Posts Tagged ‘parenting memories’

Ten candles.



Oh my goodness, Musical M, how is it possible that you’re now ten?!

I remember lying on my hospital bed, staring with wonder at your tiny head.

So many thoughts and so many feelings ran through me as I stared at the ceiling,

Still numb from that needle before it hit me, I now had life’s greatest responsibility.

Baby blues but also tears of joy…that scan was wrong and you weren’t a boy!

You were underweight, not properly responding; oh the struggle to feed you and worry over bonding.


The following months are wonderful memories; the wishes, the gifts, the flowers, the ceremonies,

Proud grandparents and siblings, smiles and affection…but let’s not forget the shock of a c-section.

Endless visitors with their congratulations. The first child earns rock star adulation!

One thing that was no surprise? My loving husband became a loving dad before my eyes.

Many great moments. One of the best: Daddy Cool saying “I love her so much it hurts!” as you slept on his chest.

I remember tidying your crib changing the bedding while you smiled as he sang tunes by Otis Redding.


Summer 2004 was an unforgettable time; the exhaustion of new motherhood…yet it was sublime.

It’s clichéd but it seems like only yesterday when I’d be up all night with you crying and then

Spend the entire day holding you in my pyjamas, trying to eat something myself – a daily drama.

I’d hold you and rock you and feed you for hours, praying you’d sleep so I could just grab a shower.

Endless baby and mama pics but don’t zoom in; my priorities had changed and I’d no time for grooming.

Parenting books, car signs with Baby on Board, mums’ coffee mornings…just don’t mention Gina Ford.


Sterilisers, muslins, bibs and high chairs, pushchairs and car seats and gates for the stairs,

Portable equipment from changing mats to potties; just leaving the house became seriously dotty.

Then we said goodbye to the UK and moved to the sun. Hello villa with pool: life in Malta looked fun!

Your first steps, the daycare years and I got pregnant with number two…failing to toilet train you before he arrived so I was up to my eyes in poo.

You were such a cute toddler, you made everyone drool. Then bam, just like that, you started school.

We realised quickly that you’re more arty…and we discovered playdates, sleepovers and endless parties.


Now I can’t believe we sent you, aged only three. But you seemed ready…your brother was so little…I needed the break, you see.

The years have rolled by and we’ve moved into a new phase. Teletubbies, Pooh Bear…long gone are those days.

Goodbye frilly frocks and Hello Kitty toys. Hello One Direction, tennis matches and talk of boys.

YouTube, Wii, Monster High and Rihanna; the tweenie stage…too old for Disney Princess but don’t ask for Hannah Montana.

Pierced ears, hair styles, cool threads and nail varnish. Can’t we just hang on before your childhood we tarnish?

I know I mustn’t control you but please don’t worship Miley Cyrus. And don’t stop reading, playing and creating or you’ll catch the ‘too-much-screen-time-virus’.


You’ll have to bear with me as I try to find my feet, parenting your changing character is hard but I know you’re still sweet.

It should get easier as kids get older but your STUFF is all over the place. And the forgetting to brush your hair or even wash your face!

The number of things you break or lose, it simply drives me crazy. The homework you ‘forget’…are you just too young or just too lazy?

I know the eldest usually has it rough. So I should go easier on you but I do find it tough.

I guess you could say we have a clash of personality but hey it’s not your fault; you’re just a mini me.

An impatient mum, it’s almost outrageous. Why get mad at an angel whose laugh is so contagious?


Ten candles later, should I have played more? Should I have been more fun and cared less about chores?

I know regrets are pointless yet those are my wishes…but I was so busy having babies and washing the dishes.

So ten candles later, here we are. You’re Musical M with a voice that could carry you far.

I love that we share a passion for music and words. Keep dreaming. Keep singing. Make sure you are heard.

Ten candles later, your life is a ball. With your great spirit and big heart, you deserve to have it all.

Making your cake, I think of each year symbolised by these ten candles. Now fetch your dress, do your face and hair and grab your party sandals.



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30 Things That Make Me Happy


30 Things That Make Me Happy


Happiness. We all want it don’t we? Personally, despite life’s inevitable low points, I think I’m more of a glass-half-full rather than half-empty sort (like I said, I think!). It”s what works for me. Yes, admittedly, when you live on a little island that is positively drenched in sunshine most of the year, it’s easy to be glass more-than-half-full. In fact, I honestly don’t think a day has gone by in the last few years, where I haven’t done a mental fist pump because of the glorious blue skies and sun we have here. For sure, I’ve bored my kids to tears (and probably half my FB friends) constantly saying how lucky we are.

So recently, a few things have got me thinking about the whole ‘happiness thing’. Pharrell Williams is one of them. He did something with that song; he got us thinking about the H word. (You might want to watch this fab clip of the man himself crying tears of yep, happiness about the impact of the song). It blew me away…such an honest real moving reaction.

Something else that got me thinking was a friend’s 100 Days of Happiness challenge documented over three months on FB. They made me smile and reminded me of something we’ve done ever since Musical M was three years old where we all share our ‘favourite moment of the day’ at bedtime. All three kids love it but even if we saw the Queen in a karaoke bar singing a One Direction song, you can bet money that if the kids watched a DVD that same day, then that trumps the Queen. Seriously though, even if you’ve had a rough day, it makes you focus back on the positive. Oh, don’t worry, no gloating here. I’m NO earth mother. Sometimes my favourite part of the day comes after I’ve got them into bed when I head downstairs to a glass of wine.

The other big ‘what makes me happy’ trigger was our Easter break; in particular, the day I took them to Golden Bay. One of those perfect days with lovely friends, 13 kids playing easily, relaxed lunch, ice creams, sand castles, ball games, sun lounger chilling, coffee in the sea wind and musical nostalgia-fest on the cafe radio. By late afternoon, it was just me and my lovely ‘baker in chief’ friend (who also features in the below list…I wonder if she can work out where) with our six kids. She got out one of those neat little pocket kites and what unfolded was one of those moments that I’ll always treasure. Now, bear in mind that I grew up in the suburbs of Greater London; a pretty ‘regular’ Indian upbringing (who can spot the subtext?), no beaches nearby, kite-flying unfamiliar to us and not much sunshine…a different time, a different generation, a different culture. Yet here I was, decades later on a Mediterranean beach not far from where I live, my eldest having fun climbing over rocks with baker lady’s eldest, my other two running around on the sand without a care in the world chasing after their kite-flying friends, all of us laughing in the evening sun. Parents do their best. Mine did theirs in their way. Yet it hit me, probably more than at any other point in my parenting experience, just how much your kids’ childhood can turn out to be different from your own (that stands for any culture).

Where am I going with this? Well, if Pharrell ever comes knocking on my door, I’ll tell him this is my official list of what makes me happy (for now).

(My) Happiness is…

1. Coming downstairs in the morning to find that hubster has done the packed lunches.

2. The stunning coastline drive to my house.

3. Grabbing a 15 minute breather with a cup of tea (and cake) after non-stop chores before heading out again for the school run.

4. The squeals of “Mama!” from my baby as she runs down her kindergarten corridor towards me smiling.

5. Coming across a film that is such a gem, it leaves its mark on me, becoming an ‘old friend’ I go to when I need comfort (About Time and Something’s Gotta Give are up there).

6. Pulling warm cake out of the oven on a rainy afternoon.

7. Finally figuring out who sings a particular song (We are People or Home recently for me.)

8. Yoga at Golden Bay under blue skies and palm trees.

9. The sight of my kids going nuts in the lounge dancing to my Spotify playlist.

10. Watching Musical M effortlessly dive into a pool, remembering how at that age I was too terrified to even get in.

11. Coffee with girlfriends.

12. Melting under a long hot shower after a long blissful run and sinking onto the sofa afterwards for trashy TV.

13. Hubster paying me a compliment (about whatever…not fussy…after 17 years together, I’ll take anything).

14. Discovering I can do something I never thought I could do.

15. An afternoon of board games to a soundtrack of old school tunes (making Bowie/U2/Beatles/Wonder fans out of the kids).

16. Coffee with myself.

17. Rushing through homework and dinner on auto pilot only to remember the next day is a holiday which equals no school which equals movie night.

18. Movie night!

19. Stopping after school at a beach café to grab a drink in the sun while the kids collect shells.

20. Wine…and the sound of the cork popping and the wonderful glug glug of the first pour.

21. Conquering a life-long fear.

22. Hearing my daughter sing and knowing, beyond natural maternal bias, that she really has got something.

23. Having a friend who would actually leave her house at night, get in the car and come over to mine with a bottle of wine if I said I had none in the house. 🙂

24. Home-made ice cream…see Hubster smile!

25. A beach-side restaurant finally opening a minute’s walk from our house where we can laze over Sunday lunch and let the kids literally step out the back onto the sand while we both have a coffee and a chat.

26. Meeting two cool chikitas, one whom I first met years ago but never actually got to know, the other whom I met quite randomly just a year ago – and knowing they will both be in my life forever.

27. Realising the best things happen when you’re least expecting them.

28. Hubster returning safe and sound from business trips.

29. The sound of my kids laughing. OF COURSE.

30. Launching a blog that has led me to discover the most heart-warming, surprising, affirming things about myself and others that I never expected.

This is my truth. These are what make me happy. So I’m clapping my hands, like Mr Williams said.


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