The End

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Typing on my Koopter: Chatterbox

Emily uttered her first word at nine months (and has never really stopped talking). Her language has always been advanced and she learns new words, phrases, expressions at the speed of light. The other day, she told me that "chances are" Adam won't want to do something or other. She is a 30 year old trapped in a 3 year old's body.

However there have, of course, been some funny words. There is a list of these words in my notes app. They're those words you don't even try and correct because they're so adorably cute. She's replaced them all with the correct version of the word over time, with the exception of two (basht, which is a bandage or plaster, and barrio instead of barrier). The other day I reminded Emily of some of these words and she found it hilarious.

I thought I'd share some of them with you, and, forgive me, I felt like getting creative too.

Every morning, we wake up around vesen and go downstairs to hab sum feckist. We then go into the leelung to get dressed for school and if there's some time, relax on the fofa while watching a bit of early morning tv. She will ask for a full movie, like Milk on 40th Street, but of course there's not enough time. 
Emily loves anything that is keet and purple. A falloo, a bly, a flingo, even pish, pocodiles and efelents can be keet in Emily's world. She loves to play hockeyseek and she really really loves maimows. She has two special dolls called - wait for it - Dolly and Baby, and they ride around in their babybarrow. Emily adores dancing and listening to meegis, and this isn't limited to nursing arhymes. Her absolute favourite song is Starships by Nicki Minaj. She also loves playing the plano and her white one tar
At the end of the day, she will have a splashy bath, then she'll get into her jamamas amidst lots of tickling, brush her teeth (in front of the mirror, always - even though she's not yet tall enough to see herself in it), she'll climb into bed and carefully fold and place her glasses on her setby table. We'll read a story or four, and then it's several hundred goodnight kisses and eventually sleep. 

I doubt most of those need translating, but for the record leelung is living room, falloo is flower, bly is butterfly, hockeyseek is hide and seek, and white one tar is guitar (because her little guitar is white). Any others you couldn't figure out? :)

Me and My Boy

I remembered this post the other day: Autumn Leaf Testing Procedures

I am all too aware that even since Adam was born, this blog is still way more Emily-focused than is right. Before I know it, Adam will be a year old and in this year, it somehow feels like I've done almost nothing by way of having fun with him.

I take Emily out, he tags along.
I run errands, he tags along.
It's never just about him.

I believe there are several reasons... sadly, that "second child" curse is probably the primary issue. Emily demands more attention and needs to be entertained far more. She is great at entertaining herself, but there are obviously limits to that. Meanwhile Adam seems happy to just sit quietly and take everything in. He spends a lot of time in the ergo baby carrier (which he adores) all snuggled up, often chewing on one of the straps.

However, as time passes, that is obviously not enough. He has recently started to crawl and if the amount he eats is anything to go by, has an awful lot of energy to burn... which isn't being used. This means nights have become madness again and it is becoming very clear that him tagging along just doesn't work any longer. (Did it ever "work"?)

And if I'm honest, I'm glad. It's about time I got off my arse and did something fun with this boy. Something especially tailored for him. It starts here. I am going to make it up to him.

Emily turned three today

Emily turned three today.

As always it turned me into an emotional wreck, especially around 14:11, the time she was born.

Closing my eyes, I can still see Sky (the midwife) place her into my arms for the first time

How could three years fly by so quickly? 

My sweet Emily,

You're growing into a happy, confident, friendly, opinionated, headstrong young lady. We've thrown so much your way this past year and you've taken it all in your stride. You amaze us every day, even now. You teach us so much.

I can see the difference in you from a year ago. You're so much more confident now, you make friends easily, everywhere you go. You're a little joker and you're so much more girly - it's all about pink and purple with you! You know what you want and won't let anyone tell you otherwise (although Mummy usually knows her way around it and we're both OK with that).

We had one of those simple, happy days today - the best sort of day. I would have liked to take you out to do something special but as Adam hasn't been well and the weather wasn't very cooperative, we stayed in. You snuck downstairs when you got up - you never do this - and we found you lurking around your gifts in the living room as quietly as a mouse.

One of your gifts was a castle tent, chosen by your Daddy. Realistically I don't think we needed to get you anything else, had it just been the tent, it would have been enough. You spent your entire day in and out of that tent. You even asked to nap in it! (You tried to, but didn't quite nap). You dressed up in your best dress, tiara and your "jewels" and acted princess, prancing and dancing around singing to yourself. There is never a clearer sign from you that means you are happy.

Your Daddy and I sat back and watched, knowing just how happy this day has made you, and in turn, us. I'm glad you've enjoyed your third birthday, my sweetheart. We have a party planned for this weekend and then it'll be another adventurous few months. I have no doubt that you'll settle well. I also have no doubt that there'll be questions and requests to go back home, which will break my heart, but we'll tackle them and we'll get there together, and we'll see to it that you're happy again. Maybe even more so.

So here's to another year of you, little girl. Please, don't grow up too fast. Keep the hugs and kisses and "Mummy, I love you"s coming. And remember I'm always here for you.

All my love,
Mummy x



Slightly Numb

It's been a month of extreme emotions.

Anyone who has actually seen us in Malta so far in 2014 can consider themselves lucky as we have been a rare sight. January was split between Malta, Dubai and England.

Early in the month, we spent a week in Dubai. We checked out neighbourhoods, visited a school, drove around mostly aimlessly while the kids napped, visited malls, did a few touristy things. We all loved it. The future is bright. (There'll be a lot more about Dubai to come so will keep this bit short!)

Less than a week back in Malta, unpacked, repacked, cleaned up, did some laundry, said some hellos, a few see you laters, and we were off to England, on what had originally been planned as our September holiday.

Rochester brought back many emotions. I was in tears before we landed. It was not a reaction I had been expecting. The level of homesickness shocked me. The tears hit on an almost daily basis at random. When I spotted Rochester castle in the distance, walking along the High Street, even sat in the Deaf Cat. They did not hit, strangely, when we visited the house. A lot of it felt so normal, like there hadn't just been a year spent away from it all.

Emily had no recollection of it. When we visited the house, she simply said "Who lives here? This is a nice house." As sad as this was, I was prepared for it, I'd shown her photos a few months ago and she'd had the same reaction then. Her subconscious, however, did seem to recognise it. She knew her way around the house. Sadly, she also didn't remember most of our friends, but she did warm to them far quicker than she normally would to new people - which also tells me her subconscious was busy trying to communicate something there too. (The mind is a mysterious, powerful thing.)

A thought that kept going through my mind as we walked around was that Adam should have been born there. He should have enjoyed the same things Emily did, enjoyed the same relaxed mother that Emily had.

A few hours in the Deaf Cat (a local cafe I regularly hung out at with Emily) reminded me how much I enjoy spending time with my children. It reminded me of the sort of mother I am. It reminded me that when we have places to go and opportunities to relax, we do and we enjoy it.


I'm going to need to find a similar local cafe in Dubai.

So emotions this month have been pretty extreme and as I write this, I am feeling slightly numb. I feel like I've taken an emotional beating. I know I'll recover, I'll wake up at some stage and it will all suddenly hit in one way or another. Hopefully, it'll will all have been worth while.

Bag of Books

Another tradition we began this year was a Bag of Books under the tree. One of Emily's gifts from us was a bag of books, literally. She loves books but since Adam arrived we haven't found it as easy to read to her as much as we used to, so we wanted to try and rekindle her love for books. We intend for there to be a bag of books under the tree every year, including one for Adam starting next year.

In Emily's bag this year were the following books:

Now books can be expensive, especially eight of them in one go, but thanks to Claire Bonello blogging about a while back, some of the books in Emily's bag were actually pre-loved! They don't look it and at £2.59 each (delivered), it was more than worth it. 

Emily's favourites are That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown (no huge surprise) and Dogs Don't Do Ballet. We have read and re-read these two almost every night since Christmas. 

And just to throw this in there, if anyone is looking for a really great children's book, have a look at Giraffes Can't Dance. It's my absolute favourite of all Emily's books so far... I never get tired of it. 

...And Then Leaving. Again.

In January 2013 we moved from the UK to Malta. It was a hard decision, a choice we'd been battling with for the better part of two years, and a huge risk. We had our reasons to do it, and so we decided to take that chance.

Sadly, a year on, we cannot truly say it was the right decision. There are still many factors that we would want to stay for (namely family and a few lovely friends), but there are many we regret and have made us doubt our decision and want to move on. While my pining for life in the UK hasn't calmed much, new opportunities tend to have a mind of their own (and David doesn't want to go back to the UK for now), so we've reached a compromise...

In March 2014 we will be moving to... Dubai!


It's been a turbulent few months since the opportunity opened up to us in October 2013. We don't want to keep moving the children, and I am now desperate to grow roots somewhere. But do it somewhere we know isn't working for us to avoid taking another risk? It feels like settling for (less than) mediocre. It's not us. We wouldn't be happy long term. So we decided to go for it.

Do I wish we never moved to Malta in the first place? I thought so at first, when I was angry at the timing of it all. But I don't think so any longer. This year has given us an opportunity to build on certain relationships (mainly my brother and sisters) that never could have happened had we not been here. They were so young when we left Malta the first time, we were all completely different people then. We've now come to know each other as adults, and I love it, I love and respect them as individuals, no longer as my annoying little siblings (OK maybe sometimes!). My relationship with my parents, especially my mother, has improved. I've gotten to know David's parents better. I hadn't really had the chance before. We've learnt and we've grown.

This year has also answered a question that we had been asking ourselves for a while: would we be happier in Malta? We pretty much know the answer now.

On the down side, it would have been nice not to have almost entirely depleted our savings to move here from England. It would have been nice to have been able to give birth to Adam in the UK like I wanted to do (it also would have avoided all that drama). Emily LOVES her school and has a best friend she adores, Betsy, and it breaks my heart to end that so early and not give a friendship opportunity to blossom. So many things break my heart.

But they're young. Right now, it's more important for their parents to be happy, in order to keep the family unit happy. As long as they have security and lots of hugs, they'll be fine. Hopefully stability will come soon.

I cannot begin to explain how scared I am of making another wrong decision. All I know is that you don't fix a mistake by doing nothing about it. And that is why we're moving.

Christmas Eve Midnight Feast

Many of us saw the Christmas Eve idea that went viral. I knew I had to put something together for Emily the moment I saw it. It'd be the start of a new tradition for us. So there was a new set of pyjamas, a couple DVDs for her to choose one from, marshmallows, her favourite strawberry Nesquik, Maltesers, some Smurf biscuits and candy cane (which she insisted on being included despite my knowing she wouldn't like it).

It was a very exciting evening. Adam was put to bed as per usual but Emily was allowed to stay up. We had some girly time and did her hair, and then went downstairs where Daddy was waiting. They chose a DVD while I prepared our drinks. She chose Miracle on 34th Street. Now some friends mentioned it may not be the best option as it brings up the question of believing, but as it so happened, that part completely passed her by and in the close to 68653 times we've seen it so far (it's her new firm favourite), she's not caught on to the fact that Santa Claus' existence is disputed at any point during the film. Which is handy.

As predicted, she didn't like the candy cane.

"I LOVE this lunch! I LOVE this evening! I LOVE this!"
She found it hard to contain herself. It was utterly adorable. 

At around 21:30 she called it a night. The excitement proved too much to handle and she was exhausted.
But first, she wanted some Christmas tree pictures. 

And there was a very important snack to prepare. 

Unbelievable amounts of excitement. 

And then sleep. So very quickly, so much sleep.