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Archive for November 2013

Molly had her prep play session today, as the last step before starting school next year.

She surprised me by turning quite shy as we arrived, preferring to stand with me rather than sit on the floor with the other “Preppies.”

It was quite relaxed and informal, a bit like a playgroup really. There were lots of different play activities set up and the kids were encouraged to just do whatever interested them. Here is what we got up to:

Dinosaurs first.

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Playground.

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Playdough.

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Craft.

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Water play.

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Sand.

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And stompers. Molly had a go too but didn’t want me to take a photo.

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Both the girls enjoyed the activities we did, but there was quite a bit of drifting around in between, where Molly just didn’t know what to choose. I don’t know whether she was tired, out of sorts, or overwhelmed. By the end of the hour, she was saying it was all stupid and that she was never coming to big school. In her usual, melodramatic style!

That was not really the outcome I’d been hoping for, or expecting. She has been looking forward to starting school for months now, and I think she’s definitely ready. Feeling the need to create a happy memory from the day, I took the girls to the local cafe for a milkshake and a debrief. Molly got to look at her ‘take home pack’ – some crayons, a pencil, some rubbers and a handwriting chart. She was soon in a better mood, and we talked about what school will really be like when she starts. More like what Tiernan does when we help out, and less like preschool. She was satisfied with this and I’m happy to announce that big school is ‘back on’!

And, as the Assistant Principal pointed out, there are only 80 sleeps left until the big day! 🙂

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Lately, I’ve been thinking we have created three monsters. Spoilt brats. Ingrates.

I don’t even know how it happened. We don’t, as a rule, buy them toys and things unless it’s for their birthday or something special. We try not to get them treats all the time when we go out. We expect them to do a reasonable amount of things for themselves (making breakfast, putting things away, keeping rooms tidy -which, by the way, doesn’t happen and it’s a miracle no-one has broken a limb trying to get in or out of a bedroom yet).

I have even started introducing the idea of making donations to toy drives and clothing appeals. The perfect opportunity came up a few weeks ago with the devastating fires that ripped through our beloved Blue Mountains. Many families lost everything. So the kids and I put together some toys they no longer play with and sent them down. They were more than happy to participate and felt very proud to be making some other kids happy.

And yet, somehow, we have got three kids with so much stuff they don’t know what to do with it. They each have more clothes than they can possibly wear. More toys than they can play with. And more rubbishy food than they need to eat. And their attitudes stink. All of a sudden, they seem to think it is totally fine to ignore our requests to do simple things, like getting dressed in the morning. That we, their parents, live to serve them and grant their every wish. That if we don’t, they can call us idiots and chuck tantrums. None of it ever works, but still they try. And we are both pretty fed up with it.

Who did this? Who raised these ungrateful beasts? Well, we did.

Just a few weeks ago I told Tom of my idea to spend a year volunteering somewhere overseas with the kids when they are teenagers. So that they would learn to recognise their own privilege, and also learn that there are ways of giving back. I thought the teenage years would be a good time for this because they will probably not want for much throughout their childhoods, and as a result, they could one day be in danger of turning out spoilt.

That’s still my plan, but what am I going to do in the meantime? They’re acting like spoilt brats already.

I wish I had the strength to do what some people I know of are doing, and go a whole year without buying anything (apart from food). Could I do that to the family? Should I? Maybe I should…

Or, maybe we should take away all their toys and make them earn them back, by being kind and thoughtful towards others? Is that too extreme? It’s what Tom wants to do, I think.

I don’t know. But I shudder to think what they’ll be like in years to come if we do nothing. I’m almost tempted to cancel Christmas. I feel sick at the thought of bringing more useless crap into our house, for them to wreck and leave all over their bedroom floors. Surely there are better things to spend money on? Maybe we could go on a holiday instead, and get them nothing.

I know it’s not their fault. I know I was probably the same as a kid. I definitely know how messy my bedroom was for many years. And I turned out ok. (Don’t laugh, I did!)

Anyway, this afternoon we are going to have a chat about some things that need to change (certain attitudes and behaviours), and about how lucky they are to even have enough food in their bellies, let alone enough toys to hide their floor. We’ll see how that goes for a start.