Childhood

Anyone who happens to be a regular on the toddler party circuit can confirm that pass the parcel is not what it used to be.

Nobody leaves here without a lolly bag, piece of cake, prize and invitation to come back next year… Photo: The Daily Telegraph.

Contrary to the rules of old, where convention dictated that only a few – or perhaps merely one – of the paper layers unwrapped would unearth a prize, it has gradually been decreed that every single child must win a toy.

Leaving a friend’s birthday celebration laden down with cake and a lolly bag is no longer enough with parents now pressured to comply with the ludicrous notion that no partygoer should emerge from a game empty-handed.

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  • Mouse says:

    04:59pm | 21/02/13

    Oooh, jokes! I’ll be in on that.  I may be able to be sexist, racist and anti-God, all in one go!!  :o) The hair dryer and the Priest A distinguished young woman on a flight from Ireland asked the Priest beside her, “Father, may I ask a favour?” “Of course. … Read more »

  • Jim Moriarty says:

    04:52pm | 21/02/13

    @Chris L Sounds like a typical member of the IRA! Read more »

 

All children inevitably ask where they come from. One potential mother is going to have a harder job than most.

I was conceived HOW!?

“Well darling, your father committed suicide and I had to get a court order to retrieve his sperm within twenty four hours of his death. Then I had to get another court order to use the sperm. And that’s how you were born.”

Last week one woman’s bid to access her dead husband’s sperm was granted by Supreme Court Justice James Edelman, paving the way to allow West Australian women to access their dead husbands’ sperm without a court order.

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  • Robinoz says:

    06:19pm | 18/01/13

    After death a marriage is void. Unless there was a prior agreement to extract anything after death, I don’t think it should be permitted. There is an offence of unlawfully interfering with the body of a deceased person, which means any interference not lawfully upheld ie, post mortems authorised by… Read more »

  • Cam says:

    06:04pm | 18/01/13

    Yes but consenting to IVF doesn’t mean he’d be happy for his wife to have his baby after he killed himself. Read more »

 

The kids still look miserable when a cold wind blows. The car still fills with sand on the way home. And a hot shower still fixes everything by 10am.

Who cares if the story didn't mention Wizz Fizzes? They belong here. Pic: Digitally altered

I’ve been watching the kids do VACSWIM at Port Vincent all this week – on the same beach where I splashed my way through the iconic summer swimming program 30-odd years ago.

A few things have remained the same since the ’70s – but a whole lot’s different too.

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  • vox says:

    06:58pm | 13/01/13

    Nihonin, are you suggesting, in your usual childish way that Abbott presents himself as some sort of sexual animal, or is that just me assuming so because of your immediate, and understandably, (because of previous comments), connotation to my comment. I’ll explain. Men who parade around in skimpy briefs are… Read more »

  • Tator says:

    05:10pm | 13/01/13

    You ought to try Semaphore beach, there is a traditional fish and chip shop there called Soto’s and it is the best fish and chip shop in Adelaide and not one of those wanky places.  Only problem is Adelaide has no surf :-( Read more »

 

When my children were babies, we’d lie in the garden, bums in the sun (theirs not mine), and gaze up at the sky. As the clouds drifted, they’d suck their toes and I’d tell them the hopes and dreams I had for them.

We need to take some inspiration from Roald…

“Gobble the whole apple of life, darling – even the core,” I’d whisper into their ears, as they kicked and gurgled then peed on my leg. “Live big, even if you’re always small.”

But as they grew older and we moved further from the ‘extraordinary’ of their births to the ‘ordinary’ of child raising, life became more transactional. “Eat your vegies, then we’ll go to the beach”, “Clean your room”, “Get dressed” became the dominant dialogue, and somewhere between making sandwiches (one with avocado, one without) and laundering, the dreaming disappeared.

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  • oem software says:

    10:44am | 19/08/12

    JbCxFY Very good article.Really thank you! Cool. Read more »

  • MARK says:

    12:29pm | 17/07/12

    I’ll declare my bias, I work for Cotton On.  Angela, before you lump Cotton On in with macaroni cheese and the Commonwealth Bank, might I suggest you acquaint yourself with a few facts about Cotton On.  Started as a single store in Geelong in 1991, the business has grown to… Read more »

 

If these walls could talk, what would they say? As they are plastered their speech would probably be slurred and we’d have difficulty understanding them. But why is that phrase limited to just the walls? Why can’t we imagine other objects having a voice? I do. Frequently.

Walls can't talk, Spongebob! Pic: Supplied

Apart from being a damn satisfying word to vocalise, anthropomorphising is the act of giving a human personality to non-human things.  Think Disney movies, like Fantasia and Beauty and the Beast. Now this may seem like fun, however, there is a down side to being perspicaciously personificatious - I very rarely throw anything away.

“Please don’t get rid of Steve,” I plead to my girlfriend “Steve is my favourite mug. He and I have shared so many coffees together.”

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  • Mouse says:

    06:24pm | 13/07/12

    Geez Nathan, that could get expensive! Rosie should be enough, but her sisters as well? You are a glutton for punishment!  LOL :o\ Read more »

  • Scotchfinger says:

    02:38pm | 13/07/12

    apparently even brainless plants are turned on by sharing a shower with a woman. Hmm. Read more »

 

If there is one topic that is guaranteed to cause much debate and controversy it is about the “right” way to deal with, and discuss overweight children. Many still believe that even though one in four Australian children has a significant weight issue that it is simply “puppy fat” and that children will grow out of it.

There's nothing fun about puppy fat. Photo:The Daily Telegraph

Based on this belief, it is inferred that we should basically ignore the fact that a child is overweight or obese - we should leave them be.

If only this were true. After working in the area of child and adolescent obesity for more than 10 years I can tell you that childhood obesity is a massive issue here in Australia. When you see a child who appears to have a little “puppy fat” or “muffin top”, you are actually looking at a serious weight issue.

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  • Fed up says:

    10:03pm | 02/04/12

    With people saying “Mum told me I was getting big, it was very traumatic, and it made me overeat for the rest of my life.” you can see why kids are so fat these days. What a bunch of self-serving twaddle. The reason there are all these fat kids is… Read more »

  • SD says:

    05:58pm | 02/04/12

    Sometimes they mean around your hips and sometimes it’s round your belly button. That could be the difference. Read more »

 

One more sleep till D-Day… but this year, I’ve actually felt good about Christmas. It’s not a familiar feeling. In my adult life, Christmas tradition has involved ambivalence tending to hostility, a fortnight of creeping despair, then curling up after a bottle of cognac to cry in a corner and throw up mince on the rug.

The author has rediscovered the wonder Christmas held as a child. Why we illustrated that point with this picture is anyone's guess.

Many of those years, if the bloke in the red suit had existed, I would have left him out a roast leg of venison and hoped that the reindeer could smell it on his clothes. No doubt many of us go through stages like this, where we want to go out and club a ringy-dingy elf right in the head.

And no wonder. The season can’t compete with how it was as a kid, when days were as long as novels and “Ten more minutes” was a judicial sentence. The heat somehow arrived earlier. The lead-up to Christmas stretched out to the horizon, as afternoons led a charge deep into the evenings and the grass dried to gold. Stepping outside to air already hot before we’d dressed for school. The toy shops excruciating in their possibility. The advent calendar crawling by, glue and crappy chocolate marking days that dragged out their final demise like a row of dying grandparents.

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  • SydSteve says:

    09:48am | 28/12/11

    @ Zac “thinks you are one intolerant package, they are ashamed of your comments” “Why atheism is a demonstrably dangerous creed—and a cowardly one Why atheists fear the Big Bang theory “ Those in glass houses Zac. Read more »

  • RyaN says:

    09:30pm | 26/12/11

    Dave C: You are clearly not an atheist then, I don’t believe but I certainly couldn’t stand to be classified as an atheist considering how pathetic, infantile and stupid they can be. Agnostic is probably a better word, at least you aren’t one of those scum bags who haven’t really… Read more »

 

Often, I use the privilege of being a journalist to write some flippant observation or other about life according to one working mother with an eye for the ridiculous and very little shame.

We've got to go easier on our kids

But I couldn’t let this week pass without writing about a deeply serious subject that has touched thousands of Melburnians in the last couple of weeks; the suicide of a high-achieving school captain at a prominent private secondary school.

When it happened, the ripples spread well beyond the school community to parents and students who knew the boy from Melbourne’s sprawling school social network - who were calling and texting each other madly in states of high distress, just as the Year 12 exams began.

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  • amargoAssob says:

    08:17pm | 18/09/12

    faxless payday loan - <a >easy payday loans</a> , http://paydayloanssamedayfaxless.com/#10143 instant approval payday loans Read more »

  • Orienryignove says:

    12:37pm | 16/06/12

    you are really a good webmaster. The web site loading speed is incredible. It seems that you’re doing any unique trick. Moreover, The contents are masterwork. you have done a wonderful job on this topic! [url=“http://buzzingmovies.com/watch-men-in-black-iii-2012-online/ “]check my blog [/url] Read more »

 

Were the recent British riots caused primarily by children who were placed in forward-facing strollers?

Apparently this is good for babies… and red wine is bad for you again. Pic from letsgostrolling.com

Another dilemma for mothers – as if they didn’t have enough on their plates – is the forward/rearward-facing stroller/carrier controversy raised by Cathrine Fowler, Professor of Child and Family Health Nursing at the University of Technology, Sydney.

I am acquainted with Cathrine as a professional colleague and respect her work; in many areas we would be to total agreement. I’m sure she has sound reasons for her thoughts on strollers and carriers. Nevertheless, I see it differently.

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  • Emma says:

    09:34am | 08/02/12

    Hello,New deadids should take extra care in holding and cuddling these little ones.  I agree because if we’re not careful enough our baby might be injured.  Reading books is good way to prevent it to know what to do with our baby.Eric Read more »

  • Alex says:

    09:59pm | 28/08/11

    Would love to know what the experts say about the millions of babies who have never been placed in a pram but strapped to their mums backs (as they do all over Africa) and are exposed to the crowds or the fields.  Oh yes they don’t have social issues just… Read more »

 

When my daughter told me she felt stressed one Saturday morning, I did a double take. She’s 10. She sleeps with a stuffed bear and has drumsticks and dirty socks strewn across her bedroom floor.

More of this kind of shenanigans is needed

In my eyes, she’s still a child. Yet here she was, “stressed”. I asked her what it felt like (“Like I can’t really enjoy myself”) and why (“Because I have to write a speech and then do all this maths homework”).

I wrapped my arms around her and declared it a homework-free day. Instead, we went to the park. Later, we baked her favourite cake and read The Encyclopaedia of Immaturity together, in which we learnt how to make vegie-proof tongue covers and take photos that look as if your head’s fallen off.

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  • BlancheMoses says:

    02:01pm | 29/11/11

    According to my own analysis, millions of people on our planet get the loans at good banks. Thence, there’s good chances to get a car loan in every country. Read more »

  • whatahooha says:

    06:33pm | 31/05/11

    @Mark, perhaps you would have ended up in a different place altogether if your parents or school had taken you to RftD to help out when you were a young impressionable and sweet kid, with your fringe hanging over your face and freckles on your nose. Read more »

 

Childhood is supposedly a time of joy and carelessness; an endless frolic of dimpled cheeks, flaxen hair and rubious joy (to paraphrase Irish poet George Darley).

The Academy Award-nominated Australian children’s book illustrator and author Shaun Tan sees things very differently.

Firstly, he acknowledges that children can concertina with hopelessness and misery just like real, live humans.

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  • James1 says:

    12:32pm | 28/02/11

    You heard it first from stephen, kids.  Don’t read books - its not worth the effort. Read more »

  • Kyra says:

    09:57am | 28/02/11

    Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Revolting Rhymes and Matilda, The BFG. Who can forget the line is Dahl’s take on Red Riding Hood, “and she whipped the pistol from her knickers” where Red ends up with a wolfskin coat or his take on Goldilocks where “Goldie” ends up… Read more »

 

When the shower on the bottom floor landing began sprinkling water on my face I knew our project was complete.  We had built a three-storey tree house, decked out with a cooking area, carpeted living room and water supply system.

Not this one: A picture editor's impression of the tree house / File

Parents from Baradine came to admire it, the Australasian Post came to photograph and the four of us – Bimbo Kelly, Rusty Patterson, Oscar Purdy and Emu Emerson (that’s me) – came to make it our “adventure home”.

Oscar and I built on the design work of Bimbo and Rusty who, in 1968, spent days walking along the gullies of Baradine Creek in search of a gum tree big enough to cradle a tree house.  Obligingly, there it was - a magnificent soaring red gum, its roots plunging deep into the wide shoulder of the sandy creek bed.  At its back, over a fence, was a stand of native cypress pine trees – a perfect source of timber.

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  • Seano says:

    10:18am | 25/04/10

    “the most evil organisation, the world has ever known, the red/green/getup/labour coalition” interesting how the list of conspirators is growing with the addition of getup. Perhaps the meds are wearing off. Read more »

  • Abe Frellman says:

    07:48pm | 23/04/10

    “Borrowed debt”...as opposed to the regular garden variety? Read more »

 

The worst - or maybe just the most memorable - thing about getting in trouble as a kid is that split second when you get sprung by your olds and the game is up.

America’s “Balloon boy” Falcon Heene will surely remember for the rest of his life the moment he first saw his dad after hiding for hours in the attic, fearing he would be yelled at after tampering with the balloon.

Most of us have a story about the worst things we did when we were kids but very few of them will be of Falcon’s order: “I started a national panic and a desperate mid-air chase of a balloon that was covered live on the network television for hours. People worried I was dead but I was just hiding in the attic.”

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  • Nic says:

    06:30am | 18/10/09

    When I was about 4 my mum had decorated a cake for a christening and left it on the dining table before it was to be delivered. Me being very jealous that my mummy hadn’t made us one, took a very nice bight out of the front of the heart… Read more »

  • Never again says:

    10:51pm | 17/10/09

    I didn’t receive a scolding for this, but I certainly learned my lesson… Back when I was six or seven years old, I decided to try floating with a parasol, like I’d seen in a cartoon. i only jumped off a kiddy-chair, thank goodness. Mum kept telling me to knock… Read more »

 

Any day now researchers can be expected to conclude the best thing parents could do for children is to have none in the first place.

May need to find a new job

It wouldn’t be all that surprising amid the deluge of useless advice thrown at parents on how best to raise their kids.

The latest tip for mums and dads, in draft federal government guidelines reported this week, is that children should not watch television until they’re two years old.

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  • Bitten says:

    10:10am | 14/10/09

    Intelligent people know the only thing you MUST not do as a parent, is treat your kids like sh*t. Apart from that, just strap a pillow around the kid and hope for the best. Read more »

  • Lucy says:

    01:05am | 14/10/09

    It’s not just studies on children, it’s everything.  One minute I’m told to drink cows milk (‘it’s natural’), then I’m told that I should drink soy milk because cows milk promotes allergies and soy milk can prevent problems associated with female hormones as I get older.  The next week I’m… Read more »

 

Noted US Professor of Economics James Heckman is a much quoted figure by the Australian Labor Party. 

Jon Kudelka in The Australian

In these times of economic upheaval and challenge his message has a unique and appealing social angle – essentially his work outlines the economic benefits of investing well in early childhood education to address social disadvantage.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has quoted Heckman extensively in the past, and did so again this week in his Burgmann College Address , saying:

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  • Dang Murray says:

    10:12pm | 25/06/12

    “Heckman’s research has shown that early childhood education has positive outcomes in areas ranging from crime rates and teenage pregnancy to health and salary levels.” This is a very good line however I would say that it could give positive impact if and only if they are guided well like… Read more »

  • Albion No More says:

    12:24pm | 05/09/09

    My best friend at school was raised by an arty farty left loving lesbian, who was prohibited by law from marrying her long-time partner. My friend is a Christian who has been married for twenty years and has children of his own. I’m glad to see you would support official… Read more »

 

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