Thursday, March 31, 2011

Girls' 5th Birthday and 1st Day of School

That was then...four under five

Violet and Abigail Abigil a few hours old
Violet when she was born

This is now...four kids at school

Proud mum with her brood

My gorgeous St. Pat's kids

Abigail and Violet with their scooters from Grandma and Grandpa
Violet going for a spin

Abigail--just a bit pleased with her scooter


Knickers! What a joke that was!

Great time for presents!

Wow. We made it. I remember the shock of being pregnant again when Madeline was only a few months old. By the time we went for our 19 week scan we were finally excited with the anticipation of another baby...that was until the technician said delightedly, "Oh, there's the head and shoulders of one baby...." I'll never forget that moment. I laughed and laughed in disbelief until I cried.

March 31st 2006 came along, I was 38 weeks pregnant and I had twisted my ankle badly a few days earlier so some lovely people from the community were bringing us some meals. That night was Shelley Farr's salad and spagh bo. I didn't get far. The contractions started around 6 pm, just as we were sitting down and we put our midwife on alert. Madeline was only 15 months old and Sam was four so we had prearranged for Kayvon, also a mother of twins, to come around. We knew with my history that once things got going we had to move. Sure enough, our first baby girl was born naturally and perfectly at the hospital shortly after 8 that evening, thanks to our fantastic midwife Belinda. The specialist was called in as part of the routine for the birth of the second baby, who we knew was lying in a breech position. Despite some oxytocin to turn up my contractions, the baby wasn't going anywhere and I was prepped for a caesarian. Our second girl was born some time after 9 pm, much to our surprise because we were certain we would have a boy and a girl until shortly before when we thought to ourselves, it could be two boys. We never considered two girls, and it took us a few hours to decide not only on the names, but which was which.

And here we are, four little kids off to school, looking rather smart in their St. Patrick's uniforms. And I hardly have time to contemplate the hugeness of this moment, being rather busy today at two schools, getting ready for two weeks full-time work starting on Monday. I've had over nine years at home looking after pre-schoolers. The last year or so I've finally been able to "do something for me" and create new interests such as card-making, walking, and of course, blogging. In recent months, with the 5th birthday looming, I've had increasingly itchy feet. The desire to get out of the house and contribute in some way has been strong and I've only had to try to figure out in which direction I should go. Things have a way of working out though and I don't think much "figuring" will take place. It's just going to happen.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Last of the Lasts: Little Shamrocks

The girls had their very last preschool activity today: Little Shamrocks. They've been attending since they were three and Madeline started, back in the day when there were only about six of them. Now there are 15 with a waiting list. Way to go St. Pat's! The girls have thrived in the relatively structured environment of Little Shamrock's, under the tutelage of their favorite first teacher Mrs. Nielson, assisted by Mrs. Da Costa. And once again, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time helping out, getting to know the teachers and the children. I will miss Little Shamrock's. Onwards and upwards tomorrow! The girls will celebrate their 5th birthday and Paul and I will celebrate (in style) the fact that we've made it this far. Believe me, it has not been easy. In fact, significantly, we cannot even remember the first year or so of their lives. Sad but true. However, no point dwelling on the hard times when there is so much fun and adventure ahead of us. Bring it on!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Last Day at Inglewood Kindergarten

Violet and Abigail handing out treats to the children

Alyson reading from Abigail's portfolio

Abigail's turn on the birthday chair with her clay cake Tania reading from Violet's portfolio
Violet's turn on the birthday chair with her playdough cake

Violet and Abigail taking turns on the birthday chair at Kindy

Deep deep breaths for this one. Violet and Abigail had their last day at Inglewood Kindergarten today. Which means, my last day associated with Inglewood Kindergarten too. I have loved every minute of my involvement with that place and the special staff. I will be forever grateful for the care and nurturing that the teachers have shown all my children, starting with Sam when he was 3 1/2. Madeline also started when she was 3 1/2 but the twins were able to start a few days before their third birthday--probably because Head Teacher Alyson was being very kind to me, the harried mother of twins. Looking back on their first photos, they look like babies. And now they're off to school.

According to tradition, Violet and Abigail each made a beautiful birthday hat and a birthday cake out of playdough and clay respectively. They each had a little chat with a teacher at mat time, had songs sung and got to blow out their candles. Then they distributed their little treats to the patient children. Paul was able to come and had the video camera at the ready. I had a lump in my throat watching, especially when Alyson said, "seems like just yesterday Sam was going off to school." Yes indeed. I owe the Kindergarten a lot really, but most of all my gratitude to Alyson for helping me to make the decision to switch schools. It was the little push I needed and of course we've never looked back.

Watch out St. Pat's: there's four of them from tomorrow!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sam Invested as a Cub

Sam, a fully fledged Cub Sam's Investiture Certificate as a Cub

Sam being invested by Akayla

Roasting Marshmellows at Cubs before the ceremony

Lest you should think this week is all about me and the twins, Sam was invested as a Cub tonight. I'm so proud of my boy who remembered the law and promise and beamed his smile throughout the ceremony as he was presented with his scarf. Well done Sam!

Last Day at Inglewood Playcentre

The bowl given to me by Inglewood Playcentre

Carmen presenting me with a gift and card
Abigail and Violet cutting their cake

Girls pleased with the beautiful cake that Maree made for them

A side for each with 5 candles to blow

Maree's cake for Violet and Abigail

Abigail and Violet leading their last Karakia

And so begins a series of "lasts" for the girls and me. On Thursday last week they had their last day at Rainbow childcare. This was a momentous event, reminding me of how I knocked on their door before they had even opened, saying, "Please help! I have three girls under three!" They have attended one day a week ever since, which served not only as a sanity break for me but gave me the opportunity to plan and oversee the build of our house.

This morning we enjoyed our last session at Inglewood Playcentre. As Carmen pointed out, we have been involved with Playcentre off and on for nine years, since Sam was a little tacker. I rediscovered my love for Playcentre again when I rocked up with the girls, again saying, "Please help! I have three girls under three!" I will be forever grateful for the support and encouragement I received from the kind and wonderful people at the centre. I hope they have enjoyed watching my girls blossom into the confident, cheeky, independent, creative girls that they are today. The highlight for me has been seeing their creativity grow, especially in their paintings. I have enjoyed observing the progression from dabbing the paint onto the paper, to brushing all over with different colours, to more recently, creating stories and symbols on the paper with their brushes.

The occassion was marked for Abigail and Violet by a presentation of their portfolios as well as a cake and party at morning tea. I was truly humbled by the presentation of a card and gift for me--I wanted to protest that I've been a taker much more than I've been a giver at Playcentre. But then when I look at the beautiful bowl I am reminded of the children's paintings and their time at Playcentre. It will be forever treasured. Thanks for the special times, Inglewood Playcentre.