Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Still My Little Chomperella

DSC06712A

So I thought some of you might like to have a little update on how things have been since the big drama with our dear little Gracie’s accident that resulted in this gap-toothed smile you see above.

I was pretty messed up about the whole incident for a while after it happened. I thought ahead of all the photos we’d be taking of her for the next few years… and that sad little gap in her smile.

But like most things, we soon settled into the new normal.

I read on a few forums of parents who had gone through the same thing that they eventually grew to like their child’s new gappy smile, that it gave their face a bit of an edgy character.

Grace’s has a pretty edgy character anyway. So she has been carrying off her new look pretty well.

There are a few other apparent changes in habits and lifestyle for Grace that came with this new look. For one thing, she has been doing drastically less of this. Some of her favourite foods like corn-on-the-cob are now a lot trickier to manage. And she’s learning to break or tear off her food into smaller pieces before putting into her mouth (albeit to previously stuffing down the entire thing in one go)…. most of the time anyway.

But she’s still a foodie at heart.

Still my little ‘Chomperella’.

And still is and always will be…

Beautiful.

DSC06714A

 

P.S. A song by Steven Curtis Chapman that really spoke to me about the grace and goodness of God.

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
that I would see the goodness of the Lord”"
in the land of the living”
Psalm 27:13

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Beyond my expectations

DSC06760On one of our morning walks to school, April 2015

When Nathan started his first day of school, my heart was filled with misgivings and unease. My biggest worry was about all the other children in his classroom and what they would be like.

Would they be friendly?

Would they be kind?

Would they be nice?

Would they respond “Yes you can sit here!”

And “Yes you can play with us!”

My own first experience at kindergarten was far from terrific. I was made to sit at a table with a pair of very clique-ish girls who were downright mean and unkind to me. It was definitely not just one of those once-off acts of thoughtlessness or coolness towards me. It was outrightly wilful nastiness, condescension and deliberate exclusion towards me.  I remember dreading going to school every day because I had to face those two girls. I felt completely powerless and didn’t know who I could turn to. I didn’t know it at that time, but I was actually a victim of bullying. But I did learn one fact that I still remember to this day: “Kids can be so mean.”

So as the weeks went by in Nathan’s first term of school, I was over the moon when the stories he came back with were filled with names of all his many friends, of the fun games they came up with together, of who he sat with at lunch each day, and when he proudly declared to me at the end of his second week: “Timmy* is my BEST FRIEND!”

Best Friend. Wow.

I’m quite sure Nathan will have many more ‘BEST’ friends in his life.

But it’s always lovely to hear those words every single time.

One day after school at pick up time, he ran up to me holding a little boy’s hand and proudly introduced his friend Timmy* to me. I caught up with his mother afterwards to introduce ourselves. “I’m so glad Timmy’s* found a friend. He’s so awkward. I didn’t think he would make any friends at all” his mum told me.

I looked at little Timmy*. It was difficult to say what was so awkward about him. He seemed just like a regular little boy. Perhaps a little quiet and shy. But that’s not really an unusual trait.

We continued to bump into each other every now and then, and always greeted each other warmly. Nathan continued to pepper his school stories with Timmy*, interspersed with names of all the other children in his class. He told of the times when Timmy* became upset. He told me about Timmy’s* special cushion he sits on during story and mat time.

And so the days and weeks hummed along routinely.

Before we knew it, the end of Nathan’s first term of school was here.

During the last week of the term, I met with his teacher who was full of glowing reports on Nathan’s cleverness with numbers, letters, and knowing his colours and shapes.

But the best titbit I got from her was when she told me how wonderful he was at socialising with all the other children in the class…

“He plays really well with everyone all around… both boys and girls” she remarked brightly.

Then she added, ““… and of course, he’s always so kind to poor little Timmy*”

I was starting to wonder about this little Timmy*.

Was there something I missed?

Common politeness held me back from prying too much into the facts. This seemed to be one of those situations where I was supposed to read between the lines and pick up the hidden meaning behind the words.

On the last day of the term, Timmy’s* mum came up to me to exchange phone numbers to arrange a play date during the school holidays. We chatted about how quickly the term flew by and about our respective parent-teacher meetings.

“I’m sure it was nice to hear all the reports on how Timmy* is doing at school”, I remarked.

“Oh yes. I guess he’s doing pretty well for his circumstances. Of course he has a little bit of a speech delay. But we knew that already”, she said.

“Oh. I would not have guessed that”.

“Yes. It’s quite obvious sometimes in his interactions with other kids as he can be so awkward”, she continued.

“Really? I couldn’t tell at all from the stories Nathan tells me about him and Timmy* playing together”.

“Well at least Nathan thinks Timmy* is fantastic, and that is fantastic!”

That conversation pretty much filled in all the missing gaps in the story for me. And the thing that blew me away is that Nathan just exceeded all my expectations and hopes on his first term at school.

I was hoping that Nathan would be able to find friends who would be kind to him.

Instead, he was the one who was showing kindness to others.

I was hoping that the other kids he met would take the time to get to know him.

Instead, he was the one who had eyes to see beyond the outside of a person.

Expectations. Blown away.

This is a whole different playing field I never saw coming.

Of course Nathan does not see it this way at all. He has no clue whatsoever about the deal with Timmy* and all the ‘facts’ as we call it. He’s just happy to have another friend to play with.

I should caveat this story by saying that Nathan is not some profoundly remarkable boy (except to me). He’s not showing any child prodigy tendencies (at least not so far). Overall he’s just a regular happy kid. He has his angel moments, as well as his less than perfect moments. So I tell this story not to gloat or brag about myself and my family. But simply to share my heart-felt happiness and pride.

Thank you for letting me share this story with you.

 

[*Not child’s real name]

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Supplying the world with superheroes, princes and knights

“Aaaarrrggghhh!!! I don’t know anything about boys!!!”

That was the first response I received as I was congratulating a girlfriend who was expecting a baby boy. It was not the first time I had heard this phrase from first time expectant mums of boys.

“What is it like having a boy???”, they ask as they clutch at me in mild panic.

My usual response: “I love it! Boys are just so much fun!”

Now please don’t get me wrong. I have both a boy and a girl. And I love them both to bits. My baby girl is the quirkiest, funniest little person in the world. But for this post I just want to put in a word out for the boys.

And what is one everyday fun thing about having boys around?

This.

#littlesuperhero

Plus they’ll train up a whole team of heroes to stand together with them. Or at least one really awesome little sidekick.

#bigbrothersarethebest

Masked superheroes. Sword fighting warriors. Soldiers on horses. Knights in shining armour. Pirates. Robots. Firefighters. Police officers. Astronauts in space. Jungle explorers. Oh the possibilities!

As little girls we might have grown up playing pretending to be princesses and damsels. And every princess dreams of finding her prince someday. So somebody has to supply them. I guess it’s our job as mums of these young princes to mould them into the best superheroes and knights in shining armour that the best princesses in the world deserve to have.

We are the stewards of the future superheroes of our world.

So believe me when I tell you: #boysareawesome


Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dB6yRyjt05c

 

P.S. Some closing thoughts on superhero and weapon play…

Some people think that if you let a child engage in gun or other weapon play, the child will hurt or kill others or grow up to be a violent person. There is no evidence to support this belief. Play with weapons and superhero play is pretend play. It is little different to pretending that sand is a rich chocolate cake or that there are tooth fairies and Easter bunnies. Rich imaginative play does not produce violence. Engaging in such play is an antidote to violence and not a cause of it. Even children as young as two years can distinguish between what is real and what is make believe or not real. Children can drop dolls on their heads and dangle dolls by the arm and not worry because they know dolls are not real babies; and teachers don’t ban dolls from the early childhood programme. When children are shooting each other as part of their play they don’t actually believe they are hurting each other – they know they get up after being shot. It is not necessary to stop a child’s play when a child knows that what they are doing is playing; it’s not a real situation and no one is actually getting hurt.

>> Read more: http://www.myece.org.nz/activities-for-childhood-learning/254-superhero-play-weapon-gun

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Distracted

DSC06710

So over the Easter long weekend, the time I should have spent blogging was spent in self-inflicted torture attempting to learn this piece on the piano. I haven’t played a proper full piece on the piano in ages (unless you count the simple renditions of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ and ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ I sometimes play for the kids).

Don’t ask me why I decided to do this. I was happy enough listening the song on repeat mode on my phone and music player. Something about extra long weekends that just tip you over that bit further I suppose. And now that I’ve started, I’m finding it pretty hard to stop. And it will probably take a while. I really am that rusty.

Then after I am done with this current obsession, I will need to get started on packing for our trip to Singapore. So this is probably an unofficial way of telling you guys that I’ll be going on a bloggy break pretty soon. I might schedule a few posts along the way… or not, we’ll see. Just keeping things casual.

Toodles!