Friday, 14 December 2012

5 weeks down: stapedectomy recovery

Well my hearing is slightly changed.  The distortion is slightly less.  I am singing a little bit again.  Playing the piano and listening to music is still a bit unpleasant to listen to.  High noises sound shrill and my ear(s) feels very sensitive.  Still get the underwater feeling when I lie down and at random other times.  Rotten cold meant that I accidentally popped my ears whilst blowing my nose about 7 times.  Whoops, was told not to.

This week has been a bit more draining than usual as C has had yet another cold and cough and had a high temperature for 3 days and nights.  Now G has it.  And Adriano has a very horrible (and very loud) cough.  And he had to work extra hard this week including a night staying over at his work. 

So to say I'm running on empty would be entirely accurate.  Many many disturbances each night, from both children but particularly poorly C.  Hardly any time to myself. 

One day this will get better, apparently!

I have gifts sorted for the girls and the tree is up but am in no way ready for Christmas in any other way whatsoever. 

Huff.  Puff.  Zzzzzzzz.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Day 26 stapedectomy recovery

Feel completely normal except for my hearing.  Trying to be patient but it's not changing at the moment.
When I lie on my op-ear it goes blocked/muffled although I can still hear low frequencies loud.  When I play from the bottom of the piano to the top it gets more distorted the higher I go.  Can't bear to hear whistling.  The actual decibel level is sometimes good, but it's not quality sound, and I feel distressed about that.  I suppose if I had been profoundly deaf before the op I wouldn't care so much.

I can't play the piano at the moment anyway because I have an RSI related thumb complaint (yawn) so I have to wear a contraption that immobilises my thumb, day and night, for 3 weeks.  It's bloody inconvenient when changing nappies, washing up, doing up buttons, doing up my bra, putting on shoes, picking things up such as drinks..etc etc.  I'm allowed to take it off to shower (but then I have to put the cotton wool and vaseline and cling film on my ear - argh!).

Bloody stupid.  Feel like a hypochondriac but I am not!

In other news we got the survey results back from the house we are (supposed to be) buying.  People had warned us, as first time buyers, not to sh!t ourselves too much when we saw it, but I certainly failed at that.  Was close to tears yesterday as we researched such f*ck ups as foam roof lining, what to do about it, and the costs. 

Two nights ago I slept through the night for 8 hours.  I haven't slept through the night since April, so this was pretty big news.  Last night sadly was completely back to normal: struggled to get to sleep, then woken by C at 12.45am, struggled to get back to sleep again, then woken again at 3am, 5am then awake for the day at 6am. G also woke a fair bit but Adriano saw to her, thank goodness.  Think I need some sleeping tablets but I am scared of the idea of them and also then I wouldn't be able to have C in my bed which sometimes is the only thing that works.   I am not leaving them to cry.  They share a room and it would just be ridiculous and completely opposite to what I would do if they were upset in the day.  When they are older I will say 'your sister's there with you, go to sleep' but for now there's a 1 year old who occasionally sleeps through but most often not, plus a 3 year old with a very vivid imagination.  People whose children sleep from 7pm to 7am have NO idea how lucky they are and those who have 'children who sleep plus children who don't sleep' realise that sometimes the only thing to do is to accept that your children are not good sleepers and get on with it. 

It was my birthday on Friday.  Adriano took us all to Wagamama's for lunch which was truly lovely.  Sadly we all have/had colds and felt like cr@p so we didn't do the early evening trip to the Enchanted Woodland with fairy lights etc.  So gutted we missed it as I keep bumping into my friends who went and said it was brilliant.  Next year we won't be here then. 

Can you tell I'm feeling a bit sad?

Good things are still alive and well in my life though.  I have a caring loving husband and two amazing funny bright loving girls who I will never ever stop being grateful for. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Day 20 stapedectomy recovery

Not much has changed except that I am now deafer.  I think it's probably because I have a sore throat and runny nose and cough. 

Thrillsville, as Snoopy would say.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Day 17 stapedectomy recovery

Nothing has changed since my last post. 

No dizziness.  Energy levels normal.  Hearing a bit crap: feels lopsided and I miss some bits of people's conversation still, and it feels like there is blockage in my ear like when you have water in it.  Sometimes I think the distortion on high frequencies is slightly better and sometimes not. 

Hard to be patient.  Definitely don't want it to stay like this. 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Day 14 stapedectomy recovery

Yesterday was pretty horrible, I think largely because I only had about 3 hours sleep the night before (thanks, daughter no.2).  I woke up feeling as though I had been kicked in my ear, as though it was bruised, and the pain spread all the way down my neck across my collar bone and my shoulder.  That lasted all day: poor me, etc

Today has been much better so far; no aches and pain except the odd twinge.

Hearing-wise I think that some of the lower frequencies are pretty loud, and the high ones remain shrill and distorted.  Middle, I'm not sure, it's muffled, I think I'm missing just as much as before, if not more.  Holding out for lots of change for the better in the coming weeks/months.  Still feel lopsided.

I won't be able to update that much from now on because Adriano is going back to work tomorrow (booooo), so I'll not be able to have uninterrupted blogging time.  He's been great at letting me escape upstairs just when I need it.  I'll miss him loads, it feels like he's been off work forever. 

My big toes still hurt!  No clue what that's about!  Ridiculous!

In other news, G and C are doing great, and the house move is chugging along.  In fact the survey is being done today, so fingers crossed...

Monday, 19 November 2012

Day 12 stapedectomy recovery

Having the packing removed was great.  It didn't hurt at all, and was one of the oddest sensations I've ever felt.  It just kept coming and coming.  Had to have cotton wool in my ear for the rest of the day in case the disturbance meant that blood or other stuff dribbled out, but it barely did.  Immediately I could hear more, although it is still poor quality: a bit tinny and distorted.  Still, after days of it all being plugged it's a relief. 

The consultant said it will take 6-8 weeks for it to 'settle'.  I have read much longer than that so it'll be interesting (boring? frustrating?) to see how long it actually takes. 

Things I am now allowed to do: 
carefully lift up my 1 year old who weighs about 25lbs
sleep on the operated-on side

Things I am still not allowed to do: 
get the ear wet (cotton wool/Vaseline/cling film are still my friends)
exercise or do anything strenuous (" no clearing out the attic")
'pop' my ears

I don't think my hearing range and decibel level is quite as good as before the op yet.  I'm not sure.  I feel as if I can perhaps hear bass sounds better than before.  It's so hard to tell. 

Still experiencing gurgles and pops. 

I have an appointment on Xmas Eve to see how it's all going. 

Fingers crossed. 

The consultant also said he had meant to see me when I came round from the op but I was discharged so quickly that he didn't manage it.  And that he scheduled the op for first thing in the morning so that he could do it before his morning coffee which tends to make his hands shake...

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Day 11 stapedectomy recovery

I'm at that difficult stage where I can almost do everything normally, energy-wise, but then I get grumpy and tired and need to rest.  Not sure how different this is from my normal sleep-deprived state from the point of view of my long-suffering husband, but it's true I do have a bit of ear twingeing and popping right now and have been ordered upstairs to rest.  Thanks Adriano xxxx

Couldn't sleep last night, in part due to a bit of anxiety about getting the packing out tomorrow.  Since my initial panic that as I couldn't hear a thing I had obviously lost my hearing permanently, I calmed down a bit and was rewarded for my patience with at least some hearing, if bad quality.  I had stayed away from Doctor Google for about a week, but foolishly last night went back to some internet searching and got a bit worried all over again that I should have left my hearing alone and not opted for this surgery, or at least waited until my hearing was a lot worse before risking it.

Also for the last couple of days I have had an unpleasant taste in my mouth a lot of the time.  To begin with it was just lack of taste in the back right quarter of my tongue but now it's the yucky taste as well. 

I'll be on a bus to the hospital tomorrow morning with plenty of anxiety and trepidation.  Wish me luck. 

Want to add that there are times when I have all of this totally in perspective and know that whatever happens I am still extrememly fortunate to be as healthy as I am.  Vaguely related to this sentence is the admission that I have an addiction to chocolate that I beat myself up about, but I just read this so feeling less bad about that right now, tee hee.

People keep telling me I look exhausted.  I'm sure I always do, they're just looking at me harder because they know about the surgery recovery. 

Roll on tomorrow.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Day 9 stapedectomy recovery

Woke up with a stinking headache.  The heartbeat noise has gone.  I can definitely hear something from the operated-on ear now, although it's pretty distorted, especially when high-ish pitched.  For example if I whistle it's unbearable because I can hear an out-of-tune 'double tone' in that ear on top of the normal sound.  So shrill voices are no fun either; a bit tricky with an exuberant 3 year old.  I really really hope this irons itself out because otherwise I am going to have to change my career (music teacher).  I play piano and sing and it affects my mood for the worse if I don't get to do it for a while.  Not to mention listening to music.  I am worried. 

3 days until the packing is removed.  Am going to write a list of questions to ask the consultant, such as:

When can I safely lift my children again?
When can I swim again?
When can I expect the full result of the operation?  (Am guessing maybe 6 months?)
When is it OK for me to pinch my nose and breathe out to unblock my ears? (Some hard of hearing readers might know what I mean)

The main reason I am documenting this recovery in such detail is because I hope it is helpful to someone in the future who may be going through something similar.  Thank god for the internet.

Apart from a bizarre moment when I fell asleep sitting up today (I *never* do that!) my energy levels are improving and so is the dizziness.  Not totally better yet but definitely getting there.  Just short rests in bed now and then, and that's mostly just to give my ears and body a rest from my lovely energetic children.  Adriano is doing a fab job of looking after us all.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Day 8 stapedectomy recovery

Had lots of twinges yesterday.  But no painkillers needed. 

Feel a bit better in myself today, although still the need to be generally restful what with 2 little kidlets around.

Was doing 'This little piggy' with C earlier and when it got to the bit that goes 'Weeweewee all the way home' and my voice went high-pitched, I experienced a weird moment where I could sort of hear my voice inside my operated-on ear in duplicate.  Really odd.  Maybe this is what others have described as a 'double tone'?

And for most of today there's been lots of popping inside my ear, and my heartbeat really loud and constant too.  Reassuring - I'm alive! But a little annoying to hear over.  Detracts from my usual tinnitus though. 

Had my first shower since the op.  I put vaseline over the cotton wool in my outer ear, and put cling film over the top of my ear so that I could wash my hair.  The cling film was wet afterwards in spite of my best efforts but I am 99% sure that no water went into my ear, so all good there.  Soooo good to have clean hair again.  It even inspired me to put my jeans on today instead of lope about in pyjamas.  So getting there, if slowly.

4 days until the packing comes out...

The job/moving decision has been made once and for all: we chose not to be sidetracked with 'the right job in the wrong place' and are carrying on as before with the recent house purchase stuff in Kent.  It was a really tricky one for Adriano and me but I believe we've made the right decision.  I'm glad that episode is over, it was horrible.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Day 6 stapedectomy recovery

I'm doing a bit more now, washing up, playing with the girls, changing nappies, making drinks, making toast.  Just feel tired to the point of mild nausea afterwards.  Or maybe it's the slight dizziness hanging around that is causing the nausea.

If I gently rub the cotton wool in my outer ear I can just about hear the noise.  I *think* this is progress, although really the difference is soooo tiny that I maybe shouldn't even bother mentioning it.  It is still the case that if I'm lying on my good ear I can't hear a blooming thing.  At all.

I managed with no painkillers at all yesterday and today.  Definitely felt some twinges and some general earache but nothing major.

In other news for about the last 10 days my big toes have been hurting.  Wtf?!  Surely not related :D  Now what's wrong with me?!  No more silly ailments please, I'm starting to feel like a hypochondriac...

Can't be bothered to explain the full story here but some eleventh hour moving/job stuff has been going on this week.  It looks like it'll soon all be settled one way or another.  It's amazing how stressy decisions can be sometimes.  Luckily it's the kind of stress that's making Adriano and I close rather than pushing us apart.  Phew.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Day 5 stapedectomy recovery

Having compared experiences with others on the internet, I'm now worried that I'm in the unlucky 1% of those who have lost their hearing entirely from the operation.  This is because ever since I came out of the op I have heard absolutely nothing whatsoever from my right (operated-on) ear.  Most people seem to say that they heard really well at first, in spite of the packing muffling the sounds, and that any hearing loss after that was post-op swelling which eventually returned.

I'll have the packing out in 7 days and will see what the consultant has to say about it.  I was under the impression that after the 2 weeks or rest /off childcare duties, my hearing would be great and I would be able to resume lifting etc.  Now I'm not so sure and it's bloody inconvenient not to mention worrying and potentially devastating.  Hopefully I'm just being a pessimist and somehow it'll all come good in the next week or so...

Still feeling fatigue and vague dizziness.  Nothing too dreadful but am scared to push past it in case I jog the position of the artificial stapes bone out of place.

Right now I wish I'd never had it done.  I suspect this feeling is pretty common at this stage in the recovery.  Really hope my fears are unfounded. 

Adriano has an interview today, a long way away, which may change all our moving plans for the zillionth time.  I just don't know what to think about it.  My sister is coming to help me while he's out of the house.  I'm looking forward so much to seeing her.  

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Day 4 stapedectomy recovery

I've done quite a lot more today, including hanging out with the kids more, washing up, eating downstairs with everyone else, and a short walk to the shops at the end of our road.  It exhausted me though.  My achey neck and shoulders from yesterday have improved, everything else has stayed the same I would say.  Longing to get this packing out of my ear.  Still cannot hear very much at all and feel in a lopsided bubble.  On about 2 doses of painkillers per day now, which is quite a reduction.  When I try to go without I end up changing my mind, but I don't feel that the pain is dominant.  Ironically the deafness is probably the worst thing.  And the fatigue and feeling of having to protect myself all the time. 

Adriano is being fantastic with the girls.  He has a bad back and interview prep for tomorrow (don't get me started on that) so I wish I could help more.  Convalescing is not fun and I'm looking forward to some improvement soon. 

Saturday, 10 November 2012


I was diagnosed with otosclerosis some years ago.  In April I had a CT scan to check out the diagnosis once and for all.  Last month I finally saw the consultant whose care I've been under for around a decade of hearing tests at the ENT clinic.  He said I was an excellent candidate for a stapedectomy, which means that my faulty stapes bone that wasn't allowing my hearing to reach its capacity would be replaced by an artificial one.  Adriano's reaction: "Wow, a cyborg wife!"

I was put on the waiting list and expected to hear a date in a few months.  But only about 10 days ago I got a call saying would I like to come in for the operation on Thursday 8th November.  My main problem was that after the op you are not allowed to lift for at least 2 weeks.  I lift C all the time: in and out of the pushchair, into her highchair, cot, bath, etc.  She weighs about 25lbs now.  Occasionally I still lift G too, who is around 2st 9lbs.  Miraculously Adriano's work said he could take the time off to look after me and the girls.

My hearing loss from otosclerosis has gone from 'mild' to 'moderate' over the last decade.  I have it in both ears; my right ear slightly worse.  Before I saw the consultant recently, it had been suggested by other ENT professionals that I try a) putting up with it for now, b) trying hearing aids and c) considering the stapedectomy surgery.  In other words, they all completely disagreed on what my best course of action should be.  I did some research on the surgery a while back and decided that I was probably too scared of the risks to go through with it, and besides how on earth would I look after the kids during the recovery...I would wait until my hearing was REALLY bad before going for it.  The risks include some facial paralysis, increased tinnitus, permanent dizziness, and ironically reduction or complete loss of hearing in the operated-on ear.  However when I saw the consultant a couple of weeks ago, he was so simultaneously calming and enthusiastic about the idea of operating to improve my hearing that I got swept along with it and agreed.

So on Thursday, in spite of niggling doubts, I left Adriano and the girls tucked up in bed, and caught the bus to the hospital in the dark at 6am, starving hungry because of my empty stomach ready for the anaesthetic.

I have never had a general anaesthetic before so I was a bit nervous about it, but far more nervous about the risks of the operation.  Would the surgery be worth it?  I was really pleased that the consultant popped in to say hi and glance over my notes again as he went through the ward on the way to the operating theatre.

The doctor who went over the risks with me had such a quiet voice, and I had to ask her to repeat herself at times.  I find it very strange that some people are not aware of speaking up when they know that the reason you're there at all is because you can't hear much.  So frustrating, and on a good day I see the black comedy in it too.  But it wears pretty thin after all these years.

I haven't slept well for a long time so a part of me was almost looking forward to being knocked out...
The only bit I really didn't like was when the oxygen mask was put on my face, because it seemed a bit small and I felt claustrophobic. Before I could stop myself I had shoved it off, saying 'It's horrible!'.  But they said I didn't have to have it, and just held it near my face instead.  Everyone was very kind.

Then I woke up and it was over.  I know I had been dreaming, but it was just like normal sleep where you can't remember exactly what the dreams were when you try to put them into words.   I gradually became more awake.  I was relieved to find that my facial muscles were all fine, and I didn't feel nauseous.  After about 5 or 10 minutes my hunger kicked in again.  I didn't move much because I sensed that I was pretty dizzy, but other than that I felt OK.

I was wheeled back to the ward, and my blood pressure was rather low so I was given 4 glasses of water to drink.  At last I got some food, it was pretty gross hospital sandwiches but I wolfed them down.  I noticed that my taste sensation at the back of my tongue on the surgery side was altered, as though I had burnt my tongue but without the pain.  The rest of my mouth could taste everything though so it wasn't too bad.

After a while my blood pressure was much improved and I was able to slowly shuffle to the toilet.  I couldn't hear a thing from my right ear because of the packing inside.

A couple of hours later Adriano and the girls came to collect me and took me home.  I went straight to bed and took some painkillers which by now were needed.  They worked just fine.  I rested as best I could for the rest of the day (bit tricky when the girls woke in the night but that's another story).  Felt a bit teary in the evening but it's been a big day and we have a lot of other stuff going on right now so not surprising.

Still on painkillers but the pain has definitely lessened overall.  Still a bit dizzy but nothing too scary.  Feeling very lopsided as of course I can only hear from my left ear, and the hearing in that is not great.  As a result I feel in a bit of a bubble.  It's not nice when I talk as it's louder inside my head which is disorientating.  Don't know which direction sounds are coming from.  Have been told not to lie on my right side and am missing it as that was my preferred side.  Am reading lots.  Loving seeing and cuddling the girls but finding it very wearying when I'm being crawled on, especially as I'm not supposed to lift/push their weight in any way.  Adriano being very lovely and supplying me with food and drink.  Managed a short bath which was great. Changed the cotton wool in my outer ear - dried blood and iodine on it.  By the evening my mild tinnitus (which I had before surgery too) has increased a bit and has me worried.  Think I am probably very tired still so went to bed early. 

Tinnitus still pretty loud and it's not nice.  Dizziness not too bad, it comes and goes, and reminds me to take it easy.  Feel a bit delicate.  Adriano has taken the girls to his dad's birthday meal so all is quiet in the house.  I manage to make myself some lunch and even walk to the shop for a paper although I feel very vulnerable because I look perfectly normal but can't hear anything anyone says to me.  Glad of the fresh air but also glad to get home and go back to bed.  On my 4th book now.  So far have read Lucy Dillon 'The Secret of Happy Ever After', finished Sarah Waters 'The Night Watch' which I had been in the middle of, and whizzed through Barbara Trapido 'The Travelling Hornplayer' which I haven't read for years and is brilliant.  About to start Christopher Ross 'Tunnel Visions'.
Feel so horrible not being able to hear, am hoping it's just due to the post-op swelling and the packing.  At the moment feel as if I would settle for just having my old hearing back.  Have no idea if the op went as planned, as I wasn't able to see the consultant after the op.  Have to wait until the 19th - 9 days from today - to have packing removed.
Bloody ears.  Why couldn't they have just worked properly in the first place?  Hair now could do with a wash but am not going to do it just yet.  Might in a few days with vaseline/clingfilm in place...

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Getting there

Thankfully (I think), we are back on track with 'the' house in Kent.  Mortgage delays blah blah blah but we are getting there.  We've been making lists of what to sell/buy/move/do and that's been keeping us busy.  So lovely not to pile the kids in the car and drive loads then see 4 or 5 houses and repeat every weekend. 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Panic attacks

Well we finally agreed another price with the vendor...I think. 

Only now Adriano has found a job in another county entirely which he would like to go for.  I am fully supportive of him wanting to a) work where we live (or live where he works); b) change jobs as he has been feeling the need for sometime now, and as he is THE breadwinner at the moment I think he should be free to do that.  

But.  I have been researching the New Area and I am getting panic attack after panic attack.  At first I was really up for it.  Amazingly so, given what a merry dance it has been this past couple of years.  However, although with this new job idea we would have more money, Adriano would also be working 5 days instead of 4 long days, with some travel included, in a job with more responsiblity, having to prove himself as you do at first.  The job is for 3 years and *may* be extended.  Then I looked seriously at the house prices.  Yes there are some we can afford.  But they are not that nice.  So I looked further into what the town is like to live in.  The results were not encouraging.  So I looked further afield to villages/small towns nearby (ish) which came recommended from forum discussions such as mumsnet.  Lovely, but totally out of our price range if we want to stop having every single penny accounted for.  And also pretty much in the middle of nowhere for me who is used to living in or near a city all my life so far...and I don't drive (that's a whole other post).  Literally every time I try a new tack it does not go well and I get a fresh round of full-on heart palpitations.  I am trying so hard to be a supportive wife, for many reasons,  most of them obvious.  But this is horrible.  Do I go with the flow?  Maybe he won't get the job.  But he seems to really want it, so I want that for him, I really do. 


I can't talk to him about this because over an hour ago I called him and he said he was in a meeting and would call me back in 15mins.  Being off part of the week with illness he probaby has an insane amount to catch up on and didn't feel great this morning anyway.  So I don't want to talk to him and be the moaning wife at the end of his hard day. 


I have been on my own all day with 2 small children and it is sometimes hard to keep things in perspective. 

My wrist still hurts but seems slightly improved so that's something.

C perked up a bit today thank goodness. 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Well we did attend my cousin's rather fabulous civil partnership on Saturday and all enjoyed that...until G started being sick...and continued for 12 hours...then C started being sick...and she is still not quite right.  Adriano and I have had a touch of it too but poor old C ended up in hospital by Sunday night.  Happily though, we all seem to be on the mend at last. 

This is us at the wedding on Saturday:  I swear C had two legs that day, but the picture says otherwise.  Love her scowl and G's cute smile.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

It didn't go to plan.

The vendor withdrew his offer about 48 hours after agreeing it, because he wants (at least?) £5K more. 

I think I heard the sound of both of our hearts sinking.  We were so enjoying having finally reached the next stage. 

Really it is hard, especially on lack of sleep (I have slept through the night twice this year so far) and constant discomfort (tenosynovitis).

Am fed up. 

Telling myself that things could be so much worse, because of course they could, but still am a bit down I must admit.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Rambling chicken-counting when I should be in bed asleep

We finally had an offer accepted on a house yesterday.  If all goes to plan we will be moving about 45 miles east, where we know no one but where we can actually afford a mortgage.  The price of the house was almost exactly a third of the one opposite our current home.  And that's why we're moving. 

Since having children I have made so many friends round here.  It's going to be really difficult to leave them behind, particularly a couple of them.  Ironically the hardest friend to leave will actually be my most recently forged friendship, a mum of one of G's preschool buddies from last year, someone who I know I could have been friends with without the common ground of children.  It's terrifying to leave all of those connections behind in one fell swoop: they are what gets me through each day.

I am also starting to feel massive relief though.  Adriano and I have been through so much heartache in order to find a place we can afford and compromises we feel we can make.  There have been many disagreements in our outlook, particularly in the last 6 months or so.  Thank god we both agree that for now we don't want to leave our still very young children in the care of others while we both go to work 5 days a week.  But that means finding a way of existing on one income.  Every day, no matter how hard it is, I feel gratitude that I am 'allowed' to be the Mum to my children.  Because I *am* their mum.  No-one else is.  I would like us to be able to share the care more, so that Adriano gets the time at home he wants, and I can do other money-earning stuff during that time.  Maybe we can work towards that; it's a tricky balance to find.  Being a full-time mum means that our roles often feel too polarised but I think that, very generally speaking, kids need their mum.  Now I'm rambling.  Too tired to edit.  Good night.

Thursday, 30 August 2012


I love the TV and I hate the TV.  I want to get rid of it and I want to keep it.  I hate the way it sucks me in and I love the way it enthralls me.

I want to support independent bookshops but my local one has closed down and I buy mine from amazon.

I use the library for the kids' books but never order the ones I want from there.

I use small one-of-a-kind cafes but I also like (whisper it) McDonalds breakfast when I've had a sleep-deprived night.  And Pizza Express.  And Carluccio's.  And Starb... oh dear.

I want the latest everything to own/wear/use and I want to get rid of almost everything I own and make my own clothes.

I want to co-sleep with my kids and I want to sleep alone AND I want to sleep just with my husband.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Putting me in my place

Me (snapping at G after listening to a *lot* of whining):  Look, you're not having another snack while dinner's cooking so you can either moan moan moan while you wait, or play play play, which is it going to be?
G:  How about go in the garden go in the garden go in the garden?

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

I was right.

C's spots have now been with us for 5 days.  Poor little thing is covered in them.  Praying, as only an atheist can, that there's little or no scarring on my beautiful girls.  G has a few crater type ones on her face which I hope will get smaller with time...reading on t'internet is not terribly encouraging.  But really G is looking amazingly better this week compared to last.

Both girls hopelessly addicted to the screen as we've been indoors for 2 of the last 3 weeks.  G is only answering to 'Mickey Mouse' for the third day running, and even matter-of-factly said to me 'Thanks, Donald' when passing me her empty glass earlier today.

We have done a zillion other things besides watch TV but there's a LOT of hours to fill in a whole week indoors.  To name but a few things, we baked cheesy muffins and lemon biscuits; we chalked in the garden; we did an awful lot of colouring and making cards for friends; we played imaginary games of many varieties; we painted our toenails (me and G, that is); we danced to music; we played piano; we made paper dolls; we did sticker books; we blew bubbles in the garden...etc, and that was just the first day, haha.

Anyway not to sound ungrateful for my progeny but thank funk we only have two children, so hopefully this is chickenpox over for us in the next couple of days.  Although a friend with a toddler has told me her little boy has had them twice already.

And quite frankly I know another friend, whose little boy is fighting leukemia, who would so wish that his illness was merely chickenpox. 

Our househunting is nearing desperation levels and I simply will not say more!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Nothing to do with chickens, apparently

Sitting here with my frightfully-covered-in-chickenpox-spots 3 year old daughter G.  She leans her head against me every now and then, as she watches Charlie and Lola.  There's not so much snuggling from her these days, now she's more independent, so the closeness is noticed and valued. 

1 year old C is asleep.  Probably working her way up to her very own spots appearing in a short while. 

Sunday, 8 April 2012


I BELIEVE in celebrating all the cycles of nature with traditions/flags/flowers/gifts/dancing/parties/music

I BELIEVE that children's feelings should be respected 

I BELIEVE that love is always the answer

I BELIEVE that life is always challenging and that it helps to practise gratitude

I BELIEVE that when we die the essence of each of us drifts somehow rather than ceases to exist altogether

I BELIEVE that it's OK for kids to be unschooled

I BELIEVE that trees can 'feel' it in some way when they are hugged

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Easter thoughts

Recently I went through my blog posts and took a lot of them down.  Wondering if I might go a bit more 'public' with this blog, I thought I had better hide the posts which were less private that I would want now I'm more internet-savvy.  The easiest way for me to do that was to mark out all posts before a certain date, so some perfectly OK posts were hidden too but life's too short to go through them all one by one.

Anyway here's an Easter post written in 2004, still pretty much how I feel, though I think my style is a little less twee these days and a bit more self-conscious maybe:

Let the trees be consulted
before you take any action
every time you breathe in
thank a tree
let treeroots crack parking lots
at the world bank headquarters
let loggers be druids
specially trained and rewarded
to sacrifice trees at auspicious times
let carpenters be master artisans
let lumber be treasured like gold
let chainsaws be played like saxophones
let soldiers on maneuvers plant trees
give police and criminals
a shovel and a thousand seedlings
let businessmen carry pocketfuls of acorns
let newlyweds honeymoon in the woods
walk don't drive
stop reading newspapers
stop writing poetry
squat under a tree
and tell stories

- John Wright, from Earth Prayers From Around The World

Today is Easter Sunday. I used to like going to the Easter Vigil service at our local church, because I loved the fire outside the church at the start of the ceremony, and the way we lit our candles from the new Easter Candle, and then processed into the dark church. The symbolism was not lost on me, and I did feel stirred when the priest talked of 'Alpha and Omega'. I was much happier with these symbols than with all the stuff about the crucifixion and the people involved in that.
These days I don't really want to go to church services. 'Jesus stuff' makes me uneasy (and bored), because there's often such a lot of dross that comes with it. I'm moved by the passing of the seasons and the cycles of the earth; by contemplating dark and light, hope and love and how to cope with the world as it is.
I know Christians who are unloving and judgemental, Christians who are evangelical to the point of tiresomeness, and Christians who are giving and generous and empathetic.
I am suspicious of any religion which insists that it is the best way to God (and what does that mean anyway?) Once I went on a Buddhist meditation course, and at no time was it suggested that we become Buddhist, or even that we try to see things from a Buddhist perspective. It was even said that becoming Buddhist wasn't necessarily of more value than expressing your spiritual faith through the one you were brought up with - in my case Catholicism.

When someone I know dies, it reminds me that I really haven't got a clue what happens when we die. Although I had a relatively positive experience of being Catholic as a child, it was drummed into me that there's a heaven and a hell, and God wants you to be good, and if you sin, you're in trouble with him. Ugh ugh ugh. Why did I even care? Now I can't bring myself to think of God as him, OR her, and I don't trust a word anyone says about any of it. Even nature seems messed up to me. Yes rainbows and sunrises are lovely, but what about when the fox chomps on the ducks as a midnight snack? I need a new point of reference. What drives us to promote love, and life, rather than fear, and death?

I suppose you could say that I have lost my faith.
It bugs me, but what can you do? I'm too smart/jaded to accept someone else's views fully formed, and too unfocused to articulate my own. All I'm left with is what just rings true for me, and I wonder how convinced of even those things I'd be if I knew I was about to die.

Even near-death experiences can be explained in terms of biology, though I don't believe that means that's all there is to them.
But what if I'm wrong? When I'm down, I rely heavily on Love, as a thread which runs through everything, and something which is going to save us in the end. What if I'm wrong? What if I'm wrong?
It's perfectly clear to me that one of the few things I can be sure of is that there is more to life (as I know it) than I will ever understand as long as I'm in this space-time continuum. It's both awful and comforting to know that.

But hey. In the short-term, I have plenty of chocolate, so I'll be alright. Love, life, and chocolate! Woohoo! (There's the obligatory light-hearted remark, just to reassure you that I don't think about this stuff all the time. .......Weeellll, only if the day has a 'y' in it.)

Listening to: Mozart Clarinet Concerto; Cubanismo in New Orleans, featuring John Boutte & The Yockamo All-Stars - Marie Laveaux

Monday, 26 March 2012

Better day

A better day today.  It still involved a whole variety of toddler emotions and baby needs, but most were handled with some grace and calm by myself.  Hooray.

Pic is of C at a party yesterday.

Saturday, 24 March 2012


Having a bad day today.
Nights (and weeks/months/years) of disturbed sleep and not enough sleep are getting to me.  Despair at how I am still feeding C back to sleep about half the time and how she is still waking numerous times almost every night.
Struggling with guilt that I am falling apart a bit as Adriano also needs some time off as he is exhausted and has a bad cold.  Grateful that right now he is putting me first even so.
Feeling very tearful and self-doubting.  Lack of sleep is a powerful thing.

On the bright side it is beautiful weather and C is now crawling forwards.

We had a great holiday last week which I might post more about soon.

Pic of G on the way to a party this afternoon.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Mothering Sunday

This Sunday I will be thinking especially about women who want children and are not able to have them. It's a hard hard day for some. I sometimes feel guilty for crossing over from one 'camp' to the other and believe me when I say there's not a day goes by that I don't feel intense gratitude that I was able to become a mother. I don't believe that having a family is the only way to truly experience life but I do know that it's horrible to feel that you don't have that choice available to you.

I want to include men who would like to be fathers too.  I just thought of women first because of Mothers' Day. 

Thursday, 15 March 2012


It took a long time to warm up today but it sure was sunny.  Maybe I have a touch of SAD because sunny days usually perk me right up and I find myself full of gratitude.

C learnt to clap today which was delightful.  She beams so widely as she demonstrates it, clearly as proud as punch. 

G had another little friend round to play today.  Lessons in sharing were consolidated...somewhat...

Hoping for a better night than last night, and a later morning than this morning's 5am start.  Thank god for Adriano who gave me an extra hour even though he was knackered too.  It made the difference to my state of mind today for sure (along with the sunshine).

G has recently got really into a new CBeebies show: Tree Fu Tom.  I love that she's into it even though it seems to be aimed at slightly older boys. I love seeing her try to copy the actions.  I love seeing her grin when I make any reference to the show.  I love watching her face as she views it.  She's in love, basically.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


Since I first moved to London from Brighton 11 or so years ago (cripes) I only really made friends through work for a long time.  I found a really good friend in my Aussie mate K through work, then later became closer to L from work too.  The rest were utterly lovely but destined to remain firmly in the pigeonhole of work colleagues. 
Then 8 years later I became a mum.  I was lucky enough to bond well with my NCT group (and fortunate to be able to afford it in the first place), and our group of 5 still meet as regularly as we can - but with 10 children between us this is getting less and less often as the new chaos of Life gets in the way.
But recently I have made perhaps the first true friend in all those years, C.  She is a mum at G's preschool and our friendship developed organically over a few months.  All of a sudden we are (I feel) really close and I could say anything to her.  I have made absolutely LOADS of acquaintances through being a friendly type carting a child or two around the place daily in the last 3 years.  Locally I can go to the library and see maybe five families I know.  It's lovely.  But C is that rare thing, a person who I would definitely have gelled with whether we had children or not. 
I feel so lucky and so boosted. 

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Shuffling bunny-stealer alert

Still no chicken pox spots.  Holding my breath and praying (as only an atheist can) that we'll be spot-free until the end of our holiday next week.

Hilarious moment near bedtime tonight.  You had to be there but I'm putting it here to jog my memory in the future.  G was just dry from the bath and started to put on her pull-up but got distracted when it was only as far as her ankles. She decided to steal Plush Bunny from C's cot and run off to her own bedroom - except she could only shuffle because of the pull-up round her ankles.  She didn't think I had seen her so when I called her name she jumped about a foot in the air and screamed with delighted terror and shuffled even faster.  So bloody funny, I couldn't stop laughing. 

Monday, 12 March 2012


My absolutely wonderful AuntieG came to visit me (and G and C) today.  I always feel boosted by her company.  We can say absolutely anything to each other.  She will challenge me and I will never mind.  She almost always brings food (often homemade) and showers me with compliments which always feel totally genuine.

Everyone should have an AuntieG in their life. 

Oh cr@p C has woken up.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Westfield, Shepherd's Bush

I visited Westfield today to meet up with some friends. 
It was total bliss being without the girls, although I missed them dreadfully.
A much-needed catch up with two old school friends was had over brunch, and included such topics as speech therapy, nannies, childminders, schools, church, Jesus, God, eggs, gravadlax and how to pronounce it, weaning, hernias, tummies, jobs, and kitchens.
After I left them I wandered around the maze of shops.  It was totally overwhelming and an hour in I fled.  Too many shops, rich people, kids crying, overpriced everything. 
Beautiful blue sky today though, and I sat on top of the bus on the way home just because I didn't have a pushchair with me.
When I got home I hugged and squeezed my two little girls and didn't feel nearly as tired as I should on 5 fitful hours sleep (again).
Feeling it now though.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Nits and chicken pox and toilet training

Tonight I checked G's hair in the bath (stealthily; she won't let me near it if she thinks a hairwash is approaching) and decided it was nit-free. Baby C and Adriano both have much shorter hair so not worried about them.
So why is my head sooooo itchy now?  Looking in the mirror I don't think there's any eggs or creepy crawlies in my hair, but just thinking about the possibility has me a-scratching.

Chicken pox is going round G's preschool.  Well, that's what my melodramatic brain has concluded.  Obviously, G will catch it just in time to ruin our longed-for holiday to...Butlin's.... in a couple of weeks.  Actually only one boy has had it and he's back now so maybe we've escaped.  I really hope so.  I don't mind the girls catching it but don't want it to coincide with our holiday, that's just cruel when we need it so much.

Toilet training G is going very well.  We've been at it on and off since the New Year and I really stepped up the pace about two weeks ago (the week of her birthday - bowed to pressure and didn't want her to be in nappies for her 3rd birthday).   For a while we had weeing in the toilet but blind panic and insistence on a pull-up when pootime™ came along.  Then G had the idea herself of sitting on the potty (which I had tried to sidestep but never mind) for pooing.  So that is pretty much how it is now which is fine when we're at home but I'll be blowed if I'm going to carry a potty out with us everywhere we go, just in case, as well as all the other cr@p we 'need' to bring.  So outings had me a little nervous for a while.
But last weekend we all walked to Twickenham in the pouring rain and ended up in a very lovely but verrrry quiet independent bookshop.  It has a great little children's section and a cafe too.  No music.  It made you want to whisper as if transported to an old-school library.

You know those kids' books with buttons to press at appropriate points in the story, which always make quite LOUD noises and annoy the parents after the first couple of readings?  Well imagine one of those in this situation with 10 buttons.  All of them varying types of farts.  Yup, farts.

G found this book and delighted in it.  First Daddy had to read it a couple of times.  Then Mummy volunteered to take over, thinking in her wisdom that she could distract G part way through.  WRONG!
But then a bizarre thing happened.
I decided G should visit the cafe toilet as we were about to leave, and she dutifully and happily did a wee.  Then the holy grail of our personal toilet training goals, a poo in the toilet!  With no fuss!
It is really quite strange how happy and elated I found myself feeling. And then of course I wondered wryly if the book had inspired her. 

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Birthday in da house

Our beautiful oldest girl turned 3 years old yesterday.  Ohhhhhh how I love her.  We had two of her friends round for a Teddy Bears' Picnic on Friday, then on the actual day we had lunch with her beloved cousin T and family, and today my family will be visiting. 

This year her vocabulary became even more amazing.  Her sense of humour developed even more.  She weathered starting preschool 2 mornings a week, and becoming a big sister.  She grew so tall!  She knows just how to exasperate me, and how to comfort me, and how to make me smile and laugh.  She is my girl. 

Monday, 20 February 2012

Sticking my neck out, with passion, if not eloquence

I would have gone back to work tomorrow, had I not resigned.

I would not have resigned if a) my job had not been changed, and b) we were not moving area (still don't know where)


I feel rage boiling inside me that it is not possible for me, as the mother of my children, to put ALL of the energy I would put into an earning-a-living job into being there for them.  Being a mother all the time is incredibly challenging: I shout, I grumble, I put the TV on too much, I sigh and tut.  But I also hug, console, organise, clean, create, cook, praise, invent, advise, share, a million other things...including love those two girls with every fibre of my fiercely protective heart.  I am their mother, a fact I am still in awe of. 

I want to be there for them at any point of the day (OK, and night if I must, haha) that they feel the need.  I don't want them to have to wonder for even an instant 'What day is it, will Mummy be there?', I want them to have the assurance that my only role is to be there for them, just like I had with my Mum. 

F***ing stupid government/economy/blah which seeks only to reward the parents who hand over the care of their children to paid strangers, and gives F**K ALL to those parents who, surprise surprise, want to share the care of their own children.  Or who are lucky enough to have willing and able grandparents to look after the children while they work. 

There is fury inside me, I'm telling you. 

Monday, 30 January 2012

Still here!  I desperately don't want to 'lose' this blog, but Facebook entries via my mobile are about all I can usually manage at the moment. 

However, one day my children will both sleep through the night, I will cease to suffer from insomnia, we will have moved house, I will be settled in a new job, I will be able to drive, and all will be well, right?

Stress levels are high around here but although I am beyond exhausted, I am trying and sometimes managing to savour the moments where I think my heart will burst because I love my family so much.  I feel so lucky (and tired.  So tired.) I really do.

About Me

My photo
* 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 *

Blog Archive