Thursday, 16 December 2010

Christmas past.

My darling Doodlebugs,

My childhood Christmas always had a precision to it. I awoke on Christmas morning, more often than not was awoken by my younger brother, and sat on my bed unpacking my stocking. Once I'd reached the tangerine and gold chocolate coins that were tucked at the bottom, I'd take my stash into my parents' bed and show them all that Santa had given me. After my brothers had done the same, mum would go downstairs to get us all a drink. I never understood until I was older and she told me, that is was actually to turn the Christmas lights on and check the turkey.

Once we'd all had the obligatory drink and put on our dressing gowns, down we'd go, picking our places in the sitting room and then waiting whilst Brother Neal distributed all the gifts. Only when the last present had been dispensed could the carnage of paper ripping and box trashing begin.

There was a routine that followed which included having chocolate for breakfast, getting dressed in the new outfit that Santa had given us, and filling the house with young squaddies from the local barracks who didn't have anywhere else to go. And I have so many funny memories of those days, but it's the first few moments in the day that I treasure most. The quiet before the chaos, when we were just five, illuminated by lights and surrounded by love and carols.

All my love, 

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Halfway down the stairs

My darling Doodlebugs,

There's a song on the CD of music that you insist that we play whenever we are driving anywhere:

Monday, 23 August 2010

What makes a mother?

My darling Doodlebugs


I thought of you and closed my eyes
And prayed to God today
I asked "What makes a Mother?"
And I know I heard him say.

"A Mother has a baby"
This we know is true
"But God can you be a Mother,
When your baby's not with you?"

"Yes, you can," he replied
With confidence in his voice
"I give many women babies,
When they leave is not their choice.

Some I send for a lifetime,
And others for the day.
And some I send to feel your womb,
But there's no need to stay."

"I just don't understand this
God I want my baby to be here."
He took a deep breath and cleared his throat,
And then I saw the tear.

"I wish I could show you,
What your child is doing today.
If you could see your child's smile,
With all the other children and say...

'We go to Earth to learn our lessons,
Of love and life and fear.
My Mommy loved me oh so much,
I got to come straight here.

I feel so lucky to have a Mom,
Who had so much love for me.
I learned my lessons very quickly,
My Mommy set me free.

I miss my Mommy oh so much,
But I visit her every day.
When she goes to sleep,
On her pillow's where I lay

I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek,
And whisper in her ear.
Mommy don't be sad today,
I'm your baby and I'm here.'

"So you see my dear sweet ones,
your children are okay.
Your babies are born here in My home,
And this is where they'll stay.

They'll wait for you with Me,
Until your lesson's through.
And on the day that you come home
they'll be at the gates for you.

So now you see what makes a Mother,
It's the feeling in your heart
it's the love you had so much of
Right from the very start

Though some on earth may not realize,
you are a Mother.
Until their time is done.
They'll be up here with me one day
and know that you are the best one!"

I love you, my precious babies


My darling Doodlebugs,

after I put Bella back in the still-warm bath tonight because she threw up all over her clean pjs, and after I had kissed Cecily's head because she bumped it when she was rearranging her dogs before she went to sleep, I cried from tiredness. Then I cried with sadness for the old-yous, the ones you were and will never be again, the little babies I will have no more of to hold and swaddle and smell. Then I cried with joy at the yous you are becoming: at Cecily whose vocabulary expands daily, who is smart and funny and who, with complete abandon, at unexpected and oftentimes inconvenient moments, will throw her arms around your legs in a hug or kiss you with as-yet-unknown passion; at Annabel whose smile is given so freely that you cannot help buut beam back, who screeches with unbridled delight as the dog races past, or her sister makes her laugh, who has such joy in every waking moment and whose ear presses so firmly against my inner arm as she dozes that it leaves a perfect imprint. And thus the tears for the then and the now dried as I smiled at the future that stretches before us all, me and my beautiful, funny, loving, gifted girls. How blessed we are to have you to show us how to be parents.

“Walk a little slower Daddy” said a child so small
“I’m following in your footsteps and I don’t want to fall.

Sometimes your steps are very fast,
Sometimes they’re hard to see;
So walk a little slower Daddy,
For you are leading me.

Someday when I’m all grown up,
You’re what I want to be;
Then I will have a little child
Who’ll want to follow me.

And I would want to lead just right,
And know that I was true;
So walk a little slower Daddy,
For I must follow you.

With all my love, my darling girls,

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

A better parent

My darling Doodlebugs

I think perhaps that Philip Larkin had a more miserable upbringing than Adrian Mitchell;

They tuck you up, your mum and dad
They read you Peter Rabbit, too.
They give you all the treats they had
And add some extra, just for you.

They were tucked up when they were small,
(Pink perfume, blue tobacco-smoke),
By those whose kiss healed any fall,
Whose laughter doubled any joke.

Man hands on happiness to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
So love your parents all you can
And have some cheerful kids yourself.

I'd like to be a good parent, but I'll settle for being good enough.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Now you are two

My darlings, my angels,

for now there are two baby girls that I get to tuck in every night. My darling Doodlebug, you are such a wonderful big sister to little Annabel, who doesn't yet have a nickname. Precious Bella, who already gives her big sister Cecily her best smiles. I hope that you will be the best of friends. I have no idea how we will raise sisters, since neither daddy nor I have one, but I'm sure that we'll figure it out. Of course there's a good chance we'll get some of it wrong, so do bear with us. What you have to bear in mind, and I don't imagine that this is something that you will understand until long after you have left home (we are in for a long wait for appreciation!) is that we will be learning with you. Every new step you take is a new step for us too. Anything we do, or don't do, is motivated by our love for your both and our wish to help you become intelligent well-adjusted girls with a strong sense of self-worth and the belief that they can do anything they set their minds to. Philip Larkin wrote disparagingly of the relationship between children and their parents, and every teenager I have known has felt that their parents are frustrating, lacking any understanding of what it is like to be a teenager. But we were all teenagers once. And it was a cake-walk compared to being a parent. As a teenager, you are responsible only for yourself; as a parent, you are responsible for yourself and for your children. You are responsible for the teenagers they become. And, having been a teenager yourself, you know only too well how tricky it is to get the right balance. I confess that already, when I see teenagers out and about, shrieking and unaware of their surroundings, I get a sinking feeling in my stomach. I tell you both sternly that this is not acceptable behaviour and that, if you act like that, I will send you to a convent. Then I remember that I was much like that at the same age, and I sigh in acceptance. You will be who you will be, as little girls, teenagers and women. The Philip Larkin poem, once on my wall when at school, is now a memory I recall only when it comes up on a quiz show. I have a wonderful relationship with my mother, for which I am very grateful. And when I remind myself of that I sigh again, with relief. If we can get the right balance as parents, if we raise you well, we will have that relationship in the future.

For now, we can just enjoy the present, knowing that you will have forgotten tomorrow morning that we didn't let you go to bed in your dog costume in 25 degree heat. We can forget the weight of the responsibility we have as parents, that we will have in future. We will take each day, and each decision, as it comes. Because we've never done this before. But at least you will have each other to complain too ;-)

I love you both so much, my angels,

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday

My darling Doodlebug,

Today you are two years old, and I have to face the fact that you are no longer a baby but my little girl. And what an extraordinary little girl you are. It’s been a very busy year in which you’ve changed so much from a dainty little crawler with short blonde hair to a little runner who loves wellies and new shoes but hates me brushing her white-blonde curly locks. You like yo-yo’s (cereal) and happy cakey, CBeebies and DDs and you adore doggies. You love your bed, but always ask for Mamma to sing, even if daddy has read all the stories, and you don’t go anywhere without your Ma (dummy), Blue Dog and Blankie. They are the Holy Trinity of Cecily soothers. At the end of every day, I tuck you in bed, grateful that you are finally quiet, after a day of running and chattering and laughing. Every night I look forward to what you will learn tomorrow.

Tonight Daddy will come home from work early and we will take you round the block on your new trike, sing happy Birthday and eat Happy Cakey, but I wanted to take a moment to remember the year that has gone and to thank you for all that you are.

Thank you for accepting your new baby sister with such devotion. You are (almost) always gentle with her, giving her kisses in the morning and washing her toes in the bathtub. I am so thrilled that you like her and hope that it lasts...

Thank you for teaching me to accept help when needed. I didn’t want anyone to look after you but you made me realise that, if I couldn’t take you to your singing group or playgroup, I needed to find someone who could. You love these activities so much.

Thank you for learning so many skills without being asked: for being able to go up and down stairs when I couldn’t lift you; for fetching my slippers; for picking things up when you dropped them; for letting other people do the things I should have been doing.

Thank you for being so good whilst I was in hospital. I so loved hearing you every night when you called to say “Good night Mamma”.

Thank you for reminding me, every day, that I am responsible for teaching you how to be a good person; that it is an honour and privilege to be a parent.

But, most of all, thank you for loving me; for all the cuddles, the laughter, the fun. Thank you for making every day different, interesting, exasperating, challenging and unforgettable.

Thank you for being my Doodlebug.
Happy Birthday.
With all my love,

Thursday, 13 May 2010

What they don't tell you in NCT classes...

My darling Doodlebug,

this is copied from my other blog. It's useful advice for when you have children of your own.

What they don't tell you in NCT classes

1. That the jump from one child to two is sooo much more significant that the jump from nought to one.
2. That you can fall asleep whilst standing up.
3. That if it means you will get to the Pocket Dictator's singing class on time you will leave the house in your pyjamas.
4. That you can pick up one child whilst breastfeeding the second.
5. That you don't have to shower as often as you thought.
6. That if it meant you got to eat a Krispy Kreme in peace you would expose your boobs to Gordon Brown David Cameron.
7. That, at some point, you will consider selling your kids on eBay.
8. That you can hear your children cry through walls ten feet thick, even if there are planes overhead, men drilling in the road and you are wearing ear-plugs.

9. That the parental guilt multiplies exponentially with every child, thus you will lie awake every night when they are 2 worrying about what they will be doing when they are 12, or even 4.
10. That, fortunately, your love will increase exponentially with every child. With every day. And that, somehow, even though you don't have time to do the ironing anymore, never mind the blogging; even though you are still picking up toys and tidying the house ten minutes before you go to bed; even though you never see your husband because your bedtime is before the Watershed, you can't go to bed without pulling their duvets up and kissing their foreheads. In fact you can't remember what life was like BC (before children) since you can't imagine life without them. And that actually, you'd rather be spending time with them that worrying about things like showering, and ironing, and blogging!!

Friday, 7 May 2010

Random Advice 1

My Darling Doodlebug,

A piece of advice if you ignore all the others. When you get round to wanting to shave your legs, and you will, please please please don't use a bic razor on dry legs. Shaving requires some kind of lubrication: it's why men have shaving gel. If you don't, you will end up with painfully red and sore skin that you will need to cover up for about 2 weeks, by which time the hair will have grown back and no-one will know that you had beautifully smooth calves.

All my love