Little Hands 

Little hands playing hard, grasping, grabbing and turning 

Little hands exploring things, practicing and learning 

Little hands that do things that maybe they shouldn’t do

Ripping and drawing, messing up, learning like me and you

Little hands holding mine, gripping with such affection 

Little hands trusting me, strengthening our connection 

Little hands getting dirty, investigating outside 

Little hands getting stronger, letting children expand their minds

Little hands creating, covered up with paint and glue

Little hands imagining and designing something new 

Little hands gripping, pulling little bodies up high

Little hands giving confidence, just as if they could reach the sky

Little hands eating, taking food up to mouths so small 

Little hands working to allow bodies to grow up tall

Little hands loving, gently holding precious things 

Little hands looking after and enjoying what new life brings 

Little hands lying still, all cosy in their bed

Little hands so quiet and calm, resting by a little head 

Little hands that one day won’t be so very small

Little hands that grow and change, right in front of us all

Little hands that I treasure, holding on while I have the chance

Little hands that swing and twirl, sharing in another dance 

Little hands and little hearts, children that I adore 

Little hands and little smiles 

Little girls that make my heart soar

It’s not about the mugs!

I gave myself a good telling off this morning! 

I was having a silly strop about our mugs not all fitting in the cupboard properly. We have to keep balancing a couple precariously on top of each other. I mean, God forbid, talk about first world problems!

(As if all the cups in the house are ever clean at any one time anyway, there are usually at least two in use and another two left somewhere with cold tea at the bottom)

I was just in a bad mood. Everything about the room was wrong. 

  

We only have one drawer in our kitchen, it’s where we keep the cutlery. (It is a pretty small kitchen) We had to buy plastic drawers to keep the veg and potatoes in which obviously take up space and we don’t have a dryer. (I could complain for hours about the repercussions of that one)

To be honest, none of that was the reason for my mood, the source of it could have been sleep deprivation, or maybe hormones, but either way, silly things were amplified in my head and I took it out on my beautiful little kitchen, which I really do love, most days!

A few things left on the kitchen worktop can make it seem cluttered. 

(I hate clutter!) 

My poor husband hadn’t put dirty pots in the sink, they were on the side, so he got a mouthful.

And then I came to my senses.

Ok, so everybody is allowed off-days, right?

No, not in this case, I was being so annoyingly ungrateful!

We are blessed to have somewhere to live, food for every meal, comfy beds, places to sit, a working washing machine and a fully-functioning kitchen. As a family of four we are extremely lucky! 

Especially when (I don’t usually like to compare, however) there is so, so, so much suffering in the world and so many people who are complaining about actual real problems.
  
So, as I said, I gave myself a good telling off. For moaning about such an insignificant thing. The next time something in my house annoys me, which will happen, I know it, I am going to try and remember how foolish and petty it sounds to complain. 

I have a husband who loves me, yes, even when I shout at him for, you know, living in his own home! 

I have two beautiful children who don’t care anyway about how many mugs don’t fit in the cupboard! 

And we have a nice, safe, comfortable place to live.

Those pesky hormones have a lot to answer for, as technically I should never be complaining about anything, ever.

So if ever you hear insignificant, minor complaints about silly, unimportant things coming out of my mouth, you have my permission to shake me!

Happy Tuesday, everyone. I truly hope that you don’t have anything real to complain about either.
  

The Muddy Footprint

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I walked into my daughter’s bedroom and there it was; a horrible, muddy footprint in the middle of her cream-coloured carpet. I stopped walking to stare at it and I vaguely remember saying something out loud, something which would probably not have been very ‘sweet’.

 

It was filthy, it was wet, and it shouldn’t have been there because my girls always take their shoes off when they go upstairs. What a mess!

 

But then I remembered; and it meant so much more than what I’d just been thinking.

 

I immediately relaxed, smiled, exhaled with relief as much as with pride and just cleaned it up.

 

I knew exactly why it was there and the immediate horror that I’d felt just seconds earlier vanished, only to be replaced with joy.

 

We had been playing outside. We seem to spend lots of our time there at the moment, just in our garden and just the three of us (when daddy is at work).

This year is already less exhausting than last year because last year I had a crawling eight-month-old baby who literally put whatever she could find into her mouth. My eldest daughter (then two-years-old) couldn’t rely on me to play games for prolonged periods of time because my youngest had to be always monitored and if I had to step inside for whatever reason, it usually meant them both coming with me, even just for a few minutes. They were both in nappies, both very small, very dependent and just completely exhausting.

 

This last year I have witnessed major changes in both my girls as they grow and develop, not only in their own way but in their relationship towards each other. They play together now, well, sometimes, when they’re not running off with each other’s toys or winding each other up. They laugh with each other, which is a beautiful sound, and they can be left alone for more than two minutes while I get things done.

 

My youngest no longer eats everything in sight, my eldest’s imagination has blossomed and her solitary play is amazing; both of them now have grown up so much.

So now when we’re playing outside, I can sit back and watch them explore, watch them get messy, watch them investigate their surroundings and burn off some energy. It really is such a joy to see and much less tiring than last year.

 

On this particular day my three-year-old was covered in dirt and her shorts were pretty wet. She told me she was uncomfortable. We had the paddling pool out and I couldn’t leave it or my baby to sort her out so I asked her to do it.

 

When I think about how many instructions I gave her in one go, I am still impressed that she remembered them all. I asked her to go upstairs to her bedroom, get some new knickers from her knicker drawer and some new shorts from her clothes drawer, take her wet ones off, put them in the wash and put her clean ones on. She loved being given the chance to do it independently, her favourite thing at the moment because she is a ‘big girl’ as she keeps reminding me.

 

When she emerged from the house in her new, clean clothes I couldn’t believe it, (and yet I could, because she is very capable). I was very proud of her and the part of me that missed my baby was overshadowed by the part of me that loves watching her grow and take responsibility for herself. She will always be my baby, and I know she will continue to need me for many, many years, but she is definitely changing, definitely growing and definitely becoming more self-sufficient. In a short while, what she did may cease to impress, it will become the norm when she dresses herself in the mornings and I will ask her again and again to help out. But she has just turned three and to me, what she did was impressive.

 

So later, when I saw the mark that she had left behind in her bedroom, once I realised why it was there, I felt new levels of pride in what my daughter had achieved. There was the evidence that she had been there, opened the correct drawers and found what she was looking for. There was the evidence that I can continue trusting her to do things, to encourage her to take care of her own needs.

 

The dirty mark has gone now. The mud from her sandal washed away instantly, it took only seconds. But the memory of how I felt watching my baby look after herself and follow my instructions, the feelings of pride and of love, they will last forever. She left a footprint on my heart that day too, one that can never be washed away!