Monday, 11 February 2013

Our magic beach

For a few weeks of the summer holidays we have to share our beaches with the holidaying hordes from the city. The population of our sleepy little town trebles over Christmas and New Years. But come Australia Day, like magic, the beaches and streets empty. We wandered down to our favourite swimming spot on the last weekend of school holidays and had the bay virtually all to ourselves, with just a few locals stroking laps across the pool.

The bigger boys had swimming lessons there each morning for the last two weeks of January. Lewis finally conquered his fear of the deeper water and was very excited about taking me out to Bombie Rock to jump into the depths and snorkel around the granite boulders that rear out of the bay. It felt like such a milestone to be really swimming with my boy, and sharing with him the wonders of the world beneath the waves. We came home and looked up the fish we did not know in a book of local sea life, and he was back in the rockpools with his head below water exploring yesterday.

Darcy did not take to lessons, and spent the fortnight observing his class from a distance. He is still wary of groups of people he does not know - even of those he does - and the crowds did not help. But once the beaches emptied he was straight back into the water, paddling through the shallows with his bodyboard.

Quinn and I have a date with the water tomorrow morning, once his big brothers are both back at school. He loves to throw seaweed into the swirling currents and leap over the rippling waves. And with my belly growing bigger everyday, there is no place I would rather be.

Monday, 4 February 2013


I waved my two little fledgings off to school this morning, and came home to tend to our newest hatchlings - who emerged from their shells on the very last day of school holidays. Five beautiful little balls of fluff taking tentative forays from under their mothers' wings to stagger around the feed bowl and back again. 

That is a bit how the first day of pre-primary felt for Darcy and me. He spent morning circle with his face buried into the couch by my side, but was circling the playground on his tricycle by the time I left and will be coming home for a slice of plum cake on the back lawn very soon. 

He is looking forward to taking a chick in for news next week. A yellow one, as white blond as he. Only with much fluffier feet. 

For some reason I tear up whenever I watch this film clip - thinking of my own little ones flying the nest. But it is still a rocking good tune, and will no doubt be played on high rotation to the chicks when they come to pay us house visits, smuggled in from the garden in little boys' hands.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

A carrot for courage

We pulled the first carrots before I left. The boys would happily eat a raw one for breakfast every day. They were so excited about harvesting their own that by the time I got home they had pulled every single carrot out of the ground - including the plant I was leaving for seed and the tender seedlings yet to flesh out their tuberous roots. I am told they trooped back inside terribly proud of their harvest, and there are now enough orange and purple heirloom plants in the bottom of the fridge to pad out their lunchboxes for the first week of school at least.

We eat breakfast on the front verandah most days, watching the horses and kangaroos in the paddocks across the road and waving to the morning dog walkers as they stroll past. Our mornings will not be quite as leisurely with two little ones to now get ready for school, but those ten minutes of stillness while we sit with our bowls of cereal leave me ready to face the day.

The backpacks sit washed and ready next to piles of new and neatly labeled stationery. Sourdough sandwich loaves are rising on the benchtop and the fruit bowl and muffin tin are full. We shall eat a carrot for courage in the morning and then head out into the new school year. And while I anticipate another term of settling into the school routine - it always takes that long for my boys to feel comfortable in their new classes, I have found - I intend to soak up these last few weeks alone with my baby boy. For he will soon seem so terribly big, I know.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Slowing down

For a year in which I have declared my mantra to be one of slowness, the first month did slip by rather fast. It started with a flurry of visitors and celebrations and peaked with us ripping out our kitchen and sharing our home with what felt like hordes of tradesmen (although they numbered only four, in rather a small space). But it was only once I hopped in the car and drove north in silence that I felt like I was slowing down - while traveling at 110kmh - as I passed through sun scorched paddocks to the summer haze of the big city.

A night alone in the city visiting friends and new babies and catching a festival film beneath the stars at my old university was reason enough to get excited, but the airport was my true destination. The next morning I climbed on board a little plane with my Mum by my side and together we jetted across the sea to Bali, for four nights of unbroken sleep, morning massages and afternoons idled away by the pool.

It was my first visit to Indonesia and the first time I had spent more than a night away from my boys. I took long baths, showered beneath a towering forest canopy of giant bamboo, read a wonderful novel from cover to cover and watched the birds and squirrels flitting through the treetops from the daybed on my balcony. There was no phone to answer, no internet to check emails, and no one's needs to attend to beside my own. We would head out to explore the town each morning, then retreat to the resort while the monsoon drenched the forest and fishponds and mossy paths that surrounded us. I did manage to get one call through to my family halfway through our stay, anxious to hear how my babies were coping without me. They were, of course, fine.

But creeping into their bedroom at midnight to kiss their sleeping faces after the long journey back home may well have been the sweetest moment of all. Climbing back into my own bed beside my beautiful husband and listening to the wind tossed karri trees outside. I would trade any tropical paradise for this home of ours in a heartbeat. And while life ticks along as normal a week later, with Grant back at work and the bigger boys soon to follow him back to school, I feel like I have carried a little of that slowness of the tropics home with me.