#1026 Kinder photos from the past year

It’s an early post for me today, but sometimes you know in your heart of hearts, what you will think about for days, weeks, even months later, when you look back at a certain day.

And I know what I will think of when I look back on today.

It was the most beautiful day at baby girl’s kinder for her informal graduation ceremony, and Christmas family day. It was an early one this year, because the kindergarten teacher will be off overseas soon, and so they held the party today.

Never mind I am already having kinder withdrawals with 2 weeks to go. Not only will I miss the place terribly, the innocent culture, the amazing teachers, the kids, the community vibe… but I will miss their greenery.

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After the kids sang some very sweet songs and Christmas songs to the parents, and were presented individually with a group photo congratulating them on their kindergarten participation, we took a couple of graduation hat photos, before heading off home with all her Christmas presents and goodies from the day.

I went through one of the bags at home. She had received book upon book upon book. I instructed her to put them under the Christmas tree, and she promptly did so, as I came upon an envelope…

I peered inside.

There were photos.

As I started to pull them out, I gasped, and burst into tears.

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It was tears of happiness. Tears of gratitude. Giant, sobbing, shoulder-heaving tears. I went through the photos, only half a dozen, but photos that showed my daughter playing at kinder. Interacting with others. Playing with her friends. Mucking about on the slide. Posing in capes.

I tearfully went through each one, pouring over it enthusiastically while trying to gain an inside glimpse of her kindergarten life from the brief snapshots I had.

They were soooo valuable to me… because baby girl rarely tells me what happens at kinder.

She will tell me dribs and drabs. Who she sat next to for lunch. Whether she had a turn on the spiderweb swing or not. How many times she went to the loo. She seems persistent to not tell me much at all, and though I try to find ways to ease the information out of her, and the teachers put up photos of their various activities week in and week out, I still don’t get the feedback I so crave.

Which is why I figuratively clutched the photos to my heart when I saw them.

It was a build up of everything. How far she had come. How far she had grown. Where she had started when she started there last year, to today, standing front row during the  songs and singing loudly “there’s a reindeer on my roof!”

I am so happy today. So proud. Time goes on, and sometimes it goes slow, yet sometimes it goes fast…

And it’s on days like today, these brief glimpses within our lives, where we look back and say “wow. Here we are.”

Here we are. ♥

#1005 Grateful for all the shitty things

When death happens in the day, it’s hard to talk about anything else.

Death. Life. Death and Life, Life and Death. Both things trump pretty much everything else, yet we go on about the bullshit of day to day, the annoyances, grievances and grudges we hold like they actually matter.

They don’t. Like I said – Life and Death trumps all.

I heard of a death today. I didn’t even know the boy. Boy. That in itself speaks volumes. Not only was it a death, but a sudden, cruel and early exit.

But you don’t really need to know the person to feel sad, do you? Death in itself is scary and terrifying enough, but when it comes on so suddenly, and takes away someone that still has years and years and years ahead… it becomes so very heartbreaking.

It seems so very unfair.

There are about a million and one ways that we could die. Quite literally. Study biology and you will start to learn all of the diseases and bodily faults that can lead to our early demise. It is actually terrifying.

An accident, or an unlucky brush with the grim reaper, could be waiting for us at ANY TURN. Apart from hoping to God you stay healthy, you should also hope to God you don’t get hit by a car, a bookcase doesn’t fall on you, a tram runs into you, a flesh-eating bug eats away at your limbs and you eventually rot to death, a champagne cork pops in your direction and hits your temple, and, AND…

All the ways we can die are actually mind-numbingly baffling.

And yet, so many of us are LIVING. Day in, and day out.

We are in a sense, the lucky ones. The ones managing to escape death. That we are still alive today, and have managed to avoid disease and misfortune, and all the various ways in which our life could end, well that is a miracle. A true, unimaginable miracle.

We might be left behind, to cry, grieve, suffer as we experience deep loss, and wonder

“what is the point of it all?”

But still: We are the Lucky ones.

So today, on this day where I can’t think of much else but this fact, these are the things I am grateful for:

I am grateful I swept the floors.

I am grateful I mopped the floors.

I am grateful I changed the bed.

I am grateful I cleaned the toilet.

I am grateful that baby girl gave me attitude after kindergarten.

I am grateful we argued and she stormed off, slamming the door on me.

I am grateful, that harsh words were spoken to me.

I am grateful, that I spoke harsh words.

I am grateful, that I shook my head in disbelief.

I am grateful, that I sobbed.

I am grateful, that my heart broke just a little.

I am grateful for ALL of these things, all of these shitty, annoying, boring and fleeting things… because it means I’m ALIVE.

Because it means, I’m one of the LUCKY ONES.

And if you’re reading this, that means you are too.

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Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

#931 The End is the Beginning

Today, on our last day of holidays together as a fam, it was Father’s Day.

Very bittersweet. Baby girl was so adorable, wishing Hubbie a Happy Father’s Day about 17 times. She wrote him a card and helped him open up his little pressie too, bestowing upon him countless of hugs and kisses.

I got really sad though, when we pulled up into the driveway this afternoon after having been out. I’ve been parking my car bang smack in the middle of the driveway, whereas usually when Hubbie is working I have to park to one side, so that he can exit his car from the garage in the mornings, as he leaves for work first.

As I drove up… it hit me.

I had to park to ONE SIDE AGAIN.

I practically cried.

Does anyone else get super depressed when holiday time comes to an end? I guess I find it hard because it happens so infrequently, with his 4 weeks off a year, and add to that, we only really have 1 full day off together per week.

We really need to work out a way to work together. That’ll fix things, or we’ll kill each other in the process. Only one way to find out.

But honestly, the night before the whole ‘going back to work routine’ hits home, HARD. It won’t hit me personally for another few days, and I know, I know… the first time, the first part of the day is the hardest, up until you are actually at work, and then usually you go “oh, that wasn’t too bad.”

I know we need to go back to routine, to life, to all of the things we have been planning to do for weeks and weeks. So while a part of me is mourning the loss of freedom and responsibility-free days on end, another part of me is sooo keen to get cracking and back to the fundamentals…

Getting shit done.

Because at the end of the day, I have worked myself out… I get much more done when I am busy, at work, and checking things off on my to-do list, then I do when I am on holidays and the pause button is on permanent hold.

So, I am keen.

#902 My heaven sent Angel

Today, while not feeling too happy, baby girl rested on the edge of the table, trying to get a peek at my face, downcast and heavy.

“Mama, what’s wrong?”

I sniffed. “Mama’s sad.”

“Why?”

I sighed. The sigh we adults make when we can’t explain. When it is too heavy for 4 year-old naïve and happy ears. When we want to explain, but can’t find the words.

“I’ll tell you about it one day. It’s ok honey.”

I continued my despondent stare, as she followed with “Ohhhhh.”

Then suddenly, she ran off.

She brought back her toy ukulele from her play area, stood right in front of me, and proceeded to play.

“Mama, me make you feel better.”

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Words can’t describe the rush of love, gratitude, passion and deep acknowledgment I felt when she said that and started playing her instrument. They were just strums on a toy, but it was the most sincere, heart-felt and beautiful music I have ever heard.

How could my heart not burst with joy? How could this loving action not override my sadness?

Then later, when I was on the couch still looking sullen, she went “I know I know!”

And she jumped in front of me, pulling funny faces at centimetre distance.

I couldn’t help it. I cracked up. My tears of sorrow turned into tears of laughter as she changed her faces to silly and crazy and funny again. I laughed again and again, marvelling at the beautiful and meaningful intention of baby girl to be so eager to see me smile again.

There are things I get down about. But today, being the recipient of my baby girl’s love and care, loyalty and devotion, well I felt so special. So important. I realised that although there are things getting to me, I was given an angel a long while ago, an angel to look after me and pick me up, make me smile and keep me going when times get tough…

And that angel is my beautiful baby girl. At only 4, she has more of a caring and sincere nature than many people my age. She is an extraordinary soul. And although there are things, like any human, that get me down…

I need not fear. I need not worry. I need not cry. Because my angel is there beside me, playing her ukulele and pulling funny faces ’til I get through… ♥♥♥♥

#818 What Mother’s Day really means

You might think I am a day too early, but this has all happened after midnight you see. If you must, let’s call it Mother’s Day Eve.

Or just Motherhood, or Parenthood, right? Because putting things mildly, things went from crabby to horrific in a matter of hours tonight.

We were at a function on the other side of town. Baby girl had been better today, amazingly so, and so we went. She complained of something new though – her teeth. She said they were sore, and so on and on it went… from the car… to the reception… THE ENTIRE NIGHT.

We left as early as we could. She fell asleep in the car as expected. But then, woke up about 20 minutes from home.

And she cried and whinged the entire time.

At times she screamed. She whimpered as if having a bad dream. Her breath stuttered from crying so much. She was even hysterical.

What did we do? Well I tried to reason with her. I told her to stop. Ask her what was wrong. I told her I was there for her. I told her she had to calm down. I wiped her nose, and held her hand – while driving.

It barely helped.

So I did the good cop bad cop routine, and put on my angry hat and DEMANDED she stop crying. She was being ridiculous. She only cried louder. She was red and babbling and upset and no matter how angry I got, again, nothing seemed to help.

In fact it made it worse.

What was Hubbie doing? Well he tried. But let’s just say if she is not working with me, she won’t have a bar of him.

We finally got her inside the house. She cried as we walked up the driveway, after midnight, and I was sure her frantic cries would wake the neighbours and make them want to call the police.

The end of the night, had been a disaster. I was so upset. Is this what my weekend would become? Was this my lovely payday leading up to Mother’s Day? Did I deserve this wholehearted crap heaped upon me and my family?

Was this it?

I rugged her up and put her into bed, securing the blankets around her tightly. I sat close, and whispered to her as I gently stroked her head, to sleep.

“Shh, Mama’s here.”

“Mama loves you, always remember that.”

“I’m always here, whenever you need me.”

Her ragged breaths rose and fell, her small body shaking with every stutter, and as I made my strokes on her head more gentle, more softer, more deliberate, her breath evened, turned into whispered starts, and went silent.

Her body and the cold bed had merged as one, warming itself like a cocoon, and I could see from her face she was getting deeper and deeper. I sat there watching this peaceful face. This face that had made me so worried/mad/sad, and now all I could see in that moment, was love.

She had had enough of everything. She was over it all. She was tired. She just needed a break. 

Go figure. I had thought it was the teeth. All she needed was bed, my gentle touch, and my loving words.

A Mother’s work is not easy. It is trying and exhausting and it will make you cry from frustration as much as it will make you cry from happiness.

But when you watch their still and peaceful faces at the end of a long day…

You come to understand that the flowers, the chocolates, the gifts on Mother’s Day, mean nothing.

Because it is in these moments of reflection and tiredness, relief and grounding, that you come to appreciate what Mother’s Day is all about.

Simply, being a Mother. In every way, shape and form, through sunshine and storm.

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#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.

#720 Teamwork and vomit.

Today we f&%ed up royally in the parenting game.

When I got home from work, baby girl engulfed me in a huge hug and flurry of kisses, before going on to explain that when she swallowed, it felt a bit sore… it tickled her a bit.

Having heard her cough a little last night, I thought she might be a little run down. Nothing major.

Even so, when Hubbie came home from work, together we asked her if she was okay to head out, or if she wanted to stay home and chill. Not only was it a Saturday afternoon, but it was the beginning of our holidays together, and we had been wanting to check out this Boho Luxe festival at Carlton… because, going BOHO.

She was first this way, and then that… before finally deciding “let’s go.”

I wiped her nose in the car as we drove the hour there, and then she fell asleep.

I gave her some snacks upon arrival. She was good. We walked around the market – it was not so good. Sure they had things like homewares and jewellery and tents and caravans, and clothes, ALL the clothes –

Wait. Hold up.

They had kids clothes, yes some gorgeous stalls. They had women’s clothes aplenty. 

But the main reason we had come, after Hubbie had been busting me for weeks about it…

The men’s clothing?

Practically NONE.

A couple of shirts here, and a small rack down one end that looked like second-hand wear… that’s it. How you could promote and create a Boho Festival, say that Byron Bay is coming down to Melbourne, and then NOT have men’s clothing, is beyond me. Ridiculous. Very, very disappointing.

But we had driven all that way, and baby girl was whining, so we headed towards the food trucks to get her some chips. But nope, that would also NOT DO.

Fine. Did she want a happy meal on the way home? (see we were horribly failing the parenting game even before the peak nightmare moment of the night).

Yes, she did. She was tired and dragging her feet, and we thought best we don’t push it, so we left for home… another hour drive.

Into Maccas we went, to be met with a 20 minute wait at the drive-through. Why we didn’t walk in and order was beyond me… oh that’s right, we were crabby from having driven into the Boho Luxe festival for nothing, and just couldn’t be stuffed.

It only got worse at home, when she then wouldn’t eat the happy meal, she just nibbled at some bread… and when I felt her head, she was hot… and then guess what?

The digital thermometer wasn’t working, and the kids Panadol meant to reduce the fever (that I wasn’t even sure of since I couldn’t get a reading, but a mothers touch just knows) was out of date, from November 2017.

Sigh. What else could go wrong?

Lots apparently. I sent Hubbie off on a wild goose chase, where he went to the supermarket to find they had no kids Panadol. No nearby chemists were open at that time either. While he was out and baby girl was lying on the floor complaining of being cold and watching Nick Jr, I called the ‘Nurse on Call’ and got some numbers of ‘kind of’ nearby places that were open then.

And off again Hubbie went. But by the time he got home, it was very late, and now baby girl was beyond reasoning.

She would not have the Panadol.

She was crying, and crying. Absolutely impossible. I tried to tell her that she was too hot, and that if she didn’t have the sugary sweet liquid, she’d have to go to a doctor. Nope she didn’t want that… or the Panadol. Sigh.

And when I went to check her temperature under her arm, she was so freaked out by the pointy shaped thermometer, thinking it to be a needle, that she pressed herself against her bedhead as I brought it near. I somehow convinced her it was ALL OK, and came back with a reading of 37.6 celcius. Not quite too high, but getting there. And after much tears, I got her to drink some of her Panadol…

the sticky and sweet liquid went down her throat… she wretched…

she gagged…

a little bit of the liquid bubbled up from her throat and out of her mouth…

she gagged again…

“No, no, have some water, you’ll be okay…”

BLEURGH!

She vomited, all down to the floor, somehow missing herself but getting my pjs and a whole leg covered in the gunk.

Ugh.

Oh man. Could this day get any worse?

After cleaning her up, we left everything as it was, and she fell asleep.

So what the hell am I grateful for here?

???

Our stupid trip to the massively disappointing Boho Luxe festival made our sweet little girl even worse as she exhausted herself walking, and by not eating anything fell into an even deeper spell of fever.

We felt horrible. We still do.

But even so, through the frustration and phone calls, the running here and there for Panadol, the “get me more paper towels!” and getting cranky with one another, we came together for the most important cause, and somehow got to the end of it all.

For one day anyway.

It’s called Parenthood, it’s called survival, and it’s what all parents experience at one time or another, the true test of a relationship – kids.

If you can practice teamwork through kids, bohos and vomit, and get through – you’re doing well.