#726 Date with the folks

I can’t remember exactly how long, but going into today it felt like it had been ages between catch-ups with my parents.

As in, a face-to-face one. We met up with them today at a local shopping centre on their side of town for some lunch, where we ate in a little cafe, chatted, caught up on some stuff, and just generally enjoyed their company.

It was so chilled, and yet so necessary.

We had things to do during the day, but had promised that when we were done we would then stop by their house on our way back home. What was meant to be a half hour visit, turned into a 4 hour “let’s just stay for dinner now” visit.

The backyard was the best bit. Sitting around the small table, chilling under the fruit trees, enjoying the cool breeze wafting on through, and talking about goals, dreams, life, and making plans and exploring ideas about it ALL.

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I swear their backyard is THE BEST. The greatest memories have been had amidst those trees. Baby girl went a bit rampant with my phone and took the above photo of Hubbie my Mum and I, and then as I wasn’t watching went ahead and took a whole lot more…

Topping off the night was an impromptu visit to Gino’s pizza to grab our dinner, and unless you’re from the North will you only understand the institution that Gino’s is – that it still is, even after the owner’s have changed! If you don’t get it, I’ll just tell you this: people go out of their way to pick up the pizzas as Gino’s don’t do delivery, which is what we had to do tonight even though I started off with saying “let’s just get a pizza delivered.”

!!!

Having a classic pizza you haven’t had in ages, in your old hood, is pretty damn awesome.

Under the Pear tree, Parents, Pizza… Ahh. Pretty Perfect 🙂

And just for show, check out the photos baby girl took in the backyard while we weren’t looking:

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(The garden duck she bathed)

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(Legit she took this, it is soooo beautiful)

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(In an art gallery this one would be called ’80s Flashback – The Clothesline against a sea of Corrugated Plastic’)

 

 

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#718 The beginning of 4 year-old kinder and freedom

Today was baby girl’s first day at 4 year-old kinder, good and proper. We got out of the car 10 minutes before drop-off time, I plopped on her backpack, and then prepared myself for 5 hours of ‘me’ time.

But then, I saw another car. People were coming out of this car too, getting ready for kinder, too. The Mum. The Dad. The little girl kinder-goer, and her little brother, still too young to attend. And then the clincher, the grandparents.

I hadn’t expected it. The wave of emotion. I was happy to see such a beautiful family, all-encompassing supportive sight. But it made me immediately think of my own parents, and how far they were from us, and how dropping in to see off their grand-daughter as she attended her first 4 year-old kinder session, was a difficult endeavour to see through.

I blinked past the emotion, and charged on through, following her inside.

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I mean, this was the same kindergarten she had attended last year. One of the teachers was the same. As it was, there was no difference to her in this year and last – okay sure, there were new kids, and a new teacher… but that was much of a muchness. Nothing was really different.

Except for the beginning of 3 kinder sessions a week. She was starting a proper routine.

I had to turn away from the picture of happy families inside. Sooo many Mums and Dads abound. I kept thinking of Hubbie, and how he was at work, and not there. ‘It’s ok,’ I told myself. ‘He was here last year when she started 3 year-old, and she didn’t give a shit when we walked off, and then I bawled my eyes out in the carpark while he went back to work.’

He had been there, sure. I just wasn’t expecting all those parents. It gave me wobbly feelings.

I followed her around the yard. Watched her slide down. Swing. Jump. Played shop with her, exchanging bark food, for bark money. Paint.

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She drew the water from the beach. I felt myself choke up as I asked the teacher to take a shot of us together, and soon after that I asked baby girl “is it okay if Mummy leaves now?”

“No!” she said. I told her I would then let her decide, and sure enough not even a minute passed and she said “you can go now Mama.” That’s the truck with her you see. She has to be in charge of everything… her terms, even if you mentioned it a moment ago.

We engulfed each other in a flurry of hugs and kisses. And as I walked out the door, I looked back and gave her a little wave. She waved back… and then I watched as she turned away.

See, the ‘freedom’ in the above post title? It’s not mine I’m referring to. It’s all HERS.

I walked back to the car, trying to suppress the sob rising in my throat, not understanding why I was acting this way. My face screwed up in protest.

It was simply, the act of growing up. She was becoming a big girl. I was grateful that she had walked into the classroom easily, as too often last year she played the ‘reluctance’ game, hanging back while other parents and kids walked on by, while I played good cop/bad cop, trying a variety of tactics to force, beg, reason with her to go inside.

Is that why I was so up and down? My nervous emotions at her entry going into today? Everything was the same, right?

No. She was older. And only a year away from prep. I can say now with certainty, I won’t be able to cope when that day comes.

I have all this extra ‘me’ time on my hands now. I should be ecstatic. I was initially. But now all I can do is think how I have even more time to think, about my girl, still so dependant on me, becoming more independent as the year goes on.

I took her straight to the bathroom as we entered the house in the afternoon. Stood her in the bathtub, shoes and socks off. Explanation? Sand pit. Say no more.

She stood there, one hand against the tiled wall, the other hand washing her foot of debris, and then alternating feet, the other in the air to be washed. I went to hold her steady, to help her.

“Noooo Mama. Leave me alone.”

I stood back. “Awww. Honey you can’t say that to me, not today of all days.” Still I let her do her thing, and as she finished her foot slid a little in the bathtub – not dangerously so, but enough to make her jolt a bit.

“See?” I said matter-of-factly, my eyes welling up again. “You do still need me! You’ll still need me for another 15 years at least.”

And then I smiled, as I again tried not to cry. “You’ll always need me,” I whispered.

That afternoon, I called my Mum.

#614 Mementos from the past

I am in the process of sorting through all the childhood things I left behind at my parents house when I first moved in with Hubbie. So each time I visit, I go through a drawer, a cupboard, a shelf, and I sort into 3 piles:

The throw away pile

The recycle/donate pile

The take home and keep forever and ever pile

I have come across some absolutely amazing things, LET ME TELL YOU. Watch this space carefully. I even came across a note, that nearly made me clap my hands with joy… it’s not with me yet, or else I would have posted about it already.

In due time. 😀 😀 😀

But anyway. Along with getting rid of some items today (if I can’t remember where it is from, or it doesn’t spark any interest in me, I remove it from sight immediately in a rather ruthless and cold manner – I have to because I hoard soooo easily) I took home a fair few more.

All little things. Which makes it ok.

But some of the interesting finds were these:

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Bits I had TOTALLY forgotten about. Bits that told a story, of another time, and another place. And Bits that just made me go “huh?”

Bits I had TOTALLY forgotten about

The pale blue rosary. Who gave it to me? I don’t know. Was it a baby gift? I don’t know. Did someone think I was going to come out a boy?

I DON’T KNOW.

But it has always been there, and therefore has always given me some kind of comfort, since I know it has been around for as long as I have.

The Christmas tree pin. It lights up. I think. My mum gave it to me… I think. But regardless of who gifted it to me, it’s Christmas, and so immediately, KEEP.

Bits that tell a story

The blue and pink zig zag choker. When I was 13 and overseas for the first time, my cousin gave this to me. I think I can even remember, that she had made it.

I am not now, nor have I ever been a choker wearer. But I wore it then, several times, both in front of her and away from her, as a kind of experimentation with self, and you know, teenage years. I had completely forgotten about this one. It takes me to a very memorable and significant trip from my childhood, and so this has to stay.

My incognito watch. I wore this in my teenage years, even possibly leading up to, and during my aforementioned overseas trip. I have to say, I had no idea what incognito meant when I wore it. Oh man.

Bits that make me go “huh?”

Those keys on the bugs bunny key chain. You know how you accumulate a thousand and one keychains in your life? No? Well I somehow received a lot. As a present, attached to some gift set, and hey, key chains are an awesome present to give somebody as a holiday souvenir, because who doesn’t want a picture on their keys of some kind of landmark, that they have NEVER been to???!!!

So, I have no idea who gave me this key chain, or if in fact, I got it when my parents and I went up to Surfers Paradise one time. And those keys… like, what? I told my Mum to throw this one out, and then stopped in my tracks.

What would those keys open up?

???

“Maybe you should keep those,” Mum suggested. “It might be to open those brown boxes that kept all those books you used to write in…”

My old diaries. Hmmm. She knew about that VERY well…

So, what a memory blast. As life goes on, I find it fascinating that we used to live a life so long ago, that we can’t remember a lot about. And we come across things, that used to be so regular in our lives, and now, we draw a blank. It’s incredible, and as a child, I used to always say “I’ll never forget,” baffled with adults who couldn’t remember events of their childhood.

I now forget.

You know what might help me though? A watch. I know what incognito is now, and I certainly go by it online… 😉

 

#554 That I have a Mum, and doing ‘Mum’ things…

I was shocked, and then immediately saddened, to learn today that the Mother of one of my oldest and dearest friends, had passed away last night.

I knew she had been sick, but still I had had no indication that her condition was getting worse. I knew it might be a long road ahead, which is why I didn’t see this coming.

I called my friend, and told her if I were closer, I’d give her a big hug. We cried. I sent her my love and support.

Then I got off the phone, and sat, with some more tears, before baby girl found me and took me into her play area.

I was grateful. Grateful I could do these ‘Mum’ things, and even just as grateful, that I still had a Mum.

I called my Mum and told her the news. We spoke some more, and it was so nice that when I called, I could hear her voice.

Later on I made a cake with baby girl. I used some sponge cake that had passed its use by date, and also some cream that was weeks old, but had been unopened.

Both were perfectly fine.

I threw in some melted chocolate, and melted white chocolate, that I had used for recipes weeks and months ago, that had gone hard again in the fridge, and melted them again.

I whipped the cream. Added berries.

And the cake was pretty damn good.

How is this at all relevant? There’s a metaphor in there somewhere. About re-using what you think is no good, and holding it all together…

That I have a Mum, and doing ‘Mum’ things.

 

#515 Their deepening bond

I can say with much confidence, that as a Mum, I have always been the flavour of the month.

Week. Day. Hour. Second. You get what I mean. And I don’t think it’s anything special about me… it’s just a Mum thing.

A Mum thing that is even deeper, because I share a special Mummy-Daughter bond with a fellow 3 year-old cheeky monkey princess.

That’s just how it is, and I think for many (not all, but many) Mums tend to be closer to their kids because in most cases, they are the ones with them the most, raising them, teaching them, playing with them and making memories with them.

The Dads are there too, doing ALL of those things and much more. But alas, the Dads sadly miss out, since they are usually (not always, but usually) the breadwinners, and while they are bringing the bacon home, the Mums are getting all the delightful smiles and whines, hugs and tantrums, kisses and tears.

Mums cops all kinds of attitude from their young brood. And consequently they get all of their sweet love and attention too.

I feel for Hubbie. He and baby girl have a great relationship. He is the big prankster, and in typical Dad/guy mode, will deliberately rev her up, antagonise her and stir up trouble just to get a reaction, smiling at the mess he’s made, thinking ‘this will toughen her up,’ while baby girl yells running from him, screaming “no!” because he has picked her up when she didn’t want it, roughed up her hair as she was playing lego, or just plain spoken to her when she was not in the mood.

Our girl is 3 going on 13, by the way.

He thinks it’s hilarious, while I stand referee, telling the both of them to calm down, exclaiming “I have two kids! I have two kids!”

It’s fun and games, ALL DAY LONG.

She’s always run to me when hurt. In trouble. When something is bugging her. I’m the one to put her to bed, I’m the one to take her to the loo. Even when we are enraged with each other, yelling and screaming, we come back to one another within seconds, both crying and apologising profusely, kissing and hugging each other and promising we won’t ever get to that point again.

Yes, I apologise. It kills me when we argue. I know not many would agree and say I need to be tougher, and in other areas I am, but… I love our bond. She is learning love from me. And I wouldn’t change our relationship for the world.

But lately, I see her relationship with her Dad, changing. And I think it is the sweetest thing.

Just today there were three events which showed plainly how much she is relying on Dad for comfort, fun and support. She got upset when he went to have a shower, sad he was going to be missing for 20 minutes, something she always does with me; she sat on his lap as she drank her nightly milk, again something she sometimes does with me; and as I took her to bed, she had to go upstairs and kiss him goodnight one more time, and see him off for the night. As he was headed up, she followed and I called out “someone has a fan!”

It is adorable. I think it’s the best, and am not in the least bit envious. This is my husband for goodness sake. As much as a daughter should be close to her Mum, it is just as important for her to have a role model and look up to her Dad – because it is from him that she will learn how to regard herself, and it is from him she will learn how she should be treated by others. There are many important lessons the Daddy-Daughter relationship will teach a young girl, and seeing the strengthened bond tonight, makes me excited and moved, by what is to come.

I am supremely grateful. 🙂

 

#505 Home-made food

Baby girl was hell-bent on some sickly sweet treat from the bakery today, so I succumbed. It was a pink meringue, and looked something like this

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but it was long, like a plait. There were two m&m blue eyes, and sprinkles throughout. At home, I broke it into chunks for her, and popped a piece into my mouth to see what was so good about it. I tasted some kind of bakery taste, but not necessarily a pleasant one, and something oily. It WAS sickly sweet. I didn’t think baby girl would last with it, knowing her palate, and yet I left the room and left her to it…

I was making my Nutella-filled baked cinnamon doughnuts. I too had a disposition towards sweet things today – maybe it was the cold, dark and dreary weather, and the menacing clouds hanging over us and threatening to spill with rain at any second, that made us need the sugary pick me up.

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As I was near the end of the process, my doughnuts now out of the oven, and close to buttering and sugaring them up, baby girl ran in.

“Yuck!” she was saying. She appeared to be spitting, and needed some kind of help so I went over to where she had been eating her meringue while watching endless Nickelodeon in the other room.

A few pieces had been eaten, yet several chunks were still there on the table, with one wet, clearly chewed up and spat out piece.

“This is too sweet baby girl. I knew you wouldn’t eat it.” I told her we would pack up the uneaten pieces for another day, and I cleaned up her spat out piece. She needed water, and it was here that I crouched to her level.

“You know baby girl, this stuff is no good. What Mummy bakes is the best. You know when Mama was a little girl, she only ate the cakes that Baka made? Home-made food is the best honey, know that.”

I went back into the kitchen with such conviction, with baby girl happily gulping down water and converted, behind me. Home-made food, no matter the dish – savoury or sweet – was always going to be a fresher, healthier, and smarter option compared to store bought or processed ANYTHING. Even as I finished off my Nutella doughnuts and reviewed the ingredients in my mind (caster sugar, butter, flour, cinnamon, milk, egg) they were all pantry/fridge standard staples, and though yes butter and sugar prevailed, I’d rather that than artificial colourings and sweeteners. This is the stuff the old, old, old generation used. This was the stuff to eat, when you ate sweet. Anything home-made, ruled.

Anything home-made RULES.

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It’s a lesson I knew I was always going to teach baby girl, and today I was grateful in the knowledge that I received that much-necessary education from my own Mother, by her words and strong example, so many, many years ago.

Thanks Mum… as always, you are totally right 🙂

 

 

 

#486 Early morning view of the water

It’s nice when your gratitude of the day comes in at an impressively early 7:51 am.

It’s impressive that I was up at that time, even more so that I found reason to be grateful, at that time…

But I know the time, because that’s when I took the below pics:

It was a busy day for the 3 of us: me, Hubbie and baby girl. We had a chock-full day of appointments and places to be and drop-offs, and that was all before my work shift started later this afternoon. But as I got up early, opening blinds and getting things ready to start our day, I spied the above views out of our front window.

The view of the water was more of an exciting novelty when we moved in, I won’t lie. But now, we are used to it. Over time, we have found ourselves sometimes forgetting to look out and enjoy what lies naturally before us.

But just because we forget, doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate.

And this morning, in the cold stillness, the heater ramping up in the background, with the only other sound being my breathing, standing alone looking out the window with Hubbie and baby girl still in their respective beds, well, it was lovely.

A beautiful, peaceful, still and serene moment, enjoying the calm of being at one with myself.

Now I know why my Mum loves getting up early all the time 🙂