Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category
Women often joke that their husband is their ‘other’ child.
As our ninth wedding anniversary approaches I am proud to say I have refrained from making such derogatory comments about my husband, Mr Bean.
Most of the time he’s well behaved, well mannered and generally good to have around.
Mid last year things began to go downhill. Call it a mid-life crisis, a moment of weakness, a brain snap, or all of the above …. at the age of 36 the man decided to take up motorbike riding.
It all started innocently enough.
We were driving home from the bus stop – my two boys and one of their friends.
Alex looked out the window and pointed out the brown cows.
‘Can we get some brown cows mum?’
Maybe dear and then to change the topic I asked his mate: ‘ Do you have cows?’
To which he gave me this very detailed answer: ‘Yes we have 14 black cows and one bull. Our cows are about to have babies.’
Alex asked: ‘What’s the bull for?’
I could see where it was going. ABORT ABORT ABORT.
But it was too late.
The friend said: ‘To make the babies.’
Alex: ‘How does it do that?’
I was gripping the steering wheel for dear life, not sure whether to laugh or cry. Nooooooo, not yet, it’s too soon. Please God at the very least make this conversation happen when Mr Bean is in charge, not me!
Thank God for Alex’s friend, who succinctly explained: ‘Well they do piggy backs together.’
All passengers seemed satisfied with that answer and I swiftly changed the topic.
Nice weather we’re having isn’t it?
James is five and for the past week he has woken every day and asked me: ‘Is it Anzac Day today?’
No darling, it’s next week.
‘When is next week?’ he then asks.
In seven days.
‘How long is seven days.’
And on and on it goes. Except for the past couple of mornings he’s altered his repertoire to add a second question.
‘Is it Mother’s Day today?’ he asks after establishing it’s not yet Anzac Day.
‘Do you want to know what I’m getting you for Mother’s Day?’
No, make it a surprise, I tell him, the curiosity’s killing me … What will I get from this year’s Mother’s Day school lucky dip?. (Bar of soap anyone?)
James isn’t big on surprises and offered me this hint.
‘If it’s one of those bottles what you spray under your arms I’m keeping it,’ he told me graciously.
The boy has a memory of an elephant and still harps on about the year his brother drew a bottle of Lynx from the school Father’s Day $2 stall.
Our entire house, the dog – and both my boys – stank of Lynx for days afterwards. Poor dad didn’t get a single spray of the stuff, although I’m not sure he was too upset about that.
While the Anzac/Mother’s Day questioning is at risk of becoming a little tedious I really do love the confusion five-year-olds have around time.
‘MUM! Are we there yet? We’ve been driving for a thousand, hundred seconds, I’m BOOOORREEEEEDDDD!’
Place is just as perplexing. James took a world map to school for show and tell today. Apparently he told the class, ‘That’s Australia, it’s in Boonah.’
Because of course we all know Boonah (population 2500) is the centre of the universe! Well it is when you’re five.
With such a build-up to Anzac Day I feel we should all rise early and go to the Dawn Service. It’s not like it’s a bit trip for us … just across the road. It’s an important day to commemorate but it does open me up to some curly questions from the boys about all things war, death and fighting.
Are you taking your kids to an Anzac Service?
Reality television is bringing my family closer together.
No really, it is.
I believe the popular variety shows can teach my boys valuable life lessons.
Before you call the welfare officers be assured I’m not talking Big Brother or Beauty and the Geek.
But I am proud to say that most Sunday nights I sit on the couch with my boys (big and small) and settle in for some good old-fashioned entertainment.
Earlier in the year it came courtesy of Matt, Marco and Masterchef.
Now our attention has moved to The Voice.
Just as I spent my formative years engrossed in Young Talent Time, lusting after the contestants and the clothes, and coveting Danni Minogue’s life, I believe my sons can learn some valuable lessons from Matt, Marco, Seal and Delta et al.
Not only do these shows present the opportunity for us all to sit and cuddle on the couch once a week with a shared wholesome interest, they also provide great entrees into some important conversations.
Don’t believe me? Read on for my favourite pieces of wisdom as taught by reality TV.
Life was busy, the school term was nearly at an end, work was frenetic and I was just keeping it all together … just.
Mr Bean wanted us to travel to Melbourne for a child-free weekend. In theory it sounded like a great idea but I just kept thinking of all the ‘stuff’ I had to do before we went.
‘Maybe now’s not the best time,’ I said. ‘Should we wait?’
FOR WHAT?! he exclaimed. Then he gave me a little pep talk.
‘Al, if we don’t make time for these kinds of things they won’t ever happen. Let’s just do it.’
And so we did.
Mr Bean’s mum – Granny Bean – who has conveniently relocated to our hometown (yee hah!) had James. Alex went and stayed with his friend Dylan, whose wonderful parents clearly have waaay more patience than me because on Saturday they hosted six seven-year-old boys. NIGHTMARE.
We jetted out for Melbourne, where we’d been invited to watch Black Caviar race at the Moonee Valley Racing Club. I’ve decided that the Friday night race meet is the perfect time to watch racing. It’s a lovely concise night out – four to five hours – heat isn’t a factor and there’s something a little bit magical about watching races under lights.
Saturday was truly decadent. Lazy breakfast out, a spot of shopping, before heading to The Commoner, a great restaurant in Fitzroy that is owned and run by Mr Bean’s cousin Jocelyn.
Jocelyn grew up in Trundle, a small town in Central West NSW, population about 380. She’s one of nine children and her family was involved in sheep farming and her restaurant is a celebration of fresh, locally-produced food.
‘With chickens, a vegetable garden, pickles, a milking cow and her mother’s cooking it is no wonder that not one but two of the family became chefs and the rest are wonderful cooks. The way that The Commoner celebrates group dining definately came from that period of growing up, of passing plates to each other, of sharing food and experiences in a small community. We like to think that The Commoner is a small piece of country hospitality in the city.’
The menu features what’s in season and what can be sourced close to Melbourne. The food and the venue also celebrates the people who supply the food – the producers.
Needless to say Mr Bean was a happy man. The onion, garlic and mushroom broth was to die for … as were the squid-ink battered red capsicums. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.
We rolled home for a rest before venturing out for dinner. Another lazy breakfast Sunday, before we headed to the plane where we probably should have declared some excess baggage.
We returned rested, relaxed and convinced that a change of scenery is very beneficial for the mind.
All hail the mini break!