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Articles tagged with: Milestones

{The Ordinary Moments 15} #15 'The Day A Cycle Helmet Made Me Cry.'

on Sunday, 12 April 2015.

As I write this, my heart is beating a little quicker than normal, and my eyelashes are still wet with tears.  Mr E is downstairs preparing a risotto for us all to have for dinner, I am sat in our office supposedly working, and I have two little girls chattering together in the top bunk of their bunk bed, oblivious to the way they have made us feel this afternoon.  

It's late Friday afternoon and a couple of hours earlier Mads happened to spot some of the older children on our street playing out on their bikes.  She has always had a curious fascination with the two little girls who live next to us, as younger children often do with bigger kids, but bar a shy wave or hello if we happen to cross paths outside our front door, that has been it.  I don't know why but this afternoon she asked to go and play on her bike outside with them, and two other older boys who live across the road from us too.  She has never asked us before and being that she has only just turned four we said that she could, but that she couldn't go outside without us being there.

So we duly popped her little cycle helmet on, got out her bike and scooter, and Mr E pottered around our front garden pretending to weed, all the while watching her.  I was supposed to be working, but I stood at the window and I got the strangest feeling in the pit of my stomach.  A feeling of absolute pride watching her out there interacting with children a good few years older than her, a feeling of nostalgia remembering doing that very thing myself when I was a little girl, a feeling of nerves about the fact that she still isn't completely wise to dangers of cars or roads, but mainly a feeling of sadness about just how fast she is growing up.  My eyes filled with tears and I stood there blinking them away.

I watched Mr E lean down and talk to them all and I heard Mads say 'I am playing with the big boys and girls Daddy' while she was stood next to them.  At four, she is completely innocent, she isn't yet at that stage where she was embarrassed that her Daddy was outside watching her.  She said again excitedly 'I am playing with our neighbours' and they all chatted to Mr E while I watched on at the window.  After a while I went outside myself and sat on the doorstep with LL on my lap.   Watching our little girl riding up and down the street, with the retro ribbons on her handlebars very much the same as I had as a child, and her little helmet wobbling unsteadily on her head made me get butterflies in my tummy.  She had the biggest, most innocent smile on her face and above all she just looked so proud of herself.  Her cheeks were flushed red with excitement and she cycled along on the pavement while they all cycled on the road, as we told her she needed to keep on the path.  None of the other children had a cycle helmet on, to be fair we live in a cul-de-sac and although traffic can whizz round the corner, it's not really like you need to wear a helmet.  But Mads, our little girl, she always wears that blue and pink helmet- she's so very proud of it.  And now that helmet made her appear so little and small compared to her peers.    

After an hour or so, we told her it was time to come in, and she started to cry.  Big, fat tears rolled down her face and her bottom lip trembled as she told us she didn't want to. She did it in front of her new found friends, she doesn't yet have that filter that makes her realise that there are some things you don't do in public, melt downs over nothing being one of them.  She was so desperate to stay out but eventually we got her inside.  We stood in the kitchen and all of a sudden LL came up to her with her favourite toy 'Baa' and held it out for her to cuddle.  She said 'Here are Mads', she knew her big sister was sad and she wanted to make her feel better.

I don't know what came over me but I just burst into tears.  The feeling of experiencing this first milestone, combined with the tenderness in which LL gave Mads her toy, reduced me to sniffling like a baby.  I hugged Mr E and said to him 'I bet you think I am so silly', fully expecting him to proclaim that yes I was indeed a complete crazy person. But to my surprise he said 'I feel entirely the same away- I am not ready for this just yet.'  Indeed, now I am writing this some time later after they have both gone to sleep, Mr E and I have been chatting about it, and I am surprised just how much this small thing has got to him.  He says he feels very emotional about it all- about the prospect of learning to give her that little bit of freedom, of the worry, about the fact that his little girl is growing up so quickly.  

I know that it's probably a little pathetic to get so worked up about her playing outside on the street where we live, but I was just filled with so many emotions.  I still am to be honest.  There's no parenting rule book for this kind of thing and it just took us by suprise a little.  I'm so nervous about all the stages yet to come- teaching her that the world isn't always a lovely place, that there are people that could hurt her.  That not everyone is as kind and as beautiful inside as she is.  I am so sad about her losing that innocence, that pure child like innocence- the way she is proud of her Daddy stood there watching her, the way that she ran to me and hugged me because she was just so damn excited to be playing with the 'big boys and girls'.  

Until now, all our playdates and all her friendships have been closely monitored by us.  The little friends that she has made are mainly due to me being friends with their Mum's- they are chums of circumstance more than anything else.  It sounds ridiculous, but I also worry who she will become friends with at school when we are not there to influence it.  No mother wants their children to be friends with 'those kind of children' or worse still, have your child be the one that other parents are wary of.  The other day we were in the park and I was watching a group of three girls- they must have been about 11 or 12 and they looked so grown up.  They were wearing clothes that I would even wear, or perhaps a couple of years ago I would, their hair was styled in top knots and I am pretty sure they were wearing makeup.  They were playing on a roundabout and it struck me how they were so on the cusp of leaving childhood behind- they looked like teenagers and I overheard them on a couple of occasions about boys, but at the same time they were giggling loudly and freely as they held hands and tried to keep their balance.  That innocence of childhood and that beauty of childhood seems to be getting lost much earlier than when I was younger, I dread to think what it will be like in another ten years.

I'm not ready to let her go and while I know, yes she wil always be my baby, I am going to have let her go and become the little girl she was meant to be without me at her side constantly.  September brings her first year at school and a whole new set of milestones.  She's completely ready, but I am not.  I don't want this stage to be over.  I am not ready to leave these days behind.  I know that there's a lot of excitement to come but that doesn't mean I don't feel painfully sentimental about the fact that my little girl is growing up so quickly.  Bizarrely just this afternoon I bumped into the midwife that was there throughout my pregnancy with Mads.  It seemed like yesterday that I last saw her.  She will have seen countless babies born since then, each special and the most amazing gift to their parents.  Each and every one brand new and ready to start their story.

Leaving the hospital for the first time, the first mouthful of food, and the first steps are just different parts of their story.  The story of their childhood.  As is the first time they proudly forget their shyness and play outside on their street with their new found friends.  I did that, way back in the first few chapters of my own.  It's nothing out of the ordinary, it's just another ordinary milestone and moment ticked off the list, something that will happen on many, many occasions...

It's just another ordinary moment that as a parent feels so very bittersweet.  But to a little girl who has talked of nothing but playing out with her new friends, 'the big children' since she came in, to a little girl who has gone to bed with a bit of a spring in her step and a new found air of confidence and above all to a little girl who is feeling so proud and that little bit more grown up than she did when she went to bed the day before- well to her it's the most exciting of moments indeed.

playing outside for the first time

{The Ordinary Moments 14} #28 'A First Bike'

on Sunday, 03 August 2014.

When I think back to my childhood of course there are many different snippets and memories that flash into my mind.  Some are permanently there, and others suddenly come flooding back on hearing an old song, seeing a place I used to go, or by looking at the well thumbed old fashioned photo albums piled up in our garage.

I think when we become parents we automatically want to give our children little portions of our childhood.  Likewise, with the not so good bits, we want to leave them behind.  There are childhood memories for all of us from which we want to protect our children from- whether that's bullying, divorce, struggles at school or broken hearts. There are bits we want to make better.  Learn from our parent's mistakes, because we all have them even if they are small, and try and give our children the very best that we can.  

Becoming a Mum has certainly given me the chance to relive the best bits of my childhood.  Christmas has become even more special, an opportunity to reminisce in the excitment and make it even more magical for my two little ladies.  And Summer?  Well Summer to me is the peak of my childhood nostalgia.  So many of my memories feature those few months of warm weather- holidays in Cornwall and learning to surf, picnics and days out, and weeks of no school and constant fun times with my friends.

One huge memory of those Summertimes is being on my bike.  I still vividly remember my Dad teaching me to ride my bike without stabilisers, I can still feel his hands on my back as he gently pushed me to have the confidence to pedal off.  I remember family bike rides, riding round our local reservoir in the sunshine.  I remember one time laughing so hard with my Dad while riding around that I fell off my bike into the middle of a cornfield.  Those memories are so vivid, it was like they were yesterday.  And as I got older, I remember constantly riding round our village with my friends, prank calling boys we liked from our local phone box, and dumping our bikes outside the village shop to go and get penny sweets.  So many of my summer nostaglic memories feature me riding about, in that brief period of time when you feel like you don't have a care in the world.

Earlier this week we bought Mads her very first bike.  It was kind of on a whim, we went in to Halfords to look at buying family bikes for ourselves and a trailer for the girls, (more about that soon!) but Mads was riding round the shop and doing so well that the next day we went and bought her one as a surprise.  It's a little blue 'Pom Pom' bike with a pink bell, ribbons on the handlebars and a little seat on the back for her treasured friend 'Pongo'.  It's perfect for Mads and I don't think I have ever seen her smile as wide as when we gave it to her.  

Nowadays so much of our lives revolve around technology and screens, and I really hope that this little bike will be the start of lots of fun outdoors as a family and for my big girl.  I hope that she and her little bike have many good times together.  It's may just a bike, but it has a lot more meaning than that to me.  It's hopefully the start of a childhood of adventure and fun.

I am determined to help play a part in making that happen.

 

first bike mads1

first bike mads2

 

{The Ordinary Moments 14} #23 'First Shoes'

on Sunday, 08 June 2014.

It's funny what makes you emotional as a parent.  As I sit writing this, the girls are in bed having their afternoon nap.  I was trying to locate one of my old posts- this one about when we bought Mads first shoes.  It was only just over two years ago but it feels like an eternity has passed.  I am sat here on the sofa and for a brief second I felt like bursting into tears.

Motherhood is so bittersweet, there's that saying 'The days are long but the years are short' and that couldn't be more apt.  Sometimes I find myself staring at the clock, willing it to be seven so I can put the girls to bed and just have a bit of time to myself.  Sometimes I realise it's only nine thirty in the morning but it feels like it should be lunchtime.  But then I look back at a photo of my now three year old in her first tiny shoes and I realise that I hardly remember the way she was then.  

Of course, I have those memories stored in my head, hundreds of photos capturing those moments I don't ever want to forget, this blog with it's stories and snippets of our family life, but it all gets a bit hazier with time.

To me, them growing up so quickly brings such a strange mixture of emotions to the surface.  I feel like we are constantly saying goodbye to things- goodbye to them sleeping in our room, goodbye to their first year, goodbye to breastfeeding.  With each new milestone- first smiles, first steps, first day's at nursery, there is a stark reminder that we won't get these moments back.  That we won't get to feel those amazing feelings again.

Occasionally I will notice things I didn't notice before, like how Mads can suddenly pronounce biscuit correctly instead of saying 'bicit', or how she no longer needs me to fast forward the bit on Shrek that makes her get scared.  Or how LL's hair now reaches the bottom of her neck, or that she no longer cries if she doesn't get her milk right.this.second after she wakes up in the morning.  Just little things, signifying that our girls are changing, growing and leaving different stages behind.

Last Tuesday we went with my Mum and Grandma to get LL's first pair of shoes.  While not walking unaided yet, she is getting more confident every day and therefore we thought it was time.  Great Grandma bought Mads first shoes so it was only right that she do the same for LL.   And watching my smallest daughter holding hands with my Mum and walking round the shoe shop, giggling and laughing because she was just so damn proud of herself, made me feel a strange mixture of happiness and sadness. 

Happiness as I get to witness her on a new journey.  Those first steps are such an incredible time, bringing with them a whole new world of discovery and adventure.  Yet a twinge of sadness because she's walking straight out of babyhood and becoming a little person, just like her big sister before her.  While I relish these milestones and new experiences, it's so bittersweet that we have to say goodbye to the previous ones. 

She's still not entirely ready to let go of our hands yet and start walking on her own.  She is so nearly there, but she just needs the reassurance that someone is there for her, steadying her in case she is about to take a tumble.

And I guess that's the thing about motherhood.  It's about letting them go, just that little bit more with each milestone we pass on this crazy journey together.

 But it's about letting them know that we will always be there to catch them if they fall.

LLs first shoes

 

 

My 30th Birthday Weekend...

on Tuesday, 11 March 2014.

Last weekend I turned thirty, a milestone which to be honest I wasn't particularly looking forward to. I was quite happy in my twenties and as it loomed ever closer I felt a little disheartened about the thought of leaving them behind.

In fact, I had one of the most lovely weekends that I have had in a very long time.  Mr E and I haven't really 'done' birthdays since the girls came along, not properly anyway.  But he went all out for my 30th, and I was spoilt and treated all weekend.  I know that I am very lucky to have my husband and all that he does for us the majority of the time, but he really did make my birthday so special and I am so thankful to him for that.

He had planned the whole weekend.  On Thursday night we went over to my Dads for dinner which was a nice pre birthday celebration.  On Friday, my actual birthday we went to meet some family and friends for lunch in the pretty little village I went to school.  Then Friday night I went out for dinner with my Mum's side of the family.  Saturday we went off shopping for the day while my Mum had the girls and I got to spend my birthday money.  It was great to buy a few clothes as I was in desperate need for some wardrobe updating.  Saturday night we had a double date with Lucy and her hubby which as always was great fun.

On Sunday we dropped the girls off at my Dads and headed off to Henley on Thames in Oxfordshire for our first night away since we became parents.  We have been away as a family, or separately but never together without the girls so it was a real treat.  We spent a relaxing day before having some dinner and drinks in the evening.  We stayed in a lovely boutique style hotel called The White Hart in Nettlebed which I would thoroughly recommend.  After a mini lie in, we headed back to our girls on Monday lunchtime and were treated to the best cuddles.

Here is our weekend in a mixture of big camera and iPhone photos...

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Yippee- pressies!

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I was in total shock when I opened my presents, Mr E had completely and utterly treated me.  I got lots of lovely bits, and from the girls I got an iPod shuffle which he had engraved with 'To Mummy Happy 30th, Love Mads and LL.'

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He got me a gorgeous set of stacking rings and a new watch which I was blown away with, and he thoughtfully got it engraved with a lovely message.  Serious brownie points.

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Our little family at lunch.

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This girl was in her element with all the attention.

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On Saturday afternoon after we got back from shopping we took these girls to the park to let off some steam.

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Enjoying the late afternoon sunshine.

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Enjoying the river in Henley on our first night away.

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Relaxing.  We couldn't have asked for nicer weather.

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Standard.

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We stopped off at this beautiful little village called Hambleden for a walk in the sunshine.

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Our room for the night was gorgeous, we took advantage of TV watching in the bath. ;) 

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Selfies.

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We sat in a pub for ages reading magazines, one of those silly things you miss when you don't do it anymore.

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Selfies by the river and pink fizz.

All in all it was the most amazing weekend and I feel sad that it's over.  I couldn't have asked for anything better for turning thirty and I feel so lucky to have my husband, girls, family and friends who made me feel so special.

Now it's back to reality with a bang and lots of washing, work and cleaning to catch up on.  

But with lots of happy memories.

 

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