Category: Little Lessons

Five Life Lessons I’ve Learned from my 5-Year Old

My daughter’s strength astonishes me. I’m not putting her down, I’m proud of her, but I also know that she can be shy.  If you’ve been following my posts for some time now, you will know that she was the child who cried her little eyes out and desperately clung to me, for two whole weeks straight when she first started school last year.  She cried as if her little heart was breaking, as if I was going to leave her for good.  To be fair though, she cried and clutched, but would let go after, and would be led crying inside by her teacher.

For any parent who has school age children, and have gone through this, will know how difficult it was.  How we questioned ourselves as parents. It was heartbreaking. I thought that I had made the wrong decision about sending her early. She just turned four you see, two weeks just before school started. She could’ve stayed another year at home had we wanted. But I thought she was ready, but those two weeks, made me feel like I had failed her.  Yes, it’s true after a while, she was fine.  But those two weeks was one of the worst weeks of my life as a mother.

She also started her gymnastics lessons last year. And during her first day, I braced myself for a repeat performance of what she was like when she started school (this was months after), but surprisingly there were no tears, though she nervously chewed on her sleeve that first day, she came home with a very wet one, but with a big smile on her face.  She knew she did well.

She’s changed a lot.  She’s still shy.  It takes awhile for her to warm-up with strangers or in a new situation, but her strength as a person really is admirable for someone so young.  As an adult, I am learning so much from my five-year-old daughter:

1. Always Have A-Go: Be Brave

No matter what it is, especially if it’s something new and even though it’s a bit scary, little T will always give it a try.  She’ll look at us a bit nervous and say “I’ll have a go mum”.  We’ll ask “Are you sure?”  She’ll nod her head quietly and I too try to be brave for her, even though in reality all I want to do is cuddle her and say “Oh it’s fine. You don’t have to do it!”  Instead I bite my lip and take her lead.

I’ve already written about how she volunteered to read in front of a large group of people during a school activity and how she helped a friend who got stuck and couldn’t read the words on her paper.  Some her friends may appear more confident than her, but when push comes to shove and put on spotlight, they crumble and cry.  But not little T, who will always have a-go.

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2. Never Give Up

Little T had some friends from school who joined her in her gymnastics class every Friday.  These kids were seemingly more confident than her, but in the end, they gave it up, which was a shame because they seemed really keen, but seemed too scared, too uncertain with the big groups of kids in the class.  Not little T though, she would always stand shyly (and she’s also one of the youngest, not to mention shortest!) amongst her team-mates, but no matter what, come Friday, you would expect to see her there, standing with them.

3. Stand-up for Yourself

She knows how to hold her corner.  Whilst my daughter isn’t the shortest in her class (there’s another lovely little boy who is the same size as her), she won’t back off if someone puts her down.  Her teacher told us that she is vocal about her feelings and is not afraid to state her opinion, even if she has to raise her voice among all the bigger children in school.

4. Stop Worrying

As parents, we are all worriers, aren’t we?  We worry about the smallest little thing and my daughter is the one who patiently calms my fears down by saying “It’s all right mum.  It doesn’t matter” she’ll say, or “It’s going to be fine”.  I wonder sometimes, when did she become this wise?

5. Trust

My daughter has taught me to trust her, even though she is only five.  Most times I want to hide her away in my little bubble and not let her try anything new, or anything that she’s nervous about.  In her own little way, she lets me know that I can trust her.  Trust that she’ll be in her best behaviour when out on play-dates with her friends in their house.  Parents have commended her  with her lovely manners.  She doesn’t forget to say “No thank you, yes please” And thank the person for the lovely meal they’ve prepared.

She’s not perfect by any means.  No one is. She has her meltdowns too, especially when she’s tired and can be really grumpy after school. But hey, she’s five right?

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When she’s old enough, I know it will be difficult for me to let her go on her own, to allow her to experience everything life has to offer.  I know it will break my heart, but once again, I’ll take my cue from her.  I’ll stand by the doorway and wave her off, but I’ll make sure that I’m also there to welcome her back home.

For those who have children, what are the lessons you’ve learned from them?

Or what was the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn in life?

Do share.

Mama Owl

Everything is Lovely except the Weather

The deed is done.

And yes, the weather looks crap outside but my blog looks shiny and new!

I’ve finally managed to move from wordpress.com to wordpress.org.  I’m now a self-hosted blogger.  But I tell you folks, it was a nightmare!  I tried to stay calm the whole time, but it was stressful.  While the folks over at TSO did the migration for me, I still had to do a few technical stuff on my end.  And when it comes to anything to do with coding, no matter how little, really freaks me out.

The first time my blog was migrated, post from the years 2014-2016 disappeared.  And although I tried to stay calm, I knew my old site was still there and therefore all files were in tact and a friend assured me (thanks K) that these folks knew what they were doing and had back-ups, it was still nerve-wracking to me.  But all’s well, in spite the rocky start.  The TSO support did a great job at helping a non-techie like me move her blog without going berserk.

I also had to buy a new theme, even though I just bought one last year for my old site.  I’m loving the new one.

What do you think?

While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out my edited “About Me” section. Hint:  I’m finally out of the closet.  Not gay, but posted a photo of me for the very first time on this blog and it’s not of my back!  But nope, you won’t be seeing more photos of me.  That’s about it.  I prefer to be behind the camera, than in front of it.

I do hope that old readers/friends won’t have difficulty accessing my blog, my old site is supposed to be automatically redirected to the new one.  I have a question to my friends though who are with wordpress.com, does my blog still show up in your reader?

For those who have done the same move, did you have an easy or difficult time migrating?

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The Reading Residence
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The Amusing and yet also Annoying Incidents of Doc

It’s happened twice already.

The first time it happened, I actually chuckled and was more amused than annoyed.  What a smart dog, I even said to myself.

I reprimanded him and of course, he looked guilty and knew absolutely why I told him off.

The second time it happened.

I was not amused.

I was irritated – cross even.

Doc had peed in the bathroom again.

Since it is late autumn, the door to the garden is always shut.

I do let him out every now and then and of course, we go out for his daily jaunts around the headland.

But lately he’s been having these little accidents, not every day, but it’s happened twice already.

I ought to be pleased that he seems to understand that peeing in the bathroom is what is done, though of course we do it in the toilet, he does it on the floor.

And him being a dog, pees exactly in the same spot.

Now overtime I hear his little steps up the stairs, I call after him and remind him not to pee in the bathroom.  He hasn’t done it since.

Does your pet pee in the bathroom too?
ANIMALTALES

 

Remembering a Dog

This is an old post written a few years ago, before we had Doc. It also happens to be one of my favourite posts so I thought of re-sharing this with you lovely people. It’s also my entry to the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle and Arden Grange Pet Writing Competition. If you have a story to tell about your pet, there’s still plenty of time to join. It ends on the 25th of January 2016. You’ll never know one of us might just win a lovely pet holiday in Normandy!  Click here to find out more about it.

Summer in November

The first day of November felt like summer.  After the experiencing Halloween madness the previous night, we along with some friends, decided that a beach day was a must, especially since the day looked very promising.

But it being late autumn, I packed coats, wellies, wooly hats and scarves in the car.  It turned out that we didn’t need them at all.  Widemouth Bay (as you all know is a fave) and was surprisingly packed well not the beach (there’s always space enough for everyone), but the parking lot, considering it was the last day of the half-term break.

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While waiting to meet up with her best friend F, as always, little T and her dad were lost in the rock rockpools.

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Soon little F joined his best friend and they quickly had a small collection of rock pool finds, a small fish, crab and some snails.

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One must never forget the rock pooling rule: What one finds, must always return back to the sea:

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T and F letting their precious finds back into the water.

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And then it was time to run around like loonies.

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 This was what it was like the first day of November.  It certainly felt like summer that day.  Today, the 14th is an altogether different story.  As I type this, I can see our little village clothed in grey and rain.  It is definitely autumn once again.

What’s the weather like on your side of the world?

Is it sunny or gloomy like it is here?

A Red Tutu Kind of Day

We woke up to a gloomy depressing autumn morning.

Grey was the colour of the day, or so it seemed.

Good thing, little T is always full of good ideas.

I want to wear my red tutu mummy!

That’s a great idea T, I agreed with her.

When it is a dreary autumn grey day, wearing a read tutu is a must.

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Little T and I can guarantee you that your gloomy day will dissipate.

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Where to go when you’re wearing a tutu on a country road?

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To the headland of course, but first you have to go through the church yard gates.

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This will take you straight through the headland and of course, before we let the dog off the leash, we have to make sure that there aren’t any other furry creatures around.

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The coast is clear… Doc is off!

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Where is he T?

He’s off chasing imaginary rabbits mum!

Indeed.

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This is the spot where you can stand and see little T’s school from afar.

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And of course, a walk isn’t complete without a goofy photo from T.

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And then its time to go home.

Do you like the colour red?

I do! Especially on a dreary-autumn day like this one.

Focusing on the Small Joys: A lovely day at the beach

Children are experts when it comes to small joys.  To them, it’s the small joys that matter.  It’s the little things that can instantly summon a smile on their lovely faces.  To us, what may seem insignificant, means the world to them.

“Really mum, I can sleep in your bed tonight?”  Says little T with the biggest smile and excitement on her face, as if I just offered her a trip to the moon and back.

I wish for her to never ever forget this expertise.  Why does growing-up mean forgetting that it’s the small joys that matter?   American writer Pearl S. Buck sums it all:

Many people lose the small joys in the hope for big happiness.

You could say, living by the sea, when the sun is out and the temperature rises our biggest “small joy” would be heading out to the beach with a picnic.

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We’ve been to Pontireglaze beach a few times, but we usually pass through Polzeath beach to get to it.  This time though, we decided to park up the hill and head for the beach using a different path.

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Normally, I wouldn’t dare walk near the cows with their calves, especially with little T around, but they seemed unfazed as a small procession of people walked on the path in their field.

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Just when I was worried that we took the wrong the path, the beach suddenly appeared before us.

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Little T got her spade and had a little play in the sand.

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Here’s little T and her dad exploring the rock pools.

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I knew she’d end up wet, so we stripped her off and left her in her underpants.

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I have many lovely memories of little T playing on the beach in just her knickers.  These are all filed under my small joys.

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After putting on a clean-dry dress on little T, we decided that it was time to head back home.

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Not before looking back at this little piece of paradise.

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A cow and her calf eyed us suspiciously from afar as we made our way back up.

When the sky is grey as today, these photos with lovely blue skies keep the gloom away.

What about you?  What are your small joys?

What Makes a Mother's Heart Swell?

If you’ve been following my blog for some time now, you will know that when little T started school, we went through a tough time of bursting into tears, of her not wanting to go to school every single morning.  It was a difficult phase for all of us, especially my darling daughter.

It went on for about two weeks.  Then thankfully it stopped and she was fine.  She started her gymnastics class which she loved straight from the start and didn’t even cry on her first day.  Maybe because she knew that we were just in another room waiting for her, unlike school where she knew she was going to be left-alone.

Most of the kids in her school went to an after school-activity called “Star Makers”.  It’s a drama/sing and dance class which a mother from little T’s class runs in the village hall not far from little T’s class.  When she first heard about it, she adamantly declared “I’m not going to star-makers!”  which was okay with us.  I didn’t want her to have too many after-school activities anyway.

Then over the weeks, more of her shell has been shed and one day, on her own, she decided that she also wanted to go to Star Makers just like all her friends.

After her first session months ago, she came home skipping and said “I wish it were star-makers everyday!”

And last Monday, they had their first ever production of “Lion King”.  It was really a small show, just set in the village hall with all the parents watching.  Little T was just one of the animals, just like the rest of her friends.

Watching her perform left a little lump in my throat and a swelling in my heart.  She was absolutely loving every minute of it.  There was no fear in her eyes, there was joy in them as she danced and sang along with her friends.  My husband and I were beaming with pride, I’m sure all the parents present felt the same.

And I said to myself, this is what it’s all about.  This is what motherhood/parenthood is all about, the lump in my throat and swell in my heart – This is everything.  Moments like this one is what matters.  When she’s happy and confident in herself and basking in every single moment of it.

starmkers1_littlestepsYes, there are bad days.  Days when you wonder, plodding down the road to do the school-run, Is this it?  Is this what my life is all about now.  Is this really it?”  

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 To that mother, who is asking the same questions above, my answer would be.  “Yes it is.  Yes this is it.  And it is everything and it may seem nothing to you at that moment, but you’ll find other moments, when you stop and think and say to yourself, proudly … Yes, this is it.  This is my life and I’m loving every single minute of it”.

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See that little girl standing with her little animal headgear?  She used to hide behind my legs every time someone said hello to her.

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She used to cover her eyes when someone would look at her and when someone asked her a question, you’d have to strain yours ears just to hear her very soft reply.  Today she says “Oh yes, please” if you offered her something she wanted.  If she wasn’t interested,  she’d confidently say, “No thank you”.

Starting school and all her other activities has made who she is today: A happy, smart and confident little girl who loves everything about her four-year-old life.  And this is what matters, this is why looking at those photos leaves a lump in my throat and a swelling in my heart.  This is what it is and what it should always be about.

When those days come rolling back in (and they will come back, they always do) and you start to doubt yourself all over again and wonder Is this it?  Is this really it?  These photos will speak back to me and reply, “Yes it is.  At the moment, yes, this is it… And aint it grand?”

Do you have those moments too?

Not My Year Off

Small Joys in Paper

One of the many million reasons why I love having a little four-year-old around, is discovering her drawings scattered all over the house.  Yes, I grumble as I bend over and wonder how much a little one could accumulate so much mess in the little hours she spends getting read for school in the morning.  And then I look closely at what I’ve just picked up, and my heart fills with so much love, I could burst.

Here’s our family portrait, she drew a similar one on her board and as I type this I can see it in the corner of my eye and it makes me smile and really happy – the purest kind, not the superficial kind.

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And then here’s one she did of her and her friends:

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She also loves to scribble …

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And here’s my favourite, some of you may have noticed this drawing on my IG account.

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“It’s you mummy!”  She said offering her drawing up to me.

Do you notice, I have heart-shaped pupils?

To her, I’m the most beautiful woman in the world.

And I look at this drawing and you know what, I really am the most beautiful woman in the world, even though most days I really feel like crap and probably look like a bag-lady 😉

What are your small joys?

Does your little one like drawing too?

The Reading Residence
Let's Talk Mommy

Of Dying, Marriage and Religion (by a four-year-old)

Little T and her father like to invent stories, they do this after her Dad has read her a bed-time story.  They create their very own, which usually includes herself and her close friends at school, sometimes it’s also about her favourite toys.

It’s sweet to hear them do their make-up stories as I go about doing my chores, mostly it’s trying to clear-away the mess in the living room.  The only problem is little T likes to end her turn with “And then they died … ” And according to my husband, she says this with her big-brown eyes, a serious expression on her face, leans forward and then declares “Your turn Dad!”

Then the husband has to rack his brains out to think of ways not to end the story with the characters dying.  For example:

T:  “Then F, M and R fell into a dark hole and then they died …. Your turn Dad!”

Husband: “But unknown to them, that dark hole was a magic hole!  They landed on their bums and had a good laugh about it” 

What’s this obsession with dying?  I blame Finding Nemo, no wait.  I blame Frozen.  Little T likes to mention that Elsa’s parents sailed away and ended up drowning and dying.  “I don’t want you to die Mummy” She says worriedly to me.  While I’m tempted to assure her that I’m not going to die, I tell her instead that I’m not going to die anytime soon (silently add, I hope).  Instead I say “When mummy does, I’ll be a very old woman and you’ll be a grown-up with a great career, your own home and family”.

That usually does the trick, because my four-year-old also likes to talk about marriage.

***

“I want to marry F, mummy!”  For those who have been reading my blog for some time now, you’ll be familiar with F, who happens to be my daughter’s best friend since age two.  She has many friends now, but F will always be her best friend and the boy she wants to marry.

I say to her, “You’re only four T, I’m sure you’ll change your mind”

“No mummy.  I won’t ever, ever, ever, change my mind!”

The next day, she changes her mind and wants to marry N.  What about F, I ask.  “Oh M wants to marry F, so I’m going to marry N now”.

Kids.

***

Little T and I are Catholics.  But somehow it was understood that our daughter would be a Catholic too.  He doesn’t mind at all.

Every night we say our prayers.  I taught her how to pray “Angel of God” but also taught her a short prayer when she’s really tired.  Of course now, she always opts for the shorter version.

“Is God more powerful than Father Christmas?”

“Yes”

“Why is God more powerful than Father Christmas?”

“Well because God made Father Christmas!”

“Does that mean, all my present are from God then?”

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At the age four, she’s got everything sorted-out already.

Do you have funny conversations with your little ones?