Tag Archives: Children

Don’t cha just love Christmas?


So here it is: that time of year again.

Here anyway, there’s not a single, solitary flake of snow on the ground. The mulled wine is still in its bottle, as far back in its cupboard as it’s possible to be. After Thursday’s level of celebrating I have decided: I am never touching alcohol ever again. Well, not before tomorrow anyway.

The gifts are wrapped but not placed under the tree. Aden wanted to deposit his interestingly packed package for Joni, under the plastic needles, but we ran to the rescue as we anticipated the dog’s eyes excitedly lighting up and her wrestling the paper off. We explained to Aden that the dog would contentedly nibble away on his lovingly purchased present.

So he thoughtfully offered to squirt it with anti-chew spray.

The turkey is stuffing up the bottom drawer of the fridge. Reini’s chocolate gooey puddings are ready to cook, directly from frozen. Akasha’s covered the window in home-made stars and the apple tree is welcoming passersby with it’s twinkly, strangulating net of lights.

Cards have been sent, received and put up. The dog’s had her hair cut. Akasha’s offered to make extra presents – origami birds from loo paper. Excitement truly is in the air.

Christmas is coming and apparently we’re ready; even waiting for it.

Wishing you all a very, very Merry Christmas!!!!!

Goals and triumphs


Can you believe it – it’s the last day? Of my enormous assignment for myself, to do 101 challenges in 1001 days.

I feel a little bit giddy, to be honest.

Even though there are no bright lights and I have not (yet) sipped a single swig of champagne.

In fact, for all intents and purposes, it’s a normal day: the frost lies crisp and white upon the ground, the trees stand still in a windless sky, the computer softly buzzes while I write and simultaneously shovel copious amounts of chocolate into my mouth and the puppy and I argue over who is actually typing on the keyboard.

Ah, yes, the puppy… Our new family member… I’ll introduce you to her properly later.

There are no banners drooping in the still, crisp air; no party hats sitting on dandruff free hair (this is not an advertisement; but we do use Head and Shoulders); nor have there been any clinking glasses, well, unless you count the ones precariously balanced in the dishwasher this morning.

But worry not. For tonight I will celebrate on the last of our 33 date nights. I’ve already marked it off. I fear I may just celebrate a little too much to be allowed to be left in control of machinery and other potentially perilous objects.

So what am I celebrating, exactly?

The Highlights:

  • Becoming really good friends with Tilly Bud, The Laughing Housewife my partner in crime during the challenge.
  • The murder mystery dinner (we had such a lot of fun especially as I was picked out as having had an affair with the murderer, which led to me being, shockingly, pulled up to waltz with him, in front of an audience of over 100 people – all German people can waltz (except my husband, which is the main reason we fit together so perfectly – I can’t waltz either. I have an excuse though not being German), but not knowing I wasn’t an authentic German participant – I had to play an Italian - the poor unsuspecting bloke had no idea what he was in for i.e. severely trampled feet and a hysterically laughing dance partner (there were over 100 people watching)).
  • Making sure every single month – without fail – that Reini and I went on a date and made time for each other.
  • The Eurovision Party.
  • Watching 101 films. Watching films as a challenge means you can indulge yourself whenever you want and you don’t start to feel like a couch potato.
  • Writing the first draft of my first book in NaNoWriMo.
  • Trying new restaurants. I liked this challenge so much, I upped it from 10 in the first year to a total of 30 and I’m happy to say that I achieved this goal.
  • Going on a bonding trip with Lori to a spa!
  • Going to a wild west show – I really didn’t expect it to be so much fun and all of the kids really loved it too.
  • Going to Linderhof Castle – beautiful.
  • Taking Akasha to ballet. I only planned, originally, to give her a bash at it but as it turns out – she’s a proper full on little ballerina!
  • Planting bushes in the garden. I have actually managed to grow something. OK I have also managed to kill several things but I succeeded in growing a few bushes!!!! I suspect I have found attached to myself half a green thumb. It might not be exactly in the thumb position but who cares? It’s half a green thumb!!
  • On the theme of planting – finally I have a longed for pampas grass in the middle of the garden. In the spirit of honesty – the first one did die. But I soldiered on replanting. The second one is still alive, but we’re not through her first winter yet.
  • My 40th birthday party. I totally loved it. But I do admit, I did go a little bit mad in organizing it. What with fancy dress and preparing 1000s of canapés and an art area for the kids and stilts and space hoppers and  a trampoline and bubbles and a piñata and and and… And then a massive storm came and excited the Scottish visitors  and drowned and tore down both the marquee and the carefully arranged tables. Aden had a full meltdown because, apparently, I had promised in a true British optimistic, weather-woman spirit that, no, it would not rain, when questioned (without reading any meteorological charts or anything!) and in contrast it poured.
  • Resolving the pet question. We bought a puppy. A half-baked thing to do considering I’d not long had my third burnout. But she’s also been my salvation: going for walks, having cuddles, throwing a ball and then attempting to wrestle it back out of her mouth again. On top of that, she’s been an incredible asset for each of the kids for which I will be eternally grateful.
  • I finally found support for my family. I’ve saved the best until last haven’t I? Last month my son was granted a Sozialpädagoge. He’s highly trained to work with autistic and ADHD kids and comes to the house and takes Aden out, two afternoons a week, and undertakes different challenges with him on a one-on-one basis. At the moment he’s working on helping him concentrate and gain confidence through various activities like climbing, potholing, swimming, and geocaching. And the local council have offered to pay for this support for the next two years. Sensational!

I did not finish all of my challenges. I expected far too much of myself and I realized quite early on that my wish to complete the whole assignment was nowhere near attainable. But that was OK. The idea for me was to have goals to aim for. Considering my burnout and how long it’s taken me to recover I do feel that I’ve done quite well. Moreover, although it was added pressure, I also feel that the enterprise helped with my recovery because I had a huge selection of entertaining tasks that I had personally chosen, to focus on.

Saying that, there have also been a few ‘lowlights’.

The Lowlights:

  • I wanted to turn our office into an inspiring place to work (instead of a dumping ground) – I did so, I even put plants in there. The plants, of course, died and the office now looks worse than it did before. :-(
  • I didn’t write a letter to myself to be opened in 10 years. I wanted to do this around my 40th to open then on my 50th but around my 40th I was so busy hosting a Spanish student and going to choir concerts and ballet performances and doctors appointments and preparing 1000s of canapés and collecting egg boxes (for the art area of the party) and eating my way through shop bought puddings so I could reuse the little bowls they came in for my own canapés, that I just didn’t have time. I would have loved to have known what I would have said in that letter to myself.
  • Reading three German novels. I failed here appallingly.  I started one with my dictionary in hand and my translator husband lying next to me but he ended up snoring and I ended up dropping the dictionary and following him to slumberland. N.B. Not snoring: the official line is I don’t snore!
  • Losing control of the 101 list. I couldn’t seem to keep control of the numbers and the letters on my page. At times my list would merrily head towards 101, while at others it would stop counting at the end of one section and then restart at the start of the next from 1?!? Then at other times my list would utilize the letters of the alphabet abandoning any kind of numerical system whatsoever. At first, I was infuriated and spent hours – OK – minutes trying to fix it and shaking a frustrated fist at the screen and yelling at my page, comments like; “Why are you doing this to me?” and “Who gave this computer free will?” Then my husband pointed out that actually, I’m just completely untalented when it comes to dealing with html.
  • Learning how to make a photobook. I attempted this challenge sometime after we returned from France. I thought it would be lovely to have our favourite French photos compiled into a book that could be kept  to be poured through by grandchildren and great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. After quite a struggle (remember my html experience) I managed to effectively put a photobook together online. I wanted to order it and then I saw the price of the masterpiece I had created, had a small fit and then decided to opt for a different company and a less glossy keepsake. I deleted the file, as you do, and rushed off to pick up a small person from somewhere. Then my husband accidentally destroyed the contents of our computer including addresses, kept emails, MY BOOK (luckily I had gone against his wishes and printed the whole thing off), important work he had done and our photos which hadn’t yet been backed up. Oops!
  • Archery. For some reason I had a romantic notion in my head of taking a bow and pointing an arrow and releasing it off into the atmosphere… It would spin and twirl and then land itself on the exact, precise, on the nose particle that I had, a few mere seconds before, deciphered. What actually happened was: the arrow dropped to my feet, I had trouble ‘springing’ the arrow, the arrow couldn’t even find the haystack and the kids then hit every single target. I have discovered I have a deep dislike for archery. I felt like I did that time at school when I accidentally threw the discus into my screaming team mates or those days I could not throw the javelin any further than a meter. Or those endless lessons when I spent the whole double period trying to just hit the damned shuttlecock with the badminton racket – I’d drop the shuttlecock down towards the racket which was placed directly underneath the-said-cock and then I’d hit up the way and I’d miss every single time. I scratched my head quite a lot in those days (but I’m fairly sure that’s not the reason I buy Head and Shoulders in bulk every time I see it on special offer).

So, the gist of the story is: I’ve really, really, really enjoyed the challenge. I’m a little bit sad that it’s over but on the other hand I’m extremely pleased that despite being ill, I’ve continued to plod on through.

Today is no exception, I’m planning to finish off my Freerice challenge: I’ve donated 84,680 grains of rice so far and I’m hoping to reach 100,000 by the end of the day. I’ll have click-ache!! Plus I’m off out with Reini for the last of our 33 scheduled ‘date nights’.

A lot can happen in 1001 days and some of the goals lose their appeal or their importance as life evolves. But there are a few tasks from my list that I would very much still like to do:

The New List?:

      • Make soap with the kids (I’ve even bought the ingredients but the kids are rarely all here at the same time).
      • Try belly dancing (I need to get fit first).
      • Take a pottery course (hopefully my pot won’t slide to the ground like my arrow did ;-) ).
      • Publish my book (I need to edit it first!).
      • Write a children’s story.
      • Cook a goose (my foodie section was my most successful section but I didn’t manage this one, I am a bit intimidated about cooking a goose properly, especially because I have no idea how it’s supposed to taste).
      • Go to Insel Mainau.
      • Go to Herrenchiemsee.
      • Go to Poland (this year we went to Hungary instead but I would love to do a city break in Poland).
      • Do car boot sales with the kids.
      • Write up my recipes.
      • Floating (I have vouchers now – I just haven’t been able to ‘fit it in’).
      • And put up that picture frame – why have I not done this? I do admit I did have pictures printed off at one point, but in the wrong size, deary me).

Thank you so much for all of your support. Luckily I’d also gone against my husband’s wishes and periodically uploaded photos to Facebook so here are a few visual reminders of the last 1001 days/143 weeks/33 months. Enjoy!

Joni – A Ray Of Sunshine


Today is a mammoth day.

Today my first born stops being a child and becomes an adult.

Joni, Happy 18th Birthday sweetheart!

I have a few things that I want to say.

Firstly, I’m sorry that the very first words you heard from my mouth were, “Ooh, she looks like a punk!”

But you proudly wore the best hair gel known to man, child or midwife. Which leads me to my second apology – I’m sorry that I made you crap yourself in the womb. The midwife explained that you must have had a rather large shock, she could even pinpoint roughly when in the pregnancy that shock actually happened, the marvellous woman. So you’re in the loop: I was running for a bus, heavily pregnant and I fell. I know, I know, the midwife tutted a bit at the thought of my all-up-front-baby-belly crashing down toward the ground. But in my defence, I was trying to help another, even more heavily pregnant woman. You see it wasn’t my bus. Instead, my friend, another future mother-to-be, sat on her bus and forgot to get up and dismount the said bus (she was coming to visit us) and so I raced alongside banging on the window and well, you know the rest…

Despite calling you a punk, you have to know that I was totally smitten with you from the second I laid eyes on you. I thought that you were the most beautiful thing I had seen in my life. I was high on drugs and somewhat uninhibited so I got away with banning every visitor from leaving the room until they had admitted that you were, in fact, the most beautiful baby ever to be born. Those visitors included our own guests of course, as well as midwives, auxiliaries, cleaners and naturally a sprinkling of doctors. Some of them seemed to find it all highly amusing (though not as funny as when, post caesarian, I yelled at the doctor to “Bring back my foot!” – I couldn’t feel my legs and all I saw was some gentleman’s hands carrying my foot down the operating table – a foot, I’d like to add, that I hadn’t seen for quite a while (you being all up front and that), I do admit that I did have a panicky moment or two thinking that he had surgically removed my lower limb, without permission, and had then proceeded to taunt me with my once bodypart) but some did appear a little irritated – especially once they became known as frequent visitors…

I was so inspired by your beauty that I made up a song for you, right there, in the hospital. I couldn’t stop singing it. And I still remember it. It went like this:

I’m Joni Beth, Joni Beth (insert your surname)
That’s who I am
I’m a beautiful, beautiful baby
With a cutie face

That’s it.

Unfortunately, despite my inspired moment, I’m no Carole King.

Dearest Joni:

You have developed into a young woman who is not only beautiful on the outside but also on the inside (which is the most important bit).

But sweetheart, despite the fact that you are now an adult, you will always, always be my baby.

;-)

Things aren’t going swimmingly at the moment…


Things aren’t going swimmingly at the moment.

The house looks like a bomb went off in it.

Yesterday, I was away the whole day. Doctors in the morning. Pick up the littlest kid from Kindergarten and then take said kid, as promised, for a bit of one-to-one-time back into town for lunch and then a trip to a local museum, that apparently, has been there for four years, but we had yet to discover. I couldn’t believe that I’d missed it. Being a museum lover and all that.

And to top it all, the best bit of it is: it’s a children’s museum. So having four of the things, I found that rather disturbing – that I’d managed to miss it.

In my defence, I was probably too busy being confused by the one way system in that part of town to notice a great big building with Museum written on it, beside me.

We returned home after a long and tiring day (it started very early, Joni having to catch a bus at 6.45 for a school trip to Strasbourg and, of course, she required a mammoth packed lunch for the journey, as you do when you’re sitting there, not using up any calories) followed by chucking a couple of kids out of the door and wishing them a nice day at school.

I have no idea how Akasha (who’s presently in her last year at Kindergarten) will ever get ready for school on time. She starts in September. I’m dreading September. It’s not so much that she goes along at a snails pace in the mornings. No. It’s more that she’s ‘busy’ doing more important things than eating breakfast or getting dressed or brushing her teeth. Like singing or drawing or putting yellow (her favourite colour at the moment) nail polish on the table her nails. I admit, I have indulged her. Taking her to feed the ducks before Kindergarten or reading her a story. The pattern has stuck and I have no idea how we will shake ourselves out of it.

As I said, we had an early start, but we were still running late for my doctors appointment. So much so that I had to drive to Kindergarten and abandon the car there – then race to the bus stop. I’m sure that confirmed, for many of the parents, that I am, as they suspected: a right loony.

I abandoned the car and ran for the bus and just made it by the skin of my teeth (that’s an odd saying isn’t it, enamel could have been more appropriate?) but there is method in my madness. Parking is expensive in town and so it’s much cheaper for me to buy a day ticket and go from one bus to another and, of course, it’s environmentally friendly too.

But yesterday it was freezing. And freezing at bus stop after bus stop is not really my idea of great fun.

I completed all of my patiently duties in town, missed the bus and went for a nice warm coffee and a bun. I decided that I had earned it. Having walked past several empty bus stops along the way in an effort to keep warm. Besides, as I’m the only person I know who actually lost weight over Christmas (thanks there to the delightful Mr Crohn) I can absolutely shovel a bun or two into my rashed face (yep, also a Crohn gift) and I headed into a nearby warm and welcoming looking coffee shop.

I ordered myself a Latte Macchiato, yum, and a piece of ‘homemade’ banana loaf. As I was admiring the loaf through the glass though, I noticed it contained nuts. They looked like walnuts, which I also put in my own banana loaf, but I knew I had to check, because of my peanut allergy.

“There could be peanuts in it, ” the assistant answered, aloof.

Bitterly disappointed I eyed up the other cakes on display. The fruit tarts. The doughnuts. The cheesecakes. The brownies. The muffins.

She watched me, then injected, “There could be peanuts in any of them. You should have something savoury. A bagel. You could have one of these bagels.”

She waved her arm at the bagels menu behind her as if she was on commission.

I almost fell into her trap. But right then, as I was about to take the plunge, I held myself back. I wanted something sweet. Not savoury. Without peanuts. Why would there be peanuts in doughnuts? Did they have such a sloppy kitchen? Why did she have no idea what her ‘homemade’ banana loaf contained? Did she just fire in any old ingredients?

I rejected her sales pitch and opted for ‘just coffee’ and stretched into my bag to pull out a tissue to wipe away my little tear of sadness. Except, when I looked down I noticed some-bloody-body had already been there and had only left me the snotty ones.

I arrived back at Kindergarten ten minutes before the door would open. I stood there, shivering. Chilled to my very core. I knew I didn’t have time to drive the car home and then walk back to the Kindergarten, get my child ready and sit us both on the 12:15 bus which, I’d arranged, as an extra treat, to meet my husband on. We’d agreed to lunch together with the small one.

Yep. The weather page read at that moment ‘feels like -10°C’ and we’d agreed to do the clever thing, and take our daughter for her favourite food: sushi.

Few people had the same idea, it has to be said. There were only three full tables in the restaurant including ours but we managed to keep them busy. Akasha dropped and smashed an almost full glass of apple juice mixed with lemonade upon their once un-sticky floor.

I think they noticed my shattered nerves, or perhaps it was actually my frostbitten body that did it, whatever, they came over – bearing free coffee.

We apologized with intensity and left a large tip along with the shards of glass behind us.

We waited around for a few minutes then waved the man of the house off as he boarded his bus.

Upward and onward to the museum.

I thought it would be small and over briefly but I had to drag a six year old out at closing time. She could only be persuaded to leave the building by promises of returning soon and being smacked by the realization that the workers had themselves homes to go to and children to see. Although, I suspect in all honesty, that most of their children would have already left home by now. But the children thing still works for Akasha, so I still use it. She hasn’t progressed much in the guessing age abilities yet. I know this because I played a game with her recently in which I asked her if she thought the OAP along our street was older or younger than Mummy she clearly and excitedly yelled out “younger”. I know my rash has taken over my face, but please?!?

As the museum trip had taken longer than expected I had taken a slight panic attack about the older children, who had late school, and so I called my husband to take responsibility on that front. The charge on my mobile was yet again running out and so I couldn’t phone backwards and forwards. He also had to get home to prepare himself for the one-in-Strasbourg’s parent evening.

Sitting on the bus on the way home finally, my mobile rang, but refused to let me answer since I didn’t have enough juice. I could see my husband had called. That he had left a message. But I couldn’t get into it or call him back.

I felt nervous as my daughter quizzed me about her future school days, “What should I do Mummy, if someone accidentally punches me in the eye at school?”

To be clear, I wasn’t worrying about someone accidentally punching her in the eye. As I told her, I don’t think, statistically, that that is very likely to happen. But if it should, she could just go and tell the teacher. (Although, Lori did once get a crutch in the mouth when she was just walking along, minding her own business, down the school corridor. She did require medical treatment. I didn’t have the car as my husband had needed it for work, and because I live approximately 2km from school, the poor teacher had to take her to the doctor. I say poor because when they finally arrived at my door, Lori stood there, face covered in blood and with a thick lip and the teacher stood there, chalk white repeating the words, “She can scream really loudly…” over and over in some kind of shocked trance.) I was worried why my husband had called. Had something happened? Was he at home? Were the children home alone? Had he missed the bus?

We descended from the bus and shivered all the way to Kindergarten, where Akasha had a sudden burst of energy and started racing towards the car.

That’s when I heard the screams. And wails.

“The car’s been stolen!”

I ran after her and panic engulfed me.

Why had I abandoned the car at Kindergarten?

Had I locked the car?

How would we manage without the car?

How do I get in touch with the insurance?

Why do I always forget to charge my mobile phone?

How would Reini get to the parent evening?

Then my brain clicked a little.

I took the hand of the despairing one and dragged her in the direction of home. “Perhaps Daddy’s taken the car,” I proposed, “Perhaps he’s already off to the parent evening. I told him where I left the car at lunch, do you remember? And that would explain his call.”

I chatted as she whined most of the way home. We approached the house. The lights blazed but no car could be seen outside.

We entered the house to two cheery children. Papa had just left the building and the merry ones were about to set off to Fire Service Training.

Importantly: he had the car.

I’d forgotten about Fire Service. More one-to-one-time spotted an ever-enthusiastic-fourth-child.

I abandoned the idea of a bone-warming-bath and settled down next to her on the sofa to watch house programmes. (I’ve carefully nurtured the nosey instinct in her, so much so, she actually once opened the cupboards in someone’s house we were invited to – for a birthday party – needless to say, we weren’t invited back.)

◊◊◊

Things aren’t going swimmingly at the moment.

I think, perhaps, I spend too much time in the company of children.

I looked at the bomb site and told the young ones that there would be no lunch unless they cleared the mess from the table. (Joni being in Strasbourg and Lori being at her drama class.)

Their tummies rumblingly persuaded them and we finally sat down to lunch.

The conversation went something like this:

“Would you like to try some of this, Akasha?” I pointed to a pot of fig mustard on the table.

“OK… Yuck it’s too spicy!!”

“Of course it is, it’s mustard. You don’t like mustard. Ooh it’s really spicy, I think I just got a bit of chili!” responded her brother.

My head was slightly furrowed at that point, “It’s fig mustard. There’s not any chili in it.”

“Have I tried mustard before?” wondered the smallest person in the house.

I changed the subject slightly, “Can you guess which country this mustard was made in?”

Aden blurted, “Germany?”

Me, “No…”

“Afghanistan???” Keenly.

“No. Could you sit properly on your chair please.”

Aden was swinging his chair to the side, thus hovering diagonally across from his plate.

Unsurprisingly, the ADHD one was incredibly surprised to learn that the mustard was made in our neighbouring country: Switzerland.

The cheese, the butter, the drinks were all analyzed to see where they originated. Then he turned to his full glass.

I had a little flashback to yesterday’s lunch and stretched out my hand quickly.

“Yesterday Akasha smashed a glass, didn’t you Akasha?”

“I smashed a light bulb at Fire Service. It was really cool. It exploded (inclusive exploding noises). It wasn’t a good idea to wash the fire engine outside though. The water froze up and we had to scrape it off (accompanied by noises and rigorous scraping gestures).” Aden revealed with much excitement.

“Could you sit nicely on your chair please, Aden?” The chair was swinging quite vigorously and I could see him landing, quite possibly with half the table contents, on the floor.

“What’s a cubic millimetre?” Aden suddenly quizzed.

“It’s a three dimensional measurement.”

???

“A one dimensional measurement would be…” I glanced around the table, then picked up a tub of soya margarine (made in Germany), “this side of the carton. A two dimensional measurement, like centimetre squared would be this side times this side to calculate how big this area is. And a three dimensional measurement, like cubic millimetre would be this side times this side times this side and that calculation would tell you the space in the whole carton.”

“Like the size of a room?”

“Yes!” I enthused.

“Can I go to bed? I feel tired now.”

“Yes.” I knock back another swig of cola, my last attempt at staying awake. I know he’s off to his room to do something. But I’m genuinely too tired to ask what.

He leaves the room.

“Why don’t you whistle?” demands a sweet, but, well, demanding Akasha.

I should have said:

I’m too busy.

I’m too busy dragging children from museums and being friendly to the environment.

I’m too busy sitting on the loo and telling people to do their homework and to sit on their chair properly and thinking up cool ideas for English lessons.

I’m too busy listening to the storyteller in my head.

I’m too busy being refused buns in coffee shops and washing mud splattered fire suits and driving back and forth to ballet classes and applauding completed puzzles and baking homemade banana loaf and avoiding mirrors revealing face rashes and it may just be, that lately, I got a little bit too stressed to whistle.

I’m sorry baby.

But I was always crap at whistling, how about I try singing a little more instead?

A couple of recent corkers


My husband and I attempted to usher Akasha, our six year old, off to bed. She, as usual, came up with several excuses as to why she should stay up but we didn’t give in and insisted that we, as husband and wife needed to spend time together and as it was Valentines Day we wanted to do something on our own.

She responded, “You do do something on your own – you sleep together!”

A few days previous my eldest daughter (Joni) and I were approaching the car and she explained to me:

“Sometimes I see a car parked so crappily and I think ‘What the Hell????’ and then I look closer and I realise that it’s our car and my mother was the one who parked it.”

Let’s start the year with a little bedroom talk


Apparently my son’s remote control is broken.

Joni decided, in her loveliness and wisdom that this morning, as she is doing work experience at Aden’s school this week, she would take on the responsibility of getting her younger brother up and ready for class and leave both of her parents luxuriating in bed.

I did, of course, need to get up in order to find that out but then I returned to my bedroom with a skip and a hop rather than a shuffle and a slouch.

I lay on the bed and my head sank into the pillow for a brief moment.

The following thirty minutes were spent trying to bury it under the  said pillow as the boy child raced from to room to room singing, “Lucy in the sky with diamonds…” at full volume. (And he only sang that same line over and over again because, quite evidently, he had forgotten the rest of the words.)

My son’s remote control is broken.

I know this because one finger has quite clearly jammed the fast forward control so that he can only race from one room to another and one thumb has obviously frozen the volume level at ‘high’.

And the the mute button never worked.

Six today – Hip Hip Hooray!


Dearest Akasha,

There’s no one like you! You bring joy to all our hearts and tears of laughter to our eyes. So I thought I’d give you a little surprise:

You when you were born.

I couldn’t have been more pleased.

(No wonder, look I’d looked fit to explode!)

Perfection:

Excitement of the day


Last weekend my husband celebrated his birthday. Some of you may also know that I turned 40 in the summer. A very generous, angelic, amazing, crazy friend presented me with a voucher: To Take All Four Kids Overnight.

I combined the two and bought an overnight voucher for a hotel including dinner. And we’re off, TODAY.

Now, you might start to get the idea that I’m excited.

I’ve been biting at the bit ever since I managed to pull off the deal with my friend to coincide with the dinner, bed and breakfast package at the hotel.

My husband has been dutifully suspicious as to why I have been grinning form ear to ear for the past few weeks.

Since his birthday, we’ve been playfully bumping shoulders and asking, “Are you excited?”

But it took me until this morning to realise that our enthusiasm dulled into insignificance in comparison to the children’s.

We awoke to clonking on the stairs and a sharp intake of breath this morning.

Admittedly, the gasp was due to the fact that it had snowed during the night.

As was the reason for salt being dragged up from the cellar.

And the idea to take shovels in the car.

But the necessity to pack a suitcase with an arrangement of teddies and and clothes as well as being fully dressed – including winter boots and snow trousers – and ready to go at 9.30am especially when we’re not due to leave until after 1pm, says to me that my children are in higher spirits than I am!

Right, I’m off to shave my forest. There’s a sauna!

My name is Sarah and I’m 40


I’m panicking.

I see myself as the latest, agile Lara Croft/Trinity/Catwoman/The Bride*, who could floor Mr Stranger-Danger in a couple of backflips and with a nicely placed (think Karate Kid), meditated karate chop here and there.

In my mind’s eye.

In my head I am young. I am fit. I am supple. And I am bendy. Apparently in all different directions.

And that, despite never having been a contortionist at any point in my lifetime. Or having stepped a leather slipper through the ballet class door or even attempted kung fu.

Although, to be fair, I did give judo more than a fair shot. I heaved myself all the way to a yellow belt. Then I promptly dislocated my left arm while running up the little hill between my home and the car park. I’d been skipping, you see. And I needed to tidy my rope into the outhouse before being allowed to join my parents in the car.

Tidiness was never my strong point.

Anyway, I began my ascent up the hill and tripped over my own silly foot.

After months of rehearsing for such falls, I obeyed my teacher (actually my aunt) and threw my stick-girl body at the ground.

Somehow, strangely, something went wrong and my arm popped right out of its socket.

I screamed with all my might and surrounding neighbours came out of their houses to vomit at the spectacle.

My mum took on a ghostly appearance as I repeatedly yelled, “I broke my arm! I broke my arm!” (Just in case someone in a neighbouring suburb hadn’t heard me).

The nurses at the hospital exhibited me proudly. Workers appeared from ward after ward to look at my now extraordinarily long arm.

The fabulous news is: it got me out of judo class. Forever.

Anyway, where was I? Ah, yes yoga. I attempted yoga. But unbelievably, dodgy knees and yoga don’t, well, harmonise.

I’m panicking slightly.

I’m 40.

And it may well be that I never ever reach my full potential.

*Delete as you feel appropriate

***Add on***

Driving my five-year old (who’s soon to be six and so excited about that fact, that she’s telling the dental receptionist, her husband, the postman and his dog, the delivery man, the woman at the bakers and any other random stranger she comes into contact with) to her ballet class this evening she asked me about the story I had been writing today.

As usual, she said, “I know that one!”

My stories are all known and constantly reiterated by my children. At times wrongly.Which, I can tell you, can lead to even more embarrassment than the events themselves actually had done.

We talked a little of fantasising and fantasies that could never become a reality.

Then she decided to inform me that she has a lot of fantasies and I could have some of them.

That pricked my interest, I can tell you.

But after further questioning she “couldn’t quite remember” any of her own envisionings.

She then went on to offer to teach me judo, having never been to a single judo class in her short life (though who knows what’s happened in her daydreams?)

Allegedly, I have to fall on my hands and my knees next time.

So, now I know.

I must have wished upon a star


“Please, can you budge a bit?

I roll the words of a five-year old around in my head for a few seconds. It takes me a while to make sense of them.

Then it clicks.

“Ah. Can you budge a bit?”

I force my approaching middle age (sob) body a few more centimeters across the bed.

The wide awake one corrects me, “I also said please!”

She climbs into my side of the bed and squeezes me with all her might.

I wouldn’t be exaggerating by saying she seems to possess a lot more might than I do these days.

Perhaps that is why the generous one did what he did.

He had read my fantasy full article I keep thinking and said, “Why not?”

It took me until yesterday to take him seriously. Then I surfed the net and found a couple of local, appealing hotels.

Still unsure, I quizzed him again. So he took the phone and booked me in!!!

My mini-break starts next Saturday at 4pm and he’ll pick me up on Monday morning.

Dear lovely, thoughtful, generous husband: did you realize that means you have to be up at 6am on Monday to organize the hyperactive one for school?

Sorry. You can’t take it back now! But at least you can look forward to your little daughter snuggling up to you at some ridiculous time bright and early on Sunday morning as compensation.

Thank you, lover. From the bottom of my heart.

Just to recap:

  • I’m off on Saturday afternoon
  • To a swanky hotel
  • All on my tod
  • That reads: NO CHILDREN
  • Peace
  • Quiet
  • Tranquility
  • SLEEP
  • Someone else will be cooking breakfast, lunch and DINNER!!!
  • I might go for a massage
  • I could go for a walk
  • I will go in the sauna
  • I will officially be chillin’

:-D

Wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow WOW!!!