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12 Questions About Life – Princess, Take Six! BoyChild, Take Three!

It’s a cold Saturday and the kids are getting restless, so I decided to do this again. We last did it back in April, when the kids were a lot younger, and also before moving was even on the cards. So, a lot has changed since then.

Princess doesn’t like to get things wrong, she has a real desire to please people, so it took a little bit of explaining of the process this time, and that she couldn’t get the answers wrong, because there were no wrong answers. She even said to me, “Ok Mum, you can start but I hope you are right. I don’t want to get the answers wrong!”.

She’s a thinker, that kid. And, when asked what frightens her the most, her answer was “my imagination”. I think a lot goes on in that head of hers.

Here are the questions and answers (previous answers in brackets)

12 Questions About Life – by Princess, 6 years, 3 months

1. What is the meaning of life? Love

(That’s too hard)

2. What do you want to be when you grow up? A vet and a zookeeper

(A teacher)

3. What makes you most happy? Cuddling Mum

(When I laugh)

4. When do you feel most loved? When kissing Mum and Dad

(When Mummy cuddles me)

5. What are you afraid of? My imagination

(When my teacher dressed up like a ghost at Halloween and scared me. I screamed)

6. If you had one wish, what would you wish for? Puppies

(Another American Girl Doll)

7. What is the funniest word? *insert strange noise*

(Tickle bum. No – shake your boooooooteeeee)

8. What is the easiest thing to do? Cartwheels and handstands

(Make loom band bracelets)

9. What is the hardest thing to do? Backflips

(Clip the ‘s’ clip onto the loom band bracelet at the end)

10. What makes you mad? BabyGirl biting me

(Babygirl hitting me)

11. What is the meaning of love? God.

(Going to school. Because I love my teacher)

12. If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it? Buy lots and lots of toys

(Buy a Lego Friends Shopping Mall).

12 Questions About Life – BoyChild, 4 years, 9 months

1. What is the meaning of life? I dunno

(What’s that mean?)

2. What do you want to be when you grow up? A train.

(A cat)

3. What makes you most happy? Talking

(Counting)

4. When do you feel most loved? Friends

(With Dad. No, Mum)

5. What are you afraid of? Frozen Movie

(Shaun the Sheep Movie)

6. If you had one wish, what would you wish for? A heart

(Fish)

7. What is the funniest word? FRUIT!

(bing!)

8. What is the easiest thing to do? Playing with trains

(Lego)

9. What is the hardest thing to do? Trying to get the car out of the box in the toy room because it’s stuck and I can’t get it out

(Play Bingo)

10. What makes you mad? Crying

(Squares. BABYGIRL TOOK MY LEGO ARGH!)

11. What is the meaning of love? Hearts

(SHE TOOK MY LEGO!)

12. If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it? Buy trains.

(Get a Paw Patrol Garage)

And here are the previous ones, if you are interested. Hopefully BabyGirl will soon be old enough to start answering them as well ūüôā

12 Questions About Life ‚Äď Princess, Take Five! BoyChild, Take Two

12 Questions About Life ‚Äď Princess, Take Four. BoyChild, Take One.

12 Questions About Life ‚Äď Princess, Take Three

12 Questions About Life ‚Äď Princess, Take Two

12 Questions About Life ‚Äď Princess, Take One

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Twenty Seventh!

Princess had her very first Cross Country yesterday. These are an institution here in New Zealand. I remember my own school cross country races fondly. I grew up in a relatively rural town, so our cross country race involved running through the bush, scaling fences, all the while wearing either bare feet or, if we were feeling fancy, jandals.

It’s nice to see nothing has really changed. I mean, they had to wear shoes, but it still brought back memories of my own races. The line up to start. Taking off, running their little hearts out.

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Princess was really¬†excited about this race, she couldn’t stop talking about it. She selected her clothes specifically, laid out the night before with her running shoes. She had been doing a¬†lot¬†of training at school, and even received a certificate last week for her “improvement in school athletics”.

I couldn’t believe how excited I was about the race. There is something about seeing your child participate and do well in something, that just melts your heart. Now, I’m no Tiger Mom, but I do want to see my kids do well. Did I want her to win? Hells yes, that would have been awesome! But more than anything, I just wanted her to do her best. I know, right? I’m such a grown up some times.

And so, it was time. They lined up all the Year 0 and Year 1 girls together (there were a million of them) and boom, they were off. And by “off”, I mean, they disappeared out of sight. Down to the river, to run along the river bank. The race was only 500m so I was surprised at how long the kids were gone for!

We waited … and waited … and then we saw a little girl emerge from the bushes.¬†Was it Princess? Goodness, no. This kid? Usain Bolt, I tell ya. She was miles ahead of anyone else. MILES.¬†¬†And then came more. And more. And more little girls, all wearing, it seems, the same as Princess. I began to wonder if I’d missed her. I looked towards the finish line – nope, not there. More girls came, and there she was. My heart? It died. It puffed up to six million times its normal size. There was my big kid, running her hardest. She wasn’t winning, but by gosh was she trying.

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She overtook a couple of kids on the home stretch, and ran across the finish line.

I won’t lie. I was yelling. Calling her name, jumping up and down in a manner that will most certainly embarrass her in years to come. I mean, no one else is going to cheer for my kid. That’s¬†my job.¬†

I was so happy, I nearly cried. Ridiculous, really. But it’s that crazy pride thing that we parents get. That crazy pride thing that makes us nearly lose our minds at times, I swear.

And, as Princess ran up to me, beaming from ear to ear, she proudly held up her hand and said, “Look, Mum. TWENTY SEVENTH! That’s MY number!”. And with a kiss and a giggle, she was skipping off to her class with her friends.

Did I want Princess to win her race? Sure, that would have been nice, for her to get up onto the podium and get a certificate. But she is 6. She doesn’t yet have the drive to¬†need to win, and that’s great. She had a wonderful time, she later said to me, “I’m so proud of my race, Mum”.

And you know what? So am I. As far as I’m concerned, she might as well have won that race. So we went out for celebratory frozen yoghurt, and Princess got extra sprinkles, because she came TWENTY SEVENTH.

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Anatomy of a Six Hour Car Ride

We just returned from a two week holiday back to our home town and, in order to save well over $1000 in flight costs, we made the choice to drive six hours to a major airport rather than flying direct. Good idea? Sure. I mean, saving that money makes it worth it, right? I mean, how hard can a six hour drive be, with three small kids?

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I know, I know.

And so, this is the summary of our trip.

The Questions

Oh my, the questions.

Why is one eye round, and one eye normal?

Why are my cheeks red?

Are you asleep, Mum?¬†(note: I wasn’t driving. And yes, I was trying to sleep)

What do brother sheep look like?

Is it dinner time yet? (note: 10:30am)

Are we there yet?

Who scratched my face? I think it was me?

Why is snow?

Are we almost at Grandma’s house?¬†(note: we are not going to Grandma’s house)

Are we there yet?

Is it dinner time yet? (note: 11:30am)

Where is the lake? (note: right alongside the car. A very large lake)

Where is that bus going?

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Why are we driving?

The Games

The Finger game. How many fingers am I holding up? How many fingers am I holding up? How many fingers am I holding up.

(note: I won’t lie. I held up my middle finger on more than one occassion)

The Car game. We pick a colour each, and then keep a vague count of each car. We’ve played this game so many times and the kids still haven’t figured that picking silver, white, red or black gives you¬†significantly¬†higher chances of winning than picking, say, purple or orange. Nevertheless, we play.

The Animal game. Two points if you see a sheep. Three points for a cow. Ten points for a llama. 17 points for a monkey. 460 points for a dinosaur. 6,000,000 points for an elephant. This game is thrilling.

“THERE’S A SHEEP THERE’S A SHEEP THERE’S A SHEEP SHEEP SHEEP SHEEP SHEEP SHEEP ….”

We do, after all, live in New Zealand.

The Fights

Princess looking at BoyChild.

Babygirl putting her foot on BoyChild.

BoyChild singing.

Princess singing.

BabyGirl singing.

BoyChild is looking at Princess.

The wrong cd is in.

The window is open.

The window is closed.

The Threats

On at least six occasions, it was threatened that at least one child get out of the car and walk.

On at least one occasion, the car was stopped to remove one child from the car.

On at least three occasions, I requested the car be stopped so I could get out and walk. Once was while driving past a Cidery.

The Scenery

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We saw some wonderful sights. We drove through some of the most amazing scenery in this beautiful country. And we enjoyed it, as we drove through it. Note: we¬†drove. We didn’t stop. Because, you stop, all three kids want to get out. And all three kids don’t want to get back in. There is no such thing as a quick stop. Oh, except the one time we pulled over simply to clean BabyGirl who had managed to smother herself in ice block. I quickly hopped out, wiped her down and off we went. With the car boot open. Yup. I did that. My bad.

The Hilarity

We drove through an area with canals. I said to the kids, “Did you know there are two types of canals? The near canal and the far canal?”

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And I laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed at my expert wit. Mr T rolled his eyes. BoyChild laughed along with me, because he’s awesome (and laughs with anyone). Princess asked me, “Where is the canal?”

The Final 45 Minutes

I’m not sure what it is about a long car ride, but no matter how long it is, the final 45 minutes is always the longest. The kids suddenly snap and have had enough. Mr T and I have had enough. The final 45 is packed full of tears, games, songs, jokes, anything to keep the kids from ripping each other’s hair out. And from me ripping out my own.

Princess decided she needed to poop.

BoyChild decided he was hungry.

BabyGirl decided that 5.5 hours of me sitting slightly out of her reach was too long and she NEEDED TO TUDDLE ME RIGHT NOW.

I encouraged the kids to count to 153, and that we would be home once they were done. They got to 17 before BoyChild declared the game OVER.

BabyGirl cried some more.

I stroked my bottle of cider and whispered, “we are almost there, my precious”.

The Home

And then, we are there. Home. Oh, my lord. Home freakin sweet home. The kids leap from the car, all tears suddenly dry. BoyChild runs to his room and instantly tips out all of his toys. Princess and BabyGirl run to their room and start playing. I run to the loo (I’ve had three kids, remember!).

And just like that, we are done.

Next time, I think I’ll pay the extra $1000.

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Here’s to all the Single Parents

To all you single parents, I salute you. I bow my head, and tip my hat. Goodness, I kneel and kiss your feet.

Mr T has been away this week, the second time in three weeks, and so I have been thrust into the world of solo parenting. And it is, by all accounts, shit. I won’t lie. I won’t sugar coat it. It sucks. And I am well aware of the fact that while I am able to count down the days minutes until husband returns, many people don’t have that luxury.

And I admire you for that. Wholeheartedly.

The first time he went away, I cried when he told me. I tried really hard not to, I pretended the movie I was watching was really sad, but I cried. To put it into perspective (and maybe ever-so-slightly less psychotic), we are new to this town and I’ve yet to meet any proper friend-like grown ups. So, I really am just me’n’the’kids.

That week was tough, but we got there. Princess had school, BoyChild had preschool, I could still go to the gym and drop BabyGirl at the creche a couple of times a week. Night 2 (of 4) was the worst – I was finally asleep when I realised BabyGirl was playing with a freakin balloon in the hallway. At midnight. I stomped up there, picked her up, growled her and stomped down the stairs to my room. Naturally, that was the one time my pj pants would get caught under my foot, causing me to crash onto my elbow and bottom with full force. Never mind. I dealt with it like a grown up.

I’m lying.

I lay in the hallway at midnight and cried like a little baby. One of my shining moments as a mother, I must say. That night BabyGirl didn’t sleep until well after 3am. Like I said, the worst.

But, we got there. Husband came home, and all was well.

This time around, things are a little different. It’s school holidays, for starters. School HELL-idays. So, no school for Princess. No creche for BabyGirl, which means no gym for me. Luckily, BoyChild’s preschool doesn’t break for the holidays, so he still goes each morning. The downside of that being we have to leave the house at 8:30 each morning. I’ve mastered the art of looking temporarily presentable. I don’t even bother dressing the girls. Pjs suffice when you are 6 and 2.

I think what has been the killer for me this week, has been the lack of personal space. They are with me in the shower, they are with me in the loo. They are with me when I’m on the phone, they are with me when I check the mail. They are with me when I sleep, they are with me when I cook dinner.

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I’ve had some great ideas through the week. Like going for a walk. That ended well.

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Baking cupcakes was fun. Shame it didn’t last all day.

We did some science experiments. Also fun until we used up all the baking soda and vinegar. Thus ruining my next plan, making cookies.

I think the hardest part about solo parenting is that you have to be “on” all the time. You are the go to for the kids. There is no opportunity to slack off. When they cry, it’s you who has to solve the issue. When they wake in the night, it’s you who has to get up.

The house is a mess, the kids have been living off a diet of noodles, 100s + 1000s toast and carrot sticks for a week and the alcohol cupboard is noticeably emptier than it was five days ago.

But, the end is near. One more night to go.

And that is where I consider myself to be so lucky. Because there is an end in sight for me. Tomorrow my husband is going to walk in the door and things will go back to (relative) normality. I appreciate that many people don’t have that, and I can’t admire these people enough.

We’ve done it, kids. We’ve survived unscathed.

And only once did I declare “That’s IT, I QUIT being a MUM! I’m DONE. GoodBYE. I wish you WELL. THANK YOU LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. Mum is OUT” *dramatic door slam*

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Where We Are Today

When I started this blog, I was mum to three-under-five. Princess was a precocious 4 year old, BoyChild a shy 2 year old and BabyGirl was, well, a baby.

Fast forward 21 months and it’s safe to say the dynamics have certainly changed in our house. The kids have changed. So, I thought it might be time to re-introduce them.

Princess is 6, and a very six she is indeed. Long gone are the innocent comments, the ‘isms’ she was so fantastically entertaining with. Life is hard when you are six, apparently. She is sensitive, dramatic and well-adept at eye-rolling. But she is still sweet and caring (when she is in the mood to be) and occasionally I get to see that little 4 year old peek back through again.

BoyChild is 4-and-a-half and has come so very far since we started this journey. He speaks well (a major obstacle for him) and he has a nutty sense of humour. He plays imaginary games and is by far the easiest of the three to look after at present. Hands down. I have a real soft spot for this kid, so I’m sure the entire world heard my heart break in two the day he said to me, “no kisses tonight Mum, you can go away now”.

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BabyGirl. BabyGirl. Baby-freakin-girl. She is so absolutely darling to look at, with her blond curls and big, brown eyes. “Butter wouldn’t melt” is a phrase often used with her. But, believe me, butter would melt indeed (ironic, as she has a dairy allergy). Most definitely the, ahem, most challenging of the three kids. Two years old for what feels like an eternity, and she’s not yet two-and-a-half. She talks and talk and natters and cries. She is Captain I-DO-IT-YOU-DO-NOT-HELP-ME. I feel like I sigh a lot more with her, than I ever have before.

So, what of me, over the past couple of years? Am I any closer to knowing what the heck I’m doing with these kids? God, no. Nope. Nu-uh. Not even close.

Do I enjoy being a Mother? Short answer? Yes. Sure. Why not. Long answer? Depends what time of day you ask me. Depends what day you ask me.

Do I love my kids? Abso-freakin-lutely. Do I like them? Depends what time of day you ask me. Depends what day you ask me.

Today is a sunny day. The house is a mess despite my having spent the whole day yesterday cleaning it. BoyChild is at preschool, it’s school holidays so Princess in currently in the kitchen, making a movie on my phone about the contents of our cutlery drawer. *shrug*. BabyGirl is watching Princess Sofia for the millionth time this week, with no pants on.

All in all, a pretty standard day in our house, really.

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Homework

I thought I was a patient person. I thought I had all the time and tolerance in the world for my kids.

And then came homework.

Reading.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that Princess gets homework. Home reading. I just … I’m ashamed to say I simply do not have the patience to sit through it. You would be surprised at how long a five-page story can drag out when a six year old is reading it.

Not to mention the¬†subject matter¬†of some of the stories! A book about how spiders EAT flies. A non-fiction book detailing the life cycle of a frog. I mean, nature blah blah, I know. It’s important. But to me, it’s just gross.

And, her most recent one. “Coco’s Bell”. It’s about a cat who catches a bird in her mouth, so they need to put a bell on her. And they take the injured bird inside, and put it into a warm box. And take good care of it.

“Look Mum, I’m going to turn the page but you need to know it will be sad, don’t cry ok Mum. Are you ready, Mum? Are you ready to be brave?”

“Yes?” I answer tentatively, having¬†no¬†idea of what is happening. I mean, they won’t¬†kill¬†the bird off, right? It’s a kids book.

A FREAKIN KIDS BOOK.

“The bird is dead. Mum? Can you see? It’s dead. See Mum? D-E-A-D. That spells dead, do you know?”

They. Killed. The. Bird.

I just can’t even.

Princess has a reading journal, with points and stickers awarded for consecutive reading nights. So, every night, we sit down for reading time.

“The …….. d-d-d-og …….. w-w-w-w-ent ……… to ….. the ……….. plane? Picnic? Park! The dog went to the p-p-p-p-p-p-ark”

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“There ……………………………………………… is a ………………………ssssssssssssssslide ……………at ………………the ………………………..park”

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“There ………………………….. is …………………………………….a ………………………………..swing …………………………….at ………………………….the ……………………………….park. I like parks, Mum. Did you know Michael in my class went to Australia? I ate my yoghurt at school today. Can I have a piece of toast please?”

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“I think I’ll read the book upside down now Mum”

“Please just read it normally”

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“Thar dooooooog lyyyyyyykes tharrrrrr parrrrrrrk” *giggles*

“Please read it in your normal voice”

“I like taking my dog to the park. That’s the end, Mum.

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I think Dad can do the reading tomorrow night.

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Kid-glish (Kid English)

Ah, kid-glish. I love it. Yes, I’m talking about that language our kids speak – their own interpretations of English. .

When kids are learning to talk, they come up with the most fascinating and hilarious takes on everyday words – whether they hear them wrong, or, as was often the case with Princess, was adamant¬†they¬†were saying it correct and¬†you¬†were saying it wrong, it is cute, and adorable, and you don’t realise how much you love it, until it’s gone.

Princess is six now, and, by and large, she speaks like a regular kiwi kid. There are a few Kidglish words that still creep through, and I won’t lie – I no longer correct her, because I want her to keep saying them. Perhaps it’s my way of keeping her that precocious little toddler for as long as I can? Yes, yes, I think it is.

Some of Princess’s fantastic Kidglish-isms are:

Blutterfly. She read an entire book on blutterflies to me yesterday, and everytime she said the word blutterfly, my heart smiled. I’m smiling as I write this, I love it.

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Bas-ghetti. This is a classic one, I think every kid (and half the adults I know) mispronounce spaghetti. Still cute.

Nem-a-nems. I will be sad when Princess realised M&Ms are actually, literally, an M and an M. I adore her calling them nem-a-nems!

Andy.¬†Familiar with the movie, Annie? Princess¬†still believes this is a movie called Andy, about a boy with ginger hair, who, for whatever reason, wears a dress at the end of the movie. When the new version of Annie came out, she said to me, “This is different, isn’t it?”. I thought she was referring to the fact that the “new” Annie was African-American. But no – she thought it was different because the “new” Annie was a girl! Who calls a girl Andy? That’s just silly, Mum.

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And of course, Princess isn’t unique in this way of speaking. BoyChild has started coming up with some dooseys as well. My favourite, hands down?

Bumbumbee.¬†Bumbumbee! Bumbumbee! I can’t even. I just laughed and laughed when he said it, I couldn’t help it. I even corrected him without thinking, and he said, “No, mum – bumbumbee”. Oh my lordie, I will be sad when he realises what he is saying. I secretly hope he is a successful, grown man who says, “watch out for the bumbumbee”.

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Thankfully BabyGirl is still right in that age range where at least half of her words are variations on the real word. She asks for tuddles (cuddles) a lot, and lots and lots of tisses (kisses). She likes to drink wee-tar (water) and loves eating doodee bars (muesli bars). She pretends to be an a-pha-phant (elephant) and a chuck-ung (chicken).

But, alas, soon the day will come when she too is speaking in words that everyone can understand, “proper” English, if you will.¬†I know they say kids grow up too fast, so it’s practically my¬†job, nay, my¬†responsibility to keep my kids speaking Kid-glish as long as I can.

And, to finish, I leave you here with this. Benedict Cumberbatch, esteemed British actor, cannot say “penguins”. He calls them “peng-wings” and it is so adorable I just want to adopt him as Child #4. Just kidding.

But not really.

You are welcome.