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Some Changes At The Start Of The Year

Toppled toy

Well, I'm back at this URL, for a start. Turns out I missed it. So: hi. Hope you didn't all remove it from your feed readers when I said I was going elsewhere!

Anyway, it's the start of the year (did you know?), and I was trying to explain to my three year old what that means - why it matters that we've stopped writing an eight and started writing a nine and why she really should agree to take down the calendar which expired five days ago even if it is now covered in stickers and scribbles.

The best answer I've got is that it's a good time to think about what makes you happiest in life and what you would like to do more of. Which, I guess, despite my ongoing dismissal of resolutions, is just a fashionably mindful/grateful/positive way of going about making resolutions.

As it happens, I've been a bit frazzled recently for fairly standard lack of sleep/excess of Instagram/audible neighbours reasons; in the midst of irrational crying fits, I've realised I need to make a few changes to my mindset and my habits to counter that.

Meanwhile, there have been Big Things happening around me (most of which, I'm afraid, aren't my stories to share) and that's meant a few changes around here and a bit of weighing up my priorities.

All of which is a very big preamble for a very little list.

Some Things Which Have Changed In My Life Recently

Self-Care

Yes, I just wrote "self-care". I could either embrace the cliche or I could try to fool you into thinking I was original by calling it something else. But it's self-care really.

Self-care, for me, means going to my book group roughly every six weeks, going to the cinema with a friend roughly once a month, ignoring my deeply ingrained (and thus far unfounded) fear of rejection and asking if friends fancy a hot drink and a yap, and keeping up with my photo a day project.

Self-care, for me, also means reading a lot of books but - between tricky bedtimes, an intimidatingly large backlog of box sets, and the existence of the internet - I haven't been making enough time for that. So I have designated three evenings a week as Reading Nights (/Steve's hobby nights). One week in, I feel calmer already.

I've also started to actually use my Goodreads account because: is it proper relaxation if you aren't obsessively tracking it in some way?!

No More Nursery

My three year old stopped going to nursery at the end of November. We thought she might just be needing a short break, but the longer she's away from it the more determined she is not to return - and the entire family is happier as a result.

I can't really go into her reasons, but suffice it to say: I think she's made the right decision. I've had to be very careful with myself about this - I prefer her being at home; I prefer life not be dictated by her nursery timetable; I prefer getting to do arts and crafts with her; I prefer having my calm, happy child back; I needed to be very clear that I was letting her make this decision and that I wasn't trying to push her into it in any way.

But she has made the decision herself.

And it's quite exciting, getting to come up with a whole new rhythm for our weeks together.

Our Home

Over the summer, we got new neighbours in the rental flat downstairs. They're nice but they're just that tiny bit too audible, and we're not enjoying having to listen to their TV every evening.

We also hate trying to get the kids to keep the noise down. One year olds and three year olds should not have to worry about being too loud or too excited or too energetic.

So we have given a lot of thought to moving.

It would be tricky right now - the market around here is in a big slump; we know people whose lovely homes have been for sale for over a year without a single viewing - but if we could sell, we could scrape together just enough to buy a detached house. A very small detached house. Smaller than our current enormous flat. With much higher council tax. And in a blander, less convenient area. Small, expensive, bland and inconvenient - BUT WITH NO ADJOINING NEIGHBOURS. We've been sorely tempted to try.

But, before we spend a lot of money on something our hearts aren't truly in, we're spending lot of money on very, very, very thick underlay instead. We're going to try solving the problem before we run away from it.

We're also throwing a bit of cash at sorting out the things which really do need sorted out, regardless of whether we stay or go. I want to learn to love living in our beautiful home again.

Which Brings Me To: The Garden

One of the things we're chucking money at sorting out. The flowerbeds have become so overgrown with dandelions and couch grass and willow herb and misc. other weeds that we've admitted defeat: we've lost the battle; we can't salvage what's already there.

We don't have the time or the will to dig it all out ourselves, so we've got a gardener coming round next week to haul everything out and bung in a load of fresh top soil. And I am so, so, so, so, so excited (totally needs teenage diary levels of "so", plus three or four underlines and some doodled stars) about choosing a ton of new bulbs and perennials and starting our garden afresh. Gone will be the tasteful but boring plants our predecessors chose, and in will go a garish riot of colour (don't tell Steve).

Misc.


  • My first wisdom tooth popped through on Christmas Eve. I can now vouch for teething being 100% a real thing. So. Much. Pain.
  • My one year old got her first molar the same week and my three year old's first adult molars are making their presence felt. Steve's mouth has never looked so smug.
  • My three year old has started listing three happy things at the end of every day. It's mostly a way of postponing putting on her pyjamas, but I'm glad she's learning to practise positive thinking so early on.
  • And we've started doing the milk ladder with our one year old (despite not having heard from any professionals about her allergies yet). We can now confirm: she can eat Digestive biscuits without any adverse reaction. She can also ram her fingers into her sister's yoghurt pot and have a good suck of them without anything terrible happening, so we're feeling pretty optimistic - cross your fingers, please!
  • Oh, and I turned 40 last month, which sounded significant but didn't feel it at all.

So that's what's new with us right now. What's going on with you?

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