nice to see you, summer.

So, it seems like summer has finally made an appearance on our shores. I can tell, mainly, because chaps that really shouldn’t walk around with no tops on are out there, flaunting their gross tattoos and/or beer bellies, as if they have never felt such heat and simply cannot possibly wear a t-shirt!

We spent a lot of time down at the park this week. And it was good.

Beacon Park is a really good park. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve played on better…it’s no Witton Park (for the northerners reading!) but it’s good. And even better since they upgraded a few years ago.

Our children love it there. Henry probably loves it because there is a swing, so he could be anywhere really, but Ruby would always choose the “pirate ship park” over any other in this lovely little city of ours.

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To swing is the thing…

There are two main areas to the park, one for under 11’s which features the “pirate ship”, funky rocking chickens, swings, slides and a climb aboard choo chop train that kids love…and though there’s no actual skull and crossbones on the ship it’s always been known as a pirate ship, and woe betide anyone who challenges Ruby on that one!

I was desperate for an ice cream this week. I wasn’t desperate to share that ice cream with Henry, but inevitably I had to! Payback was mine however when he took a massive bite and ended up with baby brain freeze and sore teeth, mwahahaha!

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Right before the brainfreeze

I got used to applying suncream to wriggling, screaming children a long time ago (my nephew was king of squiggling…thanks Jacob!) but Henry is a different breed.

I think he does it on purpose.

Every time I got the suncream out on holiday he would start. Screams, wriggling, hitting…if he could walk, he would do everything possible to run away. And now we’re back he’s no different. Except in this country it’s harder as he’s usually in the pram or he’s fully clothed. Grrrrr!

Anyhoo, I’ve managed to get him in the eye each and every time this week. So he now has even more of an aversion to ye old suncream. Sigh!

Watching all the folks in the park it’s nice to see (and hear) the workings of normal family life. Yelling your child’s name across the park is not just something I do…and catching them trying to make a break for it isn’t either.

Neither is lugging a bag rammed full of crap, as I discovered chatting to Ruby’s best friends Dad today. Inevitably full of spare clothes, food, drinks, bobbles, plasters, hand cream, bottom cream, antiseptic cream, more cream, food, more food and WIPES I wonder when we’ll ever get to walk around care free again!?

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Summer birthday parties

Still, we must make the most of it…the immortal words of parents everywhere. Make the most of it before the bloomin rain comes back!

And so, all being well, we’ll be back at the park again this week.

Fancy joining us?! Share your park stories in the comments or on Instagram or Facebook with #oliphantumparklife

Speak soon x

 

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little losses.

Thursday was a very busy day for us this week.

We’re preparing Ruby for what’s to come this September. And by this I mean “big school”. Primary School. Reception Class.

I, like every other parent who’s child is about to make this very big leap I’m sure, just cannot quite believe that it’s time for this already. And I actually feel quite sad about it all for a number of different reasons, but mainly for the many different little losses that we’re about to suffer.

At 9.15am on this very busy of days, we dropped Ruby off for her longest ‘stay and play’ session yet. She would have 2 hours of play and settling in time with her new classmates at St. Chads before we would join her for lunch in the school hall.

The first loss. The loss of our Thursdays together. Once she starts school, the 3 years of spending each and every Thursday together having fun and visiting friends will be over.

11.30am came along and we queued with Ruby behind all the other little people to wait for our lunch, all the while desperately trying to push the thought of her having to manage to do this all by herself in just a few short months out of my head.

She chose vegetable pasta bake and chocolate cake and opted for a cup of water, and as I watched her do all this and then concentrate so hard on getting to a table without dropping it I was so proud, but also acutely aware of another little loss.

The second loss. The loss of her needing me for big things like this. Soon she won’t need me anymore. Not even to do the difficult things.

Once lunch was over and she’d had a little chat with the teacher (the lady with the blonde hair, as she’s known!) we hopped off to pre-school for Graduation Day.

Humpty Dumpty Day Nursery and Pre-School has pretty much been Ruby’s second home since the age of 12 months when I had to return to work after maternity leave. It’s probably not right to admit that but, just as we spend more time at work than at home, if we have to return to work then our children spend a great deal of their lives in childcare settings. Getting it right is therefore essential.

Humpties is a fantastic nursery. And the pre-school is brilliant for Ruby. She has loved it there, and formed some super special friendships…Erin, Luca, Hannah, Jamie…these are the first real friends she has ever had.

The third loss. The loss of the most lovely little group of friends that my daughter has become so attached to. The friends that have helped her to develop and prepare for the big wide world.

How she will get over the loss of Erin especially I do not know. Her best, best friend for years now Erin will be heading to a different school…and I don’t know yet if it’s quite clicked that she won’t be seeing her every day any more. These two are the most beautiful, funny little friends you ever will see. The troublesome twosome that are actually so good for each other, laugh great big belly laughs at each other and help each other with everything. It will definitely be our responsibility to ensure they carry on seeing each other as the years tick by.

Me being me, I honestly didn’t see the point in a Graduation Day. Another Americanism creeping on in. Graduating nursery seemed pretty silly. But I was more than happy to be proved wrong as I watched the little ones accepting their scrolls and posing for photos with the staff before raiding the sweetie bar and laughing their bellies off at the comedy magician. It was a truly special afternoon. It made me laugh. It made me cry.

One of the wonderful things about nursery and pre-school I guess, is that as a parent you’re still so involved in everything. I stand there every afternoon when I collect her listening to what she’s been doing throughout the day; what she’s eaten, who she’s played with. And it dawns on me that come September I won’t get any of that information anymore…

The fourth loss. The loss of almost total knowledge about my daughter. No longer will I get to find out everything about her day…instead it will just be the bits of information she feels necessary to tell me. I’ll sit there every evening desperate to know what’s been happening, how she’s been feeling, who she has played with. And I can only hope that she’ll still want to tell me!

September will come around so quickly now that the summer is here (ha! there’s a laugh!) and as I sit here thinking of all these little losses, all of the incredibly exciting bits are popping into my head too…

  1. Learning to read – Ruby is so excited to learn to read so that we can “read the bestest stories together”
  2. Learning to write – so “I can write down all the stories in my head Mummy”
  3. Making new friends – I think she is most excited about this one
  4. School uniform – Ruby can’t wait to pull on the St Chads cardigan we’re buying for her. I can’t wait to see her in pinafore dresses, summer dresses and frilly white socks!
  5. School trips – she saw a class on a school trip to the zoo when we went for her birthday and got so excited about where she might go with her class
  6. Growing up – because, whilst I would happily keep her as my baby forever, growing up is so exciting and I cannot wait to see the wonderful little girl she becomes.

Maybe it won’t be so bad after all.

Maybe it will even be fun.

Speak soon, x

 

 

four.

Our four year old is in bed after a thoroughly wonderful day.

How is it that we have a four year old? How is it that our baby is suddenly a little girl? How, when I can remember her birth like it was yesterday (all 32 hours of it), is she now a walking talking miniature version of the person she will eventually become?

Sure, I know how time works. I know that there have been 1,461 days since she bounded into the world all scrumpled and baggy-skinned, screaming and eyeing me up with her amazingly beautiful eyes that were so dark they looked purple. I know that there have been 3 other birthdays…one where she didn’t have a clue what was happening and hid under the table, another where she was happy to eat aaaaallll the cake and last year’s family, at home party, where she actually really would have liked a “proper party mummy”. All of them have been equally as baffling to me as this one and, sadly, I know that time will never, ever, stand still.

I often find myself wishing that it would though. Find myself wishing for a second that I could capture her and keep her just the way she is now for eternity. Or re-wind to soft, yummy baby snuggles, cheeky first words and big, beaming smiles from the side of her cot when I went into her room and scooped her up each morning. I wish. I wish. I wish.

We had a wonderful day today. The joy she radiated was infectious.

“I’m four now!” she beamed. So excited. So unaware of anything wrong with the world we live in. So completely thankful for every single present and every single card she received. Sharing her presents with her baby brother, and enjoying seeing him have fun with her balloons (until she wasn’t anymore, and then he got told off!).

A day full of smiles and laughter (and ice-cream) with a lovely little friend that I hope she’ll have for life.

Maybe I shouldn’t wish to keep her just as she is after all. For what would I miss out on if I did? All the joy inside her that is still to come. All the smiles, laughs and stories (oh the stories!). All the stresses, tears, tantrums.

No. Let me just enjoy every single second of it all and relish in the anticipation of what’s still to come. And try to remember this when the latter is more prevalent than the former!!

Four.

The start of brand new adventures.

What’s your next adventure going to look like? Let me know!

Speak soon x