Monday, October 4, 2010

Back

We’ve been off and about and away with the inlaws and the kids and the dog. Potential for a great many comedy of error moments along the way, but the day we left for our Castlemaine holiday, I experienced a waking epiphany.

I wrote a kid list, complete with explanatory diagrams. I summoned the smalls. I informed them they were responsible for the packing of their own stuff. I would not be double checking anything and if they found themselves undie-less or frozen stiff from cold with snow crystals forming in their eyebrows, it would not, for a change, be my fault. They were packed in twenty minutes. I sneakily exchanged four of the five dress-up costumes for a toddler jumper but this, I understood, was a good way for a holiday to roll.

Bribery and corruption parenting continues to be wholly successful on the travelling with kids front. The eldest two bickered early into the journey and two jelly snakes flew out my car window, unannounced and in quick succession. The following momentary stunned kid silence, was replaced by whisperings, then general wonderfulness for the remainder of the journey. Earnings were five and a third snakes each and from everyones’ perspective the holiday was off to a rip-roaring start.



No holiday to the goldfields involving international visitors and kids is complete without a Sovereign Hill experience...



...and in case you were wanting to pan for your fortune, there IS still gold in them thar hills...



In gorgeous Daylesford, at the top of another hill stands one very unhappy soul. We had a wee chat as I took his photograph. My apologies to the alarmed locals, avoiding the standing-in-the-middle-of-the-road crazy lady, who was only busy cheering up the inanimate object.



Other than expeditions to an occasional nearby town, there was a lot of hanging out on the cottage steps with the kids, knattering, knittering:



Ant watching:



There was treasure fossicking with great intent:



Finding strange, middle-of-nowhere, house facades:



Hours spent feeding ponies – because the grass is patently greener on the other side (so I was told).



Esme the Dog, finally, after four years, took the plunge and learnt how to swim, looking like an otter with a hairdo.



Esme the Dog reaped revenge for otter ridicule and with an uncanny sense of stealth and timing, soaked all and sundry in boggy, doggy water shakings.



With all the discovery to be had in frog bogs and spiders in the wood pile and lizards under stones and ponies and rock formations and ramblings and kangaroo spottings and rabbit burrows and bird watching and torchlight wanderings and explorings and endless space and loads more leeway from Mum and Dad, I watched my kids morph into country kids. They walked taller. Food for thought, there.

The three year old walked tall with sole dog-leading responsibility. Look closely at that lead and you may more easily imagine what happened after the pooch gathered speed...




PS. Emailings and recipes from kind and generous souls in response to my last post has seen my dinner repertoire treble. Blown away, I was. THANK YOU. There has been suitably startled, inlaw bedazzlement at unexpected, culinary, daughter-in-law brilliance and we have eaten spaghetti bolognaise (‘bisghetti’ in this house) but once!

39 comments:

Liesl said...

Just two snakes out the window? Nice one! Looks like it was a wonderful holiday. (Hope the three-year-old wasn't too injured in the canine-acceleration-lead-entanglement incident)

One Flew Over said...

Sounds (and looks) like you had a fab time!!

Little Ted Canvas said...

So glad you had a great time away, love your pictures. I don't think a day goes by without a little bribery around here, you gotta do what you gotta do!! I love your faith in the kids packing ability, brilliant!

Michelle said...

I am still so impressed with your snake out the window trick! I nearly snorted tea out my nose at the vision of your little one when the fog sped up - hope it wasn't too disasterous. Great to have you back!

quinn said...

Never laugh at a wet dog!

CurlyPops said...

Sounds like the perfect holiday... or was it a test run for the country life?

Posie Patchwork said...

Every time we take our children deeper into the country we see them at their best, so we're buying land & starting a farm. They can run free & explore non stop. Sounds like a lovely trip, we're off back up to Sydney as the funeral trip wasn't exactly exciting for the children, love Posie

Kylie said...

So glad to have you back Mrs :) What a fabulous time you've had! That's a great family shindig if ever I saw one! We're taking the girls with us to the trade fair next year - we missed them too much and the time is speeding past where they won't be wanting to holiday with us anymore. Thanks for the great giggle :) Kx

Sue said...

Great post Tania, as always. Congrats to the snake eaters. Much improved results after the first time!
Love the shaking dog snap. My you are quick!

Deb said...

I did really lol (laugh out loud) when I read your story about the jelly snakes. I myself may have thrown the odd felt pen out the window for the self-same reason! It does work a charm.

Angus in Northcote said...

In "The Art of War", Sun Tzu suggests that the best way to establish leadership is to take the first infraction and punish early to the full extent of the law. Then everybody knows where they stand. Two snakes out of the window without warning would make the martial philosopher smile benignly on your reign.

Sue said...

I had to have a giggle when I read about you throwing the snakes out the window, and do quite clearly remember your last post on that subject! It seems as though you had a fantastic holiday and I love all your photos!

Cathy {tinniegirl} said...

Sounds like a grand holiday. I had to look twice at the three year old and the dog. I thought the lead was tied to her waist!

Eeks said...

Hello! I came across your site through Susie's Flower Press. Just ordered four little gnome figures from said supplier and will attempt to make some gorgeous little men in time for Christmas! Made one a few years ago from a traditional wooden clothes peg, but yours are cuter! And when I read about Daylesford in this post, had to comment and ask: did you manage to pop into Lark, the shop? I love their stuff ... Anyway - thanks for your fab blog. I love browsing through it. Your ability to laugh through life, tend to three kids and keep Mr happy really impresses and inspires me! x Eeks (mother of two, wife, part-time worker and relatively new to crafting, knitting, embroidery and blogging!)

Buttons by Lou Lou said...

It does sound (and look) like a great time away. Ahhh, the country life! Rosy cheeks and tired at the end of the day. So much fun for kids. Nice to have someone to share the looking after too. Wonderful photos as usual. Lou.

Cath @ chunkychooky said...

I can vouch for the country life indeed, floods and flooding driveways aside, it is the life for me ( us)

crzylady said...

what a WONDERFUL post and trip! The gummy worms is STILL the greatest thing I have ever heard for traveling with children and YEA for you for making them pack. I'm all about independence. Lovely photos and we all like crazy ladies so woohoo for you :)

Madeline said...

I'm investing in a bag of snakes if ever we manage a vacation with multiple littles. Sounds like y'all had a fabulous vacation from beginning to end.

Leonie Guld said...

So....when are you making the big move hug..hug?

Kate said...

Maybe the nighbourhood house is unhappy because it is sited next to a police station and can't do anything naughty, maybe because it has nightmares of when it used to be the police lock up or maybe because they have been promising it a new add on classroom for years and it is still waiting. Who knows.
That's what you were talking about wasn't it?
Gorgeous pics of what sounds like an excellent adventure.
Oh and I tried the snake trick recently (only I ate them instead of chucking them) and it worked a treat! Thanks!
And finally the book is fine, I didn't even notice any damp stuff. Let me know if you ever want another look.

Stomper Girl said...

I used your snake technique to get the house tidied on the last day of school holidays - here's 10 smarties each and they're all yours when the mess is gone but if there's whinging or slacking off, I'll eat one. Works like a charm.

Your holidays looks lovely, I hope you are feeling rested.

Fer said...

Now that sounds like a fun time all round, and it isn't a proper holiday without a visit to Sovereign Hill!

Frog, Goose and Bear said...

If only I had read this post prior to driving down to the beach. I'll be purchasing a packet of snakes on our return!

There really is something truly invigorating about country air and the affects of wide open spaces and getting close to nature....

Frog, Goose and Bear said...

p.s. my son does the same things with cars that you do with houses. He says daddies car is happy and mummies car is grumpy......

ecoMILF said...

Welcome home! Looks like everyone including furry friends had a wonderful time!! Awesome that you got the kids to pack- you know your life is looking up when... it's the simple things! xo m.

dillpickle said...

It's amazing (and a bit scary) how much kids blossom after a few days in the country. Not helpful for the country-bred, city living, would-ideally-like-to-raise-my-kids-in-the-country-if-circumstances-were-different mother!!

It sounds like a fantastic week away :-)

Sandrine said...

Enjoyed every pictures, sound like you all had a fab holiday! Welcome back :) x

A Peppermint Penguin said...

Yay, you're back!!

You are very welcome. You see I assisted in the culinary MIL impressing by NOT contributing a recipe. Carrot sandwiches wouldn't impress anyone.

Looks like you all had a marvellous time, all that muck and bugs - er lovely!

Wee housey, I'm sure he felt better after you talked to him.

Your parenting skillz iz superb!!

Yay! You're back!

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

What a wonderful sounding holiday! So now I have another parenting tip of yours to file away for later use. I actually tell your road trip snake trick to anyone who'll listen!

Mel said...

But wait I'm dying to know - did the kids pack "well"? So glad you guys had a great break. I think going to the country always makes a holiday seem twice as long don't you?

Hey and I love the new banner pic. Makes me feel all summery ... before the sweating and moaning starts.

Fran said...

It looks and sounds like a great time was had by all. I have a little someone who knows all about the joys of sole dog-leading responsibility - and the end result too!

Glad to see you got a little time with the sticks too.

flowerpress said...

Oh, so nice to have you back :-)
That sounds like my type of holiday (better get that snake packet ready for the drive!)

My kids probably pack better than i do. I usually have bags of art gear and books and forget the essentials like socks!

brownhairblueribbon said...

Oh I feel like I just had a vicarious holiday too.
Lovely tales and snip-snaps.

Suse said...

We stayed at the Claremont Coachhouse exactly 20 years ago. It was chock full of creepy crawlies, millipedes mostly I seem to remember. It gave me the heeby jeebies. I hope it's cleaner these days.

(Don't ever tell my best friend that. She gave us the weekend there as a wedding present).

ps. I noticed the 'food for thought' comment. You'll have made that move within 2 years I'll bet.

pps. word verif. is nongs. Hee!

peppermintpatcher said...

I love your "one mean word and the snake gets it" policy. Can I tell you, in a confidential parent to parent way, that the same applies to a single lego brick/ barbie shoe and a vacuum cleaner when small people won't clean up their mess. This policy does not extend into teenagehood, so use the power while you can...

GUGAW said...

wonderful!! looks like you all had such a lovely time....and that sad building sure did need cheering up. did he look any happier when you left?

june at noon said...

Welcome back! What a clever mama you are, making lists and tossing snakes. I'm taking notes over here.

nikkishell said...

Your pooch is called Esme? my Esme was very impressed when i told her :)

elly bee said...

ooohh those snakes. can you please send us some with the belayed X'mas box 2010?

and daylesford... sounds familiar to me?!

And what a nice faces have you spot in that house....
we were in the efteling (as you know) and joris spotted a face in our 'car' while hanging upside down in the roller coaster. so we are still infected as well.