Friday, 26 October 2012


Our dogs turned 9 months this week.  Ever since they were about 6 months I've been meaning to make an appointment with the vet to get them both de-sexed.  I'm not anti-puppies per se, but brother and sister puppies...

Well, I hadn't gotten around to it.  The Big Fella was understandably a little annoyed about it but every time I remembered it was after hours or on the weekend and the reminders I put in my phone always came when I couldn't do anything about it too (and my snooze function is as useful as a cheese sandwich to a drowning ferret

So a couple of months have passed.

Yesterday, it became obvious that we need to get them de-sexed ASAP!  So I made the appointment for Frankie and they were able to fit him in today.

This morning I wasn't allowed to feed Frankie so Choccie had to wait too.  They were obviously rather hungry (we'd moved a big rock over the hole in the back fence and I suspect they've been eating the dogs' food from over there for a little while).  I felt bad for them but we had to follow the doctor's orders.

Around 11 this morning we bundled Frankie into the car.  This was stressful for him on two levels; 1) he hates being picked up and the car is too tall for him to just jump in, and 2) he hates going in the car!  Poor little fella!

On the way we collected the mail then ran into the Big Fella!  He'd just finished work so we picked him up ;-)

At the vet Frankie was definitely stressed out!  Our dogs don't yet walk with a leash - Frankie is the worst because he just sits and refuses to budge!  So I had to carry him inside and he obviously knew that it wasn't going to be a fun place to visit.

As an aside, there was a lovely dog behind the counter with the lady.  He was probably a Great Dane or similar and he only had one eye.  He was really calm and gentle, but also curious about us.

We did the paperwork and so on then left, with Frankie's plaintive barking in the background.

The Little Big Fella lost the plot.  On reflection I didn't really prepare him very well.  As soon as we were outside he started crying, saying that he missed his dog Frankie.  I tried to explain that the vet would look after Frankie and that we'd be able to pick him up in the afternoon but the Little Big Fella was not mollified.

15 minutes later!!!

By this time I was getting a bit sick of the drama.  Yep, sometimes I can be a cold, heartless, callous mother.  But I'd spent the last 15 minutes trying to explain and soothe and calm him down.  And he'd stop for a minute or two, then start all over again.

So now it was time for the serious Mummy voice.

I told him that it was okay to be sad, and to miss his dog, but now it was time to stop crying.  And every time he started to look like he was going to start crying again, I'd remind him, "you can be sad, but no more crying".

Writing it out like this makes me feel like a horrible parent!  But if we'd had to put the dog down or something serious like that, I would have dealt with it a bit differently I guess.  The reality is, the dog was only going to the vet for a few hours, and even though the Little Big Fella doesn't fully understand, I feel like it's important for him to learn a little bit of self-control because he does tend to over-dramatise his sadness, possibly tending toward self-pity.  And that's not something I can allow to continue as a parent who's attempting to prepare her son for life.

Anyway, we went home and had lunch and watched movies and talked to the chickens and whatever else then called the vet and found out that Frankie was awake and should be okay to go home by the time we got there.

Back into the car and off to collect our little boy.

The vet was SO lovely!  We hadn't actually met him this morning, but when I met him this afternoon I was really happy to have this man looking after my dog.  He is an older man, probably in his 60s, and seems to have the sweetest disposition.  The way he held Frankie and the way he spoke to me was really encouraging and respectful.  There was no recrimination (turns out Frankie (and therefore Choccie, I guess) hadn't been vaccinated completely), just an obvious care for my dog.

So we brought Frankie home.  Notably, Frankie was quite happy to be picked up and just about jumped into the car!!!  At home Choccie was quite happy to see her brother, and very interested in his new smells.

For his part, Frankie was happy to see her, then just plain tired.  He obviously wanted to play, but just didn't have the energy for it today.  So we put the sheet from his travel basket (read washing basket) in the downstairs area and he happily went and lay down on it.

Even when I went out to bring in the washing, Frankie came out to see me but started shaking after a minute or two.  He just couldn't hold himself up any longer.  So I sat down and he jumped on my lap and we had a cuddle and a pat for a while.  Then I took him back to his "blanket" and he went back to sleep.

Apparently he'll be back to his normal self in the morning and then we'll take him back to the vet next week to get the stitches out.

I guess we'll have to get Choccie done soon too!!!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Look at me!!!

Recently the Little Big Fella has taken a liking to sitting in front of the mirror and... doing whatever really.

Today my Nutrimetics order arrived (I had a party two weeks ago) and I'd ordered some makeup.  So I got all my old makeup out and started tossing some stuff.  You know, lip gloss that has separated and probably not been used in 3 or 4 years, mascara that clogs as soon as you touch your eyelashes, pencils that are sharpened down so far you can't actually get them into the sharpener any more... you get the gist.

During this process I'd put my "stage" lipstick (super bright red) to one side, trying to decide if I'll ever need it again or if it's old enough to chuck anyway.

I then got to experimenting with some of my new stuff :-D  I discovered that one of the eyeliners I'd ordered has glitter in it!  Mildly excited about that - I love glitter :-D

After a little while the Little Big Fella comes in to the bathroom.

"Look at me mum!"

Thankfully my previous clowning experience taught me that a wipe with a cloth followed my a massage with sorbolene removes most stubborn makeup. He did have red/pink hair and one eyebrow for the rest of the day though :-D

Monday, 22 October 2012

A relaxing escape

We had a momentous event this morning!  Our first information session at the Little Big Fella's kindy (he starts next year).  Problem was, there wasn't much info at this session!  And the Big Fella felt completely out of place, being the only Dad there (come on guys!!!), and he was hungry and not really ready to be awake.

And I guess he was a bit annoyed that I'd left the paperwork for the kindy at home too... oops!

On the up side, after an initial bit of nervousness, the Little Big Fella discovered that kindy has toys!  Lots and lots of toys!  A whole little room set up with a kitchen and babies (he loves playing cooking and shushing the baby).  And then there's outside with the cubbies, sandpit, swings and all sorts of interesting stuff!!!

So while Mummy sat inside listening to... not an awful lot, Daddy got to sit outside and play with the kids :-)

We had a bit of time to fill in before the Little Big Fella's swimming lesson so we went and got some food for the Big Fella's breakfast then went to Macca's (McDonald's) for a coffee and a play.

Then it was off to swimming.  The Little Big Fella is just getting more and more confident in the water, although he has a thing about putting his head under water at the moment.  He has so much fun and jumps up and down in his excitement, which is rather entertaining to watch :-)

We've had a bit of a heatwave I guess, over the weekend and today.  Mid to high 30s (about 90-100 Fahrenheit?) most days for the past week.  So to escape the heat today, the Big Fella thought he'd take us to a river spot that one of his workmates told him about.

The description of where this place is was very... broad.  Something along the lines of, "just out of town".


We drove to the town (about 60 kilometres away) then turned down the road.

And we drove, and drove, and drove.

Out of town.

Onto a dirt road.

Through some cattle grazing across the road.

On and on and on wondering if we were on the right road and if we'd ever get there!

Eventually, we turned back.  It couldn't have been the right road, surely?  And we had no mobile reception so our maps wouldn't show us where we were!  (Note to self: put paper maps in the car!)

We eventually got back to the town and found the information board at the main rest stop.  Sure enough, there was the river marked on the map - probably just a little further than we'd gone!

So back we went!  Through the town, onto the dirt road, past the grazing cattle, around a big bend, past some grain fields and finally!  We found the river!  And boy, was it worth it!

The water was beautiful!  So much nicer and warmer than the pool and the dam!  And a lovely sandy bottom!  And huge river trees that shaded a big part of the "beach" and some of the water.  And rocks for throwing (boys) or skipping (all of us).  And the obligatory rope swing, of course :-)


So we spent the afternoon lazing in the water, keeping cool and playing together.  Very much a relaxing escape from the heat :-)

Thursday, 18 October 2012

What a life!!!

Many, many times the Big Fella and I have commented that the Little Big Fella has an amazing life for a 3 year old.  He rides his push bike, has a motorbike, gets to play with friends all the time, swims, has plenty of toys, watches movies, and has all kinds of experiences that we wouldn’t have even dreamed possible at his age.

Yesterday we had another of those “what a life” conversations.

After the Big Fella got home from work, we decided to go to the little dam just past the next town.  We had a bit of a swim and splash around and the Little Big Fella got to swim on a lilo (inflatable mattress) for the first time.

We had a nice bit of reminiscing about our own lilo swimming memories.  Mine were mostly about swimming in the Murray River with family and friends and trying not to get swept into the strong current ;-)

Another family turned up with 3 boys and the Little Big Fella just made himself comfortable playing with them.  Their littlest had the funniest expression though - completely bewildered about why this strange boy was talking to him!

The boys all played together, attempting to skip stones (of course that was very amusing for us parents because most of them just sank, making great big splashes).

After a while the other family left and we were just about ready to get up and go when a guy started backing his boat trailer down the boat ramp next to us.  The Little Big Fella was fascinated, and when the guy parked his boat on the little “beach” next to us he started talking the poor man’s ear off.

Next thing you know the man has offered to take him for a ride!  So the three of us ended up having a lovely little trip around the dam as the sun was starting to go down, making the views absolutely stunning!  It was entirely pleasant!

The Little Big Fella loved watching the water go by the boat, and he checked out everything around it.  The guy then offered the Little Big Fella the steering wheel.  You’ve never seen a more excited kid!  And then he got his hand on the throttle!!!  I was a little bit nervous at that point!

We eventually headed back, said our thanks and got all our gear together.  On the way home we stopped at McDonald’s for an ice cream and nuggets for the Little Big Fella and a burger and coffee for the Big Fella.  The Little Big Fella then fell asleep before we got home.  Guess it was all the excitement of the afternoon :-D

Seriously, what a life!  And because he has such front he got to play with new friends and have a unique experience.  If this is the kind of stuff he gets to do at this age, imagine the kind of stuff he’s going to get up to throughout his lifetime!!!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

We crashed the motorbike!

The Little Big Fella has a motorbike.

It's a 50cc Yamaha and he loves riding on it!  Well, riding with one of us on it.

The Big Fella bought said motorbike when the Little Big Fella was... maybe 2? Maybe a little younger.  He was keen for his son to be into bikes (and possibly living a little vicariously?).

So one of us would ride on the back with the Little Big Fella on the front and we'd ride around the yard, or sometimes up the street and around the lagoons, or even around a park-like area that was almost always empty of people.

Over the past couple of months, the Little Big Fella has started "helping" to control the bike when we ride.  He pulls on the throttle (sometimes when I'm trying to slow down!), and helps me steer.

But a few days ago we took a trip to the coast and happened to stop at a shop that sold motorbikes, quad bikes, buggies, motorbike gear, camping gear... you get the drift.  And the Big Fella bought the Little Big Fella his first motorbike helmet.

Doesn't this look like it would be SO much fun!????!!!

The Little Big Fella tried to convince us to buy him one of these.

The Little Big Fella was absolutely ecstatic to have a real motorbike helmet!  He sat in front of the mirror putting it on and off and talking to himself for at least an hour!  And then he talked to me about his helmet for the next hour ;-}

The following day the Big Fella decided that, given the Little Big Fella can now ride his pushbike without training wheels, he could probably ride his motorbike by himself too!

First stop, the shed!  Replace the rear tyre and tube and make sure the bike's good to go!

How young is too young?  I suspect this is a question that I'll ponder many times throughout my career as a parent.

So we started with baby steps.  We put the bike on its centre stand and turned it on.  Then coaxed the Little Big Fella to sit on the bike (he was scared we were going to make him go all by himself straight away).

He practiced revving the throttle.  Then he practiced doing it smoothly ;-)  Then he practiced doing it just a little bit, smoothly.

Of course, you need to be able to stop so the next step was to use the brakes.  The Little Big Fella's pushbike has back-pedal brakes, rather than hand brakes.  So he had some practice (and we made sure he had enough strength in his hands to be able to brake).

The next step was to put the bike off the centre stand and see if he could make it go forward just a little bit.  He freaked out a bit at the thought so I sat on the back of the bike just to help him feel secure.

And you know what?  He totally rocked it!  He pulled the throttle on nice and gently, moving forward a little way then braking beautifully!

I could be totally weird for this but I was so proud!  My little boy (nearly 3 and a half) had enough control to go slowly and coordinate himself to stop.  He's so clever (if I do say so myself)!!!

Obviously the next step was to ride around the yard.  And we did!

I put my hands on the inner part of the handle bars and steered, and used my feet to keep the bike up when we were going pretty slowly, but after a while he was driving that motorbike smoothly, stopping well and going around the corners almost like a pro!  The only thing we were struggling with was slowly down to go around corners, then speeding up so we didn't stop or fall over as we came out of the corners.

And, I guess it was inevitable.

We crashed.

Kind of hard.

Into the fence.

Hard enough for the Little Big Fella's helmet to hit the fence (thank God we always insist he wears a helmet when he rides!).  Far enough that my foot got stuck under the fence, and that the bottom of it pushed out into the neighbour's yard (luckily it's a wire fence so we could push it back without much stress).

So the scrape-y hole on the right is where my foot got stuck under the fence, the hole on the left is where my other foot stopped and the one in the middle is where the front tyre pushed into the fence (the photo is obviously taken after the fence was pushed back to its normal position).

One of my concerns with the Little Big Fella learning to ride has been that he'd fall or crash or hurt himself and then be afraid to ride again.

Nope.  Not my little boy!

We disentangled ourselves from the fence and pushed it back into place and the Little Big Fella immediately wanted to try again.  Another proud moment :-)

So we went round and around the yard and he improved each time and absolutely loved it!

Guess what he asked first thing when he got up the next morning???

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Please! No more!

We live in a small town.  There are about 360 residents.  We have one general store, a railway station and a pub.  Most of the residents here are families.

Our town is located on the busiest country highway in the nation.  A lot of the traffic on this highway is miners driving to and from work.  And a lot of those are in a hurry to get there.

In the past month we've had 3 car accidents in our little town.


All of them involved alcohol, speed or both.

And the people who live in the houses on the highway are scared!

Is it safe to walk my kids the few hundred metres to school?

Will I be safe in my lounge room at night or will a car come crashing in through the window because the driver is drunk or asleep and forgot to slow down and go around the corner as they came into town?

Can I safely work in my paddock or will some lunatic speed up the end of the car in front of him and come crashing over the train line and into my field?

When I go to work at the station, will I make it all the way without being hit? Or having to go and try to help a young man who's been drinking and speeding and didn't put on his seatbelt and is now bleeding all over the road out the front of the primary school?

When is enough, enough?

How on earth can we get through to people that the choices they make when they get into their cars not only affect them, but potentially their family, their friends, their community and complete strangers???

Please!  Don't drink and drive!  Don't let anyone you're with drink and drive!

Please!  Keep to the speed limit!

Please!  Rest if you're tired!

Please!  No more!

Monday, 8 October 2012

A weekend of firsts!

We've had a few firsts over the last few days.  The other day at the park, the Little Big Fella was finally able to get up the half pipe and slide down on his own.  This is a pretty big deal here because all the kids go up there and sit and chat and slide and play.

He did get up to the top and sit there but he had much more fun sliding :-)

On Saturday I was getting ready to go to a 4th birthday party followed by a grown up party when I noticed something.

Is that what I think it is???

It IS!!!

Oh!  My!  Goodness!!!

Honey!  Check this out!!!  I have my first grey hair!!!!!

It's quite probably you can't see it, even with the arrow but I promise it's there.

Now, most people would be kind of distressed about this discovery.  Not me.  I was... kind of excited!  Talk about weird!  I don't know though, I felt like I should have had a grey hair a few years ago so it was exciting to finally reach this milestone in my life.

The parties turned out to be great fun.  The Little Big Fella ran (literally) non-stop for 6 hours!  He had an awesome time playing sword fights with the other boys and running and playing.  So much fun that he hardly ate a thing!  You know he's distracted when that happens!

So because he was having so much fun, I got to just sit back, relax, talk to people and be almost a regular adult without kids.  It was supremely pleasant :-)  And then the Big Fella turned up looking quite handsome and we shared a glass of wine (or two).  It was really, really great.

Today we had the first swimming lesson for the Little Big Fella at the new pool.  As pretty much expected, he lost the plot when it was time to get in the pool.  I knew it was just a bit of trepidation mixed with a little silliness so I picked him up and put him on the step in the water.  And what do you know?  The teacher carried him over to the little platform in the water with his other friends (thankfully 2 of the 3 other kids go to our playgroup so he already knew them) and he started jumping up and down with excitement.

The rest of the class he did what he was told and got all excited and had a blast!

And final first for the week - I had a butterfly land on me!  Even when I've been to the butterfly house at the zoo that's never happened so I was a little excited.  It even hung around long enough for me to take a pic!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Just like riding a bike?

When we lived in our previous town the Little Big Fella went to swimming lessons through the 4 school terms of the year, from the time that he was around 6 months old.  The pool we went to was indoor and heated and there were around 16 or so instructors.

But here (well, in the next town actually) they don't have an indoor pool and the pool they have is not heated at all.  And they only run lessons during 2 school terms - the spring/summer and summer/autumn terms.

Around midday today the Big Fella decided that he wanted to go to the pool and swim a few laps so he asked if we'd like to come.  Of course, given how much the Little Big Fella loves swimming I agreed.

You should have seen how excited he was!!!  I'm sorry, I forgot my camera so I can't show you, but he was bouncing all over the place, jumping and skipping and had his super-excited voice on.

Then we get in the pool and it is F.R.E.E.Z.I.N.G.!!!  Really, really cold!

Eventually we get over the temperature (kind of) and start playing in the kiddie pool while the Big Fella did some laps.  Then we decided to have a play in the big pool, which unfortunately meant I had to get more than my feet wet.

The thing is, at our last town the Little Big Fella had a couple of lessons in the pool without me (just with the instructor) and was floating and swimming at least 2 metres under the water by himself.  Today, he spluttered going only half a metre.

"Oh no!"  Inwardly I was totally stressing.  "He's due to start lessons on Monday and he's going to freak out and not be able to do anything and it's going to be horrible" etc. etc. etc.

But after half an hour of taking it slow, step by step, and easing him back into it, he had remembered most of what he'd been doing 6 months ago.  Phew!  I guess it's kind of like riding a bike?

Hopefully he'll be excited about his lesson on Monday, especially because two of his little friends will be in his class, and we won't have to repeat the crying, screaming stuff that we had in his first lesson without me :-o

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Movies and playdates

I got to take the Little Big Fella to his first cinema experience yesterday!  Unfortunately we were running a little late, but otherwise it was a fun experience :-)

We watched Madagascar 3 and it was definitely entertaining for adults as well as kids (Lisa, this is for you... duh duh dada dada duh duh circus, duh duh dada dada duh duh afro, circus, afro, circus, afro, polka dot, polka dot, polka dot MOVE IT!).

We had to get popcorn and a drink (of course) and then the Little Big Fella decided he had to sit on my lap.  About 3/4 through the movie my legs started going numb so I had to get him to move to his own seat :-D

The Little Big Fella really enjoyed it!  I asked him later if he likes movies at home or movies at the cinema better and there was an emphatic "movies at the cinema!!!!" response.

We went with some friends so after the movie the kids played on the playground outside while the mums sat and had a chat.  We ended up playing with the same friends today for a couple of hours.  I love that our kids get along so well (most of the time) and that we get to have a bit of a break. 

We've also made some new friends with the family of the guy the Big Fella used to drive back and forth with while he was here training for 6 months.  They have a 5 year old boy and a 7 or 8 year old girl and the Little Big Fella loves to play with them at the park.  I think we'll have to have a playdate at home soon too :-)

Speaking of playdates, I'm having a hot rocks massage party here next week and I'm a little excited!  I've never had a hot rocks massage but hopefully it'll be a fun, pampering morning and the kids that come will get along really well and not be bored (and not freak the chickens out too much).

We've also got a double party to go to this weekend - a 4th birthday party followed by her mum's birthday BBQ.  Really looking forward to both.

And, the Little Big Fella starts his swimming lessons next week.  It'll be interesting to see how he goes after such a long break, and apparently the pool is rather chilly (he's used to a heated, indoor pool).

Fun and adventures a-plenty :-D

Monday, 1 October 2012

Spiders and the Kitty Cat Disaster

The Big Fella called to me the other day, "Shell, grab your camera!"  Thinking it might be a great blogging opportunity, I obeyed :-D

I find him in the kitchen with red cordial, soda water and ice-cream.  Oh God, this is going to be messy!

The Big Fella has decided that it's time the Little Big Fella tries a spider.  In America you'd call it a float (a typical example is a root beer float).  The idea is that you put a scoop of ice-cream in the cup then pour fizzy drink over the top.  It all bubbles and foams up and the ice-cream (well, what's left of it) floats to the top.  Then you drink/scoop/eat it.

Unsurprisingly, the Little Big Fella LOVED it!


Our neighbours at the back fence have their sons for the school holidays and the Little Big Fella wanted to go over and play.  I ended up taking him over and we spent a fair portion of the afternoon there.

It was fun and chaotic with kids coming in and out, toys everywhere, Nerf guns, remote controlled everything, TV, music, people, phone calls, dramas... you get the gist!

Later in the afternoon their next door neighbours handed a 2 week old kitten over the fence for viewing and cuddles.  It was so tiny and cute!  A little black with white markings kitten, I'm not even sure its eyes were open yet.

Anyway, I was holding it, giving it a cuddle when the Little Big Fella saw it.  He wanted a hold but there were heaps of kids around and the golden retrievers were very interested in the kitten too, so I told him he could pat it, but not hold it.

Oh.  My.  Goodness!!!

He completely lost the plot!!!  I mean, tears to the point of sobbing!!!

Right!  This kid was overdone!  Over stimulated, over played, over it all!  The kitten went back over the fence, we said our goodbyes and I took him home.  He continued to cry for a few more minutes before being warned of the consequences of continuing, then he continued to ask for a "kitty cat" of his own throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening.

"Can I get a kitty cat for Christmas Mum?"

"No, you have two dogs and 5 chickens, you're not getting a cat."

"Can I get a kitty cat for my birthday Mum?"

"No honey, you already have dogs and chickens, you're not getting a cat."

"Can give them our chickens and get a kitty cat Mum?"

"No, they're our chickens.  You're not getting a cat."

"Can we take the dogs back and get a kitty cat Mum?"

"No, we are not taking the dogs back and you're not getting a cat."

"I like kitty cats Mum."

"I know honey."

The funny thing is, I'm WAY more clucky about a kitten than I am about the new baby next door... maybe I'll get a kitty cat ;-)