Category Archives: Liam

Seven. 7?? SEVEN!!


My son is seven today.

What the Bible says about seven.

Seven is a powerful number in the Bible. The number 7 depicts completion and perfection. The special emphasis placed on this number, by God, is evident throughout Scripture. From Genesis with creation which took seven days, right through to Revelation (seven letters to seven churches,  etc) . God’s number is SEVEN.

Seven = completion / perfection / wholeness

What your mother says about seven

Six was a hard year for you. I guess that’s because five was a really cool year where you dangled so cutely on that precipice of babyhood with your feet ever so slightly skimming the waters of true boyhood. Five year olds are like puppies. They are cute, precocious, loved to be loved and do things that constantly make you laugh. They ask awesome questions and they love to learn. I truly believe it’s a magical year to prepare parents and to soften the blow for the angst of six years old. At 6, you were really trying to find yourself. Maybe it was Grade R in a new school. Maybe it was because you were truly cognizant of good / evil, right / wrong, mistakes / on-purpose,  for the first time in your life. At 6 years old, you knew how to tell lies, and tell them well. You challenged me on every level and there was lots of tears from both of us. It was the first time I caught a glimpse of teenage Liam and I didn’t always like him. But as you and I have wrestled and tussled this past year, I’ve uncovered layers of you that I didn’t know were there before. Layers that just need nurturing and correction. Just like a young sapling needs a stake to guide and support it for that period of time before it grows and flourishes on its own, so do young, wild, spirited young boys need their moms to keep them on the straight and narrow. So I think 7 is going to be the year of completion, the year of perfection and the year of wholeness for you. As you come into your own, as you grow more independent, as my apron strings give you more slack to soar, I’m excited to see where you go from here. Your budding wit and sarcasm brings me much delight. Your slick come-backs and quirky retorts infuriate and excite me all at the same time. Your deep analysis and wondering thoughts on why the sky is blue or why boys don’t need to sleep with underpants but girls must sleep with panties, make me wonder what sort of thesis you will write one day. You’re crazy. Like me. You’re a joker . Like me. You cry easily. Like me. You whine and complain. Like your father. Jokes. You have an answer for everything. There’s no topic you know nothing about. Yet. You are so shy. This complete contradiction endears you to me even more. You will not run up to your teacher in the shopping mall and say hello. You will not sing in public, even for money. You will not take part in the school talent show. I know this because the form came home last week and your eyes popped out of your head at the thought of getting up on the stage and doing something alone in front of a crowd. You do not like the dark. You do not like any part of your body to be uncovered when you’re sleeping. You love riding your bike, and positively detest playing cricket. You eat anything and everything and you’re constantly hungry. You love fart jokes still, you love irritating your sister until she cries, then crying when she doesn’t want to play with you. Go figure. You are everything I’d hoped for in a son. You are perfect.

Physically, there isn’t a trace of my little boy anymore. It’s just muscle and long skinny bones and big jagged-edged permanent teeth. Emotionally, I’ve had to learn from scratch how to deal with you. Hugging, kissing and talking it out is not how 7 year olds necessarily deal with things. And this is new ground for me. I’ve had to say I’m sorry on many occasions as you teach me everyday that my way is not always the best way. As a mother to small children, you assume the role of leader and the children must follow. But now I see that as your children get older, the lines of teacher versus student are often blurred. It’s a wonderful and daunting space to be in.

What you say about seven

You still think the earth and everything in it revolves around you. I don’t know that this is a 7 year old thing, or a MALE thing. Sigh. You told me that you’re big now and I shouldn’t even get out of the car at school drop off. BOY, STOP TALKING CRAZY NOW. You also said that I should give you more responsibility. I said OK, why don’t you start by taking out the garbage. That apparently is not what you had in mind. You have asked if you can let go of the booster seat in the car. I still haven’t given you a definite answer on that one. You want to know when you can get a phone. As if. You have asked me stop giving you a teaspoon with your cereal because you aren’t a baby anymore. Oh, you also don’t want me writing too much about you on  the Internet and you want to vet any photos before posting. Fair enough.

Happy birthday my darling. I maintain that loving you is easy because you’re so wonderful. I love being your mom. It is by far the greatest and most rewarding thing I have and will ever do in this life.

ps: I hate guns, I’ve never bought you a toy gun, and fighting games almost always get you into trouble. But for the sake of posterity, let it be known that on your 7th birthday, I bought you that Nerf Gun you wanted so badly, ONLY because I wanted to see you lose your mind this morning. And you did. And it made me so happy 🙂

 

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End of term and teachers who know your kid.


It’s hard to celebrate the end of the term when your kids are not there to celebrate with you, but celebrate we must. The kids are on holiday in Durban with their grandparents, having the time of their lives. I do so love that they get to do this, I am so pleased that they get to build these memories with their grandparents.

Anyway, I received a call from a certain 6 year old yesterday morning to remind me to fetch his report (truthfully I had forgotten) and to say hello to all his friends at school, which I duly did. I am pleased to report that he had a really good first term. For those of you who know my story, you will know that Big School was a Big Deal for us. I was stressed about the school, about how he would settle in, about the transport to said school which is faaaar out of our zone. And now we’re at the end of a term and it feels like we’ve been doing this forever!

The only “negative” on his report is that he tends to talk too much and thus needs to be reminded to focus. Now I wonder where he gets that from? Ha.

When I phoned to give him the good news, I didn’t even mention this blip on an otherwise excellent report. I didn’t want to rain on his parade and I know ALL about that blip and we are constantly working on it. I have the same blip on my life report too, ha.

Which brings me to my next point. What excited me most about his report, is that his teacher sees him exactly as I do. Let me elaborate on that… there was a time when Liam received a report from school and it was not pleasing. I couldn’t reconcile the school Liam with the home Liam. And it wasn’t a case of “I think my child is an angel” when in fact the child needs a straight jacket. No. I truly didn’t think they had summed up my kid properly. The report made me think that he needed Ritalin or something similar and that was not the boy I knew. Of course I took it up with the principal and we sorted it out and by the next report I had taught them how to word things appropriately (HashtagKiddingNotKidding). My point is there is nothing worse than people not “getting” your child. I know that mothers often look at their children through rose tinted glasses and often need someone to point out the truth; quite frankly I wish my mother had told me years ago that I can’t actually sing, but there are also times when you need to step in as a parent and say NO, that is not my kid, I don’t think you’ve engaged with him enough to know that that is NOT my kid.

Our Mrs V gets my Liam. Besides this report card, our one-on-one meetings always leave me feeling warm and fuzzy, EVEN WHEN the report is negative – because it’s always been about something that I had already picked up at home and she confirms it for me, and I know that she is seeing what I am seeing and we work on it together. I love the words which were used in this particular report card. She didn’t say he is a distraction, she didn’t say we need to calm this child down with whatever is at our disposable, she didn’t say that he is making it unbearable for the rest of the class (which I am sure he does at times)… she always makes me feel that we can work through this together, that my boy is perfect and just needs polishing (which he needs a lot of). The Liam I know and love, is the Liam she is getting to know at school, and the fact that these two Liam’s reconcile, pleases me no end.

I guess we all have our quirks and idiosyncrasies and as an adult I mostly don’t care if people get me or not. Let me say that differently: as an adult, I don’t let it bother me too much if people don’t get me. But as a child, when you are misunderstood, or the adults who play vital roles in your life (teachers, coaches, grandparents even)  don’t know how you tick and you don’t have the verbal or emotional capacity to deal with that, it can be really hard on you, and harder on the parent who DOES know and knows your potential. So having a teacher who wants to know your child and wants to draw the best out of your child is such an amazing blessing, and one that I do not take lightly.

I know teachers are different, I also am aware of the fact that our kids will have to face these challenges in their lives and not everyone will “get” them. In fact, it’s probably a good character building lesson to learn. But for now, with all the other stuff this shiny new Grade R six year old is going through, I am so glad that we landed ourselves in the butter with a lovely teacher.

For those of you who were wondering how we’ve solved the transport issue, we tried many ways including me dashing out during the work day to take him to aftercare at Hannah’s school (no brainer that that didn’t last long) and have eventually settled for two morning drop offs, aftercare for the Mr at his own school at an exorbitant price,  aftercare for the Miss at her own school, I leave work earlier to collect both kids, and unrivaled peace of mind. Ah.

My son is 6.


This post is almost a month overdue! As is tradition in these parts, it’s time for the annual birthday post where I get soft and gooey and say all the wonderful things about my wonderful child. If you don’t want to hear about how I have bred an angel of a genius of a most precious human boy, you should look away now.S7300530

Dear Liam

How did we get here? You’re six. I am in disbelief at how the years have smudged and blended into a mass of beautiful memories far too quickly. I remember your born day as if it was yesterday. I remember you as a boisterous toddler who didn’t sleep. Ever. I remember you as a smart pre-schooler who smashed through your milestones, like tying your shoe laces, with ease – yes, those things aren’t important but they are important to you, and me. I can’t believe that you can read and write,  I can’t believe that I can phone home and ask you to take stuff out of the freezer for dinner. That you can go into the corner store and buy bread and milk when we need it. You are a boy.

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Those hands. Those are big boy hands. This makes me both happy and sad.

Six years old is a big deal. You’re in big school, you make your own sandwich if you’re hungry, you make your own bed, you clean your own room, you bath yourself from beginning to end, except for the bit where I rub lotion on your back because you can’t reach – 6 year old arms are still rather short.You are my right hand man and I’d be lost without you. Thank you for holding the door for me, thank you for putting the kettle on for me, thank you for emptying the dishwasher – all without me asking you to.

You and I have become allies, and it feels good to always have someone on my side. I hope you know that I am always on your side, cheering you on, supporting you and assuring you of my undying affection. You are my favourite boy, sometimes when I look at you, I still can’t believe that you are mine, that I had a hand in your creation. You are perfectly and wonderfully made, the fingerprints of God are all over your perfection.

Even when the pressures of motherhood engulf me, there’s never a moment when I wish you were not mine.

liam 5

So what did you do for your 6th birthday?

Since you were little, I’ve baked your birthday cakes (except for that one year when we ordered an ice cream cake) and this year was no different. It’s a labour of love I plan to keep up for as long as you will let me. This year’s cake was your best, although you tell me that every year. You enjoyed the day with some of your little friends and the following day we went out for your obligatory Spur birthday lunch. On your actual birthday which fell on a  Monday, you marched proudly into school carrying your two dozen cupcakes. You were the centre of the birthday ring and the whole class drew you something special and your teacher made it into your birthday book – what a treasure! You loved all your gifts and you shared so graciously with your sister – good boy!

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Photo cred: the lovely Marcia from http://www.the123blog.com

Happy birthday my little love, as my own mother says to me, I’ll love you until the Lord takes me home.

 I’ll end with a quote from one of our favourite books, it’s the Blue Fairy talking in Pinocchio… she says:

Prove yourself brave, truthful, and unselfish, and someday, you will be a real boy.

You’re a real boy in every sense of the word.

xxx

Mum

The Big School post.


So we’re well into the first term and I still find my heart spasm-ing, constricting, palpating and all those other words that mean you are not coping very well with the whole thing.

Don’t get me wrong. Big School is going well for the kid. In fact, I had my first one-on-one with Mrs V yesterday and she is well impressed with our boy. She says he has settled well, that he works beautifully, that he is the best reader in the class, and that he interacts and plays cheerfully with everyone. There was that bit about how he can be very demanding of her attention and how he wants her all to himself,  and how he is quite noisy, but let’s overlook that little part, shall we?

The person who isn’t coping well with Big School is me. For a variety of reasons… to name a few:

The calendar. 

Oh the calendar. He has something different on everyday except a Wednesday. This means that we have to remember to pack a different item (clothes, gadget, book, equipment) in his bag everyday. And by “we” I actually mean “ME” because this 6 year old  remembers NOTHING. It also means I have to remember a different pick up time for almost four days of the week. I have to write EVERYTHING down or else I forget. Then there’s something for Show and Tell that needs to be remembered once a week, reading that needs to be checked and signed everyday, tuck shop money on the last Friday of every month, library books that need to be returned or else we incur a fine and a million other little things that crop up that we need to deal with. I loved our pre school because they made it really easy for the parents. In fact, I’ve come to realise they made it too easy for us. I didn’t have to do anything, other than drop and fetch the kids. No lunch, no extra murals outside of school hours, no show and tell, no fundraising, no nothing. It was awesome. Big School on the other hand is all about being independent and responsible and getting yourself together. You don’t have your school hat, then fine you can’t play outside today. You don’t have your library book, then fine you have to pay AND you don’t get to take another book out until you return the old one. Your mother hasn’t signed your homework book, then fine you get a de-merit. Guys, it’s HARD out there for a kid!

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The scary calendar

Pre school teachers versus Big School teachers. 

This has been by far the most difficult challenge for me. I am the mom who hangs around at drop off, I want to engage with you and ask you what you had for dinner and ask you what your weekend plans are and tell you the hilarious thing that my kid did last night. That’s me, and our lovely little pre school encouraged this. I was never made to feel like it was not OK to hold up the whole morning with my chin-wagging. I felt in control because I knew EVERYTHING that was going on with my child, I had a heart to heart with the teacher about EVERYTHING at ANY time. Woah. Big School. You are not encouraged to hang around, talk to the teacher at drop off or pick up, cross examine the teacher about last night’s homework or make small talk. It’s a big no-no. If you need to speak to the teacher, you make an appointment or you write it in the message book. You cannot hold up Big School with your chin-wagging. Everyone has something to do, including your child, there is no time to shoot the breeze in Big School, no sireeeee. Mrs V is lovely, I adore her, she is perfect for Liam and he loves her too, but man I feel so out of control. I feel like I don’t know what is going on. Relying on my 6 year old for information is making me twitch. Because his version of the school day events goes something like this: we played, we did some work, I must bring something for show and tell, I had water melon for snack. I can take my soccer ball to school tomorrow. OK, can I go and play now?

I’m like HUH? I need MORE than that, give me MORE!!

I chatted with Mrs V about this in our meeting last night and she laughed… she said that if anything was the matter, I would definitely know about it. She said this was a normal reaction from all the virgin Big School moms and that she encourages moms to keep the channel of communication open… just via the message book. Ha!

So. As if I don’t have enough going on, I signed up for Class Mom. Guys, my OCD would not allow me to just let this one slide. I feel like it would give me a bit more control over what is going on with school. I wrote a long essay in the message book asking various questions about the position and the requirement and with that knowledge, I applied for the job. Ha. The Job. Class Mom of the Year.

As for that message book, they don’t know me, they don’t know I can write pages and pages of words, they don’t know how it crushes my spirit to get a simple “OK!” and smiley face back in return when I have poured out my heart on those pages. That’s MY message book, not Liam’s. I even covered it nicely in paper and plastic wrap.  Oh, the hurt!

Transport woes. 

Currently, I do two school drop-offs. Liam first, then Hannah. Then at lunch time, I fetch Liam and I drop him at Hannah’s school for after care. Then I go back to work and fetch them both on my way home. It is quite exhausting, even though all this is within a 5km radius. So we’re looking at putting him into his  own school’s aftercare even though it costs almost double than the aftercare at Hannah’s school, but let’s be honest… playing chauffeur was tough even for Morgan Freeman in Driving Miss Daisy, I don’t know how long I can keep this up. So we’re trying and testing all sorts of scenarios to see what will eventually be the best plan for our family.

All in all, I still LOVE our school. I am so happy with our decision to send him there and despite all the challenges, I am happy to keep making the sacrifices that need to be made in order to keep him (and eventually Hannah) there. I can’t believe I have a kid in Big School. I can’t believe I have a kid who just gets left at the gate and makes his own way to the classroom all the way on the top floor – this makes me shake all over, but some days he insists, sighhh.

Nothing quite prepares you for Big School!

Bringing you up to speed.


Hello! Happy New Year!

This could possibly be the longest I have stayed away. I hate these catch up posts, how can you possibly cram December holidays, Christmas, New year, Big School, ALL the extra murals, ALL the homework, losing our long term helper, looking after my own house, the start of 2015… all into one post? You just can’t. It won’t do any of it justice. But I shall try…

In the words of the king in Alice in Wonderland:

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”  

So the beginning. We had a very chilled Christmas. My Favourite People AKA my sister and her family spent the holidays with us and we did very little else, other than chill. We rang in the New Year over board games and biryani and hoped that the year which lay ahead would be as calm as the way we had welcomed it in.

Not so and we’re only 30 days in.

After five years, we decided that we no longer needed live-in help. With both kids being older and out of the house all day, my hours slightly more flexible and a medium sized house… we couldn’t justify having full time help anymore. So we said goodbye to Zoleka who has been a faithful and loyal helper. “Keeping house” isn’t as disastrous as I thought it would be. If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know I don’t really like housework. I’m the youngest of four kids, I had older siblings to do all the dirty work, and then I married a man who isn’t afraid of housework so I’ve never really had to clean up after people. And then we had zoleka since the kids were little, so except on the odd occasion and during the holidays, I didn’t really ever have to wash, iron, sweep, scrub and all those other swear words associated with cleaning. But this is a blog post all on it’s own. I’ll share how I “keep house” and I’d be keen to hear how everyone else does it. It’s been just over three weeks and I still haven’t called on my “piece-job” helper who I have on standby for once a week deep cleaning because we’ve been managing quite OK so far.

Then Big School. Guys, it’s like a mine field. New teachers, new rules, new schedules, new routines. Everyday is different, and everyday requires a different something-something that he needs to take, or that he needs to remember. Again, I will blog about this separately and in that post I will add a photo of my monthly calendar and what it looks like! Just today we had to remember library book, tuck money, swimming clothes and show and tell item. That’s besides homework book, reading book and word book, and the little gift for the student teacher who finishes off today, while making a note of what time school finishes today – because he finishes a different time most days depending on the extra mural. I feel a bit frazzled, I won’t lie. The good news is that he is doing SO well. Again,  I will post about this in a school post, but can I just say how HAPPY I am that we held him back and that he is repeating Grade R with children who are all his age. And oh yes, he has the edge, just like all you know-it-all moms who said so! He already has private reading lessons with the principal and he is just flourishing.

Hannah, my little Rose, continues to blossom. Milestone of milestones, she opted to do ballet this term and wait for it… wanted to wear a PINK skirt and leotard. My Hannah? Doing ballet and wearing pink! The tomboy has not completely disappeared, don’t worry… but she has stopped painting with her kiddie eye shadow and started putting it on her face. ALL over a face so that she looks like something out of KISS:

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 My Reader frightens me… I haven’t read a blog post in over 6 weeks so if you’ve missed my essay long comments on your blog, don’t take it personally! I think I’m going to delete all and just start from scratch because being so far behind is giving my OCD filter the heebeejeebies. 

I know it’s late, but I do wish you all a wonderful 2015. I don’t do a word for the year and all that stuff but I do have personal aspirations all which revolve around not being so busy this year. Creating time to be the best mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend I can be and not waste time on the things that are inconsequential. And it really isn’t that hard to do. Remember, there’s a difference between good-busy and bad-busy and last year was full of bad-busy for me. This year I’m all about the good-busy!

Forget that, I can do anything.


My firstborn. My son. Liam John. He graduates from preschool today. I am in complete disbelief and denial over the fact that he is going to big school next year. This seems like the other day:

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The moms in my circle will agree that five is the most awesome age. I call it the Age of Enlightenment. For you as a parent. And for the kid. This year has been difficult for Liam in many ways. I think he became cognitively aware of the fact that the sun doesn’t rise and set on his command. He also became staggeringly aware of the fact that he isn’t always the smartest, or the cutest, or the most loved (except to his mother). And that losing, is in fact, just as easy as winning and that he won’t always be the winner. Not an easy lesson to learn when you’re five and you don’t have the emotional maturity to understand that. Watching your kid grow physically is mind blowing enough; between 4 and 5 they grow like weeds. But I didn’t think the emotional growth would take such a toll on both of us. He has grown from the gregarious, crazy, attention seeking, over-the-top-playful boy (whom I absolutely adored because I am ALL those things) into a sensitive, contemplative, lovable someone who over thinks everything, asks intelligent questions before answering, loves hugs and cuddles but doesn’t invade your space without asking kinda kid. He is still however loud, noisy, crazy and VERY naughty mischievous when the need arises. He cries easily and his feeling are hurt easily and I’ve only just discovered after 5 years of parenting that he, in fact, is not the overtly extroverted kid that I thought he was. Mind blown. He teaches me something new about himself, and about myself, on the daily. As I discover what makes him tick, it feels like playing Pass the Parcel, where every new layer reveals an awesome surprise.

Today is a big day. He leaves our amazing little preschool, where he has been for 4 years, to go off into the big world. This may seem like nothing to the next person. I mean there are many more exciting things he gets to look forward to like high school and hair in places that-shall-not-be-named and leaving home and getting married and having kids and all that REALLY amazing stuff. But for me, as his mother, this beats all those things because THIS thing, this going to big school thing, THIS is the very first time he does something on his own. This is the first time I let my child walk away. This is the first time I consciously decide to loosen the apron strings. Just a little.

I could quote you some C.Day-Lewis (still one of my favourites, read it) at this point about letting go, but as we got to school this morning Hedley comes on the radio and it was THE most fitting song for Liam’s Graduation Day.

Son, you are amazing, you are wonderful, you are loved, you are someone to ME. You can do ANYTHING. I stand behind you 100%. All day, err’day. For the rest of your life and mine. Go get ’em. Here’s our BIG SCHOOL anthem:

Seriously, what’s your purpose in life?


Last night I had a team meeting at church, so the kids were home with their father. When I got back I went into their rooms to say good night and I jumped in with Hannah for a minute:

Hannah: How was your meeting?

Me: It was good.

Hannah: What did you learn?

Me: We learned about staying motivated, about being obedient even when it’s hard or you don’t feel like it.

Hannah: Oh, like Jonah.

Me: Hey? (I have got to stop saying hey)

Hannah: Like when Jonah wasn’t listening but then after he got out of the whale he was obedient to God and he went to Nineveh, but he didn’t feel like it the first time.

Firstly, I was gobsmacked at her absolutely perfect pronunciation of Nineveh, when she can’t even say “probably” properly! She says “pahbly!”

But more than that, I can’t believe how she ‘gets it.’  We haven’t read this story in ages, yet it has stayed with her, and she knows this very important Bible truth. I mean the stuff I was learning about in an adult prayer meeting, this 4 year old summed up for me in a few words.

Obedience rules over emotion.

We have to be obedient to the Will of God even if we don’t feel like it. Even if we’re tired, or life gets busy, or it just becomes too hard. And obedience to God falls out of the parameters of just The Ten Commandments. We always think as long as we don’t kill, steal or commit adultery, we’re doing OK as Christians. Well actually, no. It means being a GREAT wife, even when I don’t feel like it, because God has called me to be a GREAT wife. It means being patient and loving and gentle with my children even when it’s really hard because they can be really difficult, because it is God’s will for me to be a GOOD mother to my children. It’s fitting in quiet time with God during every day because that is obedience to what God instructs us directly to do in His Word – even Jesus went aside from the crowds to have quiet time with His father and he was perfect! It’s helping the poor, it’s going out of your way for someone, it’s being up early every Sunday morning at my post where I volunteer, even if I’ve had a rough Saturday night and I’m tired, it’s staying away from gossip even when it’s REALLY hard because it’s such a juicy story. It’s forgiving others EEEVVEENN when you don’t want to, or it hurts, or you’ve been really offended.

Obedience to God rules over emotion – it trumps our feelings.

Oh boy, it’s hard. It’s SO hard. I have two special friends and together we’re trying to plough through the Bible – one book at a time (Captain America voice), and even that can be difficult for me. I get bored, I get tired, I find something else to do in that time. Doing the right thing is not always easy. It takes motivation and it takes making a decision to do so every single day.  Putting aside your own desires, for the  plans and purposes of God.

How do you know what God’s plan and purpose for your life is? Well how do you know what your plan and purpose at your work is? How do you know what your plan and purpose for your marriage is? You talk to your boss and you guys discuss your career path, right? You talk to your husband / wife and you guys discuss your hopes and dreams and your plans for your marriage, right? And you connect often to make sure everything is on track, right? And so it is with God. If we’re not talking to God, reading His Word, praying and praying and praying (x50000), then we may be confused about our purpose.

You know what always amazes me about other faiths and religions? The emphasis they place on KNOWING, MEMORISING, FILLING THEMSELVES with their “scriptures.” Jewish boys need to know and quote the Torah before they reach bar mitzvah. Muslims are urged to learn the Qur’an off by heart. But as a Christian. I’ve only recently come to understand the importance of knowing what the Bible says, what GOD is saying about keeping His words and storing up His commands within me. About guarding His teachings as the apple of my eye, about binding them on my fingers and writing them on the tablet of my heart (Prov 7:1-3).  Growing up in a catholic family, DIRECTLY out of the Bible, I probably only learned the Our Father and I vaguely remember having to learn Matt 5: 3 – 10 before I was confirmed – The Sermon on the Mount. That was it. We had no other urge to read anything else in the Bible, other than a few verses on a Sunday at church.

I was chatting with my mother and sister, and we were talking about getting the kids (and me) to memorise Bible verses that speak truth and life and speak the promises of God. We need to KNOW these things, people. We need to be able to say it out loud, to motivate us and move us, to keep us focused on the goal, to keep us from succumbing to the challenges that life brings. If we don’t know what the Master is saying, how can we possibly know what we need to be doing? Yes, we have an idea but do we know word for word what God Almighty is saying?

My kids can recite poetry for days. And it gives me ABSOLUTE joy listening to them recite, truly I LOVE it! My granny used to love listening to us sing songs and say poems for her, and now I kind of know why. How much more when God hears us singing love songs back to Him? How much more when God hears us understanding and knowing and figuring out our lives according to His will?

So we started. If they can learn poetry, then they can very well learn the  Bible. We’re learning Psalm 91 off by heart. The kids know verse 1 – 2 already. And when we say it together, let me tell you, I get goosebumps. It’s like praying – it’s like an infilling of the Holy Spirit, it’s like God’s Word COME ALIVE.  “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. THIS I declare of the Lord: He ALONE is my refuge, my place of safety; he is MY God, and I am trusting HIM.”

You see, I learned a lot of these things late in my life. But here I have the chance to get it right with Liam and Hannah. And if receiving this revelation so late has made such a difference in MY life (and most importantly in where I spend eternity hereafter), how much more amazing if I get to plant this seed for my kids NOW. If I can help set them up and position them for God to reveal Himself to them. This is part of my purpose, I have no doubt.

Obedience rules over emotion.

 

Growing up can be sad


My son lost his first tooth. I think it is too early. I think it is too soon for him to be losing teeth. What next? University? A girlfriend? Marriage? It’s just going too fast. Make it stop.

Mothering is a weird thing hey. Some days I am so happy that they are grown, that they can wipe their own bums and sleep through the night and fetch my slippers and BE QUIET when I tell them to. But on the contrary, I feel this sadness that they are growing so fast. I posted a photo on IG the other day of Liam. I took the photo and then I stared at it for ages, and I kept staring back at my real life masterpiece. It was the first time I noticed how his face has completely changed. There are hardly any signs of babyhood left. His face and body are lean, there are no dimples on his thighs and when he is in his swimming trunks, his body looks like it belongs to a BOY, not my little pudgy pudding. Hannah. Oh my word. She used to have this big protruding baby belly that would turn the corner before she did. It’s gone! Her skin feels different, it feels like mine, not that smooth marshmallow-y baby softness.. big girl’s skin! Her arms can wrap around my neck almost twice. I remember not so long ago that her fingers could barely grasp around my neck when I’d take her for a back ride. And I’d laugh and tell her to hold on tightly, now she strangles me with her long arms and I have to tell her to loosen her grip.

I don’t know how much time I have left for them to fit onto my lap. I remember sitting on my daddy’s lap well into my schooling days.. because we would watch the news and then I remember moaning because I had to go to bed because I had school the next day. So with this hindsight, I trust I still have a few more years of a kid curled on my lap. But already it’s getting awkward because it’s all arms and legs and poky bum bones and I’m like WHEN DID YOU GET SO BIG?

I’m so grateful that they are both feelers. That they both love to be touched and held and cuddled. There are many moments in my parenting future that I am dreading… puberty, boyfriends and girlfriends, school projects, slamming doors and ALL that. But one moment that will truly break my heart is when the cuddling stops. And I KNOW it will happen, that’s the cycle of life, it’s a normal progression, I get that. But man, it will hurt. I still hug and kiss my own parents but I know that if I tried to sit on my mother’s lap I would most likely render her injured, ha. But I wonder if she misses it? I need to ask her that. Maybe she’ll respond in a comment, mom? 🙂 Does the growing up part get easier? I know that each stage comes with wonderful things, I can’t wait to have a teenage Hannah – shopping together, going for spa days while the boys go to watch the soccer (although I think Hannah will want to watch soccer with her dad more than she’ll want to get her nails done with me). Getting her to colour my greys and ogling over movie stars… I look forward to those times. As I do with Liam… I look forward to fostering a relationship where he’ll talk to me about stuff, I pray everyday that my boy and I will be able to talk about STUFF. That he’ll feel safe talking to me about STUFF. All sorts of STUFF. And hanging out together, playing Xbox or Playstation or whatever is cool for teenage boys in 2022.

Marcia recently asked if we were concerned about our age / getting older. And I truly am not… but when I think about age in the broader sense… as in time passing, getting older, the years rolling by… my heart does gallop a bit at the thought of these babies of mine growing into big people. Doesn’t yours?

You see this first picture? It feels like it was yesterday. I can remember the stress, the anxiety, the overwhelming tiredness of this very day as if it happened yesterday.

And you see this picture? It WAS pretty much yesterday. Time hey. Blink twice and you may miss it.

kids and me

Fingerprints of God


Steven Curtis Chapman – audio below.

This song. Nothing has brought me closer to believing that there is a God, but for having my own children. When you play a part in the wonder of creation, there is no denying that we serve an Almighty, Wonderful, Amazing God! I will play this song for them over and over again. At every birthday, every special occasion and forever. I will play it for myself when they are being particularly testy and I need reminding that although they can often behave like devil spawn, they are in fact perfectly fashioned from the very hand of God and for His purposes.

I can see tears filling your eyes, and I know where they’re coming from
They’re coming from a heart that’s broken in two, by what you don’t see. The person in the mirror, doesn’t look like the magazine
Oh, but when I look at you it’s clear to me that…

I can see the fingerprints of God, when I look at you!
I can see the fingerprints of God, and I know it’s true!
You’re a masterpiece that all creation quietly applauds,
And you’re covered with the fingerprints of God!

Never has there been and never again, will there by another you. Fashioned by God’s hand and perfectly planned to be just who you are. And what He’s been creating, since the first beat of your heart. Is a living breathing priceless work of art! 

I can see the fingerprints of God, when I look at you!
I can see the fingerprints of God, and I know it’s true!
You’re a masterpiece that all creation quietly applauds,
And you’re covered with the fingerprints of God!

Just look at you!
You’re a wonder in the making, oh, and God’s not through, no
In fact, He’s just getting started…

I can see the fingerprints of God, when I look at you!
I can see the fingerprints of God, and I know it’s true!
You’re a masterpiece that all creation quietly applauds,
And you’re covered with the fingerprints of God!

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Jer 1:5 Before I created you in the womb I knew you; before you were born, I set you apart.

 

The golden age of 5


What I’ve learned from being a mother is that there are no half measures with kids. It’s either all or nothing, baby. It’s either ALL the sads or ALL the happys. They do stuff, and they do it WELL. Whether it’s throwing a tantrum in a supermarket aisle, or making sure they splash all that water out the tub, or squeezing poor Rocky half to death just to show him JUST how much they love him (I mean a pat on the head would do?) … they are determined little things that truly pour themselves into whatever task is at hand. I’ve enjoyed watching their eyes light up with glee at the simplest of things, and in the same vein I have watched their faces crumble with anger/sadness for the simplest of things. They love hard, but make no mistake, they can unlove quick and fast. This volatile place where children live can be awesome and amazing – man, I wish I could switch from being grumpy to happy because someone promised me an ice cream cone. I wish I wasn’t afraid to tell someone just how MUCH they mean to me, minutes after I’ve just slapped them in the face with a Lego block. And I wish something as simple as blowing a dandelion flower could make me giggle and giggle for hours. It’s bloody marvelous to be a kid.

So when does it stop?

I think we’re getting to that point with Liam. I blogged about how awesome I think he is a few days ago, but this post is more about this age. This 5 year old business is finally feeling like the light on the other side of the parenting tunnel. He is like a small-big-person. And it’s happened so suddenly, that it’s caught me by surprise! By the way, I think a large part of my broodiness (SOOO broody, did I tell you?) comes from the fact that my kids are growing WAY too quickly. Just in the way he acts and reacts. He is way calmer, more relaxed, easier to placate when things don’t go as planned. He doesn’t lose his mind on either side of the spectrum: when he is happy, of course he is happy but that giddiness has eased off, and when he is sad, oh he is sad but the crazy crying has been replaced with quiet little sobs, usually behind his closed door – much like a big person! I haven’t done anything differently, I haven’t told him to MAN UP, it just seems he has matured. His mind is also working over time to understand how things work in the world. And I’m not talking about the manipulation tactic that small children use, I mean he can reason with you and get you to see his point of view and why his way could possibly be better, just by using his words (and often by drawing a picture to go with his words). He is very convincing, I think he may have a future in sales.

With this, has also come fear. Funny how fear accompanies maturity, isn’t it? Small children are so fearless, they have no concept of danger and their innocence is so beautiful to witness. But as Liam’s understanding of the world grows, so does his fear. Suddenly, he is afraid of the dark. Something that was never an issue for us because they’ve slept with the light off since we moved them into their rooms at a few months old. But now, he wants the passage light on. Also, he has lost that bolshy I-can-do-anything-I-please-cos-I’m-the-king-of-the-world over confidence that he used to have. Gone is the little boy who would sing for money, or act a fool because he adored the attention. He has simmered down and not in a bad way. Not in a way that worries me, more in a way that I can only attribute to growing up.

I love THIS Liam just as much, if not more, than baby Liam. I love where our conversations are going, I love listening to his ideas and his philosophies still sprinkled with childlike innocence. Having a small-big-boy in the house is such a pleasure. Somehow I just feel like it’s this golden hour before the scary school years or the testy tween years start. I love that he is still open to hugs and cuddles and hopping on my lap but that he is also very aware that Hannah is the baby and she has first dibs on that – by force of her tantrum, not because we have said so. And he lets her get away with lots of things, just to keep her quiet and believe me, this is a far way off from the screaming matches these two could lock horns over.

We got him something small this weekend to acknowledge this great little person we see emerging. Not to say well done for growing up, but to say “hey, we see you over there being so mature about stuff, testing out this new big-boy business and we think you’re doing great and we’re behind you all the way.” And he smiled that new shy smile that we’ve been seeing often lately. I yelled at him the other day for doing something or the other that he shouldn’t have been doing (he is more mature, but in NO way a saint, let me tell you) and he went off into a quiet sulk – another thing I love about 5, they sulk A LOT but they do it QUIETLY. Ha. And I won’t lie, it was a welcome change. You can be miserable for as long as you like if you do it quietly, thanks. As long as I don’t have to deal with it. He came out eventually much like his old self. He wants me to call him “my little tidy paws” because he has decided he is going to be the tidiest person in the house. Not sure where the “paws” part comes in but I am ALL FOR the tidy part!

So far, 5 has been THE best year! And no, I am not even going to taint that statement by throwing in a “but.”  Before the stress of big school hits him, before he starts telling me I’m uncool, before he doesn’t want to be kissed at his classroom door, and while he can still fit onto my lap… I do think I shall enjoy this age for all that it is. As Marcia would say, hashtagthisisfive:

liam 5