I bought myself some clothes and accessories on line these last couple of weeks. Just some swingy-hide-the-gunt long tops, some leggings, which I fully intend to wear as pants, a pair of ankle boots and a couple of rings and necklaces. Such events are very rare indeed and these new purchases will likely go the way of old, worn steadfastly day in and day out as a uniform until desperation requires another round of purchases. I do not buy clothes or accessories “just because”, ever.
The rings were cheap and cheerful, even the delicious black resin disc from Elk. They feel heavy on my fingers, making we want to swing my hands around when I talk even more than usual. In a few short days I’ve developed a new ritual of putting them on, flicking my fingers here and there, then trying to type with them on, only to fail, removing them, then starting the process all over again. See also: not sane.
The weather has turned here with the days abruptly shorter and a biting wind. I’ve wondered why my allergies have been off the charts until it dawned on me that the scarves and jacket I’ve pulled from the cupboard are merely dust strung together with a few threads. Still, I’m typing this wearing one of my new tops, my chunky yellow ring (on and off it goes) and the most outrageously warm possum wool scarf gifted to me by M. Gas prices are set to increase by up to 25% this winter so there shall be a lot of scarf wearing and doona shawls.
We had two rounds of rugby this weekend, Grover insisted on wearing his mouthguard even though he lost his two front teeth the night before and the morning of his game. It feels like the end of early childhood here with those baby teeth gone. We’re well and truly in the subsector of society called “getting the kids through school” now. He still wants me to lie with him when he’s going to sleep and while many a night it shits me to tears I force myself to remember this time will soon be over.
Last week featured a gathering of some of us from the blogging old days. There was so much laughter but also confiding and confessions. Since we got together we’ve shared some photos from years ago which have simultaneously made us wistful and horrified at the swiftness with which time passes. Those ladies know me inside and out. Their love and concern for me through periods of hardship and heartache has meant so so much to me and our stupidly infrequent get togethers fuels my soul.
Last night I admitted defeat and made dinner using a store-bought jar of a curry sauce. Every single child ate it. All of them. Ate all parts of it. The cursor is blinking at me as I try to find something to say about that.
We’ve become a rugby union family and that’s that. We have tried all the codes and arrived at union and nothing could make me happier. The season is just getting underway and so far all games have involved rain and biting wind. Perfect rugby weather.
Grover is as obsessed with rugby this season as he was with cricket in summer. His coach told me on the weekend he’s the best player on the team because he concentrates. Ahhh, so many other codes, so many of my other children sitting on the field picking blades of grass. I don’t care its the U7s, I’m taking that pass for parental gloating and running with it. He won man of the match last week so his coaches comment allayed my fears he may have peaked too early.
Felix is U14s this year and there’s just a bit more pressure and expectation on them all. They were season premiers last year so there is a reputation to uphold. He trains 4 times a week, twice at school, once with reps, once with club and loves all of it. To me he’s evidence of a teenage feeling – and being – connected in a way that makes them feel good about themselves and a part of something. Off he goes, size 12 boots and all.
So why have I fallen so hard for this sport? I think the first sign I had was Felix’s very first game. He came off after a couple of minutes and the age manager got down to Felix’s height and gave him the biggest rap. A pep talk with praise and advice. I was sold. Then there was the fact Felix was good at it, that helped I guess.
Did I tell you about the time we went to Maroubra to visit M and went for a swim? Oscar disappeared on me which was alarming until there he was, standing with one of the lifeguards directing people in the ocean to move back towards the flags. Grover turned to me and said, “Oscar makes friends wherever he goes”. Never a truer word was spoken.
All of Felix’s team mates have always accepted Oscar, none of them “briefed”, just a simple case of “that’s Oscar, Felix’s brother”. At rugby he stands with Felix’s coach no matter what. Rain, sunshine, good match or bad Oscar is there and C doesn’t mind one bit. So this season he approached me and said he had a spare jersey and would it be OK to give it to Oscar. WOULD IT.
I’m working on a new project that has my stress levels in the category of stratospheric but the phrase “just think of the money” is keeping me going. When I first landed the gig, which I got after cold calling a guy I went to uni with, I totally freaked the fuck out. Of course my FTFO is so stellar I jump straight from “why, I’m feeling a tad stressed about this new project, which is a completely normal emotion” in about 1 millionth of a second to “I’m just going to kill myself because everyone would be better off that way”. Incredibly I’m five weeks into the 12 week project and am a) still alive and b)not as suicidal. Good times. Also, just think of the money.
We’ve just wrapped up the first term of our school year. First term is hard. For starters it features the hottest and most humid of months along with the brutal re-entry from 6 weeks of holidays. There’s new teachers to adjust to, new routines and the whole begrudging trudge back into the land of school lunches, 5,000 notes and late night washing for a clean uniform the following day.
Oscar’s still on his long term (3 month) antibiotic regime to ward off the not-but-maybe-osteomylitis-always-cellulitis but has tonight come down with a wicked temperature and head-ache. In a normal child this is called a virus. In Oscar it’s called CODE RED HIGH ALERT. I will look anxiously at his left ankle, the offender, in the morning as tonight it was not hot, red, or swollen. While I am wishing this to be some bog standard ailment or flu, my friend J just had a flu so violent it was named the black death vomit. I’m not wishing for that either.
Felix had his first Duke of Edinburgh camp last weekend. It rained on them for about 12 hours the first day and at that stage they all hated it with a passion. The next day gave them a weather reprieve and firmly planted the adventure back into the category of awesome. I am so so stoked Felix is doing DofE and thrilled he got as much from it as he did. This was a test hike with a staff member hiking with them. The real deal later in the year will be groups of them going out on their own. I think as a parent I’m meant to feel apprehensive about that but curiously, no. Just lots of excitement for him.
Jasper. Well Jasper spent the entire duration of Grover’s rugby game in the car colouring in. The kid has smarts, it rained on us three times. He’s learning guitar and a teacher change mid-term saw his attitude towards it change markedly. He doesn’t want to play rugby or any other sport (he did an 8-week cricket thing with Grover but I think that was more on the fact they got a shirt, hat and bat than any great love of the game) but was gutted last week when his best-rusted-on-friend-for-life was picked for a school team and he wasn’t.
Grover’s obsession has moved on from cricket to rugby with the change of season. He won man of the match in their first game last week and my concerns he might have peaked early abated with his performance on the field this morning. He’s such a cracker of a kid. I refused to lie down with him at bedtime a few nights back because, well I just didn’t want to, and he wailed and carried on like I’d amputated the wrong leg. By the time I went back up there he was a hot steaming mess of tears and snot. He clung to me and said, “I just needed a friend to help me go to sleep.” “Am I your friend?” “Yes”. Kid has me wrapped around his little finger.
The G man was 6 last month. We still haven’t had a party. He is, after all, #4.
Some of you have been around these parts since before his arrival.
I could write all manner of things about him but at the moment I just want to remember this. Since he was born hated sleeping alone. Still does. But to fall sleep in my bed – or me in his – he had to have his feet resting on my thighs. As a baby this meant me curled up tight so his toes could reach and now, they have the slightest of bends.
I want to remember that.
My little man who tells me he’s lonely in his head or that his legs are bored when we’ve been walking for a long time or how earnest he is in all his endeavours and that his kindergarten teacher says he is a model classroom citizen – I just want to never forget how he loved having his feet rest on my thighs to go off to sleep.
So after my confession earlier in the week you can imagine the fear and trepidation I was feeling with Grover’s 5th birthday party looming. He did, afterall, want a cake shaped like the Tardis.
But then I remembered he is Child No.4. I’ve done many birthday parties and learnt the hard way that stress and effort do not a fabulous birthday party make. Oh I’ve done the up until 3am decorating the house and creating a cake masterpiecewreck and MAKING all the party food.
What an idiot.
This is what kids want from a party: their friends, presents, junk food and cake. THE END.
The rest is just there to impress other parents and I gave up on trying to do that loooong ago.
So the menu for our birthday parties is now suitably low brow and the extent of decorating is raking the backyard (diminishing chook poo hazards) hiding the lego and putting an oil burner on in the bathroom. You can thank me later.
So the menu:
Traffic light jellies
Party pies and sausage rolls (can you believe I used to make these! FROM SCRATCH! Idiot.)
We did a cheese plate for the grown ups and had Prosecco AND champagne. I know. No expense spared.
But I know all you want to see is the cake.
It was a lovely afternoon. A wonderful group of mums hanging out while kids just tore around with various weapons from our arsenal. There was an egg and spoon race which along with the cutting of the cake were the only organised activities.