Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Burn To Memory

Most evenings, I find, are hustle, hustle, hustle. Eat your dinner! Use a fork! Get in the bath! Brush your teeth! Etc.

But very occasionally (like, rarely) you strike one where the dinner gets eaten, the jammies are on and everyone is happy. So happy the munchkins are allowed to stay up and play 'picnics' on the floor.

If only every evening were a battle-free zone...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Stroll to school

Now that most of summer's sting has gone I've been making the most of our lovely walk to E's school. We're pretty lucky because although we do have to go through a across one road and through a railway station carpark it's park almost all the way.

E loves to gambol along, chattering away, and the little lady is usually pretty content to sit back and enjoy the ride. Me? I just love this avenue of shady old trees.

Can't you just imagine folks in their Victorian finery taking a passegiata along here?

The walk only takes about half an hour and involves a trek up one of Marrickville's steepest streets. That's the bit I enjoy the most. The boy may whinge but I love the heart-rate elevation of pushing a stroller up that hill without stopping. So satisfying.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Going bush

I'm currently working my way through Richard Louv's book, Last Child In Woods, and finding it a really interesting read. There has been so much talk about this book that I thought I should get my hands on a copy. I'm glad I did.

It's all about 'nature deficit disorder', which is a totally made-up term for the disconnect from nature and the environment that (some) kids these days experience. He talks about how kids seem bored or disinterested in playing outdoors and would rather flop in front of the telly or some other form of screen, how playgrounds today are all about eliminating risk and to extent limiting imaginative play, about the fear people have of letting their kids explore or roam freely (and thereby breeding a fear in their kids of 'wild' places).

It's all incredibly thought-provoking for me.

As someone who grew up on a farm, I think I have a good relationship with the environment. For me, wild places are where I can truly exhale. I see no beauty in a city skyline. I do see beauty in a smooth piece of bark or silhouetted mountains or reeds on the water's edge.

I'd really like to nurture that closeness to nature in my kids.

It's easy to think 'oh, my kids are fine'. We live in a wonderful part of Sydney that's surrounded by a significant expanse of green areas and we do use that space a fair bit - though not enough, I think.

The stumbling block is E's reluctance to do outdoorsy stuff. Ever since he was little it's been a case of dragging him to the park, or anywhere outside the house. The kid just loves staying home. Inside.

So this weekend, in between downpours, I took the opportunity to [drag] encourage him outside. Across the road from our house - mere metres - is a trail that follows a river for some distance and leads to a small bushland area. This is it:

To coerce the kid I made up a treasure hunt. I began to question whether Louv would approve though, because E seemed to be intently focused on getting M&Ms instead of looking at the bush around him.

But then, after all the sweets had been doled out, he started to run ahead. He picked up sticks. Climbed rocks.

Pointed out spiders and centipedes. We even spied a tree full of noisy bats.

All up, we walked for about two hours (and I will freely admit when we got to the end of the trail we called Shaun and got him to come in the car and pick us up!). It was lovely. And I think, in light of the book I'm reading, important.

I really hope I do enough to nurture a love of nature in my kids while they're little. I want them to grow up feeling that the bush is a special and magical place, just as I did.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The littlest of gals

She's a mere slip of a girl, our T. And she has just proven this by falling off the bottom of the weight-for-age percentile charts. At her 18 month vaccinations she's weighing in at just under 9kg. Great news for those of us who have to lug her around, but slightly concerning for others.

Again, I have had a GP ask 'do you feed her enough?'


Of course I do.

I have to admit that of late quite a lot more food has been ending up on the floor than in the tummy. I think I need to pay more attention to exactly what is being consumed. And I think if she's not taking in her dinner I need to be doling out more yoghurt and milk to fill the gaps.

It's funny, her brother was similarly skinny (and still wears some size 2 at age 5 - shhh, don't tell him, I just cut the labels out!) but not that wee. Madam T seems to be extra-teeny. Short of giving in to her desire for 'bikkie' every 2 minutes, I'm not too sure what I can do to plump her up a bit. She gets offered a lot of food. Most of it healthy (with the odd bikkie etc thrown in).

Every time I start to get a little worried about my kids and their weight I talk to my mum. Who rolls her eyes and reminds me that I was exactly the same when I was a little one (these days, unfortunately, I have the opposite problem...!).

In all other ways, T is bang-on for her age.

So what to do? Not worry about it? Hmmm.

Friday, March 4, 2011

18 months

The little girl is 18 months now - and I couldn't be happier about that. I LOVE this age!

I love to hear the words coming together, to see the personality emerging, to witness the physical developments that come with getting more and more stable.

I love the way that at this age they can play a little bit more.

I love the way they want to copy everything and everyone.

I love the way that she's finally getting a little hair!

I love to see their little peculiarities and fascinations emerge - for our gal it's an obsession with shoes. Anyone's will do!

But. I'm not really loving the separation anxiety that gets unleashed when we are trying to get ready for work of a morning. It's a rush enough as it is without a small girl sobbing at your ankles.

I'm also not loving the new fussiness that has just arisen with her eating. But I know that's normal. I can no longer just present her with an assortment of mashed vegies and expect her to scoff it down like she used to (more's the pity).

This girl, I just can't get enough of her right now.