Posted by: Shireen | October 6, 2013

Dear Cocoa Bean.

Dear Cocoa Bean,

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Cocoa Bean dressed as a bear….

You are 6 months old and this is my first blog post about you. Boy, life is different the second time around!

Since you have arrived, life has been a whirlwind of crazy. So much has happened and so much has changed and it hasn’t all been that fabulous.  But one thing is for sure. Your presence in our lives has been the most perfect and special part of it all.

Sometimes I watch you and wonder how it is possible that something so perfect could have come from me and your dad.  While we are far from perfect, you have the best of everything that we are and you turned it into lovely, perfect you. Lovely, warm, content, squishy, gorgeous you.
Every moment with you so far has been so right. For the first time, I trust myself to know what you need. I feel happy and good around you, not at all worried.

You make us all laugh and love each other a little more. You have fixed in me what was muddled the first time round. You have shown me that I am stronger that I thought I was. You came out so boldly that I stopped to listen right from that moment. If Little Bee is my soul, then you are my heart. The part of me that loves with abandon.  You make it easy to do that.
I didn’t know that I could love anything as wildly as I love Little Bee, but here you are and here I am loving you with a strength I never knew.
I am glad you are here, little Cocoa Bean, baby boy.

Mummy x

Posted by: Shireen | October 4, 2013

Cocoa Beans and other sweet things…..

Hello Bee Readers,

It has been almost a year since I told you I had had enough of mama blogging and was trying to separate my writer me from the mama me.  Well, guess what I have learned.  The writer me can’t be separate from the mama me.  Duh.  You could have told me that, right?  But me being me, I had to figure it out myself.

So here I am new mother once again to another Bee.  Well, not so new.  He is already 6 months!  And yesterday in the shower, where I do my most important thinking, I had a scary thought.  I wrote so much about Little Bee when she was little and yet this time, there has been not a word on the newest baby, who I like to call Bean because he is the warmest colour of a little cocoa bean.  It isn’t that I haven’t been wildly inspired by him, it is just that over the last year, life has taken my little, sweet family and swung us around in a big laundry bag, jiggled us and tossed us and plonked us down again.  That is, we have had a LOT of changes and a bit or drama (more on that another day).  

So poor Little Bean has had to just get on with his little self.  And that he has done.  He is what you call a very happy baby.  In amongst all the chaos, there he has been with his sweet little smile and infectious laugh.  And I am madly in love with him.  And I want him to know that he has rocked my world just the way Little Bee did when she came.  So I had better start writing about him, the way I did with her.  It is all different this time around….in so many wonderful and crazy ways.

And also.  I miss writing.  So, hello again, BeesonSkis!  Then there were four.

 

 

Posted by: Shireen | October 14, 2012

Words in Print!

Mother’s Milk books intend to publish books that hope to share the beauty of breast feeding and the mother-father-child connection that begins even before birth.  The editor and founder of Mother’s Milk books, Teika Bellamy, has worked really hard on this very first publication, bringing together mothers, and some fathers, from all corners of life all connected by their experiences of parenthood.  It is filled with beautiful art, prose and poetry that illustrates this life bond.  Reading it, you can’t help but feel the intense emotions of motherhood.  Those same emotions that have us laughing and crying like we never did before becoming parents!

Check out Mother’s Milk Books and this review of the book by Lois Rowlands.  The proceeds of this book raise money for La Leche League, which supports mothers with breastfeeding.

Motherhood awakened a brand new side of me; a side I didn’t even know could exist.  Most of the time I feel like it has really stirred up the crazy in me, but it has also made me gentle and vulnerable in ways and I think this is where the writing comes in handy!   I have written a lot about it in the last four years on this blog and also on random notebooks and papers that remain in drawers and folders on my computer.  What My Daughter Told Me, the poem I sent to Teika was really personal to me, but what is writing if it is not personal?  It was accepted and now my poem is printed in this beautiful book! Wooo!  My words in print!  I feel so privileged to have been included amongst so many great writers and artists.  I can’t even start to describe the wonderful feeling of that.

The book was published on Sept 26th, 2012.  So serendipitous, since this was the same day we had our three month baby scan.  Little Bee Part 2 is on the way!

On one single day, a journey of motherhood and writing meeting at the crossroads.

Posted by: Shireen | July 29, 2012

Girls Rock the Olympics!

I am not a sporty girl at all.

Okay, I played intramural hockey in university.  But seriously, I had no idea what I was doing.  I thought it was okay to trip up a girl from the opposite team with my hockey stick.  The ref was so surprised at my tactics that he just watched in amazement as I continued to make up my own rules to the game.  Ahem.

I digress.

The Olympics.  Everyone is writing about it and I didn’t think I would really be inspired to.  The thing I like best about it is that all the world is together for something positive.  Everyone is happy and proud and I love that.  And of course, I think that London is doing a great job so far….proud to be British moment!

I am not wild about sports, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want LIttle Bee to have the same opportunities in sport as the boy next door.  She has parents who encourage her to swim, play football and join a trapeze class, just as much as we celebrate ballet and all things princess-y.  And if she develops a love and a passion for football, or gymnastics or swimming or tennis, we are so grateful that we have the means to encourage her in this area.

But it was not so long ago that women did not have the same opportunities in sport as men.  Let’s face it.  Women are still fighting for equality and recognition in this area.  It was exciting to find out that for the first time ever, all teams competing in the Olympics this year have at least one woman competing too!

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This means that for my daughter’s first Olympics, not only is it in her home town (which is way cool), but she will never know a time when women weren’t part of every team.  She will grow up assuming that she will get every opportunity in the sporting world.

Now when there is quite a bit wrong with the world she is growing up in, and a lot I want to protect her from, this piece of news is really good to hear.

Well done, World!

Posted by: Shireen | July 25, 2012

How to know if you are grown up yet

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My little girl with leftover banana on her lips after a long morning playing at the fountain in the park.

“Mummy, I am getting really grown up now,” she says.

“Don’t grow up too fast!  You are still my little Mirabee munchkin, right?”

“I am grown up, Mummy!  Just look at my legs!” She gazes admiringly at her lovely legs. “They are so long now, I must be grown up!”

 

 

Posted by: Shireen | July 22, 2012

The Kids Are Alright!

I want my daughter to be brave, wild and bold.

We try not to watch too much tv and we take a lot of care to make sure that the things she does watch and read have characters that are bold, wonderful and brave.  We haven’t seen any of the Disney movies yet and have read Babette Cole’s revisionist fairy tales.  We have a dress up box filled with imagination, not princess clothes.  No princesses here, thank you very much.  Well that all worked until she went to Nursery.  I can say for sure that even at age two and a half, peer pressure is stronger than me!  She came home from Nursery telling us about the dress up clothes and how she played Princesses with her friends.  Sigh.

Then she started referring to herself as Snow White.  Then the next day it was Cinderella.  And the next it was Tinker bell.  In fact when people ask her name, she now usually gives a princess name.  Then some friends gave us some hand-me-down dress up clothes.  You guessed it.  All princess dresses.  My little girl thought she was in heaven!  That’s it, I thought.  She is down the path of glitter nail polish, princess dresses and princes on white horses riding off into the sunset.

But the other day, we were playing with a Charlie and Lola sticker book.  (By the way, Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child are so awesome – we love them!  But the sticker books aren’t written by her)  The way it works is that we illustrate the story using the provided stickers.  We are told what stickers to use at each part of the story.  We came to the part where Lola is pretending to be a princess in a tower and Charlie pretends to be the prince who is rescuing her.  Look.

Mummy, she says, why is Lola up there and Charlie down there?

Well, I said, in some stories, the princesses wait for the princes to rescue them from the tower.

She gave me a puzzled look.  But, she said, why is Lola waiting for Charlie to come up?  Why doesn’t she just take the stairs down by herself?

Sigh of relief.  The kid is alright.

Posted by: Shireen | May 18, 2012

Changes

It is time for a change.

Bees on Skis began when we moved to Switzerland, made a baby and then grew into parenthood.  It has been a mad, wonderful four years!  But I am changed.  In the last few years, motherhood has defined all the minutes of my day.  But now that it has become part of my rhythm of life….it happens without me having to question and worry and think so much.  It is a wonderful part of me, not all of me.

I am the kind of person who has to emerse themselves in a new challenge.  And boy, was I neck deep in trying to figure out mama-hood.  I still am, but I seem to be treading water for a little while, floating and enjoying the clouds, even, and so it is time to discover another part of me.

Bees On Skis will still be a place where I document our wacky and wonderful family life for me, and for us….but I need a little more space to be me.

Come join me at www.talesfromthebeehive.wordpress.com where I am writing now if you feel like it.  I won’t be publicising it on fb, so if you want to know when I post things, click on the subscription button on the blog and you will get an email whenever I post something new.

Love Bee x

Posted by: Shireen | April 16, 2012

The Path to Passion

F and I have a lot (I mean a LOT) of conversations about Little Bee’s school and academic career.  We want her to have as many doors open to her as we can possibly provide.  We discuss nursery schools, primary schools, high schools and even the universities we want her to have the option of going to.  We want her to be well rounded so we discuss soccer classes, and music lessons (Should she learn the ukelele or the guitar, the piano or the triangle?), maybe tennis, or art classes.  What about ballet, and tap or maybe even trapeze classes?  Don’t even get me started on what other languages she should learn! Sound overwhelming for a just about two year old?  We just want her to have every door open, right?

Well, it occurred to us the other day, that simply piling on the classes and fancy schools is not going to ensure that she lives a life filled with passion and enthusiasm.  Actually, it is our responsibility as parents to carefully observe and find out what turns her on, what makes her heart light up with excitement.  We have to help her find her element, as Sir Ken Robinson, talks about.  He says, “The Element is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion.”  I love this idea.  We aren’t just responsible for finding the best school and the soccer class that meets on a Tuesday evening because that is the only free day in our schedule, we are responsible for helping our kids find the path to passion!

I don’t want Little Bee, like so many others, to spend her life going to a fancy school with so many after school activities and then end up at Oxford/Cambridge or some other fancy university, if she ends up working at a job that drags her soul to the ground.

I need to change my reason for opening doors.  I am now opening doors for Little Bee to find out what feeds her soul, what makes her feel wild and alive and then to help and support her to use that to do her life’s work.  It might be basket weaving, or juggling, or playing the guitar, or dance or it might be engineering or law, or medicine, or basketball.

I am going to have to get over my old school views of every kid needing to finish a good degree in order to be happy and successful in this world.  A degree doesn’t always equal happiness, but finding your calling and your passion and knowing you are loved and supported in that decision, will be a much quicker route to fulfilment.

I hope that Little Bee will always challenge herself to be better than she was the day before, but how wonderful it would be if she was being challenged in something that she loved!

Posted by: Shireen | April 8, 2012

The end and the beginning

Its the end of an era.  We are moving out of our little two bedroom apartment to a house in the neighbourhood!  It is so exciting to think of all the space we will have, but at the same time, I can’t help but think of all the growing up that Little Bee, F and I have done in this flat.

We arrived here when Little Bee was just eight months old.  She learned to crawl and walk here.  She learned to eat solid foods here and she learned to talk here.  She learned how to be her own person here.  And I learned how motherhood could be a soulful part of me, rather than overwhelm me.  I really learned how to be comfortable with this new part of me in this home.

Little Bee and I made our first mummy friends here.  The day after we moved in we met the girls who were to be our mummy and baby crew for the next year and a half.  Little Bee’s first friends!  And my first mummy friends.  They understood our sleepless nights, the teething and the amazement of motherhood.  The girls learned to crawl together, and walk and talk and play together.  Now we look at them and can’t believe how they can actually have conversations with each other!

So even though it is the end of an era, I am so happy that this apartment picked us.  We are taking with us so many memories of our Little Bee growing up.  I can’t wait to make some more in the new place!

Picture taken by Little Bean’s mum 🙂

Posted by: Shireen | November 4, 2011

Sunshine and rainbows for dinner, anyone?

In the usual style of a busy mummy, I was rushing around the health food shop grabbing all kinds of fun and healthy things, including rice pasta.  Little Bee loves the Animal shape pasta because then she can make stories up with her food, but on this day, all they had was boring macaroni.

Me:  Sorry Little Bee, they don’t have Animal pasta but we can try macaroni, how’s that?

I hurried her on, grabbing other things from the shelves, while Little Bee contemplated the big change in her menu.

Little Bee:  Thanks mama!

Me: For what, Little Bee?

Little Bee:  You got me baby rainbows!

Me (trying to balance Miso soup, tofu, raisins and sunflower seeds all on one arm and totally confused):  Ranbows?  Where?

Little Bee (pointing at the macaroni):  Here, mama!  Here in the pasta!  Baby rainbows….wow!

I have never in my life looked at macaroni and thought, oh yes, we are having rainbows for dinner.  I just love the way children don’t have any boundaries about what they are “supposed” to know about the world.  They make these amazing connections between things just because they don’t have as much junk in their heads as we do.

Is it really that crazy to think that the person who invented macaroni might have actually been inspired by rainbows?

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