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Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Big Pink Taxi

Tomorrow seemed so far away when the consultant told us in the new year that Ava had to have another eye operation. But it's already upon us.
At work, the week has been a bit frenetic. I was helping to oganise an industry seminar on top of my usual workload, which, combined with some late night business negotiations meant I was asleep on Paul's shoulder, snoring into his ear before 10pm last night. And then there's been all the frenzied speculation and, finally, the revelations about Apple's new iPad, which promises some interesting competition for Amazon's Kindle with its iBooks platform. Just keeping on top of all the news in digital technologies and their impact on books and reading would be a full time job for anyone.
It's all fading fast now as I try to stop my stomach churning, thinking about how tomorrow I'll have to look on again while my little girl is wheeled away under general anaesthetic to the operating theatre. At bed time, I reminded Ava we'd be off early tomorrow morning to the hospital. 'You're going to have another magic sleep, remember?' I said gently as I stroked her long, fine brown hair off her forehead. 'And they're going to have another go at fixing your broken eye.' She stares at me and does a big pout. Then she starts reading her Alice in Wonderland book again.
'We'll be going in a big taxi again, early in the morning! And you'll be able to play with all the lovely toys at the hospital while we wait for the doctors!"
"I want a pink taxi," she insists. "And I don't want eye drops."
I am laughing now.
"You must look after me and never leave me," she suddenly says, and her eyes are wet. So are mine.
"I never will," I say. I take a deep breath and kiss her head and I leave the room quietly.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Of Iron Man and other Super Heroes

Blimey. January is one looooooong month. It takes the will of a superhero simply doggedly to navigate ones way through all the never-ending days: the cold, the severe shortage of available cash, the numerous lurgies (all involving copious runny noses and accompanying face rashes), the challengingly long 'to do' list that appears every New Year inspired by a Christmas holiday in which one spends a great deal of time thinking about how 'next year, I will get more organised.'
Whilst at work, it simply feels like someone hit the accelerator while I wasn't looking. Did January always feel this busy? How can I still have so much to do when there are just so many damn days in this month?
If January feels this excruciatingly long to me, I wonder how long it seems in kid time? To keep January blues at bay, the whole family is looking towards Spring, when we will be undertaking an epic adventure: three weeks 'down under', one in Sydney (I'll be talking at the Sydney Writer's Festival) and two travelling the coast north of Sydney in a camper van. Nath (nearly 5) is particularly excited about the camper van idea, evidenced by the fact that he asks me every morning as he raises his tousled head from the pillow, 'Are we going in the camper van today, Mummy?'
'Not today, darling', I apologise, daily. 'It's a few weeks away yet.' I have sixteen more weeks of this, and wonder whether it was wise to show him maps of Australia and pictures of kangaroos, koalas and the rolling Blue Mountains quite this far ahead of the trip.
More immediately, his 5th Birthday is fast approaching. This is his other daily topic of conversation. As in, 'Mummy, is it my party today?' 'Not today, darling', etc. Nath would dearly love an 'Iron Man' party, which we rashly promised we would produce (well, what could be easier?) Except since Marvel sold out to Disney all the merchandising licenses are clearly in some sort of corporate buyout limbo so that every web site promising 'Iron Man party packs only £29.99!', thus getting you all excited (I know, s'funny what gets me all excited these days) actually takes you to a page announcing 'This range has been discontinued.'
Paul (husband), at the same time as feeling justifiable rage at the impact some stupid greedy corporation can have on an ordinary boy's innocent desires, enthusiastically suggests we could 'make our own Iron Man party gear!' then looks at my face and starts to back peddle, fast.
So, I am fed up with January and desperately seeking Iron Man Party Accessories, on which the happiness of my nearly-five year old depends. Any Super Heroes out there willing to help?

Friday, 8 January 2010

Not waving but drowning. And some news.

It's 2010 and I'll be the first to admit it. The blog was, how shall we put it, a little thin on the ground in 2009. I have no particularly convincing excuse for this other than the fact that 2009 was quite possibly my busiest and most stressful year ever. This was partly due to the ongoing situation with Ava's eyes, her surgery and the lengthy aftercare that involved, but also to do with my news. See below.
At several points between October and December I held ideas in my head for blog postings for ooh, minutes at least, before something else popped up to bite me on the backside and demand my attention more urgently. At one point I said to a friend that I felt I was 'careering' towards Christmas, half-crazed, and I held up my hand at a 45 degree angle to illustrate how, metaphorically at least, I felt I was running at an insane tilt towards the holiday season. In 2009, I arrived at the week before Christmas faintly surprised to have survived the year, and shocked to find that somehow I had bought everyone a present and even baked some cookies to give to the neighbours. It was almost as if someone else had occupied my body and done everything that had to be done, whilst I looked on like a vacant old lady, wonderingly.
Anyway. The good news is that it appears quite a few people really missed Babyjuggler, and so it is that in response to the many emails I've had asking whether I might take up my blog with a little more gusto again this year, I have made just a single New Year's Resolution: blog more!
But now for my news.
No. I am not pregnant (Yes I still do think about it sometimes, but that's about as far as it gets).
But I am bringing a different kind of baby into the world: a book! Of course, being the Digital Director at a trade publishing house, my baby will be born digital. It will be published on 29th January this year as an audio download (available via iTunes and Audible, amongst others) and an ebook. And yes, I am pathetically excited (and terrified of bad reviews). I feel like a proper, real life author!
The Babyjuggler is being published by a fabulous company called Creative Content, and the audio edition has been read by the wonderful Adjoa Andoh. Watch this space for news on publication, and don't tell me if you read a horrid review.