27 Aug 2014

How not to parent

I need to learn to interact appropriately with my children with regards to what is polite social behaviour and what really isn't. It's kind of fun to push the boundaries with them and joke around (especially when my tolerance of most things foul is much higher than theirs, so any attempt by them to gross me out generally backfires), BUT when you are dealing with a smaller person who is not aware does not care about such boundaries then my plan should probably be longer term than the next 30 seconds of mirth.

Exhibit A
I am doing pre back-to-school appraisal of uniform /shoes / PE kit. I am two down one to go. I call the last one in to reassess fitting of final item - his coat from last term. I hold it out as he slips it on and we deem the coat still fits. Yay- back-to-school clothing and shoes are sorted! I just need to spend this coming week making sure we are all up and dressed before 11am or Monday will hurt a whole lot more than normal.  I'm about to dismiss him back to Miscellaneous Leisure Activities when...

Me: Argh. Look at my hand! I have one of your bogies on my hand!
J: I don't think that's mine.
Me: It must be mate- how would one of mine get there?
J: Good point. (He turns to leave)
Me: And... I have no tissue. You could just eat it?
(Immediately he sucks it off my outstretched finger then wipes his mouth with the back of his hand).
J: That DEFINITELY wasn't mine...
(He hugs me and walks away).

Exhibit B
Linked to inappropriate parenting issue above, but more about my cooking issues and what happens when I've not properly cooked for almost 2 months (working away /visiting mates & relatives / working away some more / visiting some more) then going shopping without a list and ending up with far too many cornflakes for the cupboard and finding expired food products that make me panic because I have a love/hate relationship with the food bin...

Mid-morning. My mate, her kids, me and 2 of my kids are in her car on way to IKEA. Aside from a vague plan concerning purple curtains and purple accessories, the day has not been strictly planned.

Mate: Have you had lunch yet?
Me: No.
Madi (from back): I haven't even had any breakfast yet!
Me: Why not?! Didn't you have your chocolate crispy cake?
Mate: For breakfast?!
Me: (Defensively) They have cereal in them...
J: I had a chocolate crispy cake AND jelly!
Me: Because there was no room for the cornflakes in the cupboard (stuff sitting out on the counter makes me anxious- she knows this) and the jelly expired 4 months ago and I only found it again yesterday...

I suspect this does not happen in many other houses. Even if it is the holidays.

18 Aug 2014

RIP Calvin & Hobbes

Whether fan fiction or an original, this has to be the saddest cartoon strip ever.

4 Aug 2014

Mine mine mine!

A few weeks ago we signed up to Geocaching and like over 6 million people around the globe, we are in the process of finding and logging the 2.4 million+ caches around the world, starting with the 8000+ ones hidden here in the UK. So far we have logged 34 of them. It's a long term project.

The boot of the car now contains essential caching equipment so we can spontaneously pull over in random locations en-route to somewhere else and search for undiscovered treasure.

Kit list:
• Gardening gloves
• Pruning shears
• Pen
• A long branch (acquired during cache find 26)
• Piriton (Manchild has hayfever)
• Small treasure tupperware of lego bricks, cinema ticket stubbs, shells and loom band bracelets
• iPhone (not in boot, but constantly on person as we are sad that way).

Our limited hunting experience has unearthed 3 trackables- items with their own ID tags which allow them to be tracked online by their owners as they are placed, retrieved then carried to the next cache in the real world.

Trackables are given a goal of reaching a particular country, or series of locations, or in the case of Futuristic Freddy (retrieved from Cullompton services and deposited in Bridgend) seeing as much of planet earth as possible before returning home to the planet Zarg. Whatever goal the owner sets, 6 million fellow cachers are pledged to assist as long as they are nearby, have a decent phone signal and no Muggles are watching.

One of the trackables currently in our possession wishes to reach Scotland. I was in Scotland a week and a half ago. I could have made someone's dream come true but it's still sitting at the front door because we forget about it. Trackables are not stored with common or garden caching treasure in The Tupperware. (They are too special and would make the loom bands jealous).

We need to get a move on and deposit it SOMEwhere though, even if it's not in Scotland or even North of our position right now. Cachiquette requires that hunters keep trackables in their possession for no longer than 2 weeks and time is running out! Of all the things going on my life right now that require urgent attention- like the kids passports arriving in time for the flight we have already booked in 4 days time, losing a car key for a hire car resulting in K being temporarily stranded 230 miles away, invoicing our last job so we can pay the suppliers who helped us deliver our last job and a flea colony in one of the bedrooms (which our house sitters pretty much dealt with in our absence thank you very much and sorry about the bites), getting rid of the coin is consuming my thoughts a little more than it should.

Because it's not ours to keep.

Ownership is a strange thing.

Sometimes what isn't actually ours can appear to be so, purely because of the length of time we've had it. If I keep the trackable coin, it won't cease to belong to it's true owner - I'll just annoy whoever that is and maybe get an arsey email or have our account suspended or something. The coin won't become mine just because I choose to keep it.

Paul said the message of Jesus is just like this. It's a trackable. It's meant to go far and wide and change lives wherever it goes- because it's owner has set the mission and wants it that way.

The trackable doesn't belong in one place. One people group, country or denomination does not have the monopoly on Grace. It's for everyone and it's free. And if you keep hold of it you violate the rules of play and prevent others from coming into contact with it. You become a gatekeeper. A Pharisee. A trackable thief.

Some people try to referee- but the mission is to sign up and play. To leave the treasure at another cache, ready for the seekers who are already on their way to find it.

I don’t care about my own life. The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work that the Lord Jesus gave me—to tell people the Good News about God’s grace. (Acts 20:24)