Wednesday, 22 August 2012

He's back

Just some thoughts ....

I know all the best parenting books and advice says not to say 'where's my lovely little boy gone' in the face of regular prolonged apparent bad behaviour.  Some of the things that we've come up against behaviourally in the last year have consistently made home life a challenge.  Into the fourth week of the school holidays now and Cliff and I both found ourselves smiling dotingly as we simultaneously realised that the affectionate, funny, life loving side of our boy has re-emerged.  Last night I did quietly breathe the words ... it's like having him back.'

Seeing the change has shocked both of us.  I didn't realise how much of an effect school has had on him.

He is only five and the school day is a long day.  He needs more rest than his early rising sister allows him and I know that once little boys start hanging out in crowds a certain need to establish pecking order and test each others mental and physical strength appears.  Familiarity in the family unit has been reduced as much of the time we spent together is now spent apart, we loose touch with each other on a daily basis.

I am glad of this realisation and the fresh light it has thrown on things.  It means I can and am learning from him which I always aspire to do yet so often feel I miss the mark.  When school starts again in September I can facilitate more resting and not put so much pressure on him to be 'occupied'.  I can make an extra effort to bestow affection and make a start now in establishing consistent calm simple, factual responses to undesirable behaviour that I can continue using as term begins.

Last week I talked a bad situation through with him in a human manor rather than a peeved irrational rebuking authoritarian way.  It felt good and once more I uncovered some reasons for other undesirable behaviour - all I had to do was ask him it turns out!

Love and light X

Monday, 13 August 2012

mud and fairies and cake ...

The summer holidays are romping by terrifyingly fast and far from my original fear of not being able to entertain my imps the two months through we have been so freakin' busy I keep thinking we need a breather. But with such rich pickings of friends that we don't usually see it's hard to say no to one more trip to the woods or a day trip here, a tea party there.  

Fi and her boys have featured heavily and given that we both dream the same dream of them remembering childhoods full of adventures with one another and friendships running deep, we get to sculpt some wonderful days and moments, moments and days. Last week we took them to London on the train to the Natural History Museum and Kensington Gardens. The train ride was a hit, the Natural History Museum was hot and clammy and as a result didn't seem to inspire my two as much I had hoped it might.  I don't think Zander had quite got going at that point or maybe that’s because I'd told them about the Peter Pan & Captain Hook themed adventure park within the gardens - I should probably learn from this and save extras till afters.

An urban beach with a proper pirate ship - rigging to climb and all. I marvelled at my girls' friend making skills and puzzled over how she managed to hold two ten year old London girls under her intoxicating spell of whimsy. They were sweet and helped her up and down the rigging and made her into a mermaid in the sand in the decks below. One was called Sophie, strangely Gaia collects Sophie’s.  Everywhere we go she'll make friends with a Sophie. My boy, he just likes to taste freedom whilst monkeying about and playing hard to get when it comes to getting ready to go.  He loves his cousins and he loves his uncle who joined us for the day.  We three big ones were all together in the natural history museum for the first time in possibly two decades.

This weekend we had our first sleepover here as the cousins came to stay. I felt great - not only getting the chance to nurture cosiness and moments in my home for all four children  but it gave Fiona and Steve a rare and well deserved breather. The fact I barely slept a wink as my senses were on high alert for other peoples kids didn't matter once I'd got pancakes on the go for breakfast as they played Uno together harmoniously.

'Do you make them like your sister does?' enquires James ...

They all like the way Fi and I do many of the same things and have many of the same games. It's familiar, brings comfort and breaks down barriers before they have a chance to establish. I like it too, it brings me a sense of closeness, of sameness to Fiona even though we have our separate lives now we are grown. In many ways we are closer now than we ever have been.

Really it was easier having four of them hooning round the house than just our two. Very little bickering just beautiful playing, oh and hours of excited non-sleeping at bedtime! Par for the course.

And so we really ought to change down a gear this week. I'm learning a lot these holidays - like my kids apparent 'sluggishness' that niggles at me sometimes is in fact bona fide tiredness and the need to chill. Enter the new chill out room. I know they already have a bedroom and the playroom down stairs but this has had a different effect. This room is destined to be Zanders once re-plastered and painted. But in the meantime, though its rough and ready, a few drapes, many cushions and a CD player are facilitating some legitimate sluggishness. I see now how much rest Zander needs and the pressure I put on him to do this and do that. I also remember reading somewhere that simplifying a child's bedroom by moving some toys and clutter elsewhere actually changes how they think about their room and its purpose.

When we do have our feet on the ground at home our lives are mostly full of mud and fairies and cake. Who could want for more!

There are other things that have warmed my summer heart too like when Zander found his heartbeat in his chest with his hand, like both imps trying to master the art of transferring jam from plate to croissant, like finally finding some motivation and tackling the house and the garden in all their wild chaotic splendour. Like boarding our local play boat - a converted narrow boat - on the river to make willow dream catchers and weave and wrap wool like fury round twigs to make mobiles and wands and in so doing, being reminded of my creative heart that's been a shrinking violet of late. Like watching the love blossom again between brother and sister and finding an accidental bramble at the back of our garden with the most amazing crop of berries and like picking up on my boys subtle hint that he loves it when I call him Son.



Peace X X X 

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside

I would hate to put a hex on it but Cliff and I seem to have a sneaky habit of getting some awesome weather whenever we go away - even in the middle of monsoon season.  City dwellers turned beach bums for a week we soaked up all mother nature had to offer in positive ions, vitamin D and sea air.


I have been enchanted by reflections and shadows.

they spied a young lad digging a big hole, loitered then managed somehow to commandeer it off him.

This looked like lots of fun!

combers of the beach

this girl will hold anything - snails, worms, millipedes and she had no qualms at all with this dude.

what a little lush!

first time I dared bare my mummy body, I was nervous, self conscious, but it was too hot not to and actually I realised the beach being full of kids was also full of mamas, each who have carried and given birth to their children, each with their own stretches and changed body shapes that tell their individual stories.  I tried to be proud and not ashamed.

then we got all bewildered in BeWILDerwood .... and I want to move into one of these!

and then the imagination ignites and this here too is the front door to a pixie house, see ...

and as Zander seemed sceptical of the existance of twiggles and boggles it helped when I suddenly spotted one disapearing into the trees and  another scampering away down it's jety on the stream.  Too fast for the childrens eyes to catch but none the less there.

crocklebogs deffinitly exist! 

What could be more fun, I mused, than to have your cousins join you on your hols.  So a text conversation later and Fi and the boys shared our sun for a day.


baby wearing, tea drinking, cake eating multi-tasker ... thats my girl

my little salty sea-dog.  Spending all day every day in the salty sea his hair tousled then started to dread, only he thinks dreads are for girls cos mama has them, so a vast amount of conditioner and some hardcore brushing was required on our return.

be still my beating heart, those salty curls! 

And so, although I have struggled with various elements of Zanders behaviour this week and probably exacerbated the issues in not knowing what to do, we all fell in love with the seaside all over again and in our unique ways whiled the hours away.  Gaia would get fed up with the water sooner than any of us and snuggle up under towels and blankets on the recliner munching fruit out of my hand, whilst Zander would not be moved from where water met earth.  Cliff and I swam and swam, something I found a deeply personal experience ... once I'd swum further out than anyone else it was just me an' the ocean, just me and mother nature in all her saphire splendor.  I found it spiritual and cleansing and giggled to myself as each cold wave crept up on me from further out.  We've never had a beach holiday like this and it will not be the last!  The day after we returned home there were genuine expectant request of 'can we go to the beach' completely forgetting it was no longer a stones throw away.
It is an elemental place, such a presence and a force full of vibration and energy.  One evening I walked down to the shore alone to meditate and on a quiet beach with the tide completely in the sound was thunderously magnificent.  I loved that there were still wave enthusiasts on their boards until dusk, there were still walkers crunching through the sand hand in hand and me feeling vulnerable yet present and invigorated.
I slept.  For eleven blissful consecutive nights I slept and started to regain a feeling of perkiness.  How easy it is to get compacent with such luxuries, for on our return I jumped straight into a crazy run of nights which coupled with a letter from work declining a change in shift pattern, only strengthened my resolve to move on.  CV is ready, I think, I just have to put myself out there now.  Times they are a changing. 

It was a great way to kick start the school holidays, a tactic I'd like us to employ year after year.

It has been nice flicking through these pictures deciding which to post.  After an incredibly testing day to remember we can all have fun together is soothing.

Here's to carving more memories and to ploughing through even when the earth or parenthood is more clay like.

love and light x x x