Winter wonderland

Looking at my header photo it confirms to me how quickly the seasons change here. We’ve had our first proper dump of snow, with snow angels made, snowmen built and lots of skidding on frozen patches of ice. We’ve had to put the scooters away, which made a 20 minute walk to yoga with Meema the other day take 45 as she and Woo insist on stopping to sample the snow on each street corner.

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Then with a day of rain, all the snow was washed away.

We’ve enjoyed the cold for the most part, though without a car it does make our world feel that little bit smaller. The effort to get everyone dressed and out of the house as well as walking rather than scooters has meant fewer excursions, but now we’re in holiday mode with Hutch around too, we’ll be going out each day exploring some more parts of Boston. The children’s museum is apparently great and is somewhere I’ve saved for a cold day. There are snowfields less than an hour’s drive away, and ice skating rinks all around town.

Having Christmas Day just us was brilliant, possibly my best Christmas ever. The kids were so excited in the morning, they were thrilled with their presents and just full of joy. Pancakes for breakky with ice cream (only because it was Christmas), then more playing with toys and off to the playground to try out Meema’s new skipping rope and Skets’ baseball set. The snow having melted was blessing in disguise as trying to find a white baseball on snow would have been nearly impossible. Woo got a big blue sled and as the most patient of our three he’s quite happy to wait for the snow to try it out, though we have had to discourage it from being used down the stairs 😦

Home for a roast turkey with the best gravy I’ve ever done (I like to cook, but gravy has always been my nemesis) Jamie Oliver’s get-ahead gravy was the base plus a couple of secret ingredients from my mum made it delicious with plenty left over.

I had a moment of homesickness watching this, but remembered that just having the five of us together with no pressure to be anywhere made it such a special day, and a cold Christmas is such a novelty.

We spent the afternoon watching a movie, then wandered down the street to have a drink with some other Aussies. Eight kids aged between eight and three and they were all fabulously behaved, thanks to Polar Express. The adults actually had a chance to talk nearly uninterrupted!

Home again to speak to families back in Melbourne and some very happy but tired Hutchies tucked up in bed last night.

As I write this the snow flakes are falling thick and fast, I think Woo’s sled might get a run tomorrow!

I hope you had the perfect Christmas for you, with whatever it was to recharge your batteries and have a smile on your face.

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Together or apart?

Being a parent of twins is great; two babies for the price of one pregnancy, a full-time play mate and the realisation that so much of kids’ personalities and behaviours is down to the individual child, not how you raise them.

Saying that, when you find out you’re having more than one, it’s hard to get past the first twelve months; How do I feed two at once? How do I get any rest? Will I be able to cope?

I’ve found that although those times are hard and thankfully become a bit of a blur when you look back, there are still issues to be faced when you get to school age.

I met with the principal of the school the boys will attend here in Boston, and I asked for them to be placed in the same class. There is quite a bit of international research stating that it’s best for multiples to be kept together for the first year of school, then it should be reviewed by each family with the school, each year. Given we’re a long way from home, we don’t know anyone here and that we want school to be a happy secure place I put my case forward to the principal.

He stated that he’d read the research but didn’t necessarily prescribe to it. Would I be open to a compromise of having the boys in adjacent rooms if he couldn’t put them together? Me, being a first time school parent said ok, but as I tried to go to sleep that night I realised I really wasn’t ok with that solution.

I hadn’t told him that I was Chairperson of AMBA, just that I was heavily involved, and I didn’t push as I didn’t want to come across as ‘that kind of parent’. As I thought more about it, who else is going to push for what’s best for my kids if it’s not me? Sure they would adapt if they were in separate classes, but there would potentially be two or so weeks of transition difficulties which wouldn’t happen if they were together.

The next morning I drafted an email to the school outlining my concerns and asked for another chat with the principal. Of course we didn’t have a phone organised at that stage so I waited until Monday afternoon. We spoke for about 10 minutes and he acknowledged my concerns and confirmed the boys will be together, and in fact it was a decision he’d made before he received my email. I felt so much better, I know they would have been ok apart, but it wasn’t my preference and I’m not used to not getting what I want 🙂

Interestingly, if they were to be starting school back home, I was much less concerned whether they would be together or not as there’s about a dozen kids from their daycare centre attending our local primary school and they would have had friends in their class regardless. I guess that just proves why the best policy is a flexible one that needs annual reviews.

We’ll see in two weeks how it goes, look out for some starting school photos in early September!

Skimming the surface

Do you ever have that feeling that you’re only just skimming the surface? At a work meeting this week I totally felt like my understanding of the discussion just wasn’t deep enough. It didn’t help that I’d left my glasses at home so I couldn’t see the screen clearly, but even so, my brain doesn’t seem capable of the next stretch of comprehension and analysis. It’s slightly worrying as it is supposed to be my area of specialty and while I understand the concepts, can apply them appropriately, that nitty gritty detail isn’t truly there.

I think part of it may be I’ve always been in the school of ‘near enough is good enough’ and have figured that was sufficient. Now with a busier life and less time to concentrate on any one thing, things take a lot longer to sink in, and a lot longer to get done and I don’t have the time to bury myself in one task.

My personality is fairly measured, no big fluctuations in joy or sorrow and I’ve never felt a burning passion for anything. I’m happy being ordinary and I think it’s important to realise that there are millions of ordinary people around just living their lives. Very few of us actually excel beyond that and I’m totally fine with it and will tell my kids that it’s ok to be middle of the road if that is your version of your best. 

I guess I should remind myself that with small kids and a busy life I’m not going to understand it all. Hopefully a bit of clarity will come with time. 

What things do you find you skim over?

New Found Friends

I’m really enjoying the kids at the moment, four and two are great. The three of them have settled in beautifully into the local daycare centre, M ran into her room the other day and the boys have made some lovely friends, one who lives across the road, and another who lives two blocks away.

We had one family over for dinner last night, the first of the next round of new friends. E was so excited he wanted to wait on the front porch for his buddy to arrive in the freezing cold, we managed to convince him to sit in the front bay window and watch from there. It was so easy, the boys played comfortably together and our guest switched easily from kicking the footy with E, to doing a puzzle with W. A quick meal of spaghetti and meatballs and a couple of bottles of red for the grown ups; it was all over in a couple of hours, and kids still in bed by 730.

I hope we can do it again, such a lovely family. I’m looking forward to these kinds of things, meeting new people from kinder to school and seeing the kind of friends the kids choose, they’ve done pretty well so far.