A walk is a wondrous thing

I have recently found myself reading to the boys that old Dr Seuss classic One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish , Blue Fish – I find these rhyming books to be very catchy and I start thinking about my world in the very rhythm and patterns as in the book. 

The rhyming has sort of inspired me to write a poem about my adventure yesterday – as it was a day out of the office for me, and the boys were at the day care centre, I took myself off for a walk in the local bush. I was feeling overwhelmed, resentful and crammed by life – the constant work/family balancing act, the party planning I so stupidly keep committing to (although, the joy that each kid had at these laid-back parties makes it all worthwhile) and a general sense of disconnect to Grimace… and then there were all the chores. I need a moment, I thought! 

I headed to Florabella Pass (entrance at Ross cres, Blaxland) to make my way along the track to the Plateau Pde/Bridge rd exit (Blaxland), with a little street walk back to the beginning to make it a round walk. 

The sun was shining and I finished the walk in a much better state of mind. The peace within the bush is always a revelation for me; a reminder about the importance of taking time out from our busy society to engage with our land.

So, here goes (I think this is my second ever poem), remember to keep it to the rhythm that so often appears in Dr Seuss books:
A walk is a wondrous thing.

A walk is a beaut-i-ful place to go.

A bushwalk gives me time to slow.

The bush makes me want to sing. 

And here we are again…the terrible/terrific twos

Tomorrow, I will wake up with a 4 (very nearly 5) year old, and a two year old. I relished all the cuddles I was given today, not wanting to rush anything further about this one year old… 

He is equal amounts of empathy, fire and brimstone, love, anger, affection, independence, frustration and cheeky comedian. 

A mere two minute reflection on my life (at 11:30pm) since Little Mate belatedly made his way into the world, my world, undoubtedly highlights the perfect little soul he is, and the amazing amount his presence has forced me to learn about me, the world and my family. I am aware of the cliched nature of my next statement, however, he has changed my life. Yeah, yeah, Giggles Magoo changed my life too – that’s the very nature of kids! But his presence has challenged me in  a way I was completely not expecting… whether it’s him, or the fact that he is my second dependent, or perhaps a combination of both; I am now a believer in my abilities. My strength as an adult, a woman and a mother has been highlighted by having this little guy in my life. 

To celebrate him and his impact on our life, I’ve been baking, and oops, breaking (see if you can spot the broken below): 

… And his birthday party cake is still to come! 

Wishing Little Mate the happiest of birthdays, may you continue to shine brightly each of your days x 

Rain for 9 weeks

The total clarity in which a child can cite a fact (true or completely made up) is something of a parenting highlight for me. There is something so affable in the child’s assumption that what they’ve said is obviously 100% correct, and that entertaining thoughts of other possibilities is just. not. possible. 

Saturday morning, Giggles Magoo to me – “did you know Henri Matisse was the first person ever to paint with scissors”. Say what?! How does a preschooler know that? 

I also rather like the stories that are recited back to me or Grimace that have been told in such earnest by Giggles Magoo to a grandparent/ teacher/ friend/ family friend, that the event or activity Must have occurred – the convincing way in which the story is delivered is marvelous

For example, that time a daycare educator bizarrely quizzed Grimace on whether Giggles Magoo had seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens…of course not, Grimace’s answer… afterall, he’s a pre-schooler! The educator humorously recounted all the facts Giggles Magoo had sprouted about the movie, what he and Grimace did when they were at the cinema and the fact he had been so clear and convincing of the story: “dad and I went to see the new Star Wars; yeah, yesterday <eagerley nodding>. We drove the blue car and parked in the underground car park. We even got popcorn (popcorn whispered, excitedly). Dad always let’s me see star wars”. 

He will still, to this day, say to me “Remember that time when me and dad watched star wars” … no buddy, I don’t, but the conviction in your story is inspirational! (I’m sure this trait won’t be so marvelous at age 16 when the scenarios are a little more calamitous)

His most recent claim: It is going to rain for 9 weeks (!!!!!!!)

Now, if you’re in Sydney, you’re probably going to agree with this prediction. In fact, you probably feel like it’s just going to rain forever. And ever. And ever.

So, in support of this ridiculous and outlandish claim from Giggles Magoo, which also feels like it might just turn out to be right, I’ve returned my ears to listen to  Dan Andriano in the emergency room – It’s Gonna Rain All Day check it out… it just might help those umbrella blues.

I really like Dan’s voice and the sombre, yet hopeful nature of the song. The acoustic aspects of this song quite suit the brooding me when the sky continuously dumps… you don’t want to do anything; you don’t want the hassle. But then again, you don’t want to be trapped inside and held hostage to the weather.  The song makes me think literally about the weather, but also provides an opportunity to reflect on the state of play in my world. The rain can be so refreshing if you let it… enough rambling from me though…I’m quite partial to anything he is party to – think slapstick, The Falcon, Alkaline Trio.

Side note – Did anyone else completely irrationally lose it about the rain over the weekend?? Pulling out clean clothes from my cupboard, only to have them feel wet. “WHEN WILL THE HORRORS END?!?!?!” >>>>> My weather app seems to think this weekend, which won’t be 9 weeks, but then again, it won’t matter to Giggles Magoo… he’ll regail anyone who will listen with stories of the epic adventures that played out, absolutely caused by the 9 weeks of rain. 

Happy Tuesday xx 

We’re doing the hot potato propeller like monkeys jumping on the bed

Little Mate is The Wiggles obsessed. Whilst there are quite often tantrums due to a misunderstanding in communication surrounding the song he needs to hear, there are also some really beautiful moments when he is singing along or doing the actions for the song. 

He can be easily swayed from a melt-down about something else by whispering sweetly “come on Little Mate, lets listen to Hot Potato Hot Potato”. He smiles, grabs a hand and it’s off to the CD player (actually a DVD player – our CD player is ironically broken by one of the boys squishing two of The Wiggles CD’s into the reader, so now its jammed). 

I don’t remember Giggles Magoo being so interested in music at the same age. In fact, in an effort to encourage his musical appreciation, i snagged us some tix for 2 year old Giggles Magoo to see The Wiggles. He walked out of the concert after about 25mins shaking his head and refusing to go back inside. I was hopeful this meant I’d not have to suffer the same fate as so many parent before me… the catchy wiggly tunes going non-stop:  over and over and over and over in your brain until you want to tear it out. But, alas – Little Mate is making up for those lost tunes by demanding them constantly. 

(Giggles Magoo is very much into music these days – his favourite band is Nirvana…”mum, I want to listen to the CD with the picture of the swimming baby trying to get the money. And turn it up loud please”)

I’m actually very proud of myself for purchasing the Re-Wiggled CD a few months back. It’s Australian bands doing their best to pay tribute to the icons that The Wiggles became. The Living End’s version of hot-potato is brilliant, as is Washington’s Do The Twist (or whatever its called). The variety of the old Wiggles, the new Wiggles and the Re-Wiggled recordings are helping the repetition seem less mundane. 

I wanted to document something as ordinary as a love of The Wiggles in an effort to keep alive the memories I’ve gathered from watching and listening to him learn the words and moves. It is all just too sweet. One day soon, it will be all but a distant memory. 

Night night x 

Having it all (one) vs me trying to have it all (zero)

The weekend went by in a flash and I loved every minute of it. There was a lot of home time for cooking, crafting and chasings. I made a delicious pulled pork, rearranged my chaotic pantry and washed a bazillion clothes. We made stock, baked eggs, jam and played with play-doh. We sung and danced and smiled. 

O.K, so it didn’t exactly speed by and there were moments in it where I thought I was appearing in Groundhog Day: Australian version tittled “We don’t use our feet for kicking things other than footballs or water when you’re swimming. If you would like to kick something, please go outside and kick a ball. Please don’t kick me or your brother or the wall” or “If I have to listen to The Living End’s version of hot-potato hot-potato one more time I may just…”, but then there were beautiful moments including cuddles.

During the week, I started to realise this working-parent things is harder than I’d cared to admit. Sheer willpower will not get you over the line. It will help yoy stumble through, and probably more likely, pull you in a million different directions (far, far away from the finishing line). I’ve always been quite adamant that work will continue to be a part of my future as I truly value my opportunity to contribute in a professional realm. Also, I’m bloody good at what I do. However, the news that Kate Ellis (Australian politician) is going to retire from politics at the next election to spend more time with her family hit me very close to home. I haven’t read too much about it, but what I have read echoes my current feelings. While I’m not traveling between Adelaide and Canberra, nor am I working in the high profile/intense workload role (and I’m going to assume there is a significant difference in our pay cheque). But, I do commute a significant amount each week and there are periods of time in my current role where full-time work is available or LOOOOONG hours are required. There are also lifestyle choices I’m proud to commit to as well – think cloth nappies and the additional loads of washing/folding, home made foods as much as possible (think meals, stock, muesli and muesli bars) and I love being available to play with the boys whenever they request it. 

The thing is, the time I need to dedicate to these endeavors doesn’t magically appear (duh, all that magic is reserved only for Harry Potter!) and inevitably, something somewhere has to give. It’s never the “same” thing either. Some weeks it’s my health or the house work, others it’s the social life or concentration at work, and others it’s the family that suffer my lapse in focus. Mostly it’s my sense of unbalance that gets the most attention, and sleep that gets the least. I never get enough of that (but seriously, who does. Is there such a thing?). 

I’m feeling like I’m at a real cross-road with my career, and feeling that maybe it’s ok for me to properly step back for a few years and do something that can supplement my family life (rather than the other). Clich├ęd I know, but this article about Kate Ellis resonated with me. It is true – having kids certainly does change you and your priorities and in a way that is hard to talk about. I studied hard, and have worked hard to prove to myself (and others) that I am a very capable individual. I’ve always felt driven to achieve, so I’ll still work hard, contribute to my superannuation and I’ll still look to one day be successful in the professional arena but at the moment I need to he successful in parenting. The stakes are too high.

I sound like I’ve got it all figured out, don’t I?! I certainly do not and I will not be making any rash changes to life just yet. I may need to borrow your eyes (and ears) to come to terms with life for a while yet! I also need to mention that I’m pretty grateful to be in a position that enables me to reassess my life priorities. 

[EDIT: this is just a random word vomit as I sit on the train coming home. It by no means summarises all my thoughts about working with a young family…the topic is so very complex and different for each person and family unit. These words are simply a reflection of my thoughts in the current moment.]

Apples – all the time food

So I’m feeling dangerous and I’m not going to apologise for my inability to post here for a while, because, you know…life. It’s been a mostly fun life, but there has definitely been a few rough times.

Last time we were at each other’s acquaintance, i was working full time with the part-time position edging closer. Well, I’ve been part time again for just about 6 weeks and I’ve not found the relief I was anticipating. I think I was hanging all my “rushed” feelings on the work factor, rather than the overall family/social/work commitments. So while work isn’t as much, those days have quickly been filled in with chores, parenting and the occasional fun thing. 

It’s certainly not all gloom and doom…I usually enjoy [some] chores and I certainly love parenting…not so much the frustration felt when no one is listening or cares to listen (We’d all rather read that book), but the games, the imganination and my goodness, the laughter. It is soul nourishing to hear the mischevious giggles emanating from the boys. 

I’ve found some success in combining chores and parenting: having the boys in the kitchen with me when I’m preparing meals or other kitcheny tasks. Its been fun, and overwhelmingly frustrating. But, in recognition of my mum’s efforts at not displaying her frustrated response toward me when I was learning how to “kitchen”, I’m attempting to look for the funny side of the chaos that occurs when there are 3 of us in our small galley-style kitchen. The mess, the incorrect strategy employed by both boys, the shit all over the floor have resulted in a few pass-me-the-gin moments, but they have also resulted in dessert. Giggles Magoo made up his first dessert on Sunday, and I have to tell you, it was ace! 

Quick back story on the dessert…

Giggles Magoo: Mum, are apples all the time food? 

Me: sure are mate – i know you love your apples, do you want one now?

Giggles Magoo – well, can you make apple pie then because if apples are an all the time food, apple pie actually is an all the time food too. 

Cheeky little bugger. We didn’t make apple pie, he made baked apples instead…thanks Cornersmith. A super easy recipe that ny nearly 5 year old made with only a little assistance  (namely reading the recipe and any sharp cutting). 

Speaking of Cornersmith, if you’ve not checked out their cafes/stores or got your hand on their book, you should. I won’t bang on about their awesomeness too much (as it’ll probably ruin a few birthday surprises coming up), but I’ve found their book has helped renew my love of doing things from scratch. In our quest to reduce our causation of unnecessary landfill, I’ve taken to making Cornersmith’s muesli as well as experimenting with jams and pickles. 

There certainly is something so satisfying about making these things at home. I might regale you with our home-made playdoh story next post.

Hello, good bye, talk to you soon xx