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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

A bit of mummy pride (update!)

A few weeks ago I bought Natalie some new winter pyjamas. They're flannelette ones with a button up shirt. She loves them. If they're clean, she's getting them on at bed time. And lately she's been wanting to put her pyjamas on all by herself.

She does pretty well: she gets the pants on, I might have to straighten the waist band but they're on, and she gets her arms in the top but was just getting stuck on those buttons! She would try for a while and then say, "I think it's too hard for me" (aww!) and she would get me to help. I would tell her that I know it's tricky but if she keeps trying she will be able to do it and then I'd show her really slowly how to get it through. Sometimes she would try another button before I did them all up.

Well, tonight she succeeded in getting the buttons done up and boy was she proud! I was proud too, but not just for her learning a new skill. I was so happy to see how willing she was to try again and again to do up those tricky little buttons. The happiness on her face when she realised she'd done it and when I told her how great it was that she'd kept on trying even though it was hard really made it worth the patience in letting her take her time when I sometimes felt like hurrying her along. I was so glad that I kept telling her that if she kept on trying she would be able to do it.

Love her!

Friday, 21 June 2013

Never again, puh-leeeeease!

So, yesterday I went for a short trip to the shops with my girls. An incident occurred involving a stranger happened that I found to have been most frustrating as a parent.

My older daughter was lagging behind (only a little bit) so I had stopped and turned back to her to wait. She was hesitating as she was obviously interested in looking at something so I watched for a moment and had just asked her to catch up with me when an older lady approached her offering a fun size Mars bar and said, "I'll give you this if you do what mummy says." She looked at me and I (quite clearly) indicated not to give her the chocolate which she did anyway and then when Natalie ran over to me she came too. She made some comment about, "It's ok, I have a grandson and I look after him and..."

"Oh, that's ok then if you're a grandmother you must know whether I want my child to have chocolate in this moment and my daughter will definitely be able to distinguish between someone who is probably just trying to be friendly and more sinister people," said NO PARENT EVER.

After the lady was gone, I explained to Natalie that we can't take food from strangers because it's not safe. I told her we needed to throw that treat away and that I was willing to get her something to replace it. Luckily, Natalie accepted that quite easily and was very excited when I picked her up from daycare today with a freddo as a treat (we didn't have anything at home to replace it with after all). The chocolate was packaged and I was confident there was nothing wrong with it, but I can't expect a 3 year old to be able to make that distinction!

Can I just say, please don't ever do something like this! Even if you know the child, offering them a treat without checking with the parent - or blatantly disregarding the parents wishes - is quite rude.

So is it just me, or would other parents also find that highly frustrating?

If you've been in a similar circumstance, how did you handle it? I think in hindsight that it would have been even better to tell her that I appreciated her kindness, but that I didn't want my daughter to think that it was ok to take treats from people she doesn't know.


Sunday, 9 June 2013

Walk in the Light

Recently, I shared my thought with you about accepting that darkness exists, but that we don't have to live in it. Today I would like to write about my experience in trying to walk in light.

Life really is pretty sweet for me, and I am grateful for that - but as is the human experience there are also things in my life that bring a lot of stress. We wouldn't learn and grow without experiences like that, but I believe that everyone is also blessed with their share of light - IF they can recognise and move toward it... which is easier in some moments than it is in others.

I have come to recognise many things that bring me light and although I could never list all of them I wanted to share some things I do to walk in the light. Important things which I believe are achievable for everyone even if it varies slightly in your circumstances.

My kids usually wake up at the same time each day, so I aim to get up about 1/2 hour before them so that I can pray, read my scriptures or listen to a General Conference talk, and get myself ready for the day with no distractions or pressure. As well as the spiritual lift, it's nice when the kids wake up to be a little ahead and able to focus on them as opposed to me still being half asleep and leaving them to eat breakfast and/or play while I get organised for going out or whatever. When I'm able to do these things (especially scripture study) it helps me to be calmer throughout the day. The positive and non-stressed moments with my girls help me draw on the closeness we have to care for them with more patience in those less positive and stressful toddler moments. And these things are light.

Another thing I find brings light is that I am studying: I'm am working to complete my SACE as well as studying piano. I firmly believe that all knowledge is enlightening, not just spiritual knowledge. As an example - I would definitely say that my faith is what most significantly influences my values surrounding family life, but I have also benefited from the study that I have done recently in relation to child development. The things that I have learned about attachment have particularly helped me put in to context values I already had, and given me practical understanding of how I can better respond in situations that had previously left me feeling stressed-out and not knowing what to do. Gaining more knowledge and developing skills I have has brought much light!

Gratitude - I guess that's self-explanatory really. We don't have to wait for huge impact things to feel grateful though. Whether it be good health, the weather, small kindnesses from friends or strangers, having extra time for something enjoyable or being able to make someone else happy, we can all be grateful. And that can make the difference between a dark day and a light one.

If there's one thing that makes all the difference for me, it would have to be nurturing relationships; both with those here on earth and also with God the Father and His Son. If I can draw near to God in prayer and there are people that I feel close to - that I can support and who support me - then my life is light. One day over our anniversary weekend, Jonathan and I went window shopping and later I was talking to him about what my thoughts were. I told him that honestly there was nothing I saw that I really wanted and I knew that was because my heart was already full - with my family. The time I spend with my husband, daughters or all of us together and the things we do to nurture our relationships is really important, and the stuff ceases to matter.

I hope that you are enjoying light in your life, and that if things seem dark you can take the time to seek out things that will make it lighter again. <3

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Out of the darkness.

I am the kind of person who tries to be positive. Of course I have times when I don't really feel positive and will complain about things or make negative comments when I should be less critical... but generally I try to look on the bright side, and when I feel the desire to criticise will think to myself. "I really don't have anything constructive to say about that, so I'm just not going to say anything."

I have sometimes heard people say things like, "yeah but there's so much [evil/bad/negative/injustice/unhappiness] in this world and there's no point ignoring it." That is one of the points that I really liked about President Uchtdorf's talk at our church's General Conference, entitled The Hope of God's Light: yes there is darkness in this world, but we don't have to dwell there; it doesn't have to be our focus. The light is just as real.

In his talk, President Uchtdorf talks about 'Jane' - a young woman who was subjected to constant abuse from the time she was three years old until she was 18 and moved far from her abuser. Of Jane, he said

"...the best path for healing was to understand and accept that darkness exists—but not to dwell there. For, as she now knew, light also exists—and that is where she chose to dwell.
Given her dark past, Jane could easily have become vindictive, venomous, or violent. But she didn’t. She resisted the temptation to spread the darkness, refusing to lash out in anger, hurt, or cynicism. Instead, she held fast to the hope that with God’s help she could be healed. She chose to radiate light and devote her life to helping others. This decision enabled her to leave the past behind and to step into a glorious, bright future."
There really is a lot of good in this world. I am paraphrasing here, but I like a quote I heard once saying that some people feel unsafe on the roads because they hear about the few number of crashes that take place... they fail to note the thousands of cars that pass safely to their destination unnoticed and without incident. I hope that we can live in a world that focuses more on the good that they see around them. That has to start with you and me.
So, here's me noticing some of the good things I see in this world:
  • When Jonathan and I were preparing to get married and as we've raised our children, we have been blessed to know so many individuals who have helped us by giving us furniture, baby clothes, nappies, and who knows what else. There have also been people who've helped out by providing meals or doing housework- at the birth of our kids, when we've been moving or sick, or simply because they could.
  • When my mother-in-law's cat required treatment that she couldn't afford, a kind veterinarian performed the operation free of charge. I can only imagine how much that meant to her.
  • I recently heard about a man in Korea who created a baby-drop box - a life saving initiative for so many babies who would otherwise have died when their mother's could not keep or care for them.
  • More people than society generally seems to expect will be courteous - holding a door for you or offering to carry something heavy to your car (of course it helps when you're pregnant and already have two kids with you ;) lol).
  • There are of course many more examples, both close to home and also in places farther away.

I feel very blessed to know some wonderful people who, despite having experienced darkness in their lives, choose to live in the light and to radiate that light to those around them. Thank you for Inspiring me with your examples of positivity and the joy you always bring when you are around. Thank you for being brave and not allowing yourself to become the victim of your circumstances, but instead finding a way to bring the light that you lacked to others... and coming in to that light as you go.
There is much more to be said for living in the light... but for now: let's start noticing - and being - the light in the world around us!