the cost of complacency

August 24, 2011

quite a few months ago our three chickens took to roosting on the waist high boundary fence between us and our nice neighbours at no. 16.  they seemed quite comfortable up there, snuggled alongside each other.  they never went over the fence into the neighbours, possibly because of the couple of metres drop between our ground level and theirs on the boundary.  (nasty retaining wall that will have to come down in the future.)  seeing as the chookens (as percy and i affectionately call them) were happy to make their own nite time arrangements, and because it’s much easier to stay indoors on cold, wet, windy winter evenings, rather than tromp down in the dark to catch and stuff them in the coop, we left them to it.

chickens like to roost up as high as they can, gives them a sense of safety.  not for ours as it turned out.

one evening last week paul tore past the bedroom door calling “petra, wake up!”  i was on my feet and into the kids room, scanning for danger and calamity in seconds.  quite a few seconds later my brain lumbered off the pillow, crossed the corridor, climbed like a wet rag up my jamie bottoms, rested on my shoulder to catch it’s breath and then wheezed its way into my ear hole and plunked down in its usual spot on my brain stem with some grumbles and more wheezes.  it was only at this time that i realised the kids were soundly, safely asleep and paul had bolted out the back door.  i quickly followed him, colliding at the door where he asked me “do you hear that?”  yes, i did, and for just the smallest of split seconds i thought our not so nice neighbours daughter had taken up where the son had left off and was screaming blue murder.  yes, i’m an awful person.  of course it was not a person, it was a chicken, calling it’s death throes to the unconcerned nite at 2:30am. 

grabbing the torch I leave handy for checking on the kids at nite we tumbled down the back stairs and ran across to the coop and fence roost.  nothing to be seen, except one dazed chook who did not like being grabbed and rammed into the coop.  the other two?  no feathers, no blood, no incriminating evidence at all.  we didn’t spend a long time at that early morning hour searching and those of you that know our back yard will sympathise that a 3 metre plunge into a tangled jungle is not likely to be fun in your jimmy-jams and ill-fitting wellie boots.

 we gave up and returned to our beds.  temporarily at least.  within five minutes paul turned to me and asked “do you think anyone could have come into the house while we were outside?” no, I didn’t think it likely at all.  to get in our back door you have to come down a yucky bumpy driveway, open or leap over a country gate and then up the steps, or down the other side of the house which is even worse and climb or tear down the chicken wire fence on that side.  parents being parents, this was not good enough… paul got up and checked all the rooms and the kids cupboard to find no possible assailant.  parents being parents this still wasn’t good enough… i couldn’t sleep, now having the seed planted that my kids were in danger.  i eventually said to paul, “sorry, i can’t stay, i’m going to sleep with percy” (one good thing about your four year old having a double bed.)  so i spent the remainder of the nite, dozing non-restfully in my daughter’s bed prepared to defend her and her brother from the crazed chicken man that was still lurking, undetected because i was too fumble-headed to look, under her bed.



taboo topic (no.1)

August 23, 2011

here’s a news flash that won’t really surprise anyone that knows me.

i dislike the company of children.

there.  done.  said.

and in ten years when percy and tally might be reading this i’m really sorry to you my darlings.  disliking the company of children is not connected to and has no bearing on my love for you.  i love you totally and absolutely.

i dislike the constant crying, whinging, piss, shit, snot, struggles, arguments, attitude and anything else you care to name.  i’ve grown out of playing with lego, dolls, dress-ups, painting, trucks and make believe.  i’m wholly unsuited to the company of children.  i can force myself to do these things for perhaps 15 hours a week, i’m away at work for between 28 – 30 hours in a week and the kids sleep approximately 10 hours every nite; that leaves 53 hours every week that i am in the company of chlidren and probably disliking it.  if i can be absorbed with something else as well, for instance trips to museums or dance classes or whatever, then the wearying constancy of it, is diminished.  of course the screaming match it takes to get out the door in a reasonable manner counts as a negative.

i’m sure i’m not alone.  but that doesn’t make the situation that percy and tally find themselves in fair or in any way alleviated.  i’m sorry my sweets that it’s turned out this way.  had i been able to predict this nasty, depressed side of myself i would have seriously assessed having children at all/ a lot harder.  i don’t know how to end that sentence; which ending fits what i’m really thinking and feeling more?  i couldn’t say.

i think one of the more telling, sad parts in this, is that despite swearing to all the gods of all the heavens that i would not be the parent my parents are, i am becoming them after all.  is it genetic?  are we doomed?  surely recognising the fault is good enough to ensure it doesn’t repeat.  but clearly not.  my father hates children.  how we (my brother and i) came into being is unknowable.  i certainly don’t hate children but i find i’m unable to calmly work thru daily life with them.  my mother is a judgemental bastard and i think i don’t judge my children (or any others) but i plainly have other weak and horrid faults.  anyways, there’s many years of keeping a shrink employed in this, making me reluctant to go into it here and now.

so there’s taboo topic number one- never speak about your negative, painful, fault-ful, hurtful feelings around being a parent.  i have another topic that hopefully i’ll be able to address from a happier place before the end of the year.

i figure once you get to thirteen years of something you can consider it a career.  kindergarten to year 12 is a long time to stick at one thing.  of course that one thing is aimed at getting you into your next career; uni or a real job.  one hair cut to go please!

last monday 8th august 2011 percy become enrolled at oyster bay public school.  yesterday, thursday 11th she, along with paul and i, attended the kindergarten open morning.

after a short welcome from the principal we were divided into small groups accompanied by a year six student to tour the rooms and facilities.  i must say i was pleased and impressed with our guide laura.  she conducted herself very well, answered our questions and was patient with our pre-schoolers.  i ought to write to the school to say so. 

the classrooms look much like the classrooms i remember, except for the whiz-bang ‘smart boards’ (thank you kevin rudd) and perhaps more craft and creative thingys hanging from the ceilings, windows and walls.  I don’t remember much of that, but that could just be me.  i remember reading mostly, and the look on my teacher’s face when she looked down at all her little charges neatly sitting cross-legged on the floor to see my friend had neglected under wear that day.  (paris hilton is sooo johnny-come-lately.)

i thought the library looked a little thin but as there seemed to be a great many books in the classrooms and the special reading room, perhaps it doesn’t matter.  plus i imagine a good number of them were borrowed out.  the playground is nice with lots of mature trees and grass as well as surfaced areas and under cover areas.  the vegetable garden is huge and i was pleased to learn that some of the produce does make its way to the canteen, the rest is sold for a gold coin at the school gate on friday afternoons apparently.

kindergarten class size is 20 kids.  seems a lot to me but i’ve never tried to look after 20 kids in one go!  the school is anticipating three, maybe even four kindergarten classes next year.  they often have composite classes too.  i think it would be lovely if percy could be in a class with our friends meghan and/or aiden who started school this year.  i think it would help her confidence and let her settle in even faster.  later on i’ll ask if this could be accommodated.  the school runs a buddy system that teams up a newbie kinder kid with a year six kid.  they get together once a week to do activities together.  i hope this works well for percy, i suspect it will as she loves the company of older children- particularly if they are accommodating of her and let her take the lead!

 At the end of our visit we re-grouped in the OOSH (‘out of school hours’, for those on the learning curve with me) care room for question time.  i chickened out and didn’t ask the question i wanted to until everyone was milling about preparing to leave.  “what do the children that don’t attend scripture classes do instead?”  the answer was delivered a little ‘round-aboutly stating that ethics classes aren’t offered yet so the children are supervised in reading or other activities.  personally i think it’s unethical to have ‘special religious education’ classes in secular schools!  take your god-bothering where it belongs…  (where? oh, you know, safe injecting centres, brothels, homeless shelters…)

i’d already been in touch with the st james ethics centre so i knew there is no co-ordinator or volunteers to run the ethics classes in oyster bay yet.  perhaps if i can find some time next year i’ll volunteer for it.  i reckon i could learn a lot too!

 there is an orientation day and two transition days to come later this year.  adventures, adventures!

selling smiths lane

August 5, 2011

well, we’ve finally agreed now is the time we must sell our erko place.  i’m both excited and saddened.  it’ll be nice to have a far smaller mortgage and pay off some of our debts, and be free to start really getting into building our new house here in oyster bay.

on the other hand, i have very fond memories of erko and some strong emotional attachments to it.  both percy and tally spent their first months of life in that house.  in one way i’m glad our planned home birth with percy didn’t happen because had she actually been born in that house i don’t think i could ever part with it. 

i had in my mind a little (alright, not so little) fantasy that we could keep the place forever and percy and tally could live there while they went to uni.  of course they would have to go to syd uni, uni of tech, syd or unsw but derrr! they would wouldn’t they?  anyways, that fantasy is to be put aside.  i’m sure there are others i can take up!

so, if anyone wants to buy a two bedroom townhouse in erskineville, either to live in or as an investment- we have good tenants in there for two years now- please contact shaun stoker at ray white double bay (surry hills office.)

going to miss that place…