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In years to come this boy of mine may ask “how old was I when I walked/grew teeth/spoke” or “what was my first word?” and be disappointed to hear that I was not a proper mother and I did not purchase, let alone fill in, a Baby Book. The Bloke and I had made a pact to treat him like second born, and anyway we figured if he met all those milestones before anyone worried about his development then it was all ok.

I don’t know what the average age for first composition is. I’m fairly sure I wrote my first song aged 8 to coincide with the visit of the Pope to Australia. I was keen to tackle the big themes. I don’t remember how it went, but I do remember being quite proud of myself for working away at it. I wrote my second song aged 28 when my baby wouldn’t stop crying. It’s not a show stopper, but it made me feel better, and he has grown to like it. I asked once if Daddy was allowed to sing it, he was most insistent that no one else was allowed. It is ours.

Yesterday morning, after the usual moaning and groaning and whining about tv and computer time and all the toys being boring, he went to the keyboard and wrote a song. It’s about how the brand of our tv matches the stereo. He filmed himself playing it and then wrote down the notes. Musicians will see his notation system is unique, I was asked to play this evening from his written version. I basically made it up, don’t tell him that.

My sister wrote her first song when she was 19, when she had recently been diagnosed with leukaemia. It was a country spoof, about the Quest for the Ultimate Housemate, it was for me in honour of the crazy housemate I’d just moved away from. It’s the best present I’ve ever been given.

Some months later, when she knew she wasn’t going to get better she wrote another song. It is called Red. While she was in hospital Cazz made friends with Pete Murray, who promised to record the song for her. The song was recorded and soon it will be released. If you fancy joining me in making paper cranes and being in the music video, and you’re free this Sunday, please come along.

I will be the one trying to console the small boy, who thought we would be making cranes, which you build things with, not birds.

Time
13 November ยท 10:30 – 14:30
Location
The Pioneer Womens Garden , Royal Botanical Gardens
Off Alexander Parade, up the the big grassy hill
Melbourne, Australia

We need at least 350 people to turn up to the Royal Botanical Gardens – at the Pioneers Women’s Memorial Garden to join in making RED PAPER CRANES. Please bring along plain red paper, double sided red, standard origami size or squares cut from a Standard A4, we will also supply some, and there will be people on hand to teach you. You can practice between now and then on various You Tube’ How to make paper crane’ videos. And bring along any red ones you make. We have a Facebook page Pete’s Promise, visit it for updates and to show your support for the filming day. Bring everyone you know.
We will be filming you making cranes and placing them in trees.
All ages welcome!

Dress casual but please dont wear RED, if it’s raining we will do it on the 20th Nov.

Or, what to do with your prunings.

Bamboo teepee with kid legs

Bamboo teepee

Bright, multicoloured, flannel pjs. He seems to like them. He is less keen on having is photo taken, so you’ll have to put up with blur.

There are sick days, like yesterday, where all a kid wants to do is cuddle on the couch. There was a little light lego making, but basically I made stuff and he watched. He clearly felt like crap.

Today he’s a little better. Not well enough to go to kinder (and oh the wailing that inspired) but well enough to get bored with lying around. Well enough to want a little novely, not well enough to think it up by himself. I’ve been googling “1930s homemade toys” and youtubing “kid science experiments” and referring to Geek Dad.

So, for the next time I run out of ideas I thought I’d record for posterity what we did today before turning on the dvd player (which we have, because he’s completely run out of puff now).

1. Inspired by this guy in a white coat we blew up a balloon using nothing by bicarb and vinegar. Is there nothing bicarb and vinegar can’t do? When you’re done experimenting you can clean the toilet!

2. Looked at Museum Victoria and made a newspaper footy, which we kicked around a bit outside to see how it compared to his real one. We talked about how kids can make their own toys, and they don’t have to wait for grownups to buy them things. He has not mentioned his lust for the yellow lego train in several hours, perhaps the idea has sunk in a little. Or perhaps he’s just thinking up the next bit of plastic to moan about.

3. Also inspired by the Museum, we made a little slingshot. He had a few goes at flinging a clothespeg before declaring it all too hard. We’ll probably give it another go when he’s in a better mood for learning new skills. I don’t think he’ll be out hunting birds for dinner any time soon.

4. Threading and tying string through his wooden pegboard.

5. Made a colouring picture from one of our photos. He enjoyed watching me turn the photo into a line drawing in photoshop, but ran out of enthusiasm pretty quickly on the actual colouring.

He’s happy enough to keep pretending and playing this community role-playing “Santa” thing, but he’s adament he doesn’t believe it really. But he’s still not sure where the presents come from.

It doesn’t seem to have occurred to him for a second that it might be his tightarse parents who actually shell out for lego.

Why no, I don’t know why he’s talking about it in May.

He writes his letters with serifs. Pointy serifs that could take someone’s eye out.

F with serifs

He writes and writes and writes, copying everything he can lay his hands on, he picks out letters he recognises. He delivers the mail to us and knows who the letters are for. All these words make my heart sing. What is motherhood if not a licence to use and abuse a corny cliche?

Copying letters from the Aunty Cookie ABC panel

I know it’s boring to read about extreme weather, but yesterday was 44 degrees here people and my friends in Europe keep posting photos of snow on Facebook.

I’ve never been a fan of the heat, but in ye olde childfree days I could just lie down with a book and try to pretend it wasn’t happening. Now I have to provide entertainment for cooped up children. Step 1, obviously, is making sure we either visit someone or have visitors, because entertaining multiple children in the company of another mother or two is less daunting than one bored three year old on my own. So I rocked, jiggled and dandled my friend’s baby while she herded the preschoolers dancing in her kitchen. We fed them icypoles, we had a contingent of visitors to share our airconditioning for the hottest part of the day, we fed them more icypoles. They were actually pretty well behaved, there was sharing of Christmas presents, nothing broke and no one got hurt. Not even when they were jumping down the stairs. Then we ran out of energy and instructed them to stare at the television for a while so we could count raffle money.

We had a nutrious dinner of rice cakes, with your choice of peanut butter, vegemite or tomato. The kid got experimental and had peanut butter and vegemite, and insisted that it was good. Eventually it was cool enough to head out for a walk to wear out his legs and give us some chance of sleep. We walked to the RSL for a cheap dessert (and what do you know, they have icy cold aircon!) felt grateful that there was no smoke in the air and that the threat of a fire starting was dropping for the day and headed home. Then we got up early to water the garden in our allocated time, gave the kid (ok, and us) a good run around using the new cricket set before giving up on good parenting for the day by 8.30 because it was already hot. The television is back on, Sesame Street was an episode I’ve seen several times before and I’m starting to wonder how many episodes they actually make, is it too early for a nap and just how many coffees can I justify in a day given the virtuous nature of setting an alarm for 6.30am when you don’t have to be anywhere?

Feel free to comment along the lines of “toughen up princess” or suggest non tv ideas that don’t require brain function.

The kid came home from daycare with a colouring in of Santa last week, I asked him who it was, he said “I dunno, um, Santa”. Then he wanted to know more about Santa, so I explained.

“So I will see Santa at Christmas?”
“No, he’ll come when you’re asleep and be gone before you wake up”
“Ahuh”

And the look on his face said “So I totally don’t have to bother remembering his name”.

When I’m sitting back watching my kid figure stuff out for himself, and he’s enjoying himself figuring stuff out for himself, don’t feel like you have to come over, take control and show us stupid people how it all works.

Although, the two and a half year old giving someone else’s grandfather the Look* was nearly worth it.

* you know, the one that says “you may be old but I’m clearly smarter”.

are the sort of people who will nag you to bake nuffins, cheerfully eat several of the nuffins, and then throw the remaining nuffins in the bin while you’re in the loo.

Then they’ll ask you why there are no nuffins left.

Studio Assistant to the Great Artist

acrylic-on-canvas-boardmy-first-acrylic-paints

Seriously, how do you resist a kid who wakes up saying “I love painting Mum”.

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