Tag: motherhood

This not-so-little-one turned Seven!

T turned seven over the weekend.  This growing-up business is happening way too soon for my husband and I.  We want to enjoy her more.

She had a party with her friends at iBounce on Saturday and it was just madness and mayhem.  But all the kids enjoyed it and that’s what matters isn’t it?  I wish I could share some photos but now that T is growing-older I’ve decided to refrain from posting photos of her where you can see her face.  If you’ve noticed, it’s always from afar, or her back or side view.  She’s growing up you see, and I want to protect her privacy.

What do we know about the number seven?

There are seven colours in a rainbow: red, yellow, green, blue, violet, orange and indigo.  Apparently, the number seven is significant in the Bible.  It denotes completeness or perfection.  The scholars believe that it’s because God rested on the seventh day after creating the world.  In Judaism, the universe is made of seven heavens.  And then of course, there’s the seven deadly sins.

If you google the number 7, you’ll find an endless list but before I digress again, I’ve decided to make …

Seven Fun Facts about T

  1. She plays the cello, and does ballet and gymnastics.
  2. Won her first ever race at sports day this year.
  3. Favourite authors: Chris Riddell, Neil Gaiman and J.K Rowling
  4. Favourite illustrator/artist: Chris Riddell.
  5. Ambition: Wants to be an illustrator like C.R or a writer like J.K Rowling.
  6. Favourite colours: Purple and black.
  7. Favourite hero (or more like a villain): Harley Quinn

Ah parenthood, I didn’t anticipate that watching your child grow-up could actually be painful.  It sounds selfish I know, but sometimes I just want her to stay little just little a wee bit more.

Now excuse me while I pick-up more wrapping paper off the floor.  I think I’ve forgotten what it looks like!

Intimate Conversations with Canesten: Plus a Chance to Win a £50 Voucher from Amazon

*This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Canesten

I’ve always wanted a daughter.  I guess it’s also because I’m close to my own mother and want to replicate the kind of relationship I have with her, and what I have with little T is even better.  She’s my little shadow. When she’s not in school, she’s always with me.  She likes to cuddle and gives kisses freely.  And we talk, we talk a lot.  We talk about everything.  I dread the day when she won’t do as much anymore or even want to be with her old mum as much as she used to, hopefully that day will never come.

Little T is a perfect combination of a little girl who loves ballet, playing her cello, gymnastics, but at the same time won’t hesitate to play rough with her best friend who happens to be a boy, or win a race on sports day.  She’s both “girly” and “boyish” though I don’t really like using labels, but she’s definitely both.

My darling daughter is turning seven in August.  How did that happen?  Where did my chubby little baby go?  I can see traces of her on her little six-year-old face, but soon, even that will be gone.  I’m not ready for T to grow another year older.  I know that sounds selfish, but time is just happening way too fast.

I’m not really looking forward to those intimate albeit awkward conversations with T, especially The Talk.    I’m imagining there will be lots of giggles, or maybe she’ll be too grossed to even want to listen to me.

What I want to say to her is this, it’s all part of being a girl, part of being female, part of being a woman.

Already she has questions about when will she have breasts, although at this age, she still refers to them as “boobies” and always said with a little giggle.  I really don’t mind talking about the changes in a girl’s body as they turn into puberty, especially once she starts having her period.  She knows what it is, when she was younger she used to call it “pyramid” and much to my embarrassment used to announce “Mummy has her pyramid today”.

And of course along with that comes the changes in a girl’s body together with the discussion of  proper care of our intimate health and common intimate conditions such as thrush, cystitis, and BV.  Some may think, isn’t it a bit too early to discuss this with your daughter?  I’m not saying I’m going to discuss all of this with her in one go.

I think it’s important to prepare them early.  And to discuss it in a manner where it comes out naturally.  If she gets used to talking about it at an early age, she won’t hesitate to come to me for more questions, at least, that’s what I’m hoping for.

I didn’t have this you see, when I was growing-up.  I never even knew what Thrush was or what the symptoms were.  I had to find them all out on my own.  As parents, we try to give our children as much life skills as we can.  I believe that this includes having these intimate conversations with them, especially for daughters, no matter how trying these conversations may be.  And to reiterate that no matter how embarrassing or difficult the question are, they can always discuss it with us.  What about you?  If you have daughters, have you had this discussion with them?

And for those who want to win a £50 Amazon voucher, all you need to do is answer the question in the comments below. The best answer will win the voucher.

What I wish I knew about intimate health when I was younger.

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“I’m not going to win the race mum”

Little T announced this when she woke up on Sports Day.  I replied, “It’s okay sweetie.  As long as you do your best and have fun with your friends.  That’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?”  She nodded her little head.  Later on I wondered, should I have told her to aim to win?  I remember one of the mums last year told her kids “It’s alright to want to win you know”.  And she’s right.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to win.  But at the same time, I didn’t want to pressure little T, she’s only six for goodness sake.  And in my opinion, she has too much after school activities.  She does ballet, gymnastics and swimming.  I’m not even including her cello lessons which they do in their school.  The thing is, she loves her ballet, gymnastics, although I suspect she loves her swimming class only because most of her close friends are in the same class, so it’s really like an extended play-time for all of them.  But who am I to complain when she loves and enjoys all of them.

We never tell her to aim for the gold, or aim to win.  We always say “have fun”, because to us, that’s all that matters.  We want our little girl to enjoy and have fun.  The pressure goodness knows will come soon, no matter how hard we try to avoid it, so why start now?  Like I mentioned, she’s only six.

And that little girl who doubted herself, but did her best, and not to mention is the youngest and shortest  in their class won the race and not because we told her to win –  it was all her doing.  She didn’t aim to win.  But as her dad said, she ran as fast as her little legs could carry her and won the race.

At the end, I didn’t even know she won, I thought it was E, who is a year older than T and has really long legs, and was leading the race at the beginning.  Her dad said “No, T won!”  I said “Really?  Not T with her short legs”.  He said, “Yes T won!”.  I walked back to my husband and said “Did you see that?”  He said “Yes, I’m so proud of her”  And when I looked at my husband, he was all teary-eyed. I guess my little T did win after all.

Later that night, we looked at the photos and the video I took and my husband gasped.  He explained that he told her to not clench her fist, but to relax and open her palms up and then lunge forward when nearing the finish line.  If you peer at the photos I took (although those were taken not in the actual race that she won, but the relay race of her entire team), she actually listened to her dad and relaxed her hand instead of clenching it.

My little daughter, she’s astonishing, isn’t she?  She certainly is.  We are so proud of her.

Little Hearts, Big Love

In awe of my daughter

“What were you thinking of sweetie, when you were standing there with your medal?” I ask little T as I remembered seeing her looking so small and a bit lost while standing up in front of a huge crowd.

It was her first time to stand in front of more than three hundred people.   She played little Alice in her school play last year, but little T’s village school is a small one. Even with parents and grandparents the crowd was never more than sixty, so yes, this was definitely her first time.

She looked so small and young, standing in front with the other gymnasts waiting for their medals. I tried to catch her attention, but she didn’t see me. She seemed lost in thought, as if she wasn’t even daunted by everyone around her with their cameras, phones and iPads recording every minute of the event.

When they first called her name, I muttered “What?” under my breath. I was standing away from my husband, poised to take photos just like the other parents. We weren’t aware of any award or nomination. But yes, they called out her name again. I saw her coach lead her to the centre. I don’t think T knew about this either.

Admittedly, I wasn’t really happy when they announced that T was included in the exhibition. I felt she wasn’t ready, especially since she only recently joined the development class. We know that she’s the weakest gymnast in their group, being the youngest and the newest, but when we asked the coach, she seemed confident that T could do it. She also missed a few practices. Had she announced that day that she didn’t want to do it, I wouldn’t have pushed her.

But she managed the performance. At one point though, she did miss a few steps, but so did the others and the crowd seemed to really like her too. Perhaps it was because she looked so tiny?

My little girl, my little star. She continuous to astonish me with her inner strength of character. Upon first impression, people always see her as the shy one, the reticent one. She’s not the kind who would candidly talk to strangers or grown-ups and tell them what she thinks, unless prodded. But when it comes to standing in front of a crowd, even when she was in reception, she wouldn’t think twice about doing it.

My little girl, my little star. My husband teared up as he watched his daughter perform. As for me, I didn’t realise how nervous I was until I looked at the photos I took of the event. I normally take good photos, but that day, they were just all bad, unfocused, and it was the same with the videos.

This motherhood/parenthood business.  My mother didn’t warn me about how overwhelming it is sometimes.  How you feel that your heart could literally burst out of your chest, because it is so full.  How one tiny little person could just make you feel like the biggest person in the world.   And that’s certainly how we, her parents felt that day.  I am in awe of her.

November Chat with a Mum: Prabs of Absolutely Prabulous

Tell us something about yourself, your little ones and your blog.

Oh my goodness where do I start? I’m a day dreamer and have an ability to misplace (and generally do stupid things with) my keys that I challenge anyone to match. I’m a lifelong music obsessive (I think I’d rather go 7 days without water than music), huge film fan, beach lover (after being a hardened city girl pre kids) and born again runner (hilariously I’ve actually won my age category at a gruelling race which was possibly the biggest surprise in life given how I wanted to rip my own ears off whenever anyone mentioned running most of my life). I’m very ranty, too sweary and way too reactive in general (but hopefully the fact I’m also very friendly and will talk to anyone makes up for some of that). I can’t imagine a life without tea and toast although have amazingly curbed my cake addiction. I’m quite partial to my kids (girl of 12, boy of almost 10 and girl of almost 7) who are ridiculously well-behaved (to the point where they don’t provide much comedy material because there’s not much drama or bad behaviour…yet I still manage to yell at them almost every day. And I quite like my husband whom I met when I lived in Paris (although incredibly our parents actually only live ten minutes from each other). I started the blog partly so that I could use my language degree for something other than yelling ‘I don’t have a butler to switch the lights off after you’ 20 times a day and mainly so I had a legitimate excuse to show off my legendary talent for sarcasm. I’ve been blogging for three years and am in mild shock about how utterly clueless I still am about so much of it.

What were your children’s birth stories like?

At the risk of incurring wrath, I was totally terrified at the thought of natural birth (had been all my life) partly because of the pain but also as I had a very real fear of the baby being strangled by the cord (I think it may be because of it happening to an aunt when I was young). I was actually relieved when I was told at a 37 week scan that baby number 1 had to be a c-section although sadly it was because she was dangerously underweight, not thriving and breach. At that point I didn’t realise how much worse it can be when they take the baby out too early. It was 5pm, I had to be back in the next day and had barely bought anything as I was very superstitious about buying too many things for the baby before its birth and the last three weeks of kids-free coupledom were no longer to be! She came out super tiny and with the cord around her neck three times…

The next two were also breach and also had the cord around the neck. All three were c-sections. I probably would have had VBac for my son and younger daughter if we were still in the UK but Malta is c-section mad and the doctors wouldn’t hear of Vbac. Apart from the pain and longer recovery (and the attractive ‘shelf’ I now have on my tummy), frankly I believe in ‘better the devil you know’. All three births had their element of ‘drama’ (my second was born in the most hideous old-fashioned hospital that closed down months later and my third was born in the new hospital that opened afterwards which had fantastic facilities but racist nurses!!) The main thing is they got here safe and sound and I’m very blessed to have three utter angels.

What you wish you knew about being a mother, before becoming one?

To be honest, I never obsessed over this. Yes becoming a mum is obviously a total life-changing event but I was very involved in raising my siblings (very common in Indian culture) and did the whole nappy changing/weaning/everything duties when I was young so the practical side didn’t faze me once I became a mum. The rest of it…well, life is all about stages so I don’t feel it’s necessary to know much beforehand as long as you’ve done NCT classes and paid attention to what your pregnancy books say (and then take all of that with a pinch of salt and just wing it!). The rest of it, you’re going to learn anyway and the discovery/surprises are part of the parenting journey so I wouldn’t have wanted to know much beforehand even if I’d had a crystal ball.

How do you manage your “me” time?

Well I’ve always made sure I have it! We went out right from when our first was a few weeks old and I’m probably the only mum I know who didn’t cry the day her child started nursery. So I must admit the mummy guilt posts that crop up on linkies go over my head if I’m brutally honest as I just don’t think it’s healthy to spend your entire time with your kids. I was so happy to get some time on my own when my eldest started nursery and my son went from the age of five months as I needed a mental break to go for a coffee, do the shopping etc. My kids napped for years (not in one stretch ha ha…I mean they had daytime naps til the first two were about five!) because I needed that period during the day that was just for me to nap/watch some trashy TV. It’s not easy living somewhere with no family network or domestic help so admittedly I’m with my kids a lot but they’re at school during the day and are now old enough to stay home alone while I go for a run etc. so it’s all good.

Do you have any favorite anecdote of your little ones?

I know I’ll think of a whole bunch after this post gets published but can’t think of anything great right now! I can recall coming down one morning to find my eldest (then 18 months) on the kitchen floor covered from head to toe in rice krispies with the empty packet in her hand yet still maintaining she ‘didn’t do it’. My youngest is the one who comes out with randomness such as “My favourite part of the day was finding mice hair on the beach” (yeeeucch) or “Mum your eyeballs are so sparkly”. Lastly, I remember my brother picking hubby and me up from the airport and explaining how the kids had been while we’d been away for my 40th. There was loads to report on our eldest…but it took just a few seconds to describe our son: “As for D…well there is no problem that a banana can’t fix with that kid.”

What is it about motherhood you absolutely love?

I’m so bad at answering questions like this. That does NOT mean I don’t love my kids! I’m someone who always wanted three kids, got her three kids, does a lot for them (as is my duty) and never take for granted how lucky I was to have conceived first time around for all three with no heartache (apart from having a miscarriage with the very first) despite only getting started in my mid thirties. I love my kids to bits but for me motherhood is just a part of life so I’d have to say I absolutely love specific aspects of my kids as opposed to motherhood itself if that make sense? It’s the little moments: my 12 year old coming up to me and telling me I’m amazing or expressing admiration for a singer from the 70’s (take that Bieber!), my son who isn’t very tactile surprising me with a thank you hug and my youngest for just being so mellow and gentle and good natured.

On the other hand, if there is anything about motherhood you dislike what would it be?

The pressure to do and achieve pinterest perfect birthdays, Christmases, Halloweens etc. Most of my bug bears are about the issues society creates re parenting rather than motherhood: sexual images and messages in entertainment/music/beauty industry not to mention the device/iPad obsessed culture that makes it hard to raise kids to read books and be creative without resorting to a screen. And endlessly repeating myself because good as they are, they seem to be totally deaf the first time I ask them to do something.

What’s a typical day like for you and your children?

Well Monday to Friday is school routine and all that is involved in that. We’re lucky to live right near the beach so if we’re not up to our ears in homework and I’m not snowed under with the blog, we head there. Weekends are relaxed; they let me lie in and are very low key in terms of needing entertaining as they play with each other and are as happy staying home as they are heading out for a hike or to see friends.

Best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood/parenthood?

I don’t think I’ve ever received any personally. I’m the eldest of four so there were no older siblings and anyway I was very resistant to advice as it tended to be offered by overbearing relatives who I didn’t feel were great role models. This doesn’t really answer the question but two things come to mind: One is the famous line by Jackie Kennedy Onassis “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.” and a conversation with my brother (14 years my junior) one time when I mentioned how I didn’t want my kids to have the childhood I had. (My parents did their best by us in many ways of course but ultimately they weren’t around much as they worked long hours running a shop plus other factors.) He looked straight at me and said “You have nothing to worry about; your kids are not having the childhood you had. It’s such a privilege spending time with you seeing the mother that you are.” I’ll never forget that.

clqtu7rm

If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming one, what would it be?

“Prabs, for pity’s sake woman, lighten up and don’t give them a hard time about the smallest things.”

One of the best things I’ve ever read about motherhood though came a few days ago from the wonderful astute Dawn of Rhyming with Wine who commented on an honest rather emotional piece I wrote for my eldest’s 12th birthday:

“Giving birth doesn’t automatically put us on a path to sainthood, it just makes us feel that we want to be so much more than we can realistically expect to be for our children. The fact that you care enough to want those things makes you the best mother in the world”

It just blew me away.

How do you manage your time, blogging/workwise and time with your family and other activities?

Well I’ve written extensively about my struggle with this on the blog actually! I came back from my blog break determined to make some changes as I couldn’t make it all work. It’s now 1.30 am so I don’t think my resolution to keep a sensible blog schedule worked. I try to get the main bulk of it done 9 til 1 three days during the week so that I can get dinner on before fetching the kids but it rarely happens. I’m trying not to blog on weekends but I do work most evenings and I hardly ever stop at 1pm during the week. The house is the thing that suffers.

Thank you so much Prabs!

You can stay in touch with her on  Facebook, Twitter and Instragram and of course do head over her blog for more of her “Prabulousness”.

And don’t forget to click here if you’ve missed last month’s Chat with a Dad.

Confession Time: First Day School Blues

School Girl

It’s not T that’s for sure.  It’s actually me!  What’s even more embarrassing about this, is that this isn’t T’s first day in school, she came back as a Year 2 and is now actually considered one of the “older kids”.  I know I really should get a grip with myself.  I’ve been a bundle of emotions ever since she turned six.  Come on woman, stiff-upper lip!  No more of this nonsense! Yes, I have been trying to snap out of this soppiness.  I’m hoping it will be all gone come Monday morning.

Thank goodness T breezed through first day with nary a whinge or a tear.  Yes, she stood by my side and didn’t run around the playground like the other kids and only moved away from me when her friends came over to collect her.  When the bell rang, my husband and I said goodbye and she trotted off without even looking back, so different from the tearful reception girl two years ago.

As for me? I came home with a heavy heart.  I’m glad though that a good friend (mum of one of T’s closest friends) came home with me and as we chatted and sipped our coffee I felt a wave of emptiness wash over me.  My friend felt it too, even though she still has another child at home with her, we bemoaned what felt like the loss of our kids, even though in reality they were in school probably running around like loonies in the playground, not thinking about their over-emotional parents at all.

The truth is, if my husband and I had a choice we’d like little T to stay with us at home and wouldn’t mind homeschooling her.  I read blogs by mums who home educate their little ones and envy how much time they spend with their kids.  My husband and I love having our daughter with us. We love her company, doing things with her, and having little chats with her.  We genuinely like having her with us.  Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why we’ve never used a babysitter.  If we can’t go to a place or attend an event that won’t allow us to bring her, then we’re not going.  It’s as simple as that.  Our daughter goes where we go.  But as much as we would love for her to be home-schooled, I’m afraid it won’t be a good option for T.

My little girl is a lot like me, you see.  We’re both quiet and reserved people.  T is friendly and will smile at anyone who smiles at her, but she won’t run up to other kids like her friends until she’s feeling comfortable enough to do so.  It takes her awhile to warm up, but once she has, she’ll run around like a loony and be like any other child her age.

We feel that home-schooling her might make her feel wary of people and other children.  I’m not saying all home-schooled children are like that.  All kids are different and we know our daughter well.

On the one hand though, she has an inner strength I really admire.  When her friends were quitting gymnastics because it got too “scary” for them, my little T persevered and didn’t quit.  She’s not a quitter and I’m really proud of her.  At the moment, we’re lucky that the village school she goes to is a lovely one, where the teachers and students are supportive and she loves it there. We will only consider other options, if the wind changes.  For now, we’re staying put.

What about you?

Would you consider home-schooling your kids too?

Do share.

The Mummy Tag

The Mummy Tag

I haven’t done this in a while, so when the lovely Yvonne from Double the Monkey Business tagged me, I thought it would be fun to reply.  Do visit her blog if you haven’t, it’s a must-read!

1. ARE YOU A STAY AT HOME MUM OR A WORKING MUM?

At the moment, I’m a stay at home mum and also do a bit of freelance writing on the side, although I must admit I haven’t had a decent writing contract in ages!

2. WOULD YOU HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY?

When T was younger, no, but now that she’s older, would love to go back to work since I’ve always worked since finishing Uni.  But at the moment and because of where we live, there isn’t much available work for me.  Thankfully, I do earn a bit from this thing called “blogging” 😉

3. DO YOU CO-SLEEP?

We did, yes and still occasionally do and I wouldn’t change it for the world no matter how some “parenting experts” think it’s not good “parenting”.  I love cuddling her in bed and waking up next to my little girl.  My husband knows how much I love sleeping with our daughter in between us, so when he wakes up, the first thing he does is carry her to our bed and we snuggle together till it’s time to get up.

4. WHAT IS YOUR ONE MUST-HAVE ITEM FOR YOUR BABY?

T is six-years-old now, so we I don’t really have any must have item in my bag, although we do always have wipes in the car and when we do day trips out, I make sure I also have some wipes in my bag.

5. HOW MANY KIDS DO YOU PLAN ON HAVING?

I married late and had T when I was 37.  Would love to have another one, but looks like it’s not going to happen.  It took awhile for me to come into terms with it, but I’m fine with right now.  I’m just thankful that I have her.

6. DATE NIGHTS? HOW OFTEN DO YOU HAVE THEM?

I’m afraid at the moment the only date-nights we have are watching DVDs in our lounge with T asleep on her bed.

7. YOUR CHILD’S FAVOURITE SHOW?

Like most little girls, she likes “My Little Pony”.

8. NAME ONE THING YOU BROUGHT BEFORE YOU HAD THE BABY AND NEVER ENDED UP USING?

We bought a dummy for T thinking it would help soothe her especially when she started teething.  The first time she had it in her mouth, she spat it out and didn’t like it.  On hindsight, I’m so glad she did just that.

9. YOUR CHILD’S FAVOURITE FOOD?

She loves jacket potatoes.  I didn’t even know that till she started having meals at school and every time we’d ask her what she had for lunch, she’d reply “Jacket potato”.  The weird thing is, she doesn’t seem to like it as much when we cook it for her at home.

10. HOW MANY CARS DOES YOUR FAMILY HAVE?

Just one.

11. WEIGHT GAIN, BEFORE PREGNANCY, DURING, AFTER AND NOW?

Oh yes!  I haven’t even lost the additional weight I gained after having T.  I used to be a size 6 before getting pregnant.  Now I’m somewhere between a size 10-12.  I know some people may think that’s not much, but when you’re short like I am, believe me, it matters … A LOT!  I know I have to do something about it, but honestly, I can’t be bothered right now, especially since I’ve realised that the trick there is to wear the right clothes 🙂

12. DREAM HOLIDAY WITH YOUR KIDS?

We’ve been to Disneyland Paris and would love to go to the one in the States, either in California or Florida, especially since we have family and close friends living there.

13. DREAM HOLIDAY WITHOUT YOUR KIDS?

I can’t imagine going on holiday without little T.  I’ll end up really missing her.  It wouldn’t be a dream holiday if I didn’t have my little girl with me.

14. HOW HAS YOUR LIFE CHANGED SINCE HAVING KIDS?

A lot.  I used to work full-time.  I used to have a life.  I used to have friends.  My life is different now, but I’m loving it too of course.  I love being a mum, even though admittedly I don’t really have much of a life outside motherhood.  But I’m fine with that too.  I’m lucky I had a good career and life before getting married and having her, otherwise I’d probably be feeling different now.

15. FINISH THE SENTENCE “IT MAKES HEART MELT WHEN…”

I see my daughter’s face 🙂

16. WHERE DO YOU SHOP FOR YOUR KIDS?

I buy most of T’s stuff from Zara kids, because I find them really cute and affordable.

17. FAVOURITE MAKE-UP AND SKINCARE PRODUCTS?

I don’t wear make-up.  The only skin care products I use are moisturisers and lotion.

18. HUGGIES OR PAMPERS?

Neither.  T is six 🙂

19. HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED KIDS?

Yes!  Like I mentioned, it would’ve been nice to have more than one, but I’m just really thankful that I have her.

20. BEST PART OF BEING A MUM?

Being with my daughter.  I just love every minute of it, even when she’s being difficult.

Thanks for the tag Yvonne!

I’m tagging the following lovely mums if they want to join:

Laura of Dear Bear and Beany

Louise of Little Hearts, Big Love

Laura of Five Little Doves

Jordanne of Life of a Glasgow Girl

 Kim of Northumberland Mam

Over to you ladies!

What the Little Girl Said

Feeling emotional just after her birthday I told little T. “Where has my little baby gone?” And gave her an exaggerated sad face.  For more dramatic effect, I added “My baby is gone!”  Gave her another woebegone expression and repeated …  My baby is gone!  Ended it with wailing sounds, giving Meryl Streep a run for her money and awards.  Then I turned to T and said “Instead … I have a little girl now!

T sighed and looked at me in the eye “But mum, if you didn’t have me.  You’d be sadder”, she said matter-of-factly.  Wise words indeed.  Wasn’t it Antoine de Saint-Exupéry author of the much loved children’s book Little Prince who said:

Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.

T must have been thinking just that by the look on her face and the tone of her voice. Today, my ever-so wise child goes back to school as a Year 2 student.

Yikes!

Does your child seem too wise for their age too?

Do share.

Little Hearts, Big Love

September Chat with a Mum: Laura of Five Little Doves

Laura of Five Little Doves Blog

Tell us something about yourself, your little ones and your blog.

My name is Laura, I’m a 36 year old Mum of five, married to Gareth and together we live in Lancashire. I am a stay at home Mum to Lewis, 12, from my first marriage, Eva 4, Megan 3 and Harrison 2. My second son Joseph would have been 10 this July but was sadly stillborn in 2006. He is a huge part of our family and we feel his absence daily.

I started my blog last year during a time when I was struggling with ongoing health issues, battling fibromyalgia, ME, and undergoing neurological investigations that were, quite frankly, terrifying for my family and I. I felt that I needed something else to focus on, something to keep my mind ticking over, and writing has always been therapeutic for me, something I enjoy and in some ways, the only thing that, other than being a Mother, has ever come naturally to me.

What were your children’s birth stories like?

In a word – FAST!! Lewis was born very quickly, just eleven minutes of established labour, and for a first labour, I realise that I was very lucky!  Joseph was an induction and a long, gruelling, emotional one at that, but again, when I got to four centimetres he was born in just a couple of minutes. Eva, Megan and Harry were induced at 35 weeks due to being such high risk pregnancies and with all three, once I reached four centimetres they were born in under two minutes. Megan developed an infection at birth and was in NICU for the first two weeks and again, Harry needed resuscitating at birth and spent two long weeks, very poorly in NICU.

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What you wish you knew about being a mother, before becoming one?

That it is the hardest job in the whole world, one which will push you to your limits, test your patience and your sanity. That there will be days when you feel you are failing, that you aren’t the parent you had hoped you would be, when as much as you love your children, you would give just about anything for ONE moment to yourself before you lose the plot entirely. But despite all that, no matter how bad things get or how hard the struggle, it will absolutely be worth it.

Mum and her two daughters.

How do you manage your “me” time?

Me time?? Remind me what that is again? I don’t think I’ve had a moment to myself since 2012! Having three under three was a huge shock to the system and now I consider myself lucky if I get to shower in peace, let alone use the toilet.

I do try to claw back some me time back when the children are in bed, working on my blog, writing, reading, watching trashy reality TV and eating way too much chocolate.

Do you have any favorite anecdote of your little ones?

Far too many to tell you about but one that happened most recently, during a disastrous shopping trip with the three youngest, was Megan pointing over at a rather large gentleman and shouting, “He’s got a big fat tummy like daddy pig!!”. Definitely a ground swallow me up kind of moment!

Little Girl6.

What is it about motherhood you absolutely love about?

Gosh what a difficult question, and one which I could answer in a million different ways. I think my favourite thing is when the children are all together, with their little heads bowed over a game or a book, when they are snuggled up on the couch with their bodies touching, holding hands, sharing a kiss or a cuddle. It’s those moments when I look over, or I spot them from a distance, and I can’t quite believe that they are all mine. After everything we went through, all those losses and all of that sadness, to know that they are all mine, that we have the family we never dared to dream of, that has got to be the thing I love the most.

Siblingsbrothers

On the other hand, if there is anything about motherhood you dislike what would it be?

Absolutely!! The sleep deprivation, the screeching, the incessant whining, the days when they just don’t listen to a single word I say? The mountains of laundry that they relentlessly produce, crayon marks on my walls, the fact that it’s a military operation just to leave the house most days.

What’s a typical day like for you and your child?

In short, hard work!! Four children was never going to be easy, but three children in three consecutive years sometimes feels impossible! We try very hard to stick to a routine as that makes life much easier, but anything can throw it, a late night, a cancellation, a last minute change of plans. We do playgroups twice a week, the girls have nursery three times a week and in between we try and get out as much as possible if the weather is fine, if not we stay home and bake, play dress up and watch Frozen back to back, whatever it takes to get through the day. When I’m not refereeing another argument or being forced to sing my part of the Anna-Elsa duet, I try to keep on top of the housework, taxi Lewis to and from the many places he needs to be, and fit in coffee and cake with friends whenever possible!

Siblings playing dress-upBest advice you’ve ever received about motherhood/parenthood?

Nobody cares but you. It’s my favourite saying and something I remind myself of often. When the kids are playing up in public and I’m dying of shame inside, when my house is a complete bomb site and I’m cowering at the door, mortified that someone will step foot into the aftermath of a day without cleaning, I remind myself that nobody cares but me. Everyone is far too busy going about their own lives, and dealing with their own kids, to notice that my hair is un-brushed, that my kids have bean juice down their t-shirts or my carpets haven’t seen a hoover all week.

If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming one, what would it be?

Trust your instinct. With my first I was so concerned with doing everything “right”. I read every book, every baby manual, hung on every word the Health Visitor spouted, and I actually ended up with severe post natal depression because of the pressure I put on myself. I wish I had known that my gut instinct was right, that nobody knew my child in the same way that I did, that the best thing I could do was simply go with the flow and find our own path, one that was best for the two of us.

mother and son

How do you manage your time, blogging and time with your family and other activities?

I try to blog when the kids are in bed, or on the rare occasion when I finally get an hour to myself. I struggle with the hypocrisy of palming off the kids so I can write about being a parent, I would much rather spend my time being a parent than writing about it. During the times when I feel that blogging is taking away from that, I take my foot of the pedal a little, sit back, re-assess my priorities and remind myself that as a stay at home Mum, the children will always come first. In that way, as much as I love to write, it is still very much a hobby.

Gaz and I spend very little time together on our own as a couple, something which we constantly promise to make more of an effort with, but in all honesty we are usually too tired, or too skint, when the opportunity arises! We tend to save up our babysitting offers for occasions we really don’t want to miss such as weddings, birthdays and anniversaries and remind ourselves that one day, when the children are grown, we will have all the time in the world!

unnamed (8)Thank you so much Laura!

For more of Laura’s stories, do head over to her blog and don’t forget to connect with her too over at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

And click here if you’ve missed last month’s Chat with a Dad.

A Birthday Girl, Bad Weather and Mary Poppins

Birthday Cake with Lit candles

I took a week off blogging because my little girl turned six last Friday.  I look at her now and wonder how did my baby suddenly turn into a “proper” little girl.  She suddenly looks, talks and acts a bit different now.  The “baby” is gone.  She’s lost her baby fat, can explain herself too darn-well, it’s amazing how much she’s grown.  I want to cry out “Oh do slow down a bit, I’m afraid mummy doesn’t really want you to grow-up too fast.  You may be ready, I’m not“.  Sob, sob.

I have a video of her barely two-years-old, she’s running towards me in the headland and stops and says “Mummy run!  Mummy run!”  She gets frustrated because I wouldn’t run and was too busy filming her.  If I could just freeze or go back to that day, that perfect summer day, when it was warm enough for her to wear a cute summer dress and hat and she was absolutely beautiful, my little baby.

birthday_girl

Now at six, she suddenly looks all grown-up.  I keep asking myself, how did that happen?  I spent the week doing absolutely nothing and everything with her.  We had some close friends visit early in the week too and had a lovely time with them on the beach.

There were talks of a beach party for her and her friend (whose birthday was six days before hers) but the Cornish weather didn’t allow it and so we opted for a spontaneous “camping birthday” instead and only invited a few of her closest friends.

On the day itself though, even as my husband and I pitched our tents on our garden and in spite glaring and shaking our fists at the sky “declaring war” if it decided to pour, sods law, it did rain as her little guests started arriving.  What was supposed to be a barbecue ended up a “grilled-dinner” inside our home.  In spite the wet weather, and giggling girls (and one boy), we all managed to get some sleep in our tents.

tents

After breakfast, the next day we sang little T “Happy Birthday” and had birthday.  The sun then decided to grace us, so I took the water-slide out and assembled it in our lawn and all the kids had fun sliding down before calling it a day.

water_slide

Little T opened presents from family when her guests were gone and before we knew it, it was time to get ready to go and see Mary Poppins at Plymouth.

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If you haven’t seen it and have little ones, go grab some tickets!  We were thoroughly entertained, the cast, the costumes, the choreography was just absolutely amazing.

My daughter is now six. I still can’t believe it.  She and I have this ritual after saying goodnight and exchanging “I love yous”, I say “On the day you were born, and T likes to end it with “It was the happiest day of your life”.  It’s certainly true.  And I want to say to her, everyday with her is a happy one.  And as author Suzanne Finnamore once said …

You are the closest I will ever come to magic.

Here’s a little video I decided to mark her “growing-up” years.

 Do you also feel that time is happening way too fast and you just want it to slow down?

Do share.