27 October 2010

Lessons in life and gymnastics

We had just had a conversation about learning from making mistakes. Ella commented that that was how she learnt to do cartwheels.

Next thing, I see her raise her arms and her right leg, whilst standing in the middle of the bed and I only just got the "That" of my intended "That looks like a really bad idea" out before she attempted her cartwheel and crash landed on the tv cabinet at the end of the bed.

Tears ensued and I managed to not say anything while I held her and put pressure on the sore spot on her back.

When the crying subsided I said:

Me - So, what did you learn from this?
Ella (still teary) - That I will never, ever do this again?
Me - That's good. Do you know why you should never do that again?
Ella - Because I'll hurt myself?
Me - You'll hurt yourself because there wasn't enough space to do a cartwheel. What you could learn from this is that you should always check if there is enough space to land before you do a cartwheel.

I wish she would sometimes manage to learn these things without scary falls on her back! I consider it a fact though, that there is no painless way to learn about irony...

15 October 2010

Rebel with a cause

Ella asked me today out of the blue:

Ella - Mum, why are there so many rules at school?
Me - That is a very good question Ella. I was thinking about this only yesterday. I think there are too many silly little rules at school.
Ella - But why?
Me - I think it is because there is only one teacher for every 20 kids. So they invent all these silly little rules to make it easier for them.
Ella - Make it easier for who?
Me - For the teachers. And you are allowed to break some rules sometimes if you need to.
Ella - [Looks puzzled}
Me - You don't always have to follow the rules without thinking about them. For example, I give you permission to break the 'no running in the corridor' rule if you have to go to the toilet urgently*. And if anyone tells you that you are in trouble over that, you can send them to me.
Ella - How do I send them to you? I can't walk home with them?
Me - Very funny. You know what I mean. I will tell them that I gave you permission to run in the corridor because you had a good reason to do so. And not having an accident is more important than following the rules no matter what.
Ella - And not do whole body listening when I have to go to the toilet too!
('Whole body listening' requires the kids to always sit with their legs crossed. So if Ella has to go to the toilet urgently, she cannot sit in a position that allows her to hold on longer while she waits for her raised hand to be noticed by the teacher.)
Me - Exactly! You can sit however you want if you have to go to the toilet. And if anyone says anything, you just say that you had a good reason to do so. I know you are a good girl and in general it is good to follow the rules. But you can break the rules if you have a good reason, but not just for the sake of it.

It felt really, really good to say this! It's only the first year of school and I already feel like rebelling against the overkill of rules and regulations that they submit these kids too. I assume that lots of them are there to allow the teachers to more easily control the group. Which is understandable up to a point, but it's not the bleeding army! And don't even get me started on all the liability-related rules that they/we are subjected to!

I trust that my child can make decisions for herself and I want her to learn to assess which rules are important and which are not by applying her values and principles and common sense. I don't want her to be turned into a robot. Rules are there to be broken. Amen.

* Ella's had issues with not getting to the toilet on time in school all year.

14 October 2010

Career prospects

I was a bit dissapointed when Ella abandoned her plans to become a children's books illustrator. We had it all planned out. I was going to write the books - in the style of the Faraway Tree was the brief - and Ella was going to do the drawings. We were going to live on a property together and have 2 dogs, 2 cats, a few chickens, some rabbits and a goat.

Then she told me she wanted to go work at the Manly Aquarium. And now she wants to go work at Bondi Vet. She assumed that I would move to Sydney with her because she is convinced that we will always live together.

So tonight I broke the news to her that I don't really want to live in Sydney.

Ella - Why?
Me - Because Sydney is too big and too busy.
Ella - Oh mum, don't worry. Remember, you liked the rooftop at the youth hostel.
Me - I love Sydney. To visit. But I don't want to live there.
Ella - Mu-um! Think of Luna Park!
Me - As I said, great to visit, but too busy to live there all the time.
Ella - Then we'll have to go to another Bondi vet.
Me - There's vets all around the country.
Ella - Ok, which country do you want to live in?
Me - I meant 'all across Australia'.
Ella - Ok, which part of Australia do you want to live in.
Me - Northern NSW! Not far from Byron Bay. A bit further North than One Mile Beach where you went camping last summer holidays. It's warm there all year round, there are nice hills and nice beaches.
Ella - Is there a vet there?
Me - I'm sure there'll be a few vets in that area.
Ella - What about theme parks?
Me - Oh, we'd be much closer to the Gold Coast where all the big theme parks are.
Ella - Woohoo! Theme parks!
Me - I'd move there now if I could. But I wouldnt' be able to find a job there.
Ella - But couldn't I go to school there.
Me - Of course you can go to school there, but if I can't find a job there, I can't pay our rent or our food.

That's when she lost interest. But it sounds like we have a convert. One can always dream...

07 October 2010


It's not the best quality and I lost the original voicemail now. But I listened to this about 5 times at work and went 'awww' every time.


Um... I woke up 13 hours... I slept for 13 hours. And yesterday I was making this little sled for Whitey*. And that was fun. Aaand Whitey's sled, I'm  doing a little seatbelt to it. So it's all safe. And... I love you mummy. Bye.

* Whitey is the newest addition to her ever-growing collection of toy animals.