Sometimes, It Hurts.

And so, after painting all the pictures and doing all the puzzles, Isla and I went out.

We’ve paved around the house so we can have races and stuff, so there’s that. But we live on a hill.

‘Go over the stones and roll down the hill with me, Mummy.’

‘I can’t, baby. I wouldn’t get back up.’

‘Please, Mummy. Just try.’

Which is what we ask her to do.

So, I tried.

And my heart broke a little. Because Isla said, ‘That’s awight, Mummy. I’ll play on my own.’ And she did. And I angled away for a bit so she wouldn’t see me cry. Because she’s seen it before. Not a lot. And yet.

You can be the biggest advocate, with the filthiest sense of humour. You can shout for a living and then come home and just live.

But sometimes, CP hurts.

When strangers think Isla is my much younger sister, and she wants me to run down hills and get on the other end of a see-saw. That’s when it hurts.

Then you come in and you burst. But then you go on. Because there are trains to play with. And a nearly three year-old face to memorise.

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This is how we roll.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee Talk And Blogging Goals

If we were having coffee, you couldn’t help but notice that we’ve blown all the fuses.  Isla is running around going, ‘My house is dark.  It ran out of batteries!’

Five minutes ago, we were watching Alice in Wonderland.  Now, Isla’s face is lit by my phone screen.  No, I can’t buy you that Lego set.  And please don’t post that egg video on Facebook.

In other news, what music do you listen to while taking down the Christmas tree?  Isla went into the living room this week and yelled, ‘Someone stole the Christmas tree!’  Yes, well, until next year.

I finished reading my third book of the year this morning (Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard) and my first read for this list.

While we’re here more bookish things:

I told Goodreads I’ll be reading 50 books, or more, this year.

And for every finished book, I’ll be putting a buck in Isla’s Swear Jar  my book jar.

If we were having coffee, I’d mention that I might be shifting the focus of this here blog, or getting back to writing and not just talking about it.

I’ve looked back on my posts, and my personal notebooks from this year and I’ve written a lot about not writing a lot.

And Neil recently mentioned that I haven’t written any fiction since we’ve been together.

So, there’s that.  Might really get back to writing a story a week.

And I might want to write even more about being a disabled mother, and a mother and  a third-culture kid who grew up to live on an island off another island, in a house that keeps blowing fuses.

Hi.

If we were having coffee I’d ask: What are your writing plans this year, or this week?

And: What would you like to read more of on this blog?

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My current read with Isla’s latest art.

My Book List for #LitsyAtoZ

I think I’ve rambled about Litsy once or twice.  Some groovy people over there are doing the #LitsyAtoZ challenge.

The last time I tried something like this, I got stuck on E.

I’m not usually this organised, but I thought if I listed my book choices I might actually read through them.

I’ve decided to list by author.  You can also list by title or mix it up.

A – Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood,  or You Will Know Me – Megan Abbot,  or Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

B – The Muse – Jessie Burton

C – The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers, or The Wangs Vs The World – Jade Chang

D – You’re Never Weird on The Internet – Felicia Day,  or The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair – Joël Dicker

E – Heroes of The Frontier – Dave Eggers

F – My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante, or The Sunlit Pilgrams – Jenni Fagan

G – & Sons – David Gilbert

H -Before the Fall – Noah Hawley

I – The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

J – A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James

K – Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan

L – The Couple Next Door – Shari Lapena

M – The Sea, The Sea – Iris Murdoch, or Hystopia – David Means

N –  Mind’s Eye – Hakan Nesser

O – This Must Be The Place – Maggie O’ Farrell

P – Commonwealth – Ann Patchet

Q -The 500 – Matthew Quirk

R – Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell, or Empire Falls – Richard Russo

S – The Hundred Lives of Lizzie Lovett – Chelsea Sedoti, or Olive Kitteridge – Elizabeth Strout

T – All My Puny Sorrows – Miriam Toews

U – Rabbit, Run – John Updike

V – Take The Cannoli – Sarah Vowell

W – Second Life – S J Watson

X – Death of a Red Heroine – Qiu Xiaolong

Y – The Sun is Also A Star – Nicola Yoon, or Shelter – Jung Yun

Z – Mislaid – Nell Zink

Notes:

Might do these in order, but a few are calling to me.

For the letters with more than one option, help me choose!

I have MOST of these, so reading through them might make a small dent in my Mount TBR

Must check this year’s Read Harder Challenge to see if there’s overlap.

What are your reading goals this year?

Here are a few more reading challenges I found that might interest you/me.

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You Bring The Cheesecake

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Just one of my favourite photos from this year.  My girl.

If we were having coffee, I’d say thank you.  Thank you for meeting me at a coffee table, at the other end of a screen, on a curb, or on my couch.

Thank you for reading my rambles.

Thanks for the books, and the butterfly magnets and the mural.

Thanks for beers, real or fake, and the ones I owe you.

Thanks for the Altoids and the Beatles.  Even the unsolicited advice.  It makes for good material.

Thanks for those de-stress colouring books, which I actually find really stressful.

 

Thanks for not mentioning I need a haircut, and eye makeup.  And possibly more Prozac.

Thanks for the Baileys.  And for the glass with my name on it.  And for being there when we got the house.  And helping us move into it.

Thank you to Dad and Anne, for making Christmas dinner, and other stuff.  And thanks for being there that other night when I lost my shit.

Thanks for making a path for me, for fixing our heat, and for running ALL the hotels we’ve stayed in this year.

Thanks to Isla, for being an awesome individual, for making me laugh and cry.  And for falling asleep on me sometimes, still.

And thanks to Neil, for leaving when I turn on country music, and for always coming back.  I promise to never blog about the time I found you in the kitchen singing Red Solo Cup.

Let’s do it all again.

 

 

 

 

Christmas Coffee With The Grinch

If we were having coffee, I’d introduce you to our new as yet unnamed coffee machine.

As an early Christmas present from me to us, the coffee machine Neil bought me when we first started dating has been upgraded to something from the future. Actually, I think we should call it Jetson.

What sort of um, coffee experience would you like?

My favourite so far is a mild double-shot medium-hot latte.

In my house.

What can I get you?

After you figure that out, I’d show you the Christmas tree we put up two weeks ago.

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It doesn’t look like that anymore. Isla likes to hide the decorations on us. You might be sitting on one right now.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you we took Isla to see Santa last weekend. It was in the midst of shopping, everyone was in a bad mood, and Santa might have called me the Grinch.

Before we’d lined up, Isla had a tantrum in a coffee shop because they’d run out of orange juice. It was kinda my fault.

We’d been staying in a hotel the night before. It was 300 degrees in the room, so I drank our not really endless supply of OJ that we drag around where ever we go.

We arrived to the mall early. So early, most places were still closed. Except the coffee place with no OJ.

I’m sitting there sipping what just might be the best latte I’ve ever had outside of my house. And my kid is refusing perfectly good apple juice. Because it isn’t orange. I feel kinda bad. I give her my breakfast, because hers doesn’t include anything that is orange juice.

It escalates. I tell her to calm down. Once. And then I don’t say much else. I figure she’ll fizzle out soon enough. But I’m getting looks. I can tell, because if one eye is looking at you, my other eye is looking at someone in New Jersey.

It’s useful. And it doesn’t distract me unless I notice someone looking back at me. Like last weekend. Like I am a horrible mother.

So I turn my head and this woman gets both my eyes. ‘Does she look abused, though?’ I ask.

The woman says nothing.

Neil and I count to ten with Isla and then I ask if she’s done.

‘Yeah,’ Isla says. And we high-five.

And then Isla kind of launches herself at me like she does these days. Because I’m a horrible mother.

As we are leaving, the staring woman offers to help me. ‘No thanks. But Merry Christmas,’ I say.

We are in line to see a grumpy looking Santa. Isla won’t sit with him and I want to leave. Somehow, we all end up sitting for the photo.

‘Bahumbug,’ I said. Sorry, not sorry.

‘No wonder Isla’s in a bad mood. Mum’s the Grinch.’

‘Screw you, Santa,’ I mumbled. And the photo was done.

We left, and I may have cried all the way to the toy store. Because I’m a horrible mother. Obviously. Not really.

Do you want more coffee?

Abstract Sandwiches

On Tuesday, when I picked Isla up from nursery, she hugged my lap as she sometimes does.

‘I MISSED you, Mummy.’

‘Really?’ I asked.  She’s a Daddy’s girl, see.  I am obviously still questioning every bit of affection she doles out.  To me.

‘Yeah,’ she said

‘Did someone pay you to say that?’

‘Uhm.  No.’

When I’m happy, my eyes kinda crinkle up until you can’t see them.  Like Isla’s.  Because, y’know, I’m her mother.

I did a little dance in the carpark, my day made at one o’clock.

‘Mummy funny,’ she laughs.

Yeah, I s’pose I am, a bit.

Isla’s funny, too.  She has my eye crinkle and my sarcasm.

Yesterday, she was loaded with big foam puzzle pieces.  Her arms were so full she was just a stripey sweater on legs.

‘I LOVE you,’ I tell her.  ‘Where did you come from?’

She cranes her neck and looks at me sideways.  It is my own incredulous face looking back at me.

‘From my bedroom,’ she says.

True enough.

I did the pee-pee laugh with that one.  Also true.

Since Isla’s started nursery, I’ve been doing some thinking.  I’ve also been doing some Math, mostly at 4AM.  Mayhaps, more about that later. For now, I will say this: Don’t do Math at 4AM.

Anyway.  This is what I’ve been thinking.  Since Isla started doing things.  Outside the house.  Without me.

This is how life goes.  I’m proud of her.  I’m allowed to miss her.  We need to keep going. And I’m so fucking proud of her.

I’ve been thinking that getting help to do things makes me no less of a mother.  Because I’m the one who misses her when she’s at school.  And also when she’s asleep.

It doesn’t matter that sometimes, I can’t lift her onto the toilet. Because I’m the one who claps when she pees on it.

I’m (one of) the people who reads to her at night. And in the afternoon. She sits on my lap, in my chair. And I can still find that place on her neck that I’ve loved since before she was born.

And sometimes, still, she falls asleep on me.

We wake up two mornings a week, and I make her lunch. Her sandwiches have holes in them, because I have very few knife skills. I don’t care. She eats her lunch.

I might squirt mayo hearts on the bread.

I send her out and she comes home and hands me her empty lunch box. And sometimes her boogers.

She makes me a coffeeshop and a dragon out of blocks.

She goes into the fridge and gets a snack. I tell her not to ruin her dinner.

And she gives me that sideways glance. The one she gets from me.

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Kinda like this.  Isla isn’t sure about empty envelopes.