The Book I’d Like to Write: 373 Friends
At the last count, I had 373 Facebook friends. There is more than sixty years difference between my youngest and oldest friends. A dozen of them are related to me. There are seven Sarahs, and three Tims, but only one Wendy.
Some of them are people I went to school or university with, and some of them are former colleagues. There are a lot of fellow mums, journalists, and poets. Three of them are people with whom I shared a tent on the Arctic ice sheet. A small handful of them are people I know through online communities – parenting and photography – who I’ve never actually met.Like this? Read more…
Know your role
And I am. Kind of. At least, I am when it suits me.
I’m a feminist when it comes to things like women being as smart as men. I’m also a feminist when it comes to men being involved in mundane domestic chores such as cooking and cleaning and changing dirty diapers.
Of course, on some days I’m less vocal in my feminist views. For example, on garbage day. No equal rights there.Like this? Read more…
Like a Puppet on a String
I’ve never really used them. After making them I realised that marionettes really weren’t my bag. They require precision and grace and a certain patience. They are like the ballet of puppetry: slow moving, graceful and deliberate. I’m more pantomime, I like the fast moving, slapstick, high energy of the hand puppet…I have more of these marionette puppets. I made quite a few. I shall show you a few more another time.
For now, I shall just put these puppets back into the suitcase and into the cupboard until I figure out what to do with them. Ooh like a puppet on a string… Ah, as a feminist I never really agreed with the sentiments behind that Sandy Shaw song. Those lyrics are decidedly dodgy. Is that why I don’t relate to marionettes?
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Your Thirty-Second Week
You went to another first birthday party.
And there was a bouncy castle.
You hadn’t been on one before
and at first you didn’t look too sure.
But then you decided that not only did you like it,
but you loved it.
You were giggling and smiling the whole time
as you wobbled around
and watched all the bigger children and grown ups bounce around you.
You couldn’t work out why you couldn’t roll around like normal
but you didn’t seem to mind too much.
You were smiling and flirting with all the ladies
and generally being a little heart-breaker.
We were starting to think that we might have trouble with you as you got older.
It seemed like you were growing into a right little charmer.
But then with a smile that gorgeous
and a laugh that infectious
how could anyone resist you?
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The Vineyards of Catalunya
‘Not the binyards!’ declared the Bug, longing for the beach and pool fun to begin, and I synthesised with him. No snazzy trains here, but an awe-inspiring proximity to the production-line. The dusty Cava bottles, woken from their damp hibernation, jostled for position on the conveyor belt, pausing for robotic showers, labels and cork-insertion, to emerge sparkling and new, destined, no doubt, for Mummy’s fridge….Like this? Read more…
‘I don’t know how she does it’
”Yes, I would watch that then bitch’ she pinged back a few moments later.
So off we went to the 9pm showing at the Greenwich Picturehouse last night, fully expecting to see the GOOP version of life as a working mother.
Now don’t get me wrong, I HEART Gwyneth. In the interviews I have seen with her, I think she comes across as smart and funny and obviously adores being a mum and looking after her family, all of which I am sure she is brilliant and amazing at juggling. However, she’s just not representative of most working mums I know. Unless we can all list dance aerobics, dress fittings and voice lessons in our ‘Day in the life of…’
‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’ is not like that at all.
I could relate to many of the challenges that Kate Reddy faces in the film. The guilt over feeling you are missing so much of your children growing up is one. Having to make to-do lists in your head at 4am as that is the only time when there is absolute quiet, is another. Like this? Read more…
My baby has moved out! (of our room)
“Yesterday hubby and I decided that it might be time to move our little chick into her own room…. She is almost 8 months and has been in with us, in a co-sleeper cot since we brought her home from the hospital. I love having her in our room, seeing her little head pop up to greet us when she wakes up, hearing her “sing” when she doesn’t feel like sleeping and sneaking her in for a cuddle whenever I feel like it.”Like this? Read more…
Thoughts of a frustrated crafter
That’s me, by the way, and I don’t want to be frustrated no more. The long and short of it is that I would LOVE to be a crafty, creative type person, the kind who regularly knocks up a cushion cover or rustles up a tray of scrummy cakes, but I never seem to get round to it.
Like a lot of mums, I’m busy doing mundane, usually kid-based stuff. This includes: the school run, changing nappies, loading the dishwasher, feeding chickens, feeding children, ironing, washing and so on and on. Every so often I see a magazine article or come across a great craft blog and think ‘ooh, that looks nice, I could make that’ and then that’s as far as I get. The day to day stuff seems to take over.Like this? Read more…
COLLECT A RAINBOW
“Just take a garden hose with your back to the sun and spray. You’ll make a rainbow.” Doug Kelly
Easy Ways To Teach Your Child About Colors
Teaching Children Colors
Teaching colours to autistic children
Use colours (crayons or pencils or chalks or cut out cardboard & glue) to decorate a brown paper bag with every colour of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and pink.Like this? Read more…
From Proposal to Parents’ Night – How I became Suddenly Mum
I saw the latter as being a big commitment too. And if I said yes to it at this moment, there would be no turning back. No regrets. I wanted my commitment to the girls to be as important as my commitment to their Dad. Gulp.
Later that year December, 2009. Sunflower (now 11) let slip that a Christmas Day proposal was on the cards. I pretended I hadn’t heard and got on with life nonchalantly. So when a simple trip to the cinema on the 18th was suggested I did not have a clue.
We agreed to meet at the underground near the cinema. I was late. He was later.
We watched Avatar. I snuggled. He was strangely rigid. It was a long film. Now I usually stay right to the bitter end of film credits to tip the hat to those who made the movie and to see if there are any sneaky extras at the end hinting at a sequel.
This time there was something hinting at my future…
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Spurred on by the unexpected
I knew parenting would be tough. And I’m learning that it’s harder when I’m selfish (hello captain obvious!). So I attempt to accept the challenges and avoid whining when Bubba’s meltdowns or early rises mess with my plans. Thankfully along with the times of frustration there are plenty of moments where I’m blown away by how much I ‘get back’ from being a parent. Like this? Read more…
How do you know if you’re a grown up?
How do you know if you’re a ‘grown-up’
I don’t know another way to phrase it, as the question always was “what do you want to be when you grow up?” So, what happens when you think, at over 30 years of age, that you are ‘grow-ed up’ but you still don’t know what you want to be.
I can’t quite put my finger on the actual cause for this reflection, it has so many surrounding causes, but here’s my potted history:
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Sleep, You Slippery Devil You
I have tried everything to help me sleep. From hot chocolate to counting sheep to hot, lavender scented baths to no food after 6pm. Everything including laying in the darkness waiting for sleep to come. It never does. Was it something I said?
Insomnia, somewhat unsurprisingly, breeds tiredness. And tiredness does not maketh a happy mama. Or, in Boos words: dada. No sweetheart, mama. DADA! That’s that settled then.
It’s 4am as I write this. Are you listening body? 4am! Everyone else is fast asleep, dreaming lovely dreams. So why the hell am I awake, engulfed in a foggy, frustrated exhaustion while even the streetlights are out, rendering the world pitch-black. Surely that’s a hint that you should be sleeping. Like this? Read more…
When Spud Met Elmo
Forty two years ago Sesame Street hit our screens introducing a wide range of colourful, lovable characters. It was the first program to ever consider educational techniques and used the curriculum to shape it’s content. Three generations later and Sesame Street is still going strong. It airs in over 140 countries and has won a whole bunch of awards. My Mum remembers watching Sesame Street on German television when she was a child, I remember watching it growing up and now I get to relive it all over again with Spud.Like this? Read more…
Trick Or Treat? Wrong or Right?
There is however one thing that I don’t agree with and that is the fact that every child within a two mile radius of my house thinks that it gives them the right to come and knock on my door to demand sweets on the grounds that if I refuse then have the right to chuck eggs at my front door.
I know the tradition has come over from America and is meant as a fun, innocent activity but it’s not fun when your kids need five fillings from all the sweets they have eaten and nor is it innocent when teenagers are using it as an excuse to go around terrorising the elderly. To be honest, I think it should be banned, especially given the fact that the ‘treats’ cost a small fortune these days.
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Top presents for a ten year old girl by Lucy, aged ten
I have a poorly daughter at home today, a bit pale and feeling sorry for herself, so obviously it seemed like a good idea to put her to work. Actually I’m not completely heartless, but I figured that she might enjoy a bit of virtual shopping to keep her mind off things.
Lucy has quite firm views about what she likes and has selected a variety of items that are bound to make an appearance on a forthcoming Christmas list. Having said that they are equally well suited to being stylish birthday presents for girls of this age. You will notice that these all come from small craft suppliers, but as mummy works and writes about this industry it is hardly surprising that Lucy, an artistic and crafty soul herself, tends to look in this direction for presents and gifts for her friends.
So without further ado, here is my ten year old daughter’s guide to shopping for a ten year old. Like this? Read more…
We Made it to London!
I started packing on Monday, for myself and V. It didn’t take long and was, I thought, a little too easy. There was a lot of stuff I couldn’t put in until the last minute.
The morning we left (Wednesday), I got up at 5am. Yes, 5. I was sure there was a lot to do before leaving at 7am, but as it turns out – there wasn’t. I was quite organised!
There was no traffic and the airport was quite quiet. Check-in and security was fine. And V was really well behaved and happy to be in his stroller, which I took up to the gate. The guy who checked us in said I’d get it straight off the plane. Yaye! His changing bag was *so* heavy and I wanted to avoid carrying it.Like this? Read more…
“You have 8 kids but only 2 live with you – why ?” – abandoning your children in the name of self preservation
The thing is I always find when talking to people you mention you have 8 kids and you get bombarded with “wow you’re brave – or mad”, “your house must be chaos –you must be sooo organised” or the really imaginative “don’t you have a tv in your house?” (ha ha ha boom boom – not). As soon as you reply “only 2 live with me full time” the ambience changes a smidge. More often than not people don’t pry to ask why that is, a caring few offer “that must be hard you must miss them” and a minority look at me with suspicion as if inwardly wondering what have I done that is so terrible that I have had them taken from me.Like this? Read more…
Monsters, Dinosaurs And Other Household Pests
I have to tell you today about my cousin. He has a terrible predicament: dinosaurs plaguing his room at night! Can you imagine?! He’s doing a great job at keeping everyone in the house up, so they don’t drop their guard and get eaten when they doze off. So manful, for someone so young.
It must be a real nightmare for him! I’m so grateful we only have the odd mouse! Imagine getting monsters or dinosaurs in your room.
Here are some suggestions in case they turn up at your house. Like this? Read more…
“Please come in, excuse the mess, watch out for that pile of toys..”
My house is not tidy.
It is full of clutter.
We have a lot of ‘stuff’, most of it useful, but still it is ‘stuff’.
Case in point
I wish I had the sort of house where if a friend or neighbour was to pop over unannounced I would not feel a sense of rising panic and embarrassment , oh no, as why would I be embarrassed, my house is immaculate. There are no cobwebs in the (hard to reach) corners, no piles (and piles) of toys, no half completed washing up, no unswept and unmopped floors. In fact it would be the…
‘show-home house” Like this? Read more…
I have a confession to make. I don’t think that my pregnant body is beautiful. My pregnancy is beautiful, but not the body that goes with it. Don’t get me wrong, I am constantly in awe of what my body is doing, the miracle that is the nine months of pregnancy, and am so grateful that I am lucky enough to be pregnant. But I just can’t make peace with what I see in the mirror.Like this? Read more…
Children should NOT be seen…
They were discussing children and behaviour whilst out and about. Their children are in the same year as J, so I was intrigued to hear what was said (without it looking like I was deliberately ear wigging).
By the sounds of it they were discussing another parent and her disciplining of her child/ren. Whether they were berating her, I don’t know (that’s what happens when you hear half a convo!).
Anyway, I was shocked to hear one of the woman say this “My mum always said, children should not be seen in the high street or supermarket”. She then went on to say that she never takes her children to the supermarket and never shopping (if she can help it).
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What to make from an old book – altered art!
I’ve been experimenting with altered art in particular altered books – it was a fab morning.
I took a battered old book and started to use the pages as a journal – in the inner front cover I doodled and wrote one of my favourite sayings “when one door closes… another door opens!” then using some old magazines cut and stuck little pictures and doodles – I warn you doing this activity makes you feel about five again but so much fun.
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Entering the Zone: Art as Nirvana
Drawing is where I find Nirvana, particularly when drawing the human form. When in the ‘zone’, when that creative thing is happening, time stands still and it just happens. It’s like my
intellect switches off and I’m present in another dimension…For other creative people, whatever their form of creativity may be, be they sports people, musicians, athletes, writers, poets,rappers, artists, I connect with them when they speak about the zone. This is my drug of choice. There is no feeling on earth like it when I reach the zone. It’s like going into a trance and waking up to find something that just sings to me. I’m neveraware of creating my best work, that process is the mystical one.
This is my magical mystery tour. Just don’t ask me how to get on the bus.
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