Last Friday, Friday gone I officially became a stay at home mum. Well the end of my sick line from work is over anyway and having handed in my resignation that is the end of that part of the journey that I have been on. It was by simple coincidence that I chose to go that afternoon with the wee man to Glasgow Green. You see when he was first born we used to live next to this park and go walking there all the time. Then it was all about looking toward the future. When would I feel like I had the energy to go back to work much less start looking for a job? I would see children playing in the little play park and think that soon that would be me and the wee man. Often the children would run around chasing the pigeons that always gathered by the river fighting the geese over pieces of bread and I would wonder if my wee man would do the same. Well here we are in that future. I did eventually get that job that did not work out. My wee man though now excels at playing in the park and no surprises that he tried his best to catch a pigeon.
So I am going to go out with some girl friends tonight. As it is not something I get to do often as you can probably imagine I am only a little bit excited about it. I will probably even put some make up on and wear some heels! So here is a girly groupy song to celebrate.
There are two parts of me when I see my wee man fall, crash, bang or wallop into something. The first one is the mum who wants to wrap him up in cotton wool, protect him from all that is bad and the second one is the mum who wants him to be independent, feeling free to experiment with the world and then accept the consequences which may not always be joyful. Usually I settle on a happy medium where I try to gauge how bad the incident is, give him time to respond to what has happened and any amount of cuddles and kisses that are necessary to soothe away the tears. He is generally pretty much back on his feet again in no time, right back doing what he was doing before, looking at me like "What are you worrying about?"
This evening after bath time and getting ready for bed I could not believe the amount of bruises and scrapes the wee man had along his legs. A lot of them I could not possibly tell you where they have come from. He falls over quite often just from walking along. There are already minor tiffs in the playground as he is learning to share and play with others. He is in there with the big kids now trying to give as good as he gets. Never mind the tantrums that we are experiencing at home when suddenly he runs around like a crazy person and inevitably crashes into something. The worst incidents though are when you are right there holding his hand and he still manages to fall over or bump into something.
In all honesty though all these little things have already got me thinking about his future. Glasgow is a tough city and there are a lot of things that are probably going to be flung his way. I want him to experiment and have fun but I'm also very nervous about the decisions he is going to make. These are big worries for just now I know and I am living in the everyday now moments, breathing them in, savouring each innocent smile and lovingly wiping away the tears. But are you like me? Do you sometimes observe teenagers and adults, watch the news, even television programmes these days and think...What is my little baby going to grow up to be? and how am I going to help him get there?
Okay so I'm not very good with my camera first thing in the morning and so it was rather belatedly that I realised I did not have any real good pictures that captures the theme "morning". So I was on a bit of a mission this morning as I took my wee man to nursery. You see he LOVES walking. I'm always amazed at how far he is willing to go without actually getting tired. The fight sometimes to get him into the pushchair is a battle I try to avoid. So we have started to now walk to nursery and he loves it. He gets to explore his environment. If you go at his pace you may actually never get to your destination! It's not the most cleanest and natural of environments either being in the city of Glasgow and I often find myself saying "No, dirty!". I figure it will only boost his immune system anyway...right? He loves waving and having a wee chat with passers by who find him highly entertaining. Now of course the mission to capture all of this was kind of hard in the end. Due to safety reasons I often found it difficult to actually get a good shot and I only took my phone as well. So phone in one hand, buggy in the other and chasing after a wee boy this is what I got. I hope at least it captures the real joy we get from our morning walk.
I'm linking up with See it Snap it Love it over at Dear Beautiful Boy the theme this week is morning
It seems you can never go to the park often enough these days with my wee man. As he grows and gets more confident in himself the park becomes an even bigger and better adventure. This weekend we never got the chance to go out for our long walk but as long as he gets out he's happy. We could go to the same small park over and over and over and over again.
So I am sure it must be a normal part of child development even if they don't really mention it in the books...that need to watch lots of TV. The reason why I say it must be normal is because we don't even have a TV in this house and yet my wee man has somehow managed to grow this addiction. You see we have laptops and occasionally we have been known at quiet times to let him watch these Italian children music videos. We figured it was another great way to introduce him to the Italian language...purely educational...honest. It now tends to be though that at most meal times he wants to watch video's while he eats. When he sees the laptops sitting next to the sofa he runs over and plops himself in front of it and just points and grunts...basically meaning now please! If the laptops are on the dining table then he climbs up onto the chairs and just points and grunts...now please! He does sometimes get distracted if he is watching and will go and play and then run back to check that it is still on. At other times I decide that he has had enough and shut the computer over and put it away and after a few tears we are usually okay. At this minute thankfully the wanting to go outside and play is a much stronger addiction so I am not overly worried about it. It's such a great babysitter sometimes though, you can get things done while they sit and watch TV. Then there are the rainy days....and boy have we been having a lot of them this summer.
We are still debating whether to get an actual TV and as his addiction has grown hubby has become less inclined to that idea. I'm a lot more partial to the idea. So go on tell me...Is TV bad? How much is too much?
The answer to that question my dear readers is...I'm afraid so! Eek! My favourite pair of jeans have just been scraped off my legs and finally been put in the wash. That meant actually looking in my wardrobe for something to wear instead of just dragging a top out that happily fits with my jeans. The problem is that it appears that some of said items of clothing no longer fit without a lot of pushing and squeezing. I know I've been doing a lot of comfort eating recently. I also know that I certainly don't do as much exercise as I used to. I mean I was probably fitter when I was pregnant. I'm not overly self conscious of my body and have never done any fad diets but this time something needs to be done. I head off on my summer holidays in August and part of the plan is to head to the beach.
It's easy to make excuses as a mum, too busy....too tired...I get enough exercise just running after him. I know that exercise is good for me. I feel so much better after. It's a great way to clear the mind and it's a great way to have just time for me.
So this is it...the ultimatum to myself, said out loud and boldly shared with others...It's time to put a fitness plan into action! (with only the occasional tea and biscuit...that keeps me sane too after all)
I recently had the opportunity to hold a new baby in my hands. How quickly I have forgotten what it felt like to hold my wee man that way now that he wiggles and squirms his way out of my arms. It seems impossible sometimes that there was a time he was not able to walk and get himself into mischief. There has been so much growing going on around here that it's been difficult to think of a way to capture it in just one moment. Most parents do something though don't they to chart the growth and change. Whether it's hand prints or footprints, the pencil marks against the wall there is usually a record for us to treasure how quickly they grow and change. Here is a little piece of ours....
We all hate it right...when our little one's get sick. The first time is the worst and I'm actually not sure it ever gets any better but at least you start to learn what you are dealing with. In the beginning there was more of a willingness though to check things out, just in case, make sure the wee man was okay and book an appointment with the GP. The thing is more often than not I was always told not to worry about it, calpol if they had a fever was the most you were offered. Once after weeks of my wee man suffering I decided that I had to keep going back because surely this was not good for him and the doctor had to do something about it. What seemed rather grudgingly I was actually given some antibiotics to give him and behold he became better. The next time he got sick he didn't have a fever and he was running about quite happily but he was just not keeping any food down. I was pretty lazy about taking him to the GP *NOT because I was not worried honest but what were they really going to do?* but he was starting to miss nursery because of it so that pushed my butt in gear. I was horrified to find out he had an ear infection and that this was his bodies way of showing it and he was severely dehydrated. Let's say that we won't just be looking out for a fever again!
I've been quick to realise that when it comes to babies, children and medicine there appears to be different approaches toward it depending on where you are. I really love the GP surgery I am at at the moment and thankfully at least they take the time to listen. It's a struggle sometimes though that if there are any general concerns over my little man it means a referral to a specialist and a long wait by which point sometimes the worrying rash or the persistent cough suddenly decides to disappear. They don't like to prescribe medicine for children here and usually just let them work their way through it. In Jamaica you go to a paediatrician not just a General Practitioner. I'm pretty lucky that my sister is one so she is not only a brilliant Auntie she is also a very useful host of knowledge for me as well. As soon as he arrived in Jamaica I was promptly told that he has allergies and should be on certain medication regularly which she quickly prescribed without thinking about it. While there he also came down with a fever after the first few nights and he was again quickly given a whole host of medication to help him get better because as my sister says 'It's much easier to prevent than it is to cure'. I trust my sister and wanted my son to get better and I did not even think twice about questioning whether it was right to give him medication or not.
As soon as we are back in the UK the constant sniffles, cough and rashes return and I'm back to second guessing about how I should respond. With the medication we had in Jamaica running out the question rears it's head again...does he need to take something or is he just going to grow out of it. Most of the over the counter allergy medication are 6 plus years. Anything for toddlers expressly says it's free of anything that was recommended to me when I was at home. So what do I do...should I go to the GP and argue the point that these are the medications which have worked please prescribe me some? The wee man is now teething and in obvious discomfort....the homoeopathic things are not working...I'm tempted to give some paracetamol...how much? how often? Is it really necessary? Is it really teething (that's another post)?
We had a great time exploring the Royal Edinburgh Botanic Gardens. After starting with a wonderful lunch at the Gateway Restaurant (little did we know that there are other options for food!) we had to go and stretch our legs. As usual there is no stopping my wee man and he needs no excuse for a good wonder. It really is pretty and it helps when the sun is shining! We were thankful for the sun as paying to enter the Glass House was just not up our street. We just about managed to prevent the wee man from picking anything as is his inclination and I even managed to get a few close ups of the pretty flowers. It was so relaxing and a breath of fresh air that I am SURE the wee man is going to have a good sleep tonight!
So my son wakes early this morning...teething is a bitch. He makes up for it though as him and his daddy listen to the Beets, dancing and having fun. So it was only appropriate that this was what I share today....
With my wee man's papà being Italian it's a question I get quite frequently - Is he bilingual? The answer at the moment I'm afraid is that I really don't know. We have got lots of conversation going on at the minute. I mean he is constantly chatting when looking at his books, playing with his toys, out and about, pointing at things, looking at us but we don't have that many words. We have a meagre list at the moment of mamà (he happens to call most people that by the way...hmph!), hiya, ta, ta ta, wow, yesssss. He is also good at some animal noises and definitely knows that the cow goes moo, the duck goes AA and the tiger, lions and bears go raaar. He does a great elephant impression which I'm afraid I just can't put into words for you.
I'll be honest in that I have not read up much about babies and language and communication. I try to keep him stimulated and read lots of books and just hope for the best really. I have heard that babies who have to work around two languages do speak later (and considering he has to cope with the Glaswegian accent as well) maybe that is what we are seeing here. I know that each parent should speak in their own mother tongue and we do that so he hears only Italian from his papà. He has got lots of books in Italian and Italian toys as well. Then he speaks a lot to his nonni on Skype and they don't really do English.
That is where it really becomes important to us, this bilingualism, he has so much family in Italy that it would be great if he could talk to them and they could understand him. The fear is that he may understand but not be as able to speak it. I'm afraid though we can only really wait and see. This is a story yet to unfold.
So when you get pregnant one of the usual questions is "What are you having?". Boy (blue), Girl (pink) or Yellow (it's a surprise!). The good old nature/nurture debate...is gender all about biology or socialisation or if you are like me you jump on the it's a bit of both bandwagon. They are couples out there who have gone gender-neutral and boy did it cause debate! So much so I realised that maybe I do not want to write this post cause I don't honestly really do controversy. I do controversy in safe places with friends and as recently they all seem to be either pregnant or have babies, gender and "how you do it" is usually a topic that crops up.
I'll admit it...I wanted a boy...simply because I hate faffing about with hair...I think that is why it was decided that my son should be born with lots of it just to get back at me. I do think my son was born with his own little personality. Often me and hubby wonder to ourselves where the hell he got the idea to behave like that from. I do know as well though that I am also going to be responsible in shaping his little personality in some way. I want to say that from becoming a parent a part of me does think that boys are inherently different to girls but who can deny socialisation when it stares you so hard in the face.
I tend to pick and choose toys that will stimulate and that he appears to have fun playing with rather than whether it's suitable for him as a boy or girl. Yet I'm not sure I am going to go out and buy him a doll...he has so many girl friends though that he will have plenty of opportunity to play with them if he likes. Yes he wears "boys" clothes especially now that he is growing up and it actually often frustrates me over the lack of choice there is for boys than there is for girls. I am not a fan of him getting away with making a mess and being more boisterous because "he's a boy, that's what boys do." I know that others will respond to him differently as he grows up because yes he is a boy, soon to be teenager, soon to be man (oh my goodness...looking that far ahead I am kind of scaring myself) and in some ways surely he needs to be prepared for that...not that I am really sure how to prepare him.
I think the easiest way out of this whole gender debate is for me to just to love him as much as I can. He will get too many cuddles and too many kisses and hopefully know that however he is as a boy it's good enough for me (as long as he learns to treat the girls nicely).
I have done my fair share of travels and seen some beautiful places and tried my best to capture the greatness of what I saw in pictures. From stunning landscapes to getting up close and personal, nature has so much to offer.
To choose just one photo of natural beauty is really rather difficult so I will choose instead a photo that tells a story of mother nature and me.
One morning I decided to get up really early. I was travelling with hubby and a friend around South Africa, it was the day of my birthday. I woke up early to celebrate by greeting the sun. It was just me and the sunrise and the sea. Mother nature does not need to be edited or put make up on to look beautiful.
I am linking up with See it, Snap it, Love it over at Dear Beautiful Boy where the theme is nature.
With all this wet weather lets just say establishing the weekly walk has been rather difficult. This weekend we had a special visitor with us so we decided no matter what we were just going to go for it.
As we do when guests come to stay we usually decide to go farther afield and show them the beauty that Scotland really does have to offer. This was not so much a weekly walk but a drive to St Andrews. We found that a great way to travel there is to do the Fife coastal route which usually means we spend hours travelling and stopping along the way and maybe stopping for an hour in St Andrews. The best bits is the East Neuk of Fife with it's picturesque villages and lovely beaches. We usually stop in Elie to enjoy the beach and Crail to explore the harbour.
We had a decent meal at The Pavillion when we arrived at Elie. The wee man then loved stretching his legs at the beach and of course we had a ball to kick around which made it all the better.
We explored the ruins of the Lady Tower and he loved seeing the waves splashing and he was doing some great "oooooooos".
It knackered him out and he slept through Crail which gave him plenty of energy to enjoy some running about in St Andrews.
One day I took my wee man to the park and he noticed another boy with a ball and suddenly he was not interested in anything else. That was the first time I noticed his fascination with balls and had to promptly go and get him his very own.
Whenever we head to the park we take it with us. Recently we jumped at the chance to go out because with all this horrible rainy weather there was finally a day of sunshine.
This time we ignored heading for the swings and the slides. It was just plenty of space, plenty of grass and a big blue and black football.
We completely ignore the fact that it says "No Ball Games".
I love the fact that we are finally getting some fresh air. He's getting lots of exercise. We are both having lots of fun.
My son of course is very zen and always takes time out to just become one with nature.