Train security

The Independent reports that security scanners are to be used at railway stations across the country in an attempt to improve safety. Apparently there's a serious problem with youths carrying knives and of course we don't want there to be another terrorist atrocity.

I guess that's how the powers-that-be have been able to suspend their cognitive faculties and propose such a daft scheme. In field trials of the scheme nearly 100 people have been arrested and some 68 knives have been seized. Wow!

I'm a regular train traveller and I have to confess that being stabbed by a nutter is pretty low on my list of priorities. Higher on my list of concerns would be:

  • trains that run on time;
  • more seats on trains; and
  • more frequent trains,

closely followed by a list of gripes against anti-social behaviour, including:

  • banning smoking at all train stations and on platforms;
  • getting people to turn their iPods down;
  • convincing people of the merits of not shouting into their mobile phones;
  • stopping people putting their feet on seats; and
  • preventing people bringing smelly food and/or armpits onto trains.

Of course it's much easier for Government to fix a non-problem than it is for them to address the real problems that face communities. Such as cars for example. Which is why they'll proclaim success at having seized less than 70 knives in two months, yet fail to take any meaningful measures to stop young men getting access to another sort of deadly weapon on our transport network.

The deal with the photos

Regular visitors to gambier.cc will have noticed a whole lot more text and a whole lot fewer photos. Fear not! The photos are coming! I am uploading them as I can, but it's slow going. I am selecting one photo per month from Katie's early years. This is nearly impossible, but it will save our bandwidth. We suspect we're the only ones who go through all those old pics anyway.

The other major hindrance is Regan's camera is shot. Until I get a new camera, I am relying on my old non-rechargable Nikon and our VERY COOL new Sony W800 phones. Those are awesome and give good photo, so there will always be regular pictoral updates.

Check back often, we'll try to make it worth your while.

2th!

Buffy just cut her second tooth. I guess that's why she's not sleeping. We really wish she would just SLEEP already! Surely the appearance of a tooth means sleep is forthcoming? Soon? Please?

Our little poop-head

Remember our big girl, Katie? You know, the bright one who reads all the books and speaks so intelligently on a variety of subjects? She shat herself today.

This weekend it's just us, so I wanted to make sure I got in some good Katie/Mommy time. We left the baby with the daddy and went upstairs to play dollhouse. Katie kept taking the dolls to the dollhouse toilet, so I asked if she wanted to go to the toilet. No, she assured me, she had no such need. We played on, very happy. I congratulated myself on this quality time with her. I probed her psyche in what I believe to be a very clever psychoanalytical way, and she demonstrated she is happy in herself and with her parents.

Example one:
Me as Mommy doll: Oh no! I fell down and hurt herself! What shall we do?
Katie as "daughter doll": I'll give you a cuddle. Now you have to go to bed and rest.

Example two:
Me as brother doll after sister doll took my toy: Go away! I don't want to play with you anymore. I don't want to be friends. (this is something Katie and her friends are saying a lot at school, so I wanted to play act it out with the dolls)
Katie: We have to be friends, because you're my brother. I love you!

So here's me beaming with pride at my emotionally mature, happy, and articulate daughter. Katie then went downstairs briefly and then came back into the room. She said, "Look that way for a minute, Mommy. I don't want you to look at me right now."

Mommy radar lit up. "Why, Katie? What don't you want me to see? What are you getting?"

"I'm just getting some panties," she said.

"Why do you need new panties?" I asked.

"I had an accident," she mumbled.

"Pee-pee?"

"No."

"POO-POO?!"

"yes"

At this point I look under the Cinderella dress to see her bottom CAKED with poo. I rush her back to the bathroom and start wiping. She complained that I was missing all the mess in the front. Oh holy crap! I heaved her into the bath and gave her the shower nozzle. I told her to just aim it on herself and start washing.

Around then it occurred to me that there were some seriously soiled panties somewhere in the house. I asked and Katie told me they were in the laundry basket. Thankfully they didn't spill out into the rest of the dirty clothes (as far as I know. There may be some joyful little present waiting for me to start tomorrow's washing.) I took it back downstairs and did what my mother did for me and started flushing the panties. Not down the toilet, just IN the toilet, letting the swirl of water do some of the work for me.

Once the panties were less disgusting and Katie was cleaned up, I made her gather the panties, the Cinderella dress, and the towel. She had to carry them all downstairs and put them in the washing machine. I made her get the soap and start the wash. The poor girl was still naked, and I hadn't yet decided what I was going to do. Surely just cleaning up the mess wasn't enough punishment. Time out didn't really seem appropriate. Katie then complained she would get cold if she didn't get any clothes on. I told her she couldn't wear any clothes because she couldn't take care of them. Andrew looked at me like I was insane and I said, "Look, I haven't thought this all through yet!"

Sense kicked in and although the house was warm, I couldn't justify leaving her naked all morning long. I marched her back up to her room and picked out the oldest, ugliest clothes she has and told her to put them on. I chose some 2T blue fleece trousers that were a favourite in their time, but way too small now. I also pulled out the CU Buffs shirt I bought for her in Boulder a couple of years ago. Katie balked, "I can't wear that shirt! It's horrible!" I realised I was on to something. I told her, "If you can't take care of your beautiful clothes, you have to wear these clothes."

She cried for a good half hour afterwards, "I don't look beautiful! But I'm not pretty in this!" Andrew and I tried to control our sniggering long enough to tell her she is always pretty in any clothes, but she can't wear nice clothes unless she can take care of them, i.e., not poop on them. We did say if she could take good care of these ugly clothes for the rest of the morning, then she could wear a nice outfit to Katie A's Easter Egg Hunt this afternoon. All the other girls would be wearing beautiful Easter dresses, and wouldn't it be disasterous to have to wear sweats?

I'm happy to say Katie got to wear the adorable new Gymboree outfit from Gramma that matches Buffy's. They looked beautiful and had a wonderful Easter Egg hunt. I just hope we've all learned our lessons and we won't have to do this one again!

Dear Drivers

An open letter from a pedestrian...

I know you all don't walk much, that's why you have cars. I see some of you driving your children to the school two streets away. Obviously I do not approve because we don't have a car. This isn't about that. This is about how drivers treat pedestrians.

There are a few things you should know about us pedestrians: We are slow. We are vulnerable. We often cannot see you inside your car. These all add up to frustrations and resentment that CAN BE AVOIDED!

Here's a handy guide on how this can be achieved:
1. Indicate. Those pretty blinky lights on the sides of your car? Use them. They help not only pedestrians know when you want to turn, but other cars like them as well. This will help reduce the number of pedestrians crossing the street just when you want to turn. I can really only speak for myself, but I am reluctant to jump in front of a moving car, especially when pushing a pram containing my two little girls.

2. Don't rev your engine when we are in front of your car. This is neither amusing nor fun. To the mothers who do it, I suggest we swap places. You cross the street with your baby, and I'll rev your SUV and start inching towards you. Sounds fun, don't it?

3. If you don't want me to cross in front of you, don't wave me to go. If you wave, I will assume you are willing to wait for me to cross. Pedestrians are slow, see above. Please don't wave me to go ahead of you and then not stop. This is not a situation I care to push my children into. Also, windows are reflective. Often I can't see you waving me through because the sun/trees/signs/clouds/my own face is reflecting in your shiny window. Some cars flash their lights at me. This is very effective. Keep that up! (of course, don't flash your lights and then rev your engine. That is NOT effective, just confusing and dangerous.)

4. Stop talking on your mobile phones. It's illegal. It's dangerous. Get with the programme.

5. Don't pull into park right when I'm walking past. You know you're not going to hit me, my heart doesn't. It is very scary. In my role as mother I have to protect my children from imminent danger. Cars rolling towards us count as danger. Please try to consider this. It may mean waiting an extra three seconds before you pull into your stop. If you don't have three seconds to spare, consider reevaluating your priorities. This also applies to cars turning around in the middle of the street.

6. Remember that I'm vulnerable. If a car and a person get into a fight, the car wins every time. The worst my 8-month old can do to your car is drool a bit and maybe scrape your paintjob. The worst you could do to my 8-month old isn't worth considering. The thing is, I'm a mother. I consider these things a few thousand times a day. In technicolour so vivid it often brings me to tears.

Think of your own mother or your own children. Please drive safely.

"Now I'm REALLY four"

On Wednesday morning Katie told us she was only a little bit four. After her party she would be REALLY four. I guess now she's REALLY four, because we REALLY partied!

Several other mothers, Gramma, and I went to the school to collect fifteen extremely hyper little girls. We carried their school bags, bags of frilly clothes, and bags of presents half a mile up to the local church hall. We'd prepared it earlier with pink tablecloths, pink plates and napkins, pink plastic champagne goblets, pink cake with pink candles, even some pink M&Ms Gramma brought from America. We even had extra pink tutus in tow. We could have just as easily been expecting a roomful of sensitive hot men in tight jeans dancing to the Weather Girls. Instead we celebrated two little girls turning four - Katie and M.

The girls all filed in and changed immediately from polo shirts and dresses into yards of pink netting, sequins, flowers, lace and ribbon. They then all sat down at the table. No one asked them to do this, they were just perfect little ladies who knew what to do when there was a table set before them. M's mum cleverly suggested we lay out the healthy food and then gradually introduce the junk. They started with sandwiches and juice and ate their fill. Only then did we bring out Hula Hoops and popcorn. Much later they had the pink M&Ms (I think Katie ate more than anyone else - even me!) and the wonderful cake M's mum made.

Halfway through sandwiches and popcorn Michelle turned up. Michelle is Katie's regular Saturday dance class instructor who is also a nursery teacher at a rival school. She really knew how to work a room. She got them organised dancing, moving, jumping, clapping, shouting and role playing wherever appropriate. Katie got to fulfill her lifelong dream of being the princess in the big high tower according to the song. Maddie was the magic fairy and the oldest girl wanted to be the gallant prince.

The most amazing thing about Michelle is how well she balanced chaos and calm. She kept them running around and very happy until she started to wind them down. None of the parents had trouble getting children to sleep last night, because Michelle had wound them down gently for us. She brought out princess pictures for them to colour whilst she painted their faces. She also read Lettice the Dancing Rabbit to a very calm, captive audience.

All the girls left for home with killer party gifts - teddy bear, balloon, sunglasses, posh choccies, lip gloss, bouncy ball, and a ring. Katie and Maddie were so thrilled with the party bags, they have quite forgotten the mountains of presents they received. We intend to follow Lakshmi's mom's lead and open gifts over the next few weeks rather than in a gluttonous orgy.

I think my favourite part was how beautifully the girls got on with each other. There were a few tears at leaving time, but nothing ridiculous. There were no fights, no tantrums, nothing painful. They all get along really, really well. I think it was hard for Katie's best friend, Anna, though. It's never easy to be with a big group of people who all know each other. Anna and Katie will always have something special, and Katie was so happy she was there. Anna is the most emotionally mature child I've ever met, so I know she picks up on things more. I just hope it wasn't too uncomfortable for her.

Gramma and Aunt Joanie have just left for Scotland. Buffy is asleep. I guess I've got no more excuses, so I'll start posting some pictures.