Giving Time to My Baby

hollyI have just had the loveliest weekend and all I had to do was spend a bit of time.

Hubby was away and my complicated little boy was in France on a school trip.  So it was just me and my baby girl.  And it was great.

It’s no secret that I find my little girl a bit demanding and sometimes I can get a bit cross and frustrated.

I decided and promised that we would use this free weekend to have a lovely girly time.  I said that we weren’t going to go out and spend money – which is her favourite thing to do, but just spend time at home doing things together.  She agreed.

We baked cupcakes, I helped her make a skirt on her sewing machine and we watched movies together.

Side note:  We watched Grease.

I didn’t think anything of it, as I had watched it at about her age.

She was horrified.

“Those boys are being nasty to other students.  That’s terrible!!!!”

“They are all smoking!!! And they are teenagers!!!  That’s terrible!!!”

“Are they making babies???  They shouldn’t, they are underage!!!!  That’s terrible!!!!”

“They are only allowed to dance boy and girl!!!! What happens if you want to dance girl and girl or boy and boy!!!! That’s terrible!!!!”

“She’s pregnant!!!  Didn’t she take precautions???? That’s terrible!!!!”

“Why does Sandy need to change???  He should like her for who she is!!!  That’s terrible!!!!”

I was very surprised and also extremely proud.  To think that for me at her age, all those things were accepted. But for her in her enlightened world those things are wrong and it gives me such hope and joy.

But the most important thing we did this weekend, was talk.  Well, she talked and I listened.

I didn’t judge, I didn’t offer advice and I didn’t belittle.  I just supported and listened and understood.  She loved it and so did I.

It is so hard to offer time, but it is so important.  And it is so hard to just listen, without commenting or criticising, but if I am to keep the communication lines open when adolescence really kicks in, then I need to listen lots.

She has cuddled up with me on the couch and she had given me hugs.  So I think she has enjoyed herself too.  And we have promised each other some more time soon.

 

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I Want Plugs!

Our house was built in 1917.  It was built in a hurry by Prisoners of War for the RAF Pilots.  Our road runs parallel to the Farnborough Airport runway.  It was also built at a time when there were shortages of everything.  So some of our walls aren’t really brick – more like rubble with cement.

But never the less it is a solid, solid house.  The ceilings are all divided up into squares – to ensure that if the house was bombed, the ceilings would come down in pieces instead of a whole heavy block, to hopeful save the people trapped inside.

When they built it, the toilet was in the back garden and the hot water was heated by a back burner in the front room fireplace, which we still have (but don’t use obviously).  We even still have the original coal bunker outside.  And we have the original Dress Uniform cupboard – very shallow with a shelf for the hat.  I love it.

But alas at the time Electricity wasn’t an option.  So this was added at a later date, by some complete NUMPTY!

We are now in the process of having to rewire our whole house to pass current regulations.  And we have found some scary, scary things.  The old electric heater in the old bathroom was hooked up with ceiling light wire.  Hubby, thinking he had disconnected the right things, proceed to cut the wire and went flying across the room with a large bang!  Then one light was connected up with very thin bell wire!  Frightening!

So at the moment we have no ceiling lights upstairs and are using little lamps connected to the wall plugs.  The bathroom has no plugs to enable any lamps, you have to bath with the door open, so you can access the light from the hallway.  Plus, there is a sparsity of plugs throughout the house.

When they originally wired it, the amount of electrical appliances they had, was a lot less than what is required in the present day.  Our kitchen is the most up to date room in the house at about 4 years old and even now it has become out of date in the amount of required plugs.

With this rewire of the house, I am getting quadruple plugs everywhere.  Why am I becoming so pedantic about plugs you ask?

20160302_223236_resizedWell, every evening my kitchen is taken over by technology. Every surface is covered in things charging.  Phones, Tablets, Camera, Laptops, Dongles and Power drills.  God forbid if I wanted to actually cook anything.

When we eventually do the extension out the back and change the kitchen, I have requested a whole cupboard that has 8 x internal sockets, so I can close them all away and pretend that our life isn’t ruled by all these gadgets.

Speaking of gadgets, I have just today purchased 6 travel adaptors for our up and coming trip to Australia.  I was muttering as I handed over my money, “In my day we sent postcards, wrote in a travel diaries and were completely uncontactable!”  Sigh, feeling old………

I am turning into a chicken….

20160522_152728_resizedSorry I haven’t written for a while. I have been running around, back and forth in a panic, flapping my arms and clucking and tutting all over the place.

Have I contracted a new disease?  No…. It’s a very old disease – “Motherhood during the last term of the school year.”

The calendar is filling up very, very fast. Sports days, discos, summer BBQ’s, afternoon tea charity event, football carnival, Glee activity day, parent teacher meetings – blah, blah, blah – on and on and on.  Each time I get an email from school, I’m shuffling things around to fit it all in.

And that doesn’t include the out of school activities.  Kung Fu displays, Guitar concert and rehearsals, Ballet concert, Solo performance and rehearsals.

To top it off, they both have week long trips away, which means buying all sorts of extra kit – including a French themed costume!!!  My wallet is going into free flow.

Is it because the weather is better in this term – well they HOPE the weather will be better in this term?  Is it because all the assessments and exams are winding up?  I don’t know, but I feel like I am running full tilt all the time, constantly worrying that I have forgotten something, haven’t paid for something, haven’t organised Hubby to cover childcare or dropping off/picking up duties.

No wonder summer school holidays are so long, because I think by the time we get there, we will be exhausted and very broke.

Plus, my work has got quite busy, I’m learning lots of new stuff and covering all the other Mum’s who are also trying to fit all these extra things in.  Which is great and I love it, but it’s all a bit manic.

My petrol bill has been quite frightening too, extra rehearsals, pickups, drop offs and I must admit to be driving quite fast to just be in the right place at the right time.

So here is an example.  One Friday – my boy has sports day, which I am meant to attend as part of the school committee, then that evening he has his gaming club from 6.00 – 9.00.  My baby girl – also has sports day which I am meant to attend as a parent, then she has full ballet dress rehearsal from 4.30 to 7.00.  AND also the last school disco from 6.30 to 8.30, which I am meant to attend as part of the committee.  I have no idea how to manage this one and have been doing my chicken flapping just at the thought of it.

We are always so busy anyway – all this extra stuff is just crazy.  Just been chatting online rooster-flapping-wings_0529with one friend about how to organise one day and she is off to have a double gin. So if I don’t post for a while, just picture this and send me some hugs.

Cluck, Cluck, Cluck, Cluck.

Viral Kindness

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Social Media – is it a curse or a blessing?  There is a lot of stuff out in the wonderful world of the internet that is negative, nasty, incorrect and horrifying.  There are a lot of angry people that have now got a way to express themselves freely – the haters, the trolls and the stalkers.

But I like Social Media – because there are some wonderful things that come across too.  And in reality there have always been angry nastiness out there, we just have more access to it and we can always just not read that tweet, post, blog etc.

One of the beautiful things that I have seen happening is people thanking “kindness.” On the weekend I noticed a Facebook post from a someone about a very kind supermarket assistant that helped calm her two autistic girls, when they had a melt down at the cashier.

Now my kids aren’t autistic and I can remember them having meltdowns at the cashier and even now they are older they still whine like anything.  So I cannot imagine what it would be like with extra special kids!  So bless Lin from Morrison’s in Basingstoke – see BBC News article.

Apparently this post went viral – all over the world.  Lin’s boss saw it and posted “That’s my Lin!!!”  How cool is that.  It was so nice seeing what everyone wrote and it just made me smile and made me happy and even made me hopeful.

So why do I think this is so cool and other stories like it?  Because before Social Media, that lovely mum would have just gone home and maybe told a couple of her friends and maybe she might have made a special trip in to the supermarket to tell Lin’s boss, if she had the time.  But in reality the lovely act of human kindness would have gone unnoticed.  Social Media though has made “Kindness” a thing to do, a thing to be praised and a thing to be recognised.

The mum felt good because of what Lin did, Lin felt good because she is just super nice, her children felt good because someone was kind.  But now we can feel nice from reading the post, her boss can feel nice from knowing he has brilliant staff and most, most importantly Lin gets recognised and rewarded.  I think this is great and the most important bit – recognition for being great at her job and a super nice person.

I can only see this as something we need to pursue. If a lovely in lady in Basingstoke can go worldwide, surely it would encourage other people to be nice and kind, knowing that they will be recognised and rewarded.

So I am determined that if someone goes out of their way for me, I am going to take a photo and post it.  And I think we should all try make the world go “Virally Kind”, madly spreading everywhere!  Now wouldn’t that just be lovely?

I Love British Weather

Collage 2016-05-08 21_42_04_resizedI was planning a bit of a moaning post about the division of labour, but today was so beautiful, I couldn’t finish it.

So most of the people who know me would be shaking their head at the title of this post.  I am known for my nearly year long outfit of a coat, ugg boots and thermal vests!! As an Australian living in Britain for a combined 21 years (OH MY HAS IT BEEN THAT LONG!) I have never and will never get used to the cold.

I have adapted my life to be able to manage my exposure to the cold.  I wear the appropriate clothes – as mentioned above coat, uggs and vests – but also lots and lots of layers.  I work from home, which enables me to put the heating on full and have no co-workers opening windows and I don’t have to stand on windy cold train platforms to commute.  If some quaint British person suggests we go on a lovely brisk walk in the bracing weather – I have learnt to politely decline.  I avoid standing outside in the cold weather as much as possible.

But when Britain does weather properly, oh my, it can be the most beautiful place.  When it snows, the place is transformed to a glittering, pristine wonderland.  As a girl from the tropics, it is still a bewildering and magical thing.  I have even been known to venture out in it – not for long mind, I prefer sitting by the open fire, looking out at the loveliness.

When autumn comes along and I am scurrying from home to school and back – the colours of the trees and the piles of leaves scattering the footpaths are lovely to behold – from inside my car or out my lounge room window.

And spring – oh the joy, the crocus’s and daffodils bursting from the barren garden beds.  They make me smile as I open the curtains every morning.  They bring hope that the long, long, long cold winter is going.

Because when you get a day like we had today, that long, long, long cold winter was worth it.  When Britain does a hot, sunny, blue sky day – oh my oh my oh my.

It is like winning a prize, or getting a medal for surviving the cold.  I love how everyone rushes outside and bright red noses and shoulders can be seen glowing on the previously blueish white skin.  Everyone seems so surprised that the sun is out and that it is hot.  Everyone gets a bit silly, happy and delirious – it’s great.

I rang my mother this morning – Australian mother’s day – and she was complaining about the 30-degree heat – but the British were running around in pure joy at the 22-degree heat – sitting in it and soaking it up.  I didn’t do anything I was meant to do today, I sat outside and even the kids abandoned their technology and joined me and we just sat smiling at each other.  It was fab!

See that is the difference – when you have hot weather and blue sky’s all the time, it becomes unseen.  But when it is so rare – then every second of it must be used and every sunray soaked up.  It is a gift and a joy.  That is why British weather is so fabulous – when it’s good – it is gorgeous and everyone rejoices in it.  And I like that.

 

 

 

 

Memories on a String

Collage 2016-05-02 14_19_10During all the building that is going on in our house, I am constantly moving things about, depending on which room Hubby is demolishing at the time.  I am being very strict with what we are keeping, it’s no point in putting things back into the house, planning storage, if we are never going to use it again.

This weekend I went through our linen cupboard and found some old bedsheets and curtains that we had when we first bought the house.  I also went through my 4 huge bags of material scraps.  I am trying to be very practical, but I stood looking at the piles and couldn’t quite throw them out.

The sheets and curtains were from the first week we moved into our first ever home and reminded me of lots of Sunday morning cuddles with the four of us, bedtime stories and mother’s day breakfasts in bed.  The scraps of material, although not big enough to make anything, were from dresses I had made to wear to lovely friend’s weddings or was Laura Ashley fabric.  Now I just can’t put Laura Ashley in the bin – that would be sacrilege.

I started thinking patchwork quilts.  But that is a huge time consuming thing and to be honest not really my look, plus the kids already had quilts made by their grandma.

Sigh, what to do.

Then I was inspired. Bunting.  I love bunting and we are having a huge BBQ this summer and it would look fab draped all along the fences.

Firstly, I got cheap cotton tapping and some pinking scissors (zig zag edge).  I cut myself a triangle out of cardboard and started cutting lots and lots of triangles.  Now if you were really keen, you could make them bigger and hem them neatly, but I was making 50 meters of bunting and it would have taken me forever.

Second, sort into some sort of pattern, so they alternate.  And finally zigzag stich onto the cotton tape.  Borrow someone’s sewing machine if you have to and ask them to set the machine to zigzag, really easy.  Or you could do as my son suggested and staple them on – he’s such a boy.

And ta da!!!!!!  So chuffed.

You could even do this with old baby clothes and put it up in their rooms.  Or even with paper – paper sews really easily.  Maybe all the kid’s artwork that you can’t bear to throw away, or pretty wrapping paper or birthday cards.  Maybe even photos – for a 21st birthday or wedding anniversary.  The ideas are endless and I am thinking I will be able to bunt the whole neighbourhood if I continue.

Now I know because I didn’t hem the triangles that the bunting will not last forever, especially with the large possibility of rain for our BBQ – this is England after all. But I will be able to look at my memories just for a bit more, before I am ready to let them go…..