Hellena Post - Creatrix

I've tried on so many uniforms and badges that now I'm just me - mother of 8 children and all that entails, flowmad, and human animal parent. Writer of this living book of a blog, philosopher, and creatrix of hand dyed and spun crocheted wearable art. I gave up polite conversation years ago, and now I dive into the big one's.....birth, sex, great wellness, life, passion, death and rebirth.

Monday, April 7, 2014

We Love Muddy Puddles

I reckon most parents would agree that parenting is often a matter of working out how NOT to react like your parents did.  Unless you're one of the lucky ones that had a fabled childhood full of good memories and loving people, many of us others, who left our childhood blanking out as much of it as we could, ended up leaving with strong resolves to do it better, nicer, more empathetically, with more respect and the rest.  

I grew up with a mother who had a religiously fanatical zeal for cleanliness and being a 'proper' mother.  For ironing underwear, sheets, washers and pillowslips, hanging clothes in order on the line, writing lists to go shopping and adding it up as the shopping ensued (the cash registers get it wrong sometimes!), never buying junk food or groovy things of any kind, always cooking meals from raw ingredients, performing to schedules, using every cleaning detergent and aid and scrubber and demoulder available on the market, washing windows with newspaper and vinegar though, because elbow grease was the most important ingredient, wearing fresh underwear everyday, carrying ironed handkerchiefs with us everywhere we went (under STRICT instructions), plaiting my hair every day to avoid head lice, making homework occur promptly, doing chores endlessly, as well as her attempting to be the picture perfect christian mother and wife.  She got angry often, but only ever in private, and in public she was the endlessly patient paragon of virtue.  Being a child of the 2nd World War, she'd grown up with very clear schedules and routines and expectations of what it was meant in her culture to be a woman.   

And I was often a bit of a disappointment.  

I was fortunate to also watch her closely as she aged.  As she let her high standards slip when she got a job and life outside the home.  And then when it came to my eldest daughter, and how she doted on her, and all the strictness I'd been brought up with melted away almost completely.  And then as she hit her elder years, as her standards apart from necessity disappeared altogether, and I was sometimes more clean and orderly than her.  Even though she would have never seen it that way.  I got to see a lot of fluctuation around the whole cleanliness and standards thing.  

Nevertheless, she's been a hard act to follow in my head.  And even if I didn't want to follow her examples, her reactions to messes and the like for example, were often hard to overcome.  I read an article recently, about healing the Mother Wound, that sat with me for a while.  And resonated deeply.  I've been pondering a lot lately how similar I've done things to my mother.  Whether I wanted to or not.


Living with all these rampaging free range baby vikings can be a real trial at times, especially when it comes to our families general like of living in a fairly clean and organised space, as opposed to our little boy pack loving to explore all of reality on every level.  Especially when it comes to things like textures and liquids and how they all form and relate and mix.  So sometimes we walk in to 2 litres of organic cows milk poured all over the ground, with Max swimming joyfully in it, or mud pie constructions in the middle of the kitchen, or an intricate display of roads and rails carved into the ash that's been spread from the fire all over the lounge room floor.  The length and breadth of their imaginations and capacity to make mess absolutely astounds me.  We clean up the house at least twice a day, and sweep at least 4 times every day.  Sweeping up piles of food that's been thrown on the floor, or toilet paper gigglingly trailed through the garden and house, or a million other things that I never knew you could make mess with until now.  It's one of the biggest challenges I've faced in my adult life.  Sometimes I react badly, or honestly, and yell, and get exasperated, but more often than not these days (since owning my grump) I just work out how to turn it into performance art.  Like travelling through a supermarket with 4 little boys in 4 stages of tantrums, and calling out in a circus voice "Tantrum trolley!  Come and get your tantrums!  Got any more tantrums in you boys?"  And smile.  Cause otherwise I'd cry.

My most recent experience of not reacting badly was the morning we went out onto the driveway after rain, only to find the boys had emptied an entire bottle of dishwashing detergent into a puddle, and were happily frothing it up and splashing in bubbles and mud.  It was actually quite easy to giggle, after an initial 'oh my goodness there's a lot of cleaning up going to be done very soon….'

First sign of immanent mess on the way….

And then there was this….

So Currawong decided to go and get his new Trombone, which he's learning to play, and just hang out with the boys as they went on a mud and bubble spree.  As you do.  I went off to get the camera…..

But after a few minutes it became apparent that there was far too much fun to be had in the mud.  So Currawong and Griff headed back to the house, to put on some serious mud play clothes.  This is another part of parenting that many parents have found hard in the absence of parental role models - playing.  An experience I never had with my parents was playing with them.  Playing games where you make stuff up and be silly and giggle and call each other by different names.  Playing in my house was semi torture, where all the bigger kids just showed me how much stronger they were than me, and how they could sit on me for as long as they wanted, and push my pram down hills and let go while I rolled down freaking out, and other unfun stuff like that.  We've had to really work on letting go into playing and wrestling and following our kids lead when it comes to play.  And it's a huge amount of fun.  And a lot of learning occurs.  So.  Back to our photo story.  While the big boys were getting on their mud outfits, the little boys kept exploring…..

Then Griffyn, Spiral and Currawong all came out in their clothes they were happy to be mudded, and general play ensued….

I reckon Currawong always looks damn gorgeous….even in mud :)

But me and Pixel sat it out.  And Lilly and Balthazar weren't keen on getting muddy that day either, so there was some clean people still.  

Not to say that I'm averse to mud.  Currawong and I did spend a summer in a Maccy Bubble with three other friends, and we were almost inseparable, and used to spend a lot of time at our mates large and clean swimming dam, mudding ourselves up, drying it out in the sun, and then swimming it off.  We even started trying out muds of different sorts, and even stripped off and rubbed sand all over our bodies late one night down at a busy suburban beach.  So I love a bit of mud.  Just not this day.  So back to the story, they all had such a huge amount of fun, and it looked so rad, I just took a lot of photos…..

Currawong in a mud vest :)

Max was really into experimenting with the mud in every way possible….

Love the mud love heart on Currawong in this one…

Then came the splashing…..shame to waste all that dishwashing liquid without making the most of the bubbles!!

And a bit of a yee haa...

And then the inevitable clean up happened sometime soonish after this.

And that's about it really.  There isn't any deep and meaningful purpose to this post beyond the day to day of life and what it brings about.   Loved my photos and I thought you might too.  Peace out :)