Friday, 12 September 2014

Tales from an unadventurous family

I've always been secretly happy that my kids are not particularly adventurous. They aren't that in to  sports, have a healthy sense of caution when it comes to outside activities (like climbing, riding, running, jumping) and are usually just as happy playing inside or reading a book than bugging me to take them to a park.

Did I mention I'm not a big fan of parks? I'll save that one for another day...

Arch playing near a big scary plant. 
Oh okay i know outside can be nice, what with the sunshine and the green grass and everything. But still. Anyway, I think we make up for it by all the kids loving swimming. They live for our annual (sometimes bi-annual!) beach holidays. We've got one coming up in fact and they've been talking about it flat out for weeks.

However I like to think that our normal everyday life doesn't involve everyone playing multiple sports, extreme situations or the kind of activities that would naturally lead to accidents.

And who wants those hey? (accidents I mean, not the kids..)

It was only this school term that my hazy sense of calm and well-being has been a little shaken. I posted recently about how Eleanore came off her new scooter, and  broke her wrist.
Just like that.

Now, with the end of term almost upon us, a mere eight weeks after Ellie's accident, and two weeks after the cast was removed, we have just been experienced a strange sense of deja vous.

Archie, our three year old, was playing happily on the trampoline with my eldest son. I'd been watching them. Not because I was concerned, just because it was fun to watch the two boys throwing balls and bouncing and laughing.

I stepped back inside. It was 5pm and dinner needed to be dealt with.
Cue the blood curdling screams.

Arch came inside, being half carried by Jesse. He was screaming and crying. There was confused explanations given. Apparently Arch had fallen out of the metre high safety netted trampoline. His crying continued. I could see bruising on his elbow.
I thought a bath might calm Arch down.
It didn't. I dressed him carefully, he was saying the arm hurt. A lot.
I put him on the lounge and looked into his misery filled eyes.
Oh no. I knew what this was. I had been here before. And not that long ago either.

The patient
I now write three days after the event.
We spent two nights at the Children's Hospital and Arch had to have surgery on a broken humerus. Why that bone is called something that sounds like it should be funny, is beyond me.

One thing a Children's Hospital will do for you though, which is not such a bad thing, is give you a bit of life perspective.

We shared a room with three other sick boys and their Mums. Sleep wasn't really an option.
Two toddlers had broken femurs. That meant they each had a leg suspended with weights and pulleys. Sometimes they were happy, and occasionally they were quiet. Much of the time they were wretched. Then there was the ten-year-old boy in the bed next to us. He had been diagnosed with a disease at seven that meant the ball at the top of his leg bone had slowly disintegrated, causing his leg to continually dislocate. He had just had surgery to create a platform from the hip bone to bolt the leg to. If this didn't work, his mum informed me, they would try a hip replacement.

The first morning of being in that room I was feeling pretty bad. We hadn't made it to the room till after 1am. Arch cried himself to sleep, but at least he got sleep. I curled up on the seat next to his bed and listened to the boy next to us moan and writhe. A doctor was called to decide whether he needed further stuff done in the night. The boy went hysterical. He vomited, everywhere - while I sat curled up about 2 metres away from where he lay in bed, behind a flimsy curtain. Then I listened to one of the toddlers with a broken leg scream, for over half an hour at one stage, non-stop. His Mum sounded wretched and exhausted.

Our broken arm is a pain, literally. Arch has had good moments (he actually laughed as he went under the anaesthetic!) but has also been a picture of misery. We're trying to imagine ourselves on our upcoming beach holiday with this non-waterproof cast and orders to stay away from sand.

It could be stressful. But it really isn't, well, not much.
We're blessed. I can feel that.
Okay, two broken limbs in the one school term isn't ideal.
But there are plenty of people out there going through much worse. I just met some of them. And I know on a world scale of suffering, most of us are blessed to be where we are, whatever's happening.

I bought the Mum of the ten-year-old a magazine and a coffee and told her she was doing a great job. She in turn later bought all the boys in our room a cupcake. We chatted together and found reasons to laugh. I could see that each Mum was doing her best to keep their children calm while living in a stressful environment with stressful circumstances.

When Arch and I left I wished the other Mums well.
They were all looking forward to getting out sometime soon. I sure hope they do.

Arch, earlier this year, with his best friend, in a kind of park.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Begone Winter!

Hooray for the first day of Spring.
I know winter doesn't last that long here in Sydney. But it's been cold and wet for a few months now. Well many weeks anyhow. And we're over it.
The busyness of manic August, what with conferences a plenty, National Op Shop week, and the op shop instagram (#restyle2014) challenge (which kept me tied to my Instagram account pretty much 24/7) and rounds of childhood sickness that have just kept going around, and around, and around…tied with winter rain and cold has got us all longing for a new day, a new season.

So I am welcoming September with open arms.
We have a beach holiday planned - the first chance of the year to have a real breather, as a family, and escape from
a) our house with the mouse (he's still around, I think),
b) routines, and
c) everyday life.

NOT that I am against everyday life. In fact I'm a big fan. I have no wish to spend it pining for holidays, which are escapism, and not that real. But I do find that a small break from the everyday, makes you appreciate it more when you return. So that's what I'm hoping for. A chance to escape it, and then return to appreciating it more…

Here's a few photos of things we've been doing these last few weeks.
There appears to be a "b" theme going..which I might run with…

We decorated "birthday" letters to celebrate for a cousin.


Then, because it was a birthday, we got balloons:



Then we rejoiced in the blooms that started appearing in the garden. I seriously found myself walking around the yard muttering: Winter Begone! Winter Begone!
I had to stop. I was scaring the birds.


And then it was time for the Book Week Parade.
Behold!

Pippi Longstocking:


and Anne of Green Gables:


and a dinosaur, which could have come from any number of books (Harry Potter, Eragon, How to train your Dragon..).
I wasn't complaining, the onesie was definitely the costume of choice for many a child (and relieved parent..):


Meanwhile, the weather was cold enough for Arch to wear a beanie. So cute.


And I got all inspired to do some baking. Yum, applesauce and oatmeal muffins. Comfort food if ever there was some…


And now, in case you are (southern hemisphere) and looking for ideas for the upcoming Father's Day. 


This book, (published by a relative of mine), is really creating a real buzz for many would-be beekeepers out there. Find it at any good bookshop.

Maybe your dad has gone all hipster on you? 
I must say that Koorong had a striking display of the Duck Dynasty dvds, books, plastic cups (?) and assorted memorabilia. I'm not entirely sure what it's all about - the blurb says it's Christian values embedded in hilarious Southern humour. 
Whatever. 
The beards are impressive.

www.koorong.com
Or if the hipster thing is not your dad's thing, then beard oil (or shave soap!) may be just what you/he is looking for! Loving the packaging on these great products.

www.applecoreliving.com.au
Be Brave.
Be Bold.
Or just Be (happy!)