Now and Then

I’ve had an interesting time with some of my students at school so far this year as they need lots of small frequent incentives to get things done.  A technique suggested by one of our brilliant Image

Special Ed teachers was to have a laminated card with “Now and Then” on it.  Then set one small task followed by something a bit more favorable to come next.  So it might be –

Now: complete a page in your handwriting book

Then: choose a book for Mrs Mc to read to the class.

It works well because the student is just looking at one task and one good consequence and I’ve got myself into a pretty good routine with it.  I keep cards on “certain” desks so I can swing by and remind them of what they should be focused on and positively reinforce their choices when they have done what was required.

Interestingly I have found during the school holidays a similar technique works here.  My boys are not always the most willing helpers and are a bit too distracted by screens.  In order to get things done and get them on board I’ve been using “Now and Then” a lot.  I’m not saying “now” and “then” but when asking them to do something or telling them something that is going to happen I include what will happen next.

For example:

  • Please get dressed and brush your teeth then we’ll take Bronco downstairs for a rumble.
  • When the dishwasher has been unloaded you can ring up X to arrange that play date.
  • After we’ve done the grocery shopping we can do some cooking together.

And on the topic of cooking we’re doing a bit more of that too. Eric and his best mate made Butter Chicken and homemade naan bread last night.  It took the best mate about 20 minutes to cut up a small pile of beans but he got it done and was pleased with himself.  I’m giving them as much choice as possible so the meals are a bit different – nachos, butter chicken, sausages and mashed potato, ravioli.  It is really gratifying to see their skills improve. Eric can now do a cake from scratch and use the stand mixer and Daniel is getting better at cutting up things.  Dan’s original food prep specialty was mushrooms because I could let him loose with a dinner knife and he couldn’t do too much damage but we are moving onto other tools bit by bit.


Museum Musings

We’ve had a long but happy day.  It wasn’t helped by the fact that two boys stayed up very late playing Minecraft last night.  However we headed off using various combinations of public transport suggested by Translink (which really works to get you places faster) to the Queensland Museum and Science Centre.  Lunch was expensive but soon devoured so we could head into to http://www.sciencentre.qm.qld.gov.au/Events+and+Exhibitions/Exhibitions/2013/02/Playing+with+Light Exhibit at the ScienceCentre.  There were lots of people and there was a lot of noise but my crew were undaunted and made sure they explored everything.  Favourites were the kaleidoscope where we stood inside a triangle of mirrors and it looked like we were standing in a crowd of “us” and the place where we could move around casting our shadows on a wall and see them sprinkle confetti. I didn’t attempt the smoky laser maze where you had to dodge and weave to avoid setting off alarms because I think Catherine Zeta Jones did the best job of that in Entrapment. I left my skin tight black lycra at home (just as well!) so i wasn’t really dressed for it either!playing with light7303_10151605758806757_1359334722_n543158_10151605758501757_90312636_n

HIghlight of the museum for me was the Collectomania Exhibition on Level 4.  The museum simply asked people from Queensland to share/loan their “collections” and this resulted in a very diverse and fascinating exhibition.  There were snow domes, rocking horses, music festival armbands and a jar with 15 years worth of fingernail and toenail clippings – ew!  I just loved the way the museum places value on ordinary things that still mean a lot to people.

The museum staff were exceptionally helpful, attentive and friendly and I imagine that could be a big ask on a day that was as busy as today.  They were genuinely interested in what they were doing and striving to make everyone’s visit a pleasant one.


74/365 Mini-break

I always loved Bridget Jones’ terminology!  The boys and I have had 3 nights down at Coolangatta and I’ve decided that the best thing about it was the simplicity.  Beach or pool? Breakfast in or breakfast out?  By taking technology out of their hands (or prising their fingers off it) they both had afternoon naps which is unheard of since toddler days.  And by living together in such close quarters – one bedroom apartment they practiced a bit more consideration for others.  None of the above ever goes astray!

Pictures to come because they’re on another computer.  See how life immediately became more complicated again?


What Works For Me 72/365 Because they want to.

Sitting on the very back seat of the bus with my boys because that’s the “coolest”place to sit.  If we missed our stop we missed our stop and it was  Saturday so it wouldn’t be too much of a drama.


What Works For Me 70/365 A Surprise In The Toilet

That title made you look didn’t it? LOL  Big Spellathon Spelling test is on this Friday at school.  The big brother can spell almost anything with the greatest of ease.  The little brother finds it a rather big challenge.  So to make it fair I did four words for each boy – the four that little brother got wrong when I tested him this afternoon and the four that big brother *could* get wrong if he wasn’t careful.


What Works For Me 69/365 Ding Dong!

Perhaps I should say “knock, knock” because quite frankly there aren’t too many doorbells out there that work!

I have become an Avon Representative (aka an Avon Lady) and I’m up to my second “proper” campaign.  The boys and Daniel in particular, love to help with my rounds of dropping off and picking up brochures and orders.  The first thing they liked about it was that the campaigns were called “campaigns” because that sounds like something you might have in a war. Boys!

I have had to train up Daniel in a bit of the social etiquette required when going to a person’s house who you don’t already know.  It is not ok to run along a veranda and peer in the windows to see if anyone is coming when Mum knocks on a person’s door.  And, if you can’t see the brochure sticking out of the letterbox it isn’t good form to go into their yard behind their fence and open the letterbox from the back to rifle through it.  Luckily all of my customers who have met Daniel have become his friends.  Especially the dear little old lady that invited us in, sat Dan up on her sofa with biscuits and then proceeded to quiz me about lipsticks.  I looked up during the conversation to see Dan lying full length on her sofa.  When we got home and I shared what had happened, Anthony asked him what he was doing. “”What?” said Daniel, “Deal or No Deal was on!”

I have a “territory” which Avon says consists of 121 houses but I don’t think they’ve factored in units or the “hidden” houses of Corinda that can only be accessed from long driveways.  They also left out a couple of cul de sacs.  So I have yet to make it around all 121+ houses.  I’ve been putting brochures in letterboxes, going back three days later to collect brochures and knocking on doors if the brochure isn’t in the letterbox.  Sometimes they have no idea or have thrown the brochure out. (PLEASE don’t do this to your local Avon rep because we have to BUY the brochures!!)  Then at other times they have been waiting for me to call in and they have questions about products or how to place an order or work out the special deals etc.  So even thought it is a bit nerve wracking to knock on doors I’m still giving it a go until I work out who will be interested and who won’t be.  I’ve met lots of people who haven’t ordered yet but I’m hoping that by seeing that I’m not an axe-murderer and that I appear to be quite friendly and helpful they will consider buying from me in the future.

The best things about my territory is that our house is right smack in the middle of it so I know many of the people who live in the immediate area who can buy from me and more importantly tell their neighbours about me.  The other thing is that I can easily access all of it by foot.  The only time I use the car is if I have just a few things to do in one small area or if I’m out after dark which I try to avoid anywhere.

So I’m soldiering on and building up my customer base, spending time with my boys and getting lots of exercise.  I’ve got high hopes for the next campaign because I’m pretty sure I won’t be ending a job in the middle of it or having any medical dramas!

And of course if you’re in the Brisbane area and you’d like to look at something Avon related you know who to contact!


What Works For Me 67/365 Cause and Effect

My boys spend way too much time in front of screens, especially computer screens.  It cuts into their homework time and when I ask them to do a job for me around the house I invariably get told “just wait till I’ve finished this battle” or “I’ve only just got on and ‘he’s’ been on for HOURS!”

But not anymore.

Courtesy of a wonderful idea I saw on Face book that was posted by Michael Grose Parenting things have changed at Casa De McNamara.

The boys arrived home from school on Tuesday to the following post-it notes on the computer (pictured).  I predicted howls of outrage which did come true with one boy and happened in the form of a delayed reaction from the other boy when he thought he’d “just get on the computer for a little while” before bed.

The best thing about it was that I didn’t have to argue or negotiate, it was all laid out on the screen with no wiggle room.  Do this and you get computer time back.  Don’t do it and you won’t have computer time. Simple.