I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Monday, October 30, 2006


DS is trying very hard to teach himself to read. His current favourite hobby is grabbing a book (or anything really) from my bedside table, turning to a random page, and then "reading" it to me. He carefully spells out the letters of a word and then asks me what it says. He remembers the word, goes onto the next one, spells it, and so on - and eventually he can put together an entire sentence by reading the letters out. Not sounding them out, just saying them to me and asking me to say it for him. It's quite cute, really. However like all cute habits of small children, often these things can come back to haunt you.

Tonight DS and DD2 were both playing the 'reading' game with me. Eventually they tired of it and went to the more interesting game of "I can kill you before you kill me" - wherein they wrestle like monkeys and then complain bitterly when they get hurt. In a break in the proceedings (more like a temporary time out called by the line ref), I felt a little tickle on my lower back.

DS then asks me, "Mum? What does M-A-D-E-I-N-C-H-I-N-A mean?" Without really thinking, I answered, "It says "Made in China"" and I went back to my book. DS, of course, then takes that moment to say, "Oh, and Mum? Your undies tag is sticking out. Isn't that COOL? Your undies came all the way from CHINA!"

For DS, everything is a learning opportunity!

RAOS Recipe

As usual, this recipe is one which I made recently and then failed to photograph. However it was so damn scrummy that it makes it into the RAOS recipes for you all to enjoy. :) Not surprisingly, it's got a strange method, and it's more of a dessert/pudding than a cake. Only one rule applies to this "cake" - must be served with ice cream or cream, and warm is best. It's more of a wintery thing to eat, I suppose, but is there ever a time when cake is not a good thing?

Apple "Cake"

5-6 Apples (Granny Smith, or Jonagold, or Golden Delicious, just not red anything)
Juice of 1 lemon
Cinnamon, as much as you like
1 cup + 3 tsp sugar
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 170C/350F. Peel, core and slice the apples (thickness irrelevant other than more thin than thick.) Spray a round deep quiche dish (like a pyrex) with spray oil. Place the apples in the bottom of the dish. Mix the remaining ingredients together and plop on top of the apples (the mixture will be quite thick.) Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until done. Best to serve warm, right out of the dish - attempting to turn it out might be a bad thing (I've never tried!).

Enjoy - and remember that in the world of the Random Act of Sweetness, you need to make it and share it or give it to someone in need (of sugar.)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Confessions of a Drama Queen

DD#2 is a fabulous drama queen. She not only *is* one in personality, but she has the dramatic pauses, angst-filled voice inflection, and the hands in the air "what's a girl to do" look down pat. Truly. So a couple of days ago it was pretty hot, and she, as usual, was complaining in her woe-is-me drama queenly self that it was "wwwaaayyyy too hot Mom!" (and strangely, DD#2 calls me 'Mom' much more than 'Mum'). Anyhoo, I sympathised (barely) and she wasn't impressed. She wanted way more sympathy and fawning on my part, so of course, she ups the drama queen ante to this:

"MOM! It's SOOO hot, I feel like I'm gonna DIE. I feel like I am a JELLYBEAN on FIRE!"

So I did what any self-respecting mother of an on-fire jellybean would do. I licked her (to quash the flames, natch!).

LOL, it was worth it just to see how utterly pissed off she was with me. Me thinks complaints about the heat will be not so forthcoming in the future. (Or she'll pick a food group which is not lickable..."Mom! I feel like a VEGEMITE SANDWICH on FIRE!")

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Blog Abandonment

Lest you go thinking that I am a terrible mother to this blog, I just thought I'd post to let you all know that my lack of posting is directly related to the simple fact that I. feel. like. shit. Almost literally, if I were brown. I don't feel witty, funny, charming, cute, or even remoteley clever. I just feel like crap-oh-lah. In the words of myself, I feel shitty-shitty-la-la (different to chitty chitty bang bang but in the same rhyming vein.) I went to the GP last week, who "thinks" it's a chronic case of low iron, even though I live with a carnivore of a DH who insists (nicely) on red meat on average 5 times a week. I missed my blood test to confirm this because I was halfway through my challah toast before I remembered that it's a fasting test (she's also checking the usual cholesterol, blah blah blah.) I won't have the chance to go again before Friday (work and school commitments) and in the meantime I still feel crappy. Before you ask, no I'm not doing anything specific about it. I can't treat something that I don't know what it is, can I?

Now before you:
a) go all mental and start to think emzee is dying of SMRD*
b) call my sister, who will call my Mom, who will upgrade my simple feeling shit to my impending, immediate death
c) just say "it's because you have triplets, and who wouldn't be tired?"
d) or say "if I were you I'd be tired too"
e) or say "It's no wonder you're exhausted, haven't I always said you do too much?"


Because I am so frickin' tired and feeling shitty that I will, literally, BITE YOUR HEAD OFF. I won't even stop to smother it in Sweet Chilli Sauce, which is saying something - because we all know that there are very few foods in the world which cannot be improved with some sweet chilli sauce.

I promise to come back to regular posting in a couple of days. After all, I am WAY behind on RAOS recipes, foodie talk in general, and yet more bragging about my culinary school adventures (note: my last exam for the year is on Thursday.) Plus surely there is something I can bitch about when it comes to the topic of other parents? ....and before the end of the year I'm going to announce my latest project. For right now, though? I'm going to go watch my Playboy Mansion chicks frolick while I slurp my Coke-and-pink slurpee which DH so cleverly both suggested and then went out to buy. Gifts of flowers and chocolate always welcome.

*SMRD: Super Mega Rare Disease. A disease invented by Dr J and I, to describe the only condition in which I would let him treat my kids. Not that he's not brilliant as a ped, but that there is something a bit not-so-ethical about letting him treat kids he has known since they were embryos. I'd only let him treat them (we're talking about serious illness, not the usual, "Hey Dr J, DS looks like crap, can you check him out?" treatment) if they were suffering a case of SMRD, for which of course Dr J is the world's leading expert.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mommy Guilt

Today I went to see my friend Jayne (tangent: and deliver some totally fabulous birthday cakes made by moi, to celebrate her twin's 4th birthday). Anyway turns out she and I have more in common than we thought - we're both dealing with having kids who need speech therapy, and kids who have behaviours/issues which fall under the (very large) autism spectrum umbrella. So she and I got to talking about how damn hard it is to actually DO the things the therapists need and want you to do with your kids. A lot of therapy for kids is based in play - various task-oriented games (some verbal, some written, some physical) - which help them learn the skills they need to learn. Both Jayne and I have to find the time to play these games with our kids - it's not a matter of want, it's a matter of need. She commented (quite wisely) that she often feels an enormous amount of "Mommy Guilt" when she can't get the games done. After all, these kids cannot possibly "fix" themselves. They rely totally on us, the parents, to help them to achieve the goals they need to achieve in order to live happy, fulfilling lives.

Mommy Guilt, as she pointed out, is something which follows you around. Like an annoying puppy, old boyfriend, bad hair or that story about you getting drunk and dancing topless in Vegas, it just never really disappears. You find yourself fraught with questions - Am I doing enough for him? What if I'm doing too much? How will he learn on his own? How will I fit in these games? What if I/we are not doing them right? If you miss a therapy session or a game, then the Mommy Guilt follows with more questions: How will he ever learn to speak properly? How will he cope in school? How could I let him down like that? Mommy Guilt is something that I suspect you never really get rid of - perhaps it just changes in it's degree. You find yourself constantly questioning the things you didn't do, the things you did do, and the things should should have, could have, would have done, IF ONLY (insert qualifier here.)

I find it near impossible to fit in all the games the therapist wants us to play. Sure, it's only maybe 5-10 minutes a day - but that's x 3 since ALL of them want to have a turn (or several turns). It's also x infinity, because there are 2 kids with issues, each of whom has 3+ games to play, and then you add the x turns each kid demands, and you come up with a number something like 2,679 minutes a day in which you need to help your son speak better and your daughter cope with the world at large. My inability to fit in the therapy they need makes me feel like utter shit. I am failing them, and I'm doing it on a daily basis. See what I mean? Mommy Guilt. These kids won't ever improve unless I do this, and I am just at a loss as to how to fit it all into our already chaotic days. I'll never be able to give them the love, attention, and just plain TIME they need. In part this is because of the triplet phenomenon - where sharing, turn taking, and everyone wanting a chance at the fun to be had means everything takes WAY longer than it needs to. In part, surely, it's because I am just no good at this. Now I know and you know that last statement isn't true - I'm a good Mom. It's just that the Mommy Guilt rears it's ugly head and I'm left feeling like these kids will graduate college unable to say the letter "g" and unable to cope with loud noises...and it will all be my fault. I failed. I couldn't get the rest of my life organised enough to make enough time to get all those games played. I should have tried harder.

This year I made a huge effort to reduce my commitments - my work, school and voluntary commitments have all been reduced to mere shadows of their former selves. While I have taken up one new hobby (more on that later this year), it's not something which is done during my 'kid time' anyway. So theoretically I should have more time for this therapy business, right? This TOTALLY NECESSARY, NOT OPTIONAL therapy business. You know what? I don't have that extra time - because I'm using that time trying to just enjoy my kids. We're colouring, we're playing outside, we're baking scones together, we're watching Backyardigans together, we're reading "just one more story." While we're doing all these things, that bitch of a demon known as Mommy Guilt is sitting on my shoulder, asking me "Why aren't you doing more for them?"

*sigh* I'll never win.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Personal Invitation

"Do you need a personal invitation?" was an ongoing joke in my childhood home. So if one of us yelled, "Dinner!" at the top of our lungs, and someone or other didn't show up within a few seconds, the next shout was, "What? Do you need a personal inviation?" This actually extended to a lot of things - when I complain that my Mom/Sister/Niece doesn't call me (enough), I might say, "You know, you could call me once in a while. You don't need to wait for a personal inviation!" (and so on and so forth. Let it not be said that my family does not beat a joke to death almost literally. Personal invitations for the funeral of the death of this joke not required, as we are still beating it.)

I came to yet another revelation this week, which is this: YES, actually, I *DO* need a personal invitation. I really, really hate when people say "drop in whenever you like" or "you should come by and see me" or "we should get together" or "my door is open, just pop round, no need to call first." Yes, they most likely really mean it when they invite me/my brood to pop over any time. I am sure the inviation is extended with the utmost of sincerity. But you know what? I'm never going to darken your door, unless I have a personal invitation. Sure, feel free to say "we should catch up some time" as I leave your home. Then I want you to call me (or me to call you) and we actually organise a time to meet again. As in, a DAY, a TIME, a PLACE. A *plan*. I just don't do randome drop-ins - I didn't do it pre-kids and I certainly am not going to start now.

Open-ended invitations, really, are just a way of ensuring you have unexpected guests the very second you and your DH are dancing the Mattress Mambo (not that we would do that). Or you're wandering around butt naked, drinking a mug of tea, and about to settle in with a good book (not that I would do that.) Or your house look like a bomb not only went off right in the middle of the living room, but that it was a bomb attached to several full laundry machines, 3,471 markers and an enormous toy box (not that ours ever looks like that.) Or it's the one night when you've cooked food which is barely edible to your family, but they have to eat it because it's a choice between cauliflower surprise and, say, starvation (not that I would ever do that.) See what I mean? Open invitations, well, suck. So as a result, I never ever take anyone up on those kind of invitations. Strangely, though...I often extend that kind of invitation. And I mean it. And I like it (mostly) when people come over when I'm not expecting them too (except in the above situations, which of course never happen anyway.)

But when YOU want ME to come over? Best to issue a personal invitation.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Wedding Dress

This dude is my hero of the week!

The Big Picture

At work recently a very clever person commented that I am a "big picture person." Even though I've never thought of myself in those terms, since she said that I am hyper aware of how MUCH of a "Big Picture Person" I am. I think this goes back to that whole 'needing to know what comes next' part of my personality. Not only do I like to know what is coming, but I also like to know the bigger reason why I'm doing something in the first place. If you think about it, this all fits in. My list making, my goal-oriented self, my continual planning, my thinking ahead (and nearly never looking back)...all of these are traits of someone who likes to look at the whole, rather than focus on the parts. It also, unfortunately, makes me pretty impatient...so determined am I to reach my goal that I might step on people/painful Lego bricks along the way, and hardly even notice. In a work situation, people who are 'small picture' oriented can find me very annoying. I just CAN'T blindly follow an instruction without first knowing where that task or activity fits into the whole plan. So I ask a LOT of questions, and I can often be found saying, "Can you use more words to explain what you need?" Needless to say this really pisses people off, because they tend to think it's me questioning their authority. In a hierarchical arena like a kitchen, a 'higher up' chef will expect me to just do what they ask, without uttering a word other than "Yes, Chef." Frankly, I suck at shutting my mouth and not asking for more detail - so the superior in question is left wondering, "Just who the hell does she think she is?"

I don't think this is a failing, even though other people might see it that way. I just see it as another example of how different people learn in different ways, and how we all perceive the universe differently. Basically what floats my boat, won't even get yours off the dry dock - and that's cool. I do wish someone could help me explain that to others though - exactly how do I get people to understand that I'm not questioning them personally, I just need more information? Comments and suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Heavy Reading

Most of you wouldn't know this, but I've got a Master's Degree in BioMedical Ethics. That's fancy words for "I give my damn opinion when it comes to shit you do to my or other's bodies." Anyway as part of that degree I had to write a thesis. The gist of my thesis was that teenagers (of sound mind), should basically have the last word when it comes to their medical treatment. In specific, teenagers with life-threatening diseases should be allowed to make choices about their treatment, even when the potential outcome is one the parents do not agree with. While of course one would hope that decisions were made with the support and advice of parents and others (doctors, religious leaders, your teddy, whatever), at the end of the day I believe that kids should have the final word. So if this means your cancer-ridden 15 year old decides NOT to seek further treatment, then you, as a parent, have a obligation to accept that choice - even if the cessation of treatment will mean your child might die shortly thereafter. Suffice it to say it is a standpoint most people don't agree with, and one which many thought I would alter once I had kids. Not so - I now have kids and I still agree with the above. The only thing that has changed is perhaps the importance on decisions like those being family made - that no child should have to make a choice like that without the emotional support it requires.

I picked up the above book in the Qantas lounge - "My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Picoult. Now for reasons unbeknownst to me, at the moment I have an unhealthy obsession with childhood cancer. So I picked up this book, read the back, and thought it sounded interesting. Here is the synopsis:

"Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate - a life and a role that she has never questioned… until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister - and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable… a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves. My Sister's Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child's life… even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less?"

So I read this book with increasing fascination - because here, in fictional form, was the 'true life' story of my thesis. I won't give away the plot (because it is really very worth reading the book). It was almost - eerie - to read about something which previously I had only hypothesised about. After reading the book, my stance on this hasn't changed ... I still believe the rights of the child lie with THE CHILD, as long as that child is able to understand the consequences of that decision. A lot of this will, as in the case of the above novel, have to be done on a case-by-case basis, and will often depend on the history of the family, the illness itself, etc. At the end of the day, we allow children of this age group to drive,become parents, drink, choose to attend school (or not), and in many cases run entire households. Especially in the current world, these young adults have responsibility over so many things, including other people. Why should we remove from them their rights and responsibilites to themselves? It is (to me) a fascinating idea to think about, and a real joy to read about (even in fictionalised account.) Please go and read it. You'll be glad you did...and maybe you'll agree with me (if you don't already.)

Light Reading

Dh & I had a fabby weekend away in Canberra (our nation's crapital.) We ate some nice meals, caught up with a friend of DH's, walked around lots, and came to the following conclusion:

There is LOTS to do in Canberra, but each thing takes an hour or less. Seriously. And this would not be because we were hurrying, because let me tell you, my SORE legs were not hurrying anywhere.

In one weekend we managed to see a lot of Canberra's highlights - Floriade, the Canberra Museum, the view from Mount (I forget...?), The National Museum, Cockington Green, dinner out (twice), breakfast out (twice), a movie, the shops of Kingston, the shops of Civic, a decadent picnic on the lawn of our hotel, reading the newspapers (twice), the Old Bus Depot Markets...you get the idea. We did a LOT, and none of it took much time at all. This city seems to have no petrol stations, no traffic...but surprisingly great food. It's supposed to be a cultural wasteland, and it's so not. Now while I might not count it on Australia's Top Ten Exciting Destinations, I also think it's a pretty decent place to spend a weekend with a DH and some walking shoes. :) Plus it was nice to sleep in (ahhhhh....) and not worry about whether or not the door was locked, if you get my drift. (*exaggerated wink*)

...and while I'm on the topic of recommending stuff, check out this site. It's got the MOST cool customisable clothes for kids and aprons/bags for parents. I treated the trio and me to some stuff from there and it's GREAT. :) (LOL, my bag reads "If you think I'm strange, you should meet my children.")

Thursday, October 5, 2006

One Man's Inedible

School today was a long, hard day - we had 6 or so complex dishes to prepare. My usual bench partner and I (let's call him, ummm...*thinks* Cheffie) were as usual working together. Now for us working together means one of us will chop enough onions for two people, or make enough mayo for two, or whatever. It saves time, we both know we're capable, and frankly Cheffie is always dying to get out and have a smoke. Anyway, today being such a demanding day, recipe-wise, it kinda just happened that he cooked some dishes and I cooked others. This is not usual - we both need to know how to cook the dishes, it's just that sometimes we help one another with the mise en place. So he did some, and I did some, and we each did some. Then we would plate up (separately of course) and take it to the Chef for evaluation (constructive critisicm). So as it happens Cheffie made the Beetroot Fingers in Honey, and I happened to plate up first. I take it up to the teacher, and she tells me it's PERFECT. Tastes good, looks good, cooked fabulously.

I didn't touch one part of that dish. So I kinda feel like a fraud. After all, Cheffie cooked all of it.

Cheffie then takes his plated up beetroot (mind, from the exact same pot) and gets it evaluated. She tells him that his is undercooked, and asks me to bring mine over so he can taste what it should be cooked like. She also doesn't like his seasoning. She was comparing Cheffie's beetroot to...Cheffie's beetroot.

Needless to say, Cheffie took it all in his stride - but didn't let me live it down all day. He did the work, I got the kudos. Clearly, this teacher could see brilliance.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Religious Paranoia

When I was a kid (and maybe a bit still now), I was way too literal, and too gullible. So I would often believe things people told me, even though my logical, intellectual self knew it could not possibly be true. This evening marks the start of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement when us Chosen Ones ask forgiveness for the sins we've committed in the past year, and for guidance or assitance in not doing those things for the coming year. We also ask to be inscribed in the Book of Life, for it's written that on this day the Man Upstairs decides who shall live and who shall die, yadda yadda. It's the biggest day, religiously speaking, for us Yids.

Anyway, so we grew up going to a Chabad temple and every year the Rabbi would say what the 'sign' was which meant that we had been assessed by God, and we had been forgiven. So maybe it was a sneeze, an itchy nose, the hiccups, an scratch behind your ear - you get the idea. Once this magical thing happened, it meant you were (*phew*) free and clear. I believed this rabbi's mishegaas (read: crazy talk) and I still do. If I don't sneeze by about lunchtime (ummm...okay, the time which would be lunchtime if I wasn't fasting) I start to panic. Does this mean I might die this year? Does this mean that my being bitchy, swearing, and talking shit about others went just that little bit too far? Will my children not have a mother, simply because I blogged about how much I hate other parents, and other people's kids? There is part of the Yom Kippur service where you specifically ask for forgiveness...the lines (and there are several pages worth) start with "for the sin I committed when I....XYZ" (spoke ill of others, disrespected my parents, coveted something cool, etc.) I always worry that if I don't say that whole bit, the same will happen .... I might die this year, etc etc etc.

Seriously. I kinda freak out about this. I know, I know, I'm mental. I have no excuse for why this is. The sad thing is that you would assume the paranoia would translate into living a sin-free life. Yeah right. I wait, oooohhh, maybe 10 seconds after the end of Yom Kippur before bitching about someone or something. I blame it on the hunger-and-thirst induced headache I get every year, but the reality is that I'm me and that's that. I figure the Man Upstairs made me this way, so he's got to gimme my damn sneeze and move onto the seriously fucked up people, right?

I think you all had better start praying for my soul.