So now it’s the end of October. And I spent pretty much the first few weeks of October thinking that I needed to do Me and Mine for September. But I never got around to it.
Of course, September was a slightly crazier month than usual. I went back to work. Ben started school. Samuel started nursery. All of a sudden, life made a big shift.
It has been good for us, I think. I was ready to go back to work, and Ben was certainly ready to start school, despite my fears. Amazingly, Samuel has coped really well with starting nursery. I don’t know if it’s because he’s that bit younger, but for the first 6 weeks he hasn’t cried when I left him. They are both exhausted by the time I pick them up, and the days I don’t work are definitely easier, but we’re coping.
The weeks seem to be flying by so fast. Each week, there doesn’t seem to quite be enough time to get everything done that I plan to. Each week, my boys grow a fraction older, a fraction more independent. Ben has suddenly cracked phonics and can read simple books himself. Samuel crawls around faster than I think it should be possible, and copes all day without me at nursery. And too often, instead of enjoying them as they are, I am concentrating on my to-do list. There’s all the day to day demands, but the additional demands of marking and planning are heaped on top of that.
I know I don’t make it easy for myself: I like to be busy and productive. I know I’m constantly looking for shortcuts, for life hacks, for ways to make our lives run smoother, but I’m gradually accepting that some things just need doing, day in, day out. So I’m being protective of my days off, and am trying not to work too much while Samuel naps, or I’ll just find myself working all the time.
Tim has been away for a couple of weekends this month, both in London. He’s had a great time at both of them and he really enjoyed meeting up with some old university friends. The boys were both brilliant while he was away , so we had a few treats and went pumpkin picking, which was lovely.
Ben has had a few birthday parties and dress-up days at school. He went as James from James and the Giant Peach for Roald Dahl Day, and as an astronaut for ‘When I Grow Up’ day. He absolutely loves his teacher, and can often be heard quoting her directly, or teaching his soft toys about phonics at bedtime.
Samuel is still absolutely delightful, but has mastered the art of pulling himself up only to throw himself – pretty forcefully – backwards, assuming that someone will catch him. I’m really hoping he grows out of this phase soon! I’m still trying to find some good activities for him on my days off. It’s tricky as he still really needs two naps and is often up for the day soon after 5am. So he has a nap when we get back from the school run, and another one early afternoon. That’s lovely for me, but his nap times clash with any groups we might like to go to. It’s on my to-do list to research more playgroups around us.
I’ve been busy blogging, and have taken part in You Baby Me Mummy’s productivity challenge. This really helped to focus me, and I’ve got some exciting blogging projects coming up. I’ve also had some lovely nights out, and we all had a brilliant day meeting up with our old church small group at the beginning of the month.
We took our monthly photo last weekend, just outside of our house. The Ribble Valley is pretty amazing at this time of the year, and the colours are really intense. Plus, it’s been really dry, if not terribly warm, and not too windy, so the leaves have stayed on the trees.
Our photo pretty much sums up our family at the moment. Tim and I are just about holding it together, trying to support one another, because sometimes, doing anything ‘extra’, whether that’s a family photo, hosting a dinner, or serving in church, feels like it might just push us over the edge. Ben is being a bit wacky, jumping around all over the place, and Samuel is just grinning at Ben. We’ve had the first instances of them fighting over a toy (a Mr Potato Head), and it’s given me a vision of the future!
It’s strange to think that this time last year, we were still a family of three. This last year, pretty much since I went on maternity leave last October, has been the best year of my life. Of course, there have been tough times, but it has been an absolute joy and a blessing to spend so much time with my family. I do know I’m very, very lucky, but I don’t take it for granted.
So November will see Samuel turn one. We’re celebrating by having a little party following his dedication at church, which I’m sure I’ll share with you all, and at some point, I’ll have to make another birthday cake. Eek!