Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Day in Photos

On Monday I was just kicking it back with Ted, doing our thing, when I realised by about 12 that I had taken a photo of a couple of little activities we'd been up to. So I thought, why not go with it, continue on and do a blog post of our day in photos? So here you have it - Monday the 19th of September 2011 as lived by Ted, Harriet, Cass and James. I would like to point out that I took these photos without having any need to make them look good. They are little more than snapshots; mostly out of focus, poorly composed and not of anything particularly interesting, colour range all over the place. But that's not the point of them, they're there just to record what we did.

And now - on to our day!

Well the reason I started taking photos was because I was in making the beds in the children's room. Harriet's bed isn't ever really 'made'. She sleeps in her sleeping bag every night, so not much to do there! But Ted has a quilt, cover and blanket so I was faffing about in there. As I was pulling the blanket up I realised Ted had been quiet for he entire time I'd been making the bed. I yelled out "Ted, are you allowed to be doing whatever it is you're doing right now?". The reply rang back "Yes Mama". I walked out in to the lounge room to see my brand new moisturising tub less than half full. The remaining amount was mostly heaped on top of his left foot, and he was busy swirling large circles in the white mass on our floorboards.

What made me smile about that was that I *had* actually told him he could use some moisturiser, which is why he had no problem with thinking what he was doing was going to be a-ok with me. Lesson learnt - don't make the beds.

I actually had a big laugh whilst cleaning it all up because secretly I've always wanted to have some sort of crazy story like that from a toddler. Harriet just never did anything crazy like that. EVER!

Then Ted and I chatted about life, the universe and everything as he sees it. Talk came around to Harriet's school going to the zoo on Tuesday, and Ted talked about how he loves elephants. He particularly loves the elephant t-shirt that Grandpa made for him, which is unfortunately on its way out in terms of size. So to compensate I made an impromptu elephant trunk (also doubling as generic animal tail too). I was quite pleased with my effort! Just stuffed a stocking leg with newspaper, tied it off about half way down the leg with a knot, then cut down the rest of the leg so that it was two long strips and used those to tie around his neck (for trunk) or waist (as a tail). Too easy! Ted was quite taken with it for all of about ten minutes. Remarkable.

Then he had a pretty big sleep whilst I went hardcore with the washing. Unfortunately I didn't take a photo of it, but I ploughed through about three or four loads of washing, as well as put away the three loads of washing that were sitting around from a few days ago. *ahem* Keeping up with the washing is not my forte. Then he woke up and mucked around on my lap for a while. It takes Ted AGGGGEEESSSS to wake up.

But once he decided to join me in the land of the living he proclaimed the next round of fun to be...running around in circles. Literally! So we did. Run around and around the backyard. If you've been here you'll know that I'm not exaggerating when I say our yard is small enough to make me dizzy when running in circles.

So we stopped running. And then it was on to more discussion. Here it looks as though Ted was anticipating some sort of divine intervention. I was probably wondering if I would ever drink a cup of hot tea again in my life.

On the weekend we moved the lavender from one garden bed to another, so we snipped off the large number of beautiful flowers that had erupted in the past couple of weeks. Turns out you do this so the plant concentrates on producing a new root system rather than producing flowers - really, shouldn't that be obvious? Is lavender really that incapable of ensuring its own survival? But here we are. So these are all the lavender heads we cut off, and that I'm drying out in anticipation of making some lavender pillows for some children I know who find it difficult to fall asleep. Three guesses on who they may be.

Then of course it was on to the interminable game of 'music class'. Here Ted is turning on the cd and finding his song of choice (usually we start off with 'Knees, Knees', then move on to Michael Finigan or 'Duke York').

This time it was Michael Finigan - here Ted is demonstrating the verse where he dies. I'm not sure Mr Finigan looked quite that adorable when he passed away but the legacy of his song lives on to monopolise my playroom on a daily basis nonetheless.

And music class always involves the ongoing, enthusiastic, and all-consuming use of instruments. Here Ted is demonstrating 1.) glockenspiel mallets can be useful for those who choose to paint their toenails and 2.) baths are for other children.

The problem with music class is that it takes a while to bring Ted around to playing anything else, but after much discussion we make it to the car, drive to the school, circle a few times to find a place to park, and then walk down to retrieve the first born. This is an uncharacteristically co-operative photo of Ted. Normally his involvement with picking up Harriet involves running in the opposite direction to the school whilst laughing maniacally. No I am not joking. Or even exaggerating actually.

There she is! As you can see I really meant it when I said these photos are not for glamour. Of course, taking a glamour shot of Harriet would be an exercise in extreme photography that I would not be happy to partake in. The 'extreme' part would involve the emotional lengths to which I would have to travel to ensure any sort of agreement to my requests. Shooting unseen, as I have now perfected, seems to be my best option to continue Harriet's photographic history.

Ted does love his sister. The posters around the house declaring that "Ted is SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO annoying" might spell otherwise for Harriet but when push comes to shove she does display him a lot of love and affection. Usually this is when he's doing precisely what she wants him to do in a game of her choosing. Here she is demonstrating that her ability to lift Ted off the ground is a miracle. The fact her skinny body can lift the little lard boy off the ground is, in fact, a miracle.

We walked up to the car with Lucy and her family. Lucy is Harriet's best friend at the moment and they were talking excitedly about going to the zoo the next day. Once we left them Harriet was upset at not being able to follow them into the shopping centre. Or it may have been because the wind was blowing in another direction, I can't remember why. Anyhow the reaction was the same - pouty face and whiny wailing. Here, eat a banana and stop being so hypoglycaemic, child!

Since I didn't actually have a banana on me, I distracted the children by having them play with the public phones. Harriet momentarily forgot that she eschews physical activity with ongoing distaste by climbing a pole. She remembered halfway up and came back down again.

Ted, on the other hand, did his usual run-in-the-opposite-direction thing and then insisted on trying to climb this pole (spurred on no doubt by the uncharacteristic elevation of Harriet moments before). At this stage Harriet is standing by the car with the back door open screaming loud enough to wake the dead "TEDDY! GET IN THE CAR RIGHT NOW!". I just know she's going to be fine with vocal projection in school plays (just as I was coincidentally).

So the plan was to get in the car and drive to the cycle park where all the street signs and traffic lights are. We're on our way there when Ted looks out of his window and asks "What that is?" I say it's the park we go to with Lou. He replies "I want to go there now". Harriet says "Me too!". I reply "Really?" because by this stage I am level with the turn off I need to take to go there. The backseat chorus responds with "Yes!", so I screech around the corner, park and get out the bikes because there is a little cemented path running through the centre of the oval.

Remember that statement about Harriet's rejection of physical activity? Well of course she didn't actually ride her bike much, although she is getting the hang of it lately. Poor parents that we are we really haven't given her much of an opportunity to get out and have a try, so that was why I was attempting to get thee to a bike park. That and the fact that Harriet has been bugging us for weeks now to go cycling might have something to do with it. Well she loved the spinning thing anyway, as you can see (gawd I hate those spinning things).

Of course I had to text Lou, seeing as we were a full 5 minute walk from her house and, in total awesomeness, she was home and out of the house and in the park with both boys within ten minutes! Jaw droppingly impressive work! The children refused to stand in the incredibly gorgeous afternoon light that was streaming out over the oval, but hey, that's life. AT one point Ted stumbled into some good light by accident and this is the only shot I could get of him. *sigh* Oh yeah, photographing children, that sounds so much fun I might do it as a career.

As always, refueling was required. I had managed to pack some dried figs and rice crackers whilst attempting to wrestle Ted away from that music class game, and there was feasting to be had. Please notice in this photo: 1.) Ted squatting with his butt about an inch above the ground. I love that this is his default sitting position, while it drives Harriet crazy. 2.) Harriet is in the background looking petulant. I do believe it was because I hadn't had the foresight to pack the smorgasbord organic fruit salad she requested. Six year olds have it tough you know. 3.) Lou is having a little conversation with Ted. Ted loves Lou - in fact I think this may have been taken just after their first hug which Ted initiated, complete with coy smile and hiding behind my leg afterwards. Oh the cute, it hurts! 4.) Dexter has a new helmet on. Well of course you don't know Dexter's old helmet, but you can trust me, it really is new.

It's getting windy and colder and the children are getting a little on edge. As adults we decide that we should move the troops over to safer territory - the cafe across the road. As we cross the road they both start crying because they want to be there immediately (what's up with that, seriously? How on earth would these children survive in Africa?). Then they both start grappling my legs in an attempt to get me to carry both of them. In all fairness I have carried them both at the same time in the past, but today I have my camera and in order to continue with the day-blogged-in-photos I must continue with the camera. Yes, I choose my camera over one of my children. Sue me.

Ted wins the picking up tug-of-war by mere virtue of the fact that I can scoop him up with one arm. Harriet runs off, not looking nearly as defeated as she should be, given she's lost out on the incredible embrace of her wonderful mother. Hmmm... So down the street we go, Hugo on bike, Harriet (unwillingly) on her own two legs, Dexter on bike out of sight and Ted in my arms.

But when we get to the cafe there's a slight problem. This delicious late afternoon light has deceived us. It's already nearly 5pm! Oh noes! Closing time! This is Ted's face while he waits for Lou to go in and talk to the barista and see if we can, indeed, prevail upon them for just one last drink before they turn off the machine.

Hooray! They can! They (impressively) oblige quite happily and Ted sips on his babycino, Harriet receives a hot chocolate and suddenly all is right with the world again.

But not only is all right with the world - I, as super mother (also known as mother-who-knows-her-blog-post-is-in-the-making) also purchases two gingerbread people on the sly. In the hope of taking a cute photo I pass them out to the children, only to find out that Ted can decapitate a gingerbread man faster than you can..well faster than you can lug a 5DII with 24-70 lens from around your shoulder and up to your eye.

Surprisingly Harriet didn't save her person to eat later. She actually ate some of her person then and there, and did end up eating it all before we got home in the car. Miracle! She has been reveling in saving things until 'last'. This may or may not have something to do with a certain two year old's inability to save things until last.

So we parted ways with Lou, Dex and Hugo, popped into the car and headed home. When we got there Ted did what all literate children would do in the same situation - head straight for the library book of The Gingerbread Man we had taken out from the library just the day before, settle down into the playroom cushions, and demand to be read the story covering the little piece of baked good he just consumed. To which I willingly obliged.

There is no mention of Harriet for the next twenty minutes or so. She was in the toilet. Twenty minutes is about her minimum. If I'm looking for library books I search in there first.

Then there was a ding-dong of the bell, a rattle of the keys and, there was Papa! Huzzah! So Ted immediately pulled him into his 'show'. This is very standard for Papa's entry at home. You can see here James hasn't yet had a chance to change from his work clothes.

And so it was on to dinner time! While Ted slept I managed to set up the stuff for dinner, one of our staples - tacos. I had been slowly cooking the beans all day because I forgot to soak them the night before, but the rest if just chopping up stuff. Easy peasy! Ted ate in typical Ted fashion - standing on his chair, pushing a mouthful in either via hand or fork, then clapping his hands (not in applause, more as if to some internal tune) and doing a little hop-dance on the chair. It may seem impossible to believe, but he has only fallen off once and broken one glass doing this. Meanwhile James and I have had to learn to calm down, stop ourselves from screaming FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SIT DOWN AND STOP! and just let him be. In fact I see it was a big move that we were able to work on the climbing on the table issue we had. We actually managed to stop him from doing it over time, many many removals and quiet discussion. Wow!

Not normally a part of our routine during the week but Nana and Grandpa chatted on the computer with the children and James while I tidied up the nuclear radius that is Ted eating nachos. Yes that is Ted's naked butt. I would gently offer that you get quite accustomed to it - summer is on the way and quite frankly the boy doesn't like pants. I'm sure you're all just jealous at his pants free lifestyle anyway.

Then Ted, quite out of the blue, requested to call Grandad on my phone. Now I know he's obsessed with my phone and all, but he was quite specific about it and he wanted to call him right then and there. So we did. I'm not sure much of great interest was shared with Grandad during the phone call itself, but I'm not entirely sure that was the point. Ted was very taken with it and as you can see here, fell into the relaxed pose of the phone converser quite easily. But then it was time for bed, so I went in and put Ted to sleep in the bottom bunk bed (after reading a couple of Alfie stories, I will need to do that book post soon methinks).

I emerged to find myself a contestant in a love heart drawing competition. I didn't even know I'd entered to be a competitor! And then it turns out I won! Almost as good as a Nigerian bank scam but with much more love.

And with Ted down to sleep so (deceptively) easily, I was actually able to go for a run. Of course as a mother of two children no deed of my own is completed without multi-tasking and so it even is with my exercise. I ran up to the local supermarket to buy some supplies for Harriet's zoo trip the next day. Came home, played Celebrity Head with James and Harriet and then, after Harriet announced her move to the bedroom, I started to dance the familiar dance of the blogger/photographer/mother. Insert CF card. Upload. Open Bridge.

And there you have it, although Ted did wake up at 10pm and refused to go back to sleep until 2am. Oh yes, you read correctly. So that is why you're not receiving this post until Thursday. And let's face facts - the only people who have read through that epic are the grandparents. Maybe Lisa? It's a mammoth task! But it's here because this really was a very typical day for us. And it's so rare that you can remember the rhythm of your days after that time of life has passed. I'm sure I'll be pleased in ten years to look back on this and think "Wow, I'm glad I went to bed late three nights in a row in order to write out that ridiculously long and drawn out description of my day". So to future you, this was for you.

PS - Please excuse tense changes in this post. It was written over two nights and to be honest the thought of having to go back and proofread it is making even my grammatically astute brain start to melt.

NB: No children were harmed in the making of this day.


annie said...

poe and i read every word of your post and we loved it, thank you, we were having severe withdrawals. we have a four hour lull between visitors, annie, genevieve, olive and oscar just left and jen and rod are on their way! so much love

Lou said...

just grandparents huh? Puh! I read the whole thing. Granted, it took the better part of the afternoon/evening with dinner making, eating, clean up in between...but read it all I did!

jay said...

oops just realised i commented under annie's name, hmmm hopefully that clarifies things. love you

Selene said...

Also read the whole thing, love it, particularly the eloquent toilet door shot :D I love the idea, and might do one myself! I like how blogging in general captures life's nuances, things that might not be remembered, despite how precious they are.

Mama Mogantosh said...

Look, I'm completely new here and I read the whole thing too! Could it be because I too have an adorable, irrepressible three-year old Teddy? My version of your Harriet, however, is named Ivy. I really love your affectionate, hilarious descriptions, and I'm so glad I found your blog.