Archive for October, 2009

Hooray its my daughter’s 2nd birthday today

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

We didn’t really celebrate as such, but we had a nice 2 hours together.

It was one of the best visits yet. M ate well. She played with lots of things, including toys in and out of her new toy box.

Nana skyped us video style. M was a busy bee showing Nana toys. And M got out her bear book to read to Nana (its the only book she seems to enjoy). Nana had a few toys. Its good to have a hip nana that can video skype.

She practiced a bit laying down in her bed. She was so cute, and asked to take her shoes and sox off. Layed down for about 3 seconds, and asked to get up. I wasnt acutally putting her to sleep, but it was good practice for a few weeks time when I move to 4 hours contact.

We glued up a few more photos onto the fridge. This is a blast, M loves looking at the photos on the floor, and pointing to people. She looks for the E photos, she must really love her big brother. Then she points to different photos on the fridge.

M did a drawing and said there was to ‘nanas’ (banana’s). We pretend to eat the bananas, she thought that was hilarious. She actually knows most colours now, so her Mum must be working on that, great work mum.  Then M asked ‘wall ?’ – so we put it on the wall. She has 2 other paintings on the wall, and loves to show visitors both her paintings. If your about to have kids, dont buy paintings to decorate your place, your kids will make plenty.

M sat on me to read a fire engine book. Its a rather odd book, lots of flames, and you seeing the water going onto the fire. But there is no page that shows the fire is out. odd !!

She ate her head off with water melon. Oh does she love that sweet waterynous ? I took quite a few snaps of her eating water melon, and pointing at the photos on the fridge. And a few snaps of her drawing.

No tantrums, no playing up. I said once in the car to ‘not hit the car with stick’. I was even toned and quiet. Didn’t make it a question or request. Made no room for it being misunderstood as a request or a game. I did have to ask twice, but that is her job, to test boundaries, and my job to set them firmly and fairly.

I am organising a party for her in a few weeks, when we have 4 hours. I have pooh bear, plates, cups, hats, horns and invites. I am going to ask on the invite for for 1-2 6″x4″ photos for our fridge.

active listening practice

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

I practiced my active listening a few times now.

A situation where M was a little scared, and wanted me to carry her. Instead of telling her don’t worry. I said ‘oh, you are scared M, I will help you’. But it was a short conversation, as M doesnt really talk.

I tried with one of my nieces, A. She, out of the blue, said ‘I am worried’, I asked ‘about what’, she said ‘her test on sunday’. My immediate thought was to say ‘dont worry’. But instead I asked about what she was worried about, and why, and more details, and asked her how was she going solve it. She gave ideas, and I told her to be more specific with her mum, and dance teacher (its a dance test), and practice those pieces she doesnt feel confident with. It seemed to really help.

I also practiced assertive parenting. A nephew was making a game of his spoon, and levering his plate. His mum told him not too, but indirectly, and gently asked him not too, it was obviously making a game of it. His mum said 8-10 vague ‘please don’ts’. I stepped in , said firmly a spoon is not a toy, removed the spoon and put the plate in the right spot. He didn’t argue, or get upset, but instantly stopped, and didn’t retry the game. awesome.

what do we need to teach our kids

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Have you seen these ‘did you know?’ videos ?

I find them highly emotional, and highly engaging. They fire ideas and passion in me. And one new thing – fear and wonder.

Schools aren’t keeping up with the changes of pace. By the time kids leave school, the world will be so different, no one will understand what skills they need.

M as she grows up will want TV, computer games, and online time.

I remember growing up, wanting these things (although online was programming).

How do I influence, manage that. How do I impart values and wisdom. How to I protect M ?

I can’t say – NO. She needs to learn to interact in an online world, that is an important skill.

I have to make sure its balanced with other pursuits, family, excersize, fitness, chores.

I would like to be able to teach her skills, thinking, communication, collaboration, on the web. No matter how much I think I know stuff, I won’t know the current tech and fashionable sites at the time.

What will M need as skills after school ? I assume uni will remain relevant. From what i can see, uni’s  are more flexible, and change their courses reasonably quickly, to address new areas of skills demand.

to other separated parents

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

I wrote this a while ago

Working through all the emotions of being seperated, not only from my wife, but the children was overwhelming.

There was restricted access to my baby daughter, and no access to my step son (that grew up calling me daddy).

Add to that allegations.

Then the cost of lawyers – and my life savings going up in smoke.

The feeling of need to fight against the injustice and unfairness.

It was only through counselling and time (now 12 months separated), could I start to see through the fog. Interrelate coparenting type counselling was good, and so was my psychologist.

Seperating my feelings about the mother of my children, and the children themselves was the first step. Then the next step was focussing on the kids needs, just not my own.

Some sort of trust in the legal process against the unfounded allegations helps.

I found letting go of the negative feelings around the injustices the mother is perpetrating slowly helped. The time is lost with my daughter, fighting about it doesnt get it back. I have to look to the future, and what I can do for my daughter, and not dwell on what is lost.

I have largely worked through a grieving process with my step son, and dont expect to have any meaningful relationship with him.

Knowing my stepson will lose his relationship with me, just because my wife hates me is hard. This was the hardest part – just giving up on that. How can you just give up on someone you said was family just a few months ago.

the dreaded TV

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

I can even remember my parents hating us watching TV.

The book talks about plugging into the TV, and switching off the brain. With dull eyes and a gaping mouth. The worst part is absorbing everything they see, behaviours, language, emotions. This isn’t parents passing on values, and providing a stable emotional backdrop, its TV influencing kids.

I remember E watching a lot of Beristone Bears – they were teaching real values, had good language, and had an extended family. This would seem OK.

Even ABC tv, with the likes of Sesame Street, should be fine.

I think I’ll make sure I avoid all commercial TV, cartoons, anything that doesn’t the exact right message/values/emotions/language that i want.

I’ll have more videos that do have the correct message.

Clearly books are a huge step up – I’ll role model that one.

Even computer games seem a little better, if not based no carnage, atleast there is interaction.

Social computer might be OK also. Atleast that’s focussing on the stuff of life. Obviously safety comes into it.

6-18 months is exploring

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

eating and touching and grabbing everything in site. This is what kids 6-18 months are meant to do.

I missed this with both E & M.

I did have 1hr per week with M, but in a shop, not much to explore. Not allowed to touch anything much.

I am sad of those things my wife has stolen from me, never to be retrieved. I tell myself, it wasnt he fault, it is her mental illness. I dont get angry, and I try very hard not to hold it against her.

I have recently learned crying is about letting go, mourning, and absolving. I have done a lot of this of the past year.

I have to look forward, how can I help M on the next step ?

positive, focused, what can I do for M? what is M lacking ? where to from here ?

extended family

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

The book talks about the benefits of extended family.

It also uses ideas of people closer that might like to be involved, other parents, single people, grand parent stand ins, playgroups etc.

This actually sort of ties in with something I heard on ‘body and brain overhaul’. It talked about hedonistic pleasure, these are the more obvious pleasures – like chocolate, partying, alcohol, gadgets, movies, TV.  Elysian pleasure, but it talked about the pleasures of relationships, families, visiting relatives, volunteering, social groups, etc. perhaps reading falls into this category, and perhaps learning about oneself.

Its interesting , as previously, I hadnt given too much weight to that sort of thing.

But more and more, I am drawn to it. I do enjoy my nieces and nephews, and my brothers.

More and more I understand that is what I cant give M at the moment. The small time I have, I cant go and make those connections with M. We cant go to playgroup, or visit cousins, grandparents etc.

E has been stripped of his relationship with me, and my parents, and his step cousins. Its very sad his mother has done this to E.

being assertive

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

the last chapter was great

kids need boundaries.

the boundaries make them feel safe. They know their place, and what is expected.

The enemies are:

– passive

– agressive

– manipulative