Thursday, 21 November 2013

When your child isn't as nice as you'd always hoped.

Issy is NOT one of these I'm afraid.

I have a nasty feeling Issy may not always be a lovely child.

I don't think the situation is as dire as last year when I thought she called another child a name commonly given to a small sightless burrowing animal.   You can read that harrowing story here.

But sometimes she's not very nice.

Example 1.

Two weeks ago she came home with a new Beanie Boo.  Now a Beanie Boo (BB) is a smallish stuffed toy with freakishly large eyes. They are the current Kindy and Year 1 craze.  Girls and sometimes boys are frequently seen sitting in a circle, BB's in laps, discussing their various attributes, changing their names umpteen times and inventing role plays.

Sounds nice and lovely doesn't it?  Unless you:

a. Don't have one.
b. Have one but want two.
c. Have two but want three etc
d. Have a pink one but want a blue one.
e. Have a bear but want a dog/turtle/cat...
f.  Have one but left it at home.
g. Have one but your Mum stole it to wash it because it's disgusting.

In any of the above cases, playing with BB's is a cause for angst, agony and a lot of whinging at home.  So much that any existing BB's are at great risk of ending up in the bin.

Issy has one white (now a nasty grey) BB.  When she came home with another very similar BB (even down to the dirt) I was surprised.  She assured me her friend G had said she could have it for the whole night.  So the new BB slept over and went back to school the next day.

I had reason to be up at Issy's class that day and happened to see G.  I thanked her for letting Issy borrow her BB for the night.  G, who is not a shy child, said crossly to me.

"I DIDN'T say she could have it for the night.  I SAID she could just have it for the afternoon and she took it ANYWAY."

Oh dear.

I apologised profusely, said it would never happen again and confronted Issy that afternoon.  She looked suitably sheepish.  She said she would apologise the next day.  I reinforced the importance of listening to your friends and not just doing what you want all the time.

I don't think she listened.  I think as far as she's concerned, what she wants to do is right and fair and good and other people and their feelings are just pawns in her game of life.

Example 2.

It's mufti day at school.  She picked out a very conservative (for her) pair of flowery board shorts and a blue tshirt to wear.  She is very conscious of the sun safe rules after many, many arguments over tank tops and dresses when she was younger.  At the last minute, disgusted by my desire that she wear runners, she put on a pair of cowboy boots and a denim jacket.

You know, even at 6 years old, that kid knows how to rock an outfit.  After years of fashion fear and faux pas of my own I am totally enthralled by her ability to dress.

Up at school her good friend T was wearing a beautiful long stripy flowing dress.  Issy would have been jealous because it was beautiful, and exactly the kind of dress I would veto.  It really was beautiful.  The other thing she also noticed and announced to me in a loud voice was that it was a tank style and therefore not sun safe.  I told her it didn't matter and she wasn't say a word.

Of course she did.  As soon as my attention was diverted I saw her swan up to T, and say something.  T, who up until that point had been laughing and playing, visibly slumped.  Another friend took her hand and they went to sit near their bags.

Issy the biatch strikes again.  Goodness knows how she actually phrased it.  I dread to think.

You know that feeling when you've made an effort and you're feeling pretty, and someone says something totally deflating.  We've all felt it.  I just watched someone feel it.

Even at 6.  It's possible.


Looking at that smile, you wouldn't think it possible...

I am devo.

Over I went, grabbed her arm and took her straight to T and made her apologise.  T, who is quite spirited herself, took a while to come around.  But she is a good sport and they were friends again by the time they went upstairs.

I need to get across to Issy, that if you do that sort of stuff to people, after a while, they stop forgiving you.  They'll find a friend who builds them up not brings them down.  They'll find a mate who listens instead of ignoring their wishes.

She's only 6 and she has a good heart.  I really don't think she sees how hurtful she can be.  But she is so touchy herself when her siblings tease her.   A classic case of happy to dish but can't take.  

I'm her mum and I love her so, but if these are just two incidents I've seen, goodness knows what she's getting up to when I'm not there.
One thing I know, I had a tough time at school, and I'm not going to EVER let my child be the cause of another kid's tough time.  I can see some battles ahead.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Pelicans and Fitbits and family love.

For my birthday I asked for and received a Pelican.  

I so love this bird. 
His name is Peli (imaginative...not) and he will guard our house from the front when it is done.  For now though, he will sit at the back where he is safe.

He is very beautiful.  

I also asked for, and received a Fitbit.  

It's a tiny black bracelet thing that sits on my wrist and measures my steps so I do 10,000.  And it helps me track my calories and water intake so I can be healthy.  

Because when you're 42, you need to be healthy.  

So, far it's 8:56 and I have taken no steps.  Today may not be a good day to start my fitness thing.  

We are going out to brunch with my gorgeous sister and nephew which will be awesome.  I only plan to walk about 25 steps from the car to the cafe.  Not good for the Fitbit.

The table at the cafe.  Before we messed it up.  
Then tonight I am being taken to the revolving restaurant in the city.  Not the Centrepoint one, the other one.  Because I am a retro loving dag from the 80s and that's what I wanted to do.

I think the kids will get a kick out of it.  And I will get a kick out of them getting a kick out of it.  Except I'm sure they think it's going to whirl around like something at Luna Park.  Must remember to adjust their expectations. 

My poor, poor husband works in the same building as the restaurant  and is a bit sad he has to go there on a Sunday night.  It's like torture for him.  When I asked to go, the potential trauma he might suffer at having to return to his workplace on the weekend didn't really occur to me.  Now I feel bad, but not bad enough to give up going to a revolving restaurant.  

I hope he will be OK.  

I have been brought the perfect cup of tea by a one armed 10 year old.  I have been sat on by a very affectionate 6 year old.  And I have been given the third degree about how a Fitbit works by a very inquisitive 8 year old.  

The kids gave me amazing and very beautiful dangly green earrings.  I gave myself a little hand held purse that fits money and a phone.  This I can take up to school 

Sarah has made me a one armed, heart shaped chocolate cake.  I have been cuddled and kissed and stroked and patted and feel very, very loved.  

I love birthdays and I love all my people.  You know who you are.  

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Transformations and falling off the Jim Beam.

My house is transforming.

No longer can I say to new visitors.  It's the big red brick monstrosity.

As of this morning I can say: It's the big grey brick house.

Because with the new colour and the fancy pants new front window, it looks quite nice.

In fact, to me, it's amazing and beautiful.  I keep going outside and looking at it.

Of course, there is still a great deal of scaffold but you can get the gist.

At the back, the large conifer crazy hedge that has dominated our back garden since we've owned the house and who knows how long before that, has been ruthlessly trimmed.

It's hard to explain, but to see our neighbours roof and that much sky, is amazing.  
We can see our neighbours houses and roof.  From the top floor we can see water.  And there is so much more light.  I always knew they were ugly, overgrown, horrible trees but never realised how much sun they stole.

They're gone.  Well mostly gone.  My back deck is a new place entirely.  

Transformed I tell you.

And finally.  On a less cheerful note.

Last night I got the much dreaded, come and pick your wounded child up from gym phone call.  Sarah had taken a nasty fall off the balance beam and landed on her straight arm.  She was in SO MUCH pain.  Every bump in the road to the hospital was torture for my poor baby girl.

Still smiling.  She did like the wheelchair.  
On the wise advice of a mate with a recently broken armed daughter, we drove to Royal North Shore, were quickly triaged and X-rayed and even though they couldn't find a break, decided, based on her level of pain and how far she fell, to put it into a cast anyway.

Can I just say, Royal North Shore's new emergency department is fabulous.

Apparently due to swelling or growth plates or fluid in the joints, breaks don't always show up clearly, especially on elbows.   And you don't mess with elbows.  The relief she felt once the plaster was on and the joint immobilised was massive.

We left hospital, were home just after 11pm and put her to bed.  She...wait for it...went to school today!  Talk about your stoic.

All in all, to someone who was having nasty visions of pins and surgery, getting away with a wrist to shoulder cast was almost a reprieve.

Maybe that is a transformation? From potential disaster, to not so bad?  I certainly feel like we've been let off lightly, although the poor chick is missing her State gym comp, swimming, tennis, touch football, and numerous things I've probably forgotten...talent quest?

She may not see things quite the same way as I do.  After all, I'm not the one with the cast.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

What not to do. According to me. From my vast experience.

I have a lot of wisdom to share.  Much of it trivial.  Here's what I've learned NOT to do in the last 7 days.

Don't try to spend an afternoon at Melbourne Cup on the champs, skip breakfast the next morning, drink a large coffee and then do lots of head down poses in your yoga class.

Don't put 7 red touch rugby shirts into the wash with the white tablecloth.

Don't pretend your back doesn't hurt when it does, because after a week of acting like nothing's wrong, it will just hurt more and you will be bent in a nasty S shape surviving on Nurofen Plus.

Currently keeping me mobile.
Don't ever, ever think you will do a grocery shop and successfully purchase everything your family needs for a 7 day period.  You will be doing an emergency run to the IGA within 24 hours.  I'm thinking of requesting a designated car park outside the IGA I'm there so often.

Don't accept cake baked by your lovely neighbour thinking you'll just give it to the kids for afternoon tea.  You will end up hiding it at the back of the fridge and giving it to yourself for afternoon tea.

Innocuous foil wrapped parcel.
Conceals delicious lemon tea cake.  No way I'm sharing. 
Don't think that the perfectly good sequinned leotard and skirt worn at the dance concert will cut it for the school disco with a 'sparkly' theme.  Prepare to be hit up for trips to the shops so the ideal costume can be sourced.   Don't worry, I'm holding firm on this one.

It swirls, it sparkles.  It's not enough. 
Don't think you know anything about driving into town at peak hour just because you drive that way occasionally on the weekend.  Even leaving your own suburb between the hours of 7 and 9 can become a 40 minute mission.

Don't think when the Wilson Parking sign in North Sydney says "starting from $3" that you'll actually pay anything close to that amount for parking.  That is a joke for new players.

Right, that's it.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Weekend mission impossibles. Whether you choose to accept them or not.

This weekend was a series of impossibilities.  But we are still alive and kicking...weakly.

Mission 1: Josh's Cricket Match

Mobilise a family of 5 to be at Terrey Hills for cricket at 7:45 am on Saturday morning.

Ha!  It was never going to happen.  I drove Issy (unfed in pyjamas) and left Sarah at home (unfed in pyjamas watching tv) and drove Josh (fed and dressed) and Mike (just dressed- luckily) up to the match and left them there.

One day I will stay for my little son's entire cricket match.  Just not one where we have to be there at stupid o'clock at stupid o'place.

Mission 2: Issy's Dance Concert

Get Issy to stage door dressed with high ponytail, headband, costume (black sequinned leotard with blue fringy skirt), socks and jazz shoes.  Apply basic makeup to someone who never stays still.

Redo ponytail 4 (yes 4) times due to fiddling.  

Complication: She was at a skateboarding party until an hour before she had to show up at the stage door.  She was overexcited on far too many fronts.

She danced, she pranced.  She does all the time anyway.
We got Issy there on time and left her backstage with her fellow blue frilly friends.  She danced and looked gorgeous (as did her mates).  She is still at point in her dance career where her teacher stands off stage at the front and does the dance facing them so they don't forget their moves.  Her teacher did this maybe 6 times (ie. for six different acts of frilly pastel sequinned madness).

Their teacher is no spring chicken, yet she is the second fittest woman I know.

After the last dance it looked like she sank to the floor and kissed the stage in utter relief that it was over.  I think she was just hoisting herself up onto the stage for the finale but I wouldn't blame her for being glad.

Watching the tiny tots dance is a highlight.  I laugh, I cry, I grab poor Josh sitting next to me and bury my face in his hair so I don't laugh out loud.  Many of Issy's mates and family friends are there, so there's someone we know in every dance.

We even get to see kids more Sarah age and older (and therefore quite accomplished dancers) doing solos and ensembles to fill out the program.   It does make a relief from the madness of the tiny kids dances.

Well, that's over for another year.  Woot!

Mission 3: Sarah's Masterchef project + host friends for Sunday lunch.

Mmmm raspberry macaroons.
Film Sarah and her mate as they create respectively, choc raspberry cake and choc macaroons, taking both still shots and short videos to give Sarah (the editor and producer of the final product) enough rough material to edit herself into a reasonable project she and her mate could present the next day.

Josh helped.  Mainly by eating the leftover cooking chocolate.  
I did all the filming and still shots while simultaneously preparing to have friends over for lunch.  Friends we really wanted to make an effort for as they had done for us in the past.  

Consequently when they arrived our kitchen bench looked like this.  Utter shambles.

When you have a big kitchen bench, you can fit a lot of shit on it.  
And our friends looked quite frightened.  As well they should.  I felt frightened myself.

Thankfully after a couple of champagnes, I was much less frightened.

Later in the afternoon Sarah busied herself with creating her project out of the photos and filming we'd done earlier.  I'd told her she was on her own.  And she took it in her stride.  

Honestly, the technology these kids have access to is amazing.  My 10 year old can now make a short film.  With the much appreciated help of one of our visitors, a very tech savvy 10 year old herself, Sarah put together a pretty decent 3.5 minute result.

After getting over their initial fear at the mess our house was in, I think our friends enjoyed themselves.

This morning I looked at our calendar for next weekend.  No less busy.  Although slightly less kid centric for once.

Got to love November.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

What Melbourne Cup and Halloween have in common.

Is Melbourne Cup to me and my peers, like Halloween is for the kids?  A philosophical discussion.

My kids start counting down to Halloween months from the date.  They ask me how many days, they talk about costumes, they make me decorate the house and dust off the decorations.  I roll my eyes, and occasionally gnash my teeth at this OTT display of dedication to the collection of sweets and the wearing of grotesque costumes.

With a mask like this it's hard to eat lollies.  
Mostly I roll my eyes at their devotion to it.  And after some nagging, I purchase and carve a pumpkin.

George II.  My own creation.  I'm very proud.
She is not cute, she is very scary.  Don't forget it. 
But wait.

I booked my kids into after school care ONE FULL YEAR before Melbourne Cup 2013.  Ie.  The day after MC last year, when I vowed never to be sitting in my car at 3:05 ever again.

Talk about costumes?  I bought a new frock.  I spoke to my friends about their frocks.  We discussed the weather and how it would impact our frock choices.  When we met on the day, we all had a big frock discussion.  Shoes, fascinators, bags and hair do's also provided conversational fodder.

Two weeks ago we went on a special shopping trip to buy Halloween decorations to hang from the scaffold.

And then last Sunday, we went on a special shopping trip just to buy my fascinator.

Ok so it's not the best shot but it's the only one where I'm alone and not subjecting anyone else to unwanted publicity.
Ok this is starting to become eerily similar.   Just to be certain, here are 5 more similarities that ring true for Halloween if you're 12 and under, or grown women if you have a Melbourne Cup lunch planned.

1.  It is anticipated with a ridiculous (unreasonable some would say) level of excitement.
2.  It's totally no fun unless you're with your friends.
3.  What you wear is fundamental to the entire event.
4.  Overconsumption of the traditional fare can be bad for you.
5.  The next day you might feel a bit wobbly from too much of 4.

It was so exciting and so much fun I want to do it all again next year.  

So I laugh and scoff at the kids dedication to and excitement about Halloween, and yet get completely beside myself at the opportunity to dress up and dine and drink champs with top chick mates.

Hypocritical yes?

The kids don't laugh at me at all, they just take it in their stride.  I really need to take a leaf out of their book.  They are much nicer than me.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Melbourne Cup Day and the beginning of the end of the year.

Since having kids, I've spent most Melbourne Cup days going about my usual business.  As we all know only too well, the unfortunate timing of the race coincides precisely with the end of school.

I've listened to the race alone in the car many times.  Poor me.

In QLD where I went to school the lack of daylight saving meant the race was at 2:05 not 3:05.  The teachers would wheel in a TV on a stand and we'd watch it.

Since having kids I've been to the occasional lunch at someone's house.  Had a glass of bubbles and some canap├ęs while the preschoolers played around us.  I even hosted a lunch a couple of years ago.

And many times prior to kids I've been at work.   Every year no matter where you work it's the same, the sweep, the 10 minutes off for the race, the platters of questionable sandwiches, dips and chips and a plastic cup of warm wine.

I'm not much of a racegoer.  But I do like wearing a nice frock and a pair of heels.

When I was growing up my Dad used to put us in his work sweep.  Every now and then we'd win and he'd bring home an envelope with cash.  It is very exciting when you are 10 and win $30.  Not much of a racing man himself, he still liked to study the form and tip a horse for the Cup.  Every year I would ask him and always bet on his chosen nag.  Never, ever have I won a cent as a result.

I don't care.  I wish I could still ask him.  

This is my first MC day with all three kids at school.   This heady freedom is making me socially excited.

I love my fascinator.  
A bunch of us are heading to a nearby restaurant for lunch and the race and post race celebrations of our luck, or lack of it.  The kids are sorted for the afternoon, I have frock, fascinator, shoes and a good attitude all ready to go.

The girls helped me choose my headgear.  They threw themselves wholeheartedly into the task.

Fashionistas of the future. 
Melbourne Cup Day seems to signify the beginning of the Silly Season.  From here on in its a series of catch ups, lunches, dinners, birthdays (mine!) and end of year celebrations.  Not to mention Christmas shopping. Time seems to go twice as fast as normal.

It's totally fun but I feel like the year is slipping away...

OK maybe I'm being a little melodramatic but you know what I mean?

Clown of the future?