#794 Family Reading

When baby girl first brought me the book while we were out at the library, and we were waiting for our regular cappuccino and babycino order (with smiley face bikkie) I didn’t think much. She would often browse the shelves and grab any book, judging it PURELY by its cover.

She brought the large hardcover and placed it on the table, smiling. The book was facing her, therefore upside down to me. It wasn’t a book I recognised at all, and I thought to myself, just another to add to the ‘borrowing’ collection. As she opened the first page casually, she said slowly

“That’s Not Mine.”

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I balked. Even from my upside down position of the book, I could see that the title indeed, was that: That’s (Not) Mine. I paused, thoughts flying through my head as I tried to process it all.

Baby girl was 4.

Did she know how to read?

Had she somehow taught herself?

Was she a genius with an extraordinary IQ?

Did I have to start looking up specialist schools from now?

And then, just as quickly, a reasonable thought crossed my mind.

“Honey, do you have this book at kinder?”

“Yes,” she replied still smiling, turning another page.

She then proceeded to read the book to me. Page by page. Sure not every word was exact, and she was going off memory. But I could see she was roughly repeating the story as it was told, and was so happy to share this story, this very simple and funny story about sharing, with me.

It was a joy to watch. Needless to say, we took the book home that day.

We have had it at her bedside ever since. Every night we read it. When the return date was up, she refused to let me take it back, so I had to renew it: I fear I need to find a copy of the book and purchase it before my repeated renewals expire, or else she will go into a frenzy.

It is the simplest premise, and yet so fun and silly for a child to read, hell even parents to read. And she has wanted it read to her, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.

Or should I say, she wants US to read it with her. What started out as the both of us sharing the two main roles of the book and acting them out, has since progressed to Hubbie listening in, and offering the last and third viewpoint of the book that comes in right at the end.

Without even meaning to, without even planning, or realising what was happening, we have created our own little family tradition.

I realised it tonight as baby girl and I headed into her room. I got into bed with her, and she picked two books, the same two-book combo she has been picking for over a week now: That’s (Not) Mine, and The Very Sleepy Bear. Tonight, knowing that Hubbie wouldn’t be able to join us immediately, I told her we would read the latter first, before moving onto her pride and joy book last.

And so it was…

Baby girl: “Mine!”

Me: “Mine!”

Baby girl: “Mine!”

Me: “Mine!”

Baby girl: “Mine!”

Me: “Mine!”

Baby girl: “Get off, it’s mine!”

Me: “Go away, it’s mine!”

BOTH: “IT’S MINE!”

Baby girl: (“Crash!”)

“I’m sorry.”

Me: “I’m sorry too.”

Baby girl: “Wanna go play?”

Me: “Yeah!”

Hubbie: “… mine!”

♥♥♥

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#788 What she said no. 4

Today’s highlights include:

“Mama, me miss you soooo much!”

This one happened about 17 times today, and mind you we haven’t been apart from each other ALL day.

“This sauce so yummy, mmm thank you Mama!”

Finally deciding to try sauce with her all-time fave food, pasta, and realising that I am not full of shit and it does taste good!

“No Mama, you no make deal with me, I make deal with you!”

Arguing. Just because, 4. Going on 14. That’s it.

But it’s all balance, you see. Another day in the highly conversational life of baby girl…

 

#787 A day punctuated by the park

You know those days, when you don’t do much of anything at all, but then you go somewhere, and suddenly, your day has meaning? That is the thing that comes to mind when you think of your day?

Also, have you ever realised that there is a part of town, you just haven’t explored… like you might drive to the same round-a-bout daily, and you always turn left, or go straight….

But you never turn right?

Well both of the above collided for us today!

Because we did nothing at home ALL day and then left the house temporarily to go to a park we had never been to, simply by turning right…

And baby girl went all out, first swinging…

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And then running on a wheel, something this determined 4 year-old is set on conquering at every park it seems! It is an actual thing!

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Making new discoveries, and finding new places to visit, simply by turning where you don’t normally go…

 

#740 ‘Not the best’ childhood milestone

Baby girl hit a milestone last night.

Not the good kind.

As your child grows, it is ALL about the milestones. Rolling over. Sleeping through. Solids. Crawling. Babbling. Walking. Talking. Toilet training…

It just goes on and on and on.

We hit another milestone last night. In this thing called Parenthood, where the first sign of anything horrible

  • her first scraped knuckles when she fell pushing the bin up the driveway
  • her first head blow
  • the first sign of blood
  • the first proper vomit – down my leg no less

well, we ABSOLUTELY FREAK OUT, we stuck to routine and did just that last night.

Baby girl woke in the middle of the night. Crying and so upset. And then…

Dum da dum dum.

THE DISCOVERY.

I won’t go into detail, just for the sake of her privacy as I write about this on this world wide web with almost every single eye available to stalk see, but let’s just say, it wasn’t pretty.

Fellow parents may guess, anyway.

We were horrified. Shocked. And then extreme sadness and disappointment… at ourselves. We as parents, had FAILED her.

We went to bed as she soon settled, after I had called ‘Nurse On Call’ (I should have them on speed dial) and spent a good half hour both in the silent darkness, the other half whispering to each other “how the hell did this happen?”

Relief for me this morning, as she woke happy and cheerful – nothing like the upset and crying image of the night before. Off to the docs we went, to find out…

It was not all bad news. Annoying yes. Serious, no. Apparently, for kids her age, it was very common.

A quote keeps going through my head today. My Mum on the phone, saying “you saved her.” Yes, maybe a bit dramatic Mum, it wasn’t life-threatening….

But then, gratitude came along, as it always does, especially when I am writing for this post. It was gratitude in that I decided to stop, think, pause, and pat myself on the back, because she was right.

If I hadn’t been as attentive as I was, I wouldn’t have caught ‘it.’ It would have gone undetected, and for God knows how long… I shudder at the thought.

But I did see it. It isn’t serious. There are far worse things out there, and as long as you can treat it quickly, you know your kid is still doing well.

Sure, she is growing up. She is doing 4 year-old things, learning and saying 4 year-old phrases, and also subsequently, catching 4 year old things… It’s a part of this growing up process. I am grateful for her growth, yes… just as long as it means I can buy an over-the-counter product if need be…

Yuck.

#738 Bedtime reading/singing

It’s going to be a mild night. We lay stretched out on her bed, our legs pushing back the blue sheets that will be even too much for a night like tonight.

She rests her head on my shoulder. The battery-operated ballerina lamp glows nearby.

“10 little ducks went out one day

Over the hill and far away

Mother Duck said ‘Quack Quack Quack Quack’

And only 9 little ducks came back.”

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We do this page by page, and she sings along with me, emphasising the ‘one day,’ ‘far away’ ALL the ‘Quack’s, and bops along to the sing-song-y tune.

I then have an idea. All we do is read at night in her bed as she is winding down for sleepy-time. But she has been singing a song ever since coming home from a kinder class the other day, so I put the books aside and face her.

“GALUMPH! went the little green frog one day, GALUMPH! went the little green frog!”

And so the song goes. For those that need a refresher or don’t know what the hell I’m getting all delusional about:

Is it GALUMPH? GARUMPH? PATOOF? Maybe even just WOOF, hell it’s a kids song, so anything goes.

But the slow build-up of the frog bouncing, the fun actions, leading to the jazzy “la di da di da” bit, makes the song so much fun to sing and dance to in its absolute entirety.

Even more so when you have a very cute 4 year old beside you, singing the song with absolute delight and gusto 🙂

 

 

#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.

#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…

shine

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…