March 2009 Archives

Safe as Houses

Dear Finn

It started out as a fine idea. At least I thought so. A little playdate with a few friends down by our sandpit. There was Collene and Jasmine (3), Liz with Hamish (17 mo) and Bella (3), Allie with Sam (2) and Lina (6 wks) and you (3), Holly (21 mo) and Tasman (10 days), Grandma and I. Eight kids, five adults. It seemed like a reasonable ratio.

So we sat down on our picnic blanket by the sandpit and tried to catch up on adult conversation while vainly trying to keep the kids from pouring sand over each other, pouring sand over the food, standing with sandy feet in the food, fighting over who gets to pour the water in the sandpit...what a complete madhouse. I don't think I've completed a conversational sentence for years now without being distracted in the middle by what you lot are up to. But that's life with small children. None of you want to share, all of you believe utterly that you are the ray of sunshine about which your parental universes revolve, and you have absolutely no understanding that your Mum might actually like to talk to other Mums without interruption. You make friends through scrapping over possessions, a love of getting everything wet and dirty and a seemingly unquenchable appetite for sugar. Such tiresome behaviour from the adults' point of view is just standard practise for you.

Somewhere towards the end of the second hour when everyone was getting tired and grouchy and we were rightly thinking that playdate time was about to finish...someone inside the house slammed the back door. In an ordinary house this would've been no problem but ours is a very special house. I repeat SPECIAL. Which is to say that it has security bars on all the windows, prowler proof screen doors on the front and back doors, and the front and back doors can only be opened with a key. A left over from the rather security conscious octogenarian who used to live here. A great thing for leaving all windows open day and night and not getting hassled by pesky burglars. Not so great in a fire. Also not so great when someone small decides to slam the back door. Neither Grandma or I had our keys outside. The kids stuck inside were completely the wrong ages /sizes to be able to unlock the front screen door. Holly, Hamish and Tasman all seemed currently unaware of their situation which was a bonus. Not at all unhappy to be inside with all the toys and the run of the house.

So we milled around and wondered what to do. Grandma tried to get Holly to bring her bag (with keys inside) to the window. Which didn't work. Hamish started to wonder where his Mummy was and why she wasn't coming to get him and Tasman started to squawk about his next feed being unacceptably delayed. Liz and Collene luckily had their mobiles with them so we rang Dad at work. He didn't answer his phone. But eventually he did and Liz explained the situation to him. "Sounds funny" he said. Liz politely replied that "Nobody was laughing here" and suggested that he might like to come home quick smart and open the doors. She possibly used slightly different, somewhat more direct wording. So fifteen minutes later like a knight on a white charger mountain bike Dad was sweaty and home with keys in hand. All kids safe. All parents soothed. All people that live in freakily secure houses pondering how to make sure the situation never gets a chance to repeat itself.

Lucky Dad was close at hand. Certainly makes you feel safe as houses.


A Year in Yeronga

Dear Finn and Holly

In the last couple of weeks there has been a fair bit of change in all of our lives. So far you've both coped pretty well and I've been really pleased about that. It's pretty difficult to have your worlds turned around and you're both doing really well with getting used to the differences.

First we decided to move house. Partly an exorbitant impending rent increase was the final straw on top of the yearly arguments we had with a pecuniarily-challenged landlord, and partly we thought that we were getting a little cosy in our two bedroom space. So on what seemed in hindsight, one of the hottest weekends in about a hundred years, Dad and a couple of mates moved our entire household to a new household. To a much older house with a very small front door. What couldn't be forced through the door is now living in our garage. Our house in sleepy Yeronga was built in WWII and even has an old bunker in the front covered with an enormous poinciana tree. It has a huge yard with mango and avocado trees and a sandpit that Dad created on the very next weekend. I love it. The kitchen doesn't really work, the plumbing is distinctly broken, but I love it and so far you seem to too. We'll be here a year.

The week after we moved house, your baby brother Tasman was born. He looks a lot like you both did when you were new. He doesn't take up a lot of space in our house and he certainly doesn't make a lot of noise as yet, but he does take up a bit of space in people's laps that used to be exclusively yours.

I realise that a sleep-deprived Mum slowly getting used to the idea of having more children than hands, does not at times seem like the most giving Mum on earth. I try and am only sometimes successful with giving you the reassurance you need in these changing times. Despite my limited lap space and my shorter than usual fuse, it is my heartfelt wish that you look back on these moments with happiness and that our choice to live in Yeronga for a year was a good one.

love Mum