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

The Hope of Tomorrow 

We are living today in a world full of fear

Worry of the future, of those we hold dear

Uncertainty rife and changes ahead

Our heads full of worry, our hearts full of dread

What’s going to happen? What can we do?

How do we keep our children safe, too?

Feelings of helplessness growing so fast

Of not knowing how to make innocence last

But there is some hope, there is still a chance

To be full of wonder and enjoy the dance

Because in our care are the world’s next elite

And we’re here to help them to stand on two feet

Our children will watch, they’ll see and they’ll hear

They’ll love what we love and they’ll fear what we fear

Let’s open their hearts to a much brighter view

If we’re full of kindness then they will be too

We are the example, we are what they see

Their world is as simple as you and me

We can make a difference, let’s start with our home

So the actions they see will be theirs when they’re grown

We can make hearts grow, we can change the world

If we start by loving these boys and these girls

So let’s find our compassion and put others first

If we want our world to be better, not worse

Respect our neighbours, be there for our friends

Show little eyes how our hope will not end

They do see our anger, they do hear our shouts

Imitation is what their life is about

We owe it to them to change how we live

To show growing hearts that it’s better to give

So when they grow up they can live in a place

Full of love, full of hope, with a smile on each face

So if we would like a better tomorrow

One where our children aren’t living in sorrow

Surround them with knowledge of how it should be

Tomorrow begins with you and with me

Another cold tea

My three-year-old (Miss C) ran into my bedroom first thing this morning asking me to open the bathroom door for her so she could go to the toilet. I did so and got back in bed. Then my eighteen-month-old (Miss A) woke up and I went to get her. After sorting things out upstairs we made our way downstairs and I made them some breakfast. I got my cup of tea and sat down, thinking that whilst they were both eating, I could have five minutes. I was wrong. Little miss A decided she’d had enough and stood up, letting her half-full porridge bowl topple to the floor. I grabbed the wipes and her hands. Miss C suddenly announced she needed another wee but couldn’t see her potty. It was upstairs. I left a messy, sticky baby half cleaned while I ran to get it. Miss C then got on the potty so I finished cleaning up the baby and the breakfast. I then placed the potty full of wee on the stairs while I sorted out the kitchen. I emptied the washing machine and began sorting out the washing, remembered my drink and went to get some. Miss A then filled her nappy. I grabbed her changing bag to quickly do her downstairs. Miss C needed another wee. I finished wiping but left little Miss A with no nappy on while I went to empty the potty and bring it back to Miss C. I then finished putting the nappy on, went back upstairs to empty the potty again and while I was there I got some more clothes to go in the machine. Once that was done I went to get my drink. It was cold!

I am a mummy

So, it’s official, my eldest little girl turned three yesterday. We have had her with us for THREE WHOLE YEARS! Which in some ways has gone quickly but I can not imagine my life without her.

I used to live with just my husband when we first got married.
Just my husband? 
What did we do all day? What did we talk about? 
I’m pretty sure that we didn’t appreciate the freedom of going out ten seconds after deciding to, or eating and drinking hot food/drinks when we fancied. We even went to bed when we wanted and (at weekends) got out of bed when we wanted. 
And I cannot even picture it, it was a lifetime ago.

But I’m also certain that I didn’t know unconditional love like I do now. I may have thought I did, especially with my wonderful man, but I didn’t. 

I didn’t know a love so fierce and so powerful that it lifts you on high when things are going well and reduces you to a nervous, emotional wreck when they’re not, and the overwhelming feeling of wanting to protect your child from anything or anyone that could hurt them. 
I didn’t understand the pure joy that comes from seeing your children happy, or the absolute heart full of pride when they succeed at something new. 
And we’re not talking huge things here, I mean lifting heads off the floor, sitting up, reaching out to grab a toy. 
At the moment using a knife and fork can reduce me to tears when the little hands grasping them are just three years old.

I have cried more since becoming a mummy, laughed more, worried more and lost my patience more. 
But the one thing I will say is, despite the huge responsibility it brings (I mean, I am actually in charge of these two little lives. I have to keep them physically alive, teach them certain skills and try and shape them into kind, caring little humans!!) and the fact that I have pretty much lost my house, I mean, the entire place is a playground for them, I’m hiding things that I used to just leave out on a daily basis, not to mention the tiredness that I would never have imagined feeling, the one thing that is undoubtedly true and that sounds so simple but it is so important is that I have never, ever in my life been happier than I feel when I’m with my two girls.

Forget the disruption, the busyness, the mess, the fact that I don’t shower every day anymore or manage to keep on top of the housework; the happiness that motherhood brings, the joy, the giddiness, the elation at times means that everything else is more than worth it. 
I feel happy more times than I don’t. 
These two little babies that are growing up before my very eyes bring so much joy, not just to us but to everyone they meet, it fills me with pride and makes me incredibly happy.

It’s true my life has changed, it’s true that we are different people now we have become parents. 
And I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Thank you my beautiful birthday girl for coming into our lives. Each day we love you and your sister more and more. 
Parenthood = amazing!

An afternoon snapshot

I look at her now as she sits in front of me, unaware of my gaze and in her own little world. I watch her hands grasp her toys and I hear the characterisation in her voice as she marches the animals around the floor. She is a little girl. At this present moment a very happy little girl, playing contentedly in the middle of the room. My mind flashes back to a time not so long ago, when a much smaller girl lay in that very same spot. I picture the baby friendly floor-mat and can almost reach out and touch her musical toys, they are that vivid in my memory. Legs kicked and arms waved, we celebrated laughter and even the slightest of moves around the mat with that tiny body of hers. I remember having to move the mat away a few months after that when a rolling and then shuffling little miss wouldn’t stay still. My eyes could barely tear themselves away from her then, just as they can’t today. Only today, the baby is gone. She has been replaced by a girl of almost three years, a walking, talking, thinking girl with her own mind and her own ideas. I answer her questions (and there are a LOT of those at the moment) and I listen as she answers mine. I brush my fingers through her growing hair and wonder, at what point did this long, curly hair replace the little bald head my new-born had? I look at her dress, her little socks and shoes and picture a time when things like that were kicked off within minutes of us dressing her. A time when she practically lived in sleepsuits or vests, little bare legs kicking freely around and think about how much that’s changed. This girl helps choose her outfit daily, and if she were able she’d be in ‘boot-i-sull dresses’ every single day of her life. This girl in front of me makes me prouder each day, and shows me a love that I hardly thought possible. That tiny baby that used to lie there made me nervous, excited, scared and truly blessed to have her.

The two girls are one and the same, they are both my baby at different points in my life. In some ways time has gone fast but at the same time, I can’t imagine life without her. We have two children now, both beautiful, both amazing, but it was on the day that this almost-three-year-old was born that my life changed forever. I became more worried, I became more grateful, I became more tired and more exhausted. On that day my heart was fuller than it ever had been, I was happier, more anxious, more worn out and more proud. I became a mother. My life will never, ever be the same again. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.


Happy Anniversary!!

It’s our wedding anniversary today, we’ve been married for four years. 

In some ways it seems like yesterday, in others it feels as if we’ve been married for much longer. 
The beautiful day is still fresh in my memory, and the life we have shared since is still growing strong. 

We have two beautiful children, two little girls who are just amazing. I feel happy everyday, yes, even through the temper tantrums, the sleep issues, the mess, all of that, despite temporary feelings of frustration or tiredness, the happiness is constant. 

And the other thing is that whenever I see my husband love them, it makes me fall in love with him all over again! I’m not saying each day is easy, of course it’s not, children are hard work. But I think we make a good team and so far, we are doing ok.

So what happens when I feel like I need a break? What happens when, at the back of my mind, I miss being my old self? 

There are times when these thoughts are quickly dismissed, when feelings of guilt push them away and tell me that my life now cannot be that way anymore. But really, I don’t agree. I think it’s ok to sometimes miss the old life, the life that meant myself and my husband could just do whatever or go wherever we wanted. And I don’t think it makes us bad parents to have these thoughts. 
We have so many good memories of our time before children and we do allow ourselves to reminisce, to talk about them and even to miss them. 

And the other thing, we make time for ourselves! 
Last weekend, we went away, we left our children with our parents and we went and stayed in a hotel, just the two of us. 

Now, we love our children, and we love taking them places and sharing life with them, but they can be exhausting. Not just when they’re cranky or tired, but every normal day can still be tiring, just because of the work that is involved in raising little ones. 

Every now and again, we need time away to recharge, time to reconnect with each other which ultimately strengthens our relationship and makes us happier and refreshed as parents. Not to mention the excitement we feel when we’re on our way home, about to see our babies again. But just for those twenty-four hours, or in the case of a date night, maybe three or four, it’s just about the two of us, and I love it!
Yes, we love being parents, yes, we love our girls, but we also love each other, and I believe a marriage has to be worked at everyday. So we take time out and go for meals, go for walks, and once in a while we go away together. 
Our relationship is too important and our children are too important to not give it the attention it deserves. I truly believe that the stronger we are, the better parents we will be. 
Happy anniversary to my one true love! And, God willing, may we have many more.


Puddle Jumping

imageYesterday evening, after a busy day full of fun, laughter, household jobs, tears, tantrums and physical exhaustion, my two-year-old did something that really made me smile.

My husband had vouchers for a local restaurant that were due to expire in a few days so we took advantage of them and went out for our tea. 
Our children did not misbehave, they just behaved like children, but in a public place we always become more aware of how noisy, funny and messy our girls can be. 
Luckily the restaurant was pretty quiet but I still felt shattered trying to constantly tidy up messes, entertain inquisitive toddlers and quieten them down when needed. 
It’s as if the thoughts of complete strangers are at the forefront of my mind whenever we’re out and about with our girls. 
We had a lovely meal in the end but we were tired and looking forward to going home.
Once outside, our eldest dropped her drink on the floor. Her immediate response was disappointment. 
‘Oh no!’ she cried, ‘I can’t drink it anymore’. 
There was nothing left, the entire contents had spilled. 
Within seconds of me picking it up, her attitude changed completely. 
She looked at the puddle….. And jumped into it. ‘Yay!’ she now squealed, ‘I made a puddle!’ 
I stopped and looked at her, not able to hide my laughter. It was a beautiful thing to behold.
I sometimes wish I could look at the world through the eyes of a child; innocently, with no fear of showing emotion and best of all, able to forget disappointment/sadness/frustration and make the best of a given situation. 
As adults we worry about an awful lot, what people think of us, what will happen in the future, trying to make everyone happy. 
Well, that little two-year-old girl has completely the right attitude, one which I wish I could replicate. 
I worried for no reason in that restaurant, people were very accommodating and only had lovely things to say about our family. I could and should have just enjoyed the experience more. 
And when bad things do happen, which they inevitably will, I’m going to try and jump straight in and splash in the puddles that I make.

Growing Up

Where has my baby gone?

This afternoon I took my little girl to a dance class. Now, I always knew I would probably do this, she loves to dance (and sing), always has, however most dance schools don’t take children until they’re three years old. 

This one appeared in my parish newsletter last week and said they started from age two. I rang up this morning and before I knew it, we were there. 
My toddler is two years old and sometimes seems big to me, in comparison to her baby sister, and sometimes seems small, when she’s with her big cousins. 
Today she was of similar age to the other children there but that wasn’t what I noticed; I saw a class of six girls, dancing! 
They were holding hands in a circle, they were sitting on the floor, they were listening to the teacher and together, they formed a class. 
My beautiful, precious baby who I brought home from the hospital five minutes ago was now part of a class. 
She suddenly seemed so grown up right in front of me and it hit me like I did not expect. I suddenly felt like I was not ready for this; but she definitely was ready, and loved it so much, it would be selfish of me to not continue to take her. It’s just, in my head, once they start school that’s it, you never have them home and all to yourself ever again. 

She starts school next year so I know I have one more year of keeping her. Tonight seemed to propel the idea of me sending her off into the world further forward. 
It will do her good to mix with the other children and to follow instructions from another adult, I know this. Being part of something like this will encourage her with friendships and will probably ease her transition into nursery school too. 
My head is telling me that it is a very good thing. She loves to dance so much, even though she did occasionally do her own thing this afternoon; the little toddler appeared again when she ran like a free-spirit around the room. 

However, for the majority of the time she did really well listening and copying and joining in, I was so proud of her. 
But when I think back now to the girl I saw in that room, I can’t seem to shake the question; ‘where has my baby gone?’

“Just let me do it…..”

  Life can be busy, we all know that. I used to think the same when I was single, I never seemed to stop. Now, with two children and a house to run, things only seem to be getting busier. The difference is, whatever needed doing when I lived alone got done by me, now however, there are four of us ‘doing’ and sometimes it can be hard to let that happen. I’m not a control-freak, (not quite!) but sometimes, especially with children, it can be easier and most certainly quicker to do everything yourself. The morning rush when we need to be somewhere is most definitely not the time to be encouraging independent dressing, not yet anyway. And out and about in places such as busy supermarkets is equally the wrong time and place to be patiently watching them learn new skills. Or is it? How much of our so-called ‘busyness’ is actually taking priority over little achievements for our children? I took my two-year-old swimming the other day and it was while we were getting changed afterwards that I noticed my need to rush, my instinctive need to do everything for her so we could get out as soon as possible. I honestly don’t know why I do it. We didn’t have to be anywhere and nobody was waiting for us. We had got dressed and I was ready to put our coats on. My little girl had been drawing and had a small pen in her hand and as I held her coat open my immediate reaction was to take the pen from her hand and put her arm in her sleeve. Why is this so automatic? If I carry on doing everything, how will she ever learn? Yes, I realise there are times when we really are on a schedule and it may be necessary, but this wasn’t one of those times. I stopped myself. Instead, I held her coat open and asked her to put it on; and then I stepped back and watched. I watched her realise, by herself, that her hands were too full for the task. I watched her look into her little hands and think. Then I saw her place the lid from one hand onto the pen in the other hand (it took a few attempts but she did it) and put it down on the bench, ready to put her arm in her coat. The whole process took around twenty seconds!! Even if I had been in a hurry, I am certain that twenty seconds wouldn’t have made a huge difference. That small amount of time would have meant nothing in the frantic panic of getting children ready, but it meant a great deal to my daughter. She had stopped and realised something was wrong, she had figured out what it was, she then exercised newly found skills by putting one small object onto another and finally she had emptied her hands in order to obediently do what was asked of her. All that learning and all that achievement would never have happened if I’d done it for her. I know that as a mother of two it’s going to happen again. I know there will be many times in the future when I’ll do things for my children because we’re in a hurry. Sometimes it will be quicker and easier, sometimes not. However, I am aware of it now. I am aware that the smallest things we do for our babies might sometimes be able to be completed by them. I know that little victories will not only enhance their learning but build up their self-esteem. In each day’s rush, in every hastened exit from home or quick job that needs finishing, I am going to try my best to not ‘just do, because it’s easier’. Children are hard work and many, many times they are certainly not helpful in anyway, but look and see how beautiful it can be when we stop and let them try. My daughter made me so proud after swimming that day. I most definitely want to feel that way more often.

‘Get him a tissue’

Today, we watched Disney’s ‘The Lion King’. When I say ‘watched’, usually it means that my two-year-old likes to see all the animals in the opening sequence and then loses interest. We have yet to actually watch it as she is so young. Today, however, after the first song was over she carried on looking. She learnt more character names and was asking questions, then she lost interest for a while but it continued to play and then she regained interest again at the point of Mufasa’s death. She looked at Simba crying and it upset her. She told me he was crying, pointed to her own eyes and said ‘get him tissue’. I agreed that he needed one. She then smiled and said, ‘he better now’, as in her own head, that tissue that had wiped away his tears had made everything else ok. She could see nothing but the obvious and knew that once that was sorted he would be better. Obviously children her age cannot see nor understand about emotional wounds, and to her, the answer to what was visibly wrong was to get him a tissue. It got me thinking about how much she had yet to learn and about how much I didn’t want her to lose that innocence. But it also got me thinking about God. In Matthew’s Gospel it says, ‘unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’. (Matthew 18:2) I know this can mean humility, purity and innocence, but it made me think today of complete and utter trust in The Lord that everything is going to be ok. Children don’t worry about things because they don’t have to. They are hungry, someone feeds them, they hurt themselves, someone makes it better and for the most part they can get on with their lives knowing cuts will be mended and messes will be cleaned up. Maybe this is an example of how we are supposed to be with God, our Heavenly Father. What if we stopped worrying about everything and put our trust in Him, letting Him be the one to clean up and mend things and heal us when we hurt? Instead of trying to do everything ourselves, what if we let Him take the lead? It can be difficult, especially in today’s world, so much can and does go wrong. But there is nothing, absolutely nothing that God cannot fix. So why don’t we let him? Maybe we could try to be more childlike and depend on Him rather than ourselves. Maybe we could see things the way children do and have complete faith and trust in the one who cares for us. And maybe if we need Him and if we let him, God may just ‘get us a tissue’ and everything will be alright!