Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Happy birthday little man.

Twenty months have passed since you left us. It seems like ages and it seems like no time at all - that makes no sense but it is true all the same.

It's the second time your birthday has come without you and I am still amazed life is without you in it.

I miss you beyond words.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

birth, kinder, dogs and stuff

I need to blog about the recent decisions the government has made in terms of trouncing our rights to choose independent midwifery, not have our choices as mothers and human beings over our uterus, our vaginas, our bodies and our babies removed if a doctor doesn't fancy agreeing with us and our midwives but it's all just too depressing. Krudd and Nicola Roxon suck. Lots. AMA sucks hairy monkey balls. ALP can kiss my shining white arse. It's not articulate, eloquent or stunningly spoken as some of the speeches at the 15 rallies around the nation were today (despite Krudd chickening out and avoiding everyone) but it is a very genuine sentiment none the less. If you haven't already, contact your local MP and tell them how outraged you are that these laws are being pushed through. Make a point that you will NOT vote for politicians who disregard our human rights to self determination. Senate votes NEXT TUESDAY on FEB 23!

On a happier note we had the first parent-teacher conference since La has started kinder and today was our meeting. It went pretty well and wasn't too surprising. The break-down:
  • he's very, VERY smart - she reckons he'll move to Cycle 2 inside of 2 years
  • he's exceedingly good at manipulating tools and stuff like scissors, staplers, hole punches, sticky tape etc (as if the stack of projects he brings home from kinder to join the stacks he's done here don't attest to that! LOL)
  • he's loves learning how things work (don't I know it, the kid has pulled apart multiple remotes to wires and chips, disassembled the laundry dryer door to component parts and taken apart the DVD player to look at it's guts...)
  • he adores the guinea pigs (or "any pigs" in La-ese) and she'd suspected he must have been taught about handling animals
  • he yacks incessantly about all the animals here... no doubt whose kid he is hey?
  • he loves being able to ring the class bell and is working very hard for the privilege
  • he climbs like a monkey (they've found him perched at the top of a cupboard to get the aforementioned bell and has scaled the schools sport goal net to get up over the boundary fencing... it's been moved 3m away from the fence now) and is not at all affected by splatting himself. This is of course no shock given I've watched him climb and launch himself from the top of the chook pens, a couple meters up a tree, the top of the woodshed after shimmying up a gutter etc.
  • he can be very polite and considerate.... and he can be defiant when he can't do something
  • while he can be very focused, he's not always good about putting everything away and cleaning up when he's done before he gets something else and he can be disruptive to the other students as he'll go up and insert himself into their tasks willingly or otherwise
Hm. What else have we been up to? We did the Melbourne Pet Expo last Saturday with Sierra as one of the breeds demo dogs and had a nice time, albeit we got some typically amusing comments. I had one young lady look at Si's blue eyes and wail in distress, "Oh that poor dog, she's BLIND!" Um. No. She just has blue eyes. The amazing thing is the young lady had blue eyes as well! LOL

In other news, my adult foster cat who'd gone into the adoption program is back as she got ill poor dear. I think she's used up all 9 of her lives now! My foster kittens are getting big, won't be long before they're ready to spay/neuter, microchip and go to new homes. Cinnamon's spay is coming up as well, which is a bit anxiety inducing but a bit exciting as once she's healed we can adopt a friend for her!

I've put my name back down for agility training on the waiting list, so fingers crossed it won't take 2 years to get in this time! Obedience training was back as of the start of Feb but I didn't make the first class due to chest infection. (Joy!) Very much enjoying training again! Si has come up nice and trim, so she'll be in good shape... I on the other hand am a bit slower in the regaining my (non-round) shape!

I've also pretty much made up my mind that when the kids are a bit older and all in school I will look at going back to school to become a vet tech, maybe also looking into taking courses as a trainer as well. I like the trainer idea more but the vet tech is likely to be a bit more steady in terms of income. Laurent heard this and asked the all important question: but mum, will your school have sticky tape? "Um. No La, probably not." "Oh. You should come to my school then," he says with a slightly smug voice, "WE have sticky tape!" Priorities right?

Gratuitous pictures:

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Cinnamon's clickertraining

We're dabbling with teaching Cinnamon a number of fun clicker basics as it turns out she really (really REALLY!) enjoys it and is very quick at picking things up! Such a clever little bun!

Here she is learning to target the tip of the target wand by touching her nose to it. This is a very basic 'touch' and still has a way to go to be fully refined.

Target wands such as this are a versatile training tool as they can be used to teach any number of behaviours and tricks, as well as allowing you to lead the animal where you want it without having to lift, force or coax it. EG into it's pen, into a carry cage, over jumps etc. You can put the target upright in the ground to teach them to go away from you as well on a 'send out' as well. The possibilities are endless! The training is positive reinforcement based and 100% force free.

In this video I am using a short target wand, actually a large sized knitting needle. Longer wands exist to allow targeting while the human is standing up or further away or you can use stationary targets such as a small jar lid or similar. The reward I am using here is very a small bite of carrot, which she likes because it's so sweet. (Not good in big quantities!) I also use rose petals and leaves, bites of fresh herbs and strawberry leaves and TINY amounts of raisins (eg 1 sultana cut into about 8-9 pieces, no more than 1 piece per session as it's VERY sugary!)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Little Big Boy

Laurent had his first day at Kinder today. He has been positively ITCHING to go for weeks, pestering me every single day!

This morning bright and early he:
* helped make his lunch, "I'm the masta chef, that's the sammich, that's the rice-biscuits, that's the prunes, that's the mandarins, that's the carrot sticks, that's my grapes!" and filled his drink bottle with a sprig of chocolate mint in it
* chose his outfit - because "scarey-bees' (aka scarabs) are COOL" - and put on his new school shoes "they're the fastest kind for running with!"
* packed his backpack - it's GREEN of course and he assured me he had to bring pens to do "very serious 'signments mum!"
* and assured me, "Mum, kinder will be good I think. Because I am very good at snipping and painting and running and drawing and climbing and bouncing on trampolines and counting out beans which is good for kids at kinder." (Self confidence is obviously not an issue either... )

They stagger the kids so that only the one new child comes into the class per day so the directress can help them settle in easier. I told him if he wanted me to stay I could stay or if he wanted me to go then Lily and I would return in the afternoon. I was promptly given my walking papers, "kinder is for KIDS mum, not mums and babies so you and Lily-boo can go home!" LOL He did deign to stop just long enough to give a brief hug when I asked for one and then took off without a backward glance.

His teacher said he had a pretty good day, though he did get a bit grumpy over having to come inside when outdoor time was done but otherwise it went well. Lily and I had a lovely time shopping. At one point Lily went to sleep and I had the whole house to myself, peaceful and quiet! I actually had my lunch, a coffee and went to the bathroom without anyone whining, stealing a bite or interrupting for the first time in 4 years... BLISS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now I just have to survive the pestering till Tuesday when he goes back!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

I finally fixed it!

Yep - no one will ever accuse me of being overly technically capable, that is the truth! I'm not a total Luddite, I'm just not very well informed and vaguely intimidated. At any rate, it's fixed and viewable again.

This beautiful rainbow at sunset was taken on the last day of January. In a lot of ways it feels like the promise of the new year is finally starting for me and I'm looking forward to the next little while. Not least because La will be starting kinder and my training will be starting back up!

One of the funnest bits of January was my very first major road trip with both kids solo. We wandered up through Blackspur, Healesville, Narebethong, Alexandra, Yarck, Merton, Euroa, Benalla etc. stopping and playing tourist along the way at some of our favorite places. We were transporting a rescued dog up there as well to her new mum and dad. Almost a year on, the progression of the regeneration I see every time I drive up that way struck me with a lot of hope. Despite it all, life is an impossible force to deny.
We went up to Albury-Wodonga, stayed in Tabletop NSW and then later on out near Sandy Creek/Kiewa our nearish Yakendandah to play with Jodie and all her poultry and dogs. I am in total love with the area - it is just beautiful! We came home with some really cute guinea fowl keets as well!

We also have five new foster kittens keeping us busy. Meet Mew (little black) and Milla (black/white), Zap (bigger black) and Sonic (tabby). These lucky little ones as they were destined to be put down originally as their mum was a feral that was killed I believe.

And this is Whisp, he was found on the side of a busy road by a good samaritan. He was so covered in flea dirt and crawling with fleas that it took my friend who took him in from his rescuer four shampoos to reveal he was white under the black-red crust. He is deaf as well but sweet as sugar and quite a special lad.

January was a bit of a chaotic month for us though, as life always is it seems. Laurent has proved to be at the center of some of the most humorous bits too.

While I was changing Lily, my darling tornado child chirped at me words that will make any mums heart stop: "Look mum! I did shaving like daddy!" Yep - you guessed it, the little ferret had opened the door to the laundry, the study and the bathroom before scaling the counters and ceiling high cupboards (what you thought we're dumb enough to leave it in easy reach?) to fetch daddy's shaver and gouge several whacks of hair out the front and side of his head. The result: at four years old, just starting kinder, my child has his very first comb over!

A few other La gems:

At one point I woke up from a way-too-real nightmare we'd been in a bushfire and I'd been separated for the kids. It took me several moments and holding them to calm myself into realizing it was just a dream after waking up. I had a totally mushy-momma-moment snuggling up to sleeping bebe and La, thinking how lucky I am just to have them. La curls into me, accepts a butterfly kiss, leans up to my ear and in the sweetest voice whispers, "Mum?" "Yeah La...?" (I melted, how did I get so lucky to have such a beautiful boy...) "Mum, my butt itches." Ah, four year olds, gods love 'em!

La: Can I have a sip of your water mum?
Me: Just a sip or should I get you your own glass?
La: No mum just a sip! *gulps the whole thing*
Me: LA! I said just a little sip!
La: But mum, I DID have a little sip! It was just a BIG little sip!

While I'm dressing Lily the other day, La reached for the cat food we're given for our fosters which he'd just been told to leave be. "La, I KNOW you're not feeding them after I JUST said no!" He looks at me, caught red handed. "Um... no?" Trying to figure an acceptable 'out', he quickly gulped the food himself and grins at my grimace of disgust. My instant reaction has GOT to be indication of my animal lover status though, as rather than being totally grossed out by the fact he just swallowed cat food I heard myself say - "Gross! That's Science Diet! Couldn't you at least go for the Eagle Pack?!" Then I notice Lily gnawing on freeze dried liver she's swiped from my training pouch during this exchange. What can I say? These kids will either grow up remarkably well balanced or they're going to need 30 years therapy for species confusion.
Lily(shown here with her slightly overgrown, kinda slobbery, very sweet teddy bear) is growing like a weed... she is getting so big now, bubbly and happy, she is officially on the move and scoots herself all over the house. She has two sharp teeth, a plethora of baby babble, mastery of the fine art of clapping and blowing raspberries, a keen grasp of the game of "drop-it-and-watch-everyone-fetch-it-10,000x-in-a-row' and is just gorgeous. Ten months old, where did my little newborn go? And proving she's my child, she has learned to immediate the clicker and takes great delight in making an attempt at a whistle sound near the dogs and then clicking before giggling at the tongue-bath she receives.

Shadow is adjusting pretty well, he's staked out his favorite vantage points and is good about keeping an eye on things from there. He is very protective of our home and we often hear him barking at the foxes at night. He's proven a tad too protective against people (sorry Florence!) so we're going to have to work with him on that a bit. He's still not able to be loose with the birds and sheep as he wants to play with them, which they don't quite appreciate despite his good intentions. We're hoping continued exposure helps him settle so we can let him in the paddocks eventually.
Even though I usually pen the birds at night up near the house, the old adage that "management alone always fails" has proven true as we recently lost Old Mother Goose, my Chinese pair and Matilda to foxes after one of our neighbors buzzed by with a four wheeler freaking them out when they were in the far paddock to the point they hid instead of coming in overnight. I'm heartbroken over all of them but especially sweet Matilda who was my baby.

Cinnamon had his vet visit the other day for his well-bunny check up, the first vaccination and a discussion of neutering him. As it turns out, SHE is absolutely the picture of health and will be seeking a spay rather than a neuter! Oh dear... how embarrassing! LOL Once that is done and hormones have settled, we will look at having her go on a bunny play-date to pick out a friend at the shelter as the vets at the Melbourne Rabbit Clinic have advised they really do need a friend of their own species no matter how much attention you give them. Hopefully her new friend will enjoy clicker training as much as Cinna does as well - she's really quite clever!