Wednesday, March 28, 2007

To Smack or not to smack?

That's the question which is dividing New Zealand at the moment. The government is trying to pass a law which will make it a chargeable offence to smack your child under any circumstances. They say it is to step out child abuse but the country has gone up in arms. They don't want it. Recent polls say that 84% of the population do not agree with the bill yet the government is trying to get it passed under urgency. It would appear that the politicians aren't listening to the country's wishes.

Now, I haven't waded into this debate at all. I have to admit to having smacked my boys. Now that they are older the frequency of smacks is very low, in fact I can't remember the last time I smacked my oldest. But there are parents out there who beat children within an inch of their lives or have even killed them and they should be stopped.

Sue Bradford, who is the politician behind the bill, has said that this new law is to give the Police the right to prosecute for excessive force used by parents. That's all well in good but it seems that they are throwing the baby out with the bath water and taking this whole thing to extremes. The Police have already said that once this thing becomes law they will have to follow through on any complaint of a child being smacked. Having worked as a social worker for many years I have seen the effects of abuse on children but I think there is a line that has to be drawn between abuse and a small smack on the hand.

The debate consumes TV and radio news. People have become very vocal about their right to discipline, or not, using physical force. Knowing this government it will become law in the next couple of weeks and then parents will be looking over their shoulders everytime they discipline their children. I wonder what kind of future we will have with our kids?

Monday, March 26, 2007

I love that my kids have many international friends. It was such a great experience for them to grow up in Ecuador. They are truely more Ecuadorian then they think. Over the years they hung out quite naturally with Ecuadorians, Americans, Indians, Nigerians, Taiwanese, South Africans, even Australians! They have made many friends with MK's over the years, some of those friendships are long lasting. I think that's one of the great things about MK's (missionary kids). They relate easily with kids and adults from all cultures.

Coming to NZ I wondered who would be my boys friends. They were quick to relate back to the average kiwi kid but I have noticed that since coming to Auckland they are mixing more with international children. Isaac has a great friend from England and Caleb has made friends with a couple of muslim boys. He is our great thinker and has been having late night chats about the differences between Islam and Christianity, why we do what we do and why they do what they do. Deep questions come out of my 11 year olds wee brain. I am proud of him and his thinking as well as his caring, loving heart.

Auckland is an extremely multicultural centre. 20%of our population are Chinese which has been a huge change since we left the country 9 years ago. My mandarin learning should help then! Walking down the street is an international affair with many different languages being spoken. I love it. I have even heard Spanish which just thrills my heart.

Given my boys naturalness in relating to others I wonder from which culture they will marry. Not that I'm hoping that will happen soon but it will definately be an interesting time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Daylight saving has just ended. For us that meant turning our clocks back an hour on Saturday evening, well Sunday morning. It gave us an extra hour in bed which I would never complain about but I have to admit to finding staying up at night harder and harder.

Since Sunday I have been in bed at 9:30 PM which my body tells me is really 10:30 PM. Makes for a pretty boring social life don't you think? I start feeling droopy at about 8:00 PM before the boys are even getting ready for bed. By 8:30 PM I just want to tuck myself up in my snug duvet and sleep. The other night the boys were still wide awake and I was already in bed sleeping.

The good thing about the end of daylight saving though is that we are getting up a little earlier than normal. That makes the morning routines run just a little smoother and I'm finding that the nagging mother hasn't really had to show her ugly face again. Even our youngest is ready for school with time to spare which is a miracle! With just under two weeks left of my life of luxury (I begin in the SIM office the 3rd April) I'm hoping that my morning routine will run just as smoothly then. There will be a lot to do before I can walk out the door every morning. Of late I've been taking it all a little slower and easier but that time will soon run out.

On another note, I'm glad to post my weight loss this week having lost 900g. Yippee!!! I was thrilled as I had worked hard. Let's hope I can keep the momentum going this next week. It's getting harder as our youngest is now selling chocolate easter eggs as a fund raiser for school. There are several packets just waiting to be bought. But I will not succum!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I'm not doing so good. Well not as good as I would have liked. This whole weight loss thing is hard work. As you can see by my ticker I seem to be putting on weight rather than losing it! I'm going the wrong way!!!!

I guess I still have lost a little bit but it is quite disheartening to lose some of your hard earned work little by little. Last week it was 300 grams and this week it was 500g. I did everything I could think of to weigh in lighter....I didn't wear my heavy earrings and I was sure to take my cell phone out of my pocket but all to no avail. I'm not going to give up though. I'm not! I'm not! I'm not!! This week I am walking more and trying to make sure I don't eat more than my points (perhaps last week was a result of the fish and chips and pizza we had!!!!! :-) I'm even saving points as we are away for the night on Friday and then have a BBQ on Sunday, probably with sausages which are deadly. I'm hoping to have a better weigh in next week. Here's hoping.

One good thing is that Nige put on more than me so that was good. Not that I want him to fail but it is nice when I beat him at something (usually he is losing heaps more than I's a male thing I guess).

I know this is a long journey that I have begun but I'm very impatient and extremely hard on myself about what I see as failure. I still have 2 1/2 years to get to my goal wieght so I guess I should just slow down, learn how to change my lifestyle little by little and enjoy the small successes. Hopefully next week is one of them.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Yesterday we went on the annual church picnic to Motuihe Island in the middle of the Hauraki Gulf. What a spectacular day it was. The sun was out, there were 300 of us on the ferry zooming acros the pristine seas to a gorgeous recreational reserve island. It was just stunning.

We have been going to Eastgate Christian Centre for 3 weeks now and have decided that this will be our church home in Auckland. The first week that we went the boys so enjoyed their time in children's church that they begged us to return the next week. What could we do? When your kids beg you to go to church you can't say no can you? They have struggled so much with tradtional churches and rather boring children's programmes in Ecuador that this was just a delight for them. They have thrown themselves into church life and Caleb has even been asked to be a part of the kids worship team. He was thrilled and so were we!

Anyway we decided to take the plunge and get involved in church life. I have been going to the weekly woman's bible study group which is a nice way to get to know new people. Yesterday was a larger scale "throwing ourselves in" thing. It all went very well with us meeting new people and having time to chat to them about life. It is hard to relate to them though as we don't have much in common, except our love of the Lord but apart from that we are a bit of a novelty and they just seem so busy in their lives. By 3 PM I was feeling overwhelmed by the share number of people on the island and the need to get to know them. I went to the beach and watched the boys in the water for an hour or so. I had a little solitude and time to think about all I had left behind. Life seemed so much more simpler then. As much as Ecuador has its ups and downs it was very familiar and comfortable. Now I am up in the air again.

It's hard to settle down again. I fee like I should be packing my bags any minute now and winging my way home. Last week I went to the fruit and vege shop and saw a huge Ecuador banana sign and burst into tears. The dear old lady beside me didn't know what to do and I had no desire to explain it all to her. She probably wouldn't have understood anyway.

All in all it was good day yesterday and I think an important one. Nige got to meet some new people that hopefully he will be able to connect to. We got home sunburnt and exhausted but it was so lovely to be outside the city for a while and just relax. We haven't had much opportunity to do that as a family for a while.
Ni hao

I like to keep my brain working and this year have decided to take the challenge to learn Mandarin. I have signed up for community education which is a weekly class run through the local high school. Every Monday evening I pop off to school to learn a little more language and try to remember what I learnt the week before. There are about 17 of us each week all with varying reasons to learn. Some are even ethnic chinese who don't speak mandarin so it's fun to learn with them. I have to admit to it being a real brain and tongue strain at times. It seems that I get stuck with my Spanish tripping me up on vowel sounds etc so I have to work hard to get it right. Sometimes the letters look like they should sound a particular way but really have a different sound altogether. But I'm really enjoying getting out of the house and doing something new, just for me.

This past weekend I attended a morning sushi class. It was really fun! We learnt four different types of sushi and even got to eat it all for lunch. Yummy. I was introduced to sushi in Ecuador, believe it or not. My favourite was an avocado roll which is really not that good for you but delicious. I came home and made it for tea as well. Isaac wasn't too thrilled by it but Nige and Caleb enjoyed it so I think I will make it again sometime. The great thing about it is that it is yummy but not high in points value so doesn't adversely affect my diet....which is going well I think.

So what's your hobby? Anyone learning a new skill or food? Let me know. I think it's fun to do new things.