When we were pregnant with our second child, I recall having a discussion with my supportive husband as to whether we find out the sex of our baby (I’ll save that discussion to blog about for another day). We found out we were to be blessed with another boy and we were/are really happy.
It does mean that I am the ‘only girl’ in the house and they are lucky that I am not a girly girl. It also means loads of BOY stuff. We have bikes, cricket sets, skateboards, footballs, cars, trains (which I might add are also suitable for girls!)…the list goes on.
It also means that sometimes our living room/lounge is transformed into a sort of workshop. Take operation puncture repair above.
We were our riding in the muddy fields today, our youngest son’s bike found massive thorn and his tyre was completely flat. We had fun giving him lifts on our grown up bikes or swapping with his older brother at times in order for us to get back home. Whilst I am super supportive of all things boys, being a girl means I get confused as to how the lounge is a good place to repair a puncture?
There is a garage, kitchen, bathroom or even garden…but nope the lounge appears to be the most logical place for the repair to be undertaken. Granted – credit where credit is due – they have put something down to protect the carpet, but really?!?! The lounge?
My supportive husband has a saying when women do things he doesn’t understand. He shakes his head and mumbles ‘Women – odd’ and it appears to help him get over his confusion. I, on the other hand, don’t. Love our boys to bits but will have to let them all know that the lounge is off limits as a workshop!
I know it’s tough for a lot of teens out there, in that they all get tagged with the same attitudes and behaviours of the minority. When, mostly in my experience, they are quite a good bunch of people and I think when we do see them navigating the world of growing up and doing the right thing that they should be praised.
I was guilty over the weekend of pre-judging some teens at a local fair. The one had tried his luck to push in front of our children in a queue and when my supportive husband said ‘I think not’, this early teenager knew he had been rumbled and went back to his spot behind us and mumbled what I had heard sounded like an F-bomb. When I mentioned to him that I didn’t think swearing was a good idea he looked at me pained and insisted that he hadn’t sworn. I apologised and said ‘ I still don’t think swearing is a good idea’.
My supportive husband then turned around and reminded them that one of them had had a good idea minutes before as he had mentioned to the others that they shouldn’t swear in front of children. I commented that I thought that was a brilliant idea. The teen who had earlier been ‘accused’ of swearing then looked at me and said ‘Well, I can swear if I want to’. To which I replied, ‘ You can, but I still don’t think that is a good idea!’. I don’t think I would have been so brave had my supportive husband not been standing next to me!
I then heard his friend ( teen that had actually said to not swear) say ‘We shouldn’t swear as then the children will think it’s ok and go to school and swear and then get themselves into trouble’.
My jaw almost fell out and I suddenly felt a mixture of being ashamed of myself for tarnishing them with the teen brush and also a wave of warmth in my heart for him. He hadn’t been afraid to tell them all what he thought and it may not have even been cool for him but he did. The others looked at him and nodded. What I really wanted to do was give him a hug and ask him to point me in the direction of his mum to tell her what a fabulous kid he was – but think that may have a very uncool move to make on his behalf.
I have told this story to a couple of friends and I can’t stop thinking about the encounter. I have also had a few words with myself and reminded myself that I was a teen once…
You would usually think that a 4 year old may make you a little crazy and that 2 4 year olds was a bit nuts and agreeing to look after 3 4 year olds at once would send me in search of the gin!
I have to say – it doesn’t and I look forward to the days when our son’s 2 friends come over for a play date. This past Wednesday we headed off in search of fun at Duxford Imperial War Museum as the sun was shining.
We were spoilt on arrival with a jet doing some aerobatics and the boys just squealed with delight! It was such a joy to watch their excitement and enthusiasm. What completely made my day was that each one of them went in search of these tiny daisy flowers (yes weeds to most) …they came up to me and asked me to close my eyes and gently placed a flower in the palm of my hand and then asked me to open my eyes.
Their faces were smiling and waiting in anticipation for my reaction and it was a priviledge that they chosen me to give their little gifts to. They would then run off and go in search of another one.
To some these are mere weeds but to me they were in a moment in time and so beautiful. I hope to remind them one day of how thoughtful, kind and complete gentlemen (yes age 4) they were.
Just before we left, the jet went back up and put on another display. One of the boys asked me why and I told him it was just for us. He again asked why and I said because we are so special. His face lit up again and with a big smile he said ‘ Just for us!’ and then ran off to tell the other 2 that it was doing tricks just for them.
Honoured that it was me that day.
For those of you who had a guess on Would you let your child play with this? – here is the correct answer and full image.
Whilst on holiday, we were out walking along the sand dunes and came upon a whole lot of gorgeous shells…then some fishing line…and narrowly missed standing on an extemely sharp, new knife (not the one in the image). It was a chilling experience and seconds before I found it, the kids had walked within millimetres of it and I dread to think how the outcome would have been had they stood or fallen on it. I found a safe spot to dispose of the said knife.
The next day, once we were over that incident and had shown the kids to keep an eye out, we were back on the beach and I was putting the beach towels up when our 4 year old piped up ‘Look what I found! Another one!’ A bit confused as to what he was trying to tell me – he brought his little hand up and in it was the knife above.
This time – there was the initial chill that went through my body after the shock of making sure he hadn’t cut himself and then confusion and then pure anger! The questions racing through my mind :
- How on earth did he get his hands on it?
- How had I missed it?
- How can fishermen be so careless and selfish? (with silent swear words in amongst those I spose I should add)
- How many more knives?
And plenty more. He answered very casually that it was right next to my foot where I had stepped back to start setting the towels up. No he hadn’t touched it the sharp side.
As you can see – it must have washed up on the overnight tide as it is pretty rusty. I also think it was probably a good thing that we had shown them the one from the previous day and thankful that we hadn’t stood on it whilst jumping in the waves where we would never have seen it.
I have cropped this image and thought you may like to have a guess or 2 as to what it might be and if it is something you would like your child to pick up and play with …or not?
Check back for the full image and answers – but in the mean time – happy guessing!
I am all for mums supporting one another and think we give each other a hard time more often than not but (yes there is a but!)…some times we honestly deserve it! Controversial statement I know but here comes an exampe that makes me feel all sorts of angry!
The other day my husband flew over to join the boys and I on our holiday. He isn’t the type to comment on things but he said that there were 2 mums that boarded his 11 hour flight with a child each who were about 8-10 years old. He couldn’t believe it when the mums left their children to sit next to each other on 2 seats and went to sit together about 20 rows behind – as in NOWHERE NEAR their children.
The one child asked for their mom on take off but the air hostess didn’t know who they were and on landing the one child was sick and a kind 20-something-year-old man, who had nothing to do with these children, helped the child.
Some may say that the mums were very clever in how they managed to get their children looked after by complete strangers. I, on the other hand, was appalled at the story! Who does that?!?!?! or am I on another planet?
Have I told you before how much I HATE snakes? Well if I haven’t, now you know. Would you like to know what the snake in the photo is called? Yes? It’s a Boomslang (direct translation is a Tree Snake and is one of the most poisonous snakes in South Africa).
Big deal – someone is holding this one you say…This is a very brave snake man as I like to call him. He comes to the call of help to remove snakes and relocate them to a place where they won’t cause harm to people or come to harm themselves.
The problem is…my parents have another very large and dangerous snake that has decided to live in their garden called a Black Mamba and it is 2.5m long. They are both on the top 10 most dangerous snakes in the world and the Black Mamba has not been caught…yet.
So – with having our 2 boys about who are not snake wise and me being completely petrified of any snakes is not helping. I haven’t really told the boys about either snake but I can tell you that I am relieved we are staying somewhere else near the beach where I don’t have to worry about sleeping at night in case a snake decides to make a visit!
I am really grateful to the snake man – there are a few of them in South Africa who risk their lives to relocate them and they are unsung heroes. Both these snakes are not legally allowed to be killed as they are protected species. To them I say THANK YOU!
Formal in the classroom learning versus applied hands on out and about learning…What has a log den got to with learning you ask?
I had a head teacher (many moons ago) who had a major impact on the children who went to his school. He was very much an out of the classroom learning kind of guy. Any chance he could find to get kids hands on to learn he took. Yes, there was formal learning taking place in our classroom, but very often this was reinforced by the activities he provided. We had little remote control boats that we could use on the swimming pool. Without realising, we were learning about rotation, angles, bouyancy (and gravity when they sank) etc. and having so much fun doing it.
He ensured that the playground had hand tennis squares painted on the tarmac, which meant as long as you had some type of a ball and one other player, you could be active at the same time as learning to count, plan game tactics etc.
He then moved schools at some point and took a lot of flack from the new school parents who thought the children were not in the classroom enough and frowned upon the idea that they were learning outside the classroom. I don’t know where he is now, but I do know that the pressure on him was too much and that school lost a font of knowledge who had a way with children that was the best I have ever encountered. It was a priviledge to have had him as a head teacher.
Formal classroom learning is clearly a requirement (a traditional requirement but a requirement none the less) for children to acquire new knowledge. But (yes I started my sentence with BUT), how will you truly know that the newly acquired knowlegde can be applied in real life situations if they are not provided.
Back to answering my log den question – we used the log den to re-enact ‘the Gruffalo’ story as well as ‘We’re going on a Bear Hunt’ and whilst exploring the den that someone else had built we chatted about the little eco-system of bugs and animals that it provided. No, this was not on a school outing but is an example of learning outside. (It’s always the simple things that make life so much fun!)
I also remember another teacher always asking us how we think we will use whatever it was she was teaching us. We would sit there in silence and she would then say ‘Well it’s pointless learning something you think you are never going to use!’ and then launch into a number of every day tasks we were peforming without knowing we were putting her lesson into practice already.
The debate about learning outside of a formal classroom setting will always continue and I can see the benefits of applied and formal learning.
Ah…the scene with the relaxing chairs is how you feel when you have had a busy day or few hours and think ‘I’lll just make a cup of tea/coffee and sit down for a couple of minutes’ only to be shattered by the hear of ‘Mooooooooom!’ just as you are about to sit your posterior down on the comfy chair.
I love our boys to bits, but somehow (and I think my supportive husband knows the answer to this)…somehow, they know the precise moment when you are about to sit down and they aren’t in the room!
I say my supportive husband knows this as apparently I do the very same thing to him hahaha! Karma hey! Now that I realise my ways – I will try and catch him before I see him moving towards a chair but am still not 100% on my timing to stop him from starting to sit down before I ask him to do another chore or help with something. He is very patient and secretly knows that the boys have probably learnt their art of not letting me sit down from me!
More importantly, is that mentally, I have thought as I make my cup of coffee that the boys are settled doing whatever is keeping them busy that I shall be able to enjoy it whilst it is still hot! Oh well…it won’t be long before I can get them to make it for me!
It’s taken me a while to realise that we have a son who will eat almost anything (except avocados but loves olives) and a son who has a sweet tooth and doesn’t require as much food in one sitting but many larger snacks throughout the day(apparently…unless it is sweets). Our youngest son can take over an hour to eat his breakfast some days and other days he is like an F1 racer and it’s gone within 10 minutes.
The usual meal time routine is :
- Me : Come on – eat up
- Him : I’m tired
- Me : Oh dear – too tired for pudding then
- Him : No! (and has another mouthful) – I need the toilet
- Me : No you don’t – that’s just excuses
- Me : thinks to myself – I wonder if he really does and then we have an accident to clean up ..argh
- Me : Ok – go but be quick
- Him : Takes his time on the loo and finally comes back
- Me : Your brother may be excused as he finished 20 minutes ago and has patiently been waiting.
- Finally we get to the end of the meal
Sound familiar? I try and use all the tactics but…sometimes think our youngest son is perhaps someone who prefers to graze and this would be more productive. He appears to have a fast metabolism as has no extra fat on him. I also know most of his tactics because I used to use them as a child on my own mum…
So, I have tried the more snacks during the day with no real time limit and it appears to work. I now do this on the odd occasion as I also can’t have a child who doesn’t have a ‘meal routine’ for when he is in school full time and there is only a certain amount of time to eat.
I’ll be interested to see how he gets on as he grows…Do you have a child/children like this?