre-occupied with a fussing uncontented Atilla; a change into fresh nappy didn't work and he ought to be good until morning.

I experienced frustration with the situation (Atilla's unsoothable fussiness + my aching back + my want to sleep + my fatigue + my reduced capability to meet Atilla's needs) and annoyance with Atilla because he wasn't going back to sleep.

It was very close.

I named my emotions. I talked through possible actions to take to soothe Atilla, and explained to myself why I didn't act.

Having heard myself out, I decided the case for inaction had less merit than taking action.

I took his new nappy off and put him on his potty. Not a jot. Wriggle wriggle. Some happy coos.

Back he goes on the change mat. Nappy goes back on. Woollen trousers goes back on, with yellow vest tucked in. Pick up. Pat pat on his back. Cuddle.

Check his bedding is suitable for him to lie down to sleep. Hot water bottle not too hot.

Put him in bed. Pat pat. Walk out of the room.

recipe: rose hand cream (jojoba oil)

1t beeswax
1/4 honey
4T jojoba oil
4T rosewater

1) put glass jar on a small folded cloth in a small pot of water.
2) put wax, honey, oil in jar.
3) heat pot as a double-boiler, blending wax, honey, oil.
4) add rosewater slowly while stirring vigorously.
5) take jar out of water and continue stirring until cool.

* wax tends to cool faster than rosewater,
* add rosewater drop by drop (as if making mayonnaise),
* current recipe makes a mixture that separates into water and a creamy substance.

recipe: rose handcream (original from book)

1t beeswax
1/4t honey
4T almond oil
4T rosewater

1) put a glass jar in a small pot of warm water.
2) blend wax, honey, oil.
3) add rosewater slowly while stirring vigorously.
4) take jar out of water; continue to stir gently until cooled.

2 July 2011

counting blessings:
- un-moulded window-sills,
- filling healthy breakfast (poached eggs on bed of salmon, baby spinach, toast,
- family breakfast,
- family picnic,
- almond-chocolate encrusted patesserie,
- sunny day,
- co-operative husband,
- mown grass,
- stack of clean nappies,
- baby asleep for 2 hours,
- family dinner,
- fun baby,
- naked baby sitting happily on toilet seat,
- funny baby,
- time with energetic baby who entertained himself,
- sleeping baby;

six of the best:
saw - naked baby grinning while sitting happily on toilet seat,
touch - family hug/ home-mde rose handcream,
taste - poached eggs on salmon with spinach on toast,
heard - baby giggles,
did - applied clove oil to window-sills/ organised family picnic,
smelt - sunshine on picnic.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

1 July 2011

counting blessings:
- making rose hand cream from a recipe in a book,
- taking baby for a stroll,
- lunch,
- husband looking after baby,
- sunny day,
- small laundry load,
- excellent husband,

six of the best:
saw - sunshine on stroll with baby, baby playing with his toes,
taste - boiled egg breakfast,
touch - home-made rose hand cream,
heard - no noise from baby when grandparents are looking after him ('cos he's asleep),
did - take baby for stroll,
smelt - rose hand cream.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

30 June 2011

Counting blessings:
- porridge for breakfast,
- attending PND on time,
- amenable baby,
- knitting rows,
- full lunch,
- six of the best.

Six of the best:
saw - sunshine in the afternoon,
taste - homemade chocolate cupcake,
hear - baby laughing,
touch - nose-to-nose with baby,
did - talked grandpa into taking baby to the playground for a swinging time,
smell - dissipation of burnt roast beef aroma from house.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

29 June 2011

counting blessings:
- baby's dream smile in morning,
- cuddling with sleeping cosy baby,
- lunch with husband,
- knitting a few rows,
- 30min afternoon nap,
- beef and potatoes dinner,
- Jeeves & Wooster dvd,
- mum & dad,
- sleeping cosy baby cuddles.

28 June 2011

counting blessings:
- relaxing dream-image of white sand, bright sunlight, blue tropical sea, lapping waves,
- working internet,
- clean teeth, healthy-ish gums,
- great husband,
- sleeping baby,
- grizzling self-settled baby,
- knitted many rows of leg warmer.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

26 June 2011

counting blessings:
- baby slept almost 5 hours in early morning;
- family picnic;
- visit to bakery, and fresh baked treats;
- ham sandwich & tea;
- internet access;
- tasty tuna & chili-ginger sauce dinner;
- husband looked after baby (two solid eliminations direct in toilet!);
- happy baby;
- content husband;
- rounds of knitting completed;
- morning shower;
- sleeping baby right now.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

23 June 2011

counting my blessings:
- baby slept through the night;
- I cuddled close to my love;
- I had playtime on computer game;
- email update was sent to grandma;
- I'm going to sleep.


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

forgive me my sins

my dear little one,
forgive me my sins. forgive my transgressions against thee. your innocent self is not the cause of my self-abandonment. should I lose myself, I hope to retain my love for thee and not the pity.
forgive me, wee child my love. I strive to set a good example of behaviour to you and I fail day after day.

I want to be a fount of patience.
I want to be a fount of love.
I want to be a fount of wisdom.

I yearn to care for you as you deserve.

The ceaseless demands on my energy and waking hours sap my strength of will; I count to four and four again. I am ashamed I get satisfaction from giving you discomfort when that is easier than giving you comfort. Forgive me.

I have an aching back; I have a pained forearm. I am sleep deprived. I do not have sufficient recuperation time to regroup myself. I have alot ofhousework to do before I can be satisfied with my home environment.

sweet darling, I love kissing your baby-soft skin. I love your gentle milky scent. I adore your tuft of Tintin hair; I love the start of the curl on your forehead. Your gurgles and gummy grin, with your long lashes framing dark brown eyes, apple-cheeked laughter...adorable.

your hands grow ever larger, and nearly the size of my palm.

You have got me surrounded and out gunned.

I love you, and I won't give up. (I feel like I want to though.)

Saturday, 18 June 2011

baby eats: vege puree

Makes 3/4 C (175ml)

Stage 1 (4-6 months+) vege: carrot, potato, kumara, pumpkin, kamokamo, marrow.

Stage 2 (6-7 months+) vege: broccoli, puha, parsnip, swede, cauliflower.
  • 125g vege - peeled, chopped & finely diced;

  • 4 T water

  1. Put vegetable and water into a small pan. Bring to a boil.

  2. Cover and simmer until tender (approx. 25mins).

  3. Uncover and simmer until liquid is evaporated.

  4. Press through sieve/strainer.

Microwave style

  1. Put vege + 2T water in a microwaveable bowl. Cover, with vent.

  2. Cook on High (100%) for 4 mins. Stand for 5 mins.

  3. Press through sieve/strainer.

To serve: Serve at 30-37 degrees C; Mix boiled water (or formula milk or breast milk) to achieve preferred consistency.

To keep: Cover and refrigerate. Use within 24hrs.

To freeze: Spoon into ice-cube tray. Use within 10-12 months. Defrost: covered in refrigerator.

baby eats: fruit puree

Makes 1/2 C (120ml)

Note: Uncooked ripe mashed banana is ok to serve.

Stage 1 (4-6 months+) fruit: apple, pear, peach.

Stage 2 (6-7 months+) fruit: melon, plum.

Stage 3 (8 months+) fruit: kiwifruit, orange, pineapple, berry fruit.

  • 1 medium apple (fruit) - peeled, cored/stoned, diced

  • 1 T water (or formula milk or breast milk)

  1. Put fruit & water into a small pot. Cover and simmer for 10mins until soft.

  2. Press through a sieve/strainer.


  1. Put fruit & water in a microwaveable bowl. Cover, with vent.

  2. Cook on High (100%) for 3 mins. Stand for 5 mins.

  3. Press through sieve/strainer.

To serve: Serve at 30-37 degrees C.

To keep: Cover & transfer to refrigerator, and use within 24 hours.

To freeze: Spoon into ice-cube maker, and freeze. Use within 8-10 months. Defrost: covered in refrigerator.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Raising Baby: Weaning I

So. We started with bought baby rice cereal a month ago. I experimented with home-made carrot last week, including the freezing option. Baby poop turned orange for a spell; I believe I'll refrain from carrots for a fortnight. This week: homemade apple puree.

My ability to cook basic Western dishes is shockingly ill-informed. I had to find instruction to learn how to stew fruit.

I found a book, and diligently chopped apple until I became careless with a sharp knife. (I much prefer large bladed honed Chinese cleavers.)

Mater obligingly helped with chopping fruit, and pushing stewed apple through a sieve to make puree. Truly I am blessed to have such a obliging loved one.

Some of the puree was frozen in ice cube trays. Two teaspoonfuls were reserved to be used within 24 hours. The remainder of the stewed fruit was put into a loaf tin, awaiting crumble topping (made a few days previous, then frozen).

Tonight this wee family had our first meal together: mom & pop had dessert, babe had cereal-apple feed. And it was a good success.

I really enjoy fruit crumble - one of the best dishes ever. And when it is prepped in easy stages, quite a good standby to have in the freezer.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Bring Up Baby: Elimination Communication

It boils down to baby-lead teaching, e.g. when the baby is ready to poop or pee, the adult helps the baby to learn the association between the commode and elimination (poop and pee).
The methods used are: consistent association - poop/pee into toilet (or appropriate receptacle); consistent communication - baby shows signs of irritability indicating bodily discomfort, adult makes consistent sound/s when baby poop/pee so baby learns when start poop/pee as well as being able to verbalise to adult when baby expects to poop/pee.

I'd heard about it sometime last year, but only read up on it just a fortnight ago. We have been practising it for a couple of weeks and it seems to be working quite well: savings on washing poopy reusable nappies, and reduced occurrances of nappy rash, and reduction in number of butt wipes used, and baby (5-month) has developed a very strong back through continual sitting up practice.

If the caregiver has the time, I truly recommend this interactive responsive attention.

Apart from the advantages associated with the nappy change process, here are some others which I think is happening in our family:

- baby learns to communicate precise needs to parents/caregivers (i.e. baby gains a sense of "self" and "other people"),
- parents/caregivers learn to practice baby-led teaching, i.e. consistency and patience and seeing the world from the baby's point of view,
- parents learn to be more communicative, e.g. I am learning bits of British Sign Language to communicate with baby.

Elimination Communication

Saturday, 4 June 2011

first family picnic - from handheld [edited by keyboard]

I had a really great time with our picnic. Queen's Birthday weekend, so MK has Monday holiday. We took this opportunity to snatch a picnic lunch at the local park/reserve.

Dad, baby and I made our preparations and we set off, armed and shouldered with food, tea, umbrella and camera. It was a loverly sunny day - atypical winter weather. It was truly more akin to late spring. Young Sir didn't really need any blankets at all.

It was a quiet walk with hardly any traffic around. Birds sang, fooled into thinking it was mating and fighting season. The dew from the grass steamed into the air.

We found a decent picnic spot, and lunched. I'm very pleased with the lunch: I enjoy planning things to eat, even if I'm not very good at this.

A few photos were taken; we showed the various species of birds (sparrow, pigeon, pukeko, ducks, gull) to baby.

Baby showed signs of fussiness.

We wandered home, with the burden of food lightened.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

sent from handheld


I'm using the Opera browser developed for Nintendo DS. There are some drawbacks, including that of website design/layout (including Blogger). The best site I've seen so far is the BBC news site [I don't know how to add a link using this browser].

As a generic update: I'm a first-time parent, and I've learned quite a bit.

1. never wake a sleeping baby.
2. a baby won't sleep easily if - it is hungry; it is wet; it has wind; it is too much stimulated.
3. it is best to practice Elimination Communication [allow kid a chance to poo and pee in toilet], as it is cheaper on nappy money and laundry time.
4. allow 4x more time to complete doing stuff.
5. knitted wool garments really rock - they stretch more than cotton, so last longer in terms of fitting the kid.
6. Infacol.