Dear precious first born… We have something to tell you

Mummy's Writing Darling

Dear precious first born, there is something pressing we need to discuss with you.

I write this on the eve of a fairly important event. You see, someone is arriving tomorrow – someone who you’re going to be spending a lot of time with – like it or not.

I know you’re young and we don’t talk much – unless it’s about frogs or cars. But I suppose now is as good a time as any to try and have this conversation. I know you think mummy has been eating A LOT lately and my stomach has outgrown the both of us. I see your horrified face when I’m in the shower – but I haven’t swallowed your monster truck set – I’ve been growing a little life long friend for you.

The good news is it’s a brother! And you know boys are cool right? Really cool. And he will love your cars! And your train set. But, of course, only if you want him to love them. No one will force you to share your cars with him. I know you don’t know the word “share” yet – I never learned it myself! But we will have plenty of time to discuss sharing in the years to come.

Now I don’t want you to worry about favouritism. It’s not an issue. You, my darling, are our precious first born! We only have eyes for you (but let’s just keep that between ourselves shall we? Your brother doesn’t need to know!)

Anyway! If the pregnancy is anything to go by – I think your brother is going to be an arse! So much more difficult than you were. But again – ssshh.

I’ve been wondering why on earth we decided to have another baby to be honest. You’re so wonderful! If it ain’t broke – why try and fix it?! What possessed us? Were we just showing off?! Was it a case of when you buy a fancy juicer you only use once and you feel like you haven’t got your money’s worth! We should use it one more time – just to see if it still works?!

But here we are and tomorrow our tiny little family will be transformed to a bigger one. Though we do promise – this will be the only addition. You can relax.

So although it might be unsettling / shocking tomorrow and over the next few months while you get used to him – we just want you to know that you’ll always be our precious first born and we could never ever love you any less! Er… That came out wrong. What I mean is – we will never change our love for you. Just don’t tell your bro.

I’m going to miss you so much over the next few days and I hope you don’t miss me too much. I also hope your dad doesn’t only feed you crisps and biscuits – I’ve given him a detailed list of instructions, don’t worry.

All my love,

Mamma.

(Dear baby number 2 – don’t worry! I’ve placated your brother, We know the truth – see you tomorrow). X

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How to get through your first parents’ evening

First Parents’ Evening

He’s only four, he can’t have done much damage yet can he? Yet the mere idea of Parents’ Evening has immediately filled you with anxiety, not least, because you’re now the bleeding ‘parent’ in this scenario.

You can be a Teacher’s pet all you like … unfortunately that now means nothing.

They are now measuring your worth on what your precious first born has brought to the classroom and your guard is up straight away ready to prove he is a/ the perfect child b/ any bad aspects are purely from his Father and c/ any good qualities are down to outstanding mothering.

Your mind starts to race at what he has been up to when you haven’t been around: has he suffocated the class pet? Has he stolen someone’s free milk? Has he tied the teacher’s laces together.

 Or written ‘Mrs Smelly Bottom’ on the board?

As an ex teacher I understand the kiss-punch-kiss or compliment sandwich technique of feedback. So I sit on the tiny plastic seat hoping it doesn’t snap or get wedged entirely onto my arse and I await the results.

“He is doing great. He’s great with numbers. He’s got a fab memory.” O.k, there goes the kiss. I await the punch…

“He can get pretty angry, and he stamps his feet.” Obviously gets that from his father!

“He’s also overly tactile with other children when he gets excited and some of them don’t like it.” She finishes. We discuss boundaries.

He’s just full of love bless him. 

She finishes with lots of positives to finish her sandwich and I feel relieved. I also feel so grateful to the teacher who seems utterly wonderful and who I know from experience will be overworked and underpaid. I think about what nice gift to get her for the end of term. Box of wine should do it.

So – how do you survive?

Be prepared for the kiss-punch-kiss technique, don’t be overly defensive, remember they’re only four and be thankful they haven’t set fire to the class teddy, glued the numicons together or egged the Head teacher … yet.

First Ever Parents’ Evening

Why I wanted to walk with my son in the rain

Why I wanted to walk with my son in the rain

The rain was falling hard. Last week I excitedly picked up my four year old school boy child from his minder. The door opened, I saw his pocket sized face and all the work day’s crap melted away. “Come on darling!” I said “Now put on your coat, it’s really raining outside.” And it was – great big pelts of angry water thudding on top of my yellow mac.

“I’m going your way, I’ll give you a lift” the lady said. “No, no, that’s fine” I argued. ”

I insist” she squealed, half watching the rain wondering why I wouldn’t take her up on her kind rescue.

“No, really, no thanks.” I said seriously, and I led my son towards our special short cut in his matching yellow mac.

She is a lovely, kind lady. She’s a life saver. But I wasn’t going to let her take the walk in the rain with my son away from me.

What she can’t understand is what that walk means to me.

I work hours that mean I can’t take him to school, I can’t even pick him up from school – but I can pick him up from a childminder and walk home with him, whatever the weather.

This isn’t just a walk. This is when I have my precious boy all to myself, his attention purely on me. It’s a time I get to hear what he did at school, which is, granted, only usually ever “I can’t remember,” but that still matters.

It’s the time we get to take our own special short cut that only we know. It’s the time we get to stop and look at the leaves and their different shapes and colours, and even pick a few and stuff them in our macs like we are sharing an exciting secret.

It’s the time he can use expressions I have never heard before like ‘therefore’ or ‘terrific’ which results in me bursting into spontaneous laughter for the first time that day. It’s the time he can tell me his feelings in soft, safe quiet. It’s the time he can tell me my shoes are beautiful (out of nowhere) before asking me if that’s a nice thing to say, because he always wants to say nice things.

On our walk I can tell him he makes me happier than happy, and he can tell me he wants to always make everyone happy.

I can say a silent prayer, as the rain falls, that he will never change. Then we can get his younger brother from the nursery. Finally, the three of us are together, completely together. Nothing else matters.

God willing, when they are older, I’ll remember these precious gifts – these simple walks, hand in hand with my boys – the only things that matter in my entire world.

Our walk, our time together, is as precious as life. We might be sodden, we might be cold, we might slip and slide, but we can warm each other, keep each other grounded, and some days we might even get to share a rainbow.

Ten reasons why baby’s first Christmas is a bit crap

Mummy's Writing Darling

A baby is a Christmas miracle in itself – and it’s an absolute joy to have a new addition to the family. But get your hopes up for an amazing “baby’s first Christmas” and you may be a tad disappointed. Why? Well…

1/ Everyone knows it’s perfectly acceptable to pop open the Cava before midday on Christmas day. But on baby’s first Christmas – suddenly it’s frowned upon to guzzle prosecco with your smoked salmon blinis at 10am because you’re now the designated “responsible adult ‘parent of a tiny person’ person”. Gah. They don’t even give you any points for your sober nine months previous.

2/ Your new baby is still at the stage where they look like a misshapen butternut squash weebling in their door bouncer – and let’s face it – though you’d like to imagine otherwise, they don’t have a fucking clue what’s going on and won’t do for probably another year.

3/ The only thing your baby is good for at this point is dressing up as novelty Christmas items. The retailers know this and will sell you an over priced Olaf outfit that you’ll only put on them for ten seconds while you take a dozen photos to upload to Facebook before Grandma pulls them out of it because they’re terrified it’ll ignite with the LED lights.

4/ They’re not much fun on the day. They’ll sit there like an undercooked stuffing ball in their Christmas tree outfit looking at you with the same disdain a dachshund would if you dressed them up as little bo peep on Halloween.

5/ You’ll waste money on shite tat for them they don’t need and don’t understand. They can’t even open the things. Next Christmas you’ll have to buy less because you’ve got no room to put the new crap because of all the overpriced “baby’s first Christmas” shite that you were duped into purchasing last year because you were so excited it was “baby’s first sodding Christmas”.

6/ Everything you used to decorate your home with or that you used to love is now considered a baby death trap device. Say goodbye to Christmas candles, tree lights, fancy glass baubles and say hello to the chore of vacuuming up bloody pine needles every two hours in case your baby inhales them up while he’s rolling about the floor getting caught up in tinsel and trying to eat the glitter off the wrapping paper. Who put the chocolate brazil nuts on the coffee table? Abort, abort.

7/ What’s that smell? Chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Freshly cooked Turkey? No, that there is the stench of baby’s first Christmas turd. And guess who’s changing it? You. Muggins. “No bread sauce for me actually Dad, on second thoughts”.

8/ Say goodbye to any presents for you from now on from parents and relatives. From now on you’ll hear the immortal words “Now Darling, we won’t be getting anything for you this Christmas – we’ll just be treating the baby / babies / kids – ok? I mean, you don’t really need anything now do you?” Er… yes. We need wine. More wine than ever. I also need oven gloves, a year’s supply of Cillit Bang and, it appears, a nose hair trimmer. What. The. Hell?

9/ The day will be long. Like every other day. And you can’t even enjoy the late night Christmas telly. You’ll be in bed by 7pm, annoyingly sober and then up at 11.45pm, 1.27am, 2.16am and so on. Merry Christmas.

10/ You’ve now got to gear yourself up for “baby’s first New Years” which may well involve tears, calpol, colic and not counting in the new year pissed again for eighteen years.

In a couple of years of course they’ll start to understand Santa – and then it’ll be pure magic. But until then – don’t believe the hype. And you can stick your elf on the shelf up onto the shelf in your arse.

Ho. Ho. Ho. Merry Christmas.