International Blog Swap Day – Redpeffer from the UK

Today is International Blog Swap Day which means I’m hosting a UK blogger here today and she’s hosting me for the day. We’ve both written about the stages our kids are at. Read on for hers, and then click over to her blog for mine. Or read the lot linked up here.

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Redpeffer I’m very excited to be writing this guest post for Jen. One of the things I have discovered about blogging is the fabulous online community that’s out there and it’s lovely to be able to expand this and meet fellow bloggers from the other side of the world. Thank you Jen for hosting my post.

I’m Iona and I blog at http://www.redpeffer.me.uk where I talk about my family, our experiences and activities as well as write the odd opinion or two. I love photography and am really enjoying how blogging has helped me to improve it and inspire me to continue.

My children are now 7 and 3 and we are lucky enough to have a girl and a boy. They are my inspiration, my frustration, my love and my fear all rolled into one. I’m sure most of you if not all will recognise these emotions!

siblings1

Recently, I’ve noticed my 3 year old find his voice. This is wonderful to watch as he becomes his own little person. But it comes with a caveat-he now argues, fights and bickers with his big sister. This happens increasingly more often. He wants to express his own views, yet he also idolises her and wants to copy her. This inevitably leads to tension and conflict. He becomes frustrated. And at age 3 he has yet to learn how to control or manage this without it turning into a screaming and wailing fest of epic proportions.

When the arguments happen and I haven’t been there to witness them. I then get the ‘he did that’; or ‘she did this’ scenario. Both insist they are the ones hard done by. Both want the other told off. I know I’ve been guilty of assuming it was someone’s fault or telling them both off equally because it’s just easier to manage. Then you have both of them sulking and huffing as they both feel hard done by!

And I’ve noticed my soon to be 8 year old understandably wants her own space. She doesn’t want her 3 year old little bother following her everywhere like a shadow. She need’s to have time and space for her own activities and room for her special books and toys to be just for her and not shared. I totally understand that, but it can be hard to manage on a day to day basis. As a parent I’m constantly trying to accommodate two very different types of need and struggling to find that all elusive balancing act that sometimes feels so distant to be almost impossible to reach.

And as your child gets older, their problems can’t be so easily solved with a hug or a cuddle. Obviously they still help a little, but you find yourself having more complex conversations. Often these conversations don’t have conclusions either. At almost 8, my daughter is still at the age where she expects a definitive answer for most things and I’m trying to show her that most of life isn’t that simple. And then recently I discovered that her friends have been talking about relationships, kissing and even sex. They are in Year 3 (ages 7 and 8.) That shocked me. Fortunately, she doesn’t seem terribly interested in the whole thing, but now I know she is being exposed to it all, we have to think about what to say to her and how to say it. It all feels too early, she doesn’t have enough life experience to understand much of it. Where on earth do we start? Right now I haven’t started at all and am secretly hoping it will all somehow go away and re-appear when she’s older! That’s an effective parenting strategy isn’t it?!

We are as open as we feel appropriate with both our children, but it can be tricky working out what information to share and in what way. And don’t get me started on the whole friendship/relationship thing. I just want to wrap them both up in cotton wool but of course I know that this won’t help them be happy adults. My mum always said it got harder as we got older because she couldn’t solve everything for us, and now I know exactly what she means.

Thank you for reading, and please do pop by to say hello. I can be found on Twitter @Redpeffer, and my blog will take you to all my other social media profiles from the home page.

A renewed interest in crochet

Learning crochet

I used to crochet. I used to knit. I can’t remember when I last picked up a crochet hook, but stopping knitting was a bit more recent.

So when I got invited to a Nanna Skillz event put on by Yelp, I was pretty excited. I didn’t know what to expect but it involved dressing up, food, drink, nanna skills and croquet. How could I turn it down?

The dress code was white and I have an aversion to white, or it does to me. However, digging through my wardrobe, I found I have quite a bit of cream, including a cream crochet skirt with gold sparkles – an op shop purchase – and a beautiful vintage cardigan. I also dug up a cream crochet handbag that used to be my nana’s. Very appropriate I thought.

Crochet handbag and skirt

I had to drop my son off at a birthday party at a nearby indoor bowling place dressed like this when everyone else was a lot more casual. I just don’t care anymore but I would have been quite embarrassed a few years ago. When in doubt and a little bit nervous – strut. Surprisingly my son was okay with my getup until he saw the gold sparkles in the skirt.

It was a fun Sunday afternoon. I went by myself but caught up with people I’ve met on Twitter and in real life at other events. I love that Adelaide has a great Twitter community that extends into the meeting in person. I also met a few new people.

There was plenty of food to try and drinks to be had. I tasted cheese, salami, pickles, gnocchi, icecream, beer, whiskey and cofffee – all from locals. Luckily I hadn’t had time for a decent lunch prior.

The crochet ‘stall’ consisted of a couple of crochet rugs on the ground and some very helpful and patient crocheters. And once I put my glasses on I could actually see what I was doing better.

Now of course I’m all invigorated to try out crochet again. I’ve got some hooks and wool kicking around so I just might get cracking. I’ll have to relearn some more stitches and learn how to read patterns but I’m sure I can do that.

If I get good at it I wouldn’t mind making this crochet hat or this poncho.

crochet_hat_9 Fairy-Tale-Poncho-Collage

No wind and a kite festival. No it doesn’t work.

Blink and you miss it – the last month that is.

We got his application done and submitted – finally. Now it’s the waiting game.

So the school holidays were clouded with his application deadline looming. We did, however, manage to fit a few things in like the kite festival. Unfortunately there was no wind the day we went so it was a bit of a fizzer.

But we caught up with some friends which is always good.

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The lad got to go for a ride on the carousel, or the hurdy gurdy. Does anyone call it that anymore?

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They don’t go faster if you try. He tried.

Go faster

Beach near sunset for a fly of a kite.

kite

There was a bit of limited success and a bit of running up and down the beach to try and get the thing in the air.

 

Nearly

But when all else fails, the ocean is there for the swimming and as it was probably pretty much the last decent swimming weather – why not?

Sunset swim at Semaphore

Not a shark

Application schmapplication. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I want to look back at this time and say to myself, ‘see, it was all worth it.’ Why you ask? Because I’m helping my gorgeous (said with tongue firmly in cheek at this time) son to write an application for a high school he wants to go to and which would suit him.

Applicants have to write or prepare their own application answering selection criteria. Get your parents to help you it says! Faaarrrk. I’d rather write yet another job application and that’s saying something. Although things are looking good on the job front for me. More to come when I can say more!

Ever tried helping your child write an application when their attention span is bloody nought? Sure, he wrote down the bullet points that he wanted to address, but the devil’s in the detail isn’t it? I think we’ve finally done it though and it just needs a few other people to look at it because I’ve sure had enough.

And it’s not just that. Because he doesn’t want to go to his zoned high school there’s paperwork around that justifying the decision too.

It’s Easter long weekend for goodness sake and there’s lots I’d rather be doing than pinning the lad down to concentrate. He doesn’t get the consequences of this I don’t think. Sure he’s passionate about why he wants to go this high school but translating that to an application? Nah huh!

As this woman says: “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That“. Have you seen it?

Phoenix is settling in

Sphinx

Our dog has truly made himself a part of our family. My son describes him as mischievous and that’s a pretty good word.

When we first got him he was really well behaved and I thought he was too good to be true for a one year old dog. But he obviously feels more comfortable with us so his true nature is gradually being revealed.

I was on the phone to mum one day, sitting out in the back room. Phoenix had been into JJ’s room and was sneaking one of his soft toys outside. He knew he shouldn’t be doing it by the look he gave me as he slinked past.

He’s also started taking dirty socks and JJ’s shoes to his bed, or outside where he can lick and sniff them. While he doesn’t actually chew the shoe he will get the insert out and chew on that so now JJ has to put his shoes away. Clean clothes hanging on the clothes drier are okay, it’s just the dirty clothes he likes.

We never used to let Monty on our beds, but somehow Phoenix accompanies JJ when he’s going to sleep and I get him out when I go to bed. No doubt one night I’ll forget and wake up to someone creeping around in the hallway, and freak out until I realise it’s the dog.

JJ likes me to give him a tickle and whenever we’re mucking around on the lounge room floor there’s inevitably a dog trying to muscle his way in to the fray as well. We’ve nicknamed him the attention seeker because when he does that I start patting him and am therefore distracted from the tickling my son duties.

We took him to the beach a few weeks ago and he had a great time biting the waves and running up and down the beach. He even came in the water because we were all in there. He had that wild look in his eyes like Monty used to get when she was swimming. I think it’s because he wasn’t too comfortable being out there but it was better than being left out. I’ve still got a scar from where Monty’s claws got too close to my hand so I avoided his mad paddling front legs.

He still gets car sick which is frustrating for us, and no doubt for him. I’ve tried the expensive tablets the vet prescribed and have am now trying ginger tablets as a cheaper alternative. I need to give one to him more than half an hour out from a car ride because the last time we tried that we’d nearly arrived at our destination and he started doing the madly licking his lips thing that he does before he’s about to be sick. Luckily I was able to pull over and get him out the car before he threw up. His ginger tablet and the piece of salami I’d wrapped it in was still evident which is how I know that half an hour isn’t long enough to digest something.

On the way home that night he was fine so I wonder if night time car rides are fine and day time ones are the ones that make him sick. I hope this is something he gets over. We can’t always go somewhere when it’s dark.

But we put up with this because we love him and couldn’t imagine our lives without him now.

Macro is a bust

I went to my first photography meetup the other day – a macro shoot. I had a Sigma lens I’d bought second hand which I thought would work with my camera and it did, but only when the camera was using 2.8 f stop. Not ideal. So the shots below are using that aperture, and I’ve thrown in a couple of others with my 24-70mm Canon lens too (my favourite lens).

Am trying to do my bit about getting out more to take photos. So much to learn.

Flower

Himjei Gardens

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flower

Spiderweb

Himjei Gardens entrance

Berry good

Bee good

plant

leaf

blossom

blossom

lake

leafy

For Wordless Wednesday.

A poem about ‘The Rabbits’ book

Rabbit

I wanted to share this here as a bit of a mummy brag, and to keep it for posterity. It’s a poem my son wrote for a school project after reading a book by John Marsden and illustrated by Shaun Tan called The Rabbits.

I think by reading the poem below you get an idea of what the book’s about. The reviews on Good Reads (link above) are divided. I’m in the I loved it camp. I thought the illustrations were superb and I enjoyed the narrative as well.

He was awarded 6/5 – yes he got a bonus point for excellent work. Well done JJ.

Century in the past the rabbits came
Some were friendly some were a pain
The Elders warned us what evil they had within
The elders said they would have many sins
They came from sea
Without the key
They destroyed our land
But not with their hands
They brought terrifying machines
And ate our beans
They brought terrifying creatures
With terrifying features
Nothing could stop the rabbits
With their hostile habits
They killed us because we were different
They took our kids in a shipment
They stole our food
They were very rude
Took our young
Just for fun
And they kept on coming
They were very cunning
Nothing could stop them
They destroyed us
Who will save us from the Rabbits?

photo by: Rob Stemple