Regan's blog

Happy Birthday, Honey!

Today is Andrew's birthday, one that means 40 is on the horizon and refuses to be ignored. There is no turning back now. My husband had the good fortune to be born a man (I consider this MY good fortune as well), which means he is only getting better with age. In many ways he looks exactly like that very young man all in black who strode off a transatlantic flight to meet me. That's right, MEET me. He was so adorable and irresistible, what was a girl to do? Have his babies, clearly.

I don't know how it works, but our lives really do get better every year. I won't hold my breath for this year as I fall into the deep abyss of post-grad studies, but so far so wonderful. I wouldn't even bat an eyelid of consideration of going for my teaching certification if Andrew weren't the husband and father he is. Haven't made dinner? No problem. Can't bear the children for a second longer? Give them to me. Don't like slugs in the garden? I got 'em. The slug thing is a biggie. I really don't like slugs. I can only ask God why. Why, God? Why slugs?

Whatever, I'm sure God has a reason for slugs even if it's beyond me. I don't care, because I've got my dream family and dream life. Whether that's down to God, good choices, or just an unbelievably fantastic husband, I don't know. I just know it's good.

In the immortal words of our three-year-old, "Happy Birthday, Honey!"

When Days Are Hot, When Days are Cool

This week is Swim Week chez Gambier. I signed Katie and Buffy up for shared private lessons every morning this week. The last time Katie had private lessons, her skills shot up. This week has been no different. We are three days in, and she's putting her face in the water, swimming around the pool on her own with a noodle float, and even cheekily splashing the teacher. Amazing! At her last group lesson she was still touching the bottom after every stroke and avoiding the splashy boys who might get water near her face. Not IN her face, NEAR her face. Today the instructor had goggles on Katie and she was face down in the pool having a look around. Amazing!

Buffy is also improving, but we have split the class 20 minutes/10 minutes in Katie's favour. She needs it more. Buffy just kicks around and is adorable. She also asked to wear the *pink* goggles. The goggles coupled with the giant flower in her hair made her look absolutely hilarious. She just keeps grinning and cracking little jokes, making everyone around her happy.

So, yeah, I'm happy with the one-to-one lessons. I wish we could afford to do them every day of the year.

I Tried Telling Her to Stop Growing. She Didn't Listen.

Friday night was Katie's first ever sleepover. I have long feared sleepovers, and had resigned myself to their inevitablity now that Katie is six. I think I was six when I went to my first slumber party. I have also recently noticed in Katie a greater need for independence. I have tried to grant her moments of freedom whenever possible like unlocking the door on her own, walking further ahead of us, and a dozen other little ways. I decided there were only two friends' houses I would let Katie stay overnight. Both moms I have known for years, know they parent similarly, and know Katie would have a good time. Wouldn't you know it one of them invited Katie over last Friday.

It went brilliantly! Katie had so much fun, it didn't even occur to her to miss me. I missed her dreadfully and slept with two phones under my pillow, just in case. Even then I barely slept. I tossed and turned and wondered if I should be worrying less, or possibly more? Nothing like worrying about worrying to make you feel like a paranoid freak. In the morning I asked Katie if she'd missed me, and she looked at me like I'd sprouted another nose. Why on earth would she have missed me?

Best of all, according to Katie, was they "stayed up until the next day!" Oh goodie! Long nap for you then. Worst of all was the Nail Polish Incident. Now, I have absolutely no problem with nail varnish at sleepovers. I think they're an integral part of the whole experience. It's a bigger deal for my girls, because they've never had painted nails. The big girls played with the nail varnish and decorated every available nail surface among them. Then they left the bottles in plain sight of the younger girls. Well, one younger girl. Buffy. *horror movie scream*

Buffy took it upon herself to decorate her nails as she'd seen the big girls do. Then, as the big girls had, she painted her toes. Not her toenails, mind you, her TOES. And, of course, you can't complete the look without lipgloss. Explaining the difference between lipgloss and nail varnish has moved way up my To Do list. Buffy came dripping down the stairs like a scene from a slasher film. Dripping from her fingers, toes and mouth, the other mothers immediately thought there'd been some terrible accident. I knew in an instant what had happened: Buffy got into a fight with a bottle of nail polish, and the nail polish won.

On Wednesday we finally have an appointment with the dentist to investigate why her TEETH ARE SILVER. This afternoon we have an appointment with the doctor to investigate a weird rash on Katie's foot. I hope we'll make it, but Buffy refuses to nap. She's so quiet upstairs, I think she's asleep. Then I hear a noise and go upstairs to find Buffy in a new outfit trying to decide if there really is such a thing as too many platic beads. (The answer is always an emphatic "no".)

But this post was supposed to be about Katie. My shining star big girl with all the independence. The sleepover has sparked something in her. She really is more independent suddenly. We took her to the playground yesterday, and it seemed to small for her. Last week it was still challenging. This time Andrew had to take her on a hike around the park to keep her interested. Of course all this boundary shifting has consequences. Some boundaries have moved, so now all boundaries must be tested. Does this one still apply? How about this one? And this one over here, the brushing teeth one, I never liked that one much. Has it by any chance moved? Every single request is being met with sighs and eyerolls. So much joy.

Except she is! Katie really, truly is a joy. Yesterday morning she woke me up holding a ruined dress. It had a giant black ink stain down the front. She asked if she could cut it up and make it into a skirt. Um, sure! So now she's made herself a skirt. I was so impressed by how much she truly did on her own. I still control the foot pedal on the sewing machine, but that was really about it beyond some basic instructions. When she made her dress, I kept tight control on every bit. This time around, it was all shining Katie on her glittery own. I'm afraid there's going to be a lot more "on her own" in her future. Good thing it's glittery!

Bridget and Co competition!

My all-time favourite children's clothing designer is having a competition to win one of her gorgeous originals. You can win just by posting a comment on her blog. An original, custom-sized Bridget and Co dress can sell for megabucks when a bidding war gets going on Ebay. Recently she has been listing on Etsy, as well. My girls have several outfits, mostly bought secondhand, because that's all we can afford. But the secondhand stuff? Still high quality!

Debbie is the designer behind the label, and she has the most amazing sense of style. Gorgeous little girl dresses that are stunning, always get compliments, and are 100% age-appropriate. To check out the competition, click here. Also check out Buffy and Katie and Katie with Idina Menzel, star of Wicked, and one last Katie.

I hope one of us wins!

Our Widdle Baby

Our little tiny, precious, happy baby. The one that was never truly tiny. Born chubby and hairy, happy and with full appetite. Still, our baby. She's three. Turned three years old yesterday. Still chubby. Still hairy. Still happy. Total freaking monkey, though. Today she broke open a pen and DRANK the ink. Surely this is something normal children do not do? As I was cleaning her up, I may have muttered a word like "stupid". She burst into tears, tears that hadn't occurred to her as I was railing against all that was inkified. She sobbed to me, "I am not stupid! I am a very, very nice girl!"

Yes, she is. She is a nice girl. Yesterday we had an absolutely delightful picnic in the park to celebrate. She was delightful and sociable. She thanked everyone for coming and appreciated each gift. Then we came home, she slept and the next day she DRANK INK FROM A PEN!

She is a veritable gold mine of embarrassing stories. If she doesn't like our telling these stories when she's older, that's just too bad. She should have behaved better. I have a sneaking suspicion that our little show-off won't mind too much when we tell her embarrassing stories to her boyfriends. Heck, she'll probably tell them herself. Maybe even with a bit of reinactment. Goodness, Baby, stay away from the ink! (And the poo!!)

Dolphins (Wales)

Last week we went away for our annual visit to the gorgeous Pembrokeshire coast. The weather threatened us with grey skies every morning, but each day they scattered and we were left with glorious sunshine. We had, as always, an absolutely fantastic time. I've just managed to finish uploading the scores of photos. There will be a cull later, but for right now, they're all there. Enjoy. I might even add some captions at some point.

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