No.

Before First Offspring was born, I read.  A lot. All about babies. Having sat many an exam, I guess I treated the pregnancy and impending child-rearing like a test, and studied accordingly. I learnt about all different parenting techniques, and weighed up the pros and cons of routines, attachment, co-sleeping, vaccinations… really, everything. And one of the philosophies was that the word ‘no’ was an unhelpful word, to be avoided, if possible.

Telling your children ‘no’ sends a message of negativity, and is irritating to both you and them. And it can ‘breed resentment and plant seeds for future rebellion’ in your youngsters.

‘That sounds fair,’ thought yet-to-be-a-parent I. ‘I like the idea of being a positive parent. I’ll make an effort to say ‘no’ less. All that negativity is unhealthy, anyway.’

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And… ACTION.

Australia is on fire.

I don’t mean in the Alicia Keys sense. We are literally burning here, with massive fires, such as one only hours from where we live, which killed 4 people, and others in South Australia where people have also died. To put that into context, we have a good warning system, and people in fire-prone areas are used to preparing for and defending their properties against fire. For people to die… it’s unusual. It’s terrifying and tragic. And it’s only the beginning of summer–the start of the bushfire season. Our summer is predicted to be horrendously hot, coming off the rest of 2015, the hottest year on record.

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The Week Links: in which our blogger sees cousins!

I’ve been busy with family over the past couple of weeks–our Offspring have been on their school holidays (a two-week break) and also, my cousins, whom I’ve not seen for over a decade, came to visit. It was really great to see them, and meet their children (and introduce ours) and now our Offspring are sad because I told them that the cousins live on the other side of the country! Still, it was lovely to see them all getting along, and my cousins are as awesome as they ever were.

Now, on with the links!

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The Week Links: in which our blogger makes music.

Last night I got out the electric piano. I’ve not played it in the almost two years we’ve been living here, and I promised the Handsome Sidekick I would help him out with a song on the game he’s about to release, so I sat, Schroeder-like, on the floor, working out the key and the bassline, and it was So. Much. Fun. It’s one of those moment when it really hits home just how important those ‘non-core’ subjects like music, art, sport, and (at least, here in Australia) languages are. It’s been over 20 years since I last had any formal musical instruction, and so much of it is still there, beneath the surface.

Music’s great, isn’t it? So are music teachers. So are parents who pay for lessons.

Hope you all have a musical day! Enjoy your links…

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Things Can Only Get Better.

I received call a few months ago, asking if I’d mind participating in a survey. Since it was only going to take up seven minutes of my time, I thought, sure, why not?

The questions were mainly about consumer confidence. I was asked if I thought housing prices were higher than they had been this time last year. (I said no). I was asked if I thought they would go up in the future (I said yes). Then he asked me if our financial situation were better, worse or the same now, compared to the same time last year. I had to think. Our Offspring are getting older, and we’ve needed to pay for items we didn’t need before. I said that I thought we were slightly worse off, financially, than we had been. Finally, he asked me if I thought we would be better off at the same time next year. ‘Oh, better,’ I said, almost without thinking.

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The Week Links: in which our blogger has new kittens!

It has been an adjustment, having younger cats around. The last time we had a kitten was nine years ago. Now we have a pair of six-month-old boys, and they are full of rough-and-tumble kitteny play. Our Offspring are utterly delighted with the kittens. The kittens are less delighted about our Offspring — although the tabby does seem to quite like their company. There has been a lot of giggling and squealing, interspersed with, ‘Ow! He just scratched me!’ Haha. Kittens do have a tendency to get a little carried away.

So in the brief window when the kittens are sleeping and our Offspring are outside playing, I’d better put these links up, and think about getting lunch ready! Have an interesting Sunday, everyone.

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The Frequent Frolic.

I made hot cross buns for the first time this week and it was AWESOME. I can highly recommend making them yourself, especially if your household is anything like mine in which a half-dozen buns disappear in one sitting. And it’s wonderfully appropriate weather for hot cross buns, too — cool and rainy.

I’m off to a birthday party with Third and Fourth Offspring this morning, so while I’m eating cake, please enjoy the links!

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Stormy Sunday.

Given that we’re expecting some wild weather this (Saturday) afternoon and evening, I’m quickly scheduling this post in case we lose power. So far, we’ve just had lots of drizzle and it’s a wonderfully cool day, but perhaps that’s the calm before the storm. I’ve decided to put the car in the shed later, just in case.

Right, then. I’m off to decide what we’ll eat tonight. Enjoy the links and enjoy your Sunday!

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Long-Weekend Links.

It’s a long weekend here in Western Australia (Labour Day), and First Offspring is also celebrating his birthday, which means that we’ll have some of his friends over for birthday tea later today. In the meantime, I’ll be doing some last-minute cleaning, and drinking a lot of tea… we woke up quite early, as you can imagine.

Summer seems to be finally over, thank goodness, and we’ve been having rain interspersed with sunshine, and the plants and animals (human and non-human) are loving it. So with that, I’ll leave you to enjoy your Sunday, and the links!

I realise that some might dismiss the correlation between the increase in natural disasters and climate change over the last several decades, but just hoping that things will improve on their own seems to be a highly ineffectual and naïve response. I would love for developed nations to take more interest in the fact that people are losing lives, homes and livelihoods from these disasters. But given that we always seem to be able to disregard the suffering of those who are different from us, then at the very least, we should care about the economics. Not only is it costly for the global community to support those affected by such disasters, but these weather events will ultimately also lead to a rise in the number of refugees, and then it really will become ‘our problem’. We will need to find ways to integrate many millions more into our countries. Can our societies or our infrastructure stand up to that? Wouldn’t it be better if we could affect change before it came to this?

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Recently I sent an email in which I wrote to the recipient that I’d attached a document. As I went to send it, Google told me that I’d mentioned I was attaching a document in the email body, but I’d not done it. Was I sure I wanted to send the email without the attachment? And I said, thank you Google, I did indeed forget, and it was kind of you to remind me. That’s helpful. But broad sweeping data retention? I don’t believe this is helpful. It’s a difficult balance, to ensure the privacy of the population while making certain that those people who would threaten the wellbeing of the population are unable to do so. According to our own politicians, the only way to ensure that we are safe is to record whom we email, text or speak to and what websites we visit. I’m not convinced. I don’t like the idea of my internet browsing history being held for two years at a time. Can the government guarantee that the data will be safe? Can they guarantee that holding all this data will make us safer? This article demonstrates just how much one can infer from metadata. It feels very Big-Brotheresque.

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When I first became vegetarian, it was mostly for environmental reasons. I’d read Diet for A Small Planet and was generally well into being a hippie, so the whole idea of eating green and shunning meat suited me just fine. But as this article points out, it’s not that simple. It rarely is, is it? For us to actually do something about climate change, we are going to need to change our lifestyle in a much bigger way.

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There is a trend of taking high school students (especially those from very privileged backgrounds) on overseas trips to help out in orphanages in developing countries. But again, like climate change, there is no sweeping one-size-fits-all solution. And there’s evidence that it actually splits families apart, rather than helping them. It’s a shame because I’m sure those who organise and go on these trips are doing it for the right reasons, but in effect, it’s a kind of neo-colonialism which ignores the importance of agency in the fight against poverty and for education.

This Week’s Wander.

It occurred to me this morning that I completely failed to take any notice of Friday the 13th or Valentine’s Day. Ho hum. Neither is really a big deal for us, I suppose – and although the shops and restaurants would have you believe differently, Valentine’s Day is not that important a date for most people. Still, if you celebrate either, I hope they were good to you!

It’s a cool, overcast day here on the south coast. I may mow the lawn and bake biscuits. Enjoy your Sunday, everyone.

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