Life and Death

I attended my mom’s uncles funeral today. He’d been ill for a while and passed away 2 days ago at a little over 80 years old. I wasn’t particularly close in the last few years but I do have memories of him growing up and wanted to pay my respect to the family.

I’ve had many conversations about life and death with my family and friends. I do believe that we live more than once, although I like to justify doing certain things in my life by saying #yolo (You Only Live Once). But that doesn’t take away from the sadness felt at a funeral. Because although the soul lives on, the person you love, respect, admire and
lean on, has gone. No more conversations, laughter and smiles. No more jokes, memories and experiences.

images1IQ0WMEU

As morbid as it sounds, I have previously thought about the sort of funeral I’d like. It’s ironic because when it actually comes down to it, it won’t really make any difference to my life. Sitting at the funeral today also brought home what really matters. I have a lot on my plate at the moment and often find myself frustrated at the actions of another. I’ve always chosen to see the positive side of things but lately I feel like life’s experiences have made me cynical. And that’s not the type of person I am or would like to be.

Listening to the memories shared by the family today got me thinking of how I’d like to be remembered. Most importantly, how I’d want my son to remember me. I feel like social websites play such a big part in our lives these days and eventually what we share on social sites will be available for our children to read/see.

A few years ago I read the obituary of someone who is still young and alive. I suppose she’d written it because it’s a good way to think about how you’d like to be remembered and also what you’d like to achieve in your life. It gives you a future plan and something to literally live up to.

So I’m off to think about how I’d like to be remembered. Is it something you’ve thought about?

Liebster Award

A Liebster award?! I wasn’t sure what it was myself when I received one. Liebsters are awarded by fellow bloggers who want to spread the love and show some gratitude to the blogs they enjoy reading. Mine was awarded to me by none other than the super mom with flaming red hair….all the way from Hong Kong…The Accidental Tai-Tai. Thanks Kate! 🙂

Liebsters help put little blogs like mine on the map. And just to keep the order, there are a few rules to be followed:

Nominees should:
• Link back to the blog that nominated them

• Nominate 5-10 other bloggers, all of whom have less than 200 followers (Start thinking because this part is tougher than you think…)

• Answer questions posted by them from their nominator

• Share 10 random facts about themselves

• Create 10 new questions for their nominees to answer

• Contact their nominees to let them know they’ve been nominated

Easy? Okay, here it goes…

1. Why did you start blogging?
S and I were going to be moving to Barbados and I thought “What am I going to do with myself there?” Also, I was constantly reading up on all things baby after S was born and I felt I had lots to share and so I created my blog.

2. What’s the most interesting thing in your handbag/wallet?
My handbag rivals Mary Poppins’s handbag! You can find everything from band aids and spare hair ties to toys, nappies and lip gloss.

3. If you had only one book to read for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Given that I’m an avid reader, I can’t just choose one book. Can I cheat a little and say my kindle?! The last book I remember not being able to put down was “The Lost Symbol” by Dan Brown.

4. What possession would you never lend?
I really can’t think of anything I’m so attached to that I wouldn’t lend (apart from underwear ofcourse!) But in the spirit of the game I’d say my little soft toy Roger (30yrs old).

5. What is the kindest thing that someone has ever done for you?
The kindest gestures come from the people who stick up for me when I don’t know how to stick up for myself.

6. If you could live anywhere in the world (other than where you live now), where would it be?
This question is kind of ironic given how much I’ve thought about it this year. I love living in London but if I had to choose somewhere else to live, putting all practicalities aside, I’d choose to live in Hong Kong or Dubai.

7. What is your greatest luxury?
Having a helper and living in Central London.

8. Cat or dog person?
Definitely a dog person!

9. What is your favourite letter of the alphabet, and why?
S…because I like the shape and sound?!

10. What is your favourite smell?
Hypnotic Poison by Dior followed closely by the smell of petrol.

10 Random Facts about Mama Duck

1. I was born in Monrovia (West Africa).

2. I have two tattoos and am close to getting a third one.

3. When I was a young teenager, I loved the name Jessica and convinced my friends to call me that. Yes, I was seriously influenced by Sweet Valley High!!

4. I can read and write Hindi but cannot speak it fluently.

5. If you don’t know what to do with me, drop me off at a water park and I’ll be the happiest.

6. I have lived in 7 different cities and counting…

7. It was my childhood dream to see Mt. Everest and in 2007 I did when I trekked the Himalayas with my friend Bhavna.

8. I had S in the same hospital as Prince Harry, Prince William and Prince George.

9. I loveee having my hair played with.

10. I like matching pyjamas.

And here are my 10 questions for you…

1. If you could listen to one song on repeat for the rest of the year, what would it be?

2. What magazines do you read?

3. How did you choose your child/children’s names?

4. What two things could you not live without?

5. What is your dream vacation?

6. If you were stranded on a desert island for a week, which two people would you choose to have there and what two items would you want to have?

7. Showers or baths?

8. If you could have dinner with any celebrity (dead or alive), who would it be and why?

9. Stealing one from Kate…what made you start blogging?

10. Last but not least, if you could choose one cuisine to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

And my nominations go to…

The adventures of Fanny P

Chatiry World

The diary of a Lagos mum

A real mummy diary

Expat baby adventures

Off you go ladies…

Blessed & Happy

Some of you may have noticed I’ve been a little quiet on the blog for the last 6 weeks. S and I just got back from the most amazing summer holiday. My cousins were getting married back to back and so the whole family decided to make a holiday of it. We flew to India and spent time in Mumbai, Pune and Goa. We then flew across to the Far East and spent time in Manila, Cebu and Hong Kong.

S got to bond with my four nieces and he had the girls wrapped around his little finger. This trip brought me to many realisations but the two most important are just how happy I am and how blessed I am to have the family and friends that I do. And secondly, how happy S is. The only thing a parent wants is to see a beaming smile on their child’s face and that’s all I see on him.

So now we’re back home and back to routine with a summer full of memories to cherish.

What are your summer plans?

Cute Conversations

Kids just say the cutest things!! A few days ago my newphew Z wasn’t feeling very well and he was clingy and whimpering and my cousin was at her wits end. So I asked her to pass him the phone when I was talking to her and this is the conversation that followed (he’s 2 and a half):

Me: Hi Z

Z: Hi Massi

Me: I heard you’re not feeling well?

Z: I no feeling well

Me: And you just want to be with mummy?

Z: Yes

Me: Okay, you stay with mummy and watch peppa pig but no crying okay.

Z: Okay Massi.

Me: Good, I love you.

Z: I love you *my heart melted*

Me: Bye

Z: Bye

And apparently he had a smile on his face the whole time!!
MjAxMy1lN2ViZDRiNzg1N2RlNjQ0_50fb0a29dacd9

I look forward to lots of cute conversations with S. His vocabulary has taken a sudden leap this week and all I want to do is kiss him because he sounds so damn adorable! 🙂

Why?

So often when S says no, I ask him Why? Guess what his word du jour is…Why?

He woke up in the middle of the night saying Why? Why?

When I gave him a bath this morning (there was poo everywhere but that’s a story for another day), he said “Why? Mama Why?” With his hands doing some questioning actions (which I have to say is soo cute, I can’t help but smile!)

But oh no, have a created the beginning of answering everything with a Why? I better start thinking up some creative answers soon!!

Practical Parenting Series: Kathy Koch

Today, Sabrina Marasovich speaks to Kathy Koch about raising children and practical parenting. Kathy Koch is the co-writer of No more perfect kids.

This is a snippet of what she talked about:

Mom’s and dad’s are trying to raise kids they don’t have. We all picture what our children are going to be like before we have them and then reality strikes. It’s important to see what our child is like, what they need and how God created them to be and raise them in THAT way, not the way WE want for them. Parent them for who they are.

We have 1 brain divided into 8 parts.

2 parts are school smart:
Word Smart – talk, read, write and listen.
Logic Smart – ask and answer lots of questions, these kids gravitate towards math.

But there are 6 other parts to the brain:
Picture smart – think with your eyes
Rhythmn smart – think with music and sound
Body smart – move, touch (these kids are usually told all day to sit down or keep still)
Nature smart – likes to get dirty, gravitates towards biology, etc.
People smart – can read body language, know when their mom is upset or needs a hug.
Self smart – quiet, peaceful, like their privacy and space. Deep thinkers, they know what they know.

People tend to only think of “smart” kids as those who can read and write well and do well in math and science. But there are all kinds of smart. It’s important for parents to understand this early on, even before conception. There are multiple ways of being smart.

download

There are so many people who didn’t do very well at school but they graduated and now they are so successful. And vice versa, many who did well at school, found school an easy and safe place but floundered when they left because life just wasn’t as easy as school was.

We can study with all 8 parts of the brain and that further empowers kids to do well and please their parents (which is what most kids want to do).

As parents, we keep raising expectations. When our kids do well, parents often say “I knew you could do it, next time you can do even better.” All they hear is “next time you can do even better”. Children slowly begin to believe they can’t satisfy us and it’s so damaging for children to believe that. Often parents don’t even realise they are saying that. Kathy Koch thinks as parents we need to sometimes just say thank you to our children when they do well. And ask them what they did differently and how they worked to improve and how it made them feel.

When your child says “I can’t do this”, you should ask them “What can you do?” That tells the child you believe in them and you’re asking the child to pinpoint what the dilemma is. By helping them break it down, you can encourage them to build up from there.

Kathy gave an example of how when she was a child, she went to her mom really upset and said she didn’t like being so tall, she was very clumsy and awkward. Knowing there was nothing her mom could do about it, except help change her daughters attitude, she enrolled her in tap dancing class. Kathy went on to be the back centre tap dancer, a position only saved for tall girls, a position of high honour. So her height became her advantage and not her issue. So many parents these days are too busy and their answers are “Well there’s nothing I can do about you being tall, it’s in your genes.” As parents, it is our responsibility to problem solve for our children. Perceive what’s going on with them and then have compassion.

We watch our children roll over, then start crawling, then pull themselves up and we have a “come to mama” perspective as they learn how to walk. And when they take their first steps, we jump for joy, we pull out the video camera and say “come to mama”. When they fall, we pick them up and tell them to try again, until they get it. We don’t say they are wrong when they fall or that they made a mistake. So can you imagine what things would be like if we had a “come to mama” perspective all the time? If we encouraged them every time they fell? To get back up and try again, to celebrate every effort.

While technology is important, kids should read more proper books. The kitchen and restaurant table should be digital free zones. We have a generation of children who don’t know what to do when they are bored or what to do with silence. It’s so important to learn how to live and deal with boredom. Whether it’s in the car or in their bedrooms, kids technology should be limited. We should make sure they can hold a conversation, make eye contact and have proper relationships outside of social media.

Have fun with your kids, it’s in the fun times (skipping together, tickling on the sofa, rolling down a hill) that makes the harder times easier to take. And it’s in the fun, spontaneous time that kids talk to us and we can talk to our kids. Although we’re all busy and we adhere to such time management, they are children and there’s supposed to be fun and laughter. It’s all about the heart connection and letting our kids know that we love them and that they can trust us.

To read more about what Kathy spoke about, you can visit http://www.celebratekids.com/

Being a mum

Recently, I’ve been reflecting on many of the things I love about being a mum. Some are quite obvious and lots of mums I know feel these things every day. But in the last few days S has been doing some pretty cute things that make me go “aww…”!

Photo Apr 10, 2013, 6_53 PM

I’d love to know what YOU love about being a mum. So join me on twitter (@mamaduckquacks) and hashtag beingamum (#beingamum) or comment below. Comon’ mama’s, what’s got you going “aww..” this week?