Children’s parties are like metaphors for your entire life.
Whether you organise with military precision, casually throw together something amazing, throw something together (and doesnt everyone know it) or simply tell everyone to turn up at a venue and arrive late toting a store bought cake. None is better or worse, more or less ‘correct’. But boy isnt there pressure to succeed – more, I’m sure, than there was when my mum was arranging parties for my birthdays.
Due to illness we had to cancel Moose’s second birthday party, instead we did a morning outing to the wildlife park. Hubby and Moo ran about in glee, I walked behind doubled over in pain with a fake smile muttering ‘no, no, I’m fine, fresh air is helping’ – I’m not entirely sure what that metaphor says about me?
Her first birthday was nice but half our friends got the date wrong or couldn’t come, so it ended up being a couple of friends and 2 toddlers, not what I had planned but actually rather fun and decidedly stress free. Now that metaphor I have deciphered – it was a 100% reflection on my lack of organisation and overly relaxed attitude, fine for a 1yr old – not going to cut it when she wants a proper party.
I”m hoping that this year my more organised approach might result in a relaxed but fun part for Moo. Much like the party we attended today for her buddy R. It was a great party, organised, well catered, homemade accents, with loads of activities and neat little touches. It was a party definitely organised by someone with their life together. Jealous.com! Seriously the bar has really been raised in our toddler social circles, there is a benchmark to be achieved.
We are pretty laid back people, we roll with most things. Earthquakes, house rebuilds, living in motels (for 5 months, with a ill baby) and flying internationally to visit my terminally ill mum on a few days notice. They all culminated to make me stop worrying about every little thing, sometimes its about each moment, not the one that came before or the one to follow. Perhaps I am now to laid back, after years of being to stressed and wound tight, medicated and anxious I am now almost the reverse, I have given up writing lists. I usually forget to read/pack/take them with me anyway. I shop by wandering up and down the aisles and only forget a couple of things each week. I try to see a bigger picture.
I wonder what the picture will look like for Moo’s 3rd birthday?
First up, a very over due photo drop, mostly from this week
She has been challenging the past couple of day while hubby has been away. She always been spirited and strong in her own mind but I’ve had a lot of direct ignoring and ‘no’ ing to every request. I know its just age and development but its so frustrating as I know she’s usually helpful and want to co-operate. It’s also really hard as its so rare and unusual I find myself at a loss with how to deal with her. I hate to threaten meaningless actions such as ‘sit properly or i’ll take dolly away’ as I know shes simply to young to really understad what that means, but hell its hard to know how to respond, and ignoring it only gets me so far. We aim to be relaxed parents and allow her freedom to explore actions and consequences, but simply ignoring advice or defying safety instructions we draw a line at.
Some days I realise that parenting is more about how I behave and react than how my child is acting. It is about being consistent, fair and firm. Moose responds best to solid immovable boundaries, and very little interference within them. Recently, in a ill-advised attempt to be ‘fun’ and ‘relaxed’ I have let some of those slip, become fluid. Now its kicking my ass. Strident but loving mama is back.
Pictures from the last week, snippets of our lives
We have had a good week, but its been slow. I’m not sure why, perhaps bad weather, may be the holidays lack of our usual activities. But its felt long.
Currently I’m writing this sat on the sofa, in the near dark as Moose lies next to me, partially consoled about her daddies absence by the fact its half past 8 and she’s still awake and singing – seriously no joke, she’s lying under a quilt on the sofa singing ‘hickery dickory dock’ but her bed and the prospect of sleep incite a almost hysterical response combine with wailings of ‘I want my daddy’. A toughter mama would tuck her in and say good night, but I’m as soft as room temp butter.
So she’s beside me, my little companion in daddies absence
Phone dump, moments from this week
Moose is at an age where we are regularly (and annoyingly) being asked when we are going to give her a sibling. There are a variety of ways to respond, they depend on my state of sleep depravation, and range from a gentle ‘umm ahh, there always time’ right through to ‘what business is it of yours?’
We get the ‘oh no, you can’t keep her as an only child, that mean’ on a weekly basis – ha just watch us.
And while I seem flippant about this its not a flippant ‘off the cuff’ decision, its one that took hours of talking, thought and introspection for us both. Before we had a child we both felt a big (ish) family was the path we were heading down, he said 2 kids may be more, I said 4 kids. I had vision of myself as a barefooted mama surrounded by a happy brood as I made bread and chickens pecked at the door (seriously that was my imagined life – I know, for anyone who knows me its ironic and hilarious) There is a part of me that would love another, a sister for Moose. But I also know that I don’t want to compromise our time with her, the adventures we can have and my own sanity.
I have an enormous admiration for those with big families, and no small amount of envy for that vibrant buzzing home life, they have homes I visit and sink into like a comfy sofa, drinking in the noise and energy, the different personalities all under one roof, but its visiting that I love. I come back home and settle back into my little life equally happily, the peace, quiet and calm.
For us one child appears to be what is going to work, not for solely financial or emotional reasons, but in that it fits our life, expectations and our mission statement, what we want to give our child. Will she miss out on some things, well yes. She won’t have sibling relationships, she won’t have the big family environment. Family (biological anyway) is thin on the ground for us. Particularly since my mum died. The family we do have we treasure and try to make sure its about quality time. We hope what she will gain will amply make up for the things she will loose.
We want to take her to see Europe, where her history is, the places and experiences we enjoy, to live little slices of different lives. And, since we live on totally the wrong side of the equator for that, travel is a big deal from here. To visit the family we do have, to see the amazing wonderful, diverse world that is out there. To arm her with as many experiences as we can to aid her choices as she grows up.
And because we are a tiny bit nomadic, we just love the adventures.
Todays adventure was a little more modest – collecting fallen leaves for picture making
Gosh this girl loves her bike, and just being outside.
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