Thursday, July 30, 2020

It’s Good News Week



Humans are hard-wired to notice threats, weakness and fear.  Negative news and emotions are contagious – they stick to us like Velcro.  So here’s to an end of negative journalism and false news.  Here’s to an end of news that harms our psyche and wellbeing; here’s to some good news – courtesy of journalist Charles Groenhuijsen (thanks to Iain Abercrombie, top man, loyal friend, All Black who sent me this video).


Watch it here:



Monday, July 27, 2020

Trudy’s Back (Part II)

4)  What is something you learned about your children?
o    I learned just how much they are capable of;  how much they can learn, how they look on the bright side of things, how they take care of one another, and how they are always trying to be positive during this scary time.
o    Music (preferably Mickey Mouse Clubhouse soundtrack) makes Winnie very happy, she also has some cool dance moves like her Mum.
o    Tilly has found a new love for horses, seeing how animated and happy she gets while talking about them is heartwarming.  Lessons have begun!
o    Chloe has developed a great sense of humour.
o    Stella likes to create things from arts and craft to cooking.

o    Bart’s loathing for (the wearing of) sunhats is pure.
o    Unfortunate, given my son's very fair complexion and his insistence on applying sunscreen by himself.  Fortunate, given that where we are presently based, sun is a rarefied – almost mythical - commodity.

5)  What is something you learned about yourself? 
o    I am the worst teacher!  
o    And I need silence and alone time to recharge (which is a hard thing to come by with 3 kids and two dogs).
o    Motherhood can be so hard, kids come with many challenges, and the world is such a different place right now.  I’ve learned that it is important to be honest and open about how you are feeling, it is ok to want time to yourself (getting it might be a slightly different story) and that I am tough (Dad taught me that 😁).
o    How important and rewarding practicing meditation twice daily is
o    That I possess no talent for hairdressing. Especially the perilous pursuit of hairdressing for one year old boys.

6)  What is the funniest thing the kids did/said during this time?

o    Andrew joining Mark on his important zoom calls by dancing in the background and refusing to leave!
o    Winnie grabbing her microphone and singing Daisy Daisy (while swaying, with eyes closed). 
o    Despite coming in the last group of her cross-country race, Tilly triumphantly finished the race with a smile and style like Usain Bolt.  Chariots of Fire had to be the theme song.
o    Chloe wanted to take off a day off e-learning and thought a good excuse would be to email her teacher and tell them she had coronavirus.
o    Stella developed a fascination with watching Property TV shows and critiquing people's choice and interior design tastes

o    Despite being just one, our son is what commonly would have been referred to as being a ‘real boy’ before the world woke up. He is most attracted to things that outdated stereotypes prescribe; his preference is for dirt, sausage rolls, rugby balls, footballs and trucks, cars, buses, tractors, cranes.  He is especially enamored by his Grandfather’s Land Rover which happens to live where we are also living presently, in the north of England.  Most mornings (and actually most afternoons) rain, hail or shine he will run out to the car and yell “Vroom! Vroom! Vroooooom!!” whilst pointing lovingly and urging us desperately to hoist him up to the lofty heights of this light artillery vehicle.  If we refuse - all hell breaks loose.  Extracting him is another frightening fiasco altogether - it's actually the only thing that sends our otherwise very cheery boy absolutely berserk. He would - I’m quite sure - happily commit to living permanently in this car if presented with the option, and I have no doubt whatsoever where his allegiances would lie if forced to choose between me and that car!

All families are different.  Here is Nikki with just a few of her amazing animal family.
Well, there you have it.  Our wonderful families, in different parts of the world, making the most of this challenging time of CoVid-19.  Missing them all and patiently waiting for the time we can give them all a big hug!

Trudy and Kevin

Friday, July 24, 2020

Trudy’s Back (Part I)

I’ve been reading a lot about families coping, bonding, and learning during this pandemic.  It’s hard not to discover unexpected things about ourselves and each other during this unimaginable length of time in close quarters.  We’ve all been used to getting on with work, school and ‘me time’ in our daily life and now our daily life has all our activities under one roof with our family around us.

I thought it would be interesting to get first-hand information about what it is like being home with our grandchildren day-to-day … everyday, from the most reliable source - their Moms.

1)     Three words that describe your day at home with the children:

Vanessa in New Jersey (with children: Kendall age 10, Cameron age 8, Andrew age 4):
o    Chaotic
o    Calm
o    Mess
Rebecca in Auckland (with children: Tilly age 6, Winnie age 2):
o    Crazy        
o    Noisy
o    Energetic
Clarissa in Singapore (with children: Stella age 12, Chloe age 9):
o    Long
o    Worry-free
o    Entertaining
Jane in Grasmere (with Bart age 1):
o    Hectic
o    Fulfilling
o    Grubby

2)  Three things that help you get by each day with a smile:

o    Seeing the moments when the kids are genuinely bonding.
o    Kendall giving Andrew art and nature lessons.
o    Kendall and Cameron having baking championships.
o    Cam and Andrew snuggling while watching a movie.

o    Seeing moments of affection and love between the girls.

o    Meditation
o    Coffee
o    Phone chats with my friends

o    Caffeine
o    Content!
We’re consuming so much great content at the moment - there’s some brilliant stuff being created during this mad time - and since we’ve been under house arrest there’s obviously been an increased opportunity to enjoy it!
-        Elizabeth Day’s wonderful podcast How to Fail has delivered some great listening, during these fretful times. I loved a recent episode with contemporary philosopher Alain de Botton who cautioned against feeling a need for what he described as a “cosmic serenity” and comfortingly advised that now was a great moment to lose your mind! Temporary insanity, he suggests is in fact the sign of being totally sane. Great news!
-        I just loved this short piece Here’s How Time Works Now by Eli Grober for McSweeny’s on the elasticity of time:
-        Film and TV: Parasite, Days of the Bagnold Summer, Normal People, I May Destroy You, Little Fires Everywhere, Hillary and the batty docco McMillion’s – all have provided great viewing. Special mention also to the recent return of Gogglebox. Utterly joyful.
o    Our friends and family.  Ours, like many peoples are far flung - and I think now more so than ever - we feel a very long way away. We’re so lucky that technology affords us the opportunity to keep in contact and chatting with them is the most cheering and vital part of our day.

3)      The happiest and the most challenging parts of the day:

o    Happiest times are finding moments of peace, like sitting at the pool and reading while the kids swim. A win for all!
o    The most challenging times are rainy days when we are sick of being stuck inside - together!
o    The happiest - Bedtime! 😁
o    Challenging - Trying to keep everyone happy at the same time.
o    Chatting with the girls about random things.
o    Getting them to bed at a decent hour.
o    I’m really grateful for the increased time this weird period affords me to spend with my family – that’s when I’m happiest.
o    We’re super fortunate and very grateful for our circumstances - the most challenging thing is balancing full time employment with parenting a frankly alarmingly active one year old. He’s made plenty of guest appearances on Microsoft Teams!

Kevin and Trudy