the test.

We are definitely being tested right now.

Someone, somewhere thinks it’s time to give us a right good kick up the backside.

It’s like they’re saying, “Oh, so you think you’re having a good time!? Here’s ten tonnes of melodrama, stroppy almost five year old and a whole heap of guilt just to ice that cake of yours!”

Thanks for that. Whoever you are.

Ok, so I’m being dramatic.  

I guess the first thing to say is that I know my daughter is not naughty.

I know full well that she is a gem, and that she is so lovely.

So the next thing to say then is this…

How do you discipline someone who is, on the whole, really lovely, when all of a sudden they start constantly doing things to upset their little brother? When they just refuse to listen? When they backchat you all the time? 

Yesterday I tried some discipline. Yesterday I followed through on the threat to send Ruby to her room if she continued being naughty and didn’t eat her dinner properly as she had been asked to.

And my word. The tantrum that ensued was immense.

Immense.

I instantly felt absolutely awful. Like the worst Mummy in the world.

What had she actually done wrong? Was I overreacting? Had I made a mountain out of a molehill?

I am still questioning myself, even now, 24 hours after “the incident”.

Because this is what being a parent does to you.

The worst thing about it all was that when she had actually calmed down and I started to talk with her about what had happened and why I have to start following through on punishments with her, was what she said to me.

She wailed, “But all I ever want to do is make you happy. And all you do is yell at me.”

Is this true? Have I become the worst Mummy in the world? Are the thoughts I have at the back of my mind actually true?

I cried.

I cried in-front of my daughter.

And I hugged her and squeezed her and told her the following:

“I love you. I love you more than I have loved anything or anyone in the whole entire world. I love you so much that sometimes my heart feels like it will burst. You also make me more cross than I feel I have ever been. Not because you are naughty, but because I want to do the best job of being your Mummy that I possibly can. So that you can become the best grown-up that you possibly can.”

Her breathing became slower and we hugged even closer.

“It’s not your job to make me happy. It’s my job to make sure you are happy. To keep you safe and to show you how to be the best Ruby that you can possibly be. Do you think I would be doing a good job of being a Mummy to you if I just let you do all those things that are naughty, or dangerous or mean to Henry?

She said no, and that she understood.

And we hugged even closer and I told her I loved her some more.

This kind of thing doesn’t happen very often. In fact it’s really rare that she is this “naughty”. Like I said, I know my daughter is a lovely little girl.

So when it does happen I find it difficult. Really difficult.

Parenting is no easy ride, and whilst it’s fair to say that we chose to put ourselves in this situation, it’s also fair to say that sometimes? Sometimes it is so hard work. And that’s alright. It’s fine to think like that. 

Her behaviour is testing us to our limits at the moment. But we crack on, and today has been a much better day.  

We are doing the best we possibly can, and hopefully in years to come when all this is a memory and I am wishing, wishing, wishing that we could have this time back again she will understand that she is the most precious thing to me.

I love you Ruby Roo.

Always.

 

now you are two.

It’s such a cliche to say that I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by. But it’s the absolute truth.

I think, in all honesty, that time actually seems to have gone by faster with Henry than it ever did with Ruby.

And all I find myself wanting to shout is “SLOW DOWN!”.

True, there are some days that I wish time would go faster so I can get home from another day at work/get them to bed because they are behaving like beasts/have some time on my own for once…but the vast majority of the time I wish it would just slow down.

It’s already been a week since Henry’s second birthday, and I wanted to mark the occasion properly on my blog last week but, as usual, I just didn’t get the time.

So here it finally is, some thoughts on our son…now that he is two.

Monday’s child is fair of face…

You were born on a Monday. Monday 4th May 2015, at 2.15pm.

And whilst you looked more like a smushed up, puffed up frog when you were first born than a glorious beauty, you have always been incredibly fair of face my love.

There are so many different things that I could say to you, now that you are two. But the one thing that I want to say most of all is how proud I am of you.

You have been through so much in your short little life so far, yet you still manage to smile and laugh and charm your way through the days. Like nothing ever happened to you. I hope this zest for life and your fighting spirit follows you though the rest of your days – because you will go far, my son, if it does.

Whenever you’re being an absolute devil-child (throwing food around screaming that you “like it” which, for you, means that you don’t/hitting your sister/throwing yourself out of your cot/terrorising the cat etc. etc.) I sigh and think back to the time we nearly lost you. To when you were so tiny and so poorly. And I remember that we are lucky to still have you (and that I am a short-tempered, overreacting, strop-monster that needs to take a step back and remember that you’re just a two year old!).

I love how you chuckle. That whole body shake chuckle that shows you find something really funny. I love how your face paints a thousand words, and the cheeky expressions you pull – especially when you know you’re not meant to be doing something! I love the way you poke your belly button and giggle. I love your obsession with blueberries. I love how much you actually love your sister. I love how you snuggle into my neck. I love the nicky noo noo dance you do with Ruby. I love how you love to play!

Time is indeed flying by, but with each and every day that passes you become so much more to us.

And if time has to carry on whizzing by, then so be it. At least we have you here with us, and at least we’re trying everything we can to make the very best of each day with you and your sister.

So my little man…if nothing else, then please remember this. You have brought such joy into our lives. You have made our family complete, and we love you so so very much.

Keep on being cheeky. Keep on being so happy you could burst. Keep on babbling about nothing in particular yet making it sound like the most important words anyone has ever uttered. Keep on laughing at your sisters jokes. Keep on secretly stealing fruit from the fridge.

Keep on being you.

Our Henry.

We love you.

a north-eastern holiday.

Forget the middle-east…Dubai can wait! The north-east is where it’s at for a family holiday these days!

Now, don’t get me wrong, put me on a plane to Dubai and face me with seven star service and uninterrupted sunshine for a week and I would probably choose that over Alnwick, Northumberland, BUT – we have just returned from a wonderful five days of family time and I can honestly say we would highly recommend it.

We booked a little house called Red Door via cottages.com – a website we use quite regularly, especially since having the children.

It wasn’t the best, being totally honest. But it was clean and a good base from which to travel around Northumberland. And since it took us almost a month to decide what we wanted to do and finally get round to booking something, we were lucky to find anything at all that didn’t cost us a month’s mortgage payment!

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Mr O’s family are from Northumberland, and he spent much of his childhood holidaying in the area – something that prompted him to want to take our children up there. So we tootled on up the A1 and found ourselves in Alnwick – a beautiful little market town on the South Bank of the River Aln.

If you’ve never been to Northumberland, you could probably be forgiven for wondering what the fuss is all about. Why would you head so close to Scotland and not cross the border? What is there up there but old coal mines? And you probably think it’s all just about Lindisfarne?

You would be wrong!

We spent the whole week cooing over scenery (OK, I spent the whole week cooing over scenery), enjoying miles of glorious beaches, walking through picturesque little fishing villages, eating the most amazing seafood and discovering history we never even knew existed – it was just fabulous.

The best day by far, in my opinion, was the day that we spent at Alnwick Castle and The Alnwick Garden.

Mr O would disagree – he would say it was the day spent on the beach at Seahouses…but since I HATE sand (see previous post here for more info!) I will not agree with him, even though I felt myself the most relaxed I’ve been in a while on that beach.

It was, actually, if I dare admit it, blissful.

The Alnwick Castle and Garden experience, whilst quite expensive, was a full day of brilliant family fun. We spent hours and hours outdoors (yep, the small ones slept well that night!!) exploring gardens, finding out names for plants, wading through fallen blossom with Ruby taking the opportunity to throw it at us at every turn of the path, and laughing our socks off at the silly court jester who threw fire and genuinely made Ruby fear for her safety – hilarious to see!!

I quite fancied the ‘On Location’ tour, which showed you all the bits of the castle that had been used in films such as Harry Potter and Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves – but since that took place at 3.30pm and Ruby had had all of her fun already, she deemed it “too boring” and so we hot footed it out of there before a huge wobbly/major embarrassment kicked in.

That evening we ate out at a place called The Jolly Fisherman in a teeny little village called Crastor. We tried Oysters for the very first time (and we weren’t sick!) and enjoyed gorgeous fresh fish and lobster in beautiful surroundings – with lashings of Alnwick Gin!

We saved money where we could by making sandwiches for lunch and we ate in the house a couple of evenings, which actually worked out quite well all in all.

If you’ve seen my Instagram feed you will know I’ve already said that I need another holiday to get over this one though.

Whilst my brain switched from overdrive to relax, my body is shattered. We didn’t sleep very well at all with Henry in our room – and not at all most nights as he decided that he couldn’t be without me and clung to me like a limpet (an after-effect of his operation?).

Still – it was a brilliant holiday, and we crammed in enough to make the memories last for some time, I hope.

Worn out but very happy.

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A good summary for a lovely time with the family.

Roll on the next staycation…Devon in July!

Speak soon,
K x

the days after.

Children are resilient, they said.

They bounce back so quickly, they said.

And…thank goodness, but it seems they were right!

Henry’s operation and subsequent time in recovery took all of 40 minutes. He was back in my arms before I’d even had a chance to finish my Costa Coffee hot chocolate in the strange little cafe at the entrance to Queen’s Hospital, Burton.

The hospital at which I’ve had (too) many a stay, at which Ruby was born, Henry was born, treated for meningitis and the hospital that I wished we’d never have to return to.

He cried so much when he woke from surgery that I could hear the theatre nurse bringing him to us from the other side of the hospital. I grabbed him and held him so close, and he clung to me so tightly I was certain I’d never let go.

After a mammoth sleep of 1.5 hours in my arms (if I’d known he was going to sleep that long I would have sat on the bed…my bum was so numb!) he woke up and demanded a biscuit. And that’s when I knew that everything would be alright!

After 10.5 hours without food or water, the bottomless pit then proceeded to consume the world’s biggest banana, an entire pack of Mini Cheddars, 2 x digestive biscuits and a ham sandwich along with about 4 Tippee cups of water!

Definitely alright.

After he’d finished his feast he grabbed his coat and made a run for it. Seriously. He was out of the door and saying goodbye to the nurses before we knew what was happening!

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We were exhausted. He was on cloud nine.

So we brought him home.

Our baby yelled for his sister the minute we pulled onto the drive, and she was thrilled to have him back.

He had a good night of sleep, only woken by Ruby who was crying so much after a bad dream where a cat was biting her bottom (no idea what that’s about!?) and seemed perfectly fine. Until we had to administer his drops.

The poor thing screamed and cried and desperately tried to wriggle away from me. 3-4 drops 3 times per day to try and help his ears heal and to get rid of the infection that the surgeon found whilst in there adding the grommets.

But, two hours later he was back on fighting form, hiding in the toy box, shouting at Ruby, running around the house and generally being a tinker…

It will take him time to fully recover. I know that.

He spent much of the first evening after the op cuddled into me, crying when I left the room and resisting sleep – almost scared to drift off, perhaps a hang up from the operation? Something isn’t quite right as he just will not let you leave him, when normally he would snuggle his monkey and drift off without issue (most of the time!!). 

I really hope that putting him through this procedure proves to be the right thing to have done.

We’ll see in three months time, I guess, as that’s the next time we need to see the consultant. 

Cross your fingers folks!

 Until then I’m taking every opportunity for extra snuggles and cuddling him in close. 

the waiting game.

Tomorrow our son, Henry, goes into hospital for an operation.

When he was just 3 months old Henry contracted Bacterial Meningitis (read about it and learn the signs & symptoms here…), which was horrific to put it mildly.

Thankfully, he came out of it the other side relatively unscathed.

However, at a routine post-Meningitis hearing check, the Audiology team discovered a hearing loss and, six tests later, that hearing loss isn’t getting any better.

So tomorrow, Henry heads into surgery to have grommets inserted.

Grommets are, for anyone that is wondering, very small tubes (like cotton reels) that help to drain away excess fluid building up in the middle ear.

Here’s a helpful handy diagram to show you exactly what I mean!*

grommet1

We’re hopeful that the grommets will drain away the fluid and that he will then pass his hearing tests – as the Audiology team believe that it’s the pressure of the fluid that is causing his hearing loss.

And, to be honest, that’s what I’m banking on – because otherwise, it’s likely that the Meningitis has damaged Henry’s hearing and so, if he doesn’t pass after the grommets have fallen out then we’ll need to consider hearing aids for him – and that, being completely honest, for some reason, makes me feel very uneasy.

Now, in my rational mind I know that this is a simple and straightforward procedure.

I know that he will be fine. That it’s routine and done hundreds of times a week. And that if, after it all he needs hearing aids then that is NOT a problem.

But yet I still feel like my world is spinning.

I feel sick. I’m worried. I’m nervous. I’m tired.

So, so tired.

Henry on the other hand, thankfully, is full of beans. He’s his usual belligerent self, shouting at his sister, raiding the fridge any chance he gets and stomping about the place wittering on to himself and anyone that will listen (and pretend to understand what he’s going on about!).

Tomorrow is unknown. I don’t have a clue what to expect. And I think that’s half of the problem.

I am, as you now know, a planner.

I’m strengthened by structure, and lists, and details.

Tomorrow makes me VERY nervous.

Once again, I’ll be on that ward.
The ward I had really hoped we’d never have to return to.

And once again, my baby will be handed off to someone else to take care of.

My control of the situation will be gone and, for a short time, so will my beautiful, smiley, happy son.

If you have any experience of this, or you can offer any pearls of wisdom to help me through then please feel free to comment.

Here’s to a quick and easy procedure, and to never having to go through this again!

But for now, we wait…

Speak soon,
K x

*Image supplied by afairgo.net

spring fling. 

Last Sunday I did something I’ve been very excited about for a very long time…

I visited the Fabulous Places Spring Home, Food & Gift Market. 

Child free. 

And with a lovely friend. 

It was awesome. 

I’ve followed Deb at Fabulous Places for quite a while now (on Instagram, not actually followed her, that would be beyond weird) and have always wanted to go to one of the markets she organises. 

So when my lovely friend Michelle (of delicious cake company Pea Bakes Cakes), who lives in Derby where the market is held, said she fancied coming along with me I was over the moon. 

We weren’t disappointed! 

The venue, The Roundhouse, was fantastic. It’s a glorious old building that used to be used as a turning house for choo choo’s (sorry, I can’t actually use the word train anymore. Henry won’t let me!) and is now the perfect place for events like this. 

I loved the atmosphere, it was bustling but not too busy, and everyone just seemed super pleased to be there. 
The stalls were laid out beautifully. 

All independent, owner/maker managed and all so friendly and nice. I could have chatted to each and every single one of them for days, they were all so passionate about their product. 

I fell in love with a few in particular:

The Thomas-Coles

Handmade in Lancashire (Darwen to be exact…the next town over from where I’m from!) by a lovely couple who are passionate about fragrance. 

I bought a Pomello candle. 

Can’t. Stop. Smelling. It. 

Florence & Bow 

I could have bought everything on this stall. They have a shop in Leicestershire as well as an online presence. Look them up for lovely wall hangings, toptastic telephones and awesome trinkets for your house! 

Little Paperie
I love stationery. I just do. Always have done. Always will. 

And this stationery is the best I think I have ever seen. Seriously gorgeous little shop based in Ashbourne selling the most quirky, beautiful stationery and cards. They also offer Annie Sloan Chalk Paint workshops and are so lovely. I have tried and failed a few times to get to their shop (my fault entirely!) so getting to meet the girls behind #flamingofridays at the market was fab! 

As well as the most lovely home and gift stalls there were so many good food stalls. Pies. Bread. Ice Cream. Artisanal Toasties. 

#nom 

I couldn’t get near any of the cakes to take good enough pics, but if weight was gained by just looking at cake I wouldn’t have fit back in the car at the end of the day that’s for sure! 

It was a great day, and I’m so glad that we found the time to get there. Life is often hectic and we usually put the children first, so it was nice to do something just for me for a change. 

There’s a Summer market on 2nd July, again at The Roundhouse. 

I will be going. 

Oh yes I will. 

Have you ever been to a Fabulous Places market? What did you think? Would you like to know more? 

Share your thoughts in the comments! 

oh happy day. 

Supposedly it’s #internationaldayofhappiness today. 

Yes, some person somewhere chose a Monday in what seems like the longest month ever, to declare a day of forced happiness. 

You really wouldn’t know it from the number of horns I heard blaring on the way to work this morning. Or the number of miserable faces I encountered as I trekked through the rain to get lunch. 

But still, in a bid to embrace this most marvellous of days…here are 21 very special things you may not already have known about me. 

21 things that make me HAPPY! 

1. My children…of course! When they aren’t making me want to pull my ears off, or hide in a cupboard that is

2. The husband. Kind of have to say that. Feel’s like it would be wrong to leave him off the list! 

3. Hendricks gin…most marvellous


4. Talking to my mum…last year they went away on a cruise for pretty much a month, and I couldn’t speak to her. I couldn’t even text her. It was awful. She makes me rage quite often, but she’s fabulous and I can’t be without her. 

5. Summer…mainly for the ice creams


6. Hot dogs. With ketchup AND mustard. Oh yes. 

7. Fireworks. No matter what time of year. But woe betide anyone who lets off fireworks that wake my children! 


8. Memories of our wedding day. Including dancing the night away, kissing before we were supposed to and time alone spent watching our guests…

9. Friendship. The most wonderful thing on the planet

10. Tulips

11. Milkshakes, especially super thick strawberry ice cream ones – Ed’s Diner seems to be the best place  for these at the moment 
12. New York. Or more like memories of New York and films/books/TV shows featuring this amazing city 

13. Harry Potter. Just that. Love it! 


14. Home. 

15. Parties. Big ones, small ones, discos, boozy…I just love a gathering. 

16. Seeing other people happy


17. Fearne Cotton’s cook book…not that I am super keen on all the different ingredients she uses, but for the Spag Bol alone it’s worth it #nom


18. Love

19. Typography. I just love seeing it, searching out new fonts, fiddling around with lettering, reading old quotes in new and interesting formats! 


20. Interior design. Not in a pretentious Kelly Hoppen, yas daaahling way, but Pinteresting the heck out of a Monday evening to get some inspiration for doing up the utility room type stuff…and spending money I don’t have building new kitchens in my head! 

21. Hot chocolate. For the win. Always. 


So there’s my list…

There’s plenty more (I missed chorizo, generally eating, sleep, hot baths and cuddles to name just a few) but why go whole hog on #internationalhappinessday?! Too much of a good thing is bad for you, right?! 

What makes you happy?! Share folks, share!