Sometimes you just gotta stick with it

pitching

Last year my son played baseball. He went from really loving the tryout sessions to not really loving the actual training and games. It wasn’t because of the sport itself, but more the dynamics of the team members. He was the new and inexperienced kid who didn’t know anyone. A lot of the others went to school together and JJ didn’t so was immediately the outcast.

He was also out of his depth playing for a more experienced division – actually so was his whole team so they didn’t win a game all year.

He also got put off because he was afraid the ball would hit him. It had a couple of times which made him hesitant to properly participate and his batting went from pretty good for the first few games to almost non-existent after that.

Don’t ask me how but I managed to convince him to play again this year. He’s gone off cricket because of the length of the game and I’ve always said I’d like him to play a sport. However, I’m not really pushy about it, just suggest strongly.

And this year is completely different so far. He now plays for a minors team and is one of the more experienced members of the team as a lot of t-ball kids have moved up. There are a couple of kids from his team last year but they’ve bonded really well.

The first game he played a couple of weeks ago he got the ‘play of the day’ award for hitting a home run. He also managed another good hit and got a few people home, then eventually himself, and when fielding caught a couple of people out on first base.

It’s really boosted his confidence and he’s staying behind after practise and games t0 do some pitching practise. He’d pitched his first ever innings in the preceding game and did pretty well considering he’s not practised that much. He pitched an innings at his last game and the first 10-20 pitches weren’t that great but he improved and a spectator from the other team commented that he was doing well. I did the mum puff up with pride thing.

I love the turnaround in him and it makes the two nights a week training and the three hours out of my Sundays very worth while.

As a parent who needs to do this running around I used to resent the time it took out of my day and the things I could be doing but I’ve turned that around as well. So much so, that I’m going to start learning how to score. That looks a bit complicated but if enough of us share it, it shouldn’t be too onerous.

The advantages for me are that I get to meet new people. Now that we’ve got a dog again, I get to take the dog out so he can socialise and exercise.

Glimmers of his younger self, and what he will become

Fork in the road

I see the maturity coming out in him quite often.

He knows when one of his mates are having a bad time and asks them about it. He’ll ask a couple of times and they’ll either tell him to back off or fill him in on what’s up. He does back off, or listens sympatheticallly and keeps it to himself. I tell him that’s important, the keeping to yourself bit in situations like this. Nobody likes a tattle tale.

He asks me what’s life about? Wow, I say. That’s the million dollar question. Lots of people want to know the meaning of life. He asks what’s the point of getting up, getting ready, going to school, coming home, doing homework, eating dinner, then going to bed. Why do we do it? Good question I think. I often wonder the same thing when I’m stuck in the day to day drudge.

Then I see him trying to hold onto his childhood when he asks for a tickle every night. I never do it properly. I don’t make him laugh but he still wants me to do it.

He also loves the game of ‘Where’s JJ?’ He says this as he’s in bed hiding under the blankets. He remembers the first time I went into his bedroom asking where is JJ, and then pretending to be cross that he wasn’t in bed when of course he really was in bed trying to stay still and pretending not to be there.

I see the teenager that he’s not far from becoming. He’s stubborn. He sometimes has trouble reconciling the fact that I’m the parent and the disciplinarian. I’m learning loads too and it’s not easy. Not easy for either of us I suspect.

I came across this article – an exerpt from a book called Masterminds and Wingmen. It’s about:

In a changing world, proactive parenting can be the key to steering your child around the many impediments towards young adulthood. In “Masterminds and Wingmen,” Rosalind Wiseman helps parents navigate the inevitable tests that they and their sons will face.

It talks about what to do if they do something wrong. It talks about discipline and effective punishments. Note: grounding doesn’t work. I think I’ll buy it.

I like the fact that he’s strong-minded and has a mind of his own. I sometimes hate the fact that he’s strong-minded and has a mind of his own.

He’s as tall as me now. Soon I’ll be looking up to him. Sometimes I look up to him because he’s teaching me something. I like that.

Holiday. What holiday?

This time two weeks ago I was complaining about bedbug bites. Now I’m back in the cold and my bedbug bites are mostly well and truly covered up.

The hotel gave me a bottle of bubbly to ‘apologise for the inconvenience’. I opened it on our last night there and had a couple of small glasses and through the rest of it away. It was revolting. You’d think that if you were trying to apologise to someone that you’d give them a decent bottle of plonk, not one that tasted like vinegar.

I duly posted a review to Trip Advisor about the hotel and their management of the bedbugs. It wasn’t all negative, I did include the positive things.

Overall we had a great holiday and while the bedbugs incident did put a dampener on things it didn’t take over, although I was annoyed that I couldn’t wear some of the clothes I took there because it would have meant exposing my unsightly pussy bites to the public which I didn’t want to do.

I’m glad I hired a car while there. Yes it did add that extra expense of a few hundred dollars but it was really worth it. Our Port Douglas accommodation wasn’t central so it was much easier to hop in the car and drive to the shops. We also had the freedom of doing the tourist thing without having to pay for transport either locally or on a tour.

Our day trip to Kuranda didn’t leave us enough time to see the Birdworld and the Butterfly World – not sure of exact names. Plus it was a lovely town so we drove back there one day. This would have been harder to do without a car. We also took the inland route rather than the coastal route, just for something different.

JJ had an interesting experience with a bird who must have sussed out that maybe JJ doesn’t clean his teeth as well as he should?

Cleaning his teeth

Going in for a kiss

Inspecting his mouth

IMG_1460

Jules and the bird

Or he just wanted a kiss from a cute boy? I don’t know but it was funny to watch.

This Macaw was friendly but neither of us had a go of him sitting on our shoulder. Some people just hogged him.

Maccaw

So now our holiday is a memory. A good one though. When people ask JJ what his favourite part of the holiday one he says very sarcastically while rolling his eyes, ‘spending time with my mum’. Even though he’s dripping with sarcasm I think he really means it. Apart from a couple of little mother/son niggles we travelled well together and it’s something I’ll always treasure. I hope he does too.

 

 

Twelve years

12th birthday.

This time 12 years ago I was about to leave hospital with a new baby and no idea as to what the hell I was supposed to be doing. I was also shit-scared because of the new mother thing and because I would be raising him on my own.

Fast forward 12 years and we’ve made it this far. He’s now as tall as me and a pretty damn fine human being. He drives me absolutely crazy sometimes but other times I’m overwhelmed with how much I love him.

While we were celebrating his birthday a couple of nights ago the Australian prime minister leadership spill was happening. I could have been watching it unfold but I know what I’d rather have been doing.

Three years ago we were in Bali when Julia Gillard ousted Kevin Rudd and now the reverse has happened. Karma perhaps? I don’t like it and I hope that the Labor party gets its shit together before the election in a few months so that this leadership thing isn’t a focus then.

But politics aside. My boy is 12.

What happened to this little cutie?

Julian

Besides my boy turning 12 and the political situation there’s been quite a bit of turmoil in my life. I went to a memorial service last night of a friend of The Surfer’s who died of a brain tumour a couple of weeks ago. It was a memorial service because she’s donated her body to science. I only met her a few times but she was one of those people you instantly like. Even though she had a lot of turmoil in her life she didn’t let it get her down too much and was a very positive person.

And I found out on my son’s birthday that a girl I used to go to school with died in a car accident last week. Too many people I went to school with have died in car accidents. Many of them could have been prevented if drivers weren’t drinking or speeding but I don’t think this last one had either of those factors. Just one of those awful tragic things. So, another family is left to pick up the pieces of an unexpected death.

Oh, and my job situation has been top of mind too. Two weeks ago I had two weeks left of my contract with no work after that. Then in the same week I applied for a three month contract which I am still to find out if I was successful but it’s looking promising and work offered me an extension for another month or so. I’ve extended for two weeks there while I wait to hear about the other job and JJ and I are off on holidays after that for two weeks.

I can’t wait to go away. It’s been three years since we had a decent holiday. This is the trouble with contracting. You get a few months here and there and because there’s an end in sight you think you’ll have a holiday after that and then you get extended again so you don’t feel as though you should go away while you’re in the midst of that contract. This time I knew I was finishing up in late June so I booked a holiday a few months ago and come what may, we’re going. If I miss out on work because of it, then so be it. Too bad. I need a holiday.

It will be me and my 12 year old who is now an adult in buying a plane ticket terms. I suppose he’s as tall as many adults and eats just as much but he has a few years to go to reach maturity and the legal adult age of 18. Not that I’m wishing that time away. It goes too quickly.

But at the memorial service last night I thought of him and thought of the silly arguments we sometimes have and thought how trivial they are. He really matters.

Happy birthday JJ. xx

12th birthday.

 

No time to be bored

This is what I sent to vacation care this morning.

Before I had a child I’m not really sure what I did with my time. I worked full-time but when I came home I didn’t really have that much to do unless I had plans for the evening. And of course it was easier to go out but I usually saved that for the weekend anyway.

I remember answering some questions for a phone survey and they asked if I did volunteer work and other questions around community work and I left that interview feeling quite slack because I didn’t really contribute to the community much at all.

I got a dog nearly two years before I had my son so I had to walk her and she occupied some more of my time.

Then I had a baby and my life completely changed as babies tend to do for you.

I look back at those childfree days and feel really very lazy and sometimes I miss them. Sometimes I would rather sleep in on a Saturday morning or lay in bed and read my book rather than get up and drive around town and watch my son play sport. Sometimes I’d like to make plans on a Friday night when my son has scouts and I have to drop him off and pick him up at certain times. But I’m not bored.

I remember a girlfriend telling me I’d never be bored once my child came along and she was right. Mind you, I have been bored in completely different ways. I got bored of changing nappies. I got bored of tantrums in public, and I’m talking about my son’s tantrums. I had mine in private. I got bored of staying at home when he was a baby before I went back to work. I was never a baby person. I couldn’t wait for him to start talking but now I’m bored of him talking so much. Well that’s not quite true. We do have a really good laugh sometimes. I’m much more into the age he is now than the baby age and that baby boredom has lifted – thank goodness. I like other people’s babies because I can hand them back and I know that I won’t be up at an ungodly hour feeding them.

And as well as the time that having a child takes up, and working nearly full-time I seem to be doing lots of other things that I never did before. I’ve developed an interest in photography and then sharing those photos on social networks. And there’s all the other online stuff that uses up my time. I go to pilates once a week. I’ve dabbled with salsa classes. I recently started singing lessons again so I’m doing some things for myself so that my whole life doesn’t revolve around my child. I’m conscious that he’s growing up really quickly and one day my time won’t revolve around him so much. I’m sure I will really miss that.

This is what I sent to vacation care this morning.

And how can I be bored of this devil-child?

The Anzac Day march

Look out for the 2nd/14th Aust field regiment section. #AnzacDay #adelaide

My son is part of his local scout group and every year they get the opportunity to take part in the Anzac Day march. JJ wasn’t going to do it but then decided that he would. I’m so glad he did.

We got hold of his great-great uncle’s medals so he could wear them on the day. Uncle Alf was in the army in Papua New Guinea in World War II and JJ got to hold a banner for the 2nd/14th Australian Field Regiment, also part of World War II. I don’t know what unit Uncle Alf was in.

We had to get there at 8am, so we didn’t go to the dawn service this year like we did last year as we had plans for afterwards and it would have made a very long day.

Before the march

Holding the banner for the 2nd/14th Australian Field Regiment

After a while they line up in the order they’re going to march in. As his scout group was holding the 2nd World War signs, they were towards the front of the march. Unfortunately there were no soldiers left from their regiments to march with them. Uncle Alf died about 14 years ago and he was in his early 80s, and when you consider that the 2nd World War ended nearly 70 years ago, there wouldn’t be too many of them left.

Marching

Marching

Finally at around 9.30 they started marching. It’s about a 1.5km march – not too long for young legs, or the older ones. I walked more or less alongside so I could take photos.

We will remember them  The Anzac Day march 2013 The Anzac Day march 2013

 

 

The Anzac Day march 2013

I got a real buzz from being there and watching my son march. I could tell that he was really getting into it and I was really proud of him. The ladies below caught my eye and I couldn’t resist taking a photo of them.

The Anzac Day march 2013The Anzac Day march 2013The Anzac Day march 2013The Anzac Day march 2013

As I’d never been to a march before it was great to see so many people go along and support the participants and clap as people walked past. I think this helped JJ feel a large amount of pride at participating.

Then before we knew it, his part of the march was over and the SES volunteers collected their signs.

Finishing

Then he plopped down on the ground as though he’d run a marathon.

Relaxing after the march

Here’s a close-up of the medals. As far as I can tell they’re service medals. They’re pretty heavy and they didn’t fall off. I was so worried that he’d somehow lose them.

Uncle Alf's medals

The smile on his face sums up how he felt about the whole experience.

After the march

We walked back towards the start and the march was still going so we got to see more recent soldiers from Vietnam, Afghanistan, East Timor etc before we ducked across the road to head home.

Mourning

West Beach

I think yesterday was probably the last day I’ll stroll along the beach wearing summer clothes. It was an unseasonably warm autumn day.

I will miss summer but I do love the change of seasons.

Digging

The lad put his bathers on, but didn’t go into the water to get them all wet. See his short hair? It hasn’t been short for a while. That itchy head he’s been complaining of for the last week resulted in this haircut because of nits. I found them on Saturday as I was trying to prepare for a dinner party.

So I had an unscheduled extra load on my day of washing, cutting and combing hair, and making beds. I’d caught it early so there weren’t too many bugs to comb out. But my head’s been itchy ever since.

Running

I’m so glad we get a guest dog staying over every now and then. I really really miss having a dog around the place ever since Monty died. I dreamed about her the other night.

She was lying on the floor and I walked up to her. She started talking to me. I can’t remember what she said but just the fact that she talked to me, and that she appeared a lot younger than my last memories of her.

I woke shortly afterwards and cried. I had to get up just to calm down a bit. I hadn’t expected grief to hit me unawares in my sleep like that. It’s also a bit weird getting used to talking about her in the past tense.