Every morning before he heads through the school gate Porridge and I have a little ritual. I tell him to be kind (he says he knows), I tell him to be brave (he says he knows), I tell him to be awesome (he says he knows) and I tell him I love him and hope he enjoys his day.
Every so often another parent overhears our little exchange and gives me an odd look. I’m not sure if they’re confused, surprised or what but as they never ask me about it I thought I’d explain here instead.
The basics here are simple; if kids can internalise the bad that we say to them surely then can internalise the good too. So I give him good ideas to internalise each day. I could tell him to be good, but “good” is subjective, what he thinks is good might not actually be. I could tell him to have fun, but that runs the risk of him only looking for fun and the expense of others and his education. So I tell him to be kind, be brave and be awesome.
For the first few weeks I told him this and sent him on his way and that was that. Then I started adding to it. Now on the way home we talk about what he did that day that was kind, and brave, and awesome. It’s been brilliant for both of us. He’s learning what counts as kindness (playing with your friend as usual doesn’t count as much as playing with someone who’s friend is off sick). He’s learning new ways to be brave (saying sorry without being asked, answering questions when he’s not sure he has the right answer) and he’s focusing on the good parts of his day (answering lots of questions right, playing well with friends, eating all his school lunch).
I am loving how this is showing his personality emerging and teaching both of us more ways to be kind and brave and awesome.
I love my little Porridge.
What about you’re family? Do you have any little rituals to help with values like kindness?
Love is a verb, an action, a “doing word”. It is a passion, a surge, a charge that electrifies. It is not some throw away, gone tomorrow news story used to wrap someone’s fish supper. It does not stand quietly on sideline, it roars and battles, it fights.
Love can be calm; pushing the hair back from a face, a glass of water for a cough, a resting arm on another. But in these calm “doings” we can see the fight, the fight to care, to provide, to protect.
But if the word has lost its “doing”? The the world has lost its spin, the battle has lost its victor and the fight, the fight is gone. The word can be said a hundred times, a hundred, thousand times and it all rains down like tears on an empty field because everything else that love is, is gone.
Love is a verb, an action, a “doing” and if we are doing nothing with our love we are doing love a disservice. “Love” might as well be a conjunction, or any other word. I “and” you, I “but” you, I “so” you, I “don’t” you.
Love is a verb, an action, a “doing”. What are you doing with your love today?
With Mr. DB and Porridge off on holiday this week we’ve had a great family week this week. (How many times can I say “week” in a sentence?)
One thing we own as a family is Lego. A considerable amount of fire rescue related sets actually, a few police sets and some other random ones (Big Bang Theory for example). Unfortunately most of it has lived broken up in a box for the last 2 years. So on Monday we started work. We sorted all the pieces by colour and then armed ourselves with instruction booklets and started building. And building. And building. We took most of the last 2 days off to go out together, mainly to test how far my husband’s anxiety would let him travel but also to see trains and do a bit of Christmas shopping (more Lego). Last night we started sorting the kids board games instead which is almost done (I can hear arguments over jigsaw pieces as I type) once that’s cleared we have a playdate then we’ll get back to Lego. It’s going to be tight to see if we can get everything built before bedtime on Sunday but we’ll do our best.
Is it school holidays were you are? What have you been up to this week?
P.S I’m hoping to post more regularly again but going to only aim for once a week to start with.
You’ve probably noticed a substantial gap between the last post and this. The reason is very simple. Post natal depression sucks.
After Porridge started school I thought (mostly because I was told it would happen) things would get easier. After all looking after 2 is easier than 3, right? Wrong! Turns out Porridge was being a little superhero when he was at home and doing loads more than I thought. Without him there is no one to stop Shreddies waking up Biscuit when she’s napping. And there’s no one to occupy Biscuit while I deal with Shreddies.
Essentially life now is harder because I’m doing more (yay for school runs and packed lunches and homework) with less help.
And the result of this is an inability to get even simple household tasks done. Doing dishes? Not unless you want to get 2 or 3 done at a time over 4 hours. Fold laundry? Only if you want it messed up as your doing it. Put breakfast dishes beside the sink? Not always do-able until someone else is home. So I feel like a failure ALL THE TIME.
Add in the fact Shreddies is a typical wild 2 year old who often runs away and, well. Is it any wonder I spent many evening in tears calling myself a bad parent?
HOWEVER. Things are slowly improving. We’re starting to get a rhythm to our days and especially our evenings. I’ve taken up running so I can get away from the kids for a bit and get some exercise. I’ve also dropped a lot of commitments (like this blog) that were adding to my stress. Now, that being said, I’m not going away forever it’s just that I may not be as regular as I had hoped.
The struggle is real but so is the fact things get better.
Take care my lovelies.
Life with my 3 kids has been hard lately. Porridge is getting violent when he angry and Shreddies refuses to share and is so clingy it’s hard to deal with. And I’m feeling like a failure as a mum.
I recently started driving lessons and rather than feeling proud or triumphant or anything I feel… Inadequate. Like I’ve been a rubbish mum to my kids, especially Porridge. I feel like I’ve let him down most of all.
Looking back I’ve spent day after day basically staring at my phone and interacting with my kids as little as possible. Without meaning to I’ve treated them like burdens and hindrances rather than the most important things in my world.
Porridge used to go to a nursery that was a 30 minute walk from our house and half way home is a park. Almost every day he would ask, often beg, to go. Almost every day I would say “No.” For weeks, months I denied him 10 minutes in the park because I couldn’t be bothered to sit on a bench. Read that back and tell me I was making the best choice for him.
Sometimes I think I say “No.” To benefit myself when a “Yes” would benefit my kids so much more.
I hate that I have become a parent who struggle to put their phone down and be with their kids. I hate that meal time conversation is so stilted that no one wants to sit a second after their plate is clear. I hate that Porridge starts school in 3 days and I feel like I’ve cheated him out of a childhood (he’s 5) because I’ve been too focused on me.
I want to change, I want to be a better mum. I just wish I knew how to make it all better and make up for all my failings so far.
Mr DB took last week off from work and for some reason whenever he is off we always get less done of our usual stuff than normal. Things like housework, exercising and blogging fall by the wayside as we do things as a family instead.
It was nice though, and productive. We painting the kitchen and hallway, did some gardening, visited relatives and bought the last of the things Porridge needs to start school (!).
Alas Mr. DB has returned to work and my life has returned to its normality of screaming children and trying to squeeze housework into nap time. Normal blog service will hopefully resume this week.
For years I have wanted to grow my own fruits and vegetables but it never seemed the right time. I did try on a few occasions to grow things in pots but it never really worked out.
When we bought our current house with it’s private back garden that gets loads of sunlight I started looking into what we could grow and where in the garden to put it. Somewhere along this journey I came across Rocket Gardens. They’re a company that provide seedlings curated into little pre-planned gardens. I loved the idea but was still torn on what to get and where to put it. I’ll admit, part of this was the thought of digging over part of the garden or building a raised bed, neither of which I felt I had the energy to do.
Then, I think it was just after Christmas, their catalogue arrived in the post and suddenly it contained something that solved not only the problem of what to get but also where to put it. They were bringing out little all-in-one children’s garden planters (unfortunately theses are currently absent from their website). So we used some of the boy’s Christmas money and ordered one.
The boy’s have loved it so far. Everything came inside the planter so we just had to set it up. It included the coir block (just add water to make the soil), plant food and all the seedlings needed. So now we have gem lettuce, spinach, rocket, beetroot, tomatoes, strawberries and green beans all growing happily.
Or, they were, we’ve eaten most of the lettuce, spinach and rocket and the birds have been enjoying our strawberries which we’ve replanted in a separate area and covered with a net. There was also an incident where Shreddies thought he would harvest the, still green, tomatoes for us so we’re waiting on them growing back.
There is nothing quite like garden fresh produce and the kids love looking after their little plot themselves (and I quite like the smug feeling of telling people about it all). Next year we’re planning to grow a little more, probably more salad leaves, tomatoes, strawberries and maybe try a few autumnal crops as well.
Do you grow anything?