Mother Fluker

A Migrant Mother's Musings

Monday, December 18, 2006

Do sleighs have jet engines?

I actually got asked this by H. No, I replied, they have reindeer, you know that. He looked at me like I was an idiot. Mummy, he said, jet engines or propellers!

Fortunately H seems unscarred by Santa's lack of reassurances regarding the requested toy plane (see below). Actually I'm getting a bit worried about the plane as the number of accoutrements requested is growing daily. To begin with the plane needed a pilot and passengers. This week it also requires steps, jet engines, seats and food. Soon I'll be in the Early Learning Centre trying to find despatchers, trolleys and infant life-rafts.

The obsession with aviation is growing apace, aided no doubt by the recent and fabulous Red Bull Great Air Race which was in Perth last month. His enthusiasm for the subject has made his vocabulary expand a lot. And D flying off to Singapore has been the basis for long discussions. Like this morning:

H: "Daddy on a big plane."

Me: "Yes, that's right."

H: "Daddy going to Singapore."

Me: "Yes, Daddy has to go away for work. He'll be back soon."

H: "Has Daddy got a seat on the plane?"

Me: "Yes, Daddy has got a BIG seat on this plane" (lucky bastard is going Business Class).

H: "And some food?"

Me: "Plenty of food, yes."

H: "Will Daddy have cho-chois?" (Cheerios)

Me: "I don't think so. I think Daddy will have Sauvignon Blanc and smoked salmon" (mutters jealously).

H: "In a blue bowl?"

Me: "Possibly."

H: "And the pilot says....(garbled impression of pilot talking to radio - I think)....CLEARED for take-off, faster, faster, faster, faster, V1, V2, ROTATE!! Wheeeeeeee! Flying in the sky!"


Me: "When you're grown-up H, and you can fly a plane yourself, perhaps you could fly Mummy to Paris for lunch."

Friday, December 15, 2006

Seeing Santa

That guy is just everywhere at the moment, and up until last Saturday I had managed to avoid him very successfully. Bah, humbug. Well, not really, I was a bit worried about how H would react, as he tends to freak out a bit about stuff like that.

But last Saturday, H's daycare held a Christmas party, and guess who the guest of honour was. Hmmm. A suspiciously slender looking Santa who had clearly been to Weight Watchers since I saw him last. I'm sure Santas are fatter in the northern hemisphere. But then I suppose they can wear padding under their outfits. With Aussie temperatures that might not work at all. Santa could easily asphyxiate, which would be so hard to explain. In fact someone told me that some Santa outfits here come equipped with mini fans and aircon inside to keep Santa's body heat down to humane levels. It sounds believable to me - there's probably some union workplace agreement rule about it, after all, builders get to stop work altogether here if it rains. (Imagine that in Glasgow! The entire city wouldn't exist at all.)

Anyway, as predicted, H was fairly terrified of Santa. But greed got the better of him when we pointed out that unless he told Santa what he wanted, Santa wouldn't know. So he edged up to Santa and sat nervously on Santa's lap repeating emphatically "Toy plane! I want a toy plane please!"

Unfortunately Santa seemed to be a little deaf, and kept saying "What? You wanna go and play? Wanna play?" to him. "No, no Santa, toy PLANE!" I hissed into his other ear. To no avail. Seems there was a bit too much cottonwool in that beard.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


When I pick up H from daycare, I usually have some kind of music in the car to accompany us home. Often the choice is nursery rhymes of the variety that stick leechlike into the adult subconscious for hours afterwards, but hey, I'm that kind of selfless mother who is prepared to make that kind of sacrifice for my child. Lately however even H has got a bit sick of Raffi et al, and so I've been trying to mix it up a bit. The last few times I've driven him though, he has been plaintively requesting "the doggy song". This threw me a bit and I couldn't work out what he meant. I trawled my inner iTunes searching for "doggy".....mmmmm...How Much is that Doggy in the Window, perhaps? Where would he have heard that? Some kind of Wiggles 'Wags the Dog' song? Careful questioning was getting me nowhere, and prompting him to sing the 'doggy' song for me was a bit beyond him.

All was revealed however last night, when I randomly shoved on a CD I had been listening to a couple of weeks ago in a fit of nostalgia for a holiday in Namibia some years ago, when I drove across the Kalahari with it belting out of the hire car for a couple of weeks. As soon as it started, H shrieked "Yay! The doggy song!"

It was Music by Madonna. And Madonna clearly translates to Doggy. Looks like H is set for the same worryingly mainstream taste in music as his mother.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Winter warmer.

It's just started to get seriously warm in a Perth-summer-like way here, and I have to prevent myself from smirking when chatting to friends in the UK whingeing about gales, freezing rain and dark afternoons. In fact today I have managed very little, and have even resorted to turning on the aircon in the house for the first time this year. It's just much too hot outside to be virtuous and go for a walk other than early in the morning or late in the afternoon, and as these tend to be the pinch point times with young children, it just doesn't get done. It's enough just to grab five minutes floating about with a watering can trying to revive a few wilting plants (I am adhering rigorously to the reticulation restrictions even though my inner gardener is howling).

Anyway, I am feeling sorry for myself as D is away working in Singapore until Saturday, leaving me with sole parent responsibilities. Ridiculous really, and I know plenty of women cope with far longer and more frequent absences, and even manage to look after more than two children without turning a hair, but my anxiety level goes up a few notches at the thought of having to cope as the only responsible adult. My already broken nights are now punctuated with thoughts of exactly what I would need to do logistically if, for example, I suspected B had meningitis, or if H were to scald himself/ingest poison/have an unstoppable nosebleed, etc, etc, etc. I then further amuse myself with thoughts of how many times I am likely to completely lose my temper with H over the forthcoming days as he pursues his current favourite activity, using the word "NO!" at every possible opportunity.

Sometimes it is very depressing to be with a toddler for any length of time. Don't get me wrong. SOME of the time is uplifting, delightful, intriguing and rewarding. But some of the time is definitely depressing, when you are very tired and someone is determined to press all your buttons at once. Note to self; repeat at regular intervals. "He's two. It's what they do". Aaarrgh.

At least the hot weather means that every day H can spend a good chunk of time outside playing with water, buckets, and spades, which seems to keep him sweet as much as anything ever could right now.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

La Provence

France, France, France. What a wonderful country you are. I lived in France as a student a mere, erm, twenty years ago now, and it is just as irritating and bewitching in equal measures as I remember. Dogshit everywhere, graffiti partout, astonishingly cavalier and rude drivers, together with intensely delightful food and drink, charming towns and villages, and that certain je ne sais quoi of style and personality that gives the country such a grown-up appeal compared to so many other places.

It was the first time I had been to Provence, however, and it was somewhat gratifying to find that despite the large numbers of English residents and visitors, there was comparatively little in the way of English signs or concessions to non-French speakers in general. Which is a good thing. It forced me to resurrect my rusty skills on a daily basis, and I even managed to teach H a few words and phrases. He quickly got the hang of "Bonjour", "Merci" and "Au revoir", but seemed to absorb a whole raft of other stuff which is still emerging now, a couple of months after our return. Seeing a car park payment booth in town the other day he cried excitedly "Mummy! It's a peage!"

It's just a pity that while his brain seems to be a sponge, mine has turned into a loofah. A loofah that can't even work out how to type an acute accent.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

When in Rome

During our time in Provence, we spent a good deal of time "doing" the Roman stuff in towns like Avignon, Nimes and Arles. I wondered how this would pan out with H in tow, but as it turned out he loved it, having the chance to climb freely up and down steps while either D or I trailed leisurely behind him, audioguide playing in one ear. The other was usually marooned with feeding or burping little B, but that was no great hardship, as relaxing looking over the amphitheatres in the gentle October sunshine was a perfectly pleasant shift.

H, having got to the "What's that?" stage, was quizzing me about what happened in the amphitheatre's arena in Nimes. I took a deep breath and began hesitantly to try to explain about people being thrown to the lions. The sort of response that probably isn't in the Practical Parenting guide, I know, but I was caught on the hop a little and am still being idealistic about explaining life's realities honestly and openly (no doubt I'll grow out of it). I wasn't sure how much H was going to grasp, but he listened attentively. When I had finished he nodded in agreement and pointed down to the oval arena below. "That's the Naughty Corner!" he affirmed.

I suppose if you lasted a full two minutes in the Roman Naughty Corner you were doing pretty well.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Twenty Four Hours

...are just not enough in my day at the moment, and have sadly left no time for blogging since our return from Europe last month. More of that, in dribs and drabs, to come.

I have resolved to make more of an effort, notwithstanding the fact that next Monday we start major house renovations, which will make internet access a little patchy.

What more? Ah yes, SUMMER. While everyone in the UK shivers at fireworks party and goes home in the dark, temperatures have edged up beautifully here in lovely Perth. It's 24 degrees in H's room at night and despite my legendary coldbloodedness I have been able to leave off the electric blanket for weeks now. Bliss.