Feb 25

Feel the Fear and do it anyway – driving

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Originally uploaded by Zeb2007


This is my dream car – an Austin Healey.

There’s somehow become a massive gap between my love of classic cars and my absolute fear of driving.

My Mission has a section called “Fear the fear and do it anyway” which includes a few things that I find intimidating and frightening including no. 33, driving.

I passed my driving test first time when I was 18 years old but unfortunately had little chance or need to drive again until we moved to just outside Cheltenham when I was in my 30s.

Which is when I realised that not driving had become a Big Problem.

I can’t quite call it a phobia because it doesn’t seem irrational to me – I don’t feel competent, I don’t feel in control of the car, so how can it possibly be safe for me to drive?

There is a constant little voice in my head – What if you read the road signs wrong? The road markings are difficult, you’ll end up in the wrong lane! I can’t remember how to maneuver the car to park it. I can’t sense how wide the car is. Which direction, which direction?! And on and on…

The problem is the evidence that thr Fear is not entirely irrational – an early journey where I misread the traffic signals and paused, causing another driver to bump into us; my first drive in the Vectra where a wanker in a Porsche Cayenne nudged us because I didn’t exit the estate fast enough;  the time I bumped (v gently, no damage, thankfully) a car getting out of Tesco; the time my door flew open on a corner and scared me and a pedestrian shitless. And not forgetting the time I drove to Stroud; the way there the lens fell out of my glasses (I need them for driving) and the way back I got onto the wrong motorway and drove home via Bristol…

I did some refresher lessons when we moved here and was declared competent but struggled with the Vectra estate we owned at that time – I had to sit close up to the steering wheel just to reach the pedals, the clutch was a bit challenging and the dual fuel thing was confusing!

I then did some hypnotherapy which I think was quite successful in some ways. But somehow despite having got a nice shiny new Grand Scenic with a good driving position and a clutch in good condition and not even a hand brake to get jammed, a year later and I’m no further forward in my aim, which is to just be able to get into the car and drive without worry.

For a while it wasn’t quite so obvious an issue – Matt needed the car to get to work and it was a faff to drop him off/pick him up and I was working during the day so rarely needed to drive etc etc.

However, Matt can now easily take the bus into work and I’m on maternity leave and I’m missing out on more things than ever because of my fear and the lack of alternative transport.

Mostly this fear has just affected me (other than placing the burden of driving upon poor Matt) but more and more it will affect the children which seems terribly unfair.

The Fear has been preying on my mind a bit recently – perhaps I’m psychic because we just got a letter inviting Rhys to a 6-week speech therapy group that will help prepare him for school. It’ll be impossible to bus to, taxis will be prohibitively expensive, and Matt’s at work.

The obvious answer is I need to drive there. It’s not a difficult or long journey, it’s one I’ve driven in the past. I need to work how to JFDI.

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Feb 16

Sentimental claptrap

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It’s been a bit of a trying and emotional day.

Last night Meredith bit me a few times while feeding, and at one point drew blood. The fact she only has bottom teeth doesn’t stop the fangs sinking in and by goodness does it hurt. I’ve never been one for piercings.

Some women free flow milk but my let down is a bit more stubborn and it’s really hard to relax enough to let the milk flow while your palms are sweating and your toes are curled in anticipation of another chomp. In turn she gets frustrated that I’m tense and cries if I take her off (or when I screamed!) and then I worry it means she’s about to bite again…

We’ve had a couple of nice feeds this afternoon and the relief to both of us is quite palatable. Sometimes you need music to let go the feelings so I’ve had a bit of browse on YouTube and found a few tracks guaranteed to make me have cry just enough.

First, Ellie Goulding’s version of Your Song. It’s not my kind of music normally but it was the Christmas John Lewis advert for 2010 and somehow it seemed to be on the radio and TV a lot in the early months of Merri’s arrival. The line “how wonderful life is now you’re in the world” seemed ever so appropriate.

Then Vincent by Don McClean. I first heard a lousy version of this many years ago on Ally McBeal and it took a long time for me to track the song down. It’s just lovely.

Finally, the Loch Tay Boat Song. Far superior to the better known Sky Boat Song. I get quite bad bouts of homesickness for Scotland every so often and this is one of the tracks I listen to get rid of the feeling. I am hoping Meredith will have red hair as I think of her as my “nighean ruadh”.

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Feb 16

Quick Mission update

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13.  I’ve just signed up for information on the upcoming release of Olympic tickets.

We live within a few hours of London and Rhys will be 5, almost 6 that summer, old enough to retain at least a  few memories. And as London-lovers, it seems a shame not to attend such a huge event in at least some capacity.

I remember being quite unsure that hosting the Olympics was a Good Thing for London – memories of the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games fiasco came to mind – but now it’s so close, I am hopeful it will be brilliant. Talking to Matt last night about signing up for tickets and possibly visiting the Olympic Village really unleashed my excitement about 2012.

Rhys is enjoying his preschool gymnastics – because it’s part of the much larger Rowan Gymnastics Club the children have miniature gym equipment including a low beam, bar and wedge for learning to tumble.  It’s great watching the children’s faces as their teacher demonstrates cartwheels and tumbles before the class starts.

I have no expectation that Rhys will be an Olympic gymnast one day but if watching a gymnastic event or other competition in 2012 inspires him and his peers to keep active in one form or another it will be a great legacy.

100. Another six items donated away. Mostly small puzzles that we have done and won’t ever do again. There is something very satisfying about getting rid of stuff, oh yes. I should focus more on that sensation.

We rearranged the living room and dining room on Sunday, including the games pile. While there was boxes and clutter everywhere, Matt stopped to show Rhys the chess set and explain a few of the rules. Rhys looked fascinated and has asked about it since; he really likes the idea of board games even if he doesn’t have the patience for the rules yet.

Feb 11

Who says romance is dead?

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Originally uploaded by Zeb2007

Matt brough home a Bravia TV last week and has hunted down the Bravia adverts – the bouncy balls and the Play Doh bunnies in NYC.

I really want a Bravia bunny, he once had to restrain me in John Lewis Oxford Street to stop me sneaking a giant display one home. It was just sitting unwanted in a corner and looked like it needed someone to rescue it.

The bunny advert makes me cry. It’s just perfect.

It’s as romantic as we’re going to get this St Valentine’s Day because Matt has a very early start for a business trip on the 15th.

We’ve never been big celebrators of Valentine’s anyway, except the year Matt proposed. We had a lovely meal at Live Bait and then he proposed… at Farringdon tube station. On the banks of the Circle Line.

Who says romance is dead?

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Feb 9

Things I have learnt today

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Originally uploaded by Zeb2007

- That my head has never quite acknowledged that Slough and Swindon are separate places. Why, I don’t know but they have softly blurred into The Odd Place Where People I Know Go To Work.

- That a cockapoo is a cross between a cocker spaniel and a poodle. Disappointingly innocent definition.

- That Rhys’s left ear is a tad below par still, probably due to lingering catarrah from a cold, but his right ear is pretty much fine. Progress from the ENT department. Perhaps the next visit will be the last?

- That not all passengers view small talkative children as an nusiance, some of them find the neverending questions entertaining. Although I notice the amused never actually answer any of them.

- That if you tell a small child his pasta shells are the ears cut from newborn babies as a joke to entertain yourself during Yet Another Dull Meal Time, he won’t forget and will ask loudly in public the next day why you didn’t cut his ears off when he was born.

-That DemonWrangler is another person who dislikes having their tummy button touched. Yeuch!

- That eating bread just makes me hungrier than before I eat. Why? What’s that about?

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Feb 8

No. 77

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No. 77 – clutter clear and organize the kids’ bedroom. I just realised that we completed this just after Christmas, at least as far as we can until Meredith joins Rhys in their bedroom.

I tided their room today twice in a fit of  cleanliness. Once when I got up (before breakfast, just call me Superwoman) and once when R was in the bath this afternoon, after he came in from making mud pies in the garden and cleaning his toy garage that’s been left outside all winter.

That’s a lot of tidying for me  so thank goodness that the clutter clear included filling the bedroom with Ikea’s finest Trofast range. A tub for everything means that toys come out and go back to their homes without a faff. Which is just as well given how uninclined I am to housework and how much small children like pulling out as many toys as possible.

I also cleaned the bathroom and wc, cleaned and clutter cleared the living room and dining room table, swept the floors, tidied the kitchen up, bagged cat poo from the garden, and made raspberry muffins.

As ever, the sudden whoosh of domesticity was shame-fueled because we had visitors today – a neighbour and her two children for a first playdate here.

I’ve been on chatting terms with this neighbour for a good while now and invited her son and daughter to Rhys’s birthday party in the hope that we might get to know them a bit better. This felt a bit devious but her son  is the same age as Rhys, lives around the corner, has mutual friends, and may end up in the same class at school so it seemed sensible.

It was a nice afternoon and to my amazement the neighbour has invited us to another playdate which is brave given that last time Rhys left their house over my shoulder having a tantrum.

The day feels thoroughly seized, except I have failed to get my PAD yet. The camera is in reach but as I am pinned under a sleeping Merri I can safely say it won’t be an inspired shot.

Chicken and kale soup and the sofa and I’ll be done for the day.

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Feb 3

“Mummy, you made two people!”

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Originally uploaded by Zeb2007


“Mummy, you made two people” said Rhys this morning.

And a good reminder it is too that Rhys and Meredith are not just babies or preschoolers or three-nagers or irritations or frustrations or interruptions or mess makers (guess who just spilled the ice lolly bowl over?) but actual PEOPLE in the making.

I best be nice to them as one day they will be grown ups (and likely to be choosing my retirement home ).

Rhys is feeling a lot better today – not been sick for over 12 hours – and is full of the joys of spring which mostly is demonstrated by use of his tongue.

“Mummy, I love you.” (Aw! This is quite a new thing for him, before he always said like).

“Mummy, thank you for making me my sister.” (Aw, he wasn’t quite so keen on her yesterday).

“Mummy, willies would get in the way of having a baby.” (Err, yes, just a tad).

“Mummy, I behaved in the bath!” (He did, he washed his hair without ANY fuss. Maybe he should be a little poorly more often if recovery makes him this nice.)

“Mummy, look at that old DVD player on the tv!” (Wah, he means the gramophone in the library on Oconauts, lol).

“Mummy, is that avocado van for us?” (Wah, he means Ocado, lol).

He’s also running around the living room with his Superman cape on because it’s Super Hero Day.

I only wish I recovered from illness so fast.

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Feb 2

PAD January 2011 and a quick Mission update

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PAD January 2011
Originally uploaded by Zeb2007


On a more positive note, I successfully completed my first PAD month and here is the evidence.

I’m stupidly excited at having a mosaic for January 2011. I hope I’ll have at least 11 more to add to this blog and perhaps beyond.

There’s not much update on the other tasks though.

No. 25 – Well, Matt bought a copy of the book as we couldn’t sit on the library copy forever but my reading is at an all time low. I need to invest some time to this book and a few others.

No. 37 – Um yes, I need to actually work at that one. No. 60 is going fairly well though, I mostly manage six portions a day at the moment, so I suppose that’s something.

Of course, no. 86 isn’t helping no. 37 because we’ve made leftover bananas into muffins (see Rhys in the mosiac) and also banana honey cake (which is way too good to share wtih children).

No. 87 – The Onya veg bags have had several trips to the greengrocers now and damn useful they are too. Here’s what Onya Weigh look like for anyone who wants to see what they are.

And that’s pretty much me for up to the end of January and into the very start of February…

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Feb 2

February arrives

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Originally uploaded by Zeb2007


And now we’re into February and the month has started with trouble.

Rhys has a vomiting bug and is the epitomy of pathetic. The tornado of questions and bounce is marooned on the sofa dozing and puking at random intervals. Horrid.

Meanwhile, Meredith has unfortunately had her first accident.

She has grabby hands – perfect for pulling hair, tugging on clothes, twisting bottom lips, and grasping mug handles.

She grabbed my tea from the fish tank unit as I was getting up off the sofa and it scaleded her foot. She has a few horrid but thankfully small blisters that seem to be healing well and while it looks sore, her foot doesn’t seem to bother her – she’s still using both feet to scoot around the floor on her tummy.

She also has two teeth which seems pretty good by 20 weeks. Hence we are drowning in a sea of drool.

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