Tag Archive for LGBT families

Letters To My Four-Year-Olds

Dear Claudia,

Today you turn four.  FOUR!  How is that possible?  Where did my little baby go?  Those toddler rolls have stretched out into lean preschooler limbs and infancy has fallen away from you like a coat you have outgrown.

You have grown in confidence amazingly, showing bravery and perseverance.  I remember the time, around three and a half, when you climbed past a dad at soft play without a second thought.  Not so long ago you would have lingered awkwardly, unsure whether to advance, casting looks back towards me for reassurance.  When we first visited theme parks last summer you were cautious about some of the faster rides, but gradually your confidence has increased there too.  You also put in the effort and really learned to ride your balance bike.  You can’t wait to upgrade to a pedal bike and I expect it won’t be long.

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You started gymnastics just after you turned three.  You loved it from the first moment and I watched you grow in confidence there too.  You started off listening carefully and following instructions, but often you would wait at a particular point, wanting the reassurance of adult hands to guide you through the movement.  Now you attempt every activity with zeal and the knowledge that you can make your body do what you want it to.  You started ballet in January and you loved that instantly too.  You are so graceful and you concentrate so hard.  Watching you is pure delight.

You love to dance and sing and entertain people.  You like to sit at the table and eat with us, sharing in the communion of a meal together.  You like to help me cook and you have started helping me to measure out ingredients.

You have encountered lots of new characters this year, both on screen and on the page.  You recently discovered Roald Dahl and have enjoyed several of his shorter stories.  There are so many great books I can’t wait to explore with you.  You have mastered a range of apps and use the iPad like a pro.  You love dot-to-dot books and sticker books and always want to understand the precise instructions when undertaking an activity.  You are interested in numbers – and letters to a lesser degree – and amazed me recently when we made a chart to countdown the days until Mummy finishes work and you wrote every number yourself without any help.IMG_6085

You learned to tell jokes this year, which at first were nonsensical versions of a basic structure (“What do X eat for their breakfast?”).  Eventually though, we taught you a little repertoire which you loved, including a couple of knock-knock jokes and one you particularly loved about a bath-averse fairy called Stinkerbell.

You have an amazing way of explaining things, with a tone of voice and expression that are just delightful.  Mostly you like to start your explanations with: “Because that’s why…” which is an adorable turn of phrase.

You love presents and birthdays and Christmas.  The excitement is almost too much.  You pore over catalogues listing the items you would like.  You want lots of things and the waiting is so, so hard.  But you love to give too and you learned about surprises this year and how to keep gifts secret until the receiver opens them.

You love to dress up and since Halloween when I (perhaps foolishly) introduced you to the concept of face paint, you have loved having your face painted.  You have been a range of different characters and I have loved your enthusiasm for every one.  Occasionally, you even take it upon yourself to do it!

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You love so much.  Too much, is what you like to say.  And none of us really have the heart to tell you that it’s impossible to love too much – that our love for you is as infinite as yours.  You love your family, you love your friends – you have several best friends – but, of course, you have an extra special bond with your sister.  You love playing together as much as you love tormenting one another, but the affection you hold for each other never really falters.

You are so full of life and wonder and enthusiasm I am amazed you don’t burst.  I can’t wait to see what exciting things we will explore together over the next year.

Love,

Mama xxx

Claudia Turns 4 from Becoming Mums on Vimeo.

Dear Imogen,

What a year it has been, my amazing four-year-old!  You continue to show us your fire and your compassion in equal measure.  You are stubborn and insistent.  You think logically and can usually suggest a compromise that is less of a compromise for you.  You know what you want and what you like.  You spent most of the winter in short sleeves and now the sun has come out you keep insisting on two long-sleeved tops, but your fashion sense is incredible and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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You are very attuned to distress.  If you hear someone crying you want to know if they are okay, you can sense when one of us is stressed or upset.  At the park you will often be seen helping a smaller child.  You like to teach and to share your knowledge.  You give clear and careful instructions and you know how to encourage.

You are so strong and so active.  If there is something that can be climbed, you climb it; something that can be dangled from, you dangle from it.  You know your own limits and what your body can do, although there was one hair-raising moment recently when you tried to do some gymnastics at the top of a climbing frame and had to be rescued.

You started gymnastics about six months after your sister.  We think the distress of some of the children at being left there for the trial session upset you too much.  But after a few months of watching from the corridor, playing either on the iPad or with some of the younger siblings, you decided to give it another go.  The same week, you decided to take ballet on too.  You haven’t looked back.

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You have started naming your toys and dolls this year.  Topsy-Baby has a spotty babygro, like Topsy’s t-shirt in Topsy and Tim.  Daisy-Baby has a daisy on the front of hers.  Lots of babies get called Isabelle because you like the name, I suppose.  I’m not quite sure what the explanation is for Sparkler and Dave:

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You love to go on public transport – something we have done much more of since we ditched the buggy.  You really like to sit by the window so lots of prep is needed before we board a busy train or bus to make sure you understand this might not be possible.  Your favourite thing to do is to ride on the top deck of a “double decko” bus.  We have explored all sorts of exciting places this year and the thrill-seeker in you has delighted in trying out new theme park rides, from the Bubbleworks to Tomb Blaster to Pirate Falls to the “Buccany Boat”, no ride is too extreme for you.  You even like to lift your hands from the safety bar and put your arms in the air now.

I can only imagine where your tenacity will take you and I hope I can join you on the ride!

Love,

Mama xxx

Imogen Turns 4 from Becoming Mums on Vimeo.

At Three And A Half

Long, slender limbs flash before me as they climb unaided into the bath. Gone are chubby fists and rotund bellies. Hair is long and requires brushing, parting, plaiting. Words became sentences, formed conversations and posed existential questions.

“I don’t want to grow up.”

“Why not?”

“Because I wouldn’t be able to have my small plate any more. I like my small plate. And I wouldn’t be able to wear my small shoes. I’d have big feet so I’d have to have big shoes.”

Said with such wide-eyed, innocent sorrow that we catch each other’s eyes above her head and want to laugh.

I don’t remember the thought of growing up feeling so scary. All the time they are changing and growing and amazing me and I want to tell them how big they are. But I hold back. Because of the small plate and the small shoes.

The magic of Christmas is alive and kicking now. They understand about presents and can almost keep a surprise. They understand that their desires can be catalogued and requested of a bearded man in a red suit. They talk about leaving out a mince pie and a carrot. They talk about their stockings and elves and flying reindeer. They manage eight days of advent before they eat the remains of their calendars – impulse control and the concept of delayed gratification still beyond their reach.

They love and squeeze and hug and blow you kisses and catch the returns in their hands, putting them in a pocket or sometimes in their mouths.

They burn with anger and injustice – the fire of small people who don’t have the means to regulate their own emotions yet – and they cry when things don’t go their way, when we’re out of red straws, or their banana breaks in half. And they cuddle in close and start to tell me their feelings. They tell me when I forget to use my words – when my temper slips out and I snap and shout. They remind me of my humanity and they accept my apology.

They dance and sing and play. They ask me what that word is, what that letter is, what this says. And I tell them. They ask why, but why, but why and sometimes I say I don’t know.

They light up the world with a fire that burns so brightly. My role is to keep that fire stoked, to feed it dry wood and keep it aflame. It’s a tough job, unrelenting, but the warmth and light from that fire is more than I could ever have dreamed of.

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Letters to my Three-Year-Olds

Dear Claudia,

Today, you turn three.  What an amazing year it’s been.  Looking back, I can’t believe how much you have changed.  When you turned two, I was already astounded at your grasp on the English language and how much you could say and understand, but back then you still referred to yourself, in the third person, as “Daudie”  Not only have you mastered the ‘cl’ sound, you quickly mastered the first person too.  Your sentences became more and more complex, the concepts you could understand and talk about became more and more abstract.  Every single day you will come out with something that amazes me either in the way you have expressed something or the complexity of the idea you are expressing.

You still love to sing.  Your repertoire has increased and moved on.  You like to sing in the car, often taking requests or singing a nursery rhyme over the top of my choice of radio station.  You have started putting on shows, which are a real treat.  Whilst I suspect you will never perform except on your own terms, you are now confident enough to stand up in front of a group of family or friends and sing a few songs, which you always approach with massive amounts of enthusiasm.  Even when the audience consists only of me and your sister, you will climb up on a chair and stand there singing your heart out.  You love to dance and will often ask me to put music on for you.  When we visited London Zoo recently, you couldn’t wait to see the penguins and show them your penguin dance, although you assured me that they would already know it, “because they do it, because they are penguins!”

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Your confidence has increased in so many ways.  I remember last summer, not long after your birthday, you becoming upset on the beach at Deal because you couldn’t throw stones far enough for them to hit the water and make a splash.  You fairly calmly but resolutely refused to throw any more stones, asking Mummy to throw them for you instead.  Mummy and I worried that we had done something wrong by you, that we had somehow compared you to your sister or made it seem as though we were only interested in things you could do well.  We needn’t have panicked.  It has taken time and practice (as all things do), but you have slowly learned resilience, determination and persistence.  Not too long ago I watched you trying to climb up a slide at a soft play centre – an activity that your sister mastered quite quickly.  I watched you climb and slip and climb and slip and climb and slip, never giving up until you reached the top with a massive smile on your face.  I couldn’t have been prouder, but, most importantly, I knew that you couldn’t have been prouder of yourself and that was what really mattered.

You are still quite cautious in new situations and can need quite a lot of physical reassurance.  You definitely have a growing group of people whom you trust, however.  You love both your grandmothers with an intensity, often staying superglued to their sides for the duration of a visit.  You surprised us all a few months ago when, after a day with Popsey and Grandad, you asked to stay the night.  We were taken aback but able to oblige, wondering whether we would be summoned back before we even reached the end of the road.  You had a brilliant time and we were able to FaceTime with you the next morning before your grandparents returned you to us by train.

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Your imagination is amazing.  You love to role play.  You often play ‘Red Riding Hood’, roping in your sister or a friend to be Granny.  You like to play shops and you take orders and produce your stock from a range of imaginary drawers in the footstool.  It always makes us laugh though that you never seem to have anything in that Mummy asks you for.  Luckily for me, my orders are always quickly processed!

You love Frozen and Tangled and Hoodwinked and Shrek.  You love Dora the Explorer and totally took me by surprise several months ago when you spontaneously counted to “ocho” (eight).  You have since increased your repertoire of Spanish words and can identify the colours “rojo” (red) and “verde” (green) as well as knowing “ariba” (up), “abajo” (down) and “empujon” (push).  You have an amazing memory – reciting several of your books entirely by heart or correcting us if we miss a word.  You discovered puzzles shortly after Christmas and could instantly see the way in which the pieces needed to fit together in order to match the picture on the box.  Grandma had found a set of Thomas the Tank Engine puzzles in a charity shop and you had enjoyed figuring out where the pieces went, so I bought you a set of Frozen puzzles that ranged from 12-24 pieces.  Within a week you could do the simplest puzzle in less than a minute and the hardest one in only a few minutes.  It is amazing watching you methodically testing the shape of each piece and consulting the picture on the box to check where you think it should go.  You enjoy board games and have a lot of patience and understanding.  You like to follow the rules.

You still love pink, but you are also in a real Disney phase when it comes to your clothing.  You love anything with Minnie Mouse on and you recently picked out a very bright pair of leggings with Cinderella all over them.  You love a stripy navy dress we were given as a hand-me-down and adore getting dressed up for a party.  You are very proud of your hair, having finally grown it enough for it to be considered long.  It is fantastically curly and you like to admire it.  Every evening, after I put your pyjamas on, you look in the mirror and gently pull your hair out of the neck of your pyjama top.  Often, when you put on an outfit, you will ask, “do I look beautiful?” and I tell you that I always think you look beautiful.  We all spend a great deal of time marvelling at how much you look like Mummy and Mummy’s side of the family, when of course there is no genetic link, but when I dug out the photograph we have of your donor at a similar age, we were really astounded at how similar you look to him.  It’s incredible.  I guess it shouldn’t be really because of course you were made with half of his genetics, but because he isn’t a part of our life it is easy to forget that.  It really is amazing to look at his picture and see you looking back at us.

You are a social person and love to spend time with your friends.  You hold their hands and hug them and tell them that you love them.  It has been amazing watching you start to talk to children you don’t know as you have started to learn about social etiquette and how to engage other children in play.  You love to include others in your imaginary world.

You love to help me in the kitchen.  In fact you love to help me, full stop.  You help sort the washing or press the buttons to operate the dishwasher.  You will usually help me tidy your toys away.  You like to make people happy and your mad moments are as entertaining as the small quiet moments when we are snuggled together and chatting about your day.

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I am so excited to see the new and different ways in which you will blossom over the next twelve months.

I love you so much,

Mama x

Claudia Turns 3 from Becoming Mums on Vimeo.

Dear Imogen,

Two has been an amazing age with you.  Your personality has developed and solidified.  Your tenacity, persistence and strength of will have become even more apparent – in ways that delight as well as frustrate us!  You know what you want and you are determined to achieve it.  You are unwavering in your pursuits.  Whilst this can cause us to clash at times, it also shows a fantastic strength of will and an admirable single-mindedness that I want to nurture, rather than diminish.  You can be exasperatingly destructive, but I feel like you are starting to understand the permanence of your actions, even though you can’t always control your impulses.

You are a problem-solver.  You love to figure things out or negotiate a solution.  As your language has developed, your suggestions have become more thoughtful, complex and harder to dismiss!  You also love to share your knowledge and skills.  You like to help people and can often be heard explaining or demonstrating a particular skill or technique to someone.  You are very sensitive to other people’s emotions.  You show concern every time we hear a baby or toddler crying and you want to make sure they are being looked after.

You can be so gentle.  I watch you with your dolls and you cradle them and kiss their faces and talk to them and it takes my breath away because your tenderness is astounding.  You are the same with us, kissing and cuddling, knowing when we need an extra hug or a kiss.  You come and find me when I’m busy cooking or sorting the washing and demand a cuddle on the sofa and I come and snuggle with you for a time.  When you are tired your thumb goes in and what you really want is someone’s arm – not to go around you, but to sit across your body so you can stroke its elbow and press it close to your face.  You need that human contact when you go to sleep.

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In April, I panicked because I realised that you hadn’t breastfed in several days – maybe even a week – and I couldn’t believe your last time had passed without me marking it.  I spent a few days telling people I thought you had weaned and then of course you contradicted me by asking for milky at bedtime a few days later.  Since then you have gone longer and longer without, only latching on for a second or two when you do.  I no longer worry about not knowing the precise date when you will stop (or indeed, whether you already have) because I have accepted that this is how this process works – a gentle, slow cessation that is on your terms, not mine.

When we go to a new place, you are always keen to explore and rarely look back.  We have always thought of you as confident and adventurous.  There are times when you are so keen to investigate a new place or go in a particular direction that I have to actually chase you down, wondering if at any point you would have wondered where I was or if I was still following you.  But we have also discovered this year, that you actually need us more than we think.  You are confident to the extent of parental-fear when you know where we are, but you actually become very distressed if you can’t find us.  You are usually less keen to spend time away from us or away from your sister, although you do have fun with your grandparents.  When a film is scary, you need us to sit with you and with Snow White you needed me to recount the story of the Queen drinking the magic potion over and over again.

You feel all your emotions in a big way.  Your upsets are big and loud and scary but your happiness can be just as huge and your smile couldn’t be bigger or wider if you tried.  However, you are fiercely protective of your own emotions and I have had to teach myself to ignore my instincts when you are upset (all I want to do is sweep you into my arms) and instead allow you the space to express your emotions before you are ready to come to one of us.  You are a complex character, whose feelings aren’t always obvious or easy to name.  You definitely don’t wear your heart on your sleeve, although with a bit of help, you can usually name your emotions and tell us if we’ve upset you.

You love to be thrown around and you’re never happier than when you are climbing or jumping.  Soft play is your Promised Land and you climb to great heights without looking back.  You love the woods.  Now, the mud is dry, but in the wetter months you got as muddy as could be, flooding your wellies with water and silt.  Now it is dryer, you enjoy paddling in the streams and lakes, filling buckets with pebbles and catching tadpoles.  You love the beach.  Frustratingly, we’ve not been as many times as we would have liked so far, but we have plans for the summer to take you a lot more often.  You run into the waves without a glimmer of fear.  You splash and dig and build sandcastles and laugh in the face of British weather that might mean it’s not quite warm enough to enjoy the cold sea.  You love theme parks.  We have visited two now and you never stop talking about them. The first time we went, you mentioned it every day until we visited again a month or so later.  You are a thrill-seeker and we have yet to find a ride you haven’t enjoyed.

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You get frustrated quite easily.  You don’t have a lot of patience with slower activities that require attention to detail, but your favourite game is to care for your dolls.  You will tell me things about your baby and what you’ve been doing together.  Baby comes everywhere with us, more or less.  She’s been to our forest school and helped you catch tadpoles, she’s been to Mummy’s work and played in the playgrounds.

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You are happy playing alone, although you reconnect with your sister from time to time.  You get overwhelmed by crowds of people and take yourself away from the action.  You like us to all be together, the four of us, and miss your sister terribly if you are away from her.  You have a big heart and fire in your soul.  I can’t wait to see what adventures the next year will bring!

Love always,

Mama x

Imogen Turns 3 from Becoming Mums on Vimeo.

Letters To My Two-Year-Olds

Dear Claudia,

I can’t really even begin to explain how much you have changed over the last twelve months. For one thing your hair finally started to grow and by 20 months you had gorgeous curls at the nape of your neck. You have blossomed when it comes to your confidence with new places and people. You are still happiest by my side when we are at playgroups, but you warm up to people so much faster than you used to. You have the best “shy face” we have ever seen (a slightly cheeky-looking sideways smile) which you use when someone is a little too close for comfort.

You love books. Over the last few months you have enjoyed finding out what the ladybird heard, solving a monkey puzzle, spying out nursery rhyme characters (in a book you sadly no longer call something that sounds a lot like “itchy bum”), finding peace at last with Mr Bear and worrying about a ted who fell out of bed. You love to “read” a lot of these books to yourself, having memorised most of the words!

Speaking of memory, yours is incredible. Back in February, shortly after you broke your arm (for the first time) we took you to Surrey Docks Farm. Stepping out the back onto the banks of the Thames, I spotted Canary Wharf and pointed out to you where Popsey works. A month later (shortly after you had broken your arm for the second time) we went back. As soon as we stepped out onto the riverbank you waved and shouted “Hello Popsey!” You are constantly surprising us with the things you can recall.

And yes, you broke your arm twice this year. Actually you broke it twice within a month! You still talk now about Poorly Arm but you know it’s better now. I wonder if you will be able to remember it when you are older. You were so brave, barely crying, and being remarkably chipper about the nights in hospital. You won over all the nurses instantly – of course.

You have always loved to communicate so it came as no surprise when you started talking and rapidly expanded your vocabulary, your understanding of context and syntax and your grasp of social niceties. You have pretty much got please and thank you nailed. At the moment, if I ask you to do something that you don’t want to do, rather than say no and run away like some toddlers would (not mentioning any names!), you simply say, “I’m all right” even when I’ve tried to outwit you by giving you a choice.

“Claudie, would you like to wear the green nappy or the purple nappy?”
“I’m all right.”

“Claudie, would you like me to put you in your car seat or would you like to climb in yourself?”
“I’m all right. I’m all right.”

Unfortunately all your politeness doesn’t prevent the ensuing tantrum when I insist that in fact you do have to wear a nappy or you do have to go in the car seat, but I guess these are the terrible twos and I’m just trying to make them as un-terrible for you as I possibly can.

Despite your apparent shyness or caution in new situations, sometimes you surprise us all with your confidence. Leaving a train recently, you shouted out to the business men trying to get off behind the double buggy I was attempting to manoeuvre “Bye, people! Seeya later!”

You love to say seeya later. Recently, you have started pretend play and will often say to me, “Seeya later. I’m goin a shops.” You will often later say, “I’m back now” and we discuss what you bought (usually ice cream). We have tried to teach you “See you later, alligator” “In a while, crocodile” but so far the best we get is the hilarious “Seeya later, alligator-crocodile.”

You love to cook in your play kitchen. Usually porridge. You like us all to have a taste and like to make us cups of tea too. You used to be very into In the Night Garden and as a result have three Upsy Daisies who mostly live in your bed these days. You used to call Iggle Piggle “Bugger”, which amused us no end! You have started taking care of your dollies and teddies, cuddling them and giving them “milky” or feeding them your snacks. Sometimes you pretend to tandem breastfeed the two foam dress-up-babies that stick on the side of the bath. It’s so cute!

You really love to sing. Often, at Baby Bounce and Rhyme at the library you will cry for “more singing” after the half hour is up. You have quite a few songs in your repertoire now, although you are somewhat flummoxed by repeating lines at the end of songs and see it as an opportunity to just keep singing on a repetitive loop (Incey Wincey spider climbed up the water spout/Down came the rain and washed the spider out/Out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain/Incey Wincey spider climbed up the water spout/Down came the… You get the picture)

You are such a delight to wake up to in the morning, even though I do sometimes wish you would manage just one whole night in your own bed (you slept for a solid 8 hours 25 minutes one night a few weeks ago so I shouldn’t really complain although that feat has yet to be repeated). As much as you can be quite a calm and “sensible” child – the kind who will walk hand in hand through a busy shopping centre and then sit calmly in a coffee shop (as long as provided with a babyccino and – if possible – a slice of cake thankyouverymuch!), you really do have your mad moments. You cavort around and jump and shout and laugh and are just a constant source of entertainment. Your smile could light up the night.

You aren’t afraid to let us know when you need us, which, I hope, is a testament to the fact that you can trust us to respond to your needs. You stop my breath every day and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have this gentle, crazy, chatty, inquisitive, beautiful child in my life.  You are an inherently happy person and your joy infects all those around you.  These few paragraphs just can’t do justice to the remarkable person you are turning out to be.

I love you more than you will ever know.

Mama xxx

Claudia Turns Two from Becoming Mums on Vimeo.

Dear Imogen,

My little Imp. You have blossomed this year. From your first hesitant steps just before your first birthday, you quickly were walking and then running, jumping, galloping and climbing. Oh how you love to climb! You will climb anything that will stay still long enough. Now, whilst you do it, you will often say to yourself “careful!” I imagine that’s because we’ve said it to you so many times. You are pretty much fearless and will attempt any physical activity without any thought as to whether or not you will be able to do it (usually you can, even when we suspect you might not be able to). You have incredible strength and love to dangle and swing from things, supporting your own body weight almost effortlessly with just your arms. You have mastered a forward roll, which is just incredible, and are always trying to find a new and challenging way of coming down the slide!

We have been on two holidays in the last year and I think it’s safe to say that on both occasions the beach was your favourite part. You love the sand and you love the waves. You want to run and jump and splash. This April, when you took your first trip abroad, to Mallorca, I was standing with you at the water’s edge and pointed out a big wave. You raised your hand and waved at the sea.

Your language has come on leaps and bounds over the last few short months, since our holiday when your favourite thing to say was your made up word: “dikki di di!” Around that time you also chose my name. You started calling me “Mama” and it stuck.

We should have known it would have been you who solved the problem of how to differentiate between your parents – both female, both called Laura – as you seem to have a real passion for problem-solving and an incredible interest in how things work. You often spend ages puzzling over a new toy, trying to make sense of it. Sometimes your investigations leave a path of destruction in their wake and I try not to mind too much.

You are Imogen the Destroyer – as we jokingly nicknamed you after one too many incidents of shredded toilet paper, ripped book pages and a very sorry looking HDMI cable – but you are also incredibly gentle. In face when I saw this image on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, I laughed out loud, because this is absolutely you.

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You like to take things apart to get an idea of how they work, but you are also so affectionate. You like to dole out kisses when we are least expecting it, coming up beside one of us and planting a kiss on the back of a knee or an elbow. You kiss so softly, like you know it is a gentle, loving thing to do. When I carry you in the sling, you fall asleep stroking the back of my arm; at bed time you snuggle on our bed with Mummy and an array of cuddly toys, often finally drifting off stroking Mummy’s hand or arm. When you’re upset, I often don’t have to say anything, but just open up my arms to you and you come straight in, tucking your head under my chin and popping your thumb in your mouth. You love to snuggle, always asking to be wrapped up and tucked in a “bankelet” (you know there’s supposed to be an L in there somewhere!)

You love your sister. You want to be wherever she is. You were lost when she broke her arm and you had to spend a few days and nights apart. You are her little shadow at the moment, always wanting to be by her side. It’s been incredible to watch your relationship develop and the two of you genuinely play together and have conversations now, which Mummy and I love to listen to. You have an amazing amount of empathy; you always try to cuddle Claudie when she is crying, even if she’s angry crying and doesn’t want to be touched. You will remark on babies crying when we are out and about and tell me they need a cuddle. You are so compassionate.

You have a great sense of humour and a cheeky grin. You are stubborn and defiant but we love that you know your own mind. You are fiercely independent. You love books too – your favourite at the moment is one Auntie Jodie bought you. We have read it every night for at least the last month. (I may have skipped a page or two recently). Monkey and Me was another firm favourite for a while, so much so that you thought every monkey was MonkeyMe, including your monkey backpack.

Your favourite toy has consistently been the doll’s buggy we bought almost a year ago. You have only in the last few months started putting anything in it to push around, preferring previously to just charge up and down, crashing into anything in your way, causing Mummy and me to refer to it as your “battering pram”. You have always quite liked taking turns with Claudia to sit in it and be pushed around by the other one. You are both getting a bit big for that now and I suspect the buggy is on its last legs. We will, of course, replace it straight away. How could we not? (Thank goodness it’s cheap!)

Your favourite song is “pull clap clap clap”, otherwise known as ‘Wind the Bobbin Up’. You do a beautiful rendition of Twinkle Twinkle, very tunefully and you love singing at the library or at Twins’ Club. You have both gone off the Sleeping Bunnies song a bit recently, but we had lots of fun singing it at home when you first figured out the actions. You like to play Twinkle Twinkle on the piano and sing along with it very loudly.

You make me smile every day. My heart skips every time you lean over and unexpectedly press your lips to my shoulder or the spot behind my ear. Sometimes you are a whirlwind; sometimes a soft breeze. I love that you are as unpredictable as the weather. But I also love that I know which book you will want to read before bed, which side you want your milky from and which stuffed toys need to be lined up in our bed so you can snuggle off to sleep (often after a round of extremely energetic gymnastics off the headboard). I love how much you love to watch a butterfly, a ladybird, a bumblebee, a snail. I love your fascination with the world and the new ways you make me see things.

I love you so much, my little Imp. I love the way you curl up in my arms like you were made a perfect fit. I guess you were.

I can’t wait to see what amazing things this next year with you will bring.

I love you,

Mama xxx

Imogen Turns Two from Becoming Mums on Vimeo.

Going a Bit Potty

In the interests of squeezing in one more post before my babies turn two (TWO! TWO!?!) in less than a month, this entry is likely to be a bit rushed and all over the place, but bear with me.

Life is as busy as ever chez Becoming Mums but we are now on the countdown to the summer holidays and cannot wait! A lot of the girls’ friends are having birthdays at the moment so they are starting to get to grips with the idea of what birthdays are. They are excited about cake!

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We have had a bit of a lifestyle change in that we are attempting to go Paleo (if I have time I will go back and insert a handy hyperlink here before I hit publish; if not, I’m sure Google will tell you all you need to know). This has involved several major changes to what we eat to the exclusion of sugar, grains and gluten and a reduction in the amount of dairy we consume. At first I was starving, but we seem to have figured it out now – cutting out the majority of complex carbohydrates does mean you need to do something to replace all those calories! Our biggest struggle is that, living on one salary, we can’t really afford the high quality grass-fed meat that should be a major part of the Paleo lifestyle, not to mention organic veg, but with some compromises we are more or less making it work. L has become evangelical about it. In fact the other day she even said – bearing in mind she has always hated organised religion – that she has finally found her religion!

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We bought the girls potties a couple of months ago. I am in no rush to potty train as with reusable nappies we aren’t having to pay out for new nappies each week and I’m also a firm believer that they will stop using nappies when they are ready, but we had noticed that they usually do a wee when they get in the bath, so we thought we’d introduce the idea of their own little toilet and see if they would pee in it before bath time. At first this appeared to be an abject failure and we thought they were a million miles away from them ever being ready to use the potty. But since then – particularly as they often insist on staying “nakey” after a nappy change – we have had a few successes. Still no more than I can count on one – or at a push two – hands, but progress nonetheless. Sometimes, of course, they still wee standing right next to the potty, so I know we’re a long way from nailing it. At the moment we’re just enjoying the freedom the good weather is giving them to run naked around the garden.

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Yesterday Claudia said, “Mummy sit on the grass next to Claudie.” (If you were there, you possibly would have heard “mummy sit on a gahs nex a Daudie” and may or may not have been able to translate the toddler-speak yourself – it kind of amazes me that other people can’t understand everything they say, but of course I am immersed in it day by day!) they have both been speaking in real full sentences for a good couple of weeks, but the complexity of that sentence just blew me away. They are really talking and really able – most of the time – to make themselves understood. I can’t believe that this time last year they were still crawling and cruising around the furniture and could only say a handful of standalone words. Two months ago I started making a note of all the words I heard them say independently and in context (excluding proper nouns) as I had read that the average child should be able to use about 50 words by their 2nd birthday. I was just curious exactly how big their vocabularies are as I felt like they knew tons of words, but had no idea how many. By the time the count reached 200 I gave up! And okay, I know I’m totally bragging now, so feel free to tell me I need to shut up about how brilliant my kids are but sorrynotsorry my kids are brilliant!

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