Thursday, 31 May 2012

It's TV Time...and there's a Bear in there...

Catching up on the Playschool news, with baby, tiara and fairy skirt accompaniment!

TV Time in our home is kept pretty simple... it basically just consists of Playschool! Yup, we are big fans of the show in this house. Thankfully I TiVo all the episodes so I always have a little collection to choose from at whatever time suits us. Lily normally has TV time after breakfast and getting dressed, and before we move into the day's activities. This is my time to eat breakfast, check email and get organised for the day ahead! Our general rule is 30 minutes of TV a day (one episode) although I can make exceptions for sickness, emergencies when I have to take care of something urgent (I have no problem letting TV babysit when things get dire!) and of course the occasional 2nd episode in the late afternoon if it has been one of 'those' days!! But for the most part - 30 minutes a day in the morning is the rule and thanks to a semi-structured home-day routine and the blessing of Independent Playtime, I generally don't feel the need to rely on TV too much to keep kids 'entertained'. Ideally, yes, the screen time would be zero but I kinda feel comfortable with what we have going on for now as a reasonable amount.

I let Lily start watching TV when she was potty training around 19 months old. It was a good way to keep her sitting in one place (on the potty) for a while! Of course with Lily I knew about the recommendation to preferably not watch any TV before two... I held off as long as I could and we didn't quite get there, but close! Since that time though I've done a lot more reading and research into the effects of TV on littlies (what it does and more importantly, what it doesn't do), so decided to hold off a bit longer with Eli. I've only just in the last month or so (at around 21months) started letting him watch Playschool sometimes with Lily.... though to be honest he is so busy he will rarely sit for an entire episode anyway! (Unlike Lily, who would sit entranced for as long as I let her from her first glimpse of the TV!) Previously Lily would watch her episode while Eli napped or had Independent Playtime - now that Eli has (at last!) dropped his morning nap, I think it will work well for them to watch it together from here on in.

The content - pretty much always Playschool! As I said, I'm a big fan of it's simple low-key vibe (well, it looks that way but really, every drop of it is researched to the hilt!). I could wax lyrical for quite some time about this show... I just think it is wonderful, not least because I also grew up watching it and I kinda love that it has not really changed a scrap in all that time...except I think they got rid of the Rocket Clock - what's up with that?! Anyway, I appreciate for my kids how it is not too crazy/colourful/manic like so many children's shows. Just two engaging and calm presenters, singing songs and making craft from toilet rolls and paddlepop sticks! Love that it's so non-commercial, love that I can trust the content, love the way it reflects so much of the simple and wonderously mundane things in a child's world. Occasionally the kids watch an episode of the always hilarious Veggie Tales or a Bible Stories DVD we have. Movies we save for 'Family Movie Nights' to watch in portions together. For the adults in the family, we don't watch any while the kids are awake as I don't want them distracted, getting used to having TV on as background noise (which personally drives me bonkers anyway) or viewing content not appropriate for their tender ears and years!

I think TV in any family needs to strike that balance between the parents (let's be honest) needs for a break, combined with trying to fill the child's day with much more enriching, non-screen, real-life activities. This is our current groove that is working for us but I'm sure it will change and adjust over the years. Sadly they probably won't want to be watching Playschool in highschool!? It is kinda overwhelming to think how technology-filled my children's future is going to be compared to my own childhood and even adulthood - I only got an iPod last year! I know the technology is inevitable and basically essential to their adult world, but I figure while they are kids I want to delay that onslaught and protect them as much as I can... I want their childhood to be filled with block-tower-building, trampoline-jumping, book-reading, and as little Screentime as I can get away with. Like it or not, there will be plenty of time for that, huh!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Silly and Sweet

'C'mere and tell me I look silly in these sunnies, lady!!'
'Cos I think I look AH-maaaaazing!'

Hiding behind the curtain sheers... 'I'm invisible!'

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

New Love for Laundry Days

Chores. They are a part of life for pretty much everyone and that includes my kids. As I have talked about before, I have always been keen for every little member of our family to have a role to play and a way to contribute to our family. When they are tiny it's pretty easy as toddlers pretty much love to help and get involved in everything, as Eli (and Lily at the same age) eagerly scampered around doing whatever you will let them! As all the advice goes, I would always endeavour to make it as fun and exciting and engaging as possible, high on praise as well as age-appropriate, short time length and manageable etc. Of course, we parents want to make the introduction into this wonderful world of chores as sweet as possible, right?! ;)

Lily conquers Mt Washmore

However. These kiddies are more clever than we often give them credit for. No matter how many bells and whistles you put on chores, no matter how much praise you ladle out, or how creative and fun you make it, at some point the child suddenly clicks - Heyyyyyy, this isn't that fun! Actually... it's work! Mmmm yes, the cold harsh realities of life, heehee! The gloss has worn off and they realise this task is not going away any time soon. This realisation has dawned on Lily over the last couple months, after the golden early years of eagerly and enthusiastically helping put the laundry away. This is pretty much her main regular chore - I take the freshly-dried basket of laundry to my bedroom, sorting and folding and putting things away in there, and the kid's job is to run the various other items to wherever they belong in the house and put them away too if possible. Well, she slowly started resisting and whining about doing this chore and no 'glossing it up' was going to convince her putting the laundry away was as fun as riding Unicorns along rainbows whilst eating ice-cream cones!

Lily: But Mummy, I don't want to do the laundry!
Me: Honey, even when you don't want to, the job still needs to be done! I don't always feel like doing it either, but we still do it or we wouldn't be able to find any of our clothes to wear.
Lily: But Mummy, I don't like doing the laundry!
Me: I didn't say you needed to like doing it, I just said it is a job that needs to be done. But it's your choice to do it cheerfully or grumpily.

Chores are about responsibility and contributing and serving others, and as much as I try to make them fun and engaging, full of positive reinforcement and all the rest... even when they stop feeling like all those things... the job still needs to be done and I want my children to grow up knowing how to be responsible even when they don't 'feel' like being so.

So many quiet little chats have taken place with my precious girl, explaining and discussing. During this season I calmly persisted with the chore and would be firm about it still needing to be done. I would give plenty of warning of when it would need to happen (or choose a time together if possible). To make it less overwhelming (and while also working through myself what was fair to expect from her and how much to enforce chores at this age), I would sometimes cut it down from doing the whole basket to saying she needed to put 10 items away, or just the items for her room or something while still making sure the chore was not avoided altogether or wiggled out of. But she needed to be do it calmly. She struggled, sometimes doing better than others until...

Diving over Mt Washmore is also pretty fun...

There was a sudden transformation in her heart and her attitude. All of a sudden, she was regularly asking me if I needed help doing any laundry! Cheerfully running through the house to put it all away, quicker than I could sort it. Giggling with her brother as they scampered together to put clothes in different rooms, Lily always guiding her little brother of course. She was actually begging for more clothes to do!! I kid you not.
I mentioned to her 'Lily, I've noticed you have been helping really cheerfully with the laundry lately. I really appreciate your help and your happy heart when you do it!'

She cheerily responded - 'Mummy do you know why I love doing the laundry now? Because you love doing the laundry and I learnt from you and now I love doing the laundry!!'


Well, I think saying I love doing the laundry is a leeeettle bit of a stretch! But perhaps what she meant and at least what I hope, is that she saw me taking care of jobs in the home without complaint and with a cheerful heart, even when they aren't always fun. (Um, yeah, but not always, I must admit!! *blush* All the more reason to keep my own attitude in check with little eyes watching and learning!)

And the irony is? As the photos of this morning's laundry-putting-away session show, now that all of us are  involved and committed, with happy hearts and a willing attitude, we are actually all having more fun than ever!! It's one of the highlights of our day and we laugh and giggle and run and joke all while taking care of a job that needs to be done regardless of how we feel about it. I guess it just goes to show that with a little attitude adjustment, even the mundane can be a little bit wonderful!

Little Helpers loaded up!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Toddler Olympics!

Today we mosied along to the Playgroup Games - a free and fun morning event for littlies set up by the Playgroups Association. A huge indoor arena was filled with all kinds of 'home grown' fun and the kids had a blast exploring all the activities and generally wearing themselves out!

It was a relaxing morning with the kids and I enjoyed just following their lead and seeing what things engaged them the most. As it turned out, Lily wanted to spend most of her time on these cool little balance boards!

Little Bro has a turn... with some assistance!

Just balancin' and chillin'

I think this girl is going to need a skateboard!

Eli on the Jumping Castle

You will be glad to know this red ball coming right at me was made of paper and sticky tape!
Though I managed to avoid getting hit whilst capturing this action shot! :)

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Littlest Barista!

I love my tough little dude who loves to make his mama a 'nonocheeeno' (cappucino)!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Her First Fairy Party... Magic!

My little lady got invited to her first Fairy birthday party... not only that, but her first invite from a sweet new little school friend! (Rather than a friend of mine's kid). A 'real' invitation was found in her school pocket and oh the glee with which it was recieved - the invitation checked daily from its proud home on the fridge to ensure all content was still valid and happening soon. This day was highly anticipated to say the least!

Needless to say my sweet girl was also thrilled for an opportunity to get decked out in full fairy regalia...

Displaying her ballet moves...

Anxiously waiting at the door until it's time to go...

My daily view of a little angel twirling around my feet...

Even fairies must take time to write their names on the Birthday Girl's card!

It's just so easy to soak up her joy. Her happiness is mine too, after all...

Love her!

Friday, 25 May 2012

They make my heart sing...

A while back I picked up this awesome little retro Fisher-Price tape deck with microphones. Remember them?? I mean, come on, how cute is it?! As I try to avoid toys with batteries, needless to say I haven't put any in to make the microphones/tape work... and even more needless to say - my kids are Plenty Loud Enough without amplification!!! Irregardless, lately they have taken to setting up in some hip locale in the house and rockin' out together, wailing songs at the top of their precious little lungs! Noisy delight that is (mostly) always welcome...

I love it. Love seeing them warbling away together with much earnestness and intensity. Love watching these best friends laughing, singing, playing and performing together. Love that in the middle of a very busy and hectic day, my babies put on a show, and I got to stop and watch and soak up a little of their sweet, sweet music. They make my heart sing songs I never even knew existed....

Lily really rocking out, Eli more a Crooner!

Oh, yes - Eli is indeed wearing Daddy's shoes in this shot.. he loves shoes and any adult shoes he comes across in the house are immediately put on so he can clomp around happily! Such a character, this boy, you just never know what his next funny idea will be!

As children of this generation, I also love that they have no idea what the cassette tape is, but they open and close the case by pressing the Eject button, taking out the cassette and call it 'changing the batteries'! Heehee!

Holding the mike like a true Rock Star!

You get the best volume from actually inserting the microphone into your mouth?!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Triple Trouble...

Soaking up the last few days with my sister and three sweet nephews before they head back home!

'You woke me up for this??' - Sam

Lily and Eli like to get up close and personal when caring for their cousins!

If you love deliciously chubby babies... this shot of Alex is for you!

Travelling with the trio and their bumpy bouncey balls that they love to explore!

Missing them already...

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Trampoline Tumbling on Wonderful Wednesdays...

My dear friend Amber of We Stood Together and I have recently worked out a winning arrangement for Wednesdays when our two older kiddos are at Playschool for 3 hours. One week I take both the younger siblings for the morning and the next week she does. Usually the one with the littlies takes them to a fun local music class for some energy-burning! Which then leaves one of us with about 2.5 hours blissfully child-free. Except rather than sipping cappucinos and getting manicures, we tend to spend the time tearing through house, sorting out closets and outgrown clothing, and other such un-glamourous but must-do tasks. Nonetheless, it is a relaxing and refreshing time off!! And we are both feeling Rather Pleased with this new arrangement and the practical way we can help each other as SAHMs get a little time out for those things we otherwise just don't get time for!

Soooo, today we had the pleasure of Miss Harper's company. Eli and Harper adore each other, get along well and among many other activities, enjoyed a good romp on the trampoline in the soft Autumn sunshine. Any attempt to actually decently capture two bouncing toddlers in the same shot however... yeah, pretty slim chance!!

Girl on the move...

Up in the air he flies!

Taking a moment to chill with Mama - love my snugglebug!

I think Eli is trying to impress Harper with his Bear impression!
Bear roars and Little Girl scampers with squeals of glee!

Smooshy Nose from Sweet Harper

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Loofahs as Fashion Accessories!

Lily spotted my Shower Loofah in the laundry basket (post-wash!) and before I knew it, had re-purposed it as only a gal like her can do...I mean, what else could it possibly be for??

Very proud of herself, little accessory lovin' lady!

Of course Eli had to try it out!

Of course there was more triplet time today, and Eli was extremely devoted in pushing the babies in their little swings... for ages. No-one asked or showed him, he just saw babies in seats and innately knew they would enjoy a little rockin'... bless him! He was even rocking two babies at once, side by side. What a pro!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Triplets are Cousins are Loved

My sister is in town for the week with her adorable six-month-old triplet boys... my darling nephews! It is the first time the kids have been able to properly meet and hang out with them and it was a sweet little union, for sure.

Lily and Eli were just so adoring of their little cousins, doting, kissing, cuddling, feeding bottles and tickling (and occasionally squashing just a bit).

The classic moment was when Megan was bringing them out from their naps one by one (yep, they just kept coming) and Eli was shrieking 'More babies!!! More babies!!!'. He was pretty pleased to have so many to nurture and snuggle, as was Little Mama Lily!

So wonderful to think this little crew of five are family... cousins... for life! And though we don't live close, I know there will be so many fun, mischievous, bonding and adventurous holidays and visits in the future. What a blessing for them all...

Cousin-y Kisses from Eli to Alex

At Nana's house there are many many special treasures - one of which is this antique
ceramic dog that Eli is enraptured with. He is only allowed to hold it sitting
down and he is ever so gentle with his treasure!

Lily charming little Sam

The five cousins united at last... oh, what cousinly adventures await them all!!

Lily takes her role as eldest cousin very seriously - watching over them all always!

Alex, Sam and Joe - Three Beautiful Miracles!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

A winding journey home...

Chilling out in Coogee on the balcony with the kiddos before we pack up to begin the trip home after our fun wedding weekend...

Kisses through glass are so much cooler!

This is Eli's classic 'I don't really want to' expression...note the pout!

We met up with my sister and her little crew at church before we headed home.

If you have ever wondered what life is like as an adorable baby triplet, it looks a lot like this... lots of people crowding around you to marvel at your trio of cuteness!

Eli was not afraid to get up close and personal with his little cousins!

*pat pat* Hello Baaaaabeeeeee!

The car trip home felt *long* as I think we were a bit worn out from all the excitement...

One very tired boy fell asleep.... 

Little Miss stifles a giggle while her brother slumbers (I'm loooving this shot, btw!!! Captures her so well!) 

A busy and fun weekend away... but ever so lovely to come home again!