30 June 2011

A winter treat

On a cold sunny day, in a riverside ampitheatre, I was taken on a journey to the Underworld...

...with a lovestruck Hades and a group of 5 to 8 years olds...

....to hear Demeter declare that 'Nothing will grow on Earth until I get my daughter back'..

...and learn the myth of Persephone in words and song.
My favourite line, to the tune of Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree -
'Persephone ran but Hades caught her,
He didn't know she was Demeter's daughter'...

It felt like a gift in an otherwise stressful day. Thank you Ruth and Harry and all their prep to Grade 2 children.

26 June 2011

The weekend

Hanging things up

Putting things away.

12 June 2011

Frozen Moment II

I love those blogs where creativity occurs in beautiful surrounds. There is order, clean expanses, natural light, inspiring bits and pieces tacked up on walls. But in our household, the above photo is the daily, hourly norm.  It's always a mess and sometimes, if I'm honest, I care more about the mess than about the creativity that generates it.  I feel exasperated that Nina's penchant for snipping results in hundreds of tiny offcuts of paper and card all over the floor.  Sometimes it feels like the week's recycling has returned with the addition of sticky tape and glitter. Quite often, rather than enthusing over the latest large creation,  I quietly wonder where I will put it and how long we'll have to keep it.

I dread the day when the girls no longer want to spend hours making stuff, writing stuff, drawing stuff, even though, in the midst of it -  the arguments over who was using the blue scissors, whether Ruby has to share her 'good' textas (she does), whether Grace has used too much cellotape, who left the lid off the glue, whether someone is copying someone else - I do contemplate confiscating all the craft stuff and asking them whether they wouldn't rather watch the telly.

So as a reminder that mess is not only mess, I see:

The Junie B. Jones book that Nina has just finished- her first chapter book on her own;

The pencil tin that Nik gave us, filled with biscuits, for Christmas years and years ago and which has housed our coloured pecils ever since;

A postcard reminder to make a dentist's appointment which I haven't done;

Grace's box house with roof. She's yet to master some of the basics of construction but she was terribly pleased with her roof;

The cardboard figures of the family that Ruby has been working on.  She draws the picture on paper and then cuts it out and sticks it on cardboard and then has to cut the card to size.  I've been biting my tongue because I so want to suggest that it would be easier to stick the paper to the card first and then cut them out together....

11 June 2011

Leaf Jam

Grace made leaf jam with Kim, our fabulous babysitter.


Water, leaves, bark,  steeped overnight.  I'm sure it's delicious.

Quite pricey though.

09 June 2011

Little Boxes

Annushka is having an exhibition and asked some local crafters to contribute a building.

I'm happy with the bike leaning against the wall of this vaguely French and rather wonky house I made.

The shutters didn't turn out quite how I wanted though. The process of embroidering the house also caused the felt to pill rather a lot. Any suggestions for avoiding this?

Others are knitting and sewing and folding paper to make their buildings. I'm very interested to see what everyone came up with and how they look.  Check out the works in progress here.

06 June 2011

Mouse Plague

There is a mouse plague in Melbourne. Apparently, if you live in the inner city, you are never more than a few metres from a rodent.
Holly Mouse

I've been sniffing the air for mousy smells;
Ruby Mouse

listening for the telltale rustle;
Maalini Mouse

searching cupboards for little bits of 'burnt rice'.
Harry Mouse

So far, I've only found these mice.  Ruby's teacher and school friends in mouse form.

Amaya Mouse

Hopefully all mice living in my house will be this cute (and well dressed).

05 June 2011

Words don't come easy

Lily, master of the pointed finger, the expressive 'ah, ah, ah', the informative squeal, the satisfied 'argh', the pout and frown, and owner of the best greasy look I've seen since I was fourteen, has added words to her vocabulary:
bake bees (baked beans)
doos (dudes)
no no no (with waggly finger accompaniment)
oh oh
gar (car)

One of the many things that has surprised me about motherhood is that I have not become blase about these little accomplishments.

Lily is most particular about how and on whom she bestows her largesse.  Almost anyone, including a house, is worthy of an enthusiastic parting wave, but she is fickle with cuddles.  She has the older girls turning themselves in circles to entertain her, make her laugh, give them a kiss or a hug, whilst she solemnly shakes her head.  I choose to see this as an admirable refusal to perform like a seal, and the singular determination of an independent thinker.  It could equally presage a wide streak of bloody-mindedness.

01 June 2011

Devils and Angels

The first day of winter was cold and blue and bright. I rode my bike to work and, along the way, was tooted by a car. I had committed no offence so when the car and I both pulled up at the traffic lights I asked the driver if she had tooted me. ‘Yes’, she said ‘because you’re ANNOYING’.
It transpired that by merely cycling on the road I caused her irritation. I was literally getting a free ride when I should, in her words, 'pay my rego and drive like everyone else'. And whilst bludging on her road, I was also apparently preventing her from getting anywhere.

We had a mildly heated discussion, and parted when the traffic lights changed. I think she was rather more exasperated by me than I was by her.

I always find it intriguing when a well established world view of mine is challenged. In my world, riding a bike is an uncontroversially good thing. I indulge in a little smugness as I cycle past the banked up traffic.  So although I was annoyed to be tooted and felt self righteous about my entitlement to be on the road, I was mostly fascinated by the fact that what, in my world, is an unmitigated good, in someone else’s world is an unmitigated bad.

Devils?  never!

It reminded me of other times when my world view has collided with someone else’s. When Nina was a baby of about 6 months, and Ruby was about 2 and a half, we went to the Art gallery for an exhibition. I’ve written before about taking the kids to the art gallery.  It always seems like such a good thing to do. At this time we were still relatively new parents, getting used to being out and about with two little kids. It was the weekend, and the gallery was bustling, Ruby was excited, Craig had Nina cosy in the sling and I was doing that self conscious talking-to-your-child-when-you-know-other-people-are-listening thing, believing that the four of us were just a picture of how modern families should be. I felt sure the other gallery patrons were looking at us approvingly when a woman of about my age, with architect glasses, looked at the girls, looked at me, walked past and said “Well, that ruins my enjoyment”. My little balloon of smug ‘got the parenting thing right today’ deflated rapidly. My angels were her devils...