Where The Wild Things Are

I am beyond excited about this film.  As a devotee of the book as a child, I have been reading it to my own son for about the past year.  His imagination is very wild, so the illulstrations sometimes ‘scare’ him, but I just know that once he sees this film, he will understand the innocence of it all.

Bring on October 2009.

(Yes, I’m back!  Wedding and Honeymoon posts will come very soon!)

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Say Goodbye to Meat

So on Monday of last week, as we drove home from a swim in my sister-in-law’s pool… my son bursts into uncontrollable fits of sobbing.  It scared me so I pulled over and asked him in a panic “what’s wrong?!?!”

In between sobs and sniffs, he tells me that he doesn’t want to kill animals anymore and that he doesn’t want anyone to eat meat because it’s killing animals.

I was a little taken aback, I had no idea where this had come from.  I asked him, but he was just too upset.  I asked him to tell me why he was so sad and he said, with the most conflicted look on his face “Because I like meat, but I can’t eat it anymore because it’s killing animals!”

I tried to offer the alternative of organic meat – that comes from animals that have a good life on a farm and when they die it “doesn’t hurt” (little bending of the truth…) but he wasn’t having a bar of it.  I reminded him that becoming a vegetarian means no more ham, no more bolognaise, no more lamb cutlets, no more chicken… and he was adamant – he wants to be a vegetarian.

So for this last week I have sat back and just watched whether or not it was a passing melt-down, or whether he’s serious.  And it looks like he has his mother’s genes in that once I make a decision about something, I throw myself at that decision wholeheartedly, and so has my son and being a vegetarian.

On one hand I am proud of him for the empathy and awareness he has for those around him, it’s such a beautiful thing to observe in someone so young and I hope he holds on to that trait for the rest of his life.  On the other hand it now poses a massive challenge for me in making sure that he gets enough iron in his diet and variety such that he can stick with his no-meat diet and not just slip back into eating meat just because he’s bored.

I am also quite comfortable becoming vegetarian myself if required, but Adam most certainly will not do that, so I need to ensure that we all have balance and the other unexpected factor in my son’s decision to become vegetarian, was trying to explain to him that while we all have the power to make personal choices for ourselves, we cannot force our opinions onto others.

Would love to hear advice from anyone that became vegetarian at a young age… or any recipes!!

#006 | Santa Fears

Another things struck off my list, just inside the 12 month anniversary mark since I started: 006, getting my son over his fear of Santa.

For years my son would squeal and hide behind my legs at Santa coming within a 10 metre radius of him.  His fear of Santa is so bad that he actually was scared of falling asleep on Christmas Eve because he was worried that Santa would come in to his room.  This has been the source of much debate between Adam and I, because as a boy, ‘Santa’ would leave presents at the foot of each child’s bed in his family, and so he thinks it is alarmingly strange that Santa would suddenly start leaving gifts under the tree instead.

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Want Answers?

If you, like me, often wonder why it seems that kids grow up so much faster these days than when I was a kid… then just blame pop music.  Case in point – check the hip slapping action on this gorgeous tot:

Exercise By Example

So #029 on my 101 List is underway, I’ve registered for Run Melbourne and I’m raising money for Oxfam while I put myself through 5km of pain.  Who the hell invented the term Fun Run?  There is not much that’s fun about training for this thing right now.  My quads are like a rock, Dencorub is my new best friend and I’ve found places on my body that I never knew could sweat.  It’s funny to think that about six years ago I used to absolutely love running.  I found it not only enjoyable, but it cleared my mind and kept me centered.  Nowerdays it seems to make me wheeze like I have a pulmonary edema and leave me walking like a cowboy as I try to walk using every possible muscle except my quadriceps.

As amusing as all this is, there has been an unexpected byproduct of my training for this “Fun” Run and that is that my son has been coming with me…

My son is five and while he has a lot of energy, I never expected that he would want to join in when I went for a run to begin my training.  So we went to the local park, thinking that he would be bored after one lap of the football field and want to retire to the playground while I continued running around in circles.  But, would you believe he ran three times around the oval with me?  My guess it that is roughly 500-600 metres!

This got me thinking… is the activity levels in our children partially to do with what we model to them?  Are lazy adults/parents contributing to the growth in childhood obesity?

I know I have days when I am so busy with “stuff” that it’s really easy to ask my son to watch TV, or play computer games, just so he’s occupied and not bothering me.

When I was a kid, I’d be off riding my bike down the street, or I’d have walked through the bush to the back of my friend’s house and be playing in her backyard, or I’d be bushwalking, looking for tadpoles, or climbing the rockface that was in my backyard… so I think part of the problem is also that we’re less likely to let our kids out of our sight these days.  The thought of my son walking out the door with his bike and me not being there to supervise gives me a shiver down my spine, but that is precisely what my generation and those before us did as children.

So given that my anxiety about letting my son go running down the street on his own isn’t going to pass in the near future, I think my best bet to combat the sedentary lifestyle that can so easily creep into kids lives these days, is to exercise by example.  I may even take my son to a Pilates class with me, because seriously, I cannot even begin to describe how adorable he is when we return from our run together and he copies my warm down stretches!

Top 5 Funniest Things My Son Has Said

1. Broken
My son : Zap is a naughty dog, isn’t he?
Adam : Sometimes, yes Zap is naughty.
My son: I think we should take him back and get a new dog.
Adam : Why would we do that?
My son : Because our dog doesn’t work. We need a new dog that works.

2. I Spy
Adam : I spy with my little eye, something that is grey.
My son : (no hesitation) Adam’s Hair!

3. Garden Problem
While driving along in our car, Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars came on the radio. This happens to be one of my son’s favourite songs, so I turned it up a little. My son sang along to the words, in his own special way.
Then he said : “Mummy…. our garden doesn’t burst into life, does it?

4. (C)RASH
One day, my son and I were involved in a car accident – a (fantastically stupid) woman pulled out of her driveway into the side of our car crushing three panels along the side. I was very upset and shaken, my son asked me why I was crying, and I said we had a car crash and I was sad the car was hurt.
Later in a store, my son came out with this pearler to the staff: Guess what, our car has a rash.

5. Question Time
Travelling along in the car, my son was asking me incessant questions – What? Why? Who? How? When? Do? Did? Where? I had a headache, so I said “PLEASE, stop asking me questions!
There was a pause and then my son said “Well, I will stop asking you questions when you stop asking me questions“.
This infuriated me even more, so I quipped back “When did I ask you a question?
My very sharp son slung back “YOU JUST DID!
Outsmarted by a 4 year old – mummy has been put in her place.

Lies, Kids & Tiny Bears

There has been some pretty ferocious debate around a recent post on a blog called Heading East. I’ll give you the skinny on it.

The post that sparked it all:

Lies I’ve Told My Three-Year-Old Recently

Trees talk to each other at night.

All fish are named either Lorna or Jack.

Before your eyeballs fall out from watching too much TV, they get very loose.

Tiny bears live in drain pipes.

If you are very very quiet you can hear the clouds rub against the sky.

The moon and the sun had a fight a long time ago.

Everyone knows at least one secret language.

When nobody is looking, I can fly.

We are all held together by invisible threads.

Books get lonely too.

Sadness can be eaten.

I will always be there.

Which brought a little smile to my face when I first read it (until I read the last one because that touches a raw nerve with me). To me, these aren’t so much “lies” as encouraging imagination in a mind that’s untouched by cynicism or doubt.

I’ll admit that when I first had my son, I was vehemently opposed to creating the Santa tradition with him as I think it’s a load of commercialised rubbish, and I can recall feeling slightly ripped off when I discovered he wasn’t real. But the fact is that some of the lies we tell our kids are universally omnipresent and there is really no escape unless you plan on raising your child as a hermit.

So this post made me smile because, like Santa, I could see that they would bring a bit of wonder and magic to the author’s child… something I often think my son needs more of.

But back to the skinny. Some of the responses to this post really surprised me (some also made me laugh!):

I will never do this to my children. It’s always possible to present things as a “funny story” or “using your imagination” rather than as the truth about the universe. Childhood is confusing enough as it is.

Is the world not wonderful enough on its own that awe must be consciously manufactured?

My father routinely did this to me as a child.

For years I believed that in England there were 8 days in the week. I remembering puzzling over what that eighth day was called and what happened when they went somewhere else. Never ask my Dad to explain a Beatles song.

In 1980, I was in first grade during the presidential election. In an attempt to participate in the experience, the kids were going around asking each other what political party they were. For some bizarre reason, they were asking asking “what religion are you?”. Not knowing the answer, I asked my dad. I spent the next few days answering these questions with: “Anarchist” and “Neo-Olympian, you know, Zeus”.

I’m not sure if I’ll do the same to my daughter (she’s only 2 now), but I can say for sure it’s a great way to raise a cynic.

My uncles used to torture us children by pointing at everyday objects and referring to them by wrong names. As in, you point to the neighborhood dog and go, “See that, Timmy? That’s an elephant. Can you say elephant? ELL-eh-fant. Good boy!”

I grew to hate those fuckers with the white-hot passion of a million burning suns.

I’ve admired friends who do this, but I found, in bringing up a child, that I usually told what I thought was consensual reality/scientific truth in answering her questions. Truth is just as remarkable as fairy tales, anyway. These explanations have certainly not impaired her creativity: she is a remarkable teenage artist now.

However, the Catholics call some untruths “lies of omission,” and I sure told her a lot of those, wanting her to believe the world was a wonderful place full of love and things always get better and better.

You know, I must admit I relate to the last comment, about giving real/scientific answers, I know I do this more often than not.  Maybe it’s because I lack imagination myself, or maybe it’s because my kid is too smart and usually calls me on my fanciful (made-up) explanations for his questions.

For those that have kids, do you have similar “lies” you tell your kids?  What are they – please share!  And for those without kids, did your parents create little wonders like this for you?  What were they… and will you do the same for your kids?