Monday, April 25, 2011

The Wiggles (Soundtrack to our lives)

If anyone had told me a year ago that I would go all gooey in the tummy about four guys in skivvies I would have laughed in their face. Or at least chortled.
But so it is. 
If you haven't come across The Wiggles they're four guys who sing for kids. They're also the top entertainers in Australia and among toddlers have a fan group equal to the Beatles at their height. (That may be an exaggeration.)
Until recently they had slipped under my radar, despite my being a children's librarian and being around toddlers frequently. Now the Wiggles are good family friends we meet daily.

Shortly before the Poppet was born his Nana brought the Sprocket one of those plastic music tables and one of the tunes that it played was Frog Goes Walking - which I hadn't heard since Primary School and that Grandpa also hadn't heard since Primary School. We couldn't quite remember the words so obviously we Youtubed it. And the only Youtube that came up was - The Wiggles. 
The Sprocket was in love. 
We watched it again. 
And again. 
Yep. And Again. 
Until then the Sprocket had shown zilch interest in television. And I had been somewhat smug. Less smug on the 24 hour flight to the UK when he showed no interest in television. Despite much pleading. Begging. Bribing. But generally entirely happy that he was not sitting in front of the TV but running around climbing stuff. (Read destroying stuff) 
We watched more Wiggles youtubes. All winners. 
Just before the Poppet was born we invested in a DVD. 
The Wiggles Go Bananas. The one with Kylie Minogue being a (very small) Pink Wiggle. 
The Sprocket was entranced. 
And my memories of the last few days before the Poppet was born and the first few weeks of her life are inextricably tangled up with Monkey Man and The Chicken Walk
I only have to hear that Aiaiai at the beginning of Monkey Man to recall again her tiny fingers and the snuffles she made as she fed, the warm, perfect feel of her in my arms. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Roses from the Garden

The Secret Garden

As my thoughts recently have revolved so much around gardening (and most particularly my most beautiful roses) I decided to go back and re-visit The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Talk about nostalgia! 
I un-ashamedly love all of FHB's books - (The Little Princess, Little Lord Fauntleroy, The Lost Prince) which are like lovely strong, milky cups of pot brewed tea... Lady Grey I'm thinking... with home cooked biscuits. I'm still debating the type of biscuit - but I suspect they have icing! 
Sentimental. Yep. 
Old fashioned. Yep. 
Tear Jerkers. Yep. (The part where Colin's dad hears his dead wife's voice telling him to return to the garden and then... well my tears always well. Although I freely admit to being soppy) 
The premise of a beautiful, abandoned garden bringing healing to two neglected children and their hearts and health strengthening as the garden comes back to life is a story that can be re-read year after year. 
I am hoping that working in the garden will have a similar impact on my little Sprocket's temper tantrums as they did upon Colin's! 
The tantrums can be very entertaining when they occur at home as he has taken to stamping his feet very dramatically, but they are less entertaining in the middle of a shopping centre.
I am sure he'll come good once he starts getting his hands in the soil and enjoys the lovely fresh air. If it worked for Mary and Colin,  I'm sure it will be equally beneficial for the Sprocket! 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Times of Milk (and honey)

Being a little disorganised I missed World Breast Feeding week this year...  It slipped by me in a daze of nappies, toddlers, toast and feedings. However as breast feeding is such a big part of our lives and has been for the last hmm... twenty eight months, I thought I'd reflect upon Our Time of Milk. 
Now is an ambivalent time for me to talk about breastfeeding. 
On the one hand I love nursing the Poppet. She is presently just past eight months and snuggles into me looking angelic. She makes adorable appreciative murmurs and sweet grunts. I can admire the curve of her cheek, the sweep of her lashes, the delicate veins of her forehead, the dainty shape of her face for hours as she busily sucks. Off hand I can think of little that makes me happier than talking with the Poppet and feeling her warm weight in my arms as she feeds. 
Recently she started on solids and, as with the Sprocket, I felt that little tug that now she is more of the world than of me, whereas previously, apart from a little help from my beloved, I had provided sustenance for all that she was. 
On the other hand we have the Sprocket. 
The Sprocket is now just past 28 months and mummy milk is his favourite food, drink and basically activity and sustenance in all the world. 
He will bribe me for milk with chocolate or any other treat he thinks might work. He gives me big soggy kisses for milk. 
(Particularly enjoyable when, as now, his nose is in constant flow) 
He brings me books to read while feeding. Sometimes they are actually books I want to read. 
When that doesn't work we head into tantrum territory with screaming, wailing, stamping, tears, basically the works. 
I cannot remember the last morning when I did not encounter a milk tantrum within ten minutes of waking. 
As a wake up call I prefer coffee. 
We are trying to limit the Sprocket to a meagre 3 feeds a day. After breakfast, after lunch and after dinner. 
He is giving every indication of believing that this is gross cruelty and negligence. 
Sometimes I believe him. 
I know that in twenty years I will look back on this time with tenderness. I will remember the snotty nosed kisses, the offerings of books, I will remember the times when we are all curled in bed together and the Poppet and Sprocket are feeding like little bear cubs, holding hands and giggling at each other. I will remember how the Poppet tries to pull the Sprocket's hair and my heart will ache for what has passed. 
But now. 
Now I'd just like some sleep. 
I'd like not to have my breasts treated as public property and yanked from clothes, pinched and prodded. I'd like not to have acrobatics performed while the acrobat is attached to my person. 
But sometimes I wonder, if the Sprocket, like I, looks back to a golden age. 
For him, I suspect it was when the milk was his for the asking. When most days we'd lie down morning and afternoon and he would sleep and feed and I would sleep and read for hours at a time. When he would feed to sleep and feed to wake and the whole of our world revolved around him. When every little fall, every hiccup was met with more milk.  
Poor little Sprocket. It is always so hard leaving and looking back on the times of milk (and honey!) 

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Telling myself I need to be holding the Poppet while she sleep-feeds, rather than cleaning the house, I have been re-reading Elizabeth Goudge's Eliot's of Damerosehay trilogy.
I am presently up to the middle book, The Herb of Grace.  Goudge's novels are, for me, the height of nostalgia. They have a tartness, richness, denseness, gracefulness that seems so rare and precious today. 
They remind me of my dearly beloved Great Aunts who lived similarly disciplined, graceful, bountiful lives. I imagine Elizabeth Goudge must have been a similar sort of person, and would have found them kindred spirits. I am not so confident that she would have found me a kindred spirit, but I heartily wish that she would have.
The Herb of Grace is a luminous jewel of a book, set just after the second world war and is about a family buying a lovely old inn beside a river and restoring it - but it is also about faith, forgiveness, self-denial, the joys of family, of the world, the yearning for the hereafter and the intricacies and bonds of family. 
Goudge delights in poetry and the beauty of the natural world and her writing celebrates her joy. She loves her characters with all their many flaws and I cannot help but love them to. Whenever I read her books I always wish I was a better person, more disciplined, more self denying, more full of grace, and now I dearly wish the same beautiful burden on my little Poppet.
Asleep in my arms her face is indescribably sweet and dainty, an old fashioned girl wearing an old fashioned white dress sprigged with blue flowers. She looks as if she had stepped (crawled) out of one of Goudge's novels. 
I wish, I wish I could give her the same beautiful world. 
But already she is reaching for computers, mobiles, hearing songs on the radio that would make Goudge weep. All I can do is try to ensure my Poppet is surrounded in the best of both worlds and pray that her life is full of grace and joy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Momentous Moments

The Sprocket and Poppet are growing so quickly it seems that I blink and they are bigger, faster and toothier. The Poppet has just reached eight months and spends each day in a delight of giggles and flirtations with random strangers who stop to admire her. She is busy exploring the world - what does it feel like? can she eat it? hmmm, over here is good stuff. To my great joy she is still calling for mama if I go out of sight and then she comes looking for me and her many sweet ways overwhelm my heart. 
The Sprocket is... very Sprocketlike. 
Today's great happening is that it is official.
The Sprocket has started reading Big Boy Books - that are not about trucks. 
When he was a baby I was all smug about his interest in the stories that I read him. And then he learnt to crawl and walk and his interest rapidly diminished. And I was all un-smug and worried and perplexed. Slowly, slowly, we started back into the books using pop-up books and touch and feel books and books that made noises and most particularly books about trucks (particularly pop-up, touchy-feely, noise making books about trucks) but now it's really happened. 
The Sprocket is bringing me books to read to him that are not (be still my beating heart!) about trucks. 
Today we read How do Dinosaurs eat their Food about oh - ten or eleven times and Walking in the Seasons in Kakadu (which to be truthful I hadn't imagined him being interested in until he at least started school, but I think he likes the snakes and crocodiles and children) another ten or so times also. 
My little toddler is beginning to grow into a big boy, to think, to imagine, to create, dream, pretend. 
O my own little one,I love seeing you grow, your mind expand, your imagination take flight, but don't grow too fast, the here and now is very sweet.