And The House of Pun

My grandmother is always telling me:

“Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.”

Yeaaaaahhhhhh… that doesn’t fit our household.

We pretty much live in a cyclone of sarcasm, dry wit, and punishing puns. 

Seriously. We have pun wars. At the dinner table. Regularly. Sometimes they are really really bad. And those are often the best ones. 

It’s like a garden of puns. And none of us can leave it alone. 

… hehehe …

There are rules: 

  • Nothing personal, especially no name calling;
  • Must be contextual, stick with the theme of what’s happening right now;
  • Must be with good intent, encouraging others to join in. Nobody wants to excluded or ostracised.

It’s all fun and games until the spawnlings throw it back at me.
Tonight I had to go and remind the two older spawnlings to quiet it down. Zaltu was already asleep and I said “I swear… if you wake her … I’ll … make your holidays …”

Yeah. Lame. And it really sucks because I know that they know I’m pathetic at empty threats. Especially since they replied, with pitch-perfect sarcasm:

“And remind us again, exactly what that would involve? Like, step by step details…”

Damn. Them. 

They kept to the rules. And they called my bluff. I don’t usually bluff. I suck at lying so if I say something, you know it’s going to happen.

There is nothing as frustrating as the anger at your spawnlings throwing your own words back at you… and the pride of them doing it in the best way possible.

Go on. Share stories of your kids using your own words against you. We’re all friends here. I won’t tell…

The Fan Who Found Me

I am not surprised the spawnlings abandoned me for the NERF exhibit at Sydney Supanova last weekend. To be perfectly honest, I would have been disappointed if they hadn’t.

Supnova Sydney 2017 NERF

But it was at that precise moment, without spawnling or security blanket, I was found at my most vulnerable…

While I watched all three of them bound into the play area, with NERF guns as big as them, a man dressed in black tapped me on the shoulder.

“Look up there, and you’ll see yourself on the television.”

Sure enough, I looked up and spotted an advertisement for Zedtown, the NERF Zombie War RPG event. I had reviewed the media day Zedtown for GeekMom (TL;dr – it was awesome. But now you must go to GeekMom and check out the photos).

Zedtown Preview EG Zombies

I laughed. He laughed. I said well done for recognising clean-face me at Supanova under all the zombie makeup at Zedtown. He said, “Hey, can I guess the school your kids go to?”

Nothing makes your stomach drop like hearing a stranger refer to your spawnlings personal details.

“…, uhhhhh… sure… what makes you think…”

“Oh, don’t worry! My girlfriend is a teacher at their school and recognised you in the tv ad. She squealed with laughter seeing you in the ad! She had no idea you were even interested in NERF Zombie wars, let alone a writer to review it!”

Minions: You have no idea of the relief that washed over my body.

Turns out, he is one of the organisers behind Zedtown (I think) and said girlfriend is one of the few teachers who has known the spawnlings since Sinister’s first day at school. And she figured I wasn’t quite like the other parents at school… She just didn’t realise how different.

It’s a fairly conservative, straight-laced kind of area. Perfect for corruption to my way of thinking, one family at a time. 😉 As a collective, they will claim to only know a few shows or books… but individually they are as much a fan of David Tennant in Broadchurch as they are of his performance in Fright Night.

So, once again, we laughed. We talked about Zedtown. We watched the spawnlings gang up on their father. Good time had by all.

And then I spent the next 12 hours, scouring every post I have ever made to ensure there is nothing about our school name in any post about the spawnlings.

Oh yeah, and I’m pretty sure that teacher has now been updated on exactly how awesome we are at NERF wars.

*throws down the glove*

 

Indoor Play Centre Hell

I have been bribed into Indoor Play Centre Hell.

Nefarious was invited to a classmate’s birthday party at an indoor play centre: multi-level playground with soft-fall mats, trampolines, rock climbing walls… A kid’s dream!


And a parent’s nightmare!! So noisy! So crowded!!

I am down with the Mother of All Headcolds. Instead of staying here, I had planned to disappear and go shopping for a present for another party tomorrow, but the hosts showed Zaltu the play area for her age, and bribed me with free wifi and an open tab at the cafe. That’s right minions: FREE COFFEE!!

Clearly, I am very very cheap.

Seriously though, this is a great party they have put on for a bunch of 3rd-graders (around 8/9yo). Entertainment is included, along with food and drinks. And most parents will appreciate tiring the kids out just before bed.

Only glitch for our EG Family is the 1/2 hour drive home. I will have to feed Zaltu a chocolate bar to keep her awake, because if she naps even 10mins on the way home… Well, there goes any productivity tonight!

Damn you, EG Dad. My Mother’s Day present tomorrow better be awesome!!

Have you ever been to a kids’ indoor play centre? Share your survival tips!! I’m going to need alllllllll of them!! 

Nintendo Saved My Road Trip

I have just come back from a serious marathon road trip with the spawnlings, and my most favourite part of it all was the Nintendo 2DS.

Well, that’s not completely true.

The spawnlings were kind of fun as well.

 

IMG_6175

I’ll be the first to admit I had my trepidations. For the last 12 months, Nefarious has been feeling queasy in the back seat of the car. The EG Mobile is one of those three-row beauties (2x2x2 formation) with Zaltu and Sinister usually in the middle, and Nefarious in the back row.

And then one day he was car-sick. Like “redecorated the rear half of the car” sick.

Car-SickThis was last year…when I had the broken wrist. Fortunately, EG Dad was driving the car. Or ‘conveniently’, as he put it.

Anyway, Nefarious had been reading a book at the time. Aha! I hear you say. Yeah, I came to that same realisation too, Einstein. Mainly because I also used to ‘redecorate the rear half of the car’ when I was a kid. Hell, I still do it now—IF I have been reading for more than 10mins in the car.

Naturally, this made me a little nervous about a 4500km round trip to Townsville, North Queensland.

So, for the road trip Nefarious moved to the middle row while Sinister moved up to the front seat with me (and played DJ/Navigator/telephone operator/food provisions). Nefarious also chose not to read any books in the car.

This in itself was a horrible thing to put on any spawnling. HORRIBLE. But especially for Nefarious, who proudly proclaims his signature statement as “Can I finish this page first?” And yes, he learnt that from his older brother.

And this is where the Nintendo 2DS came in. And I swear, I never had any intention of it being used but it was so absolutely brilliant.

Each boy has a 2DS and a couple of matching games to play, predominantly Pokemon. This means they can connect to each other within the car and battle or trade or whatever without a plethora of cords dangling around or having to climb over car seats just as the police drive by.

 

Pokemon Sun 01.jpg

Image provided by Nintendo, thus proving they were eavesdropping on our road trip 

 

And the 2DS does not make Nefarious sick. Not once. Not a peep out him until we hit Sydney on the return journey, and then it was only a headache from fatigue with the looooooooong trip.

Even with a total of an hour a day of DS time, the boy spawnlings were able to play together or separately, having some nice moments to break up the journey.

Now before you get all “oh, for the boy spawnlings only” with me, Zaltu is only 3 and a half. She is still learning how to play. She had a couple of moments playing Pokemon Gold on the 2DS (you can download it from the Nintendo Shop for about AUD$13). She also was on Pokemon Go duty sporadically during the trip.

But after the success of the last epic road trip, I am seriously considering one for her in the near future.

Nintendo must have been eavesdropping on my car again, because they have just launched a new 2DS XL, with the release on 15 June 2017. And it looks pretty.

NewNintendo2DSXL_White-Orange_Box_Packshot.png

Unlike the single-piece the boys have, the new design is a clam-shell with a larger screen just like the new 3DS XL. Personally, I prefer the 2DS for the spawnlings… and myself. Remember the car-sickness thing? 3D on the portables makes me queasy, and I ain’t taking that risk with the spawnlings playing in the car.

I’ll be honest—I like the pretty colours too. Although, I think considering how the current political climate might impact on the popularity of the white/orange scheme… Black/Turquoise for me, please!!

New Nintendo 2DS XL Black-Turquoise Packshot.jpg

The only unnerving thing is how quietly they made the announcement. Don’t get me wrong: Nintendo was all about the bright party announcements for most of 2016. And it was a huge year for them.  But it makes me feel like this announcement for the 2DS XL is missing something. Like they are holding back on us… At AUD$199.95 (RRP), it’s more than the standard 2DS but having a flippy-feature is not enough for me to take that engineering risk with my spawnlings.

I’m really hoping they have some additional feature yet to be announced. Maybe, just maybe, they could lighten up on the region blocking? That would seriously make my work with GeekMom a lot easier.

Purchase of a new 2DS, however, is on hold. Right now I need to focus on recovering from the road trip. And while I am grateful I don’t have to clean up biological confetti, we do have some unfortunate offerings to the Travel Gods that need to be dealt with.

IMG_6618

** Stay tuned! I’ll be sharing details of our East Coast Roadtrip very soon!!

 

How to Survive a Heatwave with Your Kids

It’s a little hot in the EG Lair today.


In this type of weather, no-one is a happy camper.

We don’t have aircon, and we’re OK with that. It used to be only a few days each Summer that actually required serious cooling down, and on those days we would drive to the closest shopping centre. 

But the hot days are increasing in numbers and intensity. To put it simply, we are having heatwaves. And more of them.

Want proof? Sydney has just broken a 125-year-old record of the most days in Summer breaking 35C (about 95F?).

I’m not a Summer kind of gal. The spawnlings handle it far better than I do, but even they are having trouble sleeping and keeping calm in the sibling battles.

So here are my Top Five Tips For Surviving A Heatwave:

  1. Get thee to a shopping centre–or swimming pool, local library, or the like. Something indoors. Outside options, including the beach, still come with a high risk of heat exhaustion. Movies are good, so are cafes and food courts. Seriously.
  2. Freeze your Fabrics–EG Grandma always puts damp washers in the freezer and they are perfect for calming the odd overheated moment (or seven). Then I moved to Central Queensland and learnt about putting your underwear in the freezer. GENIUS!! It doesn’t last long, but that immediate relief is worth it. Plus the spawnlings love the idea of undies in the freezer!
  3. Ice-creams in your bottle-shop–for those not from Aust, our “liquor stores” are known as bottle-o’s with GIANT fridge sections to keep the beer cold. Often they are located right next door to the corner shop or convenience store. Buy your ice-cream at the shop, walk next door and “peruse” the beers until your ice-cream is finished. You may want to consider buying one for the bottle-o attendant. Just in case they aren’t initially sympathetic. 
  4. Re-appropriate a kiddies pool–you know you’re just a big kid anyway. Fill the kiddies pool with water and a few dozen ice-cubes and chill out. If you place it right, you can even set it up near the TV, with ice cold drinks around you.
  5. Frozen rice–this one is for bed time. You know that wheat pack you have, for all those aches and pains? This works in the same way. Put a cup of rice in a clean sock, tie it off, and throw in the freezer. After at least an hour, you can put in bed to cool the sheets for an easier sleep. Rice won’t melt and make a mess, but does retain cold very well (thanks to Sharlene Hensler for reminding me about this one. Good minion)

Hopefully the heatwave in Aust won’t go too much longer, but each year just keeps hitting more and more extremes. That’s why it is so important we keep our cool while we convince the rest of the world to come to the climate change party.

Stay cool minions. 

Do Your Spawnlings Wear Sunglasses?

sunglasses-featureI wear sunglasses all the time. Seriously, every day. Take a look at my profile picture. The spawnlings each have their own pair as well. However, shopping for sunglasses is a tiring exercise.

I recently did a review on some sunglasses over on GeekMom. Yes, I scored some freebies for it (perks of blogging). To be completely honest, I was really wary about any sunglasses purchased online. Remember, I am of the bespectacled species; pretty much useless if my prescripted lenses are even slightly out.

I also grew up in Northern Australia. Sunglasses are part of the uniform when you cross the border. And if the sunglasses aren’t meeting the grade, it will cost you big time in headaches, eyestrain, and a bunch of other health factors.

The idea of buying sunglasses online was as appealing as shopping in person–which I hate.

The thing is, how do you know you’re buying quality before you hand over your cash? You look for reviews of people who truly put something to the same testing you would.

And yes. My spawnlings like to destroy things.

So here’s the review for you again, in a more “Evil Genius Mum” standard. Again, you can read the full review over at GeekMom, with full costs and links; I’m just expanding upon the testing and suitability for each spawnling.

For the energetic 3-year-old honey badger

Zaltu is three years of pure energy (like a lot of three-year-olds), inspired and motivated by her older brothers. She’ll give anything a go, because “she don’t care!” Zaltu is not a stereotype; she likes all bold colours, surfing the waves with her dad, racing in Mario Kart with her mum, pulling out the DC Superhero Girls dolls, and dreams of being an astronaut. Generally, she likes the idea of sunglasses, but they never stay long on her face because they tend to interfere with whatever chaos ensues.

These Julbo Booba sunglasses have been an absolute hit. Zaltu loves wearing them everywhere. And yes, I do mean everywhere.zaltus-sunglasses

The sunglasses look good. They have bright bold colours with soft enough arms to rest easily on her head. Zaltu has a big head like her mother. We recently learnt Zaltu’s glasses fit an 8-year-old friend. True fact. I was a tad nervous about stretching them, but the sunglasses flexed really well.

The quality of the lenses is fantastic: plastic category-3 lenses, designed for full UV protection. These sunglasses are the genuine product, cutting out the glare so prevalent on both the beach and the ski slopes. And the added wrap-around feature is a boon to both light-leak and fitting on the head.zaltu-julbo-sunglasses

They are also fairly scratch-resistant. Zaltu throws these things everywhere. Yet they come up a lot better than the scratch-resistance I paid for with my sunglasses. They have survived the sandy beach and easily cleaned up afterwards. I’m not sure exactly what they have done, but these sunglasses have completely survived the Summer Holidays of a three-year-old. They are good.

For the experimenting 7-year-old scientist

Nefarious is the scientist, with the curiosity for why things happen (and how to make it go “BOOM!” again). He is the one to think outside the box and push things to the limits.nefarious-sunglasses-polaroid

Aesthetically, the style is a little more “classic cool” with bolder colours to choose from. They are the perfect transition point between the high-energy fun of the Julbos and the more conservative frames for the older kids. These frames are a harder plastic but not so hard as to stick into a kid’s head.

The good thing about the harder plastic frames: they have survived tree climbing, being sat on by Sinister, and a short but effective game of tug-o-war with Zaltu. The frames have a small amount of flex to the structure, but not so much to bounce out a lens.

Of course, Nefarious loved the reflective lenses because they hide his eyes. Yes, I did explain to him about the practicality of the lenses, but he didn’t care. He is seven. He just loves rolling his eyes at me behind those shades.nefarious-polaroid-sunglasses

Only downside: they don’t wrap around and stop the light leak on the side. However, Nefarious says he hates that style. So clearly this is my issue, and I should be grateful he has sunnies he is willing to wear.

For the smooth 10-year-old chilling out

Sinister is the more subtle of the three spawnlings. While he loves to be the class clown, he only likes the attention if he is in control of it. At heart, he is quite conservative and deep-in-thought. Sinister is the one to sit back and watch you from behind his sunglasses, playing out a million and one scenarios in his head.sinisters-sunglasses

Again, smooth, classic style but in a colour variant he likes. These are the hardest plastic of all the frames. There is no flex in the arms whatsoever. The true test of comfort: Sinister is still wearing these on top of his sunburnt nose and there is no pain.

Like his brother, Sinister also likes the mirrored lenses. He also appreciates the single colour scheme, as he feels a little more ‘grown-up’. What I did notice with this pair is that the frames are ever so slightly curved to the face. Even though they are not fitted, they do provide a bit more protection to the eyes on the sides.sinister-sunglasses

See those water droplets in the photo above? No watermark. Not sure exactly what special feature that is, but from a prescripted lens point of view (who hates any smudge or scratch on her glasses) this is AMAZING. What kind of dark magic is this?!? And how do I score some!!

Each of these sunglasses survived the Spawnling Test Zone; buried at the beach, thrown across the room, sat on by older brothers, running through water features, spinning around and around on a spinning teacup. The worst they seem to have is a slightly loose screw in one arm on Zaltu’s sunglasses, which is easily fixed at any glasses shop or with your own tiny screwdriver at home. I wear glasses all the time and a loose screw is nothing new in this family… or in our glasses.

I’m still stunned by how easy it was. Vision Direct is an Australian website, and they deliver anywhere in the world. They provided me with the kids’ sunglasses for reviews, and now I am so impressed I am going back to them for my own prescripted sunglasses (at my own expense).

The hardest part of the whole process was probably measuring Zaltu’s face for her glasses—have you recently asked a three-year-old to stand still for 10 seconds?