Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Yay! Big school!

We took Dante to his first day of Kindergarten this morning. It was very exciting and perhaps a little scary. For me, anyway.

I got up at 6:30am to get myself ready, make his lunch, get him changed, feed him breakfast, wake up Atticus, feed him, wake up Dan and leave in time to battle the morning traffic and get to school on time. I wouldn't have made it if my mother hadn't come over and helped by doing almost everything for me! We needed to leave by 8:15am to make sure we got there on time. It was a bit of an effort but we actually made it! Found a car space and everything! Walked through the gates at 8:50am. How about that?!

When we got there our friends Joe and Chris were waiting at the gates to witness the momentous occasion. Dante excitedly told them that he was starting "big school" and then marched straight inside without a backwards glance. The school grounds were filled with kids in red uniforms and their parents. He confidently walked straight towards the Kindergarten classrooms, the location of which we learnt during the orientation mornings last year. He hung up his bag on the hooks outside the classroom and strolled inside the classroom. It was crowded with anxious parents and nervous children. Dante spotted a friend from childcare and went up to her. She was happily painting having asked the teacher if she could. Dante wandered around between the two classrooms, checking them out before deciding that he wanted to paint, too. The two kids were so calm and relaxed. It's a big argument for childcare/pre-school!

When it was time to leave he was very happy to say goodbye and give us hugs and kisses. Didn't look back as we tentatively stepped away. Dan and I both gave a big sign of relief and left. It was a momentous occasion. We didn't cry like some parents do, but we had been a little nervous. In fact I have to admit that I was a little shaky when we got there, but that could have been because I was carrying the heavy lug that is Atticus! Yes, that's right. I hope he'll be all right today... eats his lunch, makes some friends and doesn't get into trouble. I can't wait to pick him up this afternoon and hear what he has to say about his day!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Xin Nian Kuai Le

Happy Chinese New Year!

Chinese Lanterns
Image shamelessly stolen from triin

I'm sitting down watching the tennis and allowing myself a little bit of relaxation after a very busy weekend. The big family CNY/Atti's birthday party went really well yesterday. There was a tonne of delicious food and lots of kids running around having a good time. I set up a couple of paddling pools for the younger kids and the older ones (including my 60+ Uncle, who is a big kid too) had water fights. The rest of us lolled about in the shade and filled our guts with my dad's yummy satay and my mother's mango pudding and tiramisu. It was fantastic to have the family together again - like old times! Except the kids running around are our children, not us. Some of the babies had a bit of trouble sleeping with all the excitement (and the heat) but hopefully they will be okay. Atticus was wonderful - happy to be passed around and then went off to sleep quietly when the time came for his nap. Dante wore his Jedi suit and exuberantly entertained everyone (and anyone that came into earshot) with Star Wars stories.

Today's barbie was relaxed and easy, with just our friends and a special visit from my cousin Silva and his wide Sook Hahn (visiting from Thursday Island). Dante was a lot more subdued and very happy when we announced that the party was not only a celebration of Atti's birthday (although he wasn't as happy about that part) but also to celebrate that Dante is starting school this week! Later in the day I got him to change into his uniform to show everyone - he was really pleased by all the compliments that he received! Atticus was a charming boy (again). He loved his birthday cake (which my mother made and decorated - a monkey sitting on a block, next to a pine tree which was made by Dante), and was quite keen to try eating the lollies on it. And slept superbly at nap time. I can't believe he was so sick last week. I'm so relieved that he's better.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Never again? Hah!

In February and March last year we had a few big parties (Atticus' Mun Yit and Dante's birthday) which caused me to swear "Never again". The stress of it all was way too much.

So in fine Jen-style we're hosting another couple of big parties this weekend. That's me, sticking to my guns. Ha!

Atticus is turning one tomorrow (wow, already?) and it just so happens to coincide with Chinese New Year. So we decided that we'd invite the extended family over and combine the celebrations. Just our family and my uncle's family, plus a few extras, and we're expecting 46 people (including bubs). Argh! However I had a bit of an idea and asked everyone to bring a dish, so the catering part won't be quite so much work. Yay!

On Sunday we're just having a barbecue for our friends. Should be pretty laid back. I hope Atti will be okay with all the excitement!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Happy Australia Day

Today is a happy day. Atticus has broken his fever! Only took four days. Four extremely stressful days for me. He's come out with a rash now, which has enabled my brother to diagnose Roseola Infantum and caused us much relief. He is very tired and still not 100% but at least the danger of convulsions is over (for now).

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Oh no! Not again

I can't believe it - Atticus had another febrile convulsion today. I feel sick in the stomach with the stress of it all. At least this one wasn't as scary as the first since I knew what was happening. And thankfully my brother (who is a doctor but not the GP brother) was over at the time to help me feel calm and talk to the ambulance operator. And Dan was home (it being Sunday today) so there was another pillar of support for me to lean on.

We spent several hours at the hospital but were able to come home for dinner. Atti came to after a while and was back to his usual self, playing and crying. He was pretty hungry later on, which was a good sign. Ate two vegemite sandwiches.

However his temperature shot up again when we got home, and he wouldn't take his Panadol or Nurofen. We had to go out and get him Panadol that isn't administered by mouth if you know what I mean. The poor kid. He's asleep now but I'm still sick with worry. Of course I'll be sleeping on the floor of his room tonight. I feel bad that I'm not there now.

You know, I love my kids and I love having them but the one thing that I hate is the worry and stress when they are sick. I just can't bear it. It's the one thing that could put me off having any more. Maybe. I still want to have a girl one day!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Nine zeroes

We went out to dinner tonight with our friends to celebrate Dan's Billionth Second. Dan's gone out with the gang to keep on partying but I've come home with the kids. It's nice having a quiet night alone - I'm watching episodes of Grey's Anatomy. I quite like this show!

Anyway, The Electronic Billionator will help you work out your own billionth second! Mine's in February next year.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

They came from nowhere (and everywhere)

We had a blackout this afternoon at work. At first we thought it was just our building as there are some major renovations happening at the moment, but upon further investigation we discovered that it was the whole area (except the building just next to us. weird).

Anyway, it was at 3pm and noone knew how long it would last. These things are usually 5 minutes or several hours from my experience. I wanted to show a document (on paper!) to my colleague so we went outside so we could see. It was the most bizzare sight. Everyone was leaving their offices and coming outside, to either get a coffee (from the one building with power) to wait it out, or to go home. There were so many people wandering around without purpose, and cars all driving away.

It reminded me of the Simpsons episode when Itchy and Scratchy became "lame" and suddenly all the kids went outside to play.

Monday, January 16, 2006

How lazy am I?

This lazy.

Dan wants one of these instead.

Well, hey, we have a seven bedroom house and work full time (at the moment). What time do we have to do boring housework tasks??

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Looking at old pictures

On the move
Originally uploaded by jenburn.
I was looking at some old photos last night and uploading some to my flickr account when I came across this one. It's of Me holding Dante (aged 10 months) and I like it. A bit arty, perhaps?

White Haired Devil Lady

Growing up with four brothers who are a fair bit older than me meant that I had an interesting childhood... some of my fondest memories are all of us (sometimes with our parents) sitting in front of the tele on a weekend afternoon watching bad Hong Kong kung-fu flicks. One particular film that I remember, mainly for its bad special effects - I mean, I was probably 8 at the time and even I realised they were dodgy - was White Haired Devil Lady (two links here - I was amazed to find it in imdb).

This film came to mind, mainly for the title, the other day when I was examining (and plucking) the grey hairs from my head. I don't often do this, but every now and then I get in a Mood and they annoy me so much that I just yank them all out. It's a bit of a problem as more and more of them are appearing. I should probably start dying my hair or something. Eeyurgh. I hate the darn things. I hate the glint of silver as I run my hands through my hair and I hate the texture of them - thick, uneven, gross.

I've had grey hairs (or at least one) since I was 16, but only a few. It's a genetic thing - so many people on my mother's side of the family have grey/white hair. A couple of cousins have even had "salt and pepper" hair since they were in their early twenties. So, I'm accustomed to the fact that I will have them. But it's just that I'm starting to show other signs of ageing lately. I guess that's what triggered the Mood and the pulling out of copious amounts of discoloured hair. Are those the beginnings of wrinkles there? Why won't the last remnants of my baby belly go away (although I guess doing some exercise might help here). Arghh!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Childcare begins

Atticus started childcare for the first time yesterday. I spent the day in with him (I wonder if they'll charge me for that). He was so happy, so much stimulation and age-appropriate toys! Except for when it came to sleep time. Oh no, wouldn't have it. He cried and cried and played and laughed and cried. He ended up getting half an hour of sleep the ENTIRE day that we were there. This is the boy who was having almost three hour naps in the morning last week at home with Dad, and another two hours in the afternoons!

So today I had to come to work. I left him there happy, stuffing his face with a crumpet and watching the other children. I told the staff that he was due for his nap but I couldn't stay. I hope they'll be able to settle him. They were expecting me to stay the day again with them, I think. Ha! As much as I'd like to, I have a job which I need to attend in order to pay the exorbitant fees that child care demand. Argh.

And to top it all off I left my mobile phone at home today so they will have a hard time contacting me. d'oh! What a day. Well I'll try and pick up the boys early if I can. Hopefully that will help things.

Friday, January 06, 2006

My Island Home

Watched Remote Area Nurse on SBS last night. It was captivating. It makes me want to drop everything that I'm doing here in the "big smoke" and move to the Torres Strait.

It has always had a special place in my heart, that place. My mother grew up on Thursday Island and I have a tonne of family there. Every couple of years we would go up to see my grandmother and uncles and aunties and loads of cousins. I loved it. Christmases were always spectacular... My mother has seven brothers and in the early eighties they all still lived on T.I. There are over 30 grandchildren on that side of the family. My grandmother used to live above the General Store which my grandfather (and then my uncles) used to run. He passed away when I was two. There was this HUGE central living room upstairs. And when I say "huge", I mean "massive"! It was bigger than a church hall. There would be a table along the wall adjacent to the staircase and it would be piled high with presents. There was lots of yummy food and kids everywhere. Brilliant! Unfortunately we didn't go up every year. It was expensive and my parents didn't have a lot of money for travelling. Usually it was just my mother and I that went. As a kid I used to wish that my mother had stayed up there instead of moving to Melbourne when she was 20. Of course, then she would never have met my father and I wouldn't be here, but that's beside the point. My cousins in Sydney are all a bit older than me whereas I was surrounded by cousins my age when I went up north. They were all so close and I envied them for their lifestyles.

Of course, now things have changed. I have a husband and two children, a house (actually a large mortgage), a job. I can't just pick up and go. Well, I guess I could, but then I'd be denying my kids the opportunity to be surrounded by their own cousins and to live closely with their grandparents. I took Dan and Dante up to T.I. a couple of years ago to show them the place and to meet everyone. It was okay, but Dan is a city boy - he needs people around him. Plus the internet connection would probably be slow. He didn't mind Cairns too much, it being slightly bigger. If we sold our place here in Sydney we could buy a pretty nice mansion in the hills around Cairns, five minutes from the city centre, and still have money left over. Too bad that there probably wouldn't be many IT jobs there.

But still, I can't help feeling sad when I watch shows like RAN. Not sad, but wistful, I guess. My cousin KK was born on T.I. but her family moved to Cairns when she was quite young so she never experienced life there. Last year (or was it the year before) she was lucky enough to get a transfer from her AQIS job in Cairns to T.I. Now she is living and working there and experiencing the island life. She even gets to travel to the outer islands which is something I'd love to do, too. In all the years that I've been going up there I've never been to any but the main southern islands. Even my mother has never been to the other islands (a lot of them are protected - you need to get permission to go there). Another cousin of mine used to live in Brisbane and met her husband there. But the islands called her home and her husband got a job with the Dept of Education. Now even he travels around to all the islands. *sigh* There are so many stories like that - people from down south moving up there. All I can do is dream.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Almost talking

Wow - Atti is starting to make "talking" sounds! Today in the bath I was showing him the toy fish and he said "ish", or something approximately like that. It was definitely an attempt to copy me. Then I showed him the rubber duck. "Dah", he repeated. It was so cool.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

We need more fans

It's 44 degrees outside. We have two fans blowing on us in the lounge room and we are all just lying around on the floor trying not to move (except me - I'm typing). Boy, this is quite a way to bring in the new year! It's even too hot to go for a swim.

In other news, Atticus has made a full recovery from his hives last night. I looked at the ingredients of the "sham"pagne that I let him sip after the fireworks - Preservative 220, otherwise known as Sulphur Dioxide and well known to cause allergic reactions. (I remember that because my grandmother loved glace fruit, which contains the stuff. Once when we were visiting she had a terrible asthma attack a few days after Christmas and had to go into hospital).
I felt terrible when I realised! What a negligent mother! It makes me wonder - am I being less careful with Atti because he's a second child or is he really just that much more sensitive to things? I wasn't as careful with what I ate during the pregnancy, and then there was the chicken pox thing (I don't think I've written about that in this blog. Well, in summary, we had chicken pox (all three of us) when I was 4 months pregnant with Atticus. It was a bit of a scare but apparently he turned out okay).

Crash! Kaboom!

Happy New Year. Yes, I know it's lame - watching the fireworks on tele and sitting at the computer wishing everyone well!
Well, we did take the kids out to watch the 9pm fireworks. Atti was a bit terrified but yet loved the shiny lights. Dante was too tired to really appreciate them. We were with my brother and his family. Jasmine was very happy to watch the show and sat on my lap and we cheered and clapped together.
Afterwards we had two parties which we wanted to pop into. The first, our closest friends, was a nice quiet affair during which Dante filled up on "buzzy" drink. Then we noticed that Atti was scratching his neck and there were welts on it (I thought they were bites at first). So we left and by the time we got to the next party he was covered in them in all the 'hot' places - around the nappy, armpits, inside the elbow, his face. argh!
We rushed home, meanwhile calling Doctor brother, coated him in calamine lotion, administered antihistamine and rocked him to sleep. Hopefully he'll be okay in the morning. I'm quite a bit concerned after the last time he was sick.