Archive for the ‘Duncan’ Category

Seven: Happy Birthday Duncan!

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Seven is cool. It’s being in Beavers, the village swim club, and the rugby club. It’s going into Primary Three and learning times tables. Seven is mountain biking and badminton and board games. It’s chapter books and an interest in the world around you. It’s also sometimes being defiant as you develop your independence, but you’re still a caring boy who has a knack for knowing when I need a cuddle rather than attitude. I love how cool seven-year-old-Duncan is.

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You really enjoy learning about things from people, like this photo of you making a wish at the environmental art installation as part of Giants in the Forest up at Drum Castle. It was great seeing how excited you got about the environmental art and how it fired up your imagination. I hope you always keep your desire to learn, to understand, and to figure things out. It’s one of your great traits that make you so cool.

And of course you’re cool when you’re a spy – wearing spy glasses no less!


six: happy birthday duncan

You’re six! Six sounds significantly older than five somehow, like you’re over the half way mark to ten and time’s speeding up. (Time speeding up is my excuse for posting your birthday message a full month late, sorry love!). This year’s seen you grow up a lot as well, both with the emotional maturity you’ve gained from your first year of primary school and the new skills that have come with that. I’m so excited for you that you can read. I know there’s still a bit of practice to go, but it’s mostly you gaining confidence in yourself as school’s not really pushed your limits (with reading, however they’ve pushed your limits for sitting still!!).


You’ve not changed that much this year though, biking is still your favourite thing and you keep getting better and stronger at it. How long until you ride beside me and push me up the steep hills instead of me pushing you? It’s brilliant that we can go out for a 10 km bike ride now and I really love cheering for our favourites in the Tour de France together (even if we don’t always cheer for the same guy – your loyalty to British riders (Cav, Wiggins, Millar) is rock solid while I pull the Canadian card and cheer for random favourites like Voekler). One of your favourite birthday gifts was your new helmet, a Danny MacAskill style one, to fit with your ambitions to be a stunt biker. Fortunately you don’t have your mother’s balance so this isn’t completely out of reach.


You’re still an introverted dreamer, with a life plan to become an inventor and create all sorts of wonderful things. Your enthusiasm for creating things, whether out of lego or just in your imagination, is one of my favourite parts about you. I think being an inventor, or your back-up plan of a scientist and an engineer, is perfect.

Of course being an inventor isn’t your only plan, you’re going to be a drummer and thanks to a loan from Iain Robertson we now have a snare drum for you to learn on. You know who you want to marry too, and since you picked one of your best friends, it’s a good choice. I’m not sure about your plan to have two sets of twins though – but there’s still a lot of time for you to change your mind.

I love your caring nature, your sensitive connection to others, and the fact that you still want to cuddle and kiss your mum. If you would clean your room, make slightly less noise, and get dressed when I asked you, I think you’d be perfect. And you are one of the perfect parts of our family.

Happy Birthday to our amazing six year old!
We love you,
Mum and Dad.


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
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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!


Four: Happy Birthday Duncan!

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You are a study in contrasts Duncan. One moment you’re a kid, seeming ready for school, for independent adventure, for anything – even taking Dad golfing for father’s day. But then the next day you’re at the driving range wearing your superhero cape, and I love that you’re still full of magic and possibility. I hope that no one tells you about ‘cool’ for a long time…

Actually, a superhero cape and wellie boots at the driving range also highlights your independence – you get yourself ready for things these days which is amazing. I’m loving that four year olds put their own socks on and even if your version of appropriate isn’t quite the same as mine (we’ve had fights over when it’s appropriate to wear long johns – answer – under clothing when it’s cold), it’s a big help for me that I can let you get dressed on your own if you’re in the mood.

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One of the things that makes you Duncan (instead of any four year old who rides bikes, likes dirt and diggers, and can be more than a handful sometimes) is how much you love having your friends around. You really value them and care about your classmates. When I ask who you like in your class you always stretch your hands wide and say everyone and even though I know there’s a few favourites, you do make a point of trying to get along with everyone and you simple refuse to allow some people to not be friendly with you. What a brilliant life skill, I hope you never lose it. It’s an ability to be both sensitive and thick skinned all at once – you’re a special boy.

You also love to try new things and concentrate on physical challenges – check out the tongue. It’s made an appearance at the school sports day sack race, the church picnic races, golfing, and almost everything except swimming (where you spend most of your time underwater since you don’t actually know how to swim but don’t bother to worry about it). You’re an outdoor boy, and a boy who loves to move. At your request, you’re starting Yoga Bugs next week – first choice over swimming and football – and I hope you love it, and I love watching you try all these things!


three: Happy Birthday Duncan!

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Are you really three? Sometimes when you’re tired and reaching up to be carried, you still feel like my wee man. But most of the time you’re running or riding your bike or telling stories and all-so-grown. I think I fall more in love with you every day, although it hardly seems possible.

We had a special day today, just the two of us. I took the day off and dropped Fraser at nursery then we went swimming and out for lunch. I couldn’t believe how easy it is to hang out with you now, and how much it felt like hanging out rather than panic parenting. The two biggest things you’ve developed this year are common sense (you’re so much more aware of your surroundings) and the gift of stories. We tell stories together, true and imaginary, share in their creation and act out their highlights. What a person you’ve growning into! How lucky and honoured I am to be your mother!

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Camping with Daddy in the back garden last weekend.


two: Happy Birthday Duncan!

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Two years old! Happy Birthday to my wee man who’s turned into such a big boy over the past year. You’re talking up a storm now, letting us know what you’d like and how you feel about things, and with your new skills with words you seem to have grown up amazingly fast.

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You’ve been a superstar this month too, adjusting so well to Fraser’s arrival and all the upheaval that’s come with him. Even though your parents are exhausted and busy, you still give us tons of smiles and have lots of kisses for your baby Fraser. I’m so proud of how flexible you are and how loving and kind you’ve shown yourself to be. If you understood the word gentle, we’d never have to prevent you from cuddling your brother, but your bear hugs are a bit too cuddly for a newborn!

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This year has been infinitely easier than your first year, you can do so much now and your daddy and I are more capable parents now too. Your daddy and I felt like we got our lives back once we all started sleeping through the night and it’s also a better life, spending time with you. Whether on vacation or doing new things like feeding deer, you’ve opened our eyes to such a bigger world than we had before. We’ve been very blessed. And thank you for such a good year, I know the next one will be tough again, as your brother grows and keeps us up all night, but it’s just a year, and now we know the wonders ahead of us.


23. mummy’s superhero

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Mummy’s superhero. The cape and the tights aren’t as obvious as they should be in this picture.

I was late with this post Duncan, and I’m sorry. In fact I’m sorry for a lot these days, as the last weeks of pregnancy get in the way with all the things I want to do with you. I have trouble getting up and down off the floor, I don’t have the energy I should, and we’ve missed the special window your Daddy and I had planned to spend time as a family of four before your grandparents start arriving. I’m sorry that my body’s just not able to do it, that labour turned off on Tuesday, which would have been the perfect time for you for your sibling to arrive (because of nursery, and your best friend still being in town to play with you while we were at the hospital).

But whenever I’m down and spend time with you, I start to feel better. You give me cuddles, spread cocoa butter all over my belly, jump all over my bed, and generally force me to enjoy the moment. You try to boss me around and often it’s probably for my own good. I’m still in charge of bedtimes and mealtimes, but more and more you’re telling me what we need to do for the in-betweens – how to play or when to snuggle. You’re my perfect wee man!

This is the last of the monthly posts too – as next month you turn two and we start to mark your age in larger segments of time, so maybe I’m allowed to be all sappy in this one and say how in these last few weeks of pregnancy, I’m so so so glad I have you. I can’t even imagine this new baby that’s coming, I haven’t been able to bond with it at all, but every time I look at you, my heart swells up and I feel like the luckiest woman in the world. I love being your mummy, all the time, and you are my superhero these days.


22. wonderful words

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This month’s been great and in my head is marked as “the month you started talking”. I worried a lot when all your friends started chatting months ago and you remained quiet, but your daddy told me to relax and he was right – you just weren’t ready yet. But now it’s fabulous – there’s this whole new level of communication where you can tell me exactly what you’re thinking about and what you want to focus on. A few words shouldn’t make such a difference, but they do. Now I know how much you love spotting the bus as it goes past the front window or why you’re pointing outside (you were concerned about daddy’s shoes drying in the sun). It’s been a bit of a wait, but maybe that makes all your chit chat all the sweeter!


what to do when bored and surrounded by adults from Trish on Vimeo.


21. happy easter egg hunting

Did you know that two under twos can have a successful easter egg hunt? Duncan and his friend A had a blast last night finding the eggs, unwrapping the paper, and smearing chocolate whereever they could. Suitably full of sugar, they then jumped on Duncan’s bed screaming for an hour or so. Duncan had so much fun, he cried when A had to go home, a first!

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We finally have our winter snow – after the flowers have been up and lulled us all into the expectation of spring. This photo was from a few weeks back, down at the beach on a sunny winter day. Note that we realize Duncan’s jacket is too small, but the minute we forget to hide away any bit of inappropriate clothing, he instantly latches onto it as the most precious thing in the world. In some ways he’s like a 14 year old girl, he’s happy to see his (pot) belly hang out and show off his gorgeous belly button (unpierced).

I’m assuming that his obsession with control is due to his age, and due to the unfair structure of a toddler’s week (especially one in nursery). There are very few elements within his control and who can blame him for attempting to seize any chance to stamp his own mark? We hear “no-no-no-no-no” a lot these days, and except for the day he wanted to go to nursery wearing nothing but tights and his monkey slippers, I normally give in. This lovely brown coat is now hidden deep in the closet for baby number two though…


20. big boy bed

20 months is a big occasion for us, marking the move from the cot into Duncan’s brand new big boy single bed. The move is partially motivated by a future occupant of the cot, but there’s also the fact that Duncan loves his independance more than anything in the world and we know he’s frustrated that we don’t jump up in the morning to remove him from his prison. I have secret dreams of him getting up early to quietly play with his books and stuffed animals while we sleep in. Don’t disillusion me yet…

Today’s nap time was the bed’s trial run and went brilliantly, except for Duncan sleeping at the wrong end of the bed. We can be flexible though, I’ve put pillows at both ends now so the options are limitless… Wish us luck for tonight and tomorrow morning (the real test).

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And hey – I was so very jealous of everyone back home in December when people had way more light than we did. But now that it’s March here and the flowers are up, Aberdeen sounds a lot better than Toronto. What do you think? Snow or snowdrops? And no, I did not adjust the saturation in this picture!

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I’m actually still recovering from my crash lessons in single parenthood while Cory was away offshore (also called my week/weekend from hell). Perhaps it wouldn’t have been so exhausting if I hadn’t been 25 weeks pregnant, or if this wasn’t one of the most demanding times of year at my work, but I was falling into bed at 7:30 every night, as soon as D was asleep and the dishes were done. There were definitely some eye-opening experiences, like dealing with a boy who was desparately missing his daddy or going to a birthday party and being the only single adult there (being on call 100% of the time instead of 50% was more than noticeable when everyone else had time to chat) . One week, and that with the knowledge that Cory was missing us and counting down the days to come home, was more than hard enough. Hats off to everyone who does it on a regular basis! (side note: I am the luckiest woman in the world).