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Monday, July 11, 2011

Parenting strategy #345-Containment

Today’s parenting magazines and blogs provide us with a plethora of strategies for raising our children. From the controversial wisdom of Dr Spock that emerged in the 1940s, through to the multitude of modern day family-life commentators across a variety of media, a myriad of approaches assure us that by following their advice, we will succeed in raising well-behaved, well-adjusted, bright and happy children. An endless list of ‘behaviour modification’ methods and strategies are advocated to ensure well adjusted, well behaved little people for the future.


Over my parenting lifetime of twenty years, I’ve seen many trends come and go. But in my house I currently have one strategy and one strategy alone when it comes to my two and a half year old twins-containment. This is a strategy that was used last century by the United States to stall the spread of Communism. It is also a strategy used to deal with environmental disasters. And well, to be honest, giving my twins free reign anywhere can only end in some form of destruction of a catastrophic nature- and tears. And you can be fairly confident that the tears won’t be theirs.

It may seem harsh to the uninitiated, but really it’s the only way to reduce the destruction. I actually wouldn’t be surprised in the future if we find that they actually have some ability to replicate themselves. It’s amazing how much devastation can be caused by two such seemingly harmless individuals.

I don’t recall having this problem of whirlwind destruction, even as long as 6 years ago with number three. Is it because I’m ‘that bit older’ and I can’t keep up as well as I once could? Is it a result of my dodgy old eggs? Is it because there are two of them and they feed off each other in their naughtiness? I’m sure that one deliberately distracts me whilst the other does something really naughty, it can’t be coincidence.

They can climb walls. They can crawl into small spaces. They can find anything that they shouldn’t have, no matter how well I hide it. They can open so called childproof containers. So along with this strategy of containment I also must use a minimalist strategy with what is accessible, even in their bedroom, because really if it’s accessible, it’s on the floor at the end of rest time.

I have a couple of times made the mistake of leaving nappy changing powders and creams on top of their wardrobe. Alas no more, although one would think after mummy’s psychotic episode after the first Pro Hart episode with the zinc cream on the carpet and pram it wouldn’t happen again. Maybe they just thought I was having a bad day. Who knows?

So now I have had to resort to a US military strategy from the mid-1900s, though looking at history I believe have chosen one of the more harmless ones. And the useful thing about containment, it can also be useful once they hit adolescence. You just need to improve the locking systems. In fact, you’ll be amazed how many of your toddler parenting strategies you revert to once they reach those teen years.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Art of Cooking...and my lack of interest in it

Cooking. I despise it. They say that 'hate' is such a strong word, but that pretty much covers my feelings to this ongoing domestic task. And now, to make it worse, there are cooking shows everywhere I look across the spectrum that is my free to air television viewing. Seriously, I would rather stick pins in my eyes than watch people getting excited about blending flavours, different textures and the excitement of improvising with ingredients. I'd be happy if I never had to set foot in a kitchen ever again.

It seriously does my head in some days trying to decide on what we are having for dinner that night. What will everyone eat? What can we afford this week? How long will it take to prepare? And can I really be bothered farting around for a couple of hours to create something that will just be gone moments after reaching the table.

I think part of the problem is that I don't particularly enjoy eating. I'd rather just take a tablet and be done with it. This aversion has nothing to do with weight or body image issues-eating just doesn't do it for me. It's so time consuming. I realise that eating is necessary, but not only does it take up time that could be used doing something else, it also creates a whole lot of other work. Washing up, cleaning the stove, wiping the benches, and doing that cold walk to the compost bin in the farthest corner of the yard.

Recently, when flicking through the television channels, I came across the final episode of one of  those cooking shows. The contestants had just about finished creating their dish, so I watched to see who would win. Well, it went on, and on, and on, and on. I channel surfed some more, figured out the meaning of life, knitted three jumpers, flew around the world-maybe I'm exagerating just a bit- and it was still going.

The dish was ready to be eaten. The judges had divided it up and they began to masticate-with the obligatory ridiculous facial expressions. Multiple compliments flowed. A few criticisms, but the responses were generally positive. This also went on for quite a while. I thought you either liked something or you didn't. Who knew that so much could be discussed when it came to a meal?

"Cooking a dish from scratch is so fulfilling, so enriching". Really? You'd think these people had just done a Jesus with some loaves of bread and a couple of fish. "It's a process," they go on to say. "It begins when you source your food". Source your food? Who came up with that one? From my experience, you either buy it from somewhere, you grow it yourself, or someone gives it to you.Talk about overcomplicating things.

With no sign of any decision being made any time soon I could watch no more.  I still don't know who won, but I won't be losing any sleep. Thank goodness for dodgy movies on SBS.