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Karate is contagious!

18 May

Our house has become very safe over the last month or so, thanks to these 3 karate kids! Léa and Matty follow in the steps of Killian. Matty with his I-don’t-really-mind attitude is decidedly the most chilled out karate person I know. Léa listens attentively and tried her hardest to look the part. Mmmh, she makes me think of the prayer mantis character in Kung-Fu Panda, with her long dangling body.

But they are all super motivated (Matty in his own way), they love it, they sweat at it (Matt comes at the end of each lesson and tells me “Look Mama, I’m nearly sweating!’). Léa is practicing practicing practicing. She is in the same class as Killian (white, yellow and orange belts are together) and wants to feel that she is good enough.

I love the structure of karate, the discipline it requires, the respect of others and the way the gradings are organized. If you work hard, whether you look good or not, you will move on to the next belt (well, in the early stages at least) which is great for young kids. It helps them to stay motivated and to know that they can do it. No doubt, Killian looks much better than Léa, but to a certain extent, it’s irrelevant.

Here they are, taking their role very seriously! Killian not flinching (apart from the oh-look!-a-butterfly moment), Léa trying to look fierce, and Matt and his cooler-than-cool attitude. Aren’t they cute!!!

The only downside is the washing. Lots of white, white and white!!

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The day she cut it…

18 Mar

After months of threatening, bargaining, crying and begging, we both agreed that it was time. Time to let go of the long mass of hair that crowned her beautiful head. Yes. Léa had her hair cut.
Here is the before during and after.

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Léa in September

24 Oct

In the past few weeks where it seems that I have disappeared from wordpress, life has actually carried on. Fast. And busy. And my poor family is complaining.

So this is what Léa has been up too.

Léa has ridden horses. By herself. Her birthday giftS were all combined to get her some horse riding lessons. She was delighted to get up close and personal with different horses. I realized that she is actually a bit scared of these big and tall creatures but loves being near them and groom them. During one of her lesson, she went on a ride with her teacher and her horse tripped, making her fall off the horse. Without me there,she had to be brave and get back on the horse (literally). And she did.

Life lesson 1. (the hard way) Perseverance.

Léa has taken part in the choir festival organized and hosted by Sweet Valley, including 2 other schools. Many rehearsals later, we enjoyed a fantastic evening at the Great City Hall. Beautiful venue but unfortunately neglected due to a lack of money. The choirs though were great. Beautiful singing does bring joy to the heart. Léa once again had to go out of her comfort zone. It’s a big group of kids, it’s very loud and it’s without me. She did very well. I so wish I could make her understand that she is such a great little girl, that she doesn’t have to worry so much but that is another life lesson that will take forever for her to completely grasp. In the meantime, we were so proud of her and she felt quite good about herself too 😉

Life lesson 2 (in progress) Confidence.

Summer came and winked at us for a few days; days during which Léa had her first swim, and her first beach outing of the season!

Life lesson 3. Summer is more fun than winter 😉

Now that days are longer and warmer, a friend of mine – whose daughter is great friend with Léa – motivated us to go run with them. Her 3 girls and my 3 kids started to run together, not more than 20 minutes, just in our neighborhood. We’ve only done it twice but the excitement is grand.

Life lesson 4. Exercise is good for you but it hurts less if you don’t moan while you do it.

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When fairies make way to horses

24 Aug

Every birthday of my children, I like to write something about them, about their years and what defined them in that particular one. In my head, I plan it and aspire to put something down in time that will reflect their little growing character. Without fail, I write it NOT on time and find myself chasing time to actually describe their 8th year before their 9th birthday.

I usually feel at loss for new material. Realistically, what can possibly be so different from the year before? It feels that I’ve said – written – scoped their personality. And to a large extent, it is possibly true. Although people don’t radically change from the one year to the next. children grow, mature, acquire and improve on their life-skills, be it physically or emotionally and this long process is what makes them so special and shape them into different little beings.


When I look at Léa from last year and Léa this year, I see huge differences and yet, she is still our little Léa.

At 8 years old, she reads more books that I can keep track of. She reads, reads and reads. Starting from fairies and Stardust spirits, giving way to Secret Seven, Narnia, and of course horses. Anything related to horses and poneys. She loses herself into these books and loves to come and tell me the latest happenings of Moonlight, Star, Angel and others.

Ah! Horses!! She loooooves horses. 🐴  A love initiated by her friend Kiera but then developed all on its own to reach mountain size. We eat horses, we breathe horses, we dream horses, we draw horses, we keep a stable at the back of the house and we plan horse-riding lessons (birthday gift unanimously offered by Ouma, Mamie and parents). And by we, I mean Léa.

With reading developing, writing has also skyrocketed . She enjoys writing little stories and her confidence grew as she wrote and read – in front of her class – her first poem. A vulnerable moment that, acknowledged by her teacher, meant the world to her. Coming out of her shell a little bit more is a process that takes time for a reserved girl like Léa. And I thoroughly enjoy watching her plucking her courage to go and give a spontaneous hug to one of those ‘grown-ups’ in our circle, be it Andie, Nicole,Nikki, Kirstin… so many young beautiful examples of godly ladies to hug.

Growing in confidence no doubt! This year was also the year when she planned her first escape with Kiera. 🎒  After a play date in the afternoon, Taryn phones me a bit anxious about an interesting plan that the girls had made up. When we asked Léa about it, with her biggest enthusiastic and mischievous smile, she showed us her packed 2 pjs and warm jersey – but no food. She explained that the plan was for Kiera to make her way to our house, throw pebbles on the bedroom window and escape for the night to be back in the morning, so that we wouldn’t notice their absence too much. Yes, the plan had some refining to do but what an adventurous plan it is for 2 little girls! Of course, she added, she would never do it because she would miss us too much. Well, that’s a relief.

A sensitive soul she is indeed. When her big eyes get filled with tears, I’m always scared she gets dehydrated! I get glimpses of the teenager she might become when she gets so emotional: ⚡ when Killian gets into serious trouble, she comes to me and explains how sad it makes her to see Killian crying so much (it makes me sad too for the record!) When she doesn’t get enough sleep, she cried out of tiredness for the littlest thing- such as me baking brownies and not chocolate rolls for her munchy market! When she gets to be a flower girl at Kirstin’s wedding 🌸  and when she feels full of love for her mum.💗  … many tears, happy and sad.

Sensitive but also stubborn. She has now decided that I am not allowed to tease her anymore. While she knows that a good sense of humour and teasing are an important side of our family as it helps the big personalities in the household to take life less seriously, she has now declared that she doesn’t want to be teased anymore. To which I replied that she’s going to have to find a new family; to which she remained speechless; to which we both decided to learn from each other. Me, to tease with measure; her, to accept teasing with measure.

The best part of her day is bedtime. Once everyone is tucked in, I slip into her bed for a few minutes and play with her hair. Something that started spontaneously has now become a strict routine. Routine for which I am severely rebuked if I don’t have time to stick to it. She is very strict with me 🙂 

This is but a glimpse of what life with Léa looks like. Easily pleased, easily hurt, easily comforted. A big heart, with big eyes and lots of love to give.

I love you my puppet!!! My prayer remains the same each year. That the Lord who gave you to us will be gracious on your life and will give you the eyes and ears of understanding and accepting the wonderful news about Jesus.

Teaching opportunities – when to grab them, when not to…

12 Aug

Let's talk about circumcision!

 

 

It is 5 o’clock. Shower time for the kids.

The conversation goes like this.

 

 

Killian: Why does Jesse’s penis stay open like that (demonstration) and mine doesn’t?

Ahaaaaah. Teaching moment. I see circumcision explained. Sign of the old covenant. Sign of the new covenant. Baptism. Promises of the Lord. I see a great moment where we all gather on my bed and the kids listen to my words, nodding in agreement and wonder.

Instead, I get crazy Killian time (a bit like Pumpkin Patch time), laughing his head off and shouting “aaahaaahh, so Jesse is an Israelite!”. Matt is trying to have his penis to stay like that of an Israelite while jumping on my bed and Léa is catching Killian’s jokes, building on them. I catch myself keeping on explaining why we baptise today when I suddenly realize “why am I shouting as I’m talking about the wonderful promises of Jesus!!!!!”. So I kept quiet.

This is what I learnt from this experience.

Tip #1 – Don’t try to have a serious conversation with naked children at 5 o’clock.

Tip #2 – If you’re going to talk about penises, theirs should be covered.

Tip #3 – If you have to shout to cover the background noise, their attention level is not what it should be.

Take it or leave it! Happy teaching!

 

Becoming a pirate

6 Jun

With this fancy new phone of mine, you can ‘easily’ play around with video footage. I say ‘easily’ in inverted comas  (entre guillemets) because it still takes quite a long time to reach the finished desire product… But worth the nap time wasted on a sunday afternoon!

These 2 videos are nothing in themselves, sibling playing their imaginary games but they are – will be – such treasured memories. How quickly they grow up… Sigh!

The preparation of the game – becoming a pirate – takes time!

Being a pirate and acting like it comes more naturally. Isn’t it about just shouting and kicking and…doing cartwheels and handstands of course!!

I’m glad to say that they returned to ‘normal’ at shower time. By normal I mean they stopped the acrobatics exercises 🙂

Butterflies and knots…

24 Jan

Six o’clock, quick footsteps run to the parents’ bedroom. Here stands a small six year old boy, looking very ready and impatient for the next phase of the morning. He’s lucky, his parents are also awake and on the go. They also feel a bit nervous. He looks so handsome in his new uniform. Excitement led him to get dressed, on his own, socks up high and a buttoned shirt, tucked in! His mind is already there, in that new place.

Behind him stands his older sister. She’s only older by 14 months but she’s a good head taller than him. But today, he feels much taller than he really is. Or maybe she feels much smaller than she really is. She can’t quite identify what she’s feeling. What are these strange knots in her tummy and the butterflies in her stomach. Butterflies are fairies in disguise, she says. Would fairies hide in her own body, she ponders…

They both make their way to the kitchen and the little brother is trotting along too, oblivious to the change of routine of that morning. He feels a bit left alone. He doesn’t have fancy clothes. It seems like much ado about nothing. Or isn’t it?

The time has now come. We make our way to the school. So many troubled emotions; if we could hear what goes on in everybody’s mind, it would be a cacophony of deafening laughters, cries and shouting… Children are meant to be in their lines. Lines, she asks? What line?

Some are in the wrong line, others don’t want to be in line.

Some want to be in a different line, others are completely out of line.

If only parents could get out of the lines! Eventually, she finds her own line.

Stressed and worried, and yet somewhat excited, she looks back one last time and waves bravely at her mum who leaves her. Those butterflies are now in her stomach too and the knots are tighter.  Léanna is now officially in Grade 2.

She’s comforted to know, in her heart that He will look after her

There’s no time to linger. She needs to see that impatient little 6 year old boy. He went at once to his class with his dad. Is he still excited? Does he feel overwhelmed? No, he’s there, already at his desk, proudly wearing his little name tag: Killian van Blerk, Grade 1.3.

Could she be a prouder mum at that instant? Probably not. Could he look more confident  and yet vulnerable at the same time? Undoubtedly not. It is time to leave.

She knows that He will look after him too

It was the first day.

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