Artwork courtesy of Athena Aged 5
“Do you want to see how fast I can run?
I bet you won’t believe your eyes?
I’m faster than all the animals
I can’t wait to reveal the surprise!
I’d win a race against a cheetah and a lion
I speed faster than a jaguar
I stampede quicker than the buffalo
And against a horse it won’t get far.
You don’t believe me? Let’s test it out”.
A trip to Africa
And a farm to source these animals out
“Line up no cheating
On your marks get set!
Stop licking your lips kitty!
You haven’t won just yet.
Don’t be too confident with your four legs
With just two, I’m as quick as a flash”.
“On your marks! Let’s go!”
And they’re off on 100 metre dash
Athena’s legs jet propel her
Leaving dust in her track
She ignores the big cats and snorting horse
And moves forwards not looking back.
The crowd cheer as she crosses the line
The animals sulk in shame
They’ve lost to a little girl
And won’t be able to show their faces again
They were looking forward to winning
And eating Athena as a treat
Now she’s the champion on her throne
They’ll never knock her off her seat
“Was that a nice story? Was that a nice surprise?
I told you that you would not believe your eyes!”
“I don’t want it. I’m not eating that”,
Athena sulks and sighs.
The butter drips and spills as all the while, the crumpet cries.
Don’t you realise how sad the crumpet is?
It’s sobbing on the plate
And all it ever wanted was to join its crumpet mate
The mate’s down in your belly
You liked him a minute ago.
All the crumpet wants is to join him down below.
Even food has goals and dreams, you see
The crumpet wants to make you feel satisfied
But the poor old thing, he’s just cried and cried and cried.
The crumpet is all buttered,
He’s toasted up a treat
Don’t be mean and neglect him- a few bites and he’ll feel complete”.
“Please eat me, Miss Athena!”
“I’m tasty just like my friend,
And if you don’t eat me I shall surely go round the bend!”
Athena pokes the crumpet
She feels bad that the crumpet’s sad
The first one that she had was the best she’d ever had
She can make room for one more crumpet
The buttery tears are looking yummy.
A few scrumptious bites and they will be reunited in her tummy.
Two balloons, two candles and the two of us. Happy Birthday my ‘ena beena berry. My darling. Where have the last 2 years gone? My life has altered beyond comparison but you have made it better and enhanced the every day simple things. You are by little companion, my wonderful daughter and the love of my life.
You make me proud and make me laugh every day. You’re such a happy joyous little girl with a very funny sense of humour. “The birds will eat it” you say if you drop food on the floor. I said it one day to stop you picking it up and eating it. It’s stuck now, even indoors. The other day you decided displaying the contents of your mouth at dinner time was hilarious. I simply said “be careful don’t open your mouth because you know who’ll come and eat it?”. “Birds!” you cried and quickly shut your mouth. You dropped my phone the other day in the car and said “the birds will eat it!” You laughed your head off and then said,”no Mummy not dinner”. A very funny joke. One of many.
Your Grams and Gramps visited for your birthday and were astonished at how you always say please and thankyou and have a fantastic vocabulary chitter chattering about what you like, asking questions, your favourite things and what you’re going to do. You love role play and putting me and your toys to bed. In fact, you like pretending so much you use the word ‘pretend’ and even pretend to be me with your toys but trying to change nappies, putting on ‘special cream as they’re sore’ and telling them off for being naughty and giving them a cuddle when they say sorry. Just like you and me. I’m very proud you are so polite and understand being naughty and being ‘kind’. However, sometimes you get a glint in your eye where I know you’re enjoying being naughty even if it doesn’t last long because I distract you!
You’ve also recently grasped the concept of ‘me share’- thank goodness! No more tantrums as you know sharing means being kind, getting Mummy kisses and means making friends. You proudly list the names of your friends at nursery and attempt to befriend children with a cuddle. You won’t take any nonsense though and if you don’t like what another child is doing you say ‘no little boy/girl’. My you can be bossy! I wonder where you get it from?
You got a Peppa Pig hair set complete with pretend hair dryer for your birthday from your Grampses. You love pretending to do my hair and say, “me do it gentle”. Bless you. You love Peppa pig so much that you watch episodes over and over. To the point you reinact episodes and know all the songs! The other day you announced, ‘my talent is singing and dancing’ and pretended to have ‘me a secret club-you not in Mummy. Me my toys’. Classic- straight out of her favourite episodes.
You love to run, play chase around the house saying ‘catch me!’ You love cake, food in general, going on my shoulders, and ‘big cuddles’. You love to sing, your favourites are ‘Let it Go’ like all little girls and you love singing all the nursery rhymes at your little keyboard. I’m sure you’ll be an actress when you’re older with all your singing and pretending- especially as you pretend ‘me sad’ to try and get attention. You clever little chipolata!
I can’t wait to nurture you through the next year of your life to see what you say or do or what your talents truly become. One talent I know for sure is that you’re the best daughter in the world and I couldn’t be more proud or in love with you.
This summer I realised I was truly happy for the first time in 2 years. It has been nearly 2 years since my ex walked leaving me to be a single parent from the start. It’s now autumn and feel compelled to write about why.
I’m a very reflective person yet it didn’t take long to work out why I was happy.
At the beginning of the summer I split up with a guy I had been dating. It was quite an intense relationship and although he was a lovely guy he just wasn’t right for me. It meant that over my summer holidays I focussed on devoting my time off to the job I actually want to do- being a Mum. My daughters Dad, the perennial part timer took himself off for 4 week holiday so I didn’t have to share her. I loved it. No work, just play with my angel.
And she excelled herself. Lots of fun days out (National Trust rules!), activities and I talk to her incessantly so she is very articulate for a little girl. To the point that she declared herself a ‘chatterbox’. She recently said ‘my talents are singing and dancing, Mummy’. Amazing. She’s not even 2!
I’m back at work now and I’m still happy. Work is always hard but that is another reason why I’m happy. It dawned on me to celebrate my successes. I’m good at my job. It’s hard and I balance it with singleparent hood. I didn’t go under with stress last year and rose to the challenges despite divorce and everything stressful that goes with it. I am a good role model to my daughter and I hope she is proud and follows in my footsteps to be a strong career woman.
Im also happy because I’ve accepted singledom. I know who I am again and I’m not seeking someone else to define me. My daughter’s Dad is back as chief babysitter and I’m loving spending my time off with my friends and family rather than pursuing dates and relationships with inappropriate people. For the first time in 10 years I’m pleasing myself and putting my wants and needs first which includes raising my daughter how I want to.No compromise. I feel 24 again.
There was a mini set back- the ex announced he was trying for a baby with the ‘the mistress’. My first feelings were rage. Then I remembered how emotionally abusive he was when I was pregnant and after I had given birth and I felt relief. He hadn’t changed, although hope he has learnt from his experiences. She will have to put up with that. She will have to compromise to his demanding nature. She will finally realise the enormity of what they did. They’re not my problem anymore.
My daughter loves ‘Frozen’ and singing along to ‘Let it Go’. I love it too. I’ve let the past go. I can’t change it. I have peace as a result. I have happiness.
I’ve had you all to myself this 6 week summer holiday to share with friends and family and you have surpassed yourself with how gorgeous and wonderful you are in every situation. Perhaps because every day has been different or exciting or perhaps because you and I have spent every minute rather than you in nursery but your language and development seem to have rocketed in the last few weeks. You also have a brilliant sense of humour and I love hanging out with you. You’re my little companion and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s times like this I’m so proud of you and also of myself as I know you are the product of my hard work and care of you. I love being your mummy- you make me want to be such a good one.
So I thought I would list some of your most amazing things to show off your awesomeness. This will also serve as a good reminder of what you were like when you were little. Photos don’t do things justice and I don’t want to forget.
1. You are addicted to Peppa Pig. It stems from working out I could keep you quiet on an airplane or on a long car journey. You love it so much you know all the songs from episodes , love the books and have a Peppa pig doll (It’s actually George but I daren’t tell you!).
2. You are fantastic at speaking! You speak in simple sentences. It means you can tell me what is good or bad! You tell me what you like and you can tell me what we did during the day if I ask you, “what’s been your best bit of today?”.
3. You know lots of big words: Cinnamon, chatterbox (that’s you!), climbing, You also know what fruit is and came name all the fruits you love- strawberries, blueberries and bananas (lananas to you!)
4, You are very bossy! (Another word you know!). When I say it’s time to tidy your train track away you say, “Leave it Mummy!”. You have learnt to describe something as “rubbish’ if you find it boring or you don’t like it! You also tell me what you want to help me cook for your dinners and help me with what I should put on the shopping list!
5. You can count to 15
6. You can spell your name. I know it’s simple recall and reciting and you can’t always select the correct letter of the alphabet to go with the sound but it’s a bloody good start! Once we recite the spelling I say, “what does it spell?”. You shout “‘ena!”
7. You love climbing and are very adventurous if we go to a soft play or park. I’ve had to get good at climbing too as you always choose the slides that are very high!
8. You love to cook for real and in pretend. We visited aunty Sophie the other day and her son had the most fantastic toy cooker. You spent hours at it pretending to make “my favourite- pasta, sauce, and cheese”. .. I know exactly what to get you for your 2nd birthday.
9. You cannot identify colours. It becomes hilarious when you argue with me over what’s what! “That’s not blue!” You shout when I insist it is. The only colour you can successfully identify is red. We’ve recently agreed that colours fall into 2 categories: red and not red. Brilliant.
10. You call the skin of bananas once they are peeled, “Nana legs”. Genius.
11. You can proudly put your own shoes on.
12. You are very polite and regularly say “please’. You’re a bit rubbish at saying “thank you”, though!
13. You take a terrible photograph. You understand the concept of posing for a snap but when I say “smile”, you pull this squinty eyed face with your 2 teeth sticking out. Priceless.
Holidaying with friends with kids is the way forward- especially if you’re a single parent. I have another friend who recently became a single parent recently but incredibly sadly through widowhood. Puts my shit into perspective. Anyway, we chatted one day about holidays and you could see the lightbulb go on in our heads & so we decided to go together. I have another friend, who does not have kids but simply wanted a break and a beach holiday and was cool with coming along. She is awesome- I would have never gone in holiday with other people’s kids if I had had none. She also was happy to help with the kids and it meant we had an extra person for baby sitter so we could take it in turns for 2 of us to go out at night. Result.
However, fun was everywhere and I can honestly say the holiday surpassed beach holidays Ive had in my previous incarnations as a party girl in Ibiza. My friends were chilled and there was lots of lovely girlie chat, the area in Alcudia, Mallorca was fantastico for kids, we had an aircon apartment I arranged with it’s own swimming pool and we were yards from the town centre with markets and close to the beach. We were also close to a water park. In my head it was practically Ushuaia in Ibiza- a pool party but with kids and water slides! Me and baby girl even had a boogie in our swimming outfits by the pool! She excelled herself, just as she did last year in Hong Kong.
My douche bag ex recently commented “what’s the point in taking her on holiday? She won’t remember it or appreciate it”. Nonsense you fool. It’s about my memories of her paddling, playing, making friends with my friends’ kids and playing in the sand. It’s about reminding her of the bird show, water parks, pizza and enormous amount of ice cream she ate. It’s about recording her running in the sunshine and trying to buy things at the market. It’s about her development and seeing her face light up at all the experiences. I feel like I can take her anywhere and do anything with her. She’s the love of my life. Who says life ends with kids? It’s only just begun.