guns n’ boys n’ stuff.

what exactly does “boys will be boys” mean?
does it mean that boys have an innate tendency towards violence?  because, that saying is often heard after someone sees boys playing roughly, mischievously or violently. nobody ever says the same about girls.


dear hubby and i have a rule about certain toys not being welcome in our home, basically guns and swords. guns scare me, a lot, and i don’t think they are an appropriate toy for my boys to play with. from all of the reading we did on this, and there is TONS of stuff out there, our decision was a natural extension of our (parenting) values. we are pacifists, our kids don’t have water guns and don’t wear anything camo; both are very conscious choices we have made for our children.  that being said, we are not against pretend games or imaginative play where violence is a major player.


kids, including our boys, want to push boundaries, feel powerful, and yearn to discover their own world view, and if violence is a part of that play and exploration, i think that’s ok. 

violence is every where around us. i grew up watching various BBC nature shows with david attenborough. remember those from the 80’s? he taught me that the natural world is full of violence, killing, torture and survival; good guys against the bad guys; the hunter versus the hunted. exploring one’s place in all of this is expected. right?


but, and this is a big but…
war, is not a game. it is something so awful, i don’t want my kids to ever even imagine being involved in one. guns were created with one intention in mind: to kill. that is their only purpose and that’s why we don’t allow anything resembling one in our house or in our play. 


i do struggle with where to draw the line. how much violence is too much? are fingers pointed like guns and aimed at others ok, well, i’m not sure. and, how much “rough housing” should i tolerate before calling it quits?

stuff to read on this, HERE and HERE

where do you draw the line with your kids of any gender?

[ the pictures are from our hot day at the beach today. the kids built this interesting piece of architecture with the help of some older kids they befriended. such a fun day! we’re all tired from the sun! and to end the day on a high note, lion pooped in the potty for the first time, completely on his own initially. we did have to encourage him finish the task once he had started! ]

xo, mama lola

empathy :: lesson’s to be learned.

my four year old bear can be the most empathetic person i know. and then, he can be coldest, meanest person i know as well. teaching someone to be empathetic is tricky. teaching someone to trace lines is much easier.

today bear was blatantly mean to his good friend, and when the friend told him his feelings were hurt, bear laughed a terrible mean laugh. my heart sank, i flushed and felt instant shame and embarrassment. after our friends left, i tried to talk to him about empathy and why it’s important. but it kind of back fired. 
when bear feels socially unsure, insecure or embarrassed he giggles and laughs. it’s something that infuriates me, because i feel judged by other parents. i know he cares about people, especially his friends, but it’s like there’s a link missing between feeling something and knowing what to do about it. he’s kinda like his dad in that sense. dear hubby is very internal and can shut down if confronted with emotionally uncomfortable or demanding situations. and yeah, i get it, why they do it, where i comes from, what triggers it, but it doesn’t mean i like living with it.

[ this is what i looked like mid-afternoon. so tired, but i was woken up at 5:30am. ]

i tried talking to bear again after lion went down for his nap (sootherless, mind you). he was kind of getting it, but he was also tired, so i dropped it after about 10 minutes. emotions are difficult things to navigate, but it is so necessary to know what feelings are, and what to call them. i think that’s what i really need to focus on with bear right now, labelling his emotions as we encourage (or am i insisting) on learning to be more empathetic.

*******

last night at bedtime there was a big search for lion’s thu-thu (soother) and we took that as a sign to ditch the habit. he fell asleep relatively well, only shouting “stop that” a couple of times when dear hubby tried to rub his back. he woke up a couple of times in the night, but that’s pretty common for him. dear hubby co-slept with lion, but i think it’s the cool temps that’s waking him in the night, and not the absence of the soother. today’s nap was cut a little short, as i couldn’t get him to fall back asleep once he woke up. we’ll see what bedtime is like tonight. 
i’m guessing a disaster!
today, he hasn’t really asked for his thu-thu, which is the shocking part. when we took bear’s toodle-loo away, he would ask and scream for it, especially at sleeping times. 

counting down to the end of this very long, long monday.

* does anyone have any good empathy book recommendations?
thanks.


xo, mama lola

mother’s day bookmarks.



i have to admit this great idea is not mine, but i found it HERE. i was looking for something pretty straightforward to make, but something that would also melt the hearts of the kids’ grandma and mummo.

here’s what i did...
i chose a few pictures of the kids that i thought were cute, heart melting and characteristic of each kids personality. got the pictures printed, brought them home, gathered my supplies and got to work.


first, i chose a photo and started to cut around the kids silhouette pretty closely. 


then using a glue stick i glued the photo to white card stock and had the kids draw on the back of their own photos. i wrote the year on the back, in case we ever do this project again.


then using clear laminant in a roll (whih i bought from our michael’s), i laminated each picture on both sides. i pressed down hard and used a ruler a few times to get all the air out. 


i cut around again, but this time leaving a wee margin of laminant plastic, about 5mm.


then i punched a hole into the laminated photo, crocheted a quick rope and tied it on.


they looked AMAZING and each gran was super smiley once they’re gifts had been opened!


this is such a fun and easy craft to make and it was made better by involving the kids. 
hey, father’s day is coming up next month!!!

and finally, my mother’s day locket; look at my beautiful boys!


see you tomorrow!

xo, mama lola

hear lion roaring.

lion has arrived. ROAR! 
2012 is going to be his year to shine, roar and get noticed. being second born is tough work, with big shoes to fill and high expectations to meet, but i can already see that glint of attention seeking talent in his eyes. i can’t wait to watch him!
he’s bursting with growth right now. he is finally out of 9 month clothes and pretty much in 12-18 month stuff exclusively, which is a big deal as he is 18 months old. he’s always been teeny, but this past week he’s put the rest of us in our places by eating more than anyone and sleeping two naps a day: GROWTH SPURT anyone?! 

lion has always been determined to be like his big brother, but since the holidays he’s actually been requested to participate in games and even given responsibilities. it breaks my heart that my littlest guy is growing up so quickly. to be honest, i actually think i’m in a bit of denial about it. for some reason in my mind he is a baby, who is only one or so and not capable of much, but in reality he will be a toddling two year old this july, who is so capable of doing so much. his comprehension shocks me daily, as he responds to my words or recognizes and initiates daily habits we motion through during the day. things like getting his boots from the shoe rack or getting his toque and putting it on. or pointing enthusiastically to his toothbrush when we’re all huddled in the bathroom. or helping set the table for dinner and then running to his chair when dinner is about to be served. 

we went to the park the other day. lion swung, had a snack and then fell asleep in my arms. when it was time to go home he wasn’t ready to wake-up so i lay him on our stuff in the wagon. he slept the entire way home, even though the wagon was bumping around on the sidewalk! so sweet! later that afternoon he had a second nap in his cozy bed.

when bear was this age, i was already pregnant with lion. that realiz
ation blows me away, as back then i saw bear as a big kid not a baby like i see lion. i suppose i am not the only one who has done this. it’s hard not to compare your kids, especially when they are close in age and the same sex. 

how do you feel about your kids growing up?

xo, mama lola

joulu!

wishing everyone a happy holidays!
we are in the midst of our christmas celebrations. last night with my folks, tonight at home, tomorrow with dear hubby’s family. so far santa has been very impressed with the kids and they have received lots of wonderful new toys and books and things!

here are a few pictures from our jouluaatto with my parents. it is tradition in finland to celebrate x-mas on the 24th, so we always enjoy a beautiful meal prepared by my mom. after dinner santa comes and while i was growing up he actually came into our living room and i would sing or dance for him. he then passed out our gifts. for our boys, we always seem to just miss joulupukki, he knocks on the door or window, but by the time we get there he’s gone. luckily however, he has left gifts under the tree for us!

tonight we are all heading to bed early, so that we can celebrate lots tomorrow!
g’night!

xo, mama lola

ho! ho! holiday traditions!

i am desperately trying to incorporate finnish christmas traditions into our canadian holiday season. i find food is an easy and fun way to do that..

on the weekend i made some joulupuuro, translated as christmas porridge, which i think is basically rice pudding for all you english speakers. i also made some kiisseli to go with it. it’s like a thick fruit soup and you can use any ol’ fruit (fresh or dried), but for this time of year i use dried plums, apples, apricots and raisins. (in the warmer months i sometimes make rhubarb soup and my mom makes a wicked blueberry soup.)

for iltapala (bedtime snack) we each enjoyed a bowl of warm joulupuuro with a big heaping of kiisseli on top. the cinnamon smells wafted through the house adding to the holiday magic at our house.

the instructions are in metric as that’s what the finns use. easy enough to convert if you need to thanks to google!


this is where i got the recipe and directions from.

kiisseli.


200 g dried plums
1 l water
3/4 dl sugar

place plums (and other fruit), water and sugar into a large pot. let it simmer on a low heat for 20-30 minutes* or until fruit is soft. add water if needed.


1/2 dl water
21/2 tblsp potato flour/ potato starch
mix water and potatoflour/ potato starch in a bowl. add slowly to pot with steaming fruits and let it simmer for a few minutes.


the amounts are a starting point i find. i didn’t measure my dried fruits, but just grabbed a handful of each and threw them in. i also increased my water and potato flour amounts slightly. the potatoflour is a thickening agent, if you want the soup to be thicker add more potato flour. i also threw in a cinnamon stick and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

* this time may vary depending on how hard your fruit is.

also, we made some more reindeer cookies using chocolate chip ready-made cookie dough. they tasted delish and looked adorable!

time to go and wrap gifts. we haven’t done any yet! yikes!
also, just wanted to mention that i am loving the sirius radio and the all day x-mas music we get to listen to! fun! fun! fun!

xo, mama lola

holiday magic.

i am a real fan of christmas. i have such lovely memories from my own childhood of holidays spent with my family back in finland. my mom would cook an amazing dinner for us to enjoy on christmas eve. we never had turkey, like they serve here, but instead we had a multiple course meal which included glazed ham, fresh fish, possibly some smoked reindeer meat, various vegetables cooked in a variety of ways and of course ample desserts and treats to be nibbled on.  as an adult today, i recognize the efforts she made each year trying to create some holiday magic at our house. and not just with food either; my mom was into making our own decorations and collecting natural treasures, and still is. (*note: i was speaking with a friend who fondly remembers last year’s holiday magic at my parents’ house, so it’s not just me).

joulutonttu, or the christmas elf left some chocolates for the kids in the advent calendar. it was messy and joyful. bear waited years before we gave him chocolate, lion is so lucky to be the second born!

i want my kids to feel the magic of the holidays too. it’s hard though, because my kids are still particularly little and their enthusiasm is very limited. but, still i plough on forward.

today bear and i made these cookies.

i’ve always been terrified of the ready-made doughs you can buy at the grocery store, but when i saw this recipe and saw how cute the cookies were i made an executive decision to ignore my fears and bake on. the simplicity and ease was shocking, but the chemicals still kinda freak me out. that being said, i think we created some holiday magic with this easy baking recipe, no clean up, all around hassle free.

this is the original recipe via pillsbury.
all you need is the cookie dough, they recommend the gingerbread one, but my local store didn’t have any so we used the albino sugar cookie stuff instead. various candies depending on the look you’re going for. we used various M&M colours for eyes and noses etc. the original recipe calls for chocolate chips for eyes, but we like colour in our cookies! also, make sure you get small pretzels. bear was so pleased in the end!

tomorrow i’m taking the kids to see the muppets! can’t wait!
i feel nostalgic already!

xo, mama lola

do you want to play with me?

bear is patiently waiting for lion to learn how to walk independently. he is also patiently waiting for lion to learn how to run, talk in a language he can understand, hold a marker without gnawing on it and help bear fix all the things that need fixin’ around the house. 

it’s hard to be patient when the guy you’re waiting for was once the same size as a doll!
lion (1 month) with mac, hand crafted by a mama at sewfunky.


both boys smiling at the same time for the camera! unheard of!


matching pj’s for lion at 2 months and bear at 2.5 years. lion looks worried.



my heart aches with pride when i watch my bear take on the big brother responsibilities with such ease and joy. he redirects little lion by reminding him of sharp corners or edges and offers more age appropriate toys. i overhear him say things like “it’s ok lion, i’m here, äiti (mom) is here… it’s ok to cry though”. are you kidding me?! these gentle words are filled with such tenderness and love which lion is so lucky to hear from his big brother.

trying to get a nice picture of the boys was a disaster at christmas.
our fantastic stroller with the added toddler seat so i can push both animals together.
bear LOVES sharing the stroller with lion.
the trouble with two, is you have twice the work! way to pull two kids daddy-o! 

bear is into tools and fixing things and is teaching little bro all about safety!

now that lion has figured out how to move from point A to point B, it has created moments of obvious sibling tension. lion goes after bear’s toys or puzzle pieces and as a way to protect his turf bear yells: “no lion, no. that’s mine… but you can have this” and will present lion with a different toy. kills me every time.

more matching pj’s- couldn’t help it as they were on sale $2.94 a pair… in the girls section!
bear 3yrs and lion almost 9 mths.

this evening as i was preparing dinner lion was on the kitchen floor rubbing his gums with a spoon and bear came over and said “do you want to play with me lion?” aaaahhhhhh!!!! i almost burst into tears of joy!


my boys are very lucky to have each other.


xo, mama lola
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