Saturday, 20 October 2012

Books for seven year old boys

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Nugget is a good little reader but if there are too many words on a page, he just can't be bothered with it.

Most Thursdays, the twins and I go to the local library. I pick up some house porn mags (we are planning the extension) and a new book, they grab some picture books, we select some stories for Doo Dah and some books for Nugget.

I have had a few wins lately with some of the series I have introduced Nugget to, so I thought I would share.

Boy vs Beast by Mac Park :  Kai Masters,12 years old, is a Border Guard charged with protecting earth from the unruly beasts of Beastium who try to crash through the border wall. With the help of his robotic dog, BC, Kai learns to battle the beasts and keep Earth safe. It is a little bit like a video game in print and Nugget loves them for their stories and the ease of reading. I love them because he likes reading them and they are on the Premier's Reading Challenge list!

Mission Fox by Justin DÁthHarry and Jordan are identical twins who are into gadgets and animals. Their billy cart is really a FoxMobile, their mobile is a FoxPhone and, along with their giant dog, Myrtle, they’re the secret agents of Mission Fox: Animal Rescue. These are another nice easy read, reminiscent of the Zac Power books, with an adventure and a mission all rolled into one.

Diary of a wimpy kid by Jeff Kinney: These books have been around for awhile now, but they are new to us. A new one will be out in November, so Nugget is trying to read the six available ones in time! These cartoon books tell the story of Greg who is in 'middle school' and in the throws of growing up; you know girls, anxiety and trying to fit in.Nugget finds them easy to read because of the first person narrative and ample use of pictures. 

Crime Team series by 2Steves: This is a fairly new çhoose your own adventure type book series where the reader is the head of the Crime Team unit, a section of the International Police Federation at the United Nations. You have to tackle the toughest cases and solve mysteries using a highly skilled team to help you. Nugget really liked that his choices impacted on the outcome of the story. Because we are working on his decision making skills, I have found these books really helpful for getting him to commit to a course of action.

So there you have it, Nugget's recommendations for your boys for Christmas.

Is your child reading any of these? Have you got other selections to suggest?

Monday, 15 October 2012

You can be a victim over anything

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I watched an episode of Insight a couple of weeks ago about male circumcision.

Just for the record, I don't have a particular persuassion about skivvies versus crew-necks; I can see both sides of the coin. So, when our boys were born, I left it up to the household member who I thought was best equipped (ahem) to make those sorts of decisions ie not me.

I don't really want to debate the pros and cons of circumcision - if you want to see that sort of information, I suggest you visit here - but what I do want to touch on is something that has stuck with me since the program aired.

An audience member who was circumcised as a baby is now growing his foreskin back (apparently it can be done using stretching techniques involving weights etc.). He says his foreskin was removed without his consent and he doesn't feel whole without it. He hasn't gotten over it.

I suspect he has no memory of life with his foreskin but he seems to think he would be a better man if he had one. Would he be? Who knows? But he is spending much time and effort trying to make it so.

You really can be a victim over anything.

We are masters of our own bodies, I get that. It is clearly not the choice the man would have made for himself, but we choose the path we tread in life. We choose how we react to life's adversities. I reckon there is value in acceptance.

Parents make all sorts of decisions for their children in what they see as their best interests. Sometimes they get it wrong, but they do what they can with the available information they have. You have to have the resilience to just get on with it.

Do you weigh into the circumcision debate? What do you think about foreskin regrowth?

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Adult size tantrum

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Before we had kids, people referred to the Geege and I as 'laid back'. We were. The Geege was so laid back he was on the verge of being horizontal. Me? I was definitely laid back but I had a bit of a highly strung edge. A sense of squirreling for a rainy day; even if I regularly turned a blind eye to my bucky teeth and fluffy tail.

But we were kind and gentle people; rarely an angry word was exchanged (except perhaps when suffering PMT). We had nothing to be angry about. Life was good.

It took me by surprise that all of the kids have been so good at tantrum throwing. Sometimes they make me laugh, with their text book moves. But their strong will and angry tone as they repeatedly voice their latest must have, has always taken me aback. Where did they learn that? Where does that anger come from?

Today I released my inner-toddler tantrum to produce what can only be described as an adult size tantrum. It felt so damned good as I was throwing children's doonas and clothes from the hallway onto their beds. Shouting about them not listening to me. I raged. Steam was practically coming from my ears.

After the one minute explosion, I felt dreadful. Childish. Stupid. There was silence. I skuttled off to the backyard to hang the washing, taking big cleansing breaths as I did. Tears were welling in my eyes.

Not one of my shining parenting moments.

I apologised and hugged my kids when I came back inside. I told them I behaved like a two year old. Even Mums have bad days, I said. They all breathed out. Phew. She's back, I could hear them think.

The boys laughed. They re-enacted my moves several times as the afternoon progressed, and couldn't wait to tell/show their Dad when he returned from work. The Geege's eyebrows raised as they did. The Minx told him I scared her. God that hurt.

I know I shouldn't have lost control. I know I undid a whole lot of lessons about dealing with anger. I am not even entirely sure where it came from.

I love my children dearly. I love being their Mum. But I can get overwhelmed. Dew Drop slammed my car key in the front door this afternoon, bending it in half, rendering it unusable. It cost us about $150 to buy it after he lost the original key when he was just a toddler. I think they call that the straw that broke the camel's back.

My laid back self is now visited sporadically by an angry old cow. She speaks of feeling 'punished'. Of needing space. And quiet. Who is she and how do I keep her happy? Better still, how do I get her to go away because life is a whole lot nicer for all of us without her presence.

Ever had a tantrum in front of your kids?

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Clutter, vomit and other cleaning catalysts

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Just one bookcase. That is all I have left before I have officially decluttered every cupboard, benchtop and nook in this house.

The stars aligned, the job needed doing and so it was done. That's what I tell myself. The reality is that I have been procrastinating for at least two years and then a series of negatives, created positive energy in the direction of household organisation.

Firstly, our cleaner quit. What? Why would anyone not want to clean our house? Scrubbing our floors once a fortnight was probably her least favourite thing to do for a few bucks, so she resigned.

Initially I felt abandoned. She was practically part of the family and I was reliant on her to hit the 'reset' button every two weeks. But after the initial shock, I felt then surprisingly free! No more cleaning up for the cleaner.

After a while, it became clear that the house wasn't going to clean itself, and the bombsite was back. So I was forced to don my gloves, pull out the bicarb and vinegar, and scrub the bathroom, mop the floors and re-acquaint myself more frequently with the vacuum cleaner.

I am not converted to this new/old way of life but I am pocketing the cash and saving for Christmas, so all is not lost. But I did realise that there were a number of areas in the house that needed some serious elbow grease and a hell of a lot of stuff that had nowhere to live. Definitely a job for a far superior housewife than me?!

Then Winter turned to Spring and the children started to need their warm-weather clothes. The twins had grown completely out of theirs. I looked at their short shorts and midriff tops and dreamt that the boxes of hand-me-downs would miraculously unpack themselves. It didn't happen. People started to talk.

Then the kids got sick. Three cases of chicken pox and four cases of vomit virus over a period of three weeks. It was like the hand, foot and mouth disease crises of 2010 all over again. News flash: Being house bound with a bunch of whinging sick children for days on end is not a recommended way to pass the school holidays. Just sayin'. I felt the need to busy myself. I felt the need to reduce the amount of stuff in this house. One more Lego-induced foot injury could have landed me in the hospital...

And so I cleaned and decluttered. Swapped the kid's clothes around. Sorted and reschuffled. Reused and recycled. Folded and hung. Stapled and filed. Until it all had a home. Or was given to someone who can find it one.

12 garbage bags later (unbelievable even to me), my home is (almost) clutter free.

One more bookcase. That is all I have left. I wonder how long it will take me to get around to it, now that the children are on the mend, suitably attired and I am the household cleaner.

Are you clutter free?

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Buying Nothing New - again

Image from here
October is Buy Nothing New month. There is a whole campaign and everything.

After our whole year dedicated to buying as little new as possible in 2011, you would think that we would want to run a mile from another month of it. Right? Well, actually, I was sucked right into it.

Why is it a good thing?

You already have enough. Seriously. You do. You can foresake a(nother) pair of pants/sunglasses/shoes for a meagre 30 days. Yes, you can.

You will have a taste of the simple life. Spend your money on food for your family, pay your bills and then save the rest. Spend time, not money. It will be a breath of fresh air for you.

You will think outside the square. Got a party coming up and need a gift? Create something, re-gift something, bake something. There are myriad ideas (with how-tos) in the blogsphere. Step outside your comfort zone. It is highly rewarding.

You will find solutions to problems using things you already have. Need a shelf? Some bricks and a bit of ply wood will do the trick. Need a storage solution? Try a shoe box.

 I know it is already the 6th, but it isn't too late to join in!

What do you think you would find hardest if you couldn't buy new things?

* Sorry I haven't been around much lately. I have major computer access issues and a house full of sick children. I hope to return to regular programming sometime soon :-)

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