Tuesday, 10 September 2013


Oh dear - I'm really not very good at this at the moment! Time just seems to disappear. Laurie a month and 15 whole days ago you were one. Rufus opened most of your presents for you - because just like when he was one you didn't really have any idea what was going on.

We organised a beautiful party and naming ceremony for you and invited everyone we love - and I missed all but an hour of it. While everyone was having fun in the beautiful sunshine I was in bed having spent the night up with an upset stomach. I pulled it together to read your naming ceremony and hold a fragile court from a deck chair while trying not to wretch at the smell of the pulled pork, coleslaw, homemade trifle and Pavlova and beautiful birthday cake.

Happily no one remembers their first birthday so I don't think you'll be cross with me. It will be a funny memory and the fact that I wasn't there doesn't for one moment detract from your special day. I still managed to make a few people cry - just like at did at Rufus' naming. And as ever I meant every word. I know that thanks to the bouncy castle (and my very weak I've-been-vomiting-all-night voice a few people couldn't hear me) - so here it is again for you all and of course for your little Laurie.

Laurie Peter Jones – Naming Ceremony – 28th July 2013

In this past year we have welcomed Laurie into our little family and into our hearts. We all wondered if those hearts had enough room left for another little boy – but they grew to meet you and you’ve found your own little space in our world.

You’ve grown from baby Laurie into Laurie – our youngest son and Rufus’ little brother.  And your name is very important. It is how you first came to know yourself as separate being. We chose your name, Laurie, with love and we hope it affords you a long and happy life. It means victory and of course we hope you will always be victorious.

The most special thing for us has been watching the love between you and Rufus grow. The way your smile lights up your face when he comes home; the way you have to cuddle him every morning and how Rufus says “well done Laurie” in a tone that might just have the slightest undertone of sarcasm. I will never forget the fear and excitement I felt when Rufus came to meet you for the first time, or the look of delight and pride on his face as he peered over the edge of your cot and saw his baby. We love you both so very much – even if we are grumpy sometimes.

As parents we brought you into this world and we will do our utmost to help to guide through it. A poet called Mary Oliver finished one of her poems with the words: Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? And that’s the question we are here to ask Laurie today. We want him to live his precious life how he wants to, but we want to let him know that we will always be here to help him if he needs us. Laurie we will make the same promises to you that we made to Rufus:

We promise to always be here for you, to listen when you talk and to guide you through life’s joys and hardships.

We promise to respect and support your choices and nurture your dreams. We will share with you our talents and strengths and guide you away from our weaknesses.

Most importantly we promise to love you forever.

So far Laurie’s life has been all about our little family of four – but now he is one it’s time for him to start taking his first steps into the world. So we have asked you all here today to help us set him off on that journey. Everyone here will have some impact on the sort of person Laurie ultimately becomes. We all share the responsibility of shaping him into a person and we’d like to ask all of you to pass on your love, knowledge and wisdom to him as he grows up.

We have asked that some of our friends take a special role in Laurie’s life – as “guide parents” if you will. James and Aimee and Dellie and Matt who have shared our parenting journey so far and who understand that sometimes some outside help is just what you need! And our old friends  Rebecca and Nick who are just starting out on this mummy and daddy thing but who we know will be fantastic parents too.

We’d like to ask the six of you to make one simple promise to Laurie – and that is to always be there for him in those moments when we as his parents aren’t able to help and guide him.

Perhaps the most important person to make a promise to Laurie today is his big brother Rufus. Rufus, big brother’s have a big responsibility. Long after we are gone and are watching you both from the stars, we need you to continue to love and look out for Laurie – to cheer him up when he’s sad and cuddle him when he falls down. Because as Alfie would say – he’s your little brother and you’re his big brother – and you’ll go on being that forever – even until you’re grown up.

Finally, of course, we would like to say some thank yous. As ever to our families for their unfailing love and support and the much needed respite care they provide for us and the children.  And to our friends with babies – we couldn’t do this without you lot keeping us sane. We hope to share our highs and lows with you for many more years to come.

I of course would like to thank Tim for being a wonderful Daddy. For letting me have another year “off” on “holiday” playing with the children. And for always looking after us.

There’s just one last thing to do and that is for us to wish Laurie well in his precious life.

There was something else that was missing from the day - aside from me - and that was a lovely speech written by our friend James - one of Laurie's guide parents. He didn't feel that with me being poorly and everything being a bit crazy that he could read it out. But when he showed it to me I was so touched that I wanted to share it with you all anyway. So close your eyes, go back to Mum and Dad's garden and the smell of pulled pork and imagine Jimbob reading this out in his very best speech making voice:

"Myself and Aimee are so happy to be here today celebrating Laurie's naming day with him and all of you.

"With parents like Tim & Beck, Laurie will have many more days like this - days where he is  surrounded by love, laughter, good food and good people.

"My wish for Laurie is that he grows up to have the strength and humour of his mum, the quiet determination and peaceful nature of his dad, but most importantly, none of their horrendous taste in music.

"I hope Laurie looks back at this day, and realises he is blessed to have so many people surrounding him who love him".

I would like to say the hugest of thank yous to my family and Tim for stepping in and taking over to make sure everything could still go ahead without me. You're all legends and I love you all very much. xxx


Tuesday, 23 July 2013


A few weeks back (actually a month ago - whoops) the boy was three. There was an outside party - inside - because it looked like rain - which he loved. And an actual birthday - which he didn't. His new orange bike is still sitting lonely and un-ridden. He loves the fact it's orange - he just doesn't want to ride it.

Birthdays are funny things. So much anticipation, excitement and expectation. And then you're three - and actually you don 't really care about having a bike. You wanted one because your friends have one. You asked for it to be orange because it's your favourite colour. But when it came to it you just didn't feel like pedalling or steering or even sitting on it. Instead you just want to snuggle on the sofa and read a book. 

Lesson learnt for mummy and daddy - forget big presents, go small and buy the big things as they're needed. Happily he loves the tent we sweated blood (literally) to make him and naps in it everyday.

The tantrums haven't miraculously disappeared as hoped. But they're definitely less frequent. He has suddenly decided to let on that he can count though which is a huge step forward. I mean, we knew he could, we'd catch him at it when he was playing by himself. However if we asked him to count with us it was one, two, six, nine, 17, eleventyseven........ Now he actively wants to learn his numbers which is good because I was fearing he'd inherited my inbuilt distaste for anything remotely numerical bar being able to work out how much I save if Boden are doing 30 per cent off.

We're working on manners. Trying to enforce "please" and "thank you" and "may I haves" over "I want it noooooowwwwww" in that ear piercing whinge that makes you want to run into another room and scream into a pillow. But like all things parenting it's two steps forward and three steps back.

He speaks beautifully when he takes the time and he can melt my heart with some of the adorable things he says. "Mummy I really do love you", "Mummy I miss you when you go away" and "Mummy when I have to get married I'm going to marry Granny."

Sometimes he's just too clever "Mummy I don't want to eat your delicious meatballs" and "Yes, Yes Daddy I know, I know you've told me a hundred times"! How do you even attempt to come back from that? Apparently it's only going to get worse.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

10 months.....

.....And I'm a little bit heartbroken. Laurie has had his final breast feed. I always thought I'd be happy to give up. After all it can be a bit of a chore and nursing bras are indescribably disgusting. 

But when it came to actually giving him a cup of milk instead of snuggling up for our bedtime feed I needed to cry quite a bit. I didn't then and there of course, but later I did, once he went to sleep, hardly noticing the change and probably very pleased that he could actually hear Daddy reading Winnie the Pooh for a change.

Breastfeeding is this hugely amazing thing that I'm so thankful I was good at and able to do. I'm not evangelical about it, it's not for everyone, but it worked for us. I feel so proud that not only did I build my boys inside me, but I kept on building them - just me (and a lot of Green & Blacks) for six whole months. Even when I started to wean them I knew if they didn't eat as much as they should they'd be ok because I could feed them everything they needed.  

Stopping is so bittersweet. I am beyond happy to have my body back after all I feel like I've been pregnant or breast feeding for the last four years. But I will miss looking down at my sweet little baby, stroking his soft hair, feeling his little hand wrap around my finger for an extra bit of comfort, watching him relax, seeing him get fixated on the stitches of my jumper as he feeds, and that beautiful, dozy, milk-drunk state and the big cuddle at the end.

Letting go of that final feed was to give him his first true bit of independence - he doesn't physically need me anymore - and that's just heartbreaking. With Rufus I was more stoical. We were already planning to have another baby so it seemed less of a wrench. This time it's not just breastfeeding I'm saying goodbye to, it's babies. Laurie is my last baby, and while I'm happy with that decision it still makes me sad. I'll never feed another baby. That part of my life is over. I'm saying goodbye to my babies and becoming the mummy to two boys instead.

I know they need me still in so very many ways but that special thing that was just us, that no one else could do is gone and I'm grieving for it more than I thought I would. 

I'm trying to hold on to my baby in other ways and cherise every moment. Like when he crawls into my lap and tries to pull himself up face to face. When he's too tired to get there he lies his head in my lap for a rest, and I stroke his hair and scoop him up so he can tweak my nose and pull my hair like he wants to.

Or when he wakes up from a nap and just wants to lie on my chest for a minute and hear my heart beating. 

I know this is the first in a very, very long line of letting go's and I don't imagine for one minute it gets easier. I'm just trying to remind myself that wherever they are, whatever they're doing and however old they are they'll actually always be my babies inside and I'll always be their mummy - inside, outside, shouting from the rooftops. 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013


Rufus two years and 11 months (but also eight weeks, 10 months, one year and four months)
Laurie nine and a half months (but also six weeks, four months and seven and a half months)

One summer, long enough ago that I don't really want to work out exactly how long ago it was, I took a women's writing course at UCLA. I got to sit in one of those desks with a table attached to them which would be an utter nightmare if you're left handed (although I'm sure they do left handed ones these days). I got to see where they filmed Buffy every single day because I lived right there on campus, I got to watch "soccer" games and go to Santa Monica on the bus. And I got to read a whole lot of American women's literature.

That was the first time I read Eleven a short story by Sandra Cisneros. At the time it was just another story in a long old list to get through before I could do yoga under the pine trees, go to Jamba Juice or sit by the pool. The second time I read Eleven was last week on a blog I came across and this time it hit me in the stomach and rang bells in my ears.

There have been times recently when I've found myself silently screaming in my head "Rufus - you are not a baby stop acting like one." Or "Laurie, for goodness sake you're nearly 10 months old not 10 weeks old go to bloody sleep."

I've been on a quest for more patience for all but about two of the years I've spent in this world and Eleven might just be helping me get some. I'm trying to remember the words of wise old Sandra every time my silent or sometimes not so silent screams well up in my mind/throat. I try to think that  when Rufus wants to hang off my leg it's just because actually my tall, lanky, gregarious almost-three-year-old boy is still somewhere underneath the shy little 10 month old who didn't like to leave my side. And that when Laurie wakes up in the night it's because he's still a little bit of that chunky, curled up newborn boy who just wants me to cuddle him and sniff his head which curiously always smells like biscuits.

And I try to give myself a break too, because sometimes I'm still the 21 year old me who makes me cringe when she speaks,  or the petulant two year old me that just wants to keep all the toys to myself and not share with Rufus when he's being horrid. I'm still the 28 year old me who desperately wants to lie in bed on a Sunday morning only to drag myself for a pub lunch and an afternoon nap. And I'm sure Mr Jones would agree that for at least one week a month I am very much my hormonal 13 year old self who hated boys and everything they stood for.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

And he's off

Laurie started crawling last week. Well I say crawling, but it's more of a tummy based heave, not dissimilar to what I'd imagine a WWII soldier dragging himself from the trenches with a sniper wound to one leg would look like. He's getting around anyway. Swiping Lego, breaking up puzzles, pouncing on the cat.

Rufus is less excited than the rest of us by this achievement, he stands and watches him and then says, in voice with just a touch of sarcasm : "we'll done Laurie". Every time I expect him to add: "you can sort of crawl, how totally not amazing, now sod off and leave my Lego alone." But luckily he hasn't.

Laurie has also reached nine months. This next stage is my favourite, nine to 18 months is when little people appear, walking, talking, laughing and being fun. I have three months left and I'm back to work. Which is sad because I know the best bits are coming. But then he'll be two and I'll be desperate to have others to share the tantrums while I sit eating cake in the semi civilised world of the office.

Laurie reaching nine months has also prompted the start of the "when are you having number three" chat. As a mother of boys I'm always asked if I going to try for a girl. Like that's even possible. Like if it were I wouldn't have ordered one in the first place - mainly because I had no idea how lovely boys are.

I have momentary panics when I flash forward 10 years and my house is full of teenage boys. That smell of lynx deodorant that never quite does it's job, combined in a heady mix of feral hormones, dirty sock and gawky too-big bodies. I'm not sure I want tribes of their friends lounging on my sofas playing video games and farting into the cushions. And I'm quite frankly terrified of what I might find in their bedrooms. Though actually it's already started - I was making Rufus' bed the other day when I noticed a mark on the wall - upon closer inspection I realised it was a collection of bogies. When confronted he said "I was making you a picture mummy!"

Sometimes I think it might be nice to have some girlyness amongst all that testosterone. I'll miss the fripperies, the hair clips, the bracelets and My Little Pony, crafting afternoons and tutus with stripy tights. But do I really want to swap lynx for impulse? Hormonal boys for PMT and I-hate-my-mum tantrums? For door slamming, boy angst and nail varnish in the carpet? Probably not.

I adore my boys and for now I get to be the centre of their world. What makes me sad is that one day they won't be mine anymore. Some girl will come and steal their hearts away from me - and while I hope they'll be happy I know I'll be a bit bereft. Without a girl I won't get to plan another wedding or be mother of the bride, I'll have to work hard to make friends with the women who are breaking my heart but hopefully making my sons happy. And I will try hard to keep them close without stepping on toes.

But still all of this couldn't entice me to have another baby. For one, it could be another boy to break my heart a bit more. Because you can't help but love boys, they're so cuddly and sweet and far less independent than girls. They seem to need their mummy more. For two, I don't think my body nor my mind could cope with another pregnancy. The sickness still haunts me and my stretch marks and crepey tummy are a daily reminder of the perils of being that fat again.

No. I'm done. My family is complete. I await the stench of lynx with open arms and imagine myself at 40 in bed with a book while daddy takes them to play some form of sport in the rain and all the mum's of little girls are sat in a cold ballet

Just please someone take me shopping so I don't suddenly decide that it 's ok to live in track suits and not own accessories.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Mirror, mirror

I would like to say that I never swear in front of my children. I'd like to say that I never say anything inappropriate - but I'd be lying.

A very wise woman (an English teacher I might add) once told my sister "Rachel, if you mean f&@k say f&@k." And this is advice I've hung onto for years. After all there are moments when only the F word or one of its close bed fellows will do. Like when you stand on yet another Lego brick; or stub your toe on that damn baby walker.

Sometimes I have the presence of mind to mutter it under my breath, or hastily change it to a "flipping heck" if the children are truly in close proximity. But sometimes I (actually that should be we - I'm most certainly not alone in this) don't quite manage it.

Sometimes I wish my car had one of those sound proof screens like taxis have - and not just for the sake of concealing my road rage. Imagine being able to see them whining but not be able to hear it? But alas Rufus now believes that anyone driving a white van is called an idiot, that it's ok to refer to old people as biddies (I'm so sorry world) and that muttered expletive are must in traffic. Oh the shame of it.

Thus far we have been lucky - Rufus has only demonstrated the extent of our potty mouthed vocabulary in private. I was, thankfully, the only witness to him throwing his bunnies on the floor and shouting something that sounded very much like "f&@k it" (daddy!!!)

I would be utterly mortified if he did it in public. Though clearly it's in our blood. Reportedly at a similar age I knocked my fork off my high chair in a restaurant and stood up and shouted "bugger, bugger, bugger". My paternal Grandfather apparently, and understandably, wanted to crawl under the table. We laugh about this oft repeated anecdote now, but at the time I'm sure judgement was rife.

So I'm trying to temper the language. And my tendency to overdramatise my speech. When Rufus started telling me he "hated" wind/potatoes/petit filou without the fruity bits at the bottom, I /we decided that I should start to dislike/not tolerate/not be a fan of things/people instead.

They pick up on everything these children, even when you think they're not watching. At least they copy the good things too. it cracks me up when he grans a wet wipe at the table, jumps off his chair, climbs up Laurie's highchair and says "look at the state of you Laurie - you grubby baby". The he gently, but in effectively, wipes his face. And I smile because that's what I do.

I love seeing little bits of everyone who cares for him moulding him and helping him create his own personality. lets just hope he chooses the best bits and learns when it's appropriate to swear. we just have to remember that he's always watching and there's no where to hide.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


Rufus at 8.5 months

Laurie at 8.5 months

Before I get down to the actual subject of this post I just wanted to let you all know that I am now officially insane. How do I know this? Because I just put cat food in the draw of the washing machine. This has almost happened on several occasions in the past two and a half years but I've always caught myself just in time.

This time, instead of laughing to myself about the fact I'm slowly going mad while swapping my scoop of fetid cat biscuits for one of  washing powder (there are separate scoops for each - in case you're wondering - it must be the scooping action that gets me confused).  Today I actually stood there and watched my hand pour an entire days worth of Royal Canin into the draw before I realised what I was doing. Now despite washing and scrubbing there is a curious bouquet of 2 year old Fairy Non Bio (don't judge me - when did you last clean out your washing machine draw?) and cat biscuit wafting from my fingers. I just hope none escaped into the machine.

Anyway, madness aside. I seem to spend a lot of time comparing my children. I probably shouldn't - after all "all children are different, blah, blah, blah, blah" - but I can't help it. First time round I really had no idea what to expect so I spent my entire time comparing Rufus to every other child. Was he cleverer than everyone else's baby? Was he more advanced physically? Did he eat better, sleep better, speak better....?

Even though I know Rufus and Laurie are different, and will be different, I do spend a lot of time trying to remember when Rufus did this, that and the other until I quite frankly bore myself. I know Laurie has always been a better sleeper. He slept through the night when he was 12 weeks old - though it's only recently that he's become reliable about it. Rufus didn't sleep through until he was around seven months old and that was only under severe protest. But on the other hand Laurie is a less reliable sleeper during the day.

Laurie is bigger - and always has been. At six weeks he weighed what Rufus did at 12 weeks. At six months he matched a nine month old Rufus pound for pound. (but the health visitors still panicked that he was below his line!)

Rufus crawled at seven months. Laurie is now eight and a half months and he doesn't crawl but does somehow manage to get himself wedged under sofas or squished against cupboards. His movements are imperceptible, sloth-like, but obviously there. To be fair there is a lot more of him to carry around and I'm sure it won't be long.

They are both similar in their clinginess. We're going through the "mummy isn't allowed to leave a room without me stage" which is denoted by that particular groany whiney noise that makes you want to tear your hair out just a tiny bit. Once Rufus could crawl he just followed me so I'm counting the days and hoping that Laurie will be the same.

Laurie cried less in the beginning - much less. But now I'd say he cries a similar amount to Rufus at his age. Everyone says what a happy smiley chap old Laurie is and that they never hear him cry. And bless him on the most part he is quite jolly. But his cry is awful.

When he was about six weeks old he would smile if I rolled my r's and purred like a cat. Pretty soon afterwards he learned to do it himself. "He's a genius" I exclaimed (obviously). Now he has taken that talent and worked it into his cry. When he gets mad he does this awful high pitched, whirring, purring noise that gets to you at the very tip of your last remaining nerve. Mr Jones cannot stand it. I can just about block it out. He sounds just a little bit like that incredibly obnoxious and annoying Crazy Frog. Urgh,

I do feel guilty about all these comparisons. Most of my conversations with Mr Jones begin something like "When did Rufus.....". I'm also more impatient this time. I can't wait for Laurie to understand more so that he can really start to interact and play more with his big brother. When Rufus was a baby I could never see how he was going to become anything other than a helpless little thing so every milestone left me floored. This time I take them for granted, anxious for the next one, aware of the fun that is coming when he gets more independent and a little be more astute.

Sometimes I feel awful that I'm wishing time away, I tell myself to stop comparing them and just to take them in as they are right now. But when one is throwing a tantrum and the other is grumbling on the floor about to ramp up into the crazy frog unless I pick him up I do think - blimey is it bedtime yet.

NB - it took me a week to finish this post. You'll be happy to know that no cat food made it into the washing machine drum and the clothes came out unscathed.
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