#718 The beginning of 4 year-old kinder and freedom

Today was baby girl’s first day at 4 year-old kinder, good and proper. We got out of the car 10 minutes before drop-off time, I plopped on her backpack, and then prepared myself for 5 hours of ‘me’ time.

But then, I saw another car. People were coming out of this car too, getting ready for kinder, too. The Mum. The Dad. The little girl kinder-goer, and her little brother, still too young to attend. And then the clincher, the grandparents.

I hadn’t expected it. The wave of emotion. I was happy to see such a beautiful family, all-encompassing supportive sight. But it made me immediately think of my own parents, and how far they were from us, and how dropping in to see off their grand-daughter as she attended her first 4 year-old kinder session, was a difficult endeavour to see through.

I blinked past the emotion, and charged on through, following her inside.

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I mean, this was the same kindergarten she had attended last year. One of the teachers was the same. As it was, there was no difference to her in this year and last – okay sure, there were new kids, and a new teacher… but that was much of a muchness. Nothing was really different.

Except for the beginning of 3 kinder sessions a week. She was starting a proper routine.

I had to turn away from the picture of happy families inside. Sooo many Mums and Dads abound. I kept thinking of Hubbie, and how he was at work, and not there. ‘It’s ok,’ I told myself. ‘He was here last year when she started 3 year-old, and she didn’t give a shit when we walked off, and then I bawled my eyes out in the carpark while he went back to work.’

He had been there, sure. I just wasn’t expecting all those parents. It gave me wobbly feelings.

I followed her around the yard. Watched her slide down. Swing. Jump. Played shop with her, exchanging bark food, for bark money. Paint.

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She drew the water from the beach. I felt myself choke up as I asked the teacher to take a shot of us together, and soon after that I asked baby girl “is it okay if Mummy leaves now?”

“No!” she said. I told her I would then let her decide, and sure enough not even a minute passed and she said “you can go now Mama.” That’s the truck with her you see. She has to be in charge of everything… her terms, even if you mentioned it a moment ago.

We engulfed each other in a flurry of hugs and kisses. And as I walked out the door, I looked back and gave her a little wave. She waved back… and then I watched as she turned away.

See, the ‘freedom’ in the above post title? It’s not mine I’m referring to. It’s all HERS.

I walked back to the car, trying to suppress the sob rising in my throat, not understanding why I was acting this way. My face screwed up in protest.

It was simply, the act of growing up. She was becoming a big girl. I was grateful that she had walked into the classroom easily, as too often last year she played the ‘reluctance’ game, hanging back while other parents and kids walked on by, while I played good cop/bad cop, trying a variety of tactics to force, beg, reason with her to go inside.

Is that why I was so up and down? My nervous emotions at her entry going into today? Everything was the same, right?

No. She was older. And only a year away from prep. I can say now with certainty, I won’t be able to cope when that day comes.

I have all this extra ‘me’ time on my hands now. I should be ecstatic. I was initially. But now all I can do is think how I have even more time to think, about my girl, still so dependant on me, becoming more independent as the year goes on.

I took her straight to the bathroom as we entered the house in the afternoon. Stood her in the bathtub, shoes and socks off. Explanation? Sand pit. Say no more.

She stood there, one hand against the tiled wall, the other hand washing her foot of debris, and then alternating feet, the other in the air to be washed. I went to hold her steady, to help her.

“Noooo Mama. Leave me alone.”

I stood back. “Awww. Honey you can’t say that to me, not today of all days.” Still I let her do her thing, and as she finished her foot slid a little in the bathtub – not dangerously so, but enough to make her jolt a bit.

“See?” I said matter-of-factly, my eyes welling up again. “You do still need me! You’ll still need me for another 15 years at least.”

And then I smiled, as I again tried not to cry. “You’ll always need me,” I whispered.

That afternoon, I called my Mum.

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#701 Shimmer & Swim

Like clockwork. A few minutes after we opened our eyes this morning, and baby girl asked me:

“Where you take me today?”

Me: A broad smile.

“Do you want to go to a shopping centre…”

“…yeah…?”

“And meet Shimmer, and Shine?”

Pause. “YES!”

Several hours later, and in the words of her fave Nick Jr genies…

shimmer

Boom Zahramay! First wish of the day…

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It was sooo darn cute. She has the ‘Shimmer’ dress-up costume, something that for a then recently turned 4 year-old was a big deal, as she had specifically wanted the purple/pink dress-up, NOT the green/blue one. Nonetheless, both genies did get a hug, and she posed ever so sweetly with them.

Following that we headed into the Shimmer & Shine genie-inspired marquee…

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where baby girl got to decorating her very own genie bottle to take home.

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So cool. Mood lighting and ALL. Great idea, and it sure beats colouring in a picture of the two.

After a bit of walking around the centre and some lunch, baby girl was now asking me for ice cream. With our following play date now slightly delayed, guess what happened…

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Boom Zahramay! Second wish of the day…

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LOL. You really need to hear the genies shout out that wish line. Go and do yourselves a favour and look it up. Or better yet…

 

There you go. So bloody catchy, right?

After she had her rainbow ice cream, we headed off to our second destination for the day, being the Monash Aquatic and Recreation Centre, to meet my sister and nephew for a bit of a swimming play date.

Goal? JUMP THE WAVES.

Baby girl didn’t actually realise how good a time she would have until she saw the centre. Because I had mentioned my sister, she kept thinking we were going to her house to swim in her pool. But no. Her eyes widened and she went slightly insane as she saw what was before her…

The Wave Pool.

And just like that…

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Boom Zahramay! Third wish of the day!

Oh man. It was hectic let me tell you. It was really fun and hilarious too, but also, an absolute work out for me as I tried my damn hardest to keep a crazy 4 year-old water-loving girl on top of the crashing waves around us (and they did CRASH!) while she tried her damn hardest to flop around and be consumed by it all!

I don’t have any photos of the event, because you know, keeping my daughter afloat and all, but here is a photo I found online…

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It was only 100 times more fun than the above picture shows you, and about 1000 times more insanely dangerous too!

By about the 4th wave pool segment (they are about 10 minutes long with half hour breaks in-between) I had worked out my shit with her and was able to keep her much more above water, with subsequently much less drinking of the chlorinated water too. Score for Mum.

What a day! Zahramay…

 

#695 Sand Creations by the bay

I had really wanted to take baby girl last year, following on from our Sea Change move… but alas, time, and circumstance just didn’t allow it to happen. Even though the entire event ran for a good 4 months.

This time however, I was set. Following on from the Christmas theme in December, baby girl and I ventured over to Frankston Sand Sculpting to view their ‘Aladdin & The Arabian Nights’ display.

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The sculptures were impressive and exquisitely intricate, however to a 4 year old, the most excitement was when she saw the Aladdin and Jasmine character on the magic carpet. I mean, she is 4.

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(Baby girl going all Sia-esque on me again).

Off to a sand pit to play with some buckets for a bit, into a nearby marquee where there was some free face (hand) painting to be enjoyed, and then I soon discovered the other marquee, where she could reap the benefits of the Supa Pass I had purchased for her…

Sure, the floor in there was all sand. Really, other than the beach, I would never willingly take my daughter to a place where the floor is replaced by this texture. But it was all for a purpose. Tables were assembled, coloured sand of all kinds was on each table, and on it you could create sand art and sand bottles.

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This was GREAT. I didn’t realise until I sat down with baby girl, how much fun it was. We strategically peeled back stickers off of the yellow paper, revealing a sticky substance underneath, so that sand was applied, and then shaken off… voila! The sand colour of your choice remained.

Parents were close by to their kids, enjoying the art and creativity as much as their children did. And children sat so patiently, so happily, so willingly, choosing their colours and applying the sand where necessary. We happily made baby girl’s choo-choo train picture, and also took home a sand bottle which she had filled herself.

I know the drawcard of the event are the sculptures themselves, but the sand colouring bit was by far the most entertaining part. Baby girl said to me as we left “thank you for taking me to sandcastles.”

Awww, sweetheart. You are WELCOME. I had the best time too. 🙂

 

#691 Sleep-ins with my pre – 4 year old kinder girl

Something dawned on me just this week.

And it wasn’t the pretty colours of the sunrise kind either.

You see, as we are getting closer and closer to the time, a month away now, when baby girl starts to attend three 5 hour sessions of kinder a week, my dominant phrase has been this:

“15 free hours a week! YAY!”

ALL THE TIME. Anyone who asks if baby girl is at kinder, I apply with an immediate “yes” and then an almost as fast incomprehensible “15freehoursaweekYAY!”

Sure, I will have a whole lot of adult responsible life things to do in that time, like bills and grocery shopping and house stuff, and then there is Zumba that I want to return to, and those 1000s of photos I want to place chronologically in photo albums, and then print out the 1000s more I need to get up to date.

But then, the realisation.

I was in bed with baby girl the other day, after 9am, and we were just snuggling, chilling, doing a whole lot of nothing, as we laughed and giggled and talked about how we slept, and I kept trying to will myself out of bed, but I just couldn’t.

Something made me stay there longer.

Yes, I was getting these 15 hours of child-free time a week. But to get there, I would be getting up at 7am three times a week too. Gone were my sleep-ins with her past 9am, the lazy relaxing mornings, even my 1:30am bedtimes… yes, I have gone THAT FAR.

Suddenly, her three sessions of kinder, my Wednesday and Saturday work days, and Fridays usually spent catching up with appointments, that only left ONE definite day to sleep in…

SUNDAY.

I was going from sleep-ins MOST days, to sleep-ins… 1 DAY.

Sniff.

And there was no stopping it. Even with another child, it didn’t matter – because baby girl would be going from kinder, to primary school, to high school – the wake-ups would only become harder and more frequent and demanding!

So this morning, as baby girl came upstairs at 9:15, and I slept on and off another 30 minutes, before opening my eyes properly… and she asked me “you have good sleep Mama?” and we hugged and tickled each other, and talked about what we would do today, and I took a good 15 extra minutes to haul my behind out of bed…

I relished. Because these days won’t last forever. In fact, their days are numbered…

#674 3 year-old kinder – Tick

And just like that. A year almost gone.

And a school year gone with it.

I can’t believe how quickly the end of the year has arrived. More so that it signals the end of 3 year-old kinder for baby girl. Today I watched the 4 year-old kinder group at their special black-robed, square-hat graduation in lead up to primary school, while the younger group, including baby girl, watched on at what awaited them next year.

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A year already! It felt insane. My girl was growing up too fast. It wasn’t fast enough in those early, early days, of sleepless nights, odd schedules, intense confusion about everything… and yet now each day Hubbie came home from work and said to her incredulously “did you grow again?” and she would stand against the wall to show how tall she really was.

I am grateful that she completed this year of kindergarten, through all the ups and downs… and next year will be the real deal, 4 year-old kindergarten.

15 hours to spare a week? What will I do with myself?

(:):):))

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at baby girl’s increasing independence. Maybe for now, I’ll try the upward smile…

 

#671 My daughter’s nature, compared to ‘theirs’

I am going to say something a bit controversial.

I’m going to say it, after manic deliberation driving home tonight, the blood in my body bubbling like a hot rakija on the stove, promising to boil up and overflow at any moment if a close eye is not kept on it.

I’m also going to say it, after considerate thought, while I was sitting next to baby girl in bed just earlier, settling her, soothing her tired and frustrated face, and thinking back on the events of the day in complete calm and quiet.

I am not saying this carelessly.

I am not saying this casually.

I am not saying this with malice – I am only stating the cold, hard facts.

Some children, are absolute moles.

They are arrogant, rude, inconsiderate, bossy, and mean little MOLES.

And unfortunately baby girl was the brunt of their mole-ness today.

Every parent is biased, I know.

Every parent thinks their child is the best. The most smartest. The most beautiful. The most funniest. The most entertaining. The most amazing being in the entire world.

And you know what? Every parent is right.

Simultaneously, all our children can be a bit difficult at times, to put it mildly.

They can be obnoxious. Throw tantrums. Break things for attention. Yell and scream ’til they get what they want.

It’s really annoying, sure. But they are learning. And we are teaching them through this thing called ‘Life.’ They all have their moments, and they all test us parents in different ways.

Baby girl gets upset when she doesn’t get what she wants. She does get IT a lot of the time. But often I say no, just to prove a point, and I tell her above her crying protests

“life isn’t fair honey, get used to it.”

Baby girl will also be stubborn. Like I am not allowed to walk this way through the house, but that way. Just because.

I am not allowed to hold her Anna doll this way, but that way.

I can’t buckle her up in the car until she is seated and has properly prepared herself in it (another OCD contender anyone?)

She has these funny and weird routines and if we don’t comply, she will cross her arms, stamp her foot once, and say it a low cross tone “me very upset with you right now, hrmph.”

It is actually kind of totally adorable.

You know what is not adorable though? Yelling. Screaming. Snatching. Telling someone to go away. To not play with them. Telling someone they can’t join in. Screaming at them not to touch their toys. Teasing them. Making fun of them. Stirring them up. Belittling them.

Bullying them.

This is what baby girl endured today. All she wanted to do was play, and what she got in return was a big pile of mole-play.

And after all of that she still wanted to hug mole-child goodbye, and was refused it… and when asking if mole-child would visit her at our house, got a prompt “no.”

I can’t begin to describe the intense anger and frustration coupled with deep-seated emotion that ravaged loose inside of me when all this was happening. Baby girl was crying out, literally, for play, for friendship, for fun, and all she got was a whole lot of shit in return. She so much wanted to make a connection, and to see my happy and carefree girl so upset, frustrated, confused and sad, broke me up into a million pieces inside.

Without parenting, or telling off mole-child whose parents were absent, I did what I could only do… give a few choice words of my own – “that is not very nice, would you like it if someone did that to you?” – and told baby girl to “leave the rude kids alone.”

But I was furious. And later, thinking of the events that had transpired, it led me to one big realisation.

Baby girl, actually is, THE BEST.

She is an angel. Sure she is sometimes possessive of her toys. But she eventually shares, and loves playing with others happily for hours on end.

Sure she is a typical 4 year-old and wants things her way. But she will never yell at another, and would rather follow the other child’s game than stamp her foot down (kids are the exception!) and miss out on play.

Sure she sometimes plays up and deliberately goes against the grain just to grind you. But she has a kind, generous and compassionate heart, and just wants to get along.

She is not angry, mean, or rude. She is a friendly, happy-go-lucky child who just wants to engage, jump, laugh a lot and have fun.

When someone yells, she stands back in confusion. And tonight, so did I.

Because my daughter, is not a mole-child. And I am so grateful for that.

#621 Laugh fest no.1

Because there will undoubtedly be more.

You know those awesome laughs? The ones where you go all ugly face and you cry/can’t breathe/go silent as you gasp for breath, all in one?

Yeah those are THE BEST. I just had one with baby girl, and what makes it even more satisfying was that I was getting really shitty just moments earlier.

It’s something you need to learn, and adapt to in parenthood. The whole aspect of turning things around, not only to save your child, but to save yourself. It is easy to be angry, and harder to make the conscious shift to change things around. But when you do, boy you get the rewards in leaps and bounds.

And ugly faces too.

Baby girl does not sit still. Like, she will be eating her dinner, getting off the chair, adjusting her clothes, climbing back onto the chair, decides to then come over and hug one of us, back on the chair, nope she positioned her clothes wrong, back off… and ON and ON and ON it goes.

Sometimes I find her sitting and watching some show, and even then she is teetering on her little couch, letting it swing back and forth; her legs moving all around as if she has ants crawling all over her; and at the very least, her fingers are moving, picking at her skin, any loose piece of anything on her that she can get her hands on.

She does not sit still. I mean, you’d think she was 4 or something?!?!

So I am putting her to bed and getting her settled before reading time. I am trying to tuck her in, then suddenly… she doesn’t want to sit up, she wants to lie down.

“Fine, lie down.”

She does so as I get the books out. She asks to be tucked in, and I do so, and then she points to me beside her, my legs on top of the covers.

“No I don’t want to be tucked in, I’m hot. You’re fine ok? Let’s read.”

I pick up the first book, The Very Cranky Bear. I know she is shitty, because she wants me to be tucked in too, like her. As I start to read, she gets the other two books and flings them across the bed in a defiant action.

I pause, and breathe. I stare at her silently, and then ignore the action to start reading again.

She waits a couple of seconds until getting out of all the covers I have just tucked her into, to reach over at the end of her bed and fish the other books back to us.

I stop. I breathe. Why must this routine take so bloody long???

“Ok. Now get back into bed.” I tuck her in once again, knowing I’ll probably do it another 7 times, and go back to reading the book. I’m a tad frustrated as I read, and in a sudden movement, I alter the book to match my mood.

“… None of them had noticed, that someone else was there,

sleeping in that cave was a very cranky… Mummy!”

She absolutely roared with laughter. Suddenly the ‘Mummy’ and not the ‘Bear’ was going “ROAR ROAR ROAR!”

She laughed so hard, so addictively, so insanely, that I could barely read the book. She now knew the game, and was laughing for the future pages, knowing I’d be replacing the ‘Bear’ with ‘Mummy’ at every turn. She was laughing so deliriously, without control, that I stopped every few pages to ugly laugh with her. I couldn’t help it. What a good belly-aching time.

And as I reached the end of the book, I realised that a bear and a mummy have a lot more in common than just being cranky.

“As (Mummy) stormed back inside the cave, (s)he turned and roared at sheep,

‘All I really want,’ (s)he said, ‘is a quiet place to sleep!'”

Ahh bear. I feel ya. I’ve got my own monkey keeping me awake here 😉

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