30 Apr 2015

My April 2015

Overall April was a good and busy month, though once again it wasn't without its fair share of illnesses, this time mainly John and I, who have been battling recurring spells of tonsillitis and ear infections - courtesy of the kiddos. But other than that, we've had some lovely moments, so without further ado, here goes my month in pictures:

1. Spending Easter at Nanny & Granches in Wales and Becky enjoying her little Easter egg hunt. 

2. Becky winning the Easter bonnet competition at her nursery. I wonder who helped her create this stunning piece of millinery ... *Cough cough*

3. Alex getting his first taste of soft play, enjoying the ball pool for babies and taking it all in. He's such a chilled and happy child! 

4. Alex being a typical boy and loving playing with the Duplo blocks. He can spend ages bashing them and taking them in and out of the box - remarkable attention span for such a little one! 

5. A lovely trip to the beach, making the most of spring and the warmer weather and sunshine. 

6. Becky being accepted at our first choice primary school. We are so thrilled, and Becky so very excited, as this picture shows, especially when she tried on her friend's school uniform. 

7. Getting my hair done and going a bit bolder with a new balayage colour makeover. 

8. Alex turning nine months! Separate post to come, but he is looking so grown up lately, less and less like a baby! 

9. And my absolute favourite: More sibling bonding between Becky and Alex. He just adores her and breaks out in excited giggles whenever he sees her, and she is loving her baby brother so much now, calling him "my cutie" und kissing him all the time or stroking or tickling him. Nothing makes me happier and it means so much to me. 


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28 Apr 2015

The Liebster Award

I have been nominated for the Liebster Award by The Jo Diaries, which is very kind. Thank you, Jo! It’s a lovely way to get to know new blogs and bloggers, so here it is, my answers to Jo’s questions:

1. Your most favourite thing to watch on TV?
I’ve got quite an eclectic taste, so it’s a really random mix. To be fair, I don’t have much time to watch a lot of TV anymore, so the hubby and I mostly catch up on TV series on Netflix or DVD boxsets, and our most favourite things of all time have been the likes of The Wire, Game of Thrones, Sopranos, Mad Men and Breaking Bad. 
However, my guilty pleasure is watching “mindless” stuff like Made in Chelsea now and again, when I’ve had a busy day and just want to switch off and not think or do anything *she says blushing slightly in embarrassment*. 
I actually really like watching the news, too, and Jon Snow from Channel 4 News is my all-time hero! Oh, and then there’s the German stuff I watch online, too, mainly catching up with the best German soap – Lindenstrasse, if anyone’s interested – that I’ve been religiously watching since I was seven years old, and a show called “Goodbye Deutschland” about German expats abroad, which is kind of fitting.

2. How do you decide what to blog about next?
I alternate between topics from an endless list that I have been collating while I was toying with the idea of launching a blog and which I keep adding to, and things that crop up in the week, e.g. if we’ve been somewhere nice, anything noteworthy has happened or if something is quite topical on that day / week.

3. Would you emigrate and where would you emigrate to? Why? (3 in 1!)
I’ve already emigrated from Germany to the UK thirteen years ago! I love the UK and at the moment we have no plans to up sticks and live anywhere else, but that’s not to say we never would. If an opportunity and good reason came up, we would maybe consider it, as neither John nor I have lost our sense of adventure, but it would have to be a very good one!

4. What is your biggest regret?
Not having  a brother or sister – not that I can or could have done anything about it. I’m an only child and hate it. But other than that, I try not to dwell on the past too much, though there are certainly things that I would have done differently. But hindsight is a wonderful thing, and you live in the moment and make decision in the moment that feel right there and then, so there’s probably little point in regrets.

5. Describe your perfect Friday night
Having a bath, a glass of bubbly, Netflix on the iPad and an early night with long, uninterrupted sleep. Rock ‘n’ roll!

6. If you could be anything or anyone you wanted, who/what would you be?
I don’t know whether there is anyone or anything in particular that I would like to be – there are lots of people I hugely admire for different reasons and traits. I think what I really would like to be is less self-critical and believe more in myself and my abilities. I’m quite a confident person in most life situations, but at the same time I am my own worst critic and can be very hard on myself, so I think I would like to be a more self-assured version of myself, if that makes sense.

7. Do you believe in love at first sight?
Yes, absolutely. I think that love grows and intensifies over time, but I definitely think there is that instant attraction.

8. Your favourite season?
Spring - when everything starts to bloom, the sun is out and you have the feeling that the summer is still to come and the world is your oyster.

9. If you could live forever, would you want to and why?
Hmm, that’s a tricky one. I’m a bit torn over that one. I think if I could be healthy and fit forever, and my loved ones, too, then yes, maybe. It’d be curious to see how the world we live in develops, what other inventions there will be and what other adventures me and my family could get up to. 

10. What flavour ice-cream would you be?
Dark chocolate. I don’t really have a massive sweet tooth (though since I had kids my sugar cravings have definitely increased – must be the sleep deprivation!), but I do love a bit of dark chocolate. It’s a bit more edgy and intense than milk chocolate, and I’d like to think that that reflects me. *Geez, did I really just say that? Cringe. I clearly have to get out more!*

11. What are your favourite past times? (blogging not included)
One of the things I love about living in the UK is that you’re never too far from a beach, and I love trips to the seaside. Other than that, spending time with the kids of course *cough*, and watching a good movie or boxset with the hubby. I’m such a rebel, aren’t I? 


Well, that's that, me in a nutshell, I guess. And now for the fun part. I nominate the following: 










Here are your questions: 

1.       Which three female dinner guests would you invite and why?

2.       What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

3.       What prompted you to launch a blog?

4.       What’s your favourite tipple?

5.       Apart from your kids and family, what is the one thing you can’t live without?

6.       What are you most proud of?

7.       What’s the best and worst thing about motherhood?

8.       What are the top three things on your bucket list?

9.       What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve ever done?

10.   What is your earliest / happiest childhood memory?

11.   What quote sums up you / your life philosophy?


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26 Apr 2015

What's The Perfect Age Gap?

Becky in her usual "Fairy" get-up and Alex looking rather confused. So tricky getting 
good shots of both! 

What’s the perfect age gap between siblings? Is it good to have one child who’s passed “the worst” first, get your life back a bit, and then expand the family, or should you have kids in quick succession and “get it out of the way”? It’s a tricky one, and obviously both approaches have advantages and disadvantages.

After we had Becky and first started to discuss when would be a “good” or the “right” time to have another baby, I always knew that I wanted around three years between child number one and child number two. John wouldn’t have minded if we had started sooner, but I held my own in that respect. I just wasn’t ready, and seeing that, you know, I had to do the majority of the work, I think it was only fair that we waited until I was.

My main worry was that I or we wouldn’t be able to cope with two very young kids without family support around, but I was also conscious of the financial side of things (double childcare costs, maternity leave, general expense of raising kids), and – truth be told – I wanted to get back to work for a bit first, enjoy my “adult life” again, and be “me” again, before I went through pregnancy and everything once more.

As it happens, there’s three and a half years between Becky and Alex, and for us, that’s worked out great.

The advantages of a slightly bigger age gap for us have been:

-      Becky was pretty independent already and wasn’t so reliant on me in terms of the very basic tasks. She had been potty trained just after she was two years old, she can dress herself, entertain herself when necessary, and generally is a very easy child.

-      She understood that there was a baby on the way, and I would guess that she was a bit more patient and understanding when it came to me having to tend to Alex. She just got on with it (though our sibling journey hasn’t been without its hiccups, as you can read here).

-      Becky had three and a half years of our undivided attention, and I’m somewhat glad that we were able to give her that chunk of one-on-one time that just belonged to her.

-     The childcare costs: This is a biggie. I went back to work in March and Becky will be starting school in September, so that’s six months of double full time childcare costs, which are, frankly, horrendous. However, at least this is a limited time frame, and we have calculated for that, so we can see the light at the end of the financial tunnel. If we had a longer period of double childcare costs full time, that would have been really crippling. Despite Becky receiving the 15 free hours, our overall childcare bill still makes up a big chunk of our monthly salaries, and I don’t know what other childcare arrangements we could have made to save money.

So, these are the main advantages for us having a 3 ½ year age gap, and overall I’m pretty happy with how things are going.

There is, however, one thing that I do find tricky, and where a smaller age gap may have made things a bit more manageable: Playtime.

With Becky being a proper little girl and Alex still very much a baby, the truth is that their interest and needs when it comes to entertainment are incompatible. I can’t just get the play dough out and involve both kids in messy play, and I can’t sit down with both kids and just bash on our musical toys, because Becky would be bored out of her mind.

So I’m finding it hard to do both kids justice at the same time, and inevitably my focus tends to be on one child at a time while the other one sleeps or is distracted otherwise (read: watches the iPad).

We’ll sit and play together for a bit, but the usual scenario after a while is that either Becky wanders off to play with her toys or watch something, or Alex starts to grizzle because he gets bored and restless if I do the things Becky enjoys.

I guess this would have been easier with a smaller age gap. I don’t know whether and when their interests will eventually align a bit more, but for now I’m having to do a bit of a balancing act. But that’s fine. Overall, as I said, I think things are going really well, and Becky is growing more and more into her big sister role, so she might start to enjoy playing with Alex and “teaching” him a bit more.
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23 Apr 2015

Daddy (*Warning* A bit of a soppy one)


John and I had been together for eleven years and married for one when we had Becky. In that time, we’d obviously spoken about having a family, how many kids we wanted, and what it would be like to be parents.

I’ve always known that John would be a good Dad. You just know, don’t you? It’s a gut feeling, an instinct, even if it’s just theory initially. And anyway, you wouldn’t be with that person if you thought otherwise, would you?

We share the same moral compass, the same values and ethics, and most importantly, the same sense of humour (which has got us through many a life situation), even though on so many other levels we are very different, but I guess opposites attract, and all that.

So now that we are parents, all these years down the line, it’s lovely to see for real what a great Dad John is.

In many ways fatherhood has come to him far more naturally than motherhood to me. Whereas I have struggled at times, not sure how to manage this massive task of raising kids, he’s just got on with it, like it’s the easiest thing in the world – bearing in mind that neither of us has been around children much, him even less than me!

While I’ve often been insecure in my own abilities and turned to all those parenting books on advice how you’re “supposed to” do things – which, in hindsight, have been utter crap – he just followed his instincts and done what felt right. And he turned out to be spot on in the process.

By now, four years into being Mummy and Daddy, we are both a lot more at ease with this parenting malarkey, but there are still times where I struggle to know what to do or how best to handle a situation, and where John is just a lot more natural at it than me.

I love watching him with the kids: when he levels with them, when he’s silly with them, laughs with them, jokes with them, throws them about, plays with them and when necessary, tells them off  (well, so far only Becky), calmly and fairly.

His relationship with Becky in particular is beautiful -  they are such good buddies, and she is an absolute Daddy’s Girl.

But before this post gets anymore soppy and has anyone reaching for the sick bucket, I’ll let pictures speak for themselves, with a few of my favourite images and snapshots of the last few months.





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21 Apr 2015

C-section - so what?!


I’ve had two very different birth experiences. With Becky I gave birth “naturally”, and with Alex I had a planned C-section.

Becky’s birth was long, drawn out and distressing, and it has left me both physically and emotionally scarred (yes, it was that traumatic!) and with a few problems that I still suffer from today. 
I actually still find it hard to go over it and relive those days in labour. I look back at Becky’s birth, and all I can think about is how horrible the whole experience was, how terrified I was and what a tough start Becky and I had. Apart from actually having her, which obviously was worth everything, there is nothing good or beautiful that I can take away from that birth experience, which is quite sad, really.

When I fell pregnant with Alex, giving birth and what my next birthing experience would be like was therefore obviously a big deal and it played on my mind throughout my whole pregnancy, even dampened it to a degree.

So when I was eventually booked in for a C-section at my 36 weeks consultant appointment, I’m not going to lie, I was relieved. Because while a Caesarean was also unknown territory, at least - I hoped -  it would give me a calmer and more predictable experience and help me and my baby get off to a better start.

And that’s exactly what happened. I look back on that day, and all I remember is how much more positive the whole experience was. I will never forget that gush of euphoria that came over me when Alex was handed to me and the tears of joy that he was there, safe, sound, alive and kicking. I was lucky that the whole surgical team were marvellous - kind and sensitive, and they turned what was nevertheless a nerve-wracking and scary situation into a calm and positive experience.

For me, a planned Caesarian had proved to be the right thing. There is nothing that I wish had gone or been done differently.

But somehow there is a huge stigma attached to C-sections. People seem to think it’s ok to judge someone who had a C-section and belittle their birth experience somehow.

This happened to me recently while chatting to a friend, who seemed to insinuate that because I had a C-section, I hadn’t given birth properly. Like I’d somehow taken the easy option. Cheated motherhood or nature or whatever. Quite ironic, actually, as that particular friend hasn’t actually ever given birth herself!

It’s left me pretty angry, and a bit disturbed, actually.

How dare anyone judge or criticise somebody else’s birth? And what’s more, who actually cares how someone gives birth? You don’t get a medal for having pushed a baby out vaginally, and you don’t get a medal for having had it taken out in an operating theatre. What counts is that the baby came to the world safe and sound and that both mother and child are well and healthy.

There is no right or wrong way of having a baby. If you’re opting for a home birth – do it. You want a water birth? Do it. You want to be in a midwife-led birthing centre? Do it. You want to be in hospital and have every single drug going? Do it. You want to give birth in a field at full moon surrounded by white swans while a bunch of Tibetan monks are chanting in the background? Do it. You have a C-section, planned or emergency? Don’t beat yourself up. You’ve still done amazingly well. You’re a mother. You’ve still given birth.

There is no right or wrong way. Everyone’s birth experience is different, everyone’s body is different. Everybody’s baby is different.

And let me tell you: A C-section is not an easy option. There is nothing easy about having a major operation with the risks and the physical recovery time associated with it. It’s just a different method.
And it is giving birth.

I have given birth. I have given birth to Becky, and I have given birth to Alex, and no one can take this away from me. I have nurtured and grown these babies in my tummy for nine months. I have worried myself sick during that time whether I was doing everything right to give these babies everything they needed. I have done everything by the book and more to make sure that these babies can come into the world, be healthy, happy and thrive.

And I won’t have anyone belittle me or that experience. I won’t be told by anyone that I didn’t give birth. Because I did. I gave birth. Twice.





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20 Apr 2015

Weekend Trip To The Beach

This weekend we took another trip to the beach. I love the Great British seaside, it's definitely my kind of outdoors. And one of the things I love about living on this island is that you're never really too far away from a beach - well, at least in terms of driving distance. 

It was a warm day but quite windy, so it actually felt a lot more chilly than we anticipated, but luckily I had packed lots of layers, so it wasn't a problem. 

Becky and Alex enjoyed playing in the sand and building sand castles with Daddy, and Alex also had a go for the first time. And he even managed not to stick too much sand in his mouth! 

We didn't manage to take a shot of our whole family, which is a bit o a shame, but still, John managed to capture some lovely shots of the kids. Below are my favourites from the day. Becky is so much fun at the moment, and Alex is turning more and more into a little dude. 











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16 Apr 2015

Big Girl's Going To School


So my baby girl is going to school in September. We found out today that she’s been offered a place at our first choice primary school, and we couldn’t be happier.

To be honest, none of the three school options would have been a terrible outcome, as we are lucky that all three are based in our village, pretty much equidistant from our house, and all have good or outstanding Ofsted ratings as well as very good reputations among parents in the village. For me it was always a bit of toss-up anyway between our first choice and our second choice school, which I also really liked and which had a good vibe about it.

But as it happens, I’m extremely pleased that she did get into our first choice after all. Not only because it is one of the highest ranking state primary schools in the whole of the UK and I’d be stupid not to take that into consideration, but also because a number of her close friends from nursery are already at the school, so it will be great for her to see them again every day.

Also, most of her closest friends she currently hangs out with at pre-school will also be going to that school, which I’m really glad about. She’s made so many wonderful friends and relationships, and I’m so happy that she will be able to continue with these in a new setting and throughout her school years.

So whilst we’re preparing to set off on this new journey, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m also a teeny bit sad. I can’t actually believe that Becky, my first child, my beautiful baby girl, will be going to school. For real. In a little school uniform, her school bag in hand, she will be leaving behind the innocence of early childhood and entering a new phase.

I’m still struggling to get my head around the fact that in the UK kids start school so early. In Germany most kids start primary school when they are six or seven, so four seems very young in comparison.

But at the same time, I can tell that she is ready for school. She is so bright and smart and inquisitive and soaks up knowledge like a sponge, and sometimes I feel like I’m failing her for not pushing this more because work, household, family and just life in general get in the way. So school will be good for her, I know it, and I’m a lot less worried now than I was initially.


So yes, my little lady will be starting big school in September. And as much as it saddens me, I’m also looking forward to starting that next chapter with her and seeing her thrive. 
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12 Apr 2015

What defines a happy childhood?


The other day my father-in-law asked me a seemingly simple question, but the more I think about it, the more meaningful it becomes. It was Easter Monday, we were in the living room and I was playing with the kids when he asked me, quite out of the blue, whether I’d had a happy childhood.

The question was a bit unexpected, and at the time my answer was just a simple: “Yes, it was a great childhood” - which is the truth - and we kind of left it at that.

However, I've been thinking about it ever since. Now that I have kids myself, I can’t help pondering: What defines a happy childhood? And how can I make sure that my kids have a happy childhood?

As my parents' only child, I had everything I could have wanted – within reason, I might add, as I do think that Mum and Dad managed to strike a good balance between what I wanted and what I needed, while conveying the value of everything and instilling in me an appreciation for the things I was lucky enough to have.

I had the lovely holidays around the world, the toys, the clothes I wanted (though I do remember many a fight with my Mum to get the “in” items, the over expensive branded things, that she felt were unnecessary but that I insisted my life depended on *Hello Levi’s 501*), the piano and violin lessons, trips away, lovely birthday parties, that first car, and much much more. And, looking back, they were certainly the things that helped make my childhood a lovely one.

But these are just material things, at the end of the day. More importantly, I had things that money can’t buy, and that essentially are the fundamentals of a truly happy childhood, but that most of us take for granted:

I had love; lots of love, and attention, sometimes more than I could handle without feeling suffocated, but I’ve always known that I am and always will be the focus of my parents’ life.

My parents gave me a home, but more than that, they gave me roots, stability and security, throughout whatever else may have been going on in our lives.

They also gave me the respect and freedom to be my own little person and eventually go off and find my own place in the world.

They gave me values and a moral framework, but also encouraged me to think for myself and make my own – often differing – opinions – from early childhood, actually.

They gave me, and still do, their undivided, uncompromised support for everything I do, even if it’s things that break their heart, like their only daughter moving to a different country, 1000 miles away from them.

They made sacrifices to give me everything - emotional, material and otherwise. 

And they did that, throughout all the ups and downs and challenges and crises and worry that every family – us included – go through in life. That, I could always be sure of.

Now I’m a parent, I hope that I am and always will be giving my kids the same things, make them feel the same way.

Of course, if you asked Becky right now what makes her happy, it would be all the material things - new toys, dressing up costumes, pink dresses, ballet etc.

And for Alex, it's mainly having cuddles and being fed and kept clean.

But I hope that when they grow up, they will look back and appreciate, just like I do now, that it wasn't just the material things, but all the other, unspoken stuff that made their childhood a happy one. 


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8 Apr 2015

Double Trouble


I’m lucky enough to be working from home the majority of the time, though my work arrangement requires me to frequently go to London, sometimes several times a week, as well as visit our head office at least once a month. 

But because my first few weeks back have been a bit unpredictable, what with all the illnesses that we’ve all been suffering from, I guess I had an involuntary grace period and didn’t have to travel anywhere initially.

And because I’m not commuting to and fro an office every day, I’ve had plenty of time in the mornings to get us all ready, shipped off to nursery – which, conveniently, is in our village - and me sitting at my desk well in time for my 9am start.

This, however, is beginning to change, and soon I will be back on my usual trains, planes and automobiles. Which brings me to my point: Getting me and the kids ready to actually go somewhere on a schedule and be at destination x at timing y – well, it’s going to be hell.

I’ve already had a first taster of this last week, as I had to do a couple of trips away, one to a conference in Birmingham and one to visit my head office (a four hour train journey each way).
And … Oh my Goodness, the stress of getting organised for this is unbelievable.

Getting ready with one little lady was a challenge, but with two kiddies to get sorted and myself looking relatively presentable (the biggest challenge of them all, ha!), getting out of the house on time and with correct and appropriate footwear / clothing and related paraphernalia is nothing short of an organisational mega coup.

Two kiddies – double the trouble indeed.

Kids really don’t have a sense of urgency and timing, do they? No matter how often I explain to Becky that Mummy needs to go to work and be on time, she has absolutely no inclination to do anything in a hurry. She’ll faff around doing her teeth, while I hiss at her like a broken record to get a move on, or she’ll pop to her room to get dressed only to start undressing her dollies instead and swapping their clothes, etc.

And then there’s Alex, who – being a baby and all - needs everything doing, so planning in his morning feed, then changing and dressing him, packing his bottle and stuff for nursery is plenty to juggle, too. There’s a lot to consider and get done for such a little guy.

As John is not a morning person at all and barely manages to get himself ready for work in the early hours of the day, he’s not really part of the equation (it's probably for the best, to be truthful) and we have reached the agreement that I do the morning run, and he picks them up from nursery and does all or at least a big chunk of the evening routine, especially when I’m out on my work trips, because I’m usually not home till late.

So the only way of dealing with the morning mayhem is to organise as much as I can the night before and get up extra early, get completely ready myself and then start tackling the kids (not literally, obvs!), which involves a lot of shouting, bribery, threats of toys being taken away, occasional tears (that would be me, too), cursing (only in my head, I promise) and me craving a Bloody Mary before 9am.

Is it just me, or is everyone’s morning just sheer chaos?



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6 Apr 2015

Siblings


I am an only child – and incidentally, so is John – and it’s fair to say that I hate it. Ever since I was little I’ve longed for a brother or a sister, and the fact that I don’t have a sibling, someone else to call family and to share everything this entails with, is probably the one big regret of my life (not that it was ever in my power to change this).

I don’t think John feels as strongly about it as I do, but nevertheless, we always knew that we wanted two kids and not an only child like we are.

So when I fell pregnant with Alex, one of the things I was most excited about was that we were giving Becky that much longed for sibling, and I couldn’t wait to see their relationship and bond grow each day.

Only, that it didn’t quite happen this way.

Initially, things were going well. All throughout pregnancy (Becky had just turned three when we were over the 12 week mark and told her about the baby in Mummy’s tummy), she would show interest in my belly, ask lots of questions and stick dollies up her own T-shirt, and shortly before I was due, she even had lots of fun painting a “tattoo” on my belly. It seemed, she was looking forward to becoming a “big sister”.


Until Alex actually came along.

I didn’t read too much into the fact that when Becky visited me and Alex in hospital, where I had to stay overnight, she was more excited about the “Frozen” dolls she had received as a gift from her brother, and that after only two minutes, she asked Daddy: “Can we go home now” without even gracing Alex with so much as a glance. I understood. The “Frozen” dolls were far more interesting, important and tangible for her than some alien baby that had just appeared.

Once we were home, Becky still didn’t seem particularly bothered about her new brother. She barely looked at him, never wanted to hold or stroke or be near him, and whenever he cried, she would also be in floods of tears, mainly because she didn’t like the noise.

We took it as normal behaviour and saw it as phase of adjustment to our new set-up. We made sure that we didn’t give her any cause for envy and always involved her, but it didn’t make a difference. She was never outright or openly jealous, she never said anything against him, and she never hit him or was aggressive toward him in any other way, which I know can often be the case. 

But Becky was simply not interested in her baby brother. Not at all. Completely indifferent. She was happy playing on her own, or drawing or watching the iPad while I was feeding Alex or tending to his needs, but she never engaged in any interaction with Alex.

The only times she would acknowledge her baby brother would be at nursery, where all her other little friends were obsessed with Alex and kept kissing and cuddling him whenever we dropped her off or picked her up. Then she’d say: “This is my baby brother! Look!” But it was clearly just to get the attention of her friends.

All we could do is accept things as they were and wait. We never forced her to interact with her brother or cuddle him or anything. We just let things be.

But inside, I was sad. That beautiful relationship that I had so craved for my kids, that in many ways I had hoped would heal my own unfulfilled desire for a sibling, it just wasn’t happening.

This was particularly difficult to accept as several of my friends with kids of similar ages and age gaps told very different stories. They would show me pictures of their little ones, cuddling and play fighting and kissing each other, and my heart would be heavy knowing that I couldn’t even get Becky to pose next to Alex. Even my friends’ boys were obsessed with their younger siblings, and yes, to indulge every gender cliché here, I did think that Becky, being a girl, would have had a natural rapport and affinity with a baby from the start, being the caring, kind and altogether lovely little girl that she normally is. But it wasn’t so.

Until one day - things suddenly changed.

I don’t even know the specific day or what triggered it. But suddenly, about two months ago, I started to notice that Becky’s attitude was changing.

I would suddenly catch her chatting to her baby brother, or trying to soothe him when he was grumpy or seemed frightened. “Alex, don’t be scared. There’s no reason to be scared,” she’d say to him, while stroking his cheek or holding his hand.

Or she’d try to make him laugh. Or bring him toys. Or say “good boy” when he’d eaten all his dinner or when he made his first attempts rolling over or sitting unaided.


Now she is helping me change him, bath him, feed him, and generally plays with him and entertains him, and when he started in her nursery a few weeks ago, she insisted on dropping him off in the baby room and picking him up, and this has become our little routine. I’ve been told by the staff that whenever the kids are in the garden, she will always go up to him and cuddle him, and she’s even asked once or twice whether she can go upstairs and see him during the day.

And Alex is loving it. He adores his sister, has done so from the start, or at least since he has become aware of his environment. He always follows her with his eyes, wants to copy what she’s doing, and smiles at her, even from afar, and you can tell that he couldn’t be happier than when she tries to make him laugh, which he rewards with the biggest of giggles.



There are no words to express how happy this makes me. I literally cannot stop smiling about it. My girl and my boy finally becoming little buddies is like the most precious of gifts, it’s what I always hoped it would be like, and I cannot wait to finally see their relationship and bond blossom each day.

I know that there will be times where they will both want to bash each other's heads in, but ultimately, they are flesh and blood. They are family, and whatever life throws at them, they will always have each other.
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