Songs like this don't mix well with a new little girl. The difficulty is trying to sing along without blubbering. I better not play this again or I'll lose all my street cred.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Because their hair has been Tracey's primary concern I have included photos here of my efforts, for your and her perusal. I don't think I'm in any danger of Tracey handing over the hair reigns to me - I mean check out the zigzag pattern at the back of Miss8's head. But the big flowers cover most of their heads so the embarrassment is kept to a minimum.
After a night of deep thought and soul searching (and me bending her arm up behind her back to finally make a decision) Tracey has made up her mind.
Not to be petty, but I should like to point out at this juncture the name we ended up with is the exact name, spelling and all, we were batting around six months ago. Trouble was we almost called Molly the same name and Tracey feels like she's giving our new bub, the youngest of five girls (and who is therefore going to be the Hand-me-down Queen) a hand me down name.
This is why I've historically named the kids: I'm decisive - although outside of baby naming they've not all been fantastically good decisions, I'll admit. But I would have settled this six months ago and we could have been arguing about lots of other stuff instead.
Also we wanted to name our new bub for our dear departed friend Christopher - only she came out with internal plumbing and we weren't sure about Christine or Christina (lovely names though they are). In the end we decided to honour him with the middle name and used his preferred spelling of Chriss.
After months and months of indecision, this morning when I asked Tracey what we're to call our new bub she said, "I don't know. What do you think? What do you want to call her?"
A little psychology was needed. "Morticia," I said. Or Wednesday. Any of the Addams Family names would have sufficed for this purpose. Actually I admit I've done this before, scaring mine and Tracey's parents by suggesting Fester for a boy. I still think Fester Devereaux has a ring to it. At least it had the desired response of forcing Tracey's hand.
"Gertrude? Mabel?" Both popular early last decade I'm sure, but not so much now.
"I think I like Emily," she blurted out.
"But with Morticia we could call her Morty for short. That's so sweet."
"Emmy for short. Emily Chriss. I've made a decision." Hallelujah!
Well done Tracey. A beautiful name for a beautiful little girl.
And take your time in coming home to this wonderful chaos. Remember, if necessary the really bad knots can be cut out ;)
Monday, January 30, 2012
Saturday, January 28, 2012
What has me in such a tither? Well according to Stephen Fry on QI, the 'I before E except after C' is no longer taught in school because in the English language there are, in fact, more cases of the opposite being true.
There are, according to Mr Fry, 923 English words which don't abide by this rule, 21 times as many words that break the rule than don't. Seriously, if we were going to discard rules simply because more people don't follow them than do half our road rules would be gone in a flash.
It's only been 26 years since I was in school (straight face). What else have they gone and changed? Next thing you'll be telling me I can't teach my kids the difference between principle and principal by explaining the principal is your pal (I always thought this rule was more the punchline to a little English teacher joke).
Not that I think all these things matter anymore. I have a son in university who I'm pretty sure can't spell university. There are letters dropping out of words all over the place these days - 'are' lost an 'a' and an 'e' and is reduced to just 'r'. Texts with my kids are awash with OMG, LOL, ROFL, BRB, GTG and FYI's. I mean, WTF?
Anyway, I'm not lying (unlike my teachers!). See for yourself:
Thursday, January 26, 2012
"I don't need a laxative," Tracey told me as she rubbed her belly. "I'm a week overdue. I've already got the shits."
Impatient for out little bundle of joy to join us, we've embraced the slightly ridiculous here in the Devereaux household.
We've been set a day for Tracey being induced, something she isn't keen to endure after the prolonged and painful delivery it produced with our current Miss8.
"Of course the baby's not coming," said Tracey this morning. "We haven't even got her cot set up."
Now I'm not sure of the logic behind this because I'm pretty sure my mum tells a story about her parents putting little newborns to bed in bottom draws in lieu of cradles.
And in fact the cot is set up, it's just in a different room. Currently we use it as a cell to keep Miss2 in one spot long enough for her to drop off to sleep. And to keep her in that same spot should she wake during the night. It is, in fact, playing a pivotal role in my sanity. Tonight in the wee hours I predict I shall be digging under beds in search of our port-a-cot with Miss2 alternatively jumping on my back and demanding 'boddles'.
Despite this, Miss17 and I moved the cot into the main bedroom today. We also rearranged the lounge room into a more baby safe configuration which I mention only to show how awesome a husband I am (which is only slightly offset by the knowledge Tracey has been asking me to do it for a month).
So now the cot is up in the right room things should really start moving, right? Back to the internet.
None of home remedies really seemed to offer much hope though, not curries or pineapple juice. Nipple stimulation kept cropping up as encouraging, though even sex was deemed inconclusive (I'm demanding a recount).
Interestingly enough one web site suggested oral sex instead of actual penetration because the semens high concentration of prostaglandins is more quickly digested through the gut. Well I found it interesting.
"I'd rather drink the caster oil," Tracey said.
Short of sitting between Tracey's knees dangling a dummy and a bottle on a stick I don't know what else we can do. I just hope we don't go all the way to Tuesday.
Change isn't to be feared, it's to be toyed with. According to my kids.
Most mornings, for example, they change perfectly neat and presentable bedrooms into rooms which look like candidates for the Hoarders tv show, with every toy and bit of clothing from their wardrobes spread out or piled up on their floors.
I may be exaggerating slightly, but I really, really wish I was exaggerating a whole lot more.
It was fun to sit slightly away from the action and catch snippets of the conversation.
"Scooby-Do, I choose you!" and phone calls on the toy phone back to Professor X demanding more pokeballs and icecream.
That'll give me time to barricade their bedroom doors first so they can't get back into their bedrooms.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
I continued into the lounge room before Tracey dragged me back into the hall.
"Did you hear what she just said?" she asked me.
"Dad," I said. She's not the first kid to call me that. Was there something she was trying to tell me?
"She pointed at our wedding picture and recognized you!" said Tracey.
Still carrying Miss2 I stopped in front of our wedding photo.
"Where's daddy?" I asked.
"Dare!" she said brightly, pointing at a younger and damn fine looking me. And in a suit to boot.
"And where's mummy?" I asked.
She looked at the picture for a minute, a confused look crossing her face. I reckon I could hear the wheels turning - 'Well clearly that's not her. Is there someone behind them?' Finally she saw it: she realized her Mummy was standing right beside me.
"Dare!" she said, ignoring the photo now and pointing at Tracey.
Way to cut your mother down when she's nine months pregnant, Miss2. Mind you, my chuckling probably wouldn't have helped matters either.
"That's it," said Tracey. "I'm getting contacts."
Cause as every Superman fan knows, wearing glasses makes you completely unrecognizable. What I didn't mention, because I know how pregnant she is and I'm not two, is how much better an argument this would have been if I hadn't been wearing any myself.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
I'm not very good with animals. Except maybe cows, pigs, chickens and lambs. I know exactly what to do with them cause I am very fond of eating animals. A trip to Underwater World quickly gets my mouth watering as I envisage what I could do with all those thick fillets and start to wonder how long it's been since I had a nice chilli crab.
When I happen across a fishing program on telly I really can't understand why they release the fish back into the water after they've gone to all the trouble of catching it. I yell at the screen, "Are you mad! Why the hell are you even out there?" It could take me days to catch a decent sized fish when I was a kid. No way was I tossing it back. I'm guessing it's all show for the camera. Plus they're probably so sick of fish they only eat steak back at the motel.
Eating animals I excel at. Maybe it's truer to say I'm not very good with pets. We have a dog - a beautiful Samoyed named Jazz- but I can't stand when she licks me or, worse, presses her bum up against me, as she is prone to do. I try to give her attention and pat her and all that, but my hearts really not in it. It's not her fault - she's a smart dog. It's all me.
My family has a history of being bad with pets - my sister had her class guinea pig for one night and managed to drown it in a bucket of water while giving it a bath. I don't care much for guinea pigs either, come to think of it. We bought some for the kids one Christmas, and near as I can tell they're just poo machines.
The critters I really can't stand, though, are mice. Unless it's a computer mouse - I'm a dream with them.
For the last fifteen years it's been Tracey's job to empty traps and deal with any little critters who happen to wander into our home.
Only now it seems, much like the fishing programs on television, we've instigated a new 'catch & release' program for rodents here in the Devereaux household. I'm assuming it's got something to do with her pregnancy hormones because this is a woman who in the past, if she saw a mouse, wasn't prone to going into a tizzy and joining me up on a chair, she would toss shoes at the rodent with all the deadly speed and accuracy of a pitcher's arm.
Which is why it was such a shock to hear her chatting to the mouse whose leg was caught in a trap on Sunday night.
"Are you alright, sweetie? Look at you, you're so small," she cooed. I'm surprised she didn't set down a plate with some cookies.
And so, while I watched standing comfortably on a chair, Tracey set the little mouse free into our garden, where no doubt it will round up all its mousey friends and tell them about the mouse friendly house owned by the nice lady with the big stomach.
Seriously though, heaven help them once that baby pops out.
Monday, January 23, 2012
While mild at first they did build over half an hour so we thought it was time to get things sorted. It was 11.30pm. I rang the hospital to let them know to expect us in tonight. I rang my mother and she came over to mind the kids. I put the hospital bag in the car. I posted an entry on Facebook.
Then we waited. Then, around 1.30am, things started to die down.
"We'll go for a drive," I suggested.
Although Tracey thought it was an old wives tale, we went. Turns out Gympie has some fantastic baby inducing roads - all sparsely bitumened and lit for our convenience. Whether or not it was the pot-holed streets of G-town I don't know, but suddenly it was on again.
"Have you got the camera?"
"Yes, dear." I mean, this isn't the first birth I've attended.
We popped home to let my mum know we were heading to the hospital. While Tracey updated my mother I quickly ducked into our bedroom and grabbed the camera and phone then tried to muster her back to the car.
"It's settled down again," she told me. Despite my mother and I encouraging her with cries of "Push! Push!" an hour later it was obvious things were going right off the boil again.
Tracey was a bit peeved by now. Forgetting completely this was the one night she didn't want to have a baby because it was the first day of the new school year in the morning, she said, "It's got to be tonight. I'm in my fourth trimester!"
Again it started up and again things settled down. By 5am it was all over red rover for the night. Dang and bugger.
Ah well. Maybe tonight.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
|Flying Fox kept us all amused for an hour.|
|Miss4 takes up her usual |
position astride Cousin4.
|Miss8 appears to be attempting similar|
position with Cousin9.
|What is it about my kids? They always want to be carried.|
|Me looking trimmer than I have in years. And scarier. If I'd|
presented that face to Tracey when we first met I don't think
we'd currently be waiting for baby number seven.
|Cousin12 gets set to 'own' the Flying Fox. I keep |
thinking he's mid-teens, he's so big.
|Cousin9 goes for her fifteen or sixteenth trip |
down the Flying Fox - it was a huge success
with all the kidlettes, especially with Shane &
myself hurtling them down the line.
| Miss2 returning from wherever she was (water play sand pit)|
looking very pleased with herself. Actually, Tracey probably knew
where she was. It's me who has no idea.
|My brother Shanus. He's not very pretty - hat|
and dark glasses are for your own protection.
|Miss17 giving some sort of hand signal.|
I don't know when she learned to sign - just
another of her myriad of talents methinks.
|It may not look much, but this is a diet saver.|
I'm still going hard on protein and avoiding carbs like they're that Aunt who always pulls your ear and insists on bringing up every bad decision you've ever made at the dinner table like they're some hilarious joke.
My brother was up in G-town this weekend and told me I can eat cheese on my protein diet. WTF? Who decided to keep this tasty morsel of information from me? Avocados are in too!
Tonight I threw together some crispy bacon, cos lettuce, shaved Parmesan, boiled eggs and avocado. Then I made a Caesar dressing, with olive oil, egg, lemon juice, garlic and lots of anchovies.
It was simply delicious. My mouth is watering just writing the list of ingredients.
As you'll see, things didn't exactly work out as I intended, although it wasn't without it's fun.
Today I assisted Miss4. After keen observation of my daughter's cake baking technique I've given the instructions as per how she bakes.
|She's all "I made this" and thinking she's ever so clever.|
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon butter
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Help dad grab out all the ingredients. Drop milk. Clean up. Put finger in butter. Lick.
2. Beat butter and sugar to a cream. Taste. Add vanilla. Taste. Beat some more. Taste again.
3. Add the egg and beat well, pausing to taste every two seconds or so.
|....in goes the finger. Again.|
|Mixing away well until.....|
5. Pour what is left of the mixture into a greased tin and commandeer bowl, beaters and spatula for intense licking.
8. Tell all and sundry you're very clever and have made a cake. Don't forget to have a taste of the cake.
|An hour later, this is all that's left of the cake so I guess I'll be|
baking another one tonight when the munchkins are asleep.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
|I swear I'm facing straight on to the camera but my nose appears to be veering left. The bags under the eyes are from |
waiting up all night for a baby to be born. Ah well, you're supposed to be looking at the price of the lens written on the box.
Because Tracey has so much free time (did the sarcasm come across there?) she's taken on studying for a diploma in photography. She started the course two weeks ago and has already completed and passed a third of the modules. We've put her intense focus down to her harnessing her nesting instinct: after the baby comes the remaining 8 modules might take the rest of the year between nappies and feeding, but at least she's off to a great start.
Two nights ago Tracey decided she wanted a macro lens for her camera. No, wanted is wrong: she NEEDED a macro lens for her camera or the sky would fall, the Earth would tilt off it's axis and the basic premise of Zombieland (ie Bill Murray gets killed for bad acting) would become a reality. Well I'm too big of a Bill Murray fan to let that happen.
Dishes, kids and life in general were all pushed aside as we surfed the net for the best lens and prices. In the end Tracey decided on a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM Macro (photographers don't go for fancy, comprehensible names, they like their equipment to have indecipherable mixes of letters & numbers, presumably to add to the mystery), which you can pick up for a lazy $900-1300. Dang. All our money is currently hard working.
And then we saw Harvey Norman had a great 36 month deal going. Cool. We use the deals to buy the bigger stuff we want (need) and then pay it off when our lump sum Centrelink money comes in after we submit our tax returns.
When we arrived at the local Harvey Norman we also discovered they had a Zinc promotion going - there was a jumping castle, petting zoo and free drinks for the kids. Could this day get any better?
Yes. Yes it could.
While they had to order the Canon lens in for us, and it would take up to a month for it to arrive (because, we were told, their Canon rep was on holidays?), they did have some great specials going. There was a special on a Tamron lens, for example, which displayed a discount of $130 giving a buy price of $148. Above it was a Tamron 60mm Macro with a buy price of $499.
I pointed at the Tamron 60mm Macro. "Is that one on special?" I asked the nice girl behind the counter.
"Yes, it's $148."
"No, the Macro lens," I explained to her.
"Yes, it's $148," she said, indicating the sign. "See," she said, pointing out three random matching numbers on the special sign and the Tamron box, "they're the same numbers." Yes, but different order.
"That sign is for a different lens," I explained.
"No, it's for that one," she assured me.
"We'll take it," I assured her.
But we didn't stop there. Usually I'm a believer in 'three strikes, you're out' but there's a part of me which can't knowingly rip someone off. I asked her to go check the price. She went away and came back with the Canon 100mm price.
"No, I meant for you to confirm the price for the Tamron. We don't want to get to the counter and find out you've got the wrong price."
"Here," she said, clearly getting a little tired of us going on and on about this silly price business, "I'll write it on the box." And she did. $148.
When we got to the counter even the guy behind the register raised an eyebrow when he saw $148 written below the $499 recommended retail on the box.
"That's a fantastic price," he told us.
"We know," I told him. "It's unbelievable, isn't it?" I added pointedly.
"It sure is," he agreed. "Cash or card?" At that price? Cash.
When we arrived home, skipping and crowing and high-fiving each other like halfwits, we hit the net again to see if we'd really got the bargain we suspected we had. Best buy on the net? $435 delivered. Putting it in real terms, even at this best buy price of $435, that's a genuine saving of 9 cartons of beer!!
Now the biggest decision will be when the Canon lens arrives whether to keep the Tamron as a backup lens or sell it on eBay for a tidy profit.
Friday, January 20, 2012
We've been having great fun with the Foosball Table Santa gave the kids for Christmas: even Miss2 gets in on the act.
I keep getting in trouble for 'accidentally' grabbing the kids' stick, preventing them from stopping me scoring. Outrageous accusations.
Tonight I beat Miss8 10 to 5 in a landslide victory. I realize good fathers are supposed to lose to their kids, but Miss8 makes it very difficult - she scored six of my points in sensational own goals.
As the table converts to a pool table, air hockey and even table tennis table, the kids have been well entertained these holidays. It also has chess and checkers and ten pin bowls. There are ten games all up.
Table cost Santa a mere $120: it was a hot buy on special at BigW. If it breaks in two even six months down the track (a real possibility the way the kids whack it around) it's paid for itself several times over.
Great family fun.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
After some Facebook comments on how much Tracey LOVES going to the movies so she can eat popcorn, and how the kids recent refusal to take their mum to the cinema had left Tracey bereft of one of her staple foods, they bought some from the local Sovereign Cinema tonight and drove it over to her.
Pitts, you are serious contenders for the coveted title of Bestest Friends Ever.
Tracey's asked me to pass on a message. "Funkfs fa fah opcoof. Ou gahs roafk!" Which I think translates as 'Thanks for the popcorn. You guys rock!"
My fully preggers missus is now comfortably situated with her feet up in front of the telly watching Swamp People, shoving salty buttered ecstasy into her mouth and eliciting an occasional happy moan.
The bar has definitely been raised people. But don't despair, she also likes Tim Tams, mangoes and Peking Duck. Shops are open until 9.
We found out about this because a friend of ours just finished helping the good people at Capelli's to film a piece showcasing what it is all about (see below).
For a small country town, Gympie has a lot going for it: not least a few great places to eat. Local iconic restaurant Capelli's is now offering cooking lessons for kids aged 8+ and I think it's a fantastic idea. Bugger signing them up as contestants on Junior Masterchef, I just want something tastier than thick vegemite on toast for Father's Day breakfast (bless their cotton socks).
The cost is $99 a child, but it goes over two days (lunch for one, dinner for the other) and gives the kids a real confidence boost. Kids can invite guests to the dinner at an additional cost of $27 a head - but after all it's for a three course meal. It's not as cheap as a movie, sure, but they can go to a movie any old day and THIS is a real treat.
Cooking is fun and I love baking cakes and the like with my brood. Fun in the kitchen beats an Xbox or a DS any old day (although Master6 would argue this till he was blue in the face).
I want to get our Miss8 into this in one of the coming school holidays.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
|"Suckerpunching is fun" pose|
"They change when they go to school," lamented Tracey.
|"Butter wouldn't melt in my mouth" pose|
But with Miss4, personally I feel sorry for the teacher. Of all our kids, this is the one with bite. If she gives you a teethy grin there's a better than even chance it's only because she's about to take a chunk out of your throat, sweet thing that she is.
Miss4 has also been honing her acting skills these past few years. She is especially good at pretending to be too tired to walk to bed and therefore needs to be carried. These acting skills should help her in the 'I haven't done my homework cause I am so ill' department.
Despite Mummy's reservations, Miss4 is keen to join the school ranks and get her some learnings.
Personally I see it as another step up the steep side of Empty Nester Mountain. If I'm teary they're tears of joy.
She does look super cute though in her traditional 'Mum bought me clothes two sizes too big so I can grow into them about mid year two' prep uniform.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
After she's dried off she's also been teaching herself to play her recorder through her nostril. Time well spent, I say. Many a time my lack of nasal-skulling abilities left me without a party trick at university. The nose is an often underrated source of entertainment - although little Miss2 seems to have great fun digging around in hers.
I love this sort of play (the rain I mean, not the nose). It's so much more fulfilling and exciting than a dumb computer game. Instead of hiding the kids inside when it's raining we should encourage them to get wet and dirty. Afterall, the water will wash off when they come inside and have a shower.
Monday, January 16, 2012
First sign I was going actually going nuts, though, was on Saturday evening when I walked under the shower and momentarily went blind because I still had my glasses on.
But the big pointer to my deteriorating mental capacity was on Saturday night when Tracey and I woke up at about two o'clock because of a noise.
"What was that?" asked my 39 week pregnant wife as she sprang out of bed to investigate.
I, naturally, remained in bed. In fact, even my eyes remained shut.
As she slipped back into bed it occurred to me what the noise was.
"It was a gecko," I told her. That will put her mind as ease.
Maybe I wasn't speaking clearly enough. I was tired and it was the middle of the night.
"It was a gecko," I said loudly and succinctly in her general direction - my eyes still refusing to open. "That sound. It was a gecko."
"What the hell!! Go to sleep!!" she snapped.
This wasn't the 'oh, of course, thanks for clearing that up, darling' response I was expecting. Turns out the reason for her gruffness was she hadn't just jumped back into bed afterall - she'd in fact been back in bed for two hours and it was now four o'clock.
On the bright side, it's good practice for the impending nighttime feedings. I might mention that to her about 3am tonight :)
Bruce Devereaux is one of the nicest people he knows. When not at work he enjoys reading, writing, hiding from his children and not changing nappies.
His career, and if we used the term any more loosely an e might fall out, has included a gardener, a personal lender, a console operator, a stop/go man (not as big a bludge as you might think but great if you’re into sunburn, abuse and varicose veins), a cleaner of banks and pubs and, for a very brief period, a door to door salesman (until the last door he knocked on was answered by a very scary woman with tremendously hairy legs).
Bruce Devereaux currently works as a forty-five-year-old award winning customer service officer (glass statuette available upon request) for the Bank of Queensland and as a very casual employee for Corrective Services. He likes to believe he excels at both but then he has always been prone to exaggeration.
His favourite colour is green, with a picture of Dame Nellie Melba on one side and General Sir John Monash on the other. His favourite flower is self-raising.
If you see him around town, call his wife immediately - he's probably snuck out and left her alone with all the kids.
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