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Monday morning banking chores all done

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So on a hot Monday morning after I had dragged the kids around the various banks, queueing up in the heat, paying in money and paying bills;  I treated them to a milkshake in “Pop-pins” a 50s style cafe and ice cream parlour, Connaught Avenue, Frinton, Essex. (www.poppinsparlour.co.uk )
They loved it and the milkshakes were delicious ūüėč.

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Sunrise in Walton-on-the-Naze

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The sunrise here in Walton-on-the-Naze at 5.23am this morning.
And a wonderful way to to start the week.
Absolutely gorgeous colours and so peaceful.
I really am so lucky to have been able to raise my babies here.
Being able to hear the sea from my bedroom window is a noise that I will truly be upset to leave behind.
I’m going to really utterly miss this when we move *sad face*….ūüėě

Sleeping companions: How many is too many?

My son is almost 4 but anyone would think he is almost 75 when it comes to his routine and habitual foilbles. He carved his niche into his bedtime routine quite soon after coming out of his cot and in to a “big boys” bed.

The sleeping companions

He has always had, since birth, as all my children have, a knitted blanket – he actually has two! I am not sure how that happened, but he has two both the same in colour, pattern and size. He has always been put to bed with them. It was relatively soon after getting his new big boy bed in late 2013 that he began adding to his sleeping companions. Enter “Iggle Piggle” (from In the Night Garden seen on Cbeebies bedtime hour), he originally belonged to my daughter, but over time she lost the love for Iggle Piggle in favour of more girly, pretty¬†dolls; in stepped my son to adopt the now unloved and discarded¬†blue stuffed toy with his velcroed red blanket.

Shortly after this, Iggle Piggle was joined by “monkey” – this is a soft toy which was purchased from the gift shop of Colchester Zoo on his first birthday. Monkey has previously just sat in the book shelf until my Son decided that he needed another friend to cuddle at night.

This was swiftly followed by “Football Horse” – this is a soft toy of the Ipswich Town Football Clubs mascot “Bluey” given to us by some friends whose children had outgrown the soft toy stage. My son, who had then recently begun to show an interest in football and had¬†been to a few Ipswich Town home games, literally pounced upon him and would¬†not let it go – enter sleeping companion number FOUR!

"Monkey"

“Monkey”

"Football Horse"

“Football Horse”

 

At this stage, it began to cross my mind that his bed was now starting to get a teeny bit busy, but try as I might I could not get him to relinquish any of his beloved friends. On the rare occasion that I was successful, and put him to bed minus a friend or two, he would sneakily retrieve them once the light was off and Mummy had disappeared downstairs. Cheeky monkey.

Over time the number of my Son’s companions has increased considerably. In addition to the two blankets, Iggle Piggle, Monkey and Football Horse we now also have;

“Doggy”

“Football teddy”

“Mickey Mouse”

“Cars cushion”

“Small iggle piggle”

“Superman”

“Action Man”

“Dragon toy”

“Little Doggy”

“Optimus Prime”

“Easter Bunny”

“Megatron”

"Cars Cushion"

“Cars Cushion”

"Optimus Prime & Action Man"

“Optimus Prime & Action Man”

"Mickey Mouse & little Iggle Piggle"

“Mickey Mouse & little Iggle Piggle”

"Doggy"

“Doggy”

"Superman, Dragon toy & Megatron"

“Superman, Dragon toy & Megatron”

"Little doggy, Action man, Easter Bunny & Superman"

“Little doggy, Action man, Easter Bunny & Superman”

Most of his "friends"

These are the names which my Son has given them, and he cuddles all of them and HAS to have them when he goes to bed.

If somehow he is put to bed without first accounting for the attendance of his friends, he will shout downstairs to me, that he can’t find….enter friends name here…..only when they are all present and correct will he allow slumber to take him.

He will still not give any of them up. He cuddles them, lays on them, dribbles on them, clings to them and gets tangled up in them. What he is unaware of is that when Mummy (me) goes up to bed, I untangle his limbs from the numerous friends, move them away and make some space for his little body to actually sleep comfortably.

So….how many is too many? My son goes to bed with 16(!) friends. What is your child/rens, or your magic number? Is there a magic number?

(Please note at the time of doing this post, I had failed to notice that I had not taken a photo of the original “Iggle Piggle” apologies for this oversight. Consider my wrists slapped!)

Thanks

S xx

Closing the bath-time chapter

That time has come. The time I never actually thought would ever happen.  My babies all of sudden, way too quickly, without me even seeing it have grown too big to share a bath any longer. This makes me sad, very sad.

T now 5, and G, now 3, have taken baths together since G was a small baby.  Initially I started bathing them together to save time, water, energy, as I imagine many other mums with do when they have more than one child under 2 years of age. It was a success on all counts. I managed to get both children bathed and ready for bed, two for the price of one, I established a good evening routine, and both T and G developed a good strong bother/sister bond, and I had two clean children!

But over the last three years, the bath times have slowly become more infrequent, the evening routine has slipped, and the playful baths have turned into more of a squabble over space, toys, attention, who gets to take out the plug, and who gets out last.

Tonight really was the last straw for me, a sad one I realise now, but the last nevertheless. I lost count of the number of times an argument broke out over the lack of space. T wanted to practice her swimming, G didn’t want to move out of the way so he splashed her in the face, she pushed him, he kicked her, he got her hair wet, she pulled the toy out of his hand, it went on and on and on and on. Referring siblings is difficult at the best of times, but add a bath full of water and it just becomes a nightmare.

Therefore,¬†for the sake of my sanity more than anything, I announced rather loudly in the middle of¬†the last¬†shouting match “That’s it! From now on no more baths together. You will have baths on your own!” . I rather na√Įvely thought that that¬†would bring a halt to the noise; it did but not in the way I¬†expected. They both cheered!¬†They seem to like this idea.

So, while I have been clinging on to the idea that they enjoy their baths together, they have probably been wondering when Mum is going to wake up and realise that they want to bath solo. So it appears that another chapter in their childhood is closing. I’ll leave the bookmark in there though and revisit it when I want to remember my babies when they were at such a fun time in their lives; it has been a period of time and growing¬†that I actually enjoyed¬†witnessing and will miss.

S

xx

Personality Vs birth placement

So I saw this picture on Twitter recently…..

children

 

It got me thinking about my children: Girl one is 10 years old (going on 17!), Girl two is very nearly 5 years old and the boy is 3 on Saturday. Does this apply to my children in any way?

Coincidently, I was recently struck by a realisation that despite I have brought my children up in the same way, by the same rules, values and beliefs; they are all very different in personality. Girl one is sporty, tomboy-ish, nervous and eager to please and fit in. Girl two is a girly-girl, wants everything purple and sparkly, wants to wear dresses, be a princess with lipstick. Boy is football mad (yes even at the tender age of 2!), loveable, stubborn and loves laughing, and wants a bit of everything. So even though they have been raised following the same rules as each other, their individualism is starting to creep out.

But does the pecking order of birth into the family have anything to do with it? I have looked at the list and broken it down.

I will start with the First born: Girl one

Natural leader: When amongst her siblings, yes she is very much a natural leader!

High Achiever: As with most children I suspect, only when it comes to subjects she likes, enjoys and is good at. Jujitsu for example, she is doing brilliantly with this.

Organised: Not at all! I am afraid that her bedroom is like a constant bomb-site, clothes everywhere, can never find anything let alone remember where she left something. Very much the opposite in fact.

On-time: Mostly, but as with any child her timekeeping is usually handled by the parent. I suppose I will have to watch this space on this one.

Know-it-all: She very much likes to think so, but she isn’t afraid of asking. She will argue her point, especially if she knows she is right. Like Mother like Daughter!

Bossy: Yes Very. A mini-me in this respect. Occasionally she will over step the mark with her siblings. But she does like a good boss-about.

Responsible: She likes to think she is, and when given the confidence is showing good signs that she can be.

On to Middle child – Girl two

Flexible: Mostly yes. Although routine has always played a big part of her life, as she is getting older change doesn’t faze her, and usually as long as she sees that the end result is the same, she isn’t overly bothered.

Easy-going: Yes she is very easy-going. She doesn’t look for arguments, and is a delight to spend one-on-one time with, but she can be demanding when the need calls for it.

Social: Extremely, especially with people she is comfortable and confident with.

Peacemaker: To date she is showing no signs of being a “peacemaker”. Unless you want to turn it on its head and use the phrase “walk-over” in which case I would say that she can be a walk-over, particularly when she is the less dominant child in the room.

Independent:¬†A close¬†relative recently¬†defined Girl two¬†as “having the¬†perfect only-child personality” By this they meant that she is more than happy to go and play on her own, she doesn’t require her siblings to entertain her. Yes, independent she is.

Secretive: Oh my goodness, She is a child of such subtle cunning, you have to see it to believe it. She is such a good little liar, actress, and sneak that I have to stop myself from smiling a lot when telling her off. Her slight of hand is AMAZING!

May feel life in unfair: I am sure if you asked her this, she would say that it is unfair, and then probably perform the worlds best sulk to prove it.

Finally, Last child – The boy

Risk-taker: He knows no fear. He is the boy who will jump feet first into the swimming pool without any armbands on and give Mummy a heart-attack in the process. He is the boy who will try every type of new food put in front of him without asking what it is. This is the boy who will jump off anything. Why? Because he can. Because he wants to be Superman and fly.

Outgoing: At first he isn’t. Put him in a new environment with new people and although he is comfortable and confident, he is not what I would call “outgoing. For example he recently had his first settling in session at his new preschool, he went in and focused on the toy cars and trains. He was more than comfortable playing on his own with these. He didn’t immediately hunt out someone to play with. When other children came over the join in with his game, he was more than happy to make friends. He seems to be more silently confident than outgoing.

Creative: When he goes off on his own with his many toy cars, planes, trains, action figures I love listening to him. His imagination is simply wonderful to witness.

Self-centred: He is mostly a very caring and loving little chap, however he does have a streak of self-importance about him. This comes out occasionally but not all that often.

Financially irresponsible: Not relevant in this child – He is not yet 3 years old. Time will tell, but I sincerely hope he isn’t.

Competitive: This should be his middle name. Everything is a race or competition. Who is going to be first up the stairs? Who will finish breakfast first? Who will get dressed the quickest? It drives me absolutely insanely nuts! I am always the referee!

Bored easily: Like any child he is capable of having a short attention span. However, he attends football matches and manages to stay focused on those (which is more than you can say for me!).

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What’s my conclusion of my children and whether or not their personalities match up to the picture. If I am honest I¬†don’t really have one I suppose. Not at this stage of their lives. I feel it unfair to base their entire temperament, personality and outlook of life¬†on their ranking of birth. I am sure that many people could turn it around and say that Girl one is bossy because she is the eldest, but I can assure you that the other two are equally as bossy.

Each child is different. Each child has their own¬†sparkle. Each child has it faults. And each child brings something different to our family, whether is it stubbornness, kindness or competitiveness.¬†By bringing them up in the same way and loving them same, they will grow and develop¬†in their own way. And I will continue to love them regardless of where their “ranking” is in the family.

 

 

Third time lucky

Me and my boy

Me and my boy – Summer 2012

This post was recently published on¬†the blog of Emma¬†from www.emmaandalfiesworld.co.uk . A lovely blog by a lovely lady. Emma¬†collated and published a large¬†variety of birth stories.¬†Thank you Emma, it was lots of¬†fun and surprisingly emotional¬†for me to sit and recall all the details of my third birth! ¬†Below is my contribution to Emma’s blog.

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My third baby was due on 24th August 2011. It has been a long hot summer and I was getting very uncomfortable. With my first two pregnancies the baby had arrived early; so at 39 +6 I was getting very bored of waiting. In the last 3 weeks I undertook a lot of walking, spicy food, raspberry tea and sex…NOTHING!
On the 23rd August, it started. I had just woofed down a plate of my homemade chilli, (with extra chilli), literally as soon as I had finished my last mouthful, the contractions started. Maybe the baby was fed up of me feeding it unnecessarily over-spiced meals. I was over the moon.
And oh boy did the contractions start coming! I know that with each pregnancy, labour usually is quicker; so as eager as a beaver, Hubby and I jumped in the car and drove to hospital (I had rung them first to advise I was en-route). I timed them using the clock in the car, and during the journey, they increased in length and got stronger, much stronger.
I know what you’re thinking. No I didn’t give birth in the car. That would be Hubby’s worst nightmare, and mine as he would be completely useless.
We made it to hospital, and were put in a room on the labour ward for observations. Typically, my contractions slowed! I was only 2cms dilated. But as this was my third pregnancy, they said I should stay and put me in a bed on the antenatal ward. Hubby was unceremoniously dismissed, and so at 2am(ish) he drove home.
The ward was as you would expect at 2am, dark and quiet – no babies in THIS ward. It was full of sleeping pregnant women, probably stocking up on all the sleep they knew they would forfeit once bundle of joy arrived. And I can’t blame them.
Unfortunately, I found this disturbing. I was given a bed at the end of the ward, next to a window with the curtains pulled around, and left. It didn’t occur to me until some weeks later, that I was not offered any kind of pain relief, paracetomol, gas and air. I had nothing, just a bottle of water, a pillow and a buzzer for the midwife. I lay there for what felt like hours and hours, writhing around, doing my deep breathing, taking sips of my now warm water, trying to keep in any kind of noise to prevent waking up the women who were not in pain. I was convinced that things must have progressed. I called the midwife two times, and on each time following an inspection, she whispered that I “was not dilated enough, I was doing well and try to relax”….!!!!! This is the worst thing to hear when you’re in pain, and alone in a dark ward full of sleeping mummas-to-be.
So I endured this torture on my own for what felt like an eternity, until finally I simply could not bear it anymore. For the third time, I buzzed for a midwife – they have the patience of a saint, truly they do! – and FINALLY following a third inspection, she looked at me and informed me I had gone up to 6cm dilated. “We’d better get you down to the labour ward, you’ve progressed quite quickly.” AT LAST!
I don’t recall much of the wheelchair trip down in the lift. I don’t remember being helped onto the bed, and I certainly don’t remember having those horrible itchy uncomfortable oversized elastic-band-type products being strapped around my tight and contracting belly. I bloody hate those things. They don’t help my mood during labour one bit. They get in the way, and are like wearing a bra in bed as far as I am concerned. I DO remember telling everyone and anyone who was within earshot that I had requested an epidural. It was in my birth-plan, so I must absolutely must have one. For everyone else’s safety and wellbeing I must have an epidural. I was not prepared to not have one. It was not even a possibility. I put my hands up, I am a wimp with labour pain, but I also turn into a complete and unreasonable ogre. I swear like a sailor. I am not one of these ladies who can sail through (no pun intended) labour looking lovely and serene, smiling, enjoying and embracing the pain. Not me. I want drugs. Don’t care what type, but after a certain point of the labour I do not want to feel anything. They invented pain relief for women just like me!
So at around 6am(ish), epidural plugged in, belly strapped up, midwife positioned in the corner writing up her notes, Hubby walks in, clearly in a state of excitement and trepidation.
And so the waiting and the vomiting began….my labour slowed right down, thanks to the epidural. It plodded along at a very boring and frustrating rate. So much so that I had a change of midwife three times! But all were absolutely lovely.
You have noted I made mention of vomiting….yes I did. It turns out that epidural makes me sick, literally. Throughout my entire labour I was unable to keep anything down. The only thing that kept me going was fruit polos. I sucked them to death, desperate for something. Was I jealous when Hubby walked back in from the hospital restaurant having just had his dinner, a curry? No, not at all. I was happy for him to have enjoyed something to eat. He needs to keep his energy up. After all a man who is hungry is nearly as grumpy a woman in labour.
Time ticked on; it continued raining; we lost count of the amount of the cardboard sick bowls which had been disposed of; I lost count of how many doctors, registrars, students had all inspected my nether-regions; Hubby had been sent down to the hospital shop at least twice to re-stock my fruit polos; texts were sent advising still no baby……oh my god it didn’t want to come out. Clearly I was destined to be pregnant, strapped up, drugged up and throwing up forever!
At around 6.45pm, the midwives (there were two with us at this point), left the room for a teabreak. They deserved and needed one. I was giving Hubby instructions and about to send him out to get something – I can’t remember what for – but I felt another bought of sickness coming. “Sick bowl” I hollered. This was the worst lot of retching I had (apologies for going into details), I felt like my ribs were about to pop out of my throat. I had nothing to bring up, but continued violently retching over and over. Hubby, bless him, stood there holding the bowl like a trooper.
I didn’t think anything of it, this had been happening ALL DAY, but I did feel a bit tight down below between my legs. I put my hand down to have a feel……I had wretched so much I had pushed baby’s head out! Oops! It was at that point the midwives came back in. And it was all go. The button was pushed and in flew more midwives; my body then chose at that point to start retching again. This of course, made the rest of the baby pop out too!
Baby boy made his unique appearance at 7.07pm on 24th August, his due date! I am sure that the midwives won’t forget that birth, and I will take get joy in reliving the experience to my Son when he is older.

Boys Vs Girls

It is only recently that I have started to notice a real difference in energy levels between girls and boys. It’s ridiculous that it’s taken me this long. Maybe it’s only now that the “baby years” are now well and truly behind me that I can make a conscious observation.

My son, G, is¬†two and half and a complete bundle of combustible energy, and endless enthusiasm. He simply cannot sit still, unless he is on¬†the potty or asleep! Long gone are the days when he would have a loooooong nap midday. He doesn’t need to recharge his batteries anymore.

I recently commented on my observation during a catch up with a very good friend and fellow SAHM, Trim (her nickname). I was moaning,  there is no other word for it, I was moaning about G and his boundless energy, his need for speed, his need to be in front and faster than everyone else around him. I compared him to a naughty disobedient puppy when using his reins. Trim just nodded and said she knew exactly what I meant and remembers only too well how her son was at that age.

Trim has a daughter who is four months younger than G, and they get on brilliantly. In actual fact when they sit together you could be forgiven for thinking they were twins, they look so alike.

Anyway, we began discussing the differences between girls and boys. I mean, I suppose it’s obvious when you think about it. But only ever having girls meant that I had no fore-warning of just how exhausting a little boy could actually be. I should in theory be a size 8 with all the running around I do, but those damn yummy foods keep finding their way into my mouth! I’m sure I comfort eat to congratulate myself on surviving another day with my kids!

Examples:

Going for a walk with a little boy: It’s physically demanding. You spend a vast majority of the walk almost jogging to keep up with them. Forever apologising to people who have they hurtled into as they are going to damn fast. They’re not interested in browsing through shop windows – unless it’s a food shop and there may be a possibility of getting fed. They will jump in EVERY puddle, regardless of size and what footwear they have on and you can’t stop them, they’re too fast. If you run after them, they run faster and laugh while they’re doing it! They will kick at anything which is on the floor (stone/a leaf/a bit of rubbish, etc)¬†and shout “GOAL”.¬†I’m assuming of course that all little boys are like this, and it’s not just mine!

Going for a walk with a little girl: It’s mentally draining. Girls will happily walk, or skip, along side you holding your hand. They will embrace the window shopping. Although they too love puddle jumping, they know that unless they have their wellies on, their shoes will get ruined. They will occasionally run ahead, but they will not do it at full speed and they will not pretend to be a rocket/motorbike/car/lorry/train/tank with the obligatory¬†sound effects. They will however talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk.¬†Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good chat. But sometimes they enjoy talking about people who are within earshot, quite loudly! This is most of the time all fine, until some poor unsuspecting sole becomes subjected to a four year olds scrutiny. Everything comes under question; their dress-sense, their hair colour, their choice of bag/shoes/coat. It can be very draining, and sometimes embarrassing.

At home:

With a little boy: oh lordy where do I start. I’ll start with the fact the they do not sit still, unless it is on the potty/toilet or sleeping. They will run around pretending to be “Superman” and rescuing you – this involves running up behind you, usually when you’re in the kitchen cooking dinner and wrapping their arms around your legs shouting “saved you”. They will run up and down the lounge/kitchen/hallway, wherever they happen to be, racing with themselves – slapping the¬†wall and turn around to race back again.¬†I found this lovely to watch at first, but now it just tires me out. They will run up and down the stairs as fast as they can, giving you a mini-heart attack every-time. They will fling themselves over the back of the sofa, headfirst, and find it highly amusing when you try to stop them repeating it, this making them want to keep doing it. Quite simply; THEY DO NOT SIT STILL!

With a little girl: Girls will sit quietly playing with their toys in the corner of the bedroom, tucked behind a chair, under a table. It will be a make believe game and usually involves some kind of doll/Barbie/soft toy. BEWARE: if they are too quiet, it may be worth investigating! My make up drawer¬†was recently been tampered with….! They will cuddle up with you on the sofa, to watch a bit of telly which is absolutely lovely. However, sometimes this is not as straight forward as it sounds. “Mummy, can you tickle my feet?” “Mummy, can you play with my hair?” “Mummy, can you plait Barbie’s hair?” They will come into the kitchen to watch you cooking and ask to help. Please don’t get me wrong with this, but my kitchen is a galley-style kitchen (quite narrow and long) and sometimes having a child asking to help/watch is not what I need when doing dinner. Generally girls do not run around being noisy and boisterous.

So is the difference in the sexes something they are born with. Is it in their DNA to be completely different? Or do we condition them, subconsciously from birth to act and play in a certain manner? I guess it’s the age old argument of dressing girls¬†in pink and boys in boy. If we didn’t do it, would they grow to like those colours naturally? Blue is a masculine colour, whereas pink is girly and “not for boys”.

In the end Trim and I agreed that we should swap children for a day, so that we can each have a break from our own child and embrace a day with a child of the opposite sex. Whether we will actually do this, remains to be seen. But it would be interesting.