Perfectly Companionable

 

My boy and me. Oh how he’s grown, and I have too. He was my first baby, the one who made me a mother. He broke me down and built me back up and taught me how to be a mum. I look at him sometimes and can’t quite believe that he is the same boy that I saw on my scan photos, grew in my tummy and held as a newborn. We’ve been through a lot together and it certainly hasn’t always been easy. It’s been wonderfuland I’m truly privileged and honoured to see him grow, but it hasn’t always been easy. Being the mother to a strong, independent, clever, cheeky and brilliant two year old has been exhausting and amazing at the same time. He amazes me with his intelligence, curiosity, love and compassion every day but I often find myself desperately trying to stay one step ahead of him in terms of setting boundaries and making sure I stick to my word while at the same time trying not to squash out all of the wonderful spark that makes him him.

Lately we have turned a corner and out from a chrysalis of tantrums and stubbornness has emerged a beautiful butterfly of a boy. He’s a delight (mostly). We have proper conversations and we do things together. He’s helpful: fetching a pack of wipes or nappies or a muslin for me if I ask, and he loves to help me cook and bake. I cherish this time of being one of his favourite people to be around, and someone he thinks has all the answers. Or at least, the person with access to Google and YouTube who can find an answer quite quickly …

Yesterday we were chatting about what we wanted to do with our day. Shall we go to the park? Catch a train to Saltaire, or Bradford? Or a bus to Ilkley? A bus please! So we did. We waited in the bus station and he sat on one of the little seats without me having to hold his hand or the reins on his bumblebee. He told some old ladies that we were going on a bus adventure and they thought that was a fun thing to do. He climbed the stairs on his own and we sat on the top deck so we could see everything. He pointed out all of the things that he could see (farms, tractors, wind turbines and animals) and was so good. He came into shops with me and I bought him an umbrella. I’d been promising him one since we went to Harlow Carr back in February and this was the first child friendly one I’d seen that didn’t have Mr Tumble/other characters on it. He was thrilled and insisted on having it up even though it wasn’t raining!

He sat on the benches by the bandstand to eat his snack and then have a drink before we headed off for a wander through the ghyll on Wells Road. Looking at the water and the waterfall, the leaves of the trees, the bridges, gates and paths, picking up little conkers that had fallen off too soon and asking questions with every breath. As he stood on the bridge to peep through at the water I realised that I hadn’t been to that part of Ilkley since I was 37 weeks pregnant with him. Oh what an adventure he has led, and continues to lead, me on! I was a different person before I had him and I much prefer the person that I am now. How he has grown. He’s perfectly companionable and marvellous in every way. What a lucky mummy I am.

Park Days

 

It’s the summer holidays. My first summer holidays as a parent! Otherwise known as “seven weeks where I don’t have 3 x 2 hours of playgroup a week to help entertain my child”. The first day was really good; we had a coffee date first thing (I like to take TTB to Caffe Nero as frequently as possible to teach him how to behave in such establishments. It’s an entirely selfless act of course ;-) ) and then we spent the rest of the day at my friend’s house doing baking and eating and playing and all good things like that.

Then Tuesday hit.

Oh, Tuesday. We all slept a bit later than usual – VERY GOOD! But this put us out of our routine and TTG didn’t nap and TTB wouldn’t be quiet to let me get her to sleep, and the whole house was messy and overwhelming. I mainly have enough time and resources to look after my children OR do the housework which is fine-ish until things start falling over and you can’t find any clean socks for anyone. So I stomped and whinged a bit and then surprised myself by doing a practical thing and started to sort out some of the mess that was bothering me. Sorting out clothes (outgrown clothes and bags of gifted handmedowns) is somewhat tricky with a small child but I did quite well.

Tuesday made me realise that I need to step up my game if I’ve got seven weeks to fill.

Wednesday! Yes! Let’s grab Wednesday before it hits and make it a good day. The park! A picnic! Everyone will have the appropriate drink and hat and suncream!

Most days when we get out of the house I say “oh let’s just nip to the post office and then go and watch the ducks for a bit”, because usually it’s late morning and we need to be back for lunch or whatever. And TTB always always always wants to go the park and I always give in, because he loves it, and we don’t really have to be anywhere else, but I’m never prepared enough to have drinks or suncream or snacks with me. BUT THAT WILL CHANGE! I will always be park ready. I will always lug my big backpack of preparedness around with me in case we go to the park.

This morning, I made a picnic (hurrah!) and got us all out of the house. The latter took a surprisingly long time; usually it’s a case of 1) baby in sling, 2) toddler in shoes wearing his bee reins and 3) my little bag with purse, keys and phone. Sorted. Today, I loaded up the pushchair with a picnic, two picnic blankets, slathered us all in factor 50 (I appreciate the benefits of suncream 100% but I bloody hate applying, wearing & the responsibility of suncream) and packed my bag with drinks, additional clothes, nappies & wipes, a book, a ball, and all that kind of paraphernalia. And my big camera! All set for a long stay in the park.

We played in the playpark and then wandered over to look at the trees. I’ve not talked trees with TTB for a while, but I wanted to see how much he’d remembered anyway. I pointed at an oak tree and asked him what it was. And do you know what? He remembered! I was so proud! We found some leaves and looked at the other trees and I brought him over to look at the trunks and feel the bark and discussed the texture with him and showed him the lichen on it.

After that we went to the meadow. Seeing him skip along the path looking at things and waving a stick made me so happy! I was even able to take some photos, I’m proud of all of these. In fact, TTB took the one of the clover. He likes to press the button on my camera and I find that if I let him do it on my terms he’s far less likely to try and do it on his own.

Our picnic was good and TTG loved coming out of the sling to roll about on the picnic blanket. She went on her tummy to have a good look around and TTB enjoyed playing a game about bedtime where he tucked them both up in the blanket and pretended to go to sleep and wake up again. It’s such a small thing really, but I feel such a sense of achievement for taking them out for a picnic. I rarely feel organised enough to do a picnic! And when I had TTG I used to think, how on earth will I ever cope with two? How will I manage them BOTH when I’m out? But I did it! And I’m proud of myself that it wasn’t difficult, and it was actually enjoyable, and that both children enjoyed themselves too.

By the way, I’m on the lookout for a tree identification poster (of British trees) for their bedroom so if anyone sees a good one, please give me a shout.

Here are my photos:

 

 

Wednesday was a success … now, what to do with Thursday … ?