The great man is he who does not lose his child's heart. (Mencius, Chinese philosopher 372-289 BC)

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Builders Are Still Here!

Washing up in the bathroom anyone?

The builders moved in on the 9th January.

They are still here.

Unfortunately, they will still be here next weekend and they will also still be here the weekend after that.

We keep telling ourselves that it will all be worth it but dust everywhere, microwaveable meals every night and not a dishwasher to be seen soon cease to be exciting.

Still, we shouldn't really complain as we currently have a toilet in our kitchen - and that doesn't happen very often does it!

There's a toilet in my Kitchen!

Speak soon

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Competitive Dad?

There are two ways to play games with your kids.

Dad 1 plays to encourage, and often to lose - but not in an obvious way of course. He plays "soft" in order to encourage his little darlings who will enjoy the game and be motivated to play again by winning. This strategy avoids the situation of little darling throwing an almighty wobbly when Daddy takes their "horsey" for the third game of Chess in a row! The child's self esteem grows enormously as they win against their parents and they begin to realise that we are fallible after all - a valuable life lesson.

However, this soft approach runs the risk of creating a spoilt brat who can't cope with defeat. Losing is all part of life's rich tapestry and we grow by working through the disappointment of defeat and coming out the other side.

The alternative approach is personified by Dad 2. He has a different approach altogether.

From the Fast Show (BBC) - Competitive Dad and Monopoly

Dad 2 plays to win. There are no holds barred as he seeks to defeat his opponent by any means possible - whether they be 7 or 27. Not for him the kindness shown to animals in Chess or a deliberately missed penalty flick in Subbuteo. He justifies his competitive streak by saying that the children have got to learn to play hard while secretly (or not so secretly) glorifying in identifying the murderer in Cluedo for the 5th evening in a row. 

So, which are you?

My grandfather was definitely the latter. Whatever the game, he always played to win. I never beat him at tennis - we played our last game when he was eighty something - and I remember tears stinging my eyes at the age of 12 over a game of whist as he snatched victory from me with the last hand of the game.

I, on the other hand, am more of the former - maybe as a result of that experience. I like children to feel encouraged and do not mind losing  - after all the world will not stop turning if I lose a game of "Farm Friends."

But who is right? Is it better to play to win or to encourage?

Are you Dad 1 or Dad 2?

Speak Soon

Sunday, 20 January 2013

It's Snowing!


We love Snow Days!
It has been snowing almost non-stop here since 9am on Friday morning. It snowed so dramatically on Friday that all of our schools gave up the ghost and closed for the day before the snow closed Surrey's highways and byways to all traffic bar husky drawn sleds.

We visited the local golf club on Saturday morning to sled on it's fairways. The Dubmeister disappeared in a cloud of testosterone filled snowballs to join his best mate skidding down the blackest of black run hills whilst the lovely wife and I spent a very chilled morning (get it?) chatting with friends and cheering on The Signs of Spring as they giggled downhill.

It was perfect.

Speak soon

Thursday, 17 January 2013

How Many Clubs Is Too Many Clubs?

Well rounded or well knackered?

We are great believers in creating well rounded children. We like to think that our three should be equipped with enough strings to their bows to play a decent symphony and as a result we have signed them up for the following:

Swimming lessons, hockey club, netball club, badminton, tennis, scouts and brownies, Youth groups, church groups, cheerleading, cycling, choirs, drama, book clubs and football, piano, recorder, trumpet and clarinet lessons. Then there's gymnastics, board games club and extra maths.

The kids love it all. They love the competition of sport, the camaraderie of music and drama and the stimulation of maths and book clubs.

However, as I drive between clubs and reflect on the rich extra curricular existence of my three children I ask myself: "How many clubs is too many clubs?"

Clubs are expensive

Because it is great to be developing these children of many talents. However, it comes at a cost. We are lucky that a lot of the clubs I have mentioned above are run for free by the schools - however, the clubs that are privately run suck up chunks of our monthly budget at a time.

Clubs are time consuming

Again, other than the clubs that are run by the schools most of these enrichments are a car journey away. On Mondays we juggle netball, brownies and piano. On Thursdays we consume petrol travelling between maths, choir and church youth group. Aside from the cash impact; travelling time tends to be stressful time. Stressful time tends not to be conducive to quality family time.

Clubs feed unlikely dreams

I am sitting beside a swimming pool as I blog this evening marvelling at the progress E has made in the pool since the last time I was here. She can crawl, she can froggy leg and she can even swim on her back - smiling all of the time. And yet, will she be the next Rebecca Adlington? Will she bring home a medal of any colour from any swimming gala ever? Sadly no - so is our money being wasted? Now she can get across a swimming pool without touching the floor when the teacher isn't looking do we really need to keep coming back? Or are we just feeding our own dreams? Wouldn't E and the others benefit more from more chill out time at home or should we persist?

Clubs are unnecessary pressure

Because my concern is that the clubs question is an example of us pushing our children into an early experience of the rat race where they join clubs because that is what children do nowadays. A kick around in the park with your mates bas been replaced by scuba diving classes in the local leisure centre while mum and dad sup lattes in the on site Costa. Leisure time is organised time - are we depriving our children of the opportunity to organise their own free time?

I'd love to know what you think.

Speak soon

Sunday, 13 January 2013

"Daddy, can I have a trumpet?"


E's new toy
12 months ago E was asked which instrument she would like to learn to play.

"Trumpet", she answered immediately.

So, as diligent parents we were straight on to the local trumpet teacher to get our little prodigy signed up for lessons.

"Sorry," came the response, "no trumpet until 7 - come back in a year."

Those twelve months have ticked past very slowly for E. But yesterday, came the moment for which she had been waiting. 12 months is an eternity for a 7 year old.

Yesterday, we picked up E's first trumpet. Tomorrow she has her first lesson. She has spent most of the last 24 hours with the trumpet at her side (or at her lips), making elephant noises as she marches round the house making her presence felt.

Neither I nor my lovely wife can make any sound out of the thing so we are convinced that E's trumpeting efforts indicate that we must have a genius on our hands.

Speak soon

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Cute Cat In Box Shock


Thanks for helping Woody!

We have builders arriving on Wednesday to turn our house upside down, make a mess and a lot of unnecessary noise involving power tools before eventually making our house even nicer than it is already.

In preparation for their visit we have been emptying all of our worldly possessions into cardboard boxes and walking around empty rooms listening to the sound of our echoing footsteps.

Our cats, Woody and Murphy, come into their own whenever cardboard boxes are involved. Cardboard boxes are clearly more comfortable than baskets, blankets and beds so whenever we try to load up a box with CDs we don't listen to any more we see their furry faces grinning dozily back at us - as shown in the exhibit above.

More hilarious builder type escapades to come soon.

Speak soon

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The 2012 Bad Picture Quiz of the Year

2012 was a year to live long in the memory. The Olympics, the Paralympics, the Diamond Jubilee and Hurricane Sandy all competed for the attention of the cameraman and woman. As the year drew to a close glossy journals padded out their pages with gorgeous photographs that perfectly captured the moment. But, for everyone of those perfect pictures there are at least 100 stills which never saw the light of day, being doomed to be deleted before they made the transfer from camera to PC. This quiz is a tribute to those terrible pictures we all take thousands of every year.

Pictured below are 4 of the major events of the year. Can you identify which once in a lifetime moment they depict? Answers at the bottom of the post. Good luck!

Question 1 - This picture was taken after one of the greatest nights in British sporting
history - what had just happened?

Question 2 - My Mum took this snap just before a great ceremonial occasion.
Which occasion did her camera miss?

Question 3 - A tableau of one of the TV hits of the year - created by E.
Which programme is it?

Question 4 - In this picture The Signs of Spring struggle to get a view of what??

Speak Soon

PS The answers are: Q1 is from "Super Saturday" - my parents were lucky enough to be in the Olympic Stadium on the night Mo Farah, Jess Ennis and Greg Rutherford struck gold. Q2 - the Royal Regatta on the Thames. Q3 - "The Voice" was massive in our household during April - until the auditions finished. Q4 - Waiting for the Olympic flame.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...