Easter Update

Well, there's no doubt about it, 4 hour car trips, without much sleep really are beneficial when it comes to teaching toddlers to recite numbers. After singing Twinkle Twinkle, How Much is that Doggie in the Window, Baa Baa, Mary had a Little Lamb, I'm a Little Teapot, Open, Shut Them, If you're Happy and You Know It, etc we were really sick of singing and sick of listening to each other so we started with counting. Asher can now pretty reliably say the numbers, in order, from one to 5, in both English and Hindi. I was going to call it 'counting' but although I'm pretty sure he understands the concept of one-object-for-one-number he doesn't really have the hang of it yet. Which I guess isn't that surprising since we really only started with the idea last Saturday on the long drive north to my mum's place (and the kid is only 21 months).

The holiday itself was just fabulous. More and more Asher is happy to be entertained by his Aunties, Uncles and Grandparents, making it more and more of a holiday for Sanjay and I each time we go up there. It helps tremendously that the weather is still really warm so everyday we went to the beach to play in the sand and swim so the little dude gets tuckered out and is keen to get to sleep.

As well as spending a few days at Mum's we went to Port Macquarie where Sanjay's parents were holidaying with friends. I didn't have a great day part of that was an upset tummy which I will whinge about in another post if it continues but what really added to my grouchiness was having to hide in the hotel bathroom so as not to disrupt my child while he was going to sleep. Asher just giggled and shrieked and rolled around his travel cot while the other adults had lunch in a pub overlooking the water and I sat and read the crappy Sunday paper on the bathroom floor. I was grouchy and bitter for an hour or two but I managed to build a little bridge and get the hell over it soon enough.

Anyhow, I think this picture sums up the Easter break for me:

...and there's more where that came from on Flickr.


Earth Hour

I'm all for events that raise the public consciousness about environmental issues and I'm all for being more frugal with electricity generally, particularly with turning off brightly lit advertising, however there's something about Earth Hour that doesn't quite sit right with me. Earth Hour was apparently dreamt up with the idea that turning off the lights for one hour will deliver a powerful message about the need for action on global warming.

I think the questions on Lee's Blog (which I recently discovered) are very pertinent - are the power companies on board with this, understanding that there will be a dramatic decrease, then a surge, in demand? The Earth Hour FAQ says that coal fired (and gas and hydro) power stations respond to the power demand and therefore "it is very likely Earth Hour will cause a reduction in fossil energy power generation" which doesn't really sound that promising in terms of actually decreasing fossil fuel consumption to me.

What do people do while they have their lights off? Apart from spending some quality time together in their bedrooms (!) almost every activity needs some light. I don't think you are really in the spirit of the thing if you watch TV or surf on the 'net (no live blogging!) and since Asher will be asleep we can't take a stroll around the neighborhood. So what to do for light? Candles? The battery powered lantern that Eithne took camping that we now have? Ah, candles....

The Earth Hour FAQ gives all the usual safety warnings about candles and says:

If you plan on burning candles during Earth Hour, make sure you use 100% beeswax
candles which are gentler on our planet – smoke free, non-toxic and
non-allergenic. They are also made of natural products, not petroleum-based
materials, so they are effectively carbon neutral (the CO2 they emit has already
been taken from the atmosphere to produce the wax).

Now, apart from the fact that people should use whatever candles they already have at home so as not to increase candle production I tend to agree that they should use beeswax candles. However, I have a major problem with the idea that because they were produced with CO2 from the atmosphere and will release their CO2 back into the atmosphere, they are carbon neutral. Coal was once a plant material that got it's CO2 from the atmosphere so burning it is 'carbon neutral'? I don't think so. Light bulbs, particularly the modern long-life low-wattage bulbs are pretty efficient at creating light, much more efficient than candles. How much CO2 does an average candle emit when burnt? Letters to the SMH claim between 15g and 220g (although I suspect that the last estimate requires all the wax to be burnt, which it wouldn't be with a beeswax candle).

So, despite my cynicism, I will turn the lights off for Earth Hour, in fact I'll turn pretty much everything off. Just like last year, Sanjay and I will play Scrabble by candle-light and hope that as we all unplug we think of ways to keep things turned off for longer - read, talk, make music or play games instead of using computers and the TV and leave things turned off at the wall so they don't consume power while on standby, drive less, consume less, recycle their aluminium foil as well as their cans, lobby to have advertising signs turned off late at night, take our own bags and, as we do these things, I hope we feel productive and content.


Artwork Archive

Sanjay has been looking for more and more places around the house for us to put up Asher's growing body of artistic work. There really aren't that many paintings yet but I'm already forgetting which ones he did when and Sanjay can't bear to throw any of Asher's paintings away (yet). So on Friday I decided to put into practice a tip I read in a parent hacks post some time ago. We don't have a scanner to "digitize" his artwork, but I took photos of all the work I could lay my hands on. I'm planning on uploading the pictures too (particularly until we get around to doing back-ups of the photos on our hard-drive!). I think I might use my lesser-used Picasa rather than Flickr because I'm uploading for archiving/backup purposes rather than to show off to the overseas relatives!

As for the paintings themselves, I'll keep a current one that I like up and put the others away to use for wrapping gifts. I hope my family are all prepared to get their gift-vouchers or other little presents wrapped in giant toddler artwork!

In other news, Asher and I finally found one of the tiny caterpillars that was eating our basil:

He was fascinated, for a very short while, and we've had to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar quite a lot recently.


Daily Routine

Why do I want to blog when I'm pushing the buggy and heading off to the park? I think of things that Asher does that are funny or that I want to record for posterity, or stuff that's happening in the world that I really want to comment on. By the time I get home from wherever I've been I just want to get Asher to bed and eat some lunch and tidy up and I've forgotten whatever it was that I wanted to say. In lieu of a thought-out and thoughtful post I'm going to post about our daily routine.

7-7:30am - we wake up, Sanjay gets Asher his breakfast I eat breakfast, shower, get clothes for myself and Asher, make a Vegemite sandwich for Asher, put a load of washing on and Sanj gets ready for work.
8:30-9am - Sanj leaves for work and Asher and I usually head out to playgroup, the park or on Tuesdays, music class.
11:30-12 - Asher and I arrive home and at around 12 I put Asher in his cot for his sleep. Then I put out the washing, check email and make any necessary phone calls and eat my lunch. Before Asher wakes up I also try to get a bit tidied up, perhaps take the rubbish out, clean the kitchen or sweep. I also try and lie down for a few minutes while he's asleep.
2-3pm - Asher wakes up and we sometimes hang around home or go out for a walk. If he's grouchy I put him straight in the buggy and we head out. We either go up to the shops to pick up something for dinner or we head to the park or over to Megan's place. Sometimes we'll get a lift to the beach or have some other adventure with friends.
5-6pm - we usually get home and Asher eats, usually before 6:15. Sanjay gets home around this time too and between us we feed and play with Asher and start prepping our dinner and tidy up the devastation.
7pm - Sanjay bathes for Asher while I usually clean up after Asher's dinner. When he is in his PJs we have some books and songs and it's time for bed around 7:30.
8pm - Sanj and eat dinner and have a glass of wine. Often we sit in stunned silence and stare at the TV or we sit at the table outside. We clean up, maybe get something else done around the house or spend some time Internetting, watching TV or reading and then I am usually in bed around 11pm waiting for it all to start again in the morning.

So, not an interesting post, but perhaps useful in the future when I'm trying to remember what life was like when Asher was 20 months old.....