My blog ‘For Children (like me)
Craft and other kid’s stuff
My blog ‘For Children (like me)
Craft and other kid’s stuff
The gift of writing
A sincere “thankyou” to friend Maria who recently gave me a very special gift – a now aged and yellowed letter I had written to her in January 1996.
We became friends through ABA, the Australian Breastfeeding Association (formerly NMAA, the Nursing Mothers Association of Australia) and caught up with one another a few weeks ago after she invited me to hold an early childhood music session for babies and toddlers at our local Community Centre.
Words can’t express just how much this treasured piece of writing means to me and what wonderful memories it has stirred. Although I have a good memory for details, especially when it comes to family history, this handwritten letter took me back in time to a place I could easily have forgotten without prompting. A journey to the highs and lows of an era when I had a few months prior lost my dear father, when I had six children at home – the eldest, Amy, having just finished year 12 – and when I was trying unsuccessfully to wean toddler twins….well, not really trying….because who would want to say goodbye to the magic of nurturing your possibly last babies in such a comforting and healthy way.
Here below is a snippet from this piece of printed ‘gold’
“Michael has been wearing Paddy’s old Batman suit for a few months now and the super hero has just mellowed and hopped on my lap for a feed. The suit was worn by three brothers and two cousins before him – Samuel gets a few turns but got tired of the ‘discussions’ so generally gives in to his younger brother. Sam actually asks for a drink etc for himself and adds ‘and one for Batman too!’ The last thing Michael needs is more encouragement to fight and fly but I guess the novelty will wear off and in the meantime we have a few hours break while the outfit is in the wash.”
Timothy wearing the heirloom batman outfit in 1985, the year Geoffrey (next in line to inherit superhero status) was born
Michael in 1998, still wearing the batman suit!
Samuel with ‘Batman’….sharing….and waiting for his turn
P.S Because twins shouldn’t have to share ALL the time….both Samuel and Michael actually did have their very own Batman costumes too (September 1996). Perhaps not quite as unique as the original but obviously loved and valued enough for one of the capes to have coincidentally surfaced this week – almost seventeen years later
Ageing and vanity.
My lovely Mum always looked beautiful to me whether she was dressed up to attend a special work function with my father or simply wearing the nearest old clothes she could throw on quickly in order to do an amazing job of cooking, gardening, keeping the house clean, welcoming unexpected visitors or caring for children and grandchildren, her favourite pastime. She liked to make waves in her hair with bobby pins and to add some dye when the grey started creeping in. She dreaded anyone seeing her without the full set of false teeth that she regrettably acquired as a teen and I used to be puzzled when she suggested a pair of tweezers as the only necessity on a deserted island. I remember her saying how sad it was to look in the mirror as a seventy year old and expect to see a twenty year old instead – because in her heart she was still the same person. Like me Mum was not fond of the camera in middle age so I will honour her with a photograph from earlier years.
My handsome Dad made no secret of the fact he was not comfortable with getting older. He always kept his wonderful moustache neatly trimmed, controlled white hairs before they were given a chance to even think about appearing and he fought to the end to keep his own teeth. He had a shoe collection that labelled him with a nickname ‘the centipede’ and he wasn’t afraid to wear a pink shirt if that was the current fashion. Immaculately dressed as a business man, he still looked the part doing the shopping or taking over the kitchen on a Saturday to give my mother a break – only then the long pants were exchanged for bermuda shorts and knee high socks.
So, why choose the topic of ageing and vanity for a blog post? Well, this week I am turning 55 and clearly not looking and feeling any younger even though I seem to become more and more at ease with my childlike qualities, habits and interests (too many to list) as years go by.
Do I keep dressing in basic black because I teach and perform or is it because dark colours are slimming? Do I avoid the hairdresser because I like having lengthy locks or is it because my crowning glory is all that remains of my youth (admittedly, slightly enhanced with a supermarket sachet)? Will I ever prefer a make-over, manicure or massage to a market day, music lesson or mothering mission? One thing for sure I will always be maternal and if I can’t have real babies I’ll continue to have fake ones (yay for brilliantly realistic and comforting reborn dolls).
Unfortunately I didn’t keep up with new year resolutions such as returning to my daily walk, limiting the intake of Cadbury Flakes and Top Deck chocolate, stopping the nail biting and avoiding stress however having a birthday in September presents a spring fresh opportunity to set things right before another year ends.
One thing among these ‘new age’ tasks is to consider updating my facebook profile photo from me at ‘forty something’ to an image more current. I feel more inclined though to share a picture from the old family albums and take a step back in time……to perhaps
What do you think Mum and Dad? (Oh how I miss your words of wisdom). Maybe I’ll just wait until age 60 to decide. Seems like plenty of time to think it through unless of course the years keep slipping by even faster than they have been already.
The power of the pen……and the computer keyboard
The most precious thing my mother saved for me was not jewellry or furniture but a box of letters I had written to she and my father after they moved interstate. Each time I read them they have even deeper meaning than the time before and every word takes me back to an era that is fast becoming more distant.
I grew up in a family of story tellers and writers and have always appreciated the power of the pen and more recently the computer keyboard. Both of my parents loved to tell stories of their early years before we were born. My Dad once worked as a proof reader for the Sydney Morning Herald and through all his life continued to read and write prolifically and instill in me a love of words, in particular well spelt ones. As a child ‘composition’ was one of my favourite subjects and even at age eleven I had a penfriend in the UK. We kept in touch right up until our own children stared to arrive. Since then I have both hand written and typed long letters to other penfriends and friends and family, kept journals, written letters to and articles for various magazines and more recently discovered email communication, facebooking and blogging.
So far rather than modern technology destroying my words and stories it has increased my love of communicating by giving me options and enhancing the means to do it. I find it fascinating and heartwarming that strangers across the other side of the world are interested in what I do, whether they be fellow teachers or doll and bear collectors – and how quickly they become friends with common interests and goals.
As I enter a whole new world of sharing some of my life verbally and musically on youtube, I am determined not to entirely replace the written word with the spoken word or to forever give up my favourite black ink fineline pen for the iPad stylus.
The boys’ basket
Although I am very sentimental, very few of our baby nursery supplies remain today aside from a cot and a change table once shared by the twins – and this cane carry basket from 1982. It was Timothy’s first little bed….later handed down to Geoffrey and Paddy then used for a short time by Sammy and Mikey too. I’d also bought another similar basket second hand when we found out we were having a multiple birth but unfortunately it was totally destroyed by termites a few years ago. Thankfully this one survived and is in good condition other than a slight ink stain. A thirty year old treasure that stirs many special memories and makes me wonder ‘”Where did the years go?”. After my baby making days ended this bassinette held various things including washing, teddies and porcelain dolls. I wonder what the future holds for it……sleeping cats and kittens perhaps?
Baby Timothy in the basket
Baby Geoffrey in the basket
Baby Paddy in the basket
Please visit part of my doll collection in my facebook ‘Dolls’ album
Introducing ‘Amy Tabitha’
There are so many beautiful reborn babies on display at doll shows that I just want to pick them up, cuddle them and adopt them all! And yet when the time comes to make the final ‘could be difficult’ decision on which one to take home, I am always certain that “this is the one” and suddenly the choosing is easy. “I cannot leave this one behind”……
During a recent doll fair outing with my sister, I immediately fell in love with this sleepy baby girl. After walking around and around the aisles among many tables of displays I still kept coming back to this precious baby with her realistic blotchy complexion, dark brown hair, half opened eyes and little tongue peeking out of a slightly opened mouth. She reminds me so much of our own children as newborns and it wasn’t until after I’d bought her that I saw the name ‘Amy’ on her certificate, the same name as our firstborn child!
Even though little reborn Amy came home dressed beautifully in pale pink, I pictured her looking adorable in red and white. When I was about 17 my Mum took me to visit a friend who was just about to have a baby (was there ever a time in my life when I wasn’t clucky?) It was the first fully decorated nursery I had ever seen and I’ll never forget the red and white colour scheme that later welcomed new baby Tabitha into the world – one of the reasons why I settled on the middle name ‘Tabitha’ for my latest reborn. Also because growing up I was a big fan of the TV show ‘Bewitched’ and I loved watching the nose twitching antics of mum Samantha and daughter Tabitha.
After a trip to Myer with my Christmas gift voucher, a stop at the local country market doll clothes stall and a visit to the Best and Less babywear sale, Amy Tabitha has three new outfits. And I have just rescued from a water damaged bag of baby clothes a little white baby nightgown with red smocking that our Amy used to wear – and I’m in the process of restoring it to its former glory. Photo to be added later.
My reborn orangutans and gorilla
I’d wanted some kind of monkey doll ever since I saw little Umi the orangutan in an Ashton Drake catalogue years ago but unfortunately the timing wasn’t right and the price too great.
Then while visiting a doll fair with my sister I totally fell in love with – and took home with me – a Denise Pratt ‘Binki’ orangutan reborned by Margaret Willis from ‘Noonsie’s Cradle’.
The following year my sister ordered a ‘Binki’ from the same artist and when we went to pick her up there was also a ‘Bindi’ for sale. I took ‘Bindi’ home too.
I was delighted to reunite a little orangutan sister and her brother and felt my reborn ape collection was now complete.
during a wonderful trip to the doll fair with my sister in April, it was another case of love at first sight and I bought this precious ‘Kiwi’ gorilla and named him ‘Keanu’.
Although I originally intended for my reborns to be collectibles that sit on a shelf, my recent struggle with ‘empty nest syndrome’ led me to find comfort in cuddling and dressing these new additions to the family. And a sudden fascination with ‘reborn’ youtube clips made me aware that there are many others out there with this special hobby. In particular the videos posted by Katie of her gorilla ‘Gaby’ captured my attention.
This one is the sweetest thing I have ever seen
I can’t upload videos yet but here are some photos to go on with……
Keanu re-dressed in baby clothes
Keanu with the monkey patterned taggies that I found brand new in a thrift shop
Bad hair day for just awake Keanu wearing new PJ’s from the country market
Keanu with his Beanie Boo gorilla
Feeding time at the zoo, Binki and Bindi in pink and blue
In my spare time (?) – proud to be a reborn mummy
My grandson Sebastian was very patient and helpful while joining in with reborn gorilla Keanu’s first outing and photo session….
See my facebook album ‘Little gorilla’s big adventure’
A photo tribute, Mother’s Day Sunday 13th May 2012
My paternal grandmother – Annie Julia
My maternal grandmother – Elizabeth Mary
My mother – Dulcie Joan
My sister – Lesley Ann
Me – Susan Kaye
My daughter – Amy Mellicent
The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~Rajneesh
I first stumbled across this teddy in a newsagent over a year ago, far from home where I rarely venture, the morning Michael announced he was going to join the army. In search of comfort I reached to the highest shelf where the bear sat alone and unique. I took him down, held him close then quickly placed him back and reached for a tissue instead. No amount of soft toy therapy was going to brighten my day or help me to avoid facing reality. If I didn’t want to see my youngest son in a slouch hat and camouflage gear, I surely didn’t want this cuddly little soldier in my collection as a reminder of the changing times ahead.
I recall wandering aimlessly around the shopping centre that day and at the end of my expedition, laden with a trolley full of groceries and thrift shop finds, stopped by for another glimpse of the bear who by then was calling to me, as all bears do, “Please take me home”. I walked away.
Weeks passed. Many times I thought of phoning and asking “Do you still have that army teddy bear?” Perhaps it would make a nice farewell gift for Michael and I’d even read stories of military men who kept such mascots with them during training and overseas postings. I didn’t phone.
Then months later while driving past the same shopping centre on my way to somewhere else, I suddenly felt compelled to stop. If the bear was still there, I’d rescue him. He was…..and I did.
Once home I found it difficult to decide what to do with him. I certainly didn’t want to put him on display. I was still moving in and out of denial phase and thought his presence would imply acceptance. Confused, I tossed the newest addition to my ‘hug’ of bears into the back bedroom. And there he stayed out of sight and out of mind until now.
His tag reads ‘Tic Toc Teddies’ and today at 0800 hours I sat him on Michael’s bed. It seems this bear wasn’t meant to be a good luck or a graduation gift. Rather he will sit and wait patiently, as we will all try to do, for our real soldier to come home safely from a job he is enjoying so many miles away. In the meantime we can stop by and smile at the furry friend keeping his pillow warm.