28 October 2012

My toddlebike!

Small Mr B acquired a toddlebike late this summer.  As you can see opposite, a toddlebike is a small plastic ride-on toy.  He is very fond of it and scoots around inside the flat with great enthusiasm.  I responded to an offer on twitter of a loan and/or reduced price toddlebike, if I agreed to tweet/blog about it.  I was kind of intrigued, and pleased to be able to report positively.

One nice thing about the toddlebike is that, while it is fine for playing indoors,  it can also be taken outside.  It is very nice and light, which makes it easy to strap on to a grownup bike or backpack when cycling to a playpark. It is also light enough for him to carry along by himself. And so far it has proven very durable.

If you read other reviews on-line you'll note that parents say that it speeds up their kids so that they can toddlebike rather than be pushed in a buggy.  This didn't really work for us. Small Mr B is already so fast on his feet that he found toddlebiking any distance a bit frustrating, because he can (and will) run along faster.  But in the flat and/or the playpark he has a ball.  As did the other kids at the park who all had a go - from age 12 months and up including big sister (nearly 6).

From a bike-riding perspective, the cool thing about it is that unlike other 'scoot' bikes/bugs that we have tried, he automatically alternated his legs while pushing, rather than pushing with both legs together.  No idea what it is about the design that encourages it, but interesting.

There is now a 'Scottish regional partner'  for anyone who wants to make contact.   I can definitely see these being popular in playgroups and nurseries, as well as at home.  I won't be sending it back - although having now seen a little girl just his age (23 months) performing amazing acts on a scooter, we're already scheming to get him on a balance bike...

24 October 2012

The Academic Maelstrom

Some very patient admin people at uni are chasing me for 'course monitoring forms'. These are reports where we sum up our teaching from last year in 1 page - student feedback, our reflections, and plans for change.  A great idea, right?  Well, yes. If you actually find time to collect the data (note to self: look for forms in pile on desk), reflect on it, and remember which course is which.

But instead, I'm standing at the sink, washing dishes, with a feverish toddler running about at my feet, trying to decide what other overdue item to drop down the priority list, so that I can get these admin folk off my back.  

I ought to be replying to panicked student emails about dissertations, or sending (late) requests to the library to scan chapters for next semester's courses, or chasing things for students for whom I am a 'personal tutor', or planning the dissertation workshops for tomorrow, or reading PhD student chapters (5 waiting at last count), or writing letters of reference for former students, or reading UG dissertation proposals, or writing book reviews (CJAS and African Affairs - I've not forgotten, honest), or trying to get lecture notes up on Learn, or that article I promised a journal on OA, or the two book chapters I rashly agreed to write, or revising the consultancy report..... 

And that's just my 'must do' list of things that are already overdue, and doesn't even begin to get near the stack of books I want to read, the funding calls to peruse and pursue, the academic blogs to read (where *do* people find time to write them?), planning teaching for next year.....