Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Redemption arc in a hug

 Last night Hunter was being a toad. He has that mischievous spirit kids get in them. Throwing things, ripping paper, refusing to eat dinner and so on. We were trying our best but nerves were frayed!

Then he fell, while running away form me. He cut his chin, bruised his head and grazed his hands.

It's like all that mischievous spirit was suddenly spent, and he just needed 'babying.' He sobbed and sobbed in my arms. And I took a wet cloth and gently cleaned him up. I dabbed his grazes, and rubbed the warm cloth all over his face. I took his hands and put the cloth in the, folded his fingers over and stroked his fingers. Slow, calming motions.

He calmed down, and sat content on me. In one way just a normal parenting moment, but in another way it was special. Some kind of redemption arc, a small and holy moment between mother and son. I calmed him, and him me.

I love being this boys mum. Always learning so much.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

5 years old

When you are pregnant with your first child, your world expands. Nine months until your life changes forever. You imagine a year from now when you have a baby. And you think years ahead... school, teenagers, one day their own children. 

Your pregnancy progresses and months are the focus. Eight to go.... seven.... six. Eventually your focus shifts to weeks. Only 15 more weeks to go! 15 weeks doesn't feel so long, and yet it stretches for all eternity.

When Ada was born, she was 10 weeks early. That TEN stood shockingly in our minds. Our expanded timelines suddenly collapsed into hours.... tests, waiting.... minutes..... the operating room, waiting for her to come out.... seconds....she is here.... into my single breaths waiting to hear her.... one..... two.... three.... and she cried!

Ada at birth

As she was whisked away time slowly, slowly started to expand again. Minutes, as they told me she was breathing well, hours til I could see her, days til I could hold her.
Forty-two long days passed and she came home. Our world expanded again. How old is she? She is three months.... four..... and then one year had passed.

Ada at 1

As we stand on the precipice of her turning five, as I slow my thoughts, I can almost feel my world collapse again into those slow seconds as she was born. I remember the dragging agony as each second took an hour. And then I look up- and there she is. Five. Giggling, gangly, my girl. Five years has both zoomed by and taken forever to arrive.

Ada at 2
FIVE is the number that is in the back of all parents minds from the day their child is born. It's foggy to start and not really a clear focus, but as the child grows, FIVE starts to grow on the horizon. You have FIVE years with them just yours. As Ada grew, three, four, FIVE started to become something on her own horizon. She started to get excited about school and about this magical number all the kids talked about.

'I wish I would be five,' she said when she was three.

I thought both, 'slow down' and 'I can't wait either.'
Ada at 3

And now five has arrived, I am sure the next years, six, seven, eight, will pass by with a speed that will catch me off guard. So I am taking this moment to pause in my mind and capture all the emotion and depth that comes with today.

Ada, I am so proud of you today. I feel like my heart will burst out of it's chest with love. My throat is thick with tears, although I won't let you see. Right now I can see you playing with Hunter, reading a book, asking me 'why??' again. You are in front of me, and you are in my mind too... baby Ada, so tiny, paper thin skin, covered in wires, warm and unknowable. Like a parallel picture, I can see both as if they are both happening at the same time.

Ada at 4

A parents goal is to grow a child in independence and confidence, which means they slowly move further and further away from you. From that utterly dependant baby, through five years you are now slowly moving away from me, as you should. In 3 weeks you will start school, a new important chapter in your life, and another step towards being you.

 Five is a milestone, one tinged with nostalgia and also great joy and celebration.

Ada, today you are fierce, firey, fantastic, funny, flourishing, FIVE

Ada at 5

Monday, 19 November 2018

Advent for Pre-Schoolers

It's that time of year! 
Our tree is up!
Christmas parties and get togethers are planned!
And the incessant talk of Santa and presents has begun..... oh.

I have realised that Christmas is so exciting for four year olds (and two year olds!), but if we don't steer the narrative a bit, then the focus will just be on Santa and getting gifts. 

I also realised I am missing that sort of joy you get from basic rituals and traditions you have with your family. 

And so, my advent plan was born!

This year I am planning two nativity focused advent activities and four general and more simple activities.

Nativity focus

We are doing two basic traditions this year and we may expand on them in following years.

The first is advent candles (which I blatantly stole from Sacraparental, but it also turns out this is a common way to celebrate advent which I didn't previously know about.)

There are 5 candles. Green is for hope, Blue for peace, Yellow for joy, Red for love and White for Jesus. Each night at dinner (or most nights.... lets be realistic!) we will light a candle and talk about what the word means to us. The first week you light green, the second week you light blue and green and so on.... until you light white on Christmas day.

This activity seems very toddler friendly (thinking of my two year old specifically!). I am sure Hunter won't understand much of what is going on, but it will be something he will be able to join in and anticipate (and blowing out candles is one of his most favourite activities.) 

As for Ada, who is almost 5, I imagine this activity will get her thinking a little deeper about some basic nativity values. When we talk to Ada about what hope or peace means for her, I don't expect she will understand much to begin with, but with basic examples I think she will gain a better understanding (hope means I can feel excited about starting school, love means I am kind to people and so on).

The second activity is a Nativity devotion and scene builder that my Dad sent us. Every night we pop out a piece of a cardboard 3D scene and add to it. By the 25th you have a full nativity scene. This part seems very toddler friendly.

You also have a wee activity or devotion to learn about the nativity story- the journey, the birth of Jesus, the 3 wise men, the shepherds and angels and so on. This part seems more appropriate for age 4+, although I am sure Hunter will enjoy reading the stories.

Our advent candles and devotion planner on the wall. The cardboard scene will be built on this table.

General advent

The last four activities we will do are much more simple and accessible by anyone!

The first is a classic chocolate advent calendar. 

The second is taking the kids to Farmers and letting them pick one decoration each for the tree. This will add to the magic for them especially for Ada. If I can, I will write the year on the decoration and we will add to this every year.

Helping put the decorations on the tree

The third is buying some food and giving it to those who need it. This year this kids daycare is organising this, so me and Ada will go to the shop together to get a few things. This will be a great opportunity for Ada to be involved in helping others and learning the importance of kindness. 

The final activity is wrapping and opening a book on Christmas eve for each child. I have already ordered a book about starting school for Ada and a digger book for Hunter. There would be nothing wrong with using a second hand shop book for this- we get second hand books all the time and the kids love them!

I hope the post has helped spark some ideas for your advent. Advent is a time of anticipation and waiting and I am excited to do these activities with my family to build up to Christmas day.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

No one told me

No one told me...

It's not the first week in, even the first month year, or child.

A couple of years into parenting, and you realise. No one told me it would be like this.

Monday, 2 April 2018

20 months of Hunter John

HJ has been in our lives for 20 loud, colourful, cheeky months now.

While we had a tough beginning with Ada, her later years have been relatively easy, in the scheme of things. Never one to be the same as his sister, Hunter's beginning was a dream, and as he has grown and become affectionately known as #adventureboy, his later months have been a whole new level of full on.

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