MERRY CHRISTMAS

As I sit watching Christmas carols on television, awaiting my munchkins to go to sleep (which takes much longer on Xmas eve than any other night due to the excitement of the imminent visit from Santa) I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support this year and to wish you and your family all the best for a very happy Christmas.
I have just returned from a holiday with my extended family which is why I have been AWOL for the last two weeks. You really can’t put a price on the value of seeing kids interacting daily with their cousins and similarly grandparents with their grandkids. I will be absent again for a few weeks as I spend quality family time with my kids and husband over the Christmas break. I hope you also have the opportunity to enjoy fun times with your family over the coming week.
As bed time draws near I know it won’t be long before the visit from the jolly man in the red suit – I just hope our puppy has left carrots for the reindeers – she was enjoying snacking on them when the kids put them out earlier!
Merry Christmas and all the best for a happy New Year!

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ARTWORK ARCHIVING

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From early on in a child’s life, every parent is faced with the situation where their child proudly presents them with copious amounts of ‘artwork’ (by which I mean random scribbles on a page or paint splattered across cardboard) for them to admire and cherish.

You have a few options with the way you handle this artwork:

  • You can admire it and place it on the fridge with all the other ‘artwork’ you have received, which leaves to you having to timidly open and close your fridge to avoid dislodging the masterpieces.
  • You can file it away somewhere safe, such as an archive box for keepsakes. You just have to make sure you have enough storage room for at least 10 years of artwork.
  • You can frame and display the best work and then file the rest in that special round file (aka the bin).
  • You can photograph it and then eventually print a book of your child’s artwork. This leaves you free to share the love, by passing on the original artwork to those nice garbage men who come visit each week.
  • You can use the artwork as personally designed cards and wrapping for family gifts.
  • You can give them to proud grandparents, aunts and uncles so that if they choose to throw it away, at least it is on their conscience and not yours!

With my first born, I was so proud of her first attempts at artwork that I kept every little drawing, finger painting and craft item she made at home, pre-school, playgroup etc. My plan was to give her this box of keepsakes once she left home. After several years and several boxes of artwork, we moved house. Prior to the move I opened up the boxes to review the artwork and came to realization that she was no Picasso and that neither of us was ever going to do anything with the boxes other than let them sit on a shelf collecting dust. I made the executive decision to throw them away to de-clutter. The important thing was the excitement at the time and the attention I gave her for her achievement – not the actual physical ‘artworks’.

We are lucky that our children’s school does a lovely portfolio of their work throughout the year, so at the end of the year we get a sample of their work stored in a handy folder that the kids can keep and review in years to come. That frees us up to dispose of other artwork, unless it of a particularly high standard.

What do you do with your children’s artwork? Feel free to share, so I can let other parents know strategies for dealing with their budding artist’s catalogue of work.

(Image courtesy of hinnamsaisuy, freedigitalphotos.net)

A SUGGESTION FOR SANTA

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I would like to suggest to the jolly man in the red velvet suit who brings joy to children all around the world, that he really needs to send out a manual to all parents so they understand the way he operates.

We all know he is magical in the way he manages to deliver presents all over the world in one single night, but realistically, with varying time zones he really gets just shy of 48 hours to complete this task!

What parents need to know are a few key things:
a) Do you need to leave food for reindeers, if so what do they prefer?

In my household we always leave out carrots for the reindeers and occasionally magic oats with red and green glitter.

b) What food should be left for Santa?

We always leave a sweet treat and a glass of milk, although I know plenty of people leave out an alcoholic beverage, but do we really want to encourage Santa to drink drive?

c) Where should Santa stockings/sacks be left?

I know traditionally they are left hanging on the mantelpiece of the fireplace near the snow encrusted windows, but as we live in Australia and we don’t have a fireplace, not to mention any hint of snow in the middle of Summer, we leave the sacks on our children’s beds.

There always seems to be confusion amongst kids (and parents for that fact) as to why Santa leaves lots of gifts for some kids and a single present for others. My kids always wonder why Santa gives them trinkets, whilst he leaves trampolines and bikes for other kids. I just tell my children that obviously those other kids are much better behaved than them 😉

It would be great if Santa were to have a standard set of rules to alleviate the confusion at this time of year, as it may help in reducing the number of ‘Is Santa real?’ type questions that seem to plague many parents at Christmas. For the record, I always assume the ‘If you don’t believe, you don’t receive,’ mantra and it seems whilst ever my kids are receiving gifts they are happy to believe (or at least make me believe that they believe!)

Ho ho hoping you have a Merry Christmas and that you made it onto the nice list this year!

(Picture courtesy of stockimages, freedigitalphotos.net)

ADOLESCENCE TO ADULTHOOD

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Our first-born child turned seventeen yesterday and I’m trying to adjust to the thought that in less than a year she will officially be an adult!

It is hard to let go of the child she once was, not to mention the integral part of our family that she is, but yesterday was a wake up call! This year, she chose to spend her birthday with her friends and boyfriend and gave celebrations with her family a wide berth. Don’t get me wrong; she made sure we had a small window of time to give her presents before she raced off for breakfast prior to school, then another small window of time for my parents to give her gifts before she went to have dinner with her boyfriend.

It is a tradition in our family to always have a family dinner out for everyone’s birthday, so it felt very weird to not even be dining with our daughter on her special day. To make matters worse, for her birthday next year she has already planned to be away on a holiday to celebrate the end of school. Her milestone eighteenth birthday will be spent away from family, which to be honest, breaks my heart. To think we have raised and nurtured her through her whole childhood, but are not even going to be present for her ‘coming of age’ really saddens me. I know she has to grow up and I have to allow the apron strings to be cut. It is just that as a small child her family was the center of her universe, but now her priorities have changed and I need to adjust my expectations otherwise I will be left resenting the fact that she is independently moving on with her life.

Part of me is proud of the young woman she has become, whilst another part mourns the child she was. It is hard to imagine your baby as an adult and I now have less than a year to come to terms with it!

(Picture courtesy of Marcolm, freedigitalphotos.net)