Saturday, 15 September 2012

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Image from here
I love asking the children what they want to be when they grow up. Every few months, they have a new plan. A new path to an imaginary life. A life where they get to be exactly what they want to be. For now. Maybe it will come true, maybe not. But it is such a thrill to imagine the possibilities.

Today Nugget said he wants to "draw cartoons". Either that, or be a journalist (although he had to ask what a journalist actually does. I referred him to my sister's blog).

Doo Dah said he wants to be a karate teacher so he could teach others how to do karate (complete with ninja moves. Not that he even knows karate).

Dew Drop wants to be "Bob" (the Builder for those of you beyond the pre-school years. No further discussion, just a return to his pretend screwdriver to 'fix' his car seat).

And the Minx said she is "too young to know." Okay then. (Dew Drop piped up that she could be a 'plincess' which may just have melted my heart).

Once everyone had had a turn, and they were deep in their own thoughts about their lives ahead (well, that is what I tell myself. The reality is that were probably thinking about fart jokes). Doo Dah asked me what I want to be when I grow up*.

I said "A kid".

I wonder how many of us actually became what we thought we would. I can remember that my job choices included a forensic scientist and a paediatrician. I became neither.

I hope the children find a way to enjoy their jobs and make a tidy living, whatever they end up doing. Combine that with finding a partner that rocks their world and I can't imagine a better way to live a contented life.

Are you actually doing what you thought you would when you were a child?

*I have actually been wondering when you do grow up. As I am approaching 40 I guess he means now? Right?!?

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The long walk - the blister edition

On August 24, my team-mates and I lined up for the Oxfam Trailwalker. For those of you unfamiliar with the endurance event, the premise is: Teams of four; 101.5km; 48 hours. It is a fundraiser for some of the world's poorest people. A great reason to tackle the challenge.

We were full of hope and wonderment. We had done the training. We knew we could last at least half of the distance. We hoped our nutrition plan would do the job. We hoped our six hours of sleep would suffice. I hoped my blister-ridden feet could take the punishment. How would it all play out?

I had my first sock adjustment at about five kilometres when I discovered that my feet were getting numb in parts. I ditched the liner socks and things looked up.

I had my first serious blister care at CP1 (16.5km into the walk).

I had my first serious reservations at about 28kms when one blister turned into about sixteen. I was still feeling very strong in the muscle and mental health department though, so I was still sure I could finish.

I dug deep, made it to dinner (CP 3 44 kms) in my original shoes where I changed shoes, upped the ante on the pain management (opting to cycle nurofen and panadol) and began the real internal struggle with myself. The minestrone soup we ate was a sensation. It kept me focused until the next CP where I was promised another serve.

At  CP 4, my brother and chief Support Crew, began 'tough love' campaign and refused to let me stop when I, sort of jokingly, requested Harry Potter's invisibility cloak when my team was set to leave. I sucked it up and found my rhythm.

Half way between CP 4 and 5, I commenced panadeine forte and battled the long blinks. Note to self: taking sleep inducing medication at 2am will make you very tired.

The leg between CP5 and 6 was the hardest. While the blisters were pretty under control, it was the end of the night and beginning of the day. As dawn breaks, it is the coldest time of day. The CP was meant to be only 10kms long but it felt like 1000. The whole team funked a little, but we trudged on. Drawn by the promise of a bacon and egg roll.

At CP 6, my sister called and in an effort to motivate the team, stated that our team was travelling faster than my brother-in-law's team. Despite being known as competitive, I couldn't have cared less. I just wanted to finish. We scoffed our bacon and egg rolls, which were accompanied by the very inspired choice of a freshly squeezed juice, and headed off again.

As we approached CP7, the panadeine forte wore off and the state of my feet was back in the forefront of my mind. We made the decision to continue on, without stopping at the CP. I feared that if I had the opportunity to stop that I may not be able to go on. No scheduled cake. Boo hoo.

The final leg was pretty much down hill. It was torture on our feet and, especially our toes. I ran most of it - the different action seemed to relieve some of the blister pain. The spit bridge openned as we approached and we had to wait 10 minutes or so. We stiffened up immediately, reinforcing our decision to check in, check out at CP7.

We approached the finish line. All four of us joined together. We had walked the whole trail in a line, with me at the front (you should always put the slowest person first), but for this bit we walked side-by-side. We crossed with cry of jubilation.

We were a formidable team.

We finished in a time of 25:15minutes, almost three hours above our expectation.

We raised $2500, more than double our promise.

We completed together and, apart from my blisters, without incident or injury.

A complete success.

Monday, 3 September 2012

It is all about consistency

God I hate swimming lessons. Why does it take so long to learn to swim? It seems to go has gone on for years and years.

"It is all about consistency Mrs Multiple", the friendly but oh-so-annoying pipsqueak told me at the pool last week when the four kids went for an assessment to work out what 'level' they are now at.

The Minx and Dew Drop are starting from Level 1. This term they will be commencing what will probably be a decade of swimming lessons. Both had to be peeled off the wall to be "assessed". Sigh.

Nugget and Doo Dahon the other hand, have already had their fair share of swimming lessons but appear to be going backwards. They will probably find themselves in a class with a couple of two year olds this year. Sigh.

"Ah, yes. Consistency" I say, looking around as the children bounce off the walls. I have heard that word more than once before on my parenting road.

A myriad excuses flood my overheated brain. Are the pools this hot so that I can't think I think?

Why didn't we go throughout winter I ask myself feeling more than a little judged by the pipsqueak? Ah yes. The pool we were using closed at the end of Term 1. The kids played soccer in winter and I work three days a week so it was very hard to find time between practice, work, games and, of course, colds to fit it in throughout the winter. I had my reasons.

"I meant to sign them up for winter", I confess lamely.

"Our pool is 29 degrees in winter", she states smugly. "No excuses for not swimming all year long at this swim school".

Hmmm... none indeed.
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