Tag Archives: motherhood

Culture shock. Again.

Just when I think that maybe twelve years is enough to give me an exemption from culture shock, another layer of it comes.

And really, I know better.

Every few months I hear a phrase I’ve never heard, understand a pop culture reference that previously went over my head, or am baffled by something I see on an Aussie TV program and I’m struck with a tiny little bout of culture shock, which fades as quickly as it landed.

This morning it happened while singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

You guys, the motions are different here. *gasp*

What?? Seriously?

Yup, for real.

Instead of flicking their entire hands from clinched fists to fingers extended like blinking lights, they extend all ten fingers wide and make them wiggle tiny little wiggles. (Like I would make to demonstrate rain.) The movements are small and delicate… kind of like twinkling stars. 

Imagine that.

And maybe this is a little thing, but it kind of spun me out.

I realized that the songs I’ve been singing to my littles at home will be taught differently at kindy or preschool or when they’re watching Playschool on the telly. Sometimes it’s the motions that are a bit different, and sometimes the tune actually varies!

I’ve seen this before but kind-of brushed it off, thinking that the person I saw or heard must not know the song properly. But now it’s starting to sink in that they do know the song properly… just differently to me.

As silly as it sounds it’s sent me into culture shock all over again.

Different is not wrong, it’s just different” is my motto when it comes to all things culture-shock-ish, but it doesn’t mean I don’t like it my way better. (Just keepin’ it real here, friends.)

Anyway, I will continue to teach my kids the American version of things (it’s called the “trunk” of the car, not the “boot”) and their dad and everyone else around them can go all Australian on them I guess. Cuz even if my littles are Aussie, and end up doing everything the Aussie way, at least maybe they can understand a tiny bit of their American heritage too. Even if it is just the way we sing I’m a Little Teapot.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Do you experience culture shock in your own family? Maybe you and your partner aren’t from different nations but you might have very different family backgrounds or life experiences. How do you meld two worlds into one?

 

Love,
A

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When your littles share a bedroom…

There are so many upsides to having the boys share a room. They play with all the same toys anyway. It feels like they are practically in the same size clothes. “Kid stuff” is mostly contained in one room of the house, rather than stashed in every nook and cranny. I believe it helps promote learning to share and respect and play and work together. Bonding. Yup, lots of reasons.

But there are also a couple of downsides.

Today at lunch Judah was yawning and ready for bed. Soon after he finished I changed him, read the boys stories, and put them in bed.

Several minutes later I heard giggling and slapping. I peeked in the door to see Judah on his knees, rocking side to side, slapping his thighs, grinning and “singing” loudly. (My kiwi friends will be pleased to know that I’m almost positive he was doing the “haka”.)

He was happy as a clam and hyper as a… a… I don’t know. A kid who ate fruit loops for lunch? (He didn’t, by the way.)

Of course Levi finds this hilarious so he is in his bed copying and laughing, until I open the door when he dives for cover and pretends to be sleeping.

Most days I’d work really hard to get the boys both sleeping at the same time (they really do need it, and so do I) but every once-and-a-while I just don’t bother. I figure – they’re happy and they will have days where they wind each other up too much. As long as they stay in there and give me some space, I can deal with a few shrieks of laughter and harmless “naughtiness” during nap time. They’ll go to bed early tonight and I’ll cross my fingers that there won’t be too many melt-downs in between.

And I must admit, it’s kind of fun to snoop through a cracked door and watch the boys bonding and having so much fun… even if it is during nap time.

 

Q for you: Did you share a room growing up? If so, do you have fond memories of it? If you have kids, do they share?

 

Love,
A

 


For the love of shopping malls

I used to think malls are for shopping – shoes, clothes, handbags.

I now understand malls are for moms.

A few days ago I had a one hour window with a mile-long list of errands.

With two littles to buckle in and out of car seats and pack into a stroller or shopping cart, an hour is nothing.

But I managed to get to the post office, the bank, the pharmacy, the grocery store, one other quick errand, and a stop at the mini-jeep for a two-minute pretend ride with Levi. And I did it all within the space of an hour.

To say I was thrilled is an understatement.

I floated out of there feeling like superwoman.

We tore around that mall like it was nobody’s business. I swear it was made for me, and women like me, to make a dent in our lists while not completely losing our sanity.

My days of browsing for belts and earrings are few and far between these days… but words cannot express how awesome it is to send mail, pick up milk, and fill a prescription all in one building.

Hooray for the mall. It may not be beautiful or inspiring, but is sure is practical.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Have your “must have” components for a good mall changed since becoming an adult? (Or a parent?)

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.


What if your kid becomes instantly famous?

I can’t watch talent shows anymore without thinking, “what if that was Levi?” (Or Judah.)

It’s crazy to think that in fifteen or twenty years time, one of them could find themselves on a show like The Voice (our current favorite).

When I was a kid I would have watched wondering, “what if that was me one day?” but now my mind automatically leaps to the next generation.

All parents want to raise their kids to have good character and be able to handle themselves well under pressure. But what about the pressure of fame?

What if I was to raise my kids now as if they might someday be instantly famous? What if I was to pour as much into seeing them develop in integrity, self control, kindness, generosity, and humility that they could perhaps one day handle that kind of pressure – the weight of the spotlight?

The thought of that scares me a little. (Okay, a lot.)

Ultimately, I’ll do the best I can. But I’m so glad it doesn’t solely depend on me.

STOP.

 

Q for you: What character traits do you think are most important for a person who ends up becoming famous?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Groaning in the cold, dark

I lay in bed and the world around me is silent except for the sounds of life, resting.

A few feet away I hear tiny baby breaths and sighs. Next to me I hear heavy and rythmic husband breaths and sighs. And through the open internal door to the next room I hear toddler breaths and sighs.

We share rooms and a heater between the four of us.

Everyone sleeps but me.

Moments later baby stirs. I lay still, barely breathing, hoping he will not wake.

He rolls over. Back asleep.

I sigh with relief just as he stirs again, this time waking with an abrupt cry.

It sounds angry.

After eight months I wonder when he will ever sleep through the night. Except for a few nights he regularly wakes up all throughout the night. Sometimes every two hours, leaving me with four or five or sometimes six hours of sleep, usually broken into several chunks.

I groan and move, not wanting to face the cold night air.

No one said parenting would be easy.

I pull him into bed with me and nurse, nurse, nurse. Wondering how long I can continue on interrupted sleep (and insomnia in between).

I remember that mothers all over the world and all throughout time have done as I’m doing.

Strength.

The days are long but the years are short so I don’t want to waste this time being anxious about the dark hours.

And yet I’m so tired. So, so tired.

I remind myself that this time last year I was about to find out that his life might not be what we thought or expected. And now him being here with us, just like he is – healthy, perfect – is a miracle. Surely I can find the grace for one more night.

And perhaps tomorrow night too.

But my goodness, I’m so tired.

STOP.

 

Q for you: How do you cope with less-than-ideal seasons of sleep?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Would you pay someone to potty train your kid?

A friend of mine posted on her facebook about services she heard of where they will potty train your kid for you. The cost ranges from $400 for a week to $700 an hour. (What??!)

I think this is tragic.

Potty training is such a personal process and achievement for our littles.

They trust us to help them learn. They need our encouragement. They look to us for affirmation. They deserve our respect.

As parents it’s our role to guide them through this personal transition.

I don’t have a problem with other close adults helping (grandma, etc.), but to hire a service to come in and do it for us like we’d hire out our lawn maintenance or housecleaning? (I’d totally pay for a cleaner if I could afford it!)

But contracting out potty training?

Wrong. I just think it’s seriously wrong.

I understand that many parents are daunted by the task (I was one of them), but that doesn’t justify delegating it out to a stranger.

Imagine how the child must feel to have a stranger come in and direct this personal of rite of passage. (So disrespectful.)

We hire trainers for our dogs perhaps, but not for our small children.

Potty training, manners, character, life skills – all of this should be taught first, and foremost in the home by the parents. (And reinforced elsewhere like church, day care, school, therapy, or whatever.)

Let’s not abdicate our role as parents, even when it’s inconvenient or hard.

Geeze.

 

STOP.

 

Q for you: Come on parents, tell me you’re with me on this one. Would you ever hire someone to potty train your kids if money weren’t an issue?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


A fifteen hour work day. Again.

At 10:00pm tonight I had finally finished with unpacking the groceries, putting away the clean dishes, loading the dirty ones in the dishwasher, finishing the laundry, and giving a quick wipe of the kitchen sink and counters.

That’s a fifteen hour work day right there. And that’s not including checking or responding to emails or anything ‘admin’ related. (Or personal stuff – like writing here on my wee blog!)

I’m not saying that to complain (though sometimes I desperately want to complain about it).

I’m saying it because I used to think it really sucked when I had to work late – until 6:00 or 7:00pm.

And now here I am at 10:00pm and I’m just now sitting down alone for the first time today. (When your job is like mine you work through your “lunch break” on a daily basis.)

The thought of sitting down in the evenings and zoning out in front of the telly is very appealing, but even that seems hard to come by these days.

I’m not sure why it’s taken me almost 2.5 years, but I think I’m just now figuring out how different my life really is since having kids.

I’m just now figuring out that I actually can’t compare it to “life before” when it comes to work hours and down time or else I just get depressed!

I wouldn’t trade my job if I could. Really.

But it is hard, and tiring, and consuming.

I have days (like yesterday) when I’m ready to call up a day care centre and see how much it costs to send the kids there. Seriously.

While at the same time I know what an absolute privilege it is that I’m able to stay home with my kids. (Something not every mom who desires to is able to do.)

I’m blessed. Tired, and blessed.

(And for the record, I know that everyone has days they want to quit their job. Being a SAHM isn’t any different – I realize that.)

Anyway.

Tomorrow morning I will get up and start all over again.

Rejoice!

STOP.

 

Q for you: Are you a SAHM? If so, are you deliberate about “clocking off” at a certain hour? Or do you find yourself pulling lots of late nights like me? How do you build in margin??

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Like a wave

It caught me by surprise.

He climbed up onto the side bar of the swing set yelling, “Watch, mommy!” over and over again.

I’ve heard that phrase many times before.

But this time it came from a little boy with striped socks, a zippered hoodie dotted with robots, too-long hair covering part of his eyes, and green “big boy undies” peeking out the top of his just-too-short-jeans.

Like a wave it hit me – my baby is not my baby anymore.

This is not my first “moment” in motherhood. Nor will it be my last.

But today in that 4:00 shadow where my son enjoyed his freedom to climb and jump and be his funny, brave, amazing self… I realized the one who made me a mom is a boy I must get to know all over again.

I’m so proud of him. And yet I want to hold on to him just the way he is. Right now.

Dang. I love him so much it hurts.

STOP.

 

Q for you: When’s the last time you wanted to freeze time?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Going away and coming home

I just returned from the most refreshing three days I’ve had in a long time.

Judah and I went to Sydney where I met up with friends–most of whom I haven’t seen in five years–and visited family.

We ate Thai. We picnicked in the park. We got absorbed in the city. We talked about deep and meaningful issues. We walked miles and miles and miles, pushing strollers all the way.

I had pockets of “alone” time – small ones – but enough to remember how much I love breathing city air and merging into the bustle. (Alone time, meaning just Judah and I.)

There were special moments between my son and I that are hard to articulate, but I’m so grateful for. We’re closer because of it.

It’s hard to explain why this weekend was so perfect, but it just was.

And as I collapsed  into bed last night – exhausted and sore – I had a smile on my face knowing that I’d wake up and go home again.

Home to my family, home to my loves, home to my heart.

Going away is amazing. But coming home is even better.

(I missed this guy.)

I’m so grateful for this weekend away. My heart is truly full.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Have you been away lately? Do you love coming home as much as I do?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


We’re contending for the remote control while they’re contending for their lives

Mothers Day is in two days.

What an awesome holiday it is.

Hallmark holiday? Well, maybe. But I think it’s so important to take time to honor the amazing mothers in our lives. (Hi mom! *waving* Love you!)

I realized that although readers of my other blog are well aware of Bloggers for Birth Kits, I should probably post here too since some of my readers are different.

So here’s the deal:

In rural Papua New Guinea the rate of women dying in childbirth is one in seven.

Shocking statistic, I know.

But think about it as more than a number. Think about it in terms of faces.

How many moms do you know that are pregnant? How many do you know that have just given birth in the last year?

Divide that number by seven and then think again.

Ouch.

I know.

The good news is there’s a way to prevent many of these deaths through the distribution (and use) of clean birth kits. In the developing world the leading cause of maternal death is infection, and the kits provide things like soap and plastic gloves and a few other basic supplies that can help create a cleaner birth environment.

And the other good news is that these kits only cost about $2-3 to make. (Seriously.)

I’ve posted all about it here.

To date we’ve raised 3176 kits so far in the last two weeks. An amazing response.

Because the thing is, women love helping women. (And some men love helping women too!)

And every mother knows the love of a mama to her baby.

And no mother can fathom not living through the welcoming of that baby into the world.

So this Mothers Day, as you’re enjoying your breakfast in bed (hopefully!), I urge you to also think of the women in PNG and elsewhere that are contending for their lives (and their babies’ lives) as we contend for the remote control.

If you’re a mom, happy Mothers Day to you for Sunday. If you’re not, well then, happy Mothers Day to your mom.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Would you be alive today if you’d given birth in a developing nation? Would your mother??

 

Love,
A

p.s. The photo is of a package of birth kits I received today from a mom in America. Yay. Thank you. 🙂

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited