Friday, 19 September 2014
Thursday, 14 August 2014
Remove the laces from the shoes- these are synthetic and won't dye so don't bother. Wash your Cons thoroughly (I put these Toddler Sized Converse in a delicates bag on the delicate wash cycle in my top loading washing machines with a small scoop of washing powder, came out clean as a whistle). Leave damp.
Using rubber gloves, dissolve dye in 500ml warm water
Fill bowl, bucket or stainless steel sink with enough warm water to fully submerse your shoes (40°C). The packet said 6 Litres for a large TShirt - I used less than a third of that with excellent results. These toddler sized shoes fit in my largest saucepan perfectly.
Stir in 5tblespn (250g) of salt. Add dye & stir well.
Submerge entire surface of shoe fabric in water- don't worry about taping up the rubber or the Converse Logo- it won't dye. Mine was khaki green with a big scratch through it to begin with and remained unchanged throughout.
Stir constantly for 15mins, then stir regularly for 45min.
Rinse fabric in cold water. Hand wash in warm water & dry away from direct heat & sunlight (do not tumble dry after dyeing).
Sunday, 3 August 2014
It happened yet again. As I was sitting at the table for dinner with my children, I noticed my daughter's hand fishing around under her skirt.
"We don't play with our vulvas at the table. Go wash your hands and finish your food," I scolded. She nodded, ran off to wash her hands, and resumed picking at her dinner instead.
Small children, they touch themselves. A lot. It's fascinating to them. And when you're a small child, you have no sense of shame or disgust or fear of your body. Your body is what it is. It does what it does. And everything that it does is kind of amazing, because you're not old enough for lower back pain. It's not sexual, it's just... fact.
The first time I caught one of my kids playing with their genitals, I said absolutely nothing. I was momentarily paralyzed with indecision. One thing I knew for a fact I did not want to do was to shout, "No!" or "Stop!" What good could that possibly do? Sure, I would be spared the awkwardness of catching my child playing with her genitals on the living room floor, but what kind of lesson is that? To fear or ignore your own vagina?
I thought about it almost constantly for two days, and of course she gave me a second chance to react.
"Sweetie, we don't play with our vulvas in the living room," I said. Which sounded ridiculous and strange, but nonetheless true. Why is everything with little kids "we" statements? "It's OK to touch your vulva, but people are private, and it's a private thing. The only places where you should touch your vulva are in the bathroom or in your bedroom. If you want to play with your vulva, please go to the bedroom."
And she smiled and did, without question, because compartmentalizing where you do certain activities makes sense to little kids.
"We don't eat in the bathroom, and we don't touch our vulvas in the living room," became the new mantra. And yes, eventually it became, "We don't touch our vulvas at the table."
I'm what some people call "sex-positive." That doesn't mean I talk with my 4-year-olds about how great sex is and how good it feels. It means I don't pretend it's something other than it is.
As parents, we lie all the time. About the Easter Bunny or Santa or the Tooth Fairy, about how long 10 minutes is, about whether or not we remembered they wanted to have grilled cheese for dinner again... We lie a lot. But one thing I never lie about is sex.
I don't want them to grow up ashamed of their bodies or confused about what they do. I don't tell them about cabbage patches or storks; I make an effort, always, to be honest about human reproduction. Every aspect of it.
I've had talks with lots of other moms about having "the talk." I don't think my kids and I will ever have that particular talk, because they already know. And we talk about it often -- kids are obsessive creatures. We read Where Did I Come From? and What Makes A Baby, which together cover every aspect of the subject. We can talk about IVF and C-sections, because both of those are part of the story of their births, and we can talk about the fact that yes, mommy and daddy still have sex regardless. And when they're older, we'll start talking about contraception.
Because lying to your kids about sex helps nobody. Telling them that sex is "only between mommies and daddies" is a lie that leads to confused, hormone-charged teenagers. Telling them that sex is "only something that happens when two people love each other very much" is a lie that causes hormone-charged teenagers to confuse "love" with "lust," or "obsession." It leads to leaps of logic like, "If I have sex with this person, we must be in love." Or worse: "If I love this person, I have to have sex with him or her." And how many teenage tragedies are based on that misconception?
The truth is that human beings, almost universally, like sex. It feels good. And it's supposed to feel good. If it didn't, the human race would die out. The truth is that sex isn't special and magical just because it's sex. The truth is that you can have spectacular sex with strangers whose names you don't even know. The truth is that just because you can, that doesn't necessarily mean you should.
And that's what sex-positive parenting really is. Not telling my kids lies about sex to keep them from behaviors I don't think are healthy. It's telling them the truth, the whole truth, and letting it sink in so they can make their own good choices.
It's telling them that sex is good, but that it's dangerous if you're not careful. It's teaching them to require their partners to use condoms, to buy their own condoms if they're planning on having sex. It's teaching them that while sex feels good, they can feel good on their own too. (Just not at the table.) That while sex combined with love is often the best sex -- transcendent sex -- that grows the bond of love and builds a closeness that is almost impossible to find otherwise, sex isn't always like that, even with people you love. That sex can lead to pregnancy, even with protection, so engaging in it is a commitment to deal with any consequences.
It's telling them they're not wrong, or sinful, or bad, if they have sexual feelings. Or even if they have sex. It's teaching them that sex happens, whether people always make good choices or not. And it's giving them the tools to ensure that when they're ready, they're smart and cautious and conscientious.
There's a lot of black-and-white comparisons when it comes to sex education. Some people think that once kids hit puberty, if they don't have a strong fear of sex they'll have as much as they can, as often as they can. There's a lot of abstinence-only sex education, based on telling kids, "SEX IS SCARY! DON'T DO IT!" and it appears to be about the least successful program anyone has ever invented.
Telling children the truth about sex isn't giving permission for them to have it -- and this is the most important part -- because when the right time comes, nobody has the right to deny them permission for sex but themselves.
And that's the thing I try to keep in mind when I say things like, "We don't touch our vulvas at the table." Sex is something that ONLY happens when both people WANT it to happen. And that means that the only people in the entire world with any kind of say over whether or not my daughters have sex is them.
I don't get to tell my daughters they have to have sex, but I also don't get to tell them they can't. They're in charge. Your body, your decision.
I never want to be responsible for setting the precedent that another person gets to tell them what to do with their bodies, and especially with their sexuality. I don't want to be the gateway for a manipulative, potentially abusive boyfriend.
So I teach boundaries. Appropriate places. Hygiene. I teach my children that nobody is allowed to touch their bodies without permission. When we get in tickle fights and they say, "Stop!" I stop.
And when we talk about pregnant friends, we talk about uteruses and sperm and eggs.
And most of the time, it's not uncomfortable. Most of the time, I'm verifying information and the conversation lasts 15 seconds.
And someday the conversation is going to be a lot uglier. Someday, we'll have to actually talk about rape, and explicit and enthusiastic consent, and contraception. Someday we'll have to talk about healthy masturbation and pornography and realistic expectations of sex and sex partners and body image and a lack of shame for their bodies. And those conversations are not going to be as brief or straightforward.
But I'm ready. Whenever that day comes, I'm prepared. Because the groundwork is there.
"We don't touch our vulvas at the table." It's absurd, but it's got all the important pieces. It's a micro-lesson in safety and consent and social propriety. I don't think I'll be able to say "We don't lose our virginity in the backseat of a car after a prom party" with a straight face, but I will be able to say, "We don't have sex without thinking long and hard about it first, and we certainly don't do it without being careful, and being safe, and being totally confident in the maturity of our partner and our ability to handle the repercussions if we get a disease or get pregnant."
Because it's true. We don't.
But I like that when that time comes, I'm part of the "we." Because if I can tell my girls, "we" have to be careful, they'll know that no matter what happens, I'm still in their corner. I've still got their backs. Even if "we" make bad choices, I'll still be there to help make things right again.
Sunday, 27 July 2014
Monkeys In The Kitchen is well known for gorgeous handmade clothes (sewn with the quirkiest, raddest fabrics!) for little lads and ladies - check out her Faceook page for photos - but now Maddy, the creative genius behind the brand has expanded her range to include rad screen printed raglan t-shirts for little hipsters, and opened an online store!
All the shirts are 100% organic cotton, designed and printed on the beautiful Sunshine Coast, and the entire range is under $25!
I personally love a raglan cut tee, it reminds me of all those cool photos of punk rockers from the seventies, so I am stoked that Maddy has chosen this style. Your kids will be happy, as the cut of a raglan top is perfect for active kids and being made of the softest interlock will be gentle on even the fussiest of bodies. Parents will be happy too, as the durable machine washable fabric will take anything you throw at it, and being organic it isn't dipped in formaldehyde or any of the other yucky chemical nasties those Kmart t-shirts keep getting recalled for.
These are a few of my favourite prints, check out the rest of the range over at www.mitk.myshopify.com
B.R.A.T. in Rough & Tumble in the Grass Raglan Sleeved Tee
My Tiny Hipster in Rough and Tumble Raglan Sleeved Tee
Thursday, 10 July 2014
Here are just a few photos of the snack table.
Saturday, 21 June 2014
Friday, 6 June 2014
Wednesday, 28 May 2014
Sunday, 27 April 2014
Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Saturday, 5 April 2014
I wrote this about what the music of Nirvana means to me in 2012, but it still rings true today.
Rest in peace Kurt, I made a donation to Beyond Blue in your name today.
Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Dr. Cole Galloway, scientist and founder of Delaware University was inspired to turn relatively inexpensive powered toy cars into safe and mobile vehicles for disabled children.
Galloway says the toy cars can be modified for around $200 which is a cheaper alternative to expensive electric wheelchairs- and more than mobility that $200 also buys freedom and inclusion. The manual on how to mod your electric car can be found at Go Baby Go.
Friday, 14 March 2014
Friday, 28 February 2014
|OG KissKat on the left, shiny fresh "fluffy" KissKat on the right.|
Friday, 14 February 2014
Wednesday, 12 February 2014
Thursday, 6 February 2014
I love when people share a great message with flair, which is exactly what this music filmclip entitled "Ruin Your Day" by Sparrow Folk does. These two Aussie ladies set out to prove, through some delft use of 'turning the tables', that breastfeeding in public is not for anyone's "pleasure" (except that of a baby comforted with nourishing food).
"Everybody knows new mothers are exhibitionists/Taking every chance they get to ruin your day with tits."
Bravo Sparrow Folk, I just love it! If you loved this filmclip and are in Canberra between the 17-21 April 2014 you can see Sparrow Folk live at the National Folk Festival. I expect there will be quite a few mums chanting the tune like an anthem as children under seven are free.
Ruin your day,
Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Lately Hunter has been really into chalk, and trucks. So this is really a logical end point: trucks that draw roads!
All you need is a toy car, a stick of chalk and some tape (may I suggest any broad tape, such as masking tape, gaffa tape or packing tape- Washi tape is not really sticky enough for this) and a piece of flat ground upon which to draw "roads".
At the Savage-Darling household we are in the chalk/truck business, and business is good.
x Sandi D.
Thursday, 9 January 2014
Hunter didn't enjoy the touch pool, but he did love the seals and the underwater tunnel. We spent $19 and got to meet a seal up close and personal! It was my highlight- closely followed by the Otter show. I just adored hearing about all the daring Otter escapes!
Since we've come home Hunter has spoken a LOT about fish and sharks. I think I might pick up some plastic figurines of water toys and make some of these lovely Pinterest ocean sensory tubs.
Monday, 30 December 2013
Monday, 9 December 2013
It was the perfect time to take Hunter, and I don't just mean the weather. He was so engaged in the experience. He wanted to find shells, to spot sharks (there were none, be he kept pointing them out), to build castles and to feed the birds.