27 1 / 2013
Aside from giggles (I had a wonderful moment the other day when Ivy was in the supermarket with my mum and I was coming to meet them. Across the aisles I heard the distant sound of her giggling! My heart swelled, especially when a man turned to me and said ‘is there a greater sound than that giggle’. Personally I think not, but I am biased! )I think my favourite noises that come from my little girls’ lips at the moment are two phrases they have picked up. The first one is ‘try again’, the other ‘I did it’. Can you tell we are working on independence!!!!
I did it
I love the infectious joy that comes with the triumphant cry of ‘I did it’. The sense of success at achieving the task that has been failed at, worked at and improved at. I love it when THEY succeed. Sometimes as a parent/carer/adult it is so hard to stop yourself doing it for them. The desire comes from many places - hating to see them struggle or be frustrated, our need to get to the next task quicker, our lack of patience, or lack of belief - but sitting on those hands, slowing down and gentle encouragement is all worth it for the pride, confidence and wonder that accompanies the cry ‘I did it’ - yes you did my wonderful and gifted little girl, and with hard work, effort, patience and dedication you my dear dear child can do anything!
This empowering phrase spoken by one of my two year old to the another is, I think, I pinnacle of my parenting!!!! They have not only learnt that things are possible with effort, that they can do it it if they try, and to not give up - but they have learnt the unspoken power of encouragement, that in someone’s darkest hours our words and actions have the power to change things for them. My girls have learnt love in action! My girls know how to quietly encourage, because these words aren’t shouted, they are not ordered, they are whispered, if you are not still and listening you will miss them (another reminder to myself to be more still and give them a chance to try!). They are the unconscious overflow of one child wanting another to succeed! They are my girls loving each other, and yes I am proud.
Oh and just for a reality check I am going to stop writing now as to intercept the fight they are currently having over who has ownership rights of the elephant!
Here is a ‘success smile’ after writing her name! (well not bad writing of a name for a two year old!)
03 11 / 2012
27 2 / 2012
25 2 / 2012
The other day I read Cinderella to Ivy. At the end of the story I found myself explaining to her, that unlike Cinderella she did not need a man to come along and fix her world for her. I told her she had the power within herself and shoes we also not the answer! Oh dear, is having a daughter making me a scary feminist!?
I do believe that simply by being born female my daughters path will be harder than her cousin’s (born weeks apart) who is male. She will have to fight to achieve success with little or no good role models, she will be judged against a litany of ‘female’ attributes which she will have to subscribe to or be shunned. She must battle a deluge of pink propaganda that tells her she should be meek and mild and let a man save her– and that is before she is even 5!
Despite how the world has changed, females remain unequal. So until we are equal I be enhancing my daughters stories. I don’t need Ivy to go and conquer the world, I just want her to know she could if she wanted!
12 2 / 2012
The opinion that I am a ‘bad’ mother for planning to go to Uganda for 2 weeks in April has surprised me. From friends, to the nurse who is doing my jabs the question seems to be how could I could leave my daughter! The challenge really made me think - to be honest I hadn’t really thought about it before. How could I bear to leave her? (an interesting aside - would I have been asked the question if I was a man?)
This question has echoed around in my head for the past few weeks.
For me, being a good mother is about lots of things, but one of them is modelling to my daughter the kind of values I would like her to share. I can talk to her about worth, about love, about kindness, but unless I can show her my words are just empty. How can I teach her about selflessness, if I build myself a safe comfortable existence that I use as an excuse for doing what is right. I want to look my daughter in the eye and say I acted with great love, not I used you as excuse for not doing what is right.
For me this trip is about serving, but its also about education, how can I talk about the ‘poor’ in the developing world if I don’t know their names, their faces. This trip is about blessing those who work there day in day out, but it is also about me as I know I will get back as much as I give. I am not going because I am western and therefore superior and have so much to give these poor people, I am going to meet some of my wider family and let them know we are rooting for them. But mostly I am going because I believe it is right. That this is the right time, the right project, and I have the right skills to go there now. I will miss my daughter – but I would miss being able to look her in the eye more!
I have few aspirations for my daughter, but I do hope she grows up with open arms, and open heart and an open door. On her wall we have a photo frame with many photos, quotes and sayings. One saying reads ‘family is far bigger than four walls’. I hope our example as parents always echos these words.
30 6 / 2011
05 6 / 2011