Moving On

2012… Is it done yet? I’ve had enough of it….

For me personally, this year has been without growth, I’ve taken many backward steps. It’s been rocky and those rocks are precipices through my soul and mind. I’m so lucky I have the support of my husband, a doctor who is fairly human and empathetic, the sensible guidance of friends and the devoted love of my children because I’ve flailed about so much in this ill wind called life this year that, without them I would have been lost.

Anyways, in true me fashion I’m very pleased that I can now see the forest for the trees, think a little bit more clearly, look forward to 2013 and move on… I’m trying to see 2012 with a positive light, good stuff did happened I just haven’t had a brain to share it!

10 of ‘The Good Stuff’ (in no particular order)

1) We got a caravan! …and we all love it!
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2) I grew a Pumpkin.
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3) The little man finished nursery and went to school.
4) Himself became a bee keeper.
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5) The small people started to play independently in the early hours of the weekend rather than requiring parental input 😉
6) I realised a creative writing publishing ambition.
7) We had a lovely summer school holiday.
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8) I’ve done their christmas shopping already!
9) I managed to do crochet (Thanks to @crochetali)
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10) My sleep pattern is not so crazy mad!

I know there is more good stuff, much more to think about in quiet moments and smile about. Long summer days (yeah, it rained muchly) of playing. Escaping with a friend to chat and share life. Wine. More Wine….

So here’s to 2013 as it creeps up on us amid the nativity, carols, chocolate, baileys, crackers, turkey and the magic of Christmas. I’m looking forward to a fun packed, healthy, hearty, trouble free year with much laughter and maybe a bit more blogging? That would be a good thing, I think.


The One Where I Cast Out The Bloggyblock Demons and Talk Teeth.

I have blogged a grand total of 7 times this year. It’s April, this is unheard of. I’ve made every excuse under the sun. I’ve been busy, scribbling ditties elsewhere, doing stuff, being other places; but the hard truth is I’ve been blog blocked. I’ve had something to write about that has been burning me up inside but I couldn’t. I’ve felt guilty, I’ve felt failure and I’ve felt shame.  Time has passed and slowly, the stress has ebbed away and I’ve been able to talk to specialists and other people about it. I’ve discovered it wasn’t my fault, I’m not to blame, I did nothing wrong that hundreds of parents aren’t doing right now but the guilt and shame burn.

Someone new told me they were reading my blog this week and I wondered why they were bothering, I mean, I haven’t been here for months! So I came and looked at my stats and the posts people are reading. I was astounded. People still come to this little corner of the internets and read my shit every day! My stats are nothing to write home about in the scheme of things and as I don’t interact with the ‘Mummy blogging’ world very often, I don’t suppose my readership is ever the same person twice but someone comes…

I was touched, really… and I thought to myself, why are you not blogging? My answer again was, I’m blog blocked, unless I get this shame off my chest and out there I may never blog again. So I’m going to do it. Don’t judge me too harshly, I never saw this one coming and I honestly wonder if you have either…

My daughter is an angel, yes, so she has her moments but as a parent I really ‘don’t know she’s born’ as they say. People point out this is to my credit, I’ve worked reasonably hard (without getting all stage Mum) at this parent malarkey for 5 & half years and she is a darling (I’m biased I know). I love her unreservedly as any mother should and I always try to do what is best for them, I guess this is why this whole teeth thing bites so hard.

Last September we visited the dentist, just as school was starting, the dentist advised me that my girl had a tiny cavity in one of her back molars and to take care of it. Anyone who knows my personal hygiene routine will know that I’m obsessive about teeth brushing.  After enduring two sets of orthodontics and having to still wear a retainer at night (attractive fact about me not many people know 😉 ) I am almost OCD about caring for my teeth, I brush, floss and mouthwash at least twice a day, I only have one filling (last month) and still have 2 baby teeth.  Installing a good dental hygiene routine in my smalls has been very high on the agenda.  So I was horrified she had a cavity! They rarely have sweets, fizzy drinks are far and few in between and never coke. No added sugar anything really.

At the same time as this School were hammering her with healthy eating, no chocolate (rightly so) in the lunch box, I even wrote a post about it, so thinking I was doing the right thing I started buying those rather cool fruit smoothie drinks, you know, the ones everyone loves (and me, it has to be said) with the rather brilliant fridge magnets, you know, the ‘really good for them’ ones with the ‘part of your 5’ a day tag. Healthy stuff that. I’m a good Mum I am *hangs head in shame* It’s not just those, she has always been a fruit magnet and would still prefer a bowl of grapes to jelly and ice cream and good on her!

Most children would have been fine, my son got the same, he’s fine. I drink it all the time, I’m fine.

Not so my little Angel, she has very weak teeth enamel and her teeth disintegrated. Well two of them did, her top ‘D’s. Ironically not the tooth we had been warned about. Food started getting trapped in the cavities and she started feeling pain. Pain that I helped create. It took 4 months for this to become a very painful problem.

I know you are probably sitting there thinking I’m being melodramatic about this. I can’t stress to you enough how guilty I feel about my baby feeling this pain, having to go through having the remains of the teeth removed under anesthetic. If I was to explain to you graphically what it feels like to hold your child’s hand as they go under anesthetic, to hand them over to other people to put right something you helped go wrong. I’d never be able to capture the feeling in words.  I can’t explain with enough forcefulness how terrible this made me feel, I’m supposed to keep her safe and look after her. Yes, I’m whipping myself. I think I deserve it, though I am coming to terms with it.

Every single dentistry professional has shaken their head and said, fruit is a real danger to enamel. As we parents are encouraged to make our kids eat their 5 a day to be ‘healthy’. My daughters reception class gets free fruit for snack, I’m sure I’m not the only parent who has over looked the acidity issue, the possible damage it can cause.  Yes, of course they have to eat fruit! I’m not saying stop but did you know that a simple swish around the mouth with water can significantly reduce the acid, thus reducing the risk? I didn’t know that. Perhaps I’m naive.

My little girl is a trouper, she has come through this amazingly, she screamed for 30 minutes after she came around, mostly because she was scared and then she wanted to go to the park.

Slowly, I’ve been pulling back the pieces of my smashed up stress head. I know I’ve been intolerable to be around and I’ve lost a few friends in the process due to being at the end of my tolerance.  I’ve opened up to a few people and I’ve been astounded by how many of them have said they have been through this with their children, or been through it themselves. People who I know look after their children extremely well.  I’m believing again that perhaps I do okay at this Mum thing and getting this out into the blog is a major step forward in being able to take ownership of my feelings. I don’t suppose it will ever go away… Not completely, but then I’m a mother and this comes with the territory.

If just one person reads this and thinks, I need to be aware that fruit, whilst an excellent healthy choice, needs consideration, I will be thrilled.

This was a hard post to write, the fact that I have written it is a leap forward for me. I hope to be here more often.

Children Are Made Readers…

One of my most enduring memories of my childhood must be the image of my Mum sat on the sofa with a book. She is still, as she has always been, a huge reader. I’m not sure she is ever without a book she’s reading, except perhaps in that little lull you get when finishing a great story where your mind just wants to absorb what you have read and relive parts before moving on to the next.

As children we always had books. I have some of my favourites still, my Dad used to be able to read ‘The Trouble with Timothy’ without looking at the words and Mum and I are still searching for a penguin classic copy of “Ned the Lonely Donkey” & “The Discontented Pony.”

We have books as a family which I feel is like passing on an inheritance to my children, one of these being “Snow”

My step sister was given this book, pre becoming my step sister but we all grew up with it and I loved it, so much so I’ve purchased a copy for each of our families, my daughter has a copy which sits next to my new favourite “Tiddler” by Julia Donaldson, along with several of her others, Julia’s books are always a pleasure to read.

This week we started a new journey as a family, the journey into learning to read. I’ve had some mixed thoughts over the last term concerning this new adventure, perhaps they are the same as every other Mothers, perhaps not… I will share them with you and you can tell me.

I don’t often sit with a book, in the corner of the sofa like my Mother does. I’m there with my laptop of course, bashing away at the keys or, yes, reading something on it,  but it’s not a physical book.  We also have an Ipad and due to the way the world is, I have started reading the odd ‘book’ on that. That is all very well but it isn’t going to encourage my children to pick up one of their books… no, it’s all Angry Birds. We do have several educational games on the Ipad and she loves those too but it’s just not the same as wallowing in a bed covered in books. Perhaps I need to alter my behaviour…

As I grew I developed a love of books, I love the weight in my hands, the smell of the paper. Libraries and book shops are a treasure trove of wonder for me, I need to think of how I pass this love on to my children. It’s important to me.

School have been busy with the phonics, they seem to be taking a really sensible approach to it to be honest, they are doing a letter a week and really getting involved with it. It seems a more  thorough approach then some of the schools I’ve been hearing about, throwing 2 ‘sounds’ a week at R2 children, (but y’know I’m no teacher) apart from being rather over awed by all the motions and sounds (yes, me. She seems to take it in her stride 😉 ) I’m liking what I’m seeing. This is of course alongside numeracy, topics, pe, cooking and so much else my mind spins!

I was very concerned that she would have to coast wait while some of the others catch with her, she is the oldest in her class and a bright button.  Her nursery started sending her home with books over a year ago, she has already done the level of book that school is now supplying her with. This week she came home with one she has read before; but as she herself explained to me after just 2 weeks at school “Mummy, we know I can do this don’t we but Mrs ——- says I need to prove to her I can!” Which I guess is fair enough, it makes me think ‘Where’s the fire.’ as long as she is not bored and feels she is learning something and is happy at school she can learn at their pace. I can happily say this because I know that I personally will not be stopping reading our books at home together and encouraging her to try… Because I want to make sure they can’t just read; but do it well and become ‘readers’ and that is my task, isn’t it.

So here we enter the world of Biff, Chip and Kipper… I’m wondering if choosing pretty names for my children was an error 😉

And I’d hate to be a pushy Mother. Surely this way, with the slow and steady approach, there is no way we might miss something along the way. Is it not better to be  thorough?  To ensure she covers everything and totally understands each stage, rather then racing ahead just because we can?

I’m hoping that I’m the type of parent that whilst I’m not too pushy, encourages positively.  Because while I appreciate that childhood is a critical time for learning lessons which will set them up for their whole lives, it’s also the most magical and awe inspiring time of there lives too, this wonderful time of being loved and cared for, for playing and discovering, before all the pressure starts with exams, jobs, mortgages, life goals and all the other things that humans find to complicate our lives and make ourselves ‘happy’.

Being a Mum is Challenging in so many ways…

I am once again a ‘new Mum’. I have been a Mum for 5 years and it’s all a bit of a scary learning curvy thingy to be honest. This latest mountainous step I face is the ‘interactive helpful’ bit…

So far I’m not much help at all, I can’t do the stop and drop scheme outside school in the mornings or the wellie walks because I have a little man to deal with too… That’s okay, I’ve mentally made a note for doing both next year as long as the Little Man gets the same school.

Slowly, I’m mastering the intricacies of ‘the book bag’ it involves various books and notes, my email is getting hit with a fair few emails telling me what to do and how things work. I attended a learning to read night and am now aware of the arm waving, sounding, acting out ways of phonics (although it’s no less frightening).

We successfully negotiated the birthday, I’d have loved to have all 20 new friends to her party in our small house, running around, making noise – okay I’m lying about that but I would have liked to managed something for all of them… Expensive birthdays eh!

Today I went along to the ‘Friends’ meeting in the hope that I might be useful with fund raising in some way, it was a long shot, I have come away feeling a little forlorn. What can I do to help exactly? Since childbirth I have the organisation skills of a goldfish, we have Koi in the garden with more brains than I can currently claim work. I can’t bake a cake to pass muster, I should pay people to eat my cooking.  I don’t really craft stuff, so making things to flog at sales is kind of out of the question… and if someone says “We need some good new ideas to raise money” My head goes blank and I’m sure I gain an unattractive vacant expression…

I’m sure they will find a use for me, I do a mean clock room attendant and can serve tea and coffee with panache! Perhaps my roll can be to fulfil some non strenuous, non thinking donkey work… Nothing too much as I am getting old you know 😉 After getting stuck on the decking the other night because my knees wouldn’t take my weight to lower myself down I have to be careful! (Yes, I was scrumping apples of the neighbours tree so it was come-upance)

I’d really like to be one of those Mum’s, you know, the serene type that never gets flustered, perfectly turned out with beautifully behaved children. But, I’m not… I’m the one who shouts loudly (though they do ask how high when I yell jump!) who’s kids have breakfast or toothpaste around their mouths or down their fronts, who’s own clothing doesn’t match or is on wonky. I’m the one who’s hair is wet from rushing through the shower at the last minute and never wears make up… Though I often throw on heels as they are closer to the door, they are not very suitable for the school run…

Luckily, my kids disagree with my imagined inadequacies… I get told “You are the bestest cook in the whole wide world!” or the best Mummy or the Most beautiful Mummy etc, always in the whole wide world…

That in itself is pretty hard to live up to!

The New Girl…

I’d forgotten this feeling.

The loitering at the back of the crowd trying to be unnoticed feeling because you are the new girl, the nervously making conversation with other nervous looking newbies too…

I never liked it much and I’m pleased that it will probably not last long.

Last Friday, standing on a small patch of grass outside school waiting for collection time I heard one of the other Mum’s say “Well this is me for the next 11 years!” and my heart did a flip! It’s eight years for me, the little man starts school next September. Blige I thought, she’s right.

Quite a few of the Mum’s already know each other well, they are scattered through the villages around the school and have children the same age – obviously. They seem a happy bunch and very pleasant to chat too although I do feel like an invading ‘Townie’ I guess by large that is because I am.

The Dad’s loiter at the back too looking rather shifty and uncomfortable, so it’s not a bad place to be 😉

So we are cutting ourselves a little routine these two weeks of half days, flying out of the door at the last minute as ever, although the last minute is half an hour earlier then we needed to leave last year.  We park up on a handy verge somewhere and either play car roulette in the tiny country lane with the other parents as they arrive to drop off or charge down the cutest little ‘no vehicles allowed’ lane to the school where we bustle ourselves into the cloakroom and get the Little Lady settled at a table then my little chap and I charge off at full throatle to get him to nursery back in town. It’s all go you know!

And so this is the latest stage of my ever changing life, my role as Mummy the taxi driver has begun…

…but what about her? I can hear you asking… Well she loves it, adores her teacher, got a sticker today for “Being Good, Sitting Nicely and making the classroom Tip Top Tidy.”

No worries.