Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: Word!

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  • Lisa Docherty,

    At Karori Pool in Wellington we live in fear of the small yellow plastic "fecal accident" sign!

    I've always thought a quick "pooh in the pool" would be just as effective.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • kowhai montgomery,

    You write nice sentances, big ups!

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Better not to ever open The Tale of Tom Kitten, then. As a 4-year-old it scared me witless- I wouldn't let mum read it. I still have dreams about hidden passages and secret byways in old houses.
    Second kids are entirely intruiging tho- number one, you tend to think: that's what kids are like. Number two, and you realise that's not it at all. Time to look into Frank Sulloway, maybe?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1574 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Ta, Kowhai! You still in Japan?

    Lisa, it took me a second to realise you meant a *sign* saying "poo in the pool", and not the act itself!

    Great article, Rob - ta for the link. Guilty as charged, as a firstborn... married to a firstborn...mother of a firstborn.. and very glad to have our little revolutionary/convention-buster on board to shake things up a bit.

    Of course, they say you should have a third child to avoid the perils of binary thinking. After reading that article, I wonder if it would perhaps also give the second child a natural ally?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1411 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Second kids are always different - often because all kids are different, but they also have some commonalities of experience that inform the second child community:
    The first child has 100% of the parents available child-rearing attention. The second will have on average 50%.
    The first child is a test-bed for various child raising practises - how long to let them cry before picking them up, etc. The second one has a more established regulatory framework they are expected to comply with.
    The first child is bigger than the second one - that gives them the brute-force advantage in any negotiations. The second child will generally respond by developing a greater degree of cunning, utilising psychological warfare. They can't bully the older sibling into getting their way, but they'll very quickly work out what buttons to push, especially the "mummy, he hit me" button (usually just after they've been provoking the big one for a while).

    All of these, of course, vary between children and families, and with the age gap & gender of the siblings. As always YMMV.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 841 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    I wonder if it would perhaps also give the second child a natural ally?

    With three kids allegiances will vary fluidly on a minute to minute basis - they are generally incapable of forming and adhering to a firm supply & confidence agreement. At any moment two will be ganged up on the other one, but which two will change more often than the weather in Wellington.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 841 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Then I read the Sulloway link and realised he had plagiarised my post before I even wrote it :-)

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 841 posts Report Reply

  • kowhai montgomery,

    The Frank Sulloway link was really interesting, but being a girl and and only child I guess it has limited relevance! Girls just get one chapter WTF!

    Jolisa, I am back from Japan and now in Wellie. I should change that info, get a Gravatar, and stop stalking Japanese people trying to overhear their conversations.....

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    Recent research into language acquisition suggests that the higher an infant's socio-economic status, the more adult utterances are addressed directly to that child.

    I never baby talked my child, and as a result she spoke properly from an early age. Leading all our friends to comment on how smart/clever/gifted she obviously was.

    When my daughter was about three I caught my wife trying to teach her that spaghetti was called sketty, which confused my daughter who up until then was calling it spaghetti.

    This is what drives men to misogyny.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Julian Melville,

    Sounds like little brother would get major kicks out of Fix-It Duck by Jez Alborough - the mechanics of the story are carefully exposed so that you can see it all coming on later readings (you never notice the details first time through). Both our son and my brother's could recite the book verbatim before they were 2, it held that much fascination for them.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Aidan,

    IO:

    I never baby talked my child, and as a result she spoke properly from an early age.

    Wow! What confidence. I think I prefer the formulation "I did X and child did Y .. thankfully .. the two did appear to be correlated in time so I sometimes claim the credit".

    Seriously though, the wee buggers have such a strongly inbuilt sense of self that we've often felt we can polish off the rough edges, but parenthood is more about us changing to accept them than them changing much at all. This is a good thing.

    With respect to the floaties .. reminds me of sailing in the Wanganui river .. but don't they have swimmer nappies? We never had an aquatic numéro deux (praise be!) nor been witness to one and they have strict swimmer nappy only policies at the pools round these parts.

    Language is interesting .. number 1 (boy, 5) communicated from an early age but was similar to your number 2, in that most words started with b and ended in "aaah". As he got older his speech was stilted, with explosive and excessively punctuated sounds.

    Number 2 (girl, 3) has always been more fluid and free in her speech and in most things she does (drawing, playing etc). She now calls us Mummy and Daddy. I hate it and I have no idea where she got it from .. *shrug* ...

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 147 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    I never baby talked my child, and as a result she spoke properly from an early age.

    There was no plan. I just felt stupid saying "duz bebe wanna num num for her tum tum?" so I didn't. :)

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Allan Moyle,

    Second kids are always different ....maybe partly because of the reduced parental attention. We found with our 2 girls (26 months apart) that the

    regulatory framework

    was often usurped due the observation time the second child had of the first child's experiences and interactions that meant sometimes the opposite approach had to be taken...is this cunning ?.
    Take time outs, with our first daughter the few times we needed to, we used the neutral space of the entranceway our home had. She would immediately start sobbing her apology and beg to be let out. When it came to No2 she would sit there quietly smiling as the door closed and wait until we came back as she had seen and be let out for the following hug and discussion. To make the point for her, we determined we had to go into our bedroom and close the door. She had the run of the house...but couldn't have us.. queue sobbing apologies and then hugs all round.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 91 posts Report Reply

  • Aidan,

    Re: "num num for tum tum"

    Me either. In fact, we didn't do the whole Easter Bunny thing because it seemed really silly and involved large scale deceit on our part. All our rellies thought we were mean and nasty marxists (or something). When the preschool went to the trouble of whisking the kiddies off for an outing and fabricating "bunny prints" in some flour we figured we were on the losing end of some serious cultural momentum and gave in. Plus it's chocolate right?

    Mostly though, it was the wee guys bright shining excited face at the thought of an easter bunny coming and giving him sweets that brought about a change of heart.

    The Easter Bunny is still stupid though.

    I love "Inside Outside Upside Down", and neither of our children had the bear napping take on it.

    Both were frightened witless by "Francis the Scaredy Cat", but it holds and awful fascination for the younger .. she'll be an Edgar Allan Poe fan I reckon.

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 147 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Gracewood,

    Great article, Rob - ta for the link. Guilty as charged, as a firstborn... married to a firstborn...mother of a firstborn.. and very glad to have our little revolutionary/convention-buster on board to shake things up a bit.

    Cue flashback to Christmas discussions (the good ones!). As fourthborn of the greater distributed (lesser spotted?) Gracewood clan, I'm finding our firstborn totally normal, and am awaiting eagerly the second so I can help him/her/it dispel any myths re following in footsteps or being of lesser quality.

    Strange how we both seem to focus on it in our own ways from either end of the spectrum eh?

    On a slightly more sad note, my in-laws second-born helped them to realise that yes, firstborn is definitely autistic, and all those things people told them "just worked" did indeed "just work" with a non-autistic child.

    Orkland • Since Nov 2006 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    The day after she turned two, our first born got up, looked me in the eye and said, "No mummy. No nappies today. Today I wear purple knickers."

    "Right," I thought. "Good. Whatever."

    First born child, academic parents, 'though not firsties ourselves, lots and lots and lots of one on one adult attention. Her language use was, and still is, remarkable.

    She had a few tantrums around age two and a half, but nothing too bad, and we would just put her in her room, and she would rage for a minute or two, then put herself into bed and go to sleep.

    We thought we were wonderful parents.

    Our younger daughters promptly disabused us of that notion. Their language development was slowish (fair enough for second born twins), their behaviour was much more robust, they are far more inclined to do what they damn well want instead of trying to fit in with us, and once they are set on doing something, it can be very hard, not to say impossible, to deflect them.

    This is why second children exist - to remind their parents that there are no blank slates, and at most we can modify and moderate, not make our children who they are.

    We learned one other very useful lesson. Whenever our children do something naughty, we attribute it to 'just the way they are'. But when they do something wonderful, we attribute it to our superior moral virtue.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1323 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    The Easter Bunny is still stupid though.

    The fun comes when when your athiest 4y.o. child (the product of atheist parents) comes home from kindy and tells you all about how Jesus Christ got nailed to a cross and buried in a cave and then came back to life and thats why we have Easter Eggs. But since the information has come from another 4y.o. child (it's a state run kindy afterall) it's a little less coherent than that.

    This is why second children exist - to remind their parents that...

    No, second children exist so they can play with the first child and give the parents a freakin' break for 5 freakin' minutes!!
    (Can you tell we've only got one?)

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    No, second children exist so they can play with the first child and give the parents a freakin' break for 5 freakin' minutes!!

    I think the 'ohmigod' of having your first children be twins is seriously overstated. I'm sure the first year or two would have been hard, but having a permanent playmate for the next ten years... god that'd be a blessing.

    That's assuming that they play nicely with each other more than once a month of course.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6205 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    No, second children exist so they can play with the first child and give the parents a freakin' break for 5 freakin' minutes!!
    (Can you tell we've only got one?)

    Yes.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

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