thought overload

Posts tagged ‘Kids’

Raising resilient, capable children without the bubble wrap

Bubble Wrap

Image via Wikipedia

I have watched my children do some really amazing things and  I am often suprised by how capable, resilient, funny and loving they are and then I remember that it is not by coincidence or magic that they came to be this way.

This caused me to reflect on why my children, in varying degrees, are the way they are; critical thinkers, problem-solvers, ‘doers’, funny, loving and emotionally resilient. This is, by no means a how to, more of a how come post.

My comedic family

DO NOT ENTER WITHOUT A SENSE OF HUMOUR

That about sums up the way things are here. Self  deprecation, dry wit, nonsense talk, family language, inside jokes and general goofiness is all part of the atmosphere at  Chez Vix. Laughter, humour and fun are a magic recipe for developing self-esteem. It’s even better when you can laugh at yourself. If not, there will always be someone here to do it for you. The key here is finding the right balance so that no one feels like a joke but are rather part of the joke.  The children never stood a chance.

Working  it out

I figured the best way to teach my children was to let them work things out for themselves with guidance. How do children learn and master skills if they don’t get to ‘do’. My father used to admonish me for the things I let my children do but I refused to mollycoddle them. Bubble wrap belongs at the post office and messes can always be cleaned. Master 6 used a knife from a young age. They have all used a screwdriver to take apart objects and see how they work. Master 6 made me a cup of coffee for the first time last week. Bieber can chop vegetables like a pro. The Princess has been cooking, without supervision, for the last two years ( she just needs to work on the cleaning up part of the process!) and loves to mow the lawn. Red has performed many science experiments (today was build a sparkler bomb day – my only advice –  someone please film it). All children should climb trees, ride a bike on the road and jump on a trampoline. It was interesting to see the trampoline inverted one day and the boys launching themselves against it. There have been numerous obstacle courses, dubious structures and elaborate game play. The children have always tested boundaries and their own limits but they have learned a hell of a lot along the way. I have taken my part as safety monitor, mediator, facilitator and paramedic. Yes, there have been some injuries but everything is dangerous if you don’t have the necessary skills or mind-set to ‘do’. See 50 Dangerous Things (you should let your children do). Not for the faint-hearted. The important thing here is; children are allowed to make mistakes, learn from them and try again.

The Rubber Band Theory

Emotional resilience – the ability to bounce back from the situations that life presents. My children are rubber bands. I don’t know how they came to be this way, but I’m guessing that stepping out of the picture and giving them the dialogue to negotiate problems and situations for themselves has probably been the contributing factor. I love that they get angry at each other, it’s healthy. It’s even better when I hear this, ‘See this? This is my angry face. You wanna piece of this?’  My father passed away in September, 2010. That was a big test, for all of us. It still is. We just talked our way through all the hurt, upset and anger. The Princess and Bieber have experienced bullying at school and while that breaks my heart for them, I had to overcome my own feelings and help them work out strategies to deal with it. The princess adopted the ‘delete’ technique where she deleted negative people from Facebook, her social set and most importantly, her mind. Bieber took the ‘ Emo/Shuffle, water off an ignorant duck’s back approach’ where he would hide under his enormous fringe, turn his back and shuffle. He completely ignores any person that is not worthy of his attention. I noticed this odd behaviour at graduation but trusted his judgement. He only allows positive people to enter his ‘mental domain’.  My children all have their own interests and strengths as well as their foibles. Each child is valued and respected for what they can and can’t do. However, do expect a good-natured ribbing (please refer to My comedic family) with the underlying message of ‘we love you for you’.

English: Rubber bands in different colors. Stu...

Love happens

I believe that it is not enough to tell your children you love them. You have to show it. Maybe that is why my children are the way they are. The power is in the ‘doing’ not the ‘saying’. My husband is not a big one for expressing his emotions verbally but there is not one person in this house that would doubt his love for them. The rough and tumble play, the joking and the ‘being’ is all part of the recipe for love. I had a secret giggle when I overheard my husband on the phone to his boss telling him that he hadn’t had a sleep (shift worker) because he was cooking naan bread with The Princess. One rainy weekend minus the shift working husband we were all a bit deflated. The Princess pulled out a 1000 piece puzzle and we all took turns adding to it throughout the day. 14 hours of love in that little display below.

14 hours of love in this thing

There were actually two more people under there!

I have realised that children don’t care what they are doing as long as they are doing it with you.

The Princess gets a birthday hug from Master 6

Love helps children develop good self-esteem. They learn where they belong in this crazy world and find ways to connect with others. It’s healthy. Our refrigerator is full of love. Photos, paintings and inspirational quotes that fly off when the door opens. I really need a cork board.

As I am writing this, I have just been handed a cupcake with Love written on top in pink icing. The Princess is busily cooking in the kitchen. I have just been handed another and couldn’t decipher the pink icing word on top. Happens, The Princess tells me, rolling her eyes. Love Happens.

Author: Bagande

Image via Wikipedia

It all comes down to this

Managing stress the Vixy way

This looks about right

 

I am not very good at managing stress. Actually, I will rephrase that. I am not very consistent with managing stress.

 

Some days I am right on top of it like a cherry on a sundae. Other days I am the cherry that slides off , falls on the floor and gets squished in to the ground. Ok, maybe not that dramatic but, you get the picture.

 

Today was a mix of both. I am totally on top of all my Uni work. Two assignments due within two days of each other all but finished. The product of 6 weeks of research, synthesis and write-up. All done with children at home for school holidays, over the Christmas/New Year period and husband working crazy shifts for the last four weeks. However, the children were running around the house like feral animals, the ironing basket is overflowing and Master 6 had no clothes in his drawers. Again. My husband came home from the store to announce there were  no mushrooms (Bieber rejoiced) and no bread left either except for ‘disgusting multigrain’ (I rejoiced). I also forgot to tell him we are out of dog food. The Princess came running down the stairs screaming that she found ‘something in her hair’. Quick, look Mum. You’re not looking. No, I’m trying to cook dinner. What is it? Muuuuuuuum.  I did, however manage to get quite a nice meal on the table. No mushrooms, but delicious nonetheless. I have absolutely no idea how I did it but, it involved a lot of tears and cries of ‘Why can’t you just listen/help me/do as you’re told/stop pummeling your brother and get in the bath/shower/get off the computer and set the table’. At one stage I had to pry Master 6 off his father who was play-mocking him right before I was trying to serve up dinner. I sure hope my husband had his Father Shield on because he was the target of ‘I hate you’ this evening. I burnt the pasta. I really, truly cried as I stood there, stirring the spaghetti sauce.

 

This sums it up nicely at the moment

Master 6 refused to go to bed, citing the reason as being the strange noises coming from his bedroom (we have a resident possum who makes the most God-awful noises at night and sets the dogs off barking). He also double checked every door in the house and scoffed at me when I told him I had used monster spray in all the rooms. There is no such thing Mum, you’re silly. He continued to wander from room to room to see if anyone was willing to have a sleep-over tonight. I won.

 

I managed to knock the set top box off the stand. Bieber did well, dropping the medicine box not once, but twice. This was  in addition to Master 6 breaking yet another plate, spilling his drink all over the floor and his breakfast off the bench.

 

The Princess tripped over and fell up the stairs, gaining momentum and landing with her head just inside the front door.

 

Ever had one of those days? I had yours and mine today.

 

Things I learned about today:

 

  • There is absolutely nothing wrong with toast for dinner two nights running
  • The ironing is breeding
  • You have to physically walk up the stairs and put clothes in the drawers, unfortunately they don’t get there by themselves ( Master 6 learned this too)
  • I should cook all the meals for the week in one day and freeze them, then I can just have one day of crazy and defrost and reheat blissfully for the rest of the week
  • There is no such thing as a SuperWoman
  • You can’t have: it both ways, your cake and eat it too, sanity in school holidays
  • Everybody in this house is nuts (including me)
  • We all need to get out, A lot.
  • I need a plan. I do not like plans but, I need one.
  • The Princess is a drama queen (alright, I already knew that) and
  • Cry loudly-people stop, look, listen and help or at least feel sorry for you

 

 

I did manage to sneak a few moments of sanity when my Canadian friend called me this morning. We chatted as I sat out on the back deck with my coffee. She always knows what to say and helps me gain perspective.

 

Thank goodness for friends

 

 

I took a deep breath this evening and looked at the the floor that needs mopping and the pile of laundry making faces at me. I haven’t taken the Christmas Tree down yet ( my Mother would have been saying that is bad luck). I need to go grocery shopping too. I decided it can all wait until the morning. I’m going out for ice cream.

 

English: This image was copied from wikipedia:...

 

Opening up a can of worms and expanding the family language

French Kissin (song)

Image via Wikipedia

I love playing with my children. It is one of the true joys in my life and a never-ending source of entertainment that adds to our family language. Wait. What? Yes, our family language. I’ll explain.

Every family has a language of their own. It might be silly phrases that eventuate from, well, acting silly. It might consist of pet names that you have for each other. It might also be nonsense songs that are made up. Whatever it is, it is yours and no one outside the family would understand it because it just wouldn’t be the same if you had to explain it and the weird looks you would get trying to explain it, well, enough said.

My sisters once made up a song after their adventures with a flat tyre and trying to find one in a small country town on their way to visit me. It was to the tune of  ‘Old Susannah’. The chorus went a little like this:

‘Oh Daniella, now don’t you cry for me, for I come from Cooranbong with a spare tyre on my knee’. It had verse upon verse that they sang to me to explain their late arrival.

When Red was little, my sister made up a little verse for him which she would say to him every time she saw him…’I love you more… than the whole wide world…and back again!” he still remembers it at 19 along with the fact that he used to call the moon…’the mooin’. That we remind him of.

Our family language has evolved and developed from the jokes, songs, games, nonsense play and general goofing off that began when our young brood were old enough to talk. You need a well rounded sense of humour in this house to fit in and the children are no exception.

Bieber used to get called Chubba on account of his bright red, chubby cheeks as a baby and it just kind of stuck. My mother extended that to Chubba-lubba. The Princess was called Chloe goat legs when she was three. Her father somehow extended that to Goatisha and then to Tisha Boots, which she hated and demanded he stop. Dizzy Lizzy had that name when I met her father, bestowed upon her by her Uncle. She also got Lidbet which became Squidbet then just Squid for short. Red was always Joshie then Doshie (because Master 6 couldn’t say ‘j’) then Yoshie. He also got Joshskewer which was a take on the pronunciation of Joshua also bestowed upon him by the aforementioned Uncle. I have been known as The Dragon Lady but I ignore that one in the hopes that it will go away.

Last night, as I played with Master 6, we revisited some of the silly things that were said when he was a baby and a toddler. Some he even remembered. Some, I am still hanging on to which I know will change as he outgrows it. Like Tooty-Kissin’.

Tooty-Kissin’  has been a huge favourite with our children since they were babies and Master 6 is the last of the Tootie-Kissees. I would just grab his foot when he wasn’t looking and give it a great big kiss much to his delight and giggles. He tells me he is a big boy now and that I don’t have to tuck him in at night. I am not allowed to walk him to his classroom. Too old for that too. Apparently he is not too old for Tootie-Kissin’. We even have a song, made up to the tune of the Deborah Harry hit ‘French Kissin’ in the USA’. I sang that to him last night as we laughed and tickled each other, each trying to get the better of the other. Suddenly, Master 6 stopped. Where did you get that song from Mum? he asked. I told him about its origin and sang the line of the original. Ohhhhh, he said and laughed. Pause. What does French-kissing mean Mum?

Can of worms. Opened. I asked for that.

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