Dirt; our natural habitat

My little daughter is so happy in the dirt. It is one of her favourite places; sitting in the garden bed shoveling dirt into empty flower pots, pushing her little hands through the dirt.

She doesn’t mind getting dirty, doesn’t mind the ‘elements’. She finds joy in flowers and trees and grass and wind and rocks and sticks and rain and leaves and dirt.

She gravitates more to these things than to toys or even the television. “Shoes on? Shoes on?” is one of the most common requests she makes.

Meanwhile, I sit in a chair, on concrete, a good three metres from the dirt. I think of picnic rugs before I think of sitting on grass. I look for bugs and spiders and reasons the great outdoors is too messy and too difficult.

Western society has become accustomed to the indoors, and yet there can be so much more value outdoors. The air is fresh. I can hear all different bird noises and wind rustling in the trees. I can hear the far-off sounds of cars on the main road, a truck’s reverse beep. The nearby tap-tap-tap of my daughter’s shovel as she tips dirt into the pots. Even the creaks of my house.

I think it says something that I was initially surprised a few years ago to hear that there are health benefits of being around dirt. Yes it strengthens the immune system, but dirt and the outdoors also apparently benefit mood and mental health.

I have played outdoor soccer for a number of years now, and I think there is definitely something to be said both for exercising outdoors and also the proximity to dirt.

Even as much as I sit here hoping there aren’t any creepy crawlies anywhere near us, I am enjoying the fresh air, the smell of the dirt, the calming bird songs. And I know I need to be out here more, in my natural habitat.

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My Hidden Talent

First of all, that title is wildly misleading. It should really be titled “my hidden competency”, but that doesn’t roll off the tongue as well.

The hidden part is accurate though, as I don’t believe many of my friends or acquaintances would have any idea of my total competence at:

Sewing.

I do not look like a sewing person, whatever they look like. I envisage sewing people as having glasses and curly hair and better dress sense and being very into colours and buttons. I look more like I should be on a basketball court, which frequently I have been.

To me, sewing also conjures up visions of 1950s housewives and Jane Austen novels and having 5 or 6 children.

I have no intention of having any more than the 1.5 children I’ve already got, but none the less, I can sew. I’m definitely not talented at it, but very competent. I have been known to do cross stitch, but mostly I use my hidden competency for fixing things; I’m a fixer.

Fixed the tear in my husband’s work pants. Fixed the tear in my maternity jeans in time for round two. Fixed a few tops, bits and bobs. And then this week, my crowning glory. This week I replaced a full length zip in my toddlers sleeping bag. It was mildly daunting, but I was up to the challenge. Unpicking and looking at how the zip was sewn in, then re-sewing in the new zip.

It is a great sleeping bag and I haven’t found another one like it to replace it. For the low, low price of $5.95 I have a rejuvenated sleeping bag!

On this glorious occasion I’d just like to thank my primary school art teacher. I don’t know if it was in the curriculum or if she just liked teaching it, but all of us had to have a go at stitching. We learnt how to thread a needle, a few different types of stitches, and voila! Here I am 17 years later. Overly proud of myself and feeling very domesticated. Thank you, thank you very much.

Buzz and Babies

There are two flies buzzing around my lounge room

Like it’s an Olympic race

Buzz buzz buzz

And my feet are up and my chair reclined

And I can hear the buzzing and nothing else

Silence

And that’s because my small child is not here

She is playing over at the next door neighbours’

On a whim!

And my whole body is relaxing into the couch and maybe even my eyes shutting

And this must be what it’s like to have a child instead of a baby

It’s very nice

It’s very quiet

Except for the buzz

But of course I’m growing a new baby

A fresh baby, a number two baby

So it’s a tiny little fragment of a glimpse

Into child parenting

Before we begin all over again

With a baby

A fresh baby

Buzz buzz buzz

How to have a cheap holiday 101

Short version:

Don’t go anywhere.

Extended version:

Free accomodation! What could be better. Stay at home, but do whatever you usually do on holidays.

Example:

Today we drove down to the beach, played in the sand, swam, got burnt, got sand everywhere, did an awkward beach change with a towel that kept slipping down and my husband whispering “there’s people coming!”

Takeaway burgers for lunch, running around in the park trying to convince the little one that it was much more fun playing in the shade than in the 34 degrees celsius sun.

Takeaway Indian food for dinner, sitting on the couch sipping drinks and watching Star Wars Episode VI, my husband having to re-explain the plot up to this point as I hadn’t bothered to remember. Something about I Am Your Father and a Death Star and being in love with your sister.

But the best part was that our little daughter was snoozing away magnificently, in her own bed.

You’re welcome.

Sand For The First Time

Sand
For the first time
Ever
In her life
In her toes
Wind in her hair
Toddling
Along the waters edge

It feels different
When it’s dry
To when it’s wet
And
Oh no
With a rushing sound
The water has left it’s spot
And run up the sand
Onto her feet

She doesn’t know
What it is
What it means
Why it did that
So of course it’s terrifying
Scream
Run away

When we don’t understand
Something
Can’t make sense of
Something
We are all her

We don’t know
Why it happened
Or what it is
Or what it means
So of course it’s terrifying

It’s a long beach
Some sand
Is dry
Some sand
Is wet
The water leaves it’s spot
And runs up to her feet
And it’s cold
And she doesn’t know
What
It
Is

The Flat Pack Relationship Test

The ultimate relationship test: putting together flat pack furniture.

Everyone should be forced to do it. Preferably an item that takes upwards of two hours to complete. Small room, large piece of furniture a must. Baby crying: optional.

Yesterday the husband and I successfully built a three door 7 foot wardrobe from a flat pack. With a baby who was a bit upset. With a drill that kept needing recharging. And with the worst set of instructions I have ever seen.

We like to think we are relatively competent people, but there was a lot of interpretation and extrapolation required with the minimal instructions. Also there were no written instructions, it was all pictures with ambiguous arrows. Cue Anna turning the instructions round and round in circles.

A snapshot of our conversations over the two hours it took to construct the wardrobe:

“Babe please go and get the baby, I can’t do this while I am listening to her crying”

“We’ve lost half the screws for the doors” “Are they under the 90kg wardrobe??!”

“Kid in the hallway!… maybe just step over her?” “…I am carrying three heavy wooden planks!”

“Where is the Allen key?” “In the laundry somewhere on top of the pile of clothes?”

“Lift!!!” “I can’t! There isn’t enough room here for my bum”

“Where’s the kid?” “I don’t know!”

*Snap*
“…did that break?” “…. yep”.

At the end of the day we had one completed wardrobe, two exhausted adults, one sleeping child, two delicious salmon and veggie dinners, and an assortment of left over screws.

Drink of choice; beer for the husband, baileys for me.

But we survived, with our marriage still intact at the end of it, so test result: pass.