In a night that will go down in history, Daniel not only helped me cook dinner tonight but also banished me from the kitchen when he was confident in performing tasks himself. We were trying out my shiny new Tupperware Smooth Chopper which I purchased with him in mind. He is beginning to enjoy helping out in the kitchen more as he gets older but chopping things finely and not getting them everywhere is still very hard. So we made rissoles with finely chopped carrot, zucchini and onion. he wasn’t too sure about doing the onion because he knows it can make me teary but then he twigged the fact that with the lid on it wouldn’t be a problem. And thus came the words, “Die! Onions die! You’ll never make me cry again!”
So the onions were a highlight followed by not only having the chance to break eggs (one of his favourite activities) and then to successfully beat them (another thing that has been tricky.)
I wouldn’t leave either of my boys unsupervised to put things and and out of the smooth chopper due to the very, very sharp blades but I did retreat when instructed that, “I can make this stuff into balls now Mum!”
I should start by saying my phone was not taking good pictures yesterday! But the boys and I finally got the chance to go and see Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb yesterday paid for as one of Daniel’s birthday presents. According to Daniel it was his BEST DAY. EVER. It is very cool standing there looking at an ancient artifact and reading the label that says it is 3000 years old – really hard to comprehend a time frame like that.
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!
I kid you not.
This is how it happened.
I enlisted his help with making an orange cleaning spray. Back on December 31, we filled a tall glass jar 3/4 full with white vinegar and then every time he ate an orange (which is frequently) I peeled it with a vegetable peeler to avoid the pith and we put the rinds into our jar. After three weeks it had brewed up nicely so this morning we strained it off, discarded the rinds and diluted it 50/50 with more white vinegar and hey presto! Cleaning spray!
Daniel couldn’t wait to put on the gloves (so that he looked more professional apparently) and tackle the toilet. I’m already thinking of what other cleaning products we might concoct.
For anyone who is following our process we have our left over concentrate in a another jar under the sink and we’ve started a fresh jar of vinegar for our orange rinds. We could have made this cleaner with lemons or grapefruit and any other citrus.
There are not too many open-ended toys that interest my boys these days. However Daniel has been lying on his tummy in the lounge almost every night since mid-December playing with his Magnetix set. Then at Christmas he received a large supply of Mighty Beanz which (for the uninitiated) are plastic cylinders with rounded ends containing a ball bearing so they flip over. He often comes to me with big descriptions of what he has built and what its purpose will be and to tell the truth I don’t extend these conversations too much at night because while he is still firing on all cylinders, I’m on the wind down.
This morning he had a “Eureka” moment of sorts when he was tidying up his toys. The Magnetix pieces will stick to the Mighty Beanz! When he came running in I asked, “What happened?”
This opened the flood gates for all sorts of imagination and invention. We looked at whether the “faces” should be on display or the “names” and we discussed many different display/building options that involved the extra pieces.
“Why would you put them that way?”
“What else could you do?”
“Are there any other ways they will join?”
I have to admit I was tempted to comment about how tidying up can lead to wonderful discoveries but I decided to leave that conversation for another time and turn my full attention to what was happening with Daniel. It was time for his agenda not mine.
Later on in the day, he came wandering around with one of the magnetic pieces testing out the different metal surfaces to see which one would hold his magnet.
“What sorts of surfaces does the magnet like?”
“What could happen now?” (when he stumbled across some magnets I had on the desk)
I made a few suggestions which he accepted with delight including the filing cabinet, the legs of the ironing board and my metal hole punch. Just when I thought he was getting a bit obsessive, clicking the magnet on the different surfaces over and over again he informed me that I had to listen because there was a different sound for each surface the magnet stuck to. He worked away then making sequences of his magnet sounds.
The open-ended questions were so useful here. There were no wrong answers and he knew that I was accepting his ideas and thinking. I was pushing him along a bit but it was all just a part of our conversation. It is a bit of a constructivist approach to learning because his understandings all built on each other. The most important thing of all was that he knew for certain that I was listening to him and that his ideas were valued. It would be easy to walk away and get something else done when a child is absorbed in play like this but I’m glad I stuck around this time.
NB: I was going to link up to Magnetix but found that they had been recalled as there were some concerns about children swallowing the smaller parts. Luckily we’re past that stage here! It seems that the company has re-invented the toy to a certain extent and re-named them as Magnext.