Thursday, November 29, 2012

And layd him on the green…

American writer, Sylvia Wright, coined the phrase ‘mondegreen’ in an article written for Harper’s Magazine in 1954. As a child, her recollection of the Scottish ballad, Earl O’Moray, was that the Earl met a sticky end alongside his beloved, Lady Mondegreen. Whilst the Lady was fortunate enough to enjoy a resurrection, no such luck was to be had by the Earl.

Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl O' Moray,
And Lady Mondegreen.

In actual fact, the Lady was a mere figment of Wright’s poor hearing…it was all the Earl’s demise that featured in the actual stanza.

Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl O' Moray,
And layd him on the green.

Forever more, a ‘mondegreen’ is the term used to refer to a misheard lyric or line.

Which brings me to the end of my etymology lesson and into today…

The short one announced to me today that they had been learning Christmas carols at kindy. With that, she launched into a rousing rendition of ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’.

Humming along, I was suitably impressed with her remembering the lines. Granted they’re not that difficult…that was until we hit the ‘Good dinings we bring to you and your king.’


It appears that here… her version deviates somewhat from the conventional historical version…

One can only assume that the Three Wise men have ditched their gold, frankincense and myrrh and gone with the little known KFC Family bucket, Thai takeaway and Dial-a-pizza delivery.

As any new mother knows…gifts of prepared meals are always a God-send in those early days of parenthood!

Friday, November 9, 2012

What's in a name?

I must admit, I was a little taken aback when my three year old announced to me the other day that she wanted to change her name.

With some trepidation, I asked, ‘…to what?’

With great aplomb, she declared, ‘Falene.’

Now, that came from left of field. She wants to be known as some female Disney deer, the one who knocks about with Bambi. It wasn’t entirely what I was expecting. I was expecting something more along the lines of Cinderella, or Belle. But, alas, no, it was not to be. She prefers the animal-types.

However, it did play further around in my mind, making me think of all those poor children who have been dealt cruel blows through no fault of their own.

Being a teacher, I know all to well how cruel children can be, cruel and highly imaginative with it!  Ask them to compose a short piece of poetry in class with appropriate rhyme and rhythm and they look at you aghast…give them five minutes in the playground with some poor kid with a funny name and they are away…

With this firmly in the back of my mind, there was no way I was going to subject my child to taunts and jibes their whole school life. All combinations and computations were considered before signing the registration papers: initials, words that rhyme with…, shortened versions etc etc.

Sadly though not all parents give as much thought to this incredibly important decision.

I mean, did they say these names out loud?

Hugh Jass
Anita Bath
Peter (P) Ness
Maya Buttreeks

And then there are the parents who set their child up for a lifetime of spelling their name out loud.  Either the parents can’t spell in the first place or they are looking for something unique for their special little bundle…that just screams ‘bogan.’

How many ways can you spell Madison? Apparently several…try Maddison, Madisson, Madyson, Maddyson, Madason, Madasin, Madysyn, Madsyn…

One of my favourite name dilemmas is the parent who has read the name, liked the name, named child the name, but never checked how to say the name. 

My all time classic story along these lines is the one about poor little ‘Guy’, named after some dark, handsome crooning protagonist from a Mills and Boon. Sadly though, he was to be known as ‘Goo-ey’ for the rest of his life.

And then there was the beautiful young girl with the equally beautiful name, Siobhan. Upon meeting this delightful lass, I was quickly admonished for my Irish pronunciation and put in my place by her frustrated mother…

'Her name is Sib-ee-on.'

Obviously this poor child will be correcting people her entire life. Here’s a tip…if you are going to go with a traditional name from another language – learn how to say it first!

For me, well, I just wanted a simple, yet pretty name; something traditional without being too old fashioned; not too common, yet not too unusual; a name that I couldn’t associate with any past student; a name correctly spelt and unmistakeably pronounced; a name that both my husband and I were happy with.

A big ask in anyone’s terms…but I think we hit the jackpot with the short one’s moniker…Lily Kate.

Silly Billy Lily was the worst that we could come up with…

Lily, a nod to my great love of flowers
and because Tulip would have just been stupid!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

You know you’re a parent when…

It is hard to believe less than 4 years ago I was carefree, independent and at the proverbial loose end. Then along came something that changed everything…a shorter limbed version of me.

As we near our third Christmas together, it started me thinking about what parenting was really all about.

You know you are a parent when…
 …sleep becomes that elusive commodity with fluctuating share prices. This is the true meaning behind the term the Great Depression or the more contemporary GFC.  

You know you are a parent when…
…you bend and contort yourself into managing the impossible to ensure that they get the very best possible start in life. Not sure why, I mean, I was here first!

You know you are a parent when…
…you can manage to log on to and proficiently navigate your way around, ergo, the Centrelink websites, without wanting to stab yourself in the eyes.

You know you are a parent when…
…you exceed your monthly download quota and your husband owns the company.

You know you are a parent when...
…Santa becomes your new best behaviour management strategy. Seasonal, I grant you, but following his abrupt retrenchment, along comes the Easter Bunny. Happy days!

and finally…

You know you are a parent when… have unfailing belief in your little dancer and know she can do anything.

Dancing, simply poetry of the feet

Friday, October 5, 2012

Making a safer world for kids

Kids’ safety is no laughing matter. With approximately 250 Australian children killed and 58,000 hospitalised by unintentional injuries each year, it is an incredibly sobering thought. Accidents happen all too quickly, many though could be avoided with a little forethought. But, with mother-guilt at an all time high with any new baby, laying blame achieves little.

Thankfully, my toddler wasn’t a climber. A characteristic that may reduce potential dangerous scenarios, yet should never induce complacency. Which brings me to that fateful day…

After reading a delightful picture book together, I placed the book on the bedside table and the baby in the cot for her afternoon sleep. Leaving her to settle, I continued with the daily chores.

Some time had passed when I heard a sickening sound.

An enormous thump emanated from the nursery…
then a blood-curdling scream.

Screaming is good. She is alive. She is conscious. She can breathe.

All of this was racing through my mind as I ran to her door.

Reaching out to push open the door, all I could hear were her cries of pain.

The door swung back.

The door connected…with her head, forcing her to the ground causing her to hit the back of her head on the floorboards…again.

Rushing to pick her up, she stopped crying. Her eyes rolled into the back of her head. I shook her. I screamed her name, over and over. She came to and started crying again.

After checking her over, I immediately reached for the phone and within minutes an ambulance had arrived.

By this point in time, I had ascertained that Miss Two had in fact fallen from her cot trying to reach for the book that we had just shared. A large lump was emerging from her forehead as testament to the fall. 

And a second large lump was developing at the back of her head, testament to my overly enthusiastic mothering instinct.

Two wonderful ambulance officers soon greeted me. After giving her the once over, it was clear that she was going to be OK.

Asking about the incident, I walked back through the ‘crime scene’, provided a ‘witness statement’ of all that happened, showed the cot and the height from which she fell, indicated the wooden floorboards, and then pointed to the door.

Ah, yes, the door…

It was about now, after the dust had settled, that one of the ambos turned to me with the ever so slightest smirk on her face.

It was only then, and only then, that I could see the ever so faintly slapstick side to all this.

My daughter had just sustained a head injury to the back of the head. Not satisfied that she did a good enough job of it, I then inflicted a second, but this time, frontal head injury.

Six hours of neuro obs later, we were given the all clear to be discharged from the short stay ward at the children’s hospital. Many a nurse came by to meet the Mother of the Year candidate as my reputation had preceded me, apparently.

A very unhappy Miss Two
in the back of the ambulance

I’m not proud of causing one of those 58 000 hospitalisations and I will never forgive myself for inflicting further injury. But, as I started, I intend to finish: blame achieves little; forethought achieves much. Get down to your kids' level and look for dangers and don’t put anything past them!

So, how did we end up? Well, Miss Two was prematurely whipped out of her cot and into a toddler bed; a floor rug was placed alongside; a bed rail was installed; and the door was never pulled around again.

Mother of the Year award is looking good this year!

I am participating in the National Kidsafe Day Bloggers Competition to support and promote child safety, along with the added bonus of chances to win prizes. All opinions are my own and not those of Kidsafe. To find out more or to enter the competition, please visit