Thursday, May 26, 2011

Udderly Charming...Not

I was putting Carl to bed the other night and as usual, on request, was lying down with him in the warm glow of his night light talking about the days' events. In order of importance according to Carl, the topics we covered were the kid who got in trouble for pooping on the floor of the gym changing room that morning (not him!), what we're doing in the summer holidays, who he played with today, etc. I was wearing a v-neck shirt which had pulled down a bit as I lay there so a bit of cleavage was showing and he looked down, pointed his finger and laughed ""Ha-ha, I can see your tits!"
Of course I didn't find this amusing so put him straight about how that (a) wasn't funny and (b) that we don't use that word. He reconsidered for a moment while I waited expectently for an apology and then said "All right...I can see your udder!"

I'm still not amused.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Here There Be Bunnies...

After all that excitement I need some food!
This must be a bumper year for wild rabbits because we've never had so many bouncing around the neighbourhood. As long as we've lived here there has been a stable local population, and the little pile of bunny poo on our driveway stands testiment to the rubbit who most evenings sits there, presumably intrigued by the scent of our rabbits who by dark are safely locked up in the Bunny Bungalow.

 However the dynamic has changed this spring; perhaps due to an increase in numbers the wild rabbits are becoming bolder, approaching our garden even during daylight hours, which has never happened before. It started a few weeks ago: I was putting Carl to bed when hubby came in and said: "I just walked out to the garage and found a wild rabbit in the hutch!" Initially I thought he was kidding; wild rabbits are (I thought)  too shy of humans to ever come into the garden, let alone hop INTO a rabbit hutch right by our back door. But then I glanced out the second floor window down into the garden and was amazed to see a large wild rabbit making very macho overtures to Punky Muffin, who was behaving for all the world like a love-struck teenager who'se just come face to face with her favourite rock star. She was practically FIZZING with excitement.
Planning to take out the competition...wild Casanova vs Rocco

Now one of the main differences between domestic and wild rabbits is their size. Pet bunnies can be far larger, and I've never had a rabbit who could squeeze more than their head through our fence to nibble on any plants unfortunate enough to grow within nibbling reach. But as I watched this big wild bunny easily squeezed like a ferret through the gate! I grabbed my camera and started clicking. He hopped, as casually as you like, up to Punky Muffin and gave her a quick lick on the nose as if to say "I'll be back for you in a moment cupcake" before heading straight for Rocco. It was pretty clear that he was aiming to take out the competition so I chucked my camera on the bed and raced downstairs to chase away Casanova before poor old blind Rocco, who was first stunned then extremely pissed off that a strange bunny suddenly barged into his territory (and him), ended up in a fight he surely couldn't win.
An hour later emergency fence alterations were in place, with extra netting fitted to hopefully keep out the marauder. Days passed and the wild rabbit never returned so we assumed it was a one-off event.
This morning however, as I was working at the table in the kitchen, my attention was cuaght by Punky. For a mute animal rabbits are surprsing eloquent and her body language was saying as plain as day: "OMG who the hell are YOU??" On the other side of the fence was a juvenile wild bunny, about as big as my fist, hopping back and forwards excitedly. Whether it saw Punky Muffin as a Mummy or a Hot Mama wasn't clear but she was out of her mind with excitement at this new development. I walked out to check it wasn't a pet rabbit that had escaped but as soon as it saw me it took off at the speed of sound to a nearby stand of trees, so it's definitely wild. It was gone too fast to take a photo so I've snapped some of Punky in her hyper-excited state.

"Did ya see him? Did ya see him? Didya? Didya? Didya see that?"

Rocco typically missed the whole thing because he's blind, but did his best to calm down Punky Muffin in the only way he knows how...
"Forget ze boy...only a man can give you ze lurve you need..."

Whether she is in the mood for love or war isn't clear but she's now patrolling the fencline like a doberman, hoping to spot her new acquaintance again. The rabbit fencing is clearly sufficient to keep out the wild bunnies but frankly she's looking a bit disappointed about that.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Back To Nature

Buzz Lightyear enjoys a late breakfast

Now that Carl's foot is well on the way to mending - although he still insists he wants to keep the crutches until school starts again (no chance) - I thought I'd share more of our camping adventures with you all. For years I have resisted hubby's attempts to go camping with the kids. It all just seemed too stressful when they were small. We did try it in Sweden when Niels was 2 years old. We borrowed a large tent and headed off, stopping halfway at what turned out to be a crowded campground by a lake. Rain the previous two days combined with the sheer number of people had made the ground muddy and slippery, and as we struggled to figure out exactly where each of the 284 support poles in the damned tent were supposed to go it was inevitable that our lively 2 year old would get bored and wander off.
At that time Niels favourite activity was to try and climb into cars and pretend to drive them. Any car. Not just ours. A passing stranger, fellow camper or lurking child-snatcher would be his best friend if he could only sit in the front seat. After hauling him a couple of times out of cars nearby that belonged to other families he seemed to get the idea.
It was time for a new distraction. While we were still tied up in sheets of canvas (all the wrong shape! How can you make a tent out of 27 pieces of randomly cut canvas!?) Niels spotted the lake through the trees and that was it. His new favourite activity was called 'Run-to-the-lake-then-stop-when-the-water-reaches-my-chin-and-sit-down!'
Can't you see I'm busy?!
He literally would run into the water and plop himself down on the sandy bottom, the only sign of where he had disappeared being a stream of small bubbles gurgling out the sides of his nappy. To a stressed-out Mum who has just spent 8 hours or more in a car and is facing the prospect of sleeping in the mud with a kid determined to either disappear or drown, it was all too much. The rest is a bit of a blur but I vividly remember desperately just wanting to go home; Niels was crying, I was crying, hubby was still optimistically trying to get the damned tent up and I felt like the world was ending. Looking back I can laugh and wonder why I got so wound up about it, but back then it seemed like this was a cruel self-inflicted torture, certainly not a holiday.
The rest of the holiday went ok - especially once we gave up on the tent and stayed in a cabin - but my enthusiasm for camping with kids had evaporated.
Scroll forward 8 years and it didn't seem like such a big deal. The boys are older, more self sufficient, toilet trained, passed the age when they get tummy upsets and holiday illnesses. Surely nothing could go wrong...
The first night we were finally in our tent, me in the middle with a boy on either side like a mother hen with her chicks under her wings. It was dark and I was hoping I wouldn't notice how hard the ground and how thin my mattress was, when Niels said "Mum, my tummy feels funny........I feel sick!"
Frantically  fumbling with the zips I just managed to get the tent open and Niels outside before HEEEEEEAAAAAVVVVEEE! He puked everything he'd eaten during the day in a big steaming pile. Lovely.
Our (second) campsite
Needless to say the next morning we re-located to a new site. After taking ten minutes of agonizing stretching before I was able to heave my aching bones into an upright position, I staggered off to the office to organize a new site for the next night. By the time I had returned to prepare breakfast I was almost able to stand upright, and once the kids were off playing I headed home to fetch the thicker cushion we use for our garden bench to sleep on.
Lazy days...
Night 2. My new mattress is softer but only about 1.2 metres long. I'm 1.65 so obviously there's quite a bit of overhang. Utilising spare clothes wadded into piles I managed to create a narrow mattress just long enough to sleep on, assuming I don't need to move until morning. Rolling over is out of the question. We're all a bit tired tonight so the boys fell asleep quickly, leaving me to try not to think about rolling over or how stony the ground is. For hours. Eventually I must have fallen asleep because Carl woke me up at 3:45. "Mum my bed's wet...did you spill something?"  Unbelievable, he hasn't peed the bed for years but here we are. And we're not talking about a littel boy pee, we're talking a 10 litre "look what a man I am" flood which had half the tent awash. All the bedding had to be dragged out, the floor mopped, new pjs found and even another pillow made. Eventually, faced with the reality of 2 beds for 3 people, Carl crawled into my sleeping bag and promptly fell asleep, leaving me trying not to think about how numb my arm under his head was. And how I now couldn't lie flat. Until dawn.
That morning my mission home was to fetch new bedding for Carl and do two huge loads of washing.
Night 3. Nobody puked. Nobody peed. But we still hit the trifecta because Carl had injured his foot jumping into the lake and woke up crying at 2am with it swollen and sore. Eventually after lots of cuddles he settled down and slept again, once more leaving me to watch the tent slowly lighten as dawn approached.
So yes, our camping trip was a success, but I can't say it was easy. The kids had a blast and I enjoyed sharing it with them, but our next trip will also be within a short distance of home, I can promise you that. And I'm taking my bed.