Thursday, October 16, 2014

Accepting Imperfection

Last year, as we were passing through Mt Barker on the return journey of our Denmark trip, I called into a few second hand stores for a quick browse and came away with a handful of treasures, including two tiny glasses, perfect for little ones to grasp in chubby hands. At 20c a piece, and reminding me of the glass I always claimed as my own on visits to my grandparent’s house as a little girl, they were even more perfect.

Days later, as the girls were sitting at their little table setting having some lunch, one of them accidentally knocked their glass off the table. It fell to the floor and broke into pieces and I was immediately devastated… devastated that my ‘perfect pair’ of glasses was no more. As I wiped the juice off the floorboards, unfairly chastised the clumsy culprit and swept away the shards of glass, I suddenly realised the ridiculousness of my mindset and my behaviour. Why was having two identical glasses so important to me? Why could I not see the beauty in a collection of mis-matched drinking glasses? What message was I subconsciously portraying?... I vowed then and there to work on being more accepting of imperfection, not only for my sake, but for my girls.

While I constantly let my girls know that ‘things don’t have to be perfect’ and ‘it’s okay to be wrong’, it is the example I am unknowingly setting that has got me thinking. It’s part of my personality to like things ’just so’and to focus on small details. But I am slowly learning to lower my standards, direct my energy towards what really matters and to accept that some things are out of my control (and that often it is best to step back and simply ‘see what happens’). Knowing that nothing is perfect, that mistakes happen, that there are ups and downs and dents and blemishes and that this is more than okay, is a lesson I desperately want my little girls to learn and a way of life I hope they embrace. I don’t want them to be striving for unrealistic standards. I want them to become confident, compassionate, accepting individuals who see the beauty in the imperfect... just as I am slowly beginning to do…

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Snippets Of Our Week

Week one of school holidays for us was spent in the country, down south in Denmark. It was such a relaxing week that left me sad (as always) when the time came to head back to the city...

1.  I've often seen female Blue Wrens (the symbol of Denmark) but have only managed to catch glimpses of the showy, blue feathered male... until last Sunday

2.  Grace in a field of dainty flowers (onion weed I think), wearing her 'new' hand-me-down gum boots 

3.  Sweet little seaside daisies appeared everywhere... so very spring-like

4. Sophie absolutely loved the Animal Farm... she was devastated when the time came to leave

5.  Each afternoon while Paul went mountain bike riding, the girls and I would rug up in jackets and boots and explore the 'secret garden' where we were staying... it became a daily ritual and was my most loved part of our time away

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Childhood Memories

One of the loveliest pleasures of motherhood for me has been re-living snippets of my own childhood. Through my girls, I am reminded of sweet outfits my Mum and Nanna made for me, games I used to play, books that captivated my imagination and beloved toys that joined me on my journey as a youngster.  One such toy is a doll, Penny.  Since moving out of home, she remained forgotten at the top of my wardrobe until one day last year when I was having a clear out and Grace discovered her.

"Can I have this doll Mummy?" she asked, clutching her in her arms in the same way I remember doing as a little girl.  I hesitated at first, my once beloved doll seeming a bit precious for play, but then, thinking of her years being tucked away in a box I replied with, "Okay, just be gentle as she's getting a bit old."

Since that afternoon, Penny has been well loved.  She has sat on Grace's bed during school hours and in the evening, been lovingly tucked in beside her with a special little pillow. As I've checked on my girls each night before tiptoeing to bed myself, it has truly warmed my heart seeing Grace's arm wrapped protectively around her 'friend', loving the very same doll from my own childhood.

Recently though, I discovered poor Penny was looking a little worse for wear.  In several places, due to her age and years of being 'well loved', her fabric was beginning to wear out.  Seams were opening, stuffing was poking through and there were sections where the material was threadbare and thinning and where discoloration was starting to show. Penny's days were sadly beginning to look numbered and beyond a simple patch-up job, so we've had to hunt for a replacement doll which we've fortunately found and ordered (and whose arrival we're now eagerly awaiting).

I hope that one day, Grace's 'new Penny' is a piece of her childhood she too can pass on to her children.  And that just like me, she will do so remembering lovingly and with fondness her own days growing up...

Do you have any toys of your own you have kept and perhaps been fortunate enough to pass on to another generation?

On a side note, this post from a bit more than a year ago shows Grace in exactly the same dress... 
I was rather shocked to see how much her face has changed in that length of time...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Our Simple Pocket Money System

Over the past few months, we've introduced a very simple pocket money system for our girls, a way to help them begin learning about earning and saving and spending (in a basic way) and to be responsible for a handful of small chores that contribute to family life in our home.

A chart displaying daily responsibilities is pinned up in our kitchen and a completed chore earns the girls a colourful felt ball in their pocket money jars (which they keep safely guarded in their bedrooms). In the mornings, Grace and Sophie feed Asha her biscuits and put away the clean cutlery from the dishwasher.  After school, I now have help unpacking groceries, watering pot plants, helping sort laundry that has come off the washing line and the table is set ready for our dinner... all are quick and easy jobs for little ones to help with.  And while I often have to hunt through the pantry that bit longer in search of a particular ingredient or find my socks and underwear in the wrong drawers, it makes me smile to see the satisfaction my girls get from helping.

Come Sunday evening, felt balls are excitedly counted, each one earning ten cents.  Coins are then transferred to purses (kept on a high shelf in Sophie's case away from temptation's reach) where the girls keep the money they are saving for special items they hope to buy.

Our pocket money system is super simple, but for us at this point, it is working beautifully...

With our system, pocket money is not given for behaviour and is only allocated for the completion of jobs.
Responsibilities that are simply part of being members of our household do not earn money (eg. packing away toys, keeping bedrooms tidy...)  
It is up to the girls whether they complete their jobs but they know that no job equals no pay.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Welcoming Spring

The end of winter and the past few weeks have seemed to pass by in a blur of head colds, housebound days and irritability (from all family members).  We've ticked over into spring and yet have only been treated to sunshine and warmth on the odd day here and there.  Cloudy skies, lingering low temperatures and rain have been the norm.  But lately, especially today, I've felt winter's grip beginning to loosen... there's a change in the air, a change I for one am eagerly awaiting.  As much as I love winter and its cosiness (and know that I'll be wishing for cooler weather once the heat sets in and our garden begins to feels its effects), my body is definitely craving some sun and warmth.

Spring will see us spend more time outdoors, having riverside picnics and adventures and pottering about in our yard.  There will be a move from soups and cassseroles to salads and warmer weather foods. A family getaway will be had in the south-west.  A party will be planned and a third birthday celebrated.  Projects set aside over the colder months will be brought out again and hopefully completed. Energy levels will pick up and motivation to 'get things done' will slowly return.  This year, I am welcoming spring with open arms.

What are you looking forward to most about spring?      

Our garden has seen an abundance of bird life lately.  It's so lovely to hear them singing to one another during the day.
On Sunday, Paul accidentally startled a barely feathered baby honey eater, who them got himself wedged behind the vegetable garden and fence.
The four of us spent a good half an hour trying to free him and re-unite him with his mother and father.