Sunday, 30 September 2012

LeapFrog My Talking LapPup and Musical Counting Pal

I love a good toy or gadget that a child can get educational value from for years to come. What’s the point in having a toy that just gets tossed aside quickly because they get bored and are ready to move on?
Due to the above, I was super excited when these little babies arrived in the mail for Mr.T from the fantastic Leapfrog Australia.

There is something so unique about the LeapFrog line of toys. They are made for educating! And of course, they are fun, bright, durable and adaptable. Tick, tick, tick, tick!

The My Talking LapPup is awesome. Scout, the pup, immediately caught Mr.T’s attention. The animated mouth makes it look like the pup is really talking as it lights up.

What I love is how this toy can be used from 6 months right through to 36 months. Mr.T loves playing peek-a-boo with Scout which is just perfect for his development at the moment. It was gorgeous watching the little smile come across his face as he realised that everytime he popped the lid open Scout would say “Peek-a-boo!” or “Here I am!” similar to words I may use when we play peek-a-boo together!

Ignore the odd socks! Hehe

The buttons are bright, as well as nice and big for little fingers which is great for motor skills. For older children Scout encourages them to identify shapes and numbers and his voice is very clear and easy to understand. I just know Mr.T will get plenty of learning value out of this for a long time.

Another plus of this little guy is he is such a nice size. Perfect for your little one’s lap which makes it easy to take along in the car, pram, etc. A winner!

Another perfect little lap toy that came Mr T’s way is the Musical Counting Pal. This little birdie sings more than 15 melodies including 5 classical tunes from Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and more. It’s so nice to hear some beautiful tunes on a toy, something that is easy on the ear!

The number pad is a soft fabric which is great for little hands and the fact that it’s focussed on numbers 1-5 makes it perfect for early counting skills. Children can get lost in numbers. Starting with a smaller amount of numbers is much more beneficial in my opinion. Once they establish that they can then move on from 6-10 and so on.

The Musical Counting Pal also helps develop colours by encouraging the user to match the coloured objects to their number.

LeapFrog has a fantastic website too that I had never checked out before. It’s worth taking a look! It is super easy to navigate and see what toys are available for a particular age group. But also, you can create a Learning Path for your child by creating a profile for them and adding the toys they have to the profile. It gives you a detailed look at what learning your child is going and where they can head next. A great resource for parents and I’ll definitely be using it for Mr.T!

Please take the time to leave a comment. I love hearing from readers!
Do you have any great LeapFrog toys in your home?
Do you think either of these toys would be a great addition in your home?
Or perhaps there is a LeapFrog toy you would love to see reviewed or given away at School of Mum. Let me know below and I'll pass the message on!

School of Mum received these products from LeapFrog Australia to review. All my opinions, as always, are honest and my own.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Phoenix 'Family Pack' giveaway!

This giveaway has ended! Congratulations Kimberly Belford! Please check your email. A family pack is coming your way! Thank-you to all those who entered. :-)

There’s cards and then there’s cards. There is those cards that are attached to gifts that say, "I didn’t really want to spend any extra on you and this is probably going in the bin anyway", or there’s those cards that have all the cliché sayings and jokes in them and chances are the recipient will receive more than one of them. Then there’s special cards like these...

These cards aren’t just an add-on to a gift, they’re part of the gift. They are made of quality card and beautiful artwork. They are blank inside so you can write to your heart’s content.

You can buy these cards from Krystal and she’s a Phoenix Trader. She sells beautiful cards like this as well as stationery and accessories. She has been a trader since April 2011 and is an addict of pretty stationery. She’s into all that’s colour co-ordinated which comes in handy because there is plenty of matching product lines from Phoenix including gift wrap, tags and more.

There are some gorgeous Christmas items available now and Krystal’s fave is the ‘Pass The Parcel’ advent calendar.

Check it out! What a great way to introduce children to different cultures and spark their interest into wanting to know more.

I’m loving the Baby Box. I keep all of Mr T’s cards from the baby shower and his birth in there, plus a few other mementos. They make a great baby shower gift. I also love the height chart! Check out Mr T standing hehe. It’s so colourful and whimsical. I love all the detail it contains.

Krystal travels in and around Bacchus Marsh, Victoria (anywhere under an hour away) to facilitate Phoenix parties at people’s homes. She also organises brochure parties where the host gets all the same rewards without needing to hold an actual sit-down event. Then there’s the Facebook events every 3-4 months where people from anywhere can join in from their own computer.  She even offers to help with school or community fundraisers!

Want to win some awesome Phoenix products? Krystal has been kind enough to put together a ‘Family Pack’ containing some of the best Phoenix products!  
* A Family Organiser pad – 52 tear off pages (rrp $12) 
* a Babysitter Notes pad – 52 tear off pages (rrp $12) and 
* choice of either a girl or boy Height Chart (150cm tall) (rrp $16.50)

AND lucky us! All you have to do is mention School of Mum when placing any order with Krystal and you will receive a 10% discount on the rrp! (Valid until October 15th)

So what do you need to do WIN the gorgeous pack above? We always try and make it nice and easy here at School of Mum. Just...

1. COMMENT on this post below telling us which is your favourite Phoenix product (from the above post or Krystal’s page or the website.
3. SHARE this post on Facebook or Twitter with your friends – By Clicking Share below and either Facebook or Twitter. Tagging us always helps too!

Too easy! Good luck!

Here’s the fine print:
* Entry is open to Australian folk only (sorry!)
* Winner’s name will be posted on Blog only due to Facebook restrictions.
* One entry per person
* A valid email must be provided in the comment so we can contact you if you are a winner.
* Entries close midnight 28th September, 2012
* A winner will be announced on the 29th of September, 2012
* The Winner has 5 days to respond before another is chosen. 

Thursday, 20 September 2012

"So we're going to have a baby" - His & Hers Part 2

This makes me laugh! I asked Steve to start the next part on the day we went to hospital, and end where we entered the labour ward. He told me later he was could you write so much about that? Not much happened!? Here is our versions of the story...

That weekend, Ange, being heavily pregnant at this stage, took on the role of Relocation Supervisor as our families and I did the heavy lifting in transporting our possessions into our new home. A local
family lent us their truck for us to use as a moving van, and our new neighbours supplied us with sausage rolls and cake (gotta love country hospitality).

The following Thursday Ange had an appointment with her obstetrician and we thought it wise that I take the day off work and drive her down (we live 1 ½ hours away) and we also thought that packing a bag of clothes might be useful too as we were getting very close to D-Day. Just as well as during the examination the obstetrician informed us that Ange will be giving birth very soon.

We then went down the road to the hospital, checked ourselves in and played the waiting game. I cannot express how highly impressed I was with the staff at the hospital. They were very accommodating and did everything they could to make our stay as comfortable as possible. Between 5:30 and 6:00pm the next day Mr T was making it clear that he now wanted out. I remember this time as Eddie McGuire was on the telly hosting Millionaire Hot Seat. Hot Seat has since become a staple of my evening routine with Mr T (hey it’s never too late to start filling your child’s head with useless trivia- you never know when they are going to need it). So with one last look back as Eddie blinked out with a press of the remote we headed off to the
Labour Ward and the great unknown...

Rewind and it’s the 3rd of November, 2011. We had finally moved into our newly built house, exactly one week before our baby was due. It was a warm day and there was the usual flow of tradies around the house doing finishing touches. I woke that day with a headache and feeling nauseous, as if morning sickness had made a little comeback. I put it down to the fact that I had been doing a little bit too much by trying to fit all of my pent up nesting instinct into one week of unpacking. When I served up morning tea to our fence builder he joked saying perhaps I wouldn’t come home from my obstetrician appointment which was in the afternoon. Little did he know, he was right on the money.

Living an hour and a half away from my obstetrician and hospital, I was in no shape to be driving those sorts of distances anymore so Steve took the afternoon off work. When he came to pick me up I told him of my symptoms and he said we should take our bags just in case. He was clearly excited. I was so sceptical. I felt pregnant. And I felt like I was going to remain pregnant for a bit longer.

When we got to the obstetrician I told her about my symptoms and she did the usual checks. She nearly hit the roof when she saw my blood pressure which had been sitting on normal throughout the whole pregnancy. I’ll never forget the words “I think you’ll be having this baby today” I laughed her off, saying I didn’t have any contractions, that I didn’t feel like I was going to have a baby. “I’m fine!” I kept saying. My husband on the other hand leapt up for joy. He was so damn excited - Like we were about to get a new puppy or something. And me? I was incredulous and packing myself at the same time.

We were rushed to the hospital to get some tests done and as it turned out I had protein in my urine – a sign of preeclampsia. When my obstetrician came in to give me the news she also told me that she didn’t think it was safe for me to go home, that if my blood pressure peaked while I was at home and I went into labour it would be dangerous for me and the baby. I was to be induced in the morning. I smiled and nodded, acted like I was ‘ok’ with it. Then when she walked out the door I crumbled. My entire vision of this birth was already not going to plan. But mainly, I couldn’t believe I was going to be having my baby when I couldn’t FEEL any signs telling me he was ready to face the world. It was the first of many, many times at the hospital that my husband had to give me those big strong, arm hugs of his and tell me everything was going to be ok.

The next morning a midwife came and put the gel in. I won’t bore you with the gory details but after that I decided to attack this whole being induced thing the way I do most things – go at it hard and get the job done. Poor Steve had to put up with me going up and down the fire escape stairs, round and round the labour ward. If I was going to get him out, well, I was going to make it happen fast! I was nervous about hearing people tell me that being induced often leads to other interventions and I was determined not to let that happen.

At 1pm there was still no action. My obstetrician came and put the gel in again. The midwife told me she was a bit rougher and she may even tickle my tonsils. I didn’t care. That’s why I loved my obstetrician so much. She was blunt, to the point, and liked to get the job done. Just like me. Needless to say it worked and I started to feel contractions very soon after. Didn’t feel like much, just some cramp pains. No big deal. I kept going up and down the stairs and my husband looked bored as hell.

Dinner arrived around 5:30pm and by then I was starting to feel those cramps a bit more but still nothing major. I took one bite of my dinner and BAM! A massive pain hit. My husband frantically hit the buzzer and they told me that maybe I was further along then they thought. Time for the labour ward...

I love how different our versions are...can you pick the differences? Have you ever had those moments where you and your partner have a completely different idea of what happened?

Linking up with the lovely Grace for FYBF.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Mr T's big, fat 'F' for Sleep School

There I was, another day full of tears. My eyes felt gritty, I was too embarrassed to leave the house because of the circles under my eyes and I found it difficult to be bubbly and smiley with my little man. The house was a mess and I couldn’t even bring myself to nap during the day for fear that I would just melt into this existence where the real world did not exist. I had reached a point – we had tried everything. From naturopaths to paediatricians, rocking to sleep to laying down sleepy but awake. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING was working.

I trawled Google for the millionth time and began to stumble upon Sleep Schools. I decided it was our final shot, our last hope. We had Private Health so why not go for the best? So we did. I cried over the phone to the admissions nurse when she asked if I was ‘depressed’. Within 2 days we were driving 3 hours away to stay for four days in hope that we would come home with a happy baby that slept.

When we arrived my husband and I were both a mess. We were beyond tired. They asked me a series of questions and determined that I didn’t have Post Natal Depression but I scored pretty high on the anxiety scale. Big fat Surprise. Not. My anxiety levels probably peaked when I walked down the hall and saw that my baby was going to be way down there, in a tiny room in the dark for his sleeps and I was going to be all by myself in another room with no baby monitor.

The nurses seemed nice and the first day was a gentle approach. However there was talk of things like the fact that they thought Mr T was weaning himself off the breast completely as he wasn’t feeding well during the day. He was 9 months old at the time. Then there was the fact that I was not to breastfeed him at all from the hours of 10pm to 7am. This was not going to be easy. Did they know my kid? He breastfed overnight like it was going out of style.

As the days went on things went from bad to worse. The first night Mr T woke hourly. They tried to comfort him and came and got me when they couldn’t. They tried to pat him to sleep and had some radio in the room that was meant to calm him. No picking up of baby allowed. He was scared and knew this was not his home.

Then there was a time during our stay, I forget what day, where I came across an amazing nurse. As the day progressed she got to know Mr T. She said he had ‘spunk’ and was not going to back down easily. We tried gentle techniques and it worked. It was amazing. He was going down awake and falling asleep in his cot. No more putting him down only for him to wake 10 minutes later. And best of all minimal crying was involved. I urged her to watch him breastfeed and she gave me some tips. No talk about him weaning himself. Excellent.

With the night though brought the night nurses and there was nothing but tears from him and I. I paced the halls and they told me to go and do stupid things like “get a cup of a tea” or “how about I get you some ear plugs?” They didn’t want me to go in there. They said this is what had to be done. The next morning my beautiful angel looked so tired. I had never seen him look so exhausted.
My perfect nurse came around again and I told her what happened. I put my foot down and said this was my last night and I wanted to be doing the comforting and I wanted a monitor in my room. It was done and much to the night nurses’ dismay I went in there 2 hourly and comforted him by patting and I didn’t once let him cry.

The next day the paediatrician came to see me. It was determined that while progress was made it really wasn’t enough. He should be sleeping without me in the room and perhaps I should stay another night. “No thanks” I said and we walked out the door and I will never forget that breeze that hit my face. I felt free.

When we got home, I kept doing what my perfect nurse had taught me. It was working and Mr.T started sleeping 3-4 hour stretches. My husband and I decided in a week or two we would start to gently stop the patting etc. But here is what happened: Mr T got a cold, then he got mobile. He was rolling all over the place. Everything we learnt went to crap and before I knew it we were back where we started.

Months have now passed and Mr T is crawling, standing and has popped 4 new teeth. He still does NOT sleep but he has some good days. Yesterday I was ridiculously lucky to speak to Pinky McKay. For the first time ever, I was made to feel no guilt by a professional. She was amazing to talk to.

This morning I breastfed in the rocking chair until Mr T was sleepy. He gave me a little bite so I popped him up over my shoulder and I smelt his hair. Then when his breathing was heavy I popped him down and blew him a kiss. And I did not feel guilty, not once.

I’ll be putting Pinky’s suggestions in place after going shopping this weekend and I can’t wait. I’m excited by a fresh perspective that hasn’t come from a book (although her books are great). It’s come from someone who over the phone got to know my baby. Someone who listened, understood and sympathised. She offered ideas and things to research which I hadn’t looked into before. I’ll keep you posted on our efforts and the effect it has on my spunky little guy’s sleep.

Have you been to a sleep school? Was it a pass or fail?

Sunday, 16 September 2012

LIFE Awareness

I haven’t had many people pass away in my life. Most of my family live overseas. I never met my grandparents and I have none left. I’ve never been to a funeral. I feel lucky in that respect. I know that, like everyone else, my time will come to experience the death of a loved one and it’s something I dread.

I remember a few years ago when my uncle died in Egypt. It was the first time I had seen my father weep so unashamedly. My dad’s side of the family banded together and they all went over to my Auntie’s house. Was it to grieve collectively? Partly so. But mainly because they had to discuss the awful truth that my Auntie was stuck over there with no insurance and a body waiting to be buried. They had to move fast to make sure she had enough funds to put together a respectful funeral. From my experiences it seems that life insurance over there is for the wealthy, and the wealthy only. It was awful for my family here and for her overseas to be dealing with scrambling funds together as well as grieving and dealing with the loss of a close loved one.

Experiences like that really do become etched into one’s brain. They make you appreciate being in a country where things like life insurance is affordable. It can be budgeted for, and if you do your research you can make sure you have a policy to suit your needs as your circumstances change and you enter into a life with a family of your own.

When I had Mr T it dawned on me, this preciousness of life, this beautiful magic that we can create is one which is amazingly fragile. It needs so much care, nurturing, love and attention. And above all else, it needs protection.

In Australia so many of us are careful to insure our material possessions – our homes, our cars and our holidays but not our lives. And I guess the reason may be that we are so caught up with the here and now and so busy with all those things that surround us which are tangible, that life itself becomes some kind of abstract concept – out there in the ether. Something that will end eventually but not something we should think about or discuss. Better to just live in the moment.

Statistics show that there is a severe problem of underinsurance in Australia. In fact a recent survey by the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees and Industry Funds Forum showed that 1 in 2 industry fund members were underinsured by $100,000 or more.

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month. It’s calling us to attention. It’s reminding us to get on board with Life Insurance and think about the fragility of this beautiful thing that is life and make sure our loved ones are looked after, both in the present and beyond that.

So get in there and join in on the Life Insurance Awareness Campaign. Check your life insurance out. Do you have the appropriate cover for your family?

You can visit the life insurance calculator from Life Insurance Finder and then compare life insurance plans to find the right option for you.

I am participating in the LIFE Awareness campaign. I received a VISA gift card for this post courtesy of Life Insurance Finder via Digital Parents Collective. I am also in the running to win an ipad3. As always, all opinions are purely my own.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

"So we're going to have a baby" - His & Hers

* We wrote these separately. The only discussion entered into was where our stories would start and end for this week. Here is how they turned out...


Who’d have thought there’d be so much to take into account?  When to go off the pill, what day of the month is it, what’s the ambient temperature of your neighbour’s dog’s aura?  It just seems like there is so much preparation that goes into creating a life before you actually get down to the business of creating it... and quite rightly so.  It’s not something that should be entered into lightly and therefore something that Ange and I took quite some time to discuss and consider. 
I, being a few years older than Ange, had been clucky for a number years before it was our time, but taking the time to discuss it and “get our affairs in order” was a luxury that we were afforded and very beneficial.  We were in the process of buying a residential block with the view to build when we had made the decision to start. Never for one second think that we would have to worry about whether or not we would’ve moved into our newly built house or not, that was merely a given.
We were incredibly lucky. 

It did not take Ange long to become pregnant and I will always remember the moment that I found out.  It was a Friday afternoon, around 5, and I was in my car on the Sunraysia Hwy, just entering Avoca when the phone rang.  It was Ange, which wasn’t uncommon as she would often call me to see if I could pick something up on my way to band.  I was completely overjoyed and probably spent the rest of the night with the biggest, goofiest grin on my face.  I still remember the slight disbelief that was in Ange’s voice and how as she told me it seemed to become more real to her.  It became etched in stone a few days later when we got confirmation in the Doctor’s office.

It was a most enjoyable secret to keep for those first few months.  Especially when talking with family and friends who were preparing for new arrivals themselves.  Though I would’ve loved to have told my parents face to face the tyranny of distance got in the way so we did what any modern, digital-age family would do... we Skyped them.

With Ange’s parents we were heading their way that weekend for something else anyway so we got to tell them in person.  It was in the eatery in the Basement of David Jones on Bourke St on a Sunday morning.  Mick Malthouse had just walked past my father-in-law and I with his wife as we found a spot to sit as our wives organised the cuppas.  Soon after draining our cups Ange shared the news and there was much happiness and hugging.
The next few months went on with the usual fare with nothing much to report but it was becoming increasingly obvious that we were going to be cutting it fine regarding our house being built and us being moved in.  However, the planets aligned and on the 28th of October our Building supervisor, handed us our keys to our brand spanking new humble abode.


“Is that a line? Wait, no it’s not...hang on, hold it up to the light, crap it is a line!’s just because it’s in the light, don’t they all have some barely seen line underneath?” Wait 5 minutes then come back and bingo. It’s definitely a line.

There is a miniscule space of time in which your eyes see the line on the stick and your brain connects that line with the fact that you are pregnant. It is a moment where your entire body cannot handle the myriad of emotions and thoughts that fly through your head, so instead it focuses on the one blunt truth. I am going to have a baby.


Rewind a few months and there is a conversation happening with my husband. All I can remember is we decided it was time and when I threw my birth control pills in the bin, and pulled them back out...and threw them back in, I knew that this was it. This would change everything.

Before I knew it I was charting things on graphs on the net, checking all sorts of bodily things and my temperature. We were very lucky. Within only 3 months the above occurred and I was pregnant. I had taken one of a million tests and this time there was this tiny faded line. I called Steve who was on his way to band practice. He seemed as stunned as I was which I was thankful for. There were these strange stretches of silence on the phone as we both absorbed the fact. A GP visit and a blood test later and it was all confirmed.

We were so excited and ready to tell people but knew it was routine to wait until 12 weeks. Did we wait that long? No.  Should we have? Hell yes. Before you knew it people were writing things on my facebook wall like “Congratulations!” Then my parents were telling every aunty, uncle and cousin and shouting across the phone to other countries “Did you hear me!? PREGNANT! She is PREGNANT!”

It did get hard to keep it a secret at work however, as I began to disappear increasingly for blood tests and to say hello to what become my long time friend, the staffroom toilet. By about 10 weeks most people knew.

While all this pregnancy stuff was going on we were actually in the process of building a house, a house which had got slightly held up in the early stages. As time ticked by and I ballooned we began to worry whether this house was going to be ready in time. I was happy to remain as big as a house until we got our ACTUAL house. Being a ridiculous control-freak, I couldn’t imagine bringing a baby home to a room full of boxes. I stressed, I went to the site and stuck my belly out to the supervisor at every opportunity and bugged him incessantly saying that we must get this house on time! He worked hard to get it done in time. What could he do? There was a scary, hormonal, very pregnant woman on his back constantly. He had no choice but to get his butt into gear and a week before Mr.T was due we moved into our brand new home.

So we had some different opinions about how we felt telling people. How about you? Did you wait the standard 12 weeks to tell people you were having a baby? Show us some comment lovin' and let us know!

Linking up with the lovely Grace for Facebook Lovin' Sunday

Thursday, 13 September 2012

While She Was Sleeping Giveaway - "Not 50 shades of Pink"

This giveaway has ended! On behalf of Jenya and I we would like to thank you for all the beautiful stories and entries. It was a very difficult decision but our winner was Kerry Santillo! Congratulations Kerry! Check your email :-)

kerry santillo15 September 2012 19:33
This little elephant will be
running amok and set free.
shouting the hose down , full of glee!!!
Having hats taken on and off his head heart
In the morning feasting on a big spread.
Running in the garden and having a dig,
riding the back of our favourite pig.
Oh the elephant will be happy here,
someone to cuddle , cherish and endear heart

Meet Jenya and her Little Monkey (LM)

Jenya started sewing about a year ago when she noticed that finding clothes for her LM was a bit tricky because she was so petite. Once she discovered the world of home-made baby clothes she became unstoppable. While LM was sleeping Jenya created dresses, tops, pants, bloomers and more! All tailored and using a variety of colours and as she says, “not 50 shades of pink” which is often found in mainstream stores.

Once Jenya got confident in her sewing abilities she began to venture into sewing for friend’s babies and eventually she started working on custom orders. She makes clothes (and other items) with love and care and also enjoys getting to know people, their children and their preferences in fashion! Jenya made Mr T this gorgeous, gorgeous top. It is, to date, my favourite piece of clothing on him!

I love that it has pink on it! How often do you see that on boy’s  clothes!? Jenya also only works mostly with natural fibres. She believes that cotton is best and uses it the most unless another material is absolutely required to complete the item. Mr T wears 100% cotton here and we all know how comfortable and breathable cotton is! Who wouldn’t want their little ones in the best.

Not only does Jenya make gorgeous, gorgeous outfits like what you see above.  But she is also full of other clever little talents...check out my favourites.

Jenya is an absolute pleasure. She is so friendly and good-natured. She makes custom orders a piece of cake and she is sure to do her absolute best to cater for what you require for your little one.

School of Mum and While She Was Sleeping are thrilled to be giving away this gorgeous elephant soft toy and matching bib to one lucky reader.

We’re making this easy. All you need to do is:
1. COMMENT on this post below describing what adventures this little elephant will get up to at your house.
2. LIKE While she was sleeping and School of Mum.
3. SHARE this post on Facebook or Twitter with your friends – By Clicking Share below and either Facebook or Twitter.

How easy is that!? It will take a couple of minutes tops! And you could get these custom made freebies! The winner will be someone who has done all of the above and also provided a great answer to number 1.

Here’s the fine print:
* Entry is open to Australian folk only (sorry!)
* Winner will be posted on School of Mum’s and While She Was Sleeping’s Facebook pages
* One entry per person
* A valid email must be provided in the comment so we can contact you if you are a winner.
* Entries close midnight 21st September, 2012
* Winner has 5 days to respond before another is chosen. 

*The pattern of this cute little elephant comes from

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Wordless Wednesday - I miss grass

My first time posting for Wordless Wednesday. Everyone has been showing photos of their beautiful Spring gardens. Well, here is ours. And our backyard isn't much better. Bring on some landscaping soon! I miss grass.

Mr T watching Dad leave for work in the morning...

Linking up with My Little Drummer Boys: Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Introducing the 'his' and 'her' series...

So I’ve managed to convince/tell my husband to help write a series of ‘his and her’ posts in the lead-up to Mr T’s first birthday which is on the 4th of November. They will include stories like the birth, the first 6 weeks and all those other wonderful things that happen in the first year. We’re hoping they’ll be light-hearted, humerous at times and not too corny. All going well I might just let him guest post every now and again after the series is over. So anyway, without further adieu – I thought I’d introduce us both briefly. I haven’t really written about myself and now that I have all these beautiful readers I thought it might be time.

My name is Angela but most people just call me Ange. I grew up in Western suburbia of Victoria and now reside in a tiny country town north of Ballarat. I’m Egyptian, though I was born here. I speak Arabic fluently, I love a good argument and I can’t help but impose food on people all the time when they come to my house. I grew up with two older brothers and thus, I’m really into X-Box games and 90s alternative music. I love the front men of those bands – Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper and Anthony Kiedis. I crushed on them all through my teen years. I did a year of Professional Writing and Arts before moving into a Teaching degree which is where I met...

Steve. My husband is just like me and the polar opposite. While I grew up in the Western suburbs, going to rough public schools, he grew up in Mildura and went to a wholesome Catholic school. He is ridiculously Australian – relaxed, blokey, calm. This compliments my stressed, woggy, fiery personality just perfectly. He grew up with 3 brothers and one sister. The good thing is, he too is really into X-Box games and 90s alternative music. In fact he is into all things music. He plays a tuba (those giant brass instruments) and he’s a conductor of a municipal band. He’s a hoarder too. He hoards weird things like Muppets toys and old game consoles but I don’t hold it against him (most of the time). He loves to eat. I love to cook. He keeps me calm when I am stressed, makes me laugh when I want to cry. And together we are...


We got married on the 17th of January, 2010 and we had our darling Mr. T on November 4th, 2011. He changed our world. Looking forward to sharing just how on the blog soon!

Are there any topics you would love to read about from a 'his' and 'her' perspective? Let me know. We would love to give it a go!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Animals Educating Your Kids?

When I was growing up we had a whole range of animals, some were pets, some weren't . They would come and go from our house. From guinea pigs, ducks and chickens - to cats, dogs and budgies, we had them all at one time or another. My dad was big on breeding animals and while some were for consumption, he also encouraged me to have pets and breed and sell my own birds.

We had so many pets. Probably the one that lasted the longest was my pet budgie, Sparkie. He came straight out of our aviary and I lovingly tamed him and taught him to talk. He said 50+ words, perched on the end of your plate and drank water out of your cup. I was heartbroken when he died at about 8 years old. Budgies don’t live all that long, but he was such an amazing pet all the same.

So what’s got me thinking about animals teaching children? Now that Mr.T is on the move, our Kelpie, Jazz, has become a bit of a lesser fan. Mr.T enjoys crawling up to the sliding door, getting on his knees and banging the glass in excitement. The reaction he receives from Jazz is not a welcome one and she immediately goes over to ‘protect’ her food bowl. So now that the sun is out Mr.T and I have been enjoying our lunch outside and I’ve been patiently and calmly introducing dog to child, child to dog and it seems to be working as Jazz learns that these are her boundaries. Mr. T , for the time being is just excited about dropping food on the ground for Jazz to lap up in an instant.

I want Mr.T to grow up with many, many animals in his life. I want him to be gentle with a bird, playful with a dog and cuddly with a cat. Animals teach children SO much. For one, they teach them compassion. Animals teach them to consider something else’s needs and wants for a change. Does the dog want to be cuddled right now or is it looking for food? Perhaps it’s not feeling well? Pets help children to become less egotistical!

Pets teach children responsibility. If taught and encouraged by their parents, a child will take on responsibilities of looking after a pet with diligence and enthusiasm. When I was younger my Dad would ask me to look after the budgies that weren’t feeding or flying properly. I would take them into my room, keep them warm and hand feed them until they were strong enough to hold their own. It was a beautiful thing.

They teach children about grieving and death. It’s awful. But it’s also a part of life, and some, not all children will experience death for the first time through a family pet. It can be a great opportunity to teach little ones about dealing with death, remembering the good times and how to move on after such a life-changing event.

And last but not least animals teach children to communicate in ways they just won’t get from another human being. The body language of animals is an amazing thing and teaches children to be in tune with a language other than the verbal “Don’t touch that!” “Let’s play” etc.

I can’t wait for Mr.T to experience all that is Mother Nature. I can’t wait to take him to a wildlife park where he can feed native animals or to the zoo where he can marvel at Creation. But most of all, I can’t wait for him to experience the joy that is owning a pet throughout his life.

How do your little ones interact with your pets? Do you have your own sentimental pet story to share? I would love to hear it!

Thanks for another Flog Yo Blog Friday Link-up With Some Grace