This year has started with transition. The transition of our family, or the transition of me, at least. From Mummy-to-Babies to Mummy-to-Children. The past four years, well, five years really, have changed me. I transitioned from teacher and wife to pregnant woman and then mother. I have changed and learnt more than I imagined I would. I'm a different person than I was before. Better, I think. It's been the most intense, exhilerating, exhausting and joyful journey I've been on.
And now my children are baby and toddler no longer. They're children. And I am transitioning again, from Baby-Mummy to Child-Mummy. And I'm enjoying it.
Our activities, conversations and relationships are different. Lots of creative play. Master R still adores imaginary play, and now Miss O joins in, taking her role as puppy (Roly, in 101 Dalmations) or snowman (Olaf, if we're playing Anna and Elsa) or Dory, if, like this morning, we're enacting Finding Nemo.
On this evening, Miss O having gone to bed first, Master R and I filled the tuff tray with toy stuffing and started out playing with snowmen and penguins. We came up the idea of making snowmen, and I fetched some pins, ribbons and socks.
Before we knew it, we had a whole family of snowmen, each with individual faces, scarves and some even with hairstyles! It was such fun, playing and talking with my boy. He's so articulate and thoughtful. His mind is always creating characters and stories.
After that, we played some new board games, Master R, Rachel and I. Master R found this one hilarious. I was relieved he wasn't upset when he tipped the Ark. Instead he giggled each time. It was a magical evening. So simple, but so precious.
We went on an adventure on the second day of this year. Off and out with a packet of biscuits, welly boots and some warm coats. We explored a bit of wild space next to the A14. Ran up this slope and admired the view from the other side. Explored through the woodland, chanting "we're going on a bear hunt, we're going to catch a big one..." Miss O kept crying "Aden! Aden!" and "Splash splosh splash splosh!"
We found this fantastic climbing tree and everyone had a go at climbing the ladder-like branches.
These little explorers balanced on tree trunks which lined a path, stomped on molehills and ran themselves silly. They arrived back at the car wind-blown, rosy cheeked and ready for another biscuit.
Miss O is becoming increasingly ingenious. Or perhaps she's just getting old enough to demonstrate her ingenuity. Couldn't reach as high as Master R, to roll cars down the roof, but no matter. There is always another way!
On this day, she decided that this sticker was the perfect accompaniment to her outfit! Hilarious girl. She loves using this doorstop tortoise as her "baby".
And one week into this 2017, our boy turned four. He was so excited. He really gets Christmas and birthdays now. The anticipation was great and he was so happy on his party days. He surprised us by asking for a Bob the Builder cake. I thought he'd go for Paw Patrol or Thomas the Tank Engine or something. He doesn't even watch Bob the Builder very often. He's got four books about it. Well, it's clearly made an impression, and luckily Auntie Becka volunteered to make the cake and some Mum friends kindly lent me some toys to decorate the top. I helped... I smashed up the bourbon biscuits to make the "mud". About a whole packet, when it turned out we only needed a couple of biscuits worth!
And this was very exciting! Now it's time for him to transition from his beautiful wooden balance bike to a pedal bike of orange metal. It's going to take some work to master the skill, and he's rather unsure at the moment. It seems like a lot of hard work to him and he says "Don't ever let go, Mummy". When the days are warmer we'll spend time at the park, where there's plenty of soft grass to practice on.
Lazy lunchtimes. I cherish them on a Saturday morning. Before swimming we pootle about together.
Cosy afternoons in the lounge. The sun is going down a little later each day, which I'm relishing. Bring back the sunshine, I say. We made a "Pingu" (Miss O's favourite cartoon - the episode with bowling makes her giggle aloud). Master R was in charge of the feet.
Some out-of-season trees.
My little chefs, hard at work making some banana loaf. Which, disappointingly, we put too much baking powder in, so it leaves a bitter aftertaste. It's ok with custard though, or dunked in tea. We'll use self-raising flour it the future.
This weekend we were very productive. We erected an extra wardrobe in Master R's larger room, which is being gradually transformed to a sleeping-and-dressing-and-reading room for both of them. Having moved all their clothes into one location, we then dismantled the chest of drawers and wardrobe in Miss O's nursery, and the cot, which neither of our children have used very much, and certainly not at night-time! We talked about the weekend, while I was pregnant, that we put together that furniture. But I didn't feel sad. Life is moving on and I'm excited for our next adventures.
Then, in the space of about 40 minutes, we put together three Kallax shelving units and transformed the nursery into a playroom, for all their toys.
It isn't finished. There's pollyfilla on the wall to be sanding and painted over, and new curtains and blinds are needed (I'm thinking actually, of moving those from Master R's room over, once we've redecorated the bedroom in soothing natural colours). But already we all love this space.
It makes such SENSE to have all the toys together in one place, and all the clothes and books in another space. Our small people have been enjoying playing together in their playroom, rediscovering toys which have been re-organised and relocated.
Our ultimate aim for the bedroom is to create an unusual sleeping space with bunks beds, but asymmetric, so that we create a little reading snug under the higher bunk. That's my dream, anyway. That, and a swinging chair hanging from the ceiling in the corner by the window! But that can wait for a while. Miss O still happily sleeps in our bed each night and for her naps, when she consents to nap. Already she's in the awkward phase in between needing a nap and not. The last two days her sleep has been utterly buggered, which resulted in her having Ready Brek for dinner at 4pm and going to bed at 5:30 today!
So here we are, in 2017, being Mummies to children. Two wonderful, charismatic, determined, entertaining small people. What an adventure!