Rookie Mistakes & Becoming a Local

This past week saw the typical ups and downs, but all in all things are good.  Last Monday evening, Drew’s school held a parent night, so I got to go and learn more about what they do each day.  It was eye-opening to hear what they are working on with kids this age and learn their approaches, plus learn more in general so I can understand more what Drew is talking to me about, as well as have better questions to ask him about his days there.  I met two other American parents—it’s a nice feeling to know I am not the only one. 

Tuesday, Zach and I successfully navigated a new area only about 10 minutes from us, but it felt like a big deal.  We were checking out more childcare options and he had his 2 year old check-up with a new doctor.  I am still waiting to see that healthcare is better here—so far I am a nonbeliever.  She was very nice, but since everyone sees general practitioners here instead of paediatricians, I felt she did not interact with Zach as well as a peds doctor would, and did not have the techniques to try to get what she wanted out of him.  He refuses to open his mouth for any doctor, and this is the second time (the first being when I brought him in for his ongoing cough while still in the Redlands) that the doctor just gave up trying to get him to after a couple attempts.  That seems odd to me.  Also, it was definitely not the thorough exam I am used to, but I learned that it is not common here to just get annual checkups.  I still need to learn more, but it seems people don’t go to the doctor as often for preventive care, just when they are sick, need immunizations, etc.  I got another recommendation of a doctor to try, this time from our doctor ‘friend’ contact here, so I will try her next month for Drew and see what happens. 

On Wednesday, after story time at the library, both boys seemed not to be feeling well—-Drew had a cough and cold and Zach a fever, so we spent Thursday at home, and it was actually nice to just be mellow and relax all day—to slow down a bit.   Plus it continues to be very rainy here and is also getting cooler. 

Being home all day tends to make me feel isolated anyway, and then on Friday we just had one of ‘those’ mornings, where things that could go wrong, did.  Once again, Drew exhibited toilet issues, and although he has not yet had an accident at school and did well all day here on Thursday, between Wednesday and Friday last week, I completely ran out of pants for him to wear, and I do laundry every day.  Well, Friday some repairmen showed up early, as we were trying to leave for their swimming lessons, which threw me off a bit but wasn’t major.  As we finished their lessons and were climbing out of the pool, I realized I had forgotten towels—had absolutely nothing to dry us off with and it was not a warm day—lovely.  I asked some young male lifeguard if they had any to rent there and he laughed, said no, and then told me no one had ever asked him that before—great.   Well, the new me who’s no longer embarrassed to ask anyone anything, borrowed someone else’s in the women’s locker room, and we set off (to his credit, the lifeguard, unbeknownst to me, did go on a hunt for us and had someone deliver a couple towels he found to the locker room—very nice of him).  We stopped and bought five things I had forgotten to buy for the next night’s dinner (yes, five things, for one dinner, that I just completely spaced out during the week’s shopping), and Drew had an accident as we were paying.  He did really try and not much had escaped before we found the toilet, so we kept going.  We stopped next at the post office and this time he pooped his pants.  Again, when you hardly know where you are, these things are more difficult, and toilets are not as conveniently located over here, so I asked someone in the parking lot where a nearby toilet was (he didn’t tell me he’d pooped until we were leaving) and the toilets were far enough away that it was easier to just go home, which he was not happy about.  We got home and I noticed his shoes were gone—he had left them in the post office.  This sounds really odd, but very young kids here wear thongs—they learn how to keep them on their feet by the age of three, which is incredible to me.  Drew just cannot do it, so while he likes to wear them, he takes them off every chance he gets—I keep letting him because I am hoping he is learning how to wear them better.  I wonder if I should just give up on thongs for him.  I know I hate them and refuse to wear them……So he’s on the toilet, with soiled pants, crying uncontrollably because his shoes are gone; I’m angry at him because I don’t feel he’s even trying to make the toilet when he’s with me, and my grocery sack breaks and the stuff goes rolling down the driveway, as the repairman asks me how I like Australia.

 It’s funny how things happen just when you need it most—-that afternoon while I was putting the boys down to rest, I got two messages from friends checking in on me—one a dear friend’s Mum who is so good to us, and another friend who has newborn twins of her own to deal with—it really was great timing. 

And that evening we went out to dinner!  (Remember that’s our new plan—dinner out or takeout once a week J).  We tried a Mexican restaurant just across from the train station, less than a mile from our house, although we were all tired enough that we drove there (the hills in my neighbourhood are absolutely wrecking me on my morning jogs—-SO hard!).  We sat outside and the trains provided easy entertainment, and it was a perfect evening, and good food.  It’s the first Mexican restaurant I’ve ever seen that doesn’t serve alcohol, so I am still sans margarita since my arrival here.  Most restaurants here allow you to bring your own and charge a small fee for that, and my sweet husband went to the nearby liquor store (bottle shop I think they call it, or bottle-o just to try and make it shorter I guess, although that’s not any shorter really) to try and find me a bottled one, with no luck.  So we brought some beers.  Dining out is more expensive here, but I don’t think it’s too bad.  For one, the idea of bringing your own drinks helps with costs, and also there is no tipping, and the tax is built right into the menu price.  For two adult meals and one kids’ we paid $45.  I would expect Mexican food to be more expensive over here anyway, and my guess would be that in Colorado we’d pay about $37 for a similar meal all totalled together.

 In addition to the trains, we got to watch bats flying in and out of the nearby trees as it got dark.  A possum visited us on our back deck during dinner at home the other night, and while I think geckos are very cool, I am starting to feel like I live in their house instead of vice versa.  I absolutely love watching the green, red and orange lorikeets flying along when I jog—-such a cool sight every day!

Saturday, I got an hour to myself to get a haircut—aahhh.  J  Then Steve ‘helped’ his friend who is a liquor distributor by going to a bar with him on St. Patrick’s Day for the afternoon to give out samples and drink samples themselves—tough job.  We had a little ‘date night’ that night after the boys went to bed and got some wine and rented “Crazy, Stupid Love.”  It was cute.  I told Steve I deserved a chick flick that night—either that or comedy, no action, no violence.  I was also pretty proud of myself for creating a green breakfast that morning for the boys—green oatmeal, green apple juice and green butter on toast, along with fresh kiwi—they thought that was very cool and I felt pretty creative and a bit like a supermom. 

Yesterday, we had a perfect, lovely day out at South Bank.  South Bank, aptly named, is a great area on the south bank of the Brisbane River, right in the city.  We took the train in there and Drew said that was his favourite part of the whole day.  We took a great walk along the river and through a forested nature boardwalk where the boys got their fill (if that’s possible) of cool lizards.  We stopped for ice cream, and then played in a swimming area just off the river with a sandy beach.  They also got to play at a playground and we had a picnic.  A great bonus is that we got to meet up with friends as well, and I got to escape for close to an hour to browse the outdoor Sunday market with a friend and bought a $5 skirt.  A lot of moms here wear long flowy skirts and I’m trying to look like a local.  😉  It felt so good to just get out, getting away from routine, having no set schedule and getting to see friends. 



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