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A little crab on the beach

beach

 

Yesterday, Little Heart played on the rocks with a girl she’d just met, chasing tiny crabs. They lay on the sand, on their tummies. Strangers, absorbed in the moment, watching a crab scuttle over their fingers, and into the sand. Two other children joined them, and the four of them scrambled up the rocky mound, looking for more crabs.

The other children left and we bought a fresh coconut from the coconut cart.

beach2Another little girl was playing on the sand. She and my little girl chatted. They too lay on the sand together, on their tummies, as if they had been laying side by side, chatting about girl things, for years.

My daughter isn’t always ‘brave’. It’s a thing for her. “I was brave of those dogs,” she tells me proudly, as we walk past two pooches on leads. Mostly, at the play park, she hovers at the periphery, watching. If we are there long enough, she’ll pick up her courage and take it into the centre of the action. Sometimes, she’ll make a friend. It’s heartbreaking, separating her and her new little friends after such a build-up, to take her home.

Watching her with these children she’d never met, lost in a beach experience that belonged only to that afternoon, I wondered at which point you lose the innocence to lay along side a stranger in the sun. Surely, I too once made a little friend on a sunny day at the beach.

But as I grew taller, and more aware of my world; more aware of social conventions and what other people would think of me; I began to hold the periphery tight. Although seemingly a social person, who easily makes friends, the thought of talking to somebody I didn’t know was paralysing. What if they don’t like me? What will they think of me? When all that mattered were these things…do they like me? meeting people was complex, and painful.

People talk about ‘childish innocence’, and the ability to ‘be in the moment, like a child’. There is wistfulness and longing attached to the idea of childhood. Today, sitting on the rocks, watching my daughter, I got it. Childhood is precious. Sharing an activity with another person you have never met before and will likely never meet again, whose name you don’t know, is an experience that belongs only to childhood. I miss that.

How do you go talking to strangers? What do you miss about childhood?

 

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Naked Treaties: The land of sparkly eyes

Raw cake. We had some of this.
Raw cake. We had some of this.

Today we went to the heart of Byron Bay. Not the geographical heart, so much as the essence – the very organ from which the life blood flows. Naked Treaties: Raw Bar.

It’s not really fair to call this place a cafe. It is more than that. This is the land of sparkly eyes. Clear, sparkly eyes, which stare into your soul, with a level of inner tranquility too tranquil to be human.

“Would you like coconut nectar in your coffee?” the woman behind the counter asks. I guess so – that’s like sugar?

I ordered an I am abundant super smoothie. This liquid extravaganza contains:
coconut meat
water
banana
blueberries
greens
almond milk
cacao
lucuma
mesquite
macca
raw choc protein
E3 live

Even though I don’t know what half of those things are, I knew, intuitively, it was super. It was also $11.

My daughter chose a chocolate ball. I don’t think it was real chocolate – at least not the kind which has sugar. Chocolate is usually off the menu (except at Easter), but a not-really-chocolate ball from the land of sparkly eyes never hurt anyone, right?

She loved it. Most of it went on the face. But the treat wasn’t wasted.

Naturally, we sat among a group of fine-boned, high-cheeked sparkly eyed people who had just come from yoga class.

“How was your session?” one asked.

“Amazing. I came into my power in a head stand. You look good in that colour by the way. Brick?”

“Yes, brick.”

A man balanced a spoon on his nose, and showed us that he could keep the spoon balanced as he moved into a horizontal position.

At the next table, a gathering sat in meditation – their eyes closed.

On the window it reads:

Blessing from spirit.
Infinite spirit, all that is, thank you for blessing this food (and more blessing I didn’t get time to write down.)

This place is Byron Bay on a superfood diet, and after that smoothie, my eyes are clear and sparkly too.

Naked Treaties RAW BAR is located at 2/3 Marvell St, Byron Bay NSW.

Linking up with With Some Grace for FYBF

Have you tried any raw food products? I absolutely love raw cake. Surprisingly delicious…possibly even better than ‘real’ cake.

A privilege to mow

Image source
Image source

Carli Lidonnici from Tiny Savages wrote a beautiful piece last week – “I Like To Mow”.

I have been thinking a lot of grass lately. This post brought my thoughts to the surface.

It’s hard not to think about grass, or mowing, when you look at grass like ours. It’s like the old man with nostril hairs you can’t not look at when he talks; our grass has been coming out of all orifices.

Our veggie patch has been more grass than veggie.

Grass has swept into every so-called garden bed, and grown taller than any plant.

With wild wet weather, there has been little opportunity to mow.

But that can’t just be it, can it? Almost every other house in our village keeps their grass like a number one crew cut. How do they get it so damn neat?

Walking round our estate, it’s hard to imagine who keeps such lawns. Houses are shut up. People are at work. Children at school. No longer just an older person’s community, these houses are homes to families. But families are not home.

Who mows the grass?

We aren’t the only house in the village with un-neat lawn. There are a few houses, and they all happen to be houses of people I know. Surprisingly (or not), people with young children.

Carli writes that her love of mowing comes from a place of privilege – of owning a good lawnmower and having a small lawn. There is privilege, too, in having time.

It’s hard to articulate to others where the time goes once young children are on the scene. I know it looks easy – is easy, and enjoyable, and sunshine (mostly) – but it’s so time consuming. Seriously, at some point it becomes a privilege to pee.

And when you weave in renovations and full-time work, having time to mow the lawn between thunderstorms is like squeezing water from a carrot. It ain’t happening.

Today my lawn was backyard blitzed. My aunt and uncle, in town for but a weekend, with my parents blitzed every square inch of my tufty old lawn. The veggie patch – more a patch of tall grass, was blitzed. The herb garden was born again. My neighbours audibly breathed a sigh of relief. So did everyone who ever had to look at our lawn.

There is much to be said about a bunch of lovely people coming in on their own accord and conducting a blitz. They could see we have been inundated to the eyeballs, and had the heart to lend a brushcutting arm.

I would genuinely like to mow more – scratch that, like my husband to mow more.  But I would also like him to spend our only hour together a day sitting down, having dinner with us, before the bedtime rush begins.

One day we will be retired and our children will be grown-up, and we will keep on top of the north coast weedfest. We may even be able to weed and mow for our daughters. Until then, thank you to my blitzers, and sorry to those who have to endure our long grass.

Linking with Essentially Jess, because I wrote this blog on a Tuesday.

Hello, Sunny Sunday

sunnysunday

 

All I will see of this Sunny Sunday is the blue sky from my office window. Please, enjoy it for me!

Zanni x

Nourishing: my homey days

It doesn’t happen often, but I have been getting ‘homey’. Inspired by too many out days, and a busy life, I settled into my kitchen, bub in sling, child on stool, and began making stuff.

I made labne out of yoghurt.

Yoghurt out of raw milk.

Banana cake out of yoghurt.

Baby banana cakes with labne icing.

Sauerkraut (out of cabbage, naturally!)

And dinner. I even made dinner.

Labne

I folded a piece of muslin in half over a seive, and placed over a bowl. Scooped in yoghurt. Stood for one day in fridge. The whey dripped out, leaving a thick cream cheese. I chopped up herbs and added olive oil, herbs and a little salt.

(recipe courtesy of Jude Blereau Wholefood for Children)

Yoghurt

I cooked 1L of raw milk to 82 degrees celcius, and then allowed it to cool to 40 degrees celcius. In a sterilised jar, I put 1tbsp of yoghurt containing live cultures, and mixed in a small amount of milk. I then added the rest of the milk, lidded the jar and wrapped the jar in towels. In the morning, I had yoghurt.

(recipe courtesy of Jude Blereau Wholefood for Children)

Home made yoghurt
Home made yoghurt

Banana Bread

2 cups of plain flour
2 cups of yoghurt
lots of mashed banana (more than 4)
half a tin of pear, whizzed

2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbs melted butter
mixed spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves etc)
chopped nuts
pinch of salt

I soaked flour over night in yoghurt, then mixed the ingredients together, placed in a tin, and a few little silicon patty pans for my daughter, and cooked on a low over for an hour and a half. (Patty pans only needed about 15 minutes).

(Recipe inspired by Sally Fallon and Tigerlilly)

I iced the cupcakes with a labne icing – basically, labne, small amount of lemon rind, some icing sugar, and natural food dye. And sprinkles.

Banana cup cakes with labne icing
Banana cupcakes with labne icing

Sauerkraut

Chopped up about two kilo of purple and white cabbage, combined. Rubbed it in 8 tsp of salt in a bowl until moisture was created. Using the end of a rolling pin, I pushed the cabbage into one large jar and one medium jar.

(recipe courtesy of Real Food Fermentation, Alex Lewin)

Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut

Have you had any homey days lately? What have you been cooking up?

Linking with With Some Grace for FYBF

The Byron Life: Feature

I stumbled upon The Byron Life recently. Megan is a fellow blogger, living in these very north coast hills. We write about similar things, and share similar philosophies.

She came round recently to my little home, and bought bananas from the thrift shop as an offering. My blogging life and my real life crossed paths over a cup of tea.

Megan has featured my little blog and me on The Byron Life today, as part of the North Coast Blogger series. An honour.

Have a read here.

NorthCoastBloggers_button (2)

HABA toys: safe, environmentally sustainable & educational

Lovely Belinda from Rose & Lily Australia recently sent my girls a parcel of HABA toys.

I had never heard of HABA before. The products are made in Germany. Apparently, the company produce up to 500 new toy designs yearly.

All toys are safe for children, using water-based colours and varnishes. They are produced ‘ecologically’ – I guess that means, ecological forest harvesting etc.

And all toys are designed to enhance perception and sensory development as children age.

I don’t usually accept these offers, but was really thrilled by these beautiful toys, and the girls love them.

doll hippo cake rattle1.jpg

Tolerable music for children

We were parents who believed that we wouldn’t have to listen to nursery rhymes. We planned to raise our children on real music, like Bob Dylan and Nick Cave.

It began well. Driving home from the birth centre with my first baby, Heart Daddy played Biggy. I didn’t think all that gun gangsta sex stuff was very appropriate for a seven day old baby. But she slept.

We tried the likes of Dylan and Cohen. She liked that stuff – if you consider screaming every car journey as ‘like’. We resorted to singing. We sung ’til we were hoarse. But we didn’t sing nursery rhymes.

It was my mum who discovered the magic of the children’s tune. She bought one of those compilation albums for children, and for the first time, my baby sat quietly in the car, looking out the window.

Damn.

My older girl has been known to ask specifically Bob Dylan or Nick Cave (proud moment) but mostly, it’s “Nursery Rhymes please!”

Although, recently, we’ve discovered some child-friendly music, which is also adult friendly.

Elvis

Essential Elvis
Essential Elvis

Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald

Otis Redding

Otis Redding
Otis Redding

and if you have to ‘technically’ play children’s music…

Johnny Cash’s children’s album

Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash

Vintage songs for children

Vintage Children's Favourites
Vintage Children’s Favourites

and Putumayo Kids World Playground

Putumayo World Playground
Putumayo World Playground

If these more tolerable forms of children’s entertainment don’t suffice, the following children’s albums are pretty good, as far as children’s music goes.

Incy Wincy Spider
Incy Wincy Spider
Fun Times ABC For Kids
Fun Times ABC For Kids

Actually, my children like anything which has a good melody, or is up-beat and happy. They love polka.

In three years of parenthood, I have become more tolerant of children’s music. Some of that synthesised music for children, especially songs which get stuck in your head, can be very irritating.

But occasionally, even my music-obsessed husband will be known to drive solo, without child, for up to half an hour, listening to children’s music.

What do you listen to with your children? Do you like it?

The age of impossible

image source
image source

I have to admit, I am struggling with The Age of Impossible. That is, Three.

Although I love her into a squillion million little bits and just want to munch her up, I can’t help getting frustrated by the squillion million little unreasonable requests a squillion million times a day.

There’s unreasonable. Then there’s impossible.

Like that half hour you are desperately trying to get out the door. “I need my flower shoes!” “They are too big for you, and I don’t know where they are.” “But I neeeed [insert high-pitched scream here] them!” “No!” “Yes!” “No!” (Unreasonable.)

And in that same half hour…

“But I need that painting. The one that daddy gave me.” “No, we are in a rush now. I am not getting it.” “But I neeeed [insert high-pitched scream here] it!” “No!” “Yes!” “No!” (Unreasonable.)

Later that day…

“Put the box under the hammock. No, not like that. Like that. Like THAT! Under the bottom. No, the feet. Under the feet. Like a hot air balloon! Tie the hammer to the ribbon. No, not like that. Like THAT! [insert high-pitched scream here] Not there, THERE! [insert high-pitched scream here]

Even later that day…

“I need the mouse one. No that’s not the mouse one! Not that one, the other one! The other ONE! [insert high-pitched scream here]

The unreasonable requests, on their own, are OK. After all, from a three-year-old’s perspective, they are not unreasonable at all. Impossible requests – they are getting tricky.

But it is when any request of any impossible nature is accompanied by a high-pitched screech, perfectly pitched to get you leaping into full-blown action, or rolling on the floor in tears that mummy falls into a frustrated, messy, cranky puddle.

The screech. Like nails on a blackboard. Without it, I can handle anything. Before the screeching and the age of impossible, I believed I could solve every problem. Now, my resolve has been weakened, and I am pretty sure my solution will be rejected.

People assume I am perennially gentle. Believe me, I wish I was. But when the impossible requests and the screeching happens in pairs throughout the day, I begin to get my “Mum” voice on, and sound less than gentle.

I hate how I sound.

“Right, I have had enough. No more!”

“I will not get that painting. It’s ridiculous. Now get in the car.”

Actually, I can’t even bear to write it all down. It’s like hearing my voice on a tape recording. Yuk.

Every morning, I wake with a new resolution. Today I won’t get frustrated.

But I know from reading other people’s blogs and status updates, this is a global phenomenon. Mums get their cranky on when they have had enough of cranky children. I swore this wouldn’t be me. But then these words are coming out of my mouth, coded into me. No matter how many resolutions I make, they come, with the crazy three-year-old requests.

“It’s a shame they grow up,” said a shopkeeper, admiring the quiet baby I held in my arms. I nodded, in agreement, because at that point my three-year-old was yelling at me to do something or other. I didn’t want to be that mother who thought this thought. But I thought this thought.

What is it about being three that is so confronting?

Why do these unreasonable requests irk me so? I think this period brings out the control freak in me. Usually latent, it’s brought alive because I can’t control this situation. Negotiation, kind words, hugs…it’s useless. I can’t make my three-year-old say or do anything. I can’t fix the problem, or find a solution to the impossible.

It’s challenging. I am trying to control the situation by putting my foot down, and not putting up with it anymore, no! I have had enough. It’s time to stop.

But I can’t control her. And of course, the bigger picture me knows I don’t want to control her. I really don’t. I want her to be free-spirited. Unrestrained. This is what makes the children I know so beautiful.

Raising free-spirited children, who are now not only free, but have their own minds, and can disagree, and insist and refuse and invent impossible scenarios, which must happen immediately is all very very challenging.

I’m hanging in there, not quite. Trying to get my head around Three – The Age of Impossible.

*Note. Since writing this last night, things completely turned on their head. I had a beautiful day with a perfectly reasonable three-year-old, hanging out at the markets, chatting, telling stories. She’s so beautiful. I really could munch her up. Maybe three can last forever after all. Until the next screech.