Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Life update: Rainbows and Conjunctivitis

I went to Paris and worked my last fashion show (for a while), ate a few cheesy baguettes, a couple of steaks, drank some very good and not so good red wine, got very wet from the rain, saw a rainbow, caught up with old friends, came down with the inevitable fashion flu which seems to plague me every season after all the stress is over and I can finally let down my guard. Of course the woman with the nasty cold sitting next to me on the Eurostar sneezing and coughing on me on the way over probably didn't help.

In no specific order after a week of the flu we've managed to: enroll Z. in preschool for the fall, sign the lease to our new house and send the deposit, sell and pack up almost everything from our house, buy our tickets for Boston (minus S. who needs to wait for his interview - which means another international flight with the little guys by myself oh boy). We've received the paperwork we needed to finish S's application and that's done. We are selling/ have sold everything we can on e-bay, to friends, colleagues, at a carboot sale last weekend... The movers are coming on Monday, we will camp for a few days in our empty house and then stay with friends for a few days and then S. will stay with friends until he gets his visa. Did I mention that M. had conjunctivitis? Thankfully as low as my immune system is these days I've managed to avoid getting it. 

I need some yin to my yang as at the moment we are full speed ahead and I'm not quite sure when we are getting off this express train for the local. Wasn't that the point of our move? 

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Pressing Pause

I tend not to do things by halves. I give myself a hard time because I feel like I could always be doing more. I’ve been given a lot of opportunity in my life it’s true, so sometimes I feel like things have been a bit too easy for me and if I did even more I’d have more opportunities. But that’s not entirely true. I do believe in making your own luck no matter how fortunate you may be in life. And I do work hard, all the time these days it seems. I’ve lost a lot of weight over the past year and it’s because of this. People say oh you look great. But I know that it’s not the healthiest way to lose weight, being worked down to the bone.

Being busy is a sickness these days. I’M SO BUSY. Is the mantra we hear over and over again. And yet everyone double books up their evenings, their weekends, days filled with unreturned emails, unanswered calls, because we’re all so busy. I’m certainly more productive when I’m busy, that’s true, I tend to answer all the emails I can, at least to say, I got it I’ll get back to you. But I’m also crabby, short tempered, exhausted and bleary eyed. It will get better I know. It’s the transition period we’re in right now and the tasks we are burdened with right now aren’t the most inspiring.

There hasn’t been a lot of time recently to sit back and reflect which is something I crave, I miss and cherish. I used to spend hours writing, listening to music, reading, dreaming. This is one reason this move will be so good for us. The countryside will be regenerative. Even if we are busy. We won’t be able to help it. 

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Newer England...

This is our new house. We've traded the rain for snow. But look at least there is sun, right, that's new. Will this be melted come April? Yes, well, at least we hope so. And I can't wait for this to be green. Let the garden planning begin...

Friday, 21 February 2014

The Tate Is Great...

Last weekend S.'s two younger sisters and nephew came for one last visit before we leave. We are leaving. We've got a house. S.'s paperwork is still pending, but we've got a place to live. We're living a little fast forward but our friends who live in the area assured us we should jump on the place sight unseen and well we jumped. Meanwhile back in London we all took a walk through Borough Market on a rainy Saturday and then went to the Tate Modern which the boys loved.

Of course they loved the art but loved to be able to run around in a big open space on a rainy London winter day even more which is why the Tate Modern is just the greatest.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Positive Discipline

Last Thanksgiving I went to my parents house in New England with the kids by myself. It was a little bit of a shock to the system. Not necessarily because I was on my own with my kids as I often am on the weekends when S. works but being on my own in my parents house both of whom have very different takes on discipline than I do. I guess I never realised the big divide between my parenting style and that of my parents until faced with it.

Its hard to suppress Z.'s curiosity and I normally don't want to, I want him to be able to discover the world around him but he has his hands in everything. And no matter how often you tell him no his curiosity sometimes gets the better of him. Mostly I'm a firm believer in keeping those things that could tempt the kids out of their way particularly when they are so young and have little to no self-control but the whole of my parent's house I'm afraid is a huge temptation. So there were many time outs during our trip, more so maybe than I would have had in my own house because no matter how hard I was on Z. I always got the sense that my parents thought I was being soft. Which I suppose I shouldn't have cared but of course you look to your parents for approval no matter what age you are.

Before I had children I had hard and fast rules of things I was and wasn't going to do as a parent. They weren't going to watch TV. No pacifiers. No compromises NO is NO. Those kids who have meltdowns in the supermarket, not my kid. My kid wouldn't get a treat after dinner if he hits his friend. I will always keep my promises and never bribe. I was probably pretty self-righteous in all the things I would and wouldn't do as parent as I watched my brother, my friends, acquaintances, strangers navigate the various stages of parenthood with their kids with their unique strengths and weaknesses.

Cut to three miscarriages and two kids back to back later and well... My kids watch TV - although we try to limit it. My younger son still uses a pacifier, my older son thankfully never got into the pacifier. I compromise sometimes because life is full of compromises. No does mean no of course but there are shades of grey. I try not to bribe but when Z. was smaller giving a box of raisins as an incentive to leave the park to avoid a meltdown just seemed like a good distraction not a bribe and he's definitely not spoiled because of it and doesn't rely on a snack to leave an activity anymore.

One of my friends who is without kids and isn't sure she even wants them asked me if I wanted more. She paid S. and I a really lovely compliment she said, you should have more because you both seem like a natural parents. I was dumbfounded. I said I think that we look comfortable around kids because we're used to them but I sometimes feel like a neurotic idiot when it comes to whether we are doing the RIGHT thing with our parenting choices.

I think that the most important part of parenting which is something I didn't think much of before I had kids is to understand the developmental stages your child is in and parent according to that stage. Our neighbour is an early years educator and often gives me books on toddler development which is so helpful, its often a big eye opener. It's impossible for your kid to do certain tasks you ask of them if they haven't arrived there developmentally. And the thing with toddlers is that they are such good little parrots you think that they know what they are saying but most of the time they are just imitating you and have no idea what they're doing or are learning as they go. On the other hand there is a fine line between letting your child be a child and letting him walk all over you.

A friend suggested 1-2-3 Magic which I'm going to try. I'm also a bit interested in Positive Discipline books. I think my parents and my husband's parents did a great job of raising their kids. But the generational divide is huge and so it's hard for me to relate to a lot of techniques that they used with raising us. The world was different then too. So we take a bit from here a bit from there, a word of advice from our moms, our health care providers, our siblings, friends and neighbours, dr. internet and well parenting books, why not, my mom had Dr. Spock...

Monday, 27 January 2014

One and Two...

So, life is whizzing by us at lightening speed. My baby, the baby, our baby is now 14 months and he's walking and trying out words, he's mimicking us all, testing, laughing, climbing, throwing balls, riding his motorcycle rocker. Following his brother to the ends of the earth. And his mama. He's a big mama's boy although he loves his papa very much too.

Z. is two and a half now. He looks like he's five. He's very tall and capable. Almost too capable. We need to constantly remind ourselves and others that he's only 2 1/2 and while he seems like he knows what he's doing he doesn't always. He's starting to potty train which is unchartered territory - isn't it all. Rookie mom move yesterday, I didn't empty the potty quick enough and the baby ended up dumping pee all over himself and on the floor, lovely. Hot bath for all!

We try our best with these boys. Of course we do. They constantly surprise us, enlighten us, frustrate us, teach us everyday about ourselves and how we need to do better and you can never take anything at face value. Last night as I put the boys to bed M. with a bottle and Z. with a sippy cup of milk. I turned to start to read their bedtime book and the baby started bawling. I looked over at him and he had milk all over his face. At first I thought he had spilled it on himself from the bottle but it was still in his mouth. So I asked Z. what happened did you spit milk at M.? And he said yes, I did. And I said why would you do that? Completely mortified that he would spit warm milk all over the face of his brother. And he said because he likes it. He got a time out, no bedtime milk and no bedtime story. 

It turns out that a few days before S. was taking a bath with the boys and they were taking turns spitting water from their mouths at each other. For a 2 1/2 year old who is still learning everything about the world its hard to find the difference between playing a bath game and spitting your milk in your brothers face right before going to bed. Another lesson for us all learned.