Friday, 30 December 2011

In a galaxy far far away...

Today The Seven Year Old becomes The Eight Year Old. The Husband is still The Husband even though he too is a year older today.  With the two of them sharing the same birthday we are of course provided with an opportunity too good to miss…we need  to throw a party!  And so today, we shall be hosting a Star Wars themed house party.   
The R2-D2 cake is made. Check. The Eight Year Old’s Jango Fett costume is complete. Check.  The Baby – in his Darth Vader babygro (yes really) – continues to look bewildered.  Check.  

The Husband is currently ‘colouring in’ his X-wing pilot outfit. I am wearing a dress with more than a nod to the look of Queen Amidala. Now all I need to do is paint my face, finish making my headdress, bake ‘Yoda’s cheesy feet’ (see ‘Foody things’ tab above) and ice the Wookie Cakes…

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Ju's Chrismas Carol - part three

Christmas future - December 2046

I awake to the sound of the waves crashing against the sea wall.  I snuggle down under the duvet before wondering where The Husband is.  And then I hear the familiar clink of cups…The Husband is on his way up the stairs of our cottage with two mugs of tea – a morning ritual that I have come to rely on over the years.  I am reminded of how lucky I am to have The Husband in my life.  

It is Christmas Eve and me and The Husband are looking forward to the Thirty Five Year Old and the Forty two Year Old arriving home later with their families.  This year we will all spend Christmas Day together, a rare treat these days.   We are very lucky though, since we have moved to live by the sea we have become increasingly popular for weekend visits, especially with The Grandchildren .  

I think back to when our boys were children - the sheer joy shining from their faces on Christmas morning.  Over the years we have all had our fair share of ups and downs. But I carry with me so many memories of happy times spent together that it is impossible to ever feel down for too long. 

Whatever the future holds, I am grateful for a full life that has been, and continues to be, well lived.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Ju's Christmas Carol - part two

Apologies for the delay in posting, I think we’re back on track now…

Christmas Present – Dec 2011
It is Fri 23rd Dec. I have a strong feeling of us being on borrowed time today as this year The Seven Year Old will spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at his Dad’s house. In trying to make the most of the time we have available before he goes I put too much pressure on the day to be full of Christmassy goodness and end up feeling like I’m constantly checking the clock to see how long we have left.  Nevertheless, we all pitch in to make it make feel like Christmas had already begun…we bake together, watch Christmas films and we sing and dance along to the cheesiest  Christmas tunes we can lay our hands on – according to Peggy Lee ”big fat Santa is on his way” !  The Baby looks on bewildered.  At 6pm, we wave off The Seven Year Old making sure we have given his Dad a full stocking of additional pressies so that The Seven Year Old has plenty to open on Christmas Day morning.  His main presents from us will remain unopened at our house until he returns to have his ‘second Christmas’ with us.  

As we move into Christmas Eve, my usual love of the day is hiding itself well below the surface this year.  There is a sense of melancholy in the air. I find myself becoming increasingly irritated with the world of Facebook and Twitter…their inhabitants seemingly brimming over with Christmas cheer and family harmony.  Come on people, whatever happened to the usual annual tensions - the arguments with relatives  straining under the pressure to have a good time together?  I turn off the laptop making the decision to not switch it on again for a few days.  I am missing The Seven Year Old. I feel rubbish from the vile cough virus that The Husband has been suffering from and that is reaching its peak within me too now.  I feel a little bit like I’ve spent the last week running to keep up. I feel bad for being so grumpy.  I know that there are so many reasons to be feeling happy.   This is The Baby’s first Christmas, our first as a family of four and also the first Christmas that The Husband and me will experience as a married couple.  A glass of mulled wine in the evening accompanies some present wrapping as I struggle to get a bit of a grip before writing off the day and attempting to have an early night with The Baby who then refuses to sleep until 11pm. 

A new dawn, a new day. The Husband and me have agreed that we will save our Christmas day celebrations until The Seven Year Old returns home early on Boxing Day.   At five months, The Baby has no real idea of what is going on around him and so we will not open any of our presents until The Seven Year Old is here to join in the fun.  The Husband cooks us up a delicious paella for our Christmas Day lunch and we spend the day lazing around watching TV and eating what is possibly too much chocolate than is good for a person in one day.

10am Boxing Day and The Seven Year Old is back home with us.  We work our way through the unwrapping of the mountain of presents beneath our tree before being joined by The Parents and one of The Friends for our Christmas lunch – a traditional dinner of turkey with all the trimmings.  Everyone is on fine form.  All is right with my world again.


Thursday, 22 December 2011

Ju's Christmas Carol - part one

Christmas past, December 2008

I’m sat in the living room of the flat that me and The (then) Four Year Old had shared for the previous couple of years.  I’m surrounded by boxes.  It is a Wednesday, exactly one week and one day before Christmas Day.  I am waiting for my solicitor to call to tell me that we have exchanged contracts on the house we are hoping to move in to in two days time.  Life is feeling a little stressful.  The Four Year Old has been at his Dad’s house for the previous two nights.  He is ill with a heavy cold, a fever and a cough that are causing him to vomit.  Being away from him is tearing me apart, but with the flat all packed up and me recovering from an ear infection and burst eardrum, we’ve all agreed it would be better for him to remain at his Dad’s until the move is complete.  I’m not at my best.  Energy levels are running low. 

The phone rings.  As I’d hoped, it is my solicitor. Finally, I think, the call I’ve be waiting for.  We had been trying to move from the flat on one side of town to the house on the other side of town (which was round the corner from the school where The Four Year Old had recently started in the Reception Class) for a year now.  The sale on our flat had fallen through twice previously so this move had been a long time coming.  As it turned out, it most definitely wasn’t the call I wanted. “I think you need to go and look at the house” says the Solicitor. “I’ve just heard that it’s been stood empty for the last six months and yesterday it was broken into…the old copper water tank and heating pipes have been ripped out leaving a lot of water damage and holes in the floor.  You may not want to go ahead with the purchase”.

My heart sinks.  I make the journey across town to survey the damage.  My mind is in a spin. The current owner no longer has insurance on the property and can’t afford to reduce the purchase price any further.  If we are to go ahead with the move, I will need to cover the costs of a new central heating system.  Despite the damage, the run down property still holds as much potential as it always has to me.  There is no way I’m backing out now and losing this house.  I am determined this move will go ahead.  I find a plumber who can start work before Christmas and then manage to beg and borrow enough cash to cover the additional costs.  It feels as if I am just scraping through this situation by the skin of my teeth

Somehow, two days later, accompanied by one of The (very good) Friends, the appointed plumber and two removal van men, I unlock the door of mine and The Four Year Olds ‘new’ house.  Water is pouring in through the kitchen ceiling.  There is no electricity, hot water or heating.  It is all rather grim to say the least.  Nevertheless, we are here at last.  The heating isn’t fixed for Christmas Day, but in the end we don’t care.  Our Christmas tree is a little ‘bald’ having shed most of it's pine needles during the move, but Santa still comes. Me and the Four Year Old ‘camp’ in the living room where we sleep, eat, and play. We are warmed by the happiness of being together again in our new home.  That, and the many electric heaters we  have borrowed! 


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Confession time

The Husband is not the father of The Seven Year Old.  Please don’t be alarmed, this isn’t some kind of online Jeremy Kyle or Jerry Springer type revelation...  “Where does our child go for half the week?”, “Who is this man I call Dad and who’s the other one?” – no, that wouldn’t do at all. 

Both The Husband and The Seven Year Old have always been aware that they do not share the same blood line – mainly due to the facts that  1. The Seven Year Old was The Four Year Old when they first met and, 2. The Seven Year Old spends as much time with his Dad as he does with us. 

I had thought I would save this unveiling until the New Year but over the next three days I want to share my own version of a Christmas Carol and so it seemed correct and proper to alert you this revelation today.  To avoid confusion tomorrow. You see?    

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The garden is confused

And as a result, I too, am confused.

“Why oh why dear garden are your plants choosing to bud and flower when we have had a sprinkling of snow already?”

The camellia is stood proudly in its blue ceramic pot.  It is full of buds and is displaying a couple of vibrant pink flowers.  The stubby olive tree is bearing its fruits – even if they do look more like raisins than juicy olives. Let’s just hope it doesn’t end in tears. 
“Go hibernate little plants, shut yourselves down to protect from the Winter frosts”.  It’s what I plan to do for as long as I can get away with it – bundle up in fleecy blankets upon the sofa sipping mulled wine.  Mmmm…




Monday, 19 December 2011

Unsung family-heros

It could be said, that in many ways, being a parent is both the greatest and the most challenging thing you will ever experience.  As parents, we have to do the stuff with raising our kids that they don’t always appreciate – surviving the sleepless nights and childhood illnesses, getting them to eat healthily, disciplining them, encouraging them to do their homework, getting them to bed at a reasonable time, taking them to school, and all that before we even begin thinking about  the teenage years.  Nevertheless, with these responsibilities in this leading role, we get a grand title along with the easy recognition of our importance in our children’s lives. 

We also become part of the ‘Parent club’.  Our status is changed and we can knowingly exchange stories and child rearing tips with the other members of the club.  We duly receive our payback from the love of our children and from seeing them, at close quarters, grow and develop into the adults they will become, hopefully fulfilling their potential and leading full and happy lives.  And, despite the worry, and the inevitable guilt (this may just be a mother thing) about something, anything, (another post for another day) we also get years of entertainment and joy.  As parents we are no longer simply a couple, we are a family in our own right.

Grandparents also get the grand title. They have already paid their dues in raising us and we can reward them by enabling and supporting their relationships with their grandchildren.  Grandparents are generally visible and respected in playing a key role in the lives of their grandchildren and we recognise that role with an acknowledgement of the importance of these relationships and in spending time together.

But here’s a question, what about the often unsung hero’s that are the Aunties and Uncles?  Roles that I think can often be underrated.  As an only child (and therefore with no siblings to bring into the mix, although a handful of The Friends more than fulfil the role) I really appreciate the fact that The Husbands two sisters and their husbands take their roles as Aunties and Uncles seriously and put in a considerable amount of effort in to nurturing their relationships with our two boys.  A classic example of this yesterday…


The (coughing his guts up but pretending he’s not ill) Husband, The (I reeeeeaaaallly can’t wait for Christmas) Seven Year Old, The (bemused “why is there a tree in the living room?”) Baby, and Me spent a lovely relaxed afternoon yesterday at one of The Sisters-in-Law’s house. In her role as Auntie, she had created this opportunity to bake seasonal gingerbread biscuits with The Seven Year Old.  They spent hours throughout the afternoon weighing and mixing and chatting and laughing together. 


The Seven Year Old was delighted to be able to get stuck-in without me or The Husband interfering and it meant that he was able to proudly distribute his baked goods to us without our having had any input into producing them.  He was incredibly happy to be able to share the interesting assortment of biscuit shapes he’d chosen to make. It would be fair to say that some of them were less than traditional. For example the one we named ‘The Christmas Spider” – we all agreed that ‘nothing says Christmas like the spider’.  On saying that, both me and The Seven Year Old were most impressed by The Sister in Laws true story from her travels in Australia of an actual spider by the name of the Christmas spider – it changes it’s colour at Christmastime and everything, how fab is that?! Anyway, after eating too much gingerbread than should be allowed in one sitting, we then rounded the day off with fish and chips.  It may not have been the healthiest of eating days but it was really relaxed lovely lazy Sunday. 

The real point of this post is simply to say thank you to The Two Sisters-in-Law and their husbands for being fantastic Aunties and Uncles.  Here is some public recognition - albeit to a small audience - of your roles in our children’s lives.  And I'd like to extend this thank you to the closest of The Friends who don't have a title at all in respect of their relationships with our children but who are every bit as much a part of our family and who also play a valuable role in enriching our lives. 

Crikey.  That was quite deep and emotional for me for a Monday.  Anyone would think it was a time of peace and goodwill or something... please rest assured that the normal style of writing with mildly sarcastic undertones will resume tomorrow. 

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Random DIY

Today I ‘accidentally’ started redecorating the kitchen. I realise that must sound strange.  Here’s how it happened.  Whilst The Parents were over visiting and busying themselves playing ‘hotels’ (?) with The Seven Year Old and cooing over The Baby, I decided to put my ‘time off’ to good use.  I took out a tin of paint to tidy up a few areas  ofthe dining room.  More precisely, I needed to paint the patch of different coloured wall that had recently been exposed due to us moving a large mirror. Although I very much enjoy decorating – which The Husband thinks is, in itself, a bit weird - I have to admit to being a ‘lazy’ decorator.  I’m very impatient and like to see quick results so the thoroughness of preparation and moving things don’t tend to feature too much in my style of decorating.


So there I was with a large tin of ‘Aged White’ emulsion in my hand and a paint brush at the ready.  I painted the patch in the dining room that I had intended to paint but it needed a second coat.  It seemed rude not to keep myself, and the paint brush, busy whilst I was waiting for the first coat to dry.  And so there I was, balancing precariously on a chair in the middle of the kitchen randomly painting the previously bluey-greeny-grey (I forget the name of the acutal colour) wall when The Husband and The Seven Year old caught me red-handed. 

“What are you doing Mummy?” exclaimed The Seven Year Old, “I’m not sure I want to know” muttered The Husband.  This isn’t the first time they have been witness to this scenario. The Seven Year Old would prefer it if things stayed the same for a little longer instead of waking up to different coloured walls from time to time and The Husband points out that maybe it would make more sense to complete the many outstanding jobs aound our home rather than randomly redecorating.  He makes a fair point, I can’t disagree.

At this point The Male Parent (aka my Dad) walks in to the room.  “Don’t stand still for too long you two” he says to The Seven Year Old and The Husband, “or you’ll end up being painted too”.  He thinks he’s a funny man does The Male Parent.  Well, if you’re listening old man… you’re not funny.  Except that we both know that he is quite funny.  But more about that next week.  

Friday, 16 December 2011

Eavesdropping

Stood in a queue at the supermarket recently The Husband overheard this conversation between a Mother and her young daughter.

Daughter (on picking up a chocolate bar) – “can we have this?”
Mother – “No darling”.
Daughter“Maybe Santa would like it?”
Mother – “No, Santa can manage with a mince pie like last year” .
Daughter - “Daddy said he thought Santa might like a bar of chocolate and a glass of whiskey this year…”
Mother – “that’s what Daddy thought did he? No, Santa will be ok with a glass of wine and a mince pie as usual”

It made me smile – “nice try” to that Daddy if you’re out there...enjoy the mince pie!


Thursday, 15 December 2011

What's going on?

Something strange has happened.  The Husband is ill, but rather than milking a low grade ‘man flu’ for all it’s worth, he’s genuinely feeling – and looking (sorry The Husband but it’s true) – rubbish but he’s trying to pretend he’s feeling ok.  All in all, it’s a funny thing.  Remember that episode of friends  where Monica is determined to prove she doesn’t feel rotten from flu because “illness is for the weak”?  Well, that’s exactly how The Husband is behaving.

The more I try to get him to rest, the more he wants to do.  Well, enough is enough.  After an hour in his company this morning - during which time he insisted on making me cups of tea in-between his sighing and groaning and the awful cough that he has – I have put my foot down and insisted that he goes to bed for a few hours…we could all do with the rest….

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Our countdown to Christmas has begun!

Despite having already thrown ourselves into the panic of Christmas shopping - out of necessity rather than a desire to do so - it really wasn’t feeling like we were getting into the Christmas mood.  All that has now changed. Stand by people, its official, the spirit of Christmas has finally arrived in our household.  The Husband has, this very morning, been to choose our Christmas tree.  It is currently standing (leaning) proudly (drunkenly) in our living room waiting for The Seven Year Old to come home from school to help decorate it.

The tree is a little taller and fatter than we had agreed to go for.  Apparently The Husband ‘couldn’t resist’.  We have a history of large Christmas trees…

The first year of The Husband and me living together we were so excited to be sharing Christmas that we bought a huge 8ft tree.  We had carefully picked it out from the woodcutters in a local wood where we had been seduced by the Christmas tunes a-playing, the chestnuts a-roasting and the mulled wine a-drinking.  This romantic bubble had burst somewhat when we had struggled to carry the tree through the car park to our car – the smallest car there.  Whole families laughed and pointed as we pushed and shoved the tree in to the car before driving off with the top of it stuck out of the passenger seat window and the trunk trailing from the car boot.  I was pinned up against a back seat window with pine needles adorning my hair.

On getting the beast of a tree home, where it filled approximately about a third of the size of the room it stood in, we have had to rearrange most of our furniture to successfully accommodate it.  We soon discovered that it was far too big to stand in the tree stand we had bought especially and too heavy to be wedged into a bucket or plant pot.  And so The Husband spent hours of muttering expletives as he hacked away at the trunk of the tree until it could be rammed into the stand where it swayed intermittently for the rest of the Christmas holiday.  The fact that we could no longer see the TV was neither here nor there.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Down the pan

Our mission was to kill fifteen birds with one stone – or more accurately to visit four lots of family and friends living in three different parts of the city of Fancy London, and in doing so to deliver eleven lots of Christmas presents.  All in all, a big ask from any weekend, particularly a weekend with The Baby – who now, on top of the cough appears to be teething - and his distaste for travelling.

We set off on the Saturday morning so that we had daylight on our side.  I say Saturday morning as we had planned to leave at 10am but in reality it was 12.15pm when we actually left.  Our delayed start was, in the main, due to our usual chaotic last minute packing alongside trying to sort out (ie. wrap) numerous Christmas presents that we were to take with us.  Oh yes, and then, just as we thought we were about ready, I helpfully dropped my mobile phone down the loo.  Marvellous.

The air turned blue as I competed for the title of ‘world’s grumpiest woman’.  Pity The Husband who was trying to hold it all together and attempting to get us all out of the house and into the car.  Somehow, The Husband managed to remain remarkably upbeat. Which, to me, at that moment in time was as equally annoying as it was helpful.  I did cheer up a little though when he presented me with a spare ‘back-up’ mobile phone he had squirreled away…nothing fancy you understand but good enough to do the job.

Eventually the car was packed and we set off.  We had a relatively uneventful journey as The Baby slept for most of it (hurrah!).  We enjoyed our visits to Grandparents, Aunts, Friends and The In-laws who fed us and catered for our every need…chilled-out but in a hectic sort of way - which clearly makes very little sense but please go with it as quite frankly I’m still reeling from the ‘phone in the loo’ incident so please don’t push me for an argument as I’m ready to take you on.   


Monday, 12 December 2011

Creating his own fun

Having now having now ordered enough Lego (Christmas presents for The Seven Year Old) to keep all the children in all the world entertained, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s been a little unnecessary.  Each afternoon last week when The Seven Year Old returned home from school he created his own fun playing with fridge magnet words which are apparently in battle with each other. 

Hmmm.

Friday, 9 December 2011

The cough continues...

At the risk of this getting boring - for us all, and not least for The Baby - The Baby STILL has a terrible hacking cough.  Here's the latest...

The Baby and me have been to the doctor’s twice this week. Yesterday, The Baby needed to have his third lot of injections – the ones that all babies have.  He was due to have them a couple of weeks ago but we kept putting it off due to the cold and ongoing cough he’s been suffering from.  This week, regardless of the cough, it seemed irresponsible to delay any further.  We arrived at the Doctors Surgery in good spirits.  I think The Baby thought we were on little adventure and proceeded to charm the receptionist, other patients and the nurse with his cheeky smiles.  This made me feel as if I was tricking him into a false sense of security…little did he know of the three needles coming his way.  Aside from the inevitable livid cry – from The Baby that is - which followed each jab I think we both coped relatively well.  The crying sparked off The Baby’s hacking cough which was enough evidence for the nurse to secure us an appointment with the Doctor for today – quite a feat in these parts during the cold and flu season.

On returning to the Surgery to see the Doctor today there was, of course, not a cough to be heard.  The Baby cooed and smiled at the Doctor  as if to say “I don’t know why Mummy is concerned…I’m clearly feeling fine”.   The Doctor ‘sat on the fence’ in his decision of what to do.  “He appears to be thriving but I’m on the cusp of prescribing something to help the cough on its way as four weeks is a long time” was the verdict, along with “it would be helpful to hear the cough”.  Yes, wouldn’t it just.  The Baby sat as quiet as a mouse.  I’m guessing the cough is saving itself for another sleep deprived night for us both.  And so we left the Doctors surgery with nothing more than another appointment in a couple of weeks time.  It could be a long fourteen days.  And an even longer fourteen nights…
 
_______________________________________

We’re off on our travels again this weekend – off to ‘fancy London’ to see family and a couple of The Friends.  Apologies in advance to The Friends who we’ll be staying with – tomorrow night may not be pretty!

Normal blogging services will be resumed on Monday. Jx

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Santa is a busy man


Now that we’ve accepted that it’s full steam ahead with the build-up to Christmas, we have begun ordering Lego by the truckload.  It seemed only right and proper to check with The Seven Year Old that we were actually purchasing the items he most desired.  And so, with a little encouragement, he carefully put together a list ordered by preference whilst I bit my tongue and resisted asking just how much Lego is too much Lego for one household???

As is the way every year, I remind The Seven Year Old that he is unlikely to get everything that he is asking for on his list.  After all, Santa – or Father Christmas, depending on your mythical title of choice – has lots of children to deliver presents to.  This white lie I tend to mix in with an explanation more based in reality - that we can’t afford to buy all of the presents on the list to ‘send to Santa for delivery’.  I’m surprised that we have gotten away with this for so long but The Seven Year Old has never questioned these somewhat hazy ideas of what goes on.  I think these days, The Seven Year Old is actively choosing to not question any of our stories,  maybe he's thinking that for now its better not to know the truth.  I don’t think he will be a ‘believer’ for much longer.

I remember when The Seven Year Old was only three.  We were living in a part of town that is on one of the city’s tram routes.  Each year one of the tram drivers dressers up in a Santa costume and waves to the passengers as they disembark.  At the age of three The Seven Year Old thought this was amazing.  After getting off the tram one day close to Christmas, me and The (then) Three Year Old were having the “you may not get everything you ask for” chat when in a very serious manner he said to me… “yes mummy, because Santa is very busy”.  Pleased he was beginning to play along. I replied “yes he is, with all of the children all over the world to deliver presents to”.  “Yes mummy.  And because Santa is very busy driving that tram”.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Ho ho ho

Ok. So we’re already a week into December.  I can no longer remain in denial about the fact that Christmas is fast approaching and I haven’t done anything as yet to prepare.  A few years ago this would have been acceptable as no-one else would have done anything either but not any more it would seem.  The Christmas build-up seems to begin earlier and earlier every year.  And this year it’s as if everyone I come into contact with is part of the “I’m starting early and I’m so organised for Christmas” brigade.

Since the 1st December other Mum’s at The Seven Year Old’s school have been exchanging joyful tales of how much family fun they’ve had putting up their Christmas trees and making Christmas cards and decorations whilst simultaneously baking mince pies, singing Christmas carols and wrapping presents.  Not that I’m bitter you understand.

Now don’t go thinking that I’m not a fan of Christmas as I love this time of year.  I’m just more than a little put about by how quick off the mark everyone has been this year.  Gone are the days when proudly displaying your Christmas tree even two weeks before the big day suggested you were too keen.  It doesn’t help that even the non-Christmas lovers and the most laid back and disorganised individuals amongst The Friends seem to be out Christmas shopping already.  What’s going on people?!

So, feeling like the pressure is on, and with growing concern that the eagerness of others may result in the shelves being bare before too much longer, me and The Husband have today bitten the bullet.  Gone are this year's good intentions to make our gifts.  Instead we have begun what feels like ‘panic buying’.  Far too many items have now been ordered online and a trip into town today saw us running around like Santa’s very own elves. Ho ho ho?  Indeed.  

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Parents evening

It’s that time of year again – parents evening at The Seven Year Old’s school.  For some reason, I find that there always seems to be a bit of an air of being sent to see the Head Teacher as if we’ve all done something wrong.  This is no reflection on The Seven Year Old who we are often told is “exceptionally well behaved” at school.  This sort of comment makes me swell with pride and I feel the prickling of tears threatening to well up behind my eyes – since having children my emotions feel like they are dangerously close to the surface for all to see.

Before getting to chat with your child’s teacher at Parents Evening, the usual routine is to be handed your child’s books to examine and explore.  This can provide a real insight into how your child’s mind works.  Not to mention a waning about what the teacher you are about to speak to already knows about you. 

Picture source:- thewmparentingconnection.com
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Last year, The Seven Year Old, who had then been The Six Year Old, had been learning about how to write about feelings and emotions.  The fact that I’d been impressed that this was on the curriculum quickly paled into insignificance when I read what made The Seven (six) Year Old feel angry… “I feel angry when I drop my Lego on the dusty floor” he had written in his best handwriting.  And so it was that the whole time we were speaking to the teacher I knew that she was fully aware of our lacking in housekeeping skills. 

I look around the living room in which I am sat writing this post, surveying the chaos in which we currently live.  Oh dear.  I may not be able to look The Seven Year Old’s current teacher in the eye this evening  Wish me luck people.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Low-tech Sunday

Apologies for the lack of a post yesterday.  When I set my stall out to write this blog, I had intended – unless we were away from home holiday-ing or weekend-ing  - to publish a new post every day.  But, quite frankly, yesterday I decided that it was high time to have a day at home away from the laptop.  I have come to realise that me and The Husband spend an extraordinary amount of time tapping away at the keys of the two laptops that we own.  If you were a fly on the wall in our home, you would think we were both running multi-national web based businesses that couldn’t survive without us for more than a moment.  And quite clearly, that isn’t the case.

And so, after a lovely day spent catching-up with two of The Friends who were visiting yesterday, I decided that I would not, do what has started to come far too naturally, and immediately reach for the laptop the moment they left.  No.  Instead, I would give The Husband, The Seven Year Old and The Baby my full attention instead of trying to multi-task my way through the evening.  I’m not sure The Husband really noticed the difference. I hadn’t shared my non-laptop intentions with him and he was rather busy at the keys of his own laptop to realise something unusual may be occurring.   Me and The Seven Year Old watched (and I mean really watched rather than looking at the screen occasionally in the pretence of watching) old-style Batman, we played, we chatted, The Baby observed and cooed approvingly and we had a thoroughly enjoyable low-tech evening.  It was fab. 

And so, from now on, I am going to completely avoid the laptop on a Sunday.  In future, Sundays shall be reserved for full on family time with no distractions.  Just like Sundays used to be…before shops began to open every day of the week…before we surrounded ourselves with enough technology to ensure that we never switch off from what’s going on in the wider world - if we're not emailing we're faceboooking, if we're not tweeting we're blogging.  Enough is enough. 

Only time will tell how long this will last for.  Watch this space. But not on a Sunday. Obviously. 

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Like father like son

A lot of people have been observing recently that The Baby, looks to them, very much like The Husband.  A lot of The Friends, some of The Family, and even other mums at The Seven Year Olds school gate have passed comment about the likeness.  The Female Parent (aka my Mum) exclaims each time she sees The Baby that he is becoming more and more like ‘a complete mini-me’ version of The Husband.  Strangely, The Husband and me can’t really see it.  To us, The Baby just looks like himself.

When The In-laws were visiting recently I asked them if they could see the likeness between The Baby and their son, The Husband.  They both looked a little surprised by the question.  “well he certainly doesn’t look at all like his Dad did as a baby” they said.  Which led me to digging out some old photos of myself as a baby. There are certainly more than a few similarities between The Baby now and me as baby all those years ago - the mop of dark hair, the big eyes, the cheeky smile.

Which leaves us with just one question… could it be that when I was a baby I looked like The Husband?!!! 




Friday, 2 December 2011

Trapped!

I mentioned yesterday how The Husband and me had got to thinking about how having children had, on more than one occasion, led us to being ‘trapped’ in a room.  This thinking was sparked off whilst attending two of The Friends wedding celebrations last weekend when I, in effect, became ‘trapped’ for most of the day with The (sleeping) Baby away from the wedding party.

Our main ‘trapped in a room’ situations tend to occur in the hotel ‘family room’. When staying in hotels, as is the way of many families, we reside in a ‘family room’.  This basically means that we all share a room together. This makes sense both practically and financially.  The thing is, The Husband and me don’t always want to go to bed at the same time as The Seven Year Old and The Baby which is tricky when you’re all in the one room.  Especially when you have a Seven Year Old who likes it to be quiet and dark to go to sleep and a Baby who doesn’t’. 

There was one occasion a couple of years ago, in the days when The Baby was merely a distant thought in our minds.  It was our first trip to Legoland in Windsor (now an annual event) and the Seven Year Old had just turned five. We were staying in a lovely hotel in the centre of Windsor, just by the river.  On the two nights we stayed there, in order to create the ultimate sleeping conditions for the then Five Year Old, and not ready to sleep yet ourselves, me and The Husband found ourselves holed up in the bathroom with the weekend newspapers and a bottle of Rioja.  It made us giggle.  It felt a little as if we were teenagers trying to keep the alcohol a secret from The Parents.

On another occasion only last year at another of The Friends wedding’s when The Husband was (again) Best Man - I’m considering renting him out for the job now that he’s had some practise - The Seven Year Old (then six) was so tired in the early evening that we had to excuse ourselves from the reception and find a room to let him have a nap.  The staff at the venue very kindly allowed us to use a massive conference room situated above the wedding party.  It was huge!  The Seven Year Old slept in a corner using The Husbands jacket for a pillow and my cardigan as a cover whilst me and The Husband sipped our way through a bottle of champagne and danced around the room - which took some time as there was a lot of floor space to cover.

Hmm…I see a theme developing here.  I’m beginning to wonder if me and The Husband are sub-consciously manufacturing these situations as an excuse to feel like we’re returning to the heady teenage years of drinking on the sly.  Mind you, we wouldn't have been drinking Rioja and champagne back then... speaking for myself it was more cheap and nasty cider as I recall.  And a girl has limits in terms of reminiscing.    


Thursday, 1 December 2011

Time to party! Or not...

Despite not getting to sleep until around 1am, we awoke on the morning of The Friends wedding surprisingly bright eyed and bushy tailed – especially considering that The Baby was (and still is) suffering from a nasty hacking cough that wakes him up through the night and intermittently causes him to vomit after feeds.  Not great.  For him.  Or for us.  On a more positive note, we were delighted to discover that we were located in the most beautiful countryside which had been wasted on us in the heavy darkness of our arrival the night before.  It turns out that Cariganshire, in the West of Wales, is a liitle like our own beloved Peak District - all rolling hills and patchwork fields - but with the added bonus of being by the sea. 

We spent the day celebrating with The Friends. The Bride looked gorgeous in her beautiful hand-embroidered dress, matched by her Groom in his very smart suit. The ceremony went smoothly, followed by a lovely informal gathering of their nearest and dearest who ate, drink and made merry.  Following some last minute nerves - when I became fearful he may pass out or run off - The Husband delivered a comical and heartfelt speech.  The Seven Year Old who was delighted to have the opportunity to wear his suit again – complete with trilby, naturally - really got into the swing of things and thoroughly enjoyed the day, especially when he assisted The Husband in hosting a ‘pub style’ quiz in the evening. 

Me and The Baby also had a lovely time, although we did spend a considerable amount of time away from the crowd.  It began during the wedding ceremony, just as the happy couple were to exchange wedding vows.  The Baby’s hacking cough surfaced and he and I swiftly left the room to pace around in the Register Office waiting area.  Still, at least he wasn’t sick again in the way he had been all over my fake fur jacket when I had lifted him from his car seat only minutes earlier.  And to make up for his lack of sleep during the previous night The Baby needed to sleep a lot during the wedding celebrations.  It’s a shame really that he’s such a light sleeper and needed to be away from the wedding party. 

And so it was, that The Baby and me found ourselves spending much of the day snuggled up in the wonderful cottage in which we were staying for the weekend.  I felt a little guilty that lovely Bride and Groom came over to see us more often that we were able to join them and their guests but I guess that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes with family life.  It all led me and The Husband to thinking about how having children seems to have often resulted in us being ‘trapped’ in rooms…