As well as updating No. 33, I can cross off No. 99. Last week, after a slight hiccup, I finally met up with neighbour Kay and her gorgeous little boy Reuben. And also her neighbour and beautiful daughter Charlotte. Reuben is a day younger than Meredith - and so will be in a different school year – and Charlotte is 4.5 months old.
We walked down to the health centre and had the babies weighed – Meredith is now the Devil Child as her weight was exactly 6. 66 Kg. Or 14 lb 6 oz if you prefer. She had her first trip in the buggy and seemed to enjoy it. There’s a photograph of her lying back in my sunglasses for the March Scavenger Hunt because it was a lovely *warm* spring day.
After we walked back and had a cold drink at Kay’s and a good chat about slings and real nappies and what horrors the small ones are up to. It was a lovely afternoon, and I’m sure we’ll meet up again soon. It was only a little shocking to discover how young Kay is and that I’m closer to her mother’s age (42 years old) than her own! *denial*
9. When we got back from the speech therapist last week, Merri was sound asleep so I took the opportunity to get Rhys out on his bike again. The previous attempt he refused to even put his bottom on the saddle so it was a relief that he got on and did a little peddling while I held his seat with my finger tips.
Really and truly there are only two things stopping Rhys cycling away. Confidence that he can do it – which we know he can, because he can balance, pedal and steer his balance bike beautifully. And keeping his concentration so he doesn’t wobble or cycle straight into a street lamp. Watch this space…
56. Two lovely ladies (Legless and Little Peanut for those in the know) came over to discuss books and setting up a book club. Typically, Meredith was on a rare sleep refusal jag so my participation was rather curbed but I am hoping we’ll repeat soon and have the lovely Esklisa and perhaps others next time.
75. I started to get my driver’s licence updated but met a beaurocratic nightmare online so I’m working on it. Weep.
89. I haven’t posted about this incredibly dull Mission but I can report that I am pretty much clutter clearing the table weekly. The fact the clutter is mostly redistributed into the study is another matter.
I think this picture says it all – this is Rhys in the carpark, on his way to his speech therapy group, after I drove there.
I think being able to put No. 33 in italics is possibly the hardest and most life changing thing in my whole Mission so I’m thrilled.The only reason it’s taken some time to write this update is that I’ve had a very busy week with little time for navel gazing.
The AA have kindly set up a charitable fund called Drive Confident in which they give two free lessons to help people tackle their driving woes and get back onto the road. I applied for Drive Confident after I wrote my blog post. I had to list a few things that really worried me – there wasn’t a tick box for “the whole shebang” – and the AA called me up a few days later to ask when I’d like my lessons.
I had my session with the AA’s lovely Roxanne on Saturday and to my surprise I was off and driving without any major issue. She took me around and around and around the major roundabout that I was worried about and gave me some parking practice.
I realised that, while I’ve got a long way to go in feeling comfortable driving, I don’t feel like a beginner either and we spent the lessons chatting as I drove rather than me having to concentrate on every single movement.
At the end of the lesson, Roxanne said that I was pretty much fine – I need practice to get my gear changes smoother and I need to watch out for my left side as I’m not so spatially aware of it as I might be. But she had no major concerns and my observation is good.
That afternoon I drove us back from Rhys’s dance class and was amazed to find that our car was nicer and easier to drive than the Ford I had practiced in.
On Monday I drove the kids and some friends to Evesham Country Park and tackled another minor fear too – setting up the car to be a seven-seater. Turns out the seats pop up almost like magic. Who knew?
And on Tuesday I drove Rhys to his speech therapy group. I didn’t get my driving sorted in time for his first session so we had a four-bus trip and oh the second session’s journey was much shorter and didn’t require me to be a pack horse.
I think I’m going to have a parking lesson in our own car with Roxanne and I still have a long way to go before I can really scratch No. 33 out completely and feel like a good driver. But still, I am a driver.
Some things make me go oh. Not in the nice gooey ooh sense but the oh no, my palms are starting to sweat and my stomach has butterflies.
Thinking about my “Feel the fear and do it anyway” section of my Mission has really opened my eyes to how many silly things I have become squeamish about or have even developed a downright fear of. I don’t mean the horrors of life like serious illness or bereavement, or even actual phobias, but things that most people aren’t overly concerned by.
I was once told by a yoga teacher that you carry fear and anxiety in your chest. I hate the idea of a bundle of lead cocoons weighing me down and so I wonder if confronting them in picture form could release the butterflies.
So here is my first butterfly release – the anterior fontanelle.
The what I hear you say? The soft spot at the front of a baby’s head in the first 2 years of life, the bit where there is just a membrane between the window to the brain and the big bad world. It pulses sometimes and when the baby is ill it may bulge or become sunken.
Looking closely at the fontanelle makes me feel a bit ill. To touch, it reminds me of a drum, with the skin pulled tight so to allow just enough movement to make a sound. But drums can be broken and the idea that something sharp could penetrate the brain through that thin layer is just overwhelming grotesque.
Thankfully both my children have had cradle crap, a layer of yellow yuckiness that goes somewhere to disguising exactly where their fontanelle is. I love to touch and stroke and even sniff my baby’s head just as long as I can scout around that soft spot.
I caught a fabulous blog post today on identity by StupidGirl45 – a great writer whose blog I really enjoy. Her post really made me think about my own Twitter description (wife, mother, medical writer…) and my Twitter username leglesszebra, taken from my tattoo.
I like zebras, I like their stripes – as individual as fingerprints – and their stubborn attitude.
Zebra in Swahili is punda milia – donkey stripes – and it really reflects that the animal is not a elegant thoroughbred. They are barrel shaped, can travel great distances, they can carry heavy loads and they can kick hard enough to fend off a lion. But they aren’t going to win any races against the more beautiful, graceful equids.
I think that’s not a bad description of myself? It’s one I certainly identify with and have done since I started thinking about a tattoo design over 8 years ago.
I know people will have a “tag cloud” of adjectives in their heads that they attach to “wife” and “mother” and “medical writer” so perhaps it is a bit dangerous using those words to introduce yourself online. But I hope I put a bit of the zebra into my interpretation and execution of those roles – and if I’ve been labelled dull for the description, I’ve not missed those who’ve walked away.
I have had my legless zebra for about 7 years now and looking at the pics, I’d quite like the colour touched up. But it’s still looking pretty good and, moreover, I still love it as much as I did when I first had it designed.
I have been remiss about updating in March, we’re half way through and no blog post. Doh.
So here’s a quick Mission update and a more philosophical post to follow later.
4. I’m still PADing to my surprise – I can’t say I’m anything of a photographer but I do seem to have found a new hobby. What I didn’t expect is to really enjoy the community aspect of the HPAD group – there’s a great mix of ability and styles without offputting competitiveness and there’s a lovely pool of photos to browse each day. On bleugh days there’s challenges to inspire you and the skilled photographers seem happy to help beginners. I feel really very lucky to have such an amazing community to share pictures with and learn from.
25. Book has been read and I’m trying to put the advice into practise as I can see that it does work even though I have a ridiculous way to go.
The thing that really seems to work for Rhys is the idea that rather than saying “no, you can’t fly to the moon”, you can avoid getting into an argument over the ridiculousness of the request by saying “yes, I’d like to too. And go to Mars and meet the Martians. I wish I could do that.”
My description is pants but somehow it works for things like “I want to stay and play longer” – “I wish you could too, it’s a great toy house, but Jenny needs this room to help other children and we have to catch a bus.”
56. Hopefully, illness, work and race course willing, we’ll have the first meeting of a new Cheltenham book club next week at my house. I forsee wine, olives and Kindles at the ready…
72. I’m back to work at the start of May and I should be picking up a shiny new laptop before hand so I really really do need to do this!
84. Task completed!
94. I have an idea for my Woodmancote news article and a deadline for submitting for the summer publication… Would help if Merri hadn’t chewed up the current edition though.