Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Imperfect Parent


She-who-no- longer-worships-Pink-In-favour-Of-Animal-Prints (lets just call her Little Cheetah because that's her latest animal and fashion obsession) has decided that Mummy needs a reward chart; to keep her on track in this parenting gig.

I am breaking rule after rule, making a multitude of rookie mistakes and well, generally behaving (especially around bed-time) more like the teenage babysitter than the mummy person.

And the films I watch with her; the M rated films!  Yes it's true. As long as there's no blood, gore dismembering or gratuitous swearing or sex scenes, she's watching them with me:
Thor 1&2, The Avengers (she's a big fan of The Hulk), Suddenly 30, While You Were Sleeping, and tonight we watched Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.

So I am to make a reward chart like hers, with sad faces for crimes such as -
- leaving her school bag at home,
- hitting her in the head with the hair,
- pulling too hard brushing her hair
- and tonight's crime: exciting the child right before bed.

We'd just finished watching Lindsay Lohan in Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen and she was dancing around the living room. I had this sudden urge to show her what real dancing was.

I turned  the final dance scene of Dirty Dancing;.  I gave her a quick background about the 17-y-o girl who'd been taught to dance by the nice boy everyone though was a not nice boy and how they had fallen in love but never could execute "the lift" even with lots of practice.

So at five minutes to bed-time we've created a dance party and even the orange dog has joined in.  We shrieked, we sang along, we cheered when they made the perfect "lift". We had a ball, and my girl was so excited that after all their mistakes and trying that they got it in the end.

As we cought our breath, I explained the my Little Cheetah the basic rule of parenting; how parents are not supposed to over-excite their children before bed. Calm bed-time routine etcetera, etcetera.
She grinned at me and said "Oh-oh!"

So then we came up with the idea of a reward chart for me.

<sigh> In fairness, I'm getting better at getting her to school on time (even if I have to make a rare trip home for the school bag and sneak it onto her peg while she's in class) the lunch box is packed and she has shiny polished shoes and some sort of hair-do every day.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Persona non grata




  

“In a show of our good manners and breeding we are extending you a  dinner invitation (albeit indirectly and as an after-thought).  

Really hoping you can’t make it… “


When I found out that the dinner invitation to Eurostars’ wasn't even firsthand but came through our friends who were coming to stay with us.  :0/  We decided we were busy that night.
(Had a pile of shoelaces to shampoo actually)

Who asks someone over for dinner who lives under 20klm away via a family in Europe?? Is it just me or does that just scream of "oh well I guess we're obliged to include you, but maybe you'll get the message anyway and NOT accept..."

Both Mr Frenchie and I had worked with the husband over several years and two continents and we kept in touch. We all travelled out to Australia around the same time, and I’d welcomed her to Sydney with open arms, genuine sympathy and a much needed ear; it was such a culture shock for this princess; the transition from Holland Park London to Malooloobah Queensland. But despite the friendly support, seems I will always remain persona non-grata to Princess Eurostar.

Then some more ex-colleagues came down under for a visit, and the Euro Stars wanted to have them to dinner at the mansion.  So they were invited.
But ‘Awkward Much?’ The dinner party would be during their stay with us and after a heavily pregnant pause, eventually it was extended to include ourselves.
It didn’t come directly, but through our visiting colleagues after they’d been staying a week. Kind of a case of;  ‘oh why not ask those two if they can make it as well.’

Why not indeed. Like I said; many dirty shoelaces to attend to.

Well the last time I’d seen Princess Eurostar it was at another ex-collegue’s cocktail party. She was making sociable noises in my direction that night.

That is until I found myself in a Mr Darcy eavesdrops on Mrs Bennet moment.

Someone had asked me how my book was going and I ended up in an animated discussion with the hostess about my writers block of the moment; which happened to be my difficulties with writing sex-scenes.

Euro-princess dropped her mask on the floor; her beatific smile turned to a look of someone whose Louboutins  have just sunk into a steaming pile of dog poo, and she shot off like a racing greyhound.
(she's certainly built for it)

And while the hostess and I really bonded (and I got some great sexpirational  tips from the saucy minx) Eurostar kept her distance the rest of the night has continued giving me a wide berth ever since.

I am the social equivalent of a steaming pile of dog pooh, apparently.  That's Cool.

________________________________________________________________


This clip is for all the lovely genuine and supportive friends I’ve made and kept not just from my years in Europe but also since my arrival down under, who still like me very much  just as I am. 
And that setniment runs both ways xx






Thursday, March 26, 2015

mummy's fall back


No it's not using Gags -I'm talking about the old Jo Frost Super Nanny reward chart.

Rewards Program is still one of my most popular pages, I do keep adding reward charts and elements for you to make your own, and this week I've added a couple more.

At home here we are struggling with Homework: not doing it; grizzling about it; and often throwing tantrums because of it.  It seems the novelty of Big School has worn off by Year 2 and now every thing's just a drag.

But aside from a chronic homework reluctance my small person still cant get a handle on letting me use the phone in peace.
I still can't turn on the taps in the shower without being summoned from down stairs by hysterical yelling about oh so very urgent matters like "Mummy! April wont let me pat her - it's not fair! Bad CAT!!"
I'm expected to jump out of the shower, trail water all over the carpet, come down stairs in a bathrobe thinking the kitchen's on fire or something only to have to tell her;" it's nothing personal-don't get upset" and "pat the dog instead." and "please stop screaming while I'm in the shower!"

So out come the reward charts again...

and I'm blue-tacking them high enough that little hands can't modify the results. Yes I've experienced a the odd experiment in cheating.

The one above has sad faces that get coloured-in after tantrums, cheek or serious bouts of mutiny. These have to be covered with good behaviour stickers before the chart is completed and the negotiated reward is due.

These charts work like magic for me; I hope you have the same results. And as always, let me know any behavioural problems you may be struggling with and I'll attempt to illustrate them for you. Likewise if youre a Dad I would be happy to draw some Daddy versions.

cheers.
Suzy




Monday, March 23, 2015

The Tooth, the Whole Tooth and nothing but the TOOTH!



Is it more important to 'Keep It Real' with our kids, on all levels? Or is it a healthy part of growing up and developing emotional intelligence to foster a little 'make-believe'?

Hmmm. <thoughtful look on face>

In my previous rant I talked about the difficulties I've had in managing conflictual information She-Who-No-Longer-Worships-Pink has been given through her peers and their parents or siblings.

If you read that, you'd have to be wondering what I told her about the tooth fairy, without calling her bestie’s Dad a liar-liar pants on fire?

If you didn’t, first of all; SHAME ON YOU!! Secondly I'll be generous enough to give you a brief re-cap: 

" ..her best friend told her that her father said the tooth fairy wasn’t real. She'd only just lost her first tooth and was still in raptures over the teeny-tiny letter she found with a coin under her pillow. Then her best friend’s dad comes over all; ‘let’s stick to facts-kiddo’ Pinkster was so upset she was hyperventilating through her tears to the point, I thought I might have to give her some Ventolin.

But I sat her in my lap and calmed her down a bit and I said "sweetie, very few people believe in fairies and that's a bit sad." I explained to her, If you don’t believe in something it becomes pretty hard to see it - especially since you don’t even look. And I agreed her besties parent’s must put the money under her pillow precisely because they didn’t believe the fairy would come. I suppose a fairy seeing money already under the pillow would just think another fairy got mixed up on her route and did one of hers. (She-Who-No-Longer-Worships-Pink loved that idea – fairies schedules getting mixed up)

I told her there are lots of things lots of people believe in that no-one has never seen; Like angles and miracles. I was about to mention God, Allah, Jehovah etc. then pulled myself up short of a long discussion on theology.

So I said it’s perfectly alright to have your own beliefs about mystical things and you don’t have to accept other peoples beliefs. Or challenge them.

Then I sat her down to watch Fairy Tale-a True Story. Now her imagination is thankfully, fully restored and she still sees wonder in Santa Clause and believes in Angels.

She asked me if I really believe in fairies. And I think I do. (especially after watching that film – which is based on a true story) By my own arguments who’s to say they’re not real because we haven’t witnessed them ourselves? There are many species we’re still discovering and the tiny ones are usually the most defensive, well camouflaged and therefore hardest to see.   Maybe they just need a bit of help with the logistics of coin/tooth exchanging and note writing.

  But Don’t Take my word for it..


I’ve already done some research previously about the importance of imagination and fantasy in children’s’ cognitive development, but If you would like to read something more serious (written by a more credible individual than yours truly ) with this Wall Street Journal article: 'The Power of Magical Thinking'
I hit pay-dirt. And it specifically mentions the tooth fairy.

“It is important but not necessary for parents to encourage fantasy play in their children, says Dr. Woolley. If the child already has an imaginary friend, for instance, parents should follow their children's lead and offer encouragement if they are comfortable doing so, she says. Similarly, with Santa, if a child seems excited by the idea, parents can encourage it.” Jacqueline Woolley, Psychologist and professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Well thanks a bunch Dr Wooley, always nice to have confirmation from an expert that you’re not stuffing up right royally as a parent.

So what other potential parental failing can I obsess over now?







toothless girl - image credit 





Monday, March 16, 2015

Birds Bees and Tooth Fairies



Why do they call it The Birds and The Bees? I’ve always  wondered ; must Google it sometime. 

Anyway my little precious; She-Who-No-Longer-Worships-Pink also no longer worships boys.   
Not that she actually worshiped them exactly, but she did have a couple of crushes on a couple of boys in Kindy and Year1.

But not now. “Not ever” she says.

Beyond our own changed family situation I think it’s a whole bunch of influences: First there was Jon Smith dumping Pocahontas (after she saved his arse) as soon as their relationship got geographically challenging. Then when she became convenient again; suddenly it’s all about him and his ambitions..

Then there’s Thor telling Jane Foster, 'I’ll just be back in a jiffy', before immediately destroying the Bi-frost and going AWOL for two years.

Finally there’s the whole Frozen scandal, where Ana’s fiancĂ©e, who turns out only proposed as a social climbing exercise, tries to murder both her and her sister. 

So now when any boy shows my girl attention, she says she will "fart in his general direction!" She is a huge fan of Monty Python humour; but she’s deadly serious about weaponising her farts as a male deterrent.

She announced the other day that she never wants to have children too. 
I asked her why and she said "nappies, and wiping poohey bottoms - Eeeeeyeeewww".  Clearly I’ve voiced way too much on this topic in my attempts to encourage her to wipe her own after number twos. 
Then she flawed me with this:

“And I don’t want to squeeze a baby out of my bottom either!’

Who told her that?!! 
It wasn’t me. 
I didn’t, in fact, squeeze her out of my anything because of a medical emergency so I’m certainly no expert in that area. Ask me about Epidurals then I’m your gal.

I did tell her baby’s grow in mummy’s tummies and that’s a wonderful thing; talking to them, feeling them grow, dance about and throw punches. Pinkster loves my stories about when she lived in my tummy and how much dancing she did in there.
But when she asked how she got out of my tummy, I told her; ‘when it’s time for a baby to be born, you go to hospital and the baby Doctor gets your baby out'. We are on a need-to-know basis here.

But apparently it was someone at school who brought up the Squeezing out of Bottom thing. 

This is something I’ve come to realise, especially after the whole tooth fairy, Santa thing – that each parent tells their kids a bit more, a bit less and sometimes something completely different. 

She-Who-No-Longer-Worships-Pink was in tears the first time her best friend told her that her father said the tooth fairy wasn’t real. She'd only just lost her first tooth and was still in raptures over the teeny-tiny letter she found with a coin under her pillow. Then her best friend’s dad comes over all; ‘let’s stick to facts-kiddo’, and I’m left dealing with the fall-out.

Sometimes I guess 'other parents' give their older children age appropriate information that is duly passed on to younger siblings with quite a bit less discernment for the age appropriateness of the content.  What can you do?
I’m comfortable with what I tell Pinkster, I’m not saying I’m right or wrong, just comfortable that I’ve sought and been given good advice from books and psychologists.

I was a year older than she was before I was told that babies grow from a seed inside their mummies tummies. That  satisfied my curiosity and held off more tricky questions until I was in my teens. Kids are more with-it these days with more access to information; exposed through various media to more adult themes. 
Like Monty Python? Or Thor? Oops.  But I still say Disney movies and characters peddle more adult themes than Marvel or John Cleese any day. 

Incidentally I don’t let her watch Holy Grail in its entirety, she’s just mad about The Knights Who Say Ni demanding a shrubbery. Another favourite  is the castle of Frenchies who mercilessly pelt king Arthur and his knights with Livestock. 

But speaking of Adult Themes; Dr Phil has some very good advice on age appropriate discussions about the Birds And the Bees. 

As for relationships, I don’t think I’ll encourage or even pursue She-Who-No-Longer-Worships-Pink ’s aversion to boyfriends at this age. 
I’m ok that she’s not boy-crazy and I’m certain ‘that’ will come and so far she seems to be sussing out the situation just fine on her own.

You may be wondering what I told her about the tooth fairy, without calling her bestie’s Dad a liar-liar pants on fire?   I dont want to leave you hanging, but that's one for next week.


Joining the linky...