Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Back in the saddle

Well, it has been a long time since I have written my blog.

The reasons for this include:
Just before Christmas, I spilt a glass of wine over my keyboard (all very innocently sober I hasten to add!). My computer got drunk and died a tragic death of alcohol poisoning. I had to get a new one... This process all took some time and I must admit I lost momentum.

By the time I was up and running again, we were in the grip of my two least favourite months of the year... January and February. For those who don't know me well, I suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and the lack of natural sunshine and light makes my little world a rather dark place - literally and figuratively. At that time I did not feel that I had much positive insight to offer the world. By the time I began to see the trees for the wood again, I seriously wondered what the point of writing my blog is.

Is it a place for me to connect with like minded people? As much as I had hoped so, it had not really proved to be that, as I don't have a huge following to date!
Is it a diary? Not really, as one would probably be a bit more blunt on some topics than one is when writing a diary that one knows is being read by others.
Is it a cathartic exercise for me? Absolutely. I really enjoy the process of writing.
Is it just one take on modern parenting with all it's petty day-to-day highs and lows? Probably.

I have had some wonderful encouragement over the past few months to keep writing and yet still it has not been enough for me to put fingers to keyboard again.

So why am I here today?
For one simple reason.
I want to write again.

The fog has cleared, my children are heaven, and the state of the world is concerning (I refer to the current turmoil in the British political arena). I have an opinion and I want to share it!

The current situation of the Liberal Democrats courting both the Labour party and the Conservative party for "a deal" of power is both alarming and concerning. Can none of these "leaders" do what is right for the country - for me and my children - and put their country, it's economy and it's people first? I guess that would be asking too much of a politician!

I have never been a huge politico. That being said, I have always been very interested in current affairs. I try to stay on top of the news and most importantly to a stay-at-home-mother, I want to ensure that I remain in touch with the world. (Part of it is in defense of that dreadful dinner party stopper ... "So what do you do?". "I am a full time Mom". The eyes glaze over and people automatically conclude that you have nothing further to add. Isn't that terrible!!!) While I admit that I struggle to find intelligent things to talk about some days(!!), I do believe that mothers have a vital and underestimated voice. (Why do you think Cameron was wooing mothers on Mumsnet?!)

I have been following this election with huge interest, fascination and energy. When I told a friend of mine that I had stayed up till 4am watching the election results roll in, she commented to me "Darling, I didn't know you cared so much". Well, I do. I have lived in the UK for 10 years, and have two amazing little people in my life whose futures I feel will be deeply affected by the decisions made by the politicians today. On what basis could I not possibly care about the outcome of this election/the debacle it has become?

Fortunately J and O are blissfully unaware that they will be paying for the budget deficit for the rest of their lifetime. The most critical thing on their minds right now is whether or not we are going to the sand pit this afternoon! The innocence of youth.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Listen to the Silence

Happy to report that both J & O seem to be almost back to normal. I say almost, as they are both still coughing their chests off and O is teething terribly, but they are definitely over the worst.

Sigh. Of. Relief.

J is at Christmas school today again. Went in very unwillingly, albeit with the promise of all things chocolate being on offer, as it is "Chocolate day" today and she is something of a chocolate monster. I am positive, however, that once she got a whiff of the heady scent of melting cocoa and realised that she was allowed to stir, mix, and no doubt lick too, she found herself to be in seventh heaven and settled down very quickly.

I fought my conscience about sending her on "Chocolate day", as one is not supposed to encourage a fondness for chocolate and sweeties is one? But I figured, rather selfishly, that having her happy, occupied and out the house for a day was worth the guilt of knowing she will no doubt eat nothing but the sticky brown delicacy all day.

O is sleeping.

I am listening to the silence.....

Saturday, 12 December 2009

A Quiet Thank You

Thank you to those of you who have rung me, sms'd me or emailed me regarding my blog.

I must admit, I said to hubby last night that I thought I would call it a day, close the blog and simply write a private journal.

However, given the lovely and kind feedback I have had from a handful of special people, I am going to persevere.

I have found writing my blog to be incredibly cathartic. But this is coming from the perspective of one who has not been able to leave the house for the last 8 days... everything is relative!

I bare a little of my soul and a lot of our lives here. So for those of you who find the time to read my posts, thank you.

Mother Nature's Cruel Way

Poor little O.

Not only has he been struggling this week to combat this bronchial affliction (the affliction of his, admittedly very short, life time), but today at 6 months and 20 days old he cut his first tooth.

And his gorgeous toothless smile will be no longer. Changed forever.

I remember vividly the day J got her first tooth. We were on holiday in Cape Town, driving back home along the beautiful coast from her South African Godmother's baby shower. I was sitting in the back of the car with her as she was being a bit niggly. Upon trying to soothe her by allowing her to nibble on my finger, I remember the shock and excitement I experienced when I felt the hard little lump of the burgeoning tooth. So unexpected!

She was 3 days away from being 6 months old.

Funny that sometimes I cannot remember what I did yesterday, but that these moments have a habit of sticking forever.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Glitter, Christmas and a First of Thousands

I love glitter, don't get me wrong. All things sparkly and all that.
The thing I am learning about glitter though, is that a) it is a nursery school staple (especially at Christmas time), and b) it gets into everything and is extremely hard to eradicate.

These, now in my mind, insidious little pieces of plastic (Is that what glitter is? Plastic?) seem to be in every corner and crevasse of our home. All over our floor, in the buggy, in the toilet, in our food, in the school back pack, in my handbag, in the wash basket, in J's hair, in O's nappy, and even in our bed. Everywhere I look a little piece of glitter is twinkling at me. I have decided to embrace this trend and will be adorning all our Christmas cards with mountains of the stuff.
And yes, Christmas is coming. However, is it just me or is it a loooong time in coming? I think Christmas (and the promise of all things wonderful for well behaved little girls) began in our home in about mid-November. Big mistake.

In a toddlers' mind time has little meaning and every day J thinks Christmas is here.... and this is not aided by the endless stream of Christmas activities thrown at our children these days.

J started painting a Christmas tree and learning Christmas songs at nursery school in October. Now I understand that the teachers have only so much time to cram Christmas into them before school ends (in our case this week), but October????
Then there is;
- the nativity play
- Christmas decorations in the shops (suddenly I am noticing just how many Father Christmas's there are everywhere, as J is kindly pointing them out to me)
- putting up the Christmas tree
- opening a Christmas chocolate every morning (i.e. advent calendar; top tip - great bribe material!)
- lighting Christmas candles
- a new outfit kindly sent to us "for Christmas day" courtesy of Stella (McCartney; from her GAP range. If only Mommy had been so lucky!)
- meeting Father Christmas (huge excitement, wide eyes and a loooong list for him to fulfill)
- writing a letter to Father Christmas, just in case he did not get everything down when we met him. (Another top tip - when you post your letter to Father Christmas, do not address it to your own address, as I did as wanted to keep it for J & O's "memory boxes". Said letter arrived back at our home three days after being posted by J and she picked it up off the doormat and recognised it.... took some sharp Mommy tap dancing to get out of that one.)
- Christmas parties, for which "a gift to the value of five pounds must be supplied clearly labelled with your child's name" (J is attending triple the amount that I am. i.e. She is attending three, I am attending... well, none.)
And so it goes on.

And yet, as much as J is loving all this Christmas activity, Christmas will not have arrived until Father Christmas delivers a Baby Moddy (Who knows where she got the name from. Who am I to question?). Baby Moddy must come complete with a purple dummy, a bib, pink dungarees with a sheep on it and a pink hat with nothing on it. At least she knows what she wants. God help us when she is a teenager.

J attended Christmas school today. Run at her nursery school for mothers like me who don't know what to do with their children all day every day, it was held from 9am to 3pm. I was dubious about how well she would handle the day as she only usually attends between 9am to 12noon, it was with different teachers and different children from her usual class and of course she has been so unwell. But I needed her out the house today as O is still very sick and I was desperate to avoid "The Day From Hell" we had yesterday. So I made her packed lunch this morning and sent her off.

(Reader alert - if a seasoned mother, the following may come across as a bit trite.)
I realised that this was actually a BIG moment. Her first packed lunch of thousands. I reflected on how fast the time has gone, and that too soon I will be sending her into the world every day with a packed lunch and then the time will come when she doesn't even want the packed lunch!

O and I had the most delicious day. So so quiet, calm and peaceful. Given he is still not well and all he wanted to do was sleep, he and I had a sleep together this morning (a first) and then I watched some rubbish tv while he dozed on my lap this afternoon (not something I typically indulge in, but what's a girl to do when her beautiful baby boy just wants to cuddle and snooze with his Mommy?!). I ignored housework, To Do lists and just about everyhting. It was bliss.

The weird thing was though ..... I kindof missed J.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

I Want My Children Back

... I want my children back from this terrible 'lergy that is currently inhabiting their little bodies and turning them into creatures I don't know.

As previously mentioned, J is on antibiotics after a tough weekend of coughing, temperatures and listlessness. By 5pm yesterday I decided that O's cough had reached seeing-the-doctor proportions, and we left him armed (to my alarm) with inhalers, more antibiotics and a scary looking contraption with which to administer the inhalers.

Poor little sausage, O slept in my arms all night last night, wheezing, whimpering and glowing with heat. All he wanted to do today was to lie still and quiet in my arms, but that did not take into account dear J, who, still not herself (still not eaten - day 5), wanted every second of my time.

Cue "The Day From Hell".

Fortunately, my lovely new lady, who cleans on Wednesday mornings, was on hand to drop the vacuum cleaner, the ironing and the dust cloths, to hold O in her arms all morning. I can't believe I paid someone £9 an hour to hold my very sick child in her arms, while I fed her coffee and tried to keep J busy with baking cup cakes, reading and "helping Mommy around the house".

At 3pm hubby was summoned home in desperation. My reinforcements are short-lived however, as tomorrow hubby goes away on business. He returns late on Friday night. I am mildly panicking.

I have endless admiration for single mothers. How they cope I am not sure.

I find winters debilitating. I hale from South Africa, and one would expect that after ten years of living here, I would handle the long, dark winter with increasing aplomb. Not so. With each passing annum I find it harder and harder to see my way through the winter.

I have not been outside for 5 days, due to the children's illnesses. It has been too cold and wet to have them cavorting in the wind and puddles, and the level of cabin fever has gone off the scales. And it is only the 9th of December. We have to get to March/April before we will even glimpse the sun again. Not something I feel great about, to put it mildly.

Hopefully by next week "the little soldiers in the banana medicine" will have fought off all of the germs in my children's bodies and we will be able to re-enter the world, albeit still be shivering in our boots.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Looking for An Illustrator

As part of my quest to get a life, use my brain, challenge myself and fulfill a long held dream to publish children's stories, I have finally written a little tale. It was inspired by one of my gorgeous God daughter's, S, who has the biggest blue eyes in the world and is the happiest little creature known to mankind.

I would love to have it beautifully illustrated - know exactly how I want it to look, but sadly cannot even draw a stickman!

Please see below for my little story - (not sure what the copyright rules in blogging are, but if one day you see this story published under another name, do let me know and remember you read it here first!).

Sabrina and the Twinkling Star

“It’s time for bed.” Sabrina’s Mummy said
“It’s time to rest your sleepy head.”

Sabrina yawned and closed her eyes
And began to dream of the wide night skies

Sabrina soaked in the starry night
Looking around her with sheer delight!
Oh! Look at the stars, all so bright!

Suddenly, Sabrina stopped.....

In the dark there was a “bump!”
She had come upon a great big lump!

What had Sabrina found, lying there?
A little star, crying with fear

“What’s the matter?” asked Sabrina in concern
“I have lost my twinkle and can no longer burn.”

“Oh no!” cried Sabrina in dismay
“Can I help you in any way?”

“I must get warm to twinkle again.
If I don’t, my star will wane.
But all I do is shiver and shake
And lie here in the cold and dark, awake.”

“I have an idea!” Sabrina gasped
“We must make you warm before the night is past.
Please let me cuddle you all night long
And I could sing you a happy song.”

Sabrina stayed with the little star all night
Cuddling him close, warm and tight
She sang to him her favourite song
‘Out in the world where we belong....’

As the night grew, Sabrina and her new friend slept
Feeling warm and happy the little star’s heart leapt

As the little star warmed he started to glow
And his tiny points once again began to show

Sabrina woke and rubbed her eyes in a daze
And look! Oh my! The little star’s ablaze!

“Oh thank you Sabrina” the little star said with a beam
“I’ve got my twinkle back and can be seen!”

“To say thank you, please take my wish.”
And the little star blew Sabrina a magical kiss

And now every day when Sabrina smiles
The twinkle in her big blue eyes can be seen for miles