Monday, 29 September 2014

Growing up

My 'baby', Crazy, celebrated his 2nd birthday last week.  That came around quickly, it feels like only a month or so ago I was cooing over this teeny tiny being, grasping my finger and making scrumptious snuffly noises in his still-too-big, newborn sized onesie.  Yet, at the same time it feels as though he has always been around.  He has his very own personality and little quirks and I'm so very proud of him.  He is stubborn, energetic, funny, alert, peculiar in an endearing way- I'm his biggest fan.  Whilst he is my world, I will ensure that he grows to learn that the world does not revolve around him.  He will learn to take turns, to share, to be polite and thoughtful and to work hard- he is not owed, he must earn.  With his baby sister due in February he may have to learn to share sooner than he likes.  My time and attention will be split with another, which seems almost incomprehensible to me, never mind a toddler.

Today Crazy spent his first morning in preschool.  We have been for a few visits and he has always very much enjoyed his time there but I was always around, in the background, for whenever he felt the need to check in.  On our last visit he barely looked my way more than twice so I was fairly confident that he would be just fine today... I'd almost started to look forward to a bit of time to myself.  We arrived at drop-off time to an excited 'Yay!' from Crazy, said our goodbyes and left him playing happily with a train set.  After a blissful breakfast in a cafĂ© as a grown-up (for those unfamiliar with toddler life, any meal out usually requires entertaining a demanding smaller person that becomes bored and vocal about said boredom within minutes, they will seek and destroy anything within reach and when food arrives, at least half of this will be thrown on the floor/at fellow diners, wiped on chairs/clothes/anyone within reach and as much time is spent clearing up the mess as is spent eating your own -cold- meal) I headed home.  Home was simply, 'house'.  The heart was missing.  The mess was there, so I put it away.  Then I cleaned and polished and steamed.  I continued doing these things in an attempt to stop the clock from shouting at me. 'Tick-tock! Tick-tock! Your son is with strangers! You are not in control! Tick tock! You still have an hour to go!'.  This exciting child free time sucks!

I hurried back to collect him- I was the first at the door of course.  I was closely followed by a second timer.  The second timer knows how you feel, they were a first timer just the other day.  They know it is worse the second time because your small people know of your betrayal, leaving them in this new place with these new people.  The second timer has endured the meltdown at drop off and pities your hopefulness and false confidence that your own small person has been playing busily without even noticing you've slipped away.  The old-schoolers arrived.  Their small people are into a routine, they know the score.  They've gone through the tears and tantrums and their children really do play happily whilst they enjoy doing grown up things.  They don't mingle with the first and second timers, the old-schoolers have their own clique.  The door opens, we hurry inside to find our small people.  Crazy is sad, his eyes are red and puffy and he is snotty and hiding in the corner.  The second timer is relieved to spot her small person engrossed in a book- I notice there is no sign of this morning's drop-off tears for their small person.  They are already transitioning to old-schoolers.  Maybe there is hope.  But right now I feel incredible guilt.  Crazy is clinging to me, wondering how and why I left him and he is marching me to the door- we must leave this place immediately before I disappear again and he is made to do fun things like drawing and playing with toys.  The lovely preschool people tell me about his morning, that he has been tearful on and off, that he didn't want to participate in snack time but he did like to play with the train set.  They presented me with his first drawing to be displayed proudly on my fridge and they reassure me that it was only his first day and that eventually he will learn that I always come back.  We scuttle off to the car and whilst Crazy is happy once again- and I'm pretty sure he has forgotten the whole ordeal already- I am holding back tears and already thinking about how much harder it will be leaving next time knowing that he needs me and I won't be there.  I am reminding myself that it is good for all of us that he has a couple of mornings a week at preschool.  He is learning to socialise independently, to build confidence in being a person in his own right and not being directed by Mummy.  I am making time to rest until the new baby is here and then to devote my whole attention, for a short while, only to her.  It is good for us all and once Crazy has settled, he will happily go in to play just like the old-schoolers.

My little 'baby', Crazy, is his very own person.  He is out there being himself and making his own decisions, however small they may be.  His path in life has started and the lessons I want to teach him are already underway.  He is learning and I am proud.  I have kept the first promise I ever made him- that we would both learn along the way.  What I didn't realise is that he would be teaching me every bit as much as I am showing him the way.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Sing like nobody can hear you...

Anyone who knows me from my days as a youngster will know that I was painfully shy.  In fact, even as recent as a few years ago I was still shy!  I struggled to talk to people I didn't know, I didn't even feel particularly comfortable talking at all and often kept a hand close to my mouth, self conscious of my teeth and generally feeling very awkward.

There aren't an overwhelming amount of photos of me as a child because I avoided the camera most of the time.  The ones that are about (and my Dad likes to post these publically for a laugh) used to make me cringe and despair.  I remember being so completely terrified of being embarrassed by any of these pictures that, when I came across a picture in the recycling bin on the family computer of me when I was little, I completely freaked out and demanded to know what humiliating poster my Dad was creating.  It turned out he had put together a little slide show of my older sister and I growing up as we share a birthday (she is exactly 3 years older so 18th & 21st was a big deal!).  It was beautiful.  It wasn't humiliating at all, he had been very kind with his choice of pictures and I felt awful that I had ruined the surprise.  Sorry Dad- it really was wonderful.

Am I shy now?  Nope!  What changed? I met my soul mate.  When Mr T came into my life I was at a pretty low point- a story for another day maybe, or perhaps just best forgotten.  I was a little more confident than previously in that I had been forced to face the unknown by joining the work force and moving out of home, but socially I was still lacking.  When on a night out and fuelled by alcohol, no bother.  Suddenly I had a mask to hide behind and everything could be blamed on the booze, not me, so all was well.  But introduce me to new people in an unfamiliar setting and I'm back to square one.  So what did Mr T do to change things?  He loved me.  For exactly who I am, just the way I am.  He made me believe in myself and be comfortable in my own skin.  These days I sing in a band, The Haze (  shameless, I know).  If you had told me as little as four years ago I would be in a band there is no way I would believe you- absolutely not, no way, never ever, even drunk I'm not doing karaoke so why would I ever humiliate myself like that?!  One day, Mr T came home early to find me warbling away in the kitchen with the door shut whilst I was cooking.  When he opened the door I turned beetroot red- you see, Mr T is a musician, from a family of musicians so I was completely ready to be mocked for my cat wailing noise!  But he didn't laugh, he said "why didn't you tell me you can sing?"

I was genuinely surprised by this question and assured him that I can't.  As he didn't torture me, I gradually relaxed a little bit and sang in the shower when he was home, and in the car along to the radio, where previously I would only sing alone.  On a holiday in Tenerife, before the days of Crazy, we were very drunk on cheap beer one evening when the cabaret turned out to be karaoke.  I could barely walk, was bouncing off of the walls quite literally and somehow, Mr T persuaded me to get up and sing a song with him.  I couldn't tell you what we sang, I just know it was utterly terrifying.  My legs were wobbly, I felt sick, my face was hot with embarrassment but we got through it.  I made a swift exit from the bar to find people outside that had been listening.  "That was pretty good! Do another one!"  Whaaat? No way!  Actually... that was pretty fun.  But no.

Anyway, that was it for a long time, but as I said earlier- Mr T is a musician and was in a band.  I often accompanied him to rehearsals and never missed a gig.  As I relaxed and started to believe Mr T's constant reassurance and kind words about my vocal abilities I somehow joined in the odd track with some backing vocals- it was very kind of them to let me participate!  I was extremely nervous if ever I got up on stage at an actual gig (very rarely) and even rehearsals left me with wobbly knees even though they were a really nice bunch of fellas.  Eventually Mr T's time with the band came to an end and on parting he decided to start a new band.  He asked me to join and although I was really nervous, I wanted to do it!  I wanted to get past my fears and do something I would never have believed I could do.  Somebody once told me I had no talent, that I couldn't do it and for too long I believed that.  Now I know I can- and I do.  Why are the negatives always so much easier to take on board than the positives?  For every person that told me I could, I was deafened by the one voice that told me I couldn't- lesson learned!

I love singing.  Not a day goes by that I don't sing something.  I love rehearsals- a gathering with my favourite people, doing something we love.  I love gigs- we get share the thing we love with people that are interested in hearing us!  It makes it so worthwhile to see people joining in and having a good time.  It's flattering when people come to see us on more than one occasion.  People say some truly kind things about what we do and it genuinely means a lot.  These days I hear the positives and they stay with me.  Each gig leaves me feeling that little bit more confident and buzzing for the next one.  Although its exhausting, its so very rewarding.

So now, friendly banter with new people is not so scary after standing on a raised platform, my voice amplified to a room full of strangers doing something that used to terrify me.  Now I'm comfortable in my skin.  I am what I am, take me or leave me.  I only hope that anyone that doubts themselves can come out the other side and be proud of themselves too.  I'll be forever grateful for Mr T for showing me who I really am... but don't tell him, it's our secret.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Fancy a cuppa?

I am privileged to be a stay at home Mum.  I cherish the time I spend watching Crazy grow, day by day learning new and exciting skills and never missing a moment.  I wholeheartedly appreciate Mr T working hard to earn a living to keep us comfortable- he does so very well for us and I’m not sure I ever thank him enough.  Is life ever perfect?  I think it is what you make it.

I feel incredible guilt about being at home, not earning my keep.  In reality, I work so hard chasing after Crazy and helping him grow and learn whilst making some attempt at keeping a clean and tidy house.  I am all too aware that some people will judge me by the state of my house alone, as slovenly, lazy… to those people, well, I no longer care enough to even shrug.  They will think what they will and I won’t care a dot.  The neatness of my home is no longer a priority, my son is.  Yes, it’s a brilliant excuse not to bother hovering or doing the dishes, but the truth of the matter is- I wish I had the energy to truly be happy to just be skiving and making an excuse not to do these things!  They just about squeeze into my day when Crazy is sleeping, before I can do the same, ready to undo it all again with my little whirlwind of a boy.  As I type, he is using me as a climbing frame and posting toys in between the sofa cushions.  Going out requires a lot of preparation these days, gone are the quick ‘phone, purse, keys, go!’ days.  I’ll change Crazy, get him dressed because he can’t go out in that state! Pack his bag with squash, spare nappies, wipes, Crazy has just taken the juice from the bag so I had better make another to replace it, snacks, purse, phone, keys, what is that smell? I’ll change Crazy again, and we’re as far as the car and the fickle little creature has changed his mind about a ride in the car.  He will not comply with my polite requests to sit nicely in his seat and takes no notice of my hissing the instructions with intent into his ear.  This situation is frequent and resolved in a number of ways depending on my tolerance levels.  Sometimes -I’m not ashamed to say- he is taken in by good old fashioned bribery ‘If you sit nicely you can listen to Thomas in the car!’ (he may not speak yet, but he understands all too well and sadly, is as stubborn as me).  Sometimes he just realises today is not a day to mess with Mummy and eventually complies with a few tears.  A time out is a last resort, dragging out the situation even longer and involving judgemental looks from onlookers- but I am not afraid to go there!  Anyway, you see how my day pans out, this situation arises in all manner of ways and so nothing is plain sailing any more.  I do the shopping- I prefer to wander up and down the aisles than to order online because, firstly, I always order the wrong size online- picture a giant tube of toothpaste and a miniature bottle of squash, not helpful- and secondly because there are people.  I’m afraid to say I am one of those people who talk to anyone that makes eye contact.  I’ll happily chat to the elderly on the way around should Crazy let me.  I’m happy to reach for that item you can’t reach if we just exchange pleasantries for a moment.  It’s a bit sad isn’t it?

I have friends.  I have family.  I go to ‘Mummy meet ups’ and playdates with Crazy, we have made some new friends recently and that’s lovely.  But the majority of my day is spent with Crazy alone, one on one and whilst that is lovely, I’m still lonely.  I miss the closeness of friendship I had in my youth, where we would talk daily, laugh at nothing, pop in and out of each others’ houses without a thought, our lives were at the same stage.  These days everyone is moving in different directions at different paces.  I long for the familiarity of someone in my situation, with a Crazy of their own at the same age, close enough to face the trivial things together and laugh about them in an ‘I know what you mean- you don’t have to say a word!” kind of way.  The reality is, I probably don’t even have the time or energy for that kind of friendship.  Those that have known me the longest will be raising an eyebrow at this point and thinking ‘but you hate people…’  Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age!  Maybe I’m changing as the years pass.  I’m sure I’ll be sent some lovely invitations of meetings and visits as a result of this post, and I genuinely appreciate it, but we all know that time will pass, before we know it another week, month year will have passed and once again we will be saying ‘where did the time go?’.  Maybe when I return to work this feeling will pass.  When I am interacting with people on a daily basis and busy in a whole new way I won’t feel that something is missing.  I guess when the time is right I will find out.  In the meantime, if you know someone with a little one at home, stop by for a cuppa.  Don’t bat an eyelid and the state of their house and just chat like old times.  Better yet, take some cakes or biccies so they're not stressing about having nothing in.  You never know, you could really brighten someone’s day.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

I am an addict- and I'm not alone!

It's true.  I have a problem.

I wouldn't have said I have a particularly addictive personality.  I like the odd scratch card, but I can take them or leave them.  The same goes for alcohol.  I don't gamble, it doesn't interest me.  Drugs?  Apart from the ones that keep me alive, no thanks.  I've no need to be popping pills or doing lines in a club to have a good time, dancing with my girls is good enough fun for me.  So what is it? What am I hooked on?

Buggies.  Pushchairs.  Prams.  Strollers.  Whatever you call them, I love them.  I can't quite explain it...  I suppose it started with the search for the 'perfect' travel system when Crazy came along.  When I was expecting, I happened upon an travel system in the sale (a pushchair with car seat that clips on top nicely, everything you need in one go) and ordered online.  Lovely- job done, another tick on the 'be prepared for baby' list.  That was it.. for the first few months.  It was by Hauck, black and red, did the job nicely. Except I kept accidentally stepping on the brake bar at the bottom because the handle didn't come out far enough.  I happened across buy and sell groups on Facebook where mums and dads sell on and buy secondhand baby and children bits at a reasonable price, no need to buy new ever again- perfect!  Then I found groups specifically for pushchairs! I joined a couple to see what was about and different styles of buggies came trickling into my news feed.  I bought and sold happily in my search for 'the one'.  For those who don't know, buggies usually aren't cheap new.  Depending on the brand, they range from anywhere from £30 for your basic stroller to thousands for the all singing, all dancing top of the range types.  Let's be clear- I only dabble in the little leagues! I chop and change amongst the <£100 range.  Maybe that is why I have never found 'the one' but Crazy is happy to walk distances these days so I just can't justify the expense.

Mr T despairs at my habit.  Gone are the days when he says "is that another buggy?"
He now fully expects to open the boot to find a new contraption ready to mystify him. 'How do you open this piece of sh*t?!' - he doesn't share my love of the kid-wheels.  So why do I change them?  On more than one occasion I have been heard to say 'this is it! I LOVE this one! It's a keeper!' and they have lasted me a few months.  Some have not served me for more than 24 hours.  What's the deciding factor? It varies.  What am I looking for in a buggy- surely it just has to get Crazy from A to B?  Well, yes it does, but there is more on my wish list...  Extendable handle is a must, most are too short, one handle is desirable for single handed steering whilst meeting the demands of the little dictator ("juice! more yum yums!", he will not wait).  I need a big basket for the 'must-haves' that see Crazy through the day.  I need lightweight, but strong enough to hold all my shopping.  Good steering.  Good suspension.  A seat wide and deep enough to ensure Crazy's comfort.  A decent sun canopy.  Straps that aren't too fiddly. Small folding for the car boot, but sturdy, not flimsy.  The list goes on...

I have tried to recall just how many buggies I have been in possession of in Ollie's 21 months on the earth... I can't.  Probably at least enough for a new one for every month of his life.  Let's be clear- I don't keep them all.  I have never owned more than 3 at once and that only happened for a few hours when there was an overlap on the buying-selling front.  I don't get attached to them, I am not a hoarder.  I rarely give them a second thought once they've gone (except the Sola, I owned four different ones of those, two of them the same colour even- that was my favourite).  For anyone interested in the pros and cons of the buggies I can remember I will provide a little review at the bottom of this blog- but as I am well aware, that will interest very few of you!

How do I know I'm not alone in this obsession?  Well for starters, I see many of the same people on the buggy groups doing exactly the same.  The same buggies are recycled with plenty of parents doing the same.  Some will freely admit their buggy addictions on my doorstep- "I've had three of these- I'm so excited to have this colour!  I've had 5 buggies in the last month!".  Only yesterday was a lovely lady telling me she was adding the stroller she was buying from me to her collection of 8 at home.  At least I only keep one at a time, Mr T!  Am I going to do anything about this habit? Nope!  I'm not hurting anyone.  I check that each purchase is safe to use before allowing Crazy for a test drive.  I never sell on anything in a condition that I wouldn't want to use myself.  I'm not running up debts, each buggy is matching in value give or take a tenner- its just a game of swaps really.   So I shall continue in search of 'the one', much to Mr T's frustration (sorry dear...) and continue to smile and nod when people say "is that another new buggy?! What was wrong with the last one?" and my reply will always be, "don't ask, I have issues"- because its true!  But don't we all...

Reviews (my own opinions, tried and tested- I recommend YouTube searching for the best 'how they work' guides and reviews)

Hauck Malibu Travel System-
Pros: lightweight, easy cleaning, sturdy, practical, big basket
Cons: fixed height handle, cheap plastic wheels, no suspension
Good for: short trips using car seat- car to shops, not for off roading

Mamas & Papas Sola-
Pros: Looks great, easy steering, adjustable handle, easy brake pedal, big basket, great sun canopy, parent and world facing seat...a favourite of mine!
Cons: Seriously heavy for in and out of the car
Good for: versatility, you can add compatible car seats straight to the chassis, good on most terrain, comfortable for little ones awake and asleep

Mothercare Xpedior-
Pros: seat unit converts to carrycot, plenty of seat positions, parent and world facing, big basket, great canopy- another winner here
Cons: Bulky, just about squeezed in the boot, better suited to younger ones, Crazy was a bit tall for this
Good for: newborns and younger toddlers, long walks and suitable for longer naps in this one

Petite Star Zia-
Pros: very small folding, good steering
Cons: weak frame, not for heavy toddlers or much shopping, tiny basket, not great for up and down steps
Good for: holidays- the perfect travel companion, but that's about it

iSafe Visual 3-
Pros: the built in window inside the hood for a tablet, good manoeuvrability, lightweight, small folding
Cons: attracts attention and comments whether welcome or not! (what a great idea! how lazy... children today can't cope without a computer...) not very sturdy, Crazy tipped this one over twice
Good for: when you're waiting around somewhere littlen's can't roam free, I loved this for hospital visits when Crazy was confined to his buggy with little to do- I'm happy for him to watch Pocoyo on the iPad in situations such as this- judge all you want!

Mamas & Papas Pulse-
Pros: lightweight stroller, small umbrella fold, good steering
Cons: small basket (as with all strollers)
Good for: ditching the big tank buggies for the big kid stroller, this was a pretty good all rounder (I just don't like strollers)

Pros: lightest of them all, easy steering, adjustable handle, small folding
Cons: no basket, poor hood, not a particularly comfy seat and almost no recline
Good for: cross country walks, this one is great for older children as its so light to bring along

Bebe Confort Loola-
Pros: sturdy, big basket, fine to load up with heavy shopping, great accessories (snuggliest coseytoes!)
Cons: pushing this buggy is a workout! Harsh steering and very wide chassis
Good for: Keeping them warm? That's all I've got- I hated this one

Even I'm bored now, but if you're thinking of investing in some new kid-wheels, give me a shout.  Chances are I've tried it and can give you a brief summary of good and bad!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Learning together

Pregnancy... what a miracle, huh?  Well... it is. It's also lots of other things.  Like gross. Exhausting. Draining.  Amazing.  Exciting.  It is so many things, but for me- hugely worrying.

I didn't see that coming really.  I mean, in the world of books and television its a beautiful thing.  The expectant mother is serene and at peace and glowing and then there is that perfect little bundle at the end of it and off they go for walks in the park and snuggles in bed on a Sunday morning... bliss. Pah!  I'll warn you now- if you're squeamish, don't read any further.  I now spend my days with a toddler.  Snot, pee, poop, blood, bogies- these things are part of daily life now and I'm not afraid to share them! (Not literally, that would be disgusting.  Crazy doesn't have the same social boundaries, sadly)

Here's a glimpse into my story.  I found out I was pregnant fairly early- as I previously blogged- via a spell of dizziness and a serious hankering for sausages.  There it was, clear as day on that little plastic stick.  'Pregnant 1-2 weeks'.  Wow!  I can't believe it! I'm pregnant! Eeek!! (Continue solidly for about four hours).  Now what? Everyone knows you can't tell anyone until the 12 week 'safety' point.  So... Erm... Just how am I supposed to function?  I have this huge burning secret and its so exciting and I have to tell the world NOW!! But I can't.  So I'd better go to work then.  I remember the days, the hours even, absolutely dragging by.  In the end, we had to speak up sooner than 12 weeks due to some complications.  I was worried sick after some early bleeding.  Scan after scan confirmed that our little seed was, in fact, still going strong and growing well.  I pee'd on countless sticks to make sure I was still pregnant because, after all, it's been an hour and I haven't felt sick, something must be wrong, I'd better take a test to be sure I haven't dreamt it all.  Yep- I was obsessed!

It wasn't the easiest journey, but I was still fairly lucky on the old symptom side.  I was a little bit queasy in the early weeks and I had trapped nerves and elephant's ankles nearing the end, but other than that my only real worry was worry itself.  I fell into depression in the last trimester.  I had convinced myself that there was absolutely no way I could give birth naturally and requested a c-section.  'Cut me open please- it's best for me and the baby. Thanks very much'.  Thankfully my obstetrician knew what she was doing, flatly denied my insane request and insisted I take antidepressants until the baby arrived.  I was heartbroken, insisted Mr T tell her where she could stick her pills (I was too busy blowing snot bubbles and generally having a tantrum) and when he eventually calmed me down and took me home I realised that, just maybe, they were right.  They worked wonders and although I was still terrified of giving birth (tell me, who isn't terrified of pushing a tiny person out of there?!) I was much calmer and prepared for what may be in store for us.

Whilst at the mother-in-law's for dinner one day I had a terrible backache.  I couldn't sit down because my hips hurt no matter how comfy the sofa.  I perched helplessly on an exercise ball that the goblins had been playing with and found instant comfort.  Brilliant.  I'll just spend the next 9 days on this ball until my due date rolls around.  Mr T says "You're probably in labour, babe".  Ha! He has no idea.  It's not my due date yet.

Fast forward about 10 hours, some icky stuff (see? I spared you details, I'm nice really) and they're telling me to push. PUSH?! But.. you're supposed to tell me to go home! That it's not time yet.  That I'm an overreacting first timer that knows nothing- I've watched 'One born every minute', I know the drill! My nearest and dearest know all about just how it happened, but all you need to know is that it happened.  The miracle from the films.  There he was.

This beautiful, perfect boy lay in my arms.  An actual person with fingers and toes and the most scrumptious kissy-lips.  I literally lost hours just staring at him.  When visiting time was over and we were left alone I was suddenly very aware that I had no clue what I was doing.  None at all.  But wait! What if he poops! What if he's sick? What if he stops breathing?! I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO THIS?! But at the same time, I just knew.  I knew that it would be ok and that I would be the best Mummy I could possibly be because this is why I'm here.  This is what life is all about.  In those days he was known as 'Hippo' (the boy could EAT! 'Hungry Hippo' seemed apt).  I made Hippo a promise that day.  I remember it so clearly.  "Well kiddo, I have NO idea what I'm doing, but the way I see it, you're pretty new to this too.  I promise you, I will do my very best by you and we will learn together- deal?"

He didn't say much, but I took that as a good sign that we were in it together.  He slept all night.  I stared at him all night.

As he grew, so did I.  My heart grew.  I had so much love for this little being.  He had some problems with a cows milk intolerance and that was tough.  He was so poorly and I knew then and there I would do anything within my power to help this little man.

Fast forward to today and Hippo is now 'Crazy' and he makes me laugh every day, without fail.  He is the most energetic, funny, bright little man and I'm so very proud.  I may be biased but he is also gorgeous- we made a good one!  He knows what he wants, he's as stubborn as me and we clash on a regular basis, but he's learning that Mummy is right.  I'm still learning that lesson at 30 so I can't blame him for trying his luck at 20 months.  He's starting to understand the world around him.  He loves to figure out how things come apart and go back together.  He loves to interact with people.  He may be Russian... the English language isn't too important for him, but I guess it's early days yet.  I delight in his excitement when he balances the most bizarre things together to make a tower.  My favourite to date is my slipper, a train, a building block and a Quaver to top it off- brilliance.

I have less time for my friends and I miss them dearly, but they get it.  They understand that a whole new life started for me the day he was born and they're still there when I need them.  I still need them.  However busy life gets, I'm still here for them too.  I hope they know that.  I enjoy our rare nights out all the more these days- I don't take them for granted.  Although I'll be honest, these days, midnight is about my limit knowing that in about five hours a small excitable dictator will be clambering over my head demanding "Mummy, digga giggaaarr... badum-badum niet. Yar? Yeah!" "Yes baby.  Wait... what have I just agreed to?"and I'll have to be conscious enough to avoid the book being jammed into my eye socket and not so hungover that I can stomach the soggy leftover cereal and stale crisps being shoved into my mouth while he grins and tells me "mmm yummy" just I as I have to him for the past 18 months...  I do love my life.

I feel very fortunate to have Mr T, Crazy and the goblins.  Even if, at times, they turn ME into a crazed goblin.  I wouldn't change it!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Behind the smile

It's been a while!

I see my last post was written when I was 12 weeks pregnant and vowing to blog my way through the journey- and I meant it. Just like these days I wholeheartedly intend to have dinner ready on time, call that friend back for a catch up, put the washing on... the list is endless.  Life got busy. Truly busy! My, then, 12 week seedling is now fast approaching two years.  I will revisit the missing years now I'm finally back in blog, but for now, I have things to get off of my chest.

A little recap: I am Mrs T, happily married to Mr T with 3 step-goblins and now my very own goblin... more of a Tasmanian devil or tornado than a goblin, affectionately known to us as 'Crazy-Eight'.  I am now a stay at home mother, a homemaker, unemployed- whatever you want to call it is fine with me. I have Crohn's Disease- like it or not, this is a big part of my life and always gets a mention.

So, as any parent will know, this job is full time. 24/7, no holidays, no 'clocking off' and it is EXHAUSTING.  I had no idea just how much I could love a small person until he arrived but my goodness it's hard.  Throw health problems into the mix and life doesn't get any easier.  Don't get me wrong- I'm so very grateful to be at home with Crazy during his first precious years and some days we laugh until we are in tears.  We play, we dance, we sing, we shout, we throw stuff, climb, wiggle, shuffle- you name it, we do it, just for fun.  But some days are darker and it's all I can do to keep him clean, fed and watered and get through the day.  Yesterday should have been a long awaited 'day off'. Dear Mr T took a day off and paid for me to visit a day spa with my sister for a much needed break after he recently had some time abroad for work.  I was so looking forward to this day and having muscle knots pummelled out of my shoulders- pain... pleasure!  But unfortunately, I was refused treatment because I suffer Crohn's Disease, which is a story in its' own right and I get it, its for insurance purposes, they can't risk it (but could've kindly told me this at the time of booking when having Crohn's Disease 'wouldn't be a problem!' when it came to taking my money).  Anyway, what should've been a minor thing actually had me in tears all evening.  Poor baffled Mr T was asking with concern, "why are you crying?"

I didn't have the words to explain, and so I find myself here trying to find the words.  Writing has always been my friend when it comes to organising my thoughts and I'm not afraid to put them out there for anyone interested to read.

Some days are exhausting.  I have started a new medication called 'Humira' which is a subcutaneous injection once a fortnight to control the Disease.  It is a pen- pinch, 'click', count to ten, job done.  OUCH!! Seriously, ouch. Then the fire. Oh my leg IS ON FIRE! Oh my! What do I do? What do I do?!  This feeling continues for a good hour- I now try to ignore it and continue as normally as possible, especially with Crazy looking on with interest.  I don't ever want to instil fear into this small boy.  I want him to be able to take anything life throws at him and so he will see Mummy do just that.  So, injection done, I'll just go and... wait, what? I was going to... er... Well.  It's gone.  I guess I'll just sit down a minute, maybe it will come back to me. Ouch! Sitting hurts as much as standing.  Wow I'm tired.  Crazy is engrossed in a book.  I'll just shut my eyes for a second...

Woah! Where am I? WHERE IS CRAZY?! Oh, he's sitting next to me. Phew.  Right, I need to get him some grub.  I'll just go get some... wait, what? What was I doing? Where is Crazy?! Oh, he's there on the couch, he must be hungry, I'll go get him some grub.   What did I need from the kitchen? I can't remember.  My leg hurts. I better change the boy.  Hmm, he must be hungry...   you get the idea.  I call this 'The Fog'.  Its lasts at least 48 hours.  I daren't drive.  We rarely go out.  I don't feel safe.  Above all I feel incredibly guilty.  Poor Crazy is fending for himself whilst Mummy is a mess!  These are the 'dark days' when I just about manage.  Everything hurts.  Skull-crushing headaches.  Crazy shouting and shrieking regardless and who can blame him- Mummy is being BORING!  When The Fog has lifted I have a few 'good days'.  I am almost normal.  I almost remember how it was to be in remission.  Those good days are spent getting Crazy out and about, experiencing the World as a toddler should.  We go out on walks, get grubby, climb, race, paddle, roll... When the good days pass, we stay closer to home.  I can't be too far from a toilet.  I'm tired.  So tired my eyes hurt.  My joints ache.  My hair and nails are weak, I look a mess.  I'm emotionally unstable and it's all I can do to keep my cool whilst Crazy has a tantrum because the-slipper-just-won't-balance-on-top-of-the-guitar-Mummy-WHY?! The thought of climbing both flights of stairs to collect the washing to put on makes my eyes water.  I can't almost hear my knees creak as the searing pain shoots through them with every step and elbows ache at the weight of the clothes in my arms.  Keep going.  The floor is sticky.  Crazy has been using his yogurt for an art project on the hardwood.  I better get down and clean it.  Yep- you guessed it.  It hurts.  I had better steam the floor before the ants come marching two-by-two-hoorah. Ouch.  The washing has finished... I should hang that on the line.  My poor elbows! Maybe I will tumble it.  My poor knees.  Time to feed Crazy.  Whatever I make will almost certainly be discarded on the floor.  Which I will have to crouch down to clean up. Which hurts.  These things are boring to write about and so very boring for you to read about.  But all these little things add up.  When Crazy is finally in bed it doesn't stop there.  It's time to tidy away the day's carnage and put the house back together.  Then I should probably think about sorting out some sort of dinner for the rest of us.  When I finally sit down I see the sadness in Mr T's face as he reminds me he needs a shirt ironed for tomorrow- he knows I'm exhausted, but I forgot to do it and bless him, the man can't iron!  So up I get again.  When I finally get to bed, Crazy will probably wake.  If he is awake, I am awake.  The mornings roll around all too soon and I could burst in to tears as another days starts.  But I don't.  I burst into Crazy's room with a "Good morning handsome!"

Because I have to.  Because he needs me to.  Because it doesn't stop.  Because I love him dearly and I want things to be normal.  I want to be 'able'.  Because crying won't help.  But, you know, sometimes I can't help it.  That's why I'm crying, my dear Mr T.  Because I can't help it.  Crazy is in bed.  I can let go.  I'm steaming the floor with tears in my eyes.  I'm polishing the sideboards with a puffy pink face.  I'm vacuuming whilst sobbing.  Because it can't stay inside.  What should have been a little disappointment was a big deal to me.  What would have been a lovely day off was just delaying the inevitable.  When you see me getting on with it- I'm still hurting.  When I make it out- I'm almost always the first to leave.  Not because I don't want to spend time with you, but because I have to keep it together.  If you haven't heard from me for a while, the old clichĂ© is true- 'it's not you, its me'.  Really it is- give me time.

I don't want sympathy.  I don't want 'poor you' and despite what I've written here I don't feel 'poor me'.  I don't have time.  I'm too busy worrying about Crazy- am I doing a good job? Should I do less of this or more of that?  Is he reaching his milestones on time?  Is he sociable/happy/fit/healthy enough?  Is he eating enough?  Will he fall off of that?!  I wouldn't change it.  I am exhausted.  I am in pain.  Sometimes I cry and get grumpy (sorry Mr T and goblins) but I'm still going.  I am happy despite all of this, overall.  Because I have my family.  I have time.  Time to enjoy it all at whatever pace I am able- be it from under a blanket or on top of a slide.  I am grateful.