3 Things That Make Me Laugh@…The Supermarket

My husband and My eldest son (recently and very secretly nicknamed ‘Animal‘) are out for the day, leaving me time to catch up with blog life and time to pay some attention to my youngest son who was recently (and secretly) nicknamed ‘cabbage‘. Why these names? Well  ‘Animal’  because at almost 3 he has become wild tiger. Cabbage, because compared to ‘animal’  he just sits still, and has occasionally been left in other rooms because he sits so quietly in his rocker.

So today I am going to risk offending many and making others leave this Blog feeling as though I am heartless. But the time had come to release my guilty secret about a few things that make me laugh inside, but  probably shouldn’t tell anyone about. As it happens…all of today’s guilty moments occur at the supermarket and as yesterday was shopping day, I was reminded of these annoyingly fabulous events.

The first is one that has made me laugh for years. Such a source of stress for some people yet simplistic pleasure for me.When I’m at the checkout  I love to place my groceries as close as possible to the groceries of the person in front of me and watch the sheer panic as they frantically search for the food divider. It is the ultimate crime, for some the actual thought of your lettuce touching their milk will drive them wild with disbelief. Watch them scurry and feel helpless if they can’t find one, they become agitated and begin to throw confused looks at you, hoping you will realise that it was your responsibility to find the divider before invading their ‘spot’ on the conveyor belt. Try it for yourself and then tell me you didn’t like it.

Secondly, when the line at the checkout is so long (you could have popped home for a coffee and still not have moved an inch) please do not act surprised when it is your turn and you are required to pay. This was not an unexpected request. You have had hours to think about it. This slow shopper then spends an additional five minutes looking for their wallets, much to the disgrace of those behind them in the line. People, you have had a lifetime to prepare for this moment, like moths to a flame, you have seen those who have gone before you, Get your shit together! This one is funny only because it used to be me giving the death stares to the slow people…now with the kids……it is me they are waiting for and I know what they are thinking.

Thirdly, it is common courtesy to inform people ‘as soon as they arrive’ at the deli counter, that they should grab a number. It is also a little bit entertaining to watch as ten other people walk up after them and are served before them, leaving the ‘non-number getter’ 407 th in the line for chicken breast fillets and having mildly violent thoughts towards the  pusher- in- erers. This is only funny because I have been the ‘non-number getter’ a million times and still haven’t learnt my lesson.

Anyway,  my lovely husband and son have just walked through the door….so it is time to resume my other hobby in life ‘Butler/Slave with a  touch of insomnia’.

Move away weirdo! Can someone please tell me why…….

Why is it in a completely empty room full of chairs, full of fabulous empty personal spaces, there is always the one weirdo who chooses to sit right next to you!

You know this person…the one at the gym who chooses the treadmill right next to you, ignoring the 50 other empty ones…?

The smelly one on the bus who chooses to block you in by sitting next to you, instead of sitting in the empty seat behind!

The awkward couple in the cafe who choose to sit outside while you are inside, but are so close to the glass they are almost sitting beside you at the table!

To all the space invaders out there….move away, if you are closer than an arm span, then do as I tell my students and ‘find your own space’

Do you know this weirdo? Is this weirdo you? Please give me an insight into why a outwardly sane person would choose to do this?

And to the lady to my left …almost sitting on my lap…..piss off over there!

My ‘Loudest’ Fears for Monday

Ever since I was a child, I can recall being fearful.  From an early age I remember needing to hear mum and dad in the next room in order to fall asleep, as the quiet, still of the night would scare the life out of me. The trees waving outside the window became people and the howl of the wind would petrify me as it beat down on my window. Luckily for most people fear is an emotion that after childhood, melts away to a subtle sense of nervousness.

For some people,  fear never leaves, it just changes with time and experience.  As a child my fears were simplistic and could easily be resolved….as an adult my fears change with the times until they are either realized or dismissed. Someday’s my fears are sleepy, laying dormant at the back of my mind. Other days they are aggressive, shouting so loudly that you can not ignore them.

So my aggressive little friends win over  today. I see writing as an extension of my mind….so here they are…my ‘loudest‘ fears for Monday!

As a mum I fear for my children. I want them to be forever safe, forever loved and forever perfect. I fear the day that I can not take away their pain and when I can’t fix their tears with a kiss. Today I was scared my son would wander away from the playground and I wouldn’t get to him in time. I fear that love is the the greatest curse. To be given the love of someone so special, and then every second  fearing it be taken away.

As a wife I fear for our longevity. I want our happiness to last forever and for us to never take each other for granted. For us to remember exactly how we feel about each other today….and carry this with us in our pockets, to be pulled out again when we ever feel hopeless. I want my husband to be happy in his work and in his home life and for him to go on being a great dad for my boys, he is their hero. 

As A Teacher I fear for my students. Will I give them everything they need to lay strong foundations? Will they go on to be the very best version of  ‘them’ they can be. I want them to believe in themselves. I want to uncover the gift in each child, and make every child feel ‘gifted’.

As a daughter I fear for my parents. I want them to be happy and healthy as they approach their ‘slow down’ years. I want them to feel no pain. I want them look back with fondness and not regret. I want them to be friends and remember they loved each other once.

As A Sister I fear for my brother and his wife, I want them to follow their dreams, but return to us safely and share in our lives. I fear with them gone, I am missing my greatest mates.

As a friend I fear that I am sometimes too busy. Have I missed  their lowest day? I fear for friendships lost over silly things I can’t now recall. Is it too late?

My greatest fear…is fear itself, and the fear that it will last forever. Exhausting, consuming and loud.

It will never stop. I know this as  I watch my eighty year old  Grandad still fighting with fear. Watching him with my sons. I see that his greatest fear is simply ‘not being’ there’ he is scared to die and fearful of leaving this world and his family for a place that is uncertain. Despite being a deeply religious man, no one can remove this fear for him.  Such a great man who has lived an honourable life….. clearly destined for somewhere great..

…if he is fearful, then God help the rest of usImage, marriage

Home is where the heart is…or at least where it used to be

They say that home is where your heart is. I had clung to this thought with both hands since moving from my home town almost five years ago, but after a recent trip back to Adelaide, I’m starting to think the home we left has gone forever. Not because we are no longer there but we because we have grown up, moved on……and become parents.

Initially our move to Queensland was an exciting adventure. We didn’t know how long it would last and I don’t even think we thought about what would happen in the future. We were two young twenty something’s with nothing to hold us back. In the first years after moving we would laugh at how much we had been missing whilst living in little old Adelaide…for anyone who hasn’t been there it is like any bustling capital city- minus the bustling city. I Was horrified on a recent visit to realize they the shops didn’t open until 11am on a Sunday! WHAT!

In the early days we would eat out most nights…it didn’t matter where or at what time…we didn’t have hungry kids to feed by six and we didn’t have to consider if they had a kids room. We could stay up late knowing we had all day to sleep in. We only ever really had to get up to eat if we’d had a big night out.

In Queensland We had the sun, the sea and life was exciting.Life was easy. Five years later, we are married with two children and with every responsibility that comes along with that. We now look at our surroundings differently. With limited family support, this once outgoing couple stays home most nights.When invited out we secretly prefer to spend our night off by going to bed early and getting as much sleep as possible.   It breaks my heart when my son’s birthday’s come around and there’s no ‘real’ friends to invite, because our old friends are still in Adelaide…and we all know your cousins are your first ‘best mates’. The highlight for most weeks is venturing 10 minutes from home to grab a coffee at the local shops …knowing we have a limited window before the kids turn into wild animals.

Life gets lonely our own. My greatest friend here is my husband….the best kind of friend. I still get so excited half an hour before he is due home from work. But if he is my best friend here…who can I complain to when he’s being a shit! Of course he will always only take his side. My favourite past time has become my children. Today we played with the plastic animals….and for your information….tigers don’t eat dinosaurs because they are too big!

Trips back to Adelaide are less frequent now…especially now paying for the children. Whilst there on the weekend I was sad at the thought of what we had left. So many beautiful memories came flooding back. Memories of life before responsibility…Visiting friends every night of the week, going out for dinner again and of course our family. That feeling you get when you are with family. Safe, relaxed an not ashamed to wear your dirty track pants!

I loved seeing my son’s with their Nanna. I loved seeing them play with their cousins. I loved seeing my mates…the old ones. The ones you can sit next to in silence and not feel like you have to say something to avoid the embarrassment. I flashed forward to what life could be like if we moved back home again and when times are lonely, I hate that we are here and not there and that I have created a situation where my children will never live around the corner from their family. I feel like we have cheated them in some way and also robbed my mum of those special times.

For a week we were home again…where our hearts had been. I then started to realize that this wasn’t home for my boys….they had only ever known Queensland. We wouldn’t be returning  to our wild nights out…we were parents now. At dinner it became apparent that even our own group of friends hadn’t seen each other for weeks, because life had gotten in the way. While looking out for familiar faces in the mall..I was looking out for the the young people we used to be, not the older, more wrinkly couples pushing prams, who we had now become. Our family unit had also changed significanlty…My brother, my ‘other’ best friend had moved on and my mum was forced to rent out our family home, meaning the place we came back to for all those years was now not there either.

Life back there would soon become what it had become here……………………or would it?

I still don’t know what the future holds for us, or if we will ever move again. But I do know that home is still in your own heart and in your own lounge room…even if I do look swear every time I step on another one of my Son’s cars!. The home I remembered had been long gone, I just hadn’t been there to see it change. We have grown older and wiser and regardless of where we live….our lives have changed.

It was sad to return to Queensland and leave it all behind…but it wasn’t the place that we would miss, it would be the memory of who we all used to be.

Goldilocks is a thief!

Goldilocks is a thief!!!

I learnt early in my career that children are very literal beings. My first year of teaching was full of funny one liners from students who hadn’t yet realised the confusion that is the English language. When you think about it there are so many things that we say, and don’t mean, terribly confusing for children, particularly those with Special Needs who need instructions broken into small, explicit steps.

Phrases like ‘ Grab a chair’ or ‘being as quiet as a mouse’ would end up with children literally grabbing chairs and creeping around the room making mouse sounds instead of being silent. These phrases you learn very quickly are best avoided with 6 year old’s.

With this in my mind, it is also important that we understand that children of a certain age will also interpret texts very differently to the way in which we intend them to.  Goldilocks and the Three Bears for example. You remember it as that cute little story about the girl who ate porridge and wore a frilly dress….but no! in actual reality (or reality according to a 6 year old) Goldilocks was a Thief. If she lived on the wrong side of tracks she would have been taken to the police station and charged with the following offences:

1. Break and Enter: the narrator claims she found the door unlocked, but can we really trust the word of a porridge stealing youth?

2. Trespass: Not only was she in someone’s house without permission, she also had a nap in their bed!

3. Leaving the scene of the crime: Once discovered by the bears she ran off towards the woods…hardly the actions of a remorseful offender.

4. Property Damage: She broke several pieces of furniture. As the children in my class also inquired ‘ Where do bears go to get their chairs fixed?” This would have caused great inconvenience for the bears.

5. Drug Use: Really Goldilocks??? You say a family of bears were living in a house, wearing clothes and ate porridge not people? You certainly added more than sugar to the porridge.

If you look hard enough at many of our Fairytale favourites…many of them involve the main characters committing terrible crimes.

Hansel and Gretel: Murderers….pushing people into boiling pots in awful way to go.

Three Little Pigs: Property Damage, attempted grievous bodily harm

Jack and the Beanstalk: Cannibalism, theft.

Snow White: Attempted murder (by way of poisoning)

Little Red Riding Hood: Identity theft. Obtaining food or children by deceit.

The harder you look the more our favourite characters become less likely to be awarded ‘citizen of the year’. What message are we sending our children?

Obviously this post is all in good fun and the dark side of our literary favourites has been covered many times before. I will continue to use Fairy Tales to teach Narrative…but I do wonder what goes through those little minds when hearing these fabulous tales of talking animals, nasty stepmothers and naughty children.

No wonder I found my son’s big teddy bear facing the wall last week. When I asked him why he said….”.He was looking at me!”

Fair enough I say.

A letter to my Son

Dear Max  ( I have changed your name…you never know what creepy weirdos are hanging around on Blogs..and no your mum isn’t one of them…we all think we are the ‘normal ones’)

Thank you for keeping me company while your dad has been away. I looked at you today and realized you have become a beautiful little person and that every day I spend with you is the last time you will be that small…with each day you grow bigger and wiser. Soon I won’t recognize the hairy man that will stand over me.

We got into the car today and you said ‘ have you got keys mum? a question that your dad would usually ask before leaving the house. “Yes mate, I’ve got the keys’.  You’ve heard dad remind me a million times to get my keys..and with him not here,  you grew from being a little baby into my protective eldest son.

Sorry for making you wear your jumper, I know you hate them and scream when I make you wear them,  but in my adult head I think it will be better for you to get used to wearing them. In your head you are petrified of the zip getting you and not being able to wipe your nose on your arm.

Thanks for watching A.B.C Kids this morning so that I could sneak in 20 mins to rest my eyes while your brother was finally sleeping, and thank you for jumping on me to give me a kiss in every commercial break and for prizing open my eyelids to check I was okay. In my adult head I was exhausted, in your head you were scared I wouldn’t wake up.

Thank you for letting us make mistakes. You were our first baby and I’m sorry that I put you in that big lonely cot on your own so soon. I feel terrible that your brother is still in our bedroom.

Thank you for always being so excited to see me in the morning. You always seem so surprised to be alive again…something us with adult heads take for granted.

Thank you for coming into sleep in my bed last night and for holding my hand while we were watching T.V. In your head you were scared of monsters and the big bear staring at you. Secretly I was relieved….In my adult head I was scared without dad too and was glad you were next to me.

I love to hold your hand…..I want to hold it forever because I know one day you won’t want toxx

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Is your fish trying to climb a tree?

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid’ 

I read this on-line this morning. There is still some debate as to whether it was an Einstein quote, but I don’t care if the spotty, teenage boy working down at Mc Donalds wrote it. What a great way to sum up what is happening in our homes and classrooms.

What skills do we value most as a society? What knowledge must we possess to be considered ” intelligent or successful’ and who is the judge?

Whilst our school’s pretend to acknowledge the Multiple Intelligence Theory, I feel we are still only accommodating for children who are Linguistically or Mathematically inclined. I still have not seen a single degree called ‘ Bachelor of Friendship” or  Advanced Diploma  in ‘ I’m really great at puzzles’.  If only there were such degrees….Everyone could feel like a winner!

Whilst the ‘logical’ me knows and understands that we can only value skills that will enable our children to be successful contributing members of society, I think back to the many children I have taught who would have excelled in their own area of ‘expertise’. I refer specifically to those special children with Aspergers/ Austism who were experts in their own obsessions but who may never be officially recognized for their unique abilities.

Last year I had the pleasure of teaching a beautiful 7 year old boy on the Austism Spectrum. He could tell me every thing there was to know about the Solar System. Ashamed to say he knew ten times more than his silly teacher!  Unfortunately the Year One curriculum didn’t require him to know any more than ‘ Day and Night’. There would be no formal assessment for Year One that would allow him the opportunity to strut his stuff.  He could also draw exact replicas of the school playground. Again…..no assessment for playground drawing.  We celebrated his talents as much as time would permit but I fear not enough time to make him see that whilst he couldn’t write…he was still a success.

Yes, this dear boy would one day come across a standardized test that would test his ability to recall the planets…but by then he would have moved on to another obsession, as is the nature of  Asperger’s.

This little boy felt like a failure during Literacy, A failure during Maths (could recall many numbers, but could never apply this them when needed) and a failure at learning. Our schools fast paced curriculum was forcing this little fish to climb a tree.

Celebrate your children. Celebrate every little thing they can do……there may never be a degree for being a ‘great kid’ but at least they will have the chance to feel like a winner for a while, before society rips it away again.