This, I am sure, will be the first of many posts of this title.

I started talking about tantrums with my sister the other day, then one of children screamed, we got distracted and didn’t return to the topic.

Then I was out with a friend and I brought it up. She was helpful and understanding, but again, the little ones needed attention and we both got distracted.

It’s almost as if they don’t want me to talk about this…

Growing up, I thought tantrums were a sign of a spoiled child. A child who needed a spanking. A child who wanted their way and needed to learn their place (be silent and obedient). I don’t know where this came from. That isn’t what my mom told me, just something I felt from that nebulous cultural society thing that I must have some how tapped into. So of course, when I had a child, there would be NO tantrums.

Then I started reading about emotional development, how to regulate emotions, and about connecting with your child. I don’t want an obedient child, I want one that is kind and thinks for themselves (I’m sure I will regret saying that). But if tantrums are natural, and blind obedience undesirable, does that mean Ezra will be a spoiled brat who tantrums?

Are tantrums normal? If so, how was I so wrong for so long? And if they are normal, does everyone know that? Will I be judged for having a tantrum throwing child? I feel like I have arrived late to a party without a gift for the host.

I’m looking for books to read. Something good, and better than a clickbait internet article. Something that will persuade me, win me over and make me a champion toddler tamer. Or just something to reassure me that I’m not being permissive.

I want evidence, I want proof, I want direction! I guess it is what we all want. I have to choose a way to act, and be consistent. I just don’t know what is best.

Ezra is only 22 months old. So, I still have time to plan. His tantrums are quickly dispersed with a hug. But for how long?

This is just a rant, asking questions, seeking answers.

I guess I feel just like Ezra in this picture: chasing a seagull with a rice cracker in my hand, hoping that I can reach the bird and make it eat the cracker. *spoiler* the bird escaped unscathed, although it did look me in the eye saying “control your tiny human”. I shrugged, and ignored it.


Cooking with toddlers

The first time I decided to cook with Ezra, I had just finished reading a blog post about a mom who had started out cooking with her daughter. She used to say “no” all the time, and then was impressed by what other kids were doing on a tv show, so one say she said yes, and it was wonderful! (Sorry will try to find that blog).

So inspired, I decided to make muffins with Ezra. We made them on the floor of the kitchen and I was very impressed with how quickly he “got it”. He happily poured flour into the bowl and stirred the mixture. He loved taking the muffins out of the baking try too.

Since then I always offer for him to be involved in some way, depending on how much patience I have within my soul. We always mix egg mayo together, and he is brilliant at washing rice before it goes into the pot.

Recently, he decided that he didn’t want to wait for me to offer, and has taken to pulling up a chair and being up at the big counter. Some days, when he takes a bite of the carrot, chews it, spits it out and then throws therest of the veggies on the ground I get frustrated and ask him to go play some where else, but usually he just wants to do what I’m doing.

He eats and grinds spices, and stabs ginger with a butter knife.

He loves sampling all the raw ingredients–including raw pumpkin.

Other days, he watches for a few minutes and then goes off to his room to play and leaves he to get on with it.

Sometimes helping make dinner makes him eat more, other times it doesn’t. There is almost always a mess, but I’m excited to see how long he will enjoy cooking with me, and I’m glad we started this early on.

Playcentre Awareness Week late

Last week, was playcentre awareness week. Because I am incredibly organised, I didn’t post anything.

But the thing is, playcentre for me right now is more than just a safe place for Ezra to play. It quickly becomes a family, and my village. While we have only been going a year, I don’t think I would have been able to manage without it.

Being far away from family, having a small flat, being a first time mom… playcentre gives me support, advice, and outlet for me and for Ezra.

It’s a place where Ezra can get messy with dirt or paint, and I can eat too much chocolate cake. I feel like every country in the world needs this for parents and kids. At the moment, I think it is only in New Zealand and I’ve heard a rumour it is in Japan too. I have been meaning to ask my friends in Japan if that is true.

Of course, the fact that they also offer early childhood education courses for free really helps too…

Today we went to the botanical gardens to hide some rocks which our tamariki painted last week. Ezra found a good spot here. If you find it, you gotta re-hide it.

We then explored the children’s garden and Ezra got to try cape gooseberries for the first time.

I love that he gets to make friends and run around with all these other wonderful kids and their parents. Thank you playcentre!

Again Again

Ezra’s favourite word seems to be “again”.

If I sing a new song or tune, “Again!”

If I give him a little tickle, “Again!”

If he hides from me, and I find him, “Again!”

If I jump out from behind something saying Boo, “Again!”

If I read a book to him, “Again!”

You get the picture. Sometimes he says it once, and I comply. Sometimes he shouts it at least 5 times while I stare at him wondering how many more times I have to do it before he loses interest (spoiler: he doesn’t, I have to distract him with something else to do again and again).

Repetition is how we all learn. The little scientist in him wants to make sure that each experiment is repeatable. Each outcome must be up to his high standard. I can see bits of my own obsessive nature in him already, poor kid.

What I find fascinating as he acquires more language and the tools to be understood is how he picks up the nuances of words. For a while he used again and more interchangeably. The concepts are remarkably similar. But now, without even thinking he knows to ask for “more straberries”, but “read again”.

He also likes to demand again of himself, so at least he treats everyone equally with regards to his ‘again’.

If Ezra pushes a toy down a ramp, “Again!”

If Ezra goes down the slide, “Again!”



Okuti Farm and some other travels…

A few weeks ago my father-in-law came down from the UK to do some touring in NZ. He spent some time in Auckland before we headed down to Christchurch area to do a mini tiki-tour with the four of us. I’ve never been a huge fan of driving holiday, but I was very excited to be with family and relax. Mainly, I want to show you more pictures of my son…

I am not a holiday planner or taker, really. Chris sorts all that out. However, I follow Lost in Silver Fern on Instagram, and I saw her stay at a beautiful location in Okuti. I told Chris we HAD to incorporate that on our travels. So, naturally, Chris was so shocked that I was finally taking an interest that it became the first stop for our itinerary.

The day we arrived it was sunny, hot and absolutely stunning. The Okuti Farm was this perfect haven of everything that I believe nature to be, and camping there was a treat.

Ezra quickly found the fruit trees and helped himself.

I must confess, Ezra had the best sleep of his life in his picturesque yurt.

There were loads of friendly animals, which Ezra chased away very quickly.

And, of course, a trampoline to keep Ezra occupied while we cooked.

I was so happy when Grandpa John (as Ezra calls him) gave him a long ride in the rowing boat.

Ezra was so chill while we were here, and seemed to just know how to act. It felt so safe, and it was great to not have to hover over him saying ‘no’, or ‘don’t do that’ like so often happens if you are staying in a rental batch or hotel.

Now, we after all this, it poured with rain and we got a tad miserable. Then we moved on and drove to Graymouth, Golden Bay, and Hanmer Springs. I didn’t take any good photos at those locations. Partly because I didn’t think I would blog about this at all, and also because I’m lazy!

I’m still a recent convert to nature and camping, but I wish every camping experience could be like Okuti (minus the rain of course).

Job Honeymoons

I was sitting in my second review meeting a few weeks back and one of the board members I just met turned to me and asked how it was all going. Of course my answer was positive and excited and enthusiastic. He looked me right in the eye and said “ah, so the honeymoon isn’t over yet!” He explained how soon I would stop my enthusiastic climb and start to slump. The slump could last months, according to him, but the trick was to persevere through it, and it would level off. Then it would be okay.

Part of me disagreed vehemently (in my mind and silently of course) I don’t want to slump, and if I do, I will never ‘level off’. That means I am stagnant and I want to always be growing! Well, its good in theory at least…

I’ve reached the end of the honeymoon now, and I actually find myself yearning for that level period. Looking back on what he said its not so much about the physical actions of doing the job and love of work, its about emotions and relationships. That leveling off, I hope, means the extremes will mellow and that comfortableness will help me have more confidence in myself and my work. I still want to always improve, but coming home either bouncing with joy or in floods of tears is draining–I hope to settle for contentment.

Ngawi baby seals

Thanksgiving came and went, an overall success of a small group of friends filled to the gills with food. Since then we have had turkey and stuffing burritos for every lunch and Turkey soup twice. The fridge is still quite full, but I love the left overs.

On Saturday Chris got the urge to “get out of dodge”. Those are his words and I’m never quite sure what they mean. Well–okay–they mean he wants to get in the car and drive for a minimum of an hour one way to do something. So he looked it up, and we packed a picnic. We went to the Ngawi baby seal area with a view of the light house as well.

The first spot we tried was a little too close to this mama sized seal, who was camouflaged so we moved.

They played and splashed while we ate.

Dessert was tasty

There were quite a few people there, but nothing compared to the crowd that would have gathered in other parts of the world on a perfectly beautiful Saturday.

The lighthouse was a bit far for us to visit this time.

I was reminded of visiting the lighthouse out on Vashon island with my Aunt and cousins. We saw a baby seal then too. But Chris got in trouble for walking too close to it and taking a picture. That would ‘traumatize’ it apparently. No one said that here as everyone snapped pictures from as close as they dared. Sometimes people are just busy bodies, and the seals don’t care. Other times humans catch and kill or torture seals and they should be in trouble. Here, the seals out numbered the humans. They probably should have caught us and returned the favor.

Just to give you an idea of the area:

If you haven’t, everyone needs to go to New Zealand at least once. If Lord of the Rings/Hobbit doesn’t convince you, perhaps baby seals will.