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Archive for March, 2009

My daughters are only trying to express their perfectly natural feelings, and I do understand what they are trying to say.  E1 wants me to stop talking so she can say something, or show me something.  E2 wants a moment of privacy as she finally complies with an initially resisted request.  I understand these desires.  …And, I understand that the girls don’t quite know how to express their feelings diplomatically.

“Mummy, be quiet!”

“Don’t look at me!  Mummy, don’t LOOK!”

“Go away!”

“Don’t talk to me.”

And though I understand my girls’ perfectly normal feelings and their understandable sentiments, I do feel I need to teach them how to phrase their desires a bit better.  Yet, I find myself at a loss what to teach them to say instead.  How does a two-year-old politely ask her mother to be quiet for a minute?  How should a three-year-old phrase her desire to not be looked at?  I honestly don’t know.

So, we carry on, they being bluntly straightforward and me being… slightly uncomfortable and more than a little stumped.  I know it will all be sorted in time — I know that as their language skills develop, I will be able to guide them to more diplomatic phrasing.  But for now, I just smile to myself.  …Smile as my daughter pulls away at last from her midnight feed — having been nestled into me for the past half-an-hour, feeding hungrily as I breathe in her wonderful sleepy scent — and sleepily says, “I don’t like you.”

It’s a harsh way to tell me she’s had enough milk.  But it’s ok, because I love her.

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It started with a knitting group on Friday night — a chance to get away for a couple of hours, to sit amongst adults, with busy hands and lively chatter, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I came home fresh and energised.

And though I would be up later that night three times with one child and twice with the other, it mattered not one jot to me.  Because later that next day, I headed off across the city, with my wheel in the boot and the wind at my back, to sit in the company of other spinners — accomplished, inspiring fibre artists — and spin until I had…  well, not my fill — I could have spun all night — but as long as I dared stay away from the chaos that I was sure was in full swing at home.  But though I wrenched myself away early, I walked back to the car newly calm and feeling so empowered that I was almost high.  And when I got home, I found — to my utter shock — a happy husband playing happy children, who never got their nap because, as it turned out, he was enjoying being with them.  I glanced out the window to check that the Earth was still spinning on its axis.

And then he surprised me again: my mother would be arriving in an couple of hours and we — he and me — were going out to the pub, where we drank and chatted and laughed as if…  as if we remembered who we were again.  And I remembered that I really do enjoy his company — and realised how much I’d forgotten that.  And I remembered that we are each other’s best friend.

For the first time in months, I felt like myself again.  I felt like I knew who I was again.  And just like that, I have hope and enthusiasm and energy — even through the kids playing up, even when I sat down to balance the bills against the bank account…  Just like that, I feel like I can take on the world.

So if that is being myself again, then who have I been this past year?  Who has M been?  I don’t know, but I know I’d be glad to see the back of both of them.  Because being in my own skin again this weekend just felt so good.

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For reasons that I do not feel compelled to share, I found myself standing topless in front of a full length mirror at 1.30am last night, observing what the ravages of pregnancy and four years of breastfeeding have left behind.  I was expecting to see the layer of pudgy fat around my middle, the unfortunate start of bingo wings — and, oh, I did — and the inevitable downward slide of…  well, let’s just say that  I no longer do an unintentional sun salutation.  Those days are long gone.

What I did not expect to see was that my belly button appeared to be off-centre.  I peered closer… pressed on it…  tried to smoosh it over a bit… but no, it stayed where it was.  I have no idea how that could have come about, nor what particular aspect of pregnancy might have caused it, but the result was undeniable and staring back at me in the mirror…  My belly button has migrated ever-so-slightly to the right.

As I stood there, half-naked in the middle of the night, feeling somewhat stripped of my dignity and now, apparently, stripped of my symmetry as well, I contemplated my emotional response to such an unexpected discovery.  This could bother me.  This really could bother me.  Not that it’s important in itself, but coming on top of the pudgy waist, the flappy arms, the wobbly bum, and the face that is starting to look not only ever-weary but decidedly middle-aged as well, this latest bizarre assault on my self-image could be just the thing really puts me over the edge of irritation with the body I now inhabit.

I looked down at the offending indentation — no longer circular but stretched wide in that distinctively post-pregnancy way — and sighed.  There is nothing I can do about it…  The weight I can lose, the arms can be toned, the breasts can be trussed up with lace and underwires.  But this I can’t change.  My belly button is off-centre and that is that.  I looked up again at my image in the mirror…  and chose flattery:

I am Picasso-esque.

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Something I Miss

I miss living in the countryside — the real, working, farming, smelly countryside.  Isolated here in a vast wasteland of suburbia — surrounded by everything I could ever want and wanting none of it — I yearn to wake up to the sharp smell of cowshit on the fields, the sound of goats and hens in the neighbour’s garden, horses in the meadow behind the house, tractors flying past at the front as the farmers race to harvest before the rain comes, and the sure knowledge that it will take at least an hour to get to any decent shopping.  Isolation, but not isolated at all…

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Something I Love

I love butter in wrappers that marked out in baking measurements.  It is a simple stroke of genius — and why they don’t do it in the UK is beyond me.  It makes cooking so much easier.  I love it!

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Out tonight with my mothers’ group, I came home at 10pm and opened the door slowly… slowly… in the hopes that perhaps the girls would be sleeping — and knowing full well that M would be asleep on the couch, either way.

He was, but they weren’t.  As soon as I stepped through the door, I heard E2’s little voice half whispering, half singing, “It’s Mummy!  Mummy’s home!”  And then quieter, with a calm conviction, ” It’s my mummy.”  She peered around the corner, so full of delight that her face fairly glowed and, if I’d been feeling any disappointment that my shift had not yet ended, she melted it away in an instant.  It would have been nice to come home to a quiet house and nothing to be done but drink a relaxing cup of tea, but surely it is better to come home to love, and a beaming grin, and needed-ness.

E1 yelled out from her room — she was not to be forgotten, there in her dark isolation.  I went in to kiss hert, and immediately got that same huge grin.  They hadn’t wanted me to leave, and now I was home again and all was right in the world.  A kiss, a hunt for her lost bear…  I extracted myself from her arms, from her endless questions designed to keep me near, and shut the door.  I was glad she’d still been awake …better than a quiet house.

M was grumpy, as he always is at this time of night and woken from his slouched couch-slumber.  But I held E2 out to kiss him goodnight and he complied, and then I leaned in for my own.  He can’t help the grumpiness — he had needed to be in bed an hour ago.  He needed me home too, and it made me smile a bit.

But there was no time to pause.  E2 wanted her milk and she was impatient now.  She smacked her hands on my cheeks, turned my face to hers so she could look in my eyes, and said, “Milk, Mummy!”  And so I carried her upstairs to do my late shift — to feed her down and make the house quiet at last —  happy to be so needed, so loved, and home.

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I panic.

I must sort the laundry.  I must pay the bills.  I must do the taxes.  I must look up how to renew my driver’s license.  I must figure out a way to get us home.  I must balance my chequebook.  I must empty the dishwasher.  I must get to the post office.  I must remember to use the loo before I wet myself.  I must remember to eat lunch.  I must sort out the old toys.  I must mop the mess off the floor.  I must clean the bathroom.  I must remember to swap over the laundry.  I must take a nap.  I must read those library books before they are due.   I must make ends meet.  I must lose some weight.  I must exercise.  I must get up earlier so I can exercise.  I must go to bed earlier so I can get up earlier so I can exercise.  I must email so many people.  I must find some time for myself.  I must start a business from home.  I must get better at sewing/felting/knitting/spinning/dyeing so I can turn it into a business.  I must look for a job.  I must update my CV.  I must develop a network.  I must make contacts.  I must make friends!  I must join groups.  I must be friendly and make a good impression.  I must rein in my sense of humour that no one seems to get.  I must save enough to go home this summer.  I must get dinner on.  I must blog.  I must send photos.  I must read this week’s Economist before next week’s issue arrives.  I must unpack boxes.  I must work out what we should do…

I must stop.  Because the whole time, I am losing this time with my daughters.  I need to take the time to be with them — now, in this moment — while I still have this moment.

And… I really must do my taxes.

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It’s my birthday next month and I was putting together my wishlist for my mum and sister (my sister, especially, always really wants us to do wishlists to for her).  Since reading a blog is really all about voyeurism, I thought you might enjoy a look-see…

In no particular order, except for the first one which is the most important one to me..

  1. A renewal of my subscription to the Economist
  2. An MP3 player — nothing fancy but hopefully one that has a good amount of memory and can be plugged into accessories such as our car and/or have (cheap) speakers plugged into it.  A friend clued me into NewEgg as being the place that has the very best prices for electronics and good customer service too.  These are their MP3 players.
  3. A digital SLR — either the Nikon D series or the Canon Rebel series
  4. A haircut — it’s been since the end of November and, with short hair, that is a bad, bad thing!
  5. Time…  just time…  to sew, spin, knit, dye, read, and sleep…
  6. Wireless computer speakers, such as these
  7. Lifting gloves
  8. Tickets to La Boheme
  9. a computer desk like this one or this one
  10. a room divider like this one

I know nothing about MP3 players (or digital SLRs, for that matter, but that’s a major long shot), so I would be grateful for any suggestions or recommendations from readers.  On the speakers as well.

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