We finally got to go and grab our new baby today! She's a 3 yr old German Shepherd, and she is ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!!!!
I will never again indulge in thoughts of a puppy. We picked up Sasha at 10am, and by 12 we were out walking her with a pram, just me and Alice and her (yeah, how's my grammar, right?!). She toddled along quite happily, not sniffing or dragging, not pulling, not new to a lead and not stopping to have a poo somewhere because she is trained already to wait until she's at home for those needs.
As far as rescue dogs are concerned, somehow I think I manifested the Cadillac of rescue dogs. She's technically not a rescue, she's a breeders dog that just doesn't want to have puppies, and her old owner is a man who seriously loves this breed. He spoke to me about 3 months ago about a dog he was trying to rescue from the pound, and she wasn't suitable for our home. And during that conversation, he mentioned that he had a dog he was currently breeding, but that 'he knew' she was wanting desperately to be in a family where she was the only dog. So I went and met her, and then I took each family member one by one to meet her as well, and well, it's been love at first sight every time.
The fella really struggled with this, because, well, to be honest, he's a little bit of a control freak. He's a fifo bloke (goes away for two weeks at a time and then returns), and he already misses So Much Stuff as it is, and then I found this dog, this dog I was totally sure was The Dog For Us. And he's a bit panicky about it, even still. It's totally slipped his mind that the boy we had for 13 yrs was a dog I'd found, and had to chuck a tanty to get him to agree to, and that Bruton was simply the best dog that not only we'd ever known, but that many other people had ever known as well. But I have to let him have a free pass on the freak-out factor with some stuff, because he just must feel so left out at times. It has got to be hard, being a family man who's away from his family all of the time, to sometimes realise that you don't have the reigns on every factor of life all of the time, even when massive decisions are being made.
So today I'm thankful for the joy in a dog's heart. She's just so relaxed, already. She knows, because, I guess, of the slow transition and because her previous owner was relaxed about us too, that here she is so well off. She's already going from house to car to school to car to house with so much ease I almost feel like I've had her a year. I actually felt so confident this afternoon that I took her to school to pick Ethan up - and got her out of the car (on a short lead, don't need anyone getting knocked over thanks!) and she walked up to the class with Alice and I and just sat and waited her new boy owner. Calm as you like. I swear, she just knows. She's even already learnt to sleep on the designated cushoin-y areas that we've popped around the house - including the one in Ethan's room because, well, he's an animal lover from way back and was quite insistent on this point.
So to evolution, I say thanks. Thanks for this fantastic bond that you have forged between people and dogs, and the dogs heart that you have made amazingly self-assured and loving.
I'm a little bit excited, and think I'm a little bit nuts.
We adopt our dog tomorrow, finally! After a couple months of waiting for her, she will be ready for picking up tomorrow morning after I drop Ethan off at school. Gives me a bit of time with just me and her, (and Alice, of course) without the loudness of a 4 yr old, and with the ability for her to join us on two car rides in one day to give her a taste of what there is still to come. She's going to change my life, in ways I'm sure I'm not yet aware of.
The kids will just blossom under the umbrella of a pet, we all know that. But it is also the companionship, the absolutely unconditional love, and the attention for exercise that is going to change us all.
And for the learning curves still to come, I am thankful.
I am so amazingly impressed each day by the leaps and bounds a 4 year old can make. Well, and a 20month old, but more of that later.
It wasn't long ago that my son would fight, kick and destroy to get his own way. He now walks a bit calmer a path, instead he'll mostly remove himself from an irritating situation, even if it means I've seen him get annoyed and remind him that he has the option to do so. Not that I like him watching loads of tv, but I do like that he has it to turn to when he needs to 'switch off' and relax - I mean, I relax with knitting, blogging and reading, it's only fair he has his methods too, right? So imagine my surprise today when instead of coming out and playing with his friend, he decided to watch tv. Then when he did, and his friend deliberately annoyed him - he just turned and told him outright that what the friend did was annoying, and he wanted his friend to go home.
I was so very embarrassed! But straight up, that's got to be a silver lined cloud, hey? I mean, he didn't kick, scream or yell (not at first, anyway), he told this person what he honestly thought. It was just a bit embarrassing for me, but that doesn't worry him! So today I just have to be very thankful for the ability to toggle between behaviour that is destructive and behaviour that will get the honest truth out in the open.
It just feels like in the space of a week I've gone from having a toddler and a baby to having a child and a toddler....
Alice has gone through an amazing personality change of late - soooo opinionated, so verbal, and so very, very independent! She is fast learning to try and push the point of her own way, with everything from being carried constantly to making me sit with her and do her favourite thing, which is mostly drawing. Her speech, in my opinion, is spectacular! So toddler-ville here we come! Hooray for being a Toddler (and yeah, remind me of that in a couple weeks)!!!
So I took my lovely little kiddo's on a holiday. All by myself. Yep. Well, nah, really we went and we stayed with a friend of mine from many years ago, so we weren't 'on holiday' alone, which I cannot wait to do when they are older, we instead went to holidays alone. And the hysteria involved in that is quite funny, especially if you tell the right older woman who's never had her car license! But, I loaded the car up with the fella's help on wednesday morning, we dropped him at the airport and we bolted down to the lovely town of Albany. And what an excellent idea it was.
Alice loving pink milk...
The four days away was marked by fantastic company, beautiful food, walks along the beach and forest, and truly fantastic childrens behaviour. Really.
I mean, we stayed with a friend of mine. We all have one of 'those' friends, with the truly amazing and fantastically gorgeous inside and outside child that behaves in every situation and on every level. And when we don't have one of our own, man, visiting those kinds of people with kids can induce its fair share of anxiety. So when we got there, and for the last four days my children not only enjoyed their days, but were a joy for everyone to be with (give or take some shots of reality, folks, they're still breathing in and out, after all, so there is hiccups with the breathing!), I really have come home on a high. They were in love with the surrounds, with the joys of playing as a threesome, and with the pink milk that was served in most places we went.
Ah, I love and am greatful for pink milk. Amazingly indebted to the joy it bought my heart to have my son order his own pink milk and sit in cafes or on the park floors enjoying it, sharing it and blowing bubbles in it.
How beautiful was my holiday, I can barely say....
So the kids and I are off tomorrow on a little holiday together. We leave in the morning, and although I'm hoping to write a little, I might not get time because of the change of surroundings and the ability to throw those things out.
So I hope all goes well for the next few days, and I'll be back!
Meanwhile, I'm thankful that I have the opportunity to do this, and that they are now at an age that we can look at travelling so far with some form of optimism!
Sorry I have been absent a few days. Well, since thursday, I think.
The days are busier when the fella is home. We are more rushed, there is more to do, I guess - I hope, or otherwise I feel busier for no reason!
But I just wanted to say that since I started this change of focus, the way I see my kiddo's has really changed. I've begun looking for the positive in them, but I at first thought I would just find one thing a day - and now I find my brain competing with itself to figure out 'which awesome thing' to write about. It really has changed me from seeing all things as a struggle, to seeing 'most' things as awesome. As amazing parts of thier little personalities. I see what used to drive me nuts, as now being a sign of thier developmental milestones.
And honestly, I think everyone should try it, even if just for two days a week.
Today was day number 6 of School Holidays....So we were off to circus school with Daddy, who arrived after a very long and exhausting day yesterday.
I love my kids for their enthusiasm. I just adore it. There can just be something, ya know, a bit different hanging in Alice's way, and she asks me in her own way what it is, can't wait to touch, to see what happens. And it's that way with Ethan, too. He's a Racer, this boy of mine. I could say just about anything after "I bet you I can beat you at..." and he's in. Brush teeth? Done. Have a wee? Yep. Clean up toys? Beat you hours ago, mum.
So when he seems shy meeting someone new, I love knowing that it is basically an act and that he's secretly jumping out of his skin ready to say hi, get past the societal faux pas, and get cracking in to any kind of exercise that there is available. I love it. Not having 'that' kid who just won't join in. Who won't smile. I do however, have the kid who gives it what he's got, and only gets embarrassed if "I" am watching and smiling - anyone else is considered an audience, but I am a mere taxi driver, private cheer squad, but I should just watch other kids, I think, if I'm with him somewhere that he's learning something new!
It's the things like that that I love. Knowing he's excited and ready to go, and Alice has caught it like the common cold. That girl is currently enthusiastic about gumboots. She is constantly finding new pairs around the house (there are about four pairs between her and Ethan), getting them on and trying them out. And she never tires of it, loving every minute.
Today was the first day of the school holidays. I hate school holidays!!! It's amazing at how quickly I went from being a parent who couldn't imagine a whole day without my son, to now getting all gushy because its the last day of term.
The teachers just keep them so focussed, so calm. Any one can walk past the kindy room at the montessori school and actually wonder if there are even any kids in there - let alone 50 of them split in to two groups!
So, determined not to get all freaked out and stabby-shouty-mama during these next 14 days, I sent off my sons application to circus school. We went today, and it was a blast! He made me so super proud, because all the other mama's were able to stay with thier kiddo's the whole time, but I had Alice-wrangling to do at the same time, and he just soldiered on! Plate spinning, hula hooping, trampoline-rolling, you name it, they did it, and they did it in only an hour. Was Too Cool!
So I'm thankful for coordination today, because he took the whole class in his stride, and I couldn't have been happier!
Today was a sunday, and over the last few weeks, on a sunday I've had a babysitter. So this morning when I woke to a text saying she wasn't available, I thought Oh Man!!!
But I decided to continue with yesterday's sponteneity and we rugged ourselves up for the markets, to go and see some chickens, and buy some fruit. It was Sooooo Cooooollllld! The kids had their winter woollies on, and Ethan managed to earn himself $5 doing some house jobs for me (cleaning his room, emptying dishwasher, etc), so he used some of that to get a go on the bouncy castle, which warmed him right up. He had a blast!
Then we jumped in the car with their Aunty and went and grabbed a hot chocolate at the mall (my least favourite place in the world, if I'm honest), and a small snack. Was a great way to burn through a few hours and didn't travel more than about 20 kilometres.
The kids, well I don't know if it's my daily exercise of finding these lovely things about them, or if it's because of the anti-digital status we have during the day, or if it's just that somehow they're calmer, but yeah, somehow, they are now becoming more of a team. Ethan really watches Alice, and they play together so much more now. It's fantastic - sometimes I even manage a decent shower in the mornings!
I found a quote, on Soulemama.com, that said - "Do the best you can where you are, and be kind" by someone called Scott Nearing, and since I read that I have been saying those last two words quite a lot to Ethan and Alice. They understand those two words - Be Kind - so deeply, that if there is any kind of issue between them, it near-instantly melts it. Kindness is all-encompassing, and it can be immediate. You could have just been being a complete tyrant, and the words Be Kind can change the shape of the day. I find, especially with Ethan, the depth of his understanding of the ability to be kind is astounding. And for that, I am both amazed and incredibly grateful.
Well, it's a dull ol' saturday here, not much going on except me doing the chicken dance with the washing machine (why, oh why, do I leave the laundry all sad and lonely for three days in a row? Have I not learnt a thing as a mama?) And at about 11am I thought to myself .... this isn't gunna look any different in two hours from now, why not just do something else?
So we packed up the sandwiches from a picnic in the park yesterday after school, and went visiting a friend. Then after that Ethan suggested we go to The Train Park. I have no idea what it's really called, but I do know that if I were 4, that place would have some sort of homing beacon to my brain. Imagine a park, with swings, a tunnel, a slide, loooooaaaads of dirt and sand and steps. In the shape of a train. Talk about Freakin' Awesome to the Power of Rad.
And it was seriously only about two minutes drive from where we were. How did he know that? Homing Beacon, for sure.
So yeah, totally undertaking the role of the routine-less mama, we steered the car in the direction of the park and went and played for a bit. Was totally excellent fun, being a train driver, a wayward passenger chaser, a damsel-in-distress rescuer, and a couple other things I really didn't quite understand, but did achieve the proper amount of yelling, laughter and fun out of both kids.
So the spontaneity of my son really struck me. This level of trust that we can just throw caution to the wind and it'll all come out ok. And Alice just really accepted the whole thing as 'what we are doing today'. I felt totally trusted. And totally in love.
Today it occurred to me that my children, like everything else, are turning and stretching out in to this world in stages. They stretch, learn, explore. Look over their shoulder at me, and return to me, exhausted with the journey of learning.
It's my job to be a soft and consistent place to return to. Like a safe harbour for pirates that have explored great depths, found treasure, and then found themselves looking for a warm meal and a lie down.
Today I realised, to my amazement, that this exploration, this learning, comes in fits and starts, of each of them leaving me, either physically or mentally, to go off and learn these new things. These are sometimes things I know, but mostly stuff I forgot (like how to walk along a stone wall while singing Johnny has one hammer) and that's why they go off to do it. They return to me, knowing no matter where they've explored, who they may have met or what they found, I am in the same place, waiting with warm heart and ready arms to rest in.
I am thankful for the ability to do this for my children. The start to life that they've had has shown them where my arms and heart are, how to find me in confusing and tiring times. To have them aware of my all-encompassing love is so important to me, because I want them to know I'm never going to leave them alone.
I'm so glad they know that. I'm glad that when they fall down, they look up for me to help them stand again. I'm glad that in me picking them up, time and again, they never fail to try new things and have new adventures.
This all comes to me because today was the end of term get together for school. We went to the park, and the kids just all hung out, played, got filthy dirty and played some more. Alice is an adventurous girl, but a paralell player, unlike her brother, who could never just sit or explore on his own. She wanders off, speaks to people, 'borrows' snacks from our friends and wanders a happy little way. I've seen her entertain herself for an hour or more at a time, even here at home, with books, puzzles, and babies that seriously needed 'ni-nighs' many times over. And today, she was a happy wanderer around all the school parents, one of which has a puppy. The puppy was fine, until it saw another dog and accidentally knocked her over. To which she just got scared, and a little hurt. Immediately I saw her raise her head her eyes locked to mine, saying "I need you to come here, make me better", and I was over to her in a flash.
Now I'm not the kind of mama that removes a child from their fears. Don't get me wrong, I'm not throwing them on a rollercoaster when they're scared of heights or sudden drops, but I knew the dog had scared the bejeezuz out of her, and I didn't want this to ruin her usual unshake-ability of animals in the big wide world. So we sat, next to the owner, immediately. She was still teary, but the dog settled down and then eventually we got to speaking to the puppy again. I realised that it was me, I had taken her there, she had the confidence to explore and then became hurt. It could have ended badly, but she trusted me enough that when the time came, she found herself loving the puppy again and saying her words of conversation to it. It was a bit moment for me, to learn this about myself!
I love enthusiasm. It can be about anything, really. Seeing your eyes light up over a colouring book? Done. Watching the corners of your mouth curl up because you've discovered how to turn a light switch on? I'm all over it.
And tomorrow, my son is aaaalllll over the School Play. It is a Big - nay - MASSIVE Deal. He knows all the lines of the big kids that I will be listening to while he stands still looking like a chef. He's so excited, I think I've learned the lines of the play myself. And did I mention - there is a Powerpoint Presentation? Well, what is a powerpoint presentation, mate? I dunno mum, but there are pictures - of Us! Us schoolkids. It just sounds brilliant, no?
I never, in a million years, thought I would be looking forward to seeing a school play so much. It's all in the theme of people of the community, and in a class that spans ages 3 1/2 to 6, I'm pretty aware that the teacher has deliberately left the more common to stagefright kids like mine with really important jobs like holding the chef's utensils and smiling. Oh, and there will be singing, thankyouverymuch! If I don't crack up when Ethan sings that Australians all have ostriches for they are cute and free, it'll be a good start.
So I am thankful for enthusiasm, about little things and big.
I'm also thankful for milk. Rich, full cream milk that soothes baby girls' throats and gums on days when they're cracking massive big back molars and getting too tired to eat much of an evening meal. I'm thankful that after she has a big ol' bottle of milk, she manages to get her little soul off to sleep, knowing, somehow, that anytime during the night she can roll over, fart, find a dummy and put herself back to sleep. She is just so beautiful.
Today Alice was bored. She'd had enough of watching me do housework, letting me hang washing, unpack the dishwasher and I dunno, just other stuff. So she came to me with her gumboots. She said 'shox....shoxx mummee' and pointed to her toes. So I got the socks, and put on the gumboots. Then she took my finger, walked me to the front door and tapped on it.
So we went for a walk. All her pace, except for a trip across the road and back. So we got about 200metres from the house, every now and again she'd stop and lean against my leg as if to say "mummeee, we have walked soooo far....mine legs are tired". And then she laid down. On someone elses driveway. A little bit of wee nearly came out, I laughed to hard. So then we walked home. Well, I walked home, carrying her on my hip for most part.
And after school I just sat and let Alice go through Ethan's lunch box and snack while he played. He then came and actually asked me if we could go home. I didn't have to round him up, stop him going off to harrass the school chickens, pick up his shoes, nothing. He'd had enough, he wanted to come home. And we played games and laughed in the car on the way home, just to keep the poor lil exhausted boy from falling to sleep.
When we got home, I'd forgotten to unlock the telly (which he doesn't know about, by the way, so sshhh! He thinks the tv is broken - broken tv = no nagging, locked off tv= whinge at mum til she unlocks it) so he just grabbed his sister, gave her a shovel and then they went out the back for a dig. It was actually harder to stop them and make them come in for dinner at 5 o'clock than it normally is, their synchonicity was so lovely to watch. But the weariness crept in for both of them, the hunger reminded them of the time. So he came in, and got a chair each for them to stand on because tonight was fried rice night, which Ethan cooks for us (all prepared, pre warmed veg etc). Then we sat and all ate together. Well, I ate, they inhaled. Fantastic.
So today I am thankful for children leading the way, being loving on the inside and outside, and fried rice.
I am soooo thankful for modern cloth nappies, I really am. My little Alice is soooo having a poo festival lately, and she is, when I get the quick sneaky chance to look, cutting through her back teeth. So that explains the exodus of poo that I'm currently dealing with about four or five times a day. Luckily for her, she doesn't ever seem to get much pain from it, just wakes a couple of times more than usual during her slepe routine but even then, I have nothing - NOTHING - to complain about with her sleeping! I am such a lucky mama when it comes to her sleep habits. I don't know how much I've shared in the past about Ethan, but he was the worst sleeper in the world. IN THE WOOOOOOOORRRRLLLLDDD!!! Bt this blog isn't about the hard shit, it's about the easy shit.
And Miss Alice, she is one eeeaaasy baby to get to bed. From about 1 she actively has told me when she is tired, and when she wants to go to bed. When we spent the week at ngala, she was the one who, although she did have a quick protest, really did get it so super quick. One night, no protests, no screaming, nothing. Just hand me my bottle of water mum, a dummy in each hand and turn on my glow worm...now, get out and leave me be. So very happy for that.
Ethan is making me thankful today for his amazing ability to articulate his feelings. He is still four, he still chucks the most amazing tanties that anyone has possibly seen in their working day (sorry, librarians who like to keep it to a dull noise level), but boy oh boy does he know how to talk to me about his feelings afterwards. He actually told me yesterday, after a bit of a barney with one of his friends after which I took him home (he had been told the consequence, and chose the route he chose) that 'I feel awful mum, because I really did hurt him and I didn't listen properly and I didnt know what to do about it'. And my heart just opened up to his. I promised him that I would try harder to focus him to help him not hurt others, and to listen real good. He promised kinda the same thing. But my point is, that kid can talk. Really talk. Use shitfuck hard words in the right context and continue a conversation that we were having before school after I pick him up for the day. He has this amazing ability, and I don't know why.
And I love him for it. To the core of my bone marrow, his ability to be verbal is what I am most grateful for today.
Today I have a date with a babysitter. It's only early in our relationship, but she's so far been faithful to me, and I to her, and well, we're setting ourselves up for a very special bond. It was about four or five weeks ago I saw her ad on a local thread of facebook and part of me just went "Fuck Yes!!!" and I decided to grant myself four hours per week from having my children. She has come three weeks in a row now, on a sunday, and she just hangs out with them, giving them what they need, doing craft and both playing and supervising their play.
It's given me an opportunity to step back, and watch how they interact with others. I'm not in charge of them when the babysitter is here, and to be honest, she is a sitter, she's not a mother, and it shows. She just has this ability to play, unexhausted, and they love it. I came home today from a movie with a friend to find them racing cars along the linoleum, having a ripper of a time. They'd made cupcakes, drew, played outside and made an 'Antactica' out of blankets. They probably did more in those four hours than in the six leading up to it!
So today I want to say thanks for my childrens cuddles. I soooo get exhausted when we're having, as I've heard another blogger say, a shitf*ck of a day, and then now when I have been away from them for a few hours to relax and unwind on my own, when I return they give me unrestrained 'I missed you and am glad you are back' cuddles. They're fantastic.
God I love family movie night. Especially because it just feels like such a treat, a celebration of the week and a time to hang out with my little guy, just the two of us, when the little girl's gone to bed.
Hope where ever you are, you're having a nice weekend.
Just a quick one today (maybe? don't I usually promise this and then fail big time?!!!), as I've got a couch full of folding to do and although I promised I'd get to this early, I have only just got here.
Today Alice reminded me of one of the most coolest and awesome-est things that babies start to do. They start to speak! Oh, the joy of being able to look in to her little eyes and know what the fuck she is talking about is immeasurable!!!! Sorry, I know I'm meant to be all patient, kind and noble-peace-prize-winning as a mother, but cheese'n'rice I love the relief of when I'm dealing with other humans that I can actually understand in a verbal way. She is a lefty, my girl, and it was only when her first word was "Draw" that I started to realise how much I see that little freakazoid wobbling about in her cloth nappy bearing a pencil in her hand on the search for paper (or a wall, or a toy, or sometimes her hand) and her next artistic high. She will drag - literally drag - her brother to the kids table and get him paper, and point to the pencils and crayons for him to get for them both and then she will sit and just draw. It's sooo cool.
Which brings me to the bigger one. Who I was NOT watching after school while he played in the school playground (which by the way, is awesome to the power of rad as far as even I'm concerned) with his friends. We do this every day or two, just when the kids are picked up we let them hang out and play for half hour or so, get their steam blown off and enjoy some time with their friends. And today it had finally stopped raining enough to let them really go nuts, gumboots on, soggy socks underneath and totally cover themselves in wet sand because heck, its the end of the week and who doesn't like to get stupid on the fun of a friday afternoon?!
So there I was, chatting to another mum when I hear "nnnnnaaaaaaaawwww, your son is so sweet" from said other mum, who's looking over my shoulder. And I look. Well, there he is, helping his little sister up from a tumble, standing her feet firmly on the ground and then he just hugged her tight, whispering some kind of sweetness in to her face with a smile and gave her a gentle smooch on the cheek. I could have fallen over. This must happen so much when I'm not looking I thought! He took on this caregiver role awhile ago, maybe a month. And I always thought it was just a casual hobby, but it was so obvious that he's been fostering these expressions of love for her more regularly than that. She showed no hesitation, no fear of the unknown because it was clear he'd done this enough before that she knew what was going to happen. I was so proud. And I continue to feel proud now, even though it's hours later and they're both sleeping peacefully.
So that's my thankfulness for today. That my daughter is learning to be creative with her little hands, and that my son is learning what expressions he has in his heart, and that showing love for others is an obvious natural extension of who he is.