Settler’s Track Namadgi

Miss Bee was intrigued by the grasslands, kangaroos, parrots, wrens and bush setting for these historic huts. It was already only 3 degree when we headed home, I don’t know how the original settlers survived the cold!

Lighting was a combination and glare and shadow which made for disappointing photos.

Nevertheless we had fun sharing our love for exploration with Miss Bee.

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Miss Bee loved exploring the Historic Hut. Especially helping to sweep it.

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The windows were just a little grimy.

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The many faces of our felines

Hazel sleeping like a cutie.

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Ash all curled up blending in with the blanket.

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Golden eyed boy.

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His Smarg the Dragon impersonation

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Hazel snuggled up with Maggie.

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Maggie playing mummy to yet another kitten

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Cookie, the aloof cat. His demeanour is best described as “I’ll scratch you…_MG_9310

…or bite you.”

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Life’s trials

I feel angry.  Upset with life and the world.
My older daughter is a hard working girl.  She does tertiary study four fulltime days a week.  Plus she works part time at least 15 hours a week as a checkout chick. She pays her way.  She saves her money. 
Yet last night her world was rocked.  Our world was rocked.  A scum of the Earth came in to the shop and threatened her with a knife. It was an armed robbery.  My precious daughter who is still a teenager earning a pittance had a huge butcher knife held at her. 
I’m angry.  What is this world?  Who raises such scum?  What makes a man think he can threaten a young girl with a knife to take money he didn’t earn?  She’s out at night doing the hard yakka to earn money.  The amount he stole would be months and months of her wage.  At her tender age she knows she has to work for money yet here is a grown man who somehow is too lazy,  entitled,  greedy and selfish to earn money.  Instead he takes what isn’t his.  How can he even sleep knowing he traumatised a young girl?
I’m angry.  Angry that the supermarket pays for a security guard.  A security guard who failed my daughter.  He didn’t intervene,  didn’t even call for the police.  Instead he stood there like a coward letting a teenage girl deal with an armed robber by herself.  Has he no balls? No pride?  A customer called the police.  Maybe they need the wage that security guard “earned”?
I’m angry that another male staff member who had just finished his shift also slithered into the background like a yellow bellied snake.  Chivalry is dead.  Bravery is antiquated. 
I’m angry that my daughter walked in the door looking shattered.  That I wasn’t there to hug her sooner. 
Yes,  I’m angry. But mostly I feel as if my world was also shattered.  My baby.  The baby I’ve nurtured and raised from day dot was at risk.  Real risk.  She could have died if things turned nastier. Died because someone was greedy.

Toddler talk

I think as a parent I am somewhat of a panic merchant at times. I make myself huge invisible lists by which I measure my mothering skills. Some are reasonable, some idealistic others probably farfetched.

Anyway, hard as it is not to I find that despite my very thorough teacher training I carry doubts and anxieties about whether my children are “normal”. Yes, I know… what is normal anyway? By which stick are we measuring normal anyway? The best any of us can hope for is they are the best version of themselves possible thanks to our caring, thoughtful, tireless and sometimes even relentless parenting.

The truth is there will always be someone “better” in specific areas. So what?

Lately I have been in a panic about Miss Bee’s language development. She has HEAPS of words. At 18 months she had over 80. She can communicate beautifully. She can do a range of finger plays like Twinkle Star. Yet I started listening more carefully, with the ear of a teacher not a mother. Instead of revelling over what she has developed I looked at the deficits. She mainly uses single syllable words. Sure there are HEAPS of them but the two+ syllable ones seem to have the ends cut off. Apple is App, Carrot is Ca and so forth. Seemingly she knows lots and lots of nouns… but the others like pronouns, verbs, adjectives, prepositions and adverbs are still developing. Which makes sentence making rather tricky when all you have are primarily nouns.

Suddenly I feel as if all my efforts have failed her. After all I started reading to her from birth, by 4 months she could turn the page of a board book. Surely she would be super articulate by now? But it is what it is. I’ve taken her for an initial speech assessment and spoken to an interstate friend who is a Speech Therapist. While she is in the normal range we are going to have her hearing checked and then a more thorough assessment. But as things go, suddenly she is surprising me. “Ha tied” she says looking at the sleeping Hazel, yes Hazel is tired! Upon waking she called out “Mum… dad.. Pooh …Tig” Yes, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger rate up there with us. When I was cooking she looked at the carrots and said “Ca..one two”- indeed there were two carrots.

I’ve been searching the internet for ideas and solace. If you have a toddler and want to know what is “normal”, how to expand what they have and books that might help here is a round up! Some of the concepts surprised me yet others were familiar. The interesting one was that spoken language comes after symbolic play. Language IS a symbol- so until a child can understand that an arbitrary thing can mean something specific then they won’t be sprouting chatter. The other concepts I particularly nodded to were expansions “Ca one two” is responded to “yes, there are two carrots, one two”. But a new concept was extension- “yes, there are two ORANGE carrots, one two”… I think I naturally do this with older children but perhaps I need to do this more with Miss Bee.

The last week I have been dragging out two syllable words TED DEEE, HUUUN EEEE, MUUUMM EEE. She has managed to repeat those and even said Hazel a few times. I have also been emphasising the “not noun” words. “Let’s GO IN the car?” “Get IN the car” “Up up up into your seat”. This has already made an impact as she pointed to the car and said “go” along with several other new words in the “not noun” sector.

Here are the links I promised you:

Playing with Words 365

How to Help Your Child Talk

Strategies to Help Your Child Talk: Using Expansions and Extensions

Articulation Development

Common Phonological Process

Two Daloo

Language Basics

Children’s Books That Focus on Language Goals