Two!!

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.image

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.

Happiness

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.

The Baby Chronicles- 22 months

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.

The Holiday

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.

Review

I find it hard to squeeze in blogging nowadays as a working single mum. My job and my 20 month old are very demanding. However, this week I got a week long sabatical from her whilst she stayed at her Dad’s. Her sleep has been poor of late with sleep terrors, sleep talking and genral neediness for cuddles in the night and I felt too exhausted to go through yet another round of sleep training. “You do it” I said when her Dad moaned and insisted on a new sleep regime last week after she had kept him awake on her weekly stay at his. You could have heard my jaw hit the floor when he agreed. I miss her terribly but the smug bugger has seemingly cracked her sleep problems. Win win. I’m just glad he knows what it’s like for once and that I didn’t have to do it. For once.
So, this week, I have been working late in a bid to get all my school prep done so I don’t have to work my summer holidays. It’s been weird not having to do the nightly bath and bedtime routine and I’m suprised at how long my evenings feel. Even with doing school planning I have had time to come to the keyboard to type somehting for me and not for work purposes.
Whilst looking over my blog I re read the “Bombshell…..” It was the first piece I every wrote and it was lucky enough to get posted on Any Other Woman too. It feels strange reading my words and yet knowing I was in a much different emotional place back then. I’ve come a long way. I thought about the list of dreams for the future I wrote nearly 18 months ago now and thought I would review them. The original list is as follows:

1.Cherishing every day with my daughter and keeping a video and photographic diary of her milestones.
2.A 2 bed little cottage somewhere, which I can furnish how I like. Bring on the soft furnishings and scatter cushions.
3.Working part-time
4.Swimming lessons with my baby
5.Learning to horse-ride with my daughter
6.Going on a girlie holiday (friendship has won out through all of this)
7.Meeting a man who will spoil me
8.5* holidays (not the travel lodge or hostel)
9.Running a B&B in St. Ives
10.Learning to scuba dive.
11.Re-marrying with a fairy tale wedding day I didn’t do the first time around.

I have actually managed to accomplish 1, 2 & 3. Well, it’s not a cottage but a more gorgeous than most terrace with a massive garden for baby girl. I swim regularly with her but have not done actual lessons with her. In 2 weeks I can tick of No. 6. I am off to Majorca with 2 friends and one of them has become a single parent too so is bringing her kiddies too. Should be fun – villa with a pool and guaranteed sun. Whoop!

As for the rest… time is needed. That B&B has retirement written all over it. As for meeting a man, well I have dated several to know what I want now. The fairy tale wedding no longer seems important. I do know that I want someone to spoil me and I don’t mean with material things. Generosity of actions and words is so important. I want someone who can put me first for once. I’ve discovered I don’t need a man but I would like one as I would like to be a family still as it was something that was taken away from me. So, someone who has family values is a must. But most importantly I want someone who brings out the best in me and makes me and my daughter feel content and carefree. I wonder if that person exists?

Mini-Break

This weekend, baby girl and I set off on an airplane to sunny Devon to visit my sister. I couldn’t face the 5 hour journey so a flight from Manchester seemed ideal. It also seemed like a good idea to do a trial run before a longer flight to Spain in a few weeks- who’d have thought I’d travelled to Hong Kong when she was 7 months old?! God it’s easier when they don’t walk and talk! It was- we were there in no time, baby girl didn’t kick off about being in the car seat and we arrived without me feeling stressed or knackered. What a glorious weekend to choose! The sun was out and my folks were there too as it was my Mum’s birthday and baby girl was the little adorable firecracker she can be rather than the temper tantrum beast she has occasionally become in recent weeks. I have been having another bout of sleep issues recently and spoke to the Health Visitor at length about a new age appropriate sleep training routine as seemingly letting her cry no longer works just causes more anxiety. Yet, weirdly, I have had the best sleep this weekend. Baby girl has been staying up late but we have also been tiring her out with sea air. Perhaps also because we slept in the same room baby girl was comforted and slept through like a dream. It was a mini break because I slept and because we did wonderful holiday things like a boat ride and the beach. It was also a mini break from the old routine and the calm before the storm before hardcore sleep training begins. I now feel warmed by the sun, refreshed and ready for some bumpy nights.

The Baby Chronicles – 20 months

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Where do I start, my darling girl? It’s been a while since I have written about your wonder and charm. I can’t believe how clever you are. This morning, your Daddy came round to collect you and I told him you could count to 10. He didn’t believe us because you were so sheepish. But I got out the ‘Hello Kitty’ counting book we got out from the library the other day and we started to count. You mouthed the words at first and as you were sat on your Daddy’s knee he couldn’t see your mouth move and didn’t believe you could do it. As we turned the pages, your confidence grew and sure enough, by page 9 and 10 you pointed and counted in order without your Mummy’s help. Daddy simply cried “WOW!”. Wow indeed, clever girl! I’m sure it is our love of playing hide and seek where I count to 10 and counting every step we go down that has helped you to learn.

You’re not just clever but funny too. You know your colours as well now and a funny joke you and me have together is when I ask you what colour my hair is. Everytime you answer differently and giggle away- this morning it was “pink!’. last weekend your Aunty Becky came to visit and she would pretend to sniff you like a doggy – you loved it! Since then, you like me to do it and you cry “again!”. I’ve added to our game an impersonation of a cat too and you ride my back like I’m a horsey! We also love singing and dancing together – you know all the words to “Twinkle Twinkle” and “Wind the Bobbin Up”. What fun we have in our new home!

You also love cooking and always want to “look look” when I make something and I let you help me with simple tasks. Your newest biggest word is “Cinnamon” which you pat from the pot onto your porridge. Will you be a chef? Over the last few weeks we have baked cup-cakes, made homemade pizza and Rice Krispie cakes. I let you rummage in my box of baking ingredients and you pretend you are cooking- you are so creative!

I can’t wait until you can talk properly in proper sentences – you are so nearly there but I am a little worried about how bossy you might be! I’m also a very relieved Mummy that you no longer hate the car seat and are sleeping properly again in your bed. What battles we have had there. But just remember: Mummy loves you and knows best!

You are the love of my love, beautiful girl.