Moseying along

 So things have almost gone smoothly into "back to school" mode and we have a routine (of sorts) that has been lovingly scheduled by yours truly, in an attempt to lessen our amount of kid-ferrying time and increase the amount of house-renovation-yard-cleaning-freelance-work-general-cleanup time.  It helps that Tiss has shown an interest in taking the tram to and from school by himself (so what does the Australian mothering collective say?  Aged 9 too early to navigate crossing busy roads and tram lines on your own?) - mainly because all of his friends in grade 3 are already doing it.  I balked yesterday when Tiss came home crying, because some of his mates had organized to go to the local inner city department store on their own and hang out - and Tiss wasn't included, because I (mean, bad mother that I am) don't let him be independent, like other mums.  I told him that if he was as independent as going to the department store, he wouldn't even be able to find his way back to the tram stop, and by the way did he even KNOW the number of the tram he would have to catch to get back home???  (um.... no).  So after a storm of emotion and extended negotiating, we agreed to take this concept of freedom slowly.  Step by step.  Small increments of learning where the tram stop is, and the number of the tram he has to take, the route to get to school...  and maybe by year 12 he will be allowed to hang out at the store with his mates ;)
Am I being a bit too protective?  Well, too bad.  I'm already the funny foreign mum at school anyways, the one that writes cursive differently, has different ways to work out maths problems, dares to complain about the quality of the teaching, doesn't understand that any weather under 15 degrees REQUIRES a beanie and gloves and scarf on your child without exception, sends her kids to bed at 8.30pm instead of letting them stay up as long as they want, yadda yadda yadda.
Otherwise we are pretty much moseying along.  Jem is on a work trip to Lisbon (yes, I mean Portugal) this week and I am just a tad envious.  I have made him promise to bring back a baked custard tart.  I read somewhere once that custard tarts in Lisbon are one of the 100 things you HAVE to eat before you die. Can't complain too much though, because I'm preparing for field work in Brazil in November, this time we are taking a professional cameraman, so I'm on a crash course of "documentary making for dummies" at the moment.  Steep learning curve there.
After a few stressful summer-learning experiences, we decided to put Mik into a very formal pre-school coaching situation this school year, where he is learning to sit at a desk and listen to the teacher and sharpen his pencil and read and write.  With great trepidation we saw him off on his first day, wishing for our friendly montessori madness.  Amazingly, Mik is seeming to thrive in this structured environment.  He totally digs the fact that he is big enough to learn in a "grown up" way, and the thing he wants most in the world is a school bag and lunch box to accompany the experience.  So wonders will never cease!
And one final note - I now have a wheelie bin, and I am daily excited by this luxury!  For the last ten years we have been hassled by the daily issue of taking the rubbish out - for the first few years we could only take garbage bags down to the garbage truck and toss them in the back, when it stopped daily outside our 5 storey apartment block twice a day - once at 8:15am and at 6:45pm.  Needless to say, on an average day we would miss the truck - not be home at that time, or would forget, or wouldn't feel like running down five flights with garbage bags, or reticent to stand in the snow and freeze waiting for the traffic to clear so that the truck could get to our stop.  Later, we got big dumpsters in the back courtyard, which were almost always full, and still 5 flights down and accessible by trudging through the elements.  But last week, our wheelie bin was delivered to our new house.  Right outside our front door.   Emptied once a week.  I can't stop in luxuriating in the fact I can put full bags of rubbish out there whenever I want.  As many as I want!  I guess you never appreciate the little things till they're gone, do you.  Or until they're back again :)

Speaking of "back to school", here's the interior of Tiss' newly refurbished school, with a wise and confident Grade 3-er.  He used the excuse of having a sore throat to wear one of my scarves to school, for 3 days in a row.  I've loved men in scarves ever since we went to Paris 10 years ago and I spotted lots of rugged, designer-stubble Parisian dudes with lovely rumpled cotton around their necks...  Tiss is a man of my own heart.
BTW do you notice another thing about Jem being away - he takes the camera - and I'm left with the mobile phone camera.  Ugh. 

4 Responses so far.

  1. Alex says:

    I'm not a mum, but I do admire you for sticking to your guns when it comes to bed time and gadding about the city at 9 years of age! At the same time, I feel for Tiss as I had a pretty strict childhood and sometimes wasn't allowed to do the things my friends did (or wear the things my friends wore - that's a whole other story...), and you do feel like you're not really part of the group when this happens. But your idea of building up his independence slowly is I think, the most practical and effective solution that will benefit you both.

    I too love the look of male stubble and scarves! Tiss already looks very cool.

  2. Yay,someone else being mean cow mum. Recently Roboboy has called me the "mama who likes to say No" - to everything he is suggesting.
    Can just picture the withering look you provided when the little dude could't provide the tram number! Glad Tiss is loving school, makes life easier doesn't it. Very excited for your bin siutation as well, perhaps you could throw a celebration for this one. Although, you didn't say recycling bin so you have something else to wish for, they even have dedicated green waste bins now in Briz as well as a mega huge recycle bin that is big enough for a husband to sleep in if he is in the doghouse. melx

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ahh the scarf, Looking good tiss. I used to be a scarf man back in Melb, but obviously haven't worn one in a while.

    Mook, as someone who use to hang out at Dandenong Plaza on occasion, I can tell you that no good can come from hanging out at department stores.

  4. Fifee says:

    Ah the quandries and challenges of parenting [as I'm also beginning to discover albeit at a MUCH lower age bracket!!] - but you guys are doing fabulously. I like the way you parent and build creativity and fun. Independance can come slowly - it won't be long before he has finished school at this rate though and you are worrying about him entering uni and leaving home- how time flies.... not that I am wishing it - enjoy for as long as you can.

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