Tuesday, 31 May 2011

She loves me, she loves me not...

In the car, on the way to the farm, Daddy asked Mini a question.

"Who do you love?"

Her reply went as follows:-

"Sam and Sonny too and Amy too and Chloe too and Nanny too and Grandad too and Debbie... and Abi.. and Nana... and Grandpa... and Mae... and Blake..."

I'm pretty sure she meant to mention me somewhere.  Probably just an oversight...

Sunday, 29 May 2011

The Art of Childhood Bribery

Before I was a parent, I knew that I would never, not even ever, bribe my child to do something. 

This morning, my sister was leaving with Mini for a short trip to the park.

"If you have trouble getting her to leave,"  I said,  "offer her these," and I gave my sister a packet of yoghurt covered fruit flakes.

This is the kind of parent I have become.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Raison d'etre

Everyone has a reason to live; not everyone is fortunate enough to have someone who gives them a million reasons.

My raison d'etre looks after me every day, brings me tea and gives me cuddles.  He makes me his number one, he loves me every day and he tells me all the time, which always makes me smile.  He holds me at night, even when he is asleep.  He has given me the two most precious gifts in our children - no one can top that.  He has given me the happiest days of my life.  Even when we have nothing, he makes every day special and makes me the centre of the day, of his World.  He gives me hope, laughter, excitement and visions of our joint future.

I cannot thank him enough all of the above and so much more, but I will try to, day by day.

I love you, James.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

It's The Way She Tells Them...

Have you ever been patronised by a two year old?  My 12 year old stepson has.  Whilst playing with her new dough set this afternoon, he showed Mini what he had made.  "Well done, Sam," was her response, "I'm very proud of you!" she said, rubbing his shoulder and peering sideways at him.

Then, later, she showed off her language skills before bed.  I took her upstairs and we entered her bedroom.
"My goodness, what a messy room!" I exclaimed.  It really was rather untidy.
"Oh yes," Mini replied.  "Such a messy fucking hell room."
I am amazed that I managed to keep a straight face at this point.
"What did you say?"
Mini gave a knowing smile.  "Nothing."
I repeated my question, to which she replied, "I definitely didn't say fucking hell."
More suppressed laughter.
"No, because we don't say naughty words, do we?"
"No, mummy, I am not allowed to say fucking hell, am I?"

Well, at least she knows that she isn't allowed to say it.  That's a start, right?!

Friday, 20 May 2011

My children: A Life In Pictures

Watching Sunshine crawl around the room, fast as anything, and then remembering that he is (quite suddenly) almost 8 months old, I have decided to document the progress of my children in this post. From impossibly tiny, pink, squawking bundles to competent, independent little people, it has been a steep learning curve already.

Mini's journey:

My freshly minted baby, born at 10:51 am
on Wednesday December 3rd 2008
Mini on her half birthday; she had already been crawling for a month!

Sitting up at 8 months

Precious first steps at 9 months
First scooter, aged 16 months

Water baby at 17 months
Cheeky girl, aged 20 months
My princess today, almost 2 and a half!

Sunshine's journey:

Here at last - born 13 days late on Friday 24th September 2010
at 06:10 am
Clearly enjoying his first bath at a few weeks old

All grown up! Well, three months old, anyway...
First time sitting up; 4 months old
Standing up at 7 months
My gorgeous son

So there they are, my two children; growing up so quickly and changing by the day.  Scary stuff!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Old You Versus New You

So, having children has changed my life - no news there.  But just how much?

Before I had Mini, I was a 20 year old kid who still lived at home with her parents and whose greatest responsibility was choosing what to wear for the day.  I had a boyfriend whom I saw when he was free.  I had disposable income.  I could get away with not wearing a bra.  I was studying for my first course with the Open University, looking for work and still had acres of time to myself.  I read several books a week.  I watched films for pleasure.  I bought clothes and CDs (that's pretty much all I bought, to be honest).  I had no outgoings.  I wasn't that happy really.

Now, I am a 23 year old mother of two beautiful children whose wellbeing and happiness is my greatest responsibility.  I have a partner for life whom I see every day; we live together in our own little home.  Disposable income is a thing of the past.  I really should always wear a bra.  I am studying for my third course with the OU, looking for work, cleaning the house, caring for the children, cooking...I rarely have time to myself.  I read a couple of pages of a book at night just before I go to sleep.  I generally only watch films that are certificated U.  The biggest clothes I buy are aged 18-24 months.  I have many outgoings (more than my income can cope with most of the time).  I am the happiest I have ever been.

So yes, having children has changed my life - I am finally a very happy, proud, fulfilled person.  Thank you, Mini.  Thank you, Sunshine.  I love you. 

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


I know I did my reasons to be cheerful just a few days ago, but have been reading the latest entry over at Kooky Boutique and thought I would compile by own gratitude list:

1:-  Daddy is better - he is still having back troubles but is in less pain than last week.

2:-  Mini and Sunshine are both healthy and happy.

3:-  The weather has been good enough to hang washing outside to dry.

4:-  There is a new series of Family Guy just started on BBC3

5:-  We need to go food shopping tomorrow, which means we will have nice things in the cupboard for a couple of days (these will soon disappear though and we will be left with pasta and tinned tomatoes again, ho hum).

So, there's my little list, but do you know what I'm most grateful for at the moment?  That I could easily make that list a lot longer.  Happy days!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Vote For Sunshine

Tomy are running a competition to find the face of their new product, which will be launched in 2012 (see details here: http://www.babyfacecompetition.co.uk/)

I have entered Sunshine into the competition and now need as many votes as possible to get him into the top 20. Please take a moment of your time to vote for the little cutie!


Many thanks

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Child Modelling - are you in or out?

The majority of conversations I have had about child modelling have come to one of two conclusions, depending on what type of parent I'm talking to.

There are those who have signed their children up, paid the registration fees, done the test shoots and are either awaiting work or receiving it. These people tend to think that child modelling is a great confidence-booster, a lot of fun, and a nice way to make a bit of money for your child's future.

Then there are the other people; the ones who think it's child labour, exploitation, or something equally terrible. These people usually come to the conclusion that it isn't for them because they "prefer to let their children make their own minds up about things like this" (yes, I really have had that one before).

Now, I fall into the first camp. As with any parent, I think that my kids are cute. They're good in front of the camera (when I'm pointing it), and they must be photogenic because I have, and this is no exaggeration, thousands of pictures of them. But are they suitable for modelling?

I have a rough idea of the answer to this as both Mini and Sunshine have done a shoot for a lovely little company in Tunbridge Wells called Just Dresses.
We have attended shoots three times in total and every time has been a wonderful experience. Mini adored trying on a selection of brand new dresses, shoes and accessories, had a laugh in front of the camera, and was even paid for the trouble. Sunshine also had fun and really lapped up the attention.
The best part of a Just Dresses shoot for Daddy and me is the photos. We are given a CD of gorgeous professional photos of our children in beautiful outfits. What's not to like?

As a result of these shoots, I am fairly confident that my children could cope with a bit of modelling here and there. I have applied to a few agencies and been offered the opportunity to take the applications further, but I'm not sure I'm bothered enough about it.

I still think that child modelling is a perfectly acceptable thing to do and I can see why it's so popular amongst parents and children alike, but I am so happy with the shoots we have done for Just Dresses that I'm just not hungry enough to go any further at this stage.

What do you think? Have you thought about getting your little ones into modelling? Or are you one of the others? :)

A selection of photos from Mini and Sunshine's shoots for Just Dresses:

For more information on Just Dresses, please see their website: http://www.justdresses.co.uk/

Friday, 13 May 2011

The Best Things In Life Are Free

Raising children is expensive, we all know this. Even before they're born, we spend hundreds of pounds on prams, car seats, sleeping paraphernalia, feeding equipment, clothes, nappies...the list is endless.
And as they grow, there is a never-ending need for something, whether it be new shoes, a bigger car seat or a life-size model of Roary the Racing Car (which is definitely something that Mini needs rather than merely desires).
Toys, books, games and days out can also be hugely expensive; but does entertaining our children really need to cost that much?

I ask this because, just recently, Mini's favourite thing to do has been "building a party garden". Essentially, this generally involves digging up some mud from the borders in the garden, pouring it into a bucket or cup, and then making a sandcastle from it, or a mudcastle, I suppose.
It doesn't look like the most exciting pastime ever created - I've watched for hours and never felt compelled to join in. Mini, however, is fascinated, amused, entertained. Above all, she is quiet. And it costs us nothing. She has not asked us to buy her plants or seeds to put in her "party garden", nor has she requested any specialist equipment. In fact, she mostly uses a cup from an old flask and a bucket that she got for Easter last year.

I'm fascinated by her interest in such a simple activity and have to ask if anyone has a similar story?

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Reasons To Be Cheerful

On a day that has found me trying to entertain two lively bundles whilst worrying incessantly about their poor father who is in bed and in pain (back troubles), I have decided to document the things in life that are special to me and that make me happy.

1. My children. Ok, so it is a little obvious, but they have changed my life and so much for the better. I cannot be uncheered for too long with them around.

2. My partner. We may not have much money, and sometimes feel like bad luck is the only luck we have, but we have a bloody good laugh, and I love him. He loves me too, which is nice :)

3. Other family and friends - Mum, Amy, Chloe, Dad, Sam, Nan, Grandad and my BEST mate Fizz. These people give the best love, support and awesome times.

4. Michael McIntyre. He's just funny.

5. Family Guy. I defy anyone to watch this show and NOT laugh at some point.

6. Long, hot baths when the kids are asleep and the house is quiet. Add a few candles and the nicest smelling bath stuff you can find and you've got yourself a little sliver of heaven in your very own bathroom. Best of all, it's a completely free way to feel cheered!

7. Summer is a'coming. I cannot be uncheered knowing that summer is on its way as this generally means spending every day watching the kids learn stuff at the beach, followed by a BBQ for dinner. It may not be as long or hot as we'd ideally want but it's still summer. What's not to like?

8. Cooking. I love to cook, I love to try new recipes, I love it when my family come back to me with clean plates. I don't love the washing up part so much but let us not bemoan that just now.

9. My current social work course is almost finished. Yes, that does mean that there's the small matter of an exam to complete but the worst is over and I will have the whole summer off with (hopefully) a whole 60 points towards my degree under my belt. Yay.

10. Photography. The only thing that makes me happier than seeing my family happy is capturing that moment.

So there they are, my ten reasons for being cheerful, how about yours?

For those of you feeling less than sparky today, who don't think they could find a whole ten reasons, there's a little quizette to be taken here:


I scored 10, how did you do?

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

A 90's fashion disaster

The denim pinafore.  Not a good look, not on anyone.  Particularly not on a chubby 10 year old redhead...

Two things - I do not know why the photo has been torn round the outside, and I have no idea why my sisters, cousin and I are holding a photo of our other cousins.  I have nothing more to say.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Independence - how much is too much?

Mini is allowed about as much independence as a two year old can be trusted with.  She is allowed to play in the garden by herself, use the potty (sometimes successfully), feed herself, choose her own clothes and get herself dressed, where possible.

I am happy with her progress in these activities and more concerned that she tries to do things for herself even if she doesn't always get it right.  However, I do have to be seen with this child.  It is this fact that is making me wonder if she perhaps has a little too much freedom.  I say this because she came downstairs dressed like this today:

I am tempted to strip her completely and do a better job myself...what do you think?

Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Big Imaginary Companion Debate

Mini has an imaginary friend.  His name is Marv and he is approximately 3 inches tall - I assume this measurement due to the fact that he spent the day in a Smarties tube last week.  Marv arrived out of nowhere sometime after Christmas, possibly induced by one of our Charlie and Lola viewing fests!

Now Marv is apparently not your average imaginary companion in that he does not engage Mini in lengthy conversation...he does, however, occasionally get into someone else's trolley at the supermarket, which causes Mini to shout at him and me to pretend I don't know either of them.

At times, Marv's presence can be irritating.  Just today, for example, Mini refused to go into the toddler area of a soft play centre simply because "Marv didn't want to", which led to her father saying something along the lines of "bloody Marv".  His existence does have upsides, however.  There have been times when Marv has read Mini her bedtime story.  I am not proud of this, but I cannot be in two places at once and if Sunshine is screaming for milk downstairs and Mini wants another story, then why shouldn't Marv read it to her?  She is happy with this and actually falls asleep a lot quicker when she is "alone" in bed than when settled by a parent.

On a more serious note, I have done the classic parent thing of worrying that this imaginary friend business is an indication of an unhealthy child, one who cannot socialise normally or communicate their feelings or something like that.  But I needn't have worried at all, it seems.  Having done a little research (thank you, Mr. Google) I stumbled upon the article below.


It says, amongst other positives, that imaginary companions are part of the "natural development process", which is obviously encouraging, and that children with invisible friends often learn language and creative thinking more quickly than their peers.

So enough of being wound up by Marv!  He could actually be doing my daughter a favour.

                                                           Mini and Marv (probably)

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Preschooling: The Montessori Way

Since January, Mini has attended a local preschool in a small Church hall, situated about 30 seconds walk from where we used to live.  Nothing special, but a good experience nonetheless.  Mini has learnt about numbers, had the opportunity to socialise with other children, and even operated the hose of a fire truck (this was probably the highlight for her).

Now, I am not saying that this school is not good enough for my little girl, and she would almost certainly still be in attendance now if we had not moved to a house a little further away.  The move simply provided us with a good opportunity to take a look at other preschool options, which is when we discovered that there is a Montessori preschool about ten minutes down the road from us.

The Montessori approach essentially involves encouraging children to learn and develop at their own pace by stimulating their natural curiosity.  As I shan't be going into detail here, for those interested in learning more about Maria Montessori's educational theories and practices, please use this link:  http://www.montessori.edu/maria.html

And for anyone who lives in the Worthing area and would like their child to experience the Montessori education, the preschool's website is as follows:-  http://www.thenewmontessoripreschool.org.uk/index.htm

Mini's father and I have put in a request for her to start in September so watch this space!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

A Word on Guilt

I am not a terrible mother.  My children are not ignored or mistreated or even particularly spoilt.  They have clean clothes at least once every day, sometimes two or three times.  They are fed when hungry, held when upset, played with when bored and settled when sleepy.  I cannot claim sole responsibility for this, but I do my bit.

And I feel guilty.  Most days, at some point, I will feel like a bad mother.

Sometimes I can't watch Mini run round the garden 14 times because I am washing up or essay writing; this makes me feel guilty.  As does wanting to buy something for myself, giving Mini the odd "treat" ie junk food, saying no to the kids, asking someone else to have them for the day so I can catch up on the housework, wanting to be alone with their dad for a while...this list could be endless.

Now I am curious to know, is this just another part of parenthood that we need to accept?  Or am I being overly sensitive?

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Things my daughter knows

The sign language for giraffe, guitar and computer.

That Daddy's and Kerry's cars are exactly the same because, "They both drive by houses".

That Daddy's car is a green Nissan.

The first few pages of The Gruffalo, by heart.

How to curtsey (sort of).

That she is no longer allowed dummys because "I got lots of toys for Easter"

How to do a forward role, unaided.

That swearing in front of relatives gets the biggest laughs (thanks guys).

That Mummy definitely should not swear at all - I have been told off for this on numerous occasions.

That tidying is not for her because she "didn't make the mess in the first place".

That "Fuego" is the mandatory response to "mantenlo prendido".

How to reprimand her baby brother by saying things like, "I'm not very impressed with that, that's very naughty."

That Marv (her imaginary friend) is definitely responsible for anything that might get her into trouble.

What she definitely doesn't know, however, is how to behave like a normal two year old.  Clearly.