Me and Mine - A Family Portrait Project February
I love the idea of traditions, we have a few in our family, Christmas Day rituals and toasts at the dinner table when we are all together, but I've really wanted to start something at home.
In the last month I've seen such a change in Sammy. As he approaches 7 we feel like we are leaving the little boy phase behind and he's turning into a young boy, complete with goofy adult teeth pointing in all directions. It feels like a big jump 6-7, he speaks with confidence and eloquence unlike Ollie who still mixes up his words every now and again, "cockcorn" being one of our favourites on movie night. This week we will be choosing his first pair of glasses for when he is working in the classroom and I look at this great man child before me when he hops out of the shower, wiggling around waiting for me to dry him and I see him torn between being this carefree innocent boy and someone ready for more independence.
The nights spent creeping into our bed to sleep with me are few and far between now, but the cuddles in the morning are just as huge as they were in the middle of the night. He lies on us in turn like this baby elephant squashing our chests and I just breathe these moments in.
It's not like we are on borrowed time, more like we can see the road ahead, despite us still being firmly Mama and Dada. Rich has offered to be Dad of Daddy if they'd prefer but they don't want to. Thank goodness because I can't imagine being anything other than Mama! This year will be the start of Year 3, a move up to a separate part of the school and new routines. I want to let them be little for as long as possible before the natural course of growing up kicks in. Yesterday they rediscovered all the old Early Learning Centre Happyland plastic toys I have been saving for Yasmin when we emptied our hideously untidy garage onto the drive for a major sort out. I watched as they collected grass and logs and built a "tree lodge" for the figures and hid in a tent with no pole to hold it up, two pairs of legs and feet poking out of the door whilst pretending to be robbers in one of their wildly imaginative games.
There's secret languages, chants and songs including "Stupidy one and Stupidy two" where a sense of irony is totally lost on my Dumb and Dumber haircut boys! Sammy is a good boy, someone who I imagine in later life will be described as a "good egg", an old fashioned phrase that suits him perfectly. He sleeps with a copy of The Famous Five by his bed, has sussed out that if you join Ballet club after school you get to be with all the girls get a biscuit at tea time and has made firm friends with 3 other boys at school who are out of the same mould. You hear them playing Knights and Dragons in the playground as we try and corral them to the car park. Maybe not the cool kids on the block but the nice boys and that's fine by me. There's plenty of time to be trendy and grown up, I don't want to rush it.
At home I watch them swing on this tree in the front garden like monkeys giggling to each other and long for the summer holidays when we pottered around past a normal school night bedtime, with two barefoot boys, sunshine blasting through the branches at 7pm and their heads upside down, with hair like a wavy mop.
I love how I will be able to look back at photos of them on this tree and see how they have grown.
And that sparked an idea.
In the late spring I adore the wooden arch over the gate to the front door. It becomes covered in small pink roses which last until late October. In the winter when it's bare I wonder whether it would be nicer to have the front more open and take it down but now it has to stay.
This is going to be our February tradition, charting the boy's heights against the arbor. Scratching their initials and ages into the wood - if we ever move we will have to take the pole with us!
Ollie feels like he has such a long time to wait until his 5th birthday in July, with most of his class already having had their birthdays and parties he's one of the littlest in every way. I can see his face changing, the roundness paving way for more refined cheeks and he's so slim you'd think we never feed him! In so many ways he's desperate to be like his bigger brother and in others he's so contended being the baby of the family. He sleeps with his other family of soft toys, in a defined order, leaving almost no room for him and you are in trouble if you don't carry out to the letter the "kiss and a cuddle" bedtime goodbye ritual. One day he might forget this beloved tradition but that's the joy of writing a blog. A digital diary of our family life and one of the reasons I love the Me and Mine Project.
Without this monthly prompt to take a family photo I know we would only have a handful rather than an album full.
So this is my little family, on my little corner of the internet. Last week I and a lovely day out with some other parent bloggers and whilst putting the blogging world to rights one said something that really struck a chord. That there are so many of us now it's hard to stand out, but I disagree. When you write about your family you have a never ending stream of unique content.
Some people will follow you on your pregnancy journeys, some will follow you through until your Facebook posts become tearful goodbyes at University doors and some will find you along the way, dip in and out when you are going through the same stage in life.
We are only limited by our imagination. I look at my two as inspiration to how I approach my working life like how they approach a Sunday afternoon in the garden. It's not the garden, it's the ocean and the balls littered around the grass are sharks. So you have to jump onto the swings to be picked up by the helicopter who has come to save you.
To them the world is an endless stream of possibilities you just have to make them up sometimes. It's not about waiting for things to happen it's about making things happen. So be brave, make new connections, collaborations just like this one. It's a pleasure to cohost this monthly family portrait project with this group of talented and inspiring parent bloggers, pop over and read the other posts linked up below. There are so many lovely families joining in, all with their unique stories to tell.
Cheerio February, bring on the sunshiny days of Spring!