30 April 2013

the boys, the boys


As I mentioned in my 52 post Rob had a little day out with Theo at the weekend. As I'm often working now on a Saturday Rob looks after Theo, and they always manage to have a action packed day out together. Usually Theo has football on a Saturday morning, so after that they pop round to Oma and Gramps's house to say hello. Oma works on a Saturday too, so it is a fully fledged father, son and son day. They usually go for a little (big) walk around Bristol, visiting the docks, the museum, the mshed, the park and most importantly the pub.

This weekend Theo didn't have football, so Rob decided to go on a bike ride with Theo. Luckily we found a bike seat on the street for free, along with a helmet at a different time so they were all set. Rob invited his dad along who didn't take much persuading! They cycled along the cycle track to Bitton where they have a train station along the track. They have a train that you can ride on with old carriages  and a big old diesel engine, much to the delight of Theo I can imagine! Apparently they also run a stream train at some point, which we'll definitely have to try and come back for. After this they cycled on to a pub in Saltford for a drink and some chips, before cycling back to Bristol.


I do get a little jealous of their days out to be honest, as I wish I could be out enjoying it with them. But at the same time I like the time I get to myself when working, and I love thinking about them off on an adventure, just the boys and spending all that quality time together. They always have a great day by all accounts and it's really fun to hear all about it at the end of the day! So here's to more daddy day's out! 

29 April 2013

giving up

So it's over, I'm giving up on playgroups.

This morning we went to our usual Monday morning group at the children's centre which is usually pretty good and also quite quiet. This group is really lovely, they have lots of fun activities to do with sensory, creativity and learning, plus other good toys and a lovely outside play area, so I'm sad to maybe not go anymore, maybe I will occasionally. It's not the playgroup itself that I don't like, it's the other parents. And this goes for other playgroups too, I don't like the parents.

I find it stressful being there, negotiating fair play and having to constantly watch over your chid, because let's face it, Theo isn't the most gentle child in the world. But I hate the way I'm made to feel, like I have a terror of a child, who is a complete anomaly and like no child has ever acted that way before. I feel constantly judged (by parents not by the actual staff who work there). Yes Theo hits other children, occasionally pushes and very rarely bites. He's loud, he's energetic and he's boisterous. He get's over excited, he wants to play with what ever anyone else is playing with and he gets frustrated. But he's not the only one who ever does this. I didn't choose for Theo to be like this, and we certainly don't encourage or use violence on him at home or anywhere. But that's just the way he is, and hopefully it will pass at some point, hopefully soon. The majority of parents you meet usually have a kind word to say about it, along the lines of "don't worry, we've been there" or "it's ok, they're usually the same" which is nice, it shows they know what you are going through and that they know it will pass. But some parents it seems just judge, say things that when thought about later are actually quite rude, and just generally make you feel like a bad parent.

Whenever Theo hits or snatches, each and every time I will take him to one side and explain that what he did wasn't very nice, that he might have upset or hurt the other child, and that we need to say sorry. 70% of the time he will say sorry, and all is forgotten. Sometimes he doesn't and will try and hit again, and if that's the case then he'll get a warning that we have to leave, and if he does it again, then we will leave. I use positive encouragement and praise when he's behaving nicely and we talk and explain how to share and wait our turn. I know that I'm doing everything I can to help him through this phase, and I always do this, but still I feel like I am judged. Just because you're child has never, or isn't old enough to act in this way doesn't mean that you are a better parent than me, just because you haven't been tested in this way it doesn't mean that you won't be tested in other ways, and when or if they do I hope that people aren't there judging you or making comments. Because it's hurtful, and it goes pretty deeply when people criticise your parenting or your child.

The thing is, is that this is just one side to Theo, and maybe this is all they see of him, but in general he is a lovely little boy. He is incredibly friendly, and will say hello and try to make friends with everyone. He is polite and kind, will always say thank you and please. He does like to share and involve other people in what he's doing and he's a bright and inquisitive child. He's outgoing and affectionate and happy. He will always check if his friends are ok, try and help them up if they've fallen or will wonder why if they're upset. I know all this because I'm around him all the time and I see all these sides so it's really hard when you are made to feel like you are the mother of a out of control child. Because he's not out of control, he's a two year old boy with lots of energy. And at this period in time, before his language is fully developed, it's hard for them to speak their frustration and easier to act out and hit.

But until that point I think I'm just going to give the whole playgroup thing a break. But now that the weather is getting better more outside trips can be made. I have a friend who has been through the very same thing with her little boy who is a few months older than Theo, and who herself can't handle small confined spaces with lots of other small children and toys anymore either, and we have pledged to just go out on day trips, to go on walks, to the park, or play in the garden.

So there! I just hope that parents will stop judging each other and just try their hardest to be the best parent they can for their own children and respect that they may not know or see the whole side of the child or the parent they are criticising. We're all in this together! 

28 April 2013

seventeen / fifty-two

- a portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013 -

Waiting for the train to turn around. A little snapshot from the boys day out on Saturday (more on that to come later) whilst I was at work. From all accounts they had the best day, and in Theo's eyes, as long as it involves train then you can't really go wrong! 

My favourite from last week was this sweet little photo of her first taste of the sea! 

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26 April 2013

they're here!



So it's that time of year again, where I feel the need to point out every magnolia tree that we pass, where I make a mental map of each blossoming tree around and divert my journeys just to walk beneath them.


I don't know why I love them so, well I do, because they are beautiful, but there's something else too. For me they have always symbolised a time in my life where things change, and usually for the better. From the first signs of Spring I start looking out for them, and when I see the first buds appearing I can feel my mood lift slightly and I look forward to the coming weeks and watching them bloom. The magnolia blossom has helped me through some difficult periods of young adulthood and I think I'll always look out for them.

The arrival of the the magnolias also reminds me this time of year three years ago. As I was walking the other day and admiring a particularly handsome bloom I was reminded of the Spring of the last year of University, when the magnolia obsession hit it's peak. It was around that time that Rob and I met and became a couple. I then checked the date and suddenly realised that it was actually the day of our anniversary! We didn't really do anything to celebrate, but still it was a nice moment to remember the time we met and the beginning of our relationship. Three years isn't long, but it's been a journey for us that's for sure. I'm happy to be where we are today, and even though our wedding anniversary will be in September I will still always remember this time of the year for all that it brought us.


24 April 2013

down south

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It's been a while since we've visited the south of Bristol, but on a sunny Saturday afternoon we headed there to meet our friends. We met at Windmill city farm, just as Theo fell asleep so we walked to the park for a picnic. I didn't take Theo long to realised he was going to miss out on food and playing, so he cut his nap short to partake. We took it in turns to entertain and play in the park, whilst chatting and sun-lounging (I even got a tiny bit sunburnt yikes!)

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We then packed up and walked back to the farm to have a look at all the animals and walk around the gardens. We've only been to this farm once before, and even though it's not that big it's still a great place to be able to visit, for free I might add!

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I love seeing our friends play and interact with Theo, and of course Theo loves all the attention. But it makes me very happy to see how many people love him and want to spend time with him, we are very lucky to have such lovely people around us and in Theo's life.

Soon it was time to leave the farm, but not before having a play under the hand driers, as you do...




We finished off the day with a few drinks and dinner for Theo nearby, and headed home pretty tired out but happy! Here's to more time spent with friends, in parks in the sunshine! 

22 April 2013

brighton blues


so it's been a week since we returned from our little trip to Brighton and I have had serious pangs of longing to be back lounging on the beach, visiting nice pubs and being around my lovely friends. We had a really really lovely weekend. Even though it rained all day Saturday we were still in high spirits, and even though on Sunday we were out all day, didn't eat a proper meal and got a bit stuck at the end of the day we remained calm and happy. Maybe because we were in a new (for Rob) place to visit, where both of our friends were, or the excitement and inspiration of watching people run the marathon or because the sun shone but since the weekend we have both been inkling to be back.

Theo was on top form all weekend too, we met up with so many people each day that he was in his element making new friends and learning everyone's name and entertaining as only he knows how. We had no meltdowns, despite being out all day, everyday, being in pubs and restaurants and maybe not eating proper meals all the time. We were all exhausted by the end of the day, but happy as we all snuggled in bed together. And of course he loved the beach.


We stayed with my aunty in Shoreham in the very same house that we used to stay as children, and every time I visit Brighton it brings back such happy memories from my childhood. My friends both went to university there too, so Brighton made a small space in my heart a while ago, but this weekend visiting it under new circumstances, introducing my small family to this city and the sea, that space has definitely grown. As well as new friends Sarah and Stanley living close by, and our friends from University settling there it's safe to say that we will be making many more visits in the future...and in my dreams perhaps we would end up living in a small house by the sea! 
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