Wednesday, 30 April 2014

A Boy Snippet

For those of you still fortunate enough to be living in a civilised world, here is a snippet from my boy-filled world.

1.  Burping is to be applauded.  Oh yes.  The bigger and longer, the better. And if you can burp the alphabet then you have reached a special status.

2.  Why make daisy chains when you can find a frog / spider / other disgusting creature and feed insects to it?  This activity can last a very long time so where I once may have wished they weren't doing it, now I am grateful when I begins because I know they will stay outside and happy (away from me) for a good half an hour.

3.  Apps such as 'ultimate fart noises' and 'let the poo through' will appear on the iPad.  You do not want to know anymore, I promise.

4. Bodily functions continue to fascinate, including during evening meals when they talk freely and openly in front of the youngest members of the family about what they learnt in sex education.  Rather than take this education seriously, they spend most of the mealtime giggling about it.

5.  Muscles are a necessity.  The phrase 'look at my guns' will be followed by kissing each bicep.  (Or is that just in my family?)

6.  Personal hygiene leaves nothing to the imagination.  As they grow older and have to do more for themselves I am mostly disgusted.  They seem to have the ability to have a shower without actual washing themselves, although somehow the floor manages to get a good rinsing (flooding).

7.  Noise is constant.  Singing, wittering, drumming, tapping, bodily functions, shouting.....  It never stops.  Needless to say, I enjoy my ear plugs.

8.  There are smells galore.  Every mother of a boy understands the need for the sniff test, and the sickening moment when you realise that those trousers crumpled in a heap on the floor were actually dirty.  

9.  Amongst a group, boys must always establish their pecking order.  Whoever is older / braver / taller / best at armpit farts will become top dog.  Competitions and challenges are therefore continuous.  Even silly ones like who can wash their hands first before mealtimes.

10. Topics of conversation on a car journey can include poo swinging out of bottoms and landing on the floor, evolution and adaptation, Minecraft and sky diving.  All in one journey.  I write from 'umming and ahhing to feign interest' experience.

Now you have been enlightened, you may re-enter your clean, ordered world.  Think of me, drowning in footballs, dirty stones (pretend precious jewels) and sticks.  Please.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

What Facebook doesn't tell you.

School holidays.  Love them or hate them, there is no escaping them.  

Facebook is full of photographs of happy children sporting cheesy grins.  Mothers post their exciting Easter activities as a badge of honour.  "We laid our own eggs, decorated them and hid them all over the globe for a mammoth Easter egg hunt" - We all know those amazing mothers who are organised and motivated.  

And who are so unlike me.

These holidays rushed at me and whacked me in the face before I realised they were here.  Still attempting to process our half term trip to India, I was nowhere near ready to begin making the usual holiday plans.  Feeling fragile and exhausted, I began each day without any motivation to make Easter nest cakes or create an egg hunt.

Of course, we can't put all this on Facebook.  We have to show that we are eggcellent mothers (sorry, couldn't resist) who are over the moon about spending time with their children.  We couldn't possibly confess to not actually wanting to be anywhere near them sometimes, could we?

And so our two weeks passed with three bored, arguing boys and an irritable mother.  I didn't want to play with them.  I didn't want to take them out anywhere.  I couldn't cope with the constant bickering but had no way of stopping it.  Weighted down by the guilty feeling that my children were an inconvenience, I buckled.

I'm not one of those mothers who can post how sad they are about their children returning to school this week.  Honestly?   I cant wait.  I want this failure over and done with.  I want to feel positive about my boys again.  

So, Facebook, let me be honest with you.  Being a mum is hard and exhausting.  We can't always have picture perfect 'Disney style' families.  Sometimes we cry and sometimes we shout.  Does this mean we are bad, incompetent mothers?  Nope, it just means we are real humans and we don't live in a virtual world.  

Tonight, I'm grateful for mercies which are new every morning, for teachers who work hard and for good friends who see beyond the Facebook posts.  

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Friendship Truths

Windswept and sweaty, I had made it to the top of one of the foothills of the Himalayas with my very dear friend, Fay.  But, oh, how I had wished that she wasn't my friend on the climb! 

Watching her striding ahead, resolved to reach the peak no matter what, I struggled to keep up with her.  Frog-marching a breathless, weary and rather unfit 20 year old, I'm pretty sure that if she'd had a whip she would have used it on me.  My one abiding memory of this climb was feeling very angry with my friend for forcing such hardship on me!

And yet, isn't that what friendship is about?  Shouldn't we all be spurring each other on along our life-journeys?

During the last few weeks I have appreciated my friends like never before.  They have encouraged me, prayed for me and spoken harsh truth to me.  And journeying together requires all three. 

Sometimes we need our friends to tell us we're doing great.  For example "You are such a brilliant mum - I love the way you spend time creatively with your kids"  or "Keep being faithful in those small things." (If anyone wants to say those things to me, you are very welcome!)

Sometimes we need our friends to be battling in prayer with us.  I have some friends who  I know will pray for me at the drop of a text.  They are the ones who have my back.

And sometimes our friends need to tell us some home truths.  It's painful and humbling.  And rather than feeling angry and defensive, as I was on this climb, we need to listen and examine ourselves.  Are they right?  What changes can I make so I can continue my journey in a better way? 

I am so grateful for those friends who love me enough to tell me the truth - even when it is so very hard to hear.  Without them, I would continue to blunder along my way and may not reach the peak. 

Thank you, my friends. 

(And my lovely Fay, thank YOU too ;-))

Friday, 4 April 2014

Through Different Eyes

Sometimes other people can say it better than me.  This lady is one of those people.  Watch and let your eyes be opened to the harsh injustice of the world around us. 

And when you can't look away any longer, do something to help stop it.