Double Digits

My oldest child turned 10 last week.

Double digits. A big milestone in her young life. One that I had been fixated on for several weeks considering the momentous nature of the transition from single digits to doubles. Something you only do once in a lifetime and she had now done it.

I thought about when I turned 10 and what it meant to me. It meant freedom and responsibility as I finally got my own key and could come home from school on my own.

My daughter didn’t get a house key for her birthday. I’m not quite ready for that yet. Well…more precisely I’m not sure she’s quite ready for that. We both have some work to do there.

But as the morning of her birthday arrived and I woke her up as I usually do – this time with the addition of a “happy birthday” kiss – I realized something.

The 10 year old girl looking up at me sleepy eyed and smiling was no different than the 9 year old girl that I had tucked in the night before.

And all the stress and pressure of the big transition to double digits melted away and I understood that I had worked myself up over nothing.

Yes she was – technically – now one year older than she had been the day before. That was something that was going to happen every year no matter how hard I tried to stop it.

But age – as they say – really is just a number. No matter what her age she is going to be the person she was destined to be with a little help from us along to the way to keep her on the right path.

And right now she is a sweet, sensitive, often stubborn, always kind, book loving 10 year old. Next year I know that number will change to 11 – that is a certainty. But the bigger question is what words will be used to define HER one year from now.

I can’t wait to find out…

Happy Birthday to my firstborn. The girl that made me a mother.  My preemie daughter that showed so much strength and will from her first breath and still shows that every day.

I love you.

Dear Youngest Daughter…

To my little T,

Today you turn 7. I can’t quite believe it. Just like when your older sister hit this age I feel the significance. It feels so much older than 6 and you have changed so much since this time last year.

You are older and wiser. I see your confidence and independence growing leaps and bounds. Your sense of humour has matured – you get things now that you never did before.  Your emotions are more unpredictable.

And yet – through all those changes – you still remain very much my baby. You still climb into my lap and ask to cuddle. You still squish my cheeks together and tell me how much you love me. You still slip your hand into mine as we walk to school.

Every one of those moments makes my heart feel more full and complete. Because there was a time that I wasn’t sure I had enough room in my heart to love you as I loved your sister. I couldn’t imagine being able to love two children that fully and completely. The thought was overwhelming.

I worried about this the whole time I felt you growing inside my tummy. Every day we got closer to your due date my concerns grew. And then you arrived – this healthy, beautiful baby girl – and I looked in your eyes and I knew I had worried for nothing. Because I loved you so fully and completely from that first moment.  And for every moment since then.

You were such a happy, content baby. So quick with your smiles and to show your love. So sweet and always ready to cuddle.

I always said you were a brand new soul – one that had never been here before and was experiencing everything for the first time. You found wonder and joy in the smallest of things and your laughter was infectious.

And then you became a toddler and your curiosity turned you into a trouble-maker. You became a rule breaker. You put yourself in time out before I could even say the words – and you enjoyed sitting there, paying your penance. Because it was totally worth it to have done whatever mis-deed earned you your place there.

But through all your changes you have never lost your smile. Your love for life. And I hope you never do.

You are such a unique little soul. Without you in my life I know I would always feel that something was missing…even if I never knew it was you.

True, you test my limits, you push my buttons, you drive me a little crazy. And there are many a time when I get angry and yell. But the other moments – the moments of love and tenderness and sweetness – are far more plentiful. And they are the ones I remember.

Happy Birthday little T. Your arrival completed our family and proved that my heart did indeed have the capacity to  grow. I will forever be grateful for that lesson and the other  lessons you continue to teach me every day.

I love you.

Love, Mummy xoxo


NaNoWriMo Success!

I did it!  I wrote more than 50,000 words in the month of November.

51,117 to be exact.

I have to admit I almost didn’t make it…work and kids and holidays conspiring against me…but in the end I was able to meet my goal and keep my promise to myself.

Unfortunately even at 51,117 words my novel is no where near complete…at least another 30,000 words away I figure…but that isn’t the point really.  The point is that I set the goal, put myself first for a change and made it happen.

And what made my first NaNoWriMo experience all that more enjoyable was that my 9 year old did it with me.

She was successful too – writing 800 words more than her set goal of 1,500 – and I am so proud of her commitment to the task.

I loved our mother-daughter writing dates whether they were spent in a cafe while my youngest was at art class or in our own living room. There is something special about having your children share your passion for something.

What next? Well…I have to actually finish the novel…and then edit it…and rewrite a lot of it…and then try to get it published.

So maybe NaNoWriMo was actually the easy part.

Milestone Moment: Holes in the Ears

Today – after weeks of (seemingly endless) discussion and debate – my 9 year old decided she was ready to get her ears pierced. 

It was a big moment…for both of us. Because these are the moments that mark the passing of time. That mark her growing up.

I remember getting my ears pierced. I was 8 and it was a tremendously hellish experience.

My “ear care professional” was new…didn’t know what she was doing…and managed to get the “pain free” ear piercing gun stuck on my left earlobe.

And it hurt like a son of a &%@!#. I don’t actually remember how they managed to get the 2nd ear done but I suspect my mother had a hand in that black magic.  I picture myself unconscious on the chair…the offending gun still hanging from my left ear while my mother took matters into her own hand and finished the job herself.

Anyways…I digress. Luckily my daughters experience was quite the opposite of mine.

We went to Claire’s and I searched through the staff until I found one that looked closer to my age than my daugther’s and whose name tag had the word “Manager” on it.

She walked M through the steps and asked her to choose her earrings. After she chose her April birthstone it was over to the stool in the window.

The whole process was over in about 10 minutes – start to finish.

One of the things I love is that they do both ears at the same time. M knew what was coming when they tried to distract her with questions…but I think she was even surprised by how quickly it was done. 

The smile didn’t leave her face for hours after we left the mall.

When we were done with the piercing we took full advantage of the discounts Claire’s offers when you get your ears pierced. All their stainless steel earrings were $5 – so M got 4 pairs for when she is able to swap them out.

I have to say our experience at Claire’s was really fantastic. They have great information on their website about after care – including a video that my daughter really found helpful.

Mark another milestone down in the books…these moments just keep coming.

I’m not sure I’m ready for them…but I don’t seem to get a say anymore.

Milestone Moment: Swimming Level 1…check!

My youngest has always had a bit of a stubborn streak. She likes to do things her own way and in her own time.

That’s proved to be a slightly frustrating character trait over the years especially when it comes to things like swimming lessons.

My oldest is a fish. Has always loved the water and whipped through the first few levels of swimming lessons without issue.

But with dear little T it’s been a bit of a different story.

While she loves the water too – always begging for us to take her swimming and having a great time when we did – there was a clear disconnect when it came to swimming lessons.

The first time we tried she failed because she flatly refused to put her head in the water.  Only for the instructor was this the case…because she’d finish her lesson, rejoin us and promptly put her face in the water.

So…we’d tried again with the same level…and got the same result. Soooo frustrating!  Even her teacher said “we know she’s capable…she just needs to show us in the lesson.”

We decided to take a break and wait until she was older. And then my friend told me her secret of putting them in lessons in the summer when they can go every day for two weeks. Given that I now had the flexbility in my work schedule I decided to give it a whirl.

And from day 1 I knew it was going to be a big success. She loved her lessons at the outdoor pool. She was excited for each one and proudly showed off her new skills.

Onto Level 2.

Oh…and let’s not forget my oldest child. She passed level 7 with flying colours and is a better swimmer than I am.

Better get used to that I guess…