Friday, 31 December 2010

"Roll On...Last Day of the Year"

Dumpie helping out with the rubbish
Dumpie is not too happy with me at the moment.  It's so easy to lose track of time here (I don't even wear a watch) such that we're never exactly sure what day of the week it is.  Thus, I mistakenly informed Dumpie yesterday that it was Friday - and hence the weekend.

He was not amused to find out this morning that Mama had made a mistake, and let me know it by way of admonishing me severely, his little face a mere two inches away from mine as he told me off.

Dumpie loves the weekend because then he doesn't have to go to school.  Not that he doesn't like school (for he's happy enough when he's there and loves playing with his little friends, climbing trees, rolling around in the dirt, chasing girls in the 'kissy game' etc.) but he likes the weekend more.

Maybe that's partly our fault, for we allow the monsters either a milkshake or their beloved mango 'Maaza' drink on the weekends.  Also, on the weekends we tend to eat brunch on the beach and they get to stuff their little faces with lemon sugar pancakes and fresh fruit juices to their hearts content.

Speaking of food, I did a very bad thing today.  We have been so overrun with friends and subsequent socialising lately that we have let our already meagre larder run dry.  Add to that Dada's occasional midnight snacks of muesli and/or toast, and it's understandable why this morning, when attempting to rustle together Dumpie's snack, I was forced to pack him off with a small bag of crisps and three little chocolate biscuits.  Oh the shame.

I tried to disguise this white trash offering by taking the crisps out of the bag and putting them in a little tupperware container - hoping against hope that the teachers think it's some kind of Indian dried vegetable (well it is sort of, isn't it?).  As for the chocolate biscuits, they are only one-sided, so there is a fifty-fifty chance that I'll get away with it (though I doubt it considering children can sniff out chocolate from a mile away, and I expect Dumpie will get mobbed by the more feral of his little classmates.)

At any rate tonight is New Year's Eve, and the husband and another mate of his have managed to secure the most excellent beach shack here (by virtue of having the biggest and best speakers, not to mention the most consistently good food) for a party.  There will be firecrackers, dancing, cocktails, and all manner of frivolity I imagine.

Obviously, we haven't managed to secure a babysitter for tonight, so the challenge will be how to tuck them up somewhere warm and cozy within sight and preferably away from the speakers.

As for the husband and I?  Mostly we can't believe we've come to the end of 2010.  Our year away is slowly drawing to a close...only a few more months left.

And on that note, time to go to the beach and properly enjoy the last day of the year.

Happy New Year!
Egg practising his best karate chop moves at a Pirate Party

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

"The Undesirables"

Tonight the husband and I joined a dozen or so friends for dinner at a local Thai restaurant.  This in itself was not newsworthy but the fact that we were sans kiddies was.

For you see lately, it has become virtually impossible to secure the services of a babysitter amongst the local Indian women here in Goa.  Our friends seem to have no problem, and other parents round here are often seen enjoying child free dinners on the beach without their offspring in attendance...which leads me to believe that there is something fishy going on.

Having suffered a string of unsuccessful babysitting requests, for somewhat flimsy reasons like, "Your house too far away" (we live across the road from the beach), or "No like the dogs" (our landlady has a few pets who occasionally bark at strangers but the husband always offers to go and pick the ladies up so....), it is clear we are 'undesirables'...but why??

What makes this rejection so hard to bear (aside from having such a detrimental impact on our post 8pm social life) is that we are offering good money - I mean REALLY GOOD money, especially by Indian standards - for a job which involves virtually nothing more than sitting down and watching the monsters watch a string of movies on their dvd player.

It's the social equivalent of offering your average Primark shopper a one hour no holds barred shopping spree at Marc Jacobs and being told, "No thanks, I'm not really into his look this season."  Seriously.  It's confounding!

Try as I might I can only come up with a few reasons why this may be:

1.  Our house is haunted or considered bad luck in some Hindu spiritualist manner, depositing a horrific curse on any locals who step inside...

2.  The 'universe' is trying to tell the husband and I that our time would be better spent doing Suduko or practicing yogic postures at home, rather than sipping yet more Kingfishers on the beach.

3.  Something is 'wrong' with our family, of which we are utterly and completely unaware (making the option of starving, or continuing to live in a tiny straw shack preferable to bringing home an excellent salary for doing sweet bugger all.)

I so want to believe it's not the latter reason, but then I recall the 'little problem' we had last year in London concerning our utter inability to keep the same cleaner for any decent amount of time.  Fine, the ones who got pregnant maybe had a legitimate cause, but the others who made up lamer than lame reasons to ditch us suddenly, inexplicably, and without reasonable cause ("I must pick up brother from airport" etc.) maybe cottoned on to something that these local babysitting women have.

Then again, tonight over dinner a friend mentioned that her babysitter had told her that Dumpie sometimes pinches her.  However tonight, returning a good hour later than promised (umm...maybe this bears considering?) we found Eggs and Dumpie quietly cuddled up in bed watching "101 Dalmations" looking as cute - and innocent - as can be.

Any/all in possession of a reasonable (or unreasonable) hypothesis/explanation, please send your answer on the back of a postcard to:

"The Undesirables"
Little pink concrete house
Goa, India

Saturday, 25 December 2010

"The (ALMOST) Best Christmas Ever!"

It's 10:42 pm and as I sit here contemplating the double issue of Grazia lying temptingly on my bed (delivered by a well-meaning friend from the UK today), I think to myself, "Ah,  what bliss, and what a perfect way to end an almost perfect day".

For the 'Almost The Best Christmas Ever' (more on that later) began officially last night, after 'marshmallowgeddon', wherein Egg and Dumpie consumed almost their combined body weight in marshmallows over the campfire, while the husband and I looked on with a mixture of wonderment, then later mild revulsion.

It wasn't until Dumpie turned to me and said, 'No more marshmallows Mama' that I realised that perhaps I should have put the bag away sometime after consumption reached double digits.  Uh oh.  But then I'm a pushover when it comes to sentimental occasions involving food and making memories :)

Bath time was skipped (though I'm pleased to inform that tooth brushing was NOT), and the munchkins were cosily tucked into bed - the husband stretched out face down between them.  I downloaded the proper (ie. long) version of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and began reading the famous poem.  By the time I reached the last verse they were both sound asleep, and I even had to nudge the husband to make sure he was awake.

This morning at EIGHT (they must have been in a mild marshmallow coma from last night??) they woke up, grabbed their bulging sacks, their three gifts each, and bundled onto our bed to rummage through their loot.

Egg loved his magnetic dart board and chess set, as well as his 'Travel Connect Four' and his plastic beach ball.  Dumpie showed mild interest in his cheap imitation play-doh set, mixing all the colours together into one great lumpen ball, only to discard the mess under our sheets where I expect it will eventually harden and crumble into sharp little pieces which will further condemn us to more sleepless nights in the coming days.  However the 'counting beads' I bought him were given a desultory glance before being tossed ceremoniously to one side, never to be thought of again.  Oh well.

After a quick video chat with various assorted family members, we headed across to the beach and met our newly arrived friends (they of the visa nightmare conundrum) for a lovely breakfast of fresh fruit salad, omelettes, lemon sugar pancakes and porridge.  I however chose instead to ring in the day with a large mug of masala chai and a protracted bingeing session with the mince pies 'Aunty Kenz' had ever so thoughtfully included in her generous care package for the monsters (thanks again 'Aunty Kenz' you rule!  And no, I will not pilfer the boys sweets...okay not all of them).

Champagne was cracked, music was played and DJ Dada hit the decks and helped switch our section of our beach into a festive frame of mind.  General smiles of blissful contentment were exchanged all round (thought truthfully, I was still on a massive high from my recent mini mince pie face stuffing session).

Late afternoon a large group of us descended upon a local hotel for their big 'Reggae Sunsplash Christmas Party' where DJ Dada once again got out his virtual decks and filled the dance floor with grooving party goers twisting shapes to his cool ska vibes.  He rocked it.  And while he did that, the rest of us took over a large table in the back and proceeded to chat and sip our way through the day.

Delicious barbequed fish, jerk chicken, fish burgers, bean burgers, salads and baked potatoes soon followed, washed down with festive rum and fruit cocktails and banana fritters and lethally sweet Christmas cake bringing up the rear.  We gorged ourselves.  Egg and Dumps ate rolls with butter...but that may have been because they kept getting fed sweets from the young waiters, and were too busy chasing girls around the pool.

It was a most lovely Christmas, as good as one could hope for.  Were it not for the absence of our beloved friends and family (you know who you are!..Aunties, 'God-Uncles', Grandparents, 'pets'...) it might have been...quite simply...THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!

Happy Christmas MoaningMum readers far and wide.  Thanks for following the trials and tribulations of my shambolic family this past year and for proving a most brilliant outlet for my many (albeit trivial) 'moans' which constitue the bulk of these pages...xx

Friday, 24 December 2010

"TwasThe Night Before (Our Goan) Christmas..."

It's the night before Christmas, and I'm pleased to report that not a creature is stirring, not even the Dumps.  Having spent a glorious sunset down on the beach with all of their friends whilst the husband dj'ed and spun us into the night with some amazing tunes at our favourite beach shack...they were tired little rug rats by the time we wandered back home.

Egg made the journey shoe-less as his beloved flip-flops went missing on the beach, and was only consoled by landing the privilege of being sole torch bearer in order to ensure he didn't squish his bare toes into any gooey cow pats.  

Dumps was too busy muttering 'marshmallows...marshmallows' to notice what he was stepping in.  Several days ago, knowing that the lack of a Toys R Us or equivalent was going to somewhat hamper the quality (and quantity) of gift-giving this year, I suggested that we have a family campfire on Christmas Eve and roast marshmallows.  They went for it big time and the husband valiantly whipped up a campfire a boy scout would have been proud of, in just a matter of minutes.  Okay, so he used some petrol from his bike to get things started - but still - if left to my own devices I would have had the children holding marshmallows on forks over our two ring gas hob.

I think we did a fairly good job this year, all things considered.  The boys have bulging 'santa sacks' filled to the brim with sweets and little toys (all of which will break within minutes but hey that's not my problem) and a few little presents each.  Based on how spoiled they were last year, I reckon it will be just enough to keep their attention before they launch themselves onto a stratospheric sugar high from all of those Indian additives and preservatives.

Our local town has a little shop where we procured a tiny plastic christmas tree for the boys the other day.  It's so small it's comical, and perched atop an old plastic chair, it's certainly not going to win any awards in Home & Garden.  Their bedroom is  bathed in a magical hue thanks to the little blue fairy lights which must go some way towards compensating for what must undoubtedly be a sandy bed ce soir, and our kitchen/living area is festooned with red tube lighting, making our home feel like the inside of a psychedelic hindu temple.

Tomorrow we will be breakfasting on the beach with fresh fruit salad, banana porridge and cheese omelettes.  If we were back home it would be homemade blueberry pancakes drenched in maple syrup, fresh whipped cream and strawberries, copious amounts of champagne and orange juice, and toasted cheese croissants.

Instead of warming up to a fire in the hearth after a long walk on the Common, we'll be baking in the hot sun, sipping fresh lime sodas like they're going out of fashion, and diving into the Arabian Sea to cool off.

Later, for Christmas dinner, instead of roast potatoes, homemade mince pies and a cheese board, we're heading to a Reggae Barbeque Feast at a local hotel which boasts the only swimming pool in the area.  The husband will once again get to flex his dj muscles there and we'll spend a no doubt lovely day mingling and giggling with loads of our friends - both old and new.

For lo and behold, Christmas wishes do come true.  After several abortive attempts it appears that our friend DID get his visa at the last possible moment and is currently squished into a seat in a big Air India jumbo jet hurtling his way east towards us now as we speak.  Our other friend sadly won't arrive till Boxing Day, but I'm betting that some major chilling out, a few Kingfishers and his first swim should put paid to any lingering hostility towards the Visa granting officials.  Grrrrr...

As for me, I've now got to re-fill the santa sacks, place the six presents around the tree for the monsters and hope neither of them get up for a wee break in the middle of the night and ruin the surprise.

And I've also got to empty the plate of treats Dumpie left out for Santa (two marshmallows, some assorted broken cookie pieces and some dried up raisins and cornflakes), and steal away the sweet letter Eggs wrote to Santa.

Then this tired elf is going to bed...visions of champagne and cheeseboards dancing in her head (...seriously)...

Thursday, 23 December 2010

"The Holiday Curse?"

It would seem that the husband and I appear to be cursed at the moment.  Three different sets of friends have been planning to fly out and join us for Christmas festivities, but EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM have been beset by the most unbelievably bad luck and currently have their exotic festive holidays stuck in the no man's land of Indian Bureaucracy.

And it's not like you can even blame the 'Great British Freeze of 2010' (as it will no doubt go down in history) or the third-world-esque conditions of the formerly mighty Heathrow.

No, it's plain and simple Indian Bureaucracy from the sounds of it.  One friend submitted the requisite photos needed for the visa application, as did his girlfriend.  They were procured from the same photo place, and indeed the only thing different were their respective mugs, but his was accepted and hers was rejected!

Another friend has also had his visa application curiously rejected today (he was due to fly in the next 24 hours), after having submitted it three weeks ago through a specialist visa service!

And our other mate was due to arrive a few weeks ago but had to rebook his trip for the end of the month due got problems.

What's going on?  Are we bad luck?  Why do the official powers that be want us to be alone this year?It's starting to feel a bit like 'Lost', only we're not stuck on an island but rather the Indian subcontinent.  And it's not like we can't leave - only no one can come to us!

And that kind of sucks.  For this year the focus was going to be less about the 'presents' and more about the 'presence' (of our good mates).

Here's hoping they make it.  All of them.  And that we're not REALLY cursed.  Because that would really suck for all our friends and family.  Besides - it's pretty hard to believe we're cursed when we're currently residing in one of the Top Ten Destination Spots (according to a recent Guardian online poll) for Christmas 2010...

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

"A Family That Parties Together..."

Last night we did something that many families across the world indulge in around this time of year...we attended Dumpie's Kindergarten Christmas Party.

Of course this being Goa, it was less lukewarm canapes and £5 bottles of plonk, and more watermelon juice, Kings beer and veg thali's accompanied by little clay pots filled with curd.  The husband even played a rousing duet of Jingle Bells with Dumpies guitar wielding kindergarten teacher as 'Santa Clause' (a huge tanned Spaniard) lumbered into the restaurant trying to escape the swarm of greedy little munchkins clustered at his feet demanding their presents.

I was none too surprised to discover that Dumpie was leading the charge and subsequently secured himself a front row standing room only place for the handing out of loot.  Upon receiving his present he calmly ripped it open, revealing a cheap plastic taxi car whose roof rack busted within the first few minutes.  (What do you expect when there are only three little toy stores in town, all with the same cheap plastic garbage, and you have a proviso of 100 Rupees per gift...basically £1.50!)

Despite my best 'vroom-vroom' sounds and energetic manhandling of said plastic junk, he was none too impressed with his little gift and spent the remainder of the party hunting for the now departed Santa in order to trade his gift for a better one.  (Ah, if only that were allowed, no doubt there would be a queue longer than the boxing day one outside Selfridges, comprised of disgruntled housewives clamouring to exchange power tools, ill-fitting lingerie and Paris Hilton perfume...)

The husband made himself fairly scarce throughout most of the night, choosing instead to chat to the most interesting person in the room.  No, not a fellow parent, but rather the somewhat elderly dutch dj of somewhat indeterminate sex, puffing away on a suspicious looking homemade cigarette...Apparently he/she owns 11,000 odd pieces of vinyl, has lived here in Goa for the past seven years and never made it home last night (this last little tidbit gleaned when seeing her/him ride by on a scooter this morning in the same bright blue t-shirt)

Fair enough.  I suck at small talk and so was doing my best to keep myself to myself, whilst monitoring the dessert table where Dumpie once again stood in prime position, waiting to get his grubby little paws on the first slices of the chocolate cake.  He was welcome to it.  I know from experience (and a tiny bite was conclusive) that Goans just don't 'do' good baked goods.  It was an eggy, bland creation which looked like is should have been oozing with dark chocolate goodness and instead left me mildly gagging and Dumps spitting up his remains onto my Havaianas underneath the table.

Aside from the general chaos resulting from a plethora of wild haired, sandy children running around tables and occasionally escaping outside onto the sand in a 'Lord of the Flies-esque' formation, it was a fairly moderate affair.  Even the sight of two progressive nursing mothers (their children easily able to talk, walk, and probably do beginners calculus) failed to elicit any real interest from my roving eyes.

Ho ho ho...

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

"Mummy Giveth...and Mummy Taketh Away"

So 'Sprinkle' the kitten is no longer with us.  No, we did not kill it. (Though had we continued to 'foster' it for even a few more days that would have been fairly likely I imagine).

After cradling it for four hours in my t-shirt yesterday morning, stroking its little head with my index finger, and risking incontinence just because I didn't want to disturb its slumber...I was somehow able - despite the great emotional attachment - to hand it over to a stranger on the beach last night.

Now in all fairness, this stranger does volunteer at a local animal welfare place, but she also confessed that there was no way she was going to stay up all night and feed it milk every two hours through an eyedropper.  She made it clear that her three dogs took priority and that the best she could do was put it safely in another room till morning.

The husband looked hesitant, Egg looked distraught, and Dumpie kept repeating, "Why that lady take our puppy?" (Poor Dumps never got over the sudden 180 on the 'species switcheroo'.)

Being the voice of reason, and not wanting dear Sprinkles to die on my watch, I handed over the box resolutely and said, "No here - you take it.  It's better."  Then I marched off down the beach, Egg's hand in mine, trying to explain why we had to give his first 'pet' away, whilst simultaneously trying to decide upon which beach restaurant we should inflict ourselves for dinner.

It didn't go over well.  Poor Egg is still upset and bless his little heart this morning he took himself off privately to write Sprinkles a little letter begging him to come home.  Reading it brought tears to my eyes and I got a little catch in my throat.

The only thing for it is to distract him with thoughts of inventing. The husband recently got a miniature lab coat made up for him in town, which Egg wears when he's 'off-duty' at home.  He has even made a sign on his bedroom door which says, "Inventor Eggie".

I bet that right about now Egg is wishing he could invent a new mother.  One who didn't insist on the husband bringing a tiny UNIDENTIFIED infant animal home to nurse, only to casually give it away to a lady on a beach 48 hours later.'s going to take an awful lot of Maaza's to make up for this one (sigh).

Monday, 13 December 2010

"I Think I Smell A Pussy Cat"

"Change your blog post" the husband advised, upon finding out that it was a kitten not a puppy we had rescued last night.

"No," I stubbornly said.  "Besides, I'm still not convinced it's a cat."

A mate dropped by today and raised his eyebrows when we showed him our 'puppy', declaring, "You know that's a cat right?"  Gulp.  No.  We did not.

Okay, so it turns out that we are in possession of a newborn kitty-cat - not puppy as we formerly thought.

(Mind you, the jury is still technically out on that one for me, given the gargantuan size of its 'paws'...but I digress.)

This morning I was greeted by an email from my sister saying, "Are you sure it's not a rodent you've rescued and are sharing your bed with?"  She was doubtful given the fact that we'd had to Google in order to suss out exactly which gene pool our new pet hailed from.

In fact the husband confessed last night to also waking up and double checking that we hadn't just begun nursing a newborn rat (you should see its tail).

Anyway, I'm kind of glad it's a kitten because there is no way I could give up a puppy.  I am after all, a dog person.  And the husband is a cat person.  Which might explain why he was up several times throughout the night, feeding the little thing through a straw and stroking it to sleep, while I, with the best intentions in the world, could do little more than gaze on through sleep deprived eyes, my only task being official 'light switcher-on person'.

Now it all makes sense.  Inherently I must have known that it was of the feline variety, and vice versa the husband.

But don't get me wrong.  I have spent the entire morning with this little ball of mewling fluff wrapped in my all saints cardigan, stroking its tiny head and rocking it to sleep.

Nonetheless, the case remains that as a 'dog person', I am not willing to take on any more dependents at present - especially the aloof, non-licking, non-wagging-of-the-tail variety.

(But it's still darn cute.  Check it out this morning as the husband gave our 'puppy' a bath in our pasta pot.  Priceless.)

Sunday, 12 December 2010

"The World's Tiniest Puppy...Or The Case Of The Criminally Cute Critter"

The husband and I are on our bed, gazing in wonderment at the tiniest of tiny newborn pups, swaddled in our old bedclothes.

What is a newborn puppy doing in our bed you might ask?

Good question.

On the way home from dinner on the beach tonight, the husband stopped when he heard this faint sound of mewling by the side of the road.  He bent down and scooped up a tiny abandoned newborn puppy (hey, this is India after all.)

It immediately stopped crying and I pointed out the obvious.

"We have to take it home you know."

"What about its mother?"

"Do you see any other pups about?  It's obviously been abandoned and if we leave it here it won't make it through the night - not with so many hungry predators about."

He sighed, knowing I was right.  Egg and Dumpie piped up chanting, "We want a pet please can we have a pet we've never had a pet pleeeeeeaaaaaaaase Mama Dada pleeeeeeaaaaaase?!"

So you see, what could we do?

As we trudged home, the husband delicately cradling this miniscule new life in his palms, he gently stroked it and muttered, "I've always liked cats better than dogs anyway."

It sure didn't seem like a kitten to me, but then who was i to argue? It was dark and he was at least consenting to bring it home with us, so I kept my mouth shut.  And, assuming it survived the next crucial few weeks, it would provide two adoring boys with a darling pet until we leave India.

Once home we heated up a milk and water combination, made sure it wasn't too hot, then proceeded to feed it droplets of liquid through a straw...mostly unsuccessfully, but some made it in.

Having looked up some information on Google, the husband has ascertained that it is indeed from the canine genetic pool and not feline as he had suspected/hoped.  Oh yeah, and he's discovered that it needs to be fed every 2-3 hours.

Oh no.  We've gone through this twice before with the monsters and night feeds consisted of one of us grabbing the baby, latching him onto me and falling promptly back asleep.  Somehow I don't see this working the same way.

What have we gotten ourselves into??  Currently it is 'feeding' then napping for twenty minutes then crying, then feeding, then napping for twenty minutes, then.....(get the picture?!)

All I can say is its lucky it's so darn cute.  Criminally cute.  Off the richter scale cute.  Seriously.  Will that be enough to ensure that the sleep deprived husband and I manage to pry our exhausted selves out of bed ad infinitum through the night?  I'd like to think so but...

Stay tuned...

Friday, 10 December 2010

"Sending Out An S.O.S....Husband Come Home!"

The countdown is on...the husband comes back today.  This past week's experiment 'solo parenting' the monsters has felt like the looooongest week in personal history.  
(The week I was overdue waiting to birth the Dumps felt shorter.)

Indeed, I am heralding the husbands return with as much excitement as I would Santa Claus (if indeed he were real), or a six hour carte blanche shopping spree binge-a-thon at Selfridges.  I kid you not.

I got the phone call yesterday afternoon.  The motorcycle had broken down about four or so hours south of here.  Something about a battery.  (I wasn't really listening...merely absorbing the fact that I'd be alone yet another night, and had ANOTHER nightmarish dinner to survive and yet ANOTHER bedtime ritual to complete on my own.)

Dumpies kindergarten teacher suggested that he may just be dealing with a surge of testosterone these days, or in need of an outlet to vent.  To that end we have been 'loaned indefinitely' the school's little Mickey Mouse punching bag.

He loves it.  He makes me stand there holding it aloft several times a day while he jabs and gives it a right,  a left, a quick right and then two sharp lefts.  The boy is a natural.  Should I be scared?

Meanwhile he's holding me hostage over dinner each night.  The deal is, Dumpie gets a milkshake for dessert if he finishes his dinner and doesn't cause trouble.  Of course this has meant that he's taken to burying his expensive freshly made fish fingers in the sand (much like I found him burying his 'toilet' in the front yard the other day using his sand shovel and sporting a cheeky grin - explaining that he just 'felt' like doing it outside...nice), and continuing to terrorise Egg for a go on his Nintendo DSi.

I am sick of breaking up sand throwing fights, stick warfare and water bottle tippage for laughs.  I am sick of being followed home by a chanting four year old, "Silly Mama stupid Mama...etc." while the local Indians look on with mirth - no doubt finding my rebellious, defiant, very naughty child the most fun they can have without watching telly.

I am sick of it taking 2+ hours to get Dumpie dressed in the morning, only to have whatever I've managed to get him wrangled in, lassoed into the bathroom courtesy of his 'light saver' and into the dirty toilet - rendering it good for nothing but the laundry bag.

I am sick of nightly chasing Dumpie up and down the beach after dark (his beloved birthday torch is STILL around believe it or not, but out of batteries due to almost constant use), stepping on cow droppings and utterly self-conscious in front of rows of assembled diners under the stars.

I am sick of having to pick out discoloured bits of wheat in Dumpie's porridge because they do not make the grade, whilst he stands over me with his toilet brush night stick, tapping me on the wrists if I do not do it fast enough.  And at the end of it all he is just as likely as not, to tip the whole mess over the side where it will be fought over by stray dogs and vicious crows, while Dumpie demands, "Toast and jam Mama!"

Can you tell I've nearly lost it??  It's so bad that Dumpie's teacher the other day gazed at me with great compassion and kindly asked, "Are you doing okay?"

Am I doing ok?  I most definitely am not.

What lessons have I learned this week?

1.  Don't give in to a terrorists demands...however tempted you may be.  Chocolate milkshakes are just the beginning.

2.  Running up and down the beach after a startlingly fast little runner may be good for the heart but bad for the self-esteem.  Make sure you are not wearing flimsy bandeau at the time.  Not a good look.

3.  If you suspect you have spawned an uber-naughty child and find yourself 'between relationships', do something about it now.  It takes two to tango with a 'challenging' child.  One to be on the front line whilst the other self medicates with a cocktail or a massage.  Trust me.

Bring on the husband....

Monday, 6 December 2010

"Down in the Dumps"

This morning, trying to get Dumpie dressed for kindergarten, was akin to trying to rope a headstrong rodeo bull.

Shielding all vital organs, I grasped his giggling, wriggling form whilst attempting to reach over and manoever a t-shirt over his thrashing head.

He got away, grabbed his most recent version of a 'light saver' (the remains of a discarded toilet brush found in a junk pile near the beach a week ago) and went hurtling out the open door into the yard - gleeful and victorious.

This went on for the better part of half an hour until I managed to sneak up on him, grab him from behind and wrestle a shirt on.  A pointless endeavour as it turns out, for moments later he had undressed and stood laughing in the corner as he whipped the shirt across the room, overcome with mirth.  What fun.

Dumpie's N.F. ('Naughty Factor') has risen to an uncomfortable 10/10 I miserably told the husband when we spoke last night on the phone.  I think Dumps is taking advantage of his Dada's absence by seeing how far he can push his Mama over the edge.  So far it's Dumps 8 and Mama nil.

Every time we go to the beach, I spend a good portion of the time depositing Egg somewhere and begging him to stay put while I chase his little brother up and down the sand, trying to catch the little scamp whilst inadvertently putting on a show for tourists eating at the beach shacks.  As I am not wearing a high cut sexy red bathing suit at the time, and at any rate do not possess the assets needed to shift the scene into anything resembling an R-rated mode, I imagine the image is less 'Baywatch' and more 'World's Mummies Gone Mad'.

I really have no recourse but to hold on for a few more days until the husband returns from his motorcycle odyssey - hopefully refreshed, revitalised, and ready to deal with his second-born son who is clearly in method acting training for a role in the upcoming remake of the exorcist.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Might As Well Face It You're Addicted To...Umm...The Internet?!

Okay, okay...guilty.  I've been absent from not only my blog, but various bits of my life as well these past few weeks.

I've received some emails asking where the heck I've been, and I started wondering why it is that I never seem to have a spare moment to sit down and write anymore.

Two reasons (in no particular order):

1. Brand-spanking new Internet Connection recently installed in our Goan village home...ah let's see...around two weeks ago

2. Dumpie.  Nuff said.

First off, the husband and I have had to admit to ourselves that we're internet addicts.  Hardcore ones.  We had a connection in Bali of course, but it was intermittent at best and we had to log on each time, frugal with our usage as we were getting billed by the minute.

Now however, with all the worlds information at our fingertips 24/7 (!) once again, it has come to our attention that we have a BIG problem.  We just can't stay off it!

Whether it's emails, facebook, myspace, news sites, downloads, skype, ichat, youtube or whatever, there's always just 'one more thing' we need to click on, and before you know it, whole hours have passed with the husband and I staring intently at our laptop screens, barely acknowledging each other except by email (I kid you not).

So...going to have to work on that one.  After all, there is something inherently ridiculous about living the simple life, dressed in little more than a bikini and sarong everyday, yet manically browsing my favourite online fashion stores for clothes I'll never buy, simply because I'm in need of a fashion fix.


The other 'problem' (is it wrong to refer to your second born son as a 'problem'?) is Dumpie. ( to bring up at the next weekly parenting course...which fyi really exists and the husband and I - much to our amusement - actually attend...more on that some other time.)

I liken my darling four year old son to a character in 'Lord of the Rings'.  He is growing in power and strength daily, and I am finding it increasingly difficult to win even a fraction of the daily battles we have over...pretty much everything.  He is clever, manipulative, strong, fast, and cunning.  First thing in the morning before we've even awoken, it is common to come to and find him beating the husband and I about the head with a big pillow demanding we 'wake up and get out of bed'...even if it's still dark outside.

Nightly it's a constant battle to first get him ready for bed (coercing him into the shower, then chasing him down - often half naked - through the yard in the pitch dark following the light of his little torch) and then of course KEEPING him in bed long after Egg has fallen asleep.

He thinks nothing of terrorising fellow diners in restaurants, and just this morning I had to physically carry him away from his perch atop a nearby chair where he was heckling an Israeli man for having pakora for breakfast and eating too quickly.

I then found him minutes later chastising our waiter for being a 'bad boy' and not bringing his banana lassi fast enough.  I died.

Can anyone out there tell me whether there is such a thing as the 'Filthy Fours?'  I don't know what it is these days but the husband and I are being run ragged by the adorable but uber-naughty Dumps.  He is well known in the area...local waiters greet him by name, and often scoop him up for a cuddle as he walks by, before dropping him to the ground as he whacks them on the side of the head with his little light sabre and wriggles out of their grasp.

At any rate, in the spirit of camaraderie, I have insisted that the husband take off on a much-needed road trip for a few days.  There is no point the both of us suffering, and hopefully he'll come back with strength and determination anew.

Besides, I like a good challenge, and surviving alone with two little boys, no help and no husband for the time being will show me what i'm made of.

I shall not be sharing my revelations with you.  (Nor, does it seem, should I be returning to the parenting course to learn further ways to 'reason' with my children and pacify them using soft words and gentle little tricks.  The money would be better spent on an extra round of Kingfishers at dinner each my humble opinion.)