Thursday, March 28, 2013

Going viral

I think I'd rather like to be able to say… ‘I’ve gone viral.’

Not in the ‘I have a disease and I’d like to share it with you’ kind of way.

More in the ‘twitter hashtag trending, facebook sharing, google plus-ing, linkedin connecting’ sort of way.

You could actually help out in this rapid spread of infection. 

Put your antibacterial hand wash down for a minute and try clicking on this enticing ‘Vote for me now’ People’s Choice button to the right of your screen. Navigate your way to Page 5 with a few effortless scrolls and clicks and then vote away for the Team O’Connor blog. 

We thought we would try a simple case of contagion to get us started, and as with any half decent virus worth its weight, we’re hoping it will reach plague proportions before voting closes on Tuesday 30th April.

Thanks for spreading the love!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Verbal diarrhoea

Bath time in the O'Connor household and I hear an excited exclamation coming from the watery depths...

'Mummy, quick, come here! I can talk underwater!'

Whilst not a particularly unknown phenomena with four year olds, an apparent discovery on her behalf, nonetheless.

And sure enough, following a somewhat waterlogged if not articulate demonstration, she can indeed talk underwater.

It made me think of other potential talents that she may have hidden away...talking under wet cement or perhaps talking the hind legs off a donkey. Neither of which I would recommend as something you should try at home.

The use of these colloquial expressions reminds me of her latest phrase that she has adopted: her penchant for describing her rear end as 'clean as a whistle'. I mean, what's a whistle got to do with it and why is it noted for its particular level of purity? 

Don't get me wrong, the ability to wipe one's rear effectively is a required life skill and one of which to be enormously proud. However, likening it to a small object complete with hole that makes a loud annoying sound could indeed draw its own parallels!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Love is a battlefield

Parenting can be likened to a battle ground at the best of times.

There is usually an ‘us’ and a ‘them’.
You usually have an allegiance with one side or the other.
You usually go into battle having a strategy or five up your sleeve.
And when it just gets all too hard, you want to lie down and play dead.

I have long lived by the creed, ‘Pick your battles.’ Salient advice for anyone, particularly parents, I think.

Take the time and consider, in the big scheme of things…
  • Does it really matter?
  • Is anyone at risk of any harm?
  • Are my loved ones going to think any less of me?
  • Am I inadvertently reinforcing the values and ethics that I don't want to espouse?

If you can honestly say ‘no’ to all or any of the above…then refer to creed number 1…Pick your battles.

Inherently, I do believe that kids want to please and do the right thing. They do need the security of firm boundaries and limits, however. They need consistency. They need this and more to be confident beings, so that they are empowered to take risks.

But most of all, they need to know that significant others will go into battle with them.

I recently read an article that made me think long after reading it. I don’t think it was meant to be provocative, but it became an interesting discussion point nonetheless. Written by a parent, it posed the argument that compliant, law abiding, ‘good’ kids were not risk takers. I actually disagree. I don’t see them as mutually exclusive. Quite often ‘good’ kids have the self-confidence and resilience required to take educated risks. And herein lies the difference.

Many kids can and do take risks.

Some risks are educated, others are not.

Some risk taking behaviours are provocative, others are not.

Some risk taking is purely about learning and exploring beyond the normal range.

There is healthy risk taking and there is unhealthy risk taking.

Perhaps it is more of a question of the motivation behind the risk taking that needs exploring in the first place. Don’t immediately assume the behaviour needs a counter attack.

Pick your battles…because parents are weary enough at the best of times.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Sticks and stones

Somewhat ironically, Robert Benchley once said, ‘Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing.’ Invaluable advice that I am now trying hard to drill into my 4 year old.

Working with children allows you an up-close and personal look at how language is acquired. The English language, with its obscure Latin base, is often described as one of the hardest languages to learn. As such, it never fails to amaze me how children can apply the innumerable, irregular rules and still get their message across meaningfully.

But what also never fails to amaze me is how quickly they acquire words, all the while using them in the right context and with the right expression.

Having kids is like having a talking mirror wherever you go - something that I have never aspired to at the best of times. As if one of you is never enough, you have to be duplicated, in stereo. Always a sobering experience…

We mistakenly thought that we had kept our cursing mostly in check – but clearly not enough in check. You could have peeled me off the floor recently. While walking through David Jones, one of our ‘posher’ department stores, the Short One loudly declared to all the beautiful people in the cosmetic department, ‘Jeez, it’s f@#king hot in here!’

A not-quick-enough retreat ensued, resulting in one of the Short One’s arms being somewhat lengthier than the other.

This incident was followed up with of my famous ‘little chats’ – this time about appropriate ‘grown up’ words versus ‘little people’ words. Not only does one need to learn the idiosyncrasies of the English language – one also needs to know at which age certain words can enter one’s vocabulary.

What I didn’t factor in though, was the fact that youngsters are so very literal. I really needed to put a caveat on all grown up words, not just that one indiscretion, as big as it was… resulting, unfortunately, in another shopping expedition whereby I was wishing hard for an unexplained and immediate arrival of a ground chasm. 

There we were, roaming the aisles of our local grocery store, having a jovial moment together at dad’s expense, until the Short One, laughing away, exclaims… ‘Oh dad! He is such a d#@khead, isn’t he?’

Where does one go to from there (other than quickly out of the store)?