It has been said several times that our Ryan is "all boy" meaning everything that you would stereotypically think of when you think of a boy is what he is. He's loud, rough, active, determined, sometimes demanding, impatient...but then at the same time can be completely sweet and loving! I love all of these things about him! I love he has such enthusiasm during a game playing with his ball that he runs (or crawls) to go fetch it and then lets out a mighty roar of laughter before he throws it back at--er, I mean, TO me,
I love the times when he is deep in thought (or just chewing on his donnies) and he stands so still. It's likely he's peeing or even trying to do a poo...but I love it about him!
I love that he has a desire to want to help take out the rubbish...or at least throw his nappies in the bin bag. He actually gets upset when he isn't the one to throw it in, so he can take it quite seriously. But he is ever so clever when you tell him to take it into the kitchen and throw it in the bin. He knows exactly where and what you're on about.
And I love that he can not only do many, many things independently...but that he KNOWS when it is time for bed no matter where he is in the house. He knows that when Mommy starts singing "Goodnight, Ryan" it is time to go upstairs (if he is downstairs) or to walk over to Mommy to be picked up and taken in to be fed elsewhere. He knows he brushes his teeth as well and that if Mommy signs 'bath' he goes into the bathroom to get lathered and shampoo'ed...and often tries to drink the soapy bubbles from one of his bath toy heads.
I suspect I will miss these things as he grows up.
So, Ryan absolutely LOVES his John Deere tractor/book. It does open into a book, but at the moment, he is more interested in pushing it across the floor making his car noises. Much like his other toys he is also enjoying watching it race down the ramp of the slide and catapulting it over the safety gate at the cat.
Either way...well done, Nanny on this toy!
We've been practising some more signing since Ryan can confidently sign a few things now. One of the new ones he has mastered is 'please' where you move your flat palm over your chest in a circular motion. Whenever he signs to us that he wants 'more' of something I will ask him to "say please" and immediately he touches his chest and moves his hand a bit. It's not perfect, but I can already see that he is trying.
I've actually learned that babies who sign will sometimes use one sign to mean several different things. So, for example when Ryan signs that he wants 'more' of something, he sometimes also means that he wants something to eat or he wants you to give him something. So I'm also trying to introduce the signs 'hungry,' 'eat,' and 'want.' Plus, there are some others I'm trying that match things that he already does like 'dance' to help him communicate back with us until he is properly speaking. The best bit about all of this is that it doesn't inhibit their speaking ability because I speak to him when I make the sign...so he learns the sign AND the word at the same time!
I'm not sure how many times I can shout from the rooftops that I absolutely adore this little man!
We finally got the parcel my Nan sent over a month ago for Ryan. Apparently it has been sitting in customs and we had no idea until we received a letter in the post that we had to pay nearly £33 to pick it up. So, this morning Matt took Ryan and me (both bunged up, Ryan with snot and me, a sore throat) to the Parcel Force depot in Birmingham to get the box.
Ryan helped Daddy open it when we got home and the first thing Ryan did when he saw inside the box was grab the yellow duck! But he did agree to a couple of kisses first, to be fair.
I think the thing he liked the most of all was the blanket that Nanny made for him. He kept laying it on the carpet and lying down saying, "Ahhhhhhhh!"
Of the items that she sent, these were the ones I could see Ryan getting the most use of. She sent quite a few outfits and PJ sets, but unfortunately they were too small, and the rest will most definitely shrink the first time they are washed.
Here's what he thought of his Thomas the Tank Engine book...
My morning didn't start off too well, I'm afraid. I was contacted yesterday to see if I wanted some work, just a half-day in the morning in a Year 3 class at a different school in Walsall. The idea being that once I work a day or two in a school, the people in charge of arranging a supply teacher are more likely to request you back by name if they like you and are familiar with you. This, in turn, leads to more consistent work.
I had planned out my route last night and learned that I didn't need to take the train to Walsall Station, but instead to Bescot Stadium Station as the walk to the school would be shorter from there, just under a mile and a half.
I arrived at Rowley Regis with plenty of time before my train was due to arrive. Since I didn't have cash on me today, I was prepared with my debit card to use the automated ticket kiosk. After a good 5 minutes of being directed to remove my card and start over, my train pulled into the station and people began to board from the platform. I tried once more but it just wasn't taking my card, saying the card was 'unrecognised.'
In the past I have been able to simply purchase my ticket at Smethwick Galton Bridge by telling them my originating station and destination due to having a connecting train there. This has been done with no problem, so I figured when I got to my connecting station, which was Birmingham Moor Street, I would just do the same.
The train pulled into the station and I went straight to the cashpoint to withdraw money since I knew my card was being fickle. In order to get to the ticket office, I had to pass through the barriers which happened to have staff already there checking people's tickets. So I approached a helpful looking man and asked if I could purchase my ticket off him. This is how our conversation went...
Me: Excuse me, can I purchase my ticket here off you?
Him: What station have you come from?
Me: Rowley Regis.
Him: Oh, where is your ticket from there?
Me: I don't have one because the kiosk couldn't read my debit card. There isn't a cashpoint at that station so I have stopped at the cashpoint here and now have cash to pay.
Him: I'm afraid then that I'm going to have to issue you with a £20 fine, Miss, as you boarded a train without a ticket.
Me: Maybe you didn't hear me clearly...I wasn't able to purchase a ticket because my card could not be read and I had to get cash out from here so I could pay.
Him: Well you don't have to pay the full £20 right now. I can take a partial payment, but I will need to take your details down.
Me: I don't think you understand! I have another train to catch at New Street, where I have to WALK to from here. I'm not being dishonest with you, I just want to purchase the ticket I would have purchased from my own station had the kiosk been working.
Him: I'm sorry then, you can't do that. You cannot board a train without a ticket.
Me: Are you even listening?! I TRIED to purchase a ticket but the machine couldn't read my card!
Him: Did you go up to the ticket office to try to purchase your ticket from there?
Me: No! By then my train was at the platform and I had to go or else I would have missed it!
Him: Well this is why you need to plan for your journey better to allow time for these things.
Me: Okay, asshole! I don't need you telling me how I need to plan my journey better! I was at my station ON TIME and then YOUR CRAP MACHINE refused to read or accept my card! I'm not paying ANY fine when I have done nothing wrong and I'm not trying to deceive anyone. All I want to do is purchase my ticket so I can now RUN to Birmingham New Street and pray that I catch my connecting train and get to my job on time!
Him: You need to watch your language. You will not be permitted to carry on to the ticket office until you pay the full or partial fine of £20. If you can only pay the partial fine, then I will need to take your details.
Me: Well you can get fucked then!
Yeah...I said it...and then I walked away carrying on (loud enough for him to hear) with probably more expletives than anyone cared to hear that early. But I was absolutely FUMING! Here I was trying to be honest and purchase the appropriate ticket, as I have done at stations in the past, and this overzealous ticket muncher was not interested in exercising a bit of human compassion for my situation. I appreciate he has a job to do, but he was taking the piss when I know for a fact you can purchase a ticket at another station -- how else do people do it when the ticket office is closed?
I rang Matt who agreed with me that the guy was being an ass and I eventually walked back up to my platform and over to where a train was boarding to head back towards Smethwick Galton Bridge. I fully expected to be followed, but by this point my blood was boiling with rage and I didn't even care. When I got to Smethwick Galton Bridge I headed to the ticket office and requested a return ticket from Rowley Regis to Bescot Stadium. No questions asked, no 3rd degree, no threat of a fine...just a few keystrokes and a "thank you very much." She didn't know it, but I wanted to hug the lady behind the counter.
See, was that SO hard?
Thankfully there was a train direct to Bescot Stadium boarding a few minutes later so I rang my agency apologising profusely so they could notify the school. I ended up getting to the school about a quarter past 9, which was an hour past when I WOULD have been there.
If I didn't think they would track me down from it and fine me anyway, I'd write a letter of complaint to National Rail or whomever is in charge of staffing the checkpoint barriers, particularly at Birmingham Moor Street.
I do feel awful about losing my cool and wigging out, so my apologies to the morning commuters for the outburst from the tiny, raging American this morning. But the man had me at the end of my rope and it resulted in me being late to school, which I don't make a habit of.
After the children in the Year 3 class I was covering left for their dinner, I stayed to mark their work and left the school to head back to Bescot Stadium. The photo I took was displayed on the fencing at the bottom of the steps and after the hectic start to my day it just made me laugh for some reason, so I took a photo. Naughty thieves...let this be a warning! Hehe.
When Matt picked me up from the train station tonight, he immediately motioned for me to look in the back window. Looks like he just couldn't manage to stay awake heading home from his Nan & Grandad's today! Bless him.
Coming home from Walsall on the train this afternoon I watched a girl board and immediately thought she reminded me of someone. The more I looked at her, the more I felt like I was looking right at my very own cousin, Katey!! Trust when I say this girl, mannerisms & expressions, looked full-on, 100%, like my cousin!
I felt so bad for staring but I felt like I was in a Twilight Zone. So, I immediately snapped some sneaky, voyeur-like pics on my phone to show Kate and the rest of my family when I got home. The resemblance was just UNREAL to me and I even made a little collage of photos so you can judge for yourself...
Her profile, smile...just everything...wow!
Our Sky HD box arrived today so Matt set straight to getting that hooked up as soon as we were inside. Ryan then took the opportunity to try on Daddy's shoes and I honestly nearly wet myself laughing at him!
I have to say that I am so very proud of the little things Ryan can do by himself as well as his eagerness to try things on his own!
Tonight during his bath, I put the dab of shampoo on his head like normal and he pushed my hand away and proceeded to rub it in and lather it up on his hair whilst looking back up at me for approval. I jumped in to "help" and keep it from getting in his eyes, but it seems we can add 'wash my own hair' to the growing list of independent tasks Ryan can do on his own!
Ryan found delight in cousin Amy's bouncy zebra toy. Unfortunately he got a bit carried away and ended up sliding off the back at one point until the pine toy box broke his fall. Thankfully not his head though because he was okay a few minutes and a few cuddles and kisses later.
Ryan isn't the only one who is tuckered out when he was home from the childminder. I had another day in Walsall in a very "lively" Year 2 class. It was so tempting to join him down on the floor with those pillows!
I had a half-day this afternoon at a primary school in Walsall and when I returned home Ryan decided he wanted to help me hoover the front room. Whenever I have the vacuum out he immediately runs to grab the wand attachment and "helps" get the floor clean (complete with sound effects).
Who knows...maybe he'll actually enjoy it when he's older as well. That can't be a bad thing.
Now for a little video for your viewing enjoyment...
Today's free Toys R Us Lego toy was a Ninja Dragon Fighter! Too bad my little ninja couldn't stay awake for the walk back. He was quite cranky and clingy so I put him in the Moby and within seconds of being cocooned, he was spark out! So yep, that meant 2 miles back home with a 23 lb., sleeping toddler strapped to my chest.
Even after his morning nap, he was still quite clingy, which meant that not a lot of housework got completed. I kind of don't mind as much though because I'll take Ryan cuddles any day, any time over laundry! I keep thinking that one day he won't be so eager to want snuggles from Mommy.
I thought I'd throw in this little update...a new, improved shampoo-mohawk! His hair is getting to much longer now!
This week in The Sun newspaper, they're doing a promotion where you get a coupon/token for a free Lego toy from Toys R Us each day. The catch is you have to pick it up ON the day it is in the paper.
It started back on Saturday and Matt remembered it when we were visiting his parents and he saw their paper. He nicked the coupon from it and rushed down to Toys R Us at Merry Hill only to discover their stock on the free Lego toys was gone for the day already. Instead, they offered him a choice of something from the Dr. Who series so Ryan ended up with a Dalek.
On Sunday, Matt was up bright and early with Ryan as he was going to make it a special "Daddy & Ryan Day" and bring Ryan with him to collect the free toy from the Toys R Us near our house in Oldbury. He got there about 15-20 minutes after they opened but was still too late! Apparently because of Sunday trading, they open their doors 30 minutes early for people to browse the store but they cannot purchase anything. They say there was a queue at the door then just to get this toy and they only had a supply of two boxes.
Matt returned home with Ryan utterly disappointed that he missed out yet again.
I decided this morning that wasn't going to happen again, so as Matt was leaving at 8am for work, I was up and getting Ryan dressed and into his pushchair to head to Tesco Express, pick up The Sun, and walk the whole 2 miles down the road to Toys R Us so we could get there when they opened. I figured they were less likely to go as quick with it being a normal working day and kids at school.
Wouldn't you know...ding, ding, ding! By half-nine we were entering Toys R Us with coupon in hand and exiting with a ship toy from Pirates of the Caribbean. Mind you, Ryan won't really be able to play with these Lego toys until he's 4 or 5, but he loved crinkling the bag all the way back home!
Although Ryan only has one Grandad here in the UK, with his other being in America, we have decided to give 'Honorary Grandad' status to Mick (his Uncle Daz's Dad), who is his cousin Amy's Grandad.
Mick joins us at Em & Daz's every Sunday after tea and dotes on Ryan as if he were just as much his own grandchild as Amy. Ryan is fascinated with Mick's hands and doesn't hesitate to demand a story when he's over, so it all just seems fitting.
Of course, this makes it nice because we don't feel Ryan is missing out on the experience of having a second grandparent and we couldn't think of anyone better to take this role than Mick.
Every once in a while Matt and I decide to 86 the bath from Ryan's nightly routine in order to simply get him in PJs and up to bed. Usually I end up giving him a quick wipe over with a baby wipe and lately I've been handing the wipe to Ryan directly because he understands when we say 'wipe your mouth' or 'wipe your hands.'
Looks like Ryan took it a step further tonight and wiped his head and hair! He ended up looking like an old pensioner with a comb-over!
It all started as a normal day. A little playing, a little colouring...and then...
We had a bit of an accident when Ryan was chasing a ball across the room in a game of footie with Mommy. He tripped over his feet and landed head first into the entertainment centre. He got a small abrasion on his nose along with a small bump to his eyebrow.
It doesn't look as bad in the photo, but you can tell it's going to be nasty tomorrow.
Shortly after Matt got home from work, after I spoke with someone from NHS direct, we decided rather to be safe than sorry and took him to A&E to get checked out. The wait was going to be at least 2 hours, so we checked with pediatrics who gave him a quick look and suggested since it wasn't broken and he wouldn't need an X-ray, we might get seen faster if we went to the walk-in centre down the road.
About an hour later at the walk-in centre we were seen by a doctor, who I felt wasn't very good with children as he poked at Ryan and didn't try to be nice about the fact that he was in pain. He repeated the same thing, that it wasn't broken and he was completely fine. He didn't really give us any other info but asked if we had any other concerns so we brought up that Ryan has had a cough well over a month now and it wasn't going.
The doctor actually made us strip Ryan down just so he could have a listen to his chest! And he wasn't gentle with this either. Then, he essentially sent us from the room without any suggestions on how to treat the cough saying he was finished and we had to redress our son in reception!
Wow! Quality care AND great social skills!
Anyway, I suppose we're just really happy in the end to know that our little man is okay.
A little chit-chat when Ryan returned home today revealed my little Romeo has a little girlfriend!
There's a little girl at his childminder's who is just a bit older and we're told she has really taken a shine to Ryan. He likes to go and try to sit on her lap when she's in the beanbag or just be as close to her as possible. I love that he's starting to make some little friends!
We decided to send him to the childminder today despite me not having any work because the house needed a good clean and we needed to sort through lots of old papers that we had been keeping for all the hoops I've been jumping through the past 3 years for the UK Border Agency. Now that I have my Indefinite Leave to Remain I don't have to worry about it anymore.
Plus, we pay a retainer fee each week to hold Ryan's place, so if I don't get work all week, then I may as well send him on a Friday if I have lots to get done at the house. As it turns out, it was a good call because I was able to clear through loads of rubbish and now have a nice box of papers to be shredded.
Ryan has this little ritual when we go out to play in the garden. While still up on the patio he wanders over to the base of the apple tree and fishes through the stones until he finds one he likes. He then re-homes said stone in a different spot on the patio. Lately, he's been throwing it in the ivy by the steps.
Today we headed off to Haden Hill Park for a simple, little picnic with the kiddos. Amy and Ryan had a ball running around in the grass and spotting all the ducks and geese by the pond. I had actually woken up this morning to the news bulletin on my phone that said Osama Bin Laden had been captured and killed, so I felt it appropriate to wear my only American Flag Old Navy tee, ironically dated from 2001.
Score, US Military!
Ryan, on the other hand opted for something a little more subtle in his Thomas the Tank Engine wardrobe and sported Percy. He's not that political anyway, so thought he'd keep his attire playful for the venue.
After two and a half years in a long-distance relationship, I packed my life of 29 years into 21 boxes and moved to England to marry and be with my husband, Matt. Now I'm reveling in the youth of my 30s in Great Britain, supply-teaching in primary schools near Birmingham and enjoying newlywed life, being a mommy, and all the surprises they bring!