Saturday, 28 September 2013

How to Raise A Good Son

If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed I post a lot about equality between the sexes. For me, it is the most important issue of our time. Part of that discussion is about men. Bad men. 

I don't want my son to grow up to be a bad man: disrespecting women, hurting women, raping women. I can't leave this to chance. I have the power to help guide him.


Sure, its early days. He is only two for goodness sake. But here's the thing: he is learning how the world works, even now. I plan to start as I mean to go on.

There is no place for patriarchy in my house. Gender roles are not welcome here. 

In our house, we all do housework. We read books meant for girls and boys. Hunter loves his That's Not My Mermaid book almost as much as he loves his That's Not My Truck book. Hunter has a tutu, and a dolly, and a dolls house. He pushes his teddy around in a pram. He helps with the cooking. He dances with Daddy and plays trucks with Mummy. He is taught (and told off) by both Mummy and Daddy- we share authority and use the same balance in our dealings with each other, so every way Hunter looks he sees men and women treating each other with respect. Hunter is secure in the love and affection he gets from both mummy, and daddy. None of this is by accident. Both Lee and I actively seek this kind of life out.

When he gets a bit bigger and starts developing sexuality we will talk about sex. The first thing we will talk about, and the last thing we will talk about, is consent. If you are interested in reading some more about these topics, you may like to read this article in the Huffington Post about the conversation all parents should be having with their sons, and this insightful piece by famous childhood development author Steve Biddulph on the role of feminism in bringing up good kids.

"It all starts at home. We have to be wide awake, or we can end up being the vehicles of harm to our own (sons and) daughters."
In 2009 at the Vancouver Peace Summit, the Dalai Lama said "The world will be saved by the western woman". I believe it.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Great Design, Beautifully Illustrated, Easy to Use, Simple iPhone and iPad Apps for Cool Toddlers and Very Young Children

Hunter has only just started to be interested in playing apps. He is 27 months old, so the apps he likes best are simple and easy to use. I try to pick apps best suited for toddlers aged 2-4- and try to keep them beautifully illustrated. I have a soft spot for beautiful illustration and thoughtful design, so the interface is very important for me too- chubby toddler hands need special design!

Here are some of my sons' favourites:

Endless Alphabet



This app is teaching Hunter letters and sounds- a beautifully illustrated 'puzzle' game in which letters must be matched to their place in a word. Happy monsters scramble the letters and kids are asked to drag the letters back to where they belong. As they drag each letter, the letter hisses and gurgles its sound (So P says "pah, pahpahpahpahpah"). Once the word is complete, the happy monsters come back and act out its meaning. The kids can take as long as they want to complete the puzzle, the animations are beautiful and the interface is loose enough for clumsy toddler fingers to manage without frustration. I paid $6.49 for the app and have not regretted it.

Peekaboo Forest



Night & Day studios have a range of beautiful apps in their Peekaboo series. Hunter adores Peekaboo Forest (featuring the art of Charlie Harper), and Peekaboo Trick Or Treat (featuring the art of Ed Emberley). The premise is simple- a simple picture in which one part is moving, touch the moving part to be rewarded with an animal (in Peekaboo Forest) or a Halloween themed spooky (in Peekaboo Trick Or Treat). Slow paced, beautifully illustrated and easy to use, these apps are ideal for very young children. Also in the series is Peekaboo Barn, Peekaboo Farm, Peekaboo Friends, Peekaboo Wild and Peekaboo Fridge. Some are free. All are beautiful.

Mini-U Zoo


This one is a bit advanced for a 2 year old even though it says 2+ years, and is available on iPad only, but Hunter enjoys playing this app with a bit of help from Mummy. Mini-U Zoo Alphabet has two ways to play. Children can play the games to learn the letters, or take a quiz about what they have learnt. The animals are not always the common ones either- for example, K is a Komodo Dragon! Both modes feature delightful illustrations, surprising animations and
a good level of ease of play.

First Words: Toddler Touch and Say



Super simple- touch a picture to hear its name and sound. There are four categories (pictured above- Vehicles, At Home, Animals and Toys) and about fifty words to play with. Hunter finds this game very rewarding, and easy to use. There are no in-app purchases so its safe for him to play without strict supervision. It costs $1.99.


Sound Shaker (Tickle Tap)


Hunter loves to play Sound Shaker because he gets to make all kinds of sounds simply by tapping and tilting the phone. The graphics are simple and yet beautiful, and each sound has a surprsing animation-tap the screen to make a ball that makes sounds as it bounces around, hold your finger for longer and see the ball grow, change colour and change sound- eventually cracking like an egg and revealing a happy bird who flies away. This was the first app Hunter ever engaged with, and he still enjoys playing it to this day. I bought it in a bundle called Tickle Tap, which also features a variety of other games more aimed at pre-schoolers. I'm sure Hunter will grow to enjoy those games but for now he loves making sounds and cracking eggs! Sound Shaker alone will set you back $1.99.

Plic Ploc Wiz


Plic Ploc Wiz is beautiful- simple like a tangram game, Hunter loves to move the shapes about, change their colours, and generally muddle up the shapes. Best of all, it's free.

Fiete


16 mini games with cute illustrations and charming music make this app one that I like to play with Hunter. Hunter can play by himself- there are no in app purchases or links to the Internet, and there are no written instructions either- movement and sound help show toddlers what is needed. Hunter hasn't quite mastered the games, but he likes fiddling around with it. It is $2.99 in the iTunes store.

Petting Zoo by Christoph Neiman

Quirky, funny, beautiful. This interactive book style app is adorable- Hunter loves touching the animals and watching what happens next. This app is loads of fun - each of the 21 different animals react to being selected in very odd ways. $3.49 in the iTunes store.

Sound 123


We have the free version of this app which only features animals- touch an animal to be taken to a photograph of the animal and hear it's noises- each time you touch the animal, it takes you to a different high quality photograph and plays a different noise- for example the first time you touch the cat icon the cat miawos, next time it purrs. The paid version of this app feautres hundreds of icons arranged in different themes, animals, musical instruments, vehicles, food etc. I think I will end up buying this app, as Hunter enjoys it but his clumsy hands swipe over to the not included topics and he ends up in iTunes which is frustrating for us both, but the app itself is very pleasing to Hunter so its a small price to pay for being a cheapskate :)

Seja


The amazing felt sculptor and rock musician Seja has made a free app, featuring her felt synths - Hunter loves to play the keyboards and sound pads, and I love how adorable it is while still being free. A simple app, this one is loads of fun.

Toca Band





Another beautiful app by the always stylish Toca Boca Studios- Toca Band features cute and sassy characters who alos happen to be musical instrucments. Drag them onto the stage and hear them sing! Hunter and Daddy play this one together as it is a bit beyong Hunter yet but with guidance Hunter gets a kick out of playing this app. $2.99 in the app store- and be sure to check out the rest of the apps from Toca Boca- all of them have an amazing style, perfect for fans of Yo Gabba Gabba.

Other cool apps to check out- for slightly older kids or for playing together:

Helicopter Taxi
Go Away Big Green Monster
Criteroos
Monster Mash
Little Things Forever
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore
Build A Robot
Space Crayons
Richard Scarry's Busytown
Paper Town Friends
Make A Monster HD
Monster Coloring Book
Cars Search and Find Wimmelbuch
Press Here
The Human Body by Tinybop
The Monster at the End of This Book

C'mon get appy,
Sandi D

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Mum Club is on this Monday 9 September- loads of freebies and giveaways for Brisbane Mums, Babies and Kids

This Monday September 9 marks a very special Mum Club- special because I have a crazy amount of giveaways!

I have a VTech Baby Walker, a bunch of cute mini kitchen things courtesy of House and a bunch of Fisher Price colouring books to give away.  




A First Steps Baby Walker from VTech valued at $82.99.
And for the second time we have a stack of gorgeous Baccarat mini kitchenwares thanks to House.
- See more at: http://www.milkeyes.com/2013/08/free-stuff-for-brisbane-mums-mumclub.html#sthash.BtdJmztz.dpuf
I hope to see you and your sweet kidlets at Southside Tea Room in Morningside from 9:30am.

If you like hanging out with other cool parents like me; and your baby, toddler or child likes to play with other cool kids like Hunter you should come. We would both love to see you there!

Think of it as the mother's group you secretly hoped for, but doubted you'd ever find.

Cool Parents Unite and Take Over,

Sandi D


Southside Tea Room

639 Wynnum Rd Morningside Brisbane. 4170.

PH 3899 5859

southsidetearoom.com/
 

639 Wynnum Rd Morningside Brisbane. 4170.
PH 3899 5859
southsidetearoom.com/
- See more at: http://www.milkeyes.com/2013/05/brisbane-play-group-for-alternative.html#sthash.36HXyHmN.dpuf
Southside Tea Room
639 Wynnum Rd Morningside Brisbane. 4170.
PH 3899 5859
southsidetearoom.com/
- See more at: http://www.milkeyes.com/2013/05/brisbane-play-group-for-alternative.html#sthash.36HXyHmN.dpuf
this mTTSouthside Tea Room
639 Wynnum Rd Morningside Brisbane. 4170.
PH 3899 5859
southsidetearoom.com/
- See more at: http://www.milkeyes.com/2013/05/brisbane-play-group-for-alternative.html#sthash.36HXyHmN.dpuf

The Big Bazaar: Motor Neurone Disease Association's Annual Fundraiser Market Day

Hey, what are you doing on the 21st of September? Want to come along to a fabulous bazaar, with seriously cool stalls including vintage, retro, oldwares and collectables?
Queensland's Motor Neurone Disease Association is holding its annual fundraising market day in Wynnum on Saturday 21 September.  There will be 50 wonderful indoor stalls plus food stalls selling yummy morning tea things (mmmmm, sweet snacky foods!), a pop up cafe, a sausage sizzle (who doesnt love a sausage in a bun?), as well as loads of child friendly things like cup cakes, a vintage icecream van, roving magician and a kids craft corner. 
All funds raised go towards supporting those living with Motor Neurone Disease (MND). MND isn't one disease, but rather a group of neurological disorders that selectively affect motor neurons, the cells that control voluntary muscle activity including speaking, walking, swallowing, and general movement of the body. MND are generally progressive in nature, and cause increasingly debilitating disability and, eventually, death. In the majority of cases, the intellect and memory are not affected, nor are the senses of eyesight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. There is no known cure, and treatment options are limited. 
As you can imagine, the amount of support people living with MND need increases as the disease progresses, so all funds raised really can improve the life of someone who, despite their body being affected, still have a clear mind. This is a really great cause to support, and why not when supporting it is so fun- The Big Bazaar looks set to be a fabulous day out.
The event starts at 9am and wraps up around 2pm at Wynnum West State School, 2036 Wynnum Rd (opposite Wynnum Plaza).
Gold coin donation to enter - all proceeds go straight to MNDAQs fundraising efforts.
Check out more online at www.facebook.com/thebigbazaar

Cool Toddler Haircuts in Brisbane - Camira



Hunter had a hair cut today! 

Hunter very proud of his smart new 'do
After MONTHS of explaining to people that yes he has long hair but yes he is also a boy, and silently cursing the rigid stereotypes of gender roles, we decided it was time for Hunter and Daddy to go to the barber together. Well, that and the fact that Hunter still does not like to have his hair washed, but does like to rub sticky substances into it- and the fact that he wants to brush his own hair which ends up in emergency hairbrush extraction...

We chose to go to Johnny Voodoo at Camira, and were delighted with the shop and the staff. Everyone was so polite and friendly, the shop looks fabulous with a cool rockabilly style, and the way they treated Hunter was just delightful. Even better, Hunter now has a very handsome haircut and is very proud of himself. Look at that happy/smug/cheeky grin!

Hunter loved the duster brush!
 If you have a little guy and are looking for the right salon in which to get him an affordable cool punky hair cut like the ones I have previously posted about, look no further than Johnny Voodoo. 

Johnny Voodoo Barber Shop
Shop 4/326 Old Logan Road, Camira, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia 4300
Phone: (07) 3818 3303   

Hours:
Mon: 09:00 - 17:00
Tue - Fri: 09:00 - 17:30
Sat: 08:00 - 13:30


Thursday, 5 September 2013

I'm feeling blessed: My toddler at age 26 months.



Hunter continues to be the sun that makes me shine. Every day he shows us he is more capable than before. He uses more words, can do more things.


Some of my favourites include:
Mopping up spills. Continuing on his Montessori education I make him clean up his own spills. He races off to the bathroom to grab a handtowel, If there isn’t one out he comes back and gets me. He then comes back to the spill, towel in hand, and “mops” up his own mess. I “help him” after a few wipes, and then when it is all mopped up I ask him to put the towel in the laundry and he runs off to drop it in the hamper.

Dinner. Hunter continues to eat happily. He has his own little table and we sit together to eat anything and everything, me on the floor and he on his little chair. He uses cutlery and stops every few bites to have a sip of his own little glass of water (no sippy cups needed!) which he almost always chinks with my glass and says “cheers!”.

 

Apologising. If Hunter hurts someone we make a point of explaining he has hurt the other person, and encourage him to apologise. He says “Sowwy” with a hug or kiss.

Reading. Hunter can point out many items in books and photos. He can also tell me the name of what I am pointing to in the pictures. Cutest is the way he listens attentively to me reading him stories – he particularly loves “Roadworks” by Sally Sutton, talking to me about the process of building a road, and “Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site” where he loves to talk about all the different parts of each new “twuck”.
 


Motorbikes. Now whenever Hunter sits on Daddy’s Motorbike he insists on wearing the bike helmet Unky D got him for his birthday. He knows the tailpipe is hot and stands back from it, fervently telling me how hot it is. “Hot! Ouch hot!”


Trucks. More than how much he inexplicably loves them, I love how, whenever I see a truck I think to myself “Hunter would love that!” The same way I will never be able to see a military vehicle without hearing my Dad and I’s ritual (Dad “Sammy, what colour is that tank?” Me “khaki green Daddy” Dad “car-key green, get it? Get it!?”), I am certain I will always hear a little voice sing out from just behind me “Twuck! Big twuck Mummy!”

Daddy. Every man in uniform is “Daddy”. Every man in a brochure or magazine is “Daddy”. Every motorbike is “Daddy’s bike”. All converse are “Daddy’s Shoes”. Every black T-Shirt is “Daddy’s shirt”. The sound of Lee’s bike pulling in the driveway see’s Hunter rush to the door, squealing “Daddy” excitedly. He knocks on the garage door saying “knock knock Daddy” and runs to Lee for a big hug every afternoon. Sometimes a motorbike will drive by during the day and Hunter runs to the garage door, “knock knock Daddy”.


Lee. Lee is a fabulous father. He loves spending time with Hunter, teaching him things, playing with him. Lee isn’t afraid to change nappies, bathe Hunter, go out on Daddy and son days, cook, clean- he is a mother, in the way that that is a compliment. Seeing the two of them together makes my heart soar. It makes me fall more and more in love with Lee because I know how precious and rare it is to find such a man. It’s been two years of ups and downs, with most all of it being ups and downs being sorted out and built on for a better future, and every day I am thankful to have another day to share with them. I love my boys.

Counting my blessing, 
Sandi D

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Mum Club on 4BC 1116 with Gabrielle Burke 29 August 2013

Mum Club, a play group for alternative parents in Brisbane run by yours truely, was on radio 4BC recently. Follow the link below to hear a snippet of the interview:

Mum Club on Radio 4BC


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