The End

This blog is now closed. The story continues over on Flip Flops and Flying Carpets.

Thank you for reading.

Pirate's Life for Me (Adam's Room)

Adam never had a room until we moved into this house. When I was pregnant with Emily, I prepared and planned her room throughout the pregnancy. There was no physical room to plan this time. There were boxes to pack and houses to move. And while I had some ideas about what I wanted his room to be like once he had one, I seem to do better "matching" a theme and style to a specific room rather than just applying my ideas to any space.

It turned out that Adam's room is one of the smallest in the house. We couldn't do otherwise, but it's very conveniently located next door to our bedroom which makes wake-ups that little bit easier. So I got working. His was one of the first rooms to be completed, and there are elements of it that I wish I could change (like the wall colour turned out to be completely the wrong colour), but I'm going to just stick with it for now.

I chose a nautical theme. For some reason, it fits with the bit I know Adam so far. I think he'll like it for a few years until it's time for a rehaul. I'm not sure if it had anything to do with his godfather being very into sailing (a bit of an understatement!!), but either way, I'm very happy with it.

People who visited us in England may recognise certain things in his room. His curtains were our living room curtains in Rochester, there are two frames over his cot that once hung in our corridor, and I like that there are elements of our home in Rochester in his room because he will never know that house and somehow it feels right to give him a part of it too.

Most of his furniture was also Emily's - and was meant to remain Emily's - until a sudden change of plan when we realised that the furniture that is now in her room didn't fit in the original place we intended it to go, so we had to change everything round and luckily, it worked.

So with no further ado, I give you Adam's room.

Emily's old bookcase (which has proven extremely popular amongst many of you!)
and an adorably well-suited Melissa & Doug Pirate Puppet, given to Adam by David's cousin

From CoseCasa 

He loves his room, especially when he's sleepy. He knows Room = Sleep. Yay!

Another item from Emily's old room: her lamp. It looked a bit bland
against the white (not meant to be white) walls, so I found a navy blue ribbon
and glued two stripes to the shade and I'm much happier with it now!

Bunting and wall stickers are from JojoMamanBebe

These bookends were an ebay purchase. The plan is to put some shelves up
over the armchair eventually and have these along with a few other bits there.

This is what was going on while I took most of the pictures...

...And then she took his rabbit and all hell broke loose.

Adam would like a word...

Well, it will become a word eventually.

And he is SO very proud of his latest sound discovery!

And with that, I bid you good weekend.

Next week, I'll be (FINALLY) showing you the kids' bedrooms. Stay tuned!

[Dear Adam]

Maybe Next Week

Ages ago, when I read Tas's post about how she and her son just weren't ready for potty training, I was all geared up to write a similar post that pretty much echoed what Tas had written. The post never got written and I forgot about it because a short while later, the pressure started building. Friends with toddlers of a similar age to Emily began potty training successfully and I guess I felt a bit of peer pressure. Add to that the older generation's disapproving looks and comments about her still being in a nappy, and my fear that her school wouldn't accept her if she was still in nappies, and I succumbed.

I used school as an excuse and told Emily she needed to be in panties by then. I stupidly put pressure on her. I ignored the fact that pressure doesn't work with her. I know my daughter well enough to know this.

The problem lay here: In January, she was ready to be potty trained. All the signs were there. But I was 7 and a half months pregnant and planning not one, but two house moves, having just moved country. I didn't think it was the right time to be adding extra potential disasters to our lives. So she stayed in nappies, with me thinking "How much could she possibly regress?"

The answer? Completely.

And as time passed, I realised her "readiness" was disappearing by the day. Fully dry naps and nights became very, very wet ones again. And never having been one to bother about a wet nappy (which hasn't helped with potty training - wet panties just don't annoy her), she even became fine with it being a stinky nappy.

"Emily, have you done a poo?"
"No Mummy, I not done a poo poo"
Liar. Anyone close by would DIE of suffocation.

Eventually I realised that if I asked her whether she needed to tell me something about her nappy, she'd say yes, she's done a poo - but still wasn't fussed about whether it got changed or not.

Over the last couple of months, we've mentioned the concept of potty training to her and we've introduced books such as Princess Polly's Potty which she loves, and we had a few hopeful days where she'd ask to poo on the potty or toilet of her own accord. And she would too. But the concept of a wee remained alien to her.

So a couple of weeks ago, with her school start date looming, I decided it was time to try properly. It started well too. She was excited to be wearing panties "like Mummy" and her first wee went straight into the potty. Amazing. I was almost in tears of joy. We danced. We hugged. We stuck special stickers. We called Daddy in England to let him know. Everyone was made to celebrate.

And then it stopped. She claimed she didn't need to wee the entire day, but once I put on her nappy for her nap and bedtime, she completely soaked it.

The second day got even worse. She didn't even bother holding it in for that long. She just let it all go over her Duplo and later, over Adam's toys. Both times, the potty was a metre away from her.

She then asked to wear a nappy and I obliged. I didn't have the mental strength to keep going, and my instinct screamed at me that it really shouldn't be this difficult, that it just isn't the right time.

I kick myself now to have ignored her signs in January because it could have been simple then: she might have led the way. Maybe I've made her lazy and thus made it more difficult for myself. So many thoughts of doubt and failure have passed through, and settled in, my mind - I'm not entirely sure what to think of the whole thing any longer. Burying my head in the sand is hugely appealing.

But I do know that my daughter is a determined little thing. When she decided one night she would not be sleeping in a cot any longer (whether we liked it or not), nothing got in her way. I think, I hope, that this may be a similar situation. That she might wake up one day and inform me that she is no longer going to be using nappies. And so help me God if I say otherwise.

I live in constant hope.

Meanwhile, her school have reassured me that they are more than happy to accept her in nappies, and I wonder whether seeing other children in panties at school might trigger the change in her.

Feel free to throw encouraging stories at me. But please keep any "OMG she's over 2.5years old and still in nappies?!" comments to yourselves. Thankyoumuchly!

[image cred]

Behind the Lens with Emily

A fuzzy, early morning edition.

 She comes into our room in the morning and gives us each a gentle kiss on our heads to wake us.

The next thing, without fail, is "Can I play on your phone?"

Roll over and back to sleep...

Hah. Fat chance!

Dear Adam (Six Months of You)

Dear Adam

My sweet, sweet boy. How did I ever get this lucky?

It feels like much longer than six months since you joined our little family. I can't remember a day without your smile, or your snuggles. You really are so very snuggly. You lean in for cuddles, you wrap yourself around us, I could almost swear you're already trying to hug us back. If only you weren't so big and so heavy already, I'd probably never put you down.

I can never quite get over just how patient you are. So calm and happy to just be. You take everything in with a huge amount of enthusiasm and you rarely sit still (unless it's for cuddles), always trying to do more than you're yet able to do.

You now roll over like a pro - although you haven't entirely worked out how to roll back yet (but you can do it in your sleep!) You are desperately trying to sit up - I'm sure you have a core of steel. Your balance is getting better by the day and you now seem to think it's time to start practicing standing.

Slow down, sweet boy. You're already the size of a nine month old. Let me enjoy you as a baby for as long as possible.

I think you might always be a snuggler. You'll always be the caring soul. I hope, too, you'll always love your sister as much as you do right now. I also hope you'll always be as ready to smile as you are now.

You love baths, and splashing. You do prefer bathtime with a toy, though. Which you then throw all over the place and look glum until we return it to you. And repeat.

Mickey Mouse is an absolute favourite. We picked up on this and got you your own Mickey toy - you especially love chewing on his feet. You also adore any sort of ball, but especially one particular squashy ball of Emily's. She's not too crazy about you covering it in dribble, but we convince her to let you play with it when we can ;)

You have two teeth already. They both cut through on the same day a couple of weeks ago. Gone are your days of gummy smiles, already. You are quite thrilled with these two teeth and have realised that they allow you to make new noises. Noises that create even more dribble than there already was! Noises that you practice into my shoulder or neck as you snuggle or fall asleep.

You sleep well, often through the night. But I could listen to you falling asleep forever. You've never been one to resist sleep, you welcome it eagerly and with sounds of pure bliss. It makes me want to pick you back up and snuggle you some more.

Your other great love is food. At five months, I gave in and offered you some food off my plate, which you devoured while giving me a look that said, "Well, you finally figured that out!" I try, sometimes, to offer you baby snacks, but more often than not, they are very specifically discarded and you wait, looking from me to my plate and back, longingly, until I hand you something off it, and then you make it well known that Adam is happy again.

There is no problem understanding you. You're clear and communicative, and I can often read you like a book - it keeps us both happy.

Emily will start school next week. And while my heart breaks a little bit over spending less time with her than I ever have, I can't wait to be able to focus on you a little bit more for a few hours every day. I am excited to get to know you more than I already do, and enjoy your calm company.

You've made me a better person, sweet boy.

I love you so very much.

Mummy x

Hold That Baby

I couldn't not post this.

From New Mamas Get Nothing Done (and other untruths)

"...As much as you need and want a break now... no mother has ever looked back on this time and thought, “I wish I had held my baby less.” You will not remember the dishes that didn't get done, the vacuuming that you just couldn't make happen, or the dirty clothes you wore more often than you’d like to admit. You will remember the first smile, the first belly laugh, the first words, the first steps. You will remember the way you looked at your baby, and the way your baby looked at you.

So the next time you find yourself wondering how another day is gone and nothing is done, stop. Hold your baby - feel the way that tiny body strains to contain this giant soul - complete, and full of potential all at the same time."

I wish so many people would stop telling me (and other new mothers) to hold my baby less. You can spoil a toddler, you can't spoil a baby. A baby needs its mother, love, affection and touch. Please, baby carers, don't ever forget that. Hold that baby close to your heart.

[Loosely related article]

[image copyright P.Warrington]

Behind the Lens with Emily

Some more Emily classics...

Oops, busted. In fairness, I was trying to sort out one of her Christmas presents.
Yes I'm Christmas shopping in September.
(I started in June.)

"It's a REALLY tall tower!"

Road Trip, Malta Style

Every now and then the thought crosses my mind that maybe it would be nice to pop over to France sometime soon - even if just for one of our random day trips.

Then I remember that the Eurounnel is no longer on our doorstep* and while we could always go to Sicily instead, it isn't really as straightforward (or as cheap as we've recently discovered) as France was when we lived in England.

Of course the fact that we haven't gotten round to getting the little ones' passports done yet would have ruled out both options, no matter where we were, but it's nice to dream.

But there's always Gozo. And when it comes to quick, peaceful getaways, Gozo is always a winner.

So last month, we spent two days and two nights lazing around in a farmhouse that we rented for this precise purpose.

Our parents came up to spend some time with us too and it turned out to be such a huge success, we are planning on doing it every summer in future.

The last time she was on a boat, she was 5 months old. She wasn't too sure about it this time.

One of the best things about trips to Gozo is catching up with friends there. Namely, Maureen of Island Fairy. Despite Emily and Robin only being born 5 months apart, they'd never actually met so this was a first. It didn't look too good at the beginning, I think it's safe to say they pretty much hated each other, but time mellowed them and by the end of it they were swimming together at the other end of the pool exchanging toddler secrets. A friendship in the making, perhaps?

Robin, Maia and Emily - little bookworms

Her first taste of BBQ'd marshmallows

A spot of stargazing. She loved it.

We all did.

I don't think I'd ever seen such a perfect blanket of stars.

What a chilled out little guy!

* By "doorstep" I mean the 45 minute drive it was which i also, ironically, the time it'd take to drive across Malta. Twice(ish).

Behind the Lens with Emily

Over the summer, Emily learnt how to use our phone cameras. In detail. Due to this, we regularly find several dozen photos of the same thing on our camera roll. Usually something very important, like a table leg. I can see most of you nodding. She's far from the only toddler to hijack their parents' phones. 

But before I delete them all, I thought I'd share some of her little masterpieces with you all. I'm making it clear, however, that the ones of David and myself asleep or undressed or in extremely unflattering positions won't be making it onto these posts. In case you wondered.

"It's a picture of you, Mommay. It's a good one!"
(She was talking about that first one)

Yeah. He won't love me for this when he's older.

Artistic, non?

When I Wasn't Looking

When did my chubby giggler turn into this long-limbed, messy-haired, opinionated little girl?

Emily starts pre-school at the end of the month. It is an event hugely anticipated by us both. She has wanted to go to school since we first mentioned it to her, and she cried when we visited our chosen school and told her she wouldn't be staying there that day. On my end, I look forward to temporarily being able to focus on just one child again. I feel bad saying it, but Adam deserves some full attention too, and at the end of the day, it'll do Emily and me a great deal of good to have a break from each other for a few mornings a week (she'll only be doing three mornings).

But on the other hand, it's a very emotional time. My baby is growing up. And when a little boy kicks her or a little girl pulls her tongue out at her and she drops her "big girl" mask and would normally come running to me in tears.... well, I'm not going to be there. And that bit is I think what I'm struggling the most with at the moment.

I know it's all part of letting go and I know she can't spend every minute of her day with me forever. But I can see the look on her face in my mind's eye when she needs me, and adding to that the fact that I won't be there for her is currently a little bit too much for me to take. It has been the source of many, many tears this week.

But I'll get over it, and we'll both adapt, and she'll be happier for it. And so will I and Adam. And life will undoubtedly go on.

Until I'm turned into an emotional wreck all over again when it's Adam's turn.

Ah, motherhood.