Little Lessons: Re-discovering my middle child

I brought the little brother, who’s now also an older brother, out on a date last week. I honestly can’t recall how long ago since we went out one on one, intentionally, so you can imagine that this was very much needed.

(Sometimes I feel guilty for not having spent as much time on him, compared to big sister. And wonder if we’ve shortchanged him in terms of love, attention, and time.)

I racked my brain for a nice spot we could both enjoy, and decided on one of our favourite spots – the botanic gardens. He loves to feed the fishes there. He also likes tumbling at FFT’s playground so while I have my coffee, he can run around, I thought. Win win.

And so we did.

I was hopeful that the date would bear fruit in terms of less cranky behaviour in the day or two ahead. I thought it would benefit him, and provide some assurance of his standing in my heart.

What I didn’t count on was realising the fact that my heart actually needed healing from all the negativity and scolding associated with bringing up my middle child.

Somewhere between his gobbling up of his scone (with glee and gusto in equal parts) and my sipping my coffee, it hit me. I haven’t taken the time to truly enjoy this boy. He’s such a gift in our lives – his comic antics, nonsensical words, his funny stunts and jumps, his infectious smile and laughter, his funny (mostly fail) attempts to speak mandarin.

I’ve been so engaged in dealing with his moodiness and upset feelings, I’ve unknowingly started to see him as a chore, a problem to be fixed.

I’ve overlooked his cheery gleeful side, that pops up like a bright yellow balloon against blue sky, and his unquenchable excitement that bubbles out from within him when he hears or sees something new.

Re-discovering His Gifts

JJ has a sensitive and sweet spirit that often observes and notices people’s feelings. It is this same sensitivity that appears to be causing his mood swings whenever he feels he is being overlooked or left behind. But I’m thankful I learnt recently that for each character weakness, lies a potential area of strength.

I’m starting to see that his heart for helping and paying attention to others’ needs can be honed and moulded for much good.

I pray I will continue to see him for the person he is, and the person he is capable of being.

Dear JJ, you are my ice-cream surprise on a sunny day, my pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

You’re not my problematic middle child, you’re God’s precious gift to us, and unique gift to the world. 

 

This is Little Lessons #25. Grab our badge and link up your little lessons / reflections / learning activities below!

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Little Lessons: When going to the supermarket feels like a holiday

My girlfriend came over to bless us with dinner one day and after settling her nearly 2-yo daughter, decided to head downstairs to get some groceries.

After about 30 minutes, she came back, radiating with a glow and smiling to herself.

I asked: “Well what did you get?”

Her reply: “I got myself a teh-si and was walking all by myself around NTUC. I feel like a million bucks!”

I smiled, a knowing smile. I knew she was going to enjoy the little escapade all by herself. Even to the humble neighbourhood supermarket. (I’ve been there, and remember feeling the exact same way.) And what’s more, the teh-si at the foodcourt…is to. die. for.

You know you’re a tired mum when a trip to the supermarket starts to resemble a holiday. (There’s a quote that says something to this effect, I’m sure I’ve read it before somewhere.)

It measures up pretty close to uninterrupted toilet time.

But mums, you’re so worth it. Go ahead, have your teh-si and sip it slowly.  Go for a walk around your supermarket too. (Better still if you can hit the mall.) You’re totally worth it.

be refreshed

Dear gf, may you always find time to discover the simple joys of sweet rest and precious personal time amidst the endless responsibilities of parenting. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of taking time out from our busy schedules, to love and show kindness to others too.

This is Little Lessons #24. Grab our badge and link up your little lessons / reflections / learning activities below!

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Little Lessons: Learning about patience

give our children room to grow

Vera, my eldest, my sweetest (only) daughter. She is loving, funny, and easy to love, in every way. But at times, the things she does (or doesn’t do) really get to me.

I’m over at A Pancake Princess today sharing more about my “losing-it” episode with my little girl, and the lesson I learnt from it – a lesson on patience.

Do hop over to have a read.

This is Little Lessons #23. Grab our badge and link up your little lessons / reflections / learning activities below!

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Little Lessons: Discovering your child’s talents and gifts

Vera was busy painting last Sunday.

rainbow painting

When I asked her about her artwork, she said:

“Someone squeezed this black thing here (which looks like an ink jar to me…) and a rainbow shoots out!”

I was a little surprised at how she got the idea of squirting a rainbow out from a little black pot. But I just stood back and let her do her thing. Occasionally, I glanced over just to see how she’s going.

After she was done, I asked her what were the two things jumping on the rainbow. (I honestly thought they were monkeys…) She said they were water droplets since a rainbow is formed from droplets in the air, and light shining through them. (She had just been learning about the water cycle at school.)

I just stood and examined the finished piece. We’ve long realised that she’s interested in art, and loves to doodle and draw on her own. Obviously since the days of Frozen, everything has to do with princesses and castles and snow and kings and queens. But occasionally, she goes and draws something out of the blue – like this one.

She loves rainbows. She always has. (Maybe it has something to do with Aunty Waijia’s A Taste of Rainbow book that she read long ago.)

I remember thinking sometime back about discovering each child’s interests and area of giftings – yes it might seem a little young to jump to conclusions about where these may lie, but I think what they naturally like to do, and also seem to excel at, give us some handles to go by.

In all honesty, I don’t think I’ve done much to hone her interest in art. I’ve pretty much provided the paints, different media for her to paint on, and sometimes we paint twigs, leaves, and other little things that we pick from the park. Yes we also love to do simple crafts at home. But that’s about it. I think it’s time to pick up some art books from the library.

At some point in the near future, I’d love to bring her to take up some formal art lessons, but for now I am enjoying watching her express her ideas and personality through her paintings and drawings. It’s raw, childlike and gives me a window into her thoughts and feelings too. It’s also a joy to behold, every new piece is like a little surprise. I hope she continues to love and express herself through art.

This is Little Lessons #22, which runs on the blog every Thursday. Do grab our badge and link up your little lessons / reflections / learning activities below!

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Grace-liberated parenting

I’m sharing a little video today that reaches deep into the heart of Christian parenting.

I first heard from Paul Tripp when I attended his parenting seminar. I walked away filled with many life-changing principles he shared about the heart of parenting and discipline.

Watching the video, I realise how inadequate I am as a parent, and also how much I need God’s grace. I am also reminded that parenting is a process, one that possibly lasts way beyond our physical life here on earth, since the values we sow are reaped through generations.

Some of my favourite quotables from the video:

“…love does its best work when people aren’t deserving.”

“Meet me by your grace so I can be a tool of your grace in the life of my children.”

“What I want for that child first is to experience the same grace I’m experiencing…That’s just a whole different world of parenting.”

“All of parenting is a gracious rescue.”

“…A parent must embrace his/her inability in order to find the liberation of being an instrument in the hands of God.”

“We’re not requiring the change as an event; we’re allowing it to be a process.”

I hope this blesses you, and renews your strength and determination to raise your little ones by drawing on the grace and unconditional love of God daily.

This is Little Lessons #21, which runs on the blog every Thursday. Do grab our badge and link up your little lessons / learning activities below!

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