#464 A new way to Write

I had it REAL good when baby girl was in fact, a baby.

I mean, aside from the not-knowing what the hell I was doing, second-guessing every decision, crying a fair bit, being sleepless and fatigued most of the time, and just wondering when this confusing and struggling never-ending stage would pass.

But then, came the naps. That’s how I had it good.

During her day naps, baby girl would sleep for hours. Sometimes her day naps combined, would equal about 5 hours of sleep time for her, and non-baby time for me, a day.

This was really good. At first it was all catch up on this, maybe I should meal prep for dinner, pay an online bill, make that important phone call I’ve been putting off for 3 months, and wash that pile of soiled baby clothes that will re-fill by the day’s end.

But then, she settled a bit…. while the naps remained.

And as she settled, so did I. I relaxed into Motherhood, and so began journalling again.

I really wanted to capture as much of parenthood and her early months and milestones as much as I could, and so recommenced a fave past-time of mine that I hadn’t done for quite a while, a past-time that I both love and loathe simultaneously. I feel like I HAVE to do it, and that is exactly WHY I loathe it. Because I feel it needs to be done.

And I can’t stop.

And then, I relaxed MORE into Motherhood. And I began to do some food reviews, here and there, read some books, start notes on them that would eventually become my book reviews… and hell, I even started my parent blog, SmikG.

And years later, that followed with this one.

Now as the years have passed, her nap durations, as her naps, have significantly reduced to just one a day. It’s still allowed me some great ‘me’ time, to do whatever I need to do, and yet I always try to do what I feel I need to: write in some capacity, however I can.

However recently, I’ve come to a realisation. With baby girl getting cheekier and cheekier at bed time, her hyper-activity shooting through the roof, I decided I had to do the only thing that made sense.

Drop the nap altogether.

It was doing me good, because it meant she was more tired (or so we hoped) at bedtime, since she hadn’t napped at all during the day, and would be ‘out’ quicker. Well yes. She is ‘out’ a bit faster, a bit less reluctant to drink 15 sips or water, go to the loo 7 times, jump on the bed 10 times, and then ask for a tummy, hand, arm, leg, foot and back massage, following her 3 books read to her by lamplight.

Yeah, a bit less.

But anyway, bedtime routines are somewhat better. She does go to bed slightly earlier now. But it means my writing time during the day, IS GONE.

R.I.P precious writing time.

Or so I thought.

She’s 3 and a half, I thought today. Often, she is quite happy to play on her own, build some blocks, or watch some Paw Petrol.

Surely she would let me do some writing. She’s not 2 and climbing over me to grab at the laptop as I pay a bill or buy the one concert ticket I’ll be going to that year.

A year and a half, makes a difference.

And so, today, I tried. We had had our coffee/babycino/cake break, she was fuelled, she had Nickelodeon shows on in the background, a whole family room full of toys including her new Sofia the First mini figurines, and I sat in the same room as her, and began to do what I started all those years ago, so tentatively, while she was out cold in another room –  I began to write.

Journalling in fact. And there were times I stopped, and she called my name, repeatedly, and I looked back over my shoulder. Repeatedly. And she left the room and came back, and even walked on over and yelled “O” multiple times after looking at the keypad. But after about 90 minutes, I had written 3 pages long.

3 pages! I was a bit surprised, yet pleasantly so. Had I just learnt a new way to write? Multi-tasking, with child in room, interrupting me every so often?

And I did it?

I did it. Yes it wasn’t smooth sailing, but it was done. My quiet writing time may be over, but that’s not to say, I can’t write if I don’t want to.

Where there’s a will there’s a way.

No excuses people. That’s what I take from this. No excuses. And I’m pretty chuffed with that 🙂

 

#390 Baby girl’s naps no.2 – catch-up

This post has very little to do with baby girl, and all to do with what I do when she is NOT around.

I’m lucky that at the age of 3 and a half, she still naps. About, an hour to 90 minutes a day, sometimes even 2 hours if we’ve been to the beach, or she’s been to kinder or run around heaps. And even then I start to make a lot of noise at the 90 minute mark, as I know that putting her to bed that night might be a tad difficult after a long nap.

She’s just like her Mum. She loves her sleep, and I’m fortunate to say, she always has.

Today she went for an hour 40 minutes. During this time, I plop myself in front of the laptop, and begin all kinds of writing tasks/passions.

Today it was personal journal writing; food review writing; and book review writing.

I’ve been behind in my food and book reviews for so long. Soooo long. You know when you are so behind in something, you start to consider giving it up?

‘It’s too hard. I can’t keep up.’

‘My life is too busy right now.’

‘This is getting out of hand.’

‘Maybe I’ll try this in 5 years time.’

I wasn’t sure, whether any of it was worth it. The reviews. The blog. Even the gratitude. I question myself on some days, when things are hard, when time is pressed, and I don’t think I’m going anywhere.

But, I am grateful for the stubborn Lion that I am.

Because I just can’t freaking give up so easy. It’s not in my DNA.

You shouldn’t either.

As hard as it has been in the last months/years/life since parenthood (!) I have still persevered. I have moved EVER SO SLOWLY. And I fortunately, have not given up. These moments I get when baby girl is napping, and then when she is sleeping late at night, I am able to move on, to try and catch up, to keep things going with my blogs, my personal writings, my passionate pursuits, as much as I can.

They are slow, ever so slow, baby steps. A snails pace. And there are days when I have to do other things. ‘Responsible’ things. I can’t write every day, and those days feel so wasted on me. But when I can, I try my damn best.

But today, after doing some more writing, and then taking a kind of step back to go ‘hmm, my food reviews are almost catching up,’ and ‘hmm, I’m heading through my current book review at a decent pace’ (with 3 more looming in the background but that’s not the point!) I felt, good. I felt like, I was getting somewhere. And I started to feel like, I might actually be catching up.

That was such a good feeling. And I am so grateful, I had it. More so, I’m grateful that baby girl’s reliable naps, gave me the opportunity for it 🙂

#380 Baby girl’s understanding

She has been a true wonder today. As soon as we woke this morning, me letting her know gently that it was going to be a very, very quiet day because Mama was a bit unwell, she was just, cool.

She has been a star. Her understanding and unfussed attitude has made it so much easier for me on a day when I just want to curl up into a ball and remove myself from society.

She’s played with her kitchen play-set happily; spent time singing ‘Let It Go’ without demanding me as her audience; she has come forth for many well-meaning hugs and kisses to cheer me up; and most importantly, she has performed ‘Magic’ on my sickness countless times, hoping to bring back her Mum to life.

All with an adorable smile on her face.

And, the clincher? When I mentioned it was nap time only 20 minutes ago, rather than receive frustration, a uncooperative nature and repeated ‘no’s, she dutifully walked into her room with a little puppy doll she was going  to cuddle to sleep, and lay down.

And then she fell asleep, so easily.

It is the most profound relief, and gratitude, when your child works with you, when you are unwell.

And I am majorly grateful for it today.

 

#325 Discovering Dromana

I’ve come to realise that impromptu drives often result in untold pleasures and delightful surprises.

A drive down to Dromana this afternoon so baby girl could sleep that little bit more in the car, where we then stopped to check out the fantastic fare on offer at the newly refurbished Ritchies IGA (trust me, you too will want to buy and eat everything with their cleverly presented gourmet food on display), led us to the blue waters that we could spy at so easily across the road.

A short hop, skip and a jump later, and we were sitting on a brick fence, overlooking the narrow section of sparkling clean white sand below, and viewing the expansive and choppy waters before us, the landscape stretching and winding around the stunning coastline on both sides.

imag2767

imag2770

We were happy with our find, the seagulls were pleased with the sudden company, and we were grateful to have just discovered another (kind of) hidden gem, a place we will definitely re-visit in the near future.

imag2771

#309 My town folk and Rain / Bestie’s surprise tree painting

A special edition. I had two interesting and special incidences today, and so I absolutely have to post both.

Lucky me. Double the gratitude:)

Part 1: The Rain.

I had just driven through the most hellish storm imaginable. I actually had thought to come to a complete stop while on the freeway going home from work. Many, many times, I found it almost impossible to see from the white sheets of rain in front of me, sweeping  across my car and enveloping it in a blurry fog of white. It was scary to endure, and I was relieved when after the longest drive, it started to lighten up.

And this, after the most incredible sunset last night. Ahh Melbourne.

Nearing home, the rain lessened. Finally. It had been a tense drive. I had to stop at the shops first, and got out of the car to light, wispy rain settling on the edges of my stray pieces of hair. I walked calmly into the centre.

After my post office stop and before I got to the supermarket, I heard it on the roof: the intense rattling.

Surely it wasn’t raining so hard, again, so soon after the hour of intense downpour I had just experienced on the way home?

15 minutes later with my bag of groceries in one hand, I was standing under the shelter out the front of the centre, looking in dismayed disbelief over the buckets of ran being heaved upon the car park.

My car was so close, yet so, so far.

I stood with others also holding out for the rain to ease. There were about 7 or so other shoppers, and I looked out at the car park, wondering just when and how long it would be until the rain gave out. It was heavy, and unrelenting.

The rain slowed, but only the slightest amount, not enough to brave the weather and walk through it… and yet, people did. Almost all the people who had been waiting decided to head on out to their cars. I watched, curious, as one by one they left, while I stood there, waiting, watching the Rain.

And then more came. I observed as people wandered in to the centre, soaking wet from the car park; and vice versa, as people exited the centre, and after a brief pause, a reshuffling of bags or searching of keys, kept on walking into the heavy rain towards their car.

The rain had lessened, ever so slightly. But I could tell what kind of deceiving rain this was, what with its big drops and generous weight. I wasn’t going out there, and getting soaked in 3 seconds time. I would keep waiting.

A man walked out of the centre with his son. They walked out and into the rain with little hesitation. A young couple walked out towards the car park as if they were taking a leisurely stroll.

Holiday-stayers, I observed. They don’t care if they get wet – they’re on holiday time.

An older man walked past me from the car park in his shorts and singlet, losing his thong in a deep puddle of water. He slowly stopped, walked back a few steps, his bare foot splashing through the puddle, before grasping the thong with his toe and balancing it back on. A nearby man smiled and they exchanged some words and a laugh before the man walked on, feet soaking, into the centre.

Ok, he mustn’t be driving. He can’t drive like that.

A woman walked out with her son. Flowy dress, telling him “now, don’t run!”

Run, why would you run? Ok it’s easier for her, he’s like 10, she doesn’t have to put him in the car herself.

Still I watched with how casually they made their way into the rain.

They’re all on holiday. I stood there in my wedges, pondering this fact. Skinny black jeans and a stripy singlet top. I was coming home from work. I had to drive home. I wasn’t on holiday time, not yet. These guys were not fazed at all if they got wet. They were moving about without a care in the world. I considered every justification possible.

Then, a woman walked towards the centre from the car park. As she moved forward, she too like the man earlier, lost her sandal in a puddle of water. She paused, her other foot hovering, as she fished it out of the water. I heard the splosh as it was brought forward and onto her foot. Her long flowy dress barely touched the deep puddles beneath her as she kept on going.

It hit me. My justifications were suddenly unworthy. These weren’t ALL holiday-makers. More than half were locals. And here I was, newbie in town, the girl from the ‘burbs looking on and wanting to avoid getting wet.

Screw that shit.

I waited for a slight break in traffic in front of the busy centre, and then started forward. Within seconds I could feel the warm drops sinking into all parts of my clothing, and it squeezed itself between my toes. My car was barely a minutes walk from the shopping centre shelter, and yet by the time I got to the car and plonked down in the driver’s seat, I looked down to rain splattered dark drops all over my clothes, saw the water on my arms as if someone had thrown a bucket on me, and felt my matted hair sticking in sections to my head.

And I loved it! I felt invigorated, refreshed, and alive.

Why the hell did I not do this earlier? We had moved to the beach for the lifestyle, which meant I had to live, LIKE the lifestyle. The locals had inspired me.

I wanted to live on the beach? Then live like I’m on the beach.

I genuinely, do love rain. And I also love my townsfolk 🙂

 

Part 2: The Painting.

I headed over to the parcel as my MIL was putting down baby girl for a nap. I had noticed it before getting changed out of my wet clothes, but hadn’t bothered to investigate further, feeling sure it was the coasters I had ordered a long time ago. Surely, most definitely, it was them. But as I picked up the parcel and the envelopes that read “card only” indicating the late Christmas arrival, the name at the head of the label jumped out at me.

SmikG.

Hmmm. I didn’t remember putting down my author’s alias when I had ordered the coasters. In fact, I don’t remember putting it down anywhere at all. As I looked at the parcel some more, with my actual name and address underneath my alias, the writing grew so familiar to me, that by the time I had turned the parcel around to see who the sender was, I was absolutely definite on who it was from, even though I had no idea what it was.

Sure enough, I was right.

I first opened the Christmas cards, wanting to save the intriguing and exciting surprise package from bestie ’til last. As I opened it, my very slight suspicions, and my judgments based on the weight and size, were confirmed.

imag2588

My very talented best friend has recently started painting again, after a long hiatus between high school and now. I actually had NO IDEA how talented she was until she started posting her work on facebook. I had commented on a painting she had done of a similar tree, as I love trees, and all symbols and images associated to them, as mentioned here, and here. However I didn’t think she would ever send me an actual, original painting of hers.

I immediately fell in love. It was perfect. The vibrant colour was reminiscent of our friendship too, an ode to high school, Prince, Purple Rain, and so much more. It was so personal of her to give me something so beautiful and creative of hers, and I immediately felt emotional.

I called her up to express my profound thanks, and later I placed it up high in our bedroom, until we find a more permanent home for it.

…When I walked into the room hours later, the painting of the purple tree was a sight for sore eyes. I didn’t realise how much colour was lacking in our room, in our house, and I was sick of seeing beige boxes shoved into corners all over the place, only I didn’t know how much until this masterpiece entered our home.

I love it. I am really grateful for this personal present gifted to me by a very dear friend, the heartfelt meaning behind it, and the sincere generosity of bestie to even think of giving it to me in the first place.

 

Dancing in the rain amidst friendly townfolk and purple trees by bestie. Not a bad day. Not a bad day AT ALL. 🙂

 

#292 Relaxed Backyard Bliss

My moment of gratitude came to me today as I was purging my thoughts out on the phone to my sister, sitting in the backyard having a break while baby girl napped.

It was warm. The afternoon sun hits the front of the house, so I had wonderful refuge near the shelter of a big tree that we still don’t know what to do with – chop, or keep?

After this afternoon, I think we’ll keep it.

I had on my sailor-style blue and white striped dress. Glamorous “vlecki” adorned my feet. Facing our two birds who were talking and singing out intermittently. Sitting on our iron chairs. And even though we were talking about disappointments and people getting you down, I had a moment. I realised how wonderful it all was: talking to my sister, having someone to share my concerns with. Sitting relaxed in this backyard that we had no time to do anything with, but it was pretty great as it was. I had shade, I had grass, and I had room.

imag2228

I was relaxed, I was warm, and despite the conversation, I was actually really happy.

Gratitude can find you in the strangest of places?!

*”vlecki” – European woggy outdoor slippers*

#184 Nappings and nothings

I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life, just like Phil Collins. Only really I’ve just been waiting all day, but waiting all day with a child that has a runny nose, and you are feeling particularly crap, well it may as well feel like ‘all my life.’

She is napping, which makes it easier for me to continue doing what I was doing all day today – nothing. I should be grateful really, and I am, hence the title of this post… but baby girl has allowed me to be pretty slack today. I am indebted. I’m just feeling sickly, low, and it’s pretty much a write-off kinda day.

Only thing is, it isn’t. These days of little done, should be celebrated as much as the days where we feel highly successful with what we’ve accomplished. Alright, we won’t celebrate the sickly parts, but the not-doing parts… if it weren’t for these down days, I would actually, NEVER stop. Like never. Feeling a bit down is necessary for my mental and physical and emotional wellbeing, because quite frankly, I am always on the go. Always thinking doing planning something.

I have this laptop on my lap, mobile besides me, and even mags that I’ve been wanting to browse through just peeking at me from my right field of vision… but even these relaxing to-dos, just ain’t gonna cut it. They’re here ‘in case’ I get a burst of motivation, and I suddenly feel like doing.

But today is a nothing day. Doing opposes nothing. I can’t oppose, especially when I feel down. It’s against the rules of nothing.

Today is only a napping and nothing day. And I won’t be stirring baby girl from her nap anytime soon.