School for two

I remember quite vividly writing my blog post about C finishing pre-school.  At the time I was feeling pretty raw to the fact that ‘milestones’ with kids come and go in what can feel like the blink of an eye.  I guess I wondered if I’d taken enough time to appreciate that chapter while we were still living it.  So when M graduated this past July and prepared to start Reception this September, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel….

Happy and sad I’d say.  Happy because he’s ready to fly.   Sad because he’s my little guy and he’s entering the big leagues.  Most of all proud.  Proud that when we took him to school on Wednesday he gave us a kiss, waved goodbye, and walked into the new with a quiet, perceptive bravery true to his nature.  He’s ready.

So although nostalgia toys with my heartstrings, I can now look it in the face and say shhhh! Because yes, life can feel like a runaway train.  And to counter that, I have taken more steps to focus and enjoy the moment.  But time still marches on, and I’d rather embrace our next adventures with fond memories in tow then lament the inevitable.

It helps that we wave them off to school to a place I view their school as a nurturing and enriching place that cultivates them to have spirit, social awareness and knowledge.  One other thing I’ve learned over the last couple of years is that where you send your kids to school is hugely personal and what’s right for me isn’t right for everyone.  So if you are starting school now or it’s on the horizon for next year, my advice is to visit, ask questions and go with somewhere that feels right in your gut for your kids!

Speech and emotional recap over.  Now I need to go do a school run.

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Personal space (or lack thereof)

We’ve been having a fantastic summer break.  After a number of years as a childless young adult and then several more with pre-school age kids, I’ve finally been reunited with the magic of not needing to be somewhere on time every day and coming up for air from term time structure. It’s of course great to have more concentrated time with C and M too.

But with all the joys, come the hard truths, and I’m on about one of those today, namely: lack of personal space.

It starts early on bright summer morning (my children rarely sleep in).  The groans and sighs.  No, not of sexy time.  Of children awake and firing up on all cylinders.  Then ‘pitter patter pitter patter” and “whoomph.”  My leg spasms, M is kneeling on it.  “Good morning mama! Cuddle!!”  Chris and I really need to get that blackout blind.

Later I’m walking.  On an angle.  Probably due to the child rudder hanging off my handbag.  I used to get told off by my mom for doing this to her.  Mom, I finally understand!!

I’m so accustomed to being hung off and climbed on that I didn’t bat an eye when C’s tennis instructor inadvertently bopped me on the bum with a tennis racket.  I probably thought it was M trying to get my attention.  If I even felt it at all!

And who likes admin, right, but it’s a necessary evil.  The kids are playing nicely so I can quickly sign into online banking and check my emails.  Right?  Wrong!  Children can be fine if you are not playing with them.   You can be floating around the room, tidying up after them, preparing their dinner.  But the second they sense something unrelated requires your focused attention, they’re on you like a shot!

The other day (a long day), we got the kids off to bed and I escaped for peaceful shower.  Just as I step into the welcoming steamy cascade, the bathroom door slams open.  “Mommy, I need a poo.  It’s going to be a messy one!”

Oh personal space, where art thou?


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Hello there!  This blog has again been silent for some time; write a few posts, radio silence for months, repeat(!) seems to be the name of my game for some time.

It frustrates me.  This blog is a journal for our family and an important creative outlet for me.  But somewhere in the flurry of life it gets brushed by and mainly remains a thorn in my side for its lack of being.  It’s a crappy way to feel about something that’s meant to capture inspiration, reflection and generally be a good thing.

Blog identity and time are the main things I’m grappling with.  Pregnancy and early parenting days morphed some really random blog musings into a more focused diary of life from bump to basics.  But with M starting school in September and the kids at 4 and 6 years, we are now a fair way from bump and I feel like I need to get back to basics about what this space is about.

There are some blogs out there I’ve read for a long time.  Others I find on Instagram, recommendations or sporadic surfing.  Lots of voices, lots of genres, lots of food for thought (which is something that I love about blogging) and ultimately, lots of confusion for me about where I fit in to this global ecosystem.  It’s all a bit overwhelming if you give it too much thought, and that in turn is immobilising.

But that’s wrong!  If I love writing, which I genuinely do, that’s simply what I must do.  I’ve always asserted that this blog is about the mothering, and that’s what I still want.  To capture our family adventures, inspirations and challenges.  To record the gems that the kids come out with.  To talk about things that I like in the context of family life: fitness, renovating our new home, music… To reflect on differences between raising my kids here in the UK versus my upbringing in New York, and how I remain my own woman amongst the whir of life.

This is my angle, so now to use my voice!  Please say hello and join in the discussion if you happen to visit my slice of the Internet.  I hope that my musings may connect with others that find my little slice of the Internet.

From Bump2Basics, to Back2Basics!

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Friday Funnies: sweet imagination

The other night C read her book on igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock like a cowgirl.  As in Howdy Partner.  Just because.

Last week M came home from the babysitter’s wearing a ‘wedding ring’ on his ring finger.  Apparently the children decided to marry him and one of his little loves before dinner.  It was an outdoor affair, very free spirited.  When he got home and remembered his first and other little love, the ring came off.

C’s very into mothering at the moment and has been pootling around with her two babies in tow.  She feeds them and changes them and then feeds her favourite Beanie Babies (strange kind of scary things, the smaller the better in my view!) for good measure.  But then tells me she’s not getting married or having children.  Apparently she’s going to “live with lots of cats.”

M has decided he likes to double and triple an animal / robot.  This manifests itself in various ways: anything from being a dog on a  leash to a horse that his sister attempts to ride to grabbing onto our builder’s leg and talking in code.

And of course there are copious references to things magical and Silly Town, a world they’ve built that knows only their boundaries.

Random, sweet imagination.  It’s like a spoonful of sugar for every day life.

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The two sides of “The Force”

M and I are at our local playground and he’s insisted in me pushing him on one of the baby swings. He loves the swings and can go on for ages, and took this opportunity to loudly dissect the nature of the good versus bad side of The Force while I silently cringed.

I mentioned in M’s birthday poem that we threw him a Star Wars themed party. He’s been bitten with the Star Wars bug, big time, and has seen the original three movies plus the recently released ‘The Force Awakens.’

Star Wars is probably the most dark / violent movie that we’ve shown C and M, but we opened the floodgates after watching The Force Awakens sans children and remembering our mutual awe at the original trilogy growing up. So we thought we’d try the films out on our reasonably robust children.

But I’m also aware that the films are probably too adult and scary for some kids.  And ironically, M chose that moment in a crowded park with lots of 2 -3 year olds to muse about why there was a dark side to The Force and what it resulted in (in his analysis, people doing mean things and some Ewoks dying).  I could see the other adult glances.

After an initial wave of guilt and sheepishness, I got over myself and ploughed on with our conversation. I asked M if the films were make believe, and he confirmed they were. We discussed The Force as having a light and dark side, and how the dark side represented those who’d strayed from their morals and leading a kind life. Then we talked about how Darth Vader came back from the dark side in the end, realising the error of his ways. So it was reflective but reasonably light.  Sort of.

Have your kids seen Star Wars and did it precipitate interesting chat?

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