Are you ready for this?

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Location: United Kingdom

Yes...this is ALL about me, and mine. Marvellously self indulgent, feel free to tell me how splendid I am, leave comments, nice ones please, I have little kids and teenagers who can do the rude stuff. I am a grandma, to the glorious Joshua, I'm allowed to look frazzled and weary, I earned it. The older I get, the more I see that hanging on and being patient is worth it! They ( whoever 'they' are) are so right when they say you never know what is around the corner, it isn't always an articulated truck! It is vital to make the time for making memories, friends are the greatest treasure, I love mine. I am rich!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

5, 4...anyday now.

5 days.

In 5 days Sophie and I will be jetting our way to Boston again, I can't believe it is 10 months since I was last there, it's like a home from home ( but with someone making my bed for me and never having to cook dinner, no kids and lots of fun shopping, nothing at all like home then!)

I feel differently about this trip, I am nervous about the flight but I do know that as soon as I am at the airport I will be fine, splendid Diazepam to help me on my way, aid sleep through the first half of the flight, dinner and a movie and I will be almost there. It's great to know what to expect when I get there, lovely hotel, Cathy's house, Target ( Oh how I love Target!)

There is a small meet-up on the weekend, just a few people, I was dreading that part of it because I just can't seem to do crowds and new people, the fact that it is a small gathering is great, we'll be fine.

I am looking forward to craft shops, outlets, restaurants, malls....heaven indeed. A whole week this time, usually a long weekend, this time we threw caution to the wind and booked a whole week. I think that's long enough for me to miss the children and certainly enough for them to miss me.
H always gets a little excited when I am going away, he looks forward to doing things his way and having sole charge of things like the remote control for the telly. Oh poor TV is in for a whole week of the History channel and Star Trek, I'm sorry telly.

Usually, when I am away, by day 3, H is noticing that good heavens above, she must actually DO something when she is here because this isn't looking good at all, he is also tired, very tired.

I offered to cook meals and freeze them but he declined my offer and said he is fine, he likes to cook, it will be fine. I know it will be fine, he is perfectly capable and thankfully the boys are in school for 5 of the days I am away.

I don't do any last minute scrubbing or tidying or anything at all, having learned that when I do that. when I leave my house all shiny and sparkly and I come home to chaos and mess and piles of stuff everywhere, I get very cross, really very cross and I feel as though my lovely time away has been spoiled. So, when I leave and it is higgeldy piggeldy, when toys are out and the front room is lived in...and I come home and it looks the same, all is well, Oh look, I am HOME. Hoorah.

Great plan, works every time.

When I think about how close this trip is, my stomach lurches and I feel terrified, then I am excited and remember just how lovely it is and I tell myself off for STILL being this afraid and do lots of talking to myself about how fine it all was last time and the time before that and actually EVERY time. I remind myself how every time I am so gloriously and splendidly surprised I am at how quickly those 7 hours pass by. "Self! It will be fine" I say and " Oh, OK then" I reply and somehow I get through another day....actually there is a pretty great consequence to being this worried and by wanting time to SLOW DOWN because I CHANGED MY MIND!!!! And that would be that time FLIES by, when you are so excited and can't WAIT, time goes so slowly, oh it drags and every day seems like a week, when you are scared to death and really REALLY wish you had bought new carpet or had a dental appointment you can't get out of or perhaps a hysterectomy, you know something like THAT other than this trip, this whatonearthwasIthinking trip. Well, then, Sod's law means that the time FLIES and you are not sitting around waiting. It gallops towards you in a terrifying way, like some laughing circus clown.
See, look, I said 5 days and now it's 4 because I scared myself into just shutting up and had to just turn the computer off.
I have been buying treats along the way, chocolate mostly, yesterday Sophie and I weighed the bag that we have been putting the treats in. 48lbs. FORTY EIGHT pounds of chocolate! Whoops.
Neither of us can think of what else to take, the plan is to buy clothes over there so we will pack some underwear and maybe 2 days worth of clothes, toothbrush.....blah blah blah.
I might not blog to much now until I get home, pretty sure every day before will be more of the same, scared, excited, scared excited...... and I won't be taking my laptop with me, so this is it unless something fabulous and noteworthy happens.
See you when I get home! ( unless you live in Boston, in which case, see you in 4 days! )


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

So. Some more CAPS and YELLING ( but happy yelling)

So, Seth went to camp. I thought I would vomit all sunday evening, awful. AWFUL.

Monday morning wasn't as bad for me because he was so excited, SO excited, couldn't wait excited. Hurry up and get me to school because I am going away excited. It's hard to weep and worry when faced with such glee and anticipation.

He would have liked us to drive up to the school gates and let him out, so great was his fear that someone ( me/ I) would break down and beg him to just "STAY WITH MUMMY! I WILL BUY YOU A NEW LIZARD IF YOU JUST STAY WITH ME!" Which I didn't because give me SOME credit, ( so DID kiss him though and make him hug me in that floppy arms at the side please don't let my friends be anywhere near and see THIS show of complete emotional nonsense way)

Seth has never been his age, sometimes I long to tell him to act his age but I don't think he can.

He doesn't play with toys, he actually doesn't own any toys really, he has 'to scale' replicas of dinosaurs and animals, which have always been loved and looked at and occasionally put into groups such as meat eaters and plant eaters and never the twain shall meet.

He is beginning to interact with boys his age and not seem like the midget adult showing them all how it should be done. Incredible to me that this skinny little twit, half the size of his peers commands such respect, I have yet to see anyone NOT do as he says. It's not that he is bossy as such as he just has this air of knowing his stuff and people believe him. His sense of humour is such that he manages to have people laughing as they do exactly as he says. Even here we notice that he sits while Isaac and Eli run around after him, we don't even know how he does it, we don't seem to hear he telling them to do it all.... this boy will go far in life if he manages to carry on in this fashion!

He is just beginning to talk to his friends in the same way they talk to him and it is fascinating, all that strutting and swaggering, the 'yeah' and "uh?" and that half sneer with a raised eyebrow as if they really don't care. Touching that the mention of ice cream will get me an enthusiastic reply until he remembers that being cool is how it is these days and he'll say " I suppose so" on the end.

He told me he loved me before he left, before he left the house that is, not right before he left, you know, for camp, with people around and all. The glorious thing about Seth is, he says it as it is, he is painfully and brutally honest, he doesn't get at all that people can ever be hurt emotionally from hearing the truth, what's bad about the TRUTH for heavens sake and he has often said to me, quite without guile " why do you ask questions you know you won't like the answers to?" Why indeed.

As he gets older and having had me say over and over again that sometimes, it is just kinder to think before we answer or tell people what we think, he is one step closer to that in that he will tell you what he thinks, honestly and then a day or two later he will amend what he said and walk away before you acknowledge he has done something kind ( because oh my hell don't do that emotional thing near me OK?) So he said " I love you mum, I do, actually I think I even love you THAT much" and he didn't even add " but you're still not getting my spine."

I love my children, all of them, I love them equally but in totally different ways, that is to say, if you put me in a room and told me I could only keep 5 of them, I wouldn't be able to tell you which one you could have ( although on any given day I am pretty sure I would be perfectly able to send at least one with you for a good long holiday, it would just differ every day as to which one that would be) Some of my children are undoubtedly easier to live with than others and Seth would most definitely not fall into that category, he is not easy to live with, at all.

Some of my children are easier to like than others because they are so amenable and easy going. Seth would not fall into THAT category either.

Some of my children are funnier than the others and THIS is Seth's category, Seth and Jordan win this prize and the others aren't too far behind but Seth, I think is top dog.

Daniel and Jordan are hysterical, they are quick and irreverent and funnier than anyone else I have ever met, as adults, I can't remember when they started being so funny, I know that at family gatherings people always want to be where they can see and hear them together and they never disappoint, they are completely unafraid of looking like idiots. Seth absolutely holds his own when he is with them, it's as though all 3 forget he is just 9, a little chap, a squirt. He has the greatest laugh, he sounds like a little old lady, this high pitched chuckling laugh. He adores being around Dan and always has, from being a tiny baby, Dan was his friend and so when they are together and Dan and Jordan are teasing and laughing and forgetting that Seth is 9, you will often hear this delightful squealing laugh as he gets the joke that is more often than not so completely inappropriate for someone who is 42lbs soaking wet and stands just over 4' tall.

I wish I could sell tickets for a day out with my family. I am so excited for next year ( this time next year actually!) when Jenn and Cathy come over because I simply cannot wait to go out with all my children and watch what happens. I love that Mel fits in so completely, she is one of us ( although rather more refined if truth be told, but don't worry, we'll drag her down soon enough)

We are missing Seth because he is such a huge character but I must admit we are also enjoying the simplicity of these few days without his obstreperous ways, he can argue with a breeze block. He thrives on picking a fight and and proving his point. He is quite exhausting in the most delightful way.

2 days down, 3 to go.

I miss you Seth Ammon.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Plenty of CAPS and YELLING.

Sometimes, it isn't such fun, being me.
I used to feel so useful and capable and good at things. I felt that way because I was, good at things I mean.
These days, I feel pretty much as if I am doing a half assed not up to par job of everything I Can be bothered to do.
I am the feminists nightmare, give me a husband to feed and a home to pretty up and I will wear a frilly pinny and sing while I bake. As long as the husband is out earning an honest crust and minding HIS own business while I mind mine. Dammit.
That's where we slip up, my husband and I. He wants my job, I don't want his.
I will stand up in my own soup and tell the world what I am good at. I am good at shopping I can make a penny do what a shilling used to do. I can make 3 meals from an empty pantry and then come up with dessert.
I can, but I never have to because my pantry is FULL, always full, cupboards are full, shelves and bulging and neding under the weight of my frugal stocking and filling.
There are very few days when I don't have any money. I live within my means, I scrimp and I spread what I have as finely as I Can so that there is usually a little bit of something hidden for an emergency, I mean a little bit, it may be only £100 but if I need it I can usually find it.
I have made it my goal that I will always be able to feed my family, have some treats and somehow, in some tiny way, be able to help someone else.
A small goal but however small your goal, when you achieve it, there is such enormous satisfaction. Such a sense of well being and self worth , I like that, I crave that, it is what keeps us all going.
I have always, no matter where I have been, from a room in the nurses home to the splendour of the barn, had a house that I am proud of, even that hideous devil's lair looked good to other people.
This house is a crap hole. I give in. I am outnumbered. For every pretty, attractive, stylish thing I find, there is some masculine pile of crap that will smother it. For every pleasing and orderly arrangement, a tangle of wires. For each leafy addition, there will be a piece of frayed string tied to it with a conker or toy animal attached.
I will throw away an old shoe box, 10 minutes later,there it is, back on my pretty hallway cabinet, next to the bike helmets and broken once beautiful flowery thing my mum made me, right there, underneath the wall of carefully hung family pictures that are so wonky and out of line because they have been hit by flying tennis balls, bouncy balls, sock balls, towel flicking fights, on top of the carpet that looks like something my Nan would have discarded ( And let me tell you, she lived in the same house for over 70 years and never threw a thing away)
I can cook a great meal. GREAT meal. Now, everything I cook, unless it is eaten with white rice, is sighed over, something refused, something not quite acceptable.
My pantry, such a source of pride and often ( this is true) I would go in the kitchen and just look at it, just get me some happy from staring at the ordered shelves. Well, it seems the order wasn't orderly enough because this weekend H rearranged it, every single sodding part of it. Every drawer, each and every shelf and even the cupboards were emptied and rearranged and now? Now I don't know where a bloody thing is. I feel like the somewhat unsatisfactory barely paid hired help. SO, when I cook a meal that will alomst certainly have something wrong with it, I have to yell " WHERE WILL I FIND?????"
Yes, you can imagine how well THAT goes down.
Now, if you had plenty of time and were so inclined, you would be able to go back to the last time I grumbled about H and his 'helpful' ways and by jiminy if it wasn't exactly 28 days ago.
THIS PROVES MY POINT! Because has he HELPED AT ALL in those 28 days? NO HE HAS NOT!
Has he mopped the 3 inches of talc off the bathroom floor? Why no. He is the only person to ever USE talc and yet, I am allowed to clean the floor every other day, all on my own, without any interference or suggestions whatsoever. I haven't touched that floor for a week just to SEE if he is inspired to clean it, you know to help me or whatever. It's forming it's own shape, like some new country developing right there in the bathroom, he has probably knelt in it whilst REARRANGING MY CUPBOARD UNDER THE SINK, where all the spare mouthwash and hand soap and toothpaste is stored ( in a displeasing way it would seem)
He will have to tramp his way through it to clear out the drawers that house bath toys and all manner of exciting things, he is about to do that because he told me this very day.
Bet he doesn't clean it. I bet he DOESN'T.
I hate, really, truly HATE losing all the things that gave me satisfaction.
I am so mad about this that I can't even write about Seth going away, for a whole week,
to sleep and climb and have fun and not be here.
I spoke to H about this ( and what a waste of breath, I have spoken to him before, what is the point?) and he said " I was making things EASIER for you"
"but they weren't hard!"
"But now everything is in a good place, you can find it all!"
"How many time did I EVER have to ask you where things were? How many? Never, not once BECAUSE I KNEW WHERE EVERYTHING WAS"
"but you don't always want to put the shopping away do you?"
"no, you are always more than welcome to put it away, WHERE it goes, where I CHOSE for things to be, where I can FIND them and where it was PLEASING to me to have them"
"Oh but we were making it all so much better for you and now it is EASY to see where everything goes."

Hello wall.

I am finding that more and more there is a part of me that is screaming against becoming who I am becoming. Feeling that it is all such a waste of time to even bother asserting myself because it is so much easier to just shut up and put up and wait to be old.
Don't get me wrong, being old isn't so bad at all, the alternative is pretty bleak and being old is liberating.
I just want to be something BEFORE I am old. Something splendid, all of my own. Something ME.
I don't think I have been anything yet.
Apart from pregnant, fat or exasperated.
Or someone else's something or other.
I love being a mother and wife and daughter and sister and friend. I do.
But I so long to be Helen...... SOMETHING no-one else is. Or something someone else is but BETTER.

I think most 40 something women feel this way. As though somehow, the best bit has passed us by and the rest all looks so humdrum.
Who am I to complain? I get to go away and be me every now and then and in 10 days I shall do it again.
When I go anywhere, on my own, as me, just me. I am like something that has been wound up, as tight as it can be wound and then held onto, very tight.
Then. Let. Go.
I talk without catching breath, I run around like a kid in a toy shop, here and there and DON'T TELL ME WHEN TO STOP.
I feel like a years' worth of ME has to get out.
10 days.
I hope I can last that long.
It's not a certainty by any means.
How everyone else in Boston will fare this time is another uncertainty, they are strong women, they'll cope, just drop me at Target and come back in 2 hours, I'll be fine, I'll be happy talking to those walls, a change is as good as a rest so they say.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Children, my children.

I've been having strange thoughts lately, thankfully ones I can do nothing about but surprising and sad in a way.
I wish I had more children.
There, I said it.
If I had known just how fabulous it was going to be to a mother to adults, really great, grown up people who make me laugh and cry, feel proud and so incredibly fulfilled, I would have had many more. Actually, now I have said that I should change it to I would have liked to have many more. In fact, it wasn't possible for me to actually HAVE many more, unless I had more after Elijah, I was 41 when he was born so how plausible that plan is, I can't say.
The first one left when Sophie was 10 weeks old. I was single until I met H 10 years later.
I conceived Seth the day I married H, Isaac was conceived when Seth was 9 or 10 weeks old. I suppose I could have had another baby in between Isaac and Eli and I did in fact conceive another baby, who sadly didn't develop past 10 weeks.
I never grieved the 2 babies I lost because both time, because both times I conceived within 2 weeks of losing them, so it just felt as though I was pregnant for 12 months instead of 9.
I have been feeling sad about the last baby I lost. I keep wondering who that was and what kind of person s/he might have been.
I wish H and I had been able to have a girl because I am so vain about my children and oh how beautiful would a baby girl have been with that olive skin and dark eyes.
I am watching these boys grow before my eyes. Seth is looking like a little man, his shoulders are broadening, his walk is starting to become a swagger, I am fascinated as I watch him interact with his school friends. Seth doesn't play, in fact I can't say I have ever seen him play, apart from very brief moments where he seems to want to be like Isaac and Eli and he will sit on the floor with the Disney Pixar cars and push one or two around before he gives up on that and he takes his and lines them up, so he can look at them and count how many he has.
He runs and he plays sports, he sticks with the rules and he is very, very serious about things being done 'right'.
His room looks like a teenagers, he is precise about where things go, he has many photographs in his room and they are all of him, other people might be with him but the main focus of all pictures is Seth.
He has sports memorabilia, much of it still in the wrappers. He has Lizard and he has many, many soft toys. I am always surprised by how much Seth loves soft toys, he adores them, mostly stuffed animals and we have encouraged that because it is pretty much the only time he shows any kind of softness. I asked him today if he loved me and his reply was " not that much" when I asked him to be serious he said " I am, I do love you but just not *that* much, it's not like I'd give you my spine or anything"
" I told him I would remember that when I was buying presents in Boston and told him with the utmost sincerity that I would give HIM a kidney if he needed it, so think on THAT Mr Not that much." "Lovely, I would give it right back if you discovered that you needed it after all, I might even give YOU a lung if you needed one, I have 2 of them and if I DID give you a lung, I might die, so I suppose I love you*that* much"
He is indescribably funny, exceptionally quick for example, we have been teaching them the value of money, he gets that, he saves his money, he has a money jar do all 3 boys and he has more money than anyone else, he even found an ugly keyring with a $ sign and it hangs from his money jar, he does not spend his money, he saves it with a specific purpose in mind and he isn't swayed by ice cream vans, car boot sales, pixar cars in the toy shop, he knows what he is saving for. Isaac can't save money to save his life, he earns it, he spends it, he even gives it away, he can't save it. Eli is a middle of the road man, he will earn £2 he spends £1. When the boys ask for anything our answer is always either " On saturday when you get your pocket money, you can certainly buy that, if you choose" or " well, if you earn and save by X,Y,Z you will have enough to buy that"
Most days, one or the other of us will say " You can save for that" " Yep, save up, you can get that"
Today I saw a fleeting glimpse of THIS BEAUTY and I looked over at H and said " OH! PLEASE can I have one of those?" and the little git beside me said " Yep, save up for it"
HE never misses a beat.
Isaac, my Isaac. What a star this boy is, he delights me every day, he is quite frankly the most splendid of people. He has so many quirks and I adore pretty much all of them. When we were out shopping the other day, he found a Marks and Spencer's trolley ( cart) at ASDA! Oh the joy, the absolute unadulterated glee, in such a thing. He grabbed that trolley and he pushed it to the store, he wanted to know if anyone would notice he had a M & S trolley in ASDA?! We got the the door and he froze because, probably, if he pushed that trolley into the shop, if the wheels went past the entrance, well what would happen? He couldn't do it, he pushed it in to the trolley bay and he got an Asda one. Phew.
After school yesterday he ran to me with his best friend, who is huge, Isaac comes up to his elbow, they were animated and asked if Isaac could go home with Jamie after school today, COULD HE? Yes?? Please? Well of course I said yes and I spoke with Jamie's mum and arranged that he go home with them after school today.
Eli went home with naughty Nathan ( who is still his best friend even though they were separated and put into different classes because they are NAUGHTY together) and I just had to collect Seth and Harry, how is Seth's best friend.
Waiting by the gate we saw Isaac come out, with Jamie and his grandma, they came over to say hello and Isaac was happy to go with them ( I tend to stand and gawp when he does something new and HUGE and so important) and as thy went to cross the road, Jamie's Grandma said " Come on then Isaac, hold my hand" He gets the same look on his face when someone asks to touch him as H gets if I cry, it's that deer in a headlight kind of OH SWEET PANIC NOW WHAT??! look. Jamie, who is 8, said, "It's OK grandma, Isaac can hold MY hand" Because he is Isaac's best friend, for real and he has watched Isaac at school since he was a terrified 4 year old under a yellow blanket, as a 5 year old who stood silently watching all the fun that is school, as a whispering 6 year old who wouldn't wear P.E kits or touch paint, as a 7 year old who would lead other children to where THEY should be when there was an assembly and watched him as he won a race in sports day. He knows Isaac and in that perfect way that only children and the very best adults do, he instinctively did what he knew Isaac needed, he probably didn't even have to think about it, he knew that Isaac would never hold grandma's hand but might just hold his hand, which he did, with the very tips of his fingers around Jamie's wrist. May he always have friends like Jamie. May we all have at least one friend in our life time like Jamie R.
Elijah is still Elijah, delicious and clumsy, lisping and absent minded. He is slightly more tetchy and temperamental than usual but we tend to stare at him and shake our heads knowing that within seconds he will be that adorable little chipmunk we all adore.
Seth is going away on monday, for 5 days, I was sure I would be much more paranoid and terrified about it but he is such a strange and extraordinary boy, HE won't be a bit worried and so I think that helps, he is in a room with Harry and his room is next to his teachers room, she is going to make sure he eats, even if it is dry bread and cereal, he will eat something. If fear overtakes me I will make myself think of flying in 2 weeks and bring it down a notch or 30.
I shall not allow myself to think of my skinny little 9 year old abseiling, ( argh!) rock climbing, ( rocks, hard and unforgiving) night walking ( oh please don't let them lose him) canoeing ( drowning, deep water and small children and especially my precious child!) Archery ( sharp, sharp arrows and little boys...oh dear.)

I had a dream last night, one of those very real, almost tangible dreams where you wake up feeling overpowered and unsettled and this one made me sad. I dreamt that I met up with the first one and loved him again, he said he loved me too and we planned to be together again, we were offered a beautiful cottage, on an acre of land, oh it was such a glorious place and I wanted that place so badly, the first one and I were both given great jobs and told that the rent for this haven was a mere £170 a month.
The whole time I was planning this move back in with the first one, H was standing to one side just waiting for me to decide what I was going to do and I kept glancing over at him and saying things like " Oh, it's not like he cares anyway, he'll get over it" and " Oh the boys will be fine, look at the garden they can play in!"
Oh I felt so bereft when I woke up, to think of leaving H and taking the boys away from him is unimaginable.
I think I had that dream for several reasons, I went to mum's house last night, we had a few friends come over for hot chocolate and a laugh and I sat and chatted with mum after everyone left, she said " Oh I watched you and H on sunday and I was so envious, I looked at you both and I prayed that you never lose H because I can't imagine either of you without the other, you have such a unique relationship and bond and I couldn't help thinking how awful it would be if either of you were without the other"
Also I have noticed lately, that people behave in the most extraordinary way online, lines of propriety become blurred and people say things that ( I hope) they wouldn't dream of saying in real life. I am such a prude but I become very uncomfortable when I see people flirting with others they aren't married to, if both people are single, there's no problem but for me, if one or both are married, I absolutely hate to see inappropriate comments and suggestions, I don't think it is ever OK to pretend or 'joke' I don't find it at all funny, tsk tsk, stop it you foolish ninnies.
So I think the mix of reading what other people say to each other under the guise of joking, added to mum's talking about H and I made for a dream about the worst possibility, being without H and being with the first one again.
The cottage was REALLY perfect though, the stuff dreams are made of ( indeed) the rest was awful though.
I love my family, I am excited by the way H and I are raising these little boys and as quickly as they are growing it is wonderful to see who they are becoming, the different personalities and the strengths and challenges they have.
I envy women who have many children, I cannot think of a greater treasure that a big family. I am wealthy indeed.


Saturday, September 12, 2009


Sometimes something will happen to take me back in time and remember things that I had let go of, or hidden far back in the cobwebby recesses of my mind.

I was thinking earlier about when Dan, Jordan and Sophie were little and how different things were for me then.

All of my sons have, to some extent been breath holders, pain, fear or shock would make them hold their breath until they pass out, unless you have had a child that does that it's impossible to explain just how freaky it is. Dan did it from birth, he would cry, then do this little hiccuping noise and then stop breathing, he outgrew it pretty quickly, before his first birthday. Jordan outgrew it when he was 10, TEN! He was a spectacular breath holder, he terrified many a passer by with his grey face, bulging eyes and drop dead to the floor displays, the last time I remember him doing it was when he was 10 and ran towards one of those chains used to block parking spaces, he ran, jumped and misjudged it, fall, stood up and ran towards me with his mouth wide open and his face almost black from lack of air ...we were quite a sight to see because by this time I was so over being afraid and had learned the way to make him breath was to yell in his face and remind him to do just that " BREATHE! CRY! JORDAN......CRY!"

The car park was busy and many people saw him fall, saw him get up and saw how distressed he was and they saw him run to his mother who grabbed him by the shoulders and screamed "CRY!" in his face. Precious moment.

I don't recall Sophie holding her breath, though I know she did because when she developed epilepsy I asked the Drs if maybe she had damaged her brain by doing it.

Seth and Elijah were like Dan and outgrew it before their first birthdays, all I had to do was blow in their faces and they would breathe, Isaac was even more spectacular than Jordan, he stopped when he was 5 but until then he managed to make even hard faced me, panic because he would hold his breath until he had a seizure, would roll his eyes back, convulse, froth at the mouth, pee himself and then breathe. Oh dear I lose count of the times I felt sure THIS would be the time that would get him. No matter how many times the Dr would tell me that no child ever dies from holding their breath ( because they pass out before the magical cut off time and would automatically breathe) I was convinced this boy was going to be the one that proved to be the exception to that rule.

He did hold his breath in front of the Dr just one time and even he got nervous and said things like "oh, er, no-one ever died from doing this, no-one, good gracious look at his face, does he always do it this long? Oh my what a colour he's gone, it's OK, he'll breathe any minute now...won't he? My, my he does do it well, very convincing, oh there we go, all right now, breathing beautifully...whoops he's had an accident!"

When I look back I am amazed at how calm I was when all this was going on. H and I are just beginning to be able to look back and laugh about when we were first married.

Although we had been emailing and calling each other for the incredibly lengthy period of 5 months, we had actually only spent 2 weeks face to face with each other, my children had never met him and his son, Rob had met me and decided there and then that he was going to give me a run for my money. Sophie was hell bent on seeing if H was going to leave. Fun times.

My kids were not at all worried about moving, they were excited at the adventure, they were happy that I had met someone and were altogether delightful about the whole experience.

Until they realised that this wasn't a holiday.

Oh my goodness.

During the day we were busy, we explored and we found schools, we went and we did and we laughed and we were happy.

Things change when night falls, fears set in and there wasn't a single night for months where one or the other wasn't crying. They never disturbed us ( which is sort of sad now I think about it)

but they would stand silently outside our room and when I would come out to pee ( and I conceived 2 weeks after I arrived in the States, on our wedding night, peed a lot at night,TMI you're welcome.) as I stepped out of my room I would be wept on and begged to be taken home, I would hear how awful it was and how sad they were and how they changed their mind and wanted to go home now.

Rob was so angry, so quietly and brow frowningly furious. He has since been diagnosed with autism and when Isaac was diagnosed it was like a light bulb going on for H and I because THAT'S why Rob was the way he was. Poor kid. When I look at pictures now, of Rob and Sophie, these two demon children, who were sent by Lucifer himself to make our lives as miserable and chaotic as possible, I see 2 sweet little faces, 2 children, you know, little people who look so sweet and so young and I simply cannot believe how much bloody misery they put us through. I am also horrified that neither H nor I knew how sad they were.

3 teenagers, a pre-teen, a pregnancy followed immediately by another pregnancy. Why, that's the recipe for success isn't it?

When I 'met' H, I knew very quickly that I would marry him, not at all in a gloriously romantic oh how splendid it all is way. Much more a 'hmm, fancy that, here he is. Oh my' way.

I just knew. Nothing seemed worrying or too big, moving away from friends and family was sad but I just knew, this was it. I had to do it.

Sometimes I wish I had done things differently until I realise that where we are right now, is only because of the way things were.

My dad was so sad that we were leaving England and he tried so hard not to tell me to stay, sometimes he managed not to but usually he would say things like " But you belong HERE, why are taking the children so far away? I don't think you know what you are doing" I knew he was sad and eventually I just told him it was his fault. I told him that he had told me to pray about things and that this, this marriage was something I had prayed about for a long time. I told him that I had prayed and told the Lord that I was ready to meet someone, that I was putting my life in His hands. I told dad that he taught me how to do that and he had also told me that I was to be obedient.
I didn't pray for a husband in America, nothing was further from my mind, I imagined somehow I would meet a nice rich man who lived up the road and life would be hunky dory ever after.
I explained to dad that I had prayed and here was H, how would THAT be if after all that I turned around and said "oh, no, wait you did it wrong. "
Be careful what you pray for.
I am so grateful that I have learned how to let go and let God.
I am relieved that when times are bad, I have learned that it gets better. Sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and wait it out.
I am also very glad that right now, I am not gritting my teeth. Splendid.


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

All creatures great and small. ( pics added)

We have a pet. Yes, our family, you know, with me in it. I am not an animal lover, I don't understand people who love animals the same as people, more than people even.
I remember a boyfriend once telling me that they had vets bills over a £1.000. I pointed out that he could have bought 2 or 3 pedigree NEW dogs with that. He showed me the error of my ways. I still don't get it though.
So, Seth has been longing for a pet and way back at the beginning of the year we said that maybe, when he was 9, he could have a tortoise ( because I figured even I could cope with exercising a tortoise.) Bless his heart he said " Oh, I will never forget this wonderful day even when I am very old." The back of my brain is tickling, I think that is excitement, is it?" Indeed it was. So, he started to save and he researched everything he could about Tortoises. And he waited.
As his birthday approached he started to waver ( yeay! That was the plan, I was sure he would change his mind in all that time ) however his desire for a pet was every bit as strong, that didn't wane at all.
He decided that he wanted a lizard, or a bearded dragon, or something. He saved an impressive amount of money for a little chap and he also found a vivarium at the car boot sale, a heater / lamp and he was ready. Very ready.
Darn it.
Eventually, because he is my son, he decided that he would buy a Green Anole, for £9.99, a practise lizard because £60 for a breaded dragon is a steep price when you are nine and he wasn't sure he would be able to keep it alive.
Greeny came home on monday evening. Oh we have been so excited about him, he has a reptile ladder and he has plants and rocks, flat rocks, bark, water mister thingamajiggers. It is the grandest £9.99 lizard you ever did see.
I think these boys are going to love it to death.
They poke it and stroke it and pick it up and look at it, they watch it and stare at it and the light goes on and off and on and off and I am NEARLY~ DEMENTED.
I don't like animals but I truly hate poor treatment of animals. If you have a pet, you look after it.
I have lost count of the times I have said, since 5pm on monday, " Wash your hands, with HOT soapy water" and " Leave that lizard alone, it does not like being picked up" also " PUT IT BACK" ( that to Sophie at 3am when she was quite drunk and very loud and I saw she had it in her hand, in her room)
This evening, I went to get the bath ready for the boys and good heavens, as I opened the bathroom door, there they were, all 3 of them in the bath already and there, sitting on the side of the bath, in a takeaway sort of tupperware box, was the lizard, looking very sorry for itself.
"He LOVES swimming" Said Seth.
"No, he doesn't" said I.
"But he was doing it! I held his head above the water so he wouldn't drown and he was SWIMMING!"
"This lizard is going back into his vivarium, under the warm light, you are not to open his door at all tonight. AT ALL, even ONCE. You will kill this little creature and if you do I will be furious. If you do not listen to me and you touch this lizard, if you do not hear me when I say that it does NOT like being handled, it does NOT like swimming, it likes warmth and to be left alone, if you don't understand that then you are clearly not old enough to have a pet and I will take him back to the shop and explain that you are cruel and will not be keeping it. Do you hear me? All of you? "
"do you understand me?"
"all of you?"
"then you are not deaf and you are not stupid so if you touch it again this evening you are just being disobedient and you will be very sorry."
Isaac and Elijah lasted 30 minutes and they went to bed without a story at 7pm.
Seth ( as far as I know,) resisted the temptation to teach Greeny to , oh who knows? Sky dive with the mini parachute out of the bedroom window perhaps.



I found Elijah on the shed roof again today, he said he was searching for flat rocks, and he had found some too, I am sure the rocks weren't on the roof, I am loathe to investigate too deeply for fear of discovering he had shimmied up the side of someone's house and pilfered the lead off their roof. Little bugger.
( am kidding, no-one uses lead for roofing anymore, cheap that's what we are these days)
You know, I am sure my other boys didn't do this stuff, they were nice children and helpful, well behaved and thoughtful, asleep by 6pm every night and never ever got dirty. Perhaps my memory is poor, whatever, they get it from H.
I am neurotic about this tiny creature who is one of God's creatures after all.
I check it often and I mist his vivarium. I want him to be warm and comfy, fed and happy and I am pretty sure that we will never be a family of many pets. My heart can't stand it.
I'm too tired to write much more this evening, sad I know, I am always so riveting to read.
Tomorrow, maybe I will tell you about the nightmare quantity of flies in the laundry room, as long as I can write about it in the past tense, right now they seem to be sunbathing on and around the blue fly killing lamp I put in there to KILL them.
WTH is going on in this house, mice and smells and flies and green anoles eat flies? That'd be so handy wouldn't it?


Sunday, September 06, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year..

Or is it?
I am happy that school starts tomorrow but not because the boys have driven me crazy, merely because they are very bored with us. Bike rides and parks, shopping and adventures have lost their appeal, the weather this past 6 weeks has been disappointing, not one single day where we could leave the house and stay out all day in glorious sunshine, we have been dashing out and back in again, in between rain showers, we have been brave and gone out even with dark grey skies and threatened rain, we have tried to make fun where it would appear there is none to be had.
I love the going back to school time because it is the start of all the things I love. Birthdays behind us, we now get ready for autumn and winter, now I hate cold weather, my soul shrinks when the sunshine leaves, when we have had little sunshine to speak of I am oft left feeling incredibly hard done by and perfectly able to whine and grumble right through til we see some sun the following year. I love sunshine, I never tire of it, I crave the warmth and feeling of well being it brings to me.
I do, however, love the long nights, I adore cosy. Curtains drawn, hot water bottles, hot chocolate, warm towels on radiators. Stew and dumplings, vegetable soup, baked potatoes and sausage casserole, all things that bring comfort and secure feeling when the weather outside is harsh and unwelcoming.
I adore hosting the Halloween party every year, this year I am thinking we might do things differently, I'm not sure how yet, but somehow make it better and more fun, more memorable and BIGGER than ever before ( in a hall perhaps, rather than my poor battered home) I am SO excited to be able to hit Target and Walmart for Halloween goodies this year.
Only a few short weeks until Sophie and I go to Boston for a whole week, so many things to look forward to there.
I usually do a Thanksgiving dinner here but this year, H and Seth will be in L.A so we Englanders will skip it this year.
Christmas is my favourite time of year and this year, I want it to be more meaningful, more thought through and more memorable for the boys, old enough now to understand the joy of giving as well as receiving, the weeks before Christmas will be filled with doing things for other people.
Somehow the beginning of school starts all the excitement for these lovely times for me. It is the most wonderful time of the year.
I am feeling a little stunned about where we are though, Seth is starting year 5, just this year and next and then he will be in SENIOR SCHOOL! Tiny, feisty, smart, wiry little boy, already beginning to look older, with his developing shoulders and chiseled little face. When he got out of the bath last week I noticed his legs..he has the longest legs and looks like a foal! I measured him and his legs are 27" long, his body is 16" long! His arms are 21.5", he is all legs and arms and attitude.
Side by side Isaac and Seth look pretty much the same size, so I measured Isaac too, his legs are 25" and his body 16" he is much sturdier than Seth, bigger build, stronger looking but not actually stronger, Seth is like a little power pack with his 6 pack and bulging biceps ( giving his arms the appearance of knotted cotton!) Isaac is solid and less physical than Seth, happy to sit and drive trucks online, quiet and steady.
Elijah is just Elijah, he is the clumsiest child I have ever come across, it seems it is impossible for Eli to walk from one end of a room to the other without tripping, dropping, falling, breaking, spilling of tumbling. Never a meal eaten or a drink enjoyed without a spill of some kind.
He has been an animal all summer long, literally, a lion or a Jaguar, a leopard or a dog, he has been crawling everywhere for 6 weeks, I have tripped over him more times that I care to count.
At church today, as the meetings ended, he crawled on all 4s to the door and I hear myself say
" Elijah! Will you PLEASE be a human " It seemed a perfectly reasonable request at the time, scores of people all trying to leave at the same time and one little boy holding everyone up as he crawls through the imaginary jungle. It was only when I heard the appreciative snorting I realised it might have sounded bizarre to anyone but Eli's family. ( he has been known to try and eat Isaac because Isaac was sitting still and was fair PREY to a hungry Leopard. )
We are lizard ready, Seth, who for months has been preparing and saving for a tortoise, suddenly decided that actually, a lizard would be more fun. He has a vivarium, heat lamp, feeding bowl, impressive lizard ladder, sand, rocks and the money to pay for his Lizard.
Tomorrow, after school is the day. We are going to buy his Lizard. Oh we are so excited! ( I say we, I mean they, I am more nervous than anything. I am not an animal lover. At all. I am, however, very keen that any creature, mice aside, in our home be well cared for and looked after. I do not hold at all with people having pets if they are not prepared to care for them properly. I hope that this creature will not become my responsibility, I will admit to being the one to purchase the lizard ladder so it can have fun and not be horribly bored. I worry that I will find myself going in there to talk to it, so it isn't lonely. I'll be getting cats any day, baby replacements, I can see it coming. )
The boys seem ready for school, Isaac seems calmer than he has ever been, I suspect it is the promised return of routine and order that he is happy about, I am sure he will be up in the middle of the night, fully dressed and on the sofa, in anticipation of his new classroom, new teacher, new classmates. He is so brave and I am so impressed by the way he faces up to all the challenges he has to face.
Yes, indeed, this is the most wonderful time of the year. I am ready.


Saturday, September 05, 2009

In one peace.

My husband is nothing if not smart, you can't catch him out no matter how early you get up in the morning.
I've tried.
Sometimes I know I am trying and other times, I have no idea at all.
Take last night.
I sent in a request for my medicine, my anti depressants to be precise. A small dose, I have to say that I haven't really noticed a huge difference since taking them, I know that I sleep more, much more, like a regular person even. Most days, around 3 or 4 o'clock I am so overwhelmed
with weariness that I have to sleep. It's not a 'ooh a nap would be lovely' need, it is a ' if I don't lie down and sleep the sleep of a comatose person I might just drop in a heap' kind of need.
I sweat, which I hate but it isn't a terrible and debilitating sweat, just an unkind kind of sweating and actually, only when other people are just as hot and dripping. I can deal with that.
The gradual improvement in my anxieties have been so gentle as to have me believe that it is nothing to do with the meds, it is all just ME getting better.
Anyway, I emailed my request and as usual, they say they didn't receive my email, I went into the reception area at the doctors and arranged to go back later in the day and collect a script. Which I forgot to do, for 3 day.
I felt perfectly fine, in fact better than fine, I went 3 days without crawling upstairs at 3 pm to sleep, oh let me sleep.
I was in fact, pretty lively and did things like take all 3 boys shopping, at once, on my own, on purpose.
I took them to a very large supermarket about 15 miles away ( I don't know, why DID I do that? ) we walked in together and I felt upbeat and confident that this would be fine.
7 steps into the shop I was stopped by a man in a smart suit who said " Madam, may I ask who supplies your electricity?"
"Yes, you may" I said as I continued to walk past and then " N Power" over my shoulder as I bid a hasty retreat.
"Oh but Mada........"
"NO TIME!" I said.
Up one aisle, down another, 3 little boys still relatively happy and close by. Any mother with 3 young children, especially boys knows that there is a very fine time limit to shopping with them. In, see, grab, buy, pay, out. That's how it is done. These creatures can turn in a second, one moment there, the next all 3 in a different direction, slipping, knee sliding, climbing, touching, running, more skidding....hell breaks loose in a split second.
Up a 3rd aisle
"Ahhh, MADAM! Yes, N.Power, let me take just a moment of your time"
"Hmm, have you ever been shopping with 3 boys, aged 6, 8 and 9? Have you?"
" Yes"
"Oh you so haven't, but if I pretend I believed you for a second, did you ever think it a wise and sensible move to stop, with those 3 boys and talk to someone about changing electricity companies?"
" Why yes, if I thought it would save me hundreds of pounds, why yes, I would!"
"The Internet is a marvellous thing! I shall do all that on the Internet when these children are not with me! BYE!"
When I next walked by him, he pretended he didn't see me. Clever man.
Not as clever as H though.
So, I was feeling pretty good and thinking that maybe I didn't need to take the anti depressants anymore. I think maybe I needed to get over that slump and I did and maybe I wouldn't bother with them anymore.
Until someone suggested that maybe going cold turkey wasn't a great idea. Who'd have thought? I know that other people don't do well with that, that other people get snippy and short tempered and other people don't realise that is even happening. I was pretty sure that for me, this was OK, I was actually feeling really good and it was so nice to not feel so leg draggingly weary all the time.
( heh, Seth is so my son, this afternoon I told him he had to sit down and just relax for a while, he sat down and said " Oh but THIS movie? This is heart lurchingly dull!" that's my boy!)
So, chatting online, Cathy suggested that I maybe start taking the pills again and take her advice, no matter how good I may be feeling, take the pills, for the sake of the children.
What can she mean? Sake of the children? Why I am mother earth practically.
So, while I was chatting and reassuring her that all is well, I am FINE, really FINE, perfectly bloody fine! I turned to H and said
"Have I been behaving any differently the last few days?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I ran out of medicine and I feel so much better without it and I was wondering if you have noticed that I am any different, that's all"
and then he showed me how smart he is, how quick thinking and wise because he looked me right in the eye and said
"How do YOU think you have been?"
That, ladies and gentlemen is how to stay married and in tact, with head in one piece and with a wife who thinks the sun might well shine out of your backside for 23 days of every month ( give him a break, he can't be perfect all the time ) How to ensure peace reigns.
I started taking the medicine again.
I am flying to Boston in 26 days, I need all the help I can get, I am meeting new people and the flying fears are beginning to surface, I hope the meds will squash those back down again.
I am miserable about being fat and frumpy, excited that I will be able to buy clothes that fit and don't cost a fortune, fed up with the double chins, happy that no-one else will care at all how many chins I have.
I am so looking forward to shopping after scrimping and saving ( oh the joy of saving for weeks and months and picking up, putting back and saying 'No' and then getting on holiday and being able to just go for it!)
I love the hotel we stay in, love that it is now familiar to us and feels like a posh home from home. I love Hotels, especially in the States, over here I don't think we know how to do it, far too expensive and not at all as welcoming as the ones I have stayed in in the States. ( unless you opt for the really great hotels which are lovely and such a treat. I loved going away when I was a nanny, staying in hotels that know how to make you feel welcome and pampered.)
I am so excited and at least I know that the flight, 7 hours, is acceptable and passes quickly enough. The one home is even better as it's an overnight flight and shorter due to wind direction or something.
Quite a few people are coming, new people, which freaked me out for a while, now I am OK about that, I am pretty sure I won't disgrace myself or scare too many of them and so far, people I have met in Boston have turned out to be quite splendid, I shall assume that will be the case this time as well.
We are going for a whole week this time, enough time to do all kinds of extra things, more time to spend laughing and shopping.
Oh how exciting it all is.


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Not fluffy or nice, don't read at the same time as eating your tea.

So, the mice. Did you forget? Shall I keep you in on the happenings of mice and men in our house?
Well, we killed them, dead. They kept coming back for the peanut butter coated poison, yum. So I bought RAT traps, never mind fluffy little mouse traps, these things were getting on my nerves, the smell was simply abominable, for months I have been complaining of a musky, rotting sort of half rancid dead small, have spent hours crawling on hands and knees sniffing things, opening cupboards and slamming them shut because the laundry room and the cupboard under the stairs were the culprits, stronger in both those places and so because I couldn't see what was smelling, I shut the door on it and yelled when anyone else opened those doors and left them opened.
When we, I mean I, saw that fat old pappie mouse run into the laundry room, it caused me to search and actually move the rubbermaid boxes I store material in ( because I am so HANDY and one day will have a table and sewing machine and shall sew and make splendid things) and well, there it was a big old chomped through hole in the wall.
When H cleared under the stairs and saw the grandpappie mouse he then found an even bigger chewed through hole in the floorboards.
We caught pappie and grandpappie in the traps, big fat, stinking mice. Deader than dead things.
My greatest surprise was the absolute joy Isaac experienced in this barbaric activity, he was thrilled to see those mice and declared both occasions the very best 60 seconds of his life, he examined and then described the positions and state of both mice and was animated in his descriptions. He helped set the traps and checked them daily. I think he was a little disappointed when they stopped coming.
Seth was more on my side, pleased they were dealt with but would rather not hear the details if you don't mind shut up about it will you shut UP ABOUT THE MICE!
So, as mice were caught, we bagged them and tied the bags, and we threw them in the wheelie bins for the bin men to take away and none of us gave a thought to the fact that this was the very day those bins had been emptied and now there were two weeks until the next bin day.
I say the mice were big and as mice go they were, indeed on the larger side.
They were still mice, little creatures perhaps 6 inches long.
Let me tell you, despite the fact that they were small creatures, wrapped and tied in plastic bags, thrown in the bottom of the wheelie bin and then have had BIG black bags thrown on top, despite all that, OH MY GOODNESS THE SMELL!
I thought the smell was going to do for me, even outside, with the kids down my nose kept getting a whiff and to put anything in the bin took such effort, such taking of deep gulping breaths of fresh air before stealing myself to open the lid and throw it in and slam the lid down and then GAH! GAG!
( I have been accused of being melodramatic in my time, by my mother, I would like to point out that this is not me, being melodramatic, it is the absolute truth.)
I thought the smell was awful and even H, who I have yet to see wrinkle his nose when I shove anything rotten under it and say IS THAT BAD? Smell! Is it OK? Even he found that smell so appalling that he got a super thick black bin bag and he taped that lid down and covered it and taped that stink in. Bless his heart.
So, we have been counting down the days til the bin men come and wouldn't you know it, we've had a bank holiday so that adds an extra day on to it. They are coming tomorrow. Oh the joy in my heart as I imagine those bins being emptied, the smell has been so awful but not nearly as awful as MAGGOTS yes, maggots, from the 2 week old rotting mice corpses, at the bottom of the bin, that have crawled up and over all the other rubbish and somehow even through the black super thick bin bags.
I can't even carry on writing about my horror, my skin crawling, head itching, stomach heaving horror of those teeny tiny creatures of death and filth.
WE have this rather splendid company that drive behind the bin men every week and if you catch them, they will, there and then, power wash your wheelie bins, they will spray and wash and clean and make them all shiny and new. I am sitting by my window tomorrow and I am going to run out and pay them whatever they charge to power wash my bins, both of them. I have an industrial sized bottle of Jeyes Bin disinfectant sitting on the windowsill, as a solitary symbol of hope, I am going to dust pour that stuff in my power washed, rinsed and maggot free bins and I am going to sing a happy song.
Tomorrow is a long awaited day. I was giddy with anticipation.
Until last night when, at exactly the same time, Sophie and I walked out of the rooms we were in and said " Can you hear that?" And yes, we could.
LOUD scratching.
My only hope is that it is under the floor boards and can't get back in as H has fixed and nailed and boarded up all holes.
I am looking at houses to rent, I tell H that I am just looking for old times sake.
Watch me move quicker than blink if I find a house we can afford away from the Clampetts, steep hill and mice.