Tag Archives: kids

Time(warp) with the Grandkids!

Like any doting grandparents, we love spending time with “our boys”, aged four-and-a-bit and sixteen months, but as they live in Sydney and we live in Adelaide it’s usually a few months between visits.  I suppose I shouldn’t be, but I’m always surprised at how they’ve grown up since I last saw them.  This time I just couldn’t believe the grasp that the four-year-old has on technology.

Now, I come from a generation that grew up without much technology.  We didn’t even have television when I was my grandson’s present age.  And even by the time I finished my education and went to work only big companies could afford computers which needed a climate-controlled room with access restricted to authorised technicians wearing white coats.  There was no such thing as a personal computer, let alone a laptop or notebook.  I always had a secretary to do my typing and I would have been well into my forties before I learned, reluctantly initially, to use a computer.  While I was working I kept myself reasonably up-to-date but since I retired five years ago, I’ve got rather left behind.

Kids today of course, like my grandsons, start using technology almost from the day they’re born and there are so many products that just weren’t around even a few years ago.  I’m thinking of things like iPhones, iPods, iPads, XBOXs, Wii, Wi-fi and so on, most of which I don’t have a clue about.  Let’s face it, I even have trouble turning on the television!

But it’s all second nature to my grandson.  He couldn’t wait to show me how to use his Dad’s iPad . He was able to demonstrate all the features like how to view photographs, play music and so on.  He also knows full well how to order and download applications – fortunately, he also understands that he’s not allowed to and that he needs a password which has been withheld from him.

When it comes to games, he’s in his element and has hand-eye coordination that I envy.  He keeps asking me to play with him but he’s so much better than me that I bore him.  So far, I’ve destroyed the Batmobile in Lego Batman, lost Indiana Jone’s treasure and broken both Kung Fu Panda’s legs.  I’ve now been banned before I do any more damage!

Friends of our age sometimes ask what we think of kids and computers.  Well, I’m all in favour.  Properly used with appropriate parental guidance the computer is a marvellous educational tool, while the ability to keep up with and use technology is an absolutely essential skill today.  Goodness knows what the future will bring; the likely advances are beyond my imagination but the kids will have to cope and the best time to start is now.

Guest Blog by Bevis “PA” Kennett

A summary of how the Read & Recover Initiative was Born !

The Read & Recover Initiative was born through the thoughts and actions of some kind people with some kind hearts.  The owner of White Now, Jenny White had experienced periods of time with her then 3 year old in hospital with recurring bouts of pneumonia over a 12 month period – an experience that can be teatering on life of death for a toddler.  With this in mind along with the great experiences that Jenny and her family had with the medical teams, Jenny thought of ways to simply ‘give back’ to those who gave so much to her family to ensure that her 3 year old survived.  She noticed that some of the books in the hospitals were a little tired and ‘well used’.  WIth further research of other hospitals, she found that this was an all too familiar story. Jenny’s child is a lover of books and this kept him going through the many nights in hospital.  If something can keep a sick kid happy – then this is a Godsend !

At Christmas time 2009, immediately after Jenny’s child was released from hospital for the 4th time in 6 months, a ‘friend’ on Facebook (a friend that Jenny had never met) posted that he would like to grant some Christmas wishes.  That gentleman, Brad Sugars was a very successful businessman living in Las Vegas (an Aussie ex-pat).  Jenny posted on his Facebook page that she would like to donate 100 books to 10 hospitals in Sydney.  Soon after, Brad granted this wish but increased the donation to 1,600 books for 100 hospitals Australia wide.  The kindness and generosity of Jenny and Brad lead to this amazing initiative.  The inaugral year was 2010 with the initiative to be continued in years to come !

What a great story !

Fantastic Group of People

Isn’t it just THE BEST feeling when you get a group of decent, easy-going, happy people in the same space?  And isn’t it amazing what can be achieved with a group like this?

On Tuesday just gone, we assembled “The A-team” to assist with the packing of the 1600 books for 100 Children’s Hospitals as part of our “Read & Recover” initiative.  I am sure that it will be blogged about further in the near future, but I just wanted to share briefly, what I took from the day!  Whilst it was never about me, I came away with a fantastic feeling and it was all because of the wonderful people I shared the experience with.

Upon arrival, everyone jumped to the various tasks and throughout the process there was plenty of happy chatter, a few laughs and a general air of comraderie.  Over the ensuing 5 hours, (minus time for lunch of course) – we unpacked, bundled, wrapped, packed and posted the books so that they could get to their various destinations all across the country.

From me personally, I just wanted to say a HUGE THANK YOU to the wonderful people that I got to know a bit better and spend some quality time with.  The opportunity to get to know some truly good and decent human beings was an honour.  The fact that I was able to do so whilst we all worked together for the greater good was truly a wonder and something that I feel greatly priviledged to have experienced.

Sue, Kathy, Michael and Jenny – THANK YOU for being so kind and generous with your time and more importantly, with yourselves.  It was my absolute pleasure to have been able to get to know each of you (even you JW) that much better and I look forward our next catch-up!

The Road to Recovery

I received a phone call over 2 weeks from a mate that I have known for over 20 years, in fact he was the first person that I made friends with at my footy club when we moved over to Australia!  He called me to confirm that I would be attending his 4oth birthday on the weekend of 27th March and we agreed that we would spend the day with one eye on the tv watching the Formula 1 highlights and the other chatting to various people!  We laughed about it and that was that.

Then, Wednesday last week he rang me back.  There was the usual banter and a brief chat about the first round of the F1.  This was then followed up with “Hey mate, you know how my party was locked in for the 27th?”.  “Yes”.  “Well, we are going to have to postpone it for a later date”.  “Oh!  Ok.  Is everything alright?”.

What followed was him informing me that he had been feeling a bit crook in the last week and so he had been to the Doc’s on the Monday and after a couple of tests that day, then a HEAP of tests on the Tuesday, they had decided to rush him in for an emergency procedure to remove a cancerous tumour from his right kidney.  They would need to break a couple of ribs to do so, make an incision about 30cm+ long and he would be under for 4 hours or so!

He was (as always) pretty philosophical about the whole thing and said that it was great that they had found it and that the surgery was the cure and that in 95% of cases, that is the end of it!

So, last week he went in to hospital and had the operation and I spoke with his wife on the Thursday and then with him on the Sunday.  He said that he was in massive pain, but that the op had gone really well and that they were talking about releasing him “soon”.  The VERY NEXT day, I got a text from him to say that he was in the car on his way home!  I was shocked, but told him that I would be over to visit the next day (yesterday)!

I was even more shocked when I saw the state of him yesterday when I got to his place!  He could hardly move he was in so much pain and the poor bloke looked a lot older than his (almost) 40 years!  I said to him, “What the hell are you doing back at home in this state?” (the terminology has been cleaned up for the purposes of the blog)!!!  His response was along the lines of the hospital needed the bed and they offered to give him some strong medication to handle the pain and as he was ‘young and fit’ (young – defintely.  fit – not so sure!!!) he should recover well .

Now, I am obviously NOT a Doctor, but there is no way my  mate should have been let out of the hospital.  I won’t go in to the gory details, but let me just say that he had not even cleared his system since the operation so they should have at least have kept him until that milestone had been successfully achieved!  It should also be noted that he was released against the protestations of both his wife and sister AND that he was paying TOP DOLLAR in a private hostpital with a VERY good name!!!

I am gob-smacked that anyone would be released after such major surgery!  And to let someone go home where there was not going to be any care for the first two days that he was back there is beyond me and quite frankly bordering on culpable in my limited opinion!!!

However, from all of this there have been some real positives:

  • Primarily that my friend is better and should be fine from here!
  • It has woken him up to his unhealthy lifestyle
  • And has woken myself and a couple of our other close friends up to theirs (unhealthy lifestyles).  We have all agreed to getting a bit fitter and being healthier and to making some wiser decisions when it comes to our lifestyles (work vs play vs late nights vs parties vs etc, etc)!

Life is so precious, particularly when we all have kids involved!  We should therefore hold on tight to it and take the time to look at what is important us and make the decisions required to ensure that we are around and about to enjoy each and every moment that we have to spend with those that we love and cherish as ultimately we are all mortal, which for (relatively) young Australian blokes to admit is a MAJOR milestone!!!  🙂

A story that will touch your heart !

 It struck me today about how the human psyche works sometimes – especially mine………. 

In March 2009 my closest friend in Melbourne, a single Mum, gave birth to her first baby at the age of 42.  The baby (Luca) was delivered at 24 weeks. If you look closely at this picture, you can see the reality of the journey that a 24 week old baby was to face.  Check out the size of his hand on his Mum’s finger.  Luca was not expected to live past 25 weeks so everyone prepared for the finality of this little man’s life.  The priest was brought in, the family visited and said their farewells and the emotional support crew gathered round and feigned their strength in front of his mum.  It was a sickening feeling.  Usually I find a reason in any situation to laugh, but in this situation I honestly found no reason at all to be able to conjure up a smile let alone a laugh.  Whilst this was all happening, the new born across from Luca passed away in her humidicrib.  Suddenly there was an empty crib, no baby, no parents, no round the clock nurse- just a memory.   I felt a sort of guilt having my reasonably healthy 3 year old coming to visit in an environment that teetered on life or death at any second of each 24 hour cycle.  The days went on and with each day there was a new challenge, a new infection, a new blockage, a new operation to be had and so many tears.  The one positive thing was that it was 2 steps forward for every 1 step back.  Luca reached such milestones that you and I would not even think of; he reached 1 kilo; he did 1 poo; he took 1 ml of milk; he reached 100 days; it was a series of amazing accomplishments entwined with a bunch of devastating downfalls but, Luca kept on going.   Luca’s Mum was in the hospital every day for at least 15 hours, she often stayed overnight just to be there.  That ‘normal life’ stopped for Luca’s mum for 3 long months.  Eventually in June 2009 as he was about to hit 3kilos, Luca was able to leave the hospital and go home with oxygen in tow.  There was a positive future ahead.  

Luca is now a happy, gurgling, farting, belching, vomiting, pooeing, weeing, screaming and simply gorgeous baby with only minor disabilities such as deafness and respiratory problems.  I say minor, because hey, he really could have simply been an angel in our lives.  

This is where my own human psyche amazes me.  From that very first time I saw Luca in his frail body, I knew that if I could play any role in helping sick kids, then my hand would be raised with no questions asked. If there was an opportunity, I would grab it.   

At White Now headquarters, we are busy, working away on the next stages of the Read & Recover Program.  With the ante being upped By Brad Sugars from 150 books to 1500 the work had to be upped as well.  We are actually donating 1600 books to 100 hospitals now !  During the week, we were honoured to have a large club approach us wanting to assist in this year’s book donation initiative.  We are now in discussion with them to see how they can best assist.  Our Graphic Designer, who is 4 months pregnant, donated all the design work needed for the program.  We also have had so many people contact us either through our Facebook pages, or this blog offering their help!  Why do they contact us ?  They simply just want to help. 

 I think that there is something truly humbling about being able to help others but, as a parent, there is something so phenomenal about helping kids – especially those who are have any sort of illness.  

My heart goes out to all of those parents who have sick children or children with any challenge. It is said that having a child is to decide to forever have your heart go walking around outside your body.  Imagine if that heart were challenged with illnesses continually.