Monday, 24 August 2015

Whatever you do Tommy, don't look behind you!

Being of similar age, and only a fifteen minute car journey away, I spent a lot of my childhood days with my cousins.
Strawberry picking, picnics in the park, and long bike rides - just a few of the happy and simple things we used to indulge in.
This was before the Internet, when kids used to play outside! Isn't that what people harp on about these days? Although to be fair, we did play indoors as well, on rainy days, and days when we wished to play board games and dress up as Cowboys and Indians. I have some great pictures of us in costume!
But I do remember the great big outdoors always being so appealing. Fresh air and adventures, that's what it was all about.
We didn't own a computer until years later, and even then it was very limited in its games and access. It was called 'a green screen' due to the animations being many shades of green. Yes it was very basic, but back then it was seen as quite an achievement.
I know you have to move with the times sometimes, and I'm aware there are now virtual, colour, games which are competitive and fun. Yet I do agree that kids shouldn't be stuck in front of a screen for hours. They need to get out there and use their imaginations, run around and do something inexpensive and fun.
That's my theory anyway. And I'm hoping it will rub off on Tommy and his upbringing. We've spent a lot of time in the garden this summer, playing in his sandpit and tent, watering the flowers, and collecting stones. He's still fairly young when it comes to understanding some activities, but he's getting there. Of course the nice weather helps, and the fact we're lucky enough to have a reasonably good sized garden.
Plus we have a park and a forest all within walking distance.
And Tommy also has a cousin of similar age, a short car journey away. I do hope they remain good friends and spend many a cherished childhood playing and laughing together. As did I and my cousins.
So far, so good.

Laughing.


Here I am!


The wigwam made of sticks.


"Whatever you do Tommy, don't look behind you!" said Will.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Songbird

As I was squirted in the eye by an orange octopus, which missed the swimming frog, by the lopsided pirate ship, I couldn't help reflecting on how different bath times are these days.
I am now lost in a sea of plastic, spinning, singing, animals and objects.
Because I rarely bath alone; to save time I often bath with Tommy.
Plus I'm still at the stage where I worry about him drowning in a very small amount of water. Maybe one day I will stop fretting about him. Nah, I will never stop stressing over my son!
Some nights Tommy and I have water fights, other nights we fill pots with bubbles, and then there are the evenings where we knock the sticky weird things off the sticky weird thing on the wall.
One thing's for sure, it's eventful.
Arms and legs can often be lost in shapes and colours and noises. It's a wonder we have time to wash ourselves.
Unfortunately, Tommy is currently in the midst of a stage where he loathes his hair being washed. No idea why, suddenly it's the latest thing to hate!
As all the grown ups in the world know; washing hair is essential, otherwise hair is greasy and stinky. I do try telling Tommy this, but he doesn't really understand/care.
So I have to distract him, or be sneaky. I am now a master at distracting and sneakiness.
Tonight, during bath time, I decided to very gradually wash Tommy's hair, whilst also singing the magical lyrics to Songbird.
Incidentally, this is the very song I nervously drifted up the aisle to on Mark and I's wedding day. The song I heard years ago and distinctly remember thinking, "Imagine marrying the man of my dreams after hearing this tune!"
Apart from any ballad by George Michael, Songbird is my ultimate love song. It's even more significant now, due to it's historical place in my life.
Also, whilst pregnant, I used to indulge in relaxing baths, often in the anticipation that if I were to lay as flat as possible, with hand on protruding belly, I might be able to feel baby kick. Apparently, it was also essential that he or she heard mum's soothing voice.
Therefore, many a bath night used to be spent croaking the words to my favourite love song (I am not blessed with dulcet tones, although I do try my best). I would also hold hand over ever expanding body and continually hope, "Was that a kick?"
When Tommy finally decided to kick, I was so overjoyed I nearly leaped in the air with pure ecstasy. Then I remembered I was so fat I had to be assisted in and out of the bath.
Still, I was over the moon that I had finally felt my unborn child move around inside me.
Until Mark burst the bubble by laughing his head off and declaring, "He was probably thinking, please shut up mum, you can't sing at all!"
He had a point though.
But anyway, whilst singing Songbird tonight, I did catch Tommy looking at me and smiling. I like to think somewhere deep in his subconscious memory, he tapped into my voice and the words.
Even if he didn't recall, which let's face it, he probably didn't, he was probably thinking, "I'm going to squirt you again mummy!" I was happy to compare restful verses chaotic bath time.
The conclusion? I was overwhelmed with my love for him and the disbelief that he will be two year's old in two month's time.

This is us, a rare and recent picture. And no, I wasn't singing to him.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The surprise party with a giant slide

I do love a party. Especially a surprise garden party, with a marquee, flowing champagne, and a giant, inflatable slide.
It was Mark's uncle's surprise 80th birthday bash last weekend. And here are my memories of the day.


I treated myself to a new dress for the occasion, with butterflies.


Don't forget the wine and card!


Waiting for the birthday boy.


Popsicles.


Mark and Tommy by the entrance to the giant slide, bouncy castle and football game.



The adults had great fun on this. Sorry, I was too busy scoffing chocolate cake, so didn't take any pics of family in action.



Tommy mowing the lawn (pretend mower, of course).


Tommy and his cousin, admiring the view.


Entering the pink house.


Playing in the pink house.


Anyone need a lift home?


We had a fabulous time. The sun was shining, kids and adults bounced and slid. Mark's uncle was chuffed. Mark's cousins house and garden are the stuff dreams are made of. Tommy cried when we had to go home.