Wednesday, 29 February 2012


Tara wanted to know how rain came from clouds. So I explained to her in great detail how that happened. I fished for a compliment and declared, "Isn't Mummy smart?" Tara said, "No Mummy, you are as smart as a herd of mules."

"Thank you," I said, wondering if a four and a half year old could already be sarcastic, or if she was indeed impressed with mules.

I'm not fishing for compliments again, but it did get me thinking. Was I appreciative of my Mum? I don't think I ever thanked her for anything. Rolled my eyes a lot, walked out of the room a lot, and gave deep, loud sighs a lot. But never said or wrote the words 'Thank you.' With my child it seems to be the other way round. Tara does say the words 'thank you' quite frequently. Whether it is said in front of her father to impress him with her manners, or whether it comes from her heart isn't very clear. A bit of both I imagine.

I don't remember my mother sitting me down and teaching me to say thank you. She was way too busy  running her mad house with no help from anyone including her lazy children. I don't remember appreciating my Mum as a young adult when it was all about 'living my life.' I always loved her, and still do, now more than ever, especially since we are geographically further away.

Everyone needs to be appreciated. Children, grown-ups, workplace colleagues, stay at home parents, family, friends or helpful strangers. Are words important? Or do actions speak louder than words? Does it have to be one or the other? It may be a good idea to have a mix of both. Then there is no scope for confusion or misunderstanding. I will try to add some words to my actions the next time I see my Mum. I think she's earned it many times over. The 'herd of mules' compliment is already taken so I must find something to top that.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Everyone's talking about...

Everyone is talking about the Oscar awards these last few days, and the Bafta awards before that. It made me wonder, when I'd last seen a movie....properly. It's been a good few years.

Back in the 'good ol' days' I was the first to jump at the opportunity of meeting up with friends and doing fun things. After having Tara, excuses started cropping up, and eventually I stopped going out to do what I considered to be fun at one time. Blame it on tiredness, more work than two hands can handle, or prioritising The Husband and Tara's needs amongst others.

Don't get me wrong...I'd not a sad lonely person. I'd rather do what I'm doing now than anything else. It's just that I have many acquaintances now and a couple of friends. The many old friends I had are not around these days. People move on. Time and tide wait was none is a very true expression.

Still, when the Mums at the gate discuss the winning expressions of Meryl Streep and the clothes the actors wore at the Oscars, I do feel a bit of an ignoramus.  Did I become lazy? Or did I grow out of old habits and people? Will I be a lonely person once Tara grows up and goes away? Who knows. I'm at peace today give or take a few crazy days and nights. The future will bring it's own surprises and shocks. I'd rather be what I want to be today.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Of Champions and Sneezes

After an emergency Caesarean that brought Tara out into this world, the one thing I remember more vividly than the face of my first (and only) born is my first sneeze. ! 
There I was, almost half crazed after the trauma of an emergency C-section, with a baby put in my arms, and a very stern lady known as the 'breast feeding champion' telling me to start feeding, as the baby was getting cold. The only problem was I was still numb all the way down my legs, and didn't know how to feed a child. Battling tears of panic, I fumbled around embarrassed, when a sudden sneeze escaped my nose.
I won't even attempt to describe what that felt like. If I had a scale of pain, I might have put it somewhere near the top. The disapproving "breast feeding champion", rolled her eyes at me and steadied Tara as she almost rolled away from me while I tried to stop crying. I felt incompetent, terrified, and my confidence level dropped to the floor as the 'champion' ticked me off her to-do list, told me to keep trying and left me alone to 'help' another Mum.
One would imagine that all Mums who have had the sneeze experience would freely share this most important advice with any new Mums to be. But no. Everyone told me to breathe, to do this and the other but no one warned me about the sneeze...and cough...and how to deal with the 'cut'.
It was quite by luck I found a way to deal with the dreaded sneezes and coughs. I was lying alone on my hospital bed, crying and clutching a pillow when a sneeze arrived again. Before I had time to panic, I realized it wasn't so bad this time. So here it is, Advice for all new Mums with a C-section cut. When a sneeze or cough comes on, press a pillow with controlled and reasonable pressure on the operation scar evenly covering the surface, and a bit beyond if you know what I mean. It really helps. I was in constant possession of a pillow under my arm ready to spring into action at the first stirring of cold or cough. It really helps. The said pillow travelled with me EVERYWHERE ,from room to bathroom.
Yeah yeah yeah! All those who think it is unhygienic to carry a pillow to the loo, have probably never experienced the sheer agony of sneezing with an operation scar. It is exquisite! You’ll carry a kangaroo to the loo if it helped reduce that pain.
I was sad and nervous to eventually let go of the pillow. It had served me well but disposing of it was the most hygienic thing to do. Now if you have a few bucks you should buy a great many pillows and use and throw at will.
Now back to our friend the 'breast feeding champion'. So how many children do you have to have breast fed to be made a 'champion'? None perhaps. Maybe you just complete a course somewhere that bestows on you the coveted title. I would love to know. They should have given me a friendly non-champion nurse who understood my pain and fears and gently helped me learn. Or at the very least, they should have allowed one member of my family to be with me in the hospital at all times. That would do. Failing all they should have just let me go home.

I didn't know my rights back then. I still don't know many things now. But I do know I'm not having another child. It's a shame really. I'm Tara's Mum now, and feel better equipped to lock horns with a  'champion' who rubbed me the wrong way.

Don't forget to pack a nice pillow in your hospital bag ladies! 

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Don't want a daughter?

I've read some disturbing statistics recently where it seems the sex ratio on our planet is slowly becoming increasingly unbalanced.

Preference for the male child has always been the norm in many cultures. The deep rooted psychology of wanting a male child to continue the blood line and family has been around forever. I don't agree with it, but that does not shock me. What shocks me is the lengths some people go to, to get rid of a girl child.

I can debate endlessly and raise a million valid points and theories to demonstrate that a girl and boy are equal. But even the best logic will not register with a warped mind.

All I can say to a person not wanting a girl child is, "I am so sorry that you are going through this lifetime, being born a human being, but not being able to appreciate the absolute treasure that a well brought up daughter is. I would hope you have no children, because you don't deserve the privilege."

I am always uncomfortable when I judge, but there are some issues in life which are black or white, and we must take a stand. Killing a baby only because of it's sex is one of them.

Return to peace

Whatever was the matter with Tara over the last few days is now a thing of the past.  Peace has returned to this household...for now at least. Her antibiotics course finished yesterday but her coughing fit started yesterday as well.

I'll be grateful for any time I get, and try to rest tonight, 'for I smell battle in the air.'

Good night and Courage to all! 

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Hoping for normalcy

This morning I woke up and just wanted my household back to how it used to be. Tara got out of bed grumpy and frowned at me when I started her morning routine. Not a good start, but things steadied themselves and she is now at school.

I had a quick word with her teacher yesterday and asked her if anything happened at school with Tara or around her. She looked puzzled and said that everything was fine. Last night we had a couple more skirmishes at home but I was better prepared. Before going to bed Tara wanted to hug me for a long time. I slowly asked her why she was so angry, and if there was anything she wanted to tell me. She said there was nothing. All choked up she asked me if I would throw her out of the house.

I held her close and explained that just as I reward her good behaviour, I would sometimes not reward bad behaviour, perhaps even take away rewards. I assured her that I always love her, but sometimes do not like her behaviour. I stressed the difference between 'her' and 'her behaviour'. Lastly I said I would never dream of throwing her out of the house.

Tara seemed reassured and fell asleep again. She slept well all night but woke up in a bad mood again.

My money is still on the effects of antibiotics or maybe The Husband moving away for work has had an impact on her? 

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The morning after the night before

The opportunity for introspection that writing provides is very therapeutic

Last night after tucking Tara in, I sat outside the door on the steps wanting to let my guard down and cry. I was not able to. I had previously written a post about Tara's school assessment and how wonderful my child was. How could my child turn the exact opposite of all that in the matter of a day? I went through the day in my mind and searched for a trigger for the day's events and found none. I reviewed how I had reacted, what I had done and still felt I did what I felt was best during the time. I felt emotionally devastated at being hit repeatedly by my child. There was no physical injury, not even close. All I had was a very bruised heart.

In the silence, in the dark, all alone, I allowed myself the luxury of feeling what I was feeling. The collective events of the day had me respond in a way that was in Tara's interests. I didn't want to react in a way that would harm her emotionally. I gave her all the hugs she wanted. I gave the security of the words, "I love you," when I tucked her in, and I did not guilt trip her about anything yesterday or this morning. I felt bewildered, confused, deeply hurt and defeated. I could not eat any dinner and decided to go to bed. Last night was all about me.

This morning I woke up with a soreness in my heart but completed all of Tara's morning routine, albeit in more silence than I would have liked. Mum's are human too. After I dropped Tara and got back home I debated whether to write about this or not. I keep saying no child is perfect, but did I really mean it? Or did I inwardly, secretly, gloat that Tara was indeed perfect. I had to write. Once I regurgitated all my feelings, I moved on to Tara.

It took two days and a whole lot of writing to get my head straight and start thinking. And I'm the battle hardy grown up. How does an inexperienced, overwhelmed little girl of four and a half  feel? Terrified perhaps? I did a bit of research to find out a bit more. There was suggestion of the side effects of antibiotics, or something at school. Other Mums swear by the strange phenomenon of rage, specifically in four and a half year old children . This fortunately is a short term experience according to them, and fades by the time they are five. I was intrigued.

Thinking back to yesterday when I saw Tara's face, I saw fear. Of me when I shouted? Or of herself. The only way she knew how to make things better was to immerse herself in school work, and carry her own plate and dishes back to the kitchen, and ask her Mum for hugs. I also saw her inability to say sorry. Did she think what she did was so big that a sorry wouldn't be enough? Or was it the emergence of a mini ego that wouldn't let her apologize. Either way, Tara will learn. My reactions will mould her learning and influence her. I have to be so careful.

It's strange. I define myself as a Woman, a Wife and a Mum. The Woman and Wife in me would have kicked serious derrieres or at least raised hell if I was hit, but being a Mum is probably my only avatar which could take a beating, and think about the perpetrator's well being.

I love you Tara.

Feeling shell shocked.

I always wondered what the words shell shocked meant. I vaguely recall it having something to do with the trauma experienced during a war situation. I may be wrong. Today I feel shell shocked.

Yesterday things were going on as as usual. Tara came back from school and everything was normal. I had decided that morning to make an extra special effort with her since she had been ill all through last week, never complained and came back after another good day at school. So I had planned special games including swatting a balloon with plastic fly swatters, an old favourite that we played a lot when Tara was younger.

She was excited and laughed and picked her pink swatter and gave me the blue one, and we played in the living room. A few seconds into the game I hit the balloon a bit lower so it went along the floor rather than up in the air. Tara frowned at me once and said, "Hit it properly Mummy!" I said I'm trying. When it happened another couple of times, Tara rather aggressively told me to hit properly. I walked up to her and told her I did not appreciate her tone, we were having fun and if she would rather not play that was fine. We could do something else. Her frown turned her pretty face into something quite nasty and she mumbled that she still wanted to play. So we did.

I looked away for a split second and my balloon must have gone to the floor. I turned back to Tara and in slow motion saw her charge at me with her swatter, hitting me in what I can only describe as pure rage. She must have hit me a good three or four times in those couple of seconds while I instinctively put my arm over my face, and she turned to walk away.

I walked towards her, snatched the swatter away, bodily lifted her up and stood her in a corner near the main door. I put away the balloon, told her to stand in the corner until I said so. A howl loud enough to make the neigbours knock on the door emerged from her lips and she started crying loudly, taking deep breaths and retching at the same time. I told her to keep standing while I set about tidying the room and composing myself. It was at this point I experienced what I call feeling shell shocked. I had a choice then. To allow myself to feel what I was feeling, or go into Mummy mode and do what I think was right for Tara. I chose the latter.

Ten minutes later I asked her to turn around and march up the stairs to her bath. There was pure rage in my eyes when I looked at her and my voice was low and loud at the same time. I told her looking straight into her eyes and shouted, "This is the first and last time you hit Mummy. Hitting of any kind is not allowed in our house. This time I made you stand in the corner, if there is a next time I will make you stand outside the main door. Do you understand?" Tara looked up at me with tear filled eyes, said yes and went up to the bath. I left everything alone till the bath finished and she came down for dinner.

It was a quiet dinner with the tv on. After that there was an uneasy calm and silence in the house. I went about my work suspending all play and reading of books for bedtime. Tara didn't touch any of her toys choosing instead to do writing practice by herself followed by picking up her own things and putting them away. She then lingered near my chair, making circles with her toes, occasionally shooting glances at me amid silence in the house. I had to stay calm, rise above everything and give her a break. So I asked her sternly if there was anything she wanted to say. She started crying again and said she wanted to hug me. I was waiting for an apology but none came. I allowed her to climb into my arms and hug me while I rubbed her back.

The phone rang. It was The Husband. I took the call in another room and quickly updated him. We agreed that he would be normal on the phone, and ask her if there was anything else she wanted to say to him. It was a fascinating phone conversation between Daughter and Dad. I left the room while she spoke to him. After the usual talk of his work and her school was done, The Husband asked her if there was anything else she wanted to say. She added another nugget from her day at school. He must have asked her at least five times if there was anything else, but she said no, there was nothing else. I took the phone after she was done, amazed that she could keep this entire episode to herself.

I continued with my work, and to my regret asked her if she wanted to say sorry. She looked at me quizzically as if I had asked for something extraordinary, and mumbled a meaningless sorry and walked away to do more writing practise.

At bedtime I quietly followed the usual routine. Near her bed she asked if she could sleep in my bed tonight as she was scared and wanted extra cuddles. I thought on my feet, and told her she can cuddle me for as long as she wanted but had to sleep in her own bed. So she clambered on to me, put her lips into the nape of my neck and hugged me for the longest time while I held her close and rubbed her back. It was strange. I had anger inside me which was being controlled by a rational calm brain, but the feeling I had at that time was pity for my Tara.

Tara mumbled she was sleepy, so I tucked her, kissed her and forced myself to say the usual words of I love you and she was asleep in a second.

I left the room totally shell shocked.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Parent - Teacher School Assessment meeting

The Husband and I turned up at the appointed time yesterday to meet Tara's teacher for her assessment meeting. During this time we spent a few minutes with the class teacher who spoke about Tara, her behaviour, learning and asked  if there were any other issues we wished to discuss. We were also shown a bunch of work books and other relevant projects she has done at school.

The Husband who had taken time off for this very important event was all serious and business like, and wanted to know most about Tara's social skills, and if she played with the other children. The fact that Tara has no best friend does seem to bother him. The teacher updated us on Tara and what a wonderful girl she is. (Well I agree with her, but they probably say that to all parents.) She spoke of Tara coming a long way since she started, having learnt a great many skills, her amazing imagination and lovely handwriting. All good things so far.

With regard to her social skills she confirmed that Tara happily played in organized group activities but did not seem drawn to any particular child. She also finds it hard to sometimes distinguish between letters 'b' and 'd'. The Husband is now really concerned, and the teacher said she would 'observe' Tara and 'review' her social interactions at our next meeting.

I'm not sure what to make of it all. A four and a half year old is a very small child. Isn't it a bit too early to pass judgement on what they are 'amazing' at, or what they find difficult to do? In some countries they don't start formal education till the child is six years old. The last time I heard, people in that country grew up intelligent and well balanced too. There are exceptions like everywhere of course.

Worrying about a well behaved, loving child not even five years old, who can speak beautifully, write and read a bit, count and do mental arithmetic, but most important of all can explain in great detail why dinosaurs are not 'extint', but hiding inside 'steaming volcanoes',  is I believe unnecessary.

But every parent is different too. The Husband has his own expectations and hopes of his only child, and I respect that. For now,  I'm quite happy with dinosaurs in steaming volcanoes and fairies creeping about unseen by anyone but Tara. We can deal with b's and d's confusing us at the same time too.

Monday, 20 February 2012


After much mental debate, I have decided to send Tara back to school today. She is not herself completely, but is active enough to play and talk all day with no signs of fever. The only thing that is worrying is her cough and lack of appetite. She has completed day three of her antibiotics so she won't be contagious to other children either. My concern is that with her weakened immune system she may catch another bug. Weighing all things up she could probably catch another bug anytime, anywhere so I don't think it's right to keep her away from school in anticipation of illness.

What a terrible half term. All that talk of making sure I spend time with her having fun all through the half term week, fell by the wayside as my little girl raged with illness, with no complaints I might add. Last night I readied myself for the usual tears and nervousness before she went to bed, knowing it was a school day tomorrow. But none came. No questions either. I wondered if she knew there was school the next day. She clearly did as she asked me to put out tights instead of socks for Monday. So this morning, after an extra long cuddle we dressed for school.

Every child is different. Tara is one of the children who does not like the fact that she is the youngest in her class. Sending her to full time school as soon as she turned four was a very difficult thing for me to do. I could have deferred the decision by a few months but I wanted to give it a go first before I made that call.

Looking up at the sky through the window, Tara turned to me with a look of worry. Recently she had been 'trying very hard' to grow up to be five years old so she could be just like her other classmates. She looked a bit worried  and said, "Mummy, when I finally become five, will the others become six?" I nodded my head in affirmation. She continued, "... and when I become six, they would be seven?" I nodded again taking a deep breath as I realized this number counting could go on for a very long time.

Tara surprised me by stopping suddenly as she hung her head and said, "So I can never catch up then." I gave her a hug and said, it doesn't matter. I couldn't think of anything else. I realized that for a good while longer, my child would probably come last in school races, not see eye to eye with her much taller classmates, not be able to read as fast or count as quick, not be as competent using a fork and knife at lunch time, and many more things that would mean a lot more to her than those around her... except me.

I realized it was time to put my thinking hat on. I'm Mum you see. It's my job. I have to be prepared at all times. So fingers crossed for a good day for all.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Guilt vs Privilege

Tara has been ill a while now. She will turn the corner soon I'm sure. Keeping her home one more day seems to be a sensible option especially since we started her on antibiotics yesterday. The Husband, fresh after the shock of carrying Tara to hospital yesterday seems to think so.

Modern times mean that most parents have to work. It must be very difficult to send off a not-very-well child to school while a parent has to be at work. I feel guilt and privilege at the same time. Guilt that The Husband is carrying more than his fair share of work load for our family, to afford me the privilege of staying home and looking after Tara full time. It might be easier on The Husband if he works a bit less, and if I worked part time. It might also benefit us financially. We did explore that option at one stage.

Yes, there are times I wish I could run away and find relief at work. There are many other times when I shudder to think that my work would sometimes have to take precedence over Tara's needs. After a lot of discussion we decided that even if it meant us not having as many things or experiences, and The Husband working away and driving hundreds of miles every weekend to see us, me being a stay at home Mum suited our family life more.

Guilt is terrible. It takes away enjoyment from the simplest things in life. I suffer guilt unnecessarily. The Husband suffers occasional bouts of guilt when we talk on the phone, when I tell him what I've been through with Tara. We both work very hard, but the goal is common and keeps our family close.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

So I decided to rest a while. A yell from The Husband made me abandon the stupid idea. Rest and I are not on friendly terms lately. So I ran down to see Tara all wobbly, and The Husband in panic mode. Her fever had skyrocketed despite the Neurofen and she said her head hurt badly.

It's also the weekend. Why? why? why? Not because I had some decadent weekend planned, but because finding doctors on the weekend is not easy. The Husband decided to take her to hospital by some divine luck, a doctor appeared right away to check Tara and instantly put her on antibiotics. I don't know whether to be happy that she's on antibiotics or annoyed that it took this long again.

I should be resting....really.

Sore nose solution

Amidst all this illness, especially a bad cold, the most frustrating thing that happens is when Tara's nose gets red, sore and cut on the outside. This causes pain and makes it even more difficult, especially when trying to clear her nose by making her blow her nose.

The doctors advise that the nose must be cleared either with a suction device or by blowing out for older children. My Tara won't have any suction device near her nose, and I never found it useful even when she was a baby, so we go down the route of spraying saline and blowing out in a tissue. This often makes her nose red, and very sore in a day or two.

What I discovered of tremendous use, is using a chapstick on the outside of her nose all day (and night) long. It made a world of difference. Instead of a day or two, I get at least a week of uncut nose to work on. I just use the pink one from Boots. Nothing fancy but it works best, and we throw it out after the illness has passed.

This morning Tara's congested cough remains but the frequency has gone down. We also had her blowing out yellow thick mucous, with little streaks of blood. Its gone yellow and thick after three days. Progress maybe? Just worried about sending her to school on Monday.

Just cannot get hold of a doctor today. But The Husband is here, and I can hear happy playing sounds from downstairs. Maybe it's not so bad after all. I always say that. And then a few more weeks down the line, I end up getting an antibiotic prescription for a chest infection. Why is it that I can't get it right and get her treated before she goes all the way down? Is it because I never ask for antibiotics? Am I causing Tara suffering because I wait and watch too long? I don't know. I follow the doctor's advice and do believe that they are the experts. Then how is it that we always end up with antibiotics after a few weeks?

Too much confusion...I need a rest..

Friday, 17 February 2012

Which is worse?

I can't decide which is worse. Not sleeping for 48 hours on the trot looking after a sick child, or watching your little child burning with fever while she struggles to breathe, coughing violently every five minutes. No end in sight here. Im just worried that my nose feels bunged up this morning. I cannot afford to fall ill. The Husband is worried, and will try to drive back to us overnight.

The doctor had taken some samples for testing and Im awaiting the results to see what's going on. My mind tells me its just another viral that kids have that seems to last a century. My body says I don't care what it is, it just needs to get away from us and give us both a break!!

I know its normal for children to fall ill, but weeks at a time seems too much. I'm tired. I miss my mum..I need a hug

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Back to the drawing board

Tara had been chugging along with her cold and cough for a few weeks now. Last week I decided to sort her out with a few supplements and saline nasal sprays, with the hope that she would not hit rock bottom. So a week later, here we are getting ready to see a doctor this morning.

Just when I think I've made the right decision, I am sent slinking back to the drawing board to draft another theory on how to crack the eternal mystery of Tara's illness.

Once we made it to half term I hoped we were seeing the end of her cold and cough. Last evening suddenly Tara complained of pain in her knee joints. I dismissed it and carried on playing with her. Then she said the joint pain was coming and going, but her head was 'exploding' with pain. I took notice. Before I had time to compose myself she said she was freezing and made shivering movements. I ran to get Calpol and took her to bed after giving her 2 spoons of the pink stuff. She fell asleep after a while but woke up crying after about two hours, with an almighty vomit and her body so hot that it felt it was on fire. I gave her Neurofen and cooled her body down a bit. Her little body ached all night, and coughs rattled her ribs.

Little sips of water all through the night always help. Her fever eventually broke at around 3:00 am. I couldn't wait till morning arrived and I could see a doctor. He will probably send me away as it will be one of the viral fevers all around at the moment. But at least he is the expert. I cannot understand when is the right time to take Tara to the doctor. I usually end up taking her after a few weeks, when festering illness erupts into an event like last night. If I go earlier I am almost always sent back saying its 'wait and watch'. If I do stay back and 'wait and watch' I end up with a very sick child, and a bagful of guilt that I got it wrong ...again.

The first words my little one said to me when she woke up today were, "I'm sorry I didn't let you sleep all night Mummy." What can Mummy say to that. I smiled and said," It's no problem, don't worry about it." But inside my head the words sounded different...more like, I would stay awake a million years if I could, fight fire breathing dragons if I had to, climb a thousand mountains if I could figure out a way to keep you safe and well forever my little flower.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

And its all forgotten.

How many times have to you heard that after you hold your baby in your arms for the first time, after hours of torturous labour, you forget all the pain and the agony of the experience?  Not true I say. I am planning to go back in time to approximately four and a half years ago and write if I could in technicolour, what happened on that day, rather several days before and after Tara came along. Its not pretty so do not proceed unless you can accept that its not all forgotten.

When I think back to my younger years I always feared having babies. The concept of squeezing out such a large thing from an impossibly small opening seemed mind boggling. Its also true that subsequent generations of women have repeatedly said, we all go though it, its natural, and its ALL FORGOTTEN WHEN YOU HAVE YOUR BABY IN YOUR ARMS. Not true I repeat again. You remember if you choose to remember, or forget if you so fancy. Unless of course you have a pregnancy and birth that by its very nature makes you remember it forever more.

My next favourite one after you emerge from your trauma, with a baby in your arms, NOT forgetting what happened back there is, "No two pregnancies are the same. " Yeah right ! Like I'm falling for that one.

What I can say is true, hand on heart, after possibly the worst pregnancy and birth in modern times, is that when I was in the birth process and going through everything, there was ALWAYS the feeling that no matter what I was going through, I could do it. Even when I was thinking I don't think I can carry on, I knew deep inside I could.

Inspite of it all there are still moments when I'd rather be in a delivery room pushing a baby a minute rather than deal with some of the issues I have in the last few years. So I guess it couldn't be all that bad.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Half term horror!

The last few days I can find suddenly find loads of articles on how to survive half term with our kids. The general mood of most articles is as if there is an approaching army of scary horrors and us Mums must girdle our loins  to face this onslaught.

I will admit that that sometimes or to be perfectly honest many times, entertaining children is boring and I'd rather count the grains of sand on some lonely street. There are also plenty  of times I wither away with guilt when I turn away Tara looking up at me with big Bambi eyes, holding out her toy or book as she says, "Won't you play with me Mum?"

But thinking about it, my child goes to "work" five days a week. She does not see her Mum and Dad in all that time. When she returns home, we have to find time to squeeze in her bath, dinner and if we are lucky an hour of playtime before she is tired and ready for bed. I'm not forgetting that Mum or Dad have already had a hard day's work behind them before they sort their children out and tuck them in. But to a child seeing their Mum or Dad after a long day at school is beyond all of life's practicalities. 

I'm trying very hard to change myself in certain respects. If I am physically there with my child, sorting out dinner or baths, I should be more present 'with' them during that time. What I mean is most times I find myself mentally tired rather than physically. I realize I could go hours and hours quietly doing enormous amounts of physical work. But I find it difficult to replace hard physical labour with an hour or two of involved time with Tara. Why is that?

Its very strange that as soon as I drop Tara in school and get back home, I miss her.  I wonder what she's doing, whether she's eaten her lunch etc. etc. Yet as soon as she's back I struggle to find patience and reserve to play some boring old games that clearly give her enormous pleasure. 

I wonder if its easier having more than one child. Looking at that situation through rose tinted glasses, I can see two or more happy children entertaining themselves for hours without involving their parents. Lots of Mums would probably shout out "not true" I'm sure.

All logic aside I think I'm going to try a bit more this half term. My child is the furthest thing away from being a horror. She deserves more of me, and hey! I'm Mum. I should be able to do that...I think.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Pain in the bottom..literally

So Tara has been complaining of a pain in her bottom area for a week now. I must admit I didn't pay too much attention as I had been dealing with her cough, blocked nose, etc.

Yesterday having heard an uncharacteristic squeal during her potty I asked her what the matter was. Tara explained that her tummy hurt when she went to potty. Now from a child's point of view 'tummy' covers a large part of the body. So I pointed to various areas and asked her if it hurt there. She bent over double, looking through her legs and pointed her finger to the middle of her bottom. After that acrobatic display, I decided a closer inspection was needed.

After the pin worm episode a few months ago, I shudder at the thought of dealing with them again. Luckily it wasn't that. On examination I saw a tiny cut at the bottom of the anal opening. Quite tiny but enough to cause Tara pain when passing her bowel motion. I put some Vaseline on it and tucked her in bed.

There is always something going on with children. The day or two when nothing happens seems to be the calm before the storm. So today I will have to look into sorting this out.

Tara's school shuts for a week now so I need to get equipped for that too. Bad weather and Tara, indoors, with a scratched bottom is not a good combination.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Behind the wheel

I feel privileged that I can drive a car. Having never driven one before I fulfilled a promise I made to myself many years ago. I promised that when I had a child I would learn how to drive. Till then I didn't quite fancy getting behind the wheel. So when Tara was born, and I had recovered enough, I picked up the phone and arranged 50 lessons, for which I had saved well in advance. At the very outset I told my instructor I had to give my driving test after 50 lessons. He explained that while he applauded my intentions, it was unlikely I would pass first time, and I must not give up.

He doesn't know me so I don't blame him. I completed 50 lessons, and passed my test in my very first attempt. Not because I'm a genius at driving. Far from it. But because when Mum makes up her mind, she can do anything. The only thing is that the mind must be made up by Mum and Mum alone.

Now I drive, but to a limited number of destinations. Tara's school, the occasional school party, the supermarket and to The Husband's workplace. That is about it give or take a destination. Other times I walk or take the bus.

So this morning driving Tara to school, the roads were full of rush hour traffic, more than usual. I am very aware when I drive that I have my life, Tara's life and other people's lives in my hands, so I take extra care. I don't mind if I have to slow down, stay in queue, stop at traffic signals, pedestrian crossings, drive a longer distance for parking or let a bus pull out from a bus stop in front of me. But I noticed that lots of other people don't like what I do. My letting buses go especially seems to annoy good folk.

All I want to say is, a few seconds should not matter to anyone. Driving too slow is dangerous. I agree. I don't drive slowly. But I do slow down if I'm passing a school or see small children running on the footpath ahead of their parents. In my eyes, all is takes is one wrong judgement by a child head and the loss and devastation that could follow is not worth the extra few seconds for anyone.

So to anyone out there who loses their cool? Stop, think and calm down. Being behind the wheel is a privilege. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Will you be there?

My daughter will soon be five years old. She has a million questions, and many fears and concerns. As a Mum I have to be honest, but age appropriate. As she gets older life's harsh realities will dawn on her willingly or unwillingly. Until then I want to spin a cocoon of love around her so if life does give her a few bumps, she will have some protection around her.

At the school gate we saw a Mum turn and walk away after leaving her screaming child with a teacher in the school grounds. It tore my heart apart as memories re-surfaced. The only difference is that I chose not to walk away after leaving Tara at school, instead choosing to sit down with my child and explain to her why I was leaving, and when I would be back. It was my choice, and I happened to have the luxury of time with me, as I was not rushing off to work or to look after other children. Inspite of doing all that I remember just three months ago sitting slumped behind my car's steering wheel, my heart breaking as I left.

What the other mother chose to do is just that, her choice, her circumstances, her style of parenting, suited to her child. I'm not prepared to judge or comment on her. But Tara saw all of it, and turned to me with a grave expression and said, "Mummy will you be there for me always and forever, even when I am a hundred years old?"

I bent down and gave her a tight hug and said that Mummy's love stays with her child forever and ever and ever. It's the truth that I want to believe in and hope is real. I feel my parents love in my heart even when they are thousands of miles away.

Luckily love knows no boundaries and has no limits.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

It does get easier

Like any other habit, going to school takes some getting used to. Tara started in September, the youngest in her class. She's four and a half and its February now. Excluding the one month holiday in December-January, she has been in school 3 months now.

More than anything else my little girl has learnt a valuable life lesson. Things may not always go your way but you just have to learn to make the best of it.

In just 3 months we have been through a roller coaster of playground politics, dining room dilemmas, changing clothes chaos and missing mummy moments. I'm sure these things still bother her sometimes, but the tears have stopped.... for both of us. My heart still gets heavy when she tries to tell me if something is bothering her. And I feel worse when she avoids telling me if something is bothering her, because I cant make it better anyway. In short she's learnt to cope a bit better.

We have had our share of problems and solutions.  It does get easier.

Its not all doom and gloom. Tara loves most of the activities in school. She's pretty good at her school work and while she doesn't have a best friend or one good friend, her teacher tells me she is quite sociable and plays in a group. Its not a bad thing I think at this age to be able to play with everyone. I do however miss not having a little friend coming over for a play date.  Its early days yet. There are a lot of factors at play. I'm not making a great effort at cultivating special friends till I know where The Husband finally gets a permanent job.

Until then, we stay calm and carry on.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Fight a good fight

So The Husband is away in another town for work, Tara is at school. I'm at home feeling alone. I have a lot of work to do but feel a bit raw, alone. 'Get on with it!' is my motto these days. I will, but it doesn't make me feel any better.

One thing I wish I could have more of is sunlight. The lack of it is one of the main reasons I probably feel blue. But I must just get on with it.

Tara has gone to school a bit under the weather. I think she's coming down with something. The last three nights have been restless. Her appetite has gone down. Her nose is a bit stuffy and her coughs are coming thick and fast. I know the pattern and I know the drill. But I still wish she can fight off this bug before she gets pulled down. I may be over doing it but I've started her on:

Steam with menthol at bath time
Saline nasal spray
Sambucol supplement
Haliborange supplement
Spoon of honey

Let's see if she fights a good fight or go down in spite of all these efforts.

Fingers crossed. 

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Looking after number one.

Its strange how priorities change over time. I speak from a woman's point of view, not every woman but my own view as a woman, if that makes sense.

I have always tried to be healthy as a young child, a teen, as a young adult, and now as Mum. The goal was to be healthy and active but now the reason has changed. When I was single and young, I wanted to be healthy for myself, so I could live life to the fullest. After Tara came along, I want to ensure I am fine, mainly so I can be fit and capable, to look after her.

So is Tara more important than I am?

Its hard to explain this. Some people argue that deep down it's an instinct of self preservation. They believe a child that's grown out of your body is actually a part of you. A part that is a legacy of your physical body, that ensures you 'go on', so you nurture it.

Sometimes, I reflect on what would happen to Tara if I die today. It is amazing to realize that the fear I have is not of my dying, but what would happen to my child if I were to die. I want Tara to be grown up, self sufficient and in a loving environment. To achieve that I have to look after myself, physically and emotionally.

I'm no research expert, I'm just Mum, and I have to look after my whole family. In each of our well being lies the well being of the others. I guess we are all number one.