Pretend games

The girls each have their own little games they like to play with me now. It will change every year they grow and all I can do it live and relive. I can reinvent the wheel with Boo but for Moo I have to think of new ones to keep her interested. There are phases and seasons of Moo’s life which sometimes are crystal clear but are muddled and blank the other times.

For as long as I can remember Moo has loved pretend play. Her most favourite is role playing shop keeper and I will be the customer. When she was little we had got her a mini trolley she could push around easily. I still have it, don’t have the heart to throw it out. She once filled her mini trolley with real fruits and vegetables, carefully opening the fridge and loading what she liked and going around the house selling it to ‘people’. She must have been 4 then. ‘You want to eat apple? Eat apple, it is sweet’, she would give the apple to me and proceed to ‘sell’ an onion to her dad. She turns 7 next month and now has upped the role play level. She creates a set up having a ‘laptop’ to scan and print the receipt, a conveyer belt to keep the shopping moving, a price tag for each item and the best of all – a loyalty card giving $10 off if I come to her shop again. Some days her shop becomes a restaurant and some days it’s a ice cream selling day. But the role of a shopkeeper doesn’t change. It’s interesting to observe her mind evolve as she grows up, to inculcate whatever she learns from our experiences at the groceries and other shopping areas. Me being me, I try to put in math in her play and ask her to add up my order 😂

I don’t know how long she will keep up with this role play, already she has some school approved apps for learning English and Math which she enjoys and spends good time on the laptop for it. I should secretly record at least before she outgrows her own games. And I can’t wait for her to be as exasperated as her dad when Boo starts pretend playing 😆

It’s a five!

Today we complete five years in this beautiful city Down Under. Five years sounds a long time ago, I mean it’s half a decade!! But as cliche as it sounds, it feels just like yesterday when we landed in a balmy evening with 11 bags and a toddler under 2. In a new country with no jobs or home on a brand new adventure. I clearly remember the first few months, what with my memory and the many pictures I clicked with my first iPhone we bought here to look for jobs and applying for rentals. There are many, many firsts which happened and will always be fresh in my memory.

When today dawned I didn’t notice the date’s significance. It was a long working day yesterday and was tired in a good way to doze off to sleep as soon as I closed my eyes. I forgot to keep the alarm last night and it was super late when I woke up. It cascaded to everything getting late and when Moo was wearing her shoes for school she asked what day it is and then it hit – I called out for Zack and said it’s five years since we came here in Sydney!

I didn’t plan out today at all and probably that’s the reason it went well 😂 When I was hanging the laundry I said let’s do a takeaway for lunch. We ordered a Thai red curry and had it with leftover kurma from yesterday. Both coconut based gravies but so different! Every Friday Moo has dance classes in evening during school term, we went a little early to have cupcakes from a bakery and garlic bread from the pizzeria next to it for evening snack. Normally this would be the end of the ‘eating out’ quota for the fortnight but today we were on a roll. I was anyways outvoted by three, the youngest one bobbing her head to whatever her akka said. Dinner at a fancy restaurant was had and to my surprise they had a pretty decent menu with new items I hardly found locally.

Considering my fiascos with special days, today was a perfect celebration of the two anniversaries so far. Now I only wish I had this superpower of forgetting the big days like today 😄

Addition to the family

In continuation with the post I did in January – we decided we will go ahead and plan for a baby and keep the house hunt on a back burner. I conceived in my first cycle itself. I was working full time in the city and travelling by train to work. We planned to call over my parents towards the final weeks of my pregnancy and my inlaws a month after they left. Now we lived in a two bedroom apartment which had a huge living area but a tiny second bedroom which housed Moo’s stuff. I couldn’t visualise setting it up as a baby room and accomodate my parents. There just wasn’t enough space. We decided to restart house hunting and use all the time before I took maternity break and look after they baby. It turned out a good decision because house hunting is so EXHAUSTING.

Finding a house which matched our budget was an uphill task. We used to release offer and it would be rejected in favour of another customer. I was 8 months pregnant when we attended an auction for a house which ticked all the boxes. I couldn’t stand for more than 10 minutes so sat down in the front yard on grass 😆 We lost the house and with that we put a stop to the search as well. Covid had started appearing in news but we hadn’t been affected by it yet. 10 days later the government sealed borders and a lockdown was declared.

When Boo was 10 weeks old late June we resumed our search again. Day by day I was getting confident we have to move out of the apartment, the kids needed space to move and run about. Covid had hit the real estate real bad and prices were going down marginally. Everything became online, even the agent giving us a full walk through to the house in real time. Still we didn’t have any luck with winning any sale or auction, the competition was high with everyone entering the market.

On a nice and sunny wintry morning in August we visited a nice little house for inspection on a Wednesday. Restrictions had been lifted and we were allowed to do physical visits with masks on. Moo was in school and it would be one of the many inspections we did without her that month. We liked the house, it had an English cottage vibe with a huge front yard and picket fences. The auction was set for a Saturday three weeks later and we registered our interest for the auction as was our habit for all the houses.

The auction was on the first weekend of spring and many people had come to attend. We had a birthday party invite for lunch that afternoon and thought we will attend the auction and go from there. The house was on the way so we wouldn’t even have to double back. As soon as Moo saw the house she said it’s too pretty we won’t get it lets not waste time here 👀

Zack had the same thoughts seeing the number of interested buyers. Me..I had put Boo to sleep with great effort in her pram once we got out of the car and was in no way going to put her back in the car seat earlier than 30 minutes which was her nap duration. You might as well pick up a number I told Zack, we have 30 minutes to kill. Moo picked up a number for the auction and we told her she can hold it up high if we bid.

The bidding started and it started pretty low. Three parties who were interested were bidding with gusto. Many onlookers were present and a public auction is a treat to watch anyway. At one point the auctioneer raised the gavel for second time and no one had a bid to challenge it. I raised Moo’s hand and we made our first bid. The number was well within our budget. We raised our number three times and I was 90% sure the other family bidding with us will raise a couple of thousands more. But they didn’t!! My heartbeats got faster with every passing minute. Moo grew impatient and said let’s go. The real estate agent was checking with the owner on phone if our offer could be accepted. They wanted to hit reserve price but we couldn’t match it. I was checking if Boo was still asleep and ready to manoeuvre her pram outside the main gate when the agent came back and told us to make a final offer and the house will be ours. We upped our offer by a single grand. And we saw the smiling face of the agent one minute later and the auctioneer hitting the gavel towards us saying – sold to the family whose baby slept through my screeching 😂😂

And that my dearies became the second biggest news of 2020, we got our own house to call home and raise two girls. It set a precursor to lot many changes that would come to us individuals ( our housing loan was refused), as a couple ( utmost stressful times arranging funds ) and as a family, but with all the bad came a lot many good too. The good is the manifestation of my personal goals. Couldn’t start off that series without writing about the 🏠