Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Dreamer and the Go-getter.

High school, tap starting back, hot weather. They're my excuses.

My physical energy has been sapped by the resumption of teaching tap, after 7 weeks of rest, and 14 straight days of temperatures over 30 degrees. Here is what that does to you...
 Hot cat.

As for my mental (and occasionally my emotional) energy, well that is being sucked dry by high school, high school, high school. If I haven't been trying to find large sums of money for all the stuff needed (books, uniform, the ipad, the apps for the ipad, music fees, I've lost track of all the other stuff but believe me, coming up with that amount of money in my non-earning period was a challenge! If you have a Grade 6 child, start saving up now!!), then I've been trying to help my stressed-out boy become an organised and focused person. This is not, repeat not, his natural state. (In our mothers group, all the firstborns are dreamers and all the second-borns are focused, it keeps Jen, Astrid and me very amused) That being the case, I am enormously proud of how well Climber is doing. It doesn't come naturally to him, but he is trying so hard, and mostly succeeding. The main thing is, he is approaching it with a great attitude. But the sheer volume of things he needs to remember means that, inevitably, he has the occasional lapse. Last Friday he rode the whole way to school before realising he'd forgotten to wear his bike helmet. (Bike helmets are compulsory in Melbourne. His panicked text message to me read I dont have a helmet. Help me.) And today I had to quickly run his flute and music book to school after receiving another urgent message from him. I think he misread his schedule, and of course today was the day I merely said get your bag packed and didn't actually stand with him to check his progress. Ah well, live and learn.

Meanwhile, his little brother has been putting his natural focus and drive to good effect. A week or so ago, he announced he wanted to go to school dressed up as Michael Jackson. This, we thought, was because his class are to perform [Michael Jackson's song] Thriller at the Grade 4 Concert, and to that end they'd been watching MJ videos for inspiration, and Cherub, as he is wont to do, had developed an official obsession (his words) with the single-gloved one. What Cherub was keeping under his white fedora was that the drama teacher had said he was going to select someone from the class to play the role of Michael Jackson in the performance. 


I'll have you know that Cherub's efficient and targeted campaign was wholly successful, and it was a highly excited small boy who bounded out of school to greet me with the good news that he'd been picked to play Michael Jackson.

He also attended his first ever swimming carnival and came home with an unexpected ribbon! Third place in breaststroke!


It's good to be the Cherub.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Family Holiday

If you live on a low income, there are 3 options when it comes to summer holidays away:
(1) Don't have one.
(2) Go camping.
(3) Hope nice people invite you to share their beach residences with you.

We've actually been rather blessed on the Option 3 front, which is good as no-one wants Option 1. As for Option 2, well, it hasn't really been an option for us seeing as we lack the equipment and the expertise, and, let's face it, the inclination. I'm sure the boys would adore it but you know, outdoor toilets, not a fan.

This year though, with money less tight, I decided to splash out and book us a week at a holiday house in January. After several summers of a weekend here, a night there, I really, really wanted our own space, for a good length of time, for just our family; rather than us always being grateful guests. So I found a nice looking house in our favourite seaside town, Queenscliff. Fixit nearly had a heart attack when I told him how much it was, poor love. I probably should have lied. Peak rates are pretty frightening to the modest income-earner.  But he had a couple of months to get used to it, and by the time we arrived the four of us were all very excited, and ran around the house exploring it happily, working out where to put everything and everyone.


We had a perfectly lovely week, walking, eating, reading, lazing, card-playing and of course, swimming...


not to mention jigsawing...


... and of course, good old fashioned sand-play.


We also enjoyed several walks.  Fixit in particular was always heading off for a walk, sometime with us all, sometimes just with Climber, sometimes just alone.  This has meant he came back to Melbourne with quite a good sea-shell collection, which is, unsurprisingly still in a plastic bag waiting for I don't know what.


One day we rode the ferry across Port Phillip Bay to Sorrento on the other side, for lunch.  It's a lovely trip, even if you don't see any dolphins.  Sorrento has a surprising number of clothes shops for a seaside town.  We had to walk a long way to find a cafe.


We celebrated Climber's 12th birthday while we were away, and organised lots of friends and family to send him birthday messages on his main present, his very own phone.  He enjoyed that very much.


Although we love Queenscliff, we actually spent more time at the nearby beach at Ocean Grove, where the waves are ideal for boogie-boarding: shallow, long-lasting and predictable.  The water there was warmer than at Queenscliff too, meaning I could get more than my feet wet even if the day's temperature was below 30 degrees.  I love the surf, and I love riding waves on the boogie-boards, even more, I think, than the kids do.  I ended up buying myself my own board, and leaving most of the water supervision to Fixit, while I rode wave after wave, sometimes with the kids, sometimes not.  It's such a brilliant feeling, when you've judged the wave exactly right and you are carried along on the crest.   The kids and I laughed and whooped. Next year I've promised myself a wetsuit, so I can swim every day like the rest of the family.

On the last night, Climber's birthday, we were joined by my sister and Cherub's best friend, because the nice thing about renting your own holiday house is being able to invite people to visit.



On our final day, the weather was cold, with a fierce southerly gale, but obviously we still had to go to the beach. The kids and Fixit  braved the water, but my sister and I wrapped ourselves up in sarongs and shivered on the sand.



Then it was home to Melbourne - via the Queenscliff Lolly Shop for trip provisions - to rinse off all the sand, greet the kitty and deal with the frightening amount of laundry.


Can't wait until next year.