Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

And Then Small Was FOUR

Tonight it is Zachary's turn. Four. Although to look at him you would hardly believe it. My Small. Measuring still only 96.5cm in height and wearing the majority of his 2-3 clothes more than comfortably. This boy just doesn't seem to grow, at least not exceptionally fast! I expect one day he'll have the massive of all growth spurts and surprise us all. But for now he is still my Small. 

He on the other hand cannot decide what size he is. He isn't a baby, of course, but some days he's a Big Boy, sometimes he is too little and other days he is the middle sized boy. Basically Zachary is whatever size it suits him and works best in his favour given whatever the situation he finds himself in! I think middle sized boy about sums him up; figuring out his place of being a big brother and a little brother all at the same time. 

A few months ago I would've very much still labelled him as a toddler. But since his birthday he is slowly beginning to be a little bit more grown up. The last time he used a buggy was October half term and the buggy board hasn't had an outing out of the car this new year for example and the beginnings of being able to reason with him about behaviour are slowly starting to emerge. 

But boy is he stubborn! Zachary digs his heals in far more than Alexander ever has. He will not be persuaded if he has decided he really doesn't want to do something, not even a bribe will always work. Picking battles has never been more apt than it is with Zachy!


Oh Zachary. My boy I worry about the most. So regularly since September I have felt sick to the pit of my stomach that I'm somehow failing him. Still very much a Jekyll and Hyde character of two extremes, but sensitive and unsure of himself so often in the middle. He seems to lack resilience and belief in himself, so much so that praise is often met with a negative reaction (e.g. breaking up the Lego model he has just made, or scrunching up his picture, or will decide he isn't riding his bike or scooter anymore because he has noticed your beaming reaction and heard your well done.) or his interactions with his peers can often be punctuated by a bizzare crazy noise as if he's trying to find a way to connect by being silly or becoming so easily upset with his friends over the littlest of things. It doesn't make sense because in others areas he always seems to be brimming in confidence; introducing himself and striking up conversation with people in all manner of places.  

That being said he clearly has friends and runs straight up to them all leaving me behind at the school queue in the mornings. Why stand with Mummy when you can go off for a chat with one of your friends?!  For all my worries that is beautiful to see when he gives his friends a hug and it is reciprocated. 

School has been much less settled in parts since September. I don't know whether it was a combination of new nursery children and a new nursery teacher but all of a sudden, after assuming he was happy and settled in school because I had been told no different for two terms; I was now being told he was struggling with other children around him, struggling with sharing, struggling with personal space, whether it be not tolerating anyone being near him or touching him verses being very touchy feely with those around him, struggling with noise verses making some of the most noise, quickly being moved to tantrums and tears and upset and being overwhelmed in the classroom. None of it was a huge surprise to me - they were all of my worries when he had originally started, I know my boy, but the surprise was that it had only become a problem as a Rising 4 and not a Rising 3. 

His teacher and I have had many at length chats. It may appear he may not have been as settled for those two terms as I had been led to believe. The word 'Quirks' was used, I convinced myself he must be showing signs of some level of ASD. Beat myself up no-end that his SEN Teaching Mother hadn't figured it out with her own son. Things have been calmer for a while now and while I'm no longer jumping to an ASD conclusion, I do think it is clear he has some sensory sensitives and maybe some sensory processing difficulties. Maybe it is something, maybe it is just him needing longer to mature than the average 3-4 year old.  

His teacher has said he has his moments but also all the strategies she has put in place with him are working and he is trying very hard, his reactions are improving all the time and he is figuring it out in school now. But honestly my anxieties with Zachy are always sky high; because he is sensitive and he is fairly complex in nature. Not even I can always figure him out. I'm very aware my anxieties probably are not helpful. 

I regularly wish I could wrap him in cotton wool and just keep him at home with me, where he is more sure of himself and settled and has found his place.


Zachary Stephen M. I use your full name because that is how you introduce yourself. To everyone, people you know, people you don't know, the receptionist at the dentist and Doctors, the other Mum's at swimming lessons, people at the airport or just random people frequently in a lift. You are not just Zac, or Zachary. No, you are Zachary Stephen M. You even tell people that Stephen is your Bampi's name. 

You have learnt to write your name and enjoy showing people you can do it. Just this week at the dentist you decided you must show the lady how she should write your name. They found you a piece of paper and pen and you declared you were the expert. Well I suppose you are the expert of your name! Zacy is how you currently write it, I think it is super cute. 

Your writing and drawing continue to amaze me. Your letter formation is already super legible and you are leaps ahead of where your big brother was at the same age. Xander had no interest in writing or drawing when he was just turned four, but you love it! I especially love the detail you put into your drawing of yourself or other people; the little circles on the end of hands for peoples fingers and making sure everyone has got hair.   You love 'reading' too - recognising lots of sounds and already mimicking the pointing to a word and sounding it out. Whenever Xander brings a reading book home from school you have to read it to me too after he has finished, you insist on it, 'My turn now' you shout and start pointing at the words as you tell me what the story tells you in the pictures.   You are able to follow the plots of books and films now and are able to retell the main parts of a story back to me. 

I'm ashamed to admit I've spent barely any time on your phonics compared to the attention that Xander had; typical not the biggest child syndrome I'm afraid. Life gets busier and the hours in the day get shorter. But even with less input you constantly surprise and impress me with what you already know. 




At FOUR you have given me no end of worry. School got a bit tricky for a while but it seems we're coming out of the other side. I'm relieved because all I want for you is to be happy and surrounded by friends, fitting in and joining in.  You are growing up Zachy and learning how to interact with new people in lots of different ways. Social rules are sometimes hard to follow when you are only three and four and your emotions understandably still so often get the better of you. You are still a long way off 'school ready' for Reception in September but a lot can change in eight months. To be honest I can't believe I've already had to do your Reception application. How can you possibly be big enough for big school!?  This was this years school photo. The absolute diamond in an incredibly unimpressed Zachy photoshoot otherwise!  The sibling photo, can I just mention was hilarious, you could not have looked more grumpy! I've kept the proof for a giggle when you are older! 





You are getting much more independent though. I think we've just about ditched the buggy and buggy board now. I wondered if I would ever get you walking too far, but I think the buggy board will be making less appearances from now on. You still like to be babied and carried of course (just as well you are Small sometimes!) and I won't make you ditch it completely just yet in the case of a whole day out, but it is nice to be able to manage the school run with one less piece of equipment to lug in and out of the car! 

Since your half birthday update you have been on your first plane ride. Or in fact three plane rides, one there and two planes back. We went to Spain. Now you keep asking me every time we've had an overnight away since if we're going on a plane to get to holiday and if we're going to Spain! Flying was exciting for you. You even got to meet the captain on the first plane and sit on the pilots seat in the cockpit! Of course you have no appreciation what a real treat that was, but one day you will. We'll gloss over the bit on plane two (small domestic flight) where you somehow managed to almost fall between the handrail on the steps and in a super-Mum reactions moment I caught you nano-seconds before disaster struck and you fell onto the tarmac from top height. I've no idea how I managed it carrying bags and Luc too. You will my boy turn me grey sooner than I want to be! 



At FOUR you still love My Little Pony (Twilight Sparkle is your favourite),  Paw Patrol (Skye is your favourite) and Lightening McQueen.  I've lost count of the number of Lightening McQueen cars you have insisted on my buying these last six months. Every time we say you boys can choose a new Disney Cars Car every time you want another Lightening Mcqueen of some variation. I'm sure we must have about 10 of him now! 

But at FOUR your absolute favourite thing more than anything else is PJ Masks! You can't quite decide who is your favourite PJ Mask Hero; it changes weekly between Catboy, Owlette and Gekko! This week Owlette is your favourite, but the week before last you were Gekko. Your favourite colour has switched from Pink to Blue to be like Catboy, or maybe it is Red or Green too. You are still frequently telling everyone about your PJ Masks party at your birthday (it was a soft play party with a PJ Masks cake - but that themed it enough in your eyes!), and were more than thrilled with the copious amounts of PJ Masks toys and merchandise you have been given between your birthday and Christmas! We celebrated your actual birthday at Cantref Farm. You loved the speedy speedy slides, the animal pantomime and your very first ride on a pony. It was a very special, albeit cold day. You really did get the short straw for birthday days out at a wintery time of year! 




You are definitely growing up and changing. You are getting cuter than ever in your role as Big Brother. You spend many an afternoon now trying to get Lucas to chase you around the living room or deciding you know why he is crying, or simply showing him such affection. Although that isn't to say you equally get very cross about his shared love of Catboy and him trying to play with your PJ Masks toys!  You have this beautiful exchange where you will say to Luc 'Its cuddle time Luc' with your arms open wide and then you just wait for him to throw himself at you to give eachother a squeeze. You love your baby and are always so proud to point him out to people and tell them that he is 'Your baby Luc'... Yours! *all the hearts* 



It is well documented that you have your moments, and that you find some things tricky, like all children do, but at the heart of it all you are my loving, cheeky, funny, gentle, thoughtful, affectionate little boy. You give kisses and cuddles aplenty to us all and you have a sparkle in your eye that I adore. You are so thankful for all the little things and are always so quick to say thank you for the things people give you, get for you or do for you. I'm going to treasure these next eight months with you more than ever because I'm not ready to give my next one to school full time at all. 

You are a beautiful boy my Zachy Small. Inside and Out.  Don't ever forget what a special person you are and all the things you can do. We're so proud of you. 



We love you so very very much, always. 

Mummy and Daddy xXx 





Monday, 15 January 2018

And Then Big Was SIX

Well this update is a long time coming, so much so I'm going to have to be careful not to overlap between six and what will be seven too much now; Alexander's sixth birthday was an amazing three months ago! To say my foot has been off the 'Boy Update' boil is an understatement. Although if you've read my last couple of blog posts you'll know that October was not a great headspace time for me. But it seems beyond that, that life is generally busier than ever.  Three small boys and teaching fill up long hours of every day, not to mention planning a hen alongside too in the run up to Christmas. My headspace and the evenings haven't felt free for a long time to write about my boys. All three of them are due, or infact in the case of Alexander and Zachary, overdue, their birthday updates.  Alexander was 6 in October, Zachary was 4 in November and Lucas will be 18 months old this Friday. 

Xander is 6! And not so small really at all anymore - since his half birthday update he has grown 5cm and is now 112.5cm tall. He is getting taller and suddenly kind of lanky with no clothes on. His body suddenly seems so very skinny with long limbs off it. He is so busy and always covered in bruises. His legs especially look so battered. He is kind of clumsy like he doesn't always really know where he is in space and falls over thin air.  He suddenly seems so grown up. 


Approaching that 'older child' rather than 'younger child' bracket. And I'm so not ready for it. I find myself clinging onto the 'younger boy' part of him, buying him clothes I know he will soon decide are too babyish for him. But while he fits into 5-6 I can't help like I did this week, but buy the novelty dinosaur lounge wear onesie for the three of them from Next. Another year and matching them opportunities may begin to be limited!



My beautiful beautiful boy. I think we can both agree from looking at your birthday video that this was the year of crazy photo faces. Bu how did you get so big?! What happened in a year? Where has that baby-faced Reception child gone! The difference in two school photos was pretty alarming! Year 1 has seen you change so much and so fast. 


Reception October 2016
Year 1 October 2017




You were worried about starting Year 1. The night before 'move up' day you came home beside yourself. Distraught at the thought of leaving Mr Butcher's class and going for a visit to the unknown of Year 1. You cried for literally hours, there was no consoling you. You told me you were categorically not going and that you were staying in Reception forever. You said you would cling onto something metal in the classroom so they couldn't move you or make you go!  You were worried you wouldn't be with any of your friends anymore and wouldn't know the teacher. But of course you did go; and it wasn't as bad as you feared. Now you adore Miss Burdett as much as you adored Mr Butcher. Maybe even more so because you've made her numerous cards to take into school already this school year and we've only just started Term 2! 

Big things have changed for you again in the last six plus months. You lost your first baby tooth! After months of it wobbling (and quite frankly grossing me out, I need to get a grip on wobbly teeth considering I have three mouthfuls to deal with over the next 6-10 years!) it popped out on the 16th June. Followed by your second wobbler on the 4th September during the day on your very first day in Y1!  Your grown-up molars have started pushing through too although you don't seem to have noticed it too much. I had forgotten there would be more teething around now. Life seems to be all about the teeth to be honest, between yours wobbling and growing and your baby brother teething half of the time too. Now all we need it Zachary to join in! 



But the biggest thing you've had to get used to since my last update is your hearing aid.  Following a further failed hearing test you were moulded for a hearing aid for your right side and started wearing it last July. Six months ago already. Your left ear remains borderline but for now we are seeing how you get on with just the one aid. Of course you chose a red and blue hearing aid to be like Spiderman. You mostly took the introduction in your stride, but there were teething problems, feeling self-conscious and finding the world too loud for a little while.  With a little bribe to help motivate you to wear it we were well on our way - keep it in in school for a week and you got a new car. Keep it in all summer holiday unless we were at the beach and you got another new car to go back to school with. 

You don't need to be bribed anymore. Six months later, it is just part of you. You remind us to put it in in the morning, you tell us when the battery needs replacing because it is helping; you know you can hear better with it turned on. You notice when it stops working and things become more difficult to hear.   At your last hearing test a little before Christmas there had been no change and it will be another six months until your next review. 

At SIX you have the attitude of a teenager! You are discovering a world of sarcasm and answering back. Just recently you retorted with 'Yes (your majesty)' under your breath when I asked you to go for your bedtime wee.  Ooo you are finding your feet more than ever before. Trying to stand your ground on occasion. Telling me when I'm wrong. And you know what, sometimes you are right and I am wrong. I love that about you, that you have the confidence to stand up for what you believe to be right and that you're not afraid of me. I wouldn't want you to be. Sometimes you remind me when it is my turn to say sorry with a perfectly rational explanation as to why. 

You've become a total backseat driver. Your Daddy would say just like your Mother. You understand some of the road signs now and the notion of a speed limit and at times check with me how fast I am going. Or as you say it 'What number am I doing!'  You got your own little taste of 'driving' recently at Legoland; big enough now to do the older children's driving school and we have a lovely little video of you driving the car, stopping at a junction and looking both ways before pulling out into the road. When I asked you about it you told me you knew to do that because that is what me and Daddy do when the road looks like that when we're in the car! My observant boy! 

At SIX your favourite things are Lego and Spiderman. You've rediscovered Lightning McQueen with the new Cars 3 release this last year and we found ourselves trying to move heaven and earth to find you a Jackson Storm car not too long ago! You spend less time on the whole on your iPad now, but your Lego can keep you entertained for hours on end. You my boy are a Lego artist, I've said it before but Daddy and I are constantly amazed by the models that you build with just your imagination. 




You still love school and learning and you're coming on fantastically. Your reading is superb now,  last July you were still bringing home Level 1 books, and since September you've been bringing home Level 4. Now you read them with such fluency and need barely need any help at all! To be honest I think you're ready for another level up.  And your writing and drawing! You write and draw for pleasure now, creating books and stories, making cards and no end of pictures! 

At parent's evening my favourite comment was that we should be so proud of you because you show your values every day. Values of kindness, respect, thoughtfulness, friendship, courage - among so many more that your school focuses on throughout a school year. That makes me prouder more than any of the clever academic things you can do. 

And you have your moments, all children (and sibling relationships) do, but you show your values at home too. Luc adores you (and Zachy) and you have developed a really special bond with him. The way he looks at you is just beautiful, excited to be playing with you or you showing him any attention. You work so hard to look after him, distract him for me, make him laugh or stop him crying. Equally you so often try to get around Zachy for me, knowing that sometimes he needs encouraging or persuading, so you try your very best to encourage him or calm him. You might moan occasionally that you are the biggest but you really do take your big brother role very seriously and lovingly! 



So you are now SIX! We celebrated your birthday in London, just you, me and Daddy. It was my favourite thing, being able to spend some quality 2:1 time with you. I'm so often aware you take the brunt of being left to 'fend for yourself', or the brunt of my impatience, being expected to wait where the other two get instant gratification. Another of the perils of being the eldest. So two days of totally giving you our undivided attention was a real treat all round.   




We took you to see Big Ben, the Palace and the History Museum. We visited Hamleys and the London Lego shop (the biggest one in the WORLD!) so you could spend some of your birthday money - birthday money that was 'flat', because in the lead up to your birthday you clearly discovered flat money was a bit more exciting than coins, even going as far as to request 'Please could you have flat money now'!  

We took you to see your first musical, Wicked, and dined in Leicester Square for  TGI birthday spectacular complete with a birthday song! I loved every minute (especially the bit where you fell asleep on my chest on the tube on the way back to our hotel late Saturday night, still Mummy's baby!), and so did you, you've constantly gone on about your birthday trip to England since and in true Xander style is already making plans for your, dare I say it, seventh birthday! Your mother's son! 



My son. My biggest son. My baby. 

You light up our world completely, like you have right from the moment you were born. We're already loving the adventure of the year between six and seven. 




Don't you ever forget how loved and adored you are. 

Mummy and Daddy xXx 





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Caz
After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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