Saturday, May 20, 2006

Why did I wait?

Wow - I love this blog! Her first child was born the same year as mine. If only we'd worked just a little harder at it, we could've had a set of seven by now too!
The Big Yellow House

Instead, we'll just have to work hard to catch up ;).

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Interior design gene...

Oh, that's cute! Bubs spent her sleep time today arranging her soft toys. She didn't get that gene from her maternal lineage! Posted by Picasa

Paint and Play

Bubs and I went to Paint and Play this morning. Poor thing had a bad night's sleep, so I was grumpy and she was miserable and grumpy.

I had been thinking that it was good for me to get out and about so that Bubs could interact with other children and I could interact with other adults.

Today it just didn't work. I met my friend, Michelle, and her beautiful little girl, who is about 6 months older than Bubs. It drove me crazy that her baby was picking up foam numbers from the giant puzzle and naming them! I felt so inadequate with my little darling who doesn't even speak yet. All that playing classical music, reading stories and restricting TV appears to have done nothing, because little Bronte spends hours in a playpen watching Nic Junior and is streets ahead of Bubs developmentally.

And it drives me crazy that that drives me crazy. I thought I was doing so well being non-competitive and comparitive with Bubs! I think it's easier to be happy with a non-intellectual toddler when the toddler is happy and content. When she's demanding and grizzly, I feel as though she should show a little intellect to compensate.

But I think I'm also feeling angry with her because I feel insecure about her safety - in the past few days she's been incredibly defiant about holding my hand in public, and has shown a complete disregard for traffic and other dangers. And the healthy eating thing has come to a complete halt - today she emptied her fruit cup out onto the ground so she could pick out the sultanas and ignore the rest. Posted by Picasa

Domestic appliances

Is it just me, or do all roombas have a wicked sense of humour?

Roomba #1 used to finish up hiding under our tallboy far more often than could be coincidental. He'd lie there blinking until I went to bed and noticed the strange glow. Now Roomba #2 has *completely* disappeared on me! mad.gif Five bedrooms, a hallway, three bathrooms and a laundry - he's got to be there somewhere but darned if I can find him...

...and I want him *working* while I take Bubs to Paint & Play ! He should be charging himself, not hiding under furniture...

...not that I'm in a tetchy mood or anything after failing to successfully juggle a whining toddler and a glass jar half-full of sticky stuff with the lid left half off so it slipped out of my hand and the non-sticky glass spread to the four corners of the room while the sticky stuff, well, stuck... blush.gif

...and looking for a lost roomba is a lot easier without a grizzly toddler velcroed to the hip.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mother's Day 2006

...was terrific! It's going to be hard for them to top this one :).

I wasn't expecting a good night's sleep, because Bubs had been sick, but I wasn't expecting the Ginger Ninja to arrive in our room shortly after midnight with a cyclist's rash in a place so embarrassing only dh could give you directions. A couple of wakes from Bubs before we were joined by Briar Rose with a bad dream.

Actually, I was expecting her - she was sooooo excited about all my presents she was planning to be in bed with me pre-dawn. I did make a case for letting sleeping mothers lie, but I could tell I wasn't convincing enough.

At any rate, I was almost sad that Possum didn't make an entrance early so that I could claim a full family's worth of Mother's Day greetings pre-dawn. Almost sad.

The presents were wonderful - and a complete surprise. Briar Rose had bought a lavendar bath scrubby thing from the school stall. Possum and Ginger Ninja had bought thoughtful treats from Oxfam. But the best of all was a new handbag sized camera from dh! A complete and utter surprise, but something I would have really wanted had I realised it was an option - can't do better than that!

We headed out to the new mega-hardware for the free kids' kitemaking workshop, that only Briar Rose enjoyed (such activities being beneath 10 and 12yo boys), and dh and I bought more than enough to keep subsidising the free kids' activities. The hardware has a kids playground inside - how civilised is that?

Due to a sudden seasonal influx of leaves, I bought a very generously sized compost bin and spent the rest of the afternoon trying to fill it. I should note that Briar Rose surprised and impressed me with her willingness and ability to hop inside the bin to assemble the 16 odd screws that needed screwing! I hadn't realised my almost-baby was big enough to do semi-serious construction work!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Thin-sliced thinking...

I read Blink : The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell, last night (I had nothing else to do as Dh unexpectedly whisked the Ginger Ninja and Possum out to a late session of Mission Impossible 3 after Possum played a rather exciting basketball match).

It was a good solid read :). It turns out that facial expression is an incredibly powerful communicative tool - autistic people can't read facial expressions, and people who are good at reading faces can make very quick accurate judgements about the people they're looking at. There was also mention made of signals experts who can identify other operator's morse code signals in a few seconds. So - where's the aural component? What about people who have a highly developed aural sense? Is there an equivalent universal "aural" language?

This is of personal interest to me - my myopia means that if I'm not wearing my glasses, I'm going to miss a lot of facial expressions and hence be socially as well as visually impaired.

Gladwell proposes that many significant decisions can be made in "thin slices" using much less information than is actually available - information overload can prevent effective decision making. The trick is to identify the most effective information for a given situation and then to give yourself enough time in the right state of mind to assess that information. Sounds sensible, eh?

Bubs is home sick today with a cold and fever, so Dh has had to take the older three off for a belated 12th birthday party for the Ginger Ninja. We've booked ten computers at a local LAN cafe so they can counterstrike each other to their hearts' content. I wasn't sure if Briar Rose should be playing M rated games with her big brothers, but when Possum said ever so sincerely "But, Mum, she's a really talented first person shooter" I couldn't resist the thought of all three of them venturing through cyberspace together...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Psssst - wanna hear a secret?

We're hoping to start baking another baby later this year! Woohoo - I'm so excited I could burst! I hate delayed gratification, but I also much prefer having a child on the older end of the school year, so I'm just going to make this feel like one looooong pregnancy!

Today was a typically hectic day - big kids to school, playgroup with Bubs, lunch with Michael, home for Bub's sleep, out to pick up Possum and Briar Rose, home for changing and snacks, into the car to drop Possum at district basketball try-outs, Briar Rose to basketball training, Bubs and I to the supermarket, then back to collect Briar Rose, then home to check that Ginger Ninja's homework and practice have been finished while we were out. Then dinner - of course, my 3rd or 4th stick blender for the year chose tonight to die, leaving me attempting to blend tomato, spinach and lentil soup in the blender - with a resulting enormous mess cause by boiling hot soup bursting at high velocity against the tiles and windows. Ugh.

Set the table and attempted to arrange freshly bathed children decoratively around the edges, but had to leave to put Bubs to bed. Returned in time to have soup en famille, before serving chops and three veg.

It's now 8.47pm and all children are in bed. At least one is asleep. Clearly, I have too much time on my hands :).

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

My true coffee preference... for a decaf mocha. And I like my decaf to be swiss water decaffeinated, my mocha to be organic cocoa, preferably Green and Blacks, and my milk to be organic non-homogenised full fat!

Jessie likes a babycino with plenty of milk, not too much froth, and a hefty sprinkle of chocolate on top.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

I'm not REALLY a coffee addict...

You Are a Soy Latte

At your best, you are: free spirited, down to earth, and relaxed

At your worst, you are: dogmatic and picky

You drink coffee when: you need a pick me up, and green tea isn't cutting it

Your caffeine addiction level: medium

Friday, May 05, 2006

Education Styles

With four children (and possibly more someday) to raise and educate, my mind has turned to the cost and limitations of our tertiary education system. If our children want to become chiropractors, they'll need to study at a recognised tertiary institution, which will mean living and studying interstate.

Our education system is getting better at acknowledging and responding to different learning styles at a primary and secondary level, but what happens at the tertiary level? And why is it that *anybody* can sit for an exam and gain a recognised secondary education qualification, but there isn't the same option at a tertiary level.

There are so many subjects that could be self taught, or learnt under an apprenticeship system or within a mentor relationship, but the only current option at a tertiary level is to pay increasingly large fees and enter the sausage factory of tertiary education.

I know that recognition of prior learning (RPL) is difficult for institutions to administer, but I think they need to become more responsive to the possibilities of alternate education styles. That, or we, as a society, need to recognise the benefits of making tertiary education more available to all our members and need to insist on tertiary qualifications being more widely available outside the mainstream institutions.

There are so many people without the financial resources or free time to complete a full university degree for a qualification they need to practice in a particular profession, but who would be willing and able to "fill in" their knowledge gaps if their existing knowledge and expertise was acknowledged. I'm thinking of nurses looking to upgrade to a medical degree, teaching assistants looking to become teachers, and rural workers who've worked with a health professional in a peripheral role but would like to formalise their knowledge and build on it to become a full health professional.

At the moment, there is such a limited role for self-directed study, practical experience or mentoring in our tertiary education system. It would be to our advantage to broaden this role so that we can increase our society's access to the skills and knowledge these alternative learners may possess.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Mini-mini Apprentice Domestic Goddess

Awwwww - my mini-mini ADG is so cute! Yesterday she woke up, grabbed her handbag and hat, before heading out to take her baby for a walk. All before getting out of her sleepsuit.

Of course, I don't wear a hat (much) or carry a handbag (much), so don't know where she's getting it, but it's CUTE!