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Friday, 30 August 2013

Doing it 'by myself'

Lately both of my girls are becoming increasingly capable of performing little tasks for themselves that I had been doing for them. Sometimes these are things that they instinctively start to take over themselves, and some are things that all of a sudden I realise they could do if I asked them too. I don't always remember to ask them to (and - oops - have sometimes opted not to) do these sorts of things, but I know that I should. Some of these things are: putting their dirty washing in the basket when they have a bath, tipping their food scraps in to the bin and their dishes in the sink, helping to put toys away, assisting to clean up their own spills, etc. To different extents, both girls like to do chores with me. There are several reasons why I think this is important. More on that in a moment.

Natalie often says to me, "I want to help you do dishes." Sometimes this is ok, but there are moments when I find it really hard because I know it's going to take longer and in some instances I really just want to get it done in time to cook dinner, or go out, or welcome a visitor who I know is coming soon... but I try to let her join in whenever possible, because I don't want her to get to the point where she doesn't want to do it anymore or doesn't bother asking because she assumes the answer will be no. The time we spend doing 'ordinary' things are going to be sweet memories that I'll treasure later.

One of Hayley's latest phrases is, 'do it!' Basically it means she either wants me to stop helping her and let her 'do it' herself or else she wants to have a turn at what I am doing - of course if big sister can do it, so should she! It's pretty cute.


Allowing children to do things for themselves independently when they can, and helping them to increase that capacity is so important. They grow so much in confidence and happiness as they do these little things. Cooperating/assisting in household tasks is likewise important for that reason and also it teaches them skills they will need later in life, the value of working with others, and that they have a role to play in contributing to home life. That will of course transfer into work skills

I love my girls and am always pleased to see the new little things they can accomplish by themselves. There is a part of me that shouts, "Stop growing up" but I know that I just have to spend as much time in each of these moments as I can before things shift. Then I'll have a new stage to enjoy and not have to regret so much that I wasn't living in the moment they just moved out of.

The wheel keeps turning. Time won't stand still. So I remind myself to enjoy the now.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

All For You

I had a little laugh to myself one night realising that I'd forgotten how difficult it can be to move during this stage of pregnancy. It's funny how you forget these things... or at least the extent of them. But also amazing that we women keep doing it, because it's really all worth it in the end. I think to myself, "it's all for you, baby!" The aches and pains and uncomfortableness are all worth it.

That train of thought keeps me smiling through many things lately. Walking between the car and the hospital for Natalie's eye appointment in the pouring rain while Hayley was quite comfortable under the rain cover in the pram and I was getting the wettest because I gave up trying to keep myself dry and just held the umbrella over where Natalie was walking. (Natalie hasn't quite mastered how she could walk comfortably beside me with us both under the umbrella, lol). I just (try to) think to myself, "It's all for you, dear daughter"

Our family have all taken turns lately of being sick and on the weekend just past Jonathan was completely out of it. :( Somehow though the unusual amount of work and the things I could do to take care of him just filled me with joy at having the opportunity to show love to my family. It was a joy to do because it was for the husband I love - although I would never wish for him to be sick like that: Jonathan also returned all of that care when I had my turn of being sick - then I really got to empathise with him ;P

Sometimes I find it easy to enjoy running a house... it really is satisfying! But on the days when it feels monotonous I try to remember who it's all for and it seems to make it a little easier to do the things I need to do. I have often thought that you don't realise what life is really about until you're living your life for someone else... and lately that seems to be ringing true again!



Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Just What Your Kids Need

Lately I keep seeing this add campaign on the back of buses, etc. for some educational website that uses the slogan, "Just what your kids need. More time on the computer." Maybe it's just me, but I actually find that a bit appalling! In this society where kids (and often parents alike) already spend too much time on digital technology and not enough time with their family or having other meaningful experiences... I think it does families a disservice to encourage more time on these types of things. - Note I don't think it is wrong to use these resources, just that you have to have balance and good judgement about what types of things are good for your family.

In any case, it got me thinking about things that I would put in the category of 'just what my kids need.' I have finished a school project which talks about things like this (though in a different way) that I plan to post... but here are a few of them.

The first and foremost is of course, love. Ultimately it is unconditional love from parents and everything that comes with it that will help them to grow in to secure and happy adolescents and then adults.

This of course involves time. Time spent with YOU. Time spent doing the things that interest them. Time spent letting them help you in the things that you need to do. Time spent just exploring and enjoying the moment. Time in which time doesn't matter.

Kids need consistency. Children need to know that there are boundaries and that their parents will expect them to stay within those boundaries. They need to know that they won't be loved by their parents one day and practically ignored, or worst, the next. They thrive in routines where they can know what to expect... and when things are out of the ordinary because of circumstances beyond the control of their parents, they need support and understanding.

Anyway I'm sure none of that is terribly surprising to you, and there are plenty of other things that are more to do with their physical and mental development, but these are my thoughts for today!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Tasmania

There are so many things on my mind to blog about, but I haven't had the chance in the business of life and with our internet not working...

My trip to Tasmania was a long three days... kind of bitter-sweet, but also worth the trip I suppose.

I missed my husband and kids so much, but it served as a wonderful reminder of how much I love them and how much the stressful parts of life at home pale in to insignificance next to all the sweet moments that I can have, especially if I look for them.

It was wonderful to spend some time with my Aunty Vicki and my cousin Erin as well as Adam and his family, but of course it wasn't long enough. I hope though that there will be a time in the not too distant future when I can go with my Jonathan and the kids for a bit longer to see them.

It was wonderful to see my grandmother, but it was also an eye-opener to see how her dementia is effecting her. It made me realise that because of distance there may not be too many more times that I will be able to see her while she can figure out who I am. I have thought about it since then and it has occurred to me all the things about her life that I've never thought to ask her, but that I would love to know. It's funny that I didn't realise that I'd like to know those things and how they would help me understand her better.

I also saw my friend Emma of course. Again because of distance I don't often see her so this was wonderful. It was bitter-sweet though as we talked about the challenges she is facing at the moment (she has cancer) and again there was that sense of wanting to spend as much time with her as I can.

Overall I have been reminded that it is, undeniably, the people in your life that are really important. The things you can acquire, the places you can see, and experiences you can gain may enrich your life, but cannot bring you lasting happiness on their own.

Relationships are what matter. Nurture them and never let the distractions in your life take precedence over the people who matter most and are counting on you.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Baby Preparation

So, recently I decided that this month I would make sure I was ready for baby so that come September there would be no rush to get things together... at first I was thinking just about all the practical things, but then I started to consider that I need to get my girls prepared for the things that they may find... undesirable. Like the fact that I'm going to need to do things for the baby (like feeding) that only mummy can do and that they will, in fact, need to let daddy do things for them! The main thing I don't know what to do about at the moment is the fact that - in all likelihood - I won't be able to lift either of them for quite a while after our baby is born.

Yesterday I was enjoying a really nice day with my girls... like, really - just lots of cooperativeness and enjoying doing things together and it was awesome! Hayley was napping and when she woke up I went in there and when I picked her up out of bed she cuddled right in to me. What a highlight of any day, right? Then all of a sudden there was that moment of realising that I'm not going to be able to do that  soon, and I couldn't stop crying over it! Mostly because of how special those moments are for both of us, but the feeling that I just want to soak up every second of it until then, when in reality I should be getting her used to what it's going to be like so that she doesn't feel like I've suddenly become less interested in her because of her baby brother. 

I'm trying to remember when she's upset and wants a cuddle that I need to get down on the floor instead of picking her up, but it's easier said than done - especially when I'm also trying to get Natalie to be doing something too. Today I also encouraged Hayley to get in to the car by herself... she managed that, but not actually getting in to the seat. How I'll manage those type of things when I don't have other adult help is something I'm yet to figure out...

In general I am trying to help my girls (particularly Natalie as she can understand more) understand that having a new baby in our home will be a happy thing, but that there will also be things that they'll have to adjust to. I want Natalie to understand that she may have to wait at times when I am not able to do things for her as quickly, or she may have to let someone else help her... but somehow make sure that I compensate for both the girls so they don't feel 'replaced'.

Basically, I know this is a dilemma that parents have faced since forever - and I've done once before - but now I'm trying to find the best way to help our whole family adjust to a new family member. It is a little scary not knowing what to do - feel free to share your experiences!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

First Sunday Share - TOFW!

Ah, this is difficult. Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend Time Out For Women in Sydney with some good friends. It was fantastic, but it has me thinking about so many things that I don't know where to start today, for truly there is too much for one post! Now to share one standout thing...

I've been thinking a lot about how I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for us. He has a Great Plan of Salvation for each of us - all of His children - that will make it possible for us to return to Him if we choose to accept the Atonement and do the things necessary.

Beyond that though, I know that God knows each of us perfectly and that He has a plan for us as individuals. Sometimes it is a scary thing to trust that He knows what is best for you, but if we ask in faith the answers will always be for our good even if they are not what we had hoped, expected, or planned for.

I have come to realise that what Heavenly Father gives me is always what is best for me. Often in life we get more, less, or something different than what we thought - in our limited view - would be best. Sometimes we have to wait a long time, or are able/need to do things sooner than we planned.

Whatever it may be, I know that it is always for our good and that if I trust in the Lord to answer my prayers the way He sees fit, I will be happy. It's not always easy to remember that when you're waiting for something or when there are things you are struggling with - but I have seen it again and again.

I'll leave you with a video. Hilary Weeks was at Time Out For Women and she sang many songs, but this is possibly my favourite.