The Child Maintenance Service

So far my posts have all been somewhat 'glass half full' and, in a round about way, fairly positive.

This one's not so positive, so probably best not to read if you're having a really great festive weekend that you don't want me to put a downer on.  

 Yesterday, I was having one of those really great festive days; Christmas shopping with my favourite people and feeling generally happy. Then my phone rang. 

 Every few months I receive a phone call. An unexpected phone call that stops me in my tracks and catches me by surprise every time. The child maintenance service, bringing me updates and news on the person who fled from our lives and left his only child behind. 

 Let me give you an idea of how these phone calls usually make me feel; it was early days, shortly after my son was born and I got the call when I was trying to do the food shopping. They brought news that I really didn't want to have to deal with and it left me walking around Tesco crying on my own with my son in the trolley. 

Other times I've ended up arguing with the people in their offices; I once got asked on three different occasions if my ex had our son on weekends. I'd told them a number of times that he had chosen never to meet our son, let alone have him on weekends. I find the whole system quite insensitive and their lack of empathy towards peoples situations is hard to deal with when you're in a situation like ours. 

Yeah, the child maintenance service is a service that I wish I never had to have my name attached to. Basically, they collect the money that my sons so-called-father promised to contribute towards the upbringing of our child, so that we never have to speak to one another. It's just another way of him avoiding me and avoiding us, instead of making payments to us he makes them to the maintenance company and they forward it to us (after taking a percentage for themselves.) It's horrible, cold and unpleasant to deal with.  

EVERY TIME they call it screws with my head and totally leaves me feeling the way I first felt when I read the 'I can't be a father' letter. I wish I didn't have to deal with these people but for the sake of my son, I have to.
I figured that if Etienne was to get nothing from his father emotionally then he should at least have his financial support. Unlike some mothers, who probably use the service out of sheer bitterness, I do it purely for Etienne and put each payment straight into a savings account for him to gain access to when he's older. Not a penny of it goes on myself.  

The phone calls are uncomfortable, they refer to my sons father as 'the paying parent' and it does something to my brain every single time without fail. I guess it makes the whole thing more real. It's cold and it's scripted; 'the paying parent' has a name and he's the father to my darling son. It irritates me that I'm no longer entitled to even refer to him by his first name.

Sometimes, as crazy as it sounds, it doesn't feel like there's anything missing in our family. Then when I come away from a phone call with these people, I'm reminded that, actually, we're just another one of these families, on a long list of families, where the father ran away and the child never gets to see him.
It's a constant reminder of the fact that the father of my child still exists in other peoples lives, just not in ours. 

 If I'm honest, It hurts. A lot. 

 Is it possible to hate someone so much but still have some weird kind of hormonal connection that mentally draws you back to them? 
When you've spent 9 months pregnant, carrying this persons baby, you can't seriously shut them out like they were a nobody in your life, can you? 

I'm fully aware that he probably doesn't even give me a minutes thought, ever. But for me, he will be in my thoughts for the rest of my life. He's the father to the person who means the most to me. He helped to create him and he's 50% of his genetic makeup. Whether I ever see him again in my lifetime or not, he will still, forever, be a part of my life in some way. That's the way it should be, isn't it? Only, if things were the way they should be, this wouldn't be a broken family.

When you break from a partner, you put them in your past and you keep them there. In time, you forget about the feelings you held for them and they gradually leave your thoughts. 

When that person is the father to your child, it's not quite so simple. 

They are the one person who should love your child as much as you do, the person who should have been a crucial part of your 'family.' You can not leave this person in the past and forget all about them. He's in my life every single minute of the day, in the form of my son. 

My son pulls faces that his dad used to pull. I take photos of my son and see nothing but his dad. His expressions and his character come from him. I can already tell that he's going to be comical like him. He looks more and more like him every day. It is impossible to forget and somehow it is impossible to ever really feel 100% cold towards him.

Don't get me wrong, I hate what he's done and I hate the way he's treated the both of us, but it doesn't change things. 

I think my weakness is that I always try to see the good in people, even after they've messed up big time. In this instance, I sometimes find myself trying to justify what he's done and convincing myself that he thinks of us, or at least thinks of my son now and then. I'm probably totally wrong and he probably never even gives the situation a second thought, but it's somewhat comforting to at least tell myself that he loves our son somewhere deep down in his cold, messed up heart.  

Every day I see dads being good to their children, carrying them on their shoulders or pulling silly faces and making them laugh. As a parent myself, I recognise the look of pride in another parents eyes when their child does something cute or lovely. 
This is when it becomes clear to me that there's someone missing in our lives. It's not that our life is lacking or that Etienne misses out in any way by not having his father, it's just that our 'family' is made up of 2 instead of 3. 

Sure, he makes the payments that he promised to make, but does he do it because he wants to provide for his son or does he do it because the law says he must? 

He should have loved Etienne just as much as I do, he should have been sharing the proud moments and showing him off to the world like parents do. Etienne should be the first and last thing on his mind and should be at the very top of his list of priorities. Blood is thicker than water, and all that. 

Yesterday's phone call brought the news that he had been 'very compliant' and had made the phone call from his end to actually make a payment without them chasing him, he'd also set up a direct debit as a more efficient way of sending payments.

It leaves me wondering; does he feel guilty? Does he want to send Etienne some money in time for his first birthday and Christmas? Or did he make that payment now in order to not be pestered over Christmas so that he can enjoy his own holidays with his 'family.'

Will the family think of their son/grandson/ nephew on his first birthday? 

Will there be an elephant in the room on Christmas day when they all pretend that life is great, knowing that their family is somewhat incomplete and that Etienne should be sat in a high chair at the end of their dining table eating his first Christmas dinner? 

What I can't understand is how any parent could walk away from those moments of pride and the sheer joy that a child brings into the world. Etienne's charmingly innocent personality is enough to make strangers melt when they see him smiling or chuckling away in his buggy. 

 I love him 100% with every inch of my heart and feel proud 100% of the time, but I am still only 50% of him. I will always be just 50%. 

 Why doesn't the other 50% feel the same way about his incredibly bright and nice natured son? 

My questions will go unanswered I'm sure. 

A mothers love.

"You will never feel love like you do for your child"  ......something  I was told over and over again throughout my pregnancy. I have to admit; I didn't really get it. 
I mean, love is love- right?

Now I have to be honest, after a long, excruciatingly painful labour, I didn't feel this 'love' instantly when my son was born like everyone said I would do. I was in shock; still woozy from the gas and air and definitely not feeling too good after the whole childbirth thing. But let me tell you; the second that my family left the hospital, it hit me. I felt it and I knew I'd never go back on that feeling for the rest of my life. It was just me and him, the two of us, mother and son. 

I took a while to just sit and stare at him as he slept. So many thoughts rushed through my mind. I was RESPONSIBLE for this little life. He was pure innocence and beauty wrapped up in a tiny blanket.  He was mine. 

At first, When I picked him up to hold him and cuddle him,  I didn't really know what I was doing. I hadn't much experience with new borns but this was different. He was like an extension of me and I was all he knew in the world at this point in his life. He knew nothing but the comforting sound of my heart beating, the familiar sound of my voice and the smell of my skin. 

I never slept a wink that first night. I spent my night getting to know him, even though he slept peacefully. I watched him shuffle and squirm as he slept; just like he once did in my tummy. I watched his chest move as he breathed. I studied his face and his tiny features. I fell in love with him that night, and yes, it was a different kind of love. It was an unbreakable love, one which has grown stronger with every single day since then. A love that softened me as a person and put things into perspective. A love that made me appreciate every day of my life.  A love that taught me to be totally selfless and incredibly caring.  

I wake in the night for him because I love him. I give him the last piece of my toast because I love him. I clean squished banana out of his hair because I love him. None of these things are a chore, I do them without question. It's just being a mother, you care about this little person more than you've ever cared about yourself or anyone else before.  I'm all he's got in the world and right now I'm all that he needs.

With every special moment and every new achievement; my heart fills with so much love that I think, one day, it might burst. The first smile, the first little giggle he let out when I tickled his chest, the time he clapped along with me. The feeling I experienced was like no other. The proudest, happiest moments of my life have come from watching that little boys face light up and his smile spread right across his face. 

11 months have passed since that very first night in hospital with him and I now know his every move, every expression, every joy and every fear. I know him inside out, I read him like a book. Why? How? Because I'm his mother. And because he's my son. 
Just like that first night, he still seeks comfort from me, connects with me and looks to me for reassurance amongst a room full of people. He knows that I'm the one to keep him warm and safe. I'm the one to feed him and keep him clean. I'm the one to talk to him and play with him. I rock him and sing to him when he's sad. He throws his podgy little arms into the air when he's tired because he knows I will pick him up and soothe him. 
This bond is made up from the truest, purest, most beautiful kind of love. There is nothing he could do to ever make me stop loving him. That is the difference.

My story.

So now that I've published a few write ups, a few of you who aren't particularly close to me are probably wondering about Etiennes father and wondering 'who is this man?' And 'why did he leave?' Some of you might know only half of the story, so I feel it's time to share the truth behind Etienne's father's absence. Here is my side to the story. 

December 2012.

I got myself a new job in a bank, after a crazy few months of moving around and not having a clue where I was going with my life, It seemed like a great opportunity and I was excited for new experiences and looked forward to meeting new people.

My first day went well, everyone was so incredibly friendly and helpful; I'd never experienced that in a workplace before, people came out of their way to come and introduce themselves and to let me know that if I needed help with anything; they'd be happy to assist me. After what seemed like HUNDREDS of new faces and names I couldn't remember, I thought to myself 'I must have been introduced to every single person in the building by now.' The day flew by and I already felt happy and comfortable in the work place. 

A few days passed, I was busy training in the office upstairs and spending time with my line manager who was talking me through a few things. The training was fine but it got a little difficult to concentrate after spending days looking at a computer screen between the hours of 9am and 5pm, so I was told I could go downstairs and 'shadow' someone to see what I could expect from the job on a typical day. 

I don't know why but I remember this moment crystal clear, perhaps because of where it's lead me to now, I don't know. I was introduced to the team that I would be sitting with and working with for the weeks/ months to come. There were three men, 2 of which I recognised after having already been introduced a few days ago. The third, I had never seen before. I was told that he would be training me and that he would 'look after me.' It's so ironic when I think about what came next. 

I was quite shy at the time but this 'third guy' was lovely, he really helped to include me in the conversations and we hit it off straight away. Now I won't mention names but for the sake of this blog I'll call him Tom. 

Over the next few weeks, I sat with Tom and he showed me the ropes, trained me from scratch and helped me with any problems or questions I had. We shared some banter and it made the job so much more enjoyable. We became very good friends within such a short space of time and I'd never really experienced that with anyone.

Now I'll save the details but in January 2013, roughly a month after meeting Tom, I was faced with a really difficult time in my life and I spent some time off work, struggling to pull myself together emotionally. I have to say, it's the lowest point I've ever reached in my life and I never wish to ever feel that way again. I didn't know who to turn to since my family live in France and there was nothing much anyone could do to change what had happened. 

Then, Tom contacted me (this is the first time we had spoken outside of work) initially to say that if I needed to talk to anyone, he was there and that if there was anything he could do at all,I should let him know. We exchanged a few messages and he managed to really cheer me up and help me to see that I was worth more than how my ex had treated me. 

When I returned to work, everyone would ask if I was ok and if they could do anything to make the days a little easier for me. Everybody was really great and I'm so thankful, to this day, that I had these people in my life at this time. I would never have received this kind of support from previous colleagues at old jobs. But for whatever reason, Tom stood out as being the one person I felt I could go to with a problem; someone I felt genuinely cared about me despite having only known each other for a short while. 

Time moved on and I felt better and stronger about the recent events. I started going on nights out with my work friends and feeling like life was fun again. Tom always came along and we always had such a laugh. I think it was at this point that people at work started to question if there was something more than friendship between myself and Tom. No, there wasn't, but it felt like maybe there could be. 

It got to the point where tom and I would text each other all evening, every evening after work. A few times we met up and went for a drink or he came over to my flat for dinner. Still, there was no romantic involvement, it was purely 'friends' but I knew that my feelings were trying to tell me otherwise and I felt the same vibes from him. 

We would spend all day at work together and then all evening chatting too. I can't remember exact timing but there was one evening when I thought to myself 'what's the point in covering up how I really feel?' And so I told him that I felt we had more of a connection that most friends would, and that I had started to like him in a way that was much more than friends. He instantly got back to me and told me he felt the exact same. His exact words being "it's obvious we have had this undeniable chemistry from the start." However, here's where it began to get complicated; he told me that we would have to just be friends because he had plans to go travelling and that it wouldn't be accepted at work if we got into a relationship. I felt a little confused as to where we went from here, but I guess fate had it's way with us.

Funnily enough, it was then, AFTER, having discussed how we couldn't be together, that things became more than friends. We saw each other most days after work for dinner, film nights, the occasional drink. He even came for a few drinks with my sister and I. It was clear, no matter what anyone says now, that we had strong feelings for each other and that we got along like a house on fire.

Time went on and we became closer and closer, with him now spending whole weekends around my place from Friday evening after work, right through to Monday mornings and walking to work together. We maintained a professional working relationship and never let on to anyone about what was going on between us, though most people had already guessed. 

March 2013; It was my birthday weekend and Tom had promised that he would treat me to a meal at my favourite restaurant: Cafe Rouge in Brighton. Instead he had to shoot off, last minute, to Cambridge for the weekend as his 'friend' was unwell and needed him.Throughout his train journey he sent me messages saying how much he couldn't wait to spend time together when he got back and how he loved everything about the time we had already spent together. 

Then, things became a little odd. He didn't get in touch with me the whole weekend, leaving one of my messages unanswered. He spent his weekend with this friend and I seemed to have been forgotten about. I felt a little bit frustrated and even more so since I hadn't even received a 'happy birthday' from him. Nevertheless, I went out for the evening with my friends and tried my best to enjoy my birthday night out without giving the situation much further thought. 

We were now at the end of March and for days now, I hadn't felt very well. This wasn't a hangover; I had never felt like this in my life. The only thing I could put it down to was the flu. Symptoms just kept on appearing and I became a little concerned about what was going on with me, I didn't feel like myself at all. One of my friends listened to my symptoms and suggested that, just to be on the safe side, I do a pregnancy test! I laughed, "there's no way I'm pregnant." 

On April 3rd, I did the test anyway, just so that I could reassure my friend that I wasn't pregnant. I bought the cheapest test, thinking that I didn't want to waste my money on something that I knew would be negative. 

To my absolute shock and disbelief, there it was; POSITIVE. I had never felt so shocked, confused, scared and speechless in my entire life. I did FOUR tests to make sure that the test kit wasn't faulty. Each and every test came up with an instant positive symbol. In this moment, my life was about to change forever. I wasn't ready, I wasn't prepared for this. What's more, how the hell was I going to tell Tom?! We hadn't really spoken for a few days since his trip to Cambridge and now he was away on holiday so I'd have to either tell him over the phone or wait until he got back! I couldn't leave it any longer, he had to know.

I got in touch with him straight away and he was ok about it. Obviously he was in total shock too. He didn't really say much but his first question was if I was ok. I felt so much better that I had told him, it meant I didn't have to bottle it all up so much. At this point, my family didn't know but I was reassured by his response and he promised he would come straight over to my flat as soon as he got back from holiday (the following day.) 

When Tom arrived at my flat, he gave absolutely nothing away. He didn't treat me the way I was used to him treating me, but I guess he was in so much shock that he wasn't really sure how to act or what to say to me. Overall, he was quite decent and he comforted me that evening, told me not to tell my family yet, until we figured something out. We didn't speak about what went on in Cambridge, to be honest, this was the least of my worries and it simply didn't cross my mind. 

We spent a few days chatting in the evenings and as for work; he came over to me regularly to check how I was feeling. I was beginning to feel queasy and extremely tired at work. I could barely keep my eyes open and I couldn't tell anybody why. Nobody understood, except him, which in a weird way, drew me closer to him. My hormones were all over the place and with every day that passed, I felt more and more drawn to him but he never really showed the same emotions back. 

We carried on at work as normal and I became increasingly more confused about the whole situation.

I will remember this day for as long as I live. One day, at work, he wouldn't so much as make eye contact with me, despite his previous support and concern for how I was feeling. He simply would not look me in the eye and he didn't say a single word to me that whole day. As I left work at 5pm, I received a message from him, saying that he had taken a few days to mull things over and he wanted to chat, tonight. He told me he had written all of his thoughts and feelings down. I had no idea what to expect. 

That night, he arrived at my flat with this letter. He asked me if I wanted to read it myself or if he should read it to me. I asked him to read it. I won't go into too much detail of what the letter contained but what I will say, is that this letter changed my future completely, this one letter explains why I am where I am today. Let's just say, this letter was the most shockingly heartless thing I've ever read. 

It started; "this is going to be one of the hardest, most brutally honest and horrible things I'll ever have to do, but it needs to be said."

I'm sure you can guess what the letter went on to say. He didn't want to be a father.

Initially, it wasn't this that upset me so much, it was some of the things he had included in this disgustingly selfish letter. "If you go through with this, I will not stay In Brighton, in fact whatever the outcome, my stay in this town is coming to an end. The emotional strain this has already put on me means that I can not have any involvement in raising this child."

He went on to admit, in his letter, that this female friend he had gone to see in Cambridge, was in fact someone he had feelings for. They got into a relationship shortly after he wrote this letter, and as far as I know, they're still together today. 

This letter totally broke my heart, not down to my own feelings towards him, but because of my innocent unborn child. I'll never be able to put into words how I felt. I was so betrayed by someone who had been such a good friend to me all this time. He was the first person to pick me up when I was low and now he was dropping me, just like that. 
Yeah, you guessed it, he left. And no, he never returned. I doubt he ever even looked back. He was so cold and so closed off from the pregnancy that to him, it probably never even sunk in. I was only about 10 weeks pregnant, I hadn't even gone for the first scan, and he was already gone. 

I never saw him again. That 'friend' or whatever you want to call him, never did anything to get in touch with me. He never came to the scans, he never asked if the baby was healthy, he never even contacted me when the due date came around. My son was born into the world and I heard nothing from Tom. His family shared the same feelings towards the situation and they too, never met my son. Not only had my son lost his father, but also his grandparents and uncle too. Tom moved to Cambridge and now lives with the girl mentioned above. It would appear to me that he lives his life just like before all of this, he has not shown even an ounce of remorse for what he did to me or our son.

The one thing that really stood out in his letter is this;

"I don't think there is any way that I, or you, can afford to go through with this and provide a good quality of life for anyone. Neither of us are ready to have children and the experience that child would have would not be pleasant."

Little does he know, he couldn't have been more wrong. Etienne is the happiest little baby. This is why I'm so determined to give him such an enjoyable life, because I never want those cruel words from that letter to become true. We might not have a lot of money, and I might not have been 'ready' to raise a child, but our life is happy and fulfilling. Etienne means more to me than anybody on this planet and nothing his father ever did ,or does, will ever change that. 

They grow way too quickly..

Why does it seem that baby years go so much faster than our adult years?! 

This is a question i find myself asking with every new milestone. It only feels like yesterday that Etienne was a tiny, wrinkly newborn who could only be comforted by white noise, so much that I had to download an app on my phone to play a hair dryer noise, in order to soothe him to sleep.

Now, he's this chubby, energetic, long legged, cheeky monkey who gets up to all sorts of mischief. He throws his hands up into the air when I say "up!" And runs his toy cars along the carpet making a "broom broom" noise. Anyone would think I'm talking about a toddler. Nope. He's 10 months old and he's growing up so quickly that I can barely keep up with him. He just keeps learning new things and new ways of getting around obstacles that I put there for a reason! (Mainly figuring out ways to get the phone down from the high piece of furniture I tried to hide it on.)

How has he been in my life for ten whole months without me realising how much he's grown or changed? When I look back at his newborn photos, I hardly recognise that baby. 
In the blink of an eye he's learnt to roll over, crawl, babble words, sing, dance, walk with his walker, clap, wave...the list goes on. All of this in ten months?! That's ridiculous, isn't it? 

 I realise that Christmas is only a few weeks away, which is frightening since last Christmas he was so little that he was wearing micro nappies and he had barely learnt to latch on when breast feeding. (Instead, he attempted to suck milk from my nose.) I remember him dressed as a Christmas pudding and being totally oblivious to anything going on around him. All he wanted to do was sleep. (Hmm, I should never have complained about him sleeping all the time. These days I'm lucky if he has one nap a day.) 

I can still feel the atmosphere on the post natal ward when he was born, I can still taste that incredible piece of toast I was given after the long, painful labour. In all honestly, I still feel shocked that he's mine. I'm not sure that feeling will ever go away? 
How did I bring this incredible little human into the world? I remember saying and really believing, when I was pregnant, that a baby wasn't ACTUALLY going to be in my life. It felt like I was pregnant forever, it felt like I would never meet him and like I'd forever have this big, rounded tummy. So when he eventually arrived (8 days overdue) I was in total shock and disbelief. Even after taking him home from hospital I couldn't believe what had just happened and that from that day on, I'd forever be a mum. I used to wake up in the mornings and see this little tiny 7 lbs beady eyed bundle laying next to me, his face so shriveled and his toes so small I was frightened they'd break.

Now, as if it's been no longer than five minutes, I'm planning his first birthday party and I'm keeping an eye out for his first pair of shoes whilst awaiting his first steps. I had a little browse through his memory box a few days ago, to find the tiniest pair of trousers I've ever seen; "how did he EVER fit into those?!" They were my favorite trousers on him and he wore them a good few times before outgrowing them. I still think the clothes he's in now are tiny, let alone THOSE! It's shocking, really shocking. Where has the time gone? Where has that newborn baby gone?

It may have gone a lot faster than I'd have imagined it would, but with every day bringing something new with it; I can honestly say I'm the proudest I've ever been. He's learning right in front of my eyes, growing stronger with every day and mastering each skill carefully, one by one.

Spend quality time instead of money.

For anyone who ever feels stuck for things to do with their child, especially during those weeks when money is tight. 

Sometimes, I find myself worrying about finances and whether I'll be able to give Etienne enough in his life. As a single mum, of course there's the financial worries of every day life and whether or not I'll be able to afford to treat him to things every now and then as he grows up. I'm sure plenty of parents worry about their kids wanting the latest toy or gadget like 'all the other kids' and not being able to afford it. 

Yesterday, something dawned on me more than it ever has done before;
 I was sat on a public bench waiting to meet up with a friend. The buggy was pulled up close to me. I was rustling through my handbag trying to sort out the loose change that had somehow escaped from my purse (story of my life- where do all of those coppers come from?!?!)
when my son giggled to himself from his buggy, out of nowhere. I looked up to discover that he was leaning forwards to catch a better view of a seagull that was sat on the pavement infront of us, and laughing at it. 

Yep, he was laughing at a seagull. 

The seagull was sat still, doing absolutely nothing humorous, but we sat there for a good while watching it and my son continued to laugh and flap with excitement at this random bird. 

I suddenly realised that this was the happiest he'd been all day. He was having a lovely time and it cost me absolutely nothing. 

This isn't the first instance; I often take him along the seafront in his buggy and catch him watching the birds as they fly high above us, or see him smiling at the children running past. He adores being outside, watching the big buses drive through the city, spotting a cat sat upon a wall or hearing the siren on an ambulance. He is fascinated by his surroundings and I've acknowledged that. 

If you can see the world through a child's eyes, even if only for a moment, you'll find plenty of ways to spoil them without spending money on them and you'll create fond memories that they'll look back on in years to come. 

I've realised that as long as I spend quality time with Etienne, show him new things, talk to him, read to him sing and explore with him, he will not only be a happy little boy, but also flourish in his learning and development.

Quality time is so much more valuable to children than having money spent on them; whatever their age. 

When he's older I'll be able to let him explore an even wider variety of things like; crunching on leaves, splashing in puddles, building a snowman, doing pencil rolls down hills in the sunshine or fishing in rock pools. Notice how not one of these things costs money? Notice how you probably remember doing things like this when you were little? 

When I look back on my childhood, I feel warmed by happy, comforting memories. These memories do not consist of the toys I played with or the gifts I was bought. I remember feeding the ducks at the village pond, sifting through leaves to find conkers with my dad, being tucked up in bed at night and read a good night story by my mum, spending hours drawing, seafront walks with the dog, being cared for when I was unwell, sledging in the snow and just being loved and taken care of in general. Even on my birthdays, I was more excited about my party than I was the presents; having all of my friends and family come together and enjoy my special day. Playing games and running around with my friends. The presents were great too, but if you asked me to name a few of the presents I received at one of my parties, I couldn't tell you. Ask me about the party itself and I'll be able to reel off a heap of memories, like my dad being the magicians assistant and totally embarrassing me, or the game of hide and seek in the dark with my friends.  

 From this, It's clear for me to see that all children really need to be happy is a loving, stable environment where they can explore and discover. It will be those fun, special times they spend with you that they will cherish in their memories. 

Even though my son is only a baby, I see it happening already; I buy him a new toy to play with, he plays for five minutes, before ditching it to go and hide behind the sofa and initiate a game of peekaboo with me. 

At 10 months, he's on the go, full on and he's exploring all of his senses every minute of the day, searching for more and more things to learn about and discover.
Like any parent, I sometimes find myself stuck for ideas on how to entertain him every day. It seems that I am far more bothered by this than he is. Even on a rainy day indoors he finds enjoyment out of something as simple as watching the rain fall on the window. 

He reminds me all of the time that what I'm doing is enough. He's a happy little boy and that's all I aim for as a mother.

 I guess to sum it up, my message is this: there's no need to ever feel stuck for inspiration or money in order to be able to give your child a brilliant childhood; children don't need fancy things, they don't need a heap load of toys when they already find magic within their own imaginations.