#597 A well-read break in the afternoon sun

I had many options.

1, I could wash those growing stacks of dishes that had accumulated in the sink throughout the day.

B.  I could write, in any of my writing projects – just pick an avenue: book review, journaling, updating my SmikG page… I would not be bored.

c) I had emails to send, and phone calls to make, regarding our upcoming kitchen reno project.

8: There were also messages to be sent out, to various professionals and also close friends.

Z – I could even dedicate some learning time to baby girl, or break out the sports bra and Zumba away.

But I chose to do NONE of those things.

I looked out at the GLORIOUS day, as Macklemore sings it, and also, baby girl’s new favourite song to sing…

…and I thought, how could I possibly stay inside on a day like today? I had to shirk all my responsibilities and to-dos, and do something else…

I don’t just love coffee. And aside from baby girl, my family, and shopping, and heading outdoors, and looking at sunsets and dancing in the kitchen, there is something else I love, that I don’t get to do as much as I wish to, but it will always and forever remain an intense, deep, reliable, faithful LOVE of mine.

Reading.

I took a new book from the bookshelf that I hadn’t yet opened, and sat outside on our bench, the afternoon sun warming me right up as I turned a couple of dozen pages.

Baby girl found me and brought out a sticker book, sitting on the concrete before me and getting to work.

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Sure, she interrupted my reading every 30 seconds. Sure, at the beginning I got up more than I was sitting down and enjoying the moment, either to help her or get ourselves some sunnies and hats for protection.

Sure, it wasn’t ALL peace and quiet.

But sitting there with my girl at my side, the sparkling water before us, and with Spring putting on a quite stunning show, I felt so relaxed. So at ease. And so ‘me’ again.

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#557 What she said

Sleep-coma was threatening to win me over at any moment.

I was so tired as I struggled to fight the fog, reading baby girl a book in the dark of her room, against her dim Skye lamp.

But soon it was done. She wanted some face tapping, which I promptly followed with, and then she was going to do it on me, so I closed my eyes and settled in for some random and non-parallel taps from her gentle fingers all over my face.

She ended by kissing me on the forehead, just as I always do for her.

I quickly tucked her in, getting comfortable sitting on the toy box beside her as I did every night, waiting for her to fall asleep. Then –

*lip-smacking sounds!*

She wanted another kiss. I leaned in quickly – do not fight the requests, it only delays everything that much more – and we gave each other kisses. To which she then said,

“Mama best friend.”

Awww.

“You’re my best friend too,” I whispered to her giving her another kiss.

“Yeah best friend, in whole world!”

Awww. I mean, that there. I’m done.

Tick tick tick. I’ll remember that moment, these memories, and this age, forever and ever and ever.

♥♥♥

#520 Coffee time with my girl

“Out,” she said. “Go out.”

I could have quite happily stayed at home and put on the coffee machine: but alas, I listened to my daughter, and decided to make her happy on this occasionally grey day.

Occasionally, because as we headed out the door, the clouds parted and the sun peeked through, helping us along on our babycino break.

We ended up at The Filling Station, where we have been many times before, and which is slowly becoming a favourite. We were actually headed for another café, but its one-week closure decided on the aforementioned café instead.

The coffee is strong, the cakes are unique and delightful, and though the interior space is small, it is cosy, and baby girl had her babycino in true little-girl café-ready style, as we have taught her so many times before.

Her routine:

Eat one marshmallow.

Pop the other marshmallow in the babycino.

Drink some of the babycino.

Fish out the marshmallow with the spoon and eat it.

Drink more babycino.

Eat some cake.

Finish off the babycino.

Eat more cake.

Let Mum wipe my face, patiently.

I love her ‘I-know-not-to-argue’ face as she allows me to wet wipe her mouth, cheeks and forehead (yes it gets there too) from any milk/marshmallow/chocolate dusting remnants. Gold.

And she enjoyed a read while there too. So much a mini-me, combining written material and coffee, tsk tsk tsk. She will be a big Smiggles fan one day no doubt.

🙂

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#500! Rum balls

Bloody sweets, again? This girl is crazy, you’ll say. All she does is bake!

Well, I didn’t bake. I rolled. And it just so happens that by pure coincidence, this week is heavy on the sweet-making front, because my cappuccino cupcakes I made half for us, half for some family earlier on in the week…

and the rum balls I rolled today, is for a shared plate I need to take to baby girl’s kinder tomorrow, for their end of term 2 PAR-TAY…

(and a little for us too).

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I mean, it would be pretty cool if I had heaps of time to just bake, and roll, and cook, and spend a heap of time making sugary-sweet-time in the kitchen… but by the same token I’m more than just a creative kitchen enthusiast, and I don’t like to be defined by just one thing. I like to spend my time outdoors, taking in sunshine, reading, shopping even when the account kind of doesn’t allow me, and jumping on trampolines… with baby girl of course.

Of course.

Oh, and writing. That little hobby too 😉

It makes sense to talk about the things I do and what makes me happy today – after all it’s a monumental post, the big 5-0-0! Woohoo! I say, make the cake, and eat all the cake!

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Well, leave some for the kiddies too. They are child-friendly in case anyone is wondering, totally rum-less.

So what exactly am I grateful for today? A whole bunch of things. I am grateful for easy recipes like rum balls, yes. I am grateful for milestones. And a big shout out to Hope too. Hope keeps my feet taking one step in front of the other. Hope keeps my chin up when things are down. Hope keeps me a glass half-full gal, and Hope is there to tell me that everything eventually works out, and everything is for a reason.

Celebrating sweet things, big numbers, and things to keep us wishing…

Thanks to you all for joining me on this ride, and here’s Hoping this 500 is the tip of the iceberg for the lifelong Gratitude Journey I am on. 🙂

#480 Her affectionate nature no.2

“Ugh,” I groaned. I was over it. Baby girl was going for yet another book.

Any other night and I would have just bared it. Tonight however, I was feeling ‘it’ again. Under the weather. Tired. Weak. Sore throat. The last few weeks this is how I’ve been… how we’ve all been. The cold comes, the cold goes.

Great, I thought. This Winter cold is ‘up’ again.

She came back to her bed with a second book, while I closed my eyes and willed myself to remain calm.

The sooner I read it, the sooner it’ll be over, and then I’ll be able to go to sleep.

I started reading an old faithful: In The Night Garden.

“The night is black and the stars are bright,

and the sea is dark and deep,

and someone I know is safe and snug

and drifting off to sleep…”

Baby girl was grabbing at my free hand, and appeared to be doing something to it… tickling it? Was she drawing circles in it the way I used to do to her hand, during this part of the story?

It occurred to me as she straightened my fingers. “Do you want to hold hands?” I closed mine around hers.

“Yeah.”

Awww. Immediately, all the frustration I’d been feeling melted away. She wanted to hold hands and have me read to her? This girl is the cheekiest and smartest and most challenging of monkeys at times, but when she pulls things like this, my heart can barely cope with the onslaught of love. Simultaneous guilt for wanting to go and sleep, versus enormous gratitude for this moment emerged.

Always more gratitude though, because glass half-full gal and all…

I squeezed her hand into mine and kept reading.

“Round and round a little boat,

No bigger than your hand.

Out in the ocean,

Far away from land…”

 

#435 New library

I think, when we collectively call ourselves avid readers and writers, surely then we must be a member of more than a few reading institutions?

The first library membership I got was when I was about 10, and that was a school incentive since they had built a local library in our suburb, up in the North.

I loved it, and thrived on my library membership, for ages. I would bring home the maximum amount (back then 10 books only) of Goosebumps, The Babysitters Club, and then Sweet Valley High series books, up until my mid-teens. This phase lasted long, and had me happily perusing through the library shelves for years on end, maybe until I was 15 or so.

Then boys kind of became more prominent. I would still visit, but much more infrequently, and later in Uni days, a lot of material from my essays would come from those aisles. I would walk up and down, and reminisce about the good old days, where I could read 10 books well within a few weeks time, and come back to borrow more earlier than I needed to, thirsty for more.

Fast forward many, many years, and a brand-spanking new library opened near my work. It is a work of art, and it is my belief even a non-reader would find interest, solace, and a renewed sense of appreciation for the written word, in here.

Of course, I became a member. I borrowed a few books, and then when I realised that reading, taking notes, and then reviewing the book within a few weeks span became a bit too much to take on, I kind of stopped borrowing from there.

It’s temporary, and it’s only because I’m awaiting the day I can devote much more time to fiction books.

However, today baby girl and I ventured to our new, local library. The first time we went there was right after we moved, and so I didn’t have the proper I.D. with my new home address to subscribe. Today however, different story.

At the Mornington library, I am told I can borrow unlimited books at any one time. Woah. Up to 10 DVDs, and there’s a bunch of other benefits of becoming a member too. Baby girl enjoyed the kids nook, sat in a reading booth, and I just happened across (this stuff seriously jumps out in front of me) a couple of books that I just HAD to borrow.

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You can totally tell which are for me, and which are for baby girl, right? I mean, I’ve been hanging to read Dr Seuss’ take on fish for yonks now.

😉

Seriously though. Am I the only writer that has tonnes to read and write, a whole book shelf at home just crying out to me “read me! read me!” and yet I still go out and borrow/buy MORE books?

I think the novelty of the library, is the fact that if you do not read a book in your borrowed time span, not to fear – just re-borrow, or read it at a later stage. There is no commitments, and I think in my case, for now, with so much fiction for me at home just STARING at me whenever I go past my shelves, I can happily borrow reference books and the like, and then pick what content will serve me best from within its pages.

And while there, I registered baby girl for the ‘1000 books before school’ challenge, where she will aim to read up to 1000 books, and track her progress on a chart with stickers, with little incentives as she hits big milestones along the way. This number can include any books read at home or school or her grandparents house, and even the re-reading of favourite books. They can all be counted, starting from today. If you’re interested in doing so for your littlies, I understand many libraries are partaking in the challenge.

The end of the challenge is either the commencement of school, or when she hits 1000.

Do you seriously think I will let baby girl, the daughter of a writer, not get to 1000 books within these two years?

To answer your question… she already has 4 stickers today.

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God Bless the Library.

#314 On my lap

As a first time Mum to an exceptionally cheeky, adorably adventurous, kind-hearted soul and constantly surprising 3 year old, there have been things that I’ve had to say goodbye to along the way.

Some sad, and some… welcoming.

Night time wake-ups. Those are gone (though you can never be too sure with children). But I mean specifically, those night-time calls that can happen up to 4 times a night, and leave you trying to put a baby back to sleep for an hour each time, leaving you with all of 3 hours of sleep a night – if you’re lucky.

Welcome!

Feeding by hand… those are mostly gone. She eats on her own, and it’s just adorable that she waits patiently until her spoonful of cereal drips into the bowl before she takes a bite, or how she MUST have her hands clean as she eats something, wiping constantly with her scrunched up napkin between bites.

Welcome!

Teething. Crying, gnawing, drooling, irritability, restlessness.

So, so welcome!

And then there are things that I thought were welcome, but really, make me a little sad and nostalgic when I think of them.

Take breastfeeding for example. I devoted 13 months to it. Happily. Yet it was something I was looking forward to seeing the end of in some ways… but as the time drew closer, I felt myself getting sad, feeling like I was going to suddenly lose a tremendous bond with her. I weaned her slowly, and did such a good job that the day after the last feed, she didn’t react in any certain way of longing, and kept on with her solid foods and regular bottled milk.

I was quite emotional. I’ve developed bonds with her in other ways, but knowing that was the last time, at the time, was very hard for me.

Rocking her to sleep. This one quite literally broke my back. Then I discovered I could just as easily sit in a chair with her in my arms, and put her down once she was asleep. This made my life easier, and then only when I took it further, and sat next to her as she fell asleep, did I realise how beautiful it was to hold her in my arms AT ALL.

This made me a little sad.

Nightmares. Having her cry in such sadness in the middle of the night, for no reason other than she needed me, made me feel like ‘oh geez, again.’ It didn’t happen too much, but it did seem to happen as her night time wake-ups grew less frequent, which actually made me start to cherish these nightmares, as horrible as they were for her. I’d sit in the big chair in her room and envelope her in a big hug, and hold her tight as she fell asleep, feeling so blessed and loved and lucky that I was the one she wanted, the one she needed, the one who could soothe her fears.

They stopped, and I kind of miss them.

She used to sit on my lap while she drank her bottled milk. But she grew independent and able to hold the cup on her own, and then discovered she could be a ‘big girl’ and sit beside me.

When she realised that, I saw that I was losing yet another thing. I tried to encourage her on my lap a few times more, but she had found freedom on the couch. That made me sad.

Lately though, we’ve been mucking around in a different way. Sometimes she will deliberately lie across my lap, wanting me to rock her back and forth like a baby, with my sing-song “na na, na na,” as if I’m putting her to sleep. I ask if she’s my baby, and she nods, smiling. I cuddle and kiss her like this, cherishing the fact that she wants to lie on my lap at all and be devoured by my kisses.

However surprisingly, she’s taken it a step further in the last week. During our bedtime read, she’s decided to sit on my lap while we read her book, instead of being beside me. She gets up, taking her book with her, and then gets comfortable on my lap before nuzzling her head against my neck, to which I heap kisses and hugs all over her.

I’ll take all the kisses, and I’ll take all the hugs. When I think of what I thought I lost, I grow very appreciative, and realise that I haven’t lost anything at all.

Besides her, I’m always winning.