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.

Keeping your kids artwork

The lad was away on the weekend at a Scout camp and as I had Saturday free I thought I’d tackle tidying up his room while he wasn’t there. It’s very hard to throw out stuff if he knows it’s going as he’ll want to keep it.

I really wanted to go and see a movie but every time I walked past his messy bedroom I cringed and knew I could put it off no longer.

Another incentive I had was that the school were taking items for the upcoming fete and had a drop-off couple of hours on Saturday morning so not only could I sneak stuff into the rubbish bin, I could get rid of the non-throwaway items.

It took me three hours all up but every time I walk past his room now I smile. I was a bit embarrassed at how much dust I vacuumed up but I did actually move some things I don’t normally move.

I came across these paintings and drawings he’s done over the last couple of years that he’d put aside to keep but I don’t have that much storage space so I decided to take photos of them instead.

He doesn’t know it yet and probably won’t even ask me about it but here they are for posterity. They’re also on Flickr in their full form for him to look back on one day.

For the record, I do have a folder with some things he’s created that I’ve kept the hard copy of but I can’t possibly do that for everything so I think this is a good compromise.

What do you do with your child’s creations?

Be as prepared as you like

Oh the places I've been. Day 227/366.

JJ has been doing scouts for a few years now and it’s something he absolutely loves and looks forward to going to each week. Just recently he moved up to Scouts from Cub Scouts. This means they get more responsibility and go on more camps.

On the weekend he went on a back to basics camp. We were provided with a list of things to take, and this time we packed it in my old backpack. It was the backpack I bought in 1991 all ready to go travelling with for my first overseas holiday – the obligatory ‘find yourself’ backpacking holiday.

The backpack is a bit battered and worn now and it’s been patched up but I’m glad I’ve kept it because JJ will use it on his next scout camp, the hike. When I dropped him off on Friday one of his fellow scouts commented about the ‘badges’ on the bag, which of course aren’t scout badges.

So we got out the items he was told to take and packed it together. I made suggestions of how to pack and for the most part he put things in the backpack. This included spare clothes incase things got a bit wet because they were camping in the Hills and it rained a lot during the week with a good chance of rain again on the weekend.

I dropped him off on Friday evening and hoped that they didn’t get rained out. It was after 8pm, and dark, when we dropped him off and they had to put their tents up so they had somewhere to sleep for the night. I was glad it wasn’t me as we went to a nearby pub to sit near the fire while eating a late dinner.

I missed him during the weekend but didn’t stress too much about him. Afterall they had my phone number and if needed could ring me.

I picked him up yesterday afternoon and when we arrived they were all kicking a ball around on the grass and seemed pretty happy.

He was wearing someone’s tracksuit pants that were at least two sizes too small, so they were more three-quarter length pants. He was sockless. He was also wearing a fleecy zip up top of mine so that was a bit like a shift dress on him. The bare parts of his legs that I could see were quite muddy.

I knew he’d be absolutely knackered after two nights and days of full-on activities but the first thing he asked me if was one of his mates at the camp could come back to our place. I told him no as it was already mid afternoon and they still had to go back to the scout hall to unpack everything and spread all the tents out to dry.

We eventually did all of this and got home. I helped him unpack his backpack. I pulled out clean pairs of jocks and a clean pair of socks – damp. I pulled out a clean pair of jeans – damp. I asked him why he wasn’t wearing those? He told me that he didn’t know they were in there. Remember we packed the backpack together and I explained that he had a spare set of clothes if he needed them.

I pulled out all the dirty and damp clothes that weren’t in the plastic bag we’d also packed for all the damp stuff. Next time we’ll put all the clean and dry stuff in a plastic bag and the dirty and damp stuff can be shoved in next to the plastic bag.

I put everything in the wash – clean and dirty and he went into the shower to give himself a good clean.

We ate dinner at 5pm. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten dinner so early in my life and was happy that I’d organised osso bucco in the slow cooker earlier in the day. I didn’t make him do his night-time jobs like feed the dog or get wood for the fire. I just let him lie flat on the couch in front of the television then sent him off to bed early. He was still tired this morning.

But he had a great time on the camp and is looking forward to the next one. I swear that he grows up while he’s away at these camps and he loves earning badges. Speaking of which, I have some sewing to do.

Sporty

His last football match for the season.

He improved heaps during the season and I’ve enjoyed getting out there on a Saturday morning watching him.

It looks like he’s being whacked on the head with a ball, but there’s no ball there. Maybe it’s about to come?

At oranges time I look away as you’d think he’d not eaten for a month. It’s a bit embarrassing. See how he’s a head taller than any of his teammates?

The team shot.

This is my *ahem* Wordless Wednesday contribution.