#1987 The multicultural writing workshop

I was meant to attend this multicultural workshop today in person, but alas, COVID.

It had been rescheduled many times, and by the time today came I think the organisers felt we could all wait no more.

Put it online.

I had my tea ready, my writing tools, position by the window… check. ✔

We explored using a language other than English within our writing: whether that be a language we’ve lived with at home, a language we’ve inherited, or a language we’ve learned from living in another place. We experimented with techniques and read poetic examples of other writers who have dabbled in this method of the multilingual writer.

We had a couple of writing exercises too, and I wanted to share one of those with you. In exploring language, and what another language meant to us, and how it defined us… my memory led me to a perfect example.

My childhood example:

“My childhood can’t pinpoint the part at which I learnt to speak English or my ancestral tongue. They are both blended and merged, swirled together in a kaleidoscope of colours; mixed together like the Croatian walnut roll, ‘orehnjaca’ my Mum made. The walnut filling was a distinct layer, separate from the dough, and yet you couldn’t have one without the other. It was perfect as a whole.

Old footage has me at my third birthday, my mum and godmother encouraging me to repeat the words “spider, yuck” after someone had used a rubber spider to scare my arachnophobe sister, consequently scaring me too in the process. I repeated these words to the camera, my childlike voice coming out clearly tinged with the European dialect I was accustomed to.

In the next breath my godmother was laughing about my fear of “debeli kum” and she and my Mum broke up in unrestrained laughter. Spoken so I didn’t understand, but I knew precisely what they were saying – my “fat godfather” as they had coined him, who I was petrified of, perhaps not so much for his size, but for his warped German accent when he spoke Croatian, and his loud bellowing “mwa ha ha ha” laugh as he joined in on their laughter and teasing.”

Thanks for reading. 🙏

#1984 Home-school made easier

So the above is a bit of a fallacy, certainly in the minds and prayers and thoughts and screams of parents everywhere ALL over the world!

But, age does matter.

I’ve noticed anyway. If I compare last year’s lockdowns to this years ones (can’t believe I’m speaking in the plural for BOTH) baby girl has been able to apply herself independently to her learning this year, and seems to be getting better at it.

She’s more likely to try something on her own, is more confident in giving it a try without me there sitting next to her, and doesn’t kick up as much of a stink when there’s like a literacy online group session that she must attend.

And this makes my life easier, because instead of going from work from home, to then school from home…

I go from work from home, to… only a very tiny bit of school from home. 😂

And can I add… we both love Fridays.

Other than the obvious… they are device-free days. No set tasks, yes! 💪🙏

#1962 Pink stuff

You know you’ve hit adulthood when things that seem so B-O-R-I-N-G growing up, suddenly are super exciting.

Case in point: new bedsheets.

I know. Really?

But you see, I’m on a bit of a rose gold/dusty pink theme. There’s a couple of colours I’m very slowly introducing into the home, and this pink colour is one of them.

I was so excited changing the bed, like oh my God… 🤦‍♀️

But that’s not the only pink. I also have a new couch throw, and it’s BIG, it’s knotted and chunky, it’s so, so, so inviting, and I am wrapped up in it RIGHT NOW!

I am just loving these soft tones in the house, and I have to wonder to myself, how the hell did I get here?

Excited over bedding, and homewares? Really?

😂🤣

#1957 Remembering him, and the memories

A part of me feels like I’m not allowed to write about my uncle, because I had only spent two periods of my life with him.

But today, having learned of his passing, I feel a tremendous amount of sadness for my Mum’s family, while also realising that I am more than qualified to speak about him, because he inhabited some of the most meaningful and memorable parts of my life.

When I was 13 I travelled with my parents overseas. Being a fresh teenager, the thought of meeting family that I hadn’t met before was not exactly thrilling stuff.

And yet those 3 months ended up being the best of my life.

Our home base was at my uncle and aunty’s house, and so we would return there often for days at a time, sometimes weeks, in between our travels around Croatia and the neighbouring countries where our relatives lived.

I remember how much he and my Dad seemed to click. Both fond of drinking the hard stuff at 40%, they loved their grapes, their gardens, and their gadgets. Both natural handymen. It was never too early to ‘cheers,’ and they were often caught having a good ol’ chat.

I remember the garden, the vines above providing ample cover as good as a ceiling. I remember the swing there too, and the kittens that crawled along the roof of these vines, and how I looked up at them.

I remember the ‘bunker’ at the bottom of the house, and I remember the random spa-type apparatus that sat on top of the garage! Me and one of my cousins sat in the empty pool as it were, on a hot Summer’s day.

I remember them taking us out to ice cream in the main centre. I remember us walking the streets, and them telling us where the bombs had fallen, showing us the concrete scars they had left on the road. They showed us where their son had gone to high school and proudly pointed out the court he played basketball in.

I remember more vividly the second time I visited my uncle and aunty, because it was more recent… it was when Hubbie and I were on our honeymoon.

Although it wasn’t yesterday, the memories are far fresher. I had the opportunity to spend time with them, now as an adult, out of the wings of my parents, 12 years on. Hubbie and I sat with them. There was still the bunker, the 40% alcohol, and the cherished garden. And of course, the cats.

I think he had a soft spot for cats.

On the few days we were in town, he kindly played tourist guide, driving us around to see other family members. We saw his favourite fishing hole, and he spoke fondly of his own family, and of his memories with them.

I often found myself staring at him and being amazed at the likeness between him and his son.

But what I remember most, is the day he took us to the train station, as we set to depart from Croatia.

We waved goodbye, and I said we would see him again one day. I watched as he turned, his head bobbing down in a sign of resignation as he walked away.

But that day never came.

I think of all of this, and I send so much love out to my family tonight.

I hope they too hold their own special memories of him that they’re replaying in their minds.

It’s just another sombre reminder that we must grasp each and every day with all our might and all our love.

Photo by Rahul on Pexels.com

RIP, M.G.

#1948 My moccasin love

I will forever be a lover, of the papuce.

That is moccasins to you, my English speaking friends. 😉

Do not show me an ugg boot. Do you know what I say when I see an ugg boot?

Ugh.

Get it? The ugg is named aptly, because it is DAMN UGLY. Only once in my whole life have we had ugg boots in our house, and that was because baby girl got them as a gift when she was a baby, and even then when I put them on her, Hubbie stirred me forever and a day because he knows I don’t like ugg boots.

I think they pass on a baby. I mean, everything looks cute on a baby.

But, ugh. Pass on the UGG-LY boots, please.

Moccasins, ALL THE WAY.

From as long as I can remember, these things have been on my feet all year round. A couple of months around summer, I live in thong-type cushiony slippers… but these things, these moccasins, spell one thing.

HOME. 🏡

I wore them all through my childhood and teenage years, and really they remind me of my childhood home, of my parents, of keeping feet warm and protected through everything.

I mean, why would you wear basic slippers when it’s cold? There is no proper support, or protection, or warmth… they can so easily slip off.

Actually, slippers are a hazard.

Moccasins fit snugly around your foot, providing cushions of love and goodness to keep those toes toasty, all day long.

(And yes, I know ugg-ly boot lovers will argue that their boots do the same, but the fact that you have to pull them off makes them so inconvenient, and did I mention, ugly? 🤣)

I got a new pair today at the local Wednesday market, because I wore my old ones to the ground to the point that there was literally no cushioning left in the moccasins!

There has been a lot of working from home and home-schooling over the past year, so they have been in high demand. 😁

But, ahhh. A new pair of moccasins. To set me up for the cold months ahead…

Welcome papuce. Welcome. 😁💖

#1931 The stage she is at, 7.9

She snuggles in close when we’re on the couch. Something sweet comes on TV… she puts her arm around me and leans on my shoulder.

We laugh hysterically at her Dad’s antics. We set each other off just by looking at each other: hers laughs are loud, addictive cackles that explode from her, wild and free; mine are silent laughs where my face contorts, as I hug my sides, gasping for breath.

We glance at each other as we lose control. So different, and so we laugh and laugh.

When she sits on my lap, she sits as close as she can. I nuzzle into her soft neck, notice her red cheeks, and kiss her precious head. She pulls me in closer.

I tuck her in at night. As I always have.

“You’re the best Mum.”

“And you’re the best daughter.”

Then she delays bedtime. Stories, search and find books, life’s greatest questions suddenly abound.

I kiss her goodnight again. She kisses me endlessly… it adds to the game.

I am stern, but grateful.

“Goodnight.”

She tosses, she turns. Eventually her breath turns even.

I love the stage baby girl is at.

I love the stage, we are at. 💖💖💖

#1907 Jumping gym

Every so often your child grows up that bit more, and you hit another, really pleasant milestone.

Recently we’ve reached the ‘drop-off-and-drive-away-for-an-extracurricular-activity’ milestone.

This happens when you take your child to an after-school activity… but instead of staying there, like I do for swimming, I DRIVE AWAY.

Now, there are two reasons for the ‘drive away.’

1, she is old enough so I can leave her.

2, the session is too long to wait for her!

Hence why I hang around for swimming. Swimming is only half an hour. I check my phone, go on social media, make calls and send messages, as well as chat to a fellow parent. 30 minutes flies by.

90 minutes though? Today was her second gymnastics class after her trial last week, and I drove home, started prepping dinner, paid a bill, and rocked out to the entire A Night at the Opera Queen album, totally head-banging when ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ came on.

You know, the usual. 🤣🤷‍♀️

She is loving it though. She is an active girl, so she loves jumping about with the other girls, learning to do cartwheels and flips and all other cool stuff that I could never ever do, but hell I can live vicariously through her right? I mean isn’t that what ALL of parenting is anyway?

Totally joshing you there, you know it too.

But I love it as well. She’s already made a good friend, and even though she’s said both times “Stay!” as soon as they begin their stretch-ups and warm-ups, 5 minutes later she motions to me through the window “You can go!”

So I go, to do really important stuff like make dinner… and head-bang.

#1875 The Easter love grows

She has grown so much.

Look at our girl, so big, so happy, searching for those Easter eggs with basket and bunny in arms.

And then Easter at a different place this year. Making memories at my parents new house, and this photo here…

This dessert photo doesn’t begin to translate the love felt, the happiness shared, the d&ms had, the music celebrated around the table as we swayed and sang in unison “It’s Amore.” 🎵

Amore. It sure is. ❤

Happy Easter. 🐇❤🎵😍

#1863 Wiping my tear

The rain started, right before the end of school bell rang.

I was already there with my umbrella, and baby girl’s. God forbid I forgot the purple unicorn umbrella with ears, oh oh oh.

I watched the rain come in fast, like sheets on an angle, getting in and behind people running through it, and even reaching people like me who thought they were safe with a nylon canopy covering their heads.

Baby girl, and the rest of the school kids emerged from their classes, bolting, and SCREAMING. They weren’t worried about the rain. They just wanted to have a good time and let everyone know it too.

Baby girl ran over to me at the low fence, throwing her bag over and doing the tricky manoeuvre she does so well and so often, as she swung her legs over it, cheating the kids who were passing normally through the school gate 50 metres away…

But only this time, she didn’t do it so well.

As she came down on the other side, she hit the unseen part of her chin against the fence.

“Ow!”

I could tell it was a decent hit, not by looking at it, but simply by the look in her eye.

But, it was raining. We were walking fast to the car with our umbrellas, and only when we were almost there did I ask her to tilt her head up so I could see the damage.

Ouch. Blood. And a good mark.

But, I shouldn’t have told her that. 🤦‍♀️

There were tears. She was wiping at the cut constantly, blood always blotting onto the paper. At home I told her she must put Dettol on it… it was a wire fence after all… and she screamed, and cried, and screamed, and cried.

And I screamed, and pleaded, and screamed, and pleaded.

She touched it with her bare hands, all grotty still from school.

“No! Don’t do that! Use the Dettol!”

This went on for so long. My ears were ringing from our feverish cries. I was desperate for her to listen to me, so I could help her, while still trying to calm her nerves and assure her all would be well…

But then all of a sudden, I just broke.

I broke. I started to sob, and these felt like actual gasps of sadness escaping from my heavy heart, so terribly upset and desperate, so so desperate I was to help her, but she wouldn’t accept my help.

My heart cried, and the tears fell.

And it got her attention. Her breathing slowed, and her tears stopped falling for a moment as she looked at me, telling me it was alright.

And then she wiped a tear from the corner of my eye.

And just like that, the roles were reversed.

I don’t know why that moment has stayed with me today. To be honest the rest of the day I’ve been pretty flat and cranky.

Even though she let me dab the sore two times quickly with Dettol…

Even though I begged her to put on a band-aid, and she reluctantly agreed…

Even though it seems to be healing, and she’s now sleeping sans band-aid…

I’ve still felt heavily low and flat, and I think it has to do with my emotional outburst. Our screaming match actually traumatised me, and only a good sleep will be able to reset me, us, fully.

But that tear moment… something about it.

It almost brings another tear to my eye. 💖😪

#1841 Mummy-daughter dinner date

It was Monday evening, therefore Hubbie was off to his basketball game.

It left baby girl and me alone. I had made her fave… who am I kidding, OUR fave, spaghetti bolognaise.

We sat across from each other and ate, slurped, and talked.

The dynamic was completely different. And by no means do I mean it’s because Hubbie was gone. Rather, because it was 2.

Us two.

I have no doubt the same would have occurred had I been out, and Hubbie had been home with her.

But we really talked. I asked her about school.

“What’s your favourite part of school?”

“Snack time and lunch.”

🤣🤣

Well OF COURSE. It was always going to be play time. But I prodded some more. Learnt some things about their class. Their teachers. Her friends. And when I asked her to pick her favourite classes, she replied ‘art’ and ‘French.’

Awww. She’s already a young creative. I love it. 😍😍

I told Hubbie about it when he got home. I hope you too, can take something away from this.

Because it’s all well and good when you’re a family unit, together… but something changes when it’s just you and them. Maybe they feel more heard? Maybe they feel they can open up more? Whatever it is, I strongly encourage you to have a little dinner date, whenever it may be… with your littlie. 💖💖