Archive for December, 2012

Two Year Old Princess

December 28, 2012

Little Princess is 2 years old

Possum is 6 years 7 months

Bandicoot is 4 year 5 months

 

Happy Birthday Little Princess!

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Tomato sauce makes a most excellent lunch!

 

 

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Drop Bears and Gruffalos

December 28, 2012

Possum is 6 years 7 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 5 months

Little Princess is 1 year 11 months

There is a little walk near our house.  We watched as they built the boardwalk and the carpark.  We drive past it every time we take DH to work.  And we say, “One day, we should do that walk”.

And so we did.

 

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And then, when we got to the end of the boardwalk, we discovered the path kept going…

This is when it got really dangerous, apparently.  Possum and Bandicoot were on high alert for drop-bears and gruffalos the whole way.

And then, when we got back to the car, DH showed us all what a soft touch he is, God Bless him!

The boys tried so hard to get the kangaroo tails in on their own.  They were heart-broken when they didn’t fit.  Daddy to the rescue!

Wanna See Something Funny?

December 3, 2012

After yesterday’s parenting fiasco, this is great timing.

I decided to visit Busted Halo’s Advent Calendar.  This is from today’s entry:

Today’s word is patience … you have to wait in a calm way … you have to show patience. — Zac Efron & Elmo

MICROCHALLENGE: Today, start your practice in patience by taking a breath any time you find yourself having to wait.

 

Hmmm.  Has somebody been watching me?

Where is Advent?

December 3, 2012

My Pastor showed this really cool clip at Church yesterday.

 

Really cool Advent explanation for Busted Halo

 

I couldn’t help pondering this as I looked at our calendar this morning.  It is crazy, and we are having a fairly quiet Christmas.

Like I said to DH, I just don’t get it.  It is Advent.  Christmas does not start until the evening of the 24th.  Christmas goes until the 6th of January.  But not in our culture… oh no!  Christmas is over by Boxing Day here.  People think you are nuts if you have Christmas celebrations after that.

So what do we do to reassess and regroup?

I just don’t know.  It is so hard, living in the world we do.  Bandicoot has a Christmas concert tomorrow, even we do things like decorate in red and green during December.  The kids will even be hosting a craft party for their friends before Christmas.  How do we keep it all purple and pink?  *sigh*

I do try to celebrate the 12 days in some small way.  Remember our candles?  (Oh, um, I guess you don’t… I have just checked and it is one of the blog entries I lost in our travels across the country last December/January).  Well I will be doing them again.  And hopefully doing something with the song The Twelve Days of Christmas.  1+1+1=1 has some nice pages… (I will leave the Religious significance until the kids are a little older.)

One year I would really like to have a 12th Night Party.  The problem is that I am so wiped out with everything else that has happened by that stage that hosting a party is just too much for me at the moment.  Sad, isn’t it?

I guess all I can do is continue with our Advent devotions; try to carve some quiet, waiting time in the bustle of preparation and celebration, focus our eyes and our hearts on the true meaning of Christmas.

Hit in the Face with a Fish–Part II

December 3, 2012

Possum is 6 years 7 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 6 months

Little Princess is 1 year 11 months (23 months)

 

Of course, it isn’t just my sister who needs God’s guiding hand at the moment.  I am struggling terribly, as some of my recent posts will tell, with my role ministering to my little people.

So, this morning, when I was investigating Busted Halo, I stumbled across this article <link to cool article>.

I particularly got to this line:

My friends’ lives were transformed, not by their aimless wanderings, but by something spiritually nomadic. It was the acceptance of responsibility and sacrifice they learned as they labored hours cleaning, serving and walking among the lost and forgotten souls of 5th Street in L.A.

‘Aha, aha,’ I thought.  I get it.  It is hard, it is dirty, it is relentless.  It is self-sacrificing and it hurts.  BUT – and here is the kicker – it NEEDS TO BE DONE.  Not only that, it needs to be done BY ME.

Yup.  I wanted to be a Mum.  All I have wanted since I was a preschooler was to be a Mum.  Anything else was, in my opinion, filler.  God had me wait until I was – well, a little over 21 (lol!), which I hated.  But maybe this is why.

Maybe my kids need me.  Just me.  No one else to be their Mum.

Maybe no one else can do it, at least not like me.

Maybe it is okay that I struggle, that I spend nights sitting up crying over my failure, crying on the lap of my Saviour.  Maybe it is okay that sometimes I need to walk away.

Because you know what?  I AM labouring in ministry. 

And there is God, waiting for me in the acceptance of responsibility and sacrifice as I labour cleaning, serving and walking amongst His little ones.

Hit in the Face with a Fish

December 3, 2012

Possum is 6 years 7 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 6 months

Little Princess is 1 year 11 months (23 months)

God is always there.  I know that.  He is always watching over me, nudging me a bit to the left or the right.  Sometimes I don’t listen or I don’t hear or I forget.  But that is me, not Him.

Sometimes He speaks a bit more loudly.

This story came from my sister.

She has recently found out that her life is transitioning.  She has been made redundant at work, at a time when she needs to become a full-time carer.  If she chose she would not be happy with this.  If she chose, she would not be doing it.  However, my Mum needs extra care and this has occurred at the same time as her boss has decided to move on all part-time staff (yes, illegal and unethical, but there it is.)

She is quite nervous about this.  Not so much as what it means for her, but more for the reaction of others.  Mostly she is at peace.

However, the other day, on the Feast of St Andrew (30 November), she came across this:

“As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’

Immediately, they left their nets and followed him,” (Mt 4:18-20)

Immediately they put down the tools of their trade and followed where The Lord called them to go.

She said she sat there, stunned.  Was the Divine Office written for her?

Maybe.

Is That Normal?

December 2, 2012

Is that how other people do it?

Possum is 6 years 6 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 4 months

Little Princess is 1 year 11 months (23 months)

My back is to the wall with my kids’ behaviour right now.  My husband and I try our best to use Grace Based Discipline with our kids, despite neither of us having been raised like that (and despite all the discouragement we receive. Like the compulsory parenting course our Church sent us on…)  It is very hard, we often fail, but we keep on trying.

Today as I, once more, discussed Possum’s appalling behaviour in Church with him, I outlined what happened in my family when I was a similar age.

By the time we were school age, we were expected to sit quietly in Church, joining in with a growing number of hymns, prayers and responses.  We had no books, no toys, no drawing activities and definitely no snacks.  If Mum or Dad had to speak to us, even once, during Mass, we were done for.

This he listened to and took in, petulantly.  It was the next bit that got him.  I went on to describe what being “in trouble” entailed.

Of course, first off there was the smack when we got home.  I don’t remember that much, but I remember the fear of it.  My parents used fear a lot, too, so I think, quite probably, once you were properly afraid they didn’t actually smack as much.  Or maybe I’ve blocked it out.

Then there was the penance.  There were no snacks or treats.  You would just get your plain lunch and plain dinner.  There were no fun and games and often access to toys was restricted.  I told Possum no TV, but we hardly watched TV anyway.

He asked me a lot about it.  He was incredulous.  He was horrified.  Fancy being in trouble ALL DAY.  Yes, fancy.

“Really?”  he asked in disbelief.  “Is that normal?  Do other people do that?”

I re-iterated the kind of offence that this was for.  I explained that for “big trouble” this could go on for days.  Then I told him about the punishment I hated the most.

Ostracism.

“If you were really in trouble, then you weren’t allowed to talk to your brothers and sisters and they weren’t allowed to talk to you.”

No, really, my parents had a firm grip.  There would be no mutiny in our household.

My parents had eight children and they could not afford insubordination, so we were broken.  We never considered ourselves a unit.  Maybe that is why we have so many problems acting like one now.

I have to say, Possum’s question has thrown me for a loop.

  • “Is that normal?”

Firstly, how is my little boy socially aware enough to ask that?

  • “Is that normal?”

Well, no.  Probably not.  Sure, everything was much stricter then.  Or maybe it WAS normal.  I never thought to ask.  It would only have landed me in more trouble, anyway.

But is has made me think:

  • “Is this what we want for our kids?”

Really, I don’t think so.

I was an adult before I realised there was an unconditional component to my parents’ love for me.  I absolutely believed that love was earned.

My childhood and adolescence was lonely and fear-filled.  Oh, I was happy a lot, too – most of it, in fact, but very, very lonely.

And I am still deathly afraid of getting into trouble or raising someone’s ire.  Just yesterday I was in tears because a misunderstanding meant that I was late meeting DH and the boys in a shopping centre.  I was so frightened of the disapproval (DH) and the the harsh words (Possum) that could come my way.  (They didn’t.)

I believe my spirit was broken.  Unlike some of my more defiant siblings (who have grown defiant and aggressive), my survival technique has been to NOT fix it.  I am non-confrontational and worn and any self-expression or rebellion is though subversion <link to that really cool post I didn’t write…>

That isn’t what we want for our kids.

Yes, I want kids who behave in Church, kids who attend to what is going on, kids who participate.  Polite, considerate, well-behaved kids.

I also want kids who have a healthy sense of self.  Kids who not only give respect, but expect to be treated with respect.  Kids who do not live in fear.  Kids who grow into functional, loving adults.  Kids who value the special bond they have to each other.  Kids who are whole.

Is THAT normal?

I don’t know, but it is what I want.  And that is why I try to practise Grace Based Discipline.

 

END NOTE:  It is important to add that I understand my parents’ situation.  There was an understanding of how to best raise children that was different to what we now believe.  I am also sure that had they not been so desperate – they never intended to have so many children, but that is a different story about abused medical authority – or had they realised how the family until may later suffer, things would have been very different, regardless of the norms of society.

Beaten and Disheartened…

December 2, 2012

Possum is 6 years 6 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 4 months

Little Princess is 1 year 11 months (23 months)

 

Today, my kids have beaten me.  I could take no more.  I left.

Church is often tough.  Possum will only sit on the floor and not join in.  Bandicoot begs for food.  Little Princess cries if I don’t hold her.  That is on a good day.

Today was not a good day.

Let’s just say that they were bad.  In fairness to Bandicoot, I really think he has some issues and only realises half of it.  Still there is that half.

I lost it.  After spending the whole service chasing and chastising, both inside and outside the Church, I went and hid around the back of the building and cried during morning tea.

And then it got worse.

Today was “Live Sparks” day.  Live Sparks is our Church’s equivalent to Sunday School.  The whole family attends together, including parents and, well, one year olds.  It is rather dry in its presentation, although I do not understand why.  The elements are there – song, sign language, story, craft, prayer…, but still it is tough going.  We are only a small Church and today there were a total of three families.  No where to hide.

Possum and I sat outside and had a discussion about appropriate Church behaviour and why we do it, even if it is dull (for the third time today.)  He was terribly contrite, so we went back inside to join Live Sparks.  No sooner were we there and he was lying on the floor sucking his thumb, complaining loudly how boring it was.

I was ropable.

And that was just Possum.

It went on and on… the three of them, each in their own way: angry protest, exuberant disobedience, demanding attachment.  It was worse than The Island of Perpetual Tickling (IPT).

I had to get away.

Thank goodness DH understood.

 

 

Apart from the desperate, undisciplined, inconsiderate nature of my children, the events have raised some interesting points for me to consider:

  • How do I WANT to raise my children?
  • Why can’t I discipline them?
  • The overwhelming constancy of homeschooling.
  • My kids really are spunky.

Not all of this is a bad thing, although today certainly was.