When I got my Rav 4 nearly 5 years ago, it was my dream car. I swore that I would keep my beautiful new car in the immaculate condition in which I received it from the dealership every day it was in my possession. But just like when I swore that I’d give up Diet Coke and when I swore that my partner and I would never go to sleep angry (seriously - has anyone ever stuck to that one in real life?)...things don’t always turn out the way you plan.
My car looks pretty good from the outside (particularly since it’s been back from the panel beaters after I hit another car in the school car park the week before school holidays - now THAT was a Christmas present no-one wanted. I’m an excellent driver, I just suck at parking). Inside my car, it’s like a hybrid of kids’ shoe shop, come art gallery, come tupperware drawer, come episode of Hoarders:Buried Alive all covered in thin mist of decomposing tiny teddies.
Kid are gross. Both of mine climb into my car (usually through my driver’s seat or commando roll over the back seat through the boot - I’m sure they do it just to annoy me) and promptly kick their shoes off by scuffing them against the once pristine seats in front of them. Then they blindly fling their shoes and socks about the car every which way. They then rest the heels of their post-school sweaty feet on the flimsy back pocket of the car seat in front of them (when they’re not kicking the seat for fun or alternatively sticking their toes right into the coccyx of the passenger/driver in front of them).
The majority of their stuffed toy collection, which is ample, seems to be in the car. Each time we get in the kids decide somebody else needs to come along for the ride, ‘Mum, I need to bring Woofy/Woof Woof/Woofer/Woofs (all completely distinct individuals that I’ve had to learn and memorise - she’s not too good with original names), he needs some fresh air.’ ‘Yeah,’ I think, ‘well he’s not going to get that in our car until we’ve found out whatever that smell is that’s under the passenger seat.’
I was sure I would never let them eat in my lovely car. One chorus of ‘But Mum we’re HUNGRYYYYYYY!’ down the length of the Roe Highway put an end to that. The last time I properly cleaned the car out I found all kinds of crap in the kids’ car seats. Cracked dry yogurt in the buckles, old french fries (which still looked disturbingly fresh) in the cushion cleavage, random fuzzy kool mints covered in hair, cake. I’m actually amazed that we haven’t had an insect infestation. Maybe they can’t get in through the mountain of soft toys and shoes.
The windows and even my rear-view mirrors are covered in finger prints. The door handles are questionably sticky. Somehow, one of them has managed to get a footprint on the roof. There are hundreds of hair bands, loom bands and head bands scattered all over. Not one of the drink holders is empty. Something mouldy which may have once been a banana lurks in the boot.
Last week, I had to drive a friend to a function. Needless to say, I was pretty embarrassed about the state of my car. My friend has three kids, a dog and a beach house. ‘Jesus,’ she said as she swept the rubbish from the passenger seat onto the floor as she got in, ‘your car’s much cleaner than mine! I’m impressed!’ She’s good like that.
A Roller Skating and Blading Rink located in Perth
My 6 year old recently went to a kids birthday party at Rollerzone. She had never had the opportunity to rollerskate so this was her first time. I couldn’t have been prouder as she tackled this new skill with determination and willpower.
The Rollerzone rink is made
of impressive hardwood sprung timber and is inside a huge
air-conditioned warehouse, with grandstands for spectators and a
small café kiosk with plenty of tables to sit at. The tables are
for all Rollerzone patrons so you don’t need to be ordering from
the café to use them. The café serves basic snacks and drinks,
coffees and hot chips.
The street level entrance includes reception and a small shop selling skating paraphernalia. There is a viewing window that gives you an impressive overview of the rink before you descend the stairs to it. Looking back up you can see the DJ box where a Live DJ pumps the tunes and every now and then talks over the system incoherently but enthusiastically.
The private party rooms are located under the DJ box next to the café area. The party cost is very reasonable and includes kids party food, skate hire and lolly bags to take home. You can bring your own birthday cake in. The party food includes hot chips, fairy bread, mini sausage rolls and pies. You can also choose to have a Party Host who helps the kids with their skates and on the rink, checking up on all the guests throughout the time you are there. For more details about parties click here.
The party lasted about 2 hours, and the kids were skating together or alone for over an hour of that. That was the only downside – because my child was a learner she was on her own and therefore not socializing with the other party guests, some of whom could already skate or who were giving it a go on their own as well.
A barrier with a handrail surrounds the entire rink with regular gaps to enter or leave by. My girl started off holding onto the handrail while she gained confidence with her balancing skills, and then she ventured about a metre in but close enough to grab on if she needed to. The friendly party hostess helped her around the rink for two full rounds, teaching her some basic skills and ways to balance or prevent herself from falling, and how to get up again if she did. I was impressed with her patience and skill.
If you don’t have your own rollerskates, you can hire Skates or Blades from the “shop” alongside the rink. There is a foot-measuring guide and you can try on as many as you like until you find a comfy fit. Skates have two rows of wheels, and Blades have one line of wheels in the middle of the shoe. My girl tried out both on the rink and decided that the Blades were easier to get her balance on.
I was able to walk on the rink with my shoes on, so I could remain close to help if needed. But after a while she didn’t want me to be with her so I retired to the sidelines to watch and wave encouragingly. She never gave up and it was hard work on all her body muscles. I had her water bottle on hand as it was thirsty work.
As the DJ music pumped out into the rink, disco lights and spinning lights on the walls, along with a music video screen, created a fun atmosphere. The DJ said things every now and then and the friendly staff would rollerblade to guide people to join in various games in the centre of the rink. One was a sort of limbo under a pole challenge, and another something to do with giant soft dice. It remains a mystery to me but the kids were having a blast. My daughter is keen to return to master the skill completely!
If you aren’t attending a party, Rollerzone has various public sessions with DJ music, as well as Learn to Skate sessions on Saturdays. Check out the Rollerzone website for more information.
* ONE SESSION costs $10 Per
Person + $2 Skate Rental
* Spectators are FREE
* Children 3 and under are FREE when accompanied by a paying family member.
Address: 299 Victoria
Road, Malaga WA 6090
Phone:1300 442 100
Click here for a list of frequently asked questions that is
quite helpful if you are new to rollerskating and
Reviewed by Lyndall Quaiffe
Wonky Windmill Farm is located in Yelverton in the South West – about a 20 min drive from Busselton or 25 min from Margaret River.
Upon entrance to the farm there is a very large lawn area with shaded picnic benches and an array of activities to keep the kids busy. There is pole tennis, a cricket set, and a very large sandpit full of buckets, spades, and other toys. There are also two large cubby houses set up with tables and chairs.
Next to the cubby house are some cockatoos. At the back of the lawn area is the main entrance house which is the gateway to the farm section. This is where you pay your entry fee and order food. You can also buy fly nets and they will give you some sun cream if you have forgotten your own.
If you want to order some food, there is an undercover shed with four large tables which look out over the lawn area. The website states that there is also a BBQ for use however I didn’t spot this whilst we were there.
Upon entry to the farm you will receive a bag of feed for the animals. There is a large enclosure where you can feed the rabbits and guinea pigs. You need to carefully supervise your children as you have to ensure they are seated the entire time so as not to risk a misplaced foot upon one of the little furry friends.
There is also an enclosure with some lambs. If you come at the right time you may get an opportunity to feed the lambs some milk in a bottle but given they can only eat so much in a day then this will only be an opportunity enjoyed by a few (sadly not us on the day).
From here there is a path that circles around the property. There are approximately 12 paddocks with different animals to meet upon the way. Inhabitants include cows, horses, sheet, goats, llamas, kangaroos, pigs, and chickens. There are signs along the way with some interesting facts about the animals which you can share with the kids.
Be sure to wear a hat if going on a hot day as there is no shade along the walk and if going in summer the property can be a bit dusty and grass is sparse.
The walk around takes approximately 30-45 minutes depending on how long you stop to feed the animals. I would suggest that you buy some extra feed at the entry as you can easily run out half way through. Most of the animals are very happy to take your feed and are quite gentle with the kids (with the exception of possibly the llamas which can spit). You will also have to watch your kids along one stretch of paddock as there is an electric fence.
The Staff are lovely and happy to help out and make you feel very welcome. In the main house they have tastings available of local jams and chutneys. They also have some toys for sale. The food from the café was reasonably priced and tasty.
The kids had a ball playing in the cubby houses and sandpit after a spot of lunch. This is where they spent most of their time (especially with other kids there to make friends with) given they were done with their interaction with the animals in 30 minutes, so if you are coming just for the animal feeding then you will probably have a quick visit. If you are just doing this then you may feel it is an expensive trip for what you get so it is well worth it to bring a picnic or purchase some food from the café and enjoy the shade of the lawn area and activities for the kids.
Wonky Windmill Farm & Eco Park is located at 218 Yelverton North Road. It is open daily 10am - 4pm. For more information visit www.wonkywindmillfarm.com.au
I made an awesome friend recently. She has three daughters. And I knew she was awesome when very soon after meeting we were talking about feeding our kids. She said ‘When you have you first child, if they eat dirt, you rush them to the doctor’s and get them a tetanus shot. If your second child eats dirt, you rinse their mouth out with water. If your third child eats dirt, you think ‘Cool, now I don’t have to make lunch’.’ Pretty awesome.
God, we’re under a lot of pressure as parents to provide amazing foods for our kids. They’re eating organic, they’re eating paleo, they’re eating whole food. In my day eating whole food meant not leaving a piece of the frozen McCain’s Hawaiian pizza behind. I’m not even 100% sure what paleo even is, but I thought it had something vaguely to do with Ross Geller from Friends. I think it’s about only eating what a cave man ate, so meat and vegetables - nothing processed or manufactured. I had one acquaintance announce that she had ‘gone paleo’ recently and that she was living like a caveman. She lives in Piara flippin’ Waters (you know, proper dinosaur territory). I wanted to say ‘Love, unless your husband is dragging you around by the hair, you’re wearing yak skins and you’re wiping your arse on leaves, you ain’t living like a caveman’.
But I do try and keep it healthy for my family. Last night I served my kids up their dinner of cold chicken and salad (tomato and cucumber with nothing on it (they hate dressing of any kind) and my 5 year old looked at her plate and said 'Ooooh yum!' and made the Hannibal Lecter lip sucking sound (she hasn't seen The Silence of the Lambs it's just a freaky coincidence). A part of me thought 'I am so proud that my kids are so delighted by healthy food!', but an even bigger part of me thought,'You poor little buggers.'
I have a friend who has a strict ‘no grain’ policy in their house. True. No bread, no rice, no pasta and, I imagine, not a lot of fun at meal times. I asked her what on earth she gave her kids for lunch if she couldn’t give them a sandwich and she said she gives them salmon and salad. While I am fully supportive of parents parenting whichever way they think fit, I was pretty shocked. Salmon and salad for lunch sounds like diet food to me. My friend said ‘They absolutely love it, Janelle! They ask for it every day!’ and I thought, ‘Yeah, but that’s only because they’ve never tasted a vegemite scroll.’
When I was growing up, I had pocket money I could spend on whatever I wanted at the Tuck Shop (back in the days when you could buy snacks filled with nuts and e numbers at school and the chickadees were so yellow they were green). Fast food was a staple, everyone gave lollies to kids and we drank fruit DRINK (not fruit juice, never juice!) or fizzy drinks at every meal.
My kids get one drink. Water. They think yogurt is a treat. Fast food to them is a piece of fruit. And I have to admit they do enjoy it. And while I'm glad they're eating healthy, wholesome food, I do feel a bit sorry for them. Not sorry enough to share my box of Cadbury Roses that are hidden in the linen closet or my emergency Salt and Vinegar Samboys that are hidden under the sink with them, though, obviously.
That'd be mental.
By Stephanie Fairbairn Parent Educator Ngala
Self regulation is a lifelong learning process, and starts from the very first days when, as babies, we needed help regulating or adjusting our sleep patterns, hunger and even body temperature! Self regulation is achieved through a nurturing relationship with caring adults, most often parents. By responding promptly and sensitively to a baby’s needs, a baby learns that their needs will be met (most of the time) and this builds a bond of trust which forms the foundation for the development of self regulation.
As parents we may expect a lot of from our baby – especially in the sleep department! But, in fact, learning that elusive ‘self settling’ part of self regulation begins with small steps such as a baby looking away when they need a break from too much stimulation, or sucking their thumb when they start feeling tired. These are the first steps towards developing their own responses to managing their feelings and behaviour. Babies need a lot of help from caring adults to achieve self regulation –so when you pick your baby up to give them a cuddle after a door slams and scares them – you are providing them with a calming response which helps them bring their emotions back into balance. With time, babies build on this external calming and develop their own internal mechanisms to regulate. Consistency and repetition from caring adults are the keys to strengthening connections in the brain so that over time self-regulation develops.
The next stage of developing self regulation involves your spirited toddler watching intently at everything you do! Toddlers take on board how you act as role models. So if there is a tendency for you to fly into a rage with other motorists on a regular basis – there is a good chance this behaviour will be echoed by your toddler! We can’t be ”the ‘model parent’ every minute of every day, but it is inevitable that our body language, tone and verbal response to everyday events paint a clear picture to our children of how to respond to life. Everyday activities you do around or with your child like working on a puzzle until it is finished, persisting with cleaning the stain off the carpet, or waiting in line at the supermarket without losing it! – all convey to your child how they are expected to behave ….you don’t need to say a thing – your actions speak louder than words!
Everyday experiences which may not be helpful to your child developing self regulation include:
- never having to wait for birthdays or Christmas for the next present;- this may lead to difficulties in impulse control;
- having a constant stream of snacks with no expectation that they wait for the next mealtime – they may have a hard time managing hunger signals or appetite.;
- never encouraged to wait their turn or share their things , may find it hard to make friends in the future!
All these childhood lessons are sometimes hard at the time – we may feel like giving up at the checkout and buying them the lolly because they are building up to a tantrum – but ask yourself -what learning opportunity have we just missed if we do so? Parenting is challenging because the everyday tasks take so much time – so much patience and SO much self control on our part – this is the investment we make now to pass on these skills to our children for later.
Children need a lot of positive modeling, but as they become more competent with language and have more vocabulary, we can reflect their and our emotional states with explanations. So when baby sister knocks over big sister’s tower of blocks again and big sister shoves her out of the way and starts whining – we step into the war zone and start by understanding the toddler’s emotional state – she has these big out of control feelings that sometimes lead to hitting, screaming and lashing out.
“Oh dear, Matilda has knocked your blocks – I can see you are angry – you spent a long time making it and now you are upset. It is very frustrating to have your game interrupted. Lets take your things up to the table and Matilda can watch from the floor.” As children develop the skill to name their feelings, they begin to transition from ‘physically acting out’ behaviours – to having the internal dialogue to manage their emotions before they become physical! This takes a lot of practice and time. Similarly, if WE lose our temper more quickly than normal – we should follow that up with an explanation when we are calmer. “Mum shouted and got angry because I was feeling frustrated we took so long to get home and I am so tired today – maybe next time we are running late I can count to 5 before I feel frustrated”. Resolving an out of control situation like this does not diminish your authority as a parent. Some parents will worry that apologising or correcting their own behaviour weakens their parenting position – this is not the case, and helps to teach another valuable life lesson – resolving conflict and offering an apology when we are in the wrong.
Tips to encourage healthy self-regulation and control:
- Set clear, short , instructions and boundaries
- Reflect back their feelings so they can label their emotions
- Play games that encourage patience and attention like card games, matching pairs and hide and seek
- Foster ‘sharing’ by using the phrase ‘taking turns’ – this is more meaningful language for this age.
- Remember parents and other carers are the biggest source of behaviour modelling for kids!
Check out Ngala’s Parenting Workshops for moreparenting topics and to book online.
Rock ‘n’ Toddle provide energetic and interactive performances for ‘mini-moshers’ and their accompanying ‘Mega-Mosher’ adults. If the traditional music class where everyone sits around singing nursery rhymes is not for you then Rock ‘n’ Toddle may be more your idea of fun!
The 40 minute concert is aimed at children aged 0 – 6 years and is held mainly in cafes around the Perth area. Professional performers introduce age-appropriate, stimulated gig experiences and popular music.Miss 4 and I went along to the session held on a Wednesday morning at Leapfrogs Café in Wanneroo. We were greeted by the very lovely and very energetic performer, Esmeralda Sparkles.
After introducing herself she was quick to get everyone up on their feet and bopping away. The music played is a mixture of original music devised especially for Rock ‘n’ Toddle and popular music – both recent chart hits and golden oldies for the adults.
Each show follows a theme and the theme is repeated for a few weeks to enable children to become familiar with the tunes and activities. Our theme for the session was ‘Me, Myself and I’. The shows are very interactive and guaranteed to keep the kids attention held. We were introduced to ‘Rock Dude’, the mascot of Rock ‘n’ Toddle who lives in the music player. We threw big inflatable disco balls around,
Waved our scarves
Wore our Rock Star glasses
And shook our bells. The class is very personal. All the kids wear a name tag and everytime they go up to collect or return something from Esmeralda Sparkle they are greeted by their name. As the session drew to a close it was time to lower the energy in the room. A story was read and we got to meet Esmeralda Sparkles pet puppet unicorn, Spike.
To end the session mini-moshers are given a special treat. Those who feel confident enough can take to the stage and belt out a tune using the microphone.
Gigs take place at the following venues each week during term time:
Monday South Perth Rotary Hall 9am – 9.45am
Wednesday Leap Frogs Café 9.00am – 9.45am
Friday Gloria Jeans Café Myer, Centro Galleria, Morley 9.30am – 10.15am
You can choose to sign up for a whole term or take you pick from 1 or 3 entry casual passes.
For more information visit www.rockntoddle.com.au