#989 The f*&king application

I sat at my desk today, trying to write.

Here is my desk:

IMAG4780

Hold on. Let’s take a closer look, shall we…

IMAG4779

Yep. It was that kind of day.

I had held off on a to-do list item for a while now. And it wasn’t just ANY to-do list item. It was a writing one, one that involved applying for a writing course that I was hoping to put concerted effort into if approved – not only because it was a long-held passion of mine, but because I had to find something to do next year when my 11-year job came to a halt.

In applying for this course, I had to write a cover letter detailing the stage and progress of my novel, as well as include 1500 words of prose.

But, what would I write?

“Uh, so I wrote this book, about 20,000 words too long. And then I sent it out to agents with no luck, so I kept re-writing, and then I got it down (slightly), but then by that stage I had a baby.

I totally went off the ‘pitching book to agent phase’ because you know, said BABY and all, and then found another avenue to express my love of writing – in blogging.

And you know blogging is sooo much easier. No one is there correcting my work or telling me I can’t get published. I write what I like, and when I hit post, the whole world gets to see what I’ve written, whether they like it or not, think it is smart or not, and whether they agree with me or not.

But I really need to get my head out of the sand and start doing something with my novel, hence why I am here. SO. PLEASE. HELP. Accept me into this course before I start yet another blog.”

Or, something like that. Like, how could I actually put into words the last 6 years of my writing life?

I did my damn best. I put something together, I was honest, I added the words “cringe” (because I really was cringing as I put it all together) and prayed that it would be received well.

How horrible would it be to actually be rejected for a writing course? Like can you imagine… you want to pay someone a considerable amount of money to teach you stuff, and they go “no sorry, we don’t want you to pay us.”

Shudder.

To their benefit, the programme wants to make sure that the level you are writing at is best suited to their course, or else they can suggest something else for you. They don’t want to waste your money, which is actually admirable.

Still, I need help. And today I was so glad and grateful that I finally got around to writing those few pesky letters and emails I was putting off for so long, because I couldn’t actually put down in words, what I had been doing with words, all these years.

But I got there… and I hope that I actually, get there.

#987 The stage she is at, 5.2

We walked on over to the table we were meant to be sitting at. We were at a family friend’s daughter’s Christening, and my eyes scanned over the empty chairs, trying to work out where the lot of us were sitting.

I counted in my head. ‘1 for sis, 1 for me, 1 for Hubbie… there’s that spare spot over there, but that’s for the old lady coming back…’

Where would baby girl sit?

I headed back to the table list at the entrance, to see that her name was not listed anywhere on our table. In fact it appeared on number 7, several tables away…

ON THE KIDS TABLE.

Dum da dum dum.

Crap. She wouldn’t sit down there, no way. She had been strongly encouraged (and I’m being diplomatic) to come inside in the first place, as she didn’t know many adults or kids there, and sure, although she was currently getting reacquainted with the kids she had played with VERY few times before, I couldn’t foresee her sitting down at a table with them, away from us, so far from her parents.

The table was tightly spaced as it was. Could she sit on my lap?

And so I wondered if it was going to be a LOOONNGGG afternoon.

But then, something happened. I told her that there was a special table, just for the kids, just as one of the girls her age called her over there. I thanked my lucky stars for her kindness, and got baby girl to sit down amongst a table full of kids that she rarely ever sees.

I put bread on her plate. Chips and calamari. I cut it up, with the 3 other Mums fussing over their own brood. I poured her some water. She watched everyone on the table. She started eating her bread. She stayed still, and me, being the overly-watchful Mum, stayed on, reluctant to leave in case walking off would result in a dramatic display of ‘MUM DON’T GO!’ –

and then it would be sit on Mum’s lap time.

But… she stayed. I reassured her of where I was sitting, just a short distance away.

I walked off. I watched as she ate. She looked over at our table and waved, even blowing kisses to us all… and although she made a few visits at times to give us hugs and kisses… she still went back to the kids table to sit and eat.

No drama. No fuss. No objections. Total maturity and complete willingness.

And in shock and surprise and happiness, I realised I was stressing over nothing.

My girl was growing up. She had this all down pat. Like she didn’t eat with a large group of kids 3 times a week at some place that was called, kindergarten? LOL. I was concerned she would whinge, go shy and retreat into herself and not come out.

But she was used to this. She was used to order when I wasn’t around. I saw that again as the ‘Magic Man’ came out to entertain the kids. She sat obediently on the floor, cross-legged beside all the others. She put her hand up to participate, calling “me me me!” and was then chosen to sit on a chair and pat a dove, stroking it so gently and happily.

You see, I don’t see this. I don’t see how she is at kinder. I don’t see the progress she is making. But in these moments, these events away when in company that isn’t our everyday kind, I become witness to her happy ways… thanking the magic man for her flower balloon… asking the other kids if she can join in with playing chasey… going back to her table to eat, and not complaining that she isn’t with us.

She spent the entire day running around with her new friends and having a ball, and came to us a couple of times, almost like a check in 😉

I am loving this stage, because not only do I get to see her develop and become, truly a big girl… but as she becomes independent, so too does my role, as her Mum.

And it is pretty cool. Getting to be there with her, for the fun stuff.

I can say happily, that I am really enjoying this stage. Sure the bed time routine is still hell at times…. but like all in Parenthood – BALANCE!

#981 Movie date

Oh God I have missed the movies.

It may come as no surprise to fellow parents, but I may just be able to count on my 2 hands, the number of times I have watched an ‘adult’ movie AT the cinemas, since baby girl has come into the picture.

I love being a Mum. But I actually love movies too.

I miss them terribly.

I think I love the previews almost as much as the movie itself. There is something terribly indulgent about watching snippets of movies, and making an internal list of all the future movies you will hope to see, as your arse is firmly planted in a reclining cinema seat in preparation for getting numb over the next 2 hours.

I still, love it.

Sis and I are constantly telling each other that we will catch up more, or will do more movie sessions together.

IT WILL HAPPEN ONE DAY TRUST ME.

But as with all the best people in your life, even when we think we have had enough, we probably won’t feel like we have, because you can never have enough catch-up time with your loved ones, right?

Well, our very long overdue movie date happened today. After LIFE got in the way one too many times, we finally headed out to watch ‘A Simple Favour,’ and it still has me thinking! A movie that started out as a great thriller, with many twists and turns and sordid secrets, and a very healthy dose of scandal and shocking revelations… but then it went a bit tacky in the last 10 minutes or so.

IMAG4633

Damn. Oh well. Sooo close. Just gonna have to go watch another movie then… 😉

 

 

#974 Swimming up a level

It was strike of the ‘floater’ today.

You see, at baby girl’s swim school, there are the swimming teachers who can be found in the swimming pool lanes, teaching and guiding children through their pre-school and primary years as they learn the various techniques and skills required to swim independently on their own.

Then there are what I call, the ‘floaters.’

Most of them are also swim teachers. These ‘floaters’ wander around the indoor swim arena, from lane to lane, sussing out the kids within the classes and observing whether or not it is time they are tested.

A floater doesn’t pop up for a swim lesson on every occasion. I remember when a floater arrived at baby girl’s class many months ago, and I watched as suddenly one of the boys in the class was put to the test. He swam laps, practiced with his head underwater, and went up and down the lane repeatedly until they were content he was able enough to go up a level into another swimming class.

Well today, a floater arrived at baby girl’s swim lane. And I knew immediately, she was UP.

I had only observed 10 minutes earlier, how she was the tallest of the 3 in her class. Sure she is a tall gal, but I checked out the boy on one side of her, slightly shorter, perhaps half a year younger than her. Then the girl on her left, a good 18 months younger, and very new to the class. I wondered, ‘when would a floater arrive to push baby girl up a level?’

So when one did arrive, I knew who it was for.

I watched keenly as baby girl was put to the pace. Instead of the usual firm yet supportive encouragement by baby girl’s swim teacher, it was –

“Keep your head under water! Go go go, kick kick kick!”

THE HEAT WAS ON.

She swam with her head underwater, and that in itself appeared to be fine. Next she had to swim on her back, and here I watched as she went up once in the shorter lane…

The floater bent down to her and told her a few things, ending with a smile. I knew what she would be saying. Baby girl had to hold the floaties in her hand at her side, and not fan them out as she habitually did.

…so again she went, up the lane.

The boy was also swimming alongside her, so I was thinking “is he being tested too?”

Again, they sent baby girl up the lane on her back. I watched her as she kicked as hard as she could with all her might. Near the end she slowed down, but she never sunk down. She kept her back straight, held her arms as close as possible to her body, until her head touched the wall behind her.

I was so proud of her. No matter what eventuated, she had made a stellar effort. She hadn’t given up. She had risen to the challenge.

The swim teacher and the floater conferred with one another. I watched carefully, as they said some words to baby girl… there was smiling, a high five… then the swim teacher found me in the crowd and mouthed something while pointing up.

“What?” I mouthed back.

She pointed up again, and held up three fingers. “She’s moving up to level 3.”

:):):)

My heart soared with joy, and I immediately felt an emotional onslaught of tears coming on. I tried to hold them back.

“Get a grip SmikG. The floater will be here any second.”

I knew this because of all the times I had heard and seen other parents be visited by the floaters and be told their child was moving to a higher level. I had been privy to this once before too.

Sure enough, in a matter of minutes she was over and we were discussing new session times. I was overwhelmed with joy… my girl was growing up and every day it was hitting me harder. She was finishing kindergarten and heading into primary school next year. She was becoming more independent, choosing to do things on her own without help, and responding to challenges and succeeding (like yesterday’s post).

This was yet another thing to alert me to the fact that she was growing up. It was so beautiful, but there was a touch of bittersweet-ness to it. Because she would be needing me less and less, and be doing more and more on her own.

‘But that’s the whole point,’ I reassured myself in my head. ‘That’s what you want.’

It doesn’t mean that it isn’t hard.

I was so proud of her and her effort, and that more than anything, even more than her moving up a level, is what I am most grateful for today. ♥

 

#966 What she said no. 9

I sat on the floor of the bathroom beside the bathtub. I leant over to squeeze some water from the wash cloth over her head, in doing so trickling water all over her hair, arms and body.

“I’m sorry honey.” I trickled some more water over her.

“What?” she turned to me.

“I’m sorry I yelled at you before.”

“Yeah,” she agreed with me. “You yelled at me. It’s not nice to yell at people.”

I nodded. “Yes that’s right. But don’t keep calling out like that. I could hear you, Mummy was coming…” my excuse fell on my own deaf ears. It was total bullshit. I was tired, under-slept, and my crankiness had earlier come out as I lost my shit at a fairly insignificant moment with baby girl.

“I’m sorry baby girl… do you forgive me?”

“Yeah.” Without skipping a beat. She picked up a cup of water, and spilt it over her barbie doll’s head. Without looking at me, so casually, she returned:

“Me always forgive you…”

Awwww.

“… Me always forgive you when you yell at me.”

Oh, F&$k. Well there goes my daily parenting award.

Still, a little awwww nonetheless. 🙂

#964 The ice cream break

The bane of every shopping trip with baby girl…

Any outing…

Any trip that requires us to get into a car…

“Can I get a small toy?”

ARGH.

EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

It can be sooo frustrating. It can be a big shop, or just a simple ‘getting bread and milk’ stop over.

Or like today, where I needed to get new shoes for baby girl, and the usual spiel immediately followed…

“Mama… can I please get a small toy? A very small toy?”

ARGH.

I try really hard to say no. Sometimes I say yes. Who am I kidding I say yes most of the time. But since she is getting older and understanding more, I try to reason with her. Remind her of what she has at home. Distract her. Tell her about something else she can have at a future date if she doesn’t get anything now.

I am honest with her. I tell her “Mummy doesn’t get a toy for every shop!”

Man I wish I did.

But today, after we got said shoes, and she was ‘looking’ for something else to take home with her, I got an idea.

“Baby girl…. would you like some ice cream?”

IMAG4365
SURE, I still spent money. SURE she still got something.

But our small ice cream break meant that we got some little together time, where we talked about what our respective ice creams smelt like (rainbows and unicorns), and chilled by each other’s side watching people walk by, as we licked our spoons clean.

It was a small and brief moment nonetheless, but we gained so much more from our ice cream purchase, than any small toy we would have taken home with us ♥

#960 The BIG fun day

You know, I’ll be honest… I had a really great day today.

I know the whole point of this gratitude blog is to focus on the positive, even on really hard and difficult days… but I also feel like generally as a human race, we aren’t allowed to feel too good, celebrate our wins too much, or talk about how good we have it, for fear of green-eyed monsters jumping out and the unfortunate crying poor.

Then there is also, tall-poppy syndrome. It is shit. I don’t understand why we need to chop others down to make ourselves feel better. It shouldn’t have to be like that, and for that reason, the buck stops here.

I KNOW life goes up and down. I KNOW there are extremely happy moments, just as I KNOW there are extremely sad ones.

I had a really shit start to the school holidays, so I am not apologetic at all about having a great day today.

It was truly, AMAZING. I was with my baby girl out visiting ‘The Big Goose,’ and it was just a ball. It was sunny, there were tractor rides, reptile shows, big jumping pillows and feeding of baby animals… oh it was adorable. We were walking hand in hand, taking it all in, and I thought to myself…

“Man I love this stage.”

It is so rewarding. I talk to her and we negotiate. When do we do this, when do we do that. We understand, discuss. We have fun. We laugh at the man kissing the lizard. I tell her it’s ok if she doesn’t wanna hold the snake. We laugh at the camels and act out spitting like they do.

I tell her one more go running through the playground, AND SHE LISTENS.

But the best moment of the day? Probably watching her do this:

Yep. Riding a pony. About the cutest and most adorable thing EVER.

She was so happy, so confident, so rapt that she got to do it.

And there it is folks. I take the good wholeheartedly, because all of life is a balancing act.

No one should feel guilty or unworthy of having these spectacular days. When they come…

GRAB HOLD AND MILK IT FOR ALL IT’S WORTH.

Oh, actually, I think I lied. The best part of the day was tucking baby girl into bed.

“Mama, me have best day with you.”

That was the best bit ♥♥♥

(Review of ‘The Big Goose’ coming soon over on my blog SmikG)