Thursday, 26 February 2015

Tae Kwon D-Oh My!!!

The Little Big Fella loves martial arts!  He's loved them at least ever since he first saw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a few years ago.

At the time he was so interested that I found out about a Tae Kwon Do class here and made contact.  But on speaking to the Instructor, we decided that The Little Big Fella was still too young and he would have to wait until he was 6 years old.

He turns 6 at the end of March but was talking about it constantly for weeks, so we found out when the classes were on and decided to let him start a little early.

Last week he attended his first two lessons.  They go for two hours each!!!  But he absolutely loved it and couldn't wait to show his Dad what he'd learned!

I sat and watched the first lesson and thought it looked like fun.

The next morning I tried to do a couple of push ups and a couple of burpees, which are part of the "warm up" each lesson.


There was no chance I was capable of joining in.

I watched the next lesson and wanted to join in.  Obviously I am insane.

Yesterday I watched again and thought, "no, I really want to do this!  I'm going to join in tomorrow night".  So last night I packed a change of clothes, prepared some bottles of water so they would be cold when we got to class, and psyched myself up, whilst pretty much shaking in my boots.

After work this afternoon I went and collected the Little Big Fella from after school care and we went to the dojo (school hall).

The weather has been hot and humid here and by the end of the "warm up" I felt like I was going to pass out, and my muscles were starting to cramp.  I think I have a bit of carpet burn as well, from face-planting in an attempt to do push ups in several variations.

Our next part of the class was a "sensitivity" drill, where you practice keeping your partner from punching you in the nose.  Amazingly, my carpet-burned snout remained punch-free!

Then we practiced "stances" and a couple of different types of kicks.  It was exhausting and a bit painful but super fun!  Turns out my ballet training as a kid is helpful in Tae Kwon Do because it helped me understand balance, how the body moves, and gave me the ability to observe the small changes in someone as they demonstrate a move, to enable me to copy fairly accurately.

To finish the class, the Instructor informed us that we would have the opportunity to break wooden boards using the kicks we'd been practicing.

Most of the class is made up of Primary school kids, probably aged 8 to 11.  There was one other adult in the class today.  Several of the kids were super keen to have a go, but The Little Big Fella was definitely not!

So, one by one, the keen kids had a go.  Some of them got close to breaking the board - you could tell by the way they moved and the sound of their foot on the board.

The Instructor then said it was time for an adult to have a go, walked up to me and told me to do it.

Something you need to understand about this class is that it's constantly drummed in to you that you need to have a go.  You won't get it right every time, but it's all good practice and you're just cheating yourself if you don't.

So, I got up and "faced up", getting ready to kick.

I took a deep breath, settled into my position, then kicked the board hard and fast, imagining my foot going through it, not just touching it.

The board snapped!

I am a bit embarrassed to write this, because I was surrounded by so many children, but the first words out of my surprised, uncontrolled mouth were, "HOLY SHIT"!

The Instructor congratulated me and everyone clapped.  I was handed my two pieces of board and told to take them home and write the details of my achievement on them.

I sat down and suddenly realised that the ball of my foot was a bit sore.  It had taken a good 30 seconds or so for that realisation to hit.

After that, all the kids (including The Little Big Fella) wanted to have a go.  Three girls in a row broke the board, followed by one of the boys.  I cheered enthusiastically for them - they were so surprised and pumped up!  It was brilliant!  Unfortunately The Little Big Fella didn't break the board when he tried it, but his technique improved with the practice.

So, now I guess I'm going to keep going to classes.

But first, I'm going to have to attempt to get out of bed in the morning!  All of my muscles in my legs, and most of the ones in my arms feel like they're going to cramp at any moment!!!

No pain, no gain, right?

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

That! Was! AWESOME!!!!

A few weeks ago a new friend invited the Little Big Fella to a blow up water park in the closest large town to us.  It sounded pretty cool so I said we'd go.

The organisation of said event turned out to be a little complicated, especially when a category 5 tropical cyclone hit the coast (a couple of hours East of us) yesterday.  The cyclone has caused some pretty devastating damage where it made land, but we only got a little wind, and a tiny bit of rain.

Saturday morning we woke up to a beautifully sunny day.  We could tell it was going to be a hot one so it was all go to buy the tickets and get organised to get there.

Eventually we met up with our friends, got everyone in the cars, stopped once or twice along the way, got to the showgrounds after a little detour, got out of the cars, got all our stuff, got into the ever-growing line, remembered to put on sunscreen and made it through the gates.

In so many ways, I am just a big kid.  I love Disneyland and fairy tales and all those things that make you squee with joy!

Seriously, this place was SO cool!!!

There were four BIG blow up pools, a maze, an obstacle course, a big, horizontal slide-y thing (we didn't actually end up checking that one out), and slides and toys and water and laughter and boats that you paddle by hand...

It was just SO cool!!!

Hang on!  Here's the website to give you a bit of an idea:

Now, the Little Big Fella is often... tentative.  I wouldn't describe him as particularly brave.  So when his friend asked him to go on the BIG slide in the middle of the park, I nearly fell over when he agreed to!!!

I waited in line with them, then watched as they climbed about three storeys high.

I waited to watch them slide down.

Other kids came down.

I looked, and I waited.

No Little Big Fella.

"Oh no!  I'm going to have to climb up there and get him" is what I was thinking.  Then the lifeguard told me that if you climbed up the stairs on this side of the pool, you slide down into the other pool.

I quickly scooted out of the pool I was in and around to the next one and found the boys.

"How was that?" I asked.

"That!  Was!  AWESOME!!!!" yelled my Little Big Fella.

Big grins all around.

Funnily enough though, when his friend wanted him to go up and over the other side, he declined.

Sunday, 15 February 2015


Last weekend I had a heap of stuff that needed doing around the house.  I had the normal weekend jobs, and I was trying to bake some healthy snacks for the following week.

With a list of tasks on my mind, I hadn't planned anything in particular for the Little Big Fella.  Normally that's fine - he's quite good at entertaining himself.  But last weekend I had pleas and constant requests to play with friends!

So I made a decision to ensure that each weekend we tried to plan a time to play in one way or another.

With that in mind, mid-week I texted a bunch of friends to see if they were available/interested in going for a motorbike ride out the back of town.  There's a great place in the bush just up the hill that is basically flat, a little bit bushy, and perfect for young riders to race, play and practice.

Saturday morning we made our way up the hill and met our friends for a morning ride.  The kids were all having a blast, riding around the "track".  One of my friends commented that the Little Big Fella did a jump over a little bump in the track.

I went over to watch him and saw him do a couple of decent little jumps, getting air and everything!  I was so excited for him!  And he thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread!

I started walking back to where the adults were sitting and saw the Little Big Fella coming around the track and drop his bike.

This isn't a big deal.  He normally drops it once or twice when we go out there because of the sand, or he hits a small rock or whatever.

But this time he didn't pick it up.  He didn't even attempt to!

When I got over to him he was bawling his eyes out.  Again, not entirely unusual.  Last time we went out there he cried when he couldn't pick the bike up because it was losing fuel and he thought he'd have to stop riding for the day.

Well, this time turned out to be not much different.  The reason for the tears was the same (not being able to ride any more for the day), but this time it wasn't that he'd run out of fuel.  This time he'd managed to completely break the handlebars off his bike!!!

I honestly don't have the skill with words to describe the depth of his heartbreak!  The Little Big Fella was completely devastated!!!

I managed to get the bike back up on its wheels so that it stopped leaking oil everywhere then got the Little Big Fella's helmet off so that I could comfort him more effectively.

We got him to stop crying and the others ended up parking their bikes and they all went and played in the bush for the rest of the morning.

This is definitely one of those times that I'm grateful that the Big Fella has mechanical skills!  He had a look at it once we got home and is pretty confident that he can fix it.  But we've started looking at possibly replacing the bike for the Little Big Fella's birthday, because if he's going to keep jumping (and there's little chance of stopping him now!), the bike is probably going to need regular repairs!!!!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The Little Big Fella's Antics

Two weeks ago I got a text message from our Family Day Carer telling me that two of the other kids were going to sign up for dance classes, and asking if the Little Big Fella would like to as well.  He generally likes to dance/move, so I said if he wanted to that was okay with me.

Today was his second hip hop class and it was almost as entertaining as his first!

Am I allowed to say that he has very little sense of rhythm?  And can't stay focused long enough to complete a simple set of dance steps?


He has more enthusiasm than the rest of the class put together!!!

When it's time to kick, he kicks with enough effort to knock himself to the ground.

When it's time to "bounce", he puts in a Tigger effort and tries to hit the ceiling with his head.

When they're instructed to step to the side, I'm sure he thinks he has legs 6 feet long that can reach the other side of the room in one step if he just stretches that little bit further!

It's so fun to see him mucking around and laughing and just having so much fun (even though I suspect it's hard work for his teacher).

In other news, we had our first trip to the school dental van today!  It turns out that he was their first appointment this year because no one else had turned up so far!

As well as the one wobbly tooth we knew about, I was informed that the one next to it is also loosening, he has his first adult teeth coming up at the back of his mouth on the bottom, and the two teeth at the back on the top row have something that causes discolouration (which was apparently caused when I was around 4 weeks pregnant but is nothing to worry about).  The Little Big Fella got to keep the dentist's mirror ("to keep an eye on your new and wobbly teeth"), and received a sticker for having no holes in any of his teeth.  Happy dentist, happy boy, happy mum :)

The other "event" of the week happened on Monday afternoon.  We were getting ready to go to a friend's place for dinner so we'd finished homework nice and quickly and the Little Big Fella went off to have a shower.  He's started running the shower himself over the past couple of months, so I was getting other things ready while he did that.

I'd noticed that the water hadn't started running and assumed the Little Big Fella was on the loo.  I even called out as I went past doing something else to make sure he was okay.  The answer was in the affirmative so I kept on with my list of "to-do"s.

A few minutes later my boy appears from the bathroom, quite proud of himself, and announces that he has had a haircut.

Yep, you guessed it!  He's cut his fringe with the scissors.

Oddly enough, I'd actually thought we'd escaped the possibility of a hair disaster!  I thought he was passed the age where that was likely to happen.

I thought wrong!

I shuttled the Little Big Fella into the bathroom to check out the damage and see what remedy might be required.  Yep, you guessed again!  He'd cut it right in the middle at the front, almost all the way to the scalp, in several places.

Honestly!  I should have known this was coming!

Lately the Little Big Fella has been trialling everything in the bathroom!  He cut his lip with a safety razor last week, has used almost all of the Big Fella's facewash in less than a week, and sprayed who knows how much of his deodorant under his arms on the weekend (enough to make a pile of white, powdery residue on the floor of the bathroom!).

So, as we're getting ready to go to dinner, out come the clippers and he now has a number 3 buzz cut.  He has a pretty good head for buzz cuts, but I really hate them on him!  I can't wait for it to grow back enough for me to trim the back and sides!!!

Monday, 2 February 2015

Did somebody say chaos?

Last week I mentioned "the chaos of normality".  Now, I know I only have one child but chaos is our normal during school terms.

I get up early in an attempt to be awake, hang a load of washing, do a workout, shower and dress before waking the Little Big Fella.  Somehow we've gotten into a bad habit of me waking him up and him taking forever to do so.  He's only in Grade 1!!!!

So I wake him up and we eat breakfast and finish getting ready, with me constantly pushing him (and myself) to be out the door 5 minutes later than I really want to leave.

Drive to the next town and drop the Little Big Fella off at before and after school care (it's a Family Day Care that does the school run, and I have to say I'm really happy with this way of doing things, given my work hours).  Inevitably we have a little chat before I rush off to work.

Insert eight hours of constant demand and ever-piling tasks, phone calls, emails etc., with the occasional lull to allow me to complete a few things.

Rush out of work (often with someone asking me "just one thing" on the way out) and collect the Little Big Fella from care.  Have a chat then squeeze in whatever errand we need to do for the day - collect the mail (we don't have a mail service in our little town), pick up whatever from the shops that we forgot or couldn't get on the weekend food shopping trip, get a haircut, collect this or that... you get the idea.

Drive home.

Argue with the Little Big Fella to take his school bag out of the car because my hands are full of everything else.  Take everything upstairs and sort it all out.

Outside to bring in the washing, water the plants, let the chook out for a run and make sure she has enough food and clean water.  Pull a couple of prickle weeds or otherwise tidy a plant or two in our little garden.

Take the folded washing upstairs and put it away.  Do homework (OMG I hate homework!!!).  Make dinner (although, when the Big Fella is home, he's normally taken care of this - I am definitely a lucky woman!!!), eat, clean up, shower the Little Big Fella and make sure he cleans his teeth, put him to bed and read a story.

Finish cleaning up the kitchen or crash on the couch for half an hour before tackling whatever other task has presented itself as necessary (tonight's task is blogging, but should actually be ironing).  Don't forget to shut the chook back into her yard for the night.

Brush my teeth, shower (it's summer and rather warm here at the moment, so a second shower for the day makes sleep so much better) and crash into bed.

Somewhere in there I attempt to spend some kind of time with my husband, assuming he's home in the evening and awake, not working or sleeping ready to go to work when I go to bed.

Repeat 5 days a week.

Life is busy!  There's lots to do and never enough time.

But, to be honest, most of the time I like it like this.  I like being busy and I like feeling useful.  I like the fact that most of the time I rise to the challenge, and even when I don't there's another chance to be better tomorrow.  I like the sense of purpose, and routine.

And I like the days when the routine goes out the window and we spend a couple of hours with friends at the park, or my neighbour and I water our plants at the same time and end up chatting for ages while the kids run rampant together.

I don't mind when the dishes don't get done at night sometimes, especially if it's because we're spending time together as a family.

I know that when I was a full-time stay-at-home mum, I got down.  I was bored.  I felt purpose-less.

Throw a little (preferrably organised) chaos my way and I'm definitely happier :-)