Pokemon Go, oh no…

Today my son scored a goal at soccer. He’s been playing in the same team for two years and he’s now in the under 8s. He spent a few months as goalie where he rarely got to kick the ball but saved dozens of goals from being scored by other teams. He was the best goalie. Everyone would talk about how he’d throw himself onto the ball with such finesse and courage. But the whole time he’s played he’s spoken about how he wants to score a goal. So he begged to come out of goals but then his skilled defense meant he didn’t get much of a chance as striker from the back of the field.

Until today.

Today he scored a goal. He came up to the front from his position of defense up the back (excuse the lack of technical jargon). He dribbled the ball around a few players with ease, gliding in and out around their little knobbly knees. He gave the ball one final push and off it soared into the back corner of the net. His teammates all cheered and patted him on the back and the grin on his red face was worth the wait.

And I caught a Bulbasaur.

TWO YEARS we’ve all been waiting for this moment, and I’m catching Pokemon?!

I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not how it seems. You see, I downloaded the new Pokemon Go app the other day and I have enjoyed so many fun times with my boys. My husband has taken them out to the local shops and parks and gathered items and hunted for Pokemon along the way. It’s a real team effort and has been great for entertaining ourselves and coming together as a family.

But damn you, Nintendo, for dropping that red-eyed little green creature with the bulb on his back at just that moment in time. I’m just grateful I got to see his gleeful grin.

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Renewal

In less than a week I will be a grown-up again. I’ll get to wear nice clothes, makeup and even high heeled shoes! We’re not talking the sky-high shoes that are dusty and strewn across the floor of my wardrobe, or the flats that are squashed underneath the runners and slippers that have taken over my life. I mean REAL mid-height grown-up ladies shoes. There’s nothing really special about their design, but they represent my future. In all their plain black court shoe glory, they are everything I’ve been working towards.

The last time I was in the workforce was September, 2013. It was around the time of my second blog post. I was working in a stiflingly small office within the financial services sector. I had become a target for a bully, often being confronted with slamming doors, being personally insulted, and constantly questioned about why I was doing some tasks one week, then berated for not doing them the next. I was in a position where I could not possibly win. But I was pregnant. My goal was to work as far into the pregnancy as I could in order to be eligible for the government’s paid parental leave. It only resulted in a miscarriage at thirteen weeks, a resignation text from my hospital bed and a full career change. I enrolled in a degree within a few days, and here I am now.

Two years and ten months later, and I am almost finished my degree. I have two trimesters remaining. I just have my current full time study load for one trimester, then one part time and I am DONE. I can’t believe I am here. My time studying has been more fun than I can ever explain. I think knowledge and education are highly addictive. Well, they are to me anyway. Which is why it scares me to think I could almost be done. In fact, next week I begin my internship. I knew I’d have to do at least one, but I really didn’t want to … until I saw the ad for this one. It’s an eight week program within the editorial department for an online publication I have followed for several years now. It looked too good to be true, so I applied not expecting to hear back. I was then called for an interview. Again, I went without any expectations. I joked about the fact that I sat between two models in the fawyer and couldn’t hide my giggles when a hipster asked them if they were her for the “Vogue fitting”. Any other time I would have stood up and said “Yes” to watch his reaction. The building was amazing. I was just happy to be at the interview, to walk through the offices to the meeting room where I pitched my story. I smiled, sat on my hands to stop them from flying around, made them laugh, and left with no expectations. And I was selected.

Then the shopping started. The excitement hit. I’ll get to have REAL adult conversations where I don’t refer to myself in the third person. No repeating myself twenty times a day and no translating toddler speak to the cashier in Target. I’ll even get to eat my lunch without sharing with a screeching toddler, mouth open at the ready. Coffee warm? What IS that?! I won’t know what to do with myself. I will also be starving for dinner as I’m walking out of the office, but I do need to lose a few kilos so maybe it’s a good thing.

Anyway, I’ve not blogged for a while and I just got the urge, and I’m finally not so time poor anymore. You see, I’ve managed to sail through three weeks’ worth of uni readings and week one hasn’t even finished yet. This is the beginning of my new life. My life as someone who enjoys what they do, someone who understands that bullies pick on those who they are threatened by. I was never deserving of the treatment I endured in the past, but I won’t let it shape my future. Because the future is mine, and I won’t give him the satisfaction of letting him be a part of it.2016-06-30 21.16.22

Back to school.

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She walks through the school gate and looks around to see who else was early on the first day of the school year. There are lots of small children running around chasing each other as a teacher calls out for them to “SLOW DOWN!” Off to the right, three boys sit on the concrete, facing each other swapping Pokemon cards. Two smaller girls sit beside them; the older one has taken out the younger girl’s ponytail and is attempting to re-do it herself. There are long strands of straight black hair blowing in the warm summer breeze, and the more the older girl tries to gather the fly-away hairs, the more she sets free.

After standing by the gate, gazing around, she slowly makes her way over to the metal benches by the fence and sits, resting her back on the fence while she waits for the school bell. She looks at her watch and notes that there are only a few minutes left until the bell rings.

As she rests her head back on the fence and ponders what today will have in store, she notices a boy who looks to be about eight years old standing in front of the water bubblers with a sullen look on his face. He’s standing in front of his father, who is dressed in a crisp black suit and white shirt with a purple tie. The boy has tears in his eyes and lifts his chin up towards the sky as if he’s willing them not to fall. His father is pointing at him and leaning into his face, almost spitting his words in anger. They’re too far away for her to hear what it’s about, but it’s clear the man is angry. The boy says nothing in return, but the father keeps digging his index finger into his chest and the boy keeps trying to keep his tears at bay. What appears to be the boy’s mother joins them from the car – a shiny new black BMW – and teeters over in her sky-scraping black patent leather heels. She smooths her suit jacket as she approaches them and looks to the man with pleading eyes. He immediately storms off and returns to his car while the mother puts her hand on the boy’s shoulder. They exchange a brief farewell and she joins her husband in the car just as the bell rings.

Everyone runs to the assembly area and picks up their bags to put on their backs. The school captains stand out front and lead the school in morning prayer. She can’t take her eyes off the boy. He’s struggling holding back the tears and just as one falls, her heart breaks for him.

As a mother, she just wants to hold him tight. She blows her boys a kiss each and heads back to the car for another day at home with text books of her own and a baby girl to distract her.

TOP FIVE THINGS I’VE LEARNT THESE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS

These holidays I have been making the effort to get my kids out of the house as much as possible. There’s a great new water play park near our place so we’ve walked down to that a few times, done some shopping, visited friends, had friends over for a play. We’ve been really busy, which is great because I am incapable of sitting around at home all day every day. I have, however, learnt a few lessons during the school holidays.

1 – Do NOT take all three of your children to the local pools.

Until a few weeks ago, my two boys aged six and four were terrified of the water. We’ve been through years of swimming lessons which have resulted in them fake vomiting on the side of the pool, waking up crying every morning asking with big, wet, puppy dog eyes “Is it swimming today?” and when they were younger, claw marks down mummy’s back and chest from a toddler trying to scratch their way out of the pool. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super proud of my kids overcoming their fear of water, but they are now fearless little people. Fearless kamikaze children are NOT what you want to be watching slowly creeping their way towards the deep end of the pool while you’re trying to breastfeed a newborn. So lesson learnt – only go to the pool when hubby doesn’t have to work.

2 – Do NOT take ANY kids to the water play park in Darling Harbour on a busy summer’s day.

That place is like one giant MOVING Where’s Wally picture. You can blink and lose a child. Even when I dress my children in the brightest stripes, which I often find make it easier to find them, there is still no way to spot them. Hundreds of moving children and water DO NOT MIX. Don’t do it if you value your sanity.

3 – Do a toy cull with your children.

I’ve not done this one yet but it’s on my list. My kids have been seriously spoilt, as they do each year, but they also learn to let go of older toys. Most of the time I remove the things they no longer play with and donate/give them away or throw them out while they’re not home, but this time my six-year-old will help. I’m hoping the pain from the wailing “I WAAAANT THAAAAT!” is outweighed by him learning where everything goes so that he has some direction come pack-up time. I’m sure he’ll still blame any mess on his little brother, but it’s worth a shot, right?

4 – Do NOT leave uni essays until the last minute.

I always have the best intentions and aim to have my uni assessments started way ahead of time. What I really do is procrastinate, write-up the cover page, procrastinate some more, check the formatting … Skim through the novel again, stick some post-it notes in a few pages, vacuum the house, check the formatting again … You get the idea. This always results in me sitting up until half an hour before the due date, frantically typing away then submitting without proofing. I honestly think this is where my best work comes from, but it’s not a pleasant process and I become an evil, snappy, cranky MUMSTER. There’s my new year’s resolution right there – I will NOT leave my work until the eleventh hour. Wish me luck on that one. Actually, I have one cover page to check over right now, yet here I am …

5 – Enjoy your children.

The holidays will be over before we know it. I want to look back at the end of my holidays and know I’ve spent time with my children. I want to know I’ve shared some laughs, helped them to the next level on Knack (the PS4 game) a few times, shared a special meal or two with them, watched a movie with them, and just generally made memories. And along the same lines, take many photos. These memories when our children are young will be gone in the blink of an eye. I like to make photo albums every year or two. I order them online and they are printed and shipped out to me. So far I have four, and they are my most prized possessions. If my house went up in flames, they would be the first thing I’d grab after my children. We all take photos and they get uploaded to social media, or they get saved to a hard drive. But what do we then do with them? I choose my absolute favourites and compile an album. They are such beautiful things to look at after time has passed. I highly recommend it.

So there you go – the top five things I’ve learnt from these school holidays. I know I’ll make it to the end, where another phase of my life begins. I will have two children in school, no daycare fees, and subsequently only one location to drop children off at. Bring on 2015. May we all make beautiful memories and live happy healthy lives.