Me Time

Tiny, perfect new leaf – with my little finger for scale.

Wednesday morning rolled around again and with the memory of the previous Wednesday fresh in my mind, I decided that the best way to spend my time would be to get out for a walk while Tiny Tin Bird was in playgroup. Happily the sun was shining and it was a simply beautiful day. I waved him goodbye (pointless really as he never looks back once he’s gone through the door) and set off along the canal to the park.

With baby girl snuggled up asleep in the sling (I have a beautiful Connecta which my friends gifted to me when she was born and I love it) it’s as though I’m on my own and it’s lovely to walk at my own pace and stop to take photos of things. Don’t get me wrong, I love walking out with TTB and everything but it feels like a real treat to be by myself. I walked along looking up at the trees, appreciating the colour of the fresh green leaves against the blue sky, and how the sunlight shone through the leaves. I know you know how much I love trees!

Instead of continuing straight on along the park path, I slipped left through a small gateway and into the conservation meadow. I think things are late flowering this year as I was expecting it to be full of buttercups like it has been in the past but it was mainly green with a smattering of dandelions. I love that we have a conservation meadow here, it’s so important to provide a habitat for important wildlife like bees and insects, as well as native plants.

The view from the gate back into the park frames the blossom trees perfectly and I couldn’t wait to get over and see them. They’re at the opposite end of the park from the playpark and it’s rare that we make it past the playpark these days! The trees create an avenue along the path – pink blossom, white blossom, and deep pinky red blossom. Just perfect against the blue sky. I think this might be my favourite time of the year and I’m so pleased with myself for just being there to appreciate it. I think that part of the beauty of the blossom is that it’s just so fleeting: for a few days each year these trees are wonderfully fancy and fabulous and you have to catch them just at the right time to see them in all their glory. Then before you know it, the wind and rain trash them all and they become normal looking trees again. But when you see them in full frilly flounce it’s just perfect. I spent some time trying to make panorama photos with my phone which was very pleasing, I hope this one shows up well enough on here. (I think you can click and enlarge that – I think.)

Before I knew it it was time to head back into town and collect Tiny Tin Bird. I made better time on the return journey than I was expecting and I managed to nip home first and hang out a load of washing. Nice to get a housework job done as well but really that morning was all about “me time” and doing something entirely, decadently, just for me. Getting out of the house and being in the open air, taking photos of pretty things was great. And that feeling when I’m standing in the meadow and I can see so far and not see anyone else is just amazing. To get all that just from stepping off the main path in the park is pretty great. Not for the first time, it makes me truly appreciate where I live.

I took TTB down to the park after lunch – he likes to find blossom sprigs on the ground and collect them up. The sky was grey and foreboding instead of blue but I really love this photo I took:

 

More Snippets

 

This “snippets” post was going to start with a photo of the sunflower seedling that TTB brought home from playgroup. However it did not survive being planted out in the yard. And by “did not survive”, I mean that a certain small boy tried to build sandcastles using the pot of soil we planted into, and that the seeding suffered an industrial accident during this process. Poor sunflower seedling!

I’m sure you’re fed up of seeing my yarn pegs by now, but they’re so neat and useful when I just need five minutes to play with colours. I was trying out some combinations of how to lay out the squares I’m making. I need another 27 squares and I can start joining them. I can’t show you the finished blanket for a while afterwards as it’s for a gift. But I’m pleased with how it’s coming along! I’ve achieved more than I thought – 90 odd squares in 5 or 6 weeks which is pretty good.

Stripes work up faster than squares, but with squares I can sneak time to make them. One or two sneaked in during the day add up and its a satisfying way to work. I feel a little bit of triumph with every one, like I’ve stolen a bit of time out of the day!

I recently tried a savoury muffin recipe which called for some things to be measured in cups. Well that was exciting! It meant that I was able to use these cups measures that I bought ages ago but hadn’t had an opportunity to try. I think I bought them with the intention of being more precise about food portions. TTB has been clamouring ever since to hold the “big purple spoon” but I’ve resisted so far! A lot of him “helping” me bake involves emptying out all of my utensils pots and eating any ingredients that he can sneak. Still, he’s occupied and thinks he’s doing something grown up and if I’ve prepared in advance he’ll eat a bowl of apple cubes that he would normally turn his nose up at.

I put spring onions, tomato, spinach, parsley, chives and cheese into the muffins. They looked really promising!

and promising coming out too! They did suffer in my little oven a bit, either that or I shouldn’t have used paper cases with them, because the bottoms cooked too much and they stuck quite a lot to the cases. Still, the top 3/4 of the muffins tasted ace and I was really pleased! I’ll make them again for sure.

I’m working on teaching TTB his letters. He’s so good at recognising car badges that I thought I’d better try to teach him something useful – it’s the same kind of recognition isn’t it? I think there’s a lot I need to consider, and my friends who are teachers/have children learning this at school have given me some good advice about phonics and things like that. Right now I’m just teaching him what the letters look like and what they are called, and that there are upper case and lower case letters.

As usual, the annual waterways festival was held on the May Bank Holiday and we went down to the canal basin to see it. My father in law was staying with us that weekend too. There’s a lot of tat at things like this, with stalls where you can try and throw a ball in a bucket to win a really ugly big toy tiger, expensive sweets and balloons etc. Stuff that we can easily walk past but it makes me wonder how long it will be before TTB will start asking to have a go/have a balloon/candyfloss etc. He liked the Canal & River Trust boat with a crane on it, but he did NOT like going inside their exhibition boat!

It’s always amazing how much space there is inside a barge, they always look really short but there’s quite a lot of boat actually under the water.

Another thing that it turns out TTB does not like when confronted with is owls. Who knew?!

And our last snippet is my blankets drying on the washing line. I’d made the mistake of laying TTG onto the Elmer blanket right after a feed and lets just say it needed a wash after that! I popped the ripple one in as well to make the most of the wash and it was really nice looking out of the window to see them out there.

I am Mum

Full of cold and coughing loudly, my little boy wakes up from his sleep. He cries, and his daddy goes up to him. “No thank you! No thank you Daddy! Try Mummy!”. I climb the stairs and enter his room, my eyes adjusting to the sudden darkness and I see him on his bed, out of the covers, running his fingers through his hair and trying hard to go back to sleep. He’s refusing any attempts from Andy to comfort him. I reach out to him and he climbs into my arms. We sit; me on the edge of the bed and him in my lap, pulling is legs up tight to get as close to me as he can. I rock him back and forth and he snuggles in, the tension easing from his body with each sway that I make. He coughs painfully and I whisper to him, reassuring him and trying to calm him. As I sit there, stroking his back and soothing his pain it dawns on me that I am his Mum. Mummy. Mother. He just wants me, and nobody else. I am no longer just Heather, just myself. I am the one who makes him feel safe, the one he wants to make him feel better in the middle of the night. I think back to my previous self, the person I was before I had children. She wouldn’t have been able to picture herself being the provider of safety, of love, and of holding and rocking her child in the night. I had imagined and dreamt of having a baby, but being the mother of an older child was not something I thought of. I think back to being a child myself: my mum was always there. And when I was sad, or poorly, in the day or in the night, things felt safe and not scary when she was there.

And now that is me. I am the one who provides the safety and the love to my little boy, and of course to my baby girl.

I am Mum.

I lay him back down into his bed and he cries again. I tuck him up and lay next to him, cuddling him to me. His hands reach up to his hair and he plays with it furiously … slowly … stopped … he’s asleep. I remain there, my arm around him and kiss the top of his head.

I am Mum, and I am always here for you.