Monday, 19 May 2014

a day with James

With four children it is not always easy to give each of them the special mummy time that they need. There are times when one or the other does not ping on the mummy radar. James more so than the others. I sometimes think of him as my invisible child, his gentle personality dwarfed by the much larger ones of his three siblings. Sam, the teenager is clever and he knows it. Annie is boisterous and noisy, Alistair is riding the wave of cuteness.

Recently, James has started to step out of the shade of the other three, not necessarily in the best possible way. He has been naughty and rebellious, screaming and kicking and has on many occasions told me that he hates me. Luckily he loves me again after a few doors have been slammed and a few toys have been thrown, or when he is hungry. James is an amazing door slammer and it is only a matter of time before he manages to unhinge one of our old wooden doors! I wonder if we could harness this talent in any way?


There are moments when I find it tiring to be James' (or anybody else's) mum and I hate to admit that I have lost my temper more than once in the past few weeks.

When I returned from my "run" on Sunday morning (still feeling queasy from excessive partying the day before) I had the overwhelming desire to spend some time with James only. I noticed a while back that he enjoys gardening, in a very haphazard 6 year old way. He wants to plant some vegetables. Richard has dug the vegetable patch and prepared it for the seedlings but somehow we never got around to sewing any seeds. I suggested to James that he and I went to B&Q to buy a few vegetable seedlings. His little cheeky face lit up at the suggestion. We chose peas, artichokes and Brussels sprouts. James has never eaten artichoke but he talked me into buying some anyway. He also saw chilli plants that were full of little chillies and he wanted them, too. I suggested younger plants and helped him choose two varieties, Scotch Bonnet and Hungarian Hot Wax. At 98 pence each I thought they were a bargain and a good opportunity for him to look after two plants all by himself. The chillies are on the windowsill in our South facing living room.


When we got home I remembered that the annual orchid fair was on in the Botanic Gardens. James loves to cycle and the two of us cycled down the hill to the Kibble Palace for a spot of orchid admiring. He only had one fall when he was trying to bounce up a high curb and we practiced his on the road cycling along the quiet back roads. We admired the orchids and bought two, got some advice for an existing orchid problem and we also talked to a beekeeper for a good while. James spotted the bee queen in the glass covered hive. The cactus society usually has a plant sale during the orchid fair and James chose a little cactus to look after. The cacti are real bargains if you ever visit when the cactus society is selling, or showing! James' cactus has flower buds on. 


Cycling back up the hill was a bit more of a challenge but we raced each other and I let him win. For once. His bike has no gears and he needs to push the pedals about five times for each of my own pushes.... He was exhausted and spent the rest of the day watching the telly. But there was no door slamming, no shouting or other manifestations of his angry little self for the entire day. He was shiny with happiness and even his ginger mop was a bit more ginger than usual.



It was a good day for both of us.
 

22 comments:

  1. Gardening for kids is great, especially boys I think. Teaches them to be gentle when handling plants/seedlings and to nurture. Love the look of concentration on James's face and his red hair, what a cutie. Having their own kiddie sized gardening tools s always a nice treat too xo

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    1. What a good idea, it is his Birthday soon!

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  2. What a lovely day. It's very special to have 1:1 time with the children isn't it. There never seems to be enough. I went on a school trip today with my youngest and he loved having me along. He pretty much ignored his friends and stuck to me like glue.

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    1. I have never been on a school trip with my children. Maybe I should. I love to have 1:1 time with the children, I feed on the memory for days and weeks after a lovely day/hour with one of them.

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  3. I love your honesty re the shouting. A day you will both probably remember? Love that cactus' buds....
    bestest Daisy j xx
    Ps.... I of course never shout (much!) !!?!!

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    1. Well, there has not been much shouting this week, James has been an angel. It seems that a little special time goes a long way.

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  4. Sounds like you have found something you two both enjoy doing.

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    1. James is much more enthusiastic about gardening than I am but I enjoy doing it with him.

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  5. It's very important to do this kind of thing with just one child. I have often wished my own parents had taken the time with each of the four of us this way, but they had an idea that it wasn't "fair" to do anything with a single child. I disagree, I think it's more than fair and it's healthy for parents too. I think James will get a lot from gardening as well as his time with you.

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    1. I don't remember much me time as a child either. I hope that mine will remember! My children are different when on their own. James wants to be a gardener, something I would support.

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  6. What a lovely honest account of you and your child. Glad you had a lovely day, here's to more. Jo x

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    1. I have written this for James and myself, to remember later. He still talks about it now and has plans for more gardening.

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  7. I worried with my four that I didn't give them enough individual time but have been surprised now they're grown up how often they talk about something we did together, just the two of us. In reality these were probably only a handful of days, but maybe that's why they stick in their minds. Sometimes doing things with two of them worked just as well - don't you find the dynamics really change when one or two are away for the day?
    Hope all the plants thrive. And the doors survive :)

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    1. You are right, the dynamics change a lot. I have a weekend ahead with just the little ones and I am really looking forward to it. I do really hope that mine will remember these times like yours do. As for doors, they are still intact.

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  8. Hey Christina,
    I think it's really important to have one on one time with your children. Sometimes it may only be five minutes in the day, but there are times when you can devote yourself to them. When I have the chance I relish it. Obviously Pops gets the biggest slice of my time, but the two had all of me when they were little. It gets harder as they get older, because they need you in a different way. Last week I managed to persuade Sam to take a break from revising and come for a walk with me. It was good. And Alfie and I had some time together on Sunday.
    When I was little I remember craving time on my own with my Mum. I was the eldest of three. I was a difficult child I think. I wasn't cute like my sister. I wasn't the baby, like my brother. I was socially incompetent, clumsy and awkward. I think my Mum found me 'difficult' and we had a very strained relationship. Now I have a great relationship with her. She is visiting this weekend, and I cannot wait for some one on one with her. So I guess we always crave it! Sorry, can of worms opening there! I'm so glad that you and James had this time together. It sounds as if a lot of fun was had by the both of you. I love the fact that you let him win. I'm not very good at that either ;)
    Have a fab week Christina.
    Leanne xx

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    1. I find that Sam needs me more than the others. I don't know if teenagers are all like that but it is quiet sweet (don't tell him). I can't really imagine you being socially incompetent Leanne. I probably should not have let him win, it will be not long before I don't stand a chance in a bike race :)

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  9. You are a wise mom to recognize James needed this bit of time with you. I loved what you wrote at the end. "He was shiny with happiness and even his ginger mop was a bit more ginger than usual." :-)

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    1. It is funny how children glow from the inside out when they are happy!

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  10. I have one rather temperamental child in my mix, who just happens to be the baby and so I wonder if we haven't all had a hand in the making of her personality. She reminds me very much of that little ditty about the little girl with the little curl in the middle of her forehead. When she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad she was horrid. She is the only one of my four who ever told me she hated me, and yet like James, loves the most fiercely of them all. And I know if I'm patient and calm with her, all is well. Unfortunately there are times though when my patience and calmness are tested!
    Perhaps, some one on one time is needed here also.

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    1. My daughter Annie needs some one on one time, too. She is probably the most volatile. I think James gets frustrated because he is always the quiet one that doesn't get noticed. Staying calm is an art I am still learning to master!

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  11. What a lovely day. I'm looking forward to some (albeit imposed) 1 to 1 time with LittleR when BigR goes to school. Sometimes you and they need that time.

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    1. You'll have a lovely time with LittleR, I am sure you will. James is still lovely and kind, 5 days later. Maybe one on one time is the solution to all parenting problems?

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx