What is it about Mummy’s Shoes?

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There’s something about Mummy’s shoes, especially high heels, my girls just can’t resist putting them on. Actually, neither can my son…

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When we went down to the woods today…

We’ve had a lovely Sunday. Despite the fact that Isabelle decided it was only right and proper that I should sleep for 2 & 3/4 hours last night, we all managed to enjoy the sunshine and go to the park. We played football, practised balance biking for Maisie for the 2nd time and took Izzy out for her first ride on the push trike. Maisie got her balance bike for Christmas and I’m very pleased with it, thankfully Maisie rather likes it too. It’s a bikestar balance bike that I got from Amazon, (I’ll do a piece on balance bikes soon!) image What frustrates me about balance bikes is that people who review balance bikes always say, “They’re AMAZING! My child simply looked at the balance bike and could COMPLETELY ride a real bike without stabilisers straight away!” This has not happened for my children so far. Sam didn’t just simply get it straight away, it took him about 4 or 5 practices (still not much), Maisie today sort of limped on it all the way to the park and back again which was pretty painful to watch, but nevertheless she had a lovely time. I’m sure she’ll get it soon, but she didn’t get it today which left me feelng like she’ll never get it. At moments I found myself acting like a drill sergeant, clapping my hands and commanding her to go faster, to look straight ahead and stop mucking about. Poor kid. Sometimes I just completely miss the point. But it would be nice if I didn’t feel like everyone else’s children got it STRAIGHT away! So, for all of you mothers out there who are out with their child who’s having their first few gos on the balance bike, don’t worry if they don’t get it in the first minute, it just takes a bit of practice and they will eventually get it and probably love it. They may not love it, but that’s ok, they’re not freaks, they just don’t like it right now. Ok, deep breath, rant over.

So, to football, we all played, well Izzy sort of played, she mainly just stumbled around on the grass with arms outstretched asking for the ball and then falling over – brilliant. I was in goal quite a lot, which was fine, but perhaps a waste of my skills, anyway, it was funny and sunny and we all enjoyed being out of the house.

After football we played in the park and the woods and generally just got beautifully tired out. Sam and Maisie are playing so nicely together at the moment. It’s as though someone flicked a switch that made them both realise that playing together is completely awesome and much better than Mickey Mouse Club House. Having said that, when we got home, Fergus and I were very quick to seperate the eldest two and give them some down time, (secret code for avoiding potential conflict due to extreme tiredness), you know what I’m talking about parents. All in all, a lovely day with minimal shreeking. Hoorah!
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The best bits about having children

The best bits about having children.

Now, I’m very wary about sounding twee, but as I always honk on about the bad bits about parenting, I thought it may be refreshing to focus on the good bits. It’s taken months of consideration (JOKE) but here are my conclusions…

1. Random acts of affection. When your kid suddenly decides to give you a hug or have a snuggle without an ulterior motive or demand in sight, you feel like melting, like this is what it’s all about. It’s as though you get a glimpse of heaven, where it really is all about love and then it’s over, but you bank that moment and store it up and draw on it when you need to.

2. Funny stuff. There is nothing funnier than your own child doing something cute or hilarious. Maisie’s club-mix of twinkle twinkle little star for example, or Izzy’s attempts at jumping or Sam’s break dancing are AMAZING. Well… At least to me and Ferg and Nana and Pops.

3. Play time. When they play nicely, either alone or with other kids, you feel like you’ve done a good job. There’s something wonderful about thinking that this little person is going to be ok, they’re not to going to grow up to be a psychopath, they may even turn out to be…nice.

4. Chats. When you have a chat with your child and they tell you stuff, it’s just very rewarding. It feels like quite an honour, when this little person tells you the minutia of their day, it’s like you’ve had a glimpse into a fresh and very complicated world full of wonder and newness. This sounds a bit odd, but if your child can communicate sensibly with you and you get a flash of the person they’re going to become, it’s just mind-blowing and terrifying and exciting and really, really sweet.

5. When you see them smile. I’m sorry, I know this is super cheesy, but SERIOUSLY, when you see your kids smiling so much that there’s not really enough room on their face, you find YOURSELF almost overwhelmed with the beauty and joy of it. Grinning like an idiot, just delighted and relieved and and happy that they’re experiencing joy, because that’s what we want for our children, we want them to feel full of wonderful joy.

6. Giggling. Giggling is very different to smiling, because giggling is often related to mischief or tickling or something that they find FUNNY. Watching your child find something FUNNY is fascinating. They have a sence of humor! Who’d have thunk it?

7. That first night when they sleep through. This is the holy grail for me at the moment, but one day it just comes and you notice it and you appreciate it because it’s a milestone that really makes a difference to your life.

8. Tough bits. When the kids are ill or afraid or unhappy and they need you and you help them because you are Mum or Dad, that’s just amazing. To be the person that a child wants when their little world feels shaky, is an honour above all else. But those times, which are often difficult times are the building blocks of your relationship with them. It’s these bits that make you a parent and show your children that you love them unconditionally and although that makes them hard it also makes them good.

9. When your hard work pays off. All kids go through phases of being wonderful or hideous, so when you come out of the other side of a difficult phase and you’ve stuck to your guns and managed to be fairly consistent and you see a difference at the end, it’s incredibly rewarding. It’s also a relief, as occasionally in the midst of a phase, you worry that your child may simply be horrible. When they’re not and you then know it was a just a phase, you can enjoy their actual niceness. Well, until the next phase starts at least…

10. They’re fun there’s no getting away from it, children are fun. They make you do silly things, they stop you taking yourself too seriously and actually they just make life much more interesting. Sometimes we just need to let go, to stop getting our knickers in a twist and go with the flow.

11. When they tell you that they love you. What else matters? Thats it, the pinnacle, the goal.

the end.

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Advice needed about Karvol Diffuser!

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A friend of mine has found out recently that Karvol have stopped making their diffusers and the only ones she can find on the market have night lights on them which keep her tiddlers wide awake.

Does anyone know of an alternative product that doesn’t have a night light attached?! Please let me know if you do, many thanks!
Emma

Return of the Threenager. Run for your lives!

Maisie, my second child, is three. By nature she is a lovely, sweet, gentle little person. She likes dollies and princesses and handbags. Her favorite color is pink and when she grows up she wants to be a ballerina. She couldn’t be more of a cliche if she tried. Unfortunately, because she is three, she is the dark and menacing version of that cliche. Imagine if you will, a tiny girl, wearing a pink, shiny, fairy princess dress and a furious frown. The damage that this little girl wants to do with her sparkly wand should not, under any circumstances be underestimated.

Whoever coined the term, “terrible twos”, had obviously not yet had the pleasure of being a parent to a threenager. But why then, is so little known about this creature of the night? My theory is, that the threes are so awful that parents just choose to block them out.

Here are the most frustrating aspects of threenager behavior:

– They are utterly contrary. They develop the ability to insist that black is white, even when it’s definitely black and actually in their best interest to be black.

– They have phenomenal stamina. A tantrum can go on indefinitely, with little or no let up.

– They’re incredibly sensitive, but not in any fathomable way that you can anticipate or prepare for. So, for example, they can feel extreme anger and confusion about an issue as benign as being asked to wear a dark blue top when a light blue top was obviously what they wanted to wear.

– They’re able to somehow screech or scream or cry in such a way as to destroy sanity and shatter dreams. Forget water-boarding, put a terrorist is a room with a Threenager having a tantrum and they’d soon tell you everything they know.

– They are insanely stubborn. No amount of cajoling or persuading can divert them from the source of their fury. Their focus on whatever’s vexed them is absolute.

This may sound similar to the terrible twos but it’s different for 2 very important reasons. 1) They are bigger and stronger, making any sort of physical restraint or comfort much harder. Think thrashing limbs, sharp elbows and jaggedy nails that you meant to cut before bed last night, but didn’t. 2) They have a more developed vocabulary which makes them more able to manipulate you with language and a twisted sort of logic, meaning any mental advantage you may have once had is gone. There is no reasoning with an unreasonable threenager.

In reality, threenager behavior isn’t always constant, it can come in waves as well as a constant flow. Sam was a constant flow threenager, i.e. consistently hard work. Maisie is a waves threenager, slightly less exhausting but still awful during an episode. Her big thing is screeching at the slightest insult and when you have an elder brother and a pesky little sister there are lots of opportunities for insult! The screeches and screams she inflicts upon us drive me up the wall and can cause my stress levels to go through the roof. I will quite often just give into her demands just for some peace and quiet. This is obviously just the opposite of what a good parent would do, but hey, sometimes we just have to pick our battles. Anyway, let’s face it, we all know who’d win and it wouldn’t be me…

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Poogate

This evening, Izzy did a poo in the bath and threw it at Maisie. Maisie in turn found it hilarious and terribly exciting and took great pleasure in declaring, “Poo alert Mummy, poo alert!”, whilst at the same time frantically trying to swoosh away the swiftly dispersing chunks of plop. In response, I, in full, mum to the rescue mode, hustled the girls out of the bath, and let them loose to run around in nude hilarity whilst I re-ran the bath. What fun. I’m being serious, it was hilarious. Poo doesn’t disgust be as much as it probably should anymore, so the bath was cleaned, hands were washed and the girls were re-introduced to a poo-free tub. Good times.

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See? No poo!

Do you have a Favorite Child?

I often wonder about this. It’s a very sensitive issue, but I’ve met several parents who I, as an outsider would say, have a favorite child. They would never admit that or say it out loud, but if can see it, then surely the “other” child or children can too.

I don’t judge these parents, because they can’t help it, it’s just the way it is. In many ways it must be a nightmare. We all start off thinking we would never have a favorite child, but sometimes there’s a connection or a meeting of minds that’s beyond anyone’s control. Is that wrong? I’m not sure. I do think it would be wrong to consciously or actively differentiate between children, but unconsciously, what can you do?

I don’t have a favorite child, but I’m sure that at some point all three of them will think I do. I can see it already, If I reward one child for something well done, another will think that’s unfair and that they’re being left out.

The reality is that at various stages, all of them are either easier or harder to like. At the moment, Izzy is super cute. But come on, she’s one! She’s toddling, giggling, singing. What’s not to like? Apart from the sleepless nights of course… If Maisie was my last baby (she’s the middle one) she’d so easily be the cutest, but unfortunately next to Izzy she’s just not as cute. Do I like or love her any less? Of course not, but a baby is cuter than a stroppy pre-schooler, FACT.

My eldest, Sam, was a horror between the ages of 18 months and 3 years, 364 days. He was stubborn, contrary, noisy and basically pretty unpleasant. He would “bray”, and “hoot”, he would roll around the floor in fury, he was a total pain in the butt cheeks. He was also coming into his own character, a character that was very different to the one I’d expected. I’d expected my children to be like me – showy and upbeat, but horror upon horrors he wasn’t! He wasn’t the child I imagined I’d have, who’d jiggle when they heard music, or giggle outrageously, he was shy, and sensitive and very, very stubborn. Now, I can’t imagine where he got it from, but it wasn’t me and that took some getting over.

When I did get over it, when I got over that (gird your loins folks, I’m gonna say something terrible) disappointment, I was finally able to just love him, Sam, the person. Did I suddenly understand him all the time? No. But I did accept him and in doing so was free to enjoy him and see the world from his point of view. Today, Sam, is like a jewel in my heart. His sensitivity breaks my heart and his person brings me great joy and inspires great tenderness, he’s a genuinely lovely boy who still has the capacity to be a horror.

But that’s children isn’t it? They’re not silent little sponges who absorb the best of us, they’re little individuals who have to find their own way, initially with our help.

I hope you don’t think I’m a bad Mum for admitting my initial disappointment, but what I want to do, is put it out there that we can’t help our reactions, it’s how we follow up those reactions that counts. Just because we become parents, doesn’t mean know what we’re doing. We’re all learning every day and as long as we actively love our children for who they are, then we’re doing alright. Alright!? 😉

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Today the kids are Wearing…

Izzy wears, a Katvig vest from http://www.tootsieandfudge.com/ her green velour baby pants by Ej Sikke Lej from http://www.yellowlolly.com and quite a lot of banana and chocolate chip muffin.
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Maisie wears a pink, Breton stripe top from Baby Gap and slim fit jeans from Zara Kids.
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Sam wears a long sleeved t-shirt from http://polarnopyret.co.uk/ and gorgeously soft and comfy, lined, black, cord, cargo pants with an elasticated waist from http://www.vertbaudet.co.uk/
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Christmas + New Year = Totally Skill

I’ve rarely had such a lovely Christmas and New Year. I have to say I think it’s largely down to the fact that Ferg had so much time off but it was also just generally brilliant. Ferg and I have started a tradition of going out for a hot date on Christmas Eve and this year we met his dad for dinner at the hotel he was staying at. That was lovely. Then, we went on for a drink, which was lovely and then we stayed up too late nattering and that was lovely too. Christmas day was just us five, my mum and Ferg’s dad, and that was very relaxed and… you guessed it, lovely!

New year was with our best friends and they are basically just LOTS of fun. Our children love each other and it’s always just easy. Weirdly, despite my whinge about Isabelle not going to sleep at bedtime she actually slept through until 6am for all three nights we were there, so we weren’t even ruined by lack of sleep. Heaven.

So, home and Ferg’s back to work. The lovely thing was that we hadn’t made our cardboard igloo yet so we made it this morning – which was great for about an hour and a half and then largely forgotten, kids eh?
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After, playing inside it for a while, the kids then decided to colour it in with pencils, fuelled by some frenzied pencil sharpening from me.
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Anyway, it’s MASSIVE. I don’t seem to be very good at dimensions. Everything I buy is always so much bigger than I think it is. As you’ll see from the photos, the igloo takes up most of the space in the playroom. Fergus is obviously delighted that I bought another massive thing, especially a cardboard massive thing as we’re currently hemorrhaging recycling. We (I say WE, whilst flaring my nostrils and raising an eyebrow) forgot to put out the recycling bin so have an enormous Christmas backlog of wrapping paper and packaging. So, a gigantic cardboard igloo which came in a gigantic cardboard flat-pack box is not really a welcome addition to the family. Having said that, I think that after getting a George Forman grill (amongst other things to be fair…) from my husband for Christmas, a bit of extra recycling can be forgiven, don’t you?

So…

…it’s 7.52pm and everything should be quite peaceful and quiet. HOWEVER, Izzy is screaming and Im trying to ignore the fact that she’s SCREAMING.

We are staying with our best friends in the midlands. Their house is in an idyllic farm house overlooking beautiful countryside. We have good company, good food and good booze. However, all I can think about is the fact that my baby girl is screaming. Not whimpering, not grizzling, just SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF HER TINY LUNGS!

I have to be honest, I’m very fed up. I want to relax with my bezzies. I do not want to be doing controlled crying before she’s even gone to sleep! Izzy, as fabulous as she is, just needs to get a grip, because I am actually on the verge of losing my mind. Go to sleep kid!! Right, time to shush, I’ll be back…

So, obv, she’s still screaming. My hub and I have been very consistent and persistent with the controlled crying over the past 2 Months and I know that we’ve done well, as she’s at last sleeping until 5.15am (God give me strength).

I find this whole thing thoroughly depressing if I’m honest. It’s not as if I don’t have anything else to do, I have 2 other children to look after, a husband to cook for and a house to clean. My God, did I ever dream of such heights?! I’m a modern woman for God’s sake!

Ok, deep breath. You know what? At this moment, when I’m here, struggling to cope with my baby screaming and crying, I want to say a big, well done, to all the mums out there who are holding on to their sanity by a thin thread. You are not alone! I’m standing on the precipice of sanity with you and we CAN get through this moment. This moment WILL pass and they WILL stop crying. We CAN cope. We LOVE our kids and life IS really good. Big deep breath lovely mums and dads out there, be calm and carry on. This time will pass, these years will pass and then they’ll be gone, without a backward glance. Blimey, I’m even more depressed than I was before.