“Are you free to babysit on Friday?”
“Err, do you mean like, little kids?”
The flashback to snotty noses and crying babes sent a cold shiver down my spine.
“Umm, no thanks,” I replied politely. “I’d rather stay home and study.”
Don’t get me wrong. I love kids and I had the best 10 years babysitting Jen and Nick. But that was years ago and I just don’t think I’ve got the patience or the energy for it again. It’s just not the same. Besides, I’m still coming to terms with the fact that Jen’s just finished high school and will be 18 in a few months’ time. I don’t even want to think about how that dates me!
The study bit was true by the way; although I didn’t expect I’d be studying again so soon after I completed my last Certificate IV course a year ago.
It was one of those left-of-field opportunities which I stumbled across on a link-to-a-link on Facebook. I saw the course outline and knew it was meant for me: Certificate IV in Community Culture. Err, what? Perhaps if it was called Community Development, I wouldn’t have to explain it all the time!
Apart from ditching the recent babysitting request, I confess my focus on completing the first lot of assessment tasks (due yesterday) has also kept me away from the blogosphere. Instead, I’ve been deep in contemplation about the meaning of community culture and reflecting on my motives for doing this work.
But what’s really spurred me into enthusiastic action is the project. It turns out that next year’s visit by the African Children’s Choir fits perfectly within the requirements of our project task for the course and vice-versa.
I’ve discovered project scope statements and project plans! I’m relishing budget plans and community consultations. My fellow steering committee members are holding on for dear life as I bombard them with ideas. Lots of them. (Oh, and would you mind working within my assessment task frameworks, thanks Yvonne?)
My biggest challenge is that I’m studying on my own at home. Now, if I can just stay focused…
Five highly disruptive study habits of the easily-distracted
1. I prefer classroom interaction, where a facilitator helps direct discussion around the assessment tasks and is available to clarify areas where I’m stuck. I particularly enjoy round table discussions with fellow students, especially those with years of experience in this field.
2. I get easily distracted when I’m unsupervised (read: Facebook, emails, the sunny outdoors, a load of washing, what shall I have for lunch, time for a nap).
3. Study groups are notoriously challenging to coordinate. They can also get side-tracked and turn into social gatherings rather than a focused study session (blame it on my Toastmasters habit of having a meeting agenda).
4. Vocational training assessments are way more interesting and relevant than university essays.
5. I’m a systems and procedures person, and prefer practical tasks such as operational plans, project scope statements and compiling contact databases. I therefore find reflective questions inexplicably more challenging and always leave them till the end!
The Babysitter Chronicles
Although I don’t see Jen and Nick regularly these days, we have a history together of fun times and mischievous exploits. I’ll be chuckling all the way to old age and hope the kids do, too.
Here are some of my fave memories:
A decent proposal
“You know how you’re not married?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“And you know how I’m not married?”
“Well, we could get married to each other.”
“That’s a great idea!” I responded, gazing lovingly into Nick’s gorgeous, brown eyes.
Parents not allowed
“What are you doing here?”
“We miss you.”
“Sorry, but you can’t come in,” I said.
“No. Parents aren't allowed,” said Jen.
“But it sounds like you’re having more fun out here,” they pleaded.
“That's because we are,” Nick confirmed.
How my life fell apart
“Why are you still in your pyjamas?” I asked, horrified, “The movie starts in half an hour!”
I frantically got the kids dressed, brushed their hair and headed out the door.
“But we haven’t had breakfast yet.”
“What…” I spluttered, “have… you… been… doing all morning?”
There’s something about babies
“Here,” said my cousin, plonking Olivia onto my lap. “Can you feed her while I hang out the washing?”
As she perched on my knee, my six-month-old niece gazed longingly at the jar of baby food in my other hand.
Right, I thought. How hard can it be to feed a baby?
Surviving the pub-irty years
“Eeeeew. Stop it! That's disgusting.”
Jen always objected to her parents’ public show of affection, even if it was only at the dinner table.
Nick, on the other hand, was an astute observer of the world around him. “Are you two tongue kissing?”
Seasons greetings to all. Enjoy the festivities, be silly and enjoy the sunny outdoors (for those in the Southern Hemisphere). And remember to stay safe!
New Zealand 2008
New Zealand 2006
United Kingdom 2004
Athens Olympics 2004
Beijing to Athens 1994
I acknowledge the traditional Custodians of the land on which I work and live, the Gubbi Gubbi / Kabi Kabi and Joondoburri people, and recognise their continuing connection to land, the waters and sky. I pay my respect to them and their cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging.
© 2023 HARI KOTROTSIOS