My favourite time of day

My favourite time of day is 7pm…yes that’s the time S goes to bed but it’s not for reasons you think.

At 7pm I get the biggest cuddles of the day and as I sit beside S until he falls asleep, in those quiet moments, in the dark, he goes through his day with me. While we were on holiday it went something like this…

S: Mama, do you remember today we went swimming and I came down the big slide like this…whoosh, very fast.
Me: Yes S, I remember. Did you have fun?
S: Yes, it was so much fun!

7 seconds later…

S: Mama, do you remember today I went on the horsey and I told the man I don’t want to go very fast.
Me: Yes S, I remember. You really enjoyed it.

7 seconds later…

S: Mama, do you remember today I ate fish fingers and chips and I ate it all in my tummy. It was so yummy!
Me: Yes, I remember.

5 seconds later…

S: Mama, do you remember…
Me (gently): Shhh…S, it’s time to nini now.

Silence…and he falls asleep.

And on days he isn’t telling me about his day, he sings his own little songs, parts of “Let it go”, “Do you want to build a snowman” or “Uptown Funk” as he slips into the land of nod. And in those moments, in the quiet dark room, all my frustrations of the day slip away.

Parenting is a relentless job and by 7pm I am knackered! All I want to do is put him to bed and pour myself a glass of wine. But for those 10 minutes before he falls asleep, I sit and listen to him and realise this is my favourite time of day and I cherish it. <3

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“A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2015.”

Sporting a new hair cut, he was bike riding around our local playground when he stopped and asked me to take his picture! No idea where he gets his vanity from?! ;)

A sticker for your hard work

S absolutely loves stickers. When I was potty training, I used a sticker chart which really worked for us. His teacher at nursery inspired the idea because it was something they were doing there and I thought I’d carry it on at home. The other day he handed me a sticker and said “Mama, a sticker for your hard work.” I smiled and took it and the more I thought about it, I realised, we mama’s, we totally deserve it! And I don’t believe mothers give themselves enough credit for what they do and how hard they work.

So to all my mama’s out there, here’s a sticker for YOU, for everything.

For carrying and loving a baby for 9 months, giving birth, feeding, the emotions, the hormones, the sleepless nights.

For the shushing and patting, the rocking and the swaying. For their tears and ours!

For the colic and the gas. For walking our babies around in pushchairs to fall asleep, for driving our babies around to fall asleep. For the singing and humming, the lullaby’s and the nursery rhymes.

For the burping, the spit up and the pooing. Hell I’ve had poo all down my pyjamas, I think I deserve a sticker.

For the weaning, the steaming, picking pasta off their hair, picking pasta off the floor.

For the mess and the pureeing, for the bad backs bent over bath tubs, nights spent worrying about fevers and days spent worrying about naps.

For the classes and the songs. Because you know every nursery rhyme back to front.

For the Lego you have bought and the towers you have built. For the books that you read every night and the gadgets that you buy to make life that little bit easier.

For the ouchies that you’ve kissed better, for the tears you’ve wiped away.

For every time you woke in the night and every time you were woken before day break.

For the tantrums and the whining, the indecisiveness and the mind changing.

YOU, my fellow mama, deserve a sticker…for all your hard work! Because even though you don’t realise it, YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB!!

We do it for the love, the kisses, the cuddles, the “I love you mama’s” and the hugs (oh the hugs are the best!) but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. It just means it’s totally worth it!

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#HappyQuacks Linky Wk7

Welcome to Week 7 of #HappyQuacks I’m sorry for the delay in going live (actually I’m not too sorry ;-)) but we spent the whole day travelling (Marrakech – Casablanca – London) after a delightful 8 day vacay in Morocco (review coming soon, you’ll want to read this!)

I am totally exhausted but very happy (and very tanned!) Thanks to all those who linked up last week, below are my 3 favourites:

1. Flustered Mom’s 24 Family Lessons learned on Vacation (in Costa Rica). Having just come back from a holiday, this post really resonated with me. Not sure I’d want to eat beans and rice for 3 meals straight but I loved 13, 17 and most specially 18: Pura Vida (Pure Life!)

2. Thirsty Daddy’s post “Get Over it”. Anyone with a 3 year old will know that sometimes you think to yourself “My gosh, get over it!” 3 year olds can whinge about anything and everything and as much as you love your child, when you’re exhausted with a headache yourself, their whinging (over nothing really) can really get to you. Glad to know I’m not alone with his post.

3. All past midnight’s post “Reasons to be cheerful.” I’ve talked about gratitude before and what I loved about this post was that even though she had a tough week, she found reasons to be cheerful. I think it’s so important to constantly count our blessings and be grateful. I used to keep a gratitude journal and for the first couple of days it was tough to think up things that I was grateful for but as I went on, the practice definitely got simpler. By about lunch time I already had a list of things I knew I wanted to jot down later that evening.

I also loved my co-host Rod’s post this week. It was about the little moments. In life we tend to record all our big moments and let so many little moments slip by. Some of my best moments with S are the little ones. When he says funny things or says “Goodnight, I love you!” 6 times in a row and then bursts into laughter. His post was a reminder to enjoy the small moments as well.

On to this week’s linky…

This week I’m linking up with an old post about family.

I host this linky with Rod over at Moderndadpages. This linky is open to all and every post you’ve ever written about anything that makes you happy. It could be your kids, your spouse, your family, your holiday, whatever it is that makes you happy.

Each week I’ll pick 3 of my favourite posts and they’ll get a little shout out in the following week’s link up post.

I don’t want to set any hard and fast rules BUT linky’s only work if you share the love so please comment on at least one of our posts and maybe 2-3 others that have linked up using the hashtag #happyquacks. Put the badge on the bottom of your post and lastly, if you tweet us your URL (using the hashtag #happyquacks), we’ll happily retweet all your posts. (@mamaduckquacks and @moderndadpages)

It would also make us happy if you followed us on Twitter and Facebook.

#happyquacks will go live on a Wednesday evening (6pm GMT) until Sunday evening (6pm GMT).

Looking forward to reading all your posts!

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“A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2015.”

On holiday in Morocco this week :)

#HappyQuacks Linky Wk 6

Welcome to #happyquacks Week 6 and thanks to all those who linked in last week!

This week is a really exciting week because as you’re reading this, we’re in Morocco on holiday. We’ll be visiting Casablanca, The Mazagan Beach Resort & Marrakesh…can’t wait! :)

I enjoyed reading all of last week’s posts, here are the 3 that really stood out to me:

1. Baby Brain Memoirs post “30 for 30! Gratitude” Although I was in a very tough space as I turned 30, not one I ever imagined, turning 30 still showed me just how much I have to be grateful for. And so Harp’s post really resonated with me.

2. Days in bed Angela’s post put the biggest smile on my face. Those crumbles look so yummy, her daughter’s song is adorable and I love the idea of family night! For me, growing up, Sunday was always family day. I think it’s really important to have these traditions for our kids growing up.

3. Dan’s post, the seven sins of parenting really had me nodding along…mainly because I’m guilty of most of them. Sneak in a piece of chocolate behind the fridge door while S munches on carrot sticks?! Guilty!

So on to this week’s linky…

This week I’m linking up with my post about our Peppa Pig World Adventure.

I host this linky with Rod over at Moderndadpages. This linky is open to all and every post you’ve ever written about anything that makes you happy. It could be your kids, your spouse, your family, your holiday, whatever it is that makes you happy.

Each week I’ll pick 3 of my favourite posts and they’ll get a little shout out in the following week’s link up post.

I don’t want to set any hard and fast rules BUT linky’s only work if you share the love so please comment on at least one of our posts and maybe 2-3 others that have linked up using the hashtag #happyquacks. Put the badge on the bottom of your post and lastly, if you tweet us your URL (using the hashtag #happyquacks), we’ll happily retweet all your posts. (@mamaduckquacks and @moderndadpages)

It would also make us happy if you followed us on Twitter and Facebook.

#happyquacks will go live on a Wednesday evening (6pm GMT) until Sunday evening (6pm GMT).

Looking forward to reading all your posts!

Mamaduckquacks
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Would you be happy with just one child?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a mother. When I was 14/15 years old, I’d talk about how many children I wanted and even what some of their names would be. At the time I had the crazy idea that I wanted 5 children. Clearly I didn’t really understand the responsibilities (and expense) behind raising a child.

When I was married and planning S, we talked about children and I said I’d wanted 3. I imagined raising them, wandered whether they’d be boys or girls, what their personalities would be like. When people talked about having only one child, I was rather obnoxious. I’d say things like: “Imagine you’re on a road trip in the States, going to Disney…would you rather have one child in the back sitting quietly on their Ipad or two children bickering and playing in the back?” I was really against the idea of only one child.

And then I had S. And very soon after, my circumstances changed. And suddenly the idea of having any more children was put on the back burner. And as S started to grow, I wandered whether this one child choice was such a bad idea. In fact, I couldn’t believe that I’d be able to love another child as much as I love S. Now of course, I’ve read about how common this is. Most mother’s feel that way after they have their first and then when they go on to have more, they just feel like their love expands to include the other’s. I imagine that to be a pretty amazing feeling.

I’ve been through a plethora of emotions since I became a single parent. Is this it? Will I only have one child? Will S be okay without a sibling? Will he be lonely? Will he be spoilt? And then I made peace with it because I realised, it all comes down to how you raise your child. And in today’s day and age of play dates and whatnot, S is never really on his own. He understands the concept of sharing with friends and he absolutely loves babies and is quite affectionate towards them. He has mine (and my parents) undivided love and attention which makes him a very secure and happy child.

I have a sibling, Sam. We’re only a year apart and as children we fought all the time. I was a tom boy and the small age gap meant we had a lot of mutual friends. He didn’t always like this. As we grew older we made our own friends and in many respects grew apart, each choosing to do our own thing. He lives in Nigeria and absolutely loves it there while I live in London and love my life here. I love him, respect him and know I can always count on him for advice/anything really, but he’s not always my go to person. That may be because we live in different cities or just because we’re quite different in our thinking. Either way, I have people I can talk to/confide in who aren’t my siblings.

S is very attached to my cousins girls who live in Nigeria. He sees them only once or twice a year and yet they have such a close bond. When they meet, it’s like they just saw each other the previous week. He misses them when they leave and often asks for them. With the help of modern technology, they’ll be able to have a relationship growing up, even living thousands of miles apart.

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In the 80s when I grew up, having a sibling meant you’d always have someone to play with, someone who was around. In today’s world, I think even as an old child, you’ll always have that. And so even though I’m open to having more children, I’m also okay if I don’t. Because I know my child will never really be alone and I also know my only child will always be enough for me.

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My Random Musings

The choice to suicide

Suicide…it’s such a delicate subject. Apart from being difficult to talk about, it’s difficult to hear about. In the last couple of years, I have heard of a few suicides. They weren’t people I knew personally, but people I knew of. Each time I felt a deep sadness for days. I couldn’t understand it. I couldn’t understand how any one in this world could feel so alone. We’re a planet of over 7 billion people and there still exists people who feel like they have no one worth living for. Friends have tried to explain how it’s often stemmed from depression which is a chemical thing and not something everyone can control.

I still couldn’t understand. And what got me more was that these people were of sound mind. Plans were put in place weeks, sometimes months in advance. Business was tidied up, letters were written, subtle goodbyes were said. I used to think of it as a selfish act. How unfair it was for the people left behind, those picking up the pieces, always wandering what they could have done to stop the person they loved from ending their life. But I also think it takes some serious courage to make that decision, knowing how it will impact those around you.

I think about Robin Williams, the funny guy, the one who made everyone laugh, the one people looked up to and admired. I think about a girl I once met who had so many friends, pictures on Facebook at the latest party carrying the designer handbag du jour. And I couldn’t understand how these people could bring themselves to end their lives.

I recently read a really good book (I won’t tell you the name, I don’t want to spoil it for you). It was about a C5/6 quadriplegic who’d chosen to end his life. He gave his family 6 months before he requested them to assist him by taking him to Dignitas in Switzerland. They hired an upbeat positive girl to be around him in the hopes that she’d be able to change his mind. It’s a beautiful story watching their relationship unfold. As it does, I got an insight behind his choice to end his life. Prior to an accident which led him to be paralysed from the chest down, he was a slick city acquisitions manager, making lots of money, travelling to exotic destinations and having lots of sex. And then he found himself wholly dependent on other’s to lead his life. He couldn’t accept this, hence the choice to end his life. And his mother agrees to take him to Switzerland.

As a mother, my first reaction was shock. How could she agree to help him? But as the story goes along, I could sort of see why she would. All we want as parents is for our child/ren to be happy. Now, that doesn’t mean I condone suicide or that I think it is the easy way out. But I can feel empathy for someone who feels like they can’t accept the life they are living and see suicide as the only way out. I could accept it in this case, given his physical limitations (and constant ongoing medical issues), I still can’t accept or understand when it’s people who have the choice to seek help from those around them.

As I said when I started, suicide is a delicate subject, but if you have another way of seeing it, I’d love to hear your views.

#HappyQuacks Linky Wk5

Welcome to #happyquacks Week 5 and thanks to all those who linked in last week! I found myself really nodding away at some of the posts and giggling at others. Here is my top 3 for the week:

1. Carly aka Mummy wrote a great post about how she encourages her son to speak. S was a “late-ish” speaker although I’d done all the things she mentioned. It just meant that when he actually did start speaking, it all came in very quickly. A literal verbal explosion!

2. Silly Mummy wrote a funny post about how the baby likes to join in on the conversation with the toddler. It had me giggling.

3. Angela from Daysinbed wrote a very interesting post about the developmental science behind the game peek-a-boo. I can truly say I learnt something new.

So on to this week’s linky…

This week I’m linking up with my post about our trip to Legoland last week.

If you’d like to go to LEGOLAND this summer, click here for a great offer.

I host this linky with Rod over at Moderndadpages. This linky is open to all and every post you’ve ever written about anything that makes you happy. It could be your kids, your spouse, your family, your holiday, whatever it is that makes you happy.

Each week I’ll pick 3 of my favourite posts and they’ll get a little shout out in the following week’s link up post.

I don’t want to set any hard and fast rules BUT linky’s only work if you share the love so please comment on at least one of our posts and maybe 2-3 others that have linked up using the hashtag #happyquacks. Put the badge on the bottom of your post and lastly, if you tweet us your URL (using the hashtag #happyquacks), we’ll happily retweet all your posts. (@mamaduckquacks and @moderndadpages)

It would also make us happy if you followed us on Twitter and Facebook.

#happyquacks will go live on a Wednesday evening (6pm GMT) until Sunday evening (6pm GMT).

Looking forward to reading all your posts!

Mamaduckquacks
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How do you get rid of a pacifier/dummy?

S has used a pacifier from about 2 weeks old. I found he slept better and it helped with his colic/reflux and so I was happy to give him one. I can’t say I felt that same happiness at 6 months when the pacifier would fall out and he’d wake up crying for it. He was too young to pop it back in himself and so I had to wake every 40 minutes to do it. The only way he’d sleep well without it (or in general) was if he was sleeping beside me…and so co-sleeping began. It gave us the good night’s sleep we both needed.

Fast forward 2 years and I wanted to break the habit but he only really used it to sleep. Even if it fell out, he didn’t really need it, unless he stirred at 5am and I’d pop it back in to get an extra couple of hours sleep. S was never the best sleeper and so any extra sleep was welcomed! When he finally hit 3, I thought that’s it, I can’t have these pacifier’s around anymore. I also felt that he was old enough for me to explain why I was taking it away and I didn’t have to break the habit but leaving him crying without it. But then we were going away to India & Sri Lanka on holiday so I decided to wait until we got back mid-April.

Finally, one evening, the first week of May, I forgot to take one up with me when putting him to bed. He asked for it and I said “Princess Holly took it to wash it and hadn’t brought it back yet.” S is a fan of Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom (the TV show) and he’s got a great imagination so I was banking on him playing along with me. He asked me a couple of questions about it and then settled down to sleep. However, 5 minutes later he asked again. I gave him the same answer about Princess Holly. This went on for about half an hour. He was kicking about a bit but I stayed with him and reassured him that I’d check with her when she would be bringing it back.

The next night, he asked me for it and I told him she hadn’t brought it back yet but as he was a big boy now, she’d offered to take all his pacifier’s away in exchange for a present and I asked him what he’d like. I knew he’d gotten a Peppa Pig Space Rocket for his birthday which I’d put away so I offered him that. He agreed and I said “Let’s say bye-bye paci” and tomorrow you’ll get a present. He was quite happy with that.

On the third day, I wrapped up the present, hid it, got him to find it and made a really big deal out of it. He was very excited! That night he asked me for his pacifier but before I could say anything he said “Mama, I said bye-bye paci and Princess Holly bought me a Space Rocket.” I smiled and agreed and he fell asleep quickly.

3 nights and that was it, done! His sleeping improved so much, a part of me wished I’d done it sooner. However, I was glad that I was able to do it without tears or him wandering why they suddenly disappeared. For the first couple of weeks he was rising slightly earlier but thankfully that didn’t last too long.

I believe we all need a bit of magic and make believe sometimes. And if it means me getting what I want (pacifier gone) and S getting what he wants (a present), then I’m all for it!

Have you tried to break the habit? What method worked for you and how old was your child when you did it?