{Living Arrows} 12/52 – Sliding

We spent last week on a much-needed and well-earned short break at Center Parcs (more on that coming up). As well as using the downtime to relax and reflect on the last few weeks, we had a lot of fun and took a lot of photos. A lot. I haven’t even looked through them all yet. And, of course, a huge proportion of those were pictures of Thomas. Which has made choosing a Living Arrows picture extremely difficult.

From the many that jumped out at me as I browsed through, I eventually selected this one. It may not be the most technically brilliant shot, or taken from the best angle, but it absolutely captures the open-mouthed look of pure joy that I see on my son’s face each and every day. I only have to look at the picture to be able to hear the squeal of laughter that accompanied this moment. I love the joy and excitement Thomas is able to find in each small moment. This picture will, hopefully, forever remind me of this stage of his developing personality.

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{Living Arrows} 10 and 11/52 – Catching Up!

Yes, I’m well behind on this project, given that the link for week 12 opens tomorrow, and the list for week 11 is already closed.

To be honest, I feel as though I’ve been chasing to catch up ever since I began. But I don’t want to let the fact that I’ve been late putting these pictures up spell the end of my participation. Since becoming a mother, I feel a little like my staying power – and the tenacity that enabled me to get all kinds of things done, and that I was well known for – has taken a bit of a hit. I wanted this year to be the year in which that changed again, for the better. I wanted to stick to the things I started and see them through. And on this one, it’s not simply about linking up, or the other people who are participating.  I’m motivated by ending the year with a collection of 52 photographs capturing all the developing personality quirks of my favourite little boy as he grows.

Quirks like his propensity for throwing spontaneous tea parties in a tent – and ensuring that his “friends” drink up their tea.

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And his total fascination with playing with stones. Which invariably becomes “slate from the quarry”. Watching his imagination take off like this, and take him to new places each day is simply awesome.

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{Living Arrows} 9/52 – Gappy Grin

Thomas was a very late teether. He got his first tooth at over eighteen months of age, and although they all came in a bit of rush then, with ten appearing in the space of a few weeks, there has been a long gap without any more. When he first got teeth, I was afraid that he would look completely different. But I’ve become accustomed to his gappy smile – just four top front teeth instead of the full arch that children of his age usually have.

He’s recently got his lower C’s (canines, third from the middle) and I know that the top ones are not too far behind. And once again I find myself thinking about how much I will miss his gap-toothed grin.

Times passes so fast. They are little so briefly. And changing all of the time.

Children are born to be cherished.

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{Living Arrows} 8/52 – Treehugging

A completely random, spontaneous moment on London’s Southbank, where Thomas ran towards a tree, arms outstretched and declared at the top of his voice “I love tweeeeeeeeees!”

And I love you, my little man. You and all your quirky passion!

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{Living Arrows} 6/52 – A Boy and His Stick

My new goal is to try and publish a Living Arrows photo at the start of the week when the linky opens, instead of always being the very last one, scraping in at the final minutes. But better late than never. And better a poorly composed phone snap than nothing at all!

This photo is significant for a really silly reason. See those things on Thomas’s feet? Yes, they’re wellies. Seems pretty ordinary, right? But this is the first time that Thomas has ever worn wellies without having a major meltdown. We’ve never understood exactly what he had against them, but no amount of stories with children splashing in puddles, or being told that he couldn’t splash in puddles until he wore his wellies seemed to help.In the end the answer was Thomas. The Tank Engine one. A pair of wellies with a picture of Thomas and he couldn’t wait to wear them and “splash in puddles Mummy”.

He found this stick whilst chasing the pigeons through the mud and wouldn’t put it down. He dragged it all the way home, stopping every few steps to hit is against a wall, or drag it along some railings. Best free outdoor fun we’ve had amongst all the appalling weather!

And after all, every boy needs a stick.

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{Living Arrows} 5/52 – Hands

Where other children may become attached to sucking their thumb or fingers, or to the pulling or stroking of a parent’s hair, Thomas has long found comfort in fingers and thumbs in a totally different way.

I think it began around the same time he stopped breast feeding. He would sit in my lap in the evenings, just before bath time – a time he had traditionally fed – and hold my hand, exploring the lines on my palm and tracing the outline of my fingers with his own. Before long, whenever he was distressed and wanted me, and before he could properly articulate the word “cuddle” he would reach for my hand. Not to hold in a traditional sense, but to bring close, to stroke and be soothed by.

He soon began to use his own hands if mine, or Ian’s, were not readily available. Whenever he is tired, upset or ill, I invariably catch him methodically stroking his own hands in a soft, rhythmic way. His favourite activity is to spread the fingers of one hand and stroke the ‘V’ formed by his middle two fingers. He is calmer and quieter engaged in this activity than even when offered a beloved comforter.

I’m pleased, in many ways, that the simple stroking of hands is such an important source of comfort to him. Hands, after all are almost always available and stroking them is much more discreet, and less potentially damaging from a dental point of view, than sucking them.

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