braindribbles

Posts Tagged ‘parenting

rainbow daylight front

 

The blurb you need to read first

First of all, apologies. I have literally run out of original photos since the monster montage of the previous post, so other than the top picture, you’re going to get text only on this occasion. Second, this’ll be more serious than before…but not that much more serious. Third of all, it is very, very long. I nearly broke it into two posts, but it didn’t seem like the right thing to do. Make yourself a cuppa before settling in.

Basically, three things have been happening concurrently that have had a major positive impact on me this last year or so. One is doing the hair thing. Another is the major increase in paid work as a musician. And the third thing is regular visits to Joy, who is a CBT therapist with many other qualifications to boot.

I have to admit, whilst I think I get which way round things went, and which things had an impact on the success of what, I’m still not 100% sure. I don’t really know if I can say that any one thing had more impact than the others. Have a read and see what you think. It’s still a little fresh and under-edited, but hopefully you’ll make good sense of it.

 

Back Story

In the spring/summer of 2014, while I was unwittingly rather high on the anxiety/depression scale, I also had an opportunity on the music front. The first in many years. The chance to sing professionally. I’d sung at a professional standard before, but never been paid for the privilege. So when I was asked to sing at a wedding ceremony, I jumped at the chance. I didn’t know if that was going to be it for several more years, or if it was the start of things to come. But somewhere deep inside my subconscious I knew that that was what I wanted to do more than anything else. It set me on a path. So there was that going on.

Soon after that, I got to a point where things were just awful. And guilt-ridden…I had a good life, didn’t I? So why wasn’t I enjoying it? Why wasn’t I coping? I eventually realised that it wasn’t going to get better by itself and got in touch with Joy. That set me on a road to recovery and fixing my thought patterns so that they weren’t constantly berating me for not being good enough.

After a couple of months I had a fragile kind of happy going on. It wasn’t easy, as family life had to continue, and I had to keep earning. But then more music was happening. It turned out it wasn’t a one-off. I could actually sing and make some money out of it. And that boosted my happy factor big time. Nothing better for your self-esteem than being paid to do the one thing you love more than anything else in the world.

And then I was ready. I had arrived at a point where I realised I was properly OK again. And it was at around the same time that my thoughts kept turning to hair colour.

Now, if you know me well, I’ve not been one to particularly want to tread the beaten path. I’ve always done my own thing, and if I get really into an idea, no matter how strange or crazy, I will still just go ahead and do it. Hence the marathon. And that’s kind of what happened with the hair thing at this point. I couldn’t let the idea go. So I figured I’d better scratch the itch, satisfy my curiosity and deal with the consequences. (You can read about that here.)

loved my new hair at the time. It was a huge deal. In hindsight it was a little nuts, but I’m so glad I did. I look back at those early photos now and I have to admit I’ve eyed them up with suspicion, as the colour then was very simple and I wasn’t that keen on the rest of my appearance….but what I do love is how it changed me on the inside.

 

Reflecting back

Yes. Flattering or not, having hair that bright meant that I would no longer be able to shrink away and hide. It still felt like me, but it felt like the bold, brave, confident version of me. Which was always part of me; it’s just that I sometimes had to dig down and find it. Now it was there and out on display all the time.

Fake it till you make it

There’s a brilliant TED lecture somewhere. I’ll link it as it’s hugely significant for me. Here you go.

I found myself in a very similar position. It took a few weeks to get used to having the bold me on display all the time, and it did feel pretty weird for a while, but as described in the video, it just became normal. And once it had, it was transformative in everything that I did. It felt like the me that had been fighting to get out, but simply hadn’t had an outlet. Changing my hair forced the issue. I was this person, and most importantly I loved being this person. It was the me that came out occasionally with the kids when other grownups weren’t looking, or when I was really relaxed and happy. Only now it was…just me.

There’s more to it

Of course there’s more to it. I still have hang-ups about my body image, guilt about whether I’m parenting my children the right way, and major issues with screen addiction that lead to very little sleep. There’s a whole load of grey. Only now I feel happy and confident most of the time in spite of all those things. Even when I’m really tired. Even when I’ve got too much going on and I feel like I’m on an endless treadmill. Also, I’m dealing with all those things bit by bit. Not least because I still see Joy once a month. Seeing Joy helps get everything into perspective. Is it just my mind playing tricks on me? Is it something I can do something about? Also, she’s fun. She always has me in a good mood even if we’ve dealt with some emotional stuff.

Why colour and why hair?

It’s funny that it manifested in colour, isn’t it? If I’m honest, I’ve always loved colour. It’s just that my mum loves colour too, and the rebellious teenager lurking within me even now still hates the idea of having such a similar trait. So it’s quite convenient that I found a way to express my love of colour in a very different way. The subconscious is pretty sly, isn’t it? And I have to admit, I’ve only realised that tonight. Blogging is good for things like that.

The slight catch

So now I’ve realised all this, doing crazy things to my hair has served me incredibly well this last year. And I feel that if I wanted to I could still keep the happy, confident me and go back to a more conventional appearance.

Only thing is, I’ve kind of developed an obsession. It’s going to be a very long time before I get to a point where I’ve had my fill of all the possible colour combinations out there. If I have a moment of idle thought that isn’t taken up with some aspect of family life, or a piece of music I’m working on, it’s fairly likely I’ll be pondering hair colour. Right now I’m dithering when and how to do Christmas hair this year – it’s proving to be a real dilemma.

And there’s another thing. I suspect after all the colour, I’d find conventional hair terribly boring. Yes, I love it on other people. I love it on my children and my husband. I’ve even tried on wigs once or twice to see how I feel about it. Here’s the thing. I look in the mirror and it feels like I have lost part of my identity. Which is just bizarre, but there you go.

 

How I feel now

Writing this was quite a learning experience for me. I didn’t quite appreciate how differently I would feel about it now compared to a year ago. I felt superb a year ago, but somehow, today I feel miles better still. The confidence thing is innate now. The fun that felt inhibited, well, it’s on display. The sense of adventure in the everyday. That’s normal now.

If I had known I could love my life quite this much a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have understood that it could be possible, let alone believed it. I thought I was muddling through OK, as long as we didn’t have anything hugely difficult to deal with at the time. I didn’t recognise that I could be so much happier.

So I’m very thankful for how those three major changes in 2014 came about. For people who don’t know me well, it probably looks like a mid life crisis. I am 41, after all, and the timing fits. Though of course, for me it feels like the exact opposite of a crisis. Cheesy though it sounds, for me, it feels like God decided it was my time to shine. 🙂

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…

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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.

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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)

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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…

After Monday’s partial success, I am typing at 11.30 on a Wednesday morning and, aside from somehow getting the kids to school, I have done absolutely nothing.

I am tired. Very tired. So tired that if anyone tells me anything I don’t want to hear I am liable to go and hide under the duvet until it all goes away.

It’s my own fault, mostly. I went to bed on time. My bedtime routine involves listening to audiobooks. Ideally from my phone, which is free of distractions and sends me to sleep quickly. But for some reason the phone is not downloading any books for me, and as a result I have had to use the iPad instead. I get the same audiobooks, but I also get distraction in spades. All those silly games I mentioned on Monday? It’s worse at night.

I’m therefore running on 5 to 6 hours sleep per night. Clearly I need to sort out what is going on with my phone app. There, that’s job number one. Make sure I check back and let you know if I dealt with it.

Job number one? Oh yes, I forgot to mention. The Flylady mentioned before has a plan for Wednesdays. Yes, Wednesday is Anti-Procrastination Day.

Isn’t that the best name a day can have? I love it.

Anyhow, at half past eleven I have realised this and thought, hmm. Yes, let’s just do it. Let’s get on with it. Let’s not waste an entire day just through tiredness. Let’s make Flylady proud. Even though she doesn’t know I exist, she would be proud. And I will feel pleased with myself by the day’s end.

See how I am galvanising myself into action? Don’t mock it, it’s a rare and precious occurrence.

Here’s the plan. To be done before the school run this afternoon. They don’t call me ambitious Sacha for nothing. Yeah, I know, they don’t call me ambitious Sacha at all. Never mind, just read my list, okay?

Job 1: work out why my phone won’t play audiobooks and come up with a suitable solution.

*** update! I finally managed to think a little laterally and discovered the phone had tried to connect using BT Openzone (which doesn’t work without going to the browser and typing in a password).  A few taps later and everything is hunky dory. Yay! ***

Job 2: post belated birthday pressies to my lovely nephew. Can’t wait for him to see what we chose. Can’t believe we left it lying upstairs for two weeks.

Job 3: stuff the morning routine, but do clean up in the kitchen. Including washing down the counters, which the ants have rediscovered. Ugh. Hmm. Not particularly looking forward to that.

Job 4: phone up the garage and check they haven’t forgotten to resend the bill I told them I’d lost in all our clutter. Maybe they’re as disorganised as me. Naah, surely not.

Job 5: declutter some more. Put away all the clean laundry and tidy up the lounge. And landing. Enough to hoover.

Oh, did I mention I tidied smallest one’s room in 5 minutes flat when I put my mind to it. I put her to bed, and she didn’t want me to leave, so I stayed and tidied till she drifted off. Here’s the ‘before’…

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And here’s the ‘after’.

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Job 7: hoover. I can’t bear to leave it till next week.

Job 8 is for tomorrow. My new-ish work as an antenatal teacher still needs a fair bit of preparation. If I can sort the sleep out and have a vaguely tidy house, that will set me up nicely.

There is of course one more job, which doesn’t feel like a job. Well sometimes it doesn’t, anyway. Spend some time with smallest one. Snotty still, but in a very good mood. Her smiles always cheer me up, even when I’m in a terrible mood. Adorable child. 🙂

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A redirect

Posted on: 20/01/2012

Today I am cheating.

I felt inspired to write a poem about birth. But I have another blog about birth, which is in need of even more attention than braindribbles, so I wrote it there, not here… Do go and see!

birthetc.wordpress.com/

Piccie post

Posted on: 31/12/2011

I must confess to being inspired by another blog for my piccie posts. And you should be warned, my piccies are of especially poor artistry.

Here’s one I prepared earlier, when we were still with the in-laws…happy new year!

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Smallest one calls from her cot persistently one evening.

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We can’t be doing with having our TV pleasure disturbed.

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.