3 under 3

The recent loss of Robin Williams has had a profound effect on most people I know. I grew up with this guy, he was in nearly all of my favourite movies as a kid. His tragic departure from this world feels a bit like a personal blow.

So, in honour of his memory, I have taken it upon myself to re-watch his movies. I’m sure many people are doing the same thing.

And I’m realising something: the man was an absolute genius. I kind of always knew it, but had never really thought about it properly in those terms. His ability as an actor, both comedic and serious, is probably second to none, in my opinion. Because you just believe him. You can see it in his eyes: he is fully in the moment in every scene. He absolutely believes in what he is saying. He is Mrs Doubtfire, Peter Pan, a robot called Andrew.

Today I relived my childhood a little by sharing Mrs Doubtfire with my kids. There were M&Ms, Cheezels and hot chocolates. There were couches, blankets and snuggles. And there was the magic of Robin Williams and one of my favourite of his characters, Mrs Doubtfire.

We laughed. I cried (just a little, to myself). And then I thought I would ask the kids what they thought of the movie:

Synopsis: “He’s a man and he dresses up a lady. A granny. I don’t know why. But he looks after some kids. They don’t know he is a man. But then two of them knowed it was a man.” (Neave)

Highlights “My favourite part is when he loses his face out the window! And when he threw a lime at the man.” (Tiernan)

“‘Do you need a hand?’ ‘No, I need a face!’” puts face into hands “Hello!” (Neave)

“Hellloooo!” (Molly)

Rating: “4 stars. Not as good as Aladdin, but I liked it!” (Tiernan)

Here is link to a YouTube snippet of our favourite scene: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=20MGAOQeQyc

It seems I start so many of these posts with, “It’s been a while…” But, I’m going to do it again. Because it has. Been a while.

Here are some pics of what’s been happening.

Tiernan got an award at school (and a buzz cut after trimming his own hair with scissors!):

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My garden grew:

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Neave turned 4:

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Face paint fun:

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Spider Girl:

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More Birthday Cake:

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Tom’s parents stayed for 2 weeks, so we did lots of fun stuff, including a picnic at Redcliff:

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We cafe’d

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And visited Australia Zoo:

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The adults enjoyed morning tea at Mt Coot-tha one fine day:

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Then, after Nanny and Poppy said their goodbyes and flew back home to Sydney, the rest of us sent to Suncorp Stadium for the A-League Grand Final:

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Last of all, Molly learned to ride her bike! And Tiernan wrote her this sweet note:

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I recently came across this site in my web-travels, and I was greatly encourage to realise that so many Australians feel deeply ashamed of our government’s current (and actually, many previous) policies towards Asylum Seekers. Especially those who arrive by boat.

I don’t believe for one second that any of our so-called leaders would hesitate to use whatever means necessary to protect the lives of their families. Even if that meant hopping on an ‘illegal’ boat.

It is not illegal to seek asylum, and yet we are treating asylum seekers worse than we treat criminals. Locking someone up indefinitely, and not giving any information about the progress of their claim, is obviously going to cause that person significant distress. At least criminals, trialled and sentenced by a judge, know how long they will be locked up for. At least they know what waits for them afterwards.

Imagine being so desperate for a chance at a better life and risking everything to get there in an overcrowded, unseaworthy boat. Imagine surviving such a journey only to be locked up on the other side. Imagine spending months, even years, hoping that any day now you will be released and you will be able to start the process of bringing your family to safety. If they are still alive.

Imagine dreading, at the same time, that any day now, your claim will be rejected and you will be sent back to the exact situation you risked everything to escape.

We have been doing this to people for years, under both major parties. This is bad enough. This should have stopped already.

But it hasn’t stopped. And now the government thinks it doesn’t have to answer our questions about what exactly is happening, and why it hasn’t stopped. They don’t think we need to worry about breaking international laws, or violating basic human rights.

That is why these pictures make me so happy. Australians are trying to show Asylum Seekers that we do care. That they are welcome here. That we want this treatment to stop.

I hope Asylum Seekers somehow get the message, and that it brings them hope.

I hope the Australian Government gets the message, too.

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1. I feel like I owe you an apology for getting all stressed and worried about you last year. For trying to work out what was ‘wrong’ with you. For perhaps having unrealistic expectations of your behaviour. Yes, you were sometimes wild and unruly. Yes, you often caused me alarm by running away and not listening. Yes, you would much rather play or run around than sit still and be told what to do. And actually, all of those things are still true now. But you have matured and settled so much in the last few months that I think all you really needed from me was time, patience and understanding. I feel I didn’t always give you these things because I was too busy worrying and comparing you to other kids. I guess that’s your unlucky lot for being the first. You get to bear the brunt of my anxiety about whether I’m doing a good enough job, how long whatever ‘phase’ you’re in will last, or whether what you’re doing is ‘normal’. I can’t promise I won’t ever worry about you again, but I can promise to try and let things be and give you a chance to just be you, in future. It’ll be okay.

2. Year 1 suits you! It’s business time at school and you have really stepped up to the plate. You are packing your own bag in the morning, getting yourself ready, sometimes even making yourself breakfast. The when we get to school, you take yourself to your classroom, get your things out independently and go inside. Of course, there have been occasional memory lapses, ie. the time you forgot that the bell meant stop playing on the play equipment and go to class… but overall you are doing great.

3. Your reading has improved also in just a few short weeks. I think it’s mostly because your confidence and willingness to try new words has grown. You see yourself as a ‘reader’ now and it’s making a huge difference. You even like trying to work out how some words are spelt. I think you will move along in leaps and bounds this year. And if you don’t, well that’s ok, too.

4. Socially, you also seemed to have matured. You have been talking about which friends you play with at lunch and there seem to be a few more in the group than there were before. You made me especially proud a couple of weeks ago when you told me that you divide your lunch time between two of your friends because one of them, your best friend, doesn’t like to play soccer, but you do. So you play soccer for half of lunch and spend the rest of lunch with him. You even told me that you have told this boy about your blankies (a big social taboo, according to you), and that you know he won’t tell anyone else because he’s your best friend. I hope you are right! It could be that you are a good judge of character, like your Dad.

5. You had your first game of soccer for the season last weekend and you really enjoyed yourself. We were a little doubtful about whether you would play this year, as you had a bit of a freak out on sign-up day. But you seem to have got over it and you had a great game.

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6. We are once again tackling the inconvenience of homework. Your teachers expect 15 minutes a day of reading, sight words and other activities from your homework book. So, even though I don’t agree with homework, especially for kids your age, I find myself coaxing you into it. I’m happy to report that, so far, it hasn’t been too hard. But I know a time will probably come when the novelty wears off.

7. Last weekend the three of you spent some time riding out on the road in our cul-de-sac while I vacuumed and washed the car. It made me realise how independent you guys are becoming. I loved watching you zoom down the road on your bike, having fun with your friends from across the road, the way we used to as kids. I look forward to giving you more opportunities for this kind of play as you get older.

8. You told us last week that you would like to play electric guitar. It’s the first time you’ve ever expressed a desire to do something musical so I’m excited! You’re a pretty good singer, too so maybe you’ll be a guitarist/vocalist in a band one day? Maybe I shouldn’t be trying to live vicariously through you… maybe I should just take one step at a time and get you a small acoustic guitar for your birthday. Or ukulele?

9. You might be a cat person, like your Dad. I overheard you telling him the other day that you liked patting Elle (our cat), because she was more calming than Winston (dog). You said Winston tries to lick a lot but it’s not very relaxing. You liked that Elle doesn’t get that excited. It’s nice having this little insight into your personality, but I have to disagree just a bit. Cats have their moments but who doesn’t enjoy having a dog that loves you so much they just can’t keep still when they see you? I must have made a mistake somewhere, I haven’t raised you properly.

10. The other day, when I was busy cleaning the car, you made yourself and your sisters sandwiches for lunch and then apologised for not making me one because there was no bread. Gotta love a boy who makes lunch.

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1. Prep is going well for you so far. You cried every morning for the first couple of weeks, but then your teacher started playing the Sound Waves song at goodbye time, and now you drop everything and dance!

2. You really are a gregarious little person. Bubbly and friendly, when we walk through playground on the way to school you wave and say hi to friends, teachers and parents. I love your confidence and willingness to be anyone’s friend.

3. You have one new friend in particular who you seem very attached to, and she to you. In the afternoons we sometimes stay at the play equipment so the two of you can play for longer. I admire how generous and unembarrassed the two of you are with each other. It seems like a solid, genuine friendship, even though you are both only 5.

4. We are still getting screamy tantrums from you quite regularly. I think some of it can be put down to tiredness after big days at school. But I do wish you weren’t quite so prepared to screech at us.

5. You have a very kind heart. We recently gave some blankets and toys to a Sudanese family who have just moved to our area after fleeing their country and spending the last 5 years in a refugee camp in Egypt. We all had a discussion about what that would feel like, and I can tell you really got it. You said you felt sad for them and wished they didn’t have to run away. It made you feel better that we were doing something small to help them set up their new home, and to make them feel welcome in our community.

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6. You have had a big growth spurt in the last week or so. I can physically see that you’re suddenly taller. I keep wondering who those long legs belong to? My little Molly is growing up!

7. We had hoped that you might try rollerblading lessons this term for sport because you love rollerblading so much, and seem to have a natural talent for it. But on your first day, you put your foot down (wheels down?) and refused to have a go. I was pretty disappointed. I haven’t been able to work out where your apparent anxiety about it has come from; we’d been to the skate centre before and you had an absolute ball. Anyway, you’re now saying you’d rather do swimming, so we have you booked in starting this week. I guess we can always try rollerblading further down the track.

8. You have been a star getting ready for school in the morning since I implemented the ‘tick chart’ system (all you kids get yourselves ready, ticking off jobs as you go). You weren’t too bad to begin with, actually, but the visual aide helps you to organise yourself more efficiently and get more play time at the end.

9. Sometimes you are a little know-it-all, and it reminds me so much of me that I can’t help cringing just a little bit. At this age it is extremely cute, and I love hearing what you think about ‘taste bugs’, and why we should brush our teeth and look after our pets, etc. I just hope you don’t find out the hard way that your peers probably won’t appreciate all of your helpful advice.

10. You are a bit of a scallywag at times lately, and don’t mind giving a loud ‘no!’ to most instructions. I think you do it just to be annoying because most times you go ahead and do what you’ve been asked anyway, you just need to be a little bit defiant first.

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I love having a futon, because I can do this to it:

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for a whole week and no-one objects.

And when they run out of clothes it’s the first place they look.

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1. You love us to do ‘Round and round the garden’ with you, and ‘This little piggy’, only you make us substitute the teddy bear and the piggies for werewolves. “This little werewolf went to market, this little werewolf stayed home, this little werewolf had roast Neave, this little werewolf had none, and this little werewolf went Awooooooooooo all the way home!”

2. You still come into our bed in the very early hours of most mornings. And when you don’t come, I miss you.

3. Now that both your older siblings are at big school, you are going to have to learn to make your own friends. You like playing with other kids, but you tend to let Molly and Tiernan break the ice before you will join in and play with them. It will be interesting to see how you go.

4. So far, you have been enjoying our Mummy and Neavie days at home while the others are at school. However, yesterday you told me it was too quiet and you wanted Tiernan and Molly to be home with us. I felt bad for you but I think you will get used to it. I like the peace and quiet! But will admit to being slightly bored sometimes and not really sure what to do with you. You want to be entertained. I don’t always want to be entertaining. We’ll have to work it out between us.

5. In one of my more ‘entertaining’ moments, we invented a game where we are monsters and we hunt teddies to eat around the house. We sneak up on them quietly and then pounce at the last minute and gobble them up. Then we be cuddle monsters on the couch after our big lunch.

6. You like helping me in the garden. You put on your over-sized gloves and dig around in the dirt, and then you want to plant seeds so I tip some into your tiny hand and you pour them into the hole. Five minutes later you ask if they’re ready yet.

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7. This week you went to Kindy two days for the first time since moving here. I thought you would take a while to get used to it but you actually seemed quite keen to go, and only freaked out just a little bit at drop off time. This is a really good thing!

8. I’m looking forward to you starting swimming lessons again in a few weeks. You recently made a breakthrough and you’re now able to propel yourself forward very well under water. Coming up for air is a problem for you though and we often have to pull you up so you can take a breath. It will be nice when we don’t have to worry about that!

9. I still can’t quite believe that this time next year, you might be at big school too. I’m very undecided about whether or not you should go next year, and whether or not I want you to. No decision needs to be made yet, but it won’t be long. You’re just so little. It would be nice to have you home for longer, but we both might get bored. I wonder if you will be ready in a year? We can only wait and see.

10. You have been quite independent about getting dressed for a long time now, but I love that you still put your sandals on the wrong feet every single time. You are very good natured about fixing it though when I point it out to you. You just sit down and get on with it.

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