Archive for the ‘Families’ Category

Worry, worry, worry!

It’s a cliché of course, but it doesn’t matter how old your children are, you always worry about them. When they’re six you worry about them forgetting their PE kits and reading books, at sixteen, you worry about GCSEs and them getting their hearts broken and at twenty six it’s will they get a good job and a foot on the property ladder.

Of course, you never understood why your own parents worried,  you always knew you were OK.  I couldn’t see why my mother was worried if I was quarter of an hour late for tea, (this was pre mobile phone days of course).  It usually meant me and my friend had to investigate what we thought was a  dead body in a farm outbuilding – and turned out to be a bag of cement.

I didn’t understand why, when getting lifts in boy’s cars to and from country pubs, that my parents worried.  This was despite the fact that having ‘one for the road’ was considered normal and seatbelts weren’t compulsory and my best friend was scarred for life  after going through the windscreen of an Alfa Romeo.

They just seemed to be making a fuss about nothing when aged 19, after three months of going out with my boyfriend, we announced we wanted to get married and did seven months after that. By our first anniversary we had our first child.

Now, three more children later, and with three grandsons and a grand-daughter on the way, they still worry.  Just goes to show however old your children are, they’re still your babies!


What’s in a name?

It’s not really until your children have their own children that this becomes  an issue.  Until then you’ve just been ‘Mummy’, or ‘Mum’, when they’re older. Occasionally ‘Mother!’ when they’re feeling frustrated with you and sometimes ‘Ma’ when they’re being patronising.

Not long after the announcement that our eldest son’s wife was expecting our first grandchild came the question, ‘what are you going to be called?’ Gran, Granny, Grandma, Nanny?  None of them seemed appealling, all conjured up pictures of little old ladies in cardigans with glasses and a bun! We all know that grandmothers aren’t like that any more don’t we?  Take me, I run marathons, take part in cycling challenges, do the  decorating, gardening, voluntary work… I don’t have time to sit and knit.  And although I cook and bake, I like to think I’m more Nigella than Mrs Overall!

So to alternatives, what about ‘Nonna’?  A bit more romantic sounding in a foreign language, or as my husband is Welsh, what about ‘Mamgu’ for me and ‘Dadcu’ for him? Or ‘Yaya’ which is Greek, I don’t fancy ‘Gamma’, ‘Mom mom’ or ‘Gangan’ either.  The problem was compounded by the fact there were 4 great grandparents too, so we needed names for them as well.  I didn’t want to claim the ‘Glam-ma’ title, as used by Joan Collins and stolen by L’Oreal and Jane Fonda for their latest ad, it seemed a bit too pretentious for me.  I did toy with ‘GrandShar’ but in the end it will probably be what the children call us when they can talk.  My mother in law is called ‘Mussey’ by most of her grandchildren as the eldest couldn’t pronounce ‘Grandma’ and all the rest followed suit.  It seems as if it really is out of the mouths of babes!

Mind the gap!

If you’re planning to have more than one child, there usually comes a time when you think about the gap between them.  When is the best time to have another baby?  Some people favour having children close together and there are those who think a big gap is easier. 

I have done both, I had my first baby a year after we got married. After the initial shock of sleepless nights, feeding non-stop and a crying baby, I thought that if we were having another one, we should go for it straightaway and get it all over and done with. The children would be close in age and I could use the pram, cot, clothes (all hand me downs) for the second one. This worked, sort of, and our second son was born 19 months later.  I felt permanently jet lagged, trying to feed the baby with the toddler running about, or getting one to sleep while the other was crying.  Stopping the baby from spoiling the older boy’s jigsaw, not even being able to go to the loo alone, I’m sure you get the picture!

Because they were so close in age by the time they were playgroup age, people often asked if they were twins. They played together, shared toys, bikes and a bedroom.  Of course they argued and fought as well, but at least I’d got the sleepless nights over in one go.

Fast forward ten years,  my boys didn’t need me as much anymore. My sister and sister in law were both expecting their first babies.  I got pregnant again, unfortunately it ended in a miscarriage at twelve weeks, but this only served to make me certain that I really wanted another baby.  Against the advice of the doctor, I didn’t wait a couple of months and was soon expecting what was to be our third son.

We had passed on all the baby equipment and had to start from scratch, buying a new cot, pram, highchair, car seat and all the other trappings you need for a baby.   Because of that and also because we didn’t want this baby to be ‘on his own’, we had our fourth child – a girl- 21 months later.  ‘In for a penny, in for a pound’ again!

There were definite advantages this time round, the older two were of an age to keep an eye on the babies so I could  do things like  cook the dinner while they played with them,  they would push them round the block in the pram while I caught up on housework, and were invaluable at bath time.   They even changed the occasional nappy!  They enjoyed having an excuse to re-visit their young childhood and could legitimately play with Lego, Playmobil and  Action Man, watch Fireman Sam and Postman Pat and read The Hungry Caterpillar and Peepo!  Up until they were 16, they even baby sat on the very rare evenings that my husband and I ever went out. (They had to stay in to do their homework anyway).

The downside is that they don’t let me forget all the help they gave me and take the credit for ‘bringing up’ my two younger children!  Surprisingly, it hasn’t put them off babies either, both boys have sons of their own now – all that practical experience definitely paid off.