Thursday, 22 May 2014

love note to the PhD gods

Dear PhD Gods

You probably don't know who I am, as I am one of those annoying doctoral students that got pregnant, took leave & is now pregnant again. My work won't win a Nobel Prize & it probably won't set the world of econometrics alight with an astounding discovery. It will be good & deserving & more than worthy of the degree. My PhD is an on-going saga & 98% of this spectacular exercise in drawing-the-pain-out is of my own doing. Got it. I own my decisions & I refuse to regret any of them.

I refuse to regret the teaching I did early on (loved it) & I certainly will never regret building a family (still loving it). I won't regret choosing to be a great Mama over study when work took my husband away for the better part of 2 years. Like I said, I own my part of this saga.

However. When delays happen that are just plain old bad luck, out of my control & just downright frustrating, I take issue. I am getting too old & cranky for silly computer malfunctions & delays. For things just not working because the universe, a.k.a. YOU, decide to backhand me on that particular day. So you know what?

Get used to me, PhD powers-that-be, I ain't going anywhere. You know why? According to The Thesis Whisperer, it is because I am resilient. I believe that this PhD is worth it, because quitting is not an option. So I won't. I will work at it for as long as I need to, to get it done. I am as persistent as my 2 year old on this one. You know, the 2 year old that will dig in his heels & scream blue murder at the prospect of leaving his friend's house. Well, when it comes to getting this degree, that's me. It is going to take me a while. I know. But I'll do it. So get used to me & stop dishing me up rubbish I don't have time for, I have enough on my plate.

Much love,
Audrey

Thursday, 15 May 2014

the pleasure of a number line

I am a nerd. Geek. People that know me, know this. I was teased in school because I was a nerd, complete with glasses & braces (& a terribly nerdy fringe...). At school, my big 'am naturally quite good at' thing was maths. To the extent that I studied it at uni.

So what has this little series of tidbits about me got to do with, well, anything? Well, yesterday something beautiful happened that tied my geeky self to my mummy self to my budding natural parenting self to my mad-keen-on-all-things-Montessori self. My son - my exuberant, energy-bunny, bouncy & mad-as-a-hatter son - chose to pick up a stacking block with a 6 on it & say "Mummy, the number SIX! Number SIX!"

Six is his favourite number, you may have guessed. But this (although it is making me happy just thinking it) is not where the magical bit was yesterday afternoon. Nope. The magic happened when I pointed out the sandpaper numbers on the shelf. We took them out of their little wooden box and we lined them up - from 0 to 9. We named each one, Teddy rapt up in the line the tiles made on the floor. We got out the stacking blocks & matched the numbers. We took out his wooden clock, an amazing shape puzzle/toy clock and added those numbers to our line. We did the shape puzzle clock & put it back on the shelf.

At this point, Teddy was still caught up in the wonder of numbers. Of sequence. My heart was singing. I had to duck into the kitchen to put together dinner. I noticed Teddy start picking up & moving the number tiles, roughly stacking them into a pile a bit further away from where we had been working. "He's done" I thought, pleased that our exercise had lasted as long as it had. I turned back toward the stove & continued dinner.

I heard the thud of racing feet bounding toward me. I braced myself for the 2-year-old body slam into my legs, lucky I had as otherwise I probably would have burnt myself when it came! I glanced down & Ted beamed up at me "I DID IT. Fin-ushed!" I let him lead me proudly over to his number line. Yep. Tiny Ted had been busy lining the stack of sandpaper numbers ever-so-carefully & neatly back into a straight line across the floor.

So they weren't in order, or indeed all the correct way up. We had fun with that, picking each number up & naming it. Lining them up again. My math nerd / mummy / Montessori enthusiast / wish-I-could-home-school selves were aligned in perfect, heart-singing harmony.

The wonder of numbers. Counting has been happening at our place for some time now but this was the first time it all molded into one beautiful 30+ minutes of activity. It was actually probably longer, but I was so wrapped up in Teddy being wrapped up that I didn't notice the time.

Numbers. Teddy & numbers. Bliss.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

meandering: toddler style

Toddlers take a slow walk through the park to unbelievable lengths. They stop and marvel & in Ted's case, take off their sandals to brush off their feet & put their shoes back on again every 10 metres!

Most of the time we indulge this somewhat interesting (if not a little frustrating at times!) method of travelling from A to B & every single time we do I end up grinning from ear to ear at the sheer awesomeness of toddlerhood.

Of course, there are those times when leaving/going home is near impossible & inevitably ends in tears - as well as thrashing & yelling...but this is usually short lived & any injustic Ted feels at being hurried home from the park is immediately replaced by curiousity as he spots the cat/a trail of ants at the front door/his other pair of shoes...

Yep, toddlerhood. It is marvelous for them & us!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

the beat of his own drum

I surprised Teddy with a new book the other day, it is a musical one that plays 'Wheels on the Bus' when you press the button. The bus inside is filled with animals & he adores it. We spent the entire 1.5hr drive to my parents house singing the song & discussing how many 'but-a-flies' were around the bus, whether the 'z-bra' was driving or a passenger and so on.

After his father gets home from work of an evening & we've eaten dinner, Ted says 'Daddy running wit Theo' and races off around the kitchen island. One particular night, he set off running with his book tucked under one arm. 'Honey, I don't know if that's a good idea - pop the book down' I say to him, convinced he'll come unstuck on a corner & land awkwardly. Unsure, Ted looks around & then carefully puts his book down in the middle of his running track. Hmmm...I think. He turns to take a step & I prepare to move the book. He stops, pivots and crouches down. He presses the song button on the book, jumps up and races off.

To the sounds of 'Wheels on the Bus'.

His father raced after him, as usual. My son, setting up his own theme music to play while he made his getaway. Two is a good age.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

'helping' mummy in the kitchen

It was my nephew's 8th birthday on Friday, so I made gluten & dairy/lactose free cupcakes to celebrate - Teddy & I took a trip up the coast this morning to enjoy brunch & cake with my family. I have photographic evidence of Teddy helping me in the kitchen...or rather, licking the bowl after mummy has finished!

Picture this...a large purple bowl being held by my 2 year old, over his head, as he attempts to lick every. last. bit!

Really must start compiling that 21st album...

Monday, 28 April 2014

the parent I want to be

At times today I was not the parent I aim to be. Toddlerhood is challenging in ways that surprise me on a hourly basis. Today Teddy took a short car nap, on a day I really really really needed a nap of my own. Alas, it was not to be and my darling son tested me as he is wont to do on these sleepless days.

At times today I rose past my fatigue and was exactly the type of parent I aim to be. I'm off to bed now, without an ounce of mummy-guilt to keep me awake tonight. I said things in a tone of voice today I am not proud of and made me cringe as I heard myself. In equal measure my son was my delight today and I was his. We played trains and trucks and visited friends and went to our favourite coffee haunt for a babycino. We did puzzles and read story after story after story, sometimes different stories, often the same one on repeat. We showered together, him cuddled against me with the water on his back and his cheek on my shoulder. He giggled at my frustration with his cheekiness and I found enough 'yes' in today to counteract the amount of 'no'.

So off to bed now, with hopes that tomorrow I sneak in a nap - goodnight all.

Much love
Audrey xox

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

the outlet of, well, anything but a thesis...

So I have neglected this space for months and months and months now in the hopes of creating room in my life. Hmmm. While something had to give, I am not 100% that the decision to put a halt to my wee blog was the wisest one. So here we are, having come full circle I am back.

Much has happened in our world. Teddy is no longer so tiny and has turned 2. Not sure when my baby became my little boy, it has seemingly happened overnight and yet it feels that he has always been this capable and big and well, 'boy'-like! Come August he will graduate from only child to big brother, a change I am becoming less anxious about as each day passes and he seems to mature before our eyes.

I am getting fatter (ok, more pregnant looking...) by the day, waddling here and there. Trying to avoid straining an uncomfortable and unstable pelvis/lower back situation. Easy to do having been through one pregnancy, as I am more aware of the stress of certain movements. Less easy to do, as I run and jump and carry about a growing toddler!

I have become accustomed to the idea of not finishing my thesis before this baby is born, I have even applied for maternity leave. I was a bit sad (and horribly disappointed) to have my somewhat delusional bubble burst a week or so ago. Such is life. I will submit the 2 papers I need to and will complete the 3rd sometime after I return. This doctorate is, it seems, an on-going saga and I have accepted that it is my choice to have it be this way. I wouldn't have chosen to have Teddy years later nor delay this baby. The PhD will (hopefully) keep, my babies won't. They will grow and get capable of things I only dreamed about.

Besides, let's face it. I quite like mothering. I'm quite good at it, most of the time. I like learning about it and facing the new parenting questions that pop up as Ted-bear grows. I like learning about child development and different styles of education and the likes. It's fun.

So here we are. To this space, and to the creative outlet it lends me. Not sure what I will write about, but I imagine that as long as it has not much to do with the subject of my thesis or is academic in any sense this online outlet will be exactly that.

Much love
Audrey xox