Thursday, 31 October 2013

For my daughter, soon-to-be born
To my beautiful girl

I cannot believe you are almost here. I have known you for so long and yet, we have so much to catch up on.

The world you're about to enter may not be what you expect, but I want you to know your little family will always be here for you, no matter what. You'll recognise your Daddy - he's the one that seems to calm you whenever his hand gently pats my tummy. He works too hard, is really good with gadgets, gives the best hugs and will always have time to play with you and make you giggle. He's looking forward to meeting his little girl. Then there's your brother - he's the one that whispers to you (secrets even I don't know) and sometimes smacks his little hand on my tummy to wake you up. He's loads of fun, very cheeky, loves animals and will always have your back! Then there's me - who will love you too much, cry when you go to school, and try every day to give you the world.

Even though you aren't my only baby, I will make sure we have lots of peaceful moments together getting to know one another. Even before your brother was born, you were always going to be born too - we just needed to wait a little longer for you to get here. Did you know that once upon a time I wanted 6 children?! Not sure I want that many now, but I always knew I wanted more than 1 if I could! We feel so lucky our wish has come true. I also thought I'd be the mother of a tribe of boys, so you are the little princess I never thought I'd have and will always be very special to me.

I have just written your big brother a letter, telling him how great it is to have a sister and about all the wonderful times you two will share together. I'm sure you will prove me right, because girls rock. You will love having him as your brother, just remember to ignore him if he ever tries to say you were adopted or pulls your hair!

My dream for you is to grow into a happy, healthy, self confident, loving young woman, and I will do all that I can to help you achieve this. I cannot wait to meet you - don't stay in there for too much longer!

Lots of love

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

For my son, before he becomes a big brother
To my darling boy

Your world is about to change; change for the better and in ways your little mind can't yet even imagine, and I hope it will be as wonderful for you as it is for your Daddy and me. Why? Well, you're about to meet your little sister - any day now.

Right now it's hard to imagine you as a big brother. It's hard for me to see you as a "big" anything. You are my wee boy, my little man, the apple of my eye, my baby. You still have your soft cheeks, light blonde curls, chubby fingers and that glorious innocent oblivion that comes with being a toddler. It makes my heart sing and break in equal measure when I realise that very soon you won't be my little baby anymore. You will always hold a special place in my heart, as my first born child.

You probably won't remember this, but you tell me in your own little way every day about how much you want to meet your sister. You whisper to her and try to cuddle her, and you rest your head against my tummy in the hope you may hear something back. When you get frustrated that you can't cuddle her properly yet, I explain you'll be able to soon - a response you reluctantly but very patiently accept.

Try to remember how much you already love her, particularly when she plays with your toys when you don't want her to and if she sometimes says mean words to you that may make you cry! Don't worry, most of the time I think you will be roaring friends. Sisters are great. They're always there for you when you need them most, they're full of fun and laughs, and a guaranteed partner-in-crime when you need to gang up on Mummy & Daddy. You were always meant to have her in your life.

We have had a good run, you and me. We have shared many wonderful moments together. You are so lucky to have had this time with us just on your own, and we are so lucky to have you in our lives. The fun is only just beginning! You might not be able to believe this, but the world has more than enough love for both of you and you too will love this little girl with all your heart. You are such a good boy, and will be an amazing big brother.

So as we get set to welcome your sister into the world, I want you to remember how much I love you and always will.

Love Mummy

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

My son was a late walker, and we survived to tell the tale!

Feeling disillusioned and desperate, I wrote this a couple of months ago in the hope I would get some reassurance and support from those who could relate to how I was feeling. Hundreds of comments later, I thought it was time for an update.

At the time of my initial post, my son was 18-months-old and yet to take his first solo step. As many of you will understand, ‘walking’ is a very important milestone in a young child’s life and a highly anticipated moment for said child’s parent. I had started to become a little concerned.

In my heart of hearts I knew there was nothing wrong with my son’s two sturdy legs. He had been up on his feet since he was just a few months old, and had been walking along for the past couple of months if he had something to hold on to. But, to be honest, what I knew in my heart of hearts didn’t really help. I couldn’t help the thoughts that swirled through my head – have I been too affectionate and now he’s afraid to let go, will my little boy ever be able to walk, is he growing normally, is there something more we should be doing.

I felt like everything in my world would be in harmony once I saw him reach this milestone. As his peers started walking one by one around their first birthday, we continued to wait, and encourage, and wait, and try every other trick under the sun.

I had searched the internet for forums, articles and guidance that would help me. I had taken him to our family GP to be assessed. I had chatted to my mummy friends in the hope that one of them could share a happy-ending story with a similar start to mine. I kept hitting dead ends and hearing things that would frighten instead of reassure and it seemed that all I could do was wait.

For the most part, I went about my day with my happy, healthy little toddler in tow; feeling blessed at my good fortune to have him in my life. I wasn’t obsessed with the idea of him walking (even though it probably sounds like it), I just wanted to know that he would be ok and that he could do it eventually.

I’m thrilled to say that two weeks ago he started to walk, at the ripe old age of 21 months! He literally just did it in an instant, and then walked around for half an hour like a pro. It was my proudest mummy moment to date and I had to fight back the tears. In that moment I realised he didn’t achieve this feat through anything that we did or didn’t do, he had just decided that today was the day he was happy to let go and have a run around on his own. He hasn’t looked back since, and life has become so much simpler for this heavily pregnant mummy with a {now} walking toddler.

This experience has taught me a few things that I wanted to share. The first is, sometimes you can’t get the answer from anyone but yourself; it’s important to trust your gut instinct but to seek professional advice if you feel you need to. I knew all along that he was ok, but hindsight is a wonderful thing! Secondly, other mums can either be an incredible source of support or they can add more salt to your wound by telling you how advanced/special/capable their own child is (glad to say I had more of the former), so don’t always expect to hear what you want to hear but never be afraid to reach out for help either. Lastly, these little bundles of joy that have come into our lives don’t follow a book, checklist or milestone chart; they are their own free spirits and should be free to grow by their own agenda. No overbearing mothers allowed (major point to self)!

I did want to thank those of you that provided me with invaluable words of support, advice, similar stories and reassurance. It definitely made the wait more bearable, and I’m so glad to be able to let you know that he finally did it!

*This post of mine was first published on Mouths of Mums.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

These are the people I don't understand

I was never prepared for the emotions that accompany motherhood.

I was prepared for bathing a newborn, I was prepared to change thousands of nappies, I was prepared to breastfeed for as long as was feasible, I was prepared for months upon months of sleepless nights. I was even prepared for post-natal depression, making sure my husband knew the signs to look out for and knew what to do, just in case I needed help.

But, I wasn't prepared for the extreme emotions I've inevitably felt in the past two years.

I have wept with happiness when cradling my baby in my arms and rocking him to sleep at night, feeling completely blessed that he is healthy and contented. I have become utterly enraged at careless drivers who have endangered my precious cargo on the road. I have experienced intense fear when my husband's home late from work, as I'm adamant the worst must have happened. I have loved my little family harder than I ever imagined possible, and wonder how I'm ever going to let my son go forth into the world without worrying about him endlessly.

I see my son's face in every child around me, in every child on TV, every child on the news, every child I read about. I see the similarities, the same expressions, hear the same cries, and delight in the same giggles. I imagine every parent feels this way - a sort of kinship and desire to protect every child out there, because you know how precious they are and you would hope someone would do the same for your child if the need ever arose.

That is why I don't understand some parents. I don't understand them, and in fact, I unashamedly dislike them with an intense passion.

I don't understand parents that neglect their children - letting them go hungry while they smoke another cigarette. I don't understand parents that say cruel, mean, hateful insults to their children in a moment of their own weakness, forever scarring them in the process. I don't understand those that abuse children, in any way shape or form, I just don't understand how they can bring themselves to do it.

It has been going on for too long, and it must stop.

**Latte Mum note: here is a really interesting site on this topic and provides quick links on ways in which you can speak out and help: