Monday, 1 June 2015

1 thing I've taught you today

Ever wondered if you are doing it right, this thing called "parenting"? Whether you are teaching your kid(s) enough or if you are teaching the right stuff? 

I've felt low level anxiety about it for 10 years. 

And then I decided to keep a record of 
one thing I've taught my child every day

I've been doing it for 5 months and while I still don't know if I am doing it right (nobody knows, really) I look at this record and I know I am doing my best and I am doing okay. In fact, I am a pretty amazing mum! And so are you. 

Try it for yourself - I cannot recommend it highly enough, this "one thing I've taught you today" thing. I suspect it will also make a lovely birthday present and/or a memory keepsake. 

This is what I've taught my 10 year old in 5 months:

1/1/15 going to Sainsbury's on a bike; buying milk on your own
2/1/15 that only wellies are suitable for paddles (although not too happy about how I reacted to wet feet)
3/1/15 encouraged roller skating in the house
4/1/15 introduced to kids meditation tape
5/1/15 watched roller-skating beginners video - T position and front/back position
6/1/15 what's in National Geographic (with daddy)
7/1/15 taking meter reading with daddy; what happened in Paris, what are terrorists and why what happened is wrong
8/1/15 the difference between a debit and a credit card and how credit cards are bad
9/1/15 taking deep breaths to calm yourself down when feeling rushed/stressed 
10/1/15 signed up for football practice; how to play the new "forbidden words" game; what is "Samaritans" 
11/1 tying shoe laces tightly; football practice
12/1 multiplying 3.4 x 100 (decimal places and x 10, 100  or 1000)
13/1 how to make yourself a cream cheese wrap
14/1 that borrowing money requires paying them back (even when you really don't want to)
15/1 borrowing and then having to pay back what you've borrowed
16/1 swimming - level 7 first time;
17/1 visit to royal observatory to look at stars; found a 10yr old in the photographer of the year exhibition (aspirational role model)
18/1 dissecting fish head; how to peel an orange 
19/1 how to help me navigate by using the iPhone GPS
20/1 great chat on way to school about taking deep breath and letting stress roll over you (let it "roll" as Skylanders say)
21/1 how to open a Lego box to make a lid; how to be happy but also mindful that other children might be upset if they did not also get into the English Touring Opera production  "La Boheme"
22/1 how mummy and daddy may have different opinions about things. That's not always arguing. And it is never your fault or problem, it's theirs.
23/1 how to make супа топчета!
24/1 what baby Max does (in prep for auditioning for Michael in Peter Pan)
25/1 how to make ice-cream
26/1 adding up large numbers incl decimals
27/1 what happened in the Holocaust
28/1 how to feel happiness on the wings of a dream about Disneyland 
29/1 how to audition for a role in Peter Pan; what is pantomime; how a friend has created a theatre performance with no words about her dad dying 
30/1 not to put foil or metal in a microwave
31/1 how to do "weights" exercises with a big milk bottle before cereal time; being part of a winning swimming team

1/2 how to share your medals with a swimming teammate who contributed equally but did not get any
2/2 how to get organised to do the homework in the morning (rather than end of day when tired)
3/2 how to cease the moment and run into the park making a snowman before school; how to put the snowman on a sleigh and take it home;
how to chop up chocolate cubes with a knife; how to open a bottle of J2O with a bottle opener; how to eat lobster tails; how to peel open chocolate wrappers
4/2 encouraged for having a go with YouTube on how to tie a tie
5/2 how to clean football shoes after practice and deal with your own mess (not nice, I know!)
6/2 how to lock the back door (special lock); 
7/2 how to love drawing squiggles Quentin Blake-style 
8/2 how to put the battery in the drone before flying it in the park; how to mix the bath tap water before a bath; that mummy will not stand up to being continuously shouted at and that if upset you should ask to speak to someone at school about it
9/2 the difference between opera and operetta
10/2 making a sphere out of playing cards (although we have a way to go with learning patience)
11/2 what is a politician
12/2 introduction to Quentin Blake's red smudge pencil
13/2 Google translate from Italian the song in La Boheme
14/2 showed predictive text on text messages (although I think that was not exactly new - I am getting into the  "Mum, I knew that already" zone)
15/2 what is an electric circuit and how to close it; what makes explosions (science museum activities) 
16/2 trying to instill the understanding that you are allowed to have a different opinion about which football bag to take to practice but that you should voice it calmly and respectfully, not in a strop angrily as that only antagonises the other person
17/2 the leafs of banana trees come from the middle of the plant even when the outer leafs look not healthy; how to spread jam on and roll your pancake
18/2 read in National Geographic about mites, how they live in your hair and crawl on your face at night and die for the lack of an anus after a few days as they fill up with "food" 
19/2 that it's possible to get inflatable parrots for when you are a pirate  
20/2 that it's ok to cry or be sad while watching Kong Fu Panda 2 because the mum had to leave her baby behind; to hug when sad as it makes it better
21/2 daddy's phone number
22/2 that a parent can be selfless and step back, almost disappear into the background to make space for time with the other parent
23/2 what is MSM (mirror-signal-maneuver) and the meaning of triangular road signs
24/2 reverse today: I learnt how to play a Lego Mini Figures Monopoly game invented my Martin. It's a great game!
25/2 "любов" е женски род; how to make me a cup of hot water in the morning
26/2 that it would be nice to carry my groceries shopping bag  and be a gentleman
27/2 sadly, that being rude to your mum in front of others in order to get attention is not a nice and respectful thing to do
28/2 that not feeling like going to swimming is not a good reason go come up with a hurting shoulder excuse. It's always better to tune into yourself and be honest what you feel

1/3 introduction to what is a Spending plan. I really hope this takes a much better foundation than what I've had
2/2 how to do weights exercises to build muscles
3/2 told a story of a girl who was mugged in the underpass on way to school with a warning (plead, really) not to walk there on your own
4/2 keeping at it with Rosetta Stone French lessons
5/2 how to stop crying when cutting onions (going outside + the very random wooden spoon trick)
6/3 and 7/3 today I outsourced life lessons to grandma
8/3 painting pottery (although really I did not teach anything, just provided the conditions for learning and fun to take place)
9/3 set up a 1:1 talk at school with another adult outside the family as an outlet for venting frustration with mum and dad
10/3 where is the West Bank and what is going on there (prompted by a Michael Marpurgo story about kites)
11/3 division by 100 and other sorts
12/3 that taking flowers from public gardens is not the thing to do - we have flowers in our garden; but that if I get one anyway - it is very much appreciated.
Also that getting your trousers dirty for jumping over the fence really does not need worrying about - it can be fixed
13/3 that nervous before a performance on stage is "good nervous". Even to be enjoyed
14/3 that I am so proud of the performance that I come to see it a second time in a raw. 
15/3 how to have fun working as part of the family team reorganising a room
16/3 a life lesson of being late for school if throwing a tantrum for walking there and instead taking the bus and getting stuck in traffic  
17/3 walk to school conversation about running a restaurant and keeping some of the profits in the business to buy more stock with it
18/3 money maths blitz session
19/3 showed up at school as a governor and gave a personal example of how to show up and care for the education of children, the community and the well being of others
20/3 read and watch the BBC videos on how to watch safely the solar eclipse
how to enjoy the moment and play hide-and-seek even when you are an adult; how to grab life with both hands in the moment - in the glorious sunshine and child laughter filled moment that can be treasured forever and enjoyed immensely at its time
How to not be angry when circumstances out of our control change (no cubs) and even being late for a concert is not a big deal
21/3 that I have a lesbian friend; what that means and how can a lesbian couple have an IVF baby
22/2 that the start of spring on march 22 sees the same length day and night, and that from tomorrow the day grows bigger than the night
23/3 intro to eBay (selling the old bed)
24/3 a very very detailed explanation of ebay: how you list items, how you bid for items, how you pay for items you've won; accompanied by explanation of bidding/auctions, only bidding for things you actually need/want after having put them on your wish list for 5 days; how things never run out even if you don't win this auction; how to set the price of items you want to sell by looking at the new items price + similar items on ebay + past sale prices (and making an informed decision which is different for every item)
25/3 how to search the Hendon town library catalogue 
26/3 how to return books we found at home that are not ours but we forgot; how to wait until the last few seconds to bid in an auction (I admit I am worrying a bit about this intro to bidding)
27/3 who Frank Sinatra is and that he "turns" 100 this year; 
That double yellow lines mean no stopping/parking and they are always around turns off the road
28/3 how to tie your trouser ties
29/3 that the clocks "spring forward and fall back";  what is HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) - the four factors that result in unhappiness and danger that you have to address to feel happy and balanced and not act out;
Also how to say sorry by setting a personal example and apologising for making him do handwriting to achieve something I did not achieve myself - being honest with him and humble about it which shocked him, and quite rightly so: telling him that his handwriting is perfect and he should do his handwriting however he feels like doing it that makes him happy
30/3 brief intro to what is a rental contract between landlord and tenant
31/3 how to scan your ticket at Eurostar check in; a whole lot of Eurostar interesting facts like - there are 3 channels (the middle one for service access); the Queen and an Olympic torch have been on Eurostar; somebody crossed the channel in a bath tub and it took him over 9 hours; and others like that

1/4 Disneyland lessons involve:1. If you ask, you get to sit on the front raw. So always ask. The worst that can happen is people will say "no". 
2. Queuing nicely (and being annoyed when people try to jump the queue)
2/4 some conversation about The Big Bang and how the Moon was a piece of Earth (possibly)
3/4 helping in the kitchen and an example of how to deal with a knife cut emergency
4/4 how to DIY that staple British food: microwaved baked beans
5/4 how to bake cupcakes on your own (with a little help with/demo of how to do the spooning into the cake cups and mixing the icing)
6/4 a few French words and words of encouragement for learning French
7/4 how to aim at a mini golf course
(in addition to intro to fishing and intro to architecture: cladding, provided by daddy)
8/4 what's the real name for матрëшка
9/4 that overtaking in France is on the left and you have to indicate with left indicator when you start and with right indicator when you finish;
Also illustration of the effect of compound interest; the difference between "gross" and "net"
10/4 "operation Ouch!" on BBC seems to be doing a lot of work for me; added Organ Donor Database registration in the mix;
11/4 more talk on controlling compulsive spending - writing things down on your wish list and waiting 5 days before you buy them; not borrowing money to buy stuff even from your mum - you can't spend what you don't have
12/4 what's "autobiography"
13/4 Custom stamps on the back of packages from overseas and what is Customs
14/4 that you can try to work out what words mean by thinking of other words that belong to the same "family" - e.g. You don't know what is "exclaim" but does knowing what "exclamation mark" mean help?
15/4 the different forms of the verb "to be" - past, present and future; a telling off for crossing a road without looking; 
16/4 after having tried the "come to mum's office on your own after school" we now also tried "walk half the way to school on your own as well
17/4 showed how to make cut-out cars; conversations about how a boy's body changes with puberty
18/4 a taste of freedom and being responsible - walking back from school with a friend, going for a walk around university, buying stuff on your own
19/4 exposure to labrador puppies as a little seed to loving animals
20/4 keep practicing reading in Bulgarian; keep reminding what is "ц" and "щ" and "р"
21/4 that the orbit of the Earth is tilted; 
22/4 picked up from the library and read together some of the "How your body works" book; did maths problems that require splitting whole numbers into something and a half or something and a quarter (e.g. 7/2)
23/4 more of the "How your body works" book - the blood machine
24/4 talked about the London Marathon and how people who run it raise money for charity and train a long time to be able to do it;
Oyster cards and how they work
25/4 read two rule from "The Rules of Wealth" book - hoping that something rubs off despite the resistance
26/4 what is an "avalanche"; that Everest is in Nepal, and that there was a big earthquake in Nepal that killed lots of people
27/4 doing division with reminders or fractions/half numbers (eg 55/2); also discussing the different options of approaching a girl to tell her you like her
28/4 practice of going to school with a friend, including crossing the road (checking how it's done)
29/4 that it is not allowed to overtake in a tunnel; how to count over 20 in French
30/4 how to prepare a fire in a stove; how to play "Remí" card game

1/5 a bit of adding up practice while playing "Remí" card game; how to organise your cards 
2/5 discussion about castle locations,     restoration, what is a "bishop"
3/5 why the need to switch off the air con (external ventilation) when in a tunnel
4/5 showing trust with encouraging to go on the bike and pick up a (girl) friend for play in the park 
5/5 how to be a problem solver and figuring out a way to take and print passport photos (when dad, sadly, for example, has the automatic "cannot be done" response); how passports are issued/photos put in them
6/5 how to keep connected (by leaving a treasure hunt of "guess how much I love you" notes and chocolates) when mama is away
7/5 i was away but I guess the learning would have come from being only with daddy and doing it as boys do
8/5 election stuff and some balanced discussion about all parties having pluses and minuses in their policies
9/5 we read out of the "Wealth" book a story about a guy who in 9 months started with trading up a paper clip to a one year lease on a house and the lessons of trading up
10/5 post "sex education" class debrief (incl clarification on what does "pussy" mean)
11/5 answering questions about pawn shops and a bit about currency exchanges and how the pound is strong now compared to the dollar; a proposition of a saving scheme - every £1 you save out of pocket money I will double. No doubt the rest of the day has been spent calculating the rate of accumulating wealth to £170 to buy the Lego Simpson Shop set
12/5 demonstrating an idea: investing in a mannequin stand that makes displays for clothes for sale on ebay more attractive (hopefully increasing the likelihood of good sales)
13/5 what is fraud and the case of the bank clerk who took 1p from every customer to steal millions
14/5 read from a book about how eyes work; we also talked at dinner how I have paid off and closed my last credit card and how one should never really spend money they do not have
15/5 talk about "fellowship" (e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous) and how it is the only example of an organisation/institution which has nobody at the helm (unlike companies and MDs or countries and PMs, etc)
16/5 how to play the battleship game on a grid
17/5 running commentary on how nice it is to go to bed in clean washed sun dried sheets (in the hope it sticks and becomes a long term preference too); how to pour ice cream mixture from higher up into the ice cream machine so that it does not spill (although I do have to work on how I do that so that it is not semi-telling off)
18/5 yet again trusting with locking the front door unsupervised
19/5 BBC sharks documentary galore
20/5 encouragement on having auditioned for a female part in the school production. We spoke about how in ancient Greece (where the present day theatre form was born (or was it?)) men did all the parts, including female parts. Making a plan to see Horrible Histories - Ancient Greece (which I think will cover just that).
21/5 showed how to stand by and support when someone falls down so badly that their trousers tear; I really bit my lip with the "I told you so/you should look where you step" letting the child derive his own conclusions and learning
22/5 I honestly cannot remember but with our arrival in Lyon there must have been something French on the learning "menu" 
23/5 introduced the idea of UNESCO (related to the Lyon heritage quarter)
24/5 what is an "immigrant"
25/5 a bit of telling off for digging holes in the beach and covering whole body (including face) under the sand; explaining the danger of suffocating 
26/5 providing the freedom of roaming around a camp side with friends and I guess - learning independence; recognising the stickers on cars for the countries they represent: "L" is for Luxembourg, "I" is for Italy, and assorted others
27/5 opportunity to do a bit of body boarding (or is it called kayaking?)
28/5 attempting to model discussion as opposed to telling off when dealing with cheating during friendly competition
29/5 what is the Fibonacci sequence and how it appears in nature
30/5 canoeing (with daddy)

31/5 what is the order of the colours of the rainbow

I wish I had started this record 10 years ago.....

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