Category Archives: parenting

Nine Months With a Rainbow

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So, it’s been 9 months since our rainbow baby made her entry into the world.

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I think we have all now adjusted to life with Rainbow Baby and being a family of 4.  Miss E took to her baby sister much better than I ever dreamed she would.  She absolutely adores Rainbow Baby who adores her in return.  There is so much laughter from them both when they are together.

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Rainbow Baby is an absolute delight.  She is full of smiles and giggles, and she knows how to use her voice.  She isn’t shy in getting her thoughts and opinions known especially when it comes to meal times.  🙂  Needless to say we have all enjoyed getting to know Rainbow Baby and she has brought so much to our family already.  We are looking forward to many more months and years with her.  Happy 9 months, baby girl!

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Messy

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One thing I am learning and becoming all too aware of as my daughter grows is that motherhood is messy.  It’s messy in a literal, physical sense where there are always sticky hand prints around, or toys in the wrong places, or mud trekked in through the house via the soles of little shoes.  I am ok with that side of messy.  Yeah, I have to clean up the same thing a gazillion times, but still, I can cope with that.

There’s the other side of motherhood that’s messy though and not so easily cleaned up-the emotional side.  Ever get those days when everyone just falls apart?  Voices rise, tears fall, harsh words come gushing out, doors slam.  The mess is nasty, and hard to sort through.  It puts cracks in relationships, builds barriers and everything is stressful.

We have had so many of these messy days lately.  Developmental changes have brought new challenges for both of us as we try and figure out how to live harmoniously with each other, with our needs and our personalities.  Miss E has been fashioned by God’s good hand into a very independent and strong character.  All the qualities that are such a difficulty for me right now as her mother, will, one day, stand her in good stead as she ventures off into the world alone.  But it’s getting from here to that point that is proving difficult.  It’s a fine balancing act and a skilled dance as we figure this whole thing out together, and often we get it all wrong.  We fail to understand each other.  We fail to communicate with each other in loving ways.  We fail to choose loving reactions.  Yesterday was one such messy day.

On these messy days, I am thankful for two gifts:  GRACE.  Grace to try again.  Grace to start anew.  Grace to change.   Rich, abundant grace.  Where would we be without it?  NATURE.  Our happy place.  A therapy for the soul.  A place we can go together to ease the stresses and rediscover our way on this journey.  There is colour therapy given via the flowers and the greenery, music therapy from bird song, the wind, water passing by, raindrops falling.  There is peace, time to reflect, time to reconnect.  Grace and nature: our balm to soothe away the strife.  How do you cope with the messy days of parenting?  How do you reconnect with your child?IMAG0604

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.

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

Time To Call It A Day?

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Well, before we left one of the cats I was caring for ran off the first day I took over their care which was rather stressful.  On Tuesday, I took over caring for another cat, my all time favourite.  Usually, this goes without a hitch.  I’ve never had any issues with him, and, after the stress of my last charges, I was looking forward to an easy time of it.  Alas, it has not been so.  The cat has had a poorly tummy.  Thinking this was due to some of his treats, I stopped these, but it hasn’t helped.  I decided it was time to let his owner know.  She had me call the vet this evening and now I have to take him in the morning as he may need antibiotics.  Since starting pet sitting at the beginning of 2011, I have never ever had to take any of my furry friends to their vets.  So this is a first.  I am wondering how I am going to deal with a cat who hates to be in a cat basket and at the vet along with a toddler.  This has got me wondering if it’s time to give up pet sitting entirely.  It was fine before becoming a mummy as I had all the time in the world, could stay late, go at any time of the day etc to deal with the pets.  Now, my main priority is Miss E and the past two jobs I’ve had on have caused more stress than I need.  I shouldn’t have to drive around housing estates and worry about a missing cat, and I don’t really have the same freedom any more to be running to a vets with someone’s pet.  The extra pocket money is nice, but I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth it.  So, I guess I have some soul searching to do and some praying as well.  Maybe this is God’s way of telling me it’s time to call it a day….

We survived!

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Last I did a proper post, I mentioned about a trip we were going on and how concerned I was about how Miss E would cope.  I did a lot of praying and God answered.  She coped wonderfully well the whole trip.  We did have some issues with her sleeping in the evenings, but I would rather have coped with that than a tantruming toddler who’s so over meeting her extended family.

We took the overnight ferry on the way there.  Miss E enjoyed exploring the place and looking out at Liverpool all lit up while we were waiting to set sail.

staring out on Liverpool all lit up at night

staring out on Liverpool all lit up at night

 

We docked at 6:30am, collected the keys for where we were staying and then drove to our destination.  we unpacked and got all settled in.  Miss E then went for a long nap.  We woke her up about 2:30pm to go get some ice cream.  Mr P has a favourite ice cream parlour he always has to visit when we go, and Miss E needed her first taste as well.  We went onto the little children’s play beach as well so she could go on the swings.

On the Sunday and Monday we visited family.  Miss E enjoyed that very much.  She lapped up the fuss and discovered a new game of walkING as she calls it.  She wants to walk everywhere but can’t do it on her own just yet 🙂  She also played for ages with one of my favourite childhood toys.  A big yellow teapot.

 

the 26 year old teapot that's still got years of life left in it yet for little ones

the 26 year old teapot that’s still got years of life left in it yet for little ones

 

When we weren’t visiting family, we took Miss E to a few different beaches around.  Oh, how I miss living so near the sea!  We had a daytrip to the zoo as well.  While we were eating lunch at the zoo a peacock was hovering around eating all the scraps he could get.  He eventually stopped underneath our picnic bench where he helped himself to all the treats Miss E was dropping.  He got rather too close for (my) comfort and I was worried that he might peck Miss E’s hand, so I asked Mr P to throw another treat down for him, which he gobbled up.  Miss E then wanted one, and we assumed she wanted to copy daddy in throwing it down for the peacock, but, no, she wanted to hold it for the peacock to take from her hand, and before we could register what was happening he’d come and pecked it out of her hand with great force.  i think we were more shocked than Miss E although she did have a little whimper like she was about to burst into tears, but then her attention was diverted back to her food.  We also took a day to go and visit a National Trust house and grounds.  I’m really starting to see there being a benefit in National Trust membership!  Something to think about for future I think as they are great days out with a good combination of history and grounds to run around in.

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On the Saturday we had a wedding to go to which I was also dreading as I wasn’t sure how Miss E would be during the service.  She’s always fine in church, but I have this fear that when you’re in a more pressured situation that’s when it will all go wrong.  I came armed with snacks galore, books etc, but Miss E was an absolute angel throughout the whole thing.  She got a little bit tired and grumpy during dinner, but she is usually fast asleep by the time we were sitting down to eat.  Still, she overcame that and was as happy as anything allowing us to join in with the first dance of the ceilidh before we went home.

So, really I shouldn’t have stressed as God had it all under control, and the missing cat even came home as well……as soon as her owners were back and called her name, figures!  I was so busy worrying about the trip and praying for it, i forgot to pray for our return.  We’re getting all the tantrums on this end and I am also struggling to get back into any sort of workable routine.  Oh well, haha!  We had a lovely time, we were blessed with absolutely fabulous weather, Mis E enjoyed meeting all her relatives and they also enjoyed finally getting to meet her too.  Stress over!  For now at least 😉

 

Books, Books, Books!!

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Lately Miss E is extremely into books.  As soon as she sees a book she goes crazy.  We have spent at least an hour every morning the last few weeks just reading and re-reading books.  We always had reading sessions in the day, but she’s now super interested.  Once a favourite book is finished she throws a fit because she wants it read again.  It’s so hard when you have limited words at your disposal to ask for something.  We are working on being polite and signing please instead of throwing a fit.  We also a few ABC books such as My Little House ABC, and these have been going down a treat.  Anytime I have read them I have always given Miss E the letter name and sound.  Recently she has been fascinated with repeating the letter sounds.  Some days we don’t even get the read the book as Miss E just goes through pointing at the letters waiting for the name and sound so she can repeat it.  I am thrilled she loves books so much because, as a child, I loved, loved, loved to read.  I lost my love a little during GCSEs and A levels as I was made to read textbooks that killed the joy and passion.  Now that I see Miss E reading it’s reignited the passion for me.  There are so many books I realise I’ve not read that I would like to read, books I want to reread.  So many books and not enough time!  I also downloaded Honey For A Child’s Heart via Kindle and am really enjoying the insight and wisdom of Gladys Hunt.  It has brought home the vital importance of reading out loud on a daily basis, the use of books to guide a child’s inner being as they get to grips with the concepts of justice, compassion etc.  One thing that really stood out to me was the importance of reading to a child not just when they are a toddler but also when they are a teenager.  Once I could learn to read well, I don’t remember my parents reading with me for pure enjoyment.  That is something I would have loved, so it’s something I am going to do for my family.  Do you enjoying reading as a family?  What books are favourites?