The Milestones

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Big or Small they are equally important.

Over the past few weeks I have witnessed hundreds of pictures of my friends children starting school in their slightly over sized uniform looking super excited, followed by pictures of them 8 hours later asleep on the sofa because ‘ Big school has worn them out’! I love the pictures, it’s fab to see how they are all growing up. I’ve also felt a little pang of emotion that my god daughter posted a picture of her new room at Uni when she left yesterday to embark on a great adventure.

I see my close friends visiting Uni’s with their kids for next year and I find myself thinking ‘how can they be old enough to go to Uni already? I also struggle with the whole comparison of my friends kids getting ready to go to Uni and mine has just moved to a big bed.

I love seeing the new adventures my friends children are taking but sometimes I do feel myself wishing away the time for the Rockstar to be doing the same. Then I remember I’ll be even older by then so maybe I should just take every day at a time!

While we were walking through the woods at the weekend looking for a Gruffalo, as you do, I looked at the little man and realised the last month has been full of milestones for him and us.

  1. Cot to Big Bed – It was hard going for us all, he hated it and woke 4 times every night for two weeks. I blamed myself in rushing him, he loved his cot and never attempted to climb out.
  2. Pre-School – He was moved from nursery to pre-school early. It doesn’t normally happen until they are 3 but everyone felt it was the right time for him and his development (oh and numbers in the class no doubt) so the transition was made and it was an easy one for him and he is thriving.
  3. The Bottle – Rockstar had a tendency to love a night time milk in a bottle, yes I know he’s too old for a bottle but I liked the cuddle as much as he liked the milk. Anyway one day I decided enough was enough and gave him milk in another cup (of his choice) He drank it sat on the sofa watching Bing before bed and never asked for a bottle again. If I’d known it was going to be that easy I’d have done it months ago. The whole cot to bed thing put me off a bit. I didn’t need more tears at night, from either of us.
  4. The Dummy – He had them when he is in bed or really tired. Then on Saturday he woke up and said ‘I am three now, my dummies need to go in the bin’. We had talked briefly about them going in the bin when he turned 3. He’s not actually 3 yet, he thinks he is as he had his birthday present early (It needed to be used while the weather was reasonably dry). He decided that was the time and off he went – popped them in the bin and has only asked for them twice over the weekend but no tears.
  5. Dressing himself – He’s a lazy boy. He say’s ‘Can’t’ a lot. He won’t dress himself without a fight. I was busy in the kitchen and he wanted his shoes on, I told him to put them on himself. I turned around and he had. Two shoes on the right feet, velcro closed. Now to work on pulling up his own trousers after a wee.
  6. Swimming and Bike riding – Two things we’ve been doing for a while but in the last few weeks he’s cracked both.
  7. The art of Conversation – We have full on chats about a variety of subjects, some more entertaining than others but as I watch his mind working and listen to the chatter it fills me with joy.

My little man may only be a month from being 3 but he’s growing up fast. Just remembering these milestones tire me out. He must be exhausted. Learning new skills all of the time and growing up so quickly.

I’m desperate to catalogue the journey, I take so many pictures and pop them in the album for us all to look back on in the years to come. I do post pictures on social of him having fun, I vowed I never would but I just can’t help myself. I certainly didn’t expect to write a blog about our journey through parenthood?!

When I post my little milestone pictures I do think of my mates that are sending their kids off to school and Uni, all having a little smile and thinking how pleased they are to be onto those grown up milestones.

I’ll stick with our baby steps for now and will be sure to let everyone know when Rocco can wipe his own bum!

 

 

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Let children just be children

 

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I’ve been watching the news and discussions on the child that wants to be known as a girl and wear a dress to school and how one set of parents have taken their child out of that school because it has made their children anxious and upset.

My son doesn’t like to dress up, I struggle to get him to put a pirate hat on, in fact he’d wear his pyjamas all day if I let him. The one day he did dress up he popped a flamenco dress on, so what?  There’s a little boy at nursery who loves to wear the princess dress when they play dress up, no one takes any notice and my son certainly doesn’t question it. They are just children.

If I picked up Rocco from nursery and there was a boy in a dress and Rocco told me that was ‘Daisy’ then I wouldn’t question it. In fact I don’t think I would even ask nursery for an explanation. It has nothing to do with me what another child wears or is called.

I’m sure some of the parents question our choice of name and judge us on Rocco’s choice of clothes* on a daily basis! *he sometimes wears a Ralph Lauren ‘best’ shirt that he’s about to grow out of that have been hung in the wardrobe or a t shirt already stained by Spaghetti.

At that age, gender identity is innocent, if the child was scared by another child experimenting to find their identity then maybe the conversation needs to start at home.

If Rocco did ask me why is ‘David’ now ‘Daisy’ I would try and explain that David liked dresses rather than trousers and liked the name Daisy. I don’t think it needs any more explanation than that. Does it? If it started causing lots of questions from my son then I would research how best to explain it.

I certainly wouldn’t put my own child through the upheaval of moving him out of that nursery because of a choice another child and family have made. I believe I would act in the same way as I would hope other parents would react if it was my son.

Surely moving a child out of school would open up more questions? I’m not saying it should be ignored but making a ‘thing’ out of a situation like this can’t be beneficial. The child in question has made a decision to wear a dress, the child made that decision himself. Surely the school friends should be allowed to make their own decision about how they feel. If at all.

My son is no saint at nursery, he can be boisterous and he doesn’t listen all the time, sometimes I imagine other parents being told Rocco may have led their child astray that day. All kids are different, they all have their individual quirks some will come and go throughout their childhood, some will stay with them.

I feel like we indoctrinate our kids enough by them just watching the way we go about our lives. I worry about standing on the scales in front of my son as I don’t want him to even know what they are for, we don’t talk or draw attention to weight, colour, gender, size etc. I don’t want my views to be inflicted on him, I want him to make his own judgements. In fact I don’t want him to judge anyone.

It’s hard enough bringing children in to this world, constantly questioning the way you bring them up without us starting to question how other people are bringing up their own children. If it doesn’t directly effect you, then ignore it.

I want to bring my son up in a way that he does not judge people’s decisions. If he questions, I will help him answer them. When there are children involved I won’t judge or react in a hastily fashion, it could effect everyone involved.

I will remember they are children where decisions and actions that are made around them now, may stay with them and set them on their path to being an adult. We need good, kind adults in this world. More today than ever before.

 

 

The Benefits Of Going To The Gym – I think I’ve got it all wrong!

I’ve recently joined the gym it’s a major step for me. I’m 46 and a mum of a nearly 3 year old. I’ve never been super fit or slim so I do need to get fitter and lose some weight. I’ve embarked on a diet that I am actually maintaining, most of the time! So the next step was that dreaded exercise.

I think I’m finally in the right mind set to do this. I have great support from my family, I need it otherwise it could be a one week wonder. I also understand the reasons for going to the gym;

  • I want to control my weight
  • I know exercise is good for my health
  • Boost my energy
  • Get the happy feeling

After signing my life away to a 12 month contract – yes 12 months, I need to commit long term otherwise I just won’t do it. I take a look at the timetable and work out the days I can go while the little man is at nursery. I need to be organised. There is no point trying to go in the evenings, I know I just won’t do it once the TV is on and the boy is in bed.

So off I went. It killed me, I hurt a lot for 4 days but after the second trip I did see some benefits.

  • I got to go shopping for new gym kit. There were so many trainers to choose from I just had to buy two pairs.
  • A new gym bag, that could also work as a beach bag. Multi Purpose.
  • Making sure I eat breakfast before I go. Not just a half eaten bit of toast but a proper breakfast.
  • Choosing a play list of music – a grown up play list. Then I actually got the time to listen to it. Uninterrupted.
  • People watching – I don’t remember the last time I had the chance to sit (ok I was on the bike) and watch people. I never take my eyes off the 2 year old so it was nice to watch someone that wasn’t going to get run over or bump their head on a table.
  • Doing something for me. I was putting myself through pain, sweating and looked awful but it felt reasonably good.
  • There’s no little people. I love them but it felt good to be surrounded by adults.
  • Not having to talk to anyone. You can see people you know and just give them a nod or pretend you didn’t even see them.
  • Feeling like I had learnt something. Trying new exercises that push me. It’s been a while since I have felt like that.
  • Taking a shower – I do shower at home and my shower is more palatial than the one at the gym. But at this one I can shut the door, not have to listen out for the little one. No rushing.
  • Buying new products that will live in MY gym bag. With product that’s meant for me, not something I’ve grabbed in my mad rush.
  • Using a towel that’s not been picked up off the floor and still wet.
  • I realised that it’s been a while since I have been able to sit and dry my hair and apply a full face of makeup. A luxury!
  • The best benefit of all was knowing I’ve done something that will in the end help us all as a family.

So going to the gym really does have some benefits and if I can keep those in mind, I’ll be a size 8 before I know it!*

*never been a size 8, never likely to be either.

 

 

 

 

 

To go on holiday and pop him in the Kids Club.

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We’ve been lucky enough to take our 2.5 year old abroad on holiday a lot since he was born and this year we have had two holidays in the space of four weeks (it wasn’t planned that way, honestly)

We have chosen our holidays slightly differently since being parents, we look for somewhere that he is accommodated as far as high chairs, cots and knowing the restaurants don’t mind Lightening McQueen joining us. A far cry from a deserted beach, cocktails and a few books.

We haven’t yet booked a hotel that is ‘ kidtastic’ although a recent trip to Lanzorote did have a kids pool, Club and disco. We obviously spent a lot of time around the pool, maybe an hour supervised in the Kids Club when the sun got a bit hot and a few evenings at the kids disco. But that was it. We spent 10 days as a family.

Our son goes to nursery a few days a week, so he’s happy in that environment but as a family we like to spend time with each other and are happy to have him with us all day and night on holiday.
We are lucky that he sleeps for two hours in the day on holiday so mummy and daddy can still have a little drink and catch some rays. So I believe that at this point in our journey we get the best of both worlds.

When we went away last week it was with my sister and our kids whom love each other like siblings and are happy to play together. We were at a gorgeous hotel from a chain that caters for both the grown up and the child.
My niece chooses not to go in to Kids Club saying’ holidays are family times’. She is a sociable girl and is happy to make friends pool side. Part of me thinks she would have more fun if she did go to the Club on offer but she chooses not too and that’s fine.

The 2 year old could have gone in to nursery as he still isn’t old enough for the fun club but then he wouldn’t have had that time with his aunty and cousin and when would he have got the chance to learn to swim and for us to witness it.
For me, holidays are for creating memories and I worry that once he goes to the Kids Club he will want to do that every time. I’m not ready for that. Yet.
He did love the kids disco and I did get great pleasure from watching him dance to those crazy holiday club tunes and make a new friend. Since being home he is continually asking for the Disco!

I can understand why parents pop their kids in to a Club, everyone needs a break. I am lucky that when we are away with Daddy he takes the little man off, to give me an hour and when we were away last week we all entertained each other. If we were a big adventure seeking family and wanted to go off sightseeing then I see why a child would rather go to kids club but we have inflatables and water pistols that create the fun, so we certainly don’t expect him to entertain himself.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against kids club and I can totally understand that an environment where they are entertained by professionals and have fun is perfect for them and the parents.

I have heard kids come out of the Kids Club raving about what a great time they have had, with their new friends and that’s great. I see mums with the perfect tan and a half read book, I didn’t even turn a page.
I don’t remember being put in to kids club when I was little but we always went away with another family so all the kids played together.

Right now almost 3 years in I can’t imagine going on holiday and then popping him in to a club, he may have well stayed at home, gone to nursery, had grandma collect him and have him sleep in his own bed. Plus it would have saved us some money!

I think my husband’s week home alone was more of a holiday but I wouldn’t have changed it. That said, I have come back from 17 days abroad with my son desperate for a little bit of me time, so tomorrow I’m off to a grown up club called a Spa for 24 hours.

 

Photo; Authors Own

Feeling guilty when things are ok for you

Lately a few of my friends are really going through it. Tough times both at home and at work. I know how they feel, we’ve all been there. We look at everyone else and think ‘oh I wish my life was as simple as hers’. I know those idyllic lives aren’t always what they seem on the outside but sometimes you just want everything to be just a little bit easier.

Over the past few years my little family has been through our ups and downs, it’s all been a bit of a whirlwind, four years ago I hadn’t even met Mr S. I had a great career and was reasonably happy. Now I have a husband, a 2.5 year old, a fab house, no full-time job admittedly but it’s all pretty good. Yes there are areas I’d like to change, I’d like to push myself to have the courage to work for myself and make all my ideas reality, I would also like to know that the Rockstar will go through the ‘naughty’ phase and we will come out the other side. Apart from that we’re pretty good.

I have a set of friends that help me in many ways, I have one that dropped off food to our house for two weeks while the Rockstar was in NICU, I have a friend who I whinge too over WhatsApp and she does the same back, I have a friend/sister who knows everything about me and gives honest, really honest feedback. I have a friend for every occasion and I know if I am low one of them will spot it.

I hate that those close to me are having tough times and I try as hard as I can to help in whatever ways I can, whether it’s a phone call or sending a silly card to put a smile on their face. I am constantly thinking of them and finding ways I can help, in any small way. I just want everyone to be happy. I know that’s not always realistic.

My sister jokes with me and says I just want to fix everything. Yes maybe I do. Sometimes my life is easier when everyone around me is happy, that sounds so selfish but it’s true. I can spend my time concentrating on our relationships and having fun knowing that my friend is happy. Knowing someone is hurting is really hard.

I’ve been through times when I have felt low, and I mean really low and if it wasn’t for an unwanted busy body then I may not be here today. I say unwanted busy body but really it was a saviour, without this person butting in then I wouldn’t have asked for it and just carried on for as long as I could, feeling bloody awful.

I look back at that time now and am thankful I had one friend that made it his business to help and that spiralled in to lots of people helping. Back then I couldn’t imagine my life as it is now, so I truly believe that things do get better, at the time I know it is hard to imagine, but it does. I look in on peoples lives and can see what needs to change but it has to be done when they are ready, I’m just there to assist if they need it.

So I will be that busy body for as long as I am allowed, just letting my mates that are having a rough ride know that I am here if they need me. I hope that while I do this, they will be there for me when I go through the next patch of rough stuff, because it’s sure to happen.

We are all so busy with our lives that we may not look deep enough into our friends lives. Yes, it may feel life prying and you may have friends that keep things close to their chests, so just ask a few more questions, call instead of text, pop round for a glass of wine, just let them know you’re there.

One thing I have realised is that I have been known to spend so much time worrying about others that I’ve let parts of my life drop to the wayside, a happy medium is hard and I need learn that I can’t always help everyone. In the meantime I will give it a really good try.

 

Sorry Son, yesterday I failed you

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So yesterday wasn’t my finest parenting day so far. My 2.5 year old son pushed me to the limits and I turned in to a mum I never wanted to be, I feel the need to say sorry.

‘Rockstar, We had a really busy weekend with your Aunty and 7 year old cousin staying. You and her do push each others buttons and wind each other up. We went out a lot, late to bed and early mornings so yesterday when we had just a ‘normal’ day just me and you, was clearly not enough for you.

You are what I call a ‘proper boy’ you can be a bit boisterous and we love a rough and tumble but we also love cuddles and kisses but yesterday it all went a step too far. We had a discussion over breakfast, I know that’s not a fight to battle, you were going to be with me all day so if you just wanted a banana for breakfast that was fine. I let you have it.

I know you were tired and you wanted mummy to play but I really did need to tidy the house. Mummy tried to explain that she would play as soon as she had done the washing but that wasn’t enough. You threw your cars out of the play room, tipped up the crayon pot, emptied the contents of the play kitchen. I told you off but carried on loading the washing machine.

I could hear you shouting out at me to come and play, I felt bad but the house was such a mess, I needed to get on top of it before we started making a mess again. I know sometimes days can be boring, in my head I was telling you we would go to the park this afternoon but I couldn’t say it out loud otherwise you’d want to go now. The weather was awful otherwise you and the puppy dog could have played in the garden.

Your shouting continued, so I gave in and came to sat on the floor in the play room with you, you settled for a bit until you found the plastic golf club but couldn’t find the ball. You got so frustrated, I asked you to just wait while I looked for it for you, but instead you hit me over the back with it. Hard.

It did hurt but only as much as a plastic golf club can! I think it was just the end of a few hours of ‘naughtiness’. I shouted at you, loudly, probably louder than I have before, to the point of the dog going to the back door wanting to go out in the rain and get away. I took the club from you and put it out of reach, you had a breakdown, you screamed and started to pick up imaginary things from the floor and throw them at me. I took hold of your arm and moved you out of the play room, I sat you on the floor in the kitchen and asked you to sit there and think about what you’d done. You got up and walked off, hitting the dog on your way past. I shouted again.

I repeated the process, to get the same reaction. What more could I do? The house was a mess, I didn’t really care about that, you were clearly angry and sad and at this point so was I. I took you in my arms and asked you to calm down, it didn’t help, you lashed out at me again. We ended up both sat on the sofa crying.

You looked at me and asked why was I crying, I explained that you’d hurt me and I was sad that you were unhappy. I said I was sorry for crying. You asked me to say sorry to you for pulling your arm. I laughed, I had to say sorry to you!

Here I was sat looking a mess, feeling so awful that I shouted really loudly at you, forcefully taking your arm, and not playing with you. How did we get to this point? I never wanted to be the mother that shouted back at my gorgeous handsome boy and cry in front of you but it’s happened and I’m worried it won’t be the last time.

The day didn’t continue like that, you ate your lunch with no arguments, you had a sleep and we went to the park and had fun. We talked about being kind and gentle but I didn’t push it too much. By the time daddy came home you were calmer as if nothing had happened, I on the other hand was still struggling so I was pretty quick to hand you over to daddy and go and have a bath (with a wine). I cried again. You went to bed like a good boy after lots of kisses and cuddles saying Love you Mummy. I love you Rocco’

I told Mr S about our day and that I was worried about these outbursts and maybe they were our fault. He is our only child but I wouldn’t say he was spoilt but I do find myself giving in sometimes and maybe that’d where it’s started.

I want him to be a kind loving boy but I can’t help thinking that there’s something underlying that is making him so frustrated. He’s not like it all the time. I mentioned it to nursery today and they assured me it wasn’t just Rocco, it was him pushing boundaries but they’d keep an eye on it.

Every day of parenting is challenging but yesterday really did test me, but I survived. Not sure how many more I will cope with and I will admit I was happy that today is a nursery day. I just need to think back to a few days ago when we were in the supermarket, Rocco and I were chatting like we do and a lovely lady came over to say how nice it was that I told him I was proud of him and that he was a good boy. She praised us both for not screaming and shouting at each other.

If only she’d seen us yesterday.

 

 

 

The bits I missed out on

 

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So I made the mistake of watching One Born Every Minute today, sometimes it has no effect on me at all, I must be tired because I cried and it wasn’t even a really emotional one.

The same happened when I was watching Sarra Hoy on the News last week promoting BLISS and seeing her prem little boy so fit and well, it just reminds me how lucky so many people are. I am grateful for the love and support we had in NICU and have been very vocal about it but today I had an overwhelming sense that I’d missed out. I haven’t felt like I have regressed back to Rocco’s arrival for a while.

I was taken into hospital just to be monitored and ended up having a C-Section, 18 hours later at 5am in the morning. I wasn’t aware that was going to be the outcome that day.

It wasn’t having a section that worries me but I’d imagined my sister sat outside waiting for news as I did with her. She wasn’t there so I wanted her to call her as soon as he’d arrived but I couldn’t as it was so early in the morning and she had a massive event that day (that I was meant to be at) so I felt she needed more sleep.

The calls Mr S made to tell our closest family of the new arrival were received with more shock than the normal conversation would have been, no one expected it. I hadn’t called anyone in the night to say I’d been moved to the delivery suite, the first Mr S knew was when he got the call to get back to the hospital. Part of me wishes I had now.

It wasn’t until today that I yearned for that moment straight after birth when in most cases you get to cuddle your baby, have everyone say how gorgeous he was and hold him close right away. In our photos we are all gowned up, Mr S has the little man and although I’m there in body I wasn’t really there! Both Rocco and Daddy were then whisked away to NICU. I totally understand that had to be done but I feel a bit deprived.

I do find it strange that I have these feelings today, we’re 2.5 years on, Rocco is a fit, he’s healthy (apart from his recurring winter cough which I am hoping he will grow out of) and he’s happy.

I was talking to someone about her maternity leave and she said coming home was lovely and settling in to home life 2 days after giving birth was great.  I spent a lot of time in NICU, I wasn’t home with my baby. I came home without the little man, I don’t remember struggling with it too much although my mum said she thinks I did. Maybe that’s why I regress.

I also don’t remember getting lots of ‘Baby’ cards until Rocco came home which I suppose is understandable but after the birth of a baby the house should be filled with joy and happiness. Ours was a little more subdued but full or relief that both he and I were going to be ok.

It really is strange how these memories come back to me and niggle at me from time to time. I can go months without thinking back to those times and usually when I do it’s a bit blurry and Mr S puts the pieces together for me, we look at some pictures, look at the crazy two year old running around the house and all is right with the world.

It was just the start of a journey, a blip that made us stronger together and we will be forever grateful. I shouldn’t feel deprived, I should feel thankful and not worry about those small bits I missed out on.

On that note I’m off to collect him from nursery and give him a great big squeeze. I’m very lucky that I can.