29 August 2008

Sibling Rivalry - Not!

We reckon it must be pretty hard for people with only two children.  I mean with only two children the parents are still playing one-on-one.  With three or more you are into zone defense!
While Martin was doing his latest adventure at the hospital, I was with the rest of the children at a nearby park and doing a little shopping.  As I am not able to hover over one or two children - being so outnumbered - I just opened the park gate and told them to "Go and play!".  Then I just wandered around doing my job - "Look at me!", "Can you push me?", "Dad!  I did it! I got across in one go!"
This photo is of the 5 middle children all playing on the spinning pole thing. (The pole is meant to be bent - it isn't bending due to the strain)
The children don't get into terrible fights.  They have occasional disagreements, but they learn to solve these difficulties in a civilized manner.  As we all have to live together, there isn't a lot of room - or sympathy - for selfish grandstanding or retaining animosity.

I asked each of the children individually what it was like having lots of brothers and sisters.
Peter (9): "Fun!  Good to play with and you don't have to sleep in a room by yourself, and you can ask people to help you.  You can join with your brothers' pocket money to buy something quicker."
Eric (14): "You don't have to visit someone's house to find someone to play with.  You can muck around with them without worrying too much about causing offense."
Ariel (17): "Annoying. (then she smiled as she thought further) And fun. You get to have others do your bidding.  You have little remote controls" [little children to get things for you]
James (12): "Fun.  If you can't figure something out, you can ask your older brother who has been reading a lot for ideas."
Clare (7): "Fun.  You can play with them."
That's not a bad response from a question without notice.

(The second photo I took of Peter while we were both on the spinning pole thing.  Boy, those things spin fast!)

Grandparents are Handy

Before Lana and her Dad returned home with Martin from the hospital on Sunday, Lana's Mum had already made a pair of pants which would fit over his cast.  By Tuesday, she had made two more pants for Martin.
Also by Tuesday, Lana's Dad had made a special wheeled trolley with cushion for Martin to push himself around on.
You can see both the cushion and one of the pants in this picture of Martin eating a Mandarine.
Living with grandparents is a truly wonderful experience.
1. Our children get to know and learn from their grandparents.
2. We all experience more of life's mysteries and aging when there is a broader mix of ages.
3. The children know that if Mum and Dad become less agile, we will be taking care of them.  Just like they will do when we get older.
4. The inter generational knowledge transfer is very beneficial for us all.
5. An extra car and driver is very convenient!
The main thing was to know more about each other, allowing us to live together and grow in familial love.
Cool! (as the children would say.)

24 August 2008

Martin vs the Bird Bath

Here is Martin. He has a broken leg.
Yesterday we had a great day planned. Lana, Ariel, her Mum, sister and friend all were going to the Sydney Stitches and Craft show. This was a good opportunity for us to visit friends nearby so we all went up, dropped the rest of the children at the friend's place, picked up Mrs Friend and two of her daughters, dropped the giggle of girls off at the show and Mr Friend and I had a good day chatting away and minding the children. There were 11 children under our diligent care and there were no problems at all until right near the end.
Mr Friend and I heard a cry from the back yard. We recognised it as *that* sort of cry and quickly went outside to see Martin crying while trying to climb the ladder of the slide, but he couldn't put any weight on his leg. Clare told us the concrete bird bath had fallen on his leg. Mr Friend and I exchanged glances and I used diversion therapy on him by changing his nappy (diaper) and water soaked clothes. A bruise was quickly forming on his lower leg and we knew that had to hurt. But was it broken? We couldn't tell but he was pretty unhappy.
We think Martin must have lifted himself up by the edge of the birdbath to see what was in it. The base cracked, the top fell on top of him and covered him with water. Clare lifted the bird bath off him just before we got outside to see what was happening.
I went and picked up the giggle of girls and returned. Martin was very glad to see Lana but still wasn't happy. So we returned home. Overnight Martin awoke a few times but slept well.
This morning we decided we had to go to the hospital with Martin. Again. Lana went with her Dad while I took the rest of the family to Mass.
Sure enough, the leg was broken. The main bone had cracked about 3/4 through. Martin now has a support behind his leg and bandages. In a few days when the pain and swelling dies down, we will go back for another X ray and probably a cast of some sort.
I think the hardest part for the next few days will be trying to keep Martin from getting up and running around!

10 August 2008

What's this white stuff?

Today it was very cold. So cold we had this white stuff known as "snow" falling!
So we quickly rushed out to see this wonder. The children and our guests all went outside to experience the snow. We also saw our neighbours doing a little happy dance showing their appreciation  that snow was falling.
If you click the photo you can see James giving the snow "two thumbs up" award while trying to catch some snow in his mouth.

7 August 2008