Four Years Old…

October 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

Happy Birthday Jumping Bean Boy. Four years old. Four years of precious.

And, Happy Fourth Anniversary to us of becoming parents! We’ve survived four years of looking after a small person! (If I wasn’t full of man-flu I’d be celebrating with a beer; as it is, I may have a wee dram of whisky later if I don’t fall asleep with the kids!)

This morning Messy Boy was very excited, showing me his feet and his hands, “Mummy LOOK! Look at my feet! Look my hands! They’re BIG, mummy!” Bless him, he genuinely thinks he’s grown, literally physically, into a big boy overnight!

We had tots this morning where Messy Boy had Happy Birthday sung to him, a skype call with Gran and Grandad while Messy Boy opened his birthday box, an afternoon of building his fire and police station, a birthday tea with friends and neighbours, a short but crazy evening looking after seven kids, a skype call with Grandma and Grandad to show them his fire and police station, and although Messy Baby begged for bed Messy Boy is having a stay up and play evening with his haul of new toys.

I love you Beany Boy. I love how excitable you are. I love how expressive your face is, I love how much you wear your heart on your sleeve. I love how you are growing into such a confident little-big boy. I love that we still have our cuddles, I love that you seek out my hand to hold. I love that you love to be with us. I love how much you love your little brother, I am loving watching your relationship grow and evolve. I love how you have to climbeverything, I love your songs, your monologues when you play, I love your imagination! I love how much you like chocolate 🙂 I love how you and Daddy play together. I love how you and your brother play together, I love the squeals of joy that you get out of him! I love how bossy you can be, it makes me laugh although I know I shouldn’t. I love how serious you are. I love how friendly you are and how you make friends with all the random children we meet in cafes and at shops. I love how you randomly tell me you love me. I love how you actively share everything you have with us and with your brother. There are so many more things I love about you, Beany Boy. But most of all, I LOVE YOU.

Happy Birthday Jumpingbean. Keep on being your special self 🙂





This Too Shall Pass

October 8, 2012 § 2 Comments

I’ve been out to three evening meetings this week. And it’s killing me! I can’t remember the last time I was this tired: during pregnancy probably! I’m learning that these couple of hours in the evening when I cuddle up with my boys is the only thing keeping me sane at the moment.

Boy will be four in two weeks’ time and his hormones are certainly letting me know. Baby, at 10 and a half months, is gearing up towards another massive developmental leap, and is a right pain in the rear, to put it bluntly. He’s on the brink of walking. (He’s been making me laugh though, somehow he’s left it until now to discover his feet are chewable – I really wanted to post something about his latest developmental leap being Yoga but the camera is nowhere to be found every time he goes for his feet! Or anybody else’s feet either – I think he’s getting a little bit feet-obsessed….)

I’ve been trying to figure out what I’m about. What and who the messy mama is, what I do.

Who I am, fundamentally, is a wife, and mother, and an artist.

I love painting, and I’ve loved painting with my Boy. He still loves painting but with Baby so mobile now it’s tricky finding the space and time to paint together without destroying the house! To be honest I don’t think I’d really mind that much if the kitchen units got covered in paint. They’re old and tired. Maybe I’ll paint them white and then we’ll do our messy painting next to them. Yeah.

I am a breastfeeding (extended), babywearing, baby-led-weaning (both starting solids, and stopping nursing) and attachment parenting advocate. I believe these things are best for my kids, and for many others too.

But right now I feel like such a rubbish attachment model.

Today has been tough. My nearly-four-year-old is so fully in his own world of childhood play and imagination that even if he hears me he doesn’t listen. He is still only a small child, I need to remind myself that. He has not listened. He has lied. He has deliberately (and accidentally) hurt his brother. He has shouted. I have shouted. Lots. I have tried not shouting. We have talked. Properly. He has appeared to listen, he even discussed consequences. These aren’t punishment consequences, they are matter of fact, if you hit someone with something, it’s going to hurt them, they will probably be upset and cry, sort of consequences. If you don’t listen to me when I ask you to stop, I’m going to end up yelling for you to listen to me and stop because you are about to break something, hurt yourself, hurt somebody else and I can’t always come and physically stop you. I really need to take a step back and remember that he’s not even four yet. He’s still a child. And he needs to play. And I need to sleep, so that I have the energy to take him outdoors to play! No more evening meetings for me. Not yet….


If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn apprehension.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn envy.
If children live with shame, they learn guilt.

If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness, and consideration they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and those around them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn that the world is a nice place in which to live.

– Dorothy Law Nolte


I saw this posted the other day and it crushes me because of all the ways I am failing. I still love it, I still intend to put it on my wall somewhere as a reminder, as inspiration, as motivation to do better as a parent.

Notice I said as a parent: not as an artist, not as a woman. Not as a house-cleaner.

My husband left his old job and started up a new business doing acoustic consultancy this summer and we’ve had a tough few months as a result. For starters we’ve pretty much had to learn to live together again, with him working from home. In parts it’s been great because he’s been able to see the boys more. He’s been able to be a much bigger part of Baby’s life, seeing him develop and grow; and he’s been able to be a much bigger part of Boy’s life, Boy who loves his Daddy so so so much and just wants Daddy to play with him.

We’re just waiting for jobs to come in now, basically. And the stress is really getting to us. Our communication is suffering badly. And me trying to get my little craft stalls organised in the middle of all this – well, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth all the additional stress.

As far as the messy mama goes, I’m still trying to find that balance between supporting my husband, looking after my children, and painting just enough to stay sane. I could easily put my Self first, concentrate on me, on what I want to do. I could happily do that sometimes, to be honest. Finding my feet in painting again has been a tonic for my soul recently but I’m having to learn that I can’t do EVERYTHING. I can only do what I have time to do. Pushing myself to do more is not actually healthy or useful for anybody right now.

After tomorrow’s mini-stall at our toddler group, and a christmas craft fair stall in November, either I’ll know what I’m doing by way of how to organise a stall, or I’ll have had enough and will be sticking to Etsy, putting things up for sale as and when rather than pushing for a deadline! The craft packs are on hold for the moment. I’m hoping that they will make a comeback in the new year though, more polished, more organised, and with less stress for me each month to get them out.

And I’m still going to be painting.

When I get the chance!


October 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

“Family is born out of the laughter of heaven… Why else would we delight in wiping runny noses, and birthdays that aren’t our own” – Maggie Lindley

I love that quote. SO much. I was going to paint it directly onto the wall above one of our doors but having finally finished drawing it in a piece of art I’m going to put that up instead!

family is born out of the laughter of heaven messy mama art


The background is probably one of my most favourite pieces of art that Messy Boy and I have created together. I love it so much. It’s been displayed in our living room for months, calling to me to draw on it and complete it, but I’ve been too afraid that I’ll ruin it!

Making the first stroke with the pen is always the most nerve-wracking but I think – I hope – that I did it justice.

I love it.

And prints are available via Etsy!

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