Showing posts from August, 2011

Of all the books to choose ...

If you were seven and you had the whole school library to choose from, what would you choose?

Why 'Helicopters at War' (1977) of course.

Tis the season to be thankful

I'm a pessimist.  This is no surprise to anyone.  So I'm actively working to remind myself of all the great things about this season with my kids.

1. No prams
2. No nappies
3. No cots
4. No toilet training
5. No high chairs
6. No day sleeps
7. Less crying (from me and the kids)
8. Interesting conversations (with kids and often other people too)
9. Sleep-ins
10. Most can read (related to no. 9)
11. Toilet paper stays in the toilet paper holder
12.  Can leave TV remote on the coffee table and it won't get trashed/lost/put in the bin/have its batteries removed
13. Can often go to the toilet on my own
14.  Can usually hear the person on the other end of the telephone
15.  Kids (and myself) can last for five seconds without eating

I'm sure there are more.  But these are the particularly glorious ones.  Bliss.

The Idle Parent

I'm very pleased that an article on lazy parenting appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald this week  The article talks about giving kids enough free time in their life so that they are forced to get bored, which then makes them more creative and inventive.

I'm a bit of a lazy parent (as in, I'm happy for them to work out ways to entertain themselves that don't involve me), but during term time our life is crazy.  It's partly because of the number of children.  Each child doesn't have lots on, but they often have to come along to each other's activities.  Plus homework, chores, baths, music practice - the time disappears during the week.

But weekends are generally reasonably quiet and the school holidays are glorious weeks of unstructured time.  The holidays are very precious times.  Some kids are better at entertaining themselves than others.  The easy option for s…

Jane Eyre

I went to see 'Jane Eyre' last week.  I loved it.  Jane was appropriately feisty.

Rochester wasn't as nasty as I remember him in the book - he was a bit predatory and demanding of Jane though.  St John was Billy Elliot all grown up - after I worked that out (took the first 10 minutes of the movies) I could relax.

I plan to reread it to compare.

Information I just need to share

It's a bra update. Ooo - exciting hey?  But this is seriously, the highlight of my day.  I bought a new bra - actually I bought two.  Exactly the same. They were on special.  It's the Berlei Barely There bra - which is apparently Australia's most popular bra.  Especially good for someone like me who is 'barely there' in frontal chest region. Someone recommended them to me a few years ago and I have never looked back.  Comfortable plus (no itchy lace in sight).  Expensive plus.  But so worth it.  Especially since my old one had pretty much collapsed and was hugely UNcomfortable.

Too much info I know - but I had to share. This is the type of information some of you just need to know.

Telling the passover story without saying 'death' ...

We're doing a series of little stories each week at playgroup on Moses.  Yesterday it was the passover story.  I was trying to not say 'die', 'kill' or 'death' to allow for the ages of my listeners (and their parents too).  It wasn't easy.

There's the 'killing' of the sheep to put blood around the door frames to protect the Hebrews from the angel of 'death' who was going to 'kill' all the first-born children and life stock.  Hmm - fun story (not).

So I went with 'some sad and bad things were going to happen to the Egyptians because Pharaoh wouldn't let God's people go but God's people had a special dinner of lamb (not mentioning the dead sheep) and flat bread to help them remember that God was in control and they could trust his promises'.

Bit nervous that I didn't quite convey (like, probably not at all) the concept of sacrifice (since it has A LOT to do with 'death'), but hey, it's a to…

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

My kids all have piano lessons and I make them practice (I'm not paying all that money for no progress - the money seriously does talk at this point).  They complain - pretty much every time.  It's tiring, but I'm stubborn.  After seven years I think the oldest child has decided he (f i n a l l y) quite likes practicing so doesn't huff and puff as much any more.  He's also gone to high school and discovered that being able to play the piano well is quite the attention grabber - so he's more motivated than ever.

However, back at the ranch, the complaining continues.  It's part of the territory with learning a musical instrument.  I have discovered this through many, many conversations with other parents who are suffering through the daily traumas of music practice too!  I feel like a tyrant mother and am told regularly by my kids that I expect too much.  Or do I?

Well, this is where 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother' comes in.  This book by Amy Chua …

More on grown-up friendships

I've been thinking a bit lately about the whole friendship thing.  A negative consequence of part-time work for me is that on the days I'm not working, I'm busy playing catch-up to the rest of my life, sadly leaving little time for friends.  When I was at home all the time and especially when my kids were smaller, I needed my girlfriends for company - to help me survive the long days with small children.

It's those times of intense shared experiences (like having babies together, or studying together or travelling together) that often create the deep friendships.  But sometimes those times of intensity and closeness can create a dissatisfaction with newer friendships in other times of your life.

I've been thinking that perhaps women expect too much of their friendships sometimes.  Why can't all my friendships be like when I was at uni/in the wilds of Africa/when I had my first baby?  Well, probably because I'm just not spending as much time with people as…


We got this big table from church - they were throwing it out.  Romantically I thought it would be good for homework or lego or craft.  Which is sometimes what it gets used for ... when it's not covered by washing (with the occasional addition of a feline).  Glad I have a sorting table for the clean washing now - bit of a shame it's in the middle of the playroom.

And these are such a helpful addition (NOT!) to my life.  So many boxes of fundraising treats that I can't quite remember what they're for (I think one is for preschool and one is for netball:  'obesity epidemic, what obesity epidemic????').  Luckily for me, librarians do like their chocolate/morning teas/cakes/treats/any excuse for a cuppa so I think I should be able to offload them before I eat it all.  But it is not good having them in the house.  

Highs, Lows

I'm in a season of 'bluriness'.  Hopefully very short lived, because I despise being busy.  Just the thought saps all my energy out of me.  It's a blur because you keep going (as you do) but don't quite recall how you got from Monday to Friday.  But I'm going to attempt some form of a record of events - if for no one other than myself - bear with me.

Highlights of the week:  final, final visit to orthodontist (would show you the teeth, but this 'season' has resulted in an endless round of cold sores that I scare myself with every time I look in the mirror).  Sitting through my daughter's 7.45am French Horn lesson - such a beautiful instrument to listen to.  My Mum staying and doing my washing and cleaning the children's bedrooms (the floors have been rediscovered) and going to the shops to buy the 4 crucial ingredients for last night's dinner.  Going to an interesting meeting for work that made me feel that I'd actually learnt something b…


A few weeks ago the school term started back and I was having some problems with anxiety.  I wasn't sleeping and waking up worrying about all the different things that needed to get done.

One morning I was hurling yet another load of washing into the giant washing machine and thinking about that passage in Philippians 4:6-9.  "Do not be anxious about anything, but by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus".  As I reflected on this passage, I wondered if God really did get how busy my life is (I know - weak thinking, but there it is).  I mean - is it actually realistic to expect that I should be anxiety-free, full of transcending peace?  Is that possible in the midst of my craziness?

And what about that passage in Matthew 6 which speaks of not worrying - God knows our needs and will provide for them.  So why am I still feeling anxious?

MK 'things'

Earlier this year, we had dear friends stay with us for a few days who are missionaries.  We worked with them in India in the mid 90's.  The husband is a MK himself and he and I went to the same boarding school in India (although 15 years apart).

We were chatting about the funny things that you carry through your life as a result of the boarding school experience.  My 'thing' is that I love, love, love, long hot (very hot) showers.  This was because the boarding house that I lived in, had a water shortage.  So we'd often have to have bucket baths at the main school during the lunch hour.  These were 2 minute baths, with half a bucket of hot water and I had long hair.  It was stressful.  So it's not rocket science to work out why I love hot showers so much.

Our friend kept helping himself to copious amounts of milk out of the fridge while he stayed with us.  Apparently this is his 'thing' that he's carried with him out of going to boarding school. When…

Hospitality breakthrough!

In February we did a lot of hospitality. We tried to have as many people from Rowan's staff team over individually for a meal. It is always so worthwhile, encouraging and great for strengthening relationships. But being honest, (and hi guys, we do love you all!) February did almost kill me! And as a result I've been pretty burnt out and slack. It's not just the time, it's the shopping beforehand, the cooking and the cleaning. All in the middle of the rest of life.

So chatting to a minister's wife from a large church on the weekend, I asked how she managed to do all the hospitality she does. She suggested doing supper instead of dinner. This little suggestion was so liberating. Why? Less shopping. Less food preparation. Less washing up. Less stress juggling the guests and the children at the dinner table. Easier to have guests on the evenings I work because I don't have to worry about preparing a full meal the night before.

All I have to do now is work out how…

First high school party

I nervously participate in the drop off chit chat.  I don't know ANYONE because I have not been to any welcome events or anything much really since the start of Year 7.

I also start to realise that I don't KNOW anything much about what my son is doing at school.  The group of parents start discussing a French assignment that involves producing a travel brochure about Paris.  They've all been pitching in with ideas for their kids - places that are a bit out of the ordinary to discover in Paris.  O ha, ha, ha - chuckle, chuckle goes everyone.  Imagine only putting information about the Eiffel Tower in.  Chortle, chortle.

I keep smiling.  I don't have a clue what they're talking about.  He's most likely put in the Eiffel Tower - but I wouldn't know.

After the party I check with him.  Have you done a French assignment?  He says, sure, it's due tomorrow and I've just got to print it out.  Excellent.

Now, what's the opposite of helicopter parenting…