#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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#605 Head of the house and Heater

It happened a few nights ago, and today again, the same thing.

We were feeling bad, for wanting to put the heater on.

Why, you ask? Because it’s Spring. We should have the doors open ’til 5pm until the seasonal fresh air wafts on through at which point we close up the house. The sunnier weather should seep through the windows and comfort our home. The increased daylight savings should also add to the overall light-filled and jovial nature of our household.

But it’s Melbourne weather we’re talking about peeps. Spring just ain’t Spring, and we’re not in Kansas anymore Toto.

On average October is a wet month, and so in amongst our starting-sunny days, the rain also comes WITH the cold.

You know those memories you have growing up, when you were just a child living with your parents, and there were days where you were cold, but your parents were like

“It’s not cold, put on a jacket.”

“I’m cleaning the house, we need some fresh air.”

“Here’s the vacuum cleaner.”

That from your Mum, and then your Dad didn’t help you much either, as he had been out in the gardening sun, tending to his vegetable patch, and had no need for a heater either.

“Here, I’ll give you a heater,” he would say as he handed you a garden rake.

Sigh.

Hubbie and I remembered this all in amusement as we were feeling bad for wanting to put the heater on in mid-October. And then he was like “hey, we’re in charge here.”

“We make the rules.”

“Yeah,” I started encouragingly. “We do!”

And just as he put the heater on we high-fived each other.

Damn straight we make the rules.

And just like that, a simple act of gratitude for the day was born.

The ability to put the heater on when we damn well liked.

And as much as people whinge and bitch and moan about the bills, responsibilities, chores and routine of adulthood, can we just stop for a minute and remember that as adults, we get to make rules?

WE GET TO MAKE THE RULES.

High-five.

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Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash

#604 Shopping with my girl no.6

Yes, material things were bought today. But none that stand out, even close, amongst the heart-warming, funny and charming moments I had with my baby girl.

She held my hand without question and skipped with me through the car park as we headed into the centre, pointing out all the different coloured cars around us.

As we had a bite to eat, she sat on my lap so I could help her with her food, turning to me and kissing and hugging me tenderly as I did so.

As we left the food court, she saw some ice creams with lollies advertised in a Wendy’s: she turned to me, and did her whole routine – “Mama, Mama, Mama, stop, stop, stop. No babycino, coffee, Mama have ice cream, me have ice cream!”

I actually died laughing, walking off and assuring her that yes, coffee would most definitely be had, and we would come back with her Dad and have ice cream all together another time.

And then later as we were having said coffee with sweets, and I pulled out my phone to take some snapshots of my darling girl enjoying her babycino, she pulled one of her adorable

I-am-so-cute-but-cheeky-too-and-I-know-you-still-love-me faces:

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Argh, this girl. She makes me so happy. She is at a stage where outings with her like this have become easier, and even, are enjoyable. We never stopped going out at any phase of her ‘toddler growth,’ but I have to say, being the stage and age she is at, she just gets things more. She listens more. She needs less coaxing and prodding, there are less arguments and tantrums, and much more happy faces while sucking on chocolate-y spoons like the above.

It’s a beautiful stage, and the precious moments from today I will hold with me dearly forever.

I still have my frustrating, want-to-bang-my-head-against-the-wall moments at night when she won’t go to bed, but as in Life, always, BALANCE.

Glass half-full gal tries to focus on the positives. And there are A LOT of them.

You should too 😉

 

#601 Porch drinks

It will be one, of many. 

We had no plans. Nothing pressing to do. No where to quickly get to and changed from our work gear.

We didn’t even know what we were eating that night.

But drinks were a good idea. It was a mild evening. I got myself some bubbly, Hubbie got himself a beer, baby girl got her cup of water, and we all sat outside on the front porch observing the glistening water before us.

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My it looked good.

And then, just because, baby girl took my phone and decided to take a snapshot of her parents. Hopefully it will be a photo that she can treasure in future…

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Best photo EVER. Cheers 🙂

#588 The Greatest Show of All

I LOVED going to the Royal Melbourne Show as a child. My parents took me often, and it was always, ALWAYS, a highlight, every single year. As I grew older I remembered one time where I had a great day there with my sister and Mum too, and then after I met Hubbie we went a couple of times, a night session, and a full-on day session as well.

But we haven’t been for many, many years.

What is there to love about the Show? Why, everything. There is truly something for everyone. There are rides of all kinds, for big kids and small; there are games, again, for everyone, that take out the child in you when the lights flash in your eyes and you observe giant oversized toys that suddenly, YOU MUST HAVE; there is amazing carnival food, as trashy and truck-y as you like, or as discerning and Masterchef-quality as you please, kind sir and madam; there are even animals in talent contests showcasing their skills, entertainers singing or performing death-defying stunts, and then of course, at night, the explosions in the sky.

FIREWORKS.

Well, after what seemed like too long of a break, we went today. It was baby girl’s first time EVER, and weirdly, I had known about a month ago, even before I got my free tickets, that this was going to be our first year to go. It hasn’t worked out for us, or her, any other year, but also, this year I knew she was truly ready for the walk-a-thon that was to be the Royal Melbourne Show adventure, and also, this year she could start to appreciate it. Really appreciate it.

And start creating memories. 🙂

It is so exciting when you start to expose your child to fun things you did when you were young. Hell who am I kidding – I still love to do kid stuff! And I was about as excited as her today, as we jumped off the train about midday and arrived at the Showgrounds.

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It was, a BRILLIANT day.

We ate Showground food of fish and chips, coupled with some glasses of beer and wine.

We watched dogs leap over hurdles and fly through tunnels in high-paced canine comps.

Baby girl went on several rides on her own, and with both Hubbie and I: flying through the air in a row-your-boat contraption, spinning round on a floating mini air balloon ride, going round a merry-go-round track in a car, AND she had her first ever dodgem car experience on her own!

She was the bomb 🙂

We played games, and baby girl fished out some prizes for herself.

We stopped for a well-deserved coffee and sweets break, and found some awesome Nutella doughnuts courtesy of the famous food trucks.

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We went on the GIANT Ferris Wheel, and nearly died as we were perched up top of the world, the insane wind rocking our carriage and making us hold hands, while I actually bent over and encouraged baby girl to pray to God that the wind would lessen.

She thought I was hilarious.

And then the big one, the clincher, the reason for even going to the show AT ALL…

The showbags.

They don’t come cheap. Of course she wanted character ones, which are even dearer than some other kiddie ones, so we let her pick two bags and got an extra pup toy as well.

It had been a big day. We were glad to have taken the train part of the way, so it could take us a fair distance out of the city and to our parked location, before we jumped in our car and drove home.

Watching baby girl, and seeing her response to so many fun events of the day, was absolute GOLD. She now knows, what the Show is all about.

And what’s most important, her memories of them have just started… and they are already beautiful 🙂

#582 Movie firsts

My sister took me to my first movie. Batman, with Michael Keaton as the man in the cape.

It always was, and still remains, one of my most favourite past-times and memories with her. Our movie nights, our sister days.

Well it wasn’t a ‘movie first’ for either baby girl or my nephew today, as we took them to see the Wiggles Nursery Rhymes being shown at the Vjunior cinemas.

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But it was baby girl’s first time EVER eating popcorn… did she like it? I’ll leave you with these words she uttered: “No mama don’t touch.”

There you go.

It was also my nephew’s first time sitting through a whole movie, happily! The volume was lower than it usually is in other regular cinemas, much easier to take in without the ear-splitting stereo bursting your eardrum.

And it was our first time, ALL together. With the success of today, I think there will be many more movie days, and memory days.

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(The popcorn cup, I could not touch)

♥♥♥

#572 Westfield Doncaster shopping day no. 3

When I realised my opportunity today to go to Westfield Doncaster, I took it AND RAN.

Apart from some lunch, and buying some more pants for baby girl (she is at that age where after 4 wears there are usually holes in her knees) we didn’t do much…

Oh that’s right, we coffee-ed.

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It’s little moments out of my day like this that I appreciate so much.

It only lasts no longer than 5 minutes, and I usually have a sugar-fuelled toddler to deal with for a good while after, but I still cherish these beautiful Mummy-daughter memories.

I cherish them even more, in a world where I hear of death and sickness befalling those around me so often, so that in turn makes these small moments, HUGE.

It actually makes them, the best moments.