I’m back. the kids tell you what we do, I am offering some reflections on our time in general.
We are travelling now and what a mix of emotions that involves. Let me tell you of some of the amusing and character building things that colour my day from a parenting perspective.
We traversed the Nullarbor with Emilio with a small sore on his face that we could not fathom. It wasn’t spreading, it didn’t hurt, there were no other symptoms… we were a little perplexed and whilst cleaning it regularly, we were quite relaxed. It turned out to be ‘school sores’. Oops, and we turned up at a friends house with them a little naive and oblivious. Fortunately, it appears we haven’t infected anyone else (that we have heard of). How it hadn’t spread further on Emilio or the other kids was beyond us. But with some meticulous care from friends and the mandatory ‘school sore nuking cream’ his face is once again hugely kissable and not restricted by scabby bits.
Car travel… We have both endured, and felt the limits of coping in our chosen mode of transport. This car has been fantastic, it’s a toyota, what can we say, and it has been meticulously prepared by our mechanic Grant in Whitfield – it hasn’t missed a beat. The ‘Milk Van’ or ‘Tarago’ is our family wagon, and to be honest it is missing a few beats (just not mechanical ones) : it has one door that doesn’t open, one window that doesn’t open (a second window cannot be relied upon so we don’t really use that either) and no air conditioning. We left Victoria with 307,000km on the odometer the temperature was pleasant. We are still going strong and fingers crossed we’ll make it to Darwin in style. I must say I was mightily impressed when Christos checked the oil and water in Esperance. It is not something either of us are internally programmed to do, so he earned big brownie points for that manly act (this was a 40 degree day in WA and the kids survived about 600km in the car that day). We are packed to the brim, the kids legs are not able to reach the floor, there are bags in the way and there is a big roof rack on top. This character building situation becomes a pressure cooker on hot days with many kms to cover. The lived reality sees us oscillate between sweating it out when the windows are up (if you ring and it is a hot day we have to put windows up to hear you so dont expect a long conversation) and breezy times when we are trying to get rid of flies and breath fresh air but nothing can be heard. We are quite taken by talking books- but these require the two openable windows only one inch down in order to be heard and not blast out the driver. What joy! Actually there are not many complaints, it is just what is. glad we are not trying to squab into this little red number another NE victorian visitor to Charles Darwin Reserve.
Home schooling is something we have taken on in this moving phase of our journey. A typical day for us in school term involves driving about 8 am and me sitting in the middle with the kids who are fighting to do school work next to me, it might be sums and numbers play (there are nine trucks with twelve tyres on each trailer, and three trailers per truck how many tyres all together- not including spares), finding patterns in times tables grids, or spelling or blog writing or reading or creative thinking ( we are making up our own worlds – imagine what life would be like inside a brick Kalika asks?). Yasi is particularly taken by history and the whole concept of who writes history and what about the other people who didn’t write the history books? We all quite enjoy schooling, for a while, but by about 10.30 it is common for tempers to be fraying as the heat in the car rises, ideas dry up and patience fades into a mirage on the long road ahead. I honestly do not know how those kids have done those long days over the Nullarbor in such good humor. I suppose it all helps to prepare them for ‘who knows what’ that lies ahead. I actually bought a heap of resources for homeschooling and I havent had a chance to get into many because we have been squashed in the car. but here are two photos; ‘teaching brotherly love’ and ‘The letter K’.
And that takes me to another point. Different personalities. What fun we are having. One of the things I have been looking forward to is getting to know my kids better; their triggers, their strengths, their challenges and tailoring the way I respond to them appropriately. It all sounds great in theory, ask me about it in six months time. Well, I can confidently say that we have: those that do multiple jobs to help us get packed up, those that just want to get fit again but find it hard to get out of bed for that jog, those with coffee withdrawal headaches and those that soon after we arrive somewhere are ready to leave, those for whom change is a little bit anxiety building, those who like to lie in bed in the morning, those who avoid all jobs and those that kiss and cuddle and shove others out of the way for mummy time.. we are so unique different and special, and learning so much. Patience must be building. We have adults in our own moods trying to parent consistently but not always managing it. We are each our own, and we are learning and challenging and growing right in each others faces! Love it.
When necessary we have a running record as to who chooses what to do in the car for half an hour at a time to avoid fights, we have a love of buying a box of eight ice-creams for $4, and some seem to love smearing it through hair in the course of consumption. We have a homesick box – someone calls out ‘I’m homesick’ and at the next town we might get a treat from the box (as of tonight the box is decidely empty actually – must remedy that one!). Several of the people we have visited have added to the initial homesick box stores. Funnily enough most items now contain chocolate. We were sent off with a freshly baked banana cake complete with cream cheese frosting from ‘Charles Darwin Reserve’ courtesy of Fi… we then almost missed a turn and the cake slid from its precarious perch up above the back seats to visit the boys. I am happy to report that it was salvageable and delicious. On that note – Charles Darwin Reserve- Bush Heritage Fund property that friends are managing for ecosystem and flora and fauna diversity- check it out – donate or visit a property in australia today http://www.bushheritage.org
Have I told you about the wake up styles of our cherubs? Zoi or Emilio usually sidle up to or jump on Yasi, she is usually receptive but not always. Or maybe Zoi and Toby will slip into our bed in the early hours for the mandatory hugs they gather for the day ahead ( i have managed two mornings of short yoga/meditation but always made it back to bed in time for the morning cuddle extravaganza) . Zoi pushes everyone out of my embrace and has often ended up with Toby almost accepting affection from her. This morning I had Toby on top of me, and Zoi and Yasi on one side – Zoi was observed pulling my arms from each of the older kids, wrapping them tightly around her and holding on stating that it was her hug time…
Working out how I want to communicate is a challenge to me. I find myself not sure of the emotions I am experiencing when the kids get into writing their blog, or putting up posts. I find I am stuck back in my travel days of 20 years ago. I loved the anguish of no contact for ages, of collecting mail from poste restante, of working through my stuff myself, of knowing my limits and being totally present where I was. I loved the writing of a letter, not knowing what might have changed in my world by the time a letter was received… now I find my thoughts about communication confused, do I text and get almost immediate response, or write a detailed email, or ponder my evolving thoughts in a letter. I tend toward writing a letter, but then hear Christos might have had contact via text from that very person and my letter feels strangely inadequate.. this is something I am grappling with to this day; finding my way and communication preference. I wonder also as to the implications for the kids.. the immediacy of communication is so attractive, yet it does not seem quite right to me. I think this could be genetic thing. My parents don’t know how to turn on a CD player yet and have no interest. It is scary how archaic I feel right now. But oddly self righteous too! So don’t expect to hear from me often, but when I do write, it will be heartfelt and with passion..
thanks and love