Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Power of One

Sometimes I get the notion that I can do ANYTHING! Everything! And all by myself....!


Ugh my back. I am not even at third trimester yet (When will that be? Yikes I am at 24 weeks tomorrow - there's a loooong way to go) but I feel the third trimester symptoms applying themselves without invitation to my ~weary~ body. I should have at least 2 more weeks of 'honeymoon' phase of pregnancy! Third trimester doesn't start until 26 weeks, dammit. My early date with crazy nervy scrapey-feeling back/hip pain has made me a bit nervous for the long road ahead, though, that's for sure. I even remember my last pregnancy, as I lay writhing for my minimum 30 minutes of horrible pain upon lying down in bed, thinking 'I can never be pregnant again, I can't handle months of this again...' Ha ha!!! Not true! I WILL handle months of this again! I CAN...but just because I HAVE TO now. No one has died before from terrible nervy scrapey hip feelings, as far as I know.... or have they? No. Not yet anyway. I just might, eventually, give it a few more weeks.

It is my fault, of course, that this has happened. My 'Power of One' stubborn do-it-all attitude has got me here. Last week I went and bought a dining table on eBay for the kitchen. Right now we have a little round granite bistro table that squashily seats 4, but in preparation for the new expansion I started looking for bargains - and got a table for 10 quid! Success! But, ummm. In Harlow. 50 miles away. When I pressed the 'bid' button I didn't truly consider some important factors - would the table even fit in my (normal-sized-on-the-small-side) car? What will I do with the kids to pick up the table? All the seats would need to be folded down to fit in any kind of table sized no car seats. How would I get a dining table INTO the car? And out? And carried into the house? Hmmmm. The answer was clear - Me.

My cunning plan was to leave a bit early from work, while the kids were still at nursery, and pick it up 'on the way' home. It wasn't as on the way as I thought, but good enough. It was about an hours drive from work, and then another hour home. So the night before I emptied the car of everything; God there is a lot in the car even when no one is in it! I lug into the house the 2 big car seats, the stroller, the buggy board, the large jug of washing fluid, the emergency kit, the shopping name it. Then there was the issue of getting the kids to nursery, on my way to work, but with no car seats. OK so I can't use the car. Fine, so I get them packed up in the double pushchair, and proceed with the 10 minute [mostly] uphill shove, all while dressed up in my dressy-ish work clothes of course, to get them into nursery. I assume the arms straight out back bent over heave-ho position! Those kids are heavy!!!! So by 7:45 am I am in a sweaty mascara running out-of-breath back hurting state already. Crap. I forgot their bags.

Then a light jog (in work clothes) at least [mostly] downhill with an empty pushchair. I grab their bags, chuck them in the car (I'm late already, I'll never make it to work on time!) and now drive back to nursery to go back in, just to drop off the kids things. Phew at least I was on my way now, my random detours were complete. In between meetings at work I make the final arrangements with my seller (I hadn't even been given the address yet - but I'd be dammed if I didn't pick up the table that day, after all my prep!!) and much relievedly received my address, game on for that afternoon. 4:30 pm, I'm coming.

So I get my table. My 141cm x 80cm solid wood and granite table. H-E-A-V-Y. The lady that is there to let me pick it up is pregnant also, due in 2 weeks. She's worse off that I am, I thought, so it's not like I can make her help! To glorious relief the frame of the table *just* fit inside the car, with no trunk or doors hanging open or anything, that was very good. So me and my big belly and poor little back got it in. Next stop, kids. There are still no car seats in my car, and the car is now filled to the brim with table. So I drive back home, collect the double pushchair again, and after my long day haul myself and the (at least empty for the [mostly] uphill walk) pushchair to nursery. And thankfully the heavy part of the walk with the kids is downhill on the way home - then bath and bed. Even hunching over the bath is starting to get to me - but I wouldn't miss that for the world.

I still needed to deal with the small [large] issue of the table in my car. And the state of the table. It was Gross with a capital 'G'. I see my 10 quid bargain was not necessarily that great a bargain, it has toddler agar, encrusted food, in every crevasse, and strange black rubbery smears all over the wood parts on the top. Papery sticker goo from years gone by speckled the solidified milk residue landscape. Totally gaggy yucky gross. I couldn't even bring it into the house, I had to deal with it in the garage. So me and my big belly and poor little back carried the table to the garage for processing. I use the term 'carried' very lightly. It was more like some kind of perverse drunken lugger dance. Imagine a drunken bum, as he sways abruptly to-and-fro through the streets, by the light of the moon; with no apparent direction or purpose. Now visualize the drunken bum holding onto a dining table, upright. That was me.

3 hours later, many cloths, disinfectant wipes, and heavy duty cleaning sprays later. In the cold garage. Bent over squatters style cleaning, no, scrubbing like a banshee, put-your-back-into-it cleaning. The table was then allowed into the house. The drunken bum then 'carried' the table from the garage in through the front door, to the kitchen for assembly. I screwed the legs on, which was alright, but then had to somehow flip the table over (!!) to get it right side up! I did it. Boy I was pooped, and it was not graceful (drunken bum) but I did it!

And the next day, the kids bookshelf I ordered came. So then I built that while the kids napped, and installed it (it required the electric drills and wall plugs and everything!). More squatters style; bent over put-your-back-into-it screwdriving. Then lugging the whole assembly around to drill it into the wall. Killer. I really like it though, I am pleased - it's super charming and the kids like it. That was worth the effort.

You know what though...the table is actually not quite right. After all that, curse that table, I've put it up for sale - on eBay! 30 quid though. For my efforts. :)

Friday, 14 January 2011

Changes and growing up

Something happened tonight, quite out of nowhere, that gave me a bit of a shock. It happened like it was nothing, but, really, the relevance (at least to me) is HUGE.

As my older son is sitting down on the toilet for his final before-bed wee wee, he hands me his sleep dollies, dearest beloved Lamby and Bobo, and says "Mummy, I don't need these anymore. I don't need them for sleeping tonight."

I say "Ok. That sounds fine, what a good you go then, let's get to bed" and I don't say anything like what I am thinking  - 'Really? No Way...? Really? Are You Sure?'. And also thinking - 'Alright then, I'll believe it when I see it...'. I was expecting a call out for Lamby and Bobo within moments of the door closing. As of now, which is 1 hour after he went to bed, there has not been a fuss, and no call, no nothing. Maybe he really meant it this time? There have been episodes in the past where I have periodically asked him if he felt he was ready to sleep without Lamby and Bobo, like a big boy, or if he still needed them for sleep time. He usually said 'Yes, I need them, I want them' and on the one or two occasions where he said 'Ok, no, I'll try without them', within a short time (on the scale of 'within moments' as described earlier) he was hollering saying he needed Lamby and Bobo, where were they??? The last time I had even mentioned anything Lamby and Bobo related to him would have been over a month ago, maybe two. Tonight was a self-administered spontaneous burst of Lamby and Bobo Big Boy freedom.

Which is probably what has made the difference. It was HIS choice to do without. And as I lay him into bed for another cuddle, he asked me "Where's Lamby and Bobo right now?" and I said "They are just put away for now, in mummy's room" and he said OK, just like that, and goodnights I love you's etc and that was it. He IS so grown up!

As these cuddlers have been with him, well, since birth, but in his cognitive loving perception in addition to being in his bed since at least 8 months old, this is big news! The dependency on these objects is not to be taken lightly, any mummy knows. The cuddler toy companies know this also - Noukie's even has an SOS 'hotline' for ordering your child's dearest beloved sleep dolly in an emergency, with a guarantee of manufacture 2 years from a specific date printed on the toy. Dependency cuddlers are a serious business. I have heard of some families that have has to miss flights because the desperately loved dolly was left behind. My little fellow was no different, if you wanted sleep to happen, the dollies were there. Fully encouraged by me, right from birth - security objects are very useful things for a parent, to be something that is always the same when everything else might be, moving, starting really does emotionally help them, to help control insecurity.

This seems to indicate to me now that, well, I guess he feels secure. No need for security props. Goodbye, emotional crutches. I have waited a long time for this! He is generally a cautious man, even as 3 year olds go - doesn't like change, and anything new is met with tredpidation. I don't know, this really does seem like a big growing up milestone to me. Good for you, my big boy!!! I feel!

His room has also been recently transformed into a Big Boy room, as over Christmas my husband and I switched the spare room furniture for his cotbed and nursery furniture, in anticipation for the new baby. He has a really grown up room now, with real adult furniture, and even a bedside table with a lamp. He loves that lamp!! And the Piece Du Resistance....a CD player that he is allowed to operate, placed within his reach, and he gets to push the buttons himself - he is in heaven. Any chance, he is standing in front of that thing, turning it on to a rousing rendition of "Bob the Builder, Can We Fix It!!!!!!" or other kiddie dance favourites; Farmer in the Dell, A Great Big Ship on the Illy Ally Oh. The number of times I find him dancing naked, with little brother in tow - both dancing, swinging arms about wildly and jumping on the 'new' bed. SO fun, so adorable, (so naughty) - but so sweet I can't tell them off for jumping a bit on the bed. Who cares. It's my husband's old single bed from when HE was in school, I am sure it has suffered many abuses in it's time. Who am I to spoil to dance fever fun!

So maybe the room change has made him feel like he is growing up? I wonder if having his little brother makes him feel more grown up? He takes care of him very nicely, holds his hand to go places, and helps him a lot...Or maybe he just IS growing up?

The Lamby and Bobo freedom moment came, this time, totally from him. And even though it is the first night, I do feel like this is the moment he has decided to let go of that babyhood need. Now I just need the same thing to happen in the wee wee department! As the wee wee shenanigans continues, this does make me think twice; I realize that his 'success' from age 2 to ~3 was purely obedience, as he was too little to decide for himself. Now he does have a strong mind of his own, and has thus decided not to bother (some/all/most/none) of the time. So I will wait, patiently wait, for the Lamby and Bobo moment to come for that, too. The moment he says "Mummy, I don't want wet pants anymore. I am going to do all my wee on the toilet today".

He is growing up fast enough anyway. :)

Tuesday, 4 January 2011


I'd like to think of surprises as things that are fun; exciting, new, different. The fun is in the anticipation of it, knowing it, whatever it is, is coming...wondering what it is going to be...the speculation and plotting over the resultant revelation.

Christmas, of course, a most timely and relevant example. Parents work hard to keep Christmas surprises under wraps [insert pun related groan here], which makes all the presents and Christmas morning action so magical. Would it really be the same if all the goodies were just out on the dining table for 2 months prior to Christmas, and then chucked under the tree with no sparkly paper? No way. No magic there. The surprises need to be shoved away under daddy's old pajamas in the back shelf of the closet, crammed under extra duvets in the loft, and smuggled into the dark recesses of the garage - that's what makes them become surprises. That's what brings the magic in the morning.

So then why did everyone get so bent out of shape when we said we were keeping the sex of the baby a surprise?

Comments swirling around like 'Hrmph well that's no fun', and 'Why aren't you treating us like family', and 'How are we supposed to plan anything?', and 'Why wouldn't you just TELL us?'. With the necessary additional comments of course of 'Well, as long as the baby is healthy.....'. Gosh, what's the big deal?? I figured this is [probably] most likely my last baby, and last chance to have a bit of fun! In the past I felt sort of forced to reveal the sex of my children (both boys!) right away, as I was unsure about arranging circumcisions and whatnot - my husband and his family are Jewish and they wanted the babies circumcised - fine...but I don't want to feel forced. I want it to be a surprise! I want the fun of it, the mystery, the big exciting reveal. And now that I am experienced x2 in the art of baby-circumcision-arranging, it's no big deal. I know the number of the guy: baby out, it's a boy, call the number of the guy, drive to the place, get the baby 'done'. Easy. There is nothing to 'plan'. And for goodness sake this has nothing to do with treating anyone like family or not. This is not a family treatment issue at all, it shouldn't be ANY issue at all, this is a non-issue. It is (was) a simple fun surprise. The outcome of it all is not affected by whether someone knows now, or four months from now. Nothing will change either way. So where's the issue???

I feel a bit let down now, actually, as I was excited about the surprise aspect of things - now it's got all tarnished and has been turned into some kind of feuding point. Why can't everyone just say 'Ok, cool, that will be fun! We'll find out when the baby comes, what a nice surprise!'. Part of the parents' joy in Christmas is doing the smuggling, hiding, stuffing away of the goodies, wrapping them up pretty, arranging everything just the impact and fun of Christmas morning is at a total maximum. Part of a parents' joy of creating the surprise is seeing your kids' faces light up, exploring what's been revealed. I just feel a bit now like I have had my wrapping paper opportunity stolen away. I don't want this to be the case, but I feel like now, in the end, my surprise will be akin to me glumly shoving a pair of socks across the table, in newspaper; no ribbon.

Who knows, anyway, if it will turn out what we think? Ultrasound scans are pretty good at identifying the sex, given, but there is a chance we might all get a surprise. It doesn't matter to me, anyway. As long as the baby is healthy :) Number Three will be getting 2nd hand-me-downs anyway, no matter what sex it is!