28 August 2008


Going to playgroup is becoming a highlight of our day off. I know half the families there from my mother's group, but am getting to know some others too, which is nice. What's probably coolest is that E-chan is allowing other mums to help him if he needs it, and some of the little boys (mostly boys at our playgroup for some reason) ask me to help them get their gumboots back on, or read a book to them while their mum is busy in the kitchen. It's nice to be needed or even recognised by other people's kids. Your own kids need you and love you, and that's just part of the package (but no less lovely), but when another young child singles you out for help or company, or calls you by your name, it's a nice thing! I suppose I am making new friends, just a lot younger than most of the friends I've made up until now.

Our numbers at playgroup were dwindling earlier in the winter, and we had to do some promotion recently - there are 2 other playgroups in the area on the same day, but we want to keep ours going because we like it best. It's volunteer run (ie by parents and carers), with mostly unstructured play with fruit and sandwiches, and the occasional party or event or excursion. One little boy comes dressed in a spiderman suit most weeks! Anyhow, I set up a website linked to a generic email address, and we put ads in the local papers. Now we are getting more new people come by and try it out.

Trying out a playgroup is hard to do - I remember. You are coming to meet people and hopefully become friends, and so that your little one might also learn a thing or two about making friends, co-operating, sharing, taking turns, and imaginative play. It can take 6 or 7 visits until you find you click with other people, given most of the time you are trying to make sure your child isn't pouring sand in someone's hair or falling off their trike. And while we go every week, I'm not entirely sure E-chan always loves it, but he is beginning to learn some social skills and engage in co-operative play that is appropriate for his age. At the moment he doesn't really get the idea of group activities though, and he hangs back and does what he wants to instead. That reminds me of someone else I know...

I like to be all-inclusive most of the time, and get, well... embarrassed I suppose, when people I know have exclusive conversations that no one else can follow, leaving most of the rest of us not knowing whether to try and enter into the conversation, or just go find something else to do. I would hate it if someone came along and never came back because we didn't talk to them enough. There are a few ladies who are like that (they've become really good friends and talk mostly to each other and I don't think they think about how they come across to new people...). I know, we are all guilty of this from time to time, especially around old friends, but a non-private playgroup is not the time or place. I try to compensate by doing some introducing, showing around and asking casual questions when a new family pops by. Today we had 4 new families, including 2 Dads, come along with their kids! Nice to meet men who have just as much trouble finishing their sentences as I do, due to the antics of their little sub-2-year-old in their care!

Ahh that's better

Towards contentedness
The unsettledness I felt a few weeks ago has dissipated somewhat. A few days off, frolicking in the sunshine has been good for me. I suppose going from one job to another without a break caught up with me. And me plus no holidays for over half a year can mean one grumpy chicken. Anyway, working is busy but going well, life is going well, and I'm making more time for some things I like to do when I can.

I cuddled a newborn on the weekend, who is just beginning to lose that almost generic newborn look, and start to look like his mother, father, and big sister, and of course his own person. It felt like such a privilege, especially as it’s my 3rd cuddle now. “Remember me?”. His 5-weeks-from-the-womb eyes are beginning to fix on things, including my face, when I pull faces, smile and talk to him. What tiny, tiny little feet, with a fragile, delicate little body! My friend (the mother) is gradually working out how to manage both of them, with their different eating, sleeping, playing and toilet habits, but she, the perfectionist, is disheartened at her lack of progress... I've always wanted 2 children, and I think I could still manage that, but I do understand now why some families stop at one.

Our little boy loves to sing. Sometimes what he sings is recognisable, but much of the time, it’s a bubbly, babbly little voice, that accompanies our pram journeys or his solitary play with toys. I think it’s just lovely! I wish I had a recorder handy to record the sound. I’m aware that parents can be biased about such things… fast forward a few years to the school play or choir, parents beaming with pride in the audience, discussing amongst themselves “ooh! I think he’s talented – more so than the other kids, don’t you reckon?”, and signing him up for music classes or whatever. So I’ll stop short of saying I think he’s talented, but say instead that he seems to love singing, and being sung to, so I’m going to encourage it whenever I can.

21 August 2008


After having a pot plant for over 2 years now in a plastic pot, I just re-potted into a nice ceramic pot. White glaze with nice blue botanic design on the side. And I am wondering "why the hell didn't I do this sooner?". The difference between looking at a plant in a black plastic pot and one in a ceramic pot is like the difference between looking at a milk crate and a nice arm chair!

Anyhow, needless to say, I am pleased with the result!

16 August 2008

finding his own style...

Ethan is demanding that he wear t-shirts with planes, trains, cars and things that go. Day, and night. Even if that means putting them under his PJ's. Gets tricky when they're all in the wash. I have been able to convince him to wear his t-shirt with bugs and spiders on it instead, but it's not easy.

I was telling my Dad about this last weekend while he stayed with us, and he told me that my own (older) brother went for a year or so when he wouldn't leave the house without his cowboy gear! Yeee har! didn't know that! A rare tid bit I can store and save for a moment when he deserves to be teased!!

07 August 2008

new dwellings

Over a month has gone by in our new house and it feels properly like home now. I’m remembering where I put things, where Ethan is likely to put things, working out what we can live with and what perhaps could be fixed, and learning the lie of the neighbourhood. I’m getting much more exercise by walking to work most days (to the point where I might ditch the gym membership when it expires). But I’m also driving more – this is because there is no bus that will take me within a 15 minute walk to Ethan’s child care centre, which means it doesn’t really help to catch a bus in rainy weather. But again the drive is only a few Km.

The effect on Ethan was quite profound, as forewarned by our mother-of-two friend and veteran of 3 interstate moves. He still wants to go towards our old house sometimes on the way home. It took a few weeks for him to be OK with his new room, and he pulled all our strings to get us to come to him at night time, and even developed a new habit of wanting to come into our bed. We can’t get him to sleep in his bedroom during the day, and have to resort to pushing him to sleep in the pram (which we can’t really do in Summer, so we’ll have to work towards something else…). The whole move was a stressful nightmare. So many decisions to be made in rapid time, all the while life carries on, bills come in, we go to work, we plan and cook dinners, and try to find moments where we can enjoy ourselves. And for a while, everything seemed difficult and there was no relief in sight! AM NOT IN A HURRY TO MOVE AGAIN ANY TIME SOON!

Lately I’ve been, well, on the slightly more depressed end of my normal range (I know – I can feel your eyes wandering off into the distance, or focussing on the more interesting brightly coloured thing to the right of your screen…). To put things in perspective, I’m not often prone to getting very depressed and have never sought medical help for it (perhaps my life has been fortunate enough that nothing has ever sent me that low?). But there are patches – like most of us have, I assume – where there doesn’t seem to be much to look forward to, where certain aspects of your life seems irretrievably stuck and off track (e.g. “career”), where you feel unconnected, where you’re not sure what your strengths are anymore, where you are a stress ball and keep reacting to things you don’t usually react to, and you dwell on things, and assume the worst. And let’s not even cover what an impatient, un-fun mother I’ve been during this time (Ethan still loves me, bless him, but lately I haven’t felt like I’ve deserved it).

And I’ve decided I don’t like myself much when I’m stressed (does anyone actually like themselves when they are stressed?), and I haven’t yet learned how to manage that, or even think about how I might be able to change. I sometimes wonder if it is possible to change certain fundamental parts of your personality - I don’t think it’s easy to when you have little time and energy to devote to it.

So now we’re trying to take a breather – well as much as regular life allows. And life is looking up now - back on the up-cycle again. We even had friends over for dinner on Saturday night! Made ripper chocolate puds and caramelised onion (not eaten together, mind). And Ms J babysat for a few hours last night while I had to go somewhere! And my Dad is visiting this weekend. And another friend came back from overseas. And 2 friends have newborns! And another is recently pregnant!! And another is about to have twins! Ooh! AND I may have another niece or nephew early next year too - babies babies!