Tag Archives: parenthood

Out of the Mouthes of Babes – “I Don’t Want to Grow Up!”

SC’s had a pretty rotten couple of weeks. He has been having a little trouble at school – some of it of his own making I admit.peter pan

Anyway, he was in the car the other night after a particularly horrendous day and he blurted out, “Mummy, I don’t like life!”

What, it transpired, he actually meant was that he didn’t like school – so obviously I had to tell him that all schools would be the same and that there would be nice children and not-so-nice children, just like where he is at the moment, but they would just have different names and faces. (Whilst I was saying it I was having a memory flash of my mum saying exactly the same to me, when I wanted to move house and change schools!)

And because he is just like me, in pretty much every aspect, it has obviously been playing on his mind. He woke up very early this morning (and when I say very, I actually mean stupidly early, like 3am!) complaining of tummy ache.

He said the tummy ache came and went, and “it feels like I’m going to vomit, but I’m not!” (translate to mean “I feel nauseous”). By 6am he was doubled in pain, so I called the doctor and made an appointment (very panicky mum thinking it was appendicitis – it wasn’t, it was just stress – he did exactly the same as I do, sore tummy, throw up bile, feel better!)

As he lay in bed cuddled up to me with a hot water bottle on his tummy he suddenly, out of the blue said “Mummy, I don’t want to grow up!”

“It’s OK darling,” I said, “I didn’t either. I always wanted to be 4 for ever. We can’t do anything to stop it unfortunately, but we can always be young in our hearts and minds!”

Growing up is tough, being a grown up is tough, but at the end of the day it’s all a journey!

It would be nice to live in Neverland though ūüėČ

 

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Top 5 Tips for New Parents

Royalist or not, as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (along with millions of other parents around the world), welcome their new bundle of joy into the world (and yes, I have a bet on the name!) I thought I would rake my brains to come up with a top 5 tip list.

When I had SC (just over 6 years now) there was all the build-up for 9 months and then there he was this tiny little human being that I was in charge of looking after and nurturing. It was very emotional – before they arrive you have absolutely no idea how much a child completely and utterly takes over your life. I¬†was very much, before I had him, “Oh, I’ll be back working within a fortnight.” In reality the moment I held him against my chest a few seconds after he had been born I never wanted to leave him for one second, he was, and is so precious. I never wanted to miss a minute of him.

Children are a precious gift and from the moment they are born, we, as parents have a responsibility to raise them to becomes good, kind, thoughtful and responsible adults.

Parenthood doesn’t come from instruction manuals – no matter how many you read (and I read quite a few) – it’s a massive learning curve, especially with your first-born and we all make mistakes (I’ve made plenty) but if we do our best everything will turn out all right.

So here are my personal top 5 tips for new parents:

5.¬† They don’t break!

I remember when I first held SC how incredibly clumsy I felt. I was holding this tiny wriggling baby and it just felt as if every time I went to pick him up my hands had suddenly morphed into clown hands – you know where the hands are five times the size, just like those false ‘pointy finger’ hands people wear at Baseball games – and that if I picked him up wrongly he would somehow break like a china doll. It did take my midwife and my mum to reassure me that this wasn’t the case, and it really was just a case of practice makes perfect. Like changing a nappy and lifting up the legs to pop the clean one underneath the baby’s bottom – you are not going to do any harm lifting the feet up together in one hand…Oh yes, you do learn how to do many things one-handed – chopping vegetables is a positive art form one-handed!!

4.  Work Together

I was not fortunate enough to have a ‘hands on dad’, someone who would do his share of getting up early in the morning, or even just taking the baby out for a walk whilst I did a normal thing like take a shower! If you are that fortunate, you need to work together to find a routine that works for everyone – so that dad gets his fair share of changing nappies, and the early morning shift, but that he also gets to help out with the fun stuff like bath time and bed time routines. The early days are very testing for any new parents, mothers get very emotional around day 4/5 after the birth – the baby blue period – and the lack of sleep in the early days doesn’t help with tempers which is why being supportive and there for each other is vitally important in my opinion.

3.  Talk to your Baby

This might sound completely crazy, after all it’s a new-born baby, but read to your baby, talk to it, sing to it, make silly noises – it all helps with the bonding process. I started reading stories to SC the day he was born – I know he didn’t understand the stories (it was one of my favourite childhood books “The Tales of Blackberry Farm”) – but its the sound of your voice and the closeness that reading together creates. Even now, at the grand old age of 6 he will climb onto my lap with a book (we have progressed to Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn) and snuggle into my arms whilst I read, and he still has a story before he goes to bed. The other thing I used to do was have him facing me in his buggy, and talk to him whilst going round the shops about what I needed to buy – I swear everyone in the supermarket thought I was completely nuts, but all interaction is good interaction! And I used to sing to him, anytime! I would pop him lying¬†on his back on my legs and sing¬†nursery rhymes to him and then I would pop on my musical CDs and belt out showtunes…no wonder he has a penchant for them now (and ABBA and rock music!)

2.  Cuddles

Everyone loves cuddles and there’s no need to wait for an excuse to cuddle your baby! Cuddles are fab! Cuddles are part of the bonding process. I think I spent the first 2 years cuddling SC. Literally! If we weren’t playing, he would be in my arms whilst I was doing chores. He fell asleep being cuddled. And now, we have a morning cuddle routine where I sit on the floor and he rushes from one end of the room to me and jumps onto my lap and we give each other the biggest cuddles ever, and a night-time cuddle routine, and then after-school cuddles and¬†plain old ‘jus cos’ cuddles. Children will grow out of cuddling parents all to soon so you need to get¬†a lifetimes worth into a short space!

1.  Trust Your Instincts

My top tip is to trust your instincts. You know your baby better than anyone. Everyone will be all too happy to give their own opinion and advice. You will read far too many text books. But trust me, no two babies are the same. Use advice, opinions and parenting books as a guideline only. Trust yourself. New parents feel under so much pressure to get things right, they feel a failure if their baby doesn’t sleep through the night within 8 weeks (it can take longer believe me! My empathy kicks in at a year, sympathy at 3, mine didn’t sleep through the night til he was 4!) You are made to feel a failure if you don’t breastfeed, if you don’t employ the ‘crying technique’, if you wean too soon, or too late, or you don’t take them to every single toddler group under the sun! Every child is different and you are the best judge of what is right for your child. Trust your instincts, they won’t fail you!

 

I lay no claim to be an expert. I am not a perfect mum. I make mistakes – I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t. But I do the best job I can. I love SC more than anything and can’t imagine life without him now.

It is a hard job, the hardest job you will ever do voluntarily! You will get stressed, anxious, cross, vexated, tired, emotionally spent, I could go one, but ultimately it is the one thing that will give you the most joy and happiness in the world!

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Sorry Miss, the dog ate my homework!

Obviously, SC doesn’t have a dog so he doesn’t have this excuse.homework excuse

But maths homework duly done at the weekend – when I say homework, it was just colouring in – was put careful with said maths book.

OK, so it was the floor in his bedroom, but I digress, I knew where it was…

Cue, for the homework ghosts!

Yesterday I went to his bedroom to get maths book and homework and stick one in the other, but could I find the piece of paper that had been duly coloured? Oh no? The Homework Ghosts had taken it to that mysterious place in the ether where all homework disappears too.

I looked everywhere.

I searched high and low.

I searched through the recycling pile, shredding pile, all the bits of paper in his room. And yes, I did look through his maths book.

Cursing the Homework Ghost, I told him to please put it back.

But could I find it anywhere?

Nope!

ARGH!!!!!!

Thankfully, it was not too onerous a task to re-print off a page, courtesy of PowerPoint and using triangles and circles, within 5 minutes I had re-created the template, of a sort.

This morning when SC woke up he re-coloured in, which took all of 5 minutes. Then I gathered the paper and book and immediately went in search of sellotape to stick the sheet into the book.

And guess what fluttered out of the book as I opened it?

Yup! You’ve got it. The original bit of paper.

ARGH!!!!

I swear to God it was not in that book yesterday – that Homework Ghost¬†played me for a fool …¬†darn him!

Still, at least the original homework could go into the book and I didn’t have to write a note explaining the “Case of the Mysteriously Vanishing Homework”!

It certainly beats the dog eating it anyway ūüėČ

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The A-Z of Life – Respect

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. find out what it means to me – goes the song.

Well first and foremost I believe we have to respect ourselves. If we don’t no one else will.

I believe we should respect our elders, be they teachers, superiors at work, or even just the little old lady at the bus stop. That’s what I was brought up to think and I shiver at the thought that children these days are not being brought up to respect their elders.

If, as parents, we do not teach our children to automatically respect their elders (not necessarily because they are their betters, but because they happen to be older and perhaps more wise in the ways of the world) we are perhaps failing in our parental duties by sending out the signal that children demand automatic respect from adults and that adults have to earn that respect rather than the other way around.

I remember at secondary school (and this was only  in the 80s) having to stand up as soon as the teacher walked in the room. It was an automatic, no questions asked, response and certainly the thought that the teacher had to earn our respect before we would stand up for them never crossed our minds. And yet a couple of years ago I remember some hoo-ha in the paper about a boy being suspended from school because he had refused to stand up when a teacher walked in (the new head had just instilled this as a school rule) and the father (probably about my age) rather than agreeing with the head sided with his son saying teachers needed to earn respect.

And when it comes to relationships I firmly believe we need to respect our partners and would like to think that a good relationship was one that is:

Romantic

Enjoyable

Sincere

Passionate

Enchanting

Connected

Tender

 

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Fathers…

An interesting phrase which I hadn’t heard until a few months ago:fool

“Any fool can be a father. But it takes a real man to be a daddy.”

And it’s so true.

Take Mr Wrong No. 2 – SC’s father. He’s the kind of man who thinks he’s wonderful and whose mother told him, obviously so very often that he actually believes it, that his father had taught him how to be a good father.

I beg to differ.

This is the man who took SC at 3 days old, after saying he was going to give him a hug, only to sit him propped up on cushions whilst he ignored him and continued reading his paper.

This is the man who spent most of SC’s first year totally ignoring him at the weekends. Instead of getting down on the floor and inter-acting he just totally ignored him and read his newspaper.

This is the man who gleefully watched me struggle carrying baby in car seat, bag of toys, changing bag and handbag down flights of concrete steps, whilst he swanned about with his newspaper.

This is a man who never once gave SC a cuddle. Even now he doesn’t when he comes on the ‘fortnightly state visit’, he doesn’t hug him, or kiss him.

This is the man who said, although his oh-so-amazing-brain has conveniently forgotten, that SC didn’t need him until he was about 8 or 9 years old.

This is the man who said we should go and live with my parents – probably so he could carry on with goodness-only knows what woman that particular week.

This man is not a father – he thinks he is but he isn’t.

He swans about, but in reality he hasn’t got a clue.

Take today, there was a fun day where we live, so I said for him to meet us there. SC loves the outdoors. He had a go at archery, watched the sheep being shorn, climbed inside the fire engine and tractors (several times) and then he found the straw!

Now, he decided a good idea would be to grab a handful of straw and throw it at Mr Wrong No. 2 Рnow most men who are great dads would get in the spirit and join in and throw some back.

But, oh no! Not Mr Wrong No. 2 he got the right hump. Stuck a face on him like he’d sucked a lemon to quickly and swallowed a pip, shook the straw off and crossly said “don’t do that!” whilst re-doing his Mr Baldy Man hair-do. SC’s face dropped like¬†a stone, and from then on he was very quiet and subdued.

To be honest, my dad is the one who has been there for SC.

My dad is the one SC calls ‘daddy’ (bit weird I know, but he is the only male role model he’s really ever known).¬†If I’m working and my dad has to pick him up from school he tells his teacher “my daddy is picking me up today!” As far as Mr Wrong No. 2 is concerned, he’s just some ‘friend’ who comes to ‘play’ (in the loosest sense of the word, if you can call sprawling over the floor for half an hour before he gets bored and then practically throws his phone with games on at SC to keep him from having to actually interact) occasionally!

My dad is the one who wrestles on the floor (I do too, I hasten to add) and we both kick the ball about the garden.

My dad is a daddy.

I know I’m a source of constant disappointment to him, but he’s my dad and he loves me (I hope).

He’s always there for me and I can always count on him if I need advice – my mum too but for different kind of advice.

He’s a great dad, he has been for me and now he’s a great role model for SC. (Although probably not quite what he envisaged doing in his retirement!)

In some ways, I’m also having to learn to¬†be daddy to SC as well as mummy.

It’s a tough job.

I’m the one that goes off and does boys stuff with him – like cars and bikes and museums.

I’m the one who knows what he likes and dislikes, what gives him nightmares, and how rotten a time he’s having a school.

I’m dreading him growing up and me having to have ‘that talk’ with him. I’m hoping my dad will still be around to help out.

 

Thanks Dad – Happy Father’s Day

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Letter to SC

To my darling boy

I never knew how much you could love someone until I had you.

I loved you from the moment I found out I was expecting you.

People might think I’m crazy but I talked to you all the time about how much fun we would have and how much¬†I loved you and was looking forward to holding you in my arms.

The first thing I remember after you were born was holding you in my arms thinking how tiny you were and how clumsy I felt. You were so precious and fragile and new, my hands just felt too big and awkward.

But most of all I felt so much love for you, and thanked the angels for sending me the most beautiful gift.

You have grown into an amazing little boy – I am so proud of you.

I’m sorry that you will be an only child. I didn’t want that for you, it’s just the way life has panned out.

And that’s the first lesson I can teach you. That life, sometimes isn’t fair and we don’t always get what we want or think we deserve. You just have to learn to deal with it.

You can either whinge, moan and mope about it, in which case you’ll always be looking back.

Or you can accept the disappointment. It will hurt for a while, but by accepting it you can move on and carry on living and look forward to more wonderful things that await you.

And that’s the second thing I can teach you – never look back, especially with regret or anger. If you do then you are preventing yourself from growing as a person. Sometimes bad things happen in our lives and we can choose to continue to let past hurts affect the present or learn to forgive and leave the past where it belongs as it has no place in the present.

We cannot change the past, we can only learn from mistakes made by ourselves or forgive the actions of others to free ourselves from their chains in order to become happier within ourselves.

Part of the job description of being a parent is guiding you through the path to adulthood by teaching you right from wrong and giving you a good set of morals by which to live. It’s a tricky path and there will be lots of trials and tribulations, but always remember I am there for you. You can tell me anything that’s worrying you and I won’t ever judge. If you stop talking to me, then I can’t help. We are walking the path together and all you have to do is hold my hand and I will help you through.

We’re a team – it’s you and me kiddo.

The third thing I can teach you is to always be yourself. There’s no point in copying the behaviour or actions of others, it does you no favours in the long run. Don’t follow the herd. Always be your own person, know your own mind and be strong. We are all unique individuals with our own special character, talents and faults. We need to be aware of our own talents and faults in equal measure as no one is perfect. If you can acknowledge your own faults, you can help minimise them.

Let people see the real you, and not what you think they want to see. Your true friends will take you for who you are, warts and all, and be there in your time of need. Those who do not, cannot really be said to be friends at all.

The fourth thing I can teach you is to always strive to do your best. Ambition, determination and a will to succeed are not bad assets to have. Nothing in life is ever handed to you on a plate or for free. The only way you can get what you want is by working your hardest for it.

Sometimes ambition, determination and a will to succeed are still not enough. You can give it your all and you might¬†still not get anywhere. This is not a failure though. It is only a failure if you don’t acknowledge that¬†a project¬†has reached its natural conclusion. If you can accept this, then again we learn lessons and we don’t make the same mistakes again.

I will support and encourage you in whatever you want to do. I’m not the type of parent who is going to force my interests on you and make you do something you don’t want to do. We have to find our own things that we enjoy – hobby and work wise. So, if you want to be an astronaut and explore the farthest corner of the galaxy, then you go out there and make it happen ūüėČ

We all have dreams. Dreams are what keep us going in our darkest hours. But sometimes dreams are just that, dreams. I’m not saying you should let go of¬†them, just realise that some dreams won’t come true, however hard you wish ūüėČ And that’s probably one of the hardest things to learn, but even though a dream won’t come true doesn’t mean you should stop imagining.

And that’s the fifth thing I can teach you. Never let go of your imagination. Without imagination we are nothing. As children we have the most amazing ability to imagine wonderful things and as we grow older convention somehow stifles this creativity. Sometimes though a little imagination goes a long way to solving problems.

The last thing I can teach you is to try to show compassion and kindness to all. It won’t solve all the worlds problems, but by showing empathy it shows you care. Always remember to do as you would be done by.

I love you so much my darling boy, and am trying to be the best mummy I can for you. I’m learning too ūüėČ

xxxx

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10 interesting (or not) facts about me!

So, here you go 10 interesting (or not) facts about “l’il ol’ me!”

  1. I don’t smoke or drink – prefer not to harm my lungs or liver! I don’t drink purely because I don’t like the taste – some wines really would be better being poured over a plate of chips! And smoking, ladies, whatever the magazines and films may make you think does not look glamorous, or cool. But just because I don’t drink or smoke does not mean I don’t know how to enjoy myself ūüėČ
  2. I love the smell of coffee but cannot stand the taste. Seriously, I love the smell you get from opening a jar of coffee, but can’t drink it, no matter how milky, frothy or decorated with sprinkles you make it! I prefer a good old cup of tea. Brewed the builder’s way – tea-bag in mug, milk, no sugar, preferably de-caffeinated but not compulsory ūüėČ
  3. I’m allergic to e-numbers and chocolate! That’s right chocolate. I go totally haywire, and you end up having to scrape me off the ceiling. Not a pretty sight. Chocolate gives most people an incredible high – that’s why everyone loves it – but some for some people it has the opposite effect.¬†As for me, well if I have chocolate or e-numbers¬†I make Mr Hyde look like a pussy cat. I literally writhe about on the floor wanting to rip every limb of my body out of its socket to replace it as my muscles completely tense up.
  4. I’m an old-fashioned romantic at heart – still waiting for a handsome prince to sweep me off my feet. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in that. A girl should be wooed by a potential suitor – hearts and flowers (deep red fragrant roses obviously and happen to be my favourite)¬†and all that jazz. It is all about romance – don’t let Cosmo or Elle tell you any different. Deep down, every girl wants the fairytale.
  5. I love reading. I’ll read anything. I pick books literally by scanning the shelves and looking at the front cover. If I like what I see I’ll buy it. I’ve read some hummers mind you. But have also read some surprisingly good ones. I am lucky that I can skim read (I can also read upside-down, but that’s only handy in interviews ūüėČ ) so without interruption I can read a book in about a day. I went on a fortnight’s holiday once and took 6 books with me. Take away the 2 travel days and 3 excursion days. I read all 6 in the remaining 9 – and still had time to read one again!
  6. I am completely obsessed when it comes to washing my clothes – no one, but myself can touch my washing. For the simple fact all washing machines shrink clothes! Once they are washed – on the gentlest cycle and lowest spin setting – they have to be stretched to within an inch of their life. I am at one with my obsession! But don’t think you’d be doing me a favour by doing my washing, seriously, and don’t even think tumble drier unless you want Mr Hyde to reappear!
  7. Pants – another obsession. I want a pair of pants to cover my backside. I don’t do dental floss up my bum and seriously if I wanted boy shorts I’d grow a penis (they are just as bad as G-strings as they end up stuck up your bum. Why is it so difficult to find a pair that covers your bottom. Even those that are supposed to … don’t – yes I’m talking M&S!
  8. I love cooking. I have a raft of recipe books, but at the moment very little time to actually try out different recipes. My friends used to call me the ‘dessert queen’ as I always came up trumps with pudding – essential I feel to finish off the meal. If I go out to eat I prefer main and dessert to starter and main.
  9. I’ve been vegetarian since I was 14 – not through any moral standing, just purely based on watching a video in a biology lesson about how they killed animals. My friend and I looked at each other and said “not eating meat again!” – she caved after a few weeks, I’m still going. To be honest, never was a huge fan of meat. I eat fish, and have no problems handling and cooking meat for others.
  10. I am a single mother. It certainly wasn’t a path I envisaged, but that just serves me right for picking a toad! Still, I am blessed with SC, and thank the angels every day for sending me such a wonderful gift. I didn’t want SC to be an only child, when I was little I always wanted 6 children!¬†Now I think 2 or 3 would be a good¬†number – if pushing it, considering my age and lack of handsome prince.¬†But if I’m a really good girl, one day, who knows, maybe I’ll get to play happy families like everyone else ūüėČ

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