Spirits

Hot off the presses is my new short story ‘Spirits’.

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When four women travel to tropical Mexico they find themselves in heaven. Their days consist of sipping margaritas on the beach and dining in cute cantinas being serenaded by mariachi bands.

Their holiday turns into their worst nightmare when they are kidnapped and held for ransom.

This short story details how each of the women deal with this traumatic event.

 

$1 at Amazon kindle store now.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Spirits-Joanne-Nicholson-ebook/dp/B018UJDMR0/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1449133811&sr=1-1&keywords=spirits+joanne+nicholson

Lost and Found

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I always seem to have a pile of items that belong to kids that visit us and leave their belongings strewn around the house. As soon as I’ve located their owners and returned their things to them, a new pile grows afresh.

When friends leave I always check that they have everything, but without fail I always seem to find items in the oddest places. I even find that when I’m folding clean washing there always seem to be items of clothing that my family doesn’t own.

Mind you, my kids are the worst culprits of leaving their belongings at their friend’s houses so I guess you could call it karma!

My son rarely comes home from school with the belongings he took with him. Our school’s lost property has a policy that they charge kids 50c for each of their items that are found in lost property. This is a great revenue raiser from our family, as my kids’ possessions tend to migrate to lost property on a very regular basis.

I sometimes wish it could be possible to just staple my kids’ hats on their heads and superglue their jumpers on their bodies! I keep thinking with maturity will come a sense of responsibility to keep track of their things, but even with one child about to become an adult, I’m still waiting to see this transition.

At least I guess the forever present pile of forgotten items at my house is a reminder that it’s not only my kids that lose tracks of their things!

Do your kids also regularly misplace their things?

(Picture courtesy of Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net)

Teacher’s Kids

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I have often wondered how kids whose parents are teachers at their school, feel about this arrangement. Of course it would be cool to have your parent at school any time you need a form signed or want canteen money, but from a social perspective I wonder whether it is difficult.

All my kids have friends whose parents teach at the school and I know from their experience it becomes awkward knowing what to call these teachers. They struggle with calling them by their title (Mr or Mrs) at school and then calling them by their first name in a social setting outside of school. It leaves them tending to not address them by any name for fear of either being too formal or too casual.

I think it is also a tad difficult for parents who teach at their kid’s school to make the same kind of connection with other parents as they are always held in a different regard – like anything said to them could end up being discussed with the school principal.

I have spoken with teachers who shop half an hour away from their home so that they don’t bump into kids from their school. Not only do they feel they are being stalked by the kids like they are paparazzi but they feel like the parents judge them by what is in their shopping trolley.

Of course I understand logistically it makes life easier if, as a teacher, you are positioned at your child’s school as then you get to see all their concerts, assemblies and carnivals, however maybe it is actually better for the child and the parent to go to different schools so that they can both have independent identities away from school.

What are your thoughts? I’m sure there are a lot of teachers out there that would have an opinion on this subject!

(Image courtesy of isosphere, 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)

FREE PLAY

Anyone who has read my blog previously knows that our family enjoys boating and have a few friends that share our passion for time spent on the water.

The thing I love the most is seeing the kids interact – moving away from screen time and structured play.

The other morning some of our kids and their friends took the dinghy into the beach and spent hours creating their own fun. Years ago they discovered if you rubbed different coloured rocks with water you could make ‘face paint’. The kids were all painted – fairies for girls, snakes for boys.

After that was done they found flotsam and jetsam on the beach and painted them, before creating a ‘shop’ where they could use collected gems (rocks) to pay for the items they made. This imaginative and creative play borrowed some inspiration from minecraft but instead of the kids creating cyber worlds to interact with one another they used nature.

They were only about 100 metres away from us but they were really a world away. They only escaped that world briefly to come back to our boat for snacks and drinks to keep up their energy levels.

I’m sure our kids will look back on their childhood and reflect on days like that rather than the time they made a fort in minecraft!
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TEENAGE PLANS

Sitting under a clear blue winter’s sky I order a coffee to pass the time as I wait for my daughter and her friends to return from a jet boat ride on the harbour.

Today’s outing is a long planned surprise for one of my daughter’s friend’s birthday. They have been blessed with beautiful weather. Had this been arranged for 24 hours earlier they would have been stuck in rain – the droplets would have felt like needles on their skin.

A little nervous, but very excited, they donned purple jackets that made them resemble Telly Tubbies before climbing aboard the jet boat.

I love that they chose to have an experience together for their gift as opposed to more commercial gifts of clothes or beauty products.

On the car trip down they chatted about what adventures they want to have together when they leave school and I couldn’t help but wonder whether these grand plans made at the age of 15 will ever eventuate. I recall at the same age planning to work on a tropical island with a friend, but of course life got in the way and that dream faded, making way for more concrete plans for a career, marriage and a family.

Whether their musings translate into actions or not, the fact is that today they are forming last memories together. I look forward to hearing their excited chatter as they relay the twists and turns of their boat ride. Hopefully their Telly Tubbies jackets protect them and they don’t come back looking like drowned rats!

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SOCIAL DISCIPLINING  

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I know all parents have been put in a situation where their child misbehaves whilst they are in a social setting. This leads to the awkward position of deciding how to deal with the child’s behaviour without ruining the whole mood of the event.

If you turn a blind eye to keep the peace, will you be encouraging your child to misbehave when they go out, as they learn they can get away with it? Furthermore, will your friends also think that you let your child run riot without setting boundaries for them? On the other hand, if you choose to discipline your child, will it highlight your child’s poor behaviour whilst putting a dampener on proceedings? Will your friends think you are a tiger mum who can’t relax whilst your kids play?

In short, it sometimes feels like you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t!

As with every element of parenting, I believe the answer lies in your gut feel. Sometimes a glare is enough of a signal to your child that you are aware of what they are doing and that there will be consequences. If a child is in a position where they are hurting another person, then of course you have to intervene and discipline your child. The severity of the child’s behaviour should guide your reaction.

Consistency is also paramount. If you enforce the desired behaviour all the time, your child should learn how to behave and understand the expected outcomes for poor behaviour.

No one wants to socialise with someone whose child is a monster wreaking havoc, but neither do they want to socialise with a person who can’t focus on a conversation because they are constantly interrupting to counsel their child. As parents we need to find a happy medium that works to satisfy our social needs, as well as our child’s.

It is human nature to want to show off the best version of ourselves in front of our friends, so we don’t like to show our ‘disciplinarian parent side’. However, sometimes you need to unmask this side of yourself when socialising to ensure your child doesn’t run riot. Don’t worry if you have to reprimand your child in front of your friends – if they have kids, there is a good chance they have been in your shoes at one point in time!

 

(Image courtesy of vlado, freedigitalphotos.net)

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