ROAD SAFETY

I will never forget the time I felt that I well and truly failed as a mother – it haunts me to this day.

When my daughter was a toddler I was standing at the side of the road chatting with another mother after collecting my eldest child from school. As we chatted my impatient toddler tugged on my hand whining that she wanted to go home. I offered her platitudes such as ‘soon Sweetheart,’ then returned to finishing my conversation. In a split second she yanked her hand out of mine and proceeded to run across the road towards our car.

In a high pitched scream I yelled her name. Thankfully she turned to look at me and in that instant an oncoming car slammed on their brakes and came to a halt with the side rear view mirror skimming past my daughter’s shoulder. Had my daughter not turned towards me and continued to run, she definitely would have been hit by that car. I have never felt such an array of conflicting emotions. I was simultaneously wracked with guilt by my lack of attention to her, angry at her for her reckless behaviour and overwhelmingly relieved that she wasn’t harmed. The ‘what ifs’ nagged at the back of mind for a long time. My momentary lapse in attention could have ended her life.

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I’m no stranger to the danger of children being hit by cars, as at the age of 6, I was struck by a car at a school crossing. Again a mother’s focus was distracted as she waved goodbye to her own children and in that instant her car hit me, sending me flying through the air. I was shocked but not badly hurt. My good old brown suitcase of a school bag (I swear it was fashionable back then), bore the brunt of the impact and was crushed, leaving me unharmed. At the time I recall being more distressed that my favourite book was trapped inside the suitcase than the reality of what may have occurred had I not been carrying that case. I was lucky to have not suffered broken bones or a head injury as I impacted the road.

Children are unpredictable and adults can be distracted, and this combination around roads can be fatal. Thankfully my personal experiences haven’t resulted in major injury or death, but they easily could have, had the circumstances been slightly different. 

After the incident with my daughter I bought a ‘monkey backpack/harness’ that I made her wear. I held her hand and didn’t lead her around like a puppy dog, but it gave me the backup of restraining her if she decided to spontaneously run off. I know plenty of people are opposed to children wearing harnesses, but give me a safe child in a harness any day over an unrestrained child in a morgue. It only takes a moment of distraction to result in catastrophic consequences.

My children are now older and have been taught road safety skills, but kids and cars don’t mix, so I still accompany them across the road every day from the school bus stop to home. As the saying goes, ‘It’s better to be safe than sorry.’

 

(Photo courtesy of antpkr, freedigitalphotos.net)

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HOLIDAY ABROAD

Our family has just returned from an amazing holiday spent in the tropical warmth of Phuket, Thailand. 

This time overseas, spent free of other commitments and distractions, was a lovely chance to bond as a family. Although we had wi-fi in our hotel room, the days were free of the kids feeling the need to constantly be on social media or a need to amuse them with ipads.

Instead our days were filled with wonderful adventures of riding elephants, snorkeling with tropical fish and literally flying through the jungle on ziplines. The water was warm and an incredible aqua hue that was inviting to swim, sometimes for hours on end.

We visited temples, chatted (as best we could) with locals and haggled in markets to buy souvenirs. We then caught tuk tuks (open truck like taxis with booming stereos and flashing lights) back to our hotel. They were literally like little discos on wheels, which provided a fun and unique way to end each night.

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On our final night, we released a heart shaped lantern into the sky and as I watched it drift up in the night sky, first out of our reach and eventually out of our sight, I felt it was a metaphor for our time with our kids. One moment they are larger than life, within arms reach, then they will slowly drift away as they forge their own path in this world. Whilst they will carry our love with them, we may not always be able to hold them and enjoy their immediate presence. Our kids are literally growing up in front of our eyes and each passing holiday marks one less chance we will spend time together just as a family without external distractions.

Life is about enjoying quality time with your loved ones, having fun experiences and being appreciative to be able to do so. Our time in Phuket ticked all these boxes and so I’m truly grateful that we have such wonderful memories of our time together as a family.

MY MYSTERIOUSLY DISAPPEARING WARDROBE

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There is a very strange phenomenon that is occurring in my house at the moment. Items of clothing, shoes, makeup and accessories seem to mysteriously disappear from my room.

The problem with sharing the house with two teenage daughters, who by the way are almost as tall as me now, is that they see my wardrobe and toiletries as an extension of their own belongings.

This ‘borrowing’ phenomenon is not limited to my wardrobe either – my husband’s shirts and jumpers have also been known to wander.

The other day I was in the shower when I noticed my shampoo and razor had vanished into thin air. Of course I was a dripping mess by the time I came to this realization and had to wrap myself in a towel to do the dash to the kid’s bathroom to retrieve my things.

Just this morning I went to put on my joggers to go for a run, only to find they had disappeared. I sent a text to my oldest daughter, letting her know for the hundredth time that she can’t just take my stuff and received a text in return “sharing is caring J”

I don’t really mind lending clothes to my daughters if they ask in advance and return them after they’ve used them. However, I do worry that people will think that I’m raiding my daughter’s wardrobes if they spend too much time wearing my clothes.

In reality, the stream of borrowing is one way as I don’t want to wear the ‘trendy’ (aka skimpy) clothes teenagers seem to favour, nor wear their grubby converse.

I always wondered why some mothers dress in frumpy clothes that make them look years older than they are, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it is their scheme to keep teenage daughters out of their wardrobe!

 

 

(Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic, freedigitalphotos.net)

COMMANDO

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There is a curious thing I have noticed over the years – for some unknown reason, young boys seem to have an aversion to wearing underpants.

When my son was little, he was pretty good at getting himself dressed, with the exception of remembering to put on underpants. For all intents and purposes he would look dressed, until unfortunately, I would find him sitting cross-legged in wide legged shorts with his entire package on display for all to see. I would usually notice this when we were out and about and he was surrounded by a group of his peers.

I was always mortified, but he seemed to not care. I wasn’t sure if he was lazy, forgetful or just preferred to go ‘commando’.

I was discussing this recently with friends, who all confided that their boys had been the same. It seems we all had experiences where our sons ‘private parts’ weren’t being kept private enough. Thankfully pre-school aged girls don’t seem to take offence to be flashed inadvertently!

From a female’s perspective, I would have thought that boys would prefer to keep their dangly bits tucked away, but it seems that’s not the case. I was more likely to find my son running around the house with underpants on his head, than wearing them on his bottom.

My friend went to extent of laying out her son’s clothes (underpants and all) so he knew what to wear, but later in the day she would find his teddy bear dressed in the undies, whilst he had a bare (mind the pun) bum.

I’ve heard of the ‘Sisterhood of the travelling pants’, but this is more a case of the ‘Brotherhood of the disappearing pants’.

I assume this is something that boys grow out of over time, as I’m happy to confirm that my son did cease going ‘commando’ and now keeps his ‘toolbox’ contained.

 

If you have boys, did you find they had an aversion to wearing underpants?

 

 

 

(Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic, freedigitalphotos.net)

CRAZES

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Every few years a new fad rears it’s ugly head and the latest craze my kids have adopted is making loom band bracelets. For those who have been living under a rock for the last six months, loom bands are cheap little rubber bands (similar to those for braces) that are weaved together (much like our grandmother’s used to crochet) to make bracelets, necklaces, pen holders etc.

As with all good trends, a swarm of imitation kits are on the market and my younger kids just can’t seem to get enough of them. I mean really, how many necklaces and bracelets are enough? Soon my kids will end up looking like members of the Kayan tribe, with fluorescent bands all up their arms, legs and necks.

It is great to see them getting creative and enjoying craft type activities instead of screen time, but you know it has reached a point of saturation when you notice your husband nonchalantly leaving for work with a loom band ring on his finger!

We have weathered the trends of ‘Scoobies’ (plastic string that were weaved together to make bracelets), Pokemon cards and characters, jewellery beading, Lego (having just seen the movie I’m sure this passion will be reignited), ‘Beados’ (little bead things that stuck together with water) and ‘Stickits’ (foam pieces that are also stuck together with water).

I have decided I should come up with an idea for the next craze. There are a few keys things to consider:

  1. It must contain lots of little bits.
  2. It must be cheap and nasty to get the kids hooked.
  3. It must make parents look ridiculous when they are forced to wear/display the end product.
  4. It must come in a million colours so kids can buy a rainbow selection of colours even though they already have a million other pieces.
  5. It must be something that not only can you sell the product, but then you can make an app training the kids to use the product and sell that too!

There is no need to reinvent the wheel, so I’m going to brush up on my knitting, embroidery and macramé skills to see if I can adapt these for the new craze. Maybe it’s time for specially patented colourful string that the kids can do finger knitting with, or even better, bring back the pom pom! Who doesn’t need a pom pom animal or clothing, key rings and accessories made from pom poms? I think I may be onto something here, as this definitely fits the bill for making parents look ridiculous!

What trends have your kids been hooked on, or what crazes would you like to see return?

GOOD SPORTS

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All my kids play sport and so I find myself exposed to the full gamut of ‘sporting parents’. There seem to be three kinds of parents: the supportive ones, the absent ones and the over the top ones.

The majority of the parents are supportive, but I must admit, I find the over the top parents worse than the absent ones!

Most kids play sport just to have fun, unfortunately the same can’t be said for all of the parents.

In the last few weeks I have witnessed parents yelling at their kids, at the refs, the team officials and the opposition. These parents seem hell bent on their kids winning at all costs, which leaves me wondering what message they want to send to their kids.

The parents become so competitive that they lose sight of the fact that their kids are there for exercise, friendship, teamwork and above all fun. It seems these parents project their expectations on their kids, living vicariously through them, rather than supporting them.

In my opinion, these parents would be better to take time to coach their children and give them skills, rather than turn up at games to yell at them. They could donate their time to ref games, rather than yell abuse at the umpires or they could work out a roster they think is fair for the playing time of each child, rather than harass the manager. 

Sport should provide a healthy, safe and happy environment for kids to play with their friends. There is nothing wrong with wanting your kids to win, but at the end of the day it is just a game! Being a good sport is better than being good at sport!

 

 

(Picture courtesy of topstep07, freedigitialphotos.net)

FOUR EYES

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My son recently mixed up the numbers on our digital oven clock. Up until that point I had never considered he had anything wrong with his eyesight.

I arranged for an appointment with an optometrist and he determined that whilst my son can focus on things at all distances, his eyes have trouble staying focused and they zoom in and out of focus, much like a camera lens when you are trying to take a photo.

Left untreated he said that he may develop a stigmatism and eventually the eyes would change shape to allow him to focus on one depth, probably leaving him short sighted. Unbeknownst to this optometrist, I’m short sighted with a stigmatism , so I took his advice and had him make my son glasses to wear in the classroom to help train his eyes to stay in focus.

I was worried that my son would feel embarrassed to wear his new glasses as I personally avoid wearing my glasses when I can. I expected him to choose frames that were the most inconspicuous so his peers wouldn’t notice his new glasses. Instead he chose Clark Kent styled black framed glasses and wears them proudly.

As a mother I was worried he may be bullied, getting called four eyes or nerd, but my fears were unfounded as he has embraced wearing his glasses. In fact, he was happy to report on the first day he wore them at school that most people commented that they thought they made him look handsome. I guess with anything in life, people can’t make you feel insecure, if you are secure within yourself. My only problem now is trying to ensure he doesn’t wear them in the playground – at over $700 a pair, I don’t want to have to replace them if they are lost or broken.

Hopefully a few years of preventative assistance now will save him from wearing glasses the rest of his life – transforming him from Clark Kent into Superman!