Little Gabriele had his first ever haircut at the salon this week and it’s a milestone that has been long awaited. His hair has taken forever and a day to grow bless him, and he’s looked like a fluffy little chicken since he was first born for how fine it is. Millie was exactly the same at his age as her hair remained slow to grow and wispy up until the age of four when suddenly out of nowhere her thick luscious curls grew and there has been no stopping her mountains of gorgeously long hair since.
But for my poor little chicken nugget Gabriele it was time for a little trim up to tidy his wisps into a more styled boys cut. He was a little hesitant and upset at first over sitting on a children’s horse-chair, but as soon as he was distracted with a bottle and a fun book he soon forgot what was happening and his first haircut was over in just a few minutes. I now proudly display his first lock of hair on my family dresser in the kitchen along with all of our lovely pictures and trinkets from across the years.
I also had a much needed little pamper in the form of some blonde highlights and a trim to get rid of my dead ends and freshen up my complexion. Since having Millie as a platinum blonde teenager I’ve spent the past seven years feeling adamant that I’ve wanted my hair darker and more natural. My natural colour is a ‘7’ which is similar to a dull and boring mud colour that’s neither a rich brown nor a dark blonde just a messy in between that nobody would ever ask for. In having had dark hair for so long I’d tried to bring myself back to being as natural as possible, to look and act mature as a parent and to scrub off the young teenage Barbie-doll look of my youth. But I guess perhaps it made me too boring, older beyond my years and more soppy-cardigan-wearer than sex-siren-singleton. Not that I’m looking to reinvent myself as Barbie’s twenty-six year old sister, but it’s fair to say it’s been a long time since my hair saw a brighter side of the spectrum and change isn’t always a bad thing when it’s planned. So after a fair few blonde highlights I’d say I’m neither blonde nor dark brown just a medium mixture of the two and it’s lightened my face and really changed my appearance. I feel fresher, glowing and dare I say younger looking! Although the sleepless nights with my toddler still continue, but thanks to my lighter hair I don’t think I look quite as pale and washed out as I did before. What a bonus!
I also had a gorgeous manicure and pedicure at The Belmore Centre this week which was a wonderful treat to be massaged, moisturised, primped and painted. It’s been a very long time since I’ve done things for me as there’s always more pressing matters that I turn my attention to first. Now I’ve had a well needed polish I’m feeling loved and looked after for once and it’s so incredibly nice.
I had a moment this week as the weather began to turn after we had a crazy rain storm where I realised I don’t own any waterproof clothing! With the end of October being only a week away, the Autumn weather is threatening to give me the flu if I don’t change my material jackets for some form of plastic splashable rain mac. I’ve been lucky enough to get away with wearing a leather jacket or fleece and gloves on a chilly day but when it rains I get drenched and the cold stays in my bones and leaves me smelling like a damp cat. So it’s safe to say that I needed a full-on waterproof coat with a hood and elasticated sleeves and all that jazz, which will keep me warm and dry on my hour and a half walk to school with the children everyday.
Do waterproof mac’s and fashion even exist in the same sentence? Will I look like a tiny baby wrapped up awkwardly like a starfish in a huge stiff plastic coat or a strange tourist queuing for the log flume at a theme park whenever I stand still? Who knows! But I felt incredibly out of my comfort zone in this predominantly male dominated field as I skimmed through racks of coats, camping equipment, tog counts and footwear that I had absolutely no idea about. My strategy was to go for a Paddington Bear kind of thick clear plastic mac that could fold into nothing and go over my existing clothes as and when the rain struck; but after several minutes of too’ing and fro’ing all I could find were either extreme survival suits or crazy coloured breathable fabric and plastic coats with pockets for knives and bear food. Surely if you’re camping in the great outdoors the last thing you want to be wearing is a bright purple and neon green retro mac? How the mind boggles.
Alas, eventually I came across a rather sensible dark grey jacket and hood that was neither too bold nor boring, too thin nor too thick, too warm nor too cold and too long nor too short, it was surprisingly perfect. I tried on a size small and it hung off of me like a sack of spuds so I moved down to the XS and it still somehow swamps me like I’m dressing up in my mother’s clothes when she’s not looking, but it’s manageable and I’m taking it out for its debut walk this morning as it’s pleasantly pissing it down right now, if you’ll excuse my French. Tracy – one, real world – nil.
I feel like the Phantom Of The Opera hunched up over my keyboard cowering away from the sunlight, chocolate bar in hand and eyelids peeled back after just an hour and a half of sleep last night because Gabriele kindly decided to go on a crazy whining spree until 5am with my alarm for the school run going off at half past six. I look and feel like death warmed up, I’m bumping into things, have no memory span at all and may as well have downed a bottle of champagne for how dehydrated and tortured my skin and throat are. It is sheer punishment doing this alone and I don’t know whether to cry along with Gabriele or attempt tirelessly to comfort him when there’s apparently nothing upsetting him in the first place. Thankfully the children are breaking up for half term today, all I have to do is stay conscious until this evening.
His life and routine are split and we’re suffering badly, not only because I’m a single parent coping with the sleepless nights and hyperactive days alone, but on the days when he visits his other family their rules, routines and upbringing is different to mine and my children and he’s a complete monster when he returns home to me. Bedtime for my children is 7pm and we start the morning everyday just after 6am. Very rarely, depending on nap times and events during the day, Gabriele will at worst be in bed by 9pm if he’s resisting sleep and having a tantrum. But after he comes back home to me after staying away his clock is completely thrown, he’s off his food, restless, clingy and whines and cries for the sake of crying, refusing to go to bed until the early hours of the morning and it takes me the entire week to gradually ease him back into line and reset his sleep pattern again to a reasonable hour before he goes away and it’s back to square one again!
How do I ever give my baby structure and consistency if I’m not the only one raising him? How do I keep his bedtime on track if he’s sleeping in another house, in different surroundings and with different people and rules? And how do I stop him screaming and crying for me every time I have to hand him over? It is emotional torture for us both as mother and child that is now turning into physical pain, sleep deprivation and separation anxiety. Through no fault of his own my poor little boy has been pulled from pillar to post after the ending of our family and it kills me to see my once content and happy child become so insecure, upset and emotionally unsettled. I don’t know quite what to do for the best but I know that something must be done and sooner rather than later.
Millie finished school today skipping with enthusiasm as we walked through the autumn leaves and giggled at the fluffy wagging dogs that we passed, the sun was shining gloriously with just a faint chill in the air and she relished in the fact that she has no homework for the whole of the half-term holidays. Several minutes into our walk home Millie totally threw me off track as she asked me when my wedding would be and I suddenly found myself lost for words. Just a few months ago Millie was a bridesmaid for the first time at her grandmother’s wedding and she absolutely adored her very important role in such a wonderful day. We had promised Millie she would be a bridesmaid at mine and her step-fathers wedding for as long as she can remember and up until recently we had been thinking of dates and venues and building the hype of the big day until out of the blue it was all over and now here I am just me and the children. But this afternoon I found myself bumbling from tiredness and being totally thrown from the thought of how best to answer her. Millie was concerned that her pretty lace bridesmaid dress from this summer would, just like her school uniform, shortly become too small for her and so we’d have to shop for another if I didn’t get married this year. Well. I realise for a six year old it’s a big thing to be a bridesmaid at a wedding, especially for her Mummy, and something that she had been looking forward to for such a time that only became more and more real as three friends and family weddings are happening within the next year alone. But surely she realises that I don’t have anybody to marry? The fact that it’s just the children and I day and night, day in day out. I would have thought it was a given that she’d know she wouldn’t be needing her bridesmaid dress for Mummy anytime this decade and that’s wishful thinking even then. Perhaps on a rainy afternoon I’ll introduce her to the magic of a DVD pyjama day, back-to-back Bridget Jones and a box of choccie biscuits?
I explained to Millie that Mummy doesn’t have a fiance anymore so there won’t be a wedding for her to be my bridesmaid. She then innocently asked me why I didn’t want a husband and I held my breath and tried my hardest to put on a cheery smile, and my face and heart and mind just couldn’t do it. I just exhaled awkwardly and stood empty, blank and void with a helpless expression on my face and my eyebrows raised as she looked up at me expectantly. And it was then that I realised, in my twenty-six years on this earth I have never met anyone who has loved me enough to want to spend the rest of their life with me. I’ve never had somebody so madly in love with me, over the moon to call me their other half or excited at the prospect of a future with me. In all of the people I have ever met, over all of the years that I’ve lived on this earth, not even one of the thousands I must have come across have so much as felt a spark or connection to commit to a lifestyle involving me. I can’t imagine somebody standing beside me at the end of the aisle, promising to love me for forever and a day. I can’t picture how old I would be on my imaginary wedding day in my imaginary wedding dress, I can’t see the children smiling in the wedding pictures as children, or teenagers, or adults even. I just can’t see it.
Joan Collins has been married five times, she’s had five separate men all pronounce their undying love for her making her the centre of their universe. It’s unfortunate that the marriages didn’t last but nonetheless she got out of the starting blocks five times, five! And I’m ripening rapidly at the age of twenty-six with not such much as a whiff of the race track. My youth is fading before my sleep-deprivaed eyes and the big three-oh stands threateningly just four years away from me now; the bastard body clock of life where marriage and children and future plans become the present day and anything less is considered as having fallen behind and past it. I guess I miss being the age when I thought I’d have my shit together by the time I was the age I am now.
After having fluffed my way through a spluttered mumbling of waffle and hesitant excuses we returned home to a ping of messages filling my phone from my latest blog post and a photo comment stating “Your husband is a very lucky man”. Somebody pass the wine! Why am I suddenly an M-word magnet for all of the wrong reasons!?
Aside from that I’m very much enjoying the P90X routine for which I am now a third of the way through the three month schedule. I workout so hard and push myself to my absolute limit to complete each gruelling routine so far without a single day off. Sometimes it’s for an hour a day and others it’s an hour and a half involving weights, cardio, plyometrics, pull-up’s, pressups, yoga, martial arts and stretching. Once I begin something I have to see it through to the end even if it kills me, which hopefully this won’t, but it’s certainly made a whole lot harder to manage with the two children and sleepless nights to boot. My favourite nugget of inspiration this week is ‘pressure makes diamonds’ which I remind myself of each time I’m ready to collapse. 🙂
I also eat for fun, possibly worse dietary wise now than before I began P90X. Being vegetarian for the past twenty years I like to think I’m fairly healthy with the odd sweet treat thrown in or take-away for good measure; but now I’m eating over 3,000 calories each day and inhaling chocolate, cookies, biscuits and cakes on a daily basis just to keep my weight up. So when people look at me and call me skinny, say that I don’t eat or that I look ill I literally have to bite my tongue. I eat everything I want whenever I want and can give 98% of the population a run for their money over the dinner table, I’m not skinny I’m just toned and I weigh more now from bulking up on muscle than before I started. So my workout has seen me eat more and weigh more and put in an enormous amount of dedication and effort which in my books is something to be encouraged and recognised. Fortunately the people I meet and the messages I receive are extremely kind and motivating, but the gossip from green eyed monsters that I don’t have the pleasure of knowing always has a way of coming back to me and it only serves to make me go harder. Keep it up and remember beauty comes from within.