30 December 2012

identity crisis

So we are nearing a new year, and the time when Theo turns two (sorry what?) and I've been thinking. I've been thinking about the last two years since Theo has been here, the future and what it holds for me and us, and thinking about some resolutions. 

But firstly I wanted to talk about me. About motherhood and all that comes with it. As many of you know the decision to become parents wasn't a planned one for us, and we had a short space of time to get our heads around the fact that in a few short months our lives would change forever. I knew life would be different, everyone tells you so. You won't get a full nights sleep EVER again, you won't go out, you won't have any spare time blah blah, and I sort of anticipated that. The books you read when you are pregnant tell you what to expect from pregnancy and the first few months and how to 'deal' with a new born. They tell you the physical changes and few obvious hints that things may be a little tougher, and that your relationship with your partner may change, but what they never tell you is that your relationship with yourself will change too, and that you will question who you are on a daily basis.

I never even thought that having a baby would lead to losing your identity. It may not happen to everyone, some people are probably a little bit better retaining some of their former selves post baby. But not me. It all happened too quickly, the change from being a student in my early twenties to being a mother less than a year later. Not that I regret the decision we made, because I don't, obviously. But I just wish I knew, but then again perhaps its a journey you have to go through? For the first 6 months it's not really apparent as you are so absorbed in caring and nurturing this little being and that's all you have space for. But then they get older and more independent, and you have a little more time to think and ponder on what your life used to be like and how the hell you ended up here. I just find myself questioning what I used to be like, what I used to talk about and what I used to be interested in. When I see old friends I get glimmers of what it used to be, but it still doesn't feel 100% natural, like somethings shifted and changed. Which of course it has, my whole life has changed and even though changes seem to happen to everyone else around me, perhaps they are more subtle, or perhaps I just don't have the time to notice them as much, selfishly. But that's the point, you become so absorbed in this little world that you created and nothing for a while seems to be able to penetrate it. And it's only now, that the haze begins to clear a little that you realise that other peoples lives are still going on, it's just that you are not as sure where you fit into them anymore. 

I find that I can't open up as much as I used to, and it takes a while (and quite a few drinks) for me to be able to relax and feel like I don't have to assume the role of 'mother' to feel normal. Maybe I should just drink all the time? Good idea? No! But really I do need to find some other outlet and someway of being able to feel comfortable out of my safety zone of being a mum. But the safety zone of motherhood isn't always much fun, I have definitely taken it upon myself to be the serious, cautious parent where Rob gets to be the fun one. I hate that this has happened, I can feel myself doing it, getting uptight and saying "oh be careful, don't do that..." rather than just relaxing and joining in myself. I know I used to be fun, and silly and dare I say it even funny in social situations, but now? It takes a few drinks....So why do I find it hard to be fun and relaxed as a mum too? I don't want to just end up a grumpy and bitter hag, so I'd better start thinking about how to change it sharpish! 

So the solution? Who knows? But I do know that I need to start thinking a little bit more about ME. Now that Theo is (nearly) two, and I've stayed at home with him without distraction for the first two years of his life, I feel like I can finally start branching out and doing things for me. I've been thinking about next year and the need to really start building a pushing my tipi business, and also hopefully something new and exciting starting, just for me. Hopefully if I can have a little time to myself to be in a new environment, meeting new people and being able to present myself just as me, things will fall into place a little better. I can start remembering what I used to be interested in and inspired by, how I used to be with friends and hopefully I can relax and become a little bit more like the mother I want to be...and that is with lots of sillyness! 

So my new year resolutions:

relax, be brave, be silly, be open and have fun. 

and yours?

27 December 2012

eastern adventures

So I hope you've all recovered from your Christmas comas? We're slowly getting back to normal here! My sister is staying with me for a couple of days, and of course Rob is still off, so it definitely still feels like the holidays. But anyway before I get into that I thought I would share with you the first part of our trip to my hometown.

Our journey over went really well, and we made it in record time! On Friday we had a little wander around the town and a browse in charity shops and spent time with Grandad. It's been so lovely to spend proper time together as a family, as it's not often that we get to without having a million other things we should be doing. Theo once again took quite a liking to my dads cats, who I might just add have no objections to be laid on, this one even prompted it by lying down in front of Theo quite a bit!

On Saturday my dad cooked up a mammoth curry for lunch, and my grandma and some family came over. After we all went to have a ride on the long anticipated steam train. When we were little I remember riding on the train in the bitter cold, trying to spot the teddy bears, going through the tunnels and finally visiting father Christmas in his grotto! So I was so excited to be able to share this with Theo, especially with his epic love of all things train related!

It's fair to say Theo had a mind blowingly awesome time, and he didn't cry when Father Christmas came to give him a present, and he said thank you ever so politely! I really enjoyed it myself too, and he sat with his grandad most of the way. It's really important to me to be able to share with Theo some of the things I did when I was little and from my childhood. Theo is probably going to grow up in Bristol, which I'm happy about, but sometimes it does make me feel a little jealous that Rob gets to share lots of things with Theo and show him the things he did as a child more than I do.

So that's about it for today, it's taken me a while to write this post and get back into the swing of blogging! I have been enjoying my break very much, I hope you all had a wonderful few days off too, and spent it with your family!

25 December 2012


Happy Christmas everyone! Just wanted to pop in to wish you all a very happy couple of days, and hope you get to stuff your faces with delicious food, that father Christmas brought what you wished for and that you are surrounded by family and friends!

I'll be back after Christmas hopefully with some tales from our adventure back East.

And thank you everyone for your kind birthday messages on Sunday, we had a fun day!!

lots of love,

Abigail and family x

21 December 2012

the journey east

so this week has been quiet on here as it's been a little cray cray over here! It suddenly dawned on me that Christmas was only a week away, and I'd even forgotten that it's my birthday on Sunday...not something that would have happened a few years ago, let me tell you. (oh the perils of being a self sacrificing mother...)

I had to rush off to my Mums for a flying visit so I could fix and pick up my car (goodbye money) but we had fun decorating her Christmas tree and doing some shopping. Then back to Bristol for some last minute organising and errands, before we pack up the car today and head back East to my hometown and to visit my family. I did manage to squeeze in seeing my friend who is back for the holidays from Berlin, before she heads off to New York for 6 months living the dream (I'm very jealous) and then went out on a "work" night out with a couple of my mum friends. Well it wasn't a night out, more like a few quiet drinks in a pub next to the fire, but was lovely to chat properly without having to run off every two minutes. We even got heckled from a car driving by asking us to do something obscene....still got it obviously ;) Rob even gave up his opportunity to go on his work's Christmas party so I could go out, what a romantic!

I'm looking forward to going back to my hometown, and visiting some of my old haunts. We're all very excited to go on the mini steam train that I remember so vividly doing when I was a child too. It definitely feels like the start of Christmas, and the start of the holidays and relaxing. Rob's off now until the beginning to January, such a treat!

Anyway I hope to drop in over the next few days, but happy holidays to everyone!

15 December 2012

a theo update

wow so for once I actually kept my promise and wrote a post that I said I would! What an achievement!

So as usual this update doesn't really come at any special time, I think Theo is about 22 and a half months? Sounds about right! I kind of wish I'd stuck to some sort of format for the updates, like Ashley does in her ever brilliant monthly updates (that always make me giggle so much!) So I could properly record the new things that happen every month, things go so fast and he is changing all the time, and I know my memory will only record a slice of it all.


But just before I start I just wanted to say how much my heart goes out to all the families who have been affected by the unspeakably horrific events of yesterday in Connecticut. I know I definitely take it for granted that when I wake up tomorrow my lovely boy will still be here and our days will go on as normal, and for that I'm scared. I know that there is so much good out there in the world, but it scares me that one act of bad can devastate so many lives. I know I, and many other mothers out there have hugged their children extra tight these last few days.


So...firstly I thought I'd begin with Theo's sleep.

I really really don't want to jinx things, as the situation has been pretty perfect these last few weeks, in fact since we moved to this new house. He is still in the same routine as before, bath, play, stories in bed then sleep, all with Rob, but now instead of waking up at 4 or 5 needing comfort he will usually sleep right through from 8pm to 7am. Hurrah! I never ever thought I'd be writing that sentence on here, and using the phrase 'sleeping through'. It was always a distant promise land, never to be obtained. A new development also is that Theo has taken it upon himself to sometimes get himself up in the morning. By this I mean he switches on his bedside light, plays with a few toys, or reads some books in bed. On these mornings instead of us being woken by his cries when he wakes up, we are woken by the sounds of the 'how to speak wookie'  book or him playing with his train set. The other morning I went in to find him back in bed all tucked in reading books, I can't tell you how sweet that was!

The other thing that is going pretty well at the moment is food. Again I don't want to jinx these things, but it feels weird not to have something to complain about!? I'm guessing this might be the calm before the terrible two's storm?

Meal times have just got a whole lot easier, he eats a good breakfast (and often asks for more!), and lunch, and dinners which were the hardest, are going pretty smoothly. There have been no pleading to finish meals, or just to even try the meal I have lovingly cooked him, instead he happily climbs up into his chair when we tell him dinner is ready and tries and eats most of his meal himself. He is getting pretty good at eating with his cutlery too, and will feed himself his entire meal. He does have a slight (big) obsession with dipping, and if we have any condiments, then he has to have them too, luckily its only usual mayonnaise, but he does seem to like ketchup quite a lot...I'll blame Rob for that one, thanks.

His memory is getting so much better these days too, he knows each and every place he goes to play, and if we pass the road they're on then he gets pretty upset that we're not going in! He remembers that his friend Sam lives a few doors up from us, and every time we come out our house, he points and say's "naam?" and again gets pretty upset when I tell him we're not seeing him today. His memory of people is getting really good too, and we've started a little game of asking him who is there and who isn't (wild, I know). We ask him if mummy and daddy are there, and Alma, then grandparents, friends, and other objects etc and he tells us with a very definite shake of the head and "noo" that they aren't there.

He has also started doing a funny little thing, where he will say goodbye to things. But he will say goodbye to them a good while after they have gone. For example we got the train the other day, and about half an hour later he suddenly comes out with "bye waa-raa" (his word for Thomas/trains). He will then reel off a list of things that have come and gone, such as Daddy, The Gruffalo, chair, ball, car...you get the picture! 

Talking of Thomas, that boy is obsessed! He knows a lot of the names and loves spotting them in his books...he's a little video!

We have collected quite a few Thomas toys and books over the last few months, including some amazing second hand die-cast Thomas and friends figures, which have to come everywhere with us, and I always find in my pockets or floating around my bag. Rob picked up the whole dvd boxset when he finished his last job at a bargain price of £5, and I can tell you it certainly gets a lot of use!

Other obsessions include the Gruffalo, and both Rob and I can nearly recite the whole book, and recently we have discovered the delights of the films! He's also still obsessed with balls, cars, animals and tractors.

Theo is still ridiculously confident, and will say hello to just about anyone. He gets pretty friendly with his friends, and gives out hugs and kisses, even when they're not really wanted (more often than not). He loves playing with older children, well he likes to think that he's playing with them, but actually they're just playing their own games and he's getting in the way. It kind of breaks my heart a bit when I see the joy in his face when he thinks he's being chased by them, and then looks back to see that they've stopped and gone off...but it doesn't last long or bother him as he find something else to play with.

He likes to mimic a lot of the things we do. I think Theo picks up physical actions and expressions a lot quicker than words at the moment, and likes to copy everything we do. He knows that his rubbish goes out in the bin, and will always take it and put it in himself, he also picks up his empty plates and puts takes then to the kitchen! (starting him early!) He likes to climb into bed, pull the covers over him and shut his eyes in pretend sleeping, he likes to wipe his nose with his own tissue, wipe his hands and face after dinner himself, and rolls up his sleeves in anticipation of washing his hands. Something here tells me that he likes to be clean?! He also loves to put on his own wellies and shoes, hat and coat and stomp around the house. He also loves jumping, climbing, wobbling and of course dancing!

In terms of language, he definitely knows a lot of words, even if they are his own version of the word he has good comprehension. I often feel like I'm his interpreter at the moment as I can understand most of what he's talking about even when others can't! He seems to pick up new words everyday though at the moment, and is constantly talking and pointing things out. He's picked up some really funny things that I have no idea where they came from, such as 'cheese!' when he sees or plays with a camera, and 'daaa' when he makes or completes something (as in ta-daa!). He knows when to say thank you, and say pweease when prompted, and asks 'more?' for a lot of things! he's started to say a few words together such as "I stuck" and "in there". At the moment in terms of learning he seems to be favouring colours and shapes over numbers and the alphabet.

phew! Sorry this has been a long update, but it may all seem a little rosy here, but of course it isn't like that all of the time! We have our bad days, or more likely bad parts of everyday, where the whinging drives me mad. He knows how to play me and has a funny little fake cry and scrunches up his face in a huff. I'm waiting for the full blown tantrums as we've seen quite a few glimpses, and he certainly likes to dramatically throw himself to the ground on all fours and have a cry.

here are a few outtakes from my trying to convince him to stand in front of the Christmas tree for a photo, with the aid or rice cakes and in the night garden...(no other way)

giving me the v?

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