Friday, October 29, 2010

A need to prioritise

I am a list-maker.  I like lists; lists make my life into ordered, manageable segments that I can tick or cross off in nice, orderly fashion.  Or so I keep hoping.
I have a list of the things I need to do every day that I often forget (like hanging out the laundry instead of leaving it to fester in the machine); a list of things that I need to do on a particular day each week (in a desperate bid to develop Good Habits); a list of things that I need to do that day (which is renewed each day); a list of current projects I am supposed to be working on (based on my own fickle hobby choices, and voluntary work I seem to attract); a list of meals I am intending to cook that week (in order to avoid the inevitable WeHaveNothingInTheFridge dinner of bread and chutney); a shopping list; a Don't Forget This Important Thing list; a Pending list; a calendar; a year planner and a phone that beeps at me at appropriate intervals to remind me to breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.

What I think I need to do is properly prioritise everything.  There is almost nothing on any of the lists that constitute life-or-death choices (aside from ensuring the children are fed and watered regularly), so I have to find a way of figuring out what is most important to me.

Firstly (after assuming that anything to do with my children comes before anything else), I think all those things where I am being depended on by another person or group to do something by an agreed date should be the highest priority:

1. Plunket Fundraising
2. PTA Fundraising

I an going to put Plunket first, as I figure I'll be part of the PTA for about 13 years; whereas going to playgroup when my children are all at school or Kindy seems a little redundant.

Next, I think things that have the potential to earn me money should come second (shameless advert coming up)

3. Knitting and crafts for the GiggiGoofer Shop

After that I think I should focus on things that will make me use my brain and stop me from just sitting around knitting all day (which is very tempting)

4.  Feasibility Study for the Plunket Playland I am hoping to create.  This is a long-term thing, so I need to make sure I do a bit on it regularly, or it'll get forgotten.

After that I really need to stop adding more stuff.  I keep having Great Ideas for things I'd like to do, and my list gets longer and longer so I get overwhelmed and disheartened at the sheer scale of it.  Then I do nothing, and the normal, every day stuff builds up and swamps me even more, so I end up sitting around knitting and pretending that the sofa is not buried under a pile of laundry.

I find it hard to get into routines for myself, as Tareka works a 4 on, 4 off shift, so his days off are different every week. This knocks me out of kilter as I want to spend time with him, and end up putting off stuff I am trying to do (like running every day, or getting the accounts up to date).

This week has been particularly difficult as Mapera has had ballet rehearsals just about every night, so we've had to plan meals, school runs and shopping round that, and it's exhausting all of us.
Big show is tomorrow, so with any luck I will be able to get back to normal next week...quick look at the calendar tells me: Sunday Light Party (more about this another time); Monday PTA meeting (should I offer to compile the volunteer database?); Tuesday dress-up at Music (what are we wearing?); Wednesday playgroup and shop work (must finish knitting more hats); Thursday Scrapping party (oh god I hope people turn up); Friday.....oh, looks like we are of to the in-laws for the weekend - time to knit, Skype and sleep.  Bliss.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Since Mapera started school, I have been really enjoying discovering what she is good at and what she enjoys doing.  I am hoping that by being interested in her homework and giving lots of encouragement and praise for her efforts, I will instill a better work and study ethic that I ever had.  Time will tell I suppose, I don't recall starting to slack off really badly til I hit about 16, so we've got a way to go yet.  I am adamant that we will not be getting a television any time soon either, as I am sure it's a big reason why Mapera and her sister are so bright and quick to learn.

Kaitereo has been using astonishingly grown-up language for a 3 year old.  She gets tenses, context and meaning correct more often than her sister, which astounds me.  Only recently she said something along the lines of "we bought something similar to that yesterday".  I keep forgetting that she is only 3, and I often find myself expecting too much from her, and have to reign myself in.

Hakopa is starting to develop a personality now, too.  He's very vocal if you take something off him that he was playing with, or even if you take away something he was looking at.  He lets you know in no uncertain terms when he has had enough of being on the floor and wants to be picked up, and he has a sign for "hungry" that he seems to have invented.  He makes grabbing motions with his hands when he wants food, even if he is lying on his back in the cot.


I've just read that back and I sound like one of those terrible parents who claim that their children are gifted, when really they are spoilt little shits.  I can't help it, I think all my kids are geniuses (should that be genii, or is that just the big blue fella out of Aladdin?)


I wrote recently that my ovaries are clamouring for another child, but I am resisting due to not wishing to subject myself to pregnancy and labour again.  I have been thinking about it in practical terms: do I actually want another child?  Would I mind if it was another girl, and not a boy?  Do I feel like there is someone missing at the table when we all sit down together?
I think my main problem is that I have a feeling of being lopsided with 3 children.  Odd numbers don't seem to sit well with me, I like things to balance out and line up.  I used to eat satsumas by lining up the segments in 2 rows, and in size order; I'd get annoyed if there were more or less than 10 segments, as it usually meant one side was longer (it seems that 10 is the most common number of segments in a satsuma).
I was playing with Hakopa today, making him laugh and trying to get him to say "bum" and I thought about whether I wanted to do all this again, and I think not.  I think I am ready to watch my kids grow up now.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Raising little treasures

I read an article in Little Treasures magazine about what people from different cultures think about the New Zealand attitude to raising children.  The general opinion seemed to be that people think Kiwis are more relaxed about safety and appearance, and a bit more militant about promoting breastfeeding, but with less input from extended families around raising the kids.

This is why I love New Zealand for raising my kids...

Kids run around barefoot nearly all year round

They dress themselves and go to Kindy in their favourite superhero costume, or Mum's best sunhat and purple bathrobe and the teachers work it into the days activities.

They are encouraged to pack their own bag for school, and take responsibility for their belongings from day 1

They have the opportunity to go to the beach, the farm or the mountains every weekend

There are still dangerously high climbing frames in the playgrounds, and trees to climb in the towns

Country schools have 100 kids or less, and the teachers know all their names, and their parents names


There is enough land for them to spend the whole day outside, exploring hedgerows, paddling in creeks and catching bugs without having to leave your own garden

There are music groups, playgroups, coffee groups, craft groups and any other group you can think of nearly every day of the week in most towns, and even out in the sticks

Communities seem to be the rule, not the exception

People in supermarkets make funny faces at your kids to make them laugh when they are crying.  Seriously, this happens every time one of mine has a breakdown at the supermarket, someone (young and old) in every isle will stop and try and cheer my kid up.  Brilliant!