Monthly Archives: July 2013

When Did You Show Up?

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I had determined in my heart I would be a “Yes Mum”.  The one who takes the time to play, takes the time to get out the “messy” stuff.  The one who isn’t bothered if an activity is going to take an age to clear up afterwards.  I wanted my daughter and any subsequent children to have memories of fun, of happy play, of an adult who engaged, of an adult who valued them and wanted to involve them.

But somehow, at some point, SHE showed up.  SHE sucked the fun out.  SHE was too busy cleaning, sorting or something else as equally important.  SHE found it too much effort to get out the paints.  SHE didn’t want to have mess in the house afterwards.  You know who SHE is?  SHE is “No Mum”.  The grouchy, huffy, busy, boring grown up.  Yep, somehow, SHE arrived in our lives.  I didn’t see her coming.  SHE crept in bit by bit I think, but I realised SHE was around when I saw how much SHE had taken over.

When your toddler goes around going, “no, no, no” repeatedly, it’s time to step back and examine!  When I did that I saw myself.  No, Miss E, no.  No, don’t touch that.  No, don’t do that.  No move from there.  No, I am busy.  No, I need to vacuum.  No, not right now.  No, let’s do this.  No, no, no, no, no!  Is it any wonder she’s going round repeatedly saying the word?!  Where is “Yes Mum” anyway?!  Why wasn’t I informed she was departing until she had departed?!

That’s all immaterial really; the main thing to do here is bring her back!  I am determined to be “Yes, Mum” again.  It is easier, for now, to say no.  It is less hassle, but I know, one day, those little arms will no longer be outstretched while a little mouth is saying “up, up!”  She won’t always run round the house with everything that has words on it going, “read, read!”  I need to be “Yes, Mum” now, before it’s too late.

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Marks of You

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Dear Daughter,

They are everywhere these marks of you.  I find them in every corner of this house.  In every room is a piece of you….a book, a ball, a teddy, a toy, a shoe, clothes hung up to dry.  They are to be found all over.  There are of course photos of you that we have placed; photos we look at and marvel at how quickly time marches on for it doesn’t seem like it’s been a minute since you entered this world, yet here we are 17 months later.

But there are other marks of you.  Ones that I may have to look a bit closer for, but there are there as well.  The little stickers you stuck on various floors of the house, hand marks on the door frames, hand marks on the windows, hand marks on the dishwasher, footprints on your bedroom wall where you kick your feet as you lie in bed not wanting to give into sleep.

I could remove these marks.  I could easily peel the stickers off the floor.  I could go round with a cloth and wipe away all those hand marks and foot prints.  But I choose not to.  When I see them they make me smile.  A little person lives here; the evidence can be seen.  One day you will be grown up and your toys will be gone.  One day you will no longer put your little hands all over every surface in the house.  One day you will be gone.

So they will stay.  The sticker on the floor reminds me of your joy in finding out you could stick them to more than just the piece of paper in front of you.  The marks on the dishwasher, the freezer door, the washing machine, remind me of how you want so much to help and be involved.

These marks of you could be seen by many as extra work, a frustration, an inconvenience.  I choose to see them as pure joy.  Yes, they can stay til they get rubbed away further down the line.  Make all the marks you want dear one; you are only here for a short while and I want plenty of you left around the place for when you are gone.

 

Love,

Mummy xxx

Keep Your Opinions To Yourself

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Dear Lady At The Supermarket,

Yes, you will be on the receiving end of my grizzly mama bear side protecting her cub.  You see, no one asked you for your opinion on her behaviour!  You know not me nor my daughter.  You do not know that she has been in this supermarket with parents who have taken their time dawdling over stuff they find interesting.  You do not know that she is worn out and hungry.  You do not know that for 17 months old she has, to this point, been very patient with her mummy and daddy as they saunter round the supermarket.  All you see is this current screaming ball of emotions, and you feel you can assess the situation fully and pass judgement on my child.  I hope you have learned a lesson, and next time you see a toddler in this state you will know to keep your opinions to yourself.  Next time you see a child and feel tempted to call it naughty because it is currently screaming and pitching a fit, I hope you will remember my words back to you and will catch yourself before such nasty words fall off your tongue to complete strangers.  I hope you will look beyond the screaming and have some sympathy for the child.  But if nothing else, I hope you remember your opinions are unwanted and unhelpful, so if you have nothing nice to say about my child or anyone else’s in a similar situation, just keep your lips firmly sealed and move on!

And I hope this letter serves as a reminder for us all, myself included, that we need to stop labelling children, look beyond the emotions and the behaviour manifested and find the root cause.  That is what needs dealing with.  We need to spare some sympathy for the child who is fully dependent on his/her parents to meet all needs.  We need to be understanding that they have yet developed their will enough to be able to control their emotions all the time (and hey, how many adults do this with a 100% pass record 100% of the time and we have many more years on the child!) this is still a work in progress.  We need to realise they have yet to acquire all the words they need to fully express why they are so upset.  So instead of allowing vile words to tumble blithely from our lips, instead let’s spread kind ones or share a kind look with both child and parent.

 

Sincerely,

One Disgruntled Mama

A Bad Day In The Animal Kingdom

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As I write, I am waiting for Mr P to come home early.  He shouldn’t be coming home early, except that our poor dogs are trapped.  At night time they sleep in our garage as they hate being in the house to sleep.  They enjoy cozying up in their crate together in the garage and are happiest there.  During the day when I want Miss E to have some time in the garden, I cannot have the dogs out at the same time.  it just doesn’t work.  They are in the paddling pool, walking through her painting area, eating any sensory play materials, and often knocking her over.  We are in the process of sectioning off the garden so we can all be out at the same time, but have some boundaries!

Well, today like other days, I have popped the dogs to bed for a little while so Miss E can enjoy the garden dog free.  After we were done at it was time for lunch, I went like normal to let them out and give htem their treat……..the garage door wouldn’t open.  I pulled and pulled, but that thing wouldn’t budge.  It’s stuck at the top and the top hinge is somehow broken, so no amount of willing it to move helped.  I also don’t have the know how or strength to do anything more.  So that is why Mr P is on his way home.  They have now been stuck in the garage for 5 hours.  A mega great walk is due to them upon their release!

So that is the first bad happening in the Mummy’s Heart animal kingdom.  Miss E was super tired after a very long day yesterday and a very late bedtime so she wanted to go to bed early.  She has some fish in her room and before bedtime the fish get fed.  I dropped some food in and went off to get Miss E her toothbrush.  When I looked at the tank again there didn’t seem to be much excitement about the food I put in, so I had a closer look.  Only one fish was eating.  I looked and looked for the other and couldn’t see it.  This is nothing unusual as it likes to hide in certain spots, but I checked all the usual spots and there was no fish.  Then I spotted it, stuck down the side of the tank between and ornament and the tank wall.  It had taken to going down there lately and clearly this time it had gone too far and managed to get wedged there.  And so, along with the trapped dogs, we have a dead fish.  It hasn’t been dead for long as I saw them both alive this week, but this awful heat has meant that decomposition has already begun.

It’s a horrible day.  The first time the dogs have ever been trapped and the first time one of our pets has died.  It is already sad and Miss E isn’t really at an age of comprehending, but I dread the day when she is a bit older and any one of our remaining troop dies, especially the dogs as she adores them. :/

Hurry home, Mr P!

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Every child has a natural interest in the living things about him which it is the business of his parents to encourage.

~Charlotte Mason~

Thoughtful Thursdays

A Very Montessori Day

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Miss E and I have joined in with a little group of home ed families who love the concept of Montessori and of incorporating that into our every day lives.  A group was started out of a general interest on a home ed forum.  There are 3 families involved and including Miss E 5 children in total now (all girls ha!).  The mother of one of the ladies set up 2 Montessori schools and when they eventually closed down she got a lot of the equipment which she passed on to her daughter.  Every Monday this lady kindly rearranges her whole house into a Montessori classroom setting.

From 10am til 1pm more like 2pm, we have focused Montessori time.  The day starts with some French songs and a French story, then the children go on to choose from the Montessori equipment and activities that are available for them.  There is a snack and water available for each child during the morning.  Around 12 the children go outside for a play while the lunch area is set up.  We all eat lunch together and tidy up together and then the children have free play.  The day closes with German songs and stories.

This Monday was the first time Miss E and I had managed to join the group.  I wondered how she would do as the other children range in age from about 6 to 22 months and she’s just shy of 17 months.  I need not have worried.  She was good at coming with me to get her mat to set down for an activity.  She loved the transferring activity of using a spoon to transfer rice from one bowl to another-this kept her entertained for an absolute age.  She had fun unstacking the iconic Montessori pink tower and building it up again.  She enjoyed painting on the easel.  And she was every so calm and wonderfully behaved.  When lunch was over she went off with the other girls and happily played together with them.

We had such a lovely time together with the other families, and it was good for Miss E to spend the time with older children as well.  She can learn so much by observing and interacting with them and vice versa for the older ones.  I have to say they were so caring and wonderfully gentle with her; it was beautiful to watch.  I also enjoyed the interaction with the other mums and finding people who were also on the same wavelength as me.  It’s an area I have really been struggling with recently.  We are very much looking forward to our weekly Montessori meet ups.

It has also inspired me to get some more multilingual books etc to read to Miss E.  My Modern Language BA seems a lifetime away now, and as much as my brain is super rusty in that area, I would hate to think my children would grow up without any initial foreign language exposure being given to them from me, and this is the best age for little ears to pick up those sounds, so I best get started.  Do any of you incorporate a foreign language into your day with your children?  If so, how do you do this in your home?