A Letter to my Firstborn

me-and-zach-edited

To my firstborn,

In just a few months, you’ll be turning 6. Wow – how did that happen? With each day that passes, I notice you changing and growing. You’re still my little boy, but your body is changing; you sometimes talk with the eloquence of someone beyond your years and your mind is eager to drink in everything that this world has to offer. I’m excited for you but I also wish time would just slow down a little.

I look back to the morning when you took your first steps, and I remember thinking that I couldn’t imagine a time when I wouldn’t be amazed by you being able to put one foot in front of the other. Yet, here you are, running around the playground with your friends, jumping off the sofa and racing your little brother up the stairs. How did those first wobbly steps become the confident strides of a big boy, without me really noticing?

Sometimes I look you when you’re watching tv and I catch a glimpse of the boy you’ll become – somehow, your almost-six-year-old features seem to momentarily age, and I can see a teenager sprawled out in front of me, long limbs everywhere, taking over the sofa.

I watch how you enjoy playing the protective older brother role to Little Monkey – in-between annoying the hell out of him, of course.  I’m so proud when I watch you together, as you help him put his coat on in the mornings. It only feels like yesterday that I was helping you with your coat and showing you how to do the zip. Now I can’t remember the last time I did your zip up, which gives me a feeling of pride at your self-sufficiency and slight sadness that there’s one less thing you need me to do.

There are still lots of flashes of innocence and unbridled moments of joy that make my heart sing. I love the fact that you still get excited when you find an odd-shaped Hula-Hoop in the packet, thrusting it in my face with such enthusiasm, in a bid to showcase your discovery.

Or when you read a new word correctly and you try to act all cool and nonchalant, but I can see the pride radiating out from beneath the beaming smile that you’re trying to suppress.

Last week you asked me to carry you up the stairs – and it made me so sad. Not because you’d asked – I will carry you for as long as I can – but because I realised, as I heaved your long limbs up and around me, that it’s only going to be a little while longer before you become too heavy for me to carry. And for a mummy, that’s a horrible prospect to stomach.

Some of my most precious moments with you are the ones I steal when you’re asleep, tucked up in your bed. When you don’t have to pretend to be the tough guy, when you don’t have to worry about remembering your spellings or who said what to you in the playground. I watch you in slumber and I see hints of my baby, and glimpses of the boy you are to become.

I suppose the painful truth is that you, my darling boy, were never meant to stay little and be mine forever. And as your biggest fan,  I’ll always support you and love you and help you find your wings.

And when you’re towering above me at 6 foot tall, and you no longer want to marry me, or think I’m cool or funny – just remember that you owe me at least 6 years of piggybacks up the stairs.

Love you always,
Mummy x

Do you have a BMF?

Image courtesy of Retro Trace Vintage

Image courtesy of Retro Trace Vintage

Are you a BMF? That’s a Best Mummy Friend, for anyone not in the know {which is probably most of you, as I totally made that phrase up.}

But if you have kids, the likelihood is that you will also have a BMF. I don’t know what I’d do without my BMF…and neither do our husbands, because if we didn’t have each other, they’d have to listen to all of our child-related neurotic ramblings instead.

Here’s how you know if you have a BMF:

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A Guide to the Selective Hearing of a Preschooler

Selective HearingMy poor {almost} four-year-old son seems to have been cursed with selective hearing. I blame his father, as he has the same affliction, so clearly it must be genetic. I mean, I’m sure it’s not that he actively chooses to ignore me, no, no, no. Although he does respond immediately to the words ‘cake’ and ‘chocolate’, so fret not dear reader, all is not lost.

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7 Things my boys have taught me this Mother’s Day

IMG_8343-2At {nearly} four years and 17 months old, my boys are too young to really understand the concept of Mother’s Day. Although they woke me up this morning by shoving a rose in my face, ripping open the card they’d got me, tearing the envelope into tiny pieces and scattering it all over my bed…which was all done with loving intentions, I’m sure.

So this Mother’s Day, I thought I’d reflect on what they’ve taught me over the last four years:

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10 Things I’ve learned about being the mother of boys

I love my boys with all my heart. But sometimes, they are a breed unto themselves. In the short space of 3.5 years, here is what I have learned about being the mother of boys:

10 Things I never expected1) They are simple creatures – and I don’t mean that disparagingly. There’s a wonderful simplicity to how they work – as long as they’re fed, watered, have had enough sleep and have a toy to play with, they’re happy. Same goes for the hub – swap the toy for his iPhone and I have a house full of contented boys.

2) They have more energy that I thought was humanly possibly – seriously, it’s like they are the Duracell Bunny’s love-children. They just don’t stop. From the minute they’re awake to the (highly anticipated) moment they drift off to sleep, these boys are climbing, jumping, swinging, running, crawling and rolling their way through the day. Their energy knows no limits and it’s exhausting to try and keep up with them.  This is exactly why I sometimes hide in the bathroom with a packet of biscuits.

IMG_78643) They have selective hearing – ok, to be fair on them, it has been scientifically proved that boys’ hearing is less sensitive than girls, particularly in the early years. But funny how I have to ask Big Monkey to pick up his toys at least 5 times before I get a response, yet he can hear the word ‘cake’ within a 10-mile radius.

4) Obsessions with bodily functions are inbuilt – I always thought this was a bit of a stereotype, but I am slowly coming round to the idea that these creatures were born with a fascination about what comes out of their bodies and have no qualms telling you about it. In detail. Whether you like it or not. Flatulence is funny. Burps are hilarious. And nothing makes them prouder than producing a huge poo. Lovely. IMG_7860

5) They have no volume control – ok, that’s a little unfair. They have three levels of volume: loud, louder and loudest. Whether they’re shouting with glee or having a meltdown because I peeled the banana the wrong way (yes, this happened), you can hear them a mile away.  Batten down the hatches neighbours, we’ve got a good few noisy years ahead of us yet.

6) We don’t have time for that – before I had children, I had sweet visions of sitting down and doing colouring and puzzles with my boys. Oh how I laugh at my naivety. Big Monkey’s sole ambition in life is to run, jump and be Spiderman. Colouring? Nope, we don’t have time to sit down and concentrate! Silly mummy. Oh and puzzles? Well, the pieces make great ammunition to fling across the room. Thrown at the right angle, they pick up quite a speed, you know.

IMG_78627) Anything is a gun –  and weapons are cool. In the beginning, I was that mother who declared, “I will never let my boys play with toy guns.” Yes, well, I soon ate those words. Sticks, wooden spoons, empty kitchen roll tubes, the tv remote – apparently they can all double-up as a gun. I never encouraged play-shooting but it’s something that seems in-built. Big Monkey loves nothing better than ‘shooting a bad man’ (a part which I play rather well, I might add) and we now have an impressive armoury in our house, complete with guns, swords and an axe on our list from Santa. How very festive.

8) Hard shells with soft centres – underneath these noisy, shouty, shooty, energetic, flatulence-loving creatures are actually very sensitive little boys. I have seen Big Monkey develop a beautiful sense of empathy and learn to express his emotions. And after a long day, when all the effort of shooting a bad man begins to take its toll, I see my little boy who is loving, vulnerable and tired – and in need of a cuddle from his mummy. IMG_7863

9) Obsessions will happen – so embrace them. I don’t know if this is a ‘boy-thing’ or just a ‘Big Monkey thing’, but when he gets an obsession, wow, is he dedicated to the cause. We’ve had minis (at one-year-old he could recognise a mini car from just the tail light, in a traffic jam, with one eye shut), we had The Snowman (we were still watching the film and reading christmas books in June), then came soldiers – now this was a biggie. We had the costume, we had to march everywhere, he watched the changing of the guards of YouTube more that was probably healthy, we spoke about soldiers from dawn til dusk, perfected a rather good slow march and it made his year when we went to see the changing of the guards in Windsor. That topic of conversation lasted for months. And now we’re onto Spiderman. Socks, pants, toys, costume, web shooter, mask, bag; you name it, we’ve got it.

IMG_786110) Heart-breakers in the making – and I don’t mean other girls’ hearts, I mean my own. Every now and then I catch a glimpse of the man-in-the-making and it makes my heart swell with pride. But it also reminds me that one day these beautiful boys that I would give my life for, will leave home, find a girl who steals their heart, won’t necessarily speak to their mummy everyday and won’t need me in the way they do now. And that’s all just as it should be. And I would always encourage and support them. But I know I’ll miss the days when they jumped off my sofa, filled my house with noise and chaos and left a trail of glorious little-boy-destruction wherever they went.

the-list

This post is linked up with #TheList linky from the fab Aby at You Baby Me Mummy  and Hannah at Mums’ Days, which you can check out here.

A Date with my Big Boy

Me and Zach kiss editedIt’s funny how quickly you forget what life was like with one, when you have two. Not that I would change things for a second; Little Monkey has completed our family and stolen my heart. But with two, I find I try to split my time between them, make sure they both feel included and have their needs met…which is, of course, impossible to do 100% of the time. If I’m not trying to stop Little Monkey from sticking his fingers in a plug socket, I’m explaining – for the umpteenth time – why you can’t swordfight with a one-year-old. There’s a good chance that at some point during the day, one, two or all three of us will end up in tears.

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