Friday, 31 January 2014

Starting school

The day had finally arrived.  After weeks of asking, and marking days off on the calendar, and talking and preparing, it was finally the first day of school for my Little Big Fella.

At 6:30 a little head popped up beside me in bed.

"Mum.  It's school day today!"

Really, I'm pretty lucky he woke that late!

But thus began the interminable wait for 8:15, when the Little Big Fella could finally say "it's time to go, Mum!"

We took the obligatory photos, and a couple of videos (oh shoot!  I haven't sent those to Grandma yet!  Sorry Grandma!  They're coming as soon as I've posted this!).

I took several hundred photos (I love multi-shot!) but still couldn't get a single one with both eyes open!  Sheesh!

Side note: don't you think it's crazy that a school with a black and yellow colour scheme specifies white socks in their uniform????  Seriously?  Have you ever had a child who can keep anything white clean???

Anyway, following in my own mum's footsteps, I'd decided that the Little Big Fella would make his own school lunch from day 1.  So the afternoon before, he made his sandwiches (one with jam and one with honey), put some fruit and yoghurt and some snacks into his lunchbox and put it in the fridge, ready to go in the morning.

Obviously he needed a little help, but even in the four days that he's been going so far, he's significantly improved!  And I can see a day in the very near future where I won't be wanted or needed for lunch-making at all!

My mum is a very smart woman :-D

Amazingly, the Big Fella wasn't working until well after school started on the first day so the three of us walked (a whole block!) to school, with the Little Big Fella just about jumping out of his skin with excitement!

As we got closer to the school, the Little Big Fella's hand found its way into mine and I realised he was getting a little nervous, probably because of the large number of people hanging around.

But we found where to put his bag and books, then found and put on his name badge.  His teacher said good morning and the Little Big Fella responded without doing his faux-shy act.

Then we spotted his best friend and life was brilliant from that point on.  Another friend who will be in their classroom but is in Grade 1 (it's a composite Grade Prep/1/2 class) was asked to help them get settled.

The first bell went and minor chaos ensued.  Kids were running everywhere, parents were saying goodbye, teachers and helpers were trying to direct everyone to the right place...

The Little Big Fella gave us hugs and kisses and then he was inside, sitting on the mat beginning his learning career.

And I was so immensely proud of him!  He took to it like a duck to water.  He wasn't afraid.  He overcame his brief nervousness.  What more could a Mummy ask for?

And because I knew he was okay, I was okay too.  How could I not be okay when I was so proud?

Throughout the day I often wondered what he was up to and what he was learning and who he was playing with and if he had enough food and if he was still okay.  And when it got to 2 o'clock I started to get excited!  Only half an hour before I could go and pick him up and hear his stories and find out what he'd loved about school.

And he did love it!  He'd done some drawing, and he'd written his name, and he'd played with his friends.  He showed me the magnet toys in his classroom (ironically, he'd loved playing with those at Super Carer's place when he was so much littler), and where his table was with his name on it.

How could a mother's heart not melt?

After all the loooooooonnnnnnnggggg nights, the hard days, the tears, the struggles, and the laughter, the fun, the games, the highs... we have reached one of the points of evaluation of parenthood and we've done our job - our boy is ready for school and therefore this stage of life without us.  Good job parents!  :-D

We have just finished our first week (four days) of school.  We're a bit tired and overwhelmed by the changes this new life is bringing.  So Friday after school was party pie and movies time.

But we've seen our son super-excitedly showing us how he can write his own name (you could basically read it too!).  We saw some of his classwork (including a piece about the class rules, where his response was something along the lines of "class rules keep us safe otherwise we'd be dead").  We've learned about "mat manners" and the importance of doing what your teachers tell you.  And we found out there's a fridge to put his lunch and drink bottle in.

It's been a huge week!  And the coming weeks are going to be just as big, with the start of swimming (both through the school and privately), Kindysports, tuckshop, P&C meetings, and Show and Tell.

It's exhausting, but it's also kind of fun and definitely exciting too.  And watching the Little Big Fella grow in such a short time is amazing!  I'm loving this new stage of our lives.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

My little hospital adventure

Let me just say this upfront: DRINK YOUR WATER PEOPLE!!!!!  Seriously, it hurts if you don't!

Okay, so earlier last week the Little Big Fella had a bit of a temperature at night, then the next few nights had a bit of a cough.  So on Saturday morning, when I started feeling achy in my joints, I thought I'd either pushed too hard in my workout, or was coming down with a flu.  My throat was a bit sore as well.

Even with the aid of ibuprofen, by that night I was in a fair bit of pain.  The Big Fella's parents were staying with us for a couple of days (to hang out with the Little Big Fella before school starts) and his mum found me crying because of the pain and exhaustion.  Eventually I got to sleep and thought it would all be okay.

The next morning (Sunday) I woke up feeling okay.  The Big Fella's parents left and we went next door for a playdate.  I sat around talking with the other mums all morning and mostly felt fine.

When the others had all left the Little Big Fella still didn't want to go and was invited to stay and play for a while.  I was chatting with my neighbour and suddenly felt quite faint.  I told her I had to go and practically raced over the fence and upstairs, dumped my stuff on the bench, told the Big Fella I thought I was going to faint and sat on the couch.

The next thing I knew, I was having a whole bunch of pictures flashing through my head and I was attempting to focus on the Big Fella.  Apparently I'd turned white as paper, my eyes rolled up and I passed out, stopped breathing, and my arms flapped around a bit.  I only knew I was really tired and just wanted to lie down on our beautifully comfy couch.

The Big Fella called the hospital and asked them about what had happened, then spoke to our neighbour, asking if the Little Big Fella could stay while he took me up to the hospital.

I felt nauseous on that drive!  And I'm pretty sure the Big Fella was speeding at least the first half of the way there.

We got to emergency and went in to triage where my blood pressure, heart rate and temperature were checked and all the standard questions asked.  He also pinched my skin in a few places, which apparently told him that I was dehydrated.

Then he went off to talk to the doctor.

We waited.

And we both fell asleep.  The Big Fella had done a night shift and still hadn't been to bed, so he was exhausted.  And I'd gotten straight on the bed and laid down as soon as we arrived.

We both woke up, possibly an hour later, because we were cold.  That room was kind of icy!  About another 20 minutes later the doctor came in, asked a few more questions, checked a few more things then told me that I probably had an infection in my liver, bladder or urinary tract and that I was dehydrated.  They were admitting me to receive antibiotics and fluids by IV.

"Okay", I said, "can I please have a blanket?"

But instead of a blanket, they took me to a room, with the heater on, and a relatively comfy bed, and a blanket.  My teeth kept shivering for a couple of minutes though.

Has anyone been in hospital recently?  They have these beds, the nurse called it an airbed, and they blow up and down in different places depending on how you lay/sit on it!  It's kind of freaky!  So when you lay on your back, it adjusts, then if you move your legs, it adjusts.  If you put the head up a bit or move it to sitting position, it adjusts.  And sometimes the adjustment isn't that comfortable either.  It's to help reduce the chance of bedsores.

Well, after I stopped shivering, the nurse came in to put in my canula (the thing they put in your arm that the IV fluids go through).  And let me say it again; DRINK YOUR WATER, PEOPLE!!!

Normally I don't have any trouble having blood taken for tests or whatever.  I don't like needles, but it's not normally an issue.  But because I was dehydrated, the veins were hard to find and kept moving around, so getting the canula in was really hard.

The first nurse tried twice on my right arm.  The second nurse tried twice on my left arm.  And then they got the doctor in, who got it in my left arm first try.  But each of these were more painful than the last, and when the doctor got it in, it really hurt.

The Big Fella headed home to get some things for me, as we'd been told I'd be staying overnight by this time.  He came back with the Little Big Fella after they'd had their evening meal.  The Little Big Fella had eaten jelly with berries in it.  I knew because it was all over him!

By the time they got there I was starting to feel much better.  I could even sit up without feeling dizzy!

After a bit of a chat and a big hug each, my Fellas headed back home.  Poor Little Big Fella started to get a little upset that I wasn't coming home with them, but settled well enough with another hug and a bit of a chat.

I put a status update on Facebook and immediately had half a dozen friends offer to help me, or look after the Little Big Fella, or bring whatever I needed.  I am honestly SO lucky to have found such wonderful friends in our little town.

The night was long and uncomfortable.  Keeping your arm straight all night is tricky, and led to me sleeping in pretty much the same position all night.  And despite my "air bed", it got uncomfortable.

During the night a helicopter landed outside my window (well, not right outside but it was definitely loud enough to seem like it).  And the old man in the next room was rather loud, with moaning and groaning and talking to the nurses.  Thankfully I was in a room by myself though, so that was helpful.

In the morning I got a visit from my Fellas, which made my day!  There's nothing like visitors in hospital, and nothing like your two favourite people visiting.

When the doctors did their rounds I was told that, as long as I drank at least four 600ml bottles of water a day, I could go home when my final bag of fluids was finished.

Unfortunately, the Big Fella had to start work before then, so the Little Big Fella went to his best friend's house and I got a ride home with another friend who happened to be in town having lunch.

Being home was SO good!  Being able to move around without having to ask a nurse to disconnect me and then drag the IV stand around was absolutely awesome!  And sleeping in my own bed... heaven!

So now I need to take some tablets for a few days and see my doctor next week to follow up.  And drink lots of water!!!!  I don't think the Big Fella will let me get away with not drinking water ever again :-)

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

The sweet moments

One of the Little Big Fella's friends begged his mum to come and play here today.  He ended up being here for most of the day.  The boys played really well together and it was so easy!

This friend has been lending us copies of Zac Powers books.  Zac is a young spy who goes on missions and adventures, testing various spy gadgets and fighting against the evil spy agents.  They're chapter books with very few illustrations.

The Little Big Fella really enjoys them!  I was quite surprised when we first started reading them last year, because I didn't really think that the Little Big Fella's attention span was big enough.

Goes to show what I know, hey?

This evening he was quite insistent about me reading some of the new book to him at bedtime.  So we read the first chapter or three.

I noticed he was getting very sleepy and asked if he wanted me to stop but he said no.  And so I read my little boy to sleep.

That's such a little sentence; "I read my little boy to sleep" but it makes me all squishy inside.

It's one of the things that makes me feel like I'm an awesome mum, because it's something he enjoys, it's something that's good for him, and it means I stopped fussing about the busy stuff and made space for my son.

Those are the sweet moments!

And you know what?  I can make more of those!  Just by setting aside the task list and allowing moments of learning, fun and connection with my son.

And my husband, for that matter!  I have the power to do that!  Awesome :-)

Monday, 13 January 2014

Up the mountain

Yesterday we didn't have anything planned for the day, so the Big Fella suggested we see if someone could look after the Little Big Fella so we could go fora ride and give me a bit more learning experience.

One of my friends graciously agreed and (after a false start with the Big Fella's battery) we headed off.

We decided to go up to the Tablelands because it's a bit of highway riding, a bit of country road riding, and a bit of twisty-turney mountain riding.

I definitely need to get a full-face helmet, rather than the one I have, which only has the face-covering shield (or whatever it's called).  My cheeks get a little blown around and go numb after a ride on the highway!  And I got a butterfly stuck in it, which was rather distracting.

Oh!  And I almost ran over a couple of snakes!  One was slithering across the road (maybe 1.5 meters long) and the other we decided must have been dead because it was in the same position on the way back.

We had to avoid cattle, including crazy mother cows and their skittish calf babies.

It's a really nice drive up there, which you kind of notice a bit more on a bike.  You also notice the change in temperature much more!

The ride up to the tablelands reminds me of the drive up to Olinda in the Dandenong mountains (east of Melbourne).  They're different plants, and a different climate, but it has a similar effect and it makes me smile every time.

The Big Fella told me I was riding well and took the corners at good speeds, especially considering the lack of visibility.  So that was encouraging.

By the time we got home I was completely exhausted though!  I suspect doing a workout beforehand probably didn't help.  But it was definitely a happy exhausted - I really enjoyed the ride and I'm looking forward to getting my full license so that I can just ride whenever I don't have the Little Big Fella with me.

I got a call the other day from the place that does the Q-Ride course/test.  Apparently I'll need to do at least one lesson with them because they don't do automatic bikes in the Q-Ride testing, so I'll have to learn to ride a manual.  That's okay, and it's probably a good thing, but I'm pretty nervous about it.  Trying to keep a bike upright, while learning to change gears, and keeping everything else happening at the same time is a bit overwhelming.  But I learned to drive a manual car, so I'm sure I can learn this too!

So I'm hoping to get my full license before we go to Melbourne in March!  Look out Melbourne :-D

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Valuable friendships

I woke this morning...

Well, let's just stop right there.

I was aware of the world, but getting my eyes open was a significant struggle.  And when I finally did get them open, I had a tick in my eye for over an hour.

When I finally dragged my sleepy self out of bed I went into the kitchen and started to clean up the (small) mess left there from last night.

And it began.

The Little Big Fella wanted eggs (well, actually he wanted egg whites) for breakfast.  And he's much more of a morning person than I am, including almost constant chatter and almost zero listening.

"Mate, I'll make it for you in a minute, just let me clean up a little so we have some space for cooking."

He gets the eggwhites out of the fridge and took them into the lounge room.  Apparently he believed I would get rid of it, or something.

"Honey, please just wait a minute.  Bring those eggwhites back.  I'll cook them in a minute when I've made some space.  I won't cook them without you."  (Did I mention he quite enjoys participating in cooking?)

This kind of activity continued for a couple of minutes, before I raised the volume and snapped at him for not listening.

And so began a brilliant day in the household of ScooterShell and the Big Fellas!

For the next almost two hours I attempted to put myself in a better frame of mind, and hopefully wake up a bit.

In reality, I was in a bad mood and the prospect of the coming day wasn't good.

Then I got a text message.  The short version was "come and play".  And even though I didn't think I'd be good company, I agreed.

We spent several hours at this friend's house, and by the time we went home I was in a significantly better mood.

Which got me thinking.  I am a very lucky woman.  Not only do I have a wonderful, loving, fun husband, and a gorgeous, clever, interesting son, but I'm surrounded by good friends who understand my bad days and help me turn them around.

What more could anyone ask for???

Friday, 10 January 2014


I've wasted a lot of time looking at Pinterest tonight, but I also came across some wonderful new blogs that I'll read regularly, and have printed out some bits and pieces for the coming week.

A couple of themes have hit me as I've been reading:

1. People are more important than tasks, and 
2. I need to include the Little Big Fella in the tasks that need to be done.

Since Christmas I've noticed that my patience has been rather thin, and I've been grumpy with my Fellas.  And basically it's because I've been focussed on the tasks that need doing (cleaning up messes and "catching up" on the housework that got behind while I was working), rather than the two most important people in my life.

The Little Big Fella has been desperate for someone to play with.  Almost all of his friends have been away on holidays so he's been wanting mine and the Big Fella's attention and energy.

Yeah.  Definitely failed him on that one lately.

I haven't stopped to play games with him, or read him stories, or imagine with him.

So, instead of kicking myself (that won't help anyone!), I've written down a few things I'll do with him over the next few days/week.

And I'm planning a playdate for after the weekend.

I've also realised that the Little Big Fella is about to start school (duh!), and is definitely old enough to be a contributing member of our household.  So instead of putting him aside while I do things like laundry, dishes, meal preparation, and cleaning, I can make extra time now (while we have some!) to teach him how to do them.  Not only will he be learning valuable life skills, I'll be getting the essential tasks done and we'll be spending time together.

And, speaking of school, it's only 18 days until the Little Big Fella starts!  He's SO excited about it.  Every day he asks how long until he goes to school.

So when we were food shopping the other day, I picked up a cheap calendar, which we have hung in his room.  We've highlighted the first day of school (as well as our birthdays later in the year) and have been crossing off the days until school starts.

We did something similar in the countdown to Christmas (this year's version of an advent calendar), so he is starting to understand how far away a week is, and he's getting some great practice at recognising numbers!

Anyway, it's midnight (again) so I'm going to join my husband in bed for the next hour or so before he goes to work.  Goodnight!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Blogger's block

I feel like I need to apologise, but I've no doubt you'll all forgive me anyway.  I have a bunch of excuses (starting work, trying to keep my house somewhat clean and orderly, computer dying and it's trickier on the laptop or tablet, Christmas, New Year....) but really, they're just excuses.

Reality is that I have "blogger's block".

I don't feel like I have anything to say that anyone would want to read, and when I do, I don't have the time or energy to put it together (hopefully coherently).

So, let's see if we can break the block by writing this little apology.  Actually, it's not really an apology, given that it's my blog and I can write whenever I want.  But I guess it is an apology in the sense that I know that when I read a blog regularly, I miss it when they take a break, so I apologise if you've missed me.

Okay, let's see if we can break the block by giving a quick recap of what's been happening around here then.

I finally started work at one of the big Australian banks and finally, after two full weeks, managed to balance at the end of the day without having to re-count and re-check all of my work.  I literally did a dance!

Working full-time for two weeks was great and really hard.  It was awesome to be working again - spending so much time around adults, learning, and using my head all the time.  And it was hard not being around my Little Big Fella, trying to keep my house up to scratch, trying to fulfill the commitments I'd made as a non-worker, sitting almost all day, trying to get plenty of sleep and keep up with my workout program.

There were Christmas parties and birthday parties, often on the same day!

And, of course, there was Christmas!

My grandparents were going to join us this year but unfortunately that didn't work out.  But we had a great day!  The Little Big Fella got way too many presents, again!  And we had a fun time playing with all of them :-D

The Big Fella had a sleep in the afternoon (he'd done a string of night shifts with very little sleep in between) and I got a little down, I think because I'm used to Christmas day being full of people.

In the evening we visited some friends.  They'd gotten together with others in their street to hire a blow up waterslide and the Little Big Fella had a good go on it.  There were a few drinks and lots of laughs.  It was a great, relaxing way to end the day.

Boxing Day saw us follow a tradition that began early in our marriage, with Lord of the Rings, actually.  The Big Fella, the Little Big Fella and I went and saw the Hobbit at the cinema, 2 hours away.  It was expensive, and mildly frustrating a couple of times, but I think it's definitely a tradition we'll continue whenever possible.

The days between then and now have been very quiet and homely.  We've caught up with a couple of friends who've remained in town, been to the local pool, avoided the few shops that are near (and all of the ones further away!), practiced on my scooter and the Little Big Fella on his little motorbike, put up our pool and hidden away in the airconditioning from the high 30s to 45 degree days, and slept our way into the New Year.

Do you remember last New Year where I mentioned that I don't like it?  Here's the link if you want to look it up.  I actually happened to wake up 15 minutes before midnight this year and during that time I remembered some of the really bad New Year's Eve "parties" I've been to.

One included being at church (not the bad part - I loved going to church and spending time with the people around me who I considered my family), where the guest speaker actually continued speaking through the countdown to the New Year!

Then there were others (probably most of them really) where, possibly because there was no alcohol involved, we were trying to stay awake until midnight so we could count down, yell "Happy New Year" and go home to bed.

But this year I've added another reason to not like New Year.  And I suspect there will be plenty of people who disagree with me, which is absolutely your prerogative.

Many people seem to think that just because we've changed the number that we write to designate the year, their life will change... without them doing anything differently.  Then they whinge their way through the year, get to the other end and complain about what a horrible year it was and how they can't wait for the new year to begin.

Ummmm, sorry folks, that's not the way it works!

If you want your life to change in any way, big or small, you have to make a change!  Whether it's a new year or not!  And change is hard!  Which is why you haven't done it yet.  And, not only change for a minute or a day, but consistently!  And that sometimes feels impossible!!!

Anyway, I guess I'm off on a tangent, but I guess that means I'm cured of "blogger's block"!

I had a quick look back through my 2013 posts, just to see what I've recorded about our year for you.

  • We've had chickens,
  • been flooded in,
  • the Little Big Fella started kindy and turned 4,
  • our house has been painted and we have new furniture,
  • we've played with friends,
  • the Little Big Fella has spent a lot of time in superhero costumes,
  • I joined the CWA and was Treasurer for our playgroup,
  • the Easter Bunny and Santa visited, as did my brother, and the Big Fella's parents,
  • we visited our old town a few times,
  • I rolled our car and we got a brand new one,
  • the Little Big Fella and I flew to Melbourne,
  • I went to my first "real" concert and P!nk was AWESOME!
  • I got a 2nd and 3rd in the state CWA photo competition,
  • we went to the local race day,
  • I've (possibly excessively) considered various aspects of parenting,
  • I cut my hair short (again),
  • the Big Fella and I exchanged rings in a private (and moving) ceremony... in our car,
  • I've gotten back into papercrafts with some of my friends,
  • the Little Big Fella played his first sport (soccer),
  • we went to the May Day Fair, and the school fair,
  • we've been fishing and swimming and backyard camping,
  • we've attempted a sleepover with the Little Big Fella's best friend,
  • the Little Big Fella finally worked out how to ride his motorbike by himself,
  • I've raised the concept of letting men be manly,
  • the Little Big Fella gave some of his face-skin to the concrete, and shared his hand with a knife (thankfully not needing stitches),
  • I had some bad days and some bad weeks,
  • the Little Big Fella had his first visit to the dentist,
  • we had backyard fires and front yard fires, and fires at friends' houses,
  • the Little Big Fella played with (manufactured) snow for the first time ever,
  • we got airconditioning in our living area!
  • the Big Fella turned 40,
  • we got a shipping container/workshop,
  • the Little Big Fella learned how to teatowel fight,
  • we did Halloween again, and ate too many sweets,
  • I had a girl's night in,
  • I re-learned how to tie balloons and got to do it at two different events,
  • the Big Fella and I lost weight, and the Big Fella's kidney health has moved back to the "normal" range,
  • we've been to local footy games,
  • I ran my first ever fundraiser, and it was a success!
  • I've found a million reasons throughout the year to be thankful for my friends and family,
  • I totally got into the Christmas spirit in the lead up to Christmas,
  • we've had LOTS of fun times with friends at the park, at playgroup, at their houses, at our house,
  • we've laughed, a lot,
  • the Little Big Fella had his Prep Transition days, and loved them,
  • we've spent plenty of time splashing around in water,
  • the Little Big Fella and I have done a fair bit of cooking,
  • and I've returned to being ScooterShell.
No wonder I've felt so tired these last few weeks!!!!  That was a really big year, with lots of fun times.

Now take a deep breath because 2014 is going to have lots of big moments in it too!  The Little Big Fella is starting real school, we're going to Melbourne in March (as a family), in May (possibly just me) and September (just the Big Fella), I'll be getting my full motorbike license, there'll be birthdays and parties and playtimes and homework and events and competitions and Halloween and Christmas and work and love.  Put that together with whatever "deep" thoughts I dump on y'all, as well as all the random things that you never expect or plan for...

Can I go to sleep now?