Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Climber and The Octopus Pool.

Unlike his spendthrift younger brother, Climber has always preferred to put aside his birthday and Christmas money.   I think he quite likes having money, as opposed to spending money.  He only wants to spend it on stuff that he really wants, specifically stuff that he doesn't think will come to him any other way.  And (again, unlike his little brother) he doesn't really want a lot of stuff. He is currently sitting on a nest egg of a couple of hundred dollars, and I'd been thinking I really ought to get around to opening a bank account for him, just in case he started frittering it away on illicit sugary treats.  But then he suddenly announced last week that what he really wanted was to buy a kid's pool for our backyard, and could we take him shopping please.

Although I did think this would be a fun way for him to spend his money, his request made me remember that somewhere in the deeps of the junk cupboard in the sewing room was an inflatable pool that someone had given us a long time ago.  It seemed worthwhile to check if that one was any good before making a trip to a shopping mall. 

The pool from the back cupboard turned out to be quite fancy, with a central octopus fountain that also doubled as a quoits game.

Fixit set it up for the boys, and they did have a happy frolic in it, but I think on Climber's part it was less than wholeheartedly. Not because of anything wrong with the pool, just that it had dashed his dreams of owning his own pool, although of course he never said as much. With words anyway. He walked away from it after a surprisingly short play, not sulky, but not happy either.

However, on day two, Climber went out on his own to play in the octopus pool, and after half an hour of wild splashing he came in and said I'm sorry I said that pool wasn't very good. It's really cool. I really like it.

And then the games were on.



Other backyard equipment - of course - was dragged in to improve the set-up.


I made sure Fixit came out to supervise the safety of the procedures. Some of the slide-balanced-on-a-milk crate stuff was making me nervous. I'm such a sissy.


Of course, if Climber still wants to buy his own we could do that. It would be pretty cool to be thirteen years old and to own your own pool.


But meanwhile, it brought home to me the way in which Climber is often the catalyst for fun stuff around here. He's always been a dreamer, but he's very good at making his dreams come to life. I love that about him. He could have a happy life with those skills.

Friday, February 07, 2014

A desk of one's own and other bits and bobs

The end of January, and indeed the start of February, went by in a bit of a blur. In between getting my ducks in line for the start of the kids' school year and my new term of tap, I zipped up to Sydney to see my Mum who has had a pacemaker inserted. It was good to spend time with my Mum.  We didn't get up to much because she was recuperating, but I really like her little area of Sydney and we managed a stroll or two every day and some nice together-time.  I am feeling grateful to live in this age of medical miracles. A tiny machine inserted in her shoulder and a life-threatening condition is fixed.  She was fit to go home the same day and will tick away safely for many years to come. Amazing.

26 Jan 2014 7:14 pm

While I was away Fixit and the boys were gainfully employed helping my aunt and uncle move out of their city flat and fully into their beach home.  Poor fellows were working in a nasty heatwave, which made me feel guilty for not being there to look after them and happy because I was enjoying some beautiful balmy Sydney weather and the air-conditioned comfort of my Mum's house.  No-one likes a Melbourne heatwave. The hard work and high temperatures took their toll on the boys, who fell asleep on the floor in the middle of the day, something they haven't done for years.

27 Jan 2014 3:56 pm

I made it back to Melbourne in time to see my baby off to his first day in Grade Five.  The big end of school.  He looks too small for all that.

29 Jan 2014 8:40 am

Climber started Year 8 a couple of days later.

31 Jan 2014 8:22 am

It is like a switch has been flicked in Climber's head.  Last year he seemed rather foggy about what-things-needed-to-happen-when, a fairly common reaction to the rigours of Year 7, I'm told.  But at the start of this year, he started really thinking about getting himself organised, and not just thinking: doing.  The new-found focus was first evident when he asked if Fixit could make him a desk. Fixit knocked him up a temporary one, thus.
4 Jan 2014 2:14 pm
Then we inherited a proper desk which Fixit modified for a small space.  I suggested we put the hulking great [white-elephant] landlord's wardrobe to use, by removing the door and putting in some shelves, and Fixit obliged. Prior to that it had only been good to store toys in-and-on-top-of; the doors didn't fit properly and were a nightmare to open and we don't need much hanging space for the sort of clothes my kids tend to wear. So now Climber's schoolbag and books and uniform have an organised place to be, instead of (despite my nagging) all over the kitchen floor. What's more he has been sitting down enthusiastically to complete homework. It is a beautiful thing.


The Climber was very busy fitting out his new workspace, whipping up a homemade pen holder and a calendar, and asking Fixit to make him a bookend for the textbooks.  His grandmother will be pleased to hear he has been using the reference books she sent him last year to help with English grammar work.  I am observing all this focus and drive with great admiration and some relief.

Our desk donor also bequeathed us a bookshelf which has provided somewhere to store lego creations, textbooks and trophies.  And the ukulele. Perfect.

All in all, it has been a very good start to the school year.