Monday, 30 April 2012

BritMums Live! What was I thinking?!

I'm excited. But I'm also nervous. And a teeny bit anxious.

Britmums Live! My first ever blogging conference. In less than 2 months time. What have I done? What have I signed myself up for? Will there be enough tea and cake?

It's true, that's what I'm really thinking. I've just watched the lovely video by the ever-so-friendly butterflies and all I can think of is that there aren't enough of them to go round, and no doubt I'll be at the back of the queue, and they'll all have flitted off helping others by the time I get to the front. Herrumph. Oh well, as long as they leave the cake behind I guess I'll cope.

I'm not really a big-time blogger. More like a small-fry actually. No awards or even nominations for little old me. I'm still at that stage where I'm not sure if I want to be big. A pat on the back and the acceptance which comes with awards and recognition generally would of course be lovely. Blog comments are the best thing in the world - I don't think I'd ever have enough of knowing that people are out there reading and actually listening to what I have to say. I just don't really have the confidence to promote myself. I'm still a shy little girl; I don't know if you ever grow out of it. 

I started my blog for personal reasons, a diary for me and for my family to explain what was going on in our lives once we found out we had joined the 'Special Needs' community. I doubt I'd have ever started blogging if it wasn't for that - it's not as if I'd had time to twiddle my thumbs since giving birth the first time.

So in a way it feels right to me to keep it small, and personal - not that you can really call that worldwide web t'internet thingy personal. On the other hand I've always been an honest and open type of person, and I feel the need to share for both my sake and for the sake of understanding - spreading the word about autism is what I hope for. Maybe it'll get bigger, in time.

So anyhow, back to Britmums Live. What can I expect? By the sounds of it, lots of other 'novices' who would also like to meet people. What happens if they're all talking to each other when I get there? What on earth am I going to wear? Is my self-esteem really this low?!

I'm wondering now why I signed up in the first place.... oh yes, I remember, first and foremost it was to meet my old school chum who I've not seen for 29 years (cripes!), and then it was to hear some amazing ladies speak, and to learn anything from those other established bloggers on the list whose words I love reading. Maybe I won't be doing that much talking after all......

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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Octopus into a string bag....

Non-bloggers look away now. Just for a second, mind, then come straight back.

You know when you're lying down next to your child on the bed, in the early (ish) evening, in the faint hope they will go to sleep before you do, and you have a great blog post about something very profound and interesting running through your head? Yep, that. It's gone. Maybe never to return.

Ho hum. Instead I'm afraid I'm going to offload about the slightly stressy week so far (although really I should be doing a toy review but ssshh! don't tell anyone...).

OK, non-bloggers back with me?! Monday started off in not such a good way as Sasha cried out (very loudly, I did wonder how long she'd been crying before we heard her, whoops...) at around 2.11 am (see how I've noted the exact time and not exaggerated in the slightest?). Lucky me, Daddy jumped out of bed for once and went to see what was up. 

Apparently only Mummy would do. Sigh.

Sasha was wide awake, therefore I was wide awake. Until 3.33 am (yes, that is the exact time I got back into my own bed, somewhat chillier than when I had left it - oh and now wide awake of course).

Anyhow sleep was amazingly then resumed, if only for a short while, and the day started as normal. That is to say, Mummy tried to snatch a spoonful or so of cereal in between fetching several bits of breakfast food for Sasha to eat and berating Tamsin (as usual) for not wanting to eat any breakfast.

Then we left for school and en route, Sasha demanded that someone else collect her that day. See, it's OK if the routine is changed by her almightyness, as and when she chooses, just not good if we have cause to (so obviously I never do).

Luckily we bumped into our good friends who live very near school, and the SAHD (Stay-At-Home-Dad for you non-bloggers) very kindly agreed they would be able to collect Sasha and take her back for a little play after school. Amazingly this would have (notice the tense) worked very well that day as Tamsin was staying at school an hour longer for the dance club, therefore Mummy *should* have got another hour at home (to catch up on that missing sleep) so big smiles all round.

At 3.30pm (school finishes at 3.05 for reception...) I got a call from said SAHD to say that Sasha was not agreeing to go home with him - in fact she was point blank refusing in a very upset kind of way. Sigh. Not his fault at all - apparently, to cut a long story short, the meltdown was all about the class bear, which his daughter had had the night before and which Sasha had obviously thought she was then going to get. However there was a rota, and it wasn't Sasha's turn. Although I don't know for a fact, I do have an inkling that there's a chance one of the children told Sasha she could have the bear next, and therefore she took their word as gospel. Hmm.

In this case, unusually, Sasha was actually acting 'normally' - i.e. like a spoilt brat over not being able to get her own way. It's the extreme reaction that is different. I think several people have now come to realise how difficult it is to get Sasha to do something she doesn't want to when she's upset. On the plus side, I'm hoping not everyone thinks it's just me being a walkover mum any more.

Today we had one of Sasha's classmates back for a 'playdate'. Ah, that word has so much more meaning to it now as opposed to the happy occasions for Tamsin. There's a lot more to think about. As it happens, today was not a good day either. At least, it was, but only up until we got back to the car. At that point I asked Sasha to sit in the back with her friend, and Tamsin to go in the front. Sasha was not happy with that. Reasoning with her made no difference, she was adamant she should be sitting in the front. I tried everything from tough talking through to quietly explaining through to chocolate bribery, but she was not having any of it. She refused to get in the car and wailed as she sat on the wall outside. Lucky how I had parked right outside the school gates in full view of everyone, eh?!

I felt terrible as I told her I would leave without her (as if!), and she did actually cry a bit harder ( bad mummy) but still refused to get in the car.

Then followed one of those scenes that happen frequently... if you have a 2-3 year old toddler that is. It's otherwise known as 'Trying to get an octopus into a string bag' (very famous pre-baby instruction sheet - google it if you'd like a laugh ) .

This was 20 minutes down the line so fortunately there was no longer anyone around to watch. It involved swiftly moving to grab her like a baby then trying to stuff her in the car. Mistake was, I had left an arm free. All bets were off, but then all of a sudden I had a break (not hers) as her arm relaxed a bit and into the car I bundled her. She was not happy, but amazingly chose not to try and get out of the car seat (surely the 'switched on' option??!) and instead sat and wailed very loudly all the way home. I tried to continue a conversation about a lovely day at school with Tamsin and the rather bemused playdate, expecting them to ignore and talk over the extremely loud noise. Fortunately this tactic worked, and by the time we reached home Sasha had calmed down enough to do her own thing... not much of a playdate for her class mate, so thank goodness for older sisters

So more 'spoilt' behaviour? Or just the need to be in control? Another playdate looms tomorrow - the question is, do I let her sit in the front seat this time or not?!
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Monday, 16 April 2012

Me or Mum-Me?

'Muh-meeeee'. It has to win the award for most over-used word these holidays. I love it and kind of dislike it a bit at the same time.

We've had a lovely time over the holidays, but I'll have to admit to wanting tomorrow morning to come - and go - without a hitch. Back to School day. Sasha still has a cough and is already saying she's too poorly to go, but I'm really hoping her curiosity and love for her teacher will swing it in the morning. I need them to go! The time to think and work seriously (whether through the in-tray or the laundry pile) in long chunks of time is something lacking in life with young children.

Recently as I settled the girls off to sleep with cuddles, it suddenly hit me how they are my life, almost my whole reason for being. I can't believe it's taken me nearly 7 years to realise that I have changed. I'm not 'me' any more, I'm now mum, or 'mum-me'. I don't actually think those two words should be mutually exclusive, but I do feel like somewhere along the way, as the grey hairs have developed, 'me' and 'mum-me' have grown further apart.

It's been a fairly tough ride, but a hugely rewarding one. Then again I'm sure all mothers would say that. I filled in a questionnaire a while ago for the Carers organisation - that's what I'm classed as now, a full-time carer to a disabled person. I'd probably agree with you that that's a bit over the top; Sasha has her challenging times for sure but she's also incredibly polite, tries to be independent in some ways and is full of life and fun. Carers informed me that the results showed my emotional well-being was slightly under average. Not sure I should analyse that for long, else it'll probably slip even further down.....!

So this year, as I am about to turn the big 4-0, I think it's only fair that I should try and find 'me' again. Blogging helps, as it is often a source of inspiration; ideas of new things to try and new ways of thinking. It also provides a lot of advice and support when you need it most, and a way to get things off your chest - 'Blogerapy' maybe?! As plenty of mums and teachers have said before me, a problem shared is a problem halved, and I definitely believe that's true.

So I'm going to stop feeling guilty about the 'me' time I've arranged, which amazingly already includes two trips in an aeroplane without the girls. It also includes two pop concerts without the girls, and the concert already enjoyed with my first-born which will probably go down as my favourite this year as I enjoyed it through her. I'm going to meet up as much as possible with girlie friends old and new, whether that's for coffee, afternoon tea, shopping or drinking - or all of that together. And last but not least, I'm going to try and give Mr C some of the credit back for being a great Dad and long-suffering husband.

Happy Summer term everyone!

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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Listography: Top 5 albums by a male solo artist

Gutted as I just wrote this post once and it was totally lost/eaten up by the big bad blogging machine. Anyhow it was so good that I will have to do it again.

When I saw the list on the fab Typecast's blog I just wanted to jump straight in. The idea is to name your Top 5 Albums by a male solo artist (the clue is in the title really...).To reminisce some more, check out the others at Kate Takes 5's blog.

This could have been a toughie for me; as most people will know, I'm actually the world's biggest boy band fan (and yes I am pushing my eldest daughter down that route, 1D tickets in the bag for next year Smiley ). However I'm happy with the end result and conclude that you can't ignore a good bit of male solo either.

1. Billy Joel - An Innocent Man

My first ever album, which is the only reason it's number 1 instead of 2 (I do still love it though!). I actually have this on cassette still!

2. Bryan Adams - Reckless

Now I know a lot of people will be shaking their heads at this, but it was only 'Everything I Do' hogging the number 1 spot for so long that annoyed people so much they fell out of love with him. Not me though. These songs stills end shivers down my spine. I have also been known to say that if I could only ever attend one more concert in my life, it would have to be a Bryan Adams one - and that's a big call from a HUGE Take That fan!

3. Michael Jackson - Bad

Another early one for me and an album that reminds me of my youth.

4. Stevie Wonder - The Definitive Collection

Can't beat a bit of soul. An amazing genius.

5. Robbie Williams - Sing When You're Winning
OK so I'm cheating a bit here as I was desperate to get the boy band thing in.... Gotta love Robbie. Unless you're my best friend who loves Gary that is....

Anyhow hope you enjoyed the list. I'm off to pop a record on... oh no, wait! I can just flick a switch on my computer. The wonders of modern technology!
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