Hard headed

I am unashamedly a feminist, and the Captain and I strongly encourage Munchkin to pick things she loves, regardless of their intended gender. Honestly, the whole idea that a child “should” like one colour or another based on their genitalia is really bizarre to me. A child is more than the sum of what’s in their pants, and just as adults have diverse interests, likes and dislikes, so too do children.

So far, Munchkin LOVES dinosaurs, animals (especially dogs and cats, since we have those in the household), bugs, spiders, big machinery and trucks, “driving”, twirling, dancing, playing daddy’s drum kit, water, climbing the slide by herself, helping us cook, cleaning (she’s shaping up to be better than I am), and generally making mess and noise.

She’s not a huge fan of drawing, prefers painting herself and us than anything else, loves playing in dirt but is a bit hesitant about dirt on her hands at first.

Her interests are so broad, and we see no reason to discourage any of them, particularly based on outdated gender stereotypes.

Yesterday, the Captain took Munchkin shopping for a bike seat and helmet. When it came time to pick a helmet, the shop assistant took them straight to the pink helmets. Now, there is nothing wrong with pink. It’s an awesome colour, one of my favourites. But other colours are awesome too! Blue, green, purple, orange, yellow, red – there are so many great choices for kids, that I don’t know why the choices have become so narrow.

Capt’n insisted on letting Munchkin choose her own helmet, which the assistant seemed a bit dismissive of. But she knew what she wanted! She left all of the pink helmets and went straight for a really cool bright blue one with animals on it.

However, even after she had made it clear that was what she wanted, the assistant kept pushing the pink ones on her. This makes me pretty mad, not only because her choice of something to go on her own head should be respected (as long as it’s safe), but because by questioning her choice, the message is that the blue helmet is not something she “should” like. She “should” want the pink ones. Why? Because of her genitalia. That’s it. Not her brain, not her interests, not her passions.

We need to stop reducing our children to one small element of what makes them who they are. They are amazing, diverse, curious little creatures and that should be encouraged, not discouraged.

Luckily, Munchkin is a bit young to understand the social pressures on girls and boys to like different things, but that won’t last forever. There will come a day when she begins to understand what is being pushed on her, and either start to conform or (like me) rebel against it. Neither of those is a good option, because both of them mean that she is not free to be herself.

Free our children up to love what they love without fear of judgement, and watch them shine.


One-armed wardrobe

A quick arm update: It is slowly, slooooowly improving. I’m having more and more sling-free days, I can hold Munchkin with my left arm as long as I lift her up with the right, I can carry small things and reach a little bit, and bend down and sometimes even pick things up off the floor with that arm. It took a slight step back when the weather turned unseasonably rainy a couple of weeks ago, but it’s back on track now. Considering a frozen shoulder can take up to two years to mend and it’s been about three months, I’m reasonably happy with how things are going.

When my arm was first injured and I was in so much pain I could barely function, everything seemed so hard. But one of the first things I did when I felt up to it was to clean out my wardrobe.

That might seem weird, especially since it was painful and probably shouldn’t have been a top priority when I was supposed to be resting, but honestly, I needed to do it.

Before I was injured, I had a small work wardrobe that consisted of about 6 dedicated work-tops, a couple of ones that fit into the work and casual categories, and a few pairs of pants and skirts. Then, my shoulder froze, and suddenly I could only wear button up shirts, and even those hurt like hell to get on. T-shirts and blouses that needed to go over my head were completely out of the question, and bottoms made from stiff fabrics like jeans and pencil skirts were out for quite a while. It was only about a week ago that I got a pair of jeans on without any pain at all.

Bending down hurt like hell, let alone trying to do up buckles, zips or laces, so all but one pair of shoes were useless.

Cleaning out everything that I couldn’t wear, either because I couldn’t physically put it on, or because it was too painful to even consider meant that when I opened the wardrobe, instead of being faced with all the clothes I couldn’t wear, I could only see the ones I could wear. Admittedly, that was not very much! Of my specific work wardrobe, exactly one shirt was a proper button-up. I had two that could suffice for work, along with a couple of tops with necklines that allowed them to be put on from the bottom up and lifted gently over my left arm. In total, that came to four, and with a few loaner shirts from my mum and sister-in-law, I managed to get by. But the clothes I borrowed didn’t fit quite right, and I didn’t feel like me in them. I just didn’t have the budget to replace a bunch of clothes, especially given I’d bought a bunch of clothes when I started my job just three months earlier.

Now that things have eased up after Christmas, we put aside a little money to start updating my wardrobe a bit, given that we don’t know how long my movement will be restricted. It was so tempting to charge off to Kmart and Target and buy up big on cheap and cheerful shirts and tops to fill up my sickly wardrobe, but I know from a whole lot of experience that that is never a good way to go. Buying cheap may save money in the short term, but you end up having to replace them a lot sooner when they are worn out and looking crappy. I still buy singlet and tank tops at the cheaper places, simply because that’s the only place I can find the shapes I like, and I justify it that I mostly wear them underneath other things and as pyjama tops, so it doesn’t matter too much if they wear out a bit sooner.

White long sleeved shirt

So far I have bought one lovely white button up on sale at Noni B (pictured above, but no longer on their website), which is gorgeous thick fabric (I find so many white shirts are completely see through or at least a bit translucent, but I was wearing a bright pink singlet underneath when I tried this one on, and couldn’t see it at all!), and a plain orange tank top from Kmart that’s a lovely bright colour for summer.

I also bought a bunch of stuff for Munchkin, and now the money’s almost all gone. How does that happen? I guess it’s just way easier to find great stuff for an adorable toddler than for a one-armed woman with broad shoulders and saggy tits. Go figure!

But I’m actually happy to take my time and build my wardrobe slowly from here. Between the shirts I have and the few extras I’ve been able to bring back into my wardrobe now that I’m in less pain, I can return everything I borrowed and look and feel a bit more like me again.

My wardrobe still needs updating, both things that are missing and things that need replacing (that whole cheap clothes thing? Yeah). I’ll be making a list and sharing it here, because I enjoy boring people. Stick to what you’re good at, right?

To make a long blog post short; Cutting back your wardrobe to just what you can currently wear, whether due to an injury, surgery or weight gain/loss, and preferably to what you feel good in within that, is a really good way to make yourself feel great, and that is worth more than all the cheap-arse cardigans in the world.

Beach baby

I have nothing even remotely interesting to write this week for Blog Like a Mofo, but by god, I took this challenge and I am going to see it through! So this week, I am putting the ‘boring’ in ‘boring lifestyle blogger’. You have been warned.

Today was a big day for firsts (many of them fairly insignificant). It was my first karate grading (I am now a yellow belt) and Munchkin’s first trip to the beach!

After my grading, the Captain, Munchkin, my parents and I headed to South Beach in Fremantle, which is a really great spot for families with young kids – it’s nice and clear, not too rough and even on a very hot Sunday afternoon, not too busy. We weren’t sure how Munchkin would go at the beach, given her first experience with a backyard pool was not well received, but she took to the ocean like a fish to water (pardon the pun).

The instant the water rolled up the sand and touched her toes, she started laughing, and spent the rest of our time there splashing, kicking and playing in the water. She didn’t want to leave, even when she was shivering badly and her lips were starting to look a little blue.

We also had a great time playing with her, and when mum and dad had enough of swimming they played with Munchkin in the shallows while we enjoyed the deeper water. After sweating up a storm and being completely drained from my grading, the cold, fresh water was exactly what I needed. I’ve decided that I’ll follow every grading with a trip to the beach!

After our swim, we decided to scout around for somewhere to eat. The cafe at the beach stays open until 7.30pm now, but only serves fried foods after 3.30, which is a bit of a bummer.

So after driving in circles for a while, first to find the restaurant my parents suggested, which was closed, and then to find a carpark (so many 15 and 30-minute only spots! Surely the restaurateurs would rather have more long-stay spots for their customers!) and somewhere to eat, we ended up at The Pizza Lounge, walking distance from the beach. Oops!

The food and atmosphere at The Pizza Lounge was excellent! The only problem with the place is that it is a fairly square concrete building with no soft furnishings, so the noise was a bit intense inside – as a result, our order came out incorrectly, but we all had enough to eat and they refunded us one pizza that we realised at the end we’d been charged for but not received. But the food we did get was so good – wood-fired pizzas with heaps of awesome options, marinated kalamata olives and spicy Italian sausage. We can all highly recommend it! Maybe just write down your orders for them, to avoid confusion 🙂

Munchkin tried ginger beer for the first time (she liked it!) as well as spicy sausage (not a fan) and chilli (swing and a miss!), and she had a great time playing at the kid-sized chalkboard tables before our meals arrived. I’m considering painting one of our small tables with chalkboard paint, so it was good to see that it would be well received.

So it’s been an awesome day, and the beach is cool. And you thought this post was going to be boring!


Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular

Last night, the Captain and I attended the WA Symphony Orchestra’s Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular, and spectacular was the word for it! The entire show was perfect, not just the music, which was incredible, but the lighting and effects, the performers and the digital component.

The Spectacular features the music of Murray Gold, the composer behind all of the music for Doctor Who since its 2005 revival, and was conducted by Who-orchestrator (and total cutie) Ben Foster. It also featured Australian soprano Antoinette Halloran, whose voice was simply breathtaking.

Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison, hosted the event, and did a great job with it. The acted parts were very cheesy, but in the best possible way – it was funny, silly and very kid-friendly. I really liked that the focus was really on the incredible music and the way that it ties in with the show, with scenes and compilations displayed on a couple of screens behind the orchestra (which also provided a nice distraction at times when I found myself getting overwhelmed by it all).

The only thing that I didn’t love about the show was the venue. Perth Arena is a really great space for lots of things, but it felt so big and distant for a symphony. The acoustics at the Arena are great, so there was no negative impact on the music itself from the venue, it was purely an atmosphere thing. I prefer the Perth Concert Hall, which has a much cosier, more welcoming environment. That said, I’m not sure that they could have done everything they wanted to do for this show there, so the Arena may have been the only option.

While I was really excited to go to this, I didn’t know much about it going in – initially we thought we’d missed out, but then C’s work announced that they had tickets for the corporate box, and apparently none of the higher ups were nerdy enough to want to go. Perfect! But the shorter notice (and the fact that I hadn’t wanted to find out much about it since I was convinced we couldn’t go) meant that I didn’t really know what to expect.

When I was a kid, my family went to a lot of WASO shows, first with the kids concerts and later the more grown up shows. I also played cello as a kid (never particularly well) and sang too (slightly better than my cello playing, but that’s not saying much), and when I gave that up late in high school I never really gave the symphony much more thought.

Having such a long break from going to a full symphonic show, I was surprised at how much of an effect the performance had on me. I was moved to tears at the beginning, just by the sheer scale and grandeur and that full sound that you just can’t get anywhere else.

The WASO and WASO chorus put on a brilliant show, the music was absolutely perfect. I also loved the lighting! The show used lights within the orchestra itself as well as the spots with various designs swinging out over the crowd and the colour washes, which really helped to set the mood. Also, smoke machines. Smoke machines are always fun (although goodness knows how anyone can keep singing/playing with that stuff blowing in their faces. I guess that’s why they’re the pros!).

The digital aspect, with content from the shows (mostly recent seasons, since those are what the music was specifically written for, but the older doctors were still featured) was so, so good. Seeing all the companions from the ninth, tenth and eleventh doctors made me tear up even more, and now I have to watch those seasons again. Oh Donna, I miss you!

The performers for the show seemed really good – there were heaps of cool costumes: the Ood! I love the Ood! Daleks and Cybermen (of course!), The Silence, Judoon. I think I spotted a Weeping Angel, a Silurian and maybe a Sontaran? It was a bit hard to tell from up the top, it was a long way from the action. That was one downside, and if it had been possible I would have loved to have been down with the hoi polloi. Also, because people in the boxes are often there just because the tickets are free, we were among people who apparently didn’t know the difference between Daleks and Cybermen. Handy hint: If it says things like “upgraded” and “you will be deleted”, it’s not a Dalek.

So my overall thoughts on all the amazing people who made last night’s show happen?

Sing it, Number 9