...I suspect I may be the luckiest kid in the world

Saturday, May 30, 2009


I think I am able to diagnose MLF3. She has Scoleciphobia.

Each morning I make her bircher and obviously she thinks I am a good bircher-maker because she eats it.
However, I don't think she trusts me.
The other morning I found her carefully checking through her bircher before she ate any. When I questioned her she said she was looking for worms.


I said there were no worms in her bircher. She kept looking.
I asked her if she had ever had any worms in her bircher before. She didn't think so.

I reassured her that I was sure there were no worms in her breakfast. I don't know whether she believed me or whether she'd finished her own search and found my statement to be true.

This has since happened again, thus forcing me to diagnose her with
Scoleciphobia: the fear of worms.

We now have an unspoken understanding. I check for worms before I give it to her. She gets to eat a worm-free breakfast. Everyone wins.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Clear Concert, I mean Conscience

This afternoon I did a walk by of the venue. Checking out my options, seeing what was available.
I really wanted to go.
I saw the band's cars outside. I could tell they were inside. I just knew.

I didn't catch sight of them, however I did walk through the shooting of a scene from probably an A Grade movie. I'll probably be famous.

Then I had an internal battle. I could skip my German class. It was possible. I'm pretty fluent already.
But I was supposed to babysit tonight and Ma had taken the girls with her to an appointment so that I could make German class.

I couldn't skip out on babysitting for a concert with a clear conscience.

Actually, forget the clear conscience. I need an foggy conscience for later on in the story.

The other obstacle was that it cost 60CHF to get into this concert. A hefty price, let me tell you. Does he think the Swiss are rich or something?

So, I've got no options left. I'm sitting in German class, having saved myself 60CHF but really wishing I had spent it.

So on the way home, I got off at the station where the concert was. Why, I'm not sure. It was probably nearly over anyway.

As I neared the entry I spotted a Suitable Candidate. Leaving the concert early due to other commitments or some such nonsense.
In my best scalper's voice, I muttered, Wanna sell a ticket?

I think I probably confused her. Scalpers normally sell tickets, not offer to buy them.

And, in hindsight, I don't know what I was thinking offering the buy her ticket.
I had about 3CHF worth of change in my purse, with a few Euros.

Maybe I could buy a corner of her ticket. A small one.

She replied with some such nonsense about them taking it from her when she left the venue.
A likely story.

And so I hung around the entrance. I could watch the concert on the big screens inside and this mostly was fulfilling. Along with the faint musical sounds I could hear, it was pretty much the real deal.

It was almost as good as the time I really wanted to go to a similar concert, but couldn't, and so my sister rung me and I listened to the whole concert on the phone.
Don't feel sorry for me. And no pitiful looks please.

There was so much security hanging around the door that it made it kind of hard to walk in. But, waiting in the dark shadows paid off and then the doors were open for a minute and the security were missing.
I think they wanted me to come in.

And so I did. This is the part of the story where I need a foggy conscience.

And it was so good. I got to be in there for the last 5 songs, which everyone knows are the best anyway.

And I clapped and cheered and danced like I'd been there the whole time. Really, I was just taking the place of my Suitable Candidate. I was doing her clapping and cheering for her.

A clear conscience and a good deed.


Monday, May 25, 2009

The Short End of The ... Banana.

I don't know how this happened.
She doesn't like the end of the banana. You know, the pointy end with the little hard, well... point. She'll chew up to the last inch and then hand it to me.

When did I become the person that eats it?

How did this happen? She's not my child (perhaps it's acceptable when it is?)

Since when did it become easier to pop that banana end into my mouth than find a rubbish bin?
It was so subtle I didn't even see it coming. No warning, just one day I wake up eating her banana ends.

I never thought it would come to this. MLF3, you have me wrapped around your little ... banana end.

And, in other news: If anyone is wondering what to give an 8 year old for their birthday, I have the answer.

No need to spend money on expensive gadgets, games or clothes.
Instead: just give them a tea-light candle. They will unwrap their expensive gifts (and be very happy with them by the way) and then make wax tips for their fingers from the candles on the table. This game entertains for hours. The presents are forgotten; white fingers are the new black.

Happy Birthday MLF2!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Home is Where Your Wrist Is

MLF3's English is getting better everyday. I just can't comprehend this 4 year old doing so well in French, German, Swiss German AND English.

Tonight we were reading nursery rhymes and Humpty Dumpty came up. She may know four languages but she did not know Humpty Dumpty was an egg. It was like a light was switched when I explained about eggs and falling off a wall and why Humpty Dumpty did not have a happy ending.

I reasoned this with if you dropped an egg, could you put it back together?
She nodded. "With Scotch."

Then she wanted a cuddle and I told her I could hear her heart. She was really excited about this and wanted to hear mine. Then she got sad when she realized she couldn't hear her own.
I'll give her full points for trying though. Pulling your head down whilst pushing your chest up is no mean feat.

Then I showed her her pulse in her wrist. The amazement on her face was priceless.
But now she thinks her heart is in her wrist. And it's really hard to backtrack when there's more than one language involved.

She may know four languages. But she thinks her heart is in her wrist.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Why Does This Always Happen To Me?

So last night I was coming home from a weekend in Vevey.
It had been such a good weekend, but I was rather tired.
I had been on a gigantic hike and seen so many amazing views that my eyes were tired.

I finally arrived in HB and after a slight detour to the cheeseburger factory (aka MacDonalds) I made it to my platform and waited for my train.

Did you know that people judge you if you get a Happy Meal from MacDonalds and you're not a kid?
Seriously, they do. I can't quite explain the look, but I can see their eyes go from me to the happy meal back to my face and then to my really cool shoes. Actually, they would look at my really cool shoes if I had any.

Size 41 people. Give me your really cool size 41 shoes.

From the cashier at McD's to the lady walking her horse through HB they all give me this disapproving look. It's like I've stolen their kid's meal or something.
(Ok maybe it wasn't a horse - it could have been a giant dog).

And the cashier gave me a boy's toy. Do I look like a boy?

I got on my train. I had my IPod on and Why Does This Always Happen To Me by Weird Al came on. Don't judge me; it just came on.

Why Does It Always Happen To Me video clip (some violent scenes)

It's funny, you've got to admit. He starts off with lamenting how this earthquake killed all these people in Peru and then breaks into song about how that news update on TV interrupted the Simpsons.

My train left HB and got to the next station and we sat there for a while. And then it started to go back the way it came! I was like, Noooooo.....!
I started banging on the door and hitting the windows but it would not let me off.

Turns out they were fixing something further down the line and I couldn't take the train home. Instead I had to take the tram and then the train.
I was pretty grumpy about this. Not happy Jan. This added more than an hour onto my trip and I wouldn't get home til midnight, luckily catching the last train home, but only just.

But then I had to laugh at myself. Here I was thinking Why does this always happen to me? when really, it doesn't. And there are bigger things to be grumpy about.

Like getting a boy's toy in my Happy Meal.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Big Shout Out!

I've been feeling thankful for many things this week.

In particular, I'd like to give a shout out to:

To the drivers of the S6 and S16 trains. The ones who see me appear at the top of the steps and then wait while I sprint the 100 or so metres to the train. I've got shoes in hand, my hair is yet to be done, I've got bits and pieces in my hands and under my arm, I'm throwing money in the direction of the ticket machine and I'm running as fast as I can. To the train drivers who wait.
Thank you.

To the folk who stand in the way of the train door so that it can not close in case the driver is not kind.
Thank you.

To Ma, who told me this morning that I have a day off next week, thus I can take day trips to Italy and France.
Thank you.

To my German language teacher. I understood something you said this week.
Thank you.

To the bakery around the corner. I'm willing to spend all my money on the chocolate croissants you make. Perhaps you could give me a loyalty card.
Thank you.

To ML3, who has started talking to her dolls and the cats in English. I can be a part of these conversations.
Thank you.

To all you kind ladies who give your expensive new size 41 shoes to the Brocki that I'm about to visit. Oh, you haven't done that yet? Nothing like a timely reminder. Summer shoes please.
Thank you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Even Then

It's a fear that keeps me wide awake
In the middle of the night
When the expectations are too great
And the bar gets raised too high

So I do the best with what I've got
And hope that no one knows
That I strain to see how high I can
Try to stand on these toes

Until I'm measured, but You know better

So, thank-You, Jesus
Even when You see us just as we are
Fragile and frail and so far
From who we want to be

So, thank-You, Jesus
Even when the pieces are broken and small
Dreams shatter and scatter like the wind
Thank-You, even then

So I put aside the masquerade
And admit that I am not okay
Which may not be the thing to say
But I'm not ashamed to need You more each day

We raise the standard and try to reach You
But we'll never make it, and we don't need to

-Nicole Nordeman 'Even Then'

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Have you ever...?

I was with a friend the other day who, in the course of this story, would like to remain anonymous.
Understandably so.
We were walking along. We'd been hanging out. We were enjoying the sunshine.
It was about 2 in the afternoon (This is important).
She stopped and rubbed her knee. Something was a little bit uncomfortable.
We kept walking and then she stopped again. I thought perhaps she had a small crawly creature biting her...?
But no, she reached up her jeans to her knee and pulled out...yesterday's undies!!
Tee hee hee.
We'd been walking around for hours! And she hadn't noticed it before then!!

It suddenly occurred to me that I could embellish this story any way I wanted to. The one person who knows about it is the anonymous friend. And like she is going to come forward to argue the story!

Would the anonymous friend please step forward?

Operation: Sweet About Me

Never been too fussed about Gabriella Cilmi.
Her song 'Sweet About Me' must have been overplayed on the radio and I can't say I'm a fan - at all.

I haven't felt that I've really connected with MLF's so much. I mean, I really like them - they're very sweet but there hasn't been a real connection. I think the language comes into it somehow - it definitely makes things harder but it shouldn't make it impossible.

And then tonight it was one of those moments when you just want to freeze. Freeze time so that you can take a good look around so that later it'll still be fresh and clear.

MLF3 and I were hanging out before bed and I told her I could play her favourite song on the guitar. 'The Winner Takes It All' has been her #1 for the last week or so. Which I don't mind at all - (and no, I didn't force her to like it. Nor have I been playing it to her subconscious while she is sleeping).

Needless to say, she jumped at the chance and soon we were together in ABBA land. (Sweden?)

MLF1 came bounding down the stairs as soon as she heard me. She was so excited that I was singing ABBA.
(Seriously - how lucky am I that I look after 3 girls that ADORE ABBA. It's like it was meant to be).

MLF3 left to find MLF2, and MLF3 found song after song in her book for me to play. And she sidled up next to me and put her arm around me and sang with me.
I was so happy I could have cried. Or laughed. Whatever you do when you're happy.

I remember being 10 years old. It was hard to express myself in a true way. I still find it quite difficult.
I love that music reaches people in a way that allows them to express themselves truly.

She really wanted me to play ''Sweet About Me' and I begrudgingly did so. And it was then that she put her arm around me and sidled up. And it sounds strange, but when she did so, I felt accepted by her. Not that I need her acceptance, but it was good all the same. Like she was saying that she could put up with me as her au pair for the next year.

And that was a sweet moment.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

He Who Hesitates is Lost (But Sometimes it's not Their Fault!)

Tuesday afternoons involve horse riding lessons.
Thankfully, they don't involve me mounting said horse or any such nonsense. We all know how that story would go.

It does however, include me driving a big car with 4 girls in the back for a half hour each way. This trip includes many MANY requests on CD, song and volume change (I now know why this frustrated my parents so much) but it is a spectacular view all the way there.
Not that I would *cough* know; I'm *cough* concentrating on driving.

Today it included a rather large detour. The turn-off for horse-riding was closed and apparently a detour was in place.
It wasn't.
I ended up getting further and further away on the highway having no idea where I was and the poor girls were a bit tense.
We were going to be late.
They show stress in different ways.
MLF2's body tenses up and she is very alert but very quiet. I hear an audible sigh when stressful situation passes.
MLF3 just sits there singing to herself. And repeatedly asking for more music.
MLF1 is most helpful when I have no clue to our location. She is remarkably clear-headed and sensible and clever for a 10 year old.

I finally exited the highway and after asking for directions from some poor unsuspecting Swiss farmers I followed my nose and we made it to the lesson only 12 minutes late.
I was quite proud of myself. My nose had worked quite well.

I think the horse hair or something affected it though, because the trip home was too eventful.
I missed the first turn off because I simply didn't recognize it. Walk it off.
I missed the second one because MLF3 says the next right when we are passing that next right.
I missed the third one due to a disagreement between MLF1 & MLF2 as to the correct path.

And so it was no surprise when MLF1 kindly pointed out our street and said I should turn left.
And I proceeded to feel as small as MLF3.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Synchronized Relaxation

Spring has sprung and yesterday was so beautiful.
Problem was, everyone in Zurich thought so and they all apparently decided to come and picnic at the same place as I.

Just this last week, I was re-telling MLF3 the story of the Berenstain's Bears - The Bear's Picnic, from which the following illustration is from.
And then yesterday I felt like I was a part of the story (see above photo...)

For a country that has a reputation of citizens generally keeping to themselves, the Swiss don't seem to mind group relaxation. I find it bizarre. But I guess I come from Australia - land of the wide open spaces - where you can picnic in peace.
I'm thinking this could be the next tourism punchline for Australia.
Australia. Picnic in Peace.

I'm loving Spring here - it's such an obvious change. Having said that, today is an overcast grouchy day, but yesterday ... by the lake ... kind of covers for it.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Seat 29E

On the train home tonight I listened to a podcast that contained the following letter.
It was just too good not to post...

Dear Continental Airlines,

I am disgusted as I write this note to you about the miserable experience I am having sitting in seat 29E on one of your aircrafts.

As you may know, this seat is situated directly across from the lavatory, so close that I can reach out my left arm and touch the door.

All my senses are being torutred simultaneously. It's difficult to say what the worst part about sitting in 29E really is?

Is it the stench of the sanitation fluid that is blown all over my body every 60 seconds when the door opens? Is it the wooosh of the constant flushing? OR is it the passengers asses that seem to fit into my personal space like a pronographic jig-saw puzzel?

I constructed a stink-shield by shoving one end of a blanket into the overhead compartment-while effetive in blocking at least some of the smell and offering a small bit of privacy, the ass-on my body factor has increased, as without my evil glare passengers feel free to lean up against what they think is some kind of blanketeed wall. The next ass that touches my shoulder will be the last!

I am picturing a board room full of executives giving props to the young promising engineer that figured out how to sueeze an additional row of seats onto this plane by putting them next to the Lav. I would like to flush his head in the toilet that Ia me close enough to touch and taste, from my seat.

Putting a seat here was a very bad idea. I just hear a man Groan in there!This sucks!


Worse yet, is I've paid over $400.00 for the honour of sitting in this seat! Does your company give refunds? I'd like to go back where I came from and start over.

Seat 29E coudl only be worse if it was located inside the bathroom. I wonder if my clothing will retain the sanitizing odor...what about my hair! I feel like I'm bathing in a toilet bowl of blue liquid, and ther is no man in a little boat to save me. I am filled with a deep hartred for your plane designer. and a general dis-ease that may last for hours.

We are finally decending and soon I will be able to tear down the stink-shield, but the scars will remain. I suggest that you initiate immediate removeal of this seat from all of your crafts. Just remove it, and leave the smouldering brown hoe empty a place for sturdy/non-absorbing luggage maybe, but not human cargo.

[-a rather disgruntled passenger]