Monday, September 30, 2013

My kid's a genius! How's yours?

I happened upon an article recently that described a set of guidelines being circulated to all early childhood educators and maternal and child health nurses to help them identify gifted children. Now, I’m pretty sure I don’t need these guidelines to know that my children are, (naturally) gifted but for your information the ‘signs’ to watch out for are:

* Using complicated words or sentences.
* Coming up with unusual ideas.
* Having an extraordinary memory.
* Being socially and emotionally mature for their age.
* Advanced physical ability such as extraordinary athletic skills.

I have excellent examples of all the above for both my children. But I’ll just stick to Noam, my eldest. A three year old who is a sensitive new age toddler, fully in touch with his feminine side.

Noam has always been fond of large words and since his father is French it came as no surprise to us that his first words to us were: ‘Bonjour. Je voudrais un biscuit s’il vous plait’.

Recently I asked him to put his toys away after he’d finished with them and he replied: ‘I will acquiesce to your request momentarily. Presently I am enjoying the art and craft stylings of Mister Maker. Also, bickie. Tout de suite.’ What a little treasure.

Noam is always coming up with unusual ideas. At first it was intriguing, though somewhat juvenile experiments like ‘Will Mummy’s perfume bottle float in the toilet?’ or ‘Is my own faecal matter a good skin exfoliant?’ But lately he has leapt ahead and I found him fashioning a step ladder from legos so he could reach the biscuit barrel. Einstein!

Noam’s memory improves exponentially every day. His ability to recall the whereabouts of only a partially-sighted block of chocolate is uncanny. So too is his ability to remember the location of every park that he has ever visited or even just walked past. Woe betide the person who thinks they can distract him while scooting past that tiny park with the minimum of play equipment that you stopped at for 5 minutes 18 months ago. He remembers.

If you were impressed thus far by Noam’s strong candidacy for ‘gifted’ status then you are in for a treat. Social and emotional maturity is Noam’s forte. I've lost count of the number of times the following scene has played out. I put Albi (Noam’s baby brother) to bed for a morning nap. Albi takes a little while to settle himself and he cries out hoping for another cuddle. Hearing his brothers desperate wails Noam sprints into the kitchen and says ‘Mummy, Albi is crying. Oughtn't you ascend the stairs to his chamber and console him with your motherly love? Also, bickie.’ Finely attuned to the needs of others is Noam.

The final ‘gifted’ sign to watch out for is advanced physical ability such as extraordinary athletic skills. This is possibly Noam’s weakest department but I do believe that he could possibly be drafted by Freemantle as a small forward. I'm certain he can kick straighter and with more confidence than the poor Freo boys.

So there you have it. It is clear that Noam is on a trajectory straight to geniusness. And with a mother making up words like 'geniusness', is it any wonder? Albi is not too far behind either though I do need to iron out his tendency to continually bang his head against his cot. I’m sure there’s a ‘gifted’ reason why he does that and he'll explain it to me shortly.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sing Star

I'll admit I fancy myself as a bit of a singer. I'm fully aware of my vocal limitations but that doesn't detract from the immense enjoyment I derive from singing. These limitations no doubt do detract however, from the pleasure of anyone in my general vicinity. But not my children. They are my greatest fans. Noam, who is at least old enough to request the cessation of my singing if he wanted to, does not. In fact, he regularly makes requests. Could there be any greater vote of confidence? I'm tipping I get invited on The Voice next season, on the back of my child's adoration. And as for Albi, the little one, he's navigating a somewhat violent stage at the moment and regularly hits me in the face. Though never when I'm singing. So there you go. I'm quite likely to be the next Mariah Carey.

There are two interesting things I have noticed though in relation to singing to my children. The first is that I become an automatic censor machine. I don't even have to consciously think about it. One moment I am happily singing along to 'Ride Wit Me' by Nelly and the next minute I am flawlessly humming over the top of his fellatio requests. I can turn the 'explicit version' of any of my Ipod songs instantly into the radio edit. Not a bad effort, particularly when 'Creep' by Radiohead comes on. Thom Yorke really enunciates in that one. 

The other amusing thing I've noticed is that song lyrics which used to mean one thing to me, now take on a whole new significance. Take these Salt 'n' Pepa lyrics from 'Whatta Man';

'Every time I need him, he always got my back,
Never disrespectful, 'cause his Mama taught him that...'

In days gone by those lines would fill me with visions of a strapping lad who would treat me like a bloody Queen. But instead, when I hear it now, I feel a surge of pride that I am the Mama who will teach her baby boys to respect women. Yes indeed. 

Sticking with Salt 'n' Pepa, but shifting songs to 'Shoop', I am already feeling the congratulations coming from the ladies on the perfection of their bottoms.

'You're packed and your stacked, 'specially in the back,
Brother, wanna thank your mother for a butt like that...'

My pleasure ladies. Thanks for noticing and I appreciate your gratitude. 

I love singing to my kids. And while they're still little and unable to over power me I will continue to sing to them. I know that soon enough they will turn to me, as I did to my mother one day in the McDonalds drive thru when Elvis came on Gold 104 and inspired my tone deaf Mum to sing, and tell me to shut up because it's so embarrassing. And like my mother did, I will then sing loudly, and badly, into the order microphone and it will serve them right. And they will get no fries with that.


Saturday, July 27, 2013


I used to know everything about parenting. The number of times I saw people 'doing it wrong' was staggering. A toddler getting a treat to stem a tantrum in the supermarket? Outrageous! Kids eating in front of the TV? You're kidding me. Parents handing over an I-Phone to keep their kids quiet. Appalling.

And then I had kids. I reckon I've done all three of those examples in the space of an hour. Does that make me a bad parent? My kids better hope not 'cause they're stuck with me. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

Recently my eldest son (Noam, who's 3) has developed a very serious attachment to the I-Pad. He regularly hollers for 'my I-Pad' which just sounds like mY-Pad when he desperately yells it to any fiend who may be keeping it from him.

He loves it. And, in all honestly, he knows how to work it better than I do. Which is both horrifying and incredible simultaneously. If we let him, Noam would sit playing games on the I-Pad for hours. Sometimes I do let him have it for longer than I'd like just so I can get the housework done. The I-Pad is an excellent babysitter.

I started to feel bad about the level of his addiction until I remembered a little something from my childhood. It looked like this:


The I-Pad of the eighties: Nintendo Game and Watch. My sister owned this one (Parachute) and another (Octopus) both of which I would happily while a full day away playing. I'm pretty sure my parents thought this 'Nintendo' was the best thing ever invented.

I still played outside, still amused myself with books and puzzles, but thoroughly enjoyed Parachute when I played it. Just like Noam. He loves play-dough, train sets and books too. He just also happens to love mY-Pad. And I've decided there's nothing wrong with that.

So if you happen to see me wheeling two kids around the shopping centre, one playing mY-Pad and the other mY-phone, try not to judge us. 'Cause if I see your disapproving stares I will come over there and bust your...I mean try not to judge us. Just because you might not do things exactly the same, doesn't mean we're doing things wrong.

Until next time xx  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Puffing Troll is re-born (and some other kid got born too)...

It has been a long time between drinks my friends but the Puffing Troll is back. Praise be!

Could there be a more auspicious time to re-launch than on the very day that the new Prince was born? I think not. So, to mark the occasion I have penned an open letter to Kate. I hope you enjoy...

'Dear Kate,

I hope you don't mind Kate? I can't come at Catherine since it's not your name and all.

First, I just want to say a big congrats! I was only telling my friends yesterday how difficult it is to give birth with the whole world watching. You've probably seen the video my hubby uploaded to You Tube? So hard to ignore the millions of people focused on your dilated cervix when you know they're all gagging for news.

And a little boy! What do you know?! Same as me. Except I've got two. You'll have to get cracking on the next one now! Ha ha. Just kidding, let the stitches heal. You probably can't even sit down yet? Poor lamb. Anyway, we're like two peas in pods you and I, what with our boys and all. You'll probably go stealing my names now. Noam and Albi do sound a bit regal I reckon. You can if you want you know. I won't get shitty.

I hope the breast feeding's going OK? It can be pretty tricky. Just remember - if you're looking into its face you're doing it wrong. You've gotta be looking down its ear hole. Also, if your nip feels like it's caught in a sewing machine, that's wrong too. It shouldn't hurt at all. If the Prince is a wee chomper though, whack a cabbage leaf in your bra. I swear to God it helps.

I hope Wills is planning on doing his fair share? It's not the 1950's I hope you've reminded him. You can't be the only one getting up during the night. Do you have a good support network? That's crucial. Hopefully you'll be able to rope the grandparents in for a spot of babysitting. Even if they just nick up the shops for a bit. You'll get a bit of a break.

I've got heaps of tips for you if you need any advice. I'm a bit of an expert now. As I said, the most important thing is not to wait too long before the next one. You don't want to just get your figure back only to lose it again. Nup. Might as well stay fatty for a little while and be done with it.

Also, if you need anything I've got stacks of clothes my boys don't fit into any more. I've washed them, it's just that some of the stains are hard to move. Spew can be a real tough one. If you have some of those little stain-remover pens handy you'll save yourself a lot of heartache. Just keep them in your handbag or what have you and you're always prepared for what the little spew-bag can throw at you!

I'm sending you some of those little 'my family' stickers for the back of your car. For Wills, I got one of a man on a horse. You'll have to draw the polo stick on with liquid paper 'cause they didn't have one of them. I got a lady carrying shopping bags for you. Hope that's OK? I don't know what hobbies you have but I figure all girls like a good wander through Highpoint, or whatever the equivalent is over there.

Well, I'd better let you get back to Mummy duty. No doubt you're shitting bricks at all the new stuff you've got to learn. But I'm here for you. You can totally facebook me if you need to chat or anything.

Take care,

PS - Dunno if I'd be letting Pippa do too much babysitting yet. She seems a little bit slutty? Your call though.'

Friday, September 30, 2011

Changing the world - Day 42

This good deed is pretty good indeed. Frenchy's brother and his little friend flew in from France on Wednesday and are staying with us. So I have opened up our home to an extra 2 men...that means I am now sharing the house with 4 boys and 1 male cat...dear God. I am a saint.

The bathroom looks like it's been carpeted. I am up to my boobs in pubes. The bath mat is constantly scrunched into a festering, wet ball beside the shower which makes me want to vomit a little bit.

There are more shavers hanging around than in the Shaver shop, as well as misfired bits of shaving foam on the sink, the mirror, my makeup. Aaaarrrggghhh.

I hope this still counts as a good deed even though I'm whinging about it? On the plus side, it's very nice to see my brother in law. He and his friend are helping me practice French and I'm helping them with their English.

Until tomorrow do-gooders xx

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Changing the world - Day 41

Today I did a good deed that not only failed miserably but could've got me killed! I am not joking. An apocolyptic storm rolled into Woodend at the strike of three o'clock. I was having a read of my book club book 'One Day' and was most content. My husband was in the lounge room sorting his affairs and the baby had just been rocked to sleep when a bolt of lightning lit up the house like an x-ray. Before I could fully reigister the severity of it a thunder clap shook the house to it's very foundations and chased me from my recliner.

I caught a glimpse of my husband crouching in the middle of the lounge room floor as I sprinted towards the baby's room to soothe his no-doubt petrified nerves. (He wasn't fussed at all as it turned out). At least he wasn't until he was in my arms as the next lightning bolt struck and exploded our fuse box. I screamed like a harassed maiden and the baby burst into tears. Frenchy flew hither and thither trying to find candles to light. It looked like the depths of a moonless night outside.

At length I resolved to do my good deed. Much like that fearless heroin in 'Twister', Helen Hunt, I decided to step out my back door and into the eye of the storm with nought but a camera phone set to video. I wanted to capture the raw fury of nature to teach future generations to respect her all-encompassing authority.

After I stopped squealing with each lightning strike I managed to get a rollicking good commentary going. The eerie darkness, the regular bursts of forked electricity, the earth-shaking thunder and the mad tradesmen who continued using power tools outside at my neighbours house were providing an exceptional light and sound spectacular. After a while I realised that I was freezing. The earlier mild temperatures had vanished and an icy wind was whipping around me. I retreated inside and touched the record / pause button only to see the little numbers begin ticking over. I had not been recording at all! Oh the injustice! My soon-to-be Walkley winning video report at the eye of the storm was a mirage. A cruel phantasm.

I returned inside dejected and cold. The sky had begun to break up and the foreboding darkness of earlier was washing away in the growing light. My good deed was non-existent.

What was I to do instead? Fortunately a couple of things presented themselves to me as it turned out. Though the power was out I was still able to access the internet via 3G and saw that Oscar's Law had a new set of e-mails for me to send to parliament. So I did that. I had also received an e-mail from AVAAZ to sign a petition to stop a highway being built through the protected Amazon rainforest in Bolivia. I did that too. A couple of very worthy causes. I have attached both the links and encourage y'all to check them out if you haven't already.

Until tomorrow, if we haven't washed away (as much of our newly-planted veggie patch has :-(

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Changing the world - Day 40

Oh my god - day 40. What a milestone! To celebrate, today I did something pretty generous. I cleaned out all the shoes in my closet that I haven't worn this year, boxed them up and took them to the Salvo's.

The less fortunate in Woodend won't know what hit them! There were barely worn Nine West ankle boots in a very cool khaki colour. There were gorgeous strappies from Mollini in yellow and white! (as in 2 sets of shoes, one pair yellow, the other white). There was a pair of Crocs flippies that I've never worn because, despite all the hype, they actually weren't comfortable to me...I hope the next owner has a better experience.

There were a few other pairs as well...including some random sneakers that weren't mine but frenchy kept moving closer and closer to my stuff until they finished in my closet. I think they actually belonged to his Mum when she was here for our wedding! Oh well - she's inadvertently done a good deed now too!

Until tomorrow do-gooders xx

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