Thursday, 7 June 2012

Missing the Fireworks

I have vivid memories of the Queens birthday long weekend when I was a child.

It would start by following along  behind my dad to buy the family fire works…I remember the gunpowder smell in the shop and all the fireworks tantalizing displayed behind the glass with their faded package pictures and Chinese instructions. They had promising names like Bangers, Carnival Spray, Scarlet Fury and Star Hell! My brother and I would desperately be searching for our favorite…the parachute and beg out dad to get them. We were so  excited!

My dads ritual was to prepare the fireworks by lining them up and undoing the sticky tape that stuck the fuses on to the cardboard shell of the firework. I guess he did this to ease ignition in the dark later on.  He would also painstakingly separate each of the fireworks that were grouped together so that his money and our fun would go further. Knowing that we still had hours to wait before he set them off felt like torture!

I so clearly remember him chopping the firewood for our BBQ. I remember the smell and the crackle of the pale white pine wood that we’d have. Who could forget the taste of the charred sausages and marshmallows.

I remember the almost childish cheeky look in my dads face, his home rolled drum cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth as he ordered us to stand back in preparation for the explosions!

Off course the fountains and sparklers were fun, …but us kids really wanted those parachutes….as they were fired we would desperately try and follow the smoldering little plastic man launched high into the night sky by the fireworks. We’d hold onto those half burnt parachutes like our life depended on it.

These memories are special because my Father left when I was just 11 years old…

….But, all those memories are of a different time. Nowadays fireworks have been banned for safety reasons. Off course we have the mass displays for New Years and Canberra Day, but it’s just not the same I think.

Luckily, living in the ACT, we were able to share the experience of home fireworks with my girls when they were little. The ACT was still able to have fireworks up until a few years ago. When I looked at the excitement in my daughters faces, It felt like I was a child again myself. Their smiles, hands over the ears, anticipation.  Sharing the party atmosphere with neighbors and friends. Watching their brave Daddy go and light the fireworks. Just like my dad, I think GrumpyDaddy had just as much fun as the kids!

Unfortunately, I think my daughters would have be too young to remember, and they won’t get the chance to share the memories with their kids…..luckily I’ll have these photos to show them J

Buster and me


Flash, Muscles and family friends

Flash and her BFF 

Sharing my memories of fireworks over at Flog Your Blog friday at With Some Grace and the Aptly titled Flash Blog Friday at Twinkle in the eye.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Winter Preschool PJ Day

Pyjama day at preschool is just so cute! Even if you get some funny looks from passers by on the way to school :). Winter is well and truly here and even the best attempts to brighten up the preschool playground, seem to be in vain....

I'm joining in with  My Little Drummer Boys, Sakura Haruka,  and Tina's for Wordless Wednesday. Pop over and see some great Wordless Wednesday photos!

My Little Drummer Boys

Monday, 4 June 2012

….An Emotional Sports Parent

Yesterday, my girls raced in the ACT schools cross country championships. In my last post I wrote about how we were all  feeling excited and anxious about the day…..but I could never have predicted what was going to happen…..

On that post, a lovely Mom from Fly Like A Girl, who I have connected with through blogging, left a thoughtful comment. She said that there was a difference between a crazy sports parent and an emotional one. Well, today, I’m an emotional one….

The girls, excited before the races

The day started with nervous anticipation. My 7 year old daughter, Muscles, took to the starting line of her race. The course was blanketed in a think layer of fog, which gave an eerie atmosphere to the race. I stood at the apex of the first corner to watch the girls disappear into the fog…with my little girl firmly in the lead as they ran out of site.

Muscles in the lead........

I rushed down to the finishing straight full of excitement to watch the final part of the race. As I stood with my family, we strained our necks to get a glimpse of the girls and we couldn’t see Muscles. . As the girls turned into the finishing straight there was still no sign of my little girl.

My heart sank because for weeks, I had been reassuring her about the race and telling her that she would be fine….I knew how much this race meant to her. I thought that she must have run too hard at the start and was too exhausted to maintain the pace. I new that she would be upset.

We waited at the line, still searching for a glimpse of my girl…the last stragglers finished and still there was no sign of her.

Now my heart was pounding! What had happened???

I went straight to the marshalling tent to find one of our lovely teachers was already making enquiries. Finally (at least it felt like forever, but was probably just a minute), a call came in from one of the course marshals requesting first aid for a injured girl.

So, off I went…running that cross country course myself to find my daughter.

It turned out that she had fallen and badly injured her ankle. I carried her back…while she cried and shook from the pain and the disappointment, and the relief from seeing me.  It also turned out that there was no first aid at the course….Luckily, our school had brought a first aid kit so at least we had some ice and bandages to help ease the swelling.

Little Buster was very concerned for his big sister...

Today we are off to see the sports doctors to see what the damage is. Her ankle is very swollen and bruised! She is devastated that she can’t do her gymnastics training with her major competitions coming up. Last night the poor little thing cried herself to sleep…

….Back at the cross country carnival my oldest daughter, Flash (9) ran 4th in her race….to be completely honest, I don't think her heart was really in it.

So today I am an emotional sports parent. I haven’t quite got my thoughts straight yet. I know that injuries are a part of sport…I know that she'll probably be fine in a few weeks.....but it is so hard to see my child go though that...It was a tough day at the office for this mum.

linking up with Diary of a SAHM for #IBOT (I blog on Tuesdays)

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Proud to be a Sports Parent

Well, tomorrow the Sporty Girls will be racing in the ACT schools cross country championships ( if the weather holds out).

The girls are nervous and excited…and so is their mum!

I understand that you may be wondering what I have to be nervous and excited about. It is true that it is not me racing…it’s my daughters. But nervous excitement is what I am feeling.

I could do the ‘done thing’ here and  complain about the wind messing up my hair, making my latte cold or getting mud on my fashionable Italian leather boots….but that is not me, and not how I feel. Thanks to the east coast low it will undoubtedly be cold, windy and probably raining. But I will be there supporting my girls….and enjoying it!

I have been thinking about why I feel this way before my children’s races…..

It’s not because I am living my dreams through my children. I had a very fulfilling and exciting childhood with my own successes and failures…which I am content with. I never even entertained the notion of competing at the state-championships in sport.

It’s not because I base by self-worth on the success of my children. Off course I want them to be happy, but I am also happy with the achievements I have made in my own life, and the achievements I have yet to make. I do not need the success of my children to make me feel worthy!

Am I emotionally invested in the girls events? Of course I am. I am their mum…Their biggest supporter. I have friends who are staunch supports of football clubs and I know they feel emotionally invested, nervous and excited before he games too.

I also felt this way when the girls were performing in the school Christmas concert or when my daughter sat her NAPLAN, or when my daughter had a suspected appendicitis…so it’s not just sports that make me feel nervous for the kids,

I have read so many negative things about youth sports parents on the internet. From people claiming youth sports brings out the worst in adults to parents being the worst part about youth sport. I am not naive enough to think that youth sport is all butterflies and rainbows, but I know a lot of parents involved with  children’s sport. By a far majority these parents are supportive and sensible.

I have seen  crazy sports parents, but I think it is unfair that all parents of kids involved in or excelling at sport are tarred with the same brush.

Don’t worry, I have some perspective too. I realise that  the girls are not ‘racing for Sheep Stations’ tomorrow. A brave little girl in my daughters class is in the grip of a life and death battle against rare cancer called neuroblastoma. I can only imagine the fear and anxiety that her family is going through. I know that they are doing everything they can to save her life and they are truly inspirational.

I know that tomorrow is just another race. I also know that this cross country race is very important to my girls and they will be giving it all they have……

So I have reached the point where I no longer feel embarrassed to admit feeling excited and nervous before my kids sporting events. I will love them just the same no matter what the result. I will be there to cheer them on for as long as they want to continue. I will share the successes and disappointments with them. I will be waiting at the finish line to hold them, and congratulate them……. because I am their Mum…

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Teachers Deserve a Medal

One of the best things about being a stay at home mum in the chance to help out in the children’s classrooms…….at least that’s what I keep trying telling my self…over and over again…..

You see the reality is that now my little man is in preschool two days a week, I have been looking at those two days as a weekend….a weekend that I’ve waited 9 years for!

One of the hardest adjustments I had to make from full time employment as a Scientist, to being a SAHM was that there are no weekends, no knock-off times…..every day and every night are just the same, all flowing into one big mass of responsibility!

So now I hold those two precious days as almost sacred….its so hard to leave my nice quite, warm house to go and help in a classroom of not just 3 noisy, snotty, demanding  children but…but 25!!

Anyway, my daughter’s year 2 teacher asked me come in and help out with some science experiments the children were going to be doing in class….one look at my daughters little expectant face, and I knew I had to go…..

It was my job to supervise the mixing part of the experiment where the children had to mix cocoa powder, icing sugar and puffed rice together….I was instructed not to let the children eat their mixes and was put in charge of 15 children!!

image credit
*not what helping the the classroom was like at all!!

Half way through the experiment, I discovered one little boy, hiding under the table, happily devouring the contents of his plastic cup. I called him out from under the table and he had chocolate saliva dripping from the corners of his mouth….He then asked me, with great difficulty because his mouth was full of chocolate rice puffs, if he cold get a drink.

I looked at him and with my best teachers voice,  my hands on my hips and a badly disguised smile, I asked…. “Have you been eating your mix??”  There is no prizes for guessing what his response was….it was of course an emphatic “Nooooo!” I just could help but laugh, and told him to ask his teacher for a drink…..

I did actually have some fun in the end…as I thought the experiment was a bit dry, I improvised a little. I added water to the kids mixtures and  I fashioned a cone filter from some paper towel. We then poured the mix through the filter to end up with clean rice puffs…the kids actually thought that part was pretty cool!  I don't think the teacher appreciated the mess we made though!!

I guess the day was kind of like exercising. I didn’t want to go at first….but I felt really good when I was finished. It was nice seeing my little girl interacting with her friends at school and it was nice to get to know some of the other kids as well.

I came away from the class room that day needing a stiff drink and a good lie down!! I also left with the thought that teachers deserve a medal…a great big shiny medal!

Flogging my blog today over at With Some Grace....get your raunchy pants on and have a look!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Apraxia: Thankful for a Reason to Hope

Two events have happened this week for my little boy (4) who has a severe speech delay called dispraxia (apraxia). Both these events have made me feel very thankful and have given me a reason for hope.

I have previously written about how I have made the decision to change speech therapists. Yesterday, Buster had his first session with the new therapist. I am thankful (in a bitter sweet kind of way) that the new speech therapist has given him a priority ranking. This means he will be seen each week for therapy. I am so hoping that this consistency can really start to see results for his speech.

It’s bitter sweet because her assessment confirms that he has a very severe speech difficulty and I am so worried for his future….The weekly sessions will also be costing $100 each time!….It’s looking like I’ll be trying to find some supermarket, shelf packing, night work!

The speech therapist said that she honestly believes that she can help Buster’s speech… I will do whatever it takes to give him the best chance that I can.

The other event that occurred in Buster life this week is that he had his interview to attend big  school (the same school his sisters attend). I am thankful that this interview went so well!  Buster managed to concentrate, and answer his questions…he then went on to charm the teacher with a rendition of his favorite preschool song… ‘The Wombat Wobble’ (complete with actions).

After the interview, the teacher asked Buster if he knew the way to the kindergarten classrooms. He shot up and valiantly declared….”follow me!!” It was just too cute!

I have had a very good experience with this school and I’m thankful (and a little relieved) that Buster will be going there next year.

I am also thankful that the kindergarten teacher is a lovely lady that I know from the old playgroup days ….we both attended the same playgroup when our eldest children were toddlers (Canberra is a small place!). This lady saw my eldest daughter struggle thorough her apraxia. I am thankful that having a prior relationship with the teacher will make communication easier and will help with my sons transition to big school.

So, small steps maybe….but I am feeling very thankful this week!

Linking up this post with Kate at Kate Says Stuff  for Thankful Thursday.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Discovery Playground at Tidbinbilla

*Tidbinbilla is a beautiful nature park in Canberra's south and was also featured in my last wordless Wednesday post here.

I'm joining in with  My Little Drummer Boys, Sakura Haruka,  and Tina's for Wordless Wednesday. Pop over and see some great Wordless Wednesday photos!

My Little Drummer Boys