#498 Food: Winter Warmers

I’m actually in the midst of writing a blog post about all the wonderful things YOU, and I, should LOVE about Winter.

Todays gratitude post is a sneak peak, and it divulges one of my ideas.

Winter Food.

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Curry just isn’t the same unless it’s eaten on a cold Winter’s night, now is it? It’s been way too long since I made my vegetable curry, in fact we think at least 2 years… and why the wait? Well this thing called having a baby happened. And when something so monumental happens, everything changes… life, when you sleep, how you go out, how you react to things, how many people you see, and oh, what you eat.

And what you cook.

Once baby girl was of a certain age to start experimenting with food, well of course I was going to be making fairly safe, baby-friendly inoffensive tasting food. Which meant the curry we used to eat so much and so often of in Winter, was gone.

Yeah, I could have made two meals. But you could get two jobs too, couldn’t you?

😉

Yep. So it’s been a while. And as we ate it tonight, Hubbie swore it was like we were in our old house in the Northern suburbs. I think that means it was good 🙂

And as for baby girl? Well she gorged on the rice that was underneath the curry, in fact she completely overdosed on it. Did I mention my girl loves carbs? She does. I’d rather she overdose on rice than chocolate, so massive parental win there.

Winter Foods… get yourself into some warming curry and feel the heat 🙂

#466 When they say her name

Hubbie and I still clearly remember the first time we heard another child call out to baby girl. Well, I’m a bit hazy on the place, but I remember the feeling. A friend’s daughter called “baby girl!” in a playful, happy, inclusive and friendly tone, and my heart melted a little. Later on Hubbie said to me “Did you hear such and such’s daughter call out ‘baby girl?'”

He too had melted. I guess there’s something that pulls at the heart strings when a fellow child calls out to yours. Parenthood has a lot of fear and stresses in it, and one of the zillion of them is hoping your child will be liked. That they will have friends. That they will be included. That people will be kind to them.

And every time since then, when a child has gone “baby girl!” my heart beats a little more.

It’s been a big thing for me since our Sea Change. All of us are starting again in a new town, and I’m keen for baby girl to meet as many people as possible. Sure, we have lots of family and friends scattered all over the place, but this is the town she will grow up in. This is the town she’ll make those crucial childhood and teenage memories in. These are the times that will shape her, and I hope to God she has a few decent friends during her journey.

But in the meantime, we are all just getting to know each other, aren’t we? And I’ve already heard a couple occasions where a child from her kinder has called out “baby girl!” to my surprised and delighted observation, to which I usually lowly instruct “baby girl, say hi to your friend!”

Today it happened in the sweetest way.

I had picked her up from her kinder session, and as she had at the start of the day when she had prolonged walking into the foyer for sign-in, so too was she now walking slowly along the step in the railing on the side of the footpath, while I held the child-proof gate open up ahead for her.

“Baby girl, come on,” I willed her. She eventually followed, and we were both on the other side of the fence, when I heard the faintest “baby girl.”

I turned, unsure I had even heard her name, when I saw a girl from her class behind the gate, her Mum still talking to the teacher behind her.

She stepped closer and held out a little pink pony, and baby girl stepped forward to claim it. I was hesitant, trying to work out if it was baby girl’s or this other girl’s, as I didn’t want her taking a toy from another child, but also, trying to figure out if somehow it was baby girl’s, since the kids aren’t allowed to take their personal toys to kinder – in case they get lost.

Baby girl was sure it was hers, and we walked off while I worked out eventually with baby girl’s indication, that it had been in her coat pocket, and fallen out. As that became clearer and solved, the previous encounter came forward in my head and –

Melted My Heart.

Not only was it the kindness of this other young girl to return the pony toy to baby girl, but it was the sweet and gentle way with which she said her name. It struck a cord so deep, and I was happy even more so, because I have seen this girl in class and she is as cheeky as baby girl (also as cute as!), and I have spoken to her Mum on a brief occasion and gotten along with her well enough to think

‘we could be friends.’

Which feeling do you think I liked more, that I might get a friend, or that baby girl might already have one which I didn’t know about?

What do you think???

The answer is in the above. That little girl melted my heart when she said baby girl’s name, and I think it will be melting for a while yet during these school years…

I think it might be butter by the time she’s 18.

 

#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 🙂

 

#453 Photos

My sister always says, that it is so worth taking heaps of photos, for the memories that will come to you later as you look back on them.

She speaks with a lot of experience. She takes, HEAPS of photos.

She doesn’t have many photos of when she was a baby, and so I think she has spent the majority of her life, kind of making up for that fact, and making sure that her kids, will have tonnes of them.

I think I’ve kind of taken that from her. I too, love photos. Currently there are approximately, no exaggeration, 2000 of them waiting to be filed into photo albums at my less than likely leisure. I fell behind before baby girl was born, and thinking like the stupid parentless ‘know-it-all’ I was, that I would catch up while on maternity leave with her…

Yeah, right. Like that ever happened. 3 and a half years later and they’re still PILING UP.

But anyway. I love them, and in the most old school way – hard copy in a PHOTO ALBUM.

I’ve been doing heaps with photos lately, and it’s just reminded me how amazing and beautiful these snapshots into time can be.

In just over a week we’ll be celebrating my parents 50th wedding anniversary. We’re doing a few special things on the night, and one of them, to highlight their 5 decades together, is the photo collage I’m putting together, of one decade each per large cardboard sheet of paper, with as many photos as I can possibly muster crammed into all 5 sheets.

When I took my usb stick of anniversary photos over the years to the photo centre, there were 647 files.

647 photos.

I knew I had to scale that back, BIG TIME.

I told myself I’d only select 150…

then I got to 150 and said I’d select up to 200…

then I got to 200 and said 250 MAX.

Which is how I ended up at 255. Close enough.

Today when I took the developed photos to my sister’s place, for our little debrief over the anniversary party (who would sit where, what we would say, what would go where, what time that would occur, etc, etc), she flipped through the photos quickly, grinning and letting out “oh wow!”s, complimenting the broad selection, and happily going back in time to as far back as the late 60s, as she saw my parents journey again from start to current day.

Seeing the reaction on her face was great, and later at home as I trimmed the photos back, removing blank spaces and tightening it up so I could surely fit 50 photos per large page, I couldn’t help but pause and smile several times, observing my parents youthful looks, almost laughing out loud when my parents were too laughing in the photos, grinning with fondness at family photos through the decades, and just generally reminiscing with warmth in my heart.

I know, I sound like a hallmark card. But really, I loved it. I love photos. And I think the guests at the party, my parents’ family and friends, and my parents especially, will really enjoy the snapshot through the ages.

50 Golden Ages. 🙂

#451 A girl that sleeps

Zzzzz.

Zzzzz.

Zzzzz.

That’s all any parent ever wants, right? A girl that will sleep. A child that will sleep. That has to be the greatest gift, from God to parent.

And if you don’t ‘believe,’ well then that has to be the greatest gift, from your child, to you.

Sleep.

You know you have reached a turning point, a pinnacle of your parenting lifespan, when you start to wake your child.

You get out of bed before them.

You make noise around the house in an effort to wake them up.

And when you walk into their room, their head goes up begrudgingly, before slumping back into their pillow.

Then you walk away, with a laugh. Because you know, the tables have turned.

Mwa ha ha.

Today, after waking up in bed for over 30 minutes, I forced myself out of bed just before 10am. I had gone to bed at 1am, I’ve been under the weather, baby girl has been sick, and this in turn has had her waking and crying from her harsh coughing and rough feeling throat. We’ve had interrupted sleeps for the last 3 nights.

I went downstairs, and was opening blinds, banging cupboards and taking out dishes, when a disheveled looking baby girl, hair all over her face, ran wildly from her room, looking to see where the source of the noise was coming from.

She found me in the kitchen. She beamed, we hugged warmly, and then we started our day.

After 10am.

I love these days 🙂

 

#443 Beautiful things at the Royal Children’s Hospital

Baby girl was only little when we learnt of her hip dysplasia. Her left leg socket wasn’t fitting snugly around her thigh bone, creating the possibility of the bone slipping out, and not forming properly, and in turn hampering her future prospects of walking normally.

Or something to that effect. It’s not that an uncommon thing, as I soon learnt, though at the time I was absolutely distraught. My baby girl had to wear a leg brace from the early age of 8 weeks, for nearly 5 months, with the upside being that she was able to spend the second half of that time wearing it only at night, allowing her the possibility of movement during the day.

This of course pushed back her rolling/crawling/walking milestones. I was still impressed however when she took her first steps at 16 months – that was her willpower to move about and cover as much ground as she could. My trooper girl.

All is good now. She stopped with the brace when x-rays showed the socket wrapping around the bone, securing it more tightly, and follow up x-rays over the years showed further positive progress in that area.

Which is why we were at the Royal Children’s Hospital today. These doctors have a predisposition for cautiousness and check-ups.

I was so pleased to see the halls, walls and rooms in a new light this time when we walked in, about 2 years after our last appointment. The lift interiors had brightly-coloured drawings covering from top to bottom, and on the ground floor there was a windy climbing pipe contraption, with a huge mechanical butterfly upon the top with its wings slowly opening and closing every so often.

In the orthopaedic section there was a craft table set up for the kids, where they could colour in, paste scraps of material on paper, and create some special artwork to take home. Volunteers oversaw this area, helping out the kids where needed, and nearby there was a playmat with building blocks and cars to push around.

Soon, there was a “choo choo” sound, and whether coincidence or not, an odd-looking clown then wandered by to entertain/make fun of the kids. He blew up bubble-type balloons, called children “Nanna” and “Adidas” (“because that’s what’s on your top”), but most importantly, he made them laugh and smile.

He made them forget they were in a hospital. All of these things made the children forget, if only for a bit.

And isn’t that a precious thing… while we wait for a world where children never fall sick, in the meantime let’s make the world a little happier, a little more fun, a little brighter for the ones who do need to visit a doctor for whatever reason…

… and I’m so happy to see an institution like the RCH, doing just that. It makes me proud to be a human.

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And, baby girl is doing well 🙂

#416 A Writer’s Dream

Today, I officially became a writer.

This is because I lived out a dream. The dream, of all wannabe writers out there.

It all started a few days ago.

During the week my boss had asked me if I could do a 9-5er on my next shift, being Saturday. I usually work early shifts on Saturdays, for 2 reasons:

Getting to work early means I get out earlier, therefore having more time to spend with my family later, going out/shopping/dining/coffee-ing/

Also, leaving the house so early means that baby girl is still sleeping when I leave. She wakes up, MIL is there, they cuddle in bed, and all is good in the world. Hubbie and I both usually work Saturdays, and this routine is great. There are no tears, no tantrums, no pathetic displays, from ANYONE. And baby girl is unfazed too… because she doesn’t see us leave.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Likewise, don’t rock the boat. Having her still asleep when I leave the house is MORE than perfect.

Working a 9-5 shift however, posed a conundrum. Would I get up later? Undoubtedly so. This would cause possible issues. Would baby girl cry as she watched me leave? Would she have a hissy-fit, therefore making the rest of my MILs day exceptionally hard?

Simultaneously, as all this was circling around in my head, a work friend of mine was telling me about how she loved the bakery, Banjo’s. Being Tassie-born, the bakery there is prevalent, a part of most people’s upbringing, providing her with much nostalgia and sweet (and savoury) memories. However where her old grounds has a Banjo’s on every corner, in Victoria there are only two: one in regional Victoria, and the other in the town of the Morning, my new home turf.

I was telling her how I would bring in some special requests next time we worked together, saying I would drop by the bakery before my work shift to satisfy her Banjo cravings, when suddenly, an idea started to emerge.

It crept up and up, like a flower rising to face the sun’s beams, ’til suddenly, everything was perfect and the thought was standing there, alone, shining in all its immaculate glory.

This morning, I got up with Hubbie, and left the house almost as normal. By 6:30, I had parked minutes away from home.

Across from Banjo’s.

And inside I walked, with my…

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Laptop.

Ding!

It has been my long-held, deeply sought after ideal to write in a café. This dream of mine was so strong, it was there even before I realised I wanted to be a writer. I mean, the dream kind of came with the lifestyle choice. The vision of being cosied up in a café, writing to your heart’s content, eating food and sipping on coffee while the world rolled on by, and idling there like you had nowhere pressing to go, well that just looked so absolutely unreal and fantastically special for me.

I didn’t think I could get to do anything like that, ’til long long long after I had another kid, and then they were both in school. So like, 5 years or something.

But, it happened.

I sat in Banjo’s for over an hour. It wasn’t the kind of café I had dreamed of writing in, but today, for my first time, it would have to do. I ordered an egg and bacon toastie and while I waited for it (they were still opening so they couldn’t make my order straight away- I had been warned) I sipped on some oj, and I typed.

And typed. I wrote personal stuff. And I reviewed my story, squinting at the screen critically and re-reading several passages 15 times, ’til I realised, I NEEDED TO EAT.

Driving to work on an empty stomach is far different to writing on an empty stomach. The former is a default activity that requires little effort when it is a regular route. The latter requires the head.

Head requires food.

I didn’t have a coffee either (some coffee snob I am) since I can’t drink it on an empty stomach  – the beans just rattle my head. When my toastie did come, I scoffed the deliciousness down, and then all was good.

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I had still been productive though, and written about 45 minutes of the time. As I headed off I took some things with me: some snacks and some lunch for work… and also, a 6 pack of hot cross buns for my work colleague.

They’re currently sitting at her desk, waiting for her surprised face to turn up. She didn’t work today, but she sure as hell will get a lovely Happy Easter surprise tomorrow on her work shift.

And there you go, 3 events coincided brilliantly together this morning to create a happy harmony. I left the house early as preferred to keep baby girl in her happy routine; I got some memory-making buns for a work colleague; and I lived out my fantasy of writing in a café.

Gratitude done, by 7:50am. Is that a record? No, of course not 🙂

Now that I’ve broken the café-writing seal, I think a lot of re-occurrences will now follow… I may just volunteer for more 9-5 Saturday shifts… and I do have to get the café food arrival timing correct, and make sure I get coffee next time, and a proper window seat…

We can’t get these things right the first time… that would leave out the fun now, wouldn’t it? 😉