Thursday, April 10, 2008

What am I doing that's keeping me from blogging?

I seem to be writing three novels at once.

I seem to be swamped under with uni homework.

I seem to be emerging, just intact, from the school holidays - our first that meant something, now Fred is at kinder rather than childcare. I must admit I was unprepared for how long the two weeks would feel, since term one was so short and the summer holidays passed in a blur of busy, without Fred seeming to miss creche at all. But Fred is a much happier girl now that she's back at kinder. She seems to draw very positive energy from child company, we had a brilliant couple of days after our Easter holiday in Rosebud with our friends who have 2 kids the same age as ours. But she grew bored and restless and it took us a while to twig why, since she was busy every day and of course she has Una and the kids next door. Don't think we kept her holed up at home or anything - Martin took her swimming and to visit grandparents and cousins and we had at least one sleepover where she played with a group of kids as well as four nights away over Easter. But she obviously requires more. I think she's getting to the age where we need to procure child companions for outings. Last night we took her out for dinner after a kinder morning and she was absolutely delightful company. She will be five in just over a week. Part of me wishes we could do what the New Zealander's do and start her in school just after her birthday (such a good system!). In some ways I think she's ready for the intensity, in a way she definitely wasn't at the beginning of the year. Many of her kinder friends are five already, I think it will be an 'old' group in prep next year. Be interesting to see how that pans out.

I seem to have myself a case of blogger's block. I think of posts when I'm out on my walks or driving in the car but when I come home I don't get around to writing them down.

I seem to be immersing myself more in my landscape. My over-the-road neighbour invited me to join her for a walk two Sundays ago and we've been twice since then. But I've also been going on my own. As well as seeing parts of my area I haven't seen before, and making me realise just how beautiful it is out here, it's just nice to be walking again. In the city I used to walk all the time, but it was always to get somewhere. When Fred was a baby I walked kms with the pram. But as Fred got older and wanted to walk more herself, it became impossible to set out on such long walks. And if I went out by myself the window was often too tight to allow for 'slow' travel. Walking just to walk is what I used to do when I was a teenager, taking the dog as an excuse sometimes or just heading out on my own. It's funny how much being a mother of young children is like being a teenager - feeling confined by family, powerless and powerful at the same time, living by someone else's schedule, someone else's routine, not having the freedom to make spontaneous decisions to go catch a movie or eat out.

I seem to be at an absolute loss what to buy Fred for her birthday. She wants another barbie doll - she already has two more than I ever intended buying her (which means she has three total - I always thought she ought to have one). If she loved the barbies she has - investing each one in meaning - I might feel differently, but her desire is more about conforming, about keeping up with the girl next door, about acquisition. Martin thinks I am aiming to high - I do tend to be an over-achiever when it comes to present shopping. When I suggested I buy her clothes she rolled around on the floor moaning in agony about how much she hates clothes - damn! (Though I was completely the same as a kid.) So last year WAS the last year we could buy her practical gifts. I hope I made the most of it, I can't remember what we gave her. Oh yeah, a scooter. Oh well, that earned it's keep anyway.


  1. Anonymous8:01 PM

    It's funny the school holiday thing. They're always had meaning for us because of my work and creche but kinder has really upped the ante. J was sooooo happy to hear that holidays were over. I was on kinder duty first day back and he told me at the end that he prefers it when I'm not there because he likes some space roflmao.

    We've had a spate of 5th birthdays at kinder over the past month too. I think they pretty much all have the older group these days. You can see a difference in the older kids too.

    The present thing, it could be worse, she could be asking for Bratz...

    board games of any description go down very well around here

  2. Apparently we are buying Alexander a Spider-man robot with a grabber claw when he turns 5 in September. Because his friend has one.

    Puzzles are going down well at the moment. Do you have Socrates in Melb? maybe your mum could look down here, there's one in Sala Pl. Great games and puzzles for smart inquisitive kids.

    I have no other bright ideas for you, sorry. LOL!

  3. am I being lame in suggesting clothes for barbie? I once had the idea of designing an alternate world of barbie outfits, different sorts of princesses, witches and other characters, for a barbie obsessed 6yo. It didn't get of the ground but maybe someone at the market does something like that?

    Then of course there's kmart, sigh, but I guess it's more about their dreams than ours.

    I'm birthday present shopping this week and scraping for ideas too. And miss walking.

  4. It gets worse. Asha complains every day if I don't have activities lined up for her *after* school as well. It's exhausting. I'm always trying to get her to slow down, and enjoy time on her own but I fear that is not who she is. I'll keep trying though.
    By the way South Australia has the same system as NZ which is interesting!
    I think I said that to you earlier this year, that if Fred started this year you may have had a few months of settling in but by April/May she'd probably be in her element. I wonder if you have any recourse to start her say term three? You could pretend that you'd just emigrated from NZ?!
    I just wanted to say how as I read about you going for solo walks all I could think was 'HOW? HOW DOES SHE DO THAT?' and then your comparison of motherhood with teenagerhood just rang so many bells with me.

  5. PS: great idea about buying Barbie clothes, they have some big new sets in our Kmart, about 5 full outfits in a box for $20.
    And in terms of practical yet fun how about a new pair of gumboots? I'm sure Fred is a gumboot girl. Win win.

  6. Thanks everyone. We gave her quite a few board games and puzzles for Christmas. She enjoys them but Fred's really getting into freeform imaginative play, using toys. No emulating housework or anything (damn it). Running around in the backyard, fleeing from witches and monsters. She loves drawing and painting, but she wants a beautiful toy. I have a feeling she's of the age where anything we buy will immediately draw attention to all the things we DIDN'T buy. Ah, the melancholy of consumerism.

    Gumboots might work, especially if paired with a beautiful umbrella. Good one.

    Barbie clothes is a great idea, but when I suggested clothes for her Barbie, she very distraughtly pointed out that her issue is she has fewer barbies than the girl next door, three is not enough. She's not much into dressing them anyway - they're all naked and feralised (Barbie is our camping and bath toy of choice - so I must admit the way she interacts with barbie at this stage doesn't bother me much at all). I reckon I'll end up getting her a $7 token one at the supermarket unless I find something better that fulfils her difficult requirement and doesn't assault my aesthetic sensibilities or political ideals. The problem is, barbie is so well made and a lot of the alternatives look a bit cheap and nasty.

    I did the rounds of Eastlands yesterday and I swear to god almost bought a Bratz - in fact I reckon I would have if it had been the last shop instead of the first - because at least she had an active role (Rodeo). All the barbies were princesses, ballerinas, brides or fairies (we acquired a fairy one over Easter - Fred picked it with her own money - and the wings broke off within a week). Where's the vet, the doctor, the astronaut? Since when did Barbie join the ranks of the terminally unemployed?

    Fed also likes My Little Pony, but they freak me out more than barbie, oddly sexualised, coquettish horses. ugh.

  7. erm... i adored my my little pony. it was blue with a pink mane. i also loved my my child and my care bear. these three were definitely my best friends. oh dear...

    the other thing that kept us occupied for hours was our set of plastic dinosaurs from the adelaide museum. these were great. i was definitely going to be an archaeologist. and i had a mystic connection with the bracheosaurous.

  8. Anonymous7:30 AM

    Pen you should check take out a second mortgage and visit the toy shop in Were St, Montmorency. They have awesome free range imaginative play stuff.

  9. I loved my My Little Pony too, and they have UNICORNS now.


    How about getting/making Fred some costumes so SHE can be the witch, the monster, the fairy etc?

  10. Anonymous11:34 AM

    how does the school thing work down there?
    we have kindy, which is the first year of primary school, and before that comes childcare/preschool (which is the same thing in the older years, except long day care obviously goes longer, but its still the same thing, well, it is were we go). but the only holidays we get is 2 weeks at xmas.

    we are getting willow a May Gibbs book for her birthday, i think. maybe another dancing dvd, possibly flamenco. she wants strawberry shortcake, but i'm exercising maternal veto, as she hasn't played with the barbies/ponies that grandmaternal Santa gave her for xmas. (although it turns out barbie's bare foot is an excellent teething toy. who knew?!)