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.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Home Education: the very beginning

So, we're doing it.  We're going to home educate G, at least to begin with.  I'm thrilled to say that Adriano and I and G are now all in agreement.  I'm so happy, excited, and a little scared.  I've started to tell people.  Also I've noticed more and more how we are both already home educating.  Not lecturing and boring her (I hope) but more drawing her attention to the things that interest us and excite us, and listening to what interests and excites her.  Adriano and I are still having tough times together but/so it is just wonderful that with very little effort we find we have the same values about the life education of our girls.  Sorry if that sounds a little w@nky but there it is. 

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Home education: yes or no

We are very seriously considering home educating G.  I have done so much research over the last decade, on different approaches, benefits, drawbacks, etc.  Now I feel that I can't 'un-know' what I have learnt.  Adriano is very open to it, I am happy and relieved to say.  I, however am totally ready to go for it.  G is enrolled at a school which we are not totally put off, but are not sure about.  It was not one on our list.  She lately says she doesn't want to go.  Currently she is experiencing a renewed separation anxiety, which has even led us (to my surprise, but it really feels right, now) to end her preschool sessions.  Let me be clear, I am often described by my friends as the most sociable person they know, and G is the same.  There is no shortage of socialisation in her life, and I can't see that there ever will be.  She just wants to stay close to me (us) at the moment particularly, and at aged 4, how can we deny her this?  Not all families have the choice but we deliberately chose our new home & mortgage situation so that we could cope on one income if need be.  We are not necessarily planning that Adriano should forever be the sole breadwinner (I really need to earn some money now, for the balance of our relationship, among other things), but it is possible for us to continue a bit longer as we are, especially as C is only turning 2 years old next month.

I have so much more to say but I'll stop here for now.  More at some point I'm sure.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Another self obsessed stream of consciousness

I really want to get back to the days where I wrote more, and more often, on this blog.  Partly to document our lives a bit, and help me remember these days, and also because I think that when I write (or maybe after I write) I feel good.  And I could do with some release.  Sometimes when I read other blogs I have a flicker of a feeling of actually having something important to say...but then my fatigue gets in the way and I revert back to my mind's vague inarticulate ramblings.  Very frustrating.

Another release I need is to get back to singing and playing the piano.  I used to do both so much, and it seems that the more I sing, the stronger I feel mentally.

I am so so grateful to be a full time mum right now, but hanging out as a lone adult with 2 small children takes a certain mental strength.

My evenings are spent staring at the TV/laptop in my pajamas, and I've been doing that for nearly 5 years now.  I would like a bit of my life back please.  Not at the expense of what I give the girls, but I do need some sort of fuel now, to carry on giving at this pace.

Sometimes, I suppose because life is so hectic during the day, once I am sitting down for the evening, into the chasm suddenly floods a huge feeling of my own inadequacy, and a strong feeling of impending doom.  Maybe this is just because I am lucky enough to be a mum to 2 lovely children, something I have wanted since I was 16.  So anything else would just be crapper than that.

Going to bed now.  Ever hopeful of a full nights' sleep, something else I've not had much of in the last 5 years. 

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Friday, 19 April 2013


Top: Rochester Cathedral and Castle
Bottom: Toilet window in Rochester Cathedral Tea Rooms

Well the news around here is that I seem to have developed Impaired Glucose Tolerance, without any of the risk factors present: no family history, not overweight, not sedentary, not got high cholestorol, no gestational diabetes in my pregnancies, not over 45, etc. Then I blamed my comsumption of sugar (shut up) but apparently it's a myth that it causes IGT or diabetes. So for now I'm blaming my slightly faulty pancreas. And please no one bring me cake or biscuits or chocolate ever again!! 

I am on Day 2 of eating no sugar and I have had headaches and heart palpitations and general weird feelings but I am fine and determined.  I am a bit mournful though as I truly love chocolate.  I will allow myself to have some sometimes but it'll have to be just a bite for the taste.  I think I can do this.  I have wanted to for ages but even trying to imagine my gravestone (dead before my time) didn't stop me.  There's nothing like a kind but firm doctor telling you in the flesh that you need to cut down or you will develop diabetes in 10 or so years.   

Thank the lord for tea and coffee, that's what I say.  

Saturday, 6 April 2013

*Yawwwwwwwwwwwwwwn* ramble ramble

Gawd this blog has got a bit boring.  I think my blow-by-blow account of the stapedectomy recovery didn't help.  And also the fact that I haven't slept properly for at least 4.5 years.  Really.  Before Feb 2009 I actually used to write posts I was proud of!  Now my evenings are short and I am usually in the state of just about being able to slump in front of the TV with maybe a glass of wine.  One day, I may have my more lucid brain back again.  In the meantime you're stuck with this version of me, anyone reading this. 

Also I think I have a weird sort of guilt about this blog being so much about my children, or rather the danger of that happening.  Because once upon a time (fairly well documented on here), I really thought and feared that my whole life lesson was going to be something along the lines of 'how to learn to love life without being a mother even though I want to be a mother more than anything else'.  Now I'm a mother of two and I still remember how almighty shit it felt to want children but not have them.  It hurts so badly.  I know.  But I'm no longer in that situation, for which I am so ridiculously grateful that I am worried about saying what I really want to say.  I so desperately don't want to hurt and piss off those who are still in that boat.  But what I really want to say is that, for me, being a mother is that absolute best thing which has ever happened to me, and living it every day, while being VERY VERY HARD is also very very amazing and life affirming and ohmygod I could go on and on and on.  It's as good as I thought it would be.  And the hard oh so hard bits haven't taken me by surprise because I watched my sister have 3 children long before mine came along.  The sheer amount of love...well, it's as the poems say.  It's big.  There is nothing else really, just love.

I want to also add that Adriano and I have been having quite a rough time with 'us' which I would never ever write about in detail on here, but I'm mentioning it fleetingly because I want to balance that out with this next bit.  I think we both struggle to feel gratitude from the other.  At least I struggle to get it, I'm not sure that he needs it like I do.  And that's really bloody hard some days when it is a problem which repeats and repeats.  But today I was reminded that actually we share such important values together, about family, about how to educate and raise and love our children.  And I have gratitude for his downright wonderfulness (a real word?) as a father and relief that we are easily in agreement about how to be with our totally amazing girls.  We witnessed some parenting today which we felt was the opposite of what the child needed and it really upset us both.  Particularly me, possibly, but we were both really affected by it and knowing that we felt very similarly reminded me that there really are some things which we share and see eye to eye on with no effort whatsoever.  I really hope that the closeness we feel about this can thread through now and always to the rest of our relationship because after 13 years he is still the one I would like things to work out with. 

While typing this the TV has been on and it's Derren Brown 'Miracles For Sale'.  Briefly, I trust Derren Brown but because my mum is so religious, I feel a bit betrayed when I hear him imitating people who genuinely believe in their God.  I trust that he is being factual in the things he is revealing, but I also know that my mum would be so upset if she was watching.  Or maybe it would be anger.  I daren't even go there with her to be honest!  I don't see the point in upsetting her; it's not going to change what she believes and I want her to be happy.  What a can of worms.  I could say a lot more about that but I won't. 

Slightly related, I was reading a Pema Chodron book last night and she was saying about the difference between theism and non-theism.  This is paraphrased without looking at the book so might be a bit misrepresented but here goes.  She was saying that theism is like looking for the being/thing/deity that you can pin your trust on and who will make it alright.  Non-theism on the other hand is knowing that the ground is always moving beneath your feet and constantly changing so it's no use waiting for it to become firm before you feel safe because it won't.  If you can accept the constant change rather than trying to make it stay still, then you start to relax with it and can live from that.  That rings so much truer for me, even when I am feeling afraid of death (as I am a lot, my thoughts are very morbid!) than theism of any sort.  

Anyway shiiiiiit it's gone midnight so I must go to bed. 

Saturday, 2 March 2013

We did it. We moved house.

We moved house, to our first home that we 'own'.  Well, as much as anyone with a 25-year mortgage owns their house. 

So far it's going pretty well. 

Here's an example list which rolls around my head constantly, being added to often in the small hours unfortunately:

  • Become easier to live with
  • Somehow connect more with Adriano
  • Get more sleep
  • Actually sleep a night in our double bed rather than between my children
  • Wash hair/dye hair/epilate/cut nails
  • Email again re G's reception class place
  • Look up buses to [insert name of nearby place]
  • Get rid of hideous ceiling fans
  • Change angle of lights in lounge area
  • Get another small sofa so that more than one of us can sit down.  Not too high so it doesn't block the room or any light, not too low so you can actually sit back and relax on it
  • Buy more milk/bread/cheese/whatever
  • Put nametapes on G's stuff for preschool
  • Go in garden, make new list of stuff to be done before it is deemed safe for the girls
  • Register at dentist (have done docs now, phew)
  • Buy more wine
  • Try out top oven
  • Fix doorbell
  • Choose, buy, attach house number
  • Ask neighbours why our rubbish is not being collected
 etc etc

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Almost 3 months ago: stapedectomy

It's been so nice showering without the cotton wool and vaseline in/on my ear!  Small pleasures...

My hearing is just odd.  But louder.  I no longer think about the distortion; either I'm used to it now or it has lessened a lot, or both. 

I just played the piano for 20 mins and didn't think about it at all. 

When my loud voiced almost-4 year old proclaims her wisdom right next to my ear at full volume it feels as though my eardrum is buzzing and is quite horrible, but hey, at least it's louder.

Sometimes after I've been lying down a while I can sort of hear it inside my head on that side when I swallow (very difficult to describe) but it's not horrible, just slightly odd.

So there you go.  I'm guessing that most of my healing is done.  On balance I reckon it was worth it, but the recovery has been worrying and the risks scary in spite of the low statistics of things going wrong.  I would have to be profoundly deaf rather than moderately deaf to accept surgery in the other ear. 

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** 

Finally some positive news on the house: we have exchanged contracts.  We're moving on 18th February.  Somewhere in there we have a 4 year old's birthday party to fit in.  I'm feeling every emotion under the sun about the move.  We have to move as we can't afford to live where we are, even if I go back to work.  Funk knows how everyone else manages it.  So in that way I just want to move and get on with it.  It's been a long time coming, with many a tear shed in frustration and confusion.  But we have been here for pretty much a decade, and since I have had children I have made so many friends.  I'm sure I will make friends again in time but to leave all of these lovely people in one fell swoop is daunting at the least.  Also I am desperate to make it OK for G, who also has to leave all of her friends and virtually everything she knows, without the grownups' feeling that ultimately it is all for the best.  C will probably be a bit confused at first but I'm sure she will very quickly forget our current life and do that thing young children do so well of truly living in the present.  Adriano will have a new (slightly longer) journey to work...but for now his work will stay the same: probably a good thing for him at first. 

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Almost 2 months ago: stapedectomy

All I can say really is that it's all slightly better than before.  Not OK yet, but getting there.  I hope it will continue to improve.  I'll post when it does.

In other news, here's a snapshot of conversations around here lately with our soon-to-be-4 year old.

G (still in Nativity mode): I'm Mary.
Me: OK. Just going to change C's nappy. Ooh poor thing she's had a poo in there for a while.
G: Is it sore?
Me: Not really, just a bit squashed on her bottom.
G: Awww, Jesus has it squashed on his bottom sometimes too...

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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 *

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