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.


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...

Friday, January 30, 2015


Honestly, I just meant to scrape off a patch of this yucky blistering paint, sand it and slap on a bit of touch-up paint. 


How was I supposed to know the paint would scrape off in queen-size sheets? 

Well ok: this part of the house is about a hundred years old-yes perhaps I should have factored that into my timeline.

This is a serious lesson in What NOT to start before your guests arrive.

I haven’t been this ‘nesty’ since I was pregnant, but I am a little prone to using visitors as an excuse to jump-start the odd renovation.

This time it was bugging me that I didn’t get the damp peeling paint fixed in the guest room so the minute my friends popped out for a quick road-trip, I found hunting for drop sheets.

Whilst cooking breakfast: ‘I’ll just pour out this one, then run out to the shed..’

'La-de-da; A woman's work is never done': flipping apricot pancakes between running to the shed to retrieve drop- sheets.  I can’t honestly recommend making Apricot cinnamon jam and pancakes and renovating simultaneously.

<Gaaah I only have one drop sheet left>. 

For starters, if you’re filling plaster holes you may find out the hard way, that cornice cement (THE absolute best thing for filling damp walls) looks remarkably like pancake batter. 

Pancake batter is runnier actually.
Or it should be; my first batch of cornice cement oozes out of the hole and down the wall.  Maybe that was the pancake batter after all…

After my ‘little scrape at the bubbling paint...

...turned into two walls looking like those of a rustic (read, falling down) Tuscan villa;  I realised I was past the point of no return. 

With house guests returning in just twelve hours, I have bare odd coloured, damp walls surrounding  their bed. In fact one of them is, inexplicably, green. ?? 

(I later read online that the green is a type of ancient plaster/render/stuff walls used to be coated in)

I’m sort of hoping if I don’t manage to clear up this mess, maybe excellent freshly made Jam and pancake batter will compensate my returning friends for the diminished state of their accommodation?  ‘Damn- the jam is ready to go into a jar & the only spatula I can find is attached to a Selley's Spakfilla tub :0/There are filler-free spatulas in here somewhere..’

There ARE spatulas in this drawer, I know it.
 After I finish making my darling girl breakfast and depositing the jam and batter (pretty sure it’s the pancake batter) into the fridge (in separate, appropriate clean containers)  I go back to clearing the guest room and laying drop sheets. During this process, I notice that the guest room curtains are very dusty: ‘I must wash them immediately!’

I’m poking a screw driver into what WAS a filled hole in the wall, now it’s oozing wet filler like puss from a giant pimple and like any pimple squeezed, it’s growing larger and angrier by the minute.
So I call my big brother – an expert on painting and decorating and all things oozing and he gives me, in his soothing and chuckling manner, a shopping list for the hardware store.

After filling scraping and sanding as if my life depended on it – not to mention hanging curtains on the line, I start painting on a product called Zinsser Watertight.   
I read product reviews on-line while I was waiting for the cornice adheasive to set in the holes; this product can be painted on wet basement brickwork and still stop the water coming through! Ok, so what’s a bit of rising damp and blistering paint to a product like that?
Come back and ask me in a year.

With the first coat of waterproofing paint on (I need two) apparently I can’t re-coat for another four hours - they’re arriving in about six hours. Even I'm not that crazy..

There's a smile under that mask :0)

At least the room looks decent, sort of, but considering I need another coat of water proofer and then normal interior paint, this will be a work in progress for sure. 

I think I might try and finish it before someone else books the room.