The school holidays are now coming to an end - in 24 hours I will be packing lunches, checking bags for all required items, laying out uniforms, writing cheques for school fees, up coming excursions and after school care. I didn't get to do all the things I wished to do with them, nor did I spend the time I had hoped with them. You see, times are a changing in my family, my kids - they are growing, growing older.
I have found with this holiday that they needed down time, that crafty arty pursuits were ok, but only once or twice. I discovered that my kids are more and more seeking the company of peers rather than parents, that electronic devices are my greatest challenge these days. My kids are showing more independence too, they now want to and actually can cook cakes with little direction - we cooked thogether rather than them cooking with me.
These holidays showed me that my kids are developing nicely and are slowly and surely getting the picture that a bigger world exists out there. At the beginning of the holidays I gave each child a paper gift bag with : 1 Smiggle voucher (for those outside Australia - Smiggle is a very hip stationery shop that kids go mad for!) for $20, $20 cash, some lollies and a movie ticket. This was their "stash" for the holidays I explained, I would not be spending vast sums of cash of wims and fancies. My plan was to get them understanding that money was something that did run out, things cost money and hopefully get them to consider their purchases.
And you know what? It has worked! Eldest child has all of his cash in his piggy bank, has seen a movie and used his Smiggle voucher on some snazzy bits and bobs for school. Middle child blew his cash in the first 24 hours, seen a movie and yes used his voucher too - but he certainly hasn't bugged either of us for anything else. Miss Moo today went to the markets and thoroughly enjoyed buying rings, cake and necklaces. She has really considered what she could do with her money and held on to it, she too has used her voucher but not seen a movie.
All in all they have really spent some time thinking about what they could do with their cash and seemed to really get it that once it was gone it was gone.
What has also been different these holidays is the way we are all communicating. I have had some pretty interesting conversations with these three lately, conversations that have not necessarily been started or guided by me. Recently we had an issue at our home that involved a neighbour visiting with some DVD's, somehow one of these DVD's sustained some damage - OK it happens, taking personal belongings to another's home comes with a risk I feel. Anyway, no one knows how it became damaged, but it did. Now our neighbours became most upset and it became an issue about "property" and "compensation" and during this "exchange" we were very taken back with the aggressive way this compensation was demanded . The upshot was that we happily handed over $10 and were left astounded that our neighbours sanctioned their child displaying such an appalling lack of manners to us. Later over dinner, it was amazing the insight our children displayed to us - not having aired our feelings (which weren't particularly charitable by that stage but because we are the grown ups we had kept ourselves to be shared later when the kids were in bed!)...Not only did our kids hit the mark about courtesy and manners - they could not believe how out of hand the neighbours reaction was to something we would of probably offered to deal with in the first place! They expressed sympathy to us that we had to be spoken to in such a way and offered us their ideas on valuing people and managing conflict.
Man they rocked!! So much wisdom and insight! I certainly don't recall being switched on like that when I was a child, they must get it from their Dad - Mr G is very level headed and according to his Mum always has been.
So these holidays have been very different, not what I had planned or hoped for but better than I could of imagined. They are growing up and I think I will be ok.