I was not anticipating this level of emotion. It’s just kindergarten. It’s not like I am sending her to Nam. She will be fine. I will be fine. I think.
I attended the Roseville Public Kindergarten Orientation tonight. I was greeted with a “cuppa” tea, various dessert trays and the Roseville Public Concert Band practicing “Our House”. The poor little drummer was an emotional wreck. I could tell he was struggling rhythmically on the verses so I told him he rocked. He got tears in his eyes and mouthed to his father, “I don’t want to play!” My encouragement actually made the situation worse.
Lesson 1: Discourage Kenna from playing drums in the Roseville Band. Emotional damage may ensue.
I found a seat adjacent to the other mums from pre school and the band begin “Our House”; this time for real. I could not help but sway and sing a line or two. Some of my enthusiasm was intended to mend my broken relationship with the fragile drummer. I thought maybe if he saw me getting down to his music he would no longer hate me. When the song ended I even let out an emphatic “woohoo”. Evidently, Australians typically save that sort of fanfare for footy, because I was the only one vocalizing during the applause. He never did smile at me.
Lesson 2: Kid Drummers are jerks.
The rest of the evening was not far from what you would expect in the States; apart from the discussion of canteen duty (the parents voluntarily run the hot lunch program) and the uniform purchasing tutorial. I think I became visibly confused during this portion of the evening. It may have been my passive aggressive way of protesting the fees imposed, or maybe I was trying too hard to be the interesting foreign woman. Whatever my motive, it was a clear moment of cultural disconnect. For example:
What is a jumper? (Hint: It is not a dress).
The excursion bag is actually one of four different carrying devices you are asked to purchase. How exactly is Kenna going to negotiate these bags…she’s like 3 feet tall?
Lesson 3: Start making Kenna carry around as many bags as possible. That way she will be confident in her bag handling skills when school begins.
Total Cost of school cosi (translation: costume)-$200
Words of the Day: ·
Ankle Biter: Children
By Jingoes! My ankle biter is goin to kindie!
Trivia: The school year in Australia runs from Feb.-Dec. School operates year round with the biggest break occurring in January. There are four terms with 2-3 week breaks in between.
Poll: Have you ever had a run in with an overly sensitive drummer?
Family Fun Fact: We just got back from a weekend on the South Coast. We encountered many wild kangaroos (who by the way seem more menacing in the wild), visited with some extraordinary kookaburras and parrots, had a run in with blue bottle jellyfish, and had the privilege of watching two humpback whales splash about in a storm. There was also a minor incident involving Mike, a forestry road, some burnt trees and our Pajero, but other than that…
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.
“Living without you, living alone
This empty house seems so cold”
Oh Journey…you haunt me.
My beloved family has departed…leaving me to fend for myself on this massive remote island. I am closer in proximity to the Malaysian Prime Minister than my own relatives now. Best not to think about that too much.
Instead, I shall dwell on all the wonderful times we shared …once we got the nose situation under control, that is. We frolicked on the steps of the Opera House, danced to the didgeridoo at Circular Quay, played in the sparkling sands of Balmoral Beach and hid from a rainstorm under the bridge. We even ate Aussie food at an Irish Pub where Mick, the ball-busting waiter shared his displeasure with our Olympians…
“Tired of hearing your bloody anthem mate!”
Okay, now that’s just awesome.
Mom’s arrival brought even more bliss. We flew kites on the crystal shores of Bondi, caressed kangaroos at Taronga Zoo and attempted to enjoy the clowns and carnival of Luna Park.
Our first attempt was met with alluring lights, celebratory music, and a closed sign. Our second effort was thwarted by a recently revised ticket policy. No longer are visitors to Luna Park allowed to purchase individual tickets, only a pricey “ticket package”. We had to take a stand. It wasn’t easy convincing the little ones that our boycott was justified, so we bribed them with fairy floss (cotton candy) and festive clown encounters.
There was also good grown-up fun. Mom and Kirsten and I had one heck of a night out on the town. Mom was a champ. She was willing to enjoy the nightlife even though the excursion would commence at 1am Pacific Standard Time.
We decided to take the train from Chatswood to Darling Harbour where we would locate an eatery worth eating at. On our way there we were fortunate to happen upon an Asian festival where a Celtic band was playing an obscure song called “Orphan Girl” that my mom recorded with my sister and I for her latest album. It was a surreal “Small World” sort of feeling as we Americans sang along with Irishmen at an Asian festival in Australia. All that were missing were some an African goat drums and a couple sombreros.
Once we arrived at Darling Harbour, we scoured the promenade with purpose, in an effort to find the perfect spot to imbibe and nibble on the finer things. We finally found what we thought was an ideal location; a seafood joint with outdoor dining and a water view. It was beautiful, crowded, festive and fricken freezing. The heat lamps were no match for the mighty winter winds that lapped up against our hungry cheeks. (That was my lame attempt at a more poetic writing style). Although we were pleased with our culinary options and our waiter, we did not feel like having frigid fun. So we took our drinks and headed inside.
Our indoor accommodations were sparse. No jovial neighbors surrounded us, the wait staff was disorganized and disinterested, and the table was cold and barren. We had made a poor decision. We scanned the room and found a more alluring option. A booth, with a decorative bamboo backdrop and a better view…sort of. At least we could see something blue at the bar. Unfortunately, it was also home to a run away AC unit. It was like trying to have a drink in a wind tunnel. Since no one cared to feed us at that point anyway, we paid the bill and departed.
Then, it happened.
We found what we were looking for. We found Nick’s. Nick had it goin on; outdoor seating, effective heating elements, a magnificent menu and a friendly staff that seemed more than happy to take in customers on the rebound.
There was a minor martini incident…but other than that…
(The following clip contains some profanity. My apologies. It was my alter ego Delores…not me.)
The evening ended with the singing of a popular folk song called, “We Are Australians.” The song recently gained popularity in mainstream media due to a moving Olympic inspired commercial. We performed the song in three-part harmony on the streets of Sydney in hopes that somehow our melodious effort would ignite an impromptu Sydney sing-a-long, in the tradition of Fame or High School Musical. It didn’t.
Mike and James also had a night out on the town. They walked the Harbour Bridge and hit some of the famous Sydney Pubs. I hear much of the night was spent trying to feed Big James in a town that doesn’t believe in serving anything edible after 10pm. I believe the adventure ended with beer and pancakes. ???
There was more, much more, but since I am into the whole brevity thing we will fast forward to the airport…
I did what I could to not weep openly as they headed to the concourse that would lead them home. I am not an attractive crier. My nose and lips tend to swell and my skin gets very red and blotchy. Needless to say, I left that day in the aforementioned state.
In the somewhat altered words of Journey,
Fortunately Mom and Mike were there with Open Arms.
We decided to head out to our favorite pizza joint to lessen the sense of loss and continue the fun. It was a good night. There was a minor incident involving mom, food aversion and a fever of 101, but over all…
Random Trivia: Aussie’s shorten everything…to an irritating degree. It’s not breakfast, it’s brekkie. It’s not lipstick, it’s lippie. It’s not flight attendant or air hostess, it’s hostee. I mean, Come on guys. Are you being a little ridiculous, or should I say, rickee!
Poll: Is Delores too vulgar?
Fun Family Fact: Mom and I discovered some incredible local hangs that we would like to take future guests to, including: Palm Beach, Whale Beach, Serpentine Beach and the Royal Botanical Gardens. What a grand time we had Momma!
Phrase of the Day: Choof Off: To leave or depart.
Homework: Learn “We are Australians”
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!
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.
Lesson 3: Life is like a sitcom
Kenna: What is going on in this show mom?
Lesson 4: Singing a song can chase your blues away.
Lesson 5: Its harder to be cool when you have kids.
I just want to be cool forever. Which brings me to my next life lesson!
Lesson 6: It is possible to be cool forever.
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
*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…
Did you know that when you ask for ketchup (or Tomato Sauce as they call it in Australia) you are given a maximum of two packets. If you ask for more, they will just look at you funny and give you one additional packet. As if an extra teapoon of “tomato sauce” will be satisfactory. In fact, I never knew what an absurd amount of “tomato sauce” we use in America until I came to this land of little ketchup. Mike believes the real problem is the packet system. After all, it is a dipping sauce. What the heck is it doing in a packet. It should be in a container suitable for dipping. (1 point America)Did you know that there is no baseball here? Cricket is the game of choice instead. It is sort of the older cousin of our beloved sport…or maybe the dirty uncle. The cricket batting instrument is about as wide as a dollar store fatbat which immediately makes it less of a game in my mind. The players wear polo shirts and sweaters. What? Do they think they are better than me?
The one upside is that the game uses words like “wicket” which is a word I like to say aloud. Wicket. That is until the announcer says something like, “the batsman has taken out his wicket”. Then I just feel dirty. Especially when I consider that the wicket is made up of three stumps. (1 point America)
Rugby is awesome. Almost as awesome as the NFL (a.k.a Grid Iron football). It involves a lot rough housing and ballyhoo with little padding. Instead of touchdowns these thick-necked lads score “trys”. Isn’t that pleasant? Sometimes at the South Sydney Rabbitohs games, I yell, “Nice Try!” They probably are tired of that joke, but what can I say, I love word play. (1 point Australia)
Australian Rules Football is a lot of fun as well. Mike actually prefers it to Rugby, but I am not yet persuaded. It is a fine sport though. I like the oval playing field and clever uniforms. The name of the sport brings me some joy as well. It is so literal. They didn’t try to come up with some ridiculous name like Awesome Ball or Bombastic. They decided to just call it what it was. A game involving feet and balls and rules made up by Australians. Not big on the cutesy little nickname they use for it though: footy. But that is kind of how these Aussies roll. It’s not a diaper, it’s a “nappy”. It’s not a breakfast, it’s “breaky”. It’s not lipstick, it’s” lippie”. (1 point Australia, 1 point America)
Did you know, that Australia has just edged out America for fattest country in the world? What? What? Are they sure? Must be those Banana Benders in Queensland because the residents of Roseville are as fit as a fiddle. (0 points awarded)
Did you know that American Food Chains are plentiful here? (See paragraph above) But, don’t be fooled. Kentucky Fried Chicken is not the KFC we know and love. For example: I once asked for a biscuit. A soft, buttery, processed, biscuit. The man behind the counter looked bewildered by my request. You see, in Australia, like many other nations represented in the Commonwealth, biscuits are actually what we know as cookies. Shockingly, it appears they do not serve biscuits or cookies at KFC…or should I call it AFC! Nor do they make extra crispy chicken. The Cornel would not be pleased!
I ran into the same problem at “McDonalds” which is affectionately called “Maccas” in these parts. I wanted a sausage biscuit. A buttery, soft, processed, biscuit with mystery meat tucked quaintly inside. No luck. Oh, but the place is crawling with English muffins!!! Friggen POHMs. They make up for the biscuit void by putting beet root and fried eggs on the burgers. I always thought Ronald was a sinister looking clown anyway. I never trusted him. (2 points America)
On the way home from our biscuit-less endeavor today, Chaylee threw-up in the car. She then ate a partially digested raisin. It sent Kenna into hysterical laughter. Which was good because she was miserable and sickly prior to the unfortunate event. Nothing like a little chunder down under first thing in the morning. Did I mention that I accidentally left the vomit soaked car seat in the sun? Awesome! (No points awarded)
It’s a beautiful day.
Kenna Quote of the day: A little context-Kenna splashed a significant amount of water onto the bathroom floor. Mommy got agitated. Kenna responded: “Mom, it’s not my fault! The government made me do it.” Good on ya Kenna. When in doubt, blame the government!
Chaylee Milestone: Chaylee high-fives, blows kisses, gives pats on the back and likes to find steps to sit on so she can swing her little feet back and forth.
Poll: Throw up your best vomit story? Love that word play.
Fun Fact: Did you know that Australia has its own version of Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Big Brother, Battle of the Choirs, Gladiators, and so on. They have some of their own as well, like “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!” which is a reality show that requires Australian superstars to survive in the Outback. They are pushed to their breaking point until they have no choice but to shout the aforementioned phrase.
Word of the Day: Centralia: