Friday, September 28, 2012

The Show 2012, Our 7th Visit

We went to the Royal Melbourne Show with the Mothers Group Mob and a schoolfriend of Climber's on the first day of the School Holidays.


Jenny and Astrid and their children managed to last all day, but by 1.30 my crowd tolerance meter had well and truly expired, and so our contingent slipped away from the hordes and the noise.  I had to teach that evening so it *was* necessary not to fully exhaust myself.

This year, my kids found out about Showbag Hall, a secret I'd kept successfully from them for their previous 6 visits to the Show.  They'd had showbags before, but this year they were allowed to walk round the many stalls, and were given $10 each to spend there as they chose.  They chose chocolate, of course.  Chocolate with bonus Freddo Frog sunglasses in Cherub's case


As per usual, we patted animals in the animal nursery...


... and admired cats in the cat section.  In fact, we were quite lucky because as well as the cats that are there specifically for patting (mostly Burmese and Ragdolls)


... we also got to pat some more exotic breeds, the ones that are usually locked away sleeping in glass cages.  It just so happened our visit coincided with some owners coming to give their kitties a cuddle and a play, and they were quite happy to let us in on the action.  After admiring and stroking a princely looking silver Bengal, we lost our hearts to a tawny Somali who was the most affectionate and beautiful cat I've ever seen.  The kids had to be dragged away from her.


We managed a few rides as well; Fixit accompanied the big boys on the Techno Jump...


(they're blocking their ears to the hiss of the hydraulics)

I had to have my traditional whizz down the Giant Slide...

 (I tried - and failed - to persuade Jenny and Astrid to try it too, maybe next year, girls?)

 ... and the whole gang of kids went on The Magic Circus together, one of those house things where the floor goes up and down, and stuff. I seem to remember loving that sort of 'ride' best from childhood visits to Luna Park too.


We had fun in the Craft Hall too. After admiring the cakes, the kids got quite involved adding to the eco-cubby display...


... while the grown-ups enjoyed the really excellent yarn-bombing on display.

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Cherub wants me to knit a cat now.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Grade 5/6 Production

Every year at our school the kids perform in a Grade Concert, singing and dancing with their class.  It is gorgeous to watch the kids each year, and also fascinating to see their improvement and development over time.  When they are Preppies they are outrageously cute but slightly chaotic; by the time they reach grade 6 they are seasoned and capable performers.  It is really quite wonderful watching how much cleverer they get year by year, and I feel very lucky to live in an age where recording their efforts, either by concert dvds, digital cameras and even blogging, is so easy.  It means that I can look back and chart the development, and boy, they've come a long way, those babies.

Last year, Climber really got the performance bug.  Grade 5/6 is the first year where the kids work with a script, which means speaking parts for some of the kids. He'd been too shy to audition for a speaking part that year, but was regretting this by the time the show went on and was absolutely set on winning a speaking part this year. When the time came to audition he learned his monologue and even got the guts up to sing (he did Consider Yourself from Oliver! and sang both Oliver and the Artful Dodger's parts), thereby putting himself in contention for a 'lead role' rather then just a class speaking role.

He was very excited when he heard that he'd got a [small] lead role and immediately asked if he could text the professional actor in his life, who replied with delighted congratulations and the sage observation that there was no such thing as a small lead role.

After 10 weeks of rehearsal, it was finally time for the Big Night.    The show was called Pandora's Box and the basic plot was: Pandora brings together 5 other misunderstood female characters from Fairy Tales / Mythology to help her engineer the re-opening of the box of sins; three geeky boys are the unwitting openers of the box, and with help from The Greek Gods, must get the sins back in the box to save the world.

Climber was cast as Hephaestus.  This is him in his toga, ready to leave for the show.  I had to go out and specially buy a white sheet, all the single sheets in our house are either colourful or covered in motorbikes or spiderman.  Disastrously, as I applied his make-up I accidentally dropped an enormous splodge of liquid foundation on to it and we had to turn it round and re-tie it in a massive panic, with the splodge on the underside at the back and only seconds to go before he needed to be at the theatre. But we made it, he took it all very calmly, and I only swore twice. Here he is in his immortal finery.


Here he is on stage with the other Gods, acting up a storm.


He was so good, if I do say so myself. He really got into character and delivered his lines with confidence and great timing, verve and energy.


Fixit and I completely burst with pride.

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As well as the acting scenes, each class performed their own song & dance routine, based on the 7 deadly sins. (Well, most of them - lust was understandably glossed over, this is primary school after all!)  Greed featured a medley of Money songs, Vanity was One Singular Sensation from A Chorus Line, Pride (the teacher's routine) was I Am A Pirate King from the Pirates of Penzance, (awesome fun, you really can't go wrong with some G&S!)

Climber's class did Sloth, to a song called I'm Waiting For the World to Change, dressed as Gen Y - the shirts I helped print looked fab! - and they performed most of their routine sitting down.  Climber was also a knock-out in this, and in fact I have no idea what any other child did in that routine when he was in the front row because we couldn't take our eyes off him!


His years of dance training stood him in good stead, but his stage presence was excellent too.  Stage Mother Pride Dial had pretty much exploded past maximum by the end of that routine.


The final sin, Wrath, was a war song (Seven Nations Army), but at its close the geeky boys released Hope and the production ended with The Age of Aquarius and Let The Sun Shine In. Happy endings, beautiful inspiring children.


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It was such a good night, such a wonderful show.  The thing I liked the best about it was the commitment from the children.  Every single one of them was up there giving it everything and they all looked like they were enjoying their moment. 


The audience was glowing and buzzing with delight afterwards. Fantastic. And such a lovely high note for Climber's last year at Primary School.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Round Here

I bought a posh new tea set. It looks so pretty and makes a lovely cuppa.


I  did some screen-printing with Climber's class, printing a "y" onto some white shirts for their costume (as Gen Y) for their number in the Grade 5/6 Production.  It was a lovely thing to do with a great bunch of kids.

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I've been making a few things for the School Fete Craft Stall.  First some dollies, next some bunting.

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Fixit has been working on some grand design for his toolbox.  He has told me all about it but blah blah blah...huh?


We are watching this, and, as a friend predicted, I am starting to think in a Welsh accent.  The show is very, very funny.


We've also been watching the new series of Doctor Who.  It has been made available in Australia online as soon as it's aired in the UK, rather than making us wait for ages.  I walked in to find the boys watching it on the computer on a Monday afternoon; someone at school had told them about it.  When I voiced mild dismay because I'd planned for the whole family to sit down on a Saturday night to watch it on telly, the boys said kindly don't worry Mummy, we don't mind watching it again.  So that's what we did.


Doctor Who toys (sonic screwdrivers and daleks) have come out of semi-retirement for vigorous playing time once more.  Climber does some of his best imaginative play on the trampoline, chucking himself round like a maniac.  It's fantastic.


Yesterday after tap I left the boys buying sausage rolls with Fixit while I checked out a clothing sale.  They, of course, finished their shopping before me, and Fixit and Climber decided to head home, but Cherub wanted to come home with me, so Fixit told him to wait outside our local cafe.  When I emerged from my shopping I found him in tears on  the street - he didn't know where I was and thought I'd gone home without him.  It was absolutely heart-breaking, his tear-streaked face and the way he was trying to keep it together but completely panicking on the inside. Oy. My baby boy.


He bounced back though, he's a resilient second-born. And he does have something to look forward to...


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Year of Lasts Pt II: Bookweek

Last Friday was Climber's final ever Book Week Parade.  Sniffle. I love our Book Week Parades. So many gorgeous children, so many fabulous costumes, so many great books they've read.  We dusted off the Sam I Am costume for Climber again; nice and easy because all I had to do was cook and colour some fresh green eggs. Last year I used paint, this year I decided to try food dye.  I can tell you now, don't bother putting dye in the cooking water, that does nothing.  But if you paint your eggs with it as soon as they come out of the saucepan, it goes on like a dream and the eggs look great. I don't know how the black ring appeared in the picture, I actually only just noticed it as I posted the photo.


As for the kid who really does like dressing up, Cherub's lovely Grade 3 Teacher is reading The Hobbit to the class, and she suggested to them they might all like to come as creatures from that book.  Most of them ignored this, but Cherub was keen to try a Hobbit costume and when I saw the pictures of Martin Freeman playing Bilbo Baggins I knew we could at least match the hairstyle without going to any effort at all.

I tried -unsuccessfully- to find a web tutorial on how to make a quick, easy pair of hobbit ears (you can find quite a lot of time-consuming, expensive and complicated tutorials for how to make real-looking rubber moulding ones for serious elfin dress-ups, there's obviously a bit of a scene out there), so in the end I modified someone else's more complicated idea. You're basically making an ear-shaped pocket to slip over your own ears.   


Here's what you do: trace your ear, turn your tracing into a template by making the basic ear shape longer and pointier, cut the template out on white felt x 4 (left and right backs & fronts), blanket stitch round the edges, colour the felt in with some foundation/makeup, sew each ear onto a pipe cleaner, measure the head and twist the pipecleaners together, hold them on with bobbypins. We also tried a bit of doublesided tape on Cherub's ear to hold the ears on; this didn't work that well but got him through the parade.


Meanwhile, just to highlight how Primary School is so very nearly over for my big boy, we have been submitting forms for Climber's High School enrolment, including, thrillingly, his choices for a musical instrument. I said just whatever you do don't pick a great big instrument because you don't want to be lugging a tuba or a doublebass to school on the back of your pushbike. He had a look through the list, and decided his first choice would be trumpet, like Louis Armstrong. That made my day, it did.  Climber actually does a very good Louis Armstrong impression, so fingers crossed he gets his first preference. Otherwise, I'll have to get him working on a James Galway brogue.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Fathers Day and The End of The Soccer Season!

Breakfast in bed for Fathers (or Mothers) Day is just not going to happen when you have kids playing junior league soccer. Fathers Day breakfast is a multi-tasking affair of putting on the correct attire (uniform for the kids, LOTS of layers and warm stuff for me) in between spooning mouthfuls of cereal into your gob, whilst looking up directions for the ground and making sure you have a drink bottle. Then it's one kid and one parent in one car and the others in the other (have I told you we've got a second car now? We inherited Fixit's Mum's car because she's not driving any more and oh my goodness it has made our lives soooooooo much easier!) and away we go.

Both kids were told they needed to win their games because of it being Fathers Day and they duly obliged.



Cherub decided to have his first ever crack at being a goalkeeper and only let in one goal, (I gather he did a reasonable job) and he certainly was bubbling with excitement when he and Fixit met up with me at Climber's game.


We won! We won!

Climber meanwhile kept a clean sheet in goal in the first half and was then allowed out to play on field as defender for the second half.


Our team didn't win as convincingly as they should have and Fixit started to become rather shouty on the sidelines, but the boys held on, and celebrated their last victory by running after their coach armed with drink bottles and giving him a good wetting.


After that it was time to go home and give Fixit his presents.


Our school holds a Fathers Day Stall and I'd given Cherub $12 with instructions to spend half and give the rest to Climber. However, when he got to the stall Cherub caught sight of an item that was high on his own birthday wishlist, a mini basketball set, with a ball and stick-on hoop, and being Cherub he couldn't resist buying it "for" Fixit. He also bought a World's Best Dad pen and thus overspent his allowed 50%, and then went on to just lose another dollar, so poor Climber was left with $3 to spend on Fixit. Undeterred, he bought a nice chocolate bar, carefully prised open the wrapping and inserted a Golden Ticket.



Cherub, meantime, is having a wonderful time playing with Fixit's new toy.