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Transitions June 11, 2010

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Today I went to The Princess’s school for a morning of talks about the transition from Kindergarten to Year 1. Our eldest will start her formal schooling next September. We had first a child psychologist advising us how to give our dearest a positive but realistic impression of their new school and some simple games we could do with them to help form their kids for writing. There were a couple of ‘aha’ moments for me that made the whole long morning worth the effort of going there with The Star who behaved impeccably well throughout the whole meeting. Then the school counsellors introduced themselves and asked us not to bury our worries but to contact them freely and as often as needed. Lastly the Head of School gave us details about what will take place on the first few days of school and what we need to prepare over the summer holidays to avoid the rush on the first day of school. All in all – 10 out of 10 for our school’s management team.
I’m happy I took my man’s advice and enrolled our 3 princesses here. They will be in safe capable hands in this their other home away from home.

It’s a mummy’s life. May 17, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in Life with 3 princesses.
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I was inspired to write this post by this.  I read this blog religiously every day.  I love it.  I like what it looks like but mostly what this mummy writes about.  And I’d love to be more like her… more regular in her posts and working in PR (plus being one of the top persons of the UK in her job…isn’t that just wow!).

I also fell in love with this on sight. This is a mother of 4 girls from whom I am hoping to learn a thing or two.  A few days ago she wrote this.

Caught up in between a rock and a hard place….I often wonder when the rock will shift a little as the hard place will be …em hard to soften. So what’s all this about really? 

When do the struggles to handle the kids become easier ones?  And more importantly, will the struggles ever change to somethings like fun? Or better, are motherhood and struggles intertwined? 

Now I know that some time ago I wrote about how I feel our worse is over and it is.  Only I know what 2009 was like and my-oh-my if I’m glad it’s over! But entertaining 3 little girls is not an easy task.  As is not easy all the rest. (Please here read: sleepless nights, teething, temper tantrums, nursing endless colds,  regressions, frustrations, hyperactivity, food loves/hates, sensitivity, trying to hug 3 children at the same time, … )

Are we influenced by the happy family pictures we see splashed out in various mags and billboards which seem to imply that if we use such and such we will look like this?  We all know it’s all fake but we hope that it is not and that at least part of that happiness (read also spotlessly clean house) rubs off.  Add to this the fact that there is nothing, no course, no book, no advice that can prepare a girl to becoming a mother of one, two or three (and more for others!), and we have tired, frustrated mums.

Back to the rock, I can’t help now but put myself in the picture where I can see me between the rock (the kids’ age) and the hard place (the family).  The kids’ age is changing, bringing with it subtle but sure changes to our rhythm as a family.  But a rock it is and I’m getting the distinct impression it will always be.

I hope and pray that with time, the efforts we put in now will pay back.  Hopefully before the Princesses gallop off into the sunset.

Happy Birthday to The Pill: She is 50 May 2, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in my opinions.
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Finally the sound of silence prevails in this house….

I came across Richard Stengel’s introduction to the cover story of Time of May 3, 2010 dedicated to The Pill, entitled ‘Revolution in a Pill’, earlier today. I dare add nothing to the story Nancy Gibbs wrote in this issue.  I have only had time to skim through it but she is too good and will definitely cover all there is to be said.  It’s one of Richard’s statements that inspired me to write this post.  He states:

Countries that educate and empower women tend to be less violent and unstable and more likely to develop socially and economically.

I take this to be a fact.  Moreover, my gut feeling is that the human race has only developed roughly half the potential it could have developed had women left the kitchen earlier and took a more active role in society earlier.  However, sadly, we will never know how it could have been. 

Sadder still is the fact that there are still numerous situations that I sense miss the contribution of women in the country where I live, a country we like to call modern, developed and democratic.  I will not go into specifics except to say that too often I find myself thinking…”only a man could have thought that up…it’s so stupid”.  My excuses to all intelligent men but there are some circumstances that if we had to go into them one by one  I am sure any man reading this would agree with me.

In the jobs I held before I took this current break from work (to raise my 3 princesses) I never thought of myself as a female this or that but only as my job title.  But I have to admit that I’m in favour of gender mainstreaming and not completely against positive discrimination for women.  From my unscientific observation of how things proceed in my country and in some others,  there are still people men in key positions who need this to be imposed on them, although I’m also sure that no matter what legislation says, unless one believes and practices the equality creed, women and tokenism will be always be, for them, interlinked.

A popular blogger recently wrote about precisely this issue.  She quoted a conversation with (then lawyer) Ena Cremona, now a judge at the European Court of Justice, who she interviewed in the 80’s.

“I never pigeonhole myself as a woman lawyer,” she told me, “and I avoid participating in seminars, interviews and articles that pigeonhole women as special cases. It implies that men are the mainstream and women are not, and it is self-defeating.”

To this I can add nothing.  In its simplicity this reasoning is spot on.

However not there are still women living in countries where despots rule and weirdos say that promiscuous women are causing earth quakes (remember the Iranian cleric?).

Where am I rambling today?

What is the link between the Pill, gender mainstreaming, positive discrimination and the cleric?

Put simply, the common denominator is women and me being one of them.  However radical the Pill has been in giving women power over their bodies, there are still millions of women the world over who have  not yet tasted the sweet taste of freedom – to be, to work, to study, to have fun. May all women (and men) have the possibility for education, advancement and choice to be able to fulfil their potential.  Sounds utopical? Mabye.

A penny for your thoughts…

The most challenging job in the world April 30, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in my opinions.
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Until becoming a mother but also till not very long ago, I used to think that the most difficult job in the world must be that of the president of the US or that of the head of the World Bank or maybe the job of the General Secretary of the United Nations.  It’s not that they have easy tasks or that we can in any way down play what the people who sit behind these desks are doing but this post (http://frommumtomom.blogspot.com/2010/04/have-you-ever-smacked-your-child.html) by 1950’s Housewife (http://frommumtomom.blogspot.com/) and the comments her readers posted made me think a lot.

(I have recently discovered her wonderful blog and I can now say that I’m officially addicted to it….as can be observed.)

I now would like to say that I think that the most testing, the most exigent, tricky and tough job in the world is that of being a parent. 

On this job we learn by doing…. read that … from our mistakes… or let’s say that if we are half lucky we learn from the mistakes of our parents or of our friends.  As parents, the only models we have is our own childhood (mine took place in a completely different era) and our friends who had kids before us.  There are no courses, no traineeships, no on the job training.  It’s kind of there was a moment after becoming a biological parent when the penny dropped and I realised that I was not only the biological mother fo my children but also the only mother with all that entails…..

So I’m here going to try to make a list of the challenges of the job:

It is not only feeding the baby/toddler/child but also feeding them healthy food and instilling health eating patterns and a love of all things healthy exercise, etc.

It is not only keeping the baby/toddler/child clean but also teaching them where the germs are and how to combat their effect on us had we to ignore the  existence.

It’s not only clothing the baby/toddler/child but also painstakingly teaching them how to get dressed and in what to go where (pj for bed, uniforms for school – yes here from 3 TC is already wearing a uniform and no it’s not a private college she goes to).

It’s not only reading them a story but instilling in them a love for reading.

It’s not only asking them how their day was but also continuing by open ended questions when sensing something is not quite right.

It’s not only stopping fights between 3 year old TC and 4 year old TP but also reasoning with them on how to arrive to a compromise and finding ways how to preventing fights from happening.

It’s not only putting them to sleep at night but waking up 3, 4, 5 and even 6 times in 6 hours if they call out for you in their sleep.

It’s not only ensuring they have regular health check ups but also nursing them through an illness.

It’s not only taking them to their favourite play area after school but remembering to pack up some goodies (healthy ones..what else?)  for when they get hungry.

It’s not only teaching them the p’s and q’s but also how to say sorry and mean it.

It is about replying truthfully but simply to their questions without underestimating their understanding. It’s about being playful but fair, loving but strict, tender and consistent.

Without any shadow of doubt this list is not exhaustive and I’m sure that if anyone had to read the above they can add some other tasks to this 24 x7 job spec.

The list obviously ignores the fact that every mother is only a human being but in the eyes of her children she is perfect and has to act perfect every single minute of every day and night.  (Let’s face it, even as adults our expectations of our mothers remain pretty high.  Mine are and no matter how many times I remind my self, I fall into the trap of thinking that mum must be perfect and therefor not do or say whatever.)

And so, in conclusing to this long rambling, along I plod along this twisted but pretty flower-lined (pink flowers only please) path of motherhood, luckily supported by the best companion I could ever find, my princesses’ father, my man.

Goodbye Baby Bobby April 22, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in my opinions.
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Shocked. Saddened. Bewildered. Appalled

Bobby now you will only get warm cuddle and tickles. You can smile and laugh as no harm will ever come your way again. I never knew you but I know about your terrible short life.  You deserved better.  All the children in the world do.  But some of us adults seem only intent on messing up the innocence of childhood.

“Let the little children come to me.” Mark 10:14

Spare a thought or a prayer for those children suffering at the hands of adults at this moment that the abuse or whatever type it is can stop forever.

Intelligent Life April 6, 2010

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Intelligent Life Spring 2010

I don’t know why but I had never come across this mag before.  I think it will become my favourite. Its website is also very good. Does any one else know it? Like it? Hate it?

UV index… already too high! March 18, 2010

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Yesterday I took the girls to the new Dingli playing field as planned.  It is indeed very well planned etc… but hey it has absolutely no shade at all.  I mean, who is planning these spaces? I think they are planned by people who never use them.  Don’t get me wrong please. I don’t mean to say that I would have done a better job but given how harmful these uv rays are for kids (and all of us) and how high we have them here (yesterday it was 5 and its only mid March) why don’t the architects and planners put less benches or shrubs or maltese-stone-lined passage ways, and plant some trees that offer shade.  There they planted some olive trees… that will not be big enough in our lifetime to offer anybody or anything except the earth directly underneath them any shade. Or maybe they forgo the water fountian…. such a waste of space and concrete and equipment…. has anyone ever seen a water fountain that functions well here?  Even in what must be the best kept garden in Malta – San Anton Gardens – the water is always the most horrible shade of green.  In my honest and humble opinion they should be banned.  We don’t have enough rain water here.  But we need the shade.  Were the planners thinking that becasue it looks ok on the day when with the usual local pomposity the place is ‘officially inaugurated’ it will stay that way…. Probably maintenance cost were not factored in.  So why do it? Plant proper trees instead. Please. 

If it had been a mother of 2/3/4 etc kids planning a playing field, she would look not only at the safety regulations but also at comfort of who will be accompanying the kids. Are the benches comfortable? Is there shade? Can the kids come here in the morning too? Toilet facilities? A coffee shop nearby? Adequate parking?  (take the Sliema playing field at It-torri – beautiful site, fantastic climbing frames but try to go there before 1600 except maybe in January). Women are able to think macro as well as micro.  I sometimes think, men, simply aren’t able.   

PS today we’ll come straight home from school as the cold I have been trying to ignore for a week is giving me the shivers.  I know it’s him as I shouldn’t be having shivers on a warm day like today (17 Deg C.)