Diary of a geek

April 2014
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Andrew Pollock

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Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Day 92: Kindergarten, cleaning and more birthday party preparation

I'm mostly back into my normal routine now. Next week should be spot on. Today, after my chiropractic adjustment and another walk to the post office to collect another package, I got stuck into cleaning the house.

I got that mostly done before my massage, and knocked out the rest of it before I picked up Zoe from Kindergarten.

Zoe seems to have successfully dropped her day time nap at Kindergarten now, which certainly makes a huge difference to getting out of the place on time.

I'd underestimated the number of kids coming to Zoe's birthday party, so I needed to get some extra goody bags made up, so we headed directly out to Westfield Carindale to raid the The Reject Shop for some more bits and pieces.

After we got home from that, Zoe watched a bit of TV and helped me assemble the extra bags, and then we had dinner.

After some epic procrastination (on Zoe's behalf) I managed to get her to bed approximately on time. I really need to try some different approaches to getting through the bath time routine, because it's just taking too long. I gave myself a couple of time outs because I could see the situation deteriorating if I didn't. It's unhelpful that my blog seems to be the third hit in Google at the moment for "positive parent procrastination". I don't have the answers.

[03:33] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Day 91: Kindergarten, a successful assault on my to do list, haircuts and venus fly traps

I hate the days when I wake up at odd hours for no good reason. This morning I woke up at 4:30am briefly, with no idea why. It makes me wonder if there was some sort of external noise, and that's what woke Zoe up yesterday morning.

I got myself going at a reasonable hour this morning, and decided to walk to the Bulimba post office to collect a package that was waiting for me. It was a nice enough morning for a walk, and I'm glad I decided to do it.

Along the way, I observed multiple grandmothers walking their grandchildren to school. I've been thinking a lot about next year lately. I feel very strongly about Zoe not having to go into after school care. It seems that one of the new societal norms is the grandparents have to step in with the school transportation and after school care. That's not going to be particularly practical in our situation though, so I'm currently leaning towards seeking some sort of flexible employment next year that will allow me to be able to be available after Zoe finishes school.

I was fairly motivated to get stuck into my to do list after my walk. A long standing item was to cancel one of my remaining US credit cards, and the time difference worked out well to do that, so I finally took care of that. I then realised it was a good time for the US East Coast, so I did a Hangout with one of my best friends in New York. It was great to have a catch up.

After that, I finished off my US tax return, and also sorted out some other stuff that needed finishing off. I had to go to the Valley to find a FedEx location, so I drove over there, and on the way back stopped off in Bulimba to get some Mother's Day cards. By that stage it was about time to pick up Zoe from Kindergarten, so I quickly grabbed some lunch and then drove over to pick her up.

She didn't nap again today, so that made our departure from Kindergarten nice and easy. I'd booked both of us in for haircuts at 3pm, so we got home with enough time for Zoe to ride her scooter to the hairdresser. We had our haircuts and Zoe had a bit of a play in the play corner, and we headed back home.

I'd bought a venus fly trap from Bunnings last week while we were picking up other bits and pieces. I wanted to show Zoe how they worked, so we watched a few YouTube videos. This one was particularly good. After that, we went down to the rubbish skip with our fly trap to see if we could catch any flies in it, but Zoe quickly lost interest. So we headed back upstairs, and triggered one with a toothpick. I probably could have done this on a Friday and called it a Science Friday activity with a botany bent.

After that, we just watched some TV together on the couch until Sarah arrived to pick her up.

[05:03] [life] [permalink]

Monday, 28 April 2014

Day 90: Kindergarten, and a motivational slump

My alternative option to quitting my day job so I could spend more time with Zoe was to take three months leave without pay. That wasn't really a great option, because it would mean that Zoe would only get one term of Kindergarten, and then I'd be back at work.

Well today is the day that I'd go back to work if I took 3 months leave without pay.

So far, I have zero regrets from doing the stay year-long at home Dad thing. At the end of the first week, I was absolutely exhausted, and a little worried that I'd bitten off more than I could chew, but since that point, I've found my stride and now I'm mostly just worried about what I'm going to do with myself next year.

I'm really happy with the range of activities that I've been able to do with Zoe in the past 90 days. For this term, I'm going to do a combination of repeating some of the things we've done previously (Zoe's already asking to go ice skating again), and introduce her to a few new things that we didn't get a chance to do last term. As it starts to cool down a little bit more, we'll be looking around for more indoor activities to do, as well.

Today though, I had a bit of a motivational slump. Zoe woke up, briefly, at 4:30am. I can't even remmeber why. I was smack bang in the middle of some serious REM sleep, so I found getting up to attend to her particularly jarring. I was a bit sluggish this morning as a result, and Zoe was also doing some spectacular procrastination. That coupled with rain meant we were a bit late getting to Kindergarten.

The drop off itself went pretty well, and I drove home and had a late shower. There was a myriad of things I could have been doing, but I mostly just made a bunch of phone calls to organise things, did some more planning for Zoe's birthday party this Saturday, and waited for pick up time to roll around. I'll need to do a better job of being self-disciplined tomorrow.

Kindergarten pick up was fine. I've been encouraging Zoe to reconsider napping at rest time, and the last two times I've picked her up, she hasn't napped, which has made for a much easier departure, and she hasn't been noticeably worse for wear for it.

We went to take a look at the park we're having her birthday party in on Saturday, just to get a lie of the land in terms of tables and BBQs, and then we went to the Valley to clear my PO box. After that we went to the dance store in the Valley to get a leotard, socks and stockings for her ballet class.

By the time we got home from all of that, there was only about an hour before Sarah was due to pick Zoe up, so she watched a bit of TV, and then we played hide and seek for a bit, and watered the seeds we've planted.

I skipped yoga tonight because I'm still on lifting restrictions, and decided to skip Meatless Monday as well and hang out with my friend Michael and eat all the ribs I could handle. Boy was that an eating binge.

[05:13] [life] [permalink]

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Day 85: Mostly a day off for me

Zoe slept solidly all night. She woke up a little before 6am, wanting a cuddle, but it was still dark, so she went back to sleep for another half an hour or so. It was actually nice to get that extra 30 minutes to have a leisurely wake up myself.

Sarah wanted to pick up Zoe at 7:45am to get away and get a camp site, so when Zoe finally woke up for the day, we didn't muck around too much. She announced she wanted banana and oat pancakes, but we were out of bananas. I offered her the opportunity to scooter down to the Hawthorne Garage to get some if she went and got dressed. She decided that'd be good.

I had a 10am appointment in the city with an intellectual property lawyer to talk about patents, so I had this grand plan of trying to squeeze in a run after Zoe was picked up and before I'd have to head into the city, so I got into my running gear, and we headed down to acquire some bananas.

We whipped up the pancakes, and then after a couple of mouthfuls of hers, Zoe declared she didn't like it and wanted Cheerios instead. Oh well. It was nice to get out of the house early in the morning, and it helped get Zoe moving.

Sarah ended up getting here closer to 8:30am, which made it a little too tight to go for a run, have a shower and get into the city, so I scrapped the run and pottered around at home instead for a bit, before driving into the city.

My goodness casual parking in the city is exorbitant. It cost me $35 for under an hour. I got some good advice from the lawyer, so I know where to proceed from here.

Next I headed down to the Valley to get my orientation at River City Labs, but had I read my email before leaving the city, I'd have discovered that the lady giving me the orientation had to leave early because her daughter was ill. It cost me $6 drive into the car park in the Valley, take the elevator down, read my email on my phone and pay my ticket and leave again. Lesson learned.

I decided to do the grocery shopping that I hadn't done yesterday while I waited for Anshu to come over.

[06:37] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Day 84: Kindergarten Term 2 starts, I collapse on the couch for the day

Zoe had her first day back at Kindy this morning for Term 2. I couldn't believe how fast Term 1 flew by, and how little I felt I accomplished on a personal front. The two weeks of school holidays certainly put the brakes on trying to get anything much more done for myself, but Zoe and I had a great time.

I was really happy with the variety of activities we were able to do, and it was nice that Zoe and Megan got to spend a reasonable amount of time together too. The weather cooperated for the majority of the time, which was the cherry on top.

Zoe only had Kindergarten today this week, but Sarah has the week off, so she's going to be taking Zoe for the next couple of days, which is really convenient timing, as it'll give me time to recover from some minor surgery tomorrow without having to run around after her. I might also manage to finalise my US tax return. I'm hoping to catch a few movies with Anshu too, who also has the week off work.

Zoe slept reasonably well last night. Two wake ups, but they were both quickly resolved, so we both got back to sleep quickly. I was absolutely exhausted last night, but felt positively chipper this morning.

We biked to Kindergarten, and I decided to leave the trailer there to make things a bit easier for myself in the afternoon.

I got home, and just felt like vegging on the couch. Then I remembered Anshu had the day off, so she came over and we hung out and had lunch. It was really nice to have a few hours during the day off.

I biked back to Kindergarten, wondering if I'd have to deal with waking up Zoe from a nap, but she hadn't had a nap. We'd had a bit of a talk at breakfast about napping at Kindergarten, and I have no idea if it helped or not, but it meant we could make an orderly departure.

Zoe wanted to participate in Megan's tennis class after Kindergarten, and they were down a kid, which made the warm up stuff not work so well, so the teacher was happy for Zoe to take part. I managed to extract her once the real nitty gritty of the class started. I did get a good opportunity to suss out place availability for term 3.

We biked home, and I wanted to take my bike in for a service while I'm on lifting restrictions, so we drove over to Cannon Hill to drop it off. The Gold Cross bike shop has now merged into the Super Amart store, so Zoe wanted to look at everything on the way back out. We eventually emerged without buying anything.

Next, we went over to Bunnings, because Zoe's been asking if we can grow some veggies and flowers from seed. That ended up being about an hour of trekking around the nursery section trying to find stuff. It was a good way to use up the afternoon. We made it out with a bag of potting mix and a few packets of seeds and a kit for growing stuff that requires a trellis. Unfortunately most of the climbing stuff (like tomatoes) are out of season now, so I'm not sure what we're going to be able to grow with the kit.

We got back home, and I put dinner on and we watched a bit of TV together while it cooked. Bath time and bed time went really smoothly, as I think she was pretty tired. Here's hoping she sleeps well tonight.

[04:16] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Day 79: Magic, flu shots, and play dates and dinner

Zoe slept until 7:45am this morning, which is absolutely unheard of in our house. She did wake up at about 5:15am yelling out for me because she'd kicked her doona off and lost Cowie, but went back to sleep once I sorted that out.

She was super grumpy when she woke up, which I mostly attributed to being hungry, so I got breakfast into her as quickly as possible and she perked up afterwards.

Today there was a free magic show at the Bulimba Library at 10:30am, so we biked down there. I really need to work on curbing Zoe's procrastination. We started trying to leave the house at 10am, and as it was, we only got there with 2 minutes to spare before the show started.

Magic Glen put on a really good show. He was part comedian, part sleight of hand magician, and he did a very entertaining show. There were plenty of gags in it for the adults. Zoe started out sitting in my lap, but part way through just got up and moved closer to the front to sit with the other kids. I think she enjoyed herself. I'd have no hesitation hiring this guy for a future birthday party.

Zoe had left her two stuffed toys from the car at Megan's house on Tuesday after our Port of Brisbane tour, and so after the magic show we biked to her place to retrieve them. It was close to lunch by this stage, so we stayed for lunch, and the girls had a bit of a play in the back yard while Megan's little sister napped.

It was getting close to time to leave for our flu shots, so I decided to just bike directly to the doctor from Megan's place. I realised after we left that we'd still left the stuffed toys behind, but the plan was to drive back after our flu shots and have another swim their neighbour's pool, so it was all good.

We got to the doctor, and waited for Sarah to arrive. Sarah and I weren't existing patients at Zoe's doctor, but we'd decided to get the flu shot as a family to try and ease the experience for Zoe. We both had to do new patient intake stuff before we had a consult with Zoe's doctor and got prescriptions for the flu shot.

I popped next door to the adjacent pharmacy get the prescriptions filled, and then the nurse gave us the shots.

For the last round of vaccinations that Zoe received, she needed three, and she screamed the building down at the first jab. The poor nurse was very shaken, so we've been working to try and get her to feel more at ease about this one.

Zoe went first, and she took a deep breath, and she was winding up to freak out when she had her shot, but then it was all over, and she let the breath go, and looked around with a kind of "is that it?" reaction. She didn't even cry. I was so proud of her.

I got my shot, and then Sarah got hers, and we had to sit in the waiting room for 10 minutes to make sure we didn't turn into pumpkins, and we were on our way.

We biked home, I grabbed our swim gear, and we drove back to Megan's place.

The pool ended up being quite cold. Megan didn't want to get in, and Zoe didn't last long either. Megan's Mum was working back late, so I invited Megan, her Dad and her sister over for dinner, and we headed home so I could prepare it. One of Zoe's stuffed toys had been located.

We had a nice dinner of deviled sausages made in the Thermomix, and for a change I didn't have a ton of leftovers. Jason had found the other stuffed toy in his truck, so we'd finally tracked them both down.

After Megan and family went home, I got Zoe to bed without much fuss, and pretty much on time. I think she should sleep well tonight.

[05:18] [life] [permalink]

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Day 78: Alginate, dragon boats and relatives

I ordered some alginate the other day, and it arrived yesterday, but we were out, so I had to pick it up from the post office this morning.

Anshu and I picked it up before Zoe was dropped off. We had a couple of attempts at making some, but didn't quite get the ratios or the quantity right, and we were too slow, so we'll have to try again. The plan is to try and make a cast of Zoe's hand, since we were messing around with plaster of Paris recently. I've found a good Instructable to try and follow.

Nana and her dragon boating team were competing in the Australian Dragon Boat Championships over Easter, and her first race was today. It also ended up that today was the best day to try and go and watch, so when she called to say her first race would be around noon, I quickly decided we should jump in the car and head up to Kawana Waters.

We abandoned the alginate, and I slapped together a picnic lunch for Zoe and I, and we bid Anshu farewell and drove up.

Zoe's fever seemed to break yesterday afternoon after Sarah picked her up, and she slept well, but despite all that, she napped in the car on the way up, which was highly unusual, but helped pass the time. She woke up when we arrived. I managed to get a car park not too far from the finish line, and we managed to find Nana, whose team was about the enter the marshaling area.

Her boat was closest to the shore we were watching from, and her boat came second in their qualifying round for the 200 metre race, meaning they went straight through to the semi-finals.

The semi-finals were going to be much later, and I wanted to capitalise on the fact that we were going to have to drive right past my Mum and Dad's place on the way home to try and see my sister and her family, since we missed them on Monday.

We headed back after lunch and a little bit of splashing around in the lake, and ended up staying for dinner at Mum and Dad's. Zoe had a great time catching up with her cousin Emma, and fooling around with Grandpa and Uncle Michael.

She got to bed a little bit late by the time we got home, but I'm hopeful she'll sleep well tonight.

[03:54] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Day 77: Port of Brisbane tour

Sarah dropped Zoe around this morning at about 8:30am. She was still a bit feverish, but otherwise in good spirits, so I decided to stick with my plan for today, which was a tour of the Port of Brisbane.

Originally the plan had been to do it with Megan and her Dad, Jason, but Jason had some stuff to work on on his house, so I offered to take Megan with us to allow him more time to work on the house uninterrupted.

I was casting around for something to do to pass the time until Jason dropped Megan off at 10:30am, and I thought we could do some foot painting. We searched high and low for something I could use as a foot washing bucket, other than the mop bucket, which I didn't want to use because of potential chemical residue. I gave up because I couldn't anything suitable, and we watched a bit of TV instead.

Jason dropped Megan around, and we immediately jumped in the car and headed out to the Port. I missed the on ramp for the M4 from Lytton Road, and so we took the slightly longer Lytton Road route, which was fine, because we had plenty of time to kill.

The plan was to get there for about 11:30am, have lunch in the observation cafe on the top floor of the visitor's centre building, and then get on the tour bus at 12:30pm. We ended up arriving much earlier than 11:30am, so we looked around the foyer of the visitor's centre for a bit.

It was quite a nice building. The foyer area had some displays, but the most interesting thing (for the girls) was an interactive webcam of the shore bird roost across the street. There was a tablet where you could control the camera and zoom in and out on the birds roosting on a man-made island. That passed the time nicely. One of the staff also gave the girls Easter eggs as we arrived.

We went up to the cafe for lunch next. The view was quite good from the 7th floor. On one side you could look out over the bay, notably Saint Helena Island, and on the other side you got quite a good view of the port operations and the container park.

Lunch didn't take all that long, and the girls were getting a bit rowdy, running around the cafe, so we headed back downstairs to kill some more time looking at the shore birds with the webcam, and then we boarded the bus.

It was just the three of us and three other adults, which was good. The girls were pretty fidgety, and I don't think they got that much out of it. The tour didn't really go anywhere that you couldn't go yourself in your own car, but you did get running commentary from the driver, which made all the difference. The girls spent the first 5 minutes trying to figure out where his voice was coming from (he was wired up with a microphone).

The thing I found most interesting about the port operations was the amount of automation. There were three container terminals, and the two operated by DP World and Hutchinson Ports employed fully automated overhead cranes for moving containers around. Completely unmanned, they'd go pick a container from the stack and place it on a waiting truck below.

What I found even more fascinating was the Patrick terminal, which used fully automated straddle carriers, which would, completely autonomously move about the container park, pick up a container, and then move over to a waiting truck in the loading area and place it on the truck. There were 27 of these things moving around the container park at a fairly decent clip.

Of course the girls didn't really appreciate any of this, and half way through the tour Megan was busting to go to the toilet, despite going before we started the tour. I was worried about her having an accident before we got back, she didn't, so it was all good.

I'd say in terms of a successful excursion, I'd score it about a 4 out of 10, because the girls didn't really enjoy the bus tour all that much. I was hoping we'd see more ships, but there weren't many (if any) in port today. They did enjoy the overall outing. Megan spontaneously thanked me as we were leaving, which was sweet.

We picked up the blank cake I'd ordered from Woolworths on the way through on the way home, and then dropped Megan off. Zoe wanted to play, so we hung around for a little while before returning home.

Zoe watched a bit more TV while we waited for Sarah to pick her up. Her fever picked up a bit more in the afternoon, but she was still very perky.

[05:14] [life] [permalink]

Monday, 14 April 2014

Day 76: Dora + Fever

We had a bit of a rough night last night. I noticed Zoe was pretty hot when she had a nap yesterday after not really eating much lunch. She still had a mild fever after her nap, so I gave her some paracetamol (aka acetaminophen, that one weirded me out when I moved to the US) and called for a home doctor to check her ears out.

Her ears were fine, but her throat was a little red. The doctor said it was probably a virus. Her temperature wasn't so high at bed time, so I skipped the paracetamol, and she went to bed fine.

She did wake up at about 1:30am and it took me until 3am to get her back to bed. I think it was a combination of the fever and trying to phase out her white noise, but she just didn't want to sleep in her bed or her room. At 3am I admitted defeat and let her sleep with me.

She had only a slightly elevated temperature this morning, and otherwise seemed in good spirits. We were supposed to go to a family lunch today, because my sister and brother are in town with their respective families, but I figured we'd skip that on account that Zoe may have still had something, and coupled with the poor night's sleep, I wasn't sure how much socialising she was going to be up for.

My ear has still been giving me grief, and I had a home doctor check it yesterday as well, and he said the ear canal was 90% blocked. First thing this morning I called up to make an appointment with my regular doctor to try and get it flushed out. The earliest appointment I could get was 10:15am.

So we trundled around the corner to my doctor after a very slow start to the day. I got my ear cleaned out and felt like a million bucks afterwards. We went to Woolworths to order an undecorated mud slab cake, so I can try doing a trial birthday cake. I've given up on trying to do the sitting minion, and significantly scaled back to just a flat minion slab cake. The should be ready tomorrow.

The family thing was originally supposed to be tomorrow, and was only moved to today yesterday. My original plan had been to take Zoe to a free Dora the Explorer live show that was on in the Queen Street Mall.

I decided to revert back to the original plan, but by this stage, it was too late to catch the 11am show, so the 1pm show was the only other option. We had a "quick" lunch at home, which involved Zoe refusing the eat the sandwich I made for her and me convincing her otherwise.

Then I got a time-sensitive phone call from a friend, and once I'd finished dealing with that, there wasn't enough time to take any form of public transport and get there in time, so I decided to just drive in.

We parked in the Myer Centre car park, and quickly made our way up to the mall, and made it there comfortably with 5 minutes to spare.

The show wasn't anything much to phone home about. It was basically just 20 minutes of someone in a giant Dora suit acting out was was essentially a typical episode of Dora the Explorer, on stage, with a helper. Zoe started out wanting to sit on my lap, but made a few brief forays down to the "mosh pit" down the front with the other kids, dancing around.

After the show finished, we had about 40 minutes to kill before we could get a photo with Dora, so we wandered around the Myer Centre. I let Zoe choose our destinations initially, and we browsed a cheap accessories store that was having a sale, and then we wandered downstairs to one of the underground bus station platforms.

After that, we made our way up to Lincraft, and browsed. We bought a $5 magnifying glass, and I let Zoe do the whole transaction by herself. After that it was time to make our way back down for the photo.

Zoe made it first in line, so we were in and out nice and quick. We got our photos, and they gave her a little activity book as well, which she thought was cool, and then we headed back down the car park.

In my haste to park and get top side, I hadn't really paid attention to where we'd parked, and we came down via different elevators than we went up, so by the time I'd finally located the car, the exit gate was trying to extract an extra $5 parking out of me. Fortunately I was able to use the intercom at the gate and tell my sob story of being a nincompoop, and they let us out without further payment.

We swung by the Valley to clear my PO box, and then headed home. Zoe spontaneously announced she'd had a fun day, so that was lovely.

We only had about an hour and half to kill before Sarah was going to pick up Zoe, so we just mucked around. Zoe looked at stuff around the house with her magnifying glass. She helped me open my mail. We looked at some of the photos on my phone. Dayframe and a Chromecast is a great combination for that. We had a really lovely spell on the couch where we took turns to draw on her Magna Doodle. That was some really sweet time together.

Zoe seemed really eager for her mother to arrive, and kept asking how much longer it was going to be, and going outside our unit's front door to look for her.

Sarah finally arrived, and remarked that Zoe felt hot, and so I checked her temperature, and her fever had returned, so whatever she has she's still fighting off.

I decided to do my Easter egg shopping in preparation for Sunday. A friend suggested this cool idea of leaving rabbit paw tracks all over the house in baby powder, and I found a template online and got that all ready to go.

I had a really great yoga class tonight. Probably one of the best I've had in a while in terms of being able to completely clear my head.

I'm looking forward to an uninterrupted night's sleep tonight.

[05:45] [life] [permalink]

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Explaining "special needs"

I got one of those rare opportunities to calibrate Zoe's outlook on people on Friday. I feel pretty happy with the job I did.

Once we arrived at the New Farm Park ferry terminal, the girls wanted to have some morning tea, so we camped out in the terminal to have something to eat. Kim had had packed two poppers (aka "juice boxes") for Sarah so they both got to have one. Nice one, Kim!

Not long after we started morning tea, an older woman with some sort of presumably intellectual disability and her carer arrived to wait for a ferry. I have no idea what the disability was, but it presented as her being unable to speak. She'd repeatedly make a single grunting noise, and held her hands a bit funny, and would repeatedly stand up and walk in a circle, and try to rummage through the rubbish bin next to her. I exchanged a smile with her carer. The girls were a little bit wary of her because she acting strange. Sarah whispered something to me inquiring what was up with her. Zoe asked me to accompany her to the rubbish bin to dispose of her juice box.

I didn't feel like talking about the woman within her earshot, so I waited until they'd boarded their ferry, and we'd left the terminal before talking about the encounter. It also gave me a little bit of time to construct my explanation in my head.

I specifically wanted to avoid phrases like "something wrong" or "not right". For all I knew she could have had cerebral palsy, and had a perfectly good brain trapped inside a malfunctioning body.

So I explained that the woman had "special needs" and that people with special needs have bodies or brains that don't work the same way as us, and so just like little kids, they need an adult carer to take care of them so they don't hurt themselves or get lost. In the case of the woman we'd just seen, she needed a carer to make sure she didn't get lost or rummage through the rubbish bin.

That explanation seemed to go down pretty well, and that was the end of that. Maybe next time such circumstances permit, I'll try striking up a conversation with the carer.

[22:24] [life] [permalink]

Friday, 11 April 2014

Day 73: A fourth-generation friendship

Oh man, am I exhausted.

I've known my friend Kim for longer than we remembered. Until Zoe was born, I thought the connection was purely that our grandmothers knew each other. After Zoe was born, and we gave her my birth mother's name as her middle name, Kim's mother sent me a message indicating that she knew my mother. More on that in a moment.

Kim and I must have interacted when we were small, because it predates my memory of her. My earliest memories are of being a pen pal with her when she lived in Kingaroy. She had a stint in South Carolina, and then in my late high school years, she moved relatively close to me, at Albany Creek, and we got to have a small amount of actual physical contact.

Then I moved to Canberra, and she moved to Melbourne, and it was only due to the wonders of Facebook that we reconnected while I was in the US.

Fast forward many years, and we're finally all back in Brisbane again. Kim is married and has a daughter named Sarah who is a couple of years older than Zoe, and could actually pass of as her older sister. She also has as a younger son. Since we've been back in Brisbane, we've had many a play date at each other's homes, and the girls get along famously, to the point where Sarah was talking about her "best friend Zoe" at show and tell at school.

The other thing I learned since reconnecting with Kim in the past year, is that Kim's aunt and my mother were in the same grade at school. Kim actually arranged for me to have a coffee with her aunt when she was visiting from Canberra, and she told me a bunch of stuff about my Mum that I didn't know, so that was really nice.

Kim works from home part time, and I offered to look after Sarah for a day in the school holidays as an alternative to her having to go to PCYC holiday care. Today was that day.

I picked up Zoe from Sarah this morning, as it was roughly in the same direction as Kim's place, and made more sense, and we headed over to Kim's place to pick up Sarah. We arrived only a couple of minutes later than the preferred pick up time, so I was pretty happy with how that worked out.

The plan was to bring Sarah back to our place, and then head over to New Farm Park on the CityCat and have a picnic lunch and a play in the rather fantastic playground in the park over there.

I hadn't made Zoe's lunch prior to leaving the house, so after we got back home again, I let the girls have a play while I made Zoe's lunch. After some play with Marble Run, the girls started doing some craft activity all on their own on the balcony. It was cute watching them try to copy what each other were making. One of them tried gluing two paper cups together by the narrow end. It didn't work terribly well because there wasn't a lot of surface to come into contact with each other.

I helped the girls with their craft activity briefly, and then we left on foot to walk to the CityCat terminal. Along the way, I picked up some lunch for myself at the Hawthorne Garage and added it to the small Esky I was carrying with Zoe's lunchbox in it. It was a beautiful day for a picnic. It was warm and clear. I think Sarah found the walk a bit long, but we made it to the ferry terminal relatively incident free. We got lucky, and a ferry was just arriving, and as it happened, they had to change boats, as they do from time to time at Hawthorne, so we would have had plenty of time regardless, as everyone had to get off one boat and onto a new one.

We had a late morning tea at the New Farm Park ferry terminal after we got off, and then headed over to the playground. I claimed a shady spot with our picnic blanket and the girls did their thing.

I alternated between closely shadowing them around the playground and letting them run off on their own. Fortunately they stuck together, so that made keeping track of them slightly easier.

For whatever reason, Zoe was in a bit of a grumpier mood than normal today, and wasn't taking too kindly to the amount of turn taking that was necessary to have a smoothly oiled operation. Sarah (justifiably) got a bit whiny when she didn't get an equitable amount of time getting the call the shots on what the they did, but aside from that they got along fine.

There was another great climbing tree, which had kids hanging off it all over the place. Both girls wanted to climb it, but needed a little bit of help getting started. Sarah lost her nerve before Zoe did, but even Zoe was a surprisingly trepidatious about it, and after shimmying a short distance along a good (but high) branch, wanted to get down.

The other popular activity was a particularly large rope "spider web" climbing frame, which Sarah was very adept at scaling. It was a tad too big for Zoe to manage though, and she couldn't keep up, which frustrated her quite a bit. I was particularly proud of how many times she returned to it to try again, though.

We had our lunch, a little more play time, and the obligatory ice cream. I'd contemplated catching the CityCat further up-river to Sydney Street to then catching the free CityHopper ferry, but the thought of then trying to get two very tired girls to walk from the Hawthorne ferry terminal back home didn't really appeal to me all that much, so I decided to just head back home.

That ended up being a pretty good call, because as it was, trying to get the two of them back home was like herding cats. Sarah was fine, but Zoe was really dragging the chain and getting particularly grumpy. I had to deploy every positive parenting trick that I currently have in my book to keep Zoe moving, but we got there eventually. Fortunately we didn't have any particularly deadline.

The girls did some more playing at home while I collapsed on the couch for a bit, and then wanted to do some more craft. We made a couple of crowns and hot-glued lots of bling onto them.

We drove back to Kim's place after that, and the girls played some more there. Sarah nearly nodded off on the way home. Zoe was surprisingly chipper. The dynamic changed completely once we were back at Sarah's house. Zoe seemed fine to take Sarah's direction on everything, so I wonder how much of things in the morning were territorial, and Sarah wasn't used to Zoe calling the shots when she was at Zoe's place.

Kim invited us to stay for dinner. I wasn't really feeling like cooking, and the girls were having a good time, so I decided to stay for dinner, and after they had a bath together we headed home. Zoe stayed awake all the way home, and went to bed without any fuss.

It's pretty hot tonight, and I'm trialling Zoe sleeping without white noise, so we'll see how tonight pans out.

[04:23] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Day 72: The Workshops, and zip lining into a pool

Today was jam packed, from the time Zoe got dropped off to the time she was picked up again.

I woke up early to go to my yoga class. It had moved from 6:15am to 6:00am, but was closer to home. I woke up a bunch of times overnight because I wanted to make sure I got up a little bit earlier (even though I had an alarm set) so I was a bit tired.

Sarah dropped Zoe off, and we quickly inspected our plaster fish from yesterday. Because the plaster had gotten fairly thick, it didn't end up filling the molds completely, so the fish weren't smooth. Zoe was thrilled with them nonetheless, and wanted to draw all over them.

After that, we jumped in the car to head out to The Workshops Rail Museum. We were meeting Megan there.

We arrived slightly after opening time. I bought an annual membership last time we were there, and I'm glad we did. The place is pretty good. It's all indoors, and it's only lightly patronised, even for school holidays, so it was nice and quiet.

Megan and her Dad and sister arrived about an hour later, which was good, because it gave Zoe and I a bit of time to ourselves. We had plenty of time on the diesel engine simulator without anyone else breathing down our neck wanting a turn.

The girls all had a good time. We lost Megan and Zoe for a little bit when they decided to take off and look at some trains on their own. Jason and I were frantically searching the place before I found them.

There was a puppet show at 11am, and the room it was in was packed, so we plonked all three kids down on the floor near the stage, and waited outside. That was really nice, because the kids were all totally engrossed, and didn't miss us at all.

After lunch and a miniature train ride we headed home. Surprisingly, Zoe didn't nap on the way home.

Jason was house sitting for some of his neighbours down the street, and he'd invited us to come over and use their pool, so we went around there once we got back home. The house was great. They also had a couple of chickens.

The pool was really well set up. It had a zip line that ran the length of the pool. Zoe was keen to give it a try, and she did really well, hanging on all the way. They also had a little plastic fort with a slippery slide that could be placed at the end of the pool, and the girls had a great time sliding into the pool that way.

We got back home from all of that fun and games about 15 minutes before Sarah arrived to pick Zoe up, so it was really non-stop day.

[04:38] [life] [permalink]

Wednesday, 09 April 2014

Day 71: Tumble Tastics trial, painting and plaster fun

Zoe slept in even later this morning. I'm liking this colder weather. We had nothing particular happening first thing today, so we just snuggled in bed for a bit before we got started.

Tumble Tastics were offering free trial classes this week, so I signed Zoe up for one today. She really enjoyed going to Gold Star Gymnastics in the US, and has asked me about finding a gym class over here every now and then.

Tumble Tastics is a much smaller affair than Gold Star, but at 300 metres from home on foot, it's awesomely convenient. Zoe scootered there this morning.

It seems to be physically part of what I'm guessing used to be the Church of Christ's church hall, so it's not big at all, but the room that Zoe had her class in still had plenty of equipment in it. There were 8 kids in her class, all about her size. I peeked around the door and watched.

Most of the class was instructor led and mainly mat work, but then part way through, the parents were invited in, and the teacher walked us all through a course around the room, using the various equipment, and the parents had to spot for their kids.

The one thing that cracked me up was when the kids were supposed to be tucking into a ball and rocking on their backs. Zoe instead did a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu break-fall and fell backwards slapping the mat instead. It was good to see that some of what she learned in those classes has kicked in reflexively.

She really enjoyed the rope swing and hanging upside down on the uneven bars.

The class ran for 50 minutes (I was only expecting it to last 30 minutes) and Zoe did really well straight off. I think we'll make this her 4th term extra-curricular activity.

We scootered home the longer way, because we were in no particular hurry. Zoe did some painting when we got home, and then we had lunch.

After lunch we goofed off for a little bit, and then we did quiet time. Zoe napped for about two and a half hours, and then we did some plaster play.

I'd picked up a fish ice cube tray from IKEA on the weekend for 99 cents (queue Thrift Shop), and I bought a bag of plaster of Paris a while back, but haven't had a chance to do anything with it yet. I bribed Zoe into doing quiet time by telling her we'd do something new with the ice cube tray I'd bought.

We mixed up a few paper cups with plaster of Paris in them and then I squirted some paint in. I'm not sure if the paint caused a reaction, or the plaster was already starting to set by the time the paint got mixed in, but it became quite viscous as soon as the paint was mixed in. We did three different colours and used tongue depressers to jam it into the tray. Zoe seemed to twig that it was the same stuff as the impressions of her baby feet, which I thought was a pretty clever connection to make.

After that, there was barely enough time to watch a tiny bit of TV before Sarah arrived to pick Zoe up. I told her that her plaster would be set by the time she got dropped off in the morning.

I procrastinated past the point of no return and didn't go for a run. Instead I decided to go out to Officeworks and print out some photos to stick in the photo frame I bought from IKEA on the weekend.

[04:15] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 08 April 2014

Day 70: Visiting relatives and home visiting doctors

Zoe did indeed sleep in this morning, by a whole 30 minutes. It was nice. She seemed no worse for wear for her lip injury, and it was looking better this morning.

Wow, "bimonthly" is ambiguous. I had my "every two month" in person co-parenting sync up lunch with Sarah today. Phew, that was a mouthful. Anyway, I had that today, and normally that would fall on a Kindergarten day, but it's school holidays. So we paid grandma and grandpa a visit, and they looked after Zoe for me so I could make the meeting.

Mum and Dad have been away on a driving holiday, so Zoe hasn't seen them for a while, and it's been even longer since we've been to their house. She really loves going to their house because it's big, with a big back yard with a swing set. There's all sorts of exciting things like grandpa's worm farm, a sand pit, a china tea set, a piano, a tricycle and remote controlled cars. Zoe basically just works her way around the house entertaining herself. It's great. I usually get to put my feet up and read the newspaper.

After I got back from my lunch meeting, we headed over to Greenslopes Private Hospital to visit my cousin, who's just had major surgery. On the way, Zoe napped in the car. I made a brief side trip to clear my post office box along the way.

Amusingly, Zoe wakes up from short naps in the car way better than at Kindergarten. I don't know if it has anything to do with the quality of sleep she's getting or what it is, but I easily woke her up and extracted her from the car when we arrived at the hospital. No meltdowns. And that's pretty typical of car naps.

I've had a discomfort in my right ear for the last couple of days, and it grew into increasing pain throughout the day today. It got to the point where, while I was driving home, that I deciding to get it looked at by a doctor, ASAP. One of my favourite things about being back in Australia is the availability of home visiting doctors.

It was actually faster and cheaper for me to get a home doctor out to look at me tonight than it was to get an appointment with my regular doctor. I wouldn't have gotten an appointment until some time tomorrow at the earliest (assuming he had appointments available), because I made the decision to see a doctor after 5pm, when they'd closed. Instead, I had a doctor at my door in a little more than 2 hours of making the request. It also worked out cheaper, because the home doctor bulk bills Medicare, whereas my regular doctor does not.

Add in the massive convenience of not having to lug a small child anywhere while I get seen by a doctor, and it's a major convenience. I love socialised healthcare.

It turned out I have an outer ear infection. So all we had to do after the doctor came was find a pharmacy that was still open after 7pm to get my ear drop prescription filled.

All of that mucking around meant that Zoe got to bed a little later than usual. It's another cool night tonight, so I'm hoping she'll sleep well and have another sleep in.

[05:24] [life] [permalink]

Monday, 07 April 2014

Day 69: Walk to King Island, a picnic at Wellington Point, the long slow acquisition of some linseed and a split lip

Today was a really good day, right up until the end, when it wasn't so good, but could have been a whole lot worse, so I'm grateful for that.

I've been wanting to walk out to King Island at low tide with Zoe for a while, but it's taken about a month to get the right combination of availability, weather and low tide timing to make it possible.

Today, there was a low tide at about 10:27am, which I thought would work out pretty well. I wasn't sure if the tide needed to be dead low to get to King Island, so I thought we could get there a bit early and possibly follow the tide out. I invited Megan and Jason to join us for the day and make a picnic of it.

It turned out that we didn't need a really low tide, the sand bar connecting King Island to Wellington Point was well and truly accessible well before low tide was reached, so we headed out as soon as we arrived.

I'd brought Zoe's water shoes, but from looking at it, thought it would be walkable in bare feet. We got about 10 metres out on the sand and Zoe started freaking out about crabs. I think that incident with the mud crab on Coochiemudlo Island has left her slightly phobic of crabs.

So I went back to Jason's car and got her water shoes. I tried to allay her fears a bit by sticking my finger in some of the small holes in the sand, and even got her to do it too.

I'm actually glad that I did get her water shoes, because the shell grit got a bit sharp and spiky towards King Island, so I probably would have needed to carry her more than I did otherwise.

Along the way to the island we spotted a tiny baby mud crab, and Zoe was brave enough to hold it briefly, so that was good.

We walked all the way out and partially around the island and then across it before heading back. The walk back was much slower because where was a massive headwind. Zoe ran out of steam about half way back. She didn't like the sand getting whipped up and stinging her legs, and the wind was forcing the brim of her hat down, so I gave her a ride on my shoulders for the rest of the way back.

We had some lunch after we got back to Wellington Point, and Zoe found her second wind chasing seagulls around the picnic area.

After an ice cream, we went over to the playground and the girls had a great time playing. It was a pretty good park. There was this huge tree with a really big, thick, horizontal branch only about a metre or two off the ground. All the kids were climbing on it and then shimmying along the branch to the trunk. Zoe's had a few climbs in trees and seems not afraid of it, so she got up and had a go. She did really well and did a combination of scooting along, straddling the branch and doing a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu-style "bear crawl" along the branch.

It was funny seeing different kids' limits. Zoe was totally unfazed by climbing the tree. Megan was totally freaking out. But when it came to walking in bare feet in an inch of sea water, Zoe wanted to climb up my leg like a rat up a rope, in case there were crabs. Each to their own.

Zoe wanted to have a swim in the ocean, so I put her into her swimsuit, but had left the water shoes back in the car. Once again, she freaked out about crabs as soon as we got ankle deep in the water, and was freaking out Megan as well, so the girls elected to go back to playing in the park.

After a good play in the park, we headed back home. We'd carpooled in Jason's truck, with both girls in the back. I'd half expected Zoe to fall asleep on the way back, but the girls were very hyped up and had a great time playing games and generally being silly in the back.

When we got back to our place, Jason was in need of a coffee, so we walked to the Hawthorne Garage and had coffee and babyccinos, before Megan and Jason went home.

It was about 3:30pm at this point, and I wanted to make a start on dinner. I was making a wholemeal pumpkin quiche, which I've made a few times before, and I discovered we were low on linseed. I thought I'd push things and see if Zoe was up for a scooter ride to the health food shop to get some more and kill some time.

She was up for it, but ran out of steam part way across Hawthorne Park. Fortunately she was okay with walking and didn't want me to carry her and the scooter. It took us about an hour to get to the health food shop.

Zoe immediately remembered the place from the previous week where we'd had to stop for a post-meltdown pit stop and declared she needed to go to the toilet again.

We finally made it out of the shop. I wasn't looking forward to the long walk back home, but there were a few people waiting for a bus at the bus stop near the health food shop, and on checking the timetable, the bus was due in a couple of minutes, so we just waited for the bus. That drastically shortened the trip back.

Zoe managed to drop the container of linseed on the way home from the bus stop, but miraculously the way it landed didn't result in the loss of too much of the contents, it just split the container. So I carefully carried the container home the rest of the way.

By this stage it was quite a bit later than I had really wanted to be starting dinner, but we got it made, and Zoe really liked the pumpkin quiche, and ate a pretty good dinner.

It was after dinner when things took a turn for the worse.

Zoe was eating an ice block for dessert, and for whatever reason, she'd decided to sit in the corner of the kitchen next to the dishwasher, while I was loading it. I was carrying over one of the plates, and the knife managed to fall off the plate, bounce off the open dishwasher door and hit her in the mouth, splitting her lip.

Zoe was understandably upset, and I was appalled that the whole thing had happened. She never sits on the kitchen floor, let alone in the corner where the dishwasher is. And this knife came so close to her eye.

Fortunately the lip didn't look too bad. It stopped bleeding quickly, and we kept some ice on it and the swelling went down.

I hate it when accidents happen on my watch. I feel like I'm fighting the stigma of the incompetent single Dad, or the abusive single Dad, so when Zoe sustains an injury to the face like a fat lip, which could be misinterpreted, I, well, really hate it. This was such a freak accident, and it could have gone so much worse. I'm just so glad she's okay.

Zoe recovered pretty well from it, and I was able to brush her teeth without aggravating her lip. She went to bed well, and I suspect she's going to sleep really well. It's a bit cooler tonight, so I'm half-expecting a sleep in in the morning with any luck.

[05:15] [life] [permalink]

Friday, 04 April 2014

Day 66: Story time, Science Friday, impromptu play date, scootering and the Hawthorne Markets

Zoe slept through last night, which was lovely. We had nothing really planned for today.

The Bulimba Library has a story time thing at 10:30am on a Friday. I've never bothered to take Zoe because it would have been too much of a hustle to get her there after her Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class, particularly by bike. Since today we didn't have a BJJ class, it made getting to story time much easier.

So we had a nice lazy start to the day, and then Zoe just wanted to procrastinate anyway, so since we were in no particular rush, I let her play in her room for a bit and I read for a while. We eventually had teeth and hair brushed and biked over to the library.

Not having been to the story time thing before, I assumed it was in the kids area, but it turned out it was downstairs in the general purpose room, which we only discovered after story time had started. I'm certainly glad I never busted a gut to get to the library in time for it, because it wasn't anything particularly exciting. They did give all the kids a colouring sheet and there was some colouring and a couple of songs, but really it was nothing to phone home about.

I did run into Jacob and his mum Laura from Kindergarten. They live locally, and so I invited them over for lunch and a play date. They had some grocery shopping to do, and I had to go to the pharmacy to get a prescription filled, so we agreed to meet at our place in about an hour.

We biked to the pharmacy to get my prescription filled and some more sunscreen for Zoe, and the pharmacist gave her a free Chupa Chups

We biked home, and grabbed some balloons from the convenience store next door for our Science Friday activity. I was slightly more organised today, and figured out what I wanted to do in the morning while Zoe was watching TV. We did yeast and sugar and warm water in a bottle with a balloon on top and watched it inflate itself with all the carbon dioxide produced by the yeast eating the sugar.

The only problem was the balloons we bought were total rubbish. They'd been on the shelf for too long and they'd all stuck to themselves and either popped when I tried to blow them up or had holes in them. So we marched back to the corner store in our lab coats to get some more, and the store keeper gave Zoe one of the little flashlights she keeps playing with in the bowl at the check out.

It was a good day for freebies.

We were able to complete our Science Friday activity before Laura and Jacob and his baby brother Ethan came over for lunch. Zoe didn't have a particularly good lunch, I think it was the distraction of having Jacob there as well.

After lunch, they couldn't really agree on anything to play. Laura said Jacob just plays out in the yard at Kindergarten the whole day. The one thing they both managed to agree on briefly was bubbles.

Ethan was getting tired and needed a nap by about 2pm, so they left. Zoe wanted to ride her scooter, but I had to clean up from lunch and the aftermath of the play date on the balcony first, so she went and played some games on her Nexus 7 while I did that, and then we headed out on the scooter.

It was about 2:30pm by this point, and the Hawthorne Markets, which have now moved to a Friday "twilight" thing, were due to start at 4pm, so I figured we could just kill time on the scooter.

It's funny how the scooter is now the in thing as of Tuesday. It's sat unused on the balcony for most of the year, but I'm glad she wants to use it now because it guarantees she moves faster than if she were to walk and want to be picked up every 5 minutes.

We scootered around to the playground and she played there until about 3:45pm, when we headed around to the markets.

We ran into Nicky Noo from the Ooniverse Family Cafe, who we'd met on Tuesday, and she made Zoe another dog balloon and she got her face painted.

After that, it was the obligatory jumping castle for a while. It was getting time to get home for Sarah to pick her up, when I dropped the dog balloon on the ground and it popped. That made Zoe very sad. Then the lack of a decent lunch kicked in. Zoe wanted some poffertjes, but they would have taken too long, so I gave her a few of the free samples to tide her over, and we headed home.

Sarah was waiting for her when we got home, so we parted ways at that point.

I like how the days that have nothing planned often end up as full if not fuller than the days when I do have something planned.

[00:42] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 03 April 2014

Day 65: Playgroup, and the foil confetti play date

Zoe slept pretty well last night. She only woke up briefly at 4am because Cowie had fallen out of bed and she couldn't find her.

Today was the last Playgroup of the term. Megan, her little sister and her Dad came as well to check it out, which was nice, because Zoe then had someone to actively play with in addition to me.

After Playgroup, we went to the adjacent Bulimba Memorial Park with Megan, and then had some lunch at Grill'd. Megan's Dad wanted to do some work on their house while Megan's little sister napped, so I offered to give Megan a play date at our place.

The plan was to watch a movie and chill out. The girls picked Ratatouille and I made a batch of popcorn for them. Unfortunately Megan seemed to be less of a square eyes than Zoe, and she lost interest after a bit, so we stopped watching the movie and moved out to the balcony to do some craft.

Zoe had been wanting to make a crown for Mummy's boss for a while, so we made a couple of crowns with the hot glue gun. I had bought this bag of mixed craft "jewels" and it's probably the best single craft thing I've bought. Zoe loves gluing them onto everything.

After that, Zoe pulled out the bag of coloured foil confetti. If the gems were the best thing I've bought, this would have to be the worst. So far, all it's done is leak in the drawer it's been stored in, and I've been avoiding using it because it was going to be messy.

Today, Zoe wanted to glue it onto the outside of her cardboard box, so I decided to give in and embrace the mess, and boy, did we make a mess.

It probably ended up being the longest bit of cooperative play the girls did. They'd alternate between handing each other a fistful of confetti while I applied globs of glue where directed. Probably about 10 percent of each handful ended up stuck to the rocket, so the balcony looked like quite a mess by the end of it all, but at least it was a dry mess, so I could just vacuum it all up. I suspect I'll be encountering dregs for quite a while, because I doubt it's stuck to the cardboard particularly well.

After that, the girls played indoors for a bit, and watched a bit more of the movie, but Megan seemed to be scared of Anton Ego, so I think that was why it wasn't holding her attention.

The other activity that the girls seemed to thoroughly enjoy was tearing around the living room squealing while they took turns at throwing a grapefruit-sized beach ball at me, and I threw it back at them.

Jason came back to pick up Megan, and I started dinner. Not that long after Megan left, Sarah arrived to watch Zoe for me so I could go visit my cousin in hospital. I had dinner on the table pretty much as soon as she walked in the door, and headed out.

[04:11] [life] [permalink]

Wednesday, 02 April 2014

Day 64: Baking, Last day of Kindergarten term 1, BJJ

I had a busy morning this morning. I had a small flood of emails in response to various inquiries I made yesterday, so it took me a while to get my inbox under control.

One of Zoe's Kindergarten teachers is returning to New Zealand as of the end of term 1, so they were having an afternoon tea for her today. Parents were requested to "bring a plate", so I thought I'd bake some spinach, pumpkin and feta muffins that I've been meaning to try making. After my chiropractic adjustment I got stuck into that.

I'd hoped to finalise my US taxes today, but I learned I could deduct my moving expenses, so now I have to dig up the documentation for them.

I had a later than usual massage, and drove directly from there to Kindergarten, muffins in hand. They'd omitted rest time today to facilitate the afternoon tea, so the upside of that was Zoe was happy.

Zoe's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teacher had said that she could try out one of the 4-7 year old classes, so for her last class of the 10 week block, we went to one of them this afternoon. I wasn't sure if today would be a good day for it or not, given she'd had Kindergarten and hadn't napped, but I gave her the option, and she wanted to do it.

It worked out well, aside from Zoe really not wanting to wear her gi (I managed to convince her to wear the pants). There were three other kids of varying school ages in the class, and Zoe followed the instructions really well.

I'm really glad we signed up the classes. I'm pretty sure Zoe has enjoyed herself, and she's definitely bonded with the teacher. I'll miss it.

I can't believe how fast this term has gone by. There's now two weeks of "school holidays", where I'll have to entertain Zoe for the entire week. I'm not too worried about finding things to do, I'm more worried about contention with all the other kids on school holidays.

Zoe was pretty tired tonight, I'd say with the combination of Kindergarten, no nap and BJJ class. Nonetheless, she procrastinated all the way through the bed time routine anyway. When I finally got her to bed, she fell asleep without a peep. She went on her second "bushwalk" at Kindergarten yesterday and picked up three mosquito bites, so I'm hoping they don't trouble her overnight.

[03:34] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 01 April 2014

Day 63: Productive procrastination, pizza dough, podiatrist, positive

parenting and a haircut with a spot of painting

How's that for some alliteration?

Today was a really good day. And that's before I started drinking red wine.

I got up this morning and successfully banged out a 10km run. It wasn't pretty, but I did it in under an hour, so I was happy.

I got home, and after breakfast I pretty much flopped on the couch with my laptop and procrastinated instead of doing my taxes. But it was productive procrastination. I:

  • booked flights to the US for our trip in July
  • sought some quotes for outsourcing the production of Zoe's birthday cake
  • made some pizza dough for dinner with Anshu
  • booked a haircut for Zoe and I
  • Got taken hook, line and sinker by an April Fools joke
  • found a couple of patent lawyers who will give me an initial consultation for free instead of charging me $250 plus GST (yay River City Labs)

I also (finally) got my taxes to a point where I'm ready to send them off to my US accountant and deal with the rest of it incrementally. So it was a productive day!

I had a follow up appointment with my podiatrist in the afternoon to see how my orthotics were going. I biked to Kindergarten early, ditched the bike trailer, and then biked over to the podiatrist, and made it back to Kindergarten about 10 minutes before pick up time.

Zoe was, unsurprisingly, fast asleep. I decided to try applying sunscreen to her while she was asleep as a way of killing two birds with one stone. I got as far as getting her legs done before she woke up and had a massive meltdown. Poor kid really doesn't deal well with being woken up. One of the teachers took pity on us and distracted Zoe by letting her cuddle one of the baby chicks, which snapped her out of it for the duration, but she had another meltdown once it was over.

Another teacher gave her a cuddle for a bit, and she eventually calmed down enough for me to get sunscreen on her arms. I'd foolishly left the bike trailer separated from the bike, so I had to drag the trailer back to the bike, whilst carrying Zoe. Fortunately another teacher took sympathy on us and helped me with the trailer. Turns out trying to drag a single-wheeled trailer single-handed whilst carrying a toddler and having excess sunscreen on my hands is extremely difficult.

We finally got the trailer on the bike, and Zoe in the trailer, and headed towards home. Zoe's ballerina pumps aren't great on the bike because the straps on the pedals cross the tops of her exposed feet and irritate her, so there were multiple meltdowns on the way home, culminating in needing to go to the toilet "right now" before we got home. I stopped at the health food shop on the way home, to see if they had a toilet we could use. Luckily I'm a customer and the naturopath let us use the toilet in the clinic. Zoe had another meltdown in there, announcing she "didn't like being woken up". Poor kid. It wasn't a good afternoon for her. I'm just glad I was in a sufficiently good mood to be able to deal with it all in a satisfactorily positive parenting way.

We finally made it home, and I'd promised her we could have a big cuddle on the couch once we got home, so we did that and read a library book, and then it was time to head to the hairdressers for our haircuts.

We started out on foot, and had made it one block from home, and she saw another kid on a scooter and announced she wanted to ride her scooter too. Initially tried saying we couldn't do it this time, because we'd be late, but she was on the verge of having another meltdown, so I capitulated, and we went back and grabbed it. I'm actually really glad I did, because she was as happy as Larry from that point on, and we were only a couple of minutes late at the hairdresser.

We did her fringe trim first, and then she had a great play in the kid's corner while I got my haircut. She even cleaned up the corner better than she found it without argument.

We then had plenty of time to scooter back home, so I decided to check out the 'OO'niverse Family Cafe, which is next door to the Hawthorne Cinemas. It's this thing I've never gotten around to checking out, and it was the second thing I was glad I did this afternoon. It's not a big place, and it was super quiet. There was just us and two twin Kindergarten-aged girls being babysat. Zoe had a banana milkshake and got a dolphin painted on her arm and a balloon dog made, and I had a coffee and we just chilled out for a bit while I chatted with the owner (who was babysitting the twins).

By this stage Anshu was already at my place, and Sarah wasn't far off leaving work to pick up Zoe, so we made our way back home. Zoe had a great time playing with Anshu until Sarah arrived.

So I was basically really happy that I managed to turn around a massively molten afternoon and give Zoe a really good afternoon instead.

Anshu and I then proceeded to made a couple of really fantastic pizzas. I really love my Thermomix. I made the pizza dough earlier today, and tonight I made some pizza sauce, some pesto sauce and caramelized some onions in it, and we were still done with dinner by 8pm.

[03:10] [life] [permalink]