Thursday, December 31, 2009

A year in numbers

I have a few minutes spare as the Little Miss sleeps and the Big Boy is off to see the 9 o'clock fireworks with his dad. I thought I might take a second before I update my diary (remember those?!) to write this:

2009 in numbers

FOUR has ALWAYS been my favourite number and will be forever since the due dates between my little ones turned out to be precisely FOUR YEARS and FOUR DAYS. Not that either arrived anywhere near their due date...

SEVEN months doing a job I enjoyed so much I would probably work there for free anyway. And they let me do it three days a week. Amazing.

THREE days and nights spent at on a famil at Sal Salis eco resort on Ningaloo Reef in WA. I was 16 weeks pregnant then and just emerging from morning sickness hell. The sheer beauty and peacefulness of this place is etched forever on my mind. It was quite simply heavenly. The snorkelling! The splendid isolation! And they call that work...

long weeks spent at home waiting, waiting, waiting for a baby to arrive. The little monkey.

EIGHTEEN hours in labour (most of that the mild stuff I really should add). To no avail.

ONE lotto cheque - it was under $2K but I was thrilled!

months of preschool - although E despised it at first (only slightly traumatic for all involved) he's flourished.

TWO kids. TWO!! A pair of healthy, happy, spirited, lovely children. The Big One is so incredibly funny, sensitive, thoughtful and doting (nothing makes me happier). The Little One? Well, what can I say? She is deliciously happy and lovable. Someone pinch me!

Whoa, what a year. Unforgettable. Wishing you a wonderful 2010. I've got a hunch it's going to be a good year...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas...

Well, 2009 has been a year filled with anticipation, excitement, love, contentment and LOTS of happiness. So much happiness. I wish everyone a wonderful Christmas, full of small pleasures and savoured moments, and - in case I don't get to this blog again this year - a brilliant 2010.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Random stuff

Well, we've had a very successful cucumber crop this year. The one shown here isn't the biggest we 've picked (not that bigger always equals better when it comes to veg). Shame the cucumber is just about the only vegie I despise. My zucchinis (my favourite veg!) have - very disappointingly - been a dud. They have only grown to about 20cm, no matter how perfect the weather and watering. We planted them in a different spot this year. Useless soil, I suspect.

This little lady has changed - and I've not caught her up yet. It's funny how babies do that. You work out their routine and habits and then, bingo, they go and change and you're all 'what do I do now?'! If you leave her even a minute too long in the evenings and she switches from tired to overtired - whoa! Seriously cranky baby. Too cranky even to feed. I am having to resort to leaving her in her cot to cry it out. Anyway, I need to learn her new cues and then this shouldn't be a problem. She's still sleeping well and generally charming the pants off all and sundry.

This little guy? Noisy! Crazy! Hilarious! And we have been trying to teach him to 'swim'. Er, well, to get used to the water anyway. He still won't deign to blow a bubble, even though he will in the bath. But we are getting there...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Xmas excitement!

At my son's first Christmas he was just short of 5 months old, then the next year he was 17 months old. Both of these Christmases passed without him knowing too much about them. At 2.5 he got into the idea - a bit. Then last year, at 3.5, well, let's just say he was totally up with the whole Santa concept.

This year?

Oh wow, he's EXCITED! I am beginning to think that 4.5 is the optimal age for kiddie enjoyment of Christmas. Every morning he bounds out of bed and looks at our Christmas tree before asking me: "how many more days until it's Christmas?" and "when can I open my presents?" Again we have topped the tree with a paper star he made when he was 3.

We have done the letter to Santa thing and, boy, was he impressed that Santa wrote back!!!!! I am so looking forward to seeing his little face when he gets to open his presents this year. Given that funds are a bit tight this year we haven't spent all that much and instead I've got him quite a few small things - which is probably more exciting to a kid anyway ... it's all about the unwrapping, isn't it?

E had his preschool Christmas party last week and it was a great success - it was held at the German club round the corner from our house so the kids could run like crazy on the croquet greens while we adults chatted over a fine German beer or two. Perfect.

I've also sent out our homemade Christmas cards - which feature the two kids (TWO! Wow!). Here are some of the pics I used...

Let me tell you, there were a LOT of shots snapped to get these! (Ah, the beauty of digital ... delete, delete.) Oh, and how many more years do you reckon I've got before I have to stop dressing my boy up in reindeer ears and the like ("Awhhh, Mum")?

Anyhow, it is definitely beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here - and how nice is that?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Tech Conundrum

I worry about computers. More specifically I worry about their impact on our lives - and I have been thinking about this a lot lately, because my 4yo has begun to take a strong interest in our computer. He wants to play on it, and I don't mind if he does occasionally.

When I let him play a game I set the kitchen timer on the desk and turn it to 20 minutes. He doesn't need to stare at a computer screen any longer than that! The problem is that he cannot accept that he has to switch it off after a short time - there are always floods of tears.

Now, I am a realist and I know that the days of kids playing with billycarts and dominoes is long gone. Today's children live in a world ruled by technology and, sure, they need to be familiar with it. I bet most kids in any kindergarten class (assuming they live in a relatively affluent area) know how to handle a mouse.

But how much is enough? How much do you think a 4yo ought to be allowed to use a computer?

All I know is that I have gone to great lengths to ensure my son doesn't watch too much TV - we have at least four days a week when there is NO television and NO DVDs at all - so I wonder how much computer time I should allow? At the moment, I let him play on the computer about once every week or so. However, that is enough for him to badger me that he wants to use the computer every time I try to quickly read a blog or check an email.

And THAT is another, even more worrying issue: the way technology takes from our kids. Some of you may have read this great piece. The writer touches on an issue I think is a real conundrum: in an age of email, Facebook, blogging, eBay etc how do you keep a lid on your OWN screen time?!

It's true that if my son's back is turned or he is occupied doing something I will quickly check my emails or look at something online. I like to scan the news headlines or check this blog. (Ah yes, this blog. A nice hobby but a time suck indeed.)

The flipside of this is that the internet is GOOD! In fact, it is brilliant: it allows me to work from home, to stay in touch with people, to be informed, to feel connected. And yet ... the need to be connected really bothers me. I ain't no addict!

So. I have started 'Tech-free Tuesdays'- well, any day of the week will do - when I do not check my email, I do not read blogs, I do not do anything at all with the computer. And you know what? I like it.