Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Old home videos

Recently a friend of ours converted my old videos to DVD and we had some sessions going through the content with the children. Oh my! What a treat I had. Apart from the children loving these snapshots from the past, I was transported back to some of the happiest times in our lives...boys squawking as babies, first attempts to eat a meal, pulling themselves up to cruise furniture, wobbly first steps....even loose teeth. On film, the warmth and very obvious joy as I spoke words of encouragement to the children was a timely reminder of how precious these children are and re-awoke in me a new determination to appreciate their place in our lives every day.

Unfortunately, the tape that was stolen with our original camcorder confirmed that it was the only tape we had of No3. Hence, we now have no early film of her. Considering the pleasure garnered from the footage of No1 and No2, I feel quite sad about this fact.


What are Easter holidays with cousins made of?
Waking up with toes in your face; smallies up with the lark; adults luxuriating in bed; coffee at 11; PJs until 12; cosy cuddles; happy shrieks, cousins swopping clothes; hairstyles by 3 year olds; lunch at odd times; muddy boys; rosy cheeks; loved-up dollies; mayhem at mealtimes; Mummies turning blind eyes.....

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ready for visitors

I just love that feeling you get when the fridge is stocked to capacity, the sheets are clean on the beds and some people we love are on their way to stay with us.

My sister and her brood of three boys and one girl are coming to hang out with us for a few days. Single parenting together I guess. We have a child each to match each other, bar one. Our No1s are boys and 10 and 9, our No2s are boys and both 6, to our amazement our No3s are girls and aged 3 and 4. Her No4 has no matching cousin and nearly 2....a matter of great concern for my two boys who really felt that Hubby and I should do the decent thing and get a match for this little wobbler. The great debates that they launched on this matter made sense but Hubby's army career threw cold water on the whole idea. I guess this army wife just could not stretch to it. Sorry kids!

My sister is quite a girl. Mummy to four kiddies, wife and Medical Consultant. All this makes life pretty hectic but I stand back in awe as she manages it all.

She is the older of my two (younger) sisters and she is always the one to point out the obvious to me. I value this honesty and while it has shaken me from time to time, I have always benefitted from the look in the mirror.

The kids will have great fun together - getting muddy, running, joking, laughing, squeezed together in beds at night with us two hollering "go to sleep" at least a hundred times before we huddle up in the living room with a glass of whiskey or wine and analyse life.....

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hilary Term Review

Desk cleared, cookery room sorted, pupils despatched off home....the Easter holidays are here.  The Hilary Term (term after Christmas as it is called at Trinity College) is always the most demanding.   Mock State Exams and preparing 3rd year students for their practical cookery and craft exam usually has me in a heightened state of stress.  I have high ambitions for my pupils but increasingly, they resist the work required.   It is madness that I find myself in a position where they think they are doing ME a favour if they follow some instuction that boosts their marks at the test.  However, I do find it difficult to stand back and watch them make terrible decisions i.e. not to do their work.  I teach at a school where most students clock out at 3:30pm and do not think about school until assembly the next morning.  Homework is largely not done; notes that you carefully copy for them are casually lost.  I like teaching.  I always enjoyed my pupils but I have learned that this is conditional.  Conditional on them having some interest in interacting with my subject.

I have been asking myself how I could manage if I decided to take a break from teaching.  My life would be quite full even without a full-time job.  I know that family life would benefit enormously from me being at home for a while.    I actually want to be at home myself.  No1 will not go to the childminder as he wants to play with his friends after school. Fair enough.  No2 thinks now that he is too big for the childminder and increasingly is whinging about why I have to go to work.  No3 is still small enough to be quite happy in her routine.  So 2 out of 3 are unhappy about me in the workplace.  My husband is away so much that I have no time to myself so being at home would give me the mornings to exercise, to do some home crafts, meet friends.  Live a little.  My students think that I am cranky and over-zealous despite the many hours that I put into school work.

What keeps me in the work-place is money.  There would be absolutely no spare cash and we would struggle fairly severely if we were living on just one income.  Is this a good enough reason?  Quality of live versus quantity of income....and I am afraid to take that leap.....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I I Ilove taking photos. I adore taking photos of people. When I get good photos of my children it makes my heart soar. On this trip to a local wood the kids just had a blast. No2 was screaming with excitement at the potential of clambering around such a place. The colours were wonderful. My little wood nymphs came home with rosy cheeks. Beautiful.

The new black..and some baking

Blogging is supposed to be the new black. I was dying to try it out but I fear that it will not fit. I am struggling for something to say.
I baked cup-cakes with sixteen eighteen year-olds today. I have never seen such a mess in the cookery room. Tiles redecorated with chocolate splodges, icing sugar stuck between crevices. But sixteen young girls left with a grin on their faces, supporting 20 or so iced wonders. Amazingly the kitchen was cleaned to sparking before they left. That was nice. Better than the inert 3rd year practicing her pasta bake for the first time before her cookery exam. I asked her to taste the tomato sauce to assess if it had enough herbs. She told me she would get sick if she tasted it.
P-L-E-A-S-E spare me from the fast-food generation.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Going it alone

It would be nice to always see the beauty of life for it is always there if you look for it. No2's genuine effort to help me with the morning routine...a little act of kindness and the simple request to note how good he was. This is pure sweetness. Meanwhile No3 was howling in the background. Her socks were on wrong..or something equally mundane. I am the adult so I should be able to ignore or cope or deal with it. But I sometimes find I cannot. Howling is such an ugly sound when it goes on for more than 15 minutes and eventually it grinds me down. The normal Me would just diffuse it but the glowering, martyred, abandoned Me feels nothing but black. So I yell at her. This was not how it was meant to be. Motherhood was meant to have been more tolerant. Once again I have left myself and the children down. I pin the blame on my husband. This is week number seven (out of a projected twenty) of solo parenting Monday - Friday and after a stint last year of 6 months where he was abroad, I am sick of it. It is hard to be tolerant when you exist in constantly exhausted state.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Taking a leap into blogging....

The decision to begin a blog has to be a little indulgent. Why would a person begin such an enterprise? I don't necessarily know the answer to this but maybe over the course of this blog I may find a few answers.

Documenting some life experiences is a primary motivation for beginning this blog and perusing cause and effect will have to be another. I find myself constantly being in the middle of a cause (of happiness, satisfaction, frustration, sadness, disappointment....and so on) and this has its effects on me, my family, my friends, my neighbours, colleagues and students in many different ways.

But first, I must introduce myself.

I cannot decide whether to be open or hide behind a pseudonym. Perhaps to begin, I will remain somewhat hidden. There is always that fear of being judged. There is also the risk that I could hurt somebody's feelings, though this would never be a goal. The list to follow is not necessarily in order of importance though its sequence will inevitably reveal some priorities.

I am a working wife and mother. Being married was an important life goal for me and I was lucky that I found someone with whom I could live happily. We are not perfect and have had our ups and downs but we work well together and mostly sing from the same hymn sheet. His job takes him away a lot from home which, in the past, gave me a lot of time to do my own thing. Even when we had one or two small children, there were compensations to having periods apart. However, since the third baby came along I have to admit to a certain struggle to juggling the children, the job and our life. I work as a secondary school teacher in a local school and I have had varying degrees of satisfaction with that.

My two sons (10 and 6) and daughter (3) are my pride and joy. I will never tire of looking at them and admiring who they are. I would not be unusual in recording that the days they were born were the best of my life...the days I realised I was carrying them was the start of the most important time of our lives.

I am very close to my mother. She lost her husband only eight years into her marriage, by which time she had three children and was six months pregnant with my youngest sister. As the eldest child and only six going on seven, I assumed a role of trying to protect my mother from memories of my father. This was a ridiculous and impossible goal but it shows me that we should never underestimate what a child can think. My mother is a very strong woman and she ruled the roost with a degree of certainty that I do not think I will ever have. When I have to parent my children without my husband for long periods, her tenacity and endurance are the greatest inspiration to me....and her reasons for being who she was, become all the clearer to me.

We live amongst a good extended family both mine and my husband's and reap many benefits from their influence. I love to cook and I enjoy having family to eat with us. I glow in my childrens' joy at knowing and interacting with their cousins and I hope that those children remember times spent with us and remember them with love.

Defining oneself can be such tiring work ... and I have a terrible cold so for now it is..
time to go time.