What I want my Daughters to know

As days pass by and I see my daughters develop into their own independent little ladies, I often wonder what sort of women they will become. This isn’t something I particularly worry about. Perhaps I should. I don’t mind what jobs they have, I don’t mind if they go to university or not. Their happiness is the most important thing. Along the way I hope they learn, or I can teach these few things….

Be strong minded but not hard hearted. It is important to know what you want and to have the courage to go and get it for yourself. Accompany this with a warm heart and an ability to empathise with others and you will go far and be loved.

Have an opinion. Base this opinion on facts not hear say. Not everything you read or hear will be true. Don’t jump to conclusions. Be prepared to debate. Be prepared to have your opinion changed. Remain open minded. You won’t always be right, be gracious in defeat and always admit when you were wrong.

If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. If asked for an opinion then yes, voice it. Sometimes, however, a question wasn’t asked, a debate wasn’t started. In this instance, if it is too hard to find something nice to say then just don’t say anything.

Ambition is important. What the ambition is isn’t overly relevant. Having ambition itself is what matters as it gives you drive and focus. You can do anything you set your minds to it. Hard work goes a long way.

Be organised. This can be hard to do at times. It is important to stay organised in both thoughts and process. Sometimes things happen in life that knock your confidence, don’t let these things get in the way.

Trust your own instincts. We are all individuals and because of this we will each take different paths in life. We will all enjoy and dislike different things. As they say ‘it takes all sorts to make the world go round’. Only you will know what is right for you. Trust you know the answer.

Stand up for what you believe in. Trust me no one else will.

Stand up for others. Not everyone is strong, and sometimes even strong people have their strength taken away from them. Don’t stand and watch people be bullied or have their confidence sucked from them. Stand up for what you know is right and give others a voice when they have lost theirs. Someday you may need them to return the favour.

Value yourself. There will be a lot of people that come and go throughout life, sadly many of them will try to take advantage of you. If you let them they will keep doing it. Know your worth and value it! Don’t let anyone walk all over you.

Be decisive and be determined. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes but learn from them.

Learn from other people’s mistakes and not just your own. This is hard to do but pay attention. There is no need to replicate someone else’s mistake.

Believe in karma. Trust me… What goes around come around.

Love freely. Those who love the most are loved the most.

Most importantly…

Be happy! Do what brings you joy. Be with people that make you happy, surround yourself with the good in the world. Happiness comes from within.

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Second Child Syndrome

In a life, that now feels decades ago, when it was just me with a second baby bump and Pinky (and Hubby of course) friends and strangers all told me about ‘Second Child Syndrome’. At the time I simply vaguely listened, with a small, slightly vacant smile on my face. I didn’t really understand, first time parenting can be very stressful. Scrap that! All parenting is stressful but first time has its own extra charm. Everything is new, no stage has happened to you as parent before and although many stages are easy to embrace some are down right startling. Just because you know the terrible twos exist doesn’t make them any less of a surprise when they arrive. The first ever baby poo you get warned about…. There are no words to really prepare you for that, only experience can ease the shock. Add pregnancy hormones into the mix and everything is seems more overwhelming when talking to friends happily in the two child zone. So the idea that second time around could be easier was appealing but seemed incredibly unlikely.
Then the second labour came. It was easier. I mean realistically it hurt more, it was a longer process (both inductions but one longer than the other) but it wasn’t a shock. The memory of the pain was somewhere buried in my brain. The lack of sleep during labour was less of a shock as I already had had nearly two years parenting experience which comes with its own built-it sleep deprivation department. Quite simply I coped. Then Perky arrived. The sudden flow of love of no less overwhelming but again I expected it. Feeding was easier, also helped by the fact that Perky didn’t have tongue tie unlike Pinky (another story I will leave for another time). In essence although everything has been challenging second time round because I have been through it before the shock aspect is missing. I think it is the surprise element that the first child can utilise is what makes parenting so different first time.
Part of the less shocking parenting means that my approach is more relaxed. Obviously I am as rigid about the whole putting ‘inappropriate unidentifiable objects in the mouth’ thing, and still strict on the whole manners stuff. But second time around I’m more relaxed about most things. This, I think, is much of the cause of the ‘Second Child Syndrome’.
Perky definitely gets away with things Pinky never would have. Part of this is that she has an older sister she wants to keep up with. Perky idolises Pinky and she learns directly from her. In her daily attempt to keep up with her sister her physical stamina is greater, at only 18 months she has practically cut out her daily nap. If she sleeps for an hour it’s been a brilliant day (please insert virtual hug of sympathy here). Her spoken language is slightly slower, she doesn’t tell you what noise a cow makes on demand like Pinky could at this age. Her spoken language comes out in other ways and actual words are fewer. For example yesterday she passed wind, guffed, trumped, farted, botty popped, whatever you call it, she looked at me, pointed at her bum and very clearly said ‘pardon me.’ As clear as this was she still can’t tell me consistently what noise a dog makes no matter how much we practice and some days ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’ are words that leave a lot to be desired. However because Perky has a three year old sister there is constant talking in our house, from the moment we get up until the moment we go to bed and because of this her understanding of language is unbelievable. Perkys’ non verbal communication is also very good. With Pinky I had the time to decipher her moans, groans and grunts. If she pointed in a vague direction I could work out what she wanted after some trail and error. I do not have all this spare time to decipher these things anymore as I also have a three year old that has needs that require meeting, usually at the same effing time as her sisters. This has meant that Perky very quickly learnt an effective method to grunt and point which communicated her need to me the first time of asking. Her nodding and shaking of her head is always accurate and reliable and her finger point would hit the bullseye on a target every time.
Hubby passed comment the other day about how loud Perky is in comparison to her sister. This is a true comment, she is louder than Pinky has ever been, even now she is older. I firmly believe this is due to her ‘Second Child Syndrome’. If she wants to be heard over her sister who can talk and convey her requests then she needs to shout louder!
It may not be diagnosable but Second Child Syndrome is a real thing. Mostly I think it’s a good thing. It’s a sign that as a parent you are learning from previous experience and possible mistakes, it’s a sign you are evolving and adapting. If along the way you can also learn to cut yourself some slack and lose a little of the ‘Mummy Guilt’ then you really are winning.
I’m still working on that last bit…..

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Hot Pink Wellingtons

Siblings

It was never in question that we would have more than one child.  Both Hubby and I have siblings. We are, in fact, both the eldest of our siblings.  So when Pinky came along we knew we would one day have a brother or sister for her, and for us.  Naively there was a lot I had forgotten about having siblings when I was young, nothing dramatic but things that no doubt drove my mother mad and are now driving me mad.

People often pass comment to me that the relationship of sisters, whilst precious, can be volatile. I can’t truly comment, I only have brothers, but to be honest I think they are talking utter rubbish.  It’s possible these comments come as a well meaning nugget of sympathy that its normal for them to argue occasionally, or it’s an insight into the relationship they had with their sisters.  In my opinion all siblings are likely to fight, argue and sulk with each other whatever the combination of gender.  Sadly, this doesn’t stop it driving me to despair some days.

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I am going to update my ‘Mummy Job Description’ to now include ‘Referee’. I understand that the toy that hasn’t been played with for 2 months suddenly looks like the best toy ever now your sister is playing with it, but your sister is playing with it so leave her alone or wait your turn.  I had forgotten sharing doesn’t apply to siblings.  I understand that because your older sister can go upstairs by herself you want to too.  But you are only 17 months old and if you don’t want me following you, or carrying you, then you should stop prating around on the stairs.  I understand if your sister has a snack/drink you want one too, but I haven’t given you the same one because you don’t like what she is having, and I will only have to pick up said snack/drink from the floor when you spit it out remembering you don’t like said snack/drink, then promptly demanding something else.

These are daily scenarios. My method for dealing with the bickering varies. Sometimes I let them fight it out between themselves (I like this method as I know it teaches them to resolve things without always needing an adult), sometimes I intervene and do the resolving for them.  What I chose to do can vary from minute to minute rather than day to day as there is only so much whinging and crying I can listen to before my last nerve is hit.

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Of course it’s not all bad.  There was a reason we wanted a sibling for Pinky and along with the soul destroying daily fighting there are times throughout every day when they remind me why we chose what we chose and prove we made a very good decision.

In the mornings Perkys biggest, brightest smile is reserved for her big sister.  When we pick Pinky up from a morning at nursery it is Perky she cuddles the hardest.  If we are planning a fun day out Pinky always makes sure we are taking Perky too.  She doesn’t even like going to her Grandparents on her own, not because she doesn’t love the undivided attention they give her but because she loves sharing experiences with her sister more.  They love each other the most.  They are already best friends as well as sisters.  On holiday a little girl of similar age to Perky came over and picked up Perky’s dog toy.  Pinky came straight over, sat down next to Perky, put her arm around her and took the toy back off the little girl (who really wasn’t causing any harm) and said “No, that’s ‘Perky’s’”. They look out for each other and I suspect they always will.

I hope when they are older their love and friendship continues.  I hope they are each the first one they turn to for help, comfort and support.  I hope that they don’t fight too much over clothes and shoes.  I hope when they suffer their first heart break the other goes and buys the ice cream.  I hope when one has exciting news the other celebrates the hardest.

All these things I hope but really I know I don’t need to. I know they will do all these things and more.

Having a baby was the best decision we ever made until we chose to have two.

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