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Our Christmas traditions

Last weekend we took a little trip to the North Pole, which is now conveniently placed slightly North of Blaenavon (and in various other towns all over the UK!)

It is most definitely starting to feel more like Christmas now with each passing day and so I thought I’d take some time out to mention our family traditions, which I’m enjoying adding to each year.

As some of you know, we don’t start our Christmas properly until after 12th December, which was my Nan’s birthday (she would have been 90 this year!) but one thing does have to start before this, for obvious reasons!

Here’s our take on tradition:

The Advent train

For TGs first Christmas, his Nain got him an advent train. The first year he was oblivious, the second year it was put way out of reach as he was at that awkward “grabbing for everything in sight” phase.

Now in it’s third year, I’m pleased to say he has finally got the concept of the chocolate train. This was after he smashed it on the floor a few times as he thought it was a toy, but he now knows not to play with it, and jumps out of bed in the morning to get the chocolate from his train.

Next year we’re thinking of turning it into an activity train so he’ll get to enjoy doing little Christmas things each day.

Elf on the Shelf

Luckily he’s still a little bit young for this, and hasn’t yet been told by all the kids in his nursery that they’ve got a special Elf in their house, so we’ve escaped this one for now!

Which is good as we have far too many things to remember to do each night at the moment!

Watch this space though as I think it will feature Next year (and I’ll probably secretly love it!)

Christmas TV

Last year we tried our best to get him to pay attention to the “Snowman” and “Stick Man”…….he did manage about the first 10 minutes of Stick Man but that was it, attention span gone.

This year however, he must have watched the Snowman and his Snowdog about 17 times already! Absolutely loves it, and gives running commentary throughout.

I don’t think Stick Man will get much of a look in, but we’ll give it a go.

It’ll be interesting to see what takes his fancy next year though……fingers crossed it’ll be something we don’t mind watching too. Looking forward to cwtching up next Christmas Eve in front of a film 😊

Christmas books

We’ve kept it quite traditional with Christmas books so far, with “Twas the night before Christmas” and “That’s not my Santa”. Last year he wasn’t really interested but did let us read the former to him on Christmas Eve which I loved.

I think this year it might be a bit of a harder sell as he’s all about the “Little Reindeer” (a finger puppet book) and the “Little Reindeer who saved Christmas” (or sick reindeer as it’s now known!)

But he’s certainly been more into his books the last week or so than he has been, maybe because of the change of topic?

Looking forward to reading him “Sion Corn yn dod i Gymru”, but it’ll be a little while before he understands that one properly!

Christmas Eve Box

I’ve been waiting for this to become a tradition for 3 years now!

He always has Christmas Eve pyjamas and a book, but is still a little young for the concept.

It’ll be nice next year when we can pop a Christmas Eve activity and a family film in there for him.

Getting excited just thinking about it!

So there you go, just a few of our Christmas traditions……I wonder where we’ll be this time next year? 😉

Over and out, Mammy tugboat xx

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You need to know where you come from……

Hey baby boy this is Mammy…… I might have had a couple of glasses of wine but I wanted to write you a little letter.

I’m watching a programme called “Hidden Wales” and it’s got me a little bit emotional.

At this precise moment in time I would give everything I have to save Wales. The country I live in, have grown up in, and hope you will grow up in too.

It’s been absolutely fascinating learning about our country. I might be your Mammy and you might expect me to know it all, but I’m still learning too boo x

There are so many fantastic historical hidden buildings here, so many fantastic hidden coastlines and coves.

I can’t decide your future for you, I can’t decide what you want to do with your life, but I hope you never forget where you came from baby boy.

You were born in Wales because Mammy and Pops met in Wales and decided to live here. We both grew up here but very differently.

It’s been said that you never truly appreciate things until you get older and I can tell you that is very true!

I had a brilliant childhood exploring all parts of Wales but it’s only been recently (since you’ve come along!) that I’ve truly appreciated it.

I want to pass on my experiences to you baby boy.

I want you to have the brilliant up bringing that I had, going to all these brilliant places in the country that you were born.

There are so many things to see here, so many things to learn, as there are everywhere, but it’s important to never forget where you came from boo.

As a nation we haven’t had a great upbringing so to speak. I don’t want to get on my high horse, but a lot of people have made a lot of sacrifices, for you, for me and for everyone we know.

This is the same for any country which has been involved in war, but I think it’s important that you know about your country’s history.

Perhaps we can learn together?

We have the only remaining cast iron lighthouse in Europe!

Wales was where the idea of the atomic bomb was probably conceived.

2 things I have learnt tonight!

I just want you to enjoy it boo.

Our home, and hopefully yours too, is just as stunning on a beautiful summer’s day, as it is on a stormy winter’s night.

As our landscape changes, so do we, but we always have our home at heart.

#Cymruambyth #hiraeth

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Don’t grow up too fast little boo

I first drafted this title in July……hubz made this comment one evening as we could see signs that our little man was growing up…….scary times!

Then tonight during bathtime he said those exact same words again “don’t grow up too fast little boo” ……..there’s no denying that it’s happening now!

I’m always caught in such an awkward place with TGs development…….part of me loves seeing him grow and learn and copy and discover things for himself and yet part of me just wants to cuddle him tight and go back to rocking him to sleep (slightly joking about this one, he’s fucking heavy!)

Sometimes he still cries out and comes into our bed at night. When he does, he normally wriggles and niggles all over the place and doesn’t like the blanket over him or you having your arm over him. Yet sometimes he cwtches in so tight and occasionally puts his arm around my neck which is so cute.

It’s times like that when I wish he was a little baby again and that we could just hold certain moments in time.

But then times like tonight I can see how much independence he’s gained over the last few months and am so proud.

As much as he can be a pain in the backside at times, I love seeing the world through his eyes……such innocence.

Like this morning it was raining and as we drove to nursery he said “the sun’s crying” which was a lovely way of putting it. He then proceeded to tell me to “follow the sun” as it had taken his cake, which wasn’t quite so profound but hey ho!

On the way back he “drove” all the way home with Pops, using his new toy steering wheel (which, incidentally makes a lot of noises, just in case you were thinking of getting one!)

He was convinced that he had driven back from the nursery house bless him!

Even book times have been a bit more animated lately as he’s interacting with the books and characters, eating the food, putting the wellies on in his garden book so he can water things.

Tonight he went to the giants castle with Mr Greedy which was a new one!

We’ve also introduced bath bombs recently which he loves, and he actually asked for a bath tonight.

He seemed such a grown up as he was helping me to run the bath and then walked up the stairs saying he had to go to his bedroom to get his robot bath bombs and towel.

When he came down he told Pops quite matter of factly “I’ve got my robot but there was no teddy bear ones left in my room Pops” .

The silent sob moment came when he took his top off and then sat down on the floor to take his socks off before getting in the bath!

I’ve realised lately that I haven’t actually updated this for a lot of the things we’ve done as a family, probably since his birthday!

Will have to get onto that as there’s lots of news to share, including his first trip to his first live show!

But for now I’m going to keep thinking about how much he’s growing and changing before our very eyes.

I always see lots of those “just one more book, just one more cwtch” type posts on my Instagram feed and although you don’t always feel like giving them one more book, as you’re itching for some alone time / couple time, it all rings true sometimes.

He’s not always going to want kisses and cuddles or even being carried to bed. (That will be a hard bedtime when he walks up by himself, but luckily he still gets carried up at the moment!)

So for now (except for when he’s being a pain) I’m going to steal all the moments I can, as you never know when the last of anything will be.

Don’t grow up too fast little boo, you’re only young once.

I’m off to sob quietly into my G and T now!

Over and out, Mammy tugboat xx

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Four times……

So our little man is approaching 2 and a half……otherwise known as the danger zone!

I bumped into a friend earlier this week who has a daughter a bit older than TG and his words were something like “she’s a fucking nightmare!” Got it in one!

The last few months have been challenging in more ways than one. That’s the great thing about parenthood, and that’s genuinely said without sarcasm, it always keeps you on your toes, and makes you think outside the box a bit.

I read a post about a year ago called something along the lines of “I’m not terrible, I’m just two” and it really stuck in my brain.

It basically tried to describe a two year old’s day from their point of view and how confusing it was for them. On one hand we’re encouraging them to do things for themselves but then sometimes we just don’t have the time and so won’t let them do things.

It really opened my eyes and I think back to it every time we’ve had a particularly hard time.

As TGs speech and comprehension is quite good, we thought we might have escaped the “terrible twos” but nope it’s here in full force.

So, I give you (in no particular order!) 4 times when he’s at his most challenging……most of which are based on recent events!

1. When we go out for a meal

I fondly remember the days when he would sit or sleep in his pram or pushchair whilst we enjoyed a quick bite to eat for lunch or a more relaxing evening meal.

Now, we have to go armed with crayons and snacks and his tablet. Forget asking for a table for 3 because he only wants to sit on someone’s lap and has no interest in his own meal. Sometimes he will sit on his own chair and wolf his food down though, which is lovely to see, so I can’t be too harsh on him here!

Last weekends performance included the request for his “special drink” (we had no idea either!) Once he had said special drink (a fruit shoot) he then decided that he wasn’t going to drink it, but wanted water in it!

2. Bed times

Where to start! On the whole he’s quite good to be fair, although there’s always “one more book”

One night this week he was adamant that he didn’t want bed or books or a cold dummy. He also didn’t want us anywhere near him, not on the chair or the sofa (the only furniture in the living room!) He was physically trying to push us off the sofa and chair even if he wasn’t sat on it.

There was lots of shouting that night, but then 10 minutes later he just announced that he was going to bed, and went to walk up the stairs by himself (still shouting “stay there!”)

3. When it’s time to get dressed

This is where lots of bribery comes in!

I remember the days when we used to wake him up at 7:45 in order to leave the house by 8am…….not any more! It can take a full half hour sometimes to get him ready……..getting the nappy off and pants on is normally straight forward as he’s wet, but not the other items!

They’re either too “dirty” or “wet” or he wants the black one not the blue one……. We have to take it stage by stage “if you want your dummy let me put your trousers on” ……”if you want your tablet then I need to put your top and socks on”

We always get there in the end, except for shoes as they always get kicked off in the car, by my God it’s a struggle!

4. Meal times

He’s not overly fussy in the sense that he’ll eat food with spice or flavour in it, but he has his favourite go to meals, which he either eats all of (and wants more) or will just throw it away and not eat anything.

His latest phase is BabyBel and apples (but not the peel, which is just lovely when you’re in the supermarket without a knife!)

He’s discovered his knife and how to use it recently, so a lot of mealtimes consist of him chopping things up which he has no intention of eating, like tomatoes.

On holiday he recently refused pizza (well, cheese on toast) but wanted bread and butter with jam and cucumber.

I also spent the first meal time chasing him around the place to try and get him to eat pasta which he normally wolf’s down, but he wasn’t having any of it!

It’s not all bad!

Now I wouldn’t want anyone to think that it’s all doom and gloom, but it’s healthy to say it as it is sometimes.

If it was like that all the time then I’d be suicidal by now, and no one would ever choose to have a second child, but they do because all the bad times disappear in an instant when one of these moments happen……..

1. He has good days at nursery

He tends to come home and just chill on the sofa now whilst we eat, but he normally has a good day, and it’s lovely seeing his stars and stickers or the pictures that he does.

We both cracked up recently when hubz asked him how his day was and he said “long, just long Pops” ! It just goes to show that he really does listen when we talk to each other after work!

2. He masters things for himself

One of his recent triumphs has been potty training but he’s never really wanted to go on the toilet. We asked but he kept wanting the potty, which was fine

Then one afternoon Pops arrived at nursery to find him sitting on the big toilet, swinging his legs and playing with the curtain whilst singing “pop goes the weasle” !

He got there in his own time, without a care in the world!

3. He makes up his own stories

There are 3 programmes that he watches, Fireman Sam, Masha and the Bear and Paw Patrol.

He has the best times some days, as he’s playing in his “cave” on the “phone” to Ryder letting him know that Penny is on her way to help Masha.

I love the way that he has merged the characters in these 3 programmes and the phrases he’s picked up from them. He’s always “on his way” or “got an idea” and is such a busy little boy.

Only in his mind could Masha and Norman need rescuing from the hole by Carlos and Sam

4. He returns the love!

This is the best part, and I’m making the most of it whilst he still lets us.

It’s just the little things, like the hand holding, or the lying together on the chair or sofa whilst he reads or watches TV.

The cwtches and booms he gives last thing at night are priceless and I wouldn’t give them up for anything.

He also does proper sloppy kisses (but only for Mammy) – the concentration on his face is hilarious but so cute, and I can’t help laughing as he takes his dummy out and puckers up!!

Those are the moments that make it all worth it, and though there might be tears from everyone at times, those cwtches more than make up for it!

A bit of a long one this time around, but off to finish my beer now

Over and out, Mammy tugboat xx

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Routine after holiday…….

This has nothing to do with tonight’s blog but I wanted to share the fact that TG has recently moved up to the 2nd toddlers class in nursery, so now has a peg for his bag, and gets more of his artwork on the walls! The sight of his peg was so nice, as it felt like he was now a proper little nursery boy, even if not much had changed.

I think the big change will come when he moves to pre-pre schoolers probably in January…….that will be weird.

He’s coming out with some cracking phrases lately, such as “that’s not fair” which I didn’t think we’d hear for a little while to be honest, and told us his day was “long” when we asked him after nursery the other evening. He’s also started to refer to himself by name which I find hilarious!

Up until now I’ve enjoyed my time with him before and after work, but realise that I’ve been rushing him out of the house, and rushing him to bed a little bit in the evenings.

We’ve just come back from a family holiday in France and it was so nice spending that extra time with him, really nice. He was still going to bed at a similar time to before, but because of the time difference it was an hour later for us so we were able to eat and then get him settled for bed, which we’ve struggled to do before. Mornings were also a lot more relaxed.

Since coming back, we’ve tried to change the way we eat in the evenings now, and try to sit down and have dinner before he goes to bed. That way if he is a bit hungry after nursery he gets a chance to eat proper food with us, and if he is a bit unsettled going to bed one of us can spend the time settling him, as we’ve got full bellies!

Struggling to find quick tasty recipes though, so any ideas, please pass them this way!

It’s been hard getting him back into his bedtime routine after holiday, and eating beforehand has helped that a bit.

Sometimes he bathed, sometimes he didn’t. Sometimes he got changed and then watched a last bit of TV before books, or sometimes it was a struggle getting his tablet off him before pj’s and books.

Whatever happened it was always books on the sofa, cwtches, cold dummy with stuff on and then bed.

On holiday this didn’t work out so well and he took his tablet with him most nights (on night mode with volume off!) I think he knew that it was different as my parents and brother were there. He was also in a proper single bed, which he did fall out of one night, and we were all in the same room.

So all very different from him, but we did what we had to on holiday to get him to sleep. Luckily the fresh air knocked him out not long after he went down, but it was a habit we didn’t really want to continue once we got home!

The first night after arriving home we were all still a bit tired, and we all had a little afternoon nap, with TG actually lying down on the sofa and going to sleep all by himself, which he’s never done before, ever.

So bedtime was a bit later than normal and he didn’t want to go. We tried to get him to have books in bed but he wasn’t having any of it. Tablet it was, but this time we had no idea how long he had it for, as we weren’t in the same room! He had a pretty hefty lie on the following morning so we think he had a late night.

The following night we were determined for him to not have it, so tried books in bed again. This time he relented but chose his Mr Tickle book which isn’t the best bedtime story to read as it ends with them saying to watch out that he doesn’t creep into your room at night! So the story is always cut short, plus I hadn’t realised that his night light wasn’t that strong so we had to read it with the main light on!

We had to let him cry a little bit in his cot but after a few minutes he was asleep, without his tablet.

The next night involved another Mr Tickle reading, a lot more tears, and then being cwtched to sleep by Pops.

The next couple of nights I think he started to remember how things were at home…….even though he had slightly later nights because of nursery naps (grrrrr!) the actual putting him down process was back to normal.

Well, for now anyway! Until the next thing turns up to test us

Over an out, Mammy tugboat xx

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Stop being a Mum!

This is something that hubz said to me when we went to watch the rugby with some friends back in April.

It obviously stuck in my mind as I wrote it down as a draft blog post…..3 months later and I’m actually taking the time to write about it!

I read somewhere that it takes an average of 2 years after giving birth for Mums to start feeling like themselves again. In which case I’m right on track as TG turned 2 in May.

Since then I’ve had quite a few nights out / times away from him when I’ve actually started to feel like me again, and not “a Mum” .

I’d been out plenty of times before this but there was always something in the back of my mind that I couldn’t let go. I was more often than not thinking about TG, or checking my phone, thinking about what time we were going to collect him the following morning.

The last few times though, I’ve been able to relax more. The first time was a hen do……it was a relaxed spa affair, and the majority of women were mothers, so there was plenty of chatting about kids etc, but it just felt different.

The second time was at the wedding. Although there were a few texts to my parents throughout the day, it was another time that I felt more relaxed, and able to shake off my “mum” brain for a bit.

I don’t know what’s changed. I’ve never felt worried about leaving TG – I’ve always known that he’s safe, no matter who he’s with, and so I know it’s not that.

Perhaps it’s the fact that he’s getting older and has less baggage so to speak. I’m no longer constantly thinking about what he needs to have packed in his bag, or what time he needs to eat the following day, or what time we need to go and get him the following day to make sure he naps at the right time.

That’s the problem really, there’s always so much stuff to plan. I’m constantly thinking about who and what needs to be where and when, I just can’t help it.

As he’s gotten older, and especially during the summer months I have found it easier to make time for myself though.

We’ve just been able to relax with a cuppa in the mornings whilst he either watches his tablet or plays in the garden.

Now that he doesn’t nap during the day I’ve found myself a bit more relaxed about what time he has lunch, and have really enjoyed some of our non nap sessions just cwtched on the sofa. Him on his tablet or watching Paw Patrol whilst I catch up with things on my phone.

There was even one spectacular half an hour when I was watching Ed Sheeran on the TV whilst crocheting, with TG eating lunch.

He’s able to occupy himself a bit more now, which is bitter sweet really. It’s great seeing him develop but still nice when he asks for help or just for one of us to sit by him!

It’s been really nice though, to be able to get a bit of my old self back, and not feel guilty about it. I’m not just a mother, I’m a friend, I’m a wife, I’m a daughter and a business woman, and I’m simply me…..now it’s time to concentrate on my other heads a bit more!

Over and out, Mammy tugboat xx

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Thank you / Diolch

Over the last few weeks we’ve been a pretty poorly household…..an extended one at that if you count the grandparents as well!

TG got struck down with conjunctivitis (again!) Which was made worse this time around because of his Hay fever and the crazy heatwave which arrived and didn’t want to leave.

Then hubz got struck down with a weird virus thing which meant he couldn’t talk, eat or drink for a few days, followed by conjunctivitis, and then I got struck down with crazy conjunctivitis which has not long cleared up!

We’re through it all now though, and the grandparents are slowly recovering from their conjunctivitis (the local pharmacies saw us coming!!)

Being ill at anytime is not ideal, but being ill whilst a parent isn’t great, even worse so if your child is ill too.

So this post is saying a big thank you to everyone who helps us get through these tough times.

To the pharmacists, the nurses, doctors, opticians (we’ve made the most of them recently!)

But also to our family, the grandparents, who offer to have TG when he’s too ill for nursery, or overnight so we can get some rest, even if it means they’re run ragged for longer by the little guy.

To the grandparents who can pick up that vital medicine when you can’t get out yourself.

And a special thank you from me to hubz / Pops, who sleeps in uncomfortable positions so that TG and I can have a good night’s sleep.

To the Pops who still reads the bedtime story even though he can barely talk, because “you can barely see” (his words……a very interesting bed time story that night!)

We’re so lucky to have plenty of hands on help if we need it, and don’t always have to ask, which is nice.

Parenting is tough…..it has plenty of fantastic and brilliant times which make up for the toughness in bucket loads, but there will always be those tough times, frustrating times.

Times when you want to help your child but can’t……times when you try to help your child but they don’t want you to (eye drops and a 2 year old anyone??)

Also times when you just want someone to help you, when you need a time out from looking after, and want to be the looked after one instead.

The support we get from those around us makes that possible, which we’re truly grateful for, although hopefully we won’t have to call on it too much!!

On that note I’m off to rest my eyes for a bit!

Over and out, Mammy tugboat xx