Big kid at heart

I asked my mom when you properly, officially feel like a grown up.  She’s in her 60s and her reply was that to a certain extent, you never really do.  I’ve probably said that here on the blog before when pondering when or if I’ll ever have all my crap together…

I’m now in my mid 30s and so far I definitely agree with my wise ma.  Part of it is having her and my dad, and Chris’ parents there in the first place.  As mentors and sounding boards in life, as fiercely loyal supporters, as comfort whether far or away.  Who doesn’t like to be taken care of sometimes?

For me the other part is that playful piece of my soul that pervades for most into adulthood.  That drives my personal interests outside mamahood, that counters the functional (pay the bills, clean the house) with the fun (dance on the sofa, roll on the floor, bounce on the space hopper).  Being a grown up is not just about doing adult things.

This past week I had a real kid moment.  We were at our local swimming pool where we don’t go that often because it’s mental at the weekend and we used to swim via our gym membership (now cancelled for it’s price tag and the fact we didn’t use it enough- though we did use it a lot for swimming with the kids).  The pool has amazing old school flumes that descend in curves and loops a few stories from ceiling to floor, and I took a real fancy to going down that flume!  I love absolutely love water parks but haven’t been for ages.

Our issue was that I was there solo with the kids, so we needed to stick together and they don’t let you ride the flume in pairs.  C took a little bit of convincing but she was keen.  Some of her friends had been and she’s getting a bit more daring.  Little M was another story. He’s on the whole less risk averse than C, but he’s no fool and shooting down a flume a few stories high is no small feat when you are four and a half.  But he was up for trying.

I should mention here the flumes come out into shallow water that children can stand in so you don’t need to be a swimmer.  And that beyond the entry ramp they are fully enclosed, and that their is a ‘slower flume’ for children, flume virgins and the like.  I even checked with a lifeguard who said M was ok to ride provided he was comfortable to ride solo.

We climbed the stairs.  We waited.  We reached the top platform.  We peered at the rushing water at the flume launch.  Our game plan was that C would go, then M and finally me.  That way I’d know they were both down safely and could wait together with the lifeguard at the bottom.

And with a little shout, C was off like a rocket.  The water gushed.  My heart started an adrenaline pound.  I lifted Max onto the launch seat and reminded him to lay back.  And then, as he prepared to launch, he scrambled around into my arms and said he didn’t want to go anymore, that he was scared.

I picked him up and gave one last longing glance at the flume before making our way back down the stairs to meet C at the bottom.  Truthfully I’d been surprised he was willing to give it a go because he is still pretty small, and even though I think he’d love it, you don’t know that until you take the plunge.

So my big kid adventure streak needs to wait a little longer.  I love that it’s there, but the little kids take priority.


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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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