Sunday, February 10, 2013

You've Heard of the Two-Speed Economy...

...well I'm here to introduce you to the two-speed household. 

It has been fun-crazy-busy for me this past week.  Busy during the days and then I've been out of the house of an evening for around four days and hadn't turned my computer on for about the same.  I've peeked briefly at my iPad just in case I was missing anything urgent, but the influx from freecycle means I often miss a lot of other personal emails as I scroll rapidly.

On Saturday it was the first day I hadn't had something (or five things) booked in and although I did have to make two little shopping trips to buy some supplies, I was otherwise committed to nothing much at all.

I had a great day, although admittedly I woke up yelling.  Literally.  The children were in the bedroom screaming and jumping all over us and I, running on little more than about four hours sleep each night for the past few nights, was less than gracious about it in my half-awake state.

But after a cleansing run through the house with a sponge and broom, I was feeling a lot better (love a bit of angry cleaning - is it just me?  I can get MUCH more housework done in ten minutes of an angry clean than I can when I do my normal happy-clean [and yes, I normally quite enjoy tidying/cleaning because I love the clear frame of mind I'm in when my space is clear]). 

What made this morning hilarious for me was that Harriet and Ted decided to set up their own fun park.  It was AWESOME!  They started with the 'ghost ride' which ended up evolving into a 'spook walk'.  Harriet drew this fantastic ghost on a few pieces of paper, cut out the eye holes for Ted, and that's a little speech bubble emitting an ominous "Oooo" in case you're wondering.

James found them sticking the paper on to Ted's hair to begin with, so he suggested that perhaps the Alice band may work a little better.  Harriet's attention to detail for the ghost's blood was impressive - she had it just as red marks but then decided they looked too artificial and returned to them with a small paintbrush of water to create just the effect of real blood she was looking for.  I find the final effect quite convincing.

 See the coverlet above?  That was draped over two chairs.  As you entered (and picked up one of the lanterns as directed by the sign), you wandered around the outdoor area until Ted suddenly sprang out from underneath the cover and yelled "Oooohhhh" at you.  Great stuff. 

The swing and the rocking blue bouncy that we have were set up as the more traditional play areas in the fun park.  Then just in case you thought this may have been like any other amusement park, there was a sign to correct you and your assumptions.  As you walked towards the side entrance to the house, I noticed these signs.  The top one says 'splash pool' and the lower one (disappointingly; I have a 'thing' about the word kids) says little kids with an arrow directing me down to the side of the house. The splash pool was a bucket by the outdoor tap, with a funnel to help users direct the 'splash' in a more controlled area.  I funneled some cooling water on to my legs and arms and then moved on to the 'little kids rides'.  

 I loved this.  There was the ride-in car of Ted's, a bucket of water with a funnel as well as the stacking cups.  You can see the signs suggested users were three years of age and under, so I refrained from playing where I wasn't wanted.  Ted, however, played there with great abandon for quite a while - Harriet really knew how to appeal to the market audience.

Returning back to the back lawn there was a 'toy pool', where Harriet had set up a place where you could let toys slide down a sheet of plastic into a pool at the bottom.  It was so freaking adorable I thought I'd explode from exploring it all. Not only that, but users were directed "to the gift shop" in order to purchase toys to push down the slide!  Genius!  She's obviously been paying attention at every museum we've ever been to.

There was also a craft corner in the playroom and a map was drawn for each visitor.  I will endeavour to grab a photo of the map for posterity - there was so much work in the whole event it really warmed my heart.  I did at one point wonder whether we should invite some other children over to play in it but Harriet hadn't mentioned it as a possibility, they were playing so well together and to be honest I didn't want anyone to come in and potentially burst their bubble and say the whole thing was less than totally perfect.  Which, of course, it was.


Once I came back from Spotlight, I then discovered the two of them playing 'Preschool' in the lounge room.  You can see there was a dress-up corner, a doll to play with (how I love Baby So-Real's face, she makes me smile), a music corner and here Ted is standing at the front reading out his story of choice to the class with his teacher listening on to his progress.  On the lounge they had specially designed sleep areas for regular naps and were having a wonderful time.

I decided to head on out to grab the other items I was looking for, which were all about setting up the backyard to look a little less like a cyclone had passed through.  So the rest of the afternoon was spent with Harriet pleasantly raking, turning soil, planting, mulching and watering. 

This is a frangipani which has flourished and flowered beautifully since I picked it up as an off-cut from freecycle months and months ago.  Harriet also loaned me her much-loved love heart stone from Poe as a short-term decoration at its base because I love the frangipani so much.

In an attempt to make our garden reflect our eating habits a bit more, I had decided to plant some mint since we use it in just about everything we eat.  I have my fingers crossed that it will flourish, spread and be able to keep up with our voracious minty-love.  Such a lot of expectation placed on the leaves of these three little plants!

Most visitors to our backyard will have at some point or another, have enjoyed the wild and plentiful strawberry plants that have lived well under our lemon and lime trees for the past two years.  However they had died down and seen better days, so it was time to rip them up and branch out into something else.  James did a bit of internet research to discover that onions and garlic are good companion plants for the citrus, so in lieu of garlic (which I was really looking forward to growing), Harriet and I sat down to work on planting our little seedling rows of onions.  I planted out the red and she planted out the brown and her glee at being able to possibly even pickle these onions was so sweet.  "They would be the most homemade pickled onions you could ever get then!" She exclaimed to me, wrist-deep in rich soil and blowing back strands of hair falling over her enlivened face.  We had a good ole chat out there planting away in the humid late afternoon sun.  Oh how I do love her and her way of looking at the world.


And last but not least, I pulled up the crazy wild poppy field that had sprung from the single poppy seed Teddy had sprouted at preschool last year.  There was one little bush still going strong and looking good, so I left that there.  Next to it I planted a single kale plant.  Why just one?  Well the soil here is a little stripped after many plentiful crops in the past, so I am trying to give it a rest.  However when I was browsing for the onions I couldn't help but pick up this little seedling and give it a go.  I do love kale and the idea of just picking a few leaves every now and then is intoxicating (yes I am easily pleased by my garden).


But what's all this about a two-speed household?  Well let me tell you - James did not quite have the day I had.  For some reason Ted was all over James in a not-so-great way.  Whining, whinging, being aggressive and defiant and generally oppositional at all suggestions and discussions.  For some reason I was spared this behavioural outburst and was able to step in as the calm parent when poor James (and poor overtired Ted) were finding it hard to work their way back to a fun and happy place.

Ted has really been amazing with some of the stuff he's been saying lately. On this particular day he asked James "So Papa, where did all the stuff for the Big Bang come from then?".  James replied "It's really difficult to explain and that's why some people believe in God".  Ted replied "Well when I grow older then I think I'll believe in God because it's so difficult to understand".  *snort*   Ah, using religion as the intellectual shortcut is such an admirable road to walk, Ted.

And Sunday was totally awesome.  But more about that later.

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