Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mummy is funny after all

I discovered what I have to do to make Little E laugh.

Oink like a pig.

Why did it take me nearly six months to figure that one out??

Monday, September 20, 2010

I am craving summer

I want long hot days and long balmy nights. I want cold beers in the back yard in the late afternoon. I want hair and clothes that are dry an hour after being washed. I want to take Little E to the beach in the morning and bring her home exhausted for long afternoon naps. I want to take her to her grandparents' house for swims in their pool that feels like a big warm bathtub from December to March. I want mangoes and grapes and watermelon. I want it not to be cold when I get up in the middle of the night and for my skin not to cringe away from the air when I get out of the shower. This summer I won't have an interal temperature running several degrees higher than everyone else's so I won't even mind if it's 35 plus for days on end. 

What's your favourite season?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mystery plants sprung from vegetable scraps

Anyone got any idea what these are? Possibilities strike me as pumpkin, zucchini, potatoes, beans (although they don't look like the other beans we have going), capcisum, something else....?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wash wash washing

Lately I have been thinking about clothes washing, fascinating subject that it is. In our house we do one, and more often two, loads of it a day. If we skip a day, the quantity piled up the next day is quite phenomenal. It seems to be a subject that occupies the minds of many parents: see my cousin’s thoughts on it at http://thisgrowinglife.blogspot.com/2010/09/diy-indoor-washing-line.html. So here are some thoughts about the most absorbing of topics. 

Firstly, that despite the amount of it that we do, it is one of my least-disliked household chores. I am not very particular about it; I do towels/sheets and business shirts separately, but the rest of it just gets stuffed in the machine and off it goes. Once it’s in there, it gives you at least half an hour to get on with something else. Once it’s done, I like the chance to stand in the sunshine, and enjoy a certain pedantic pleasure from hanging it out in formation.

Secondly, that it is a chore which really has become easier in the last hundred years or so. Consider Laura Ingalls Wilder, writing about her childhood in the 1880s, where the cleaning and ironing of clothes was a third of the week’s work: 
Each day had its own proper work. Ma used to say: 
‘Wash on Monday
Iron on Tuesday

Mend on Wednesday
Churn on Thursday
Clean on Friday
ake on Saturday
Rest on Sunday.
And the production that wash day actually involved: 
“Ma brought the wooden pannikin of soft soap from the wagon. (NB: on a separate day, lucky Ma had made the soap herself, from animal fat). She kilted up her skirts and rolled up her sleeves, and she knelt by the tub on the grass. She washed sheets and pillow-cases and white underthings, she washed dresses and shirts, she rinsed them in clear water and spread on the clean grass, to dry in the sun. ...Then Ma took the flat-iron out of the wagon and heated it by the fire. She sprinkled a dress for Mary and a dress for Laura and a little dress for Baby Carrie, and her own sprigged calico. She spread a blanket and a sheet on the wagon-seat, and she ironed the dresses.”
Even in 1950s Australia, washing was a pretty horrendous exercise. Recall Thurley Fowler in The Wind is Silver, describing clothes-washing in a pre-electric farm: 
“Jennifer’s biggest challenge was the washing and ironing. On that first wash-day, she lit the copper early and was coping, soon, with the trickiest, nastiest thing on earth: a boiling hot, dripping wet sheet. It was fiendish. Like a legless alligator in boiling oil, it spat and smacked and twisted, then rolled and wrapped itself around you. Hours later, it seemed, the piles of dirty sheets, shirts, socks and undies had been transferred to the clothes line.”
According to http://inventors.about.com/od/wstartinventions/a/washingmachines.htm, the first mechanical, domestic washing machine was invented by William Blackstone of Indiana in 1874 as a “birthday present” for his wife. That strikes me as much like buying someone a vacuum cleaner for Christmas, although Mrs Blackstone probably far preferred the mechanical version to the scrub board or whatever she had before it. 

Thirdly, that given the quantity of it that we do, it’s fortunate Little E that thinks that sitting under the clothes line, watching clothes come up or go down and listening to my commentary (“Look, it’s one of your pink bibs. Do you like this suit with a giraffe on it? What a surprise, this one is yours as well”...) constitutes entertainment.

And finally, washing baskets are good for more than their conventional uses:


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Crossing fingers and toes and all other appendages

I don't know if I dare type it, but I think we are back in a routine. Little E has now had four "good" nights in a row, a good night being one in which she only wakes up once, at about 3.30am, for food rather than for no apparent reason. She has her last feed of the evening at about 8:00 or 9:00, meaning I get a solid six or seven hours sleep before the middle-of-the-night meal, plus another two or so hours before our little alarm clock decides it is morning. I have to say it's not as impressive as the routine she had going at three months old, but I can certainly live with it!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Spring is so passe

It's not really, it's fantastic. It's just that in blog-land everyone seems to be doing posts about spring. So here is my version of how-to-tell-that-spring-is-here:

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