We decided to head out to Merry Hill this afternoon to get Ryan a new pair of trainers since the ones he has currently are a size 5 and his feet now measure a 6 at Clark's. So we caught the bus at the bottom of our road and off we went.
Remembering the last time we took the bus, I knew to fold up Ryan's push-chair as buses have limits on their insurance on how many they can have un-collapsed with a child inside. So, once we arrived at the bus stop, I suited Ryan up in his trusty bumblebee reins and had him sit on his changing bag while I held one end of the lead and folded the push-chair.
The bus arrived within just a few minutes and I paid the fare before we promptly took our seats. I was so proud how he (and teddy) sat on the bus like a big boy!
When we reached the mall, we headed straight into Matalan because Matt needed some new thermal socks for work. Unfortunately they were out and claimed they were only ever sold at Christmas time. Still, Ryan saw a Humf book he just couldn't live without, so my arm was twisted. He even got to pay the cashier with a £5 note and walk out carrying his purchase.
We then headed to Sports Direct to pick out his new shoes -- Adidas, of course. They really suited him.
Matt met us at the mall after work and we all headed home. As soon as we got inside, Ryan didn't waste any time in his new shoes, taking a breather in his armchair to dive into that new book!
Cracking me up this morning, as usual. I stepped out of the room briefly
to take the freshly-folded laundry away from "Destructor" and returned
to find this little jog happening on the laundry basket to the "Hot Dog"
song on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I guess he thought he needed a
There was a pretty special celebration tonight as well. My expat friend, Stacy, is getting married on Valentine's Day, so we got a gaggle of us (Americans) together and hit up the gay bars for her proper British "Hen Do."
We started at The Village Inn and ended our night at Eden. I must say it's been ages since I've has such a good night out with the girls and it's the first time I've really been "out" since I moved here in 2008.
I think I drank just enough to keep me warm and to make me feel like I could dance well, but not so much that I wasn't aware of my surroundings -- after all, this isn't Uni anymore.
I must point out that in my photo with the Queen at Eden, the picture was taken just as I was mouthing my frustration that it hadn't yet been taken...so quality shot that one is, but we'll leave it at that. Honestly, I've never giggled so much and genuinely cannot wait until we can all find an excuse to get together and do it again!!
So, I found this little anomaly this morning when checking the bank. Nicholas Packaging is the company Matt works for and his pay was due to go in this morning. Not only did it go in...but it went in TWICE!
Of course I rang him straightaway and wanting to be honest he was prepared to get it sorted...but he wasn't the only one. It seems everyone at the company received a duplicate pay and as a result, they're letting them keep it and they're just not paying them at the end of February.
Shame in a way though...Ryan thought Daddy was getting his 2012 Christmas bonus a bit early.
We also said goodbye to Cleo today. Thankfully a lovely expat friend, Evette, and her daughter, Abalena, have offered to take her in. They came by for a visit first this morning and Abalena decided her new name would be Pumpkin. We hope she settles in well.
She is a lovely little kitten, but when she was spooked by Ryan's battery-operated bubble machine tonight she slashed Matt's hand trying to get away. I picked her up trying to comfort her, but then she used my face as a springboard and dug into my lip.
We cannot take a chance that she would have the patience that Myst does with Ryan, so now we're looking to find her a new loving home.
I heard the footsteps shuffle across the landing as I was getting into the shower this morning but I had to carry on getting ready so we could leave the house on time for me to get to the school in Walsall. When I emerged about 15 minutes later, I found Ryan spark out on the floor with his teddy and drooling.
Emma and I have been having an awful time at bingo lately. We have gone every single Monday (and the occasional Saturday when on offer) since God knows when and it seems like ages since we've had a win. What is worse is that we get really close to winning (within one or two numbers) page after page and nothing seems to give. So, tonight when one of the players, not much younger than us, and new to Mecca having only just signed up the week before, ended up winning on The National (she won the house, regional, and national) bringing in over £24K we decided it would be best if we took a break from bingo for a while.
On a better note...it's my birthday today and I had a pretty fantastic gift off Em. Mmm...Bailey's!
One of Ryan's new games he likes to play is "Mommy-I-don't-want-to-wear-my-coat." This is a game that is only fun for him as often, when we need him to put it on, it's because we literally need to be heading out the door just then. He shows his opposition by planting his bum firmly on the floor whilst chanting, "no, no, no," or running and hiding behind the curtain.
Good for us that Mommy and Daddy always win.
In the bath...it doesn't matter how many times we warn him that bubbles are not for eating...
...he always finds out the hard way.
Then he carries on without even showing signs of being bothered.
Sometimes I take a photo and then completely forget why I took the thing. Clearly he was mesmerized by something on the telly...could have been several things...Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is one of the favourites at the moment.
Never a dull moment with this 2-year-old! He really wanted my attention, so he had some help from Daddy's CD case. He kept saying "cheese" over and over, so I think he was asking for a photo. (As if I need an excuse.)
It's funny to look at things through Ryan's eyes sometimes. I've noticed on more than one occasion Ryan will point to the female character in a book or on TV and call her "mama" and point to the male character and say "dada." It started with Peppa Pig actually. The intro would come on and he would point to Mommy Pig and Daddy Pig and say these things, but I wouldn't think much of it because they ARE, in fact, the 'mama' and 'dada' of Peppa and George.
This afternoon I noticed he had one of the flyers out of the local paper and he was pointing to each face calling them, "dada, mama, and dada," and then he said, "two dadas!" So, from this I can only guess he thinks that any woman is automatically 'mama' and any man a 'dada.'
Ryan started off the morning a bit whingy -- even though I was the one running on very little sleep. He had gotten into bed with us several times in the night and each time I marched him straight back to his own bed because he was doing my head in. It seemed to start around 4am when he thought that was an acceptable time to be really awake in our bed and flip flop around while giggling and trying to have conversations with us.
I doubt Matt remembers any of this.
Anyway, at half-past five this morning I marched him back for the last time. I brought my own pillow and stood guard (lying down) next to his bed until I heard his breathing change to "sleep" breathing.
By the time we got downstairs after half-eight, he was moody enough but trying his best to tell me what he wanted with his limited verbal vocabulary. I offered "food" (by signing), he said 'no.' I offered porridge and he declined. Then I said the magic word..."toast!" And DING, DING, DING...he wanted toast!
After brekkie we played together on the floor. I felt like such a zombie, but they're only this small for so long and I'm always afraid to let him down and miss a moment...so I stayed. I watched him grab his Cookie Monster off his shelf and I nearly passed out.
He's scared of this Cookie Monster and has barely touched him since Auntie Emma and Uncle Daz gave it him for his birthday last month. The most he has ever done was snatch cookies from his backpack...but he always makes Matt or myself "feed" the cookies to him. But low and behold now, he was doing this all himself. Sure, the machine was off so Cookie wasn't talking...but this is progress!
While Ryan was down for his nap, Royal Mail turned up with a parcel from the US. This one I was expecting, but not nearly so soon as the original ETA was 7-10 days. The parcel was from my friend and former primary school classmate, Lisa. She has a company which supplies high-quality children's clothing lines to retail stores and about a week ago she kindly and generously offered to send along some samples she had on hand for Ryan. So as soon as he was up from nap, I put him in the first one with the cars on the front. He loved it and kept counting the cars!
A couple of the items are bigger so we will have to wait a bit until he is big enough, but the styles and patterns are quite nice. Everyone will think he's posh when they see him this summer! (Thanks again, Lisa!!)
Itty bitty kitty made her debut tonight. Originally we weren't due to have her until the start of next week, but one of Em & Daz's cats wasn't returning home and they felt that may be due to the two kittens...so they were re-homed a bit early.
Matt wanted to introduce the little female to Myst right away...but soon realised that a more gradual approach may be best, as well as a "safe-room" for her in the meantime.
Ryan was loving another furry thing in the house and quite eager to stroke her and give her kisses. I think "gentle" is the key word we keep using over and over with him about her so he doesn't try to stomp on her.
At bath time Ryan was an absolute hoot. Normally he cries for Britain when I try to wash his hair, but this time he splashed his own face with water and kept doing it again and again and laughing hysterically.
The week has been off to a hectic start with me being booked for a full 5 days of work (not that I am complaining...at all). Needless to say the early mornings have already caught up with dear Ryan who decided a nap wasn't necessary this afternoon. Matt picked him up from Josie & David's and before he had him out of their estate, he was spark out.
Although it's not uncommon for Ryan to fall asleep in the car...it's not that common for him to stay asleep once we get in the house. We debated back and forth about whether or not we should take him straight to bed...but since he hadn't yet eaten his tea, we decided he needed to be woken up.
Not an easy task. In fact, nearly impossible.
Eventually we had him up and running around...although he was easily agitated so we did our best to have him back down after he had a bath and his food at a reasonable time.
Up, awake and dressed by half-six this morning...and nearly 12 hours later, this is the first I see of him. Still in the clothes that I dressed him this morning, but a little messier from the paint and playing.
Now it's nearly time for dinner, PJs and bed.
Working days are always a little bit harder...for Mommy.
Ryan really thinks he is something else with his boots on. "Ha!" he says to me as he 'stamps' his foot on the lift of the car ramp to make it go down. He also likes to do lots of stomping around the room as well as kicking and attempts to stand on or stamp on his cars.
I'm back to using my phone as my camera until I can afford the stinkin lithium batteries it takes to power my regular camera...so the shots won't be anything spectacular (especially if they're taken after sundown).
I shot this one today after Ryan was up from his nap. Daddy brought him downstairs and I got him dressed before heading upstairs to get ready, myself. Before I left the room, I handed him the controller to his race car (that is normally kept out of reach so he doesn't bash the cat's skull in) and he went bonkers "driving" it around the room.
In the photo, he is perched on his yellow beach bucket, telling the car to "Go, go, go!" Matt has turned it from facing the sofa because Ryan is forever getting it stuck since he hasn't grasped fully how to work the forward and reverse buttons purposefully.
Bless him. This is what I walked in to at twenty past seven this morning and it was exactly how I saw him when I left his room last night. Still spark out and not even ONE night waking!! Go little buddy! I'm hoping the antibiotics are part of the reason -- at least that is what Matt has suggested. He pointed out that he hasn't been coughing like he was, which is what we thought might be waking him in the night, so he's sleeping straight through. And he cuddled his teddy all through the night...awe.
He woke up in an amazing mood though. A bit groggy at first, but he chit-chatted with me while I quickly changed his nappy and got him dressed. I was worried that since we woke up about 10 minutes later than intended, all of our rushing around would get him all cranky...but he was upbeat all the way to the car and even said, "Bye, Mama," without a whimper.
Today was also his first day back at the childminder's. He came back with ax expertly painted watercolour painting in his purple book...so that's going straight on the fridge. Then the first note in his book said "Ryan has been very happy today." Reading down the list it looks as though he did loads, which would explain why he was so happy...he painted, played with the shape sorter eggs and pretend food...he played with the musical radio and did lots of dancing, played ball, played with the trains, and he ran up and down her hallway "to let off steam."
So, yeah...busy boy!
He ate all his tea tonight and played nicely, driving his ladybird along the book "road," after Daddy headed out to see Uncle Daz. Then we did PJs and milk while I read one of his Beatrix Potter Bedtime Stories. Of course he then had some Mommy-cuddles for a bit and drifted off on my shoulder again, just like last night.
I know some parents are against giving too many cuddles or rocking your child to sleep (the whole "making a rod for your back" thing), but in my experience Ryan has a more peaceful sleep, most importantly, and I don't really mind doing it. I quite enjoy the quiet time. In fact, I really wouldn't want it any other way!
I love the way Ryan wakes up in the morning. It's as though he hasn't even been asleep and he expects that when he just starts talking that I've been awake all the while as well. So, my morning looks a little like this...
Me:::opens eyes to see a cherub-like, bright-eyed Ryan, IN MY FACE, just STARING at me:: Ryan: Ma! Ma! Me:::closes eyes again because maybe I'm just dreaming, or maybe he will forget and go back to sleep:: Ryan: Mama! Way-uhh (wake up), Mama! Mama...mama...wha's thah (what's that)? ::pokes me in eye::Me:::opens gimpy eye slowly:: Good morning, sweetpea. Ryan: Ma! Wheh (where) Dada go? Dada goh (gone). Me: Daddy went to work. Just you and Mommy today. Do you want to brush teeth and go downstairs? Ryan: No, Dada goh...Dada go woh (work). Yeah, Mama...dow (down).
So, we brush our teeth, head downstairs and before his feet hit the floor Ryan is requesting his "Baa (sheep) boh (box)" which are his new Timmy Time dominoes he was gifted from Daz's sister, Nic, for Christmas. He's really taken a liking to them.
Although I planned to get him changed out of PJs before we began any Tot School, I wanted to roll with this moment because he initiated it. So, instead I grabbed my camera and the box of dominoes, and we sat down together as I watched him explore.
"Loo (look), Mama...one-two ow (owl)!"
It's sweet because whenever he is telling us that there are two of something, he says it "one-two." So, he has "one-two eyes" and "one-two ears" for example. Or, on a night after his tea, he will tell you if you 'shorted' him a yoghurt and correct you when he's finished the first by saying, "one-two yeh-yeh (yoghurt)."
I watched him with the dominoes, talking about the animals on each one and he pointed out when he saw two, by using the format mentioned previously. I passively tried to show him how to look for the matching animal and 'connect' the ends together, but he was having none of it and before long he tipped the pine box over his head, shrieked and started to run about the room.
Well then, time for a gross-motor "break," I suppose?
I could soon see that he wasn't quite in the mood to do a settled activity, so I got him changed and dressed and asked what he wanted to do. I still managed to keep the telly off, however.
He told me he then wanted to colour so I taped down a piece of white paper and set out his crayons quickly into a plastic cup. He stayed a minute and did some circles and dots, and I joined in a bit with him. Then I watched as he grabbed another plastic cup from his bookshelf and tipped the first cup with the crayons into the empty cup.
He did this over and over and was really trying to concentrate and spill as few crayons as possible...so I had an idea...
I went into the kitchen and returned with two more cups, the cake pan, a clear bowl and big spoon. I didn't say anything to him and just placed the items on the floor by the window. He immediately stopped with the crayons and made a beeline for the pasta twists. He sat down and then looked up at me without touching any of the materials. I grabbed the spoon and scooped some pasta twists from the bowl and put them in the cake pan. Then I put the spoon down and watched him.
Again, very carefully he grabbed the spoon and cautiously scooped the pasta into the cake pan. He did this for ages! He even used the cups to do some scooping and "poured" the pasta twists back and forth as well!
I was so impressed at his focus, especially since he has never done this before. Now I'm thinking we really need a sand and water table!
At one point, I watched him as he tried his best to piece together a broken pasta twist with no success, but I found the observation alone quite intriguing.
I think I will stick with a loose-form of Tot School for now since a phone call last night from one of my agencies has set me up for a week of work starting Monday. For the time being I think it will take place on days when I don't have any work. Half-terms are essentially guaranteed, but it will be week-to-week otherwise depending on my own workload.
How amazing that morning set for a bit of fun/learning for my son, turned into an "on-the-fly" lesson for me?!
Today is Matt's last day of holiday and he returns to work in the morning. He was up with Ryan first thing today and Ryan was his BFF for the rest of the day! Before going up for his bath tonight, they sat together watching episodes of Charley Bear on YouTube through the XBox.
At one point in the 'Farmer Bear' episode, there is a robot stuck in a tree and Ryan says to Daddy, "Oh no, Dada! Bot-bot in the tree!" Matt and I both looked at one another having never heard Ryan say this word before much less a sentence as long, and then we both just grinned.
We'll definitely miss these moments as he gets older.
After two and a half years in a long-distance relationship, I packed my life of 29 years into 21 boxes and moved to England to marry and be with my husband, Matt. Now I'm reveling in the youth of my 30s in Great Britain, supply-teaching in primary schools near Birmingham and enjoying newlywed life, being a mommy, and all the surprises they bring!