Thursday, May 11, 2006

Boys update

Both boys are doing really well and are happy and healthy. I am so proud of them with their ability to cope with several ‘homes’ in as many months, a toy and clothes shortage and extreme changes in food, time and weather. Here is an update on what they have been up to recently.

Nic is rolling and wiggling and seems to gravitate under furniture. I have to keep pulling him out from under the coffee table, the TV bench or even from under his cot /crib (see photo above). He doesn’t seem to mind until he gets really stuck. He has started to chat in the last few days and Luc thinks it is hilarious when Nic yells out “Ya Ya Ya!” or “goy goy goy”.

Nic turned 6 months old today. We started him on solids in the last week. His first ‘taste’ was banana. He seemed a little nonplussed about this… but as for rice cereal – he can’t get enough. He has surprised us with his enthusiasm for food. 

Luc’s defiance is becoming apparent. He had been banished to the corner for some misdemeanour, continuing to flaunt authority I asked him in my meanest, gruffest voice if he would “want me to get mad?” through tears he whimpered “yes”, I responded in an even meaner voice, “do you really want me to get really mad?” “YES!” he responded again. It took some restraint not to burst into laughter… of which I did not have very much. I had to hide in the corner so Luc couldn’t see me giggling. I have used the “I’ll count to three…” threat on Luc which had been very effective until recently. Upon finding him sitting on the kitchen table, I told him to get off. Not doing so immediately, I told him I would start counting “One…” “two, three” Luc quickly responded with a great big smile. 

There is no point in getting mad – it is a really ineffective means of discipline. We have found (thanks to Steve Biddulph), that the most effective means of getting Luc to do something is to be really persistent. Keep telling him something, in a calm and monotonous voice, over and over and over until he does it. It is really quite satisfying to ‘win’ these battles… but does not work in the park when he dumps bark over some unsuspecting child (or mum – so sorry Margaret!)… I still tend to lose it on these occasions. 

Luc has an assortment of favourite toys. These include several Toy Story characters: Buzz Lightyear in two sizes (Big Buzz and Little Buzz), Evil Emperor Zurg (Buzz’z nemesis), Woody (big and little), and Jessie (who has since been lost). Another constant companion is Puppy Dog. I am driven insane on occasion when all his toys have to accompany us on a simple outing. He drops his toys as he has to hold too many (along with his water bottle), and has to keep stopping to pick them up. Otherwise, I have to carry them (along with Nic, Nic’s items, my handbag, keys, clothing items, etc.). We had to go for a walk recently to look for Little Buzz, who I was sure had dropped out of the stroller somewhere between the supermarket and home. Thankfully, for our own sanity, this was the case. 

Luc had taken a real interest in my breast-feeding Nic and would sit next to me, pull up his shirt and position Buzz to his chest. He also liked to give Buzz and Zurg ‘nappy changes’, lying them down next to Nic on the change mat, and covering them with baby wipes. I’m not too sure how this would help these characters’ tough-guy images! Luc wants to hold Nic and give him cuddles. He has to be supervised as this game has a time limit and he is likely to let go of Nic as soon as something else catches his attention

Luc’s imagination really amazes me. He has recently given ‘Puppy Dog’ a persona. Puppy speaks in a very high-pitched voice and addresses us and Luc’s other toys. If I want to get Luc’s attention, it is wiser sometimes to address Puppy asking if he thinks Luc might want to do something. Puppy will answer. Puppy is also used to effect with food. If Luc does not seem so interested, I will offer Puppy a bite. When Puppy thinks that the food tastes really good, then Luc usually does too. 

Earlier this week, Buzz and Zurg were fighting over a building block. The block was being tugged in different directions with the two characters yelling “Mine!”, “Mine!” - I am so glad Luc is picking up something from his interaction with other children!

Friday, May 5, 2006

Give this lingo a burl

Following my previous entry, I started to think a little about language, accent differences and then some of Australia’s ‘unique’ words. With Paul’s help, I constructed the following conversation. This would be well understood by Australians... not too sure how the ‘international’ readers of this blog might cope!

G’day Mate. I was gobsmacked to see you the other day. It would be great to tee-up a time for a good old yabber. If you are up at sparrow’s fart, brekkie might be a goer. Just bring a plate - We can divvy up the tucker.
Maybe we could meet for a barbie: some snags, sangers and, if you like, some grog - put some tinnies in your esky (XXXX if you must) or BYO cab sav, you know, anything from the bottle-o. If it’s easier, we could just bog into a hot chook or some dogs-eyes or savs with dead-horse. 
If arvo tea is more your thing, some bickies, chockies, a pav and a cuppa if we get around to boiling the billy – even Tim Tam slammers if you are game.  Better bring some lollies for the ankle biters, or we’ll have Buckley’s getting any time to ourselves.  I might even whip up some chocky crackles or lamingtons.
You know, if we did all of the above we’d be as full as a goog!
In any case, dress code is daggy: trackie daks and thongs or your togs would be beaut. The blowies and mozzies are pretty rank, so don’t forget to bring the Aerogard or your sunnies. We know we live out woop woop, (you’d think it was the back of Bourke) but it is a great pozzy – away from all the hoons in the big smoke. 

Photos above: what a difference a couple of weeks makes!

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Rub a dub dub

I really enjoy a British cartoon show called ‘Peppa Pig’. It is shown on ABC Kids in Australia and is very cute. The main character is Peppa Pig, a young, rather ‘bossy’ female pig with a little dinosaur-loving brother George, Mummy Pig and a well-meaning, blundering slightly smug, and sometimes grumpy Daddy Pig.

I was really happy to see that it was shown on our new cable network (Luc likes it too!). I was so disappointed to find that the show had been dubbed! Instead of the cute voices with intonation and feeling, it now sounds ‘happy pappy’ American with none of the character I had enjoyed. It now seems so bland.

This reminded me of the situation in 1993 when I was visiting Doug (a friend of my sister Jenni) at his house in the Silicon Valley (outside San Francisco). A Nescafe coffee (or similar) advertisement came on TV. Doug commented how this ad had been really popular and had been part of a series of ads that had been running for years. I did in fact recognise the ads. These ads had been showing in the UK and I saw them during my time there. I even recognised the actors as English (from various TV shows, movies, etc.). The ads had been dubbed for the American market and it took quite a bit to convince Doug that these were in fact originally British ads. I could (sort of) understand why these had been dubbed: to suit the local market.

Why Peppa Pig had to be dubbed though, is really astounding – after all, it is in English language and there are an assortment of British programs shown here without dubbing… then we discovered that Bob the Builder is dubbed too. What a shame. The situation that takes the cake though is the dubbing of Thomas the Tank Engine. One of the coups of this show is the use of Ringo Starr as narrator (in the original episodes). Why on earth would anyone think that some unidentified American accent can improve upon that fantastic Livipudlian lilt? We then found out that Alec Baldwin does the narration for the local audience. Somehow, a Scouse accent seems really appropriate for a bunch of grumpy old engines. The man known as the Fat Controller has been politically corrected to his real name, Sir Topham Hat.

I remember hearing that there were some complaints re The Wiggles (who are not dubbed) – and their possible subversion of the ‘American’ language… with the next generation traipsing around saying copious ‘G’days’ no doubt. It won’t ever happen. After all, if TV was such an influence on language, the Australian accent would sound distinctly British-American.

Ay, there’s the rub!