Monday, September 28, 2009

Today's Clarity....

Ah, the sound of silence...

I just got home from visiting a friend and her daughter (both our children are around the same age), and Ethan quite literally flaked it in the carseat and has been transported asleep in to his bed. I just needed to remove his jeans, as they were wet from a morning of running around a wet backyard with his little friend, where they squeeled with delight, fed the pet rabbit, made sandy lunch and jumped on a trampoline.

But back to the main issue....Clarity.

The thing is, I am trying very hard not to panic about the impending addition to our little family and budget. It will take some further adjusting, some careful planning and some minor lifestyle refocussing, but I'm sure that when we sit down to consider our position, we will still feel like very, very lucky people. Our second try for a baby wasn't even really a try, but I hate the word 'accident' when used in relation to a family member, so I'll use the word, um....'surprise'. I've had a couple of conversations with my little-bit-anxious partner about the surprise we were lucky enough to receive, because he sometimes (like most men in their early 30's, I've come to believe) forgets that in comparison to The Joneses, some of those other couples think we've got it made!

We weren't trying to have another baby, it was more of a weekend romance for us because we'd gone away without our son for the night to attend (ironically) a wedding. We came back pregnant, and then later to find out it was a girl and we are still being told how 'lucky' we are because this is apparently a good thing to have - a boy and a girl. I don't understand why still, and wonder often if it is because of the old mindset that you have one for mum, one for dad and one for the country (although there'll be a sewing kit making sure that we don't end up with the one for the country!) and that is why we're considered blessed. I think also that two is a good number, but for all intents and purposes I'm a bit worried about the financial side of things.

We've never financially indulged Ethan, hoping that surprise outings to things like a circus, the zoo, and wildlife parks when we can afford it will fare him better than knowing that no matter what he does or how he behaves there are outings and treats planned way ahead of time. So far, so good. He is not the two and a half year old that demands take-away at the sight of a big yellow M (although he is addicted to the search for icecream, because we don't keep it at home!), he knows that things can be purchased from stores but doesn't demand anything, and is quite happy to see how toys work and walk away from the shelves tantrum free. He also loves to look in op shops, which I'm super pleased with because it's often not just the best place to find things, it means that those four 50cent coins he earnt last week putting his washing in the laundry will actually buy him something, and something of value far beyond the $2 outlay that he has spent.

He does know how to help around the house, without instant gratification such as lollies or chips, because he's never been able to open our fridge and find a local deli in there. We are basic eaters, with meat and three veg most nights, breads and cereals and fruits during the day. I joke to my partner about how, once he starts visiting his school buddies and seeing the contents of other peoples' fridges he'll think that he's visiting a magical land of processed cheese in stick shapes, biscuits which come Ready Made in plastic packets and cakes that can literally be opened and eaten. Here, because of both monetary and voluntary restrictions, if we want sweet things, we make them, and if he wants biscuits, Ethan never says 'can I have a bikkie out of the cupboard mum?', he says 'Can we make some biscuits please?' because that's how he knows they appear- first as raw ingredients, then as dough and then as cooked creations. We make bread together every few days (more if Dad's home with us), and it always turns out delish. I can't take all the credit for that though, because a girlfriend of mine has a partner who is an ex-baker and he gave me a tip to make every loaf fantastic and fluffy, and in case you are wondering it is:

*use a whisked egg in your bread's liquid ingredient component. For instance, my pre-mix (Laucke wholemeal if you are wondering) calls for 370ml water. Instead, I use in that measurement 1 whisked egg and half a cup of milk, and then the rest of the weight in water. It makes the bread beautifully fluffy and a little softer than normal plain premix on it's own.

the latest loaf that Ethan and I have made

So that is a skill we have between us that is developing by the week. And that brings me back to being clear and decided about how my family are benefitting from my being at home.

I often am a creature of much guilt, assuming that because I'm not currently contributing with finances that I am taking a short cut in to being the lazy partner, the blood-sucking leach that takes, takes, takes. But lately I've been reassessing all of that. It's occurred to me that I DO contribute financially, through the work I do at home with our son, and through my everyday work like making the house a home and doing what I usually consider 'basic' chores and every day run-of-the-mill activities. Alongside of making bread, I am in continuous stocktake of our home. I love our home (well, the parts that I still need to improve might annoy me, but I wouldn't change location based on those minor things!), and I love that although my partner goes away to work and pay for our home, I stay home and improve the running of our home to benefit the entire family. So I am putting together my lists, my projects and my desires at the moment to try and collaborate them with one another to better our household-running-ability.

I hope that this all makes sense. Some days I'm convinced my pregnant self only understands what I am saying, but basically I am trying the best I can, to do the most I can, with what skills I have and am developing. I think there are a lot of us like that here in blogland, and I hope you are enjoying your home and your life as much as we are here, at the moment and in the moment.


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