One: To Be Held in a Good Light
I love Lucy’s posts on parenting over at Lulastic and the Hippyshakes; I might not always agree with every conclusion she reaches (I think there is absolutely a value to learning Latin, though there’s more than one method of doing so!), but she always makes me think and remember to challenge the status quo.
Her post this week about stopping to look for the good intentions in our children’s actions really hit home, and I wonder how often I’ve jumped in to say no to my three without taking the time to work out what it is they’re actually trying to achieve. I strongly suspect there are more than a few times when their only objective is to stop their sibling having something that they want, with not an ounce of higher purpose to it, but there must be times when they’re trying to do the right thing but they just don’t know how to do it because they’re five/two/one. Thinking about it, I do give Pip that benefit; if he hits Kitty over the head with a magnifying glass I know he’s not trying to hurt her, he’s actually trying to both give her a hug and show her a magnifying glass and it’s just gone a bit awol in the execution, and I want to think that way about the big sisters too.
Motto of the week: “what are you trying to do?” not “stop!” unless anyone or anything is about to get broken.
Did you know that there’s no such thing as a pterodactyl? Dinosaurs have arrived in the vegetable garden at Kitty’s school and her class are doing their best to look after them and make them welcome. The useful pub quiz knowledge comes courtesy of her weekend project to find a fact about dinosaurs and draw a picture and write a sentence about it; pterodactyl is used to refer to both pterodactylus and pteranodon but doesn’t mean anything distinct itself.
With perfect timing the lovely peeps at Sweet Apple Books sent us a review copy of one of their latest treasures so we’ve been reading about dinosaurs at our bedtime story too, only these ones maybe aren’t quite so paleontologically correct! Oddsockasaurus is a very sweet story of a little boy and all the dinosaurs he dresses up as depending on his mood.
There’s Oddsockasaurus who appears either in times of laundry crisis or just for fun, Mudiraptor who has an irresistible attraction to muddy puddles, Readabookadocus who definitely appears in my girls’ repertoire from time to time and a whole load of other friends.
The aim of the book is to give children a voice for some of their feelings and actions, or rather a dinosaur, and to sneak in the unspoken message that they aren’t any one of those things, they’re all of them at different times and sometimes all of them bundled together.
I think it’s a really lovely idea, sweetly illustrated and it’s been top of the bedtime story pile for some time now.
Three: Magic Lessons
I devoured Big Magic in one sitting. While sitting in the bath.
It’s Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book (she of Eat Pray Love which I have neither read nor watched the film but rather want to now) and I absolutely loved it. In making Magic Lessons she simply says that she just wasn’t finished with the idea so she made a spin off (can you have a spin off from a book?). Twelve podcasts, usually 15-20 minutes long, taking some of the practical tips and advice on pursuing your creativity from the book and talking them through with real life people.
Even if you haven’t read a sentence from the book it’s just so full of joy and enthusiasm and “why not” that it’s infectious, and it’s essential listening if you read the book, got to the end and thought, “oh no, it’s all gone!”. Not that that would happen to any Readabookadocus you might find around here, oh no!
Four: YouTube Thumbnails
And now from thinking to doing. Kate Rushworth’s session at Blogfest on being a YouTube superstar had me scribbling furiously to catch all her top tips in a canter through the inner workings of YouTube. There are lots of things that I now know I need to tweak but according to Kate the most important thing you can do to make your videos shine is to get the thumbnail right. Make it a high res image, with lots of contrast and cropped closely so that it still makes sense when it’s shrunk down to teeny tiny on your phone and you’re putting your best foot forward.
The other thing I didn’t know about is the YouTube Creator Academy which can tell you everything you never knew you needed to know and a whole heap besides. How to put a little image watermark on your videos? How to make an introduction video to sit at the type of your channel? How to add subscribe buttons? It’s all there.
Five: Cute Girls Hairstyles
And finally, and speaking of YouTube, have you come across the Cute Girls Hairstyles channel? Kate mentioned it as a worked example and I knew at once that Kitty would love it. She adores having fancy plaits, even if they all fall apart quite quickly, which is a good thing because anything too complicated and I will fall apart quite quickly (although many hours of practicing means I can do a smashing Belle from Beauty and the Beast).
We sat down with hairbrush and bobbles on Sunday morning and the video for the Tuxedo braid and not only did my finished version look not entirely unlike the one in the pictures, it even lasted all the way through church.
H is going to start watching in the hopes that it can teach him how to do a ponytail.