#amonthinthelife- Day 6

The little BGs had their twilight sports today. They didn’t start at school until 1.30, so they came into work with me for the morning. They visited the library, and attended a maths class with one of the maths lecturers! Both kids enjoyed the university experience :).

After work we headed down to the local oval to see them race. They aren’t the fastest of kids, but they tried their best, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

You’re worth more than you realise…

Last week, I received a copy of my old school newsletter. Sent to alumni, it brings the old girls up to date with recent happenings at school, new buildings and developments, recent reunions and news of former students.

The pages were full of beaming women, either surrounded by former classmates at reunion events,  with their children, or posed wedding photos with their husbands. Their updates, apart from a brief mention of a placement at university or work, then quickly veered into marriage and children.

It struck me from reading these brief biographies, just how much we, as women, define ourselves by our relationships with others. We see ourselves as mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, lovers and friends.

All of these relationships can be incredibly rewarding, and we derive so much strength and comfort from them. We invest so much of ourselves in these relationships, that sometimes it’s hard to know where the relationships end and you as a person begin.

An old schoolfriend once confessed how the cool girls at school had given her hell, but now she was able to hold her head up high, because she had married a great guy, who earned a lot of money and they were able to afford a house in Albert Park. I think I murmured something along the lines of “You really felt like that at school?” and went to get her something to drink.

To tell you the truth I was gobsmacked. My initial thoughts were “who gives a shit what the ‘cool’ girls think”, and “honey, you’re worth far more than all those ‘cool’ girls put together” and lastly “why should you define yourself by  your husband and how much he earns?”

It’s International Women’s Day and what I would really like for women to do today is think of themselves as people worthy in their own way, and not simply defined by who they know, if they gave birth or not, if they’re attached or not, if they’re hot or not. I’d like for women to think they are worthy of living in a society which pays them a wage equal to that of males, that doesn’t treat them with contempt or amusement and for women to have the courage to demand it. I’d like for women to to take some time out their day today to find some time for themselves and simply be themselves.

And lastly I’d like to see my next school newsletter to celebrate successes like “B went recently to Africa to bring over rhinoceruses for the Werribee Zoo, and is the rhino specialist there,” and “D recently went to New Zealand to represent Australia in an international triathlon meet”.

Happy International Women’s Day to everyone.


Post traumatic school drop off coffee

I bumped into a friend at a cafe last week. She immediately noticed the absence of any children. “Oh my God,” she said,” You’re having the Post traumatic school drop off coffee aren’t you?”

I guess I was, even if it was two hours after I dropped off the kids, did a grocery shop and had a doctor’s appointment! In fact I hardly spent any time at home, as I thought keeping busy would not have me worry about Miss BG’s first day at school.

School girl

She dawdled over breakfast, jumped into her clothes, grabbed her lunchbox and insisted on going half an hour early. We managed to fob her off with an extensive photo session, and a little chat with her next door neighbour, who was in her class as well. We all trooped up to school and entered the classroom, which was packed with parents, grandparents, siblings and next-door neighbours. I did spot a very bewildered looking teacher in there- I think :).

We unpacked her bag, showed her where to put her lunchbox and settled her at her desk. We gave her a kiss before I started to tear up, and made a quick getaway.

When I picked her up, all was good, and she was noted for her excellent packing up skills (a skill she has yet to demonstrate at home :)).

*This post is over a week old, as I was dealing with a little issue regarding the little BGs privacy. Miss BG expressed some consternation over her internet presence, and I had to respect that. I won’t be putting up heaps of photos, but those on my Flickr account of the kids will be restricted to friends and family.

Orientation Day

Miss BG had her first day of orientation at her new school. She has been visiting it for the last two years, waiting for her big brother in the hallways and in the playground, and is wholly comfortable with the place. Half of my son’s class have younger siblings whom she already knows, and a large component of her kinder class will be attending.

However when confronted with a huge wall of sound from excited 5 years olds, nervous parents, and big kids, I did feel my little girl’s hand squeeze mine just a little bit tighter when we entered the room. She was introduced to her Grade 6 buddy Christina, who took her hand and led her over to a bookshelf to read a story. When we were herded out by the Prep teachers, Miss BG was happily playing with some farm animals.

I picked her up later that morning and she was brimming with excitement, showing me some of the artwork she had created with her buddy’s help. She wanted to show her kinder friends, who were all happy to see her when she arrived.

When I asked her later what she liked more, kinder or school, she said both. But she is excited about going to school next week!


The news according to Bookgrrl

In the news today, it’s cold in Ballarat…

Do you sometimes get that feeling when you have so much stuff bouncing around in your head that it feels like it will explode? That stuff is news you’ve heard, or snippets of conversation, or thoughts that keep you awake at night.

This is my news, which is not necessarily about me, but about the news which has happened recently, and is begging to be told.

Local News– Ballarat has recently held its local government elections, and perhaps for the first time, there has been much interest in the outcome at Chez Bookgrrl. Mr BG is now a Council Employee, we have lived through quite a few local elections in Ballarat to know the candidates, and basically we’re boring election nerds :).

All of this contributed to us constantly refreshing The Courier’s web page, the VEC’s results page, and keeping abreast of what was happening on Twitter. In the end, The Courier’s website crashed, and they were reduced to tweeting the results to the public.

It was a good result, with 4 of the 9 councillors being female. There is a combination of youth and experience and different voices, which hopefully will make for a term that will see decisions being made on long term unfinished business, ie a Civic Hall that has stood derelict ever since I’ve been in Ballarat.

There has been some brouhaha already from one of the councillors who, a couple of days after having been elected, has announced her membership to the Liberal Party. There was an emphasis on honesty and transparency by many of the candidates during the election campaign, and her announcement has not been seen in a favourable light by many, if the comments on The Courier’s website are an indicator. Given her campaign manager is a member of the Young Liberals, and her overall platform and comments, it isn’t really a surprise. What it does mean is that there are at least 5 councillors who have a Liberal Party membership, which may have an impact on decisions and the direction of the council. It acts as a counterbalance to the State and Federal representation, which is ALP.

International News– Hurricane Sandy has swept up from the Caribbean and on to the East Coast of the United States. My friend Jenelle was the New York correspondent for Bookgrrl News and keeping family and friends updated with posts on Twitter and Facebook. She managed to be interviewed on two Melbourne radio stations, describing the buildup to the storm. Thankfully, her neighbourhood in Brooklyn escaped the brunt of the storm, and her local diner was even open the next morning! Jenelle managed to work from home for the days she was absent and went into work in Manhattan the next day- even living relatively close, it took a while to get in. Subways and tunnels are still underwater.

Ad break– Miss BG received a swag of clothes from the House of Kiki and has been wearing them non-stop. The House of Kiki exclusively specialises in recycled little girl’s clothes for Miss BG.

School News– Master BG’s school is preparing for its Christmas Fete, which is a highlight of the year, and a much-needed fundraiser. Last year it was a victim of its own success in publicising, with hordes of people descending, it being hot and sunny and food running out. Queues for the sausage sizzle were half an hour long.

Breaking news– I’m in a cafe and I don’t have a pen in my bag nor a notebook, thanks to little hands rummaging around in my bag. Just when I have ideas buzzing around in my head, thanks to caffeine, there is nothing with which to put them down. This breaking news was brought to you courtesy of Yummy Patisserie at 428A Sturt Street, where they make the strongest of coffees.

Weather News– After a few gorgeous days of sun and heat, the weather has reverted back to winter. Bugger. But as the lady at my local butchers said ‘If it’s cold, people buy roasts, if it’s hot, people buy steak and sausages for barbies. Business doesn’t slow down.’

And that’s the news.


Review- Retro Revival

Pleasant Street Primary School stage a concert every two years, with the alternate year being an art show, in which the entire school becomes an art gallery with installations, short movies and every type of visual art imaginable. This year’s concert theme was Retro Revival with all grades performing a nostalgic look at the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s.

This was the first school concert I have attended. My previous concert experiences at school have been speech nights, and musicals where only some of the students were involved. This school concert involves every student, with teachers heavily involved in choreography and crowd management and parents in costuming and makeup. It is another way in which the school community come together to produce and celebrate an aspect of learning.

The school concert can be a fraught experience. Children can suffer from stage-fright, stage parents can be a tad bossy, there are slips and forgetting of lines and steps. However, audiences are somewhat more forgiving, given that they are either related to many of the performers on stage :).

However, I’m not sure if it was the combination of music from my childhood and teens, seeing my first born equip himself to the task of dancing, or the boundless enthusiasm of a five year old bouncing and dancing along in her seat, but it was fantastic!

We all had our favourites. I particularly enjoyed the Grade Two rendition of Blues Brothers, where they really conveyed the narrative of the movie with their dancing, and where they interspersed their scenes with stills from the movie sreened against the backdrop. The casting was also inspired, with a tiny blonde girl filling the role of Aretha Franklin :).

Mr BG really liked a Grade 3/4 production of Gilligan’s Island/Wipeout- the choreography was tight, and it was apparent that many of the students had benefited from dance classes at one of the myriad of dance schools that Ballarat hosts. In fact, the Grade 3/4’s were the best grades in terms of performance and panache, and costumes!

Miss BG loved the music, recognising many of the old songs from kinder (ABC by the Jackson 5 and The Addams Family were particular favourites) and really liked the Flintstones (also a Grade 3/4 production)

The Grade Ones (Master BG) performed Dr Seuss’s Wacky Wednesday, dancing to Ain’t it great to be crazy and The Witchdoctor Song. The choreography was simple and worked well- my only critique was that it was over all too soon (and also I really should have put some hat elastic on his hat).

The highlight of the show was the finale, with all the students appearing on stage and dancing to Prince’s ‘1999’. The entire school on stage in all their finery was a delight to see. Credit should go to Jackie Kelly the drama teacher and Grade 3/4 teacher Kate Lewis for their organisation, choreography and boundless energy.

Hey, ho, let’s go!

Master BG participated in his school’s athletic carnival on Wednesday. It was a twilight event, to allow working parents to attend the running events after work, with most of the tabloid and field activities happening in the afternoon.

I volunteered my esteemed sticker abilities to stick stars on the cards of the Grade 1s as they completed their events.

The hurdles were tiny, the concentration on the kids’ faces during the egg and spoon race was priceless and the sack race was a source of great hilarity. The children got extra points for the loudest cheers, as well as the straightest lines. Despite there being different house teams, all the kids were in mixed teams, and it was fun seeing them cheer on their classmates regardless of their house colour.*

It was my first chance to see Miss Danielle, Master BG’s teacher in action with her student-wrangling abilities, and she did an excellent job :).

Later on in the day, we saw him running in the 200m and the 70m sprint. He was tired but he ran his best and he finished. He didn’t come first, and he didn’t come last. I was never an athletic person (despite having played basketball, netball and indoor hockey while at school) and I’ve never placed a great deal of emphasis upon the whole sport thing, so the fact he had a ball is what pleases me the most.

The way in which the whole school community in the evening came together to celebrate the children’s sporting achievements was laudable. There was a parents versus teachers relay race, taken very seriously by all competitors, and a siblings race in which Miss BG happily participated with her kinder friends. The award to the winning house was graciously accepted by the Red House captains who thanked the students for participating and the teachers who organised the event.

*The house teams are Thorpe (Red), Moneghetti (Green), Freeman (Blue) and O’Neill (Yellow), after Australian male and female swimming and athletics Olympians, which has received the Bookgrrl stamp of approval.

Master (BG) Blaster

I feel compelled after yesterday’s post to add, that the adorable Miss BG has an older brother in prep, and in fairness I should say something about him that is equally proud. Just letting you know now in case you don’t wish to continue reading :).

Master BG’s first school report arrived on Wednesday. It was a great report, with my boy performing extremely well in his reading, spelling and his numeracy. His behaviour in class was an issue, but he is making a concerted effort in class to concentrate and focus on the task at hand.

Reports from his other teachers for PE, Art and Japanese also speak well of his enthusiam for his work and his cooperation. His Performing Arts teacher also commented on his energy and enthusiasm and hoped it to be better channelled in the second half of the year!

He is well-liked by his classmates and is thoroughly enjoying school. Do I feel lucky to have a great kid for a son? Indeed I do!

He had a day off today as parent teacher interviews were scheduled all day. With his sister in kinder this morning, we ran a couple of errands together and stopped off at The Turret for a coffee and chocolate milkshake. To celebrate he also scored another book in the Adventures of Captain Underpants series for his collection, which we’ll start tonight.

And now the bragging stops :).

What’s a girl to do?

I’m on holidays, but you wouldn’t know it.

I’m calling it a working holiday, even though it’s not work, in the paid, librarian sense, but in the unpaid, thankless, yet at times thoroughly rewarding sense of mum, housewife and general organiser of life in the BG household.

I had to take leave, as I had too much of it (and no, I can’t give it away to you, or get it paid out), and chose to take it off in February to be around during Master BG’s first month of school. I’ve had to get used to making lunches, school assemblies, making sure uniforms  and shoes are clean and emptying bags of forms and newsletters at home. The last time I had to this was 1988, so I am a little out of practice…

Apart from that, Miss BG has started her dancing classes, and loving it. Seeing a bunch of three and four year olds in pink leotards and ballet shoes would have to be the cutest thing in the world- even cuter than fluffy kittens :).

Our garden has become a pile of dirt, with the final demolition of the circular brick structure.

The arborist is booked to remove a couple of dead and dangerous trees before the lawn is put down.We filled a skip last week full of bricks, concrete, and prunings from the garden consisting of hedges, holly and ivy and other pernicious vines.

Our gutters have been cleaned again in order to stave off any unwanted water flows into the bathroom and Master BG’s bedroom the last time it rained heavily. I booked the plumber to replace guttering and affix a drainpipe as further insurance against the inside of the house becoming soggy.

Now we will have soccer to look forward to on Saturday with Master BG. He never played a game in his short life, but he didn’t let that deter him from running up and down a pitch like a madman.

And finally there is the sort of jobs I love to hate- laundry, cleaning floors and bathrooms. I hate to admint it, but it’s a lot easier to do when you stay on top of them…

As a result, I haven’t had time to scratch myself, let alone blog about it! I have felt so out of the loop that people have commented that “we haven’t heard from you on Twitter or Facebook”. And now you know why!

Will I have some me time? Well from 9.15-12.15 on Fridays and from 9-3.30 on Monday is looking good. Wednesdays are with Master BG for the next couple of weeks as Preps attend 4 days for the first 4 weeks of school. I managed to get to Melbourne for a quick shop and yum cha with a delightful friend, and may spend the next couple of Mondays closer to home, poking into op-shops, going to the movies, or simply chilling.

Right now, the kettle is boiling for a cupa and I have about 5 minutes free to sit and drink it before tackling the chores…:)

School’s in

The bag is packed, books and pencils are labelled, and the clothes are laid out. Tomorrow Master BG starts school.

It feels as if we have been preparing him for years for this day- talking about school, walking or driving past it, visiting it for fetes, election day, and during school holidays to play in the playground. He’s a happy and confident little boy who is looking forward to seeing his big buddy in Grade 6, his friends from kinder and his new teacher. He can count, add and subtract and is beginning to read. He can also take off the glad wrap from his sandwiches for lunch!

The only thing  haven’t done is to prepare myself. I am so excited and so proud of how he has grown, but it will be a wrench closing that chapter of his life when he was just with me. It’s not that I want him to stay 5 forever, but I’ll miss him.

I’ve done the guilty mum thing this week, taking him to the movies and Maccas and the pool with his sister. We played on the computer together, headed up to the school to pick up his books, and just hung out watching telly. He’s enjoyed it too, just having some one-on-one time with me, which is quite rare with his sister around.

I’ve promised myself I won’t cry when I drop him off. That’s not to say I’m not doing it right now as I write this.