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Archive for the ‘kindergarten’ Category

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Next year Cormac starts school and I will finally return to working full-time, something I haven’t done since becoming a mother. I have mixed feelings about working full-time. My career has undoubtedly been stalled by part-time work but the work life balance has been perfect. (I often refer to part-time work in my articles as the secret to happiness). Working part-time also allowed me the head-space to start a second career in writing. I hope I have established the patterns enough with writing to next year somehow combine one and a bit jobs with single parenting. I will enjoy the financial security of working full-time and the new opportunities, but I will deeply mourn that extra time with my children.

Speaking of which, I am feeling a little guilty about the days at home with Cormac. They have been such blank days. My inspiration has run somewhat dry over the last two years. Cormac and I do a lot more ‘nothing’ in the garden and a lot more ‘you watch television while I write the grocery list’ and a lot more ‘you play next to me while I write’ than I did with his big sister when she was at home with me. With his sister there seemed to be endless trips to museums and art galleries, and classes in swimming and music, and picnics in the park with friends. Partly, these excursions have lost their novelty for me so I haven’t been as motivated about them with Cormac, and partly, it felt like the time at home was forever and I thought I would get to them sooner or later, and partly, I just haven’t had the energy for these things during the last year and a half.

One must be gentle to oneself when one has been through the break-up of one’s longest relationship. And one must gently punish oneself with mother guilt, it seems, because that is the way.

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Back by popular demand (yes, really).. here is some more of the children’s art.

Cormac (the 3 year old) is in what Montessori refers to as a ‘sensitive period’ right now, and it is for cutting shit up with scissors. Everywhere we are finding vandalism and little scraps of things.

This one is quite nice because it ended up looking like origami. It was a school notice I had not yet read.

Cormac must be doing a lot of ‘parallel line’ work at Montessori, too (ie. an exercise to teach kids how to be able to write) because I found him practicing them on paper towels at home.

Lauca (the 7 year old) really likes to practice drawing techniques like those you see illustrating children’s books at the moment. She’s quite interested in cartooning, so it’s all quite stylised at the moment and with storylines.

This is our family, I know, we’re so nuclear.

Here is her illustration of a house of chaos. I like how the hen and chicks have come inside the home and that I am having a sleep-in. A lot happens when I sleep-in.

Views of our kitchen garden.

Our beehive.

My sister has moved back here with her partner to have their first baby. I’m very excited.

And they’re renovating their house. Poor things.

Last weekend we went with some friends to wander about in the vegetable gardens of strangers. We found it quite amusing but the kids were bored silly. Oh kids, I can recall about a billion weekends just like this growing up, where we tramped about looking at boring stuff our parents apparently found interesting. Tradition.

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I’ve been going on blind playdates with some very sweet mothers and their sweet little boys because Cormac, my three year old, has been wanting to foster some deeper friendships outside kindergarten. (I’ve somewhat neglected the whole ‘friends for Cormac’ thing because I poured all my overachiever-style mothering into our first child and poor Cormac has been forced to just tag along on her playdates since he was born).

On Cormac’s most recent playdate I was chatting to this new potential mother friend when she happened to mention that her son was coming home with bad language from kindergarten and then she said how shocked she was that this was going down at our kids’ fancy-pants kindergarten. I kind of twitched nervously because we swear quite a bit in our home and Cormac might have even been known to repeat the phrase, “fucking hell” before.

“What kind of language?” I asked. The mother said her son had learnt “the B word.” And then she shyly spelt it out – “B.U.M.” I hope the relief on my face was not too obvious, because bum, yeah, that’s not us. We’re definitely not responsible for introducing ‘bum’ to kindy.

So, I nodded sympathetically. “Yeah, that’s terrible.”

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Cormac just turned three. I got his hair cut, not his first but definitely his most boyish haircut. I thought it might make it easier for me to see him start Montessori kindergarten if he didn’t look so very little.

That’s tomorrow and I’m not feeling that it will make much difference now.

So, I promise I don’t normally dress him quite so hipster. Cormac really looks like he is on his way to reunite The Libertines.

Also, for the curious here’s a photo from the birthday party that his dad ran.

D’awww.

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Sometimes you see this cultural phenomenon and it’s so perfect in explaining everything that you just think Case Closed.

You know, I’ve kinda even participated in one of these photos before. Long story short. Lauca’s first school photo for kindergarten, she was having some kind of melt down (yes, again), and you can’t see me but I am actually in the class photo. Wheeeeeeeeeeee.

Link via Olivine’s Charm School.

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I want this book so much that I almost stole it. It was a book from my childhood and I found it in Cormac’s Montessori NIDO class.

I held it in my hands thinking about how no-one would even miss this old book at NIDO and where else could I possibly find it. Then I thought, what kind of person steals a book from a kindergarten? Me, I could live with that. And then, but you are someone’s mother, you are someone’s mother. So, I didn’t.

UPDATE: I have a copy of the book! Mindy found and sent me a copy. NIDO is now safe from my thieving self.

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If my five year old daughter dressed up in a Spider Man costume for a preschool Halloween party and I put a photograph of her on my blog can you imagine that being controversial? What if I titled the post “My daughter is gay” as a retort to homophobic parents who didn’t approve of her being in a ‘boy’ costume? Can you imagine that post being contentious enough to receive forty-five thousand comments?

No, because even for girls, aspiring to some form of masculinity is not an insult. But if you are a boy, and you have yourself some masculinity, and yet you challenge it in any fashion? This is what can happen.

Do not fuck with masculinity. Because as I have noted before, masculinity is somehow essential, primary, instinctive and more valid than femininity, but simultaneously also dreadfully vulnerable to being watered-down and over-powered. Totally bizarre. Thanks patriarchy.

(Thanks to Tara for the link).

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Sometimes you can look so truly fragile, Lauca.

I forget, and my heart breaks all over again. Because you are such a feisty little soul. Even your disintegrations are acts of will.

Remember when you cried on every drop-off? Remember how for years you always had to bring a soft toy with you? Remember the times you forgot your soft toy and you made me turn around and drive home and I had to call in sick for work because you were completely undone by then?

Probably not.

Anyway, you ‘graduated’ from cycle 1 at your Montessori preschool today. I was very proud and you were mostly nonchalant.

(You. Have. Come. So. Far).

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See previous lists here.

  1. You still wake sometimes and scream for a while before you will calm down enough to go back to sleep. Now you might only scream for 15 minutes whereas there was a time you could scream for up to an hour so that is an improvement.
  2. I  don’t get to spend enough time with you alone. When I am with you I almost always have your baby brother with us too and he claims most of my attention.
  3. You are quite introverted and while we are very close you keep many things to yourself. There are some things I am missing out on with you and it worries me.
  4. I yell at you too much and as if that is not bad enough you now copy me and yell at other people too much too.
  5. You chose to stop going to horse riding lessons. I told you that I would love you just as much even if you didn’t want to learn horse riding.. and I might have been lying.
  6. Your loyalty to people; I think it might make you susceptible to getting hurt in the future.
  7. All the many, many times that you come and jump on the bed while I am trying to get Cormac to sleep.
  8. Brushing your hair and fighting with you about brushing your hair.
  9. Things you used to eat which you no longer will and which have severely limited our lunchbox options for you include: avocado, fish and cheese (unless melted on a pizza or feta, why?).
  10. Now that Cormac can walk some of his gloss has worn off and you spend a lot of time getting cross with him and pushing him over.

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Reasons I am not blogging anything of weight at the moment :

  • Emotionally preparing for my return to work next week after a year on maternity leave. (Am still yet to mentally prepare, and also still yet to physically prepare – like finding my work shoes and cleaning spiders out of my attaché case and locating my security pass. The emotional stage is really taking quite some time as it involves a break-down).
  • Getting in place care arrangements for Lauca and Cormac, and most significantly getting Cormac used to his care arrangements. (I cannot understate my anxiety around this aspect). On another note, I will be introducing some bottle feeds during the day for Cormac when I start work and I have never used formula before, how do I pick a brand and type of formula? What should I consider?. That is not a rhetorical question.
  • Conducting a fifth birthday celebration for Lauca. Last year’s go-all-out-big birthday party ended in her screaming as soon as we all started singing Happy Birthday to her and also her telling everyone she wanted them to go home NOW. A little mortifying for me. So this year we only invited four people – her beloved grandparents – and it ended in her screaming as soon as we started singing Happy Birthday to her and also her telling everyone she wanted them to go home NOW. A little mortifying for me. What next year? Given that she wants some kind of birthday celebration how much smaller can we reasonably go?
  • Doing things I won’t get much time for soon – reading piles of books, having lunches with ladies (and babies and spilt drinks), baking cakes, staying up far too late, getting an hour-long massage (that makes it very difficult to feel sorry for me about any of my other woes doesn’t it), seeing The Pixies play.
  • Writing pieces for money. And editors do love their deadlines.
  • Under-performing in my role on the P&C Executive Committee. What was I thinking?
  • Losing things; like mobile phones and keys and forgetting what I bought when I look at my credit card statement and reporting them as credit card fraud and then having to call the bank back and apologise when a parcel arrives in the mail and I see that I did indeed order this mysterious ‘health item’ because it is in fact my first ever menstrual cup. But really, ‘health item’? That sounds completely fraudulent, what is wrong with calling it what it is?
  • Being sick. And tired. And tired of being sick. And tired of worrying about children getting sick. And especially unsympathetic about partner being sick again.
  • Finding ourselves embroiled in a family feud of sorts; not my own immediate family so my level of give-a-shit is low on this one but it is still strangely time-consuming.
  • Not cooking dinner again. Trying to pull something together for us to eat at the last minute with a crying baby on my hip and a crying pre-schooler by my side and a partner still an hour away from getting home from work to help out. (On a side note, last time I was on maternity leave I cooked one dinner the entire year. I am not exaggerating. Lauca was such a difficult baby and we were such novice parents that the first time around that one time was all I could manage all year. To be honest, that year I spent the early evening hours when most people are preparing dinner passed out with the baby instead and readying myself for the all-night scream-a-thon. My partner would tiptoe in the front door, late as usual because his work demands were ridiculous that year, and sigh with relief that both the baby and I were still alive and then he would get dinner started. I heard that sigh of relief once or twice in my exhausted dozey haze. It was during this year that cooking as a household duty shifted from a shared task to one pretty much covered entirely by my partner. That was until this year when in the second half of my year with a new baby I suddenly got my shit together and cooked us dinners. This meant we could all eat before 9pm each night. It was fantastic. I even cooked nice meals. I will miss living in such a well-managed house when I return to work. I am not sure what has gone wrong with my dinner-cooking in the last two weeks but things have definitely fallen apart there).

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