Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What they don't tell you about parenting... that you need to make decisions. What do you do when your little darling hits his BFF, he refuses to eat something, he does something you've asked him not to do...the list is endless!   

The only thing I can remember people telling me before Henrik was born and when he was very little was to 'just enjoy it, they grow up too fast'. As it turns out, there is a bit more to parenting than 'just enjoying it'.

At times I am sure their memories have very conveniently erased all the memories of sleepless nights, wet beds, chronic snotty noses, the rush to find a spot that could serve as an improvised toilet (i.e. bush) after you've just passed at least two toilets and you've been assured by your little darling that they don't need a wee wee...just enjoy it ;)

We did a parenting course by Danny Silk at church some time ago and one of the best things he said (via the wonderful media of dvd) was that YOU NEED A PLAN. Even though you are absolutely certain that the apple of your eye will never lie to you, it will happen and you need a plan for how you are going act in the situation. The idea being that knowing what you are going to do in a situation, helps you to stay in control of  yourself - in theory anyway.

So we have a plan for few things, pretty straight forwards things as young sir is only four at the moment. Such as if he leaves the table without asking to be excused the food goes. He still occasionally forgets but he also knows the consequences of what happens. We'll probably need to come up with a new plan for naughty words as young sir grows up. At the moment the extent of his daringness is poo-poo and our plan is that every time he says it he needs to go to the bathroom. Works like a treat.

One thing we did not have a plan for was Easter Bunny. On the way back from school today, young sir asked 'will Easter Bunny bring me eggs'. Oh dear...

Somehow Easter Bunny seems a bigger culprit in messing with the Christian meaning of celebrations than Father Christmas does in my eyes. Father Christmas has the legend of St Nicholas behind him and he does come from Lapland after all!

I didn't have a plan, so I blubbered that mummy and daddy buy easter eggs, easter bunny is just pretend and that Easter is about Jesus dying on the cross and rising again to give us new life. Not sure Henrik was that bothered - I think his main concern was that he would get a chocolate egg!

It just made me think that part of having a plan is what we as a parents value and treasure. What is important to us. As much as I like chocolate, to me fluffy bunny giving away poor quality chocolate in packaging that will be enough to fill a whole landfill site* is not what Easter is about. Easter is about sombreness and remembrance of the cross and celebration of new life. I know that a chocolate egg doesn't negate the meaning of Easter but for many of us, that is the extent of Easter celebrations. 

I have wonderful memories of Easter from when I was growing up. Good Friday was always a very quiet day. It is still usually quite bleak in Finland around Easter time so vases full of daffodils and catkins seemed so bright and cheerful. Signs of new spring that was around the corner. And there is a wonderful Easter pudding in Finland that I love too called pasha. But looking back, my parents manage to convey us a sense of Easter being something that they valued and held precious, not because of what we did but because what it stood for.

So, beyond my exasperation of the school focusing more** on Easter Bunny than on the crucifixion (and from a teachers point of view it it is probably much easier to talk about fluffy bunny than a man dying on the cross) as the reason for Easter,  I am left thinking, what do I value, what do I want young sir to grow up valuing.

It is a challenge for all of us, what is our plan when life throws something at us? When our kids misbehave. When a work situation doesn't work out like we expected. When our finances or not like we would like them to be. When we are having a good day or when we are having a bad day. 

* minor rant
** my information is solely based on what young sir has told me so could be I am mistaken...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Somehow I managed to scrape together another Ten on Tuesday...

1. I have always known it - chocolate is good for me and now the world of science seems to agree, you are slimmer if you eat chocolate and it's good to have a slice of chocolate cake for breakfast - who am I to argue with the experts

2. I was reading an article on data saturation but all I could focus on was that the article written by a lady called Arwen - Lord of the Rings meets academia

3. Hellebores are one of my favourite flowers. Apart from being being very pretty, they flower when not much else is going on in the garden.

4. The theme for this years scarecrow competition at the allotment has been announced. Not really sure if it is for the jubilee or the olympics but the theme is red, white and blue. So far I have no ideas. Any suggestions are gratefully received!

5. On the whole I would say that I've managed to learn to control my competitiveness pretty well. However after winning the scarecrow competition with Prince Harry last year, I want to win again. A commemorative Jubilee biscuit tin would go nicely with the commemorative Royal Wedding tin I won last time ;)

6. Bed time delaying tactics are entering into the bedtime routine. The current favourite is the young sir thanking Jesus for all his little school friends and anyone he can think of...

7. The northern summers are short and sweet. We are slowly learning not to expect too much of the summer itself (usually wet and cold) but to enjoy the spring which is dry and warm. And it seems to get earlier every year, it was lovely today and it's being forecast 20c for tomorrow! It doesn't get that hot even in the summer.... 

8. Following on from number 7: 'Carpe diem' is definitely the golden rule for living in the North East. Our application of it is that the BBQ comes out when it is even vaguely warm. This year we are off to a good start - not even the end of March yet and we've already had two outdoor cooking sessions :)

9. I need to take some lessons of the cat on how to chill and relax. For the last couple of months, I've been randomly waking up in the middle of the night, thinking something I'd been writing about the day before. Apart from few moments of inspiration, the thoughts have mainly been of the worried variety.

10. I have a plan for the next six weeks before the s-day, it is on each day to do the best I can without worrying of all the other things I've got to do tomorrow, or day after tomorrow or...

And if you want to read more tens have a look here

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ten on Tuesday - travels and feline excitement

1. I have a new toy. Henrik likes it too.

2. The cat appears to have killed her first bird...not bad for a cat who did not set a paw outside for the first 4.5 years of her life. We've had her for 1.5 years now and so far the only thing she has ever caught has been a fly - until now...there was a dead black bird on the decking...

3. Our green credentials are up. We took the train down south rather than drove last weekend. Young sir was very good travelling. He got to choose a magazine at the station. He chose octonauts one and it kept him occupied most of the journey from Newcastle to London

4. We had lovely time down south seeing family and relaxing -  my only weekend off until I submit the thesis so I thoroughly enjoyed it. Iska, the puppy had grown, we went to see lambing at Coombes farm,  had a quick trip to Lewes to stock up on beer and ate lots of lovely food.

5. Bedtime stories are an essential part of the bedtime routine. Regardless of the time of the day. On Sunday night we got back home about 22.30, young sir had been snoozing away on the train for the last hour and half of the journey, yet the moment he's head hit the pillow on his bed he suddenly perked up and wanted a story. I read him a story - or every other line of it - he was too tired to realise half of the story was missing

6. I am impressed by my organisational skills - I found the cat's vaccination record book in two minutes with ten minutes to spare before we needed to leave to the vets

7. The organisational skills didn't extend to locating the cat's basket, I ended up phoning up David for advice about where to find it. I had been looking in the right place but not just hard enough. Consequently the environmental credits suffered again as we ended up driving to the vets

8. The inflation rate at the vets seem to be different to the rest of the country - the price of the vaccination has gone up by £7 since last year!

9. I made some lemon poppy seed muffins last night. They were yummee as the Monday night tasting panel agreed and they were eaten before I managed to take an arty photo of them...

10. I listened to a podcast by Bill Johnson and he made and interesting comment 'Fear kills dreams'. It's been going around in my head since I heard it and we ended up chatting about it with the youth last night. We left them with a challenge for when they are journalling or having some God time to ask God what fears they've let enter their hearts and what dreams had those fears killed. So if you are ready for a challenge, think back to when you were little, before you started worrying about things and see what dreams you had in your hearts then and where are those dreams now. Each one of us can be dreamers of impossible dreams, if you want things to happen in your life the first thing is to dream, then start taking steps of faith towards that dream. One little step at the time and you'll be more likely to get there than if you don't even dare to dream.

Here's Helen's blog, she encouraged me to start doing Ten on Tuesday - week three and I am enjoying it so far!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hasty attempt of Ten on Tuesday

Here we go:

1. Balloons and bunting are essential part of birthday celebrations if you are four. Only I didn't have enough balloons for young sir's in my little party on Sunday

2. Young sir is a dap hand at decorating cake was a beautiful mismatch of Lighting McQueen sugar figures, jelly oranges, purple sprinkles and my name written with pink and white sugar pearls.

3. I discovered today that leaving the key for the bike lock at home and only realising it when you get to school is not a good plan! Oh well, I got double the exercise walking the distance twice!

4. DIY always takes longer than you think. We started doing the bathroom couple of weeks ago, expecting it to be finished by now. Hmmm...maybe another couple of weeks yet...who needs a shower when you have bath?!?

5. Under the bathroom tiles we discovered various shades of blue and yellow. I would have loved to see the bathroom when it had the flowery wallpaper that was uncovered behind the sink

6. I love our new bath, it makes the old one look dinky. Once I've finished this I will go and have a nice soak to sooth my brain cells that have had a long day going over draft number n of yet another chapter of the thesis

7. One of the things I love about my lovely hubby is that he is amazingly skilled in gutting and filleting fish. My mum did try to teach me when I was younger but I don't think I was keen learner...

8. I love sweet potato, spinnach and feta salad - it is one of the simplest and yummiest recipes ever

9. They have been talking about mother's day at nursery, every morning for the last week, I've been asked 'is it motehr's day today aiti?'

10. Young sir has got an idea from somewhere that painting my nails is also an essential part of birthday celebrations and he keeps checking them daily to see if I've done so. He definitely has a very clear idea of what mums need to do to be princesses!

I made it :) Have a look of Helen's 10 and the links to all the other lovely ladies doing their ten too!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Thinking about Ten on Tuesday

Lovely Helen challenged me to do Ten on Tuesday in her last week's instalment. I had been tempted to try one before but hadn't moved beyond procrastination. So yesterday was Tuesday. And it came and went. I had all good intentions to try my first attempt of Ten on Tuesday. But I failed. At 10pm I was still staring at my literature review and suffering from scrambled brain syndrome. So Ten on Tuesday turned into sitting on a sofa sipping a tiny glass of port and watching the news.

So here is One on Wednesday instead:

1. Young Sir has been learning to 'draw' his name at school and at a recent parents evening his lovely teacher encouraged us to encourage him with his phonics. Young sir had for a while been saying things like h for Henrik (which we understood), kicking k (which we figured out) and blowing to his hands and saying he was out of breath (to which I replied you are too young to be out of breath). It turns out our genius is taking his first steps into the land of jolly phonics...Consequently, the non-existent alpha mum inside me went on amazon to see what they had to offer for a four year old whose parents are ignoramuses when it comes to phonics. It turns out there is jolly phonics dvd - to help your little ones with their reading and writing skills. Very nice...only there was a spelling mistake in their wonderful spiel about how it would enhance the literary skills of my child. That reduced me to giggles. The school seemed to be doing pretty good job with phonics and if we were in Finland young sir wouldn't be starting school for an other two years so the alpha mum within me went back into hiding...hopefully for a very long time.

I'll try again next week...I will do Ten on Tuesday...wondering if it counts as cheating if I start drafting my ten now in case I forget again?