M is in absentia. Thus I had to work for two hours on Friday and Saturday nights, and all of Sunday (thank you for efforts on Sunday, Mother!!) to cobble together the hours that I do each week. The nights sucked as I have been going to bed too late and then being regularly wakened by Small DB at about 2am every night.
However, I got it all done, and now a WHOLE EIGHT DAYS stretches out before me, uninfected by work and the necessity to schlep there. I work so we eat and have a roof over us. No other reason. There are a bazillion things I would rather be doing. (Just in case you were wondering what I might do should I ever discover the world’s largest diamond.)
Combined with some sunshine, this is good. We are going to see our friends (trusting in the recent car karma of Small DB – touch wood) and I hope to do more planting in our front garden. For THREE YEARS there have been scabby kind of rose bushes under our front windows and M finally hacked them to the ground a week or two back.
I did instruct him to finish the job before departing so I could get to work on my edible garden, but it was raining the two days before he left, and of course he might have melted if any had fallen on him. Therefore I have been wielding the trusty mattock and hacking out what I can.
I have done about four or five feet, which I have covered with two layers of newspaper (thanks dad) and straw. I have planted beans and have some tomatoes and cucumbers to go in. But the SNAILS! They are ferocious. I have previously tried all the more friendly approaches – getting them drunk on beer, spreading eggshells around the plants. I thought the straw would deter them, but nooooo. So I’ve gone grossly hardcore and have brought out the snailbait. Cue: snail genocide If there is a more effective and friendly option, I am unaware of it. I am not dedicated enough to whip outside every frew hours during the night and remove them by hand, so…
I awoke to blue skies and the idea that the Smalls and I should ride our bikes to Bittern Market. I did this on my own about a month or so ago and thought they might just be able to make it. Small Z had no issues and coasted along. By the time we got within about two or three minutes of the market, Small DB was running out of puff.
I gave her a few pushes along…her real lag began when the market was actually in sight.
“Come on DB,” I said sternly, “Pedal like a crazy thing. 1,2,3…GO!”
Her little legs whirred around…and we made it! It's a 3.5km ride, which is pretty good for a three-year-old with no gears, just grit. She is a champ. Of course, with the slowdown toward the end, Small Z shot ahead, and by the time we arrived, there was no sign of her. Gulp…
I totally trust her road sense, but wondered if she might get swept up in the amount of people there and the cars driving in and out… I plopped Small Z in the bike trailer (brought along in case of disaster) and told her not to move. Began running along seeking Small Z…
Finally a small hand grabbed my arm, a radiant Small Z squeaked, “Mama! I just held a RABBIT! It was soft and…”. I cut her off, while doing deep calm breathing…
“ARGH!” (Deep calm breathing fail.) “PLEASE don't ride ahead to where you can't see me! I didn't know where you were! Now I've left Small DB all alone! We need to go back to her…hurry!”
My zenlike diatribe was punctuated by her saying, “Sorry!” and “I'll be more careful!” and, “The rabbit! Can we buy a rabbit!?”
We reached Small DB who was recovering from her ride, quite unconcerned, looking about at everything. Had a nice wander around the market, got some seedlings (for my Grand Plan for the front garden) and some smallgoods… The ride home was far easier – mostly downhill. The majority of it is an offroad bicycle track – much more relaxing when you don't have to worry about crossing side streets all the time and being uber-vigilant about cars coming out of driveways!
Glory be! The Smalls elected to stay in the car while I ransacked the best local op-shop and came up with these:
Perfect for some Small hand-warmers. And wooden needles – woo! Now just have to MAKE myself sit, ignore the chaos, and actually knit. [looks hopeful...]
Reading back on last years post – it is so bouncy! Maybe I did have more fun that I remember – but I did gloss over the difficulties. This year was a massive improvement. Older kids, no napping, a great campsite – and a few extra kids thrown into the mix for Sunday and Monday (thanks Mung!)
We began our journey with bowls of chips at The Local – didn’t get away until 1pm, but it worked well that way as (OMG!) Small DB slept in the car for a Large Chunk Of Time. Only someone who has read the experiences of the past two years will truly appreciate that as the miracle that it is.
We had brought lots of sausages and pre-cooked a curry. Food became easy! I tried to avoid the unavoidable (eating at cafes) to save money. We did all our regular activities – the market at the primary school, the bushdance in the afternoon. The Smalls all got on so beautifully. Small Z and Small E really got a thing going, telling each other complicated stories and trying to gross each other out…
Late on Sunday morning Small DB and I set off to the harmony workshop in one of the churches in town. We had a nice little outing together. There are shuttle buses that run from the festival site into town every twenty minutes or so, and it makes it so easy to get around.
The harmony workshop was awesome. Haphazard, and in need of lyric sheets, but awesome nonetheless. It was run by two women from The Junes – who we saw play on the main stage later in the afternoon. This is from their 2009 album. I wish their current one was on their site!
The little ones hung in there but toward the end of the hour they started to get a bit fractious – I remembered I had dinosaur stickers in my bag and that bought us peace for the final ten minutes.
Click this —> Harmony Workshop Practice to hear some of our efforts
On the Monday we slowly packed up camp and headed to Daylesford via Castlemaine…a whole ‘nother post…
For some reason, until my brain gets recalibrated, my blogging is coming second to…well, just about everything. But mostly? To the knitting. Because that's what I've been doing on the train in what was previously…my writing time.
I got a great tip from Small Z's sewing teacher about thin wool or bamboo – double, or even triple it. So I doubled some bamboo with the fancy schmancy milk protein baby-soft I-don't-know-what-it's-called stuff I bought with some bamboo and it worked a treat.
Being a beginner and not knitting to a pattern, the second one (on the left) turned out better than the first…baby steps…
Small Z is similar to me in that we both become fixated with THINGS. Not a wholly pleasant trait. But we love the chase! She has gone through the Dinosaur Train fixation (used her paltry funds to pay for figurines she played with for a week and then cried about her boredom with them), the Octonaut fixation (I used my paltry funds to buy her a figurine, same deal as before) and now…the fixation is an expensive one. Sylvanians.
Yes. Tiny titchy little animals that probably cost twenty cents each to manufacture flogged off for about five bucks a pop – and of course you can’t get them singly – you have to buy them in pairs or ‘families’. Sigh. Our lovely friends have a five-year-old Small Z equivalent – but she has two older sisters – and it is that situation that means Small Z gets to latch on to/experience all these things that would otherwise go unknown… Polly Pockets are another thing… My eBay searches of late have all been about these tiny little things…
After a week or so of concerted petitioning, I took the Smalls to a toy shop. Small Z and I had agreed we would go halves on a Sylvanian. I would buy one for Small DB who doesn’t have her own money yet (thereby unable to count it every day to see if the total has magically grown). Massive logistical #fail (did I mention that in the title?). The previous night Small DB had woken at 2.30am into a full throated scream of, “SMOOTHIE. SMOOTHIE. I WANT A SMOOTHIE.” After speaking to her savagely several times, I realised it would be easier to make the goddamn smoothie than have M and Small Z awoken. I smoothied. She slept. Eventually.
Therefore, by the time we got into the car at 3pm (what was I thinking?), Small DB was a looooong way past rational. She just hid it well. I was hoping she would sleep. Sigh. This is how it would have happened if she didn’t exist.
Go to toy shop, luxuriate in picking the cheapest possible Sylvanian (two babies = $9.50), get back in the car, go home, drink wine. Happy single child. Happy happy me.
What actually happened was that Small DB fastened on to two different boxes, neither of which she could do without. I reasoned with her (idiotic), pleaded (stupid), demanded (useless), and finally paid for her little Sylvanian baby ($8.50 for one baby WITH A CRADLE – honestly – they are less than an inch high) as she threw the ones she couldn’t live without on to the counter and I had to ask the lady there to ignore them – then I carried the screaming and kicking Small DB out of the shop and had to sit on her to get her into her carseat. The joy.
Of course, by then I had been reduced to seething, “I’m NEVER taking you to a toy shop again. EVER. EVER.” Indispersed with self-loathing about failing to recognise what a stupid time I had chosen for such an expedition. Small Z tried to comfort me, “No, you’re not an idiot mama. Don’t worry.” Then she couldn’t help herself, “Are you really never taking her to a toy shop ever again?” I drove grimly onward. Small DB eventually passed out utterly. For at least three hours. That hasn’t happened for such. a. long. time. that I literally luxuriated in the splendor of Only One Child. Yes. That sounds harsh – but it is SO RARE. And on reflection – oh my god a three-year-old demands so much energy! And the combination of both of them increases that again.
I busted out the white wine, the Kindle, the knitting, the blue cheese and biscuits. Small Z entertained herself with her new toys, dinner, and a special extended iPad session (hooray for Dinorama). It was like I’d had a holiday – and almost worth the drama. Almost.
Usually I would avoid such events like the plague. It was some kind of Mornington Peninsula Kids Family Expo and I was roped in (OK, I volunteered…slowly) to help with the stall for our local toy library. The weather was a-b-y-s-m-a-l. It was pouring. We were due there at 11am, and dutifully left home at 10.30am. We reached the corner of the side street (the aptly named Sunnyside Road) we were to turn into to get to the Morning Star Estate…and everyone else did too.
We sat there, inching forward now and again, for half an hour. ORGANISATIONAL FAIL. I was so annoyed by the time we made it in there that when one of my fellow committee members offered Small Z a bowl of lollies I refused them tersely. Apparently Small Z had already said, “I have to ask my mum if I can have some.” To which I shrieked “NO.” Because WTF – I have to stand there for two hours with a sugared up kid to deal with as well as the public? No thank you.
I was then asked how on earth I got Small Z to be so brilliantly obedient, and replied, “By instilling fear.” Yes. I am a lolly nazi. No, I don't care. Small Z and DB took off and had a largely excellent time. The tent was massive and all the activities were free – trampoline, jumping castle, yoga sessions, some live music. The whole ticketing thing was weird because people had apparently prepaid $25 for the day, but no one was checking tickets when we walked in (and we were free regardless, as volunteers). There were even roaming princesses…
Small Z was so inspired by an episode of Dinosaur Train the other day (wait… Dinosaur Train doesn't rule your life? You haven't heard every single episode seven times each? You haven't lived!) yes. I am being facetious – it is actually a great show – super informative and not scary… The one Small Z was watching was one she hadn't seen before – something of a miracle. It involved a lot of discussion about nature art. As soon as it ended she raced out into the garden and made this:
Dinosaur Train inspired nature art. By Small Z.
(Her symmetry greatly appeals to the Virgo in me.)