Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween

I just need a reason to celebrate. Anything really.

The Husband was working away from home and that left Tara and I with Halloween celebrations to organize. I wasn't keen on going trick or treating in the dark without The Husband. Turns out that Tara wasn't keen on going out either. She said she doesn't like going door to door asking for sweets. Fair enough.

I decided to do what I do best - organize an impromptu mini celebration at home at short notice, with only one target audience to please - Tara. Saying that, it doesn't take much to please her.

We watched a Halloween movie, played ball outside, (it was warm today), made some paper decorations in the evening and ordered a Halloween special pizza meal deal for dinner. When it was dark we turned off all the lights in the house, disabled the doorbell (sorry kids!), lit candles, and decorated Tara's playroom at the back of the house. We had a good time. As if on cue a firework display overhead made our day feel extra special. We hugged each other and shared a special Mummy-Daughter warm moment to put away in our memory banks for the future.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Confession from Mummy

I feel very proud when I see Tara enjoying fresh salad leaves, cucumber, and various fruits and vegetables alongwith her meals. She's not the best eater in the world, but she eats right. It's not genetic or her natural predisposition to eat these. It's a culmination of years of strategy and a few white lies.

In her earliest years when my Tara was a helpless baby wobbling on her high chair, she had no choice but to eat what was prepared for her. In my efforts to provide the best possible fresh home made food, I created some horrible horrors that were probably very good for Tara's health but not great on the taste buds. Tara had always been given a wide variety of fruit for dessert, and only came across chocolate when offered it in Reception year at school. It was never a planned decision, it just never happened, as fruit was always the undisputed option at home. I remember getting a note back from the teacher that my four year old was reluctant to eat chocolate because "she had never eaten it before!"

I did not appreciate the speech marks and the exclamation mark in the teacher's note. It seemed to imply that the teacher didn't believe Tara when she said she had never tasted chocolate before. Okay it wasn't the norm, but she wasn't lying. So I sent a note back saying it was true but I had no objection if she did eat it. That evening The Husband and I offered Tara her first chocolate. We offered a plain chocolate square to her, and watched her nose crinkle as she said "Blechhh!" The Husband and I took a piece each and watching us she took a tiny nibble of hers. The crinkled nose unwrinkled, and a puzzled expression crossed Tara's face...shortly followed by a smile. There..done :-)

I was a bit concerned if I had made a mistake not offering chocolates to Tara earlier, and she would now turn into a chocolate fiend making up for lost time. Thankfully I was wrong. Till this day my seven year old is very content having a square or two of chocolate a day. If only I followed my own good preaching. One or two squares a day is an insult to me. I can breathe in one or two squares a day. Tis better NOT to offer me one or two squares a day...A lot more or none at all...All 70% dark good quality stuff only please..... :-)

Back to Tara's food habits. As she grew, she developed a liking for cheese. She could eat cheese in anything, but like everything else I kept a tight control on too much cheese. I hit gold when I realised that Tara would attempt to eat anything with cheese on it. So I made cream...all healthy...quite delicious, then grated some cheese on top. So little cheese that it would fly off the bowl if you blew on it. I changed the name of my vegetable soup to Extra Cheesy Cheese soup. It was a runaway success! Only last week as she finished her last spoonful, my lovely child commented to her father, "It was really extra cheesy today Papa." I help matters along by saying I had put extra cheese in Tara's bowl, and not so much for Papa.

I did the same with green salad. I started stuffing crunchy green lettuce in Tara's chicken sandwich, a bit at a time. When the sandwich is eaten she could reach for the Babybel cheese sitting next to it. (She has one Babybel per week) so that's not a bad tradeoff.

Baby salad (spinach, chard, beetroot, lettuce, rocket) served with a  barely-there dusting of cheese with her main meal is eaten with enthusiasm too.

this Mummy considers this a little feather in her cap. Call it manipulation or white lies, I accept all the barbs....but my little one is learning to eat healthy. Us Mum's can take a lot more than a few self righteous barbs when it comes to the well being of our little ones.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Drat and fiddlesticks!!

I was glued to my computer researching our Disney holiday for so long, that my eyes turned a peculiar shade of red. It was all worth it as in the end I managed to pull the proverbial rabbit out of my hat...or so I thought.

After more permutations and combinations than I would care to execute under normal circumstances, I found the right holiday, at the right price, (give or take a few credit card swipes), and valiantly proceeded to book and pay my deposit. Good ol' Virgin Holidays took me right to the point of payment, then threw me out of their website. When I clambered back on to the website, the price had increased beyond my already creaking limit.

I called the helpline, especially since a deposit amount had been taken from my credit card. They hemmed and hawed and after fleecing me for more money by putting me on hold on their telephone line, said they could do nothing about it. Their  I.T. department said that at the precise moment ...yes the split second when I pressed "pay", their flight prices went up........hence the problem. Pregnant silence followed on both ends of the phone line.

I burst out laughing. I was disappointed and amused. I didn't proceed with the new booking obviously, and crawled away to soothe my stiff fingers which had been hammering the keyboard for many hours now.

It's true what they say about luck. When it favours some people, it favours them no matter how improbable the situation. On the other hand there are others who never feature in Lady Luck's radar... for miles...

Still, I favour my own hands and abilities over fickle Lady Luck's company....always have...always will....

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Mummy's Magic "Rich"ter

There was excitement as The Husband and I whispered to each other, Tara giving us suspicious looks from the next room.

The Husband declared a few days ago that he wanted to go to Disneyworld again this year, as Tara was growing up fast and would soon not "feel the magic".

Now last year, I felt no magic whatsoever. Tara started losing her wobbly teeth as soon the trip began. She was also sick (travel sickness) as she could possibly be in the car, plane and the car to our hotel in Orlando. I had to sit in the back seat holding sick bags for the remainder of the trip, inviting strange glances from people as The Husband drove the car nervously on the opposite side of the road,  and us ladies sat at the back. I didn't mind. No one was going to pay for the clean up of the rented car if our Princess vomited all over the back seat. We decided to rest by the pool on day one. Within minutes Tara managed to cut the underside of her foot, the worst possible place to get hurt especially when you have to walk miles to get anywhere around the Disney parks.

We did the best we could in the end. Ive struggled to get rid of the balance on the credit card on that trip a few weeks ago. I had saved for last year's holiday for over 6 years, to make it special, no expenses spared-ish. Ive barely taken a breath from that, and now The Husband wants to go back in a few months. Reluctantly I came around to the idea and agreed that Tara will be grown up soon enough -we may as well do it now.

I got to work looking for the best deals trying to get the best possible hotel and flights etc. We couldn't match the previous trip money-wise, and anything I found was not met with enthusiasm by The Husband. He wants it all at less than half the price.

If only life was that simple. But I can't conjure up holidays like the fairies can! Im just about keeping it together in the shouting department, exploding only 3 times in 13 days! And that's not bad given my past performance. Tara has been complaining of stomach pain measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale (pronouncing it "rich" + "ter" ). I have no clue why the Richter scale got connected to her stomach pain, but I will admit to understanding her level of pain better because of it. "It's gone to a 3 on the rich-ter Mummy. Do you think I could have some cake now Mummy?"

I am Tara's Mighty Mum. I still can't magic up a "Rich"-ter of my own and arrange a five star, resort with top class flights, and the rest of it...I can't :-( ...No I really can't. Now where's that cake Tara couldn't have today.

Friday, 24 October 2014

There she blows!!

Day 12/365- Blew it :-(   The beginning of half term...and I had a shouty fit....already :-( So what if every toy in the house , every book on the shelf, and every doll is on the living room floor, and repeated promises to tidy up before bedtime were not kept.

In my defence, I did ask very nicely - 4 times to be precise - that Tara pick up after her. I have been poorly and that doesn't help.

The good news is that I fought really hard to shake off the associated feelings of sulking and silence, (post shouting) and had a decent day after all. Tara helped me tick off a shopping list, fold the laundry, wrap a present, and tidy up. Not sure if all the help was from her unselfish heart or the after effects of this morning's blow up. We are now well hugged and kissed, and singing along to songs from the eighties, playing air guitar etc. so it can't be all bad :-)

I'm going to attempt to ignore minor messes because it is half term, and Tara is only seven...and tired. I still however believe, that mountains of mess are unacceptable and a bit selfish.

Mum and daughter now settling down to a luxurious triple layered mousse.....hmmm.. :-)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Dual Carriageway

On the way to school as we waited at a traffic light, Tara said, "Mummy, I always thought a dual carriageway is the road the Queen takes to travel, but I now know it's not true." The vision of Her Majesty sweeping past us every morning, waving her tilted hand, and saying, "How do you do..." made me chuckle, and Tara joined in when I told her what I was thinking about.

As I pulled away towards school I said it may be true, because I'm the Queen of our house, and Tara the princess. We do drive down the dual our Car-riage. So what if it's not sparkly or drawn by horses. That made Tara happy. It's the last day of school before half term. Tara is tired and has been complaining of aching muscles and exhaustion.

After school Tara will have a long unhurried soak in a warm bubble bath with her mermaid toys before we settle down to a lovely dinner, followed by another shout free (day 11) lazy evening spent doing whatever her heart desires, before going to bed with freshly ironed pink sheets.

Sounds pretty royal to me.. :-)

Monday, 20 October 2014

Where is the good news?

Every morning as I make myself a cup of tea, I try to catch up with the news before I start my day's work. I am fed up with the news these days.

If it's not natural calamities, it is humans at their barbaric best, or a new virus threatening to finish us all off (just in case we didn't all do it ourselves). Sporting icons in the dock, wobbly financial markets, doom and gloom as far as the eye can see. Im not in denial, but I am quite fed up with the goings on in our world.

My brain has been in knots trying to comprehend mass and gravity, weak force from strong force, Higgs from Bosons, and symmetry versus multiverse. What I ultimately decided is that, in this vast..enormous...unexplained universe or multiverse, our Earth, and the life on it is unique. We have every reason to treasure our planet and preserve it for as long as we can. But the way things are at the moment, it's not looking too good for Team Earth.

I would love to see a news programme everyday that shows only good news stories. Scientific breakthroughs about the new super foods - cakes and chocolates, Afforestation success, Coverage on Food Day-when no person on earth goes hungry, Triple breakthrough drugs to cure cancer, diabetes and the common cold, Superman turns up for real and prevents avalanches and floods...

I hope the world wakes up and get its act together soon. This Mum wants her Tara to watch the news when she is a bit older...News today won't just won't.

Day 9/365 going strong..not a shout in sight

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Fine Tune the Team

My Team at home needs fine tuning I think. Its a small team, The Husband, Tara and I.

Tara is seven, and is currently being "made to do things" around the house:
"Tara, please put your clothes in the laundry basket"
"Tara, please put your plates in the sink" and occasionally
"Tara, please separate your socks and underpants from the mountain of ironing".

Now, the instructions are clear and she is physically capable of doing all of the above. Why then do I have to ask/remind her to do them everyday? If I don't ask, I have to do them myself. If I ask, (, it makes me twitchy and annoyed. There is an old saying, "If the Learner hasn't learnt, the Teacher hasn't taught. So how do I teach her?

The Husband does a few things around the house, but it would be great if he did things I really need help with instead of those that he chooses to do. "Getting" subtle hints is not one of The Husband's strengths, and I don't ask directly either...just in case I appear ungrateful...or worse... he doesn't do it after I've asked.

The final team member is me. I definitely need fine tuning. Period.

I once read in a magazine, (in one of those 'list of 10' articles), how to get things done by asking nicely. This stuck in my head because it made me laugh....a lot.

10 ways to get things done. Point number 2.

Praise and ask nicely : "Darling, thank you so much for not putting your wet towel on the bed. Now it would be wonderful if you could make your bed after you wake up."

Should work like a dream apparently.

I still laugh when I imagine Tara and The Husband being at the receiving end of that. In fact I laugh even more at the thought of me mouthing those words to someone...anyone.


Friday, 17 October 2014

Grammatical Gremlins

Life was chugging along. Then Tara, all of seven years says, "Mummy I need more Conjunctions in my sentences, and I also need to be more Adverbial".


I'm okay-ish when it comes to writing or speaking English, but I have to say after all these years Im more instinctive, rather than technical when it comes to my Grammar. Suddenly I have to know my Nouns from my Pronouns, my Interjection from my Conjunction- and that's only English. I know that 7+3 is the same as 3+7, but now I have to know that its called the Commutative property of addition.


Excuse me, while I find time to study. Im just a Mum/Wife Person who only, probably, drinks lots of tea between being a Driver, Bill and Paperwork Sorter, Household shopper, Cook, Cleaner, Laundry/Ironing Person, Teacher, Nurse, Night Nanny, Gardener, Problem solver...etc etc..

Update: Day 8/365.."No shouting" resolve ASTONISHINGLY intact today.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Full time-Day and Night-Working for Zippo/Zilch Housewife Mum Person

It is my first (and hopefully only) shot at being Wife and Mum, and sometimes I get confused. Before I became Wife and Mum, I was Working (for a Wage) Woman and Part time Housewife. Now I'm a "Full time-Day and Night-Working for Zippo/Zilch Housewife Mum Person". My questions is:

Does being a "Full time-Day and Night-Working for Zippo/Zilch Housewife Mum Person" mean that I do every single house related thing? The Husband works full time, and I don't help him at his workplace. Logically that means I should expect nothing house-related from him. Right or wrong? Any wandering wisdom out there?

Update: Day 7/365.."No shouting" resolve intact today...Does a minor "hurry up or we'll be late!" at the breakfast table count ? Naah...

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Blast !!

Which day was it again? 6/365. I blew it. Not massively, but I have to be honest I lost my rag. The Husband wouldn't get off his bottom to help with Tara on his day off, and Tara wouldn't cooperate with her homework. I tried...I really tried, then I lost it. I didn't shout, in my defence, but I did lose it.

So do I start over from day 1/365 - no shouting for a year - Take 2? Or should I make a big red mark on my countdown board and carry on from day 7/365. Common sense seems to suggest I take option 2, so I will. Blast !! I feel I let myself down today :-(

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

I'll tell you later

Day 5/365. I had a few moments yesterday (nipped in the bud Im proud to say), when Tara decided to have "question-time" in the car as I negotiated flooded roads and crazy traffic, on the way to her swimming lesson.

"Mummy, is there a man-eating shrimp loose in the rivers?"

"Mummy, why does an itch...itch?"

..and so on...Good questions, some of them, but not the right place or time, (from my point of view). I am guilty like so many other Mums of saying, 'I'll tell you later" but never actually get around to answering those all important questions that perplex a young mind. Then we wonder why our kids go elsewhere to find out about things. I had made a half hearted effort, and asked Tara to write down questions she wanted answering in a notebook. The plan was that we could look at the notebook together later

The book had three questions in it before it got lost, and I only remembered today. That's not good enough. Today I will recover the book. There is no such thing as "later" in a busy Mum's life. "Later" usually means, it probably won't happen, and that's just not good enough.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Walk to school week..

4/365...okay-ish effort in being shout-free...except for 2 sharp sentences..which are not in the range of shouting I've resolved not to do.

Tara's Mum's life carries on alongside. Its pouring with rain and its Day 1 of Walk to school week. We do walk to school almost everyday, because the parking situation near school means we park a lane or two away and walk to the main gate. Today there is traffic chaos, rain and wind, and a tired dawdling child to contend with. Oh, did I mention that for the first time in my life I actually turned the alarm off and rolled over to sleep for a bit longer.

Tara says, "I don't want to be the only numpty without a certificate for walking to school week." She is however, not putting in the extra effort to leave home 15 minutes earlier than usual, to get to the walking group on time. She also seems to be missing the point about walk to school week. Surely its about being aware of the environment and how we reduce our carbon footprint, and not about being the only "numpty without a certificate."

What's a "numpty" anyway?

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Thank god for uneventful days

3/365 - check !! Early days to rejoice over the uneventful Rage-Radar.

Ive resolved not to shout for one year. Its a serious resolve, and Im usually good at resolve keeping as I don't resolve often. Ive been scouring the internet to look at anything that can help me reach the 365th day relatively successful.

I came across something call Bach's Rescue drops. Fully natural and it states firmly to take 4 drops when you need emotional rescuing. Now this is interesting. I have to be the one to decide when I need emotional rescuing. Too much responsibility. Im almost tempted to take 4 drops right now...maybe not. It costs money to get this tiny bottle with not many drops in it. I will wait another 10 days or so when I will probably be taking swigs not delicately dispensing 4 drops.. :-)

Any other suggestions from anyone who accidentally walks through this blog will be welcome :-))

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Baby steps

They say it takes 21 days to kick a bad habit. Day 2 of 365 passed yesterday with no shouting from me. Woo-Hooo..It's early days and I did turn to chocolates often.. but its steps..

The Husband has been walking around with a grey cloud over his head. Partly because of work pressure, but mostly because he can't handle the fact that he reduced his beloved princess Tara to tears at dinner time, simply by saying firmly, "Tara, you must listen to your Mummy, I will be very disappointed if I find out you didn't listen to her."

That's it??? That's all it took to reduce her to a blubbering mess??? I get big loose lidded, round eyed stares from Tara when Im giving her a telling off much worse than that 'non-telling off' she got from her father! I also get imaginary particle chewing, eyes rolling, humming, feet tapping under the dinner table etc. etc. But no sobbing...Anyway..I was exactly the same with my Mum and Dad so why complain now. What goes around comes around.

Friday, 10 October 2014

A new vacuum cleaner

Its day 2/365 of my "no shouting" pledge.

It's no surprise that the shouting and restlessness subsides as my monthly period departs. I will try and keep it together.

My 12 year old Dyson vacuum cleaner collapsed a few days ago. It was green and purple and weighed almost as much as me. I distinctly remember The Husband picking it out from the shop. I wasn't too involved in the decision, as I believed any vacuum cleaner would be fine as long as it does the job. Wrong. For years I struggled under the weight of this monster, as I battled through the house exhausted just holding up this giant.

The Husband was very meticulous as he analysed the various specifications and suction capacities of the models available. Till he found this very manly machine. Im sure he's regretted buying it as well. It must be annoying being an assistant vacuum cleaner to your puny wife who keeps asking you to carry the manly machine up and down the stairs.

So this time, we went to the store, and The Husband silently stepped back, offering no advice, analysis or suggestions. I looked around and found what I wanted. Another Dyson..only smaller and lighter...much lighter.

Tara is happy that its purple,
The Husband is happy that the machine is called an "Animal", (manly enough for him to use)
I'm happy that I can now clean my house independently, upstairs and downstairs.

I used my Dyson Animal today. With powerful rollerball technology, all surface suction power and such like, it sucked away the dust, allergens, micro creatures etc. I felt good. Working with the new machine also helped me clear some cobwebs from my mind. My world doesn't feel so messy today.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The aftermath

I am spent.... I am emotionally exhausted and just a tiny bit fragile.

Yesterday, life's little annoyances accumulated and resulted in one massive outburst from me, that scared Tara, bewildered The Husband, and left my inner self agape with shock as I witnessed the outer me lose my rag so spectacularly. I also became aware, for the first time, a rising heat and tightness in my body, that seemed to increase with the volume of my voice. Had I just narrowly escaped a heart attack?

I was a bit numb when I went to pick Tara from school. As I waited in the car, randomly browsing the internet, I happened to read an article from a mum who gave up shouting for one year. Her experience was life changing for her. It was as if in that one moment I was sent a message. I saw Tara walking towards me so I saved the article on my phone to read later

Tara was quiet. She probably sensed something was wrong with me. It was her tennis lesson today. I wanted to skip it because I was very uncomfortable inside.All I wanted to do was crawl under my sheets. At home, Tara dressed herself up for tennis and looked up at me,  holding her tennis racquet against her chest. I picked up the car keys and silently drove her to her lesson. I usually attempt a gentle gym session whenever Tara has tennis. Today I just sat outside the tennis court, feeling the weight of a grey silence that had descended on me. Another child's mum came and sat next to me. I was not in the mood for any conversation but managed a weak smile. Suddenly her floodgates opened and she spoke about her outburst with her little boy, her feelings and frustrations at home. I reached out to her and we spoke for an hour till the lesson was done. We each went home. I didn't feel any better. Something had shifted inside.

Later after a quiet dinner, and with Tara tucked in bed, I finished what I had to do and slept like a baby. I still hadn't read the article I had saved, but just before drifting off I made up my mind not to shout for the next one year...

Today is Day 1. So far so shouts but the numbness remains.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Kitchen Depression

I'm no scientist, but I've discovered a new condition - "Kitchen Depression."

I am currently suffering from this condition. I don't want to enter the kitchen, I don't want to cook, I  don't want to reset the dishes in the dishwasher the right way around,  I don't want to have anything to do with the kitchen. I am doing everything in my power to avoid the kitchen, (which helps get other jobs done I admit), but makes me feel enormously guilty and uncomfortable.

Mind you, while I don't WANT to....I still AM.... Doing the kitchen work I mean. This is causing the symptoms of "Kitchen Depression" to worsen...

Tara, your Mum is a fruitcake, but she loves you.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Wrong choice

Most Mums know this...most Dads get it after a while.

Tara and I spent a quiet Sunday morning pottering about with paints, papers and brushes. At the end of our session we did what we always do with the left over paint. We made a "finch" each. For those not too familiar with the "finch", it involves folding a paper in half, dripping paint on one half, closing the other half, rubbing it, and finally re-opening the folded paper to reveal wonderfully colourful patterns. It is strangely very therapeutic..try it if you haven't.

So we finished our finches and let them dry out. Later that afternoon I came into the room to find Tara asking The Husband to choose which one looked better. The Husband picked mine. Wrong choice. Tara said "Oh" softly, then wandered off to another room blinking hard. It all happened in a split second. I didn't have time to get behind Tara and gesticulate wildly to The Husband as to which one he should pick. He looked baffled and hurried after Tara who tried her best to be all grown up as she faced the reality of her Papa picking someone else over her. After a lot of cuddles she emerged, this time with two painted masks. She faced The Petrified Husband with another choice. This time his frantic gaze met mine and I signalled to her work of art, which he then proceeded to pick. Tara softly said "Oh, Mum told you to pick that," and walked away again. The Husband looked totally baffled again. He should have had enough practice dealing with women by now.

Many cuddles and cakes later, life was normal again. 

The Husband was as confused as he always is,
Tara learnt some valuable life lessons and
I'm still wondering how The Husband couldn't figure out the difference between art done by a 7 year old and a much older adult. The difference is obvious. I will post pictures to prove it.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

PMS or PMDD or XYZ or whatever you call it

You can call it by any name you want, but when it strikes, you alone know what it feels like. It begins, barely subsides for a while, then begins again. You want to be left alone, and when you are you feel no one cares. You are like an enraged serpent, coiled and ready to spring.

Safe to say its not a good thing to experience. Ive just woken up today on the other side. It was particularly severe this time. I am only thankful that I still hear that faintest voice of consciousness at the back of my head that lets be know that Im in "the grip" right now. The voice doesn't provide any relief, relaxation or suggestions to ease the mental agony. But I hear it and endure the suffering till the days pass and there is some relief...until it strikes again...month after month.

It doesn't help that there is no cure. Maybe there is not much funding or research done to find a cure for this condition. After all there are many other life threatening ailments out there that warrant humanity's time and brains.

I used to hate getting my monthly period when I was younger. Now I pray it arrives and gives me relief from this little understood condition that virtually destroys one half of your existence and impacts on the innocent bystanders in your life who love you, who stand by and bear your harshness, waiting as I am, for the storm to pass.