This half term has felt hard work. I’m on a really short fuse and struggling to reign it in. I’m irritable and I’m shouty, and I don’t like it and I’m sure the kids don’t like it. People talk about the importance of self care and how you can’t look after other people if you can’t look after yourself but it’s easier said than done. There literally aren’t enough hours in the day. Plus I don’t really feel that I need an hour or two to myself. I could do with a week hibernating under the duvet, but since that’s not going to happen I thought I’d remind myself of some of my favourite things about the small people to try and snap myself out of the eye rolling and sighing!
Katie (age 9)
- Katie and animals are a good combination. Horses are her number one and she would live up at the farm where she rides if she could. In the school holidays they do stable management days and pony days which she always wants to go to. She’s great with our cat and always has been since she was tiny. She’s never chased after him or stroked his fur the wrong way or pulled his tail like most toddlers would (including Alice and Matthew!) and she sits and chats away at him. He’s quite a lap cat and most evenings he will jump up and have a cuddle with me, and Katie likes it now she’s getting bigger and he can fit on her lap now. She thinks it’s great when he chooses her over me! She spends a lot of time in the play room hanging out with her guinea pigs. They were born some time around the end of October so the other day she decided it was their birthday and she was singing happy birthday to them and giving them extra salad. She likes going round friends’ houses who have dogs and will always ask to go and walk the dog. She just generally seems more happy and relaxed around animals.
- She has a very practical nature and is handy to have around when something needs making or setting up! I’m the total opposite. I can’t follow instructions and have no interest in trying. Making or assembling things is a nightmare for me. Matthew has a Scalextric set so whenever he wants to play with that I always ask Katie to set it up for him! If a knot needs unpicking she’s my girl. If a toy breaks Katie can usually come along and fix it.
- Alongside that, she also loves to have a job or a specific role. She’s all or nothing and if we ask her to do something that she doesn’t want to do it’s a real battle, but when it’s something she’s interested in or has chosen to do she’ll go for it 100%. She wanted to wash my car last weekend and spent most of the afternoon outside with John getting every spot of dirt off. Her new school have commented the same. She struggles with PE and is very reluctant to get involved, but if they give her a specific role like setting up the equipment or timing the others when they run then she’s happy and will get involved. We had a celebration of life for John’s grandad a few weeks ago and Katie took it upon herself to be the kitchen helper, so while the other kids were eating and running around the hall Katie was making cups of tea and coffee. She likes to do this at home as well and will make me and John a cup of tea or hot chocolate most evenings. I love watching her happily pottering around when she’s got one of her jobs to do.
- I love Katie’s attention to detail and the things she notices that most people don’t. When she washes her hair she nearly always comments on the feel and the sound of the shampoo frothing up on her hair. She notices how things smell and how they feel and can be very descriptive about her surroundings. She remembers details that other people have forgotten as well and will often correct me if I’m talking about something that happened in the past because I’ve got something wrong.
- Bit of a random one but I love Katie’s hair and fingers! Her hair is super long because she hates having it cut, but it’s really thick and in good condition. She has light brown hair but it has natural lighter streaks in it. She basically has hair that people pay a lot of money for at the hairdressers but she gets it for free! And I always notice people’s fingers because mine are quite short and stubby and I’m a bit self conscious about them. Katie has really lovely long thin fingers that I’m just jealous of!
Alice (age 7)
- I’m always impressed with Alice’s determination when she’s decided to do something. She will keep practicing and trying until she gets there. She loves gymnastics and has always been able to do the front splits but has worked and worked at doing the side splits, and now can. She can swim but prefers not to be out of her depth. In her swimming lessons her class is in the middle of the pool with a lower level class one side in the shallow end and a higher level class the other side in the deep end, which means if Alice stands to the right at her lesson she can touch the bottom and if she stands to the left she can’t. I watched her the other week go straight to the shallower part, and then without being asked she gave herself a bit of a talking to and moved over to the deeper bit. She will look to challenge herself and push to do better.
- She is little miss chatterbox and enjoys sharing information about her day. I will get a run down after school of what they did in the lessons, who she played with, what they played, if they had a different teacher, who’s said what to who. I don’t get anywhere near that from Katie or Matthew!
- Alice is very imaginative and can occupy herself for a long time with games, again more so than the other two. In the morning she will often stay in her bedroom playing with her dolls and there is a constant stream of chatter coming from behind the door as she makes her dolls talk to each other and role plays. She also likes to fill the bath and play with her mermaids and she’s good at coming up with games for her and Matthew to play.
- I love that she is inclusive and thinks of other people. The girls both had friends over the other day and Matthew didn’t, so Alice straight away said he could join in with her if he wanted to. She quite often mentions that so and so was a bit sad at school because they didn’t know who to play with so she’s played with them.
- Alice’s drawings are the best! Even when tempers are short or it’s not been the best day her drawings are always happy. They’re smiley people, rainbows, butterflies, love hearts and colour.
Matthew (age 4)
- I remember having Alice and everyone said the second baby fits straight in and tends to be chilled out as they get dragged around to fit the schedule of the first child. Alice had other ideas and spent at least the first 6 months of her life crying every time she was put in the car! Matthew on the other hand has been and continues to be the promised easy going child who has spent his life being carted around based on the schedules of his two older sisters, and has done it without complaining!
- He is mr affectionate and still gets into bed with me every morning for a cuddle. He’s small enough to fit just nicely and he’s got a real thing about wriggling his toes so that they’re under your knees or under your back. He still has cute little toddler feet and I just can’t imagine that one day they will be stinky hairy teenage feet that I won’t want anywhere near me! He doesn’t make a big deal of kisses and cuddles, but will just come and stroke my hair or give me a kiss and then go back to whatever he was doing.
- Matthew is quite a charmer and definitely has a way with the ladies. He’s cute and he knows it. Other mums like him because he has long girly eyelashes and quite literally flutters them at people, and they always comment that he has good manners. He seems to have a lot of girl friends from school and preschool as well (in contrast to Katie and Alice who don’t like playing with boys) which is maybe from having older sisters.
- I love Matthew’s way of speaking. He has some really odd phrasing and talks like a little old man sometimes. I don’t know where he gets it from but me and John often have a chuckle at the end of the day comparing notes at the things he’s come out with. Annoyingly I can’t think of any now as I write this!
- Just a story about Matthew which I will always remember and we’ll probably be embarrassing him with at his 18th birthday. He has a serious peanut allergy and has to carry epipens with him. He’s really good about it and knows to tell people about it and that we have to check the labels on food for him. Katie was having lessons at school about body parts and all the correct names for them, so one day came wondering into his room as he was naked and told him that his boy bits weren’t called his winky (as he calls it) but is actually his penis. Matthew looked absolutely horrified and said “But I’m allergic to peanuts!” It was a classic. He’s also allergic to walnuts and pecans and for a while was a bit confused with that and told people he couldn’t be around tin cans.