Building Mazes for Hamsters

Nope, notta lofty post, this.

After a chapter of incidents over the last year culminating over the last few weeks in this home, we’re looking at a purging of…. baggage. The Big Clean. Nothing quite compares to throwing stuff out, or ……..rediscovering long lost treasurers.

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These two are up early (very unusual on Rockstar’s part) to build domino mazes out of their old building blocks. The aim of this game is for Gemma to ring that bell. A lot of the time she just crashes off through the walls.


Gemma doesn’t comply easily – which brings me to the hamster. This animal is seriously lucky, classified as a “street stray” upon detainment at the SPCA rescued from wandering the street. She then goes about life and the kids’ weird forms of entertainment in assembling and redecorating cages for her (we now have 3), finding new and interesting foods, with an “Oh, You’re Doin This For Moi? Cool.” attitude.

Gemma chews the bars when she wants something. If you forget to refill her drinking water, or if she just wants another biscuit. If, at 4am, you figure out what this spunky little thing wants, you’re good to go. If you can’t tell what she wants, just snap at her to stop it. Sometimes it works.

Gemma fills her running ball with sunflower seed shells. It would appear she likes the swishing sound, while running. Empty that out, and you get a look from the rodent. One time I woke to the sound of carrot biscuits rattling around in there. It was too much baggage. So I took the cage apart and shook all the noisy bits out of the ball.

It’s our most recent metaphor of life. Just shake the hard bits out of your training ball when they make too much noise.

Then Run, Forrest, Run. Have a good week ahead, dears :)

ps: Queen E’s birthday is in early June ok, but I only just finally cleared one of their play areas enough to put her dressup carousel stuffed animal high-rise birthday gift in its rightful place… But oh what a pretty place, now…




(Those are recycled Ikea photo frames - threw out the glass (breaks too easily and I'm never having glass in the kids' rooms again!))

(Those are recycled Ikea photo frames – threw out the glass (breaks too easily and I’m never having glass in the kids’ rooms again!))

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Some Writings Are Read. Others are purchased to place impressively on one’s bookshelves.

Long overdue Rockstar holiday reads…

pic from

pic from

Rockstar really, really likes this book, we’ve watched him read and re-read this throughout summer. Sharon Draper’s Out of My Mind is not exactly unknown, but we had never heard of it until Rockstar picked it up for himself on a regular bookstore excursion (it’s never easy to shop for him – not for clothes, not for food, and definitely not for books).

Out of My Mind is the story of an 11 year old girl born with cerebral palsy who, as she grows up, struggles with her condition…. and with prejudice. Unable to speak or move much, people assume Melody is also well, stupid, and she is even wrongly diagnosed at the age of 5 with severe mental retardation. She is unable to communicate well enough to tell her parents that it’s the special ed classes that are “boring”. I asked Rockstar why he likes this book so much, he said, “Because it lets me see things in a different way that I couldn’t imagine.” Getting to know Melody is learning to see the difference between the body, the book cover, the mind, the content.

Melody’s parents are about to have another baby. She overhears their fears that her sibling will be born with the same disabilities.

Melody “sees” more than the able-bodied, trapped in her own body, as her (healthy) sibling grows.

Melody can “hear” colours. She can “taste” music.

Melody’s school begins a Culture of Inclusion (something else Rockstar can identify with – his school has had this for several years, and last year Rockstar was in the “SEN class”, the class with the SEN kids in his year band. One of Rockstar’s friends since Kindy days is SEN, and so Rockstar got to be on the same table/ group/ class in the course of regular class activities that year. Rockstar would come home occasionally commenting, “I think my friend changed treatments recently, he’s sitting down more/ walking around more etc etc.” Having the chance to see his friend in school through the years (besides the occasional playdate outside of school) has been a learning experience like no other, of the kind we couldn’t have had if Rockstar was always with a bunch of perfectly picked, purely academically high-achieving kids, who always have the “right” answers.)

Melody surpasses all expectations by not only participating but helping her school team qualify for the national trivia competition to be held in DC.

But no that’s not the fairy tale ending.

I don’t like fairy tales. They make you think any “less perfect” ending isn’t “good enough”. They affect your ability to find joy in what you have, because you’re waiting for a miracle cure, a miracle lottery ticket, a miracle…. person, who sweeps you off your feet and away from all your cares and troubles. It comes dangerously close to the lack of a miracle being an excuse for something not working out.

Victor Frankl said, “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” a.k.a. Person Who Survives 3 Holocausts Says This So We All Need To Duck Our Heads And Feel Paisay About Stuff We Often Complain Bothers Us Each Day 😛 (Seriously, anyone else feel that way? After whining then see some super-inspiring quote, read what the person went through and quote becomes almost equal parts inspiring and guilt-inspiring)

Ok next – the Survivors book series by Erin Hunter.

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Rockstar picked this up in school – he started off having these in his desk tray (the kids pick extra books to read for when they finish their class work early I think he said) and promptly finished the series. He highly recommends these because they are narrated from the point of view of the pack animals in the wild and he says he learned a lot about their behaviour – particularly Alpha, Beta, Omegas in the packs.

There is a cat series as well, some of which he’s also read, but he prefers the dog ones… Can’t remember why, I think he said something about the dog ones being more “realistic”..

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pic from

And now – the… “Science Book Like No Other”. This, this right here is the book you buy to display impressively on your shelves. This is the kind of book you pile on the coffee table, or, together with like-minded other books, turn into that coffee table.

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…oklah. We got this and a few like it because a top mummy blogger in the States who has a very bookish tween daughter recommended them. Quite good. But at Rockstar’s age (8) not very easy to stick with. They’re in bite-sized articles but even I find them a little chim. Rockstar liked a few of the articles, but lost interest. Then again, maybe because he’s less interested in science than he was earlier.

So anyway, when the lofty heights of literary greatness no longer inspire, instead inducing altitude sickness, Rockstar retires to the proverbial literary version of the chip shop, and reads…

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This series. pic from

Like, WHO eschews Harry Potter and Roald Dahl (Rockstar reads neither – terrible) for My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish??? Which btw, is about….. an electrified goldfish. His name is Frankie because of a Shot Of The Blindingly Obvious. Frankie is brought back from the brink of death and the title character’s evil big brother’s machinations to have…. sometime superpowers and all-the-time attitude problems.

Me: Charlie & The Chocolate Factory is a story about living in candy land! (Intrigued, Queen E looks up.) You liked the movie (screening at a birthday party). How could you possibly prefer zombie goldfish??

Rockstar: <Not looking up> I don’t like too much candy anyway. And the fish is cool.

Me: It’s not even a real zombie! They just put “zombie” in the title because you people will go for anything with the word “zombie” in it. And you can tell your friends you’re reading a series called “zombie goldfish”. It’s a marketing ploy.

Rockstar: Yup, that definitely worked. Oh, and Tom (the title character)’s best friend Pradeep has an evil computer genius big brother. Basically, almost everyone is evil. 

Queen E: <hopefully> Ko-ko. Dussit have hamsters in it?

Rockstar: There’s a cute kitten. The kitten is the evilest one. (Queen E laughs delightedly).

Sigh. And btw Queen E…. n-ot so bookish. She likes icky stuff. Why Germs Spread. Why Some Germs Make You Sick. Why So Many Creatures Like To Drink Blood (it’s highly nutritious). The Real Purpose Of Blood In Your Body. She spent quite some time last year tripping along little drains on the street with all that gross sewage water flowing along in them going Dis Is What Your Blood Does! Dis Is What Your Blood Does!” 

I can so see her covered in equine birth fluids hauling a colt out of its mother’s hind quarters.

How long d'you think we have before this happens to us? (pic from

How long d’you think we have before this happens to us? (pic from

Fine, she likes this whimsical book –

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pic from

About Uni the Unicorn who won’t stop believing little girls are real. No matter what her unicorn parents or friends say.

*Shrugs* (pic from

*Shrugs* (pic from

Go Find Your Awesome, this mid-week. And don’t ever stop believing there are unicorns. (Fairy tale endings, n-ot so much. But unicorns. They are out there. They believe in you.)

Ok, I’m so late and behind with posts better get this out first…



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Rockstarism #393/ Miss-Speak #82: The Indomitable Spirit Of… Both Of Them. Kind Of.

#393/ #82

In a Cantonese-English summer sports class…

Instructor: <indicating Queen E and Partner In Crime who are the youngest and also the only girls> You see, all of you not lining up properly, the babies have to teach you how to do it.

<indignant pause>

Queen E’s Friend: I’m not a baby, I’m four. <holds up fingers>

Queen E: I‘m also not a baby, I’m sixty. <holds up hands with wiggly fingers>


Rockstar: Mum. You canNOT leave us with (helper). She always has to interrupt all the (cute animal Youtubes) to try to talk to Queen E. Talk, talk, talk. We can’t watch anything. So I had to create a Minecraft World titled We Found Elsa for Queen E to instruct me to wander around in from her high chair. Looking for Elsa.

Me: Um… What?


Rockstar: MUM. Can I leave now? Can I leave?? Queen E is driving me insane with the nonstop babbling. <decisively> I’m going to leave. I’m going to leave right. Now. I am taking my soup and I am going to sit somewhere else. That table. My soup and I are going to that. Table. Ow. My soup is hot.

<sits back down>
<long pause>

Rockstar: What? It’s hot…


Me: Ok, let’s play Name The Animals! <holds up pic of bear cub>

Queen E: Horsie! 

(She gives wrong answers trying to be funny)

Rockstar: I want to play, I want to play – cover the word and let me guess! 

I hold up a picture of a ferret.

Rockstar: Raccoon! 

Me: Omg another one.

Queen E: <authoritatively> Not Wah-coon. Beaver. 

Me: <facepalms>…………

Queen E: We could make one. 

Me: Obviously you two are not growing up being One with Nature.

Rockstar: Wait, wait – Let’s Google it!

Me: OMG. Disgusting City Kids… Who know iPads and laptops, not animals.

Rockstar: <IGNORES> Come, Queen E. Let’s go watch some real animals. On Youtube. 


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