Something new…

So I have started piano lessons again, along with Picasso!

I am very excited by this. I played the piano when I was a kid, and got up to about 5th grade when I finally convinced my parents I REALLY didn’t want to play anymore. And now, 25 years later, here I am! There’s a piece I really want to learn how to play (I’ll share it with you one day) but it’s very complex and while I want to jump right in and learn it I probably need to master “Jingle Bells” first.

Picasso is excited too, and it’s lovely we are doing it together.

Anyway we had our very first lessons this afternoon, and we both loved it.

Our teacher is a nice young man – 22! – although already I have disgraced myself by doing some of those crazy things I seem to do all the time.

Firstly, I forgot to pay the fee. Then I completely overlooked the email I was sent telling me I needed to pay before the lesson. Then I had a technological glitch trying to pay. Finally I managed it, but I felt bad and left a message on the teacher’s phone apologising and promising I wouldn’t be quite so tardy again. Very kindly, he texted back to say no worries. Later I texted Souljourneyboy to tell him to bring his iPad to the studio so Picasso could play on it while I had my lesson. A long time passed, and I was getting cranky that Souljourneyboy wasn’t answering my text. Then I checked and realised I had sent it to the poor piano teacher who I hadn’t even met yet! I sent a sheepish text apologising and explaining the message was meant for someone else. He responded – saying no worries, again – and I’m sure was quite relieved he did not, in fact, have to loan my son his iPad.

So! I have once again exposed myself as a crazy person. But never mind – I’m sure he will be super impressed with my melodic and passionate rendition of “When the saints go marching in” next week!

Les Miserables: all about grace

Souljourneyboy and I went to see Les Miserables today – a perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon.

There’s so much I could say (and warning: spoilers ahead); Hugh Jackman was absolutely incredible, Anne Hathaway amazing, and I didn’t mind Russ’s Javert too much, even though I felt like you could tell he was thinking about the singing in some of the scenes, as it is obviously not as effortless for him as it is for the others. Les Miserables is my favourite modern opera/musical, and despite some of the changes in the score (yes, I probably could sing the whole thing through from beginning to end) I felt it transposed brilliantly to the silver screen. These was such a sense of intimacy and immediacy about it that the emotion really did blow me away.

As a Lefy at heart, I love that Les Mis always makes me feel like I want to join a revolution. I love that it has such a strong narrative of social conscious and political activism at its core; whenever I hear “Do you hear the people sing?” I’m like – sign me up!

But most of all, I love that Les Miserables is about grace. It’s about grace triumphing over legalism, love winning over revenge. This was brought home so strongly to me in the scene when Jean Valjean, wearing the uniform of the law, gives Javert back his life in a unwarranted, amazingly powerful act of mercy. Valjean, grace personified, fulfilling the true meaning of law and justice by giving the gift of freedom to his enemy, knowing that the consequences will probably mean his own death.

If that’s not the Christian story right there, then I don’t know what is. I wish Christians (myself included) did that story of grace and love more justice.

For, as the closing song says,

“To love another person is to see the face of God.”

Love and grace. Nothing else matters. I am just so appreciative that Les Miserables tells that story in such a powerful and beautiful way.

A visit from the Tooth Fairy

For the past few weeks, Picasso has been struggling greatly with a very loose tooth.

It’s been painful to watch – everytime he had to eat anything, he would wince and complain. Given eating is generally one of his favourite things to do, I felt very sorry for him – we knew things were dire when he couldn’t finish the bacon and egg roll he’d ordered when we went out to lunch!  He just sat, depressed and quiet, looking mournfully at the rest of us eating.

Anyway, yesterday it finally came out.

I love that at 7 and a half, he still fervently belives in the Tooth Fairy – and also loves her dearly.

Not only does he leave his tooth out for her, he also writes her a little note.

This is what he wrote for her last night:

“Dear Tooth Fairy,

“I finally lost my tooth. It is my eighth tooth. I love you. I hope you have a good journey.”

What a sweetheart. Souljourneyboy and I felt that was definitely worth a $2 coin 🙂


Fun in the sun

So I’m back!

I have been on a technology hiatus for the last week and a half as we went camping at the beach with wonderful friends, and there was no phone or internet reception to speak of. It was lovely to completely unplug for a while, and with 11 kids between us, we all had such a fun time. I thought I’d share…

The highlights

  • Amazing friends. Sitting around chatting, eating and playing board games into the wee sma’s once the kids are asleep makes you remember what life was like before you had them.
  • That deliciously exhausted feeling you get when you’ve divided your time between the beach, pool and park in one day.
  • Really good fish and chips.
  • Being surprised by my children – in particular, Little Miss’s determination. While she loves the water, up until now she has needed a back bubble in the pool. On the first day at the campsite pool, she was perturbed to see that none of the older kids were using back bubbles anymore.  Her solution? Well, learn to swim, of course. Within 2 hours she could dog paddle and dive, and after a few days she was swimming from one side of the pool to the other, sitting on the bottom, and learning backstroke. Amazing that a bit of self motivation could achieve what thousands of swimming lessons could not.
  • Coming home to a tidy linen closet after my Mum took pity on me and rearranged it while we were gone. Just wonderful!

And of course I should also share…

The lowlights

  • Finding a dead mouse in the washing up bucket.  It must have drowned overnight and Souljourneyboy accidentally grabbed it the next day as he was washing up the breakfast things. He said it was squishy. Gross.
  • The fact my healthy eating plan completely flew out the window by the time we were about five minutes into the holiday. I fear it’s celery sticks and rice crackers for me for a few weeks.
  • Putting sleeping bags back in their little drawstring bags. There is always just so much sleeping bag, and just a little itty bit of drawstring bag.

Aren’t holidays wonderful??? I always come back from beach camping trips convinced I should move to a small coastal community and take up subsistence farming.

Hope you are enjoying a break too 🙂

Life as a Working Mum

I’ve been thinking lately that there are many ups and downs to life as a (full time) Working Mum. Some of them I’ve blogged about already here. But there are a few things any Mum who is thinking of taking the plunge into full-time work should know…

The day will come when you are hiding from your own child in a wardrobe

It’s happened to me a few times, generally because my boss/the Managing Director/ senior politician has called my phone and the only way I can drown out the cries of, “Mummy!!!!” is by suffocating myself in a heap of winter coats.

You will multitask in the toilet

It’s amazing how many emails you can read when you lock yourself in there for five minutes.

There will come a time when something very important gets forgotten

It could be a lunch order. A schoolbook. A jumper or hat. Occasionally, it’s a child. Hopefully that doesn’t happen too often.

You will feel unreasonable disbelief towards your young, single colleagues who complain of being tired

Look, I do recall that before children came along, I got tired. Actually I don’t recall it at all, however I am willing to accept that it must have happened. But I have to say, whenever some bright young kid-free colleague yawns and says, “Wow, I’m just SO tired today, I don’t know why. I mustn’t have slept very well,” I have to stop myself replying, “Really? Well I’m tired and it’s because I was up three times last night with one child who had nightmares and then another one woke up with a temperature and came into my bed so I slept with an elbow in my eye for the last three hours of the night and then I got up, made three children breakfast and got them dressed and did a school run which took twice as long because one of them forgot their library books and we had to double back and then I took  the sick one to the doctor’s before rushing them to my Mums so I could get here for a meeting.” Instead, I smile and say, “Really? Yeah, I’m a bit tired today too.”

You become convinced of the restorative powers of panadol and a good night’s sleep

Whenever one of her kids says they feel sick at night, one of my colleagues (and dear friends) who is a Working Mum always says, “A sleep’ll fix that”. If it’s in the morning, I always say, “let’s try some panadol”. Both are practically miracle cures.

“Breakfast dinners” are not just an occasional happenstance, but actually planned two nights a week

A bowl of porridge is much more healthy than takeaway, right?

You will be in a very important meeting and your Mum life will intrude in unexpected ways

It could be a text from your husband saying he forgot he was picking up the kids and can you leave RIGHT NOW to get them. Or a phone call because your child has hit their head at school or eaten a rubber. Or you might reach into your bag for a pen and out falls a half-eaten rusk stick or a dummy. Or you suddenly remember your daughter plastered a large butterfly sticker on your back as you were walking out the door and you can’t subtly reach around now and remove it. It will happen.So – be warned! It certainly is an interesting ride, and it’s not for everyone. But when you’ve done a good job and you get rewarded – you get a payrise, a promotion, a pat on the back, or when your kids talk with pride about the job you do – that’s when you feel like it’s worth it.:)