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:
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!