The tricky questions

Obi wan Kenobi

Most parents expect their children to ask questions which they do not know the answers to or make them feel uncomfortable. Even the most laid back parent can find themselves feeling awkward when their child asks questions about sex and how babies are made. Then there are the questions you just never thought anyone, let alone your child, would ask you.

I suppose all parents get these jaw dropping questions & how they handle them just depends how they’re feeling at the moment the question arrives.

My son Jacob asks a lot of questions. Each page of a book has at least four queries to accompany it. It’s partially that he’s exploring language and clarifying what words EXACTLY mean. It’s also that he’s adjusting how he thinks about the world & the way it appears to work.

On an average day he’ll ask things like: “What does blue container mean?” “What does red container mean?” “What does container mean?” Bang, bang, bang – just like that he’s clarified that the only difference between a red container & a blue container is mostly probably just it’s colour and that a container is something that can hold something else inside it.

Some days I have endless patience. I answer calmly. I ask him what he thinks things are. We jostle gently back & forth words, concepts, meanings & ideas.

Other days if I’m tired or having to give my attention to household chores or another child I can snap and shut down the questions. I’m not so proud of those moments. I am proud to have a little boy who asks questions and who wants to find out why, what, when & how and if. I love his beautiful brain and love the particular take he has on the world around him. He is incredibly imaginative. He changes his clothes four or five times in just a morning as he changes character. His current obsession is Star Wars & anything related to its universe. His dad & I have sat through the movies with him, answered the many questions and made sure he wasn’t scared.

Jedi Knight has a bo

Today as I was making him his bedtime bottle of goat milk he asked, “Do Jedi Knights have bos?” (bo being his word for bottle) A brief pause and then I replied, “Well, I guess when Jedi Knights were babies they probably had a breastfeed or a bo.” He was happy with this and said “Yeah, Darth Vader had breastfeeds.”

Before Star Wars Jacob was a pirate

a knight

and a lizard

(Post script: When Jacob was born I was unable to breastfeed him. The information at the time around medication I needed to take was that it was toxic for babies. Subsequently further studies have shown that in lower dosages and with the baby closely monitored through blood tests it is possible to breastfeed. My daughter, born before I was on medication, and my youngest son, born after the new information was available, were both breastfed until around their second birthday. I am a strong breastfeeding advocate but I also know that sometimes it isn’t possible for women for a variety of reasons. I talk to my children about the different ways that babies and toddlers are given milk and what the reasons for this are.)

A very bookish Christmas

Molly’s first ever advent calendar

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

I seem to have lost a little of my Grinch now & am feeling a bit more in the spirit of Christmas. Helped in part I think by having some time alone to shop for presents.

A few weeks back I had taken myself to our local op shop to buy stocking fillers. My children’s stockings are huge, handmade by a family friend for each child at their first Christmas. On a limited budget second hand was the sensible option, plus it fulfilled my new shopping ethos: local, handmade or recycled.

Today I had something else in mind so I headed to Next Page Please, our local independent children’s bookshop. I didn’t have any specific titles I wanted but Maria, who owns the shop, is full of bookish information & happy to share suggestions for different age groups & interests. This makes it an enjoyable experience rather than a chore.

For Molly I selected: A Colin Thiele boxed set which includes two classics – Storm Boy and Magpie Island. I also chose Utterly me, Clarice Bean by Lauren Childs. Whacky kids & animals are high in Molly’s areas of interest.

Jacob, who is almost four, is keen on the tools of early literacy and fantasy play so I chose I spy with my little eye by Edward Gibbs, & Taming the sun: four Mãori myths by Gavin Bishop. I love Bishop’s illustrations, his renditions of our indigenous mythology & I’m sure Jacob will too.

Pete is a transporter, everywhere he goes he likes to have a trolley, a pushchair, a wheelbarrow or a car. He’s two years old so the illustrations are as important as the textual story. I think that Bruiser by Gavin Bishop & My 1st car was red by Peter Schössow will be just perfect.

There are also some second hand books for the stockings. These were found at our op shop & the local Sunday markets. I heard it in the playground by Allan Arlberg, These Islands: NZ verse collected by Gwenyth Jones & The Wednesday Wizard by Sherryl Jordan for Molly. Real life nightmares edited by Pat Edwards for Jacob (who also enjoy scary tales). For Pete who sometimes struggles with sleep I found a lovely copy of Mem Fox’s book Time for Bed.

James, my husband, will also be getting a book. I won his present from @FlyAirNZ on Twitter! It’s a hardback, colour book of the Artwork from the Tintin movie, signed by the creative team including our own Richard Taylor from WETA Workshop. I know he will love pouring over this alone & with Jacob who is a new Tintin fan.

I did sneak in a couple of gifts for myself today from a secondhand stall at the markets. James is insisting that I wrap them. So two summer dresses and two pairs of shoes will be waiting for me on Christmas Day. I’m sure that someone else in the family will buy me a book or two. *hint, hint*

If the heavy rain that’s been drenching Auckland this last week doesn’t stop  we’ll spend the days following the 25th recovering from over-eating & enjoying our new books.

I hope you have a happy, bookish Christmas too.

Better laugh or I’ll get grumpy

cheeky lizard

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

I just wrote an hour long post on my challenges, goals, dreams for the year ahead. & then I accidently closed the unsaved window and all my work was lost.

Instead of raging around about it I’m choosing to laugh at myself.

Yes it’s 2011 and things are going to be a little different. I’m trying new things, changing the way I do things, learning new skills and I want to have fun.

There’s Playcentre, a skills group for dealing with my anger & grief, my Course 3 assignments, 2 reading challenges, book reviews, poetry, photography plus my three beautiful children, my husband & my mum & our dog to be taken care of. It’s going to be busy.

But first there’s some serious holidaying to do! (See you in February)

The Magic Box

Molly running

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

I will put in my box
A golden tree,
A book of glass,
A cage of spanish gold with a speckled egg,
An ice cream that never melts.

My box is made from the corners of the moon
and rainbow rubies.
It is full of magical things.

In my box I will slide down a giraffe’s neck
and wish for Christmas every day.

by Molly (aged 6 & 1/2)


through a glass darkly

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

it’s only wednesday but i feel so weary. some of it a good, achiveved happy things weary, some of it more a no please no more of this kind of weary.

pete remains a child who doesn’t sleep well in the night. he’s in with me once i go to bed and he usually wakes between 4 & 6 x a night. luckily for all of us he has a winning charachter so the days go by in a sleep deprived but mostly happy way.

jacob is growing up fast, 3 in february. his speech & language are still blurry after a long time with undiagnosed glue ear but there’s been a lot of progress since his grommet operation in september. he also loves playcentre and wants to be there every day.

molly is a lean streak these days. taller & taller. lots of friends & enjoyment at school and with family. she is loving her bicycle and rides well without assistance. gymnastics & art continue to give her pleasure also.

james and i have been saddened this week with some deaths: a friend’s brother died today after a long battle with HIV, a colleague died last thursday after many years of living with cancer and another friend’s father died also on thursday but in australia, also from cancer. all three men have had long illnesses through which they were loved & supported by their families. i’m glad they could leave the pain & illness and now we will care for those left behind.

ka kite ano

attente / waiting


Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

(I am waiting for an arrival, a return, a promised sign. This can be futile, or immensley pathetic…Everything is solemn. I have no sense of proportions)

As I wait for you to arrive
pacing the floorboards
a telephone rings
& I’m startled

Pacing the flooboards
I chain smoke
& I’m startled
when someone starts to sing

I chain smoke
inhaling deeply & quickly
when someone starts to sing
I remember the day I met you

Inhaling deeply & quickly
I begin to feel dizzy
I remember the day I met you
as I wait for you to arrive.