Lately I have been looking at Neo and marveling at him. I have been paying close attention to his fingers, his toe nails and the funny way his tongue sticks out between his teeth when he says ‘tent’. Four whole years later, I am still in awe of him, of how he is a perfect mix of me and PJ and of just how much I love him. I think about what kind of person he will be when he is older and I pray every day that we are guiding each other in making him the best version of himself he can be.
I was telling a friend the other day that I know I am not the perfect parent and he is not the perfect child and that’s ok. It’s like Lou Reed from Metal Machine once said: perfection is an ideal for the foolish. As much as I am teaching Neo a whole lot, I am learning so much from him as well. I am learning to be a good example to him and for him to be proud to call me his mother. It is not an easy task. It requires me to constantly challenge myself and to not always lose my cool. It requires me to dig deeper, to be creative in the way I normally deal with things, emotions and circumstances. I don’t always get it right and that’s ok too. I just need to learn to forgive myself a bit more and focus not just on the bad, but the good as well.
I hope when Neo grows up and is older he will be able to read this blog, after all, it has his name on it! After four whole years, I look at him and wonder what I would be doing if I were not singing to ‘hold back the river’ with him in the car; if I was not giggling from something he said or just running and bouncing after him. What I would be doing if I didn’t gather all his unpaired socks; if I didn’t get look forward to his hugs (lately I have to tell him to squeeze tighter); him kissing me on my cheeks and coming in for snuggles every morning.
It has been an incredible four years (and one month) with a lot of highs and thankfully a few lows. I pray that God keeps him and us; that he stays true to himself and that he is happy. Happy birthday my Neo. Modimo ke oo. James 1:17.
Lots of love always xx
One of the things that has me very preoccupied lately is the price of shoes for walking babies and toddlers. I was about to think I was being a penny pincher until one of my colleagues (a father of three kids under the age of six) also started moaning about the same thing. I felt my feelings were totally justified.
I have also developed a (very bad) habit of looking at shoes that other kids at Neo’s nursery are wearing and have realised that Clarks is getting the lion share of kids’ footware, at least where I live…
So it was time for Neo to move up a size, I decided to take the less-than-traditional approach and go off the usual Clarks route for some shoes.
Top of the list is of course converse hi-tops. As an owner of three pairs myself, it really goes without saying that Neo must have converse trainers. They are so expensive though! Almost the same price as mine, and I wear mine all my life (or a decent number of years at least!). Neo is a size five now and if I walked into any high street shop, I would have to part with anything between £25 and £40. Well, this smart mommy only spent £10! Ha! How did I do it, I hear you ask? Easy… I bought them on sale in January. Therein lies my first top tip: try to always buy things on sale and tick two boxes: stylist and reasonable.
One other place where I have seen a lot of converse for kids going for a song is on ebay. You can buy new shoes from established retailers and there is a recourse should you wish to return the item.
The next good buy is a product from South Africa. Neo already a pair of these so it was an obvious choice. I bought a pair for Neo before learning to walk and found it very easy to just keep on using the same brand. Shoo-shoos are a brand of shoes originally from South Africa but can be bought in the UK . I am first to admit that it does not offer the best range but I can vouch for a solid pair of shoes that is easy on the pocket.
What are some of your top tips for buying baby and toddler shoes?
I have always believed that boys’ section at shops is shockingly smaller and less cuter than the girls’. The girls’ outfits have so much variety in terms of style, colours and designs. On the other hand, all you ever get in the boys section are jeans, chinos and a few dungarees. In the short 18 months of Neo’s life, I have managed to collect just about every style and colour of every dungraree ever made in Greater London. I am bored and I am only 18 months in!? This will not do, no sir!
First of all, no more dungarees. They were cute when he was a baby but not so much now. Besides, they remind me of the old man in that 80s comedy called Stanford and Son (yes, I know, I am showing my age!). That leaves me with jeans, cargos and chinos. Oh joy! I got annoyed when I got home with a dungraree set from M&S (£16.00) and realised that I had bought an identical one just a few days earlier from Tesco (£12.00). I say it again. No more!
So what’s the challenge? The challenge is to stay in style, be relevant and fashionable without having to resort to dungarees.