Tag Archives: Growing up

Matt’s Sixth Unbirthday

27 Sep

Two Wednesdays past, it was my little one’s unbirthday, his 6 years, 2 months and a few days birthday. The reason I think it’s important to mention it, is because I haven’t written anything about his real birthday – apart from the celebrations he had in France with the whole french side of his family. However, for my own sake, I like to write a few things that struck me during the year about my children. I like to reflect on the year past and see how much they have changed, grown, improved and acquired (even if only a little bit).

For example, Matt’s noise level. I can’t really say that he has toned it down. I don’t know if he feels that he has to speak over the noise to be noticed and heard, or if he has just been granted this low hoarse loud voice but he is noisy. Mind you, he’s mostly noisy when he plays playstation. One would think that parents tend to send their kids to play video games to have peace and tranquillity. Not so in my house. I worked hard at having a positive attitude towards playstation and the like (yes husband, I do acknowledge that there are some positive attributes to these mindless educative games) but it looks as though the moment the remote hits his hands, there’s an automatic switch to jumping up and down while shouting really loud at the screen too. Has he improved at his problem solving skills? Apparently so. (Is my skepticism too obvious?). Has his eye-hand coordination developed? **Confused silence**. Is he equipped to live in a technology-minded society? Absolutely! Has he learnt to control his enthusiasm with remote in hand? No he hasn’t!

Joke aside, Matty Matt has a solving problem kind of brain. I love to see the way he thinks and solves the confusing elements of his little world. Matt is never caught without a good reason for what he is doing. I often tend to think that there is no real thought-through reason for what he does (or does not do) but I am wrong more often than not.

He does not wear shoes is because the socks’ hems irritate his pinky toe.

He does not enjoy his oats in the morning because it makes him hot inside (mind you, he has no choice) but he’s not being picky about his food. His most used expression has to be “I’m boiling!”. Summer in Fréjus was tough on him!!

He does not remove his watch to take his shower is because he then forgets to put it back on and he then can’t read the time when he needs to.

When he’s a grown-up, he does not want to be married. Shyly, he confessed that he does not want to kiss the girl (sweet!)

He wants to be a builder when he is a grown-up because one day if his house burns down, he will be able to build it again.

One day to explain where his throat was sore, he described “At the back there, where the punching ball is!” .

I realised more and more this year how independent Matty is. I experienced his independance just a few nights ago when he wasn’t feeling very well. At bedtime, he told me that if he felt bad during the night, could I please give him the medication (aka Stopayne). Around 4am, I was gently woken up by a little boy tugging at my sleeve, soflty asking me to give him some medication. When asked if I should carry him back to his bed, he kindly replied that it wouldn’t be necessary and he walked himself back to his bed, down our long dark passage…

Because I was different when I was little, I like that he is not easily influenced by his peers. Matt won’t do something because everyone else is doing it. I think he’s very much like his dad in this regard. When I look at him and his friend Jethro, it makes me smile to see how well they get along for as long as they’ve been wearing nappies! They are both strong stubborn little boys but somehow their friendship works. They are both not particularly sporty so most of their time is spent talking, like 2 old grandpas, often arguing about what their respective mums have been telling them about life, God and dinosaurs.

And talking, Matty can do. He never stops. When he doesn’t talk, he sings. And when he doesn’t sing, he plays the piano.

Ah the piano story… When he started to take piano lessons this year, he worked at it for a few lessons and then started to act silly with the piano teacher, pretending that he was tired, or couldn’t hold his hands properly. I later realised that he found it boring as he had to repeat the same things over and over again. In Matty’s fashion, he taught himself to play the pieces that Léa, his sister, was playing. A bit more difficult. Repetitive tasks for Matty were not going to challenge him. Hmmm, do I sense some ADD there? But he took that challenge by the horns and played the more tricky pieces.

This year also has been a year where Winnie the Pooh and many of his family and friends have visited us – often. A visit for each lost tooth. It’s been 5 visits, to the despair of brother Killian who seems to be stuck at 3 (despite the 21 months difference). Matt is now left with that big love gap in the front. Isn’t it the cutest time? “I am sixth”, he says proudly with the most beautiful lisp. His “s” are still sounding like “sh” and, while I know that I will probably worry about it at some point, for the present, I am thoroughly enjoying his “How many shweeties can I have?”

Matt is definitely a thinker – as much as a 6 year old can think. Bedtimes are precious for all those thoughts that have been racing in his mind. Do you know why thumbs are important? he rhetorically  asked. Because without them, you can’t grab thing. Indeed. You know, he said another night, Mamie didn’t call you “Ingrid” (English accent), she called you “Ingrid” (French accent). Indeed again.

And that’s all the anecdotes I can remember for now… I wish I could remember much more. But at least I have pictures too 🙂

It’s 4.30am and I’m ready to celebrate. I’m se7en.

31 Oct

I'm 2 and really cheeky!

Seven years ago, after 38weeks of growing process and a mere labour of 3 hours (don’t hate!), he was born. He screamed loud, already, and was an overall of 2,7kgs. One of the first things that our pediatrician said after examining him was that we should have an hearing test done to check if the unusual shape of his ears was not connected to a loss of hearing. We might consider plastic surgery for his ears when he’s older, he added.

I know, if you’ve met Killian, you might ask yourself what am I talking about? You probably didn’t notice much of his ears – it’s because there is nothing wrong with them. Seven years later, I don’t consider plastic surgery but I often wonder if he can hear me!

I'm about 4 and like to be different

My little boy is turning 7 this year and this is altogether overwhelming and absolutely frightening.

As I’m writing this post, I’m trying to think back on the year and capture key moments, key new abilities, key new growth. Things that will be meaningful to put down in a post. But growth is slow and unchanging to the naked eye. If I look back at October last year, what do I see that has changed? Quite honestly probably not so much.

He’s grown a few centimeters, he’s learnt to read, count and wear shoes from morning to lunch time.

He has passed the test of school: will my child cope? I was prepared to see him struggle, to see him not wanting to do the work but the Lord has been gracious; he hasn’t displayed any of this. But Killian does things differently. What takes Léa 10 minutes the traditional way, Killian prefers the unconventional approach: jump on the couch, balance on a head stand – why, you don’t do your homework like that? Also, why stick to  ‘boring books’ adapted to your reading level when you can go straight to the thick chapter books – only to leave them in the basket for 2 weeks realizing bitterly that you can’t read them yet – He still likes to pretend that he can though, oh proud one!

Killian is such a paradox to describe. He is loud, rough, overly energetic and overly physical. He’s aggressive and can be inappropriate. He struggles to control himself, hears but doesn’t listen and will defiantly fight. He has perfected ‘the look of death’. He’s impulsive and intensely emotional. He does not respond to normal punishment and often leaves me helpless and hopeless.

“I never!” is his most used words. He argues with me about what time it is and even when proven wrong, his pride will still stick to him like velcro. Apologising is not his strength. However, wound his heart and he is reduced to a pile of sorrowful tears. No pride, no shame, he will cry you a river. Not quick at apologizing but very quick to forgive.

He’s a bit like a tortoise: hard on the outside but soft and gooey on the inside. I loved that mental picture of him today. At school, boys don’t like girls, they don’t play with them and won’t touch anything pink. But today, for his birthday, Léa drew a picture for him and asked her teacher if she could go and give it to him. When she arrived in his class, his eyes went big and they **hugged** …


Big smile!

He’s often too much to cope with. Killian is too much.

Too much clumsiness. He is Clumsy smurf.

Too much anger. “How can you say it’s half past seven when the long hand is on past 6 and the short one is on past 7, you’re talking ridiculous” from Killian to his mum!

Too much charm. Have you looked at his big chestnut eyes…

Too much speed. Thump! Tttttrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Blop! is the first sound we hear in the morning: Killian jumping from the top bunk bed, speeding through the passage and landing furiously into our bed!

Too much muscle. Not enough fat!

Too much care and compassion. He is devastated that M Jackson will not be in heaven and wants to give ALL his money to the poor – all his 50 rands.

I'm now 7 and I can hold my balance!

Too much prohibited behavior. Searching every cupboard to find his birthday gifts, lying about it, saying he only just glanced, only to later confess that he had a proper long look at it.

Too much energy. Gym, karate, running, swimming. What about sitting?

Too much courage and too many fears. Dogs and dark are still making him scream but give him a 12 year old boy and he will stand up to him to defend the cause of the weak.

Too much anxiety. Not enough nails to bite.

Too many demands. Matt, you must come with me to my room. Mama, you must stir my milkshake coz you know I don’t like the yaki stuff. Lea, you must play with me…

But overall, too much love. Sharing his own birthday chocolate with everyone.

Of such has been life with Killian for the past seven years. Seven years that would not have been possible without the Lord’s faithfulness at carrying us through those times where it felt like there was no hope.

But there is always hope in the Lord. Hope for everyone – Hope for the weak, the weary, the poor and the rich, the outcast and the popular, and hope for the wonderfully made 7 year old ADHD boy in my house.

I love you THIS big my boy!!!! Keep surprising me!!

The last of his kind

7 Sep

It is done. Matty lost his first tooth. It does feel like the little bit left of my baby is slowly falling away, one tooth at a time.

I had no warning, no time to get ready for it. Killian lost his first tooth months after being 6. Mattéas is only 5 and a few months…

Big hole!!

His cute little teeth, with extra special gaps in between, don’t look very sturdy anyway. So when he came up to me, eating his apple and saying “ma dent is baie sore” (meaning my tooth is very sore; ma dent me fait mal), I wasn’t too surprised to see his tooth dangling front and back and sideways at the slightest touch of his tongue. Moments later, coming back from his shower, proudly wet and naked, holding his tooth in his fingers, he shouted “I lost ma dent!!!” (meaning I lost my tooth).

Proud. Wet. Naked. And toothless.

Bramble Elfglow was Léa’s special fairy – she has now retired. The spirited swashbuckler tells Killian all about his adventures when he fetches his teeth. Matt hoped for Winnie the Pooh to come and deliver a message. But Winnie is far too busy finding Eyeore’s tail to come and collect a tooth. So Bernard the bear, who is a friend of Winnie the Pooh and lives in the same forest as him, came to take the tooth.

As I re-read my letter, I giggle at two things:

One, at my lack of inspiration at 10 in the evening. My kids have the habit of losing their teeth on a wednesday at 5 o’clock when we have Bible Study until late. Inevitably, it sends me into frantic panic to find the paper, print the picture and search my brain for something meaningful to write (such as ‘don’t fight with your brother!’).

Bernard the bear writes a letter.

Two, at the incredible things that children believe. That a baby bear would come to their bedroom, stick a letter and a photo of himself in their slipper and that noone would hear a thing? But no worries, we put the alarm on in case thieves want to open a window!

However the delight on their face the next morning is priceless for any mum. His best part of the letter is the fact that the paper is dirty because Bernard’s paws are full of honey! (Coincidentally, it is the same aged paper that was used by last year’s pirates that left a letter into one of Killian’s books!!).

So Matty is the last one of his kind. Grown-up teeth are leading the way into big-boy-hood. One tooth at a time.

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.

My little Eeyore…

22 Jun

5 years old and all his teeth!!! …well, in french it rhymes, “5 ans et toutes mes dents!”











My little boy says that when he grows up he wants to be a teenager. He thinks his daddy’s work is to learn to make more money (partly true!) and his mummy’s work is to learn kids stuff (he means I teach them some stuff, hopefully that is also partly true). Recently I threatened to call him Eeyore because he acts like his life is gloomy. The day was not good enough. The movie was not long enough. The doughnut was not chocolaty enough and the play date was not fun enough. Eeyore.

On his up-days though, he takes intense delight at being as tall as his older brother – not quite an achievement really – and at being heavier than that same brother. The dark side of Star Wars is still dominated by Dol Phyne (Darth Vader) and the best wizard’s name is Harry Patate (seeing that it means ‘potato’ in french, it gives Potter a certain comedy style!). He has a special gift at making jokes at a time when I have no patience for it, like hiding under the bed at (past) bedtime.

I think he finds it hard to be the baby of the family, especially if your brother is Killian, 6 going on 10. I’m sure they consider arguing and fighting as a hobby. They love to irritate each other and cause the other one to be in trouble. I’m convinced it has become a competition. (Please Lou keep on praying for them to be friends!!) But deep down, I know they really need each other.

Matty is my independent son. He’s not scared of the dark and will go to the dark dark daaark bathroom all on his own, Killian and Lea in his trail taking courage as he leads the way . If you want to see a beaming smile, you can give him time on the playstation or on the ipod. He might even be able to help you out if you get stuck. He absolutely hates tomatoe soup, and potatoes in ANY form make him gag. He loves sticker books (thank you Taryn for the gift, it is permanently attached to him!), listening to stories and ME 🙂

One of my favourite moments (probably because I am very much wanting another baby… Lou??) is watching him in the shower. He still looks so little with his fat little hands rubbing the water off his face. I enjoy his long love declarations as I put him to bed, his ‘don’t ever ever ever leave me’, ‘stay with me forever’, and his ‘I wish you could sleep here with me’.

Maybe my little 5 year old boy is not so big after all.

Happy Birthday Matty Matt!!!

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