What I Know About Raising Boys


1.  Boys really love sticks… because they can pretend that they are swords, guns, lightsabers or wizard wands… Ollie currently likes to pretend that sticks are Minecraft torches, axes and bows and arrows.  Talk about a cheap toy?

2.  Boys are super cuddly and sweet… they may like to pretend they are Minecraft Men or Darth Vadar (no? Just Ollie?) but they can also be extremely cuddly.  This is SUCH a great thing about boys.  Underneath their ‘wannabe Batman’ exterior, there is a snuggly little mini man.  Studies show that boys that lack strong motherly bonds, are more likely to be aggressive and destructive!

3.  Boys clothes are cute too!  So much fuss is made about the clothing in shops for girls… and I’ll admit, it makes my ovaries twitch… BUT boys are fun to kit out too!  I love going to the shops and choosing cute outfits for Ollie and Nate.  Dungarees, shirts, skinny jeans, baggy jeans, trendy hoodies and rugby shirts?  CUTE!

4.  Pee goes EVERYWHERE.  It takes little boys a while to get used to their… erm… willy and how to aim properly (and in some cases… it is hard to REACH the toilet bowl).  Being the only person in my house to clean the bathroom, it is such a bonus when Ollie manages to get all his pee into the toilet bowl.  Also, while we are on the subject of the penis… it becomes a boys favourite bath toy from around the age of 1 year.  Haha.  Nate thinks his is hilarious!!

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5.  Mind you don’t step on LEGO.  There is Lego everywhere in our house.  In every room.  Ollie would spend hours building everything from the Titanic to his Auntie Sandra’s house in London!  I can’t count how many different things he has built.  I don’t ever yearn for a little girl to play tea parties etc with…I really and truly don’t… probably because I get SO SO much satisfaction in seeing how proud Ollie is of his lego creations.

6.  Boys are rough!  Ollie jumps off furniture, wrestles and body slams with hubby and he tumbles with Nate on the bed in the mornings.  We have taught Ollie from an early age that wrestling and rough-housing with daddy is fine… but never ever body slam a girl/ woman!  Ha! The rough-housing isn’t hard wired into EVERY boy, but most and experts say it’s normal and very healthy!

7.  A+E becomes a second home… well, not really… but expect a few trips!  Ollie has been  to hospital twice because of pulled elbow… ouch… both times it happened because he was monkeying around.  Nate has been to hospital with a split lip that he got by tipping up his pram!  Don’t blame yourself, these accidents come from having little boys who are excited, adventurous and very active!

8.  Boys are awesome.  So awesome, it hurts.  They love their mamas.  Both of the boys and I have a very strong bond.  Ollie calls me his BFF and I love it.  I get a special mama smile from Nate.  I hope the bond we have lasts forever and although I’ve said goodbye to the fantasy of going wedding dress shopping with my daughter, I’m now looking forward to maybe having my big grown up sons dance with me at their weddings instead.

My life in (just over) 250 words!

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I arrived a few weeks early on 16th July 1984, weighing 5lbs 5oz, to young parents… both just 23 and newlyweds.  Over the next 6 years my parents gave me two younger brothers.

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My mum and dad gave the three of us a very happy childhood.  We lived in lovely houses, went to good schools, had pets and went on frequent holidays but they got a divorce when  I was 15.  My mum later got remarried to a lovely man called Harry.  Yay!

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In the summer that I left school, I went to Virginia, USA to Au Pair.  I met my now husband, James, when I got back 3 months later, had a crush on him for 9 months before we got together!  I started university a few months into our relationship, but deciding that it wasn’t for me.

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We moved in together in our second year of dating, 100 miles away from home, and just a few months after, James proposed to me at a music festival in London… I said yes and we were married a year later… in a castle!

We started trying for a baby as soon as we were married.  We were super lucky to fall pregnant quickly… Ollie was born in June, 2008.

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We moved back to Belfast when Ollie was 3 months and bought our first house.  A short time after, we decided to add to our family.  We fell pregnant quickly but were heartbroken when we lost the baby 5 weeks later.  It took us a long 14 months to get a positive pregnancy test again… and we were happy for a week before our hearts were broken a second time.  It was 3rd time lucky for us when we got pregnant in May 2012 and Nate was born in January 2013.

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It has been the 4 of us against the world ever since. ❤

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Today is my 4th Mother’s Day and my 2nd as a mum of 2!  Nothing in my life has ever been as exciting/ scary/ tiring/ fun, as being a mummy to my two boys has been so far.

This morning Ollie woke me by serenading me with a song he made up himself and James accompanied him on the guitar.  Ollie is always so proud of the things he does himself… he knows how much I love his surprises.  The song went like this:

“Happy Mother’s Day,
To mummy,
Happy Mother’s Day,
To Emma,
E-M-M-A”

James made me a massive breakfast of french toast with maple syrup and bacon… so decadent and awesome!  James often makes this breakfast for birthdays and other special occasions.

We did have plans to go to Belfast Children’s Festival and the Transport Museum today… but those plans fell through when everyone woke up today full of snot and coughs, so instead we have all got up and put on clean pyjamas and are currently snuggled on the sofa under blankets.

James and Ollie are making chicken fajitas for me later… which is a total treat because I do all the cooking pretty much every single day.  I can’t wait to enjoy my evening off cooking!

Having my two boys has been life changing.  I don’t ever dream of pre-baby days because I’m living my dream right now.  I look at both of my healthy, happy, goooooorgeous little boys and I can’t believe they are mine.  I THINK I’m a good mummy and I owe this to my own mum.  She is amazing and I think I learnt a lot from having her at home with us all those years.  I’m glad that I’m lucky enough to be a stay at home mum too.

Nate’s Birthday Catch Up (Part 2)

As soon as I woke on Saturday, I had a to-do list as long as my arm.  So much party food to make including little man’s cupcake tower.  I made the same cake recipe as I used yesterday (Jamie Oliver’s victoria sponge recipe in case you were wondering!)
DSC_1698 Guests arrived for Nate’s birthday party at 3.  When I was inviting everyone, it didn’t sound like very many, but once they all got into our not very big house, it was FULL.  He was so pleased to see everyone… including a couple of baby friends.  A few of Ollie’s friends came too and Ollie was super excited to see them all.  He spiked his own hair for the occasion.

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Nate unwrapped lovely presents which included gift cards, gorgeous new clothes, a Playmobil Noah’s Ark, Laugh and Learn Puppy and a Leapfrog Lettersaurus! Such a lucky little boy!

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Ollie took all his friends to his room to play.  The noise that was coming through the ceiling, you would have thought there were 50 people up there instead of 5!!

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I made an avocado and mango salad, crackers with cheese inside, ham/ cheese/ pineapple sticks, carrots sticks with humous, potato salad with ham, sausages, sausage rolls and chicken nuggets and 2 pizzas!  For desert there was an apple pie, rainbow jelly, a pavlova, a trifle and tophats that were made by James and Ollie!

DSC_1738 The food went down a treat with the kiddies!

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After the food, and after my dad arrived, we lit Nate’s cake.  It made me feel teary walking in with the cake and hearing so many people sing to my littlest man.  My boys are so lucky to have so many people in their life, who love them.  So lucky.

IMG_0173 IMG_0182 Nate loved his bright blue iced cake.  He was a better fan of the icing than the cake itself… just like me!  Good old Betty Crocker!  He got icing all over his hand and then wiped it on his face!  Funny boy!

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When we all laughed about the icing on his face, he did it again.  Such a comedian!  IMG_0250 I gave each of the kids a party bag as they left… which included a little notebook, a pen, a pencil, candy sticks, chocolate, bubbles and a squeaky party blower thing… I’m not sure what you call them.  It took all Nate’s might to get a noise out of his but he loved Ollie blowing his at him.

IMG_0259 IMG_0270It took quite a while to calm Ollie down for bed and it took Nate a while to fall asleep… guess that would have been the sugar!  Such a memorable party for my wee man and equally memorable for Ollie.  He has been such a good big brother for a whole year!

 

Am I young to be settled with 2 kids?

I don’t think that I am.  But according to the statistics the average age in the UK to marry is 28 1/2 and the average age for women becoming first time mums is 29 1/2.  I’m going to be 28 in a fortnights time though I’ve been married for 5 years and have both a 4 year old and an almost 6 month old.  I’m DONE having children before I’m 30 (as far as I can see!!) and I feel happy to be done with that stage of my life, having my complete family here now and for us all to grow together.

I was 21 when James and I got engaged, 22 when we married and 23 when I had my first child.  I don’t feel like I missed out on anything getting married and having children younger than the UK average.  I sometimes think about how else I would have spent the last few years had I not followed this path.

When Ollie is 27 and Nate is 23 I will be 50.  The same age difference between Ollie and I as there is between me and my mum.  Me and my mum are very close.  I can tell her anything and I think it’s her age that makes the difference in how close we are.  She is still young enough to do fun things with me and young enough be a super trendy fun Grandma.  I hope to be the same when I am her age.

Have I missed out on the student lifestyle?  Living with friends?  Travelling the world?  I don’t think so.  I was never a big fan of going out and getting so drunk I pass out…. I also don’t mind that James is the first person other than my family, that I have lived with…. and as for travelling the world?  I like to think that James and I did the family thing young enough that we will be in our early 50’s when the kids have moved out and have families of their own… 50 is young enough to travel the world without responsibility… plus I envisage we will have more money in savings etc then than we do now, so travelling won’t be such a struggle financially.  I’m looking forward to raising my children first, and living out retirement with my husband 🙂

So in answer to the question…. I don’t think I am young to have got married and had children… it suits me perfectly and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The First Moments…

I remember the first moments with each of my boys very differently. The pregnancies were different but so too were the births. In fact, they couldn’t have been MORE different.

With Ollie’s birth, I don’t really remember a lot of the birth and I don’t remember the moment he came out. I remember the tug (he was a forceps delivery) and gush and vaguely remember him being placed on my chest for a moment before being taken to the baby table to be looked over. He was then placed into an incubator. James took some photos… I sat there in awe and shock. It was a traumatic birth and I think this really affected our first moments. I remember he looked huge, and had blue feet. I felt so sorry for him lying there in his incubator.
Nate was a water birth… I was the only person to touch him during his delivery and the only person to have touched him in his first 20 minutes of life. I remember he looked tiny and had a really squishy little face. I remember almost every part of his birth whereas with Ollie, it’s a puzzle and lots of the pieces are missing.

My first hours with Ollie again, are a blur. I remember them bringing me toast etc once we got up to the ward but I wasn’t feeling great so James ate it!! The midwife took him away to the nursery after James had gone home, I think I was still showing signs of shock and they figured I needed to rest. I zonked out. I woke at 5am… with such a massive EMPTY feeling…. I suddenly missed him SO much so went to the nursery to get him… it wasn’t until the moment I saw him again, that my MASSIVE love for him came flooding from nowhere.

Because Nate’s birth was a lot easier (obviously horrendously painful…but quicker, more straightforward etc) my mind was a lot clearer when he was born. Because I had not needed pain relief apart from the gas and air and there was nothing traumatic about his delivery, I remember it all so clearly. I remember being stitched up, exclaiming how I couldn’t believe that it had been SO quick! It was 3 hours 25 minutes from the moment my waters broke until he was born. It felt surreal and I felt like SUPERWOMAN.The first days as a first time mother went by fast. James and I looked at Ollie in wonder… snuggled… caught sleep when we could…. ordered takeout…. had adventures such as the first time out for a walk together, the first time out for a drive together… we had visitors.
The first few days as a mum of two went even faster. I spent the days (and still do) feeling like the most crazy lucky lady that ever lived. Two perfect, healthy, handsome, happy, little boys. It was nice the second time knowing how to do everything. There wasn’t the same nervousness and unknown as the first time. I knew how to dress a newborn, hold, feed and burp him.I can’t believe I have a 4 year old and a 4 month old. I don’t think the surreal feeling of having carried two children and given birth to them both will ever go away. I look at them both and can’t believe they are mine and that they’re mine forever!