Monday, 16 July 2012

In those quiet moments, fear eats me alive.

Guy Smiley made a bolt for the road a couple of days ago. 

We were on the driveway of a friends house, about to hop in the car and go to a park. Distracted, I jabbered away about car headlights until my friend noticed Guy Smiley had edged well away from us and was waiting for me to notice him meters from the driveway's open gate.  I headed towards him. He bolted. I could see a 4WD coming and I ran, but he had a head start and in the nanoseconds before he reached the sidewalk I knew there was no way no way I was going to quite reach him before he reached that road. And he would have run straight out on to it, if it weren't for the fact that he faltered slightly when he hit the sidewalk - a fractional moment of hesitation that gave me just enough time to reach his side and grab him, and within seconds of the car that drove past in almost that same instant.

For a moment there, as I ran after him and saw that oncoming car, I truly thought I wouldn't reach him in time. It was a waking nightmare that lasted only seconds, but it has quite literally become a waking nightmare. Every small silent moment that I've found myself trapped in between then and now has caused those seconds to play again in my mind, and all the possible "what if" scenarios have churned over and over until I've felt my stomach begin to churn. Over and over.

Yes, it was all a happy ending in the end; what with me scooping him up in time, and hugging him, and repeating "oh god oh god" while he happily laughed and smacked me playfully in the face, as I walked back up my friend's driveway and buckled him into his carseat. Safe and secure. Not to be set down upon a front lawn when a gate is wide open ever again.

But the "what ifs"... They're going to torment me for a really long time. And rightly so.

                                                                                 End note: I'm terrible at self-editing. As you can probably tell by 90% of my waffle. However I have managed to remove about 9 paragraphs of what I wrote here originally, as I decided I didn't want to burden the world with all my self-doubts and blinding anxieties after all.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Then in one of those Nek Minnit moments...

Try as I might to find the kids a playground where they won't - for once - find a swimming pool of mud to wallow in, they will sniff one out

And as much as I sometimes protest to begin with (citing 'nice clean clothes' and 'nice clean car' as reasons for staying, well, nice and clean for a change) I always have the camera out ready and waiting to capture all the I-want-to-remember-these-moments-forever shots.

Photos taken 13 June 2012.

I protest, but I don't mind at all really.

And the kids don't really mind when I have to peel off their clothes before allowing them in the car because silly mum has forgotten to bring a spare change of clothing. And towels. And travel soap. And a camping shower. It's all part of the adventure that is 'going to the park'.

In fact, sometimes we don't even make it to the park. Sometimes if I'm super lucky, the kids manage to get completely covered in muck along that stretch of lawn between house and car.

This isn't the set of photos I've been looking for, where the Lily Bug and Guy Smiley made a mudslide out of a tyre track on our lawn while I was still inside trying to find the car key so we could go out. Those pics are trapped on a camera memory card that won't work. Instead, these are from the Lily Bug's playdate last week.

Friday, 6 July 2012

I seem to have this "thing" about zombies.

New car! We were hoping to get something that could drive over lava and plough through a zombie mob without being rolled, but we've settled for a nice practical 8-seater soccer-mum mobile... :P

Is this a people-mover? Hell yes! This will move people right out of our path, left right and center. Especially with the addition of bull bars ;)  It's big, but not so big as to topple over in a strong wind, and the undead aren't smart enough to roll it, right? And if we get the windscreen cover with our insurance, we'll be protected for when the Infected crack it with those severed limbs they like to swing about.

I'm cautiously satisfied that this is all we need to survive a Zombie Apocalypse.

Crossing a river of lava - not so confident.  According to Dante's Peak, we'd need a heavy duty pick up truck to pull that one off...

But, when you think of which disaster scenario is more likely in Auckland - Volcanic Erruption or Zombie Outbreak - I think we'll do just fine with the choice we've made.

And if repayments become a struggle and we're forced to downgrade from three-bedroom rental to cardboard box, there's quite a bit of space with the back seats folded down into the floor. Plenty of room to freedom camp for the rest of our lives - yee-ha!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Crack(ed) Heads and Enchanted Gardens

Yesterday I thought the worst I had to worry about was facing the frowning judgement of dusty old stuffed animals as I chased two over-excited young monkeys through the cold marble corridors of Auckland Museum...

And then the car kind of.. blew up.. I suppose. I mean, there was no fire (nor brimstone for that matter, much as the event seemed Hellish at the time) but once smoke starts spewing from an engine, I guess we can call that engine thoroughly blown.

Thankfully, old Aggie's final saving grace was that she managed to limp us home rather than leave us stranded on the side of the motorway. I'm not quite sure what we'll do about getting the Lily Bug to kindy when the holiday break finishes in two weeks though. Unfortunately there are tumbleweeds blowing through our savings account, so unless someone would kindly like to steal Aggie from our driveway before I cancel the car insurance this week...

On the bright side, we had a great afternoon at the Museum & Domain. Our last visit to the Museum was somewhat rushed. The place was packed to the eyeballs, and we couldn't wait to get out into the open air to visit the Winter Gardens. Yesterday we took a more leisurely pace - or as leisurely as I could convince the kids to go, being that they were desperate to see the dinosaurs and the kids area with all the cheerfully stuffed dead animals.

The kids stared disinterested at the big old fufu dresses that I oohed over, while I bit my lip and grinned as they oohed over a wall of lollipops.

 See those big ones Guy Smiley's pointing to? It was love-at-first-sight between the Lily-Bug and those lollipops when she was his age. And she talked about them for six whole months until Christmas came along, and Santa managed to track one down and pop it in her Santa Sack. She still remembers her "Big Fat Lollipop".

Flashback to Christmas 2010 and yes, the Lily Bug is wearing the same skirt in this photo as she was at the museum yesterday...

At one point I began introducing the Lily Bug to the Egyptian mummy, until I caught myself trying to explain the embalming process and, keeping in mind her tendency to wake in the middle of the night shrieking from time to time, I realised it was yet another thing a small child probably doesn't need to know.

The volcanic eruption simulator was another area I steered the kids past, as much as the Lily Bug tried to reassure me it was okay because she had her Lava Boots on.

We couldn't go to the Museum without visiting the magical Winter Gardens, which always reminds me of E. Nesbit's The Enchanted Castle, and I can never help but look at the statues out of the corners of my eyes just in case I can catch one moving...

My only complaint about the Domain was that it's just far too popular. In the Winter Gardens we bumbled into the photography session of two newly wed couples in the space of 20 minutes, and out in the Domain I spotted the perfect autumn-yellow tree for us to play beneath, except everytime we approached it, we were beaten there by someone else wanting to photograph it or stand beneath it and be photographed. In the end, I admired it from afar and gave up.

Of course we couldn't go out anywhere without finding a puddle for the kids to run through and bannisters for them to leap off...

 And although the cosmic powers of the universe dumped me with a broken down car at the end of an otherwise awesome afternoon, I did at least get to snap a shot that summed up in one frame, just how awesome the friendship is between these two monkeys: