Posts Tagged ‘family

Hello everyone!  How long has it been since I last posted? A year? Goodness knows.

Well, I am firing the brain dribbles back up again, and specifically on this night, because in exactly 6 months’ time I will be doing something really rather crazy. In my opinion, anyway.

Let me rewind three months and tell you the story from the start…

Back in July, I resolved to myself that I would do a parachute jump for NCT and raise some money to help us set up a much needed baby café (breastfeeding drop-in clinic) in Wycombe town centre. I had always wanted to give it ago, and had already put it off three years running. A bit too much alongside having a baby and moving house…

So I emailed head office to enquire.  They emailed back, saying, sorry, not doing it next year.  How about something else? Maybe the London Marathon? Applications available in a month’s time.

My eyes popped out of my head. If you don’t already know me, I’m overweight, technically obese, and haven’t run in 20-plus years. I haven’t done any regular exercise since having my children. It was out of the question. And how disappointing not to be able to do a parachute jump after all.  So I replied, saying, not for me, thanks, not for an award-winning couch potato.  I’d had something altogether less strenuous in mind. Jumping out of a plane is easy by comparison.

But then I couldn’t get it out of my mind.  It’s as if they had sowed a seed and it had taken root.  The more I thought about it, the more I realised that by doing something WAY out of my comfort zone, the more it might be worth sponsoring.  And, for me, it doesn’t get further from my comfort zone than running a marathon.

So, when the applications became available, I sent it in the same day. Amazingly, they accepted me as one of the 8 NCT runners nationwide.  And all the money I raise (£2014, so I’ll need all the help I can get!), can go towards setting up the breastfeeding drop-in that mums of new babies so badly need in the Wycombe area.

Now it’s real, and I am training.  I think it sunk in when I ran in the pouring rain yesterday and I had to take my specs off to see where I was going…. So please sponsor me if you can!


Well, hello again. I do hope you are all keeping well.

I have to confess, last year was something of a washout for me. Mild depression and major fatigue were significant elements, but I worked through it, felt just fine on plenty of occasions throughout the year, got some proper sleep after Christmas and the world righted itself. Being an optimistic person, these things often do work out fine in the end. Once you have worked out how to crank the handle and put your life back into gear.

Anyhow, I’ve been itching to blog again for a few weeks now. I thought you might like to know where things are at chez Braindribbles.

Oldest one is 9. He’s just at the point where putting everything into mock inverted commas is a major part of his humour. Thinner than a beanpole and hungrier than a mammoth, I am starting to question the laws of physics. Or biology. Either way, it’s a mystery.

The photo below is from our trip to Snowdonia last spring, at a moment when he turned around to find the Easter Bunny right there and offering him a small Easter gift. He was rooted to the spot with embarrassment for a full minute. It was hilarious. For me, anyway…


Middle child is 7. She is loving finally being at the same school as her brother. It has solved so many issues for us. She’s also been industrious artistically – her recent paintings have merged her two favourite things: Hello Kitty and Star Wars. I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do.


Smallest one is 2. She’s completely out of nappies, thanks to the most sensible potty training book I have read so far. Her favourite song right now is ‘Three little monkeys’, often sung whilst jumping on my bed, while I’m still in it. Here she is, kidnapping my teaching dolls. Again. (Photo credit to middle child, by the way)


All of them are providing me with many many delightful cuddles through the day.

Loved one is being lovely as usual. He works so hard that he doesn’t feature much in the blog. Maybe that will change one day. He has something exciting in the pipeline and I may one day be allowed to tell you more about it…

As for me, well, I did qualify and I have a shiny diploma certificate to prove it. Somewhere. Buried in the piles of clutter I am still trying to work my way around. I’m loving my work, still getting used to the extra dynamic it brings but feeling more settled about it after 9 months of regular teaching.

I’m much more involved in my music too…more on that another day, but it’s all good.

As for the house move and settling in, well, we have the loveliest bunch of neighbours you ever met (they don’t read this blog so I’m not just saying that to humour them!), and have been so, so helpful in a challenging year and also become good friends. We intend to let the builders loose on our home in the next month or two, so we hope they will stay good friends in spite of the disruption!

And my general wellbeing has been restored by, would you believe, hypnotherapy…? Yup. I went on a Natal Hypnotherapy study day back in May as part of my ongoing training, and realised the possibilities for both my work and personal life. Of course, I didn’t take any steps to sort this out till Christmastime, but when I did, and did it properly, wow, what a difference. I’ve been using the CDs from Trance Solutions, an Aussie clinic that had the thought to make their work available on iTunes (a heap better than some of the other choices up there) and now I drift to sleep to a soothing antipodean voice and soft unintrusive music. And, after a couple of weeks, I started to feel like a completely new person.

Things are just as busy. I am just as forgetful. Things are just as messy. But they are slowly improving and, most importantly of all, I am feeling the way I ought to feel once more. Life is good.

Next post? Well, don’t hold your breath. But no doubt the itchy fingers will be back to give you a glimpse into my brain dribbles again soon 🙂

It’s been four hours.  What have I accomplished in that time?

Well, it’s not been that bad. I got dressed, for a start. I got Peter to the doctor’s.  I took him to school.  I ironed for 15 minutes exactly (2 shirts, 1 pair of jeans, a baby duvet cover and a scarf. Not bad!)  I spent another 15 minutes dealing with the dishwasher and the mess in the kitchen.  Not enough, but a start.

Then I spent an hour playing with and dressing smallest one.  Delightful.  We even got around to cutting her fingernails. Without a fuss! (Older children, take note. It’s not torture if you relax)

Then we went outside.  She played, and I put up the jubilee bunting.  No, it wasn’t on the to-do list, but I needed to do it this week, the weather was nice, and it meant she could be outside even when I needed to get on.  Admittedly she was quite keen to climb the ladder, but there were sufficient distractions to prevent her getting stubborn about it.

Then I let her watch a little cBeebies while I got the kitchen into a state where eating lunch wasn’t going to be detrimental to our health, cooked lunch and spent a pleasurable half hour.

Now smallest one is upset because it’s quiet time.  What I mean by this is, it’s nap time, but she is adamant that she doesn’t want to sleep.  That’s fine.  She stays in her room, plays or reads on her bed, and she’ll drift off soon enough.

I have managed to get some laundry on since then, and now I am here telling you that I feel like I’ve had a productive morning!  How does the original list tally up, though?

  • Get dressed. Yes! I managed to be fully clothed before going to the doctor’s. The doctor doesn’t know how lucky he is. 
  • Take oldest one to doctor. Yes!
  • Clean up at home.  Especially after smallest one took a lot of time and trouble to smoosh banana into the kitchen floor. Not enough. The floor is still hideously sticky.  And I need to run the dishwasher a second time.
  • Do a long and tedious work related email. No, but I am doing it next.
  • Pay that garage bill. At least I know how much I should pay, and I have found the chequebook. Nope. Must do that today.
  • Do forms for oldest one and middle one’s school trips.  And pay. Nope. Hopefully later.
  • Organise my teaching stuff. Nope.  This might need to wait till tomorrow.
  • Re-think my teaching plans to include what I learned on an amazing Natal Hypnotherapy study day I just went on. Nope.  Another for tomorrow perhaps.
  • Work out how to get the second freezer working. No, but I did measure up and I think it will fit. There’s about 3mm in it.  Will get loved one to help lift it when he gets home.
  • Try to diminish Mount Washmore. I’ve made a start.  As long as I don’t forget it’s there.
  • Rediscover the floor in our bedroom. Nope.  Maybe tonight after kids are in bed?
  • Iron the clothes taking over the biggest wardrobe. Well, I’ve done 15 minutes worth. And I will do more when smallest one isn’t roaming around.
  • Contact 7 couples that I will be teaching next week. Not yet.  Also next on the list.
  • Keep smallest one from misadventures. Yes! So far, anyway.
  • Try to spend time with smallest one in spite of all the above.Yes, yes, yes!

Well, actually I feel like I’ve not done too badly.  I’m going to do all my computer work now while smallest one is in quiet time, followed very swiftly by hurried attempts to mop the banana off the floor before she wakes up. And the rest will have to wait till later.

Of course, this is pretty average for any mum with a working husband and one or more children not yet at school.  And everyone else seems easily able to cope with it.  So can I, sometimes.  But I need motivation sometimes too.  Maybe if I achieve the full list by the end of tomorrow I will treat myself on Friday (pay day in our house).  We’ll see how we go!

Smallest one, 4 days old

I haven’t been taking photos today, so here’s one from the archive, when smallest one wasn’t quite as feisty as she is these days…

Hi folks.

These last couple of weeks I’ve been doing something I don’t seem to have been managing much recently. It’s the Easter holidays, and I’ve been enjoying spending time with the children.

And I mean properly enjoying them.


If you see what I mean.

Now, I love those kids, and I, even recently, regularly have little moments of heart-glow several times a day, especially as smallest one has been doing so many new cute things recently. In spite of my numerous low moments recently. But what I haven’t been doing is engaging with them on any level other than making sure they go to school clothed and fed and making sure they go to bed fed and teeth brushed. I haven’t had any room to enjoy them. Not emotionally.

Instead, I have been shutting myself off. Unable to handle any more than the bare minimum, I have been using the iPad loved one gave me last year. I have hidden myself away and frittered huge quantities of time finding an unsatisfying numbness in pointless games. Games that don’t need anything from me but my eyes, fingers and reactions.

But now we are on holiday. In a cottage in North Wales. Lovely. Rainy. Lots of green with lots of sheep. Waking up to the sound of bleating. Simply fabulous. And most importantly of all, all five of us are here. For two weeks.

Two weeks! I may have mentioned this last post, it’s such a rare event. And I have been given a chance to stop worrying about the daily grind, thanks to a lot of input from loved one. We have slept lots, been out in the fresh air lots (and in the rain a lot too, of course). And, whilst my now-rather-difficult-to-break habit of retreating into my games has some way to go, at least I have felt alive. And more to the point, able to cope.

And the kids have been WONDERFUL. Extra cuddles from the lot of them. Extra jokes cracked by oldest one. Extra pictures drawn for me by middle one and heaps of new words and actions from smallest one.

Or maybe it’s not extras. Maybe it’s just their wonderful normal selves, and I am only just noticing.

Gotta try and savour that once the holiday is over…

Wah oof ouch

Posted on: 06/08/2011

Mystified? So was I.

Turns out it’s the noise middle child makes when she goes backwards down a slide sooner than she planned.

When I asked, she explained as follows: –

‘Wah’ is when she realises she’s sliding.

‘Oof’ is when she hits the ground.

‘Ouch’ is when she bangs her elbow.

So now you know.

There’s an enormous game of snakes and ladders painted on the ground by the library, so we stopped for a quick game today.  Mid-game, however, middle child suddenly needed the toilet, zoomed back into the library, made it to the cubicle, but wet her pants before she sat down. After an extended no-show I whisked in, whipped off the pants, thanked heaven she was wearing flip-flops, cleaned up the floor and whisked her out to finish the snakes and ladders.

I have a theory. Middle child has toilet issues, as anyone who knows our family will know. But I also know that in spite of these issues she can hang on for 10 minutes or more if she is constantly encouraged.  We had an occasion once when middle child and I were in the middle of the state apartments at Windsor Castle. Ever been there? If so, you’ll know that if you’re in the middle it’s a ten-minute walk either way to get out and find a loo, especially if your accompanying adult is seven months pregnant. She nearly gave up, intending to sit down and wet herself a minute away from the toilets, but with constant ‘you CAN do it, I KNOW you can hang on’ in her ear, she made it. And she was so proud of herself.

When I’m right there next to her, she never wets her pants. When I’m not there, it’s like her confidence isn’t enough to keep her going on its own.  If I hadn’t had a baby in tow I would have gone with her today, but I did, and it was almost inevitable.  Do you think my theory is accurate? We had a little pep talk at bedtime, reminding her how she can be strong and determined if she believes in herself.  And, bless her, she pointed out that she did at least make it as far as the cubicle.  We agreed it would only have taken five more seconds of determined ‘hanging-on’ to have been a complete success.

Maybe one day it will sink in, and she’ll get it.  Better still, she’ll actually go with enough time to spare to start with. (I forgot to mention, I had asked her if she needed to go at five-minute intervals in the half-hour leading up to this point, with vehement denials each time. Having too much fun to notice trivial things like a full bladder.)

Confidence in a six-year-old is a fragile thing.  I almost wish I could re-do the potty training. Re-set the triggers so that she goes when she feels a mild urge, rather than when she’s hopping around with her legs crossed, and it’s touch and go.  A year back, we saw a paediatrician about this. She told us we needed to do some pavlov’s dog style training, insisting she goes two hours after every drink. This was really tough with a five-week old baby to deal with, but, with the help of the school, we did do this for a full six weeks. And it was working well.  The only thing is, it was too intense to keep up, so after six weeks we relaxed a bit, in the hope it would stay good, and middle child would keep it up by habit.

She didn’t.  Not surprising, really, when you consider that (a) she was barely five years old and (b) our family isn’t hot on routine and timekeeping at the best of times.

I need to reflect on how to deal with this now.  It’s rare that she wets herself. Once a week, if that, during the school term? But when there’s no routine to follow, we all lose track of when what was drunk and how near the nearest loo is.  It’s just an extra layer of stress we would rather not have to deal with…but now I’m kicking myself for not being on the ball.

Do I now need to revisit the pavlov’s dog style training?  Do I have the strength to see it through properly this time? And how will I know when it’s time to lighten up? Six weeks doesn’t seem to be enough.

If any of you have any words of wisdom on the matter, I’d welcome your thoughts.

Following a week of camping, tales of which I intend to regale you with over the next few weeks, we are back home. The long, hot, and probably rainy month of August has begun. 

I have imposed summer scrapbooks on the children.  It is of course highly probable that the scrapbook will have a few measly pages filled under duress and I will bin it before mid August. My optimistic side hopes otherwise.

As such, I thought it would only be fair if I made myself do a summer scrapbook too.  And since I’m a blogaholic, well, here I am with my first scrapbook entry.

Of picnics, paperback perusal, pants and precipitous pop-ins

If I possibly can, I try to follow a routine during the holidays. Everyone dresses before breakfast, everyone helps out with the chores immediately after breakfast, everyone cleans teeth, makes beds, tidies rooms. Pocket money is earned this way. Then they get to play, or have a treat.

Today’s treat was a trip to the park for a picnic.

Often, days like these are spent in playgrounds, trying to coax the older ones off the equipment to come and eat something, simultaneously trying to rein in smallest one’s ambitions beyond her ability. So it was a welcome change to go to a park with no playground for once. The most exciting thing in this park? Trees.

Of course, half an hour in – and after letting smallest one toddle around randomly for some time, I notice they haven’t been that hot on poop scooping; thankfully smallest one doesn’t notice/step in/pick up/eat any of them. The older ones played hide and seek.  It was a joy to watch.

After that, we popped into the library, where middle child had a really good go at reading a Charlie and Lola book out loud.  Oldest one had found an Asterix book, then remained immobile for over an hour as he devoured it from cover to cover.  Smallest one was determined to ignore the books, and instead wake up the sleeping baby nearby.  Upon removal, she was then very keen that the books should really be on the floor. I wasn’t sure which was the less desirable option, though I was relieved when the buggy owner left with baby still snoozling away in spite of smallest one’s efforts.

A quick spot of snakes and ladders (there’s an enormous one painted on the ground outside the library), a slight incident mid-game involving middle child’s underwear, then we headed back to the car to go home.

My phone rang just as I’d started the engine. The estate agent. Any chance we could do a viewing on the house in just over an hour and a half’s time?

Cue the fastest tidy up you’ve ever seen.  Less than 48 hours after our return from camping, the hall and living room is a bomb site.

I thank my lucky stars we at least implemented the holiday routine and had a relatively tidy kitchen.  I don’t know how I did it. I even had time for a two-minute shower…just as well considering I was a big ball of sweat after the tidying up was completed.  And I got the dinner started before they rang the doorbell.

Upon bidding them goodbye, the phone rang: loved one – away on business tonight. I told him he was talking to Supermum.  Wisely, he didn’t disagree.

I almost got the kids to bed on time too.

But not quite.