#611 New neighbours, old neighbours

A pair of brothers, primary-school aged, live next door. Confident, direct, interested. They sat perched on the fence bordering our homes as I put up the washing this afternoon, baby girl on the ground floor trying to scale up our side of the fence to reach them.

“Can we play with her?” the younger one asked.

“Ahhh,” I stalled. I didn’t have any reason to say no, but I had a headache, I needed to start dinner, and I didn’t know where they would play… I hadn’t even met their mother, and so I couldn’t just unceremoniously dump baby girl on her to play with some older boys at her house.

“She’s having an early dinner soon, so I’m not sure,” I bluffed.

“Is that because she’s going to bed earlier?” (I told you, interested).

“No, not really…”

“Maybe we can come over and play after dinner?”

“Yeah.” Push things to after. “We’ll see what happens.”

I then took the washing basket in thinking it was all resolved and nothing would happen, while baby girl jumped on her trampoline and let off some steam.

Well then, I actually started on dinner. And about 45 minutes later, with things well underway, Hubbie home from work and now my splitting headache also far along, I was sitting for a moment on the couch, doing a Bold and the Beautiful catch-up, when something caught my eye out of the front window, some figures coming up the footpath towards the house.

Boys. Barefoot. Bowed heads.

But ready to play with Baby Girl.

I turned to baby girl who hadn’t yet seen them, and when I asked her if she wanted to play with them, here and now, she almost couldn’t believe her stroke of luck.

She led them to the backyard and they jumped away like mad, performing all manner of tricks in the trampoline.

The boys came inside, spoke to us. Looked at our nearby photos, played with her toys. They slam dunked on a basketball hoop we have hanging off a nearby door, and we asked them about their primary school.

They were really gentle and kind with baby girl.

They all played together, just perfectly. And the level of respect they showed to her, just blew me away.

Even besides the impressing me part, I was reminded, and led back to the good ol’ days when I was that young kid. At my neighbours’ house – and I had three friendly neighbour houses who I frequented daily back then – that I knew back to front.

I knew their lives and their families. They knew mine. It was the perfect, best upbringing. Four houses in a row, and all four houses with girls of the same age. It was the stuff of stories. Not even writers could write this stuff and get away with it.

But so too, it ended the way stories do. People grow up. Parents separate. Kids go to private schools and remove themselves. And soon they all moved away.

It doesn’t take away from my awesome childhood memories, and honestly, I have too many. I am still in contact with 2 out of those 3 girls, and even went to their weddings, and they mine, so I think that is a fabulous effort considered.

But I sometimes think, and ponder, how nice it would be for baby girl to grow up amongst that kind of setting. Neighbours her age, where they could spend their days together, outside as kids should, running and bike riding and playing hide and seek within a one block radius, ‘park permitted.’ 🙂

Freedom, and yet safety. Where the parents know each other, know the kids, and all can play together, alternating houses, and yet the parents can still tell their kids friends to ‘go home because we’re having dinner now.’ That kind of honest, direct, freedom.

I thought of all that today. I thought of what I had growing up, and I looked at what was happening now in our house.

The noise, the kids, the neighbours. Her new friends 🙂

The ball rolled over to me as I was chopping cucumbers. I kicked it back to the young boy who took it and slam dunked against the hoop.

Later, Hubbie interrupted their jumping party outside and told them it was now our dinner time. Baby girl waved them off, “bye boys!” while he hoisted them OVER THE FENCE.

Now that’s, a real neighbour. I freaking love it :):):)

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Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

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#581 Basketball sesh’

Sixteen degrees.

Sunday.

Spring.

Sunshine.

Basketball…. Sesh.’

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Baby girl thinks Daddy is pretty cool, with all his special basketball manoeuvres, techniques and on-point shooting.

She had her own mini basketball as we ran up and down the publicly accessible court, played defence on one another, and broke all the rules as we ‘travelled’ and chased each other around.

Baby girl has mean wrist action as she goes to shoot with her ball… she totally misses, but that is not the point. Toddler-steps. She has the knack.

It was windy, but it was sunny.

We were tired by the end of it all, but we were also very, very content.

 

#556 The basketball hoop

I was feeling lowly and flat at times today, and not because I was back at work. It was more my own bodily cycles, seasonal symptoms, as well as the fact that I slept 5 hours last night, with my body screaming “why aren’t I sleeping ’til 9?!” when the alarm got me up at 5am.

Hubbie went to Kmart with baby girl and got her this:

basketball

(Who are we kidding, he got himself that).

He set it up for her and they went wild slam-dunking all over the place. Slam-dunking over the door, slam-dunking over a shelf, even slam-dunking over a chair so that it was more ‘slam-dunk accessible’ to baby girl.

I stood there in the kitchen washing the after-dinner dishes, smiling at them as they ran amuck. No one has ever been so happy to get air balls as baby girl was.

And although they say it’s not ideal to search outwards for your own fulfilment of happiness, I have to say on this day, I absorbed some of their youthful exuberance and playfulness, turning my grey day into a much sunnier one.

That’s what loved ones are for, right? Sometimes you just need a helping hand.

#478 Turning bad news, into a good day

Anyone who would have seen Hubbie galloping alongside baby girl this afternoon in a playful fashion, laughing excitedly as we all headed hungrily towards the Westfield Doncaster glammed-up food court, would not for a moment have guessed that less than an hour earlier, he was receiving not-so-favourable news.

It wasn’t good news.

You see, he had seen an Endodontist this morning, and had been told that the front tooth he was experiencing some sensitivity with, this tooth that had been hit in a basketball game over a decade earlier, was slowly dying from the root, and his body had been slowly rejecting it all this time.

The tooth, could not be saved. It had to be removed, a denture put in for a while, and then eventually a false tooth to be permanently drilled into his gum.

All for a fair bit of $$$.

As he laughed alongside baby girl, I observed them and you couldn’t really tell who was sillier, who was more childlike of the two. I had to wonder ‘had he just been given bad news?’

Yes, he had. And yet he turned the day around, accepted it for what it was, and despite the knowledge of what was ahead, and the realisation that he could not save his damaged tooth as he had hoped, he looked at the positive and moved forward.

So we had a delicious Schnitz lunch.

We splurged on some clothes from Dangerfield – his and hers.

We had some coffee and cake at Zumbo cafĂ© – sharing a cronut, and taking no heed of the advice from the Endodontist that sugar can rot your teeth in as little as half an hour after eating it, and that no, brushing your teeth twice a day does apparently jack sh*t towards preventing decay. Yay.

And then later at home, we got some pizza for dinner, danced with baby girl around the kitchen to Wiggles songs (that could have been a gratitude post in itself) and then drank red wine and ate some more doughnuts (you only live once, so screw advice)

It was a great day, and we had a lot of fun.

I feel especially lucky and fortunate to have a man like Hubbie by my side. It wasn’t me instigating the turn around of negative to positive energies today. It was him. ALL him. He was certainly dismayed by the news, and it WAS NOT what he was hoping to hear, at all. But having gone through some serious, heavy shit these last few years, he knew, that in comparison, this was a pebble drop into a pond compared to some boulders he’s seen smash through the smooth surface of pristine waters.

His attitude shift and positivity inspire me, and the fact that he turned something bad, into good, is kind of the point of this blog, isn’t it?

Ain’t love grand 🙂

 

#388 Babycino break

In order to set a successful tone for a shopping trip, it is essential you pack in the vital vibes early on.

That is, first, coffee.

And in the case of shopping with baby girl, a babycino with two marshmallows please – pink and white.

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(One of each or dramatics will ensue).

It was this simple act of sitting down with her before we started going through shops, that helped us forge ahead and make the trip a great one. And though many parts of our trip were fun and exciting, it was this little act, this little break, this moment in time with my ‘love’ sitting across from me, drinking her babycino like a boss, a seasoned professional, and enjoying that moment with her with the sunshine streaming through the side window, that really made an impact on me.

It was a truly simple, but grateful moment.

And for those playing at home, some of our exciting purchases were these:

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I don’t think I need to tell you what item was for who. Clearly Hubbie had the Prince cd, I had the Wiggles one, and baby girl is totally into 90s Jordan, so…

😉

I mean, Prince in a g-string. How can one get more grateful than to see that?

(Aussie humour – I am LMAO here)…

#381 ‘Snap the f*&k out of it’

Is what Hubbie said to me as I was having a whine as we were bathing baby girl.

Or something to that effect.

I deserved it though. Whole-heartedly. I was still wretched when he said it, but I know I deserved it.

To sum it up simply, I was upset about my tummy. And a little about my arms. I had started workout sessions a few weeks ago, but because after a particular session I later developed quite concentrated lower back pain, I had to stop.

Then I felt unwell for a few days, and I’ve just been hanging around the house, all woe is me. Feeling sorry for myself.

It’s hard when you notice you don’t look the way you want to look. When your body is different, and you want to change it, and don’t know how, or where to start, and then when you do find the motivation and courage to put yourself out there –

Ow. ‘Ow,’ ‘ouch’ and ‘ooh’ happens.

My tummy is not how I want it to be, and even though I was proactive about fixing it, developing an exercise-related injury made me feel like ‘What!? What do I do now?’

Whinging, moaning.

I know. Like a little bitch.

So he started “I’m just gonna put it in perspective for you here.”

And suddenly, I read his mind. I knew what he was gonna say, and where he was gonna go, and immediately, my negativity sobered up. I let him say it anyway.

He told me how he was feeling flat at work today, getting out of his car, and then he saw a man across the road in an electric wheelchair. That man’s only mode of transport was that chair, and that was the way he was going to spend his life. His only life. In a wheelchair.

But wait, he continued. He wasn’t done sobering me up yet. I listened as he recalled the story someone had told him recently, of an adult woman, who wears a nappy, and basically has her shit cleaned up by a family member, every day.

She is not well, this woman. Which is why she has to wear a nappy. And if it weren’t for her family, looking out for her and tending to her, she wouldn’t even have a clean bum.

Is she ever going to ever have a boyfriend, Hubbie asked?

Will she ever have sex?

Will she ever get married?

Will she ever have kids?

No, no, no, no. No to all counts and so many more. The one life she has been given, is this one. And this is how she has to live, this life. Will she come back in another lifetime as a supermodel? Does it even matter, if the above answers are no? How does it matter, if this life is the way, it is, spent in a nappy?

I then took the move to agree with him, and added that I’d read the startling fact recently that the majority of the world, is poor. So anyone getting by half-decently, like us, had hit the jackpot. Basically, we were incredibly rich compared to many folk doing it tough out in the world.

And I was shitty about my stomach. Post-baby. And my arms.

For fuck’s sake.

I then felt, awfully bad, for feeling the way I had. For being so ungrateful. Because I know this shit! Gratefulness, is my bread and butter. And I had completely forgotten to use any of it, instead wallowing in selfish pity.

So, this story serves two purposes. A grateful thank you to Hubbie for being so blunt and reminding me how lucky I am, for so, so, so many reasons.

And also to serve as a reminder, to anyone else wallowing in self-pity out there, that life isn’t all that bad. It’s actually pretty freaking awesome. You too, should snap out of it.

And he will kick my butt in basketball by the way. He’s promised me that. And my stomach too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#335 Shooting hoops at dusk

We’ve been planning to do it for months now. You’d think the time delay was because it was a decent drive – no. A short two-minute trip down the road, if that.

I saw the opportunity tonight. We hadn’t eaten out as we originally planned, and seeing the cool night enclosing in on us, suggested we go out after dinner to get out of the house.

A couple hours later and we jumped into the car with the big orange ball. Baby girl squealing in excitement.

We parked in a car park side street and then walked the short distance to the open-gated entry off the main road, passing large magpies and perilously tall trees that shadowed us as we walked beneath them. In the last 2o metres, Hubbie and baby girl couldn’t wait – they bolted off.

This court had nets. This was apparently a BIG DEAL in Hubbie’s book.

Hubbie run up and down the length of the court, zig-zagging this way, turning that way, spinning around and jumping in the air. “Jordan shoots, he scores!” he shouted in an American accent. He picked up baby girl as she tried to heave the basketball ball up and into the basket, but it missed by a decent bit, she’d need to grow slightly taller and bigger for that to happen.

Still she loved it. She rolled it around instead.

I took the opportunity when the ball bounced my way, taking shots, getting some in while others bounced away toward outreaching hands. I’d rather watch sport than participate in it anytime, but I took pleasure in running around with the two of them as they went a bit silly, laughing and telling them to stop running so fast, until of course baby girl fell and scraped her knee.

But that’s not unusual. Just another badge of honour for her.

“This one’s from when I was playing basketball.”

“This one’s from when I was trying to wet Dad with the hose and instead tripped over it.”

“This one’s from when I was trying to help Mum push the bin up the driveway.”

Her fall concluded our short trip to the courts, but we had had some good family fun, exerted some much-needed fuel, and made such great memories that we vowed, we would be back very soon.