0

10 lessons learnt from my in laws

So, my in laws recently arrived from halfway across the world and have been with us about a month now. They had not seen their me or their son (Hunky Hubby) for 6 years, and it was the first time seeing Pup (5 years) and Tiger (4 months). I must say I was a bit nervous not knowing what to expect. It has been a magnificent reunion and I have learnt certain lessons that I will carry with me for always.

1) Retain your innocence

My in laws are in their well into 70s, and I really am in awe of their ability to just “be”. They are truly honest in their interactions and they impart a certain aura of innocence. Nothing is ever said in malice and nothing is taken too seriously. Conversation is light, words are simple and the emphasis is always on what went right. It make me realise that somewhere along the way I had started taking life way to seriously and stopped enjoying it!

2) Marry for companionship 

I watch them together as they sit in comfortable silence, pray together or help each other prep a meal, and love the ease they interact with. Obviously this has been perfected over the years, but it is evident they truly enjoy each others company. Even little annoyances are handled with good humour and a good measure of respect. Its more than love, they genuinely care for each other. I have learnt that we should keep talking to each other, not at each other and that marriage is a wonderful journey that keeps getting more exciting – if you nurture it. What amazing role models for marriage!

3) Kids will be kids

I’m actually talking about Hunky Hubby and I here….his mum and dad treat me with such love and tenderness that it literally brings me to tears. When I am tired or hungry or a combination of both they go into parent mode immediately and without a sound food is brought, and full attention is on me. Feels good to be a kid at the tender age of 35. I am lapping it up. I will always be sure to love Pup and Tiger the same way……never intrusive, never invasive, always supportive.

4) Silence doesn’t mean anyone is upset

I’m not sure why but I have always associated sudden silence with someone being upset. I have learnt that it probably just means they are busy doing something else or just having a quiet moment. It’s been amazing to not have to think about the emotions everyone else might be feeling, and walking on egg shells, and to be able to just get on with being me! I never have to ask if they are ok, because they never make me feel like they wouldn’t tell me if they were not!

5) Laugh loudly and freely

Why do we often lose the ability to truly laugh? The overly joyous moments become fewer and fewer replaced by the need to seem in contril. Since my in laws have come to visit I find myself laughing with reckless, wild abandon again….head in the air, belly aching kind of laughs. Their joy is infectious I guess! I’m a big kid laughing at funny noises Pup makes or at the weird sound that came from the blender, instead of the usual “what was that sound?”. I like this me!

6) Don’t sweat the little stuff

I found that I have stopped asking why, and I have lost the need to always be right. I’m not sure when it happened but when it did I felt lighter and kinder and happier. No more random bickering, no more questioning of everyting, no needing to know every detail. My in laws never ask too many questions or try to give advice. They accept that some things are a certain way (like my routine with the kids, the Sat as-much-TV-as-you-like rule, etc) and go about their merry way enjoying these moments as if they approve 500%. One of the most powerful lessons to date as been this one.

7) Do the things you love

My mum in law loves gardening and my father in law loves reading. He naps in the morning, she naps in the afternoon. She’s a adventurous eater, he isn’t. They do not try to adapt these preferences. They each do what they enjoy doing and embrace their differences with ease. They have never raised their voices to anyone or used a harsh word. Everything they do….they do with love.

8) Enjoy life!

At their age they have such gusto and passion for life. They truly enjoy each day, savour every morsel of food and appreciate the little things. They have such patience with the kids (and us big kids too). In the month they have been here there has not been a single sideways glance passed between them or a single moody moment, it’s like living in a zero judgment zone – enlightening!

9) Love equally

Never once have I felt side lined or overlooked. I have had some quiet moments and even then what I got in return was a back rub and hot tea! When Tiger and Pup bring their chosen loves into my home I will treat them as I have been treated….with love, acceptance and not an ounce of judgment or superiority. I am a lucky lucky lucky girl!

10) It’s ok to be different 

I have yet to meet 2 people so different and yet so alike. Any difference of opinion is acknowledged and accepted as a point of view and that’s it – they move on. They have, through the years, determined who is good at what and an immediate balance is seen. They are not clones of each other and neither is trying to change the other. 

Sigh, I am going to miss them terribly when they leave but they leave me changed in ways that they probably will never realise. I guess this is my way of thanking them for making me a better wife, a better mom, a better me! It really is possible to love your in laws!

Love

Manic Me

Advertisements
0

Kids party etiquette – what NOT to do when hosting

Pup’s parties are always a source of great excitement and we really go out of our way to make sure it is memorable for all. Memorable does not mean costly and often my little DIY customised bits are the ones Pup and everyone else loves the most!

Recently though I have noticed a few weird trends when being invited to other kids birthday parties. For example, we get invited to these “awesome parties” with “amazing things to do” but have to pay for all the activities on offer. Now, I understand that it’s a way to cut costs and keep the fun, but what about the parents that did not budget for it? And what happened to the old fashioned notion of paying for your guests? You did invite them after all – and they did bring an awesome gift!
So here’s my list of do nots:

1) Please don’t send invites to school if you are not inviting the entire class. Some little kid is going to feel really left out and your child might feel really bad. Rather send digital invites to your child’s friends parents. I’m sure the teacher will be happy to provide email addresses or at least forward the invitation on

2) Please specify it is a drop and go or if the parents should stay. This makes it less awkward at drop off

3) Please advise the total possible cost for activities at the party if you are asking the other parents to pay. This way they can make an informed decision. I would rather invite fewer people and pay for them.

4) Please mention if there will be no food provided so that I can either ensure my child has a full meal beforehand or buy a meal before I leave (if it’s a drop off). A hungry child fueled by candy alone is a grumpy child

5) Please choose activities that are fun, safe and age appropriate and advise if an activity requires certain clothing or if the activity is outdoor (e.g. sunscreen, sun hat, close toed shoes, etc)

We will continue to treat out guests to great food, great fun and great memories. I feel that a party is a party when you arrive and are pampered as much as the birthday child is. 

What are your thoughts?

Love

Manic Mummy 

2

10 Steps that made me a better mummy – The 10 day mum challenge

Are you ready to bring fun, laughter and joy back? Let’s be honest, we tend to get lost sometimes in a sea of “no” and “don’t do that” and we forget to just let go!!!

This has made a world of difference for Pup and I. No tantrums to date since Day 1. Each day includes an activity that you need to do but keep the momentum of the day before by incorporating elements of that day too.

Day 1

No raised voices. If your surroundings are loud, lower your voice so that your little one has to look at you to understand. No screaming across the room or across the house either (we all do it!). Make sure you are looking at your little one when talking 

Day 2

Start a spontaneous tickle fight and end with a long hug. Add kisses and maybe a pillow or two for more fun!

Day 3

Say these 3 things a few times today. Make sure there is eye contact each time 

  • You are so kind and thoughtful
  • You make me smile
  • Mummy is so proud of you

Day 4

Eliminate the word no. You cannot say no at all. Find alternatives.

Day 5

Cover up in blankets and watch the stars for a few minutes before bedtime. Cuddles and/or conversation about aliens or the planets are welcome. Make a wish upon a star!

Day 6

Watch a movie together with tons of snacks. Pause it when someone needs to use the bathroom or when there is an interruption….this shows you are invested in this activity. No cellphones allowed!!!

Day 7

Prep some flour and water and let them mix it up and play either outside or in your bath tub. No, you may not say “Don’t make a mess”. You may say “let’s see how we can keep this inside the bath/container/basin”

Day 8

Have a silly face competition in front of a mirror

Day 9

Switch your cellphone off from the time your child comes home from school to bedtime or from the time you get home to your child’s bedtime. If you are home executive, switch your phone on vibrate when baby is awake and only answer urgent calls. No social media.

Day 10

Reward you and your little one by making a list of the changes you have seen over the past 10 days in you and the kids. 

Now repeat!

Let me know how it goes!

6

Why I think I broke my first born!

Dear Pup,
It took me a while to write this because I honestly couldn’t stand seeing it in black and white but it needs to be said. I hope that one day you will look back and say you handled things better than I did.

What a year 2016 was for you! Mummy changed into a bit of a mom-ster while Baby Bump was growing inside her and you, well you had to grow up pretty quick. Daddy’s hours mean that it’s usually just you, Baby Bump and I at home and that’s not always easy on you.

I look at you now and struggle to believe that you have grown so much. You are taller, leaner and not sure why but you seem honestly a bit subdued too. Your joy seems more restrained now as you quietly go about your business making sure not to wake baby or hesitate before you talk to me when you notice I’m nursing him.

You are strong willed and it shows now more than before. Sometimes I can’t deal with the smart comments, slamming doors and stomping feet. I expected that at 16, I guess, not 5 and so forgive me for being completely unprepared. I watch you as you chat to people when we visit or they visit and how you bask in their attention, and I suddenly realise what it must feel like to not be in the limelight on your own anymore. I suddenly feel how confusing it must be for you to go from yes all the time to sudden “in just a moment” and “I’ll do it just now”.  I suddenly see how it must be to be the other child and not the only child.

As I sit here in tears all I can think of saying is “I’m sorry”. Not for having your little brother or for being pregnant but I’m sorry that I could not have been more of a mummy to you in my time of need. I feel like I broke you a little – or maybe alot, I’m not too sure. 

I tell you I love you and tuck you in at night but I notice your lingering look as Daddy Dearest plops you into the shower when I’m busy feeding baby and I know you’re thinking that I used to share that time with you. I notice how you don’t run to me with open arms like you used to and you don’t laugh that big laugh you used to either, almost asking for attention instead of vivaciously taking it like you used to. I ask you if you’re ok and you turned to me with those big eyes and said, “I’m ok mummy, don’t worry about me”. For some reason that broke my heart. I never want you to feel that I shouldn’t worry about you. You’ll always be my baby.

You were the centre of my world for 5 whole years, you were the only one. You held all our attention and were the only one we focused all our love on. Now, well now,  we try this balancing game that I think we’re failing at. 

So, I’m going to fix it. I’m going to try harder to do better and be the “old mummy”. I’m going to hold you more, lie with you at bedtime for those stolen squeezes and maybe, just maybe we’ll get back the “us” time as the days roll by. I’m going to stop calling you a “big girl” and understand that you are still only 5 and can’t possibly know what I expect you to know. I’m going to stop treating you like an older child just because there is someone younger. 

You are my first born, and all my firsts as a mummy live with you. You made me a mummy. You said mum mum first, and all those memories I cherish, my baby. I am grateful and thankful to you for those privileges . I watch as Bump and you create firsts of your own, how you play gently with him, how you race to him when you get home and how he searches the room for you when you leave. Despite the changes, you have never blame him – your soul is wise and your love is pure. You are, as Daddy Dearest says, our Pure Joy.

At 3 months Baby Bump has already fallen in love with you as I did before you were even born.I look forward to you two building on this foundation for years to come.

So, my Pup, whether it’s you growing up or me breaking what was – I hope it all gets better as we learn how to deal with 3 becoming 4.

Love you my sunshine,

Manic mummy

0

The day I was “schooled” at my daughter’s school

The 2nd ever Grade R parents evening started like the first one had. Nervous glances around as parents sized each other up and polite “Hellos” and shy glances at the Grade R teachers as we were ushered in after signing a register. 

In front of us stood the 3 Grade R teachers and our instructors for the evening.  On the agenda was how phonetics were being taught as well as how the news would be done by each child. I was quietly confident, smug even. At the age of 5 (newly 5), Rach was a pro at her ABCs. Thanks to the doctor himself (Dr Seuss, of course), she is rhyming like a rapper and when it comes to speaking in public,  you can’t really stop her once she starts. She is reading, yep, reading and I pride myself in developing her in fun and innovative ways – I had this!

I smiled at the teachers. They smiled back. Lets focus on the teachers for a moment, shall we? Now, have you noticed how Grade R teachers are almost mythical? They are a quarter human, half fairy godmother with a hint of unicorn. How else can they handle a class full of 5 years olds and and still have all their hair? They don’t walk, they still seem to glide and they don’t talk – they hypnotise with their melodic voices and awesomely calming facial expressions. As I pondered this, the meeting began.

By the 2nd sentence I was already ready to run for the hills! Casey the Caterpillar  (yep my Aussie friends, we have YOUR Casey) had me feeling like I should never have introduced the capital letters to Rach at all! Of course it makes sense – the foundation to any language are the sounds….and the way we say B (bee) is not the same as establishing the sound of the letter b  (bur). We don’t say Bee-read, we say bur-read.

So here’s some tips:

Do focus on the sounds, not capital letters (they should not be writing capitals at all or spelling with them) – we spell with the ABCs

Do play games like “I spy” to encourage and emphasise sounds – we’re pros at this

Do teach your child how to write their name (mirror writing is ok at the start) – yep!

Do teach them to write from left to write or from a margin – work in major progress

Do read to them, but do not force them to read or repeat after you at the moment – oops,  she’s reading

Do encourage keeping their pencils  (yes, triangular pencils only) on the paper at all times when writing letters and have them start and end the letter properly – getting there

Sigh! So, maybe I ran a bit before we crawled….but what’s important is that we can always re-inforce the new habits now. 

Another tip: practice cutting on a straight line! We always cut paper into random shapes but never really focused on straight line cutting enough.I left that entirely  to her nursery school and didn’t really re-inforce (oops!). So she can create magical drawings but struggles to cut on the straight line (epic parent fail!).

All in all Rachel is in great, magical hands. I look forward to learning right along with her. She’s my bright shining star and we’re about to start another journey that starts with a tree that has a branch where a butterfly laid an egg….Google it – Casey the Caterpillar!

Mwaaah!

Manic mummy

0

Manic Mummy: Fixing a flip flop with the help of a loaf of bread

Dear Pup,

It came on suddenly. Baby Tiger was in his pram stirring and I looked away from you for a moment. Just enough time for you to trip over your new flip flops (how do you manage to trip over your  own feet?). I could see your newly turned 5 year old logic settling in. You are a big girl now and big girls don’t cry – you must have been thinking. But then logic was thrown out the window and you launched yourself dramatically me (and Tigers pram) in tears.

I could feel your pain when you handed me your “broken” flip flop. Your perfect toes wiggled in the most adorable way as you seriously explained why another pair would not do and going barefoot was a no no. In desperation, and not wanting to push a pram and a trolley, I looked around. And there it was! The loaf of bread.

Instinct kicked in and I removed the clip that keep the bread closed, turned the flip flop around and voila! Flip flop fixed!!!

Surprisingly you don’t have to use a bread clip, anything with a larger circumference than the hole in the flip flop works!

Sigh, onwards and forwards – another mummy hack and who needs fresh bread anyways!

Love you baby! Anything to see that smile!

Mummy

0

Must have Curling Mascara – Smudge Proof

Dear Pup,

You have gorgeous brown eyes and amazingly long eye lashes. Mummy needs a little help in the lash department so imagine my surprise when a friend introduced me to this one!

It has NO FIBRES and NO MINERAL OIL – so great for using on eyelash extensions too, if anyone has those on. The best part? NO CLUMPING 

What I love: This mascara offers:

• A curved wand that expertly combs and coats every individual lash for weightless coverage, giving bigger brighter eyes

• A long wearing formula that together with the wand helps prevent clumping and stays on all day without smudging 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1976347645925994/

 
If anyone out there in blog land wants more information, click here!

Can’t wait to try out more of these amazing products!!

Mummy