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Articles tagged with: Parenting

The Countdown...

on Thursday, 05 February 2015.

dadmads

Yesterday lunchtime the girl's decided they wanted to have a 'carpet picnic' for their lunch.   They had been so good when I had taken them out shopping earlier that morning and as a treat they wanted to get the picnic blanket out and have their lunch on the floor of the living room.  So that's exactly what we did- it's one of their favourite things to do.  After lunch, I was messing about with Mads.  She was being cheeky, so I was play fighting with her on the floor, tickling her and pretending to nibble on her little bottom and ears.  I buried my face in her long curly hair, and she was squealing and giggling in delight.  Then without being a tad dramatic, all of a sudden I felt this huge pang of emotion that nearly took my breath away.

I felt tears prick at the back of my eyes and I had to blink a few times to stop them from freely falling down my face.  Mads was none the wiser, still laughing, joking and jumping on me, and smothering me in 'Mummy cuddles and kisses'.  She was climbing on my back, wrapping her little arms around my neck, while whispering in my ear 'I love you Mama- forever and ever.'  But my heart was still beating that little bit faster and it took me a few seconds to actually pin point why.

We are on the countdown.

Like with any countdown, when you want it speed up and come quickly, say for a holiday or a special occasion, time seems to go so slowly and drags on and on.  But for a slightly less appealing countdown, it seems to whizz past and before you know it the time has arrived.  And that's whats happening now.

The countdown to school.

In many ways Christmas Eve 2010 feels like yesterday.  The day I first held that slightly wrinkly, gunky little person in my arms.  Her little black eyes stared deeply into mine, blink blink blinking as she adjusted to her new surroundings.  In that instant life as we knew it changed.  Everything I thought I knew about myself before changed when I became a mother.  This tiny creature arrived in our world and completely turned it upside down.  Although it feels like she's always been here, I can still feel the enormous range of emotions that came with seeing my eldest daughter for the first time.   

In those four years there have been long days.  Many of those.  Days where I paced around the kitchen, waiting to catch a glimpse of Mr E arriving up the driveway, ready to hand him a screaming baby or a defiant toddler, just so I could have a tiny break.  Days where I was so tired that I would just want to cry over the smallest thing.  Where I did cry over the smallest thing.  In those four years there have been tough times.  Many of those.  Times where it all got a little bit too much.  Sleepless nights, challenging behaviour, strained relationships.  Days where it felt like it was never going to end.  Days where the responsiblities of being a parent became almost overwhelming. 

For two years it was just me and her.  Two years of getting to know each other inside and out.  Fun times, sad times, tricky times, but most of all happy times.  Contentment and love.  During the week we were a pair while my husband was at work.  A duo.  A double act.  We learnt from each other.  She taught me that the simplest things are the most important.  She made me a better person- less selifsh.  More considerate.  She made me a mother.  Then in February 2013 our second daughter arrived.  I fell in love with her in an instant, but I also fell even more in love with my big girl.  The way in which she accepted her new baby sister without so much of a doubt, into our little club.  Our twosome became a threesome.  We became a team.  

And that's the way it is now.  We have our own little routine, our own little structure.  Mads has Nutella sandwiches for lunch, LL has peanut butter.  Mads likes to sit on the left hand side of the sofa when we watch television, LL sits on the right.  Mads is always Harry when we put on One Direction shows, LL is always Zayn.  That's just the way it is.  Yes we still have those tough days, or long days, but for the most part we love our days together.  And I am just not ready for them to stop.  I'm not ready for this period of our lives to be over.

In just a few short months, my big girl will be going to school.  The application form has already been submitted, we wait with intrepidation hoping that we have got into the school that we want for her.  Those days of constant nappy changes, those morning's sitting breastfeeding in a cafe gossiping to friends while eating the largest slice of chocolate cake, those times spent batch cooking copious amounts of pureed carrot and sweed ready to put into the freezer- they seem to have passed us by in a blur.  When did they stop?  And a bit later, those days where I begrudged paying an extortionate £20 to go to soft play, while she no doubt picked up every germ under the sun and all I got to show for it was a slightly soggy panini and a bowl of greasy fries- I wish more than anything I could rewind them all again.  

If I could, I would cherish every single second of the replays.  I would hold her in my arms for a little longer after her milk, breathing in her sweet baby smell and resting my chin on her soft dowdy hair, rather than putting her straight in her cot.  I used to like stroking the fontanelle spot on her head ever so gently, it felt as soft as silk.  I would play tea parties for that little bit longer, enjoying my seventeenth cup of tea and umpteenth wooden digestive biscuit, rather than going to clean up the kitchen.  I would soak in every single cuddle, every single morning 'just the three of us', I would be more present rather than being on my phone or checking my emails.  I'd read one more story.  And then I'd read another one.  I'd stay in our PJ's and let her watch one more episode of Peppa Pig.  I'd never stop cuddling her.

But hindsight is a wonderful thing.  This way I am feeling right now, it won't last forever.   It will come back, in periods, throughout their lives, that I am sure of.  The way it hurts a little bit loving them.  The way each new milestone and moment seem so bittersweet.  But no doubt next week or the week after that, I will get impatient again.  I will get tired of the same question over and over- I don't know why Tree Fu Tom and Mike the Knight aren't friends who hang out together.  Yes you can have lemon juice with two drops.  Yes two drops.  I don't know why the worm we saw on the road by the garden centre two weeks ago isn't wanting to be in the soil with his other worm family.  I'll inevitably get a little frustrated when she takes ten minutes to get into her car seat even though we are in a hurry.  I'll have days where I breathe a sigh of relief when they are in bed and I can sit on the sofa and just switch off.  

But in the back of my mind, I am all too aware we are in the countdown.

All too soon September will come and my little girl will be at school.  Five out of seven days of the week she will be with her teachers and her new friends.  They will see the way she scrunches up her nose when she yawns.  Or the way that she likes to play with her ear when she's nervous or in need of a comfort.  The way her little fingers go in her mouth and she sucks them when she's unsure of herself.  They'll experience the pleasure of my biggest girl- the little quirks and traits that make her who she is, the good and the not so good.  It's not that I am sad that she is going to be away from me, she goes to nursery three long mornings a week already while I work.  It's more that this period of our lives is soon going to be over.  It's a line under the baby days, the toddler days and the days of just being together.  That we will never be able to get it back.

I'm a little sad she won't be here every day with me, but I am excited to see her begin the next part of her journey.  I'll be there waiting to see the artwork she pulls from her bag, to hear her excitedly chat about what her and her friends did that day, or what she learnt in English class.  I'll be the one cheering the loudest at Sports Day.  I'll be there standing with all the other parents at the school gate, waiting to see her run out with her long curls blowing behind her and her cheeks flushed red with happiness.  She'll grow, she'll soar and she'll become the person she was meant to be.  She'll lose a little bit of that pure innocence that comes with being at home with her Mummy, that little bit of innocence that comes with being little, but she'll be full of potential and promise.  Whatever happens, she will continue to make me the proudest Mama alive, just as she has done since the day she arrived in the world on the 24th December 2010.  

I knew that this day was coming, way back when she was tiny, and school just seemed like a far off dream.  Something I didn't have to think about for a while.  But now the countdown is on.

Growing up hurts a little, I know that all too well.  I'm a little bit sad and feeling a little emotional about it all.  But why we may all too soon be finishing this chapter of our lives, deep down I know this is just the beginning of my little girl's story.  And I'm excited to see just what that story may be.

dadmads1

{The Ordinary Moments 15} #5 'Spotty'.

on Sunday, 01 February 2015.

The one word I could use to describe this week is 'long'.  On Saturday morning last week we noticed that Mads had a spot on her eye and a couple of spots on her tummy.  By lunchtime they had tripled, and by the following day she was covered in them.  The chicken pox had well and truly arrived.  Sunday was the worst day, she wasn't happy at all and lay on the sofa all day, complaining that she was cold but with a really high temperature.  She was really clingy and all she wanted to do was be close to us.  She rarely comes in our bed in the night, but we let her sleep with us which to her is a real treat.  She snuggled in close in the middle of us both and cuddled us all night.

Them being poorly is a bittersweet thing.  With things like the chicken pox, you know it won't last forever and while you wouldn't wish for them to be ill, there is a element of feeling like this is what motherhood is all about.  That while the fun, games and picture perfect moments are part and parcel of life, it's things like this that remind you what it really means to be a mother.  To be the one they need.  To be the one that can help soothe the pain, even though you can't make it completely better, you can be that comfort blanket that makes them feel reassured.  Feeling those little hot, feverish arms round me in the night, it makes me reassess what's important.  It makes me realise what really matters.

But inevitably when they are sick, it does play havoc with your schedule.  As I work freelance, I am very used to fitting my time around my children.  Indeed that's why I do it- I snatch moments during naptime, or work most evenings, or go and sit in a hotel at the weekend when Mr E is around to look after them.  They go to nursery two long mornings a week, from 9-2, so I can get the bulk of it done.  But I haven't got the balance quite right yet- I get stressed, I feel like I am behind and I have to work till late in the evening sometimes because I just haven't got enough done.  When you throw a poorly little person into the mix, I just about manage to keep on top of things.  

She hasn't been able to go to nursery at all this week obviously and as such I have struggled to get things done.  I feel a little on edge as I don't like to feel like I am behind and it will take me a lot of late nights and things to catch up.  But it's worth it.  I know I am lucky to be able to be at home with them full stop, and especially when they are under the weather.  As parents we all make sacrifices or have our own challenges- whether that's working full time in an office, working until midnight because you work from home, or whether you stay at home full time.  And even though I get a little stressed, like I said before, I know it's worth it.

I have actually relished the time alone with my biggest girl.  LL has still gone into nursery as normal and I have spent days snuggled up on the sofa with Mads.  We have played together, cuddled constantly and had one on one lunches together.  We have chatted, laughed and made up stories.  I have enjoyed every single cuddle, every single ear flick and every single  'I love you Mummy.'  She slept with us for three nights in total and as her little body moudled against mine, I yet again was reminded of exactly what it felt like to be the person that they want and need.  

She's almost better and will be back at nursery next week.  The Pox will be a distant memory as she scuttles off to play with her friends that she has missed.  But while this week hasn't been completely plain sailing, I have extra special memories of a week of cuddles and contentment with my eldest daughter.

 A week that has reminded me what a privilege it is to be the person they call Mummy.

chicken pox 1

chicken pox 2

chicken pox 3

 

 

{The Ordinary Moments 15} #2 'Logic will take you from A to B, Imagination will take you Everywhere.'

on Sunday, 11 January 2015.

'Logic will take you from A to B.  Imagination will take you Everywhere.'

Albert Einstein


As a parent I beat myself up a lot and I question myself as a mother.  Most nights I lie in bed and I think, I should have done more with the girls today, or I should have put my phone down a little more, or I shouldn't have lost my patience over something so small.  I know I am a good Mum but sometimes I worry I am not the best Mum I can be.  Perhaps they have watched too much television that day, or I gave them too much chocolate or I didn't pay them enough attention- I often feel a lot of guilt.  I think that is inevitable sometimes as a parent.  

I'm not a 'crafty' Mum. I think I can count on one hand the amount of times we have painted in the four years Mads has been here.  Don't get me wrong, we do it every now and again, but our dining table is quite small and on carpet and I just hate the mess it makes for about ten minutes of playing. If I am being deeply honest though, I could put a plastic sheet down, but I just would rather do it at play groups or let them do it at nursery.  We occasionally play with Play Dough because Mads absolutely loves it, but again I do it with reluctance as it always manages to find it's way onto the carpet.  We don't do other crafts much and I don't think I have ever made anything from an egg box.

I am not a teaching Mum.  Of course I teach them every day- I teach them manners, I teach them life skills and I teach them right from wrong.  I am helping them learn and shaping them into who they are going to be.  What I mean is I don't often sit down and really teach Mads curriculum based things- we do practice writing, or letters, or sums, but I don't spend ages teaching her.  I always forget my phonics and I need teaching in them myself!  I don't need her to be a genius and she isn't particularly advanced for her age, apart from in her speech, but she's doing just fine and is a bright little girl.  She's well loved at nursery and is turning out to be quiet the comedienne.

But when I am feeling a little down or guilty about what I have or haven't done that day then I remember what I am good at.  And that's fueling their imaginations.  I love to help encourage my girls minds.  Just this week we have been police officers, nurses and knights.  I have been a dragon that has been captured on the floor with a knight and a princess lying on top of me, I have been given endless cups of tea, and had to eat wooden pizza which was a little too hot from the oven at least 60 times.  I spent an hour shouting 'Ladies and Gentleman please welcome Harry and Zayn from One Direction' over and over again, while two little people ran on to the stage and shaked and danced while 'singing' into a microphone.  I immerse my girls into a world of make believe.  It's an ordinary part of our life and it's definitely an everyday occurance.

Which brings me to my 'Ordinary Moment' for this week.  One of the favourite presents I got our girls for Christmas were some story stones.  I randomly found them by chance when I was looking for inspiration for their stockings and I just fell in love with them.  Such a simple idea, just painted stones with a colourful picture each side, but I knew that the girls would think they were great.  They are little magpies, they love to collect 'treasures' and I more often than not find buttons, little bits of plastic and random stones in bags, pockets and under pillows.

We use the stones to create stories and to encourage their imaginations.  The sad man might go and fly a kite with a mouse and then become happy, so he drinks a drink of juice and then goes in a plane to find his baby.  I let Mads completely make up the stories and I absolutely love hearing her create these scenarios and tales in her head.  They definitely were such a brilliant present and I am currently waiting for another set to arrive that I bought with some of their Christmas money. 

I absolutely love to see my girl's imaginations grow and flourish.  It's a tiny little bit of make believe in our ordinary day to day lives.

story-stones-1

story-stones-2

story-stones

 

*****

It was absolutely amazing to see so many people link up to the 1st Ordinary Moments of 2015 last week- thank you to everyone who linked up.  As you read this I am currently doing something very unordinary as my little family are in the sunshine on holiday, so the lovely Donna over at What the Redhead Said is going to host the Ordinary Moments for me this week.  Head over to her to link up and I will make sure I visit them all when I get home.  And as always please try and comment on a few if you can as the whole point of linkies is to spread the blog love!  Do check back later in the week as people add to it all week, not just Sunday.  :)

 

 

NB: I paid for the Story Stones and the lady who I bought them off doesn't know I am writing about them- I just wanted to share them because they really are a lovely gift.)

Mads You Are Four!

on Wednesday, 24 December 2014.

To my Dearest Baby Big Girl,

It's Christmas Eve and everyone is excitedly getting ready for the big day tomorrow- rushing to the supermarket to get last minute essentials, wrapping presents while listening to cheesy Christmas music or just spending time with family and friends.  We are doing all that, except we are also celebrating an extra special day.  Your birthday.  Today my biggest daughter turns four.

I often joke about two things.  Firstly that no Christmas present anyone ever buys me again will ever come close to the Christmas present I received on the 24th December 2010.  My early Christmas present and the best one I have ever and will ever receive.  You were worth spending the whole of Christmas in hospital for, worth not seeing my family for as they weren't allowed to meet you or come in the wards as it was shut due to Norovirus, and worth every single Christmas being a teeny tiny bit of a letdown ever since.  After all what can come close to meeting your baby for the first time at the most special time of year?

The other thing I joke about is that it's a rubbish day to have a birthday and that Daddy and I should have planned it better.  But actually deep down I think Christmas Eve is a pretty exciting day to be born.  We do all those festive things, but with the added extra of it being your special day.  You arrived into the world, my little c-section baby, to the sound of an extra special song that means a lot to Mummy and also to the sound of Christmas songs as well.  You wore a Christmas hat from a cracker that Mummy pulled with the midwives at less than 24 hours old and we often said we should have called you Holly or Eve.  There was Christmas music playing on the wards non stop, everyone was in good spirits and it was so quiet- there were only 4 babies born on the whole ward over Christmas time.  That meant that you got extra special attention from all the staff.

And now my biggest girl is four.  The one who made me a Mummy.  The one who changed everything we thought about life.  Who made us realise exactly what is important.  That it's the little things and that as long as we have each other, we couldn't be luckier.  I often stare at you and it takes my breath away- a weird emotion between insane happiness that you are mine and almost a little bit of pain about how life can be so sad and how it can change in an instant.  I can't quite believe you are four.  Three still seems little, still clinging on to the last grasp of toddlerhood.  But four is big.  Four year olds go to school.  Four is a little girl and there is no inch of toddlerhood left. 

You make me so incredibly proud every single day.  As I type this I have tears in my eyes.  Some slight ones over the fact it is so bittersweet just how fast the time is going.  How I wish I could make it slow down, or pause the good bits and replay them again and again.  But mostly my tears are for just how proud I am of you.  You are one in a million- kind, gentle, the worlds best big sister, hilariously funny with a dry, sarcastic wit even at your tender young age, and the most affectionate little person I could ask for.  We have our moments, you can be a stroppy little thing, or have days where you drive me mad, but for the most part you are the loveliest, happiest girl and you brighten up all our days.

I am going to relish these next few months as come September I am going to have to let you go just a little bit and share you when you head off to school.  I am, to be quite honest dreading that day as I just don't want this stage of our lives to be over.  But I know you are ready and you will love and enjoy it, just as you do when you go to nursery two long mornings a week.  

Happy 4th birthday my darling girl.  Enjoy being four and all the adventures it brings.  Thank you for being you.

Mummy loves you more than anything in the world.

But as always you already knew that.

Mummy.

xxxx

madsis4a

madsis4

 

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