Messages les plus consultés

dimanche 11 décembre 2011

List of dos and don'ts

I have summarised for easy access the major issues from which emanate beaucoup de nos disputes.

1. stinginess : mine in particular, I have to stop thinking petit...this one is difficult but I can take re-assurance in one thing since I am une radine I fit into Swiss society like a bee in a hive because generosity is not the Swiss' forte.

2. Bouts de ficelles : see 1. (this is a recurrent theme)

3. Timeliness : Shrek is very strict when it comes to being on time, it is a principle he has ingrained within. I agree with him when it comes to work and professional obligations but as for personal RDVs etc... I beg to differ : there needs to be some flexibility. I attempt to be on time for cours, école etc but personal RDV between friends and family gatherings are not as inflexible.

4. Hoarding : mine again and Shrek's desire to throw out unneccesary stuff. Enough said, I am a hoarder and Shrek is not, he is the quintessential minimalist here and he would like order, cleanliness and an unencumbered apartment. Unfortunately I cannot and will not be able to meet/attain his high standard. We obviously will have tiffs* over this issue.

5. Preparing for the worst : Shrek's tendency to overthinking and readiness to tackle the worst case scenario usually blows up and he takes all things out of proportion because he gets lost in the anticipation before the actual realisation of an event. Take for instance the most recent example : I had an appointment at the hairdresser's for an eyelash extension at 12h30 on December 10th. Shrek being prévoyant had dreamed up the scenario that involved panic because there were manifestations expected for Escalade thereby freezing the public transport system resulting in heavy delays and ruining our day. There would be la foule partout...bref Armageddeon was nigh. He was stressed because we had been invited to un petit goûter de Noël the same day at 15h and he was mightily and highly worried that we would be stuck in a delibitating public transport system rendering us late for the meeting time fixé à 15h (see point 3. re lateness and Shrek's abhorance). We made it to the RDV chez coiffure sans problèmes or delays. There was no such pandemonium and the eyelash extension was done in record time so we made it back in plenty of time. We were even early so we had to hang out for half an hour or else we risk arriving too early for the afternoon tea which would be unbecoming because being on time involves being neither too early or too late, but on time : harder than it sounds. Shrek's eager anticipation and preparation or readiness for the worst case scenario is sometime uncalled for. He tends to lecture me re : why I had to make an appointment on a weekend in December, the busiest part of the year etc etc .... why I failed to see such apparent declic and so on and so forth. I am not very prévoyant and tend to be spontaneous : un vilain défaut but if I plan my life to the minutiae where is the joy in that ? Life can give us bad and good surprises, it can exceed our expectations or leave us dissappointed and desasperated but life most of all should not be une fleuve de predictability.

Anyway I have a lot to learn and with the years of experience adding up should be able to evite and avoid incensing** Shrek.

* tiff

[tif] Show IPA
a slight or petty quarrel.
a slight fit of annoyance, bad mood, or the like.

** in·cense

2 [in-sens] Show IPA
verb (used with object), -censed, -cens·ing.
to inflame with wrath; make angry; enrage.


Once une radine, toujours une radine...

Recently we were invited to un goûter de Noël : an informal gathering whereby we eat finger food/hors d'oeuvres and chat awhile. As Noël was approaching the host requested that we have a little present/gift exchange for the kids. I was told by Shrek who was informed by the host to bring symbolic gifts under 5 Swiss Francs. As I am wont to do I took the route of cheapskate, minimalist approach and so we came with cheapskate petits cadeaux. Shrek was flabbergasted by the kids reaction as they were expecting quelque chose de beau et genial...malheureusement their expectations were not fulfilled and so dissappointment ensued. I felt bad that I had not brought gifts above the suggested symbolic mark as others brought more consequential presents.

So I am the cheapskate or radine or stingy one.

Fair enough...I was reprimanded and chastised by a furious Shrek whom if I had not known any better made it out to sound like I had committed a serious or heinous crime against humanity and that I would have to repent my sin now. Also I was reminded that as a consequence of my actions I should live on a deserted island no less because my social skills are lacking and this will in turn affect my children's ability to make and maintain friendship. Seriously I need to just take a step back and remind Shrek that if he was right then by now I would have no friends, on the contrary I have very generous, loyal and good friends whom I still see eventhough we are separated by two continents. Shrek on the other hand has very few friends that he still maintains regular contact with eventhough he is far more generous than I. Friendship does not begin or resume with one or several faux pas such as the one I committed herewithin. It is a complex relationship that needs constant work and it definitely has to be a 2-way street otherwise it becomes tiresome and wearisome. I understand that I have to improve this aspect of my personality : concretely to attempt to be more generous but I do not feel that the weight of what Shrek had charged me with is proportional to what I did. Finally big deal if kids were dissappointed, if it was our kids they will just brush it off in no time. Kids these days receive gifts and do not take the time to appreciate. The novelty of something brushes off soon after the act of opening presents. They play with it intensely for a few days and the week after it has already been relinquished to the has been.

I want my kids to appreciate all the simplicity and complexity and beauty life has to offer. It is not always about material things but we often forget this and try to give our children the very best we can offer and more often than not this is tied in with how much something costs.

mercredi 7 décembre 2011

Happy 4th birthday Baby Taz

Petit note : Baby Taz's birthday falls on the 6th of December and as disorganised a mum as I am failed to post in time to coincide with his real date.

6th of December 2011 : Baby Taz turned 4 !

Today marks the anniversary of Baby Taz's entry into the world via voie basse four years ago !

We had a small albeit just between the six of us celebration. As requested by Baby Taz (true to his namesake/astrological sign the Golden Pig) the little party involved copious amounts of all les interdites aka junk food : chips, boissons gazeuses galore, nuggets, bâtonnets de poissons panés, frites, bonbons, Rimuss (champagne sans alcool) and un gâteau d'anniversaire décoré haphazardly with crème chantilly and dispersés de bonbons.

Baby Taz received little cadeaus : complets and une photophore/bougeoir de Noël. I hope to celebrate it with some friends in about a months time so there will be more ambience de Fête but for now this will do.

Joyeux anniversaire mon petit cochon (with the dearest sentiments) !!!!!!!!!!

Nous nous t'aimons !

Mummy, Bo, Petit Suisse, Lil Miss N et Lil Miss Feisty

lundi 28 novembre 2011


Recapitulative of the major arm breaking or teeth shaking/losing accidents our brood have had thus far:

At the tender age of fifteen months Petit Suisse fell and face planted onto a shelf losing two teeth in the process. His teeth were put back in place at my aunt's dental clinic and he suffered as the only food intake he was allowed for a whole week was liquid : milk and variants of liquid dairy products via a straw. Shrek and I as a sign of solidarity had to sneakily eat our meals whilst Petit Suisse had his naps. Exactly one week later Petit Suisse whilst running around in circles tripped and fell on the wooden floorboard thereby shaking loose the two teeth that had been reimplanted previously that hadn't had a chance to regenerate itself.In a moment of panic he bawled his eyes out and swallowed both his teeth relinquishing it to the depths of his intestine. This time his teeth could not be retrieved or implanted, they were lost forever in the abyss of his intestinal digestive system.

Many days later I found the two self same darkened thus barely recognisable black teeth in his faeces and that was the end of those two frontal teeth for years. Eventually roots for his permanent teeth grew and now his set of teeth is complete.

Lil Miss N whilst playing in the playground one day during her second year as a kindergartener threw herself onto the sliding pole. She must have lost her grip, fell and as a natural defense put out her left arm to temper the fall. It was unclear as to whether anything in her arm was broken and she had it in a DIY splint (attelle). After several days the pain still did not go away so we went for a radiography and a tiny fracture was discovered au niveau de son coude à gauche. A proper splint with plaster/cast was fabricated and she wore it for several weeks...It healed.

Lil Miss Feisty fell on Tuesday 1st November in the afternoon whilst playing in the playground in the school yard where Petit Suisse and Lil Miss N were following their music course. She was playing mischievously on the slide when she decided to climb up against the slide (instead of the staircase designed for the purpose of climbing). She fell onto the ground and in a flurry of panic, precipitation and natural progression of things used her right arm to mitigate the plunge thereby breaking it. I quickly gathered the troops/my brood and sped towards the nearest hospital. Scans were taken and it was determined that she had a fratured palette humérale on her right arm. She was sent home with a temporary splint and transfered to the Children's Hospital. She had to fast for a minimum of 6 hours in order for the surgery to take place. The next morning after having suffered starvation for almost 12 hours tubes were inserted into her veins via needles. She was calm and co-operative during the shenanigans of tube insertion. She became more and more aghast and understandably so with all the tubes and gaz tied up to her. She was most uncomfortable and coupled with hunger wailed, screamed and was unconsolable. She just wanted a milk bottle but she was prohibited from this basic neccessity as we were strenuously waiting for the operation to transpire. She was finally taken to the operation block agitated, given general anasthesie and her fracture was reduced without the need for titan screws. Soulagement !!!!!!!!!!! She now has to wear a plaster splint for the next three weeks. Hopefully it will have healed and tests/scans come back innocuous: tout est en ordre after the three weeks have transpired. One of the biggest challenges we have to face whilst she still has the attelle in place is personal hygiene. Our concern involves the absolute need to avoid humidification of the plâtre which delineates/anticipates no showers or baths of any kind. As it is winter and one does not sweat or perspire nearly as much in this cold climate compared to summer it is a small consolation.

As Lil Miss Feisty's accident was the most recent dates are still fresh : on the 1st November 2011, she fell from a slide and broke her palette humérale and subsequently had to wear a plaster cast, on the 25th November 2011 she had the cast removed. All is well that ends well !

dimanche 13 novembre 2011

Shrek's geste d'amour

Shrek diligently and constientiously woke up at the ungodly hour of 5am in order to prepare the stock for 'Pho*? bo`' **, undoubtedly our family's favourite dish. He managed to cook pho*? on his own like a pro with the help of his assistante ( without whom he would not be able to get anything done from the horse's mouth himself).

Shrek washed the beef bones and the oxtail, blanched it under high heat to get rid of impurities, drained the self-same bones and put it in a massive 15L stockpot. He then boil it at high heat briefly and leave it simmering away with the addition of oignons piqués avec clous de girofles , gingembre, étoiles d'anis, batônnets de cannelle, graines de coriandre et graines de fenouil for 7 hours scenting the house with hints of cinnamon, star aniseed and cloves. From time to time he had to skim the stock in order to rid off the impure froth.

He then spent an hour and a half going to and from the nearest Asian grocery store that is open in order to purchase the necessary accompaniments/herbs : bean sprouts, spring onions, coriander, sawtooth herbs and Vietnamese basilic.

It was with his assistante's preparations : chopping up herbs, grisly tenderised meat and raw beef etc... We finally dégusté our effort at half past noon.

I am extremely and especially proud of Shrek today as he lovingly prepared and executed/cooked a delicious meal for the whole family. Lil Miss N declared that she loved the pho* bo` so much she requested that we prepare pho*? bo` three times a week. To that my reply was 'everything in moderation' so we can have it from time to time but three times a week would lose its appeal, not to mention the time and cost involved. Making pho*? bo`is a laborious process with lots of little hinging tasks involved, it is a time intensive and laborsome dish, not one I can whip up daily at beck and call. Petit Suisse ate a big bowl and still had room for more. He drank the bowl clean. It was a success on all counts. Pho*? ga` *** on the contrary is not so time intensive and that could be our compromise as the ingredients are more readily available.

Shrek topped the summit when he vacuumed and mopped the floor and then prepared from A to Z two bowls of piping and delicious pho*? for his and my consumption when the kids have gone to bed so we can savour and enjoy the fruit of our labour after a tiring and long day.

I loved it !!!! Ta muchly Shrek, Je t'aime mon coeur wholeheartedly !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

lundi 31 octobre 2011

Fully fledged

Shrek has decreed that in our household at least we will not do anything half-assed : underdone. When cooking certain food that calls for cream and butter we will use the whole shebang. Low fat and light stuff are just pale ghosts that cannot replicate the same flavour burst of a fully fledged full cream.

This very same principle extends to other aspects of life. When we do anything we must do it wholeheartedly and invest our souls and whole beings into it, otherwise it is meaningless and we might as well not attempt and waste our effort in the first place.

dimanche 30 octobre 2011

Les hauts et les bas

Our trip to Ile d'Oleron was marked by the highs and lows which emanate and imitate that of the ebb and flow of high tide and low tide.

Marée basse et marée haute :

Our séjour began in the beginning with the tiring journey to the island culminating in a pétage de fuse because the owner in his attempt to demonstrate to Shrek what he should do when the power is temporarily out managed to blow the fuse out resulting in no hot water or electricity. He promptly contacted EDF (aka Electricité de France) and as it was a Saturday and we were on an island relatively isolated accessible only by a bridge we waited and waited in vain for a couple of hours. It was becoming worrisome because I was scared we might be powerless and sans electricité for the week. The owner had to leave on Monday for his childhood friend's funeral and could not be reached for a few days. As the wait prolonged I was more and more on edge when another phone call to EDF came back reassured that someone would come eventually. Finally the electrician from EDF came and the problem was fixed. Soulagement !!!!!!!!! We were unaware that the power had been timed to automatically cut off in the middle of the night so Shrek having endured a cold cold night pulled a muscle on his back which affected his right arm, shoulder and side which lasted several days but thanks to my magic fingers and soothing massage it got better...

The highlights came in the form of dégustations d'énormes plateaux de fruits de mer et en particuliers les huîtres, endless verres de pineaus : une spécialité de Marennes, les moments fort sympathiques when we played 'Tabou' or 'Ta mime' or just had meals we had prepared ourselves involving the freshest fish.
We also had the misfortune of culinary disasters in a restaurant...
eating at a restaurant not digne d'un nom de resto : the food we had there was by far the worst of our entire trip. Shrek's côtes d'agneau was dry beyond belief and barely edible, I forwent the opportunity to taste how bad it was, just taking one look at it confirmed my suspicions and I trust Shrek's judgment because he is by far the easiest in terms of food and he proclaimed it 'beurk'. My gratins de fruits de mer was dripping with oil and cream and not in a good way, just bogged down by crème and liquide. Enfin bref it was the most forgettable meal and one of the worst meals we have ever had the displeasure of déguster. I almost laughed out loud when the waiter asked as is their habit : 'Est-ce que ça a était ?' to which Shrek had the sly to say 'Oui alors on peut avoir l'addition SVP? in order to evade answering the question without resorting to lying or being brutally honest.

The restaurant behaviour of the kids were abominable as they were forever fidgetting and screaming or being on their worst behaviour which culminated in an ultimatum : if they kept up their misbehaviour they will be left at home with grandparents and we will just go on our own next time . It would be better for our pockets as it will be cheaper and our sanity because we don't have to deal with rambunctious and unruly kids who wreak havoc in restaurants and give the whole room a spectacle. The ultimatum kind of fell on deaf ears because after about an hour they would begin to fidget and continue their merry way. They are still too young : Baby Taz and Lil Miss Feisty to be able to sit still for hours on end and enjoy a meal tranquilly. The older they become the easier it will be. We might have to skip going to restaurants whilst they are still going through the transition period. They are a cheeky bunch and smart alecs to boot.
The disasters were capped by two incidents of pipi au lit by Baby Taz which resulted in the washing of bedsheets, bedsheet protector and blanket and one pipi sur le canapé by Lil Miss Feisty. We also had baby Taz the cheeky one soiling his pants with caca and preferring to keep it hidden from us he took to leaving traces of caca partout. I found him sneaking into the bathroom in order to clean up his bottom and to dispose of the soiled evidence. I discovered his soiled trousers amidst a flurry of traces of caca. I was horrified to say the least and proceeded to clean up the mess with heavy sighing. Our trip would not have been complete without the presence of a few pétage de plombs. Les économies de bouts de ficelles would invariably incense Shrek and consequently end up with pétages de plombs. This is one of our differences as Shrek would insist I was saving shreds of string which are worthless and hence should be discarded immediately. I insist that he is wrong and authoritarian and dictatorial. I will attempt to compromise a little but Shrek definitely needs to let go of his dictatorial instincts ingrained within him. I have noticed this trait resides within Baby Taz and Lil Miss Feisty as well. Like father like son/daughter/kin. It might be an expression in one of their genes that is a force stronger than them : chasser le naturel, il revient au galop.

Kids were on their best behaviour when we had the fortune of being on the sand and they had the opportunity to play with sandcastles. The possibilities were limitless and they were creative : making canals and fortresses and so on and so forth. We also visited a fortress : Fort Louvois which is only accessible during low tide/marée basse because the chemin leading to it is submerged in water when les marées montent. We spent a day on Ile de Ré which was wonderful because the sand was fine and not grainy so sandcastles were the order of the day. There were also playgrounds which delighted the kids and fulfilled their needs of climbing etc. We saw the island Boyardville from a distance...maybe next time we will visit it via a motorised boat. We also stopped by L'aquarium à La Rochelle. The entrance fees were comparable to those at Sydney Aquarium but somehow the experience at Sydney Aquarium felt superior and worth the inexorbitant entry fees unlike L'Aquarium de la Rochelle which fell slightly short of expectation.

Our return journey was punctuated with cries and bruits fortement mouvementé. Kids were restless and the journey being especially long winded got the better of us all. So we fed them all the food we had, invented games such as who can spot and count the number of cows on the endless fields, who can draw the longest linger with their tic-tac will win half a tic-tac (because we were running short on supply). We then gave them milk bottles and play the same 'who can drag out the caramel the longest will win another morceau de caramel'. I managed to break a tic-tac into four parts in order to distribute to the four little rascals evenly. The disagreeable factors was topped by the insistent crise by none other than Lil Miss Feisty. Her wails lasted a good half hour as we had to endure the incessant whines of 'so ti voi bu sua' which means she wanted a bottle and to fiddle with my téton : a habit Lil Miss Feisty has yet to break. Shrek with all the noise, yelling, whining and screams of 'are we there yet?', 'how far have we still got to go?' and the blaring sound of the radio missed a critical highway exit leaving us no choice but to make a detour of 50kms prolonging our already long and tenuous journey by approximately 50 minutes.

And a good time was had by all...

We made it safely home and that ultimately is all that matters and despite all the lows the trip was punctuated with highlights and we had a frolicking good and memorable time.

jeudi 20 octobre 2011


Petit Suisse annoyed because his toys and personal belongings have been tempered with once again by Baby Taz huffs and puffs whilst maintaining and insisting

'J'aimerais que Baby Taz grandisse plus vite, comme ça il sera puni quand il fait les bêtises. Il est embettant !!!!!!!!'

Petit Suisse this saying is for you

'Before one grows old and wise one must be young and stupid.'

I hope it serves to remind you that youth sometime has its drawbacks and other times youth is what humanity holds onto in order to perpetuate immortality which to this day has yet to be attained or achieved!
Maybe one day as nothing is impossible.

Encore et encore

Lil Miss Feisty's fascination with the Barbapapa is astounding. She is especially taken with 'Barbotine' a bookworm. She even identifies with this character and has declared that her sosie is Barbotine so it is no wonder she is very fascinated with books and the world of reading. I am stoked because I myself was a prolific reader. I devoured books in my high school years and early university days before reading became a chore because I did not find 'law books' and constitutional declarations and jurisprudence all that inspiring. It was a bunch of pompous legal jargon and technical lexicon designed to alienate the common person so as to elevate the standing of lawyers.

Anyway I digress, I was expressing my glee at the wondrous enchantment Lil Miss Feisty has engrossed herself in. EVERY chance she gets she will be grabbing a book, her current favourite being the Barbapapa series.

The only hitch lies in the fact that she will request I tell her the stories over and over again. I have racontée 'La Maison de Barbapapa' countless times. After having reached the end, she exclaims enthusiastically 'Encore'. I then recount the story for the umpteen time only to be met with the ever ardent and spirited 'Encore' et 'Encore' et 'Encore' until I am just exhausted because storytelling does become old after the hundredth time especially since I have been rehashing and to a certain extent rehearsing the same thing over and over. I tell her 'dernière fois, d'accord ?'. She nods incessantly as if her agreement that it was indeed the very last time for the day (or now if I am lucky) had been assimilated.
She tricked me because she was just nodding to appease me because as soon as I have finished the book, she will nonchalantly request 'Encore mummy' !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I on one hand am very miffed by her bookish behaviour and love for books/reading but on the other I would like to be able to take leave from retelling and rehashing umpteen times the same banal things.

It is just a reflection of her age and a phase she is going through although I hope sincerely that her love for books, language and literature will not fade and give sway the older she becomes. I would not mind if she became seriously bookish as she matures.

mardi 18 octobre 2011


Our Effacée in CH household is riddled with rapporteurs hence the competition is tight but the biggest and most prolific would be none other than Monsieur Petit Suisse.

Petit Suisse could really qualify for le metier 'espion'. He would be the perfetct candicate as he is constantly reporting on everyone in our household. Frequently throughout the day Petit Suisse can be overheard telling on Baby Taz, Lil Miss N, Shrek or moi and to a lesser (much lesser) extent Lil Miss Feisty. Lil Miss Feisty is his little ray of sunshine.

He would reveal to me what Shrek did in my absence and vice versa which gives me reason to doubt where his loyalty lies. Shrek normally is the master spoiler as he will be way more permissive than me so it's no news when Petit Suisse now and then exposes his dad's foibles and laisser faire attitude. I on the other hand tend to be more severe and heavy handed. I do believe though that without discipline kids and adults will go astray. The trick/delicate nature lies in the handling of the discipline and avoid veering into the extreme prohibitive spectrum which will inspire rebellion.

Petit Suisse is nonetheless A loveable and adorable spy !

Terriblement lentement

My calvaire takes the form of teaching Lil Miss N how to read. Whenever we begin our reading lessons she will invariably swing back and forth, her backbone structure will have caved in and she is spineless thus giving way to a wriggly worm with the attention span of a sparrow. Her concentration level is at an all time low!

I am persisting and hoping that she will have a declic. She is making progress however small,slow and drawn out it may seem.

Shrek has also had the pleasure of patienter avec une petite fille facilement distraite or moreover singe like to reflect/hint at her birth year and Chinese astrological sign. She was born in the year of the Monkey after all.

Persist and persist we must...patience is a virtue unto itself.

I hope it pans out nicely. I cannot estimate how long it will take befor Lil Miss N is able to read simple extracts and children's books littered with pictures and limited literature but I do hope our efforts pay off.

Update Petit Suisse is reading and writing like a pro, improving everyday so the painstaking lessons we shared have yielded magnificent results. I cannot stress how proud I feel that it is a victory and triumph in and of itself because the long road was permeated with difficult upheavals.

Maman maman

Lil Miss N had me worried the other day when she proudly announced that she wanted to become une maman.

Lil Miss N : J'aimerais bien devenir maman !

Seeing my bewildered expression, my jaw must have dropped and I was left speechless

Lil Miss N qualified her declaration : Je veux juste être maman pour de semblant ou m'occuper de Lil Miss Feisty.


samedi 15 octobre 2011

Lesson learnt

In order to curb and curtail rows* and risk of public humiliation or embarrassment I have devised the following formula

1. Do not repeat anything more than once because repetition will equate to nagging in Shrek's world.

2. If insistent on nagging persists Shrek will lose his marbles** = loud missives will be fired, colouful 'French words' will be employed and fireworks or explosive row emanate.

3. Public humiliation will ensue followed by silence on my part. The silence will serve as a fire extinguisher which will put out Shrek's venom and slithering tongue.

4. 'Each to his own conscience', or as Shrek puts it 'Chacun examine sa conscience !'


3 [rou] Show IPA
a noisy dispute or quarrel; commotion.
noise or clamor.
verb (used without object)
to quarrel noisily.
verb (used with object)
Chiefly British . to upbraid severely; scold.

** to lose one's marbles : lose one's wits/mind

jeudi 13 octobre 2011

Frustrations !

The biggest frustration at the moment for me would be the misunderstanding that arises out of not being able to comprehend langage de Baby Taz and Lil Miss Feisty. Baby Taz will request and demand certain things which to him are self evident but I for the life of me cannot understand his desire/want/need/request because of the language difficulty. He is at that stage where his pronounciation is far from illuminating, instead it is mired with trappings as I often attempt and try my hardest to no avail. Lil Miss Feisty suffers from the same fate. I have extreme difficulty understanding their requests and expressions. Often they will be frustrated because they cannot get through to me, I then turn to Petit Suisse and Lil Miss N for assistance but they too are at a loss as to what Baby Taz and/or Lil Miss Feisty are trying to say. I feel debilitated and helpless at my lack of understanding and inability to comprehend the sensibilities with which they communicate. The two are rendered utterly confused because they cannot fathom how it is possible for me not to be able to fulfil their simple requests. They become more and more agitated to the point of hopelessness. They then frustrate me to no end when they begin their 'crises' and cries and fits of tantrum. The more agitated, the louder the crying and the more frustrated they become...until I simply yell out 'STOP'. It takes a catalyst or some sort to end the misery. Miserable ending but the best solution I have found is to distract them (when they have tired themselves out with all the sulking, temper and hissy fit throwing) by proposing an activity or my last resort television. The ultimate bribe when nothing else works. Sweets of any kind also help.

It will be easier with time and the older they get the clearer their self-expressions and explications will be so I will not have to second guess myself when it comes to their needs and wants.

In the meantime distraction is the key !!!

lundi 10 octobre 2011

Recent developments

It is still a battle each night but we are slowly establishing a routine in which kids will eat dinner, teeth will be brushed followed by a daily night prayer for all of our health and well being and finally culminates in the four of them going to bed on their own.

The little hitch in all of this goes by the name of Baby Ben. She tries her hardest to prolong and to evade sleep as much as possible. She will often be heard requesting a milk bottle after her teeth have been brushed. She will also attempt to stay downstairs with us for as long as we allow her to. She eventually surrenders by going upstairs to the bedroom and letting sleep take over.

It is still not a battle won as each night she comes up with des nouvelles idées to distract us from telling her firmly and under no uncertain terms to get to bed already.


According to Petit Suisse

Shrek is obsédé par du travail albeit work. He would be the hardest working man on Earth.

Princess Fiona aka Effacée in CH : moi is obsédée par l'ordinateur and la cuisine because as luck would have it I am busy looking and researching recipes online and then churning out delish food (and sometime disastrious experiments) for the ever hungry pack of wolves : les faims des loups. Petit Suisse by far is becoming more and more ravaged by hunger or he is in that exponential growing phrase which dictates that the input no matter the quantity will be digested as soon as he has finished eating. I feel like I am forever putting food on the table, clearing the table and loading the dish-washer, emptying the dishwasher, cleaning the kitchen and so on and so forth...

Petit Suisse is obsédé by la television and a whole host of other jeux which includes Beyblade Metal Fusion toupies, now folding and flying paper airplanes to be replaced by a new obsession soon enough. Obsessions at Petit Suisse's age are fickle and easily replaceable. The older one gets the more ingrained the obsessions become until it is a well worn habit that is hard to kick.

dimanche 29 mai 2011

Monsieur Catastrophe !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One year of tending to and tender loving care for an orchid was dashed by a few seconds of a case of fiddly hands and sticky fingers.

I had cautiously tended to my orchid as if it was my fifth kid and Baby Taz in one of his moments des bêtises snipped all of the buds that were ready for flowering. The blooms were heartlessly tweaked and hence I am left with an orchid that will not bloom or flower this year eventhough I had been patiently waiting to witness the first blooms of spring. It was a dissapointing denouement.

Sometime Baby Taz renders me powerlessly at a loss for words due to the silly mischief he wields.

He profusely apologised but that did not console or soothe my loss. I really wanted to see the blooming orchids. Blooming hell !

samedi 28 mai 2011

Faux et faux: two wrongs do not make a right

Up until this point in time if my mind had not already been resolutely made up re the possibility of having more kids I reached the summit of no return and Shrek in part helped make up my resolve for me re not bearing any more kids.

Since Shrek brought up the subject of certain colleagues attempting to fall pregnant it eventually led to me professing about childbirth and how some women are presumptious when it comes to the method of delivery : i.e. some are bold enough to proclaim that Cesarian is more painful and recovery time takes longer short they sing the praises of a Cesarian (which most of them have electively) and dare to attack others who have given birth naturally par voie basse. I cannot claim to know how a Cesarian feels or anything associated with recovery and down time because I had four accouchements par voie basse. I am going to call out the women who say that Cesarian is harder etc...BULLSHIT ! People who have always had Cesarian births cannot claim to know what I went through but to pretend that it was less painful compared to a Cesarian is BULLSHIT. I know I am incensed by these idiotic women. If it is so fucken hard to have a Cesarian then do not choose or elect it except if it arises out of medical necessity. If you elected to have a Cesarian by choice then do not come crying afterwards that you wished you had given birth naturally. You have a scar well women who gave birth par voie basse have wear and tear on their vaginas too you presumptious fakes !

Reminder that pregnancy, childbirth are personal affairs and even the thought of sharing it with my life partner has to be approached with caution.

Shrek then had the audacity to crier à haute voix that 'You are the first woman in all of humanity's history to have given birth.' as if to emphasise the fact that I should not rassasier the same thing over and over. I feel I have the right to at least be heard. I did not scream or hurler when I gave birth but it did hurt and I am now not about to hide the fact that childbirth brought on suffering and incomparable pain but I did not let on at the time. Shrek said that he cannot change the past and that he could not right the wrongs he did etc...I am not asking for anything to be changed or the past to be rewritten because it simply cannot be done, all I ask for is to be humoured and validation and to be valorised at least but most of all to be heard. It is rather therapeutic to have a sympathetic listener and not one who nods mindlessly or who protests the way Shrek does.

Anyway I hope I have made myself clear on this front. I am certainly not the first nor last to have birthed babies. I gave birth four times under different conditions and each time was unique in its own way. I want my kids to know that childbirth is natural but it definitely is not a walk in the park and that it is a highly personal experience which can have resemblances and similarities but for someone to claim what I went through was easier and less pained than their own experience I highly doubt that. Leave me alone with my heightened senses.

Shrek suggested that we should not talk or discuss sensitive subjects etc. that is not my point. I need to vent and discuss and evacuate stress via discussion. He does also... he just needs to be more sensible and less judgemental and to listen more proactively, hear that Shrek ?

dimanche 22 mai 2011

Fête de L'espoir 2011

There were animations and games galore as the toy libraries and various associations set up stands on this gloriously sunny day at the annual event known as 'La Fête de l'Espoir'. La Fête comprises of family oriented stands with info as well as crafts and face painting... It is culminated by a live concert with artists who are generous enough to donate their time. The concert is incidentally broadcasted live on the giant projection screen.

This year kids had the opportunity to fabrique their own paper from only three ingredients : pâte de shredded and naturally recycled paper, colle d'amidon and water to meld it altogether.

Lil Miss N, Baby Taz and Lil Miss Feisty were all presented with opportunities to fabricate their own paper and it turned out superb.

It is a convivial time pour tous. I look forward to each Fête de l'Espoir with glee and anticipation.

mardi 17 mai 2011

My Nursery

Flowers in bloom or in waiting
My Nursery consists of three orchids and a mini Lady orchid which is just oh so cute in its minisculity as well as a lone orange lily plant which is just hanging on it seems.

Two of the orchids are thriving with the flowers in bloom still fresh as ever. The other one has buds and is showing promising signs of blooming. I am especially proud of the one that is promising great blooming/flowering potential as it is the first time one of the orchids I tend to actually flowers without any boost or fertiliser whatsoever. It survived and thrived solely on photosynthesis/sunlight and water and fresh air (as fresh as un apartement enfermé peut offrir)

Happy 4th Blog birthday

I began this blog four years ago on the 16th of May 2007, slightly more than 6 months before Baby Taz's birth.

This fourth birthday marks four kids and numerous events and changes and milestones but most of all it is my vent and a great place to document my culinary triumphs and attempts as well as my own personal growth and reflections and the four kids development and milestones to the best of my ability. I do every now and then go back down memory lane via this little blog of mine which is a minor achievement in itself. It helps to preserve memories because writing in a journal just does not appeal to me as much due to time constraints and lack of writing practice. I like many modern citizens have lost the habit of handwriting letters although I still think that the charm of handwriting can never be emulated or lost-

samedi 14 mai 2011

One hit wonder

Shrek has a penchance for repeating what he knows best.

His most reliable and oft go-to recipe is as follows

Take any red meat : rabbit, lamb, sheep, goat or capri etc
Brown the meat
Deglace with red wine
add chopped onions, carrots and laurier together with some beef stock

Let it simmer away til the meat is tenderised.

There you have it voilà Shrek's most proud concoction!

mercredi 11 mai 2011

Strange kinda day

It was a highly productive day with Shrek managing to install Gorm étagères

I had successfully rangée everything in the storeroom so that nothing was lying precariously on the floor but instead had a neat place on the newly installed Gorm shelves.
We had achieved so much in so little time and were ready to give ourselves pats on the back with a celebratory glass of booze. As it turned out we should not have begun the celebrating because soon after Baby Taz and Lil Miss Feisty misbehaved... They dropped and spread a poisonous substance (which Shrek can fill in...) onto our sofa leaving us with no choice but to immediately give them showers to rid off the stuff. We then had to change the sofa cover and wash the soiled cover.

The expression on Lil Miss Feisty's face was priceless as she attempted to hide her guilt by use of a cover up : she hid behind a card pretending to read it to ruse us.

The kids all went AWOL and I had not the opportunity to indulge in a long hot bath because they refused steadfastly to be in bed and get some shut eye.

TOTALLY exhausting.

Shrek was unnerved and his patience was tested.

We should have had a nice relaxing evening to wind down but alas that was not to be as we were stressed beyond our normal (flexible) limits and decided to call it a night.

vendredi 6 mai 2011

First cheesecake

I procured my first cheesecake and one which employed 0% fat cream cheese*. I was a bit worried because cream cheese with 0 % fat does not usually bode well for a cake but I was pleasantly surprised. I will however buy full fat cream cheese in the future for a more thoroughly satisfying mouth-feel. The texture with full fat cannot be replicated with zero fat cheese.

I am quite surprised how easy it was to procure a cheesecake, not a lot of effort went into it other than beating eggs with sugar, cream cheese, crème fraîche and mixing, pouring into a suitable cake pan/mould and baking followed by chilling (preferably overnight) . So there you have it steps of cheesecake making in a sentence.

* see the entry for 'Male shopper'

mardi 3 mai 2011

Rant for the day

I caught the tram at a reasonably busy peak time so there were not many seats left but I scored one. I then noticed a middle-aged woman (not quite an elderly) and decided to give her my seat.

I motioned to her :

'Vous voulez vous assoir ? '

Her response was a curt and brusque : 'Wouah' as if what I had done was a matter of course.

She sat down without one single whisper of 'mercy' or even flashing an appreciative smile or any form of/show of appreciation and then had the audacity and nerve to glare at me and gave me dirty looks because Baby Taz had put his feet out impeding the tram sensors when I had expressly told him no.

The self-entitlement of some people leaves me flabbergasted. I gave up my seat for her and I wanted it back. She was an able body and not old enough to be in need of a seat. I regretted soon after my bad decision to waste 'une geste d'urbanité' on an ill-mannered and self-entitled bitch.

Obviously not all Swiss are self-entitled and ill-mannered/rude scums but I somehow run into a lot of them on a frequent basis...must be my magnetic charm that draws the best out of the Swiss

End of rant !

samedi 23 avril 2011

Little rays of sunshine

I might appear to râle every other day re my kids out of control behaviour or their un-disciplined tendencies but I love each and every one of them and they are my little rays of sunshine.

They do exhibit expressions of affection to remind me that it's worthwhile : the sometime ungratifying and unbearing of housework and child-rearing, devaluation of home staying and merde if I was to work in a daycare looking after other peoples kids and yet send my own kids to another daycare it'd be looked upon as if I was a juggling working mum hence regarded with more value and looked up to more only because I held a job peu importe si le boulot est bien payé ou mentally challenging or gratifying.

I feel devalorised by society at large and can only console myself in the small consolation/comfort : that of knowing my kids are well looked after and taken care of.

Little rays of sunshine because at the end of the day no matter how important a position is or how high ranking ones' career may be one will only leave imprints with ones legacy be it scientific discovery or ground breaking policy or children who reflect their upbringing and education and do their parents proud by perpetuating and upholding devisal and trust.

Unruly rascals aka Les petits mioches = Extremely exhausted mum !

It is a rule of thumb or Murphy's Law which dictates that I will already have the propensity to be extremely fatigued when my kids decide to run amuck and be rambunctious little rascals or energised bunnies without the relais of the 'off' button.

They will run me ragged and since my patience level is already at an all low point will ram me into the ground. I of course patienceless will be grumpy and stressed out and the vicious cycle turns round and round until it stops when they finally are in bed and I get some rest to fight yet another day.

Luckily I have discovered a good distraction 'Jardin Robinson' named after Robinson Crusoe which is an adventureland wherein the kids from 6-12 years can feed goats, bunnies and chickens, they can plant veggies, do natural craft projects, play society games and sling ont the flying fox to name just a few of the activities. It is my how do I convince the animateurs that 2 and 3 year olds are not too young and how do I get them to accept Baby Taz and Miss Feisty so that I could have a breather ?

I am thankful that at the very least Petit Suisse and Lil Miss N adore going to Jardin Robinson and that they are fully exploiting all that this little haven for kids has to offer.

vendredi 15 avril 2011

Male shopper

What predictable results happen when one sends a clueless male to go shopping ? He invariably buys at least one if not several items that are not on the list and worst of all will buy the WRONG thing.

I specified this morning for Shrek to buy 'fromage frais' the equivalent of cream cheese. He came back with 0% cream cheese. Cream cheese with 0% fat is an anomaly, if you remove the fat content you have to rid off the cream, simple logic ?

He could not find frozen spinach leaves so he bought minced spinach which I must stress and emphasise I hate because it is simply hacher to zero texture and taste. It was not entirely his fault as the frozen spinach leaves I had requested was nowhere to be found in the freezer section.

The conclusion to be drawn is that if you want the shopping done properly do it yourself. Shrek has proved time and again that he will buy the wrong thing or succumb to whims and impulse buying.

Madame Champione du collection des coupons

I am the proud owner of the title of champion collectioner of coupons : any and all kinds.
I would like to think of these coupons as money-savers but sometime they can be counter-productive and cost me more money in the end because in trying to validate the coupon by spending the requisite minimum amount I buy junk and inutile, futile and useless crap. I do avoid that but sometime I cannot help but succumb mainly because I cannot resist the novelty or cutesy factor or purely decorative objects or because of 'what if' and 'in case'.

I do draw the line though as I tend to buy things that only a cheapskate and stingy radine like me would acquire meaning everything I buy : items of clothing, accessories, shoes, household products and alimentation etc... are all under twenty and mostly in the tens. Shrek on the other hand is a big spender but he does mostly spend to buy me gifts and to that end/effect I am mostly content.

Shrek's misery

We have had a long drawn out and painfully excruciating history with bed wetting by the two boys in our family : i.e. Petit Suisse and now Baby Taz.

I remember waking up almost every morning for days on end with a bed soaked in pipi when Petit Suisse was in the process of being nappy-free at night. Mind you he was quite a late bloomer re his potty training: he only managed to be nappy-free during daytime when he was almost four which had us all a little bit worried because apparently there is pressure for kids who are about to embark on kindergarden to be propre. He was nearing the beginning of the school year before he finally kicked his nappies to the curb but not without un besoin pour les nuits. Anyway we had a wrenching and highly frustrating time back then. It was beyond my comprehension how he could urinate so much when he apparently had no liquid intake at night and had (or so I thought) emptied his bladder.

Now is no different : except the big difference being Baby Taz has a bad habit of drinking a minimum of one bottle of water before he can lull himself to sleep. He insists on drinking the water before he will succumb to some shut-eye. He has a tendency to urinate and thereby soaking and soiling the bedsheets, mattress protector and the mattress itself. Shrek as our designated household launderer is pained by such an endless amount of soiled and dirty laundry : bedsheets, mattress protector, blankets, sleeping bags and constant flow of clothes.

I feel his pain and I make it a point of taking Baby Taz to do a wee in the middle of the night and changing him two times and yet he still manages to wet the bed !!!

Frustration lingering and continuing.

I do hope that this saga will end before his fourth birthday. Baby Taz you can be so bothersome, exasperating and a vexing pest in so many ways but we still love you nonetheless, we just wished you'd grow up a bit more and become more responsible and less troublesome.

Dental hygiene

Kids being kids will prefer everything sugary and highly corrosive (especially with relation to their teeth enamel) and harmful for their dental form.

Our primordial concern is to maintain healthy teeth and gums and we have failed miserably as parents because the three who have had dental check-ups all have numerous tooth decays. It is inevitable to reduce their sugar intake and to increase drastically the number of brushing at regular intervals. Their level of awareness re dental hygiene is heightened due to the courses given by dental professionals such as dentists and dental nurses at school but unfortunately the translation from heightened awareness to putting that theory into action is lacking.

I drudgingly and painstakingly have to go through the rigmarole of ensuring each and every one of my kids get their teeth brushed properly at a sufficient length each day. I commence by telling and commanding that Petit Suisse brushes his own teeth first whilst Lil Miss N will also brush her teeth. I go on with the task of brushing Baby Taz and Lil Miss Feisty's teeth. I then turn to verify Petit Suisse's brushwork and finally I brush Lil Miss N's teeth. All of the teeth brushing is done not without struggle from the part of Lil Miss N and Lil Miss Feisty but the biggest teeth gnashing is without a doubt Baby Taz as he wriggles and worms his body about in order to prevent me from giving his teeth a good brushing.

The preceding task before bedtime is the dreaded routine of teeth brushing. Enfin bref I detest this particular part of the day when they prepare for bedtime and I have to scream at the top of my lungs in order to get the message across. I revel in the peace and calm when they all go to bed but moreover to sleep and reverie. I do indulge in and enjoy a glass or two of wine or liqueur as a reward for a fully exhausting day.