Sunday, October 30, 2011

Limbo

We're waiting on a result from the Qantas talks today to see whether or not there will be flights tomorrow.  We were booked to go down to Sydney tomorrow afternoon for the week while our house gets painted.  Apparently, houses that are being painted are not good places for three year olds to stay.  So we were off from Monday to Friday, DinnerDad to work-land, and Lolly and I for a break/adventure!

Catpuss of epic tragedy
But now it depends on Qantas.  So, we're waiting.  If we can't go, we'll stay at my Mum and Dad's.  Which will also be awesome! 

We drove my cat up there today, and OMG the tears and heartbreak from the three year old.  Lolly napped all the way home this afternoon, only to burst into tears as soon as she woke up, crying for 'catpuss'.  We had to call Nanna to check she was okay, and still Lolly sobbed into the phone.  Really, she misses Nanna as well.  It was awful sad. 

Fingers are crossed for our trip!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Birthdays

Seems we're off to a birthday party every second week lately!  The lovely J turned 3 this week, and we had a park gathering, with cake!, to go to on Monday.  It was a beautiful day, and all the kids played together while their mother's chat.  So, basically, awesome. 

Bad shot of an amazing dinosaur cake!

Roar!!

Oh joy, we all said, some taps right near where we sit (can you hear the sarcasm?).

Little friends, so gorgeous.
Happy birthday, J, and here's to many more as Lolly's dear friend.  xo

Friday, October 28, 2011

The things she plays

Oh, the sweetness of the girl, and the cleverness of found item play.  Here, she's a little cat, hiding, in a three-sided house built out of camping floor, topped by an array of tea towels and dish cloths.  She has been playing next to me doing this, very seriously and with much fun, for 45 minutes as I get my new (borrowed) computer up to speed.

It's heart-melty stuff.

O. M. G.

About the cutest thing, evah.

The construction.

Right next door, and important collection of "shoes and toys and a shark, because that's what a cat needs, you know!"
I am just so in love with that child.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

This is not a happy post.

I'm kinda over it, thanks Universe.  And I'm pretty sure Snail is too.

And so does the extra layer of awesome that is her hip subluxation.  Her right hip was sitting, on x-ray a few weeks ago, at 47%.  Her left one is at a comparatively "healthy" 38%.  That's not good.

Her right hip pops out of joint and she cries and cries, with this horrified expression on her face, because, can you even imagine what that must be like for her, how does she begin to process that, and you kind of have to get her hips and jiggle them (very fucking carefully), or try to lift her up, until it clunks back in.  Your heart is racing, and you feel like this is all too big and all too much, and maybe this is what ambulances are for.

Then she's okay.  It must hurt like...well...any-fucking-thing.

So I'm over it.  It's enough already.  She was already really fucking disabled, thanks very much: CP, mentally about 18 months old, incontinent, in a wheelchair, sensory integration problems, can't see well, etc etc etc.  Now she has fucking intractable epilepsy, is bombed on anti-ep drugs, and hips that dislocate at the drop of a hat, while doing things like, you know...walking, or standing up, or lying in bed, or having a seizure, or getting a poo wiped.  And you know what, it's not fucking fair on anyone involved.

You know, sometimes DinnerDad says that I didn't know what I was signing on for.  And I've always rolled my eyes, because I had known Snail for years, and always had a realistic view of her and her capabilities, and what it meant to 'sign on' for that as her step-mother, and that would be a lifetime of care.  And now, eight years later, well, I now I say that NO ONE knew what they were signing up for, when she was 4 when she could still move fast on her bum, laugh and smile, talk, she could count to three, and put two words together, and we thought, just maybe, she would use sentences.  Before her seizures started.  Even when they first started, they were infrequent and we never knew what they would eventually wreak on her brain, and how much her development would at first slow, and then move backwards, and some days, disappear.  And now this.  I feel like at the very least sound hips should somehow be fair. Though of course there is no consciousness out there deciding what the fuck fair is.  But whatever, this ISN'T IT. 

How are we going to manage her if / when she needs surgery, which, quite frankly, she does, given her hip pops out once a day?  What will happen when she siezes? How the fuck are we going to move her, or change her, or anything!!  Fuck.


 And what are we going to do with a girl who sits like this!! And who bum-shuffles around the floor as her most independent mode of transport!?   What will she do?  How will she cope?  How can we begin to get her through this?

I'm over it.  Personally, and on behalf of a 12 year old girl who certainly didn't ask for any of this shit to happen to her.  Who is sweet, and funny, and full of love and laughter, and who tries to smile at you when you're trying to put her hip back into place, and tears are streaming down her beautiful face.  It's fucking fucked.

Flood Damage at the Weir


It's amazing how much damage is still here, 9 months after the floods.  The Weir is just down the road from our place, and is still spectacularly damaged.  Click on my crappy, taken-while-driving iPhone shots (the speed limit is around 10, so not tooooo dangerous) to embiggen.  My post on Colleges Crossing damage is here.  It still looks the same.

Here's the approach heading towards Mt Crosby, they are just rebuilding the retaining wall under the plant now.


Retaining wall and tiny bulldozers.

It sure did flood through here!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Artiste!

Lolly loves to paint, and we recently moved the easel back to just outside our front door.  She's using it again and loving it.

Her very first canvas, in watercolours.  I asked her to tell me the story of the painting, and she said it was "a girl with a beautiful rainbow!"  Love it.  She loved painting on the canvas, too, and has instructed me to "buy some more at the shop tomorrow and I will paint them?"  Indeed we will.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Our Garden

We don't do it enough.  But to balance the bad, here are some shots of slightly more successful garden goodies.  Like our sadly neglected, but still growing, herb patch. 


DinnerDad, roasting on our giant trampoline.


Beautiful roses seem to grow no matter what we do. 


And these lovely 4/5 headed lilies (lillies?  I think!) like giant flowery trumpets.  Lolly loves these.  She checks every day to see how far they have bloomed, and how many.


It's already getting fearsomely hot round here, with some spectacular storms.  Spring seems to last about a week in Brisbane, and then it's straight to summer.  Then more summer, followed by summer.  I'm eyeing the air conditioning already.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Glimpses of a life

My uncle and aunt sent some lovely scanned photos from my Grandmother's things last week (thanks J and D!), and I thought I'd share some of the life of my Grandmother.  It makes me think (or hope) that one day, my grand-daughter will be looking through the photos of my life, and thinking about how I was a whole person, and about all the things I did and thought.

I'm missing my grandma tonight.

My grandparent's wedding.

Still in England, with my father!

Australia, with my uncle and father, looking fab!

I don't know when or where, but like the shot!


In England.
^^That shot sums up my Grandma, travelling, alone, facing straight at life, and interested in interesting things!

My uncle, Grandma, my sis and me, in the 80s.



Saturday, October 22, 2011

Book Party!

Earlier this week, I held a book party.  What's a book party you ask?  It's a happy occasion I made up, where you're getting rid of about half your books and need a prodding helping hand.  Why might I need a hand? 

Well, here is what my books used to look like:


This is Lolly "catching a possum", a year ago, but shows a fair few of my books, there's another four bookcases you can't see in this shot, and some more upstairs (and a few boxes we didn't unpack).  Yup.  Ahem.  Kind of a lot. 

Here is what the precious-es have looked like since April, when we packed them (loosely speaking) and schlepped them upstairs.


Hmmm...

Our long ongoing renovation meant we were going to store heaps of books til we moved, but then decided that we had a gazillionty of them in digital form, and we should *gasp* get rid of the hard copies.  This took me months of thinking on it to agree to.  I LOVE books, and always loved having them out, I want a giant library one day.  But, really?  Books take up space, most of these books we will never read again, some were just plain crappy, and most of them I can read online, often for free.  So, I really had to think about why I was keeping them round at all.  Why is it we need to display things like books for public consumption?  Or our own consumption. And why is this tied to our self-concept so tightly (in my case, that is). 

Anyhoo, navel-gazing aside, you can see why I might need a hand sorting them.  The pile is huge, and the mental issues, likewise.

So, I asked some lovely friends and their kids to come over to play, to lend a hand, either physically or in moral support, and now the books look like this:

Books to keep, and collectibles

Kids books (to go back out on shelves) and DVDs.

So, thanks, muscly friends (both physically and morally), for helping me do a task I was really struggling with.  And making it a good day. 

Also posted at Shaggy Dog Story, my book blog!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Vending Machine Awesome

Spotted this at the Royal Brisbane Children's Hospital.  Something about this makes me smile.  I mean, it's a Matchbox car vending machine, people!  Random. 


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sandpit Adventures

We bought some play sand and filled up a half-shell pool for a little sandpit.  Lolly is impressed.

Roar!!  Dinosaurs in the sand.
It was stormy weather, and the ants were going a mile a minute on the bricks.  Lolly decided to shoo them away with sand.

I think this will buy me hours of time!  Or..ahem... should I say that Lolly will be having hours of fun...



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bouncy friends, now with more babies!

When friends come over (to help with books), kids bounce (pants optional).


"I'm a cat, and the puppies are bouncing me!"
Kids and babes assemble and are super cute.


Smalls regard each other carefully.

"In case you were unaware, this toy is mine."
Sandpits are awesome.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Things I Let Slide Tuesday: Garden Edition

Occasionally, when I can be bothered (see title) I post about things I let slide round these parts (if you can muster up any interest, see here and here).  The series is more about honesty in blogging than about beating myself with sticks of any kind (actual or metaphorical).  We all have stuff we haven't done, we just don't blog about it til it looks awesome.  So, spirit of fun, and all that.  Feel free to join me if you feel so inclined. 

So, among the kids stuff and renovations, I've let stuff slide.  Let's stick to the yard for this edition...

This is at our front door.  A cheery and welcoming set of unswept leaves, with a yellow kids Ikea bowl in them.  This is...wait for it...our cat's food bowl.  Stylish, no?  It just screams love and care. Occasionally I lean out the front door, and pour a bunch of dry bits in the general direction of this bowl.  Poor cat.  She needs more lurv.  And a broom.

Cat bowl of sadness
Just outside our front door is our second stop on this three hour tour.  When we moved here, there were three palms growing in these odd concrete garden circles on this great spot of flat yard at the back of our place (that back is, ironically, where our front door is.  Don't ask.)  Anyhoo, you can't really grow this kind of palm in a drought, which was what we were having for several years here.  (In other news, the drought was nicely relieved by the floods.  Australia is a land with a sense of irony.  And vengeance.  Weather-y vengeance.)

So, the palms died (thanks, Australia).  And we had three dead palms in concrete circles.  Then DinnerDad chopped the palms down, and we were left with...you guess correctly: three concrete circles.  Which we still have today.  I feel I should point out we have tried to move them, but they are...well... made of concrete.  DinnerDad periodically gets jack of them and attacks them with mallets and picks and crowbars and such.  To no effect. Well, my amusement.  Ahem.

So we dug the dirt out of one this winter and made it a firepit.  Which we still haven't painted, or made a cover for.  Coz that's how we roll.  That last three feet elude us, again.

And the other two concrete circles are still languishing in the yard, full of dead weeds.

Unnattractive firepit.  Also note fallen-down light (which fell down in the floods.  In January.  Thanks again, Australia.)

Finally, pause now, dear readers, to admire the vege garden.  Yes, folks, with a season or more of neglect, you too can have withered pumpkin vine, abandoned watering cans, and unused compost bins!!  Send no money now!

That giant clump of enormous grass behind the compost bin is lemongrass.  It's like a triffid.


Lolly wants to plant seeds this year, tomato and cucumbers.  We clearly haven't got to this yet.

So, these are the Things I Let Slide.  An irregular celebration of the shit we all have that we just haven't got to yet.   

Monday, October 17, 2011

Storms gather

No, really.  Actual storms.  We get some amazing weather round these parts.  Our summer storms (now, with more Spring!) are spectacular.  One blew in, then out again, on Saturday.  We got a bit of rain, but nothing major.  It was the storm front that had us all out watching, a broiling black line moving across the sky. Hard to capture on film (so to speak), but here's a couple of shots.



Storm front moving across us towards the city (over our garage).




Sunday, October 16, 2011

Step-parenting dillemas: Update edition

A month or two back, I wrote a painfully whinging honest piece touching on one of the hardest issues in my life, how to co-parent with a difficult, abusive, and oppositional "real" parent.  Snail and Smash's mother has made my life very difficult, and the ongoing crap with her is the biggest sources of stress that DinnerDad and I have in our lives.  Ongoing, relentless stress, about which we can do nothing. You know, the best kind.

One of the main areas this sucks is in Snail's care.  The other one is money.  But that's for another post... maybe.

So, I was whinging complaining talking in this post about some appointments I'd organised for Snail and whether or not I should go to them, given the crap state of relations between me/us and their mother.  When to push and when to bow out gracefully.  What is my role, and what should I be doing, all that happy stuff.

So here's the promised update:

- the neurologist appointment was fine, as their mother didn't go.  Phew!  Less phew was the "hmmm, nothing we can do really, let's put up her meds," vibe, though both doctors were pretty good, we want a more proactive approach to making her quality of life better.  Still thinking on that, and will post more about it. 

- the chair appointment, likewise.  Their mother made a separate appointment with everyone involved.  Since then we're in a big disagreement about the brakes on the new chair, but other than that, she agreed with both chair choices.

Short aside: the brake thing is hard, she wants brakes forward on the wheels, and claims that Snail knows how to use them and needs them to be independent.  DD and I (and her therapists) have never seen Snail engage with the brakes in any way, shape, or form, and want the "attendant" brakes that are at the foot of the chair at the back.  Way easier and safer.  So, we're in a fight about it at the moment.  Putting it harshly, I think DD and I will win, purely because we are meeting all the out-of-pocket costs for the chair (you know, the pesky "extras" like transport attachments on the frame *sigh*).  And the fact that Snail doesn't even know what the brakes are on her current chair, let alone is able to use them.

- intake appointment with CP Health, I took Snail by myself as DinnerDad was away and her mother didn't go.  We got bad hip news, but that's another post. 

So, yay!?   I am soooooo looking forward to the next gazillion-ty years of doing this stupid dance.  No, really. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Things I Know...

I thought I'd play along with Things I Know with Shae from Yay for Home!

(a day late)

- When you fix your spa, small people want to go swimming AT ALL TIMES



- Once you decide to convert your car for a wheelchair ramp, you want it NOW, not "when we have saved $20,000!" (plus the cost of converting to a new car).

- That watching your little girl start to make friends and have that be a meaningful part of their lives is both awesome and nerve wracking.

-That a new (to us) "commercial grade" 8 kilo washing machine can change your washing life.  Holy crap that thing can hold stuff!  I'm doing about half the loads of washing I used to do, in a quarter of the time.  This is news. 

- That re-organising your play spaces is challenging but wonderful fun.  And takes heaps of time!  (And hopefully will buy me heaps of time when it's done, by which I mean, ahem...by awesome independent play).

- That three is a wonderful age, and that my daughter is about as wonderful as you can get.

- That three is a difficult age, and that my daughter sometimes seems about as difficult as you can get.

- That parenting is kind of a rollercoaster.