Wednesday, February 23, 2011


There is a swing in our new backyard. Great, huh? Well the children love it. And therein lies the rub people, because there is ONE swing. And there are TWO children. TWO! And they can't fit on the swing together and they both want it immediately on arriving home from school pickup. Teddy loves it all. the. time. Yesterday I stood in the drizzling rain for nearly an hour pushing his delighted, giggling face in that swing. As soon as he wakes up he says "in the swing! Mama push behind!". When we're out he says "Home! In the swing!". When we're home he says "In the swing!". About the only way I can distract him away from the swinging device is to draw him inside with the promise of food and/or James coming home.

So I highly recommend installing *two* swings if you decide to landscape your backyard and include a children's play area. Let our experience be a lesson for all!

It has been a rather stressful few weeks with Harriet lately. She has been having major meltdowns constantly, especially walking from school up to the car. Every little thing starts her off, and it has made me on edge and stressed very afternoon. So I decided to reassess my approach. Playful Parenting was a book I read when Harriet was about two years old. It's a fantastic book and full of sweet anecdotes about the author's experiences as a play therapist. And although it was interesting when Harriet was two, to be honest it wasn't very relevant. She wasn't upset about anything that I couldn't fix immediately. She wasn't yelling at me that I was a bad parent. Or throwing her brother's toys across the room. Oh yeah, it's been a barrel of laughs around here lately.

So in an attempt to try and change the course of this stream, I pulled out Playful Parenting from my stack of parenting books and began to read. And how perfectly this book is placed to help me with connecting with Harriet at the moment. She still has meltdowns and still has periods where she can't really find her way to where she needs to be, but it has helped our relationship in general a LOT just in the last two days. I highly HIGHLY recommend this book, especially if your child is pushing you away or abusing you or you're finding it hard to connect.

So with my relationship with Harriet on the mend in the immediate future, I decided to go peering around my immediate environment. The backyard is so much fun now. Here is some wild marjoram - the flowers are so cute! I ripped some of this out and threw it over a big pile of roasted vegetables I made for dinner the other night and it was delicious!

I've always wanted my own lemon tree and now we have a lemon, lime *and* orange tree. Woot! The lemon tree arrived with some nice big fruit starting to grow on it and it makes the whole backyard-as-potential-fruit bowl feel a lot closer.

There's a single chilli plant. And really, that's all you need. This sucker is producing a motherload of chillis and I've already picked off about a handful and stored them away in the kitchen for James the Chilli Man to chow down on them as desired.

This, we suspect, will be our first tomato. It's the first flower to open anyway, so it gets kudos for that alone. Given our history of wild, huge tomato plants I'm hoping to replicate that in the last month or two of warm weather (says she sitting in flannelette pyjamas in February). They're not cherry tomatoes unfortunately but that might mean they'll make it from the backyard to the kitchen (unlike the cherry tomatoes which were consumed en masse in the backyard two summers previous).

Our first strawberry is, well, a little on the pathetic side. This is it. Smaller than my little fingernail, it's a weird bud kinda fruit. Harriet is still eyeing it off. I guess it IS still a strawberry, despite it's tiny size.

I'm holding out better hopes for this sucker, growing happily under the shade of some leaves and hoping to make a jolly fat fruit we can divide up between two children. Now one swing may be a problem to reckon with but one strawberry? Can anyone say parental aneurysm?

In one of the limestone rocks on the edge of the play area there is a large cavity. It doesn't go through to the other side but is tantalisingly big enough to suggest a hole to hide things in. And that's just what happened. A few nights after our new backyard was finished, Harriet was outside and found a FAIRY in there! Apparently there is an invisible door to Fairyland in there and fairies can come out to play in our world. Looks like the ones that get stuck out on the human side get transformed into wooden or porcelain fairies. This little one I spied contemplating life amongst the lavender.

And finally, when I went inside to peer around the house, I found this awaiting me. Ted slept for four hours today. Sounds great, huh? Except that I kept waiting for him to wake up at every moment! I did NOTHING constructive! It was supposed to be a quick put down after an early wake up at 5.30am, but he just kept sleeping...and sleeping. James made me feel even better by letting me know of all the things I *could* have done - watch a couple of movies for example. Of course as soon as I put on the DVD player he would have woken up. You all knew that, right?

Well if you didn't know that all I can surmise is that you don't have children. Enjoy your movies!

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