Wednesday, April 30, 2008

on the way to the end maybe?

And now there is this

How good is this path we seem to be on?
Like the majority of the people around me I have spent the last decade or so knowing I was speaking a different language to the wider Australian community. My elation at feeling like social justice is a primary motive (and not just those in same sex relationships but in many other areas as I have previously blogged about) for change and part of the spirit and language of our community is profound. Ofcourse I am still much further to the left than the federal government but still the language is heartening and the direction soothing to my soul.

loving winter

I grew up in Canberra which might explain for my rather home-loving and some would say dull interests but definitely explains my joy in the changing seasons. Sydney doesn't have seasons in the way Canberra does where golden and brown leaves, blossom, snow on the mountains and scorching heat are a feature of each of the seasons. In winter you can see your breath as you exhale and in summer the heat of the middle of the day is dry and depleting.

So, unlike lots of people (like the rest of my little family) I enjoyed the rain the for much of last two weeks, it has felt so Autumny. I would like it more if it happened while I was not working so I could snug up at home rather than running the gauntlet of school drop offs and meetings across campus, but still, I enjoy it and find it soothing. The other plus is we have now not used town water for our washing or loo since October last year - and the tank is still lovely and full.

It has provided me the opportunity to get back into baking a few things. I love to bake but, unlike Gaye I am a recipe follower, and have found the challenge of egg and wheat free baking something I have had to work myself up to and so avoided while the sun has shone. But this week I made very good chocolate chip cookies without eggs or wheat flour. I am thinking of giving ANZACS a go next week. Thomas loves a home made biscuit in his lunch and I eat much less sugar when I am baking (I know that is weird but true)

It has also given me the opportunity to read my first bookclub book. I have found it a bit of a struggle to find the time and (even though I chose the book) the inclination to get through this book, which is a sweeping historical story. I am looking forward to discussing it with the lovely bunch of women who have agreed to give a bookclub ago with me - with lots of enthusiasm too.

It was sunny on Saturday which gave me a chance to get back into the garden - such that it is - and give my vegies and herbs some TLC. Thomas loves to work in the garden and grow things we can eat. Today we picked lemons, chilli, mint and tied back the tomatoes which look like they are going to give us another burst. He especially likes to feed the plants the 'worm wee' from our worm farm. Plenty also gets spilt all over the place. I saw a tv show last night with a local celb chef who had a huge row of pots up on his fence in his small inner city locale. I think once the deck is done i will do the same as it would vastly increase our growing ability.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

boot camp ninjas

We have had some funny times of late.

Both the boys are getting bigger all the time of course, but you know how from time to time you suddenly realise they (and sometimes me!) have made big jumps ahead.

Thomas continues to adore his brother and is thoroughly enjoying Al’s mobility as his crawling has become very fast and he is regularly cruising the furniture and pushing a Stephanie Alexander Cookbook filled trolley. He was also very taken with our ‘new routine’ provided by the lovely baby bliss gal Jo who met with us yesterday to give us some new strategies to assist Al to learn to sleep.

Al is in baby boot camp now. No milk between 7 and 7, out of the wrap and into a big long sleeping bag and very limited interaction during the night. It has been a bit of a challenge for us both as I think we would most naturally just bring him into bed with us (as Thomas was) but Al doesn’t respond with sleep he responds with play and grunting and crawling around the place. For hours. At 2am.

It was a tough night last night – mostly for Gaye who did the long haul – but we can see light at the end of the tunnel and he doesn’t seem distressed (either at night or today) but things… we shall see.

He is verbalising much more now, lots more sounds and noises. I can’t wait for him to start using words…I think he is going to be a lot of fun.

The speaking and developing communication skills thing is really one of the things I love about watching the boys grow. Thomas is nine now, so of course is perfectly comfy in many situations and can appropriately and clearly engage in conversation – including rather delightfully bringing in new topics of conversation over dinner with friends and family or while driving in the car that he thinks people might be interested in “so blah de blah have you heard about the Japanese and how they kill whales?”. (often as a result of previous conversations with us about an issue). Still he does continue to delight with the phases and sayings all of his own. Some recent examples are:

"finger knoting" and "kniting sticks" - used while he finger knits and I knit and he discusses ALOT with me how finger knoting might be better because it is faster on the way down but not the way across and exactly how much finger knoting would be need to make a scarf or maybe a jumper for Lightning.
pends on He used to say 'perpends' some sort of perhaps and depend compbo. He now uses depends but will follow up with pend when looking at the options.
by my side by far one of our most amusing interactions recently was one where we needed the services of the large insurance company that uses the above song as it jingle. Thomas lay on the wall singing the song loudly and asking questions of Gaye about the service provided by the bloke who was trying to get our car started compared to the blokes from the ad on the television.
ninja Not his most polically correct moment but the other day he and I were in a cafe with his Dad having a coffee/milkshake before he headed off surfing for a couple of hours. A woman in full purda(sp?) came into the cafe and although our area is pretty diverse and there are plenty of women who cover their heads particuarly in my workplace Thomas was completely taken by her - hey Mum look at that woman. I started down my usual path of explanation when he interupted with 'yeah yeah I know, but she looks like a ninja to me' I admit the adults choked on our coffee with laughter

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

on the certificate

It has just been announced that the legislation is about to go through so that mothers can put their same sex partner on the birth certificate as a co-mother.

It is retrospective.

I will be able to be put on Al's birth certificate as his co-mother.

This also means that Gaye will be legally recognised as Thomas' step-mother in the same way that his other step-mother who is married to his father is.

So will all those 'other mothers' just like us.

Gaye has been teary all week in anticipation. She keeps saying how happy she feels about it. I refused to believe it or get engaged until I saw it released in the press. Now I am allowing myself a tear or two. Tears of happiness and legal acceptance.


Surf was up

Well, we finally had the learn-to-surf party on Sunday.

And although the surf conditions were pretty swirly, the rain held off, the kids had a terrific time and Thomas has had his birthday party!

Cake was eaten, kid were dumped and stood up and surfed, we caught up with some people from old school, new school was represented and lolly bags given out.


All parties and celebrations ended now until Gaye turns 41 in July.

We also had a lovely weekend with my brother and his family. Kids sleeping on mass in the lounge room, a fabulous breakfast at my sisters place and visits to the park rounded off the weekend nicely.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

looking after oneself

Thomas is having a completely fabulous time with my parents and his cousins. I have just rung this morning and been told to ring back later after he has been to the park. They are heading off to a major Canberra park with a great playground and planning a sausage sizzle lunch.Excitement plus.

My mum rang laughing last night to tell me that he had repeatedly told her how he 'had to look after himself' on this holiday. Apparently the conversation went like this yesterday afternoon.

'Hey Paule, I have to look after myself this holiday.'
"Yes darling I know, you are looking after yourself beautifully'
"Yes Mum isn't here so I have to look after myself"
"Yes darling'
"Hey Paule could you get me an apple juice with some ice in it please?"

I guess knowing to ask is in a way looking after himself ....

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

one of those moments

Today I have dropped Thomas off with my Dad who met us halfway to Canberra which is where Thomas is going to spend the rest of this first week of his school holidays.

He is thrilled, excited and joy-filled at the very thought of the next days and nights with Grandparents and cousins and without parents. This is the first time we have done
this and I feel really comfy because he is just so comfy with the idea. In fact it was his idea.

As we were driving along I repeated what I had said earlier in the week - if you get worried or concerned just ring I am happy to come down and stay with you if you need me to. He answered as he has each time 'Mum, that is so not going to happen'

So big, so independent, so grown up.

Mind you - he also came and hopped into bed this morning joining Al who had come in around 4:00am for a snuggle and in my half sleep half awake state my mind was wandering around. I just felt so happy lying there with Thomas snuggled in, his feet twisted around my ankles the way they have twisted amongst my limbs most mornings for the last 9 plus years and Al cuddled up on the other side of me his lips pursed clearly dreaming of milk and Gaye fast asleep on his other side. And the thought came to me that this was one of those moments that stay with you that might come back when I am old and lying in bed somewhere. A feeling ofcontentment and peace.

Monday, April 14, 2008

year gone by

Al is one year and one day today - and we had a completely lovely time having morning tea with many of the important people in his/our lives yesterday morning. It was a comfy and low key morning with just a small number of kids and close and dear friends.

We managed to negoiate an egg, wheat, nut, preservative and colour free birthday party which included cake!

At one the boy can:

clap (literally as of yesterday)
indicate yes (eye and face upwards) and no (chin to chest no eye contact)
cruise the furniture but not yet push a trolley
play peek a boo and knows to crawl as fast as he can when he is chased

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Showing off

Last night we went to the new school's Art Show. Old school had an art
show too and I remember really enjoying it the first year. There was
music and the kids had done some Art it was kinder it was hard to tell
the quality or effort that had been put into the work.

Last yearwe went to the Art Show - which is held late in the year. And the music
from Mr C (who is the principal and has to be related to the other Mr
in Summ*r He*ights High for the Australian's in the audience) band was
so loud the baby sobbed the whole time and most of the adults ended up
on the street outside the hall so we could speak to each other.

Asthose of you who have actually read this blog know I became increasingly dissatisfied with the old school and its focus on the young too cool teachers over my period there. They were hard tofault as they worked hard and were enthusiastic but unfortunately it just didn't make up for experience and skills. Not to mention the focus always being on the teachers (and from time to time their partners) rather than the kids.

Last night at new school I realised that my dissatisfaction was warranted.

We had a gorgeous display of kids art which the kids had worked on for a number of weeks (Thomas outlined the design and production phases in detail last night), the concert band played two pieces which they had clearly practiced the choir sang two songs. It was well executed and well done. The focus was on the kids achievement (with an appropriate level of thanks to the music teacher). It was fabulous. It was timely.
It was fun.

yay for new school.

The best thing is how happy Thomas is there. I am not sure if it is a maturity thing or if being in such a large school has removed the pressure from him (he who stood out from the crowd at old school is just one of the crowd at new school). I am not sure if it is having lots of subject choice, new friends or an experienced and skilled teacher who encourges and contains. But he is really happy, and our thrice weekly coversation about how he really thinks he would like a day of school has become so irregular I couldn't even tell you how often it ocurs. Papa has really noticed the changes too.

Yay for new school.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Papa to the rescue

We have a bit of a mad week ahead of us. It is Al's birthday at the end of the week and so we have 20 or so people coming to have (a wheat free, egg free, nut free) morning tea with us. This includes Gaye's parents who arrive on Friday to stay for the weekend.

Thomas' Dad is working this week - long hours. And so we are responsible for getting him to and from school each day and ensuring he has lunch in his bag and fitting in an orthodontist appointment, band practice on wed morning, clarinet tutor this afternoon, section tutoring after school on Tuesday, soccer training on Tuesday night (which means dinner at 5 before we go) and to throw in a bit more excitement the school Art Show which he has been preparing for all term, oh and homework. Plus I have a job interview (in the middle of the day on Wednesday)which is going to require a reasonable level of preparation because I would actually like to do okay, Al has his one year check up at the paediatrician and we are in middle of a very gentle teach to sleep process which involves us being up and down a bit during the night, Gaye has an essay due at the end of the week (and one next week) oh and Lightning is booked in for a groom and needs a couple of walks everyday.

Could someone please explain to me when we are meant to fit in my 'full time' and Gaye's 'part time' employment.(the '' are because although in theory I work full time and Gaye works part time we probably both work about the same amount as my job is a bit easy and she loves hers and so works too much!). Luckily the day light saving has meant we are all up at the crack of dawn to fit in the ironing, washing and whoever was up with Al having a bit of a sleep.

Thank goodness Dad has put his hand to hang around with us for an extra few days as he was coming up to see his brother who is passing through town on his way back from O/S. We have signed him up to cover all sorts of 'cross-over' baby and big boy care, he is also planning on oiling our deck. We love Dad coming to stay, he fits in and demands nothing from us and just generally helps out.

He doesn't much look like a superhero - but I am pretty tempted to get him a cape.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Bits of boys news

Thomas has made it on to the school soccer team. This is very very exciting even more so as we had done a considerable amount of trying to bring down his expectations as we were told that Grade 3's don't usually make it into the team and he should think of it as something to aim for in Grade 5 or 6.

I am pleased for him - because he is completely thrilled - but also wonder if it is right to be letting him focus totally on soccer (he will now have one practice and game in school and one practice and game out of school each week as he is on an
outside school team as well). This was one of the selling points to him of the school so I have just decided to go with it this year - as long as it stays fun.

He is settling really well into school, enjoying band and mandarin (reasons why I liked the school) and making new friends. His (twice delayed thanks to broken arms) birthday party is the week after next and he can't wait.

Al is recovering nicely from the chicken pops and we are back to teaching him that sleeping all the way through the night is a good thing. It was Gaye's turn last night which she actually seems to have used the hour between 12:30 - 1:30am effectively bysimultaneously studying (I did piano practice the night before) which is pretty impressive. he is crawling very well now and makes a bee line for the hallway and the door outside whenever either is open/close by. I am trying to teach him to blow
kisses which so far only results in his hysterical laughter ... His actual birthday and birthday party is next Sunday and although he doesn't care much the rest of us are enjoying planning it for him.


It is completely delicious in Sydney right now - cool breezes, sunny days and gorgeous evenings. We have been doing all the things you do in this lovely weather with walks around the park in the evening and enjoying the last moments of the extended daylight saving by gardening after work.

We have planted carrots and a new batch of lettuce and in a bit of whimsy for my childhood - rubarb. I have this idea of cooking "rubarb full" a special past down from my grandmother but to be honest I may have to buy the rubarb as (a) we only planted one plant and (b) Sydney really isn't ideal for such an item. Still ....

We also planted some native violet and a star jasmine as we are never allowed to leave the nursery without some sort of 'beautiful flower' that Thomas has his eye on. Often I give in an buy some garish number of his choosing this time I liked his choices. My mother has an incredible garden and Thomas would really like us to have a quarter block to garden and play on. In theory I would too - but I only just keep up with the care required for our very small patch of grass and pots (not to mention the mortgage payments for the land we have) so I am not sure if in reality I would enjoy it as much as he would.

We are finally starting to get our lives in order and have a clear list of 'things to do' on the house that will make it feel more comfy and completed. These are - in order - finish the deck, by a new tv cabinet, pull up the concrete and pave/grass areas, put in built in cupboards and complete the painting.

Ofcourse there are a complicated list of things attached to each of these (council, look at possible extension plans etc etc) but still at least there is a list. It all feels a bit springy rather than autumny but there we are ....