Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The C Word

I'm talking caffeine.

Before pregnancy I'd dabble in the stuff - be it a macchiato from Starbucks or a cuppa at home. During, I just ordered a decaf and got decaf teabags. Reading various books on how to have a healthy pregnancy I was disappointed to read that chocolate had the devilish compound and therefore to be eaten moderately (I would like to point out that I'm not a big chocolate fan but hormones etc I had a big craving).

Moving on, the decaffeinate-tion process continued (i.e. consuming as little caffeine as possible) as I breastfed and even when I moved onto only bottles, I continued to have decaf this that and the other.

And then the nights became too much. The seemingly constant waking of a restless, teething, had a bad dream, 'I've got trapped gas' child started to take its toll. I looked in my cupboard at the primrose yellow box before me. Hmm, the Twinings Everyday tea (read: caffeine) was calling to me..."it's only one cup. It will keep you awake for a little"

I gave in.

Not completely mind you. I still had coffee a la mode so to speak. And I was fine, just fine. Yes I'll admit I was certainly more alert. At the four o'clock lull when my body normally started to shut down and I stared at my precious daughter willing her to take a nap, I was attentive. With a long absence you can certainly notice the difference this substance can have.

I was amazed to find myself happy to read 'Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?' for the fourth time within half an hour, say calmly for the 50th time, 'don't eat that' and for the 60th time 'leave the remote alone my love'. None of it phased me. Eleven o'clock (pm) rolls around and I haven't fallen asleep on the couch. Wow, that's some stimulant.

And that's when I realize that caffeine is a necessary evil. If I'm to avoid falling asleep whilst still standing up, I need it. I've tried to keep away from it. But in my excitement over the return of Pumpkin Spice lattes, I forgot to mention 'decaf' in my list of 'tall, extra hot, non-fat blah, blah, blah' requirements and upped my intake. 'Oh bother' as Pooh says.

So I'm up to two cups of caffeine a day now and I'm glad to say it's no more than that, so far. I'm staying strong to sticking to only those two cups...and awake...very awake...

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Advice to My Daughter

An article in The Times (London) made me stop and think. It asked four different women what advice they would give to their daughter and it made me ask the same question of myself. What pieces of knowledge would I pass on to the Little Miss? There is the usual get a good education, decent job and a nice man etc but then there's also...

To my sweet girl

My advice is plentiful. Take it and make with it what you will. After all, the world and your own experiences of it will give you lots to think about and what I'm saying here right now may not have any bearing on how your life is going. But nonetheless, it's a mother's right to divulge her opinions...

I could mention all those things that you should say on subjects such as relationships, work, being zen, etc etc but I'm far too practical. So here goes:
1Clean your face of make-up each night (should you wear the stuff) and smooth moisturiser on in an upwards movement. No need to intentionally drag your face down, gravity is doing that already.
2. Listen to music everyday and any kind. I'm going to stop at thrash though...Be it Debussy or Eminem music can make you feel better, less sad/angry, a lot happier and calmer. With the right song the problem you faced is a little more bearable, the love you feel greater.
3. Read, read, read. From the 'get your vaccination here' sign at the pharmacy to Homer's The Iliad. You never know when it will come in handy.
4. Scream, cry or hug it out any or all of these things when the situation calls for them - they help cleanse the soul.
5. Laughter really is the best medicine. There are moments to take things seriously otherwise, always try and have a giggle.
6. It's okay to judge others, just know that you'll be judged too. Whether for the color of your skin, your gender or how you wear your hair, there's someone who will have something to say about it.
7. Wear perfume everyday - the real stuff.
8. Take a moment to sit and just be. Right now we're living in a technology fuelled world, with one eye on a screen. Only the Lord knows what it will be like when you're in your teens and older. So, every now and then, just switch everything off, breathe and listen to the silence.
9. Always keep a little of your childhood innocence with you as you get older. It's okay to still love your pop idol that you had when you were a teenager, enjoy a Disney film (or two), crunch leaves and splash in puddles. I still do and it reminds me that the world is actually a great place.
10. Never be afraid to ask a question even if you feel embarrassed to do it, no-one has all the answers and there will be a few that are grateful you stood up and said, "Can I just ask..?"

And so before I go any further (you know how I can ramble) just remember that wherever the path you take leads, I'm here (and your father) no matter what; but if you need a handout, I'd stick to the Bank of Dad...I'm more the Bank of Crafts, Cake and Cuddles - although your Dad gives fantastic hugs too!

I love you (even when/if you go through a Goth and 'I hate don't understand me (sob)!' phase).

Monday, 30 June 2014

A Year Later...

I still can't believe that Mum got her wings a year ago.

When I started to make notes about my post I realized that it was all a bit sad, bordering on depressing. Don't get me wrong, I am incredibly sad about Mum not being here. I still long to hear her voice, to get the call where she has to share her latest joke.

And that's when I reminded myself that Mum loved to laugh and have a laugh. In the last few years her life was really quite unhappy with being so ill and jokes, yes even the naff ones, made her giggle and gave some light relief.

So I figured, I could lament about the feeling of loss and how I don't really look at the picture of Mum that is on my coffee table too much because it causes my heart to ache. No, instead I figured July 1st is not just a day of remembrance but a chance to celebrate the life of a woman who:
  • made me laugh
  • made me appreciate the written word
  • told me to use my common-sense
  • wound me up
  • tried my patience
  • made me cry 
  • I enjoyed hugging
  • strive and achieve to become a published author
  • taught me the Beatitudes
  • I envied and admired her natural artistic abilities
  • who ultimately pushed me to be a better person and achieve more than she did
So as much as her absence has left a hole in my heart, I'll always be grateful for what she taught well as not being able to teach the Little Miss bad habits and then hand her back to me (something she promised to do with her grandchildren)!

Thanks Mum xx

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

"Before the merriment of commencement commences..."

The spring rain had watered the hallowed grounds of Harvard and up sprang marquees of various sizes. Ah yes Commencement was here once again.

Taking an alternative route through Harvard Law campus, as they were busy setting up cameras and podiums, we squeezed past the growing line of students with their mortar boards and gowns chattering eagerly to each other.

I was very excited for them, I have no idea why. It was lovely seeing their faces of anticipation, family members clicking away, friends chatting and posing for yet more photographs before they were called up to shake the Dean's hand and take their seat and listen to Mr. Bloomberg give an inspiring speech.

As we ambled along I said to Hubby that I would love to attend a commencement even it's just to heckle a "woo-hoo, well done!" Hubby said they send out tickets they'd know I didn't belong. But I argued, what if I were to wear a professors hat and gown? I'd fit in no problem. I'd just shake their hands saying "congratulations, now the hard work starts." or I'd quote Four Weddings and grasp the hands of the parents and gush, "congratulations, you must be so proud!"

As Hubby hurried me away from the throngs lest I tap one of the students and give them a congratulatory hug, I'm reminded (by Hubby dearest) that that so called 'hard work' they're destined for is softened by the six figure salary they'll all be starting on. Hmm, good point...

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Finally a Posting

Seems that I haven't written a blog post for the 'new' year - I apologize. I suspect having a child will do that. Ah yes, my thoughts of life continuing as 'normal' dissolved pretty soon as I bought the little miss home. Where I used to read a book (to review) in a couple of days, it now takes me a week to finish it and even longer to write the critique. And whilst my head is swirling with feeds, diaper changes and 'the wheels on the bus' I still have time to observe the outside life...

...even if it is to occasionally gripe:

Let the Mocking Begin...
I was stopped in the street and asked where the nearest Starbucks was...

All Dressed Up
Various students were seen around the Cambridge area sporting tuxes, suits and pretty frocks. Lovely, nice to see. However, why would you get all dressed up to the nines and carry an everyday handbag - even if it is a Michael Kors? Completely ruined the look.

Take 'em Off
The clouds darkened, the wind swirled the leaves endlessly around, whipping them intermittently into a frenzy. Yet you wear your shades as if there is bright sunshine blinding you.  No, just no...

I'm the Mother
Took the little miss to a sing-a-long at the library. Had an elevator chat with a fellow mom who actually thought I was the nanny...

Ah yes, even if I am encased in my warm home (for most of the day) surrounded by a giggling sometimes wailing child, Sesame Street tunes in the background, dribble and milk stains on a 'clean-on this morning' top, it's good to know that the world still turns and I can still wonder at it's inhabitants.