Tag Archives: parenting

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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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


Soap-boxing and mouth-shutting

My heart is weighed heavily right now about big things:

Parenting, marriage, politics, the church.

And how it’s all wrapped up together.

I have strong opinions on most things in life – always have.

But I realize opinions must be carefully shared.

Sometimes social media (public broadcasting at our fingertips) tempts us into soapboxing before we really know what we’re soap-boxing about (or why).

Dangerous.

This is why I’m being quiet for the moment, even on things I feel passionate about.

Because it’s not just about the speaker, it’s about the hearer.

And sometimes words just aren’t good enough to convey.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Are you voicing your opinions publicly about the “hot issues” of today? Why? (Or why not?)

 

Love,
A

p.s. Have you noticed I missed two days this last week? Yeah, 3500 birth kits have kept me busy. Last night I realized I hadn’t written here as my head was hitting the pillow. Wisdom told me to skip “discipline”, and even be relaxed about it, so I did.

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited

 


Little baby

He pulls my face and grabs it close. With slobbery lips he leans in, open-mouthed, face-planting.

Pulling back he squeals, pleased with himself, sure of my approval.

Tiny fingers grip my hair, the easiest thing to grasp.

I wince, knowing why so many women cut their hair once the babies come.

His eyes still blue, they sparkle and smile.

Once toothless grin is replaced by little bunny teeth, a sign of growth, of newborn no more.

Happy flailing of arms and kicking of feet tell me that life is good.

Captured by my every move, he thinks I’m the most beautiful person he’s ever known. Also the funniest.

And I love that.

Little baby, so sweet, so small. So strong.

How will you ever be a curious 8-year-old?

How will you ever be a gawky 13-year-old?

How will you ever be an adventurous 17-year-old?

How will you ever be an ambitious 29-year-old?

Little baby, I like you just the way you are.

You’re more mine now than you ever will be. I like it that way.

I’m in no hurry to change things.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Do you have children? How do you see their current age?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.


Searching for margin, longing for rest, needing connection.

Someone gave us money to “do something fun”.

Someone else gave us their apartment on the beach so that we could “get away and relax”.

Someone else gave us a day off after he asked my husband if he had dirt on his face when really it was just bags under his eyes.

So this weekend we’re having a quick getaway to a beach apartment that’s 10 minutes from our house.

Amazing how stressful it can be to prepare to relax. How’s that for irony?

The details are boring but today was a stream of plans-gone-wrong after plans-gone-wrong.

Lists are made but only half completed.

Kids are revved up on I-don’t-know-what’s-happening-but-it’s-different-therefore-exciting energy.

(In other words, tehy’re driving me crazy.)

And after a long day at work the family comes together and we decide it’s worth the stress and the busy and the crazy.

Because soon we’ll be 10 minutes away feeling as if we’re miles away.

We need each other. We need to connect. We need to collapse into baths (we don’t have one) and read books and listen to music and curl up in a great big bed, all piled on top of each other.

Rest is good. Margins are good.

We’re trying to find both.

Thank God there are a few people around us helping.

STOP.

 

Q for you: I think “margin” and “rest” are problems in our society today. Are you finding margins and rest in your life? How?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Do you think it’s possible to spoil a baby?

I’ve sometimes wondered…

Do I love my babies too much?

Do I hold them too much?

Do I think about them too much?

Do I talk about them too much?

Do I dream about them too much?

Do I look at them too much?

How much is “too much”?

But then I think about God –  The way he looks at me, thinks of me (so many thoughts), pursues me. The way he loves me.

I’m pretty sure I’m always on his mind.

I’m pretty sure that I’m his favorite.

I’m pretty sure that his heart wells up with pride as he talks about me whenever given the chance.

(Sort-of like he does with you, too.)

And if my role as a parent is to reflect the heart of God to my children…

Then perhaps there’s no such thing as loving and hugging and holding and thinking and dreaming and kissing and snuggling and caring and nurturing too much.

After all, my “too much” is woefully less than His “enough”.

I’m so glad He holds and hugs my children with me.

Our love, together, is complete. (And it’s soooo not too much.)

STOP.

 

Q for you: You know, I really do try to not write about parenting or motherhood too much on this wee blog since that’s what the other one is for… But sometimes I just can’t help myself. When I took that photo today it made my heart well up with this I-love-my-baby-so-much-I-don’t-want-to-even-put-him-down-when-he’s-sleeping kind of warm fuzzies. And even now, at midnight, after he’s been up several times already tonight with teething pain… I think to myself: I’ll never be able to hold him and comfort him and nurture him “too much”. Do you think it’s possible to spoil a baby? Not a child, a baby? (Clearly, I do not but you are free to disagree.)

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


A very magical, very normal moment of clarity

It was 8:30am and I still sat in bed with just my undies and a tank top on.

The curtains were drawn wide, the windows open – floor to ceiling luvers – tons of light pouring in. Slight breeze.

Chris Chabot played on the little stereo on our bedhead just next to a cup of fresh coffee.

Judah was next to me, giggling and chatting. Levi was climbing on and off the bed – playing with Judah, saying “watch mommy” as he showed me whatever impressive feat he was trying out next and intermittently giving spontaneous hugs and kisses to little brother.

I was still sleepy but I was so, so happy.

There wasn’t anything magical about those moments… not magical in the “wow” sense of the word at least. But magical in the it’s-beautiful-just-as-it-is-in-this-very-normal-moment sort of way.

“I’m so glad to be a stay-at-home-mom,” I thought to myself.

Lately I’ve been having lots of moments that are very much, um, how shall I say…? opposite to that.

But as babies have been getting healthier and I have been getting a little more sleep… the demands of my “job” haven’t seemed as draining as tehy sometimes do.

And this morning I was remembering what an incredible privilege I have to be home wiht my boys instead of in an office somewhere. As hard as 24/7 childcare can sometimes feel (and it’s so much more than “childcare” – yes, I know that), it’s also so wonderfully rich and rewarding… and fun.

As long as we can stop for little moments and remember to breathe deeply and appreciate it for what it is.

Which was Exactly what I was doing htis morning.

STOP.

 

Q for you: When is the last time you took a moment to be grateful for your job?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Passing over (chaos) and holy communion

I imagined that tonight I would write something about Passover after returning from a beautiful feast put on by our YWAM community.

Something deep and spiritual and lovely.

And yet truthfully? My family adn I showed up ten minutes late after frantically tying sheets on like togas and forgetting the baby food and tripping over all sorts of unfinished business around hte house.

The beautiful meal was all laid out for us, adn many had taken great care in preparing the food and atmosphere and explanations of all of hte symbolism to help us understand adn breathe deeply, receive and have revelation.

Yet most of my evening was spent cleaning up spilled “wine” (cordial), toddler taming, and fretting about my baby’s growing over-tiredness. So much so that I was barely able to follow along with much of hte flow of hte evening.

Despite my lack of “passover-ing” I had a beautiful moment of catching up with an old friend who I haven’t seen in four years. In hushed tones while the program went on we swapped stories of life – triumph and victories as well as struggles and hardships – adn then spent a few quiet moments praying for each other.

“Were we supposed to be having communion?” my friend asked me.

The truth is, we were having communion – sharing the reality of Jesus through our lives and circumstances and care for one another.

It’s Holy Week, a time for remembering Jesus – who he is and what he’s done for us. And also for remembering who he lives within… us.

STOP.

Q for you: Are you observing Passover or other elements of Holy Week?

Love,
A

Click Clink Five | Minutes a day, unedited. 
Adriel also writes (using spell check!) on motherhood and parenting at The Mommyhood Memos