Mind How You Go….

For my Daughter, who starts school this September….

Open your book, it’s Chapter one,
a whole new world has just begun.
As you turn each page & breathe the world in,
remember I’m here, should you need anything.

Step out, look up, there’s much to find,
be bold, be brave and always be kind.
I’m excited to see you blossom & grow,
but remember darling, mind how you go.

Everything’s changing but don’t be afraid,
discovering new things is how dreams are made.
It’s ok to feel scared, sad or unsure,
we’ll talk when you need to, that’s what I’m here for.

You only look forward, I understand that,
but Mummy can’t help sometimes looking back.
You see 4 years flew by at incredible pace,
how did so much time pass since I first saw your face?

Have your say and stand your ground,
don’t ever let anyone push you around.
You’ll sparkle & shine, this I already know
but baby please, mind how you go.

So this is it, off we go to school,
I know you’re ready but you look so small.
Ask questions, join in, but also listen a while.
Make friends, make memories, make everyone smile.

I’ll be thinking of you every day,
I’m right behind you if you lose your way.
There’s no limit to what you can achieve,
incredible things happen to those who believe.

Ignore Mummy’s tears, she’s silly as you know,
but do something for me, just mind how you go.

Mind how you go….

Love from Mummy xxx

Mind How You Go....

 
 

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What Is It With Small Children And Toilet Paper?

“The Beauty Of Unremarkable Things”

What do cheese, toilet paper, keys and shoes all have in common?

They are all unremarkable. But isn’t it amazing how many truly unremarkable things can entertain, fascinate & distract small humans for extended periods of time?

Although we as adults can’t always comprehend the fascination, maybe it’s because not all of these things are always on show and in fact, many might normally be off limits completely for small people, so by offering them you’ll be breaking several house rules and most likely undoing some previous good discipline work. Due to this, there are some associated risks.

Here’s a small selection of unremarkable items that my children suddenly become obsessed with the second they catch sight of them. Sometimes I purposely bring them into play when I just need to get sh*t done or I quite simply want to be left the hell alone!

What Is It With Small Children And….

….Cheese?
It’s cheese, what’s not to like right? But my daughter’s favourite, Cheese Strips, have the added benefit of coming in strips (does what it says on the tin), that can be pulled apart. She takes each strip off one at a time and eats them individually. It takes bloody ages, it’s brilliant!!! I can drink a whole cup of tea, sometimes I’ll even go back for another.
*For increased impact add a cracker, so plain, so simple but they’re like a child’s version of catnip. It’ll be like all their Christmas’s have come at once.
Risk Factor – cracker crumbs! You’ll be finding them for days.

….Keys & Remote Control’s?
I’m grouping these together as the benefits are all aligned. Now these are ours, not for them. They perform important jobs and are a massive pain in the arse to mend or replace. Oh…..but how they are coveted by small people. What is it with that? And the thing that gets me the most about keys and remotes is that we’ll buy them their own keys (plastic of course), give them an old remote or even some old real keys. But they know, don’t they? They know they’re not the ‘actual ones’. How is this possible? They can’t string two words together or wipe their own arse’s but they know immediately if you’ve tried to fool them with bogus technology!
Risk Factor – if you do give in and give them the ‘actual ones’ you may never be able to lock the front door again or change TV channel….eh

….Toilet Paper?
Again, why do small people love toilet roll so much? I think it’s the paper dangling there above their heads, isn’t it? They must feel like it’s teasing them. Waving it’s paper loveliness right in their faces. With its potential to be torn so easily into tiny little pieces, it’s quite understandably just too tempting not to reach up and grab. And grab some more…..and a little more. Until yes you have your own makeshift Andrex Puppy.
*Has the potential to amuse for long periods. Just imagine all the things you could get done?
Risk Factor – messy but it is only paper. If they eat some they’ll be fine (I guess?).

….Shoes?
One for little-little people. My 1-year-old is obsessed with shoes. I’m sure this will pass *please God*. So for a little time out I just sit him in front of a shoe rack. It’s genius. Just seeing his face light up. Beautiful.
Risk Factor – based on the fact that the 1-year-old likes to ‘post’ things in a variety of inventive places, there is the potential risk of never pairing up some shoes again. Hey ho….

….A Bucket Of Water?
My son was recently introduced to ‘the bucket of water’ on a sunny day in the garden. Hours and I mean hours of entertainment. Splash a ball in….take ball out….throw ball….collect ball….splash ball in……repeat.
*Requires supervision (just 1 eye will do) & good weather.
Risk Factor – possible drowning, so don’t fall asleep during your extended period of relaxation. And obviously the child will end up very soggy, but it’ll be well worth it.

Unremarkable Things

….Bubbles?
Get these out and you might as well don a long robe and silly hat because congratulations, you’ve just become The Pied Piper. Small children will follow you everywhere. So simple these floaty, transparent globes of joy. And the ‘untouchableness’ only seems to spur them on.
Risk Factor – don’t let them hold the bubble mixture. You know how that ends right?

I am making light of these things, as I always do, but actually whilst writing this, I have found myself smiling at just how wonderful it is that young children are fascinated by so many insignificant things.

For the vast majority of my son’s life, he has not needed shoes. But all the big people around him wear them and in fact, these people have several pairs each. That’s a lot of different shoes that don’t belong to him, no wonder he’s so interested.

We should perhaps every now and then try to view the world a bit more like our children do.

Let’s be more fascinated, let’s fully embrace the bubbles, the water and the cheese. In fact, let’s maybe do all three of those at once!

I am massively guilty of non-embracing. Life is so busy and complicated, I’m always thinking about the time it’ll take me to clear up and forgetting about the potential joy that will come before. Re-rolling a roll of toilet paper is such a phaff and it will never fit back on the holder. But. Maybe once in a while, we should just let them do it and think about the mess later?

 
 

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Crisis In Confidence

Self-doubt can be crippling. Call on friends, you know which ones, to help you fight this battle.

This week has not been a good week. Out of 10, I’d give it a meagre 3 and 2 of those points are just for not falling over or something equally as embarrassing in my first client presentation.

After being away from my job for a whole year, coming back and just ‘getting on with it’ is actually quite hard. Lots of things have changed, the world didn’t stand still whilst I populated it with one more person. My confidence has taken a real knock. What if I don’t know what I’m talking about anymore? What if someone asks me a question I can’t answer? Can I still deliver what everyone expects whilst managing a busy family life as well?

And then I thought about this blog. Should I carry on writing? It actually takes quite a lot of effort and therefore time. It’s not like it’s been a lifelong passion that I’m finally living out or anything like that. This just happened, I started writing 6 weeks ago, having not ever previously considered it. So I could just let it disappear into nothing, as quickly as it arrived.

Urgghh, but something inside me doesn’t want to let go of it, like a child with a new toy. Mine, mine, mine MINE! Back off self-doubt.

It has ignited something in me that I didn’t know existed. It gives me a real buzz, much like photography does. For me, photography is about capturing a moment, which means anyone can do it, on any kind of equipment. But when you get that shot, the shot that tells the exact story you want it to, it’s just an immense feeling. And to my utter surprise, this is how I’m also feeling about writing.

I’m not winning a Pulitzer prize for my photography anytime soon and it’s the equivalent with words. I know my writing is not ‘technically’ good, as I use an online editing tool that insists on frequently telling me so. It says things like:-

6 of your 20 sentences are hard to read

2 of your 20 sentences are very hard to read

6 adverbs, aim for 5 of fewer

I don’t know what to do with that? I will endeavour to learn of course. I want to be better but I also don’t want to stop whilst that process happens.

Another reason I don’t want to stop despite the aforementioned disapproval is that I remembered something a client said to me about 2 years ago. He said, “You’re funny Michelle because you write emails exactly the same way as you talk”. I think he meant I am informal and I will often, for people I know well, forgo any kind of greeting and get straight to the point. Unlike my Dad for example, who still starts every email to me with ‘Dear Michelle’. And then precedes to send me a text message to tell me he has sent me an email (which makes me smile, every time). Sorry, I digress……

The point of bringing that up is because it’s exactly what my blog is, it’s just me talking, I am starting a conversation here. This is just me, talking to just you and that’s what I like about it. This isn’t fictional writing where I’m trying to create a new universe for you to immerse yourself in and forget about normality. It’s quite the opposite in fact. This is just normal life. I want to write about things that people can actually relate to because real life provokes real emotions.

Whilst it’s not perfect, (I am quite self-aware, don’t worry) if we were having a face to face conversation I’m not going to stop half way through to Google synonyms to make myself sound clever am I? So I won’t here either. This is as clever as it’s going to get people!

I spoke to a good friend in the week whilst wading knee-deep through self-doubt. The kind of friend that you don’t talk to really regularly but when you do they give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside. We have the type of conversations that are worth waiting for.

He told me to “get out of my own way”….What a brilliant analogy, I am banking that for later use.

It’s a good point though and I do need to be told occasionally. Because it’s true isn’t it, sometimes you are the only person stopping yourself.

So for now, I am giving Michelle a swift elbow to the ribs. I am re-reading some of the positive comments I have had so far as they are affording me just enough momentum and confidence to carrying on.

Stay with me…….?