Life, Love, and Passports

children

My dream come true

People have many dreams some short term others long term. Some are easily achieved and others appear impossible. My dream was achievable but it has taken much longer than I anticipated. While I make much of the fact that all of my girls are late risers this comes at a cost of keeping them up later at night.

Each night sees me getting tangled in a bedtime debate. Just five more minutes mom! What about our bedtime drink? One more story! Aren’t you going to pray with us? We need to brush our teeth! While these are all part of our routine it can be terribly frustrating when time out was called an hour before.

Yesterday was the day I’d dreamed of the day they would all declare together that they’d had enough and it was time for bed – no strings attached! My response was a doubting Thomas one and I said not just to myself but also to the three of them “This I’ve got to see!” True to their word they were out like a light.

Admittedly we had an unusually long day but we have busy days often enough for me to know that my girls are die hards. On some occasions I say goodnight and leave them hanging about. Sadly those times are limited to the weekends!

I have amazing children and I can’t help but wonder if they’d be even more amazing if they went to bed at a reasonable hour. I’m concerned that I may never find out. If last nights experience is never repeated at least I can rest assured it is actually possible. Dreams do come true…even the smallest of them!

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This used to be my playground

It’s been quite a while now that my girls have been asking me to join their skipping routine. They’ve tried to convince me that it’s great fun. I’ve never been any good at skipping, jumping or any other sporting activities for that matter. Come to think of it I’m actually not that bad I’m a keen swimmer and known to have some skills rollerblading.

When it comes to skipping my excuse is that their rope is too short for me which is true. However, I could not imagine myself bopping and moving my feet is a real challenge. After much nagging I eventually bought a full length skipping rope and just dreaded the moment I’d have to use it. Today was that day and it was fun.

Having young children really does require you to do things you wouldn’t normally do. I can’t claim that the girls keep me young but they sure do keep me involved. I have no idea what’s next on their agenda but I’m almost certain if will take me right out of my comfort zone.
Today I witnessed the joy of a carefree childhood. Watching not just my children but all the children in the park enjoying the glorious sunshine and having fun was another reminder that life is to be enjoyed.

Growing up is so overrated! I’m certainly going to make every effort to be carefree. If it means skipping with my girls then bring it on. I can’t resign from being an adult but being young at heart is a wonderful alternative.


Stamp of approval

Last night my two older girls took part in their schools production of Oliver. Of course I’m using the terms took part rather loosely as every pupil was involved. Although their classes had just a song to sing it became apparent after last nights performance that they required a pat on the back after asking ‘ Do you think it sounded good?’ ‘Did you find that funny?’ The one thing I have learnt in recent years is that you only get one chance to have a first reaction. Needless to say they got a big well done and I meant it.

Praise and approval are a pivotal part of growing up and life in general. There are those of us who thrive on praise and get little accomplished unless we’re constantly complimented. Some of us think praise is unnecessary especially since what we’re accomplishing is considered a duty. Hard work and outstanding efforts should be rewarded not just as lip service but sincerely.

I really struggle with the concept of managing praise! Is it possible to over praise? Surely not every completed task deserves praise just those that are exceptional. Do children require more positive reinforcement than adults? Perhaps the child within all of us needs to be praised.
Note to self: Must praise more! Sincerity is key!


The Parent Trap

Though my girls are still really young I’m coming to the realisation that there is a fine line between letting them experience the world around them and keeping them safe. With my seemingly insatiable appetite for breaking news I now find myself going into mother hen overdrive. All the tragedy and heartbreak that I read has me constantly pulling myself back over the fence of paranoia and I realise that my duty is to look out for my girls not make them prisoners.

This past week I spoke to a friend with teenage kids and since we grew up in the same era we discussed our teen years and how different the world seemed to be then. We came to the conclusion that we’d rather be safe than sorry when it comes to raising our children. Unfortunately as a child danger is not something that’s high on the list of priorities. Having fun is the way to go and danger has no place in the fun arena.

As a parent I’m constantly reminding myself that I cannot and will not live in fear. The reality of life is that danger does exist and to pretend otherwise is quite foolish. I have every intention of giving my girls the best childhood possible and I’ve no doubt that they often feel that I’m there to spoil their fun especially when we’re out and about and I sound like a referee shouting instructions and giving warnings.

I’m generally a very laid back person a bit too laid back for some. I cannot judge somebody else’s parenting style only give my point of view when asked. At the end of the day I just have to believe that we all want the same things for our children…love and security!


Another mommy milestone!

Last night my daughter Charis had her very first sleepover. I must admit I thought long and hard about sending her to a friend albeit for just a night. She was so excited about getting away from us for a night and I was secretly proud of her boldness.

This morning we woke up to a rather quiet house and it was obvious who creates the buzz around here. She was positively missed. The conversation didn’t move much further than the questions about her return. Finally, she rocked up after lunch and all was as it should be. The bickering and complaints were as steady as rain you’d think they’d missed each other enough to give the rivalry a rest. Not a chance!

As for me I’m glad to have my three girls under one roof and I hope it will be some time before we reach another milestone. The more I travel on this journey of parenthood the more I realise it’s no easy feat. It’s not easy but it is rewarding and the cuddles are the best payment.


Dear Diary

My 7yr old daughter Charis ( though she constantly reminds me she’ll be 8 in about six weeks!). I then remind her that she’ll never be this young and free from responsibility again. With each passing year her responsibility will grow and there’ll be less opportunity to say she didn’t know. She is very wise for her years and we’re constantly butting heads over attitudes and utterances. She has now requested a diary and a promise from me not to snoop. Of course I’ll be snooping that’s what mothers do!

After a discussion about keeping secrets and the difference between good and bad secrets I may just leave her to it. I ask her if there’s anything she needs to know from me. Her response is a nothing really one but then slyly slides in a veiled request for details of my diary. Granted I was almost double her age when I kept one myself I’m left with no choice but to reinvent my diary entries. Truth is I was a sulky teen and no doubt there were numerous entries about annoying teachers, strict parents, selfish friends and perhaps a sighting of an interesting boy specimen to brighten an otherwise sour life.

She’s really excited to get started and I’m worried what I may find. Though I’m hoping the daily record keeping will improve her already creative writing skills. I’m really trying to see the positive side. I shall try my best not to snoop too much!


Born to be different

I’ve been watching an extraordinary documentary following six families, some from the birth of their children born with various disabilities. It spans a ten year period and for me it showcases the tenacity and strength of not just the parents but siblings as well.
As parents all of our dreams are the same for our children irrespective of their abilities or disabilities. We want to see them grow and mature into responsible individuals who follow their dreams and make a difference in this world. It becomes a heart wrenching experience when it becomes clear that the child may not even make it out of their childhood. I’ve gone through a broad spectrum of emotions watching the account of these families and their daily struggles.

I recently came across an amazing blog called ‘Raising 5 kids with disabilities and remaining sane’. What makes this woman raising these kids more amazing to me is that she has adopted children with disabilities and appears to take it all in her stride. Usually after watching a documentary or reading an account concerning raising kids with extra special needs I would find myself feeling sorry for the parents concerned. However, the message seems to be the same from all of them. Once they get over the shock of the diagnosis whether it be autism, spina bifida, dwarfism or Down syndrome they just raise their child as any other parent would, in an environment filled with love and understanding. We all experience difficulties in raising our children and that’s the way life goes.

As we go through this life my hope is that we’d show understanding to both friends and strangers because we have no idea what challenges people are facing!


So you’ve done nothing today?

This was the response from my five year old after I replied that I hadn’t gone anywhere today after the school run. Not even to the shops mom? Surely she should realise that home is where all of my work resides. On second thought there are many people who I meet and when I explain that I’m a stay at home mother often ask what I do all day. Perhaps visions of me lying on the couch in my pyjamas watching telly and munching on some unhealthy snacks.
Depending on the mood I’m in I may give them the pampered wife response. I guess the question I’d like to ask in return is ‘what would you do on a day at home?’ well that’s exactly what I do. Vacuuming or hoovering as its affectionately called in this part of the world. Dishes, laundry and of course picking up endless toys.

I’ve been a stay at home mom for over five years and I’ve mastered the art of owning my time. I really have enjoyed the challenge of raising my babies and the experience has taught me to dig deep when days got tough. I can’t help but feel that this phase of my life is coming to an end and I’m preparing myself mentally. My girls have been an amazing source of strength and even companionship during those early days when we arrived in the UK. We’ve come a long way since then and I’m excited for the future.


It’s good to be green

Sorry if you thought this post is about reducing, reusing and recycling.
It’s good to be green just happens to be one of the many catch phrases at my daughters school. Up until now my sweet little five year old had avoided a change of colour on the behaviour chart then yesterday it happened and her little world was turned upside down. She was turned yellow for moving a plant she was asked not to touch. It didn’t surprise me that she did after all it’s her trademark to touch and alter anything she can in my house anyway.

She was distraught and didn’t care that she’d get a chance to start over the next day. Standing at that classroom door and comforting a sobbing little person made me realise how simple life is when you’re a child well most children anyway. I knew I had to offer her some words of comfort so I explained to her in front of her teacher that it always hurts when you stray from the straight and narrow the first time and then eventually it becomes a way of life just pushing those boundaries. Yellow today…red tomorrow. I’m glad her teacher thought it was funny!

Today she was back to her winning ways and I was glad not to greet a child who looked like a blowfish on the verge of tears. It got me thinking about the necessity of such a behaviour monitoring system. I just figure if a child behaves that should be the accepted way and if they misbehave they should be reprimanded and the oversight left in the moment. That’s what happened in the distant past when I was at school. It seems these days that rewards are given out far too easily and it doesn’t take much to achieve them.

Whatever my thoughts about such rewards I somehow feel long will they continue. In the meanwhile my job is to teach my girls how to cope when they fall short of expected standards and to realise that it’s not the end of the world.


Mommy milestones

There is much said about childhood milestones from introduction of solids, sitting, crawling, standing, walking and of course the sighting of the first tooth. The joy of parents as each goal is reached and of the course the exaggeration and rigging of onset of milestones is never too far away. Truth is we all encounter these types of parents as we raise our toddlers and some of us may be guilty of this gross exaggeration as well.

Truth is every time a toddler reaches a milestone we lose more control and they edge ever closer to independence. Watching them needing less of you can be quite daunting. It’s weird when you think that you spend most of their first year just waiting for your baby to do the next big thing. Reality of life is that there is only one chance for a first after that its just as regular as clockwork. I do miss having a baby to take care of and seize every opportunity to hold other people’s babies until they start squirming and crying then I’m reminded that with my children’s independence comes my freedom!

This week I reached another mommy milestone. After coming to the shocking realisation that my girls will never need a pushchair or camp cot ever again I still found it really hard to part with the items. I’d been driving around with these articles in my car which were of no use to me but could make a huge difference to somebody else. I’m no hoarder and lack any sense of sentimentality so I found it very weird that I had to let go emotionally before I could let go physically. Finally I did the drop off and felt at peace as I walked into a new phase of my life.

Wherever you are in the parenting spectrum try to enjoy it because it’s a fact that nothing lasts forever. Say goodbye to each experience as it ends and prepare to embrace the next.
Happy parenting!