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Archive for the ‘kindergarten’ Category

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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Pre-school mornings plunge us all into a state of utter disorder.

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Lauca is a month off turning five. Four has been a big year. Reading and writing*, swimming and horse riding.. and now, riding a bicycle without her training wheels. “Did you know I was this good?” There is no such thing as humble when you are four years old.

* A card to her cat:

Diu Pikso

I wet tow the bridge

Lauca

Dear Pixel

I went to the bridge

Lauca

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See previous lists here.

Mine.

1. You had terrible gastro for almost two weeks and you lost so much weight (which you never really gained back and now you are a little bony – bitzer maloney all skinny and..) and you were so pale, delirious, weak and listless and our house felt so empty of mirth. I completely took for granted how mirthful you usually are.

2. The seriously pathetic breakfasts I give you on kindergarten days because there is no time to prepare you anything better and you are too moody in the mornings to reliably eat anything else anyway apart from ‘vegemite toast‘ (update: you don’t like toast anymore) or ‘a single yoghurt’ or ‘a handful of dry cereal’.

3. The way you completely ignore us when we say “stop that, you’re about to..” or “no, don’t do that yourself, wait a minute and I can do it..” and you go ahead and then you cause some predictable disaster that takes a lot of work to fix.

4. How you carry your baby brother around the place, even though we’ve asked you not to, and even though he often shrieks at you for it.. and especially because you take him from the play room where he was perfectly content and move him to where I am, ruining whatever tiny sanctuary I had established for myself.

5. Your growing scepticism about Santa Claus. Very sad, and boo to your father’s reality-based parenting.

6. The way you scream to express significant negative emotions like frustration, disappointment, offence. It really freaks the baby out.

7. Your increasing flirtation with fussiness. You will eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits and legumes but you don’t like spices and fuss. You are not the gourmet’s friend.

8. Your broad Australian accent. I try hard just to accept it.

9. The way you still cry upon waking up. The way you won’t transfer from the car asleep at night to bed. The end of a late night out isn’t “well, that was lovely, the kids had a good time too, we’re tired now, and they’re asleep so let’s put them into bed and call it a night”. No it is you waking up the minute we try to carry you to bed, bellowing  frantically that even though it is midnight you didn’t get your bedtime stories.

10. When you accidentally wake Cormac up. Accidentally, but doing the same things I have warned you not to do about a ba-zillion times – stomping your feet as you walk, slamming the toilet door, yelling out “where are you Mummy” without even bothering to look for me first.

His.

1. Your bad moods. You are very mercurial. Even when you are really happy you take over the space and when you are in a foul temper you make gutteral animal sounds or you roar which equally occupies all the space of the house.

2. Your ability to raise the stakes in the face of my parenting failures. I should have had dinner ready half an hour ago and now you want to eat six biscuits and a Weiss bar and my role as a disciplinarian is to talk you down to three biscuits.

3. Worrying about you now that you are becoming such a social creature. That you will get your feelings hurt. And knowing that the person you are we may never know, that you will keep this stuff inside yourself and worry alone.

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The retrospective collection: biggest hits, sentimental favourites, and experimental B-sides.

blue milk started as a New Year’s resolution.

Very oddly this became my all time most viewed post.

I wrote about how much I hated Bratz dolls. They don’t even exist now.

I had a rough first year of motherhood.

I didn’t fit in.

We found parenthood.. weird (very weird).

And tried to figure out what kind of parents we were.

We moved out of the inner city and into suburbia.

I really struggled with combining work and family, and especially daycare. I struggled with a lot of guilt. And that struggle went on and on.

I discovered that I was supposed to be aspiring to yummy mummydom or Über-mumming or a cocktail version of slacker mummy.

We got our life back together, had sex and stuff.

But lost any sense of cool. And we changed as a couple. (And yet were pretty happy).

I found camaraderie by whining on the Internet.

Having a child re-defined my identity and my feminism.

Then I discovered that there were books out there about this identity and feminism stuff and how it all related to motherhood, and I loved them so.

I enjoyed motherhood too, I just didn’t feel the need to write about that part as much.

Maybe I enjoyed motherhood too much because I became the Go To Place on the Internet for Sexy Breastfeeding Stories.

Then I learnt a lot about toddlers. A lot. In doing so I learnt about myself too. Like, I am actually quite patient.

I thought a lot about the way the world views mothers, and I rolled my eyes a lot.

I got a particularly big fright when I realised so much of the world has such big fucking hang-ups about breastfeeding.

We went on to have a very shitty year, and survived.

The sexualisation of children blew my mind some.

And what to say about sex therapist Bettina Arndt, well quite a bit actually.

I got ever so tired of the martyred mother thing, though I fell for it more than a few time myself.

Motherhood had changed everything about the other most important relationship in my life, the one with my partner. But I didn’t write about that terribly much for the sake of his privacy.

Every now and then we thought we got the hang of this parenthood gig, and then not so much.

Eventually we were no longer novices with babies, just complete dills for every other stage.

We re-visited the work and family arrangement quite a bit.

It took a while to make friends in suburbia.

But mother friends are what makes the world go round.

Sometimes life was just life happening slowly and lightly. Sometimes hard and fast.

I thought about things other than motherhood from time to time too. But mostly it was all still about feminism.

I began to understand that some people hate mothers. Or hate children, which is pretty much the same thing.

And that ‘sexism‘ as a word doesn’t even begin to cover the way we treat childhood, such is the bombardment of patriarchal brain-washing that we undergo. And having a daughter forced me to confront body image issues.

I watched fatherhood from the outside and found it to be very different to what I was going through. He and I tried to have an equal relationship, but we haven’t got there… yet.

Motherhood helped me understand pretty much everything better.

Again, I wondered about the work and motherhood thing. And I got really angry about the fight for maternity leave.

I wrote what became a meme about feminist motherhood, and feminist fatherhood.

I took my first trip away from my child.

I became fascinated in the confessional power of posts about parenting meltdowns.

Then, we got our comeuppance as pretentious hipster parents when our child learned to swear.

We grew a vegetarian, like us.

We took a trip to North Vietnam with our toddler.

We found vulva pride! It was part of an obsession with body sovereignty.

And on top of all that, we got a cat.

Our toddler grew into a little girl, a beautifully willful little girl.

I started reviewing books on here.

I took our daughter out of daycare after a long battle with her anxiety and put her in a Montessori kindergarten instead. It turned out to be the best decision ever.

My feminism evolved and I started thinking, reading and writing a lot more about racism. And queer politics too.

I also started writing for Hoyden About Town, and I was pleased as punch, though not terribly prolific.

I was invited to do a PhD and was awfully tempted until another dream came true and took its place.

And mended my broken heart.

We discovered we were having a boy, which is probably good for blog material because I have been a little focused on the girl side of feminist mothering issues.

But that news also brought its own issues for my fear and loathing of the patriarchy.

I freaked out about birth, again.

I explored intuitive eating with children and managed to take offense and give offense.

If I thought pregnancy was exhausting the first time around that was nothing compared to being pregnant AND also the mother of a small child. All the same, I might love being pregnant.

I got a lot of advice about baby-carrying slings and if you are looking for one, then here.

Then I got so, so, so pregnant.

And finally had a baby.

The second time around with a baby wasn’t nearly as hard, though some of the rocky terrain was familiar.

I still fretted about juggling my career and children. And our daughter made lots and lots of craft.

I kept the blog going this year with a new baby and a kindergartener, but only just. Although, I did manage a spot of activism off-line. And a couple of times this year I actually managed to finish a post on something vaguely feminist (and even once about sex).

I mostly sat in awe of our ability to create an easy baby (relatively easy anyway), and the joy that is watching your first little challenge turn out to be so damn sensible about all this change.

I got to interview Yoko Ono, for a second.

And I was happy, very happy with my adventures this last year.

……………………………………………………………………….

(Hmm. I can’t believe I have been blogging long enough to do a retrospective, but there you go).

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