Nov 26, 2013

What a Potentially Musical Family We Have the Potential To Be

Eloise is learning the violin, and apparently is in need of a half-size fiddle now, according to her reports of what her teacher has said. She is also getting to be quite good at the recorder, she picks up a ukelele from time to time, and has a tinkle on the old plastic ivories too.

Lyra is following suit and is partial to banging - literally - out a tune on the keyboard, especially when she is upset set. She is very fond of the pitch-bend wheel. Also she can get a note out of the recorder; just the one, though. She isn't allowed near the violin, but she adores the harmonica being played for her.

Nov 16, 2013

Early Morning School-Run Blues

I will now attempt to explain to you, dear reader, the challenges of getting a child to school when another child who does not attend school has needs that must be balanced against those of the first.

The first challenge is of course how to maximise one's rest in order to have the greatest mental fortitude to bring to bear upon the challenges of the morning. This is achieved through partnership of course. If there is an infant that is prone to rising with the sun (and there is) then this child, if unmollified by the mammary, can become habituated to rolling around on the bed and attempting to mount the bed-side table in search of trinkets, drinks, or worse. This situation can be ameliorated by the contingency of lifting the child onto the floor and managing it through the Limited Sense Strategy. Perhaps use only your sense of Hearing, as I do.

In time, the child may experience signs of upset. This could be boredom or hunger. At this point it may become necessary to open eyes, perhaps even leave the warmth of the bed. Playing at this time in the morning (do not forget that at this time of the year the sun rises at five am) would obviously run the risk of something or other, so perhaps confinement to the high-chair might be in order whilst breakfast is considered. Probably in the abstract.

Breakfast, when eventually delivered, may well consist of cereals, breads, perhaps something egg-based. Berries are popular.

At some point the older, wiser, daughter may choose to awaken. This however is a rare occurence.

Much more likely is the scenario in which the older, wiser daughter must be awakened. This will usually occur over an hour before school time. The daughter will complain bitterly about almost everything and the previous good humour afforded by interactions with a human being yet to develop the capacity for speech will evaporate like screen-cleaner on a clean screen.

Breakfast for the grumpy child will have to be negotiated and will be dithered over. Time will begin to run short. Tasks such as napplication, dressing, and ablution (including sunscreen) can be accomplished for Speechless while Grumpy dithers. Tooth-brushing will be the high-point. Napplication the low.

Time will run seriously low and will need regular announcement. Announcement will be resented and the resentment will be communicated. Shrilly. The shrill communication will need to be picked up on, obviously, and objected to. It's all downhill from here really. After a crescendo, someone will need to get themselves bloody well dressed and ready, and their bag packed, or else there will be real trouble.

At some point someone may realise that provisions for luncheon and break-foods have been neglected and this will need to be attended to. This will probably result in an argument, I mean negotiation, too.

Number Two Daughter is now bike-capable so we have transportation options of available to us, depending on the day and our after-school commitments. Maybe we'll ride a bike, maybe we'll walk. On certain days - shock, horror - we might even drive. But only as a last resort. Or if the weather's bad. Transportation dictates our departure time.

Transportation Mind-changing is not to be encouraged. Last time a mind was changed we ended up with me on a bike with the babe on the back and the dog on the end of a lead, sniffing the proverbial roses, and Eloise on a bike halfway up the street with a procession of three cars following her uncertain progress. Not to be repeated soon.

Still, after all that, we haven't really been late yet. Yet.

Nov 2, 2013

Lyra's Birthday Number One

A year has passed in the life of Lyra, twelve months since our excitement-stricken drive to the hospital and contraction-punctuated hobble to the Birthing Centre where I gazed slack-jawed upon the cowled alien-face of my offspring emerge from my lovely wife's unmentionables at a pace that can only be said to have been indiscreet bordering on downright pushy.

A year in which Daughter Number One has progressed from being a caring elder sister into something a little more nuanced as the spotlight of public attention has slid away and the shadows of sharinghood have spread their dark wings in a depressing embrace, gesturing at the existence that the rest of us must endure and unimaginatively naming it Reality.

A year in which Daughter Number Two has progressed from being a dribbling lump of inertia, admittedly a cute one, but dribbling and reasonably inert nevertheless, into a bouncing squealing lump of energy, in love with nananas and constantly wanting to be bup.

We started the day by delegating the present-opening activities to Eloise and a suite of charming things were revealed, for which I am sure Lyra would thank you all if only she understood birthdays, presents, the societal rules of etiquette, and the English language.

We invited a few friends to the park for a play and a barbecue at the park. We stayed for a few hours eating and drinking. Lyra was managed and chaperoned communally. It may be that she was not fed or watered as much as she should be. If only he had managed to grasp the English language by now she would have been able to explain in her later upset whether this was the cause.

She was present for the cake cutting and so on. The cake of course was the real purpose of the party and I am sure (I think I am sure) that Nicole will be reasonably content that I should report that the Rainbow Spectrum Cake was an ambitious project to attempt, and whilst perhaps not realised to its maximum potential it was nevertheless rainbowy and very large, being made up of six normal-sized cakes with the icing challenges that the physics of that particular scenario present.

The Australians, as ever, were bemused by the bumps. As there was only one, and one for luck, their bemusement only really had a chance to germinate before the event (or ceremony if we're being ambitious) passed by like a balloon on the breeze.