Archives for posts with tag: Raising Children

Our boy, AKA ‘The Pok’, has started to say some really funny things with the reasoning of a 4-year-old behind his musings. Some of it is hilarious, or just bizarre.

I am far from being a saint when I am driving and reacting to the idiotic misaligned actions of my fellow drivers. To be honest, my language when cussing other drivers can be pretty bad. That has all changed significantly (my wife might begs to differ) since becoming a dad. I am always conscious of the fact that I have a little word repeater in the back seat.

But I couldn’t contain myself on the way back from a “boys only” trip, with the Pok, to Ikea. [side note: this would appear to be our second favourite destination for “boys only” trips, the first being Bunnings Warehouse Hardware Store – end side note].

Travelling in the car at 60 kph, I had to slam on the brakes to let in a young driver who was too impatient to wait for the acres of space available behind my car.

I let rip within the noise cocoon of my own vehicle, “You stupid Muppet!” Satisfied with myself at the verbally issued tirade.

Within a second “The Pok” gave his version of cussing to the driver, “You silly Prawn Head!”

I double taked, as this was the first time I had heard him have a crack while driving.

“[Pok], what did you say?”

He responded just as eagerly, “I called her a silly Prawn Head, because they are just silly.”

I burst out laughing at what he thought was a demeaning turn of words, which bemused him as to why I turned from road rage to laughter at his outburst.

Some day, when he is much older, I will teach him insults that are not comedic.

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Our boy, AKA ‘The Pok’, has started to say some really funny things with the reasoning of a 4-year-old behind his musings. Some of it is hilarious, or just bizarre.

‘The Pok’ loves coming with me to Bunnings (Warehouse) hardware store. It is always a man adventure, and he is always discovering new things in store. However, the most important purchase at Bunnings is always a sausage sandwich from whichever local group is fundraising. It is always two sandwiches, one for me and one for him – and we never share!

So after I quickly wolfed my sausage sandwich down the chute, he continued working through slowly savouring his while constantly smearing tomato sauce and mustard all over his face.

I was in a hurry and had to exchange an item, so we queued up while he continued to eat.

Two attractive young women walked in, obviously friends, and the one in front caught a glimpse of ‘The Pok’ as. She started cooing at him, and then turned to her friend and said “Look at that little boy, he’s so cute.”

I don’t know how to react to strangers doing that. Guys never do it, but some women of all different ages feel the need to make a comment about someone else’s child. So I kindly smiled, and of course ‘The Pok’ kept on eating his sandwich ignoring the two young women. Side note – I keep on telling my brother that he can borrow his nephew for a day of “shopping” and we will get a shirt or cap made up that says “I’m his uncle”. – End side note.

The girls joined the queue directly behind me, and the one who made the comment then decided it would be a nice gesture to engage with my boy. She bowed down to his level and said, “Hello little guy, are you enjoying your sandwich”.

‘The Pok’ locked eyes on her and loudly…

GROWLED!

Shocked, she recoiled back and awkwardly said to her friend, “I guess that wasn’t a good idea.”

I didn’t know whether to laugh or be embarrassed by my boy’s response. I apologised to the young woman on behalf of both us, “He is not normally like that.” My son finished off his sandwich.

An important lesson was displayed here. Never get in the way of a man (little or otherwise) and his food, particularly if it involves meat.

Pok_really

Our boy, AKA ‘The Pok’, has started to say some really funny things with the reasoning of a 4-year-old behind his musings. Some of it is hilarious, or just bizarre.

The Pok has become quite adept at many mechanical and battery powered devices. His journey of discovery is amazing, and always eventful.

One morning, as we were kidding ourselves that we would get a lie in, The Pok did his usual entry burst into our bedroom with whatever bizarre things were going through his head. He started by playing with his toys at the foot of our bed and somehow ended up in our bathroom. We thought that he might have been going about his “business”, until…

CLUNK, CLUNK!

That got us up.

CLANG, CLUNK!

Now we were very curious…

BANG, CLANG!

That time it required a response. My wife asked him, “[Pok], what are you doing in there that is making so much noise?”
She walked over into the bathroom to see him lifting up the bathroom scales on its edge, about to release (drop) them back on the stone tiles.

“Mummy, the thing that measures feet isn’t working.”

Sure enough, the batteries had gone dead, no matter how many times he tried to tare out the scales.

Needless to say we sourced some batteries so that feet measurement could resume.

Pok_scales

Our boy, AKA ‘The Pok’, has started to say some really funny things with the reasoning of a 3-year-old behind his musings. Some of it is hilarious, or just bizarre.

The house of late has been rather busy, with a baby being awake in the wrong timezone (right now I think our daughter’s timezone is somewhere between GMT +3 or +4 – though she is not responsible for any social or political unrest in these parts of the world, for those who know their geography) getting ‘The Pok’ bathed and into bed has become a challenge.

So the other night, in between baby wailing,  nappies getting changed, and our threenager boy getting toweled down, we as parents got caught out.

The TV was on in the bedroom, when the magic “Adult Time” kicked. What we thought was ‘Masterchef’ (not my choice) continuing to play on the tube, turned out to be ‘Offspring’. I looked up in my horror to see the lead character (who, as informed by my female colleagues in my office, can be a bit of a floosie) getting excitedly undressed by her male de jour on top of the kitchen bench. [For the record, she was undressing him just as rapidly].

‘The Pok’ was standing bolt upright with his eyes GLUED to the tube.

I scrambled, asking my wife urgently “Where’s the remote?”

My wife, on the other side of the bed, responded with a wet wipe in one hand and a nappy in the other, “I don’t know, I have my hands full!” She had seen what was going on too by that stage.

The characters were just about butt naked with the male character on top of the female character who was fully on top of the kitchen bench by that stage.

‘The Pok’ was stunned into silence.

I finally found the remote in the middle of the bed under a pillow and a swaddling cloth. Off went the TV, finally.

I went calmly over to my boy to try to explain, “[Pok], we don’t like that show. We shouldn’t be watching that. Time to get ready to read a book and go to bed.”

His response…

“Good, because he was squashing her.”

My wife was in tears trying to hold back her laughter.

pok-ice_cream

 

P.S. Life and work has caught up with me of late, and my blog has been suffering as a result. But I am back 🙂

Our boy, AKA ‘The Pok’, has started to say some really funny things with the reasoning of a 3-year-old behind his musings. Some of it is hilarious, or just bizarre.

He delivered a double whammy when he came with me to the hospital to see his mother and baby sister for the first time.

I could tell he was nervous with anticipation because instead of being a chatterbox like normal he traveled in the car in stunned silence. I told him, “[Pok] you know that when we get to the hospital that the baby might be asleep, and Mummy is very tired.”

He nodded and held my hand as we walked into the birth centre.

His face lit up when he saw his mummy and he was in awe upon seeing his baby sister. He then instructed all of us to talk softly so as not to wake the baby up.

When one of the midwives came into the room to check up on my wife and baby girl, I left the room to refill a glass of ice water and reheat the hot water pack. On the way back to the room all the midwives were having a chuckle and I soon found out why.

My wife proceeded to tell me…

When the midwife entered she started to talk with my wife about her medication requirements.

At that point The Pok propped up and told her, “You need to be quiet because my baby sister is asleep!”

My wife was in stitches and told her, “I think that you have just been schooled by a 3 year old.”

The midwife turned to The Pok and contritely replied, “I am sorry, I was using my outside voice” proceeding to lower the tone of her voice and continue the conversation. She turned to my wife and said, “If you don’t mind I think I need to tell my colleagues about your son.”

Later on, during this hospital visit my boy asked the question that we had both not been keen to answer all the way through the pregnancy.

“Mummy, how did the baby get out?”

I had to jump in quickly to cut it off at the pass.

“[Pok], I think that the baby crawled out.”

My wife added quickly…

“And I gave her a little push.”

He thought about both answers and this seemed to satisfy his curiosity.

If he was going ask where the baby came out, then our bottled response was for him to ask his teachers at preschool…

Little_Miss_0016

So for my 200th post on this blog, I am proud to write about the arrival of my little girl. As if right on cue she announced her arrival in a flash. We almost didn’t get to the hospital on time, and 10 minutes later my wife would not have been able to make it through the main entrance. But my “Superwoman” wife did what she has been preparing for over the last nine months and right on the due date she delivered our beautiful baby girl healthy and full of buzz. My wife was awesome and seeing this again for the second time I think that us men underestimate the pain threshold.

Little_Miss_0001

All her grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins are very excited and we have been spending a lot of time on Skype. I am fortunate to be able to spend a couple of weeks at home with my wife and the new addition to our family. Of course our son, AKA “The Pok”, is quite excited and can’t get enough of her. He was quite disappointed tonight when he was not able to get a third cuddle. When I dropped him off at his pre-school this morning I packed two photos in the bag for him to show his classmates, he was so proud and apparently wouldn’t stop talking about her.

Little_Miss_0002

And what I thought was a strange coincidence, upon leaving the Birth Centre at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney was another one of the conservation rhinos that Taronga Zoo had commissioned. Only this one was special, it was a mummy rhino with a baby rhino painted inside of its womb. One of the obstetricians took a fancy to it and purchased it in the auction, subsequently donating it to the hospital.

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We are so blessed with the arrival of our little bundle of joy, and I thank the heavens that both my wife and daughter came through unscathed. I look forward to the nights of listening to my baby girl’s little cries, and watching the reaction of our son to the new kid on the block.

P.S. They measured our girl’s VO2 Max (all the cyclists out there will know what I am talking about) – 95! (apparently that is normal for all babies, but with numbers like that she would smash the pro peloton up Alpe d’Huez).

P.P.S. Our son arrived on his due date as well, the odds of that happening for both are 1/4 of 1% – time to buy a lottery ticket I think.

 

This blog has been neglected of late, and for good reason. I can’t blame cycling – I have been off the bike for a few weeks now with quite a nasty respiratory bug. I could quote work (which would be correct), but life and the contents of this photo are probably the biggest influence.

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My son is about to get a baby sister!

She is due any day now and we are excited (and me a little nervous). The Pok has been getting all excited for the arrival of a baby who can play with him (boy is he in for a shock).

So for my 199th post, I wait with nervous anticipation for a phone call from my better half. Do you think it would be cheeky for me to ask for my wife to time the delivery after the Australia v Holland Football World Cup match?

This is a strange post that may seem like a lesson in geography and politics, but bare with me.

Our son, AKA “The Pok” has become interested in all things maps. His thirst for geography is unquenchable. This is not really a surprise given he has family in the UK, Canada, and New Zealand in addition to the numerous stamps in his passport. So when my wife said let’s get him a map of the world for his bedroom I was keen to get it up on the wall.

What my wife found on eBay was not a map on a poster but a map in wall decals. I was not too pleased with this as my concern was with not getting the space right between land masses (call me picky). But it was a good idea and my better half convinced me that it would be fun for him to have the power over plate tectonics on his wall.

This “map” arrived late last week and when I was out running errands over the weekend my wife enlisted the help of my parents to install it. When I got back I was briefed on the arguments between the three adults and the fun that the three year old had. But I had to inspect their handiwork. Here is the finished result:

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On first glance not bad. My initial point of objection was only in their Southwesterly placement of Australia relative to Papua New Guinea (the narrow Torres Strait). But on closer inspection there were more disturbing “errors”. Here is a zoom in of Asia / Oceania:

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The first horrific error is the name of the country North of China (and the raison d’etre for the Great Wall of China). Mongolia is not Mongoloid! The second error, which has to be driven out of geopolitical hatred between China (and Korea) and Japan is the completely disproportionate size of Japan to both China and South Korea – its tiny!  Never mind the reality that the land mass of Japan is over 3 times that of South Korea and its marine geographic reach goes as far North as the Russian region of the Kamchatka peninsula. Another horrific error is the diminution of the Indochinese countries (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos) and the ignoring of Myanmar – and these are all replaced with one country, Thailand. This might have something to do with the continuing territorial disputes that China has with pretty much every one of these countries. BTW – Myanmar is bigger than Thailand as well. What also is funny with this map is where they choose to put the mountains in Northern Russia, particularly given that Asia is the continent that hosts Earth’s tallest mountain range, the Himalayas. I could continue with other points of bizarreness like what made the “cartographer” choose certain cultural icons to represent countries, like yoga for Indians and ballet and babushka dolls for Russians – surely there is something more culturally significant than some of these things.

If I zoom into the European / Middle Eastern / African third of the map, the bizarreness continues:

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The “map” uses what appears to be a Mercator projection which means the size of the land masses nearing the poles are disproportionately larger to their actual size. Africa is the largest continent by land area in the world and its cultural significance is far beyond savanna animals and pyramids. Africa is so big as a land mass that it could swallow up 6 of the G8 countries (or 6 of the G7 countries if the crisis in the Ukraine continues to play out). This image gives a much clearer idea of the scale of land mass, an inconvenient truth perhaps (the image is courtesy of the site Live Learn Evolve and uses a Peters projection).

Africa-true-size-peters-projection

 

Africa is where humankind first started walking and has the largest desert in the world in the Sahara. You would think that an absence of trees (and not every tree in Africa is a palm) in the Sahara would also be relevant. But maybe this is a reflection of general Chinese cultural perceptions of Africa. The choice of countries they denoted is strange too. Economically, Nigeria is the largest in Africa, but omitted – and the minor fact that there are over 170 million people in the country with over 20 million living in Lagos alone.

If I go onto the Middle East, Turkey (which is obviously culturally significant because of camels) must be happy with its conquest of Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and Syria. Saudi Arabia now appears to be the home of the Burj-al-Arab and not Mecca (sorry Dubai). Looks like the Persians finally conquered Iraq (whose significance to all of us is not Saddam Hussein but in being the cradle of civilization, Mesopotamia).

Europe is just totally weird – fishermen in Ireland, Santa in Lapland, Finland. Again the Mercator projection causes havoc with the size of the land masses. Based on this view Russia is HUGE and Europe is comparable in size to Africa. It would also appear that many of Europe’s cultural icons are from the Victorian era.

Here is the zoom into the Americas.

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Again the choices (or more the omissions) of which is interesting, namely the absence of Chile, Bolivia, and Venezuela. While I recognise that Brazil is famous for its footballing prowess, perhaps its bigger global significance is that it is the home of the Amazon, along with its neighbours.

North America is reduced in its significance as well. Mexico is the home to pyramid building cultures of the same historic importance as well, namely the Maya and the Aztecs, yet what is deemed more important is the cowboy lifestyle. It would also appear that Mexico is also swallowing up most of Latin America as well (sorry to Panama, Belize, et al). Hollywood is culturally significant for the USA but I would say that San Francisco with its proximity to Silicon Valley is more important globally. The USA is also the home of the bald eagle and brown bears. There is a funny icon image that I am assuming is the Grand Canyon. And Alaska is not the home of parachuting… bizarre. Canada is a huge land with again very important forests and the home of the Inuit. And where they chose to locate the city icon (I think that looks like the Toronto skyline) there are no great cities. The Great Lakes are missing as well. What is missing from both of the Americas are their very important mountain ranges – the Andes and the Rockies (the longest and the second longest).

All up this map is strange and I am not sure this is what I want my son absorbing. It gives culturally misleading messages and does not portray the real size of the world in anyway. My son’s brain is a sponge and if I feed him complexity he will absorb it and remember it for life. I just have to find a better way to present that.

Our boy, AKA ‘The Pok’, has started to say some really funny things with the reasoning of a 3-year-old behind his musings. Some of it is hilarious, or just bizarre.

Of late ‘The Pok’ has been getting quite stubborn in his morning routine. It has become quite a struggle getting him to the breakfast table, dressed, teeth brushed, and out the door. This exchange went down a couple of days ago.

Father of The Pok: “[Pok] come down stairs please and eat your breakfast.”

The Pok: “I am playing with my Lego”

… 5 minutes later

Father of The Pok: “Come downstairs now, we are going to be late!”

… 10 minutes later

Father of The Pok: “Hurry up and finish your breakfast, we are going to be late.”

The Pok: “I don’t want to finish” – [insert The Pok angry face]

… 5 minutes later

Father of The Pok: “Wash your hands please and come upstairs to get dressed.”

The Pok: [insert tumbleweeds, and The Pok running off to play with more Lego downstairs]

Father of The Pok: [insert great frustration] “If you don’t start listening to Daddy then I am going to put you on eBay”

The Pok: [instant attention directed to his father] “Awww, I don’t want to go on eBay”, an upset look on his face, but he proceeded to listen and get dressed.

10 minutes later we finally got out the door.

pok_ebay

P.S. Yes I am a bad parent, but he is a child of the internet and he doesn’t understand what putting him up for adoption means.

P.P.S. He uses his cute looks, and smiles, to try and mentally manipulate us. We are trying hard to resist.

P.P.P.S. eBay’s terms and conditions don’t allow me to post him for auction. I explored ‘buy it now’ but it would seem that these same conditions extend to direct item sales too.

In the past I have written about my love of Lego. Now as a parent I get to share that passion with my son (AKA The Pok). Some of my most vivid childhood memories are of visits that we used to have at the annual Lego show that would be hosted in one of the big department stores. For whatever reason (probably the Lego company nearly going bust with the advent of the games consoles) they stopped hosting these. But in Sydney the local AFOL (Adult Friends of Lego) club have decided to host a Sydney Brick Show. This year the venue was at the Sydney Town Hall and I grabbed a couple of tickets for my boy and myself, knowing that my wife would not want to come. I grabbed a few other tickets for our friends W and his two boys J & S. So the five boys descended onto the Town Hall for some brick craziness.

Sydney Brick Show 2014-01

This event has become so popular that the tickets were being issued by time over a 4 day long weekend. As we lined up to enter the boys were getting excited. There was a guitarist entertaining the queuing crowd and of course his instrument was clad in Lego.

Sydney Brick Show 2014-02

The entrance hall was lined with Lego portraits of all the James Bond actors – pretty cool. This image is only of the last four, sorry to all the Connery fans.

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The Town Hall exhibition space was manic and heaving with exhibitors and displays. We started with an artist who made images using Lego bricks. Here is his Joker (from Batman) portrait.

Sydney Brick Show 2014-04

He was creating another image with a stack of bricks and a computer tablet. I had a quick chat to him and asked him about how he pulls the images together. He explained that he designs the image in a spreadsheet and then uses the conditional formatting capability to determine how many bricks are required and where they go. His next image that he was creating in front of us was one of Boba Fett from Star Wars.

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Right next to him was a huge Lego diorama of The Simpsons town of Springfield. It was very accurate with characters and action happening everywhere.

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Not much further was a massive scale model of the Sydney Opera House. This is far more detailed that the current Lego set that is available.

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What surprised me was that on the reverse side was a fully detailed interior model of the Opera House with minifigures galore. There was all sorts of shenanigans going on in the model with Peter Allen playing the maracas on stage, Jabba the Hutt looking on from one of the booths, and even Buzz Lightyear and Emperor Zurg resolved their differences to watch the show. My son was enthralled with the detail. This was designed and built by the Brickman, Ryan McNaught, and here is the link to his website.

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One of the builders made a diorama of Back to the Future 3 complete with rail bound Delorean.

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Some of the exhibitors built creations on much smaller scales, but the ingenuity was there regardless. This creator invented his own Lego robots with inspiration from many other science fiction creations.

Sydney Brick Show 2014-10

He designed this ship to. I had a quick chat to him about where he pulled his inspiration from and what came next was a long list of science fiction films, tv shows, cartoons etc. The fact that I knew most of them is no doubt a homage to my own nerdiness.

Sydney Brick Show 2014-11

I watched in wonder as my son was enthralled at the different dioramas. This pirate island had him glued to the table as he examined all the detail. It was then I remembered childhood memories of Lego people in their little Lego worlds that I created for myself as a kid.

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One of the most impressive displays was a MASSIVE scale model of the San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. This measured easily over 10m long and not a single bit of glue had been used. Most impressive. That is the builder there in the photo (back to us) talking to a couple of Lego Fans.

Sydney Brick Show 2014-13

My boy was more impressed by the oversized Lego railway diorama that had many sets of trains running around simultaneously. As a child who has grown up with Thomas the Tank Engine and Chuggington, it was quite difficult for me to drag him away from this exhibit.

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My favourite exhibit was this mechanical contraption with descending balls on rails. I think I liked it the most because of the combination of Lego, computing, mechanics, physics, and all thrown in with a bit of play.

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It was my favourite because the builder had rigged the whole thing with Lego NXT computers to determine the path that the blue and yellow balls would take. The kids (and some adults) would take a coloured ticket and pick up their corresponding ball. Then they would release it down a ramp where the blue and yellow balls were sorted into different gutters.

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Then the balls would travel on their convoluted journey, dodging errant red balls, while returning to their original queue. Awesome.

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Sometimes the dioramas were repeated with varying detail to show what life would be like in a land of Lego. Here is a lake house in Summer and Autumn…

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And then in Winter and Spring…

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All in all it was a manic and crazy time with the boys and they loved it. I loved it too, and look forward to next years show. Hopefully they will find a bigger place as the venue was a little too crowded for my liking. But at lease I was able to be a big kid again, in public, and not feel ashamed about it.

Sydney Brick Show 2014-20

 

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