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Monday, 28 January 2008

Politics, schmolitics

You could tell that the weekend's glow was still washing warmly over me despite the cold dousing in the shower that is Monday morning when at lunchtime today, listening to a colleague wonder at the absurdity of some political in-fighting over a particular issue, I dreamily replied, "Well, you know what, I don't really care. What really matters is that Nathan told me unsolicitedly that he loved me at the weekend, for the first time ever."
The young male colleague stared back at me, slightly bewildered for a moment.
"My three year old son," I clarified, hastily.
"Ah, well, that's alright then," he agreed.
Yes. It is. Extremely alright.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Pain management

Just before Christmas my partner slipped a disc and I slipped into another world; one in which instead of thinking 'Do I really have to do bloody everything round here myself?' I really did have to do bloody everything myself. The timing perfectly coinciding with the week of mad pre-Christmas preparations, I stoically put my nose to the plough and embarked on an ambitious round of kid-ferrying, present-buying, food-preparing and gift-wrapping along side all the usual cooking, cleaning, tidying, bottom-wiping, bathing, dressing and entertaining that having three small kids entails. A few weeks later, Christmas and New Year out of the way, and Paul's back is much better thank you, but my neck only swivels in one direction, I have shooting pains up and down my right arm and every now and then I have no feeling in my hand. A visit to the physio ensues. Dino (yes, that is his name) is a Kiwi (that probably explains it) who says to me after an initial examination, 'Man, you are totally neurally tight.' The English tranlsation is that I am a complete physical wreck at the tender age of 36 and cannot extend my right arm in any direction without extreme pain. My back is so tight that he is unable to manipulate it despite exerting a great deal of effort trying. The answer, he assures me with great confidence, is for me to undertake a series of exercises each day to stretch the nerves and muscles in my shoulder, neck and arms. He whizzes me through umpteen exercises: this one, ten times, four times a day; that one, just a couple of times every hour; the other one, twenty times, but just a couple of times a day, and so on and so forth. There is a slight issue with all of this. At some point in every day I have to get at least four people up and out of bed, washed, dressed, fed and out of the house to various locations, I have to squeeze in eight or nine hours work and then I have to tidy up after everyone, manage the household admin, write the shopping lists, pack the school bags, make the lunch for nursery next day, maybe watch a bit of TV or read a chapter of a book and then, oh, maybe get some sleep. And as I leave the physio to re-enter the fray I am already struggling to remember all the exercises, to remember the various frequencies... Man, if it wasn't automatic I'd probably forget to breathe!

Friday, 11 January 2008

Raw talent

A plaster-dripping builder came into the hairdressing salon in which I sat having my hair cut last night and asked for a grade 1 head shave. After making a few severely un-politically correct comments which I shall not repeat here, he turned and noticed my six year old daughter, Eden, sitting quietly in the corner drawing pictures with her felt tipped pens. "What've we got 'ere then?" he asked, "Is this a babysitters or a hairdressers?" We politely informed him that Eden was my daughter. "Ah! Drawing are we?" he enquired of Eden. "You draw a picture of me and I'll give you a paaand". Eden promptly drew a picture of a rather grubby man in a stripy T-shirt with no hair, and handed it over. "Brilliant, love!" he exclaimed, and handed over a shiny new pound coin. Eden was clearly delighted with this exchange; even more so when I allowed her to buy a bottle of Ribena and some Tooty Frooties with her new found gains on the way home. As I tucked her into bed later, she wondered whether she "might be an artist one day, and sell her paintings for money."
"Maybe you will" I replied. "I was really proud of the way you behaved this evening, Eden," I continued. "You behaved really nicely while we were at the hairdressers. And I think you are really talented, too".
"What are my talents, Mummy?" she asked, innocently (I'm pretty sure she hasn't learned to fish for compliments - yet).
"Well, you're great at drawing, and dancing, and writing, and running, and reading... and you're really funny and charming," I said.
"I think you're really talented, too, Mummy," she commented dreamily.
"Really?" I replied.
"Yes," she answered. "You're talented at cooking, and tidying up, and looking after your kids, and telling stories, and drawing, and being nice, and working on the computer. And you're really good at dressing!" (I'm not sure if she means this last in the Trinny and Suzannah sense or the being-able-to-do-up-all-my-own-buttons sense).
I know she's only six. I know she doesn't know any better. I know she still thinks I'm the best person in the world. And yes, yes, I know it won't last. But it's still great when you feel like most of the time you're doing everything so badly and yet someone who really matters says you are not. And it's the tops simply to be loved so unconditionally it hurts.

Monday, 7 January 2008

New Year's Resolutions

1. Be a better Mother (count to ten more often)

2. Be a better wife (count to, say, twenty or so, a *lot* more often)

3. Lose the jelly belly (will ten sit-ups per day do it, do you think?)

4. Replace the morning croissant with Special K (might have something to do with 3, above)

5. Seriously kick arse at work (may need to reinstate croissant, then, purely for increased energy purposes)

6. Take control of finances (maybe learn to count, first; will also help with 1 and 2 above)

7. Exhibit greater tolerance and increased patience (see also 1 and 2 above)

8. Forget all of the above. Just be perfect, dammit!!

9. Oh sod it, relax more and get more sleep. That should do the trick.

10. Whatever happens, *do not* go on the waggon for January. That would be inexcusably rash, and, quite possibly, Wrong.