Tag Archives: #ftmob

meet the family

Is it night time where you are? If so, look out of your window now… look up… see that glowing orb in the sky? That’s me that is.

… Well through my toddler’s eyes anyway. And ok it’s not the ACTUAL moon he mistakes for me it’s a particular picture of a rosy-cheeked crescent moon in one of his favourite books, but still, it’s not a bad thing to be compared to.

I am married to a snake though. In fact, according to my toddler we have rather an odd family set-up. In all the books we read to him, snakes are enthusiastically called “daddy snake!” and frogs are invariably named after his five-year-old brother. Meanwhile there’s a cat in ‘Slinky Malinki’ books (by Lynley Dodd) that he’s convinced is his seven-year-old brother. Then I’m the moon of course.

To give you a clearer idea, I’ve done a family portrait:

our animal family

Our family, in all our glory…

The funny thing is, I can see what he means. Of course he knows the animals (and celestial object) aren’t really us but he’s managed to pick up on something about each of us and see it in the pictures – the 5yo’s cheeky face, the 7yo’s slim physique, my rosy cheeks (and pointed nose) and his dad’s *whispers* increasingly hairless head…

If you’re wondering about the bee, I drew it to represent the toddler because it didn’t seem right to have a family picture without him in it. His brothers and I decided a smiley bee suited him – he’s little (both the youngest family member and small for his age) and gets on with things, just like bees do.

I’d better go, night is falling and there’s somewhere I should be…

Little Hearts, Big Love

the things they say #3

I enjoy linking up with ‘From the Mouths of Babes’ over at Little Hearts Big Love as it gives me the opportunity to capture and share some of the things my boys say as their language develops. I know one day when toddlerisms are a dim and distant memory I’ll look back and be glad I did.

kids book

At nearly eight, my eldest no longer comes up with the gems he used to and uses language pretty much like a grownup. We did have a chat this morning though about ‘old fashioned’ language. He’s reading Emil and the Detectives which was published in 1931 and as he sat there absorbed in it, every minute or so he would ask me for definitions of various words like a ‘shilling’, a ‘Sunday Suit’ or – my favourite question – “What’s a prig? Is it kind of like a wazzock?” Well, ummm, is it? I didn’t even know he knew the word ‘wazzock’ – I bet we have Harry Potter to thank for that…

Then there’s my five-year-old. The most obvious thing about his speech at the moment is that, although he can talk completely normally, he often uses a funny little voice where he hardly opens his mouth. It’s really hard to understand (and can be really frustrating to listen to sometimes). I thought it was just his own particular quirk until I heard him talking to a group of his friends in the school yard the other day and they were all talking in the same way! What must it be like being their teacher?!

My youngest is two-and-a-bit and his language is at the totally adorable stage where you just want to bottle it up and keep it forever. He likes to copy everything at the moment and when I read to him he’s always pointing at tiny details in the pictures, saying “What that?” and then imitating my response (with various degrees of accuracy). Last night we were reading a book set in the jungle and he was transfixed by the animals: “Cleelimonim” (chamelon), “Calot” (Parrot), and, when I didn’t recognise the animal in question, “asortimonkeysin” (A sort of monkey thing). For some reason though, snakes are always ‘Daddy!’ Honestly, my husband looks nothing like a snake… not long and skinny… not stripy… doesn’t wriggle along the floor (usually) so this has totally baffled both of us!

One of my favourite things about my toddler’s speech right now is the way he makes requests (which is most of the time, come to think of it). He knows a lot of nouns but always says, “I want it” first. So for example,”I want it, a cake,” “I want it, a car,” and, one night when I was (unusually) away at bedtime, “I want it, my Mummy.” Awww. And, yes, “I want it” isn’t very polite so we do say, “Can you ask that nicely?” at which he almost invariably responds, “Yes, I want, it a cake nicey.” He’s getting there.

Little Hearts, Big Love

conversations with my toddler #3

My toddler is twenty-six months now (how did he get so old?!) and his language is getting better all the time. He speaks in sentences and even strangers are starting to be able to understand him although I mostly still have to act as translator.

minions talking

Mind you, there are times when even I struggle to work out what he’s talking about… like in this conversation we had at the lunch table the other day:

Toddler: *putting down sandwich to speak (so this must be important)* “Mummy?”

Me: “Yes sweetie?”

Toddler: *brightly* “Woo da dotta ow?”

Me: “Er… sorry poppet, what was that?”

Toddler: *slightly more forcefully* “Where da potter foul?”

Me: *Still baffled* “Where’s the…? Sorry, can you say that again?”

Toddler: *leaning forwards and looking at me earnestly* “Where da dotter howl?”

Me: “Um… sorry, I still don’t understand what you’re asking for…”

Toddler: *loudly and forcefully* “Where. The. Potted. Owl?!”

Me: “Oh! The potted owl!” *looks around wildly*

(we don’t have a potted owl)

(what even IS a potted owl?)

(I offered him a biscuit.)

Little Hearts, Big Love
Conversations with my toddler #1 – Toast
Conversations with my toddler #2 – Wheels

ageing

I’ve heard people say that having (or being around) children keeps you young, and I suppose in some ways it’s true. After all, we parents do find ourselves playing with toys, drawing silly pictures and making ‘magic potions’. We act like kids at times, doing ridiculous things to make them giggle. Being able to embrace your inner child can certainly help in parenting, I’ve found.

But in terms of physical appearance at least, I think being a parent ages a person. Or it has done with me anyway! When I look back at photos of myself holding my infant firstborn I’d swear I look twenty years younger in the photos, not merely seven. Yes, nearly eight years of nappy changing, toddler tantrums and sleep deprivation have taken the youthful bloom off my skin and put dark shadows under my eyes. As for my body, all those hours I’ve spent on my hands and knees wiping food off the floor, or staggering under the weight of increasingly heavy children as I load them into cars (and hold them under one arm as I charge for the school gates) has done a number on my knees and my back.

What I hadn’t realised until recently though was the ageing effect that parenthood has had on my hands. This became clear to me the other day when I was playing cars with my toddler and he suddenly reached over, pointed at my knuckles and delightedly exclaimed, “Look Mummy! Dinsisaur!”

Old? I’m positively Jurassic!

dinosaur hand

My very own Handasauraus

What do you think? If you’re a parent, has it kept you young or aged you? Anyone else got any Jurassic features? ;)

Little Hearts, Big Love

egg-cellent easter

It was Easter Sunday yesterday and we had a very egg-citing day (sorry, couldn’t resist).

easter collage

Although my five-year-old had concerns that the Easter Bunny would be eaten by my parents’ new puppy, thankfully no such catastrophe occurred and all chocolate eggs were safely delivered! We then had an Easter-egg hunt, decorated eggs (do you recognise the fictional character that my seven-year-old made his into – above?) and had a lovely family lunch. The boys also had great fun smashing the big chocolate egg (pictured above, both before and during the smashing) which we all enjoyed stuffing our faces with afterwards. The sun even came out and allowed us to sit outside WITHOUT COATS ON!

My two year old loved it all and spent a lot of time saying things like, “Locklit! (chocolate) My locklit! I want it, a locklit!” Yes, I’m afraid his usual good manners were entirely lost in the face of such temptation but who can blame him really? I’m afraid we all may have overindulged a bit. Today I’m in recovery – I will be eating nothing but carrots ;)

I hope you all had a very Happy Easter too!

P.S We’re taking Easter off from #WhatImWriting so there will be no link-up tomorrow – I’ve barely written a thing in the Easter holidays anyway, so have nothing to report!

Little Hearts, Big Love

empathy

One of my favourite aspects of parenting (alongside hearing my kids learn to talk) has been watching their sense of empathy develop. Babies certainly don’t come into the world as natural empaths, given that their initial survival depends on being almost entirely egocentric and letting us know what they need, LOUDLY, without a thought for the needs of anyone else.

horses and their boy

My eldest son displaying ninja, horse-whispering skills.

Soon though, they learn the importance of smiling as a means of interaction (and of getting what they want) and, later, that talking is even better. But empathy probably comes a little way down the track due to their firm belief that the world revolves entirely round them. It was only very recently that my toddler stopped assuming that all and any pictures of babies were pictures of him. “Diddy!” (his name for himself) he would shout with delight pointing wildly at a picture of a blonde haired girl on the front of some nappies, or a brunette boy in a magazine. It didn’t matter that they didn’t look remotely like him – to his mind, all babies were most certainly him.

After a while though, children come to understand that others have feelings and that those feelings matter. This is something I’ve always been really keen to promote with all three of my boys. With our first son we were rather spoilt in this department as he’s a naturally sensitive soul who very early on became aware of – and cared about – the feelings of others (both humans and animals). When he first became a big brother at the age of just turned two, his reaction on meeting his new sibling was to kiss him and give him his favourite toy elephant – it brings a lump to my throat just to think of it! These days (aged seven),when we watch a film as a family and there’s an emotional scene in it I can guarantee that his eyes (alongside my own) will be filled with tears.

My second son learnt a lot from his brother and although these things didn’t come to him quite as easily, he has always been concerned with the welfare of babies. He really can’t bear any sort of mishap to befall them.

Most of the time, I love these qualities in my sons. A few weeks ago though, the three of them got nits (yuck) which necessitated a swift application of that horrible oily shampoo stuff. This should have been a reasonably straightforward (if messy) process but I encountered severe resistance when I (foolishly) let slip that the greasy goop was to kill the nits. “Kill the nits? KILL them?!” said son no. 1 in shock, “You can’t do that, it’s wrong! It’s killing wildlife!” Sigh.

Things got worse when I had to repeat the oily-hair process a week later to ensure that all the lice eggs had been got rid of (otherwise they could all hatch out again – I know, it’s truly lovely). “Lice eggs? You want to kill the nit babies? You can’t kill babies!” Said son no. 2 in horror. I think he imagined his hair full of miniature, cute, smiling baby-bundles. I had to do some powerful persuading in order that round two of the ‘wildlife massacre’ could go ahead.

I’m hoping that the nits are gone for good though as I suspect next time I would have three little people standing up for the rights of their disenfranchised pests, given my youngest is now learning all about empathy too. The other day when his big brother was crying he toddled over to him and started stroking his back, “Alright Doda?” he said repeatedly (Doda being how he pronounces his big brother’s name). My eldest was very touched and it definitley helped dry his tears up. A few days later, sitting in his highchair the toddler heard his big brothers bickering in the next room. When they both started crying he tried to clamber out of his seat saying “I help brubbers!” I had to let him loose and he rushed through to administer cuddles (whereupon another fight nearly broke out as both his brothers wanted to cuddle him first… but let’s gloss over that).

If I can ensure my sons grow up without losing this capacity to care for others then I will have achieved one of my main parenting goals. For my lovely, caring boys to grow into loving, empathic men, well, what more could a mother hope for?

Little Hearts, Big Love
Also linking up with The Prompt which, this week, is ‘presence’ (because of the presence of empathy in my boys – I know, it’s a tenuous link!)
mumturnedmom

the things they say

At just-turned-two my toddler’s language is developing at quite a pace. He’s putting together more complex sentences all the time and although the way he constructs them isn’t necessarily ‘correct’ yet, I rather like it that way. This week my favourite utterances of his have been:

  • “Uppy daisy! I droppity boon!” (On dropping a spoon… well, it was possibly “I drop it, a boon” but it sounded like ‘droppity’ and I just loved that word!)
  • “NO nap! I want goot with brubbers!” (Unimpressed by the idea of a nap – he was determined to go out scooting with his brothers.)
  • “Mummy – a flanoo for the wiping, peese.” (Politely requesting I get the flannel to clean him up after lunch.) This was accompanied by a sweeping hand gesture and the over-all effect was rather Shakespearian and regal. I was almost tempted to reply “As you wish, my liege.”

little king

I have to admit I’m not in any hurry to leave this phase – it’s too cute!

Little Hearts, Big Love

toddler ‘nose’ best

We’re a week into March so sunny days are here, and they’re here to stay!

Aren’t they? Well, no:
snowYes, a couple of days ago, we actually had snow. A full-on blizzard in fact! My toddler was thrilled and rushed to the window. Perched on a chair, he gazed out shouting, “It nosing, Mummy, it nosing! The nose is zooming down!”

My heart melted.

Thankfully, so did the snow.

Little Hearts, Big Love

toddler talk

My toddler’s language is developing at quite a pace. We have whole conversations now and, despite the fact he only turned two last week, he’s already commenting on my outfit choices. ;)

toy car

Toddler: *pointing at the front of my top* “Yook! Wheels!”

Me: “What’s that? … Oh I see, they’re buttons poppet.”

Toddler *examining toy car in his hands and holding it next to the buttons* “Wheels! Yots and yots o’ wheels!”

Me: “Yes, I can see what you mean; the buttons are the same size and colour as the wheels on your car… but they’re buttons.

Toddler: *shakes head firmly* “No. Wheels. Wheels Mummy.”

Me “You’re right, clever boy, they look like wheels but they’re actually buttons. Buttons.”

Toddler: “Shhhhh! WHEELS!”

Me: *gives up*

 

I actually rather like the idea of having a host of spare wheels on my top. My toddler LOVES cars so it’s good to be prepared for a toy-related emergency!

 

Little Hearts, Big Love

two!

My littlest guy turned two this weekend. TWO – how on earth did that happen?! Is it me or does it feel like the more kids you have, the faster they age? I’m pretty sure he was only born last week but somehow two years have gone by!

2nd cakeMuch of the last week has been taken up with preparations for the big day. My older two boys made him lots of cards and presents, drew him pictures and generally got really excited about the idea of a party.

My seven-year old has helped me lots with the preparation, coming to choose food and party bag presents with me and spending hours making buns and the cake. He announced on one shopping trip: “It’s lots of work getting ready for a birthday isn’t it? Did you know that? I never knew that before but now I do!” and then on the morning of the birthday, “Today is going to be a lot of work isn’t it Mummy? I really think you’re going to need my support!” Love him.

The day went without a hitch… oh, ok I was up to my elbows in icing, still frantically sticking Peppa Pig toppers to the buns as the guests were arriving and my son was hoovering (did I ever tell you he rocks?) so we weren’t completely on top of the organisation but hey, the birthday boy had a great time. I’m not sure he really knew what it was all about but he was thrilled by the cake, shouting “Canoo, hot!” at the candles and he loved opening all the presents.

It was lovely to see our friends too – we met while pregnant with our firstborns so have been through nearly eight years of parenting side by side and all our kids have pretty much grown up together. The twelve of them made a lot of noise rushing around the house but they were all very happy and the grownups even managed a bit of a chat over the ruckus!

Once songs had been sung, food had been devoured and little feet had danced their socks off, the guests left and our three boys collapsed, exhausted on the sofa for a big cuddle. They almost went to sleep that way – like a heap of contented puppies – before we’d even got them upstairs.

When they were finally all in bed and we had poured ourselves celebratory glasses of wine we heard our (newly) two year old’s little voice over the monitor singing himself to sleep. Guess what he was singing?

“Hatta doofay to you, hatta doofay to you… ”

A sure sign he’d had a ‘happy birthday’ I reckon.

Little Hearts, Big Love