Monthly Archives: February 2013

Sleep. I miss that.

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The Littlest Chum has been unwell for a little while, just full of cold and snot, poor baby. But this means he’s got into a bit of a habit of waking up at 3am and crying inconsolably.

Being the soft touch that I am, I usually bring him into bed. Well, I say soft touch, it’s mostly because I’m so tired and sleepy that I can’t face doing anything else.

Unfortunately for us, he isn’t the calm and snuggly baby he was when we last coslept. Gone are the days when I’d spend every night curled around a small milky, snuffly bundle. Now he’s a great big flailing octupus who prefers to sleep with one foot up my nose and the other across my neck, while he beats a tattoo of tiny rabbit punches across the Rock God’s chest. Every so often he’ll sit up and demand MILK (he hasn’t had night feeds for seven or eight months) or just do his faintly comical ‘wah-wah-wah’ until we give in and get up.

I miss my eight hours a night. I did nearly eleven months of him sleeping like a newborn, waking throughout the night. I got very used very quickly to him sleeping 7-6. I’d like those nights back again now please.

Although secretly, when the Rock God and I are lying awake sniffing his sleepy little head and trying not to laugh out loud at the contortions he has twisted himself into, we do wish he still slept in our bed every night. Just don’t tell him that.

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It’s exhausting, this toddler business.

Shiny New Things (and what they really represent)

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I have several Shiny New Things lately. I have a lovely coffee machine that I’m all obsessed with, new cutlery in the kitchen (which itself is less than a year old). New clothes, loads of new pyjamas (I have more pjs than daytime clothes, what’s that about?). And I have just bought us a new car.

I like new things. Actually, I LOVE them. I am, I suppose, a teeny tiny bit materialistic. I never used to be at all, and there are still some things that I don’t ‘get’. Spending more than £50 on clothes, for eg, terrifies and baffles me, and I don’t do really do jewellery beyond silver studs and wedding band/engagement ring. I understand (ish) why other people buy them, they’re just not my ‘thing’. But I am a fan of New Things in general, and there are few feelings that beat the warm glow of a joyous purchase.

I used to have very few possessions, and beyond a few books I had nothing I felt particularly attached to. Before I had the Chums I lived a very transient lifestyle, I sofa surfed and lived with ‘friends’ or in temporary accommodation, and my belongings reflected that. Then when my babies were small I had no funds or ability to buy stuff, and counting out pennies from the jar to buy nappies because someone else has spent all the money on crap doesn’t really leave you with much lust for shopping, or life.

When I started my new life with the Chums I did so with the clothes on our backs and nothing else. In the next few months I did go back and get some clothes and a couple of bits of furniture, but it was a fresh start and we really did start from scratch.

I suppose that was my first taste of proper Shiny Newness. My parents took me to Ikea and lent me the money to furnish my Shiny New flat, I spent £500 and bought almost everything, beds, sofa, pots and pans, towels, bedding. I can still remember how wonderful I felt, sitting in my flat with my babies and my new things, having autonomy and proper choices for the first time in years. I remember thinking: this is it, this is my life, I waited all these years for it to start and here it is. And every day since then has been better and better, life continues to improve and I count my many blessings every morning. I actually do, along with affirmations, I talk to myself every morning and tell myself I’m wonderful and life is brilliant. If you don’t already do this, you should. You’d be amazed at the difference it makes, particularly if, like me, you are prone to bouts of crashing depression. I haven’t been depressed for seven years, which is how long I’ve been giving myself a good daily talking to.

Anyway, so I suppose, for me, new things have become a symbol of happiness, of freedom, a reminder that my life is good. It occurred to me in conversation the other day that we have bought every single stick of furniture in this house since we’ve lived here. So everything here is less than four years old. Sofa, bookshelves, beds, rugs, curtains. Nothing is second hand or hand me down, and everything is shiny and new. I didn’t do it on purpose, but I did it. I think it’s all part of reinventing myself, always moving forwards, always starting over.

This year is going to be a lot more frugal, I’ve decided I have all the stuff I want or need now. So I’m going to spend a year saving like mad in order to buy a shiny new house. Which is kind of the ultimate in Shiny New purchases.

Wish me luck 😉

In which I finally realise drinking is boring

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I have successfully completed Dry January, and it’s been a bit of an eye-opener.

As a dyed in the wool, fully fledged binge alcoholic I thought it would be difficult or even impossible to do. But after the first week, the urge to reach for the wine at the end of the day had almost disappeared. In fact, there were only two days in the whole month that I had any cravings at all; one was a snow day when I’d had eight children all day and the other was a day filled with bad news and expense. But I resisted and managed to stay ‘dry’ for the whole of January.

So, obviously, the first of February heralded a night of boozing and schmoozing. Or, more accurately, boozing and slurring, talking shit and ultimately vomiting on my shoes.

I didn’t have enough fun to make today’s hangover worthwhile, I spent money that I would rather save, I spent an hour making myself beautiful and wore new clothes out and for what? So that I could end the evening with smeared lips and smudged eyes, shambolically staggering towards the taxi rank and trying to disguise the fact I’d just been sick in the gutter.

For a lot of people, the solution would be obvious: just don’t drink so much. But for me (and I know I’m not alone in this) there are no half measures. Once I start I usually don’t stop until all the grog is drunk or I’ve passed out. It’s a bit pathetic really.

I’m better at drinking at home, I can mostly stick to just a couple of glasses in the evening. But my problem there is with frequency. Only drinking on the weekends used to be my goal. But then, Thursday is nearly the weekend. And on Wednesdays the Rock God goes to Wing Chun so I’ll curl up with a glass of wine and One Born Every Minute. And Tuesdays is music lesson night so I’m banished upstairs while he teaches. May as well take a glass of wine and a book up with me…

So having a purpose to sobriety (the dry January thing) was very useful. I’m very good at sticking with my principles, at least in the short-term. I boycotted Nestle successfully for years until the Chums ground me down with their pleas for Kitkats and Nesquik. I was a vegetarian for a long time until I decided that was boring. I find that having a defined purpose means I stick to my guns, and although I tend to be a bit, erm, fickle with my beliefs, I stand firm while they last.

I thought that not drinking would be hard and boring. But actually it was much easier than drinking. No guilt, no hangovers, no memory lapses. I was getting stuff done in the evenings instead of collapsing with a glass and switching off. I went out to dinner several times and it cost fifty percent less, and it turns out I can still be sociable and fun without alcohol (who knew?), and I’m probably much less annoying. Drunk me is obnoxious and repeats herself a lot. Sober me is still pretty obnoxious but at least I know when to shut the hell up. And I swear a lot less, too.

So (and I promise this isn’t just my hangover talking) I have decided that Dry January is going to extend into Dry February and beyond. Will I stick to it forever? Who knows. But for now, this is what I’m doing.

Much love, amigos xx