We were in Smyth’s toy shop yesterday. Emily had fallen over in the previous shop and bumped her head on the concrete floor so in the classic manner of paranoid parents we were walking around trying to decide if we should get her to hospital or if she would probably be ok. Smyth’s seemed a good place to distract Daniel while we quietly panicked. We decided that Emily was, on reflection, absolutely fine and turned our attention to the toys.
The board games aisle was like a flash back twenty-0dd years. Daniel, being Nearly Five, is right at the age where we could start playing family games and I was looking at what was available. Now obviously there was Cluedo, Monopoly, Scrabble and junior versions of these. I mean, y’know, these are classics. I was more surprised by some of the others. Here’s a few of the games I saw yesterday that had me exclaiming “Eeh, I remember playing that!”
- Hungry Hippos. My cousins had this and it was played almost every time I went to their house. I never won but I remember shrieking and jumping while pounding the levers frantically to try and get the last little white ball. Which always rolled away to the opposite corner of the board.
- Buckaroo. Brought out in a million different versions, whether a cheap one trying to be virtually the same and just within copyright limits or special editions (like a Zingzillas one we bought for Andrew’s little cousin).
- Guess Who. Now in an “Extra” edition. What? Extra what? Sheesh. Don’t mess with a classic.
- Mousetrap. Not one I actually ever played but I remember it doing the rounds of my schoolfriends. And I vaguely remember a tv advert for it.
- Operation. Now this was fantastic. One of my primary school friends had this and I was always quite good at it. I think I took it a bit too seriously; I have a memory of trying to remove the poor patient’s heart with utter concentration while my friends were rather enjoying the buzz when they touched the side. I may have shouted at them, I’m not prepared to commit myself.
I don’t really like it when they update the games, as you might have gathered from my comment on Guess Who above. I mean, take Monopoly. Now I’m not against a regional edition as a special; we have a French edition which we love. BUT. Why do we need to make a Monopoly with credit cards? I don’t want my kids getting the credit card habit when they’re eight! Not unless they’re buying stuff for me and paying it off with their pocket money anyway. Ahem. And Game of Life – another one I didn’t actually play but it was everywhere. Now it’s Adventure edition. Like Life isn’t enough of an adventure? Pah.
Of course, that could just be me getting old. We drove on a road that we haven’t been on for a while the other day and they’re completely rejigging the layout. As we passed the sign saying “New Road Layout Ahead” I actually muttered to Andrew “What was wrong with the way it was?” He didn’t reply. He was too busy laughing.
Last year was a bit of a rough ‘un. For a multitude of reasons; I’m not going to go through them now otherwise I’ll have to retreat to the sofa in pyjamas and eat Ben and Jerry’s out of the tub (ooh, actually…)
This year I was determined to leave all that behind. So to keep that resolution going, here’s a quick list of ten blessings: things I’m actually really happy about in my life right now.
- My kids – they’re happy, healthy, developing bang on target and make me laugh and melt as much as they drive me up the wall. There’s no middle ground – they move me, daily, one way or another. Frankly, it’s exhausting 😉
- My husband – he’s soft as muck, funny (though don’t tell him I said that), talented (his design business is going fantastically well after only a year) and he would do pretty much anything to look after us all. He’s not perfect but he does a pretty good impression of it.
- My home – I’m quite keen on the idea of moving house when we’re able to afford it but until then we’re warm and secure and in a nice home.
- Daniel’s school – we had the extremely privileged dilemma when Daniel started school of having two brilliant schools to choose between. Isn’t that a nice decision to have to make? And the one we chose I just love. The teachers are supportive and have brought Daniel on leaps and bounds and he’s a bright, confident little boy. They really invest in the children, and I don’t just mean financially.
- Music – I just LOVE music. I recently made a playlist on my phone which gets me in a good mood and it works every single time.
Half way there…
- My phone – I won an iPhone 4 in a twitter competition not long after they came out and it’s been fabulous. I sometimes toy with the idea of going back to a ‘normal’ phone and I would really miss it. And despite being nearly two years old and used heavily every day it’s as good as a brand new one bar a slightly sticky button. How many gadgets can say that, eh?
- Twitter – I’m not on very much at the minute but I pop in and there’s always a friend to say hello. A couple of my very best friends are people I met on twitter. Nettie, you know I’m looking at you.
- Books – we’re about to have a cull of our books and looking through the shelves I realise how many books I have that I love, but also how many brilliant books are still out there, waiting for me! Recent books that I’ve loved are The Cleaning Bible (by Kim & Aggie, y’know, off the telly), A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell.
Two left. Hmm, this is getting tricky now…
- Another soppy one – my parents and in-laws. They’re just amazing and supportive and mad as hatters.
- My health – this is a tricky one as I’ve been feeling pretty low lately, and I’m overweight and unfit. But I have no major diseases, the conditions I have are managed easily with tablets and I’m not housebound or dependant. Way more important to remember those things than the negative things.
Phew! Made it to ten. Actually, it was easier than I thought.
I’m going to finish with this infographic I found on Pinterest:
Worth remembering! (from http://alexandrasheppard.com/2010/03/31/why-we-are-rather-lucky/)
Well, that was February. Time for an update on my Happiness Project? This shouldn’t take long…
February’s resolution was to pay more attention to my marriage. To spend some time, just even in small bursts, nurturing it and being extra nice to my husband (anyone with filthy minds, STOP sniggering now. Thank you). This never really materialised, and I’m pretty sad and regretful about that. There’s two reasons; first, it would have been easy to show extra affection by buying little gifts and tokens but to be quite honest, we’re not in a position to be doing that. Secondly, February was a really, really down month for me. Between feeling unusually tired, full of cold, concerned about my grandpa who has been close to death two or three times and keeping on top of two boisterous, bouncing children, I’m afraid my resolutions slid way off my to-do list. Actually, I think I can see my to-do list on the floor there, being jumped upon underneath a pile of toys and good intentions.
But I’m not going to give up, and I AM going to make ‘Giving proofs of love’ a more long-term priority, which I guess is the whole point of this project anyway. At least I know that our marriage is as deep and loving as it could possibly be, and I think Andrew knows how muchI love him.
So, into March. March is all about the babies – making the children my priority for this month. Before you start worrying, there’s no real way of being a stay-at-home mum of a 4 year old and a toddler without making them a priority (all those jokes about locking them in the cupboard were just jokes. Honest *goes to unlock cupboard quickly*) but I know I tend to run out of patience. A particular touchy time is the morning – did I ever mention I just don’t DO mornings? And getting two children ready and out of the house on time is like lighting a fuse.
This month I will use every drop of patience I possess, and then some; wish me luck! Here’s the list of ideas and resolutions for March:
- Patience, patience, patience
- Explore, experiment. They’re both very inquisitive, it’ll be good to encourage that. Preferably without blowing the house up.
- Make the most of holidays and weekends
- Cook with them. I’m not a natural cook so I don’t really do it with the children either but I should make an effort.
- And returning to my January resolutions – laugh with them, be spontaneous, have some fun. Is it a bit OCD that I need to make a list item about having fun? Hmmm.
- Finally, I read somewhere the other day that children also need their mum to relaxed and happy and taken care of, so I will take some time to myself too. Purely for their sakes, of course. No, really.
There you go, that’s March sorted. Peace and harmony in the Brown household. Or something like that…
Dear Daniel and Emily
A year ago I wrote this post.
So much has changed since then. Daniel, you’re nearly four and you’re such a big boy. You can dress yourself – in fact, you insist on it – and go to the toilet and even nearly read. You look after your baby sister and hold her hand when you’re walking together. Emily, you are the most independent little thing – walking everywhere, getting into as much trouble as you can and usually following your big brother round adoringly. Full of cheek and mischief and life.
But so many things have stayed the same. I’m still exhausted and there are days when that fog seems as thick and close as it ever has been. Some days I’m wishing your babyhood away, just to get to the days (and nights) when I can sleep and do more than merely function. Other days I catch myself and remember how precious and fast these days are, and I’m trying to imprint little details on my mind.
In the day-to-day business of life, I get carried away. You try to play and I say “In a minute”, “not now” or “just wait a minute, can’t you?” No, you can’t. Sometimes you should, but you can’t. I look at you and you’re both so big and grown-up I forget that you’re not even four, not even fifteen months. I expect things of you that aren’t reasonable. I get cross.
I’m sorry. I want you both to know how much I love you. I’ve just been in to see you both and whispered it in your ears and hoped that it drifted through into your dreams. I’m going to print out this post and last year’s letter and keep them for you, for a day when maybe we all lose our tempers with each other.
I love you.