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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.