Local Heart, Global Soul

September 10, 2017

I Await The Day When She Gets Me Back…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sometimes some of the best practical jokes come around completely by accident.

One of these occasions happened when Kiwi Daughter came into Himself’s and my bedroom whilst I was sorting my medication into my various daily doses.

She started out with general conversation, then raised a few questions about the coming week, and as I answered, interrupted me by picking up a pill and asking if she could eat it.

I replied that she had picked up a very strong painkiller and it would be a serious overdose if she did.

She then began picking up some of the other pills, asking questions bout each one. I explain that a few are vitamins, I take them on the recommendation of doctors to mitigate the effects of, for instance the hair loss side effects of several of the prescribed medications.

One pill is to help protect my stomach from all of the other pills, there is calcium with vitamin K against my diminishing bone density, Prednison and other medications for my asthma, a low dose antibiotic (I know, not ideal but my Prednison dose would be more than triple without it), pills against acid reflux, the list goes on. Kiwi Daughter then went to the other corner of the table and pointed to a tiny square white form there, “Can I eat this one Mama?” she asked. I replied: “Well you can if you really wanted to but I really would not advise it“. “Why not?” she asked, a little defiantly. ‘ I looked at her in disbelief, “Because it’s plastic, it’s Lego“. The sudden change in the look on her face was priceless, as was the flat “Oh…” as my reply sunk in.

I started to laugh, she picked up the piece of Lego, turned it over and looked at the underside to see if what I said was true, at the same time she tried to say that she hadn’t been fooled but I kept laughing and she was so unconvincing that she didn’t even attempt to finish her sentence, ending up laughing too.

It has been quite a while since I’ve managed to prank her successfully, even though we currently have a “boo” scare campaign going (we try and catch each other unaware and yell “BOO” to make each other jump, to date I’m winning that one by quite a stretch). I’ve had several different attempts at pranks in the recent years but none have reduced us to tears of laughter as much as this quite unintentional one. I await the day when she gets me back.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 19, 2015

Once Upon A Time, In This Case, A Very Short Story…

Filed under: LIFE,Out Of the Mouths Of Babes,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Being laid up at home I don’t get out very much. Luckily we have good friends who come to visit and one of these are Canadian friends  called “the Travelling Two”.

They have a toddler son who last weekend sat on the floor with Himself whilst his mother and I sat at the dining-room table catching up on the week’s events.

After a while there was some muffled laughter from Himself that slowly got louder and louder so we got curious and went to investigate.

There were two piles of storybooks on the floor.

The Travelling Two’s son was picking up a book from the left hand pile, then uttering the words: “Once upon a time there was “… followed by a short  indecipherable murmuring that Himself thinks translates as toddler speak for “blah blah blah” and meant to be the “text” of the story.

Next the young man announced: “Nu is het afgelopen… …Volgende!”  (…now it’s finished… Next!) and with that, deposited the book into the right hand pile with a flourish and then very seriously turned to the next book on the left hand pile to repeat the process all over again. This had been going on with every book on the right hand pile so far and by now, with the “story” now in it’s umpteenth episode, Himself was having trouble keeping a straight face.

Clearly this enthusiastic toddler was delighting in his “reading” the bedtime stories to Himself. Unfortunately the little man’s mother doesn’t think that she would be able to get away with trying the same method somehow!

April 2, 2014

April Fools Was Tougher On Me Than It Was On Them This Year…

Filed under: LIFE,Out Of the Mouths Of Babes,The vaguarities of Parenting — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Yesterday was April Fools Day and the evening before whilst I was busy folding laundry in one half of our living room, Himself sneaked in and whispered that he was going to tell Little Mr. that there was going to be free ice-cream for all the kids at school tomorrow …as an April Fools Day prank.

I immediately said that our kids will not  surely not believe that ice-cream would be free,  and as soon as I had said that Himself concurred and quickly disappeared into the other half of the living room to tell Little Mr.

Our living room is two rooms partitioned off by a set of stained glass sliding doors, which were slightly open so I could hear the ensuing conversation in the other half of the room.

Himself:Little Mr, I had an email from your teachers to say that there will be an ice-cream van coming to school  so that all of the kids at school can have a special treat.  Here is the money you need to take to school so that you can pay for your ice-cream

Little Mr:Oooh yum, Thank you Papa!”

(slight pause)

Little Mr: “Papa?

Himself:Yes Darling?

Little Mr:Papa, could I please have some extra money so that if some children have forgotten their money they can still have an ice-cream too? Their Mamas and Papas could give you the moneys back later?

Himself:That’s a lovely idea….” (conversation then turned to the instructions of the Lego model Little Mr. was busy building)

I don’t know about you, but when I heard my sweet boy being immediately concerned that other children might forget their money and miss out on an ice-cream, and want to do something to make sure they weren’t disappointed, my heart melted…

I’m in two minds as to whether this is a good joke or not, on one hand our kids won’t be scarred for life if they miss out on one ice-cream, but Little Mr. has a very soft heart and is a natural born carer… he’s always looking out for smaller kids, he loves nothing better than being a helper, he’s best friends with a disabled boy at school and has no problem to stay at his friends slower pace when the rest of the boys and girls get impatient and after being in an initial group, sprint off ahead.

Himself thinks this is an excellent joke, so much so in fact that he said he was struggling to keep straight face when talking to Little Mr.  Therefore he emailed Kiwi Daughter the same news instead of trying to tell her face to face.

Me? I’m torn in two…  Such innocent, blind, unconditional trust, about to be exposed as misplaced.

Did I intervene and give the game away? No….  It’s Himself’s prank and I’m letting him have his fun. But one thing is for sure… Himself had instructions from me to go to the shops and buy some special ice-cream for dessert. After all… that’s what I would call a just dessert.

November 30, 2013

Little Mr’s Subconscious Is No Optical Illusion…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Before we leave the Ibis Hotel in Charleville-Mézières France, I want to show you  some trickery in our room.

Our Singaporean friend “Velveteen” is travelling with us so we have adjoining rooms with a connecting door. Each of the room has a door… when both are open you can (naturally) , walk through the doorway. Logical, no? Well, sort of.

If you are on the window side of the connecting door then you are on the side of the actual doorway, so no problem there. However, if you exit the bathroom and are facing the reverse side of the connecting door, then a rather ill placed full length mirror on the wall leads you to believe that the connecting door is on the bathroom side of the door.

Velveteen played an optical illusion for the camera and took hold of the door in the same room that I am standing in… but as my photograph shows, the mirror on the wall makes it look like she’s greeting me from the room next door. The optical illusion is definitely deceptive as I tried more than once to enter the other room and only succeeded in walking into the mirror. I wasn’t the only one caught out, as mutterings and thuds attested.

Little Mr. was also having rather a bad day yesterday when we arrived and while the rest of us enjoyed our picnic dinner in the room. We hadn’t found a playground or any activity that he really liked that day,  he was in  a hard to please mood, and a pick-a-fight-with-my-sister frame of mind.

He sat sulking in the other room after abandoning dinner and didn’t appreciate Kiwi Daughter’s fit of giggles when she discovered what he had been drawing whilst he fumed.  His verdict on the day was abundantly clear “I hate everything, yes I do, everything!” On the reverse side of the paper was a drawing of three people in their beds…  and it seemed to me he was overdue for his bed and a good night’s sleep wouldn’t go amiss. Maybe on an unconscious level he knew it too…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 23, 2013

Messing With Kids Minds: Sometimes …It’s just Too Easy.

As compensation for all those hours of lost sleep,  stinky nappies, sick  blurked up on your shoulders and embarrassing public tantrums, parents sometimes get payback in the form of their kids getting completely sucked in to becoming the butt of  our practical jokes. (We have kids for their entertainment value, right?)

Last weekend we headed out to my best friend’s house for dinner and sat enjoying a fabulous dinner, great company and more sunshine than has been around for a while.

Kiwi Daughter and I are allergic to animal fur so can’t have pets at home, but short stints with other people’s pets are mostly ok(-ish) so are a nice treat, especially for the kids, so they were busy playing with the three cats and two dogs, and admiring the guinea-pigs and the fish. Very relaxed.

The temperature wasn’t exceedingly warm and it was a fraction chilly in the wind, but the sun was shining brightly and sitting indoors in the sun was actually very pleasant. My friend also has a garden, which we lack, so the kids also took the opportunity to play in the garden and generally burn off a bit of energy.  She has a swing seat that backs onto the main living room window and a large awning above it that is operated with a remote control.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Forget thinking of a remote the size of the one your TV uses, this remote control is tiny and fits into the palm of your hand.  Therein lays the seed of our evil deed. It started whilst Little Mr. was playing outside. The sun had dipped low enough to be in our eyes and our friend went to lower the awning blind to make sitting more comfortable.

She was sitting at a 90 degree to the window and had the awning remote in the palm of her hand, when she pushed the button it wasn’t at all obvious she was doing anything so Kiwi Daughter startled at the sudden movement of the large blind, apparently moving on it’s own.

Laughter followed as Kiwi Daughter took a minute  to work out how the awning was moving… and just as she had worked it out, Little Mr. came charging in from outside, pointing to the moving awning and saying in Dutch “hey look at that, how does that move?!!!”

My friend was wearing a hoodie type sweatshirt that had two joining front pockets and her hands were now in these pockets, with said remote control  in the hand facing the window. With a straight face she looked at him and said “Well, I concentrate very hard and when I blink, I can make it go up, and if I nod my head it stops and if I blink both eyes it does down“.  As she spoke and completed these actions, she used the hidden remote control to make the awning blind do the appreciate action.

Little Mr. looked at her in disbelief but with no other visible action coming from her,  he couldn’t work out how she was really doing it. The next five minutes were spent with her making the blind raise, stop or lower “with her special concentration skills”. Try as he might, poor Little Mr. could not find any other explanation.   Kiwi Daughter, Himself and I were almost rolling around in tears by now, and Little Mr. was seriously suspicious (but not at all sure of what) so we switched attention to Kiwi Daughter by telling him that this special concentration skill could most certainly be learned, in fact Kiwi Daughter had mastered it just before he walked in.

Staying as composed as she possibly could, Kiwi Daughter then proceeded to “raise, stop and lower” the awning blind with her “new found concentration skills” (with my friend naturally doing the necessary with the remote control). Little Mr. appeared to suspend belief… he could sort of smell a rat with the adults …but his sister…? No, this had to surely be for real.

Then the ultimate test… we asked it he  could concentrate hard enough to make the awning blind move too… he looked doubtful. We said “Well your sister learned how…”  He screwed up his face in deep concentration and then blinked one eye so hard that his head nodded sharply. The blind moved and he looked completely  and utterly shocked.

Therein began a pantomime of exaggerated actions: head nodding, blinking and winking, coupled with a look of sheer wonder and amazement as the awning blind moved accordingly.  I got a photograph (for the family album) and the look on his face is priceless. He even dashed outside to try out his “skills” from outside as well as inside. Lo and behold the awning retracted as wished.

Whilst he was outside my friend, Kiwi Daughter, Himself and I exploded into mirth.  We made preparations to come home since it was getting late.  Little Mr. is still none the wiser … Kiwi Daughter is delighted to be “in” on the secret.  This prank is good for at least a few more goes methinks. Aww the innocence, trust and gullibility of the young. I should feel guilty but it’s way too funny… and seriously, all too easy!

February 1, 2013

Rediscovering Your Funny…

Filed under: kid stuff,LIFE,Out Of the Mouths Of Babes — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

I stashed some notes of a few 0f our families funnier moments and they got forgotten in the mad rush that is everyday life: work, family, house, homework, cooking, laundry etc. The first one is from when Little Mr. was six, almost seven years of age, the rest from more recent months.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Mid November is a special time for small Dutch Children because “Sint” (Saint Nicolas) arrives in the Netherlands (from Spain) to get ready for the festivities and present giving day (5th December).

Tradition dictates that  he arrives by steam boat in a Dutch harbour towns or cities (one is chosen each year and it’s rotated through the entire list of possible sites)

Children appear to have no problem with the fact that on exactly the same day that the “real” Sint arrives in a port on a steamboat (the whole event is hugely televised and avidly watched) that every other town and city in the Netherlands there is also local parade to celebrate  Sint’s arrival in the county, also featuring a Sint.

Little Mr. at  six years of age is still a staunch believer  and declares haughtily that he knows that “those extra ones are “mep” (fake) Sint’s“. But that doesn’t explain why if he sees the one in our city parade that he’s as awestruck and excited as if this one were the real thing.

Belief in these things is, like a child, devoid of logic sometimes and I’m  very glad of it because as a parent it would take quite some explaining without shattering his illusions.

Luckily he hasn’t yet asked why or how we manage to have Saint Nicolas appear in early December to give out presents to boys and girls and then have Father Christmas arrive later in the same month to do the same.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Strangely enough it doesn’t even make him remotely suspicious. (In our house we celebrate both Christmas/Father Christmas and Saint Nicolas so we’ve split the gifts between the two,  we don’t think it’s materially right or necessary for the kids to  build up any expectation that they can double dip.)

Sooo… it’s Sunday 13th November 2011 and Little Mr. is eating breakfast glued to the replay of yesterday’s grand event (he was  out yesterday and only caught a snippet of the parade in The Hague, so wanted to watch a “Sint Special” that is re-televised on the Sunday morning from yesterdays big event in Dordrecht). Sint Nicolas is coming to the outskirts of Dordrecht, as he gets closer, a flurry of support boats join him to form a flotilla,  suddenly several people on jet-skis zoom close to the stream boat and the TV camera’s zoom in on them for a moment…

Little Mr. suddenly shrieks excitedly:  “Look at them on the water Mama!  … Scooters!!!!”

Ah ha… a jet-ski on water + kid logic = scooter!


Little Mr come in to my room “riding” a broom … I ask him if he’s a witch, he says “no silly, witches are girls and I’m a boy.”

Oh, I said, I think that makes you a sorcerer

Oh yes Little Mr replies… that’s right,   I’m a saucer!

Um, no I explain, a saucer is the little plate that goes under a cup… the word is “sorcerer”

Little Mr is now dancing in the middle of the bedroom with the broom “I leave the window open to fly out and in, but there is always someone at home so no robbers can came in….(starts singing)  I’m a saucer, saucer, saucer, I’m a saucer, saucer, saucer!”


Little Mr. has been playing regularly with two little neighbour boys. I’ve dubbed them the Lego Gang….  they take turns at Lego building together at each other houses and on this occasion Little Mr. comes home from his play date just as my best friend (and his godmother) is visiting.

Without saying hello he flops down on the couch and says dramatically “ it’s  NOT fair !” .  Himself handing out hot drinks to the adults and asks “What’s not fair darling?”  to which Little Mr. replies in an annoyed voice “(name neighbour boy 1) and (name neighbour boy 2)  both have parents who are divorced and you guys are still  married! I’m the ONLY one in the portiek who’s parents are married! “..For some reason he wanted to be in the “divorced family club”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I laughed and said “ ok honey, Papa and I promise to  work on our divorce… just give us 50 or 60 years!”  Stupidly Little Mr. was very pleased with the answer but meanwhile both best friend and Himself were laughing so hard they almost snorted tea and coffee up their noses.

(in case you are wondering if divorce in the Netherlands is rampant, please be aware that Little Mr. conveniently forgot to mention the other immediate neighbours who are a) happily married but have no kids, b) happily married but kids are grown and have flown the nest, c) was long and happily married but is now a widow.)


Overheard: Little Mr.  … playing down the other end of the living room with two little friends… translated from Dutch…

Little Neighbour girl: I’m five, How old are you?
Little Neighbour boy “I’m five and a half
Little Mr: “I’m seven
Little Neighbour girl “wow, you are almost a big person! (groote mens)
Little Mr (sagely using his oldest and wisest voice) “well… noooo, you only get to be a big person when you are 18 or so… but when you are bigger you’ll know that too”


Ninety year old Oma  ( Oma = grandmother)… on the telephone to Himself, recounting her side of a heated argument with one of her daughters (my SiL) on the subject of her independence and ever increasing lack of it, and the level of demands she is now asking of family members in order to stay in her own apartment.

Sister in Law has suggested that Oma  might need to start considering a assisted living situation (Oma is fiercely independent and  is adamant that this is something she will never even consider) (said with an angry huff) ” (name daughter)  is wrong, I still do everything for myself,  Everything!!  … Himself, Can you pick me up a new coffee pot when you come over to do the shopping?

Obviously the irony of the last phrase was completely lost on her.

January 6, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes: Fright and Delight of Minson’s…

Filed under: LIFE,Out Of the Mouths Of Babes — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In my post yesterday, I talked about the things that children come out with, and a Comment made to that post has once again inspired another post here…

My mother recounted this funny story years ago after she had gone into an expensive fine china and porcelain shop  (Minson and Company, Christchurch, New Zealand) to choose a very special  present. She had asked staff some advice and was browsing the selection when there entered an exceptionally well dressed woman with her small son (approx 4 years of age).

A staff member politely asked if  they might be of assistance and was haughtily rebuffed as the lady rather sharply declared that she hadn’t decided which kind of item she wished to buy yet.

My mother was the only other customer in the shop, so the tone of this exchange immediately caught her attention. (apparently it was well-known that staff in this shop were very helpful with their excellent  knowledge of porcelain).

The child started picking up various pieces, turning them over to view the bottoms and then setting them back.  The child’s mother said nothing and let the boy do as he wished.
Considering the delicate merchandise and the steep price tags attached,  this certainly not what might be termed a “family friendly” environment,  and it could potentially be  financially hazardous if said ‘family’ is a child under five years of age.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Thus my Mother said she found herself  curiously spying out of the corner of her eye at the pair,  as did, she noticed, the shop staff. (I assume they were getting rather nervous at child’s actions).

However this was an establishment with no small “reputation”  and the staff politely held back from admonishing the child.

The little boy’s mother browsed the contents of the shop,  standing a short distance away from her son, who blissfully carried on picking up item after another.

Some  five minutes later,  as tension mounted, the child picked up yet another piece of porcelain, and looked at the bottom,  then looked over to his mother and very loudly exclaimed:

What a BLOODY rip-off!

His mother’s reaction was instant… she immediatly put down the item she had been looking at, blushed deepest red, rushed to the child, prised the item out of his hands and raced them both off the premises with almost indecent and almost comical haste.

My mother looked over the to staff who were trying to remain polite and not laugh, but she couldn’t manage to keep her own giggles at bay and once she had started, there was no hope of  keeping the straight face of decorum any longer and soon they were all wiping away tears of mirth.

Obviously the little boy had no clue as to what was really expensive or not,  but at that moment had just chosen to repeat something that he had heard his mother say often in shops.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Clearly his mother was not necessarily quite the hoity-toity lady with manners that she made herself out to be.

With those five words he successfully knocked her off her high and mighty pedestal and Parents everywhere given a sharp reminder that their offspring may not only spout fourth your wisest words in public, but also in their innocence,  air evidence of your least-best parenting skills too.

Sadly, Minsons was not a shop that I could ever afford to frequent as a young adult and now that I have tried to do some research  to see what the business is like today, I discover to my dismay that apparently it ceased trading some time ago.

I did however find the link (below) to  a Canterbury Heritage Site, with a photo of the original shop (top left photo) which I know to be  from the Christchurch City Public Library Archives. The shop that I knew however, was the later one depicted in the bottom right hand corner.


I did go into Minson’s twice once I started work, and even then I was so afraid of breaking anything that I was a nervous wreck upon exiting.  I remember a wondrously beautiful shop, but it did have the power to strike the Fear of God into me too.   I’m very sad to learn that it has now closed and gone, but delighted to have a funny memory to remember it with.

.. btw the part of the Comment that inspired this post came from Denimhttp://whatzthatallabout.wordpress.com/ who wrote:

THEN…there are the times when you think they are not listening to your grand wisdom and words and somewhere like three years, 2 months and 19 days later they repeat it out loud as their own.“…

So true, so true.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 5, 2011

Tricky Questions Provoke dealing with Thorny Issues…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A few days ago, Matt, a fellow blogger who blog I enjoy following, wrote a very thought provoking post that has in part, inspired this one.

It was (partly)about how kids can sometimes take what appears to be a very everyday conversation and then drop a very adult deep-and-meaningful  question into it, and how as parents we deal with answering  these questions.

Matt’s experience  is a  familiar one  in our household and I’d like to expand on it because I find that even weirder, that fact that  kids  flit away from the subject like a butterfly (A) just as parent is getting into the full swing of the explanation  or (B) exit the subject  happily even before receiving any answer.

In the (A)  situation, as a parent you assume you are experiencing one of those very special ” light-bulb” moments, that your child is talking a step up the ladder of maturity right before your very eyes… and sometimes if you are lucky, they actually are.

But more often  it’s like they are just dipping a finger into the depths of the adult world, and finding that it might possibly be deep water, they just take a lick and then spring back to the safety of  the child world.

It usually goes like this: They are all kid babble as usual, stretching  and blowing the trivial into mega elastic mind boggling proportions as kids are apt to do,  then all of a sudden they throw a seriously deep question or statement into the conversation.

The question lands like a cup of water into a hot oil fire… i.e. the back-draft  engulfs the parent as they reel, trying to access how to best respond.

We as parents sometimes have a good answers,  sometimes even excellent ones, sometimes we make a right hash of it all….and if you are a parent reading this and nodding your head thinking “ Oh Yes, guilty as charged” …. ,  then you will also know that often you have probably been so overtaken by the depth of the question that you explained it to a level that went so much further than we realised that the kid wanted or required.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Whilst we wax lyrical enthusiastically about the answer, the  kid has meanwhile skipped off to another ride on the mental playground and switched off completely. Then, all of a sudden they re-engage their thoughts, and plug back into the conversation having metaphorically not just changed clothes but apparently moved house as well.

The adult in this situation is still well and truly focused on a single stream of consciousness, blissfully unaware that in the kids mind we are no longer playing on the swings but have done the slide, skipped rope, played hopscotch and are now heading for the climbing frame. The kid plugs back into the conversation with a very clear vision of where things are at.. the climbing frame of course… and the  adult suddenly becomes strangely aware that somewhere the conversation is running in one direction but that the kid lost the plot/ moved on/took a detour ages ago.

Usually this revelation comes because the kid announces something else totally unrelated and it generally comes as a bombshell to the patent, who assumed that kid was on-board with the original question/answer until the illusion was shattered.

I’m relieved to report that this parent-child process is normal… but it’s not always without stress.

One of the earliest of these situations took place when Kiwi Daughter was about four years old.

The awkward question popped up whilst driving in the car to an appointment. I think Little Mr. was about six months old at the time. The conversation was revolving around us having passed a playground/park and her pleas to please now stop so that she could  play. We were explaining why we can’t and she was quiet… ergo we assume she is listening to the reason we can’t stop.

So, explanation to her question given, there was silence.. then her little voice in the back seat said: “Papa, How are babies made?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now, Himself was driving, and the question was specifically directed to him… I see him startle and I’m doing my best to not burst out into a fit of giggles at the thought of how he’s going to handle this one. He struggles a second and chooses his words carefully… ” Well sweetheart, first you have a lady (the Mama) and a Man ( the Papa) and they get together…”

Annoyingly for my evil sense of humour and delight at how he is squirming over this, Himself is saved by Kiwi Daughters small voice in the backseat as she interrupts… ” and can we take bread for the ducks too if we go to the Park?”

… and Himself…. off the hook , gives an audible sigh of relief that he didn’t have to explain the Facts of Life just yet.

It’s happened many a time since then. Often the kids want to hear all of the explanation… we as parents are learning to keep the explanations, short, to the point and as simple as possible. But it’s often not easy.

Just a few weeks ago, with Christmas Day fast approaching that we were in this situation again…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Hubby was telling the kids to not fight and to behave themselves because remember Santa comes for all children who have been Good and  later in the day I was answering kid questions as video flashed onto the TV screen  (The News) about child poverty in developing countries.
All of a sudden the question was sprung by Little Mr:  “ Mama, Have all those kids  been really really naughty, that Santa isn’t bringing them toys or nice things to play with?”
Ouch… I was still reeling, frantically trying to find a good truthful but diplomatic, five-year-old- friendly answer when all of a sudden in the pause, his voice  interrupts: “ Mama can I go in the bath FIRST tonight?”
Huh? where did THAT thought come from?

For once  I’m delighted to be off the hook, but I’m still mulling over the question,  not knowing how to answer it if it comes back.

How DO you explain world poverty and the plight of starving, helpless children, those who have been abandoned or neglected or who live in war zones to a five year old? and how do you do it when said kid passionately believes in a Santa who travels the world dishing out gifts to all children who have been good?

We have children that we sponsor each month, one in Brazil and one in Colombia and  our children know that we do that because these little girls are poor so we help them buy clothes, school books and because it helps their families.

This is when telling  them either about the Christian story of Jesus or about Santa gets tricky… does Jesus love some children more and others less? Why are we so lucky to be born where we are?..  with food on the table, clothes on our backs and hopefully not afraid to venture out because there might be violence or a hail on bullets on the streets.

Little Mr. Had a very deep thought… for him it didn’t settle but for me it has been deeply thought provoking. I’m also amazed that he had the insight for this question to appear in the first place.

I don’t know how to answer Little Mr’s. question (The first one not the bath one, naturally)… so if anyone has some thoughts that could help me if he brings the subject up again then I’d be delighted to hear them.

(note: The artwork has been kindly supplied for this post by Little Mr. (aged 5) and depict Santa, his reindeer, sleigh and he assures me LOTS of snow both in the sky and under foot, which are  represented in black pen, because otherwise “we wouldn’t be able to see white snow on white paper, silly” … and yes, the Santa in the first drawing does appear to be sporting earings LOL)

I would also be remiss if I did not include a link to the post that inspired this one .. Thanks Matt!


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