Archive | March, 2011

Pike Place market with a toddler

31 Mar
Pike place market sign

another sign shot with the sun behind it

Pike Place Market is a busy place.  My Dad, Mom and I took Hannah there on Friday.  Since we’ve been here, she hasn’t wanted to be strapped in anything. Not shopping trolleys, car seats, the pram, or otherwise.  But there were so many people and so much to see that she happily stayed in her pram and took everything in.  No cries of “Mommy up!  Mommy out!” or anything of the sort were heard.

Vendors were everywhere, selling everything you could think of, from flowers to hot fresh apple cider (which is delicious, and only $1.50 a cup!) to t-shirts.  There were tons of flower vendors.  I’m not sure how all of them possibly made enough money, but I suppose they somehow did or they wouldn’t be there.  We saw the famous fish throwers, and tried some chocolate pasta (tasty, by the way).  They had all kinds of fruits and vegetables, spices, hand made trinkets, clothes, and jewelery.  People were wandering about everywhere.

It’s kind of hard to manouvre a pram through the large crowds in the small aisles, especially if you are there with other people,

tourist taking photos

Dad taking photos

but that’s part of the fun. Often, I lost my parents in the crowd.  Hannah and I would just stay put, taking photos while we waited for them to find us.  It was easier for them to look for us, since they didn’t have to negotiate foot traffic with a pram like I did.

There isn’t really a lot for a toddler to do at Pike Place, but seeing everything seems to be enough amusement.  Plus, I bought Hannah a punnet of fresh blueberries which she happily munched on while we slowly looked at everything.  There is a grassy bit of land just outside the market that overlooks a freeway and the Puget Sound, where you can see ferries coming in and out and let rambunctious toddlers go for a run.

All images copyright Sheri Thomson, unauthorised use prohibited.

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Years to collect, minutes to ruin

28 Mar
door covered in stickers

My bedroom door

Okay, so it may not be most peoples hobby of choice, but as a teen, I collected stickers.  Not the kind you’re thinking….  There were no binders or folders full of neatly placed stickers on every page.  No, nothing like that.  The stickers I used to collect were far more…illegal….

I can’t remember how it started, but I used to see a funny sticker, and then i’d stealthily (or sometimes not so stealthily) peel them off their source and put them on my stomach for safe and undetectable travel home, usually under the cover of darkness.  Or to my van (which was awesome by the way).  When I got home, I’d proudly display my plunder all over my bedroom door.  I got dumpster stickers (the best one being from a horse poo dumpster and said “doo-doo only“), Honey Bucket stickers, wet floor stickers, anything that I could get really.  Yeah, yeah, I was naughty….

don't put your baby in a pan

Some of them are just plain funny

After a couple years, my door was completely full.  No room for anything else.  I think I stopped at that point.  My collection was finished.  Plus, I went to Australia, so I couldn’t really get any more stickers anyway.  Not to mention I got too old for that sort of thing.  I mean, I could probably get away with such juvenile behaviour as a juvenile, but when I turned 18, I figured I could actually get in trouble if I were ever caught.  So, I pretty much stopped all such behaviour (gnome stealing, sticker stealing, can tipping, etc.).  I didn’t want a “record,” and I certainly didn’t want to get in trouble.  I’ve never particularly liked being in trouble.

dumpster sticker and inedible sticker

Inedible...I can't remember what this was from exactly, except that it was something that was CLEARLY not for eating

My bedroom door has remained the same ever since I put all those stickers up, over 10 years ago.  Every time I come back here for a visit, I can look at it and giggle at how silly I used to be.  Plus, some of them are actually quite funny, and go in the WTF, why would someone actually put a warning sticker on something for that?  Needless to say, when I arrived this time, my door was just as I left it.

toddler wreaking a door

tearing stickers off the door

For a few days anyway.  Then Hannah found the sticker collection.  She didn’t seem to like it.  No, she didn’t like it at all.  That, or she wanted those hilarious stickers for herself.  She wasted no time in tearing the stickers within reach right off that nostalgic door, often ripping them to pieces in the process.  Bits of sticker lay all over the floor in my room.  Each time she is hanging out near the door, (usually shutting the door before I can get in and then giggling her cute little head off ) she pulls off more bits.

My poor door is now sad looking, with vacant spaces within toddler reach, like an unfinished, or vandalised work of art, with bits of once was still hanging there by a thread. Oh well, my parents are going to move within the next few years, so I won’t ever see my door again anyway.  Maybe Hannah was just helping them get the door ready for future buyers.  I suppose someone had to do

the path of destruction

torn stickers litter the floor


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torn stickers

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Your plane isn’t good enough

26 Mar
cessna airplane

Dad's airplane

A few years ago, my Dad had his I’m-getting-so-old-what-can-I-do-to-make-me-feel-younger mid-life crisis.  I think at that stage, most men buy a swish shiny sports car that goes really, really fast.  My dad bought a plane.  He loves his plane.  He took flying lessons, got his flying licence, and often flew my Mom somewhere for the day.  He hasn’t flown in a while, but he is still proud of his plane.

Naturally, he wanted to show his see-I’m-still-young plane to Hannah.  She has been saying “air-pane” ever since we got here.  Not really because she likes them, but because she knows that is how we got here, and thus how we will eventually get home.  I keep telling her “not yet, the big airplane isn’t ready for us.”  Sometimes she looks at me rather seriously and then says “bus.”  I suppose in her mind that makes sense.  I mean a bus does get you places.  Just not from the U.S. to Australia….

We pulled up to the little air field where Dad keeps his plane and Hannah was all excited.  Dad got a phone call, so we sat in the car for a bit while he talked and somehow managed to hear the person on the other end, despite Hannah’s constant,

Cockpit of a cessna

Hannah in the cockpit

enthusiastic chants of “Air-pane! Air-pane,”  no doubt thinking she was about to go home.

Dad put her in the cock pit of his plane. “NO!” Hannah said, rather disgustedly.  I took her out.

Immediately, she started pointing at the plane next to Dad’s “this one!  This one!” She told us, running towards it.  When we got there, she wanted in that plane.

“No Hannah, that’s not Grandpa John’s plane.  We can’t go in this plane.”

“This one! This one!” Clearly, a 20-month old doesn’t understand the laws of ownership.

“Hannah, did you like Grandpa’s airplane?”  he asked her on the way back to the car.

cessna airplane


“No!” she pointed to the one next to it as I carried her along. The one she ran to in delight. “THIS one!”

I think my Dad’s ego may be slightly bruised.  I, on the other hand, thought it was HILARIOUS!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

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Where’s the simmer sauce?

24 Mar
Pataks butter chicken

butter chicken simmer sauce

I knew I should have brought a jar of Butter Chicken simmer sauce (huh, googling that from here gets me to which says they have new from whatever price, and used from whatever price.  How can they sell a used bottle of simmer sauce????) from Australia.  I really wanted to make some for my parents as I assumed they hadn’t had it before.  I didn’t think it would be popular here in Washington, but I thought I’d at least be able to find some.  Yeah, yeah, I could have made some, but have you seen a butter chicken recipe?  There are heaps of different spices in it, it takes a while, and all the recipes are different, so after all that preparation, who knows if it would be good anyway.  Plus, by the time I bought all the spices and herbs that go in it, I might as well just take my parents out to dinner at an Indian restaurant.  If I could find one around here.

Humph, no Indian food (India Indian, not Native American Indian, in case you were confused) in the “international” aisle in the supermarket.  Alright, no problem.  Chicken Tonight has some butter chicken simmer sauce.  It’s not the best butter chicken in the world, but it’s better than nothing, and since my parents have never had it before, they wouldn’t know the difference anyway.  So I went to plan 2.  I stopped searching the aisles of the supermarket for the non-existent Indian section, and went instead in search of the simmer sauce section.  I dragged Hannah around the entire supermarket, practically kicking and screaming since she refused to be in the shopping trolley (seems she doesn’t like being buckled into tight spaces ever since the plane ride), and when I let her walk, she chose instead to run away giggling, like we were playing a game of chase-y.

I couldn’t find the simmer sauces anywhere.  “Excuse me,” I asked someone who worked there, “can you tell me where the Chicken Tonight is?”  She looked at me like I had just wet myself right there in the aisle.  She had no idea what the heck I was talking about.  “Chicken Tonight.  You know, ‘I feel like chicken tonight, like chicken tonight, like chicken tonight….'”  Yeah, I sang the jingle right there in the supermarket while wrestling with a wiggle worm toddler.

Now the worker looked at me like I had wet myself, then pooed myself and flung it around the store.  Seriously, I can’t be the only one that remembers that ad.  I saw it here in the U.S. when I was young.  Ok, so maybe she didn’t know specifically about Chicken Tonight, that’s fair enough.  “Can you tell me where the simmer sauce section is?”  Blank stare.

“You know, you brown the chicken, add the jar of sauce and then simmer until it’s cooked.”  Still no clue.

“We have sauce packets in Aisle 9.”  She told me.  I went to aisle 9.  They were sauce packets alright.  Powdered sauces, like hollandaise, that you reconstitute and pour over things.

chicken tonight honey mustard chicken

Honey mustard chicken simmer sauce

I tried a different supermarket.  Went through the whole thing again.  They didn’t know what I was talking about either.  “What if you want to make honey mustard chicken quickly after work without starting it from scratch?”  I asked my parents.

“You don’t.”  They told me, again like I was going mad.  Why does everyone here think I’m a crazy person?

“We have nearly an entire aisle dedicated to simmer sauces in our supermarkets.”  I told them.  “Butter chicken, satay chicken, tandoori chicken, honey mustard chicken, mushroom chicken…”  Yeah, I sounded a bit (okay, a lot) like Forest Gump.

To make sure I wasn’t going mad, I looked up Chicken Tonight on Wikipedia when we got home from the supermarkets.   Seems it did originate here in the U.S., like I thought, but then it failed and still lives on in Australia, where we love our simmer sauces.

At least I’m not losing it, simmer sauces just don’t seem to exist in this country.

When an 8 year old writes, directs, and stars in a video

22 Mar

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The other day, we picked up my nephew Justin so he could come to an extended family get together in honour of Hannah’s presence.  He found out that I got a little pocket video camera for my birthday from my Dad, and it was all very interesting from there.

All morning, Justin wanted to make a Thomas the Tank Engine video.  Apparently, kids make up stories with the trains, narrate them, and then post it on youtube.  Other kids watch the videos with delight.  Whatever floats your boats kids….  Anyway, Justin is pretty much obsessed with all things trains, so the prospect of him making a Thomas video that also includes myself and Hannah in it, was pretty much totally consuming his 8 year old brain.

Justin sat down for half an hour, writing the script he was going to use in his video.  As soon as he was done, he wanted to shoot the video.  Fair enough, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out where the batteries go in the little pocket-sized video camera.  Can’t really shoot anything with a camera that has no batteries….  Nope, had to wait for my Dad to show me, and he was busy.

Instead, Justin played with Hannah.  They got along really well.  Until Hannah moved Justin’s trains and train tracks that is.

“Babies are a nuisance!  Having Hannah around is a lot harder than I thought!”  A very annoyed Justin exclaimed.

“Don’t take apart my train!”  He yelled at Hannah.

“Don’t yell at her Justin, she is just playing, you can put it back together.  Just pretend there was an earth quake or something.”

“Okay,” he said, rather half heartedly.

There is one train that has little wooden animals, one per carriage, each carriage labelled with the kind of animal that goes inside.  Justin had each animal in the correct carriage, the train all in his perceived correct order, sitting on the tracks, waiting for him to make his video.

Oooohh, animals! As soon as Hannah saw the animals, her little eyes lit up.  A little smile spread across her face.  She had been playing with Justin’s trains for a week, but we didn’t find this animal train amongst the three boxes full of train things.  She made a beeline for the animal train, took all of the animals out, and then put them back in in (shock, horror!) different carriages.  Carriages that were not labelled for that kind of animal.

I could see the frustration building on Justin’s face.  “They don’t go there!!!”  He yelled.

“She can’t read Justin, she doesn’t know that.  She’s just playing. We can always put them back.”

“AAARRRGGGGH!”   Yeah, he really did yell.  And then he stormed off in a huff to the room he sleeps in when he visits, stomping loudly all the way.  Hannah didn’t mind, she took all the animals out of the train and carted them around the house, giggling all the way.  Justin is a very kind hearted and nice boy, but mess with his trains….

When Justin finally finished sulking and came back out, Hannah figured she was the new owner of the animals.

“Mine animals!”  She told him as she hid them behind her back. Let’s just say Justin was not impressed.

We ended up running out of time for the much anticipated video shoot before Hannah’s nap.  Dad still hadn’t shown me how to put batteries in the camera (yeah, yeah, I’m special, I know), and Hannah and Justin had been playing outside and riding horses anyway.

“Ok, lets do the movie now!”  Justin said excitedly as we went in from outside.

“Sorry Justin, but we’ll have to do it after Hannah’s nap, we’ve run out of time this morning.”  He looked at me like I’d just run over his dog.

Justin slammed the door and stomped up the stairs, sounding like a herd of elephants was about to take over the living room.

“I just want to make the video, I can’t wait ANY longer to make the video!”  He yelled.

“Well I’m not going to make it with you at all if you act like that.”  I told him.

“Well I’m not leaving this house until we make the video!”  He told me.  It’s ok, I stifled my laughter.

“Well you have no choice Justin, we’re bigger than you, we can just pick you up and put you in the car when it’s time to go.  Plus, if you’re going to act like this, then no video.  We’ll make it after Hannah’s nap if you stop whinging.”  He looked at me like I was crazy.  But, he didn’t say anything else about the video.  I was, after all, the one in possession of the video camera and the batteries.

When Hannah woke up, it was time.  “Ok Justin, we’d better make your video if we want to have enough time before we have to go.”

“This is going to be so awesome!  This video is going to get like a thousand views.  It’s going to be your most popular video EVER!  I’m going to be famous!”  What do I say to that?  Seriously, what do I say to that?  I just smiled.  When in doubt, just smile.

ok, I just need to get everything ready.” Justin told me.  He took a while.  Hannah was getting bored.  Watching someone play with trains is very uncool when you’re one.  No, when you’re one, you want to play with the trains.  So she did.  Hannah grabbed the train track and pulled.  Half the track came apart and trains flew everywhere, like King Kong had suddenly come across the railway.  Hannah thought it was great.

“No Hannah!  You’re messing everything up!”  He yelled at Hannah.

“Don’t yell at her, she doesn’t know, she’s just playing!  She’s not messing up your train on purpose.  Just fix it back up and we’ll make a different train for her to play with.”

He pretended to cry and threw a tantrum.  What do you do when an 8 year old throws a tantrum?  I don’t know, I’ve never had an 8 year old.  I don’t know what 8 year olds do.  I just sat there, watching him rock back in forth, holding his knees to his chest while he pretended to cry rather loudly.  But there were no tears.  That’s right Justin, I know you were putting it on, because there were no tears.  Seriously, I didn’t know what to do, so I continued to stare at him.

“Crying isn’t going to fix it Justin, you’ll never be able to shoot your video if you sit there crying.”  My Dad told him.  Why didn’t I think of that?  Not being able to shoot the video seemed to strike a chord.  His head perked up (which is when I noticed the complete lack of tears) and the tantrum/fake crying session immediately stopped.  He started putting together the train again, and Mom and I made a different train track for Hurricane Hannah to destroy.  I mean play with….

And this is what happens when an 8 year old writes, directs, and stars in a video:

Oh Snap, I just tried to get the video off the new little camera, and it seems the camera ate it.  Or maybe the memory card.  Which ever it was, I’m really not impressed.  Just my luck.  I took some photos at The Jess’ wedding and my memory card ate them.  Yeah, her wedding. And the only photos we had of us getting ready were taken by me, on my camera, that ate them all.  What do camera’s have against me?  I was going to edit one video to show Justin telling me where to point the camera (mid sentence), what to say, and of course, telling everyone what to say as well, none of the actual train bits.  Humph.  It would have been pretty funny.

Then I was going to make one for Justin to put on his very own YouTube channel (that I was going to make for him), in which I would edit to only show him making some sort of sense with his train plot (Thomas the Tank Engine, Hannah and me visiting, and something about a war), none of the directing and telling everyone what to say, or the incoherent mumbling when he got too excited.  Sigh.  He’s going to be so disappointed!!

How will he ever become famous now?

Since there was no video, I’ll guess you’ll have to settle for photos.  Humph.

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The name change

20 Mar

I’ve decided to change my name.  Ok, not my name, but my blogs name.  I know, I know, it’s been Things and Stuff for 2 years now, ever since it started.  But let’s face it, I’m not going to get hits on my site with a name like that, because Things and Stuff could be any things and stuff, and that’s not going to show up when someone googles anything remotely associated with mommy blogs or mommy/baby/toddler issues.

Basically, I want more readers.  More readers = traffic to my site which 1) makes me smile/inflates my self-esteem because people like what I write/think I’m funny/are entertained by me/somehow manage to learn from me and of course, 2)make clicks to ads that I plan on putting here (non obtrusive, on the side type ads) more likely, and ad clicks earn me $$$.  Since I like to blog so much, being paid for it would be pretty darn nice. Sure, it won’t be much, but every time I get a check in the mail for 5 cents which took probably 100 clicks to earn, I will smile, knowing that my blog earned me that lovely 5 cents.  Go me.

But seriously, have no fear, my writing style/what I write about/frequency of writing/everything else is not going to change.  So stop fretting, stop pulling your hair out, losing sleep, eating excessively, and/or peeing too much due to nervousness over such changes.  Because yeah, I know my blog is what you think about all the time.  Hahahaha.  I’m so funny!

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The evil baby gate

19 Mar

“Before I come, can you guys get some of those little plastic things that you put in plugs, and a baby gate for the top of the stairs.”  I told my parents a while before we came.  “Hannah likes to try to plug things in (and not necessarily things that should be plugged in), and she’s not used to stairs.”

“And here I thought the only thing we’d have to worry about is the dog trying to take food out of Hannah’s hands, and not so gently.  Why don’t you just teach that baby to go down stairs?”  My mom asked me.

“Well, we don’t really have any stairs for her to practice on.  I mean, we do, but there are only like four, and they are outside and she can reach the posts that are all close together, so she just holds on the them and walks down like a big girl.  You have lots of stairs with nothing for her to hold on to.”

“Just teach her when you get here.”  No, I want a baby gate gosh darn it!

“It’s not the intentional going down that I’m worried about, it’s the accidentally tripping while walking by the stairs, or the dog walking by her while she’s next to them and knocking her down the stairs that I’m worried about.  Seriously, she needs a baby gate!”

“Don’t worry, I’ll get you one.”  My dad said.  “I’ll get the plug things too.”

“Thanks Dad.”  Mom was still against the baby gate.  I think she thought I was paranoid.  Humph.  I can’t say that I wasn’t annoyed that Mom didn’t want to get the baby gate, and that she thought my fears and need for one was silly.  I’m telling you, a baby gate was a must have item before we got there!

The minute we arrived, Hannah wanted to go down the stairs.  Immediately, Mom started teaching her to go down on her bottom and belly.  She went up and down the stairs, again and again, over and over, a huge smile plastered across her cute little jet-lagged  face.

When dinner time rolled around, Hannah wasn’t hungry.  It was, after all, 1pm Sydney time.  Her belly didn’t think it was even remotely dinner time.  Needless to say, without her high chair to strap her into, she didn’t sit at the table with us.  We decided to put the baby gate up at the top of the stairs.  My worst nightmare at that moment was Hannah falling all the way down the stairs and hitting her precious little head on the hard wood floor at the bottom.  No, I didn’t want that to happen.  The baby gate went up.

Hannah climbing up the stairs

“NO GATE!!”  Hannah screamed.  She shook it.  Snot was pouring out of her nose.  Tears were rolling out of her eyes.  Her face turned bright red.  She became hysterical.  “NO GATE!  NO GATE!”  I’ve never seen her like that in her entire life.  She hadn’t slept since the flight and even then, it wasn’t for very long.  She was grumpy, tired, out of her time zone, out of her routine, surrounded by people she didn’t know, in a house she’d never been before.  She totally lost it.

“It’s okay sweetie, I’ll move the gate when we’re finished with dinner.  I don’t want you going down without Mommy in case you fall.  I’ll move it after dinner, I promise.”  The screaming didn’t stop.  She looked at me like I was sawing off her leg or something.  Like her life depended on me taking down that baby gate.  Sorry, but having a tantrum isn’t going to make me do what you want.

“Sorry sweetie, it’s going to stay up while we eat.”  I told her as she screamed hysterically.

“Awwww….how can you resist that face?”  My mom asked me.  “Come on, open the gate for her.”

“Nope, I’m not going to open it.”

“Hannah, maybe if you say please to Grandma Lois, she’ll open the gate for you.”  At least I wouldn’t be the one to give in to her.

Hannah was very, very weary of her grandparents, but this was for the stairs. “Peeeaaaasssse.”  She said with the cutest look she could muster on her still tomato red face with snot and tears all over it.

“Ok, I’ll open the gate for you.”  Grandma Lois opened the gate and Hannah immediately stopped the hysteria and went all the way down the stairs on her bottom.

We haven’t put the gate up since.  She’s become a pro going up and down them and is really careful when she is near the top of them.

Humph, I hate it when I’m wrong.  And, horror, I hate it even more when it’s one of my parents that is right over me.  Sigh, I’m such a stubborn little bugger.  Hopefully she can take it back and get a refund.  Otherwise, at least it was only about 20 bucks.

Oh, and those plug covers?  Haven’t used those yet either….

P.S. my blog is now on it’s own domain name:  If you go to it through the old address, you will automatically be redirected to the new address.  Just so you know.  And go me for having my very own website.  Kind of.  Booyah.

I don’t have any photos of the hysterical gate incident, so here are some I took this morning instead:

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Toddler in a new time zone

17 Mar

I’m so glad I read up on how to help toddlers adjust to new time zones.  I googled it and found this awesome blog.  I read all about flying with a toddler, adjusting with one, what to pack, pretty much everything I could find really.  If I hadn’t, I think I would have gone a little batty when Hannah decided to wake up at 9pm for some food and a play.

The first night we got here, I was buggered and falling asleep on the couch by 8:30.  Fine, more like 8.  I got ready for bed and was about to go in when Hannah started crying.  And then screaming.  I left her for a while to see if she’d go back to sleep.  She didn’t.  Instead, she got louder and more insistent.

Fine, I’ll get you up. I really wanted to go to sleep…. sigh….  I got her up and she was like a new toddler.  Ok, not new, but back to her old self.  Not cranky, whingy, or irritated.  I don’t know how that happened with only 2 hours of sleep, but whatever, I was going to go with it.

“Dinner.”  She looked at me completely seriously, like it was normal for a toddler to have dinner at 10pm.  I suppose it was normal, back home it was 5pm.  Sigh, I made her some dinner.  She didn’t eat the dinner I tried to give her before I put her to bed.  She ate.  And ate.  And then ate some more.  She played.  She giggled.  She made lots of noise and kept my dad (who has to get up at 2:30 in the morning to go to work) up.

11pm.  Sigh.  I REALLY needed to sleep.  I hadn’t slept since that broken two hours of sleep on the airplane many, many hours before.  I gave her some more milk (in hopes she’d drink it and fall asleep) and put her back to bed.

She cried.  And cried.  And cried.

Finally, 12:30 rolled around, and she fell asleep.  12:30 huh?  Well what do you know? 12:30am here is 7:30pm back home.  Guess what 7:30 is?  Yep, Hannah’s bed time.  She’s not silly.

It didn’t help, of course, that daylight savings started (or ended, what ever) that very night.  12:30 became 1:30.  SIGH.

The next night, Hannah woke at 9:30pm (new daylight savings time that is).  I let her cry for a while.  She didn’t go back to sleep.  Humph.  I gave her some milk and laid her down again.  She was quiet for a while.  Drinking the milk, I assume.  Then she cried.  And cried.  And cried.  I got her up.  She ate. And ate. And ate.  She played.  That night, she particularly enjoyed pointing at the large Australian Shepherd dog that my parents have and excitedly saying “DOGGIE!” as she giggled.  She did this at least 200 times that night.  At least that was so incredibly adorable and the look on her face made me so warm and fuzzy inside that staying up late again was pretty much worth it.  Pretty much.

This time, I patted her belly for a while so she wouldn’t scream bloody murder when I put her back to bed. I didn’t really want my dad to miss out on too much sleep and then crash on the way to work because Hannah was crying half the night.  It worked, she calmed right down, got really tired and then went to sleep on her own without crying.  Pat on the back to me for my mommy skills.

The next morning, Hannah actually ate breakfast.  It kinda surprised me since that was the first day since our arrival that she actually ate breakfast.  I don’t blame her really, I was trying to feed her at like 8am, which was 2am Sydney time.  I wouldn’t want to eat then either.  I got really excited.  Maybe that means she is getting used to the new time….

That night, 9pm rolled around.  Hannah started crying.  Sigh….  I turned her sleepy music on (remotely, it’s through the baby monitor.  I know, one day I will have to wean her from it.  I don’t want to think about it….).  A few minutes passed.  Silence.  Relief sigh.  But now I was used to staying up until way too late.  I wasn’t tired.

10pm.  Hannah started crying.  Cringe.  I thought this getting up thing was over.  Plus, if she got up now, what time would she go back to sleep.  Sigh sigh sigh.  I turned on the sleepy music.  Silence.  Phew.  She went back to sleep.  She slept all night that night.  I slept all night that night.  I didn’t even have to get up to pee.  Thank you pregnancy bladder for being kind.

Last night, Hannah didn’t get up either.  She ate all her meals during the day, had a good nap, and went to bed just fine.  But she woke up many, many times.  Not because she was still getting used to the time difference, but because she now has a cold.  I could hear her snuffling in her sleep, the snot clearly blocking her nasal passages.  Then she’d wake up, cry for a bit, and go back to sleep.  She must have woken about 10 times last night.  Oh, and did I mention we are in the same room?  I could put her in my brother’s old room, but there is too much stuff she could reach from her cot that is dangerous, so I put her with me instead (in her cot).

Today, I bought a vaporiser.  I have one for her at home, and it works wonders.  If she has a cold, I put the vaporiser on, and she doesn’t wake up throughout the night at all, or if she does, it’s once, twice at the most.  That down from like 10 times each night.  It’s so worth it, for both of us.  I bought the one at home for like 40 bucks, but here, I got the same brand for 14 dollars.  Yeah, that’s right, 14 dollars.  Definitely worth it for a good nights sleep.

In more cheerful news, Hannah and I have been having a good time (when she’s not sleepy, then she gets grumpy and says “home.”).  Hannah went for a horsey ride on my mom’s horse.  She played outside and especially enjoyed frolicking in the riding arena, going over the bridge and digging in the sand.  We went to Walmart, where she found lots of dollies to play with in the toy aisle and refused to pick a dress for Grandma Lois to buy her.  Grandma Lois ended up buying about 4 since Hannah wouldn’t decide and she couldn’t either.

We are really glad for google video chat though, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to see Aaron while we are here.  Hannah gets all excited, pointing at the computer screen and happily exclaiming “Daddy!” and giggling.

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Travelling with a toddler is hard

15 Mar

1:45pm.  Hannah and I are on the airplane, enroute to Los Angeles from Sydney.  We just reached cruising altitude.  Ooooh, a meal cart is coming….  Guess I shouldn’t have eaten that McDonald’s lunch.  I didn’t think this flight was serving lunch.  Pretty sure the itinerary said dinner and breakfast, so lunch was a BONUS!!!  I always get excited when the food cart comes around.  There’s something fun about not knowing what you’re gonna get until the little cart gets to your seat and they give you a choice of 2-3 meals.  Meals that I didn’t have to cook or think about what to have or eat.  Score.

“I guess I shouldn’t have eaten lunch already.”  The lady next to me said.

“Yeah, me too, but I don’t care, I’m eating this anyway.”

“Yeah, me too!”

They brought the kids meal for Hannah first.  Two patties of greasy looking beef, a warm buttered roll, a non warm, non buttered roll with butter on the side, tater tots (potato gems) some fruit, yogurt, a piece of Cracker Barrel cheese, a piece of cake, a bag of chips, and of course, a Kit Kat.  Hmmm…  that’s a LOT of food!  Hannah ate the cheese and yogurt.  She poked the meat patty with her pudgy little finger, said “no,” and wouldn’t have a bar of the potato gems.    Of course I didn’t show her the chips, kit Kat, or cake.  She doesn’t need that sort of food.  Not that any of the other stuff was that much better, but whatever.

My meal was some sort of chicken with creamy sauce and rice, a rock hard bread roll, piece of cake, and some couscous on the side.  It seems the kiddies get way more food than the adults.  Interesting.

The flight was completely full.  Not a spare seat to be had anywhere.  Luckily, we were sitting next to a married (well, I assume) couple with a 14 month old daughter named Tilly.  Hannah and Tilly played together a lot, even sitting in their bassinets (that were right next to each other), passing a ball back and forth and giggling.  When Tilly went for a walk down the aisle with her parents, Hannah and I followed (if Tilly got to have a walk, Hannah wanted one too…).  They fought over toys and pointed at each other and said “Bubba.”  Ok, that was mostly Hannah, but you know.  It was great having another child Hannah’s age right next to her.

There were lots of kids on our flight.  Some of them would go for walks and say hi to the other kids on a regular basis.  The kids remembered where each other were sitting and deliberately went there to say hi and giggle.

All was well until around 5pm.  For some reason, V Australia decided 5pm was a good time to go to bed and turned out all the lights.  Hannah doesn’t go to bed at 5pm, so she continued to play.  Of course this was very difficult without much light, and the light I could turn on over my seat didn’t really extend to her bassinet (which she liked to sit and play in) or the floor.

“I wonder when they’re going to bring dinner?”  I asked the lady next to me.

“Yeah, I was wondering that too, I asked and they told me that they already served dinner.  ‘Dinner’ was the meal we thought was lunch.”

What?  How could that be?  Seems V Australia thinks that as soon as you enter the airplane, you’re on whatever time your destination is on.  Like people can adjust to that sort of difference on the plane.  Yeah, sorry, but it doesn’t work that way V Australia!

Since there was no dinner coming, I gave Hannah some pre-packaged toddler macaroni, meatballs and vegetables that I brought in case she didn’t want anything the airline had.  She wouldn’t even try it.  Humph.  She usually likes macaroni.  Instead, I made her some instant porridge (oatmeal) that I also brought as a back up.  She ate in between walks up and down the aisle of course.  Sitting and eating an entire meal is just not cool when you’re a toddler.

There was no way Hannah would lay in that bassinet and go to sleep on her own.  Nope, she could easily stand up and get out (fall out) if I left her in there to put herself to bed, so I had to do it the hard way.  I walked her up and down the aisle, patting her back while she cried and kicked, wanting down.  I got tired of walking, and I’m sure all the other passengers got tired of a screaming toddler going by, so eventually I stood in the emergency exit area (that was right in front/to the side of our seat), swaying back and forth, patting her back and willing her to go to sleep.

My arm got tired.  I think it may have been in danger of falling off.  Humph.  I sat back down and held her down on me while I patted her back.  She struggled and squirmed and tried her hardest to get down and play with her suitcase full of new toys that I got at the cheap shops and wrapped up so she would think of long flights as fun and full of presents (she did love opening all of them).  I stood up again, swaying and patting, annoying the daylights out of everyone around us.  The parents of Tilly (never did find out their names) were in the other aisle, doing the same.

The cycle of sitting/patting, standing/patting went on and on.  I seriously thought she may never go to sleep.  She will go to sleep, I kept telling myself, giving me the willpower to keep patting while she screamed and fought.  2 hours later, she was asleep.  I put her in the bassinet.  Phew, now I can relax.

I brushed my teeth, sat down with my headphones, and turned on some in flight entertainment.  Oh yeah, relaxing is awesome.  Especially awesome when Tilly was still screaming her lungs out and looked to be nowhere near sleeping.  And I thought Hannah would take longer.  Yeah, I was feeling pretty good about my mothering skills.

Then Hannah cried.  I was only 1 minute into my show.  Humph.

I held her on me, head on my shoulder, and patted and shusshed her some more.  She went back to sleep.  I waited a while.  I had to make sure she was really asleep.  I moved her to the bassinet.  5 minutes later, she woke again.  Humph.  Back on me she went.  She fell asleep again.  I waited a while, let her sleep on me.  But then I couldn’t feel my arm.  The danger of it falling off was clearly back, so I put her back in the bassinet.  She tried to stretch out.  Humph, she was too long for the bassinet.  Her little head hit the top of tit and went up the side.  She opened her eyes and looked at me, a mommy-why-do-you-keep-putting-me-in-here-why-don’t-you-just-let-me-sleep-what-is-wrong-with-this-bed, bewildered look on her face.  And then she cried.

Ok, so bassinet was out.  She was too big.  I patted her on me again.  Her little eyes stayed open.  She still laid on me, but she kept pointing to things and saying what they were “bubba,” “window,” “man there,” etc.  Once, she said “mommy cuddles.”  Yeah, that one made me smile and give her a big cuddle.  Still, I was on a mission.  I wanted her, needed her to go back to sleep.  I hadn’t had much sleep myself, and that was only intermittent sleep when I fell asleep with her on me for a few minutes at a time.  Plus, I knew how cranky and horrible the rest of the trip would be if she didn’t go to sleep.  She was trying really hard.  She laid on me for two hours, trying to go to sleep, tossing and turning and cuddling in.  Her eyes started getting heavy.  She was doing that thing where your eyes close and then you groggily open them again and they close again, the almost to sleep but not quite there thing.  Meanwhile, Tilly had been peacefully sleeping in her bassinet for quite a while.  Her dad was watching stuff on his laptop, her mum was having a snooze.

Then the lights went on.  It was 12:30 in the morning Sydney time.  Seriously, they were turning on the lights now. Hannah perked up straight away, any hope of sleep completely lost.  She immediately got down and started to play, a new energy pulled from who knows where running through her.

The loudspeaker came on telling us it was breakfast time.  What?  Are they insane, it was 12:30. The middle of the night.  I’m pretty sure no one wanted to eat.  I wasn’t hungry.  I had eaten some protein bars, potato chips, and that Kit Kat for dinner.  Hannah didn’t want any of the disgusting dry, weirdly high pancakes they served her.  My cheese, and spinach fritatta thing was pretty disgusting.  It pretty much tasted like cheese grease.  I did try to eat it.

Despite lack of sleep, Hannah was pretty good for the rest of the flight, only getting cross when we started to descend into LAX, meaning she had to stay put on my lap.

In LA, I put Hannah in the pram, pulled that with one hand, pushed my trolley full of luggage with the other, and went through customs.  She finally fell asleep after I dropped my bags off in the transit area and checked in for my next flight.

Then we got to the security checks.

“You’ll have to take her out of the stroller.”  The TSA workers told me as they looked at me like I was an idiot.

ARE YOU SERIOUS???!!!!!!!! I wanted to scream at them.  I was so tired and cranky I nearly cried.  How DARE they make me wake up my poor little baby who has only had  2 hours of broken sleep all night long.  How dare you! Do you know how long we’ve been flying?!  Do you know how little sleep she has had?  Are you retarded?  Can’t you see she is SLEEPING? Of course I said none of that.  Instead, I made a cranky face and grudgingly hurled all of my things on to the counter.  They even made me take out all the baby food, nappy cream, etc from my bag for x-ray.  They swabbed it all for explosives.  They made me take my shoes off and x-ray those too.  Not just me, this was for everyone. In Sydney, they asked me if I had any liquids in my bag.  I told them lots of milk and baby food and they x-rayed the bag.  They didn’t even want to see it.  I kept my shoes on, and went on my merry way.

“We need a hand check over here.”  The TSA lady said.

“Put it on the counter for x-ray.”  They told her.

“She can’t fold it up, she’s holding a child.”

So after all that, they were going to hand check the pram anyway???  Why not just do it with her in it?  Oh they made me cranky!  I know, national security and all, but after a 13 hour flight, hardly any sleep, and having to wake up my baby, national security could kiss my behind.

We boarded the flight to Seattle and Hannah started screaming straight away.  How embarassing.  This wasn’t just screaming, this was like that “I’m going to die” scream.  I must have looked pretty funny holding her down on me with all my might and patting her back.  I knew she was just tired and would eventually go to sleep.  She did.  She slept nearly the whole 2.5 hour flight.  Not that I could, I had to hold her in place so she didn’t fall and wake up.  Those seats didn’t recline nearly as well as the V Australia seats.  Not to mention they didn’t have infant seat belts like you have to have in Australia.  I asked the flight attendant for one and she looked at me like I was crazy.  “She just sits in your lap.”  She told me.  Hmmm.

By the time we got to Seattle, I was ready to curl up in a ball and cry/sleep, Hannah was crankier than I’ve ever seen her in her entire life and kept saying “home,” and nothing I did would make her happy.

Yeah, travelling with a toddler is hard.  Very hard.


Doodle or Hoo-hoo?

11 Mar

We just got back from holidays in Merimbula (hence the absence of blog posts).  We had a great time, but more on that in another post.  I have something more exciting to share:  Today, we found out the sex of our unborn baby.  So, do you want to know what it is??

We walked to the hospital and found the waiting room full of other soon-to-be mums, uncomfortable in their seats with their full bladders, unhappy that they had to wait, their bladders filling more and more with each passing moment.  The girl next to me told me her appointment was 40 minutes ago and she still hadn’t seen the sonographer (is that what they’re called?).  Sigh.  It’s cruel to make pregnant women wait with our full bladders, not allowed to pee.

Somehow, I got called about 5 minutes after arriving.  All the other mums-to -be were still sitting there, waiting their turn.  Hey, I’m not complaining, I don’t know how they figure out who gets to see the doctor when, so it’s not like I jumped the queue.

When we got in the ultrasound room, they had a tv screen above the bed so we could easily see what was going on on the ultrasound without craning my head at an awkward uncomfortable angle to see the screen the technician was working from.

He showed us the head, the heart, the backbone, the kidneys, the stomach, a couple of 3D shots of the head, they showed us everything.  What, you want to know about those parts?

Drumroll please….

“It’s a boy!” he told us.

“Yeah, I’m not surprised, I always knew it was a boy.”  I told him.  I really wasn’t surprised.  I did always figure it was a boy.

“See, you’re not going to be surrounded by girls for the rest of your life.”  I told Aaron.  He grew up with his sister, his mum, and his grandma.  Now he has me, Hannah, and Grandma.  Always surrounded by girls.  It will be good for Aaron to have another boy around.

We are so excited!!!!  Now to paint the room and get lots of boy things.

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