In the last three years, our family has not had a holiday which didn’t somehow involve either my parents or Aidan’s. We’ve stayed with them, and we’ve stayed elsewhere with them, and Aidan and I have left the kids with them to go out by ourselves. But never have the four of us been away on our own before. Until now!
This past weekend – from Friday to today – we’ve been camping! I know what you’re thinking… comfort-loving me, and two small children, camping out in a tent over two freezing nights? Madness!
However, I am surprised by how well we all did and how much I actually enjoyed the experience. The camp ground was gorgeous, set by a lake with lots of bird life, and the nights were filled with stars – and, well, clouds too. But it was an astronomy camp, so the stars were the main thing! Yes, the nights were cold, but we had lots of clothes and an extra doona to throw over us all. The kids enjoyed it, and slept better than I’d hoped in the tent; in fact, even now we’re home Elspeth is asking to sleep in the tent again!
So it was really nice, quite restful, but obviously you don’t sleep as well as usual in a tent… so I’m pretty tired. Good tired.
I’ve just waved goodbye to my husband and daughters, closing the gate behind them, not to see them again until tomorrow afternoon. They’re off to visit the ‘nanny and poppy with the birds’ – Aidan’s parents, as distinct from mine who have a cat.
I’ve sent Elspeth off before, usually to the ‘nanny and poppy with the cat’. I’ve gone out alone. But since Evelyn’s birth I have not spent any more than an hour or so at home by myself.
I confess to a small sniffle and the wiping of a tear after I shut the gate behind my family. Off they go to have fun, while I stay at home to get some work done on an essay.
The silence is kind of nice. I do think I will enjoy my time alone, with nobody else’s needs pressing mine lower in the priority list. But I will miss Evelyn’s funny laugh and toothless grin, and Elspeth’s enthusiastic hugs and wet sloppy kisses. Although I don’t think I’ll miss being woken up at 3am.
So it’s 9.30am. I’m going to have a shower, get this place cleaned up a bit (we have an inspection coming up) and then get stuck into addressing this essay question: Why was witchcraft a crime in Early Modern Europe?
It’s a chilly Autumn morning in Melbourne. There’s scarcely a breath of wind. The heater is on, and besides the sound of hot air rushing through vents, my house is filled with silence. My husband sleeps, having worked the night shift last night. The baby enjoys her morning nap in utter stillness. Usually a toddler would be running around right now, talking and singing and making up words, but today even that noise is absent. She holidays with my parents.
I try to fill the space with study; I have an essay due at the end of the week, and this was partially the purpose of Elspeth’s holiday. To study, I need tea. The click of the kettle as it reaches the boil sounds ridiculously loud today. Even as I know that my husband can sleep through the usual baby and toddler sounds, I wonder if that little click disturbed his slumber.
I always get a feeling of triumph from actually drinking the first cup of tea I make in the morning. All too often it is forgotten, left to go tepid on the bench, as I attend to the various wants of my children. But today I get to drink it while it is still piping hot.
As I sip my expensive tea, and read about disastrous famines in Europe in the twelfth century, I wonder if I have enough gluten free bread left to make a nice cooked breakfast – poached eggs on toast, maybe.
But even as the thought enters my mind, the baby stirs. My peace is gone, obliterated, and I put my Mummy persona back on like a mask.
Who’s my beautiful girl, then? Did you have a nice nap? Oh yes, I think you did! Come to mummy!
My apologies for neglecting the blogosphere for a few days. I have been, at various times, busy, lazy, and away.
We spent the weekend down on the Mornington Peninsula, staying with Aidan’s parents. It turned out to be the perfect weekend for it, with the bright sunshine and temperatures higher than I can recall for a while. We took Elspeth to the beach, which we haven’t done for quite a while! I still remember the first time she saw the ocean, and she was not very impressed… but this time, we had the very devil of a time dragging her away from it! She had a fantastic time, despite a bit of a chilly wind. I hope we can spend more time down there this spring and summer.
Today Elspeth and I have been home, back to normal boring old routine – except that the weather is still divine! We spent most of today outside, which is something we haven’t been able to do through the cold wet winter. I took her to the playground across the road this morning, and the weather brought all the neighbourhood kids out to play too. We made a few ‘friends’, including a fluffy little dog who seemed quite taken with Elspeth!
I’ve just said goodbye to my parents, who took Elspeth with them as they left! Yes, that’s right, I’ve got another holiday. I don’t get my daughter back until Thursday.
So, I have the usual conundrum: I’m free, independent, and so on… but also bored. Nice though a break is, I’m used to being mummy all the time. So what do I do when that is taken away?
I think tomorrow I will go and have a haircut. I shaved my head in March 2010, and since then I’ve only had one small trim. Part of the reason for this is a reluctance to take a toddler with me while I get my hair cut – she would either be stuck in the pram and bored, or running around getting in everyone’s way. So this seems an excellent opportunity to get it done without her!
I think I shall also take the chance to play music loudly and dance around like a fool while Aidan is on night shift tonight.
We left on Friday afternoon to head down to Aidan’s parents’ place on the Peninsula. There was no particular plan in mind; we just had a few days spare and thought it would be nice to visit!
The weather was pretty shoddy, but the company of course was lovely. We didn’t do anything much; didn’t even take advantage of their babysitting offer to get some time alone. We all just hung out together!
One of the wonderful things about grandparents’ houses is that grandparents have different toys! It’s a nice bit of variety for Elspeth, who I think can sometimes get a little bit bored with the toys at home – even though there are millions of them!
Random doll and toy car
I’ve been feeling quite ill today, and little Evelyn-to-be is very active. She’s actually hurt me a couple of times with particularly hard kicks, and she’s stretching out so I get sharp jabs on both sides of my stomach at the same time. I know I should be eating healthily, but feeling like this makes it really hard to swallow anything much. Lunch (on-going, even though it’s after 2pm) so far is just dried apricots and a little bit of chocolate. The thought of anything more substantial makes me wince.
My nose is also playing up; I keep smelling something weird, but there’s not actually anything – I smelt it in the car, and in the house, and before and after a shower (so I know it’s not me).
However, despite feeling unwell, it was an enjoyable trip overall! Good to be home, though.
Bereft of its smallest resident, my house seems silent and empty. I feel like I should remain quiet, as though she were napping in the next room, but the door is wide open and I know she’s not there.
My little Elspeth has gone on a little holiday with her nanna and poppa, my parents, for a few days. It really is a win-win-win situation: she enjoys it, her parents enjoy it, and her grandparents love it! But I do feel odd in the minutes after she has left. It’s like one of those dreams where you’ve gone out not wearing pants. Something is missing, something so normal that you barely even think of it until it’s gone.
I’m not even sure what I’m going to do with all my spare time. Hello, Facebook? I guess I’ll have plenty of time to read – maybe too much! Aidan and I are both re-reading George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, and I’m slightly behind him. I might catch up, and then we’d be trying to read the same book at the same time. Awkward!
I might do some baking. I would post a recipe, but I’m going to do a chocolate cake from a pre-mix pack. You want the recipe? Buy the pack!