Growing up is generally the one thing all kids aspire to and reaching the milestones is one of the things parents pay closer attention to as affirmation that our children are doing what they are supposed to be doing.
But what happens if sometimes, as a parent, you are caught out by your child asking a perfectly reasonable question that stops you dead in your tracks? When the question is not one you would expect a just short of 8 year old to ask?
Both our boys have been asking to go back to South Africa to visit family and we have been telling them that we would love to go, but it costs a lot of money and we need to save up for it.
They usually then accept the answer and it can be a few weeks or sometimes months before they ask again. On the last occasion of asking, it was our 8 year old who then asked ‘Well, what are you spending your money on if you are not saving up to go? Are you spending your money on little things when you should be saving up for a big thing?’
To be honest, I was completely taken aback. He wasn’t trying to be cheeky and I was more struck with the fact that the question had a complex answer (I mostly try and answer their questions as honestly as is age appropriate). So I answered with the correct answer of ‘we are saving but it takes time’.
What did strike me more was that our son is growing up faster than my brain can comprehend. We teach our boys about being sensible with their money and ask them the same question he asked me when they are looking to spend it. It would appear that these lessons have stuck.
Double trouble in our house sometimes comes in the form of our 2 boys but other times, it’s our girls (aka the dogs!)
I am not sure which is worse at times; I seem to learn a lot from the boys to help explain a few things about the girls and vice versa. The whole buying two of the same toys but they both demand to play with just the one – I haven’t quite figured it out yet.
What I have figured out is when they know they are in trouble. The dog on the left is pretending life is dandy and that they haven’t done anything to cause suspicion. The dog on the right however, knows when it is a good time to give up the game and just say sorry (sort of!)
So their new nice cosy bed became a heap of pulled cotton and shreds of material. Was I highly irritated that they didn’t approve of their new bed to make it last much longer than a week? Probably.
Do we still love them and those guilty faces? Absolutely! Do we love the fact that they have such different characters? Yes we do! And…Their old bed has been washed and dried now that they are glad to have it back.
They say that when you take time to stop and smell the roses, everything finds its perspective (or sometimes the perspective finds you).
Yesterday, I posted the following Silent Sunday photo (the monochrome one) :
Well, both these photos were taken on the same day in roughly the same location. If you look closely to the black and white photo, you may just see the headstone in the middle of the thistlesin the bottom right hand quarter.
So apart from the obvious point that the colour makes, what is a sombre place look a lot brighter, interestingly enough, just because this is a graveyard does not a sombre place it make. (forgive the grammatical errors…I am trying to make a point).
Our boys (and many of their friends) have spent loads of happy times playing hide and seek and running about with a squeak and a squeal added for good measure. They are respectful in that they don’t walk all over the graves(and they don’t play if someone is visiting to pay their respects!), but they do use the headstones as hiding aids along with the long grasses, trees and ditches that are on the borders of the church yard.
They have somehow even managed to get many a grown up (young and old) to either help in their searches or assist in the difficulty in finding an easy target or giving a few red herrings.
It’s an absolute joy to watch as they bring it to life and add their own touches of colour.
We love a surprise or two in our house (the good kind I might add!) It’s usually something a bit different and is generally around doing something together as a family. Could be playing indoor tennis or going to watch a movie.
This time, we told the boys that we were going away as a surprise. I kind of felt for them as their first question was whether it was to visit family in South Africa. I felt a pang of sadness as I explained that no, it was somewhere in England.
We also told them a week before we were going and try as they might they didn’t have a clue. The youngest even whispered that I could tell him and he wouldn’t tell his older brother, to which I whispered back that I still couldn’t tell!
On Friday morning, we gave them a clue that they were going somewhere that had to do with swimming. Well, we almost needed scuba gear to get there as the rain and the wind on the road was horrendous at times.
By the time we arrived, it had taken an hour longer that planned but the boys were over the moon when we showed them that we were going to Splash Landings at Alton Towers for the weekend. They have been dying to go on water slides and bless them, they could hardly contain themselves.
They went on every slide possible – even the ones outside in the freezing cold. It was super busy mind, but they still had a whale of a time.
To add to our excitement, we were evacuated at just before 6am on Saturday morning due to the fire alarm going off. The boys were great and whilst scared, complied with all instructions and waited very patiently for the next 2 hours whilst the hotel checked out the problem.
We had such a lovely time and the great thing is that the boys favourite part was the lazy river. Don’t get them wrong – they loved the big blaster slides but kept on going back to the lazy river. We had loads of happy memory making times this weekend.
Creating something when you think are are not creative…requires patience!
Once in a blue moon, I sneak off to our local ceramic painting shop and spend a couple of hours just pottering about painting. Those who know me, know that I don’t consider creativity to be by strong point and I am not a creative person – my brother got the artistic genes.
I usually tend to start off with very simple ideas and then on chatting the the lovely ladies who own the shop, they sort of egg me on to doing something different and they are oh so very patient!
Last week, they let me loose with their special clay type paint. Not only did it test my creativelessness but my patience too in that it needs to stay warm in order to flow nicely. It is supposed to be raised and blobby (I should mention that!) but after a while it stops coming out the bottle and then requires warming in pockets and clearing with pins.
I am pleased to say that it came out almost as I expected it and I for once thought ‘Hmm! not bad’.
I am oh so slowly learning the art of patience – I am some miles off the pace but hopefully in time I will get there.
Wicken Fen is a National Trust Property in Ely, Cambridgeshire and we just love spending time there with the boys.
Over Christmas time, my parents came over to stay and they love bird watching and my mom has taken up photography and so what better place to spend a non-rainy day. It was windy mind but not raining!
We love the fact that there is always something to see or find. The folks at Wicken Fen always have an activity or search going on and the boys take it very seriously as the promise of a sticker if they spot all the items is not to be under estimated!
There are a couple of watch towers which are super to climb and on arrival is their famous windmill en route to a bird hide. Now I am not suggesting the boys are able to sit quiet for long enough in a bird hide but the excitement of going into one is just too sweet!
On non-muddy days we take a picnic and do massive square, stopping and resting along the way and on colder, wintry days we stick the to boardwalk which means a little less mud (or a whole lot less mud!).
I have only ever once spotted the wild horses and it’s their magic that keeps me on the look out for them time and time again. In the Summer the canals are full of dragon flys and other insects.
After a leisurely stroll, and of course ensuring we have spotted everything on the spot list, we head back to the cafe for a nice warm hot chocolate and to collect the stickers!
We had such a lovely day out in amongst all that rain.
Puddles, puddles everywhere and not a drop to drink! Or something along those lines!
Our daily walk to and from school involves me thinking, ‘I have the same conversation every morning about avoiding the puddles and I would have thought by now that the boys have understood this instruction.’
I would imagine the boys thought process on their walk to and from school is the same which is ‘oooh! Puddle! I am sure I can make it over that one today…it looks a big bigger than the last time I jumped over it but I’ll give it a go!’
Different points of view ring a bell? My honest thought process is that on the way to school I would like them to avoid said puddles and on the way home I am not bothered that much if we are going straight home. There is no time like the present and if they want to jump about and experiment with various Physics forces and not realise it – well then all the more the merrier.
There’s nothing that a warm bath, hot chocolate and the good ol’ washing machine that can’t fix the mud and cold (even when you are in your school uniform!). Clothes will come and go but memories last forever!
Hidden treasures, those things in life where what looks like rubbish to some has enormous value to someone else. Those little snippets in time when something means so much to someone out there and not many people know what it is.
This week, I have had a couple of those and so I feel very blessed.
Our youngest monkey received his first corn of success this week at school and the look of being very pleased with himself along with trying to hide his happiness was just too cute! I gave him a thumbs up and he was too cool at age 5 to give me a full one – I got a sneaky half a thumb and a wink.
The World Prematurity day 2013 blog posts have had me in complete awe of the strength, determination, patience and above all love that has been shown.
Watching the amazing stories on BBC Children in Need
A friend of mine reminded me that things like cow pats and flies are important and shone a new light on the fact that without those there are loads of ecosystems that wouldn’t survive.
Item number 1 might not be that important to anyone else – but it is to me and I felt so pleased for him. I wouldn’t have come across the beautiful and honest blog posts in item number 2 if there wasn’t a drive to create awareness on babies being born too small, too soon. The heroic efforts of people in number 3 remain under wraps until the big reveal and I just happened to bump into the friend in item 4 and moaned about flies.
I am going to remember to keep an eye and ear out for more of these. Some are easy to find and others require a little looking…but everyone has a hidden treasure or treasures and no they aren’t worth any money!
Cycling. Riding bikes is another way of putting it along with freedom, fun and testing things out, especially for children.
Can I balance?
How about peddling and balancing?
Is this the front brake or back brake?
How fast can I go and when do I start braking so that I stop in time?
How fast can I go before I catch a speed wobble?
Can I self correct and get out of the wobble?
How fast do I need to go so that when I brake, I form a skid mark?
What happens when I brake (or turn!) on stones?
We forget as adults sometime, how we learnt to do things but the boys often remind us of how it must have been. There has to be a starting point and once you have mastered the beginning, the rest sort of fits into place and naturally seems to happen.
One of the best parts of living out in the countryside, is that the boys can generally be free to enjoy testing things out with their bikes. Occasionally, they have to watch out for farm vehicles or large equipment and horses in some cases, but most of the time they can acquire new skills.
Whilst they learn how to do new stuff with either their bodies or bikes, I on the other hand am also learning to do the same and masking my sudden gasps with a cough or turning my body a bit so that they can’t see the concern. Just the other day, our eldest son was trying to ride with no hands. I can VERY clearly remember as a child cycling home from school, riding with no hands at great speeds down a hill that had a corner and cars. My mom would have had a fit if she had known this! The wind blowing on my face and the freedom of not knowing what could have happened should I have hit a stone…pah!
So, armed with that memory, when asked ‘Do you think I can ride with no hands?’, I encouraged but also sort of didn’t completely look and by george he did it! ‘Mom!! I did it!’ was the shout of pride I heard – for a second or two but he still did it