no, you're mr poo-poo!

At the last craft camp, I spent some time in the bookshop* looking for a book for Grace. She's been very diligent about reading her reader every night and a while ago reached the one hundred readers mark. It's a pretty big milestone for her and I wanted to buy her a book she could read herself, for pleasure. But I have to say, I was pretty unimpressed by a lot of the books at her level on offer. We already have quite a few Dr Seuss beginner books which she loves and I thought there would be more other choices with simple vocabulary and layout that were fun to read.** Perhaps something with fairies, sparkles and poo?*** As it turns out, we can ditch fairies and sparkles. Library Girl sent us this....

the story of the little mole

the funniest book ever

but luckily it wasn't a cow poo

Getting a parcel in the post was pretty exciting in itself. Grace liked the other two books, but the book about the mole whose head got pooed on, well it's the funniest book I've ever read mummy. Much hilarity has accompanied the reading of this book and I'm being urged to take it school to read to her class. It is exactly right for a five year old beginner reader who is somewhat obsessed by poo. Thanks Librarygirl

* as opposed to the ops-hop which is where I find a lot of our books.
** I did get a Frog, Duck, Pig and Hare book on Librarygirl's recommendation and that is great too. Especially since it features a flood which was somewhat topical at the time. Also the new Bob Graham which we are reading together.
*** too many books about things like brushing teeth or other messages. Not fun. Reading for pleasure is really, really important I think.

men, mohair and rose the kangaroo

Gerard often brings funny things home from the school. Old things that have ended up in the dumpster, old things that could do well at a school fete. We've had books, a seriously vintage black board ruler, unused scrap books and someone else we know has a dead cute wall clock. I like this picture of men.


We also have the letter "D". Love the plain stylishness of it. Also shown is Rose, the wonky kangaroo who I whipped up at craft camp with much swearing. Her tail was not nearly as easy as I would have thought. But she was well received by Grace so I think there will be a few of these toys made for the present box. I'm not sure whether I thought this up myself or picked the idea up somewhere from the soup of the internet or a mix of both but I think it's a great way to use up all those tea towels and table cloths with animals on them. And there's my knitting. The beginning stages of the epic mohair rug from the reclaimed jumper. I would have knit tonight but I have a sore finger from stumbling round in the dark looking at the place where the small shed used to be. It bled so much I needed four bandaids. Ouch. Grace said she would cry and I said that grown ups tend to cry when they are sad rather than when they hurt themselves. And she said, like when you had the baby that died. Indeed. Enough already. But the box has been opened. We are probably going to be talking about the baby that died a lot for the next couple of weeks. Sigh. I would rather not but anyway. Moving on.

men, rose the kangaroo, the rug in progress and I think I'd like another cup of coffee please

The knitting is going fabulously. It's much bigger now than what you see above and nearly covers my lap as I knit. Much too big to carry around with me. However the border is showing some wonk. Perhaps I should have been counting the stitches. Never mind, it will be very soft and snuggly. And quite big. I will keep going until I run out of wool I think. Not sure about the random stripes, perhaps they aren't random enough. Or maybe I could have thought of a pattern. I like the idea of lots of stripes, transitioning to not very many stripes. Maybe next blanket. 


There is wattle out everywhere. When we finally plant the native bed we have been preparing, I must put some wattle in. I love wattle, it makes me think of late winter and spring and going cross country skiing when I was younger.

Have much more to blog about - we received a poo book in the mail (thanks librarygirl!) last week which has caused much hilarity - so must share that with you. Oh, and the crumble recipe is coming too. Soon. Poo and crumble. Not together, but soon. I promise.

mummy, can you tell me the story about your baby that died again?

Last Monday was sad day. I was wary of it because although I'm not sad that much any more, it has come upon me in unexpected ways in previous years. As a sharp jab, or a bitter fragment of grief, perhaps of sadness remembered and sorrow about the family that might have been. But this year played out differently, in another totally unexpected way.   

peach blossom after the rain

The Wednesday before sad day was a really, really happy day, our friend and neighbour gave birth to a gorgeous little girl and I managed to get home early so we could make a quick visit as a family to greet the new arrival - on her birthday as it was. It was great, so happy and joyful. I got to cuddle Bronte and take in some of that precious new baby spirit. Anyway, on the way home Grace asked if we could have a new baby too. She's asked before and we always tell her that I'm too old now (which is true) and that we're happy with our little family as it is. But this time, I had this thought, I really need to tell her that she had a brother, that there was another baby before her. Not because it will make her feel better about being an only child but because it is part of her family story and besides, little Frank's name is on her birth certificate. So after Grace was in bed Gerard and I had a little chat.

peach bud

So, on Monday night, which was sad day but as it happened had been mostly quite a good day, we were sitting on Grace's bed and I told her the story of our other baby. I started by telling her that mummy has been a bit sad today because she has been remembering that eight years ago she had a baby boy, your brother, but he was born too early and he died. And everyone was very sad. Grace asked questions, how big was he? Very little, I answered and held out my hands to show how little a baby born at just over twenty weeks is. And why did he die? she asked. I find the true answer to that question to be a complicated and very morally difficult story and I think we're a long way from talking about that with her so I said, he was too little to keep living. And he lived for a little while after he was born and then he died. And everyone was very sad. She took that in for a while and then she said, then you had me and I was alive and then you were very happy! To which I replied, oh yes! and we had a big, big cuddle.

spring sun

It feels right that we should have told her now. She's at a stage where she hovers between empathy for others (comforting me in my sadness) and it being all about her (being excited that she can be the happy ending to the story - she's five, she pretty much demands a happy ending ). A couple of nights later she asked me to tell her the story of your baby that died again and asked pretty much all the same questions. Ending up with her being born alive and everyone being happy. Which is true. We are pretty happy most of the time. 

* * * * * * *

On a side note, this time last year the quince was in blossom. Not so this year. Maybe I pruned it too late and too harshly.

a dark and stormy night

A long time ago*, in a far distant land**, it was a dark and stormy night. Two women, heads bowed down against the horizontal rain made their way cautiously across the bricks through the black night. Thoughts of the night when Pa Ingalls nearly didn't make it home for Christmas and when Esther only made it through the snowstorm on the steppe because her mother was waiting for her on the road flashed through the bigger woman's mind. Even though it was only rain, only dark and not very far at all really. Inside the house it was warm and dry and cosy. There was a blazing fire, hearty food to eat and excellent company in which to eat it. And afterwards there was to be wine and knitting. Who could wish for more?

Well, the stork could. She wished for her bottom back. Until recently she had been naked but now she was resplendent in legwarmers, a scarf, and a delightful new bonnet. She even held a fish in her beak. Her friend the cactus was sporting spiffy looking new attire. She couldn't help thinking that her glorious attire might have come at a great price. Perhaps during the fitting of the cactus hat, the ground might have rippled like water, like mud sliding and slopping and caused her concrete arse to shatter and fall to the ground.*** She knew she was getting old and that her arse was full of cracks and therefore she really shouldn't be blaming anyone, but really she wouldn't have minded holding onto her bottom.***

father's day craft weekend 2010

Hey, (shrugs off complicated third person narrative voice) once again I had a great time at craft weekend. Thank you to all the lovelies who made it such a pleasure. It was one of the most relaxing weekends I've had in like forever and as a result I have very little to show for it. A vest which I like, some bad tracksuit pants that I can barely bring myself to wear, some knitting that needed to be ripped and redone (serves me right for knitting under the influence, you would have thought I would have learned from the three sided granny square incident of 2008) and a toy kangaroo made from a tablecloth print which was meant to be quick and easy but wasn't. Kangaroo is now called Rose and has been lovingly accepted into the tribe of the five year old. Oh, and I finished the turn a square baby hat with the not so jogless stripes and it now belongs to the lovely little Bronte who was born on Wednesday. And as Grace says, she's so adorable.  

*why yes, I am a bit behind in my blogging.

** not that far, but it seems a long way off now and why limit yourself to one storytelling cliche when you can have several?
*** in a roundabout way, I'm looking at you Ms Tania!

take me to my happy place

Every time I look at this top photo, I feel happy. I remember stepping off the plane at Maroochydore airport and feeling warm air and sunshine on my face. I remember the moment of absolute joy at seeing Betty and Ruby-Lee and Maeve as they walked into the airport. Oh the excitement, and the lovely feeling that we hadn't really not seen each other for months. That we can just slot back into being together. 

at mooloolaba on the first day

But and there is a but. It's not really a big but in the scheme of things, but it's still a but. There was a whole lot of talking we hadn't done because we don't do the series of small visits like we used to. Nothing earth shattering, just the usual family stuff, but it's a bit intense when you have those conversations all over a couple of days rather than a few months. While staying in the same house. Actually being family house guests is bit intense too. We're getting better at it, but it's not like going for an afternoon visit. Grace found it hard at times too. She loved seeing her cousins, but by the end of the week she was ready to see her Dad, her friends from school and sleep in her own room again.  Oh, and I managed to score an overnight visit in Nambour hospital being filled with morphine on account of my gallbladder deciding to give me grief for the first time in about ten years. Apart from being massively inconvenient and painful, that was a side of the sunshine coast I hadn't planned on exploring.



But really, it was a good holiday. Late winter on the sunshine coast is glorious, especially when contrasted with late winter Melbourne which is vile. On the sunshine coast it's warm enough to go swimming and not wear shoes but not so hot you'll get burnt to a crisp. Grace adored going to the beach, indeed on the day we were at Mooloolaba, she declared it the best day of my whole life and alternated between rolling in the sand, dancing on the beach and going in the water. I wasn't going to go for a swim but changed my mind at the last minute and it was great. The water wasn't even cold - well, I guess I'm used to swimming in Bass Strait which is freexing even in summer. We held hands and jumped through the waves. Excellent fun. Grace loves the water and pretty much the key to keeping her happy was to slot in as many swimming situations as possible. Even a bath with the cousins was a winner sometimes. Grace and I spend a lot of time together and slept in beds right next to each other, waking to big cuddles every morning which kind of balanced out the less thrilling aspects of early rising (for a holiday).


It was awesome hanging out with Ruby-Lee and Maeve. Ruby has this amazing laugh, you could say she is a handful at times but she is also really caring and full of joy and spirit. Maeve is into everything and still likes a baby cuddle, not for much longer though I suspect. It was great to be in their life for a week and even if kids dinner was a bit chaotic some night, it was always followed by mellow hanging out with Betty and Cam. Now I just miss them all terribly. But we'll see them all again soon. And it will be intense, but whatever.