Saturday, June 6, 2015

9 Years Later.....

When it comes to parenting, no truer words were spoken than "the days are long but the years are short." The days become a blur of wake up, breakfast, school, lunch, extra murals, homework, dinner and sleep and then without warning, another year has gone. It is always a bittersweet time when my children have a birthday. I reflect on the year that has passed and wonder what the new one will bring, happy that they are doing well, but sad, knowing that they are getting older, and getting older means becoming more independent. As an exhausted mother of young children, sometimes independence is an unattainable goal only found in our dreams, where we can sleep late on a Saturday morning and spend the weekend doing what we want to do instead of what we have to do. But I am well-aware that we have limited time before the hormones begin to change and my sensitive, caring little girl who loves to play with her dolls and teddies and sends me notes telling me how much she loves me, is going to change into a tween, controlled by emotions, drama and bodily changes. I worked with a mom who was so super-busy that she missed out on her son growing up. She told me "don't wish their lives away, try to enjoy them each day because each day will pass and tomorrow they will be older." Her words echo in my head often,

Looking back over the last year, Tomato has come such a long long way. Last year her skin was way out of control and she was regressing developmentally from the constant infections, lack of sleep, chronic medications and missing a lot of school. She was hospitalised for 4 days due to infections not related to her skin, but which caused her to skin to erupt and she reached an all-time low emotionally, physically and psychologically. Once her skin healed, she became a new child. [I will post an eczema update on another post soon.]

Over the past 6 months, Tomato has improved in leaps and bounds! She is much happier and healthier and her emotions are under control (for most of the time). She is a caring big sister, always ready to help her little sister read and practise her homework "reading words" with her. She hugs more, sings in the shower and is happy and joyful. She has taken to drawing more often and she has always loved to do crafts which keep her busy for hours. She won an award for being the most improved learner, a merit award and her teacher gave her a maths award, which increased her confidence. We still have a long road ahead with little Tomato as you can't rebuild the lost years in 6 months, but from the beginning of this year she has blossomed and I am confident that we are going to see continuous improvements.

So the birthday was looming and Tomato was super-excited to be turning 9 (although she wasn't happy that time-out was now going to increase by another minute - lol). So it started with......

The Birthday List

  • A puppy
  • Build-A-Bear
  • An iPad Mini 
  • Art supplies
  • Crafts
  • Money
  • Lindor Chocolate Balls (the gold pack)
  • Chewing gum
  • Chocolate fondue
  • The Pizza man come to deliver pizza on a motorbike
  • Shoe shopping with Granny 

Due to her allergy to dogs, a puppy was not an option and an iPad Mini was also not going to happen. She didn't really seem to mind about the iPad but she was very upset about the puppy, She got everything else on her list - happy-days!!

I really felt bad about not being able to get her a puppy for her birthday and then a friend on Facebook was looking for a home for a cockatiel. I grew up with an aviary of cockatiels, so I just had to convince hubby, and we were off to fetch Peanut, Tomato's new pet. Not quite a dog but she was thrilled!! It also made her very happy that we "saved' Peanut, because he was homeless!! She does make me laugh.

The Lead Up
Leading up to her birthday, I took Tomato to see the live show of Mama Mia and she was blown away! She felt so grown up, dressing up and going out on a school night to a grown up show. She immediately became an avid Abba fan and now watches the movie often. Even her little brother Lettuce sings Dancing Queen in the dark when he's supposed to be trying to sleep lol.

ABBA outfit and boots
Just like her mom, Tomato likes a looooong drawn out birthday. She had a good excuse because my sister, her husband and 2 little girls came for a visit, so it all started 10 days before her actual birthday, with a surprise visit to Build-A-Bear after school, which was the gift from my sister and family as well as a dress for her new bear! I thought she was going to pop with excitement! My brother "Dorothy from Oz also came for a couple of days, so this was the perfect opportunity for an early birthday celebration, so the family got together for lunch and we planned a little surprise birthday tea for Tomato with a cake, candles and presents. The SA cousins gave her an ABBA outfit - heaven on earth!

The Birthday
Bird nests for school
Pressies on birhday morning
Then it was her actual birthday, she got all her gifts early in the morning before school. We had made bird nests out of chocolate crunchies, with Mema the day before and added speckled eggs. She took these to hand out to her class. Granny fetched her and Bacon to go shoe shopping and came back with red suede, high heeled boots! That night we had her favourite pizza for dinner (the man came on his bike came to deliver) as well as a chocolate fondue which was her dream come true, dipping fruit into melted chocolate. Seeing as we are pretty much sugar-free and junk-free at home, this was the biggest treat ever!!

The Party
Then it was the party...... Tomato wanted to have a party where she and some friends could do crafts together. My fabulous sister Lollipop located a place close by which offered mosaic parties. So I took Tomato to see the place and we chatted to the lady and we booked.

The party was an enormous success and the most stress-free party ever, I wish I could do something similar every year! Hubby, Lettuce and I got to sit down and have tea at the tea garden opposite, while the mosaicing lady took the girls through the ins and outs of mosaic and then we came back to cut the cake and say goodbye to the friends. Each child chose their own shape and got to take it home all done, ready to hang up.
Tomato's mosaic (the middle is made up of blocks of mirror)

The cake that she "needed" was a rainbow mosaic cake" so I had my work cut out for me. I got Mema involved again and together we cut up all the plastic icing into little blocks, then I baked and iced the cake and hubby and I did some mosaicing of our own, which was actually a lot of fun. We finished late the night before the party, so Tomato was asleep. In the morning she went to see the cake and came upstairs to say "Thank you, thank you mommy, my cake is beautiful! She had made the orange flower in the middle and the little ones that I stuck all over. She had asked me to put them on her cake but she obviously thought I wouldn't so she was over the moon as it was exactly as she had imagined it.
[sidebar - to any of my eczema friends or moms with children who suffer from eczema, please note, we did NOT eat these coloured blocks!! That would send Tomato's skin into a major flare! I cut off the colours and some of the icing before serving.]

As I mentioned, my sister and her family came to visit and stayed with us for 2½ weeks. It gave us an insight into what it was like when we were kids and the 6 of us went to visit my cousins in CT and we all stayed in their house - 7 children and 4 adults!! We had a household with 5 children and 4 adults and it was organised chaos haha but we had so much fun and the cousins loved playing together. It was also so great to be able to spend so much time together instead of a whirlwind visit where we hardly get to chat.

My brother-in-law said "children attack everything with such passion" and if you take the time to watch them, it is fascinating. Everything is exciting and they are full of wonderment at new things, which to us seem uninteresting and even dull, such as a bouncy ball, the inside of a toilet roll holder filled with rice or a box made to look like a car. Our little Lettuce loves watching wheels go round. Sometimes we are so busy doing things that have to be done, we miss out on their excitement while we herd them through the daily duties.

So this year, as Tomato enters her last single-digit year, I am going to try my best to hold onto each sweet moment, each time she says "I love my mommy" or hugs me or wants me to lie in bed with her, or just cuddle and remember what people used to tell me "enjoy them while they're small because they grow up so quickly."

Happy Birthday my beautiful little Tomato. I couldn't be more proud to be your mommy.

Lettuce trying on the boots lol


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