Category: The Squishy Files

A letter to my daughter on her third birthday

A letter to my daughter on her third birthday

My dearest Elizabeth,

Today you are three. Thank you for letting us be a part of the most amazing year. One where you’ve learned how to express what you want and feel, where you’ve spent every moment learning and discovering new things, on where you’ve started to make friends, and realised it’s okay to venture out on your own sometimes. One where you’ve revealed that you have the most incredible imagination, and that you care deeply for others.

The so-called “terrible twos” did not exist in our home. It was just a year of endless wonder.

Today I only have one piece of wisdom to impart:

It’s not about you.

I don’t expect you to understand this yet – many people go their entire lives without ever understanding this; I’m not sure I do yet – but I hope one day you’ll read this and understand.

You are amazing. You are beautiful, you are so smart it scares me sometimes, you are precious, you matter, and to your mother and me you are the most important thing in the universe.

But this life…it’s not about you.

The second half of the Great Commandment says, “Love your neighbour as you love yourself,” which is really just another way to say, it’s not about you.

The person you are, the gifts you have received, are not for your benefit. You may most certainly enjoy what you’ve been given, but never forget that ultimately your purpose on this Earth is to do good to others. For their sake, not yours.

In practical terms that means be considerate. Think how your actions, even your well-intentioned ones, will affect others. Put the needs of others ahead of your own. Be willing to come in second if someone else really needs the win. Do what’s right, even if it doesn’t feel good. Treat everyone with respect, even if they don’t give you that same courtesy. Share what you have freely, and never pass by an opportunity to serve another.

It’s not easy to live this way, and I think I fail at it far more than I succeed. But it’s the key to a fulfilling life, and the secret to fixing this mess we’ve made the world into – things are the way they are because everyone just tries to take as much for themselves as they can, but you have the power to change that. Each one of us has.

I hope this makes sense to you one day, and I pray that I’ll be able to set you an example of what it means to live this way.

With all my love,

Dad

Sleepless nights

Sleepless nights

It seems we have reached the night-terrors phase.

At around 3 this morning Elizabeth screamed, as in damsel in a horror movie screamed. Attentive parents that we are we naturally leapt out of bed and ran to her – no jokes, we live in an area with many venomous snakes, and one regularly hears of people, and especially children, being bitten by a snake in their bed, so naturally we assumed the worst.

When we got to her she kept saying “fork, fork” inbetween sobs – fork is currently her word for anything sharp, which only increased our fears. While the wife held her I took all her bedding and mattress out of her cot, but nothing there, and we couldn’t see any bite or sting marks on her skin, so assumed it was just a bad dream.

So I lay waiting the next two hours for my alarm to go off with the Minion’s feet in my kidneys (not taking chances on invisible snakes we took her to our bed where she promptly decided lying in a position perpendicular to us was most comfortable).

Come morning the missus takes her to her room to get dressed, and she start speaking of the fork again, except now it sounds more like pig (if you’re horribly confused right now, the Afrikaans words for fork and pig differ by only one syllable – “vurk” vs “vark”). Apparently a pig was trying to smell her, and she wasn’t having any of that.

(Your guess is as good as mine where she got the idea of a pig sniffing her – the only pigs to which she has regular exposure is one with a last name Bank and another with a first name Peppa…)

Anyway, come bedtime all goes well – getting dressed, storytime, the regular routine. Until the wife tries to leave the room. Total hysterics. The pig mustn’t smell her. She wants to sleep in our bed. She wants us to stay with her.

Apparently this is a phase they go through, which means it will pass (hopefully soon). Pigs, though? Wherever did she get that one?


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The Minion says…

Came into the house (my home office is in an outbuilding) and The Minion came running saying “Daddy, Daddy, I’m watching the sun-story!”

That would be Tangled.

Other favourites include the ball-story (Inside-Out) and the balloon-story (Up). (The balloon-story causes no small amount of distress once the balloons start popping.)

And Moana, but for some reason that’s just Moana