Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Threenagers

I'm struggling with behaviour I thought was typical of teenagers only it's taking centre stage in my three and five year old's show...

... it's SO unfair ...

                               ... double unfair ...

                                                                ... I HATE you ...

                                                                                               ... why do I have to do all this work ... (?!)

makes me think of that Harry Enfield character Kevin.  But why so soon?  It's tiring listening to it and trying to deal with it, like having my brain grated!  It's becoming a habit and Zander doesn't even have to think before such lines spill from his lips.  There is stropping and bickering but then interludes when they play fantastically together.  Some times I think it's great they were born so close together and have each other on a level for play and other times I wish there had been longer between them so their collective energy isn't quite so explosive.

I hope the current friction is just due to the changing dynamics since the summer holidays began.  After a week of this I suddenly realised Gaia is jealous she doesn't have my undivided attention anymore and Zander is suffering from adjusting to a more gentle pace compared to the over stimulation they receive in school.  So I realised if i try and keep out of their arguments but remind them they are playmates not adversaries with any luck we might all be getting along soon enough to enjoy the holidays more wholly.

It also came to me last night that Zander is adjusting to a much less structured environment again and needs me to show him where the boundaries are.  Last night as they were charging about like bulls in china shops and after me yelling that's enough slow down umpteen times I grabbed him on his way past and stuffed him in next to me on the sofa, where he happily sat and chilled.

And as for me I'm trying to keep in mind and embody the qualities of mountains and lakes in all this - to stand strong through the changing seasons of parenthood, not letting the choppy surface effect the calm under current.

Love and light X

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Schools out!

First year done and dusted, that is madness!  This time last year my heart was breaking every time I thought of Zander going off to school, now, well it's second nature and it hasn't been bad.

What to do with two spring loaded imps over the next six weeks then, that is the question ...

... breaking it down ....

It turns out we booked ended the school holidays quite unintentionally with two of our own. We are off to Mundseley for a week tomorrow so it's sundance central here with the promise of it's blue flag beaches and impressive sea view beer gardens. The kiddiwinks were so excited that they started packing this morning at six ... giving me chance to snooze on a bit and shed the nigthshift weariness.  With his counting skills Zander was able to gather seven of everything though I'm yet to check the sock situation!  I'm so excited that I have eleven nights off work, eleven whole nights in which to sleep, proper recharging time.

Then over august bank holiday weekend we are off to Shambala festival, defecting from Secret Garden Party for something more floaty and fluffy I hope.  So that just leaves four weeks in the middle that need to be fun filled to distract all our inner imps.  I think I can do this.

We have got off to a good start by scampering off to the woods as usual today but it was so  refreshing to involve Zander where normally it would just be Gaia and I.  The myriad different things the two of them noticed and developed in play - we were squelching through mud, trip trapping over bridges, tracking, feeding the resident family of swans, map reading and fire building.  The fire was for the squirrels - Gaia announced she wanted to build a squirrel burn which didn't sound very nice but she just wanted to leave a campfire for them it turned out!  LOVE. 

Already I feel like little reconnection's with the boy are happening.  He's been tired, I've been silly tired and so maybe its not surprising that we have become disconnected over the last nine months.  Returning to our pre-school life is a good reality check and though night shifts are definitely moving out of my life ASAP at least taking that job gave me freedom in the school holidays.


 squirrel burn!


Come rain or shine I foresee lots of time in the woods if nothing else, what is there not to look forward to then!


Much love and light x x x





Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Windows

Yesterday I sat with a grin smile on my face as I watched Gaia on her second nursery settle session.  She has an old soul, she must have been here and done this many times before.  It isn't just confidence she exudes, it's an aura of peace, contentment and  delight in the world and it reels others in fast.

The ease with which she talks to the children and teachers already there, her comfort in her new surroundings and joining a new community of small people, seeing her sitting at the snack table, joining in as if she'd been there all year.  I felt, not like a spare part, but as a fly on the wall.  This is heart warming stuff indeed.

I learn so much from peeking into their separate worlds like this, I only wish I had more opportunity to do so with Zander as he - like a lot of kids his age, isn't very forthcoming with information about what he fills his days with - 'nothing' or 'just played' are his usual responses, perhaps I need to chose a different time to ask my questions and show interest.  One of the mums at school suggested the next morning is better when minds are refreshed and gearing up rather than winding down.  There is an end of year tea party for Zanders year next week to celebrate and meet next years teachers. I do love that the school are so hot on community gatherings it really strengthens the extended school family.

I think menfolk miss out on some precious moments - generally working full time not being able to take these peaks through our children's little windows at these transitional times.  They are nourishing, re assuring  and you get to see glimpses of their individual light.

We saw the Olympic torch run in to town on saturday night.  We only just made it and perhaps not surprisingly the kids weren't that bothered.  Quote of the week goes to Zander again.... sunday morning we recapped the significance of what we'd seen - 'Ewan Thomas was carrying the torch last night' .... 'No it wasn't me'  Zander said ... 'no I know it was Ewan Thomas' said dad ... 'It wasn't me and Thomas' said Zander again ... much laughter as we realised he thought we meant 'you an' Thomas' ... damn that Luton lilt and the dropping of T's.

Sunday the kids and I enjoyed a sunset bike ride through the meadows and along the river.  Again I count myself super blessed living in Cambridge where countryside meets metropolitan living so intimately.

I've been a'witching in the kitchen again this week.  I have so many strawberries in the garden I've decided to turn them into Jam as unfortunately it turns out woodlice like them too and for some reason we have armies of them in the strawberry patch  consuming them quicker than we can.  Still not happy with Delia's jam recipe though ... why does mine never set the way she says it should?

Gaia and I happily experimented with Marmalade and chocolate cake which is way too easy and cheap to make.  Great store cupboard recipe and totally yummy although twas a little dry as my oven is more ferocious than most.  It's a recipe to spend glutinous hours tinkering with though.

Trying to find time to put my crafty hat on.  Idle hours sitting beside a bathing girl are ideal so  I've belatedly started on Gaia's birthday bunting, in fact I might just fancy adorning the whole house and garden with the stuff.  I have plans for patchwork quilts for each imp made from old baby clothes and the likes.  I ought to get started before they are too old to appreciate them.

Last day of the last crazy run of nights before we go away to Lorraine's chalet in Mundsley again at the end of term.  I can't wait ... 11 days off work, 11 whole nights in which to sleep!  Space to re-energise.  Daily sundances are required though as I'm not finding this monsoon season very agreeable, it cannot go on in to the summer holidays fo' sho'!  Starting to collate summer holiday ideas .... I'm thinking of keeping a couple of rugs and a grab-bags just full of general picnic supplies in the car in case we have a gorgeous day and can quickly make a dash for the coast or the forest leaving little planning and only food to sort.

Mostly I'm just excited that I will have more quality time with my little boy.  He's looking tired these last few weeks. 


love and light x x x

Friday, 6 July 2012

Epic Fail!

Whilst I enjoy recording triumphs and accompanying tribulations in this little space, today I shuffle in sheepishly with my tail well and truly between my legs ... with mascara streaks staining my face as I accept the award for the worst mummy ever!

I'm sure most people have those dreams where you know you are meant to be somewhere, yet there are myriad ridiculous obstacles stopping you reaching your destination.  Or in your dream you wake up well beyond the time you should have been wherever it was ... I have those dreams, like all mothers within the context of our children.  Well today that nightmare became reality.  I unintentionally slept - slept through past school picking up time.  My tired night-shift weary body-mind failed to raise alarms as the big hand sidled past 3 o'clock and I woke suddenly at 3.30 pinching myself, cursing and double taking the clock ...!  Oh Crap!

I rang the school office who were quite understanding and reassuring though what they thought of me really I don't know.  I grabbed Gaia and hurtled off on a soggy bike and the tears started streaming down my cheeks.
As I have been attending to mindfulness with renewed enthusiasm of late it dawned on me how present a crisis can make you.  If this moment is it and all that matters is what you do with it using your knowledge and wisdom, then I became incredibly present as I cycled to school.  No other nonsense infiltrated my thoughts, my mind was crystal clear and I was fully present in my aim to get there as quickly as I could.  A good and timely affirmation of what I continue learning.

Bless my boy for being so forgiving of me.  I don't know how it feels but I can't imagine anything worse than your mummy not turning up at the end of the day.  I've been slightly late on a couple of occasions but nothing like this before.  He has been generous with his forgiveness and love which seems to be a concept that though he knows not the meaning, comes naturally.  So naturally he had to ask me what forgivness meant when I thanked him for his.

Feeling rotten I scooped him up and headed to the cafe to try and make it up to him, then relented to the current PS3 ban.  Perhaps not the best lesson to teach but I'm a sucker and I love my boy who does somewhat measure my love by what I allow him to do, amongst other things.

Lessons learned as always.  I'm sure this was the first and the last time this will happen!

Love and light X

This is it.

This is it.  Yep there's the news flash, this here life really is it .... a big IT, not as in this is all, but here is what we have.  So many moments to pay attention to ... so much time. 

This last week has been mostly about getting through ... through seven days on only three nights sleep.  And I owe the fact I did to the philosophy of staying present.  It was brought back to my attention by a good friend who is living through tragedy who can only keep going if she thinks no further forwards than the present day.  I know working nights isn't comparable to what she is dealing with but it's the principle of not flitting off to the future or back to the past, that make the stressors in our lives more bearable whatever they are.  I have been victorious.
We have managed to fit quite a lot in amongst my flaky, sometimes cranky, tiredness - the wheel of life doesn't stop turning just because mama is tired! 

On Saturday twas my favourite ... yes the C word again... c..o..m..m..u..n..i..t..y ... coming together, rising like a phoenix from the grey tarmacked streets ... Street Party!  One street in Cambridge closes to traffic for the day instead replacing it with stalls, food, bands, families and good vibrations.  This year rocked for us.  The kids are old enough and fairly well versed in community gatherings and scurried hither and thither, drawing with chalks, picking out bargains, making new friends, affirming existing bonds and letting me whip them up into a dancing frenzy as bands played.

I have two memorable quotes from the day; one from Gaia who got a munk on as she tired until Ben's band started playing.  As they started playing (and whilst bouncing wildly on my shoulders) she holla'd down to me 'HAS THE PARTY STARTED NOW MUMMY?!'  Oh sweet child I see many happy years of festival going ahead of us!

But Zander wins the prize for the quickest wit and most matter of fact delivery - when I insisted that grey wasn't the natural colour of his skin and that he really ought to wash he said .... 'Jedi's don't have to wash their hands mummy' ... !  Oh really?!

Sunday (post night shift) my addled brain decided it wasn't a bad idea to drive all the way to Essex wired on coffee, to Mountfitchett Castle with the kids and Lucy's family for the day.  At some point I started berating myself for this decision ... think it might have been joining the M11 for the first time ever ... note to self ... I'm human ... not super woman!
The kids loved it though, we picnicked by an open fire and watched knights battling over land, wine and women, we scurried round after chickens and other wild life, practised with wooden swords, tried on real helmets and visited a toy museum packed with Star Wars memorabilia.  So though rather an insane thing for me to have done, it was succesful and kept  all our spirits high.

Back at the ranch the garden provides.  There is absolutely NOTHING nicer than going out to dig up potato's to put straight in the pot or watching the bears snack on peas and straberries straight from the plant.  Happy mama!



And a note worthy discovery has been wraps ... food wraps - tortillas, flat breads, pitta breads ... chuck anything in a wrap and they'll eat it.  Break through!

Gaia had her first settle session at nursery this week.  It is odd how different it feels second time around.  My heart broke for Zander as he went off into the world by himself yet with Gaia I am more laid  back, excited even.  This is a good thing as I have fewer fears or hang ups that I risk projecting onto her.  I can't help thinking Zander got the bum deal being the oldest .... someone's got to be I guess, I was the guinea-pig in our family.

As he comes to the end of his first year in the mainstream education system I've started thinking about what I've learnt from the experience - about him, about me, about the system.  But I think I'll consolidate those musings in a separate post.

Love and light X