Friday, 1 January 2010

If you wonder where we've gone...'s to Utah. Our saga continues at



Monday, 23 November 2009

Go where we may, rest where we will
Eternal London haunts us still

-Thomas Moore

Saturday, 10 October 2009

School Uniforms

Walking to school - James's first day of Reception (or so we thought - this was a Monday and he actually started on that Thursday)

James really likes his school. It is a state school, and like at about 100% of the primary schools in Britain, the children there wear uniforms to school. I LOVE how he looks in his school uniform. I feel that there are so many pros and almost no cons to having kids wear them. It simplifies getting ready in the morning, it is an equaliser (no "poor" or "rich" clothes; no trendy or immodest clothes - everyone dresses the same way), and it helps the kids get in the mindset for school. Plus, the kids look so smart! (I mean this in the British sense of the word.) Cons - um... the uniform can be expensive (but really no more so than regular clothes, and is often cheaper than ordinary play clothes). Some people may say that it curbs individualism or freedom of expression in children. And I reply to this, "really? So we want to convey that the best or most important way for our children to express themselves is through fashion?"

So, can we start a movement in the U.S. for uniforms in public schools? Who's with me?

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Alexander is Zero

The title is a paraphrase of James's reply to my "Alex is six months old today."

At age 0.5, Alexander weighs 17 pounds, 13 ounces; his length is 29 inches; and his head circumference is 44.5 centimetres. In other words, he is average for his age for weight, and well above average for length and noggin size. This obviously means that I am a better mother than people with puny children.

Here are some recent videos of Alex:

Thursday, 17 September 2009


Things have been busy lately. Thus, little blogging. But have no fear! You can still see a lot of what we've been up to the past couple of months. I just posted a boatload of photos to my Facebook account. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Teaching and Learning

I feel that I am preparing to leave London (we have about three months left) just as I am getting adept at living here. I have, for example, just barely figured out the best way to navigate Liverpool Street station with a buggy - where all the lifts are, where the street exits closest to the buses are, etc. I know all the best places to take James now - his favourite parks, the most kid-friendly museums, the restaurants where the servers don't roll their eyes when he knocks his silverware on the floor for the third time. I have online food shopping down cold.

As I was contemplating these things a few days ago, I realised it has been true of many stages of my life - I get good at doing something just as things are drawing to a close and it's time to move on. It is no different with parenting. In the 4+ years that James and I have lived together, it seems that each
time I feel I finally understand how to interact with him, he enters a different stage of development, and I have to learn everything afresh. The tactics that worked so well (okay, worked sometimes) yesterday are rendered obsolete by the swift and unrelenting passage of time. James is a drastically different person than he was six months ago, and by
extension, I am a different mother than I was then.
One of the ways I've changed my strategy is to let go of the outcome of my labours, or acknowledge that I never had true control over it in the first place. James is not a puppy I am housebreaking, but a human being for whom I have stewardship. Not all his successes will be attributable to my efforts, nor will his mistakes be laid at my feet. This is both comforting and bewildering. It would be simpler to have a straightforward cause-and-effect sort of evaluation system for my work; in its place there is intuition and hope that your best will be good enough.

I guess the point is not to be a perfect mother, or even a great mother, from the get-go, though. I did not expect James to be comfortable and capable with his mortal experience from day one; I should not expect myself to be so in my experience as his guardian. It is difficult, though, for someone with my obsessive personality and my desire to do everything "right" to fully embrace the idea that the process of becoming, the journey, is the objective. James and I are teaching each other how to be children of God and to do His will. And while that journey isn't easy, I appreciate the company.

I know that I'm not the first person to articulate these concepts, but I thought at least many of my readers would be able to relate. It is a thrilling adventure, being a mother. I'm always adjusting, recalibrating, discovering new ways to communicate, discipline, and teach. And new ways to learn. Maybe by the time they move out of the house, I'll feel sure-footed and confident. Maybe.