a big fall

Almost two years ago I was walking through a local forest with our three boys when Finley suddenly started screaming and crying out. I realised he had fallen face-first over the side of a large boulder and was at the bottom injured. I raced down and found he had fallen on his elbow which was dislocated. Three surgeries and almost two years later the only thing that remains is a feint scar and his arm is well and truly back to normal.

On Sunday we visited the same forest and Finley wanted to climb up on the same boulder again. Despite the five metre ledge – he had no fear or anxiety present. I was told the reason he fell off the boulder was he dropped a crystal he was carrying that day and he fell down towards it trying to get it. Standing on top of the boulder Finley spotted the missing crystal half way down that he lost almost two years ago. This time he let me fetch it and he was reunited with the crystal after all this time.

I am constantly amazed how resilient children can be.

our kids’ quotes 2017

It’s that time of year which means I can finally publish the list of quotes we’ve collected from our boys throughout the year.

This year Junior Pixels was 7 turning 8, Little Bear was 5 turning 6, and Little Whale turned 4 during the year. So many classics this year it’s too hard to pick favourites.

See quotes from 2016, 2015 and 2014.

In no particular order:

Orson looking very serious:
“Mama don’t jump forever if you have no undies on. Your pants will fall down!”

Finley (biting into a freshly made toasted sandwich):
“oh Mama; the taste of happiness”

Finley: “The cup of tea at the park was a great idea. Lucky we have the furnace (Thermos)”

(In Byron bay)
Finley: “Mama, what are party herbs?”

Mama: “boys would you like one of the special cereals I bought? I have rice bubbles or nutri grain left…”
Winston: “oh nutri-gubble for me!”

Orson: “Papa, when I grow up I don’t want to be a policeman anymore. I want to be a writer: someone who writes stories”
Finley: “but you’re already a great writer Orson”

Driving to school.
Mama: “look there’s the police getting coffees”
Finley: “cops with coffee”
Orson: “why do cops love coffee so much Mama?”

Winston: “Nana is funny”
Mama: “is she?”
Winston: “she tells me funny things. She thinks everything is normal but it’s not normal”

Orson & fin in the shower
Orson: “ahhh mama the shower is getting hot! It’s burning! I’m going to boil & turn into a cup of coffee!”

Orson: “I’ve been doing really well eating my dinner. Something’s I don’t like. But I sit down and look at it. I ask my brain ‘do I like this?’ And it decides. Then it tells me what I can eat.”

Papa: “Why do you need help cleaning your teeth Orson?”
Orson: “Because of my brain. It’s telling me to do other things”

Orson: “my brain is telling me that it’s tired and that I can’t do anything more”
Finley: “it’s not his brain telling him that, his brain isn’t separate from his body”

Winston (screaming loudly and pointing):
“That man has a smoker (cigarette)! He’s going to die! He will cough and die! Look!”

(Pointing at ornate church)
Orson: “Papa is that god’s castle?”

Orson: “Mama do you know I can spot cows out the window”
Mama: “wow. How do you do that?”
Orson: “I know they are cows because they have tails like lions…horses have pony tails”

Eating dinner
Orson:
 “Papa we went to the museum and saw ships in the dry dock. And we saw the pontoon where nana and grandpa saw a guy that the police were trying to capture.”
Papa: “wow that sounds like an exciting day”
Orson: “yes the guy had escaped and the police were trying to get him. Nana said he wasn’t at jail just probably escaped from the bad guy farm.”
Mama: “what’s the bad guy farm?”
Orson: “oh nana told us about it- not where the really bad guys go, just little bit bad”
Finley: “yeah, not like jail where you go if you kill someone but when you’re just a bit bad you go to work on the bad guy farm”
Mama: “oh. That makes sense…”

Papa: “What do you do when you’re frustrated Winnie?”
Winnie: “I eat!”

Orson (in bed very tired after a long day):
“and my new kicks (shoes) didn’t even arrive today!”

Orson: “your tongue is pink because your taste bunks (buds) are pink, and they’re trying to camouflage”

Winston hiccuping in the back seat of car.
Winston: “Mama I think I have hair-cups. See- it makes you do dis (hiccups).”

Finley (after reading a 1970s sea life library book and wondering about whether ‘alarmingly low fur seal populations’ had recovered or were now extinct. After looking it up we discovered they were doing okay in islands near Chile. Finley was elated)
“Some creatures, their poplee-ation can just got down and down and until the get es-tinct. In David Attenborough a farmer gave a possum skin to the museum that he thought they’d be interested in. And the museum people said they had thought it was es-tinct but they looked in the area near the farm and it wasn’t. You don’t need to give up- you just need to keep looking.
I’m so glad the fur seal is not es-tinct- I can go to sleep now.”

Winston (singing lying in bed before going to sleep):
“the ants go marching one by one, galah! Galah! The ants go marching two by two, galah! Galah!”

Orson telling papa about his park trip.
Orson: “and papa it was very camouflage but I saw a tawny frog mouse in the trees!”

Orson: “Winnie- let’s do cheers with our trollies!”

Winston: “Mama do you love me when I’m not around?”
Mama: “of course I will always love you and miss you”
Winston: “and then I will come back”

Winston: “Mama cola makes you rotten”

Orson: “Winston gekkcos are oc-tour-nal. That means they come out at night like possums.”

Winston (seeing a bush turkey): “Mama, did you know turkeys make turkey (Turkish) bread? I know that”

Orson riding his bike
Orson: “Mama, did you know that the more you ride bikes the more you will know about cars?”

Winston playing with his turtle in car after park.
Winston: “do turtles go to the bottom of the sea?”
Mama: “yes I think so.”
Winston: “mama do they have playgrounds under the sea?”
Mama: “I don’t thinks so darling, maybe rocks & coral to swim around.”
Winston: “no. I think they have playgrounds down there.”

Orson: “Mama was so ‘steaked’ (stoked) that I got this book at school”

Orson: “you don’t believe in me” (you don’t believe I’m telling the truth)

Mama: (sniffing) “oh Winston did you just fart? So stinky.”
Winston: “it was a gnome. A gnome did it.”

Winston: “what are we having for dinner mama?”
Mama: “roast”
Winston: “oh I love graby! (gravy)”

*** BONUS ***

Winston: “Why do they call them brownies when they’re actually black. They should call them blackies.”

Winston: “Orson said the f-word. Don’t say the f-word Orson!”
Orson: “what the fuck is the f-word Winston?”

it’s equal but is it fair?

One thing I've struggled with as the father of three children of different ages is teaching our boys the difference between equal and fair.

For example, only one our boys has homework to do each night from school so the amount of homework the boys each do is not equal; is that fair?

Sometimes the kids get different treats or different time spent with them depending on various factors including their needs and ages. This isn't equal; is it fair?

This also applies to non-parenting things: kitty and I share a small bag of chips: even though she is much smaller than me, do I split the bag of chips equally between us: is this fair?

Only recently did I truly understand that equal often seems fair but is often not fair. Just like unequal can seem unfair, but it's often fair.

For example, some organisations allow their employees to fly premium economy on long-haul flights only if they're over 190cm tall – is this equal? Definitely not. Fair? Probably – since if you're that tall regular economy seats on long haul flights are pretty painful for your legs.

I recently used the diagram from the Interaction Institute for Social Change Artist Angus Maguir to explain this to our oldest child:

The diagram uses the terms equality vs equity but I prefer equality vs fairness as I find it easier to use equal and fair, vs equal and equitable – especially with young children. I have found by simply looking at a situation and asking separate questions of whether it's equal and whether it's fair means it's easier to separate the two.

→ travelling with young kids

I recently read an article by Mariam Navaid Ottimofiore (via Kitty) about the benefits of traveling with young kids:

“If I had a penny for the number of times, well-meaning friends and family have looked at me and asked “why do you travel so much with young kids? It’s not like they’ll remember any of it!”

The words between the lines are of course this idea that travel is wasted on their young minds. That all they will have, are photographs to look back upon when they are older. That they won’t remember hiking up temples in Cambodia, or riding on mules to explore the lost city of Petra. They won’t remember feeding giant tortoises in the Seychelles, or visiting the memorial church in Berlin. That the true benefits of travel can only be enjoyed as a young adult. That the money spent on traveling the world with them is somehow wasted.

To this I usually respond tongue-in-cheek “well, then why take them to a playground or push them on a swing? Why read them a book or cuddle with them at bedtime? They won’t remember any of that either.”

Travel is the same. Except wait, it’s even better. It’s about the experience. Of making memories together. And this is the part they will remember.”

Overseas travel with young kids is insanely hard but we’ve found it very worthwhile. We’ve taken our young children to Malaysia (Junior Pixels), Los Angeles/San Francisco (Junior Pixels), Sri Lanka/Singapore (Junior Pixels and Little Bear), Auckland (all three) and San Diego/Palm Springs/Los Angeles (all three), and we still have fond memories.

And it’s not only about the kids: it’s about us having fun too. Why wait until the kids are old(er) to have fun ourselves?

We’re taking our three boys to Malaysia (via Singapore) at Easter this year to experience another culture, and we’re all looking forward to it already.

our kids’ quotes 2016

It’s that time of year which means I can finally publish the list of quotes we’ve collected from our boys throughout the year.

This year Junior Pixels was 6 turning 7, Little Bear was 4 turning 5, and Little Whale turned 3 during the year. My favourite quote this year is a tie between love in your heart and the itchy footprints one.

Little Bear: “can I do the mix machine for the cake?”
Mama: “sure”
Little Whale: “oh wait Orsie I need to put my ear mouse on cos it’s noisy”

Junior Pixels looking at fireworks
“explosions for celebrations? I’ll never understand”

Junior Pixels getting dressed himself
“now I know how hard it is to be you Papa”

Little Bear: “Mama makes the freshest pancakes”
Papa: “did you know some mamas don’t make pancakes at all?”
Little Bear: “yes, they get them out of tins”

Junior Pixels at the art museum looking at old paintings
Junior Pixels: “Mama Mama I studied this at Kindy! It was very famous! This is actually it!”

Papa to Little Whale: are you Winston Scott?
Little Whale: “no, I’m just Winton today”

Little Whale: “I not cold Mama. (Standing in dressing gown and slippers). I not cold. Look my teeth not even wobbling (chattering).”

Mama (to Junior Pixels): “if you walk across the log you can put your arms out like an aero plane to balance ”
Little Whale: “Mama aero planes no have arms!”

Little Whale singing to teddy’s toes before falling asleep:
“This little piggy stayed home…
This little piggy went to the shoppings and got the things…
This little piggy went to school to pick up boys…”

Stereo stops working in car.
Little Bear: “why has the music stopped Mama? (Thinking) I know maybe it’s the blue teeth not working.”

Junior Pixels: “Mama why is it in your heart that you feel love?”

A short story by Little Whale Scott
 “There was a long neck dinosaur who couldn’t reach the trees so it ate up the whole school. And when it did poo it had changed it into playgroup.
Then it changed back to school.
Then he drove in his monster truck to a different playgroup.”

(Talking about growing up and families)
Little Bear: “Winnie do you want to come and live with me when we’re older? ”
Little Whale: “yeah. I cuddle Orsie babies and my babies”
Little Bear: “you don’t lay babies. we’ll have to have a girl there to lay the babies and go to hospital to have them. ”
Little Whale: “the babies not be snotty.”
Mama: “I’m sure they won’t get sick if you take care of them and keep them warm”
Little Bear: “I saw in the babies movie you just wrap them tight and tie the blanket up with ribbon”
Mama: “ah I think that was just the family who lived in Mongolia and needed to get their baby home and warm on the back of a motorbike…”

Little Whale: “read this to me! (pointing to article not suitable for kids in the big issue magazine)”
Papa: “no, it’s for grown-ups only ”
Little Whale: “I grown up, I wear undies now”

Little Whale: “(driving along in back seat of car) Mama I’m a cloud”
Mama: “really?! Wow! What do clouds do?”
Little Whale: “they do this (puffs cheeks out and blows) like that”

Little Bear: “mama no I don’t want sun scream on! It hurts my eyes!”

Little Whale: “I’ve got itchy footprints”

Junior Pixels: “Orsie: the red poppies are for remembering people and purple is for animals in the war”
Little Bear: “Winnie: the purple flower is for remembering all the turtles that dies in the war”

Little Bear: “Mama: why did I have so many cries today?”

Little Whale looking at his shadow and waving his hands to make it move.
Little Whale: “Mama why does my shadow have no teeth? ”

See also: our kids’ quotes from 2015 and 2014