Off-kilter

I feel a bit offish this week, and it’s because of holidays.

Part of me – the “Mum” part of me – loves school holidays. Lazy mornings, pyjamas until lunchtime, bush walks, riding bikes, playing soccer and painting and just reconnecting with each other.

And the other part of me – the “Working Mum” part – just finds it really hard, because at times all of those lovely things I listed above are being enjoyed without me.

Souljourneyboy is a teacher and I know how lucky I am that I don’t need to frantically find weeks of care like other Working Mums do. He is also such a great Dad and, to be honest, probably enjoys all those activities more than I do. But it’s still hard going off to work when part of you just wants to be at home.

I’m also aware that I know a disproportionate number of teachers, who get 10 weeks of holidays a year. I don’t begrudge them that at all – I know how hard they work – but it’s just not real life for the majority of us. And I was an only child with a Mum who didn’t work much when I was young, so I have this ideal in my head which I am never going to live up to (which is my choice – I do generally like working).

So I’m trying to concentrate on the positives – I work a day from home, I have flexible hours which means I can get to special assemblies/concerts etc and I earn enough so that we have some great holidays planned for the years ahead. Soul Sister reminded me of all these things yesterday when I was moping a little, and she’s quite right.

And yet… this week I just miss everyone.

Still – there’s always the chance that when I get home I’ll be confronted by a fight over blocks of lego – and then I’ll probably be quite pleased I haven’t had to listen to that all day 🙂

So here’s to us Working Mums – bringing home the bacon!

Spring has sprung!

So it’s been September for a few weeks now but it’s only been this week that I’ve experienced the little signs that make me think, oh yes, it really is Spring!

First and foremost – painted toenails!

Yes indeed, I have dusted off the open-toed shoes and broken out the nail polish. Love it!

Second – dreaming about a pool.

Every year around this time I catch myself wistfully wishing we had a pool, or knew someone with a pool well enough that we could camp out there for the summer. I had this moment on the weekend, when I really wished there was one handy!

Third – a spring in my early-morning step!

I am a morning person, but even I find it depressing to drag myself out of bed in pitch-black darkness and stumble, bleary-eyed, around the bedroom. Love the fact that now when I open my eyes, the sun is peeking through the cracks in the blind.

Fourth – arms and legs.

Once more I can see my children’s arms and legs! They’re so cute. The downside, of course, is the additional half-hour time slot for suncream application now needed everytime we leave the house.

Finally – mangoes!

Not the sad, artificially ripened ones you see in the shops in Winter, but the real, seasonal, honest-to-goodness kind. Nothing says warm weather better than a delicious, juicy mango.

So needless to say – Spring is here and I am happy about it 🙂

 

It’s the little things

While there are many significant moments in life which are obviously life changing, I find that often it’s the little things that make all the difference.

You know – they’re the small day-to-day happenings that have a disproportionate affect on your day, your mood, and thus the world and life in general.

So I thought I’d share a couple of these small yet powerful events that have shaped my week thus far.

The Good

On my way driving Bookworm and Picasso to school on Mufti Day, I had a horrible sinking feeling as realised I didn’t have any gold coins. Just as I was about to scour the car for coinage and send them off with several handfuls of 5 cent pieces – I found two shiny gold coins in the hidden zipper pocket of my handbag! I had literally struck gold! Happy days were here again and my joy over this seemingly insignificant event was indeed exponential.

Another small yet wonderful happening occurred when I cleaned up my desk drawers at work and found this beautiful tea-cup:

Tea in a pretty cup can make any day seem better!

The Bad

After a weekend of lying flat in bed with a head cold, I took a sick day from work on the Monday. I had blissful visions of a restful day in bed, watching TV, napping and recovering, when Bookworm theatrically announced he was sick as well and needed a day off school. May I just say I have not actually had a weekday sick day where I get to rest without looking after children for ABOUT EIGHT YEARS NOW. I would like to say that I lovingly put my own needs aside and then proceeded to fluff his blankets and organise homemade chicken soup, but the sad truth is I think I slammed the door and yelled a little bit.

The Ugly

Fortunately, I spotted the gigantic huntsman spider on the car door BEFORE I opened it to get in. But I still had to run screaming for a broom, bash the spider off the car and kill it before it slunk away and planned a counterattack. I HATE spiders. Even though the whole ordeal was probably only a minute or so, I felt the aftershock all day, and spent a great deal of time frantically brushing non-existent spiders off my shoulders as I drove.

Sometimes it really is the small things that count!

A bend in the road…

I find myself at a bend in the road this week.

Sometimes bends can be exciting; other times they bring enormous relief; or perhaps a bittersweet feeling as one journey comes to end and another begins.

This bend is of the bittersweet variety, and came about because Little Miss told me she can’t fit into her car seat anymore.

This is the car seat in  question:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, this particular car seat has been in our family for the past nine years. It was Bookworm’s first of all, then Picasso’s, and finally, belonged to Little Miss. And now she has outgrown it, it’s not needed anymore, and I have been confronted by the fact that there really are no more babies in our house now. Nor will there be any more.

There are things I really like about this – no more night feeds or 5am starts. No more nappies or bottles or inexplicable crying just when you were ABSOLUTELY SURE they had finally fallen asleep. It doesn’t take three weeks to pack the car for a trip down to the shops anymore and my life is not dictated by nap times.

But…there are also no more newborn cuddles, no more babies falling asleep in my arms. I have this really clear memory of Little Miss as a baby that I hold onto – she was just born and it was after a night feed. It was raining outside and she fell asleep against my shoulder. I knew she was probably my last baby, so I decided to sit there and hold her and just enjoy her. I felt her breath against my skin and kissed that sweet spot on her neck that all babies have. It is one of the most beautiful memories I have.

I don’t really want to go back to babyland – but I desperately wish I could step back into that moment and experience it for just a few minutes. I really believe there is some part of my heart, some yearning, that is only satisfied by a little baby. But it’s not enough to make me go through it all again.

So we say goodbye to the car seat…and babies…and we look forward to all the fun of being a family with school aged children. I really am very glad to be here.

Only…contrarily…some part of me can’t help wishing she’d just stayed like this:

Weekend: highlights and lowlights

Well another weekend is almost done. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with friends and family, cooking and just enjoying the beautiful weather. I thought I’d share some of the highs and lows with you…

Highlight

The sunshine! Especially Sunday morning. Beautiful, warm, sunny loveliness. Even hanging out the washing was lovely, as I could smell the perfume of the jonquils. When Spring comes, I always remember just how much I missed it.

Lowlight

The wind! Friday was a shocker – I saw a colleague outside when I went to get lunch and while we tried to talk the poor man was whipped repeatedly in the face with my hair. In the end we gave up on our conversation because we actually couldn’t see each other.

Highlight

The school spring fair! I love fairs. It was such a fun day of rides, stalls, sausage sizzle, face painting, farm animals, ice cream and fairyfloss.

Lowlights

Firstly – waiting in lines. I think I was in the Dodgem Car line for 40 minutes.  And then I became disproportionately angry with kids who were jumping the queue. I have made lifelong enemies with a group of Year 4 girls whom I soundly told off and made go to the end. Another lowlight – the trauma that ensued after Picasso visited the Haunted House. We TOLD him not to go – we KNEW it would turn ugly, but he wouldn’t listen. He ended up sobbing hysterically, and when we tried to put him to bed he was convinced monsters were going to jump out the shadows and scream at him.

Highlight

Taking Little Miss on a play date to a preschool friend’s house. There were a couple of lovely other preschool Mums there and we just clicked. Love making new friends. She also had an awesome garden which gave me lots of ideas for my own.

Lowlight

That mournful Sunday-night feeling you get because the week is about to begin. Luckily, I have the bags all ready – if you haven’t read about my system of bags which is about to change our lives, read this post. Although I did have to buy new drink bottles for each bag, to ensure the system reach its FULL potential.

Highlight

The interesting political discussions we have with Bookworm whenever we have to go and vote anywhere.

Lowlight

Having to go and vote. Like many of us, I think three tiers of government is too many, but having worked at the local and state levels I’m not sure who you get rid of. And it’s just hard to get excited about local government elections.

So that’s our weekend! Hope you enjoyed yours 🙂

A Traveller on a Quest for Organisation

Today I bought sports bags.

I know it doesn’t sound exciting, but there is more to this story.

I sometimes feel like the grand narrative of my life is actually a Quest to be Organised. I get really excited when I discover a system or product that I am convinced will magically change my disorganised mess into neat, labelled, easy-to-use orderliness and thus revolutionise my entire body, mind and soul.

I was discussing this with a colleague today and she too confessed to harbouring the errant belief that boxes would somehow redeem her household disorganisation – and yes, I have to admit I’ve been there. Sadly, after spending hundreds of dollars on plastic crates of all colours and sizes from the Reject Shop, all I have really ended up with is a stack of broken plastic in the garage after the kids played Pirate Ships in them one too many times.  

Wicker baskets have been another trap for me. I spied them in a catalogue and was immediately convinced that pretty white baskets lined with pink-and-white or blue-and-white striped cloth inside would save the world (or mine at least). Now, of course, they are stained with texta and have old glue stuck to them and got chewed by the cat and one had a cup of coffee spilled on it and there seem to be five dedicated to old pens that don’t work anymore.

Tupperware parties are the worst. I was seduced by those green-lidded Smart Series containers with little air valves that allow your vegetables to “breathe”. Last time I looked, the one that is supposed to be for broccoli was being used as a paint container for Little Miss.

And yet another one – charts. When the kids were little I had beautiful charts detailing naps and snacks, then as they got older, afternoon playtime and homework time and unpacking-the-dishwasher time. It was all very SuperNanny, the idea being one activity would flowinto another without stress, complaint or argument.

Hmm. I’m not even going there.

So anyway, this brings me back to bags. After many years of holding out against extra-curricular activities, our family has now embraced tennis (Bookworm and Picasso), soccer (Picasso), ballet (Little Miss) and swimming (all three). After all five of us spent last Tuesday afternoon frantically searching for Picasso’s soccer socks, I decided right then that sports bags dedicated to each activity were a COMPLETE NECESSITY, you know, along with food and water.

And so I went and bought them, and feel the Holy Grail of Organisation may indeed, finally, be mine….

The battle every family faces…

It’s ugly.

It’s persistent.

It’s beyond stressful.

It’s…HEAD LICE.

Already, I know you are all out there scratching your heads just from reading the words.

I almost didn’t write this post because who wants to admit their kids have got head lice? And then I thought, stuff it, this really is a universal battle faced by every family.

We’ve actually been pretty lucky – the only other time the kids ever brought it home, the boys were a lot younger and Little Miss just a baby. My solution was to just shave the boys’ heads, which worked wonderfully.

Unfortunately, this time it is Little Miss who is afflicted, and while I did briefly think of shaving her head, I accidentally mentioned it out loud and she screamed the house down. She also screamed the house down when Bookworm helpfully told her that lice suck blood from your scalp (yes, there is such a thing as too much knowledge). And she also screams the house down anytime she sees the finetooth comb/sees my looking in her hair/sees the treatment bottle. So you can imagine this is not a fun time in our house.

It began about three weeks ago when I realised she had them, and I treated everyone – although the others didn’t seem to have caught them, luckily – but it just keeps coming back! It’s so hard to go through her hair because she has so much of it, and sitting there picking eggs out of her hair makes me feel like an ape. She actually calls it “egg-picking”. It’s just so awful.

And I feel like nothing I’m doing is working! So today I went back to the chemist and spent nearly $200 on treatments, new brushes, hair elastics and clips and a special electric comb that apparently kills them while you brush your hair. I am planing to wash all sheets and pillowslips, put the pillows in the dryer on high and treat everyone on a seven-night rotation schedule until all our hair falls out.

I am determined to triumph!!!!!!

I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂