Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hear Ye, Hear Ye

So although you had thought I'd forgotten to come back in and update, I've just been doing not much at all.  See the Blah post from before.  As I said, it's not that I feel like crap or feel sad or anything like that, I just feel lazy.  Lazy!  The days have been more relaxing than usual lately - the children have been relatively stable and the crazy outbursts that they are prone to seem to happen maybe only once a day or so.  Very manageable, usually related to lack of sleep and not something that tries my patience too much or exhausts me emotionally like it did when the bouts were much more frequent throughout the day.

Ahhh...a long exhale and after the children are asleep, I've been tripping the light fantastic.  I've been out and about, enjoying my newfound evening freedom.  I've caught up with horrifically long neglected friends over a cider or two, been to my book clubs (yes I am in two and yes they were both held at pubs and yes one of them may have spilt over into a longer evening than expected...), and out to a dinner at Finger Wharf (James' boss shouted us a dinner at China Doll which was yummy). 

But there have been ongoing discussions about our awesome Medieval Festival experience a couple of weeks ago.  Just today Ted asked if he could please have a  wooden shield like the ones he ogled at a stall at the festival.  I introduced him to the concept of a Christmas list from which he may receive one or two items of our choosing in December.  Despite not really having a true grasp of time, he did seem to grasp that it wasn't going to happen any time in the next week or so, upon which he dissolved into tears.  Hmmm...

At the festival there was real jousting.  This was Ted's favourite part, apparently.  The lances had removable ends which smashed in a highly satisfying manner as they clashed with the opponent's shield.  The riders were dressed in chain mail and plate armour, the horses were decked out in the glorious coats of the time.  'Twas very cool (although the PA system wasn't very loud and we weren't really engaged with the machinations because we couldn't hear the announcer clearly).

The most frustrating aspect to the day had to be Harriet's $5. Oh man.  She had five dollars she could spend when there (I think it was from her busking money although I can't really remember).  As soon as we stepped through the entrance she began picking up items and asking "Is this five dollars?".  "Can I buy this with my money?" - it was just random stuff she was picking up, not even items she was interested in buying.  They were also usually hideously expensive too, like a full plate helmet worth about $400-odd and she was asking if she could buy it for five.  It grew old very, very, very quickly (ie: almost immediately).  Couple that with Ted's obsessive desire to play with a wooden sword he found at a shop literally as soon as we walked in and the day didn't look to be a great start.  James twirled around, bought the swords and announced that to be it.  For children that don't really want 'stuff', I decided to let my thoughts and pity fall to those parents who have children asking for things all the time, and I decided they must be near saints to resist the persistence. 

What did Harriet end up spending her money on?  A $5 archery experience, which was totally worth it and a great decision.  After a couple of dud pulls, she got the hang of it and nearly hit a nearby target with her last shot.  

Ted was enthralled by a medieval band, playing medieval styled instruments.  He refused to leave, watching them play for around twenty minutes until they went for a break.  I went up and asked if he could have a little look at the instruments they had there, to which the musicians enthusiastically discussed each instrument and answered our questions.  Ted picked up their business card, which has about ten instruments beautifully drawn on there.  He came home that night, stuck it on the wall next to his pillow and fell asleep literally with his arm extended touching the little card.  Feel the music love!

We also had a WONDERFUL experience with a magician (read: a fool) who performed this trick with three twenty cent coins and transferred them from one of his hands to Harriet's hand.  It really was magic to watch, especially given Harriet's current interest in magic tricks.  He was a true professional and we were all enthralled.

Her heart, however, laid with these wooden swords right at the end of our day.  The vendor had set up a little sanding station for children to sit and sand down the raw wooden swords he had made (from reclaimed pallets).  Harriet sat there for an hour.  An hour.  Sanding wood.  With a tiny piece of folded over sandpaper.  For an hour.  She had somehow grabbed hold of the idea that if you sanded enough swords over a long enough period, that you would be given one.  When that dream was shattered she, too, was shattered.  Sobs.  Wracking sobs.

Another hit these school holidays has been our trip to the Opera House tour run for children.  It was raining and freezing cold, but we were all in a great mood.  Harriet even volunteered to pose for a photo. Hey the what now?  Ted wore his dress from Harriet and got 'girl' all day, not that either he or I cared.  Harriet received a bag full of goodies, including colour pencils in a funky tube, a water bottle (sans any labeling which I found rather odd but refreshing) and among other things I can't remember,  a little booklet to fill out about the tour.

There was a nice little group of us walking around.  We got to go into a few different theatres where the mechanics were setting up -  for Aida in one and for Flight of the Conchords in another.  Ted loved the part where the guide told us that Utzon had wanted people to feel as though they were sailing aboard a ship at one point.  He has mentioned it time and time again in the week since, and cracked up laughing about it.  So cute!  

Harriet loved learning about how many tiles there are on the sails (1 056 006 if you'd like to know), and the division of the theatres (one side holds only opera and ballet shows, and the other holds everything else).  Ted loved that one whole side was covered in deep purple carpet.  We all loved that!

The trip home was arduous and exhausting, but only from the end of our street.  Why can it take sooooo long to move children those last hundred metres?  Ted also loved to run in the opposite direction of where we were wanted to walk, but we had no timetable and he was having a ball chasing after seagulls - I was just left wishing I'd brought my e-reader so that I could have been working on my book club books.

And what a lovely little segue into my recent book buying foray.  I wanted to buy Teddy a few new books, since I am usually more focused on purchasing new books for Harriet (it's tricky to always keep up with her book interests from op shops alone).  Voices in the Park is by one of our all time favourite authors, Anthony Browne (he of Gorilla and Shape Game fame, to name just a couple).  Ted really enjoys this book and I've read it twice in a row a few times.  The Little House is just beautiful - I really love this book.  Ted does too...BUT it's too sad for him!  Even though it has a happy ending, I volunteered that as a bedtime book the other night and he refused, on the basis that "the house is too sad to be in the city", after which he snuggled right into me because he was upset about the house!  If you think your little one won't be upset at the emotional disposition of an old house in the city, then please feel free to purchase this gorgeous book, sight unseen.  I'm going to hang on to ours in case Ted can work through his empathy sufficiently to read it again one day.

Anna Milbourne is a favourite author in this house - in fact she wrote the very first children's book I ever bought in anticipation of our own children, before I even knew I was pregnant.  We bought On the Moon when browsing in a bookstore because it just looked so darn cute and the protagonist looked a little like what we thought our (at that stage) mythical daughter might look like.  Lo and behold, she does look a little like her.  We also have In the Castle which is perfect for our Middle Age interested family.  This latest acquisition, How Big is a Million?, is so cute.  I found it hidden amongst a list of preschooler books of choice on someone's blog and recognised the author's name, got excited, and bought it.  It's fantastic, but I can't tell you what Pipkin finds a million of...

Eats, Shoots & Leaves is a picture book for grammar nerds.  It has a correctly punctuated sentence on the left hand side, with an accompanying picture above it. Then on the right hand side, it has the sentence punctuated incorrectly and the accompanying illustration points out how the punctuation has changed the meaning.  Ahhhh...it just can't get old, can it? 

The others were acquired from a particularly good day at the local op shop.  Alexander's Outing is set in the city of Sydney, so Ted loved reading it after our Opera House tour.  Angel Mae is by Shirley Hughes, so no more needs to be said on how sweet that tale it.  And Rosie's Holiday is a random find which is about a little girl who doesn't want to leave home to go on holiday, then falls in love with her holiday experience and doesn't want to leave the holiday home, only to fall back in love with her home when she gets there.  Perfect for children who find transitions difficult! 

This post is starting to get veeryyy long, apologies!  Just a brief journey into some other school holiday shenanigans.  We constructed a pretty awesome large cubby in the backyard.  In fact it was so cool, that we invited Harriet's best friend over to play in it with her.

Then, in a flash, the house was full of children!  Dressing up, running around, making mothers feel cold by their refusal to don clothing in plummeting temperatures.  Priya popped in to this maelstrom while Zoe zipped up the road for a short while and everyone played together so delightfully.

There was a lot of love, so Lucy and Harriet hatched together a plan involving Harriet's first sleep over at a friend's house.  She had previously spent a night with Nana and Grandpa in their caravan, but not with another family.  Huge!  She was so excited about heading off and wrote up a list of essentials to ensure nothing was forgotten (Bear was taken along too, which must have surprised him).

While she was there, our diminished family of three went on a pottering adventure.  I fell in love with a new shop (this was just one small nook in a double storey extravaganza of retro and vintage accessory, furniture, clothing and fabric awesomeness.  You won't find a bargain here by any means, everything is priced as it is properly valued at.  This can, of course, be rather shocking to the eye of the op shopper, however it was just so overwhelming finding so many beautiful objects in one area that I became inured to the pricing after a while and, since I wasn't buying anything anyway, just enjoyed the browsing and fun of exclaiming over items I recognised from my own childhood.

And James called me over to the wall of cases.  Awesome.  Gosh how I love that green case SO MUCH.

We arrived to pick up Harriet, knowing to expect tears.  But not only were there tears, there was hysterics.  Anger.  Rejection.  Here Lucy has thrown her despondent hair into Harriet's side, in horror at Harriet's departure.  Harriet, refusing to look at anyone from her own family, exhausted by sobbing for a good fifteen minutes or so, had finally resigned herself to sitting in the car.  

We invited Lucy to stay over at our house tomorrow night.  The logistics of it all will be interesting, given our limited space and sleeping environs, but I'll give feedback when we emerge from the other side. 

I'm hoping the walls don't heave from the emotional outpouring.

ps - apologies for the post length!  jeepers!  too much!


Lou said...

How did the sleep over go?!
The medieval festival looks great, we'll have to check it out next yr.

jay said...

you guys have been busy, how fun!

Mr Shell said...

I adore the green suitcase!!!!!! No doubt they want a fortune for it. If that's the warehouse I'm thinking it is, I could spend a whole day wandering that place (without kids of course). Cass, you are the second person this week to recommend The Little House - I must track it down. Do you know Goodnight Moon? It's a gentle bedtime book. My guys have outgrown it now, but it will remain a treasured family favourite that I'm sure my kids will read to their kids!

Brian McGuire said...

Fantastic Blog.. wonder if this might be of some interest here are some excellent Paisley Photographs of the Paisley Abbey Medieval Festival which took place on September 15th 2012. www.paisley.org.uk