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The “Teacher Mum”

This is such a new concept to me, like many first time school mums, it is a minefield. The expectations, the waiting at the school gates, the meeting of new parents and children, meeting the teacher and the reading and homework. It’s a whole new ball game. 

I’ve adjusted to life a school mum quite well, I only do it once a week as I work but I love drop off and collection, preparing his school lunches, reading and finding out about Jenson’s day. I love every part of it and treasure it. We had parents evening next week and I couldn’t wait to hear about his progress. He did amazing, I loved seeing his classroom work, the wall displays ans hear how he was getting on, superbly infact. I felt happy with his progress so far as we also have access to Tapestry, an online learning journey. This is amazing. I get live updates when they upload an observation and I can also upload things we do, it is so lovely to see what he has done. 

It was so bizarre being on the ‘other side’ of the table, I am so use to just talking about the child and filling the silence, making sure there isn’t any gaps and avoiding questions at all costs! As a rule that you learn, you always ask the parents perspective and feelings at the beginning, then you can run with the rest of the appointment on your terms and that way you avoid over running. Jenson’s teacher knew all of the tricks of the trade, something you learn with experience. 

The sharing of career, however, has meant we have an understanding. I know that it isn’t always possible to hear children read, that teachers are human and forget things and that his teachers works her arse off. Especially when she is adding tapestry observations at 9pm on a Friday or 3pm on a Sunday. I relate to that life. 

As a teacher mum, I also know the importance and value of supportive parents. I understand that he needs to read at home every night, know his sounds, count and recognise numbers and calculations. I’ve given him the best possible chance by teaching him how he should be taught, lower case letters, numbers, correct formation of letters and numbers, letter sounds etc. It has meant that he is off to to the best start and will therefore shine and thrive above his peers, not because he is a genius (which he obviously is), but because he has had lots of opportunities. I also find myself over excelling with his homework, I really enjoy the opportunities it gives us to be together, we have been on a nature walk, number hunt, shape searching and we are taking his bear on a trip. We have had good feedback so far! 

I also understand her pressures, the fact that there are 29 other children in the class, with a variety of needs, some more complex than others. I know that the parents are different, some more complicated and some so laid back they forget to dress their child. I get that she doesn’t have eyes in the back of her head and some things do go unnoticed but it is my child in her class, I want him to be the centre of her world. Her main focus. I want her to adore and love him, challenge and push him, which she does but I hate that I do not have that involvement. 

The hardest bit has been separating myself from him. Spending maternity leave and all summer with Jenson to then nothing, someone else seeing him more and teaching him things when thay was my job. The logistics are perfect for a teacher Mum, but it’s in my heart that I struggle to deal with someone else doing my job as both a Mummy and a teacher. I imagine it will just get harder.  

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It’s hard not being the favourite 

I have had a Mummy’s boy, I experienced first hand being the ‘favourite’. Jenson has always come to me when he needs something, especially cuddles. He is a typical Mummy’s boy and I have loved it. When I returned to work and Scott looked after him, I remained a firm favourite. Even now, Jenson and Scott bicker and it’s always me that solves their problems, it’s like having two children. 

Jenson has loved me being on maternity leave and me returning to work has been particularly difficult for him. He squeals and comes running when I come home. By Jenson starting school, he isn’t missing me as much, as he is out of the house but he just wants me around. I love that I’ll always get his holidays with him.

Emeline has passed her attachment phase and mummy obsession that every baby goes through.  She is still always so happy to see me but she ‘plays’. Emeline is the ultimate Daddy’s girl. She will always chose to go to him, unless she wants milk. She finds him the funniest and always wants to make him laugh, Scott was the first one to get her kisses when she learnt to do them. 

Since I returned to work, their bond is even stronger. Scott is looking after Emeline and my days, don’t they love it. She has him eating out the palm of her hand, he even finds her removing her sun hat in this ridiculously warm English weather hilarious… That’s not cute! They have been for lunch and played all day, in a few weeks they start a baby group together too at Tumble Tots. 

I don’t even mind that Scott and Emeline have the most amazing bond but I want to be her favourite, I know he adores her so much and more than he does me but I’ve been her sole carer for almost 9 months and carried her for 41 weeks. I should be her favourite. Her reaction when I come home is amazing, she is so happy to see me and then within 20 seconds she wants Scott again. It’ll go in a full circle, she’ll come back to me and I’ll be the favourite again! 

I know when she is older and she wants some beautiful shoes or a spa day, it’ll be me she comes to, so he can have this part of her life. Likewise, I’ll forever try to keep Jenson close and protect him and no doubt Scott will be encouraging him to play sport. Parenting works in mysterious ways! 

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Lucky Mummy

I know I am a lucky Mummy. I have two wonderful children who are healthy and absolutely gorgeous. So far, they are well behaved and they’ve made my “Mummy dreams” come true! 

But… I know that. I know all that.
I think I take Emeline for granted. I say think because I appreciate every ounce of her and spend all the time I can with her and her beautiful self. 

Emeline is such an easy baby and I take that for granted. Whenever we go anywhere, she just comes along and sits her pushchair. She doesn’t make a fuss and just watches the world go by. Everyone said that the second baby will just fit in and go along with life but I also expected her to be a little more demanding, something she totally isn’t. 

I have blitzed the house this week and she sat on the floor and just played with her toys, dancing to the music on the TV and chatting and shouting at me. She didn’t make a fuss. She just watched and enjoyed looking around, I stopped for feeding and to cuddle her and in those moments, I realised that I wanted to cuddle her more to just enjoy her and her angelic ways. 

On days when we are out for Jenson, like last week at Country File. She spent the whole time in her pram, she notices and talks to the people we pass and chews on her toys. Emeline loves looking around. It got to about 3pm and I realised how much I missed her, she had been there all day but I missed her, I missed her cuddles and playing with her and just being with her. I took her for granted that she just enjoys life happily. I could have worn her in her sling, or had her out for longer playing and feeding but I did what I needed to and put her back in for Jenson’s day out. I totally took her loveliness for granted and I feel sad. I also feel torn, it makes life easy that Jenson can enjoy a day as he is more demanding at the moment and being the summer holidays, he needs to be entertained. 

I do wonder if this is 2nd child syndrome overall really, they all plod along and don’t get that 1:1 care the first child had, I know that happens. It won’t always be like this or this easy, so I’ll enjoy it and squidgy her up as much as I can. No doubt she will be a terror of a toddler or a teenager! 

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I love my Mum

There has been many times, throughout my life, where my mum has driven me potty. Most days, she drives me mad at some point and she can be a bit of a fruit loop at times too but she has the biggest heart too and we are very lucky to have her. There is something special about a mother and daughter relationship and I hope I get that with Emeline. My Mum, would do anything to help us and both my children and I think the world of her. 


I remember the first time I saw her after giving birth to Jenson, I was so pleased to ‘see’ her, our relationship changed in that moment. I knew the love she felt, I knew how proud she felt and I felt proud to have given her a grandson. She knew how I felt having my first child, how excited and exhausted in the same breath. I cried and she cried with me. I immediately understood her reasons, her worry, her love, her battles and her feelings towards me and my sister. As the years have gone by, I have understood her neurotic crazy moments when you totally lose your shit over the smallest thing but in actual fact, it’s a build up of events, or a stress you parent moment you’re protecting little people from that bubbles over. I know how she feels and my respect for her has changed so much since having my own children as well as my love and my patience. On top of that, I am so grateful for her, her endless love and support and sometimes, advice. Often, I don’t want it! 


Whenever we need anything, she will almost always come running, unless the sewing bee is on. No joke. My children idolise her, they have a truly wonderful relationship and I am so reassured that they have such trust in her and adore her as much as she does them. My parents taught me some wonderful lessons, they were always fair, although at the time, it felt like they weren’t. My sister and I were brought up well and have good morals, something I want Jenson and Emeline to have, I want their parenting to filter through mine, although of course I want it to be different and do it my own way with my own style too, it’s a learning journey and one I want to discover but I learnt so many skills from them. Sometimes, it amazes me that my sister and I survived with some things my Mum and Dad say and do… There is a huge generation gap between parenting and grandparenting!

 
I don’t think I say thank you enough, I always say it as I have good manners but I don’t spontaneously thank her. I used to take her for dinner but maternity leave and busy lives has put a stop to that recently. I want her to know I am grateful for what she does for us. 

Today, both children are unwell, and like before, she came over to help with my sanity. Mum went to Lidl to collect bread rolls for Jenson’s soup and biscuits as requested by Jenson in a lovely, long voice message. She then San and cuddled him, then Emeline, then played, then watched a film before leaving for her Sainsburys food shop. We had a nice time chatting and sympathising with Jenson and Emeline and it was such a nice afternoon. 

So, Mum, thank you. For everything over the past 28+ years. More specifically, the recent 4+ where you have shown your value as a Mum as well as a Nana. 

Love you. 

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Why is a boy and girl considered ‘perfect’?

I read a blog post yesterday about expectations of having children, people expecting you to want a girl after a boy and a boy after a girl and it really made me think. 

https://anordinarymummy.wordpress.com/2016/04/05/three-boys-so-youll-try-for-a-girl/

Ever since I announced I was pregnant last April, everyone assumed we ‘hoped’ for a little girl. Sometimes people have preferences, you can’t deny that. I really wanted a little boy first time round. Truth is, Scott really did. He really wanted a little girl but I didn’t actually mind at all. Infact, I was really expecting a little boy and wanted another one. I loved the name we had chosen for our ‘boy’, whilst we waited, we were team yellow. Throughout my pregnancy my inklings towards the baby being a girl or boy changed day to day, the pregnancy was similar, I had sickness but the cravings were so different. Of course we did all the wives tales and I looked at the skull theory because I was excited about our baby and wanting to know, everyone loves a surprise and I love waiting but I still wanted to know what my baby was, like I wanted to know what they would look like, smell like, weigh etc.  

Both at 16 weeks and finding Daddy hilarious

We had a growth scan at 34 weeks and the sonographer referred to our baby as a ‘she’. Naturally, I totally lost my s***! She claimed it was a slip of the tongue and hadn’t seen but now I think she did know and it was a slip of the tongue by announcing accidentally. The poor woman wanted to ground to eat her up! In no way, did I feel any different towards my bump. My excitement remained and I could not wait to meet my little person.  

Jenson on the left and Emeline on the right.

Once our baby arrived and was delivered, I held them in the pool, the cord was really short so the baby stayed low down in the water. Squealing in delight at the arrival on our little person, the little person was the spitting image of her brother. We didn’t even look. We presumed our baby was another boy and the delight was pure. The midwife reminded us to ‘check’ after referring to our baby as a ‘he’ and our baby was infact a little ‘she’.  

Two peas in a pod. J on left and E on the right

My feelings did not change. We still had a beautiful, healthy baby, who I loved and adored with every inch of me. 

Then the announcement came. Almost everybody replied with:

“Awww, perfect, one of each!”

I found this comment so insulting and the more I heard it, the angrier I got. The only thing perfect about my two children, other than everything because they are mine, is that they are both healthy. It makes no difference of their gender and it still doesn’t. I am sure as they get older the balance of boys and girls will shine through, but currently it makes absolutely no difference. I do need some girlyness in my life, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing better than being farted in the face and constantly cleaning the toilet seat and generally being harassed by my 4 year old but the idea of spa days and nail painting makes me daydream for hours. I was never that girl, I am now, but I wasn’t as I grew up so I can’t expect Emeline to be the same. The fact that I sit painting Jenson’s nails also makes me laugh, screw you stereotypical expectations!  

 

The ridiculous comments continued and I am so pleased people are happy for us, don’t get me wrong, but it just wound me up that people were so naive and I guess a little insensitive,  I am also not sure why I felt so defensive about it. I have people close to me who struggle to conceive and infertility is also close to home so I know not to take it for granted. It got worse with some comments, such as:

“You are so lucky to have a boy and a girl”

I did snap at that, no, I am lucky I can have children and I am so lucky that so far, they are healthy and bloody gorgeous. 

“Wow, you’ve done it the right way, a boy and then a girl for him to look after.”

I can guarantee this girl will hold her own, especially if she is like her Mummy! Who even knew there was a right way to have children? It’s like you have a choice!

Immediately, it is assumed that we will not have any more children because why would we?! We have a boy and a girl!! I actually couldn’t say whether we would have anymore as there are a million other things to think about but I also feel I want to as the perfect ‘2:4’ family drives me insane and I don’t want to be on that pedestal! 

Each and every single child is a blessing, a beautiful gift that I will be forever grateful for, I love my two, more than anything and I know that a mum of 28 boys or 28 girls would feel exactly the same.  I know everyone is different and some feel disappointed but long term, how could you be? Most parents are proud of their children for who they are and love them for that exact reason, not because they are a girl or boy!!

  

  

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Going alone 

Today is my first 8am-8pm day, pretty much a single parent for the day. Scott returned to shift work today, long term this is perfect for us and I just need to adjust our routine slightly. It was relatively easy with Jenson but now there is two of them and Jenson needs dinner and bedtime and his routine. 

 
Scott works four days on, four days off, those four days can be dreams or nightmares depending on the 4 year old! I use to love it just being us and him being the centre of attention but now he has to share his time with Emie, it could go either way! 

Today was okay! We had our usual day, easy. I had a nice breakfast with Jenson whilst Emeline slept, lunch and playing. Dinner was prepared and ready to eat at 5, much better at that time than waiting until 6 when Scott would usually get in. Just as I was about to dish up Emeline started to really scream, this is so unlike her and I was quite concerned. I tried to feed her, she wasn’t interested, I took her clothes off and she was still going mad. She was crying so much she was choking and being sick which scared me. I walked her around and she eventually calmed down. Jenson had finished his dinner and mine was cold. I had started to run a bath for Emie as it always helps her chill out and she is so happy, as expected she was delighted by her bath and was happy kicking around. Once she was out, I massaged her then dressed her in pjs and Jenson got out the bath and ready for bed. I ate my dinner whilst Emeline played on her mat and Jenson ate his pudding. I felt like I had accomplished something! I also managed to get the washing in, washing up done and make Scott’s lunch for tomorrow!  

Chicken in honey, soy sauce and garlic with veggies, buttered leek, spinach and asparagus and sweet potato mash.

My next hurdle was bedtime, Emie looked so tired! I got Jenson to go to the toilet and brush his teeth, he had a story in his bed with me and Emie and then I tucked him in. Emeline has had her night and that’s them both asleep by 7.15pm! A great achievement on my own, especially managing to fit all my jobs in too! 

 

I know some amazing parents do this alone all day every day and I am in awe of them. It was a big deal for me, another tick on adjusting to life as a parent of two. 

Next on the list to conquer are the night shifts, dreading it! 

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Easy eating out

I love eating out, we are such foodies. Normal restaurants though, we don’t go too posh as the portions are too small, general chain restaurants and a few smaller family run restaurants in our local area are our favourite. We definitely have our favourites. 

Jenson has also developed our love for eating out, he often requests breakfast, lunch or dinner out. His grandparents have a lot to blame too! Jenson is recognised in our local Costa and has his ‘favourite’ drink from his favourite Barista, now that is embarrassing. He has such confidence now that he will order his own food and drink by himself.  

 

We have always found eating out with Jenson really easy, someone told me when I was pregnant with him to eat out early so he gets use to it and we did. We took him with us and let him share our meals when he was weaning, eventually he started to have his own small dishes and now he almost always has a full three course meal! Jenson has had one horrendous meal incident, on his first birthday at Prezzo in Epping when he decided to wear the spaghetti bolognaise on his head and then threw the remaining around his high chair!!! Now, thankfully, we don’t have a problem with him. He is impeccably behaved and he uses all of his manners. I feel so proud of him. 

Jenson has earnt his weekly stars, he gets to choose a treat and he chose a Chinese this week! My four year old wanted to go out for dinner as his treat, we have created a monster! As usual, he sat beautifully eating his starter and mains, he will always eat a selection of foods too, he is well cultured and has good taste buds. 

Now we have to do the same with Emeline to ensure that she is as well behaved at the table! Tonight, she was as good as gold, laying on her mat chatting and gurgling at the lights and her Daddy! We will take her with us, and when she is weaning she can eat our food to try different things. We will have a ‘pub bag’ full of tricks and entertainment just in case of delays or boredom and get her in a high chair, sitting with us as early as possible! Fingers crossed!