I was in the park the other evening and we met a very polite and precocious little five year old. He wanted to play football with my little boy. So for half an hour we all ran around kicking the ball up high and running. He was a lovely little boy and very considerate of my little ones clear lack of understanding of sharing. When we had to go we agreed we would meet up again tomorrow. He asked my name and I told him. But then something strange happened. He laughed and said ‘I probably won’t remember your name tomorrow. I don’t have a good brain. I’m not very clever.’
I told him he seemed very clever to me and we had really enjoyed meeting him. But this stuck with me for the night.
Why do we feel it necessary to put someone down or quash a belief in themselves? Someone along the way has told him he isn’t bright – after spending a little time with him – I totally object! A five year old shouldn’t even know these words.
Unfortunately this is part of life. Another situation recently occurred – a mum picked up her 3 year old and a 5 year old girl. She over heard the 5 year old say to the 3 year old ‘you’re fat!’ The mother then wondered, what do you when this happens? To give the 3 year old her dues she told the older girl ‘that’s not very nice’. Of course the mummy stepped in and said she’s not fat she’s tall. But again in this situation what do you do.
These are seemingly innocent situations but I wonder what is the lasting effect?
None of mine are old enough to have this happen to them yet but I do wonder how I would react. Of course you want to protect your children but you also want them to learn to stand up for themselves. So how do you do both?
So back to the lovely boy from yesterday evening. I really hope that others reaffirm how bright he is and that he has a great brain.
The big news this week – Francesca and Abigail have broken their first tooth. Hard to believe that 8 and a half months have passed since their arrival!
All of the girls are now shuffling across the floor. This means you need to watch them constantly. Before you know it, one is under the table, another is behind the tv stand and last but not least one has managed to squeeze under the couch.
They’re getting much more independent and very happy to play amongst themselves for a little while. My son is still the most exciting person in the world as far as their concerned.
Red is getting very proficient with a ball and entertains each night with his kicking skill.
Since being away, his language has really come on and he now has a good grasp of sentences.
Stella is showing great coordination and concentration. She likes to observe first whereas the others love to dive in! I suspect she may be first to walk. Slow and steady!
The girls are now on a new schedule that seems to be working really well. Last night Stella slept all the way through till 6am. Woohoo!!!!
Here’s the routine:
Up at 6ish – bottle
8am – breakfast
9am – sleep (40 min approx)
11.30 – lunch
12.15 – bottle
12.30 – 2.30pm sleep/quiet time
2.30pm snack and bottle
In fact, we more than survived. We had a fantastic holiday but it definitely took a bit of perseverance to get there.
Over the last decade or so, I have been fortunate to do lots of travel so know that things don’t always go to plan. This pales into nothing compared to travel with babies. There is a lot of planning and organising required. So here are my learnings from the trip:
Packing – best not to over pack!
- We’ve all been there. You always think that summer dress circa 2004 is going to have to come with you – even though its practically a rag and you never wear it other than on the beach and really should you be wearing something you wore clubbing in Ibiza ten years ago?! Not just that, if your Irish, you feel the need to pack for all weather (just in case) and pack coats, jumpers, scarfs for your two weeks in the sun. So if like me you already over pack for one – just imagine the over packing for 5!
- You can buy everything there. Unless you are jungle bound, there is everything and more in the supermarkets abroad. Pack enough wipes, nappies, formula and breakfast cereal/food pouches (they can eat this for every meal if needed – wont harm them) to get through the first day or so.
- They only need a few outfits or vests. Most of the time, if going to the sun, it will be too hot for clothes and trust me they won’t want to wear much. My little boy became a nudist for the two weeks.
- Bring colouring pencils, paper, play dough, story books. There are times when you want to stay in doors and they will need entertainment.
Flight – break it down to 15 – 30 minute sections
- So this might sound a bit over kill but it helps to keep everyone occupied.
- For example – my flight was 3 hours long and heres how it broke down.
- 30 minutes – take off and taxi – have a look around get used this exciting new place. Feed a bottle (helps their little ears)
- 30 minutes – sleep. Hopefully at this point they will sleep. Long journey to airport and through the check in etc.
- 30 minutes of story books, play dough, cars etc etc and oh here comes the coffee cart!
- So now we are one and a half hours into the flight and thats when it all starts to unravel unfortunately. Boredom hits, food has gone everywhere, snot and tears are now all over my once immaculate top. The lovely sun hat I purchased is now a squashed mess and the once organised bag is all over the floor in a not so easy to reach order. But deep breaths and a reminder that this is only temporary.
- 30 minutes later and we are already well through the worst of it. Everyone has calmed down a bit and back out with the toys, play dough, ‘lets draw an airplane’.
- So now for the final decent. Have a second bottle ready for this – there ears can get very sore on the way down. (I learnt this the hard way – on the way out i forgot to pack a second bottle. Thankfully the air hostess gave me some milk.)
Routine, Routine, Routine and one more time Routine!!!!!!
- So here is the tough one. I found it hard to adjust to the difference between holidays gone by and holidays of the present and future. Children don’t unwind like us grown ups. They have absolutely no interest in lounging by the pool and snoozing on the beach. My four all need a lot of attention and need your help in ensuring there is lots of fun and activity. You also want to do lots of things to ensure they tire and sleep. The girls found the adjustment especially hard. My son thought the holiday was incredible and had a ball.
- For the first week us girls were a bit miserable. Trying to look after three babies without all your paraphernalia is tough. They need those toys and bouncers! I have grown a new appreciation for the plastic that has taken over my house. It serves a wonderful purpose!
- I also must have been insane when i thought going away without help would be fine. NO!!! Even though I had a lovely local girl helping, it was a disaster. All I did for the first week is run to the pharmacy every five minutes (streaming noses, food poisoning, mosquito bites, teeth!), stress about sunscreen, clean up continuously and do laundry. I can do that at home! So by the end of the week my minder from home flew over and thats when it clicked. Simple is best – routine, routine, routine.
- Heres what our day looked like (i did not deviate)
- Up at 6am and a bottle for all
- Breakfast at 8am
- Down to the beach. Sand castles, run around, girls played on the towels, dip their toes into the water.
- Home by 11.30 and lunch
- 12.30 Nap time for everyone
- Two hours of bliss
- 2.30 Up and play. Swims for everyone
- 5pm Dinner
- 6pm – 7pm Bath and Stories
- 7.30pm Glass of wine and peace
So thats it – keep a routine, don’t stress over the small stuff, no they won’t sleep properly and whatever you do – don’t wear white jeans traveling (a mistake i will never repeat!)
24 little hours and all is well again. After a very long week, the girl who helps me at home with the kids has landed. Happy mother, happy children. I have never appreciated someone so much.
Even if there are tears tonight, I won’t mind as I have help!! I’m celebrating with a glass of Rose. This is going to be a good week!
Word of warning to all. Never go away with a young baby and hope they’ll keep to a reasonable routine. Add another two babies to that and all I can say is HELL!
Week one down and nope this is not fun. Constant crying, no sleep at night, teething babies… I could go on but won’t. I’m in the middle of a nightmare. Our beautiful simple routine has been swallowed up and spat out in Costa chaos! I’m currently sitting outside my triplets holiday bedroom trying to ‘cry it out’ with three highly strung, wired babies. This is not what I signed up for.
It’s not their fault at all. I feel like the biggest idiot thinking this would be a great break for us all. Nope!! Wrong there!!!!
This is single mother hell.
On the plus side my two year old is having the time of his life. Loves the water. Loves the sunshine. Best holiday ever – for him!
Us four ladies are being slowly tortured.
Some would think that ‘football’ was a good enough word to describe playing ball with your foot but my clever (nearly two year old) has renamed this sport running ball. Not a bad alternative to call it.
I have never read too much into nurture versus nature and gender differentiation until now. My little one is growing up in a house full of women so it would be presumed that ‘boy’ activities and passions would only come when he starts school and starts to realise the difference between a boy/girl play. However, despite little encouragement either way from me I have a full blown male in the house. Since he was very young he has shown a great appreciation for anything that bangs and makes lots of noise. Over time this has developed to a love of screwdrivers, hammers and drills. With his little workbench (courtesy of Santa) many a chair, toy or table has been fixed. Anytime I need to mend something Red is there with his trusty screwdriver.
One Saturday morning, while searching for his usual Sesame street weekend entertainment, we landed on football. He hasn’t looked back since! Every Saturday and Sunday morning, football is on in our house. In fact 7 days a week football is played for hours on end. As a result, he’s pretty good at it but I still don’t know where it comes from. He has a love of all sports but there is a special focus on anything with a ball. I have every faith that soon he will be explaining the off side rule and emblazoning his room with team memorabilia.
Cars and motorbikes are also given great love and attention. We often have to stop and admire the motorbikes or scooters whizzing past. Parked bikes are given great examination. ‘That’s a scooter mummy’. ‘No that’s a motorbike’. I don’t have any issue with boys being boys or girls being girls but just find it fascinating that without any push either way my little man is turning into a boy right before my eyes. I just wonder what way the girls will go! I already fear the explosion of pink that will appear soon but who knows, there might be a running ball fan there too.