Project Awesome

Making my life more awesome

Fun day? Apparently not.

Yet another reason why it still feels better to parent with someone else…  Today I took Big Girl and Small Girl to a fun day at our local park.  They had ice-cream.  They bounced on a bouncy castle.  They saw animals in the finally-populated new aviary. They saw reptiles at a petting zoo.  They watched a dog show.  They saw birds of prey.  They heard a band.  They made a bird-feeder.  Sounds like a good day?  Big Girl had a tantrum because she didn’t like what we won on the chocolate tombola.  On the way home I asked her what her favourite thing had been at the fun day. ‘Nothing’.  I probed a little further. ‘I didn’t like nothing.’  She hasn’t grasped the concept of a double-negative, so I can only assume she thinks she didn’t have fun.  Meanwhile, Small Girl cried all the way home and refused to walk, so I had to carry her while trying not to draw attention to the fact that she was being carried, or else Big Girl would also want to be carried.

Days out with children usually end in tears.  It’s not a sign of a failed day out, just some tired children.  But it would be nice sometimes to have someone to remind me about the fun bits and to help me believe it’s worth the effort of taking them out, rather than just leaving them in front of the tv watching endless episodes of Peppa Pig.

Oh, and to have someone to share the carrying-small-children with, of course…

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A load of rubbish

I forgot to put my black bin* out on Friday.  Small Girl had chicken pox (I don’t want to talk about it) and then fell head-first off the spare bed (I *really* don’t want to talk about it) and in the resulting hecticness, I just forgot.  Unfortunately, my black bin is almost full.  And someone has stolen my brown bin.  So I have nowhere to put my rubbish.

I had thought that I could use this opportunity to reflect on my environmental impact, to try to reduce the amount of rubbish I produce, to perhaps create some kind of artwork which would reflect on the effects of our consumer lifestyle.

But what I’m actually doing is collecting my rubbish into carrier bags, taking it out with me and casually sliding it into litter bins as I pass.  I’m pretty sure this is illegal but I don’t have many options other than storing it all in boxes in my cellar or chucking it over the back fence and then being fined for flytipping.  Or freezing it.  I could put it all in my freezer… Clearly the possibilities are limitless.  In future I could just remember to put my bin out in time.

 

*For international readers: most councils in the UK now run a complicated bin collection system to encourage recycling.  Our local system runs as follows: a black bin, for general rubbish, which is emptied fortnightly. A green bin for glass, tins and recyclable plastic, which is emptied fortnightly in the weeks the black bin isn’t collected.  A brown bin for food and garden waste, which is emptied weekly. And a blue bin for paper, which is emptied tri-weekly.

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Doctor in the house

I didn’t watch Doctor Who as a child because it was TOO SCARY.  And then, despite my love of sci-fi and fantasy stuff, for some reason I never watched it when they made the new versions, probably thinking it would still be TOO SCARY.  I am easily frightened and I have nightmares – a few nights ago I woke up to find myself scrabbling at my bedroom wall gasping “help! help!” and believing I was being chased by rabbits, and the only cause I can think of is my daughters’ obsessive watching of ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’ over Easter.  So I am understandably cautious about what I watch.

However, at Christmas my sister made us all watch the Doctor Who Christmas special – set in Victorian London with animated and dangerous snowmen who appeared from nowhere, a cute and quirky doctor and an intelligent and independent assistant – I was hooked.  I waited impatiently for it to return to tv.  And that wasn’t enough, so this weekend I have binge-watched the first series, with Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper, on Netflix.  Binge-watching Doctor Who while sewing appears to be my new favourite way to spend a weekend.  Oh, with an evening inventing appalling cocktails with a friend – I need to speak to other people at some point.

And I love it.  Doctor Who makes me believe: believe that anything can happen; that there is a universe of possibilities out there; that good will always win.  It gives me hope.  It makes me laugh. It makes me cry (that episode where she meets her dad? Bawling). I think I’m in love. But I’m not watching the one with the weeping angels.

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Sewing, interrupted

My best friend and I have been planning this weekend for a while.  She turned up yesterday with her sewing machine.  I had limes, mint and rum as well as raspberry vodka, archers, and soda water.  Drinking and sewing and a whole weekend with my very best friend – what more could we want?

A son with a (minor) head injury, apparently.  Fortunately the phone call came after we’d started sewing but before we’d started on the cocktails, so we quickly ate dinner and threw everything back in her car and home she went.

I’m disappointed but we can reschedule.  I spent the rest of the evening sewing while watching The Great British Sewing Bee and then Doctor Who on iPlayer.  I’m making a dress.  It’s a bit of a challenge because my waist and boobs are two sizes bigger than my shoulders and hips.  So I’ve had to adjust the pattern and make a toile.  This is completely different to a toilet.  It’s a practice version, put together quickly, to check the sizing.  Granted, it means you won’t waste your time putting together a piece of clothing which doesn’t actually fit, but it feels like a huge amount of work for nothing.  The temptation is to give up and go and do something which is likely to be finished this decade, rather than stretching off into the future to be passed down to my grandchildren to be finished (I’m not joking.  I started knitting a blanket for my nephew.  He is now 5.  I failed to finish it for Big Girl and had no hope of finishing it for Small Girl.  And if I can’t manage to knit a blanket for my own children, there is no hope of finishing it for anyone else’s).

So I’m not thinking about putting together the dress, or finishing it, or wearing it.  I am thinking about each tiny step, so I can get some sense of achievement.  I am thinking about tracing the pattern.  I’ve just finished cutting the pattern out.  My brain feels as if it has been trampled by a herd of wombats, trying to work out all the implications of moving 3cm of dress from the hem of the skirt to the waistband (short legs, long back – it’s a family curse).  But I’m quite proud of myself.  Well, as proud as I’m willing to be before the dress is finished…

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You’re right, I’m never happy. But thank you for asking.

Knowing, as I do, lots of Christians, my facebook news feed over the weekend was filled with status updates along the lines of ‘it’s Friday… But Sunday’s coming!’.  For me, this past weekend has been ‘it’s Saturday, but Tuesday’s coming’.  I have crawled through my life, just holding out for Tuesday.  Every single activity has been an almost inhuman effort.  I have been irritable with my children.  I have pissed off my family with my grumpiness.  Getting up has been hard.  I can’t think past the end of each day or plan for the next one.

I have never felt like this before about handing my children over to Ex-Husband.  Not that I was looking forward to it, or wanted to be without them. But I craved it, like the longing for a cup of tea during a hectic day (yes, I am getting old).  Ex-Husband has been on holiday over Easter, so I had them for ten solid days, with small breaks to go into work to do my currently-busy-and-stressful-job and then rush home again and pick up the children.  Oh, and Small Girl has been teething, or poorly, or just plain clingy.  So most nights I was up with her three times in the night.  And Big Girl has started night terrors – not badly, but it’s not fun.  So I was exhausted and desperate for just a little time with no demands on me.  Oh, and some sleep.

We went to Ikea for a coffee morning.  Ex-Husband picked the girls up.  And it *was* really nice to sit and chat without worrying about Small Girl escaping like a ninja from the play area (she has done this a couple of times recently.  It starts with noticing that she isn’t where I thought she was.  Then I look around the play area, then the restaurant, then into the toilets, the shop, the childrens’ area, the bit by the lift.  And then back to the play area.  First I wonder where she is, where she has wandered off to.  And then, suddenly, I wonder if someone has taken her, and there is a fear like nothing else, and I can see a whole life ahead of me coloured by the absence of Small Girl, and no idea how I would explain this to her father.  And then, suddenly, she is found and I pick her up and just hold her and hold her).  And then I wander round Ikea marvelling at the experience of looking at things I am interested in without also trying to stop Big Girl and Small Girl picking up everything in sight while running in two different directions or lying on the floor and screaming.

And then that feeling creeps up on me.  You had three bags of shopping and now you only have two: which shop did you leave the third in? You came here to do something: what was it? Where is your handbag? You were just going to say something but you can’t remember what.  That nagging sensation of something missing, something forgotten, but you can’t quite put your finger on it.

And every so often, even when I’m going out, I’m having fun, I’m enjoying myself, I’m being purposeful and achieving things, I am plunged into icy water; my breath is taken away from me.  My children are not here and I feel desolate.

I miss them desperately. Amidst the opportunity to have an evening out with friends, or eat my dinner at my own pace without sharing, or make something, or sleep all night, I wish my children were here.  But the crawling, crawling through life on no sleep and no brain: I’m not sure I can live with that either.

No, I’m never satisfied.  But Thursday’s coming, and so are my children.

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