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BabyGirl Enters the Terrific Twos

That’s right. My BabyGirl is quickly becoming less and less of a baby, and more like a little person. Sigh.

I mean, let’s be honest – she will always be my baby (poor kid) but there is no doubt that she certainly is growing up. Sigh.

She turned two yesterday and we threw her a little party. We decided to have an afternoon party once Princess got home from school, and then have it lead into a fish-and-chip dinner for those who couldn’t make it at 4pm. That is, those who actually have, you know, day jobs!

On Wednesday, BabyGirl had a pediatrician appointment to discuss her Dairy allergy. We were “discharged” from his care back in July last year, under the plan that we would slowly introduce dairy products into her diet. However, she was not reacting well to this so we went back for a review. And, not surprisingly, he suggested that we go back to square one for at least another six months, with no dairy at all.

And so, we had our second Dairy Free Birthday Party!

Food

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Because it was an “afternoon tea” I wasn’t too worried about the amount of food. I served up fairy bread (sprinkles on bread with dairy-free spread), dairy free cupcakes with sprinkles, Arnotts Animal Biscuits, Oreos, popcorn, marshmallows, rice crackers and hummous.

My recipe for the dairy free cupcakes is very comprehensive and advanced, so I hope you are sitting down for this one. I’m lying, it’s not complicated at all! Our local supermarket sells a cake packet mix for $1.99. This packet mix contains no dairy products at all, and calls for 3/4 C of milk (I use rice milk) and one egg. So, for less that $3.00 I can whip up a batch of cupcakes, or a cake, or any combination of them. I always have at least one packet of this in my pantry at all times, for those just-in-case moments :)

Cake

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Which brings us to the cake. I wanted to do something different this year, rather than the usual dairy free cake. So i had the brainwave to make a cake by using a marshmallow/rice bubble slice recipe, but forming it into a cake shape. I mixed together rice bubbles with marshmallow creme (this product isn’t common here in New Zealand but our supermarket sells it in the International Foods aisle and I love it!) and some melted coconut oil. Once it was mixed I put it into a round silicon cake pan and let it set in the fridge. I did this twice so I had two layers, then I sandwiched them together with buttercream icing (made with margarine rather than butter). For the “decorations” I had some pre-made animal figures left over from another cake, and used some more buttercream on top, with a stencil of the number two done with sprinkles.

The cake was SUCH a hit, especially with the adults! There was NONE left at the end, which is a first with birthday cake!

Party Games

For party games we literally just did pass the parcel. BabyGirl is considerably younger than most of the kids at the party, and couldn’t grasp why a present was being passed around the circle that she wasn’t allowed to open! It was a crazy, chaotic game due to their being so many kids, of so many varying ages. But nevertheless, all the kids seemed relatively happy with their lollipops.

Once the food was eaten and the game was played, the kids went outside (in less-than-tropical weather) and played on the trampoline and in the sandpit until it was too dark to stay outside any more.

And when that happened, they all piled back inside for a MASSIVE amount of fish and chips!

It was a lovely party, and I know BabyGirl had a blast.

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And, just to remind us that she is now TWO, this morning she ended up in time out twice, once for pinching her brother until he cried, and once for pulling her sister’s hair until she cried.

Ah, the twos.

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Poop and Smiles

They say there are only two certainties in life – death and taxes.

In parenting, there are two certainties – poop and smiles.

But, there are a heck of a lot of other things that you can guarantee will happen when you have kids. Almost always when you don’t want/need them to. Let’s call it, Mum’s Law.

1. When you need to be somewhere in a rush, your child will suddenly desperately need to poop. For 15 minutes. All the while giving a running commentary. “Whoa! That was a big poop. Oh! One more to go! One more to .. nope! Ha ha ha there’s more!”

2. You will need to sneeze just at the exact moment you have finally gotten your baby to sleep.

3. On the one chance you get in a year to sleep in uninterrupted, your children will keep you up until 3am with their tag-team game of waking up. Or they will ALL need full attention at 7am. Or both.

4. You will never get anyone knock on your door until the morning you have overslept, you haven’t showered, you have just had a porridge-fight with your child and you have a brown substance on your arm that you can’t guarantee isn’t poop.

5. Your kids will want to play with every toy imaginable, all at once, just minutes before an important person is due to arrive at your house.

6. Your kids will all wet the bed the night before you are due to go on a three week holiday (because, of course you won’t be there to do the laundry).

7. Your kids will ignore you for hours. Right up until you decide you need to poop.

8. Date night? At least one kid will get sick.

9. When you have the kids dressed in their Sunday best, they will eat chocolate.

But, of course, they aren’t all bad …

10. When you are having a horrible day, when all you want to do is crumble on the ground in tears, your child will come up, hug you and say, “Lub you mumma”

11. When you stand on a piece of lego and hop around the room like a mad woman, the kids will laugh. Laughter is infectious.

12. No matter how space you need from your kids, you will miss them more than you could ever imagine, when they aren’t there.

Because those time-sucking, poop-smelling, tickle-giggling little rascals are part of you. And that’s a certainty!

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What I Would Say To My 20-Year-Old Self

I’m getting old. I know, right? I’m fast approaching my mid-thirties, which is practically 40. And don’t I know it – my knees creak like a symphony when I stand up, my feet ache all day long and my hands look like an elderly woman’s.

And, worse than the physical, is the adult part. I’m having to more and more be adult. And I’m not sure I’m a fan of this adult business.

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And so, tonight on our daily chit chat, Person and I decided to compile a list of advice we would give our 20-year-old selves, should we ever come across them.

We would sit them down, pour us all a glass of cider (no, 20-year-old-me, you can’t have beer. Or vodka. Ok, vodka all round). And then it’ll get serious. Well, as serious as Person and I can get while drinking cider and vodka with our 20-year-old counterparts. There will be a lot of giggling, I tell you what.

And here we go. The advice. Fasten your seatbelts, 20-year-olds, it’s gonna be a doosey!

  • Enjoy your life. Enjoy yourself! Don’t be in a hurry to grow up. It’s ok to play the fool!
  • Grasp every opportunity that comes your way. The opportunities won’t always be there.
  • Save at least some of your money. Get insurance.
  • Look after your face – sunscreen! And look after your hands. And your FEET!
  • Don’t get that tattoo
  • Or that one
  • Hangovers suck balls.
  • You can have a lot of fun without alcohol. Don’t use it as a crutch.
  • Your body is awesome. Embrace it. Don’t be shy!
  • Choose your friends wisely. And, more importantly, choose your friends. You don’t have to be friends with anyone. Steer clear of people who make you feel less worthy than you are.
  • The only person whose opinion matters is you.
  • Don’t do things simply for the sake of a man. Be yourself. Don’t chase guys for the sake of not being alone. You have a long way to go, you won’t be alone. When you stop looking, you will be surprised at who appears.
  • Your metabolism won’t be like this forever. Make the most of it but take care of your body.
  • AND YOUR TEETH. Dentists are expensive. (side note – don’t brush your teeth immediately after vomiting. Wait at least half an hour).
  • Be nice to your parents. They love you.
  • Don’t do a job you think you should do. Aim for a job you WANT to do. I fell into my dream job at 32.
  • You can be the sweetest peach on the tree, but there will still be people who don’t like peaches.
  • If you need to be selfish for the sake of your own happiness, so be it.
  • Don’t be offended when you are asked for ID. You will miss it when it’s gone. Especially when they call you Ma’am.
  • Be nice to people. Just be nice in general. No one likes a bitch.
  • Anyone who doesn’t treat you well, doesn’t deserve you in their life.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Plan a wonderful life. Set goals and enjoy reaping the benefits. But don’t worry too much about what is yet to come. The world works in mysterious ways.
  • Mistakes happen. It’s what make us who we are. Don’t regret anything that made you smile.
  • Enjoy sleeping in until 10am. Lunchtime even. When you have kids, that ends. ENDS.
  • There is so much more to a relationship than sex. And sex is infinitely better when you are in a solid, loving relationship.
  • The grass is only greener on the other side because they fertilise it with bullcrap.
  • Live your life the way you want to, for you. Be considerate, be caring, be kind. But don’t take crap. Don’t let people bulldoze you.

I’m sure I can go on and on, but it’s midnight and this old lady needs her sleep.

I realise that, had someone told me this information when I was 20, I would have said, “oh, thanks for that!” politely and then rolled my eyes, picked up my 24-pack of $1 vodka drinks and headed into the hills. Literally. We used to buy cheap booze and sit in the hills and drink it. I know. Classy lady.

And, if I’m being honest, I don’t think I would necessarily change any of the things that I did, because everything I did as a “youth” led me on the path to where I am today. Sitting up at midnight while my hubby and three kids sleep peacefully (don’t polish my halo just yet, two of them have literally been asleep an hour. And I had a bottle of cider to accompany me tonight).

But, it’s nice to think that someone was looking out for me (in some weird, cross-universe way), and I hope maybe I can push some of this advice on to my kids when they are 20.

And for now, I go to sleep. Another day of adulting awaits me in the morning.

p.s. I can’t forget to mention Person and her awesome help contributing to this. You rock and you know it xx

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The F Word

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Princess is growing up. I know, it’s sad. Some days I really miss her little “isms”, those adorably innocent musings about the world around her.

Since she started school, she is a lot more sensible and serious about the world. Which is funny, given that neither Mr T nor I are particularly sensible or serious people. Needless to say, a lot of time is spent with her telling us off, sighing and eye rolling.

She still manages a few little Princess-isms now and then though, and when she does I thoroughly enjoy them. Like today, telling me that the beach we were at was a “very special, super amazing beach” because it was “allowed” to make little waves rather than big waves. Special indeed – special to her, and that’s what matters!

One of the things Princess has learned at school is dirty talk. Everything seems to be “poobum” this and “buttface” that. We are trying to sway her away from that kind of language, as hard as it is some days.

I won’t lie – when she says, “Mum, you are a butt head diddle face bum bum poo head” and collapses into a fit of giggles, I have been known, on occasion, to maturely reply with, “No, YOU are a butt head diddle face bum bum WEE head”.

I know, I know. I’m the grown up. Sigh. *eye roll*

But one thing that we are desperately trying not to encourage is the actual swearing. Even when she uses words entirely in context. I still remember the first time she said the F word. She was playing with her brother’s train set and a train just would not fit though the tunnel. She was getting more and more exasperated, and finally huffed, “just go through the f***en tunnel!”. I was horrified. Mr T and I are not big swearers, so I’ve no idea where she got it from.

Princess came home from school a few weeks ago and proudly said to me, “I know what F words are”.

Goodness, I thought. Here we go.

I sighed and apprehensively asked, “What are F words?”

“Oh, Mum. They are words you should NOT say, not ever. They are words like, stupid. Dumb. Fart head. Dick”

Relief washed over me. So cute, so innocent ..

“…. s**t, f**k … ”

No, wait. She is still listing words.

Oh well, at least she knows they are bad, right?

And, by and large she seems not to use them. Which is kind of what I’d hoped to achieve – by not making these words funny or by making them seem fun to use, Princess seems to have accepted that they are words we simply do not say.

And, she wouldn’t be Princess if she didn’t loudly announce today that “we don’t say F**K because that is a BAD WORD, but we can say WHAKARONGO which is MAORI for LISTEN, aye Mum? It sounds like F**K but it’s not. Aye, Mum? F**K is a bad, bad word.”

Yes dear.

Perhaps our next life lesson could be finding a lower volume level when analysing the similarities between swearing in English and speaking in other languages.

At least the nearby tourists found it amusing.

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The Fantastic T’s Go On Holiday!

Holiday! Yay! After months of hard work, savings and planning, the time finally came – we were going on holiday! Oh, wow – it was going to be so much fun! The bags were packed and we were on our way on a wonderful trip around the top end of the North Island of New Zealand.

Here’s the thing about New Zealand – it’s a stunning country. We are so lucky to have it within our reach, and Mr T had never traveled north of Auckland before. So, we reasoned, why spend money traveling to other countries when we could tourist in our own country! Great plan, Mrs T. Practically foolproof.

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Holidaying in today’s day and age, photos get plastered all over social media and people think, “oh wow, you guys are having such an amazing time!”. And we are. Kind of.

But, truth be told, holidaying with three small kids is hardly a holiday. It’s more of a normal-life-in-a-different-place-with-slightly-more-anxious-kids-and-no-bath.

I can tell endless tales of the fun we are having, but then, that wouldn’t be true to my blog now, would it?

So here is our holiday so far – the unedited version.

Long car rides are boring. Of course they are. I know they are. That’s why I normally fall asleep (not when I’m driving, obvi). Kids? They moan. “Are we there yet?” “How far till we get there?”. And, courtesy of Princess – “THESE KIDS ARE SO DUMB! LEAVE THEM BY THE ROAD! WHO INVITED THESE SILLY KIDS?”.

I’m relatively confident she isn’t including herself in that.

We see lots of amazing sights along the way

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Yes, that is a public toilet. Nestled next to a very lovely river. That we didn’t see because Princess then BoyChild then Princess then BoyChild needed to pee/poop/pee/who-knows-what.

We decided to stop en route for a lovely picnic at the exquisite Lake Taupo. I had even packed a picnic for us to share (yay me! Mum Win).

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What you can’t see in this lovely pic is (a) BabyGirl is crying (b) we are sitting in bird poop (c) there are literally six BILLION ducks and pigeons and geese and swans and seagulls hovering, just waiting for us to drop a teensy bit of something for them to swoop in and (d) the tourists all sitting at the picnic tables, looking at us and thinking, those morons.

As soon as a table was free, we took it. And to Princess’s credit, she was an awesome bird-shoo-er. “GET AWAY YOU STUPID DUMB HEAD BIRDS!!!”. Such a lady *gush*

After our picturesque (read: hell no) picnic, we let the kids go and look at the lake. OMG PHOTO OP!

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Literally SECONDS later, BabyGirl took a step into the water and belly flopped in, face first. Princess immediately copied her and also “accidentally” fell in (read: not). And BoyChild? He’s all like, “hey, they are swimming, I’m IN!” and was naked before we could stop him.

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And so we have, an awesome pile of saturated clothing, three naughty children back in the car, and we are on our way, far, FAR away from any bodies of water (or birds, for that matter!).

We had a lovely stopover in Auckland, we saw many, MANY parts of the city that we didn’t plan on (turns out we aren’t very good at motorways). Or roads in general.

We went to the Zoo which was actually really fun (well, I think it was!). We saw an Elephant

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Note – no BabyGirl in the photo. The Elephant frightened her so much she was literally trembling. No idea what the kids are looking at. “Hey! Guys! Elephant is over there!

The Zoo really was great. Even though it literally poured with rain. And when BoyChild asked for a jersey, I realised I’d left his in the car (Mum Fail).

Special mention to Princess and her Zoo Navigator skills. “Is this the path to the shop, Mum?”

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Today we left Auckland and headed further North to the beautiful Bay of Islands. I know they are beautiful because I’ve been here before. Mr T is yet to be convinced, since it started pouring with rain the minute we arrived. The drive up was four torturous hours of hell, I won’t lie. Twice we had to change the seating arrangements. And I blame BabyGirl entirely. She is a little minx in her car seat – hair pulling, kicking, throwing toys. My goodness. I might have nodded slightly when Princess exasperated, “JUST LEAVE HER ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD TO WALK, GEEEEZ”.

We had no less than eight toilet stops.

Yet somehow we missed the famous Kawakawa toilets.

We stopped at a New Zealand war site, to let the kids run around while we got to look at it and appreciate the history of it. Amongst yells of “get out of the hole” and “don’t stick your face in the historic cannon please”. Of course.

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Oh, not to mention the fact that, give BabyGirl an inch of freedom and she is off like a rocket.

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I was NOT wearing a suitable running bra today.

And there it is. We arrived at our motel in the pouring rain, just before tea time, with three sleeping angels in the backseat.

Which of course means it is after 9pm and we are still trying to settle them into bed. At least they aren’t all singing “All about the bass” like they were at 11pm last night.

Ah, holidays. Truth be told, we are having fun. We have laughed and laughed, we went for a lovely family walk after tea tonight, and Mr T and I are currently relaxing and reading up on what we can do while we are here. Holidays. They are what you make them. And dammit, this holiday is gonna be awesome.

Can’t wait to plan the next one. Although, I won’t lie – I’m not sure the kids will be invited.

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The Snip.

Aaaaaaaaand .. that’s all folks! No more babies in this household. No siree, Bob. Because, a few weeks ago, Mr T got the snip.

The chop.

A Vasectomy.

Right from the outset, Mr T and I clearly had differing views on the whole deal.

I suggested he get the snip, as I was fed up dealing with birth control. And, I knew we were confident that we were 100% done with baby making. The pregnancy scare late last year cemented any doubt I had. You know you are done-burger when a pregnancy test comes back negative and you high-five each other.

Mr T stalled on making the appointment, so I offered to make it for him. He said I was breaching his human rights.

And then, a few days later, he made the appointment. And boy, was I excited. I happily wrote it on the calender, and told anyone who would listen. Heck, I practically shouted it from the roof tops.

Mr T quietly mentioned it to a few male colleagues, and they somberly discussed the procedure. I talked about it with my friends who had been through the process with their partners.

“It’s nothing” they said.

“He can sit on peas for a day and he’ll be sweet” they said.

As the day got closer, Mr T got quieter. And despite my bringing it up regularly, was reluctant to talk about it. He even joked about cancelling the appointment.

This was my reaction.

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And so, on the day, we excitedly (me) and nervously (him) drove to the clinic.

Me: Do you know what I think the pain will be like?

Him: I’m going to stop you right there. You do NOT know what the pain will be like. Nothing you say will make me feel better

Me (very quietly): I think the pain will be like childbirth, but not as bad. Just saying.

And so we drove on. When we got there, we sat silently in the waiting room until the doctor came out. Mr T leaped up, said goodbye and disappeared into the room.

He clearly didn’t want me in the room, which was ok. Because I absolutely did NOT want to be in there. Oh, no. Nope. Nope.

So, while my dear hubby was having his bits chopped and snipped, I was happily and excitedly sitting across the road in a cafe, enjoying kid-free coffee time. This vasectomy business is hard work, I thought to myself.

While I was sitting there, I got to thinking. Was it wrong that I was excited? Not at all feeling sad or even moderately disappointed that this basically confirmed us to three kids? I waited for the sadness to creep in, the urge to run across the road, fling the door open and declare, “Stop the operation, I want more BABIES!!!”.

Nope. Didn’t happen. Not even close. I felt like a kid at Christmas.

Mr T was, understandably, delicate afterwards. He commented that 30-something years of fertility had come to an end. I raised my hand for a high five before realising this wasn’t a high five moment for him! And then I felt bad again. Because I was thinking, 17 years of birth control coming to an end! Weeeeeee-heeeeee! Squeeeee!

It’s now been ten days, and from what I understand, the bruising has gone and things are getting better. No, I didn’t see it. No, I didn’t want to see it. No, I didn’t even want to see a picture of it. Nope. I just sympathetically patted Mr T’s head and did my diligent wifey role by scooping in to grab the kids when they started climbing all over daddy.

I asked Mr T what he thinks about it now, and he says he doesn’t think about it. High five!

I was asked by my sister a month or so ago, was I sad that BabyGirl is my youngest child? And I can say with full clarity that I am not. I would be sad if she wasn’t to be the youngest. Because she is our baby!

And now, we can forge forward as our awesome family-of-five, excitedly looking forward to the future, to all the things we have yet to come.

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