Sunday, April 29, 2007

In the meantime...

I promise to post something of substance soon (it has been a great week-end and I would love to get the twinny round robin going) but in the meantime, here is a little video of Thomas and Nathan teasing each other in the garden :-)

It's a little long but I haven't had a chance to edit it yet. Let me know what you think :-)


Friday, April 27, 2007

The proper post...

Yesterday I took a day off work so that I could take the boys through to the hospital for their follow up audiology appointment. I was blissfully unaware that there was a fairly high chance that one or both of the boys would have some trouble hearing high or low frequencies but our luck is holding and they both passed with flying colours.

After the appointment I popped in to see the sonography department and bumped into a couple of the senior staff members that had taken care of me through the last month. It was so lovely to see them and I was quite choked up that they remembered all of us by name (especially as it is a very busy department). When then continued onto the NICU unit in the hope that we would find some of our favourites on duty but sadly none of them were.

I find the NICU quite strange now because we're no longer 'family'. In the weeks following the birth of the boys when I was there 17 hours a day I knew everyone and was made to feel so welcome that I honestly believed that these people would always play a part in the boys lives. Seeing the staff yesterday though brought home how scary the NICU is. Perhaps it was that I didn't want to see (or maybe it was the morphine/adrenalin after the section) but I found it a much more unnerving place than when the boys were actually patients.

Please don't get me wrong I am forever grateful for the fantastic treatment that we had. The fact that we felt like family is all down to the incredible level of care that the NICU nurses gave it's just that I find it hard to think back at how frail they were and that ward is full of reminders.

It felt good to walk away from the hospital having had the last appointment relating to the boys premature arrival and believe me I know how lucky I am that this is the case.


My first one...

This isn't the main post for today, but it is so cute that I couldn't resist. Especially after this appeared which is just to adorable....

I hope that it works!


***edited to add that this will be entered into Stacey's fab movie idea.... not sure if I'm allowed to enter more than once but if I can then I will.

I know that it's cheating but...

I can't resist the opportunity for a prize (I'm a marketers dream!)

Mom-101 also presents a lovely site called 'Cool Mom Picks' and she is running a competition at the moment.

Now I know my chances are slim, plus there is the whole living on another continent thing but maybe I'll be lucky and she'll take pity on my poor unamerican soul :-)

If you want to take part (although if you do doesn't that lesson my chances of WINNING?) please pop on over to Mom-101 for instructions.


p.s. a real post will be here today I promise

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Another fab idea stolen from another....

Kelly has listed a song that she dearly loves. Hopefully she won't mind if I do the same. This song never fails to lift my spirits even on the darkest, pms saturated, kid overloaded days;

Re: Willie Mason Oxygen

I wanna be better than oxygen
So you can breathe when you're drowning and weak in the knees
I wanna speak louder than Ritalin
For all the children who think that they've got a disease
I wanna be cooler than t.v.
For all the kids that are wondering what they are going to be
We can be stronger than bombs
If you're singing along and you know that you really believe
We can be richer than industry
As long as we know that there's things that we don't really need
We can speak louder than ignorance
Cause we speak in silence every time our eyes meet.

On and on, and on, and on it goes
The world it just keeps spinning
Until i'm dizzy, time to breathe
So close my eyes and start again anew.

I wanna see through all the lies of society
To the reality, happiness is at stake
I wanna hold up my head with dignity
Proud of a life where to give means more than to take
I wan't to live beyond the modern mentality
Where paper is all that you're really taught to create
Do you remember the forgotten America?
Justice, equality, freedom to every race?
Just need to get past all the lies and hypocrisy
Make up and hair to the truth behind every face
That look around to all the people you see,
How many of them are happy and free?
I know it sounds like a dream
But it's the only thing that can get me to sleep at night
I know it's hard to believe
But it's easy to see that something here isn't right
I know the future looks dark
But it's there that the kids of today must carry the light.

On and on, and on, and on it goes
The world it just keeps spinning
Until i'm dizzy, time to breathe
So close my eyes and start again anew.

If i'm afraid to catch a dream
I weave your baskets and i'll float them down the river stream
Each one i weave with words i speak to carry love to your relief.

I wanna be better than oxygen
So you can breathe when you're drowning and weak in the knees
I wanna speak louder than Ritalin
For all the children who think that they've got a disease
I wanna be cooler than t.v.
For all the kids that are wondering what they are going to be
We can be stronger than bombs
If you're singing along and you know that you really believe
We can be richer than industry
As long as we know that there's things that we don't really need
We can speak louder than ignorance
Cause we speak in silence every time our eyes meet.

On and on, and on, and on it goes
The world it just keeps spinning
Until i'm dizzy, time to breathe
So close my eyes and start again anew


aaahhh isn't that better? It just sounds like summer :-)


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The mysterious fairy..

Our postman decided to bring the post early yesterday so we missed him and in true style there was a package, which was too big to fit through our post box. This is rather annoying because he usually comes 30 minutes later and there is always someone at home in the afternoon. Instead he then takes the package all the way back to the main post depot which is miles away from home and work (this despite there being a post office about a block up the road from my house).

When I dropped the kids off with my sister she hands me the package card so that I can go and collect it. I am so excited by the prospect of a new package because I wasn't expecting anything which could only be good news right?

So off I toddle, negotiating the extremely tight country lanes so that I can avoid the peak hour traffic (N.Wales is very pretty in the spring and summer so the beauty is not wasted) and eventually I make it to the post office and collect my mysterious gift. It's in a box! Wrapped in brown paper! Addressed to me! (and yes the exclamation is necessary how else will you measure the level of my excitement?) I get in the car and rip the paper off to reveal a Fly London shoe box (mmmmmm shoes...) and lo' and behold but aren't there the cutest pair of wedge sandals in the box? In my size! I wipe the drool on my sleeve and search further for some inkling of the sender but find nothing!

I take my mysterious present home and proudly display them for my sister (she thinks they're ok but not her style) and the boys (clearly they are my children because they definitely approve as is evident by the gleeful hugs and kisses that each shoe received[1]) and finally for the RO when he gets home.

He eyed the package suspiciously and asked who they were from, then raised both eyebrows when I explained that I didn't know who had sent them[2]. We ran through our rather small list of friends and close acquaintances slowly whittling them down to a select few who would know:
a) Our address
b) My shoe size
c) Most importantly, my taste in shoes

Fortunately it turns out that my best friend had seen them, liked them, knew I would like them and so he packaged them up and sent them to me because thats what best friends do and it's only one of the many reasons that we love them. The RO is ever thankful that we found the mysterious sender as he was halfway to convincing himself that I had some bizarre stalker who was feeding my shoe fetish[3].

So behold... the shoes ain't they sweet :-)

[1] Yes, I am a terrible mother. My children LOVE shoes and so I let them eat shoes all the time. So far they haven't fallen ill or anything horrid so I guess we're walking in clean-ish places.
[2] This isn't the first time something weird like this has happened. Over Christmas the boys received a present from someone who we all thought was our cousin (same name) but it turns out it wasn't from her and we don't know any other Kim. Very weird!
[3] If I had to have a stalker (cause lets face it they're generally a little creepy) it would be pretty cool if they continued sending really fab shoes without ever expecting anything else in return.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Mission Monday: A challenge

This mum regularly challenges her readers on a Monday. Today she has come up with a real challenge, one that most of us are probably pretty rubbish at. The idea is to list 5-10 things that I like about myself so here goes......

  1. I have a very good sense of humour
  2. I am loyal and dedicated to my friends and family
  3. I am brutally honest but have learned tact as well
  4. I am pretty competent at most things even if I'm not great at any one thing
  5. I am a far better mother and wife than I ever thought possible
Now it's your turn, please play along and update the comments once you have so that I can come and agree with you :-)


For Heather

I know that most of you (all 3!) have already heard about this and you've probably already taken part but in case you haven't please go here (or click on the picture) and read about this wonderful woman, Heather.

If you can, spare her a thought and a £/$.

Thanks in advance.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Yeh baby :-)

The luck worked, I passed. In fact I got all of the questions right (it was FAR easier than I thought it would be). I really spent far too much time worrying about this test.

You get 45 minutes to answer 24 questions. All multiple choice and really quite simple. From start to finish it took me 4 minutes. This meant that I spent minutes 5-7 stressing that I had missed something out and frantically going over my answers. The invigilator just laughed, gave me my results and sent me on my way.

I guess this means that I'll have to start preparing my application.

Thanks for all the luck - 'tis greatly appreciated.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Wish me luck

I am off to write my British Citizenship test. Hopefully I will pass it without any problems, however in true style I have left the preparation for the test to the last minute.

Will let you know how it pans out (as if you care :-))

Happy bloody Friday!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Yet another example of the madness..

What can be said about this?

When did woman stop having rights? Who can imagine having to lose not only a child but the mother as well, all because some fuck wit 2 stroke thinks that he can make a name for himself through the supreme court.

Late-term abortion is NEVER a lifestyle choice. Nobody decides late in a pregnancy that they 'just don't want the child'. If it wasn't for medical intervention, wonderful woman like this one
and many others would have been lost to us and would never have gone on to give life to other beautiful children.

I am so incensed that anyone would even consider this, let alone make it a law that it makes me feel sick to the stomach. it is clear that none of the people behind this little piece of history have ever been in the position where they have had to make a decision to save a life.

My only hope is that the rest of the world sees this for the madness it is and doesn't follow the US lead, because who knows where this will end?



Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Has the world gone mad?

Ever since I became a mom, watching the news has become HARD work. When I left work on Monday afternoon I was horrified to hear that 2 students had been shot at a university in Virginia. Imagine my horror when I had finished bathing the boys and had put them down for the night, to switch on the tv and find out that the story hadn't yet ended and that so many people had been involved.

My heart goes out to all those families for whom this long and harrowing journey has only just begun.

As I was watching the highlights on Sky News, I noticed that one of the journalists giving his opinion (a British journalist) was saying that although he felt terrible about what had happened, he felt that the UK and other similar countries should follow the US example and allow the individual to own a gun. His argument was that gun crime in the South West of the UK is on the increase and as a result people should be allowed to defend themselves.

There were a few things that bugged me about his statements, namely;

1) The UK has very low gun crime, that is not to say that it doesn't exist but strict gun controls mean that just the act of owning an unlicensed gun is a chargeable offence.
2) His insensitivity towards the surviving families (not to mention the shooters poor parents)
3) His assumption that he has ANY idea what it is like to live in a country where people believe that they have a right to kill someone else if in self defense.

I suspect that if anyone stumbles across this little post who is pro-gun ownership that I will be flamed for daring to question their human rights. Here's the thing though, what about the right to safety and to an education that has been taken from the victims? What about the Human Rights of every person who has ever been caught in the crossfire? Who on earth needs a semi automatic weapon if not to kill someone?

I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. Gun crime is massive and if you have a gun the rule is that if you're going to use it, you shoot to kill because if you only injure or maim, that same gun will be turned on you and your loved ones. I am so glad that my children don't live in that society and that they won't grow up believing that owning a gun is their right.

I know that outlawing guns really won't solve the problem because we all know that when something is made illegal it is pushed underground where the authorities have no control whatsoever - just look at the flourishing drug trade around the world if you want an example. I don't know what the overall solution is but I would say that making the act of buying a gun EXTREMELY difficult and making the penalty for owning/handling an unlicensed gun as steep as using it to cause harm would go some way towards readdressing the [in]balance.

I don't know, I guess this post is all over the place, but so is my heart because I look at my children and I can't begin to imagine my life without them.



Sunday, April 15, 2007

10 months, 1 week and 2 days...

Dear Nathan and Thomas,

Today isn't particularly special. It isn't the anniversary of your births or even close to your birthday, in fact you're 10months, 1 week and 2 days old so we're right in the middle of the marked dates. Even so, today has been yet another one of those days where I have to pinch myself to make sure that I am awake and not dreaming.

I really wanted to become a parent. When I met your daddy I knew that my fate was sealed. Oh there were a few fireworks sure but mostly it just felt right, as if we were a perfect fit for one another. Marriage and starting a family became the natural progression for us and we were so excited about it when we saw the little lines that proved you were on your way. By now though, you'll have figured out that we had a bit of a rough time through the pregnancy - I hope you don't ever think that I blamed you for my experience because I don't and I wouldn't go back and change it if I could because then I wouldn't have you.

It took me a while to find my feet but now I think I'm on the right path because everyday you both grow bigger and stronger and so I must be doing something right. Recently you have both become quite clingy and you don't like it when your dad or I leave the room even if your aunty or grandparents are around. It breaks my heart that either of you ever have to feel any fear about us leaving you, we never could and we never will. Even so, a part of me rejoices when you cry a little and then stop as soon as we return because it makes me feel like we're not doing to badly.

I wanted to do a monthly recap of all your milestones but I just didn't seem to find the time. I hope that my memories don't fade too much although I suspect there are many little things that my mind has allowed to slip away. Please know that every day since you two arrived has brought some experience that I never could have comprehended before you came along and even if I don't remember every detail, I still love you desperately and always will.

Your personalities have continued to develop so much over the past few months but you have both retained the same characteristics that you displayed all those months ago when you were in the hospital. It is fascinating watching you interact with one another and we are truly lucky to be spectators as you have already created a secret bond and I have no doubt that it will only get stronger.

Thomas, you're my first born and so you will sometimes feel the weight of responsibility for you brother. Wear it proudly because there will be times when he will need you to be strong for him. You are so like me that even strangers comment out loud. Like me, you are a little bit clumsy and you get frustrated easily. That's OK - it may mean that you spill a few glasses of juice and break a few things but it also means that you're passionate and capable and that this will make people love and rely on you. I suspect that you will be led into mischief by your baby brother and that people will assume your guilt before his just because you're bigger and a bit louder. Don't worry about it too much because it will build your character (and besides we'll always know to check the details first). This month has shown your impatience because you're not content with crawling, instead you're already practicing standing on your own and I swear you're about to break into a run. Slow down just a little bit though my little man, I never said that you could grow up that fast!

Nathan sweetheart, you were so tiny when you were born and so I felt that you needed more protection but you're far tougher than you seem. Right from the start you were quietly strong, you fought to catch up to your brother and he did all he could to help you (remember that when you're bigger and he makes you mad). The nurses worried about your body temperature all the time but as soon as you started sleeping next to Tommy, he began to help you to regulate it so that you could come home. You are a child prone to bouts of deep contemplation and you spend ages figuring out everything. Your daddy is like that so it seems that you're be taking after him in most ways. You have a million different laughs and you use them all the time to make us giggle. You love it when you get a reaction and you'll ham it up until someone interferes or you hurt yourself. You are also so neat and tidy and we're not sure who you get that from because your dad and I aren't very particular about clutter. When we feed the two of you Tommy always covers himself and his surroundings but you hardly mess a drop. We all find this very funny but I hope that sometimes you'll let yourself mess because that's what being a kid is about and besides we really don't mind :-). You are also the mischevious one but you have a smile that looks so innocent. Try not to use this ability on people too often, rather let them see how sweet you are and how much you love to cuddle.

My boys, you make me very proud and I get prouder all the time. Thank-you for 'choosing[1]' us as your parents, we hope to do you proud too.


[1] One of my dads theories when I was growing up was that children choose their parents at conception and sometimes I like to believe that it could be true.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday madness

I can't believe that it is the week-end already. This week has flown by and thankfully each day has improved both in weather and number of hours slept.

After 2 nights of drama with young Thomas, we finally seemed to crack the cycle of over-tiredness. I relented and cradled him to sleep on Wednesday and Thursday night instead of trying to get him to settle on his own. I gather that this was the best thing to do because both nights he (and as a result Nathan) slept right through till morning. We even had to 'wake' them up for their 10:30pm bottle! I am so relieved, I mean I know that we have had more sleep this week than we did in the first few months after the came home but I've been spoilt and I like my sleep dammit :-).

The boys are doing marvellously (is that even a word?) well. Nathan is ahead of the game in terms of teeth having cut his first one weeks ago and now he has a second. Thomas on the other hand has only recently cut through his first tooth however he seems oh so anxious to start walking. Nathan has perfected his crawl (if ever a baby was needed to use for a demonstration it would be him) and so he doesn't seem at all eager to change his mode of movement but Tommy has always preferred the less efficient but significantly quicker shuffle as it makes the transition from moving to sitting happen much faster. He seems to already be frustrated with this though and has over the past few days started pulling himself up to a standing position and then letting go so that he can balance on his own.

It really is quite funny because as soon as he realises that he is standing unsupported he panics and falls over (he usually cries too but there haven't been any bad accidents yet) but within minutes he is trying again. Nathan finds this all tremendously hilarious and I am just waiting for the moment that he starts putting obstacles in his brothers way :-)

I plan to do a big post over the week-end because I want to write about how different the boys are from one another (I know a long post AND over the week-end) so watch this space.


p.s thanks for the kind words re: my situation. Things are much better now and I'm looking forward to spending a lot more time with the boys over the coming months.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Where is the end of your tether?

It has been a week-end full of contrasts. Gorgeous weather, sick children, chocolate goodies oh and did I mention the sick children?

Tommy developed a tight chest on Thursday night. He had to pick the night before a long week-end, I hear that is an unspoken rule amongst children, pick the most difficult time to fall ill - it ensures that you have the undivided attention of every adult at all times! Anyway, he developed a tight chest which sounded exactly like Crupe. Years ago my sister suffered from bouts of Crupe at the change of every season until the age of about 6 so I remember the sound all too well. Unfortunately I hadn't yet bought a humidifier because I am a bad mother and thus I don't deserve healthy children, so the poor tyke had to make do until Friday morning. I called out doctors emergency number on Friday morning and they had the on duty nurse call me back.

I explained the situation and mentioned that Nate was showing some signs of getting it as well. Her advice was to dose them up every 4 hours or so on paracetamol and if necessary alternate with Ibuprofen. Unfortunately it seems that not much more could be done over the long week-end - didn't we know that people (including doctors) are on holiday? So we muddled through and admittedly the days weren't too bad.

Last night the boys slept really well. They woke occasionally from the barking but seemed willing and able to go back to sleep without too much prompting. I took this to be a sign that we had reached a turning point and I made the silly mistake of lowering my guard.

Roll on this evening, by bath time both boys were winging and rubbing their eyes so we knew that they were exhausted from all the activities over the week-end. We followed the same routine that we have used for the last 7 months with nothing different. We bathed, dresses and fed them and took them off to bed as we always do except Tommy decided that he didn't want to sleep. None of the normal tricks worked and he alternated between crying and laughing. I tried ignoring him but he woke Nathan up so he had to be re-settled. I tried pacing, the RO tried his full repertoire of tricks too. Eventually in desperation I took Tommy into our room and put him on the bed. The poor chap was obviously exhausted as was evident in his inability to keep his head up for more than a few seconds at a time but every time I tried to get him to lie down and relax he would fight it. Nearly 2 hours later he finally gave in and allowed me to return him to his bed.

I thought I knew what patience was before, now I'm just thankful that I have Fluoxetine to help me through these moments.

So what does it take to press your buttons?


Thursday, April 05, 2007

There is a god and boy is she funny!

Why else would this week be such a rollercoaster? Monday and Tuesday were awful - far harder than I have experienced for many months and I honestly couldn't see the light for the crap heap.

Yesterday we had our first meeting with our new director. Having been burned many times, I was reserving judgement until I had a clearer idea of what his intentions were. The meeting was pleasant, everyone contributed, plans were discussed, objectives set and I left feeling more upbeat than I thought possible. Until that is, today....

Today my boss called me in and essentially handed me all of my dreams on a plate. Flexible working so that I can spend an extra hour with my boys in the late afternoon, Wednesday afternoons off so that I can take them to the multiples club and swimming lessons AND the option to work from home should one of the rats for ill!

It's as if the sun has come out which it has, and it's Easter so 2 Fridays and 2 Saturdays! YAY for all of us.

Happy Easter everyone.


Monday, April 02, 2007

You'd never say that my dose has recently been doubled up..

Blogging is such a popular hobby these days and with it comes all sorts of complications, not the least of which has landed many a blogger in some hot water (see the definition of Dooce and you'll know exactly what I mean). Because of this, I suspect many bloggers censor this part of their lives in an attempt to preserve the security that a job provides. Unfortunately this also means that where the blog is a confident and a saviour for many other stresses, it provides no relief for the most stressful influence of all. And so I'm taking the plunge and using my crutch, I'm lifting the lid and I'm hoping to purge my soul....

I used to enjoy working where I do. It has never been an easy place to work but the job has in the past been quite fulfilling and relatively well paid so I was willing to overlook the odd mishap because it suited me to do so. Unfortunately those days have come and gone and all that is left is the husk of a person whose sense of self and confidence has been drained seemingly beyond repair.

I have tried speaking to the boss, to the HR Director, to the CEO, to the new boss but it seems that I have lost my ability to make people listen, to speak succinctly and with conviction because it all falls on deaf ears.

The government says that we as parents have a right to ask our employers to consider some form of flexible working. Unfortunately the specifics are vague and the employer is only required to consider the request and provide a business reason if they turn the request down. When my request was turned down, there was no explanation, I was simply told that it was a business decision and that my only alternative was to move to part-time hours. For financial reasons, this wasn't viable so I backed down.

These last 10 days at home have only reminded me of everything that I am missing. I know that many of you working mums (and dads) deal with your own measure of guilt all the time and it saddens me that we have to! Being a parent is a full time job. It is an important job and one that is too quickly dismissed by those who are too stupid/ignorant/jealous/selfish to accept that parents have a biological right to special treatment - society depends on it, the economy depends on it, hell, even survival of the species depends on it.

I guess it is safe to say that I am going through a bit of a bitter phase. I am trying to figure a way out of this mess. A way that I can experience at least part of my children's lives during the week instead of just settling for being a week-end mum. And I am actively trying and hoping that something bares fruit - preferably before I lose my mind.