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Everything changes (a letter to my son at he starts full days at school)

Dear Rhys,

I wished on a shooting star for you, did you know that?

I was lying on a beach one night in the summer of 2010, longing for the clouds to shift enough for the perseid meteor shower to do it’s thing.  Then it happened; a brilliant flash of light darted across the sky.  And I wished.  With all my heart I wished.  For you.  For you to come to us, to change our world.

And nine months later there you were.  And right from the start you changed everything.  You changed me.  I found a strength and determination I didn’t know I had to get you safely into the world.  You made me raw and vulnerable in a way that only a new parent can be.

You’ve kept me on my toes your whole life.  Just when we thought we had things figured out a new change would come along.

Because that’s life, isn’t it.  Life is change.

And right now, there’s a big change happening.  You’re starting full-time school.

You seem ready.  You had a great time in the nursery class last year, and you’re familiar with the idea of school.

So, I think this change is more dramatic for me.  Our life together has changed, and it can never go back.  Daddy and I are taking a deep breath and slowly taking another tiny step back.

There’s a part of me that longs to keep you close.  To hold on tight to my little boy who, not long ago, I wished on a star for.  I want to keep you just as you are,  but I know that’s just now how life works.  You have to grow, you have to change, that’s just the way it is.

So here’s what I’ll do; I’ll hold on extra tight when you hold my hand as we walk.  I will cherish every last kiss you ask for outside school.  Too soon I know you’ll be ‘too old’ for these things.

It really does make me so proud, seeing the boy you’re growing in to.  How loving you are. How passionate.  I just don’t want the outside world to change you.  I want you to stay strong in who you are.

Everything changes.  That’s just life.  Just don’t let life change you too much ok?  You are wonderful, just as you are.

I love you,
Mummy.
x

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a haiku about starting school

A haiku about starting school

I was planning on writing a proper blog post about Rhys starting reception class at school, or perhaps an open letter to him about it.  Who knows, maybe I still will in a few days.

But the words won’t come quite yet.  I think I’m still processing the whole thing.

So for now, I’ve managed a haiku.  All my feelings summed up in 17 syllables.

a haiku about starting school 

I’m pretty sure I won’t be the only one shedding a few tears on the drive home from school drop-off this week!
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Would you hesitate before helping a child?

We were at the Wales National air show in Swansea at the weekend.  We had a fab time, playing on the beach and watching the amazing air displays.

And on the Sunday Rhys and I went and explored all the ground displays as well.  One of the attractions was a bouncy-castle-style assault course, put on by the army recruitment team.

Rhys asked to have a go as soon as he saw it.  I explained that he would have to go on without me and that it wasn’t the same as the bouncy castles he’s been on at birthday parties and he decided he still wanted to give it a try.

Well, he loved it.  He raced through the course, bounced off the end and asked straight away to have another go.  So off we went to join the queue again.  This time round though he had a bit of trouble.  He got stuck on one of the obstacles.  I was the other side of the barrier and couldn’t reach him to help.  There were no staff members nearby to give him a hand.  So a young woman who was doing the course grabbed him and helped him over the top of the obstacle and safely down the other side.

I made a note to thank her if I could catch her once they were off.

After Rhys had made it off the course we were busy getting his shoes back on, when the woman appeared next to me and said:

“He was having a bit of trouble so I helped him.  I hope that’s ok”

I HOPE THAT’S OK.

How sad that we live in a society where she felt she had to check that it was ok that she had helped my son.

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I immediately replied that I was so grateful for her help.  That I’d been unable to help him myself so was extremely thankful that she had been there and given him a hand.

But I can’t shake this uneasy feeling that she must have questioned whether or not she should help him.  Whether or not she should put her hands on a small child that was having difficulties.  It worries me that there may be situations where children are left helpless, sad, afraid, because adults are too scared that the parents will react badly if they step in and help.

There’s been chat in the news recently about whether or not we should step in and discipline other people’s children.  Well that is an entirely different matter.  That depends on the exact circumstances that surround a child’s wrong-doing.

But, as far as I’m concerned, a child in difficulty, a child who is lost, a child who is alone and crying always needs our help.

Please, if you see my child needing help and you can’t see me nearby, do step in and help him.

I will always be grateful.

Even if he’s actually fine and doesn’t really need any help.  I will always appreciate the fact that you cared enough to approach him.

Mummascribbles
Modern Dad Pages
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Our job as parents

I read this quote the other day and it really resonated with me – “It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world.  It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless”.

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It’s something that’s been on my mind since Rhys started nursery school last September.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that nursery school is a cruel and heartless place!  It’s just that him going there is the first step out into the world; away from the shelter of life at home.

A huge part of me wanted to just keep him at home with me, to protect him from all the outside influences and the hard things he might have to deal with out there in the world.  He is quite a sensitive soul and I hate the idea of him having to ‘man up’ and face difficult situations and not-so-nice people.  I don’t want him to have to change who he is to fit into the world.

So I really like this quote.  I like the sentiment behind it, that maybe he doesn’t have to toughen up.  Maybe instead he can play a part in making the world nicer, by being his true, sensitive, loving self.  I like to think so anyway.

If you like this post, you might also like these on being ourselves and encouraging our children to do the same:
What a burlesque dancer can teach us about being ourselves
Masks
Encouraging children to be themselves
Cuddle Fairy
little things to brighten up a hard day

10 little things to brighten up a hard day

I wrote a post the other day about how some days are just hard.  No matter how positive your outlook is and how good life generally is, it’s still the case that some days are just hard.  I try not to wallow for too long in that bleurgh place though.
So I’ve put together this list of 10 little things that I find help to brighten up those hard days.
10 little things to brighten up a hard day

 

1) Coffee.  
This is almost guaranteed to give me a little lift, assuming I can occupy the kids with the ipad or Mr Tumble for long enough for me to drink it!

 

2) A smile from your toddler.
Seriously, this can make a world of difference.

 

3) A huge hug from your child.  
There’s nothing like a good squeeze from a little one when you’re having a hard day.

Small things to help brighten up a bad day

4) Something cheesy or non-taxing on the tv.
If I can get away with it during the day, I’ll put on something for me on the tv.  Something really cheesy or a program that doesn’t require much brain-power but will make me laugh.  Friends repeats are always a winner for me!  Which leads me to number 5.

 

5) Watching old Friends bloopers on youtube.
Seriously.  If you’re having a rough day and need a giggle, go straight to youtube and watch a few outtake videos.  You’ll feel much better!

 

6) Browsing the ‘humour’ category on Pinterest.
There is always something on here that will bring a smile to my face.  Normally I end up laughing at a collection of the best posts from Tumblr or a ‘damn you autocorrect’ post.

 

7) A shower in peace.
If I can swing this it always makes me feel better.

 

8) Embracing the constant noise by turning some music up loud and having a little dance.
Sometimes when you’re home with children the constant noise and commotion can get a bit much.  And sometimes the best thing you can do is surrender to it.  Stick some music on, turn it up as loud as you dare and dance like crazy.

There's no place like home

 

9) Cleaning.
One thing that really adds to my bad mood at times is when the house is a state and I can’t see where to start.  If I can just get one flat surface clear, or even one seat in the living room cleared of ‘stuff’ then I begin to feel a bit better.

 

10) Chocolate.
Well, obviously!

What would you add to my list?  What makes you feel a bit brighter on a hard day?

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Some days are just hard

If you’ve visited my blog before you’ll know that I try to keep my posts positive.  I do truly believe that this is a beautiful world, full of wonderful people and that life really is glorious.

I am working to foster a positive outlook, not just in myself but in my children too.

I honestly feel that there is always, always something to be thankful for.

But, at the same time, I have to be honest and admit that some days are just hard.

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Some days it’s hard to get out of bed at 5.30 am when you’ve been up in the night with a child who’s having bad dreams.

Some days it’s hard to get anything done with 2 children around, constantly demanding your attention.

Some days it’s hard to cope with the constant noise and commotion.

Some days it’s hard to know where to start when you look at the piles of washing, the dirty floors and the dust-covered surfaces.

Some days it’s hard to think, let alone hold a proper conversation, when your brain is frazzled from an endless to-do list.

Some days it’s hard to express to your stressed partner how truly grateful you are for everything they do and how much you love them.

Some days it’s hard to walk away from your crying child who wants one more hug at the classroom door.

Some days it’s hard to believe that you have the talent, the skills and the guts to make your dreams come true.

Some days it’s hard to remember all the things we have to be thankful for.

Some days are just hard.

And you know what, that’s ok.  Life may be glorious, but it’s certainly not always easy.

Some days are just hard.

But tomorrow we get to start again, and with a new perspective (and maybe a bit more sleep!) tomorrow will be a better day!

In case this has left you in need of a pick-me-up, here are a few of my more positive posts:

There is always something to be thankful for

Say yes more!

Encouraging a positive outlook in our children

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