Tuesday, October 31, 2006

This will be a happy Halloween

There are big debates here on local radio about why Australian's would want to adopt the celebrations attached to Halloween. This is largely because there are many Australian's (myself included) who feel concern at the level of commercialisation.

But not about Halloween. Why? Well because as an event far predates any modern commercialisation of it, people have been celebrating days of the dead and the like for many centuries AND because the kids love it.

What is not to love? You get dressed up, you play with your friends, you get some lollies and you are out at night past bedtime. The last two years we have had Halloween Parties at home. The first party was a modest attempt. It was before Thomas started school and we had the neighbourhood kids and some friends around (about 8 in total) we had a BBQ, we got dressed up, we decorated treat bags and I delivered lollies and chocolates to my neighbours the night before to give to the kids (it is not standard practice here) and we tricked and treated in our street.

Last year Thomas had started school, but as his birthday is in February he had not had a party with school friends, so he was keen to have lots of his friends. We have a very very small house (not for long!) and so we drew the line at 12 kids. Except the night before I heard that 3 kids at school were just devastated and crying because the weren't invited, so after a quick consult with Gaye we rang around and invited those who hadn't been invited.

We ended up with 19 kids. Two of which had not very good manners (but this is not surprising as their parents just dropped them at the gate without coming in to say hello, even thou they had not met us before! We later found out that word had got around that it was a ‘lesso’ family and so no one was a bit worried about their kids – we live in that sort of area!).

It was a fun party, but much much to large for our house. Gaye cooked home made pizza at Thomas’ request. We had lots of games and we decorated our treat bags. I went around to our neighbours again the night before with bags of sweets to give out and asked if it was okay, we sent the kids around in groups of four with a known adult. The gorgeous thing last year was that our street (which is a combination of established Portuguese families, young families, a few lesbian couples and a couple of share houses) really got into it – so that when the kids went to trick and treat people were dressed up as witches and wizards. In the share house the whole household came to the door each time a group of kids came to the house. But Gaye and I were exhausted and horse by the time they all went home that night. Some of the kids behaviour was outrageous and 19 kids was just too many. But two years in a row means a tradition in the life of a seven year old.

This year in some fit of brilliance I suggested to the school p&c that we do it as a fundraiser. So tonight we have 123 children coming to the school hall for a Halloween disco. The local IGA has donated lollies, the local pub has donated sausages, the local veggie shop has donated vegies and sauce and bread, the after-school care coordinator is a theatre/drama person in his other life and has organised a smoke machine and a disco light and is organising games. The kids have made decorations for the school hall during art.

We have raised $700 for the school. See I get to feel really good while actually getting out of something!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Trying not to get ahead of myself

in more ways than one.

We have found a house and had an offer accepted, verbally. Contracts will hopefully be exchanged today. I have spent all weekend thinking about the house and hoping it will work out as it is a big change from our original plan of buying a renovated place in easy walking distance from Paddy's dad. It is completely unnrenovated and about 20 mins walk (5 mins drive) away! We will rennovate before we move in - with an aim to moving in in March before the baby comes. I have swung madly (as is my way) from thinking it is all completely possible to trying to convince myself not to get my hopes up.

I have found a lump in my breast last week - which I have tried to convince myself is nothing but it isn't going away. I have a doctors appointment tomorrow and I have swung madly from thinking it is nothing to thinking I am going to lose my breast and/or leave my child motherless.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The circus has come to town

Last Friday night we took Thomas to Cirq*e du Sol*il. I know it is hideously expensive but we justified it by buying the tickets through a large international charity. And so in fact, felt as if we had done a good deed! Excellent, since I have always wanted to go and see Cirq*e du Sol*il. It was of course simply amazing, the things those people do with their bodies is beyond anything I would even think of doing, let alone actually do it, and offcourse in this case they manage to do it with enormous grace too.

Gaye and I really enjoyed it. But what we also really enjoyed was taking Thomas.

It started at 8:00pm (so past bedtime), it was dark, the tent was amazing (on side issue the incredible ease of being there was a credit to fabulous organization) and Thomas could pick his own treat. He chose prin*les which spent much of the performance in his hand, frozen somewhere between his mouth and the packet while he watched with huge eyes some amazing stunt or another. Either that or he was wildly pointing something out – ‘look Muma, look at that”

Through some sort of amazing organization of my own, he started circus classes himself the next morning (soccer season is over and I thought something that was about fun and just getting better yourself would be good and he was really keen on circus – there was a whole thing about whether to do indoor soccer or not first), which are run locally by a fabulous company, which keeps it fun and safe. The next morning found him on the trapeze hanging upside down, mastering the long attempted art of hoola-hooping and attempting to juggle.

And as it turns out in the end of year performance for school the theme is circus. It is completely lovely to have our boy talking and doing circus things, it is wonderful and reassuring that in a world of computer games that something pretty simple but amazing like a circus can still capture and hold the imagination of a seven and three-quarter year old.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Have you told Clare?

Gaye has a 16 year old nephew, Lee. Lee is lovely, kind of young for his age and in someways very protected. He has been the centre of her family - the only grandchild - and a much loved and spoiled nephew.

Lee has grown up all his life 'knowing' about his aunt. She has always been in same-sex relationships since well before his birth. He chose to call her previous partner who was with Gaye from when he was young 'Aunty.' Gaye's whole family is very open about Gaye's partners (my introduction to the extended family was at Gaye's mother's 60th birthday when I was dragged out the front to be in all the family photos and mentioned in the speeches). There is no hiding or the like going on here.

Gaye has been a bit nervous about telling Lee about Olive (the baby), he is about to finish Yr 12 and she didn't want to do anything that might upset him. She was worried he might feel a bit put out of his place.

She told him tonight. She was interrupted half way through the conversation (by me and the still not-yet told Thomas) and so had to ring him back about an hour later. His first question when he got back on the phone?

"It is great Aunty G, but have you told Clare yet??"

We have chuckled all night about it ... it seems like maybe we still have quite a bit of explaining to do...

Tying shoe laces

Thomas has learnt to tie his shoes in the last two days.

He needed new sneakers (he grows out of shoes every minute it feels like) and he wanted 'skateboard ones' and they have shoelaces. And so shoelaces it was. We started lessons yesterday on his shoe, tied laces to the top of a box last night and he practiced a few times and this afternoon he did it. ALL BY HIMSELF.

I love when he learns things - he is so proud of himself tonight - but I also feel a bit sad as he grows-up - soon he won't be a little boy at all.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The thing about holidays

Is that far too quickly they end.

Thomas and I are at home today for the last pupil free day (he loves the name of them ‘what are they mum again?) of grade one. How did that happen so fast? We have had a lovely slow nothing sort of day – with only a trip to establish a bank account for Thomas (who is thrilled at the thought of interest and was most disappointed to see that there wasn’t any right away!).

Gaye went back to work today.

That sounds simple but in fact turned into a half an hour mini-crisis (with laughter only attached) as she tried to fit into clothes that really, basically, well no longer fit. It aint the belly so much as the boobs which are about 4 sizes larger than they were 14 weeks ago, but her belly did pop out a little, just yesterday, I think.

We had a fabulous holiday, Thomas started and ended each day talking, he rolled over in bed (which was a bunk slung above ours in the van) and started talked each morning, he sat up front with us in the van talking as we drove and he ate dinner, lunch and breakfast talking. He really really can talk. And most statements are followed by 'isn't that right Mum/Gaye?" which means if you aren't paying complete attention you can find yourself agreeing to any type of maddness. The only time he didn’t talk was when he slept.

He made friends in every port and caravan park, in that way children do and developed those sores on his knees and feet that can only reflect a long hot summer holiday where shorts and no shoes are worn. He also insisted on wearing no undies under whatever he had on – on the grounds it was holidays!

We saw amazing things, incredibly beautiful and spectacular, we hung out, ate porridge on the beach at sunrise (he was still on Sydney time – a point of much discussion – and what time would it be in Sydney now Mum? Do you want Sydney or WA time?), swam on a deserted beach in our undies, he got called out of the crowd to feed a dolphin (twice), we played ludo, snakes and ladders, snap, go fish and checkers, saw wild flowers, rock formations and cliffs and we were in bed each night by 8:00 each night (that is WA time). We spent the last night in complete luxury after our two weeks of camping out. It really was a lovely holiday.

Back to work tomorrow – I have already started planning my next holiday in January with my brother camping at the coast with his kids and mine.