Fly By

This summer is flying by. July is suddenly nearing its’ end and I’m three-fourths of my way through this pregnancy. It seems I’m growing by the day and my wardrobe is becoming more and more limited as the days pass. Unlike my pregnancy with C, I am still able to wear some of my pre-pregnancy dresses and tops, although trousers are now out of the question, because even the elastic-band trick is not working any longer. So I have my ever-faithful numbered tops, skirts, trousers and beloved flat sandals, and I’m set it seems. The only items of clothing I can experiment with are accessories, so at the moment I’m splurging  on necklaces and bracelets. And clothes for C of course..the little missus is constantly outgrowing her clothes and gives me the perfect excuse to go shopping for her. Her clothes are my guaranteed ticket to burn.

We are spending our days swimming, going out for ice-cream walks, meeting up with friends and eating. I don’t know about you but (pregnancy aside) I eat more in the summer months. I go out more often, dine out more frequently and finish each meal with an ice-cream or something sweet. Winter plates may be heavier, but summer eating is much more frequent it seems. At least for me.

I’m enjoying the last few weeks of being a mother of one.  I am sometimes scared of ruining the balance we have reached with her when the baby comes. We know her routine and her dis/likes, we love her late mornings and laid-back attitude, and I do fear, yet know, that she will change with the new arrival. She is a tall three-year old, yet she is still such a young girl. She still needs reassurance and warm cuddles, she looks to us for smiles and kisses and is full of love. A new baby will take away some of the attention she has grown used to now, but I’m believing and hoping it will be for the better. Add to that a new school and lifestyle and she sure is in for a change. We are trying to make the transition as easy as possible for her, we talk about the baby everyday, she kisses and hugs my tummy and has started helping me out with daily chores I’m no longer able to do myself, yet I know that it will still be a shock for her. However her character reassures me that she will be the best older sister for her sibling.

Again, I can’t believe that at three years of age she will already be an ‘older’ sister.

Time is flying by. Our days are lazy ones and I’m trying to enjoy each day of this summer to its’ fullest. I can’t fully appreciate the summer as much as I did in previous years, with my aching back, tired legs and a kicking baby, but I’m doing my best.

So far, so good.

I can't believe we will soon be going back to these days...it seems surreal, slightly scary yet at the same time I can not wait!

I can’t believe we will soon be going back to these days…it seems surreal, slightly scary yet at the same time I can not wait!

 

 

Three.

My Kikkina

The last time I wrote you a letter was last year and the one before.  I could have written the same words today, but you’re three so you deserve a new set of words and a new letter. I’m not normally stuck for words, but between my hormones and everything else, this letter came after lots of drafts and sobs.

You’ve been in our lives for three years, yet it seems as if you’ve always been here. I can not even remember life without you in it. You are that important to us – you are our whole lives.

I see my younger self in you – when you trace any numbers and letters you see, whenever I switch off your bedroom lights and hear sounds coming out from your room minutes later, and find you ‘reading’ (turning) the pages of a book, one leg crossed over the other. I have now understood that you are nobody’s fool and you do things at your own pace and at your choosing. No one can force you to do something you’re not ready for. You have your preferences and your ideas and no one can change them for you. I am constantly choking up as I hang your little colourful pants on the hanging line. Where did my baby go?

I love your loving nature, your laughs, your spontaneous bursts of love, hugs and kisses, how you come hug my tummy and ask me ‘what is mama’s baby doing?’ You are energetic and never stop for a moment, you tire me at times, but it is who you are. Yet for all this, you have a sensitive side which I treasure so much. You sense when other people are not feeling their best and your attitude changes around them. Whenever I am abrupt with you for whatever reason, you come over and ask me ‘Are you happy mama’?’ You are my sweetheart, my little joy and my soulful little girl.

A big part of me wants to keep you at this age forever. I don’t want you to go to school next autumn and be a student with new friends and new timetables. I don’t want you to grow up any faster and change a bit. I want you to remain the girl you are today, just the way you are.

We have always tried our very best with you. As first-time parents we may have gotten it wrong a couple of times but everything we did was always done with love and with you in mind. You have to understand that whatever we are and did in our lives, our biggest achievement and biggest pride is having you as the little girl you are today. You may understand this when you are older yourself and have children of your own, but I never thought it possible to actually feel my heart swell with pride and love. Yet it happens with you every day. I thank my lucky stars for you, my little angel.

You made us parents for the first time and we will soon make you a big sister. Honestly speaking, I don’t want to give you the title of ‘big sister’ for the sole reason that it makes you feel so much older than what you are. However I know that you will be the best older sister out there. It will be a huge transition for us all, we have to adapt to being a family of four and not of three, but I know we will manage and do just fine. I hope and pray that we will be giving you a best friend for life, a sibling to take care of and love whatever happens in life. I am trying to prepare you as well as I can for the new arrival. You will know and realize that we might have a new baby to take care of, but you will always be our ‘big baby’, you brought the biggest change in our life, and we would not have it any other way.

So happy birthday my little Kikkina. Stay happy, keep smiling, always laugh and be true to yourself.

Mama’s hormones might be all over the place at the moment, so excuse my tears when I kiss you happy birthday little one. Just know that they are tears of joy, love and pride.

As we always tell you – we love you to the moon and back.

And more and more.

xxx

My life

My life

 

Getting There At Last…

I had, rather unenthusiastically, given potty-training a try last summer. It can barely be called a ‘try’. More like an unwilling effort to try and ditch Cesca’s nappy by leaving her for a couple of minutes a day without a nappy and expecting her to switch to panties and toilets in a matter of hours.
Of course it did not work. And I wasn’t really bothered because in all honesty there is nothing more convenient than putting on a nappy onto a toddler and not having to worry about toilet availability, toilet cleanliness and God forbid forgetting to ask the toddler whether s/he needs to use the bathroom and a dog-like puddle of pee resulting in a public place. So I was okay with it and moved on.

However Cesca starts school in a couple of months. And nappy-wearing toddlers are not allowed. At the same time, if there is one thing I learnt, it’s that no one can force Cesca to do something unless she wants to do it herself, even though she understands what is expected of her and knows what is right and what is not. Her stubbornness is legendary amongst us now.

She continued to scream at potties and slam toilet seats down. She gathered a small collection of varied panties but would want to wear the hearts one when I showed her the Minnie ones, or the blue ones when I gave her the princess ones. Her nappy remained on and her parents’ anxiety level slightly rose. But again, we could do nothing until she was ready.

And then one fine day she found her potty, brought it to us and asked to use it. She sat down, did her business, refused to put on a nappy from then onwards and has been using the toilet and the potty regularly ever since! She had two accidents on the first day, but it’s been a week now that she’s a toilet-converter. There were an awkward couple of days when she refused to wear panties (dresses and skirts were duly banned), but after taking her underpants-shopping and spending fifteen minutes choosing between four packs, she finally picked the ones she liked and is now actually wearing them.

We have a small celebratory ritual after each toilet visit – we high-five, we shout ‘hurray’ and she uses up a whole roll of toilet paper each time, but she’s off nappies.

Her next step is learning to poop in the toilet and getting rid of the night nappy. The latter will probably occur very soon because she is all but ready, but it’s more a case of me not wanting to get up in the middle of the night to take her to the bathroom every couple of hours. As for the number two matter, she still has not used the toilet for that one but I’m sure she’s on the right road.

This milestone was the most difficult one yet for me as a parent. Everyone tells you the same thing – that toddlers will only start using the potty or the toilet when they are ready, but still I wanted it to happen sooner rather than later. The book I had bought to help me with potty training was good help, but only in an ideal world because no one child is like another. Now thankfully it seems to be finally happening. Her clothes fit better without the extra baggage of a nappy and she is so very proud of herself. And we are over the moon with her as well 🙂

Baggy bottoms are a thing of the past haha!

Baggy bottoms are a thing of the past haha!

 

Something Beautiful

When you live on a Rock, it is very difficult to keep certain things hidden. Not that you actually have anything to hide, but you prefer talking about some things a bit later rather than sooner. When we lived in England we managed to keep most of our things to ourselves and reveal them at our choice and timing. Gozo is a hundred times different. Some people here are gifted with that particular talent of recognizing the tiniest iota of change in others before they’ve been told about it, and you can not refuse answering their questions or queries.

Again, we have nothing to hide. At this point we can not hide anything not even if we wanted to.

I will let this photo of myself (on the right) and my friend Maureen (on the left) do all the talking…

Two friends, two bumps :)

Two friends, two bumps 🙂

That’s right. Cesca’s going to be an older sister!

I’m more than halfway through with the pregnancy, and have started recently growing on an hourly basis (or so it seems to me!) We feel blessed and thankful, everyone and everything is so exciting and I can’t wait for summer to end and get to meet our Number Two! We talk to Cesca about the new addition all the time, mainly to get her used to the idea that she will soon have a sibling to share her life with. I don’t know whether she fully understands what is going to happen, but she makes me smile (and shed a tear) when she hugs my tummy, kisses the baby and tells us that “mama’ has a baby in her tummy swimming upside down”.

So the not-so-secret secret is out. Again, it has not been a secret in Gozo for a couple of weeks now.

And nor do we want it to be. Not when something so beautiful is happening 🙂

 

Eat. Sleep. Ask. Talk. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Toddlers are inquisitive. I have just realized how curious a nearly three-year old can be. Cesca is going through the fascinating, yet sometimes headache-inducing phase of asking questions all the time. And I mean constantly, without pause or rest for us.  She has always been a talker, and lately her phrases have turned into full sentences,. Conversing with her is fun. She learns new words and phrases every day and sometimes bewilders us with the things that come out of her mouth. We try to keep straight faces when she is talking, but that’s sometimes difficult especially when she comes running up to us, starts gesticulating with her hands whilst explaining how rectangles have two short sides and two long sides and how circles have no corners and no sides.

She has lately started differentiating between a boy and a girl, and everyone she sees is classified according to their sex. Even her teddies get this treatment.

Lately though, it’s all about questions. She has started questioning everything and everyone. It is a cute phase, but after hours of it at a go, I am usually begging her to hold back on the questions for a while.

“Mama’?”

“Yes Cesca, tell me”.

“Is papa’ a dentist?”

“Yes he is”.

“Am I a dentist?”

“No, you’re a baby”.

“No mama’! I am a little lady”.

– Pause for a minute…and then

“Mama?”

“Yes?”

“Am I a girl?”

“Yes you are”.

“No, I’m a little lady”.

“Okay you’re a little lady”

“Are you a girl mama’?

“Yes”.

“And papa’ is a boy?”

“Yes he is”.

And this usually goes on for every person she knows.

 

The most tedious of talks though has to be the one with colours.

“Mama, what colour is the rainforest? Is it blue?”

“No, it’s not blue”.

“Is it red?”

“No, it’s not red”.

“Is it black?”

“No, it’s not black”>

“Is it green? Yes, it’s green! Hurray”

Followed by lots of jumps and giggles. She loves answering her own questions at times.

She now is fascinated with car brands, so her new question is something along the lines of “What car is that?” She’s now memorizing car names, which is cute yet sightly embarrassing when she points at a Kia and shouts “The Kia is very slow”, and then sees a Volkswagen and excitedly says “The Volkswagen goes very very fast!!”

If we meet you and she waves her finger at you and asks you “What’s your name?” and “How old are you”, or “Are you a boy or a girl?” or “What is that?”, please be warned that it’s a phase she’s going through. Don’t feel obliged to divulge any information 🙂

 

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For any mummies out there, I strongly recommend the Brainy Baby episodes which can be viewed on YouTube. Cesca loves them so much so that she now knows them  nearly by heart, and half her phrases and questions come straight off these epiosdes! They keep toddlers occupied and give parents an hour’s rest every now and then 😉

 

 

All The Small Things

It is so easy to dismiss the small things in life that make us smile. Life rushes us off our feet and the brief moments of laughter are sometimes carried away by it all. I realized this a couple of days ago, how I was sometimes inadvertently missing out on laughing at the silly things in life. You know, laughing for no particular reason at all or spending a whole afternoon laughing and smiling at a somewhat normal episode.

Nearly all these episodes involve Cesca.

Raising a toddler offers many of these moments.

Cesca is now a little lady. ‘Lady’ is her word of choice. To me she is just my overgrown baby who happens to turn three in the next couple of weeks. I sometimes find myself staring at her, at how much of her own person she is, how assertive and mind-set she is and how her character is already set in stone. She is a small joker, loves nothing but being in the centre of attention, cuddles and hugs are her absolute favourite and she is a little teaser.

Typical Cesca!

Typical Cesca!

And she talks. Without stopping. All the time.

Her discovery of new words and phrases is the funniest thing ever. Her vocabulary expands daily, and I marvel at how she uses the correct phrase at the right moment.

Whenever she enters into a (usually my) dirty car, her first expression is always, “How disgusting!” Rightly so. Try to give her something she does not like to eat and she will roll her at eyes at you and primly tell you, “How disgusting”. And once it’s deemed as disgusting, nothing will change her mind.

Her latest phrase is now, “Okay, no problem”. So if I explain to her that she can’t have chocolate in the morning, she nods at me and tells me, “Okay, no problem. Have it later”.  Whenever she asks to go on the purple slide (I always forget which one that is) at 8 o’clock at night and I tell her that she can’t because it’s bedtime, she shrugs her shoulders and replies, “No problem. We go tomorrow”. Nothing is truly a problem with Cesca.

She has now taken to starting up conversations with total strangers. As totally unlike me and her father as she can possible be, she manages to hold full conversations with supermarket assistants and shop attendants. Last week she went up to an unknown attendant, looked at her and told her, “Hello lady, how old are you?” The poor woman had to give her age, to which Cesca replied “I have two. Will be three in July”. When the attendant continued chatting to her, Cesca gave her the cold shoulder, said bye, pointed to an ‘Administration’ sign and started spelling it. She had the whole shop in tears of laughter.

She abhors the word ‘brava’. She barely tolerates ‘good girl’ and reacts better to ‘well done’ and ‘good job’. It is quite the feat biting back ‘brava’ because it comes so naturally to me. But she always lets me know that she is ‘no brava’.  Ah, Cesca. I always thought children loved being called brava…

Avicii is her favourite band. It started off with “Hey Brother“, went on to “You Make Me” and now “Addicted To You” is growing on her. I had to look up these names, yet she will sing the words off these songs whenever she hears the beats. She runs to the computer, sits down on the chair and sings along like there’s no tomorrow. Sometimes she also breaks into a dance which is the funniest thing ever. Yet the honour of singing does not extend to her mother. Whenever I try and sneak in a hum or a song, she looks at me angrily and tells me “Don’t sing mama'”. I never thought I was that bad.

I look at her at times, and still see her this young x

I look at her at times, and still see her this young x

Writing this, I’m smiling and silently laughing. Life is definitely not dull with a toddler around.