Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Show us your knickers!

Today, with the slightest provocation, Sophie was dropping her shorts and showing the world her backside. Because she was wearing KNICKERS!! This is day 2 and it's gone well so far. Imagine, no nappies (or at least a lot less nappies, she still wears them at night). It's been 8.5 loooong years, but there's finally light at the end of that tunnel.

Easter of course

How could I let the chocolate fest pass unblogged. I'm sure it was less religious than, say, a Ghanaian Easter (and didn't we hear plenty from Ghana that day?!), but it was fun anyway. The kids had fun with their egg hunt and Sophie loved the fact that she could find and eat chocolate eggs to her heart's content.

We had a lovely day, we visited with grandpa first and then went to the other grandparents, where almost the whole family gathered, other than Tony and his mob, and the usual other dirty stop-outs. It was nice to see all Sandra's kids there (minus Scott of course) as well as Carmine's new girl Dee. Emily even ate a piece of cake! The weather was lovely, which was good as we could spread out into the garden, essential in that small house as everyone gets bigger. Grandpa was the most interested and involved that I've seen him in several years. He even took me aside to have a quiet word about Karen Carpenter. Do you think he thinks I'm too skinny??!!

We all ate way too much food and came home with way too much (mostly crappy) chocolate. Ah, Easter...

Tooth fairy strikes again

Bethany lost a tooth today. Her third. She was very excited because she lost it at school, which means she got a certificate. She wrote a little note for the tooth fairy and left a little display for her.
The note reads (in Bethany's best little tiny writing): Dear tooth fairy I had a wobbly tooth and I had a rollup. I took a bite and then my wobbly tooth was super wobbly. At home I got ready the tooth with a hat and a face. [mum note: the little tooth holder you can see at the left centre of this pic] You open up the hat and then you get my tooth out of it and put some money in it. In the morning I will get up ealey and go strat to the tooth and open it up. Love Bethany.
Anything you want to write write it here [ then in the space, the tooth fairy wrote, very small: thank you! your tooth was nice + clean]
(Sorry about the changing coler thing [mum note: halfway through the note it changes from blue pen to pencil]. It is just becuase the pen ran out of ink so I changed the pen.)

How cute. Also in the pic you can see to the right the pen and rubber she left for the tooth fairy to use if she needed to. They have little paper labels: 'rubber' on the rubber, and 'thing you write with' on the pencil.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Farewell Lump

Yesterday we said goodbye to my little kitty Lump. It is so weird to be sitting here at the computer without her on my lap kneading her little claws into my leg.
We made the tough decision to get her put down after she was finally diagnosed with intestinal cancer. She has been losing weight and vomiting since December - xrays and blood tests previously gave no answers. When I took her back to the vet last week, the vet could feel the tumours in her intestines and in other places too. We took the cat back home and discussed with the children what options we had - do nothing and have her get sicker and die anyway, or put her down now and put her out of her misery. Ryan was the hardest hit - he was overcome by the unfairness of it and just wishes she never had cancer in the first place. Bethany was also sad, but started planning getting a new kitten, while Lump was still alive! Hannah was just supremely confident that putting the cat down was the right thing to do "because then she won't spew on us any more".
We had the weekend to discuss the options and spend some special time with Lump (and clean up a few last piles of vomit for old times sake), and on Tuesday we took her to the vet. All the children wanted to come to the vet. Ryan and Bethany at first wanted to stay in the waiting room, but then decided they wanted to come in. The vet and nurse were very nice and patient, explaining everything that was happening and treating Lump gently and with respect. Although her death was peaceful it was still sudden - the nurse was supporting her as she lay, but she still flopped down lifeless. Ryan and Beth started crying which started me off too. Hannah totally missed that she was actually dead, I realised later when she asked me as we were taking her home "so when will she get dead?".
We had morbidly dug the hole earlier in the day while Lump was with us, but the kids wanted to wait until Paul was there to bury her. He was real impressed with that, not being the best at dealing with death... But we made a little tombstone and said a few nice words about her. Bethany and Hannah both wanted to see her one last time (the vet had wrapped her in a towel and put her back in the cat carrier) so Paul and Ryan moved out of view while we had one last look and pat (and Sophie gave her one last whack for good luck), then we re-wrapped her and placed her in the hole.
We were all pretty sad last night and there have definitely been moments today too. As she had got sicker over the last few months, she had stopped doing a lot of things, and mostly either lay around or meowed at me to feed her (she was slowly starving to death as she was unable to absorb any nutrients due to the cancer and vomiting), so she had been a less intrusive presence in our lives over the last month or so (except the vomit piles of course). She didn't have the energy to jump onto my lap at the computer, or up onto my bed any more. She could still make it up to Ryan's bed, and slept with him most nights (except the one night she slept on Bethany's and vomited on her pillow, the joy).
Ryan is very sad. Many times in the day he misses being able to pat Lump and cuddle with her. He has a hard time at night, when he says he can't stop replaying in his head the moment that her head flopped down and she was dead. I am taking the opportunity to talk to him about strong emotions and how they do fade over time even though it doesn't feel like it at the moment, and also trying to give him some techniques for dealing with that recurring thought or vision. I feel so sad of course that he (and all of us) have to go through this, but I am extremely grateful for it too - I am glad to be able to be having these discussions about an animal and to have them as a point of reference for when a grandparent/great grandparent dies. The circle of life and all that.
He talked about how he's feeling so miserable and he hates how bad he feels. I asked him if he wished we never had the cat, then he wouldn't feel this way, but he said no, all the happy times definitely outweighed this sadness, which is a good way to feel I think.
The photos here are of me, Ryan and Sophie with Lump on her last day. Bethany and Hannah didn't want photos. There is also a photo trying to capture how skinny she was. I was almost afraid to pat her for fear I'd break a bone or something. Tomorrow Ryan wants to look at photos of her as a kitten (he thought she was only grey because she was old). I will probably scan one of those to put up here too. If I was techno-savvy enough I'd have her theme song by Presidents of USA playing in the background of this blog too...

I'm glad my little girl is at peace now, it was awful to see her so weak and unhappy. She was my shadow for so many years, ungraciously putting up with those four scary noisy intruders, and just recently enjoying their company as they grew old enough to treat her with respect and love, always ready to jump on my lap for a cuddle and pat (when there wasn't already a baby there) and just as quick to run and hide when other people were here.

Farewell Lump.

Monday, April 02, 2007

And Hannah evens up too

Hannah turned four the other day, leaving Sophie as the odd one out (literally, the kids now being aged 8, 6, 4 and 1).
Her day was fun as well, getting even more presents than Bethany as she opted to have a cheaper version of the desired Baby Born. Don't tell her the extra pressies were mostly garage sale finds anyway...
The day after her birthday we went to Snakes and Ladders with Nicole, Ella and Charlotte (and Mum until she went off to work). Hannah was very specific that she wanted to play there while the bigger kids were at school. Fair enough, I say.

We usually try to avoid joint celebrations of the girls birthdays unless that is what they want, and this year they were happy to have the extended family (but not Adam and Eva, sadly) around on Sunday and have two cakes.
Bethany wanted a sponge cake but without cream (where did my kids get this abnormal cream phobia from?!), so I sandwiched it with pink and white icecream and topped it off very elegantly with a picture of Dora the Explorer. Hannah's cake was carefully selected from the Women's Weekly Kids Cakes book after many weeks of poring over the pages. She opted for the 4 shaped cake but with the decorations from the 5 shaped cake. She must have reminded me of this approximately six hundred times before I actually made the cake. You can't see the decorations in the picture very well, but there were some very cool meringue grubs, and some spearmint leafed branches on a pink 4 shaped chocolate cake. The joy! We also had 'our favourite things' as the food choice for the party, so there were mini-hotdogs, tuna mornay and lasagne. Does it get any better than that!!??

Hannah is very excited now that pre-entry has finished and next time she goes to kindy (after the holidays) it will be full-time kindy (or 'four-time kindy' as she interprets it, which makes sense as she will go four days a week). Her and Ella get to share a term until Ella heads off to school!! How scary is that!
Hannah has really grown into being four and is currently the most centred and calmest child in this family. Ryan and Bethany seem to be permanently tired and crabby, and Hannah is just the quiet voice of reason, getting herself ready in the morning, helping out with Sophie, piping up with 'I'm being sensible, aren't I mum?' as often as she can without the other kids bopping her.