Sunshine and rain

Let’s be honest here, what has summer actually consisted of? Well, while its true there has been some sunshine, it hasn’t exactly panned out as we’d hoped. In fact those of us who jetted away to far off hot countries are probably feeling fully justified in the money they spent now. Is there anything more annoying than going on holiday, or coming back to a total heatwave and thinking “why did I even bother spending all that money when there was just as much sunshine here?!”, I know just how nice it feels to spend your hard earned money on a week in the sun and then sit smugly on the tarmac as your plane is ready to take off with the wind and rain battering everything. Anyway… we definitely didn’t have a heatwave, a bit of sun, yes, but certainly nothing worth writing home about! At best, if we add all the really nice days together, we probably had about a weeks worth of warm sunny days where we could get the flip flops on, and have a bbq out without fear of needing an umbrella or warm jumper at some point during cooking!

The one thing I did have this summer was six fantastic weeks with my daughter! It has been truly wonderful, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the time I was able to spend with her. We went swimming, did some painting, went walking in the woods, saw the grandparents on both sides, saw friends, cuddled on the sofa watching peppa pig and the gruffalo. Its quality time that you just can’t get back once they have grown up. As anyone with children will tell you, over and over again, they grow up so fast, right in front of your eyes, kind of the opposite of watching it in slow motion! Now our little one has turned two years old, and our plans for celebrating her birthday actually worked out in our favour. The summer has been lousy and miserable, and we have barely seen any sunshine. Grey clouds and rain showers have frequently been the order of the day, and it was looking like September was likely to see very similar weather to what we’d had throughout August. The dilemma then lay in what we were going to do for Olivia’s birthday. Last year we had fantastic weather and enjoyed a wonderful bbq in the garden with our family and close friends. It was something I was very keen to repeat, but the weather just wasn’t giving us any hope.

The family home we have built up around us is a lovely house on a lovely road, with pleasant neighbours and everything we need close by… the one thing we don’t have though, is a huge amount of space inside. It is what it is, we love where we live, and the don’t mind that we don’t have a three car garage or basketball court on the driveway. The one problem it does present though, is when we want to invite lots of family and friends over to celebrate our daughters birthday with us, but are forced to restrict how many we invite in case the miserable british weather we have been forced to endure decides to rain on our celebration and force everyone to head indoors and get awkwardly cosy with each other! We did consider other options, like renting somewhere like a social club or a soft play centre, but in the end decided against it and figured we’d roll the dice and take a chance on the weather… it turns out we got lucky and it paid off!

After a cold and slightly damp start to the day, we were very lucky to have some sunshine and blue sky meaning the bbq could be lit and the kids could play out in the garden with Olivia’s toys. To say I was relieved and overjoyed would be an understatement! Suddenly I was able to relax and enjoy the day without wondering where we were going to seat everyone indoors or what we could find for the kids to do! It was a fantastic day, Olivia loved having so many people round and other children to play with, and so we made sure to only open a couple of her presents so she wasn’t too distracted.

As childrens parties go, it was the usual feast of sausage rolls, chicken nuggets and general food of otherwise little or no nutritional benefit, but this is what kids like and expect at parties, and lets be realistic, its a 2 year olds birthday, I’m not about to go reinventing the childrens party with carrot sticks and falafel! The food was not surprisingly a big hit, leaving us to think that maybe we should have bought more, and its this kind of eating that has been causing us to grow a bit concerned with Olivia’s eating recently, as she seems to be so picky lately, and although she eats fruit, is flatly refusing any normal meals that we put in front of her, especially anything that may be remotely healthy or nutritional. I’ve done a little research and I am aware that there are large numbers of parents who regularly find it difficult when their children won’t eat, but its not always easy to see the bigger picture when you are just focussing on one meal at a time, especially when nursery tell us that she has eaten without any problems each time she is there! So what is the answer? What do you do with a child that doesn’t eat? We’ve tried many different techniques, but there are days when she appears to eat so little that we’re surprised she a) keeps going and b) hasn’t fallen ill. All we can do is step back and look at the bigger picture of what she is eating throughout the week, and not necessarily for that day. We need to try extra hard to fight our protective parenting instincts and not make a big deal about it. We’ve done plenty of online research, checked the forums and the baby websites, and everyone one that has commented online about this pretty much says its just a phase that passes with time, and so we just have to go with that and fight our urge to try and fuss, coax or bribe her, or get annoyed or upset by it. At least she is still having a good breakfast and drinking plenty!


Now September is here, and that means one thing (apart from Olivia’s birthday) that the six week summer holiday is finally over, and I am back into work like I’d never left! Its a sad time, and we start looking forward to colder events like halloween and bonfire night, or dare I say it, christmas! Some might say that its too early to be thinking about the festive season, but for me, I love christmas, so it doesn’t matter and I think that from September onwards its perfectly acceptable to begin discussing it. Then you have to consider the practicalities of thinking about christmas not in terms of weeks or months, but in terms of paydays! If you don’t want all your presents to be coming out of one monthly wage, then start spreading the cost by buying a bit each time you get paid! Makes sense, right? At least this weekend we have a significant distraction as we head back to the hospital for our second scan now that Mrs V is pretty much at 20 weeks. We still have to finish having the discussion about whether or not we discover the sex of the baby. I am thinking that we don’t need to find out, as it won’t change anything, and even if we did start shopping for blue or pink… what if they’re wrong?! Of course, the need for a discussion is based on the fact that Mrs V does not agree with me, and is very keen to find out. The other argument is, if we DO find out, then do we go telling people, or keep it to ourselves? Oh well, I guess this one is TBC!

So what do I do now then? Find out, or push to keep it a surprise?

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