Things Kids Say Thursday: The English Language

#thingskidssaythursdays #what #tweenI thought I was going to have to dig through my archives and Facebook posts to find something good for Things Kids Say Thursdays, but my darling DD came up trumps today.

I picked her up from school and on the walk home, we talked about her homework.

Me: So what’s your homework like this weekend?

DD: Mostly good, the maths might be tricky. We’re researching homophobes for English.

Me: WHAT? Seriously, that’s progressive. How on earth are you going to find a list of homophobes?

DD: Well, I’ve got a few in my head already.

Me: Really? (At this point, I don’t know whether to be impressed, disturbed, panicked…) Well, could you give me some examples?

DD: Sure. Bridle, bridal. Serial, cereal. Alter, altar.

Me: Homo-PHONES, kiddo, homo-PHONES.

Yep, never a dull moment.

If you’ve got corkers to share, do join in via the linky on E’s post.

Let’s Talk About Sex, baby!

#chicks #sexed #birdsandbees #tweenMy regular readers can’t have missed the fact that I’m raising a tween. Most days, she’s pretty darn awesome. Some days she’s your average budding hormonal pre-teen. Every day with her is entertaining, and I can safely say I’ve done more personal questioning and growing in the last nine years than I did in all the years before I became her mother.

One of the agreements my husband and I made early on was that we were always going to be open and as honest as we could be. We were not going to shy away from the tricky topics (like sex). I read Maria’s article, 10 Easy Ways to Talk with Your Daughter about Sex, when DD was about three, and I thought, “Yes! We’re doing this.”

So we’ve had free and frank talks over the years, giving her facts and separating the fiction. Well, I’ve done most of the talks – Husband Dear has been conveniently absent from the trickier ones. We also got her Girl to Girl: Real Questions and Honest Answers about Growing Up and I cannot praise it enough. She loves it, and it covers off far more than I would have thought to address.

Nothing could have prepared me for this conversation, though….

DD: Hey, Ma, when did you plan to get pregnant?

Me: Well, you’re living proof the Pill doesn’t always work, even when you follow the directions.

DD: So you were just having sex for fun?

Me: uhhhhhh……….

DD: Sex strikes me as a sweaty sort of activity, it just doesn’t seem like something you’d do for fun.

Me:…..uh……yeah……

DD: 1 – Me: 0

And by the time I had gathered my wits, she was on to the next topic. The saints preserve me!

If you’re laughing, I highly recommend ‘OMG, Where’s Her Penis?‘ by the awesome E. Feel free to share your parenting sex-talk woes in the comments, or leave links to other entertaining posts! I need to know I’m not alone in this…

God Save the Queen

#unionjackClearly, DD isn’t quite up to speed on the British monarchy, based on our conversation today. 

DD: Hey, Ma, how’s my pension plan doing?

Me: It’s doing OK. Obviously, it’ll go up and down based on the markets, but you’ve got at least 50 years to grow it.

DD: And you’re doing your best, right? All the research?

Me: Yes, my love, but why are you so worried? Have you been watching the news?

DD: Yeah. I was watching earlier, and I mean, if the Queen of England has to work over 63 years and she can’t retire, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Me: …

Your Majesty, I promise I will do a better job of educating my child for as long as we liveth in the UK. And Happy Longest Reign!

Fathers (A-Z)

My dad’s job took him all over the world, often for months at a time (this was 30+ years ago, long before the advent of Skype & even email). I remember him sending me letters when we were apart, with the most amazing drawings on every envelope. Cape Town, Gibraltar, Venezuela…they all came alive in black ink on those old-fashioned blue & red striped Air Mail envelopes. He gave me the world, one sketch at a time. When we travelled with him, we were encouraged to talk to people, try different foods, explore! I learnt so much from him, from how an engine works to reading a map, reading the night sky to learning to ride a bike, and then later, to drive a car. He invented the ‘indoor picnic’ for us, in our tiny apartment, balancing an old door on some books for a picnic table. He created a Cleopatra costume for me when I was ten, including the headdress, the make-up, the works! There was never a second where I felt like he thought I couldn’t be whatever I set my mind to be.

Listening to my daughter talk about her father, I realise I picked someone incredibly similar to my dad. “Dada has a great sense of humour, supports me in tricky situations, takes me on adventures, teaches me to play football (soccer), buys me lots of books and taught me how to take the Tube”, says K. He also chases her about, lets her fall, flings her in the air – all the things that make me shriek! He believes in her. He listens to her. He makes her feel valued, and has given her enough respect for her to expect no less from anyone else. What priceless gifts!

As wonderful as these two men are, they would probably both agree that their intro to fatherhood was similar to Phillip Toledano’s in this hilarious & heart-warming ‘Confessions of a Reluctant Father: How I Learned to Love my Daughter‘. Laugh out loud and enjoy.

And if you love your dad/step-dad/father-person, let him know. Today.

 Image from Pixabay

The Balance of Risk & Return in team building

I’ve worked with some great wealth managers over the years. Everything I know about building portfolios, I learned from them. I realised that a lot of considerations one should take into account when building a portfolio are the same when a leader is building a team.

When building a portfolio for long-term investment, there are investment styles that fit your attitude to risk and allow you to meet your goals with a high probability for success. Similarly, there is a ‘magic’ combination of personalities that will work well together, perform under pressure & take your company/brand to new heights. There are a few other factors which contribute to the success of both, which I discuss below.

The ‘perfect’ portfolio is one which keeps you on target to achieve your goals without abandoning your strategy at the worst possible times (market volatility). It is prepared for all potential economic environments, but committed to none. Similarly, a solid team is clear on its goals and where its energy should be directed. Communication (in all its forms) is key: it builds on the premise of honesty & transparency, especially across diverse teams. 

Every team member should be clear why they are part of the team & what they are expected to contribute, based on their skill set & area of expertise. Your team needs creatives, strategisers, networkers & planners. In the same way, if you are investing, you should be clear on why you are picking a particular investment and what part you expect it to play in your overall wealth strategy.  

Use periodic rebalancing to take advantage of ‘reversion to the mean‘. Rebalancing your portfolio allows you to benefit from volatility and contrarianism in the market: you sell some shares of the winners and plough the gains into the lower performers and/or put new cash into investments that earned lower returns.

The same tactic applied to business allows you to consider new additions to your team. What perspective could your administrative assistant offer? If (s)he’s dealing with your clients & customers on a daily basis, you might get some great insights and ideas. If you have a high performing team member, could you assign them to lead a new team? This will set them on a new learning curve and keep them engaged.

In essence, the key to a good portfolio & a good team is the balance of diverse but complementary elements, active management, a clear vision & concise communication.