#512 Bullshit stories to feed to your child…

…or as some like to call them, little white lies.

Up until a little earlier, I had no inspirational, sunshine-y, happy-go-lucky or renewed vigour for life post to mention here in this little gratitude blog of mine.

But then, as all the other nights before it, the bedtime routine happened.

And as I stood there, counting slowly, breathing deeply, and making occasional bribes to baby girl that all her toys would be gone in the morning, in between warning her that my angry face was going to turn on soon, something suddenly occurred to me.

Just like the sun rising from the dark horizon to fill the world with light, so too did an incredible thought emerge from my fury, giving me Hope that I could remove myself from this shithole.

A bullshit story.

I’ve mentioned this here before. You know, those stories we as parents tell our kids, to get, I don’t know, anywhere?

To get them to listen.

To get them to comply.

To stop them crying.

To shop them whinging.

To distract them.

Hell, to make life easier.

“We have to leave the beach now, because it closes at lunch time. It actually closes.”

“Yes the park is also closing for lunch, everyone is going home to eat.”

“You can’t leave the house without brushing your teeth. The shop people won’t let you buy a kinder egg if your teeth are yucky.”

“Paw Patrol will wait until you’ve had a nap, and then they will come on TV.”

“You have to wear a jacket on the trampoline (in 11 degree weather). It’s the Rule.”

And we get away with it because we can.

Why do we do it? Well as you can see from the above list, sometimes it’s for their sake – cleanliness or health. Sometimes it’s for convenience.

Sometimes it’s for OUR sanity.

And tonight once again it was the latter. Because for some reason, baby girl’s room was too dark. In amidst stalling with a variety of ways to not sleep, she kept pulling this nifty excuse out of her bag of tricks. And all I wanted to do was rest, and have some kind of ‘me time.’

She has two lamps in her room, albeit battery-operated ones, so perhaps the room was getting dimmer from the gradual battery strength lessening. However when I was getting her to finally lie down, and again she complained too dark, I just ripped out –

“We can’t have too many lights, you know why? The bugs will catch us. The bugs and spiders will find us because there are too many lights. So we can’t have too many lights. Goodnight!”

And you know what I got in return?

“Goodnight!”

Thank Fuck. I love Motherhood, but I also love that she is at an age to still buy these stories…

 

#500! Rum balls

Bloody sweets, again? This girl is crazy, you’ll say. All she does is bake!

Well, I didn’t bake. I rolled. And it just so happens that by pure coincidence, this week is heavy on the sweet-making front, because my cappuccino cupcakes I made half for us, half for some family earlier on in the week…

and the rum balls I rolled today, is for a shared plate I need to take to baby girl’s kinder tomorrow, for their end of term 2 PAR-TAY…

(and a little for us too).

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I mean, it would be pretty cool if I had heaps of time to just bake, and roll, and cook, and spend a heap of time making sugary-sweet-time in the kitchen… but by the same token I’m more than just a creative kitchen enthusiast, and I don’t like to be defined by just one thing. I like to spend my time outdoors, taking in sunshine, reading, shopping even when the account kind of doesn’t allow me, and jumping on trampolines… with baby girl of course.

Of course.

Oh, and writing. That little hobby too 😉

It makes sense to talk about the things I do and what makes me happy today – after all it’s a monumental post, the big 5-0-0! Woohoo! I say, make the cake, and eat all the cake!

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Well, leave some for the kiddies too. They are child-friendly in case anyone is wondering, totally rum-less.

So what exactly am I grateful for today? A whole bunch of things. I am grateful for easy recipes like rum balls, yes. I am grateful for milestones. And a big shout out to Hope too. Hope keeps my feet taking one step in front of the other. Hope keeps my chin up when things are down. Hope keeps me a glass half-full gal, and Hope is there to tell me that everything eventually works out, and everything is for a reason.

Celebrating sweet things, big numbers, and things to keep us wishing…

Thanks to you all for joining me on this ride, and here’s Hoping this 500 is the tip of the iceberg for the lifelong Gratitude Journey I am on. 🙂

#493 Emerging light of the shortest day

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Does that picture look like something from a science fiction movie?

In fact, I took the above photo on my way in to work this morning. I had to capture something to mark this most exciting of days, and when I saw the image before me, the soft mist turning the horizon into a hazy dream, boats still and sleeping in the foreground, while behind the tall buildings and bright red lights of civilisation, there shone something more.

Something grand.

Something promising.

Something, to HOPE for.

Because today is the shortest day of the year. From now on out, the daylight in each day can only grow incrementally, and with that increase, comes the prospect of brilliant sunshine-y times ahead.

I know we are only 21 days into Winter. However, a glass half-full sunshine loving Leo as myself needs something to look forward to, and the shortest day of the year during Winter, is about the most exciting thing to happen today.

Exciting, and gratifying.

And so it helps, it fell on a day that ended up turning rainy, grey and miserable.

But that’s ok. Because the only way is up.

#459 Local help

Everywhere I turned, I seemed to run into them. People at the shops, bumping into their friends. Acquaintances. People from down the road. A local they hadn’t seen in a while.

Two women stood in front of the apples talking about how it was when they ‘showed’ so early for their second child. The grocer guy sang out to his buddy stocking up corn, and they chatted loudly about people they knew from other stores.

Another older woman held her arms out in an embrace as she came across another woman, and then the woman being hugged pointed to a third woman and said “this used to be my neighbour.” I saw them picking out groceries together and helping the older woman later on.

Two old ladies stood at the entrance to the biscuit aisle, whispering lowly about God-knows-what, but their faces were so solemn I nearly hung out a second longer to catch a word or two about the latest scandal, I could only assume.

I felt a bit left out. I couldn’t just bump into someone I knew in our town. Not yet. I didn’t know anybody. Baby girl was slowly making friends at kinder – soon she would know people out and about. Hubbie was also now working locally, so he too was recognising faces here and there. I was still based out of town, WAY out of town for work, so I wasn’t really based in any such way in our new town, not yet.

Not yet. I told myself this. I told myself, as I smiled at the exchanges I came across, wishfully thinking that my time would come, and soon enough, I would be bumping into people, and saying “oh hey! How have you been?” Maybe I would talk about how the corn was in season. Or maybe I would indulge in some scandal/gossip or two.

Or maybe all of the above. If I was lucky.

And this I pondered, as I searched for fresh yeast.

It was becoming extremely difficult to find. Back where we used to live in the Northern suburbs, I knew exactly where to find, and where to go for the fiddly, specific, random items I sometimes required. Fortunately for me, where I used to buy yeast was just around the corner from me, at a continental deli in the large shopping centre in town. There were that many wogs, (ahem) Europeans there, of course they had fresh yeast for sale, frequently. It wasn’t odd to look for it.

Here however:

“No we don’t sell it,” said one gourmet deli cashier to me, as she genuinely looked quizzical, adding that she didn’t know where I could buy it while looking around to serve the next person and get rid of me.

“I don’t know where we get it from,” said the bakery lady who had walked out to place bread on the shelves in Woolies, implying that yes they had it, but no, they did not SELL IT.

Where was I going to get fresh yeast from? It almost seemed like I was asking for a Unicorn’s horn, or something. People looked at me like “Wowzee, geez, good luck.” I was making a bunch of bread-like cheese rolls for my parents’ upcoming anniversary, and I was going to make them tomorrow. So I needed to buy the yeast, NOW.

I decided nothing was lost by asking the cashier who had put through my items a previous time at Woolies. She seemed like a really lovely person. As she weighed my apples, I asked, “do you know where I could find fresh yeast around here?”

She thought for a moment, throwing a bit of a clueless look as so many before her had thrown when I had posed my question, and then turned to the Mum with two kids behind me who was placing her groceries on the conveyor belt, and without hesitating asked “where can you buy fresh yeast around here?”

They knew each other.

This Mum was lovely and started rattling off heaps of names. One on the Main street, and then the cashier jumped in and mentioned a grocery store in town.

“My Hubbie works there actually” I said. “I’m just waiting for him to get back to me on that.”

The Mum then remembered a gourmet/organic grocer that was a few shops down in the little centre we were in, and immediately I was like “of course!” How could I have forgotten that little unique and quirky-buys place?

I high-tailed it out of there after thanking them, and upon walking into the gourmet grocer, came across a very smiley lady at the counter.

“Do you sell fresh yeast?”

“You know who would know that? Our chef. And she so happens to be a few doors down. Follow me.”

And just like that, she left her post in the grocer store at the counter, and walked off, me following her with my trolley full of groceries, containing almost everything BUT fresh yeast. She kindly introduced me to the chef who was chatting with another shop owner, and then left to resume her post, while I asked wide-eyed “was there any fresh yeast around here?”

The chef, was super-friendly. She was surprised Woolies hadn’t just given me some, but said to try all the bakeries in the area… she mentioned the Baker’s Delight just several stores down, and Banjos on Main street, and then another fine foods deli off the Main street. She was so friendly and helpful, and placed confidence in me that I WOULD find it.

I still tentatively walked to Baker’s and when it was my turn to be served, asked all high-pitched “do you sell fresh yeast here?”

“Yeah” responded the cashier with no confusion or Unicorn horn- questioned look.

Finally!

And so, I got my damn fresh yeast. The locals had been lovely, and gone out of their way to help me, just as you would expect in a village-type seaside town.

And just as I had been wondering how long it would talk to get it, the fresh yeast came across my path quite suddenly, as it had been there in front of me, all along…

And I realised that like the yeast rising, hopefully so too would my ‘locals’ friend list also go up… much sooner than I expected.

 

#369 Mr Penn

This gratitude thread holds a fair bit of bitter-sweetness.

Let me introduce you to someone.

Mr Judda-Penn.

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He is our Indian Ringneck Parrot. I say Mr, for frivolities sake, but am slightly disappointed that he never took to the Penn name we tried to re-Christen him with when we obtained him from Hubbie’s relos. He would only respond to the name he had known with his previous owners, which was Juddy.

Hence, his hyphenated name was born. I couldn’t let go of the Penn, even if he never squawked back at me when I used it.

He… was our Indian Ringneck Parrot. I hope I can use ‘is’ again, but Hope is not only a survival technique, but a dangerous one at that. I want to Hope, but I am also scared to practice it too much.

We had him for 4ish months. And I didn’t realise how much he was a distinct presence in our home, until today. I didn’t realise how much he amused me. I didn’t realise, that part of me would miss how he would aggressively jump up near his food bowls as I tried to change his seed and water. I didn’t realise that the removal of his 4pm calls would create a silence that was cold. And I didn’t realise that when I found his cage empty this morning, that I would also feel subsequently empty, and a strong desire to move the cage elsewhere so it didn’t remind me that he was not around anymore.

He escaped, sometime this morning. He is a clever bird, and a cheeky one at that – something we are also missing. Hubbie feels betrayed. We fed him, gave him a home, gave him water baths on hot days, and played with him. Even our family and friends were beginning to get to know him. We really enjoyed having him around.

I don’t know what the next chapter in this story will be, but now that he is gone, I realise that I am grateful for his presence in our lives. He was in it for only a little while, but he made an impact. After all, he transitioned in an important part of our lives, with our Sea change.

I am also grateful to the people on the facebook community groups, those from Mornington and the surrounds, who have been sharing my lost bird posts. Even though I don’t know these people, I am amazed at the willingness of people to spread the word of our lost bird, in the chance that someone sees him on a nearby fence, bathing in a bird bath, or pecking away at fruits on a tree.

As I gazed at this view earlier tonight, I wondered, where would Judda-Penn sleep tonight? Would he have adequate shelter? Would he be safe? These thoughts made me sad.

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Goodnight Judda-Penn.

*If anyone reading this is from the Mornington area or surrounds, and comes across a bird looking like this – PLEASE contact me. Baby girl would like to blow him kisses again XOXO*

#269 We went into 3 shops…

There is a whole swagger of gourmet, eccentric, specialty, exclusive and decorative shops running up the Main street. This is kind of like heaven to me. I would do almost anything to spend an indefinite amount of time on this strip, meandering around, taking my sweet, sweet time, thinking of what piece to buy for whom, interjecting it all with regular doses of caffeine and abundantly generous salad rolls thrown in between the designer, one-of-a-kind shops that are so prevalent beach-side.

However I am still, one month after moving here to our Sea change location, waiting to do the above.

In recent months, baby girl has become especially difficult when it comes to shopping. Unless we are going into a toy shop, or I am ordering something along the lines of “babycino with marshmallows” she will just not have it. She’ll outright refuse entry into said shop, will scream, and even has laid down on the ground when I have tried to pull her in.

You can imagine how this scene looks like. Desperate Mum pulling a screaming baby girl into a specialty high-end shop.

Yep. Screaming kid plus $$$ shop = not a good combo.

So half the time I give up. Go home. I’m a hopeful idiot. I swear against going out, and then the next day I think ‘maybe if I let her go on the playground first/go into the toy shop/buy her a babycino, she will let me go into some of those nice shops.’

I wager. I beg. I plead. I threaten. And most of the time, she gets all the above things, plus more, and I get Jack squat. Nothing. No shopping for me. Delaying her wishes of getting a babycino or going to the shopping centre playground doesn’t work either, because if I go into a shop I like first, it’s like she isn’t happy straight off the bat, and won’t do anything. I need to set her up, happy, to get a happy reaction later on.

Only I’m not getting a happy reaction later on. I’m just getting a disobedient one.

It’s really frustrating.

I woke up a hopeful idiot again today. I’ve been thinking about how when she is well-slept and well-fed, she is easier to manage.

So we went to the Main street. And in the car…

“Now baby girl. We are going to the BIG park. The BIG park, next to the beach!”

“Big Park!” she imitates.

“Yes. But you have to be a good girl, Mummy has to go into a few shops first, maybe 5, and you get to have biscuits… then we go to the BIG park, ok?”

“Yeah.” She nods.

“Remember? You have to be a good girl, and LISTEN to Mum… and you get biscuits! Then you get the park after some shops, ok?”

So, like my post title tells you, we went into 3 shops. I could have bought stuff in all 3 of them, but I didn’t. Baby steps. I’ll have to go back with Hubbie so he watches her while I secure those deals. But I did my Christmas research, had my longed-for sticky beak, and even though it was trying as I kept her curious hands from touching too much, instead filling them with mini rice puffs, I got to see 3 shops.

3 out of 300 (or so it seems).

Baby steps. I’m getting somewhere. Baby steps. I should finish my Christmas shopping by next May at this stage…

 

#225 Falling into place – Kinder

I only put in the late application last night. It had been the first kinder we had visited at our Sea change destination, yet it had made an impact on us – the teachers were warm and friendly, the room was filled with kid-fuelled, inventive and funny nik-naks, and I immediately felt like baby girl would love it there.

However, I felt the need to research some more – surely the first kinder we visited wouldn’t be the right one straight off the bat, could it? I had to be sure.

A few drive-by inspections, and another kinder visit yesterday, told me that often you don’t need to do any further research. Sometimes you should just go with your gut, regardless of what else is out there. We spoke to a lovely lady from another kinder who said that spots were tough to come by at this stage of the game, so I took her kindly advice and applied for the first kinder we had seen.

A phone call this afternoon: baby girl was offered a spot. I happily accepted, then got off the phone to jump up and down with baby girl telling her she was going to be painting to her hearts content next year. Her cheeks were rosy and bright, from being outside all day – in my parents yard, and at the park I had frequented so much as a child. The thought of painting endlessly thrilled her.

Later during her nap, as I was being appreciative of how easy it had been in the kindergarten application process, a song came into my head. As I hung her clothes to dry on the inside clothes rack, I smiled as the words filtered through:

Que Sera, Sera

Whatever will be, will be

The future’s not ours to see

Que Sera, Sera

I used to find a strong affinity with the song as a child. Dreaming, imagining, wondering what my future would hold. I would hum the words to myself as I played in the park, thinking deep thoughts that I’m not sure a normal 9 year old would think.

Who would I marry?

What would I become?

How would my children be like?

What would I do?

Being a naturally inquisitive person, the questions posed in the song (will I be famous, will I be rich, here’s what she said to me) reflected my own curiosities and doubts, fears and wonders over life and what would come in the future. But in the end, no matter how much I wanted to know, anything, the words of the song rang truer still:

The future’s not ours to see.

Funny how things work out? Today as I remembered the lyrics:

Now I have children of my own,

They ask their mother, what will they be?

As we are on the verge of so many life-changes, with moving house, moving lifestyle, and now our baby girl going to start kindergarten next year, I wonder what her questions will be? What will I tell her? Will I be honest, or will I put on my rose-coloured glasses and paint the world a vibrant rainbow?

I’ve always swayed heavily between two lines of thinking, two ways that are directly opposite one another and yet BOTH that I believe to be true.

  1. There are things that are ‘meant to be’ in life
  2. We control our actions and our futures

They are highly contradictory thoughts, and yet some things in our life I believe we can’t escape, yet simultaneously I believe we can do what we want to do…

I’ve always imagined having a beach house, but it was always just a silly fantasy, wishful thinking. I never really put any kind of plan or action into it, ’til the start of this year. And in very little time, we made a purchase, and are now moving.

So did we make that happen, or was that meant to happen?

All my beach house, silly references throughout life… was that me attracting the beach house to ourselves the whole time?

Or was that meant to be, and the Universe was throwing me snippets of our future forecast before it happened?

I still don’t know, and I don’t know what I’ll be telling baby girl in years to come. I think I’ll be realistic, yet I’ll inject a good dose of romanticism and wishful thinking, because you know, as I say to her:

Reach high for the stars, and follow your dreams. You can achieve whatever you wish for.

I honestly don’t think that that line of thinking could harm anyone.

I am grateful that so far, things are going smoothly, and this kindergarten process has gotten off without a hitch… almost like it was meant to be.

But, ‘whatever will be, will be.’