Category Archives: Liam

A good apple of a son.


Mostly the last few years have been grueling… trying to instill discipline, trying to teach my children good manners, good morals, instilling in them a sense of integrity, a sense of choosing right over wrong, good over evil, and so on. That’s the real grueling part of parenting. You think it’s the endless laundry pile, the unwashed dishes in the sink, the tantrums, the sleepless nights, the crying and whining… but really the real challenge, the part that keeps you awake at night, the part that is guilt ridden and has you second guessing yourself at least 10 times a day… THAT part… is whether you are doing it right. Are you doing the best you can for your kids? Will they turn out to be decent human beings? Have you done enough to make sure they will integrate into society and be law abiding citizens who have a relatively normal existence? This is the part that actually freaks every parent out. You spend years teaching them to say yes please, no thank you, open doors for girls, ask the other person how they are, don’t cause scenes in public, don’t steal, lie, cheat, hit other kids..blah blah blah.. and STILL I hear myself asking at least 3 times a day “WHAT DO YOU SAY???” when someone gives them something and they don’t respond with an appropriate “thank you very much.” And you wonder if this kid is ever going to get it right.

So when you catch a glimpse of that character you have been trying to build for years, that character you have helped nurture and grow in as best a way as you know how… it makes you breathe a sigh of relief. It makes you realise that you can’t be that sucky of a parent after all, that you are doing OK. What a relief.

These last few weeks, I’ve noticed that my littlest man is maturing. The way he lets others go first, the way he shares, the way he lets you have your say and only comments once you have finished talking (even if you ramble on forever, like our Hannah does). The way he understands that crying and losing your mind over something silly is not the answer… oh he pouts and gets upset and I need to reason with him, but he doesn’t tantrum anymore. He knows the difference between right and wrong… even though he doesn’t always choose right! But I love that he can understand why there are rules in place, why we need to be disciplined if we disobey the rules and how it’s always better to just listen to your mother. Yes, you do.

He would give you something if it made you happy, even if he didn’t have an extra one to give. Last week we went to the Disney on Ice show and he willingly gave his juice to Sam because Sam didn’t have any at the time. My last-year-Liam would NEVER have done that! And in turn, my Hannah shared her juice with her brother. This filled my heart with pride. It did. He understands that there are things that I have no control over and he shows grace… I promise them every evening that we’ll ride bikes when we get home. But some days I’m late from work or the traffic is crazy and there just isn’t time. Whereas Hannah will usually cry and be somewhat mad at me because I control the traffic and the setting of the sun and how many hours in a day (go figure), Liam will say something like “it’s ok, we can do that tomorrow, why don’t we find something to do inside while you cook.” Like he wants me to feel better for not being able to make THEM happy, I just love him for this. He is still as mischievous as ever, and I swear this boy’s mouth is going to get him into many a tricky situation, but he is also such a softie. And if you hurt his feelings, he WILL cry. But this is crying I identify with, crying because your heart is sore, I get that, I do it quite a bit myself…  not crying because your mother told you that you can’t wear your swimming costume to school because it’s 2 degrees outside (yes, been there, done that).

Anyway, my point is that Liam is growing into a really cool kid. A lot of this comes with age and maturity of course, but a lot of it comes from just being a good apple. And for me, this is the most important thing. You don’t have to be the smartest, cutest, coolest, funniest human being , but you do need to be a good apple: good at the core of who you are.

I think I actually like my kids?


This weekend we had the pleasure of being kid-free two nights in a row. One was planned, and the other was a spur of the moment thing. But the point I really want to make is how your kids get to a certain age where a kid-free night is wonderful but not the same as THOSE days when you would have considered leaving the baby in the house alone, in your desperation for a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. Sorry for those of you still in  the throes of this phase!

It was one of those moments when I was like “wow, these kids are BIG.” And while it was great not to have to get up and fix breakfast, put out sibling squabbles and have my ear chewed off by a very talkative 4 year old, I must admit that I missed them. The kids go to bed at 8pm and I don’t hear a peep out of them until I wake them up the next day. My mother called one Friday night and it was just after 8 and she was like “are the kids in bed already, it’s Friday?” In my house, the days of the week or the occasion make no difference, bed time is bed time. The only time we deviate is if we have visitors and for REALLY special occasions like the Soccer World Cup where I allowed them to stay up for the opening ceremony – which they found utterly boring. So my sleep is uninterrupted, I love my sleep and they’ve reached an age where they do to!

So my point is, having them spend the night away from me is not as exciting as it used to be! And strangely, I missed them not being around. Husband had things to take care of on Saturday morning so I was home alone, and I felt quite bleak without them. Is this the age where parents actually start to enjoy the company of their children? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy alone time as much as the next run down mother, but without me realising it, I think I’ve actually reached a stage of LIKING my children and WANTING to be around them. Now now, don’t judge. Parenting is not all about the fun loving stuff that people put on their IG pictures. Most of the time, those first few years are just plain HARD and tiring and annoying. You love your kid, you’d jump in front of a moving bus for your kid, you love each smile and giggle, but it’s hard work.. often very thankless. And I won’t lie and say I didn’t wish those sleepless nights and those horrible teething patches and those stinky diapers away, because I did! And even though I’d do it ten times over without hesitation if you asked me to go through it all again, I must say that this actual LIKE I have for my kids at this age is rather surprising and refreshing.

Needless to say when they got home, they hadn’t missed me AT ALL. My 100s of questions were answered with as little detail as possible and all they wanted to do was to be left alone to play secret games with each other and have as little to do with me as possible. The nerve. I forced everyone to have lunch around the table so we could TALK because we were not going to be there for dinner on Saturday night and after that, they scurried off to do their own thing again.

I must say this is all weird to me – this growing up business. And weirder still because I clearly remember a day crying in my kitchen with a crying toddler wrapped around my thigh and a crying baby on my hip , thinking WHEN WILL THIS BE OVER, LORD!!!! And now that we are here, it’s weird but all kinds of awesome too. I like my kids, they are cool. I want to spend time with them. I want to hear their opinions. I want them to laugh at my jokes. I want them to LIKE me as much as I LIKE them. I actually WANT to go on holiday with them! After Cape Town 2011 – a disaster family holiday, I didn’t think those words would ever come out of my mouth! I love being able to do my own thing while they are somewhere else in the house. I like them popping their little heads around the door to make sure I am OK and asking “are you googling on your iPad again, mama?”

This is the age of AWESOME for me. It truly is!

My kid can read. Mind blown.


I don’t know when I learned to read exactly. I can’t remember NOT being able to read, and then being able to read. I’m sure I was very excited about it at the time because we grew up with books (both parents were teachers, hello) and I loved reading from a very young age. But I don’t remember the excitement of going from illiterate to literate. Enter my son. This kid is so amazing, he continues to blow my mind with how quickly he learns and grasps new things. I’ve shown off enough about how I think Liam is a genius, go read his baby posts and it’s all about our Baby Einstein. No shame or humility at all in these parts. So allow me to relish in my parenting achievement of having an almost-reader at age 5YEARS3MONTHS. (Let’s ignore the fact that this probably has nothing to do with my parenting, or that Chinese babies are reading at age 3, but just give me my moment please).

Liam can read. Like he can string words together and read sentences. I simply cannot believe it. We’ve been learning words and spelling for a while now, he has been able to spell simple three letter words for some time. But this weekend my sister unlocked the key to reading sentences – it pays to have a first grade teacher in the family. She said he needs to learn and KNOW those words that appear often without having to spell or think about them: it, is, this, that, he, she, there, were, his, him, etc, etc. And then I realised that these were like the “bridging” words that allow one to create sentences. It’s all well and good knowing CAT, SIT, MAT but those little bridging words allow THE cat TO sit ON THE mat. You see what I mean, isn’t that awesome? On Friday afternoon, my sister wrote a few simple sentences on her iPad and went over these “bridging” words with Liam and not even long after, this was the result:

 

HOW BLOODY AMAZING IS THIS KID?? I cannot tell you how happy I am. That feeling that I cannot remember of learning to read myself… I feel it for my kid.  I am so excited for him. And Liam? HE IS OVER THE MOON. It is heartwarming to watch. It makes me giddy, I want him to read ALL THE BOOKS. NOW!!! My sis took me back to basics, so this morning I’ve made flash cards of all the words I think are bridging words, and we’ll learn those quickly. I don’t know how one teaches words other than simple 3 letter sounding words, but for now I really want to hone this simple skill  first, so that by the time he gets to Grade R, he is a fluent reader. Then I’ll leave the rest up to his teacher – I need to pay these exorbitant school fees for SOMETHING, right?

Anyway, I have a new party trick… I will be showing off my new reader to EVERYONE. I’m so proud! This child of mine.

Liam, you continue to astound me with how smart, witty, and sensitive you are. Your intellect has nothing to do with IQ but everything to do with how open and eager and excited you are to learn. I pray that this fire that burns within you continues to rage as you open yourself up to learning all the wonderful things that life has in store, if we but grab the opportunities in front of us. I can’t wait to lay with my eyes closed and just listen as YOU read to ME. Nothing would make me happier than you finding and losing yourself in a good book. You are the most amazing little boy I know, probably because you are MINE, but also because you are YOU. Congratulations on probably one of the most amazing things to happen to a human being! The power and the privilege to read.

Why else did you have kids if not for the free labour?


I am LOVING this age. LOVINGGGG this age. The age of “go-fetch.” Come on now, don’t make like you haven’t enjoyed sending your little ones here and there for this and that. This weekend we spent a lot of time at home, which was LOVELY. But even lovelier than that, was been able to lay on the couch and send the kids off when I needed a blankie, or needed the remote, or needed my handbag or needed someone to fill Rocky’s water bowl. The list goes on… Also I love this age when THEY love helping out. I mean I have two people fighting over who’s going to do stuff for me… what’s not to like?

They switch on the outside lights when the sun goes down, and switch them off for me when the sun rises. They tie my shoe laces, and insist on taking my shoes off and packing them away when I get home in the evening. One sets the dinner table and the other takes the crockery and the cutlery from the kitchen to the table. They replace the toilet rolls when they run out… do you know how BIG a deal this is for me? I live with a man who doesn’t understand that once you get to the brown part of the toilet roll, it means it is finished and it needs to be thrown away and a new one inserted onto the holder. For YEARS, I have yelled from inside a closed toilet for “SOMEONE TO PLEASE GET ME A BOG ROLL BECAUSE SOMEONE DID NOT REPLACE THE OLD ROLL!!” Now, the kids do this all by themselves.

They fetch scissors! And carry them properly. There are so many times I need a pair of scissors, is this just me? To cut a lose thread, or to take the tag off something, or to open a container… and I can NEVER find the scissors in that house, even though between the kids and I, we own at least 5 pairs. But now, I yell for a scissors and off they go to hunt down a pair.

They get stuff while I’m cooking. You know when you’re in the middle of something that needs your attention on the stove, and you can’t step away… like in the middle of a white sauce and you need more milk or Maziena or something, one yell and they come running, grab the step ladder if it’s too high and get whatever I need out of the pantry cupboard.

They can CHARGE my devices! I never have a dead device because they make sure my stuff is charged on time! They will pop it into the plug point for me.. first switch off at the wall, insert, switch on at the wall. Strict instructions lest they burn themselves and the house down.

They can occupy Rocky. Some days I just don’t have time to play with Rocky. I know, I know, one shouldn’t have a pet unless you are going to treat it as part of the family. But honestly, there are days when I get home late, and I still need to cook or sort stuff out and I don’t have even 15 minutes to take him for a walk. So I send the kids out and they do laps around the garden to stretch his legs. Works like a charm.

They do stuff for each other. Hannah can’t open her own wardrobe because she can’t reach the handle yet. She used to grab the step ladder and help herself if I wasn’t in the vicinity…until I discovered she was damaging my laminate floors with that blasted step ladder. Now instead of calling me, I’ve told her to call Liam when she needs help opening wardrobes. Only call me if Liam is otherwise occupied – that is the instruction. They also lotion each other’s backs after bath time. This is the one zone they can’t reach, and I’ve taught them to help each other so that I can do other things. Like play Candy Crush, after bath time.

They do just about everything for themselves… except run the bath water. I’m still afraid of hot water. And I still brush Hannah’s hair. Other than that, unless I am in the mood, they are pretty much parenting themselves right now. And doing all the chores that Hubby and I don’t want to do.

This parenting thing is a JOY RIDE!!!

However, I am well aware that one day in our very near future, they are going to turn around and ask “why?”  Like WHY should we do this or that, why can’t you do it yourself… followed by lots of feet stomping and eye rolling and lip pouting. So for now, I shall relish in the moment of having my kids run GOOD circles around me. Hey, I did it for them for the last 5 years. Pay back time, baby.

We got into our school of choice!


So you guys know from this post that we were awaiting the outcome of our Grade R application for next year. Well I received the call to say that Liam had been accepted and that we need to come in with him for a little induction in about a month’s time. I am so relieved I cannot even articulate it properly. Like a huge weight has been lifted. Like I have one less thing keeping me up at night. Like when we’re at the school parties and all the conscientious parents are going on and on about how they’ve been on a list for years and their kid was accepted years ago and I just keep quiet because the only list my kid is on is his current class register. Now I can say, “oh my kid has a school” and roll my eyes dramatically like having a school was something we had thought about years ago.

Then I made the mistake of telling Liam that the big school had called and hooray he can go there. Rookie error, I admit, but I wanted him to be excited about it too and also I just could not keep this sort of good news to myself. The kid wants to do a countdown of how many sleeps until big school. He wants me to explain how long a year takes (it’s less than a year but I had to give him a timeframe to work with). So I counted in months because 8 months just sounds closer than a gazillion sleeps, right? Anyway, a part of me is happy that he knows and we have all this time to prepare him mentally and emotionally for this change which is sure to bring about mixed emotions for him.

He has only ever been at one school since he was 20 months old (we don’t talk about that horrible little school we dumped him in for a few months when he was just 18 months old.) So making friends wasn’t an issue really, he just grew up with the same group of kids and they have become fast friends because they’ve known each other since forever. Same thing with church: he has moved up with the same bunch of kids since he was 1. Yes, kids come and go, but he has his special church friends. He hasn’t had to go out there on his own and start over and actively MAKE friends. I am little worried about this, I won’t lie. Also, a lot of the class would have moved up together from Grade 00 so I think he will feel quite odd to begin with, so I’m glad I have this time to prepare him for that. He is an extrovert so I am not unduly worried, my anxiety stems more from the fact that he hasn’t been in this situation before, so I really don’t know how he’ll cope/react. But I’m trusting God that he’ll be FINE.

So now we face the next challenge.. making it all work. This school isn’t up the road. It will mean two different drop offs in the morning before I need to be at work. It will also mean leaving work during the day to take them home.. I am not paying for aftercare at this stage when I have a full time live in helper. Also aftercare is so darn expensive! So yes, I am going to drive A LOT. But of course we thought about and agreed on all these things before we signed up for this, so we know what we are in for. Also hoping that my hours will change as of next year – this discussion is already underway. At the very worst, this will be only for a year. Once Hannah and him are together, it will be easier of  course.

Right now, I am just grateful that he has somewhere to go and that he is correctly positioned for where we want him to complete his primary school career. Also, I am taking donations for anyone who wants to contribute to the hefty deposit/placement fee we need to pay, any ‘ol soul who feels like they want to just throw some money my way, I’m your girl.

lee and rocky

Big School Application underway…


Today is the day I submit the application pack for Liam’s big school. My stomach is actually in knots. You see, this is it. There’s no second choice. This is IT. If he doesn’t get in here, I’m not really sure WHAT we are going to do. So this HAS.TO.BE.IT.

If you’ve been reading a while, you’ll know that Liam is in Grade R this year. Both him and Hannah go to a preschool (which I LOVE LOVE LOVE) which ends at Grade R and then you have to leave. Boo hoo, I wish they could just stay there forever.  He is, however, very young. He has just turned five, which means he is a year ahead of where he should be. So in order for him to be 6 turning 7 in the year he enters Grade 1, he will repeat Grade R next year. Now, if you remember, I did have my issues with this… I think he is smart enough to enter Grade 1 next year. I think he is emotionally ready purely because I think he is on par with his peers who WILL enter Grade 1 next year. I sincerely think he would have been fine in Grade 1 next year. Hashtag Just Saying. However (and I know Cat will be happy with this!) I’ve decided that that extra year will do him no harm – it will be to his benefit in fact. He’ll be none the wiser, he is moving schools so it’s not like his friends move on and he stays behind, it’s still a new experience for him. Also, he’ll be the same age as his peers, he’ll participate in sports and extra murals with the correct age group, he’ll have a whole year on his peers (having repeated Grade R) so he should be the most brightest and most cleverest and most wonderful boy there (I need to work on this competitive thing, I really do). I’m kidding. The main reason is that I want him to be in the best position to feed into the big school we have chosen. And his best chance of this, is if he attends the preschool which feeds into that primary school – because we do not live in the catchment area and this automatically puts us on the B list and I simply cannot take that chance. No ways.

The primary school is government and because we are going government, I’ve really put a lot of time and energy in selecting a GOOD one.. however, the preschool is privately run and the fees are HECTIC. AND its half day. AND they only get a mid morning snack. Where they are now, although the fees are high, it’s full day and they get breakfast and lunch and two snacks in between. This also means that I’ll have TWO school drop offs because Hannah will stay where she is for another year. It’s going to be quite a change (and challenge) to our routine. BUT, it’s a great school. And that is all. I am willing to make sacrifices NOW in order to make sure this kid gets the education I so desire for him (at a rate I can afford!).

So this is why I’m feeling all sorts of anxious this morning. He HAS to get into this school. I may or may not have overdone it with the application and made it pretty with colourful tabs and a lovely folder and fancy paper clips and a letter of recommendation from MYSELF about my OWN kid. His current principal has assured me that she will make a call and give him (and us) a further glowing report. I’ve prayed over this application and I’m THIS close to spraying my perfume on it – kind of like a love letter. I’m JOKING. Relax.

So hold thumbs for me. I mean for Liam. Who would have thought that big school would be so stressful?

Ps: can someone explain to me, the reason that schools request such a LARGE sum of money as a NON REFUNDABLE application fee?? What do they use that money for? I mean WHAT is the purpose of the application fee? You paying to submit a whole lot of papers basically? And if your child is rejected you don’t even get it back! WAH! And who’s to say that they don’t  just keep accepting applications even though they know they are full, in order to cash up with the NON REFUNDABLE application fee? I don’t know, can someone explain this to me?

BeFunky_school app.jpg

Lessons learned from kids who pray


I don’t think there is ANYTHING cuter than listening to a child pray. We try to stifle giggles, as I don’t ever want them to be put off their own unique style of talking to their daddy in heaven, but my word it’s difficult to contain the laughter sometimes. You got to hear the things these kids come up with. Husband and I cover our faces and sneak looks at each other and sometimes I just cannot be serious and I let a small giggle out and have to quickly convert it into a coughing fit because coughing they understand, laughing during praying is, however, severely frowned upon.

But this is nothing new. I remember praying as a child with my brothers and sister and parents. Getting the giggles was contagious and happened often. One of us would start and before long everyone would be hosing themselves, tears streaming down our faces – over nothing in particular. But sometimes it’s just difficult to be serious all the time, isn’t it?

Hannah’s latest prayers include asking Jesus to please make Rocky stop crying early in the morning because she needs to get her sleep in so that she doesn’t feel sleepy in the day because she absolutely does not want to have a nap in the day. Her words, not mine.

Liam prays for his nieces and nephews. We’re like WHO are your nieces and nephews? He says “but you say that?”

They pray for rain – not so that the trees and flowers can grow – but because they want to wear takkies tomorrow and if the sun is shining mommy is going to make us wear our slops.

They DO NOT want their aunty or granny to pray EVER because “they pray for tooooo long” apparently.

Hannah prays for Kanyiso at school because he is so naughty, and he needs help to be a good listener when teacher talks. Again, her words not mine.

They pray for each other’s sores and bumps and bruises, which is fine. But when a person wants to mention every single blue mark, mosquito bite, that time when I bite my tongue and it was sore, that time mommy smacked me and it was sore. And then ask for HEALING in JESUS NAME! Woooooo, I HOSE myself.

And then of course the mentioning of every single person we know. From the oldest to the youngest. Look, I’m happy to just group people. Parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, friends and so on. Jesus knows, OK. But to mention everyone by name – while the clock is ticking way past bedtime hour. Sometimes it’s funny and sometimes I need to reign that in and yell AMEN just to get them to STOP ALREADY.

What about asking for help to be a good boy or girl. No, not because it is what we are called to do, no. They ask for help  to be good children so that God can give them a prize. A prize? Now I’m not sure what’s been whispered to them in their dreams, but I’m pretty sure God is not like me who hands out prizes (read: sweets) for good behaviour.

And how they pray with a hidden agenda: please forgive Hannah for that time today when she didn’t want to share her toys with me. Loosely translated, what he is actually trying to say is: WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE YOU ARE SELFISH HANNAH AND YA, NOW I’M TELLING ON YOU TO GOD.

One cannot be serious when listening to a small child pray!

I love how they are uninhibited in their requests. I love how they truly trust that God will make it alright. Talk about coming boldly before the Throne!!

Anyway, I was reading this excerpt from Paul Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World, (full article here)

It sums it up PERFECTLY! It’s long but READ IT!

Jesus wants us to be without pretense when we come to him in prayer. Instead, we often try to be something we aren’t. We begin by concentrating on God, but almost immediately our minds wander off in a dozen different directions. The problems of the day push out our well-intentioned resolve to be spiritual. We give ourselves a spiritual kick in the pants and try again, but life crowds out prayer. We know that prayer isn’t supposed to be like this, so we give up in despair. We might as well get something done.

What’s the problem? We’re trying to be spiritual, to get it right. We know we don’t need to clean up our act in order to become a Christian, but when it comes to praying, we forget that. We, like adults, try to fix ourselves up. In contrast, Jesus wants us to come to him like little children, just as we are.

The difficulty of coming just as we are is that we are messy. And prayer makes it worse. When we slow down to pray, we are immediately confronted with how unspiritual we are, with how difficult it is to concentrate on God. We don’t know how bad we are until we try to be good. Nothing exposes our selfishness and spiritual powerlessness like prayer.

In contrast, little children never get frozen by their selfishness. Like the disciples, they come just as they are, totally self-absorbed. They seldom get it right. As parents or friends, we know all that. In fact, we are delighted (most of the time!) to find out what is on their little hearts. We don’t scold them for being self-absorbed or fearful. That is just who they are.

This isn’t just a random observation about how parents respond to little children. This is the gospel, the welcoming heart of God. God also cheers when we come to him with our wobbling, unsteady prayers. Jesus does not say, “Come to me, all you who have learned how to concentrate in prayer, whose minds no longer wander, and I will give you rest.” No, Jesus opens his arms to his needy children and says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NASB). The criteria for coming to Jesus is weariness. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy.

What does it feel like to be weary? You have trouble concentrating. The problems of the day are like claws in your brain. You feel pummeled by life.

What does heavy-laden feel like? Same thing. You have so many problems you don’t even know where to start. You can’t do life on your own anymore. Jesus wants you to come to him that way! Your weariness drives you to him.

Don’t try to get the prayer right; just tell God where you are and what’s on your mind. That’s what little children do. They come as they are, runny noses and all. Like the disciples, they just say what is on their minds.

We know that to become a Christian we shouldn’t try to fix ourselves up, but when it comes to praying we completely forget that. We’ll sing the old gospel hymn, “Just as I Am,” but when it comes to praying, we don’t come just as we are. We try, like adults, to fix ourselves up.

Private, personal prayer is one of the last great bastions of legalism. In order to pray like a child, you might need to unlearn the non-personal, non-real praying that you’ve been taught

So instead of being paralyzed by who you are, begin with who you are. That’s how the gospel works. God begins with you. It’s a little scary because you are messed up.

Become like the little children Jesus surrounded himself with. When Nathanael first hears about Jesus, he says the first thing that comes to his mind: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). It is the pure, uncensored Nathanael. When Jesus greets Nathanael, you can almost see Jesus smiling when he says, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” (1:47). Jesus ignores the fact that Nathanael has judged Jesus’ entire family and friends in Nazareth. He simply enjoys that Nathanael is real, without guile, a man who doesn’t pretend. Jesus seems to miss the sin and see a person.

It is classic Jesus. He loves real people.

God would much rather deal with the real thing. Jesus said that he came for sinners, for messed-up people who keep messing up (see Luke 15:1-2). Come dirty. 

A review: The Lego Movie


I wouldn’t exactly call this a review, just a little sum up of our day out…

So for the longest time we have been promising the kids a trip to the movies. We don’t do movies often enough, mainly because we are so busy doing other things and movies are just very far down the list of priorities (I am a singlemarried mother remember, so weekends are jam packed with doing ALL THE THINGS we don’t get to do during the week). But I’ve been annoyed that I’m paying this monthly contribution to Vitality and yet we never make use of the benefits, so in a fit of I-want-to-get-my-monies-worth, I declared that we would be going to the movies. I wanted to watch The Nut Job, Liam wanted to watch The Lego Movie. Hannah wanted popcorn. Husband just wanted some quiet time in a dark room for two hours. This was our first 3D movie and while I thought it was cool, I didn’t think it was AMAZINGGGGG – the 3D part I mean. The movie itself was really cute, the cinematography / animation / or whatever it’s called, was fantastic! And the script (like most of these animated movies) contained enough adult humour and nuances to keep me captivated, while providing an easy enough story line for a 5 year old to understand.

But man, let’s just talk about going to a kiddies movie real quick… What I did notice is that they HAVE indeed turned down the volume in kiddies movies, which is great, because really your general movie experience is WAY too loud for little ears. But what the cinema lacks in sound, the children sure do make up for. The constant chatter, the crazy laughing and the repeating of EVERY.FUNNY.LINE made me laugh! Not to mention the constant requests which go something like this:

Please can I have more popcorn

Please pass my juice

Please put my juice back in that hole

I can’t find my shoe, please find it for me.

Please I need to go wee.

What is going to happen NOW mama?

What is going to happen NOW mama?

And NOW?

AND NOW? (WATCH THE BLINKING MOVIE IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS CHILD!!!!)

When are we going home? (5 minutes into the start)

I wasn’t in the least bit irritated though, I’m a mom, it’s just a normal day at the movies for us… but yes, unless you have offspring of your own, or have lots of contact with small children, please don’t ever torture yourself by going to watch a kiddies movie (come on, I know there are lots of adult Lego enthusiasts out there. Make sure you go to the really late show, OK?)

Liam was glued, Hannah fell asleep half way through and hubby and I even managed to hold hands across the seats for a minute. All in all, it was a good day out. And cause for great inspiration.. The Master Builders have been very busy with their Lego at home since watching this movie. Once again, I’ve been saddened with the revelation that I do not have a creative bone in my body (which is fine because I have very many other talents, hah). You must see what these kids build… aeroplanes and houses with garages and windows and robots – albeit they aren’t perfect but they are amazing! Me? I just see small pieces of plastic and all I ever build is a tower.. the look of utter disappointment on my children’s faces when they see my sorry excuse for a Lego piece-of-art is priceless. Makes me laugh every time when they say very seriously “good for trying, but what is it?”

Boy child turns FIVE.


My son. The fruit of my loins. My first born. The apple of my eye. My son who will carry the family name. Boy child with the imagination of a storyteller and the heart of a saint. Boy with the mischievous smile and the sunrise in his eyes. Son who worships the ground his mother walks on and mother who would do anything for her son. Son who is so like his mother, yet so very unique. A son was born unto me who would change my world forever. It wasn’t by chance, it was by Divine Orchestration. God looked at me and said “I know you Robyn Ann, I know exactly what would fill your heart to bursting. I made you, I know you better than you know yourself. Because I love you, and because I know every hair on your head and because I want to see you smile for a thousand years, BECAUSE you are so precious to me, I am going to gift you with the most beautiful gift and you will call him Liam John.”

Five years with you have not been easy. But it has been worth it. I am hard on you, I have great expectations of you. I want to see you over achieve and I want you to be imperfectly perfect in everything you do – that simply means I want you to do your best. You are so full of potential, I get so excited when I think about the endless possibilities your little life holds hidden in the creases of your beautiful brown skin. You are a good boy. You are a lovable boy. You are a kind boy. You are wonderful. You are everything I’d hoped for in a son. You are perfect to me. You are destined to be the GREATEST Liam John that you can be.

I want you to know that I love you unendingly and unconditionally. Even when I shout, I love you. Even when we argue, I love you. Even when you are being punished, I love you still. Nothing you do will ever change the way my heart beats for you. Being a mom is not easy, my son. It is a battlefield where it is easy to wound and easy to BE wounded – both parties have to endure and overcome many trials and challenges. But being your mom has proved to be my life’s best work. Raising you has opened up a Pandora’s Box of the most wonderful things I hadn’t known about myself – things I hadn’t figured out about myself until you came along. So you see, as much as I am raising you, it is YOU who is raising me too. Raising me to new heights of love, understanding, and JOY. Oh what JOY my children bring me. Granted, it isn’t joyous all the time (!!) but that’s just the thing about joy, isn’t it. It’s not the same thing as happiness which is temporary and which changes with the ebbs and flows of your mood. But JOY. Joy is something you are able to feel and hold onto regardless of the situation or circumstance. You bring me a joy that only a parent can understand. Watching you grow and flourish brings me a deep sated joy.  Through you, I have come to know and understand the love my own earthly parents have for me, but far more, I have come to understand the love that my heavenly Daddy has for me. He loves me like a child, I am his daughter and when I think of the love I have for YOU, Liam John, as MY child, and I think that my heavenly father loves me a million times more in a way that my human mind can’t attain – you have NO idea how that makes me feel. So through you, I have come to know my God better. Thank you for this.

We called you Liam John. Your name means Unwavering Protector, Strong Willed Warrior. As I’ve watched you develop from a toddler into a preschooler into a real Boy, I know we have chosen your name well. Already your name’s meaning has woven itself into the fibres of your being. You are so strong willed, always have been, you know what you want and you have the will and determination to keep going until you get it right. You look after your sister so well, even when the two of you fight (which is OFTEN), you will not let a disagreement cloud you from protecting her at all times. You recently came to have your first pet. The way you love and protect Rocky warms my heart, and I know that love is reciprocated and I can’t wait to watch this boy-dog relationship unfold.

Son, today you are FIVE. A whole handful of fingers. Even though I wish time would stand still on this moment where you are untouched by the real world, where your boy imagination is still ripe with little boy dreams and visions, I can’t wait to see the Liam John you turn out to be. You know why? Because if these past five years are anything to go on, you are going to be AMAZING, you are going to be AWESOME, you are going to be a WONDERBOY and I can’t wait to be with you every step of the way.

Assuring you of my constant love, admiration, pride and absolute pleasure at mothering you…

 Mom xx

some photos of your 5th birthday party…

Having a moment with your child


As my children grow, I realise that our “moments” are becoming less and less. Yes, there’s still hugs and kisses and “I love yous” but I’m talking about those moments where you have this child in your lap or in your arms and the two of you  really have a MOMENT and you are physically pained by the love that you have for this person. When they were babies, we had lots of moments but that’s because they didn’t really have a choice. As they grow up and become more independent, we still have our moments but more often than not, it’s me begging for a moment – “come here and give me some love pleeeeeeease.” More so with Liam. Hannah is a very loving child, her love languages are touch and affirmative words. She’s all about the luurving. She will seek you out to have a moment, she will want a moment even if it’s not convenient for you. This child lives for moments, I love her! Liam cannot be bothered. He is busy; he is at this funny (not funny-haha, funny-irritating) boy age where it’s all about who can laugh the loudest, shout the loudest and fart the loudest. And big-massive-loud guffaws at the latter. It’s almost like living with a college boy. I do try to have at least one moment a day at bedtime where I tell them very seriously how much I love them – Hannah takes this moment very seriously. Liam takes this moment to make jokes.

Anyway.

This morning I started my usual routine of gently coaxing them out of bed while getting myself done. I generally do this by yelling down the passage. “WAKEY WAKEY EGGS AND BAKEY.” And as usual the response this morning was the same as every morning. Nothing. Usually, I carry on getting dressed, applying my makeup, packing my lunch while continuing to yell “UPSY DAISY, TIME TO GET UP.” Nothing. And as the morning wears on, and time gets a-ticking, my yelling becomes more agitated until it’s something more along these lines: “LIAM AND HANNAH GET OUT OF BED BECAUSE WE ARE GOING TO BE LATE AND IF WE ARE LATE I AM GOING TO BE ANGRY.” Even this elicits the same response. Nothing. So I carry Hannah through to my room, I put the TV on, and this usually rouses Liam who comes stumbling through and that’s how we get going.

So today I carried Hannah to my bed and she promptly got under the covers and carried on sleeping, I went to fetch Liam because not even the TV was able to rouse him from his slumber. (Sidenote: I love how my children FINALLY love their sleep. They sleep until 8 or 9am on the weekends, its bliss.) And Liam wrapped his arms and legs around me and when I tried to put him down onto the bed he held on tighter. So I sat down and put him on my lap, and his eyes were still half closed and he was all beautiful with sleep like only babies and small children can be, and he took his thumb out of his mouth and looked up at me and smiled and said “good morning my lovely potato head” and he put his thumb back in his mouth, and found the tag on his vest (I love how he still strokes silky tags while sucking his thumb – because that means he is STILL a baby to me!) and lay his head on my chest and we had a MOMENT. I just held my son and he LET me, and I told him how much I love him and he told me how much he loves me (without any jokes or silliness). For the longest five minutes. And then he let me dress him for school. Something which has become off limits to me. Both he and Hannah just want to dress themselves, and I must not interfere. Which is great, I love that they are growing and can do all these tasks themselves, but today I enjoyed getting him dressed. Then he pounced on Hannah with his loud raucous laughing and she got up crying because he is so blinking wild, this boy child of mine. And that killed the moment I tell you.

But I had my moment! It got me thinking about how our “moments” will probably become less as they grow older? Especially with my son. Don’t’ get me wrong, I’m happy with hugs and kisses and “I love yous” because for a kid, that’s usually enough. They don’t need time to stand still, Hosanna playing in the background  while everything goes into slow motion while in a tight embrace with their parent, come on, that’s for crazy people. But everyday gives me an opportunity for a moment and I hope I am quick to recognise it and USE it while I am still able to. Even if it’s under duress. Even if it means pinning down a 16 year old Liam while his crazy mother gets her moment. It gives living in the moment a new meaning, doesn’t it!

When’s the last time you had a moment with your child?