another treasure map



Hope you've had/are having a lovely Sunday and haven't lost any children. 

Oh wait. That was me.

We had skip around the sustainability expo in Kiama today, at which both children managed to let go of helium balloons, one inside, not so bad, one outside, just as Adam and I were going into raptures over the amazing community garden on display. All those lost balloons, all that stretchy plasticky stuff ending up in the oceans. We are bad greenies. Forget the fact Tilly did an accidental stage dive off a wonderful permaculture swale and hit a sharp stick which took a bite out of her wee face right under her eye. More worried about the balloon and the sea life. 

But I didn't lose her at the sustainability expo. 

No, it was at home. Later. About fifteen minutes before her friend Katie's dad was due to come pick her up for a play. I hadn't seen her for five or ten minutes and I knew she was outside. I usually stand on the verandah and call. Sometimes I ring the bell we've got for this reason, they can usually hear it wherever they are and come back. 

Not today.

Henry said: I think she's gone to Katie's.

I said: Of course she hasn't. 

But she had. She'd picked up her backpack and walked out the front gate and down the hill to Katie's house. I learnt this as Katie's dad Matthew drove in with Katie's brother and the other small neighbourhood boys to collect Henry to go and see some model trains, and he said he'd passed her walking up their driveway. 

To be honest, it's not across town. It's about half a kilometre down our country lane. 

But still. Who would've thought. All by herself.

Adam had ducked out to a beekeeping seminar so I couldn't have a parenting 101 consult which he's so good at. 

So Matthew took Henry off and I packed Ivy into the backpack and walked down there myself. And had stern words. And made her promise never to do it again. Told her, to her surprise, it was dangerous, it's a road, she's four years old. 

And I left it at that. 

I didn't drag her home. I didn't make a big fuss. I told her if she did it again she would not be allowed to play with Katie, and that's a pretty serious deterrent. (I hope.) And this little girl of mine is so headstrong, I don't think heavy-handed authority is a sustainable approach. 

Her confidence is so foreign to me. I would never have had to guts to do something like that at four. 

She said she knew she was going to Katie's, she just thought she'd save Matthew the trouble of the pick-up. 

It was quite logical. 

I'd never told her not to walk to Katie's house. 

Far out, what else have I not spelt out that would never occur to me she might attempt?

Heaven help me. 




6 Comments on “another treasure map

Alex Nolan
June 5, 2011 at 11:51 pm

I want to sympathise. I want to say how horribly worrying that must have been for you. I want to support your gentle, but stern, words with Tilly. But what I am actually doing is laughing outrageously at the slight mention of Adam not being around because he was at a ‘beekeeping seminar’! Too funny – how our lives, do, indeed change! Happy Sunday lovely Fi – and just as an aside, I have been more than happy for James to walk to and from the shop by himself for some time now, but the other day, James walked to fetch Edward (his 4 year old brother) from a playdate! Accross a road, across a field, down a path and FIND the friend’s house! Just delightful that they want to do it, and that the village we live in is safe enough to learn independence (all of us!). Speak again very soon xxx

June 6, 2011 at 8:09 am

Go Tilly!!!! and Go Adam!!! I love bees and have tried several times to get Gray enthused and gone so far as to buy bee keeping books and even ordered a bee suit! No luck. Though it helped that the main character from Augie March was presented with a bee keeping book from his wife also.

Advise needed: Fi,the three boys and I are in Sydney next week, staying in the Rocks for a long weekend of Sydney fun. Any playgrounds that you would recommend for us?
ing xx

June 6, 2011 at 8:39 am

I am standing there with you in the 4 year old mummyhood…. oh my where does there confidence from and they way they can just stand up in front of anyone and persistently outline exactly why they were right in doing what we consider dangerous WOW!! Great post!

June 6, 2011 at 9:46 pm

First, for Gray, Leo Tolstoy = beekeeper. I know he’s not Dostoevsky but there’s a gorgeous quote from his wife somewhere about Tolstoy crouching in front of his hives, net over his head, it being the centre of his world. Come ON, isn’t that just a bit appealing?!
Ing, sorry not to be seeing you this trip. Fave Syd parks: Livvie’s Place at Timbrell Park, Five Dock. Also Sydney Park at St Peters which I reckon is worth the trek from the Rocks. Both are. xx

Angela Thyompson
June 7, 2011 at 10:45 am

I am with you Fi. No point getting too cross. Independence in such a gift, not found in too many 4 year old’s but damn useful to their mother’s at times. I love it when Maggie offers to get everyone’s breakfast but get a little nervous when I find her up on the bench boiling the kettle. When I remind her that boiling the kettle is a little dangerous she replies. “did you want cold coffee?” Fair point. Anyway I hope you and yours are well…

June 8, 2011 at 7:54 am

Thanks for the park advice. And the literary ammo. How can Gray keep refusing? Was Leo’s bee obsession before or after he renounced all his wealth? Gray doesn’t like that bit, capitalist that he is.


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