In bed Tuesday morning, trying to get some kind of sleep-in as it was Melbourne Cup day. Instead Aaron waltzes in with the flat screen under one arm. What are you doing I ask, fearing what he'd say.
"No TV for them for all of November."
I thought that was bad enough and then he says "And no computer, either." Normally we'd have talked about these kind of parental matters before hand, but this time I thought, well you know what, why not.
We'd been saying forever how difficult it is to monitor the kids usage of all and any media. We tried the 30 minutes computer time slots, that works and doesn't. Sometimes great, sometimes they would have a melt down when it came time to turn it off. Other times I'd let it go, knowing the time limit had passed, because hey they were quiet or they were getting along so well. Nearly all the time my two eldest are playing, Phoenix my 7 year old has his little arm around his big sister, it's cute in fact, it's really sweet.
So how did they react? Well phoenix, who can really catastrophise things, was actually trying to find good hiding spots for the TV. After seeing that I thought, "Wow, he's ok with this, if he is then I can be too."
Our neighbour's little boy came to play, there was some Lego, some ice cream at his place, then there was more Lego. I fear the time when Phoenix will get too old for his Lego, he just can play for hours, happy and humming away in his own world, occasionally wanting to video a little stop motion.
As usual on the weekend Aaron makes some attempt to get me to have some time to myself. I usually dawdle a little in my last-minute attempts to tidy up before I leave, but this time I stepped lively: I had been badly wanting to photograph a pâtisserie down the road. They have just stripped back their brick walls to reveal these beautiful old adverts, it is impressive. (And I can't resist a red door.) On a day with normal traffic, you could never get a decent picture.
I took Beatrix with me, we ended up in the city, post-pâtisserie. Being a public holiday we could stop and check out the beautiful shop fronts in all the wonderful laneways in this beautiful city. Some places were open serving coffee, pastries panini, or all-day breakfasts. With the rain that had washed out the Melbourne cup, these laneways were dark and romantic, their tiny eclectic interiors bustling with chatter.
They weren't thinking of nor caring who won the race, they were languishing in the contrast of this place today compared to all other days.
Bea and I must have sat and watched hundreds of cup goers back from their one day in November to dress up, or to squeeze into the outfit they chose. We laughed how they must have watched the forecast and thought "I can't wear a jacket with this!", and laughed again at the women in heels too high, they'd topple over if the wind blew hard. The muddy feet in the gorgeous heels, the spray tanned legs now speckled with grass and dirt.
We laughed and ate our lord of the fries chips with Belgium curry sauce. I hope she learnt something sitting there with me, at least to wear sensible shoes.