I’m a mean mama. I love you so much, that sometimes a mean mama is the best I can be for you.
There are so many things in this world that I wish to protect you from, to keep you from, to keep from you that sometimes it means that what you want in the now I have to say no to because I want to keep you safe.
Yes, I want to keep you from predators and yes, I want to keep you from people whose love for you may be more about themselves than you. And yes, I want to keep your body safe and your belly full and your learning continual and your development appropriate, but I also want to keep your mind.
I want your thoughts to be of adventures and mysteries, I want your dreams to be of fairies and ballerinas, or trucks and superheroes if you wish. I want your biggest dilemmas to be whether you should bring the red spade or the blue spade to the beach, if your new friend in the park will l be there again tomorrow or not or whether you will walk or take a scooter.
I want to wash copious amounts of muddy trousers and scrub grass stains out of the knees, to have to carry a spare set of wellie boots for when yours are full of puddles. I want beach toys and wooden food and glitter to litter my floors and to be sweeping up sandpit sand for years to come.
I want equal wardrobe space for fancy dress as for clothes, and to be ‘persuaded’ to take a fireman, fairy, pirate or princess with me on every milk run.
There are many years ahead where you will worry about your appearance. There are tears that you will cry over boys and lovers and friends come and gone.
There may be a time for you to care about what’s popular, what’s hot, what’s happening in the world around you, but that time is not now.
Now is the time for a clean fresh face, and a wardrobe that allows you the movement and freedom of childhood without trying to make you into a mini-woman. Now is the time to enjoy fanciful stories and childish movies. Now is the time to live to the fullest and enjoy a kind of freedom you will never again experience, a kind of life you will only appreciate years after its gone.
My girls, a time will come where you will wear make-up and listen to music with themes that don’t belong to childhood. A time will come where your choice of outfit might make me cringe and your choice of entertainment might leave me questioning where I went wrong. I know it will because it came for me, as it does for everyone.
Even Peter Pan grew up eventually…
But innocence lost is lost forever. Childhood left behind is a street with only one direction. There’s no turning back time.
I will do my best to keep you young, to hold on to your youthful days, to be the buffer against words like sexualisation and objectification, and a torrent of marketing that tries to tell you what “stuff” you need to be popular, or beautiful, or loved. I will cocoon you, so that the subjects and realities of teenage years or adulthood become known to you then, and not a day before.
I will be your fortress even when you wonder why you can’t do the things other kids are allowed to and I will be you shield till such a time as your decisions are made by your desires for your life, not those of your peers, or characters in TV shows and magazines.
At times you may hate me, but in time I believe you will see that it was always about what was best for you and one day as you watch your own daughters hurtle with frightening velocity from infancy you will understand that sometimes “you’re being mean mama” is just another form of my deep and undying and eternal love.
How long will it be, till you no longer reach for my hand?
How long until dinosaurs and fairies no longer roam
and you can face everything you fear on your own?
How many more days do I have, picking dandelions with you?
Answering a ceaseless stream of why’s?
‘fore you don’t need my answers at all?
When will you stop looking to me for all the new things you see?
How long do I have before either I no longer know
or you at least doubt that I do?
How many more days can I keep you playing, in the garden, with frogs,
excited by ‘the most amazing creatures’, common garden bugs
and gross-me-out slugs?
How much time do I have left, to view the world through your eyes?
To see the magical, the beautiful, the every day
in your incredibly sensory way?
How many more days, because it passing too soon, in whirlwinds and torrents and days come to pass.
Hold on for a moment, you’re growing too fast, let me drink it all in, let me sip up my fill
then let me hold your hand, while you allow me to still.
Aviya’s 1st birthday is just over a week away, and while knee-deep in preparations for it, I realised that with the mayhem and madness of visas and flying to Australia in October, I never posted the photos from Ameli’s 3rd birthday party. For her party we had an Under The Sea party at a Puck’s Oak Barn in Compton. It’s an absolutely stunning venue and it happened to be one of the rare beautiful days of last year, weather wise. It didn’t rain, and in fact the sun came out and cast that golden hue around the orchard. It was simply breathtaking, even though it was still a little cold.
We didn’t have entertainment, because we were in an orchard, and while it took everyone a little while to ‘warm up’ to the venue, once they did I think everyone enjoyed just being outdoors. The kids made up a treasure hunt with pretend maps and it was – to me, at least, – an idyllic afternoon.
As guests arrived they walked through the door with hanging fish garlands* (US Link) meant to represent the ocean, like they were ‘swimming’ through a school of fish. I had some of these same fish on the floor inside the hall.
We had a great big blue sandpit shell that we borrowed from a friend. I set up balloons around it – they’re missing in this picture – and put a white blanket inside and set up a camera on a tripod so people could take photos of themselves in the shell, like perfect little pearls.
I spent a lot of the days leading up to the party planning and preparing food for it. There were octopus red peppers on the home made hummus, and a platter of vegetables to choose from. I had a treasure chest – far right- with Starfish Haribo (US Link) pouring from it like treasure, and kiwifruit lollipops covered in dairy free chocolate with edible fishy printed ricepaper. These icecream cones are an unhealthy favourite in our house, originated from the icecream week we did for Andrea’s Summer Camp At Home. Not quite under the sea, but close enough to the sea to be welcome.
These ice cream cones were gluten free, with cheese and chicken or ham, pressed out of bread with cookie cutters (US Link).
And there were white and brown bread fishy sandwiches (US Link) with Tuna and sweet corn and home made mayonnaise .
A lot of effort, but worth every second for this, my beautiful princess, my three year old.
I hope, my gorgeous child, that every year affords me the ability to make your birthday as special as your life has made mine.
*If you purchase through any of these links, you will not be charged any extra, but Amazon will pay me around 5% of the purchase price. If buy without an affiliate link, Amazon just keeps the whole amount!
** You can find many more ideas on my Under The Sea Pinterest Board
I realise with surprise, at times, that I am a mother, and that I have a child. No longer a baby, but a girl, a daughter. Daughters. The word catches in my throat, and my heart drops into the pit of my stomach where it knots, making my head spin. Like a player at a roulette wheel,waiting for the deciding moment when the dream, the beautiful dream, may be swept away.
The moment passes, and I know, with your heads resting in the nooks of my arms, I know that this is forever, you will always be mine. My baby, my child, my daughters. In making you, you remake me.
You, young lady, are the new benchmark for sisterhood in my world. You have surprised me, blown my expectations out the water and a few tough days aside, have made our transition from three to four so much easier than I thought it would be.
During Aviya’s birth you were such a star. We baked a cake, then you were in the pool with me, and later, while I was giving birth, you were next to the pool, busy with Nana sticking your stickers, building your puzzles, and every now and again looking up and checking in to see what was going on.
I loved having you close by. I loved being able to see you. While we were in the pool, before you got out, I pulled you closer to me and I gave you a huge cuddle. I don’t remember what I said, exactly, but I know I was crying. I was saying good bye to my only child.
After we raised Aviya out of the water, you came around to have a look, and the first thing you asked was “Can it walk?” We did laugh at that.
After the birth, you were the first to want to cuddle your ‘baby sister’ and over the weeks that have followed you’ve taken every opportunity to cuddle her, hold her, kiss her, and lie with her. When I put her next to you in bed, you put your arms around her, when I tandem feed you both, you hold on to her. Your affection is amazing. Hearing you say to her, unprompted by us, “I love you so much baby sister..”, well, it melts me and I feel like the most blessed mother in the world.
In the weeks since her birth you’ve been so helpful, and considerate. If I’m feeding you and she wakes up, you’ll finish before you’re really finished so that I can feed her. When I tell you I’ll do something with you once she’s asleep, you’ll play quietly (most of the time) so that I can get her down. You really have accepted her in so wholly, it’s been incredible to observe.
The health visitor came along when Aviya was two weeks old and asked how you were adjusting. When I told her how well you were doing, she said it was a massive compliment to us, and to how we parent you. She said it means that you’ve not felt threatened or replaced, the way it should be. It was vindicating and incredibly nice to hear, especially at such an uncertain time.
Having a sister has definitely impacted on you. In the weeks leading up to her birth, you finally at almost two and a half, started sleeping through the night. It lasted for about three glorious weeks. Then you reverted to four times a night waking and nursing. That’s more than your newborn sister!
On the up side, after a few days of attempting to get you onto a potty, then giving it up again for almost a week, you woke up one morning and went on the potty all by yourself. It was a fantastic week with just two accidents. Then, for no particular reason you regressed again and we have as many hits as misses right now. Never mind… it’ll take as long as it takes, I guess!
You are so incredibly outgoing and friendly. Sometimes it scares me a little, actually! This week we walked out of the house and I said ‘Now where did daddy park the car?’ A lady happened to be walking past and you said to her ‘Do YOU know where my daddy parked the car yesterday?’. No, she said, but what colour was it? “Silver and black is our car”, you said. We found the car, in the end, but it made me laugh.
A few days later we were on the train to London. You asked to hold ‘my sister’ – whom you sometimes call Missy Pops! – so you were holding her while I folded up the sling. There were two guys sitting opposite us, and you turned to them and said “This is my sister. She was born in the swimmingpool and I was wearing my red swimming costume.” They asked you if you’d been at the birth, and you responded: “Yes, my sister was in mama’s tummy.” I was happy to stop the conversation there!
I’m trying to get better at things like crafts and so on with you, but I do find it hard. I hate mess, and I get really frustrated that you’re still too young to draw in the lines and so on, but that’s totally on me – you do perfectly well for your age.
It’s been quite full on since Nana left. We do okay, but I’m tired a lot. I work a lot to try to keep this here roof over our heads and food on the table, but it means I’m tired and very, very busy. I wish this part was different. I wish I didn’t have to work so much and I wish I could give you both more of myself, and of my time. I wish this babymooning phase could be more babymoon and less stress. But, we’re all doing the best we can.
I’ve felt quite acutely, the addition of another to our little unit. I’ve gotten into bed with Aviya at night, and reached over to your spot in the bed, knowing that you’re not there, but with daddy, and I’ve cried for missing you so much. I miss the closeness of our relationship, and I’ve missed our one on one time together. I really look forward to having some of that again down the line. Today, with Aviya almost six weeks old, you and I went to the shop on our own together for the first time. It was nice. I love my baby, but I do miss my little girl.
Well, that’s all for now, as I can hear you stirring upstairs, and I need to get our lunch ready and feed Aviya too.
I love you Ameli.
For all time, Big Girl.
Happy 27 months my girl. I was putting you down for a nap this afternoon and lying there, watching you I thought, “this is a kind of magic”. You had your one arm under my neck and the other on my waist and as you were drifting off you whispered, “Don’t leave me, Mama.” I lay with you for a little while and stared at your face. This is a kind of magic.
You’re a proper two year old. People ask how old you are, and I say two, and I hate saying two because â€˜two’ can be anywhere from two and one day, which is still my baby or two and 11 months, which seems so grown up. So when people ask, I say you just turned two in October. You’re still on the â€˜baby’ side of two. At least you are to me.