Friday, January 25, 2013

Life at 1

I started watching the ABC's Life At 1 (and 3 and 5 and 7) series years before Lovely Husband and I decided to have Dear Boy. Back then, it was an interesting documentary series, popping up every year or so and showing the results of various studies done on a group of Australian kids. As an academic it was a dream for rock-star style research - a government funded longitudinal study (read: long term funding) with both academically credible and mainstream presentable results. It was science and new knowledge and cute kids. 


The two experiments done in the first season (Life at 1) of TV series are the Scary Robot and the Stranger Encounter. Now that Dear Boy is one, both of these tests suddenly make a lot more sense. How he reacts to an unfamiliar and noisy object shows where he sits on a spectrum from fearful to bold. How he responds to an unfamiliar person without his mum in the room tells us whether he's outgoing or shy.

At the moment, I see how Dear Boy reacts badly to the noise of the vacuum cleaner and the blender and revved engines and would assume he's somewhere closer to fearful than bold. But new noisy toys delight him and he'll quickly approach and touch and push and taste and bang them. Fearful of general purpose objects but bold with toys? Not sure what that can tell me about the personality he'll developing. Watching Dear Boy with strangers is easier. If he has me to cling to, he is initially shy but quickly ventures out. Alone in a room, every adult is kind and funny. Any adult will do. Then he becomes my outgoing boy, taking the toys offered to him, lounging on them, and giving lots of eye contact.

So if we look at our boy at 1, can we see the adult he'll become? I don't know. At 1, he is still developing and discovering and learning, showing us new skills and aspects of his personality every day. I want him to keep his joy and his easy smiles, his intense concentration on certain tasks and his watching eyes, his physical fearlessness and delight in accomplishment. I'm hoping the frustration with his limitations and his quick no's without trying new things don't stick around too long.

Mostly I want to go and re-watch the series and see if there's anything in there I can use, anything I can avoid. I want it to be a digital parenting manual. I want to study my son and predict his future. I want to know if he'll be well-adjusted and resilient, if our home environment will help or hinder, if the world will be kind to him because of the way he acts within it. I do so want the world to be kind to him.

Monday, January 21, 2013

New Tricks: 2/26


We had a Sophie mishap at the shopping centre a few weeks ago when she disappeared from Dear Boy's grasp, dropped over the side like so many toys, bits of food, phones, keys, etc. Luckily, she was still laying there, marooned on the floor in the food court, when we scurried back to find her. So poor Sophie gets a leash.

I'd seen a few tutorials but didn't really fancy sewing anything. So I investigated the fastener's section at my local Spotlight and found these studs. The first sign they would be pretty easy: instructions on the back were diagrams only; no need for words. Hooray!


Raided my ribbon bag for a strip of owls that I'd been hanging onto for a whole, cut off a piece, dug around in Lovely Husband's toolbox for the hammer, lined up the little tool punch thing that came in the packet and bam. Literally. Dear Boy was not best pleased by the hammering, not even when I handed over his little blue and yellow one and he got to make lots of noise on his own. It took lots of banging, maybe because I was a bit tentative and had to deal with the yowling babe.


But I eventually fashioned two sets of studs to create two loops, one for Miss Sophie's neck (sorry, Sophie, but it just won't stay on your legs) and one for the pram. Those suckers are super stiff - even I used a bit of effort to jimmy them open. But that's all the better. No more wandering Sophie.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

New Songs on a Saturday Morning (561-570)

As part of my ongoing effort to improve the range of my cultural consumption, I'm casting out for new things to listen to. Part one and an explanation of this musical escapade can be found here. You'll need to search for the rest yourselves.


561. John Williamson - 'Prairie Hotel Parachilna' - Amazing. Never thought I'd be posting AND enjoying a John Williamson song.
562. Katie Noonan & Karin Schaupp - 'Heart's a Mess' - Love her voice. And her range. And her hair.
563. Katie Noonan & The Captains (live) - 'Emperor's Box'
564. Elixir - 'Snapshot'
565. Kate Miller-Heidke - 'Caught in the Crowd' - Strange lady goes mainstream
566. Kate Miller-Heidke - 'Sarah'
567. Lisa Mitchell, Kate Miller-Heidke & Sarah Blasko - 'Coin Laundry/Last Day on Earth/All I Want'
568. Sarah Blasko - 'Hey Ya' - sweet Outkast cover.
569. Sarah Blasko - 'Xanadu'.
570. Sarah Blasko - 'Planet New Year'

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Tricks 1/26


I've decided to teach myself or to learn at least 26 new things this year. Number 1 was giving these little beauties ugly guys a go, c/o of Jamie Oliver's new 15 Minute Meals cookbook, which was in my little stash of Christmas presents.

We've had a bamboo steamer sitting on top of the cupboard for over a year now and this is the first time I've ever used it, attempting the Chicken Dim Sum recipe with coconut buns, cucumber pickle and hoisin sauce. I am such a nervous Nelly about cooking chicken and the idea of cooking it in the bamboo steamer did not fill me with joy. So, the chicken was overcooked and the broccolini that was steaming with it... but these puppies were delicious. So easy. Just flour, a tin of coconut milk and a few muffin cases. Voila.

Definitely ugly. Definitely awkward to peel out of the paper cases. Definitely worth another go.


Monday, January 14, 2013

2013: Be less sloppy

In general, my New Years resolutions tend to simply showcase how quickly my resolve crumbles. Already, this post is so last week.

Starting this year, I'm going to craft a small list that is a lot more achievable. For me, this means things that are more vague and more concrete; things that have a limited time frame and things that aren't time bound; and things that may not necessarily be quantifiable and things that I'll have something to show for all my effort. A little mix-and-match but hopefully, that's what works.

My over-arching, over-riding goal this year is to be less sloppy. This applies to:
  • Me: fix crazy baby hair; figure out how to solve outfit issues (what is with my shirts riding up at the back? Is it a body shape thing or a clothing thing?); be comfortable but more put together at work
  • My home: putting away the never-ending laundry rather than making our lounge-room our closet; getting the dishes into the dishwasher after each meal; having a weekly desk tidy
  • My work: be more than half-arsed about lesson-planning and craft workshops that engage the students; give more lectures without reading my notes; write an article; attend a conference
  • My blog: fix the design; work on the photos & collages
Other concrete/time-specific goals are:
  • Cross off three things from my Before I Go list
  • Do another photo challenge
  • Complete the eight.ten.ten Treasure Yourself Project in my own time frame
  • Develop a habit for regular skin-care (Is it 30 days to develop a habit?)
  • Learn 26 new things (less than one a week but more than one a month - I can manage that)
  • Send birthday cards so they arrive on time
  • Say yes to being involved in charity - especially things that ask for time or skills rather than money (like this and this later in the year)
Slightly more nebulous goals are:
  • Be kinder to myself: re-vamp my 'self-talk'
  • Be kinder to others: less gossip, less criticism, more willingness to give people the benefit of the doubt
  • Accept more of the help that's offered to me
  • Practice autonomy, self confidence and competence

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