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Daniel at the children’s hospital

22 Jun

1 week ago:

My eyes are slowly drifting open.  The sound of coughing, barking, or maybe some kind of machine failure fills my ears.  It takes me a little bit to wake up properly and realise scream crying and gaging noises are accompanying the strange noise.  Adrenaline rushes through me and I am wide awake with realisation that the noise is coming from Daniel.  As I get out of bed, I see that Aaron is not here.  He must be up with Daniel already. How long had I slept through his horrible sounding cough and crying?  I must have been in a deep sleep.  It’s only 10:30 and I’ve only been asleep for an hour.

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Daniel is coughing a so loudly and uncontrollably that he is gagging and throwing up a little.  It’s not a normal cough, but a strange sounding one, kind of like a dry bark.  His coughing is distressing him so much that he is also screaming and crying and Aaron is having a hard time comforting him.  He wants me to lay with him in his bed, but first I have to put his dinosaur sleeping bag in the wash, as there is mucous-y vomit all over it, making this only the second time in his entire life that he’s thrown up.

The crying stops when I lay down with him in his small junior sized bed.  Instead his every breath is audible and seems to be a struggle.

“I’m calling the doctor.” I tell Aaron.  The crying starts again as I exit the bed to get my phone.  I’m told there is a 5 hour wait for the after hours home doctor.

“You can call the medical advice line in the mean time.” The operator tells me.  I do it straight away.  I tell them about the horrible sounding cough, the laboured breathing, and the coughing so much he vomited.  I put my phone up to Daniel’s face, much to his displeasure, and let the doctor on the phone listen for herself.  He coughs while the phone is next to him.

“I suggest you take him to the emergency room, that sounds like a bad case of croup.”  She tells me.  I’ve called the medical advice line a few times before, and they’ve never told me to go to the hospital, so I know it’s not just a standard line they give everyone.

There is a general hospital about 3 minutes away, but there is also a children’s hospital about 25 minutes away.

“Ok Buddy, we’re going to take a little trip to the Children’s hospital.  I’ll get dressed and pack my iPad and stuff and then we’ll go.”

“Can I come too?” Hannah asks.

“No sweetie, it’s night time and you have school tomorrow, you need to sleep.”

“I DON’T WANT TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL!!!!!”  Daniel is upset and crying again.

“It’s ok Daniel, the Children’s hospital is really fun!” I hear Hannah telling him while I get ready to go.  “There are toys there, and it’s only for kids!  There is a playground, and they are really nice, and it’s so much fun.  You’ll love it there.  Don’t be scared Daniel, it’s good there.  I wish I was going.”

Hannah’s kind words calm him down and his screaming is replaced by excitement.  I’m not sure why she loves it so much.  The only time she went she had pneumonia and pretty much laid in my lap the whole time.  She played on the playground for about 2 minutes, but that was it.  But I suppose that experience was much better than the time she went to the local general hospital when she was under 2, had a 40 degree (104) fever and refused to drink anything.  I took her to the doctor who told me to take her straight to the hospital.  She was admitted for the night as she was so feverish and dehydrated.  They tried at least 3 times to get a cannula in, but failed every time.  They never did end up getting one in so that she could get the fluids so so desperately needed.  They also needed to check her for a UTI, to see if that was the cause of infection, which entailed 3 doctors holding her down on a bed as she screamed the most horrible, heart breaking scream I’ve ever heard in my life while another doctor shoved a small catheter tube inside her.

Again, they failed.  While I held her hand and tried my best to avoid crying so that I didn’t upset her even more, they held her down and did the whole thing again, failing for second time.  They couldn’t get the cannula in, and they couldn’t get the catheter in, but despite not actually being able to do anything for us, they made us stay all night.  I was about 37 weeks pregnant at the time but Hannah was too terrified by that stage to sleep in the hospital bed all by herself, so both of us slept in her bed together.  She took ages to fall asleep after all her trauma and when she finally did, they shoved a thermometer under her arm, waking her up, as they did every hour.  Haven’t they ever heard of an ear thermometer that won’t wake sick kids up all the time?  It was horrible.  Needless to say, I now drive the extra 20 something minutes to the children’s hospital.

I bundle Daniel up and put him in his car seat after warming up the car so it’s not too cold inside.

Since the kids go to bed at 6:30pm, they don’t often get to ride in the car in the dark.  I thought Daniel might fall asleep on the way, but instead he is looking at all the lights, cars, buses, and trucks.  “Mommy, I see, a truck!!”  He tells me with excitement.  The car ride seems to be calming him down, but I can still hear his loud breathing.

“Look, there’s Wet ‘n’ Wild!”  I say as we pass the giant water slides.  For some reason, all the lights on the slides and stairs are on, even though it’s the off season and it hasn’t been open for two months, not to mention it’s now 11 something at night.  I wonder how much money they waste on electricity?

After parking at the hospital, a triage nurse greets us straight away to assess Daniel.  He hasn’t coughed much in the car, but he sneezes in front of her, which also has the trademark croupy bark noise.

“Yeah, that sounds like croup.”  She tells me.  She gives me a number with an A in front of it and tells me that I will be next because no one else in the waiting room has an A ticket.

Sure enough, he is seen about 20 seconds later.  Although croup is a caused by a viral infection, and antibiotics don’t help, oral steroids are given to open up his airways.  “We will check him again in one hour to make sure the medicine worked, and then, if he is doing well, you should be able to go home.”  She gives me a pamphlet about croup before we go to the waiting room for an hour.

Croup is more common at night, when it’s cold, and is often sudden, like it was with Daniel.  Hannah had croup a couple of months ago, but hers wasn’t nearly as bad as Daniel’s.

Daniel lays on me in a comfy plush chair (not like the chairs of our local ER) and tries to get comfortable for a nap.  There are too many other people around though, and he is distracted.  He really wants to lay down properly, but the chairs aren’t big enough.

I spot a long soft bench seat in the overflow part of the waiting room where the TV and wall toys are and carry him over.  No one else is in there.  He lays there for about 10 seconds before deciding that it’s play time, followed by iPad time.  Oh well, at least he’s happy, and I can keep myself awake watching the weird movie about a kid with leaves growing on his ankle that is playing on the TV attached to the wall.

After an hour, they call him again, check his vitals, and then tell us we can go home if we see our usual doctor tomorrow.  The steroids have done their job and there is no more laboured breathing or coughing.

When we get home, I sleep on the couch with him for the rest of the night, and I keep him home from daycare, since he has a virus and I expect him to be very tired and lethargic all day.

I am wrong.  He is not tired, and doesn’t seem sick at all.  Instead, he spends the day running around the house and jumping off the couch whilst I attempt to study for my chemistry final.  The doctor says he can go to daycare tomorrow and to expect a bad night again.

We put a heater in the kids’ room as cold air negatively affects croup, but we still expect some coughing and waking.  Luckily though, it never comes. They both sleep all night, and past their usual 6am wake up.

If your child has ever had croup. you know how scary it is.  That cough is like no cough you’ve ever heard before, and the laboured breathing is enough to send us parents running with our kids to the ER.  Although death from croup is rare, it’s far better to be safe than sorry.  And perhaps it’s rare because so many of us seek immediate medical attention for it.  I’m just glad that he is fine now.

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Daniel asleep on the couch few days later, after lack of sleep caught up to him

Daniel asleep on the couch few days later, after the lack of sleep caught up to him

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A little rest

21 Jun

I haven’t checked my emails in over a week. My dirty laundry pile is way above the top of the hamper. I just washed dishes for and hour and a half. My chemistry final was yesterday, so all of my spare time leading up to it was spent studying. Next semester doesn’t start until the end of July, so I get to have a little rest. If you can call hanging out with an almost 5 year old rest. She too has a break between semesters. This will be the first time she’s been home during a school break. During the last one, she had 3 weeks off and I had only one, during which there was an intensive 3 day chemistry workshop.  Needless to say, she went to holiday care at school.  Daniel goes to daycare 2 days a week year round (and loves it).

I’m soooooooooooooo glad chemistry is finished. Down Under, you only need 50% (in most subjects) to pass the class, and I had 49.2% before the exam (which is worth 50% of our final grade), so I know I passed and won’t have to redo the class, which is nice. Of course I’m hoping to do a fair bit better than 50%, but chemistry is hard, and I didn’t know some of the stuff on the test, so I don’t want to get my hopes up too high.

The Australian marking/grading system (some schools differ a little bit)

The Australian marking/grading system (some schools differ a little bit)

Hannah and I already have heaps of plans for the school holidays: baking, cooking, gardening, clothes shopping, shoe shopping (her feet have had a sudden growth spurt and she no longer fits into her shoes), a trip to Costco with Romana and Violet, play dates, riding the train to Daddy’s work and eating lunch with him, making Violet’s birthday present…. I think that’s it for now, but I’m sure the list will grow.

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I would suggest there will be more blog posts during the school break, but since I won’t be by myself, I highly doubt that.  Sorry.

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Early wake up

17 Jun

“I need my car vitamin,” I heard the other morning as I lifted my still half asleep eyes towards the bedside clock.

5:36am.  Argh.

“No vitamin yet Daniel, your clock hasn’t turned green.  You know you’re supposed to stay in your room until your clock turns green.  It’s not 6 yet.” I told him as my head settled back onto my warm, soft pillow.

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“NOOOOOOOOO I WANT TO GET UP!!!!!!!!”  He screamed as he threw himself backwards on the bed.

Despite my half asleep brain fog, I knew a change in tactics was needed.  I had to outsmart the 2 year old.

“Daniel, it’s still night; it’s still sleep time.  Lay down and go to sleep.”  So what if it was morning, Daniel didn’t need to know that.  I would have made him go back to his room, but I didn’t want him to wake Hannah up.

My quick thinking did the trick and Daniel’s whinging immediately stopped as he thought about my words.  He wriggled himself under the blankets and laid his head on edge of my pillow.

A few minutes later,  a whisper accompanied by a dim light moved around the house. “Daniel?  Daniel?”  Hannah was looking for him.  She tip toed to the bathroom, the dining room, and the living room, quietly calling Daniel’s name.  I thought she would come in Aaron’s and my bedroom, but after checking everywhere else, the still dark morning returned to silence.

I thought she’d gone back to bed until I heard her soft footsteps coming towards our room.

“Hannah.  Hannah.”  I whispered.

The footsteps stopped, but I received no answer.

“It’s ok, you can come in.”  I told her.  She quickly came to the bed and got under the covers.

“I was looking for Daniel,” she told me “he escaped from our room.”

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Friends

14 Jun

Hannah LOVES prep (like preschool, but it’s at school and they have to wear school uniforms (which is what we do down under, at all schools, public or private) just like the rest of the kids). She likes it so much that she can’t wait for kindergarten to start.  That might be mostly because she gets to wear a dress everyday though, rather than the school’s sports uniform she has to wear in prep.

Every time I pick her up, I ask her how her day was.  She is so incredibly shy that it took her a while to make some friends.  Probably because her response to people saying hi to her was to put her head down and stare at the floor instead of answering them.  I can’t imagine that many 4 year olds would know how to combat such shyness.

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Despite not having any little friends in the first few weeks, she was still having lots of fun and was excited every school day.  She soon started talking about a girl we’ll call Kid1.  “Mommy, Kid1 and I played together all the time today.”  She told me when I picked her up.

I know Kid1’s grandma from the gym and heard similar stories from her.  “Kid1 talks about Hannah all the time.  They are so cute.”  Her grandma told me.

It was like that for a couple of weeks, both girls raving about each other and playing together all day.

But then it started to change.  “Kid1 and Kid2 told me she didn’t want to be my friend anymore.” Hannah told me sadly. I asked her some questions about it and found that Kid2 befriended Kid1 which for some reason meant that they didn’t like Hannah anymore.  Of course we’re talking about the view of a 4 year old, so it could be very different to reality.

Every school day it was the same.  I picked Hannah up and she told me that Kid1 and Kid2 told her they didn’t want to be her friend.  She said they played games where Hannah was in jail and they would laugh at her or they would pretend she was dead.

“Did you tell them you don’t like playing those games?” I asked Hannah.  She is so shy though, so of course, she said no.  “When they are being mean to you, why don’t you go find some nicer kids to play with?  It’s important to be nice to everyone, but that doesn’t mean you have to play with people who are not being nice to you.  If they are always mean to you, it’s better to find some new friends who won’t be mean to you all the time.”  I told her.

My sweet little shy girl

My sweet little shy girl

“I really want to play with Kid1 and Kid2.”  Hannah told me.

Why does she want to play with girls who clearly don’t like her?  Why not find some friends who actually want to play with her?

I didn’t think I’d have to have to deal with such things at 4 years old.  Maybe she was making a mountain out of a mole hill.  I was only going off one side of the story.

I decided to speak to the teacher who told me that lots of the girls have been saying they don’t want to be friends with the other kids (but that Hannah hadn’t said it to anyone).  At least they weren’t singling Hannah out, but that doesn’t make it any better for anyone.  The teacher said she has been talking to them about it and telling them multiple times every day that they can’t say that but that they still do.  She asked them why they were saying it and found that they said it when they don’t want to play what the particular child they say it to is playing with at the time.

“Hannah is more advanced emotionally, so she seems understand the severity of their words better than the other kids.”  The teacher told me.

It’s true, Hannah emotionally advanced.  She is so sweet and compassionate, which is great, but can also mean she gets hurt more than the other kids.

The teacher said she’d keep an eye on it, and didn’t know that Hannah was upset by it (which is not surprising since she doesn’t say anything about it).  Apparently a lot of the kids had been taking turns being in jail and also playing dead.

“If they tell you they don’t want to be their friend anymore, tell them that’s not nice, and walk away.  Go find other kids to play with.  You can tell the teacher if they are mean to you.  You don’t have to, but you can.  And you don’t have to play things that you don’t want to play.”  I told Hannah.

She still tells me that Kid1 and Kid2 are mean to her.  I still don’t know why she wants to play with them.  “I’m not inviting them to my birthday party.” Hannah told me when we wrote out her party list.  She is only inviting 10 kids to her party (my limits, gymnastics parties are expensive), and only 5 from school.

“Kid2 played with me all day today because Kid1 wasn’t at school.” Hannah told me the other day.  I didn’t let my frustration show, but I find it so annoying that when Kid1 and Kid2 are together they are mean to Hannah, yet when one of them isn’t there, it’s Hannah they go to for a playmate.  “I want to invite Kid2 to my party.”

“Sorry, you can’t.  Remember, I said 1o kids only, and that once we got the invites out, we can’t add anyone.”

Judging by the fact that Kid2 handed out birthday invitations the same day as Hannah, and Hannah didn’t get one, I think they really do mean they don’t want to be Hannah’s friend when they say that, not that they just don’t want to play with her right then.

It’s heartbreaking to see my little girl not have any good friends at school, but I know that some of it is her own shyness.  We saw a different girl from school (who is nice to her and whom she invited to her birthday party) at playgroup the other day, and Hannah wouldn’t even say hi.  The other girl kept saying “Hi Hannah!!” all excitedly but was met with a downward head and eyes staring at the floor.  I’m not sure how I can help her, but I really hope she can overcome her shyness.

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call to the police

25 May

“Do you guys want to go to the park?” I ask the kids.  Despite being nearly winter, it’s shorts and t-shirt weather outside.  The sun is shining, the sky is blue, it’s a beautiful day.

“Let’s go on the country track!!”  Daniel says excitedly.   That’s code for the dusty little dirt trail that connects to a couple of bridges.

As we get closer and closer to the stepping stones water crossing, the sound of dirt bikes rings louder in our ears. “Mommy, I’m scared.”  Hannah says every time one goes ‘BBBRRRRRMMM.’  Her voice waivers and she hides behind my legs, grabbing my pants with both hands.  I should be able to take my kids to the local park without them being frightened of being run over.  Motorised vehicles are not allowed at the park.  Yes, there are trails and fields and plenty of space there, but that space is not for dirt bikes, it’s for kids running around, dog walkers, parents, bush walkers, pram pushers, people playing sports, the elderly, people in wheelchairs.  It is for all people, but not motor vehicles, which is clearly stipulated on signs around the perimeter of the park.

I can’t tell exactly where the bikes are until we pass the stepping stones and get to the field.  I hold Hannah and Daniel’s hands tightly as a man on a dirt bike tears by.  Usually I let them run off ahead, giggling through the field en route to the playground.  Near the trees on the other side of the field is a large group of men, teen, and tween boys, a 3-wheeler atv and the dirt bike that is being shared around.

As we walk towards the playground, the bike is speeding on the sidewalk, tearing past the playground, and doing circles in the field.  Kids may look like they are walking nicely next to their parents, but in seconds, they can be 20 feet away, running and giggling.  Can a dirt bike rider really predict that, especially one who is going really fast and is clearly too young to be licensed?  There is a reason dirt bikes are not allowed at the park.  What if a kid on the playground suddenly decides to chase a bird and runs out of the playground area? Can a dirt bike rider tearing by 10 feet away from the playground swerve or stop in time?

The other week we walked to the park and a police car pulled up when we were in the parking lot. I had just seen a dirt bike, so I pointed towards the field.  The cop ignored me.  He did a lap of the parking lot, whilst I flapped my arms and pointed to the field, but the cop didn’t stop to ask me anything, he just pulled back out again, making no effort to actually catch the person or people responsible for endangering children’s lives by tearing around in the park on dirt bikes.

The playground at the park. Behind is the field.

The playground at the park. Behind is the field.

I put Daniel in the swing and call the local police station.  “Hi, I’d like to report a dirt bike at ____________,” I tell them, as I stand about 5 feet away from another mum.

“Yeah, we’ve had a lot of complaints about that.” She tells me.

“Are the police going to come?” Hannah asks me when I hand up after the brief conversation.

“I don’t know sweetie, they said they’ve had a lot of calls about it, so hopefully they will, it’s very dangerous to ride dirt bikes around a playground.”

30 seconds later, the bike speeds past the playground and ducks into the country track. The same track we were just meandering down, often stopping while the kids bent over to agitate the dirt with sticks to make “smoke.” The small dirt track that a speeding dirt bike would have trouble stopping really fast on if a kid was there.  The track where swerving is not an option due to large logs lining both sides of the path.  The short dirt path with trees all around where it would be too late to react by the time anyone realised those echoing BRRRRMMMs were actually coming from the same path they are on.

Inside, I was freaking out.  What if he had turned down that path when we were on it?

“Let’s go feed the ducks.” I tell the kids to distract myself from such thoughts.  A group of ducks is foraging on the cricket field next to the playground.

The mob of dirt bikers is staring at us as we feed the ducks.  I watch them in my peripheral vision as they push the 3-wheeler into the bushes, as if they somehow know I’ve called the police.

That’s silly, I’m just being paranoid, how could they know? 

The sound of the dirt bike is gone.  He has clearly gone down the country path to make a quick and hasty get away.

Maybe they saw a police car.

We run out of bread and go back to the playground.  Next to the woman who was near me when I made the police car is a tween in a motor bike helmet.

The rest of the group are walking up, pushing the 3-wheeler.

“Let’s get this in the back of the truck.” One of the men says to the woman.  There are about 10 of them all together.  All rough, hard looking men and boys with mullets and rat tails. All giving me the death stare.  Maybe they are actually really nice guys, but maybe they are planning to punch my lights out.  I don’t really want to find out.

I act as if I’m too stupid to put two and two together, like I don’t realise I know that they know that I called the police.  I pretend I’m so engrossed with pushing Hannah and Daniel on the swings that I don’t even notice they are there.

I look at my watch, long and obviously.  “Ok kids, time to go home and cook some dinner.”

“Please, just a little bit longer?” They beg.

I force my voice to come out as strong and unintimidated “No, it’s almost dinner time, we have to go home now.”

They hop off the swings and follow me towards the field, not our usual way home, but if we go through the parking lot, the men could watch us and see which house we go into.

The ducks are still waddling across the field, and I’m still freaking out a little inside, so even though I wouldn’t normally suggest such a thing (about ducks, not about pigeons or something), I feign excitement and say “WHO WANTS TO CHASE SOME DUCKS!!!???”

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“I DO!!!” The kids say in unison and we take off running, quickly putting distance between us and the scary looking mob who knows I called the police on them.

When we get to the bottom of our street, a police car pulls into the parking lot down a hill and to the left of us.  If we go down there talk to him, the men will see us, but if we don’t, they might get away. Maybe they are still putting the 3-wheeler in the truck.  Maybe they will be caught red handed.

One thing is for sure though: I don’t want them to see us.  They don’t know we are at the top of the hill and I don’t want want them to.  Instead of turning towards the police car, we turn towards home, towards safety and anonymity.

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The P and O cruise

22 May

“How many more days?”  Hannah asked me every morning for weeks.  She and Daniel were so excited for our cruise with Aunty Jess, as was I.  It was our last hurrah before everything change, before she has a baby.  That’s not for another 20 weeks, but cruises have surprisingly early pregnancy cut off dates.

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I have been potty training Daniel vigilantly for a couple of months, but it was all in vain.  He wasn’t allowed at the kids club.  Not because he wasn’t potty trained.  Contrary to what P&O’s website says, kids who aren’t potty trained can go in the kids club.  Their parents just have to respond to the pager given out by the kids club asap to change a soiled nappy if needed.

He wasn’t allowed in the kids club because they don’t take kids who are a day under 3.  I thought that when Jess said if he’s potty trained and speaking well, maybe they’d take him, that she had actually spoken to P&O, and that’s what they said, but it was just her wishful thinking.

We didn’t think it would matter so much though because of the group child minding service. Sure we’d have to pay $5 an hour, but it would be totally worth it, we could be kid free for a couple hours, relax, hang out, see a show.  Except the group child minding service turned out to be only for kids 3 and up and only after 10:30pm.

Kids under 3 are allowed to play in the kids club if an adult they came with is supervising them. That seemed fair.  We could all go there, the kids could play, Jess and I could sit in a corner and hang out.  Jess, Hannah and Daniel and I all went in and the kids excitedly started playing, happy that they could be in the kids club AND that we were there with them. Jess and I sat near Daniel, but in the corner out of the way.

“Sorry, only one of you can stay here with him.”  A kids club employee told us.

“What if one stays with him and one is here for her?” We asked her, pointing to Hannah.

“No, she is over three and enrolled in the kids club, so she can’t have an adult with her.”

There was absolutely nothing, apart from playing on the stairs, in the lift, and in our room, for kids under 3 to do.  Everything for kids was at the kids clubs (different clubs for different ages).  We thought the pools would be something fun for all of us to do together, but as soon as we got in, we got straight back out again because it was so cold.  Why would you not heat a pool on a cruise ship?  So for the kids to have something to do, The Jess and I couldn’t hang out together.

The window in our room. There was a side ledge under the window where the kids liked to play.  They could close the curtains and it was like having their own fort right inside our room.

The window in our room. There was a side ledge under the window where the kids liked to play. They could close the curtains and it was like having their own fort right inside our room.

The kids club itself was rather disappointing too.   For Hannah’s age, there was one main room with a little room inside the main room.  In the main room were a couple of craft tables, a TV with Wii games, a heap of duplo, and a few toy car ramps.  There are scheduled activities every half an hour, such as dancing, duplo building, craft, etc, which is great, except all kids in there have to participate.  We’re talking about 3-6 year olds.  Sometimes 3 year olds don’t want to do group dancing, they want to play duplo, or watch their toy cars go down ramps.  I witnessed lots of whingy, unhappy kids when they were told they couldn’t play with the other toys during activity time.

Straight from P&O's website

Straight from P&O’s website

On the other hand, when it was free play time, I saw lots of kids fighting over toys, snatching from each other, pushing, etc., but the kids club employees weren’t really paying attention and didn’t do anything about it.

Daniel playing in Duplo corner.

Daniel playing in Duplo corner.

The other little room inside the big room contained some Playstation consoles, a few books (some with all of their pages missing.  Daniel found a Thomas book, opened it up, and was very upset to find no pages inside for him to look at), and play kitchen stuff.  Most of the time though, that room is shut.  Only during scheduled Playstation time are they allowed in there.  Unless the child is under 3 and with an adult, then we have to go in there when the other kids are doing group stuff because under 3’s are not allowed to participate in group things no matter how much they want to, and we’re told to go in the other room.

I didn’t actually see a kid who knew how to use the Playstations.  Most of them picked up the controllers, mashed a bit, and then lost interest.  We are talking about 3-6’s.  Since when do 3-6’s play Playstation?  According to P&O’s website, there are iPad activities, which would have been more age appropriate, but there were no iPads to be found.

 

The playstation and play kitchen room in Turtle Cove (the 3-6 year old kids club)

The playstation and play kitchen room in Turtle Cove (the 3-6 year old kids club)

There was also a little outdoor area for the kids clubs (with gates to prevent escape), but they would be taken outside for a group activity like mini olympics, and then quickly herded back inside.  They didn’t really do any free play outside even though there were heaps of tricycles, a couple of cubby houses, and a giant connect four game.

Daniel on one of the trikes in the outdoor area of the kids club.

Daniel on one of the trikes in the outdoor area of the kids club.

For the mini olympics, girls were on one team, boys on the other, and they had to get in a sack, hop around some cones, hula hoop 3 times, then hop back.  They loved doing it, but there were about 10 girls and 10 boys, or more, so after their turn, the little ones quickly lost interest and wanted to ride around on the bikes.

They weren’t allowed.  They all got herded back over to watch the olympics instead.  Except Daniel,  he was with me, so we continued playing on the bikes.  He wasn’t supposed to be participating after all, but I waited in line with him and made sure he got a turn, then helped him through the course.  There was another family outside with a kid under 3 playing on a bike too.  Hannah came over to play with us, but she was told to back to the other side, as “she is in the kids club, so she has to stay with the kids club kids.”

I quickly signed her out, and she played bikes with Daniel and me.

One afternoon, the kids club had a “family remote control car race.”

“Since this is a family event, does that mean both Jess and I can come with the kids?” I asked them.

“Yes, you can all come, but you have to sign up.  If at least 2 kids are signed up, the event will take place. If not, it will be cancelled.”

“That’s fine, I have 2 kids right here.”

I signed one of us up with Hannah and the other up with Daniel.  It did say family.  Maybe it was only supposed to be for kids club kids, but whatever.  Apart from a sideways glance, they didn’t say anything.  No one else signed up.

We arrived right on time, but everyone was group dancing.

“No one showed up, so we cancelled it.”  They told me.

I looked at my watch, then at the lady.  Nope, we weren’t late.  Not even 1 minute.

“Er…we’ll do it when they finish this activity.” She said.

After dancing finished, they gave Jess and Hannah a car, and Daniel and me a car.  Hannah’s didn’t work and she had to get another one.  Daniel’s didn’t work if it went 2 feet away from us and he quickly got bored and wanted to manually push it around.  All the other kids tried to steal the cars and/or remotes as they didn’t get any since they didn’t sign up.  No one said anything to them, except for Jess and me.

Some of the kids stood right in front of Hannah’s car so she couldn’t drive it.  Again, no one said anything to them, so it was up to us.

One day, they had face painting in the kids club.  Hannah patiently sat in a little chair behind the girl who was having her face painted at the time.  She was the second quickest to get in the queue.  The face painter took ages painting the first kid’s face.  So long that all the other kids waiting behind Hannah lost interest and went off to play.  Hannah waited on, silently sitting there as the minutes ticked by.  We wanted to meet The Jess for the scheduled deck boules at 4:30 and time was quickly running out.  Hannah had been sitting there 20 minutes by the time the first kid was done.

Instead of happily greeting Hannah and asking her what she’d like on her face though, the lady stood up and walked off.  Another lady came in with an older kid from the kids club next door trailing behind her.  They both sat down and she got to work, leaving Hannah sitting there, still unpainted.

“I’m really sorry sweetie, you’ve been so patient, but we’re running out of time, I don’t think we’ll have time to get your face painted now, so you might as well play for a bit.”  I said to her loudly from across the room.  One of the other ladies got the hint and sat back down again, quickly painting a flower crown on Hannah’s forehead.

As soon as she was finished, we left the kids club and walked to where the deck boules were supposed to be, arriving just in time.  Except no one was there.  No balls were there. Nothing was set up, and no one else was waiting, there was only a ping pong table with a couple of guys in the midst of a game.  Contrary to what the daily schedule told us, deck boules were not happening.

Instead, we let the kids play on the stairs.  Up and down.  Up and down. Sliding on their bottoms, sliding on their tummies, going down in the lift then climbing up the stairs.  We killed nearly an hour with the kids happily playing on the stairs and in the lift.

Hannah and Daniel at the top of a set of stairs.

Hannah and Daniel at the top of a set of stairs.

P&O would probably be fine if you don’t have kids, or if they are older kids, but travelling with anyone under 3, there just isn’t enough for them to do.  Not to mention the beds were the most uncomfortable I’ve slept on in my entire life.

We had fun on the cruise, but there were also a lot of things that were quite disappointing.  I definitely want to do on another cruise, but it will be with a different cruise line.

playing in the window

playing in the window

Part of our room.  We moved one of the ladders to the ledge under the window so the kids could play up there.

Part of our room. We moved one of the ladders to the ledge under the window so the kids could play up there.

Daniel after the lifejacket drill

Daniel after the lifejacket drill

Me and the kids the first night on the ship

Me and the kids the first night on the ship

Hannah at the kids club

Hannah at the kids club

Daniel drew and played iPad during bingo

Daniel drew and played iPad during bingo

Hannah drawing while we waited for bingo to start

Hannah drawing while we waited for bingo to start

playing bingo

playing bingo

Pasta.  Delicious.

Pasta. Delicious.

eating at the restaurant at off the proper menu

eating at the restaurant at off the proper menu

Spaghetti face

Spaghetti face

my salmon.  It was delicious.

my salmon. It was delicious.

Jess eating at the restaurant (as opposed to the buffet)

Jess eating at the restaurant (as opposed to the buffet)

Daniel and Jess watching Frozen from bed

Daniel and Jess watching Frozen from bed

playing on the stairs

playing on the stairs

At kids dinner time (4:30), the tables have colouring in and colouring pencils.

At kids dinner time (4:30), the tables have colouring in and colouring pencils.

kids dinner.  Nothing healthy on the menu.

kids dinner. Nothing healthy on the menu.

Me and Daniel at kids dinner

Me and Daniel at kids dinner

Hannah having dessert

Hannah having dessert

Keeping Daniel busy at dinner.  They already had dinner at kids dinner time.

Keeping Daniel busy at dinner. They already had dinner at kids dinner time.

One night I had a cocktail and Jess had a mocktail

One night I had a cocktail and Jess had a mocktail

It was sunny on Moreton Island for us for about 5 minutes, then it poured for the rest of the day.

It was sunny on Moreton Island for us for about 5 minutes, then it poured for the rest of the day.

Hannah on Moreton island

Hannah on Moreton island

We got a towel animal one day.

We got a towel animal one day.

The captain trying to put his hat on Daniel.  Daniel was not impressed.

The captain trying to put his hat on Daniel. Daniel was not impressed.

The captain came over to us at lunch one day and talked to the kids.  Hannah got to wear his hat.

The captain came over to us at lunch one day and talked to the kids. Hannah got to wear his hat.

Hannah and Daniel loved looking at the colour changing fountain on the ship

Hannah and Daniel loved looking at the colour changing fountain on the ship

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Hannah and Jess with the remote control car at the kids club

Hannah and Jess with the remote control car at the kids club

SAMSUNG CSC

Windows are fun to play in

Windows are fun to play in

Mr. Cheeky playing on the ship

Mr. Cheeky playing on the ship

Cruises are tiring.  Hannah rarely naps, but she was so tired she curled up on me and went to sleep.

Cruises are tiring. Hannah rarely naps, but she was so tired she curled up on me and went to sleep.

Hannah and the bear from school at breakfast (they each get a turn taking the bear home for a week.  She got to take it on the cruise)

Hannah and the bear from school at breakfast (they each get a turn taking the bear home for a week. She got to take it on the cruise)

Hannah and on a deck chair

Hannah and on a deck chair

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The little listener

27 Apr

“Mom, there are lights on at the hospital,” Hannah tells me as we drive by.  I’m not sure why that should be weird since it is the middle of the day and the sky is full of clouds, but she says it as if it’s something super strange.

“There are always lights on at the hospital Sweetie.  There is always someone that needs to go to the hospital, no matter what time of day it is.  The hospital is open all day and all night.  Sometimes babies are even born in the middle of the night.

“Really?” She asks me, wanting to hear more.

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“Yeah, remember before Daniel was born, I was in the hospital all night?  I didn’t have him in the middle of the night, I had him in the morning, but some ladies have babies at night.”

“So which one of us did you do a poo with when we were coming out?” She asks me with interest.

I try unsuccessfully to contain my laughter that is slightly laced with mortification. “How did you know about that?”

The cheeky eavesdropper

The cheeky eavesdropper

“I heard you telling someone a long time ago.”  Probably The Jess or Romana.  I don’t generally go around telling people that.

“That was when Daniel was coming out,” I tell her between laughs.

“Why did you poo?”

“Well, you have to push really hard to get a baby out, and if you don’t do a poo before it’s time for the baby to come out, then with all that pushing, a poo comes out too.”

Note to self, don’t talk about stuff when Hannah is even remotely in earshot.

And FYI, it’s normal to poo during birth.  Midwives take care of it as it happens and the mom is usually none the wiser.  The only reason I know is because I felt some wiping while I was pushing.  A giant baby head nestled against your perineum kind of trumps any feeling of poop coming out.

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Outwitted by a 4 year old

26 Apr

As I lift my eyes from my own bowl of food that I’m hungrily downing, I can tell Hannah doesn’t want to even try her dinner.  She gets two options on her plate, one of which she has to eat all of.  After an initial screaming session which included sitting at the table until bedtime, since we introduced the choose one and eat it all practice, she’s been eating like a champion.  But I can tell she is struggling with these particular options; a very small amount of mustard chicken, or half of a prawn gyoza.  There is also the optional brown rice.

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“You know, I didn’t used to like peas, but Daddy and I decided that I should eat vegetables to be a good example to you guys.”  I tell Hannah as she stares at her dinner in disgust. “So you know what I did?”

“What?” She asks me.

“I used to put some peas in my mouth, then drink something nice straight away to wash down the peas and not taste them much.”

A look of concentration crosses her face as she digests what I’ve just told her.

“And after a while, I didn’t mind eating peas.  I actually like them now.”

“How about you get your chocolate milk out of the fridge, and you can try it too?”

She looks excited and runs to the fridge.  She doesn’t usually get chocolate milk, but I got two single serves in a show bag at the Easter show.

She takes a bite of her dinner and then washes it straight down with chocolate milk.

My bite, drink, swallow trick works and she starts eating her dinner.

“What stuff do you still don’t like?” She asks me.

“Hmm…Well, I still don’t like beef.” I tell her.

“So you could do this with beef.” She says matter of fact whilst looking me straight in the eyes.

Oh snap.

I can’t tell her that I won’t eat it, whilst I’m sitting next to her, making her eat a dinner she really doesn’t like. “Yes, when we have beef, I can take bites and wash it down with something yummy.  We can do it together.”

She looks at me and smiles, happy in the knowledge that I will have to gag down my dinner too.

Remind me not to make beef for a very long time.

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What happens if you jump

9 Apr

“What happens if you jump in a muddy puddle?!” Daniel often asks me cheekily.

“What happens?” I ask him back.

“You get all MUDDY!!!” He says whilst laughing like it’s the funniest joke he’s ever heard.

Recently though, he’s started expanding his questions.

“What happens if you jump in a table puddle?” He asks, already laughing in anticipation of his answer.

“I dunno, what happens?”

“You get all CHAIR-Y!!!!”

“What happens if you jump in a tree puddle?”

“I dunno, what happens?”

“You get all LEAFY!!”

Then Hannah joins in and they ask each other what happens when they jump in random things.  One asks, the other answers and they both laugh heartily.

Eventually, it turned into people.

“What happens when you jump in a Mommy puddle?” Daniel asks Hannah.

She thinks about it for a couple of seconds and then says “You get better at stuff.”

Daniel: “What happens if you jump in a Daddy puddle?”

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Hannah: “You get ice cream!!!”

Daniel: “What happens if you jump in an Aunty Jess puddle?”

Hannah: “You get babies!”

Note to self, don’t let kids jump in an Aunty Jess puddle.

Daniel: “What happens when you jump in a Rosie puddle?”

Hannah: “You get naughty!”

 

These are some funny kids

These are some funny kids

Daniel: “What happens if you jump in a Daniel puddle?”

Hannah: “You get cheeky!”

Daniel: “What happens if you jump in a YaYa puddle?”

Hannah: “You get treats!”

Daniel: What happens if you jump in a Grandma puddle?”

Hannah: “YOU GET TREATS!!!”

Me: “What happens if you jump in a Hannah puddle?”

Hannah: “I don’t know.”

Me: “You get cute.”

Hannah: “YEAH!!!”

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Mommy as a measurement

21 Mar

The first time Hannah used my age to convey a number, it was kind of funny.  Daniel was being cheeky (as usual), and Hannah was making jokes about it.

“There are two cheeky Daniel’s!!”  She giggled, imagining what life would be like if Daniel were a twin.

“No, there are as many Daniel’s as Mommy’s age!!” She yelled, followed by raucous cheeky laughter. Clearly she thinks she is hilarious.

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But then she did it again.  I can’t remember what we were talking about, but it went something like this:

“There will be 5.  No, 10…20. No, AS MANY AS MOMMY IS OLD!”  Hannah told me while giggling.

My cheeky little girl

My cheeky little girl

Now every time she needs to quantify a very large number, she confidently says “as many as mommy is old,” or “as many as mommy’s age.”  She used to say things like 1,000 hundred for really big exaggerated numbers, like a normal 4 year old, but now she has her own large unit of measurement: my age.  And it seems that in her mind, no number is larger.

I’m torn between finding it hilarious and feeling ancient.

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