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Parenting skills May 16, 2011

Posted by sunflower71 in Life with 3 princesses, my opinions, The Star.
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This is probably for many of us in this role one of the issues that troubles us most. Unlike other skills we might possess there is pretty little to show us if we are actually on the right track or not.  I do not mean to say that the difference between parents is not sometimes too obvious for the wrong reasons but that there are no indicators that could in some way let us know that we are actually on the right path to helping out children become mature and responsible adults….that is, until they are older and have become adults.  But then, by that time, it is obviously too late to do anything about it anyway.

Then today, while I’m taking down the clothes from the clothes’ horse The Star comes along to help out.  She starts piling up the clothes according to who they belong to and then putting the pegs in their container.  Later when this is done, she starts giving me the wet clothes to hang together with 2 pegs at a time!  We work silently together until both tasks are complete.  For the record, she is 2 years 4 months old.

Now, tell me, if this is not a sign that I’m doing something right with the girls, what is?


Conversations with The Star May 12, 2011

Posted by sunflower71 in The Star.
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My man: Francesca don’t touch the tv as it can break (when she touches the laptop’s screen with her fingers)

Francesca: That’s not a tv daddy, that’s a computer!

Lesson learnt: don’t try to simplify life too much for children as they are generally far more aware of what is what than we realize!

Something new May 6, 2011

Posted by sunflower71 in about me, Uncategorized.
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This mummy is going bonkers.

This mummy has gone bonkers.

This mummy has managed to carve out some time for herself to do something that she has been longing for, for a very long time.   And to be perfectly honest I don’t really care is any body starts to think any of the two statements above about me.

Ever since those crazy days of this and this post….I have been longing for some form of exercise to release the tension that I was feeling building up in me.  To me it was clear that I needed a vent.  But it was not to be back then.

Until one fine day, I’m casually chatting to another mother of 3 kids, while our children are at the swimming pool about what kinds of things we’d like to get involved in if we had the time.  I mentioned kick boxing.  (You see, she is not Maltese so with her I feel a tad more comfortable to say something like this.  Every one else I know except my ‘crazy’ sister looked at me incredulously when I mentioned this.) ‘But you should go then.  We have it in Mosta (where we both live). My sister-in-law and her husband go there!  There are lessons every day, you know!’  I remember feeling very but very excited about this.  Suddenly, this ‘secret’ wish that I had started looking possible.  But somehow I never managed to get the telephone contact of this organisation.  She just told me the whereabout of the location.  I scouted around the area a bit but I missed somhow missed them.

Then, just to prove that this was somehow meant to be, I recently befriended someone who lives in the area of this, until now for me, ghost organisation.  She was, like every one else, very surprised to hear that I was interested in this, but managed to get me their number.  I immediately made contact but due to the Easter holidays and my man’s work schedule, I postponed the appointment a number of times.  Until finally I decided that I had postponed this thing enough and got an appointment and finally kept it.

So two days ago, my sister and I (I had to have her with me at least the first time), went along.

Neither of us knew what to expect.  The people we saw coming out of the gym looked very decent to us.  (We, both of us, can be real snobs if we choose to be.)  Even the ladies, we said…..’hm, ok, it seems ok from the looks of them’.  On entering, that is, we make and entrance  because the lesson had already started, the instructor greeted us very warmly.  ‘Very nice’, I immediately though of him.  ‘I already like it!’.  They are doing some stretching and general exercises to begin.  As we settle in to the routine, we start spotting people we know.  Actually between me and my sister we knew half the class!  Half way through, we were told to work with a female instructor.  She is ‘cute’.  definitely not some one I would have associated with this sport at all.  Not in a million years. 

So we work with her on the moves….or better how to hit, how to hold your legs, how to move…. and we do a few repeats, and learn or rather try to get familiar with some terminology and some hand movements.  By now, I know I’m not in a kick boxing class, but ‘only’ a boxing one.  From what I had seen till now, to me it sounded enough for what I had had in mind.

Later we join again the rest of the class for some final stretching.

And finally the ‘very nice’ instructor starts explaining to us what we could expect of this kind of class.  Now it seems crazy to me that we didn’t have this chat before we even started but anyway, better late than never.  We filled in some forms and decided to subscribe to a 10 session programme.  And, moreover, my sister and I are now the proud owners of a pair of boxing gloves, bandages and a skipping rope!

Now last night I went for the second session.  And now the real work started.  The instructor is some one else.  Not as ‘nice’ but equally professional.  I can sense I’m being pushed to my limits.  What feels good is that, he sees my limits and stops pushing me.  I like this and feel confident I can come back here for more.

Before I close off, one thing to put straight is that what I am doing is not going to make me a boxer.  I wouldn’t want that one single bit.  But I’m doing some exercise, that I who has never exercised before, is finding fun and challenging.  And at the back of my mind I know my next trekking holiday is looming pleasantly near and I want to be much fitter for it this time round.

Discovering Gozo April 21, 2011

Posted by sunflower71 in activities for children, Holidays, My trekking holiday.
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Today was our first full day of Easter holidays.  We are spending the next few days here with my family.  Despite the fact that we’re on holidays both the girls and I were up at the usual time.  My man had seen a feature on a particular site in Gozo that he had never visited and we decided to go there today.  This is a natural rock formation that goes by the name of ‘It-Tieqa ta’ Wied il-Mielah’ or “The window at Salty Valley”.


This is it!

 By 9.30am we were on the road.  After a phone call to my journalist friend for directions, a number of stops to ask for directions to different farmers we met on the way, a few detours and numerous track backs, we parked the car where we thought was close enough.

All of us walked for about half a kilometer to the place we thought was it only to be met a steep stairs to a tiny secluded shingle beach.

We had arrived at another valley!  Wied l-Ghasri! (Ghasri Valley)

Equally beautiful!

Walking up the steep stairs and all along the way back to the car, I couldn’t help wondering in how many years would I dare take the girls to the Dolomites for some real trekking!  I couldn’t helping reliving that amazing experience while nearly salivating for the next one planned for some time this coming July. 

There is so much to look forward to…in this my life with the 3 princesses. Thank you God for giving them to me.  Please, make me worthy of them.

Figolli April 18, 2011

Posted by sunflower71 in about me, activities for children, Food.

Gourmet Worrier is the best food (and more) blog there is in my modest opinion.  Now the lady behind it had the great idea to create the “World Figolli Day“.  Joining the group was easy….sticking to the promise less so.  With the 3 princesses wanting to participate in everything, cooking with the three of them is not so simple any more.  But over the last couple of days we managed to make the dough and filling and finally compile the figolli, bake them and decorate them.  It’s not a task for the faint hearted.  But with my man’s full support we have just managed to finish all the batch.  For practicality’s sake, this year we stayed with the heart-shaped figolli.  The recipe is from this guy.  I think it’s one of the best recipes around especially the filling goes out till the edges.  Try it …. you might get hooked.

This year's batch

The Star’s vocabulary and thinking skills (2) March 21, 2011

Posted by sunflower71 in Uncategorized.

We are trying to settle down in bed. TC is already fast asleep. TP is nearly off too. TS is still very wide awake and has just pooed in her nappy.
Me: Francesca have you pooed?
TS: Yes ma.
Me: Ask daddy to come and change your nappy.
TS: He doesn’t know how and he has cream on his finger now.

The Star’s vocabulary is increasing as are her thinking skills March 17, 2011

Posted by sunflower71 in Uncategorized.

TS: Milk mama, please.
Me: (I’m at my desk catching up on some work) Ask daddy Francesca.
TS: ‘Mela inti ma tafx’ (So you don’t know how to do it?)

100 March 16, 2011

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I never thought I’d get this far!  This blog is just over a year old and I’ve written 100 posts.  This calls for the bubbly!

Thank you to all those who have visited and to those who have visited and left a comment.  All of you are very very much appreciated.

Thank you mostly to those of you who have visited frequently.  Thanks for following my passage from a highly stressed stay-at-home mom to a very busy working mom.  I’m obviously better at being a working mom – juggling the re-start of my career and my family’s needs than by having only the family’s needs to see to.  I feel so much better about my self, my man, my children and my world in general. I am very thankful for what I have, for what we have and for what this big family has become.  Thank You God for keeping your hand on us .

My first holiday with my Princess March 11, 2011

Posted by sunflower71 in Holidays, The Princess.
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TP and I spent a couple of days in Sicily.  We joined a group of colleagues from my new job.  We had been planning this for quite a while and until the moment we were boarding I couldn’t quite believe I’d actually manage to do it.  We were both very looking forward to a couple of days away from it all.  Ever since TS was born I had started to feel that my family had become a croud.  At times one needs to take turns to find a free moment to say something.  And this with TS still in her 2s!  Somehow we managed to convince TS that this time it was TP’s turn and I was at peace with the fact that I was choosing between who of my children to take.  Egoistically, I had opted for TP mainly because she is the easier one to take around.  At 5 she still sleeps on a car trip and need to be in bed by 8.  But for me that compromise is nothing when compared to the time we were going to have alone together.

Here she is on her very first meeting with the snow on Mount Etna.

At Giardino Bellini in Catania.

At the carnival in Acireale.

At Taormina.

With a new friend she made, one of my new work colleagues’ daughter.


medals March 10, 2011

Posted by sunflower71 in about me, My trekking holiday, The Cherub, The Princess.
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There are many things I have never done in my life.

One of them is to win a medal.  Not even one of those that are given to everybody for participating in something.  No not even one of those.  Am I missing something?  Will I be forever marked by this? 

To tell you the truth I don’t think so.  But I do feel that I lack a certain je ne sais quoi for anything remotely related to sport.

I recently go another wake up call to this fact, not because I needed it but it happened to confirm this fact. I was probably not aware of the extent of my limit in this respect.

A few days ago I happened to be chatting to a very sportive type of guy – sportive in the sense that he has won many medals representing this rock internationally, as well as in attitude.  So the conversation is going some thing like this:

Him: I might quit competing (in his particular sport) and will try to go for refereeing (in the same one)

Me: ah, there is refereeing in this sport too?

Him (he is too kind to look incredulous, but he nearly was looking incredulous) : every sport has a referee

Me: ah yes of course. 

So there we go.  I have another definition for me: highly unsportive.

Any one would be right to think that my lack of interest in anything that involves physical movement of any sort other than that strictly needed to survive decently must be stemming from a very lazy person.  Well, I’d like to think it all started, or better, didn’t start,when I growing up in the seventies and eighties on our little Mediterranean rock.  The only sport back then (and now, as my best friend stuck there with two teenage children insists) was football for boys.  Full stop. For girls.  Zilch.  When I was old enough already to have been put off anything involving a ball, a basketball team was created in another village.  And anyway I didn’t really like the crowd that hung around this sport.  Than a bit later a volleyball one too was born….My sister, 8 years my junior was in time for that. Lucky her.

Back to the beginning or rather to where I got my distinct antipathy for sports.  I think it must have been when I was 10 or 11.  My Physical Education teachers were females who insisted on making us wear horrible blue shorts that fitted badly even the most athletically looking of us and an equally horrible plain white t-shirt come cold or heat to our twice weekly 45-minute sessions.  I remember both these teachers wearing a navy blue circle or thereabouts skirt to the lesson!  Can you imagine what an attractive picture we were given!  Then we come to the lessons – I distinctly remember standing in our school grounds listening to all sorts of rules about basketball, volleyball and netball ad nauseam.  I also very, but very distinctly remember  being hit badly in the face by a basketball during our boring practicing of passes and that spelt the end to my interest in this game.  Volleyball is to me only the way the 6 players on each side rotate and probably also how high the net has to be and that someone in a particular position starts the game.  Netball, I remember hating because I was never chosen to play and have spent many of the biweekly sessions forced to sit to watch my class mates trying to play.  The only game I remember enjoying playing was rounders.  I think it was sort of baseball but I think we called it rounders.  I must have been pretty good at it as I was always chosen quickly to be part of the team.  Probably I was a fast runner and could hit the ball well.  But sadly that was that.  This is the extent of my sportive background. 

But hey, I have high hopes for the princesses.  With them I try to be the sportive type, showing interest in all things sportive. So I take TP and TC to swimming lessons every week.  And while watching them I dream awake of accompanying TC to competitions overseas! (I know…. I dream exaggerated!) But, really, who knows?  I guess even Micheal Phelps’ mother took him to lessons aged 4.  The girls are also enrolled in another sports session on Saturdays where they get 3 hours of different types of skills related to sports.  We chose a reputed organisation run by professionals that encourage the children along.  I try to be as open-minded as possible while to instil in them a love for striving to be better. 

Just so that I’d have said everything there is to say, there are in reality 2 types of sports…if we can call them that that I love:  The first is abseiling.  I had my very first experience with a 50 long rope in this fantastic place.  Terrible as a start but it left me longing for more.  The second is trekking.  I started this in the most beautiful mountians of the world – the Dolomites, and I feel hooked.  If I had to choose activities that I love doing… these would feature in the first 4 or 5.  So while I will never win medals for any of these, I might get a few thrills and the adrenalin pumping sensation anyway.  My next trekking trip is planned…. And that reminds me, why don’t I give the guy I trust with my life most in the world (after my man, obviously) to go for a couple of descents?