My child is Dyslexic – what now?

I’m writing this piece as a some what frustrated parent. I am frustrated in the New Zealand Education system and I am frustrated with the situation we are in.

It might come as a surprise that as a teacher I am un impressed with the quality of Education Children in New Zealand are currently receiving. This lack of quality is coming from higher up and in no way reflects the exceptional, qualified, caring and hard working teachers we have present in our schools.

We have known for awhile that our 9 year old daughter is dyslexic. I first figured out something was wrong when after a year at school her reading had plateaud. She was a bright and capable child who loved books, loved reading and loved making up creative interesting stories. Yet she couldn’t read. She started hating school and hating reading to us after school. She was getting headaches almost daily and no one knew why. I went along to our GP with all of the information I could find and a supportive letter from her teacher in search of an answer. He referred her to a paediatrician who diagnosed a “specific learning disorder”. However, his diagnosis means very little in the way of support. To have an official diagnosis you need to go through a registered assessor. These are not cheap ( ranging in price from $500 – $900 NZD). We know before she starts high school we will need to go down this path so she is able to receive the appropriate support for exams and assessments.

Last week we got confirmation that our 7 year old son is also dyslexic. What are the chances?! Their father and I have no learning disorders, both did well in school and have both gone on to University and further study. It seems surprising that we have two children with Specific learning disorders!
Our son has never done very well academically, he had many excuses for his poor academic record and we hoped that reading recovery (an intensive reading programme targeting the lowest Year 2 readers in a school) would help. Unfortunately it did not. It is incredibly difficult for an intelligent child to perform poorly in school. Our son has suffered high anxiety, periodically vomits at school and is sent home. He has had sore stomachs for years with no medical answers. It is heartbreaking to hear your child tell you how stupid they are.
We applied for government funding to have him assessed but this was declined as a child needs to be at least 2 years below in all academic areas. How can a child who has only been at school 2 years be more than 2 years below?! He is, by the way just not in Maths. When you are young Maths is almost entirely oral, as soon as it becomes written he will lose confidence in the one subject he loves. So, we bit the bullet and drained our savings account to have him officially diagnosed.

The problem is, now what?

The school does need to step up and work alongside us to get the best results for our children but with what funding? There is no funding available for our children. It feels like my children are unimportant and are just going to be expected to under achieve. I know they are intelligent children, their IQ tests prove that. They have educated parents and come from a family that wants the absolute best for them. They have a love of learning, love being read to and enjoy school (for the most part). They are hard workers and want to do well. But they are not.

We could pay for tutors at $30 -$100 a session. However, when I pick my 7 year old up from school he is so drained he often can’t walk to the car. My 9 year old loves dancing and netball, should I pull her out of these things that she loves to afford her tutoring costs? Should I work less so I can support their learning more? (I currently work three days a week). Should we change schools? Should I home school?
There is no easy solution.

I am scared that my children will never value how truely bright and capable they are. I am scared for their mental health as they get older. New Zealand has a massive youth suicide rate and I do not want my children to become another statistic. I am scared that nothing will be done to support children and families like mine.

I know we are not the only family in this position, I know we are lucky that we could afford (just) the formal assessments for our son and will do it again soon for our daughter. Many families in this position will slip further through the cracks.

New Zealand’s education system needs a huge shake up. We need to go back to basics. We need to support all children regardless of their learning needs and their needs to be funding available so these children don’t get left behind.



A Family Bar Review. The one without Daddy.

This time we did things a bit differently. James was away on a boys trip/stag party and I was at home with the kids for the weekend. Yay! I often find these weekends (even though they are rare) very difficult. The kids tend to play up because they know I am stressed and they never go to bed! I swear they love to get me when I am down.

A friend of mine had already mentioned how much she loved our bar reviews and said she would love to join us for a drink one night with her kids. I decided that while James was away we could do a Mums and kids bar review. She loved the idea. So off we went!

The Park Kitchen. Miramar.

Overall review 5/5

Drink cost : $24 (keeping in mind this was sans beer. If James had been with us drinks would have been $34)

The Park Kitchen has my favourite Rosé on their menu. The Blush Rosé is not only delicious, it is such a pretty colour too! I first tried it when I was there with some friends and I now order nothing else when I go in. My gorgeous friend Sophie ordered a Pinot Gris and she enjoyed that too.
Park kitchen has a great range of beers, including a few low alcohol options. Overall, they definitely do well in the drinks category!



Bar Snack Options.

Well let’s start off by saying no one needed dinner when we got home! There were five children with us (yes we took five children out for a drink!) so we ordered quite a bit. Park Kitchen does some great pizzas and although my favourite is no longer on the menu (artichokes, yum) the Margherita is pretty delicious. It is a generous size so everyone got some and it is both kid and adult friendly (no weird ingredients but not boring). We also got fries (obviously) and a bowl of Olives. My kids love olives, they are probably their favourite food. In fact as I am writing this Teddy is sitting in front of Ocotnauts ploughing through a bowl of kalamata olives (great snacking Ted).
Park kitchen has loads of other delicious sounding options such as arancini (yum!) and fish bites. We couldn’t try everything in one sitting, sorry!


So chips and wine are probably the two reasons for my extra kg’s. So, as always chips are getting their own category. Park kitchen’s chips are AMAZING! Chunky fries (my favourite) with aioli. The kids were not all totally sold on the chips (they wanted skinny fries) but their loss was my gain (literally I probably gained 5kg) and I made sure none went to waste.


The staff were great. I called ahead to warn them we were coming and they reserved a table for us inside. However it was a nice day (a little windy) and we asked if we could go outside. No problem! They even pushed two tables together to give us some more space. They were quite happy for us to have so many children there. While we were there a group of parents and babies were also there and the staff were making sure everyone was comfortable.

Kid friendly

Absolutely kid friendly! It is quite a large restaurant/bar so there is plenty of space for the kids to move around. It is a very relaxed environment which means you feel less like your kids are annoying everyone! They do kids drinks in plastic cups (and in a kid friendly size) and have a good variety of juice and soft drinks. Park Kitchen has some colouring in sheets and crayons for the kids (which only Georgina ever seems interested in).


Outdoor Space

The outdoor space at Park Kitchen is somewhat unique. It in a closed in courtyard out the back of the restaurant. This is great as it is super sheltered. They have an awning across most of the courtyard to protect from the sun and artificial grass on the ground makes it a fun space. The colours outside are gorgeous and it is an enjoyable place to enjoy a drink. The kids spent some time on the ground playing a game which they wouldn’t have done (I hope) on concrete.

Overall vibe.

The Park Kitchen is a great place to take the kids. The staff are accomodating, the environment is relaxed and funky. We loved it. Bonus is it is close to our home and there is a lot of parking.

This was our best bar review so far (maybe I should always ditch James and take a friend?).

I would definitely recommend heading in to Park Kitchen any time of the day. They do a great $10 breakfast – Eggs on toast, half a side and a coffee! They have a delicious menu and because it is quite a large space it isn’t difficult to get a table.

James you definitely missed out on this one.

A family bar review: Chapter three

Sorry I have been so slack! We reviewed a bar on Waitangi day (Yes almost 2 weeks ago) and I just haven’t got around to typing it up!

As a (not so little) family we are just getting busier and busier. Even more so now that school, work and sports are all back! Unfortunately, that means my blog has had to take a bit of a back seat. However, here it is! Our third attempt at a family bar review.

Spruce Goose. Lyall Bay.

Overall review 4.5/5

Drink Cost : $30.50

The Spruce Goose has a great range of drinks. Many Tap beer options as well as nice range of wines. All reasonably priced. The lemonade again came in a generous sized glass so the children were happy. Only issue was the wine I ordered off the menu was no longer in stock, but they provided a great alternative.
There was no surcharge, even though it was Waitangi day so that was a pretty good bonus!


Bar Snack Options.

As we were in on a public holiday they had a limited menu. I appreciated they did this so they could limit their kitchen staff, therefore no surcharge! Winning! We order the chicken wings. Georgina was pretty unimpressed when I ordered them as she is pretty unadventurous. Archie loves chicken so thought it sounded great. Funnily enough, when the chicken arrived Archie hated them and Georgina loved them! Ted was quite keen on it but needed Grandma to cut it all off the bone. The menu was pretty deep fried but, as I said, it was a limited menu. The normal menu has a few more options, including a pretty spectacular sounding platter!



As you all know I prefer a chunky potato filled chip. We ordered both the Shoestring Fries with Aioli and the Chunky Cut chips with Onion Gravy. Hands down the best chips were the chunky chips. I loved the onion gravy, even better with a bit of aioli too. The fries were good too but would always choose the chunky cut chips! As I write this I am contemplating going in for chips this afternoon….


The staff were awesome. The waitress was chatting with Georgina about the menu and came to check on us a couple of times. She was apologetic they didn’t have an outside table available for us and moved a pot plant so Ted could see out the window.



Kid (and husband) friendly.

The spruce goose is very family friendly. Outside they have space for kids to run around and inside they do have a kiddy corner full of toys. They have a children’s menu which has a colouring in page on it. The kids (and Grandma and Daddy) enjoyed colouring in the geese. The staff were not bothered by Teddy moving around a bit and moved a plant from the window so he could see the planes and waves better. The best entertainment at Spruce Goose is definitely planes landing and taking off next door!


Outdoor space.

Spruce Goose has a nice outdoor area, plenty of seating and space for running around. They are dog friendly outside and provide bowls of water for your pooch. Unfortunately it is super popular so you are not guaranteed a space outside unless you get there early. The indoor space is very pleasant and you still get the view!

Would I reccomend the Spruce Goose to a family wanting to take the kids out? Yes! We go there often and always have a good experience. During the day we have gone for smoothies and they present them so nicely. The staff are always friendly, the coffee is good and they have an awesome selection of cabinet food. You can almost always be guaranteed a table, occasionaly there may be a ten minute wait but not often. The menu is good and they do a gorgeous poached egg. Definitely head down if you are in the area!

If you go and check it out let me know! I love your feedback! I enjoy hearing from you so odn’t hold back!


A Family Pub Review. Chapter 2: Leroy’s

The kids have decided this bar review thing is quite cool. Saturday night they get chips and lemonade! Georgina also likes passing judgement so this is right up her alley.
This week we invited my Sister in Law and Nephew to join us. It was her birthday so we wanted to shout her a drink, plus my nephew is 7 months old and came in a pushchair so was one more thing to add to our review!

So without me garbling on any more, here is our second Family Pub Review.

Leroy’s (Wellington Central)

Overall rating 4.5/5

Drink Cost : $39

This bar is known for it’s incredible selection of Craft beer. The woman behind the bar knew her beer and made great recommendations. The lemonades were (again) a generous size so the kids were happy. You could buy wine in a small/large size or by the bottle. I ordered the large (obviously) and it was a generous pour, only downside was the price ($16 for a large glass!). The kids later won in a claw machine (I will get to that shortly) a glass of wine for me, this time it was the “small”. Still a very good size!

Bar snack options: I don’t think I could fault the food we tried. We ordered popcorn chicken (the mild version) and chips. The popcorn chicken was amazing, still nicely spiced considering it wasn’t the spicy one and came with a great dipping sauce. We had to go back and buy more as the kids and James demolished it. The second bowl was the spicy sort and boy was it SPICY! Delicious but not child friendly.
The kids won a few more snack from the claw machine (I know pretty cool!) and chose Nachos and Fried chicken. The Nachos were incredible. Slightly spicy but the kids liked them and came with sour cream, salsa and guacamole. We went home too full for dinner so that was a bonus!


Chips: Now last week I commented how I prefer fatter chips than shoestring. Leroy’s delivered! The chips were a great price ($5) and they also had k-fries (loaded fries with so many yummies). They came in a cute plastic basket with tomato sauce. (Side note, they were pretty good with the popcorn chicken dip.) My only negative with the chips was that they were quite oily.

Staff: The staff were friendly. They knew their menu and drinks well and were happy to make recommendations. They checked in on us to see how we were going and helped carry drinks to the table.

Kid friendly: This place was super kid friendly. At one point we did lose Georgina and Archie but quickly found them sitting at pokie machines (don’t worry they had no money and no one was on any of the machines). Leroy’s is a kids paradise. Imagine a Time Zone, then add delicious food and drinks. Unfortunately the kids entertainment wasn’t free as the machines all cost $1 per game but it was pretty good entertainment. They also have a claw machine (as I previously mentioned) and if you win something you can choose anything from snack menu or a small drink. We won… Nachos, chicken and fries, and a small glass of wine. Overall we definitely got our moneys worth! The bar also had loads of room for the pushchair and everyone was happy to have the kids running around.

Outdoor space: Leroy’s is at the bottom of Plimmers Steps of Lambton Quay, so it is pretty central city. Even so they have managed to create a pretty cool outdoor space. It is sheltered from wind, it is partially covered so would be fine on a wet day and has plenty of outdoor seating. Only problem is, due to the location (between mulitstory buildings) there is little sun. But honestly that wasn’t a problem for us. Yesterday was so hot it was nice to be out of the sun for awhile!

Overall atmosphere: Leroy’s had a really fun vibe. There were several people there while we were there and a few of them had kids. The music was pleasant and the outdoor space was a really nice place to enjoy a drink.


Would I recommend Leroy’s to people with children. Yes! The only warning I’d give is that you need to be prepared for your kids to nag and nag for coins. It was definitely on the pricier side but totally worth it overall! The kids loved it, the adults enjoyed it and we all went home full and happy!

Leroy’s also do meals and coffee. They have specials on during the week and we will definitely be back for more popcorn chicken.


As always. I love your feedback. Let me know what you thought of our review. If you have any where you think we should go get in touch!




A Family Pub Review. Chapter 1: The Gasworks.

If you had told me this time last year that James and I took all THREE children to the pub, and enjoyed it, I would have laughed at you. Honestly, this summer has been the first time we ever thought to do it, until now the idea would have been terrifying.

The kids are getting older (9, 7 and almost 4) and while I do often miss how little they once were, this growing up thing has a few advantages! We took the kids out for a drink (lemonade) the other night and all of us really enjoyed it. The kids were AMAZING and James and I both decided we would do it again…. and again…. and again.

So here is, the beginning of something new for this amature blogger. My family are helping me review Wellingtons pubs. The kids came up with a few criteria (kids activities, quality of chips and bar snacks, how big is the lemonade?) James and I added a few extra (cost, how kid friendly is it actually, atmosphere, staff) and a few of my readers came up with some too!
Every place we visit we will purchase the same drinks (pint of beer, glass of wine and three lemonades), we will get chips (cos yum) and some form of snack that could be kids dinner (saves me cooking for them!)


The Gasworks (Miramar, Wellington)

Overall rating 3.5/5

Drink Cost: $30.50

The drinks were all a good size, the kids were very pleased that their “small lemonades” were as big as Ted’s head. Teddy was pretty impressed with his “Fizzy Smoothie” (gross). The house wine was pleasant and the tap beer options were good.

Bar snack options: To be honest this was not amazing, we have been a couple of times now and the kids didn’t really like anything other than the chips. Our kids aren’t particularly fussy so this was disappointing. However, the options available that we didn’t buy did look good and we will be trying something else next time.

Chips: You may be questioning why the chips get their own category? Well the truth is, much to James disgust I love chips. They are probably my most favourite food (James is definitely the healthier one in our relationship). In my opinion you just can’t go out for a drink without some form of deep fried potato joining the party. The Gasworks chips are pretty good! They were shoestring fries which is probably my least favourite type (I like more potato in my chips) but they were tasty. They came out hot, good amount of salt and with both aioli and tomato sauce. The bowl was definitely empty by the time we left!

Staff: The staff could not have been friendlier! The girl that served us was so patient with Georgina looking through the menu as slowly as possible (she had to make the right choice) and chatted with her about what everything was. She happily bought the drinks to our table so I wouldn’t have to make two trips.

Kid friendly: This is where The Gasworks definitely excelled! We were handed a bag full of crayons, colouring sheets (with trains), crosswords and mazes. All three kids found something they wanted to do in that bag. While we were there a couple of other families arrived and the kids (and Dads) were involved in quite a competitive paper plane competition. The staff were happy for this to continue and even provided some extra paper.

Outdoor space: The Gasworks does have an outdoor space, impressive considering they are in a small shopping complex. However, it is small and right next to the carpark. This isn’t that ideal for children as you do need to watch them very closely. Also, because of the size of the space all the smokers are confined to that area. Again, not great if you want to be outside with kids. The space is sunny though and is a great place to enjoy a drink when it isn’t too busy.

Overall atmosphere: The overall feeling at The Gasworks is pleasant, it is a big space so you don’t feel like you are too close to other patrons (important when out with kids). The music was good and the general vibe you get from everyone there is happy.

Would I recommend The Gasworks to someone with children? Yes!
While I have not reviewed the coffee there (we were there for drinks) or the baby change facilities (none of my children are at that stage) it was a very enjoyable experience for our family. The kids were happy, James and I were happy and we would definitely go back.

The Gasworks has a great looking dinner Menu and kids eat free on Mondays so that is looking pretty appealing for during the school holidays…


If you have any bars you would like us to review in Wellington please let me know! The kids are only too happy to drink lemonade and eat chips.



Christmas in my House

Christmas in our house isn’t really dicussed until at least November 26th. November is birthday month in our house and quite honestly I am already exhausted (and broke) by the time December comes around. This year we did start a little earlier than usual courtesy of “The Greatest Little Capital in the World”.  In the weekend we took our three into town to the Christmas Festival that Wellington City Council put on. It was wonderful. There was a lot of music, loads of exciting things to look at, delicious food and even the big man himself – Father Christmas!

We lined up for 40 minutes in the sweltering heat of David Jones, keeping the kids arms as far away from the Royal Doulton (seriously the line for Santa was right by the expensive china!) and met Father Christmas. For me the memories of talking to Father Christmas as a child are fond ones, ones I hope that my children will now have. James disagreed and reckoned he wasn’t that fussed as a kid (grinch much?). As a couple we need to decide which of our Christmas traditions and memories we want to share as a family.

What are we as a family are doing? Is there something we do every year? Things that if we didn’t do it just wouldn’t be Christmas?

There a few things we definitely do every year. Some from our own childhoods and some new. These are the memories our children are going to have of this pretty magical time of the year and I want to do it right!

Father Christmas

We are definitely a family that believes in Father Christmas. However, I am pretty aware that as children get older they ask questions. Both of my big kids are asking and I know Georgina is fairly doubtful. I do not lie to my children about Father Christmas when they ask. I also don’t tell them the truth.
The kids so desperately want to believe that it seems cruel to crush that Christmas spirit straight away. Georgina has asked a few times and I have responded with “What do you think?” “Where do the presents come from if he isn’t real?”. This allows her to quietly believe for a little longer, she thinks he is real but maybe Mummy and Daddy help him because he is so busy.

This is the first year Teddy has really been aware of Father Christmas and the delight on his face when we met him on Saturday was truly magical. I have never seen such wonder on his face. It was annoying we weren’t allowed to take our own photos.
Georgina and Archie are both aware that the man we go and see before Christmas is not the real deal. He is just helping out due to this being a busy time of the year in the North Pole. They are more than happy to go and talk to him though!

Every year there is always something under the tree from Father Christmas. This tradition has definitely come from my family. There is still a present from “Mother/Father Christmas” when we are at my parents place for Christmas.


The first year we celebrated Christmas as a family, James went out and purchased Georgina and me a stocking each. He still has the Stocking he was made as a child and this was a tradition he wanted to share with us. As our family expanded so has our stocking collection. I am a bit of a Grinch with the stockings though and do have to reign James in a bit with how many lollies really need to be in them.

Christmas Tree

We always get a fresh Christmas tree. They might not be as pretty as a fake tree and you can’t put them up as early but they smell amazing!

We seem to have started a new tradition in our family with the Christmas tree. A few years ago while my parents were away for their wedding anniversary my brother and husband took my Mum’s car to collect some trees. They didn’t want to leave pine needles in their own cars and took advantage of them being away. My brother was still living at home at this stage and put the tree up before Mum and Dad got home.
This has continued every year since. My Mum doesn’t mind too much as she pointed out she is going to be away this weekend so it could be a good weekend for her car to be used.

Those are the three things that definitely stay that same for us every year. I know some people have other family traditions like “Elf on a shelf” but to be honest that seems like more work for me than I would like. Also, when Georgina was a baby this just wasn’t around so to start it now seems like ti wouldn’t have the same magic. We have enough going on without adding too many extras. We do always eat and drink too much but what and with who changes. We often end up at the beach on Christmas day (the advantages of a Southern Hemisphere Christmas). My Mum always makes her amazing Christmas Cake, it is mainly nuts and ginger and is delicious (James always eats too much of it and gets told off). Some years we have people staying with us, other years we have done the visiting. The good thing about a big extended family is we will always have someone to celebrate with us.

How do you celebrate in your house?




Supporting your child’s literacy

A child’s learning begins at home. There is a reason the phrase “the parent is the first teacher” is so well known! I have already written about how you can help prepare your child for school but I thought I might share my thoughts on how you can support your child’s literacy at home.

Talk to your child.

This may seem like a no brainer but it is important to remember that the conversations you have with your child (or with yourself near your child) are teaching them about language. Learning language helps the brain form connections which in turn help your child learn to speak and make sense of the world.

Singing songs and rhymes teach language patterns, rhyming, alliteration, and adjectives. Make up fun rhymes with your kids, be silly with words. Their brains will thank you for it!

Make learning fun.

We are all learning all the time. So are our children. Many schools are adopting the play based learning environment for the first few years of school. There is a reason this is so successful. Children are given the freedom to be imaginative, problem solve and form relationships in a way that gives them control over their learning. At home you can provide these experiences for your child too.

Teddy loves playing “fishing” with a bamboo, magnetic fishing rod and magnet letters. As he catches each letter we talk about what sound it makes. It is a game that he loves and it is introducing literacy in a fun way, he doesn’t even know he is learning!

While out walking with your child you can go on an alphabet hunt. Find a certain letter on street signs or find things that start with a certain letter. Eg. cars, cats, clouds etc.

Have a rhyming competition. Take turns thinking of a word that rhymes with something. Eg, cat, hat, rat, mat etc.

Read to your child

Bedtime stories are more than just a means to an end. While they are great at providing a calm, wind down to the end of the day and getting your child into bed they are also an amazing learning opportunity. When a child has a positive association to reading and books they will be more interested in doing it themselves. Eventually they will begin to remember parts of their favourite stories and maybe even notice words or letters.

Comprehension is just as important as decoding when it comes to learning to read. Understanding what is happening in the story and being able to discuss what they have read is a great skill. Talk about what you have read. Ask them to think of a new ending for the book or to see the story from a different characters perspective.

Make reading time a special time between you and your child. I often take the child into my room so it is just the two of us. We read the book, talk about it and often end up having some really lovely quality time.

Let your child see you reading. Children love to imitate! If they know that you enjoy reading then they will be more interested in picking up a book. Pretty simple really, that lazy afternoon with a novel is actually an important parenting moment. Enjoy it.

Get creative

Drawing and colouring are the beginnings of writing. Children are learning to hold the pen and to control what they are doing on paper. These activities help develop their fine motor skills which are essential for writing.

Encourage your child to sit at a table while colouring/drawing. Sitting at a table uses different muscles than lying on the floor or painting at an easel. It is good for your child to build strength in these muscles so it is easier for them when they start school.

Embrace technology

Technology gets a it of a bap rap. There are so many amazing apps, TV shows and computer programmes that definitely encourage some wonderful learning. The key is to do it in moderation. Have a look and see what suits you and your family.

Listen to their teacher

I know sometimes it might seem like the book your child has bought home is far too easy for them. I know it is tempting to question why they are getting a book that they clearly know already. Trust your child’s teacher. By the time the book gets home to you it is most likely that it has already been read 3 or 4 (if not more) times. It is great for your child’s confidence to re-read a book they know. It reinforces what they have learnt and enable them to have conversations around the story at home with you. If your child complains about having already read the book let them know that you haven’t and you’d love to hear it. If you make comments about having already seen the book it will make the child less likely to want to read it.

If you have concerns then make a time to talk to your child’s teacher. They will happily discuss how their reading programme works and hopefully give you a bit of piece of mind.


There are so many ways parents can support learning at home. The biggest thing to remember is that all children learn at their own pace. Don’t compare your child to others. Some children are slower to learn to read and write no matter how much support they have. Other children appear to learn without any help at all! Don’t put too much pressure on them, or yourself!


Conflict at school.

We have all been there. Disagreements with our peers occur all the time in many different areas in our lives. It doesn’t make it any easier though.

Georgina is currently having issues with some friends at school. These issues have been ongoing since she was about 6 and it is unfortunately just part of growing up. My heart still breaks for her when she comes home saying “everyone has decided I am no longer their friend.” I know she is not an innocent party in this situation. It takes two to tango and two to fight!

Peer relationships during childhood are an important part of a child’s social and emotional devlopment. Children and adolescents pick up essential social and
communication skills from their peers as they move into late adolescence and early adulthood.Peer conflict is not necessarily a bad thing; disagreement and conflict are part of life, and children and adolescents need to develop skills to resolve disagreements.

I am a firm believer that children need to learn how to handle these situations themselves as it teaches them how to handle conflict later in life. This is so much easier said than done. I would love to protect my children from anything that might upset them but it just isn’t possible, it also does them no favours!

It is so easy as a parent to assume that teachers and school staff are aware of these issues happening at school. This is just not true. I have had parents approach me asking me to sort out a conflict their child is having with a peer and have been surprised that there was even an issue! All it takes is 30 seconds for someone to say something hurtful and the child forgets all the good times they have had that day with the same person! The teacher has seen them happy together all day and had no idea that at 2.55pm someone said something to upset their friend. Teachers do not see everything that goes on in the classroom and playground. Obviously if someone is upset they will do their best to mediate but ultimately the children need to learn these skills themselves.

As a child I was incredibly unhappy at school most of the time. I was a socially awkward kid with a strong personality. I am sure I probably did say and do things to upset others, it never would have been intentional. I always felt like I was the victim of others unkindness but in reality I think everyone probably felt like that. As an adult it is still something I struggle with. I am worried about upsetting or offending others and always feel like someone is upset with me for whatever reason. I am slowly learning to have more self confidence and assume good things!

Georgina was feeling unwell this morning. I know it was anxiety about what would happen with her friends today. I explained to her that as tough as it was she had to face her problems. She couldn’t avoid school forever. We talked about how horrible it felt when someone said something mean and reminded her to not make others feel the same. I was very proud of her for walking into the classroom and looking for those very same friends she was so upset with yesterday. When I left her she was happily playing with them as though nothing had happened.

I hope that as Georgina gets older she learns to manage her friendships in a positive way. I know there will be many more tears, fights and conflict, it is unfortunately part of growing up. However, with time she will learn how to deal with them appropriately without too much intervention.




The Internet

My children are very aware of the internet.

None of them know how to use it, but they all have very high expectations.

Georgina knows about emails, you tube and a never ending encyclopedia. Archie knows Google knows everything. Teddy knows you can watch Little Einsteins on demand.

When I was growing up the internet was a very recent invention. I remember waiting for Mum to get off the phone so I could use the computer. I remember the dial tone of dial up internet connecting.

Now, life is very different. In our house we use the internet for everything. Work, entertainment, everything!

I have a mixed attitude towards kids and the internet.
Half of me thinks it is an amazing resource. Now, if your child asks a question you cannot answer you can say “I don’t know, let’s find out together”. Doctor Google can answer anything.
The other half is screaming at me, “Kid’s need some innocence! They need to figure it out by themselves!”

As I may have mentioned previously, Georgie is dyslexic. Most of the time this is not an issue. She is reading better and better and her writing is improving. However, her ability to you tube is severely limited. She decides to watch a Barbie movie so googles “Baby in drem hors”… can you imagine what sort of interesting asian pornography shows up? We now have a rule that only Mummy and Daddy can use you tube. We take requests.

In regard to pictures online I am relatively flexible, obviously. I do not mind my children’s photos being online. However, I do not ever share (without permission) my children’s friends. I also do not share any photo of my child where they are naked ( unless fully covered). I feel like it is not my place to share images that I would not be happy someone else sharing.

The internet is a pretty depressing place if you go digging too deep. I want to protect my children for as long as possible. One day they will not share with me what they are doing online. Until then I want to teach them how to be safe and responsible online (without scaring them) so that when it is time for them to make their own decisions they can make them wisely.

I asked Archie “What is the internet?” His response “It is on everything.”

Until my children have a good grasp on the real world they will not be allowed free range on the computer.

I will however, share the funny things they.


The following questions are courtesy of Archie.

“Why do we have elbows?.”

“What is under the ground?”

“Why do I have a sister but Georgie doesn’t? She is older and knows more stuff.”

“Why is Uncle James called James and Daddy called James, they have different faces?”

“How do we know who our Mummies are? There are lots of ladies.”




What’s in a Name?

Choosing a name for your child is an incredibly important decision you make as a parent. It sets them up for the rest of their lives.

Everyone has their own opinions about what they like when it comes to names. I am definitely more into traditional names, however there are definitely some super cute alternative names out there. You need to think about how the name will grow with the child and how easily it is pronounced. Will the child be able to spell their own name when they start school? Does the name lend itself to some unkind nicknames?

Some people like to name their child after family members. Some choose names purely because they like the sound of it. Some choose names for cultural or religious reasons.  Ultimately you need to make the decision that you feel is right for your child.

When I graduated University and everyone had their names read out to receive their degrees my name sounded a bit flat. My Mum commented afterwards, “all those people with two middle names sounded so interesting.” Frances Jean Dykes did sound a bit boring. That stuck with me. All three of my children have two middle names, partly because of this and partly because I liked the way it sounded.

I enjoyed naming my children. There was definitely a lot of compromise between James and I, particularly when it came to naming our boys. Their names have special meanings and definitely suit them and their personalities.

Georgina Frances Grace.

Georgina is named this for many reasons. James and I both loved the name Georgina right from the beginning, I had a friend called George and I loved her name. While pregnant my Aunty said to me “I have always loved Georgina for a girl,” little did she know it was top of our list! James’ late Grandfather was called George. We have told Georgina about her super interesting great Grandfather. He was a Bomber Pilot during WW2, an avid sailor, a gardener, he loved to potter in his basement and had quite an impressive array of tools. James had a pretty special relationship with his grandparents and it was nice to pay homage to that through our daughter.

Georgina’s middle names are a little more obvious perhaps. Surprisingly though, she is not named after me. The Frances comes from my Mums side of the family. My mother is Jane Frances, her mother Dawn Frances. I have a cousin Edwina Frances. It seems (coincidence or not) that the first born daughters have Frances in their name (I was lucky enough to get it as my first name). Grace is a name I have always loved. That was pretty much the only reason. My cousin Grace might argue it was for her, but in reality I just liked the name and the way her whole name flowed together.

Archie James Panirau

It is so hard to decide on boys names! James and I really struggled to agree on a name we both liked. James loved the name Dexter, I loved Hugo. Archie was suggested once while I was reading through a baby name book. We both agreed. Archie’s personality suits his slightly quirky name, I am so glad we chose it. James, again seems very obvious. He isn’t named after his father. All the men on my fathers side seem to be called James. My father is Mark James, my brother is James, my Grandad is James. So including James in our sons name was a bit of a no brainer. Panirau is James’s Mums maiden name. We wanted to have a little mention of her in there as she is an incredibly special woman. It also pays a tribute to James’s (and therefore the kids) Maori ancestry.

Theodore Robert Bruce.

We knew what Teddy’s middle names would be long before he had a first name. Teddy was a mystery baby ( we didn’t know his gender). We had girls names picked out long before he was born (Anna Karen Jane), however we found boys names a lot harder. When he was born (and a boy) he was rushed off to NICU pretty quickly. When I finally got to visit him his name tag read “baby of Frances”. What an awful name! I desperately wanted him to have his own identity so I let James make the final call. James wanted to call him Theodore/Theo. I have taught several Theo’s, and while they were all lovely it just felt like the name was a bit used so we went with Teddy. James’s official name is Robert James, his father is Robert John. Robert felt like an appropriate middle name for Teddy. Bruce is my grandfather. I am very happy he got his name in there.

So there you have it, that is how my children got their names.

How did you choose a name for your child?