When my baby was new to me (and the world), I made up two songs to soothe him to sleep. That baby now sings along to those songs (and occasionally replaces any one of the words with ‘poo’ because that’s the funniest thing in the world, right?). Poo or no poo, there’s nothing more touching than hearing him softly sing along: Continue reading
When I imagined life as a mother, it wasn’t tending to a two month old at 3am or changing a protesting one year old’s nappy that I pictured, but rather, long conversations with a verbose toddler questioning everything around him…and that time has come! At the age of 2 years, 4 months, 5 days, 14 hours (approximately) my boy has reached a significant milestone. Today he uttered his very first “why?” and with the release of that one syllable, changed the course of our lives forever, asserting his mind and sharing its wondrous workings. The momentous occasion was in response to his daddy telling him I had gone to work. Why? Oh, if only he knew I ask myself that very question four days a week. From now on, I am going to have to in turn question myself and the ‘truths’ I share, as well as expectations I have on everything from the need to say please and thank you, to the reason he must get up off a supermarket floor that he is glued to with the formidable adhesive formulation that is will power, snot, and tears.
Aside from the inevitable instances where I will likely wish he’d get on with what I ask and not question things, I am excited about conversations to come; the broad range of topics I will have to research and learn alongside him; and, the fresh take on things I have taken for granted, waking up my comparatively dulled sense of curiosity and wonder.
Why doesn’t the moon fall down? Why is it called a zipper? Why do some camels have one hump and some have two? Why did the chicken cross the road? Even thinking up hypothetical creative questions is hard work!
I expect there to be plenty of questions I will not have neat answers for, but will encourage his interest nonetheless: questions about our very existence, death, bigotry, inequality, the nature of time, the future. So let the fun begin- I have no prepared answers and will have to take it one question at a time. Actually, I do have one prepared answer- if he ever asks:
Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near?
I’ll break out in sudden song like they do in musicals and respond with:
Why do stars fall down from the sky, every time you walk by?
Depending on where we are and whether he is at the age of being embarrassed by me, that may be the last “why?” I ever get.
Has a child every stumped you with ‘Why?’ Please share the question and your response, to help me compile a FAQ list that I will carry on me at all times for reference in the event of no internet service.
“Mission control, do you read me? The nebula is burning at a greater intensity than previous recordings, just concerned the hubble is drifting since yesterday’s calibration.”
“Mission control here, Captain- news just in suggests the increased luminosity coincides with a terrestrial event in the Southern Hemisphere of Planet Earth at roughly 03:00 GMT, little boy blowing out his birthday candle, a lunch time celebration in his local time.”
The astronaut breathed a sigh of relief, first mission nerves had made her question her judgements, but it seemed it was the instrument’s range that required adjustment in this instance- the kid is a force to be reckoned with.
Happy 2nd birthday to my little boy – my constant source of love and inspiration, combined here with image prompt from Sonya’s Three Line Tales Week 19. Fittingly, the NASA image is an anniversary pic celebrating the Hubble Telescope’s 26th year in orbit. The fiery object is a Bubble Nebula, cloud and hot gases released by the brilliant star at its core. Other pics capture the birthday boy and the moment that threw NASA’s measurements off, and his observation of a sound/light/bubble installation in Melbourne, taken yesterday by Richard Baxter, also known as Daddy.
a smooth start to life
pathways mapped by smiling eyes
nourished by mum’s milk
smooth sailing, my boy
galactic love, milky way
be the star you are
smooth skin, blank canvas
before growth, wisdom, creases
milk teeth sprinkled smile
paths smooth, sometimes bumps
life’s jostles may spill your milk
strength in glass half full
Two word prompt (milk, smooth) courtesy of RonovanWrites’ Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge. Thanks Ron!
It came in a flat pack (we should have taken that as warning of what was to follow).
Patience was required for assembly, its urgency announced by toddler tears born of a skewed sense of time- what’s not immediate equates to eternity.
fresh deluge of tears
child’s grievances with time
freestyle wail won’t cease
I tried to distract him with a story and some songs, asking for nothing more than an exchange of the wailing for sound effects on cue, prompted by what Old MacDonald had on his farm. It seemed the only thing on the farm was a crying child.
mum’s fresh out of songs
old MacDonald combat style
His dad cursed (in whispers drowned by tears) the parts strewn across the floor, pieces mass produced but requiring solo, manual, slow construction.
The tray was made of sturdy steel, coated a beautiful shade of red, resplendent in its replication of a time and style of yesteryear. The plastic tyres and impractical design (requiring fuming fumbling with minuscule fasteners) revealed it as a product of its age- for consumption by the masses and disposal on destruction.
Complete, at last! We ventured into the cool night air, for the debut expedition.
little red wagon
styled on whimsy, nostalgia
carrying fresh dreams
The wheels maneuvered easily over gravelly ground, with a very happy* toddler commandeering it, parents looking on in wonderment, spellbound by the boy and his red wagon.
fresh breeze heralds love
red hearts tumble like your wagon
boy, we like your style
Inspired by the two word prompt (style, fresh) from RonovanWrites’ Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge. To get more words on the page (then on the screen), this week I played around with a haibun! A first for me, and something I’ll definitely do more of. In my reading, I came across a site with some lovely examples of haibun: haikupresence.org
*don’t let the serious face fool you- he is happy. No tears, right? 🙂
Together we have circumnavigated
Around the sun
My heart’s evolution
In each tender moment
Your baby hands clasping around my neck
Surrendering to sleep in the folds of my arms
Making my heart malleable
Growing into the spaces
Between the words
Questions of “Favourite X” or “Top Three Y” always stump me. I find myself getting excited when I hear a song I haven’t heard in a long time that I once loved or that brings back memories of another, happy time, but I’m usually hard pressed to name a favourite. I recently heard a blast of 80s pop that gave me incredible joy (Prince’s “Let’s go crazy” and Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” were highlights), but I wouldn’t necessarily list those songs as favourites. Ask me about my “most important” songs, however, and it puts a different spin on the soundtrack in my mind, although I can only think of 2 that are worthy of the category.
First up in my duo of “most important” is “Buffalo Soldier” by Bob Marley. Its importance is simply that it is the first song that I have a clear memory of falling in love with. I would have been about 7 and I didn’t yet have a great command of English, so the lyrics were lost to me, but I loved the song nonetheless.
As much weight as I can place on the musical taste of my 7 year old self (impeccable, I’d say), “Buffalo Soldier” is shadowed in importance by a song that means so much more to me because of the events it accompanied. I first heard Sebastien Tellier’s “La Ritournelle” in my beloved early Saturday morning spin class, back in 2010, the perfect sound to let my mind drift, imagining myself coasting on an open road, far removed from the darkened room I shared with 20 or so other people, as sweat trickled into the crevices of my closed eyes. At the time, I didn’t know anything more about the track than the feeling of exhilaration that took hold of me on hearing it. I always looked forward to spin sessions where the instructor played his mix that included that amazing song. About 6 months after the first listen, I met a man via the wonders of online dating. Being a long distance relationship, we spent countless hours criss-crossing the roads between Melbourne and Adelaide. On one of our road trips, that amazing song popped up on his iPod, giving me even more pleasure when I was able to recline, sun warming my skin as I sat in the passenger seat beside the man I was getting to know, and falling in love with. The importance of “La Ritournelle” in our relationship was cemented on yet another road trip- when we stopped to dine at one of the few places open on the high street of the country town we were in. What should be playing when we walked in? you guessed it! There is something so joyous and life affirming in the long instrumental intro and the minimal lyrics that say so little and yet say it all…
“Oh nothing’s gonna change my love for you
I wanna spend my life with you
So we make love on the grass under the moon
No one can tell, damned if I do
Forever journeys on golden avenues
I drift in your eyes since I love you
I got that beat in my veins for only rule
Love is to share, mine is for you”
Fast forward to June 2014 and the man with the music and I were in a birthing suite, playlist prepared for the arrival of our son. I couldn’t bear to listen to any music once contractions kicked in, as any sensory stimuli beyond what I was forced to endure was not welcome in my world at the time. I requested the music be turned off, and music man wisely obliged, though my request to remove the clock and its incessant ticking was ignored by the midwives.
The arrival of our precious baby boy was, and still is, the most significant moment in my life. The love, the tears, the miracle, the wonder, the exhaustion, and did I say love? It all still comes back to me when I hear the very first song that played, once I permitted music in the birthing suite Oh nothin’s gonna change my love for you…Love is to share, mine is for you. My song for the music man and our baby boy.
Prompt from Writing 101, Day 3 Commit to a Writing Practice. Today’s Prompt: Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you? Today’s twist: You’ll commit to a writing practice. The frequency and the amount of time you choose to spend today — and moving forward — are up to you, but we recommend a minimum of fifteen uninterrupted minutes per day.
I don’t have a lot of say in how or where I spend one minute to the next. I just have to accept my circumstances, or at least that is what I’m expected to do. I do, however, have control on what I can focus my eyes on, and my thoughts and observations while doing so. That freedom is mine despite all else that is outside of my control. Perhaps that is the ultimate freedom. Most of my days, and nights for that matter, are spent in bed. If I look to my left, there is a window with an expansive view of a valley, the colours of the undulating hills and trees varying depending on the time of day, and the cleanliness of the glass. I’ve yet to see a change in season, but I’m told that’s coming. That view is dependent, of course, on whether the curtains are open. If they are drawn then to my left is the rather unfortunate choice of floral fabric that I have no choice but to avert my gaze from. To my right is a wardrobe and various other pieces of bedroom furniture, including a much larger bed which doesn’t interest me much unless it is occupied, though most of the time it is empty and I am the sole occupant of the room. The only other viable option to while away my waking hours is to look right above, and that is where things have taken an interesting turn of late. Continue reading
Being true to my 30 day challenge
I am seated, preparing for entry nineteen
The contours of my chair are moulded to me ergonomically
A feature not shared by the too high wooden table
Upon which my arms rest, sleeves rolled up, bare skin cool against its surface
I hear the suckling and quick but barely audible breathing of my baby while he’s nursing
The perfume of his sweet baby-ness lingers
As I pause my typing
A quite stillness falls
My keyboard hushed
Reaching less than arms length, feeling my skin brush against the table’s grains
My hand is warmed by a cup of rooibos tea
Raising it to drink, its earthy, nutty, faintly vanilla scent embraces me
Footsteps across the room, the makeshift studio where my partner paints
The floor creaks against his weight
I imagine the sound I hear is a rag wiping against the coarse canvas
Then the thud of a frame being moved in preparation for the next
I feel the temperature drop
Winter is lingering
A reminder to start the fire for the evening
I anticipate the sound of crackling wood
The scent of red gum that pervades our clothes even when the fire is out
And the last of its embers radiate their heat
My partner gulps his tea and catches my gaze
I tell him what I’m doing, diligently compiling a list of all I hear, smell and taste
He asks “can you smell my earl grey?”
No, the floral notes of bergamot don’t travel well across the room
Or lose to the caramelly sweetness of carob rice cakes
Bite sized portions that lull me into gluttony
I hear the rustle of the packet as I dig around for the last remaining morsels
Followed by the crunch as I bite
The velvety smoothness of the carob melts, aided by the warmth of my tea
My heart recites poetry as I watch my baby, his eyes now closed
I’m content in the moment
Afternoon rolls slowly into evening
Write a list that transcends its orderly or numbered format (prompt from this DPchallenge, with list based on things I could smell, hear and taste at the time of writing).