Straight Out

Perhaps many of you know by now that my eldest daughter is the outspoken one. She is the one who knows no boundaries when it comes to social skills. Whatever one thinks and keeps in for himself (for fear of fighting with the whole island), she says out loud and clear. For this reason she is perceived as arrogant and sometimes rude. I disagree because I know that what she says isn’t meant with maliciousness or bad intent. For her what is white is white, and she will tell you it’s white, and she wants to be assured that you heard her telling you it’s white. As you can see it’s not just her stating the obvious in a blunt manner. It’s also making sure that her audience has heard and understood her. It is perhaps more the latter which makes us, her poor and silent sufferers, cringe and constantly apologize to people who either don’t know her, or perhaps more correctly, are not used to having children around. Mothers understand me when I tell them about this trait of hers. I have had some of my friends nod in embarrassed understanding. I have been told not to make a big deal out of it in front of her, and I do try to. I really try. But sometimes, in certain situations, I have snapped at her, I have apologized to people and I have become so red in the face I thought I’d actually, physically burst.

Cesca’s latest question, to anyone who looks a bit different to her in her books, is “Are you a boy or a girl?” She has asked it to men with long hair and women with short hair. She accompanies the question with a pointed finger to ensure that the recipient of her question hears her and answers her. For she does not budge before she gets an answer. And when it’s one she doesn’t agree with, she will go on. “But you have long/short hair?” If you know me or my husband you may understand how we react…

She has starting catching on any physical features which are not right in her books, and asking about them too. She has asked people why they have thin eyebrows, why their boobies are so big (“they’re huge mama’!!”) and why the boys at her school use the toilet standing up when she has to sit down. She once mentioned the words “elephant trunks” when discussing the latter, but thankfully (very much thankfully, eternally grateful and much obliged) she never again talked about it.

On one of the very few instances I let the television on E! Entertainment and a trailer for the new Caitlyn Jenner programme came on, Cesca came running to me, dragged me in front of the television set and asked me why that lady was talking in a man’s voice. “She had the flu and probably lost her voice with all the coughing”. She stared at me and back at Caitlyn, and that awkward moment passed to. I have never ever switched to E! in her presence ever again.

At the beginning of this scholastic year, she wanted to know all about babies. “How did Bettina get into your tummy mama’?”, “How did she get out of your tummy?”, “What instruments did the doctor use to get her out of your tummy?” I have to admit that these are questions I never expected from a 4-year old. I found myself at great difficulty trying to explain things to her without properly explaining them (I’m sure you get my drift), and not lying at the same time. Somehow she was satisfied with the short answers I gave her, and that uncomfortable chapter is closed. For now at least.

During a recent school holiday we went to Malta for the day and in a restaurant we went to she struck up a conversation with the waitress, a young girl of around 20 who unfortunately for her, was wearing a neon-orange top. Cesca had to ask her why she had chosen ‘such an ugly top’ to wear. The waitress told her, “You don’t like it? But why?”

“I don’t like that colour. It isn’t a very nice orange. I think you should go and change”.

“Oh, you want me to go change it?”

“Yes, I think that would be best”. (Her exact words).

The waitress looked at her, at my mum and myself (at that moment we were red on the verge of turning purple), and told us “Ommi ma, xi hlew ta’ tifla!” (Oh my, what a cute little girl!”) Better than being told off I guess.

Her latest fascination – poop. Poop and colours to be precise. She is now preaching to us her faithful audience, how snowman’s poop is white, Santa’s is red and the Minions poop blue poop. So now you know too.

These moments are (unfortunately) very frequent. Nearly daily to be precise. But as much as I sometimes foresee and dread certain situations, I would not change them for anything in the world. Cesca has a particular character, for as much as she is outspoken, appears confident and strides on without any fear, she is a true soft girl at heart. She is sensitive and kind, and these features are sometimes hidden by her blunt nature. She is the girl who can keep you entertained for hours at end, and you perhaps won’t want her near you when suffering from a headache, but I promise she will make you smile and laugh with her words. She is my own personal radio station. She tells me everything about school, who wore what, how their hair was, what they had for lunch, who wore a jacket, what coloured chair they all sat on – and I have no reason to doubt her word. Her most adorable feature is perhaps her relationship with her sister. They do fight don’t get me wrong. I do sometimes catch her pushing Bettina out of the way of her toys or telling her to go away. But I don’t worry too much about Bettina because she is our little warrior, always striding onwards and onwards, fearing very little on the way. When they start playing together, giggling together, chasing each other and laughing at something one of them does, I feel like freezing that moment and holding onto it forever. Time passes too quickly with them.

So if you’re ever one of Cesca’s recipients for certain comments, please just go with the flow. We don’t teach her to point out certain things, to talk about them, ask them and question them, but she is who she is. It is just her curiosity talking out loud. She might point out at you in the middle of the road and loudly say that you’re following us and she might ask you why you are wearing those funny shoes, and for this I apologize. Half my time with her involves apologizing to strangers. I’m trying to teach her not to be too outright and blunt when talking to strangers, but it’s proving to be a long and hard lesson. In the meantime, we are being very patient, much embarrassed and constantly apologizing. But that’s parenthood for you 🙂

Strolling By

I haven’t written in what seems to be ages. Not from lack of events, far from it. Finding the time to put thoughts into words is the ultimate feat.

Bettina turned one, Cesca started her second year at school, I started full-days at work, our house is slowly being erected. Life is good. Hectic, tiring and exhausting, but nothing to complain about. Our life sometimes resembles a family sitcom show – the evenings especially are crazy, and when I finish cleaning up the kitchen, Anthony handles the toys and the girls are put to bed, I let out a huge sigh of relief. For as much as I love the girls, I love them that bit more when they’re both laying in bed, clean and happy and ready for the night.

Juggling work with family is not easy.

I am not one to complain. Yet sometimes I yearn for the stay-at-home lifestyle. Returning home after a full day of work to start what is a second full-time job is tiring. Sometimes I struggle to make the bed or think up the evening’s menu. But I think motherhood toughens us up, and we move on and forward. I falter, I trip along the way, but I try and move on. Sometimes, I hobble along to end the day, but somehow we’re all good. So things must not be as bad as I sometimes think they are.

So two months of not writing here is because of this. It’s not about not having anything to write or say. It’s just not having the energy and time to sit down and concentrate for an hour.

For now I’ll probably just write small snippets here and there. But I promise I’ll be back properly.

Can’t promise when though.

Keep-Moving-forward

Togetherness

Our little Bettina is growing up. Now that she’s bottom-shuffling and learning to express herself, she has become Cesca’s perfect buddy in crime. From the day Bettina was born, Cesca was constantly asking me when her little sister would start playing with her. It seems those days are here for now when together, they are inseparable. Their favourite way of playing is very messy and involves all the toys they have, but they spend hours together, playing, fighting (mainly B pulls C’s hair when the latter takes her toys) and giggling. Oh the giggling, how I love hearing them laugh together! Bettina is constantly following Cesca with her eyes, and I swear she gives her big sister a unique look of total love which neither me nor Anthony get. And Cesca (known to us, her parents, as our full-blown diva with the sky-high self-esteem and total love of self), has found her perfect role as a big sister. Bettina is the perfect audience. She claps when Cesca calls her, she claps when Cesca sings, and she claps when Cesca gives her toys. I’ve said it before and I will repeat it now – from the moment we found out we were having another girl, this is what we wanted and wished for. This camaraderie they seem to have, this hidden bond which ties them together. Bettina was a godsend to Cesca. And Bettina is lucky in a way that Cesca wasn’t. Bettina has a full-time entertainer, talker, performer – Cesca only had me as that. And my eldest daughter is a million times better a performer than I ever will be.

They are spending more time together now than in winter, and although tiring (and draining in this awful heat), they are a laugh. Their characters seem to be different. My friends all agree on the First Child Syndrome – the first child is the one who is unarguably spoilt, has a great sense of self-worth, struggles a bit when s/he learns that the world does not revolve around him/her alone and is somewhat a bit bossy. Cesca is all that. She loves an audience, insists on being called a queen, and I’m pretty sure she will start referring to herself in the third person pretty soon. But is so much more. Her sensitivity surprises me and the love she gives is a joy. She surprised me most with Bettina – she fully accepted her without an ounce of jealousy, and every sentence starts with “Me and Bettina…” Unfortunately third parties are sometimes rudely excluded. To their face. With a pointed finger ordering them to go away.

The Second Child Syndrome mainly involves the child being somewhat more of a fighter. S/he fights to find his/her own place in the world. S/he never knows the full and total attention of the parents as the First Child did, and this is due to obvious reasons. But the Second Child is observant, more knowledgeable about what is going on around him/her and although may appear quieter and calmer than the First Child, when need be, s/he will make his/her voice heard. Bettina is more ‘gathered’ than Cesca. She has an air of tranquility around her which makes everyone who meets her remark on her jolly nature. In these nine and a half months she’s been in our lives, the only times I have known her to get upset is when she’s hungry and when it’s time to take her out of the bath. Otherwise it’s mostly she smiles, I smile.

Together they click. And how!

Christmas in July.

Christmas in July.

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This is basically the sum of my lives together with these girls :)

This is basically the sum of my life together with these girls 🙂

This Moment

I never even realize how much time has passed between blog posts until I receive an email from WordPress telling me that it’s been while since I put fingers to keyboard, and typed away. So much is happening, time is never enough and posts which I write in my head just before I go to sleep, somehow never make it here.

The girls are growing up fast and quick. Bettina is now six months old, she just cut her first tooth and is still learning how to sit up unaided. Cesca will be four in three months, she is a human radio and never EVER stops talking (she even talks in her sleep), and has found the perfect role in being a big sister. Bettina is her doll, her property, the recipient of her songs and conversations, mannequin for hair-bands and clips, and just her’s, plain and simple. And even though sometimes I pity little Bettina, who is never left alone when Cesca is with her, I look at them both and my heart fills up with so much love and joy. Because from the very moment we found out that we would be having another girl, today is exactly what we wanted from both girls. We wanted them to be each other’s world, we wanted to give each other looks of unconditional love, secret smiles and giggles. I smile when I see Cesca fiddling around with Bettina’s ear, and Bettina in turn playing with the other ear (it seems to be one of the many things they have in common). My heart warms up when I hear Bettina laughing at Cesca who pretends to gobble up her toes, or play hide and seek with her. Bettina doesn’t move or cry whenever Cesca surrounds her with soft toys and whole regiments of animals, whilst playing. She just looks at her sister, studies her and smiles at her whenever they catch each other’s eyes. For Bettina is a smile-r, she smiles, she laughs, she’s a sweetheart. And Cesca, who sometimes plays up and can be a proper pain, is deep down the most sensitive and gentle girl I have ever seen. Her transformation around her sister is amazing.

Yes, two children are hard work. The days just fly by, our time and energy is consumed by these two little angels. Weekend sleepovers are over – by 7.30am, our bed is normally hosting the whole family. We have to sometimes schedule time for ourselves, because the parent-mode switch is never off. But we would not have it any other way, not for a second. Seeing the girls so much in-sync is our greatest gift as parents, hearing their laughs coming from their rooms is a blessing, and we only pray and hope that this bond which is so beautiful to watch forming between them, lives on, grows stronger and survives all.

Life is made of these…

Yesterday was quite surreal. My brother found a video recording of my dad, taken during a family holiday. It was startling and fascinating to watch. It was a short video, but his voice could be heard clearly and his face is focused. i listened to it over and over again. I closed my eyes whilst doing so, and for a second I imagined he was next to me talking. I had not heard that voice for nearly nine years, and try as I did, my recollection of my father’s voice was next to nil. It is easy to remember a face because a photo and a dream easily trigger the memory. But the voice is a different matter. The voice is perhaps the first memory of a person to fade away. And after nine years, my father’s was a very distant recollection.

I can not believe that in two months time, he will be gone for nine years. So many things happened and so many things changed that it’s difficult to think about how much he missed out in the meantime.

Which makes me affirm our decision to move back to Malta. England was great. England was about new experiences, opportunities, new friends and horizons. But Malta is where our roots our. Our family is here, our friends are here, our familiar places are here. And having children only made us want to settle down here more and more. It was not easy, I’m sure you all remember my posts back then. But over time, we have come to adjust quite well, and even though England will always hold a special place in our heart, Malta is home now. And perhaps the one thing which reaffirms our decision again and again is seeing both sets of families with our children. All faces light up. It is chuckles all round and smiles as big as that of the Cheshire cat itself. Having them experience both children growing up on a daily basis made each difficult step of this journey worth it. We didn’t want them having a weekend every month. I didn’t want the children seeing our families a couple of days a year, not knowing who their parents families and friends are. I have to say that one thing that always puts a smile on my face is seeing Cesca play and interact with children of our friends, and knowing friends who had children around the time Bettina was born. It feels as if a full circle is being drawn and things are being completed.

Because I have learnt that life is all about memories. Small snippets of happy moments is what makes a life worthwhile. And although we may have missed out by moving back to Malta, it definitely does not feel like it. Because my children are making beautiful memories with our families, and the grandparents are in seventh heaven in the meantime. We meet up with old friends and laugh, and have learnt how to be a couple again, with some proper ‘us’ time. My dad’s demise taught me that. It’s all about the little, simple things. The rest does not really matter after all.

And although my dad is not here to experience Cesca and Bettina first-hand, I know and feel that he is their guardian angel. Which makes them lucky children. From every aspect.

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Nearing The End

2014 is nearing its’ end.

It couldn’t have been a more eventful year if we wanted it to be.

We got pregnant.

We had our little Bettina.

We started building our future home.

Cesca started school.

(and other ‘minor’ episodes I won’t bore you with…)

The timing of some events could have been better, granted. But we somehow managed.

We learnt that bit more about ourselves and are better for it.

2014 was a tough bitch at times. It was full of change. It brought us the greatest happiness ever in the form of our little angel Bettina. It taught us hope and persistence, and the amazing power of prayer and positivity. It presented us with our greatest fears, brought us to tears at times, and made us question what we thought we knew. We progressed in some areas, regressed at others. It made us bang our heads against the wall one day, but made us cry with laughter the day after.

We will end 2014 slightly bruised perhaps, but stronger than ever.

So 2014, thank you. I can’t think how 2015 will top this year, but knowing the little I do about life, I’m sure it will.

Dear friends, seasons greetings to you all! Blog-wise, 2014 was a testing year at times. You all helped me along the bumpy path life led me to at times, and you all cheered our happy events with your sweet words and messages. So thank you friends, all of you near and far, friends and practical strangers. I wish you all the best of the festivities to come. Stay safe x

My sweetheart turned three!

My sweetheart turned three!

The Bump

The Bump

Two friends, two bumps, which resulted in Bettina and Ivy :)

Two friends, two bumps, which resulted in Bettina and Ivy 🙂

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Running to meet her little sister for the first time x

Running to meet her little sister for the first time x

12 hours after her sister was born, Cesca started school!

12 hours after her sister was born, Cesca started school!

She's changed so  much in the seven months it's been since the photo's been taken x

She’s changed so much in the seven months it’s been since the photo’s been taken x

The definition of love.

The definition of love.

Sea-Blue Calm

I have approximately eight and a half weeks left of being pregnant. Maybe because it’s a second pregnancy, maybe because it’s summer and maybe because this time round I’m much more busier than three years ago, the weeks have just flown by. I’m in my third trimester and bar the back aches and swollen ankles (hello cankles!) I am in a happy, serene place. My days are overall calm, my spirit is high and thankfully (for the time being) my nights are serene.

Four doctors and five visits later we have a confirmation about the sex of the baby. This time round the baby was not as co-operative as C was and it took lots of visits and weeks to get a confirmation. With C, we knew as early as our 14-week visit. This time round the baby waited till it was 30 weeks old. Better late than never I guess for someone who likes to plan and organize everything beforehand like me. Don’t go thinking we’re anywhere near ready though. Oh no. We still have no names ready, no hospital bags, no baby apparel, nothing. It may be a repetition of C’s story again. C was born, in my arms and we were still undecided about the name. It was only when we were put on the spot that we made a split-second choice, and luckily enough it was one we never regretted. Her name fits her to a tee.

I’m enjoying this third trimester. It may be very hot and I’m practically energy-less but I’m in good spirits. I’m trying to enjoy C as much as I can and her company is the best one out there. She’s hard-headed and stubborn yet it is what makes her who she is. There’s no beating round the bush with her. If she likes you she will talk to you willingly and happily. But if for some strange reason she does not take a liking to you, she will tell it to you as it is. It is very embarrassing having her tell my friends and strangers alike “I don’t like you” or “I don’t want to talk to you”, but there is nothing I can do. I’m sure every mother out there will understand this. She looks at people and loudly says, “Mama, why is the lady sad? She’s not happy”. I have to then explain to her that just because someone is not laughing out loud does not make them sad. But that is the way her three-year old mind works. When she is happy she giggles, laughs, dances to Mickey Mouse songs and jumps into our arms telling us “I love you” over and over again. When she sees us quiet, she approaches us and asks us “Are you sad mama’? I make you happy?” A yes prompts her to hug us and literally lick our faces off.

She is my happy bunny 🙂

 

It's these quiet yet goofy moments that I want to treasure x

It’s these quiet yet goofy moments that I want to treasure x

One of the quiet moments, although the youngest of us all was kicking like crazy in there :)

One of the quiet moments, although the youngest of us all was kicking like crazy in there 🙂