Things I Know about Boys – Chalk and Cheese

I have two boys, Squidge and Bruce.  I read Mrs Woog’s recent post – Genetically Non-Gifted which got me thinking about my own two boys and how different they are in personality.

By coincidence they were playing a ‘board’ game that day.  It was an A3 piece of paper with a game about recycling that Squidge brought home from school following an ‘incursion’*  by some people from the Henderson Waste Recovery Park.  Re-enforcing their message of re-use, they didn’t provide counters or a die with which to play the game – we recycled the bits from our Wiggles Snakes and Ladders game.

So Anthony and Murray were being pushed around the board.  At a stage in the game the boys had a choice.  Take the short – but risky – cut, or go the long – but safe – way round.

Bruce took the short cut.  It paid off for him first time and he won so he persisted.  Squidge, each and every time went the safe path.  Squidge won more than Bruce but that didn’t stop Bruce.

And that folks, in essence you have it – their personalities personified by a board game.

Are your kids chalk and cheese?


* one of my most HATED words is incursion.  Had the people who chose to use this word in this way bothered to look it up in a dictionary?  A hostile entrance into a territory.  I feel uneasy every time I’m asked for permission for a child to participate in an incursion.  Just what am I signing them up for?


Things I Know About Boys – Illnesses

This post should really be called Things I Know now that I’m a Parent as I’m sure that these equally apply to girls as to boys.

I have been surprised in lots of ways since becoming a parent.  Who knew that little baby boys could wee so much, so often and with such force as you change their nappy?

However, it would have to be ‘conditions’ that kids end up with that have been most surprising.  I remember as a child having mumps (should have listened when my Mum told me not to go and talk to my friend waiting in the car who had them), measles and chicken pox (that was a bad one – I went in to hospital with chicken pox).

Sure, my boys have had colds, flu, gastro (where DB has shown his true colours – didn’t ever have him pegged as a vomit catcher but he’s very good at it – doesn’t dry reach at all).  But it’s the other stuff that people don’t tell you about.

Squidge has been on the receiving end of a general anaesthetic 3 times, Bruce once. I’ve sat with them as they went under, struggling, jerking as if in a bad dream, and coming out of it crying or just hungry and grumpy.

It wasn’t until Bruce was born that I understood why when a baby, even only slightly premmie, has trouble breathing it’s not so much that they could die from a lack of oxygen. Instead the chances are greater that they’ll die of exhaustion as their little bodies work so hard to get sufficient oxygen.

Via Squidge I’ve come to learn not to trust asthma.  Sleeping in a chair next to his bed in the observation ward at our children’s hospital, he was ok and then suddenly he wasn’t and was being rushed to a resuscitation bay as a precaution.  I’ve learnt that a cocktail of ventolin, adrenaline, oxygen and steroids can pick them right up again and just about have them climbing the walls when all you want to do is cry and sleep.

I didn’t know about croup.  The first time Squidge barked when he coughed scared us to death and we rushed him to hospital.  We were taught croup first aid (sitting in a bathroom made steamy by the shower on hot and full) and as he kept getting it we were prescribed a steroid to give him at home.  I didn’t hesitate when I had to call 000 because he was just so much worse one time even after the steroid and I didn’t hesitate two more times after that.

I didn’t know about hand, foot and mouth.  When DB rang to tell me daycare had sent Squidge home with it I was speechless.  He’s not a sheep I thought.  And by then I was at the end of my tether having taken more sick leave in a few months back at work than I ever had in a few years of employment (and I only worked part-time).

Then there were school sores (impetigo) and streptococcal infections in places I didn’t even know you could get them (until I’d watched Everybody Loves Raymond I’d never heard of strep throat let alone strep other bits).

Throw in constant ear infections for Bruce in his first 18 months of life, debates with a GP about how many doses of antibiotics is too many for a baby not yet 12 months old (I still say 8 is too many) and the feeling that we alone are subsidising our pharmacist’s end of year Christmas function and this parenting lark has been a steep learning curve.

I’m sure there’s more to come.

Images courtesy of

What does God eat?

This was the question Bruce the 5 year old asked at breakfast.  Just as he was tucking in to his own concoction of rice bubbles with blueberries.

Often he doesn’t wait for an answer.  He didn’t this time either.

“Maybe he eats dogs that die and….”  <look of absolute horror> “You don’t think he ate OUR dog do you?”.

Me:  “No, I don’t think God eats all the creatures that die.  I don’t know what he eats”.

Bruce is fairly happy with that answer.  He moves on.  That conversation ends.  It could go on but I let it go.  I don’t say “But Puddy’s ashes are under our frangipani tree…” because I’ve learnt from having my older boy Squidge and having had such conversations, that I’d just be opening up a world of pain in the form of never ending questions.  Never ending questions are okay, in the car, when we’re driving to my parents which is 40+ minutes away.  Not on a weekday when you’re trying to get ready to go to school and work.

Sometimes it pays to just let it go….

Puddy (RIP lovely dog) resting in the shade with the boys

Parenting Tip # 7

Mr Literal wanted a 5 cake for his 5th birthday - go figure

I know, I haven’t actually published tips 1 – 6 but well, who needs to see them in order?  In fact, I’m not sure if I have more than 1 tip in me.  So here goes.

5 year old boys take things very literally.  Perhaps 5 year old girls do too.  I don’t have one of those so I can’t say for sure (the dog doesn’t count).

Earlier this week, after having read Picklebums, I remembered that I used to make porcupines – all the time.  But I haven’t made them for ages, so long now that Bruce, the 5 year old had forgotten all about them.

Being a Tuesday and therefore karate night for Squidge, I try and cook something that can simmer/bake away while dropping him off.  Porcupines –  the perfect solution.

Don’t know about porcupines?  Taste has a very good recipe – and it helps to read the comments for some tips.  They are basically minced meat with grated onion, garlic, other seasoning and dry rice.  Roll in to balls.  Pop in a pot of boiling tomato soup and simmer away until cooked.  As they cook the rice cooks and puffs out – making them look like procupines.  We, not surprisingly, call them hodgehegs.

Me:  “Dinner’s ready, c’mon Bruce”

Bruce:  “What are we having?”

Me: “Hodgehegs, look, this one is perfect, looks just like a hodgeheg, all it needs is legs and a little face”

Bruce: <bursts into tears>

Me: “What’s wrong?  Come on – you’ve got to at least try one – they’re yummy!”

Bruce: “I don’t want to eat A hodgeheg!”

Me: <penny drops>  “Oh, they’re not real hodgehegs!  I didn’t go out into the bush and trap hodgehegs and chop their legs off and cook them in soup.”

Bruce:  “Oh”  <blows nose and wipes eyes, still highly suspicious>

In the end he ate two and thought they were yummy.  Sometimes I forget how literal he can be.  Other times I depend on it.  Like when I cook ‘cheesy rice’.  “It’s rice with cheese” I say, neglecting to mention the chicken, bacon, onion and asparagus which has cooked for so long it looks like oozy green cheese.  We lurve cheesy rice.  And now he loves hodgehegs.  Again.  Phew.