Saturday, February 24, 2007

First Aid

At dinner Hazel often asks "What did you learn today?" she didn't tonight, but if she had I would have had an answer because I did a First Aid refresher course with First Aid Consultants today. Here's what I learnt:
  1. Survey the scene.
    • dangers in general?
    • what happened?
    • number of patients?
  2. D - dangers to patient (move them?)
    R - responsive?
    S - send for help ("ring ambulance, come back and tell me when you have")

    A - airway open (+ stabilise head and neck)
    B - breathing? (look, listen, feel)
    C - CPR
    • if patient under 8 then start with 5 rescue breaths
    • C: 30 Chest compressions (in time with Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" 30 takes you about one chorus)
    • A: airway open?
    • B: 2 rescue breaths
  3. Airway closed? 5 back blows, 5 Heimlichs (or chest thrusts if can't), repeat.
    Breathing but unconcious -> Recovery Position
    Conscious but breathless -> Sit Up (elbows up too perhaps)
    Conscious but feeling faint -> Lie Flat on ground
  4. Body Check
    1. Calmly introduce and explain yourself, ask what happened.
    2. "Squeeze my fingers with your hands"
    3. "Push my hands with your feet (if can't lower spine injury, don't move them)"
    4. Head: look for fluid coming out ears, nose, mouth. Feel for spongey skull.
    5. Neck, spine, abdomen: feel for hard bits.
    6. Squash pelvis: check for grating
    7. Check legs then arms for deformity, bruising, pain. Check joints work.
  5. Nil by mouth.
  6. Keep the patient warm and reassure people. Speak slowly, deep and calm.
  7. Keep Monitoring and Reassuring.
If a person is unconscious get an ambulance. If a someone has been knocked out they should be checked out.

If you've RICEd someone (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and there's no reduction in pain or swelling or they don't have the ability to move the thing, take them to A&E. Do no HARM for the first 24 hours (Heat, Alcohol, Resuming activity, Massage: all things which make more blood and inflammation at the site of the injury).

Burns are now 20 minutes under cool water (softly running). Get off all relevant jewelery and clothing unless it sticks.

Labels: , ,

Friday, February 23, 2007

Tandem sky-diving.

Should I go tandem sky-diving with my friend who wants to go?


Schema fascination.

I've been writing an article for the Playcentre Journal about schemas and transitions (and Hazel cutting stuff up). This is some more thinking around it.

At my Playcentre we use schema learning theory to help us deliver Te Whaariki (the New Zealand Early Childhood curriculum).

Other people say that schemas are repeated themes in children's thinking and patterns of behaviour. I think they are a useful framework we can use to consider the consuming passions of children. This Schema Matrix I had published in the Playcentre Journal a few years ago will give you the right sort of idea and what's more lots of people find it useful in practice.

Children are utterly passionate about their schemas, this makes schemas very useful when dealing with children. Children like people who share their schemas. On session, a free-play environment combined with the children's abiding schema interests provide a lot of continuity for us. Children think hard about their schema fascinations so they learn a lot from their schemas and they become experts in the areas their schemas lead them into. Children are also easier to redirect within a schema than outside it.

I have noticed that children often seem to express very strong emotions with their schemas, I think someone with a trajectory schema will often throw things when furious or jubilant, while someone with a rotation schema is more likely to turn angrily on a heel or pirouette joyfully.

Things are looking up, night before last Hazel was utterly absorbed in dissolving toilet paper in a basin full of soapy water and yesterday morning she was mixing canned plum juice with milk at breakfast (as well as cutting out the lips of people from magazines for her sister). The changing mixtures suggest she might be moving on to processing this major life event as a transformation, which is perfect, and I prefer cleaning up a transforming schema's truly mucky messes to finding my books torn to pieces.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Emotional processing

Once upon a time in Nelson I observed a child, in his last couple of weeks before leaving Playcentre for school, mixing sand and water to make floods for dolls-house people (in which they died). His transformation schema worked on a multitude of levels: a physical transformation, a story about transformation of a landscape and death (the biggest transformation of all), all part of the transformation to school-child.

Hazel (a notably clingy child) has just started school. She's doing a lot of disconnecting. She's been cutting her bedding, Sean's sock, her teddy's fur and Iris's bed base, she's been drawing smiles on pieces of paper and cutting them out for us as presents. She's picking things apart, dismembering dolls, crumbling food, and pulling things to pieces. I'm not sure what the content of her stories is, I'm rather worn out with dealing with the physical disconnections. I'm very interested that it's disconnecting that she's doing as she disconnects from us in order to connect to school when trajectory has long been her dominant schema.

And I'm wondering, can you remember other children's schemas at the start of school or during other major life events and were they an abstraction on such a high level of the way they were experiencing the world?

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Having a happy birthday so far!

My household made me a grand birthday breakfast with eggs in hollandaise sauce, cake, and coffee on a petal scattered table with hydrangeas tied to my chair. Hazel and Iris (and Anne) have made me a shiny Cadbury Roses wrappers patchwork handbag!!!!

Hazel didn't cry after she got to school. We were almost late so she didn't really have time I suppose.

I took a bus to town.

and bought many brightly coloured things to wear. I met Sean and Iris at the Costume Cave sale, didn't buy all the brightly coloured things I could have, and had a lovely lunch at a place whose name seems to have been erased from my mind. They'd been at Tumble Tots, where for the second week in a row the woman of the team had done the demonstration of the equipment.

When we got home my father met us and he and I walked up to collect Hazel from school and my mother and nieces (a.k.a. H and K) came over shortly after we got home for afternoon tea. H and K brought me oodles of balloons from their own birthday party and Mummy and Daddy gave me some interesting looking books. Hazel read her latest book to my father, which is only fair after all hours he's spent reading to her.

And then we went swimming, and had dinner out.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I saw a man today. He was not familiar but his stance was. He was not dressed for sticky hands and fingerpaint, but he was as on duty as I was, eyes roving and standing ready to react. At first I thought he had an unreliable but independent toddler, one that might make a break for a busy road or run into the path of swing at any moment. But he wasn't watching the children, although he was giving his charge all the independence and space he could while still being there, just in case.

I felt warmly to him, we were doing the same job. I suppose we're all bodyguards at Playcentre.


Keeping it ever so seemly.

Last night was a lovely night and this morning was a beautiful morning. Anne and Iris both chuckling and even I was staggering about and smiling by twenty past seven. Knowing Sean had made Hazel's lunch and I'd done a nice job of shopping for the Playcentre morning tea, I figured I had time enough for cleanliness so I even got the washing on the line despite wanting to be at Playcentre pretty early in order to help everything go smoothly for Alan Johnson's visit. Considering that I was preparing to have the UK State Secretary for Education and Skills come to visit intending to learn something from my work I thought I had done a fine job to keep the flap at a reasonably normal level.

But when we walked into Hazel's classroom sitting in her beloved teacher's place was someone else! Hazel became clingier and clingier as the new person, who had actually taught me on occasion when I was a pupil at that school, tried to make friendly conversation. When it came time for me and Iris to leave Hazel totally did her nut. Her beloved, and quite experienced, teacher said that, in her experience, the best course of action was to just leave. So I gave Hazel my jacket as a transitional object and Iris and I left. We heard Hazel's cries all the way out the gate and down the street.

"Hazel does want her little sister but we are going away Mummy!"

I was concerned too; the beloved teacher wasn't there when I was given that advice at a creche and Hazel screamed the place down all afternoon and then went from a pleasantly independent 15 month-old to a dramatically clingy one and stayed like that for a couple of years. Neither was she there when I was given that advice at swimming lessons and she wouldn't put her head under the water for the next year and a half.

Fortunately Playcentre was in good shape despite me being 25 minutes late. The kids and visitors had a beautiful peaceful session (at Karen and Nigel's wedding someone said that a good marriage was like swans gliding across the lake, beautiful, serene and the product of madly paddling orange duck feet under the surface; the session was like that). I'm not sure that Alan Johnson got what we are though; Playcentre is not a play group. Playcentre is an organised pedagogical movement in Early Childhood Education, as are Steiner and Montessori, Playcentre's unique features are that it is based on free play in a rich environment, it is native to New Zealand, and it is run as a parent volunteer co-operative. Play groups are groups where kids play together while adults talk, they are unlikely to be licensed ECE providers).

I rang the school and they said Hazel had settled in 3 minutes, and was busy and happy in her class, that she played happily at play-lunch, and at lunch, and that other kids looked after her.

She was let out of class first because she'd been so brave and I gave her a flower and got a huge hug, she gave me the jacket (which she had been wearing around her neck) back, then she sniffed the flower, rejected it, read me her homework book, said something to her teacher and we set off for home.

I think I need to play some Ultimate; get me ya-yas out. But for now ... housework!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A day with Iris.

The day Hazel started school the skies were scorching clear. Iris and I went to a cafe with friends and lunched on fruit and carrots in the bush listening to the birds. Iris ran to the toilet and got there with bone dry undies, danced to every car stereo we overheard, took off all her clothes to play in a sprinkler and we agreed we'd had a day of delights. All day I felt Hazel's absence as an emptiness in my stomach like a new love.

Hazel walked out of school a three-metre tall born-again pupil with a new book bag , she told me it was the first day of homework and read her homework book to me in the playground, and to Iris at home, and to Iris and me at home, and she got Iris to read it to me too. She then told me
"Ella was kind to me," and asked "can I start my homework? How do you do homework?"
As she had already read the book I told her she could copy the words out of the book if she wanted to do extra homework. She copied out the title and first sentence, and drew around the book ("not on the book!" she explained hotly) "to see what shape it is." She was a little disappointed to hear that although the teacher had given her the book it was not hers to keep, but vastly cheered to hear the school has a whole library.

She tells me she played with Ella, Nyah, Zoe, Tara and Maria, but not the other Ella who lives next door. That she took the principal 3 of the 4 pictures she did today because when she was visiting he'd said that sometimes people bring him things they are very proud of and it's the best part of his day.

I'm as threadbare as a thousand year old rug and I haven't even done the washing so Hazel has no clean knickers to wear tomorrow to the school picnic I found out about today (Iris and I are invited too).

Labels: , ,


Hazel starts school after breakfast. I know all the steps but I really don't grok how having sex without a condom five and three-quarters years ago makes me a pupil's parent tomorrow.

Even that baby who was so heart-breaking beautiful that people stopped in the street in order to point it out to each other seemed like an unlikely consequence, but this, a relationship with a school, that's just weird. Weirder yet: it's my old primary school she's about to go to.

I hope she learns to read soon.

But I don't know whether I hope she's a geek or not, though, as my most important work here is done and I can't change it now, I suppose it doesn't matter one way or the other.


Thursday, February 01, 2007


Iris gave up nappies at 20 months. But she never got into the keeping one pair of undies dry all day mindset. Now she has dog and fairy stickers and a place to stick them which she can see from the toilet her undies have been "bone dry" for 24 hours.

Hazel had sticker rewards a long time ago for "being a good big sister" (not making the baby cry). Knowing Iris was getting them for toileting, Hazel wanted a reprise. She's been giving up toys to Iris willingly and asking for her input into choices.

It's amazing the motivational power that putting a sticker on a piece of paper has.

Perhaps I should get one too. I could put a sticker on the chart every time I do something the way I want my children to learn to do it, for getting down to their level and interacting with them, for cleaning up messes, tidying things, keeping my cool, admin stuff, and doing my foot and bottom exercises.

Labels: , ,