guns

I’ve heard other parents talk about the strange attraction boys seem to have for guns, but it’s only recently that my boy has started mentioning them in conversation. I have a few friends whose children own toy guns, but we spend little time with them and do not have any of our own. When an opportunity presents itself, I talk to my children about why I think guns as a weapon for killing animals or people is wrong, and they listen.

Today while watching the Smurfs movie (of all things) Xavier witnessed a scene where a police officer used a stun gun on Gargamel. Xavier asked what it was and I told him it was a kind of gun used to shock people. He┬áturned to me and said “one day I want a gun to shoot the baddies”. I tried to tell him that shooting bad people wasn’t the right thing to do, but he explained “super heroes kill baddies”. He is right, even if not always with guns, they do.

I wonder if this is something inescapable for parents of boys, unless you completely lock your children away from the world and all forms of media. We don’t watch the news when the children are up, but they pick it up from the little television they watch. Scarlett is exposed to the same content (although she tends to tune out more when any super hero type program is on) and she does not talk about killing baddies. Not at all.

It is a strange thing…

stare

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work not working

Today I am home with a sick child (who doesn’t look all that sick but has had a temp on and off for the past 5 days now).

It has allowed me the time to reflect on my current situation at work which I have been reluctant to think or talk about until now.

Not that long ago, I was lucky enough to work in a supportive, compassionate, happy work environment. Our small team rarely had any troubles but if we did, it was quickly resolved my a manager who was acutely aware of the needs of each team member and how to appease them.

At the time I recall thinking how lucky I was to have a person I could confide in about work and family without feeling vulnerable about my position.

All that has changed in such a huge way that it has left me really struggling to want to go to work some days. When my manager was called on to work in another office within our government department, a new (male/childless/career driven) manager was temporarily given the job of overseeing our highly capable, highly knowledgeable and cohesive team. It was supposed to be a short term thing, but that was over six months ago now.

This said manager seems to be part of a new male dominated leadership team that has come about through a series of retirements, secondments and bad luck. I began to feel very conscious of the disadvantages I am faced with as a part-time working mother.

As a formerly well respected, highly accomplished team member, I have had to endure being sidelined and embarrassed on many occasions. It seems that said manager appreciates the company and adoration of young people – especially those who are a little naive – and has taken it upon himself to mentor such people by handing work to them that they are neither qualified or capable of doing.

After suffering inner turmoil for some months and taking this out on my poor children and husband, I decided to confront said manager to tell him how I felt. Of course he was most sympathetic on the surface, but it seems to have done little for my situation.

For someone who was so happy in their job just a little while ago, I’ve actually been looking at job ads. That in itself is depressing as any professional wanting to work ‘part-time’ with any ‘flexibility’ knows. I find myself wanting to set aside my usual capable, efficient self and do the bare minimum as a kind of protest, yet I can’t do that. I will not tarnish my reputation as a valued staff member only to make a point (which will probably not have the desired effect anyway).

I am still at a loss as to how to accept the situation and keep my sanity. Luckily I have an extremely supportive partner who listens to me and gives me considered advice. It’s obviously something I need to get off my chest…

piggybook

The kids arrived home from a shopping trip with their dad yesterday with a book each. I was completely chuffed with ‘Piggybook’ by Anthony Browne in particular.

I’ve always been fond of Anthony Browne’s work – especially his books which portray animal cruelty in a way that is easy for kids to understand. His book Zoo has had a big impact on my daughter particularly.

You can see from the cover of Piggybook what the book if all about. The mother ‘carrying’ the whole family.

It’s a great book that I hope will help my children (and husband) think about gender inequality in the home and encourage everyone to pitch in a bit more and not to simply expect everything to be done for them.

Having both a daughter and a son, I’m quite aware of the example I would like to be setting in our home, but unfortunately it is mostly not such a great example we are setting…

glorious cupcakes

My sister bought me the delightful Hummingbird Bakery cookbook for christmas and I hadn’t tried out any recipes (only drooled over them) until today.
My mum is off to Noosa on the weekend to help out my sister who is due to have twins anytime now. Scarlett and I decided we should bake her some cupcakes for her last visit for a while. We settled on chocolate cupcakes with pink frosting.
I was very pleased that Xavier joined us in the kitchen today, as he is often asleep when Scarlett and I bake. I want to make sure he learns that cooking is fun for everyone and I think starting early is the key to learning skills in the kitchen. As with his sister (and all small children I suspect), his forte is licking spoons and beaters, and tasting the finished product. I was surprised at his restraint while cooking as he is such a hungry little thing. I thought he would be poking his fingers into the bowl the whole time, but he just stood on his chair waiting for my instructions. He helped pour flour and cocoa into the mix and even helped hold the electric mixer. 
Our fluffy pink frosting deserved a fancy finish, so I decided to christen the tupperware squeeze it ball I bought some time ago. I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome and the sprinkles added the perfect finishing touch. 

flashbacks

Today I visited North Sydney for a work event and was taken back in time when I visited an old workplace.

It had always been a very male dominated work place (in the publishing industry) and from the lack of females there, it seems it still is.

Being the only female and most qualified person in the production team, I was often humiliated when I was asked to fetch coffee for visiting clients. I was grossly underpaid, over worked and would go home crying often. The whole environment was very stressful and unrewarding.

Today as I sat in the managing director’s office having a chat (I was warned he was on a bad mood before going in), I wondered what my life would be like had I stayed there.

If I had decided to have children I would have had to resign or come back to work after a short period of unpaid leave. I would not be afforded flexibility in my work arrangements and I would not have any compassion when having to take weeks off work for a sick child.

All this was going through my head as we exchanged pleasantries, then he thought he’d ask me (always thinking of his business and how he can exploit people) if I had any ‘spare’ time to do extra design work. I felt like laughing at him and telling him that I wouldn’t work for him even if he made me a partner in the company.

Business people (particularly men) like him can’t see the need for work/life balance. Even if he did, he would still trade it off for profits.

So why on earth would I visit if this was the very place that made me vow to work in the public sector? Well my dear friend Zav who I have kept in contact with all these years is my only reason. Seeing him and having a chat and a coffee made it worth all the ill feeling and contempt I feel for the place!!

princesses

It’s not secret that much to my dismay, Scarlett is obsessed with fairies, princess and wearing dresses. My mother warned me that dressing her is black/red/non-frilly attire as a baby would come back haunt me later, but I thought it would be much later on.

She chooses her own clothes (most of the time), makes up her own games and decides which books we are going to read at bedtime. I’ll give her that since she doesn’t have much say in anything else. Inevitably, it’s frilly dresses (many of which were hand-me-downs from my 8 year old half sister who Scarlett adores), fairy weddings and ridiculous fairy tales. Sometimes it drives me batty.

Thanks to this post from Adventures in Boogieville, I have found some new books to subliminally sway Scarlett’s thinking. The first of three books arrived from The Book Depository yesterday.

Any new book is an exciting book so it wasn’t too hard to ‘help’ her choose this one for bedtime last night.

A modern fairy tale with a feminist theme. The princess wants to remain single, but is bothered by a series of annoying suitors, in order to eliminate them, she sets a number of impossible tasks. The final suitor, who actually succeeds in all the tasks, is rewarded by being changed into a toad by a magic kiss. Review from here.

She was very fascinated by the idea that anyone – let alone a princess – wouldn’t want to get married. She’s a cheeky little bugger, because as I was telling her how great it sounds that Princess Smartypants gets to do what she wants, when she wants, she said “but you’re married Mummy”. So I had to tell her that that’s only because her Daddy is the most wonderful man in the whole world so I had to marry him!!!

This morning as I dropped her off at daycare, she was telling the teacher about the new book and how she turned the prince into a toad. She even wants to take it in to share it with the other children (I wonder how that will go down?).

Tonight at bedtime while talking about what a big grown up she is, she said she had some more growing to do before she could be a Tooth Fairy Mummy Doctor. She’s sticking to her guns.