Parenting Haibun

Watercolour and ink illustration of a helicopter rescuing a heart. Used to illustrate a haibun on parenting.

We have a little ritual most evenings where at some point of cuddles on the couch while reading before bedtime, my son will call out for his dad’s ‘rescue helicopter’, giggling and asking:

‘can you rescue me daddy?’

From the other room, dad’s chopper blades can be heard to the growing squeals of my boy as he anticipates the helicopter ride once he’s free from mamma’s arms. They fly around the room and ‘land’ on impossible surfaces— the keys of the piano, the dining table, the top of the child proof fence separating the lounge room from the art studio. All fun, light and laughter no matter how many times we play out this rescue, but the symbolism of his request for a ‘rescue’ from my embrace doesn’t escape me. Continue reading

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My Threenager

Photos of three year old birthday party at skate park. Half pipe cake, and kids on bikes and scooters.
Photographs by Richard Baxter

When my baby was new to me (and the world), I made up two songs to soothe him to sleep. That baby now sings along to those songs (and occasionally replaces any one of the words with ‘poo’ because that’s the funniest thing in the world, right?). Poo or no poo, there’s nothing more touching than hearing him softly sing along: Continue reading

Toddler Q&A

Some questions require phoning a friend.

When I imagined life as a mother, it wasn’t tending to a two month old at 3am or changing a protesting one year old’s nappy that I pictured, but rather, long conversations with a verbose toddler questioning everything around him…and that time has come! At the age of 2 years, 4 months, 5 days, 14 hours (approximately) my boy has reached a significant milestone. Today he uttered his very first “why?” and with the release of that one syllable, changed the course of our lives forever, asserting his mind and sharing its wondrous workings. The momentous occasion was in response to his daddy telling him I had gone to work. Why? Oh, if only he knew I ask myself that very question four days a week. From now on, I am going to have to in turn question myself and the ‘truths’ I share, as well as expectations I have on everything from the need to say please and thank you, to the reason he must get up off a supermarket floor that he is glued to with the formidable adhesive formulation that is will power, snot, and tears.

Aside from the inevitable instances where I will likely wish he’d get on with what I ask and not question things, I am excited about conversations to come; the broad range of topics I will have to research and learn alongside him; and, the fresh take on things I have taken for granted, waking up my comparatively dulled sense of curiosity and wonder.

Why doesn’t the moon fall down? Why is it called a zipper? Why do some camels have one hump and some have two?  Why did the chicken cross the road? Even thinking up hypothetical creative questions is hard work!

I expect there to be plenty of questions I will not have neat answers for, but will encourage his interest nonetheless: questions about our very existence, death, bigotry, inequality, the nature of time, the future. So let the fun begin- I have no prepared answers and will have to take it one question at a time. Actually, I do have one prepared answer- if he ever asks:

Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near?

 I’ll break out in sudden song like they do in musicals and respond with:

Why do stars fall down from the sky, every time you walk by?

Depending on where we are and whether he is at the age of being embarrassed by me, that may be the last “why?” I ever get.

 

Has a child every stumped you with ‘Why?’ Please share the question and your response, to help me compile a FAQ list that I will carry on me at all times for reference in the event of no internet service.

Luminosity

Image of the Bubble Nebula, Three Line Tale prompt for flash fiction
Photo by NASA

“Mission control, do you read me? The nebula is burning at a greater intensity than previous recordings, just concerned the hubble is drifting since yesterday’s calibration.”

“Mission control here, Captain- news just in suggests the increased luminosity coincides with a terrestrial event in the Southern Hemisphere of Planet Earth at roughly 03:00 GMT, little boy blowing out his birthday candle, a lunch time celebration in his local time.”

The astronaut breathed a sigh of relief, first mission nerves had made her question her judgements, but it seemed it was the instrument’s range that required adjustment in this instance- the kid is a force to be reckoned with.

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Happy 2nd birthday to my little boy – my constant source of love and inspiration, combined here with image prompt from Sonya’s Three Line Tales Week 19. Fittingly, the NASA image is an anniversary pic celebrating the Hubble Telescope’s 26th year in orbit. The fiery object is a Bubble Nebula, cloud and hot gases released by the brilliant star at its core. Other pics capture the birthday boy and the moment that threw NASA’s measurements off, and his observation of a sound/light/bubble installation in Melbourne, taken yesterday by Richard Baxter, also known as Daddy.

Within the Milky Way

Photo: Richard Baxter

 

a smooth start to life

pathways mapped by smiling eyes

nourished by mum’s milk

 

smooth sailing, my boy

galactic love, milky way

be the star you are

 

smooth skin, blank canvas

before growth, wisdom, creases

milk teeth sprinkled smile

 

paths smooth, sometimes bumps

life’s jostles may spill your milk

strength in glass half full

 

Two word prompt (milk, smooth) courtesy of RonovanWrites’ Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge. Thanks Ron!

Assembling Dreams

Photo by Richard Baxter

It came in a flat pack (we should have taken that as warning of what was to follow).

Patience was required for assembly, its urgency announced by toddler tears born of a skewed sense of time- what’s not immediate equates to eternity.

fresh deluge of tears

child’s grievances with time

freestyle wail won’t cease

I tried to distract him with a story and some songs, asking for nothing more than an exchange of the wailing for sound effects on cue, prompted by what Old MacDonald had on his farm. It seemed the only thing on the farm was a crying child.

mum’s fresh out of songs

old MacDonald combat style

eyi eyi…NO!

His dad cursed (in whispers drowned by tears) the parts strewn across the floor, pieces mass produced but requiring solo, manual, slow construction.

The tray was made of sturdy steel, coated a beautiful shade of red, resplendent in its replication of a time and style of yesteryear. The plastic tyres and impractical design (requiring fuming fumbling with minuscule fasteners) revealed it as a product of its age- for consumption by the masses and disposal on destruction.

Complete, at last! We ventured into the cool night air, for the debut expedition.

little red wagon

styled on whimsy, nostalgia

carrying fresh dreams

The wheels maneuvered easily over gravelly ground, with a very happy* toddler commandeering it, parents looking on in wonderment, spellbound by the boy and his red wagon.

fresh breeze heralds love

red hearts tumble like your wagon

boy, we like your style

 

Inspired by the two word prompt (style, fresh) from RonovanWrites’ Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge. To get more words on the page (then on the screen), this week I played around with a haibun! A first for me, and something I’ll definitely do more of. In my reading, I came across a site with some lovely examples of haibun: haikupresence.org

*don’t let the serious  face fool you- he is happy. No tears, right? 🙂