Thursday, 26 January 2012

Tangled

Yes, it's my new favourite film, my new favourite kids film.  Rapunzel happened to be my favourite fairytale when I was a little girl.  I loved the romance of it and it turns out I still do.  Here I bashfully hold my hand up with a rye smile on my face and say ... I cried, Disney made me cry, twice! ... at the end when Eugine told Rapunzel she was his new dream and she requited it through tragic tears and my tears kept on rollin' as she was reunited with her parents; then my heart ached a little and I was gone ...off building castles in the air. 

Am I going soft in my old age?  Do you turn thirty then get all emotional over stuff you never did before? 


It has become quite apparent that I miss whimsical, youthful daydreaming .  It was only the other day that I dug out my very old photocopy of The Lady Of Shallot by Tennyson and I dug it out consciously hankering after some proper literary romance.  The little girl in me, maybe even the young woman too, longs for romantic Arthurian tales of damsels, tragedy, love and sometimes a brave and lofty knight to boot.  Then Shakespeare came a callin' as I fished around for my much annotated school days copy of  A Midsummer Nights Dream - the original rom-com!  And you know I can't wait until Gaia is old enough for me to read the entire series of Anne Of Green Gables to her as my mother did me.


I've always been a daydreamer but when I started living my current dream ... the dream of motherhood there was suddenly no space for the ethereal imaginings of a maiden.  Now I am mother and my head is full of practical memos like school dates, work rota's, myriad recipe possibilities for tonight's dinner, the kids needs and how I'd like that Ta-Da list to look by tonight. 
When I sat breast feeding Zander in those early Mama days I read volume upon volume of fantasy literature which made the transition into a more routine driven life softer.

Now I'm tired; I work nights, I run a house and I bring my two kids up by day.  I cook, I clean, I tidy, I wash.  Interludes of time for myself I tend to try and fill my tank up with yoga and meditation but to keep the balance and my fire of imagination burning I have poetry on my bedside table and a book for writing my own.


I just moved my print of Waterhouse's Lady Of Shallot to a more prominent place on the stairwell and now I gaze in reverie upon her every time I walk up and down the stairs still asking myself the same questions ... who is she? what is she thinking? how did she come to be cursed?  There's room for more - more prints I mean - Ophelia, Lamia, Flora and Rose ... all the damsels he painted wearing those gorgeous gowns and far away expressions.  I want my girl to gaze upon these pictures, ask her own questions and day dream throughout her girlish years too.

  

I think I will equally enjoy indulging my boy in legends and  tales of noble knights and battles of kingdoms fought ... these are his Utopia's.  He truly treasures his anthology of tales of Knights and dragons, never tires of them.   I look forward to researching the Arthurian legends in more detail with him as they fascinate me though I know little of them presently.

As far as juggling daydreaming and mindfulness goes, I think balance is required and given my hectic Mama life there probably isn't enough time for the balance to tip too far in daydreaming's favour.  A little whimsy here and there is cool, it's got to be good, keeps us young, therapy.  Life gets boring as romance slips away so I resolve to spend more time away with the faeries in a healthy-sort-of-a-way again, I miss them so!  After all this is literature and art, it's culture not fanciful longings for what is not at present.  It's original escapism and therefor quite legitimate!  I don't need to justify it to myself ... but I think I just did.

And I've always got good old Disney if I don't have time to separate the maiden and the mother in me.  We can get lost in fairy tales together, I needn't dream alone anymore it's something I can share with them now, with those sweet little ones in my life whose imagination is a big blank canvas waiting, just waiting, how exciting! 

Blessings and love x x x

Monday, 23 January 2012

This is why

Days like Sunday are what make it all worth while. Things just started flowing, naturally and unobstructed. The children led and I gladly followed smiling deep into their faces - happy that these things do happen.
Zander led us into a home ed session - we spent the entire morning studying space. It started with a floor puzzle ....



Then the first encyclopedia of space came out. He wanted to read each and every page, twice.

All of this was done from the nest he made himself from a cardboard crate from the supermarket and many cushions and blankets. He declared a pyjama day from the off!

Then we drew things we had learnt about. He was so earnest to learn and discuss. I love these interludes.

Then Gaia demanded a trip to the woods. At first Zander declined due to his pyjama day status but quickly decided it best he come, and I quote 'in case you have any fun'. And we did ...


Such a welcome novelty to jump in the car rather than enduring a bitter half hour bike ride across a windy fen.

Picking up familiar rhythms in familar space.  Setting story stages and telling tales with but a few props from home ...

This one was 'The mouse, the dinosaur and the dragon fly'

Always in love with mother nature ...





Then there were the nature documentaries which Zander seems to prefer infinitely more when he's weary than any movie from our selection. His earnest fascination warmed my heart as he related facts to me as I cooked the roast ... the five tailed bat was an interesting one (!) but then once again we drew what we'd learnt about. I think this a great way of embedding information in little minds ...

so we have quite a few fact sheets building up ... space, animals, what is to be next?

It was an idyll of a day, how you imagine it will be like before you have kids. You have to grab these days with both hands, throw your heart into them and treasure them once they are done, they aren't all like this but hopefully they will become more frequent.

Other things warming my January heart ...

Fresh juices, in a bid to balance out the winter glutony!

My girl is 'baby wearing' ...


In fact there is a cat theme!

And birthday dinners complete with well kept secret surprises (how many other kinds of surprise are there?!) from dear friends - this one was a trip to the theatre to see Balletboyz, who were awesome! Check them out http://www.balletboyz.com The theatre is always proper soul nourishing stuff, like the large green salads we'd just eaten in Giraffe and the element of surprise made it all the more surreal. Big warm thankful happy hugs to Lima and Kate and to Cliff who was secret squirrel and babysitter.

So one happy mama here.

Blessings and hopes for a similarly happy week.

X




Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Three O



The matron at her mirror, with her hand upon her brow,
Sits gazing on her lovely face - ay, lovely even now.
Why doth she lean upon her hand with such a look of care
Why steels that tear across her cheek?  She sees her first grey hair.

Time her form hath ta'en away but little of her grace
His Touch of thought hath dignified the beauty of her face
Yet she might mingle where maidens gaily trip
So bright is still her emerald eye, so beautiful her lip.

She looked upon her raven locks - what thoughts did they recall?
Oh! Not of nights when they were decked for banquet or for ball?
The brought back thoughts of early youth, e'er she learnt to check
With artificial wreaths, the curls adorning her face and neck.

And now she sees her first grey hair, oh deem it not a crime
For her to weep when she beholds the first foot mark of time.

Ah, lady! Heed the monitor!  Thy mirror tells the truth,
Assume the matrons folded veil resign the wreath of youth.

Go! - bind it on thy children's brow, in them thou still look fair;
Twere well would all learn wisdom who behold their first grey hair!

These beautiful words, uncovered by my sister, introduced 30 photographs  put together in an album - one for each of my years thus far.  These words, they made me cry.  And not because I gaze upon my own first grey hair, for I've been gazing upon those sneaking in for the last few years!  No, I shed subtle tears because I realised my siblings were carving memories for me, so beautifully and with the same love that I carve memories for my children with, I could feel it.  The effort and thought that they put into everything on saturday from the cake my brother made and brought up from London on the train...

the thirty, yes thirty! candles and deliciously fresh Scilianesque cake were to be a surprise but the waitress got it all wrong.  I was still surprised, twice, just gutted for my brother whose thing it was. 

My brother grew up a lot when mum and dad split up, he became more man-of-the-house, he gave my sister away at her wedding and on Saturday he booked and organised us then did the cake honours - I felt humbled and caught my breathe a little.

To the helium balloons and the album I already mentioned -



their happy humble love warmed my heart and soul right through and cemented our bond even stronger than before.  Maybe I didn't realise they loved me so much, maybe it was just nice to hear it now we are all leading grown up lives and our relationships with one another have evolved with the years.  I'm blessed I know that.











My sweet children wanted everything to be just so, wanting to, if only they could, make me breakfast.  Zander waited my birthday lay in out on the bottom step of the stairs - only just able to contain his excitement at giving me gifts they chose last week.  They iced my fairy cakes with me ...




And bonus!  Mummy and Daddy got a night out together and the kids were super excited about staying with my sister and her boys.  We stayed out till 3 am hanging out with old friends, it felt just like the old days, the pre children days.  Drunk on Mojitos, drunk on love, drunk on life - timeless time tapped me on the shoulder, hello again stranger.

 Considering I've spent most of my 29th year dreading turning thirty it has been astonishingly beautiful and I've tried to summon up words but none do the way I feel justice. 

So the other things that warmed my thirty year old heart ...

A bubbly bath (courtesy of the kids) a cup of chai and more poetry by Mary Oliver (how can each one I read be more beautiful with it's simplicity than the last?)

Watching my kids totally rocking out to the ChangesBowie CD my mum and Jo bought me.  These scenes are reminiscent of 26 years and one generation ago, ask my mum!

Watching How To Make An American Quilt and realising the two old women are smoking pot on the veranda!  I totally missed that when I was fourteen!

The words my brother wrote in his card to me.

4 generations sitting around the table celebrating.

The Whole restaurant joining in the happy birthday chorus.

The luxury that is sleeping in till midday after a late night.

Remembering how important family are.

Being able to 'nip' to the shops in my car to buy yet more cheese for birthday super.

Being ok with slightly spongier thighs, a slightly less tidy house.


Quality time with Gaia in the laundrette - a wild attempt at taming my laundry pile.  It worked, am loving the novelty of sitting with backs pressed against the warm driers.  Thinking of making it a monthly fixture.

I sleep a happy lady, happy to be thirty, not thinking about anything other than now but wondering if I can be bothered to dye my hair again or weather silver dreadlocks is goning be a good look?

Blessings and love and thanks

X






Thursday, 12 January 2012

We got wheels!

I did it, six days before my thirtieth birthday and I damn well did it - I passed my driving test.  My second one but who cares, what a fabulous present to mark the start of a new decade - freedom, wheels, Mama's rollin now!  And thank you to Cliff for making it all possible.

So since Tuesday I've mostly been cruising with the kids with a rye little smile on my face that I check out every so often in the rear view - just checkin' it really is me at the wheel.  And happily, without anyone there to tell me what to do or be there if I make a boo boo I'm sharper, less dithery, way more confident and decisive.  You know what, I'm empowered.   My inaugural 'big' trip, 60 miles round, to my sisters was what really filled me with joy driving through sleepy hollows, just rocking up on her drive, way out in the country where there are fields for miles around and all you can hear are the minions of birds traversing her hedgerows.  I made it there on my own tank of fuel, no longer in need of a chauffeur and yes, there has been much day dreaming of possible day trips.

A car kinda conflicts with some of my environmental ideals I usually bike everywhere, but hey I'm thirty, I've been biking about for a long old time now and with Zander five this year and Gaia three they are not a light load.  My body has always adjusted to the challenge of their growth spurts and I do love the feeling of being out in the fresh air on my bike with them.  But my car will not be frivolously used, no sirree.  Hell it'll be a relief not have to drag everyone food shopping, those mornings where little jack frost has been making merry will not end in floods of tears as we pull up to our destination on the bike, I can order those big items from outta town on ebay and pick them up and I can go on road trips to farther flung corners of our country that I've had all planned out for years. 

Though I sympathise with old ways we do have to embrace some things that blow our way in the wind.  Like computer games and tv - I'm done apologising about those things, they exist, in our house - yes - shock horror!  And they are regulated but there is plenty more stimuli and inspiration that my children don't grow up thinking they are the be all and end all of entertainment.  My car journeys will balance out with other things that fill our lives, including bike rides after all it's quicker than sitting in traffic at rush hour.  But the world is now my oyster, and honey - you won't see me for dust!

There is need to prove I exist apparently!  Not enough photo's of me and my bairns according to friends, as I'm always behind the camera ... I promise, I do exist!  So there will be shameless self portraits from now on, actually I quite like them




All that is left to be done now is finalise outfits (yes plural!) for birthday weekend, make many sparkly rainbow fairy cakes and open another bottle of fizz (not the last either)!

Bring it on, I'm ready!

Blessings X

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Mama worked a night shift, quick everybody out!

I need plans for the day after a night shift, otherwise I feel spaced out, abnormal and awfully out of sync with everyone else.

Saturday was a truly beautiful day.  Zander rushed about thoughtfully packing a picnic of berries, rice cakes and satsumas and they donned snowsuits as we headed over to the Botanic Gardens.  I spite of the January chill in the air and a sky that didn't seem to know what it was doing we risked it, my heart is glad we did, come see ....


Adventuring through tall bamboo forests...

    



 Scampering up 'mountains'. This Mama forgot you can visit so many corners of the world, myriad different environments in this one beautiful place.




 We warmed up in the hothouse


She sits upon her woodland throne. 

  Whilst big brother collects woodland offerings.


He said it was Master Yoda's seat.



We made camp under this magnificent Redwood and lolled in her scooping branches. 


Zander collected fire wood whilst Gaia found a nook, filled it with pine cones and made it her own. 

 My boy relaxing by his 'fire' in natures cradle.

    
 It brought out the best in all of us.  I forgot I'd not slept and Zander forgot his argumentative streak.  They didn't want to leave but with dusk approaching we hastened home, rosy cheeked, hearts a glowing. 


Blessings X