Archive for July 2011

tuba time


The role of a Godfather is to teach kids how to play the tuba right? Or is it just Fraser that’s lucked out…

We’ve been home now for a week from holiday but it feels like a lot longer. We’ve had builders in tearing down walls, blocking up doors, and putting in a new kitchen. It’s almost done now but it’s been a month of mess, dust, and disruption and I can’t wait to have our house back to ourselves (the builders have been excellent – I’m just not made for this type of thing). It’s been cold and wet here too – unlike just about everywhere else – so we’ve been huddling in the living room playing games and cars and generally getting a bit of cabin fever. Fingers crossed for a nice weekend so we can get out – Duncan’s keen for another mountain summit if the weather cooperates.

Two weeks and two days until Grandma comes – surely Aberdeenshire’s saving it’s nice weather to impress our guest who’s arriving just in time to see Duncan start school and Fraser start nursery. Duncan’s school uniform is almost complete – I just need to order his sweatshirts in town tomorrow. I’m a bit nervous I’ve left it to late as on Wednesday last week we bought the last pair of school shoes in Duncan’s size in the shop – it’s only July but obviously every other mother is more organized than me.

(I wanted to call this post tuba (Timmy) time since it’s both tuba time and a play on words with the Cbeebies show Timmy Time but Cory’s pointed out that no one else would know that. Except Tim of course… )


3kids This year’s summer holiday was one of the best – I know I say that every time, but it does feel like as the kids get older, holidays just get better. Something to do with a lack of sleep deprivation… This summer we’ve just had a quiet week down in the Yorkshire Dales visiting Elspeth, Tim, and Marisca in their new home (it’s lovely when good friends move somewhere gorgeous!).
Now that Marisca’s 14 months, she’s a huge amount of fun and the boys loved having a friend to play with. She was unbelievably good natured considering she cut three molars in two days and I hope the boys provided a good distraction from the discomfort. At 14 months, she’s young enough that we didn’t have any fights – the boys are old enough to understand that she’s too little and took good care of her. (Note that my memory is blocking out any fights between my own two children – but that type doesn’t count!).


We had a great time exploring their neighbourhood – with different highlights for all of us. Fraser had a great time riding his pedal bike along the canal – straight and flat is perfect for him since starting and stopping are a challenge when your legs don’t reach the ground. Duncan had new parks to explore which he loves and both boys keep talking about the national railway museum in York. Of course my priorities are a bit different – but while they were at the railway museum, I had two hours of shopping in York and everything was on brilliant sales. I was supposed to be going to the quilt museum – which I did go to – but not for quite as long as I’d initially intended. (Cory’s not around at the moment for me to ask for his favourite part of the holiday but since there was bike shops, good pubs, and lots of excellent ales I think he was pretty happy too.)

It was a brilliant relaxing time, I actually feel well rested, and Elspeth and Tim were fantastic hosts (Thank you!). There’s still so much more to see – it’s such a fabulous area with the combination of touristy towns and Dales scenery – exactly our type of place. If I didn’t love my own home so much I think I’d have been a bit broken-hearted to leave. But coming over the hill from Stonehaven into the valley and seeing our village is lovely too and life feels relatively lovely at the moment.

Five: Happy Birthday Duncan

Duncanat5Five years is a significant milestone in anyone’s life, but when you turn five it feels very special. It’s your first five years. Five years of being your parents has been an honour and we’re amazed at how big you’ve grown. Five years ago you were a newborn and we were having trouble sleeping at night; awake listening to you snuffle and snort with your uneven premature breathing. I remember feeling scared and excited all the time, how such a beautiful boy could have come from the two of us. Now it seems hard to even imagine you as that tiny newborn, less than 7 lbs. It makes me tear up to look at the pictures of you that small – it feels a lot longer than five years ago. Duncantent
beachBy the time you were one I was back at work full time and struggling to be a mother from 5am to 8:00 am and 4:30pm to 7pm while working at a job I wasn’t enjoying. I remember thinking that next time I’d manage it better, less frustration, more balance (somehow), and more time together so that you weren’t such a daddy’s boy. It was a tough time, I’d not managed to find any sort of balance and I didn’t know where I was heading. But you were so wonderful and the times when I would breastfeed you at bedtime and you’d snuggle in so peaceful – I miss those moments. I wish I could go back and tell myself that it would all work out and I should just enjoy it (and work less at a job I didn’t enjoy).

When you were two your brother had just arrived and I was amazed at how kind and caring you were. So many kids get jealous but to you it must have seemed like all of a sudden you were getting more attention from mummy now that I wasn’t working and spent all day with you and your brother. Fraser loved the sling, so there were days when you and I went for a hike in the woods and you walked beside me for ages. Neither of us were that talkative – and I have to say it was one of the most companionable silences I could imagine. As much as babies are miracles and breastfeeding you or holding you while you slept was special, I think this was when you and I really became friends and I enjoyed so much of the next year.

But then three is a brilliant age. Stories! Adventures! Logic! And you started at Crossroads Nursery in August which has been an amazing school nursery for you. I quit work for a year just after your third birthday – you weren’t happy at nursery and my work wasn’t what we’d hoped for. A full-day nursery was the wrong environment for you once you moved out of the baby room (and went back to nursery after my maternity leave). You are not keen on chaos and crowds – you do like order and security – and nursery did not give you that. (Noise is good, it’s uncontrolled behaviour that causes you stress and I feel guilty that it’s probably because of some bad experiences in nursery right around this time).

Four was pretty amazing too – it just keeps getting better. The year in Crossroads had seen you grow from a quiet little mouse to a confident friend to your classmates. You loved school, thanks to some wonderful teachers, and were really growing up. As much as it was scary (terrifying actually) being a one-income family, I never regretted it for a second because of how much you were thriving.

This year though has probably been the best. I’m back at work part time in a job I love and I can afford an amazing nanny for you three days a week. You love her, and really benefit from having three adults in your life. You have close friends, girl friends, good mates, but often want Fraser with you most of all. Your brother has become your friend this year and you’ve enjoyed that – when you’re not fighting as brothers should!

For your birthday this year we went camping with friends (a joint celebration for a 50th birthday as well). We slept in a tent all next to each other but during the day you were off with the big kids (7 of them, ages 10-13) and were so independent. Swimming at the beach, riding your new bike (with gears!) on your own around the campsite, or with the others singing songs in the tent at 9:30 pm – you are a kid now, no baby or toddler or even pre-schooler left. But we’re enjoying that, because I love you even more as you get older and I see the amazing person you’ve become.

And next year, in six weeks, you’re off to school – Primary 1. There’ll be 20 of you with one teacher in a class and I am nervous – because I know that big groups aren’t really your thing. But I’m also excited because you’ll learn to read (and you’re ready to) and that will open up so many doors for you. School is going be great (I hope) and you’re looking forward to it with excitement.

Thank you for the past five years Duncan, we’re two lucky parents to have you!