Saturday, December 28, 2013

Father Christmas and the Furby

A week or so before Christmas I was upstairs with Freyja when she asked me The Question.  No, not that one.  The one about Father Christmas.  She asked me if it really was Father Christmas who brought the presents and filled the stockings.  I asked her who else it would be and she simply said 'well it could be you, Mum'. 

I didn't reply immediately and fortunately Freyja answered her own question. 'But you go to bed too early.  No, it can't be you, you would be asleep'. Ha.  The magic of Father Christmas saved for another year by my inability to stay awake past 10pm!

Over the next few days she asked a few more questions.  She had asked for a bike for Christmas and I realised that I wasn't going to be able to get this bike, or get it to the grandparents house, in time. Freyja's birthday is a few days after Christmas so I asked her what she wanted for her birthday.  A Furby.  She wanted a Furby.  I seized upon this with relief.  I feigned (well, not really feigned, actually) horror at the idea of a Furby and told her I wasn't sure that I could buy her one and maybe she should ask Father Christmas for it.  So that's what she did.  We swapped, she's getting a bike for her birthday and she asked Father Christmas for a Furby.

Smiling, she said 'So I'll know if he's real.  You don't want me to have a Furby so if I get one for Christmas that means Father Christmas is real'

Yes, it does.  This year, Father Christmas is still real. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Freyja is 8

8!!!  Wow. 8 seems quite grown up.  Freyja thinks so too.  On the way home from the park she told me to go ahead, she would make her own way back.  When I said no, she said 'but I'm 8!'. But she still loved her Snow White doll and her fairy wings and books. And when she opened another present which turned out to be yet more clothes she turned to me and said 'I still like toys, Mum'.

We had lunch out and went to see Frozen at the cinema - the cinema is becoming a bit of a tradition for her birthday.

She still loves fairies, princesses, ballet, rabbits, cats and stickers.  She doesn't like pink anymore.  She wants a bike. She likes drawing and writing notes and singing and dancing.  She told me the other day that she likes Harry from One Direction (argh).  She likes puzzles and quizzes. She is very definitely an eldest child. 

She is eight years old and I can hardly believe it.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Noah is 2

2 is...

...Loud. Opinionated.  Likes the word 'No'. But we knew that already.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

France 2013

This year, France was:

The two bigger ones staying up as late as the grown-ups
Theo swimming as well as his big sister,  diving down to the bottom of the deep end and leaping around like a fish
Sleeping in the den with the cousins, even Theo this time
Noah loving the pool and swimming in his armbands
Freyja's fairy hunting - still believing!
Theo's all over tan - brown as a berry
One big storm, power cut and everyone staying up until midnight as the thunder and lightning crashed
Lying on the sun loungers and watching the perseid meteor shower
Noah & Harry - littlest and biggest cousins, bestest buddies
Big family lunches
Dinner altogether (minus the smallest one)
Duck, melon, cheese, bread & rose wine
Ice creams every afternoon
Swimming and sunning in perfect summer weather

Monday, July 22, 2013


It's a bittersweet day when your children start calling you 'Mum' instead of 'Mama' or 'Mummy'.  Both my older two now tend towards 'Mum', though I do get the odd 'Mummy', mostly from Freyja.

What I was not prepared for was my not-even-two-year old to start calling me 'Mum'.  Really.  His adorable, heartmelting 'Mama' has been abandoned in favour of barking 'Mum' at me just like his older siblings do.

I'm hoping that the next few day's, with his brother and sister away with their grandparents, will restore my rightful place, as the mother of a toddler, to 'Mama' once again. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sports Day - Attempt No.3

Friday was sports day and at last we had one which wasn't rained off.  So in Freyja's 3rd year of school we finally found out that she's actually a good little sprinter (like me!  I was a super sprinter at school.  Hated it though.)

And Theo got to do all the fun races - egg & spoon, sack race etc - with his little Reception chums. He got very involved and, once I'd recovered from the sight of him whacking the boy next to him when I arrived,  I was proud of how well he joined in.

And even I got involved in the mums tug-of-war.

Unlike my children, I did not excel.  I blame unsuitable footwear, which forced me to take part bare foot.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

You know you've had too many children when...

...someone stops you on your way to school and asks if you are a childminder....


Saturday, June 29, 2013

A merucca of his own

When we were in Dubai, Theo's cousin had a verruca.  How Theo envied that verruca.  Or 'merruca' as he called it.  He insisted he had one as he desperately wanted to wear a plastic sock to go swimming.

Today, I inspected his big toe.  Something looking suspiciously like a verruca is growing on it.  Jokingly I said to him 'it looks like your dream has come true'.  'Yes!' he replied. 'A merruca! Maybe the tooth fairy heard my wish and gave it to me'.

Dreaming big, in the Lightly household.

Playing in Pairs

Three child families are often advised against on the grounds that one will always be left out as children will pair up to play. I have even heard people say that if you have a third child then you must go on to have a 4th, as an odd number of children just doesn't work.

I have noticed that the whole playing in pairs thing does happen but that it doesn't really seem to matter that much.  Even as a twosome, we had days when my children played together, days they played apart and days that one wanted to play and the other didn't.

Now I find that the pairs mine play in change and the one who is not playing tends to be busy doing something else.  I have not yet had it that the 'extra' child, whoever it is, is being purposefully excluded, more that they want to do something on their own.  I do now think that had my third been a girl, we may have ended up with Theo being excluded, which would have been hard as it is nearly always him who wants someone to play with, while the other two are more content doing their own thing.

When Freyja and Noah play, she reads to him, shows him things or tries to make him laugh.  Theo and Noah play more active, chasing games. Freyja and Theo play crazy imaginative play games which I barely understand but can occupy them for hours (and create huge amounts of mess, with toys deposited across the house).  This is where I see problems occurring as Noah gets older and wants to join in but can't yet understand the rules.  At the moment, he will come and potter round with me if they are involved in a game, or he will just play alongside. 

They do also play altogether as a trio, though as Noah is still so young, it tends to be more when they are in the garden as he can't really play the types of games the other two play inside. Though I do remember at Christmas them all playing a game in which Freyja was Mary, Theo was Joseph and Noah was the Baby Jesus.

I do of course know that there will be times when one gets excluded or, what I see being the issue here, will be two happily playing and one being 'pesty'.  And I know exactly which children it will be!  I have one child who is especially good at the role of 'pesty' sibling...

I can come up with all sorts of reasons as to why is would be far more practical and sensible to stick with two children.  But I don't think worrying about one being excluded should rank so high in the reasons not to have three - and I certainly don't think it should be the basis of having a fourth child.  Personality, age gaps, gender and a whole load of other things have as much impact on the dynamics of your family as the number of children you choose to have.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Theo is 5

Five is going to school, reading words, knowing who the naughty boys and girls are, Star Wars, skate boarding, talking too loudly, singing a lot, being allowed to run off further ahead (or walk further behind), spikey-up hair, one of the big boys - and one of the small ones. Still wanting cuddles and kisses and endless bedtime stories.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Gallery - Red

I haven't done a gallery for ages. 

Here I have Noah in his red rain coat, out in the garden on a rainy Sunday afternoon.  He was desperate to escape the house, having been ill most of the week.  Eventually, despite the pouring rain, I put him in his wellies and raincoat and sent him out.  He loved it.  Roll on the spring and being able to chuck the kids in the garden...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

'And we also eat Hot Cross Buns'...

...Theo's first ever speaking part!

I had planned to ask Adrian to go to Theo's Easter concert, but when I heard he had a line to speak I had to rearrange my work hours so as not to miss this very special moment that I will never get again.

He shuffled up to the stage, said his line loudly enough for us all to hear, then clapped his hand over his smiling mouth and scurried back to his place on the floor.

I was completely proud.

Especially as, unlike during his Christmas concert, he managed not to pick his nose even once...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Top Teeth

Freyja has the most perfect milk teeth.  Small, neat, straight and square.  I have hated the thought of them falling out and being replaced by adult teeth, which will be nowhere near as lovely.

She has already lost 4 at the bottom, but you can't really see those.

Now, she has lost her first one from the top. 

Ug.  Though at least she is no longer poking it out at me, making me feel queasy and her look like some kind of mini Nanny McPhee...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I would like to remember...

... that Theo calls sneezes 'bless yous'....

...and that Freyja uses 'ashamed' incorrectly - she uses it to mean 'it is a shame'.

...and the way Noah points at lights and says 'ight' with a big smile on his face.

Monday, March 11, 2013

My Mother's Day

On Mother's Day it is nice to have a break from doing all those things that make you a mother. But this mother's day my youngest was ill.  And you can't take a break from mothering ill babies. Not that I would have wanted to.  

Noah just wanted to be near me so I still got breakfast in bed and lots of cups of tea while he snoozed next to me. It was really rather lovely.

I got some chocolates and cards from the children.  And Theo said 'Mummy is very important and we have to do everything for her today'.

And then he said 'because it is your Happy Mother's Day I am going to let you have a go at playing with my toys' and then proceeded to bring various bits and pieces to me try out.

Then he made me a necklace out of some wooden toys, which I wore all day.
And, because Noah was sick, he was very quiet and lethargic so we got to watch Nanny McPhee in the afternoon, altogether on the sofa, with popcorn, something we normally have to do once Noah has gone to bed (and therefore hardly ever do).

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Childhood books, rediscovered

It was World Book Day today. I must confess to feeling slightly ashamed at making my children raid their fancy dress pile when I got to school and saw all sorts of wonderful creations.  Must. Try. Harder.

They did at least decide for themselves.  Right down to Theo's knight not actually even being a character from a story.  He insisted he was a knight from his pop up information book on castles and no suggestion of any story involving a knight would convince him otherwise.

Freyja chose first to wear her Halloween cat costume and we then found a story to fit.  When we were in France last summer, I sorted through a load of books in the kids' bedroom, which was mine and my sister's room when we were younger and still full of our old books. One of the books was my copy of Gobbolino the Witch's Cat.  Inside the cover I have written 'Solveig Tryggvason, 7 years old', the age Freyja is now.  I can actually remember reading that book, and Freyja, though she hasn't read it, has been quite taken with the idea of me reading it as a 7 year old. So she elected to be Gobbolino and took my battered old book to show her class.

At bedtime, she told me she had read the first few pages, realised Gobbolino was a boy, and switched  to be his sister Sootica instead.

Freyja has been reading various fairy and princess books but at the moment her reader is The BFG, which I am delighted about because she chose it herself,  a welcome change, she is really enjoying it and I am really enjoying it too.  We are finding ourselves with the clock creeping towards 8pm while she reads to me because the story is so great that we want to keep going.

I am so looking forward to rediscovering favourite childhood books with my children.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

The Perils of Home Hairdressing...

So I decided to cut Freyja's fringe myself today. How hard can it be?  She only has poker straight and very slow growing hair after all...


I got a right shock when I realised just how much I'd lopped off.  At least it is straight.  And Freyja thinks she looks especially cute and is  happy with it, thank goodness. I'm just glad she is 7, and not yet so worried about her fringe being perfect.

I was not brave enough to tackle the length after this.  My mum used to cut all of our hair herself - in the garden, she would literally just lop the ends off mine and my sister's hair, straight across with a pair of kitchen scissors,  and then chop away at my brother's whole head. It always looked fine.  So I thought, anyway...

Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Three

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Look what I found in the hallway

Taking advantage of Freyja and Theo's absence, I set about clearing their rooms, armed with a rubbish bag and a charity shop bag.  Yes, I am that mother.  I should not be -I have vivid memories of coming home from university to find that my mum had chucked out all the magazine adverts I had lovingly torn out and collected over the years (yes, I really did this...).  But, Freyja's room in particular is a mountain of bits and stuff and things and needed clearing out.

I am careful not to get rid of special items.  Really, I am.  It is mostly old party bag toys and scraps of paper and things that they have grown out of that just gets horded.

I was busy doing this when I realised that all had gone quiet on the landing, where Noah had been quietly amusing himself:

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Jet Set Theo

In December, Theo told everyone that we were spending Christmas in another country.  Another country known as 'Surrey' that is...

..and now this half term he has informed all who will listen that he and Freyja are off to New York for half term.  Wow, jet set kids.  Except they are actually off to the Yorkshire Dales to stay with their grandparents.

So it's just Noah here until Thursday.  I will not go on about how easy it is having just the one child, because that would very annoying.  (But it is...)

Friday, February 15, 2013


My goodness, my mother has outdone herself recently.  Not only did she take all three kids away for the whole weekend (first time for Noah - 2 nights away, a great success) but she also turned up with this little beauty for me:

From the Mulberry factory shop in Shepton Mallet.  I am particularly enamoured with the embossed snake print.  I love a bit of animal print, I do.

I did say to my mother that Freyja, being my only daughter and my mother's only granddaughter, is going to inherit quite the Mulberry collection one day...

Valentines 2013

My husband and I don't do Valentines Day.  But the kids do.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Crazy Baby

Noah is driving me nuts.

Partly I think this is because it's been a while since I've been in this stage of toddler-hood, and partly because he really actually is a total monkey and far, far worse at the 'into everything' stage than either his brother or sister were.

He cannot be left for a second.  Everything goes down the toilet, or gets chucked into the bath.  He can now reach the handles, so closing doors no longer deters him from his favourite room in the house - the bathroom.  I've pulled whole loo rolls out from the toilet, bits of make-up, the TV remote control, various toys.  We regularly fall out over his obsession with the toilet brush. He slams open the under sink cupboard and forages for his two favourite items - a red bottle of L'oreal serum (as an aside, it doesn't seem to work) and a bottle of facial oil. Everything gets flung into the bath - with a great clatter if it's empty and a splash when it's full.

In the kitchen he rummages in the cupboards - and is hugely frustrated that we have put a lock on the under sink one. He'll be entertained for hours (ok, minutes...) on end by a few saucepans and a wooden spoon, but he also likes to get out the scales, the graters and egg poachers, the bottles of spirits and cordial (which he swigs with a flourish, despite the lids being tightly screwed on). He pushes buttons on the oven, repeatedly setting off the timer. He pulls cutlery out from the dishwasher, whether dirty or clean, and throws anything he finds, including my lovely green Converse trainers, into the bin. 

Of course I am stubbornly determined that he must learn to stop doing these things.  So instead of making life easier, by putting locks everywhere and keeping things out of his reach, I just move him away and sternly say 'no'.

Over and over and over again...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Noah's Understanding

An amazing milestone with your children is when you realise that your baby understands what you are saying.

Noah only has a few of his own words - Mama, Dadda, Light, Thank you - but he understands most of what is said to him these days.

If he sits in his cot at bed time, I pat the mattress and say lie down.  Now, when I say lie down, he pats the mattress himself and lies down.  I show him elephants in his book and he turns and points to the elephants on his mobile above his cot or I say 'where are the balloons' and he points to them on the page.  I say 'go and find Freyja' and he walks off into her room.'Put your arms up' when he dress him, and he obliges.

He struggles with 'no' though. He hasn't quite grasped that I mean it when it when I say it...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Freyja's Fairy Party

The 7 years old's birthday party was today.  Fairy theme - still can't believe we made it to 7 before she wanted this, given her utter obsession with them.

I know plenty of parents dislike doing parties and prefer to outsource.  Both my big ones have been invited to so many Gambados parties in the last 6 months that you would think the novelty would wear off for them, but not so far.  They love it (and so do I when I'm just dropping off.) But when hosting, I personally prefer to have a smaller one, in my own home. My children may or may not agree with me...both are very keen to have their turn on the bloody Gambados throne. Ug.

But I have held off for another year.  This year we had 6 girls coming over, and I opted for some crafty decorating of fairy wings and wands, followed by the usual party games and lunch. In line with previous years, I left it too late with my on-line shopping.  Monday will no doubt see a tonne of self-adhesive crystals and sequins arrive on my doorstep.  We had to make do with glue and glitter.  Not to be recommended. We will be sweeping up glitter for years to come.

Lunch was picnic style, sandwiches, crisps, sausage rolls and 'fairy champagne' (sparkling apple juice). And I did cut the sandwiches into heart and butterfly shapes (same as I did hearts and flowers last year and same as I will do for Theo in April).  It did take me about 10 minutes longer to do than normal sandwiches.  And all I got for that was a delighted 7 year old...

I didn't get round to doing the cake pops, which I was a bit boo about as they would have been lovely. In fact, I have yet to bake any kind of cake for any of my kids' birthdays, but they have been happy with my go-to option of cupcakes on a cake stand, decorated with appropriate toppers.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

As I was getting dressed this morning, pulling on a pair of dark blue skinny jeans, Freyja looked at me sympathetically, and said: 'Don't you have any other trousers, Mummy?'

Gah.  Mummy uniform, anyone?  Just don't mention the number of identical skinny jeans I own....

Friday, January 25, 2013

Cozy Classics

These have really appealed to me. Classics done as board books for babies.

 At first I thought, hmmm, is this daft?  But they made both Adrian and me chuckle. Classics condensed into a single word on each page, with a picture to reflect that word.

Think I'll get Noah Moby Dick.

You can get them from Amazon, of course.  We spotted them in the fabulous Joy.

Couple for a Day

Yesterday was my husband's birthday.  He took the day off work, we arranged childcare for the sprogs, and headed into town.

First stop, the London Eye. Followed by a browse around Covent Garden, where we went a spent some time feeling ancient in Urban Outfitters. Then lunch at The Ivy. Nice.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Of course, having announced that I don't find myself unreasonably attached to Noah and Theo's old clothes (other than a little box of special items for each that I have kept) and am now finding myself getting all misty eyed as I try and clear out Theo's-now-Noah's things.  The little T-shirt that Theo wore on his first birthday. The tiger print H&M top of which I am overly fond.

And of course bags and bags in the loft which Noah has yet to grow into and which will bring lots of memories flooding back.

Will they get to an age where I don't feel the need to keep a little bit of something to remind me?

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I'm having a sort out.  A while ago I went through Freyja's old clothes and divided them into piles of those to give away and those I couldn't yet bear to part with.  Recently I came across a box of her clothes I hadn't sorted so I'm doing the same today, and re-visiting the 'box to keep' to see if I really do need to keep everything in it.  I have romantic ideas of my granddaughter, should I be lucky enough to have one, wearing some of them, but let's face it who's going to want to dress their baby in ancient, crusty old clothes just because their mum is a bit of a hoarder..? But I'm still finding it very hard to part with some of her things, even though I never even think of them when they are stuffed in the loft, and when I do get them down they make me a little bit sad and nostalgic.

So I found myself rather teary eyed going through her things.  And I wondered why it is Freyja's things, and not Theo's or Noah's that make me feel like this.  Is it only because Freyja's stuff is girly and pretty?

Or is it actually because she was my first child and those clothes hold so many memories from a time when life had changed so completely.  And because it seems so long ago now that I was a nervous, new mum with just one little life to keep safe and so much to learn.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year

So I didn't quite make it to see the new year in, but I did host a new year party.  How very sociable, and a lovely end to 2012.  Lots of my SE23 buddies and their children (16 kids - 19 including mine.  Quite a few of us have 3...)

It was utter mayhem when I tried to feed the kids at 5pm, but mostly I managed to block out the bangs and screams from upstairs and just got stuck into the prosecco.

It ended at 10pm, 3 hours later than planned, and only then because the smallest guests needed their beds.

I feel very, very lucky to have such a good bunch of friends all within 10 minutes or so of where we live.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Bye bye 2012

I can't say that I'm sorry to see the back of 2012.

I set myself very small aims at the beginning of the year - to de-clutter the house (failed) and to get Noah into a good bedtime routine (succeeded).  But it has felt like a year in which I have got through each day and not really achieved or even enjoyed very much.  Older children need much less physical work but boy can they be annoying. And they require a lot of to-ing and fro-ing and and you need first class management and mediation skills.  And not forgetting that I do still have one very young child so I'm still in the trenches there.

Anyway, this year, my new years resolution is to stop yelling for the kids from a different room.  Aiming high, Mrs L! But it achieves nothing except noise and to make me cross because by the time they actually respond (when I go into the room) I have already yelled for them 3 or 4 times, even though they haven't noticed.

I am also planning to spend more time with my husband.  At the end of November we both suddenly lifted our heads above the  mayhem of daily family life and work and realised we hadn't actually spoken to each other for a year.  So far, we have plans for gin cocktails at Mishkins, lunch at the Ivy and a hotel and big rave up with our oldest friends in February. 

2013.  Lucky for some, I hope.

Theo's reading

In the last week of term, the day after I said to Adrian 'I am going to have to talk to Theo's teacher about him getting a reading book, I'm sure he is ready to try', Theo came home with his first reading book.

All about the cat in a hat on a mat.

Theo has been keen to read which has been a pleasant surprise.  He's not quite at the 'teacher's pet' level that his sister reaches - if he doesn't want to do it, he makes it very clear - but when he does want to do it he tries very hard.

Can't ask for more than that.  Certainly not where Theo is concerned...

Noah at (almost) 15 months

We are now getting a few words from Noah - Mama and Dadda.  And, like his big brother, he says 'hello'.  He says 'uh oh' and is making lots of new sounds. He is still obsessed with lights.  We noticed as a tiny baby he would stare at lights and he still points at them and wants them switched on.

He still squeals, something he started when he was around 6 months old and, though we now get phases where he won't do it for a while, he always starts up again.  An ear piercing shriek, mostly when he's sat in his highchair.

He hides his face and plays peekaboo.  He is into everything - he has broken pictures and pressed buttons and pulled everything off the tables.  He's mad on the phone, mobiles, remote controls and computers.  He is not interested in the TV (arrghhh).

And he loves nothing more than sitting on the kitchen floor with a saucepan and a wooden spoon.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Freyja is 7

Seven seems quite grown up.  Seven is (sort of) moving away from Disney princesses.  Seven is Just Dance on the Wii.  Seven is yellow, not pink.  Seven is recognising songs on the radio and correcting things Mummy says and wanting to stay up later.

But luckily seven is still pretty dresses and believing in fairies and practicing ballet steps and sequins, sparkles and tulle.  Phew.