Saturday, December 24, 2011

Show time

There comes a point in most people's lives when they first experience the cinematic surround sound of a movie theatre. From the days of old with the piano player in the pit, to the 'talkies', to the full on sensory assaulting experience that it is today, it has almost become a rite of passage. 

For some weeks now, the short one has been enamoured with the movie poster littered all over town of an oversized Puss in Boots. Being that it is the holiday season, and apparently that is what you do, Team O'Connor thought they might as well check it out. Probably not our first choice of movie, being that we haven't seen inside a movie theatre in three years, but we thought a safe option. 

Whilst the short one has ventured to the movies before with dad, all they have managed to see was the foyer. Bright lights, Dolby surround, darkened rooms all appeared a little too overwhelming. With this firmly in the back of our minds we checked out the cinema's return policy. Ten minutes of the flick, not your cup of tea? Guaranteed money back. Ten minutes grace we had... 

But we need not have worried. Short one sailed through the viewing, peppered with a few tears in the sad bits, smiles in the funny bits, and a bowel motion three quarters of the way through... Got to love toddlers and movies!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A journey is best measured in friends, not miles.

Tim Cahill

Five thousand.  That seems quite a lot.

Apparently it is the largest isogrammic number in the English language. As of today, it is also the number of hits this blog has attracted since its inception.

What started out over 12 months ago as a travel journal has morphed into something resembling a part-time soapbox, a philosopher’s muse, a journey of discovery.

Thanks everyone for being a part of that journey. I hope you have enjoyed the ride.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Complacency is the curse of the underprepared

Oscar Wilde once famously declared that work is the curse of the drinking class. How true that is during the festive season!  A time when overindulgence is par for the course and work interferes in having a good time.

For the first time in my working career, I will be working over Christmas, only pausing for breath on the public holidays. So with this restriction in mind, I thought it a good idea to have 15 people over for a Christmas dinner party, have all the Christmas shopping done by the first week in December, meet incredibly ridiculous timelines at work, and launch the family into another jet-setting holiday.

Yes, that is right.  Twelve months ago, as this blog will attest, we embarked on our European adventure with a travelling toddler in tow.  I once famously declared that I was an experienced single traveller, yet an apprentice baby traveller.  You would have thought that I would have learnt my lesson. This time round though, I am feeling far more confident, perhaps too much so…or is it just a case of I haven’t had time to think about it!

In less than two weeks, our little family will be getting on another plane and heading off into the sunset.  And…I have planned nothing!

Things are a little different for this trip though.  The short one is over that magic age of two years, entitling her to her own seat and ensuring more revenue for strike-plagued QANTAS; we are only flying for 2 ½ hours as opposed to 22 ½ hours; we won’t be encountering language difficulties; we will be using the same currency; and we have built in babysitters at the other end.

So…I think I deserve to be somewhat complacent…now where did I put that child?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The awakening of awareness

When do children first begin to be aware of life as it exists around them? 
When do egocentricities make way for others? 
When do 'others' matter? 
When the motivation is self... Ironic in a sense. 

The short one has really begun to have a deeper understanding of family relationships, friends and story book characters recently. She is beginning to make sense of who's who in the zoo of those that makes up our extended family. 

She is discerning of those with whom she interacts. She can role play characters from favourite tales in great dramatic stances.  She can tell from 40 paces that any hirsute overweight guy dressed in red would in fact be Santa Claus. 

Whilst we haven't focused on this Yuletide  novelty,  she appears to be a  festive phenomena. 

Is it the surreptitious power of advertising and marketing or is it purely driven by the motivation of self? 

I have no idea - but what I do know is the sheer joy and delight in her eyes when she comes across a Christmas display.  Children do make Christmas all that more special. 

Makes you wonder what Piaget and Erikson would have thought!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cherry blossoms

Some things in life are inevitable…the sun coming up and the sun going down. What happens in between is life. 

Inevitably, with life comes loss.

A sense of helplessness and sorrow; a sense of misery and pain.

A sense of how can I ever be the same again?

The truth is you won’t.

Loss defines us, sculpts us, moulds us.

It makes us what we are today.

But that doesn’t make it any easier…

Family and friends plant a seed in your heart. Over time the seed grows, until such a time as your memories of those lost help it blossom.  Cherish each and every day with loved ones and let your memories flourish after they have gone.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams

Quote by Eleanor Roosevelt

It seems that one morning I woke up to find myself the parent of a walking, talking, independence-exerting toddler. I don't know what happened between delivery and now but it appears to have passed me by. One day I was in charge of what she was wearing, eating, doing - now she's telling me that she wants to wear that pretty dress and that these shoes match...that she'll have fish and chips for dinner, with a slice of lemon no less and that she would prefer to do some collage and glueing at this point in time. 

I am beginning to feel obsolete in this relationship.

I suppose that is a symptom of a parenting style that promotes independence, curiosity, a love for learning and a strong identity...leading me to the conclusion that I only have myself to blame. I firmly believe that parenting is genetic.  The blue print of my own chromosomes, laid down all those years ago, echo in my conscience. Don't be afraid to have dreams, values and convictions. But more importantly, believe in them.

It did bring a wry smile to my face though, the day I heard Paul mumble under his breathe while shaking his head and walking away,  'I married a bloody independent woman, now I've bred one'...but you know what...he wouldn't have it any other way!

Friday, July 15, 2011

New Pastures

There comes a point in your life, where you come to the realisation that maybe…just maybe, there is something more.

I couldn’t want for anything more; I consider myself blessed with family and friends.  But maybe…just maybe there is something more.

Untapped talent…
Undiscovered genius…
Unheard of fortes…
Untouched ability…
Unbelievable modesty...

Or maybe…just maybe, I am having a lend of myself.

Understandably, with running a household, rearing a toddler, managing a husband, holding down a part time job (translates – full time job), writing part time and reviewing part time, I have ample time to take on more.

In a moment of crystallised idiocy, I actually considered that I could be a writer as well.  Perhaps these musings may actually be of interest to someone else. Clearly that someone else would have little in the way of a life, but happy to afford a little time to these words.

I submitted my first article recently to a magazine for editorial consideration.  I steeled myself for the inevitable writer’s rejection slip.  I am not under any false pretence in this regard.  I already have a plan.  I am going to collect my rejection slips over time and wallpaper my library with them.  A tapestry of knock backs. My ultimate goal – because as a writer I think it is important to have goals – is to get rejected from all of the major publishing houses. Unfortunately my well considered plan has already come undone.  They loved my article and want to publish it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

In sickness and in health

When Paul and I got married we wrote our own vows, and from memory I wasn’t big on the ‘in sickness and in health’ notion.  I am more of the suffer-in-silence type. You’re sick? Well, build-a-bridge-and-get-over-it type.

Clearly, I wasn’t thinking of off-spring at that stage.  By their very nature, babies are fairly dependent beings.  You pretty much have to do everything for them.  Don’t get me wrong, I sort of guessed that before ours came along. I had even come to grips with nappy changes that assaulted even the most hardy of olfactory systems.  But what I wasn’t counting on was that other bodily fluid, snot.

What is it with snot? It seems to haunt me. For 14 years I worked in a job that seemed to have an unnatural preoccupation with the stuff. We would sit in clinical meetings for hours discussing the colour, the volume and the consistency of other people’s snot.  At times the discussions even became quite animated, and all the while we ate our lunch.  At one stage of my career, I even wrote a children’s picture book which had a central theme of - you guessed it, snot!

So, as I was saying, what is it with snot?

Despite having moved on from that job, I still seem to be surrounded by the omnipresent fluid.  This week, the short one has taken on the role of patient; while I have been a little less so.  I am guessing that if her nose was a tap and a plumber saw it, he would be madly trying to fit a new washer.  I ask you, how can someone so small produce so much fluid?

Call it what you will – mucus, boogers, phlegm, nasal discharge - snot is all encompassing and unrelenting, regardless of its moniker.  Surely it’s been around since the early stages of homo sapien development, so…why hasn’t anyone come up with a fluid retardant? Surely it can’t be that difficult!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holier than thou...

Annually, Easter and Christmas are celebrated universally around the world, yet they are Christian feasts.  A couple of times a year, people come together, regardless of race, religion or conviction to celebrate the holy public holiday.

Being raised a Christian, I feel I should know about these things, but through various lifestyle choices, I have long let my Catholic membership lapse.  It is times like these though, that I do consider the bigger picture... and come up with a whole lot of nothing.

What does chocolate have to do with Easter?
Why do we exchange gifts on Easter Sunday?
What do rabbits have to do with Easter?  And since when do they lay eggs?
Why do we eat fish on Good Friday?  And what's 'Good' about it anyway?

All very valid questions - and ones that I will no doubt be hearing from the short one in time to come.

All in good time though, and hopefully by then I will have some semblance of a reasonable response.  Until such time, I am all for promulgating the Easter Bunny and partaking in the excesses of Easter.  And while I'm at it, I won't say no to a couple of public holidays!

Short One's Easter Tree

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Snooze button

There comes a point in every child’s life when they progress from a cot to a bed.  Some would see it as a rite of passage, others a form of nocturnal torture. Me, I’m leaning towards the latter.

We have arrived at that point in the road with the short one, probably at greater speed than initially anticipated, but who ever said children were predictable, clearly didn’t have them.

The short one is now enjoying her evening reclines in a side-free toddler bed.  This decision was made hastily following the short one’s curiosity leading her to impersonate a contortioning projectile from the cot confines.  A decision, she may argue, she is all good with, but one that I must admit I am not ready for, and perhaps won’t be until she reaches teenage years. 

I long for the days when pre-dawn awakenings are not an attractive prospect.  

I long for the days when upon awakening and quietly tiptoeing down to our bedside that she realises that it is best for everyone’s wellbeing to leave a sleeping parent lie.

Whilst the bed concept is a safer option at this stage of her career, it may inadvertently lead to unsafe options. Having your face massaged with all the gentleness of a sledge hammer before the sun has even shown up could lead to involuntary actions not perceived as overly encouraging. 

We are now considering our options for enclosing said toddler bed.  Our best option so far is turning it into a hot house; whilst the perfect answer to prevent escape, it will also assist with the acceleration of growth and development towards teenage years when sleep problems are quite the reverse.

Now where is that snooze button?

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools' Day

...a day dedicated to people with too much time on their hands.  April 1 each year seems to bring out all of those closet stand up comedians – the ones who wouldn’t last a beer in Edinburgh.

One of these said funny people thought it was a blast to tweet today that the well-loved and much treasured ABC Play School program was ending production, after 45 years.

One could argue that tweeting such slanderous comments was bordering on complete irresponsibility.  It is outrageous. Where is the accountability, I ask you? Thousands of under 5 year olds and their stay at home parents suffered a raft of conditions today including severe depression, anxiety attacks, nausea, apoplexy, inconsolable crying, anger…all to be told at midday that it was all a bit of a hoot!

Hoot?  Hoot?

This person needs to seriously research what is the definition of funny. Traumatising young children does not fall into the category of funny.

The Short One does not take kindly to being the brunt of some cruel and vexatious rumour involving her nearest and dearest Big Ted, Jemima, Humpty and Little Ted.  

Look, I wouldn’t take her on – so why this jumped up journo thinks she can I have no idea!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Tooth Fairy

When one starts writing about the joys of mothering definite themes begin to emerge.  Looking back over various posts I encounter repeated references to things such as sleep (or lack thereof), toilets (Freud, perhaps, would have something to say about this one), nappies (please refer to previous reference), routine (and trying to stick to one) and sleep (or lack thereof) – or did I mention that one?

Another one can now be added to the list…teeth. 

Why is it that these little eruptions cause so much pain for the grown ups – forget the kids!  I mean, they give pain on arrival, mostly due to having to put up with cranky, overtired, snotty short ones – and then follows the financial pain on their removal.  I have heard from some quarters that some parents are forking out near on a mortgage repayment when masquerading as the ‘tooth fairy’.

After having successfully subsidised my dentist’s extended family through private schools, property portfolio development and annual overseas holidays, I know all too well the pecuniary pain one can endure due to teeth. I can tell you right now, that this generosity will not be extended to my own flesh and blood.

In my day, you were lucky to get 20 cents and I think that was inversely proportionate to the years of pain that my parents suffered – all due to teeth!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.

I woke this morning to grey skies, gentle rain and a sense of sadness.  Today a dear friend was saying her final farewell to her father.  After enduring a long hard-fought battle, a loving family was saying their last goodbyes.

Love is all encompassing and with love comes strength; the strength to get back up again when you are down.  You want to reach out, you want to help, you want to make things better.  That sense of helplessness at times of sorrow is all pervading.

Sadly, loss is part of life.  With any life inevitably comes a sense of loss.

Remember the good, recall the laughs, reminisce the love…

Don’t cry because it is over…smile because it happened.

Friday, February 25, 2011

New Zealand earthquake

Our southern cousins have yet again stared utter devastation in the face. Christchurch has suffered immeasurable damage and destruction with another earthquake this week.  Incredible scenes fill our TV screens as we come to comprehend that yet again Mother Nature has been scorned. 

It seems that no one has been left untouched.  Everyone you speak with knows someone who has been affected. Once a beautiful city, now lying in ruins.  But phoenix-like, they are determined to rise from the ashes and rebuild in memory of those who have lost their lives.

Once again, please find it in your heart and deep in your pockets to reach out and give a helping hand.  Donations can be made through Red Cross.

Friday, February 18, 2011

As time goes by...

Time is an abstract concept…one that ironically takes time to come to grips with…yet, when we do, it seems to speed up and slip us by.

Recently, we have been working with the short one teaching her how to answer simple questions about herself.  Questions like: What is your name? How old are you? Where do you live?

We can proudly say that she has it all over questions 1 and 3.  Question 2 still needs a little work though.  Being that it was the-slightly-less height-challenged one’s birthday recently we appropriately made a fuss over turning 2.  She seems to have that notion, it is just the qualifier that we seem to be struggling with…you see, she insists on being 2 minutes! And there is no telling her otherwise.

So for now, 2 minutes she is – not unlike a packet of noodles, slightly less time then it took for Madonna to save the world and slightly more time then it takes to become a manager.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Some call it the circle of life, some karma, others what goes around comes around, others still call it fate…I just have a real sense of symmetry.

The short one started at day care this month…and this meant, coincidentally, a return to my old stomping ground.  Nostalgic moments swept over me like waves.  The place of the short one’s day care is in fact a transformed former workplace of mine from many years ago.  The old school has been re-birthed into a childcare centre. Classrooms have been replaced with nurseries, principal’s office with play spaces, staffrooms with offices.  While the squeals of delighted children still ring through the corridors, there is a distinct change in the purpose of this special setting now.

But the circle starts in the knowledge that this was the very same setting that the short one’s mummy and daddy met for the first time, so many years ago…Who would have thought all that time ago, that we would be following in the footsteps of so many before us, but this time returning as a family ourselves and entrusting our little one into the hands of others.

There is an amazing sense of symmetry about this story…so many things had to fall into place for this circle to form.  The circle of life brings with it the inevitable feeling of …this was meant to be.

I believe our comfort and familiarity with the centre has transferred across to the short one, leaving her in her own place of serendipity; paving the way for the short one to be the author of her own destiny.

First day at day care

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year birthday

The short one graduated this week from infant to toddler status.  Turning the big 2 was a very special event made even more so by the date coinciding with Chinese New Year.

Not a common occurrence, but one that sparked an interest and further investigation.

The short one was born in 2009, the Year of the Ox.  Characteristics commonly attributed to the Ox include being:
  • alert (particularly noticeable when she is awake)
  • demanding (also evident during wakeful moments)
  • stubborn (some would say not unlike her mother)
  • methodical (particularly when pulling out every single book from her extensive collection) and
  • great parents (not if her mothering skills with her dolls are anything to go by)

I would also go so far as to add determined, bossy, a sticky beak and fiercely independent.

What got me though was the animal she should avoid is the one animal she has been obsessed with since infancy, the sheep.  It was unclear as to why she should avoid ovines, but clearly it would pose a difficult transition for her as she is so obsessed that she can recite ‘Baa, Baa black sheep’ and ‘Mary had a little lamb’ verbatim and her favourite book is Mem Fox’s ‘Where is the Green Sheep?’

But the most intriguing were the ideal career choices…surgeon or a hairdresser.  Fairly disparate choices surely, despite both livelihoods reliant on cutting!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A child’s first pet

Disclaimer:  May I preface this post with the reassurance to all readers that we are strong supporters of RSPCA and the work that they do.

There comes a point in any child’s life when you consider, should we get a family pet?  If so, what would suit your lifestyle? Does your child display any affinity with animals?  Do you, for that matter? Which animal does your child particularly like?

Taking baby elephants and tigers out of the equation, we considered the easy option as a starter kit!  Seeing a relationship was struck up with Max the fish at Hotel Maximilian in Prague, we thought an aquatic version was the ideal solution.

At this point in time a fish was perfect.  They are low maintenance, feeding is simple and inexpensive, they don’t make much mess, they are quiet, they don’t take up a lot of room and they are easy to relocate if you are going on holidays! Perfect!

Now all we had to decide was what sort of fish!  Wow, if you have never been into a fish shop (and I don’t mean the variety with salt and vinegar on the counter), it is worth a trip.  I had no idea the variety and cost such a hobby presents!

Being that this was a first pet, and considering the owner was to be an enthusiastic nearly two year old, we thought something resilient, robust and tough would be best.

Max version 1.2, the Siamese fighting fish, joined our digs over the festive season and was welcomed with that great aforementioned enthusiasm.  The short one displayed appropriate due care and was very fond of her new pet in a hands-off sort of way.

That was until today…

After breakfast, the short one took it upon herself to share.  Spoon in hand, she launched it into the small fish bowl and vigorously started to stir.  Max was caught in a hurricane whirl, swirling and swirling, around and around.

Quickly, we put a stop to this sudden erratic weather event, all the while explaining that we mustn’t put anything in Max’s bowl. 

All things settle again … until … the short one manoeuvered her plate into the bowl…

Max 1.2 is now in therapy on the kitchen bench…with a full belly, some clean water and an understanding counsellor, he is back to cruising around aimlessly.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A person's a person, no matter how small.

Dr Seuss...again!

Our little person is fast approaching the second anniversary of her birth.  Turning two is a significant milestone on many fronts…
  • She is no longer an infant and now requires her own seat on a plane
  • She has enough teeth in her head to warrant an introduction to a dentist
  • She has her own passport, bank account and tax file number
Yes, that’s right…a tax file number!

Clearly the Secretary to the Treasury, Dr Ken Henry missed something in his 2010 Australian tax review.

The Big Four, to which they are affectionately referred, all keenly market ‘fee free’ bank accounts for children.  They blatantly encourage the upcoming generation to save and budget, all the while conning their parents, in the hope that one day these kids will turn into adults looking for hefty mortgages.

As parents, we wanted to secure the short one’s educational future by establishing our own fund by opening one of these ‘fee free’, high interest bank accounts for children.  Into this account we deposited the ‘baby bonus’ and have continued to feather the nest egg with weekly deposits.

Until…the short one was hit with a hefty tax bill…directly swiped out of the account! No warning, no explanation, no way!

Upon further investigations, we have discovered this tax will continue to be debited from the account each and every month until we provide the bank with a tax file number. The bank personnel were less than interested in the fact that their recalcitrant TFN-withholding customer was less than two years old!  We were told in no uncertain terms…no TFN…no tax-free threshold!

So…back to where we started…the short one will very soon be the proud owner of her very own TFN, alongside her own passport, library card, medicare card, bank card…

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Growing up...

From the moment a baby is born, time gathers momentum leaving you wondering where did it go. Milestones for which you yearn quickly pass…

Hand in hand with changes comes a degree of loss…not necessarily articulated, but felt deeply nonetheless.  Change is at times perceived, but not always expressed. It is something you can see and feel, but not necessarily touch.  It is like our shadow behind us, while at the same time walking with us.

The existentialist in me then begins to question, if we can’t touch it, taste it, see it, hear it - does it exist? Does it have to be tangible to be real?

While Maslow put our need for love, connectedness and belonging into a hierarchical framework, we all know that life has little meaning without it.

How do you touch love?  With a gentle stroke across a baby’s cheek…
How do you taste love?  With a kiss…
How do you see love? In the eyes which behold you...
How do you hear love? With the words ‘I love you’…

Is it tangible? Is it discernible? Is it perceptible?  Yes, yes and yes.

What one person perceives is another person’s blind spot.  It doesn’t mean its value is in anyway diminished.

Love is all encompassing and with that inevitably comes a sense of loss.

Embrace the moment, treasure the past and know that there will always be a tomorrow.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Extending a hand...

As the waters slowly recede, the full indiscriminate devastation begins to reveal itself.
People’s family … homes … livelihoods … lost.

Driving through some of the worst flood affected areas, you begin to get a glimpse of the enormity of this state wide disaster.  Many have likened it to a war zone.  Heavy army vehicles are moving into suburban streets armed with the duty of removing the debris of people’s lives.

Thousands upon thousands of volunteers have formed their own army.  Moving into some of the worst areas, cleaning out people’s houses.  Mostly strangers to those who they help, but strengthening everyone’s resolve…together we can overcome this.

Queenslanders are amazingly resilient people. Despite all that has been endured, many can still raise a smile and extend a hand.

Our recovery has only just begun.  A long journey stretches out before us.  Together we will overcome this.

Please consider extending your hand to those in greatest need…Premier's Flood Relief Appeal

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

'Our darkest hour'

In the haunting words of Queensland’s Premier, this is our darkest hour.  

Queensland has faced and is still yet to face some of the most devastating effects of Mother Nature.

Thousands have been evacuated, with more to come.  Lives have been lost; many more are still missing.

While we sit in wait, we watch incredible scenes on TV, unimaginable destruction left in the wake of an inland tsunami.

Our prayers and thoughts are with all of our fellow Queenslanders.

Please consider supporting the Premier's Flood Relief Appeal 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Motherhood…that’s what it’s all about!

I have been having ‘moments’ lately. ‘Moments’ that make me stop and think, ‘Oh my God, what has happened to me?’

I suppose being, what the medical profession endearingly call, of ‘an advanced maternal age’, I had more time than some to become more set in my ways before being initiated into the world of parenting.  So much so that these ‘moments’ often bring me to a screeching halt, asking of myself…is this what this mothering gig is all about and why didn't anyone warn me?

Just let me put these notions to you and see if you know what I mean...

  1. You feel it is necessary to animatedly discuss subjects such as haemorrhoids, nipple cracking, constipation and flatus with anyone who cares to listen and even those who don't.
  2. You think that discussing bowel movements is acceptable dinner party conversation.
  3. Romantic time with your partner is now subsumed by conversation around the price of nappies at Coles this week.
  4. All of a sudden you start to refer to yourself as ‘mummy’ and your partner as ‘daddy’ and your mother as ‘grandma’.
  5. You think any movie screening on free to air and out of prime time season is a new release.
  6. You keep a second fridge downstairs full of milk and frozen bread, just to have that conveniently located corner store feeling.
  7. You keep a tube of antibacterial waterless hand wash in your handbag for those escaped faeces moments.
  8. You have thought long enough about point 7 to do something about it.
  9. You can’t remember the last time you read a book that wasn’t illustrated.
  10. You spontaneously burst into song whilst rocking down the aisles of the shopping centre…’wiggerly woo, wiggerly woo, let’s all do the wiggerly woo’
  11. You know the names of all of the toys and presenters on Playschool.
  12. You think the maker of ‘In the Night Garden’ clearly had a drug problem.
  13. You seriously consider replacing the child’s birthday with annual celebrations of parenthood.
  14. Your iPhoto gallery is completely focused on one event…the child.
  15. You can’t relieve yourself without a short person helpfully proffering wipes.
  16. You have to pack three bags every time you venture out of the house; a food bag, a toy bag and a nappy bag; as if you were heading into the wilds of Borneo for 6 months.

But then…you know you have hit rock bottom when you hear yourself saying what you always said you would never say if you ever had kids…those golden moments when you become your own mother!

How many times do I have to tell you…
Do that again and you’ll know about it…
I’ve told you once…
Try that again, madam, and…
That’s it!

Precious moments that will live long in our memories…and no doubt will repeat themselves in the next generation.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Ode to Fatherhood

As we fast approach the short one’s second birthday, it gives reason to pause and consider all that has transpired since her arrival.  

I think the most amazing transformation throughout that time is seeing someone so dear to my heart become the most loving father ever…a true gift in anyone's eyes.

It reminded me of a poem that I have treasured since my own childhood.  A poem that to this day still evokes amazing feelings of tears and joy.  You can’t help but sense the love emerge from every verse.  Written in 1860 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, it describes his undying love for his own three daughters…

The Children's Hour

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupation,
That is know as the children's hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes,
They are plotting and planning together,
To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
O'er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me,
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all?

I have you fast in my fortress
And will not let you depart,
But put you down in the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!

Alice, Edith and Annie Allegra
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's daughters

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Old Macdonald had a farm

Our local shopping centre quite frequently plays host to a petting farm during the school holidays.  They haven’t been there this Christmas though, due to the many other forms of entertainment on hand – and I use the term 'entertainment' loosely.  

Aside from the 'Fat Man', at one stage there we were treated to a number of psychics, willing to impart your entire future in 2 minutes, all for the price of a Coles docket.

The seed of a career path must have been sown in the short one’s psyche, as today we were heading to the shops to pick up some essentials when she declares from the back seat of the car that we were going to feed the ‘sheeps’. I immediately denounce such an idea, knowing full well that there were no ovines within cooee of our excursion, other than the pre-packaged variety.

Upon arrival at said shopping centre I was quickly disabused of my previous declarations. 

There before us was quite a large collection of not only lambs, but kids, piglets, ducklings and chicks in various shapes and sizes.

Clearly she knew better!