Photos from the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium.
In the last couple of months, before and after Christmas, I decided to impose an ultimatum in the household. It may sound a bit harsh for everyone else but for me, it feels right.
Basically the rule is whatever is on the table for lunch or dinner will be the only thing consumed for lunch or dinner. There is no asking for pasta, or spaghetti or sandwich or whatever else you feel like eating. If you don’t want to eat what is on the table, you don’t eat at all.
My little one went through a fussy food phase last year and I made the mistake of letting her drive what she wanted to eat, mainly because I didn’t want to argue.
But I realised fairly quickly (thank goodness) that it was totally wrong. And yes, I go back to this view quite often but I again I compared this situation to the kids in the Philippines (or any other third world country for that matter) who scamper for food, no matter what type or how unclean, because they are starving.
Mums have a hard time feeding their kids. In first world countries, it’s because kids are fussy. In third world countries, it’s because there is nothing to feed them.
So I explained this situation to my little one and I told her that from now on, if she doesn’t eat what’s there, she doesn’t eat at all.
And you know what? I meant it too. I don’t do empty threats. When she realised this (fairly quickly I might add), she followed the rules. And yes, she might not finish all of it (which I think is fine) but she does consume a reasonable amount of food without complaints. By food I mean meat and vegetables (broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower, etc) – vegetables that are not hidden in her food.
I’m not totally unwavering in this situation. I let her choose her breakfasts, we have pasta nights, pancake mornings, crepe meals, pizza nights and dessert nights (not all in the same week). But the rule has helped a lot with the meals and I’m so glad I stuck to it.
Written 24 January, Thursday
I was hoping the year wouldn’t start with death. I was hoping we wouldn’t have death in the family this year. But things are always beyond our control aren’t they?
Felix died today. After weeks of being really unwell, we finally decided to let him go. We did all we could. Everything in our power.
Where I came from, we don’t spend money on sick animals. If they are dying, we can’t do anything about it. But even here in Australia, some people probably wouldn’t spend that much to help out a pet. But how can we not? Felix was with us for over nine years. He’s my big galump. My bundagul. My cute little dumbo. He’s family. You do all you can for family.
We doubted our decision to finally put him down, but when we saw him at the vet, I knew it was the right thing to do. He was not the dog he wanted to be – playful, cheeky, happy. He was lying there, barely breathing, and unable to stand up. I was grateful for the pain medication the vet gave him. At least he wasn’t in too much pain.
I had second thoughts as well about telling MiniK that Felix was dying. I was tempted to tell tales of Felix going to a farm somewhere in woopwoop where we were not allowed to visit. But in the end, I told her the truth – as close to the truth as I can possibly say. I told her that Felix was going to heaven to join Knoppy (my FIL). That he was very sick and the vet can’t help him anymore.
She cried. She only just recently lost her grandfather, and now she’s never going to see Felix again. It was a devastating cry of grief. We family-cuddled (including Stitch, who has been very sooky since we took Felix to the vet a couple of days ago) and comforted each other.
We all went to the vet to say our final goodbyes. One of the vets entertained MiniK with some kittens while hubby and I held Felix as he went to dog heaven. It took me back over nine years ago when we had to put down Rina too, hubby’s little dog. Needless to say we cried like mad. The house feels quieter, sadder. A family member is missing.
MiniK was very cheery at the vet especially after we told her we were going to get another dog soon. I thought that was what perked her up. But when we got home, I realised she was happy because she thought Felix wasn’t going to die. She thought we were coming home with him because we all saw him alive and breathing at the vet. I guess it didn’t sink in yet that when she said goodbye that was really goodbye.
When she realised Felix was really gone, she was devastated. I am so grateful that little kids are so resilient. She perked up later on when we reassured her we would get Stitch a new playmate.
I never get use to losing a pet. It’s so easy to go to that place in your head and say “he’s just a dog” but it’s not true. He wasn’t just a dog. He was our Felix.
The start of the year has been hectic to say the least. I have calluses in my hand from cleaning up the house after coming back from the holidays. Plus, the deadlines are back (yay and nay because school doesn’t start for another week!).
But lining up some kiddie activities before we left was a great idea as it gave my little one something to look forward to, instead of just “assisting” me with chores.
First off was the Wildlife Park Sydney visit to see the latest addition to their family – the Tasmanian devils. I love these little creatures, they are cute but can also chew through bone! Awesome. Unfortunately, they are saying that in 25 years or less, these little animals could be extinct in the wild because of a contagious cancer.
The zoo has a breeding program for these little cuties and I’m hoping that on our next visit, they will come out to say hi (they found a way to bury underground away from the viewing window while we were there).
Even so, Mini K had a blast looking at the other animals during the show and meeting Finn and Jake from Adventure Time. They’ll be appearing daily at the zoo from 13 – 19 January between 10am-1pm. I’ve watched that show – it has something for the kids and the adults – such a bizarre but entertaining concept. (And there was a giant duck toy at Darling Harbour too, a real WTF moment).
The next day, Mini K went to Mickey’s Rockin Road Show with me and our friends for an afternoon of fun. Although she still had a bit of cough, she was very much into the show – standing up, dancing around, bouncing around. They loved every bit of it. I especially loved the Tigger dance when they threw giant balls to the crowd. It was a great party for the kids. The show will be touring Sydney until the 13th of January. To get tickets, go to their Disney Live website.
I promise to post more soon. I’ve written many pages of blog entries. Just been so knackered, as usual. Hope you all had a good start to your year!
In two weeks, we will be celebrating my little one’s fourth birthday, and I’ve decided to take this on at home.
It’s not something I haven’t done before but the difference is that this time, I will actually have more kids around for the party. My little girl has made lots of friends over the years, and a couple of them are coming over.
Adults I know what to do with (wine, cheese, crackers, pizza yay!), but kids, I’m completely in new territory. What do you do with them? What do you feed them? What allergies do they have? Are they scared of dogs? What do I do with our two little dogs?
I sent out the invites ages ago. And I mean ages! It’s half my fault. MiniMe wouldn’t stop asking whether I’ve sent out her birthday invites so I made them and sent them out early.
As the day draws closer, I’m trying hard not to panic. Have I mentioned before how I wasn’t a kid person? I’m still not. I have a limit and can be tolerant, but I’m not one of those people who automatically warm up to kids (think Luke from The Gilmore Girls but without the hat).
I’m relying on hubby (who is a cartoon character incarnate – think Lorelai from GG) to be his usual entertaining self, as well as the other mums coming who have more experience with kids.
I wanted to keep things simple but also entertaining so here’s what I did as an initial plan (and please, if you have any advice, share share share!)
- I’ve booked a bouncy castle with a shade for four hours (not as expensive as I initially thought, pretty good deal).
- We’re serving DIY hotdogs and sandwiches for lunch, aside from the usual chicken pieces, chips and crackers, juice boxes etc (no eggs, no nuts).
- I’m getting a piñata and some bubbles (not champagne, the ones that actually make bubbles).
- We want to do three games, sticking to the classics like Trip to Jerusalem, Paper Dance and Statue Dance.
- We’ll be using disposable plates, cups, forks and so on.
- I’m sticking to arts and crafts, stickers and bubbles for party bags.
- I’ve booked the cake. I did cupcakes last year so I’m changing it this year.
- I’ve asked two friends to take the photos for the day, since I expect to be busy (God bless talented friends).
Have I missed anything else? What shit can happen on the day that I have to be prepared for? Someone say something!
I was invited to my first ever Bloggers Brunch last week and you can imagine just how happy I was to be part of that. I’ve heard of the talk of the massive goodie bags, and I admit it, I wanted to get them for myself. I expected that and I got them. But what I wasn’t expecting was the inspirational talk during the event. I’ve zoned out speeches in my life as a journalist and I was thinking I might go that way too for the BB speeches. But what these women said could not be ignored. And the messages came to me just when I needed it most.
Being grateful for what you have leads to happiness. Not the constant search for wealth, travel, the perfect body and so on. I’ve always been grateful for what I have, I think mainly because I’ve always had very little. I think maybe that’s why I’m still standing strong even though we’ve been slapped around by the universe like her own little prison bitch.
So as part of that grateful exercise I got from the event, here is my own little collage of things I’m grateful for.
The last couple of months have been rough on us to say the least. My FIL’s death didn’t only affect us emotionally but also financially since we had to take some time off work. This all overlapped with the bankruptcy phase where, for some reason, we seem to have been given the nastiest officer in the government. Several consultants have been surprised at their harshness towards us. Apparently, they’ve never seen it this horrible before. Aren’t we lucky? Not.
With all of the above on absolute chaos, we were hoping my pay would save us for November. Guess what? The payment officer is on leave till the end of the month and no one else knows how the system works. I’ve followed up, believe me. But nothing.
Then there’s Mama’s health that’s scaring the crap out of me. Thankfully my sisters are on top of that. But I still can’t help but worry given I’m miles away from them.
Minime and I had a couple of days of cough and cold but with everything else we’ve been dealing with, I think that’s really just a pimple to be popped.
So the other night, when the universe decided to throw us another challenge, I just had to crack up. We’re down to our last $200 to last the whole month (not kidding here) and so we really don’t have the money to take our dog to the vet, who is now pissing everywhere in the house.
Universe, if you’re listening here’s what I have to say: “Yo bitch, bring it on!”
The house has been left a bit lonely after the jolly presence of my friend’s family. After over a dozen years, we finally saw each other again. It was like no time has passed. The funniest thing is that my little one initially said she’s going to be shy when they come to stay, but the moment the door opened and my friend’s boys came in, MiniMe was the most enthusiastic hostess.
They didn’t stop playing. The shrieks of joy were a very good sound in the house. It allowed the adults to talk and catch up as the kids played all the games they could think of.
They were only here for two days and only had a day to go around Sydney so I had to figure out the most time efficient way to pack activities in. I took them to the Sydney SEA LIFE Aquarium and the Wildlife Park, then the Opera House at the end of the day. Having been to these places soooo many times, it is a big difference when you take people who have never been there before. They were absolutely fascinated by the creatures they saw and had a great time absorbing everything. My friends’ kids are so clever and devoured the information they read.
At the end of the day, we were all exhausted but we had such a great time. Seeing these tourist spots with friends who are not from here emphasises even more to me how lucky I am to be living here. It’s not that easy, yes. Living anywhere always has its niggles, but I would never trade it for the world.
My friend, Claire, lives a very different life from mine. She is a very popular broadcaster in the Philippines and has been awarded internationally for her captivating stories on children. The life she lives now was the life I intended for myself. When she said she was surprised at how my life turned out, domestic goddess mama and all that, I admitted to her that I was surprised to have it myself — especially since I am actually happy with the life I didn’t plan to have.
Her kids are amazing, very clever, inquisitive and polite. I gave them copies of my book and her eldest was inspired to write his own. He’s already started writing his own scifi book but didn’t know there is actually a way for him to turn that into an actual book. I told him I would be more than happy to help him with it once he’s finished writing it. He’s only 10, it’s the best age to start on something you’re passionate about.
Baking isn’t one of my friend’s strong suits so the kids were very excited to have a go at it, even if it was already almost nine at night. I told them what to do and they made it themselves. I basically just helped mix it and placed it in the oven. They were excited to try their first ever choc chip creation.
Two days was too short, but I am thankful for the chance to catch up with her and her family. I truly hope her career soars even higher, she has it. Definitely.