Overwhelmingly, a Twilight Phase

September 29, 2008

A beautiful, safe beach is accessible from our beach house via a short track through tea trees. The vista of the beach opens up at the end of the track like a magical discovery. My eldest daughter used to be the first one down the beach, with a net in her hand and the desire to catch a toady – these are small annoying little fish of the Cow Fish variety, but are easy to catch. Once caught, my kids put them in canal systems, connecting pools and holes purposefully built in the sand, where they stay until released or until the tide comes in. I have a motion picture of her in my memory stalking these fish for hours in the shallows and lunging with the net, always with success. She became so good at it that she would often leave the toadies for the other kids and focus on smaller, faster fish that we assume are whiting. 

These days are over. She now wakes on holidays at eleven, but would sleep longer if I didn’t wake her. (I don’t want her becoming completely nocturnal – she has to go back to school next week). After surfacing, she spends a good part of an hour in the bathroom, emerging only when her hair is perfectly styled and her face is made up. If not for me insisting on her eating breakfast she would be content with a can of Pepsi max (which I never buy!! She snuck a six pack of them into the trolly last shopping expedition). 

These changes in my children are often more visible to me on school holidays in our beach house. Its probably because I reflect upon it, and because memories of other times in this familiar place surface to juxtapose themselves against the present. I remember curling up with her on the couch down here when she was eight to read her Harry Potter chapter-by-chapter. Towards the end of book two, I continued to read after I put her to bed. It was one in the morning when I finished it and could finally put it down. When she became an independent reader I read to the younger ones books she had read on her own like Deltora Quest. Now all of my daughters are independent readers. If I didn’t have my youngest daughter, these days of lying down in bed with a child and reading would be completely gone. 

My eldest no longer reads. She has myspace, Gaia Online, a mobile phone and a drawing pad. Daughters numbers two and three are the avid readers now. But Harry Potter has long been superseded. Here and now is the Twilight phase!

Twilight is a series of four books. It has captured the imagination of my two middle daughters. Each of them in turn have not been able to put it down. Both are obsessed with this perfect girly fantasy about a vampire (Edward) and his love (Bella). They await the next series (which tells the same story from Edward’s perspective), and the film. The trailers of the film caused a sensation in our house yesterday when Emma found them on the internet and watched them over and over again, before holing herself up again with the fourth book.

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7 Responses to “Overwhelmingly, a Twilight Phase”

  1. Charlotte said

    Wow. I’m still deeply in the reading-to phase, even to my independent reader who still loves me to read to her. This is a vision of where we are headed! Out of interest, how do you modulate/moderate their Internet time?

  2. ejenne said

    Hi Charlotte. Emma and Sally still enjoy it, but now that Emma is into Twilight (with themes that don’t yet interest Sally) she has taken to reading at every chance she can get. Being read one chapter per evening is not enough for her curiosity. I think its wonderful that she has the bug! Even though I don’t think Twilight is especially well written.

    As far as the internet goes, we haven’t had a big problem with it yet. With four in the house there are often alternatives for them. The older girls have homework to do and this keeps them honest. I suppose we have just dealt with things as necessary. For example, a problem arose when my eldest went onto MySpace after completing her homework. But this meant that she was too stimulated before going to bed. Subsequently, she has had difficulty falling asleep. She has now agreed that she is not to use the computer at least an hour prior to her bed time. This time is to be spent in wind-down mode. Usually she sketches in her drawing book or listens to music instead.

    Her internet use is largely as a substitute for TV. I find her watching Avatar episodes and YouTube videos on her laptop for entertainment. She is not a ‘gamer’. If this were the case, I would be slapping on tighter restrictions. This may be where I’m heading with daughter number two. She loves the games and is addicted to her Nintendo DS. She is fabulously well organised with her homework and this puts me in a dilemma. However, I think restrictions will be enforced because it takes her away from interacting with her sisters. We have discussed it and we are about to limit its use to weekends.

  3. zhisou said

    Yes, I keep having to read The Gruffalo and Cinderella and things like that. I look forward to reading proper stories with my kids.

    Your beach house sounds lovely – let me know when it´s free.

  4. ejenne said

    Hi there zhisou! Nice of you to drop by. Any time in February mid week (we are all back at school, etc, but its usually our hottest summer month) would be a fabulous time for you to take your family to our beach house. Of course you’d have to stop by Melbourne first, we have a new pizza oven, you know, and a pool!

    We haven’t heard of The Gruffalo here! But I assume you’re still onto picture books? My favorite picture books to read are by Babette Cole and Alison Lester. Its a big leap when they’re ready for chapter books. Then you can pull out the Roald Dahl, CS Lewis … joyful stuff

  5. ejenne said

    Oh and then they start to read for themselves and over here one of the early read-for-yourself books is Captain Underpants – all of my kids went through a Captain Underpants stage in about grade 1 (six-seven years old).

  6. mirabella said

    I recently learned of a new thing to be careful about in regard to internet use: apparently some employers consult prospective employees’ Facebook entries to gather additional information. (Or am I the last peson to know about this?) Worse still, I fear that I could get paranoid about people viewing my cats in the garden on the Google Street finder, which probably also limits sunbathing for some of us….

    P.S. I loved “My Illegal Self” – totally unputdownable!

  7. ejenne said

    That is true mirabella. Its just too easy for prospective employers to do a bit of internet searching these days. One must be savvy with privacy options. But how much fun can you have with these mediums! I’ve just popped a new photo of me onto facebook showing off my new ‘hatinator’ (purchased last night at a fashion show) and I’m eagerly awaiting friend’s comments on it. I called it ‘the mother of all hatinators’. My children think it looks like a satelite dish.

    And, whilst on the subject of books, why not mention our current book club book, “My Illegal Self” by Peter Carey. Isn’t he one of the best writers? He can conjure anything in words! I think he’s a genius.

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