The things I love about you

Relaxing. Day 355/366.

I didn’t write that much about Christmas but my son made me something that I want to share.

He made me a little booklet with the title on the front ‘The things I love about you’.

I want to share some of those things.

The things that I love about you is when I ask for a hand you give me a hand.

You help with problems and find a solution.

You look out for me, and make sure I’m safe.

You care and respect everyone.

You listen to what they say and give every one an equal chance.

You have helped with maths, tried to help in spelling and helped my English and all.

We have had fights but they’re all solved. You’ve taught me right and wrong.

And I love you for that!

Awww.

Yes, I have tried to teach him spelling, and so have his teachers. I corrected the spelling mistakes and put some full stops and capitals in the above, but the commas are all his.

There’s more. But that’s to come. And I promised him that I’m going to do the ‘Things I love about you’ for him as well.

The circus

At Cirque du Soleil - take 1.

The circus was in town during the last month and on a whim I bought tickets for JJ and myself. A bit of an expensive whim mind you, and I didn’t even get the most expensive tickets.

It was JJ’s first ever circus and about my third Cirque du Soleil.

It was a 42 degree day when we went but luckily the tent was air conditioned. I’d had a quick glance at the website that informed me the two acts went for an hour each with a half hour intermission.

However, when the first half finished we were only about 35-40 minutes into the show. Bit weird I thought.

At the end of it I felt a bit underwhelmed and JJ wondered why we hadn’t seen any trapeze acts.

I didn’t think too much more about it until the next evening when a friend rang me and asked what I’d thought of the show as she’d been at the same one.

I told her I felt a bit underwhelmed with it all and she told me that they’d cut quite a few acts. She’d spoken to others who’d been and she’d had a look at the website and realised that we’d missed out on some of the really good acts.

She’d rung up the head office in Montreal and was trying to sort out some sort of compensation for not seeing the show. She thought as we lived closer that we could go in if we wanted to see what we could sort out.

There had been no communication whatsoever to us that the show was being cut short. That annoyed the both of us. They’d cancelled the matinee show the day after hours when it was around 45 degrees. I think they perhaps should have cancelled ours. I can understand they’ve got to consider the welfare of the performers but….

So, the next day JJ and I went back to the circus and explained that we weren’t happy with missing out on a chunky proportion of the show and was there anything they could do for us?

I’m not comfortable complaining about bad customer service or about something not meeting my expectations but my main motivation for this was the amount of money we paid and not getting our money’s worth. Also, I felt cheated and I don’t like that feeling.

We ended up getting tickets for that afternoon’s matinee. At the beginning of the show we were informed that the show may be modified. If it was I didn’t notice as we saw the trapeze act – spectacular. And the trampolining – really bloody excellent.

So getting tickets for another show at such late notice worked for us because there were seats available in the same price range as we’d previously had. For those with more expensive seats probably not so much.

And after seeing the show again, JJ and I both felt totally satisfied.

Luckily my friend has got tickets to see any Cirque du Soleil show under the big tent anywhere in the world to make up for their lacklustre experience.

So we were much happier customers afterwards. We even spent $15 on two drinks, $11 on two icecreams and JJ bought the CD – well he chipped in a few bucks and me the rest.

After Cirque du Soleil - take 2.

 

Catch up

The sun sets on Christmas Eve 2012. Day 359/366.

Photo above taken on Christmas Eve from a friend’s balcony. And ever since then I’ve had something on every day. I hardly drew breath after I finished work for 2012 until now. But it’s going to be 44 degrees celsius here today and I’m not really keen on venturing outside too much.

Christmas Day. Day 360/366.

I had a good Christmas. I was the hosted it at my place and had my family minus one sister, and The Surfer’s parents and his two kids. It was the first time our parents have met and it went well. I’d borrowed a trestle table from a friend which meant we could sit outside under the shade. I don’t have the room to accommodate that many people inside for a sit down meal.

Unwrapping Christmas presents happened in two seconds and it makes you wonder why you bother stressing out over purchasing a gift that you’ll hope the recipient likes when it’s all over so quickly. Should one person unwrap one present at a time and gush over it more?  I don’t know.

We were in bed before 10pm that night and then I felt like my holidays could really begin.

11.5 years old, Boxing Day 2012. Day 361/366.

We had another function on Boxing Day, also the day that my son is half a year away from his last and next birthdays. You’d think at 11 and a half that he’d remember to bring his jumpers home with him. We retrieved one, but one is still missing in action.

But in other news he’s a baby whisperer. Jumping ahead a week or so to yesterday, we visited a friend from work who had a baby on the same day as my birthday a couple of months ago. She had been feeling a bit housebound and a consequently a bit down and said that we brightened her day. JJ was so good with the baby that I could foresee his future as a dad. I told him this, and he reckons that he’ll let the mother take care of his baby for the first couple of years and once it can talk and walk then he’ll be a bit more interested and have more to do with it. I don’t think that’s true but I can relate because that’s how I felt, but didn’t have that option. However, after h0lding an unsettled baby and putting him to sleep a couple of times, I’m kind of looking forward to maybe becoming a grandparent one day. And as a parent it was fantastic to see him having an intelligent conversation about his passions with another adult.

Trying out a new mattress. Day 362/366.

I lashed out and bought my son a new bed mattress. Nine years ago or so, I bought him a brand new bed and the mattress I bought with it wasn’t that great. He has been complaining about it and saying that mine’s heaps more comfortable. Now he’s got the really comfortable one and I waved bye-bye to the old one this morning to the lovely guys who delivered the new one.

North Beach, Wallaroo. Day 363/366.

I visited my sister who lives a couple of hours away, the one who didn’t make it on Christmas Day. She lives ten minutes away from this beach you can drive onto. It’s one of those ones where you have to walk out a long way to get into any sort of deep water. But the dog and JJ had a great time.

Lunch with the girls. Day 364/366.

More catching up was done with some ex colleagues. We always have a great time when we catch up and this time was no exception. JJ took this photo and exhibited the patience of a saint while catering to four women who didn’t want to show their double chins or have photos taken with their eyes closed. I wish I’d sat up straighter!

Resting. Day 365/366.

By the time the eve of New Year’s Eve turned up a good relax was needed. This was after a big beach session and a very busy week.

To wave goodbye to 2012 we went to a friend’s place at Port Elliott. They’ve just built a big shed in their backyard which was where the kids camped for the night. Because they pretty much occupied themselves it was like they weren’t even there apart from being fed and bringing in the new year. I love parties where you get to hang out with a close group of friends. It wasn’t a big party but that just means you can get around and really talk to most people. The boys there were a bit younger than JJ and he showed some really great responsibility towards them by including them, and making sure they had permission to go over to the playground across the road.

I struggled to make it to midnight and then got my second wind and didn’t get to bed until 4am. The next morning after a couple of heavy duty disprin, some food, a coffee and a swim in the ocean, I felt fairly normal. I was okay to drive home later on that day anyway, unlike the man I drove home who’d stayed up all night polishing of my bourbon.

I’ve got a few more days of holidays, a week of work then a few more days off to go to Kangaroo Island.

Committed

Enjoying a coffee. Day 301/366.

This is me enjoying a moment away from my son’s commitments over the weekend. Actually this was taken just over a week ago – this is how long it’s taken me to get round to posting it.

Last Monday my son was asking me if he could go to a birthday party disco which was on last night. I answered that I wasn’t sure because I had something on whereupon he told me that I always did what I wanted and didn’t do anything for him.

I lost it at this point. What about Friday night baseball training, then scouts, then Saturday morning cricket, then a friend coming over for a sleepover, then baseball on Sunday morning? Hmm? And I don’t do anything for you? All I do is run around after you.

I walked out, slammed the door and got on the exercise bike and rode like the clappers I was so cross with him.

I tried to remember my hour of respite the day before – a peaceful waterfall.

And the sun hiding behind a tree.

When he started playing baseball this season it clashed with the rest of the school cricket season in that he’d be playing cricket one morning and baseball the  next. So far he seems to be coping with it and not getting too tired or grumpy.

It also means that neither of us get a sleep-in or a morning where we can lounge around in our pajamas for a while with no commitments to speak of. At least baseball sometimes has a bit of a later game and we don’t have to be up too early. They haven’t won a game yet but they’ve improved heaps so if they keep it up I hope they’ll win at least one game for the season.

Oh, and I reshuffled my commitments around yesterday to try and fit in a bit of the school fete and he got to go to his disco where heaps of girls chased him around the hall. A sign of things to come?

And in the meantime I got an invite to a friend’s drinks so we ducked over to his place while JJ was at the disco. Win win.

Home run

Up to bat. Day 281/366.

The lad started playing baseball on the weekend. He did a come a try session (well two) a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it so we’re joining the ranks of club sport for this one. It also means I’m losing my Sunday mornings to playing, Friday afternoons to training, and my hip pocket will take more of a hit as club sport is more expensive than school sport.

Having said that I’m noticing a huge difference in the two types of sport. Club sport is nowhere near as a casual as school sport but it’s not that full on that the kids feel inadequate. Quite the opposite in fact. On Sunday I was really pleased that all the parents there were really supportive of all the kids, and knew all the kids names. When JJ showed his hitting prowess one of the parents commented on it and when I said that he was dumping cricket for baseball he said that it was cricket’s loss. My parent feathers fluffed at this.

I don’t know where JJ gets his abilities from as I was never that much good at sport. I managed to play for the A grade tennis for my local tennis club but that’s because we were a very small club, only had a few members and many of the women chose those few years to get pregnant so I flew up the ranks by default.

Taking up baseball also means that because he’s halfway during his cricket season neither one of us wants to let the team down so there goes Saturday mornings too. And I’ve only got one kid to ferry around for all of this!

So he had a great game on Sunday even though he was off for half of it. He had a couple of turns with batting and was run out for his first hit but his second hit eventually meant a home run. I’m sure I held my breath when he was on third base but he made it and he reckons I had the quietest reaction out of everyone else that was cheering him on. But I was so excited for him. He was proud of himself too.

Fast-forward a few days a kid at school said to him that one of JJ’s team-mates said that JJ was wearing a Family Man baseball cap and looked like an idiot. I’m not sure if it was his school mates take or whether it was his team-mates. Either way it gave me the shits that it was even mentioned. He was only wearing a non-club baseball cap because he hasn’t got his club one yet and he chose it himself on one of our op-shop visits. Actually he has to keep pushing it down on his hair because his hair has grown and that in itself is just like a cap.

Luckily JJ didn’t take this comment too seriously as he doesn’t really like this kid that much (the school one) and we tried to think of some comebacks if it ever happens again. Apparently my suggestions weren’t that good. What’s wrong with ‘That’s not very nice’?

So, anyone got some good, age appropriate, come-back lines if this type of thing happens again?

We showed ‘em

Checking out the book before he buys with his Christmas money. Day 15/366.

When I did year 12 the exam results came out in January – about two-three months after exams finished. I was down at the beach doing vacation swimming lessons when I found out my results. They weren’t online back then and the school must have heard about them before we students did.

Mum actually found out my results before I did via the deputy principal and she came and told me. They weren’t brilliant results but enough to eventually get me into university. I also heard that my deputy principal had thought that I wouldn’t pass. I showed him didn’t I? I think I was more pissed off that he would actually say that to someone than the fact that he didn’t think I’d pass at all.

For some reason out of the 15 people in my year 12 class, only nine of us passed. I was surprised at those results and it probably didn’t do the school’s reputation that much good.

Fast forward some years, and then a few and we’ve got NAPLAN for year 3, 5, 7 and 9 students. NAPLAN (National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy). My son has finished his second NAPLAN year. It passed without much of a blip on our radar two years ago but this year there seemed to be more of a focus.

The thing with NAPLAN is that the school gets assessed too and obviously schools want to do well compared to other schools. It must have been mentioned quite a bit in the classroom and this meant that my son got fairly anxious about it.

While I think it’s important to try and do your best I don’t think things like this are the be all and end all for an individual and tried to let my son know this. I  hope this will be enough if he sticks out high school and goes down the year 12 exam route. I suppose one way of looking at him having to do this is that it’s a bit of a training ground for sitting through exams. Don’t get me started on having to do exams.

Because they thought he might have problems with the assessment he was allowed an extra five minutes for each one.

As it turns out he did really really well in the reading and numeracy aspects of the assessment. His spelling and grammar need some serious work, but I’m hoping that his reading and his new found love of writing will help in those areas.

He said his teacher complimented him on his results. They were probably surprised at his results. He showed them didn’t he?

Swings and roundabouts

A boy and his dog resting. Day 260/366.

A few months ago I shared my story about the golden age of parenting then it turned to crap.

Last night was a bit of a mixture of both.

I had to go out for a little while and he had a couple of minor jobs to do. The understanding is that once he’s done these jobs then he can watch television.

I got home inbetween appointments and he immediately jumped into the shower which he should have already had, and he also hadn’t fed the dog. And I needed to use the shower.

I had to pop out again for a committee meeting and this is what greeted me when I got home.

A lovely note on the lounge room door: “I love you mum, with all my hart.”

The glitter lamp was providing some mood lighting in the lounge and the heater was on. He’d even put a Deep Forest CD on the stereo.

I was absolutely stoked that he’d done this so imagine how much my mummy pride lifted when he told me he’d done the dishes.

Yes, he’d done the dishes. Without asking!!!!!

Not only that. He’d washed out Monty’s dog food container and put it in the esky ready for the dog food delivery today.

He’d provided me with a drink of water – thought he’d better not pour me a wine.

He would have lit the candles but also thought he’d better not do that.

He would have got some dinner ready for me but wasn’t quite sure what I’d like.

But, he washed the dishes. Without me asking.

He was so proud of himself and I was so damn proud of him and he didn’t even have an ulterior motive. Not one.

I gave him lots of hugs and thanks and kissed him goodnight, made myself some cheese on toast and sat down to watch Big Brother.

I reckon I must be doing something right.