Who’s your Superhero?

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My kids play video games.  Not just my boys, but Annalise too.  I think it is interesting that most games are targeted for boys or girls.  I’d like to know the research that occurs for these creative decisions to take place.

Yes, some kids prefer games that allow creativity, some prefer strategy, some like the achievement of defeating the bad guy, but others can find competition too confronting…Anyway I digress.

Having brothers Anna is exposed to what might be traditionally seen as “boys” games.  Recently her and her brothers have been playing a Lego game that has super heroes in it.  Tonight we were chatting and she said she wanted a spidergirl costume.  She then described spidergirl’s attributes in detail.  She sounds very cool. Throwing firey spiderwebs and all that, but she wasn’t too keen on any of the other girl super hero characters.  She left it at that.

I then had a discussion with Ryan, 11.  Who is his favourite superhero? He doesn’t have one, he uses them all in the game, depending on the strength needed for the challenges (a strategist).  I asked how many girl heroes there were.  He said “Not many”.  I asked him why he thought that might be the case – he said that maybe people thought boys might be more “capable”.  I asked him what he thought of that.  He said “I don’t think it’s right”. No, me either.

Is it fair that males are seen as more “capable” and “stronger” even in the innocent world of imagination?  As an adult I am bombarded with images, music, advertising and stories of women that are less “capable” than men.  Selena Gomez on the radio, telling me about looking good for her man, to make him happy!

What message are we sending our girls? And our boys?

Even in this seemingly innocent game, my girl gets the message that to have the best superpowers you need to be a boy.

I was pleased with her choice of hero, (although as a sidekick to a male I have questions there too!) so I went on line to look at costumes.  Most choices revolved around tutus or skin tight latex- neither of which is fitting for my crime fighting nearly eight year old.

So now we are making our own superhero – one with the super powers of persuasion – I wonder whether she’ll use this for good or evil.  Perhaps she’ll use it to change some minds about what girls “should” like and what girls are “capable” of.

Who has the time?

I have been about this post for a while now, but this is the first time that I have been able to write for more than a minute at time…

Yes well I gave up writing that post too, so here is another.
Time
It is a man made phenomenon to measure time. To measure everything really, but that’s another post…
In this world we are limited by measurements, the main one seeming to be time.  
No one ever has enough time.
No one can ever fit into their days exactly what they think that they need to. And again we measure -what we need to do.
We live in a day when every hour counts, and now even more so, I feel the constraints that time limits me by.
As a mother and teacher my days are filled before I can think of them. I don’t like to be asked too often about my plans for the weekend, because then I have to think about how many hours are already used over those two measly days. How I am going to fit in everything that needs doing in the limited “time” I have?
My average day begins before seven, not too early I must admit. For the next hour I move at a heightened speed to organise myself and co. Co are not too cooperative in the morning, generally speaking. Between the three of them, at least one of them will cry, or sulk or sit sullenly in a half dressed state until grumpy Mum uses her grumpy Mum voice for the tenth time, only louder.
After drop off, making sure bus money is available, lunches slightly healthy, notes signed and kisses are blown and caught through the car window… I head to work.
Once at work I head to my office, inevitably being caught along the way for a quick chat, that steals my very limited organisational “time”.  

Once alone I open emails, close emails, check lessons, sigh and think about having a coffee, only to realise that I have given all of my change to the kids for the bus, then the bell goes.
Generally speaking the work day is quite a pleasant part of the day. Then there are meetings…

Kids catch the bus to my work and wait while the meetings finish, then I rush them to sports, scouts, dance; sometimes all at once. In between dropping one I will pick up some fruit for morning and the cakes for the class party I had forgotten about.
Getting home in time to put on dinner, but not bring in the washing as it has already gotten dark and the frost has set in, I remember that I didn’t buy potatoes. When I look in the freezer the chips are lying loose, having fallen out of their packet, mixing it up with a few stray peas. I leave them there and settle on pasta.  
Dinner is preparing, as homework is helping, as bath is filling, as dog is fed. “Can someone please take out the recycling?”
I remember I haven’t had a coffee since I’d left in the morning and half think about that, but I think too long and burn the garlic, so have to start again. Kids are arguing about some tv show, I ask again for someone to check the bath. Too late. Overflowed.

Grumpy Mum rears her head again.

Dinner cooked, kids are clean, well sort of. Stories read, time for bed. Not not for me… Not for them either they decide, as a slapstick performance of entrances and exits begins. Drinks and fruit and hot wheat bags… forgotten notes in bottom of school bags. A rotten banana too, but “I don’t like bananas” lays the blame on someone else. “Go to bed”. The mantra is said and heard with little effect.  
Eventually all is quiet. All except the cd player that has “somewhere over the rainbow” playing on repeat. It puts her to sleep…
I sit. Dishes lay dirty on sinks and tables. I sit. I catch my breath and think again of the coffee it is too late to have. I make a tea. Watch some TV.  
It is late. I get up to tidy the kitchen, put another load of washing on before bed, only to find a clean load waiting to be pegged out still in the machine… I stick it in the dryer, ignoring my environmental conscience.
I say goodnight to my dozing husband who has been up and down ladders all day, followed by coaching the junior football team, then home to eat and collapse, put on washing (that I will curse at and chuck in dryer), feed the neglected rabbit, invoice clients, tell kids to “Go to bed” alone and in unison with me…
In bed eventually. I lay awake wondering how I have let another day slip by. Wondering how I will ever have enough “time” to do it all tomorrow. My mind runs circles. I pick up my phone, check my emails and read the messages that I had ignored. “Damn!” I’d forgotten that meeting, I will have to cancel my chiro appointment. Oh well, I can wait…

Holidays are over

The end of our summer holiday is coming to a close. Conflicting feelings are emerging into an irritation I can’t explain.
I am ready to go back to work. I need more mental stimulation, routine and let’s face it, money. But I am not sure I am ready to give up everything else I find so pleasurable during the holidays.
These have been different holidays for us. A big move back home and other crazy moments that have eaten our time, but it has been good to be together. I feel like I really know my children. I feel I have spent more time with them than with anyone else these past six weeks. Most of this has been positive, but as the time comes to an end, their ability to amuse themselves and cope with the company of each other and me, is showing limitations. Although they are too scared to say “I’m bored”, because I will give them a job to do, sweeping the pergola, cleaning out the car, weeding the garden, etc. I know that this is what they are often thinking. We have spent much time at home especially lately. At least they will be looking forward to going to school.
I remember feeling that way when I was young. I couldn’t wait for school to start, so that I might do something more interesting than being at home. Not that we stayed home every holiday, but days always feel longer when activities are limited. That was the first sign I had that I was getting older. The holidays were too short.
Now the holidays are getting longer (does that mean I am getting younger) and I almost want them to end so that the kids can be entertained, but that also means that I am back at work. That I have to do what I feel so out of practise in doing.
Today my head was full of mazes that have no end as I attempted to decipher the curriculum that I will be teaching this year. I know I will be fine, but I want to be organised and certain that I am doing what is right.
So the end of sleep ins and lazy days as I embark on the old, but new and my children find an end to boredom, at least for a little while.

Made by me.

It was 44 degrees Celsius today in my little part of South Australia. I live in a small coastal town of 10000 that more than triples in the holiday season.
We ventured out to the movies to escape the heat. You know its hot when the seagulls all have their beaks open, that and the sweat on your forehead dries as quick as it is created.
With the town being small the facilities don’t really cater for crowds. Progression is not strong with our council. Therefore the cinema seats a limited number in their old retro seats with vinyl flip up bases.
I felt like I was entering the line up for a rock concert as I waited to pay for tickets. The warning of “you might not be able to sit altogether” was echoed with every customer. A child was passed a bucket as she proceeded to vomit through her long hair and people standing by took a step back, as much as they could considering the crowd, and outstretched their arms with wads of tissues and serviettes. There was a general mutter of “poor thing”, then the doors were opened and she was quickly forgotten as there was a gentle push towards the entrance.
The crowd thinned as I approached the door. I heard heavy sobs of young children and was tempted to look back at the sad scene. Two children in tears with their parents. They had been turned away at the ticket box, all sold out. Sympathetic. Not empathetic. I took the stairs and didn’t look back.
The cinema was crowded and my family was split. I sat with my girl.
The thing about seeing kids movies with your children is not in the movie itself. It is in the sharing of joy. I spent more time sneaking peaks at her face than I did watching the screen. When she laughed I smiled and mentally captured that image to save in my memories. Her eyes would light up in disbelief or wonder and mine would too. The wonder of this little personality that grows next to me. How she has developed a humour, a love of strange things, an excitement of others. She is a complete person and I made her.
As we left the cinema and caught up with the rest of my troops she clutched my hand and skipped along and we shared happy moments. The weather loomed hotter, but it didn’t matter so much as our spirits were lighter.

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