I’m a bad person because…

I’m a bad person because I want to get off Facebook because I don’t really care about other people.

I know. Of all the dark and despicable deeds in the world it’s hardly worth mentioning. But the realisation that I’m just not that interested in others and their lives goes against a basic assumption that I’ve always made about myself – that I’m a selfless, caring, person.

Partly I know it’s a personality thing. While it might seem a ridiculous claim for someone who blogs to make, I don’t really like sharing my private thoughts and feelings in a public forum and I find the comments and status updates of those who do a bit unnerving. I know this is simply a personality clash – online as in the real world there are people who gush like a tap on full blast and then there are those people more like a tap that’s been rusted off for years. They’ll only open up given the right lubricant (usually wine or beer). I fall somewhere in the middle. I can overshare at times but not to a complete stranger on the bus.

On Facebook I don’t share pictures of my children because I feel this opens them up to people I don’t know and who might use those pictures in unsavoury ways. I try to steer clear of being political or controversial – my mum always told me not to discuss politics, religion or money with people and I apply to this rule equally to Facebook as I do to my real world relationships. The exception being good friends and family, because always agreeing would be so dull. And I rarely comment on other people’s status updates simply because between B1 and B2, my husband, my writing and the evil overlord cat, I don’t have a lot of time.

But other people, of course, are different. They share their hopes, dreams and worries. They share photos of their kids, their accomplishments, their illnesses, their failures and how crap (or otherwise) their teacher is. They make political statements. They condemn some and laud others. They make annoying philosophical comments which then encourages others to make comments like, ‘oh hun. wots rong?’ *shudder*

And the artificial intimacy created by a forum such as Facebook maintains relationships that might otherwise have fizzled out. It’s like thawing and refreezing and thawing and refreezing a friendship. And we all know how that well that works out with chicken.

So why, you may be screaming at your computer, don’t I just pull the plug? After all, no one is forcing me to read other people’s Facebook posts.

Partly it’s because I don’t want to be a bad person. Or, more accurately, be seen as being a bad person who doesn’t care about the lives and interests of others.

And partly it’s because I don’t want to miss out. Increasingly friends, actual friends who I actually see in real life, communicate only through Facebook. Party invites, birth announcements, job promotions, and the list goes on, are all put on Facebook. If I’m not…how will I know these things? This poses some difficult questions about friendship that I’m not ready to face yet…but will wake me up at 3am.

 

So, tell me, how Facebook savvy are you? And how much do you share or not share? And do you have any tips for me on finding Facebook zen?

Quack

One brand new day, a brand new hen arrived on the farm and the whole hen house was in a flap.

Chicks giggled, hens squawked, Dot blushed from her toes to the tip-top of her comb.

“What’s going on in here?” asked the short sighted rooster.

“Quack!” said Dot.

“Oh dear, oh dear!” squawked Rooster, “No ducks in the hen house please. Go back to the pond with the other ducks.”

“But…”

Rooster bundled her out of the door.

“I guess I could be a duck,” thought Dot.

The ducks were heading off for their morning swim.

Waddle-waddle, slip, slide, splash.

Dot followed them.

Wiggle-waggle, slip, slide, splash, glug.

“You can’t swim,” said the ducks as they pushed Dot onto the bank, “you can’t be a duck. Crows can’t swim. Go to the paddock with the other crows.”

“I might be a crow,” thought Dot.

The crows were just beginning their choir practise.

Caw-caw, caw-caw-caw, caaaw-caaaw, ca-aw.

Dot cleared her throat.

Caaw-arg-arg-erk-awk-ark-yurk-erg.

“You can’t sing,” said the crows, “you can’t be a crow. You look a bit like a pigeon. You should head over to the farmhouse.”

“That must be it,” thought Dot.

The pigeons were practising their plies.

Up, down, up, down, up, down, up.

Dot stretched her legs.

Up, down, up, stumble, trip, oomph.

“You lack grace dear,” said the pigeons, helping her up, “you can’t be a pigeon.”

“Then what am I?” Dot said, fluffing her feathers.

But night was coming and the pigeons had all flown off to their nests.

Dot trudged back to the hen house.

“What am I?” wondered Dot. A tear dripped off the end of her beak.

Her stomach growled…

Gurgled…

Groaned…

Grumbled!

Dot flew to her feet, “I forgot!”

She dashed into the hen house, leapt into her nest, crossed her eyes, held her breath and…

Laid one perfect brown egg.

“Woohoo! I quack like a duck but I lay eggs like a chicken,” crowd Dot.

“What are you then?” asked the chicks.

Dot looked out of the hen house door. The moon was rising high into the sky, big and bright and nothing like the stars around it.

She snuggled into her nest, “I’m just me.”

Bunyip’s Night

Bunyip in his watery bed tossed and turned, groaned and grunted, wriggled and wiggled, fidgeted and flicked his tail.
He yawned and yawned again.
But still Bunyip couldn’t sleep.
“Who’s making so much noise?” he said.

Bunyip checked his fish were sleeping tight and then splished and splashed out of his dam.

He saw Platypus floating on top of the water.
“Are you making that noise?” Bunyip said.
“Not me,” said Platypus, splashing out of sight.

Bunyip stomped between the pale Eucalypt trees and saw Possum over head.
“Are you making that noise?” Bunyip said.
“Not me,” said Possum, leaping away through the leaves.

Bunyip stomped towards the edge of the forest, whipping his tail behind him, and saw Wombat snuffling in the leaf litter.
“Are you making that noise?” Bunyip said.
“Not me,” said Wombat, backing away into the shadows.

The noise was louder now. It bopped and it zinged, it flew and it crashed, it thudded and it sang.
Bunyip stepped out into the clearing. His enormous mouth dropped open.

There were Bunyips everywhere.

Big ones and small ones, ones with feathers and ones with fur, ones with shimmery scales and ones with twisting tales. Bunyips of every colour and hue. All of them prancing and spinning, dancing and grinning. All of them having a wonderful time.

And Bunyip’s feet started tapping, his hands started clapping, his hips started swaying and his head started bobbing.
“Wow, you look great!” said a Bunyip passing by, “Come dance with us.”

And Bunyip did. He twisted and he twirled, he grinned and he guffawed, he waved and he winked, he fandangoed and he flounced. He was having such wonderful time that he didn’t notice the other Bunyips were drifting away until he heard a low roar and then another and then another!

There were bright lights that made Bunyip blink and thuds and growls that made Bunyip jump. The other bunyips were taking off their tails and their ears and getting into growling boxes.

Monsters! Monsters everywhere!

With a shudder and a shriek Bunyip ran back into the forest, through the Eucalypt trees, and splashed back into his dam. He sank to the bottom and his fish snuggled in around him.
To think! He’d been dancing with monsters and he never even knew it.

It had been a lot of fun though.

He yawned. He didn’t toss or turn, grunt or groan, wriggle or wiggle, fidget or flick his tail. He just snored, snored, snored.

Not Today! – ages 6 months +

Take it away! Take it away! Don’t you know I don’t like toast today?

Bring me cheese and bring me jam, bring me apples and chips and ham.

 

What do you mean that’s not breakfast food? Fine, I’ll eat it so as not to be rude

 

Take it away! Take it away! Don’t you know I don’t like blue today?

Bring me my pink dress, not those long pants, bring me my soft shoes so I can dance.

 

What do you mean it’s too rainy and cold? Fine, if I must I’ll do as I’m told.

 

Take it away! Take it away! Don’t you know I don’t like playing with dolls today?

Bring me a bike with round black wheels, I’ll race down the hills with shouts and squeals.

 

What do you mean I don’t know how to ride? Fine, if I must I’ll stick with the slide.

 

Take it away! Take it away! Don’t you know I don’t like sausages today?

Bring paper and pencils galore, I’ve got ideas and pictures to draw.

 

What do you mean it’s dinner time? Fine, if I must I’ll eat mine.

 

Take it away! Take it away! Don’t you know I don’t like books today?

Bring me spoons and pots and pans, I want to start my own kitchen band.

What do you mean it’s time for bed? Fine, if I must I’ll lay down my head.

 

Wait, don’t go! Won’t you stay? I want to tell you about my wonderful day.

Lay down here and hold my hand. Tomorrow’s a new day and I have so much planned.

 

What do you mean? We can do it all? There’s no adventure too big, no wish too small.

 

 

 

Oli the Elephant and the Fly – ages 18 months +

12th 001

Oli the Elephant lumbered through the whispering grasses flapping his ears, waving his trunk and humming a happy little tune.

“What a perfect day,” he thought.

11th 001

Bzzzzzzzzz. Snort! Awk!

“Get out,” said Oli but the fly was stuck.

Bzzzzzzz bzzzzzzzz!

10th 001

It gave Oli a terrible headache. He snorted. He snuffled. He shook his trunk this way and twisted it that way.

Bzzzzzzz! Bzzzzzzzz! BUUUZZZZZ!

9th 001

Oli spun around and around in circles, trying to shake the fly loose, but he only made himself dizzy. He wobbled this way and that, knocking a herd of grazing zebra into a black and white striped tangle.

“Sorry!” called Oli, stumbling away.

8th 001

Next, Oli tap danced around a clutch of ostrich eggs, frightening the mother ostriches into a flurry of feathers.

“Sorry again,” called Oli.

7th 002

Oli barrelled towards a family of warthogs in their smelly, squelchy, wallow.

“Oh no!” they squealed and jumped out of the way.

7th 001

Oli slipped. Oli Slid. Oli stumbled.

5th 001

“Oooooo!” said the other animals as Oli pirouetted one way.

“Aaaaah!” said the animals as Oli Jetéd the other way.

“Wow!” chorused the animals as Oli did a double summersault with a twist.

Oli4thlast 001

“Ouch!” winced the animals as Oli belly-flopped into the mud.

Oli3rdlast 001

Oli lay very still. He could feel the other animals watching him. He wished he could just…disappear. But he couldn’t stay laying in the mud forever. What could he do?

Oli the Elephant 001

Oli stood up. He took a deep breath and…

Baaooooooooooo!

The fly shot out of his trunk and flew off into the distance.

All the animals cheered, “Well done Oli!”

OliLast 001

Oli bowed, “It really is a beautiful day,” he thought.

Bed Bugs – age 3+

“Night.”

 

“G’night.”

 

“Sleep tight.”

 

“Boys, it’s time to turn out the light.”

 

Click

 

“Don’t let the bedbugs bite!

 

“Bedbugs?”

 

“Tiny things with gnashing teeth, hairs that tickle and feet that prickle and…”

 

“Slippers!”

 

“Slippers?”

 

“Dancing slippers. They dace a jig. All night long they dance a jig. Under the doona, across the sheets, over the pillow and…”

 

“The music’s played by the Bogey Man!”

 

“The Bogey Man?”

 

“The Bogey Man and his skeleton band. His voice makes the windows rattle, his eyes make people tremble, his breath smells like dirty socks and…”

 

“He’s not real!”

 

“Are you sure? Maybe he lurks in the dark, maybe his teeth are as sharp as a shark’s, maybe his fingers are long and cold and…”

 

“Can you hear that?”

 

“Something on the stairs?”

 

“Can you hear that?”

 

“Something at the door?”

 

“Can you hear that?”

 

“Something coming in…”

 

“Hide!”

 

“Boys! It’s time to sleep. Now, goodnight!”

 

“Is there really a Bogey Man? Playing music with his skeleton band?”

 

“No, not really. Anyway, the Bogey Man is really small and can’t play any instruments at all.”

 

“Night.”

 

“G’night.”

 

“Sleep tight.”

 

“Good. Night.”

 

“Don’t let the bedbugs bite.”

 

 

 

I’ll Never Ever Invite a Dung Beetle to Tea – 6 months +

Just a quick little rhyme to share with the littlies.

Happy reading!

 

Monkeys eat bananas and I like them too.

Dogs like a meaty bone to chew.

Caterpillars eat salad and that’s fine with me,

But I’ll never ever ever invite a dung beetle to tea!

 

Cats like fish, I like mine with chips,

Birds will share my apples and carry off the pips.

Mice can always share their cheese with me,

But I’ll never ever ever invite a dung beetle to tea!

 

Seagulls will gulp my sandwiches if there’s nothing else around.

Some pigs delight in truffles, if they can be found.

Ducks love bread when I give it for free,

But I’ll never ever ever invite a dung beetle to tea!

 

Rabbits spend all day munching carrots

And crackers are favoured by piratical parrots.

My little brother gobbles chocolates with glee,

But I’ll never ever ever invite a dung beetle to tea!

 

I’m really not a fussy eater,

And I’m sure  that they couldn’t be sweeter.

But what dung beetles eat just isn’t for me,

So I’ll never ever ever invite a dung beetle for tea!

 

 

There’s a Pirate Living Next Door – Ages 18 months +

Yet another story for little ones although this one is written in verse. I used to write poetry all the time when I was an angst ridden teenager (ooo, I cringe just thinking about it).

To be honest, when reading to B1 and B2 I hate rhyme but then there’s always exceptions like the fabulous Hairy Maclary by Lynley Dodd and anything by Dr. Suess but especially The Lorax. It actually makes me tear up some most every time.

What makes a good rhyming story do you think? And have you ever written something in rhyme that you feel works well? Have a read through and let me know. As always, happy reading.

 

The man next door, bent and old,

His joints stiff, his hands cold,

Used to sail the seven seas

And over the fence while I plucked peas,

He told his ocean tale to me.

He was feared across the waters,

By men and women, sons and daughters.

His eyes shone like the sun on the waves,

He surrounded himself with vicious knaves.

Who could fight them? There were none so brave.

His beard was as long as a mermaid’s tail,

His back as straight and strong as a nail.

There was no ship he would not attack,

No storm so fierce that he’d turn back.

No waves too high, no sky too black.

And then one day this king of the sea,

(He whispered this part to me),

Asked his loyal men to follow him into the swell,

But his men did not take that well.

And under their might the captain fell.

“Mutiny!” the captain cried from the hold,

But for his life, he did as he was told.

They searched his maps and knew where the treasure lay,

They demanded he take them there that day.

They all had swords. What could he say?

They dropped anchor just off a golden beach.

The first mate, a foul-smelling leech,

Bound the captain’s hands with rope and chain,

Pulled them tight to cause great pain.

The captain’s struggles were all in vain.

At sword point he lead them across the sand

But what happened next they had not planned.

Those pirates could not suspect,

The captain had one true friend yet.

Jake the parrot, his faithful pet.

As they crested the golden dunes,

They heard a fear inducing tune.

The screech and scream of Jake and his friends,

Parrots, monkeys, all of them,

Bearing down upon the men.

They scratched and clawed and bit,

While the men tried to slash and hit.

The animals were all too strong,

The pirates wondered how it all went so wrong,

While across the beach, dark shadows stretched long.

As the sun went down they ran away,

The captain never saw them again since that day.

“But what about the jewels and gold?”

I asked the pirate, feeling bold.

He winked and, if he knew, he never told.

And then, not long after that,

He packed up his parrot and feathered hat.

I like to think he went back to sea,

That, that is where he’ll always be.

On the waves, fierce and free.