Friday, 28 February 2014

Quick, a post, while it's still February!

I passed my driving test yesterday morning!  First time thank goodness; my heart is still hammering away with nerves.

G is having a wonderful 5th birthday week.  Sunday Adriano's Dad + partner and his sister +partner and their son (got that?!) came round and we all went out to Pizza Express.  Monday my parents and my sister came round and we finished off the cake from the day before.  Tuesday was G's actual birthday so some more presents, a lazy morning, then lunch out and a visit to a local-ish soft play place which was a great success. Today our library singing group all sang Happy Birthday to her again, and on Sunday we're squashing around 14 children and their parents into our very modestly sized house for the final celebrations. She is so proud to be 5, and I am fiercely proud of her too.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Longest hiatus yet?

Well it's been so long since I last posted that I'm a little bit sad/worried/shocked/horrified (I'm very dramatic).

I turned 40.  On the actual day we went to the local Xmas market (rather tacky for my taste as it turned out but nice to hang out with my family), then in the evening Adriano looked after the girls while I went out with 7 other women I have met since moving here last Feb.  It felt a bit weird that I knew none of them this time last year, but on the other hand I felt proud of myself for making such great connections with women I genuinely like and am interested in, in a short space of time.  They are great, and all have contributed hugely to me coping with all the change this past year, by their support and friendship.

I continued to home educate G.  I should say 'we' perhaps, not 'I', as Adriano is with her 3 days a week too.  She's doing well, I think.  Her reading is incredible now.  Reading age of about 7, I think.  Today she read a sign in our local museum and correctly said the word 'closure'.  She has asked about going to school a few times, and I have the application form, but when asked again she says something along the lines of 'not yet'.  We can go with that for now.

After loads of soul-searching I decided to turn down an almost-free trip to Chicago to see an old school friend.  Feeling a bit sad about it but hoping I made the right decision.

I have been doing a few minutes of yoga most evenings.  I really feel odd if I don't do it, in spite of each session being so short.

I have been hula hooping too!  I discovered that with a weighted hoop I can bloody do it!  And it's brilliant.

Next month G turns 5, and the week after that we will have lived in our house for a year.

I have booked my driving test. I wonder how many I will need to do before I pass?  One friend says she took 6 times and in the end what helped was eating a banana about an hour before, haha.

I'm reading this book and it has inspired me to get back on here tonight, at the very least.  It's about finding a way to be creative combined with motherhood.  Or something like that.  It's reminding me just how damn creative I USED to be.  Singing, dancing, drumming, composing, painting, card-making, blogging, photography, poetry writing, perhaps more things I have temporarily forgotten.  I feel that my time of complete and utter self sacrifice as a mother needs to come to an end very soon, as I begin to show the girls that within me there is immense passion for all kinds of creativity, hopefully not/not necessarily to the detriment of my being there for them.  I need to show them more of my whole self now. And I just know it can't harm my relationship with Adriano, if anything surely it should enhance it.

However, for me this is all muddled up with an emerging problem.  I struggle to feel valued by Adriano, for my current role as a stay at home mum.  When pressed, he is sure that he really does value me and my role.  After all we both agreed to it.  So it could be as simple as lack of communication.  Could it be lack of listening on my part?  I find myself DESPERATE for his approval.  Not to be melodramatic (ha) but the image which springs to mind is someone dehydrated, on hands and knees in the desert, feeling a drop of water near their mouth.  Gawd.  So my next thought is that *I* need to value my role, and am I doing that?  Because I understand that I have to take responsibility for that.  Marriage isn't about getting all your self worth from someone else....maybe it's partly about them reflecting your self worth back to you though??  *Do* I value the role that I'm doing?  Am I so influenced by the fact that I am not bringing any money in that I can't see the value either?  Interestingly enough, the two people in my life who reflect back to me that I am doing a great job as a mum, are my dad and my brother.  Not sure what to make of that, if anything.

And of course this is combined with the fact that, being now 40, although I am sure in years to come I will look at my 40-year-old physical self and long for it, at the moment I can just see ageing and gravity taking their toll. With a large dose of 'how my 2nd baby f*cked up my body' too.  I am doing my best to accept it and even like it, especially I have two daughters watching my every move.  But I suppose it is another factor in my struggle lately.

And while I'm spilling all the beans here I might as well mention my bordering-on-OCD morbid thoughts.  I just suppress, suppress, suppress, but they're are so often there.  Almost constantly, really.

Apart from that, I'm fine!!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

G can read!

I can't believe it's been more than 2 months since I posted here.

Happy to report that Adriano is now pretty much fully recovered from his throat surgery.  His shoulder hurts now, but that's another story (old motorcycle accident injury).

We have a new kitchen.  I was the lucky one: I took the girls to stay at my parents' house for 2 weeks (was supposed to be one but there was a discovery of a rotten floor joist...etc) while poor Adriano had to go to work as usual and let the builders in every day, plus do trips to the rubbish dump in his spare moments.  All while living in the turned-upside down house.  But now it's done, and it looks good.  So nice to have a whole room finished, even if it is a small galley kitchen.  While we were away at my parents' house I tested some of my family's blood sugar levels with my monitor, and it turns out my dad has diabetes and has had it for a while.  My auntie says I'm his guardian angel.  I don't know about that (she has her tongue firmly in her cheek anyway) but it certainly was fortunate that it has now been picked up.  His blood tests back in January showed it but it was missed.

C's vocabulary is absolutely astounding at the age of only 26 months.  Her sentences and paragraphs go on and on and are usually grammatically correct.  She still has her adorable lisp, although sometimes I detect that it's changing to more of an 's' sound.  Since her birthday she has continued to be so much more sociable in all kinds of different situations and it is lovely to watch. She barely uses her pushchair now; most days I don't bother bringing it out at all.  For a few weeks I brought a sling out with me for her to nap in, and now I don't even bring that. We walk miles together, if at snail's pace.  She frequently walks 4 miles in a day and doesn't nap!  She does fall asleep in about one minute at bedtime, unsurprisingly.  Wish I could say the same about G.

G's news is that she can read!  I feel so excited for her that she is now getting some joy out of putting the sounds together.  This last week she has been choosing favourite storybooks from the shelf and reading many of the words for herself, rather than asking me to read them.  When she first put sounds together to make, say, 3-letter words, I would ask her if she was proud of herself and she would say 'No'.  Now when she manages most words on a page of Charlie and Lola (the proper books, not the books adapted from the TV shows), I squeal with happiness for her and she looks at me, unable to hide the slight surprise and pride in her eyes.  She's a complex character and I try all day to connect with her.  At the moment it's not easy to do that, as she often pushes against me.  I think it might be to do with the fact that I'm the main boundary-enforcer.  Unfortunately for her, although sometimes I feel I am the kind of parent I would like to be, at other times I don't manage it.  I imagine the up and down-ness of that must be hard for her.  I constantly try to be more constant (ha!).  Yesterday I made her a promise that I was going to try to stop shouting at her completely.  I said that although I would still tell her when I was feeling angry, and why, I would try really hard not to get my point across by shouting it.  Then I suggested that she might like to do that with me too.  She very sweetly said 'Oh mummy I would never shout at you!' which made me laugh as she has too much indignation in her for that to be the truth.  Oddly enough I found it easy to keep my promise today, hooray.  I wonder how long it will stay easy.  I really want to do it.  I don't like shouty me, or the consequences of shouty me.  I'm not shouty all the time, I promise, although it's more than I want.

I am feeling quite peaceful about living in our new town.  I feel as though I know lots of people to say hello to at toddler groups or around the High Street, and there are a few budding friendships which I am really grateful for.  It's helpful that it's easy for me to talk to new people, or to go with confidence into new social sitatuions.  I know that for some it's agony and that I'm lucky I'm not one of those people.  Even so, I'm proud that I've managed to make friends here after arriving in February not knowing a soul. 

And the worry about home educated children not being social enough seems totally laughable right now.  We barely have a free day in the diary for weeks!  

Saturday, 20 July 2013

2 years old

Yesterday our little C turned 2 years old.  She had a lovely day.  It's lucky that she was young enough to be pleased with simple celebrations because we had to scale back our plans considerably due to poor Adriano recovering from throat surgery.  To cut a long story short, on the morning of C's birthday he had only been out of the anaesthetic from a 2nd emergency op for 48 hours.  So even though he spent much of the day in bed, and couldn't eat the birthday tea, we were just grateful that he was OK, and with us at home.

First thing we ate breakfast with C sitting in a balloon-adorned chair.  Then at her request we went to our local playgroup, where she received a card and was sung to (she seemed happy about this; I was not at all sure she would be), and got to blow out 2 candles on a fake cake.  Well, by 'blow out' I mean she went "fffffff" enthusiastically near them...  She was gutted that she didn't then get some cake to eat.
We went home for lunch (pasta, her favourite), then Grandma and Grandad came round.
To Grandad's delight, she became particularly friendly and chatty with him, and this continued all afternoon.  Usually Grandma is the flavour of the day when she appears, and Grandad doesn't get a look-in.  If he gently speaks to her she hides behind me, or cries.  But it was different to usual, and delighted us all.
We ate a birthday tea of cheese sandwiches, raw veg strips, strawberries, blueberries, and then the cake.  The car cake.  This was the one she wanted when offered car, caterpillar, or Hello Kitty.  She was very sure, and she did indeed love it.  God I love her so much.

I was really impressed with G throughout the whole day.  Her recent renewed bout of separation anxiety is still going strong, and everything in her life appears to cause her huge emotions (even more than usual) right now.   Before C's birthday she showed a few signs that the jealousy of it not being *her* birthday might be a little hard for her to handle, but on the day she came through with such love and excitement for C.  It was heart-warming and I felt proud of her. 

As we all chatted over the course of the afternoon, my Mum brought up the subject of some serious sibling squabbles (read: violence) between her friend's grandchildren.  She asked my advice.  Pretty funny, given that I feel appalling remorse around 3 times a week from my own act of verbally 'losing it', usually with G, but I really really do try again and again (see, lots of repetition, I am earnest) to get back to being as close as possible to the parenting I want to do, the parent I want to be.  The conversation led to me making a list of my current favourite places for parenting support:

1) Janet Lansbury

2) Genevieve Simperingham - Peaceful Parenting

3) Facebook group : The Way Of The Peaceful Parent (also Genevieve S.)

4) book: Playful Parenting by L. Cohen

5) book: How To Talk So Kids Will Listen And Listen So Kids Will Talk 

So there you go.  I also like this one from a non-parenting perspective: When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron.  I have been dipping into it in times of extreme stress since about 2005 and it has never failed to provide the shift of perspective I needed.  Pema Chodron is a Buddhist nun.  Enough said? 

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Answering to the system already

Last night I emailed G's school to let them know we didn't need the place after all, due to arranging 'alternative education' for her.  An email pinged into my inbox this afternoon:

"In order to withdraw this place the Local
Authority will need to know what alternative provisions have
been made for her education, could you please reply to this
e-mail as soon as possible."

Um.  I wonder how persistent they would be if we had just not turned up?  Or if we leave this email unanswered?  But I can't do that, it's just not how I am.  So I replied a few hours later, stating that our plans were to home educate G.  Just for fun I pointed out that I am a qualified teacher and even included my DfE number.  In fact this would be mega-misleading as I am expecting to pretty much unschool G, aside from maybe some guided reading/writing/maths. 

And so it begins.

About Me

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* proud new mother * last child * youngest daughter * tallest sister * favourite auntie * honest lover * furtive photographer * diary writer * compulsive dancer * tree hugger * mooncup promoter * chocolate taster * house plant murderer *