I love traditions. new ones especially that involve special moments between my kids and I. I guess it’s the knowing that we are creating memories that they will remember forever, memories the we will look back on and think ” Those things were so cool!” and hopefully my things that my grown-up kids will want to continue with their own kids.
We have a few standard traditions on our home, that are guaranteed to not be much different for the average family –
Pizza Fridays have been a long-standing hit for about two years now. Sometimes we take it that little bit further and drag a mattress into the lounge for a mammoth movie night while scoffing pizza into our faces. Dad sometimes goes all out and gets them REAL movie popcorn. Legend right?
Saturday mornings are our lazy morning where if we don’t have anything to rush off to you you will find us in our Pj’s making scrambled eggs and playing records loudly. This usually turns into a dance off with Brody taking the prize for Interpretive Dance and Noah taking home the award for the best Hip Hop/Break-dancing routine. I’m known for doing a rather impressive version of The Running Man (Even at 7 months pregnant i give it horns yo!) and Brendon likes to come in with a guitar solo if there’s any element of Rock ‘n roll whatsoever. It’s the best and we all usually land up on the couch laughing at each other and then watching the boys do it over and over and over again.
Some Saturdays the boys wake up early and make their way to the Kalk Bay Harbour to buy a fresh fish for the braai. This tradition is one inspired by my fish-crazy husband who likes nothing more than to put a whole yellowtail on the braai in the summer. I think it’s the whole process of going to the harbour with the the boys, watching the fresh fish come in off the boats and seeing the boys reaction to all the seafood on display. (Brody has an obsession with touching the fish’s eyes!) and then having it wrapped up to take home. He loves preparing the fish with fresh herbs and loads of lemon and then lighting a fire with a cold beer in his hand. This has become one of our popular summer traditions that we do as a family almost every weekend.
But we haven’t really had any new traditions make their way into our home in a while. That is until we got our sheepskin from Nordic Baba and have since spent many a moment on it together in my room. I’m not really sure how it started – I think it was one night after Brodes and I had bathed, and we were sitting on the mat just having a chat. He was holding a coin in his hand I told him whoever was holding the coin gets to talk and ask a question. I didn’t have to ask him twice, he’s know to love a good chat! We had the most special one-on-one time just talking about our day and asking each other questions. We would each take turns passing the the coin back and forth, giving each other a kiss at each handover. (`This step is partly about just acknowledging the other and partly because I just want to devour my kids any chance I can get).
And then Noah caught on to what we were doing and I did the same with him. He sat on the mat opposite me, legs crossed and began asking me questions he’s never really asked me before. I realised that because it was intentional time and each of us had to think about what we wanted to ask the other person it created such a special bond of leaning more about each other. So I very casually told them that this was going o be our special chat mat – a place where we could come to anytime with mom and dad an talk about stuff. It can be happy stuff, sad stuff or even suff that makes us worried or anxious. It can even be silly stuff if they are in the mood for a joke.
The next night after we were finished eating dinner Brody got a bit emotional about something and to my surprise mentioned he needed a session on the chat mat. We made our way to the floor in my bedroom and started with asking me a question. I was also quite surprised to see just how sweet some of his questions were, like he was really getting to know me – Not just as his mom, but as a complete individual! He asked me what my favourite flowers were and “What was my favourite part about NOT going to school? ” Bless.
You see, it’s not that he necessarily had something huge on his mind, but he felt the urge to connect wth me and have some focused quality time. Often when a three year-old gets needy it’s because he really NEEDS focused attention. Even if it’s only 10 minutes on a mat after a long day of extra murals and dealing with a mom whose distracted with baby prep. I don’t think he’s nervous bout the baby coming, he just needs reminding that I’m still there for him, and that I always will be!
So this is our new tradition – “The Chat Mat sessions” and we are loving it. SO much so that I’m wondering if it will be a good place to handle conflict between the hubs and I. You know like if we are both arguing over who said what, we can take turns with the coin telling the other how we feel. SCARP THAT, that’s a terrible idea haha!
This special mat has become our sacred place of shared thoughts and feelings and safe place for my boys to be able to share just about anything. Noah has expressed that he will come to me to tell me his “secrets” and all his magic tricks. I’m so down with that. 🙂
You see while my kids are still so small and we have years to go before they reach the teenage years, I hope that by starting traditions and habits like this early, my boys will always know that I’m here for them and that they can trust me with anything. I want them to know that their dad and I are their safe place, that all communication is open and we don’t judge them. Because if I’m not going to offer them this place of safety and open-communication then who will?
There are only 3 “rules” when it comes to the Chat Mat:
- It has to be one-on-one. Threes a crowd and takes away from the intimacy of two people talking alone. This is a place where they need to feel that can bring up anything, even if its about their sibling who is getting on their nerves. So they need to respect that it’s “alone time ” with mom and they need to wait their turn.
- The person holding the coin is the one who asks the question or tells the other something they want to share. Don’t interrupt or take over.
- Always make eye-contact and focus on the person talking. This is why sitting facing each other with legs crossed is a good way to start. You are both focused on each other and looking straight ahead.
Please feel free to try this special tradition in your own home, with your own family! And let me know how your kids enjoy it. Remember mine are almost 4 and 6, so too much younger than this may not be as effective. Do you have similar traditions that help you connect after a long and busy day? Tell me in the comments below xxx
Also remember you could win this Sheepskin form Nordic Baba should you feel inclined to want a place to chat to your kids this way OR if you just want an amazing nordic sheepskin to make your living-space that much more gorgeous 🙂 Nordic Baba are giving away a sheepskin to the value of R950 in our Master Bedroom Makeover competition. Enter here now to win a makeover worth over R23 000!