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 🙂

Nesting

I’m in the last days of this pregnancy. I have to say that everything is that bit harder to do now. Getting up off the sofa requires some to-and-fro rocking to gain momentum to raise my bottom upwards. Finding a comfortable position anywhere is impossible and the baby’s kicking-force is something I don’t remember experiencing with C.

I’m think I am now nesting. The baby clothes are washed and ready. C’s school things are nearly done as well. Both events are happening at around the same time, so I’m doing all that I can right now. But I’m a procrastinator, so my hospital bag is not yet done and there are many things which need doing eventually. I’m not stressing myself. Everything will happen, sooner or later.

I can’t promise more regular posts for the time being. If this baby is anything like C, it could arrive next week! I’m just praying that it sees this week out so that A who is away, will return back to The Rock just in time.

Who knows? We were extremely lucky when C arrived, maybe we will be this time also.

In the meantime, thank you everyone for your warm wishes and kind words. This blog has helped me reach out to other mummies, and find comfort in their words, and hopefully they in mine.

Thank you again x

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Last photo of us as a family of three?

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!

 

 

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!

 

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 😉

 

 

Randomness

My mind is full of ideas. Yet like I wrote last time, I am finding some difficulty in composing a fully-fledged post. So for now I’ll resort to bullet-listing what’s happening and what’s been cooking in this mind of mine. If this is the way this blog will work for the time being, then so be it.

– We vowed that 2014 would be calmer and less hectic than 2013. We’re happy 2013 happened but we’re much more happier that it’s gone and done with. At moments it felt like one never-ending roller-coster ride. It’s good to be in the midst of calm for at least a moment or two before madness finds us again.

– It seemed just months ago I was pregnant with C, and now we have just chosen schools for her to start attending this October. Yes, SCHOOLS!! We won’t know for certain which one she’ll attend for a couple of weeks, but to have even started thinking about it broke me down in a one big panic attack and emotional mess. How did this come about so quickly? I don’t think I can get away with calling her a baby anymore… 😥

– We are excitedly planning some trips for our little family. Living in Gozo and staying here for long stretches of time does make us fidgety and restless. If there’s one thing we miss from England, it has to be the ease with which you could travel and change scenery. The closest thing we can do here in Gozo is travel to Malta. And if you’re Maltese and think that’s pathetic, well know you can imagine how impossible it is to be cooped up in Gozo for a long period of time.

– As much as I complain sometimes how impossible 2013 was at times and how hard it sometimes is living on a small rock, I have to admit that we have all found ourselves again. I have started working and as much as I miss my little C, I have to admit that I am a better person because of it. I needed so badly to start waking up, dressing up in something other than track-pants, meeting adults and getting my brain back to normal working order. My time with Cesca is much less than what I had with her in England, but the quality is much better. I will never forget or regret the 2 years I was with her 24/7. But it is so easy to lose yourself in the process and to forget who you are and what you love doing. I am still trying to find a balance at times and it is not an easy thing to do, but I do believe I am in the right track.

– As for Cesca, she is now a little girl. She loves ‘singing’ Sandcastle Royale on Disney Junior, she switches on the radio to dance, she is still learning how to jump and she is adamant on keeping on her nappy for as long as humanely possible it seems. She now forms full sentences and is much easier to communicate with. She is a stubborn monkey at times, and a ‘no’ always remains a ‘no’, no matter how much chocolate I bribe her with. She is still a fussy eater and still screams but I’m not bothered about that any longer. So little yet so much remain of the Cesca who moved to Malta last year. I can’t get my head around how much she has grown. It is only when I find myself buying her size 4-5 clothes that I realize it!

For 2014 we prayed for lots of things. Health, wealth and happiness of course. And some other things – finally being able to start building our proper house, Cesca starting and liking her new school, appreciating the little things and always seeing the good in whatever situation.

I prayed and still pray to wake up with the extra weight I have, suddenly disappearing (no such luck yet), and for H&M and Boots to start shipping to Malta (not lucky there either).

I’m not giving up though…

Talk to you later x