Sunday, 29 November 2009

Trials and tribulations of the tooth fairy pt. 2

Another tooth gone and time for the tooth fairy to visit again.

This time it happens to be on a night when I have already been awake since 4am thanks to early morning wake-up calls from the smaller one. And also on a night when I have actually arranged to leave the house in the evening (thanks mum, again!).

The tooth came out during school time so it had been transported home in an envelope, clearly labelled just in case we forgot or something.

Returning home from my evening out I was reminded about the tooth fairy duties - you might think it would be impossible to forget such a momentous task but then you are reading the thoughts of someone who on darker days than these has been handed her front door keys by the postman after leaving them in the lock overnight. Ahem.

Anyway just as my mum left, 6 year old woke asking for a glass of water. Darn, now I needed to wait until she went back to sleep before I could put on my wings and sparkly tutu. It was already after 11pm by this point, at least two hours after my normal bedtime... eventually the breathing started to sound sleepy so I crept across the creaky floors to her bed. Hand under the pillow... of course tonight she's sleeping right across every inch of the pillow rather than just below it as usual. Gently seek out the tooth... where is it? No really, where is it?

A little voice pipes up: "Mummy?" Pause. "Mummy? What are you doing in here?"

Bearing in mind that is was midnight by this point and I am somewhat sleep-deprived at the best of times I admit that for a split second I did actually think of putting on a 'fairy' voice and taking the pretense one step further. Fortunately I thought better of this idea before actually opening my mouth.

"I just came to check you are ok, honey."

I somehow managed to slip the coin under the pillow before retreating, but the tooth was still buried under the pillow somewhere.

Now what? If I didn't get to bed soon the next day was going to be hell.

My solution was to draft a quick letter with a few fairy-type flourishes that read something along the lines of... "Dear xxx, I have decided to let you keep your tooth this time as a souvenir as you are such a lovely girl, love from the tooth fairy."

I never realised this tooth fairy business was so fraught with complications. Needless to say, Santa will be leaving his presents downstairs in the front room. As for what happens next time the tooth fairy is due I cannot say.

Now 6 year old wants to take her letter into school for 'show and tell'. I can't decide if I am touched or just embarrassed!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Parents' evening

Parents' evening. All our children's work folders were laid out on tables in the school hall for us to read while we waited for our appointments. My six year old was asked to write a message to her parents on the label for her work.

She wrote: "I am feeln Happy To Day yes I am."

And so am I now.

Jinx

Pah. Clearly writing about a turn-around in three year old's sleep habits was a mistake (see previous post). Jinxed! Woke at 5am and pottered into my bed.

5am is not a proper time to be starting the day at any time but especially not on a cold and windy November day. Bleargh. Just hope I haven't started the slide back to nightly visits. It is lovely to be needed but maybe sometimes I need sleep more than I need to be needed.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Sleeping like a baby

My children have never been the best of sleepers. In fact it won't surprise you that I have written of their night-time habits in previous posts.

Six year old now usually sleeps through though and has done so for about a year now. Three year old has been coming in to sleep with me pretty much every night since she was a baby though.... until.... now I was not really sure if I should write about this as it may jinx things but here goes.... since the last half-term holiday three weeks ago she has been staying in her bed until at least 6am most nights.

I can't possibly explain to anyone else how amazing this is. At times I have been so wretched with tiredness I could barely function. It has at times made me feel depressed and most definitely made me 'grumpy mummy' on and off. I am fairly certain that my inability to focus, remember or communicate contributed to my employers' recent decision to 'let me go' - although they are of course far too British to say so. In recent months I have questioned over and over whether I can continue to bring up two wonderful people alone in such a state - particularly in the early hours of the mornings. Of course if you read other posts you will also know that I also enjoy the time with my girls and the love they give me and that is one of the things that gets me through.

But now I am beginning to feel like a real person again. I know I shouldn't count my chickens and there are always going to be times when I am woken in the night - I live alone with two young children so there is never a 'this is it' time, things are constantly changing and evolving. But it does feel as though we are turning an important corner.

Usually when I get up for my shower - always the first thing I do as it helps to wake me and often means the girls are still sleeping while I collect my thoughts for the day - I either leave at least one child in my bed or return to my room to find both snuggled up in there. As I came out of the bathroom to get dressed this morning I found my bed still empty and could hear chatting voices from the girls' bedroom.

It took a great deal of willpower to prevent myself from sneaking to the door to listen in to their private conversation. It was so lovely to hear them talking to each other without needing to refer to me.

Of course it does mean I missed out on my morning cuddle! Extra cuddles tonight I think.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Where we live

My mum babysat the other evening.

On waking around 6am my three year old clambered into my bed for a cuddle until getting up time: "Is Nana still here mummy? Why couldn't Nana stay after you came home?"
"Well, she had to go home to her bed."

Then three year old thinks for a few moments - clearly trying to figure out where everyone's proper place is.

"We live in hope, don't we mummy?"

"Mmm, yes, I think we do."

(The name of my Mum's village contains the word 'hope')

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Happiness is...

...passing by school at playtime with three year old. Usually avoid doing this as I neither want to embarrass six year old nor to see her sitting alone and start worrying that she's being left out of games.

But had to run some errands before school pick-up the other day so we passed by.

When she spotted us she came running over holding hands with two of her friends and beaming from ear to ear. She pushed her face into the railings for a kiss and smiled at her little sister.

Made me feel warm and precious. Lovely.

Monday, 9 November 2009

With thanks to Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of he infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the Archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Milk for the calves

Wahey, my first photo. Now at first glance you may think this is a bit random. But not so. What you see before you is powerful evidence of the immense power of the imagination - aged 3 and a half and six.

Each of these containers has been carefully filled with bathwater up to a designated level. Apparently this is milk for the calves. It is most definitely not for sale.

I love it.

Now that I have shared that with you I suppose the sensible grown-up in me must go and pour the water away and tidy the pots so I can get into the shower tomorrow morning..... oh, ok, not just yet.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Big bangs, sparkles and an accidental willy.

Bonfire night. Both girls had been promised a trip to a bonfire which, as it turned out, was cancelled for reasons not worth going into here. So, in an attempt to keep things calm I looked into local bonfires.

Up until now the girls have not been to a bonfire - six year old has always been mightily terrified of the bangs and anyway we live at the top end of a valley and can usually get a great view of at least three or four big firework displays from behind the safety of our bedroom windows.

I was told there was a local pub that usually has a small (and earlyish!) bonfire so made plans to go, despite reservations about taking a 6 and a 3 year old out after dark and having to suffer the repercussions of tiredness and post-bedtime giddiness alone. We talked about it, I asked several times if they really wanted to go, even offered the get-out that it had been rather wet during the day so maybe we didn't have to go.... But no, we still wanted to so we layered up to keep warm (although by this point 6 year old was already saying she wanted to watch from inside the pub) and opened the door to the dark, at which point several fireworks happened to go off in the near vicinity.

"Noooo, Mummeee I don't waaant to go!" says 6 year old. Hmm, thought this might happen. Ok, so we don't have to. "But I do want to go Mummy," says 3 year old. Oh, hadn't anticipated that one. 6 year old decides she would like to go, but only if we drive to the pub. Obviously it goes against the grain to drive to something so close, but we had been talking about going for days and maybe this would ultimately help her reduce her fear of the big bangs. So we climb into the car for the short ride down the hill. Stop the car, climb out.

"Nooo, Mummeeee I still don't waaant to go!"
"I doooo"
Bollocks. This is obviously one of several drawbacks to being a lone parent, or to being any parent who does most of the parenting alone, because if one goes somewhere you all have to go. Sometimes this can have advantages, and I am certain that it has helped my girls develop their wonderful relationship with each other. But at times like these it means choosing between them. Tough call.

Of course in the end I had to respect the genuine fear that my 6 year old was displaying over the disappointment shown by my 3 year old.
"Why don't we go home and drink hot chocolate by your bedroom window and see if we can see fireworks from there?"
Luckily that worked for both girls.

We went home via a shop that sold both milk for the drinks and sparklers as an added appeasement to brave little 3 year old.

It must be the first time I have held a sparkler in years so I enjoyed it once we got home, as did they, and in the end I reckon we had a more enjoyable time watching the show from indoors than we would have done standing in the cold or fighting through a busy pub.

Slight concern on my part though as I left the girls to run their bedtime bath and heard: "Mummy, I saw a man's willy!"
Erm, that wasn't supposed to be part of the show.... Hmm, the man who lives in the house behind us was getting into the shower in his fully-lit bathroom. Oops. All perfectly innocent, but somehow I know that's the bit of information that 6 year old will be sharing when she goes into school tomorrow... Yikes.