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Archive for October 2013

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1. You are definitely carving your place as the cheekiest of our three. You wantonly ignore many of the ‘boundaries’ we set, all the while grinning from ear to ear and giggling. The cute is wearing off, but it’s still there, so we sometimes have trouble keeping a straight face while enforcing the rules with you, again and again.

2. All little kids talk in a cute way, but you have a distinctly ‘Neave’ way of saying things. All your f’s and s’s sound the same, which is somewhere in between ‘s’ and ‘th’. You can now say ‘L’ but you like to linger on your l’s and so you say “Mollllly, I want a lllllolllllly.” And you add extra words into your sentences, like “I did do it Mummy.”

3. It’s obvious you’re growing up and becoming less toddler-ish. I can tell because you no longer think packing up is as fun as playing. Lately, at pack up time you have been disappearing into your room while everyone else pitches in (or doesn’t, depending on their mood). It’s a shame because you used to be the best packer-upper.

4. You still come into our bed most nights. I love waking up next to your warm little body. I miss you on the mornings you don’t come in.

5. I think I have been taking for granted how easy you and Molly are to have around during the week. It will be a big change next year when Molly goes to school and it’s up to me to be your entertainment instead… Hopefully we will meet half way, doing things together and also doing things apart (me house stuff, you playing on your own). I am looking forward to having some one-on-one time with you on a regular basis though.

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6. We took you all to the pool last weekend and wow, you are suddenly a little fish. All your swimming lessons seemed to click into place, and you were zooming around doing rockets, backwards and forwards to the side of the pool. Watching you practice and being so confident was such fun.

7. On a similar note, you are also confidently riding Molly’s bike (with training wheels). We haven’t bought you one yet as we got Tiernan and Molly there’s on their 4th birthdays. I wonder if you can share Molly’s for that long, or will you be ready for one at Christmas? I’ve been looking forward to you all having proper bikes, so we can go on proper rides together!

8. You’ve been quite defiant of late, often yelling “No!” when we ask you to do something. Not for any good reason, just because you feel like trying it out. Subsequently, you’ve also been spending a bit of time in ‘time out’ as well.

9. You are growing more and more confident with strangers and in new situations, when you used to be so shy. Maybe you are following Molly and Tiernan’s example, or maybe you are just coming out of your shell in your own time? It’s funny to have three such friendly, open kids who are eager to sit and have a chat with just about anyone.

10. I know I say it all the time but I just can’t believe how fast you’re growing up. You’re my littlest baby but you’re not really a baby any more. At least you’re still happy to let me ‘baby’ you, sometimes. Just keep on being you my little Neavie cherub!

 

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Yesterday we decided to do something brave. We decided to take our three reluctant walkers on a 2-hour walk through the local rainforest. We lured them in with promises of creeks, bridges and waterfalls. Then we crossed our fingers and prayed that there actually would be some.

Our walk began at the Maiala picnic ground, up in beautiful Mt Glorious, just 30 minutes’ drive from us. It was our first time up there and we enjoyed the winding drive through the dense bush, although Tiernan said he felt sick by the end because we were so high up. (About 500m, not that high but it is quite steep in places).

With only one navigational error (on my part) we made it to the picnic ground, which Molly immediately declared she hated. A bit harsh, perhaps. It was a grassy hill with toilets, BBQ areas, benches and plenty of good climbing trees. However, after a visit to the toilets, with their water-saving, foot-pump action flushing mechanisms, and a quick tree-climb, all of the kids’ moods seemed to lift considerably, and they were ready to go.

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There’s something to be said for rainforests. They make me happy. The stillness, the bird sounds, the rustle of leaves high up in the canopy, the muffled sound your footsteps make as you walk through. The fresh air.

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The walk was nice and easy, with only gentle slopes, occasional stairs and a well-maintained path. Some parts were slippery with trickling water.

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We saw lots of really huge gum trees, dispersed throughout the forest. They were so tall you could barely see the tops. Just magnificent. Although, the fallen ones were even more impressive, with the giant circle of their exposed roots towering above us, and their massive, straight trunks stretching across the path. Walking past, we got the sense that perhaps we wouldn’t want to be so close in strong winds. I bet the sound if them crashing to the ground would be quite spectacular, though.

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Along the way, we stopped a few times for water, fruit breaks, leech-removal and hat-retrieval. On one such stop, Tom spied a small marsupial (we think a pademelon), just off the track, having a snack. It was very tiny and very sweet. Too shy for photos, though.

Before we knew it we had wound our way to the end if the walking track, with nary a complaint, or request to be carried, from the kids. And to our relief, we saw bridges, a creek (or lake as Neave called it), and a tiny, trickle-y waterfall… I’m sure it’s more impressive after decent rainfall.

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Down in the creek below the viewing platform, we saw a little water dragon basking in the sun. I also overheard a man telling his daughter that he used to follow the creek all the way to the bottom as a kid. That must have been before they put the boardwalk in the bottom section, and closed it off.

Feeling refreshed after taking in the sights and sounds of the little waterfall, we began the trek back to the top. The return journey did feature some complaining, much carrying of Neave and more rest breaks, but really, they handled it quite well.

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We all agreed we’d earned a nice lunch afterwards, so we stopped in at the Elm Haus Cafe.

It was there I discovered I had a tick on my neck. It was fairly quickly removed without leaving me too traumatised, only a little bit jumpy at the slightest touch. The discovery of a second tick on Molly’s car seat as we left promoted us to perform a public full-body search of the entire family. But hey, it’s Australia, I’m sure we’ve all been there, done that, right?

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We took the scenic route home, past Lake Wivenhoe. It was nice to see what is beyond the Brisbane border, something I’ve been wanting to find out for a while now. And even better, all three kids slept most of the way home.

I feel I owe a great big explanation, about what we’re doing here, and how it’s all going and why I’ve been too busy to blog lately. But I really have none. We’re here. We’re enjoying it so far. There have been challenges. But mostly, it’s been quite easy. Unexpectedly so. I anticipated sadness, confusion, loneliness, resentment, anxiety and lots of other emotions when leaving our home and our families behind. However, there has been less of that, and more excitement, gratitude, fulfillment, and even refreshment… That’s an odd word to put here, but it’s true. This venture has been refreshing, for both Tom and I. Maybe even for the kids. I feel there has also been bonding between us. We rely on each other more. And appreciate each other. After all, we’re all we’ve got up here! I’ve also had the opportunity to make some new friends, through Tiernan’s school. They are a wonderful bunch, and I can’t believe my good fortune to have landed here in the middle of them. It’s funny how things work out. We recently visited the Blue Mountains, and it was very nice. I felt as though I had never left. That I could just pick up and carry on from where I’d left off. I was sad to leave when our stay was over. I miss everyone there, and I miss my life there, too. However, the relief I felt when coming back to this new house was rather unexpected. It’s not home yet. But it’s a nice place to be. Things are different now, but we’re getting used to it. And we’re better for the experience, I think. I don’t know how long we’ll be here. I think the longer we stay, the harder it will be to make up our minds about where to go next, what to do. But I’m glad we did this.

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It makes me feel old to say I now have two children over five. I can’t quite believe how quickly things have changed, from 3 under 3 to 3 over 3!

1. Your confidence is amazing. You are just so engaging and friendly, always happy to have a chat to just about anyone. You also really understand the two-way nature of a conversation, you give and you take. I think this makes you stand out a little, particularly with adults, who seem drawn to you. You are very entertaining!

2. You’re a smart little cookie, always thinking about things and working them out. You recently told us you knew that three times two is six. Apparently the buckets in the bath taught you (because there are six of them and you like to line them up in groups of two).

3. I have my fingers crossed for smooth sailing when you start school next year. I think you’re going to fit in just fine. You are keen to learn new things, especially about reading and writing. I think the biggest problem you will have is learning to wear your shoes all day! Right now the only footwear you will deign to put on are your ballet shoes, your plastic high heels, or your thongs. Socks are right out. Apparently this was an issue for me too,. Hopefully you will be so happy at school that you will soon forget your loathing of shoes!

4. On your fifth birthday we were able to have a little party for you and invite some new friends you’ve made already at preschool, plus your neighbour friends. The kids you chose to invite were all lovely, as were their parents, who stayed for the party to. It made me quite proud of your social skills, to be able to surround yourself with nice friends so soon after moving.

5. I think further testament to your social abilities is that you obviously still miss your old friends. We had the opportunity to see two of your best friends, whom you’ve known since you were tiny, on our recent trip to Sydney. The three of you were so excited to be together again, and you slipped right back in to playing without any fuss or shyness at all. You were quite upset when we had to say goodbye again, poor thing. But we’ll be sure to visit again next time we’re down that way.

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6. You’re quite bored at home some days. Ideally, you’d be at preschool two days a week instead of one, but that’s all we could get at your new preschool. You’re quite happy to play with Neave, most of the time, but I think you’re really ready for bigger and better things. I find it hard to motivate to get out and about, because you seem to think you’ve seen it all and done it all. At least you got a stack of crafty things for your birthday, so you’ve got quite a few things to keep you occupied for the next little while.

7. You can be a right miss at times, quite demanding and rude when things aren’t to your liking. And there is still that dreadful scream to contend with. I have very little patience for you when you are like this. You spend quite a bit of time in your room or time out, ‘adjusting your attitude’, as we say.

8. The thing about you is that you’re well balanced; you are equal parts awful and super sweet. One minute you’re bellowing that you hate me, the next minute you’re telling me that you will love me forever and that I’m the best mummy in the whole wide world. Little suck-up, that’s what you are.

9. When we go out, you are usually the one I can rely on to be sensible, follow instructions and listen. You are unique in your ability to do that (your brother and sister are missing the listening gene, evidently). I’m grateful to you for that. Instead of having to chase three of you around, I usually only have to chase two.

10. You went through a stage where it was very difficult to get you out of bed in the mornings, despite your previous reputation of being the early riser in the house. I think it had to do with you being embarrassed about not staying dry at night. However, in the last few weeks you have made a big improvement, and are only wetting occasionally at night. You’ve got your morning spring back, and are once again happy to get up and dress yourself, and even start making your breakfast without much prompting. Well done, you!

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One of my absolute favourite things about knowing kids (and living with them), is the funny things they say.

I found this list in my drafts. Originally it was just things Tiernan says, but I’m going to include Molly and Neave here, too.

Tiernan:

Alive = Alived. I have no idea why he feels the extra ‘d’ is necessary.

‘Ear mugs’ = Ear muffs.

‘For good’, as in ‘I’m going to wash my hands for good’ = I’m not really sure what he means by this but I think he is just trying to highlight the importance of what he is doing!

‘I’ll be as good as gold’ when he is trying to convince me to take him somewhere.

‘Pirates of the Caravan’. After all this time he still says it.

Molly:

‘Berember’ = Remember.

‘Cement’ or sometimes ‘dement’ = Meant.

‘Underbrella’ = Umbrella.

‘Hostible’ = Hospital.

Neave:

‘Neabie’ = Neavie. I’m not sure she realises her name is actually Neave, and not Neavie.

‘Wibawef’ = Elizabeth. It’s especially cute when we say ‘Neave Elizabeth’ to her, and she says, “Don’t call me Wibawef!”

‘Sweety-art’ = Sweetheart.

‘Aunty Gran’ = Could mean either Aunty Kate, or Gran. She is always getting them mixed up!

‘Birffay’ = Birthday.

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Oops, a bit late with this one, again. Well, it has been rather busy around here!

1. You have settled in to life in Queensland surprisingly well. I’m so proud of the way you have taken all of these new changes in your stride, mostly. The distance from your old friends and your grandparents has been upsetting for you at times, but you are so accepting of our new situation that you can graciously count down the days until they come to visit, without causing too much fuss over it. Well done, you, and thank you. This could have been so much harder than it has been.

2. In the mornings, you are almost a completely different person; you spring out of bed, get your uniform on, eat your breakfast, brush your teeth, pack your bag. I no longer have to fight with you every step of the way, which means you even have time to play before it’s time to go. Amazing!

3. You seem to be enjoying your new school. You’ve made some new friends, and your teacher seems happy with the way you have handled the change so far. I think the more relaxed atmosphere of Prep really suits you. There is a little less academic work and a little more hands-on stuff, which is very much to your liking. You are stoked with last term’s ‘theme’, which was your favourite subject, Pirates. Mrs T, the TA in your class, told me you were encouraging the class to ‘vote pirates’ when it came time to choose. Fingers crossed for another exciting theme this term.

4. You love having a neighbour your age. Every weekend since we’ve been here, you have wanted to ask him over to play, or to play at his house. Luckily, he has a nice family who seem only too happy to have you over, or to let your friend play here. His younger sister is Molly’s age, which is also very convenient. I love how easy you find it to make friends.

5. You’ve even taken a sudden interest in practising your writing a few afternoons a week. Perhaps the marshmallow bribe has something to do with it? It’s possible. But there’s no bribe needed when it comes to Reading Eggs, which you’re happy to do most days.

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6. We brought the Prep guinea pigs home for a weekend, at your request. I’m not a huge fan of vermin usually, but must admit these little guys are pretty sweet. It was nice watching you and your sisters pouring your love and affections on to them. Although, none of you were much help when it came to cleaning their cage out.

7. You recently started swimming lessons because it really is time you learnt to swim. So far so good, although you are being your usual difficult self when it comes to after school activities. You really love the idea of going, but once we get home from school, you dig your roots in and don’t want to leave again, even if you know you will enjoy it. It’s completely frustrating, not to mention boring, having the same arguments over and over again.

8. You are way into Ninjago at the moment. As well as Ninja Turtles, and well pretty much anything ‘Ninja’. You are intensely interested in weapons like swords, nun chucks and stars. Most of the imaginary games you play involve fighting. I still struggle to be ok with it all, but the horse has well and truly bolted now so my energy is probably best spent worrying about other things. Like whether letting you do Tae Kwon Do would make you more or less likely to fight at school…

9. You had a special friend at school last term, a girl who is so much like you it’s not funny. You seemed to get along like a house on fire. We were lucky enough to be able to arrange a few play dates with her Mum, so you both got to visit each other’s houses, and I got to chat to her lovely Mum. However, it seems the relationship has turned a little sour of late, and you say she isn’t your friend any more. Apparently, she told you she doesn’t like you. I’m sad for you, although you appear to be fine about it. You tell me you have a new best friend, another girl in your class. We’ve had a few discussions about whether it’s fair to assign people as your ‘first’ best friend, or your ‘second’ best friend… I think you’re coming around! I hope you and your old friend are able to work it out, and that you find a way to be friends with lots of people, without anyone being upset. It’s tricky! I remember. Good luck, my big boy!

10. You are so very creative! Your drawings are just great – I particuarly love your pirates, complete with curly hat and scull-and-crossbones. You are also really clever with any type of Lego. You make things all out of your own head, like a dinosaur with claws, a tail and everything. You also make really cool things out of things from the recycling box. I just love how you can, in no time at all, make something out of almost nothing. You just get an idea, and off you go.

You still drive me crazy on a fairly regular basis, but I can see that you are growing up and becoming quite mature in lots of ways, too. And I can usually rely on you for a good laugh, when I need one! Keep on being you.

This is you being a velociraptor, in the jungle you artfully arranged out of palm branches.

This is you being a velociraptor, in the jungle you artfully arranged out of palm branches.