Category Archives: Parenting
Baby G has had a hard time saying goodbye in the mornings (here’s the full Diva recount). Little Miss Independent has turned into a cling-on of grand proportions and I’ve accepted that we’ve entered the OMG-I-need-to-get-back-into-that-womb-NOW phase. After a few mornings of tears and trauma, her beautiful teacher sent the classroom copy of The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn home with her for us to read (wonderful book, by the way). She also sent home the Kindy‘s plush “Chester” doll for a sleepover.
If you have ever had a four year old, you can imagine the ENORMITY of this honour. Not every kid gets to take Chester home, you must understand. Chester, in case you’re wondering, is the raccoon in the book. See the sweet little heart in his paw? That’s the love that his mama raccoon left when she kissed his hand.
All together now: Awwwww. Read the rest of this entry
Despite her admirably brave attempt at stoicism at Kindy drop-off this morning, when it came to goodbye time, Baby G crumbled. With downturned eyes squirting tears like lawn sprinklers and a Lucille Ball-esque wide open mouth emitting air raid siren-like howls, my daughter cried so forlornly I thought – for sure – my heart would break.
Miraculously, I kept it together and maintained my Mary Sunshine air of calm and happiness. I was legendary, I tell you. My performance was Oscar worthy. Yep, I kept it together until, in a pathetic sobby-gulpy-snotty-whisper, Baby G said, “Mama, I AM SO SAD because *sniff* we just have not cuddled enough times today!”
Boom. Bullseye. Instant lump in my throat. Suddenly blinking fast to keep the flood of imminent Mama-tears at bay.
Smiling the fake, toothy grin of a demented Mary Poppins (in the vain hope that my grimace was reassuring her that she was going to have a lovely day) I backed out of the classroom. My gutted heart left a bloody trail on the floor right up to the spot where I finally stopped because the sheer guilt weighing me down was too heavy for me to move one more step. I was the Worst Mother on Earth. I’d done a terrible thing to my baby by taking her to that primary coloured, Baroque classical music filled, joy infused place called Kindy. Acting as if that Invisible Umbilical Bungee that connects us was non-existent…what was I thinking? Now my baby was scarred for life. Read the rest of this entry
Today’s post was written by an old friend and fabulous blogger, Alexia, of I am fancypants.
Our friendship began in South Africa in the late nineties, when we were young creatives testing the waters in the Advertising World. South Africa had only recently undergone the most incredible historical transformation – we had elected Nelson Mandela our new president.
We lived in a country electric with hope and buzzing with joy. Unfortunately, among this Rainbow Nation (as we South Africans like to call ourselves) were the inevitable monsters. Those people who want only to kill, maim, destroy. With impunity.
This week, as we watch in horror as the Boston Marathon bombings are on every news station worldwide, Alexia and her family feel the horror in the rawest of ways. Here’s her story: Read the rest of this entry
Every night, Darren sneaks into Miss M’s bedroom while she’s reading (she gets so completely absorbed in books that she becomes oblivious to her surroundings) and gives her a fright. Every night. Tonight, I sneaked in before he got there and hid behind her curtain and told her that when he comes to kiss her goodnight, I’d jump out and scare him. She and I giggled conspiratorially at our master plan.
So, there I was, hiding behind the curtain, minutes ticking by. I began to think he wasn’t coming. Of course, by this stage, I was sure that Miss M had forgotten I was even there and was completely lost in her book again. I had no choice but to quietly stay still and wait, just in case. Read the rest of this entry
Today at Mamapedia, Dave Room, of Heal Our World, Heal Ourselves has posted a piece titled, “Are Lil Wayne, Zombies and Minecraft Raising Your Children?”
Having checked out Dave’s website, I’m pretty sure he’s a good guy with pure intentions, so I’m going to ignore the wholly unsubstantiated statistic about Latino and black kids (true or not, there is no source quoted and there really is no relevance to the content anyway) and hope this wasn’t intended to offend.
The article itself asserts that technology is changing the wiring of our kids’ brains and making our kids more violent, foul-mouthed and immoral.
On the surface, I guess I’d agree. A little bit. No… not really, now that I’ve begun to think about it in the context of my kids.
Does technology affect our kids’ developing brains? ABSOLUTELY.
Do violent video games and music with foul, degrading lyrics have a negative effect on our kids? In my opinion, WITHOUT QUESTION.
Is excessive screen time bad for our little ones? Excessive ANYTHING is bad for our kids.
I guess what I am saying is that this article deals too much in absolutes. It deals in blacks and whites (in more ways than one, clearly). It assumes that parents are either going to be The Bradys or they’re the Octomom.
Life isn’t like that!
Of course there are days when my kids watch way more TV that is good for them (appallingly too much, sometimes). Is it every day? Not a chance. They also do sport, play with friends and go to school. Do they listen to gangsta rap? Hell, no. Know why? Because their playlists are monitored by me. Sure, they ask to download songs their friends are listening to, with lyrics that are less than wonderful. Mostly, I allow them to get them anyway. It opens a window to talk about the incredible power of words and how we have the choice to use creative and interesting words to weave together magical stories or throw together really ugly ones and show ourselves to be ugly people. By facing the real world, we have the chance to have discussions about how much we value ourselves and how our words are the clothes of our character. Miss M certainly didn’t start yelling, “F*&k you!” after she heard the Cee Lo Green song at a friend’s house. She came to me and giggled and told me what she had heard and we talked about it. My kids know curse words exist but they also know that they’re not going to try include them in their day-to-day language. They don’t swear because we parent them, we guide them, we show them the world and help them to navigate through it. Hiding technology from them isn’t going to teach them anything.
Minecraft has given my kids an intensely creative outlet. I’ve heard that there’s a violent side to the game but I certainly haven’t seen it when my kids play. They are far more interested in what they can create that what they can destroy. In fact, I’m pretty sure that they have no idea that you CAN destroy anything. Miss M and Little Man get together with their friends (the one situation, mind you, that they adore each other’s company!) and strategise. They make alliances and they relish in the deeply creative imaginary worlds they are creating. As far as I see it, this is a wonderfully positive experience for them. On the flip-side, (and I have to be absolutely honest) when time’s up and I send them outside to play, withdrawal does set in. If I let them, they would be glued to their iPods all day.
Tonight, my daughter spent two hours on the computer. She is ten. *gasp*
She wasn’t looking at porn or killing zombies. Nor was she watching lewd music videos. She was immersed in the challenge of achieving a higher personal score on….MATHLETICS.
Screen time ain’t all bad.
Sure, it has the potential to be very dangerous, if parents don’t supervise, monitor and guide their kids. The thing is, this isn’t unique to screen time.
Kids left unsupervised at a swimming pool could drown. Kids left unsupervised in a shopping centre could be abducted. Kids left unsupervised at home could burn the house down.
The issue here is not technology. The issue is parenting.
White, Black, Hispanic, Asian or Smurf for that matter – we all need to guide our kids, teach them about this world and all the opportunities out there as well as the dangers. We need to educate them, build up their self-worth enough that they CHOOSE to raise themselves above the lowest common denominator.
It’s our job to raise our kids.
If they grow up to be chauvinistic, racist, bigoted, foul-mouthed, abusive, aggressive adults… let’s just say, it wasn’t the TV that did it. Mmmkay?
If you liked this post, please share it with your friends using the icons below, and I’ll love you intensely if you click the thumbs-up button at the bottom of this post. I’d really love to hear your comments, so please don’t be shy (comments make me do a happy dance). You can also join the fun on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
You can also follow my blog with Bloglovin.
You may also want to read:
“Mum, I think that before people are born, they live in Heaven and they wait until they find the right Mum and Dad to be born to and then when that Mum and Dad decide to have a baby then that person goes from Heaven into the Mummy’s tummy and gets born.”
Little Man said this to me, matter-of-factly, as he sat in bed waiting for me to read him his nightly instalment of Harry Potter. Clearly this wasn’t going to be our usual goodnight routine. I climbed in next to him and he lay on his side with his head in the crook of my arm (perfect position for back tickles) and continued: Read the rest of this entry
You know that cute little paragraph we all read from time to time on Facebook about how being a mother is a twenty four hour a day job, seven days a week? How we get no benefits? How our bosses don’t pay us a salary or give us sick days? How we have to be doctors and psychiatrists and teachers and mechanics and electricians and handymen and policemen? You know how we ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ these little glib paragraphs and smugly smile because we know that this job is so rewarding and wonderful that it’s worth all the crap that gets thrown at us (often literally)? Well, I’m not laughing at it today. I’m not liking or sharing. I’m thinking it’s a pretty damn crappy deal I have here, quite frankly.
Now, now, Mrs Judgy, before you start writing to me to tell me I am an unfit mother or that I don’t appreciate my blessings or that I don’t deserve my children, give me a minute, okay? Come here, grab a cup of coffee (you may as well have the one I just made, since it’s the third cup I’ve made today and I didn’t get to drink the other two because a small person needed me RIGHT NOW why should I get to have the third anyway?) and let me explain. Read the rest of this entry
After waking up from a horrible nightmare and simultaneously realising I had overslept, I woke up my three sleeping children (because they only wake up at Sparrow’s Fart on weekends, of course) and BEGGED them to PLEASE get ready as quickly as possible so we wouldn’t be late for school.
Miss M dawdled and danced in front of the mirror, then stood in the middle of the kitchen NOT eating breakfast NOR brushing teeth NOR doing her hair, causing me to turn into a screaming banshee with the parenting skills of a toad.
Little Man did everything I asked at the pace of a snail on Rohypnol and simply refused point-blank to hurry up. He was so slow, in fact, that I had to remind him to chew his food after he put it in his mouth. Oh yes. Read the rest of this entry
Before I begin to tell you this story, I need to first stand up and say two things:
One: The previous post on flying with children was horribly misleading. Why, you ask? I’ll tell you why: that aeroplane trip was easypeasylemonsqueezy and as pleasurable as an all expenses paid spa weekend in comparison with what I am about to tell you.
Two: You may not want to eat your lunch while reading this blog today. Ignore this warning at your own peril. Seriously. put. down. the. sandwich.
Okay, here goes…
The day had finally arrived. I had been waiting for this train trip and visualising it for months before. Having been born in South Africa and now living in Australia, I was looking forward to my first sighting of snow-capped mountains in the same manner that my kids look forward to trashing my house on the day I clean it.
There I was, in the Zurich train station, waiting to catch a train to St Anton, Austria. It was going to be two and a half hours of blissful travel through the Swiss Alps and I was itching to get on that train. Between us we had four giant suitcases, four backpacks, a stroller and handbags, as well as three children to get on board in the (approximately) thirty seconds that the doors were open. Magically, we managed to get everything and everyone on board and found our seats. Aaah – now all I had to do was gaze out of the window at the Christmas card scenery outside….
Not so fast, Michelle. Read the rest of this entry