Sunday, 18 September 2011


It was his first day at school. That big moment I've been apprehensious about for so long; the moment my boy goes off on adventure without me, finds a little more independence. I crafted some keep sakes for him - a badge and a friendship bracelet with hematite woven in and I made him the most enormous chocolate cake whilst Gaia decorated a card for him. Not really one to look too hard to find excuses and reasons for festivities and celebrations, last weekend became just that. We hung bunting and ate his chosen meal by candle light and did the things he wanted to do.

He was quietly excited - only giving this away with a silent cheshire cat grin. It is luxury to have an extra hour in which to get ready - the children even had time to bath and play and everything was much more relaxed and happy than the usual work/nursery day scrum. This new rhythm might not be so bad after all me thinks.

                                       Ready to go!

I welled up a little on the bike journey there but I think having done the emotional bit over the last few months it worked out nicely that I held it together when we arrived and didn't project any of my own apprehension just genuine excitement and pride. 

He proudly identified his peg in the cloakroom and hung his bag. I remembered my first school peg, my first school bag. I bit my lip as we walked to the classroom and placed his fruit I had prepared and water in the baskets. Then that was it, parents were encouraged to leave swiftly and so I walked away with my small girl (now desperate to start school too!) on my hip, steeling a couple of glances at Zander from windows round the classroom and then we went and did the things we usually do on a monday but feeling like perhaps we left something important, like a limb or a piece of our hearts, behind.

I'm so proud of him, so excited that he is excited and how refreshing to see all the children arriving in their own comfortable, familiar, individual clothes. I think allowing children to wear their own clothes is important, rather than enforce a forced and phony equality. They all looked so chilled out and I knew that though this isn't comparable to Steiner School and other alternative educations, it is a good second best. And so many parents with older children I already knew turning up, so many I knew from local playgroups and even work. I did not feel alone. At once I was excited for myself as well as him - joining the school run fraternity, suddenly a whole new community is on hand for me to immerse myself in and share support and companionship with. Maybe this is just what I needed.

He seems a little more grown up now - it's that mystery element - he has a life outside the family now, one he can invite us into if he likes, we piece together a picture of his day from the snippets he gives us. My girl seems a little more grown up for going to the childminder without her brother, having her own special day to tell about. But I didn' stop to think how this change would affect her; as the summer holidays ended not only did she loose Zander she lost her close friends, our childminders children Matthew and Sophie as they started school too. She searched for them and cried when I left her, I curse myself for not having seen it from her perspective before hand, too wrapped up in my own and Zanders perspective.

I'm enjoying my half days with him - we've needed an opportunity to reconnect since Gaia was born.  It will be good; at least I'm certainly creating lasting memories and what follows will make us chuckle for years to come ...

I had planned an idyll of a day for tuesday, the weather held, september at it's best.
Walking familiar routes through the woods but with only each other to focus on this time, it seemed everything was drenched in timeless sepia sunbeams and I felt the bounty that is autumn in my heart. Gathered acorns, feathers and some windfalls to make apple creatures out of.

 And an early picnic 

'Lets do one with us kissing' he said. 

 'I think there have been fairies here'....he said.

I'm glad we enjoyed that hour of tranquil peace before Calamity Jane here had time to turn the day upside down!

I got greedy ... just one more windfall for our collection to get creative with, just one more. And you know when you wish you could have just made one split second decision completely differently that would have changed everything ...

                                                          I wish I had not put my foot into the scruffy grass and nettle ensemble the ground was wearing, I thought in my long boots and leggings I could handle whatever the nettles threw at me so I was expecting some slight discomfort. But when my legs started tingling all over, then the tingling became painful and irritated, angry and relentless I thought ....nope not nettles, maybe ..... mosquitoes - so quickly I jumped away, but it got worse so I ran into the orchard clearing and to my horror I looked down to find myself covered in wasps, I looked like the guy in the cider advert with the beard of bees ... from the waist down they were everywhere. Hundreds, I kid you not! Attached to my clothes like some kind of ferocious velcro. They were inside my boots under my skirt, on top of my skirt, in my leggins and would you believe it - in my pants too!

So what would you do if you stepped in a wasps nest? I've never been stung in my 29 years earthside but today was my first time and boy did it make up for each of those 29 years without. I have concluded that a nest must have come down in the high winds we've had and I went and put my foot in it.

I'll tell you what I did and it's funny - my mind worked quicker than it ever has before, fight or flight kicked in and I knew instantly after directing Zander to run away from me and stand under a visible but distant tree I had to strip off, everything but camisole top and pants. I'd have taken the lot off if I'd had to and I was shaking dead wasps out the leggins days after! I knew I was stung very badly but I had too much adrenalin rushing round keeping courage and a strong head for Zanders sake to notice my pain much. I knew I had to get us home - a 25 minute bike ride so I could not afford to succumb to self pity.
Poor bear had been stung three times but was in hysterical shock at my peril, I couldn't calm him as I cowered nearly naked under a tree with him, trying to calm him and cook up the next part of my plan.

I'm not sure I've ever seriously considered guardian angels but check this out; at that moment as I realised how odd it would look to anyone who stumbled across us, someone did, and what else but a guardian angel would say it's ok she was there to help. She scooped Zander up and cuddled him hard, soothed and reassured him, praised him for his bravery. And after stole back my skirt and emptied my boots with trepidation and paranoia she took us back to the scout hut where the Steiner forest Kindergarten meet. The smokey fire saw that no wasps bothered us again and healing cream soothed and reassured. They did not hurry us and walked back through the woods with us to our bike. How valuable for us both to experience such altruism in motion, we are blessed for her anonymous kindness (in the madness I forgot to even ask her name) and she gave such good holistically, spiritually sensative advice.
I didn't feel any pain until I got home and insatiable itching saw me loose most of a good nights sleep. It also saw me sloshing a whole bottle of vinegar over my legs at various intervals during the night! returning to bed smelling like a chip shop.

This last week was always going to be an unknown quantity with all the changes starting to take place but I've felt a strange grounding from it all - perhaps because my focus is totally on my family for a change.
And as always there are so many little things that have nourished and lifted my heart this week ...

Digging out old baby photo's of Zander and being reminded of the glory of it all....

Spending one on one time with each of the kids.

Gathering autumn store from the hedgerows - Rosehips, Haws and Elderberries for rich winter vitamin syrup. Standing over the pot as it all simmers, earthy aromas mingle with the cheeky pinch of cinnamon and seasonally warming cloves I added. The rich claret colour of the finished product. And best of all - my babies love it! A spoon a day should keep colds away.

Stumbling across dragon boat races on the river running through the meadows nearby as we foraged blackberries. Another little nook of festival spirit.

Charity shops, charity shops, charity shops ... I'm in love!
                                                                                              ...... with Chai too. (and my little Chai Walla Gaia.)

Taking Tea in the garden with my babies

Raindrops on divinely scented roses

The bounty of my garden - the calendula just keeps on going!

Reconnecting with my breath.

Getting over significant hurdles ...
                                                        Passing my car theory test
                                                                                                     Having difficult conversations.

Long hot mid-afternoon bubble baths.

Much More Chai

Butternut squash ripening in the veg patch.

Climbing, swinging, sliding and spinning to the sound of a Samba band in one of the parks last sunday morning.

Afternoon fires in the garden with Zander

Meeting storm troopers at ASDA and seeing my boy quietly and shyly betraying his joy.

There are more firsts coming with the new week ... Zander stays for lunch at school for the first time ... I get to make packed lunch :)

And my first session of a Mindfulness course I'm doing at the Buddhist centre, will be a pleasure to return to that sanctuary of calm.
As Zander emerged from toddlerdom it's as if we got complacent about firsts. They blended in with one another as his speech became so eloquent we noticed new words less. I started to take it for granted he could do all these marvellous things like put his shoes on, dress himself and brush his teeth. As he became more like us I stopped praising those little every day achievments like I used to. But we're still notching them up ...

                                                            today he carefully made his own sandwiches for the first time;0)

Love & Light X


  1. You were so brave with those wasps, they are my worst nightmare and I know I would not be able to have been so brave. How wonderful though that you had a saviour that day.

    Apart from the wasps, life sounds good, Glad Zander is settling in well, and you are finding time for you too.

  2. Yes life is good isn't it, though it's suprising how long it took those stings to settle down, I have scars from scratching so much! X