to lid, or not to lid…

Five years at home with a smaller version of me….plenty of time to have a good hard look at myself.

During my working life I had a boss with a touch of the quirks….he would only eat sweets in multiples of two and if there was only one left in the bag he would break it in half to make it two pieces. Yes I gave him a hard time about it and always offered him the last one. So fast forward a few years and turns out that I have a touch of the quirks myself.

The under vs over toilet paper debate rages on facebook and I don’t really care about that one – since it’s only me that replaces the roll it goes on however it lands. My quirks continue to surprise me at how much they can generate a reaction and a rise in my blood pressure – I now know how TE must have felt when I left a solitary white freddo on his desk.

I first discovered my quirky behaviours while hanging out the washing…when selecting pegs I will only hang a garment or item using pegs of the same colour and I have wasted countless seconds sifting through the peg basket looking for a peg the same colour as the one already in my hand. Sometimes, if it’s too hard, I will abandon the peg I am already holding and choose another colour. Recently I have tried to break this habit and have hung the washing using mismatched pegs….this lasts only minutes and then I go back and match them up.

When I put my knives on the knife magnet all the blades must face away from the kitchen.

When I hang the clothes in the wardrobe all the coat hangers must hang over the rail not under-over and all the shirt openings must face to the left. If Mr. B Badger hangs his clothes up it sends me into a pre-menstrual rage regardless of where I am in my cycle.

My most recent addition to my growing list of quirks is putting the lids on the plastics before putting them away. Yes it takes up more room. It also means you don’t have to take a bex and a good lie down after spending time searching for the lid to your kids lunch box. I was unfamiliar with this quirk as it seems to be something I have always done….so if someone else does the generous thing and puts the plastics away I then go in afterwards and match up containers to lids.

All of these quirky little OCD behaviours –  there are more – have lead me to the conclusion that I need to get a job. Something meaty that I can sink my brain into so that peg colour, coat hanger placement and to lid or not to lid can become things that I used to focus on when that was my focus.


Prepping for Prep…

Last week Little Boss started school. I naively thought that raising a child and being a stay at home mum would make the sands of time slip a little slower through the hourglass…man was I wrong. These have easily been the fastest five of my 45 years.

So we have the uniform ready to go, the bag packed and everything labelled. All I have left to do is get her ready and pack her lunch…how hard can it be?

We have one of those fancy Bento style lunch boxes that has multiple little areas for food and it looks super cool so I set about filling up those little areas with a wrap, carrot sticks raspberries, cheese, chicken and grapes. I don’t have an ice brick to keep it all cool but I did freeze a yogurt pouch so that should do the trick. I am winning at parenting. Off she goes. No tears, from either of us. Fast forward to pick up and I say “what did you get up to today?” and her first response above anything else is “my yogurt exploded in my lunch bag and it went EVERYWHERE!” I said that was no good and that we would get her an ice brick for next week so it didn’t happen again. The next comment about the day was “the teacher told me that I had to keep some of my fruit so I had something to eat at fruit break” Now the theory behind the Bento Box is small portions that provide variety and it turns out that this is not suitable for Prep. I feel just a teensy bit shit that the top of mind memories from my childs first day at school were about my rookie lunchbox fails. Not only did I fail at lunchboxing but I also didn’t put a braid in her hair OR a ribbon which was very disappointing for her. To be fair I am still waiting for her hair to thicken up and one hit of static has her looking like a dandelion seed so braids are just not going to happen.

This week I feel as though I have redeemed myself – the exploding yogurt and the subsequent smell are still fresh in my nose – we have a new lunch box and an ice brick. Today lunch is a sandwich, grapes, strawberries, popcorn and crackers. There is a plait in her hair and a ribbon that I don’t expect to see this afternoon. I congratulate myself even more by turning up early….which I will never do again. When I got home I was having a look at Facebook and as if by magic a post appeared about school lunch boxes. Some parent in South Australia has been put on notice for sending chocolate cake to school with their child…shut the front gate. As I read through the comments I spotted one that made me laugh out loud…one parent got a note home saying that a Vegemite sandwich was not a green light food as Vegemite contains too much salt. While I don’t expect to see a note in Little Boss’ lunch bag, if I did I am pretty sure I would not be outraged enough to post it on facebook. To be honest I know Vegemite is salty and not the best choice and I would love to be able to load up my kids lunch box with awesome healthy options BUT I have always believed that fed is best and if the only thing she will eat is a plain wrap with no filling or a Vegemite sanga then that’s what will be in her bag. These are things my parents never had to concern themselves with….I got Vegemite on white and it got squashed in my bag and I ate it alongside my pals who had either Vegemite or Peanut Butter or, if they were really fancy, Devon and tomato sauce.

Hopefully today I get to  hear about some friendships made, some books read and games played…the stars have aligned in the lunch and grooming galaxy so here’s hoping the rest of the days go well.

The real reality of home improvement…

We are about to see the end of another series of The Block. The renovation show that is more about getting tradies to do the work while you go and spend ridiculous money on fluffy stuff and then complain cause you’ve run out of money and can’t pay your trades. It’s all a fantasy and I love a good bit of escapism on my telly so I like to watch it and yell at it. I also love to renovate. We bought this house and it was filthy and in fairly average condition so it’s been painted – mostly – flooring ripped up and new flooring laid, new window coverings, security doors, garage door, ceiling fans, light fittings blah blah you get my drift. We have a tight budget and some of our ‘nice to haves’ have been put into the ‘you’ve got to be joking, how much?’ file. We would love to do so much but one of us works for money and one of us works for love – and the only time love pays the bills is in dodgy 70’s porn films. Anyhoo this weeks project is to finish what we started last week and that is to re-roof our pergola and paint the patio floor. We took the roof sheets off last week and removed 28 cup hooks from the timbers – must have been the hanging gardens of Babylon at one stage – sanded, washed and repainted the timbers ready for new roof sheets. We worked together and we didn’t end up having an argument, which is pretty amazing really. Our budget for this job is $1000. Yep that’s right, only three zeros. Will it be the super awesome outdoor area we would love? Probably not. But it will be a shelter from the weather so we can cook and eat outside while MrRooben chases his ball and Barry Big Hole practices riding her bike. We don’t have a budget for pillows and cushions and throws for our bed…we have four pillows and a doona cover my mum picked up in the recent closure of a House store – thanks mum! To be honest even if I did have spare money pillows and cushions would be last on my list. I would rather buy a coffee table or side table so I can put my drink down without MrRooben whipping it onto the floor with his broom like tail. We currently use the two small chairs that form part of an Ikea chair and table set that Barry Big Hole has in her play room – they do the trick but to be honest it would feel more of a grown up space with a coffee table. We’ll see how we go in the budget. Our guests might have to continue to play dodge the dog tail with their coffee or wine so we can plant out our neighbours instead. Turns out that at $27 our kids Ikea setting was a sound investment with multiple functions….it just won’t be appearing in Vogue Living anytime soon.

two and a bit versus forty plus….

okay so I have been off the grid for a while which has given me plenty of time to observe the world around me…and by this I mean what occurs under my roof. we have a distinct lack of funds so if it’s happening, it’s happening at home. anyhoo…today I observed one of the most spectacular tantrums to date. there was full body gyrating, tears, snot, head banging, binky throwing…you name it and we had it today. what was I asking that created this hot mess? I wasn’t trying to get little boss to eat brussel sprouts or even brush her teeth…no I was asking her to take a nap. and by the response I got, it was long overdue. so it got me thinking what are some of the behavioural differences between my two-year old and myself and here is the start of my list.

if you told me to take a nap, I wouldn’t even question you. I would slide into the sheets and drift off.

if you cooked my food for me and served it up at the perfect temperature and it was all my “favourites” I would eat it. there is no way I would push it away and say “I don’t like it”. no way, never, ever.

I would never eat ice cream for breakfast. little boss would eat ice cream for breakfast everyday if it were offered. we are fortunate to have a standard fridge/freezer where the freezer is at the top otherwise I am certain that ice cream would be on the menu 24/7.

if I had the option of sitting in the trolley versus walking while doing the grocery shopping I wouldn’t have to think about it for too long.

and my last observation of our recent differences is if I am in pain and am offered medication to “make the pain go away” it could taste like tripe and I would still gobble it up. unfortunately for us our little boss will only consume pain medication if we disguise it in “a special drink” also known as juice. our recent experience with two-year old molars was possibly the toughest test of our parenting journey to date and had us getting very creative with the administering of panadol. many people have recounted times where they held their child down in order for them to take the foul-tasting medicine but I just can’t bring myself to do that so disguise it is. so she has cracked the bottom two molars and it only took two weeks of eyebrow raising behaviour and lots of discussions about our hopes that it wasn’t permanent. two more to come and even the thought of it fills me with dread. for now though, we have our delightful little person back….and as long as we get her to bed before the overtiredness creeps in she is pretty funny to be around….even if “no” is her favourite word and “don’t like ” is her catchcry du jour she is still pretty amusing – to us.

anyhoo so I am back to writing barrybadger. its been way too long and I am hoping that there are still some people who can laugh along with me, otherwise it is very similar to my day-to-day so please feel free to comment.

back in the game….

okay so its been a while between posts on barrybadger for me and things have been interesting to say the least. unfortunately hand foot and mouth disease has been making the rounds and decided to spend a while at our place. I thought little boss had managed to dodge it but on day seven of the two to seven day period for symptoms to make themselves known she got the tell tale blisters in her throat and that started a four day stint of her sleeping for only 30-40 minutes at a time. poor love she looked terrible and I am surprised my neighbors didn’t call in child services after one particularly bad night….I called in my mum who fortunately only lives around the corner and is not precious about cruising the streets in her pj’s and having her here meant I was able to sleep for a couple of hours. what a terrible virus it is. apparently it is more the discomfort of swallowing with throat blisters and not much else that babies have to deal with….the real horror of HFMD is reserved for adults unlucky enough to have a compromised immune system – which unfortunately was me due to the earlier rota-virus I had endured.  so once little boss was back to her usual cheeky self it was my turn to blister up. and did i give it a fair crack or what. when the doctors – yes there were two – are talking about you like you are not in the room and asking each other questions like “have you ever seen anything like this” and the response is “not in my 30 years of practice” its pretty hard not to scream at them “give me some fucking pain relief” yes I was tempted to swear but I had self medicated to a near catatonic state and having them discuss me like I wasn’t even there was probably more due to me not actually feeling present in my own skin. I didn’t really want to be in my own skin at that point cause it was burning, itching and incredibly painful all at the same time. it was about 11 degrees outside and I was sitting in the doctors wearing shorts a singlet and thongs – flip flops not g-strings – and covered in purple blisters….hardly surprising that they didn’t leave me in the waiting room for long. so I had to put old barry on the back-burner for a while…at least until I could move my hands and the new skin became less sensitive to allow me to type. lets hope it’s all over now and once the scars clear up I will have no reminder of it. I have included some pictures to give you an idea – they don’t    really do it justice but at least I can share it with you….sharing is caring right???Day Two HFMDhands 2hands 3hands 4

life on credit…

recently my cousin and her daughter visited us and they bought with them a swag of the latest magazines. they came armed with heaps of other stuff as well but for the purpose of this post I wont go on about krispy kreme donuts….it’s just fried dough, get over it. anyhoo so I used to be an avid collector of magazines…I really enjoy some of the articles but mostly just like to look at the pictures. fast forward to the brave new world I live in and the magazines I look forward to come pre-loved. so one of the magazines my cousin left behind has the following claim on the cover “50 great buys under $250″…what a bargain, sign me up, where can I get all 50? seriously, is under $250 the new bargain? I am clearly well out of the loop on what is hip and happening in fashion due, in part, to me currently sporting a size 16 arse, not the 10 required by the fashion forward and the fact that my current budget extends to the two for $30 offered by Jeans West. one of the magazines that I really enjoy reading and looking at is Marie Claire but who buys the fashion? a pair of shoes for $3ooo, a bag for $1200 and a dress for POA…sounds more like a deposit on a house to me. the people who buy this stuff must surely be very wealthy or live on credit cards cause for the average joe who might fancy a pair of neon blue snake-skin heels by Gucci or Prada – I can’t remember – the price tag is way out of reach. it has made me wonder if they are missing their mark in selling the magazine to people like me – well not actually me, I get the pre-loved ones remember – who, even if I did win big and skinny down, wouldn’t buy half the clothes featured in these glossy pages. years ago I was at a convention in Hawaii and while waiting for my room to be ready went for a wander through the mall that was part of the hotel. there was a Louis Vuitton shop and in the window was a bag that had $1200 in small gold writing on the tag next to it….the “bag” itself was probably big enough for two tampons and a lipstick and the exchange rate was 73 cents…then a couple of years ago my besty from Sydney came over for my big four ohhhh and we went for a wander through the designer stores of Perth’s King Street….well the ones we could get into without an appointment anyway. In Prada there was a pair of black men’s rubber thongs with PRADA in white on the sole…$499. seriously…who buys that? and if you do, or you know someone who does, please let me know how freaking awesome they are. cause for that much money they would want to be some crazy amazing comfy thongs. I will continue to invest $20 on havianas at the beginning of summer knowing that by the end of april they will be ready for the bin.

a note for my American friends – the thongs I refer to are not the underwear, up your bum, ones they are the rubber soled on your feet ones. thongs, jandals, flip-flops, pluggers – or if your upmarket – double pluggers.

happy Friday

hi my name is….

kenzi’s mum, formally known as mika. if roles were reversed and men were the primary carers for our babies would they introduce each other with a hand shake and then introduce their offspring? or would they do as we do and just nod and smile or perhaps throw in a “hi”….I was thinking about this yesterday afternoon when I returned from our weekly session in the pool. I know the names of all the babies there but only know one of the mums who also goes to playgroup. while it’s nice to know the names of the babies it would also be nice to be able to say “hi ginger, how was your weekend?”. I guess what I am questioning right now is that loss of my own identity as it becomes all about little boss….how did she sleep?, is she walking yet?, has she tried vegemite?, how many teeth has she got? and on and on it goes which leaves me singing the lyrics from Moving Pictures, What About Me? – not the shannon noll version – so today I am off to an outdoor training session while little boss has her first trip to the crèche…see it’s still about the baby. don’t get me wrong, I am not chucking a tanty about no longer being the centre of attention it would just be nice to have a chat about other stuff…which is increasingly harder to do given that I am the director of domestic affairs and most of these “affairs” revolve around one little boss. even reporting on the events of my day seem slightly dull when Mr B asks “how was your day”. in all honesty my days aren’t lacking in excitement or fun, however I am still trying to pack more and more into each day rather than just hanging out and living in the moment. little boss has been here for almost a year and sometimes I look at her and think “when did you get here?” it’s all been a blur of milestones and learning new things….for both of us. I am finding my new role more and more interesting as I learn to be a “mum” and get used to the new rules of engagement when navigating my way through the many things mum’s do…like baking…mum’s do that…apparently…

damn you joan armatrading…

so good ol’ joan armatrading sang “show some emotion, put expression in your eyes, light up if you’re feeling happy, but if it’s sad then let those tears roll down” thank you joan. I had the first of many acupuncture treatments on saturday and, fingers crossed, I can start showing a little less emotion. I don’t want to end up like hymie from get smart but somewhere in the middle would make a refreshing change. ahhh hormones don’t you just love the highs and lows that they bring. I have been waiting for things to improve and have been pulling out all the tricks I know to bring on the happy hormones and banish the sad. heaps of exercise, good food, no alcohol – some would argue this may be the problem – and generally looking after myself. so why then do I still feel everything – and I mean really feel? I had some blood tests that reveal elevated liver enzymes which comes as no surprise to me…and would explain a lot when you look at how traditional chinese medicine practitioners look at liver disharmony. so I am under the treatment of the good dr.pete once again and if this fails I may have to take on some sensitivity training terry tate style – –

the new awesome….

so yesterday little boss cut her first tooth. she has been operating the drool factory almost non stop for the past four months and I have been amazed at its staining power….if only I had shares in sards wonder soaker. the past few weeks have just been full of new experiences for little boss and it has been so cool just watching her try to figure stuff out. when she first figured out how to move she could only go backwards and quickly learned that in order to change direction she would need to roll around until her feet were pointing at the desired location. now she is crawling properly – and forwards – getting into a sitting position and pulling herself up on any available stationary object or human. she will play peek – a – boo behind almost anything even if it doesn’t cover her face and has figured out how to roll Mr Roobens ball across the floor to him. her language skills are improving as she learns how to use her tongue to make new sounds. so it might read like I am the parent of the only child on the planet that does these things – I hope not because I know these are all just regular things that babies do. the reason I am writing all this is because I am in awe. I can’t believe how much these small packages can learn in such a short period of time. it is staggering that only a few months ago little boss struggled to hold an object and the speed at which that went from passing an object from hand to hand to now picking up one individual dog hair off her rug and inspecting it with such concentration. I cant help but think that if we learn so quickly as babies and children why is it that it takes so long to learn new skills as we get older? I went on a skiing holiday years ago and after the mandatory lessons my besty and I hit the slopes…I did a cart-wheel and lost one of my skies, she skied all the way to the bottom but couldn’t stop and took out a fellow beginner who had spent most of my besties decent trying to get back on her feet only to be wiped out by a 30 something woman who should have opted for the whitsunday cruise. the shame of it was that while we were failing miserably – and I mean we were miserable in our failure –         over-achieving 4 year olds went flying by. we spent the rest of our seven-day lift pass in the bar.

honestly the development of babies was never really the hot topic for me…I thought all babies were about dirty nappies, crying and major lifestyle adjustments. I guess Mr B and I never got the chance to really think about the nitty-gritty of raising a child so now we are just spending our time figuring it out as we go and I tell you it’s been pretty cool so far. yesterday I just sat and watched little boss while she picked through her toys. she considered each one before giving it some time or kicking it to the curb and she got fascinated with a hand puppet her uncles gave her for christmas. she was handling it like it was made of the finest crystal and I was having the best time watching her just explore….who would have thought??

I can totally understand why she isn’t sleeping so well and why she gets grumpy and clingy. it’s an ever-changing world and she is dealing with challenges on a more than daily basis. considering we have all been through these same early days it’s a shame even the most minute change can throw an adult into a state beyond repair. so I am going to try to be more like little boss…deal with change, learn something new everyday and laugh as often as possible…seems like a good plan to me and it is working for little boss so who am I to argue?

now if only she can learn to throw the ball for Mr Rooben she will have a dedicated friend for life…

28 days….

so I have been doing febfast…for those that do not know participating in febfast involves abstaining from alcohol for the month of february while raising money to support people with addiction issues and their families. the non drinking thing is no biggie for me anymore since I only had about three drinks while I was pregnant with little boss and every time I did my body rejected it and I would spend the rest of the day or night in the bathroom I figure whats 28 days when I have done over 12 months….so I have roped in Mr B – who, if faced with the choice, would rather eat cupcakes than drink bourbon – and my parentals who are only doing febfast monday to friday but they intend to continue their weekday abstinence beyond february which is pretty good really.

anyhoo it has only just recently occurred to me how much our culture is geared towards having a drink…we meet people “for a drink”, we go out for lunch and dinner and have a drink, we have a rubbish day at work and we relax with a drink, we have a fantastic day at work and we have a drink to celebrate. it may not be our culture, it may just be people I know, but if I count up the non drinkers i know they only take up the fingers on one hand. there is an alcohol awareness advertising campaign on the telly that shows a dad having a drink and he asks his son to get him a beer and the  that son grows into a man and repeats the same pattern…reminds me of my little hostess duties I performed as a child. at the time I loved it. if I was playing the hostess it meant I could stay up and be part of an adult world. it’s only now that I have little boss that it has occurred to me that knowing how to water down my grandfathers fruity gordo before I had hit double digits probably wasn’t really all that cool. and here lies the problem with re-reading my posts….see I had written up to the last full stop this morning then went out for lunch and now at 10pm I have re-read and wonder should I post this? does it come across as though I was raised by some irresponsible people who put me to work at their servant…and the answer to my own question is that to some readers it may seem like that, to others it may sound worse or it may read like a pretty regular, suburban upbringing – which it was. just a normal couple trying to raise two kids, one of whom felt compelled to grow up way to early and present them with more than their fair share of sleepless nights and challenging times….not much has changed really.

anyway it’s staying in – read it or read into it, your choice entirely.

so back to febfast. I haven’t raised any money other than the $50 I donated which I am totally fine with because at the end of february I will hopefully have a better relationship with my liver and will also have lost a few more pounds…god knows why I say pounds but it just sounds better than saying kilos. things that never occurred to me before are now quite interesting like how inexpensive it is to go out for a meal when you don’t drink…perth is probably the most expensive city in australia for dining out, or any sort of dining actually, yet today when I took my besty out for a birthday lunch neither of us had a drink so for two meals and two coffees it was only $55…staggering considering that four years ago we went to a wedding at a beautiful venue on the swan river and I went to the bar to buy drinks for myself and three others….three pints of regular beer and one glass of japanese beer and when I handed the guy a fifty he said “it’ll be more than that” I was totally embarrassed – doesn’t happen often – I only had fifty on me since we were at a wedding and I didn’t need cash…it was $55 for four drinks and none of them had an umbrella. I did wish I had bought a bigger handbag so I could keep the glasses, at least then it would have felt like money well spent.

the other little tidbit to pique my interest is that when you say no to a drink so do others. it’s like a good kind of peer pressure. although my dad says “well this is all a bit boring really” when we are sat at the pub all drinking soda water but it does have a knock on effect and I guess drinking alone is way less fun than in a group so the can’t beat them, join them mantra works both ways. anyhoo for now it works for us. we want to be able to run around with little boss and you can’t do that after a night on the tiles….or as my wise sister-in-law said to my brother “the kids don’t understand a hangover” and she is right, so our febfast might last a while…I wonder how long it will take for wine selectors to stop calling me…