The sound of my children giggling and playing with each other.
I hope they always work through their disagreements because I never want them to stop enjoying each other’s company. It’s one of those things that makes the relentless nature of parenting worthwhile. It makes spilt milk and nap refusal bearable.
Much to my mother’s frustration, I have always been a night owl. From 6 months I refused to sleep during the day and then would only sleep soundly from late in the night. I have been nocturnal for as long as I can remember.
University was the best. I could churn out assignments last minute and hand them in first thing without breaking a sweat or failing. In fact, some of my best work has been done at the last minute and in the wee hours of the night and early morning.
Until August last year. Now, with 2 babies and being halfway through my thirties I find, even if I have a quiet day I tend to fall asleep by 8:30, usually straight after tucking my little bunnies into their beds. I wake up tired.
I’ve had all the blood tests. I’m fit, apart from carrying some extra weight from bearing 2 wee bairns and the usual spread that occurs after marriage. I make no excuses for the extra weight. I just couldn’t be arsed getting off my arse with the mental gymnastics and running around I do after the family. I’m just knackered after 13 years of multiple redundancies, financial ruin and family members demanding more than their good share of holistic energy.
Officially written off. That’s our car. By the time the remaining of the loan is paid out, we’ll have little to have as deposit for another car.
Fortunately, we’re still in possession of my Pa’s 24 year old Magna. It’s a tank, gas guzzling and clunky, but it’s well looked after and should do a few more years while we save for another car.
The job he’s got is pretty much written off also. It has been troublesome from the beginning within the organisation, which is poorly structured and stinky in culture. There is no guarantee that if we move up there with him that the job will last, and I’m hesitant to throw away my job security just so my husband can say he’s gainfully employed. I may only have a part time job, but it’s a sure bet, and a well-balanced position.
Being away from our daughter is taking its toll. He’s missed her 5th birthday, first day of school, first school award and so many play dates this year.
He’s missed the first human looking scan of our baby and being present as my belly grows. He’s missed being that smudge more connected to the pregnancy by engaging with us in the day to day. Now baby is halfway through incubation the fun part for Dads begin- the midnight kick in the back when we’re snuggling in bed, and the last couple of scans that ignite anticipation.
Our daughter cries at least twice a week because she’s had to deal with a lot of change at a young age. She’s resilient but Daddy lives in a different town, she’s going to be a big sister after 5.5 years and a school girl now. Emotionally she’s had to grow quickly, but I see how it’s wearing her in places.
His absence has little impact on me emotionally, apart from the domestic workload and being the exclusive parent day to day. I’ve always been rather self-sufficient. Sometimes though, it would be nice to not be the one to always hang out the washing or be the main source of comfort for our girl.
Life is drama. That’s a reality. It’s often out of control and grappling with the uncertainty is trying at the best of times. Now, it is necessary to decide on the non-negotiables.
After nearly losing him last week, and not gaining anything tangible from his absence, it’s time to cease this experiment. He’s hopefully putting in his notice on Monday and coming home the following week.
This comes with a new set of challenges. There are always consequences to decisions. We take comfort in not being separated being the best decision for us.
Last Thursday I had the urge to shave most of my head, a drastic change from the 1930’s pin-curled black bob I had been embracing for the previous 6 months. That was the goal of two years growing out a pixie cut- a vintage bob that Dita Von Teese would be envious of.
(The hair was cut before the accident. It wasn’t a completely unplanned action)
I nearly chickened out, but my five year old daughter gave me the same rhetoric I often serve her: if you say you’re going to do something, then do it. So I did.
I love the cut, and I even liked the short dark ash blonde sides with the long black bangs. Then, as I do when things get out of control, I start tinkering…
I no longer own a sewing a machine to run up some Pretty in Pink op shop finds, so instead, I’ve bleached the life out of and currently have a mix of conditioning treatment and hot pink dye sloshed all of my remains tresses.
I guess it’s a bit of a mundane thing to blog about, but for the moment I’m in dire need of catharsis after the shock of last week’s still unresolved events.
How to start this post without sounding like a hyperbolic banana?
There’s no way really, so here goes:
My husband has been without work since April when the company he worked for went for round three of redundancies.
I still am secure in my job though have had three principals in 8 months which meant adjusting to all kind of managerial approaches, not to mention assisting the teachers implement some significant changes. It’s also only part time.
I started university this year, as you know, and with an exuberant preschooler, it’s been a challenge.
My grandparents have aged dramatically this year and I’m over there several times a week some times.
… And as for the mother-in-law, I finally got strong enough to stop enabling her and see the terrifying reality of her manipulation for what it is- toxic and unabating. I’ve had limited contact for 8 months.
I think I’d be ok for the first half of 2017, with healthy boundaries instated with afore mentioned family member, and a decent rhythm to our days.
It started with Husband taking a job in a town 6 hours away, beginning January, leaving me to be a ‘single mother’ as it were while he sees out the probation period and our daughter begins her first year of schooling. It’s got long hours on a rotating roster, weekend and on call work. Not ideal, but after 7 months searching, we took it.
We took it, hoping something else would come up in the meantime. It feels really dirty to do, but one part time income is not the easiest to live on, even with our minimalist expenses. Time is running out though…
The concerns about eventually leaving my Grandparents with less support has made me realise that I need to start backing away and encouraging them to access the in-home care they need (which is fine because they are still adults and need to make adult choices). It’s not easy though watching my Nan fade from the brilliant blue hue she used to be. It feels even worse wondering if us moving will send her off this mortal coil.
I’ve deferred university this semester so I can concentrate on moving the husband and making sure we get as much family fun in as possible over the holidays.
HOWEVER, the biggest surprise is still making its reality known… pending confirmation with next Thursday’s ultrasound- I’m Up the Duff; 6 weeks tomorrow. Due, get this, one month after my husband’s probation is complete, and the month my daughter and I were going to move!
It’s a been a grounding thumping experience. I’ve been telling myself I can do the 6 months on my own with all our current commitments. Now, I’m not so sure. I’m not upset about being pregnant after the initial surprise. It has simply been 4 and half years (same time as our first) and pretty much a given we were done with the nappies. We were moving on to our next chapter.
We’ll keep it secret squirrel from the Mother-in-law for as long as possible, last time she turned it around and made it about her a bit too much (I’m also hoping she hasn’t found my new blog).
If you happen to know me in real life it would be great for secret squirrels there too.
But excuse me, husband has just opened his Talisker whisky, a gift from his dad, and now I need to boak…
She is the spit of her father; no one could mistake her for his progeny. Both of them are deep blue eyed blondes with streaks of celtic heritage, fairly fine features and long-sighted enough to audition for a remake of Revenge of the Nerds. They have the same grin, reactive nature and obstinance enough to take down an invasion of Cybermen.
However, while obstinate, I am broader in build, brown eyed and ashy mouse brown. If it wasn’t for her significant vocabulary and independent attitude, I’d swear she was switched at birth and husband has a lot to answer for…
I change my hair colour frequently. It reflects my state of mind, my current mood. It’s my way of giving the proverbial finger to the status quo I suppose. In the last 3 months it has been purple, chocolate brown, pink, black, cherry red… and now blonde… again…
She has developed the ability to articulate her thoughts on Mumma’s indecisiveness. Most of the time she loves the pink, but lately she’s been saying I should grow long hair like her and have it blonde. Perhaps it’s her sensing my insecurities, or maybe it’s the copious viewings of Doctor Who in Eccleston’s tenure and her fascination with Rose? I think she’s right though. I should grow my hair and leave it blonde. Every time this over-processed mop of hair is blonde, I feel like we are mother and daughter.
It shouldn’t really matter. We have a pretty decent relationship for a 4 going on 14 year old and sassy 30-something woman, but having that physical likeness is feeling just as pertinent. Having the exterior marker that announces belonging to each other as we wander through the masses in town, or the city, or wherever we find ourselves.
“I don’t want to wear that… it’s boys leggings.” she said as she by-passed her favourite bottoms.
That’s what my almost 4 year old girl said to me yesterday as she was dressing for daycare.
“Why do you say that? Anyone can wear khaki star leggings.” I replied, feeling a little shocked (I did my best to mask it).
Apparently, her ‘best’ friend from school had told her that the brownish leggings and Transformer robot undies she had picked out herself in the shops were only for boys.
My child began to cry, “I’m not a boy, I’m a girl!”
“Of course you are, you know you’re a girl, Daddy and I know you’re a girl and you can still wear whatever you like.”
Well that washed down as well a toy car in a toilet bowl.
I don’t mind what my daughter wears most days. Occasionally I’ll redirect away from the three outfits we’ve designated as ‘going out’ attire if it’s a school day, but otherwise she could wear all her dress ups and her undies at the same time for all I care. A little peer pressure was definitely expected by the time she started prep in 2017 but after yesterday’s episode, I’m getting a little nervous.
This is not the first time something like this has made my child upset about this friend. At least once a week she comes home saying that this friend has decided she doesn’t want to be besties (totally normal I know). My girl’s favourite colour used to be yellow and now everything HAS to be pink because that’s a girl colour because this friend said so. Then there was her friend’s 4th birthday party on the weekend and without warning she bit my daughter on the arm in front of everyone and then laughed like a hyena.
For sure a lot of this is right on time for social development, after all their emotional systems have begun to kick into overdrive but the Mean Girls stuff has negatively altered my child’s expression of herself and has me a little puzzled for solutions. I know the friend’s mumma a bit; I think she would genuinely be puzzled by the kinds of dialogue they’re having with each other so I’m thinking of having a chat about how we can model some appropriate dialogue in front of the girls. I don’t want to be a whinger, but it’s contrary to her mother’s values too and the little one is quite delightful a lot of the time (just like all children).
I hope I’m not over-reacting to this. I know this is the first of many conversations we’re going to have over the course of the next 2 decades. I’m just surprised that we didn’t make it to school before things affected her self-image. Who cares if she wants to wear boys underwear or if she wants to wear all the pink, as long as she’s doing it for her?!