Happy 5th Birthday, Tally

August 12, 2014

To our dearest Tally,

At 6am this morning you mumbled into my ear; “I’m not sleepy anymore.”  Then you dropped back to sleep for another hour.  At 7am you were looking so happy to have all of us crowding around your bed… “What’s special about today, Tally?”  You had your biggest smile on, the one where your eyes just about disappear.  Pappa handed you a present and you replied “It’s my birthday!”

And so it is.  Five years of fun, fantastic, frustrating, funny, flipped-out, fabulous life for you.  Don’t tell anyone, but I still think of you as my baby boy.  I guess you’re going to get stuck with that for life, being my youngest child and being the cutest buddle of huggles I’ve ever met.  You are certainly growing up though!  There are so many things that you are independent about, things that may sound everyday but are still important- like feeding, bathing and dressing yourself.  You bake a mean choc brownie!  And other things that are really important- like playing so happily with your sister (when you’re not fighting) all those imaginary games and characters and situations, learning to read and approaching every kid in the park with a smile and a “Hi, my name is Tally, what’s yours?”  You don’t always get a response, but that doesn’t daunt you.  You’re a think-outside-the-box kinda guy, if the first attempt doesn’t work, you find a bucket, a stick, a leaf, a toy, a mud puddle, a handful of snow, and ask; “Would you like to play with this, with me?”

Your tenacity is great.  You like to get things finished.  Do you remember starting karate lessons, shortly after your fourth birthday?  Your concentration and focus wasn’t great, but it has improved immeasurably, and now, after sticking at it, you’ve just advanced from white to yellow belt.  Even been asked to help Sensei demonstrate punches and kicks to new students.  Everyone is justifiably proud of you.  Sometimes your determination drives me up the wall!  You’re learning patience and flexibility.  Sometimes the things you want to do, say, be, see, be part of; have to be balanced with the same for others.  It’s not easy, is it little fella?

We’ve had some grand adventures since your last birthday.  You’ve seen and been to some amazing places; the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Lake Ontario foreshores, Niagara Falls, Welland Canal among them, and tried your hand at dog-sled mushing, skiing, skating, bicycling, rock climbing, caving, tobogganing and river rafting.  I love so much that you don’t baulk at any of the crazy things we throw at you.  You sometimes need a moment or two to warm up, but you are fearless and (so far) indestructible.  We all have limits and I’m happy to see you learn yours on your own.  You’ll make mistakes, maybe break a bone or decide on something that later turns out to be wrong, or suffer a broken heart, but remember these things heal and pass, the fear of them is not enough to stop the attempt.

Your next adventure starting in a few short weeks, will be full time school!  I can’t wait to see what exciting things school has in store for you.  I hope you look forward to it too.  One thing I’m really hoping for is that you will find a few good friends.  (They really are like gold.)  Moving about does have the downside of not settling in with people, leaving people behind…  I have felt bad that you of all of us, have had to do without friends.  Just as you were finding them in Oz and then at the big house, we’ve pulled you away.  I’m sure with your attitude and five days a week at school, we’ll be inundated with new adventurers and play mates.

Tally, keep smiling, keep trusting, keep a look out and a weather eye out; there’s adventures to be had in them thar hills!

With all my love, always,

your mum, Petra


trip to the dentist

July 17, 2013

the most exciting thing we did today was go to the dentist.  (finally the family’s health insurance, thru paul’s employment came thru.)  tally really liked it!  the dentist has a small kids playroom next to the waiting room so tally felt like he was just going to a play centre.  then they have tv’s mounted on the ceiling above each chair so he just watched angelina ballerina (his favourite show!  until another came on and then that was his favourite) the entire time.  his teeth were all ok so just a short clean and out he hopped.

percy did like it too.  she rode the small car thing in the waiting room, tho she’s much too big for it and got to pick a temporary tattoo out of a goodie box at the end.  in between she needed a filling!  i’m aghast!  i’m pretty militant about cleaning the kids teeth but obviously this slipped past me.  hope it’s the last filling for a while.  she’s on to her third wobbly tooth now.  the second one was the front lower one right next to the first one that fell out a couple of months ago.  this second one was a little bit of a worry because the adult tooth is growing in behind, more ‘inside’ her mouth because the baby one is still occupying the spot it’s supposed to come up into.  the dentist previously advised that if it doesn’t come out soon enough and the adult tooth doesn’t start to move into the right spot something may have to be done.  thankfully the baby tooth fell out about a week after that and the dentist today said the adult one is doing fine, leave it be.

all up the kids behaved wonderfully and thought the whole expedition quite fun.  hopefully there won’t be any irrational fears of “going to the dentist” sprout up later in life.  i’ve never understood being afraid of dentist visits, but then i’ve never had anything particularly painful done inside my mouth.  actually, remembering now, i did have a filling about the same age as percy.  we were living in blairgowrie which would make me 6 or 7 years old. …in victoria back in the 80s a free dental van came around to all public schools.  i was told that i needed a filling, did i want an anaesthetic?  “what’s a filling?  what’s an anaesthetic?  who are these people?  what are you asking me?” was what my brain was doing, my face was doing “duuuuh?” and my mouth said “ok, no.”  i find it hard to believe that a filling didn’t require parental consent, but maybe this was the no-free-choice 80s and who needs consent to stick things in kids mouths?  so while i remember that is was painful, i don’t remember the pain.  i’ve not grown wisdom teeth, meaning i’ve skipped the joys of having them removed, and otherwise my mouth and teeth have been pretty healthy and uneventful.  no dumb-ass fear of dentists for me, and i trust not for percy and tally either.

unwell little boy

June 12, 2013

poor tal has a high temperature.  i haven’t actually measured it but he’s hot to the touch, not just his forehead, his torso too.  he has a phlegmy cough and a gravelly voice, which if it wasn’t so sad, would be funny coming from such a cutie, delicate looking boy.

he spent the day either in our bed or on the lounge, when he wasn’t asking for hugs from me.  tally likes to hug with me lieing down on my back and him lieing on top of me.  it’s endearing but not easy to slide out from under when you need to pee or he falls asleep on you and you think now’s a good time to get lunch prepared for your other child.

percy played the role of nurse very well.  she was solicitous and gentle, tho a bit too pushy trying to get him to drink and eat.  i’m very proud of her empathy and problem-solving today.

i hope a good nite’s sleep marks some improvement in little tal.  otherwise we’ll have to find a new doctor asap.  we’d be coming up for finding a new doctor soon anyways- he’s due for his 4 year old vaccinations in august.

most saddening days when your kids are sick…

ontario science centre

June 8, 2013

since percy had a pupil-free day today, and i can only bear legoland again if i wear a bag on my head, we went to the ontario science centre.

bloody lazy teachers needing a pupil-free day.  you already get 8 weeks more holidays than anybody else, working only nine months a year, what’s the deal?!  today i also finished reading a book by the ex-actor/boxer/talk show host tony danza that gave his perspective on his year of teaching english to i think a year nine or ten class in an enormous, not-prosperous high school in phillidelphia.  interesting read, by no means literature, tho an honest peek into the crushing load carried by teachers.

the day percy’s over-worked teacher and her colleagues took a day for whatever re-grouping they needed, also felt like the day every other school had decided to take their kids to the science centre! my god, it was packed in there!  trying to tell a six and a three year old that they have to stick close to me because quite frankly if i lost them in there i would just give up and come home empty-handed, is not a task that has a high likelihood of success.  so, yeah, i did lose them a couple of times, actually tally i misplaced about 5 times.  little bastard. next time i have to remember to dress them in fluoro colours and tie a bike flag to their asses.  do you know what 238 less-than-waist-high kids dressed pretty much identically, moving at high speed, looks like?  ONE BIG BLUR!  pick out the darling rosebud that you have raised and lovingly gazed at daily for years?  not a chance- anything distinguishing is lost in the blur.  anyways, i’m pretty sure the right kid is tucked into bed now.  paul didn’t ask me “who’s this?” when he saw him.

the ontario science centre rocks!  i wear my nerd hat (not cap) with happiness.  two trips now and we still haven’t seen it all.  that’s the good thing about membership- lots of visits means no one panic to see it all in one go.  there’s great sections for the kids to get all hands-on as well as plenty to keep adults busy and informed.  ‘course the two don’t mix.  watching and occasionally helping percy and tally out precludes any learning or pursuing of interests that i may otherwise get to do.  tho, nicely, i think they had worn themselves out enough, and percy is being indoctrinated into answering questions (thank you school) that i was able to spend some time in the section on paper  making, writing, books and printing.  largely because there was a small quiz of true/false questions that we answered together.  more correct answers than wrong, phew.

and surprisingly the cafeteria makes good hot chips.  thank you membership; they’re pretty cheap too.  ticking off two essential food groups in my kids diet; hot, deep fried potato sticks and ketchup we continued our exploration.  given the number of people there today i think we did very well.  percy and tally didn’t spear tackle anyone into the ground, i didn’t swear once.  successful day out al’ round.  i will have to look up the imax cinema they have too as the touted movies/docos looked interesting, but they don’t seem to have the screening times displayed anywhere.  plus we didn’t get outside.  not sure what’s outside but it’s on a big piece of forested land, in my computation there’s got to be something.

trip home was a bit more annoying.  i really thought they would fall asleep.  irritating and distracting is what they did instead.  which lead to them being sent to bed when we arrived home at 3pm.  this is a boon punishment.  but i’ll tell you about that another time.

i definitely like the ontario science centre.  my membership gets two adults and four kids in for the year (ending march 2014.)  if you want to go with me, entry for two of your kids is free!

Happy 3rd Birthday, Talvin

September 18, 2012

to my darling tally,

on the 12th of august we celebrated your third year of life.  what a special, gorgeous boy you are.  i’m so happy you’re with us.  you are sweet and cheeky, brave and kind, soft and funny.

it’s been a delight to have you in our lives for the past three years, i’m thrilled to think we’ll travel together for many more to come.  you are so loved by all of us.  even percy, whom you sometimes bug so much and irritate her to the point she’ll give you a thump (what are siblings for, hey?), loves you with all her heart.  we know that you love us, that you are confident in your knowledge of your place with us.  you always refer to us as “my percy’, “my mamma”, “my pappa.”  you’re very right, you know.  we’ll always belong to you.

these three years have gone so quickly (even the past 4 weeks have flown by, i’m late in posting a message for your birthday.)  i sometimes wish we could have them again, but then i think of all the great things that are yet to come…  will you keep delighting us and freaking us out?!  i’m sure you will.  i think of the funny games you play and ridiculous things you say; like wanting to “break oopi open to see what’s inside,” and making your food talk; “hello pappa, i’m a bana” (you haven’t got the other ‘na’ on the end of banana yet)

you don’t remember but you freaked us out for a year between six months of age and 18 months, when you pretty much threw up everything you ate.  you fell off the bottom of the weight scale and doctors started saying things like “failure to thrive…”  you’re still a skinny thing and oh how you are thriving!  nothing and no-one is out of bounds for you.  i hope, my son, you’ll forever thrive on new things and new experiences.  smile that gorgeous creased-eye grin of yours and say ‘hello’, it’s worked well so far!  there’s so many more people and places to say hello to and get to know.  let’s get around to a few more together, hey?  when you’re ready to see and make friends with the rest on your own, i’ll let your fingers slide from mine with a catch in my heart that only i’ll see.  it’s the catch on a latch that will never close.  it’s there for you, to open and to visit whenever you want.  because as much as you are my son, i always and forever belong to you.


August 14, 2012

a couple of thursdays ago i was driving up to the seymour centre to join my lovely friend emma in listening to a town planning talk.  (i still love town planning, parts of it… i’d do paid work in the field if the circumstances were right…)

having agreed to try to meet at 6pm, i’m cruising up the highway sniggering at all the opposing rush hour traffic when i get a telephone call.  caller id lets me know it’s paul.  i almost sigh and think to myself; it’s two kids paul, they’re already fed and mostly tidied up after all, all you have to do is bathe them and put them to bed.  what can you need me for?  nevertheless i answer and paul in a panicked voice, without any “hello’s” tells me i must come home; tally has run away!


i’m getting set to question him but he hangs up.  shit! shit! shit! shit! shit!  and a few other choice expletives.  i’m driving thru rockdale at this point.  that series of traffic lights that seems to go on for ever… you know the ones?  so i change lanes, turn into a side street, screech around a ’round-about and join that rush hour traffic i was smirking at just two minutes ago.

creeping along my deranged mind turns to all sorts of horrid things that i’m sure every parent’s brain would do.  where is he?  is he hurt? cold? lost? trapped? is he in company?  good or bad? has someone taken him?  is he frightened? is he crying? screaming? bleeding? broken? …dead?  hard to see the traffic now.  (so much for a nice face of make-up.)

i ring emma.  sorry hun, going to disappoint you.  heading home to find my missing son.  of course she fully understands and says not to worry about her.

more creeping along.  i once read if you are driving in traffic there are two options to getting ahead.  either stick with the lane you’re in and persist; you’ll be surprised that you get where you want to faster than if you chop and change lanes a few times.  or, change lanes constantly, always pushing for that little bit of gain, squeezing in, angling ahead.  i think it’s safe to say i took the second option.  it feels more proactive.  but, honestly, i don’t remember much of that trip home.

nearing home i finally dialled 000, was about to press ‘call’ when paul rang again to say he’d found him.  aahhh, breathe…

what had happened?  i dashed out the door as paul walked in at 5:15.  pretty sure i locked the handle but tally can now open that.  i didn’t close the gate and the deadlock on the door didn’t get done.  shortly afterwards tally took off up the driveway with a dvd in hand.  he apparently said to the young woman that paul found him walking with nearly two blocks away that he wanted his mamma to put the movie on.  he said to me later that he was running after me and pappa was running after him! no shit!

poor paul.  no tally in the house, not in the front yard, not on the street outside the house.  he ran thru our forested back yard yelling for him.  not there.  out to the  road again.  dash around to blanka and leo’s and mez and colin’s houses (20 seconds away when you really run) not there.  colin grabbed a torch to come out and help look.  paul’s back on the street when a guy walking his dog says to him “are you looking for a little boy?”  was it the wild desparation on him that gave that away? “yes!”, “he’s down there with a young woman” pointing yet further away from our home.  paul sprints down the hill, there’s tally.  oh my god, what a truly awful 15 minutes.

well, with less than a week of effort i’ve given up on toilet training tally.

last friday we ran out of nappies, on purpose, and i told tally he will have to start wearing his underpants now.  he seemed fairly receptive to the idea.  so for friday, the weekend and monday we persisted.  we also had a lot of little boy trousers, undies and socks to wash.  hmmm…

it’s frustrating because i’m quite sure if he wanted to he’d be trained virtually overnite.  he ticks all the boxes about being ready, he just doesn’t want to.  we have to find the right incentivisation method.  yes i made that up.  it comes from frustration.  i’m really sick of changing nappies but i also don’t want tally to have a crying fit every time i ask him to sit on the potty.  bribing him with chocolate- which i did from the first day, isn’t really a long term solution.

on tuesday tally refused to pee, even tho he sat on the potty with lower levels of fuss.  i just couldn’t let him go to gymnastics class, at 10:30am, without having peed all morning.  i can’t afford to replace what i’m sure is thousands of dollars of gymnastics equipment should he piss all over it.  i put a nappy on him after three no-shows on the potty and toilet.  for a couple of reasons he wore this nappy ’til 4pm when i changed him back to underpants.  the nappy was sodden, and he pretty soon peed in his pants.  grrrrr….

yesterday my cold was getting more and more unbearable, reducing my tolerance to nearly everything, and after the third change of clothes he was back in a nappy in the early afternoon.  and he’s been in one since.  boo.  never mind.

i know everyone says boys are harder to toilet train and take longer than girls.  a lot of people don’t even bother trying until their boys are 3 years old.  i’ve heard of 4 yr olds still in nappies.  i’m sure he won’t be going to school in nappies.  still!  i want him toilet trained!


earth girls are easy

June 9, 2011

or at least i think they are compared to earth boys!  i’m still undecided if it is a boy thing or a second child thing or just the different personalities of my two darlings but percy was far easier to influence and direct than tally is proving to be.  some examples: i told percy more than a year ago if she runs onto a road or doesn’t hold my hand when we walk across a road there’s a good likelihood she will be hit by a car and killed.  she got this and behaves very well on roads, tally on the other hand (!) thinks it’s a great joke to tear up the driveway and burst onto the road the moment he is let out of the front door- continuously.  back in erko we had our hundreds of books on bookshelves ranged about the house.  percy pulled a few shelves down once and was reprimanded and asked not to do that again, and she never did.  i’m kind  of thankful that all our books are in storage for this year or two because i’m sure i’d be packing away books all day long, every day if tally could get to them.  percy understood the requirement for warm jumpers and enclosed shoes in her first winter, tally screams blue murder if you try to put anything but sandals on his feet (yes, he looks very stylish in long, thick socks and sandals) pulls off his slippers and socks at the first opportunity and is a struggle to get into anything beyond a singlet.

sure, percy is challenging and difficult in more a negotiating, having control of her environment, asserting her will and understanding that other people require things in life that she must contribute to, way.  for instance she needs to pee and get dressed promptly in the morning so mamma can get her to day care in time to also get to her train in time, to get to work in time.  we are seeing improvement…

overall i do find having to tell or request of tally the same thing repeatedly thru the day and day after day, wearying.  i know it won’t last forever but it is lowering my patience quotient quickly.

hence, in my experience, earth girls are easier than boys!

the thirlmere rail heritage mueseum (of whatever it’s called) held a “day out with thomas” yesterday.  i took percy and tally while paul was off getting our new car.  both percy and tally really enjoyed themselves and were very well behaved.