Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Risk taking behaviour

Sunk into the dirty sandpit, the monkey bars were the place to be in my school yard.
Every recess and every lunch we scrambled over the hot metal frame, practising backflips, leaping from the lower bars to the overhead bridgework and hoping like hell that our sweaty hands would grip and hold the steel. 

The bravest kids had little routines, swooping and flipping in a less than graceful and yet energetic gymnastics frenzy.
Teachers watched on, sipping a mug of coffee and occasionally calling out if it looked like someone was going to lose an eye.

Every now and then, a kid fell and ate some sand. There were some grazed knees and one broken arm that I can recall.

I don't remember it ever being referred to as "risk taking behaviour" although there was certainly risk. 

What I do remember was standing on the lower rungs trying to work up the courage to push out into open air and reach for the top bar. I must have stood on that rung every break time for 3 school terms. I was sick in the stomach. Anxious, desperate. 
Logically the distance was not so great, the abyss not so broad, but to a 10 year old it was like leaping into the grand canyon and hoping to catch a trapeze bar.
I watched jealously as my braver classmates leapt with abandon, I felt left behind as they sat straddling the top rungs like kings surveying their land.
I remember the day I finally took the leap, the adrenaline, the victory and the exhilaration when I caught the top bar and swung myself up to sit with the kings.
A risk taken, a mountain conquered.

That climbing frame has been pulled down now. Far too unsafe. Kids were taking risks on it, silly childish risks. Someone might get sued hurt.

It's been replaced with a brightly coloured Fort.

It stands 4 foot off the ground and has safety nets on 2 sides (because school children can't be trusted to not fall through the gap and someone might get hurt) On the entry side are sturdy steps ( a ladder with open rungs being unsuitable in case a foot slips off a rung and someone gets hurt). There is a slippery dip on the fourth side which is missing the dip and which a kid can sit on for a year before sliding, the gradient is so slight. (because a child might slip down too fast and someone might get hurt). I'm certain that half of St Kilda beach lies underneath the fort for extra soft landings. Lucky its brightly coloured, because the colour is the most exciting thing about it.

A friend of mine has a son who is regularly in trouble at school for his exuberant behaviour. He is full of energy, a typical showoff, third child and after a few hours trapped in a classroom, he tends to let of steam with school yard play. 
What bothers me is the phone calls my friend gets from school to discuss her sons "risk taking behaviour".

"Tom jumped from the top of the fort and that is an unacceptable risk" -a four foot tall fort! 

"Tom showed his mates how he can do a back-flip, and that is an unacceptable risk" - wow, we spent so much time doing cartwheels, handstands and back-flips it's a wonder the Moscow Circus didn't try to enlist us as acrobats.

"Tom jumped off the retaining wall near the garden. No not the high wall, the retaining wall. Yes the one that is low enough for preppies to lean over and plant seedlings. But it was onto hard concrete and anything could have happened.!"

Just between you and me, I think Tom is pretty normal. He's not engaged in dangerous risk taking behaviour, he's finding his boundaries.

What is not normal is to try to protect our kids from every experience just so they don't scrap a knee or jolt their ankle. Of course helmets while riding bikes and skateboards is sensible, of course we shouldn't allow our kids to hurl themselves out of windows, but we have taken our desire to protect our little treasures from every little feeling that isn't sunshine and roses, that we are denying them important life lessons. 

How will they learn how to take a risk safely, if we never allow them to risk.
And if we as parents, guardians and teachers prevent all risk taking throughout childhood. what do you think will happen when they finally get the freedom of adulthood, including cars, money and alcohol?
We are creating a disaster with our bubble-wrapped kids. 
We are creating a generation of young adults who have no real idea how to be safe.

What do you remember doing in your childhood that would draw gasps of horror now. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Teddy's Teddy Bear - almost wordless wednesday

Sometimes I play a bit too rough with my Teddy


Today Mum took it away from me. I was sad.




She said she was going to fix it. 


It took Way. Too. Long. 


But then... reunited at last. I will never let him go.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I'm Loving This.

So there's been a bit of a blogging slump for me... too much to say that I can't really say out here in blog world and yet the mundane is just so... mundane.
But today I read THIS POST from Mrs BC's House of Chaos and I thought, that's an awesome start.

A snap shot of ten things I'm loving right now.

1.RUNNING. It's freeing. It's empowering. It's bloody exhausting. But I love it. I love knowing that I've put a few kilometres under my feet. I love the endorphin rush. I love the fact that my butt is now smaller and that I'm not gasping for air when I have to chase the puppy. 

Most of all, I love the zone I get in, where I can't think about anything other than breathing in and out, and where my feet are heading. It's enforced meditation, a compulsory clearing of the mind. Breathe In Breathe Out. That is all.

2. MY IPAD MINI. At Christmas by a freakish but fortunate set of circumstances my husband brought home a brand new Ipad Mini. He already has an Ipad so I claimed it he very generously gifted it to me.


As a night shift nurse who often gets to work to discover I am destined spend the next 10 hrs sitting at the bedside of a delirious patient, this little gadget of wonder is my new night companion. From banking to games, to blogging and reading via the Kindle App, this little dude does everything except make me coffee. LOVE LOVE LOVE

3. BUNNY RABBITS. Oh yes, we are a newly converted bunny friendly household now. If you caught my post where we gave Miss 16 her rabbit, you'll know this was something she wanted for a REAAAALLLLLLLY long time. 

Like, forever. 

We already have 2 small puppydogs and a rather cross cat, but Gimli the bunny has settled in nicely and has made best buddies with Teddy. Teddy is taking his role of big brother and protector very seriously and his favourite thing to do in the whole wide world is to lick Gimli's ears til they flutter like a helicopter. So much cuteness.

4. CHERRY TOMATOES. They are tomatoes, they are like cherries. What is not to love? I'm snacking on a punnet a day. I could blarb on about the vitamin C boost, making healthy choices,  blarb...blarb...blarb  but you know what, I actually never think of those reasons. I just love the way the skin pops and the juice flows out. Tasty.

5.Re-READING. It's so easy to flop on the couch and let the Television take you and your brain cells on a little holiday, but since I started doing exclusively night shifts, I have lost touch with all those series that seemed so important before. I never watched the end of Offspring, I have no idea what happened in Homeland. I have only seen ads for the INXS story and for Love Child. The noise of the voices and constant harsh jarring advertising makes me cringe. 

So I read. I am re-reading my lovely Marian Keyes novels, And having a wander with Jodi Piccoult. I have read and reread Any McNabb's autobiographies. There is something truly blissful about opening the pages of a loved book. The familiarity and certainty of where the story will travel allows you to sink into the story fully and enjoy the journey. 

6. WALKING MY MUM'S DOG. I mentioned earlier that we have two small puppy dogs. Neither of them are particularly enthusiastic about walking. Teddy (laid back hippy cavoodle love child) humours me and waddles around the block. Abby ( paranoid schizo crazy poodle girl) spends every second of a walk trying to convince me she is dying a horridly painful death. She cries, yelps, lies down on her back and refuses to walk. She runs ahead and turns around trying to jump up into my arms. Anything she can do to get out of this crazy 'exercise' business.

My Mum and Dad have had to go away for a couple of weeks and I have been babysitting their dog Billy. He's a tough wiry boy, with some Jack Russell and a whole lot of bitza. He's strong as an ox, and he adores going for a walk. He grins as he leads the way, sniffing and weeing on every tree, stick and dainty flower he can get close to. He likes to say hello to every dog, cat or snail he discovers and he can walk for miles. Yesterday we got close to the little creek near their house and he took off racing along the bank, under the low hanging branches, through the reeds. He discovered some ducks and considered having a swim with them. He was so joyful and happy and In The Moment. 

7. J-MAN GOING TO WORK. I can't say much as it is early days. But.... J-man is trialling with a local builder/joiner with the idea that if all goes well he'll be taken on as an apprentice. Anyone who read my RANT about the stupid Unemployment system in Australia knows this is a big deal. Huge. Enormous.  Fingers, toes and eyeballs crossed that it continues.

8. WHITE GOODS. Weird choice perhaps but here's the thing, I am so bloody grateful for my washing machine and my dishwasher right now. Between J-man's dirty work gear, all the school uniforms, work uniforms, ballet/jazz/hiphop gear, teenage " I wore it for 5 minutes so now I need to change my outfit" clothes plus towels, sheets and underpants, I firmly believe that the washing machine, not diamonds, are a girls best friend. 

Second to that is the dishwasher. I know I am very lucky to have a dishwasher and yes, we can survive just fine doing our dishes by hand, but guys, it just makes mornings and evenings so much easier. 

9. COOLER EVENINGS. I can handle the heat in the middle of the day, but there is something exhausting about a hot night. You can't sleep well, you feel like you need a shower, even when you just got out of the shower, your pillow is too hot and for some reason all the animals can't respect personal space. Finally we have a few cooler nights, and we are all much better rested. Well rested means no grumpy teenagers in the morning (who am I kidding, one of them is always grumpy!) and energy to get through the next day.

10. BANJO KAZOOIE. Little secret I need to share with you. I'm a complete dork. A nerd. I am happily living in the 90's with my Nintendo 64. Yes blog readers. I love my games. I am the master of the early editions of Spyro The Dragon on Playstation and on Nintendo 64 I am quite partial to Banjo Kazooie. It's okay if you don't know the game. Just know that this weekend, I'll probably be kicking back with a glass of wine, a bowl of chips, control stick in hand showing my kids how to defeat Gruntilda like a boss. Because deep inside I'm actually twelve.

What are you loving right now? 

Linking up with Jess for I Blog On Tuesdays

Monday, February 3, 2014

Alone time

Today I am alone in my house.

Not such a big deal for many but for me it's huge.
It's the first time in months that I have been entirely alone.

The Man I Married has gone to work
The girls have gone to school.
J-man is out for the day.

Six glorious hours of just me, myself and I.

My choice of what music plays.
My choice of how loud it plays.
My choice of whether the air con is on, whether the front door is wide open or locked shut.
My choice of how exactly the day will run, no demands for drop offs, pick ups, trips to Kmart or to collect other peoples children for play dates.
I'm not answering the phone. 
I'm shutting the world out.

Somewhere chanting in my mind is a little voice saying "Use this time, use it wisely" 

And so I did.

I did the dishes.... and they have stayed done.
I swept and mopped. The floor remains footprint free.
I hung the washing on the line, without having to stop and answer 300 questions about the storyline for iCarly or Victorious.
I snuggled with the bunny and no-one nagged me to let them hold it instead.
I made a coffee and used the last of the milk, guilt free !
I sat and drank that coffee while I read the paper. The whole paper. The whole coffee. While it was hot.
I had a shower and didn't have anyone talking at me through the closed door. No-one flushed the toilet or needed to fill the kettle while I was in there.  

I love my family. I do.

But I must confess I also LOVE being alone.

What do you do when you are all alone?

Linking with the Lovely Kirsty at My Home Truths

My Home Truths