Last weekend we had the pleasure of visiting Oswestry right when it was due to snow. A quick look at the weather forecast actually showed that Oswestry was pretty much at the centre of the biggest downfall so taking our lives into our hands (not really!) we travelled the two hours through the snow with minimal trouble; we only had to push one car up the lane to our accommodation!
It snowed all through the night on Friday and the next morning I was astounded by the total whiteness that surrounded us. I have never seen that much snow, and I grew up with the moors just a hop, skip and a jump away! My dad later confirmed that it’s been around 30 years since he had seen that level of snow. It was truly amazing.
The minute Meg saw the snow through the window, she was determined that she was going to go out and play in it and that she was absolutely going to make a snow angel (her current favourite book being Charlie and Lola ‘Snow is my favourite and my best’)
It continued to snow throughout Saturday but we didn’t let that put us off, Meg was positive she needed to make her snow angel so we got ourselves wrapped up, pushed our way through the very deep snow and found a place where she could drop onto her back and make angels to her merry delight. The look of joy on her face was brilliant, personally I would have hated to have a cold wet back but she loved it!
We also decided on the major task of making an igloo. We borrowed a shovel from Grandad and with the help of some friends and my Other Half’s expert engineering opinion we made a little fort. Unfortunately the children all lost interest before it ever gained a roof but we still had fun playing out!
I don’t often enjoy playing out in the snow but even I have to admit that I don’t know when we’ll see so much snow again so I wanted to take advantage of it. It didn’t seem that cold either although when I was hit in the face by a snowball which slowly crept it’s way into my clothes I did have to retreat back inside (and I will not be forgiving the thrower of that snowball easily!)
|My attempt to show the snow
coming right up to the top of my wellies!
All in all it was a fabulous time. I don’t think we could have asked for more adventurous weather. Not the weekend we had planned for but lots of fun nonetheless.
Just a shame that the next day our snow fun consisted of digging our cars out so we could go home!
Yesterday as I was collecting the kids from nursery, Eli’s key worker told me that he had said ‘wee-wee’ several times in the day and she wondered whether he was starting to show interest in being potty-trained. I almost fell over from the shock!
There is no way on this green earth that I would even think about potty training Eli now.
– He thinks the toilet is a great storage place for toys and has no idea (at least I like to tell myself) that it’s actually not a very nice place to put your favourite fire engine toy. Especially when you then expect mummy to come along and fish it out for you.
– The potty is not at all for toileting use but it is a superb battering ram for his sister, especially if he holds it in front of his body like a shield and runs at her full pelt. He can knock her clear across the room if he gets a big enough run up!
– He has no interest in bribes whatsoever so sticker charts or chocolate rewards are out of the question. If you try to offer him food stuff in exchange for good behaviour he just looks at you as though you’ve lost the plot because he knows he’ll get food whether he puts his coat on or not, so why bother?!?
And as if I needed any more convincing that he isn’t ready yet, on Monday evening after bathtime we were practising our body parts. On being asked where his tinkle was, Eli pointed at his nose…so he very definitely hasn’t got the necessary skills just yet!!
Deciding to potty train Meg was easy, by her 2nd birthday she could hold full conversations with you, could tell you when she needed to go to the toilet and was susceptible to every type of reward chart going. She put up some resistance but not enough that it made life difficult, although at one point in the early stages she stood and wet herself in the middle of the lounge, looked at me and said “nappies now mummy?” which almost swung it in her favour. Really though we were quite lucky with how it went.
Unfortunately, Eli strikes me as the kind of child who will enjoy the naked part of potty training but not so much the making it to the toilet in time part!!
So no, Nursery Lady, we will not be potty training Eli any time soon. Ask me again this time next year and we might be starting to consider it!
A couple of weeks ago I posted about how Eli’s language has come on in leaps and bounds and how he has stopped looking to Meg to answer any question directed at him. This has been so so good for us to be able to work out what he is saying about 60% of the time. For the other 40% it’s a bit of a hit and miss situation, suggest what you think he might be saying; if it’s right you are rewarded with a big beaming face, if it’s wrong he will say it again and again and again!
Meg has obviously been feeling a bit left out of the loop by this progression as she has taken it upon herself to act as Eli’s interpreter, whether we already know what he’s saying or not!
On Tuesday I was standing at the fridge with Eli choosing a snack. At some point during our discussion that tomato ketchup is not a valid snack choice, Meg popped up behind us and said “I think Eli wants some cheese and grapes.” Eli, who was very clearly now pointing at the yoghurts, shook his head at this. “I think he’ll be alright with just grapes, thanks Meg.”
“No, Mummy, Eli is saying he wants cheese, aren’t you Eli?”
Eli frowned slightly, shook his head and said “no no no!”
Meg (never one to be put off) giggled and said “Oh Eli is such a joker, he really does want some cheese though.”
This conversation must have gone round in circles for about 5 minutes so in the end, just to get them away from the fridge, I put a little bit of cheese in Eli’s bowl.
A couple of minutes later I heard Meg say “What’s that Eli? You don’t want your cheese? Ok, I suppose I’ll eat it then.”
What a tinker. Clearly Meg thinks she’s onto something here and Mummy and Daddy won’t realise what she’s up to!
There’s a long standing agreement in our house that if something gets broken I will say “let’s ask Daddy to fix it when he gets home” which is really code for “I’ll put it in the bin when you’re not looking and we’ll never speak of it again!”
Apparently though, this week Daddy did actually fix something which was broken! Meg proudly brought me one of her princess shoes which had (apparently) being ‘rattling’ – she had asked Daddy to fix it and hey presto, now it wasn’t rattling any more!
“Sometimes, Mummy…” she informed me, “Daddy is a very good boy.”
“I see, Meg.” I replied, “and what is he when he isn’t being a good boy?”
She rolled her eyes, let out a big sigh and replied “hopeless.”
Oh dear Daddy, seems Meg has got the measure of you already!! Although I suspect that may always have been the case…here’s a photo of a discussion I walked in on when Meg was just two years old. She definitely looks like the one laying down the rules!
I’ve been umming and ahhing over writing a post recently about some of the stuff we’ve been going through over the last 18 months. It’s been a hard 18 months and we’ve struggled a lot in our personal lives with various elements of it but more recently we’ve experienced a surge in hope. Wheels have been set in motion, decisions have been made and situations have turned around which have led us to stop looking backwards and down at our feet and to start looking forwards.
I am hoping to share the post with you in the near future but I have to admit that yesterday I was thwacked around the face rather sharply by my good old friend perspective.
Watching Comic Relief is always difficult, especially now I’ve become a mother myself. I wholeheartedly agreed with Davina McCall’s choice of phrase that when you become a mother you join hands with other mothers around the world and you do feel their pain. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain a mother must feel having to carry the body of her son home in a plastic bag. My brain can’t even begin to formulate being faced with that scenario.
That isn’t the point where perspective set in. That moment came when Bill Nighy said “these people didn’t ask to be poor. We just got lucky. They’re not asking you for anything.” and I could have just cried. They haven’t chosen this life for themselves. But it is their burden to face every day.
I was surprised at how short-sighted I had become. I’ve been to Africa, I’ve visited a shanty town in Zambia, I am fully aware of just how beyond poor these people are. The term ‘less than nothing’ is only understandable I think when you’ve witnessed it with your own eyes. Poor in this country does not mean the same thing as poor in a third world country. It doesn’t even come close. It’s so far beyond the line…you can’t even see the line.
No matter what situation we are facing here, it doesn’t begin to compare.
So that dispute you’re having with someone else and it’s causing you stress? As you fill your glass with fresh water to swallow down your headache tablet consider that children are dying every day because they don’t have access to clean water.
Not being able to buy the latest piece of technology and feeling downhearted because seemingly everyone you know has it? Totally incomparable with not being able to protect your child from being bitten by mosquitos whilst they sleep because you don’t have the £5 to buy a mosquito net.
Your husband working long hours and thinking how awful it is that you have to be at home with your children on your own all the time. At least you get to be with your children. The risks of your children dying from malnutrition, diarrhoea, tetanus and a whole host of other preventable diseases are so minute it’s not even worth considering it as a possibility.
Yes, these are first world problems and they are real problems. Of course it’s important and vital to take care of our mental well-being and our physical health. To build good and long lasting friendships and to try and succeed at tasks we set our hands to. I am particularly guilty of complaining about the last one, as my husband works horrendous hours in a horrible job with awful people but put into perspective: at least he has a job, is able to provide for his family and that we are, for the most part, entirely safe and secure.
The alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.
But I am asking you to think about it, and I am asking you to consider giving to a very worthy cause.
Earlier this year 3 bloggers went out to visit Ghana and to see for themselves some of the amazing projects that Comic Relief have funded and how their work has made a difference. If you haven’t yet donated to Comic Relief please think about visiting their giving page and doing just that. It could honestly change someone’s life.
Gain some perspective and make a difference today.
Earlier in the week I also posted about Syria and the work Tearfund are doing to help. Charities providing aid in third world countries has always been something close to my heart and given my new dose of perspective you are probably going to see me writing and tweeting about these things more often. I’d apologise but considering I think it’s so important, I’ll just ask you to bear with me and keep these people in your thoughts and give when and where you can.