Saturday, 23 June 2012

Happy birthday my little man

Yesterday was the little man's birthday. Two years ago I was lying on a hospital bed, feeling a bit like I had been hit by a train, with this tiny scrap of life lying fast asleep next to me. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't even think of changing his nappy until a midwife came along at 11pm, a good 15 hours after he arrived into the world, and asked me if I had yet. She offered to do it for me, that lovely angel of help, and I watched over her shoulder as she gently tore off the velcro strips and bathed him.
When it came to babies I really didn't have a clue, apart from what I had read. I had never changed a nappy before but it was reassuring to know I wasn't alone in that packed maternity ward. As I dozed in my bed recovering, I listened through the thin curtains as the new parents in the next cubicle engaged in high level talks on how best to change their tiny offspring's full nappy. Later on, as I shuffled to the nurse's desk in the early hours of the morning in search of painkillers, I passed by a midwife patiently showing a very young new mummy how to do the same. She must have been a good 15 years younger than me but, despite our differing life experience, we were the same. New mums and completely clueless.
Now I can change a nappy while the little man stands up, jigging about singing nursery rhymes to me. I know how to quickly distract him if he falls and begins to cry. If he isn't eating his dinner, I know the exact book to give him to read so I can shovel a few more mouthfuls in and make sure he doesn't go hungry.
Then again, at times I still feel as clueless as that first night in hospital. Like when he won't get in his pram and has a proper tantrum outside the shops. Or if he wakes in the night and he is still bouncing around wide eyed when all my tricks have been used up to coaxe him back to sleep.
I can imagine that the learning curve never straightens when it comes to being a parent - and who would want it to? I love this journey that I am on with my beautiful growing son. Neither of us have done this before and every day is an exciting new challenge with endless possibilities. And just think what I will be able to achieve when he reaches his third birthday, and his fourth. I can't wait. Happy birthday my lovely little man.

Monday, 11 June 2012

British with a capital B

There are many things that make us British - a love of sponge cakes, orderly queueing, our habit of apologising profusely in any situation however wrong the other person might be. And the weather of course.
Well on Sunday I don't think I could have got more British. It was our little town's annual folk festival and, being community-minded, I had wanted to venture out to show our support for the event and enjoy a spot of morris dancing while we were at it.
So despite the black clouds, we got our waterproofs on and set off. It didn't take long to find some dancers enthusiastically stripping the willow and waving hankies about. We valiantly watched, and enjoyed, some very exhuberant stick bashing and bell jangling but as the few light drops of water gradually turned into a persistent downpour, we could stand it no longer. Taking shelter in the next door cafe, we dried out while I tucked into a pot of tea and a toasted tea cake, the little man a hastily prepared homemade cream cheese sandwich and some healthy fruit snacks - no sponge cake for him, horrid mother that I am. It was only when I peered out through the steamed up window that I realised the morris men, far from giving up, were determinedly continuing to weave their merry way in and out of their set, each one holding aloft a bright red spotted umbrella like a small portable awning. Rain, teacakes and a good serving of stiff upper lip - a beautiful parody if ever there was one.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

My little joy giver

Of all the small daily developments the little man is showing us, my favourite one so far is the joy he gets from giving. It took a while to come but I love to see the flicker of quiet satisfaction that crosses his face and twitches at the edges of his mouth when he cuts out a playdough heart and ceremoniously offers it to his chosen recipient - daddy, grandpa, our friend Laura (much to her delight) and me when I am lucky.
We make a big fuss when he does and seeing our happy reaction he snatches up his cutter and busily starts work on his next gift. The more he does it, the more we praise - I want him to start giving and never stop his whole life.
Generosity, in my opinion, is one of the most attractive traits in a person. It is something his daddy has running through him, and if we can bring up our son to be one of life's givers rather than takers, I would consider my task as a mother done and done well - although if he also turns out to be tall and handsome, sporty, creative, good at public speaking, a whiz on the guitar and piano, financially stable with a dry sense of humour and always always holds the door open for others that would also be rather nice.