Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Paris, bicycles, teeth, card-sharps, ponies, cutting out, Salina, somersaults, car-sickness and

grant-me-the-power-I-wish-I-could-find-a-suitable-cuss-word-for migraines.

Paris has learned that she can ride a bicycle without training wheels.   The butterfly has emerged, and she is having the occasional bumpy ride, but a bumpy ride by a confident girl who is growing hourly is a pleasure to behold...

She got to compare her bruises with one of her favourite people in the world, her cousin Violet.  Violet is training to be a trick horse-rider (or is that a horse trick-rider?).

In the middle of her first week of school holidays, she lost her second wobbly tooth.

And by lost, I mean kept firmly under her control until she could transfer it to the tooth fairy, a concept in this house she knows to be heavily reliant on the maternal influence but is willing to play along for coins of the realm. 

And by lost, I mean her sister bribed her to pull it out with some treat or other - a treat lucrative enough to warrant the resolution to overcome her natural reluctance. 

And by lost, I don't mean a sudden cessation of tooth from back of mind but the end of a month-long contemplation. 

The tooth fairy bartered her a deal of some awesome octagonal silver pieces, which as we all well know are the best coins of the collection.  A couple of fancy ones if I recall.  I know, brownie points for the tooth fairy.

There is much of what I want to say with pride about my eldest and her life and peers and the life choices she makes and how human and wonderful she is, but she is of an age now where she doesn't need her mother singing her praises when the fence over which the praise is sung is the internet - she has her own voice.

But there was some wonderful stuff involving movies and buses and sushi amongst other things.

The last few days has involved a weekend with cousins - and it was one of those school holiday weekends when the kids are all at that magical age where they can play card games together - and there were some doozy card games. 

Dash is a magician of family-wide repute, with enough basic card tricks and a way of shuffling that really impresses for an oh-my-goodness-how-on-earth-did-he-get-so-big-so-quickly 13 (14? really?) year-old. 

We discovered that Paris has the luck of association when playing one particular card game, and a game that was so entirely dependent on luck that no-one-can-get-upset-if-they-lose was learned by all.

One of the drawcards of the weekend was the opportunity for the grandchildren to ride with their grandfather on the land that he first came to when he was younger than most of them. 

While 'Salina had a very close association with him when she was younger and she learned to ride and muster with him and then with my brother-in-law. 

She has always had a strong affinity with horses (something she shares with her aunt) and good memories of working with Grandpa. 

As Paris was born in a different phase of everyone's life, she has only got to ride a few times. 

At first she was trepidatious, a fact not helped by the usual pony jokes and jocular stockyard humour.  She was determined that no, she was not actually going to ride today.  She had thought it over, done the risk assessment and was not budging on her stance.

Violet did a very good sitting trot on Buddy's back down to the bottom of the yard - that is a skill I have never mastered and I clench all core muscles as I even contemplate it in recall.

Against her better judgement, she did eventually have a short ride with 'Salina and then alone - but that was it.  She had a firm position - and that position did not involve going along with plans made by others.

We first got to watch grandpa do what he loved to do most of all even when we were children.  The first job you get when you were a kid - when we were kids - was being on the gate.

On the gate is not a fun occupation at first glance. 

Everyone is yelling at you as animals are rushing towards you and you and your horse - generally a pony of determined jaw and cast-iron guts - and you know that it will be your fault if they have to all go through to the other side and get the animals rushing towards you with a great deal of yelled - and even contradictory - instruction.  It took years of instruction to reach the next dan of cutting out.

To be able to become the star attraction, the one moving in to select a beast and gather the spotlight to your masterly blocks and turns, to confidently yell out "gate", to have gumption expect the others to be your seconds - well, that wasn't something I put my hand up for many years - I was always the one who would always be the most cautious when approaching any challenge myself.

As you know, I never quite mastered the grid - in bicycle or truck mode, apparently - and once I discovered my myopia, I had a default excuse should the requirement to be anything other than buried nose-deep in a book.

However, it has been discovered that often a handicap in one sensory field of an animal hones the skills in another - and mine, when a child and teenager was that because I couldn't see enough to differentiate stumps from cattle and anticipation from the body language of the beast - and therefore I stayed put in that gate for the majority of my childhood, but by goodness, I ensured that rarely did I get yelled at with anything by instruction - you can attain a level of zen with their contradictions and it can become background noise to the dust, the flow of the mob, the count and the final requirements - that is how my Dad operated when at his peak, just complete expectation that you could read his mind and anticipate his unvoiced requirements.

I think I hit that zen somewhere about 10. 

It was all downhill from there, of course.  I did not do adolescence (or several other phases in my life) easily, and there may have been fallout (causal or resultant) with this particual parental relationship. 

But knowing that moment existed, that somewhere in our memory banks there is a time when he could head a beast in my direction and I would instinctively know whether the call was "block up" or "right" - despite it always seeming to be a 50/50 call.

These days, I am the fat old woman who hovers around as a driver and far too unfit - and therefore I did my best softball spectator from the sidelines, giving a blow-by-blow and anticipating Grandpa's reactions to this most wonderful blessing in his life getting to work as his team - or indeed, him working for their team.  

There were bits where I saw that this was Grandpa in action and not Dad - but sometimes the Dad that I worked with when we reached Zen was at work, and he got three grandchildren and him doing it low stress and with joy.

Then my sister took Paris down with her to do some photos. 

Bush Babe has got a special relationship with both of my daughters.

I cannot explain how she can be with Paris and it is like watching a form of a magic show.  Paris is so timid, yet she will do almost anything for her aunt.

One of those things was to hop up in front of Grandpa on Jill and bring up the cattle.

There is a photo that was taken where you can see pure joy.

Not taken by me of course.

You must be new.  No, I expect both of you to use your imaginations, because I always forget to take photos.  I have a sister, a sister-in-law, and an aunt and a mother who are all very happy to snap, but myopic little me just likes to describe.

The gang took the mob back - taking the mob back is easy, especially when you are going through clear paddocks and there is good pick.  The little pony borrowed from a cousin who couldn't make it trailed after Grandpa's Jill, with a beaming Paris looking at the world and her Grandpa and her sister and cousins all doing slow-motion tricks on their horses around the mob.

Did I mention cards?  Those kids played cards.   For one of my birthdays (was it my 22nd or 23rd Anne?) I got given a Hoyles.  For those not in the know, the Hoyles is the rulebook of all card games and a few friends and I decided to choose a card game at random and learn it from scratch.  We chose Casino.  For over half of my life, I have been seeding that card game with those around me.  It is a corker, and now that I have taught my children I have ensured that it will travel down through the ages.  500 was played.  Cooncan500 required a double deck so Nana came to the rescue.  As I was about to leave, I taught them Maltese Rummy.  If you are in any way into cards, find a Maltese descendant and learn this game.  It is so wonderfully woven with the staunch Catholic ritual of that country it ought to be latticed with pastry and baked!

The pool is another feature of our visits, and just after Easter is really the last opportunity to swim before the weather gets just that bit fresh out there that dips are more screamy than fun.  Paris decided to learn how to somersault.  Under water.  And almost handstand.  She had individual swimming sessions with most of the adults available as well as a few cousin-centric splashes. 

Lets just say that, as far as school holidays goes, this one is a pearler.

On the way home, I could have sworn that it would be twenty minutes of Taylor Swift before she dropped off, but today she didn't. 

Whether it was the wrong bump at the wrong moment of the trip, but she decided she was starving (and could not be appeased with the thought of another hour before repast) or thirsty or - ah yes, that's what she was - she was sick.  And oh, how she was sick.

I was a car-sick child.  It was how we eventually discovered the above-mentioned myopia.  Apparently not being able to focus on anything outside the car has as much to do with being carsick as reading while a car is moving.  Take THAT grown ups and people who told me that if I just stopped reading in the car I would feel better!  I was TRYING to feel better by reading.  I mean, just about anything in the world is better if you can be reading a book, right?

So I really GOT that whole sudden realisation that the cause of your discomfort was not something intangible, but something real and RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW.

I also got it from the parent perspective a little bit - the need to think on your feet and find clothing, cleaning products, counselling and clarity in what could be a very messy situation - sixty-kilometres from nowhere.

But she grew a little bit in those few moments too - she didn't freak out, she just took the solutions and played in the red dust on the tailgate while I went into Uber-mother role (just had a mental image of an international non-taxi non-organisation branching out into such tasks and thought NOT ON THIS MOTHER'S WATCH). 

When the promised stop at the next town's magical merry-go-round (which I swear is the world's best kept secret and you can't even GOOGLE it) and phone call to V took place, she demanded the phone.  "Guess what Daddy," she said.  "I was REALLY car sick.  I SPEWED."  and I thought yeah, you did, that's my girl!!!


Kelly said...

Okay... so photos are wonderful and definitely have their place in the world of blogging, but so do words. I'm a reader and always enjoy imagining things for myself, especially when I have enough history with the subject to help things along. (unless pure fiction when my imagination alone is enough) Therefore, this was a delightful post!

Still... I hope some of this will be followed up with photos at another well-known blog. ;)

jeanie said...

Thanks Kelly...

barb-b said...

Really enjoyed this holiday pic. Great to see all the grandies growing in ability and maturity. We certainly had some lovely holiday-days with you all. Precious pictures in the mind - and a couple of my VERY ordinary snaps (I can hardly dignify them with the photo label! Wishing you all a very good trip in Friday.xxxx Nana

jeanie said...

Thanks Mum - :)