Awesome husband is awesome

Last week was exam week for the Fall of the Roman Republic. With Open Universities, a non-invigilated exam will be open, the questions available, for several days or a week, and you submit your answers in a Word document by the due date.

Last week was also the week that Aidan returned to work after a five week break.

Despite needing to work, being sick, and wanting to do his own study (Aidan’s just starting with Open Uni too), he was willing and able to take the kids out a few times and give me plenty of time to get my exam done, distraction-free. I am so grateful; I would never have gotten the thing done if I’d had the kids underfoot the whole time. Aidan’s help and support is, as always, invaluable.

So it’s all done, submitted, and now I move on to my next subject: Human Evolution and Diversity.

Milestones and acheivements

Elspeth

A few weeks ago I finally decided it was time to¬†properly¬†potty train Elspeth. So I said to her, ‘No more nappies during the day, it’s underpants or nothing from now on.’ She threw a tantrum, but I’m bigger than her so I won. And we’ve had remarkably few accidents! She rarely needs reminding or prompting, she goes on the potty by herself, and often asks to use the toilet too. So that’s good!

Evelyn

In the last week or so, Evelyn has figured out crawling! She’s getting around like a champion now, and follows me around the house all the time. She is also starting to babble, making quite a few nice consonant sounds – ‘ba’ and ‘da’ and ‘ga’. She’s done the occasional ‘da-dee’, which Aidan is happy to claim as her first word. There are also some ‘hiyas’ and ‘yeahs’.

Me

I’ve been studying hard and I’ve just about finished my most recent unit – Worlds of Early Modern Europe. Next week I start on the Fall of the Roman Republic.

Home alone

goodbye

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?

Quiet… for a while…

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!

Two turntables and a microphone

Firstly, my apologies for not blogging for a little while. The rest of this post pretty much details why!

I’ve been flat out with uni, finishing off an essay on the ethnic origins of early Israel. I still have one more essay (the language of the Lachish letters) and then I’m done with Ancient Israel.

In a couple of weeks I’ll be starting a unit on the early modern history of Europe – 1400 to 1800. That should be quite interesting! Looking forward to it.

I’ve also been staying with my parents for a few days, just for the lulz. The kids are loving it; doting grandparents are doting. (You may remember that I’m just learning to drive? Well, I drove here all the way myself! Yay, go me.)

1 Samuel

As part of my studies on the early history of Israel, obviously I have to read a fair bit of the old testament. Most of it I can make some kind of sense out of, or at least see why it doesn’t make any. But the book 1 Samuel has me stumped.
So Yaweh has basically created two kings at the same time: Saul, currently in power; and David, who is to come after. But he forgot to tell Saul about David, oops.
So anyway, Saul is all like, ‘Hey, I like this David chap, he plays cool music. Sweet.’ But then he’s like, ‘Noooo, David must die! And also he’s boning my son!’ And then he’s like, ‘Ooohhhh, you’re the next king? Well alright then, if you’re cool with Yaweh you’re cool with me.’ But then, if I read it right, David has to flee to the Philistines, which must mean Saul wants him dead again. Or something. Did I miss a few pages??
This is the least coherent narrative I’ve read since ‘The Ill-made Mute,’ and that is saying a lot. I know I’m going to need to re-read the whole thing, the mere thought of which just about makes my head explode. And I haven’t even started on 2 Samuel yet!

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes! (Turn and face the strain…)

Life is a series of changes, nothing ever remains the same for long – just look at Facebook. But some periods seem more turbulent than others, some times present more choices and options, decisions to make, changes to catalyse yourself. For me, this is such a time.

I have finally taken steps towards learning to drive properly. Over the years I have held various learner permits, and driven various vehicles, but I was more proficient on my scooter than anything else. However a scooter is obviously impractical now that I have children, and it is past time I figured out this car-driving thing. I haven’t driven a car in many years, and my permit has long-since expired, so on Thursday I will be re-sitting the test to get a new permit. The following week I will hopefully be having several professional lessons and getting some practice in with my parents. It won’t be too long, I hope, before I get my P plates and can drive alone!

The other big change possibly looming is a renewal of my interest in archaeology. It is a field I have often thought of briefly, but never saw as a viable study/career option – mostly because it seems so pretentious, so ridiculous, to say out loud: “I want to be an archaeologist!” However now I think, “Why the heck not?” I can at least give it a shot, right?

So I’ve enrolled with Open University Australia again to do a single unit on the subject, specifically focussed on Israel – because that is what they’ve got available, that is not a specific interest of my own. That starts at the end of this month. I suppose after I finish the unit, I will re-evaluate my interests and capabilities, and that will be the basis of a later decision on whether to pursue archaeology as a degree and career.

La Trobe University offer a Bachelor of Archaeology, and also offer “short courses” (single units) from the bachelor. The only issue I see with that is the need for childcare; both the bachelor and the short courses require attendance on campus and can’t be done online. Evelyn is only seven weeks old now; even if I enrolled in the bachelor from semester two next year she would still be less than a year old. It’s a little sooner than I had wanted to put her into full-time childcare; I’d hoped to be home with my kids for as long as possible. On the other hand, if I waited an extra year, would my enthusiasm have waned during the down-time? It’s something to think about. Perhaps a couple of short courses or online units will keep my interest up and give me the chance of RPL (recognition of prior learning) later on, whilst also allowing me to stay home with the kids just a little bit longer.

My usual advice to friends pondering whether or not to do something is simple: Do it! The reason behind this is, you usually risk little or nothing by trying something. But if you never even try, you’ll never know what might have happened. The only hard part is taking my own advice!