Parenting a Choleric Child

Meet my daughter, Elizabeth. She was an adventuresome baby, energetic, precocious, bright and wide-eyed. The moment she let out her first, loud cry, I knew she was going to be the ‘leader’, that she was going to set the pace of the family, and most of the time, she did (as a Phlegmatic mother, most of the time I just ‘give in’ to avoid further confrontation).

She is now a very daring and eager four years old. She is a productive worker, always busy (she asked if she could go to the pre-school Monday-Friday full time, probably because there’d be people and friends and things that would keep her constantly going instead of spending a day with a boring Phlegmatic mother like me!). She moves quickly, self-sufficient, very competitive, assertive and trustworthy. She knows how to show temper tantrums, to ‘get’ her own way insistently. She certainly knows how to test and to argue, not to mention her stubborness (I learned not to give her the word ‘NO’ as it seems to encourage her even more).

I love her to bits, and I’m not trying to put her characters in a box so I can label her. This is naturally who she is. These traits run in her bloods. Knowing and understanding these traits help us both in our relationship. With her secondary personality as a Sanguine, she is a strong extrovert. She loves attention, she craves affection, her love language is touch (plenty of cuddles), rejection hurts her, being ignored annoys her. She is innocently trusting everyone, including strangers (she warms up to people quickly, especially when she starts to tell you her tale and you showed interest, that’s it, she’d be taken completely). She is a chatter and she bounces back quickly. She is, what some people would call, a charismatic leader. She has followers and she loves it! One day I dropped her at pre-school a little later then usual. By the time we got there, nearly all the other children were already there (we were usually the first). As Elizabeth walked into the room, all her friends (including the littlest ones) ran to her to talk to her. She had this big smile on her face, as if their action had made her day. I compared this to other days when we arrived earlier, and suddenly it clicked to me the expression she usually gave as she walked into an empty room. She was a bit upset that nobody there to ‘greet’ her. I decided to arrive slightly later ever since (altough it bothers me that we’re slightly late – this is my Melancholic part who always worry about punctuality!).

I am a Phlegmatic with a secondary personality as a Melancholic. This means I am a strong introvert. Putting this into an analog, Elizabeth and I are like the south and the north poles of this earth. She is everything I am not, and I am everything she is not. These extremeties is the factors that would attract two individuals in a chemistry (aka the lovey dovey) relationship. It certainly has its advantage in our parent-child relationship. She made a lovely company and I can speak to her as if she’s a grown up. She would play contently on her own while I get on with my work. She cheers me up with her constant chatters and singing. At the same time, she drains me (being a mother is draining anyway, but if you are a Phlegmatic mother, the feeling is more intense, and if you have a choleric child, it’s doubled!). The most draining part of parenting is, of course, setting up boundaries. Elizabeth would constantly push and test. As a choleric, she can sense whenever I’m in the mood of ‘do whatever you like, as long as you would leave me alone’! She can be certain that she’d get her own way. To set the boundaries, I have to think as a choleric person, I have to be a choleric person, in order to understand how to get around her, and at the same time not making her feel as I treat her differently from her brother.

Jonathan is a Melancholic-Phlegmatic, like myself but his Melancholic personality is stronger. It comes natural to me to interact with him, since we both are strong introvert. It’s so straightforward to set boundaries for him, he doesn’t need many in the first place as his sense of order is already strong, he knows right from wrong. I’m comparing my children’s personality, not to favour any, but instead to make sure my treatment to them is personal yet equal at the same time, and they know that.

I learned that, if I want to establish rules, I have to set it out clearly the moment I sense a mischieve is coming. For example, when Elizabeth was finally out of her buggy, she got super excited being able to sit on a proper seat on a bus. She sat on one seat, then she decided to move on to another. I allowed this. Then she decided to try another seat. By now I sensed, that if I didn’t set a boundaries straight away, I’d end up with a child out of control, on a public place, and maybe I’d end up shouting and she’s ignoring me, which would be embarasing. She’d pick up on this experience and do it again the next time. So, I picked her up quickly, sat her on my lap, and said ‘have a cuddle with Mummy’. This distracted her and she loves cuddle anyway. She wanted to go back to her seat and I gave her a condition, she could sit on her own as long as she stay seated on the seat she’s chosen. She usually would willingly follow a clear instruction given in a firm tone (followed by a praise or affirmation or a quick kiss). If it was Jonathan, I could just simply say that it is not the place to play. He’d sense it’s a wrong thing to do and he’d oblige sraightaway.

Parenting certainly has its ups and downs. I’m grateful for my children. I’m blessed with two little people of different temperaments; one is a natural leader and the other is a natural thinker. They both work together perfectly (until they start having too much of each other and needing some space, Jonathan more than Elizabeth). I certainly don’t have the knacks as a mother, far from it, there’s always something to learn everyday. I just do my best in raising them (with God’s help) and the rest is in God’s hand.

What about you? Apart from the ‘God’ stuff, how do you find the experience of parenting?

It is Well, with My Soul

I just feel I need to write something since my last post was in April. I am convinced there aren’t many who’s going to read this post anyway but writing is part of my winding down process. I write in my journal for things that are private, or at least until I have the boldness of sharing it to public.

Life has been pretty hectic. It feels like I hadn’t stopped since last Christmas. I love it, partly for the reason that by keeping myself busy, I won’t have time for idle thoughts where I would normally start pondering over non-sensical stuff or over worrying or self-pity. By keeping busy, I am keeping those toxic thoughts at bay (or I’d write them down in my journal just to let it out). Keeping busy also makes me feel I have a use, and that I’m not wasting away the talent God gave me.

Last few months have been particularly challenging. I’m homesick. I haven’t visited my home country since I moved to the UK, one of the worst case scenario I’ve calculated when I made my decision to move (though there are times I deeply regretted it – but the decision cannot be reversed, unfortunately). I miss my Mum and my siblings. I feel gutted that I missed several important occasions (Dad’s funeral, brother’s wedding, my nephew was born). It is just financially unfeasible to visit Indonesia.

I am, perhaps, a little too kind being a self employed. I just don’t have the heart to charge a little extra or to increase prices. I don’t even charge on cancellation. Perhaps I should, but I don’t think it’s right to charge a student who’s taken ill on the day their lesson is scheduled. They couldn’t have foreseen it. I feel a little mean if I have to charge on cancellation. I’d rather my relation with my clients to be built on mutual trust and understanding. But I don’t know, perhaps I’ll always be the person my parents always warned me off; a little too kind and sometimes easy to take advantage of without me realising it.

Or maybe I should learn to be a little commercial?

I don’t know. Money never been the first on my priorities. I mean, I need them of course, but it doesn’t drive me. I grew up in a family where money were always tight and we’d always pray for God provision. He does what he promises, he provides my needs (not what I wanted – there’s a difference between wants and needs). There’s always food and roof over my head and clothes to wear. And money can’t buy things like health or peacefulness or good night sleep, which I’m lack of since November.

Jonathan has been having period of seizure in his sleep. The specialist we visited confirmed it’s a type of childhood epilepsy which we hope will be confirmed on the EEG scan. For six weeks I shared bed with my two kids and they got to be the most restless sleepers. I was kicked, butted, pushed and scratched from any direction. We only just moved them back into their room last week and for few days, Elizabeth decided that between 11PM to 3AM is a good timing to play getting in and out the bed. Whenever I’m about to fall asleep early morning, Jonathan had one of his turn as his brain is changing stage to a lighter sleep, resulting me in jumping out the bed, hurried to his room to make sure he’s in the correct position and that he comes around properly. And guess who moaned the first in the morning about disturbed sleep? The husband!!!

It’s extremely worrying to witness the fits at first but after awhile, it feels like ‘expected’. I mean, we have good nights and bad nights, but I wish the ratio of the good nights is much bigger. I feel so sorry for my little chap. He’s been through a lot yet he’s never complaining. He’s well behaved and kind hearted too (except when Elizabeth doesn’t wait until he finishes talking).

There’s much more to worry about and being a Phlegmatic, I’m naturally a worrier and would prefer to bury my head in the sand but I’ve trained myself (the hard way) to calm down and carry on. Everyone has their own cross to bear and I’m not sure if I’d be strong enough to bear other’s burden. I can say that I’m good. Things that happened in my life so far haven’t taken me completely (with God’s help). Yes, I’m tired, physically exhausted, and if I’m not careful, I can easily slip into frustation but I won’t let it happen easily.

So, here I am, ready to face whatever 2018 will bring. I can confidently say ‘It is well with my soul’.

A New Beginning

I’m back! No, I haven’t been on holiday, I wish I was. I was ‘away’ from any form of Social Media contact for more than 40 days. It was hard to begin with, out of habit my hand would constantly pick up the phone to launch any social media app (which of course I’ve uninstalled before because I knew this would happen). After a week or so, I stopped noticing I hadn’t check my social media accounts in the day. And now, the lent is over, I found myself I hadn’t missed them that much that I would reinstall the app right away. 
I have a good 44 days to reflect on many things. One big thing is that I feel different since I’m off Social Media. I strangely feel a sense of freedom, as if I’ve been released from enslavement. I realise how it might sound to you; it is crazy to think social media as a form of enslavement but bear with me for a moment as I expand my thought. As good as the original idea of connecting people online, social media has become the greatest distraction of life. The endless stream of notification for example. It makes one learns to constantly switch from one task to another, gone are days where we have longer focus span. Then there’s constant posts from ‘friends’, which of course there’s nothing wrong with announcing a good news or sharing lovely photos. But for some, it is easy to get into the trap to think that others’ life looks perfect. There’s also online bullying, coward people who hide behind their keyboard whom intention is to prey, to hurt, even to harm others. Not to mention the constant post of ‘selfie’, excessive love to oneself. I’m not talking about photos of holiday or events shared with family and friends, I’m talking of those photos taken in front of a mirror, different face expression, mostly duck face. I mean, come on, I think one profile picture should be enough, and the cover photo. And one last thing I notice on Social Media is the excessive use of filters!!! Nothing and nobody seems to be authentic anymore.
Living life on Social Media has become a world on its own and I am no longer wanting to be part of it. I decide I’m taking back control of what I see and what goes into my mind, with God’s help. In practice, I haven’t reinstalled any social media app to minimise temptation  but whenever I want to check, I can always login through browser. Meanwhile, I’ll definitely keep myself busy, try not to give myself a moment of idleness because the devil will snap the opportunity quickly. I found myself few small projects in the past months that kept me busy and I have a few going on at the moment.
So here I am on Easter day and I’ve had good thinking of the life, my life, that has been redeemed by Jesus and I am forever grateful to Him. A new beginning of my life is starting this Easter. The more I think of his sacrifice on the cross, the more I appreciate life and every single opportunities it offer. My life would be so meaningless without Jesus. I exalt Him as my Lord and my Saviour so it’d make sense if I live my life for a purpose, His purpose. I know it sounds strange, especially in the self-centred world where everyone wants to put their right first, a concept of being lord over is just strange. Even some Christians would admit they believe in Jesus but to give him a full control of their life? Hang on there a minute God! You ain’t have right over my life. It certainly true with me, there are certain areas in my life I always play tug of war with God, it just doesn’t make sense to give Him the credit, my vanity won’t allow it. I’m still learning, no matter how hard it is, to let God being the Master in my life. My life has been redemeed at a cost so I’m no longer living it for my own, I’m living it for Jesus.

There IS a Time For Everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens – Ecclesiastes 3:1

It’s started to feel like spring here in the UK, although the weather is still with its moody temperature but the cherry trees are blooming nevertheless, always the sign of the weather is getting warmer. The days are getting longer too, which make everyday travelling is much bearable especially in the evening (not so dark when I finish work). During the gloomy winter months, I kept telling myself that this season doesn’t last forever, that soon it will be spring when I can kiss my thermals goodbye for at least 9 months and it’ll be soon time to get those pumps and canvas shoes out. 

It is also the season when all sorts of colours suddenly spring up! I love colours! Spring is like a time when the earth wakes up from a long sleep with a big, lovely smiles, in form of many flowers. You’ll notice in the spring, almost wherever you turn, you’ll see colourful front gardens or even on the sides of a public path. Yellow and purple and pink are the dominant colours in the spring. They brighten things up.

The Bible is right, there is a time for everything. Ecclesiaste 3:1 makes more sense since I lived in a four season country. And I perceive things better, that if nature events have timing, so does events in my life. 

Few weeks into my lent period I finally had the courage to make the decision I have been putting off since September. I am taking a break from Uni studying. I raised up my white flag and admitted it that this is time for a break. As someone who is dutiful and always strive to follow the ‘ideal’ plan I’ve made, this break was definitely unplanned. I feel defeated by circumstances. Of course this wasn’t the first time I had to step back but human’s tendency is to forget to learn their lessons. I forgot that my plans are not necessarily God’s plans. I forgot that my timing is not necessarily God’s timing too and at one point I’d break down if I carried on being stubborn.

Earlier this year I gave up teacher training, despite of the high hope and the encouragement from the tutor. It turned out to be for a good reason that God wanted me to give it up. It wasn’t my time yet. Jonathan needed me during the unsettling time of starting school. In fact my family needed me to be the rock while there is a big change in our life. I protested God to begin with, for daring to stop me from what I’ve planned for my future, but later on I was reminded that God already has a future for me and I must trust him. 

I don’t know for now what good will come out of this decision but the Bible says that God works out everything for the good of those who trust in him. He always does what he says and I know this from past experience. He is a faithful God and he keeps his promises. I want to trust him, it’s hard at times when you think you know what is best for yourself but I want to learn to trust him nevertheless.

View of a Cherry tree blooming on a road we pass everyday for school run

Close up of Cherry Tree bloom

Elizabeyt couldn’t help picking up a Camelia off the ground (it fell off its shrub first)

The season that is just perfect for jeans and canvas shoes, two of my favourite clothing items



Tempted Already!

If you read my blog yesterday I think I spoke too soon about how easy it was to shut myself off the social media. Within 24 hours I had the first temptation, which in a way is a good sign. I mean I must be doing something right if there’s temptation.

I received text this morning of good news, my students who sat their iGCSE Maths exam in January achieved A and A*. I’m over the moon for them. I know how hard they’ve worked. And guess what came to my mind first thing, I want the world to know how pleased I am! Facebook, this news must make it to Facebook. I want the world to know that somehow I have contributed to these successes. I had this thought that I don’t get to boast very often so this would be a good opportunity.

It was the scene of weighing between the angel and the devil. A small part of me yearning that recognitions, that acknowledgements, that “very good, well-done”comments, those likes and loves on Facebook. I toyed with the idea to open up Facebook just for this once. I was surprised with myself, how desperate I was for the world to know. 

I got to the point of installing Facebook Group app. It’s an app only for the groups you joined on Facebook so you can see group activity and you can still like or comment on posts. One of my student’s parent said she was going to post on our local Enfield Facebook group about her son’s result and to mention me in her post. I thought to myself, at least I was not going to install the actual Facebook app but I can still see what is said about me.

So I installed the app but then immediately uninstalled it. I put the phone away and went to another room to get my self together. There was this pride in me that need to be dealt with. Pride is the beginning of man’s fall. The love and obsession over of one self is often the source of all sorts of miseries. I know that and must not let it takes over my senses.

The whole point of this lent is to center my mind, my act, my prayers to God. If you are not a believer I can understand if you are laughing but here is the core of my Christian belief. There is one living God, and thousands of years ago he came to earth to become a human being, to suffer a punishment that I should have suffered instead for my sins. He died on the cross to redeem my soul. My flesh will still rot away in my grave but my soul is saved. You need to believe in Jesus to be saved though. I, as the redeemed, technically don’t have anything to boast about. Anything I do in this world, I do them for God. I consider life is Christ and death is gain, to borrow apostles Paul’s words. All glory and praises are his. 

So, my students got a good grade, I praise the Lord. I thank God for all his helps. For the wisdom and strength and patience he gave me through his Spirit. I couldn’t do it with my own strength. 

And now I’ve been faced with temptation, I will be on guard in prayers to look out, there are plenty more coming my way

My 40-Days-Off Social Media Begins

Lent is a period of fasting (40 days) before Easter. It starts on 1st March and this year it will end on 13th April (Holy Thursday, the day before the Good Friday). In the nutshell, lent is a period when Christian gives up certain things as form of fasting. The idea is to follow Jesus’ example who fasted 40 days before he started his ministry on earth. It’s a period where Christian kind of getting themselves focusing their mind more on God; to pray, act and give, preparing themselves for Easter.

Lent is normally related to giving up certain foods. Some people give up chocolate or sweets or meat. A friend of mine gives up alcohols for the lent. I decided this year I’m giving up on social media (Facebook, Path, Instagram and alike media). I gave up meat for last year and I surprisingly didn’t miss it that much after lent. I’m more into plant based food nowdays or if I want meat then I eat fish. I still eat meat though, occasionally. So this year I want to know if it would work the same with detaching myself from social media. I want to see if after Easter I’d get used to spending less time on them. 

I never thought it was actually dead easy to shut down myself from social media. Last night I uninstalled all social media apps from my device and I set my router to block their website (so I won’t be tempted to log in via browser or when I’m on my laptop). If you read this blog as a result of clicking a link from one of my social media account, it’s WordPress posted it on my behalf.

I had been considering to give up Facebook for lent for quite sometimes. I got the kick on the back side when I read an interesting article awhile ago about a guy who take time off work to go on a project he set for himself. He’d go out everyday and make new friend, proper eye contact and proper chat. He’d post a photo of him and his new friend on Instagram everyday. The reason he does it because he wanted a change in the head-down society (everywhere you go you’d see people with their head down on their phone and I think it’s really sad). The article made me think deeper about people and relationship and how social media plays part in shaping them.

I sort of started to see social media as a platform for non-authentic life and filtered people. The social media become a safe platform to be someone else. I’m sure social media has plunged many people into depression. Imagine if day in and day out looking at the endless stream of news of other people’s life that always seemed perfect, one would start comparing with what is lacking from their life (consciously or unconsciously).

Then there’s a lot of shares of articles and news (and the sharer sometimes didn’t even realise the news they shared are hoax). Many articles and news I read really disturbs me, the world has really turned upside down. People who shout ‘racist’ or similar words to others don’t realise they have become a bully themselves. They think by pointing finger and shouting something-ist to somebody makes them the righteous one.

So I’m off the social media and I’m sure I won’t be desperate without it. Facebook especially. When it started in 2007 I thought it was brilliant, it’d help me to stay connected and updated with old friends and family which it still does but recently it become less about connecting people. 

I’m off to start a journey of living a proper life, connecting with people in real way. It would be a challenge for me as an introvert to come out from my shell more often but I’d try anyway. It’d be my way to give; by giving away my comforts. 

Favourite Actor/Actress

So here we are, the last day in February. Today’s favourite is for favourite Actor/Actress. I have one favourite for each actually and I cannot decide which one I like the most so I’m going to write about both. 

Firstly, my favourite actress, Essie Davis. 

She’s an Australian actress, well known in her role as detective Phryne Fisher in Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. The setting is 1920s and she plays a role as a lady detective. She wore trousers mostly (on the era where only men wear trousers) but she could also run and fight in her skirt and high heels! She plays a role that promoted women equality in many aspects and I love her for that. The series are very fashionable (those 1920s dresses and blouse and skirts and headwear and bold make up!)

My favourite actor also plays a detective role in one of BBC series, but he played such an arogant and ignorant personality. He is genius but a sociopath. It’s Benedict Cumberbatch

I suppose I like him only because he often plays the geniuses roles, like when he plays Alan Turing in Imitation Game, although it was Sherlock Holmes that give him a big name. I can’t wait to see him in his new TV series. 

Favourite Cold Drink

Herbal tea is my kind of drink, both for hot and cold drink, depends on temperature. When one lives in a tropical country with temperature that can soar up to 32 degrees Celcius during the day and only go down to 24 degrees at night, one would constantly in need for cold drinks. My favourite cold drink, which I haven’t had the pleasure to enjoy for the last seven years, is a green tea bottled drink.

This one tastes nicer when it’s been in the fridge. I’m not sure though if this drink would be my all time favourite as well in the UK. I mean even in the summer it isn’t as hot as what I experienced back home. I can still take hot drink in the summer, English summer. Cold drinks here, in the UK are so full of sugars, I can’t stand them.

This particular cold drink reminds of the time when I was a regular visitor of a local gym back in Jakarta, always had this one after an intense hot yoga session. Those were the days I constantly felt energetic and less tired. Oh well, there is a time for everything under the heaven. Life now is about accepting the change a pregnancy (or two) and motherhood has done to my body. Also accepting there’ll be some foods and drinks I’d probably never enjoy again. 

Favourite Plant

So, day 25 of February favourite challenge, and today is for favourite plant. I do not know why exactly I like this plant but I know everytime I see them, I smile. Sunflower!

The photo is my bouquets on my wedding. They were even on the wedding cake! 

That’s how much I like them. They’re bright and cheerful. They stand out. They represent the sun; they’re sunny. 

I can’t wait til it’s summer and I will start seeing them around again. 

Favourite Thing To Do On A Day Off

Favourite thing to do on a day off – 

THING to do on a day off? 

Thing to DO on a day off? 

Thing to do on a day OFF? 

Are you kidding me?

I don’t want to do anything on my day off (that’s if I ever have a day off)! Well, I don’t mean literally just sit my arse on the sofa all day doing nothing, that’d be dull. I mean on my day off, I just want to be off-duty.

A lay in for instance, waking up naturally, not a care for the time. I know the clock will continue ticking but just for one day I’d love a life without a schedule. 

An ideal day off is a day where I can spend the day on my own. It’s not that I don’t love my family or friends, but I am a loner. I find strength in spending time with my own self. I need that time frequently to be alone and to get myself together. 

Reading is also in my list if I get a day off. There are so many books and articles I’d like to read on topics other than Maths but finding the time is always tricky

I can only dream for a day off though. There’s always something happening in my life, I just never seem to stop doing things apart from when I’m asleep so an ideal day off would be a nice change.