Sunday, 27 October 2013

Finally a religious themed advent calendar!

A couple of years ago, I posted this blog post about my annoyance that I could find any religious chocolates during the festive season.

Alas, I stumbled across this advent calendar during a regular grocery shop! So excited by it. I doubt the chocolates come in baby Jesus shape but its definitely a step in the right direction for me! Hooray for the meaningful chocolate company! A star for me is more symbolic than Santa. In our house we like Santa, but we love Jesus and the Christmas story more ; )

I think I need to stock up on these calendars as gifts for the God-kids.


Friday, 18 October 2013

How to stop your babies from crying!?!

When Little was a baby, I'm pretty sure that few people heard her cry. If she looked as thoughbshe was about to cry, I carried her...if she started to make a pre-cry noise (you know, that snuffly noise), I fed her... I didn't put her into any kind of routine and she found her own rhythm by 3 months, but it was still pretty fluid. In fact, it was only at age 18 months when she began daycare 4 days a week that I can say we had 'a routine'. I didn't have any books like the baby whisperer etc, I just did what I felt was right at the time... I trusted my maternal instincts:

So, when I came across this article, I couldn't help but wonder if it was the 'African' attitude to parenting in me that led me to approach parenting in this way...? At the time, I was led by strangers and non-family members to believe that 'this is a fluke', 'you're so 'lucky'' and also that 'the second one will seem like a nightmare because to get 2 babies who are so chilled won't happen!'

Well, so far, baby no.2, Mini Miss O is just as chilled as her sister. She rarely cries. I read her, as I did with her sister. I can tell when she's hungry or tired or wants stimulating or is being over-stimulated by her excited sister. Tears just hardly come out of her little peepers. I guess I try to respond as soon as I can. I did the same with Little (in fact, my younger sister would laugh at how quickly I'd jump up and pick Little Miss O up) and she's no more impatient than other 5 year olds we know. Basically, I don't think it hurt my girls to respond to their needs when I can.  That said, many people swear by the 'crying it out' method too. I don't have the balls for that. I physically can't handle hearing my babies cry without trying to fix it with my mammaries!

If you haven't come across before- check it out. Sometimes looking at what others do, helps us reevaluate what we do ourselves. I'm all about being reflective and learning from those who've gone before me xxx

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Church hopping: plan and pray simultaneously

So, having moved house recently and having dragged our feet with finding a new church- we restarted our church hopping adventure today.

This time a baptist church. I'm one who finds it hard to get going with the church thing, but when I do-I get INTO it. Though the pace of the sermon today was a but slow, having my trusty Bible app meant I could make notes easily- and provided I don't lose them by next week Sunday, the learnings should serve me well for the week- until my next fix.

I'm not gonna try to re-preach; I'm but a baby  neonate Christian. I will however share my notes/take home messages from this morning because as the Reverend spoke, I intermittently thought 'hmmm, this sounds like the 'plan', 'pray' part of my blog. 

Take home message for me was 'learn the lesson, acquire the skill, pray on it and then start planning yourself missy!'

I try to think of myself in God's shoes sometimes. I was made in his image, right and we're both loving parents, aren't we? So, take Mini Miss O for example. The girl is literally trying to run around. She is JUST 5 months, has just about sussed out 'sitting' never mind 'walking before you run'. Obviously I know that isn't how it works, yet she doesn't. If you attempt to move her, she starts trying to escape by foot! I just laugh at the irony of course. Maybe that's what God thinks... 

'Mrs O, your 3 bed house is not even tidy, yet you want a 5 bed!' 
And in my head I'm saying 
'Hey but big G, if you give me a 5 bed without me having to work for it, I'm gonna hire a cleaner to keep it shiny as you like it!'

#God must be rolling his eyes at me! ; )

Today's message spoke to me. I got it.

The points made were (in my own non-pastoral vocab):

* The road to nowhere is difficult to build- if you don't where you're going, how will you know how to get there. #aint that the truth!

Before God can use us, he needs to make us useable #duh! How can you make an omelette without first removing the yolk and white from the shell!

* Believe in god despite our weaknesses #this is harder to digest for me

* Ask God for help with addressing your weaknesses but don't sit around waiting for a flashing neon sign to guide you #pray-make a plan- do something productive!

* Wait for God's time! #patience is a virtue indeed and like many. I suffer from hurry sickness- I want it all and I want it now. Trouble is, like many still, I'm probably not 'ready' for all that I think I want. I try to take something now from every experience-to learn the lesson in order to move onto the next. Easier said than done when you're neither feeling the lesson nor feeling patient but necessary all the same. 

Sunday, 6 October 2013

The way we were: Photos and 'Reverse' Second Child Syndrome

I've been thinking a lot lately about the whole 'second child' syndrome. Friends who are yet to become parents keep asking me things like 'do you feel the same love?', 'does it feel different?', 'Do you take fewer pictures of Mini because you've seen and done it all before?. 

Funnily, we might almost find reverse second child syndrome operating in our house. You see, we took lots of photos of Little Miss O using a digi cam. Yet,  just 5 years on, even though Mini Miss O is our second born, we already have more photos of her as a baby than we do of Little at the same age. The reason...smartphones!

Yet another revolution, mine courtesy of Steve Jobs.

Our daughters live in a world where I snap photos of them like its going out if fashion. Everything and anything, I snap them. When they're looking, when they're not. And why not, it's free, quick and I usually have my phone handy. I love natural shots mostly so I'm always on guard to snap them doing everyday things...

Mr O and I realised that, is their world now... Little loves taking selfies (she gets this from her Dad btw!) and of course Mini is fascinated by the flash.

Sooo unlike when I was a girl where you took a pic, wound on the camera and then waited till not only had you finished the roll of film but also delivered a little black tube and collected a coloured envelope, that you could see your photos- only to discover red-eye! It's only 25 years on really but sooo much has changed. Little has her own digital camera courtesy of her aunts and uncles and happy snaps and photoshops away- she is 5!!?! I can't even begin to imagine the type of photos she'll be taking when she has her own children...

All I can say is the development of photography in such a short space of time has been immense and I'm so grateful for it! We have fabulous records of our relationship and our girls to relive over and over and to share with our loved ones... Now, I must remember to print some of them and see which of these candids make to the wall, the album or if all else fails the digital photo frame... ; )

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Afropolitan-ness: Where are YOU from?

Little Miss O recently asked me where she's 'from'... I thought this was an interesting question especially because we consider our girls to be of multiple heritage. 

I didnt want to tell her how to feel on this, as Ive spent more time than I cared to explaining that I consider myself to be 'Afro-British-raised in an African house in England'. Plus, i know she is like a super-sponge at the moment and has the memory of 10 elephants. Whatever I said would likely been met with interrogation (from her) and her needing a dissertation to explain my conclusions. So, in the typical style of a teacher who isn't sure of the answer,  I turned Little Miss' question around:

 'well, Daddy's family are from Ghana, and he was born in Ghana, Mummy's family are from Sierra Leone and I was born in England and you were born and still live in England, so where do you think you're from?'

Little's response: 'Mexico!' Like I've said before 'Little Miss O says the funniest things!'

; ) I probed and Little Miss decided that she thinks she is 'from everywhere''.

 I have to admit, I wasn't quite prepared for this during a standard trip to the pharmacy. but it is a question that I expected her to ask one day- she's between cultures just as I am/'s only natural surely.The funny thing is that our children are not 'from' the same 'place(s)' as either myself or Mr O! For Little and Mini Miss O, I imagine thinking about the 4 languages that are spoken around them could (potentially) make it confusing for them when responding to that all important question 'where am I from?'

That's why I'm so happy to have discovered the term Afropolitan coined by Taiye Selasi. I adore it! If you've not yet read Selasi's article (it's really old now but still just as powerful and relevant today)- please do so! It's fabulous. Taiye is fabulous! I see our girls as baby Afropolitans, though I suppose its really about how they view themselves. Still,  we've deliberately chosen names for the girls to reflect this notion and we will strive for them to experience a wonderful mishmash of history and culture- not just our own. We've learnt lessons along the way but so far I think we're on track with what we can only describe as a quasi-intentional social experiment. Little is equally likely to be found picking summer berries on a farm as she is to be making meat pies with a little help from her God Mum's recipe. She's also just as happy to eat a cheddar cheese sandwich, plantain in both Sierra Leonean style or Ghanaian style (kelewele), noodles with her 'chopsticks'. okra soup and eba with her hands (it tastes better this way!) or spaghetti bolognese with a fork and spoon- she's a true baby Afropolitan and she can 'chew bones' with the best!
What about you?
When people ask you where you're from, what do you say? Does your response depend on who is asking?


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