Now he’s learning the piano

Practising the piano. Day 247/365.

Thursday, 28 July 2011, Day 247/365.

For this birthday I got him an electronic keyboard. I honestly didn’t know what to get him and didn’t want to get yet another DS game when he’s got a few now anyway and I knew he was also getting money for his birthday.

The Surfer actually suggested this and I’m glad he did. I’d already asked JJ if he wanted to do piano lessons and he expressed an interest.

So he got the keyboard for his birthday and started piano lessons a week ago. So far he’s been practising without me prompting him too much. I hope his interest sticks with it and he enjoys it enough to learn to play it well.

Not leaving on a jet plane

Line in the sky. Day 246/365.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011, Day 246/365.

Jet trail. It makes me think of those people up in the sky going somewhere. This time last year I went somewhere. It was to celebrate leaving and  old job and starting a new one. Thank goodness I did that because I don’t know when I’ll be doing it again due to my work non-certainty.

Yesterday I dropped The Surfer off at the airport so he could fly to a surf beach and go surfing for nearly a week – hmmmpphh. I wish I was with him.

So here I am, firmly on the ground envying all those people up there going somewhere.

Deal Monopoly

Monopoly - the card version. Day 245/365.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011, Day 245/365.

Sometimes it’s just too easy to tell him to go and watch tv when I want some time to myself. As part of my new parenting resolve I thought I’d try and find a game that we could play, and that he could also play with The Surfer’s kids.

I found a couple of card games, one being Monopoly Deal. I like the Monopoly board game but it takes way too long to play – you sometimes need an afternoon and I get confused towards the end when you’re running out of money as to what you have to hand over to keep on going and how mortgages work and all that.

The Monopoly Deal card game is great though because the first person to get three full property sets wins so a game can be over in about ten minutes which is sometimes all the time we have after a day of work etc.

We both love it and JJ wants to play it all the time. He keeps winning which is probably one of the reasons he loves it. It has the same properties as the board game so it is fairly familiar. It took us a little while to get it but once we’d played a few games it was easy to remember the rules. It’s also really good because it is a card game and therefore very transportable.

I also bought Scrabble Dash but that hasn’t had quite the same appeal.

Would anyone like a seat?

Seat anyone? Day 244/365.

Monday, 25 July 2011, Day 244/365.

Remember last Monday how I said Mondays might become my objects on top of fixed objects day? Here’s a look back at last Monday in case you’ve forgotten.

When we were driving near our place last Monday I saw this lounge chair outside a nearby telephone exchange and thought that has to be my photo of the day. Luckily it was still there that evening and I got JJ to pose for me in front of it.

JJ was keen to sit on the actual chair but I wouldn’t let him. You know, something about safety.

I don’t think it’s there anymore. I wonder who took it away? Probably the council earning their money they’re getting off all the extra rates we’re all paying now. I got my housing rates bill the other day for this year. I’m glad I’m earning money again is all I can say!

Non-stop puppy play

Clay and Lola have a doggy playdate. Day 243/365.

Sunday, 24 July 2011, Day 243/365.

These two dogs played non-stop for just over two hours. The labrador was getting a bit worn out but she kept going. The staffy could have kept going for longer – he’s just a bundle of energy.

However, after the walk home, he just slept and when we went to put him to bed later on, he did a bit of a drunken stagger and we didn’t hear a peep from him the whole night.

Having fun

Me. Day 242/365.

Saturday, 23 July 2011, Day 242/365.

This is me out and about last Saturday night. The Surfer and I had a really good night catching up with friends for this and that and bumping into people we hadn’t seen for a while.

It was one of those nights where we thought it would be a fairly early one but we ended up at another place dancing to an Elvis tribute band and didn’t get home until about 1.30am.

It was worth it though as we had a really good time. It is expensive to go out for dinner and drinks though, but sometimes it’s just so worth it.

A recovering yeller

Making a key ring. Day 241/365.

Friday, 22 July 2011, Day 241/365.

The school holidays are finished now and I worked for most of them now that I have a job and might not have one in a couple of months.

I did, however, have both the Fridays off and last Friday JJ and I went into the city to meet some people for a social media get-together. JJ lasted pretty well there for about an hour and then it was time to move on because he was getting bored.

We walked to the museum and as it was NAIDOC week there was a heap of Aboriginal themed activities on. Most of them were a bit too young for JJ except for making this key ring. He did most of it with some help from one of the activity workers and a bit of help from me.

After we’d finished we had a good look at all the minerals which JJ is right into. He wants to save up his money to buy a huge crystal and has bought a $40 amethyst already. I can’t imagine many other nine or ten year old boys spending their hard earned money on something like this.

Overall it was a really good day and I’m pleased with how we’re going at the moment. We made a pact a couple of weeks ago for me not to yell at  him and neither of us to swear. I’d not been modelling the best behaviour which I’m not proud of at all.

I bought this book, ‘10 days to a less defiant child‘ and I’ve had a quick read of it and I’m sure I will revisit it. A lot of it makes sense and I could have been reading about my own child because so much of it described our exact situations. It talks about emotional intelligence which JJ lacks sometimes and I believe it makes him a bit silly which drives me crazy. I’d never thought of him in this aspect before and I know The Surfer doesn’t get it sometimes because his kids have more of this type of intelligence so usually act better in social situations.

It has the ten steps mentioned in the title, one of which is no yelling. It’s so easy to get caught in the yelling trap when you’ve asked your child to do something three times and when they still haven’t done it you think the only way to get them to hear you is to yell. When you yell at your kid, especially your defiant kid, it just makes them more defiant. In the past this upping of defiance just made me yell louder which of course made it a lot worse. I’ve always envied those calm parents who don’t seem to rise to their kid’s defiance and stay calm. How do they do it I’ve always wondered.

I know from bitter experience that yelling at him doesn’t work but it’s felt like the only avenue left open to me at times. Kate wrote a blog post ‘How to stop yelling at your kids or at least try to‘ and it has some great suggestions about the yelling thing. In the two weeks since I’ve been a recovering yeller I have noticed a difference. He’s been more considerate. He’s listened more. He’s been doing his allocated jobs in the morning and evening mostly without me asking and we’ve walked out the door for work and school calmly. He even offered to get me some water this morning when he saw that the glass near my bed was empty.

He has been a bit silly but I’ve not fallen into the trap of yelling. If it really gets on my nerves I ask him to calm down because he’s acting a bit silly but mostly I try to ignore it. I haven’t been severely tested yet so that’s what I’m waiting for to see if I fall off the yelling wagon, or is it on?