Month: March 2014

The Inner Twenty-Nine Year Old

When I was a kid, growing up seemed like the best thing in the world.  Adults, it seemed, could do as they liked.  Growing up offered the freedom I craved to do what I wanted, when I wanted and with whom I wanted.

Today, a wise young young lady made me revisit my youthful self (as she often does), with a post on her blog. She wrote about a favourite pair of teeny tiny shorts.  You can read the post here.   

Reading her words made me chuckle, as I had experienced the same feelings when I tried to ditch a very small bikini in the months following the birth of my son.  I acknowledged that, even though my body had returned to its former shape, the teeny bikini was a now a piece of my past.  Yes, I acknowledged it, but I could not bring myself to toss that bikini into the bin.  It finally went out after my daughter was born ten years later.

These days my biggest challenge with the whole ageing process is acknowledging the disconnect between the way I feel on the inside and the way I look on the outside.  

I still feel pretty much the same as I did when I was 29.  Looking in the mirror reminds me, however, that I am way past 29.  Sometimes it comes as quite a surprise.  I can be walking past a store, see a woman reflected in the glass of the windows and think “Who is that?” and it can be several moments before I realise, “Oh, it’s me”.  

Where is the bright-eyed, lively, eager for life young woman that was the 29 year old me?  

She is still there when I look closely.  The eyes are still bright.  I am still eager for life, although maybe just a shade less lively.  I am just as creative and keen to learn. My brain is still as sharp as ever. I am still funny (I think so anyway) and I still dance in the supermarket aisles when good songs come over the in-store radio…and, yes, it still embarrasses my children when I do that if I happen to be shopping with them.  

I still make an effort with my appearance.  It annoys me that the clothes I like are often not appropriate for a lady of my vintage. It annoys me even more when I see young ladies, who should be wearing those lovely stylish things, dressing like bricklayers.  I am disappointed with the range of clothing available for ladies ‘of a certain age’.  It seems that, once you are no longer in the first flush of youth, you should dress in baggy, unflattering, garishly floral outfits until you die…and you should only wear trainers or flat shoes.  

I do not want to wear loud florals.

I do not want to wear baggy pants or shapeless shirts.

I do not want to wear sleeveless tops.

I do want well cut clothes that take into account my changed shape.  I do not want to have everything altered.

As the years have marched on, so has my waist measurement.  My hips have stayed the same size. So when I try to buy trousers i have a problem. If I find a pair that fits my hips, I can’t button them at the waist. If I find a pair to fit my waist, they are like parachutes around my hips and thighs.  I do not want to wear Nanna Pants with elastic waistbands!!   Please, designers, notice what the wonderful people at Not Your Daughters Jeans have done and reconsider the waist/hip ratio.  

When I look at myself in the mirror, I see the woman who has lived/is living a wonderful, eventful life.  I see the woman who has made glaring mistakes and who has taken many years to forgive herself for those mistakes.  I see the woman who has raised two terrific kids into two terrific adults. I see the woman who has, through a long teaching career, watched countless children grow into their potential. I see the woman who has achieved far more than she ever thought she would. I see my father’s eyes and my mother’s grin. I see the lines around my eyes caused by laughter and I know that the twenty-nine year me is still in there somewhere.  

 And so is the skinny little, red haired girl who was always asking questions and creating mischief.  

Thank Goodness I remember them both.

 

Advertisements

Read! Read! Read!

When I was a kid, reading was one of my favourite things to do. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you already know that.  I am a reader.  I read as much as I can, whenever and wherever I can.  

Just in case you need any more evidence that reading is one of the best things ever…check this out.

Image

Now, go and read something else.  You know you want to.  It’s good fro you.  

Read! Read! Read!

WOW!!!

 

When I was a kid, I loved looking at the wonderful photography in the National Geographic magazines in the library…no, not for the naked pictures…only the boys did that.  

In the pages of those magazines were some of the most amazing images of our planet.  

Someone sent me this link this morning and I was immediately transported through time, back to the school library.  

Look at these beautiful places.

33 Unbelievable Places.

The Big Reveal

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775c

So today is the day of the BIG REVEAL for the A to Z April Blogging Challenge.  

For me a reveal as such is hardly necessary as my blog’s name pretty much gives it away.  I will be blogging my way through the A to Z of my childhood way back in the glorious 1950s, starting with A for Ancestors right down to Z for Zee or Zed.

I am looking forward to hopping around a many of the other blogs as possible.

I hope you will enjoy reading the stories of my youth.

Cheers.

Erica

The list of other bloggers in the reveal is here.

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Oh No! Not the Dentist!

When I was a kid, a visit to the dentist was the one of the worst things that could possibly happen. 

I had issues with my teeth due mainly to the sulphur based drugs I had to take for my ‘wheezy chest’ (aka asthma).  My first set of molars decayed quickly and were in constant need of care.  The breathing distress I had also caused me to grind my teeth as I slept. This meant more wear and tear for my teeth and therefore more visits to the dentist.

The local dentist, known to us as Dr Fang, was a sadistic chap who seemed to have an aversion to using pain relief.  “This won’t hurt,” he would say advancing upon me with a drill in hand…a scary sight for a little kid.  When it did hurt, I bit him. I thought it only fair to inflict some pain on him.  Revenge is sweet, and effective it seemed, because when he deemed my mouth too small to allow for the growth of my second set of molars, he chose to use the gas when extracting four of my teeth..two on top and two from the lower jaw. This procedure was supposed to allow the existing molars to “shuffle forward” and create space for the new back molars and, eventually, wisdom teeth.  

Unfortunately, my teeth didn’t “shuffle” anywhere and stayed stubbornly where they were, clearly happy with their choice of position.  One decided to turn 90 degrees in a determined display of rebellion but the whole exercise was otherwise an unmitigated disaster.  

My opinion of dentists fell even further.  I begged my mother to find a new dentist for me. I warned the new fellow that if he hurt me, I would bite him.  He said that would be fair and we established a few ground rules e.g. he would tell what he was going to do before he did anything and I would clap my hands if I needed him to stop for a minute. We got along fine.  

My teeth, of their own accord grew into the space that was available, proving that all the pain I had suffered after the quadruple extraction was entirely unnecessary.  The wisdom teeth did not make an appearance until I had given up all hope of ever having wisdom teeth at all.  Two grew in following the birth of my first child and the other two followed after my second child was born.  I decided it must have been due to all that pushing.  No more children for me…I have no room for any more teeth.

These days a visit to the dentist still reduces me to a quivering wreck, but the dentist I see now is a tiny little lady of Vietnamese heritage who is so gentle and caring that my fears are absolutely unnecessary.  

Here are some great tips to help you prepare your child for a visit to the dentist.  

They have been prepared by the lovely folk at Be Well Dental in Highgate Hill, Brisbane.

Easing Your Child’s Fears

Read through them and help your child to have positive thoughts about visiting the dentist.  

 

 

 

Why we will never forget Daniel.

Image

http://bit.ly/1dWoFNN     Why we will never forget Daniel.  This article from today’s Brisbane Courier Mail says it all.

After you read it, go and give your kids a hug and thank God that you have them safely with you.  Then, please visit The Daniel Morcombe Foundation and do what you can to help continue the work that Bruce and Denise Morcombe are doing to keep our children safe.

Thank You.

A Favourite Place to Go

Image                                                                Image

When I was a kid one of my favourite things to do was to curl up with a book.

Books took me to places I could not go in real life.  I had adventures, solved mysteries, travelled to exotic places, met new people, laughed out loud, cried silent tears and filled my mind and my heart with wondrous new ideas and feelings.

I started out with Little Golden Books.  Mum joined me up to the local library and I would borrow two books a week.  I have a dim memory of sitting in the back of the car on the way home from the library ‘reading the pictures’ to myself.  I loved “The Saggy Baggy Elephant” and “The Tawny Scrawny Lion”.  I could almost recite the those stories.  My fascination with firemen and my subsequent, but ill-fated, desire to become a firefighter myself had its roots in “The Five Little Firemen”.

Family friends in the USA sent my brother and I our first  Dr Seuss book “Horton Hears a Who!” in 1958.  We liked the rhyming patterns and  would march around the house chanting sections of the book.  My own two children did the same thing when they were young.

I also liked this one by Mike McClintock.

Image

“i sat by the lake, and looked at the sky, and as I watched, a fly went by.”

Then I moved on to Enid Blyton’s “The Secret Seven” series.

Image                                                 Image

My Nanna started me off on these wonderful stories with “Well Done Secret Seven” as a birthday present when I was six.  I read it in a day and borrowed two more from the library later that week.  I began making plans to recruit my brother, my cousin and  three of the  neighbourhood kids to form my own version of the Seven.  Sadly, they did not share my enthusiasm.From there it was a natural progression to “The Famous Five” also by Enid Blyton.

ImageThis is one of the new versions of the series.  My original copies were quite dilapidated after many readings so I had to buy new ones.

The Five were wonderful. I loved their adventures and recreated many of their experiences with my cousin, Greame.  We tried to make the ginger beer that the Five always drank…only a small explosion, but it got us banned from unsupervised kitchen experiments for a month.

Later, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys became my favourites.  The advent of television brought after school specials into my life and these characters were not just in my books but also on my television screen.  I liked those old tele-movies but I am not as fond of the more recent movie versions of Nancy Drew.

I read Johanna Spyri’s “Heidi” when I received it as a gift.  I read it until it fell to pieces. I laughed and played with Heidi. i cried with her  and I was uplifted by her spirit as she faced challenges.

Roald Dahl’s “The Witches” was delicious piece of semi-scary fantasy that had me checking very woman I met for the signs that meant she was a witch.  I read it many years later to a class of seventh graders.  When I showed them the cover they made noises about it being a “baby book” but by the end of the first chapter, they were hooked.

I still have all these books on my bookshelves.  They are part of me, part of my life experience.  It seems to me that it doesn’t matter how old you are when you read a children’s book.  The same joy and sense of wonderment are still there if you are open to receiving them.

I think it is a good thing , every so often, to allow  the child within each one of us to escape to the favourite places of youth… the places found in the books of our childhood.

 

Parent or Friend?

When I was a kid there was absolutely no doubt of the answer to the above question.  Your parents were your parents, the adults who ruled your life.

It was they who made the big decisions, they who set the boundaries and they who imposed the punishments.

I knew my parents would always be there if I needed them, but I don’t remember thinking of them as my friends until I was an adult myself.  They were the adults and I was the child.  Their job was to grow me into an adult who could fit easily into and, hopefully, contribute to society.

There was never any doubt over where the “line” was or what would happen if that line was crossed.  I had a very secure childhood.  I knew what I could do, how far I could push the limits and what the consequences of my actions would be.

In my adult life  I applied this logic to my teaching practice.  I believe one of the basic requirements of life is to feel safe.  By establishing boundaries and routines for children, we provide them with security.  They know what is going to happen and when.   

Every child will push and push until they find the limits of what is acceptable.  They need to know where the “line” is.  Even tiny tots will do this.

Parenting is not an easy business and a good deal of gritting of teeth and deep breathing is required.   Yes, they will “hate you”.  Yes, you will be “the worst parent in the world”. I was for several years in the nineties when my daughter was a teenager…especially when it came to boys calling on the telephone.

Ring Ring:  Hello

Caller:        Is Katey there?

Me:            Yes, she is.   Hanging up. Daughter rolling eyes.

This would usually be repeated two or three times before the young man got the message.

Ring Ring:   Hello

Caller:        Um, hello, Mrs G. This is Matthew.  Is Katey there, please?

Me:            Why, good evening, Matthew.  Yes, she’s right here.

My rule was that any boy who did not have the manners to greet me was not going out with my daughter.  She couldn’t understand my thoughts then. She does now.  My job was not to be her friend, it was to be her parent.

Kylie Lang wrote an interesting piece on this subject in our Sunday newspaper this weekend.

Click here to read it.  I would be interested to know your thoughts.