FORGETFUL  

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I dread a phone call or text from my children once they have left for school. It can only mean one of two things – they are feeling unwell, or more often than not, that they have forgotten to take things to school.

I understand we are all only human and we forget things at times, so I have been known to dash up to school with missing items (particularly the day my daughter forgot her entire school bag – don’t ask me how she managed to make it all the way to her classroom before realising something was amiss!)

However, over the years I have come to the realisation that my kids need to take on the responsibility of packing the items they need for their school day and that they should also suffer the consequences if they are not prepared. If children are reprimanded for not being organized, hopefully the next time they will make more of an effort to plan their day in advance.

In theory for most kids this is the case, but based upon my son’s efforts he struggles to get organized regardless of the consequences. I have a timetable printed out that is a visual reminder of what is on each day and I admit I do find myself prompting my son in the morning to make sure he has his instrument, gym clothes, library books etc but nagging and follow through on his behalf don’t necessarily correlate! At least he knows that I won’t be at his beck and call as a delivery person for items if he has forgotten something.

Unfortunately his forgetfulness is a two way street, he also regularly forgets to bring things home from school – homework being at the top of his list! My notes to his teachers often resemble a shopping list of items for him to pack into his bag to bring home. Any item of uniform that can be removed is often lost, as are any loose objects such as books, instruments and his diary. I’m still waiting for the day he takes responsibility for his things, but until that time I just wish I could staple his belongings to him, so they can’t be lost in transit.

What do you do to get your kid’s organized? Do you find yourself constantly taking forgotten items to school?

(Picture courtesy of photostock, freedigitalphotos.net)

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FIRST CAR

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Our eldest daughter is about to get her driver’s license and was less than impressed that we didn’t buy her a car for her seventeenth birthday, as many of her friend’s parents did. Although we can afford to buy a car for our daughter, we feel that it is more important that she learns a life lesson of earning money so she can appreciate the hard work that goes into paying for things. We also believe she needs to learn to save for a goal and in doing so hope that she will take better care of a car that she has had to work hard to earn. Kids need to learn that not everything in life will be handed to them on a silver platter!

We did however offer to match her dollar for dollar to help her save enough money to purchase a half decent car. Our bare minimum requirements for her car were that it had to have the safety features of ABS and airbags and that it mustn’t have an excessive amount of kilometers on the odometer.

Initially my daughter’s sole condition was that the car had to be black. After searching cars in her price range her criteria widened to become anything with wheels!

After a lot of searching, my husband located a car he felt fit the criteria (although silver not black). The owners were relocating overseas and were desperate to sell (always a good sign they are keen to negotiate!). When my husband and daughter saw the car in the flesh it was grubby but ran smoothly as it been serviced regularly. My husband made it his own little project to detail the car by washing, polishing and waxing the car until it looked as close to new as it ever will.

So now my daughter has a cute little silver hatchback car that gleams and she is beyond excited about being able to take advantage of the freedom that comes with owning a car. I just hope she will treat it with TLC and keep it shiny and clean.

(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, freedigitialphotos.net)

ARMED HOLD-UP

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Last night I watched a ‘60 Minutes’ story on the siege at the Lindt Café in Sydney in December 2014. What struck me was the heroic and brave actions of the younger hostages held in this siege. These uni students, who were part-time workers at the café, were able to make clear decisions in a time of extreme stress and on the whole seem to be coping well in the aftermath.

It reminded me of a time when I was 17, working part-time at the local Pizza Hut. One night after closing the restaurant for trade, two masked gunmen held the staff at gunpoint, whilst our Manager was taken out the back of the restaurant to empty the safe. The older people I was working with were shaking and sobbing, whilst I was trying to memorise the clothes worn by the armed robber who had his gun pointed at me. I then tried to work out his height by counting the number of tiles on the wall behind him. Whilst I was obviously terrified, I kept calm and tried to think as logically as possible, wanting to give the police the most accurate account of events as possible.

Once the thieves left the restaurant, I called my parents to let them know I would be late, telling them I had been ‘held up’. Due to the nuances in the English language my mother took that to mean I had been waylaid, not that I had been actually held up at gunpoint.

I was able to give police a clear description of the thieves and then went home, to live my life with as much normality as possible. I kept working at that Pizza Hut for a few months, but found that any time we closed the restaurant I began to feel anxious. Eventually I gave that job away and worked in a boutique, which was both a blessing and a curse. I enjoyed the work, but never had money because I spent all my wages on clothes that I could buy at staff discount!

I haven’t thought much about that armed hold up for a long time, which I guess shows you how resilient kids can be! I now reflect that my eldest daughter is the same age I was when that incident occurred and I fervently hope that none of my kids ever have to experience the stress of wielding to the demands of an irrational thug.

Obviously my experience pales into insignificance in comparison to the hostages in the Lindt Café siege that lasted hours. I just hope they can all move forward with their lives knowing that they did what they had to do in that situation and that they bear no responsibility for the actions of the deranged terrorist who was accountable for the death of two innocent people.

(Photo courtesy of Pong, freedigitalphotos.net)

APP-PALLING WASTE OF TIME  

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My youngest children use the same Apple ID as me so I can keep track of the apps they want to download onto their devices. This gives me the total discretion to decide whether the game/app is suitable and stops them from having open slather to purchase or download apps as they please.

The flip side to having them using the same Apple ID, means that the apps get automatically downloaded onto my devices. I don’t mind this, as it actually allows me to use the app to see that the description of the app has been accurate and that it is appropriate for my kids. The downside of ‘checking out’ these apps, is that I find myself spending hours playing these addictive little games that my kids enjoy.

Last Christmas I took great delight in ‘Elfing’ myself and watching my over-sized head on some phenomonal hip-hop dancer’s body grooving to a funky christmas carol. Come on – admit it – you did it too! Or if you didn’t, you should as it really is worth the chuckle!

The latest craze for my kids is a game called ‘Crossy Road’ where you try to get a pixilated chicken to cross the road without getting hit by a car. Simple and boring I hear you say – but no! It’s addicitive because you are sure you can beat your prior record. First the chicken wants to cross a road, then there’s a trainline and eventually a stream. Just when your brain is telling you to grow up and get on with real life, you win a cow. Then it’s a whole new game! You now want to get the cow to cross the road. It’s embarrassing that I’m entertained by such a simple game!

I have come to the conclusion that these apps are appropriate for my kids, just not for me as I find myself wasting time on trivial games. I have however worked out the riddle ‘Why did the chicken cross the road?’ – the answer, so you can win a cow!

Please tell me I’m not alone – let me know if you too have been sucked into the vortex of time wasting games, in the interest of researching them for your kids!

(Picture courtesy of Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net)