Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011 and Zachary November 2013.

Diary of an Angel Mother, Rainbow Mother.
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

If Mummy Had Written Your School Report

Your first school report is a rite of passage isn’t it, the start of a long journey through education – Nursery to Tertiary (and beyond) – so the saying goes.

Xander’s first school progress report came home last week. His teacher has made some really lovely comments about him in her comment box and it is clear he is settled, happy and doing well in school – ‘confident, content and happy and a pleasure to have in class’ and at three years old, and a ‘rising three’ at that, that is all I want for him, and from him.

However, after his teacher’s comment box, his report suddenly becomes very ‘cold’, a computer generated tick box exercise. So very different to the reports I myself write for my pupils in the special school system. This is no slight on his school, or his teacher, I have a lot of time for her and her evident enthusiasm in that classroom. I’m impressed with the environment and provision provided and have no concerns that play isn’t top of their agenda. I also know most mainstream schools have a generic reporting format computer input system that have to be used to generate these tick box style reports. 

She told me as much yesterday and to take the most notice of her comment box; but for someone who knows early year’s education as well as I do, it reads like the foundation phase curriculum with his name in front of achieved skills and then formulated into key sentences.

My little boy has been reduced to nothing more than a list of what skills he has demonstrated during his time in school; no real context, background, what his favourite school experiences have been or an element of his personality in it at all.

And that makes me sad, not just for Xander, but for a whole generation of small children, seemingly going through a mainstream education system forced by a Westminster Government to lose the holistic value of a developing child, teaching to a tick list instead. A Westminster Government that measures a child’s worth and success by how many ticks they have, or the levels and grades on a piece of paper they have, or eventually the letters they could have after their name. A Westminster Government who seemingly thinks there is only one way to be successful to the detriment of so many of our children, setting so many up to fail before they even begin. A Westminster Government constantly changing the goal posts of what successful is and where trying your very best is no longer good enough.  Things are not as bad here as they are the other side of the Severn Bridge, but even with a devolved education our profession has not been immune to these changes and pressures and testing approach being foisted from the likes of Gove and Morgan.

Sorry I went off an a ranty tangent there, but regardless, this has driven me to ‘rewrite’ his school report; to put some meat on the bones of those skills, to highlight what came across as his favourite parts of school this year and where I believe he can do more as this small three-year-old boy than his report would have him believe when he reads it with adult eyes.

I don’t just want to know what he can do as far as a skill sheet would tell me, I want to know what he has enjoyed, what topics were his favourite, what activities he really got involved in. What parts of learning excite him, what are his passions? What he LOVED about school. Learning of course is important, but it isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of a child’s experience of education. Life is much more than grades and my child is so much more than a skill tick sheet, my child is a little bundle of personality and the journey matters as much as the learning outcome.

And so as an aside I’m so glad he’ll have my six monthly updates of his childhood to look back on too.

The purple is his school report, the red is my ‘teacher speak’ addition... The blessings and curses of a teacher for a mother I guess! 


Personal and Social Development, Well-Being and Cultural Diversity
Xander is beginning to show he knows about familiar care routines, and when an adult is assisting him with his every day personal needs he is often keen to help. Xander is beginning to have his own ideas about what he would like to wear, for example making it clear he thinks boxer shorts are even more grown up than pants! He likes to be involved in choosing his clothes, and his baby brothers clothes and understands what type of clothes are appropriate for different times of the day or weather, e.g. pyjamas for bedtime, shorts for a hot day, coats for a rainy day etc. Xander needs to be encouraged to dress and undress himself with more independence. 

Xander is becoming ever increasingly independent using the toilet and understands basic personal hygiene care routines such a flushing the toilet and washing his hands afterwards. He understands the importance and boundaries of keeping safe in some situations for example why he must always wear his seatbelt properly in the car, or holding hands with an adult to cross a road or walk in a car park. 

He has begun to role play on his own or in parallel with other children, often near a familiar adult. Xander thoroughly enjoys small world play and often plays with small figurines from his busy books, Happyland and Duplo sets, reciting aloud his imaginative dialogue during his play. His little people are often Mummies, Daddies and babies, but also firemen, superhero and rescue men. He loves playing with his Happyland Castle, Rocket, Farm and Dollhouse. Xander is beginning to enjoy dressing up and pretend play more and often asks for us to play Doctors and patients with him.

He is starting to show affection for other children and play with them. When supported by an adult, Xander is just learning to be willing to share toys and materials and to take turns. He is beginning to learn that some behaviour is unacceptable. Xander has developed firm friendships in school but is still learning to navigate the social complexities of these friendships and the reality that not everybody is very kind all of the time. Friendships and relationships are clearly linked to his emotions at the moment as his favour with you is demonstrated through your status of being  ‘you’re my best friend’ or ‘you’re not my best friend anymore’ declarations! 

Xander has a definite sense of self and belonging and is aware which group he is part of at school (Peppa Pig group) and his part in his family at home. He knows who else is part of his family.Just recently Xander stated that he had lots of friends and lots of family and had everything he needed. A little boy, already seemingly aware that people and relationships in your life matter more than your possessions.

Xander has a sense of ownership of something he is playing with and can sometimes find sharing toys with others, especially his baby brother difficult through frustration that they might wreck his game. However socially Xander will invite children of a similar age to play with him and likes to play with other children. He especially likes close family adults to play with him and shows genuine beaming happiness when involved in 1:1 play. 

Xander understands the concept of taking turns and will usually willingly take turns with other children when the taking turns boundaries and expectations are set and modelled by an adult. Xander has an emerging understanding of what is fair or not fair. Xander is on the whole a gentle little boy, appropriately showing affection and concern for others. Xander rarely displays aggressive behaviour but usually instantly demonstrates remorse after an incident. He is fiercely protective of his brother and often tells his family members that he loves them. 

Xander is becoming more and more aware of the special days of himself and others, for example birthday celebrations. Xander was especially excited and eager to share the Mother’s Day card he had made in school.


Language, Literacy and Communication
Xander is starting to understand and follow simple instructions.  He increasingly wants to join in songs and nursery rhymes, especially actions song and finger rhymes. He repeats the names of familiar objects.  Xander particularly enjoys singing along to The Wheels on the Bus, Never Smile at a Crocodile, Twinkle Star, 5 Little Men in a Flying Saucer and Dingle Dangle Scarecrow.

Xander is beginning to follow stories read to him and he is starting to respond in a suitable way. Xander thoroughly enjoys sharing books and stories. He looks at books with adults and by himself. Xander can anticipate key words, rhymes and events in a familiar story and is able to ‘read’ and re-tell the key points of familiar stories back to an adult. Xander can often be found ‘reading’ stories to his little brother and can use the pictures in a book to tell you what is happening in the story. Xander is beginning to distinguish between the pictures in a book and the words.

Xander is starting to ‘draw’ using his preferred hand and experiment with mark-making. Xander doesn’t naturally gravitate towards mark-making and drawing activities but enjoys participating in an adult initiated activity. Xander shows increasing control when ‘writing’ with tools such as crayons, pencils or chalk. Xander especially enjoys mark-making activities with paint. Xander can confidently write the X for his name and shows pride in his efforts. Xander is beginning to draw his representation of people and animals.

Xander can identify a fair number of sounds/letters and enjoys playing with his foam letter sounds in the bath. Xander shows he is aware or letters and print in the environment, pointing out the sounds he can see in street signs or car number plates for example. Xander often finds the letter symbols that are of particular importance to him in his surroundings; for example X for Xander, m for Mummy, d for Daddy and z for Zac.  Xander has even been known to spot an X in the sky for Xander where two planes have crossed each other!


Mathematical Development
Xander shows an awareness of number activities. He recognises the symbols for numbers from 1 to 9. (0-12 and emerging to 15). The number 3 is of particular importance to him and he often refers to 3 as his birthday number. Xander has an early understanding of ‘one more’ and can usually tell you which number comes after a given number between 1 and 10.

He usually anticipates and joins in with familiar number rhymes and songs. Xander’s favourite number songs include 5 Little Men in a Flying Saucer and 5 Little Ducks. He counts up to three objects reliably. (up to ten objects reliably). Xander enjoys counting within his play and enjoys exploring his early understanding of number through practical activities such as helping to lay the table; counting how many people there are, then deciding how many forks, knifes, spoons etc he will need to make sure everyone has one of each. He regularly holds up the number of fingers to emphasise how many of something there is. Xander is beginning to join in board games appropriately, structured and modelled by an adult. He is concentrating for lengthening periods and starting to grasp the concept of moving a given number of spaces on the board as indicated by the number on the dice rolled.  

He is starting to show interest in the position of objects and the relationship between them. Xander is exploring his understanding of early measure; he is able to make comparisons between objects based on their size and can identify the biggest, middle and smallest of a set of three objects. He can transfer this skill into other spontaneous observations, for example stating that Daddy is the biggest, Mummy the middle sized and Xander the smallest.  Xander experiments with how objects fit together, for example building his Toot Toot train track.

Xander is just learning to sort and match objects or pictures by recognising similarities. Xander enjoys picture matching games such as picture bingo and can match picture to picture. Xander can complete 48+ piece puzzles with minimal support if any from an adult, looking out for the similarities in puzzle pieces to match them together. Xander can sort and match by colour, beginning to follow early sequences – for example building a Duplo tower based on the colour sequence of another previously made tower. Xander can name and find simple 2-D shapes such as a circle, triangle, square and rectangle.

Xander is beginning to understand the routine and name the days of the week, associating days with key events that regularly happen on those days, e.g. he knows he goes to Lollipops café on a Tuesday, swimming on a Wednesday, a day with Bampi on his own on a Wednesday, Nana and Bampi on a Thursday and Friday and church on a Sunday. He classifies his week through school and non-school days and has an emerging understanding of past (yesterday), present (today) and future (tomorrow).

Xander understands that money is used to pay for things in a shop.


Welsh Language Development
Xander is just learning to repeat some familiar words and phrases. He increasingly begins to join in action song and finger rhymes. Xander didn’t know a single word of welsh when he started school in January. He enjoys being able to say a few words in welsh now and will use the word Diolch (Thankyou) at home and tells me it is Welsh. He has sometimes appeared to be singing a song in welsh from school too. He is clearly taking on the board the use of incidental welsh during his mornings at school. Xander enjoys playing a welsh app on the iPad at home and can accurately identify colour names in Welsh.

Xander is beginning to look at books with or without an adult and show an interest in their content.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World
Xander is starting to show he knows about daily routines. Xander has familiar routines at home which mark different times of the day; for example a consistent getting up and going to bed routine. He knows the difference between day and night. Xander is aware of different meal-times throughout the day. Xander has settled well into the ‘going to school’ routine and enjoys to tell us about his day, who and what he has played with at school.

 Xander usually recognises himself and familiar people in pictures or stories. Through adult encouragement, he is beginning to communicate about the things he has made, such as models or pictures. Xander is starting to sort objects into simple categories. He is just learning to explore objects and material in environments that are familiar and close by. Xander loves explorative play and can describe objects by their predominant property, using descriptive words such as smooth, rough, hard, soft, bumpy, spikey, etc.  Xander has appeared to especially enjoy the sand table, water tray and playdough table in school this year.

Xander especially enjoyed the Shopping and Transport topics in school this year, we’ve heard most about these topics at home. He enjoyed a visit to the Bakery with his Mummy and Daddy, getting to choose and pay for his own cake; and of course eating it! The week he bought home a shopping trolley pictures with foods he had glued onto it, we visited a supermarket, and used his picture from school as a shopping list. Xander found the real foods in the shop and put them into a real trolley. He helped to pay for them at the checkout. 

Xander’s imaginative construction play has come on leaps and bounds in recent weeks and he has experimented with his creations of hot air balloons, planes, cars, trains and boats with his Duplo. Xander will experience bus and train rides during the summer and will visit the Bristol Balloon fiesta in early August to consolidate and support his learning experiences at school.

Xander is noticing the differences between himself and others and is beginning to ask thoughtful and observant questions, for example, why does Daddy have a beard? He is aware of the differences between men and women and knows that he is a little boy. 

He has an emerging understanding of life cycle and knows that he used to be a baby but now he is a big boy.  He has an emerging understanding that babies grow in Mummy’s tummies and are born. He particularly enjoyed meeting his baby cousin recently and was ever so gentle and completely mesmerised by how small he was. He knows that some people are older than others and that his Grandma (Great) is very old!


Physical Development
Xander is just learning to recognise and use different pieces of equipment when he plays with other people. Xander can build a six-block tower (six-block plus tower, using bricks, cups or Duplo). He is beginning to be able to send and receive an object. He is starting to handle and investigate physical things by pulling, stretching and squeezing them. He is just learning to pass through, around or over large obstacles and be able to jump and land safely. He is beginning to pedal tricycles, bicycles and cars. Xander especially loves his scooter and is becoming quite the Whiz on it – flying down the path and beginning to learn to control stopping the scooter using the brake rather than his feet. Xander is learning to throw, bounce, kick, roll and catch a ball and enjoys playing ball in his Grandma’s (Great) garden with Daddy and brother.

Xander enjoys physical play such as crawling around furniture, or through a tunnel. He enjoys stepping stone games and jumps from cushion to cushion on the floor. Xander loves to visit the park and is confident using the swings, slides, tunnels and climbing frames.

At the moment Xander is exploring his sense of balance; seeking to walk along curbs, walls and benches in the environment when out and about.

Xander is a busy little boy who equally loves to go wild outdoors as he does to sit in quiet play.

Xander absolutely loved Sport’s Day and took parts in a range of activities that required him to throw, balance, skip, jump, run and navigate obstacles. He has been excited to tell us all about Sport’s Day practices and the exercise he was doing in school. We  were hugely proud of his effort and participation in Sport’s Day. Completely heart swelling!

Xander is still learning to run in a more mature style and continues to develop his co-ordination, controlled body movements, gross and fine motor skills, as well as his sensory awareness but most of all developing his confidence in all areas.



Creative Development
Xander is starting to exercise some control in mark-making and pattern-making with his fingers and tools. He enjoys handling, investigating and exploring materials or resources. Xander loves to paint and create pictures and is always proud when a piece of his art work is framed on our art wall at home. He will tell you about the picture he has made and what he used to make it. He usually has very clear ideas about what colours he wants to paint with and clearly favours the colour pink in his work! 

Xander explores a range of things that make sounds and experiments with making sounds, including shaking, striking and scraping. He begins to recognise familiar music. He often responds to simple musical routines by joining in or moving to the music, broadly imitating actions, sounds and words. Xander is starting to travel, jump and land and to hold still positions.  Xander can sing along to many nursery rhymes and often requests his CDs on in the car. He remembers the words of familiar songs and is broadly starting to sing with a resemblance of tune and intonation. He also enjoys dancing along to music with an emerging sense of rhythm and is can recognise the difference between fast and slow music when there is a marked difference. 

Xander enjoys experimenting with instruments, especially his keyboard where he likes to record his own tunes and compositions and sing into the microphone. Xander shows interest in a range of genres of music including popular music and some interesting classical compositions; for example recently enjoying the Cuckoo section from Carnival of the Animals and requesting to listen to it again.


So there we have it. His school report and everything else teacher Mummy would want it to say (and probably so much more too!)

I agonised over the decision to send Xander to nursery class at school two terms early as a rising 3, but at the end of the school year I’m so glad we did. He is blossoming and school has started off as a really positive experience for him. He’s flying and hope he enjoys his Foundation Phase years, much more than anything else.


We’re so exceptionally proud of you Xander!
Sunday, 5 July 2015

We Got Through Another June

Another June has rolled into another July. All of a sudden my life seems calmer once more. 

Each year I react harder, more violently than the last, more chaotic than the last. The further we move away from June 2010 the less able I seem to be able to cope with present day in June. To top it all off this year I even had food poisoning (confirmed Campylobactor) in the week before Anabelle's birthday. Oh how the world kicks you a little more when you're already low. 


She should be five. I wonder what our five year old little girl would be like. Would she be as in love with Disney princess' as I imagine? Would she be a Frozen fan like every other little girl we seem to know? Who would be her favourite? Would she be a little ballerina or gymnast or something else I would never have thought of. 

I wish I knew her, knew her as she should be now. 



I keep looking at Alexander just 16 months younger than she should be, watching how grown up he seems these days and wondering how much grown up she would seem than him even with their small age gap. The leaps between each birthday are so enormous and I ache for our little girl. 

Instead her birthday was filled with usual rituals and routines; there were balloons and flowers and garden decorations. This year was garden fairy themed and we bought a wishing well planter for her little garden fairy to live in. Another birthday feeling emotionally exhausted and never feeling like anything we do is enough. Because it shouldn't be this way. Garden centres instead of toy shops. 



This year my absolutely beside myself day was the Friday, two days before her birthday. 

This year it was utterly triggered by fear.  Fear that my new niece or nephew would be born on Anabelle's birthday. Fear that it, my grief was going to rip my family apart. Fear that I was not going to be understood, allowed to grieve for what was lost, or to find my way through June. Fear that more relationships that were important to me were going to be irreparably damaged and I'd have even less people to trust. Fear, because past experience taught me in a similar situation two years ago, that is just what would happen. Only is wasn't family. 

So I spent six months agonising about my sister-in-laws due date, days after Belle's birthday with my first nephew born a few days early. Sometimes I felt agonised to the point where I felt at a crisis point about it. I distanced myself from it, from them, keeping the whole situation at arms length, the elephant in the room where I couldn't even talk about it. Self-preservation, not knowing how to handle myself or handle it. 

Most upsetting in the distance was the comparison to how closely we'd shared our previous pregnancies two years ago, with those due-dates two days apart, and the boys eventually born two weeks and twenty two minutes apart. 

I didn't want it to be like this, but neither did I feel strong enough to face my fears. To face me, myself and I. 

Anabelle's birthday came and went and there was no baby; and suddenly those fears dissipated.  

Six months of fear and heaviness lifted and genuinely I now felt ready to welcome this new baby. So I did what I should've done, should've faced months and months earlier; I let my brother and SIL know how I'd been feeling, and let them know I was ready to be an Auntie. I apologised that I'd been distant or if they'd felt like I hadn't been interested, that I loved them, but that simply I'd spent all those months choked with fear and couldn't handle it. 

I was pretty nervous of the response. 

But you know what, I should've trusted them all along. Because they had accepted my fear, gracefully respected the space I had created, understood it, understood me, worried themselves of the dates too even, accepted me and my grief and how utterly hard June is, how spectacularly I struggle to cope and loved me anyway.  

A simple exchange that gave me permission to just be how I needed to be knowing they would still love me anyway. That acceptance made me feel so much stronger than I had in so long and even leaving me feeling on the road to post-birthday recovery before we hit July.

And so that is healing. Being loved and accepted anyway.

My new nephew was born a few days later, the day after his due date, within a week of Anabelle's birthday, and it felt absolutely ok.  We met him this weekend and he is so beautiful, so much like Zac when he was born (you can definitely tell they're cousins) and has made me incredibly broody for another little Morgan tiny! 

Another year where I spiralled through June, but I definitely took steps forward too. 

Our three babies, altogether. 







Saturday, 27 June 2015

Zachary @ 18 Months

Zachary is a whole year and a half old (and a tiny bit more) now. My baby Small is becoming my Small toddler at an alarming rate! These last few weeks he has been noticeably transforming from a baby into a little boy - he’s changing in so many ways; his play is more purposeful, his communication is more purposeful and direct, he is cheeky and feisty and funny.

My awesome and incredible little person!

He seemingly understands nearly everything we say to him now. He quite clearly shakes or nods his heads in response to questions and is following instructions and the routine of the day. It is the cutest thing when he toddles off to get his shoes out of the shoe cupboard after asked to find them!  He is pointing at everything and chatty, wanting to join the conversation with his wonderful range of vocalisations

Zachary really is quite the character now, making it perfectly clear when he thinks the situation is not fair or in his favour, letting you know that he thinks he is the one missing out and fighting his corner when he has to! Simply he just wants to be doing whatever his big brother is doing and is most put out when Xander doesn’t want him to join in!

Zac is so strong-willed and determined, much more so than I remember Xander being. We’ve even had a few (but only a few) incidences of biting – which is completely new territory for us and something Xander has never done. Alexander, on the receiving end of those teeth, exclaimed his baby brother had tried to eat him, such his innocence in this behaviour! 


They fiercely love each other as much as ever, it is such a delight to watch their relationship blossom and change all the time.  Alexander loves that Zachary is able to play with him and know the game when it suits him, yet Zachary is equally his annoying little brother and he lets him know it. The scraps are beginning!

These boys are so alike, I read Alexander’s 18 month post back and I see so many similarities in how Zac is now, yet they are so very different too.

My darling Small. At eighteen (and a bit more) months old you are a dinky 22lb 8oz. I say dinky because your brother was as heavy as this at a year old and so to me you feel small. My Small, still very much Mama’s little baby boy.

I hardly dare say it but your sleep is finally improving! You’re not sleeping through all of the time, still far from it, but my boy, you are sleeping through a couple of nights a week now, and when you are waking it seems to just be the once, or sometimes twice. The nights are far easier than they were the last time I updated.

My eighteen month upper limit for breastfeeding appears to have been thrown out of the window with you, as you still very much search for that bedtime comfort, and I’ve no idea how to force the issue just now. The last couple of months we have nudged you into dropping morning feeds, and your middle of the night bottle, but the bedtime feed has remained. For now we’ll keep following your lead and I’ll enjoy this part of baby left with you.   

You’ve had an incredible six months since your birthday. Every day you grow and change, you learn new things. You’re a little sponge soaking up the world and learning all about what it means to be you.

During the Christmas holidays you stood on your own for the first time, and just a few days later on New Year’s eve you took your first steps all by yourself. It was so exciting, you were just 13 months old! But you took your time to turn steps into walking my boy; for the next three and a half months you just stuck with your few steps, you would walk for maybe 3, 4, 5 steps and then drop to your knees and crawl to your planned destination. It wasn’t until the 19th April that you decided you could crack this walking business – at the grand old age of 16 and a half months old. Just like your big brother, although I had been convinced you were going to walk properly earlier!

 
Every day your little personality shines through some more. You are so cheeky, feisty and funny. I think you’re going to be quite the joker as you already love the reaction of one of us laughing at you! You love to tease and play. You are mesmerised by your world.

You have picked up so many of your brother’s mannerisms. Sometimes it really is like looking at a mini-version of Xander. You have perfected his frown, his eye-roll. You close your eyes just like him and pull the funniest of expressions! You poke your tongue out when you’re concentrating and just like Bampi you have started to walk and stand with your hands behind your back – just like Xander did too!

Your favourite things at eighteen months old are books, ride on toys, your brother, puzzles, Peppa Pig, dancing and climbing but not necessarily in that order!

You are such a little climber. It is a nightmare! We cannot leave the dining room chairs out because if we do you are found on top of the table, climbing across the table and into your highchair. Just as well those chairs are foldable to go away I say. The huge bay window sill is another favourite climb up spot. You are too brave and it makes me too nervous!

But then on the flip side I often find you curled up in the little chair in the playroom, totally immersed in books. You like books that have sound buttons to press or things to feel, you love pointing to the things you can see in the pictures. You are absolutely insistent on your own bedtime story now after making it perfectly clear you felt left out from Xander’s bedtime stories.

Your love affair with Peppa Pig has already begun. You have a handful of words and Peppa is quite clearly one of them. You point at the TV and request Peppa, you point at pictures of Peppa and tell me they’re Peppa, the same with Peppa toys. You are a little bit Peppa mad!!

You are learning new words all of the time, trying to copy sounds and names. At the moment you are learning your animal sounds; you know a cow says moo, a duck says quack and a monkey says oo-oo. You also roar and growl whenever you see a dragon, dinosaur or lion.

So I guess you're officially a toddler now. We'll be watching out for those terrific and terrible twos, and enjoying watching you grow along the way.  


You are such a joy Zachary, my beautiful boy Small, and I adore being your Mummy.


Thursday, 11 June 2015

Fight Flight

This week it feels like my chest is being crushed.

I can't seem to expand my lungs properly nor does it feel like my heart is beating properly. This week I feel absolutely drained and on the brink. 

This week the world is feeling too overwhelming, too noisy. Every day tasks are beginning to seem insurmountable; so I'm using all my energy up fronting - forcing myself to function as normal, too keep going, to get through the routine of the day.  I'm managing a busy day and paying for it the next. Today is one of those days; yesterday I did not stop all day. Today I deliberately kept busy to hold the 'crash' off as long as possible because I knew it was coming. I finally left work feeling shakey, all emotional reserves used up and telling myself to hold it together. 

This week I want to run away. Close the door and hide.  Fight or flight it appears; and every cell is my body is telling me to 'flight' but there is nowhere to run. 

Five days to remember day. 


"What doesn't destroy you, leaves you broken instead. 
Got a hole in my soul growing deeper and deeper."
Bring Me The Horizon 

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Xander @ Three And A Half

Boy Big is really getting big now; at three and a half there is absolutely no toddler left in him and he is most definitely now a pre-schooler! What a huge burst of change our little boy has had in six months; Alexander has moved into our new house, he has mastered using the toilet, he has started at his school nursery, made new friends and been on his first holiday in a different country.

We finally moved into our new house about six weeks after Alexander’s third birthday, just in time for Christmas. After months and months (six months, one week and two days to be exact) of being told his new house needed fixing and that his Daddy was fixing it, I think he was just as relieved to finally be moving in as we were.

Alexander seemed instantly at home and all of a sudden, after months and months of toileting up and downs, thinking he was never going to be toilet trained, he did it. We moved in here and toileting clicked, he seemingly just needed to be settled and at home; almost another six months later and I cannot remember our last accident they’re now so few and far between. In fact for all the stress I felt while Alexander was learning to use the toilet, these days I don’t give his toilet trips a second thought – he goes when he goes and he reliably tells me. I’m glad the nagging days are over and I bet he is too!  For now he still wears an overnight nappy, and he is starting to have dry mornings, but on the whole he isn’t ready for the dry at night stage and I’m in no rush to push pants for bedtime thing either.

If I thought the second half of being two was hard work I was in for a shock the first few months of turning three! Wow! Threenager threes are the things to look out for; they make terrible twos look non existent in comparison! Alexander was at his most challenging yet for those first few months after his birthday, many tears and meltdowns but it was also some of the biggest changes for him yet.

In the thick of it, it was exhausting, but now out the other side it is easier to rationalise the extreme tantrums we seemed to be dealing with!  We had moved for the second time in six months (having moved from our old house to my parents, and then finally to the new house) and he started nursery, he was clearly beyond shattered and getting used to new things, new people, new learning. He had gone from being at home/with family 6 out of 7 days to school mornings 5 days out of 7. He was so tired starting nursery school that for six weeks or so he started napping in the afternoon again – almost a year after originally dropping his naps!

And it all stopped as suddenly as it started. That isn’t to say he isn’t having meltdowns now, of course he is – being three and all that – the shouting ‘ITS NOT FAIR’ at me has started already and boy can Alexander be stroppy – but those constant not knowing what to do with himself teary angry tantrums are certainly not what they were around the new year! Once again he is easily manageable and can mostly be distracted or calmed and talked down from whatever has upset him. But for the most of the time he is cheeky and amazing and I’d love to bottle a piece of his three year old self forever; what a fabulous age this is!


My beautiful boy, you’ve grown up some more! Now you are three and a half; even more infact because your half birthday was already six weeks ago. What a little grown up boy you feel now, especially since you started nursery school. In those first few weeks you looked far too little to be wearing a little school uniform and being dropped at nursery each morning; but a term and a half later you seem older somehow. It must be everything you’re learning!

You settled into your new school so quickly, you were tired for sure, but despite my nerves for you on your first morning and taking up your ‘Rising 3’ place two terms early, you quickly showed us you were ready and you were going to be fine; infact every day you run into nursery, nearly always forgetting to give me a kiss goodbye and running off to hang your coat and bag up without a second glance! After a few weeks in school you started making real friends, including your best friend at the moment, a little girl called Emma; you two are really very cute together, you playing the gentleman, helping Emma hang her coat up in school, even though she is taller than you and can reach really; holding hands walking before or after school and just this half term week we met her and her Mummy to go to soft play - we spotted you and Emma giving each other cuddles at the bottom of the slides!

You’re already learning so many new things at school. You know all of your colours in Welsh now as well as a few Welsh phrases such as Diolch (Thankyou) and Da Iawn (Well Done).  You love playing on the Welsh app on the phone, having to listen to the colour name and then choose the right colour teddy or balloon – you think you are so clever understanding in two languages. You’re learning loads at home too; you know your left from your right now – which I think is pretty amazing at only three!


You’ve got such a way with words now, a right little chatterbox and totally a master negotiator! You’ve learnt to hold your own and use those ever expanding conversational skills to exercise your control young man; you can be quite the bossy boots these days. Along with those ‘Its not fair’ from you, our requests are also often met with ‘in 5 minutes’, ‘when the cooker/phone beeps’, ‘when you count to 10’ – but they’re behaviour strategies we’ve used with you, and its worked for you, so you’ve adopted this to your advantage too; so it is working both ways for us.

I hope I never forget your vocabulary cuteness of now. I never want to forget that you call the hoover a moover, the computer a puter, and my favourite; a picnic a pigpig. You’ve begun to recognise when things are very important to you, and make sure we know. Your sunglasses we bought recently for example; you told me to look after them because they are in your words ‘very special for you’. You are totally aware of your ownership of your things now and can be very protective of them as a result. But I love your world when so many things are so special to you.

You have had your first holiday to a different country now; a long car trip through the tunnel to France and we arrived in Disneyland. Your excitement and wonder at everything there was infectious.    You loved being allowed to sleep on the top bunk in our cowboy room. You loved the tea cup rides, the Buzz Lightyear ride, the castle. You loved Lightning McQueen’s ride and the car stunt show. You loved the cowboy show, the parades and the characters, and the FIREWORKS – you were totally blown away by the fireworks. Your face was a little picture of WOW and two months later you are still telling me all about the fireworks you saw at the castle in Disneyland. It was such an exciting special holiday and I already cannot wait to take you to Disney again one day. 

Your favourite kind of play these days involves lots of tiny small figurines, and small world role play. You had a Planes busy book for your birthday and since then you’ve added Jake Pirates, Frozen and Mickey Mouse busy books to your collection. You’ve now got a Tupperware box full of these little figurines that you take on adventures, along with all the little people and animals in your Duplo, and the Happyland playsets. It is wonderful watching you play, talking to each character and making up their stories, making different noises and voices for each one and hearing how they’re all interacting together.

Peppa Pig is still a TV favourite but Umizoomi, Bubble Guppies and Fireman Sam are top contenders too these days. Zac and you have perfected the crazy shake dance at the end of Umizoomi now, absolutely gorgeous and delightful to watch!

Your first nativity performance at church is one of my favourite memories these last six month. You were the youngest on stage and utterly adorable dressed as a little shepherd; but standing in place was not your forte, when after a while you decided this standing around business was not for you and started running rings around everyone else on the stage. Around and around in big circles going faster and faster - but you my boy were absolutely hilarious, the entire audience laughing with you and for a moment you completely stole the show. Mummy was crying with laughter and I couldn’t have been prouder, you made my day! Already looking forward to the next Nativity! 


Can you believe in another five months you will be FOUR?! It is incredible how quickly little babies become little boys. You’ve had such a big growing up time since you’ve been three and we’re so very proud of you, and constantly amazed by you, our precious rainbow boy.

You make our world so much brighter, every day.






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Caz
I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander and Zac. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem @tonofunstweets
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