Tag Archives: Disney Junior

We’re movie stars!


Liam and Hannah’s latest game is where we become movie stars. The movie in question is Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Liam is Jake, Hannah is Issy, Daddy is Captain Hook, Zoleka is Mr Smee and I am Cubby – why must I be the short fat kid?

Liam always has to have a sword; he is a swashbuckling pirate of course. Because we don’t actually have a sword – toy or real – in our house, he uses whatever long, poky item he can find. Last night it was his drum sticks. Hannah’s pixie dust is usually her dummy which she waves around so they can “fly.” All this is very cute until you are expected to play your part ALL the time, EVERY minute of every day. Even real life actors get to take a break and go home. My children call me Cubby and if I don’t respond (which I often don’t, I mean my name is Robyn why would I respond to Cubby?) they get louder and more exasperated until I say yes. And if I say yes Liam or yes Hannah, they look at me in shock and horror because their names are Jake and Issy.  I bore and named you children, I will call you by your Christian names if I so deem!

I am amused at how they walk around calling each other by fake names. When we get home in the evenings, Hannah nonchalantly toddles over to Liam and says “hi Jake” and he responds without missing a beat: “hi Issy.” This morning she said “luff you Cubby” to ME!

Sometimes I get caught up in the wave and long after the children have gone to bed, I am still calling my husband Captain Hook – I think he likes it.

Next time I want to choose my own character and I know already who I want to be. Cruella de Vil. Because she is rich and she doesn’t have any children to look after.

Rod Smith’s You & I


 

Every so often, a friend of mine sends me a copy of Rod Smith’s “You and I” column as seen in The Mercury newspaper. He is a family therapist in America and I find his views insightful and so true. He hits the nail on the head and this week’s column was no different.

 

He wrote an article on how we as parents are doing our children a disservice by making them the centre of our universes. Of course, he received a lot of flack for it – we mothers take these sort of comments seriously! Do you think we give up our lives, sacrifice our time, money and sleep because we want to? We do it so as to provide the best for our children of course! So when a man someone comes along and says that by so doing, we are creating monsters, it’s offensive!

 

Alas! The simple truth is that Rod is right. I read this article a few times; at first I thought he was being a bit brutal. I mean every mother (in her right mind) wants to over provide, rather than under provide for her children, right? Every mom wants to meet her child’s every need, and sometimes that means sacrificing a lot of yourself and your needs so that your child wants for nothing. Having a child means that your social life gets put on the back burner and instead, you spend your time at kiddies parties and school meetings. And your free time is no longer spent reading a book, but sowing name labels on little clothes and washing and sterilising bottles. We don’t do it selfishly, but rather selflessly… for our kids. Right?

 

But then I realised where he was going with this. And then I started to think about that show on TLC, World’s Worst Mom and then I thought about how I freak out if my kids get hurt (freaking out should be reserved for blood or big lumps only) or how I jump to help them if they are in a sticky situation – like Liam not being able to pull his underpants up properly after being on the toilet and Hannah not being able to thread the string through the hole in the cubes with her threading toys. By constantly jumping to their aid, I think we are prohibiting them from learning and understanding the bigger life lesson. And it’s a number of lessons that you could be teaching in such a situation:

 

  1. Slow and steady wins the race – let them learn and understand that not everything is easy but that practice does eventually make perfect.
  2. It’s ok not to be the winner, as long as you have tried your best.
  3. It’s ok to be frustrated, but freaking out when you don’t get your own way or you can’t reach the toothpaste or you can’t put the CD into the DVD properly, is not cool and doesn’t help the situation.
  4. And most importantly. Mommy loves you, but I want you to LEARN to do these things for yourself. Because quite frankly, I am not going to be around forever, and I need to equip you to DO life.

 

 And I think children love the independence of being able to do things for themselves. And by constantly butting in and doing things for them, we are giving them less credit than they deserve. And I get Rod’s point, I have seen children whose parents do everything for them, who fuss and fret over them, and who treat their kids like demi-gods. I’m not judging (ok I am), but these kids are plain down BRATS. There I said it. In today’s society the parent / child role has become so distorted. In trying to be the best parent, and over compensating for other areas of lack like time or money, we are creating little monsters. I am a helicopter-parent, no doubt, but I’m taking this as a wakeup call; tough love isn’t a bad thing. And I don’t mean tough love as in boot-camping your kids, I mean letting them do age appropriate things for themselves, letting them make mistakes, letting them battle things out before jumping in and saving the day. Teaching them that mommy and daddy have lives outside of them, that staying at home with the nanny so the big people can go out and let their hair down is necessary, and that the TV is not only for them and  Disney Junior, and if mommy and daddy want to watch something else, you must obey and go play outside without throwing a hissy fit (I bought a TV for them, instead of teaching them this lesson– what a sellout, but I’m working on it).

 

So Rod, kudos to you. You are right, it is a travesty to watch parents scurry around their children and jump at their every demand. And it’s embarrassing. I know this because even in a two year old “normal” toddler rage, when Liam and Hannah go 666 on me in public, I am embarrassed by my children’s behaviour and feel like a complete loser when I sheepishly give into them to shut them up. So if you are allowing your kids to rule the roost on the regular, they WILL embarrass you one day, and truth be told, it will be your own fault. Read Rod’s article for yourself, below.

What I’ve learned in the last few days..


 Liam has been on holiday in KZN with my sister and her family. I was grateful for this opportunity for a number of reasons:

  1. He loves his aunty, uncle and cousins and I know how much fun they have together.
  2. He gets to sleep in a bit, as compared to getting up at 5h30am for school every day.
  3. He gets to enjoy the open spaces, fresh air and laid back living – something us city slickers aren’t accustomed to. 

Moreover, I was looking forward to giving Hannah my utter and total attention because she really does deserve it, she has become a bad sharer and I guess this is because she has become somewhat annoyed at having to share EVERYTHING with Liam, including my attention. This week has been enlightening to say the least. It’s funny how you become “OK” with your routine, and by “OK” I mean we settle for, and accept a situation that was supposed to be temporary but has now become the norm, to the point where we forget what life was like before…

I have learned that my husband and I still have a life outside of our children. I’ve learned that we can still engage each other and enjoy each other’s company and laugh at each other’s dry jokes; that we still love each other as intensely as we did all those years ago. The problem is that everything else becomes somewhat jaded when you have kids, especially more than one – they require your full and total attention ALL the time, your focus tends to shift away from your partner and your marriage and becomes children centred – and this is not a good thing. All you talk about are the kids and their well being and their needs. You fight about everything and you disagree on almost everything – how to discipline, how to reward, what they wear, what they eat, their MEDICAL BILLS (OMW!), their school fees, how darn expensive they are; you can find a fight-a-minute when you have kids. You can become so absorbed in your parenting, that your marriage starts to take strain due to neglect, and you don’t even realise the cracks are there, until you have your light bulb moment, which in our case was Liam leaving home! What about those marriages who don’t experience their light bulb moment until it’s too late? It’s a bittersweet contradiction that kids complete a marriage by creating a family, yet their existence can lead to the downfall of that marriage if we, as parents, are not maintaining and nurturing our marriage, as we raise our babies. 

I’ve learned that I don’t miss my kid as much as I thought I would and that a break from each other is probably beneficial for us both. Now before you call the welfare on me.. I do believe that mothers love their sons differently, just as fathers love their daughters differently. Not more or less – just differently! That said, I’m beginning to think that I may be slightly OCD when it comes to my son, HENCE the reason my hubby and I bump heads often over Liam. So here it is in writing, I admit that I may be just a litte, just a tad, just a drop, over protective over Liam. I think that my great love for him leads me to overlook many things, makes me cover up for him even when he deserves to be disciplined, makes me fall under his eye lash batting spell every time. During this time apart, I’ve learned that he is growing, he is a big boy now, he can be away from mommy for many sleeps and consequently, I need to start letting go. Now hold back, I don’t mean I must let my two year old fly the nest, grow a beard and drink beer. I mean letting go in small ways and granting him that independence that he so craves. With independence, comes responsibility and accountability and I have to learn to let Liam deal with these, even in little things like: you wanted to paint, you made a mess, you clean it up. And if you cry, I can’t jump to your rescue and clean up your mess, because this is how we build character and these small lessons will carry you way further, than my mollycoddling will. OH IT’S SO HARD EVEN TO TALK ABOUT IT!

I’ve also learned that Liam can survive without me. The harsh, harsh reality about life is that we never know when our time is going to be up. When I consider my mortality, I am more afraid of what will happen to my kids if and when I die, than I am about actually dying. But I’ve learned that Liam would be just fine, he would miss me no doubt, but he would be alright, and that gives me a sense of peace. And not only in terms of life and death, but this time apart has shown me that he is a confident, self assured little boy, who can deal with being away from his mom, and that his emotional capabilities are developing well. There’s nothing wrong with being shy or timid, but I think every parent worries about a child who seems introverted, who can’t seem to function without his/her mom right by their side, who pulls back in fear at the thought of being the centre of attention. I think it’s every parents fear, that their kid could possibly be a target for a big nasty bully.

I’ve learned that Hannah is really and truly the easiest, most lovable creature who is happy to go with the flow, who rolls with the punches and who just needs to be watered and fed occasionally. I am well blessed to have such a gem, as compared to Liam who was a high maintenance baby! I feel bad to admit that I have missed out on many of Hannah’s milestones because I was too preoccupied with life, and work and her brother.. but I’ve learned during our time alone together to appreciate her for being so incredibly, edibly sweet like chocolate. Yes, she is a diva who can throw a tantrum that will bounce clear off the Richter Scale, yes she has her days when she can whine and cry for seemingly no reason – which women doesn’t? But most times, Hannah is happy to just chill, she likes to dance and clap hands, she likes it when you “act a fool”  and do silly things that make her giggle. She likes to follow her dad around the house, she is quite happy to play alone with her toys or watch Disney Junior, especially Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She eats whatever you put in front of her, she sleeps all night and has a good long nap in the day, she adapts well to change and she doesn’t care that I have to split my time between her, Liam, the house, work, her dad, LIFE. She’s just cool like that.

So this week has been an eye opener. God uses all types of situations to talk to us, to teach and correct us, to speak to our hearts and to let us know if we’re doing it right or if we need to check ourselves and I do believe that I’ve learned some important lessons from my God this week..