The trials and tribulations of teaching life skills

Herding cats anyone?

That’s probably a lot easier than teaching, encouraging, nagging and shouting about the life skills required to keep a house and it’s occupants in some form of cleanliness and healthiness.

It’s not like I haven’t been working on this since they were born or anything, after all.  In that seven years of effort with one child and five with the other, you would think that I may have made a slight dent.  But no, not so much as a temporary impression on their stubborn desire to ‘not do it for themselves’.

If you have one of those kids who loves things to be neat and tidy, there are many, many days that I wish I was you.
I love my kiddos, I do not love their stubborn refusal to help out, without much cajoling on my part.  It’s not like I haven’t made every effort to create a kid-friendly house.  Shelves they can reach, special cupboards to store their things in, clean up kits that are kept easily available should they be needed and even a mini-vacuum cleaner for a quick whip around when things get spilled.

They just don’t buy in to it.  The fact that they are now fairly functional members of our household seems to have washed right over them.  I feel like one of those rather large dung beetles pushing one of those even larger balls of poop up hill when it comes to getting the Oh Waily kids on board with the need for everyone to pitch in (at a suitable level, of course).

I am about to start another round of My Organized Chaos in the hope that I will be able to chip away at this ingrained reticence on the part of my little Oh Wailys.  As the sole* cleaner in the Oh Waily household to three or four mess-makers, this lack of help has worn thin.  I mean, really thin.  Rice paper is literally chunky compared to my trigger on the lack of help I receive in this area of our lives together.

I wonder, do you have a special trick up your sleeve that gets your kiddos to help out?  If you do, feel free to share it with me.  I’m open to all and any ideas, whether large or small.  Just don’t tell me I need to wait until they’re 35 for them to realise that household tasks are just a normal part of life!

* Mr Oh Waily is often away travelling or working long hours, so I can’t rely on his regular assistance.

The Great Oh Waily Jungle Adventure

Cross-posted from The Pukeko Patch.  Apologies to those who read both.


My lovely children began asking me to take them on an adventure yesterday.  Everyone, including me, was just too tired to do anything about it though.  Instead today I made a plan and we headed out on our adventure just before lunchtime and got home just before dinnertime.  A very full day of adventuring was had.

The request was to drive somewhere and get lost.  And we had to end up in a jungle, eventually.  Clearly a real jungle is out of the question in this part of the world, but a bit of farmland and bush is completely doable.  So with a bit of imagination and pretending, we drove through a forest jungle today.  A brief jaunt up the main highway to Waikanae before turning off to head up Akatarawa Road.  It was the perfect choice for adventure – hills, forest bits, covered in patches of road, bush, hilltop views of the sea and valleys, single lane roads and, eventually a place where animals lurk.

The lurking is more like wildlife reserving, but hey that’s what imagination is for.  And for the adventure songs that were dreamt up and sung in the car.

We spent the best part of two and a half hours wandering around feeding various fowl, farm animals, and playing by the stream and walking over the wobbly bridge.  The pushy goats were still pushy and persistent, Bob the Clydesdale was still big and slightly worrying, but the rabbits were cute, furry and pat-able.   The peacocks and the cockerels were loud and almost seemed to have perverse pleasure in letting out a loud screech when you had no idea they were a couple of feet behind you.  The trout seemed even larger and more edible than ever, while the swans seemed laid back and relaxed.

Here are a few snapshots of the day out.

Feeding Ducks

At this point we had just fed some ducks, had a harem following us, and had discovered the geese enjoying themselves on the lake. I’m not quite sure what had caught Master Oh’s attention, but clearly he wasn’t looking away in a hurry.

On the Wagon

The Oh Waily kids, and friend, on the wagon in the BBQ area. Very nice spot this and new, I think, since the last time we visited. I left Master Oh’s hat in the car so he had to make do with his sister’s old one and clearly it does not quite fit him as well as it does her.

In the Aviary

They really need to work on their “cheese” faces, don’t they?  This is in the kea aviary, where we saw two sleepy-ish keas up close. One kept his beak under his wing, but a beady eye open and on the not so subtle children invading his home. But don’t you just love the exit? I had to duck down to get out, and I am no giant.

Playing in the old bank

Then in the bush settlement area they just had to play in the bank. Great fun.

Staglands makes for a fun day out for the kids.  A goodly bit of wildlife to finish off the Great Oh Waily Jungle Adventure day.  Oh and the ice cream and ice block at the cafe afterwards didn’t hurt either.

I wonder what they’ll think of doing next?

Today I’m happy because…

but for a chance encounter at Wednesday morning’s daycare I would have continued to pay a huge amount of money for my children’s very nice shoes.
While waiting for the teachers to open up, another mother and her son came to our little corner of the gym.  In a small world moment, we noticed that her son and mine were wearing the identical pair of shoes.  That got us talking about how they last a whole year before they are grown out of, and seem to be completely indestructible.  Then she happened to ask me where I bought mine from and I told her the name of a very reputable store in Wellington that has a great range of kids shoes.  She then told me that she bought hers online at a fraction of the cost of that particular store, even with shipping added in.  I thanked her for that information and later that day visited Amazon and there they were, and what a price.  I kid you not, once I had measured up my precious ones feet and submitted the correct sizing for the upcoming year, I was able to buy a pair each for about $20 more than I would have paid for one pair of shoes.  That’s including the cost of express shipping (as I wasn’t sure where we would be in 18 working days time).  Ridiculous.   I feel ever so sorry for the local retailers when this is going on.  But two shoes for the price of one !!  It’s a no-brainer.

I had written off Amazon as a purchase option as the cost of shipping seemed to put them out of the ballpark, but from now on I will double check before doing so.

For the record, the shoes in question are KEEN Whisper Sandals.  Miss Oh chose the pink ones unsurprisingly, while Master Oh chose the Ceramic* colour.

Then this morning I went off to Warehouse Stationery and indulged my slight OCD tendencies in the organisational, box everything up possible, department and purchased another batch of magazine files.

Not for magazines mind you.  That would be too obvious.  No.  I purchased them for storing various items and planned activities for our homeschool.
For example, the number of kiddie science, maths and history/geography books I have from the library at the moment beggars belief and piles of books all over the place do not a tidy and restful house make.  But add in a bright and cheery magazine file to stack them in until they are in use and you have, well, a feeling of tidiness and organisation**.To these files I will be adding nice little, cute  My Organized Chaos labels.  It just makes me happy.

And while indulging myself, I also picked up an A5 ringbound notebook that I am hoping to encourage Miss Oh Waily to use as a sort of journal/writing practice book.  She is still copying the odd library book, so I was going to see if having a lined notebook for her to do this in would inspire her to write regularly.

And the final thing that I am happy about this morning is the fact that, even though I should be at the gym running, the frustration of not being able to do so is more than made up for by the fact that I am getting some me time all to myself in the mornings.  I get to do this bloggy thing in peace, in daylight and before my normal bedtime.  I get to wander around the odd shop and look at things without wondering where small people are, what they are fiddling with and will I have to repeat “no, you can’t buy that” over and over again to all the bling set out to blind them into consumer panic buying.  (Did I mention that Miss Oh Waily has the best part of three months of pocket money sitting in her “Spend” jar?  Not sure if that’s down to her, or the fact that I don’t “do” shopping as a sport or time filler.  Perhaps both.)

So despite the fact that Mr Oh Waily has to head up to Auckland tonight for another weekend job tomorrow, all is pretty well right at our place.

How about you?  What are you happy about today?


* Where do they come up with these colour names?  Seriously.

** So this is really a mental trick to make me feel in control of our homeschool, eh? 🙂

New Homeschool Blog

I’m pleased to say that the offshoot Oh Waily blog about homeschooling the two little Oh Waily kidlets is now open for business.

This morning I posted our welcome mat out and I’m here to invite you to come over and visit us when you have a moment.  From today most things to do with the Oh Waily kids will be posted over at The Pukeko Patch.
They are not being exiled from Oh Waily, they are just expanding to fit their own space. So you will still hear about them here too.

I’ve only just added the very basics to the blog, so expect to see it change and grow over the next short while as I add more relevant information.  Rather like my children, really.

I look forward to seeing some of you over at The Patch.  I hope you all have a great day.