My Mojo

I have lost my blogging mojo. I don’t know where it has gone. I have started about seven of them, but about half way through, said mojo vanishes. So here they are, without solid transitions, clever endings or well constructed quips. They are really more like clips. Snapshots of my life over the last month.

You know you love someone when you are willing to clean up their vomit. You really know you love them if you react compassionately as they throw up on you and then sneeze on your face. I must really love Chaylee.

Kenna had a dream the other night that sent her into a frenzy. A bad man was trying to steal her magic. That bastard!

We have been carless for three weeks because I had a run in with a blue cement support column. The column had it’s way with me. Thus, we had to walk to the grocery store for supplies every few days. On my first excursion I became overly excited at the prospect of having time to myself. I was a woman of leisure. I made multiple impulse buys…one after another. I was reckless and erratic. I even purchased a weighty craft project and a butternut squash. I had six bags of goods by the time I headed home. It was a nightmare. I quickly began to curse the craft project and to berate butternut squash audibly. What was I thinking? It was a good life lessen though. We carry so much more than we need on our journey home. Most of our burdens we purchase ourselves. We spend the rest of our lives trying to find clever ways to carry them, but they are exhausting and uncomfortable. My journey home would have been so pleasant were it not for the friggen squash.

Michael Jackson died. Crap!

I just encountered a woman at Liquor Land* that baffled me. She had just sampled a reputable sparkling red wine. When asked how she felt about it, she moved her cell phone away from her mouth and replied in a thick Greek/Australian accent, “I hated it!” The woman who allowed her to sample the aforementioned wine was clearly taken aback.“It might be because you did not clear your pallet before trying it.” “No”, replied the woman, again adjusting her moblie phone, “I know wine. I know it, and that tastes nasty in my mouth and I don’t like it.” I wanted to chime in with, “Why don’t you tell her how you really feel?” but I held my tongue. I could not tell if I admired the cross wine sampler because she was frank, or was repulsed by her shocking response. I am the opposite of Frank. I am Betty Sue, in moments like those. I will buy the stuff, even if I don’t like it, if the salesman seems at all vulnerable or needy of my purchase. *Liquorland is a drive-thru liquor store. Only in Australia!

Phrase of the day: Stuffed Up—to wreck something or make a mistake.

I stuffed up the car.

Poll: Are you Frank of Betty Sue; or someone else altogether?

Aussie Trivia: The taronga zoo has a new baby elephant. Elephants are known as Elepants in our house. They are Chaylee’s favorite animal.

Game: Chaylee replaces F’s with P’s and B’s with V’s. Try it. It’s fun!

Family (un)Fun Fact: We have been sick for a total of three weeks with various and flu like symptoms and infections. I bet dimes to Aussie dollars we are survivors of Swine Flu, because I am more of a ham than ever. Not kidding about the swine flu though…I really do think we had it. The over the counter codeine you can get here though, has really saved our bacon! (YES! ANOTHER GEM!!!)

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Kenna Quotation

“I love the words “lunch” and “much” because I love the sound of “CH”. It just makes me so happy to say that sound. I like other words too, but just parts of them, like “stupid”. I don’t like that word and I don’t say it to people, but I like parts of it. And I think about other things too that you might not know about mom. Like, I think about if I were other people and they were me. And, what if I were the coolest person in the world. What if I were perfect and the world were perfect. Like, what if I was God and what would that be like. Or what the world is like and what other people are like…just what everything is and who I am and…I just think about those things. I can talk to you more about what I like to think about in the morning. ”

WOAH.

License to Ill

I think Australia might be trying to kill me. I am not sure yet. Sometimes, it seems like Australia loves me and never wants me to leave. Like when the sun shines, and the waves crash and the guy at the counter calls me Sheila (that hasn’t actually happened but I trust that it will at some point). But much of the time I think Australia wants me dead.

Why? Because She has waged a campaign of biological warfare against me and my kin. Over the last two weeks, my girls and I have been ravaged by a flu/cold from hell. Fortunately, Mike has been spared. Good thing too. He works for an investment group. Not sure he would survive a physical assault as well. This is cold/flu number 15 since we have arrived.

My theory may be wrong. Maybe Australia is just trying to bolster my wimpy immune system, because it cares; like a drill Sargent trying to beat the weakness out of me. If this is the case, the World Youth Day Pilgrimage to Sydney was like the boot camp finale. The Pilgrims brought with them love, prayers, and germs from around the world. So it could be that this hellish flu is not Australian at all. Maybe this humdinger is Latvian. Hard to say at this point. It is more likely an Asian flu, because it has brought out Chaylee’s legendary kung fu skills.

You see, when Chaylee weaned (see Suddenly Seymour) she may have stopped suckling, but her fascination with the human mouth did not cease. She continues to rely upon sticking her hand in my mouth when she is in need of comfort or rest.

Therefore: Chaylee + Illness = root canal for mommy.

Example: Last night I was up from 2am till 4am being worked on. She used some of her traditional moves like the inner cheek scratch and gum claw. I used some of my own defense techniques like the lullaby method and snuggle hold. When these defenses faltered I attempted to hold a pillow in my mouth in hopes that she could not enter . The pillow was no match for her misery and immense need for comfort. She pulled a side maneuver and entered through the gap between fabric and cheek. Exhaustion and empathy prevailed.

It was like negotiating with a little terrorist. Okay, okay, you can put your hand in my mouth, just stay away from my frenulum…and no scratching.

Now that my hair is longer, she has incorporated some new comfort seeking techniques. Namely, twirling my hair and then jamming it into my mouth. This is a favorite of mine. Another meditative strategy she now employs involves a flat hand and a swift jabbing motion aimed directly at the uvula. Any attempts to thwart said strategy is met with rivers of tears and agonizing cries of “momma”, cough, cough, sneeze, cough, “momma”. How can you say no to a sickly baby dentist. I can’t. Especially one as lovely as she.

Word of the Day: Oldies: Parents.

I refuse to use this in a sentence.

Poll: Does anyone else have a child or know of a child that is comforted by the inside of his/her mother’s mouth?

Family Fun Fact: Chaylee Pasley DDS is an amazing little girl…it would take ten blogs…even more…to capture her loveliness. She is a delight not just a dentist. Just wanted to let the world know.

Surgeon General Notice: By the time guests arrive in Sydney once again, our family should be completely immune to germs worldwide.

Thoughts on parenting and coolness


Most of my time these days is dedicated to preserving two human lives. My goal is to provide my offspring with the best childhood memories possible. If all goes well, they will still like me when they leave the nest and need minimal therapy. The rest of my time is spent trying to run our household. Since Mike (God bless him) has been been confined to a desk from dusk till dawn ( such is life in a penal colony) the onus has been on me to keep things running here on the home front. Those of you who know me well, know that my administrative skills are only slightly better than my track and field abilities. And domestically, I really only have one gift and that is cooking. I can cook the bee-jeebies out of a hunk of meat, but cleaning up the pan after the fact is a hell I try to avoid at all cost. And then there is the art of laundry. I am sort of a Jackson Pollock in that regard. I like to sort of throw a variety of color in the wash and see what comes out. Mike (God bless him) will not actually let me near his garments. I think he just doesn’t understand my genius.

I have learned some very valuable life lessons from my time at home with the wee ones though. Particularly from my oldest…since she is the only one that is currently speaking a dialect I am familiar with.

Lesson 1: Any argument can be won by using made up words.

Me: Kenna, I need you to put on your shoes, it is the last time I am going to ask you!
Kenna: Mom, I am in the middle of a “constrination” so I cannot listen to you right now!!!
Me: (stunned silence.)

Lesson 2: Fake plans will get you out of anything. I call this maneuver the Crane. There is no defense, if done properly.

Kenna: I want to go to Joan’s house.
Me: I am sorry Kenna. Now is not a good time.
Kenna: Mommy please, I want to go and have a chat!
Me: Kenna, you can go tomorrow honey.
Kenna: (tears) But, mommy, tomorrow I have a wedding to go to and a meeting! I can’t go tomorrow!!!!!!
Me: (stunned silence)

Lesson 3: Life is like a sitcom

Kenna: What is going on in this show mom?
Me: I am not sure. I didn’t watch it last week. These shows are kind of like chapters in a book.
Kenna: My life is like that. Each day is a chapter. When I wake up in the morning I decide if it is a good chapter with my behavior, or a bad chapter, or a sad one or a boring one. It is like God, writing the bible. He’s writing a book about me.
Me: (stunned silence)

Lesson 4: Singing a song can chase your blues away.
Sometimes I find Kenna standing still with her hands by her sides and her eyes half closed singing. It is almost always one of three songs: Tomorrow(Annie), Silly Dreamer (Strawberry Shortcake), or I’ve Gotta Go My Own Way (Troy and Gabriella). I have even caught her on a few occasions at the park after pre school…alone…singing…eyes half closed. I once asked her why she did this. She explained that it made her feel better if she was feeling sad, lonely or left out. I too use this method now; although I am struggling a bit with song selection. Don’t Stop Believin is a shoe in. The other two slots are still up for grabs. Chaylee has already adopted her sister’s mood adjustment method with a couple of minor alterations. She prefers to make up her own songs and she usually throws in some rapid arm movement just to mix things up.

Lesson 5: Its harder to be cool when you have kids.
Sometimes I miss my own youth. I realize 30 is the new 12, but there is something about being in my thirties that makes me feel like I can’t dance anymore. Maybe it is because when I shake it these days, Kenna politely asks me to stop. Or maybe it is because of generation Y and their cyber judgments. I watched some hip-hop videos from my school days on youtube one afternoon (Thank You Julie) and made the wretched mistake of viewing some of the comments made by chronologically challenged individuals. One youngster referred to Ralph Tresvant’s “Man With Sensitivity” as an oldie. WHAT? “Unchained Melody” is an oldie. “Louie,Louie” is an oldie. Hits produced by New Edition and it’s former members are not!

I digress.

I just want to be cool forever. Which brings me to my next life lesson!

Lesson 6: It is possible to be cool forever.
My best friend in Australia is Joan Karrad. She is 88, semi immobilized by mild CP and arthritis and still, she is the coolest person I have encountered in the whole of Sydney. She is clever, kind, funny, empathetic, fearless, faithful and bold. Everything I want to be. I refer to her as “my old lady”. Kenna refers to her as “cool”. I guess there is hope for me yet.

Poll: What songs would you select if you decided to use the Kenna Pasley mood adjustment.method?

Fun Fact: * In 1832, 300 female Convicts at the Cascade Female Factory mooned the Governor of Tasmania during a chapel service. It was said that in a “rare moment of collusion with the Convict women, the ladies in the Governor’s party could not control their laughter.”

Phrase of the day: galoot: a foolish person
The older I get the more I realize what a galoot I am.

*I realize that at a glance, my fun fact for the day has nothing to do with parenting or life lessons. But consider this: when you feel imprisoned by a monotonous life; when you are incarcerated by day to day responsibilities; when it seems no one is on your side…

moon someone.

Suddenly Seymour


Warning to my male readers: This blog contains graphic and disturbing imagery that may cause you emotional distress and discomfort. Read on at your own risk.

The time has come to ween my beloved Chaylee Jane. As a newborn, Chaylee was a baby icon. Never had there been a new life that slept so peacefully, cried so little or latched onto the breast so naturally. Her only quirk, a strange inclination to put her tiny hand in my mouth as she suckled. How sweet. How tender. Her tiny fingers exploring my teeth, gently discovering the intricacies my cheeks. However, the once tender quirk is now a hellish nightmare….

She has become a deranged dentist, clawing at my gums, gripping my mandible and thrusting it downward with inhuman strength, scraping my taste buds with her tiny talons!

You may be thinking, why don’t you simply move her head out of the way Heather?  Good question.  And I have a good answer.  Because samurai toddler over here goes mortal combat on my cakes and grabs my trachea with her ninja death grip. You may suggest pulling her off the breast when she goes for the mouth. Well, I would if she wasn’t a biter.

Case in point. A few weeks ago, I awoke at three in the morning on the couch with Chaylee biting down on one nipple while pinching the other like a vice. “There is no escape” she said… with her eyes. How could I have let this go on for so long. Sleep deprivation can make people do crazy things I guess.

For nearly a year I have allowed myself to live like a show pig at the Puyallup fair. I lay in bed at night allowing her to have her way with me like a ravenous piglet with a keen interest in dentistry, just so I can enjoy the benefits of an hour of sleep. I have been in prison and lactating has been my only crime. It’s parole time baby. I love you Chaylee. You are my little star, my precious possum, my baby girl, but it is time for mommy to find a new dentist.

Weened at 18 months.  Photo taken at 3 years.  Just in case there is any confusion.

Poll: What is worse:
a) falling off a swing, exposing your bum to the public
b) walking naked through the neighborhood in a rainstorm
c) being tortured by a baby dental hygienist

Fun Fact:
80% of babies in Australia start out on the breast, rates drop off quickly, with 50% still feeding at 1 month and 24% at 6 months (Australian Bureau of Statistics,).

Words of the Day:
Happy Little Vegemite
noun:- a happy and contented person. Derived from an advertising campaign recently revived where chipper Vegemite eating children are described as happy little Vegemites.

Oh little Chaylee, this too will pass and you will once again be a Happy Little Vegemite.

 

My Mom

It was Chay’s Australian Birthday. Chay baby and I dropped off Kenna at school and headed to Chatswood to pick up a birthday treat and a few things for her little party ! It was a lovely morning. The sun was shining, the leaves were falling, and the town was bustling. Heaven.

My bliss was interrupted by a large camera, a boom mic and a smallish woman with a clipboard.

“Hello, we are from the Today Show (AU) and we are asking people to give shout outs to their mums. Would you like to say something to your mum?” Slightly stunned by the opportunity, I explained that my “mum” lives in the US and so I may not be the best candidate. They instructed me to “ave a go” anyway.

They had no idea what it was they were asking me to do. Before I was able to utter a single syllable, a lump the size of a melon emerged in my throat. I knew I was in trouble.

“Crap,” I said. “I don’t know if I can do this. I am crying already.”

They appeared moved.

“Go on”, the smallish one said. “What do you love about your mum?”

“What don’t I love…..” It was a strong start, but what began as a moving tribute became an unintelligible slew of guttural utterances. You see, I am completely incapable of crying and speaking simultaneously. Those of you who know me know this is true. It is sort of a cross between Yoda and Sloth from Goonies. The tears were magnificent. You would have thought I had just returned from her memorial.

The crew seemed more concerned then moved at this point and so I brought my deluge of emotion to an end and walked away. Much to my chagrin, the tears continued. I looked very unstable as I navigated the streets of Chatswood.

Mom, it appears I love you. And evidently I miss you more than is normal. I pray that one day when my daughters are older and asked to express how they feel about me, they too will crumble publicly. It is an honor to be yours. You are the kind of woman I am trying to become and….it appears I cannot type and cry all at once either.

Happy Mother’s Day Mummy.

Your baby girl,

Flow Pow