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Monday, 19 November 2012

Long-Term


About a week ago, I had a visitor, a rather sad visitor who needed someone to talk to, so I made some coffee, cut us a slice of chocolate crunch each, and started to listen. That’s all I could do, listen, there was nothing I could say that would make my visitor feel better. There was no inspired advice I could give that would help to radically change the situation. I have no magic wand I can wave and make things right. But oh, how I wanted to do more then just listen. Don’t you just hate that, when a friend is hurting and there is nothing you can do to help? It’s been a while since I’ve commiserated with a friend over a break up, the last two friends who got divorced I celebrated with! But with this visitor, things are different; I liked the couple I thought they worked well together. Obviously, I was wrong. In those two hours of conversation, I learnt more about my visitor then I had learnt in the past two years. I don’t know for sure if I was any help, or if my visitor left feeling any better but I was glad I was there to listen. I’m not sure I said anything new or earth shattering but I think at least I said what my visitor needed to hear. But my visitor left smiling, so I must’ve done something right.

In the days since my visitor left I have been thinking and reflecting on the things I was told and I have realised that I’m so glad those early years in my relationship are over. Getting to know someone and learning to accept their “faults” is not a simple process. Being young and arrogant doesn’t a compromise make. The realisation that your partner doesn’t communicate the same way you do takes a lot of misunderstandings and arguments. Of course first you have to learn to listen to each other before you can learn to communicate. Yep I’m really glad those first years of my relationship are over! I’m glad that now the Mauritian and I can communicate an entire conversation with just one look. I enjoy the fact that when I gripe at the Mauritian he defends himself with humour and makes me laugh. In the first years we always had to be doing something or going somewhere. Now we are both happy to just be in the same room together doing our own thing. The conversation is random and disjointed but we understand each other. We used to plan every moment of our weekends with friends or family, now we’re okay with sitting at home doing nothing for an entire weekend. When we first met we went all out to have quantity time now we just appreciate the quality time.

It’s been just over two weeks and my visitor has moved on to the single life again and doing fine. It seems to me my visitor has accepted the end of this long-term relationship, taking the lessons learnt and is heading out into the world armed and ready to start again.

As much as I sometimes wish I was twenty two again, I’m glad I’m not single, and I’m sure glad I wasn't when I was twenty two.

A Moment's Panic


Today my Mum asked me a question regarding our trip back home for what we have come to call our “Tropical Holiday.” I read the message, glance over at our counting worm and realised that the Butterfly had forgotten to cross off a number of days and we now only had just shy of four weeks before departure. Suddenly I had “butterflies” in my tummy just for a moment because it has dawned on me that we shall be travelling with a Lollipop in tow. It has occurred to me that when we went to buy our plane tickets I didn’t think the Lollipop would be any trouble. But then I was thinking of the Lollipop as she was then, eight months old. The reality is that the Lollipop will be just two month younger then the Butterfly was when we left South Africa. Oh, says my slow thinking brain that’s all right then because the Butterfly was an absolute gem and no trouble at all.

Unfortunately, I eventually caught up with myself and reminded myself that everything the Butterfly is the Lollipop isn’t! Oh, crap! I have a feeling that this trip is not going to be as easy as the first! When we left the Butterfly walked next to me quietly and quickly and held tight to my hand or shirt, rendering the kiddie safety strap redundant. I know that this time round she will do the same thing. The Lollipop refuses to hold my hand making the strap an absolute necessity. Unfortunately, Lollipop fights the strap and she is slowly working out how to take it off her wrist. Coming here the Butterfly sat still and quiet on my lap and did her best to sleep, this time round she will have her own chair. I am sure she will be very happy to wear earphones and watch movies; however, I’m not sure she will sleep. Lollipop is a wriggler; I can picture her climbing on and off my lap, moving between the Mauritian, the Butterfly and me when she isn’t trying to run up and down the aisles, I know without any doubt the Lollipop is not going to go to sleep very easily. In the airports between flights Butterfly sat quietly next to me looking around her, no doubt the Lollipop will be off running and yelling and screaming murder when she is stopped. I best stop talking about this; I’m starting to scare myself.

On reflection I am somewhat prepared for the worst. I shall be taking a supply of formula with me to replace meals and a drink bottle of water to keep her hydrated. At sleep times, I will attach her to me with the “kangaroo” carrier so she can’t wriggle out or fall off. I shall carry a bottle of Panado and feed it to her every four hours to help keep her calm(ish) and I will get a sedative from the doctor in case she gets out of hand. I have a plan to foil her attempts to undo her strap and I will allow her to walk about the airport while the Mauritian does all the check ins. Hopefully I have it all covered.

If not, I’m in for a memorable trip!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Catching Up With Myself


I noticed yesterday that I hadn’t posted a blog for a couple of months. I’ve been trying to work out what it is that has created this gap in my ramblings. Then I found this one...

Life certainly knows how to get away from you sometimes. After the traumatic experience of the Butterfly’s first days at school and the sheer excitement when the Mauritian began his new job I looked up and we were half way through October. So much for slowing down absorbing each day   and seeing the world through the eyes of my children.

With the official arrival of spring came the need to clean house and get out visiting or having visitors. We’ve managed to have weekends full of visitors but unfortunately the spring cleaning that this house so desperately needs got washed out. I have never seen so much rain, I was wondering if here at World’s end we were on our way to joining Atlantis. With so much rain comes “cabin fever.” There are only so many indoor games to play, only so many pictures one can draw or paint and only so many cookies mum can tolerate baking. Its hard work keeping two kids occupied during 2 weeks of holiday when it rains everyday!

However, these two weeks of rained soaked school holiday has also brought the busyness to a slow stroll and I have finally found the time to catch my breath and focus on what will need doing as we begin the last quarter of 2012.

We have celebrated fourteen years of marriage, the Lollipop is fifteen months old and the Butterfly has eight weeks left of school before the Christmas holidays. In a couple of day’s time, my lifelong friend arrives back at World’s end after a four-week visit back home. Her return marks the beginning of another period of busyness as we begin our wind down to our visit home. Up until these school holidays I have had a never ending “to do” list which I have endeavoured to cross something off it every day. I managed, mostly, but in the process, I seemed to have managed to tie myself in knots of confusion and neglected other more important tasks. By the last week of school, which was an extremely busy week for the Butterfly I was looking forward to the holidays and the chance to concentrate on what I needed to do. I also planned to ensure that both children were occupied and busy for the holidays. Yep I had it all worked out, I even made a schedule!

But, as normally happens, in my life at least, nothing goes to plan. The first few days of the holiday, it absolutely poured buckets of rain and blew icy cold gales too. So though we are well equip to endure a walk in the rain the wind just made it far too cold. So we stayed inside and very soon what indoor amusements I had so carefully planned were used up. By the Wednesday afternoon I had given up all hope of getting anything planned done, so I made myself a pot of coffee, grabbed a box of biscuits out the tin and sat down on the couch and watch “101 Dalmatians” with my girls! What an awesome time we had, just the three of us sipping out of our respective bottles or cups and polishing off the biscuits. When the sun came out later that afternoon the Butterfly asked if we could go for a walk, why not I thought it may be our only outing this holiday. So we went, happily strolling along talking about the needless things that five-year-old chatterboxes find to talk about. We popped into the grocery store for some supplies and when we left five minutes later the heavens had opened. Yet again there were sheets of rain falling, and I had left the house without any raincoats, what a silly mother! So I told the Butterfly that we would have to stay under shelter until it stopped, but the Butterfly said “But mum I love walking in the rain!” and I thought why not. So off the three of us went shrieking with delight as we were soaked through in a matter of seconds. The Butterfly had her head up facing the sky and her mouth open because she was thirsty and needed a drink of water. It was raining so hard she almost choked. The Lollipop was squealing trying desperately to catch a raindrop. Waiting to cross the road we were splashed by the passing cars; I looked like I was wearing war paint from the mud the cars churned up. By the time the rain did stop we were almost home and glad for it, by now the wind was picking up and it was getting cold.

It was while the girls were happily splashing in a hot bath warming up and I was cooking supper that I decided that whatever needed doing could wait until the new school term. For now I was going to be on holiday too! If it meant chasing bubbles in the backyard instead of making the beds then that’s what I was going to do. I was going to slow down, look at life from a lower level, and have a little fun.

So that’s what I did, though I did manage to convince the Butterfly that I would trade her help with the housework in the mornings for a game of “6 Pin Bowling” in the passage. I must be the only mother who has even played hopscotch in the rain!

Now its half way through November, the weather finally has dried up and we are back to routine. The Mauritian no longer feels like he’s learning a new job. The Lollipop is absorbing new things every moment. The Butterfly is now “playing” cricket so my Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings are sorted for the rest of the year. My lifelong friend is home and adjusting to some changes and we are counting the days until we leave World’s end for our tropical holiday. I realised in a panic that we suddenly only had six weeks until we left. I was thinking we still had so much to organise and hoping I hadn’t left too much until the last minute. So I made a time with the Mauritian when we would sit down together and plan out what needed organising and who would do it. So we sat at the dining room table all prepared and ready to make plans, only to realise we didn’t have much to do anyway. We had been so busy we didn’t even realise how much we did! Needless to say, we were now at a bit of a loss about what to do with the time we had set aside.

Now with just thirty-seven days to go before we leave I am finding myself looking for things to do to make the waiting go quicker. The spring-cleaning has started and each day my house is looking a little brighter, cleaner and less cluttered. I’ve been baking again, but that’s another blog I’ll get to one day. I am also managing to keep to my resolve and not rush about trying to do everything at once. I make sure that we are all ready well within time in the mornings so we can all spend some quality time with each other. I spend the morning playing with the Lollipop and do my chores when she is napping. Pierre comes home at lunchtime now so I sit with him and chat about our day so far instead of doing the laundry. In short I just take my time doing things; the funny thing is I seem to be getting it all done anyway.

Yep now that I have finally caught up with myself and slowed myself down things are being achieved.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Oh What a ... Morning!


There are mornings when though his eyes are open the Mauritian is still sleeping. There are mornings when the Butterfly sits staring into space playing aimlessly with her food instead of eating it. There are mornings when the Lollipop attaches herself to my leg and will not let go no matter what. Then, there are mornings when everything happens all at once. Its mornings like these that all I want to do is wake up and discovered it was all a dream, and that I don’t have monster children or a useless spouse! In fact, its mornings like these where being alone seems to be the best way to be. I look forward to the day I can roll out of bed at whatever time I want, make breakfast and coffee for one, sit in front of the TV, and take my time about everything.

Then there are those mornings when we wake up before the alarm clock or the children and the Mauritian and I can lie in and chat a bit. Plan our day together even though we will be in two different places. Drink a hot mug of coffee slowly not swallowed between chores. There are those mornings when all runs to plan and everyone is on time and chores done without any trouble.  I like those mornings and the feelings of calmness and achievement. Mornings like that create days of productivity and preparedness, which leads to readiness for the next morning and a chain of days that start well.

Then there are mornings The Mauritian has to meet a client early, so we stumbled out of bed earlier than normal. The Mauritian heads to the bathroom and I to the kitchen and the coffee supplies. By the time the Mauritian runs out the door yelling a reminder to make an apple crumble for him to take to work tomorrow breakfast is made, the accounts the housework are done. There are mornings when the Butterfly gets dressed and makes her bed before coming through for breakfast and instead of saying good morning, she says, “Mum, today is my lucky day!” There are mornings when the Lollipop calls from her bedroom at just the right time and she happily sits on her couch with her toast and tea and leaves me to carry on unhindered. There are mornings when I can sit and relax before the school run. There are mornings when the Butterfly has finished her chores and can now do as she like before the school run. There are mornings when the Lollipop is fed, clean, dressed, and playing happily in her sister’s bedroom. These are very rare but positive mornings!

Then there are my favourite mornings, like today, when we don’t just have a positive morning but a happy morning. Those times, like today, when there is laughter, singing, and fun. Those times, like today, when everything was a game. Like walking into the bathroom and the Mauritian takes great delight in throwing water at me, or tickling the Butterfly awake and been told I’ve lost my brain in my sleep. When the Lollipop does her silly dance while head banging and singing “Ha la la la la la” to the tune of “Happy birthday.” When sisters share their breakfast with each other and the furniture. When we make up silly songs about what we are doing and Papa gets it wrong because he wasn't really listening. When we all stand on the pavement in our pyjamas jumping up and down waving goodbye to the Mauritian as he leaves for work. When chores take time being done because we’re all too busy playing then we have to run to school giggling because we’re going to be late.

Ah yes indeed these mornings are my favourite, after such a good start nothing can get me down. Not even the fact that I spent the morning playing with the Lollipop until her naptime then the rest writing a blog about my morning and now I have to play catch up and get things done before the end of the school day and the start of the evening chores.

I’m too happy to care!