The first week of February has been hectic, life is certainly like buses, one minute you’re plodding along nicely and then out of the blue everything happens at once! At the weekend I took the children to the museum with some friends and it was fascinating and flabbergasting at the same time. I seldom take the children out alone simply for the fact that they both want different things; Millie stops to look at everything and Gabriele runs off at lightening speed the second his feet touch the floor. When Millie wants to sit and rest Gabriele starts struggling to get out of his pushchair, and there’s always floods of people, queues for the toilet and rarely appropriate parking available, pushchair access or baby friendly play areas. Short of going out with an entourage of nannies, pleasing a 6yr old and a 1yr old at the same time is almost impossible.
We had a lovely day, even though Gabriele ran rings around me and my back threatened to snap from stooping down to hold his tiny hand. You feel like you’re being scrutinised when you step out in public with children, and every mother inside is secretly praying that her little darlings won’t kick off or have a tantrum and cause a scene. I decided to leave Gabriele’s pushchair at home and let him walk as a way of keeping him busy, which was a good idea for the bustling crowds, but not so clever when he became a slippery fish and slithered out of my grasp, ducking, diving and giggling away to himself as he toddled off cheerfully down the corridors and through the display cabinets in our life-sized game of chess. It was lovely to see Millie so enchanted by the wonders of nature, and she had a great time talking to and playing with everyone; and the drive home at the end of the day was absolutely melodic with the soothing sound of two very tired sleeping children whistling through their nostrils as I meandered the country roads. As far as single-parent family days out go, it was a great success; but I think next time I’ll bring the handcuffs, baby reins, kitchen sink and a campers survival rucksack just incase. 🙂
And being the ever growing young man that he is, Gabriele clearly needs his afternoon nap as he edges his way ever closer to his second birthday in April. He loves nothing more than a spot of sofa surfing with his two best chums Joey, our chihuahua, and Toby the cat. It’s adorable to see them all snuggled up together, snoring and twitching their legs as they dream. Gabriele’s birthday presents arrived the other day and are now stored safely away in the cupboard in preparation for his big day, and I’m ecstatic to see his little face when he realises what he’s got. I’m back on track with my forward planning at last, as I always like to be several months ahead on presents and occasions because you never know what’s around the corner, and when you least expect it, a spanner always seems to throw itself into the works. Failing to prepare is therefore preparing to fail and that’s one thing I’ll never accept.
I spent a lovely afternoon during the week with a photographer who came to my house and couldn’t help but laugh at how Joey always managed to strategically place himself in the photos somehow. Sometimes he was discreet and others pretty blatant, a natural born photo-bomber in his prime and I couldn’t resist taking this snap of him as he napped once again amongst the lighting equipment on the sofa. It’s certainly a dogs life!
My poor little Millie has been feeling rather unwell this week, which started on Tuesday when she had a funny turn after she got home from school, she looked as white as a sheet and said she felt sick and had a pain in her tummy. With children it’s pretty difficult to diagnose any real problem as you can almost guarantee that they’ll be feeling sickly one minute and fine the next, from feeling hungry to eating too fast, having a stitch from walking or holding in their toilet, the possible causes are endless and are often already subsiding as soon as they present themselves. But on Friday lunchtime I had a telephone call from Millie’s school saying that she was unwell and would like to come home. Wrapping Gabriele up in his raincoat we trundled down to go and get her, and fortunately managed to get her seen to immediately at the doctors surgery just around the corner. Millie was pale and quiet as she sat on the chair, smiling sweetly at the doctor like a weak little lamb. The doctor checked her heartbeat, glands, throat, ears and temperature as well as feeling around her tummy before asking for a urine sample. Fortunately there seems to be no major signs of an illness so the only thing she could put it down to was a water infection.
After Millie’s urine was tested the doctor confirmed she had a water infection and prescribed her with a week of antibiotics to clear it up. I’m forever telling Millie to drink more, with every meal she has a glass of water and her bottle of water and fountains at school, but she hates drinking. So she suffers from burning urine every now and then, for which I was exactly the same as a child because I never liked drinking either. She doesn’t have squash or fizzy drinks, just water or milk, but even then she isn’t incredibly enthusiastic about it. It’s a relief to know what had caused her discomfort and to know that she’s on her way to feeling better, but at the same time it will be an ongoing battle to up her fluid intake to ensure she’s flushing out the toxins more regularly. But if she’s anything like me when I was a child it will be an incredibly difficult and stubborn task to achieve!
Valentine’s day 2014 is now just a week away, wow I know, where did that even creep up from!? And it will be my first ever ‘couples’ holiday away from actually being part of a couple since I was a teenager. There are thousands of posters, TV adverts, teddies, cards and gifts everywhere I look, you just can’t get away from it, so it’s a pretty sucky time of the year to be single, or in a relationship too for that matter. So much pressure is put on that one day to prove your love for somebody, to show them how much you care and to spend a block of time together when you perhaps normally wouldn’t. I guess it’s the make or break of each year spent together really, that moment above all others when your relationship is put to the test, evaluated and reviewed. And how will he fare against other years or other couples apparent happy relationships? Does he know you well enough to get you something thoughtful or will it be a special offer package from the supermarket of chocolates and a mass-market card on a two-for-one deal? Does he care enough to buy the luxury bunch of a dozen roses with the diamond centre beautifully wrapped from the florist or will the straggly £5.00-a-bunch deal at the petrol station appear from behind his back when you answer the door? What will he write in the card? Something sentimental and heartfelt expressing his true love or something jokey and dismissive making you question your future together? Will he recognise how special you really are or just treat you like any other card-receiving acquaintance? And what has he got planned for the evening? A DVD and a bottle of wine or a price-hike dinner out with a limited menu surrounded by couples who argue or don’t speak at all, only venturing out in public a handful of of times a year together simply because it’s a special occasion such as Valentine’s Day?
I probably sound like the world’s biggest bah-humbug right now but I see it so often. People put so much into relationships, no scratch that, women put so much into a relationship, lay their hearts and life on the line for their other half and as a result they lead a life of disappointment, pushed to the bottom of the pile, thrown to the back of the line, void of emotion or affection and clinging on to the hope of a flame that burnt out a long time ago. So many girls paint on a fake smile and try to fool the world with how happy and in love they are, but behind closed doors they’re crying, scared of being alone and worried that their partners will run off with somebody prettier, younger or more successful than them. Is he flirting with the girl at work? Does he think about somebody he met on a night out and wishes he was with her instead? Is he getting bored after the honeymoon period is over, so he’s only sticking around until someone better catches his eye? This one day a year may not seem significant to everyone, but for a woman, no matter her marital status, it’s possibly the biggest day of the year in the entire calendar. It’s like being a child on your birthday, seeing a present waiting on the table and you literally want to burst with enthusiasm for what it could be, all of your childhood hopes and dreams for everything you’ve ever wanted in life lay within that one box, and when you open it it will either make or break you. You either love the toy that you’ve been longing for, or dismiss it and instead use your imagination to fill the cardboard box with what you wish you’d have received.
And Valentine’s Day is very much like that, it’s the temperature gauge for the seasons ahead, testing the path for the future you have planned and the expectations we all have. And in my twenty-six years I’ve come across many women, girls, wives and singletons who all share in the same heartache over Valentines Day. Those whose husbands leave their hearts cold, boyfriends who’d rather spend time with their mates instead of their missus, and girls who question not how they will grow old together with their other half, but rather how long they have left together in a sinking relationship that they try so desperately to keep afloat. And if only I had a crystal ball my life would be so straight forward. I think I’ve lost my rose-tinted glasses that I once wore, when I believed life was what it leads you to think it as, because it isn’t. You can be leading your regular life one day, and all of a sudden it can be the opposite of all it’s ever been the next without warning or sign of change. So I guess I’ve learnt to live for the moment, to live for myself and my children and not depend on others at all. I see couples around me and I’m relieved that I no longer feel the same as them, the arguments, the lack of emotion, the bad feeling, loneliness and petty differences, they’ve all evaporated into the atmosphere as if they never even existed. It’s a weight off of my shoulders to know that I have no expectations for love, so I don’t feel disappointed, let down or heartbroken. I’m not in a miserable relationship always wishing for better, my husband doesn’t try it on with other women who’ll open their legs for anyone, and I don’t lay awake at night wondering if I’ll die alone. What will be will be. If February 14th is a good day, then it’s good, and if it’s like any other day, then it doesn’t matter because I wouldn’t have expected anything more. Love isn’t about spending money, it’s about spending time with somebody you truly care about, wanting to be there with them above everyone else in the entire world. It’s not a flamboyant gesture once a year followed by 364 days of empty promises, it’s about saying “I love you”, showing “I love you” and meaning “I love you”. Love isn’t measured by the figures printed on the bottom of a receipt, but by the warmth of your heart. And my sympathy goes out to the girls, and guys too, who watch their heart strings snap one at a time because they know they deserve better; and the sooner they acknowledge what they hold onto isn’t right, then the happier their life will be. We all deserve happiness, to find true love and should never settle for anything less simply because we’ve known no better. That said, a champagne limo, candle lit dinner, bouquet of deep red roses, a life size box of chocolates, gorgeous perfume or saucy underwear even wouldn’t go a miss. Or you know, whatever. I’m totally not fussed…
I’m now five weeks into the three month P90X3 workout and I’m feeling really good. My stamina is on form and my muscles are gaining definition nicely. I began this workout to gain weight and bulk up with muscle to build strength and so far I’ve done just that. It must seem crazy doing a workout to gain weight instead of lose it, but I aim to keep healthy and love being active so I’d rather eat like a King and fuel my body with everything I love rather than starve myself of food and look like a sick skeleton. And it’s safe to say that there’s no fear of that happening as I’ve recently developed the most incredible craving for bread and savouries, I just can’t stop eating carbs in every form possible; crumpets, muffins, cakes, biscuits, pastries, chips, potatoes, rice, pasta and pizza. Perhaps it’s down to such a gruelling workout that my body can’t run on salad and lentils alone, but either way I’m enjoying being a greedy hippo, although I suspect if I didn’t workout I’d be a lot slimmer than I am now! My appetite is ridiculous, I’d eat the walls of my house right now if I could.
After a busy week of weights and cardio I had a lovely spot of pampering at the chiropractor’s, as she realigned my spine and massaged the knots from my shoulders. I feel so much better for having my joints clicked back into place and my muscles stretched and soothed and it’s definitely made a difference to my workout, to not have the aches and pains of lifting children and grinding shoulders is pure bliss. And to top it off I also had my eyelashes permed and tinted which was a wonderful way to spend the morning, snuggled up at the beauty salon with my eyes closed listening to classical music. I could most definitely get used to this! It’s nice to have a treat every once in a while and spend a little ‘me’ time away from the rest of the world, to drop off of the radar, even if only for an hour before picking up the children. My babies are my world and I wouldn’t be without them, but as mothers we all too easily forget about ourselves. You feel guilty when you’re with your little ones for not being out to work, and when you’re at work you feel bad on your children for not being there to look after them yourself. If there was a way to incorporate young children into an everyday rota of work/home life balance then sign me up! Gabriele will be starting preschool all too soon enough and normality will no doubt be restored, and no doubt I’ll feel awful for leaving him, just as I did with Millie. Parenting is one giant guilt trip from the very first moment you realise you’re expecting and it never gets any easier no matter how big they grow!
Half term is approaching at the end of the week so let’s hope these crazy rainstorms and flooding subside or I’ll have to get my thinking cap on for some indoor activities to keep the little ones busy for a whole week inside. I can already hear my hoover crying in anticipation of all the glitter, crumbs and spills. Who doesn’t love messy play time!?