Tuesday, 26 August 2014

While you were sleeping

After the noise and mayhem of a busy day, and once I've had a bit of 'me' time in the evenings when the First Boy has gone to bed, I look forward to going to tuck him in on my way to my own bed.
Before my eyes adjust to the dark in his room, I can smell the sweet scent of baby sleep, the unique smell of my own child.  As I begin to make out the dim outlines of his body, I can see whether he has turned himself upside down, with his feet on the pillow, or horizontally across  the bed, and make the decision whether or not to move him. 
It's while he sleeps that he looks more like the baby version of himself, and I can look again into the face of my angelic six-month old or twelve-month old and remember carrying his soft little body close to mine all day.  It brings back a wave of nostalgia and emotion, as well as an underlying panic that the days are passing far too quickly. 
When I do move him, he rarely wakes up; he simply sighs this adorable little sigh and murmurs a little before snuggling back down. Occasionally he says a few words in his sleep, and I stroke his brow to comfort and settle him.  I plant a few lingering kisses on his forehead and know that I should go before I disturb him. 
At these moments, I find being his mother almost paralyses me with love.  I feel so much for him that my heart wants to burst out of my chest, and I am almost pained that I cannot seem to find the words to express this adoration. 
It's such a strong feeling that it's overwhelming sometimes but  I know that I will be tucking him up at night long past the time when he'll need my motherly nocturnal visits.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Living Arrows 34/52 {pebble throwing}

As a blogging novice, this is my first linky post to the Living Arrows project. 

It's a photo of my boy taken earlier this year at Carsington Water, where he spent ages throwing pebbles into the reservoir, and enjoying the splashes. 
 For me, it captures the childhood fascination with doing something which we would think of as 'everyday' for the first time.

living arrows

Sunday, 24 August 2014

An up and down week

Like a lot of the times you spend with your children, this week has been one of ups and downs.

I think the 'down' moments this week are very much due to the fact that, at 30 weeks pregnant, I'm feeling a bit 'meh'.
 I'm finding it hard just to keep up with day-to-day life with a three year old; bending down to collect toys and clean up food is really a struggle and I've begun to feel quite lightheaded and dizzy at times. Braxton Hicks seem to be increasing every week, and some of them are quite uncomfortable now. I feel the ubiquitous mummy guilt that I can't play with the same enthusiasm as I used to.  It's all making me feel a bit emotional.

The First Boy has been pushing my buttons a bit; nothing major, just a bit of pre-school defiance and hyperactivity, but I guess I'm not as patient as I usually am.
A sulky moment
And another!
On the up side, my Mr has patience enough to cover both of us.  I love to see the two of them together, playing, fixing things, wrestling, gardening.  I took lots of lovely shots of them together this weekend when we went to the fun day at our local park.  I only have to look at these shots to know how lucky I am to have them both in my life. 






Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Name Game

I think we are about there. I think we have finally chosen a name for our second little boy, both first and middle names. For months we have been bandying names between the two of us, seeing if they feel right for our family. There are so many tests that a potential name has to pass with us.

1.  Has my husband ever played football with someone of that name, and, if so, was that person an idiot/loudmouth/unpopular for some other untold reason?

2.  Did my husband go to school with anyone of that name who was a geek/smelly/[insert other unlikeable quality here]

3.  Has the name already been used by our friends for their own children?

4. Will the name work for a baby, a toddler, a schoolboy, a teenager, a young man, middle-aged man and an old man?

5. Will I be happy to call out the name across a crowded park?

6.  Is the name so popular that there will be 5 other boys in his class with the same name, which will inevitably result in an additional description being added to each child, like 'Alfie-with-the-glasses', or 'Little John' or Big John'?

7. Or is the name so obscure that our son will have to spell it out to teachers, bank managers, call centre staff, and have trouble writing it as they start school?

8. Does it 'go' with the rest of the names in our family without there being too much matchiness?

9. Do the initials spell out something rude/inappropriate/or something that will result in an unfortunate nickname that will never leave him?

10. Is the name culturally appropriate for our family?  (We went through a not entirely tongue-in-cheek set of suggestions from my husband that centred around Latin-sounding names ending in -o or -i. Think Mario, Lorenzo, Albertini. For us, as a white, English family in middle England with no mafia connections whatsoever.  Yes, seriously. You can see what I was up against.)

Somehow, we got there in the end without contravening many of the above rules.  At least, I'm confident that we haven't burdened the second little guy with a name like the family in the film below.

The Gaylord Focker Wall of Fame from Meet the Fockers

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Eight-legged beasties

You know when autumn is nearly here when you start having close encounters of the eight-legged kind in the confines of your own home.

In the last week, I have experienced run-ins with four of the hairiest, most menacing-looking house spiders (Tegenaria domestica if you like Latin names) I've seen in a long time.  There was the one lying in wait at the top of the stairs, the one in the bathroom, the one taking up position in the hinge of the en-suite door, and the one setting his ambush in a Yankee Candle. [Shudder]  Apparently, they're males, stalking round looking for a mate. Yuk. Go and have spider sex somewhere else.

If you haven't already gathered, I hate spiders.  They make me feel panicky and nauseous.  They run too fast, they can jump, and, although we don't have any dangerous spiders in the UK, they can still give you a nip if they feel so inclined.

My husband trots out with his designed-to-be-reassuring: ''they're probably more scared of you than you are of them.'  Hmmm - with these latest specimens, I'm not so sure. Even he, designated spider-catcher of the household, visibly blanched at the sight of the latest one, fangs a-quiver at the top of the stairs.  It looked like it was giving him the finger.

However, I am very conscious of not wanting to pass on my fear to the First Boy.  I grit my teeth and evict much smaller arachnid visitors in front of him, cheerfully telling my boy that spiders are nice, they catch the nasty flies; they just have a bad rep. He looks at me carefully, unconvinced. I'm obviously not a great actor.  Either that, or fears and phobias are more innate than psychologists would have us believe.

Still, I try to promote equal opportunities for all creepy crawlies through our choice of picture books. We've read lots of books where spiders are the goodies, or spiders get upset by being ostracized by other creatures.  But the latest spider-based favourite is Spider Sandwiches by the brilliant Claire Freedman and Sue Hendra. Quite disgusting, and thus massively appealing to three year old boys.  And the spiders get their comeuppance in the end.

Which fears or phobias are you trying not to pass on to your children?

Ps. I was going to add an image of an house spider to this post, but actually, I don't want him staring at me every time I open my blog. So, I opted for a cute, sanitized version instead.

Monday, 18 August 2014

An ordinary Saturday at the park

It's the ordinary moments like this that I want to remember.  Just a run-of-the-mill Saturday morning visit to the local park, a coffee and a push on the swings.  A game of hide-and-seek and some balancing on the assault course.  Sunlight dappling through the silver birches and a barely perceptible nip in the air, reminding us that the beginning of autumn is close.  Our little family of three.

The First Boy seems to be changing so much at the moment.  Over the summer his face has lost some of its chubbiness and has begun to take on the look of a proper little boy.  I can see flashes of the seven year old and the ten year old he's going to be some day.  And while this pace of change is exciting, it's also sad, as I know that we really are leaving behind his toddlerhood.

Not only the way he looks, but his sense of humour has really developed recently.  He will often shoot us a cheeky grin with a real glint in his eye and say 'Only joking!'  Over the summer he has become much more co-ordinated and daring, hesitating less and less with climbing and jumping, and insisting that 'I do it on my own, Mummy!'  He is so proud when he achieves something on his own that he previously needed our help with, like dressing himself or pulling the lid off a yogurt.

Independence is increasing quickly; I try to identify the right times to hold back and let him try something on his own, and when to step in and help. I don't always get it right, but we are teaching each other along the way.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Maternity leave on the horizon

Maternity leave is looming. I have 5 weeks left at work before I can once again join the ranks of mums at home. And, frankly, I can't wait!

It's beginning to feel like a slog being at work, despite having a sedentary job.  It's becoming difficult (and increasingly more undignified) to slide from the 30 degree gap of my open car door in the tightly-spaced staff car park without squashing my sizeable bump or denting other vehicles.  Sitting all day at a desk with a little baby bottom wedged underneath my ribs is becoming a tad tiresome.  And the 45 minute each way commute is something I could do without too.

So, as I approach this second spell of maternity leave, are my plans for spending my work-free and pre-delivery time different to those of the first time, three years ago?  Well, yes and no.  This time, I have the First Boy to look after, although he will be starting pre-school and continuing to go to his childminder for part of the week.  I will have 2.5 days with him and 2.5 days to myself.  So while I do still have plenty of time to take it easy and lie on the sofa eating chocolate and watching TV, as I indulgently did when awaiting the arrival of my firstborn, I know it won't be nearly as decadent this time round.

This time round, although I will lovingly wash The Second Boy's tiny newborn clothes in non-biological washing powder and sensitive fabric conditioner (don't you just love the scent of that?), there will be no ironing of sleepsuits, bodysuits and suchlike.  There will be no attempt to knit tiny cardigans for him, having discovered during my first pregnancy that knitting is definitely not a craft that I was made to master.  There will be no planning of convoluted spreadsheets dictating a regime of batch cooking and meal planning ready for those fuzzy newborn days.  After all, there's a M&S within spitting distance.

But I'm a planner - I like a project. So, instead, I went to Hobbycraft and bought a cross-stitch sampler as a nice little project for the nursery, having failed to realise until I opened the kit at home, that the work involved is enormous, especially for a cross-stitch virgin like me.  At this rate, it'll be ready to frame and hang just as The Second Boy starts high school.  I tell myself it's therapeutic.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

This is us

I am a mummy to two boys.  Here's me with the First Boy on his 3rd birthday. So, where's the other one?  He's not ready to meet the world yet, but will be hopefully be here mid-Autumn. 

This is my first foray into the world of blogging.  I have a fear of forgetting all those precious little moments that come with being a mummy, so, with a few weeks to go before I start my maternity leave, I thought it would be a nice idea to start this blog, as a sort of scrapbook, and maybe a way of connecting with other mums.

I can't quite believe that in a matter of a few more weeks our little family of three will be joined by another.  It has been a long journey to become a family at all, and G and I still pinch ourselves every day that we have been lucky enough to have not one but two little miracle boys. I feel so grateful.

Miracles aside, I am finding it impossible to get my head round the fact that this little one whom I feel digging me in the ribs, and jabbing me in the bladder is another little boy who is not the First Boy.  My mind cannot conceive of the face of another boy-child who is not our firstborn. Will he have the same blue eyes and blonde hair as the First Boy? The same 'let-me-at-'em' temperament? The same long gangly legs at birth?  Somehow imagining another little boy is harder than imagining what a little girl of ours would've looked like. We have only to wait and see, and I'm so looking forward to meeting him.