Friday, August 31, 2012

A – Z of Relentless Mothering – Part 4

Welcome back to the A-Z of Relentless Mothering. Click here if you'd like to catch up on the story so far. This week I’m taking on N to Q....

N is for No…
 
As a parent there is nothing more thrilling than hearing your little one utter that first word. You find yourself eagerly listening out for any hint of a new phrase, becoming highly excitable every time they blurt out a new sound. It is wonderful witnessing their amazing development.

Until they learn how to say ‘NO!’

And all of a sudden the answer to Every. Single. Little. Thing is…. NO!

For your child it is the first taste of independence, the realisation that they actually have a say. For the mother it is a form of mental torture akin to banging your head against a brick wall.

“No! No! No! No! No! No!”

Ahh. Sweet memories.


O is for Organisation… 
 
When you have small children you need to be organised if you want to make it out of the house before noon. Very organised. In the weeks that followed the birth of little C and my induction into the world of mothering two under two I was the most organised I’ve ever been. Snacks and lunches were prepared every evening to save time during the day, the nappy bag was always well stocked and every day was planned with military precision. Up at the crack of dawn and out the door no later than 0900 hours…

But even the most organised mothers become unstuck from time to time. I’ve found myself locked out of the house with no keys, at the supermarket check out with no purse and the worst…. Stuck indoors on a rainy day…. Without any tea!


P is for poo…

When I was pregnant with G, a good friend described Mecconium (otherwise known as baby's first poo) as something out of a horror movie. The thick, black, tar-like substance sticks to the newborn bottom like treacle. It is nature's joke on new mothers who are ‘Ooohing and Ahhhing’ one minute and ‘Ewwwing and Arrrging’ the next.

In the early days of motherhood my friends and I talked about poo so much that we invited a whole language to deal with is many variations. ‘Poonamis’ were runny yellow poo up the back, ‘Poosplosions’ were runny yellow poo down the legs and ‘Pootastrophes’ were a combination of the two.

There was a deeply worrying phase of green poo. Then, following the introduction of solids there was a deeply worrying phase of orange poo.

I have been covered in poo more times than I wish to remember. I learnt several important lessons the hard way; baby poo is very squirty, never check for poo by dipping your finger into the back of a nappy and most importantly… if it smells bad from a distance… it’s a job for Daddy.

Now that G has completed her potty training we’ve moved into a whole new realm of poo. As she sits on the toilet she provides a delightful running commentary, pulling expressions worthy of a facial contortionist before hopping down to ‘rate’ the poo.

“A big one!’

And then merrily waves it goodbye as she flushes it away round the U-bend.

Please tell me this is normal!

Q is for ‘Quiet time’…
 
Ha!....

I had you going there didn’t I? well, when you’re relentlessly mothering small children there is no quiet time… sorry…

Click here to click straight to part 5

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Baby's first steps


Although she’ll always be my baby, little C isn’t really a baby any more. She’s on the verge of her toddlerhood, asserting her opinions (she has some very strong views regarding the availability of biscuits) and learning more everyday. 


G still calls her ‘Baby’ or sometimes ‘The Baby’. She loves her little sister, and when she’s not bashing her over the head with an inflatable penguin she’s stroking her head and holding her hand. I guess she’ll always be G’s baby too.

C started walking this week. When I say ‘walking’ I mean she started taking a few steps. I help her stand up, she wobbles for a moment and then with a sparkle in her eyes she strides forward! Determined! Fearless! She takes one step, then another before falling forwards, landing on the floor with a thud, sprawled in a heap, chubby limbs tangled up… and a smile on her face.


The stumble doesn’t put her off. She doesn’t cry, or complain or feel sorry for herself. She doesn’t berate herself for failing. Or give up because it’s too hard. She merely starts again. I hope she will approach her whole life this way and never give up on her dreams. It is an attitude that will take her far in life… and with a bit of luck, by the end of the week, it will take her across the kitchen. 


I am so thankful for my babies, today and everyday. What are you thankful for? 

Linking up with Kate Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday 

Thankful Thursday

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jump (Wordless Wednesday)


"One! two! three!" yelled G and then she jumped... 

Linking up with Trish at My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Getting naked. In public

As I approached my 29th birthday (many, many years ago) I asked my close friends to help me compile a list of things I should do before hitting the big three-oh. The idea was that the suggestions should be things that would challenge me, help me overcome a fear, teach me something or be something I’d always talked about doing.

I ended up with an impressive list, ranging from ‘go back-packing’ to ‘get a tattoo’ (both of which I ended up doing), but the challenge that stood out the most was ‘pose for a life drawing class’… yup… ‘pose naked for a life drawing class’…

My first reaction was "No way! I couldn’t… not in a million years! What a ridiculous idea! Get naked? In front of a whole room full of strangers! Nooooooooooooooo waaaaaaaaaaay"

But the idea had been planted and the little seed of suggestion grew in my mind. Every now and then my thoughts would wander and there it would be, waving at me, that little idea whispering ‘Why not?

I started to wonder if I’d dismissed it too quickly… maybe I could do it… and maybe I’d actually get something out of it…

Like so many women I know I had often experienced negative feelings about my body. I’d look in the mirror and see my round hips and rotund thighs. I’d focus on all things I didn’t like. Sometimes I avoided mirrors altogether…

The more I thought about it the more I started to realise why my friend had suggested it in the first place. If I had been afraid of spiders he would have told me to hold a Tarantula in my hand (Shhhh I am scared of spiders… don’t tell my friend).

Getting my kit off in public would give me an opportunity to experience myself in a new way. To be totally vulnerable. To be still. To be quiet. To see myself the way other people see me. Without the filters.

Once I had committed to the idea I started to make some calls. A little part of me hoped that I wouldn’t find an art school willing to accept a model with no experience. That little piece of me that always holds me back, that little piece that says ‘You’re not good enough’, ‘You’re not worthy’, ‘You’re not ok’.

But that little seed of suggestion had grown into a mighty tree, its foundations gave me strength, its branches gave me courage… its leaves waved and rustled and whispered…. ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’…. 



When I got the call booking me in for an 8-hour life painting class I was absolutely thrilled.

And then I was terrified. 

On the morning of the art class I felt sick with nerves, as I travelled into the city I kept asking myself why I was doing it? I could stay on the train and go somewhere else. I could make an excuse. But somehow my body ignored my head and my legs carried me off to the art college regardless.

The teacher was kind. She spoke softly about different poses and arranged cushions on the floor. The room was warm. I changed into a dressing gown and waited for the students to arrive. I felt my heart beat in my chest.

It turned out to be one of the most liberating experiences of my life. I felt oddly comfortable reclined on the ground in the altogether. Showing off my birthday suit. I listened intently. Paints were mixed. Bushes were washed. Lines were drawn. Brushes met paper. The clock ticked. The heater hummed. I was ok.

At the end of the class I walked around to see the finished artwork. And I was stunned. Humbled. Elated. The woman in the pictures was beautiful. I took photos to remember the experience and the feeling.

I was ok




Linking up with the lovely Jess at Diary of a Stay at home Mum for IBOT

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Downloading


The other day I tried to take a photo on my iPhone, G was enjoying a play-date with her friend M, they came down the stairs together and peered trough the rails of the banister. It would have been the perfect picture. Two pretty little faces, eyes sparkling, smiles illuminating. I grabbed my phone… clicked into the camera… ‘Error’…

“You’ve got too many photos Catherine! Your phone literally can’t take any more!”

Well, ok, the error message wasn’t that specific, but you get the gist. I deleted a few old blurry photos from my camera roll, but it was too late. The two little faces had taken their little bodies off to cause mischief elsewhere in the house. The moment had passed.

Later on after much complaining, my technical support team… (otherwise known as ‘my husband’) suggested that I transferred all my iPhone photos to our laptop, keeping them safe to treasure and freeing up space to create more.

The syncing process took a while. I had thousands of photos and each one popped up on the screen as it made its merry way from one device to the other. Photos of G as a baby, photos of me at various stages of pregnancy (including one of me at the park wearing pyjama bottoms as they were literally the only thing left that fitted me) Photos of newborn baby C (covered in hummus), and probably at least one a day since. It was like watching a movie, frame by frame, the central characters growing up before my eyes. 




I watched all the little film clips, G transforms from giggling baby into a beautiful little girl, singing and dancing (although I’ll admit that her musical taste is a little questionable). One minute little C is laying in the nook of my arm, snoring her way through a deep and contented sleep the next she is crawling at break neck speed across the park.

It’s all happening so quickly! 

If only my memories were as easy to download! 
 



Linking up with Fi from My Mummy Daze for Windows of Happiness 

Friday, August 24, 2012

The A-Z of Relentless Mothering – Part 3

Welcome back to the A-Z of Relentless Mothering ! This week I am tackling J to M…

If you’re new to this series you might like to click here to catch up. 



J is for… ‘Just get on with it…’

Motherhood is not for the faint hearted. I’ve found myself dealing with some extremely unpleasant situations (ranging from cleaning porridge out of a plastic teapot to scrubbing the walls clean when G decided to re-decorate her bedroom… with the contents of her nappy…).

Even on a good day there are moments of stress and frustration… it goes with the territory! People often say "I don’t know how you do it!" and I reply…

"I just get on with it…"

What else can you do?.... no… really? What else can you do?!  

 
K… is for kisses

Little C is a very affectionate little girl. She loves her mama and every day I am showered in hugs and kisses. Big, wet, snotty, slobbery kisses. She lunges towards me with her mouth wide open and before I know it, I am covered in dribble…
           




L is for…. Love

Love. It’s what makes this mothering gig worthwhile. There are times when the frustration of living with an increasingly independent feisty, fussy, stubborn toddler drives me to despair! Sometimes I am sick of the sound of my own voice, repeating myself again and again as G wilfully ignores me. Unless I mention ‘cake’ that is…

But oh how I love my children. I love watching them play. I love hearing them sing (or in little C’s case…warble). I love their little arms around my neck. I love the sound of their laughter. And I really love it when they sleep...

All you need is love! Oh, and probably a bucket load of patience.... and some gin...



M is for “Mummy”

The first time G said “Mummy” I wept tears of joy. I held her close, trying to preserve the moment; the concentration on her face as she formed the syllables... my encouraging smile longing to hear the word. 

Oh how things change! Now “Mummy! Mummy! Mummy!” is all I hear from the moment G wakes to the moment she falls asleep…

Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration…

Variations include:

“Mummy! Heeeeeeeelp meeeeee!” when she is stuck behind the sofa (again), 
“Mummy! Come!” when she wants my company,
“Mummy do it!” when she wants me to do something, 
“Mummy fix it!” er, when she wants me to fix something….

My heart melted when she said "I love you Mummy!"...  

And just when I thought that maybe 'Mummy" was the best word in the world after-all... she made up her first song... "Mummy's got a big bottom"... 

Nice one G. 

Click here to skip straight to part 4

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mischief (Wordless Wednesday)


With mischief in her eyes little C disappeared... and then popped up again to surprise her Mummy.


Linking up with Trish at My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The abandoned projects of an ‘ideas person’

I am what you could call an ‘ideas person’. As a child I enjoyed ‘inventing’, we kept a ‘junk box’ of… well… ‘junk’… that I lovingly turned into… er… different junk… I was often inspired by the presenters on T.V. shows such as ‘Art Attack’ but with less double-sided-sticky-tape and even less skill. It’s something I never grew out of and as an adult I am as crafty as ever…

I like to think that I’m creative. I love making up new games for my girls, or thinking up art projects to brighten up our home. I’ve always been an… ‘ideas person’. But aside from a general lack of crafting ability, the biggest problem I encounter is my inability to follow-through….

It normally works like this… I have an amazing idea!…. I set to work it immediately… this usually involves rushing out to an art supplies shop or ordering fancy fabric online. I start work on the project at the earliest possible opportunity… enthusiasm at boiling point… gushing to myself abut how utterly fantastic the new cushions/wall art/curtains will look… 

A box of fabric.... It's day will come... Eventually
 Then I get distracted… this usually involves my children waking up and needing something

My half finished (and in the case of the scatter cushions… never started…) projects are cleared away… never to see the light of day again. The initial motivation evaporates… the venture is discarded.

Months pass… when I see a neglected canvas sticking out of a box under the stairs, or the curtain that is still hanging on the washing line (I hung it there several months ago for the first coat of fabric paint to dry) I think… “Oh yes! I must get round to finishing that….” 

A curtain for the toy cupboard.... first colour done... hung out to dry... in May
My latest project was a modelling clay animation… which was highly ambitious given my craft abandonment issues. I saw one on a friend's Facebook page (you can Dan's animation here) and immediately thought…

“That is amazing! I want to do that!…”

My utterly brilliant idea was to create an animation of me chasing my children round the park. Fairly simple, shouldn’t be too hard…

True to form I dashed to the shops to stock up on modelling clay and painstakingly created my figures… and they weren’t bad at all… By the time I got round to creating a set my initial enthusiasm had started to wear off. I got bored of taking photos and moving the figures. The girls woke up and I cleared everything away….

After several weeks G found the modelling clay figures and created a scene of her own…  (Cue deeply worrying sentence: “Mummy! The Baby's head has fallen off! I can’t find it!”)… And that was that. Another abandoned project.

You see… I am an 'ideas person'. I'm not a....... 

                              

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The body in the boot

I was eleven or twelve when we welcomed Skimbles the tabby cat into our family. Skimbles, or Skimbleshanks to use her full name, was our fourth family pet after a series of unfortunate incidents.

First, we had a rabbit. We called him Sooty, but it should have been Houdini. Sooty the escape artist regularly made it out of our garden… he burrowed under the back fence and when we blocked it off… he climbed over it instead. It was only a matter of time before he made his final escape… and despite a lengthy and thorough search… he was gone for good.  

It took a considerable amount of time to get over Sooty’s disappearance but eventually we were ready to move on. This time we chose cats… one each! We named them Lucky and Jezebel. We loved them so much. We played with them, we drew pictures of them, we stroked them and made them purr. That's pretty much all you can do with cats.

Within the space of three months we lost both our cats to the road. I recall in vivid detail standing at the front door calling for my cat, a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. My dad went out to search and came back with her broken body. Left by the side of the main road a few hundred meters from home. We buried her in our garden and we mourned. It was the first time I saw my dad cry. To this day I don’t know if his tears were for the dead cat or his distraught daughters, facing grief for the first time.

Lucky went the same way, out of luck as it were and again we stood in our garden as my dad dug a hole. Sobbing our hearts out. Wracked with sorrow and wondering how life could be so unfair.

So, you’ll understand that when Skimbles the tabby cat came to live with us we were a little over protective. We were terrified of the road, and reluctant to let her out of our sight. We would take her into the garden and let her roll around in the sun, but as soon as she started showing an interest in the back fence we would whisk her back into the safety of our house.

The years went by and Skimble grew. We started letting go of our fears and allowing her a little more freedom. She was always a timid cat and never went far, always on the doorstep when we got home from school.

Skimbleshanks.
Then one night she failed to come home. We called her, again and again. Anxiously shaking a box of cat biscuits, hoping to tempt her back. The next morning we expected her to me mewing on the doorstep. But she wasn’t. We left for school with that feeling of dread in our tummies.

As we drove past the end of our street we saw her. Our beloved cat, stretched out by the side of the road. She could have been sleeping, except we knew that she wasn’t.

Mum stopped the car. We sat for a moment numb with heartbreak. I started to cry. How could this be happening again? Why had I let her out?! It was all my fault.

My mum got out of the car and carefully picked Skimble up, placing her body on old carrier bags in the boot of our car. We were inconsolable.

I remember that short journey with total clarity. Sobbing and sniffing, wailing and whining.

We pulled into the driveway.

Skimble sat on the doorstep licking her paws.

The sense of relief was overwhelming. Sam and I threw open the car doors and ran to our beloved cat. Skimble was nonchalant. Mum watched us from the car, happy to see our joy… but wondering what an earth to do with the body in the boot.

We talked it through. Sam and I thought that the owner of the dead cat would probably be out looking for her. And since we had no way of contacting the owner, we should probably just put the cat back where we found it...

Poor Mum. Tasked with returning the dead cat to the scene of its last stand. She must have painted an odd picture. A middle aged, smartly dressed woman…standing at the edge of the road... removing a dead cat from the boot of her car….

Several days passed. We kept Skimble inside, the near miss was a painful reminder of the danger of the road. But we couldn’t help noticing that the dead cat was sill there.

Mum felt an enormous responsibility for that cat. And so, when it became apparent that the owner wasn’t coming… she went back… and again, carefully picked her up and put her in the boot of the car.

There was much debate over that poor dead cat, but eventually my mum took her to a local vet. The story did the rounds in our village for months. My mum was famous… for taking away a dead cat, and then returning the dead cat, and then for, er, taking the dead cat away again.

I am pleased to report that Skimble went on to lead a long and happy life, eventually dying a peaceful death from old age and contentment. 


Linking up with Fiona from My Mummy Daze for Windows of Happiness 

Friday, August 17, 2012

The A-Z of Relentless Mothering – Part 2

Welcome back to my journey through the alphabet! This week I’m dealing with E to I. 

You can catch up on part 1 here. If you like. No pressure.  


E is for Exceptionally annoying
Some toddler habits are cute. Some are funny and some are down right amazing. But, and I hope I’m not the only mother who feels this way… some toddler habits are exceptionally annoying.

When G first turned into a little puppy dog we fell about laughing, told her how 'cute' and 'funny' she was, humoured her and gave her lots of pretend bones.

‘Woof woof woof’ she… er… yelped in a high pitched manner more reminiscent of a strangled cat than a puppy.

The cuteness lasted a few hours and then the incessant yelping started to get on my nerves. After several days of listening to “Mummy, woof woof, I want a bone, woof” I started to lose my patience.

At the weekend G crawled through the park on her hands and knees, woofing and panting as she went. She didn’t care that we were in a hurry. Or that it was starting to rain. She was a puppy. It was exceptionally annoying…


F is for friends
What would we do without our friends? Living far away from my family is hard, I lean heavily on my friends for support and I’d like to think it’s a two way street (if not then some of my friends probably find me exceptionally annoying).


G is for grey hair
I discovered my first grey hair at the grand old age of 23. I was totally mortified and assumed that the rest of my head would follow suit “I’ll be totally grey by Christmas!” I wailed into my wine…But despite the amateur dramatics I held on to my natural colour (er, apart from that blonde phase I had…). 

They would be easy to cover up if I could be arsed with dying my hair. They wink at me when I look in the mirror, part and parcel of who I am. Since G’s arrival in my life my grey hairs have had kids of their own, new baby greys are sprouting up all over the place! I’m not complaining, they go so nicely with the dark circles under my eyes and frown lines on my forehead… it’s a look… of sorts… 


H is for hormones
I recently celebrated the return of my special lady cycle (and I’m not talking about a two wheeled fancy basket jobby…) and with it a big dose of hormonal hell. Mood swings? More like mood trapeze! I veer from grumpy, to weepy, to moody, to sad. With a bit of angry, unreasonable and doo-lally-tap thrown in for good measure. For several days of the month I feel like I am starring in a one woman rendition of ‘Snow White and the Seven Emoticons'.  
Thankfully I have my own ‘little people’ to help me make light of the situation. G unwraps sanitary towels and decorates the bathroom with them, fills her backpack with ‘mummy’s pons’ and hands me tissues as I cry my eyes out at the end of Toy Story 3 (it is harrowing viewing at the best of times).


I is for insane
There have been some defining moments in my journey through motherhood. The pure joy of watching G take her first steps, the pride in hearing little C say her first word. Important milestones, memories that I will treasure forever …

And then there was the first time I lost my mind and went completely bonkers… Stuck at home with a grouchy baby, sleep deprived and lonely I found myself rocking in a corner… ok, it wasn’t that bad… but there have been times that I have genuinely questioned my sanity... 

***

Click here to go straight to part 3  


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Face time

I had a brief chat with my sister last night. Five minutes ‘face time’ at the end of my day and the start of hers. I saw my nephews and sang a song with them. It wasn’t a big old deep and meaningful. I couldn’t even tell you what we talked about really. Bits and pieces, this and that. The weather.

I told her about G’s swimming lesson. She told me about GJ’s latest phrase. She was impressed that G goes in the water on her own now. I laughed at GJ calling out ‘hang on a minute’.


We have these brief interactions nearly every day. Sometimes our little ones chat to each other. They recognise each other, wave hello. G and GJ haven’t seen each other in the flesh since they were infants. Little C and baby T have never met.

It makes me so sad that these cousins are not growing up together. G and GJ are like two peas in a pod. Cheeky pickles. They would wreak such havoc. And now that the younger cousins are mobile, they’d want a slice of the action too. I expect the four of them could destroy a room in two minutes flat.

But it wouldn’t matter. Because we’d all be together.

I miss my sister with such ferocity that even typing these words has brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat.

4000 miles and the other side of the world.


My mum and her sister lived on different continents for a while. My Auntie Pat lived in South Africa for many years and my cousins were born there. International phone calls were a luxury, difficult to organise and expensive. My mum and auntie communicated by letter. Sometimes the letters didn’t make their destination so news was delayed, conversations haphazard.

I can’t imagine not having my daily ‘face time’. It allows me the illusion of being in the same room as my sister. It makes the distance bearable.

I am thankful for the technology that keeps me close to my family, who are so far away.

What are you thankful for?






Linking up with Kate Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday






Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Higher (Wordless Wednesday)


"Higher!" she screamed, laughing with excitement as the swing carried her into the air.

*

Linking up with the lovely Trish at My little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday

My Little Drummer Boys

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Socks without partners

 

The ‘Socks without partners’ meeting took place in the village hall on the first Friday of the month. The odd socks gathered, for support and friendship. They drew chairs into a circle and told their woeful stories.

It was customary for the odd socks to bring drinks to share, and being a Friday night that often meant alcohol. The lonely socks chugged down cold beers and became maudlin, weeping for their long lost partners.

Their stories were eerily similar. A montage of colourful images from the past swept by as they told tales of far off laundry baskets and moth balled draws. They thought they had it all. Socks mate for life you know.

The pink sock told the saddest tale. Smallest of the group, he had once belonged to a rotund baby. He was part of a pair. A partnership. He took the left foot, she took the right. Together forever. Housing precious feet.

He recalled the happiness of keeping those chubby toes warm. How even strangers in the street would marvel at their beauty;

“Oh just look at those adorable little socks!”

The baby socks were envied in the laundry basket. They were never shoved in odorous trainers, or splattered with mud from a spiteful playing field. They were loved. And when their job was over they were put away in a box of treasures, whiling away the years until they were needed again.

But something went wrong. One minute they were enjoying the view from a fast moving stroller. Taking in the blurry scenery as they whizzed past. He looked over and smiled at Righty. Her cheeks were rosy from the cool wind, hair blowing. Exhilarated. Excited. Enjoying the ride.

He closed his eyes for a moment against the brightness of the sun. And when he opened them, she was gone. Thrown to the ground by that arsehole baby. He tried to alert the authorities,

“Sock overboard! Mobilise the troops! A search party must be sent out immediately!”

He panicked, heart racing. But it was no use. His demands fell on deaf ears. By the time the mother noticed, it was too late.

He never saw her again.

The other socks sighed for pink as he took another gulp of beer. He gripped the bottle tightly, willing himself not to cry. It had been years since that dark day, but when he told his story the pain swelled in his chest once more. The monthly meeting kept him going. Knowing that there were others like him. He wasn’t the only odd sock in the world.

Over time he felt the bonds of sockship grow. He would never have another partner, at least not one that matched. But on the first Friday of the month, in the village hall… he found solitude. And for an hour or so, he was no longer alone.   

***

Linking up with Penny at A Mum In The Wild for Short Tale Tuesday and Jess at Diary of a Stay at Home Mum for IBOT! Be sure to follow the links and check out all the other posts!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What's that noise?

My cheeky toddler G has a new found curiosity of sound. Any sound! Familiar noises from around the house are suddenly deeply fascinating. I put the kettle on; “What’s that noise?”, the phone rings “What’s that noise?” ,  I…er… break wind… “What’s that noise?"

All day long she asks “What’s that noise?” sometimes she is timid, as if the noise has startled her. She covers her eyes with her hands in mock drama, peeping through to keep an eye on the situation, and ensuring she still has my full attention.

She has developed a pretty amazing imagination too. One minute it’s "What’s that noise?" the next we’re hiding from an make-believe mouse in the kitchen. I find myself drawn into her games and marvel at her creativity. At least I hope its creativity. Otherwise she is barking mad. 

Creative genius? or barking mad?
This week we were stuck in traffic en route to a friend's house for a bit of a play date. In an effort to entertain G I asked her what she could see out of the window.

“Ummm” She studied the scene with intense interest.

“A cat!”

“Really?” I asked, looking around. It seemed rather unlikely that a cat would be sauntering along the hard shoulder of the M4.

“Yes!” she replied, nodding earnestly.

“A purple cat!” and then… “Look mummy! The cat is flying!”

I craned my neck to see this remarkable flying purple cat… G continued pointing in a frenzy of excitement.

And then I saw it. Just as she did. Through her eyes.

A purple cat! Flying!

“Wow G!”

We inched forward. G forgot about the cat and started providing a running commentary on the road works that had delayed us. There was much excitement about the yellow digger and ‘Bob the Builder’. She settled down and continued observing.

Then little C started snoring…

Sleeping beauty snoring like a freight train
 And as if on cue, G piped up;

“What’s that noise?” 

Friday, August 10, 2012

The A-Z of Relentless Mothering – Part 1

I spend an awful lot of time reciting the alphabet for the benefit of my children. I sing my A, B, C’s with vigour and enthusiasm, hoping that some of it will start to sink in. With so much of my time devoted to the alphabet it seems only logical that I start compiling my own… the A to Z of relentless mothering…



A is for Ahhhhhhhhhhhh
Sometimes, being a stay at home mum is wonderful. Wonderful! I have moments that are filled with pure joy. When the girls are engaged in an activity together or when we enjoy some quiet time cuddling up with a book. In these moments I feel so blessed. I smile adoringly at my beautiful children and they gaze up at me with love in their eyes.

These are the moments that make it all worthwhile. These are the moments that make me go Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.

But.

A is also for Agggggrrrraaaaaaa!

Because sometimes the little darlings make me want to rip my hair out… When they’re tired and whiney, when they squabble, when they don’t even allow me to visit the toilet by myself. When G unwraps every single tampon from a brand new box professing that they’re mice…and attacks her little sister with them.... and I find myself yelling…

“No G! don’t hit your sister with a tampon”.

Yes A, is for Agggggrrrraaaaaaa alright!

Which bring me nicely on to B… 


B is for booze…..

Because unwinding at the end of a long day with a glass of wine, or a G&T, or a beer… or a peach schnapps, if that’s your thing (I’m not judging), is a fundamental part of motherhood. 



C is for caffeine….
However you get your fix, caffeine is an essential part of modern mothering. When you’re up to your neck in nappies and a good night’s sleep is a distant memory, a little caffeine in your system will help you through the day. 


D is for dignity…
I remember having dignity once… I’m not entirely sure when I lost it.  Probably somewhere between my GP enquiring after my piles and running through Target in my undies (I should explain that running through busy department stores in nothing but a shapeless hoodie and a pair of unattractive granny knickers is not something I’d do willingly. But when G unlocked the changing room door and made a run for it, I had no choice but to dash after her...) Dignity? Gone!

So that concludes part 1. Next week I’ll be revealing E to G… I expect you’re on the edge of your seat!

Click here to go straight to part 2

What would be in your A-Z of relentless mothering? 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Treasure


This morning G found my treasure chest. Calling it that makes it sound much grander than it is. In reality, my treasures are stored in an old shoe box. Ancient family photographs are bundled up with ribbons. Old letters with faded writing and foreign stamps tell tales of long forgotten adventures. Greetings cards with witty jokes and sentimental poems are tucked away to enjoy again and again. I try not to hoard. Sometimes I am ruthless. But these treasures have survived the years.

Now and then I’ll sit and leaf through the contents of my treasure chest. I’ll read through the tatty letters and smile. They give me a beautiful snapshot of a piece of my history. My angst filled teen years. My know-it-all twenties.

And then there are the photos. Whittled down to a box full. Black and white photos of ancestors I never met. My mum in her teens looking stunning in a short, short skirt. Photos from my childhood. Every picture tells a story. The day I started school. Holidays with family friends. The Kampala Goat Races (yes, really). The sunrise on my 30th birthday. Moments in time to treasure forever. 

My mum in her mini skirt
I was upstairs with C, changing her nappy and getting her dressed. I’d left G with the telly on, but that doesn’t keep her occupied for long. I listened out for signs of destruction and mischief… silence. It took me a moment to register it…. Silence! The scariest of sounds. What’s she doing?

G, the ever curious explorer had located my treasure chest. To be honest it wasn’t very well concealed. It sat on my bookcase inviting her little hands to come and rummage. By the time I found her she had leafed through the contents, leaving a trail of Nutella fingerprints in her wake. She sat on the floor surrounded in my special memories. She held a photo of my grandmother, my dad's mother whom I never met. She said “Mummy!”

“That’s not Mummy silly” I said, taking the photo. But, looking at the face of the woman smiling back at me it was easy to see why G was confused. There is a pretty strong resemblance. 

Joan Rodie. The grandmother I never knew
“What was it like for you?” I mused.

“Raising three boys, in the fifties…how were things different? Did you find it hard? Did you lose your patience and tear your hair out? Did you get on your hands and knees and offer train rides round the garden? Did you drink a lot of tea?”

G ignored our philosophical conversation and continued examining my treasures. She mistook my mum for my sister and my sister for my nephew. Then she found a photo of me… a cheeky photo of a cheeky toddler… and although I told her it was me she thought she was looking at herself. 

A cheeky monkey. And in the background, a Chimp
We cleared away the photos but I left the box on my desk. They don’t belong in a treasure chest… they belong in frames, on the walls, to look out at our world and remind me where I came from, where I’ve been and who I am.


Today I am thankful for my treasures. What are you thankful for? 

Linking up with Kate Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday 


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pizza


She started in the middle and worked her way out. Anyone observing would find it a little odd, but she wasn’t self conscious… she always ate pizza that way. She held her knife and fork awkwardly, at an angle, her elbows sticking out like a jolly policeman. The middle was the best bit. Cooked to perfection. To her, it was the only logical way to eat a pizza.

He observed her from across the table. He wanted to say something clever, something witty. He was distracted by a tiny crumb that was stuck to her lower lip. He watched it for a moment, and then it was gone, into her mouth with a flick of her tongue.  He found it oddly arousing.

She suddenly felt aware of his eyes on her mouth. She wished that she’d taken a smaller bite. She tried to chew gracefully, but the effort of doing so felt so unnatural that she started to choke. Her eyes widened with terror… it wasn’t so much that she was choking… but more the horror of spitting half chewed pizza back on to her plate.

Oh crap. She’s choking! He knew that he should spring into action but instead sat paralysed with embarrassment. He wanted to be her hero, but in that brief moment all he could think about was the expanding hole in the centre of her pizza and why anyone would want to eat it that way.

With partly chewed pizza debris falling from her mouth, she reached out a shaky hand for a glass of water. She kept her eyes down, certain that she now had the attention of the entire room. As she wrapped her sweaty fingers round the cool glass a single thought occupied her mind; next time, I’ll order soup.

He tried not to smile as she finally composed herself. He wanted her to feel comfortable again. But the smile would not be dismissed and spread it’s self across his face until it could go no further. His cheeks started to ache. He knew he had to speak. He willed himself to speak.

“Do you always eat your pizza like that?” he asked. 

Linking up with the lovely Jess at Diary of a stay at home Mum for IBOT and Lori at the Random Ramblings of a stay at home mum for The Muse Wars! 

Muse Wars- Prescribed For Writers Block and Blog Disillusion