Sunday, 30 September 2012

It's raining outside...

...and I feel inspired and grateful. The rain does that to me. It reminds me of the washing away of grime and layers of negativity. It whispers soft tones of renewal and revival. It makes me want to write.

What a wonderful career writing is. To those people who write about anything and everything and make their living from it, it must seem a divine blessing. Millions of people go to work everyday, making ends meet, putting away some money for a rainy day, or for that special get away to spend with their loved ones. Most are probably working not for the love of what they do, but for the practicalities of bringing home a wage to live on.

I was one of them. When I recollect my time at the workplace, I remember stress, worry, sometimes fear  but rarely satisfaction. Today I say three cheers to all that follow their dream and don't think twice before making a career of something they love to do, not have to do.

Friday, 28 September 2012

It's magic

I've noticed something. If I have a crisis looming, a solution usually appears a few weeks before it actually happens. Now there may be two ways of looking at this. One, I am a pretty well organized person who plans ahead for most of life's eventualities. Second, I am a special being who is 'looked after' by unseen forces. 

All logic aside, I choose the second option. Life and people in general don't usually have a habit of making a person feel special, so why not choose to believe that I am special and 'chosen'! Once that thought process takes root actions, thoughts and behaviour sub consciously help make 'special' choices. Things acquire a sheen...and magic happens.

To put this in context, The Husband worked many extra hours when Tara and I were in India. He couldn't think of anything else to do. Consequently he earned some extra money, but forgot to put in his claim. Today we suspect his car will be written off by the insurance company and were wondering how to get money together to pay for a half decent car. Suddenly The Husband found his claim form and spoke to his workplace who were happy to pay him for the extra work he did. It may have been a forgotten form, but it felt like someone was watching over felt like magic. :-)

Wednesday, 26 September 2012


Is it the calm before the storm? Or shall I just appreciate the warm sun streaming into my room and my life...

Following on from my previous post my car was looked at by The Husband's roadside assistance service, as my car was also covered under his plan. (Whew! No money spent.) It turned out to be a simple issue and was resolved in 10 minutes by a wonderful person who actually showed up 10 minutes after the call was placed.

Tara had a good day at school and was proud when she showed me her new Speech lesson book. Safe to say she enjoyed her new lesson! Even the lunch box was wiped clean so it's good news! My worry about the lunch time issue coming in the way of her school activities is well and truly put to rest now.

Tomorrow is another important day when The Husband will learn if his car can be repaired or written off. It will be a huge financial burden if it is written off, but we will handle it either way.

It's not's pouring!!!

...and I'm not talking weather here.

The washing machine leaked all over the kitchen floor
The shower has a leak and water is flowing non stop
The Husband's car got smashed into when it was parked
Today, my car won't start.

The washing machine seems will cost a bit :-(
The local handy-man will come over when he's free to sort out the shower..will cost a bit too.. :-(
The Husband's insurance company is talking about writing off his car and handing us a cheque for an amount that won't buy us four tyres, let alone a whole car :-(
My breakdown cover does not include home start and it will cost me almost one hundred pounds to add home start :-( this point of time I should be really down and out. But I'm not! Even when I was struggling to stay alive while giving birth to Tara, I was thinking at each step, "I can take this, throw me your worst!" What I have are financial setbacks. But I will land on my feet again.

So rain on...I choose to smile :-)

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Sleeping Beauty.

This morning Tara just wouldn't wake up! First I waited, then I checked if she was breathing. Suddenly  she grunted, rolled over and snored, snuggling deep into her pink pillows.'s Tuesday, and my daughter is all curled up and refusing to move. I got out of bed, finished all the lunch boxes, got her bag ready, got ready myself then returned to gently switch on a few lights, and make some soft noise around the room. I have learnt one thing about Tara. If she is woken up and not had her fill of sleep, I will have a grizzly little monster for the whole day.

So I left her to it. An occasional late day at school isn't the end of the world. As soon as the thought crossed my mind, Sleeping Beauty stirred, stretched and slowly sat up in bed. I kissed and cuddled and she flopped over her pillows again. Tara is usually asleep at around 8:30 pm and wakes up at 6:30 am, no toilet breaks or drinks in between. I am very grateful for this, very, very grateful.

It was almost 7:45 a.m. now, and Tara finally made it out of bed and down for breakfast. It was a quick affair as i got her sorted and we made it to school just in time. For a change I wasn't going crazy or stressed over this. Life's too short to make an issue out of an occasional dawdling day.

Tara went smiling into school as her Papa and I walked her to the playground. We played a game called, 'Guess who woke up late and nearly made us all late.' Tara laughed as she skipped along singing, "It wasn't me!"

A good end to a few good days with The Husband. He leaves now for his long drive up to work. Tara says she will miss him but Friday doesn't feel too far away when Papa leaves on Tuesday.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Papa time!

The Husband had work cancelled, so he came home early on Thursday night. He leaves tomorrow afternoon. Yes, there is lost earnings,  but invaluable time spent with Tara. Worth it in my books!

There was fairy tale reading when it rained, kite flying and playing catch on the hills when the sun was shining. There was a lovely family dinner 'at night', as Tara had requested, and a party to attend one morning. All this topped with Papa putting Tara to bed. Heaven for my little girl.

Tara did come up to me, cup my face and seriously explain that she wasn't ignoring me. "It's just that Papa is away and misses me a lot. You have me all the time so I hope you don't mind Mummy." she said yesterday, a bit concerned.

I was only too happy just soaking up the solitude. But I took the higher ground and assured Tara that I was perfectly alright with her spending time with her Papa.

Tara is overjoyed that her Papa will be home when she comes back from school today. Over the weekend she had a serious chat with him about wanting to do an extra speech and drama class at school, which I reluctantly arranged today much to her delight. I hope she stays the course. It is during her lunch hour which I am not happy about, but Tara has assured me that she is fine with her packed lunch and will be able to make it in time.

Let's see. In the mean time, I have a happy home. 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Is everyone shouting now?

I am pleased to report that I have stopped shouting at Tara. Hurray !! Whatever it was, seems to have blown over. I am however sorry to report that my "shouts" may have been contagious. The Mums at Tara's school are up in arms against Tara's class teacher who according to Tara changes colour as her shouts get louder over the day.

Now I'm (wrongly) making light of the situation because it doesn't directly affect my child...yet. But on a serious note, many of the children in Tara's class have been back home telling their parents they don't want to go to school anymore bccause of the class teacher's attitude. She is a fairly large lady who alongwith her shouting must appear quite intimidating to children.

There are two Mums who have meetings lined up next week with the head teacher to sort out the issue or get their children to change school. I just want the issue sorted out whether my child is affected yet or not. Having being what I believe "a victim" of the shouting bug I wonder if the class teacher has issues she needs to deal with or change her style of teaching. Tara is as good as gold so probably has escaped shouting for the minute. But I don't want her all clenched up with fear all day in school either.

The whole lunch time issue is resolved but the trauma is still raw. I just want Tara to have a peaceful year, a good education and be a happy child. I'm sure that's what all Mums want for their children.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

This is not a rehearsal...

Many years ago I collected quotations. I cut out inspirational words from old magazines, newspapers etc. and pasted them inside my cupboard door. The posters on my wall were of achievers..mostly sportsmen and women. (Okay, I will admit to the George Michael one too...but 'Careless Whispers' was one of my favourite songs, chubby George Michael, loose white shorts and all!)

I went from a teenager dreaming of a glittering future set to the background of music from 'Rocky 2', to an adult facing the real world. At what point of time the music stopped playing, and how the quotations faded from my cupboard is a blank in my memory.

One quotation that returned to me yesterday was,

                                                                                     - Unknown

I reflected further, and noticed that important phases in my life so far were like distinct chapters - seven in all :

1. Early childhood and school
2. Early teens, and a life of sporting achievement and failure
3. College life, crushes, University and goodbye to childhood pursuits
4. First time in the workplace and an explosion of social life
5. Marriage
6. Life post marriage
7. Motherhood

I was intrigued that I could easily divide my life into chapters! Each chapter had its share of good and bad memories. A song, a smell, sent moments rushing back. Some I enjoyed re-living, some made me recoil. A few more chapters then this book will be shut.

What am I doing wasting time worrying about things? There is so much to live, feel, experience and it doesn't necessarily involve climbing Mount Everest or winning an Olympic medal. My recent trip to India opened my mind's windows just a tiny bit more. I enjoy the fresh breeze wafting in through this window. It will dispel the stuffiness one day. In the mean time, I am more aware of my existence, limited as it is, and very grateful for it.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

It's all okay...just pack it in a box!

After dropping Tara at school, I spoke to another Mum who said I was being too hard on myself over the whole shouting at Tara issue. Most Mums do it - apparently. So I decided I would believe her, and I packed my shouting guilt in an imaginary box and threw it out of my house. It may sound strange but I feel uplifted and in better spirits since I did that.

The important thing is that I decided to pack the issue. No amount of reasoning, advice etc. works on any of us, until we are in the right place at the right time.

I also realized that my intrinsic nature is conflict free and gentle, and any thing that goes against that disturbs me disproportionately. Now my inner self is facing up to new issues that come with the territory of being Mum. Yes, shouting and losing it on the odd occasion is part of that. So I have to learn to manage it and not hit myself on the head with my imaginary hammer so often.

Some might have noticed by now that I have many imaginary things around me, boxes, hammers and a lot more. It's's all okay, it's all good :-)


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Crash !

The word that sums up my day is "CRASH!"

The Husband called at the end of a busy day. He has a habit of talking to me as he walks out of work to his car. He suddenly stopped mid sentence as he saw his car smashed and pushed to one side. He was shocked and I tried to understand what was going on. It was parked in the usual place at work the whole day and now, it was smashed with a note stuck on the windscreen with a mobile number.

After recovering from the shock, The Husband contacted the number and a woman informed him that she had accidentally reversed into it, and took full responsibility. Now The Husband has to speak to the insurance companies, sort out transport to and from work, see if he can get it repaired and get a courtesy car.

All I wanted was to see him this weekend :-(

Sometimes I just want to roll over, and declare, "I GIVE UP" to fate or higher power or whatever it is that orchestrates our lives. But the very next second, I pull myself together and think, it could have been worse. There is a tired, worn me that really wants to give up, stop fighting and surrender. But there is another bull headed, battle weary, slightly arrogant me that would rather die fighting than meekly comply.

Tara could tell I was down and out, and asked what was worrying me. I just curled around her while she played with some activity books. It was adequate.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Monday Morning

This morning, there is peace on earth...I mean my little piece of earth.

Tara went back to school after three mad days at home. Her cold is following the usual pattern and descending downwards towards her chest. At this point she coughs, in the mornings first, then at nights. From here it goes either ways. She fights off the virus and it's all clear, or the cough gets into her chest and we end up with antibiotics. Early days.

The Husband is very concerned about me. I have always been one to tell him everything about anything that happens in our day. Even after the full knowledge that he is working in a different place and under work pressure, I still cannot hide things from him and spare him further worry. Until a few years ago, The Husband assumed, (wrongly as most men probably do in this instance), that when a wife tells you about a problem, she is expecting a solution too. With time and experience he finally figured out that when I tell him about something that's bothering me, I'm doing just that...telling. I am not expecting anything more from him than to be a listener. No solutions, no quick fixes, no critical opinions...just listening. Things are much better since that penny dropped for him :-)

I'm working on my internal chatter too. If I tell myself many more times not to shout or be provoked into shouting it will eventually register at some level. Like a fellow Mum told me recently. "All mums shout..don't be too hard on yourself."

I need to get a life of my own, and not constantly have my thoughts occupied with Tara and what's best for her. I know that, but my reality is a bit different. Until the Husband gets a job and I have another person helping with parenting, and some security and routine in place that will allow me to take up a part time occupation, I have to maintain the status quo.

If this is how I feel, imagine how a five year old must feel not having her Papa around or having to deal  to deal with only her Mum all day and night. On a positive note it will be Friday soon, and The Husband will be home. Tara had asked if we could take her out in the dark. She's never been out late in the evening and really wants to go out after dark.

Maybe we will go out for an early dinner and a walk under the stars, weather permitting. The very picture brings a smile on my face. It's always the little things that do it...

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Turmoil again...

Last week The Husband had arranged that he would have a Skype video call with Tara on Sunday. This morning when I told Tara to get ready to talk, she gave a big sigh and said she didn't feel like it, and wanted to play. I was very annoyed but didn't shout. Instead I explained how her Papa worked away so he could look after us, he was alone, and we should talk to him anytime he wants to, and play later.

Tara said she understood and we started playing paper models waiting for The Husband to call. The phone rang and I asked Tara to answer it. Sure enough The Husband asked if she could talk to him on Skype. To my dismay she said she was playing and didn't want to talk. I was very annoyed, took the phone away from her and made her Skype anyway. So far so good. Then the crazies in my head took over and I told her off right there. She started crying while her poor father watched the drama unfold.

After the call, I pulled myself together and started playing dolls with Tara. We had a fun time till it was lunch time and I playfully used a baby crying voice that I was hungry. Tara immediately told me not to use that tone. I countered that I was her mum and she wasn't to use that tone with me. She suddenly came close to me and said, "well..take that!!". I felt a sharp kick on my already injured toes. Within seconds Tara realized she had made a serious mistake and blubbered a hasty sorry. I glared at her in rage, then just walked away to avoid any outburst from me. I quietly laid out her lunch and let her eat alone in silence.

Now she's downstairs and I'm upstairs typing this post wondering what to do next..I've got no clue...

Saturday, 15 September 2012

A weekend without Papa

The Husband had to work so he couldn't come home this weekend. For the first time I saw Tara really feel the absence of her Papa.

After last week's highly charged atmosphere that had me shouting at the drop of a hat, I was of firm mind to make this weekend a peaceful affair. Thursday afternoon Tara came back from school with the most awful cold. She was tired and miserable. I kept her home on Friday, and just cuddled and talked to her. I also skipped her swimming lesson today and spent the day playing with her in the pleasant sunshine. We painted some cardboard cartons and played a few games. Her nose is still blocked but she looks a bit better.

The only thing I noticed in her painting was that the smiles on her drawings were replaced by downturned mouths. I asked her what that was all about and she said, "I miss Papa."My perceptive little five year old must have seen the brief look of sadness in my eyes and quickly made thought bubbles with smiling faces next to the morose ones. She said, "That's what I will feel when Papa comes home."

May your wish come true Tara. It's not about me anymore. I hope someone up there listens to your little prayers soon.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

The morning after..

Tara and I had blocked noses last night. Too much crying I think.  :-(

With morning also comes the dawning of realization. Tara's behaviour is always affected by her feeling unwell. Why do I forget that all the time? She is quite even tempered usually but if some little bug has invaded her system, her behaviour alters. Irritability, disobedience and belligerence are almost always followed by illness. This behaviour brings out "the shouts" in me, when I should be more in control and aware that my little one is not feeling well, hence the change in behaviour.

I also had a crazy start to the time of the month. This morning I also realized with a shock that today is the day we lost my new born nephew only two days after he was born a few years ago. Isn't it strange how certain events stay with us the rest of our lives. Isn't it strange how these life changing events affect our behaviour subconsciously much later in time?

As the memories of the battle to save the newborn came rushing back, further memories rushed in about how he gave up the fight after two days and left my family broken and still reeling. Floods of tears came suddenly and I shot off an email of love and hugs to my brother and his wife. We don't talk about it any more, each suffering in their own way. But every year I send a text of love as my message of solidarity and comfort.

None of this is an excuse for my shouting at Tara. But realization, compassion to self, acceptance and understanding is the beginning of any planned change. 

Today there is no routine, no plan to my day.  Just contemplation and anything that restores calm and comfort to my bruised heart. Mums need to look after themselves so they can look after their children. 

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Dear Tara

Dear Tara,

I write today surrounded by the gloomy cloud that descends on me at "the time of the month" .

First of all I love you so much.

Second - I am so, so sorry for shouting at you again.

Third, I am alone, so alone in my life and here on my blog. I know that no one reads my words but I still write - for you. When you are older you will read my words, and hopefully still love me with all my short comings.

I love you a lot my little one. It's just that some days I struggle more than others. My body and my mind are both fighting battles every day. I win most days but fail some. I feel that small when I fail. Please forgive me. You don't deserve my shouting.

I watch you sleep and I weep as I type. I let the tears flow and hope they wash away everything awful from within.

Sleep well my angel. I love you

Monday, 10 September 2012

Crossed the line?

So when does one know when one is a normal Mum shouting at their kids or one has an anger problem?

The "one" in question is obviously me.

This morning I placed Tara's porridge in front of her and went about sorting her snack pot, water bottle, and now her lunch bag too. I reminded her to keep eating while she watched TV. (Yes I allow TV in  the morning, so sue me!!) Tara dawdled, and was really slow this Monday morning.

I had cuddled her this morning and wake up time was very nice. I expected it to continue. After a couple of reminders to eat up, I suddenly exploded and told her to eat up or it was straight to bed! Tears in her eyes she quickly ate her breakfast, looking terrified. I felt as small as as ant but managed to pull myself together, put things back on track and the day went on with no more hiccups, except for a quiet child and a guilty Mum. Drop off was alright at school. Tara knows the correct line to stand in, place to park bags and boxes and the routines.

I left still feeling horrible. It's taken me all day of furious housework to calm down enough to fetch her from school. I want to hug her and pretend it never happened.

I am due my period any day now so that explains my mood but can someone tell me if I am crossing the "shout" line? Or can I forgive myself and get on with being the mum I know how to be.

If someone actually ever reads my inane mum-talk, this would be a good day to leave me a comment...please..


Sunday, 9 September 2012

The next week.

So Year 1 commenced on Wednesday and we made it to the weekend with no major incident. Long may this continue and life can go on.

I had made up my mind to use Tara's shoes from last year. But as always a trip abroad invariably results in a growth spurt so all her shoes were tight when we got back. I tried to convince myself that feet curling up while I pushed them into the shoes were normal, but didn't quite convince Tara or me to be honest.

So a jet lagged Mummy and her grown up five year old trotted to the shops to get shoes for school, for PE, a few pink drawstring bags and other small pink things that made us both feel happy. It's not often we indulge in retail therapy, (albeit small scale retail therapy) so it was fun. We got ourselves extra chocolately ice cream, topped with chocolate sauce and a chocolate finger each, found a bench in a play area, and sat together  on a bench - happy with life in general....till a lady sat next to us and lit up a cigarette with a belligerent expression that proclaimed that we were in the open so she was within her rights to do so.

Okaaay..I'm all for freedom of choice, but why would you light a cigarette sitting right next to a Mum and small child? But with my new found attitude on life, I decided that we should just move away and let the woman get on with her slow suicide.

The Husband drove 4 hours on a Friday night to be with us and left this afternoon for another 4 hours of return journey. If that is not true love, what is? It will all be over in a flash and we will be together...soon. On Saturday I took Tara to her swimming lesson which went well. That afternoon Papa and daughter went to a party. Tara wore a new ball gown she had made for her by a kind auntie who happens to be a big designer there. After the party she went out to the playground with her father and they had a good time.

Sunday was a relaxed affair as the weather has turned grey and dull again. We stayed home all day lazing around, and later it was a trip to the playground again. I got Tara's stuff together for school, and we had a good bedtime with no issues to report.

The Husband is not back next weekend so it will be a hectic two weeks for me till he comes back again. But as the famous words go, "Tomorrow is another day."

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Day 1, Year 1.

The all important packed lunch went swimmingly well. Tara finished first and said she had to wait for the others to catch up. Result !!

She was a bit nervous when I took her to school, but after we found her class line, her new teacher and familiar faces she seemed alright. School pick up was good too. She was chatty but as usual wouldn't go into details of what happened during the day. She did say she had a good day, which I suppose is something.

Back home, we had an ice cream given the glorious weather, and she played in her sand and water pool in the back. A lovely dinner, a bath and she was ready for bed.

My guard was down as the lunch time issue was now resolved. We kissed and hugged and said good night, when a tiny voice Tara says, "Mummy..." (uh..oh..I'm scared of that tone!) "I like Reception more than Year 1 Mummy." I took a deep breath and in that second understood that Tara was one of those people who needed a pet worry at all times. A bit like a father...and me perhaps..

So I said I would talk to her school and send her back to Reception, while all her friends went to Year 1. Tara quickly said she was okay with Year 1. So we hugged and kissed and she was asleep in a flash.

I guess I have to learn to not react to every thing Tara says. But then again, I cannot disregard what the little one says either. we go again.. I guess I'll see how things turn out in the days to come. Something tells me it won't all be smooth sailing.

But that's what raising a child is all about. 

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Lunchtime woes no more !

I couldn't sit back in the sun in India without thinking about Tara's lunchtime. So I wrote an email to the school, in the middle of my holiday stating clearly and calmly that my child was moving to packed lunch.

Yesterday I got a simple reply that it was fine.

Just like that.

All that worry...all that stress...all the imagined battles I was geared up for...all a waste of precious energy.

This realization was a big one for me. Not just about Tara's lunch time but about my general attitude towards life situations. Maybe it was the sun in India or something else, but this realization has the potential to transform my life...or anyone's life.

Most of the situations in life I stress and worry about hardly every happen. Calculated efforts and correct steps ensure that things resolve themselves. But the amount of stress that worry causes me in the process is huge. What a waste of my life! Wallowing in all that imagined misery and fear. A waste...a colossal waste. I can't say it often enough.

I made a simple decision yesterday. I wasn't going to 'live' a bad situation in my worrying brain before it actually happened, if it did happen at all. As soon as I made that decision a dead weight flew off my chest. This weight had been there for ages so it felt strange and I felt breathless at that moment. It's very hard to describe but it was life changing. Tara's lunch issue battle, the Husband's job situation, losing a valuable helper at home, given my fragile health, money worries anything else...they will all have to become 'real' before I give them a share of my energy.

All sounds good?

I will report back on my state of mind in a few weeks after the vacation dust has settled and see if I still feel the same. No bets please !!