Sunday, 30 June 2013

What luck!

Last week I watched a segment on 60 Minutes about a guy who found his family in India using Google Earth.  The basic gist was that he was born in a small town in India, got lost when he was 5, struggled, was adopted by an Australian couple, and when Google Earth came out, used it to find where he'd grown up, then went and found his mum.

The thing about the story that struck me was that it had been advertised as a "lucky chance" that he'd found his home town and mum.  "Just like that" was the phrase used.

But when I watched the story, it wasn't "just like that" at all!  He'd spent years (about five or seven years from memory) searching along all of the train lines that left from Calcutta (where he ended up).  He worked hard all day, spent time with his Australian family, then spent hours every night searching and searching.

That's not luck!  That's persistence!

I get to see that kind of "luck" in action regularly.

The Big Fella is definitely a "lucky" guy!  I mean, for starters he has me ;-)

But seriously folks.

Let's take a look at just his work life for example.  When we first met, the Big Fella was a mechanic for a small, family-owned garage.  He worked hard and tried to do the best job, and make the most money for his boss.  He was, essentially, the foreman in that workplace and ended up working with them for about 10 years.

Through various contacts, he had the opportunity to work for a high performance workshop.  They transformed cars from regular, run-of-the-mill cars, to high performance machines that probably shouldn't have been driven on normal roads!

While he was there he learned how to re-build an engine, mostly in his own time.  He worked long hours, studied manuals at home, talked to as many experts in the field as he could and made himself an invaluable employee for his boss.  He also talked the fabrication guys into teaching him how to weld well.

While he was there, he had the opportunity to participate in creating an awesome vehicle for the Army's promotion team.  They had to design and build it from scratch.  Again, there were looooooonnnnnnnggggg hours (several all-nighters from memory), and lots of learning from books and other experts.

When we decided to move north, the Big Fella ended up working in a regular workshop again, making pretty average money, but giving his best to make as much money as he could for his employer.

He ended up working pro bono for a transmission specialist in his lunch hours and after work, learning how to rebuild and repair transmissions.  He spent long hours learning from that man, and reading everything he could get his hands on so that he understood everything he could about those machines.  Eventually he was offered a position in that workshop.

Later the Big Fella worked for himself, using the skills he had learned to build a great little business.  He worked long hours and did everything he could to satisfy his customers.

One of those customers told him about the train driving job.  And now we're here.  He's making good money.  We get to do some fun stuff because we live in the country.  Yeah, he's "lucky".

Some people will always look at "lucky" people and bemoan that their own life is no good.  They don't see the hours of effort that have gone into making that "luck".  They don't see the sacrifices along the way.  They don't see the discussions and painful backwards steps and the wondering if it's all worth it.

They don't see that "luck" is often made, not granted.

I wonder what kind of "luck" you're making today?  What will the efforts that I put in today, effect in my future?  What will the lessons I'm learning right now translate to?  What kind of "luck" do I want in my life?  And what am I willing to do today to make it happen?

A fishy foray

The Big Fella had a day off today and earlier in the week had given the Little Big Fella the idea of going fishing.  So they'd been up to the little dam and put in some pots for yabbies (apparently they call them "crawchies" here).  We got the gear together, collected our yabbies and pots and headed out to a fishing spot on the other side of the next town.

You know, when a "local" gives you directions to an awesome place to fish, it's probably worth getting lots of details about it.  The directions were to take the first road left after the weir wall, then turn onto the track after the 2nd cattle grid.

Uh huh.

We pass the weir wall and drive... and drive... and drive.  Finally we find the road to the left.  There's a cattle grid right at the turn off.  Sweet!  1 down!

We drive... and drive... and drive.  Finally another cattle grid.  No tracks.

O-kay...

We drive... and drive... and drive.  Another cattle grid.  Hmmm.  The only track has a gate, covered in chains, and a big sign about trespassers not being welcome.

Uh huh.

We drive a little more, seeing if maybe there's another track.  Nope.

Call me old fashioned or what have you, but I don't like the idea of going onto someone's property, without speaking to them in person, if they have a sign suggesting they don't like people coming onto their property!

So we turned around and headed back to the weir.

There was a little 4WD track that ran along side the "river" so we took our brand new, awesome car down it :-D  The car did a great job and we found a little spot to have a go at fishing (after running into (not literally) an older couple who'd parked in the middle of the track, then taking a serious 4WD track to get past them).

We pulled up and got out the gear and the Big Fella set up a line, hooked up the yabby and cast it into the little pool.


There wasn't an awful lot of action so the Little Big Fella ate a jelly.


Then the Big Fella decided it was time to sit down and have a beer and a chat while they were waiting.



No idea what they were talking about here, but it was obviously of worldwide importance, given their expressions!
After a little while we decided that this spot was lovely, but it didn't seem like a good fishing spot.  So we packed up and moved on.

We looked at two different spots above the weir, but we decided to drive down the other side of the little "river", again giving our new car a good test drive as a 4WD.

And here is where we stopped for the rest of our fishing adventure:


Not too shabby, hey?

The Big Fella baited up again...


...while the Little Big Fella splashed around in the water (did you realise it's winter here at the moment????).


And then it was time to fish!


But, there weren't any fish biting here either!  That obviously means you need to walk further downstream :-)


There was this amazing tree that made the perfect picture frame of my Fellas.




It's funny.  There's not much that warms a woman's heart as much as seeing her husband and son happily spending time together.


Can you guess who the Little Big Fella's current superhero is?  Here's a clue; check out his fingers:


Any guesses?  Wolverine (of course!).

With no fish action, we decided to pack up for today and head to the pub for lunch :-)  But first, we had to set the yabbies free!



A bit of a nap in the arvo, and a bit of footy on the TV and there you have an awesome Sunday!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Will we survive?

You might remember that a few weeks ago the Little Big Fella managed to cut his finger with a steak knife whilst trying to open a packet of tortillas by himself.  He learned that scissors are a better option.

Earlier this week the Little Big Fella was trying to do a handstand off the trampoline onto the concrete.  Obviously the fact that I'm telling you about it means that he was unsuccessful.  He learned that the grass is the best place to practice handstands.


Last night my darling son (again) couldn't wait for me to use the facilities while he was dying of hunger.  He got a scone (Americans call them biscuits) from the freezer, put it on a plastic plate and put it in the microwave.  First thing I knew about any of this was when I exited the loo to be told something about smoke, although I didn't decipher that part immediately.

"All right, show me what you've done", said I.

I was guided to the kitchen, to discover smoke pouring out of the microwave.

The next 5 minutes were spent throwing the black scone and melted plate over the balcony onto the grass and trying to get smoke out of the house, whilst waving a placemat at the smoke detector to shut it up.

The Little Big Fella has since learned which one button on the microwave he is allowed to push (our start button will set the time to 30 seconds).

But all of this makes me wonder if any of us will survive to his adulthood.  No doubt there will be broken bones in the future, especially given the new motorbike skills he's developing.  I'm wondering if there'll be electrocutions, loss of digits or limbs, all manner of (hopefully minor) fire incidents...

Then there's the reality that I am now a heart-in-mouth parent.  Watching my little boy get a few wobbles on that bike was very stressful!

But, the flipside of it all is that my "little" Big Fella is not going to be little for long.  He's learning how to do things for himself (albeit the hard way).  As well as food-related independence, we've been teaching him some letters of the alphabet while he's on holidays from kindy.  And he's soaking it up like a sponge!

So I guess now is a significant learning time for the Little Big Fella, and it would probably be smart for us to make the most of that.  Because soon he'll know it all ;-)

Monday, 24 June 2013

Overcoming fear

I think the Little Big Fella had just turned two years old when he got his first bike... motorbike, that is.  The Big Fella bought it and "tested" it at work:


And the Little Big Fella loved it from Day 1!

He literally did (and does) sit on it and pretend to be riding!

So either the Big Fella or I would jump on the back with the Little Big Fella and take him for rides around the yard, or just up the road to a big paddock, or around the lagoons.

At that point he was riding a pushbike with a handle on the back.  He couldn't steer in a straight line, so we had to "adjust" his trajectory for him.

Over time he's gotten great at riding his pushy.  He and I used to ride along the Esplanade on our bikes, and he even got to the point of riding over the ramps at the park.

When he ruined his "old" pushbike (I'm not sure toddler bikes are designed for skate ramps), the Big Fella bought him a really good BMX-style bike.  It's tough and should last for at least a couple of years.  Unlike his previous bike, which had back-pedal brakes, this one has handle-bar brakes.

During our rides together on the motorbike, we'd gotten to the point that the Little Big Fella did the majority of the steering and throttle control.

So now the Little Big Fella had developed the ability to ride in a straight line, and the ability to use handle-bar brakes, and an understanding of how to use the throttle.  In theory, he could ride his motorbike all by himself.

In theory.

The problem is, he was too afraid.

The Little Big Fella had the skills he needed, he just needed the confidence in his abilities.

The Big Fella tried forcing the Little Big Fella to do it on his own.  But that seemed to make him more afraid.  He tried coercion, to no avail.

How do you help someone overcome their fear?

Sometimes the solution is to build that confidence little by little.

The Big Fella somehow got the Little Big Fella to sit on the motorbike all by himself.  That in itself was a bit of a feat!

Then Daddy got his son to keep his feet on the ground and move forward just a foot.

And then a little bit more.

And then a couple of big steps.

And then a couple of metres.

And then along one side of the yard.

And then he was off!  (Cautiously.)


The dogs thought it was great fun running around with him (possibly the most exercise they've had in a little while!).

The Little Big Fella was so impressed with himself!!!


Daddy started riding my pushbike around to keep up with the Little Big Fella, but then decided that his big motorbike was a much better idea!

video


The Little Big Fella wanted to show me, and then he wanted all his friends to come around and see him do it.  And then he wanted to ride all yesterday, and all of today, and will probably ask first thing tomorrow morning!

The Big Fella was so impressed and excited that he called his parents, then my parents (who are part of the Ulysses) to brag.

It is definitely a momentous day in my son's life!

The whole process got me thinking a bit about fear though.  The Little Big Fella had what he needed to move forward, but fear stopped him for months!  And I wonder how many times I've let fear hold me back.  And how many times others have helped me moved forward, little bit by little bit, until I realised I could do it on my own!

Maybe it's time to take a leaf out of my son's book and overcome a little (or big) fear.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Random ramblings

I'm quite tired so I'm just going to put a few random thoughts together tonight.  I wouldn't be surprised if you don't want to read them, but I'll enjoy writing them and reviewing my day anyway.

I watched the final of The Voice Australia last night.  Most of it was pretty average for me.  But I quite enjoyed the top 16's rendition of John Farnham's, "The Voice".  And I absolutely LOVED Ricky and Luke's "Roxanne"!  What a brilliant performance!  And wonderful voices!!!  I've had that song in my head all day and I'm really enjoying it :-D

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I've discovered that I have several interesting parts in my emotional cycle.  There's the grumpy, keep-away-from-me-or-I'll-rip-your-head-off part, and the I'm-going-to-eat-everything-in-the-house part, and sometimes the bawling-my-eyes-out-because-someone-ate-the-last-of-the-mushrooms part.  But my favourite part, which I only realised existed in cyclical form yesterday, is the creative-and-excited part!  That's the couple of hours (or sometimes days) where I get all interested in a project and think up all the variations and possibilities.  I normally start planning and making lists (and lists of lists - I am a list girl, remember?) and setting timelines.  Ah!  It makes me happy :-)

And yes, you guessed it!  I had a creative day yesterday.  See, I just realised that this is the last week before school (read: kindy) holidays.  That's two weeks with the Little Big Fella at home with me 24/7.  No friends, no planned activities, no brain food!

Well, that just won't do, will it?!?

So we're going to have a mini vacation school at home.  With a jungle theme! The idea is to make jungle animals (masks, finger puppets, pictures etc.), decorate his room a little (kind of like our Under the Sea adventure a little while back), and maybe learn another letter or two in the process.  I'm also planning to have friends over (when the Big Fella is at work), and meet them at the park or whatever as well.  I suspect there might even be some cooking involved.

Today it sounds like a lot of work.  But last night it was true inspiration!  And meant I didn't get to bed until well after midnight.  Which probably explains why I'm so tired now (and why it took me several attempts to write each word in this sentence!).

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It's starting to get cold here!  I know you southerners won't believe me, but we've had to start using the heaters!!!  And wearing long-sleeved clothing!  And multiple layers of clothing!!!!  I'm seriously in shock ;-)

Unfortunately, it's also introduced a bout of pants and bed wetting by the Little Big Fella :-(  I guess he's learning the important lesson that, even in winter, we still need to get to the toilet and yes, face the cold seat.

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The Little Big Fella had photos taken at kindy this week.  Given the prices of having childrens' photos taken these days, I was surprised at how low the price was.  And I'm keen to see what photos they ended up taking of my boy (and if he did a nice smile or a super-cheesy one).

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I don't think I've mentioned that the Little Big Fella and I are going to be flying down South in a few weeks.  I'm going to the P!nk concert with my brother and sister (excited much?????) and we'll visit with family and friends as much as we can while we're there.  The Little Big Fella is SO excited about finally going on an aeroplane, after all our visits to the airport and watching everyone else coming and going.

Okay.  This is probably one of the least interesting blog posts I've written in a while.  Sorry.  I'll try to be more awake and interesting next time ;-D

Monday, 17 June 2013

What do you DO all day???

Okay, we've had our little rant about giving the guys a break and letting them be men.  Now it's time for the stay-at-home mums.

Before I had the Little Big Fella, I wondered what stay-at-home mums did.  I mean, it doesn't take that long to clean the house, does it?  I could do it in a couple of hours on the weekend, after a full week at work, no worries!

And babies sleep so much!  What on earth could mums do all day???

Although I kind of knew that it wasn't as easy as it seemed, I had quite a delusional concept of life at home, looking after the kids.  I expected it to be pretty cruisey, and that keeping the house in immaculate condition, providing hours of educational entertainment for my child/ren and cooking wonderful, nutritional meals, all on a tight budget (obviously required because I wouldn't be working) would be a cinch!

Ha!

(Yes, that was definitely an Edna Krabapple impersonation!)

Turns out that being an at-home mum isn't as cruisey as it seemed (how's that for understatement, mums???).

Let's start with that new baby.  Yeah, the one that takes an hour to feed, burp and change their nappy, then is ready to start again two hours later.  Do that 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for say... a few months, and tell me how you're keeping it together.  Oh!  And have you been to the bathroom today?  Lucky you!  Had a shower this week?

So baby finally gets into some semblance of a routine, and you're getting a combined total of 8 hours sleep a night (seriously, that feels like being on speed!).  But now baby is starting to move!  All of a sudden, all those "trinkets" (read: CDs) aren't safe where they've been living, so the house suddenly gets a makeover.

Because, as much as you thought you'd just teach your child/ren not to touch, it turns out that saying "no" every 5 seconds is really annoying, and you actually need to do other things (like use the facilities, or cook dinner).

And because baby won't stay where you put him/her, and baby likes to put everything in their mouth, you feel the need to clean the floor after every meal, and several extra times a day if it rains (how does grass get inside when it rains, when no one has even been outside???).

And now baby is a toddler.  They toddle over to the massive bookshelf and try to climb it.  They toddle outside and attempt to navigate the stairs.  They toddle around the side of the house and climb the lattice until they're higher than your head (hello my gorgeous nephew!!!!).

So you're attempting to keep your child/ren alive, whilst still trying to use the loo and/or cook dinner (mothers develop an incredible ability to do multiple things by this time).

Meanwhile, you're attempting to keep the house somewhere near liveable (you gave up immaculate the day your child was born!), and trying not to drown under Mount Washmore.

I thought that when the Little Big Fella went to kindy, I'd have some time to myself.  Apparently I was still deluded.

Let me give you an example of a fairly typical day at this point in our lives:

I get up at 6 and start putting the dishes away to help myself fully wake up.  I make my breakfast, and the Little Big Fella's, then after we've eaten I clean up.  Then it's downstairs for about 20 minutes for my workout.  The Little Big Fella watches a bit of TV, or sometimes comes down and talks to me, or tries to workout with me (always entertaining).

Then it's back upstairs to shower, dress, and do the last minute things before we officially start the day.  I also dress the Little Big Fella (normally takes about 10 minutes because he has issues with "focusing" - I'm starting to think that toys in the bedroom is a bad idea).

Most days it would now be time to head out somewhere - kindy, or playgroup, or just to go check the mail.  The rest of the morning is my most productive time and includes a selection of the following:

  • food shopping (How can two small words equal such a big task???  Drive to the shop, no worries.  Select the food, yeah, okay.  Go through the register, starting to get stressed out if I have the Little Big Fella with me.  Drive home, okay.  Drag the bags upstairs.  Put everything away, whilst being hassled about everything from putting on a superhero suit, to eating something, to watching a movie, to visiting friends, to going to the park...)
  • clothes washing (Again, two small words that equal a big job)
  • vacuuming
  • mopping
  • putting stuff away (There's always plenty of that to do, even though we've downsized so much and have such a little house)
  • dishes
  • food preparation (I try to prepare a bunch of things at the start of the week so that I have easy food on-hand)
  • changing the bedding
  • cleaning the bathroom
  • putting more stuff away (I told you, there's always plenty of this to do!)
  • more dishes
  • whipper snipping and mowing (because of the Big Fella's hours, I end up doing this about half the time.)
  • cleaning the car, inside and out
  • feeding the dogs
  • washing and flea-treating the dogs
  • putting stuff away downstairs or outside
Now, if you separate those tasks out to the days of the week, they don't seem like that big a deal, right?  But now add a pre-schooler with no siblings. A pre-schooler who is really getting ready for big school.  A pre-schooler who is starting to get bored at home!

Now we need to add in the millions of requests and interruptions!  Things like those listed in the food shopping note - superhero costumes (at least 4 changes every day, sometimes 4 in 15 minutes!), movies, friends, food, drink, toilet assistance (some of those costumes can be tricky!), can we go to the park?  Can we visit my friend?  Can we go to the toy store?  Can I have something to eat (literally every 5 minutes when he's having a growth spurt)? I want to watch Batman.  I want to look at costumes (online, mind you!).  Mum, I'm hungry.

Are you annoyed yet?  Try having that as the constant soundtrack to your day for a few days.  How about a couple of months?  And then try to get something done.  Try going to the bathroom and being interrupted by a pre-schooler who needs the only toilet in the house and can't go on the grass because he needs to do...

Yeah, we won't finish that sentence.

Well!  We've made it to lunch time!  Congratulations!!!!  Now we get to have the "I don't want that" conversation (which will be repeated at dinner time).  It generally goes with the "I've made it for you and that's what you're having" soundtrack.

Now, considering that we're modern-day mothers, we also think it's important to attempt to educate our children and provide them with rich, learning experiences.  Because "good" mums do arts and crafts with their kids, and cook with them, and teach them their letters and numbers before they go to school, and sing songs, and read books, and play.  And then we also want them to socialise (and, yes, we want to get a break from it all too).

If we're lucky (and no, I'm not anymore) our child/ren will have an afternoon nap and we'll get a bit of time to sit down without being jumped on or demanded of, or catch up with a few people on Facebook, or read a bit of a book, or catch up on the housework that needs doing that didn't get done this morning.

Late afternoon, for us, is often outside.  It normally includes me taking the washing off the line, while the Little Big Fella plays in his sandpit or with the dogs, or jumps on his trampoline, or plays with the little girl next door.  Often it will include a ride to the park to play with whoever is there, while the mums have a chat.

Then it's home to prepare dinner.  For most mums this is a stressful time of day.  You're attempting to make a nutritious meal for your family, but being interrupted, or "helped", or it might just be that everyone has run out of patience for the day.

Dinner, because it's so nutritious, will probably include the "I don't like that" conversation with at least one person.

Then it's time to have a shower or bath and put the lovely little munchkin/s to bed.  I'm super lucky in this one because the Little Big Fella enjoys his shower, and when he's tired, he's happy to go to bed (in fact, he's grumpy if there's not a bed to go to).

But even with this "dream" child, there's the inevitable nights where he'll be up and down, or calling for me to "come sit with me, Mummy", or just not tired and can't fall asleep.

And then, even though he sleeps through the night, there's the nights where illness or bad dreams interrupt sleep.

See, being a mum isn't "hard" per se.  But being on call, 24/7 is.  And even when someone else is looking after your child/ren, you still wonder about them: How are they going?  Are they having fun?  Are they behaving?  Have they made friends?  Should I really have let him go to kindy today, because he had a bit of a runny nose?  Is he going to be too hot/cold?  Will he be okay with those pants, because they have a zip?

And our expectations of ourselves are often ridiculously high.

So, when you come into the home of a stay-at-home mum, and the floors aren't quite clean, there's dishes all over the sink, toys scattered everywhere, and people looking a little disheveled, don't think "what do you do all day?".  Because it's possible that it hasn't been the best day, and said mum already feels like a failure right now.

Or she's decided that today is about spending time with her kids, rather than making the house "presentable".

Or maybe she just decided that she needed a "mental health" day, and the TV has been on all day so she could read, or spend some time on Facebook, or maybe, just maybe, go to the bathroom in peace ;-)

Allowing masculinity

I want to preface the following comments with a fairly obvious statement.  I am not an expert.  I am just a woman who lives with a man and a boy and observes life around me.

My husband, the Big Fella, is very much into your "standard" masculine pursuits.  He likes fishing and hunting.  He knows a fair bit about cars and loves motorbikes.  He loves football (pretty much all codes) and most sports.  He likes beer.  He loves fires.

In short, he is a manly man.

My son, the Little Big Fella, is shaping up to be similar.  He loves toy guns and knives, he loves to dress up as superheroes, he loves to play ball games. He asks to have a fire pretty much every day in winter.

Living here in the semi-outback of Australia really suits them both.  There's lots of open spaces for them to run around and explore and be male.  They can ride their motorbikes, shoot their guns (obviously the Little Big Fella is a bit young just yet, but he'll get to do it when he's a bit bigger), play footy or cricket or whatever sports they like.  We can light a fire in our fire drum and cook dinner and sit around and our neighbours won't be distressed by it.

They get to be male.

And why shouldn't they?  The are male!

But it seems to me that there are a lot of ways that our society seems to emasculate our men.

Little boys aren't allowed to play with toy guns or knives or swords.  And play-fighting is definitely not allowed.  Hunting, even ethical hunting, is abhorred by many.  Even fishing is being restricted in many areas.

When I lived in a major city, there was much discussion over how wood fires were causing environmental issues through loss of forests and the emissions caused by the fires themselves.

We still "allow" men to like cars and motorbikes, and sports, but women seem to be resentful when men want to take time for those interests.

It just makes me wonder what kind unbalance we're bringing into the world by reducing the opportunity for men to be masculine.

There has been a trend where girls are out-performing boys academically.  As the mother of a boy, that disturbs me.

However, I recently heard about a boy's school where the principal is actively trying to allow masculinity.  The learning is taken outside wherever possible, concepts are taught in physical formats whenever they can, the boys are allowed to climb and roughhouse during recess.  Boys are encouraged to take risks!  That's definitely not a stereotypically feminine trait!

Obviously, as a parent, I see it as part of my role to ensure that my son grows up to be a whole, well-developed man.  I want him to be whole emotionally, academically, mentally, physically and spiritually.  And, for me that includes allowing him to develop his masculinity.

The world needs the riskiness, skills and thought-processes of males.  We need to let men be men.  Because ultimately we'll all lose out if we don't.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Too much in one day!

Today was a pretty big day.  Up at 6 to have breakfast then do my workout before taking the Little Big Fella to kindy.  Collect the mail, home to finish my food dishes for today's CWA luncheon, then everything in the car and off to the hall.

Each year the CWA chooses a country to focus on.  This year was Turkey.  The CWA ladies prepare appropriate food, and the children from our little school do a colouring page (grade Prep to year 2), a promotional poster (years 3 to 5), or an information poster (years 6 and 7).  The winners are presented with prizes and their work goes on to compete in the division, then if they win there, on to the State level.

It's a pretty big deal and one of the "events" in our small town's calendar.

The ladies who run the day put in SO much effort to make it great!  One of the ladies decorates the whole hall, all of the ladies cook at least one dish, they all help to clean and set up the hall, and people donate some wonderful prizes for the cent sale and raffle that is also held.  It's a community effort and is a fun day out.

I got to make a red lentil soup, which sounds rather... dull.  But it's actually quite delicious and everyone who tried it enjoyed it.  I also made a carrot dip.  Some of the other ladies made chicken in yoghurt (SOOOOO good!), meatballs in tomato sauce, spinach pie (mmmmm!), and, of course, Turkish delight :D

The kids' colouring and posters were fantastic and it was fun to see them receive prizes.

We didn't end up eating until after 1 and dessert wasn't until after 2!  I had to go collect the Little Big Fella from kindy, but we came back and helped to finish the clean up.

We finally got back home at 4.

The Little Big Fella was a bit hungry by this time (he'd had some lollies/candy at the hall but needed some "always food").  I was just coming out of the bathroom when I heard that sound.

Mums know this sound.  It's the "run here because something is absolutely wrong!" sound.

Then it changed to the "run here and be here yesterday because it's even worse than it was a second ago" sound.

And I RAN!

I found the Little Big Fella in the kitchen, sitting on the floor with a bag of tortillas and a steak knife.  He'd managed to stab the knife through the bag and cut his tall finger on his left hand.  And yes, there was blood.

I grabbed his hand and put pressure on the wound and felt the blood pumping a little.

Oh shit!

The Big Fella was still at work.  I couldn't drive to the doctor's or hospital and hold his hand at the same time.  I couldn't see or hear the neighbours.

But I had my phone in my pocket!  So I rang our emergency number and got put through to the ambulance.

It was so hard to talk to them because the Little Big Fella was crying so hard. But the first intelligible thing he said was, "I should have waited for you mummy".  I guess there's a possibility he may have learned a lesson today.

By this time I'd grabbed a cloth to put over the wound and the bleeding seemed to have slowed or possibly even stopped.  The guy on the phone gave me some instructions on what to do while I was waiting, and said that if certain things happened, that I should call again.

We moved inside and sat on the couch and turned on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles so that he could be comfortable, and hopefully a little distracted.  He got a little bit cold and had a good cry again and kept asking where the ambulance was (nope, distraction didn't work!).

They got to our place in 20 to 30 minutes, which is basically as long as it takes to drive from the next town to ours.  As they were coming to the stairs they saw a snake!

Sheesh!  Really???

The snake slid into the "shed" under the house and the ambos came upstairs.

As soon as they wanted to touch or look at the wound, the Little Big Fella pretty much went into hysterics!  I immediately worried that we'd have to get stitches and that it would be a major drama!!!

The ambos don't do stitches, but they cleaned the wound and bandaged it up.  By this time the bleeding had basically stopped and was probably only going a little still because of the movement of the finger.  They even put him in a sling, just to help him keep it safe :-D  He loved it!

Just as they were leaving, the Big Fella arrived home from work!  Totally freaked out about there being an ambulance in front of our house, but was fine once he saw that we were okay.

So he found and dealt with the snake and we went to the hospital in the next town because yes, we needed to get stitches, or (hopefully) glue the wound together.

I think we might have been the only people in emergency at that time because they took us straight through to the triage room and started asking all the usual questions, as well as injury-specific ones.

As soon as they started unwrapping the bandage, the Little Big Fella got upset and stressed out.  And he was making noises like he was going to be sick.  Thankfully the "sick bag" intrigued him for a little bit and mildly distracted him.

The nurses took a photo of the injury and texted it to the doctor on call (who happens to be our GP), asking if it needed stitching or could just be glued.  We all crossed our fingers for glue!

After about 5 minutes we got the call saying that yes, it could be glued!  Yay!!!!

Actually gluing it was a bit of a drama though.  The Little Big Fella had a big cry (apparently it stings a little) and kept trying to pull his hand away.  But eventually it was done and they wrapped it up and he was happy.  He even got a certificate of bravery!


I have to say that the nurses were absolutely fantastic!  Obviously they weren't particularly busy, but they still did everything they could for us, as quick as possible.  And, as well as the certificate, they gave the Little Big Fella a juice box, "to replace all those tears".

He almost literally skipped out of the hospital!  I guess he was feeling okay now that no one needed to see or touch his hand.

On the way home, we stopped at a local takeaway for kebabs/souvlaki for the Big Fella and me, and chips and prawn cutlets for the Little Big Fella.  They were a bit past their prime by the time we got home, but still delicious and definitely better than having to cook!

Then it was time to wrap up the Little Big Fella's bandaged hand in a plastic bag and get him into the shower.  First thing he did?  Put his plastic hand in the water!

Here he is, all bandaged, showered and in bed (obviously before he completely crashed out):


Oh!  And this one is where he's "web slingin'", because he'd been in his Spiderman suit when it all happened.


So, another successful visit to a small country hospital.  I'd really like it to be more than 2 months before I see another one.  Please!  :-D

Friday, 7 June 2013

I am not a mind-reader

The other day I had a little rant about some of the ridiculous expectations we have of each other in relationships.

I feel the need to continue along that theme today.

Girls, guys are not girls and they definitely can't read your mind.  Most of the time they can't even read your moods.  So stop expecting them to!

If you want them to bring you flowers, ask them to.  Or even better, put it in their diary or phone.  That way they'll be more likely to actually do it.

If you don't like flowers because you hate watching them die in the vase and drop bits all over the table, let them know.

If you'd prefer a box of fancy chocolates, tell him!

If you're allergic to something, you absolutely need to make that clear :-D

Do you have an ideal in your mind of how a particular day needs to be?  Maybe on your birthday you want him to wake you up with a "Happy Birthday" and a cuppa.  Or maybe you just want to go out for dinner so that you don't have to cook and clean up.  Or maybe you want the whole shebang and more! If you don't let that poor fella know, you are going to be disappointed, possibly have a horrible day, and it's not going to be his fault.

Women (please note that this is a generalisation and therefore does not apply to everyone) seem to have developed a level of expectation that seems completely unrealistic.  Without giving their man any form of direction or instruction (and no, hints don't count - guys can't read hints either), girls start punishing him for not doing this or that.

Why would you set each other up for failure???

Don't you love him?  Do you want to have a harmonious relationship?  Then talk to him.  In clear, specific man-language.

If you want a dozen red roses on Valentine's Day, don't tell him you'd like some flowers then lose the plot at him for giving you a bunch of daffodils in March!  Men are not stupid, but they are not women and they are not mind-readers.

Guys, let me give you a couple of tips too.

You're a smart fella and you've worked out what the signs are for your partner's time of the month.  Be even smarter!  If she's upset, don't tell her why!  She knows.  But you telling her is likely to turn her into a snarling, clawed beast (in which case, you'd better run!!!).

And even though you want to fix things for her (because that's what guys do, right?), unless she's asking you for suggestions, she doesn't actually want you to tell her what needs to be done.  Unless she asks you, she probably already knows and just needs to vent.  It's part of the process for most women.  I know, guys don't do that!  But girls do, and if they need to do it and you're the person they choose to vent at, it's actually a privilege.  So just listen, nod and try to pay attention because there'll probably be information in that vent that is useful to you in future situations (eg. what bugs her, what might make her feel better... the inner workings of your woman's brain).

If she's crying, she most likely needs a hug.  And not a short, half-second pat-on-the-back.  A full arms and body hug for as long as it takes to stop crying, and then a little bit more.  You don't even need to say anything.  Just be with her while the storm passes.

I guess what I really want to say is that communicating clearly with one another in a relationship is so important.  But you need to understand how the other person works as well.  Because if you're effectively speaking Martian, and they only understand Saturnian, it's obviously not going to work. 

So find out how your partner understands the world.  Find out what makes them feel loved.  Discover as much as you can about how their brain works - what fires them up, what pisses them off, what calms them down, what relaxes them.  And keep discovering!  Because people change over time (just to make things slightly confusing!), but you, your partner and your relationship are worth the effort!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Give the guy a break!

I was listening to the radio in the car today.  The hosts were talking to a woman about how "romantic" certain things were.  Apparently they had recently encouraged guys to go out and buy their partners flowers, and hope that the girls hadn't heard the suggestion on the radio.

The woman the hosts were speaking to had written in because she had heard the suggestion on the radio.  In her opinion, the flowers weren't "romantic" enough.

To add insult to injury, the flowers were "the ones on special from a Coles Express or a petrol station" - the ones with the clear cellophane wrapping that might have been sitting there for a day too long.

So, because the guy hadn't come up with the idea himself, and because the flowers weren't "up to standard", the girl wasn't happy and complained to the radio station hosts.

WHAT?????

Are you serious????

Your partner was reminded by a couple of strangers that you are worth buying flowers for.  He then drove somewhere, where he knew there would be flowers, and paid good money for them.  But that's not "romantic"???

Puh-lease!!

Girls!  Let's get this straight.

If your guy needs to be reminded to buy you flowers, that's okay.

If he has to put a reminder in his phone or his diary, that's okay.  In fact, that's great!  Don't you realise that the things he doesn't want to forget are put in his phone or diary?  Therefore, if giving you flowers is in there, you're important to him!

This might come as a shock to you, but guys are different from girls.  Generally speaking, flowers are not important to them.  And if their love language isn't gifts, or if they don't know that yours is, it's even harder for them.

Give the poor guy a break, and appreciate that he has taken effort to show you that he loves you and that he hopes you'll appreciate the effort and the thought (even if someone else's thought needed to kick-start his thought).

And while we're on the subject of giving your partner a break, let me continue my soap-box rant!

Why do we think that our partner has to "pay" for things?  And no, I'm not talking about money.

He doesn't take the rubbish out so she refuses to kiss him.

She doesn't let him watch the footy, so he's arrogant and rude.

He watches TV while eating a dinner that she's put extra effort into making.

She spends all night on Facebook, going to bed long after he's asleep.

It really bothers me when people refuse, first of all, to enunciate their wishes, and secondly to be polite to (at least in theory) the most important person in their lives.

Your partner is the person you've chosen to be with!  You love them!  Why on earth would you speak rudely to them???  Just because they love you?  That doesn't make sense!  Surely they should be the person you try most hard to please, to meet their needs, to make their lives as good as possible!

And they love you, right?  So surely asking them (politely) to do something for you isn't a big deal.

I know.  My head is in a world of relationship utopia.  All is love and rainbows and fairytales.

No.

The world is not perfect.  And relationships can be really hard.

But surely it's worth the effort!  Surely a bit of respect, politeness and, at the very least, civility is worth the effort with the one you love!  Isn't it better than letting your relationship unwind in a long string of unspoken desires, harsh words, neglect and despair?

I really, honestly think it is.