Sunday, September 30, 2012

My week in pictures #3

I'm still a little bruised, but feeling so much better! We've had swimming lessons (G is such a champ!) dressing up (I know I'm biased, but I think little C is the cutest pirate I've ever seen) and following a flash of inspiration (Pinterest has a lot to answer for) I attempted to make the girls a play tent in our back yard. 

Linking up with Tina Grey {dot} Me today for some blog hopping action!

Friday, September 28, 2012

The sisters

There are so many things that I want for my girls.

I want them to be healthy, fit and active. I want them to be bright and curious. I want them to explore this amazing world we live in and have wondrous adventures.

Most of all… I want them to be friends.

When G first met her little sister she was besotted. “Baby” she cooed, touching little C on the nose.  She regarded her sibling like a new doll, someone to play with and sing too and cuddle and, er, draw on. 

Like any new toy the novelty soon wore off. Maybe she was a little jealous of my divided attention or maybe she is just a bit of a pickle – but soon enough G was taking every opportunity to donk her sister on the head, push her over, steal her toys and generally be a bit of a meanie.

Little C has had it tough, she’s had to endure a constant stream of terror which has left her a little suspicious of her big sister… and with good reason… one minute G holds up a flower for her to smell – the next minute she’s shoving it up her nose.

 But oh how they laugh! And they laugh at each other laughing, and then laugh some more.

And lately, things have changed.

They have shared moments. They have cooperated. G took C for a ‘drive’ round the garden in her toy car. They took turns with a shape sorter. They chased each other round the kitchen on their hands and knees (I was actually trying to cook dinner at the time... still… squeals are better that whines). 

They are just small moments.

But they make my heart sing.

Sisters? Yes! 

Friends?... Maybe

Please spare a click and vote for me! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Last week I had my wisdom (teeth) surgically removed.

I was nervous. I know it’s a pretty standard procedure, but I couldn’t help worrying about the general anaesthetic. I had a little half-joke-half-deadly-serious conversation with my husband regarding his instructions in the unlikely event of my death…

“Don’t ever smack them, ask Sam to teach them about girl stuff, bras and periods, that sort of thing, don’t replace me! Oh! Ok, I suppose you can replace me…”

My husband squeezed my hand and told me not to worry. Every thing will be ok.

I was installed in a little room, given a delightful hat and gown combo (think ‘spring races’ meets ‘dental surgery’… ok… just think ‘dental surgery’) to wear and a stack of glossy magazines to flick through.

To be honest, I quite enjoyed the waiting around part. It’s not often I get to enjoy ‘alone time’, if I hadn’t have been nil-by-mouth I’d have asked for a cup of tea!

But then it was time. I was wheeled off to theatre. Well trained in sending patients off to sleep the anaesthetist asked me a few questions, I started to answer and somewhere between the meaning of little C’s name and the unusual spelling I was out… I guess…

Then I was having a lovely dream. Warm and cosy. I think there was some cuddling. I was somewhere nice anyway… beep… floating floating…. BEEP…

I heard one of the nurses laugh and say “Oh poor love, I bet that was the best sleep she’s had in years!”

And then, as they say, I was back in the room.

As things came back into focus the pain started to register, my mouth was full of gauze and blood and throbbing pain. I started to cry. Tears ran down my cheeks and into my ears. I think it was the shock. 

They wheeled me into ‘recovery’, wrapped ice blocks to my head and tried to make me eat jelly. At that point the idea of putting anything in my mouth seemed akin to stabbing myself in the leg with a very blunt fork…  I politely declined.

I thought that I’d enjoy my period of converlessing. That I’d stay in bed with the laptop whilst my husband took care of the kids and the house. ‘I’ll catch up on all the posts on my ‘to blog’ list. I’ll take care of my site maintenance. I’ll pitch for freelance work’… how wrong could I be.

The pain has been intense. The drugs have made me woozy. I’ve had about 0% motivation to write… I actually started to worry that the source of all my writing ability lay within my wisdom teeth…

For the most part I stayed in bed. My girls came to visit me, to watch Mickey Mouse on the laptop, or look at a picture book. G stroking my arm and asking again and again ‘You ok Mummy?’. It’s been hard on all of us.

Yesterday I turned a corner. It didn’t feel like it at the time. I sat in the chair in the surgeons office and tried to be brave as he removed some stiches… I told myself ‘I’ve had two babies! I can handle pain!’ and then I surrendered to it, sobbed my heart out and said ‘This is MUCH worse than childbirth!” 

The lovely nurse squeezed my hand and assured me that I would feel better once the stitches were out. I wasn’t convinced. The pain on the way home was as bad as it had been all week and showed no sign of letting up. I pride myself on keeping my sense of humour, but my week of pain had defeated me. I was thoroughly miserable.

I had ice cream for dinner. Again. (It’s not comfort food when it’s pretty much all you can eat). I had an early night.

And… this morning I woke up feeling dramatically better. It still hurts, but not with the same intensity. I realised I could smile. Sort of. I realised that the puffiness in my cheeks that had prevented my teeth from meeting (the main pre-requisite for chewing) had gone. I celebrated my return to solid food with a bowl of porridge…. Small steps people.

This morning I left the house with (a small) spring in my step. I watched the girls in their swimming lessons. I forgot about the dirty great big yellow bruises on my still rather swollen cheeks… I must have looked a sight… but the joy of feeling almost human was enough to keep me afloat.

And tomorrow my husband will go back to work (for a rest)… and life will continue as normal. Well, as normal as it gets round here anyway!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The bird

This is one of my old school photos. From looking at it I'd say I was about nine or ten. I can tell from the uniform that I was at Chigwell County Primary. Oh, and there is a bird on my shoulder... I don't know why... 

I've put some serious pressure on my memory trying to find an acceptable explanation... Harry Potter was just a spark in J.K. Rowling's eye and international 'Talk Like a Pirate Day' didn't begin until 2002, and anyway, pirates have pretty parrots not Kestrels. 

On the bright side, the placement of the bird distracts from my bowl-meet-mullet hair cut (which were ever so popular at the time... honestly).

I do look happy though. I'm not so sure about the bird. 

They say a picture paints a thousand words. But in the case of this picture, only one word springs to mind .... 'why

Do you have any weird photos you can't explain? 

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

Sunday, September 23, 2012

My week in pictures #2


At the start of the week I was all red lippy and posie pouts, a keen participant in the Fox in Flats Red lipstick dare... but following dental surgery on Thursday I was less Audrey Hepburn and more Shrek... 

Linking up with Tina Gray. Me - This is a blog hop!

Friday, September 21, 2012


I wrote this post last November. Little C was only 4 months old and G, well, G was a bit of a handful...


Our neighbours are building a shed in their backyard (which is probably the best place for it). We were given advance warning of this event, but I didn’t really think much of it – how much disruption could a shed cause? Well… It turns out that it’s a fairly substantial shed. I have been watching its development from my kitchen window and can only assume that our neighbours are planning to move into the shed, or perhaps rent it out to backpackers. It really is an awfully big shed.

I don’t want to be a Mrs Moanie Pants, but the constant noise has been pretty irritating. It’s hard to settle Baby C (you would think she would be used to noise with a big sister like G around!) and my poor sleep deprived fuzzy head pounds from all the crashing and banging and drilling and shouting.

However, there is one occupant of our house, who is enjoying all the commotion…. G. It seems my little girl is destined for a career in the construction industry, which is surprising given her natural talent for demolition.

On day one of the building work, G was startled by the noise.

“It’s ok G, It’s just the builders!” I say in my best cheery voice.

“They’re building a shed! Do you want to see?”

I take her to the kitchen window and lift her up. G watches with interest as one of the builders appears and starts hammering again.

“See! It’s just the builders”

“Hello!” calls G to the builder. The builder looks around but can’t locate the little voice of my (now very excited) daughter.

“HELLO!” she yells. The builder seems slightly bemused, but gives her a friendly wave and continues with his hammering.

I pop G back down and she runs off, re-appearing a few moments later with a hammer. She starts banging the kitchen cupboards and gives me a few friendly whacks round the ankles. Its ok! It’s just a toy hammer!

By day three (I told you, it’s big shed) G is totally hooked. She squeals with glee when the banging starts and calls out “Hello Builders!” We’ve been spending a lot of time watching the progress of the shed through the kitchen window and her own building work (the random hammering of furniture, toys and once, her baby sister) is bordering on obsessional.

BANG BANG BANG go the builders. BANG BANG BANG goes G. BANG BANG BANG goes my head.

More tea? Yes, I think so.

Please vote for me! :-)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Need v's want

I’ve been trying to teach G the difference between need and want. 

“I need an egg” she whines.

Actually, it’s more like “I need an eeeeeeeegg”….  Her Aussie twang is developing nicely.

“You don’t need an egg.” I correct.

“You want an egg”

G narrows her eyes and regards me with a look that can only be described as contempt. Apparently she doesn’t like to be corrected. This must be a trait she has inherited from her father. Surely?

She tries again.

“Mummy. I need and want an eeeeeeeegg”

“You need and want an egg?” I repeat, choking back laughter.

“Yes!” she confirms

“I need and want an eeeeeeeegg”

Can’t argue with that.

She eats the egg triumphantly. Did I mention that the egg in question was of the chocolate variety? 

Later on when the girls are fast asleep in their beds and dinner is simmering softly on the stove I turn to my husband and say

“I need a glass of wine”

He smirks.

“You need a glass of wine?”

My eyes narrow.

I am about to dive head first in to a ranty monologue justifying my ‘need’. It is better to get stroppy and defensive than allow my husband to correct me…

I stop. I remember G. And I say…

“Yes. I need and want a glass of wine”

Sometimes you just have to go with the toddler logic…

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tooth hurty

When is time away from home by myself not a treat? When it’s a trip to the dentist... 

I’ve been having some drama with my teeth over the last few months. Fillings, root canal treatment, opinions, second opinions.

Last week I met with the dental surgeon who will be removing my wisdom teeth. Part of me hoped he would have a look and say ‘Nah, you’ll be fine’ but the constant aching and ever-present pressure told me otherwise. 

I sat on a plush leather dental chair and opened my mouth. I let my mind wander… it’s best that way… I am prone to getting the giggles…

The last time it happened was at my root canal treatment back in May. As the dentist administered a needle full of local anaesthetic the colour drained from my face (apparently … I couldn’t actually see my face)

“Are you ok? Do you feel dizzy?” he asked, frowning with worry.

I nodded, it’s hard to talk when you’ve enough anaesthetic in your mouth to bring down a horse. Ok, a pony.

With grave concern all over his face he began reclining the chair. First I was at an odd angle, then I was horizontal and the next thing I knew my feet were in the air and my hair was brushing the floor. I have since been assured that this is a totally normal procedure to counter act dizziness… but at the time I thought it was hysterical.

I started to laugh. At first the dentist and his assistant laughed too, quietly exchanging eye contact “Uh oh, we have a live one”.  But then I couldn’t stop laughing. Not when they returned me to the starting position...not even when they started to prop my mouth open with what felt like a clamp (it was a clamp). It wasn’t until they started filling my mouth with cotton wool that I started to calm down…. Until they put the goggles on me and I started giggling all over again.

But there was no laughter at the specialist’s office. No cheery goggles. No cotton wool. Just the conversation I’d been dreading.

My lower wisdom teeth are lying directly on top of a major nerve and it’s possible that their removal could cause it permanent damage, resulting in loss of feeling in my lower lip. My regular dentist had concluded the same.

I asked the surgeon to explain how a numb lip might impact me… "Will I be able to kiss? Will I be able to drink tea? Will it affect the way I talk?"

He assured me that whilst it would feel a little odd I would retain full motor function. There may be some things you can’t do… he paused for a moment to think of an example.

“You’ll need to look in a mirror when you put lipstick on” 

Pha! I need to look in a mirror when I put lip stick on anyway. I can live with that. 

Lipstick applied with use of mirror and still a little wonky...
And so, I’m booked in for dental surgery this week. Thursday afternoon at tooth thirty…. (not really, it’s at 4, I just couldn’t resist a little dental humour) I’ve been told that the recovery period could be pretty unpleasant. But hey, it’s a week off ‘work’… my husband will be enjoying quality time with the children, and I’ll be living on a diet of banana smoothies and chocolate ice cream. Maybe it won’t be so bad after all? 

Linking up with Jess at Diary of a Stay At Home Mum for IBOT!

Friday, September 14, 2012

The A-Z of Relentles Mothering - Part 6

Welcome to the 6th and final instalment of the A-Z of Relentless Mothering! If you would like to catch up on parts 1-5 click here… otherwise dive straight in! I know you’re dying to… 

W is for whinging… 

Oh the whinging! There is so much whinging! 
It’s hard to pin point exactly when the whinging phase begins but I think the great cognitive leap that is ‘cause and effect’ has something to do with it. Both of my children have perfected the whinge. They perform a whinging tag-team, taking it in turns to whinge incessantly until they get the result they’re looking for. In the run up to dinner time they usually stop the tag team approach and instead gang up on me by performing the double whammy… both whinging dramatically and at least one clinging on to my leg for good measure.

In my efforts to reduce whinging I may have given my children the impression that whinging works, and to be fair… it does. Such is the extent of the mental torture their combined whinging creates, I have allowed chocolate before lunch, telly at dinner time and their ultimate victory… dessert in the bath.

X is for Xylophone and other excruciatingly annoying toys...

I’m all for my children learning to play musical instruments, give ‘em a maraca or a tambourine or even the dreaded xylophone and let them bang away to their hearts' content. I join in too… so does my husband! In fact we’ve already stared rehearsing for our family Christmas concert and practice ‘jingle bells’ every morning (much to the delight of the neighbours, I’m sure).

The thing is, a considerable number of noisy toys have made their way into our home… toy mobile phones that beep and ask questions, a toy lap top that beeps asks more questions and plays irritating music… we have noisy flowers, a noisy elephant and even a noisy inflatable penguin.  

The beeps and squeaks and robotic voices worm their way into my ears.. my head spins… I can’t hear myself think… worse… I can’t hear myself shout! Heeeeeeeeelp! It’s too bloody noisy!

Y is for ‘yummy mummy'...

I used to loathe the term ‘yummy mummy’. To me it conjured up images of everything I am not. Skinny, polished, manicured, made-up, sleek and sophisticated.  I wasn’t any of those things before I became a mother and with spew stained clothes and dark circles under my eyes I certainly wasn’t after! 

I’m probably more of a ‘slummy mummy’… I’ve committed such heinous fashion crimes as wearing pyjama bottoms with one of my husband’s tee shirts... in public… and to be honest I didn’t even care. At the time getting out of the house with a newborn and a toddler was difficult enough without the added complication of making myself presentable.

Recently I’ve made my peace with the ‘yummy mummy’ in me… I’ve learnt that a little mascara and, er, shaving my legs can have a positive effect on my self esteem. And whilst I will never be polished… I’ll always be ‘yummy’ in the eyes of my babes. 

Z is for Zen….

Toddler wrangling can be exhausting, exasperating and at times bloody stressful!
Things can get pretty tough… days are long and demanding and the sheer battle of it all can drive even the sanest mother completely doo-lally.

I have a few little tricks up my sleeve to help me find my Zen… sometimes it is as simple as pausing to take a deep breath, making a cup of tea or phoning a friend.

Yes, mothering is relentless…. but at the end of the day… it is worth it!  (at least that’s what I keep telling myself!).

So that’s it folks! Thank you for joining me on my adventure through the alphabet. Thanks for all the suggestions and the comments....It’s been emotional!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Seeing red...

Dear Highly Aggressive Sydney Driver,

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while. You’ve been on my mind (and frankly, up my backside). Things can not go on as they are. It has got to the point that I dread driving… I’ve had so many close calls in recent weeks that I’m becoming a nervous wreck.

Just quietly, between you and me, you’re supposed to give way at stop signs. I know round-a-bouts are dreadfully confusing, but this simple rule will save me the trouble of slamming on my breaks and pooping my pants… ‘give way to the right…’… I know! it’s complicated!…. ‘Give way to the right’… 

For your information, when the traffic lights turn red it actually means ‘stop’… it doesn’t mean accelerate and charge on through… Don’t worry, the lights will turn green again ... it wont hold you up too much, especially since the road ahead is usually grid locked anyway. I can understand your confusion though… it’s not like you get much warning that they’re about to change… If only there was some way of knowing… an amber light perhaps…?

Red light = Stop...
It’s not just the traffic lights that have me seeing red. I don’t understand the mentality of tailgating… you wouldn’t come up to me on the pavement and aggressively push me out the way… would you? If I’m going to too slowly (so sorry for sticking to the speed limit, I know it is so frustrating) kindly go around me… don’t sit on my bumper and force me to speed up.

If you want specifics, take that incident on the M3… I was in the slow lane doing 80km/h minding my own business, singing along to the radio and chatting to my toddler. All of a sudden my rear view mirror was full of great big ugly lorry, bearing down on me… and you, the irate driving flapping your arms and angrily beeping the horn.

It was a terrifying experience. I had nowhere to go, already travelling at speed with only a safe breaking distance between me and the car in front. I swore a lot.

This is happening to me every day. I am not a new driver. I’ve had my licence for fifteen years and driven, without incident in major cities across the globe. What’s it all about eh Sydney? What’s the hurry?

People are killed in road accidents every week… and frankly I’m surprised the statistics aren’t worse. Would it really hurt to slow down and show a little consideration for your fellow human beings? Would it? After all as the saying goes… would you rather be a little late or late. Permanently.

Yours shakily,

Mrs traumatised-behind-the-wheel,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I am turning into my mother

You will often hear me say that I am turning into my mother. I seem to be saying it more and more as I grow older. I see her in the mirror sometimes, especially first thing in the morning when I’m squinting in the early light. I say things that she says. Like; ‘Please can you turn the music down a bit?’

I know that I’ve adopted some of her facial expressions too, concern, sympathy. My head tilts and I furrow my brow. I am my mum while I listen and nod and say ‘I’m so sorry to hear that’.

I say ‘I just want to turn my head off for a bit’

I lie awake worrying.

When I was a teenager I got exasperated with my mum for waiting up. Why does it matter what time I get home? And she would tell me that she couldn’t settle until she heard my key in the door. ‘Cwsg y ci butches’  The butcher’s dog sleeps with one eye open.

Now I understand.

My girls are little and asleep in their beds, but I’m always listening out for a little voice, calling out in the dark. Needing me. Will I ever sleep well again?

Yes, I am turning into my mother.

And I don’t mind one bit.

Because my mother is amazing.

She is wise and strong and beautiful and kind and caring.

She taught me to wave at passing wedding cars calling ‘Don’t do it!’ to the bride.

She demonstrated the art of assertiveness (scaring the living day lights out of some tardy mechanics)

She told me that as long as I always did my best that she would be proud of me regardless of the results.

She told me that the women in our family are strong when I cried over failed relationships.

She held my hand at my father's funeral and she sang hymns as we scattered his ashes.

She listened to me sob when I lost my first pregnancy, silently there for me at the end of the line.

She danced with me at my wedding.

She has played with G and chased her round the park and she held little C the night she was born.

She has read every single post I’ve written. Even the one I told her not to!

Happy birthday mum.

I love you. 

Linking up with Jess at Diary of a Stay at Home Mum for IBOT

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The happy meal

Before I had my own children I had some pretty unrealistic ideas about the kind of practices that were and were not acceptable. I think we all do. We see tantrum throwing toddlers kicking and screaming in the supermarket and think ‘Oh the horror! My children will never behave that way!’the reality is that this parenting lark is harder than it looks… and sometimes you have to compromise your ideals to get through the day in one piece.

Things I said I would never do include letting G watch thetelly (good grief! Who was I kidding? The telly is a god send!), letting G playwith my iPhone (good grief! Who was I kidding? The iPhone is a god send!),bribing, er… I mean rewarding G withchocolate and letting G wear polish on her little toe nails (worth the sickfeeling in my stomach for the joy on her face).

Yesterday afternoon we piled the girls into the car and wentfor a drive. We didn’t have a destination in mind, just a desire to get out thehouse for a few hours and do something spontaneous. My husband and I talked andsang along to the radio, laughing at the girls dancing in their car seats. 

We ended up at Freshwater in Sydney’s NorthernBeaches. Soaking up the afternoon sun as we splashed in the surf and chased theseagulls. It was an hour of bliss. The Spring breeze clearing the Wintercobwebs. 

It was 5pm when we started the slow journey home. The girlswere tired and hungry and we were a long way from home. And so, with a heavyheart, we broke the final rule and gave the girls MacDonalds for dinner. HappyMeals to be precise. Served in cardboard boxes that delighted them beforethey’d even seen the content.

I honestly didn’t know what was worse, the fact that I’dgiven them junk food or the fact that they enjoyed it so much! The whinging andbickering gave way to chomping and ‘Mmmmming’. G declared that the chips were'delicious' and little C asked for ‘more’.

So there you go, I have no principles left.... 

 But I do havetwo happy children…

What has made you happy today? 
Linking up with Fi from My Mummy Daze for Windows of Happiness 

Windows of Happiness

Friday, September 7, 2012

The A-Z of Relentless Mothering - Part 5

Welcome back! If you're new to this series you may like to click here to catch up... no pressure. 

Right then, lets get cracking! 

S is for sense of humour…

Mothering without a sense of humour is like orienteering without a map. Yes, you’ll get there eventually, but you won’t enjoy the ride. Being able to have a chuckle at the ridiculous things my children do helps me through the tough days.

And I think they know it too… just when they sense I’m losing my grip on the few marbles I have left they step in with their cheeky expressions and funny noises and no matter how grumpy I am … I have to smile.

T is for transferable skills…

I may have left the corporate world behind me (for now at least), but the skills I learnt climbing the career ladder are just as valuable to me in my role as a mother as they were back in the office…

I have the multi-tasking skills of a plate spinning acrobat, the diligence of a tax accountant and negotiation skills of a senior mediator in a highly volatile hostage situation.  

I am able to prioritise (snotty nose or poonami?) and complete tasks quickly and calmly… (ok, not calmly… but I’m working on it).

U is for utterly exhausted…

Toddler wrangling is exhausting, which just isn’t fair as the little buggers have so much bloody energy! Even on those miraculous nights when both my children ‘sleep through’ I still find myself bleary eyed and yawning.

I honestly don’t remember the last time I had a ‘lie in’… in fact to be honest, I’m not even sure if I still know what a ‘lie in’ actually involves. It is like some exotic spa treatment I see advertised in the salon where I get my top lip waxed… er, I mean my eyebrows… 


V is for vomit….

In my first few months of motherhood approximately 90% of my clothing was accessorised with baby vomit. Following a feed, G would deposit milky stains on my shoulder or down my front quicker than you can say ‘get-your-boobs-out-love’.  It was such a glamorous time!

The funny thing is that those milky little pukes were pretty inoffensive… compared with the king of sicks… the projectile… exiting the mouth of your little one with such force that nothing in its path stands a chance…

I really hope I haven’t ruined your morning tea…

Click here to skip straight to part 6

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My earliest memory

My Great Uncle Emrys was a beautiful man. He smiled with his whole face, eyes bright. Even his wrinkles were friendly, as if he had spent his whole life being cheerful and had never frowned. I don't remember much about him, and never knew him well, but his warm handsome face is as clear to me now as the faces I see every day.

I remember his smile and I remember digging in his flowerbeds with a big, silver serving spoon. A packet of seeds to plant and a new enthusiasm for gardening…

Uncle Emrys lived with Auntie Nida in Glenneath a village in the valleys of South Wales. Other elderly aunties lived in the nearby streets; Eunice, Doris, Gwenda. They lived their lives in each other’s pockets. Whenever we went to stay with my Nana and Grandpa in Cardiff an entire day would be dedicated to visiting the relatives in Glenneath.

The short drive felt like an eternity, peering out of the window as the city gave way to countryside. Gripping a sick bag ‘just in case’.

My sister and I were dragged from house to house, each visit blurring into the next. We sat cross-legged on the floor sipping orange juice from tiny glasses. Scoffing freshly baked welsh cakes, eagerly licking the sugar off our sticky fingers.

It was a long day. Full of 'Haven't you grown?' and 'Oh you look so much like your mother!' all said with in melodic accents and friendly smiles. We were bored and restless. The grown up conversation always seemed the same. What are they talking about now? Oh… yes… I’ve heard this one before.

Uncle Emrys came to our rescue. I remember standing in his kitchen and being handed a spoon. It was big and heavy, tarnished with age and decades of use.

I don’t remember the details. It is hazy round the edges, like a washed out photo or a piece of cinefilm. I remember the joy of being outside. The weight of the spoon in my hand, digging the soil between the rhododendrons and the lavender. Squinting in the afternoon sunshine. Uncle Emrys beaming his big beautiful smile.

It is my earliest memory. At least, I think it is. Memory is a funny thing. There are things I think I remember, but maybe I’ve just invented a memory from a family story or an old photo.

 But gardening with my Great Uncle Emrys is a real memory. I couldn’t tell you what month it was, or how old I was. But I can tell you I wore a blue sundress and that the petals of the rhododendrons were pale pink and browning round the edges. I don’t know what we planted or if the seeds ever grew. But I know that the earth felt warm when I sank my hands in to it and that the birds were singing as my mother called us in for tea.

It is a tiny piece of my childhood.

A perfect memory. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Thanks for the tits!

... and other spelling mistakes

I was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 13. I remember the feeling of relief with total clarity. Prior to the verdict of the educational psychologist my teachers had drawn their own conclusions… they used words like words like ‘stupid’… and ‘lazy’… They used those words so frequently that I started to believe them.

They didn’t see me study for hours or understand the stress I felt during every test. They only saw the results… my homework was returned scrawled with corrections in angry red pen. I was regularly humiliated in front of my classmates who enjoyed a laugh at my expense.

When I found out that I was dyslexic it was like having my name cleared; 'Catherine you’re not stupid after all!'. Knowing that there was a reason I kept making the same mistakes gave me the motivation to work even harder. At 13 one of my teachers warned my mother that I would probably fail my final exams… in fact I passed everything with above average grades and went on to University.

As an adult I can still be a little sensitive when people laugh at my mistakes… but every now and then I make a mistake so funny that even though my pride is bruised I still roll around in hysterics. So for the benefit of my readers, here are my top five spelling errors of all time (er, perhaps I should say ‘up until now’… let’s face it, there are bound to be more….)

1) {Age 8} I wrote a letter to my Nanna to thank her for “The lovely pair of tits you sent me for my birthday”… she had in fact sent tights. Stripy ones. 

2) {Age 14} I wrote a poem and got involved with ‘Natal Dyslixa’ week. Dyslixa Rools. K.O.

The organisers of National Dyslexia week were so pleased to have me on board 

3) {Age 15} I give my Mum a handmade book of short stories littered with humorous mistakes such as 'If you serenader, your lives will be speared!'.... it all sounds rather dramatic, but don't worry... things ended 'peasfully'. 

4) {Aged 27} I emailed a Senior Partners at the prestigious law firm I worked for apologising  ‘for any incontinence this may have caused’ ... And there I was thinking spell check would help me!

5)  {Aged 34} I wrote a blog post about my experience of posing nude for a life painting class and… well… see for yourself:

Bushes were washed... *blushes*

Go ahead and laugh… I sure did! 

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

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fathers Day

I crept out of bed early this morning leaving my husband snoring softly, defensively grasping the small corner of our duvet that hadn’t formed part of my cocoon. I tip toed down the stairs like a little mouse (a mouse with clogs, and a hangover…) and started to prepare a special fathers day breakfast. The kettle whistled as I cracked eggs and whisked pancake batter.

The plan was simple. Make breakfast, then wake the girls and surprise Daddy with breakfast in bed, along with the home made t-shirt and card I had helped them create. I couldn’t wait to see the look on my husband's face. I know in years to come the girls will have it covered, but while it’s up to me I want to ensure my husband feels thoroughly loved and appreciated on fathers day… er, and every other day of course. 

Fun in the park
 As I cut lemons and brewed tea I let my thoughts drift back to fathers days celebrated with my own dear dad. I had a little chuckle remembering all the fart jokes and home made cards.

One year, while helping my dad with the grocery shop, I snuck a big hefty wine book into the supermarket trolley as a special fathers day gift. He turned a blind eye to it as it made its way along the conveyor belt, and conveniently turned away as I whisked it into my bag at the other end.

“Oh what a surprise!” he said when I presented it to him on fathers' day. Yes he had paid for his own gift… hey, at least I wrapped it.

I flipped pancakes, poured tea, filled sippy cups, and generally acted like the goddess of domesticity… until the fire alarm started beeping… and the girls started shrieking and my husband leapt out of bed as if the house were ablaze…, which in fairness is the reaction one would hope for.

In sharp contrast to the leisurely breakfast I’d planned for him, my husband spent the first ten minutes of fathers day franticly flapping a tea towel under our over sensitive fire alarm while G ran around yelling ‘Fire! Fire!’

Little C thought it was very jolly and applauded her father as if the entire performance was for the benefit of her amusement.

Despite the somewhat disastrous start to the day I think it would be fair to say that my husband has had a very pleasant fathers day; (burnt) pancakes for brekkie, a new ‘hand painted’ T-shirt, a home made card, quality time chasing the girls round the park and lunch out with friends while I baby sat! 
Home made card and 'designer' T-shirt

 Happy fathers day!

Did you celebrate fathers' day today? What did you get up to?