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Happy Birthday Dai Kow Fu!

My dear brother, I miss you. It’s been ten years. I’ve started telling Nessness about you, her Dai Kow Fu. She knows you’re born in the year of the ox. I think you’d have lots of fun with them. You’d be buying Nessness a lot of dahn-tat (egg tarts), A&W onion rings, and popcorn. You’ll probably have to negotiate with her over the last piece of century egg. And you’d probably be the one to buy her a Star Wars BB8 toy. Obiwan is still little but I can see you trying to make him laugh all the time. Oh and you’d get them Flames gear to balance out all the Oilers stuff their Daddy will get them. ūüėÄ

You’d be 32 now. Married maybe? I try not to imagine what your life could’ve been too much. I just wish you were here and that we can celebrate your birthday together. Nessness would probably want to be on your lap as you blow out the candles. Going to have some sushi for you today. And bubble tea.

Much love to you.

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Day in a Life with Two

When Obiwan was 3 mo

0700 – nurse Obiwan, put him down for nap
0800 – wake and get Nessness washed up and changed
0900 – feed Nessness breakfast
1000 – nurse Obiwan, put him down for nap
1100 – do breakfast dishes, prep lunch
1200 – feed Nessness lunch
1300 – nurse Obiwan, put him down for nap
1400 – put Nessness down for nap, wash lunch dishes
1500 – sweep, laundry, shower…or try to nap
1600 – nurse Obiwan, prep snack for Nessness when she wakes
1700 – read/play with Nessness briefly, prep dinner
1800 – prep dinner and feed Nessness dinner
1900 – nurse Obiwan while trying to eat my own dinner
2000 – bathe kids, get Nessness ready for bed, tuck her in
2100 – pack leftovers, do dinner dishes, remember to put clothes in dryer
2200 – play with Obiwan
2300 – nurse Obiwan, try to put him to bed
2400 – sleep
0200 or 0500 – nurse Obiwan, sleep after

Now when Obiwan is 8 mo

0800 – get the already awake Nessness changed and washed up, nurse Obiwan after
0900 – make and feed Nessness and Obiwan breakfast, do breakfast dishes
1000 – get out of the house (Strong Start program, library, grocery run, mall, etc)
1130 –¬†prep lunch
1200 – feed Nessness and Obiwan lunch
1300 – nurse Obiwan
1400 – put Nessness and Obiwan down for nap, wash lunch dishes
1500 – sweep, laundry, shower…or try to nap
1600 – nurse Obiwan and put him on the jolly jumper
1630 – prep snack for Nessness when she wakes
1700 – read/play with Nessness briefly, prep dinner
1800 – prep dinner and feed Nessness and Obiwan dinner
1900 –¬†still eating dinner
2000 – bathe kids, get Nessness ready for bed, tuck her in
– meanwhile Daddy is bottle feeding Obiwan and getting him to bed
2100 – pack leftovers, do dinner dishes, remember to put clothes in dryer
2200 –¬†Netflix, icecream, wine (if it’s been a rough evening)
2300 –¬†Netflix or other time wasters
2400 –¬†pump milk for tomorrow
0100 – sleep and kick myself for staying up so late

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Words I Parent By

Don’t start a habit you’ll need to break later.
Start the way you mean to go.

The principle came from BabyWise which I found totally made sense. If I want my kids to sit through a meal at age 6, then I expect them to sit through a meal at age 3 and likewise at age 1…at restaurants and at home. If pulling things off someone else’s bookshelf or coffee table isn’t okay, then it’s not okay at home either. If taking my keys or phone without permission isn’t okay at age 16, then it’s not okay at age 2. It’s unfair to a child to not set rules or expectations at home but then impose them when they’re in a different environment or age. It boils down to being consistent.

Credit Card Parenting: Either you pay your dues now, or you pay it later, but plus interest.
Win the early battles.

Raising little humans is hard. That’s an understatement. There were so many things I wanted to just let go because dealing with tantrums is just not my idea of a good time. But I kept telling myself, if I don’t deal with this now, and correct or modify the attitude/behavior, then it’s just MUCH harder later when they’re a few more years set in their ways. And lippy. And heavier.

Mean what you say, say what you mean.

I saw this quote on a poster in church once. Words mean a lot to me so this stuck with me since as a mantra to live by. It’s particularly impactful when talking to little kids because their brains are making incredible connections that sounds can make words and words mean something and now they can communicate. The few words they have is so important to them. They also take what I say at face value. Do I want to teach them that my words are not to be taken seriously? No. So if I say, “Finish your fruit or we’re not going to the library” then I must mean what I say. This requires¬†really thinking¬†about what threats I can follow through on. Little kids also don’t have concept of “later” so the consequences must be fairly immediate. I’m also trying to be careful about saying exactly what I mean. “Touching public toilets and then touching your face is really gross” as opposed to “You’re so gross.” See the difference? I still say the wrong things but am trying to live by this because I want my kids to believe my words, to take what I say seriously, and to not have to guess at the meaning. I also don’t want my words to wound them. One day, soon, I hope they will be people whose words are true and meaningful as well.

Make parenting decisions centered around your End Goal.

This is a harder one to do. Without an End Goal in mind, it’s easy to just react to whatever situation/crisis/episode my kids unleash on me. My reaction could just be to get them quiet and make it through grocery shopping/church/car ride. But what does that teach them? I can get what I want by making a scene.¬†Mere behavior modification isn’t enough either. Kids are smart and can put on a convincing performance to get their way too. In reading Sacred Parenting (not done yet), I’m challenged to raise kids with¬†good , Christ-like character. Character and behavior are two different things. Character includes attributes like patient, kind, honest, brave, integrity, endures, faithful, etc. This is much harder for me. But that’s my End Goal, so it gives a frame of mind for me to check if my response to my kids will be helpful in moving them towards the End Goal. It helps me make decisions about what to do or not do. This has been a three steps forward, two steps back kind of progress.

What are some words you parent by?

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From the Mouth of Babes

32 months old, Nessness

Toddlers are so literal…it’s awesome:

N: GungGung PohPoh live in Calgary. YehYeh MahMah lives in Edmonton.
Me: Where do you live Nessness?
N: At home.

N: (pointing at CD) We can put it into the ABCD player and listen to music.
Me: You mean the CD player.
N: The ABCD player!
(This was a few months ago…she’s got it down now.)

N: There is hair on your floor Mommy. It’s dirty. You need to clean.
Me: (IknowIknowIknow)

N: Where is Baba?
Me: He’s at work?
N: What does he do?
Me: He’s a physiotherapist. He helps people feel better.
N: Baba helps people feel better by putting on a bandage and giving them hugs.
Me: um…kinda.

My Aunt: Your noodles look yummy, how about you share some with your brother?
N: We can’t! He has no teeth!! (This sounds way cuter in Cantonese)

Me: Do you like the bike GungGung (maternal grandfather) gave you?
N: Yes!
Me: Ok let’s try riding it later.
N: No! It’s nap time and I have to go nap!
Me: Right. That’s why I said “later”
N: No! It’s nap time!
Me: Ok…it’s nap time.

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Learn it. Do it right. Do it faster.

I’m an INTJ. Competency and efficiency are KPI’s for everything in my life. Did I do it the best way possible given the circumstances and resources available? And can I do it better and/or faster next time?

I’ve brought those concepts into teaching Nessness (2.75 yrs old) life skills…like how to feed herself (with spoon, fork or chopsticks). How to clean up her dropped/spilled food. How to clean up her toys and books. How to put on her boots/runners and take them off. How to floss and brush her teeth. How to go potty by herself (the wiping is sketch but she can do it.) How to sort clean cutlery from the dishwasher. She’s mostly at the “do it right and faster” stage.

The next learning items we’re working in the “learn it, do it right” stages on are dressing/undressing herself, dustbusting around the house, wiping her table, putting dirty clothes in hamper and making her bed.

Sometimes, okay most times, it’d be a lot faster if I just did it, but that robs her the opportunity to get hands on learning and to build confidence when she does it. That said, I need to work on not getting frustrated with her when she decides to get silly and totally not do it properly. I tell myself she’s not even three. But I’ve seen when she does it really well so I know she’s capable. And so I push.

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A couple minutes this NYE

It’s a rare moment that both are napping at the same time, giving me a chance to nap. Even rarer is when I wake and neither of them have woken yet. SCORE! For the few minutes I have before being pulled back into the fray of motherhood, I’m gathering my reflections¬†as the last hours of 2016 count down.

I think living life well with children can be summarized with this one quote I read this year:

If it only takes five minutes to do, do it now.

Because….oh they’re both awake now. See? I need to get better at this. Gotta go! ha ha.

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy and Memorable New Year!!

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I Love…

32 months old, Nessness

  • how she kisses Mommy’s owies no matter where. Once I stubbed my toe and she got down and kissed it.
  • watching her watch sports with Daddy. She mimics Daddy and says things like, “Let’s go! Hurry up, faster! Woohoo!”
  • the songs she makes up to tunes she already knows.
  • watching her watch Animal Planet/Blue Planet….the awe and amazement over the Creatures of this planet. “Look Mommy a penguin! Splash! Penguins swim! It’s catching fish!!”
  • how she’s so proud of learning to floss and brush her own teeth. She also takes extra care when putting face cream on too.
  • how she loves asking Mommy or Daddy to chase her. She loves getting caught even more…usually within two seconds of the chase. She also loves chasing us around the kitchen island…for at least 10 minutes nonstop.
  • watching her try to mimic me while doing the 7 minute workout.
  • how she can take her responsibilities seriously…she’s responsible for sorting cutlery into the appropriate slots in the kitchen drawer and gets really upset if I do it for her. She’s also responsible for using the dustbuster (a.k.a. baby vacuum) to clear hallway dust and hair.¬†I plan to milk this as long as I can.
  • that she asks me to cradle and rock her while singing Braham’s Lullaby before she naps. I hope to do this as long as she and my back will let me.
  • that she likes kale salad, brussel sprouts, grape tomatoes, olives, fish, century egg and all types of noodles. She’s her mother’s daughter.