Sunday was a beautiful day, warm and sunny, so we went for a drive to Forster on the coast, about 30min drive away. As we arrived at the main beach we noticed the Forster Town Markets in the park near the beach and wandered in to have a look around.
It’s a lovely artisan market with some beautiful local crafts, artisan breads, clothing, toys and a stall with a great range of specialist local produce such as olive oils, honey and macadamia nuts.
The kids loved the toy stalls (of course!) and I picked up a 2kg bucket of local honey and some roasted macadamia nuts. There was a traditional sweet stall and I braced myself as we went past but the kids didn’t bat an eyelid: could it be that they’ve had so few sweets in their lives that they didn’t realise what it was, or were they distracted by all the other sights and sounds? Either way a good thing!
Afterwards we wandered along the beach and to the ocean baths at the end. Sometimes I like to be impulsive and do things on a whim, but that means that my forward planning can be lacking: it didn’t occur to me to pack swimming costumes (unforgivable, especially when the kids are such water babies they will get wet in the smallest amount of water). I quickly stripped the kids down to underwear so they’d at least have dry clothes to put on later and contented myself with kicking my feet in the water.
That lasted about 5 minutes as I stared longingly at the cool blue water. I looked around at the people swimming, playing and sunbathing and figured they were all having too much fun to care what one family playing in the shallows were doing. I wandered along the wall a little way to the deep water and quickly stripped down to bra and pants and jumped in. The kids were really excited to be able to swim with me and jumped in too. Soon we were splashing and playing and Aaron was practicing jumping in again and again: it was lovely. Truly, life is too short to worry what people might think.
When we were all cooled down (well, except for poor Daddy who was left minding the bags) and ready to explore some more we climbed out and I quickly put my t-shirt back on so we could go to the rinse-off showers nearby and get the salt water off. We went back along the boardwalk and Blake insisted on walking along the wrong side of the safety rail.
I can hear the cries of horror “What?! And you let him?!”. Yes, we did: we like to let the kids take their own risks, push themselves physically within their own self-determined limits and get themselves out of trouble when they overdo it. It’s not that we didn’t consider the dangers but we judged the most likely outcome would be a twisted ankle if he landed on the sand below. In any case, we just didn’t think he was likely to fall. He went the whole way along the boardwalk on the other side of the rail and had a tricky challenge going down when he got to the end, but he did it, and was very pleased with himself too. Below are two books that have been inspirational as we find our own path on the rocky roads of parenting and home education.
Read them if you have an interest in parenting or education.