A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Yesterday, The Day Before, Today and Tomorrow

Yesterday was a pyjamas day. All mummies know what a pyjamas day is. It's a day you spend in your pyjamas because you know you don't have to go outside. Overnight flannel jammies, in particular, are cozy and toasty, all nicely warmed up from snuggling under bedding during the night... all the bodily protection one needs to lull around the house during the school hols.

Except in this instance I had pyjama day because I had a sore throat and a headache. There was some coughing involved. Yeah... not the ideal situation but in my position I take what breaks I can get.
So I listened to my body and stayed in bed all day because this weekend I'm having a soiree for the husband... mostly a family affair... because he's reached a milestone in his short life. Easygoing fella that he is, he didn't want it but I persuaded him that it was necessary ... not to let the occasion pass him by. Officially it isn't until next week but next week isn't really practical. So we're throwing a party for him and he's doing the BBQ...

Anyhow the husband took the day off  (bless him) and I sat in bed reading and watching the 1960s series of "The Saint" and Gary Cooper in High Noon. High Noon is undoubtedly a decent flick but essentially depressing. Legend has it that John Wayne, after watching High Noon, thought he had to go off and make Rio Bravo to get the bad taste out of his mouth. I can see why. I, too, had a hankering to watch Rio Bravo afterwards but went to sleep instead. Rio Bravo I have seen numerous times but I don't feel the need to rewatch High Noon again. If I want to be depressed I can read the news or go on You Tube and read the comments that follow.

Today I felt a mite better, so I took off to the shops and managed to get everything on my list. Of course I realized later, to my chagrin, that I forgot the eggs. How could I have forgotten the eggs? And the chicken mince... Well, I forgot to put those items on my list, duh... bright button that I am.

I came home quite wearied by my morning exertions. I must have shopped at five places all up. It's the annoying thing about Aldi, unfortunately, as it doesn't have everything you want. But the wonderful thing about where I live is that I get almost everything I want in close proximity.

On Wed, I took the girls to one of those indoor play areas. The sky looked like it wanted to rain but alas all throughout the day, it didn't seem like it was capable of making up its mind. In our area, that is. It was all overcast and gloomy with a drizzle here and there but nothing that could perceptibly be called "showers".  I wished it had rained hard... it would have made me feel much better about parting with money in the indoor play area. But for my sanity's sake, I probably had to get the girls out of the house before they started swinging from the ceiling fans.

Anyhow, we've had dinner and the 3 year old seems to gone to sleep. I think we're all somewhat relieved. Of the 4 of us, she's the most destructive. She has singled handedly destroyed more furniture, torn apart more stuff, broken more crockery than the rest of us combined in all our years of living in this house. That's saying something. In her case, boredom is a terrifying thing.
I, myself, wish I had time to be bored.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Where the Wild Things Come and Go

The 3 year old was feral yesterday... like the angry young lad in Where the Wild Things Are kind of feral. Except she wasn't angry... more like intoxicated or drugged with some kind of steriod. By mid afternoon in the midst of a rainy day, I could feel all three of us having a case of cabin fever so I decided to venture out to the shops... first to a local scrapbooking store for a look see and then to a local shopping centre on the way home.

The brief 10 minutes I spent at the scrapbooking store should've been a portent of things to come. Miss 3 Year Old raced round the aisles in Road Runner like vehemence. And when I turned my back, she discovered a light switch at the back of the shop and flicked it continuously for about 10 secs before the owner of the shop put a stop to it.
I valiantly made an attempt to get both girls to sit on a comfy couch near the entrance littered with Women's Day mags... that lasted about 30 secs max. Next thing I know, she was opening a store room door... and even then I had to admit to myself that I was battling a lost cause.
That was my cue... there was no valour or reward in persisting... exit stage right...

Then we stopped off at some local shopping centre. Not one I go to often but it has a nice El Cheapo shop with a so-so range of craft items. The 3 year old went berserk yet again and replayed Act 1. Except of course El Cheapo shop wasn't as big as scrapbooking store. Not as neat either. The owner looked at me disapprovingly and expressed his (perfectly justifiable) fear that 3 year old was going to fall and break something. I got a roll of Christmas ribbon and got out as quickly as I could.
"We're leaving now because you've both behaved very badly." I said sternly within earshot of bystanders.
"It's all your fault, S." The 9 year old was quick with the recriminations.
"You made things worst by chasing her."
"I was trying to get her to stop running."
"You made her think you were playing a game when you ran after her."

My horrible afternoon wasn't quite over yet. Getting the 3 year old into the car and onto the car seat was like trying to catch fish with bare hands.

When we got home, the 9 year old stormed into the house and in her most theatrical told her younger sister that it was all her fault. She threw herself on the couch and sobbed piteously. I felt a little sorry for her. Not the best way to spend her school holidays.
The 3 year old came to see what was distressing her big sister. I tried vainly to explain and persuade her to apologize. She, true to form, refused.

After quite a bit resistance that would have done the troops at the Alamo proud, she relented. Perhaps she was truly repentant... perhaps the Taiwanese crackers were too good to pass up. Whatever the reason, she finally cracked and ambled toward the big sister, mumbling an inaudible apology.

Now, what happened next is what makes parenting ultimately worth all the white hair or hair tearing.

The big sister said to the little sister, "I know you're sorry, S."
She gives the little sister a hug. "And I forgive you..."

Air is clear. Immediately everything goes back to normal. The 3 year old runs up to me and says, "Mummy can I have a cracker now?"

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Evangelical: A Synonym for Extremism?

Lately as I've been reading columns and op-eds, I've been rather struck by the increasing use of "evangelical" by the media as a buzz word for some kind of radicalism or religious extremism.
Months ago I observed that Andrew Bolt, who writes for the Herald Sun, applied the term in one of his blog posts to the global warming catastrophists... This seemed to me rather odd and offensive to me at the time, since catastrophists revel in bad news... the badder the better... one would think...
Several weeks ago, I read a write up on the American blog site, Ricochet, regarding the Washington Memorial rally organized by Fox News' Glenn Beck in which Beck, who is a Mormon was described as being "evangelical"... with the implication that the organizer was demonstrating over-the-top religious fervour.
And then in the past week... this one took the cake... An atheist describing fellow atheists behaving badly (like Richard Dawkins and Alec Stewart) as "evangelical". So according to this designation, "evangelical" refers to a kind of obnoxious prosleytism.

It does beg the questions as to how many of these media types really know the meaning of the word. I'm no theologian but years ago I heard a sermon, and several others since, in which I was informed that "evangelical" was derived from the Greek "evangelion" which means "good news".  So to be "evangelical" it seems to me then would be someone who believes the gospel... "the good news" as proclaimed in the Bible.

I realise that the word "evangelical" has lost its potency in the church, which is probably 90% of the problem. There are many who consider themselves evangelicals who don't believe that all of Scripture hold equal weight in light of contemporary thinking. I daresay there would be a whole generation of young Christians who probably don't even know the meaning of the word.

But what is sadder still, is that the non-believing world has co-opted the word to describe a kind belligerent zealotry. The negative connotation is unfortunate and puts many faithful, Bible-believing Christians on the defensive. Rather like "born-again"...

Bragging Rights: Handmade Cards #6

I'm laying low for a while... just trying to keep the card mill going. Pity I can't work any faster but after years of hoarding papers, cardstock, stamps and a multitude of embellishments, I've finally deigned to part with them... bit by bit. 

I am very grateful for the support I've received so far from friends. It's been an enormous blessing...

I even managed to catch Sense and Sensibility (1981) on You Tube while cutting, pasting and gluing. Talk about quaint... and stagey.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Don't Know About Tomorrow

Growing up in Singapore, I remember being fascinated by street vendors or vendors that set up makeshift stalls alongside the wet markets. It was a feature of the city-state that I was very fond of until they were gradually phased out for reasons of sanitation. At least that was what I was told. I also loved the old nut hawkers that used to frequent the cinemas... 10 cents for a cone (made from paper) of nuts was a treat in those days. He had quite an assortment of dried nuts to choose from.

I also recall the roving fortune teller, in the old days, who had his little makeshift, square table and a tubular container full of divining sticks taking a prominent position on it. A paying customer would come along, pose a query, give the container a good shake with the expectation that a single stick favourable to the concerns of the inquirer will tumble out of the container. Each stick has a number which corresponds with a particular answer. The fortune teller/interpreter may consult his trusty almanac of poetic stories and phrases to offer up an answer to his anxious customer.

Human beings are, undoubtedly, anxious about the future wherever they come from so it should be no surprise that throughout history, they have devised a vast array of instruments and methods to divine the will of the gods.
Coward that I am, I'm not sure I really want to know, quite frankly. If I wasn't a God believer in the Christian vein, I'd be more nervous about knowing the future than not knowing. Will my knowing the future bring about its fulfillment? Will my not knowing do the same anyway? And when I know what I know, can I affect change? What if we ended up bringing about a kind of Sophoclean, Macbethean paradox?

Some days I think about the future a lot... some days I don't think about it at all. Some days I think... "Hurry up and grow up girls so I can make a start on that novel that I'm always talking about." Other days, I'm sufficiently overwhelmed by the present that I'd rather just stay inside the hovel that I call my house.

Years ago I heard a pastor say that the question that many young people ask him is how they can know God's will. Well, having spent a fair bit of time with young Christians and new Christians I can concur.
You know, I get it. We're all afraid of making mistakes. We want to be sure that Mr X is Mr Right and Miss Y doesn't turn out to be an axe murderer.

Do you find yourself looking for signs from heaven? Along the lines of Gideon's fleeces, that is. Or do we make bargains with God? Do we try and do interpretive gymnastics with the Bible to make it fit our circumstances? Or torture the verses to fit in with our own agenda?

We are all guilty of treating the Bible as some kind of book of divination at some point in our lives. We are superstitious creatures afterall and somehow we need some external affirmation that we are on the right track.

However, after being around myself for years, I have come to the conclusion that my greatest problem is obedience of what I already know is required of me.
The future, on the other hand, is the least of my worries...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More Cards For Sale

Self-Explanatory... mostly... except to say that I love my Cuttlebug and use it a lot here. For the uninitiated, it's a thingamy machine that makes these embossed images that you see here.
I also used my Collections Small Background Script stamp and Collections embellishments.
Some of these flowers are not available in the cheap shops, but you're more likely to get them at specialist craft/scrapbooking places.

Stamp: Collections

Mind Your Manners

Everytime I am engage in those "where are your manners" conversations with the girls, I see myself in a universal battle for civilization.
How hard can it be right... to remember to say "please" and "thank you" and a host of other social niceties that distinguish human beings from the beasties?
Monstrously hard, it would seem, if my track record is anything to go by.
Just when you think that you've taken a positive step forward, amnesia hits and the adults-in-the-making lapse into barbarism. The first clue to the relapse is the demanding tone. Then it's a screechy "I want"... accompanied by some kind petulant request for refreshment or for an unnecessary bric a brac or plaything.
"I want some lollies.", "I want something to eat.", "I want Barbie (or Ariel)", or even better, "Gimme that XYZ".

In order to salvage civilization, quick action is required. Like many who have come before us, we employ the age old guessing game.
"So what's the magic word?"
"What happened to your manners?"
"What must you say when you want something?"
"What must you say now... when someone give you something?"

The 3 year old who is fiendishly capable of firing up her lungs to full capacity in self-defence, drops to a whisper and a mumble. Suddenly, when asked to repeat verbatim the polite way to ask for something, she turns coy and tongue-tied.

Drilling... that's the ticket. Not the kind of that requires a power tool and a crack in the head although that can be tempting. Drilling, drumming, and reinforcement seem to be synonymous with persistence.
Call me skeptical, I'm not the kind of person to believe that children evolve good manners without some kind of external prodding along the way.
It's verra verra nice when they do it on their own without the frowns, stern looks and cues. But it takest time... years... it would seem...

So what if children are lacking in social graces? It's not the end of the world.
Well, not yet anyway. A society without manners is a society bound for anarchy. Children are our future, net contributors to society.

It shouldn't be about oneupmanship, of course. However, no one can judge another's motives. I don't believe in manners for manners sake but at the core it is a gesture of respect for another human being. And God only knows in the age of road rage and internet flaming, we desperately need to instill into young minds the importance of respect for others.

No doubt it is a battle... and one worth fighting for.

Monday, September 13, 2010

God Talk: Justice

Ah... I love Jane Austen... for a multitude of reasons. Let me count the ways.
In a Jane Austen universe, everyone ends up getting what they deserve. More or less.
The Wickhams, Willoughbys and Eltons may evade wider legal action or social censure even but they do not entirely escape the results of their immoral or imprudent choices.
The good guys and their girls... live happily ever after... They are the blessed ones... to find love and to deserve it.
Some would call it poetic justice and those of us who look on, look on with a sense of satisfaction that good does prevail. Fictional though these tales may be, they provide us some degree of assurance that in most cases, justice is served.
Stories like these are driven by the belief that ALL choices have consequences. And none of us can escape the laws that govern the universe... for good or for ill.

However, in our age we are determined to thwart these consequences. Trying desperately not to reap what we sow. Science, the machinations of men in the legal system have been co-opted in many instances to do this, for good and for ill.
Justice seems to be an abstract concept that applies to murderers, thieves and thugs but not to the rest of us mere mortals. Afterall, didn't the presidential candidate Barack Obama suggest that his support for abortion sprung from his belief that his daughters should not have to pay for the rest of their lives for a moment of indiscretion?

The Christian gospel is good news because it is about forgiveness. Forgiveness assumes that wrong has been done and for reconciliation to occur between parties, a bridge needs to be built. But forgiveness isn't a pretence that no sin has occurred but the frank acknowledgement that wrong has been done and attempts must be made to restore the relationship. However, those of us who name the name of Christ often forget that justice had to be served so that grace could be given freely. The Son of God had to die to pay the price that we should have been the ones to pay.
Justice was served... on that Passover weekend... on our behalf. Death was the penalty -- eternal separation from our Creator. But in Christ, we have life and are reconciled to our Creator.
We deserved justice but instead we received mercy.

Justice is a universal ideal because the God who created the universe is a just God. Even though he loved his creation, he, too, had to play by the rules he had enacted at the beginning of time.

In the Judgement at Nuremberg, four judges are brought to trial for miscarriages of justice commited in Germany during the war years. One in particular, Janning, was a great juror in his heyday, writing books on the importance of the judicial system. But under the Nazi regime, Janning and his fellow judges, turned a blind eye to Nazi excesses and used their power as judges to enforce anti-semitic and other social engineering policies on helpless individuals in the name of justice.

There's a powerful moment at the end when the American judge, Haywood goes to visit Janning in prison. Janning has accepted his culpability and punishment. But perhaps to appease his own conscience he says to Haywood:

Judge Haywood... the reason I asked you to come: Those people, those millions of people... I never knew it would come to that. You *must* believe it, *You must* believe it!
Haywood responds thus:

Herr Janning, it "came to that" the *first time* you sentenced a man to death you *knew* to be innocent.
Haywood's point is significant. The road to hell is paved with little acts of injustice. The holocaust was the result of little sins. Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler were not the disease but the symptom. The reasons why a Hitler could be allowed to flourish in such a society was inherent within the society itself.
In the end, as Haywood points out in his concluding remarks, justice transcends national boundaries. When justice is circumvented for national interest, humanity loses its conscience. And once that conscience is seared, anything can be rationalized for "the greater good" or any form of political expediency. By circumventing the truth and good for "king and country", even good men can become the monsters that they abhor.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cards for Sale

I've been laying low, hanging out at the craft table making cards, when I can... The plan is to sell them them for $4 a pop. $1 from every card sold will be directed towards the Barnabas Fund Pakistan Flood Relief appeal. The rest will help me get to the MOPS conference.













Thursday, September 9, 2010

Morning Moan

Just when you think it's safe to venture beyond the bedroom and into the frontier of wild things...

The wild things emerge on a brand new day, taking "wild" to a whole new level.

The 3 year old... finding 3 new ways of having an accident before breakfast... Ka plunk... down it goes, milk and bowl. Scattered all over the tiled floor are a million little rings. (Seems like a million anyway)
Sigh... (Do you know what I'm thinking, B1... I think I do, B2. It's clean up time)

The 9 year old goes yak, yak, yak... and parses the latest "knock, knock" joke, giggling to herself... the cereal becomes bloated and soggy. The clock goes tick, tick, tick... She is happily oblivious to the passing of time.
Just like yesterday... and the day before that... and the day before that.

Bored with talking to herself, she turns to her favourite punching bag... the 3 year old... She starts tickling her little sister while the 3 year old is attempting a balancing act with the cereal bowl... Ka plunk... milk and bowl tumbles down, down, down...

Sigh... there's always tomorrow...
A new day with no mistakes in it yet.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tattletale Tot

There's an episode of Spongebob Squarepants which features a serial killer at large known as the Tattletale Strangler. Assuming that he's modelled after the infamous Boston Strangler, this sinister character is at large in Bikini Bottom, waiting to strike when an unsuspecting soul turns informant. Spongebob catches the Tattletale Strangler in the act of littering and reports him to the police. Hilarity ensues when the naive Spongebob enlists the Strangler to be his bodyguard and the latter bides his time for the opportune moment to exact revenge on the world's most famous sponge. As this is Spongebob Squarepants, nothing quite turns out the way one might expect. The diabolical Strangler (spotting the right kind of moustache and laugh), who waits patiently at first to be alone with his victim, is nonetheless frustated at every turn by well-meaning friends

Perhaps you find it a little disturbing that even though I claim to be a grown up, I have working knowledge of an incredibly popular whacky cartoon show about talking sea creatures that devour hamburgers. I am a mum afterall. Actually, more often than not, I listen in while I'm cleaning or cooking. But underneath that silly facade, SS really is a very clever show... insanely clever... and at times enormously funny.

There is a moral to this story... well, sort of... Tattletales are scorned by their community for breaking rank. Kind of. Maybe. Justice, however, must be done. Good must overcome evil. Because in the end, the Tattletale Strangler gets his just desserts.

Children carry tales as a matter of instinct and become despised for their efforts. They may do it for attention or out of a noble desire to see justice done. Mostly, they enjoy seeing their offending siblings squirm and sweat.

When they grow older, tattletale evolve into informants, whistleblowers, rats, snitches, squealers, stool pigeons... the terms are used flexibly depending on which side of the courtroom you happen to be sitting.
Justice and loyalty, two virtues, are, in such instances, at cross purposes.

Our 3 year old is a natural tattletale... so in retaliation the 9 year old returns the favour.
"L is reading and eating..."
"S is touching your craft things, Mum..."
"L is hurting me..."
"S is pinching me..."

And on it goes... appealing to a higher authority in search of justice...  as they are powerless to defend their interests.

Children understand justice... in a self-serving way... Retribution, they soon learn, though instantly gratifying, leads to anarchy and time out or other loss of privileges.
But after a while they also know that justice must come from an external source. An impartial, external source.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Importance of Having Father 2

While standing in church today and belting out one of the great hymns, "The Love of God",

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

it occurred to me that my love for hymns, in particular and music broadly was due, in large part to my father's influence. If I had been more pious, I should have been concentrating on the hymn itself... No one can deny its inspiring and profound lyrics. Somehow my thoughts drifted (rather too easily) to the blog post I completed earlier in the morning. The overworked imagination that set up shop inside my cranium and beyond long ago managed to bring together two streams of thought... Father's Day and hymn singing.

But it wasn't just hymns that I grew up with but classical music also. My father has never had formal music lessons and yet he taught himself to play a few instruments at a basic level. An original audiophile, he also put together a sound system that involved 7 inch reel tapes, analog magnetic cassettes, speakers and a turn table.

True to form, he didn't care for us listening to pop music and discouraged us as much as he could. But conniving and impressionable schoolgirl that I was, it was inevitable that as the latest music fad beckoned, I followed. (Until I tumbled onto another fad... backmasking.. which turned out to be more dubious than Alice Cooper's stage antics.) I did, in my defence, draw the line at Boy George and the entire Michael Jackson hysteria.

Dad was and is a fan of the great Mario Lanza... He would wave his arms conductor-like and do his best Student Prince imitation.

Drink! Drink! Drink!
To eyes that are bright as stars when they're shining on me!
Drink! Drink! Drink!
To lips that are red and sweet as the fruit on the tree!

Here's a hope that those bright eyes will shine
Lovingly, longingly soon into mine!
May those lips that are red and sweet,
Tonight with joy my own lips meet!

There was a lot of music floating around in that house... 3 people and then later, 4 played the piano with varying degrees of proficiency. There was a violin and a harmonica at some stage... even a ukelele. Later, when I was old enough and big enough to hold the guitar, I learnt to play 3 chords.

Oh... the stories I could tell... about my years in Singapore. Despite the ridiculously competitive education system, we still managed to have fun during those years.

The Importance of Having Father

Today is Father's Day here in Australia and it is our family custom, we will be dining somewhere with my immediate family. To feast on a special occasion is a very Chinese thing to do but the celebration of fathers should be universal. As a parent, non-father and as someone's daughter, it has become clearer to me as I grow older, that fathers play an important role in the formation and sustanence of the family unit.

Jennifer Aniston, who gained fame and fortune from her stint in the television series, "Friends", drew criticism recently for suggesting that women did not need men to have children and as there were wide-ranging options available to women. I gather she was making them in the context of her latest venture, The Switch, a rom com about a woman who elects to go for IVF after years of not finding a suitable man.

Fortunately, for most of us, we don't take our cues from Hollywood celebrities. To put it kindly, they lead lives far removed from the rest of us... in the bubble cushioned by their wealth and myriad of choices that accompany that kind of life.

Everyone who knew my mother would say that she was an immensely capable woman. She worked full-time her entire life, gave time to her neighbours, served on various church committees and raised three children with my father. But even she could not have done it all without the help of relatives. It was impossible.
Nonetheless, she is one of my heroes. She was inhumanly energetic... she pushed us when we needed pushing and she had the gift of organizing events and people. Her gift for hospitality was reknowned among colleagues, friends and fellow Christians.

From my father, however, I learnt a lot about the Bible and more importantly I learnt about how to think about the Bible. His knowledge and insights into the Bible, for a layperson, was and still is encyclopedic.
From him, I gained an appreciation of local politics, action films, Doctor Who and all other manner of science fiction television.
From my father... unbeknownst to me at the time, I was introduced to the notion of masculinity... I knew that Mum and Dad were different on a biological level but as also on existential level. Mum was nurturing and craved security... Dad was adventurous and craved challenges.
From my father, I was challenged to think for myself and to think outside the square.
From my father, I had a notion of what a decent man looked like... a picture of the kind of qualities that I needed to look for in a lifelong mate. I understood that although Dad was not perfect, he had been a good role model for his children and those who came under his spiritual care.
From my father, I came to know God... not just about God but God as a real person, alive and at work in the world. 
From my father, I have always been challenged to think beyond my own four walls, to the world out there... world missions in particular... and the millions of people out there who haven't heard about the good news of Jesus.

I have noticed a trend of late to denigrate the role of fathers in traditional family groupings. It is no accident that that has come about in concert with moves in our society to redefine the family and marriage. Some suggest that fathers are optional extras or bonus additions... unnecessary in the scheme of things.
No doubt there have been irresponsible men but it seems to me from listening to different people that I know, that fathers have an enormous influence on their children... for ill or for good... conspicuous by their presence and their absence.

Sociological arguments aside, fathers are God's idea and despite all their flaws as recounted vividly and truthfully in the scriptures, God has a definite place for fathers as head of households and as, in modern parlance, life coaches for their families.

Friday, September 3, 2010

My Little Sister , My Intermediary

The sibling dynamic fascinates me no end. Now that I'm largely an observer rather than a participant except as a kind of glorified but underpaid referee, it is quite a sideshow. Sometimes I am tempted to have another child just so I can call them The Three Stooges or the Goon Show.

I have two girls... beautiful, talkative and energetic. But they are beautiful, talkative and energetic in their unique way. As individuals they can be simultaneously funny and insufferable... As sisters, the dynamic alternates between a rollercoaster ride and a Punch and Judy show.
No wonder I'm dizzy.

I suppose we have Cain and Abel to thank for some of this sibling rivalry. Or just plain o'l human nature.
The older provokes the younger... the younger provokes the older... anarchy ensues, the adult is called upon to adjudicate and it's time out in the most uninteresting place in the house.
But how much time out, is the question... one is 3, the other is 9... So if the adult is lazy, we deal in averages. If the adult feels a little more energetic, we might use two different timers,because we have 3 afterall...

Lately, I've noticed a new development in the sibling relationship...
The 9 year old, deploying her innate raw cunning, is now using the the 3 year old as a kind of cheap domestic envoy.
Assuming wrongly perhaps that the 3 year old might have more sway or currency with the adults, she sends the little sister as her emissary with some poorly rehearsed request. The speech is rehearsed in some slapdash fashion (and there aren't any tributes to speak of) because it doesn't quite come out right. It's like that game of Chinese Whispers or Broken Telephone. The 3 year doesn't seem to know what she's saying either because the meaning changes and that's usually accompanied by backstage promptings reverberating down the corridor.
"Mummy, can we watch Bananas in Pyjamas?"
"No... no... I said, Spongebob Squarepants..."
"But I want to watch Bananas in Pyjamas."

It behooves the adults to keep a straight face and maintain some semblance of dignity in the negotiations.

A diplomat in the unmaking...
Or perhaps the older sister underestimates her younger sister's innate propensity for self-interest.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

MOPS, Octopi and other Essentials

I'm ready to hit the sack... as they say... but I'm committed to spouting random thoughts on blogosphere for at least another six months before reassessing my efforts from my little outpost here in Ozland. I don't have any entreprenuerial intentions or instincts but perhaps I can be an encouragement to someone somewhere today.

I write because I breathe. I write because it keeps the mind in shape. Writing keeps me sane.

Big day for moi... MOPS in the morning, then watching my little niece and the 3 year old do their bestest to perfect the art of snatching for the better part of a couple hours in the afternoon. "Share, share" piped the little niece intermittenly in protest at her older cousin's vulgar tactics.  Late in the arvo, it was onto to getting the 9 year old to focus on homework while the 3 year old flew around the house doing her bestest to distract the big sister. This happened to be when Mummy got a bit distracted with online stuff.

Finally, I dragged myself away from the laptop and made dinner... Spaghetti Bolognaise with carrots and cauliflower.

Lookie what we made at MOPS today....

Mine's a little darling with an afro. An octopus with an 'fro. Looks ready to burst into the flamenco, if you ask me. Not sure what salt water does to hair. The effect, I believe, is in the type of wool. Had a bit left over and made a mini-oct. Mini-oct is indisposed unfortunately, with no lips to complete his look.The 9 year old was eyeing Big Pink Oct so I've promised to get her a ball of wool so she can make her own tentacled creature from the deep. Naughty me... I went overboard and promised her some multicoloured wool which pleased her no end. My present collection is comprised mainly of those feathery yarns... I somehow doubt those will work.

MOPS was pretty good as it usually is. We were very privileged to hear from an experienced speaker, pastor and teacher, Ian Malins elucidate on the area of loss and grief. I'm scratching my head to try and remember how many funerals he said that he's taken? 1200? It was some impressive number anyway. He has also published a book, In Your Time of Sorrow which is a beautifully produced monograph of words and pictures directed at those experiencing grief and loss, leading them to put their trust in God.

It really is very nice to look at and Ian has included poems and pictures all throughout. Would definitely make a great gift.

During dinner, in between feeding the sleepy child and fending off the parmesan vulture that is the 9 year old, the husband and I were trying in vain to have an uninterrupted discussion about history and politics. Talk about sanguine folly.
I think we keep trying in the hope that one day we will be able to have an adult conversation over dinner.