Monday, 29 November 2010

Christmas Memories - Through the years....part 1

I have always loved Christmas.  It's a magical time of the year and has meant different things to me at different stages of my are a few of my favourite...what are yours?

The red bike of 1979

It's 1979, I am 5 years old and very, very excited.  I have just started school and I can recall walking past the bike shop in the village and seeing a red raleigh "penny" bike.  It has a white leather saddle and silver spokes and a silver shiny bell.  I can't remember wanting for anything, but I really, really wanted that bike. I can remember feeling so upset when the bike was replaced with a boys bike.  I thought that was it, it had gone to a good girl who hadn't pulled her little cousin's pigtails or bitten her brother on the arm, so you can imagine my delight when on Christmas morning, there it was under the tree.  I loved that bike so much, it lasted until I was about 12 and I then gave it to my little Cousin whos pigtails I had pulled. 

What do you mean there is no such thing as Santa??? - 1986

I got a bright yellow Sony Walkman in 1986.  I was on the cusp of becoming a teenager and I can still remember the excitement of opening my present that year and thinking "Santa Rocks".  I spent the rest of the holiday walking around the house, listening to my music ("Now that's what I call music 13" no doubt) and I can recall looking really forward to getting on the bus and going back to school. 

The day dawned, I had my skirt rolled up, the walkman on show and my socks rolled down.  I put on my frosted pink lipstick and green eyeshadow and was epitomising the look of the 80s.  Oh yeah, I was so grown up.

I got on the bus, went upstairs to the back and sat just in front of the "cool kids".  I was always on the outside looking in, not quite getting the jokes and desperate to be one of "them". If I am being honest, I was trying to impress.  There was an older boy, let's call him Steven, he was gorgeous and everyone fancied him.  "Nice walkman" he said, "Who got you that?" .  I blushed and said "Santa, he is the best isn't he, he always knows what to get".  "Do you believe in Santa then?" he enquired.  "Of course I do".

I didn't live that one down for years.  They ripped it out of me for months, I still cringe now when I think how innocent I was.  Incidentally, I went out with Steven a few years later, he wasn't all that.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

8 things I wish I knew.....The Laws of Parenting

This is a blog born out of sleep deprivation, which as any parent knows is something that happens frequently.  When I was pregnant with Beansy 7 years ago, I wish I knew the following 8 tips for surviving, forewarned is forearmed and all that....

1) Sleep
Who can remember pre-kids when you used to wallow in your bed at weekends reading the broadsheets, sipping coffee and watching Saturday Kitchen.  This will NOT happen for a long, long time (7 years and counting) even if you go away for the weekend, your body clock will naturally wake you up at 7am.  It's called Sods Law and is a frequent law of parenting.
2) Head Space
I can just about remember a time when I used to get bored, bored of doing everything and bored of doing nothing.  You won't even get the head space to just "be" once you have kids.  They will consume pretty much your every thought and try as you might to shake it away, it rarely happens.
3) Routine
I am the Queen of Routine.  Prior to having kids I was just going to "go with the flow" but trial and error shows that my kids and me need the boundaries of a routine.  They need to know that bedtime is 630pm the same way I need to know that 7pm is wine o'clock.
4) Spontaneity
"Oh darling, let's go to Paris this weekend" HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
5) Worrying
I was never, ever a worrier.  Now I worry.  About a lot of things.  Irrational things. Rational things.  Things I have no control over are the worst (and being a parent has let me see that I can be a bit of a control freak which in itself has freaked me out)
6) Relationship
Your relationship will change.  As you embark on the path of parenthood, it will become apparent that you really need to work at your relationship.  Especially when your children are so young, they quite rightly become the centre of both your lives and you find the focus moves from you as a couple, to you are parents.  You must make time and effort if your relationship is to flourish.
7) Protective Gene
If anyone *dares* say anything about your kids in the negative (family/close friends aside) you will fume internally.  Guaranteed.  Even if they are right and you know they are. (or maybe that is just me?!).  Equally, if another child hurts your child, you will rage.  Again internally because it really wouldn't be cricket to thump the little lout who has just slammed your precious child's fingers in a door intentionally or stamped on them during a rugby scrum.  IF you ever have the misfortune of having a child in hospital then this is the when the gene is at it's most powerful.  You will also feel helpless.
Saving the best to last here...
You will be overcome with a love so strong, that it sometimes bowls you over.  You can quite literally feel the invisible strings that bind your heart to your children's.  They are the creation and being of you.  You love everything about them and always will, even though you sometimes might not like them or their behaviour, you will love them eternally.  They are the future and the future is as bright and shiny as a new penny.  It is a wonderful and splendid thing.  It is a life journey that will be tinged with success/failure/happiness/sorrow but once you have taken that first tentative step on the journey of parenthood, you won't be able, nor will you want to, step off.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens

Or so the song goes...This has been in my head all day since watching the sound of music at the weekend, and it led me to think, what are my favourite things?  This is going to be a frivolous, self-indulgent post, but I hope that you join in the spirit of this!

Here are my favourite things (in no particular order but as they appear in my head) or things that make me happy:

The smell of my utterly adorable kids when they first wake up, all sleepy and warm
Being snuggled up in bed reading a good book and listening to the sound of the rain on my attic window.
The smell of my Christmas cake baking (guess what I have been doing)
A crisp Autumn day with a slight chill in the air but with a warm sun
The smell of rain and freshly cut grass
The tradition of Christmas - I am sure every family has their own traditions, some of ours are putting new PJ's on the doorstep on Xmas Eve to wear that night, the kids coming in all excited, shouting "he's been, he's been" and the sitting on our bed to open their stockings,  Going to church en famille (usually about 20 of us, even those that don't bother the rest of the year make the effort) followed by champagne in the village pub.  The opening of tree presents - taking it in turns.
When my DH comes home from work with a bunch of flowers...just because.
Seeing my parents with my children - the bond is fantastic and makes me realise how lucky we all are
Sitting in a chuch just being with the sun streaming through a stained glass window
Watching my children sleeping, the little baby breaths and sighs make my heart melt
Eating chocolate mousse (nom nom)
When the kids cuddle you for no reason other than to say "I love you"
When all of the children are playing nicely and laughing at each other - I love seeing how their relationships are developing and growing with each other.
Going for a run in my favourite park on a cold day,beautifully crisp and clear with the mist rising of the lowland grass
Flying over London into Heathrow at night and seeing London lit up
Standing on the top of a mountain, getting ready to ski down and not quite knowing what to expect.
The hazy lazy summer days of just "being" in the garden, kids playing in the paddling pool, DH and I listening to the Ipod and watching the clouds and listening to the bees and talking nonsense
A clean house with the lingering smell of beeswax
The smell in the air that lingers after fireworks...

What things are special to you and tickle your fancy?