Showing posts from February, 2012

Screentime Angst

Recently we have made the effort to go out on nice family outings.  I am dragging my weary body out the door on a Saturday when all I want to do is sleep.  But I'm a good mother (on occasion) so I go.

So when we're driving home from the zoo last week, the discussion is not 'O, weren't the seals fab and aren't you the world's bestest parents for dragging yourselves around the zoo for hours with us while we fought and whinged?' but instead 'But how will we fit in all our computer turns?' [insert quiet sobbing here as realisation dawns that it might not be possible]

We have the most complex system to ensure everyone gets a half hour turn on the computer on the weekends.  This is because (a) there is no TV/computer on weekdays and (b) some children (mostly the boys) get quite anxious if they aren't guaranteed a set amount of time.  You may think that half an hour is very stingey, but when you multiply that by five, two and a half hours needs to be…

Picking your battles

Picking your battles with a teenager.  New territory for me.  My almost 14 year old is lovely.  I find him genuinely nice, fun and easy to hang out with.  But he's been growing his hair for a year.  It is driving me crazy.  And the more I (and his sisters) get irritated by it, the more determined he is to keep growing it.

Appearances don't matter, I keep telling myself.  And I know this is a nothing issue.  But other people seem to have nicely presented children.

What fights do other people feel are worth fighting over with their teenagers?  Do people fight over hair length?  Or are they too busy worrying about real problems?!

PS  I think it looks better in the picture than in real life!

The joy of 5

At dinner the other night I was reminiscing about my Grandma who used to spoil us rotten.  When we'd go and stay at her place it was a kid's paradise.  She'd always put a little present under our pillows.  And a pile of junk food on the drawers next to our bed.  And fizzy drink in the fridge.  A TV in the bedroom (with a remote - so decadent).  If we found loose change on the floor in her car we could keep it. And she would take me out shopping for clothes (especially fantastic as a teenage girl).

My parents were staying over that particular night and my children were very keen for my mum to hear all the stories I was telling about Grandma.  They thought they quite liked the idea of this and would their Grandma like to do the same for them??!

The next day, the kids got talking about this topic again.  They thought that maybe I'd be like my Grandma.  But they were all concerned that we wouldn't have enough space for all of our grandchildren.  Since they're all…

Fitting in what really matters

One of the challenges we've had to think through in the last year since our eldest started high school, is how we allow time for their church involvement.  It is very easy to fill up life with the apparent 'essentials' - school, activities like music and sport, homework, leisure, but not allow time in that planning for what I actually think is really essential.  When the kids were little that involved us going to church and me going to a weekly Bible study group.  The kids just came along and fitted in with that.

But now we have kids in two different youth groups - on different nights of the week and a third night out with a small group Bible study for the high schooler.  We are so knackered from driving them around to all their other activities (that I've paid money for so I feel quite motivated about getting them to those things) that it can feel easy to say 'oh, let's just have a break from all that for this week'.

So easy to do, but hugely important t…

Chilling out after a hard week at Kindy

Through experience we've worked out that the first term of kindy is pretty tiring and the child starting school needs lots of time at home.  This is mainly so that they can have lots of downtime, to relax mentally and recover from coping with lots of new rules, relationships and structures.  This means that we're reluctant to pack in loads of after school playdates, even though it's probably the time to be doing them (in terms of new friendships etc).

This is what our little girl has been doing for the past fortnight in her spare time.  Teaching imaginary classes, marking rolls, reading them books, disciplining them, getting them to line up.  Here she is teaching her 'class' a new song.  It is quite interesting to watch -we've learnt a lot about what's going on in the classroom.  As well as who the naughty kids are - their names get repeated often!

Kids and success

As you may have picked up I'm normally pretty relaxed about my kid's education.  This came home to me this week as I chatted to a first time mum about an assessment program for kindergarten that they use in NSW schools called 'Best Start'.  Only my younger two have had to go through this program.  Chatting to this mum she told me that she had been practicing with her son for the test.  Her son attends a different school to mine and they were told during the orientation program what they would need to do for the test.  I actually had little idea what the test actually entails and plus, I never knew it was a 'test'.  I thought it was a strategy for assessing kids to see if they had particular special needs that the school needed to address - at either end of the spectrum.

In this kind of a 'test', average is a good outcome.  I like average.  I know that many people who read this blog are struggling with issues at either end of the spectrum.  It is hard w…

My day off

Today is my day off.  Here's how it went down peeps.

Went to the gym at 5:30 am, ran, puffed and sweated but felt a lot calmer as a result.

Got home and drove eldest child to his 7:30am orchestra rehearsal at school.

Home, breakfast, filled in the week's school notes, wrote the cheques for school and wrote the shopping list of school supplies needed.  Back out at 8:10 to drop child #3 at school early.

At 8:20 am commence piano practice with #5 child.  At 8:45 am commence dressing myself, the #5 and #4 children.  At 8:48, freak out and madly run around repeating 'hurry up' (makes no difference).  At 8:53 am leave to walk to school and it of course starts raining one minute down the street.

Chat to a friend at school for 10 minutes, get a lift with another friend to the Kindy mums' morning tea at a local cafe.

Nice morning meeting some of the new mums at school and survived the eventual, 'O, five, wow' conversation that comes up (I do avoid it for as long …

National Year of Reading

I'm duty bound to give this public announcement.  But it's also very cool.

It's the National Year of Reading in Australia in 2012.  Why?  The Australian Library Association told us so.  Well, it's actually because research shows that 47% of Australians don't have the literacy level required to fill in a basic form properly.  This is a push to get Australians reading.  The base line goal is to get people reading an hour a week.  Seems sooo low to me, but obviously I like reading a lot.

So get reading and check out what your public library is doing for it.  Might be (vaguely) fun (in a library kind of a way).

Soo much better ...

Today was just a much better day.  Very thankful.  Actually got somewhere at work. Feel like I have some clue what I'm doing.  What a relief.

And I got to spend an hour this afternoon reading the first Harry Potter to my 7 year old who is (finally) getting into books.  Bliss.

New year, new classes, same old conversation ...

So the kids get their new classes.  I'm obviously a bit distracted because of like, my own life and all.  So I think I might come across as a bit mean here, but really, I haven't given it a second thought.  But this is not the case for many who I have spoken to over the last few days.  A lot of energy is expended as parents at this time of the year.

Here's what I think.
Is the kid happy?  Yes.  Cool.
Is the kid unhappy?  Yes.  Be sympathetic and talk about how you're going to make the best of it.
Still unhappy?  Give them cuddles and chocolate biscuits.
Still unhappy?  Take a deep breath - you're going to be having a lot of chats this year.
Stillll unhappy (five weeks into term)?  Sure, speak to the principal.  But just give it some time and give your child a chance to make a go of it.

Embrace vagueness and relief that you don't have to front up to school to deal with it all each day and it will leave you the energy you'll need for your empathy and c…

Hello neglected blog

O dear.  Hello to my friend the neglected blog.  Like many other things in my life that are being neglected at the moment.  My family, friends, toilet cleaning, washing folding, exercise, sleep, cooking - and the list goes on.

I'm stuck in that place where I don't quite know what I'm doing with my new job (although each day I feel that I inch a little closer to having a concept of what my days will look like) and don't have any energy left for much else.  Not my favourite place.  It is quite tiring looking slightly like a bit of a twit for large periods of the working day.

I have worked out that it is possible to outsource a lot of things in life though.  Cleaning.  Shopping.  Childcare. Gardening.  Car washing.  But you can't outsource relationships or exercise.  They seem to actually involve me.  I guess I'll just gradually get fatter and lonelier.

But I'm ever the optimist so I'm sure it will get better.  Although wondering exactly how many weeks a…