Remember how the other day we went to buy Ted some new goggles that didn't pull his eyes down into some sort of grotesque Asian caricature? Well we managed to find some that were pretty close to purple. I was kind of disappointed he chose these, since I really wanted to boycott this brand (eyeline). They only sold two types of goggles - pink and blue. Honestly, what would happen if a girl wore blue goggles? I personally think she'd sprout spontaneous testicles right there and then. And a small boy - what would happen to him if he donned some pink goggles? Well obviously he'd be gay. So luckily *phew* we dodged the bullet and the blue goggles were close to purple so we didn't have a gay son. Because of course then we'd have to completely disown him. Because it's such a blight on life and society and all.
/sarcasm (but never /rant because it is just so small minded and bigoted that it should never be a rant that ends until that kind of bollocks is eradicated)
Ted decided to hang around in the big pool while Harriet had her lesson, which was heaps of fun. He basically just jumped into the pool over and over and over again. He still needs to feel confident putting his head first into the water, but otherwise he does love to get wet.
Harriet has been thoroughly enjoying swimming lessons this time around and she loves to do all the activities that I remember loving - handstands, somersaults (forwards and backwards), crazy jumps, spins - accompanied by the requisite calls for me to "Watch, Mama!". Also "Time me doing this, Mama!" and "Count how many times I do this, Mama!" have made their appearance as well.
As we were driving home we were listening to ABC radio and there was a talkback about children's classic books. It started out as a discussion about Australian children's classics such as The Muddle-Headed Wombat, The Magic Pudding, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, etc. and then grew into a discussion about children's classics such as The Famous Five. Of course being that this is Harriet's current reading interest she became intrigued in the conversation and asked if she could call in. Cue me pulling over quickly into a carpark on Princes Hwy so that she could call up. I was so proud of her! She spoke to the producer and then to the presenter. Unfortunately she accidentally pressed the 'end' button on the phone with the side of her head, but she did so well before that, especially considering how nervous she was - you would have had no idea when she was on air. Go Harriet!
To make the phone-in serendipitously timed, as we pulled in home the package of the first ten, second hand, Famous Five novels had arrived at last! Harriet rushed inside, ripped open the parcel and started reading pretty much straight away. So that should keep her entertained for about twelve days.
I was really tired when we got back home and as I lay on the Ted's bed somehow managing to engage in Wonka play as Grandpa Joe (let's all praise a book where a character lies in bed, it does a great service to parents), I did happen to drift into a light sleep. I was awoken by the raucous laughter and high volume singing of the two children. They were singing 'Hard Knock Life' together, whilst flinging Ted's clothes out of his drawers with great theatrical flair. And in no time at all they had managed to fling ALL of his clothes out. As can be seen here. And I put on my optimist's hat and realised what a great opportunity this was to clear out the unworn items that were in there and have a little cull. Which also timed in nicely with a friend popping over with a younger boy who had recently outgrown his wardrobe. Wonderful!
I've been finding since I've made a conscious effort to allow myself the time and space to explore child-free issues and experiences that I am much happier and more present with the children. It doesn't take much. Just reading novels for pleasure is a fantastic opportunity to recharge and rediscover my own sense of self and renew my breadth of interests. And of course since I've started running again after the pox and post-pox exhaustion has really helped with my mood and levity as well.
However no amount of self-guided experiences were going to negate the maelstrom of meltdown that was Teddy. He really was getting right to the end of his physical and emotional limits with the intensive swimming experience, especially since he as spending at least three hours daily in the pool.
This particular outfit cracked me up big time. He found this collared shirt and pinstriped pants in the great clothes pull-out of 2013 minutes earlier, and got himself dressed. It should also be noted that he was wearing a long sleeved top underneath and it was easily over 30 degrees this afternoon. He told me that he was dressed as "a boss of people who are doing work and can you please do some work Mama and I can tell you what to do? Because I am a boss of people working just like Papa is." WHERE does he get this stuff from?! That kind of attitude is pretty much anathema to our ideological existence! He even sought out the bow tie specifically in order to complete the ensemble.
And this is the kind of face that I see when I tell WIlly Wonka that I can't play with him because I'm just too freaking tired to lift myself out of the chair. Impressed? I think not. Check out the self righteous indignation of that right hand on the bamboo walking stick. I can feel the judgment from here!
Harriet had, the day before, filled a tub (or maybe it was a glass, I can't remember) with water, in order to have a huge iceblock to suck on when the weather got a little hot. Here she has taken it out and is basking in the delicious experience that sucking on ice can offer. Mmmm.
Lately Ted, as well as being very very tired, has also been flexing his independence muscle around the house. He has been flatly refusing to engage in activities such as tidying up, cleaning things or helping with cooking. Odd. Odd and frustrating. And when we're all tired and a little frazzled the experience of defiance can be more trying than it needs to be. I had asked Ted to tidy up the tub of little figures that he had dumped all over the playroom floor in the morning. And I asked again. And I discussed with him why it needed to be done. And we talked about how we all had jobs to do in order to keep the house functional for all of us. And so it went all day. Not as a tirade, but as a gentle yet persistent reminder as various times when the little figures became a problem in the playroom.
And then the wheels fell off. Ted lost it. He was screaming and writhing all over the playroom floor. I was so tired by this stage that I couldn't really handle the angry foot stomping and resistance with the parenting panache I wanted to. James was hot and tired from having just stepped in the door from work.
Enter Harriet, the patient parent. She engaged Ted in a way that totally shamed us both. She organised a game using a die and with whatever number he rolled, that was how many figures he had to pick up that time. Ted loved it. He ran with it. The whole playroom was picked up and tidy within minutes. And I remembered that at times like this I needed to switch channels and think a bit differently.
We had a walk-by from the birthday girl and family, and I was so tired I couldn't even rouse myself from the lounge. I managed to snap this shot from my position on the lounge and that was it. Bedtime for the children. Rest time for the adults. And no blogging. Now I'm running days behind, whoops!