Archive for the ‘fainjin’ Category

Thinking about rocks

October 12, 2013

We were driving along the coast road, and Fainjin was admiring some particularly fine rocks.  When he’s thinking out loud, there are often pauses…

“Hey Mum!  If rocks had roots


like plants


then a round rock


would look like a squid!

(It would look like a squid, not an octopus, because it would have too many legs).”

Discussion ensued as there was some disagreement over whether squid are round.  Eventually consensus was reached that the statement would be better applied to pointy rocks.

If rocks did have roots, like plants, that is.

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

Another birthday list

October 7, 2013

We were in the car, heading home from errands, and Fainjin started listing all the different Lego sets he would like to own.

“For Christmas and my birthday, can I have…” and he reeled off what sounded like a complete catalogue.  I was a bit confused by the Lion Cheating Pool, but later discovered it was the Lion Chi Temple.

“You’ll have to make me a list,” I told him.

“Or you could just remember,” he assured me confidently.  Bless.

“That’s too much for me to remember!” and I reminded him, “If you write a list, that doesn’t mean you get everything on the list, it just means we probably pick one from the list, ok?”

“OK!” he was fine with that – and it’s always been how it works in our house, so it was no surprise.  Of course, that doesn’t stop the kids from hoping they’ll get everything.  They are kids.

When we got home, he seized a piece of paper and a pencil and disappeared into his room with the Lego catalogue.  A short while later he was back with his list.  He showed it to me, then went through the catalogue pointing out all the things he hadn’t put on the list but still wouldn’t mind getting.

“Fainjin!  It sounds like you don’t need a list.  I can just buy you any Lego at all and you will be happy – is that right?”

He nodded seriously.  “You could just close your eyes and pick one, that would be fine.”

Then he thought for a bit.  “But you’d better open your eyes again and check the ages, ‘cos some of the boxes are only for 8 year olds and older, and I will only be seven.”

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

It was easier when every question was “why?”

October 2, 2013

Today’s difficult question from Fainjin, as we were walking to the supermarket:

“Mum, is the sky higher than it looks?”

I’m still thinking about that one… any suggestions, please let me know!

© UpsideBackwards 2013.


September 30, 2013

It’s the first day of the spring school holidays.  Pearl is out with a friend, and Fainjin and Babess and I have just been shopping, now sitting down for some morning tea.  There’s some conversation about what we will do with the rest of the day, who needs a drink of water, and so on.  Trivialities.

All of a sudden, Fainjin says, “Mum, what numbers can’t you equal?”

I frown at him.  “What do you mean?”

“What numbers can’t you equal?”

Does he mean unattainable ages?  Imaginary numbers? – unlikely, I don’t think those come up until university-level maths these days and he hasn’t even done multiplication really yet…

“Sweetie, I don’t understand your question.  Can you give me an example of what you mean?”

He thinks for a bit.  His expression clears… “Well,  in colours, you can’t make red or yellow or blue… so what numbers can’t you equal?”

I’m impressed with his analogy.  Primary colours are an interesting comparison to prime numbers.  As I said, he hasn’t really done multiplication yet – some doubles and halves, counting in twos and fives and tens – but he seems to instinctively grasp the idea that there must be fundamental building blocks in mathematics as well as in art and light.

Explaining prime numbers to a six-year-old without a clear grasp of multiplication is an interesting and delightful experience.  Especially when an intrigued five-year-old starts chiming in with more questions.

I can tell these holidays are going to be fun.  I really hope he doesn’t start asking about imaginary numbers tomorrow though – I still struggle with those!

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

Wiggles and wobbles

August 17, 2013

There were timtams for morning tea this morning. Yum!  The children were very appreciative.  But half-way through his, Fainjin suddenly pulled something out of his mouth and said, “I think my tooth just fell out!”

“Really?!” I was surprised, because he hadn’t mentioned a wiggly tooth at all.  “Come here, let me see.”

He put the rest of the timtam in his mouth, and came over.  I sighed.  Now he had a mouth full of chocolately caramelly biscuity crumbs.  I gave him a Look, and he giggled and looked abashed.  When he’d finished, I asked him to open his mouth so I could see.  He opened wide and stuck his tongue out – so I couldn’t see his bottom teeth.  The thing in his hand certainly looked like a little tooth.  Eventually I got to see his bottom teeth, and sure enough one of the front ones is missing.

I asked if it had been wiggly, and he said no.  He didn’t seem in the least upset, more amused and rather pleased.  It turns out that lots of other kids in his class have lost several teeth already, and he was feeling left out.  Having lost one now he feels much more grown-up; it is a rite of passage.  I just hope the Tooth Fairy remembers to come tonight.  Ahem.

Meanwhile, things have been a bit shaky around here.  Yesterday at 2:30pm we had a 6.6 “severe” earthquake, which shook our house pretty hard and knocked some light things off shelves.  I was home with a friend visiting, the children were at school, and The Dad was at work.

My friend was very worried about her daughter at kindergarten, so we left almost immediately after the shaking stopped.  That meant we didn’t feel the 5.7 aftershock just a few minutes later – you’re much less likely to feel a quake when you’re moving around.  But more things were on the floor when we got back home!

Pearl hadn’t felt the quake, she was walking somewhere, but Fainjin & Babess had and their classes had done “turtles” very well I’m told.  The school evacuated onto their fields and playground after the shaking, then returned to classrooms to collect their bags and be dismissed at the usual time.  I did notice that there were more parents there earlier than usual – like me!

Our friends came home with us, for the company, and we took refuge in cups of tea for the mums and gingerbread men, lego and children’s TV for the kids.  The Dad had left work early, but didn’t get home for nearly three hours because of traffic chaos in the city as everyone tried to leave at once.  Luckily we were able to keep in contact and knew that we were all safe even if we weren’t together.

At 5:30pm there was another big shake – 6.0 and severe – that had all of us at home back in doorways and under tables being “turtles” again.  The Dad was nearly home at that point, stopped at traffic lights, and felt the car rocking.  He saw a woman in the car ahead of him put on her handbrake and get out of her car, looking very uncertain about what to do.

The children have been remarkably settled.  We had a big shake a month ago, and Babess was very upset by that, refusing to go  to the toilet by herself and waking at night for weeks – she’d only just stopped again, so I was worried we might be back to square one.  But apart from wanting me to escort her to the loo a couple of times, she has been fine.  Pearl woke at 2am and told me there had been another earthquake, but it was a much quieter night than I dared hope.

We expect days and weeks of more aftershocks – and are very thankful that, like last month, there seem to have been no injuries caused by these quakes.  There has been property damage and there will be disruption, but let’s hope this is the worst of it.

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

Man drought

July 27, 2013

It has been a very girl-oriented school holiday in our house.  There have been several visitors and play-dates, and they’ve all been girls.  This has been more by accident than design, and I’ve been feeling for Fainjin being the only boy the whole time.

I organised for him to spend the day with his adored older boy cousin, and he had a fantastic time.  He was so excited to go, and of course Pearl & (especially) Babess wanted to go too but it was important that Fainjin get some “boy time”.

He came home that night with a broad grin and told me how they’d played with the Lego game, bounced on the trampoline, and generally done everything he had been hoping for.

Then, unexpectedly, his face crumpled and he snuggled into me, so very sad.

“Mummy,” he sobbed, “I really want a brother.  ‘Cos Pearl has a sister – so does Babess – and it’s not fair I don’t have a brother.”

There are some problems you just can’t fix, really.  We eventually agreed that a big boy cousin (who doesn’t have a brother either) can be almost as good as a brother.  I’ll try to organise for them to spend more time together next holidays, and have some boy play-dates too!

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

The Joy of Reading

July 25, 2013

Fainjin has been a little slow to discover the joy of reading.  He has never been a reluctant reader, indeed he has been keen to read his school books to us, and has progressed steadily if a little slowly through the reading levels.

But just in the past two or three weeks a slow-burning coal has suddenly burst into flame for him.  All of a sudden he’s not just reading the books sent home from school.  He’s reading lots of different things.  He has found that he can read most of the books on the bookshelf in his & Babess’ bedroom, and his Lego magazines as well.  We’ve been to the library a few times these school holidays, and instead of begging to borrow DVDs of movies, he has revelled in finding lots of books he can read by himself.

We are a reading family, with a house full of books, and as parents it is heartwarming and charming to see such an awakening.  We’re so proud to see him pull down a book he’s never read, and move his finger along the line of text, sounding out words carefully and figuring out the meanings.

Babess, after three weeks of school, seems to have found much the same thing at about the same time.  She will sound out words anywhere she sees them, or ask us “what does [some string of letters] spell?”

Yesterday she caught sight of a book on my bedside table, pointed at the title and said, “I know that word!  That’s the!”

“Yes it is,” I agreed.

“You have lots of my knowing words in your book, Mummy!” she said in tones of great wonder.

I had to agree, it is a wondrous thing.

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

Oh, b….ananas!

July 8, 2013

I put a piece of fruit in each child’s lunchbox every day – or a pouch of fruit puree.  Fainjin in particular much prefers the puree, and will occasionally rant and rave at me in the morning if he spots a banana instead of a pouch in his lunchbox.  I always tell him to take it anyway in case he’s hungry, and somehow he always is and it gets eaten despite the protests.

Every so often we’ve seen “banana protectors” at the supermarket, special banana-shaped boxes designed to keep your banana bruise-free in transit.  The children have been enchanted, and I have been dismissive.  Just eat the banana first, before it gets rattled around too much!  The price of the boxes was off-putting too.

Then last week I spotted banana boxes for under $2 each, and on a whim decided the kids could have one each.  When I brought them home, it was like Christmas.  They were all so excited, couldn’t wait to take a banana to school.  Even Fainjin didn’t want fruit puree the next day.  For less than $6 I had an outstanding success!

Today was the third day the children have used their boxes.  When we got home after school and they were bringing their lunchboxes out to the kitchen, Fainjin looked rather shamefaced.  “Mum… when I had my lunch, I think I threw my banana box in the rubbish with the banana peel.  I’m really sorry.”


© UpsideBackwards 2013.

Bleaching the baddies

June 22, 2013

Another Saturday afternoon, another game of “What can I doooo?” at our house.

The Dad suggested that Fainjin clean the toilet, and clearly the novelty hasn’t worn off because he enthusiastically agreed – and Babess asked to clean the basin too.  We reminded them to change into old clothes.

Last week Fainjin forgot, and cleaned the toilet in regular weekend clothes – a dark blue t-shirt and dark blue shorts.  Of course he got bleach on them, and they both now sport rusty-red stripes.  It’s not a huge deal, but it would be nice to have some clothes without bleach damage, hence the old-clothes reminder.

Fainjin came out wearing an oldish t-shirt and his Superman shorts.  They’re not new, but I asked whether he was really ok with cleaning in them.  He paused for thought.

“Yeah, Mum, if you say it’s ok, because if the bleach gets on them, they will get red stripes and it will look like blood, like Superman killed some bad guys and that would be really cool?”  he looked at me with his face full of hope.

How could I deny him?

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

Not adding up

June 12, 2013

Fainjin was reluctant to go to school this morning.  In fact, he announced that he just wasn’t going.

“Why not?” I asked him.

“Because it’s boring.”

“Uh-huh.  Which bit of school is boring?”

“Maths,” he grumped.

“Oh dear.  Do you have trouble with maths at the moment?”

“Yes.” He was almost tearful.

“What’s the problem with maths, Fainjin?”

“There are too many pluses and minuses!” he blurted.

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

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