Boy 2 is 1!

So yesterday we held a little birthday party to celebrate Boy2’s first year.

Lovely having a few friends and family over, I love any excuse to get people together. When life is so busy, it’s easy to let time pass you by.

We tried to keep the afternoon really simple, although I think my inner Ghanaian mother panicked about food provisions at the last minute and bought enough to feed an army. Ah well, we don’t mind eating quiche for the next week!

obligatory sugary biscuits

Menu

  • Finger sandwiches for children – cheese, jam, ham
  • Pizzas – cheese & tomato and pepperoni
  • Veggy sticks – carrots and cucumber
  • Chopped fruit – strawberries, kiwis and blueberries
  • Ice cream
  • Biscuits – Jammie Dodgers and party rings (of course)
  • Quiches
  • Wraps for grown ups
  • Chicken pieces
  • Rice
  • Salads

Games

  • Pass the parcel (just a few rounds)
  • Dancing in bubbles (great for babies and bigger kids)
  • Sing along

Decorations 

Boy2 isn’t quite old enough to be ‘in to’ particular characters and I didn’t really want a colour theme, but Asda have a great selection of party ware at good prices too. We went for the cute jungle theme.We were able to get:

  •  Bunting
  • Napkins
  • Plates
  • Cups
  • Table cloth
  • Party bag fillers

I even managed to pick up a jungle themed t shirt!

Finally, the cake!

I’m lucky the husband is creative and a great baker! He whipped up this bad boy which looked fantastic on the table.


We had a fantastic day and the boy did too. Think I’m still in denial that he’s one already.😩

A letter to my second born. I’m sorry

Dear Boy2,

Tomorrow is your first birthday. I can’t believe it. In just one short year you’ve changed our little family so much more than you’ll ever know. You’ve changed me! I always promised myself I’d treat my children exactly the same, but as our second born, I want you to know I’m sorry.

I’m sorry people always ask me how you compare to your brother

I’m sorry you have to spend a good part of your weekends being carted around in a buggy whilst we chauffeur your brother to his various clubs

I’m sorry you don’t get bedtime stories every single night because sometimes you are rushed to bed after food and homework

I’m sorry you rarely get one-to-one snuggles in the morning, but are squished between your brother and I

I’m sorry our leisurely mother and baby days are restricted to school hours

I’m sorry I didn’t refer to a single cook book when you were weaning, just improvisation and a little bit of knowledge

I’m sorry you were introduced to sugary, salty foods so much sooner than your big brother

I’m sorry I didn’t religiously go for your weekly weigh-in at the well-baby clinic for the first year of your life. You have put on weight though!

I’m sorry I don’t rush to the GP every time you have a slight cough. It’s not that I don’t care, I just know there’s very little a doctor could do to treat ‘a virus’, but my cuddles and kisses will nurse you better

But I’m not sorry that you will have a different perspective on life, being able to learn from your big brother

I’m not sorry we didn’t spend your first nine months tied to a hectic schedule of classes and groups in leisure centres and cold church halls, but opted for experiences and operated at our pace

I’m not sorry you’ve entered the world with a much more confident mother who follows her instinct more and outside advice less

I’m not sorry you are still a happy, healthy baby who is loved just as much as his big brother, who also adores you.

I’m not sorry that I’ve loved the rollercoaster of your first year and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it.

x

 

 

Mind the Gap

There are nearly 7 years between my two boys. Not exactly how I would have planned it but it’s just right for team Mumsomnia. From the day Boy1 arrived we were constantly bombarded with the inevitable question of “when are you having another?”Believe me it gets tired after about 6 months, so 7 years of it drove me mad.

Having such a big gap does mean my mum friends really vary in their stages of motherhood. From first time mothers to well established, tween handling, forgotten how to change a nappy types. Most of my pals with more than one child have age gaps of just a couple of years between them, so I’ve really seen a difference between their experience of having multiple children and my own.

With such a big gap people constantly ask me what it’s like. Had I forgotten what it’s like to have a baby around? How does Boy1 feel after being an only child for sooo long?

Nearly one year in to being a ‘gap mum’ and I thought I should share my take on it.

Big gap ‘cons’

  • Sleep! I’d been used to getting a good night’s sleep for a few years, so the arrival of Boy2 really impacted me
  • Entertaining them together can be tough and will only get tougher. It’s quite difficult to find something they both enjoy. Boy1 is getting too old for soft play just as Boy2 is getting into it. When I have a 4 year old and 11 year old to deal with, who knows what I’ll do?!
  • No joint school photos. Ok this seems quite minor, but as a lover of nostalgia, I’ll never be able to pull out a photo of both my boys sitting awkwardly close to each other, gap toothed in perfectly ironed uniforms.
  • Childcare. I worked out that by the time Boy2 is 11, we would have been paying for childcare for 17 years. Yes 17 years!! Whereas those parents who decide to bang out kids within a couple of years of each other could wipe a good five years off that figure
  • Not as many hand-me-downs. We cleared out a lot of baby stuff when we moved ‘up North’, so have pretty much started from scratch with Boy2. Thankfully we’ve been given loads of things, but it means I don’t have a loft stuffed with old clothes and toys to drag out
  • Different starts – In the time between having the boys our life has changed a lot. Boy1 spent his early years in a first floor flat in south London, no garden and parents working all hours. He even had a cheeky cockney accent for a while! Boy2 arrives to a 4 bed house in Cheshire
  • Different childhood experiences – 7 years is a long time in the world of children. So much can change from TV programmes, popular music genres and even technology, I wonder if my boys will ever be able to reminisce about ‘old school’ stuff together or will they just be generations apart
  • What saddens me the most is that there will probably come a point when Boy1 is “too cool” to talk to his baby brother. Right now he adores him and the feeling is mutual. Boy1 walks into the room and Boy2’s face lights up. I know that once Boy1 becomes a teenager, just as his little brother is in school, he probably won’t want to listen to Biff, Chip and Kipper stories and I worry it will break Boy2’s heart.

Big gap pros:

  • I only have one set of nappies to deal with. Nappies are expensive and dirty. Thankfully I’m only having to clean one bottom each day
  • Continuing the nappy theme, our luggage for days out it much lighter. When I see parents with change bags, back packs, buggy boards and the like just to visit the corner shop, I shudder
  • Boy 1 is rather independent. He gets himself washed and dressed in the morning. Plus he can make his own breakfast! So, only one breakfast to make
  • Help on hand. With an old child that likes to feel like a big boy, it’s easy to give him tasks to do to make him feel responsible, which lightens the load on me. Whilst he’s not quite up to babysitting, I can leave him to entertain baby whilst I do other jobs safe int he knowledge the only thing he’ll smoother baby with is kisses and not a pillow
  • No jealousy! Toddlers don’t ‘get’ babies. They struggle to understand why a little screaming blob suddenly commands attention from all the big people. Not a problem with a 7 year old. He understands that babies can’t do anything for themselves and that they need mummy at certain times.
  • Protective – Even with a bout of teen angst in a few years, I know Boy1 will be his brother’s security guard. He’d never let anything happen to his little pal
  • They both get to grow into their own person. Of course all siblings become individuals but Boy1 spent the first 7 years of his life being him, not being compared to anyone else. And with such a big gap Boy2 won’t have to live under the shadow of his older brother because we can’t compare two people who will always be at different life stages

For us, this gap seems to work fine. I’m not sure I would have ever been able to handle having a toddler and baby at the same time! My boys love each other and we love them even more, so we wouldn’t change them, or the gap for the world. But what works for us, doesn’t work for others. I just don’t think there’s any such thing as a perfect gap. If and when the time is right, it will work out.

xx

Another year older, trying to be wiser

Over the past year I’ve lost friends and family members to various incidents and causes. Some of these were complete surprises, really heartbreaking situations. Whilst we always say it when someone passes, this year has been the biggest reminder yet that life really is short.

It’s my birthday!! I’m another year older and hopefully a bit wiser.

Over the past year I’ve lost friends and family members to various incidents and causes. Some of these were complete surprises, really heartbreaking situations. Whilst we always say it when someone passes, this year has been the biggest reminder yet that life really is short.

So I’ve promised myself to try to remember that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. I’m not going to create an extravagant bucket list or hand in my notice tomorrow to join a circus, but I have a few things I just can’t forget to do:

  • Kiss my babies every night, even when they turn me down
  • Tell my husband I love him, even when he gets on my nerves
  • Say ‘yes’ more and think about why I’m saying ‘no’
  • Don’t procrastinate, but plan instead
  • Look after myself physically and spiritually

I’m sure this list could be more exiting and ambitious, but I want to be realistic. Even if I never get to visit the parts of the world I dreamed of as a child, I want to know I’ve set a strong foundation for my dearest and dearest.