Tag: life

That Second Child I might never have.

My husband and I wanted a second child after little T.  Admittedly, we didn’t try right away.  We were just too caught up in loving every single minute with her that we forgot one important matter to parents of a certain age: t-i-m-e.  You see I was 37 when I gave birth to my darling girl.  We should’ve seriously tried after her first birthday.

He wanted another daughter, I yearned for a little boy.  We tried when T was around three, but I guess it just isn’t meant to be and I’m okay with that now (I think).  Though admittedly, for the longest time, it actually felt like I was grieving for the son that I’ll never have. And sometimes, when I allow myself the “maybe-it-can-still-happen thoughts”, I feel a tiny minuscule flicker of hope ignite inside me, but as the months turn into years, that already small flame is diminishing little by little.

We kept little T’s buggy and car seats (from baby to toddler) up in the attic. But last month, when we cleared old stuff because of the move we thought we were doing, we decided to give them to a friend who gave birth a few months ago.  They are all gone now. All her baby toys and clothes she’s outgrown.  There won’t be another baby to use them, at least not ours.  We saved a few bits that we really love like her first shoe, first winter duffel coat and other special things.

A week or so go ago I blurted another “What if once we finally move … with all the stress behind us … What if I get pregnant again?”  My poor lovely husband gave me a tired smile and said “Yes, you’ll never know, it might just happen”.  But I knew that sad smile also meant “My poor wife, she’s still hoping …”  Later on that very same day, I was happily chatting to one of our mum friends and I also mentioned it, she agreed “Yes, you’ll never know”.

Then that night, as I lay in a hot nice bath I tried to remember my age.  You see, I’m the kind who keeps forgetting.  (Now whether this is done intentionally, I have no idea 😉  I called to T who was just in the other room and asked her “How old is mummy, sweetie?”  She hollered back “43 mum” and then my heart sank.  Forty-bloody-three, who am I kidding?  I’ll never get pregnant again.  It took us ages to get pregnant with T.

It’s easy to write about the happy days, isn’t it?  Or about the awful English weather outside, how it paints a grim picture as I sit and type this. Or the sunshiny days we’ve been having lately, or how lovely it is to live in a small village by the sea.

But I struggle with the words to describe how I feel about my hypothetical other child.  The one that I’ll never have. All I know is this, every time it’s that time of the month, my heart breaks a little, even though I know the chances of me getting pregnant is slim and getting slimmer by the day.  Who am I kidding?  I’m afraid time is more of a foe right now.  Yes, I know it can still happen.  A blogger friend insists that it can still happen, because it happened to her.  But each year goes by and nothing happens and I’m slowly accepting that perhaps, it just isn’t meant to be?  And I know some of you may think, oh but you should be thankful that you have little T, some keep trying and aren’t even lucky enough to have one child.  Yes, I am thankful every single day that we were blessed to have her, but given the chance, I’d love to have that second child.

What’s the most difficult reality you’ve had to accept?

Do share.

Back to the Daily Grind of things

Now that Easter break is over and done with, we are back in the daily grind of things.  The husband takes T to school, he then goes back to his work, I walk Doc and then do the afternoon school run.

On Mondays after school, T used to go to Starmakers, an after school activity held at the village hall.  She seems to have lost interest in it and we all decided that she stopped going.

Before the break, she’s been saying she didn’t want to go anymore. We never push T to do things and she seems adamant that she doesn’t want to go back to it.  We’re not that bothered, since this particular activity is really more like play, a bit of drama, song and dance.  She used to really enjoy it especially since most of her friends were going, somehow she has outgrown it. And it’s only fair to stop going, especially if it means opening up a slot for another child who really wants to join the class.

On Tuesdays, she has her cello lessons.  But luckily for her (and for the other kids as well), the lessons are done during school hours.  I just don’t know what the other kids (who don’t do cello or violin) do while the small group who are doing music lessons are away from the class.

T goes to her swimming lessons with her other friends on Wednesdays.  The lessons are held at a holiday park here in Cornwall, so we always end up having dinner there with the other kids and their parents too.  The children enjoy this as they get to have a play while waiting for dinner to be served.

Thursdays are free days.  I love Thursdays.

And today, T goes to her gymnastics lessons after school.  She’s excited because one of her friends from school is coming along to see whether she too would like to join T’s gymnastics club.  Hopefully her friend decides to join her.

The weekends are our laze-about-days, which consists of wearing our PJs till midmorning, doing some homework and for me, it’s also doing chores in between.  I’m afraid for some of us (parents), it’s never entirely a bugger all day isn’t it?  There’s always endless chores to be done.

We don’t have anything planned over the weekend.  The historian has a lecture to do in Plymouth, so that will leave T and I alone at home with Boots and Doc.  Luckily for us, the good weather we’ve been experiencing (lots of lovely blue and white clouds) will continue over the weekend.  That is, if the weather forecast doesn’t decide to do a dramatic change and suddenly announce rainstorms, hale and thunderclouds. Hopefully not!  We might meet over with some friends on Saturday, but we’re all just playing it by ear.  There won’t be any rushing, just relaxing about.  That’s what I love about weekends.

My word of the week is: routine

The Reading Residence
What about you?
What do you love about weekends?
Do share.

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 you wish you knew about motherhood before becoming one?

That’s one of the questions I ask in our monthly chats with Mums and Dads.  If you haven’t read any of the features, do come and have a little read.  I’ve been lucky to be able to  interview really good bloggers out there, each of them, worth a read and have shared little gems of truths about parenthood.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about that question lately.  The truth is, it’s actually always in my mind and this post has been saved in my draft box for the longest time.  Now if someone asked me that question, my truthful answer would be:

“I wish I knew that I’d be scared all the time.  No one, not even my mother, warned me about that lingering fear that would keep me awake late at night thinking about the “what ifs”.  That fear and knowing that for the rest of my life, this fear will stay with me forever.”

Fear of Failing your child:

I never knew that being a mother would be the scariest experience in my life, and I’m not even talking about little T’s  birth story, although that experience in itself is scary.  I’m talking about the enormous responsibility of a parent, of raising a child and having the power to either make or break your child’s life.  That whatever kind of person she becomes will be a direct result of the kind of people you were as a parent and upbringing she has had in her life.  And that thought scares the shit out of me.

Being Happy is all that matters

It took me awhile to realise that you can’t keep blaming your parents for every single failure or mistake that you have made in your life.  I think I was in my late 20s when I realised that I can’t blame my parents for my own faults anymore.  I’m more than old enough to know that I made wrong decisions in my life, not because of what they did, or haven’t done, but it’s because of my own doing.  I used to think that the reason why I’m not ambitious was because my parents never really pushed me to be the best that I can be.  For them, being happy was all that matters and I’m learning now, they were right of course!

Once I was torn whether to quit a job I absolutely abhorred, or to stay, especially since I was up for another promotion.  This was the boss who told me “Stick with me Dean and we’ll climb up the corporate ladder together”.  I remember sitting in her office and staring out the window when she said this to me.  And all I could think of was wanting to jump out right there and then.  I phoned my mother and the only thing she said was “If you’re not happy, leave”.  And that’s what I did.

Paranoia:  The bane of parenthood

As a first-time parent, I know it’s normal to be paranoid about your child’s safety.  That irrational fear of worrying about your child when they are not with you.  That she might be in harm’s way.  Little T has another school trip tomorrow, because she is small, I worry that they might lose her, or that she might not know how to buckle her seatbelt up in the bus and she might fall and hurt herself.  I know that fear is unfounded, because I trust the school and her teachers and know that they always make sure that all the children are safe.

The fear of dying

Being older parents, I worry a lot about my health.  I fear getting sick, every pain I feel I wonder, is it something serious?  When the husband is away, I say a little prayer to keep him safe all the time.  I want her to have both of us around for a very long, long time.  Is that impossible to ask?

And now you know why I rarely have a good night’s sleep.  For those out there who have the same fears and have been in this parenting business far longer than I have, my question is, does it get any better?  Do the fears dissipate as my daughter gets older?

What is your greatest fear as a parent, as a person?

Good Day Sunshine

I think I know what McCartney was thinking when he wrote the lyrics to the Beatles’ song “Good Day sunshine”.  Just reading the words, makes you feel good already:  “Good day sunshine.  Good day sunshine.  Good day sunshine.  Good day sunshine.  I need to laugh, and when the sun is out.  I’ve got something I can laugh about.  I feel good, in a special way.  I’m in love and it’s a sunny day.”

And he is so right, when the sun is out, the gloom is nowhere to be found either.  As I’ve mentioned we’ve been having absolutely glorious weather and when you live in the UK you keep expecting it will be over soon and the rains will come again.  And as of yesterday, the rain has come!  But that’s life in the UK 😉 and the plants needs some watering, so it’s fine.

The glorious sunshine started during the Easter break, the sun came out in its full glory and since we had a close friend over, who also happens to be little T’s godfather, we went on a lovely  country walk.  T also had a little friend over, so along with two little people, three adults and a four-legged over excitable dog, we all headed out for a little procession through the woods.

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Over the hills we went, but had to go skirting around the hills, trying to avoid the cows with their calves.

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We didn’t want to risk it, not with two children and the cows with their babies would definitely be nervous around an over-excitable dog like Doc.

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After a bit of walk and hearing a few whinges from the little ones, we finally reached St. Peter’s Woods, which meant we weren’t far from Minster Church.

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And then there it was – Minster Church, just like Forrabury, parts of the building was built during the Norman times.

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I love the graveyard here, it always looks beautiful and different as the season changes as seen on this post.

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Poor Doc, as usual, had to be left outside as we all went inside to have a look around and actually, a bit of a rest.

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You might be wondering what little T is doing in this photo:  She’s actually practicing her “hard-stare” made famous by Paddington Bear.

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Kids will be kids.  Clambering over stairs with no fear, in spite the adults cautioning them to slow-down.  Then it was time to head home.

What about you?

Does the weather also affect your mood?

As I type this, grey clouds are hovering outside.  But like I said, we actually welcome the rain, so it’s not so bad and I besides, I just checked, the sun will be out again tomorrow 🙂

Nail Polish & the Little One

At age four, I already have arguments with my daughter about nail polish.  Four, yes, you read it right – four, not fourteen!  Goodness knows what kind of arguments I’ll be having with her at that age.  But I don’t want to think about it yet, lest it freaks me out and I know it will.  At the moment, it’s all about nail polish:

“You can’t wear nail polish to school!”

“But so and so does!”

“Just because so and so does, doesn’t mean you have to!”

I have that same argument with her every now and then.  It’s usually over the weekend, that’s the only time I allow her to use the nail polish her best friend F gave her last Christmas, but the deal is, she has to let me to take them off Sunday night.  I don’t like the idea of her wearing nail polish to school, it’s fine to have them at home, but not at school even though so far, I haven’t heard the school say anything about them.  I usually win the argument by saying “Do you see mummy wear  nail polish?”  She’ll shake her head and that usually ends it.

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I never liked using nail polish, not even as a teenager.  I don’t have anything against them by the way.  In fact I do find them pretty to look at, but it’s just a personal choice.  I didn’t like the way it feels on my nails, to me it feels unnatural.  The rare times I wore them in the past, I wouldn’t be able to sleep unless I took them off.  I’d be consciously feeling my nails and be bothered about how they felt under my touch.

Just like make-up I guess.  I never learned how to use make-up.  I’d wear lipstick and always, always end up unconsciously licking my lips and before you know it, not a trace of lipstick will be left on me.

Going back to little T’s current fave: nail polish.  I know all the girls in her class use them and I know too, that it’s a bit like “dressing-up” for them.  I’m just not very comfortable about the idea of my little girl wearing them.  I don’t want her to get used to it.  Like it’s all part of getting dressed, clothes, shoes, socks oh wait, must ask mum to put nail polish on me.  Perhaps what I’m really worried about is that I don’t want little T to think that she needs nail polish to make her feel “prettier” or feel good about herself.  At age four (or any age for that matter), I don’t want her to feel as if she has to give in, just because other girls are doing it.

When she’s older, hopefully in her teens, preferably late teens (am I pushing it?) and would still like to use nail polish, I’d be fine with that.  But not at age four.

What do you think?

Just a little bit …

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That’s what I’ve been the past week or so …

Maybe because I’ve had this niggling ache in my arm, the past few weeks.  It feels like muscular strain, you know the kind you get after a work out and you didn’t do your warm-ups well, that sort.  The problem is, I don’t exercise and don’t go to the gym.  On the one hand, could that be why I’m achy? Because I’m so un-exercised?  Could be.

My husband thinks it’s the dog.  As some of you may know, I’m the main dog-walker in our house.  And Doc is, let’s just say, is a little bit too excitable at the moment and likes to pull and pull and pull, on our way to the headland.  And he may not be as big as other dogs, but little T’s dog is very strong, hence the muscle strain, or so my husband thinks.

We’ve trained him how to “heel” but when out for a walk to the headland, it just doesn’t seem to work.  When he pulls, I pull him back to me and say “to me”, that’s our “heel word/command”.  That’s what happens, he pulls, I pull him back, he pulls, I pull him back until we reach the headland.  And once he’s had his turn of running around like a loony all over, on our way home, he’s a good-boy, who’ll heel when told to.  He’s just too excited when he knows that we are going to his happy-place, he goes absolutely ballistic.

So for now, I’ve been relieved off my duties as main dog-walker, let’s see if the ache goes away, I hope it does.

***

It’s also been a busy last week for T at school.  Last Monday, she had her first ever performance for her Star Makers class, which she absolutely loved.  It was lovely to see her all confident, happy and beaming on stage.  My husband and I loved every single minute of watching her perform with the rest of her friends.

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And yesterday, the whole school had spent a day on the beach! We had to pick her up from there to go to the dentist and I’m happy to share that the dentist has once again, declared that little T has perfect teeth.  Now let’s hope this lasts, especially since she has received more than a couple of giant Easter chocolate eggs.  To be fair with her, she’s really meticulous about brushing her teeth.

***

Later today, my husband, little T and I are off to Bristol for the weekend.  He has a meeting with the OU and we’ve booked in an extra night at the hotel so we could have a city-break.  I love city breaks and I love Bristol 🙂  Since we live in the country, we try to have as much city-breaks when we can.  Doc will also have his short-break to see his other doggie-friends at the kennel nearby.

And then it’s Easter break!  I’m really looking forward to spending more time with T, when she’s not around, I honestly miss the little kiddo 😉

What about you?

Do you have any lovely plans over the weekend or Easter?

The Reading Residence

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

Little T's first Gymnastics Badges

As some of you may know, little T started gymnastics class last year and I’m proud to say that she’s still loving it and has actually earned her first two badges.

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For awhile my husband and I were worried that she’d lose interest, especially since it is a bit of a drive form where we live.  But so far, she is still looking forward to Fridays when she gets to don her lovely sparkly gym leotards and now club hoodie.  I’ve just recently sewn her badges on, ready for her to wear tomorrow.

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After sewing the second one, my fingers were really hurting!

It’s so interesting and lovely to see how confident she is now after starting school this year, joining her gym class and also star-makers another after school activity.  She’s no longer the scared, shy little girl who used to burst into tears just as the school bell would ring.  Interestingly, some kids who were so confident at the start of the year are now the ones who have been tearful in the mornings, while T after a goodbye wave, would happily cue along with her other friends.

And it was actually also her idea to join star-makers (a drama, singing and dancing class), which one of the mum’s of her friends facilitate after school.  All her friends went at the beginning, and she held back.  We didn’t push her, for us it was enough that she had her gymnastics class and didn’t want (still don’t) to pile too much activities after school.  Most days she’s too tired and grumpy to do anything anyway.

But one day, she surprised us all, by announcing that she wanted to go to star-makers too, which was fine, especially since it’s being held at our village hall, not far from her school.

Little T has definitely gone more than a mile from the kind of little girl she was before she started school.  To think that at the beginning, I was so worried that we had made the wrong decision of starting her too early.  After all, she had just turned four, in less than a couple of weeks before starting school.

What about you?

How are your little ones doing?

Mum of Three World