November 2006 Archives

Shame Job

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Dear Finn

One of the things that we spend a lot of time doing together is going out and drinking coffee. I like (have an undying need) to drink coffee and you like to stare at ceiling fans, of which our favourite place has a couple. Frequently I have a friend or two with me, or I meet someone there to talk to, and we try and have an adult conversation of sorts. Once you've finished your breadstick or whatever foodstuff I've used to distract you from this Mum is daring to focus on someone other than me moment, you start to get a little fractious. A little I want to climb out of my pram and run out the door. A little I feel like whining and squirming and generally ruining any possibility of you lot having an interesting time that doesn't involve you making unlikely and embarrassing animal noises to amuse me.

Which is when I bring out the big guns. The gorgeously velvet foamy chocolately goodness that reclines on the top of my mocha, for a start. I don't give you any of the caffeine loaded body of the coffee so stop blaming me for your inability to sit still (that's distinctly genetics and not from my slothful side either). Anyway. Once you've had a couple of mouthfuls of foam I tend to just hand you the teaspoon. Which you chew on, suck on, and then eventually throw away. Sometimes you manage to con some naive soul into picking it up for you, so you can play the oops look at clumsy me managing to lose the spoon again game. Sometimes you manage to throw it in such a clever way that it falls through a crack into the basket in the bottom of your pram. Generally this remains unnoticed by all until we get home or a few days later.

Now we go out to drink coffee pretty regularly. Like most days. There's a lot of distraction, a lot of teaspoons. Some very clever throwing. The stack of teaspoons with previous owners was getting downright embarrassing. Enough was enough. Cutlery drawers are only so big. So, your dutiful mother went through the drawer and sorted out the ones that came from our favourite cafe, which were luckily easy to distinguish, and bravely sucking up her pride, took them back.

I presented barista Rachel with a good 15 teaspoons and an embarrassed smile and told her the story of your clever antics. They had been discussing the Mystery Of The Missing Teaspoons and thought someone had lent over the counter and grabbed a handful one day. They were greatly amused to learn that it was just one small accurately-throwing child and a catch-all pram over the space of a few weeks. A teaspoon thieving SYSTEM, no less. I drank my humiliation-laden mocha and refused to give you any cutlery. The Spoon lady they called me, chuckling.

Hardly fair I thought. Like I had anything to do with it.

The lady and her clepto spoon-fixated son.
Now that would have been far more accurate.


Warning: Mention of Poos and Wees

Dear Finn

I got this magazine the other day which talked about toilet training of toddlers. It had a little quiz which tested your readiness to self-toileting and you failed it totally, which wasn't that surprising since you're only 15 months old. You probably have no hope actually, if you take after your father...he was brought up on a farm and I think for the first 15 years of his life he peed outside.

But they had these other things that we could do...pre-toilet training ideas that are supposed to get you used to the whole idea. When I change your nappy I'm meant to narrate the process...yeah ok I can do this. So you know about clean nappies, wiping your bum, and hold still dammit...don't put your hands all through it...FIIINNNN...wait! When I hear you grunting away and see your face change to a funny puce like colour...I'm meant to say "you're going poos in your nappy. Are you doing poos in your nappy?". We also tend to do this, unless we have company...because they just give us a look like we're some kind of batshit insane family with unusual perversions.

I tend to change your nap in the bathroom these well as stopping the whole house stinking like crap, it allows me to put your poos down the toilet and you can watch them being flushed away. I even have the urge to say "bye bye poos" but I'm not sure if that's in the manual. You're quite amenable to this part...the other day, after you'd strained away (I really should get more fibre in your diet), I asked you if you wanted to put your poos in the toilet, and you went straight to the bathroom door and waited to be let in.

The last thing mentioned is to be open about you watching us going to the toilet. The wees bit is fine. Mummy is doing wees. Mummy is wiping herself with toilet paper. Look how it all gets flushed away. Yesterday you just happened to wander in while I was doing Number Twos. Oh well I thought since you're here, I might as well tell you what's going on. But when it comes to trying to wipe my bum and there's a little blonde head in my way, staring in earnest fascination at the excretions of my body...I'm starting to be a bit over the whole thing. There has to be some mystery left right? I bet the Queen never let Prince Charles be a dedicated observer when she was on the royal crappola.

So hmmm. Toilet readiness training. Not sure about it at all.
But I'm sure you (and we) will figure it out one day.


Brain Games

Dear Finn

It takes a lot of lateral thinking these days on my part to find where you've put things. It's been like this for a wee while, but up until now it's mostly been funny. Like we find the cheese grater in the plastic bag drawer, or I find my shoe in the computer drawer...and your Dad and I laugh a little and accuse each other of being drunk or retarded....when in reality it is you. That's drunk or retarded.

Lately it's been rather more important things. The other day Ian invited me out for a coffee and I said, sure, meet you downstairs in a sec. I got off the phone and realised that you'd been in my bag and strewn the contents of my wallet all over the lounge floor. When I tidied it up in speedy fashion I was missing one $10 note and one credit card. I had no other money. Asking you where you've put my money and my card got very little response. You're just so excited to be going out that you're pawing impatiently at the door wondering what the hold up was. I could hear you thinking Bloody women. Always take so long to get ready. So we head out and I told Ian that it's his shout today, and the funny story and that was all fine.

When I got home, caffeine-wired, I tried to think like a toddler that loves to open and close all cupboards and drawers, take things out and leave them to trip up unwary walkers. Or perhaps the toddler that likes to perform little tasks like putting his dirty naps into the rubbish bin and watch his poo being flushed down the toilet. Or perhaps the toddler who just likes to cling to my legs when I'm cooking, desperate to see the genius gastronome at work. Ha. That didn't help. So I just systematically went through every nook and cranny that you open, close or express any vague interest in. And I find $10 in the paper recycling bin. You little eco-warrior you. Should've guessed. You have been picking up any scrap of paper you find recently and trotting it over for recycling. One of your more cute traits we thought. Lucky you can't get to the rubbish bin by yourself we also thought.

Yesterday I let you play with the wireless keyboard. I took the batteries out of it first...being a bit more clever about these things these days. Your take on what your parents do on the computer is hilarious...a bit of random bashing on the keyboard with flat hands, followed by a couple of clicks of the mouse and then pointing at the screen with accompanying vocal noise full of the money god dressed in a gold lame bikini has just flown by eating swiss chocolates. This cycle has many repetitions. When I got to use the pc again and you had run off to do something else, the batteries for the keyboard were gone. Sigh. To cut the long boring, increasingly frustrating, search part of the story short...I eventually found them in my handbag.

The pc and the handbag and all the joy and fun that they contain.
They rock your world.

You rock mine baby.

The One About the Toilet and the Pram...

Dear Finn

You have discovered a disgusting a new trick. So gross that I even find it hard to mention it...but in the interests of completeness and perhaps for the potential hilarity at your 21st it bears mentioning. Yesterday I used the toilet, as one does these days with a conscientious observer, and I narrate the process in the interests of toilet training readiness education. After we'd gone through the whole flushing, putting the seat down palaver and I was washing my hands...I turned around and you had pushed the seat back up. You were putting your hand in the bowl of the toilet and then sucking the water off your fingers. Eeeewwww.

I didn't quite know what to do. I met a woman the other day who kept her toddler son out of toilets by telling him they were dirty...and was then wondering how she was going to toilet train him if he thought all toilets were bad places. So I didn't yell. Or vomit. I'm just sort of hoping that the fascination of the giant push-button waterfall will subside over time.

Another less disgusting new habit is your love of pushing your pram wherever it may be and wherever it may go. You can't see where you are going and you get extraordinarily annoyed if it gets stuck against a wall or somesuch. We or rather I look like a total dick. Picture this. A woman walks along steering with one hand, an empty pram. There is no child in sight. She is walking as slow as a snail. What the hell is she doing? She is a total dick.

Liz suggested to me today that I wrap up a doll and put it in the pram. I think more in the interests of making me look less like a total dick, rather than replacing you with an inanimate object. But when I think about it...I bet that doll wouldn't be shoving its hands in the toilet anytime soon.

Ha. You know I'm joking.