Getting Better

F woke up every single hour from 9pm to 4am last night. I kept an eye on her temperature and got very little sleep. She woke up and asked for water every time until 4am. Then she puked everywhere.

Oh man. She was in the bed with me, so it wasn’t even contained within her cot. After a major clear up job, I think we both finally slept between 5:30 and 7.

At 7:30, as the boys were asking for breakfast she puked all over the sofa with the water I’d given her (she was crying for a drink).

Then L dropped his breakfast bowl on the floor and it smashed to pieces. I finally got everyone out the door and drove up to the school and to the bus stop. I asked a mum from each school to see each of the boys in and took F home. Thankfully no sick in the car.

She wanted to go back to bed, so I did also, only to be woken by the shopping delivery coming 40 minutes earlier than the allotted timeslot. Sigh!

But F woke up then and seemed a bit brighter and her headache had gone. She lasted until 2 and slept again til 4.

Steve took the boys swimming and she’s in bed now (7:30pm). No sick for 11.5 hours, so hopefully the worst is over. She is a lot happier than she was yesterday. I am SO relieved, and my stress levels have gone right back down, which I am very grateful for.

The Raw Food Diet

Long, long ago, one of the things I started blogging about was the raw food diet and trying to eat a greater proportion of raw food. Somehow amid the craziness of the last few years my raw food quest has gotten lost. Although it was never forgotten. While all raw is a bit extreme, I would definitely like to be eating way more salads and fresh juices and smoothies.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently, especially since I’m on an enforced 3 solid meals a day regime with my Invisalign. We’ve been a vegetarian household for a while now (not sure of the last meat we all ate, but sometime in January). I have also been aware that sometimes I eat a vegan meal inadvertently, which I am pleased about. However, sugar and alcohol have always been my achilles heel(s), and I could just never see a way to get really fit and healthy until I cracked both of these things.

Well, it seems the alcohol has finally (mostly) run its course and just doesn’t hold the appeal it once did. And the sugar habit has been forcefully smashed to pieces by my braces.

My energy levels are more stable than they have been for ages, and I can now go 5 or 6 hours without eating without having a physical or emotional meltdown. Sugar makes me hungry, cranky, and is a major contributor to the last of the babyweight I’m carrying around.

Eating three meals a day, so difficult in the first few days now seems so much easier and simpler. I actually like preparing all the things I’m going to eat and then sitting down to a proper meal. Then I don’t have to give food a second thought for hours! And because I’m not on the sugar high-low rollercoaster, I just slowly get hungrier for my next meal without any angst or dizziness or weakness or wobblyness I am used to. I was spending every waking minute thinking about what to eat next, so it’s been a real revelation.

Anyway, I say all of that because I’m thinking about getting back to juices and green smoothies and a lighter, more nutritionally dense way of eating. Just thinking about it. Maybe I’ll start something in April – that will be a month in my braces and a good 31 days of better eating as a good foundation. We’ll see.

The Trouble With Mother’s Day

The trouble with Mother’s Day is that I don’t really like it very much.

Today started out amazingly. My two boys – completely of their own accord – snuck downstairs and made me a bowl of homemade muesli (oats, cashews, raisins – they mixed it themselves), and then brought it up for my breakfast. I was half-awake and heard them go down, but I assumed that they were going to secretly eat the cake that we brought home from a party on Saturday. How wrong was I? Steve had helped them with cards and presents, but the breakfast idea was all theirs and I was so happy about it!

Even Francesca, this morning, as the boys came into my room to give me my breakfast, rolled over and said,

No! Mummy’s sleeping!

So the day really did start wonderfully and my little trio were awesome.

Then we went to visit my mum.

When we arrived, we buzzed but Mum didn’t answer for ages. This always means that she has taken sleeping pills and hasn’t woken up yet, and today was no exception. She was in her pyjamas and had clearly only gotten up to let us in. I said happy Mother’s Day and handed her a little flower in a pot I had bought for her. She took it off me and said nothing. She wandered into the kitchen, put it down somewhere out there and then came out and shut the door behind her. No “thank you,” or any other comment.

I gave her the card and she did at least like this. She said thank you and commented on it with approval, so I got that bit right.

I asked if she was sleeping okay and she explained she’d taken some sleeping tablets she’d bought off the internet (don’t ask – I have no control over what she does, honestly). She stumbled around for a bit and then started getting things out that she had bought the children.

Mum is always buying stuff for them – not just a little bit here and there, but two or three things every time they see her. I know she wants to treat them, but she is confusing love with STUFF. And the worst thing of all is she buys them totally unsuitable stuff that she finds in charity shops. She is obsessed with antiques and is always buying them 20 year old toys and models. Last time it was two sets of CB radios from the 80s and two cap gun sets from the 1950s (I looked them up – they were selling for £60 on ebay). Today is was colouring books and crayons (which are actually quite cool), a microscope from the 1970s, model planes, and two fidget spinners.

She buys compulsively all the time. And it drives me crazy. Firstly we live in an 840sq/ft house and we have no space for the inflow of things from her. Secondly, I hate material stuff. Thirdly it teaches the children to be excited about presents rather than about seeing Granny – they always say I wonder what Granny has got for us this time! Fourthly, that money would be SO much better spent on clothing for the three of them. Or to help me out with the weekly food bill. Or to cover school trips, or maybe to save up for a weekend away. She wastes it all on stuff that ends up broken and either in the bin, or in the charity shop bag at our house because there is no room for it. Fifthly, she sometimes buys totally random shit because she doesn’t really look properly at what it is. Example: a few months back she bought Lucas a tin of football boot studs.

hate her obsession with buying crap.

And then, she sits down and tells me she’s sorted out Eric.

My uncle died last year and she had his ashes stored in the cupboard at her house. We were going to wait until it was a sunny day in the spring and then take them to the pier, where he wanted them to be scattered – as requested in his will.

Unbeknownst to me, Mum was getting antsy about the ashes being in her flat. She didn’t want them there. She apparently asked my brother for help, but he said he wouldn’t be down for a few months, so she took it upon herself to deal with it.

She took them on the bus to the pier and tried to scatter them, but she was approached by a couple who told her she couldn’t scatter them into the sea without permission (if I’d been there I would have told these interfering arseholes where to go for so callously poking their noses into a 68 year old’s grieving time). So she got back on the bus and instead of taking them home and calling me, she just scattered them in the park across the road from her flat.

Now, I was upset about this. I was upset, because my mum runs her life by the motto “it’ll do”. She uses it as an excuse for her behaviour and always has. When she doesn’t want to put the effort into something (which is a lot of the time), she just does a half-arsed job and says “Oh, that’ll do.”

When my uncle died, she turned up at his funeral wearing an ancient old jumper and scruffy trousers. I was upset about it because you make an effort at a funeral. You dress to show respect to the person who passed away, and to show respect to yourself. I told my Dad afterwards that if I die before her he needs to insist that she makes the effort to dress properly when I’m gone.

And because Eric’s clothes were cleared out of his flat long before his body was released for cremation, Mum got him a charity top t-shirt and a pair of HER old jeans and knickers to dress him in. I spoke to the funeral director and then managed to convince her that he could go in just the funeral gown, which they provided. Can you imagine if he was alive, what he would have thought about going to the crematorium in his sister’s jeans and knickers??? 

My mum once left Eric waiting for her in the middle of town as they wanted to look in separate shops, but on the way back she decided to go and get her hair cut. After nearly an hour Eric thought she was lost, so he went to security and they put a message out over the shopping centre tannoy. She honestly couldn’t see what she’d done wrong.

There are billions of example throughout my lifetime I can use, but I’ll be writing all night if I carry on. I was upset about the ashes because Eric requested they be scattered over the sea. It was a denial of his last wish, because it was too much effort to take them home and wait for me to accompany her so we could do what he asked. Because she needed them gone, and the park would do. She told me not to get upset, and that they spent a lot of time over there, and she can walk past him all the time, which I admit is true, but I was upset anyway. I was upset that she had to face two dickheads telling her she couldn’t put ashes in the sea because I wasn’t with her. I was upset she hadn’t said to me that she wanted to get rid of the ashes sooner rather than later – that she’d even asked my brother, rather than come to me.

She told me I was so busy, and my life is so full, but that isn’t a problem when she gets my brother to ring me at 5pm, in the middle of cooking dinner for the three children, so he can ask me to drive over to the psychiatric hospital and pick her and take her home because she’s been released and she’s waiting out the front for me.

My Mum loves me, I’m sure, but her way of loving is not like other mothers. She never had a decent mother figure to learn from (hers was an abusive woman who beat all four of her kids and hated them for tying her down), so I know she has done the best she knew how to do.

But I have to admit that sometimes I just wish she was more of a mother to me than I’ve had.

And today, as every year, I have to avoid facebook. I posted early this morning and then stayed away. Away from the countless status updates tagging mothers and talking about how they are the best mum in the world.

Sigh. I love Mother’s Day for my kids, but for my own mum it always feels like a forced affection, and that makes me so sad.

And then this evening I ended up taking F to A&E. She was poorly yesterday, but today she has been complaining of head pain. Obviously headaches immediately make you think meningitis, and she has been particularly distressed. By 4pm she was crying so much and holding her head that I took her to the hospital -she’d already had calpol and I was so scared something wasn’t right. I am so afraid of losing her or the boys. My miscarriages have left a scar that bleeds whenever any of them are sick and it leaves me panicked and unable to think clearly.

A&E was heaving. Adults were puking in the main waiting area and there were loads of screaming kids in the children’s area. Pretty quickly a nurse looked F over, did the usual O2 sat/resp rate/temp thing and then gave her a big dose of ibuprofen to make her more comfortable.

Thirty minutes later, F was a different child. The ibuprofen had kicked in (I’m sure they give them a bigger dose at the hospital because my oldest son had one once and he was happy as Larry for about 5 hours afterwards), and she was wandering around, playing with all the toys, chatting away, just like normal.

We waited for two hours with no sign of a doctor, so I asked the nurse if I could take her home. She said that was fine. I was so tired and pissed off and hungry so we went home and F went to bed and went to sleep.

Now I am super paranoid that she really is sick, but the painkiller masked the problem. It just doesn’t seem normal for a 2 year old to have severe head pain to me. The nurse tried to say that a lot of toddlers point to their head when they mean their throat, but she hasn’t met F. F is articulate and smart and knows damn well it’s her head that’s hurting, and she’s had no trouble swallowing. The pain is worse when she’s upright, and it just seems meningococcal to me. I’ve had viral meningitis before and the head pain is no joke. She has no other symptoms – no vomiting, only a low grade fever, no rash, no stiffness, no sensitivity to light.

All I can do is wait until she either gets better, or gets worse enough that someone at the hospital will see her over and above all the other vomiting, sick kids in A&E.

I’ve had a crappy day really, and I’m feeling pretty low and down in the dumps anyway (I’m still coming off sugar I guess – 11 days into the braces and I remember from when I’ve done this before than my mood doesn’t really stabilise until about 2 weeks in).

The best part of my day was my happy morning with my beautiful kids, so I’m just going to focus on that and go to bed and check on F and hope that the morning brings us some peace and wellness.

10 February 2018

A better night – F woke briefly at 03:30 and everyone slept in until 07:10. Lovely ?

I’ve not had any meat for two weeks and all we have left in the house now is three tins of tuna.

I’m working on a set of veggie meals the kids will enjoy before I think about reducing dairy. Today I made (all vegan) tofu chicken nuggets.

The fried coating on these was amazing. The tofu inside was… well, tofu I guess. The kids ate half of what I served (6 large each) and didn’t complain. I’m definitely making them again. I adpated the recipe from the here one at Under A Lemon Tree and I used buckwheat flour instead of oats.

The weather here is appalling and the kids are now on half term so I don’t know what we’re going to fill next week with.

7 February 2018

Mixed night last night. I thought L was asleep, but after I turned lights out he came in at around 21:00 just as I was dropping off. Then again at 21:15, so I let him get in with me to fall asleep. I then carried my very heavy and lanky eight year old back to his own bed at 21:30. So much for my super early night.

F cried in the early hours as her nose was blocked. I was tired when I woke up, but my mood today has been so much improved – I no longer feel like I have a horrible blackness hanging over me.

Even C crying all the way home from school because he didn’t want risotto for dinner couldn’t phase me. I just gave him a big kiss and said I was sorry he didn’t like what I was planning.

In between playing feed the teddies and hand puppets with F today I sorted through the last of the cupboard stuff. Oh it’s so lovely now it’s done:

The rest of the house is a mess, but I’ll work my way around to that.

On my computer yesterday I found a backup of my first ever blog from 2005, on a very early version of WordPress. I had a read through some of the entries and my whole writing style was so different. I had a ton of energy and I seemed so much lighter. Isn’t it amazing how our attitude and outlook can morph over time? When did I become so serious, so maudlin, so worn-down and worn-out? I am going to see if I can import them – in fact I’m thinking of importing everything – 13 years of ad hoc writing about life.

Hoping for a good night tonight, as always. I really think that if I can get the sleep sorted, everything else will be so much easier.

4 February 2018

Just when you think things are looking up, last night F woke at:


Crying rather than the howling screaming she usually does, but still horribly disruptive.

She was up for the day at 6:30am and both of us felt rotten. She was grisly and miserable. I was tired and depressed. She has a cold and last night it was a blocked-up nose that was stopping her sleeping well. I felt so down this morning, wondering when this cycle of illness and bad sleep is ever going to end. However, the husband took the kids out to see some planes at a war museum and I did a week’s worth of meal planning and an online shop order. Then I did two loads of washing and cleaned out the linen cupboard, setting aside a big bag of stuff to put in textile recycling.

There is nothing like a good sort out to lift my spirits. The more functional and essential my possessions, the happier I am. My love of minimalism is still strong and it’s something I’ve really neglected since F was born. I find modern life and all its trappings and choices so overwhelming. I crave simplicity and order, and it’s a hard thing to balance in today’s world, especially with young children.

Is it odd that paring down the bed linen to 2 or 3 matching sets per bed and folding all the towels in neat piles by size makes me so happy? I keep looking in the cupboard, just because it looks so lovely.

Tonight I’m in bed before 9pm and all the children are asleep (even L, which is unusual). Here’s hoping for a decent night.