Mental Health, Parenting, Random poetry No Comments »

Hiya 😊

Today was one for the history books (drumroll please…) Youngest not only walked all the way to nursery, he also walked ALL the way back again!  He was so chuffed with himself!!  Eldest was pretty impressed when he heard, too. 

From Textfixer

Youngest made fairly good time as well, I was surprised to find that it was around the usual hour  for lunch when we stopped taking celebratory pictures, and went in.   Unfortunately I didn’t take any blog-safe snaps, they were all crazy-face/fist-pump ones that would lose their flavour if I cropped his features out of them!

Youngest was feeling the determination quite a bit this afternoon, actually, because we also had this conversation:

Me: Don’t stand on the ants! How would you like it if a giant came and squashed you?!

Y: *no hesitation, so I feel he may have considered this scenario before…* I’d chop-chop-chop dat beanstalk, and it would go “arrrgh!” and fall in the water!  Dat what I’d do…!

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the persona we show to the world, as opposed to our true selves.  Today I had a friend over for impromptu tea and sympathy, and I liked her even more by the end of our chat.  It was one of those conversations where I was gifted more of the background pieces that make up the beautiful caring whole; and hearing her passion and reasoning just made me so happy to know her. 

I hate my friends being at all conflicted, but sometimes I look at them while they share their heart, and just feel immensely proud that I have such complex and strong women around me 😉

All this good feeling did not really fit with the words I got today, however, so instead there appears to be a darker side to presenting the world with a certain image of one’s self…


Binocular  Jump  Equal  Messiah  Bacteria  Guru  Empire  Balcony  Dynamic


Under his binocular microscope

Everyone’s life would squirm.

He would jump to conclusions

And make himself out to be

Equal to the messiah of reason.


Each bacteria he spied blooming

He would offer a cure for –

Assert that his guru empire

Was brought about by solid principles,

Meticulously adhered to.


Only his close associates knew

The many times he’d teetered

On a lofty roof or balcony;

His loose morals tearing at his conscience,

Those dynamic words but grave dust in the wind.


There is much written about social media making people anxious because of perceived inferiority,  compared to their colleagues and friends.  The more I read into running a blog, advertising and ‘building a brand’, the more I realise that perception is everything.  This is isolating, and intimidating, if we analyse it a bit.

I do seem to spend a lot of time chatting to people on the return school run (whether I know them or not!) and one thing I hear myself repeating is assurances that I don’t mind hearing their disquiet at things in their life.  That the other person doesn’t need to apologise for having a less-than-positive outlook, because it is actually allowed

We are not able to wander about with a spring in our step all the time: people get ill, circumstances grow bleak, hearts become heavy.  If a raincloud is following someone around, I don’t want them to feel I’ll judge them for it.  I am not as fond of fair weather as some, I walk in all climes.  I’m Scottish, after all 😉

[“‘Mon the melancholy! Welcome, yah Moanin’ Missy!“]

It’s the words that I get lost in, the stories that burrow into my subconscious and let me feel what it is like to be in someone else’s life.  There is a vibrancy to a tale that’s soaked in feelings less palatable to society.  There is a real truth in the things that make us rise to challenges and face parts of ourselves that are not ‘safe’ or broken-in properly – parts that might say something that can’t be erased…and might not actually be too sorry about it…

It’s a big journey, and we are all pretending we have a clue as to how our accoutrements are packed; but we all rock up at our destinations with ransacked baggage and dirty laundry. 

It’s silly to pretend we don’t!!


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Copyright © 2017  Montaffera All Rights Reserved
Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!


Childhood, Parenting, Random poetry No Comments »


I have been so busy recently that I have not braved the Jimpix generator for a while!  I decided to bite the bullet and go for it today, however. 

Eldest has been upset over the past few weeks, and worrying about things classmates have said to him, or altercations in the playground with older kids.  They leave him feeling very ambivalent towards me and the rest of the family.  We’ve had a big display of that today.  It wasn’t pretty, but I am trying to find a balance between being sympathetic and also letting him know there are very firm boundaries that he can’t cross no matter how upset he feels.

There have been an awful lot of cuddling sessions recently!!  I spoke to Eldest’s teacher today, but it is nothing he can really get to the bottom of as it is all low-level random things that are making Eldest upset, nothing overly physical or blatant.

When I researched the words that came up today and couldn’t find a satisfactory definition for ‘planca’, it occurred to me that it sounds like ‘plonker’.  I remember people calling each other that in my schooldays, so I started to think about there maybe being a bullying scenario in my poem (I already had a name to start me off!).  With the ‘Tinayguk’ being a river, there was also an educational angle that could be brought in; and if I thought a bit, I’d probably not need to be stumped by ‘bowyang’ either…

Denby‘ was easy enough to include 😉


Tony  Urethra  Denby  Pandora  Mushrooms  Tinayguk  Exacting  Planca  Bowyang


Tony loves using words for evil.

He makes me laugh

Until my urethra threatens mutiny.


But he can be cruel

Tony’s not the kind you’d invite

To tête-à-tête over your best Denby.

He’s a box fit for Pandora:

A topic mushrooms

When he runs with it.


So here I am, Geography;

Teacher pointing out the river Tinayguk

(Which means ‘Moose’, apparently)

Tony’s exacting penance

On the new boy (who’s christening him

A ‘planca’ in that strange accent of his)


Tony rises up from his seat

All mock outrage, condemnation;

“And YOU sir, are a BOWYANG!!”

He announces with aplomb…


There was no out-of-the-ordinary entry for ‘bowyang’ in the Urban Dictionary, but I’m thinking that someone like Tony will update it soon?!

It was not all gloom for Eldest today – he did get to have a shot on my Snoopy Tennis game! 😉

Unfortunately, he was soon frustrated and declared it ‘too hard’.  As the buttons do stick now and then (usually at a crucial moment), I suppose he has a point.  I am still loving it, however.  Good ol’ Snoopy 😊

Sometimes I just wish I could smooth away all the slights and disappointments from our kids’ school-life, so that they never have to worry about walking back into their classroom the next day.  But I know that’s not always possible.  My job is just to do my best to keep the lines of communication open, and be here to act as sounding board while they figure it out for themselves.

Eldest still looks so young when he’s sleeping, though.  I’m glad he is a teddy cuddler, they look like they bring him some peace 😊






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Copyright © 2017  Montaffera All Rights Reserved
Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!




Childhood, Parenting, Random poetry No Comments »

Hey there!

I lay reading fan fiction on the internet until the very small hours of the morning.  Not only was I pretty engrossed, but my menfolk were ridiculously twitchy!!  The sunburn wasn’t helping much, either.  I did have to scorch BOTH sides of my back when I like lying on it, didn’t I…

Consequently, neither Hubby or I came-to properly until 7.15am, which is about an hour later than we usually start thinking about rallying the troops.  Both kids came for a lovely cuddle, but they were not very mindful of my wounds 😉

I cleaned the bathroom quickly, then had a shower and did all the usual bed-making nonsense and pulling down of dry washing; while somehow helping Hubby with the kid-wrangling (Bank Holiday Monday! He was off work) and finding lost stuff etc etc.  We got out to the car in just about enough time, albeit with a head injury for Youngest from him trying to enter the car door before it was properly opened ☹

Hubby and I managed to get Youngest into nursery and Eldest into his line for P2, but there were tears from one of Eldest’s classmates over a toy sword.  The pirate costumes have to be collated in the class today, and there was a bit of a clash of opinion as to whether toy weapons were allowed as part of them.  I tried to mediate, but then left it to the crying boy’s dad to sort out because I wasn’t getting anywhere and Eldest was beginning to become a little undiplomatic about me trying.  Sigh.

Hubby and I swung by home again, briefly, after we had waved Eldest in.  I generated today’s words and saved them to Facebook (privately) so that I could access them later.  Hubby and I were hoping to write and eat in a café again while Youngest was at nursery.  Unfortunately, there was a long queue at some temporary traffic lights, so it was getting on for ten to ten before we finally parked in the centre of town!!

From Randomwordgenerator

We made a quick detour to M&S to grab cake and cookies for our afternoon visitors, then we went to a nice café called ‘The Larder’ in town (the same place as I went on Wednesday with my pal, actually).  It was so nice to sit across from my husband and write again!  When we are retired, I am sure we will do this much more often 😉 I love cafés for the story potential – the ideas that come to me from snippets of conversation, a song playing that I have maybe not heard in a while, a word on the menu that reminds me of something in the past, a chance sighting of something interesting through the window…  Indeed, Hubby suggested that he sit with his back to the window and I get the perch with the best view.  He knows me so well, bless him!

I ended up writing about being on a diet, however.  Those who have joined me in a café recently will know that this does not currently apply to me (I prefer to just roughly keep track of the calories I consume over the day at the moment, rather than be a slave to ‘forbidden-ness’) but I can sympathise with the sentiment, having been on much stricter eating regimes before!                                                                                                               

How fitting for ‘cake’ to appear, eh?!  The generator must’ve listened to our plans…



Amuse  Battle  Cake  Asset  Grace  Physics  Trivial  Cope  Grimace

It does not amuse me

Seeing such delicious food

Offered, while I battle with my willpower.


Luscious cake, purring.

A menu: the greatest asset,

Weightier than gold.


My drooling; falling from grace

At the mere mention of cream!


Damn you, physics!

Trivial things like gravity

Pulling my stomach over the top of my jeans.

(‘Muffin Tops’ are not that yummy…)


Not sure how I’ll continue to cope,

I grimace;

And order salad…


The Pancake stack was Hubby’s (I had that with my friend last week!) but he couldn’t finish it all, so I did!  Soooo yummy!  I had a poached egg with some Black Pudding, so I was finding it hard to move when it was time to go 😉  we had a 15 minute walk around town, and bought some L44 round batteries as I was hoping to revive an old game I remembered I still had, when I found it searching for something else.  That’s the way of these things, isn’t it?!

We went back to collect Youngest, and made it just in time.  He had again drawn two pics of him in my tummy, but he wasn’t as proud of one because he said that he’d made a mistake drawing the right arm.  I didn’t get a picture of them, I’m afraid.  He gave both of them to my Grandma, despite telling me at first that she could only have the ‘weely good’ one.

We all had lunch, then Hubby went up to tap around on the computer for an hour or so.  I went and got the batteries, and took them up to the cupboard in Youngest’s room, where I had found my old Snoopy Tennis game from the 80s!  It still works, and it’s still pretty addictive…I got to over 500 points before I made myself walk away…!

I attacked the kitchen sides and hob, swept and vacuumed all the floors downstairs again (last night’s clean up job had been pretty tainted by this afternoon) and dusted the livingroom, the stairs and the landing.  I then cuddled Youngest until he fell asleep, before asking Hubby to move a few things upstairs for me.

Hubby also went and collected Eldest from school, which let me get on with cleaning the downstairs WC, and spot-cleaning the sticky bits off the kitchen floor.  I smartened myself up a bit, then cut up the goodies to have them ready for when the other adults arrived.  I had promised the kids cookies, but had warned them that the cake was for after dinner.  It was STICKY plus they’d get very high on it 😃

Eldest got his clothes changed and hands washed, then drew a nice ‘centipede monster’ for his Great Grandma.  I think she was touched that they had both given her something today.

My Grandma came with my Mum and Dad (she is my Dad’s mum) and brought me a Fuchsia! She is looking fab, as you can see in this pic.  She doesn’t look like she was 90 in January, does she?!

Over tea and yum (Mum brought us chocolatey bites, too!) we all discussed what the boys like to do in their free time, and what stage their learning is at.  Grandma and Dad reminisced about when Dad had to learn to write with a pen that one had to fill from a bottle of ink.  I can just imagine the mess our boys would manage with that…! I showed Grandma Eldest’s old P1 learning logs as she wondered what Youngest would be doing next year, and it also shows how much Eldest and I do together for school these days.

My Mum had taken the boys into the playroom at this stage, as the kids were in a moany/mischievous mood! The kids and I had made a ‘pinky promise’ that they would play a nice, sedate, game of cards (or two) with Grandma, but they decided when the time came that a board game would be better.  They settled on ‘The Pizza Game’ pretty quickly, and threw themselves into teaching their Great Grandma the rules…and she won!!

Unfortunately, the visit was soon over as Grandma likes dinner around 5pm, and to have it with us would have been chaotic at best!!  The boys cuddled everyone, then got a bit silly.  Their (especially Youngest’s) thing is to pretend to ‘web’ my parents’ car when they leave us, as if the kids are Spiderman!  Grandma was not aware of this, but she found it pretty amusing, I think!  The kids hung out of the door, firing imaginary webs at the older generations until they were faaaar down our street…

The boys calmed down and went to watch the tablet, while Hubby rustled up a pork dinner for us all, and I slunk off to do bloggy stuff, as usual!

After his bath, Youngest was very kind and smoothed aftersun into my poor back. Eldest refused, saying it was yucky, haha!

It was so nice to have Grandma over today, and to see the boys interacting with her very nicely (most of the time!).  We don’t get to see her more than twice a year, because she lives a good few hours’ drive away and we never want to inflict our rambunctious children on her neat bungalow and routine!  I love that the boys wanted to give her their artwork, Youngest decided at the last minute that he’d give the picture with the slightly wonky arm to her, too.  It’s nice to think of them hanging in her house and maybe making her smile thinking about their cheeky charms.

Grandma is the person who got me started knitting (and encouraged my crochet attempts), and I also used to love waking up in her old house, hearing the seagulls as we were close to the North Sea.  It is funny how many memories come flooding back as I look at her picture.  I am glad my kids enjoyed seeing her and have been asking so many questions about her this last week.  How generations work, and how other people live tickles them; and I love that members of the family spark their interest so much.

Happy sigh 😊



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Copyright © 2017  Montaffera All Rights Reserved
Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!



Childhood, Parenting, Random poetry 2 Comments »


For today’s poem, I thought about reality, and future AI-type stuff.  The words made me, guv…

Actuality  Limitless  Bloke  Cinder  Back  Charismatic  Furry  Computation  Cube

What if this actuality

Was not fixed?

What if this current existence

Was limitless?


(But, of course,

It is)


I’m perched across from

A stunning bloke on the train,

He’s sat next to

Someone reading Cinder


And I’m back to my

Charismatic days

As a student,

Arguing my case in my head:


What if that adorable

Furry-headed pooch

(That pokes its inquisitive head

Out from her handbag)

In some actuality had

The benefits of computation –

Provided by an implanted chip –

And could save her life,

By yapping a certain number of times

And shooting Tasers?


(Cube numbers spinning

Behind those deep brown eyes…)


What indeed?!


Would we still be as comfortable?

Would we trust its resolve…?


I was looking for inspiration for using the word ‘cinder’ and the book came to my attention.  I think I’ll need to read it, it sounds a fab plot!  So that got me thinking about cyborgs, and all was going ok until I had to fit ‘cube’ in, so thank goodness for the internet simplifying things, eh?!



The boys’ reality was a good one today, being taken out by daddy again: to a different park, a wee jaunt along a beach, a kick about with the football and then to a café!  I stayed in and straightened things up in the house, as well as catching up on my posts a little.  I really need to sit and get them all edited up-to-date so I can relax a bit!!

Hubby went out and did a grocery shop, once he’d dropped the boys off with me, and I impressed Eldest by snipping off the ends of an old, holey, pair of tracksuit bottoms – in order to fashion some pirate trousers!  The whole school (including the nursery) are going to put on a show called ‘Pirates vs Mermaids’ and our boys have to dress up as the former.  I had hoped that Hubby would bring back cheap nautical-striped t-shirts from the supermarket, but when this plan failed, I found a red stripey top for Eldest (in the dirty laundry, of course) and rustled up a pair of striped PJ bottoms and a top with a skull on it for Youngest.

‘Cos I’m that good 😉

I then had to do a red load of washing to get them presentable for taking into school tomorrow…

Youngest snuggled into me and fell asleep, then I left him on the couch and sorted out the pictures Eldest wanted for his homework log.  Eldest was not the most enthusiastic participant when it came to writing a few captions, but we found ways of making it a quicker job, so he was ok in the end.

While Hubby made dinner (gotta love a man who can cook) I ran around tidying and vacuuming everywhere quickly, to try and let us start the week in a relatively organised state.  I also laid out everyone’s clothes for the morning, and made sure the pirate costume pieces that needed to be dried were popped in the machine.

I was really proud of Eldest, because Hubby printed off an article from the internet about the Arsenal victory yesterday and Eldest managed to pick out the main points, despite it being rather long!  It is really amazing how the last two years of school have honed his reading and listening skills.  The curriculum has had a lot about non-fiction this term, and Eldest really seems to be enjoying it 🙂

As a reward, we let the boys try on their ‘costumes’ quickly after they were clean (no suitable pictures, sorry).  There was lots of AAARRR and GRRR-ing, which was fun to watch!


Unfortunately, we found out just before the kids went to bed that Youngest had decided to draw a monster on the back of Eldest’s work, while Eldest was in the shower.  We all agreed that was a very good drawing of a monster, however, so we are sure the teacher won’t mind looking at him… Indeed, I see that the monster has curly hair like Youngest’s self-portraits!

So it’s been a pretty good day, and there are meringues and fruit with cream for supper 🙂 I hope, in actuality, you’ve had a great day too?




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Copyright © 2017  Montaffera All Rights Reserved
Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!


Childhood, Parenting, Random Short Stories No Comments »

Hi 🙂

Today, I went for a wee scene instead of a poem:

Terrific  Brash  Insurance  Spark  Avoid  Mountain  Excellent  Slimy  Fretful

“That’s terrific!” Brad boomed, in his brash way; completely butting into my conversation.

I wondered if my insurance would cover me for any broken bones, from his accompanying bear-hug.

I caught the spark in Rueben’s eyes and, eager to avoid some jealous scene, I struggled out of Brad’s grip (not easy, as he always was a mountain of a man) and went to Reuben’s side.

“Excellent!” Reuben sneered “That saves her telling you then. Now, kindly keep your slimy hands off her.  She needs to be treated gently, in her condition.”

“What’s the matter, ‘Ben?! Afraid I’ll get her…overexcited?” Brad drawled, with a wicked grin in my direction.

The look that settled on Rueben’s face told me I was in for a fretful end to the evening…


I had forgotten how much I liked writing conversation!  My novel (that I keep talking about, but never finish) has a lot of characters bantering back and forth, and I missed them after writing the above.


I have been reading work from mutual follows on Twitter, and I really do feel as if getting back into writing longer pieces might be fun.  It is the time it takes to write an extended piece, and the amount of space the characters take up in my bonce, that is daunting me!  I seriously worry that I will be trying to work plotlines through so much that I will become distracted, and do something silly when I am supposed to be looking after the kids.  My creativity does not sit within the designated lines.  Do you ever find that?!

Anyway, the above has got my brain ticking, so we’ll see what it comes up with 😉

Hubby took the kids out on their wheels, and then a walk via the little swing park near us.  The boys have cottoned on to the fact that I do not want to have their full faces on display on the blog, so have started doing really dramatic ‘turned away’ poses for us parent types, and telling each other off if they don’t do it correctly!!

So we have the boys not looking at us on their bike and scooter, a lovely faceless cuddle pic, one of Eldest scaling a rope wall, and a snap of Youngest (looking almost like he’s in pain) on a park activity!  These kids are hilarious sometimes, bless them!

I got to catch up on some writing, and the boys frolicked in the sunshine, so we were all mostly happy.  Hubby watched the Aberdeen vs Celtic game, and then made dinner.  I read two chapters of ‘Five On a Hike Together’ to keep the boys out of his way.  I love how both our kids always give me a wee synopsis of the story so far before we start a new chapter, and also when they ponder why the children in the story so rarely spend any time with their parents, between boarding school and risky adventures. 

Eldest points out that they must miss all their cuddles…

As it is Saturday, it was our family meal of chilli-for-the-boys and steak pie with mash for me.  As usual, the children and their place-settings were covered in tomato-y bits of meat and rice by the end of it.  Thankfully we have set aside ‘chilli mats’ for this purpose, and always provide our lil mucky pups with a terry towel to cover their clothes…! They have looooved daddy’s chilli since about 8 months old 😉

The Arsenal game was the big pull after dinner, so I slunk off and hung some washing and wrote a bit more.  There were happy faces when Arsenal won!!

Eldest was a star and still did his homework (on how one writes time from a digital clock) when he had finished watching telly; then it was bathtime, supper, and another 2 chapters of the Famous Five; before our cheeky chappies finally conked out.

I uncovered a great mystery of my own this evening: our ice packs seem to have disappeared?! Hubby slathered E45 cream all over my sunburn for me, but refrigerated drinks bottles rolled across my back were a poor substitute for an icy compress.  Can’t think what we’ve done with them…I predict they (and some aloe vera!) will be on the shopping list for tomorrow.

It may be a pretty uncomfortable night…


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Copyright © 2017  Montaffera All Rights Reserved
Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

The Disappearing Village

Childhood, Mental Health, Parenting, Random poetry No Comments »

Hey there 🙂

Today was scorching!  I thought yesterday was hot, phew!  We walked down to the school this morning, and I did not need a jacket, but tied a fleece around my hips, anyway.  Old habits, etc…

I actually made the decision to have my arms out in a vest top, which I never do, but it was to get up to 25 degrees today!  I put on factor 50 a few times over the day, but unfortunately I missed a bit across the back of my shoulders (black bra strap – bad idea…) and now I am sporting very ouchy red patches!!

The heat affected Youngest on the way home from nursery, after his long walk this morning and frolics in the nursery back garden. He got in the buggy and fell asleep about a third of the way home!  It was then a huge saga trying to wake him up and get him out of his mucky clothes so that he could have his lunch.  He spent 45 minutes lying on the floor refusing to budge, while I ran about tidying, shoving laundry on and putting our food together.  Then Youngest got up and became his amiable self again: throwing his dirty clothes in the basket, changing his own pull-up, washing his hands and scrubbing his nails with the ‘brush 😉

Youngest took ages to fall asleep in the buggy on the way to collect Eldest but, once he was sleeping, he slumbered  through me chatting to Eldest’s teacher; and Eldest gambolling about telling me about his day on the way home, as he usually does.  I put more cream on Eldest, though I could see that he had put some on the back of his neck at lunchtime, which made me very proud!  His teacher said they have been teaching them about sun safety.

Youngest was popped on the couch when we got home, and Eldest sorted himself out with comfy clothes, and grabbed the tablet while I shoved the coffee table up against the couch so Youngest wouldn’t tumble off, then went for a very quick shower to cool down (that’s when I noticed the sunburn!)  My parents did not visit us today, because they are hoping to come and see us with my Grandma on Monday.  This freed me up a bit because I did not have to do any tidying up.  It also meant I could just collapse into the couch and keep an eye on Youngest after my shower (and an ear on what Eldest was up to) while I read some fan fiction on a blog from one of my Twitter followers.



When I saw ‘village’ as the first of today’s words, I immediately thought back to those early days of babyhood, and the whole tug-of-war between being everything to the child at that time, and yet each ‘experienced’ person I met seeming to imply that one can spoil babies with too much love; and should make them as independent as possible, very early.


Village  Five  Gimmick  Glamour  Cold  Pin  Wept  Controversial  Freakish


“It takes a village” they say

But ‘they’

Are not around at five in the morning.


It is all very well

To spout the gimmick-like phrase

And point out how

It’s not all glamour

(Like I hadn’t guessed)

But I’m living it,

And there’s no end in sight…


I’m not asking

For no-one to take the child

Unless they prise him

From my cold, dead hand.

Don’t pin that on me!


I have wept about this

Many times and

(This may be controversial)

Although I NEED a break,

My son has needs, too.


It’s not that freakish a concept.


I’m not trying to smother him

In maternal love,

He’s a baby

And it’s me he cries for most.


Mothers should, apparently, hand the baby over to other people to get the kid used to not always being with the sole carer – but first get bubs into a fixed sleeping routine to make it easy for those ‘other people’, show these kids at every step of the way that they are here to fit into adults’ ideals. Not to flail out of line or need extra attention.

The NHS recommend sleeping in the same room as your child for at least the first six months, but do not seem to like the idea of having a child share a bed with any caregiver, being quick to point out the risks and not highlighting the safest way to co-sleep after that. 

Needing someone to hold in the night should be stamped out of us as quickly as possible, of course…

Then there are the WHO guidelines that state that a mother should consider breastfeeding until 2 years of age (exclusively til 6 months, then with other foods).  The reality, in the west, is that that advice is a double-edged sword.  If there are feeding problems, it seems like an impossible goal, because formula is pushed while women are at their most vulnerable.  If a mother does manage to get to breastfeed for the magic two years, she is seen by most in society as a bit strange and ‘only doing it for themselves’ (which is ludicrous because watching a mum feeding a toddler, while the child appears to be doing complicated yoga poses at the breast, would put paid to that notion in a heartbeat!). 

Also, it is common (and desirable) for mothers to return to work while the child still feeds regularly during the day, and therefore the mother requires facilities to pump milk (which is not always provided adequately) or the opportunity to visit their child in their childcare environment, during the working day, to feed them (which is also rarely possible).  Of course, cows’ milk powder fits better into this ‘village’ idea:  “How can a mother expect support if the child can only be fed by one person?! Do they not want a life…?”


Then there are the people (Daily Mail article alert!) who say that a mother’s milk after the baby stage holds no nutritional or developmental value for the child.  As a species, the natural weaning age for human young is between 2 and 7 years old.  This is why our first teeth are called ‘milk teeth’ and do not fall out until we have started school.  There are many benefits to natural-term weaning for the child.

I have learned not to go into much detail about me ‘still’ feeding Youngest, however.  If I do, I must be trying to make other people feel guilty, or (worse) be pampered and have no ambition in life.  Though I personally think the comfort and connection I have provided through breastfeeding has helped to grow Youngest into a very capable, verbal, empathetic and sociable individual, who is confident when away from me…it’s not something all women can or want to do, and I respect that.

Eldest has a strong bond with me, too, even though he was mostly given formula due to our birth experience (and subsequently refused the breast from eight months and even the taste of my milk in a bottle by ten months). 

I didn’t sleep train him (but he slept all night in his own room from 2.5 years old)

I didn’t aggressively potty train him (but he was still dry, day and night, before he started school) 

I never fed him pureed food, or worried about how much he was getting – he fed himself real (minimal salt) foods from when he was six months old, and ate loads, well before he was one. 

All of this was untidy (so too was the house!), and most of this was child-led.  This meant I rarely left the children’s side.

Thankfully, I didn’t have a job outside of the home.  Hat’s off to those who manage to stick to similar parenting regimes and attend (paid) work!  The Daily Mail would say that if my kids have been advantaged by this approach, it’s because I am middle class and reasonably well educated, not because any of this is what our kids actually prefer, of course…

So the ‘village’ idea, for me, is a distorted one.  In the west, if a mother chooses to embrace the messy schedules that babies naturally keep, she is fairly isolated.  She is made to feel that in some way she has failed, right at the beginning of her journey.  Other people rarely offer to carry a baby in a sling so that the baby feels safe and secure while the mother get things done, or to take the baby overnight with the promise that they will be kept warm against the caregiver – and that the caregiver will be fine with numerous wake-ups.  It would not even cross many people’s minds to offer that!

In some cultures, this is exactly how a ‘village’ operates, however.  Children are looked after by everyone, there is a parenting practice consensus.  Kids are carried on the guardian’s body, so are part of the working day, families sleep as units and everyone invests in the community.  In the west, we seem to view this as a ‘primitive’ way of life, but still want to use the phrase!  If a mother wanted this kind of support in the west on a regular basis, she would have to employ a nanny – and search hard to find one that is comfortable putting the baby at the centre of any childcare decisions!

I probably have the closest I could ever get to the ideal, it must be said, as I live in a small community; and have done for the past decade.  I have met some amazing mums here, and we have shared our highs and lows a LOT in the last seven years.  I do not drive, and there has been many a lift offered and things dropped off or picked up by these fabulous people.

I could have utilised this support network a lot more had I been backed up by the medical profession, however.  I slipped into a twilight world for swathes of my parenting journey, and spent a lot of time on the fringes barely functioning, when I should have been out there making even better memories.  It was not all a result of my parenting choices, and others have said the same.

Seven years in, however, I do feel I have come a long way as a mum.  There are still things to learn and many many challenges to overcome in the future, but I think the foundations are there for me to be able to handle things as the kids get bigger.

To any mums out there who are reading this and feeling isolated and/or like they are not doing their best – I send such huge hugs to you.  Babies have not fundamentally changed, but society’s expectations of mothers fluctuate with the times.

In the age of overwhelming information, it is still valid to listen to your heart and do what works for you.  You don’t need to answer to anyone’s ideal.  Not even your own before you had that squalling bundle and realised what the reality of parenting actually looks, feels (and smells!!) like.  I hope that you are given all the support that you need and, if you are not, you go out and meet the angels who will try to fill in the gaps for you!

We are given instincts for a reason, and I find it sad that we are asked to ignore them so much when doing something as important as bringing up the next generation.  There are all kinds of mothers with all kinds of tolerance levels, and some babies naturally sleep longer than others, etc etc…but fundamentally: holding and loving that child is never the wrong thing to do, no matter what time of the night they want you to do it! If your instincts are telling you to go to that kid, go.  Their brain development and your lifelong parenting relationship, actually depend on it 😉



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Copyright © 2017  Montaffera All Rights Reserved
Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

Cold Collar Cats

Childhood, Parenting, Random poetry No Comments »


Unusually for Scotland, it was a very warm day.  Of course, the RandomLists Generator decided I should write about rain…


Rain  Calculate  Bump  Payment  Collar  Approval  Magical  Applaud  Lonely


Rain rivulets rush,

Cats calculate calamity;

Bump birdbox bad-temperedly.

(Prowling payment pursued,

‘Cos collar cold)


Awaiting anthropoid approval:

Magical moist moggies…


(Applaud avicidal acts,

Lest left lonely…)


I do not have any cats, but I have heard tell of many less-than-desirable ‘presents’ being left for cat owners!  Have you any cat stories to share with me in the comments?

The first line popped into my head and then I ‘had’ to go with the three words, starting with the same letter, format for each line after that. 

I am aware the third one cheats a little 😉

The lovely weather today coincided with ‘outdoor classroom day’ for the school campus.  Youngest was apparently enjoying time with the P6 pupils (who are going to be buddying the new primary ones in August, so are hanging out with all the nursery kids) building dens for an hour.  The wee scone has eczema in the crooks of his elbows, and has big plasters he doesn’t like showing off…so he kept his jumper on all morning!  Let’s just say that wee bonce had some tight curls when I went to pick him up 😉  he did lose a plaster when he eventually took his layers off on the way home, so he is actually a wise wee soul!

Youngest came and had a short cuddly nap with me on the couch again, and I had to take his top off him after a while because he was melting!  Brought back memories of the summer days in 2013, when he was tiny and I carried him around in the wrap a lot 😉

Eldest had caught the sun, and drunk all of his school water bottle, when we collected him.  He’d had gym and other activities, so had spent a good while out in the weather.  I was glad I had slathered factor 50 all over him and sent him to school wearing a hat!

The main highlight of the day for me was seeing our boys with other P2 kids, zooming about with the footballs again.  They really do enjoy a kickabout with daddy!  We had to cut it short because Hubby had to get back to work, but they were thoroughly tired out by then, so there were no huge arguments.

Everything just seems more relaxed when it’s sunny, doesn’t it?!  I find it so hard to imagine nice days  when the wind is trying to tear my hair off, and my glasses beg their own wipers on the school run!  It always surprises me when I don’t need my heavy jacket to battle the elements. 

Yaaay for however many days of ‘Summer’ we get this year!




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Copyright © 2017  Montaffera All Rights Reserved
Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

Woodwalk and Promise

Childhood, Parenting, Random poetry No Comments »


Youngest was very excited to have Daddy to go on his woodwalk with him today!  I had arranged to meet a friend and go for a café chat, but I must admit part of me missed getting to watch all the outdoor frolics of the nursery kids.  Youngest does behave better without me there, however 😉

All the ‘walkers’ gathered in the nursery, and the kids paired up as they usually do. Youngest’s girl pal took his hand today, and hubby walked beside them as the long line of kids made their way to the park.

Once there, Youngest’s keyworker said she would close her eyes and count to ten, and the kids were all to go and hide. Youngest hid on his own, behind a big tree, but was eventually found by the others.  I love that he does this, he always tries in little ways to forge his own path!

You may have to zoom in to make out the brown bear with his head at the foot of the standing sticks, he is well camoflaged!

The group were then split into 4 parties. The orange group, led by Youngest’s keyworker, headed off and found an area with some trees. (Hubby was joined by two other parent helpers at this point). The keyworker handed out little animal figurines and told the boys and girls to find a house for the toys. Youngest, by this stage, had teamed up with the boy he usually chums on his walks.

Youngest chose a little brown bear, and his partner chose an owl. They decided that the owl and bear were friends, and they made their homes together at the base of a big tree. Youngest put the bear on a leaf for his bed and then covered him up with another leaf. All very cosy until he put a big stick across the bear’s head! Both Youngest and his pal thought this was hilarious! Their keyworker suggested that sticks could be used instead to make a tent, so the boys obligingly stacked some against the tree trunk…


Then came snack time. The kids sat down on a waterproof sheet, hands were cleaned, then the food appeared. Biscuits, bananas and grapes were doled out, plus some hot diluting orange.

Youngest’s girl pal, whom he’d started the walk with, had been sitting beside him and his usual partner, but she decided to vacate to the other side of the sheet when she saw a wriggly worm! The keyworker also found a small slug had been trying to climb into the bag that the group had been using for their rubbish. When the keyworker tried to remove the slug, it fell – she said it had probably fallen onto her jacket which was on the ground. The kids thought that was pretty funny…

After snack, it was time to find a place to climb. Youngest and his two friends apparently did some amazing climbing on some low trees. My mummy insides felt a bit strange when hubby said that, but Youngest’s eyes lit up when he told me about it, so I’m glad he had fun and was careful 😉

Once combined again, the whole woodwalk group played with a ‘parachute’.  The kids all held onto it and wiggled it up and down. Youngest’s keyworker called out attributes, and if someone had the one she picked (blue jacket, curly hair, etc) they could go under the sheet.

From Randomwordgenerator

Everyone then headed back to the nursery. Youngest’s girl pal had taken his hand again, and they had both picked buttercups and daisies. Youngest’s usual boy partner wanted to hold Youngest’s other hand, but was refused; so the boy was a bit cross and upset. He took a buttercup from Youngest and stood on it, which made Youngest angry (the keyworker dealt with the situation). A second boy watched this exchange, put down the parachute, went and picked another flower, and presented it to Youngest! Four-year-old interactions are incredibly sweet, I am touched that there is such a depth of feeling for my boy at nursery!


Today’s generated words made me think of the Manchester concert attack’s continued coverage.  There are reports that some of those who were missing are now confirmed to have died.  I can’t begin to imagine how that news must feel to the parents and others; having to abandon praying that their loved ones would be found safe in order to somehow make sense of the new information.  Absolutely heartbreaking.



Tolerant  Sacred  Promise  Officer  Area  Extent  Ban  Reservoir  Retailer


They are not tolerant

Nor weak;

They just hold sacred

The memories.


Each shares a promise

To honour their dead,

Hold each other;

Trust in each officer

Guarding the area.


As the extent

Of the tragedy

Still ripples;

No ban upon minorities,

Or harbouring a reservoir of hate

Will fix this.


Every flower retailer

Witnessed pure grief;

But also a coming together.


Youngest ran around with yet another pal in the ‘mugga’ part of the playground after his nursery session, while Hubby and I looked on and chatted to other parents (I had caught the bus back from town with my friend, just in time to meet the walking party returning). Youngest even got to ride on a bike without stabilisers, and got the hang of pedals! Daddy didn’t let him go, however, so he will still need four wheels for his bike at home!

Youngest has also recently learned how to unbuckle his car seat, and get around the child lock on his side of the car as soon as we stop at home; so I am a little worried he is piecing together some elaborate escape plan.  We will have to be careful not to leave the garage key within his reach so he can’t grab some wheels and suddenly abscond…

Youngest had a short nap before we went to collect Eldest and, after sleepy-cuddling Daddy from the car to the school, he was loving the freedom to run about in the playground with the pair of footballs my mum got the boys for their birthdays.  Daddy had the whole day off, so we had promised Eldest that he’d be able to have a kickabout with his mates and Daddy after school.  It was so nice to see them getting to do this again, because it is always a bit of a minefield gauging how much time is just right to stay when we have to walk allll the way back…

We had a Skype session at 4.15pm with Grandma and Papa, too, and the boys were chatting about their day and the upcoming school concert and trips.  It was burger and chips for dinner, then Eldest read to Youngest and Daddy from his school book about the weather, and I think they all learned something!

The boys are currently in bed sound asleep.  Hubby is shattered and I am yawning away myself.  It has been such a lovely day! Hubby and I are so lucky that we get to spend so much time with our boys.  It is wonderful watching their faces light up when we say that we are going to be able to attend the such-and-such event or can kick the ball about with them for a bit in the afternoon.  I love that they want us to be with them so often, even if sometimes their nonsense and irreverence drives me bonkers 😉 they are such fascinating little men, and they make me feel so proud and special when they smile at me and show they are enjoying my company.

These are the moments that make life worthwhile 🙂



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Copyright © 2017  Montaffera All Rights Reserved
Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!



Politics, Random poetry 2 Comments »


Hubby had mentioned that there seemed to be some incident unfolding in Manchester last night as I was doing bloggy stuff on the PC, and he’d put the news on downstairs for a few minutes.  I grimaced and said that I hoped it was not too serious, but I did not look anything up at that point.

Hubby was working from home today, as he often does on a Tuesday, and we went about our usual school morning business: hugged and cajoled the kids as we always do, made sure that they got into the nursery and classroom on time. 

We didn’t really talk to anybody, as hubby had a 9.30am audio meeting he had to get back for.  I did send a few private messages to some mums on Facebook, but were just talking about what we were up to this morning, and I didn’t really look at my feed.

I turned on my laptop, to start work on some of the post about Rab, and that is when I realised that Hubby had seen the first reports of the terror attack at the Manchester Arena.  It was all over MSN.

I tried to avoid reading into anything too deeply at that time, but the changing headlines were updating me as I worked. 

I walked down to get Youngest (one of my lovely mum friends picking me up on the way) and watched him frolicking about with a nursery pal, and I chatted to the boy’s father.  Hubby came to get us and ran around with the kids a little more, before we went back home for lunch.

Only then did I watch the news properly.  My heart just breaks for the loved ones left behind! It was, and is, just too horrific to fully take in.  What hit me the hardest was the fact that so many families are still searching for their loved ones after the attack, and that young people were targeted so ruthlessly.  I would never wish that on anyone, no matter how angry I was at the world, or how suicidal.

It was achingly bittersweet to hear of all the help that was offered in the aftermath, however.  It is always important to focus on how good people are at rising to challenges – how no matter what the community can be useful and comforting in little ways.  It always makes me realise that everything is not lost, and that I could and would act the same in dire circumstances.  The majority of humans, thankfully,  have a capacity for good that far outweighs their darker elements.

I had a nice snuggly nap with Youngest on the couch, and hugged Eldest extra tight when he came home with Hubby.  I wish I could let them all know unequivocally the depth of my love for them, to safeguard against that day when I may not be able to tell them again, that day that we all dread when we love people that much…

When I saw ‘shame’ and ‘secret’ come up, it sparked a poem about last night.  I always wonder about people who commit such carnage, about how they justify it to themselves and keep going with their plan. There is lots in the media about not being angry, or letting it stop us doing things we love.  I’d want answers if I was a bereft parent, and yet never be able to question the killer.  I would find that part the hardest to get past.


Screw  Relieved  Veil  Afternoon  Shame  Feigned  Secret  Nest  Intend


It takes more than just a loose screw

To pack a bag full of destruction,

And walk among them there.


To feel relieved that no one guessed,

That your veil of deceit

Lay undetected.


To not have second thoughts

Weeks before.  Or ‘chicken out’

That afternoon.


To not be plagued by shame

That such thoughts even

Entered your head.


What hatred of humanity

To have feigned decency…

Lived shoulder to shoulder…


While, in a secret nest somewhere,

All was black and wicked.


You: smiling upon your work,

As their fate you fashioned?


No mercy did you ever intend.


Youngest went in the bath first, and came through all soggy-haired and pink to tell me about the many new toys in the nursery that he’d suddenly remembered about.  They’ve been raising funds recently.

“Dere a new goo-illa (gorilla) game…da old one needed sellotape cos it was bwoken…if not healfy, or dust a tweat, goes to gweedy goo-illa, if is healfy it goes on your bo-waard.”  Apparently, Youngest and his pal were having great fun feeding the gorilla things they wouldn’t like: “we sayin’ ‘I don’t want dis, I don’t want dat!!’” The memory of it, and accompanying gestures, made him chuckle, which set me off!

There was also a ‘Ma-bul Wun’ (Marble Run) where one “put da ma-bul at da top and it slides down and it twists because dere’s a spinny fing at da bottom”; and ‘Noo Wooden Twain Twacks’ – “oo know what twain twacks do!”

New “taw-a-ches” (torches) for the woodwalk also featured; “but I don’t fink day will open dem tomorrow” (he is going on the woodwalk with hubby tomorrow).

I read the boys another chapter of the 10th Famous Five book, and cuddled them both until they were nearly asleep, trying not to cry all over them. They are so beautiful, and I really hope they get to have the long and happy lives all parents wish for their children.

I am just so sorry we live in a world where a minority feel they have the right to take, in the most vile ways possible, a family’s right to grow and love and be together.  Manchester, I stand and cry with you.



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Copyright © 2017  Montaffera All Rights Reserved
Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!


Toothfairy Tales Chapter 2: Rab

Things I Made This Week 2 Comments »


This post follows on from this one, and documents Eldest’s fourth tooth…celebration 😉

As outlined yesterday, the boys were messing about on Sunday morning, and ended up facilitating his right top front tooth’s departure.  Luckily they didn’t lose it under my bed (!) and we were able to wrap it up in toilet paper and stash it.

Eldest decided that he did want a toy from the tooth fairy this time (he had asked for ‘just money’ for his third tooth, last month) and plumped for ‘a bunny’.  His favourite colour is orange, so we settled on one reminiscent of Irn Bru.  As this is a Scottish drink, Hubby quipped that we should call the toy ‘Rab’ – which is a touch of genius on so many levels!!

I made Eldest voice his request loudly a few times, so that the fairy could hear,  both when we’d hit upon the idea in the car, and at home in his bedroom.  I also warned him that it was very short notice for a fairy to make him a bunny to his exacting specifications, and she may take a few days to get it to him and write him a note for the morning – or might just substitute with a brown bunny that she had in stock; so he wasn’t to be too disappointed if this was the case.  He nodded solemnly and I hugged him.  I needed some breathing room should the make go horribly wrong – plus I knew he’d be extra delighted if I managed to get it to him that night!!

So I set to work.  I have made the pattern before when Eldest was two, just with thicker yarn and a larger hook.  The designer is very good at setting out everything you need, so I was pretty sure I could make a decent attempt.  I picked out a nice yellow bit of scrap yarn as a stitch marker, too; which you may be able to see in some of the pics!

Hubby stayed near the boys downstairs while they had a bit of screentime with the tablet and played with their toys. I moved a basket for our dirty laundry in front of my bedroom door as an extra measure. That sucker is always full and heavy, so would give me time to hide all the crafty evidence before one of the boys got to me… 😉

The ears were a bit fiddly, and as I crochet with my right hand instead of my left I had to really think about where my stitches were going on the next round so I didn’t trap the ears inside my work (!), but everything went pretty much ok until I got to the feet. 

I had a flashback at this point, remembering that I managed to end up with the wrong number of stitches and made the back feet of Eldest’s bigger bunny rather squint!  Sure enough, after the popcorn stitches for the front feet, I somehow lost my way again, and (being a lazy soul) I decided to just position the back feet ‘by eye’ which did not turn out too badly. It’s to do with my maths over the popcorn stitches, I can’t seem to look at them and realise that the amount of stitches they are made over should stay the same in the next round.  Or something.  Anyway, the fault is not with the pattern 😉

I managed to get the rabbit to the stuffing stage before dinner (so in under an hour from where I started) but then had the bright idea of putting in the tiny orangey-red safety eyes that had been kicking about my crafty pencil case, because I hate sewing and was scared I’d mess the bunny up.  Cue lots of internal expletives as I tried to position them, work my fingers through a tiny bunny body to turn it part way inside out, then pop metal backs on the carefully positioned eyes without unintentionally pinging them across the room, which took ten minutes by itself…I never make crafting easy!!

After dinner I made the tail and sewed on the teeth.  Then cut them off, and sewed some more teeth! I also carefully attached the tail and managed to hide most of the stitches, which is not easy for me when I am sewing two such contrasting colours together!

Finally, wee ‘Rab’ was finished! Even with my damn faffing, it must have taken me under two hours to make?

I wrapped him in toilet paper, along with one pound in change, and tucked the resulting parcel into the opening of Eldest’s pillow later on Sunday evening; being careful to remember to take the tooth out of there, first!

Eldest woke me up on Monday morning, and unravelled his spoils before my eyes.  “I LOVE IT!!” he exclaimed, and suddenly all was right with my (rather bleary) world 😉 

Youngest stumbled through for his morning cuddle, took a long look at the rabbit, and said “Oh! He looks like Skeeky Mouse!  He da same s’ape!” (Squeaky Mouse was what Youngest asked for from Santa…).  This prompted Eldest to try and squeak his rabbit, and Youngest to go off to get his mouse to compare. It was decided that although they looked similar, Rab was smaller and was probably too small so have a squeaker in him (he was, I tried!).  Both boys agreed that they were going to ask for a version of each other’s toy from Santa this year, however.  I think I’m going to be busy in December…

The toys joined them for breakfast, and the money made its way into Eldest’s tin afterwards.  Eldest took Rab back upstairs and introduced him to the huge bunny (called ‘Bunny’) that Hubby was given by his workmates when Eldest was born.  Bunny is now Rab’s mummy.  Bunny looks pretty happy about this, it must be said.

Eldest cuddled Rab all through the chapter of the Famous Five that I read the kids on Monday night, too.  He put Rab in his PJs’ top pocket, and was still cuddling an assortment of toys when I went to check on him around 9.30pm, so I took a picture before it got too dark.

I am so pleased that Eldest gets so much pleasure from the wee Toothfairy gifts he is ‘brought’.  I just hope we can keep the magic going until Youngest starts losing his teeth…



[Squeaky Mouse’s pattern is from here, apparently put up on Eldest’s fourth birthday!]


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Copyright © 2017  Montaffera All Rights Reserved
Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!