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Archive for the ‘daughter’ Category

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. – Mary Schmich

 

 

I’ve been waiting and dreading

And yet also dreaming of the day

You would ask me this question.

 

The day you would come to me for advice,

Flushed and heady, sparkling eyes,

Full of that somebody new.

 

What will I say to you my love?

 

It will be a wrench to see you all grown up

And yet such a sweet victory too.

 

But truly…there are no directions for this.

No instruction manual, recipe or crib notes available.

 

You must wing it on emotions and stirrings of lust.

 

Look for chemistry,

 

In the worst of clichés,

 

Such as hearts that skip a beat

And falter

And are resuscitated by warm lips.

And soft words.

 

But,

 

Don’t ever think you can time it,

Nor tame it,

It is not yours to possess,

Or to have or to hold.

 

It’s organic and mysterious,

And grows in dark places.

Between words,

In the rain,

And on the sea.

 

So the best advice I am able to give,

Is this simple message,

Without form or clarity, 

 

I will shrug my shoulders and say to you,

 

That you will just know,

 

You will simply just know.

 

 

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Dance,

even if you have nowhere to do it but your livingroom. -Mary Schmich

 

Ladies and gentlemen… today I am taking a small break from our regularly scheduled programming… but it couldn’t be more pertinent, even if I had tried.

 

I’d like to dedicate today’s post

to a very dedicated little girl.

 

Who has jazz hands, and pointed toes, and can stretch and extend and cartwheel and smile, smile smile.

 

My daughter.

Miss eight.

Who has her big  Jazz  Ballet Concert this weekend.

Brava Bella!

Encore!

 

 

 

 

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“Sing.” -Mary Schmich

Today I am singing the praises of small cheats.

Nothing serious of course.

A shortcut when doing chores, a quick cheats recipe when cooking dinner, time saving measures when you are short on… time.

And that brings me to my post today. Which is a cheat…because I officially did not write it today.

But from the first day I saw Mary’s word “sing” I could not get this post out of my head. It’s tune ran over and over in my mind, like a popular song that you just can’t shake off.

It was the fourth blog I’d ever written, before I learnt  how to add links or even how to socially let people know I was writing a blog.  I think it was read by three people.

But the reason I have chosen to repost it is because it really means something to me. And I think it is relevant to today’s topic of : “sing”.

So flame me if you like for cheating.

But otherwise, sit back and I hope you enjoy…

ps… I don’t think Miley Cyrus tweets anymore… social media… it’s damn hard to keep up with….

 

abba

Abba and Kiss and Maths and Mercurochrome

Miss 8 just told me that my way of doing subtraction was ‘old fashioned.” On a piece of paper she jots down a two figure sum and proceeds to demonstrate the modern way of doing math.

 “See Mummy’ she said, ‘makes more sense.” I need a cup of tea.

  “Now can we practice my song for choir?”

  “Sure.” I say with confidence. Singing. I can do that.

She pulls out the lyrics. It’s an ABBA medley. She starts singing Money, Money, Money.

 

When I was a kid you were either a Kiss fan or an Abba chick. Abba was the wholesome choice for a teacher’s pet such as my self. I sat at the front of the classroom and my arm went up lolly-pop-stick straight when I knew the answer. I couldn’t fathom all that heavy rock, men in makeup and skin tight, ball breaking stretchy fabrics. They were all sexed-up, jagged black and white and blood red tongues.

My sister and I, along with a gazillion other little girls, pretended to be the Abba lead singers whenever we could. My Dad bought us the album where they were all sitting in the bubble helicopter. That black vinyl swirled more times on our record player than any other disc we owned. With each song play I grew more mad for the blonde, with her smooth straight, yellow hair and whispy centre part. I dreamt of owning a white jumpsuit that zippered up the front- with sequined flare pants and maybe a braided white and gold belt hung low on the hips. I wrote in my diary that I wanted to marry a man who plays the piano.

When Kiss played at V.F.L park in Melbourne’s south eastern suburbs I climbed onto the top rung of our back yard fence and listened to the low thrum of their rocked-out bass-beat float over my neighborhood. As night filtered through the dusk I slipped down off the fence and ended up with a wood splinter in my finger. Mum picked it out with a burnt needle (oh the agony) and then painted a smiley Mercurochrome face on it. In bed I pulled my pillow over my ears and hummed Abba songs until I fell asleep.

My daughter has an ipod that she likes to fall asleep with.  Her teenage cousin loaded it with songs from High School Musical and Pink and Demi Lovato. She doesn’t  know what the sleeve of the artist’s albums look like, but she knows how to Twitter with Miley Cyrus. I wonder what I would have said to Agnetha if Twitter had been around when I was a little girl?

Miss 8 has started singing the Waterloo segment of the medley. I stop to correct her melody and then look closely at the words,

…..The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself…

She’s singing with her sweet high pitchy voice, swaying in time to the beat.

I go get us two hairbrushes (after all- it’s the only honest way to sing Abba) and join in.

Wa, wa, wa, wa,

Waterloo

Finally facing my Waterloo

Ohhh Oh Oh Oh

Waterloo

Finally facing my Waterloo

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 DSCN7945My daughter had a homework

assignment to do.

 

Brainstorm a BIG list of all the words you can think of that represent Australia.

 

She started off strong…

Melbourne, Victoria, koala, wombat, footy, meat pie, kangaroo, southern cross, sydney opera house, Barrier Reef, Ayers Rock, boomerang…

the list went on and on… until we started faltering, scratching our heads and wondering what to put next. Suddenly my darling girl said:

“I know! Santa!” 

We all looked at her…Santa??

“Isn’t he Australian?” she asked, “Oh no silly me-” she said slapping palm to forehead, 

“He’s not Australian, he’s  North Pole-ian.”

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Behind the Hall of Preserving Harmony is the largest courtyard of the Forbidden city.

As some of our group, sweaty but determined, headed up the grand marble staircase I was distracted by a gathering of folk who seemed intent on trying to fan themselves while catching two wild children.

These kids were slippery indeed.

They sped up and slowed down to taunt the grownups who had now drooped- either exhausted from the chase or from the heat or quite possibly both. As I got a little closer I realized that the pair of terrors were dressed identically and were obviously twins. I’ve read that triplets and quadruplets were considered bad omens in Ancient China, but in a nation of family life governed by a one child policy I suddenly realized that a multiple birth would now be a different kind of omen.

Attention turned in our direction as the group watching the twins, act out all kinds of naughtiness, spotted my daughter. With her long dark-blonde hair and fair skin she had been treated as somewhat of a celebrity in Beijing. Every where we went people asked if they could take her photograph, posing with her and intrigued by her ability to speak rudimentary phrases of Mandarin- thanks to three years of weekly Chinese lessons at school. The Mother of the twins smiled broadly and waved her camera at us pointing at my daughter and then in the direction of her girls. Miss 8- who had begun to enjoy the Miley Cyrus treatment struck a pose and waited patiently as the Mother called her girls over.

The twins however weren’t all that interested in obeying.

They ran around their Mother, black plaits whipping the stodgy air and cackling at their own defiance. Everyone looked a little embarrassed and our guide looked away muttering  “spoilt princesses”.  The Mother- maintaining a composed face grabbed at the little boy standing next to her and pushed him into frame. He obliged instantly and beamed into the lens.  I asked if this was her son mistakenly now assuming that the twins were actually a trio, but got told no he was “just a cousin”. The girls did eventually saunter over and pose, curious perhaps as to how attention had so suddenly shifted away from them.

Miss 8 is now in our lounge room adding the final touches to her suitcase for her next big adventure- tomorrows grade three camp to Mt Eliza. Her big brother is giving her all kinds of advice like:

Don’t be scared of the flying  fox- it’s a blast.

And…

Just eat everything they give you or you don’t get any dessert.

And…

Watch out for the snakes and tigers (chortle, chortle).

She’s listening intently and throwing him a playful punch when she knows he is teasing her. He suddenly gets all serious and says “You know I’m going to miss you?” she gives him a quick hug and throws in another punch just to place the sentimentality firmly back where it belongs. “Muuuuuuum” he screeches “she punched me…”

My instant reaction is to think of the heavenly quiet that will transcend our home over the next three days. Ahhhhh no sibling rivalry! But then I flashback to those  twins, and China, and the One Child Policy.

As I continued my walk that hot, hot day I found it increasingly difficult to align modern day China’s family policy with that of the world of the Dynasty Emperors. In front of me lay Palaces- one more sumptuous than the last, erected to house the abundance of Empresses and Concubines whose sole purpose was to seed as many descendants as possible. These walls would have contained a bounty of brothers and sisters. Spoilt and plump and plotting. But now mostly families with only one child walk through the courtyards to sightsee the old ways.

And of course there are those families lucky enough to have twins.

 

Three days of peace and quiet will be lovely.

But to be honest I’m also looking forward to hearing my kids argue with each other again on Friday afternoon….

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This afternoon we trolled through the garage (otherwise known as the repository for everything other than the car) looking for a case suitable for Miss 8’s impending camp.

Her first camp.

I finally found the one I was looking for, a snazzy-surfy one that her big brother had used on his first camp. I was elated. Phew! I never thought I would find it in all that junk. “But Mum…” Miss 8 said incredulously “it’s a boy’s suitcase.” I looked at it.

Yes.

She’s right it is a boy’s suitcase.

When her big brother went to camp he didn’t mind taking the old red sheet that had the rip in the centre and the Frankenstein stitches. He didn’t even mind that he had a non matching pillowcase. But now I have a whole new ball game on my hands. Don’t get me wrong she’s pulled out her old jumpers and jeans…but I’ve been firmly instructed that the pyjamas must match (tick) and may I please have new volleys (tick-and fine with me- I don’t want her taking her good runners anyway) and was it possible if I had a girls suitcase- please Mum pretty please?

Boy oh boy girls are different.

Part of me can’t justify buying another case, and another part of me wants to get the coolest-grooviest-girly-case I can find.

I remember the day my Mum told me we were going shopping for my primary school camp. I was elated. We were going to the biggest Kmart in town (the one in Burwood) and I felt like the luckiest kid on the planet- I was getting new stuff! Driving along my dreamy thoughts of new sleeping bags and fluffy socks abruptly screeched to a halt as we detoured to the… doctor’s surgery. There waiting for me was a big-fat-juicy tetanus shot.

Tonight I’ve taken a picture of the snazzy-surfy-suitcase.

Tomorrow it’s going on e-bay.

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According to my weeping daughter, who had flung herself across her bed, two girls, (count them fingers sticking up at me) two girls in her jazz ballet class got a grade higher than she did in her dance exam.

I make her sit up. We wipe the trail of snot off her pillowcase and closely examine her new trophy.

“Wow.” I said.

“I think that’s real gold.” big brother said.

“Is that my dinner in the oven?” Dad said.

 

Back last year my daughter did not have such high expectations. I had chosen this new dance studio because I didn’t like the one she had been previously enrolled in (errr the owner brings in giant dog-unleashed- to watch wee-little children dance and then says- “oh but it’s a friendly dog’…). She sat the first exam with the new studio and we were all pleasantly surprised when she received a top grade. It was very exciting. But little did I know what enormous pressure this would put on her small rounded pink shoulders the following year.

 

Her disappointment is palpable.

 

We tell her she’s great/gorgeous/talented/marvelous all to no avail. Tears keep streaming. I remind her that just because someone did better than her doesn’t mean her result isn’t fantastic. Commended does after all sound pretty impressive to me and it’s much higher than fail or pass or credit. I ask her to tell me how everyone else did and her story wafts around, facts are blurry. Clearly her perceptions are more important than reality.

I hold her close and ask her if I can facebook how proud I am. She brightens instantly. She’s social networking savvy at eight. She knows grandma and aunts and uncles and cousins will see my comment and go to her (very restricted) page and leave lov-er-ley messages for her. I show her what I write. I tell everyone how proud I am.

 

Later I creep into her room and watch her sleeping for awhile.

The mother-part-of-me wants to tell her not to be so hard on herself.

But the preparing-my-kids-for-real-life-part-of-me is proud of her for a reason other than how well she actually did in the exam.

 

 I’m proud of her for wanting more.

Sure aiming high will land us with disappointments and many reasons to blow our noses into countless tissues over the years. But it also means we don’t settle for mediocrity.

 

Last week during some random conversation I asked my daughter (who is only in grade three) if she wanted to be the Gold House Captain when she gets into grade six? She immediately answered “no.”  I was very disappointed as she attends the same school as I did and we are all mad for our Gold House. She looked at my crestfallen face and said “I don’t want to be the house captain mummy- because I want to be the school captain.”

 Stay tuned for an update in three years.

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