Thursday, 30 August 2012

Every day is a leap of faith.

I used to plan stuff, and worry about stuff.  Way before it was due to happen.  Weeks ahead of a function we were throwing I’d be making a list and checking it twice and generally being OCD about it. 

I still plan stuff, and I still worry about stuff.  But my lead times are much, much smaller.   And I suspect as time goes on, they’ll become smaller still.  This goes against my natural grain, but I think it's doing me good.  My brain simply can't handle everything it needs to plan for at once, so it prioritises for me.  

One of my friends who has four kids, 10 and under said to me yesterday, “I just wake up in the morning and look at my phone and then I wonder how I’m going to get through the day.”  This particular friend is always calm, cool and completely gorgeous.  She brought a delicious and beautifully presented salad to the function we were at, and a lovely plate of veges and dips for the kids.  She is totally amazing.   I will never be her.  But I like her style.  You would never guess she was just flying by the seat of her pants, but it works for her.

You see, if you don’t stress out about what’s coming up on the calendar until the day it happens, it will save you a heap of worry, especially about hypothetical disasters.  Otherwise known as whethers. 

These include:

Whether no one will come
Whether too many people will come
Whether those who have rsvp'd will come and pay and not leave me out of pocket
Whether I have missed 10 people off an email list so they never get invited at all (really happened once, was shocker).
Whether there will be enough food (there is always enough food)
Whether there is enough drink (we have never run out entirely but at the 40th we drank every drop of champagne and beer)
Any weather related concern (still relevant if misspelled).
Whether you're going to forget anyone's name (almost guaranteed in my case)

And two classics:

How many kids sports events does it clash with?
Can we get everyone to where they have to be and home again with only one car?

Not getting too worked up about impending events may result in a bit of last minute purchasing and preparing eg. birthday presents, the salad you said you’d bring to the bbq, but you can save a heap of angst too. Although I don’t suggest it for things like birthday parties, or large gatherings because you’ll just end up in the shit.  

Two weeks before our 40th birthday party, my friends had to start hassling me about decorations.  I just didn’t have decorations on my radar.  I had the food and drinks sorted, and I’d ordered a cake and even sent out the invitations.  Luckily they took over and sorted me out and on the night we had twinkly lights and candles in the pool etc.  It’s pretty hard to make a silk purse out of the sow’s ear of a house we live in, but we did our best.    

Actually to tell the truth, I worry a lot more than I'm letting on. Usually about all the things above, and more.  But a girl can dream can't she? 

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Pathetic bird related post of sadness.

When we got him, he was blue.  And very docile. 
Oh my bird.  My little bird.

I know the ups and downs of other peoples pets is hardly scintillating stuff.  And if you don't like birds then perhaps you won't feel much sympathy with today's post.  But we have a bird.  A sweet little green and yellow budgie.  Officially called Smuggler but mostly just known as The Bird.  And I think he's dying.  And it's on my mind so I'm putting it out there.

When we decided to get a pet, it was for the kids.  I never know I'd become attached.  And after all it was just a bird.  Small, feathery, a bit stupid.

But slowly he grew on me.

At first, because he was so dazed and confused from the abrupt change in his entire universe (lots of birds big cage to just him much smaller cage) he would sit anywhere, on anyones finger and never fly off.
As he got older he got his big boy (actually big girl) feathers and turned green and yellow.  

But as time went by he got feisty.  He'd fly off, nip, try and hide if anyone tried to take him out.  And as time went by, the failure of his little top nosey bit to turn blue gave us a clue to his anti social behaviour.  

He was in fact, a she.

Girl budgies don't tame, don't talk, nip fiercely and hate pretty much everyone.  Male budgies can be tamed, often talk, and don't nip.

Based on behavioural traits alone, he was definitely a she.

He brought a great deal of happiness by just being himself. 
It didn't matter, he/she was our bird and we loved him/her.  Very busy and important, very vocal and very loved.

I will now revert to calling him a him because that's how I've known him longest.

He's been sick for three days.  Ruffled feathers, gastro, shivering, not feisty at all.  We took him to the vet who diagnosed worms.  She suggested he's had them since birth.  Bugger.

She gave him worming medicine but did not look hopeful.  And based on his complete lack of improvement over the last 24 hours, I'm not looking hopeful either.

And that's really hard when little faces keep asking me if he will be ok.  I am honest, and say I don't know, but I think it's unlikely and birds are very fragile.

I have of course, been asked if we can have another one.  They are callous but incurably practical.  And the answer is yes I think but not from the same breeder (obviously).

At the moment I don't want another bird, I JUST WANT MY BIRD, well again, chirping madly and attacking his bell toy as though it had just told him his mother wore army boots.

Bird update: now on bottom of cage, sitting on a warmed up wheat bag wrapped in a towel.  Am beginning to discuss with the kids the importance of him being warm and comfortable, for whatever happens.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Love really does make the world go around.

Love Actually

God was there ever a movie like Love actually?

What other movie can make me cry with laughter and happiness?

Highlights for me:

Emma Thompsons dignity.

Colin Frizzels amazing luck with hot American chicks.

Hugh Grant and what's her name being sprung kissing at the kids pageant.

And Colin Firth proposing to Aurelia in the restaurant.  The whole joint giving them a standing ovation.  Yes I know it's a movie and the standing ovation was done by actors, but I reckon if the same happened in real life (which it probably does all the time), they would still get one.  Love is just too compelling.

When I get a Saturday night alone on the couch while my husband gallivants with his mates this is the movie that always comes out.  So I can watch the kid running through Heathrow chasing the girl he loves.  And the guy who loves Keira Knightly with his flash cards.

And then the shots at the end at the airport of real people, greeting each other.  Little kids coming in at knee level and holding on tight before being swept up into a bug hug.  Husbands and wives, old friends, sisters, brothers, everyone.  Hugging and taking a step back to look at each other and hugging again.  Talk about heart warming.

But you don't have to go to an airport.  You can see love in action at your local school.  The hugging and kissing that goes on up at ours is incredible. Every day, especially at home time, the excitement of people greeting each other, who have only been apart for at most, 6 hours, is palpable.

Josh loves to come in for the quick cuddle, rubbing his curly head on me before making a crafty attempt at a bag pass off.  Sarah arrives and inserts herself under my armpit, where she currently fits perfectly.  She will then attempt to pass off the saxophone. I end up like a pack horse, as documented here.  If Issy is with me, she runs away to play with all the kids she knows and feigns deafness when I call her.

Not being triangular, having three children wanting to walk next to you holding your hand can be problematic.  But I can see a future where I'll be considered an embarrassment.  Oh sad and miserable day.

Although I even see a fair bit of PDAs from the higher years if their Mum or Dad is there, so maybe at least one of them won't reject me.

Until then, I'm totally happy to be the person they love to see at the end of their school day, and I greet them like we're at the airport after a long separation, every time.

Monday, 27 August 2012

That subject which divides mothers...sort of.

And no, it's not whether to breastfeed or bottlefeed.  It's not whether you should be a stay at home Mum or go back to work.

It's how much you enjoy the hospital experience.

When I was pregnant with both my younger pair, I counted my impending hospital stay as one of the highlights of the whole experience.  Because I didn't have to

wash clothes
look after the toddler(s)
go to the supermarket

and I received

reasonably nice meals three times a day
morning and afternoon tea
quite pleasant drugs
daily bed making
a nursery for my tiny weeny newborn to spend quality time while I slept.

They are teeny weeny and come in a handy cart with wheels. 
And of course, with your first newborn you think newborn babies are really complex and difficult but once you have a toddler, you realise newborns are actually a complete cinch and feel quite happy to leave your beloved toddling one for a few days with their Dad and grandparents.

Well I did anyway.

And because you know, once you do return home.  It's like, forever.

On the up side, once you get home, you have friends to help you get the hang of breastfeeding. 
There was a bit of fuss during all three of my hospital stays about the benefits of 'rooming in' with your baby to assist bonding.  But I always was quite strongly bonded to my small wrinkly newly arrived aliens and didn't ever think a few hours in a nursery would be damaging to the bond.  And as it turned out, it wasn't.

(I know I was very lucky because I've never had a hint of PND but I can imagine that is quite a different, more serious kettle of fish)

Mike's blessed folks would bring the smaller one(s) to visit in the afternoons so I could have my fix of them.  They would arrive immaculately dressed with healthy snacks and leave again in good order when they started getting festy.  A happy dream.

AND all our babies were born on the Friday before a long weekend.  So we often had friends arrive with cheese and crackers, beer and champagne.  It was very social and pleasant.

And consequently I've always been a bit kerflummoxed by mums who say things like "Oh I left hospital early, I was bored" or "I just wanted to be in my own bed".

Are you mad?? They bring you dinner!! I would prefer to be a bit bored and have dinner cooked for me than be mentally stimulated and have to get it myself.

An my own bed doesn't have a cool mechanism to lift it up and down which is ideal for a poor new mum with a row of dirty great stitches across her lower abdomen.

But as with all things motherhood, everyone must simply do what suits them, so if you're own bed called you a day early, or you couldn't wait to get out of there, clearly that was right for you.  You probably think I'm bonkers.  

For me the thought of those 5 days in hospital are almost enough for me to consider a fourth.  Almost.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

The seven habits of highly effective five year olds

When your birthday just gets a bit much.  
I have a five year old.  She is a girl.  She is one out of the box.  

She is what I would call a big personality.  Many people find her endearing.  I also find her endearing but the main word I would use to describe her is relentless. 

She does many things that Sarah never did.  Nor did Josh, or even me or Mike (anecdotally). And at preschool, she keeps company with a group of kids who are equally eccentric. 

1. For instance, at preschool one of her favourite pastimes is chasing boys.  I believe she has even kissed one.  She was engaged to one last term, but they broke up.  Oh how I fear for the future. 

2. She wears what she wants.  Always.  If I dress her in something she doesn’t like, she just waits until I’m not looking and gets changed, craftily staying out of sight until we walk out the door so I can’t do anything about it. 

3. Rarely do 30 seconds go by without her needing (wanting) something.  It could be food, my ipad,  cuddles, food, general knowledge, food, toys, tv and most of all, to do want the big kids are doing.  She has a 90% success rate due to sheer persistence.  And being the third child, my defences are already weak.

4. She falls asleep in the weirdest places.  One of the most memorable was when she dozed off at her own birthday dinner at a restaurant, with her head resting among the nuggets and chips, dressed in a Snow White costume.  She has also dozed off on our dining chairs, the (wooden) kitchen floor and on the couch 20 minutes before her 4th birthday party was due to start. 

Just a quick kip before the party.
5. Every morning she takes over 5 minutes to select her shoes for the day.  She doesn’t have very many pairs, but invariably the ones she selects are completely inappropriate eg. thongs when it’s freezing, boots when it’s hot. 
Yes, angelic. Very deceiving. 
6. One of her besties was on the phone to her Nanna the other day and confided all the swear words she knows, leaving Nanna a bit kerflummoxed.  The words were: fucken, fricken, shut up and my personal favourite, shiitake. 

7. She has another friend, who in company with his 7 year old sister managed to colour their fluffy white cat pink using nothing more than a tube of lipstick. 

I hope the teachers at school are ready for them all. 

Thursday, 23 August 2012

From Choose Life tshirts to Metallicus, a fashion journey.

If only it was this simple.
I love a school uniform.  The word says it all, uniform.  All the same, or similar.  No sticking out.  Not standing out is the major aim of many school kids.  It was certainly mine.  But somehow I managed to stick out like dogs bollocks.  For all the wrong reasons.

It was the mufti days that undid me.  Wear what you like!  Sound's fun doesn't it?  In reality, for me, it was a world of potential pain.  As a high school student I failed mufti days.  I attended an all girls Catholic High School in Brisbane.  I was, as a twelve year old, nearly fatally naive.  With no idea of fashion whatsoever.

On my first mufti day in year 8, I chose to wear (as I remember, against my mum's advice, bless her) a pale yellow skirt and top set, with (I think) Holly Hobby on the front.  I teamed this with a rainbow puffer vest.  I was a bit chubby.  I must have looked like a pastel chupa chup.  Just writing this makes me cringe. As I walked up to a group of girls sitting outside the school doors, they fell silent.  They didn't even laugh.  My fashion fail rendered them completely speechless.

They all wore animal shorts, with Choose Life written in flouro pink on their white t shirts, not exactly high points in fashion themselves, but they were all wearing them.  Like a uniform.

After 6 months I worked it out, and commissioned animal shorts.  But it was too late, my self esteem was shot, and as we all have worked out by now, wearing clothes is an awful lot about how confidently you wear them, so between 12 and 18 (and beyond), it didn't matter what I wore, my rock bottom confidence ensured I was never ever comfortable.

My terry towelling red and blue short set with little anchors all over them embarrassed me badly at my friends beach house in the summer.

In year 11 camp, everyone had green army pants.  I had jeans.  I even remember one of the girls suggesting we all wear army pants.  I could have asked my mum for some.  But I didn't.  To this day I don't know why.

A couple of my stand out fails were a blue corduroy boiler suit (super cringeworthy) and a maroon faux fur jacket.  My extremely well groomed and fashion conscious mother was tearing her (perfectly coiffed) hair out.

But I survived.  I'm ok with clothes now.  I take notice of what people are wearing enough to make sure I am semi fashionable.  I've graduated to another uniform.  The mummy one.  Jeans and a long sleeved t shirt or leggings and an oversized top.  I have favourite brands, Metallicus and One Season are two of my favourites.  I wear flat boots and ballet flats in winter, Birkenstocks or Havi's in summer.  Neutral tones with a 'pop' of colour.  Hey, I can even talk the talk!

These days, I am determined to make sure my kids fit in.  When a note comes out for a mufti day, or a theme day, I make especially sure they have the right clothes, so they're not the only kid wearing x when everyone else is in y.  Dress in Japanese colours for Open Day?  Sure! How about green and gold? No worries! Black and white because everyone needs to be a zebra. Easy!

So far, so good, no major fails.  I figure there will be, there always is, but I intend to reduce the odds as much as possible.  Possibly by being slightly helicopterish.  Please forgive me.
When in doubt, just wear your gym gear.  And a tiara. 
I know the tough years are ahead.  I know we haven't even begun as far as wardrobe angst is concerned.  I do feel reasonably confident my girls have a passing interest in what other kids their age are wearing.  I hope this will make them able to follow that subtle vibe of what to wear or not to wear that school kids seem to have.

All school kids except me of course.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The sun, the sun!!! or Appreciating the banality of my existance.

Today I sat on my front steps in the sunshine.  

I couldn't really see the computer screen, but the sun was warm and bright and entirely un Augusty.  I just had to be in it.  Sorry about the spelling mistakes.

My house remained in denial of any temperature over 20 degrees celsius.  It's freezing in there.

It was lunchtime, so a great deal of screaming and shouting drifted towards me from the school around the corner, occasionally varied by a teacher having a go at someone through what I think was a megaphone (?).  It was bloody loud anyway.  Interesting disciplinary method.

I wished I'd had my wits about me enough to sunscreen the kids before they left this morning.

I hoped Joshie hadn't forgotten to take off his jumper and wasn't about to die of heatstroke.

The stupid German Shepherd who lives two doors up across the road and spends all day barking at stupid things, barked at something stupid.

I wondered idly why Howards Storage World send me Angela from WA's spice rack and wire baskets (valued at $200) instead of the wardrobe organiser I'd ordered (value $30).  But Daniel from Howards Storage World says he'll fix it. Not sure how.  Bless him.

I contemplated removing my cardigan, thereby leaving myself outside with only two layers on, a feat I haven't achieved since early April.

But that would be crazy.

The scent of pea and ham soup, already bubbling on the stove, ready for our ravenous return from swimming lessons at 6pm wafted out from the kitchen.  Yes, I am a shocking show off.

Michel from Fisher and Paykel came when he said he would and fixed the fridge in 15 minutes.  He had to replace the something or other, which cost a pretty penny.  But I was so stunned by his punctuality and efficiency I just shut up and paid him.

The wind gently rustled the hibiscus bushes, who are barely hanging on after two years of near constant neglect.  Luckily the old couple who lived here before us must have really taken good care of them because they are still punching out gorgeous blooms.  They are on borrowed time.

By the way, don't let the gentle wind up here deceive you.  Around these parts we can go from gentle northerly to a roaring southerly in minutes.  But for now, it's very pleasant.

OK my cardigan's off.  It's a miracle.  

AND this morning I received an email telling me I'd won a competition on for a pair of stunning silver Uberkate cufflinks to give to Mike for Father's Day.  Even more amazing: it wasn't random, they actually had to like my entry.  My boat is totally floating.

God I'm a lucky woman.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Don't feel sorry for me, my most pressing first world problems

Happy little packhorse, me.
1. Sometimes after school, I find myself carrying three bags, a saxophone, a music bag and my own bag.  I feel like a pack horse.  Although based on the photo, a cheerful one. 

2. My odd sock collection at the bottom of my washing basket has gone from zero to six in just over a week.

3. My cherry blossom boughs died because I put them too close to the central heating vents and they overheated.

4. Once I left a sheet of puff pastry on my kitchen bench and went out.  While I was out the cleaners came and neatly folded my pastry sheet in a little square and left it under the dishcloth.  Took me ages to find it.

5.  I can never ever get the lid off the new jar of olives easily, and when I do eventually force the damn thing open the brine always gets on my shirt.

6.  The gap of time between my son's karate class ending and my daughter's gym class starting is five minutes shorter than the amount it takes to drive there.  This just makes everyone cranky.

7.  My Woolworth's delivery is always delivered in plastic bags with the top tied in knots.  I can never get the knots undone on at least half of these, meaning I have to put them in the rubbish instead of recycling them.

8.  My Aussie Farmer delivery guys give me a new blue coldy keeper thing every week because I keep forgetting to leave one out for them.  Tonight I have left out 8 blue coldy keeper things.  I really hope they take them away.

9.  My dill died.  I overwatered it because I'm shit with plants.  On the upside, the rosemary, thyme and oregano are still hanging in there.

10.  I can't think of tenth one, and convention dictates there really should be ten but I've gone blank.  I'll no doubt think of one in the middle of the night.

Monday, 20 August 2012

How's The Serenity?

Can I just start by saying, I totally love my husband.

We met when I was a hard drinking, self esteemless, anxiety ridden 19 year old.  He represented loads of things I was struggling to find in myself, respect, confidence, self control.  He is, in many ways, the prince who saved me.

And he was totally good looking.

See, he's still totally hot.  
Sometimes due to my tendency to flap, panic, go off my narna, drink too much, act impulsively, shout too much when angry and other rather unfortunate personality flaws I really wonder where I would be without him.  He's put up with so much over the last 20 years.  He is a bit of a legend.

But tonight, he is in Melbourne.  For work.  Being busy and important as always.

And I cannot tell you how excited I am about it.

I get a whole night.  On the couch.  Watching what I want to watch.  Eating toast with vegemite and not cooking.

Can't wait for tonight baby.
Knowing I won't be woken up when he comes to bed because his bedtime rituals are loud and vigorous.  (And no I don't mean that).  He PULLS open the wardrobe, BANGS his shoes on the floor, RATTLES all the coat hangers, SLAMS down the toilet seat (doesn't change the roll).  Not because he's cross, just because he's a bloke.

Alternatively if I go to bed after him, he leaves the entire upper level of the house in darkness.  The whole bedroom.  I have to use my Ipad screen to see my way to the bathroom.  He has no problem with making sure there is absolutely no light for me to see with to perform my own bedtime preparation.  I often wonder whether he thinks I operate on sonar.  Or whether he just wants to punish me for not coming to bed when he does.  "Oh I'll get her, she wants to stay up? Well she'll have to cork her leg on the bedside table then, that'll learn her."

Tonight neither of these scenarios will occur.  No doubt I'll wake up at 2am with the bedside light still on, in a puddle of drool on the ipad screen.  (I always leave light on for him when I go to bed first, I'm nice like that).  BUT he always turns it off and puts my ipad away, because he's nice like that.

Just one night is fine.  I don't like the idea of him being away too long.  He sometimes has to go to the States for a week and the novelty wears off pretty fast, but just one night, even two, is magic.

Although when he goes to the State's we all get presents.  And sometimes mine are from Kate Spade.

I am absolutely sure he's pretty happy when I go away for a couple of nights.  Because I KNOW I'm bloody irritating to live with.

Perhaps it's because I did spend a lot of time by myself as a kid, I really like being alone.  I love knowing the kids are upstairs, tucked away asleep, and I don't have to talk to anyone.  I'm a bit antisocial really.

And he'll be back tomorrow, but because it's only 24 hours, I won't get a present.  Damn.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Happiness is...

A good coffee.

A child in a hilarious dress up eg. bikini and sunglasses in August.

A glass of champagne and a chat with an excellent mate.

An afternoon with friends.

A night on the couch.

A kid that is totally happy being OK at something and not marvellous or fabulous.


Managing to not forget where every child has to be on the weekend and getting them there on time (sort of).

Knowing that netball grading day isn't until February 2013.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Christensen Fashion Sense (or horrible lack thereof)

Us Christensens, we're a classy lot.  Our fashion sense really needs to be seen to be believed.  Especially what we're willing to wear within the comfort of our own home.  

The only problem is, when we are required to exit the home, even briefly, chances are, in this neighbourhood, that someone you know is going to drive past and beep at you in your flannel jammies and canary yellow robe some misguided person gave you as a gift one Christmas.  

In truth, I'm the one who needs to worry about this, Issy, for example, has no such concerns.  She just wears what she likes and thinks she looks fabulous every time.  

Usually she's pretty spot on.  Although this morning I did wonder.  Pictorial evidence below.  

Note the white tights (not ballet regulation soft pink but glaring white).  We did have regulation pink but she got a run in them and I didn't think she was old enough to look like a dirty stop out (she will never be old enough), so I binned them.  

It was ballet day so they're worn with purple leotard and crossover and charming earmuffs.  On their own, sort of quirky, but it's when you add the watermelon coloured ugg boots which are almost precisely the same colour as the earmuffs you realise things have become slightly out of control.  

And following my motto, I said nothing and acted casual.  She's a tough cookie on matters of wardrobe and I very seldom win.  

As I said before, she is totally convinced of her fabulousness.  I was not with her all day but I heard she (and her friend who has the same earmuffs in blue) made many people smile.  Most of them kindly.  

This ensemble seems to come with it's own 'tude.  
And then there's me.  Not cute, not five.  Just lazy and disorganised.  Hence when I came back from my run, I took off my warm running sweater thingie ready to go upstairs and shower but in the interest of decency, kept on my singlet and running pants.  And as often happens, one thing led to another (lunches and breakfasts) and upstairs never happened and I got a bit cold, so I put on my daggy cardigan which was hanging off the bannister, ready to go down to the laundry for a much needed wash.  A fetching pair of ugg boots and I was a happy camper.   

Except at 7:40 one of the kindest people in the world collects Sarah and her saxophone and drives them the 100m around to the school so I don't have to haul the sax and two reluctant children to school and back before 8am, or worse, find one of them has let the Aussie Farmer's rep into the house, the one time I did risk nipping off quickly without them.

So instead of me being showered and dressed and fresh as a daisy to deliver Sarah into the car to my always immaculately dressed saviour, I was charmingly attired in my stinky running gear, ugg boots and a crusty cardigan that desperately needs a wash.  Naturally about 5 people we knew drove past at the same time, dropping their band members off for practice too.

Smile and wave darling, smile and wave. Lucky they couldn't smell me.

The evidence below.  Noice.  Classy.

Christensen fashion statements.  You'd think I could make a bit more of an effort wouldn't you?

My ultimate day wear is leggings and a long shirt and ugg boots and no reason to go outside all day.  It seldom happens.  Not enough for my inner laziness to ever be satisfied.

I think Issy is still working on her ultimate day wear.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

My daily miracle: I get the kids to school.

They're so cute when they're organised.
Today I really focused on the kids getting ready, no texting, no sneaky blog reading.   I don't know about you, but there's something comforting in the getting of three kids off to school, in good order.

Almost like, well, if I achieve not one other thing this day, at least I got Joshie off to school with his library books, and Issy's hair is done.

But it comes at a cost.

Because once I've hounded Joshie into reading the end of his reader, finding his other reader, putting them in the folder, putting the folder in his school bag, finding both library books, finding his library bag, putting the library bag in his school bag, putting his lunch in his school bag, sit with him and provide gentle encouragement while he attempts shoelaces for the millionth time, I'm exhausted.

Every single step Josh takes every morning requires at least three reminders.  Thank goodness reader/library day is once a week or we'd be on the news for all the wrong reasons.  

Sarah needs her speech listened to, timed, her pictures stuck on the fridge in simulation so she can point at the right moments.  She needs her book review booklet gone through for spelling and punctuation.  Which nearly makes me weep.  IT'S THEIR NOT THERE FOR GODS SAKE!!

Note to self: she's 9.  she's only 9.

Issy desperately needs help drawing a...squirrel.  No idea why.  She just gives herself tasks to do while I rant and rave at the other pair and demands my attention frequently because she thinks my attention is great.  The other pair would rather find a nice place to curl up under a throw rug and be invisible until school time.

Then I walk Sarah around to the school library to hand in her booklet, having made sure she has her speech, palm cards, pictures and magnets to stick pictures to the smart board (the school magnets are inferior- who knew?), kiss, hug, instructions for the afternoon.

Then I take Joshie to his side, avoid a melt down by double checking he also has his man of the match medal for news, kiss, hug, instructions for afternoon.

Then I go back home with Issy, discuss scooter vs walk, decided on scooter, find scooter, find helmet (with princess crown), she scoots for 50m and then walks and whinges the rest of the way.  Find preferred lunchbox we thought lost forever is actually at preschool, transfer lunch from inferior to preferred, admire the lost tooth space of her best friend, finally escape to the peace of the footpath.

Every child is where they should be.  No tears and no shouting.  That's just today.  Not every morning is as successful.  In fact, it's a bit of a miracle.  Often there are tears (could be any or all of the 4 of us), arguments, things are forgotten, someone gets clingy or doesn't like their plans for the afternoon.

If I rush them, try to send Josh with Sarah to walk across to his side of the school at the lollipop man, insist Issy walks because I know how it always finishes, it doesn't work.  Then I just feel worse.

I am incredibly lucky to have the luxury of spending this time making sure their day goes smoothly and giving them a good send off.  But what is it teaching them?  That I'll always have their back? Sure, but I'm not going to be there every step of the way.

What's the balance between shoving them gently but firmly out into the world to fail a little (or a lot) and making sure they feel supported?

It's 9:25.  I've just had the three busiest hours of my day.  And while I have 5 hours and 40 minutes child free ahead of me, I'm totally knackered.

Plus everyone knows the hours between 9 and 3 on weekdays go faster than other times.  It's like a weird blip in the space/time continuum.