Saturday 31 January 2015

Babies Grow Up....Too True

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
But babies grow up, we've learnt to our sorrow.
So settle down cobwebs and dust go to sleep,
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

The Playroom...I take the poem above seriously
The above poem hung in my mother's kitchen for over thirty years and was read and admired often by visitors. The framed poem was actually a card that my aunt sent from Texas to my mother on the birth of my sister. It has recently moved to my sister's home since she too is now a mother.

I always liked the poem but never fully realised the truth of it till recently. There is a four year gap between my second and third sons. With the older boys at school and kindergarten, I have time in the mornings to play with my youngest. Of course I had time with my first child too, but I appreciate it so much more now, having twice witnessed how quickly time passes and how precious those first 12 months are.

When I had my first child, I was amazed at the cards I got from friends of my parents, parents of my friends and even an e-mail from a colleague of my father. At the time I simply thought it was nice of them. Only later, when my own son was over a year old and I heard of others having their first child (sisters of friends, friends of sisters), I noticed myself reaching for the New Baby cards and penning a few lines of sincere congratulations. You see, I now knew what a wonderful adventure was about to begin for them. Only then did it click with me why so many aquaintances with children had sent me cards. There are some things only fellow parents can truly share with you.

Out of curiosity I googled "cleaning and scrubbing" today and found that the rhyme I know is the mis-quoted final verse of 'Song for a Fifth Child' by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton. Ruth wrote the poem based on her experience with her youngest child who, like mine, was serveral years younger than its siblings and for whom Ruth had more time.

I recommend that you read the full poem (published here with permission of the author). While the final verse is the highlight, the previous two verses are moving in their combination of sincerity and light-heartedness. This should be compulsory reading for expectant mothers. Pass it on!

Truly Madly Kids

Me Now, Happy

I was never prone to soul-searching, feeling lost or unhappy with who I am. But I can say that I definitely like myself and my life now more than ever. It is not just being a mother, wife and home-owner - though each of those plays its part. It is almost as if each label I could put on myself is a Lego block and, now that they have been put together in a certain order, they make me. Not built according to the instruction leaflet but recognisable as a complete person.

I used to think, when Number 1 was a small baby, that I wanted to get back to being me. I loved being a mother, don't get me wrong. But I didn't like being seen only as a mother. Then Number 2 came along and I didn't have much time to think about who I was or wanted to be.

But gradually and largely unconsciously I evolved into another version of me. Yes, I am still a mother, a working mother, but I am also someone who loves their hobbies, spends time with friends and is involved in the community.  I am better at my job than before I had children but it doesn't occupy me as much as it used to. I am more generous with my time but use it wisely and waste less. I am more forgiving and charitable. I laugh more. I cry more too. I've overcome a lot of my shyness and I'm learning to relax. I like it.

Modern Dad Pages

Us and How We Came To Be

First there was just me. Then I started a new job and there, in the middle of the open plan office, I met The Bavarian. Two years later we packed up and moved to Germany. "For a year, maybe two", I said at the time. "Forever" said The Bavarian.

We rented a dinky little apartment with a spiral staircase. We loved it. But once Number 1 was on the way we needed more space and moved to the flat below our. 

After a couple of years, Number 2 arrived into our lives and we upgraded to a house we adore. We fell for it and all its quirks at the first viewing and it has been a work in progress ever since.

In 2014 Number 3 joined us, just a week before Number 1's first day of school and slap bang in the middle of our bathroom renovation. 

Since then we've been enjoying adjusting and getting to know our new addition while trundling along with family life.

Our house, not quite in the middle of our street.