Oops! Somehow a month has gone by without posting on this blog - too travel-focussed I think ...
It's been school holidays in this part of the world. I started off thinking about all the things we *should* do, because it's school holidays, before it occurred to me that many of those *shoulds* are simply good marketing. Kids' movies come out timed to coincide with school holidays, and people go - even if they're not very good - because it's school holidays. All sorts of courses and holiday care programs and more - mainly designed to keep kids busy and entertained. Yes, some working parents might need vacation care programs so they can continue to go to work, but a lot of it seems to be because parents don't think children can survive without being entertained constantly.
It's a bit of a bugbear of mine. I know there are theories about attention spans becoming shorter, but none of that will change while there's passive entertainment on-tap. So I threw out the 'Holiday Happenings' booklet, and left it to the kids to work out what they wanted to do. And - not particularly surprisingly - they've managed. Some of those things have involved electronic entertainment (and the weather has been cold and wet, so they've made good use of their iPods and DS games and the Wii), but they've also done lots of reading, playing with character sets (listening to the X-man with the Doctor Who and Ben 10 toys - together, putting on voices and setting them up in all sorts of situations is hilarious!), playing with friends, running around outside when it's been dry enough, swimming (their lessons have continued through the holidays, and we've gone early so they can have a couple of hours of playtime as well), drawing and more.
They've also both learned to use the toaster. At 7 and 9, we figured they were old enough to understand the safety aspects of using an electric appliance, and they've proved their competence, so now they're allowed to use it (mostly) unsupervised. And they're thrilled with being given a little more responsibility.
The X-man also requested to help with cutting up vegetables for dinner, so we stood side-by-side at the kitchen bench last night, both armed with chopping boards and sharp knives, and prepared dinner together.