#891 The half-year parent-teacher interview

I used to LOVE parent-teacher interviews as a child… can you guess why?

Though most of the time I don’t think I was allowed to sit with my Mum as my teacher went through my academic accomplishments, there were snippets I gleaned, the written report that came out of it, and of course, my Mum’s proud smile after it all.

I don’t mean to brag. I wasn’t some Einstein or anything. But I listened to the teacher. I did my homework. I did what I was told in the classroom. And therefore, the report represented that.

My favourite bit was always what my teachers mentioned or wrote about my creative writing habit. Even then I hung on every word, re-reading it countlessly, and I have to say, some things don’t change. I am still desperately hanging for feedback.

Fast forward a good 25 years, and today we had yet another parent-teacher interview. This one was not so academically geared, and it wasn’t to do with me.

Still, I left beaming.

I think from the moment baby girl started 3 year-old kindergarten last year, I have been worried. Worried about development. Worried about milestones being reached. Worried if she is ready for kinder… then worried if she will be ready for the next step, after kinder.

I have spent a lot of time in my head on this one. So today, when the kindergarten teacher said some lovely and positive words about baby girl…

“she is engaging with others more,”

“she participates in class activities and puts her hand up,” and then the clincher –

“I think she is ready for school next year”

Suddenly I became my Mum, and she was me, and if you know us all that ain’t a far stretch. It’s not to say that there is anything wrong when kids are held back in kinder, and I know plenty who have done that for their kids, and who are even entertaining the possibility right now. But as a parent, you know your child, in your heart of hearts. And when that feeling in your heart, is validated by the other major learning force in your child’s life…

You breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that you were right all along.

I am just thrilled with her progress. Again, no Einstein factor. No A+ accolades.

But she is my girl, and to me, her star is shining bright :):):)

#866 Dancing in another place, with my loves

It’s not a good thing when you stave off dancing for a considerable length of time.

And I don’t mean the boppy, jump up and down kind of baby girl’s fave dance group Pnau. Nor am I talking of the swaying sensations of Hubbie’s preference Sia, or the hip-shaking rhythms of my, Ricky Martin.

No. What I’m referring to here is the funky feet of folk.

Folk dancing. It is a whole other dance, rhythm and culture all of itself. When you grow up listening to it, it surrounds your family parties, and you partake by dancing along to it whole-heartedly at these festive get-togethers, it creates the very important foundation of shared family love, memories and ALL the happy times.

This time however, it wasn’t in our kitchen. Sure, baby girl and I were present, but Hubbie was at work.

We were in a lounge room. Not our lounge room. My OLD lounge room. And the third person present was my Dad.

We were at my parents place.

🙂

Baby girl loves to put it on. There is a small stereo in the lounge room, with a permanently placed folk cd inside. She turns it on, winds up the volume, and happily starts jumping along.

How happy that makes me, that at only 4, that type of music is already engrained into her.

“Come on Mama, dance!”

I tagged along.

I should warm up, right? When ever there we do any kind of ‘warming up’ as we call it, it’s usually because some big family event is coming up, and we need to get our cold dancing feet fired up and ready.

But today the only warming up was done for just thatwarming up. It was cold, there hadn’t been a get-together to get us jumping in ages, and yet I still felt the urge to get the blood pumping, knowing it would help the chills of this, our June day.

I started jumping beside baby girl, with no real rhythm, just to make her happy.

“Come on Deda!”

I looked at my Dad, all comfortable and cosy on the couch. There was as much chance of him getting up to join us as there was in the day moving above 20 degrees.

“Baby girl, leave Deda, he is resting.”

He looked to agree with that statement as I said it, but then as I kept on leaping in the air with baby girl, I saw him get up, and start to –

one two, one two three, one two three, one two three

He was dancing!

“Good job Deda!” I yelled to him.

Baby girl smiled in happiness, and on he, and now I, inspired by his professionalism in the act, kept on going, doing it the right way

one two, one two three, one two three, one two three

Our feet kicking the in air, moving from left to right and left again, and baby girl telling me all the while –

THAT I WAS DOING IT ALL WRONG.

Sure honey. Because she’s the folk-dancing boss.

So I copied her kicks in the air from side to side and left to right, and suddenly she was much more impressed.

(Face palm).

But for those few moments, the three of us mucking about, folk music in the air, legs kicking around wildly…

I reckon the room temperature DID reached 20. 😉

 

#748 Making memories with new and old family

How amazing is this sunset:

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Just breathtaking. No water views for AGES here, but instead of the sea, the horizon displayed hills upon hills of wondrous beauty, magical greenery, and the most picturesque trees imaginable.

I got to share this beautiful sunset with my extended family tonight, at my Uncle’s house. There were old cousins, new cousins that I got to meet, and then there was the sweetest part of the night for me, watching my cousin, interact and play with baby girl, probably as he did with me, so so many years ago.

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Hide ‘n’ seek, cat and chicken seeking, and piggybacks were all on the menu. Seeing them together reminded me of my own childhood.

Damn it was a good one. I so want the same for baby girl.

To family, new and old… and making the best memories.

#703 Rediscovering – Material Girl, Madonna

I was doing a fairly mindless task at work today. I mean, it actually does require some amount of brains when you first start this kind of repetitive inventory checking. But at the same time, when you get into the groove, and are just simply pushing lines of content up and down, selecting this and selecting that, another part of your brain is left free to roam…

Whenever I have had to do this task in the past, I have been thoroughly prepared: with my ipod. I bring it in to work, plug it into my headphones, and voila! I have instant entertainment as I am working! It is great in that it does not interfere with my work (note above: mindless task) and at the same time, I am having an awesome time because I have all the music I love streaming into my eardrums as I bop along. Score!

But alas, I am out of practice. Because it’s been a while since I’ve done this job, I’ve also forgotten to get into the habit of bringing the ipod in with me.

Never mind. There is a thing called YouTube jukebox. Type in an artists name, and watch what happens…

I really would have rather preferred a mixed tape of some sort. But as mindless task as it was, I still couldn’t justify constantly selecting and changing artists and songs as I worked along. So I typed in someone that spanned decades and time and genres and styles, and who I knew had a library of music that would keep me busy for a GOOD while. During mindless task.

The queen of pop, MADONNA.

I had forgotten how fantastic her early stuff was. I listened to tracks like La Isla Bonita, Live to Tell, Express Yourself, Into The Groove, Papa Don’t Preach… And then suddenly colleagues were asking me questions and calling me away, and I had to take off my headphones, which irritated me to NO END, and I seriously felt like saying to them “um guys? I am listening to Madonna here, take it easy!”

Acting like they are paying me or something. Anyway.

But the piece de resistance, came when another early track came randomly to play:

You know when it has been so long between plays, that you almost forget that a certain song exists? How much you loved it growing up? How much you still love it because it reminds you of your childhood, another time and place, the early artist, the contradiction in art, the ode to the former artist, the baby-face and baby voice, the men, the 80s tackiness that is so bad it is too good… the PINK? THE JEWELS?

Well I loved this song growing up, and I still do. And I am severely disappointed that it only has 7.3 million YouTube views. Boo! Come on peeps let’s up the Madonna 80s ante here.

Listening to this song today, both at work and then later at home… well it is still a classic. It ain’t gonna save the world with its lyrics, but it will put a smile on your dial and its catchy tune will imbed itself into your brain – just ask Hubbie and baby girl who were repeating it later on tonight 🙂

And after that mindless task, I needed something catchy to embed itself into my head, after all…

#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… 😉

 

#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

#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 🙂