It was my nephew’s 4th birthday this week!
So on the weekend, we made a trip into Toys’R’Us to try and find a present.
Being a father to daughters only for 11 odd years, I have been brainwashed into “girl” toys – you know, Barbie, Bratz, dolls, cutesy stuff that is pink in colour, crafty things, diaries and stationery, bags, earrings, headbands, etc.
But walking into the store with my mind on boy toys – ALRIGHT! I could buy something like cars, scalectrix kits, remote control cars, boy lego, figurines, fake weapons and more. Ahh, the stuff I missed from my fatherhood 🙂
We ended up buying something I could not resist – a SPIDERMAN outfit!
WITH FAKE MUSCLES!
When he had it on, I could literally FEEL the testosterone radiating from him.
There must have been something magical about the outfit because as soon as he put it on, he was immediately posing, hands on hips – admiring his unbelievably huge muscles.
We’ve finally done it!
A few months ago, Miss 10 bought a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle.. a beautiful Holland landsacpe shot, and we completed it without too much trouble.
But this… our second 500 piece jigsaw puzzle was a nightmare! All the lilypads and pond areas just looked the same! We started by doing the corner and borders, but then skipped to the horizon line in the middle and tried to work outwards from there.
Don’t you just hate it when all the pieces are the same colour?
Luckily, after much perserverance, it’s done! The last 10 minutes was like a race to see who could put in the final piece. And then we hit a brick wall – we were one piece down at the end. After much searching around the lounge room, we were all relieved when we found it had fallen onto the storage shelf below our coffee table. I breathed a sigh of relief – I thought I had vaccuumed it up.
So, what now?
We’ve already started the next one – a Singing in the Rain poster jigsaw puzzle! The kids are hooked – I’m hooked – all good..
Don’t normally do a weekend blog post, but the girls are all asleep so I decided to do something I’ve been wanting to for ages – create a custom blog header!
I couldn’t decide between putting up one of the photos that I took myself, or putting up a family photo. Since my blog is not just solely focussed on photography but more about life in general, I decided a family photo reflected the state of my blog at this time!
This great family photo was taken by my cousin’s wife in Singapore over 3 and a half years ago! She runs a photo studio in Singapore called KidsPictures. If you’re visiting or currently live in Singapore and want some great natural family photos or photos of the kids, I definitely recommend going to see Anne. She was so relaxed with us, made the kids feel really at ease and made us look great! Visit the website here: http://www.kidspictures.com.sg/
Next experiment was something I love to eat, but have never ever cooked. Lasagne sounds hard to do.. I mean, it’s got so many layers!
When I went shopping for ingredients, one of my first dilemnas was what do I do about the lasagne sheets? Do I make my own? How good are the ones in the pack? Also, the ones in the pack seem too small?
As you can see, our first attempt was not that great. I just used a single sheet for the size of the lasagne! For some reason I thought that the single layer had to be made with a continuous sheet, but I’ve since realised that I should have just overlapped multiple smaller sheets to make a larger sized layer. Duh!
In any case, the end result was yummy. Can’t go wrong with pasta for kids!
One thing that makes parenting hard is getting your kids to do things that they should do but don’t want to do.
And practising their musical instruments falls right into that category for our 7yo. She just wasn’t motivated to practise her violin. She complained that practice is “boring”. The thing is that she’s quite good at the violin – her posture and bowing seem to come to her so naturally. And she pick things up relatively quickly – it’s just when it comes to new stuff or tricky parts that need some repetition that she loses the motivation.
We had tried practice charts in the past, but they never seemed to work. We tried to mix it up, lots of shorter practice sessions, fun and games, I play the violin along with her, I not play the violin, rewards, etc but none seemed to really work.
But with Christmas coming up, she started asking if she could get this or that for Christmas. The latest request was, “Dad, can I get a DS for Christmas?”.
We pounced on this and decided that yes she could… but only if she did her singing and violin practice as scheduled on a practice chart.
And so we made one up and it’s amazing! She hasn’t missed a practice since. And she even picks it up to play out of the blue!
I guess I better investigate where to buy a DS now. I wonder if my plan will backfire after Christmas… hmmmm…
So we pulled the kids all over Sydney and Melbourne during the holidays. We didn’t really plan much kid oriented activities – just shopping and some sight seeing. And did they get bored. I think there’s only so many Melbourne arcades a kid can look at. And it’s hard to motivate kids to walk somewhere when there isn’t an enjoyable end goal. Nup, no museum, zoo, It’s a Small World ride… I guess we could’ve done the Taronga and Melbourne Zoos or Luna Park, but us parents wanted to explore the shops and cafes that are unique to Sydney and Melbourne!
What brought the most joy on our trip? The hotel pool. An hour or so of splashing around in the hotel’s heated pool brought instant laughter, smiles and energy that definitely was missing when walking up and down Chapel or Smith Street.
I think our next holiday will have to be back to a South East Asian resort. They definitely love those the best 🙂
What do I do? Or really, can your child explain what you do? I asked the kids this a few weeks ago what I did at work.
Our 7yo answers, “You check your emails and play on the computer. You have meetings.”
Our 9yo answers, “You make computer programs.”
“What’s a program?” asks the younger one.
Hmmm… good question. How would I explain this? I try to think of what she knows on the computer.
“You know Club Penguin? Someone had to make Club Penguin on the computer. Draw the penguins, tell them what to do, make them move… I sorta make things like that with the computer. But not Club Penguin.”
Quizzical look. That made no sense. Not even to me.
“Well… I make the computer do things. I tell the computer what to do.”
Hmmm.. that sorta worked. I think our 9yo understands, but our 7yo still has some problems grasping virtual/theoretical concepts. I’m not too worried now cuz I think it’s just an age thing. I wonder if having a physically practical and visible job like a policeman or bricklayer would help 🙂
I discussed this with a colleague at work and he had a better analogy that I might try next time. That I make up something like a cooking recipe that I give to the computer to “cook”. But that nowadays, I spend more time organising other people to make the recipe instead of me.
But it made me think of when I young. I remember my Dad buying an Apple II and one of my favourite books was a programming book, to write simple things like “Hello” using Basic. I think I might introduce basic computer programming to our kids, at least our 9yo. I think she might find it fascinating to be able to get the computer to do things. She already seems to have a handle on DVD Photo authoring tools! I wonder what language – Basic or Visual Basic might be a good start.