Category Archives: Parenting

Straight for a Change

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In this Fanø house from the 1760s, is where I spent a couple of hours today, together with my 12yearold, and the kind, sweet lady who lives in the house.

We spent the two hours in her bathroom! As we came to receive her help with making a “relaxer treatment” on Lava´s hair.
I have asked everyone who crossed our path in all these years, for help with her hair. Half Norwegian, fine hair, and half Caribbean.        A eufro, I named it.
Not easy to comb, and it always grows upwards towards the sky, not downwards towards the earth.
But Birthe, as her name is, has lived in several African countries working for Unicef, and she has two daughters with African hair. So she simply went and got us a superb product in an Asian shop in Esbjerg, and today she showed us how it is done when one relaxes hair…!

First, separating areas of hair, so one can do one area at a time…:

Then…:

15 minutes later….:

Then letting it stay in for 20 minutes…

Rinsing with one type of shampoo that turns the water pink until all the “stuff” is rinsed out…:

Then another bag of stuff, to make it soft and shiny and help it “heal” from the straightening stuff…

And then to just leave that in for 10 minutes…:

Lava´s sister came by and joined us, as she didn´t want to go with dad and her brother to the forest playground (!) … :

Then another rinse…:

And a round of special conditioner as the last step.
Result: One very happy girl. Imagine it can be like this!!!

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Growing grownups

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u have the e of the sun in u Rumi

“You have the energy of the sun in you. ”
– Rumi

I´m tired. And I have a cold. So I´m off to bed in a sec. Just feel like saying hi to you my blogreaders.
From the bedroom underneath my feet, I can hear my eldest daughter and her three fellow 11-yearold girlfriends chattering and giggling. So sweet, they truely are. I feel honoured that they ask to come stay over at ours. I very much want my kids to bring their friends home. Where I can get to know their friends, keep a distant eye on them as they approach puberty… not intimidatingly. I´m neither a curling mom nor a helicopter mom. Far from it. My goal is to grow independent self reliant children. They have to be given freedom in order to make mistakes they can learn from.
But by giving them space to hang out in my home, I get the priviledge of them turning to me from time to time, with an important question, or a story of how life is treating them. And that is an openness and a level of trust I appreciate and work towards.

Anyways. They are downstairs, and I´ve told them I´m off to bed and to ask dad if they need help with anything. And that the only promise I want them to give me, is that they will brush their teeth before they fall asleep. Which they´ve promised. Bless them.   🙂

Let me share some of the slogan posts I have gathered in my Facebook stream lately , all to do with parenting, or children…

childrens feelings

 

Nice one to keep in mind…  Here is another one…

 

feelings are ok

Yeah… if only children were taught this. That any emotion is okay. And  that shaming people for showing feelings that feel unpleasant to the surroundings, is not okay… This is actually a big problem in our society. Suppression of feelings. Sadness, anger. Until it boils over. Or explodes…

Another one:

finnish school system

Interesting, isn´t it? The Finnish system and its results… I wish other countries would go research and copy the stuff that works. That would be intelligent.

u are worthy always

Imagine if this is what our kids learnt in school. I think that how to tackle life´s challenges, should be the primary thing for them to learn. Psychology, communication, empathy, how to build good, positive networks, how to think positive, how to build trust, how to love oneself…

Oh. I could write a lot about this. But not right now. I´m really knackered.

One last poster and off to bed with me.

Here you are. A great piece of advice for any human, big or small.  🙂

before u sleep think happy

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Puppet Theatre in Budapest

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We spent a week in beautiful Budapest, 1.-6.of November. In super sunshine. Check out my post http://kaltwasser.dk/janos-mountain-budapest/ for the story on our first day there, on a walk around the Janos mountain.

The following morning, we had booked tickets for The Magic Flute by Mozart in the city´s house for puppet theatre. I don´t remember the name of the place (Hungarian names are hard to memorize, it´s a very unique language and not an indo european language like most other European languages are…)

Anyways. They have a puppet theatre performance every day in that house!

For the five of us, we paid about 500 Danish kroner, or abouts… 8o euros? Not expensive compared to in Denmark.

We were told to arrive early. And then spent about an hour waiting around in their lobby. Luckily there were many fascinating things to look at there… :

dukke i foaje mand

dukketeater pirater i skib

monter puppet shows

dronning dukke

brillejente dukke

jungelboken monter

Puppets from different plays… The Jungle book I recognized… and a queen?

The Magic Flute was a 2 d show, where the dolls were made of paper, on sticks… we were not allowed to take pictures during the performance. But I did take this one before it started:

dukketeater total

I felt so moved when I walked into that room… something about puppet show setups really get to me, I don´t know why. In my favourite film as well; “La belle histoire”, French from about 1992… there are scenes from a puppet theatre… and it totally makes me feel all… I don´t know what to call it.  Moved.

On our way out from the theatre again… I hope next time we get tickets for a show with the normal 3d puppets… and that there are no school classes that get to sit in all the front seats… I´m really looking forward to going back there one day. Unfortunately all the other shows that week were sold out.

montre på vej ud

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On Creativity

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 Been a few days since I updated my blog now.  It´s because I´m still struggling with this cold, feeling tired and deflated. Plus I´m attending this 30 day long workshop through email, where I do psychological / spiritual excercises an hour every day. It´s free. Her name is Katja Strandgaard, website called Life in Spirit… hereby recommended. 🙂
I found this vid the other day. Love it truely. Hope you enjoy it:

https://youtu.be/goAIXgYB3xM

Creativity. I´ve read heaps of books about it. How to stimulate it, help it flow, help it grow…

u cant use up creativity

Like flexing a muscle…makes it stronger…
I could tip you on a few great book titles. But then I have to find the books, behind the sofa… it´s an hour long project to find the books I´m thinking about, even though I know their whereabouts…

I´m too tired for that right now.

showered cat

Hahaha…. this photo is proof of quite a creative cat owner… probably a young one…?    🙂

Creative is to make up. To spot that a cup can also be a hat. And a musical instrument. And a house for a mouse. Or ornament for a christmas tree…

lesegyngestol

The person who made this chair, had a pretty creative mind…    🙂
We all want one of these chairs, don´t we?
He or she could make millions, selling these.

vegan sushi

Pretty creative looking sushi maki rolls… purple… ! …
Actually, today I made “sushi salad” for dinner. Which was invented by my grlfriend Katarina in Bergen this Summer. Sushirice, wasabi, ginger, salad leaves sprinkled with sesame oil… fish /prawns… avocado, brussel sprouts, corn in butter… It was a feast. We made packages, wrapping our favourite ingredients in sea weed. Mmmmmm…. I´m really full. And so are the kids actually!

teach gardening

There´s creativity in gardening, cooking, sewing, painting, there´s creativity in any activity where we use our sense of fresh vision, to see things anew, from more angles than the agreed upon one, the conventional…  making something that wasn´t there before we started…

Yeah.  And now I will sort out the spelling mistakes of this blogpost and publish it and take my little son to bed and fall asleep together with him! It´s half past 7 pm and I am just… knackered. Utterly and completely knackered. This day has been good, but now it is long enough.

Give me some of this!

like cat and dog, peaceful sleep

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Danes are born with bikes! :0)

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So I finally got a chance to film my tinytot riding his bike, this morning. Normally I am busy holding his seat while he gets up on his pedals. But today his dad just suddenly taught him to start on his own too, so… YEAH!

Like I wrote underneath the video on Youtube, Norwegians are said to be born with skis on their feet. And I reckon one could say that Danes are born sitting on a bicycle! 🙂

Wonderful to watch them learn new, difficult skills. Mastery. Success. Like jumping from the kitchen table to the floor. Or floating in a pool without being held by a grownup…

Kids learn to bike real early here, and the flatness of the landscape has some of the honour for that. In addition, there´s the trend of giving toddlers “running bikes” to ride when they´re 18 months old. On those bikes they learn to balance. And then, getting up on the pedals is not as big a challenge as it is if one has not been on a running bike first.

Anyways. Just wanted to share this proud moment with you. Of my youngest one, biking to kindergarten through our hood this fine, sunshiny morning.

I wish I had been more aware whilst behind the camera. I should have told his sister there, that I wanted to film her brother because he just learnt to ride himself, and that she is very good at it too! I kind of tell her to move out of the way so I can film her brother! Hahaha…. but I´m sure she understands my focus. She gets a lot of praise as well, all the time. So.
Nothing as guilty feeling as a mother, huh?! We never feel quite good enough, do we?!

sark on how to love kids

I dig SARK. She´s got books and posters going on. Excellent stuff.

Well, I must dash now! Sees y´all later, gators!

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My parents´shoes

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There is this feeling. That I get when I put clothes on in the morning and find myself wearing my mom´s cool cardigan that she let me inherit, the nice skater shoes that were too small for my sister, and jeans my soul sister girlfriend used to own… It makes me feel closer to them all in some peculiar way.

20141227_183505

This is a painting of my “farfar”, father´s father. Whose house I grew up in, so I could actually climb the stairs up to his flat before I could walk! He was my daycare; when all the other adults in the house went to work, him and I hung out playing pirate ship underneath his frontroom table, playing Ludo with 12 dice (and I always won), picking plums and apples in the garden, mowing the lawn and weeding, taking naps on the sofa together, going out in his car to pick up grandma from her job in the telephone central…
He made me a doll´s house once, and stilts, and a wooden gun that could shoot rubber bands for real!
He was my superhero. With a capital S.

I also have an item of clothing after him, a dark blue and white knitted cardican that he wore a lot.
I have clothes after my dad as well, who left us in 2010. His red hand knitted woollen jumper that my mom made him, and the last pair of Ecco shoes that he bought for himself. I wear them for a month or two every autumn/spring.

Some weeks ago I was visiting my mother for Summer holiday, and I was in my car driving alone, whilst wearing a pair of expensive sneakers she´d just given me as it hurt her feet to wear them. Suddenly I had the urge to write these words on a scrap of paper:

Inheritance

My parents´ shoes are only
one small size too large for me
they fit me rather comfortably
both physically and metaphorically

I´d rather that their footsteps be
a size I can´t fill easily
an example to follow gratefully
to grow into step by step

glass refillable

With that poster I aim to move into saying that by no means were my parents perfect in my childhood. They were human, and they did the best they could. They have openly told me a bunch of times how they didn´t quite understand how to deal with me when I was little. I was just different to the other kids. I didn´t play in the sandbox, I watched as the others played… stuff like that.

My mother taught me to read age 4 and a half.
I read a lot ever since, and wrote short stories from age 5. (About how Santa cancelled xmas, for example, because the humans were too materialistic about it, all they wanted was new things).
They got me a piano. Which I played with a teacher for 6 years. So those were two very good things I am grateful for.

Although in some ways they were too strict,  too controlling and didn´t see my sensitivity or intentions…  they always meant well.  I don´t think there are many of us who don´t have issues we need to digest and forgive about our upbringing.
It´s a natural thing between parents and children, where one party has all the power and the other party is forced to obey… to say it in black and white, of course there are always many shades of gray in everything.

I told my dad on his deathbed. I thanked him for always trying his best for me.
I recognize his good intentions. He did really well in some ways, and less well in others. A man of his time and of his own life conditions. For example, he saw his own dad for the first time when he was 3 years old!
As his dad had been out to sea for that long. They did, back then, where I come from. Sailed to China, and Cuba, gone for years at a time… my mother´s dad was a sailor as well. Both were chefs on board their ships.

My parents had a traffic school that they ran together, and it was very successful. All the local 17-18-yearolds got their driver´s licences through them, and they always came and told me how wonderful my parents were. Caring and funny and helpful, both my dad in his car and my mom in their office. My dad touched a lot of people´s hearts whilst teaching them how to drive, to believe in their own abilities, to forgive themselves for making mistakes, to be relaxed yet alert at the same time…stuff you need to learn to master driving.
In his spare time when I was little, he started the first soccer team for girls in my hometown, and I played soccer there from age 8-16.

I´m very proud of them both.
And could tell you a lot more they did and do, that makes me love them so much.

I could also give a lot of examples of times I was hurt by their words or actions.

As  probably all of us can, about our parents.

I wonder how my kids will talk about their upbringing when they become grownups.
All I can do is to try my best for them. And hope that the wounds I cause, will be healable with the help of them knowing that I love them with all my heart.

broken men

But.
Broken (wo-)men can be repaired. The glass is refillable. We develope and grow and change all the way thoughout our lifetimes.

The Japanese have this really nice concept in their thinking, look:

image

And with that, I finish this post. And wish you progress, in whatever area it is you are choosing to grow at the moment.

May the force be with you.  🙂

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Goodness

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self-help

Not the worst advice I have heard in my life TIME… 🙂

Just sifting through my collected Facebook posters tonight, seeing if I can gather some that will all fit under the title “Goodness”… Let me see…

saudi street fridge for needy

This for sure is goodness. Some moslems really know how to take care of the not so lucky ones in their community. I remember when I lived in Bahrain, I realized that the mosques were places that served soup for the poor people several times a week… Much like some churches do in Norway… But not all churches… I don´t know if all mosques do, either. But this idea of this man, to put a fridge up outside, for people to put their leftovers, so others can help themselves to some food if they want… Big heart, innovative mind. I salute you.

be a good person

Moving image. Could we not all do a bit more of this? We could, couldn´t we, most of us…

children catch your inconsistency

Hahaha, I LOVE posters like this one, pointing the finger right back at the parents… Such a tremendous challenge, parenting. A task full of opportunities to realize how much you have yet to learn! 🙂

like cat and dog, peaceful sleep

Inter-species goodness. Love is love. Heart melting.

a good relationship

So much can be said about what makes a relationship a good one or a not so good one. These words say a lot in a small space. An artform in itself. Crystallized messages.

what is poor

Oh. A political leader like that. Wouldn´t we all want one? I admire him. Big heart, innovative mind.

your light lights the world

This goes for each and every single one of us. We just tend to forget.

money cant buy

Goodness is not primarily about material surplus.

train your mind to see the  good in everything

Yup. Train your mind. “Free your miiiind…..and the rest will follow!”

Which makes me HAVE TO finish up with this ace song from my younger years… 🙂

“Be colourblind….don´t be so shallow!”

“Before you can read me you must learn how to see me!”

I have danced wildly and self-liberatingly on many a dancefloor to that tune.
Pure Goodness. Amen. 🙂

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On “The Dane-Boat”

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Greetings and Nanu Nanus from Bergen, on the Norwegian westcoast, the beautiful city between seven mountains.
This is our 6.day here. Day after tomorrow we head south to my mom’s on an island called Karmøy.

But here and now I just want to tell you about our transporting ourselves up here.
With three young kids and two weeks’ luggage for five people, we chose to go by car. We drove for 3,5 hours from our home to the harbour of Hirtshals. There we boarded the big ferry, that sailed us from 8pm, and spat us out in Bergen 1pm on the following afternoon.

It is a very relaxing way to travel with kids. We had a cabin, left our luggage therr and went up to the disco bar. There was live music, and lots of children were dancing and running around, so I joined them. Great fun.

A couple of hours later the two youngest kids (5 and 3) were asking to go to bed. Exhausted from travelling and dancing we had a good night’s sleep rocked steadily by mellow waves.

Next morning we ate breakfast, and the kids hung out in “the ball room”, you know those spaces with a slide in a room full of colourful plastic balls…? Us grownups could just sit and relax, have a stroll on deck to enjoy the sight of thr amazing Norwegian coastline…

My eldest daughter, who is ten, made a video to show the ferry to her friends, and I have been allowed to share it here:

She edited out the parts where we see her face as she talks into the camera. Which I think is a shame, but. It is her film, so of course she gets the final cut.

Here is a piece I shot from the sun deck:

And here is one more. Which I want to edit and use as an element in a video poem some time…

Yeah, a pleasant journey in spite of the lack of sun for sun deck sitting. We had a look around the tax free, but coming from Denmark, the prices were only cheap to Norwegians…

We arrived safely and soundly, rested and entertained in Bergen, and drove up the hillside where our friends live. We are stwying at theirs the whole week. Wonderful to be with them again.

So. Yes, the ferry, that us Norwegians call “The Dane-boat”.
A recommended mode of travelling with children.

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Recipe for getting good kids! :)

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treat a kid good to get a good kid

Treat a kid good to get a good kid.
Exactly.

heal your own stuff for your child

That´s what they call ridding oneself of karma. When you break a pattern.
Stop passing on things your elders did to you, and that hurt you.
If one is hit as a child, most likely one will also hit one´s own children.
But it does not have to be that way. We can heal our shit from the past.
And get rid of karma, and not pass neglect and hurt on to our offspring.

forgive for me

Forgive and put down that heavy luggage. It is not yours to carry.
What others did to you, put it down or the burden will weigh you down.
Doesn´t mean you have to forget. Forgive for the sake of your own inner peace. Throw it away.

child care dont compare

And one last little piece of nudge in a positive direction, maybe the best thing we can do for ourselves if we want more energy, more calm, less aggression and other kinds of stressing:

sit in nature

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First Summer Holiday Day, Hurray!

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selfie in hammock

This is me in our new hammock, about a week ago, one of the far too few hours we have had so far where the sun has been shining warmth down on us light-thirsting Scandinavians. Summer comes very late here this year. And as soon as we get a day of warm weather and we think that now it begins, next day an autumn like storm wind is whipping our sorry backsides… BIG SIGH…

Anyways. Couple of weeks ago we were also lucky one afternoon when we were going to friends´ in the neighbouring village, for dinner:

på cykel til Rindby

Denmark is famous, like Holland, for their bicycling everywhere, there´s path lanes made especially for bikes. In Norway we don´t have much of that. Easily explained; Denmark and Holland are flat savannahs, whilst Norway is built in the mountains.

On Fanø, the island where I live, the tourists rent a bike when they are here, and go everywhere on it. Beach, woods, and between the three villages. Lovely mode of silent transport, when the warm wind gently carresses one´s skin on one´s way from A to B.

We have a wonderful garden. High hedges give shelter from the world, it is a completely private space.
Took this one the other day; called it “One snail and two siblings”.

snail and siblings

Here is another shot of the garden, from last summer, I think:

two garden umbrellaholders

In some weeks we will go visit family and friends on the south west coast of Norway.
First a week in Bergen, where I lived for 15 years, going to uni and having jobs. Wow do I look forward to seeing my girlfriends there! One of them I haven´t seen since 2011, when I was pregnant with my youngest child! We have gone through thick and thin together, shared our twenties… In Bergen we will also visit the old sardine factory turned into culture house down by the waterfront, for a walk in its gallery and some prawns in the café outside on the dock. We will visit a museum or two, and of course the playground with the trolls up on top of Fløien, one of the seven mountains in the city centre… hopefully there will be weather for picnics and barbecues.

Here we are on top of the mountain Ulriken in 2010. Majestic.

ulriken 10

And here are some of my friends, last time we were there, in 2013. We went to the museum for “nature´s history”, where all the kids could run in long hallways filled with stuffed, real animals, a whale skeleton, anything from butterflies to snakes, monkeys, moose, giant hedgehog, a snake, bear… the birds´section, the geology section… a brilliant place for adults and kids alike.

bergen friends summer 13

After a week there, we drive 3 hours southwards and come to the island where I grew up, Karmøy. There we will stay at my mom´s for a week, catching up with all our lovely family members, and again some outings into nature and possibly the local little zoo which we enjoyed so much last time, a couple of summers ago.

torvastad zoo 10

(Actually it was way back in 2010, I now realize)!

We go to Norway every two Summers. Though in 2012 we didn´t, as we got married, so all relatives and friends came here to us instead, for our big wedding party in the woods. Hence it became 2013, and now this year again.

Many times we go to my uncle and aunt´s place, at the end of the Aaker fjord, where they own Norways biggest waterfall, actually. Hahahaha…. so funny to say that out loud. As if human beings can own mother earth. But there you go. Such is the human illusion of ownership.

I will write a different post about that place later. They have built a tourist welcome centre there now, so cruise ships come in and get a local traditional meal, and are transported with tractor up to the top of the mountain to see there they kept goats in earlier times…

I´m afraid we won´t get time to visit them this Summer, as we have promised the children to go see Captain Sabertooth Kingdom in Kristiansand. All Norwegian kids go there, including my kids´ cousins, so.
It´s a rite de passage. Gonna cost us anarm, a leg and then some, but. What to do. It must be done.

“Heev ohoi, soon the treasure is ours, and we can take it easy the next one houndred years…”

On our way to Kristiansand, we stop at one of my best friends´ place in Flekkefjord, where she has a house in the woods by the sea. As the drive from my mom´s to Captain Sabertooth´s takes about 6 hours.
So we make a stop and stay over at my friend´s there, whome I used to study anthropology with and live together with in Bergen, 95-99 I think it must have been. Her daughter will be there too, with her babygirl who was born in South Africa and is a year old now, so I finally get to see her! They have been living in Cape town to do a phd in criminology. Haven´t seen them I think since I moved from Bergen in 08. Looking very much forward to catching up with them too…

Yeah. So that will be our main trip this Summer. 15 days in Norway. Sailing with the big ferry, which is an ace way to travel with kids. And their luggage. Packed in a car, so we can easily get from town to town on the coast there. Where ferryrides lie close, for crossing fjords, and there are no trains and buses are scarce.

Apart from our roadtrip, I hope to spend some time in my listening hut in the garden, meditating, reading for my exam in August, and updating my blog. Here is the view from the hut the other day:

view from listeninghut

And then I hope we will be lucky and receive some visitors from here and there, family and friends, for some barbecues and wine bottles and guitar singing sessions into warm summer evenings in our garden.
And maybe a party or two in other people´s gardens as well. And the street theatre festival first weekend in August, which is the annual event we always attend to here on Fanø.
Plenty of entertainment on Fanø in the summertime, so I´m sure we will find things to do, and if not, we can always go for a bikeride and camp for a couple of nights… We take it as it comes. As few plans as possible gives the best holiday feeling for us. Room for improvisation, spontaneous happenings.

So school holiday starts today. And we are really all just very tired, because dad has been away all week making exam parties for his music students at the college university where he works. He´s going to work today as well. And I need to find something to do with the kids. It would actually be nice if the day developed like the afternoon when I took this photo of my son after he came home from kindergarten:

Linus sover med dvd i hånden

Happy holidays´ people!
Get some rest in, and some fun and some lovin´,
and some new nice memories to keep our hearts warm through the next long, dark and cold wintertime…!
LET THE SUNSHINE BEGIN !!!
🙂

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