I love Cup of Jo. The blog content and the community of readers that gather around it. It is a very beautiful space on the internet and what I secretly wish for this here little space.
She recently had a blog post on family rituals and I decided to steal a few to start with my child(ren) as they get older. So here goes and please also check it out.
To keep things simple at Christmas, we each get 4 gifts: something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. I am planning to use this model with my children (someday)!
My MIL had three curious kids who would shake gifts put under the tree before Christmas day. She invented Christmas “code names” to write on the presents. From then on the kids didn’t know whose presents were whose and would stop peeking. On Christmas day each kid gets to guess who’s assigned to each code name and she reveals the results at the end. My husband is now 33 and the tradition is still alive! She always chooses a different theme. Sometimes they are so abstract we spend hours just trying to guess what the theme is. Last year it was types of dairy cow (Holstein, Normande, Guernsey, Belted Galloway) and the year before it was cities in Ireland (Cork, Killkenny, Limerick, Dungarvan). One year she did locations of WWII battle sites. She keeps us on our toes and I always look forward to it.
“When my (very adult now) kids were smaller, I began asking for their self-portraits as my birthday gift. Many years later, I enjoy the most incredible archive of their growing artistic skills, evolving concepts of self, and interests at the time. It’s still what I ask for, and they happily explore new media, formats and methods each year — often their portraits coordinate incredibly well with no overt communication. Can’t recommend this enough. Only wish we’d begun even earlier!”
A nice tradition I have started with my kids is giving a special book on their birthday. Instead of a greeting card, we pick a book that means something that year (a book we borrowed many times from the library, a little story about a place we travelled to, about getting a sibling, etc) and we write a note on the front page or wherever we can fit it talking about memorable things of that year and hopes for the year ahead. I plan to give my kids a book with a love note every year for as long as I live
She doesn’t know it yet, but I invest money each month for my goddaughter, in the amount of her age. $1 a month when she was 1, $2 when she turned two, ect ect. She will be 11 next month! I plan to give her the money when she graduates high school or turns 18. It is a fairly low financial commitment from me each month, but should hopefully be a very nice gift for her one day. AND it will be a great lesson in compound interest and investing in your future 😉
The night before the first day of school we eat under the dining room table instead of on top of it. My kids are little (4 and 7) so they find this exciting and a wacky way to end summer and start the year!
Posted in home
Tagged 2020, Africa, Berlin, children, Cup of Jo, grandparents, inequality, maternal gatekeeping, mother in law, motherhood, names, new year, parenthood
Posted in home, Motherhood/ Parenting
Tagged aubergine, baking, children, cooking, Cup of Jo, Heart matters, ice cream, motherhood, pregnancy, recipes
Please read this post on cute things that kids say and then look at the comments as well. Below are some stand-out gems:
- Setting the scene: peaceful Saturday morning. Cup of coffee, book, couch, blanket, fireplace, spouse taking care of the baby, bliss.
Suddenly the 4-year-old pipes up: “Mama. When are you and daddy going to die?”
- I got in a 30 minute heated argument with my 4 year old once over who took care of her when I was a baby. (I had shown her a newborn picture of myself and it blew her mind to pieces.) She shrieked… “BUT MOM!!!!!! When you were a baby, and I was a baby, who was taking care of me??!! You couldn’t take care of me if you were a baby. Gasp! Oh no, was I all alone?” No matter how much I explained, the more upset she became. We finally settled on… Grandma. Grandma took care of all of us. And with that, the argument was over haha.
- “Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.“
- Sometimes I overhear a kid say something funny at a store and start laughing. And then one of my kids screams, ‘why are you laughing? Tell me Tell me!’ And then it gets awkward.
- My son was at about 2 years old when he saw me coming out of the shower and said “mumma, I love your bajina.” I could not have laughed harder.
- The other day, my 5-year-old daughter looked at me sweetly and said, “Mama, when you get old and die, can I have your phone?”
All this reminds me of a conversation with my 2.75 year old niece at the time who in a public bathroom asked me rather loudly whether I have a vagina and how I wanted to eat her up whole because I was not sure what would follow my answer! Urrrghs kids 🙂
Posted in Heart matters, home, Motherhood/ Parenting
Tagged being an aunt, blog envy, blogs i like, children, Cup of Jo, kids, life, parenting, questions
Posted in Heart matters, home
Tagged Africa, Cape Town, children, female friendship, friends, friendship, history, Johannesburg, life, Podcasts, race
Posted in books, Heart matters, home, school, working
Tagged books, Bridge Schools, children, death, discipleship, education, elections, Feminism, history, Inspiration, intergenerational mobility, Kenya, mentoring, stories, tea
i’m just incredibly tired of this rhetoric where apparently we have to be super gentle and coddle white children through the shock of realizing they aren’t actually better than everybody else, there’s just been an imbalance in their favor throughout history; that we should be understanding of how hard it is to accept that they may not have earned everything they have
and yet nobody gives a thought to how painful it must be for children of color to be taught that they have to be on guard against prejudice or violence at all times, that sometimes people will treat them badly for no reason and there’s nothing they can do about it
no, no, that’s just the facts of life. just standard growing up stuff. being conditioned to handle constant dehumanization is not as hard to cope with as maybe not being as good at life as you thought you were.
Posted in home
Tagged Africa, books, children, Christianity, decision making, Development, faith, home decor, marriage, open marriage, parenting, recipes, relationships, Sunday Reads
- These tips on how to give a good toast should be mandatory read. The number of wedding toasts I have heard and cringed.
- Free versus structured play. I am all for free play.
- Interesting study on why women share photos of their kids on social media.
- Apparently more people are using video to inform family and friends alike that they are having a baba! (NYT article).
- 10 ways to reduce your wedding budget.
- Yes kids get sick at daycare, but they also get sick less often later. This study proves and my mom always said. (NYT article)
- Such a sad story but so beautifully and heart-warmingly portrayed.
- So much cuteness in these pictures.
- On the messaging that we s(sub) consciously send to our daughters.
- Spicy carrot cumin and coconut soup.
Men have been denied so many safe spaces where they can be men and vulnerable
Guys like us, it turns out, are hungry for a place to talk with other men, particularly about how fatherhood is changing us, and changing writ large. Just as literature has long helped people see that our seemingly personal struggles are universal, being able to talk in this group offers a similar revelation. In an age of near-constant superficial virtual connection, there’s an enormous benefit in having a real life community to confide in more deeply and provide a genuine social network — especially for men and young fathers so often without it.
(Please also read the comments)
Posted in Heart matters, home, life, working
Tagged children, cooking, fatherhood, lessons for my daughters, men, motherhood, New York, parenting, recipes, speeches, talent, weddings
Happy Valentines Day all … Something warm and fuzzy!
- Healthy pumpkin and oat bread
- Finally government and ruling party comment on the evil virginity bursary schemes.
- Loved this story about second hand booksellers in Joburg.
- Simple enough DIY involving a wok that turns into a lamp.
- Childhood obesity is on the increase. In Sub-Saharan Africa *GASP*
- Fascinating read on a river that actually boils.
- Lunch club anyone?
- Always in life it helps to be a unique individual. Always. Be Unique.
- This cooking project in Delhi just warmed my heart for some reason.
- On the schooling options for Black children and the issues to consider: One and Two.
“The paradox of elite education in SA is that it breeds an economic elite with very little social literacy, and who display contempt for the idea of social intelligence.”
Posted in design, Heart matters, home
Tagged Africa, baking, books, Brazil, children, design, DIY, education, enviroment, girl child, Heart matters, home, lunch, traditions
Posted in home
Tagged #Feesmustfall, babies, Cape Town, Castor oil, cauliflower, children, cooking, death, fashion, Gilmore Girls, hair, home, Koili, Korea, life, Netflix, Olive oil, parenthood, Podcasts, Quinoa, recipes, Rory Gilmore
Be careful that you do not burst into tears …
Posted in good, Heart matters, home, life
Tagged children, education, elderly, good, Heart matters, home, life, mind, pre-school, project, video
Because you never know the burden that she/they are walking around. It is not your place, it is not welcome at all… Also, the judgment that follows couples that opt out of being parents and all of that. Not your place …
Hope you had a lovely week, I certainly did. Below, enjoy!
- I really don’t know what I feel about this story.
- As a Christian and a so-called “infidel”, I am not sure how to think of such evil!! May God judge them ever so severely!!!
- Again on the ethics of having a live-in lady take care of your kids while hers have to make do. BUT, beautiful writing.
- On being overly PC at school and dumbing down academic rigours at American Universities.
- Not an easy practice, but necessary. Doing your best work and checking that it is, despite knowing/ feeling that this is the best you could ever get.
Best work followed by best work followed by more best work is far more useful and generous than merely doing your best work once and insisting we understand you.
Posted in Heart matters, home, life
Tagged children, education, evil, Heart matters, home, ISIS, life, motherhood, motivation, PC, Political correctness, Sunday Reads, women, working
Happy Sunday and here are some reads to get into your morning coffee.
- On childlessness and more importantly why we never track the number of mean that elect not to have babies.
- How many of these have you read? Me only four!
- Always fascinating to read about the glorified world of interns or assistants.
- Yellow Fever is making quite the waves. Watch and Read
- On Dating and Apps in the African context
- Monica has paid her dues and needs to be released.
The positive voices, when there are enough of them, keep abusive ones from spreading, just as a mostly vaccinated population protects those few people who are not. Together, we have the power to protect the most vulnerable among us
*the title is from Asa’s latest album and probably has nothing to do with this post
Growing up, we had a wall map of Africa hanging in our dining area. Other than the endless hours of entertainment it provided, I also came up with the totally rad idea to get a kombi and drive up all the way from Nairobi through the Strait of Gibraltar and head to Spain for a holiday. I must have been around ten at the time and I kept thinking when I turned 21,
the golden age, I would do this. My father just smiled and only years later did I find out that so many others had caught onto this idea and were willing to die, suffer thirst and risk dying on the water in order to make this same journey.
What other memories do you have of being a kid that were dashed in your adult years?