Friday, January 19, 2007

reading list

Thanks so much commenters! Between yours and the commnets made on a similar post on my other blog, I now have a fantastic list to hunt out. I would thank you all personally but I am running on empty right now. 3 weeks to go!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

trying to find the light

After last night's terrors about dying mummies, which saw Amy stay fully awake until well after 3am, I did a quick tally of her favourite stories. A good 80%+ of traditional fairy tales and compendium stories feature dead or dying mothers and failing fathers - beauty and the beast, rumplestiltskin, hansel and gretel, cinderella... the list goes on and on.

But Amy has reached an age where picture books and five minute stories just don't cut it, so each and every night she reaches for the big kids books, the ones with words and stories with some length and substance. So we end up reading about dead mothers and rescuing princes and stuff I find pretty repugnant.

So I went to the bookstore today and spent damn near an hour trawling for some new books. I used nearly an hour of a sales assistant's time (something happy!).

Books which are age appropriate, where stuff actually happens. Books that give a four and half year old something to think about and somethign to listen to, but which don't induce nightmares about loss and death, which don't make them think a husband is a girl's only saviour, which don't promote shopping as a life purpose. Something that isn't completely inane and scary to my adult sensibilities, but still appeals to her.

And I came away with two new titles - The Princess and the Unicorn (in the Aussie nibbles series) and Tashi and the Dancing Shoes (in the Tashi series).

And we read the Princess and the Unicorn. And both the mummy and the daddy die.

Please, someone out there tell me there's a secret list somewhere.

in the dark

It's just after 1 am and I am restless and insomniac. My legs twitch, thumper has been hiccoughing for nearly two hours and I'm hot. I've already peed about 5 times. My boobs are leaking. Amy has woken twice.

Today was D's first day back at work after the summer break, my first day back as a stay at home parent and Amy has been positively feral. She so needs the structure and stimulation of a learning environment. There was disobedience big time and time out and rather more shouting than there should have been.

When she woke at 12.30 she asked me to take her to the toilet and as she was peeing:

Mummy you will always be my favourite friend, even when I am a grown up. And when you die (her voice starts catching and she silently wipes her eyes on her nighty) I will put a big sign up on my house that says My Mummy Has Died. (Bigger sobs here, more eye wiping) And I will invite all my friends and everyone and we'll have a really big party and I will always remember you.

It is way too hard to be four, don't you think? Way harder than being 36 weeks pregnant on a summer's night when you are restless and insomniac.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


We braced ourselves. We watched other people with their children. We took note of the things to watch out for. But nothing has quite prepared us for the story which unfolds whenever Max is around Pia.

I picked Max up from daycare this afternoon, and had a wonderful chat with one of his carers. She mentioned how maternal Max is, how sweet he is with all the babies when he goes into the babies room. He strokes their cheeks. My heart melts.

Now multiply all that tenfold when Max is at home with Pia. He loves that baby in the most pure, astonishing way. He can’t get enough of her – he covers her hands and feet with little kisses. He watches everything I do with her and copies me in my words, tone and actions. He gives her toys to play with. He draws a chair up to her bassinet and settles her if she starts crying. He pats her stomach, and then makes her smile big broad smiles. He loves to lie next to her playing with her.

I’ve seen other children turn their back on their siblings. I’ve watched as they fight and assert their dominance as the elder child. But Max, well, he just includes Pia in everything we do and say. This baby has become such an integral part of his being and life. He defends her and me in public, and there have been times when I’ve been moved to maternal tears at the things he has said to other people. The compassion one small child has for the family unit he belongs to is just beautiful. It is everything we hoped we had instilled in him, and everything we hoped he would become with a sister in his life.

Does it sound idyllic? Yes. But if I ask him to Get. Off. Her. Now. one more time…This baby will surely be squashed with an overbearing over excited 3 year old brother at some point. Then again, if he treats the women in his life half as well as he treats Pia, he’ll break hearts the world over.