23 May 2012

bee bop a boo

Growing old is a pain in the ass. Don't get me wrong - most of the time I don't consider myself that old but I am definitely finding rust in the strangest of places.

Music is the worst for me. I remember how it used to drive me INSANE that my mom never got the words right to songs when she sang along with the radio so it kills me that I do the same thing now. I'm talking about songs I have known & sung along to forever.

And I am talking about even, gulp, U2 songs. I know, I know - all of you who have sat through one of my enlightening lectures about the meaning behind their lyrics (sample: "You see, U2 songs were predominantly a Christian band for the first two albums so you'll notice a lot of religious themes but even now, Bono sprinkles Biblical imagery throughout their songs ...") are probably very happy about this development but it breaks my heart.

The hatchet job of I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet in my car this morning was brutal. Wherever Carole King is in the world, she probably dropped what she was doing & felt a cold tremor down her spine as I butchered her classic. Lots of bee-bopping was involved, people.

But it's not just lyrics either. There is some hip hop song I heard yesterday (hey, bonus points for me not saying "hippity hop" like some honky grandma in a movie) actually name dropped Gershwin & some classic painters. Could I just enjoy the song or turn the station? Nope, had this mental conversation instead:

Kudos to this guy. Maybe it will make young people check out Gershwin.
I could go for some Gershwin right about now.
I wouldn't mind seeing a Michelangelo either.
I need to get to a museum.
(singing) I got rhythm ...

See, I'm old.

Teenage Ashley would kick me in the rump if she had witnessed me turning off Radiohead's latest song this morning (is it actually new or did I hear the announcer wrong?), deciding I'm over them. They sound the same as they did almost 20 years ago.

Of course Teenage Ashley would hire a future hitman to take me out if she witnessed the soft spot I have for the idiots in LMFAO so maybe we should just ignore her opinion. Maybe my parents are right that Teenage Ashley was a pain in the ass.

Going in my favor is the fact that I've finally warmed up to Triple J, the radio station here in Australia with the more independent, more local, more hipster-hugging music. I will never stop wanting to give most of the presenters some electro shock to cheer them the hell up but the music is okay by me.

Seriously, this morning the lady I was listening to literally said the phrase "We're so excited to have them coming to Australia next month" with the exact intonation & enthusiasm I would use to say "I'm so sorry your grandmother died of the black plague." Cheer up, cool kids!! I know I'm probably too perky by Australian standards but Lordy those Triple J folks are cool/bored to the max. TO. THE. MAX.

Anyway, that's that - nothing I can do but count down the years (months?) until I start driving my kids crazy with my warbling voice butchering their favorite songs. Until then, I'm going to enjoy watching Evan devour every piece of food that crosses his path. That has nothing to do with the rest of this blog, I'm just actually feeding him while I type this. And by feeding, I mean fighting with him over the spoon, giving up & letting him have it & leaving chunks of food on his highchair tray to eat in any manner he would like.

Evan - 1
Mama - 0

He eventually somehow ends up with food & snot smeared in his eyes, crying with a couple of spoons on the floor, very little mess on his bib but TONS of mess on himself underneath (it's magic). Ah well, time to jump back in to comfort him.

Evan - 1
Mama - 1

18 May 2012


Ben is three today.
He's a magical mix of independence, stubbornness & cheeky humor.
Sometimes sweet, often frustrating, always charming.
My little man is growing so fast I can't always keep up.

Maybe I'm the only one who remembers him from this point!

This is the first moment I met Benny.
I can't remember ever being happier in my entire life.
Until Evan, of course, but the first time is such a shock.

Everything about him enchanted me.

And exhausted me.
Some things never change!

We celebrated early in the morning.

We celebrated with presents & party hats.

We celebrated with a new playhouse!

Most importantly, later we celebrated with friends!!

Okay, we celebrated with friends & chocolate.
That's the best combination.

Even later, we celebrated with a little reflection.
Well, reflection plus candles on a bagel with cream cheese & Nutella!

We've had to practically scrape him off the ceiling tonight.
He will never go to sleep. Sugar overload.

Happy 3 years to the best little boy & big brother ever!

13 May 2012

Friday ramblings

Warning that this entry will probably be very disjointed & a mess in general. Have lots of thoughts but probably not a lot of time until Ben comes storming in (he's currently watching Marcel mow the lawn) or Evan decides he's not enjoying his meal so much anymore.

Speaking of which, holy cow it is so much fun having a baby that loves food! I desperately don't want this to be a judgment against my older young'un because he's pretty awesome too but I'm having a blast trying little recipes of smooshy stuff for Evan. What's he eating today? Lentils with a splash of orange juice & a dash of cinnamon. He is gobbling it up like a crazy person, which is so exciting. He had eggy bread last night - French toast without the milk, vanilla or sugar basically. He LOVED that but choked on every other bite so we might take a break from the bread for another few weeks & try it again when his little system is more adjusted to heavier solids.

Overall, he is mad for pretty much anything we set before him - sweet potatoes, avocado & banana top the list but that's pretty much standard for everyone on earth isn't it? I've introduced a tiny bit of meat through packaged baby food (Rafferty's Garden or whatever it's called is wonderful & has nothing but the actual food in it, which is nice) but need to start pureeing some around here for him to try it normally.

Anyway, please don't be afraid that I'm going to turn this into a baby food recipe blog because I'm not. There are too many awesome ones out there & it probably doesn't count as creating a recipe when you're just tweaking ones you find from someone else.

I know the whole point of this blog is about parenting - the good, the bad & especially the desperate but I'm going to take a break from talking smack about Ben while he's going through this crazy 3 year old nonsense. It doesn't seem fair to air it out when I have no idea what I'm doing & most of it is probably brought on by my own exhaustion, anxiety & lack of patience.

Therefore, just know that I am still trudging along, trying whatever I can to practice positive parenting. Some days are better than others. Let's be honest, some days are whack as crack but that's motherhood. I've been in contact with the helpful folks at the Family Care Cottage & will be attending one of their toddler behavior seminars & talking to them about how to be a more positive disciplinarian, etc. so hopefully some relief is in the future.

Until then, let's chat about Ben's awesomeness:

1. He's kicking ass at toilet training at long last - he is all about going wee on the toilet but still not regularly. Again, much of this is probably me not remembering to harass him constantly about whether he needs to wee or not. Add that to my list of things to do better as a mother, right?! He's been shy about doing poos in the potty but alerts me immediately after doing them in his diaper & then wants to go to the toilet. Better late than never I guess. Daycare is also putting him on the toilet when they take the other kids & he's wearing pull-ups most of the time. He even went a few hours in undies last night without an accident. Woo-hoo!

*Sidenote: I absolutely respect those of you who do the full-on method of letting them wear undies & just shuttling to them to the toilet constantly throughout the day. You may be able to tell that I'm not in the most serene of headspaces at the moment so I think the high probability of accidents would cause me to flllllipppp out so I am staying with the slow, steady & somewhat saner way of doing things for now. For those with energy, I actually think the trial by fire works better or at least more quickly but you gotta do what's best for your situation.

2. He has turned into Independent Benny. I will save you my recitation of George Costanza's Independent George lecture from Seinfeld because it's not actually relevant but heaven knows anytime I hear the word "independent," someone somewhere is rolling their eyes at my terrible rendition of "... a George divided against itself cannot stand!"

So yes, Ben is all about "me do it." Marcel is trying to fix something outside with the drill & I can hear Ben saying "me hold it" & he absolutely will not let us help him in the bathroom - he has to drag the stool over, pull the pull-up down, wipe, flush, drag the stool to the sink, wash his hands, yank the towel over to dry his hands, the whole deal. If we try to save him a step we are greeted with the lovely & loud "ME DO IT!"

3. He's so darn stylish. He's started choosing clothes for himself & I have to say he's doing pretty well in that area. Today he is wearing blue corduroys & a red, blue & yellow checked button-up shirt. If we go somewhere, he is likely to grab one of his blue hats - either the checkered fedora or the blue floppy sunhat. He is fantastic.


Well, Friday ramblings has turned into Monday musings - where does the weekend go? I hope all you rockin' mamas had a beautiful Mothers Day!! My gentlemen let me sleep in on my big day so I consider myself spoiled. Also got to catch up with some friends who live up North & we never get to see so that was a treat!

We had a massively wonderful & delicious Saturday as well but I'm going to do a separate post for that because it deserves one. We'll see when I get around to that post, mind you, but it is on my to-do list.

Also on my to-do list? Getting ourselves organized & packed for our vacation!! We leave in a couple of weeks & my book of to-do lists (no joke, I think I'm up to eight lists breaking down what we need to buy & what needs to be packed in each bag - carry-on & underneath, etc.) At least we're close enough that Marcel is starting to get in on the game with me & no longer rolling his eyes at my awesome organizing efforts.

I'm still betting against myself, knowing that I'm bound to leave something important behind!

Anyhoo, I've been feeding Evan for about an hour now because we've gotten interrupted about a thousand times by Master Benjamin but he's such a happy camper, gulping down avocado with multigrain baby cereal. He's also helping me clear my salad plate by chomping down some kidney beans & lentils. Heaven bless us when his teeth FINALLY show up one day, he'll be unstoppable!

I actually had something in mind to write but it's gone now - too tired to complain, too exhausted to go into details about anything & Ben is singing something completely unrecognizable at the top of his lungs in the backyard so I should go check him out.

Okay I'm off but you know what, before I go, I'll go ahead & share Independent George with you!

03 May 2012


I am tickled today. Do you ever have one of those days where you keep thinking of little things that make you laugh & then start giggling to yourself uncontrollably? That's probably my favorite thing ever. No, strike that, it's even better when it's with a good friend sharing the giggles but I'll settle for a lone gigglefest. I have many little thoughts that are dependable snicker-makers.

Evan & I were cruising along, listening to Bohemian Rhapsody in the car (what? I'm old & have become a radio curmudgeon). If you can hear that song without thinking about Wayne's World, then hats off to you & your sophisticated ass. I saw that piece of cinematic brilliance when I was in 6th grade & my poor father somehow got stuck taking me to see it. That theater was PACKED, kids my age snuck in & were filling up the aisles I tell you. I've never seen that happen before or since.

Anyway, for some odd reason my favorite part of that stupid movie is Garth's reaction to having the drunk dude ride with them. There is rarely a week that goes by that I don't tell someone (Marcel mostly but sometimes the kids) "If you're going to spew, spew into this" in my best Garth voice. Then I start tittering to myself like it's the wittiest line of all time. There are several scenes in that movie that are probably actually funnier but that's the one that sticks with me - if I'm sick I can generally count on my mom to give me those instructions as well, bless her.

So I was giggling in the car & trying to explain to Evan why it was so funny - his funny bone is mostly tickled by raspberry noises & Ben putting things on his head these days - so I had to look it up when I got home. I watched the clip on youtube & said to myself, "That's really not that funny," but then a tee-hee-hee burst out & off I went again, cackling like a loon.

Here, you can partake in my enjoyment (or roll your eyes at my immaturity) if you like:

Anyway, sorry I've been ducking out of my blogging duties recently. I've been a bit lost for words. Not just my brain melting but our house has been taken over by a demon. Yes, Ben has reached a new developmental milestone that has turned him into an ass-hat.

Sorry, I shouldn't call my toddler names but geez he's a jerk sometimes! Our discipline routine used to consist of us saying "No!" or "Stop that!" Lo & behold he would stop it. If things escalated beyond that, there was a timeout in his room while we all calmed down for like 2 minutes then all was good. Nowadays the situation is more like this:

Ash: Bennn, stop that please.
Ben: No! Nononononono, mama!! STOP IT MAMA! Move awaaaaaaay!
Ash: (to myself) <<what the hell is happening?>>
         (to Ben)  BEN! STOP!
Ash: <<I am losing this battle.>>
         That's it! You're going to your room!

Then he proceeds to tear his room apart & start sobbing & saying "I'm sad" in a way that breaks my heart every time even though I know he's up to no good & manipulating me.

So, now I'm making an appointment with our family care cottage place to discuss better discipline for our growing toddler. Oh joy. A few people suggested making sure he didn't have an ear infection or something since the personality change came in like a strong breeze one day just out of the blue. I secretly hoped it was something like that - I know it's bad to hope that your child is having physical pain that causes him to be turd but that stuff can be treated whereas a developmental change is a stink that can't be unstunk. The doctor gave him an all-clear on any infections or physical reasons for the crazies & the early childhood nurse said it's pretty typical of soon-to-be 3 year olds.

On the plus side, he has moved up at daycare! He used to be a Joey but now he's a Dolphin so we're very proud of him. His speech is definitely improving & he's eating a tiny bit better these days too. Also, the slowest toilet-training of all time is still plodding along - some days he nails it with lots of pee-pee'ing in the potty & he's not a fan of having poo in his diaper anymore so we keep explaining that he needs to ask for the toilet before, not after the pooping. We're getting there, people, we're getting there ... eventually.

And oddly, even with this moodswinging drama, he's still an awesome big brother! He absolutely adores Evan & loves making him laugh as much as possible - they crack me up together. There are many, many times where he gets a little carried away & almost crushes Evan so we have to supervise very closely but it's all out of love so it's hard to be mad about the trampling.

Evan is 7 months old now & is still pretty awesome. Rolls around the room like a crazy man & will hopefully be sitting up one of these days but I'm really hoping crawling is still in the distant future because that's a whole new set of headaches. A lovely elderly woman stopped me in Target this morning to compliment me on how cute he is - she actually laughed & said "You did very well with him, you should be proud." That delighted me because I was too lazy to take him out of his pj's this morning & half the time he's covered in rusk remnants or food that I forgot or missed.

He's still slaying it with the food by the way - smooshed up sweet potato for him last night, which he devoured. It's fun experimenting with a kid who enjoys food!

Anyhoo, the food lover is grouchy & on my lap, smacking the computer so I'm going to go before he loses my place again.