Tag Archives: wee man

What Would the Wee Man Do?

When I found out Edinburgh schools go back on the 10th of January, I was tempted to call the council.

What on earth was I going to do with them? When would I ever get back to work?

When in doubt - balloons

When in doubt – balloons

Rod probably wouldn’t admit it, but he must have been glad to get back to work on the 3rd. No one pulling anyone’s hair, repeating his name over and over and over or undoing everything he did… Actually, he works in the car trade, maybe that’s exactly what he went back to.

Thank God the nursery reopened on the 4th – only the Wee Man to entertain for three out of the six extra days.

Two days in and I’m kind of astonished to realise I’ve loved it.

What? So we're at the park again...

What? So we’re at the park again – what’s your point?

If anyone is struggling to stick to their “Healthy January” resolution, may I suggest hanging out with my son? He makes every minute of the day count – and I love that about him. Some of my friends’ kids are content to watch movies, play with their Christmas presents and generally hang out at home. Not him.

Yesterday, after dropping KD at nursery, we went straight to soft play. We were the first ones there and he whooped with delight. One other family arrived, with two small kids, one of whom introduced herself to the Wee Man and off they went. She was adorable. I played football with them and cheered them coming down the slides. They got on so well that her mum and I swapped numbers and arranged a playdate.

After a couple of hours at home we were off again, to visit Auntie Kaka and play with all her daughter’s toys. Then it was the big one: his first swimming lesson. That half hour in the pool made me so proud I could burst. For once his general lack of fear played in his favour – he was leaping into the water, swimming valiantly as he sank lower and lower and laughing the whole time. I think his instructor fell in love with him a wee bit – I could see she was proud too.

Today we went back to the pool after the nursery drop off and practised. To say he was delighted was an understatement, I actually feel bad for keeping his arm bands on this long. There was an aqua aerobics class going on at the same time and he kept trying to join in, dancing even as he drowned a little bit. There’s a soft play at the gym so I managed a quick coffee as he played, but soon we were off again, home for lunch and a wee bit of telly before donning full waterproofs and heading to the park.

A dot in the distance

A dot in the distance

As he shot off across the field with his football in the sunshine I thought “He’s just a free spirit,” somewhat indulgently. With no KD to slow us down we must have covered the length and breadth of that huge field several times over. He only stopped to hang over the fence and chat to the woman poo-picking in the horses’ field. She’d heard the rumour JK Rowling owned the sprawling stables across the bypass too and we commiserated in our jealousy.

After an hour in the zero degree cold we headed back to the car and popped in to see his great pal and her brother who, in his mother’s words, is “mad on the Wee Man” (rather than mad with him)… His energy was undented. They tore around the house, laughing their heads off, as Allison and I drank tea and discussed whether boys or girls were more of a challenge to parent.

"You be Anna and I'll be Elsa"

“You be Anna and I’ll be Elsa”

In the end the only thing that stopped us was a clamp on the wheel. Yes, they may be saving paper by doing away with tax discs, but they have opened up a whole new cash generator. I had just loaded KD into the car seat and was going back for the Wee Man when I realised the junk mail on the windscreen was in fact a £100 fine.

Drinking through the pain...

Drinking through the pain…

We have a joke in our family. Whenever we’re stressing about something we think of Big B, my so-laid-back-he’s-horizontal brother in law, and say “What Would Brian Do?” I’m thinking of adapting it to “What Would the Wee Man Do”? He is joy personified. It’s exhausting, but when it’s all about him, it’s incredibly uplifting. And fat burning.

So whenever you’re fed up, go ahead and borrow my new catchphrase. At least it will get you through January.

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The Wee Man starts a new chapter

Our little boy had his primary one introduction this morning.

IMG_8508

Thug Life

It was a huge day for me. Thinking about it now, it’s as if I’ve taken Tim Peake’s place and I’m suddenly able to see the whole picture from a great height.

All the moves – from Glasgow to Aberdeen (serviced apartment, then rented house, then our own house) and then Aberdeen to Edinburgh (rented house and – soon, soon – our own home) have led to this. All the job moves for Rod, all the resettling in nurseries and neighbourhoods, all the challenges for my wee business – they’ve all been for this.

I am so proud to say that he is shortly beginning his primary career in one of our capital’s best schools. I saw today for myself how passionate the staff are about education. I stood in his classroom, with its door out into the playground and interactive board and treasures of resources. I met some of his classmates and talked about football. I shared a joke with another parent, dressed in army fatigues and clearly as proud of his child as I was.

I listened to the depute head give a presentation about the sort of things the wee man will be learning over the next year. I heard parents talk about fundraising and socialising and getting involved in the curriculum. I exchanged smiles with other mums whose smaller kids were being equally demanding while we were all trying to pay attention. I felt welcome and like I was being inducted into a pretty awesome club.

I was hyper-aware of how lucky we are and I don’t take any of it for granted. Millions of children don’t even get an education, never mind one as good as this. We live in a country that provides this level of schooling for free. How amazing is that?

Rod and I went back to collect the Wee Man from his classroom and – somewhat nervously – asked how he’d been.

“He’s very smiley isn’t he?” the teacher remarked and told us how he’d spotted two boys who looked shy and scared and so pulled them into his game.

I nearly burst with love.

All his nursery teachers were outside when we arrived and they excitedly asked which class he was in, who his teacher was and if he’d enjoyed himself. I was touched to see how much they cared.

The Wee Man, for his part, had a massive smile on his face and proudly showed off his name badge with his class on it.

I feel like we’ve reached some kind of finish line. We’ve made it through those tough early years. We’ve done excellent groundwork. The next chapter is about to begin.

 

 

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Unrolled rolls, motorway escapes and the joys of motherhood

I am at the stage in my life where I can’t leave keys in the door; tea on low tables or biros anywhere.

My fruit bowl always looks like this:

mummykimmy fruitbowl

and my loo roll always looks like this:

mummykimmy loo roll

I have to leave the toilet seat up for the misfiring four-year-old, but down for the fishing one-year-old. I want one to sleep during the day and the other to stay wide awake till bedtime. I’m delighted when one uses his knife and fork properly but watch in dismay as the other tries to use cutlery.  It’s a relentless, trouble-shooting, fire-fighting business raising two small boys and the noise levels would never pass European laws.

At the weekend, the Wee Man, having surreptitiously listened to a conversation I had with a friend about his 20 month old calling the police to the actual door, dialled 999. I was oblivious, being busy with the dinner, and grumpily answered a ringing phone only to hear an efficient voice say: “This is the police control room, we’ve had an emergency call from this number, is everything alright?”. I was mortified. I quickly reassured her and confirmed our address – then grudgingly admired my son’s awareness. At least he knows the number 9 and what three of them do, I reassured my husband later that night.

As entertaining as my sons’ mischief is for my friends, it is a source of constant stress to a person like me who likes things to be tidy and quiet.

“You were exactly the same until you learned to read,” my mother loves to tell me. I doubt my naughtiness was ever as ingenious, but at least I have some hope for the future. KD at least seems to be channeling his inquisitive nature into engineering tasks, like taking toys apart and opening car doors on the motorway.

Usually though, just when I’m at the point of total despair, something happens to set me back on track. A glowing nursery report or a new word, perhaps. Or a conversation like I had today. The man in question was apologising for yawning – his 10 month old had kept him up most of the night. “She’s a bit of a golden child,” he admitted, before telling me a harrowing story of a longed-for pregnancy confirmed just hours before a miscarriage and emergency operation. They had the fallout of post-natal depression to deal with regardless, following the news they may never have children. And yet here they were, the adoring mum and dad of a teething daughter. This was in the back of my mind as I watched an episode of Call the Midwife, and empathised with a character struggling to come to terms with motherhood and the responsibility it brought.

I went straight onto my WhatsApp group of mummy friends, telling them all how wonderful they were.

“Hard work is what makes a mother,” one of the Call the Midwife characters said in the episode. “We like to think something magical happens at birth…but the real magic is keeping on when all you want to do is run.”

And the rewards are priceless.

mummykimmy KD

mummykimmy weeman

 

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No room for the muse…

The muse has temporarily deserted me.

I used to really look forward to writing a new mum blog post, those days something funny happened or life taught me a valuable lesson. It would be a treat to open the laptop, upload the photos and indulge my creative writing hobby while the wee man slept.

Maybe that’s been the problem – the lack of sleep.

The naps – those wonderful oases in our crazy days – are long gone, and this summer the 12-hour-straight slumbers from 7.30pm have also disappeared. Some nights it’s been 9pm before he’s finally conked out, only to be up again three hours later. Those nights there’s just time to eat something before passing out ourselves.

But something else pretty big and important has taken over my life recently, and it’s no exaggeration to say it has totally floored me. Pregnancy.

It’s been a totally different experience from first time round. I haven’t enjoyed it at all. I’ve felt generally under the weather the whole time – bone tired, over-emotional, nauseous, achey and completely lacking in energy. I’ve fought it, of course. I’ve taken the supplements, eaten healthily, drunk lots of water, tried to stay active (even though my pelvis has had to be realigned and I’m doing physio every day) and clung to my perspectacles. I’ve made huge efforts to stay rational, to count my blessings that the baby’s been growing healthily, to control the tears and rages, and to continue to be a good mum to the wee man. It’s been a huge effort, especially for a woman with no energy.

Filming for the local business news broadcast - and hiding the bump!

Filming for the local business news broadcast – and hiding the bump!

My business, meanwhile, has taken off. It’s been the best trading year yet. It’s been my escape, living three days a week in a world where success can be measured and to do lists can be achieved. I’ve formulated and delivered effective strategies, returned to some proper journalism, met interesting new contacts and received praise for jobs well done. I’ve felt in control and successful, a nice contrast to toddler battles and a body that challenges me in some new way every day.

mummykimmy press call

Now though, I am four weeks away from my due date. I have finally, and reluctantly, gone on mat leave. The wee man has moved up a class at nursery and now goes three and a half days, which are more evenly spread out during the week. We have found a second babysitter – a trainee paediatric nurse who lives locally – and who the wee man loves. The sleeping has improved – though he is still up once or twice through the night – and even I have to admit that the headspace freed up by not working has allowed me to relax a bit.

Four weeks to go...

Four weeks to go…

I’ve bought myself a new notebook, glued the scan pictures into the first pages and started writing lists. Baby names, suggestions from other mums, things to organise before the wee one arrives… and I’m excited! I’m looking forward to having time alone at home to nest. I can’t wait to go through all the wee man’s old baby clothes and wash anything white, yellow or green. I’m delighted the joiner is coming to build a fitted wardrobe in the baby’s room and paint the whole place white. I’m even up for the challenge of scrubbing the pram and car seat.

I feel a sense of achievement already. And maybe the muse is returning…

 

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It’s time to start potty training – part 1

Today was a rite of passage for the wee man – he picked out his first Big Boy Pants.

I have cleared the diary for three days, checked the weather is going to be good enough to play outside all day and stocked up on cheap joggers.

Tomorrow we begin potty training.

I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.

I have a potty, a seat for the pan and a step for the toilet.

I intend to have a good chat with him in the morning, put him in his first pair of Big Boy Pants and prepare to clean up a lot of accidents.

The only signs he’s shown that he’s ‘ready’ are his habit of telling me when he’s dirty and his peals of laughter when we imitate daddy at the toilet before he jumps in the bath. He’s more than capable of pulling down his joggers and pants himself and he’s pretty clear in letting me know what he wants in every other area of his life, even if his words aren’t great yet.

So I am keeping an open mind. If, by Sunday night, I’m not convinced it’s been a success, I will put him back in nappies and try again in a few weeks.

I’m feeling a bit nervous about it. What if I don’t teach him the right way? What if he doesn’t get it? What if it upsets him? I’m not intending to take any car journeys. I’m not even thinking about walking to the park – though I will probably have to at some stage or risk going stir crazy.

We’re going to make pizza, draw on the patio with chalk, play with shaving foam and soapy water, do some digging in the garden and generally play for three days. After the crazy working week I’ve had, I’m actually really looking forward to spending proper quality time with him. It’ll be just him and me tomorrow and Saturday, but Daddy will be there too on Sunday and that’s a comfort.

I’m writing this as part one of a four part blog series just to document the process. I’ll be interested to see if my fears are unfounded – or if it turns out to be even more of a disaster than I anticipated. I’ve purposely not read too much on the internet – I’m just going to trust my instinct on this. Who knows – maybe one day a parent in the same boat will read how I get on and learn something from it. Even if it’s how NOT to potty train your child.

Deep breath.

Here we go.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 22.19.24

 

 

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Finding calm

running through the cactiI’ve been doing a challenge called Janathon, which involves running or exercising every day in January and then blogging about it. It’s just as well really, as I put on four pounds over Christmas.

Today the wee man and I hit Duthie Park so I could tackle today’s workout (read more on it here). It had been such an effort in the howling gales that I thought we more than deserved a wander round the winter gardens. Clearly the universe thought we deserved it too, as the huge part that had been under renovation had just re-opened.

wandering free

Having patiently sat in his buggy for the half hour that mummy was running about daft, the wee man was delighted to run down all the new paths. The tropical house led into the arid house and the contrast was remarkable. From lush foliage and exuberant flowers to beige pebbles and towering cacti – from huge waxy leaves to short spiky thorns, the two houses were polar opposites.pink flower The fabulous part was they were both toasty warm, so I was quite content to meander around while the wee man explored.

At one point he stood for ages just sifting the pebbles through his wee fingers. It’s so rare that his inquisitive mind is focused on the one thing for so long that I enjoyed just watching him. I wonder what he was thinking. Soon he was off again and when I suggested we go and find the fish he happily held my hand and trotted beside me. I think these winter gardens have a calming effect on him. They certainly pebbleshave that effect on me. Maybe he’s calm because I’m calm. Maybe he’s calm because I can let him roam free without always having to call him back or tell him off (like in the real world where he seems to find danger at every turn).

He watched the fish and chased a sparrow who was bravely hopping by his feet looking for cracker crumbs and helped me choose some primroses and a hyacinth to take home.

I think we’ll go back tomorrow.

cacti collage

Don’t these remind you of something? …

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Testing, testing, count to 3

I was just telling my mum, when she visited last week, that I thought we were getting over the Terrible Twos and making real progress…

Then yesterday happened.

super-strength or just grim determination?

super-strength or just grim determination?

I think a devil must have temporarily possessed the wee man , because he has never behaved so badly for such a sustained period as he did on Thursday 28 November. He pulled the curtain off the wall for God’s sake! All I had done was put him down for a nap, at the usual time, after a busy, energetic morning. He should have been tired. Instead, he cried angry tears for half an hour, so I went in thinking he’d maybe thrown his favourite toy out. Instead I was confronted with a tear-stained toddler, his trousers round his ankles and the curtain hanging by a thread.

I had really needed him to nap. We’d spent the morning at the beach and play park – a treat I had thought. But no, he had moaned and cried and ripped off his gloves and hat and refused to walk beside me. He hadn’t even wanted to pick up shells and throw them in the waves for long. In fact, he was only happy when I gave him crisps.

all smiles now...

all smiles now…

So after the non-nap I decided there was no point taking him to the park (he’d be cold) or soft play (he’d misbehave) and bundled him into the car to go to the shopping centre. At least there he’d be warm and strapped into a buggy. He sat beautifully, I got lots of Christmas shopping done and I thought we were over it.

I made him cottage pie for dinner and we sat at the table. He pushed it away. He wanted juice. He tried a mouthful. He spat it out. He wanted more juice. He threw a carrot on the floor. He screamed for juice. He threw his fork on the floor. I tried the aeroplane trick – he swiped the spoon and sent it flying. I refused to refill the juice. He screamed. I tried to cajole him. He pressed his mouth tight shut. I turned away to get the juice. He picked up the bowl and hurled it against the wall. It smashed. Cottage pie splattered. I lost it.

“THAT WAS VERY NAUGHTY” I yelled. He burst into noisy tears. I lifted him up and placed him very gently (so as to prove to myself I was still in control, when I didn’t feel like it) on the naughty spot and told him through clenched teeth why he was there. I then walked to the sink and stood taking deep breaths and counting to ten, while he screamed blue murder. For the next fifteen minutes I avoided all eye contact and just replaced him, time and again, on the naughty spot. I cleaned up the mess and loaded the dishwasher. I wiped down the counter and tidied. Eventually, in our own ways, we calmed down, he sat for the two minutes and I went over to him.

“Mummy put you here because… look at mummy” He did. “Mummy put you here because you threw your plate at the wall. That was very naughty. You don’t throw your dinner. You eat nicely at the table. Do you understand?” He nodded. “Now say sorry”

He leaped into my arms, squeezing me tight and wiping snot all over my shoulder. I hugged him back and kissed his head.

Then I put the cartoons on and opened a bottle of wine.

 

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