Monday, January 31, 2011


I'm 'not allowed' to post on FB about this, so I'm going to say it here:

Ollie just did the most amazingly HUGE poo. He has been grunting and straining all morning and just now he burst into tears and started screaming. I took him to the change mat and pulled off his nappy to find just THE most enormous poo. It was easily 4 cm in diameter at its widest point (about 1 and 2/3 inches). It would have hurt MY bum coming out.

He did a similarly sized poo over the weekend, and now I fear he has a fissure again. This is a vicious cycle because the more it hurts, the more he avoids letting it go so the harder and more compacted his poo gets until it is so massive it just has to come out and he tears again. We went through this last Christmas and he ended up not only massively constipated but also with a urinary tract infection.

Poor love will be getting stewed prunes again, plus suppositories and coloxyl. But on the up side he can have as much juice as he can drink!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Logic for 4 year olds

I'm very impressed by Patrick's growing thought processes. Here's just a few.

1. We have to-day and to-morrow (t'day, t'morrow), so P has invented to-morning and to-now. eg: "No mummy! I don't want to wash my hair t'now!" or "Can we go to the party t'morning?"

2. Using the 'legal system' to his own advantage.
For example, sharing is good. That means that it is good if Oliver shares his toys with Patrick. However, like a certain superpower, if it is good, then it is worth enforcing by might. That is, if Oliver won't share, Patrick has the right to 'make' him share :"Patrick, did you just snatch that from Oliver?" "He wouldn't share it. He has to share his toys". Or, another example- we bought a toy train (of course) for his friend (James') birthday party. Initially Patrick was loath to part with it. Until he started getting very, very eager to get to the party and give James his present. "That's lovely, Patrick". "Yes". Nods sagely. "James will share his train wiv me".

Rules are rules, and non-compliance is not tolerated. "Ollie is being very naughty. Naughty boys don't get cupcakes", "Yes, that is true". "If Ollie is naughty, I will have to eat his cupcake FOR him".

3. Punishment doesn't prevent crime.
We have a 'time-out' chair. When Patrick has crossed the line and ignored the warnings, he goes there for 3 minutes. A few weeks ago whilst we were eating dinner, Ernie was sitting on the chair. Patrick was eating some tofu and then opening his mouth and putting his tongue out to show off the mushed up food. I told him if he did that revolting thing one more time, he would have time out. He considered this for about ten seconds. [I could hear the cogs turning over in his mind]. He then got down from the table, lifted Ernie off the naughty chair and marched over to me. I told him I could tell what he was thinking. He looked disappointed that he didn't get to try and gross me out again.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Talking to kids about death

We had to talk Patrick through first meg and then Bert's deaths- our two cats who died within a few short months of each other. We were just honest and talked about how sometimes animals and people don't get better when they go to the doctor if they are very sick, and  sometimes they die. They say not to use euphemisms like "gone away" or "sleeping" because that confuses them, and they get worried if an adult is 'sleeping' or 'gone away'. We reassured him that when people or animals are dead they don't feel pain or hurt, that they don't need to be fed or breathe. We also told him that it is OK to be sad when people or animals die. We let him visit first Meg then Bert when they were in hospital. Then when they had died we showed him the body and that they weren't moving. The vet gave us a lovely plain calico bag "shroud" for Meg (she was in a cornstarch degradable bag as well) and we drew some pictures on it and wrote her name and some things that we loved about her on it and tied it with a flowery ribbon before we buried her. Bert died at home so we didn't have the 'shroud' but we put some special things in his grave too (his collar, some flowers). Patrick seemed to cope with it pretty well. He asked questions and we answered them as honestly as we could. We didn't discuss heaven or God or any religious concepts because we're not believers, but he seemed pretty happy with that anyway. Occasionally he will bring things up about Meg or Bert and we'll answer as best we can. Occasionally he'll tell complete strangers that "Meg died, she's in our garden" - and before the stranger runs away to call the police we have to reassure them it's a cat not a great aunt! Finally we bought "Goodbye Mog" and read that to him.

Occasionally I'll come home sad from work because of someone that I had cared for died. Patrick gets an honest answer ifd he asks why I'm sad. He understands now that very old people and very sick people die, and it is no-one's fault. He also understands that people die because of accidents. He sometimes worries that Ernie (our remaining cat- yes, Ernie and Bert were brothers/littermates) will get run over and die, or that Grandma or Grandpop might die (they are inestimably old in his opinion!) but we reassure him that neither are they sick nor very old. I think this is part of the normal figuring out process that kids have to fit the concept of 'death' into their expanding understanding of the world and life. I'm glad in a way that it was a pet that died rather than a person, so that it is easier and gentler for him to learn about death this way.

In short- be open, be honest and reassure them that what they are feeling is normal. Watch the episode of Sesame Street where Mr Hooper dies and Big Bird reacts. It's perfect.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What I can't post on FB but really want to

Dear W,

Your aggressiveness suggests to me that you really are quite insecure. You don't need to prove anything to us: we already know you are super-smart. If I ask you a question I am not trying to trick you or question the truth of your answer, I'd just really like to know what the answer to my question is, because, invariably, you know heaps more than the rest of us!

You remind me a little of my friend Blondie- except that Blondie has the humility to take the piss from herself often. Blondie has been my friend for a long time and will remain so because she has the courage to acknowledge that she can be annoying and know-it-all, and makes up for it in her generosity and good humour.

To mis-quote Oscar Wilde: I may take more than one attempt to pass this exam. But at least I will pass it. You, on the other hand, will remain an arse unless you make an effort to change.