Should have hired a beast of burden

Flying (Part 1)

Posing behind Uncle's van full of our luggage.

Posing behind Uncle Simon’s van full of our luggage

I gave up watching in-flight films roughly four and a half years ago.  We took Poppy on her first long haul flight when she was 18 months old.  We went to the UK for Christmas and I vowed never to fly with a toddler again.  Too bad we had to fly back to the US shortly after!  Flying with young children is a little less stressful, especially if they can focus on a game/film or colouring for a time.  But the constant interruptions are still endless.

So, you can imagine my nervousness when we faced a very long flight with one connection thrown in for good measure.  Firstly we had to get through the airport to simply get on the flight.  I had the winning formation laid out in my head:  one twin to one adult, strapped to.  Big kids in big stroller, or running along side.  Two large rucksacks, one large camera bag, one leather satchel, a rolly suitcase and two mini rucksacks in blue and pink stuffed with kinder egg toys and random bits of toot deemed irreplaceable.  I was at the point where I almost needed to sketch it out on paper just to believe it was even slightly possible.  I’m trying to think of more ridiculous things we have done as a family but I think this may have trumped the lot.

Should have hired a beast of burden

Should have hired a beast of burden

We got to the airport in plenty of time to check in our 13 (maxed out to capacity in every conceivable way) bags.  Plus the TWO car seats and a smaller umbrella stroller. It was quiet and we walked straight up to the check-in desk. We said a brief farewell to my parents (trust me it’s better that way) and headed off holding our breath.  It was, however, a complete breeze.  I’m not blowing my trumpet or calling myself Super Mum but if I didn’t believe in God I would say that the stars were all aligned that day.  We got to our gate and Drew and the kids went off to find a bite to eat.  By this time we had put both twins in the stroller and they were fast asleep.  Not too long later we were boarding.

To be continued…


Bringing Home Bundles

Yesterday–the same day that we sent out an email newsletter announcing the twins and that they and Mummy should be home any day now–well, that very yesternight as Poppy calls it, was the very night that everyone was discharged. If home is where the heart is, and we believe that’s spot on, then for the past eleven days, our home and heart have been divided between a Greater London flat and an even greater removed hospital room. Bringing back those bundles yesternight brought our home and heart back together.

Because I’m authoring this post the morning after, you know that we survived. All it takes is one night to come to the following deeply profound, earth-shattering observation: the thing about having twins is that it’s two babies.

The MaustsOnToast are now and forevermore (!) six: Daddy, Mummy, two girls, two boys.

You see Poppy putting the finishing touches on baby George’s hat while Henry looks on quizzically and Florence does what parents hope newborns do best. The twins very compliantly allowed themselves to be positioned into their protective auto pods before being inspected by a well-girthed nurse. Now picture time. Hats on, straps tight, tray tables in the upright position, Poppy then barks at big brother, “Henry! Stand behind your baby!”

Thank you for standing behind us!




Is a patient someone who is patient or someone who suffers? Being patient often feels like suffering, so perhaps it’s a bit of both.

Children are uniquely positioned to instruct parents in the ways of patience. Parents must slow down, relax, refocus, refocusing expectations to those that will best benefit the child.

Teaching a child a game is a good example. The child has to listen patiently while the parent patiently explains how it’s going to go down. The child won’t like the idea of not being able to enter immediately into the game; the parent knows, however, that learning the rules makes for a better experience in the long run. After all, you have to know the rules before you can break them.


Tripping Over a Verb

Here’s the story of how I tripped over a verb and fell into the arms of a 19th century Jesuit.

Well, now my work days are filled with pouring over every word in the book of Ezra while preparing translation helps. First every word in Hebrew (or Aramaic as some of Ezra would have it), then every word in French (at least two different versions) and then, of course, every word in my heart language, American. (I say “American” because my British friends weighted down by a perplexed look cock their heads to one side when I proudly announce that I speak English. “You do?!”)

This week was off to a rocky start when I met the form of a verb at Ezra 3:10 that I wasn’t expecting and couldn’t make sense of.

When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments were stationed to praise the Lord with trumpets…

Builders, foundations, a temple (!), priests, vestments (!), praising the Lord…it all sounds amazing, doesn’t it? You’d never know by looking at Ezra in translation that behind the scenes lies a verb with big, pointy teeth.


Weighted down by this Semitic perplexity, I ran to the grammarians. First, I had a look to see what my friends Bruce and Michael had to offer. Then, it was to the ageless patriarch Wilhelm. Finally, I found refuge in the arms of magisterial monsieur Paul–whose surname is fittingly enough a homonym in French for “Let’s play!” And with Paul’s grammar guidance I did play. Thanks for the invite!

He called the form I was struggling with “strange” and “abused.” O Paul, that verb isn’t the only one feeling discomfort. But what comfort I did find in the arms of this 19th century Jesuit. Thank you, Paul. Now I know that we’re in this together.

But why allow these pedantic pebbles to get in our translation shoes and give us aches and pains as we seek to make God’s word accessible?  For exactly that reason: to make God’s word accessible.