Saturday, 27 August 2011

10 Things I Love About My Son

After the last couple of miserable posts thought it was time for a more positive one: 10 Things I Love About My Son

10 - that he calls fish 'pish' *snigger*
9 - that he likes to cross at the green man and makes me do it in imaginative play
8 - how he talks to Lotté - in a special "you are smaller than me" cute voice
7 - the way he pretends to read
6 - how much he loves the sea and will strip down naked to go running into it (and then run away again when too cold)
5 - that I can 'sometimes' still control him by saying his name - i.e. he is doing something wrong and I say in a stern voice "Callum" and he stops :o)
4 - he loves cleaning and tidying (enjoying it while it lasts)
3 - that he loves to 'dink' (sing) and does it (badly) all the time - and even more, that it is his own little song rather than anything I recognise
2 - he spontaneously gives me kisses and cuddles (particularly when it matters in front of Health Visitors)
1 - he is polite and is good at saying his 'please' and 'thank you's (I've told him, he can grow up to be a rotten child as long as he continues to say his please and thank yous)

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Is the bar open yet?

So, life as a SAHM!!!! As time goes on, the more I’m realising I’m not cut out for this!! I feel a failure!! For god sake, I’ve only got ONE child and he is probably pretty good compared to some. So why can’t I cope???

The problem being is I like nice tidy finishes and no straggling frayed edges. Moving house with a toddler and a husband that works long hours and bloody hard equals....straggling frayed edges. What’s worse is, when there are such straggling frayed edges, I get irrational....I hate feeling irrational and then looking backat it later when everything has calmed down a bit I’m ashamed of the person I was and how I behaved.

So these frayed edges! We move house and there are boxes to unpack. The boxes get unpacked slowly because of lack of storage/furniture (and a poorly hubby). Just as the boxes get unpacked, I go and collect the loft contents from our old house and refill the newly created ‘space’. I feel claustrophobic once more!

In addition, I need to update companies with our change of address and inform utilities companies that we are closing our account or opening a new one etc. Have you tried making a 25-30 minute telephone call (this is an average time considering the inevitable hold time and then the scripted call you need to go through – it can sometimes be less sometimes longer) with a demanding toddler that gets bored after 5 minutes (if you are lucky) of doing one activity – that includes CBeebies! Not to mention that the filing and folders are all still in boxes everywhere and certain companies (Bank) make it nigh on impossible to make such a simple change.

I have a house to keep clean around all this.

I have friends to make and roots to grow too – else I might turn into a hermit, and put Callum up for sale to the highest bidder on eBay (or just Freecycle him if it’s been a particularly hard day!).

I NEEEEEEED a haircut – and removal of hair from some certain other areas too!!!

This is me: I like to find a routine and stick to it until I know where I can break it...then I rebel because I hate routines (I’m a Gemini through and through (shhh it Stuart, I’m NOT a Cancerean!!)). Right now, I don’t have a routine. I’m in a new house in a new town (and County) and, the last time I was a Stay At Home Mum, Callum wasn’t nearly as hyperactive as he is now.
When I was working, Callum was at nursery where he had opportunity to run off his energy and be as hyperactive to his heart’s content. I picked him up and, except the dreaded falling asleep in the car on the way home super tantrums from time to time, I could go home, keep Callum entertained while still manage to do a couple of jobs. We had fun. We liked each other. Well most of the time. Do you remember, I even got to run to nursery for a while? (*dreams*) I feel a million miles away from that now.

I realised I had to change my way of thinking. To feel a little more at ease with the ‘fringed edges’, all is well as long as I feel like I’m making progress through the jobs. I’m a morning person and I follow the philosophy (if that’s the right word) that you can’t go out to play until you have done your chores. So, I get up and do my chores while I’m motivated, and then once they are done I go out to play. Callum doesn’t work like this! He needs to play first to run off the energy then he can be manipulated to play with his toys in his room while I get jobs done...until he realises I’m mopping the floor where he insists on helping whilst walking dirty footprints all across newly mopped floor!! This is a really hard concept for me to accept but it does actually work. The play then work concept not the mopping of the floor!!

This is fine, when the day’s chores allow for this. But some mornings I do have to do jobs first before play. I decided one particular day, knowing already by Callum’s grumpy morning mood he wasn’t going to play ball, that I’d tackle it with a kind of ‘reward chart’ for the day. Lotté had a vet appointment at 10.40am. I was a little slow to get up in the morning admittedly but needed to get Callum dressed, fed and out the door in plenty of time to walk the 5 minutes to the vet (knowing that an argument along the way could slow the whole journey down to 15 minutes). A later job included a trip to the tip to drop off old paint cans. Near the tip is a lovely park with a water splash area. I thought, hey I can make this a reward chart! I drew pictures to represent each of the tasks Callum needed to complete and he got a sticker for when he completed them. If he completed all of them, we got to go to the park. It looked like this:

Eat Breakfast > Get Dressed > Walk to Vet > Eat Lunch > Go to park


So, eat breakfast...he started off enthusiastically when he realised the reward and there were stickers involved. I’ve found myself more and more often feeding Callum recently. He is more than capable of feeding himself and has been so from about aged 1. Recognising that this is a bad habit, I really want him to start feeding himself again. There was a bit of a fight but we got there.

The next task was getting dressed...more arguments, particularly around cleaning teeth and it took longer than I would have liked but, again, we got there, and still with about 10 minutes to spare before we had to leave (going for 10.20am). By the time I get Lotté in her carrier and Callum and I shoed and with coats it’s time to go. Callum....shock horror....walks all the way to the Vet without complaint. He asks to go for a wee (after already having 1 wee accident that morning). Then after the vet trip he walks back again, only asking a couple of times for a ‘cuggle’ but accepting when I say no I can’t because I am carrying Lotté.

3 stickers...we are on a roll!

Next, time for lunch. Callum is now repeating the mantra “after lunch, go to park, ”.Callum has a wee accident, I take him to the toilet and ask him if he needs a poo, to which he declines. He then poos his pants immediately after (GRRRRRRRR). We sit down to lunch eating what he has asked for, jacket potato and beans, and he has one mouthful then wonders off. He won’t sit down to eat his lunch just continues to play and mess around refusing to eat anything no matter how many times I remind him of the reward chart and stickers and the park. I find myself begging, pleading, threatening no birthday as he “isn’t ready to turn three and become a big boy”, nope he won’t eat. I have a little strop myself and say “if he reaches the top of the stairs that’s it, no sticker and no park! Sure enough, he ignores me laughing and steps over the last step and into his room. I then go down and realise that his bowl does look rather full and this must be quite intimidating for a little boy. I get another bowl out and ask him to tell me how much he is happy to eat. We separate the bowls and he goes back to searching for the Thomas (the Tank Engine) at the bottom of the bowl by eating his way through....success! Only taking an hour longer than I wanted.

Anyway, eventually we get out of the house, to the tip and on to the park...just to find the splash park is closed – ho hum! At least he had fun at the park.

It’s all just so draining. By the end of each day I am exhausted. I’m sure there must be more to life than a constant battle with my 3 year old (nearly) and without the constant thoughts in the back of my head about all the untidy ‘edges’ that are refusing to stay hidden under the sofa!
So, how am I getting by? With wine! I don’t know how people do this all the time and are not all raging alcoholics...and like I said, I only have one monster...I mean child!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

BBB Part 2

So, Part 2!

Stuart had the first 3 days off work to move in (so 5 days with the weekend on the end). We were making slow progress because of two things, keeping Callum preoccupied at the same time as unpacking was 'challenging' and it was clear that we didn't have enough furniture for all our belongings.

We moved on the Wednesday when I focused on getting Callum's room ready as soon as possible to help him feel settled. No way were we cooking on our first night so we headed to see just how close we were to the beach. Less than 10 mins walk to the clifftop! We found a lovely, cool and trendy hotel with a pool outside. It was just like being on holiday. The restaurant was gorgeous in black, silver and pink. The pool was open to the public during the day (as long as you are buying from the bar). Very exciting! Had to keep reminding ourselves that we weren't on holiday but this is where we live now. Still struggling to get this to sink in!

On the Thursday my Mum kindly popped over to distract Callum while we unpacked and Stuart left late morning/midday to collect Lotté. In that time, I got the kitchen unpacked and even managed to clean the kitchen floor. I was rather proud of the progress with the kitchen. I tried to move on to our bedroom. I managed half of our clothes and the shoes but came to a stop when I ran out of space. I went downstairs and looked at cardboard mountain in our lounge. With no where to put any of it, unpacking was stalled.

Friday, we went on a furniture hunt. There were a number of furniture shops in Boscombe which we worked our way through. We found a 2 seater sofa bed in Barnardos but no luck on:

  • Shelving unit for files and books
  • Dressing table
  • Chest of drawers
  • Wooden chest or similar for games, craft bits etc (low in the priority list)
  • Dining table and chairs (least of our priorities)
So, after scouring the shops of Boscombe all day, we eventually admitted defeat and accepted the inevitable. A trip to Ikea was in order. So, at about 4pm on Friday afternoon, we headed to Southampton. Meat balls!!!!

On rather a full belly of meat balls (for me) and fish and chips (for Stuart and Callum), we tackled Ikea and won! We came away with the top three items on our priority list and an extra of a laundry 'box'. Yay!

When I say 'came away with', delivery was arranged for the Monday.

That meant, Saturday we could get to explore our new town. The Beach was a must! And when at Bournemouth beach, lunch at Harry Ramsden's is compulsory! Well for our first lunch anyway. After lunch, we had a play on the beach and a paddle in the sea before heading through Square Gardens to the town. Finally taking a walk home the scenic route.

Rather than a day by day account, I will speed through the rest.

The next week Stuart was back at work. I spent my time back at the old house cleaning with mum on the Tuesday and Callum got to enjoy a day back at his old nursery, playing with his best friend who was ecstatic to see him.Was soooo cute to see.

Thursday, crazily, I had an interview. A very hard, grueling 2.5 hours of interview which included a presentation about how I would tackle an IT Project roll out, a 10 minute lesson on Google Maps, followed by a grilling from the panel of 3. I was shattered by the end of it.

Unfortunately, Thursday was also day 2 of Stuart coming down with Tonsillitis. After struggling through Wednesday at work, he had to take the Thursday off spending it all in bed (along with the Friday and some of today (Saturday)). My mum had come to look after Callum for me for the day so I could prep for the interview and then of course while I was there.

Having managed to get the chest of drawers put together Monday night, furniture building came to a halt because of Stuart feeling so rough so, once more, unpacking had stalled.

As for me, and being a SAHM, its had its challenges. It has been soooo frustrating trying to get stuff done, whether it be unpacking or just trying to get our bills and change of addresses sorted out, with Callum demanding my attention. As I said in my last blog, Callum has been quite hyperactive since being here. If he doesn't get outside to burn off some energy, he drives me crazy and gets quite naughty at times. So, as absolutely crazy as this may sound, I've had to go to the beach but really not wanted to. I hate having things hanging over me unfinished - I'm a completer-finisher. I just want everything important finished so we can get on with life. I can't do that while at the beach but can't do it at home with Callum demanding attention. Plus, I'm exhausted! I need to find work again so I can have a break! (An old cliché but a true one!)

In all honesty, I am sure I will settle into being a SAHM in time. Once the unpacking is done and the bills all set up and all our addresses changed, I'll feel happy and can concentrate on Callum. I am hoping to get Callum into nursery for at 1.5 days from mid-September so I'll be able to save the house cleaning to those days, allowing me to enjoy the time with Callum for the rest of the week.

I am already making plans with friends that are also SAHM's or work part time etc.

Our friends are all biting at the bit when they can come visit too. So can honestly see us being fully booked up from now until Christmas. I wont have time to work! My only concern is for my sanity. I REALLY enjoyed finding a bit of me again when I went back to work. A life away from children with grown up conversations again - OK, fair enough, who am I kidding. I never had grown up conversations, that was a lie. But even that, having childish conversations with other adults that didn't involve children, meant the world to me. Does that make sense?

I have a plan to join a drama group or similar once we are more settled so hopefully that will help break the monotony of parenthood. And then I can stop being an 'angry mum' and start being a balanced individual...I can dream. Miracles do happen once in a while!

In the meantime, I shall drink wine to blank out the days I spend cleaning up poo - both Callum's and the cats!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Becoming Beach Bums

So here we are! In sunny Bournemouth - and thankfully, it has been more sunny/hot than not since we have been here so definitely moved at the right time.

So far, Callum is loving it! Can't understand why....?

The move:

About a week before we are due to move the news announcement is made that the A3 (Hindhead) Tunnel is due to open on none other than the day we are scheduled to move - THEY ARE OPENING THE TUNNEL FOR US! It may surprise you to hear that I was more excited by the opening of the tunnel than I was the move (to be fair, as excited as Stuart was about the move, I think the tunnel opening was a very close second for him).

Well, the day of the move, we took Callum to nursery as normal. My parents turned up shortly after and we frantically packed and loaded stressing about whether we would get there in one or two loads and if it was going to be two whether we would get the first load on in time.

Then we found ourselves sitting around drinking tea with our home packed in the back of a lorry waiting for the tunnel to open at...erm...midday! We eventually left to pick up Callum around 1pm. Problem being...No Lotté!!! She had been sitting in the back garden on a garden chair for the whole morning like nothing was up. She had a cheeky sniff of the lorry at one point but other than that, no worry. Then typically, when we come to leave, she is no where to be seen. We call her with our voices, my mum's very high pitch (only dogs...and cats...can hear it), just for my cat voice, with treats being shaken. We even cooked her fish fingers!!! And still she doesn't come! So, with a heavy heart, and pleads to our friends/neighbours to look for her later, we leave our old house without her. Stuart and I picked up Callum then headed back to the house to check one last time Lotté wasn't about. I explained to Callum again that we were saying goodbye to this house and immediately, without hesitation, he started saying and waving goodbye to the house. Thinking about the long journey ahead, I thought it best to try to take Callum to the toilet. So we went in showing that all the rooms were empty but as we got to his room, he didn't want to go in. Not sure if he thought I wanted to take him to bed or we were going to leave him in there but when I opened the door and he saw the furniture was gone, he was happy to say goodbye.

The tunnel was GREAT! I'll shall say no more!

We arrive at our new house in Bournemouth and start unloading, and squeezing, and unloading, and we managed to get a 3 bedroom house into a 2 bedroom one I still don't know but lets just say, while I'm writing this, there is behind me, still, about 1/3rd of the room that is in boxes!

It was obvious, we were lacking in storage furniture! (I'll get to that next post)

So, Callum is very excited with his room, with being near the beach, being in Bournemouth. In fact, he has been hyperactive since being here. Its amazing, actually, how well he has settled and adapted to Bournemouth life (who wouldn't when they get taken to the beach 6 days out of 7).

Oh, and for those who are worried, Lotte turned up later that evening when my friend/neighbour went to look for her, sitting back where she was all that day, on the garden chair like nothing had happened. Stuart went to collect her the next day and she seems to be settling in too. Early days still as we aren't letting her out (except the 2 sneaky escapes she has made) but she seems to be taking it in her stride.

Seeing how long this post is and how well the rosé I'm drinking right now is going down, I'm going to write this in two parts.

Part 2 to continue shortly! With how I'm adapting to being a Stay At Home Mum ("SAHM"), how we are managing to squeeze into our new home, Stuart's highs and lows, more of my rambles, moans, etc.

Keep watching....