{The Nest Writes} To the dead little boy, your life was valuable. I promise.

Trigger warning: This post is graphic and may upset some readers. 

Usually I find writing easy. Almost therapeutic.

Today however, I can’t find the right words.

Or any words.

A little boy, the size of my little girl is dead. Washed up a beach, far from his home.aylan

He was alone. Scared. Frightened.

He would have spent his last breaths desperately fighting for his life, I imagine.

Today my daughter went to kindy. She put on her gumboots, brushed her teeth and went to a safe place.

The little boy will never know a safe place. He has been let down.

We let him down.

Every, single one of us.

You did. I did.

His parents tried to save him. They chose to take him away, to start a new life.

Instead he doesn’t even breathe anymore. The thing they were trying so desperately to protect is taken.

The idea that a parent would make a decision to take a toddler onto a 4.5 metre boat in open waters astounds me. But then, my family is safe.

We don’t live in constant fear. We don’t have to even consider a 3am journey on 15ft seas in a small, unsound dingy.

We have independence and protection. Safety and security.

My children walk freely on our neighbourhood streets. They won’t be shot. They won’t be taken. They won’t go to sleep with the sounds of guns.

I wonder little boy, did you have a good life? Did you like gumboots and brushing your teeth.

Did your mummy read you bedtime stories?

Did you daddy kick a ball with you?

Are you with your mummy now? Or are you alone?

I read that since the beginning of 2015 about 150,000 refugees have crossed the central Mediterranean Sea. More little people like you. Little boys and girls trusting in their parents decisions to chase a better life.

The problem is now you have no life.

Little boy, your brother also died. So did your mother. Your daddy is left here without you.

Please just know he tried to save you. He tried to keep your head above the water. He is left with nothing now.

My little girl will sleep peacefully tonight. I will soothe her and cuddle her. I will kiss her and tell her I love her.

I will be thinking about you little boy. I wish you had been safe.

Please know your life was worth something. You will not just become another statistic.

I will remember you.

I will try and help other little boys and girls that are just like you.

I will help because I want to know that if you were my little girl, that someone, would not let her down like they failed you.

I. Am. So. Deeply. Sorry.

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Aylan and Ghalib

Rest in peace little boy. You are safe now. You are protected now.

If you want to help:

Make a donation:

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross is delivering humanitarian aid to areas like Aleppo, Homs and rural Damascus, as well as assisting the millions of Syrians who have fled to neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. Red Cross Red Crescent is helping more than 3.5 million Syrians by providing food parcels and blankets, supplying hygiene kits with toothpaste, toilet paper and soap, and restoring sanitation systems.
  • In Australia, the Red Cross works to improve the plight of asylum seekers and refugees, by providing emergency financial relief and  linking people to housing, education and social support programs.
  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is providing water, mosquito nets, tents and healthcare to Syrian refugees. Outside of Syria, thousands of refugees have spent years in exile. With their savings drained and employment opportunities thin on the ground, millions of people are relying on UNHCR for assistance and protection. As little as $15 can provide two families with jerry cans to transport clean water.
  • The International Rescue Committee is responding to the humanitarian crisis on the Greek island of Lesbos. Each day some 2000 refugees are arriving on Greece’s shores. Most of them have fled the Syrian civil war.
  • Save the Children is working with Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt providing families with food, clothing and shelter. The organisation is also conducting large-scale food distributions in Jordan. Meanwhile, in the Za’atari refugee camp, Save the Children has helped to feed over 130,000 children and their families. The organisation is also distributing children’s clothing, mattresses, blankets, heating fuel and stoves in Lebanon.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières is working rapidly to vaccinate children arriving at refugee camps to prevent the spread of measles. They are also distributing mosquito nets and helping improve basic living conditions to prevent a large-scale epidemic. The organisation also sets up medical clinics in the camps.
  • Oxfam is on the ground in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt providing people with clean drinking water, hygiene and sanitation packs and relief supplies such as blankets and stoves. Outside Jordan’s large Za’atari refugee camp, Oxfam is providing cash to vulnerable refugees living in informal tent settlements.
  • The Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre is an independent community legal centre specialising in all aspects of refugee and immigration law, policy and practice.

Get involved with grassroots groups

  • Save the Children runs early learning programs, which help newly arrived migrant and refugee children settle into Australia, as well as initiatives that help young people transition out of youth detention.
  • Amnesty International has local action groups across Australia that work to raise awareness about a range of human rights issues, including asylum seekers. These groups meet monthly to discuss issues and decide practical ways to raise awareness, raise funds and take action to have human rights impact.
  • Amnesty’s Welcome Dinner Project aims to connect new migrants with Australian residents around the dinner table. The aim of these pot-luck shared dinners is to create a platform for meaningful connection, sparking friendships between people of diverse cultures who are living in close proximity to one another but have not had an opportunity to meet in a supported environment.
  • West Welcome Wagon is a volunteer-run registered charity supporting asylum seekers in Melbourne’s west. It supports asylum seekers in the local community by providing good quality donations of material goods, emergency food relief, neighbour to neighbour social support, as well as special projects such as in-home English support and community engagement.
  • Montmorency Asylum Seekers Support Group also raises funds and collects food for the ASRC food bank. Volunteers also support individuals in detention centres and in the community.
  • The Brigidine Asylum Seeker Program is looking for volunteers to teach English to new arrivals.

Donate, Collect

  • The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre is an ideal base to donate foods and goods to refugees and asylum seekers. People can donate to the centre’s Food and Aid Network online through Ceres Fair Food. People can also order food online from Coles or Woolworths and have it delivered to the ASRC. The centre also accepts pots and pans and new linen sets from Kmart, as well as gift cards from Gift Cards online.world map

 

{Raising Little Birdies} Perhaps they just need you..

Life is busy and gets in the way.

The kids are screaming, bedtime can’t come soon enough. There are dinner dishes to be cleaned, school lunches to be sorted and washing to be folded.

Please. Just. Go. To. Sleep.

Read Maybe Your Two Year Old Just Needs You by Sarah Mae and take just a little bit longer to appreciate the time. It will be gone before you know it and I guarantee you will crave just one more chance to have it. needsyou

Perhaps your little one just needs YOU.

{The Nest Cooks} Handmade Finger Food

New theory to feeding the kid.

Step 1: Throw out food that took 45 minutes to prepare, hand toddler piece of plastic cheese.

Step 2: There is no step two.

In reality, as much as I would LOVE to do that ALL the time, that little part of my brain that has knowledge of nutrition means that I am guilted into constantly pursuing the long road to a good, balanced diet.

When you are at your wits end look no further than the very clever team at One Handed Cooksfinger food one handed cook

I find them my saviour when it comes to toddler-bird feeding ideas.

Our go-to is their Homemade Finger Food Ideas list. Trust me when I say you should bookmark this and rely on it often!

Our family’s favourites are the Roast Vegetable Tartlets and Popcorn Chicken. YUM!

one handed cook

Happy cooking Nesters xo

 

{Raising Little People} Green Fries for your little birdies

Getting the little birdies to eat green beans is not the easiest thing. Especially if you make an epic fail and let it slip that they are good for them..

greenbeans

So, instead of just cooking them the old-fashioned-steaming-way, why not try something just a little bit different?

The fantastic team at Super Healthy Kids have added a little spin on the boring old beans. You can’t tell me that “Green Fries’ doesn’t sound just a little more appetising?

Head here to find the recipe -> Green Fries

green beans 2

Do you have a sneaky way to get your kids to eat more veggies?

Happy eating Nesters!

Kick up a stink (or hide one)..

Poo, it really is a stinky job toilet training your baby birds.

toilet

There will be accidents (and deliberate misdemeanours).

Hypothetically, there may also be times when your toddler-bird pulls down her pants and deposits a nice big turd in aisle 7 of your local Woolworths. You may or may not have wipes with you that day. You (this continues to be hypothetical of course) may also have a screaming baby, a trolley load of perishables and the skills of David Beckham to stealthy kick said poop under the aisle. Hypothetically, you may also owe a massive apology to ‘Phil’ from the produce section who you blamed the smell on. (Note to self: perhaps should also send a bottle of wine).

You need to accept that you will become aware of the 3 closest toilets to your local Coles (we go there now… no reason for the change).

You will no longer have a trip straight from A to B. You will now pass through G, J, P, Q and R. You will need to visit every-bloody-single restroom at every-bloody place you visit for the next two years. poop

Our toddler-bird struggled to start with. She desperately wanted to do it but just couldn’t make the connection between needing to go and holding on long enough to get to the toilet. We tried sticker charts and bribery. We used positive-reinforcement. We hesitantly tried negative-reinforcement. All without much success. Then one of gorgeous friends introduced us to ‘Mr Poo goes to Pooland’ by Tasmin Black.

Written in kids language. With sensational ‘stick’ figure drawings it sent home to toddler-bird the ideas needed to be a successful toilet attendee.

The only downfall is the fact that we as a family, now farewell our toddler-bird’s poops with as much fanfare as the Thanksgiving Day Parade. But hey, we can use the money saved on nappies for therapy one day.

I really recommend this book to anyone who is attempting to toilet-train their little birdies!

Good luck little Nesters!

The toddler-bedtime six step procrastination program

I think planning every aspect of the next Olympics in Rio would be simpler than convincing my toddler-bird that it is bedtime. There is a six step procrastination program that is undertaken most nights in our house.

toddler sleep image

Step 1: The camel is thirsty. Toddler-bird does not need a drink for 16 hours then at bedtime is desperately parched.  After drinking a small cup of water using about 127 sips we agree to go to bed. Goodnight toddler-bird.

Step 2: My dolly baby needs to be wrapped in a blanket. Papa-bird delicately wraps hard plastic one-armed doll in bunny rug. This is not good enough; it must have its nappy changed as well. Papa-bird mutters words under his breath, but alas dolly baby is changed and ready for bed. Goodnight toddler-bird.

Step 3: I am cold. I need to wear my princess mermaid costume, gumboots, sunhat, apple shaped sunglasses and tutu to bed. Now we are finally ‘properly’ attired for bed. Goodnight toddler-bird.

Step 4: I love you. It has been approximately 27 minutes since I hugged papa-bird and it must be done again before I can possibly sleep. Plus hugs are needed for the mama-bird and the baby-bird. Now the cat. Hugs all round. Goodnight toddler-bird.  

Step 5: I need to go to the toilet. AGAIN. After sitting on the toilet for 10 minutes with no activity we finally agree to go back to bed. We flush the toilet. Wash our hands. Dry our hands. Finally crawl back into bed. Goodnight toddler-bird.  

Step 6: The final step is the rambling. It starts like this, “Mama-bird I can’t sleep, I am not tired”. “Today I saw a fish”. “Look mama-bird I have a freckle on my arm”. “Do you think baby-bird likes pumpkin because it is orange”? Slowly the sounds stop, the talking becomes quieter. Goodnight toddler-bird.

After about 40 minutes, papa-bird and mama-bird are able to channel their inner Mexican-drug-cartel-chiefs and enter toddler-bird’s room without a sound. With the upmost stealth they remove the 47 books that are in the bed. Pull up the blankets which are found delicately creating a cubbyhouse between the doll’s pram and bookshelf and with the grace of Tinkerbelle are able to kiss toddler-bird’s forehead and escape from the room. Goodnight Toddler-bird. We look forward to tomorrow’s adventures.

My little gymnast

Every Tuesday I take the toddler-bird to Kindergym (or as it MUST be referred to in our home GYMNASTICS!!!! (read: four exclamation points required for accurate pronunciation))

It is held at the Bathurst PCYC on Tuesdays and Thursdays and it really is an entertaining outing.

There is a multitude of equipment for the children to play with including balance beams, trampolines, uneven bars and numerous other bits and pieces. It is run by a lovely lady named Marina who is patient, helpful and approachable. We have noticed a significant improvement in toddler-bird’s attention span and general coordination since we have started going.

You can contact the Bathurst PCYC on 6331 2191 or check out their website www.pcycnsw.org/bathurst

Spring floor

and the best bit… the long two hour sleep the tired toddler-bird gives me once we are home!