Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Grasshopper gloves

"Why is the grasshopper wearing gloves Dad?" asked Marcus. He's seen this video a few times and he always asks the same question. The grasshopper is also wearing a dandy straw hat and what we used to call "gym boots" but its the gloves that draw comment. Finally he worked it out on his own. "He's wearing gloves so when he changes the OTHER grasshoppers he doesn't get poo on his hands".

Today is Michael's first day at Friends Early Learning Centre ("school"). He seemed OK when I dropped him off and I havent heard anything so I hope its going OK.

Monday, May 30, 2005

DOMS is live

Dust On My Shoes is now live on the internet at www.abc.net.au/dustonmyshoes/

I got a shock to navigate to the promotional site that has been there for nine months saying "coming soon" and the real thing started downloading before my eyes! I have worked on similar size projects before but always for CD-ROMS. Being live on the net means a) potentially many thousands of people could see it and b) its tempting to keep fiddling with it. When you send a CD-ROM off to the factory to be pressed its all over.

Note - it is a broadband site. If you have a dial-up connection don't even try to view it, it will just be too frustrating. Sorry. Send me a message and I'll email you some edited highlights.

Sorry Dad

I heard "Sorry Dad" about 47 times this weekend. Marcus is in a very trying mood. A few times he seemed to be disobeying just to see what would happen. Then twice he became really upset because I was annoyed with him and only calmed down when I assured him I wasn't angry any more. Elf and I both get really tired of yelling at him.

We have been sending him to his room but we are thinking of instituting the "naughty mat" near the front door. Sometimes when he's in his room with the door shut he just settles down with a good book and it has no effect at all. He says "sorry" a lot but he hasn't learned yet that it doesnt undo what's been done. It comes out very glibly sometimes.

I feel bad because Michael is a stubborn and sometimes naughty boy but he gets off scot free often because he is little. We try to be consistent but it is exhausting. Marcus is just terrific with him and loves to play with him, but because he is twice Michael's size we always have to stop them getting carried away.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


We have passed Marcus' single bed on to Lily and bought bunks. Michael is still in his cot but some time in the next 6 months we will un-bunk the bunks and pop him in one. Marcus is keen for Michael to sleep in with him, which is endearing but not practical. I guess people short on money and space popped all the kids in one bed as a matter of course, maybe still do. I must ask Nick, he had the most deprived childhood of anyone I know.

What I started this post to say was I got some wooden letters out of the shed for the kids to play with - I made an unsuccessful mobile out of them years ago. Marcus laid the D on its back and said - its a bed! The D has big serifs that turn into the legs of the bed. Well observed and creative thinking. And now - a little D on its back on top of the big D - "They're bunks dad!"

Mum and Dad visited for a couple of days and the boys enjoyed seeing them a lot. They are off on a overland journey and we won't see them again until cricket season.


We're having trouble getting Michael to eat, again. He's got another tooth or possibly teeth coming through, so that might be why. He is soccer-dribbling a ball down the hallway now and then giving it a final boot as he goes off to do something else. Michael plays happily in the boys' bedroom in a way Marcus never has. Often we find him just sitting looking through books. He also stands in front of bookshelves and puts his head on one side the way one does when browsing for something to read. Does he recognise the spines of the books? Who can say.

From "Guide to Horses of the World" - one of the varieties of bit is the old, reliable jointed snaffle.

Monday, May 23, 2005


Marcus wouldnt have a midday sleep yesterday, and he got progressively rattier and more out of control as the day went on until he finally crashed out in front of a video. I had to ban him from going anywhere near the cats, and was close to banning him from going near Michael. They are both ambulatory now, and the size imbalance will never be greater than it is now, so hopefully things will gradually get easier to police.

Marcus "shirtfronted" Michael at one stage [quoting my mum - nice one mum] and was surprised and alarmed at the damage he might have done. Michael was fine though.

I am now on the Richmond bandwagon. They have beaten both last year's grand finalists, are 3rd on the ladder and only have 2 more interstate games. I have been hesitant because good starts have so often turned to ashes by July. I do feel it might be different this year. I will now boldly predict a finish in 5th spot, and a win in the first week of the finals. Go Tiges!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Marcus - nippy forward pocket

At dinner last night Marcus was telling us about what he did at the park with the daycare kids in the morning.
"I ran like this (runs around in a circle, arms pumping) and jumped like this (mighty leap) and then I caught a goal".
We asked - did the crowd cheer? Did they say "Marcus Rees scored a goal!"
"Yes. And daddy's radio said (adopts deep voice) 'Marcus Rees scores a goal and pops it through' "

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

My hair is dancing!

So said Marcus this morning as he wagged his head along to the Wiggles.

Michael is walking about quite a bit. He is taking things with him now, which is a development.

Last night, two minutes after we got home, both boys were down on the floor seperately poring over jigsaw puzzles, quiet as mice. It gladdened the heart.

From "Guide to Horses of the World" - on the Camarguais pony of France:
Some tendency to upright shoulder, but chest good and body short and strong in the loins. Hindquarters slight, with a penchant for goose rumps.


Monday, May 16, 2005

Trading Up

We are now proud owners of the Ice Cream Car. It was nice taking the boys to Allison's this morning and cruising back to town listening to a CD. We do feel it is all a bit schmicko for us, but I guess in time it will be wall to wall crumbs, little plastic dinosaurs and wodged up tissues.

Marcus and I proudly stuck the Richmond membership stickers all over it last night. Elf was a bit resistant - but there are a lot of white Subaru Outbacks out there and its important we can tell it apart in the carpark. And the Tigers are travelling pretty well too.

Marcus is starting to get interested in the varieties of football. Yesterday he and I were kicking a soccer ball and he worked out some complicated rules where he would "catch a goal" by running up to the ball, doing a dance then diving on it. A goal is signalled by poking out two fingers a number of times. He was "the umpire" and I was "the person" and when the person catches a goal, the umpire says "That's a goal, person".

Michael is tearing around at terrifying speeds pushing the quadcycle now, like Marcus did - with the added excitement of Marcus running after him and tackling him to the ground or occasionally giving him an old-fashioned coathanger across the throat. We had hoped to be in a bigger house by the time Michael was this mobile. Winter in the hallway is going to be very lively I think.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Counting baby

Michael is counting and alphabetising like a champ. He has a terrific ear for words and a good memory, like Marcus. He can sing all of the ABCDEFG... song, hitting every second or third letter and giving approximate wumfles for the others. If you say "one", he says "two". If anyone says "OK?" to anyone else, he butts in with "OK!" He is walking a little more often each day - I get a huge kick out of setting him down on his feet and seeing him wander off upright.

Marcus had his pneumococcal shot this morning. He was always a real trooper for injections when he was little, but he knows enough to get scared beforehand now. Afterwards he said "I'm never going to do THAT again". How wrong he is, poor sausage.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


There is an enormous new highway roundabout under construction down at Kingston, on the way to Family Day Care. I've been talking to the boys about it over a few weeks, and have only just realised that Marcus has been expecting a different sort of roundabout. Poor kid - he thought all the bulldozers and graders and so on were building a carousel-style children's ride.

Some recent sayings:
"I'm a little bit angry because those cars are not driving properly" - copied from me
"See you round like a whistle" - copied inaccurately from Allison
"That car is a dammit because its not letting us through" - hmm, maybe Allison
"HANG ON A MINUTE - That's not right" - maybe Allison

Also, from this morning's drive, after I told Marcus it was 9 months to his next birthday
Marcus: "I can count to nine: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, NINE!!"
Michael "Ten"

Monday, May 09, 2005


I encountered a brushytail possum on Saturday night. I jumped out of the car in the drive and he was sitting in the middle of Cascade Road looking at me. I was staggered when he started charging towards me as though he was going to have a piece of my leg. "Man mauled by attack possum", i thought. Then he swerved away and headed up the footpath, climbed a few metres up a power pole and took up surveillance again. Odd.

I have seen 3 wallabies, several possums and one UHM (unidentified hopping marsupial) in the last two months - all in fairly built up areas.

Michael Walks

Michael did quite a bit of walking on the weekend, which was very exciting. He even walked up to a ball and kicked it at one stage. I didnt see it but I like to think he chose a corner and slotted it away confidently (while looking the other way to fool the 'keeper).

I bought the boys a proper soccer ball on Saturday. We had been down to Cornelian Bay where they play school hockey, and walking around on the perfect grass (there has been hardly any rain here in the last 3 months) I was wishing we had brought a good solid ball with us to kick around. Now we have one.

We bought a pair of bunk beds yesterday - Marcus' bed has always been terrible - it was a bad buy. We hope bunks will work. They can be split into singles when the lads are a bit older and want to have their own rooms.

Marcus said "I look after Hattie. I'm Hattie's doctor...........Actually, I'm Hattie's vet.

Had a rushed dinner on Friday at aptly named Fish Frenzy wih Andrea and Phillip and their kids Isobel and Ronan who we met for the first time. Beautiful little boy. Both ours went to pieces for various reasons so we had to dash off. P and A are over briefly from Perth - it will be a long time before we see them again I guess.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Black stuff

Driving home last night after having dinner with the boys at Citrus Moon. It was about 7 and already pitch dark. Marcus asked "What's all that black stuff?" What black stuff? "In the sky".

When your child is 95% toilet trained (as Marcus now is) you feel quite free. Michael is still in nappies obviously, but the constant changing of one or the other's bot has reduced dramatically. This is great. There is a cost though, I have just realised. Now your conversation is interrupted, a bit like tourette's syndrome, with "Do you need to go to the toilet?"

Blah blah Marcus. Blah blah blah Daddy.
Do you need to go to the toilet?

Blah blah blah Marcus. Blah blah Daddy.
Do you need to go to the toilet?

Blah blah rhubarb Marcus. Blah rhubarb rhubarb Daddy.
Do you need to go to the toilet?

Blah blah blah blah... I NEED TO GO TO THE TOILET!!!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Marcus talks like an alien humanoid when half asleep

I went in to get something from the boys room last night, when Marcus was not quite awake. He was shuffling around and singing to himself when I clicked off a switch. He sat up and said "Why have you come here?". I felt like Captain Kirk trespassing on the Forbidden Planet.

Monday, May 02, 2005


Elf is in Melbourne until Wednesday. I had the boys to myself from Friday morning until this morning (Monday) when I dropped them at daycare. We got on very well I think, better than I expected. Had a 4th birthday party on Saturday for Eleanor, which was outdoors on a very blustery day. Marcus wore a large blue beanie and looked very funny with his pointy paper party hat atop. Michael slept through most of it. On Sunday we had another 4th birthday party, this one for Miranda. I think we had 8 pregnant women at our wedding in April 2001, so the 4th birthdays are coming thick and fast now. Both boys had a great time at the 2nd party.

Marcus's twin tyrannosaurus rexes were named John and Pikka this morning.

When Marcus yells "Dad! DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD!" Michael says "com-ing".