Friday, November 23, 2012

Swim Lessons

Now that Riker is three, we've enrolled him in swimming lessons at the Dickson pool just down the road. He seems to really enjoy the half hour lessons and it's been fun for me to see him interacting with his teacher. He does exactly what she asks of him and willingly puts his face in the water and blows bubbles. Not bad for a little boy who's hearing is getting more and more selective and who very much dislikes water on his head in the bath!

Benji, William and Riker with their instructor, Hannah.

Benji and William already knew each other before swim lessons, but it's been fun to chat with their parents while the boys are in the pool. Benji's parents were enthralled with Riker's name as they are huge Star Trek fans and most of the names on their baby name list were from that series. (Riker isn't named after the Commander but we don't mind the association and even occasionally refer to him as Number One). Then the other day I went to visit a friend and her daughter who live just down the road and who was there visiting but Benji from swim lessons and his mother.  Such a small world. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A New Home

Things are finally settling down a bit from the chaos we experienced earlier this month and things are looking up despite the fact that we're living in the unfortunately named suburb of Downer.  We've now moved in to our friends house (they are getting ready to spend the next year in the US) and I've finally unpacked most of our things. It feels good. Our new garden is really awesome - full of various natives and some ornamentals, a well established veggie patch and still plenty of space for the kids to play. 

Thanks to Cal and Carina for planting a garden for us!  Lots of herbs, spinach, radishes, tomatoes, chard, peas and rocket. Lots and lots of rocket. Happy to share the green goodness - I brought so much chard to work today that I couldn't even give it all away!

Our temporary chicken coop and the rain water tank that flushes the toilet.

We've got apples, cherries, lemons, figs and a bay tree. Probably lots of other interesting stuff too that I've either forgotten or failed to identify yet.

Wall of grapes on the garage.

We're also happy to be living in a cul-de-sac street again.  Like our place on the cul-de-sac in Lyneham, we find it to be relatively quiet and stocked with friendly neighbors.  We're also enjoying the space offered by a three bedroom house - far less cramped than the one bedroom flat we were renting previously!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ups and Downs

It's been a crazy couple of weeks.

We moved house which is stressful and physically demanding and involves juggling the needs of the kids while trying to get tasks accomplished. In amongst all of this, we managed to acquire a few things we needed for our new house, buy some groceries and not surprisingly, eat LOTS of takeaway. Brian got a hive of bees, and there are plans to get chickens.

We bought a car which of course requires lots of searching and researching and test driving. The car then failed its mandatory registration inspection.  Fortunately, the seller agreed to pay for the necessary repairs and after several days we got the car back with a passed roadworthy certificate. Then I went to register the car, only to find that we failed to submit a notice of disposal for the car we sold in March and the buyer never registered it in his name. With two parking fines against the car, I was still legally responsible for it and couldn't register the new car unless I paid the fines or found his details to officially dispose of it. After much searching, we found his phone number and he actually gave us all of his information so that I could file the necessary paperwork. My second trip to register the car would have been successful had I not been missing one signature from Brian. So, on Monday morning I made my third (and thankfully successful) trek to dispose of the old car and register the new car.

I went back to work for two days a week. On my first day back to work, Riker's finger got pinched in the hallway door. After much screaming, Brian loaded the kids into the car and headed to emergency to get his finger examined. However, since both kids fell asleep on the way there, he sat in the car park and then abandoned that plan and returned home. (He was mostly fine after waking - finger clearly not broken.)

Riker had his first swim lesson and loved it! He was very enthusiastic and it was fun to watch him cooperating so well with the teacher. He had to miss his second lesson though because he hurt his wrist, again not serious, but enough to miss the lesson.

So if you haven't heard much from us recently, you now know why. Here's hoping the next two weeks go a bit more smoothly. Maybe I'll even find time to finally unpack our suitcases for the first time in eight months!

Monday, November 05, 2012

More Boys in the Backyard

Yesterday was our last day house sitting before moving into our friend's place just down the street. Cal and Carina are moving to the US to work for a year and we're happy to be renting their home while they're away. We've really enjoyed living in this great house and we'll all miss the swing set in the backyard!


Thanks again to Lyn and Rob who so generously let us stay in their home while they were away, and to Su for bringing it all together.  It's made the transition back to Canberra so much easier!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Baby Praying Mantises

Brian discovered baby praying mantises crawling on the table on our back patio the other day. Aren't they neat?

We love pointing out insects and plants and birds to the kids when we're out and about.  The sheer variety of species is fascinating no matter where we happen to be living. I hope that by drawing their attention to creatures great and small, that they will come to appreciate and respect life in all its forms.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

My Son's Wedding

Today I'm pleased to have a guest post published over at APtly Said, the blog of Attachment Parenting International.  The piece is called My Son's Wedding and it's a musing on the purpose of a funny daydream I sometimes have.

I have the somewhat odd habit of daydreaming about my son's wedding. Now, my son is only a toddler and is not betrothed to anyone so the exercise is purely hypothetical. I'm not entirely sure why I do this, but since I've shared my secret, I'll elaborate on my current hypothesis.

Read the full text of the post here and let me know if you have a similar habit!

Postscript: 9 September 2013

This article was originally published on the blog of Attachment Parenting International as a guest post. I'm now including the full text on my own blog for archival purposes. 

I have the somewhat odd habit of daydreaming about my son's wedding. Now, my son is only a toddler and is not betrothed to anyone so the exercise is purely hypothetical. I'm not entirely sure why I do this, but since I've shared my secret, I'll elaborate on my current hypothesis.

When I envision my son at his wedding, I am looking at a man who is kind, compassionate, loving, generous, patient, intelligent, ambitious, conscientious, creative, adventurous, honorable, talented, respectful, respectable, thoughtful, confident, eloquent, funny, and of course, handsome. I imagine my husband and I amidst our family and friends swelling with pride at the man we see before us. There are speeches and toasts and everyone is looking and feeling their best.

I suspect that the purpose of these daydreams is to give me space to reflect on the journey of motherhood and how my parenting practices affect my child, both in the moment and in the long term. Reflection is an incredibly important tool for analyzing our feelings about various issues, rehashing our responses and imagining how we might do better next time. But for most mothers, there is little time left in any given day for quiet contemplation. And so I multitask by stealing moments for reflection while pondering days to come.

By casting my mind into the future and envisioning the man I would like my child to become, I am offered the chance to critically evaluate my own role in shaping his personality and his outlook on life. Do my actions suggest to him that he is a unique and worthwhile individual? That he is a good person and worthy of respect? That his opinions and feelings matter? That the people in his life are trustworthy and that his parents are a consistent and reliable source of comfort? That he is loved even when his actions do not model the behavior we desire? While every parent wants to communicate these values to their children, it is all too easy to forget that there are lessons learned even when we are feeling tired or upset or are running late. It helps me to deal more effectively with day to day frustrations if I can remind myself of the big picture. For example, as I'm helping my son to sleep at night, I can sometimes feel irritated that it's taking so long because there is something else that I'd like to accomplish. As these feelings creep in, I try to remind myself that a) my response to his needs should leave my child feeling safe, loved and important and b) someday in the not too distant future I will likely give almost anything to have my little boy curled up next to me (or bouncing on the bed as the case may be).

Similarly, daydreaming about the future serves as a reminder to not sweat the small stuff. I have the honor and privilege of guiding the growth and development of another human being and with that as my mission, I can better temper my reactions to spilled milk, snatched toys and missed appointments. Don't get me wrong, I still get angry, frustrated and impatient with embarrassing frequency. But when I envision the payoff of my parenting efforts at some distant point in the future, I am better able to keep things in perspective and remember that while the days can be long, the years will be short. And so it seems to me that daydreaming about my son's wedding serves as a simple reminder to parent my child with an eye on the person I hope that he will become.