Starting School - Me and Mine - A Family Portrait Project August
I am not remotely ready for September. I'm not ready to accept the hot balmy days, where everyone photographs their temperature gauges on their dashboards, are long gone. It's like we have a ticking clock over our heads, and the countdown has started. In 10 days I will dress two boys in new school uniforms, little corduroy shorts and long socks which will see them through from summer to winter, and thread their skinny arms through the rigid straps of their new school bags that look as big as them.
I feel guilty for wishing away some time over the summer, when the boys are wrestling each other to the ground, when marbles are flying across the floor and when dirty great footprints are all over the carpet as they run in from the garden. At times I tear my hair out. Their behaviour makes my heart melt and makes me want to cry in equal measure. There have been days over the summer holidays when I've rung Rich in floods of tears, in between the lovely photos of picture perfect beach trips and plane rides, completely exasperated with the demands of juggling working from home (full time hours just don't fit in, no matter how hard I try) and trying to not be totally reliant on an iPad or Netflix. We've said to each other, oh roll on when they are back at school, but we keep almost forgetting Ollie isn't going back to school, he's going to school.
Ollie, our boy who isn't really like me at all. He doesn't fill the gaps like his older brother, he's doesn't thrive under pressure or enjoy being centre of attention. He's reserved, speaks when he has something to say and has a twinkle in his eye that only a few people really know about. He's not a performer or a showman like Sammy. He adores dressing up and hiding behind the curtains pretending it's a stage but crumbles at the school nativity and buried himself into my lap at the pre school sports day.
Over the past few months he's been at pre school 5 days a week. I've realised he's missed out on all the special days I made time for with Sammy, he's just been swept along in our wonderfully crazy summer of 2015. Our boys have spent almost 24 hours a days with each other, they eat, play and sleep together wherever they go. And as much as they bicker, they are actually inseparable. Neither of them will fall asleep in the bedroom on their own, they have their little rituals and quirks, in jokes and old jokes that only they understand. Bar the kids club on holiday they have literally not been apart.
And Sammy can be such a force, that Ollie's voice gets lost. We spent a few days in Southbourne this week with our best friends and their little girl, who was born just a few months before Sammy. They are sweethearts, best friends and this time Ollie really became part of their gang. Like three musketeers, they waded into sea whilst we gasped at the cold foam splashing against our ankles. They ran down the zig zag path to the prom, and we dragged them back up, squashed into our red wagon that lives at the flat. We had fun and games at bedtime with them all wanting to top and tail on the top bunk bed and they proudly set up a shell shop on the sand, shouting to anyone who walked past "Get your lovely shells here, free shells here!" I'll be sharing our time away over on the Mamas and Papas blog soon and I am so pleased I get to document these special trips to the place I love the most.
Ollie just fits in, and I am desperately hoping that's what happens on the 9th September. Unlike so many he's saying he doesn't want to be a big boy and go to big school! He has a party invitation for 2 new class mates this coming Saturday, a chance to see all the new faces whilst running around a village hall instead of nervous big bottom lips when we all wave them goodbye. It's a milestone moment, a real end to the baby years. Rich always said I would get broody when he went to school, that my baby was an official big boy. In a uniform and clutching a P.E kit. But in all honesty I'm not. He's ready for this new chapter and so am I. To see him flourish and come into his own, not live in Sammy's shadow all the time but make his own friends and find his own way.
I feel so sorry that I've slipped into "second baby" habits. The record albums I bought are still waiting to be filled, the countdown to school has been lost in amongst our hectic lives. Even this blog has changed so much since Sammy went to school, there are fewer posts dedicated to Ollie and the things we do together. They stayed stored on the computer and on my phone camera roll. This blog is very much a team effort but sometimes my team are hidden behind the scenes, their playroom taken over with flowers and photo set ups. I've never shared my pregnancies or the boy's birth stories. Perhaps I should share a little more about our family life behind the photos, although I will spare you Ollie's birth video, as beautiful (I know it sounds strange but it's true) as it is!
So this post is for you my baby boy. 4 years ago almost exactly we sat on the same stretch of beach. Cradling a babe in our arms. The boys are mimicking my childhood with their trips to Southbourne and it makes my heart ache seeing them stand in the same spots as I did, digging the same holes, jumping off the same groynes and using the same towels! My mum and Auntie are very resourceful and don't throw away things easily!
Grow up our Super Mario loving boy, but not too quickly.
Come and share your family photos with us. It's amazing that even though there are times when it feels as though you haven't got a minute to breathe, that we all find the time for these Me and Mine posts. And it's all thanks to Lucy who dreamt up the idea which is hurtling towards it's third year.
Lucy is on a countdown too, school and a countdown to being a family of 5! Pop over to her blog and see what her babes have been up to this month. From one Lucy and Rich to another!