Heart in my mouth.

This morning, on the way to school, my heart just about leapt out of my chest and splattered itself on the road. Six hours later, I think it’s still trying to escape.

Recently Mahalia has decided she wants to start BMX. Dylan started BMX a few months ago, but Mahalia wasn’t interested at the time. Since Mahalia and the boy across the road have decided that they are going to get married (young love, aww…), Mahalia has decided she wants to start BMX as her husband to be also rides. For the last few weeks, Dylan has been letting Mahalia practice riding his bike so she can get used to using hand brakes (hers only has back pedal brakes) that are required for BMX.

As we left for school this morning, Dylan let Mahalia ride his bike as he was scooting. Apart from thinking that Dylan was in a super generous mood this morning, I gave little thought to the fact that Mahalia wasn’t riding her own bike. And then we turned onto a street that slopes gently downwards, and with no footpath, the place to ride, scoot and push a pram is on the road. The hill isn’t steep, but it’s long enough that you can pick up a bit of speed as you ride down it. As Mahalia started rolling down the hill, I reminded her to use the hand brakes. It seems she’d forgotten how. As she headed for the t-intersection at the bottom of the street, instead of slowing so she could turn onto the footpath at the bottom, she seemed to be picking up speed. As I’m calling out to her to use the brakes, too far away to do anything, in my mind I could see a huge stack about to happen, with lots of grazed skin, and possibly a broken bone.

But she didn’t stack. She managed to slow the bike and come to a stop, without using the brakes. It’s the way in which she did it that had my heart trying to escape my body. Seemingly in slow motion, I watched Mahalia perform a u-turn across the street, gradually slowing as she headed back up the hill until she came to a stop. I didn’t know whether to be happy or angry. While she stopped her self from stacking, she is so bloody luck that the street is fairly quiet, and that none of the occasional cars we do see were coming down  the street, or turning into the street. Quietly, I’m impressed with the way she handled the bike, and that instead of riding out into the intersection where no cars could see her coming, she turned across a street where she was highly visible to others. But I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach the rest of the way to school, imagining what could have happened if there had been cars on the road this morning.

There’s a steeper hill on the way home from school, so Mahalia gets to scoot home this afternoon while Dylan rides. And I think BMX is a long way off for Mahalia. I want to keep my heart in my chest.


Community School

Being an ex-Navy family, we’ve moved around a fair bit, and our older two children have already been to three different schools in their short schooling lives. I was worried when we started at our new school that we, or rather I, wouldn’t fit in. We are living in a higher socio-economic area than we’ve ever lived before. The school is the smallest we’ve been too, and I was worried that it would be such a tight-knit community that parent friendships would have been long formed, and I’d remain on the fringe. I find talking to new people difficult, especially if there is already a friendship group formed. I suck at small talk, and approaching someone I don’t know fills me with anxiety.

It seems I judged too harshly, and too prematurely. Other parents haven’t hesitated to come and talk to me, to make me, and my children feel welcome. To make our family feel welcome. Class contact lists are shared between parents, and there have been offers to pick up Dylan and Mahalia if I ever get stuck with Harry and Zach. At the end of each term, a picnic/play date is organised for each year (at least in the junior years) so that children can play together while the parents get to know each other better.

Two weeks ago the mother of a child in my daughter’s grade passed away suddenly, and last week we found out that the younger sibling to two students at the school, who happen to be in Dylan and Mahalia’s classes, has been diagnosed with leukaemia. She can’t be more than three, and already her little body is experiencing chemotherapy and all its side effects.. Life can be so hugely cruel and unfair. I can only begin to imagine what these families are going through. Our little school is rallying around these families though. Meeting are being held to discuss how we can help these families, food rosters organised, people volunteering to be the liaison with the families sot that they don’t have to deal with hundreds of people in their faces at what must be an awful and heartbreaking time.

The universe throws out devastating situations to good people, people who only deserve to have good things happen to them. And while it doesn’t make up for, nor cancel out what these families are going through, there always seems to be some kindness, some goodness that shines through these dark days. Our little school has got the backs of these two families.

Our school is definitely a tight-knit school, but it is also welcoming, caring, supportive, and one that I’m glad my children attend. It’s a school community that I’m proud to be a part of.

Universe? If you’re listening, it’s time to give these families a break.

Mahalia-isms: The bedtime edition

When tucking my darling 5 year old into bed and saying goodnight:

Mahalia: When you’ve said goodnight to Dylan Mummy, can you come and sit with me for a bit?
Georgia: I’m going for a run tonight after I’ve said goodnight to Dylan.
Mahalia: When you get back from your run can you came and sit with me?
Georgia: If you’e still awake when I get back, I’ll come and sit with you.
Mahalia: When you get back, just come into my room and tickle my forehead.
Georgia: Okaaayy.

*****

We’ve just navigated out way through our first after school play date at our house. Mahalia had been over to other people’s houses after school at our previous school, but I’d known those mums for a while by then. We’re still relatively new to our current school, still trying to get to know the other parents. Mahalia has been begging since school returned to have a friend over after school. We told her to choose a friend whose parent was at school in the morning, rather than Mahalia waiting until the end of the school day during pick up chaos to tell us she wanted a friend over. Play date was successfully arranged, friend collected with Mahalia and off home we went.

The afternoon went more smoothly than I expected. Smoothies were drunk, banana bread eaten. Outside scooting and bike riding, inside picture drawing, and secret girls’ play in Mahalia’s bedroom so as not to be disturbed by boys Dylan. Being the first time we’ve hosted the play date, there was probably a bit more helicoptoring going on than usually occurs at our house. Generally Dylan and Mahalia are allowed out in the yard without hubby or I being out there, and are allowed to ride their bikes in our driveway. Not knowing what level of supervision Mahalia’s friend has at home when playing outside, hubby decided it was a good time for pruning the rose bushes, and the driveway was out of bounds. Inside play, they are left alone, although part of me wanted to be a fly on the wall in Mahalia’s room. All in all, it was a good afternoon. Only one smoothie was spilt, the house stayed relatively tidy, and it was pick up time before we knew it.

While the afternoon was easier than I expected, I think I need at least a few days before the next one. Mahalia has already decided who she wants to come over next, and she doesn’t want to wait.