Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Santa Claus and all that BS

Alex seems to oscillate between getting really into the whole Santa deal and asking pointy questions poking holes in the logic of the whole charade.

Example 1

Alex, after being told by some well-wisher that if he wasn't a good boy Santa wouldn't bring him any presents: "Mum, last year when I was 3, we shouted at each other" (note the use of 'we', hence only partial responsibility taken for bad behaviour) "and I still got presents. So, even if you're naughty sometimes, you still get them right?" *raises eyebrows pointedly*

Example 2

After pondering for a while in the car: "Mum, you know how superheroes are pretend? Well then how can Santa be real? Because it's really the same kind of thing." *raises eyebrows questioningly*

Example 3

Further to example 1: "What happens to the kids in my pre-school who are bullies? Will they not be getting any presents?"

But then, when I've tap-danced my way around these curly ones ( sample responses include 'Santa prefers you to be as good as you can'; 'you'll find the present quality is better, the more of an effort you make to be good'; 'it's really about the effort, he'll know if you haven't been trying to be good' and 'people believe different things about Santa, just like they do about God, it's a personal choice in a way, you can choose what you want to believe until you find out otherwise') -

BAM - he starts explaining the Christmas myth to Maya in no uncertain terms. "Maya, the Santa in the shops is not real. He's a man dressed in a Santa costume. Only the real Santa is real." and "Mum maybe the elves are pretend, just guys in costumes, but only Santa is real?" and "are these lollies brought to us by Santa? Because they've got his picture on them."

I reckon it's partly wilful suspension of disbelief on his part - we all do it in movies, why can't a 4 year old do it with Santa? Possibly a dash of willingness/ desire to believe. I hope he can get a bit of magic out of life without needing to dissect the cold hard facts at every opportunity. Especially at the age of 4. In some ways I think his willingness to suspend disbelief in spite of compelling evidence to the contrary shows he is more of a dreamer than the kids who just buy the whole thing unquestioningly. Who knows, underneath his engineer-like surface, maybe he'll be a romantic yet.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The meaning is clear

Tonight I got an explanation from Alex about what Uncle Ben meant when he said "With great power comes great responsibility."

It means: "You need to help people and share things and not be a thieve."

Cool. That sorts it out then.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Alex hasn't watched the M-rated Spiderman for about 6 months. We had let him watch bits of it under supervision for a while, but the boundaries kept getting pushed back and it became a bit hard to police. After a spurt of what we saw as possible 'copycat' behaviour we realised that a blanket ban was called for.

Alex took it pretty well, all things considered. He likes to know where he stands and is a rules boy, after all. When we explained the ratings system - that M-rated things are only for grown-ups, PG is for older kids if their parents say yes, and G is for any one - he seemed fine with it. We also described in some details the reasons why M rated things were for adults, namely that they showed bombs, guns and other stuff that could give kids nightmares, or stuff that kids would find boring or wouldn't be able to understand easily.

He then proceeded to find a loophole in the system by locating the one Spiderman cartoon DVD that is in fact G-rated (even though it features a scary-looking baddie called Venom). We've let him watch it on occasion until such time as his behaviour indicates it's not doing him any favours. He displayed a remarkable understanding of the ratings system recently by commenting, "Mum, I don't know why this Spiderman cartoon is G. It's got lots of bombs and fighting and things. It really should be PG at least." I asked him if he thought that meant he should stop watching it, and he assured me that, no, it was ok, he could handle it.

Recently we went out and my mum came over to baby-sit. Alex, like the cat that ate the canary, convinced her to let him watch some of the M-rated Spiderman while we were out. I can imagine his saucer-like eyes and the illicit thrill of getting away with something so devious!

When we came home and it was revealed that Nan had allowed him to watch it, Nan and Alex were each quick to point the finger at each other. Nan claimed Alex had told her he was allowed to watch it. Alex just shrugged and said "Well YOU let me."

Today he further emphasised his point by commenting, "Nan is the grown-up and I am the kid. The grown-up gets to say yes or no if a kid can watch something or not. Nan said I could. If she didn't want me to she should have said no."

He also told me that Peter Parker's Uncle Ben says "With great power comes great responsibility." I asked him if he knew what that meant. His eyes glinted. "Yes" he replied, "but I'm not telling you right now."

I guess I'll just have to wait to find out.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Master negotiator

This morning Alex had two pieces of toast with honey for breakfast. Then he asked for a bowl of Weet Bix. One bite into the Weet Bix and he wanted two more pieces of toast. I was reluctant to make them as I thought his eyes were getting too big for his belly so I said that once he had finished the Weet Bix, I would make the toast.

"No mummy," he said, remaining calm and rational (not the "noooooo!" whine I had expected), " I do need the toast to be in front of me at the same time as the Weet Bix. I just do."

I repeated that I didn't want him to run out of space and waste food.

"I promise you," he assured me, "It won't be wasted. Mummy, I still love you but I'm not happy about this. I really want you to make me the toast now. Please." I could see him mustering the strength to control himself as he looked at me plaintively.

I suppressed a smile and agreed to make the toast. I wanted to trust his judgement and reward him for asking in such a polite way instead of whinging. I figured if he then wasted the toast, my point about not wasting food would be made for future reference. But do you know what? He ate the whole thing.

Evidence-based approach

Alex is nothing if not concrete in his thinking. After breaking his leg and having it in a CAM boot for 3 weeks, I told him that he could bear weight on it as long as it was comfortable, enough to move around and walk a bit.

He refused. Getting out of the bath he would fold the leg up like a bird with a broken wing. He insisted on being carried everywhere or he would crawl. He was just too nervous to put weight on it. I told him the doctor said it was ok to give it a try, it would be healed enough to put some weight on it by now. If he didn't find it comfortable he didn't have to do it. He shook his head. No.

"I'll wait till we get the second lot of x-rays done today, and if it looks fixed then, I'll walk on it," he declared.

And so it was that I carried him in to the specialists appointment, into a full waiting room. We had another discussion while we were waiting about maybe trying to walk a bit into the doctor's room, to show him how much better his leg was. No dice. So I carried the 21kg+ of him (as I had been doing for three weeks) into the consulting room. I actually suspected he was more than capable of walking on it, at least a bit, but I knew better than to force the issue with Alex, and besides, publicly admonishing a boy with a broken leg to walk might have looked a bit suss. The doctor showed him the x-ray and assured him it was ok to walk on it.

Imagine the amusement in the waiting room when, ten minutes later, the boy who had been carried in, walked out (albeit with a slight limp, but full of confidence.) That doctor is a miracle worker!

Transformers defy logic - who knew?

Alex often contemplates the many absurdities of life, and, in his own time, poses a question aloud to which there really is no sensible answer.

Most recently, it was: "When a Transformer is a car, it's the size of a normal car because people drive in it. But when they turn into robots they are as big as buildings. How does that happen?"

Me: "...." (Firstly, he's never actually seen transformers as far as I know so how does he know this information? Must be from pre-school discussions. Secondly, 0_0)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A for effort

Sometimes I wonder whether I overdo the praise.

Alex and Maya had been colouring in. Alex, in his usual focussed style, had worked hard to get the colours correct and all his colouring in the lines. Maya, being two, had scribbled randomly across the page.

I complimented Alex on his efforts.

"Good work, Maya," I added, commenting, "You've done purple all over yours."

Alex raised his eyebrows and leaned over conspiratorially, stage whispering to me, "Maya's is not really good work, Mum. It's actually pretty messy. Are you just saying that to make her feel happy?"

"Well it is good because she's tried to do a picture that she likes, and she is only 2..." I pointed out, trying to explain that I was commenting on the effort rather than the result.

On hearing this, he leant forward again and said to Maya, "Great work, Maya, that's really good work!"

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Interview That Made Me Come Out Of Blogging Retirement

When I saw the hilarious results of this interview on Bern Morley and the other greatfunnywonderful blogs (Jodie and Thea), I couldn't resist doing my own. It's kind of like the best kind of blog chainmail!

This interview took place while the kids were playing in the bath. Alex is 4yrs 4mths, Maya is 2years 2 mths (notice the nice symmetry there?) Also notice Maya gets a bit sassy which I am starting to think is more her temperament than her age...

1. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Alex: A superhero!

Maya: Cat.

2. How old are you?

A: 4

M: 1 (she has been saying this for six months. Four months ago, it was true. She hasn't caught on that 2 is the new 1)

3. How old am I?

A: 33 (correct)

M: 2 (maybe a delayed correct response to previous question? Either that or she's learning to count!)

4. How old is Dad?

A: 38

M: 8 (Ok so the counting's not going so well...)

5. What do you like most about pre-school/day care?

A: Playing with my friends

M: House. (Doesn't it make you wish you were 2 and could get away with such non-sequiturs?)

6. What do you like to do outside?

A: Run around and get pretend baddies with my friends.

M: No. House.

7. What do you like to do inside?

A: Everything. Play with robots.

M: Hello! Walking. So much.

8. What is your favourite toy?

A: Lego transformers and robots and Spiderman and a Ben 10 watch. (clearly writing his Christmas list aloud as he only actually owns one of those things)

M: Cat.

9. What is your favourite game?

A: The Ben 10 snap.

B: Jumping so higher.

10. What is your favourite TV show?

A: Spiderman and Ben 10 (again, watches neither of these)

M: Play School (good to see her comprehension of the words 'TV show' is accurate if nothing else)

11. What is your favourite movie?

A: Spiderman

M: Tinkerbell (again with the improved comprehension!)

12. What is your favourite book?

A: A Spiderman book. (Slightly disappointing given the 527 other books he owns, 236 of which are read to him nightly; but he seems to be working to a theme here)

M: Yes.

13. What is your favourite colour?

A: Red and blue and green and white and black (It's good to have options).

M: I like red.

14. What is your favourite number?

A: Let's start with letters. My favourite letter is S. My favourite number is one hundred.

M : Cat number.

15. What is your favourite food?

A: Stroganoff and spag bol.

M: Stroganoff (this is true, she would eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner if she could)

16. What is something that is really good for you?

A: Swinging on branches and things and that big spiderweb thing at the park. (well I suppose if you were Tarzan...)

M: No.

17. Who is your favourite friend?

A: Bayden and Bailey and Ky.

M: Horse eating bubbles. (this is not as esoteric as it sounds, she was playing with a horse in the bath at the time, which was indeed eating bubbles).

18. What time is bedtime?

A: 4'o'clock (yep we run a tight ship)

M: Cats. Sleeping. No not bedtime!

19. What time do you wake up?

A: 6.30 (got that right)

M: Morning. (fair call. Don't get pinned down to specifics)

20. Anything else you'd like to add?

A: Playing with Bailey's bumble bee transformer toy is actually my favourite thing.

M: I want to get out now. Myself. (tries to hoist own leg over bathtub. Interview abruptly halted).


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Who's The Boss Part 2

I think I'll have to change the name of this blog to plural form. My Kids Are Too Funny. Maya is coming in to her own with her increasing verbal skills and is proving to be a cheeky match for her brother.

Scrambling onto her bed, she begins to jump. "Hop down please, Maya, Mummy said no jumping on the bed."

Maya (predictably so far): "No." (continues jumping).

Me, holding out my hand to help her. "Come on, Maya" (a bit more firmly now) "Mummy says no."

Maya (pausing to address me, imitating my firm tone, looking in my eyes) "Maya says yes." (continues jumping).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Who's The Boss?

"Mum, can I be a mum one day when I grow up?"

Me: "No, sweetheart, but you can be a dad. Ladies are mums and men are dads."

Alex: "But I want to be a mum! Because I want to be the boss. And if I'm a dad, I'll only get to be the boss when the mum isn't there."

Fair point.

A Helping Hand

I am finding four to be the most gorgeous age yet. Alex and I were colouring in side-by-side when he leaned over to check on my work. "Oh, mum, that bit you're about to colour in is pretty tricky. You need to try and make sure you don't get the colour outside of the lines. I think I'd better do that bit." And he leaned over and coloured around the fingers and thumb of the figure I was working on. "There you go!" he smiled kindly and continued with his own work.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Life in the fast lane

Driving on the freeway (the F3) from Newcastle to Sydney.

Alex: "Mum, do you think if we went on a fourway or a fiveway we might get there a bit quicker?"

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Turning four was a much-anticipated event for Alex. He literally counted down the number of sleeps. The day dawned and went off without a hitch. From the morning present-opening, to the cake-making, to the Spiderman party in the park with his 8 friends, he loved every second of it. It made my heart glad to share in such a simple yet all-encompassing joy.

Now that he's been four for a few weeks, he throws around statements such as, "I liked that when I was 3 for a while..."
I took him to a superhero workshop at the localy Toys'R'Us last Saturday, and when the fairy lady asked him his name, he replied, "Peter Parker." She duly wrote Peter Parker on the list, and his superhero certificate was, quite aptly, awarded under this pseudonym. (Peter Parker being the alias of Spiderman, in case you were wondering). Apparently, 'Alex ' is so two weeks ago. "When I was 3, my name was Alex, "he blithely informed me today, "now I'm 4, and it's Peter Parker. I've got brown hair so every one will know it's the same guy."
It's fair to say that the Spiderman obsession is still going strong.

But Spiderman couldn't help him yesterday - the day had come for his 4year old immunisations. I'd left what I thought was a respectful distance between the actual birthday and the injections, so as not to taint his happy memories with pain. I tossed up the idea of taking him to the doctors and springing the needle on him so as not to endure the agonising lead-up, but decided that the betrayal he would feel would be too great. I broke the news as we left the house. "Come on, we're going to the doctors." His standard response: "I'm not getting a needle am I?" He has been asking this on each trip to the doctors ever since he got the swine flu injections (four weeks apart) which had followed a particularly traumatic IV insertion in hospital (the doctor took 5 attempts to insert the thing, he had to be held down). Suffice to say, he had reason to be wary, although I'd never tricked him into it.

"This time, yes we are going to get a needle, because you're four, and it's the last one for a while, and it's to stop you getting sick." I stayed calm, but he wailed the whole way to the doctors, refused to come inside for 10 minutes, and when he finally followed me in, protested, "It is SO RUDE to do this to kids!" to a packed waiting room.

Once inside the doctors rooms, Alex could take it no more and hid under a chair. At this stage Maya joined in the wailing (figuring, if you can't beat 'em...) and the doctor called his receptionist in for back-up. She later informed me that she faints at the sight of needles so was a reluctant participant. After dragging him out from under the chair, and putting him in a kind of head/arm- lock, the deed was done. Ten seconds later, with me and the doctor visibly shaken from the ordeal, Alex was munching on a Freddo and sauntering out, cool as you like. We then went to a friend's where he jumped on a trampoline for an hour and scoffed a banana. Aside from a moment where he apparently couldn't move his arms due to the soreness (which lasted around 10 seconds) it seems as though, as with many things in life, the build-up and anticipation was so much worse than the event itself.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Furry appealing

For a while Alex has been campaigning for a cat. Unfortunately, there are several reasons why it's not a good idea for us to get a cat at the moment. Daddy is allergic, the kids are a bit young, we may move overseas within the cat's lifetime. None of these reasons deter Alex from his campaign.

His latest approach was as follows: "If you get me a cat, it can sleep at the end of my bed, and when I have a nightmare, it will scratch the monsters in my dreams, and I'll give it a pat, and go back to sleep. I'll never call out to you again in the night." Followed by a smile that said 'see? It's win-win.' If only the promise of more sleep weren't my achilles heel. Now what were those sound reasons for not getting a cat again?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Another small issue

Maya pushed a bedroom door closed, and Alex happened to be on the other side. "Maya!" he shrieked, indignant, presuming perhaps just a smidgen too much coherence and intent on the part of his toddler sister, "Don't close that door on me! I can't open it again. Don't you know, I am not a man YET, I can't reach those door handles!"

A small issue

Alex wanted to wear his Spiderman suit to the shops, just in case any one needed saving..."and if they think I'm just a little kid in a Spiderman suit, I'll tell them I'm busy growing into the REAL Spiderman!"

A particular perspective

"Wow, look at that!" - Me, referring to a cat driving a car on a movie we were half-watching.

"Why's the cat driving the car the wrong way?" Alex.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Spiderman part 2

I have been thinking about this marketing-to-kids and appropriate-movie-watching topic for a few days now. And what I have come up with is this: there are two separate issues at play (at least). One is my distaste at the way adult-themed (or any-themed for that matter) stuff is marketed so heavily to kids, and the other main issue is what I let my child do and watch within our house, and how I create some structure around that. So I have to ask myself: to what extent (if any) do I buy in to the marketing hoopla by purchasing products that are marketed specifically to kids; and secondly, to what extent (if any) am I ok with the Spiderman-play and the associated violence that goes with it? I need to examine my motivations - am I denying him an age-old childhood enjoyment as a knee-jerk reaction to the big bad advertising industry, or do I really believe that allowing him access to this stuff is inappropriate to his age and will encourage anti-social behaviour?

I think that the reason this has struck me as a particular issue, to the point where I have been moved to blog about it, more than any other parenting issue I've faced so far, is that I can see both sides to the argument, and had not formed a clear opinion about which way I wanted to approach it. You see, like with virtually anything else in life, for each argument there is at least one counter-argument. I have found this applies especially to parenting. Bear with me while I digress for a moment. You have a baby. You love your baby. You're in a cocoon of love. Then (on about, oh, the second hour after they're born) a million voices start clambering to be heard, offering advice (some well-intentioned, some not) about how to soothe your baby, feed your baby, dress your baby, get your baby to sleep. The advice might be spoken, written, or just as plain as the disapproving glance on Aunty Joyce's face, but it's out there. Whether you care to seek it or not. And most people, being new at this, care to seek it. That's just being a responsible parent, doing your research. But here's the thing. After a while (and I was lucky, it was a short while) you start to get the hang of this thing, and for better or worse, start making your own decisions, and rely on or seek out the advice of others less and less. Or, even if you seek it out every so often, (or even a lot), you still come back to what you know is right for your child, or maybe what you are culturally attuned to doing, or what's within your comfort zone, or whatever works to bring about the outcome that is the highest priority for you. (For example, if sleep is the highest priority, then you might start doing whatever works to maximise that).

My point (and, to quote Ellen De Generes, I do have one...) is that for me, anyway, I've always absorbed this advice and information with an underlying certainty that I'm doing it my way. Occasionally it's been against my better judgement (as in the case of a short-lived stint of controlled crying); but even then I knew intuitively what my preferred stance or approach was, and that what I was doing was a means to an end. I've grown more confident about that as time has gone on. I've never claimed to have all the answers, not for myself as a parent and certainly not about what works for any one else, because it's such an individual thing, but I realised that this is the first time I've asked for ethical parenting advice as opposed to just practical advice. This time, I wasn't at all sure where I stood or even what the preferred outcome is. I don't just want to give my child what he asks for because he wants it, and I don't want to let him participate in a cultural phenomenon 'because every one else is doing it', but I want to give him some agency in his own life, I want to be able to accommodate some of his preferences, and I want him to be able to fully engage with his peers. So when I mentioned in the last post my fears about it being a 'slippery slope', I think what I meant by that is that it's just the beginning of the complicated world of parenting a young child as opposed to a baby. A baby cannot as clearly articulate his/her wants as opposed to needs, or, put more succinctly, perhaps a baby's needs and wants are more simple. A baby is not as influenced by the world, its peers, and marketing juggernauts as a small child. With my almost-4 year old, we are well and truly out of that cocoon.

So, issue number 1. Marketing. I know people who happily (and perhaps without a second thought) buy with an 'oh my child will LOVE this Elmo-flavoured water' rationale. They display an apparently well-intentioned desire to make their kids happy by providing them with myriad versions of things the kids 'love' (and perhaps on some level satisfying their own desires? Or because of 'pester power', it's easier to give in? Or they just can's see the harm?). Some kids at Alex's preschool seem to be clothed in head-to-toe Spiderman every single day.Other people I know deliberately search out products without any cartoon or trademarked design of any kind, and I totally respect that.

While I sometimes think it would be easier to either be completely permissive or take a hard line, I am somewhere in the middle (therefore consigning myself to the purgatory of having to examine my every parenting move without a blanket rule to fall back on!) I'm not comfortable with the level of marketing aimed at kids, but I have to acknowledge it exists and that they exist in the midst of it, and hopefully give my kids the tools to analyse it and partake in it to a reasonable extent only. With my friends who don't buy into it at all, it's the only solution. I doubt whether they considered any alternative. It fits their lifestyle. But I am a medium-level consumer of popular culture myself and I wonder to what extent I can then expect my child not to be. So, I've decided to allow Alex a Spiderman-themed party, with invitations and a cake. I'll buy him a Spiderman toy, and maybe a colouring in book. But when he asks me for a Spiderman t-shirt, shorts and shoes, it's a no. That's my decision. I try to be consistent and follow through with my yeses and nos, so whinging about it won't get him anywhere. As I do in my own life, I'll try to stay aware of when and why things are being marketed at my kids, and allow them to participate in moderation. The increasing proliferation of crap (particularly inappropriate-for-age crap) doesn't make this a particularly easy job, but now that I've sorted out my own personal boundaries in relation to it, I think I'll find it easier to stop feeling guilty about it and push ahead.

Issue number 2. Spiderman and whether he is too young for it. As a few commenters noted in my last post, it's really an individual thing and I am in the best position to decide because I know what my child can cope with, and what he cannot, and it's not always in direct correlation to the rating accorded by censorship bodies. I understand and agree that they're there for a reason, but I take an active interest in everything my children consume and ultimately I am responsible for deciding what's appropriate. For whatever reason, Spiderman has taken his fancy at this point in his life, and with careful monitoring, I think it can be a safe way for him to explore his curiousity (which I believe is an innate curiousity within human beings) about good and evil, and to find an expression for his physical frustrations and an outlet for his energy - by watching the scenes unfold (Spiderman saves people from crooks/ burning buildings/ the Green Goblin) and reenacting them with himself in the role of hero (with limited marketing equipment as props!). So far I have not noticed his behaviour changing for the worse, but he does get very animated when talking about how to climb walls and which of the superheroes is strongest! So for now, at least, Spiderman stays. And so does the Mummy's Decision is Final and No Further Correspondence Will Be Entered Into clause in his contract.

Spiderman part 1

Once again I'm going to stray slightly from the theme of this blog and do a more serious post. It's not because Alex hasn't been funny lately, he's as funny as ever, but I have a couple of more pressing issues on my mind.

Lately he has been obsessed with Spiderman. I'm not exactly sure when this started or how, but judging from the number of kids I see with Spiderman paraphernalia I'm guessing Alex is not Robinson Crusoe on this.

The thing I find really weird is that there is this massive juggernaut of Spiderman stuff marketed clearly as specifically at small boys - towels, shoes, clothing, toys, lunchboxes, you name it - and yet the only Spiderman movie I've been able to find is M rated. So the dilemma is then whether to aid and abet his obsession, in the name of encouraging his curiousity and supporting his interests, or nip it in the bud with a war-cry of "no you won't overcommercialise my kid!" even though every other Tom Harry and Jaiden seems to be participating. Don't get me wrong, I'm as irritated as the next parent about the way our kids are bombarded by marketers. The thing is though, he appears to get real pleasure from this, and to exclude him at home while he's aware of it going on all over town seems to be a small victory.

So what's the solution? Do I allow him a Spiderman toy or two but not the movie? Or do I just put a total ban on the whole thing? The complicating issue is that we've had the Spiderman movies on our shelf since they came out on DVD, before Alex was even a consideration, and since he's taken interest in the subject he's noticed they're there and been petitioning to watch. OK, I know I could just say it's too adult for him and he has to respect that... but I watched it recently and it didn't *seem* to me to be *that* much worse than some of the stuff he already watches that's G rated. And on the plus side, he seems to get SO much out of this Spiderman/superhero fantasy world that he creates for himself. He'll play it for hours in the backyard, alone or with friends, shooting imaginary webs from his wrists, 'getting' the baddies, running amok. Superhero-worship is truly a time-honoured small-boy phenomena. We've had various discussions about 'play' fighting vs real fighting, and he seems to know where the boundaries are so far. So I've let him watch it, and if his behaviour starts to change I'll pull the plug.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The hairy eyeball

For a while now I've been making good use of the "eyes in the back of my head" scenario. It's an oldie but a goodie. Alex is quite convinced of its veracity, largely because I have used tricks such as turning my back to him and reporting on his actions by watching his reflection in our glass doors. When he wants me to close my eyes he now instructs me to close my front eyes and my back eyes. It's worked a treat.

Like any lie, it is in danger of coming unstuck due to the complicated web of clauses and sub-clauses I have employed. For instance, my back eyes can't open while I'm driving, because it's too distracting for my front eyes - which is how I got around the "look at me mum"..."I can't I'm driving"..."use your back eyes!" Also, dads don't have back eyes, only front ones (which, ahem, even then don't always seem to work). So Alex played along and 'stole' my back eyes to give them to dad.

Because of the pretend 'back eye stealing' I started to suspect that the technique was starting to lose its sheen, then recently it came into its own again, however I had to employ slightly new logic. I was riding my bike home from a friend's place with the kids in the trailer. I heard a kerfuffle but couldn't turn around and it died down soon enough so I didn't stop the bike. When we got home, though, on taking Maya out of the trailer I noticed two big bite marks on her arm. Normally Alex is not a biter but recently Maya has been testing out her chompers so I'm sure he was doing the whole get-you-at-your-own-game thing. No excuse, obviously, and he had to be confronted. Surprisingly, instead of using the 'she did it first' line of defence, he went straight for the completely implausible 'it wasn't me'.

Me: "OK who was it?"

Alex: "It was Maya."

Me: "You're trying to tell me Maya bit herself on a part of her arm she would not even be able to reach?"

Alex: (butter wouldn't melt): "Yes."

Me (changing tack): "Well I know it was you because I saw it with my back eyes."

Alex: "But you had your helmet on!"

Me: "Well they moved down a bit to just above my neck because of the helmet." (I indicated the spot).

Alex: "..." (hangs head, busted).

Me (in my mind): Check mate.

Me: (out loud): "Well now we've established that it was you, you need to apologise to Maya."

Alex: "Sorry Maya."

Luckily he didn't think to challenge the ruling using the precedent of 'no back eyes working while driving' because technically we were on a bike, but I'm not sure how I would have finagled that one. Considering he's only 3 I can't wait when he's old enough to really argue the point...! I have no idea where he gets it from.

Will the real Green Goglin please stand up?

Alex has been becoming a bit obsessed with Spiderman lately. At first I resisted, but as with anything Alex develops a passion for, trying to stop him is akin to stopping a freight train.

He pulled on his yellow goggles the other day and announced, "Look mum, it's the Green Goglin!" I feigned a frightened shriek and pranced around the back yard as he gave chase.

I must have been too good an actor as seconds later he became concerned, and, removing the goggles, said, "It's ok mum, look who it is, it's just me, Alex!"

Phew. For a second there...

The important things in life

When Alex gets quiet, I know he is usually sick. This was the case yesterday (what also tipped me off was the projectile vomit).

I knew he was better today (albeit tired) because he was whining about every little thing. Case in point: I left the room to go into the next room and Alex let out a scream that would pierce every eardrum in the block. Running after me, he shrieked, "Don't ever leave little boys alone!" When I told him it's a small house, and I'm always within earshot, and he is quite safe, he responded with, "Well there's a texta out there with the lid off and it's going to DRY OUT if you don't come back in,. QUICKLY!" And we're back.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

An observant boy

"Mum, why are there so many beige houses in this street?"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A private matter

Sometimes Alex likes to test out new words he has recently heard, to ensure he understands them correctly and has them in the right context. He's been asking me whether I'm 'concentrating' on things a lot and also enquiring as to whether I am finding some task or another 'frustrating'.

I think he may have missed the mark just a little yesterday when, after I settled him and Maya into the bath, he informed me, "Mum, Maya and I would like some privacy." I explained that although I would dearly love to be able to accommodate, common sense prevents me from leaving two small children to their own devices in the bath.

He got it right today though when he told me he needed to do a poo but could I please not come in as he wanted some privacy. And, shutting the door behind me, that's exactly what he got.*

* Until, of course, minutes later when the "I'm finissssshed" call-to-wipe came echoing through the house.