Mad Yankee

July 29, 2010

Astonished

Filed under: Rantings — by Christie @ 7:50 pm
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Since I was a teenager, I have known I wanted children.  Whether this is due to instinct, socialisation or a real desire, I will probably never know.  Probably a combination of all three.  Suffice it to say, if you know me or have been checking out my blog, you will know the depth of my feeling for my baby boy, and that I would kill and/or die to keep him safe.

Sadly, some mothers do not experience this overwhelming urge to protect their offspring, and there are a number of reasons why this may be so.  Rape, economic hardship, physical and mental health problems etc.

What baffles me about the case of infanticide currently making headlines, is that in the case of the couple from Villers-au-Tertre, the husband has been freed because “there is not enough evidence to charge him.  He denied knowing about the babies being born or killed.”  (Yahoo.com, emphasis mine)

Do what?!

I didn’t start to show till the third trimester, but even so it’s still pretty damn difficult to conceal the fact that you are pregnant, especially from your partner.  And 8 times?!  Puh-lease, no one is that stupid or blind.

Do I condone the mother’s actions in killing her children?  Hell, no.  There is no excuse.  But her husband shares equal blame in this, and it boggles my mind that he is denying responsibility for these horrific crimes and essentially leaving his partner to take the fall.

I sincerely hope that there is a special level of hell reserved just for him.

July 12, 2010

Burning the Candle

Filed under: Ramblings — by Christie @ 7:46 pm
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There are some people who are naturally gifted in a very special way – they have two jobs and an active social life, find time to indulge their hobbies and passions whilst seeing to the more mundane tasks of laundry and scrubbing the loo…..

….usually whilst balancing a meringue on their head and singing “Modern Major General” in perfect key.  Makes you sick doesn’t it?  :)

As you may have guessed, I am not one of these gods of multi-tasking.    When you become a parent, time spills like water through your fingers, and suddenly it’s 11 o’clock and you still haven’t put the leftovers away or prepared the baby’s food….. oh and I need to remember to take this paperwork with me tomorrow, don’t forget the shopping listwhat have I done with my phoneIhavenocleansocks!!!!

I’ve run myself ragged in the last few months, or at least that’s how it feels, and I’m having to reshuffle my priorities.  While I previously enjoyed taking time each day to construct a blog post, and found the self-imposed discipline very useful, I quite simply do not have the time now or the energy to continue posting with such frequency.

I’ll be aiming to complete 2 blog posts per week if only because it permits me to flex my writer’s muscles.  It also counts as part of my recreational allowance (Dave and I negotiate blocks of time in which to do something relaxing as opposed to productive) so I don’t have to feel guilty about not doing chores instead.

At any rate, here are some pictures of my latest adventures in fashion.  (If I look ridiculous or something doesn’t seem quite right, have mercy and TELL ME!!)

June 21, 2010

One of them there days….

Filed under: Feeling Blue,Parenting Adventures,Ramblings — by Christie @ 8:40 pm
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It’s Monday, and I am dead on my feet.

I popped out of bed – not as exaggerated as it sounds – at 6:30am and was out the door half an hour later, carting three bags of books to post far and wide, and generally feeling ready to face the day.  Despite the ache in my shoulder, by the time I arrived at the office, I was in a fairly good mood.

Until I realised I had left my badge and swipe card at home.  Many colourful words issued forth.

Whether it was the stuffiness of the post office, the snail’s pace with which the clerk processed my packages, or the fact that I couldn’t stop munching throughout the day despite not really being hungry (same goes with the smoking), I came home in something of a funk.

Not even Dave’s superb BBQ’ing skills could lift my spirits overmuch and I’ll admit it was a bit of an effort to chew despite the tastiness.

The highlight of the day so far has been the twenty minutes spent in front of the mirror, Dylan in my arms, Dave making goofy faces over my shoulder.  Dylan laughed and giggled at Daddy’s cool magic trick, his melon-head swiveling on his lovely neck as he clocked Daddy in two places at once!  I still don’t have much luck in making my son laugh – Dave’s definitely better at it than I am – but it doesn’t bother me too much.  Listening to him squeal with delight as Daddy nibbles his ribs brings an instant smile to my face, and I pause in whatever I’m doing, eager to hear those delightful peals again.

And of course one of my favourite times of day is putting the little one to bed.  His face buried in my neck, milky breath tickling my skin, his body heavy and warm after his bedtime bottle….. never do I feel more contented than at this moment when I hold him in my arms and touch my lips to his kissable cheeks.

This is in complete contrast to my exasperated, sleep-deprived stumbling act when he decides that 5:30am is an excellent time to play.  Ah well, life is full of ups and downs I suppose.  And I always tell myself it could be worse.

He could have colic.

June 18, 2010

I’m ba-ack!!!

Filed under: Ramblings — by Christie @ 7:50 pm
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Sheesh what a month!

It’s amazing how dependent upon the internet I’ve become – not being able to check my email, log onto Facebook or update my blog has been driving me nuts.

We moved house last month and it took longer than expected to get the internet hooked up and running.  If you’ve never tried moving house with a 6 month old infant in the mix, it’s bloody hard work; we only just finished sorting the spare room, where everything got dumped till we could find a space for it.

Of course, now that it’s done, I’m almost too knackered to do anything more productive than delete spam and manage my BookMooch account.  Not through lack of sleep; I’m in bed by 10 most nights, and although Dylan greets the dawn (which makes its appearance at an ungodly hour in this country), Dave has been brilliant at dealing with it so I can get another precious hour of sleep before making the trek into work.

We started weaning a few weeks ago, and until today, he’s been more interested in using the spoon as a mini catapult than actually getting anything in his mouth.  Carrots and mashed potato were not well-received however cottage cheese and yogurt got a bit of interest.  What has really stuck is giving him pieces of apple to suck on, with the inevitable gagging when he bites it in half and isn’t quite sure what to do next.  Fortunately this afternoon, instead of clamping his mouth shut and blowing raspberries at us, he actually opened his mouth when the spoon approached and swallowed – either something clicked overnight or he REALLY likes his weetabix!

I finally got a night out last night when the ladies at work organised a surprise hen party for one of our more reserved colleagues.  Poor Dave had a darts cup final the same evening so, after dropping me off in town, he headed for the pub with Dylan in tow.  I have to admit, I felt only the faintest twinge of guilt, even after Dave reported that it had taken a fair amount of effort to get him to go to sleep; after all, I so rarely go out in the evening, and sad though it may seem, work is the only social life I have at the moment.

The lack of internet has also meant briefly losing touch with my family across the pond.  While I send regular texts and pictures detailing Dylan’s daily development of new and exciting skills, I miss being able to turn on the webcam and see my parents’ faces as they watch their grandson squirming about.  Especially since he’s sitting up on his own, rolling over (and over and over and over…..), and pulling himself into sitting and then standing positions.

And now, I believe I am finally crashing as I’ve run out of things to say.

Thank God it’s Friday.

And thank God it’s my turn to lie in tomorrow.

May 11, 2010

Bouncing Baby Joy

Filed under: Parenting Adventures — by Christie @ 9:44 pm
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In between the stresses inherent in my line of work, and the stress associated with moving house, the tension knot in my shoulder has been flaring up on a daily basis.  I arrived home tired and depressed and anxious, basically in the same state as I’ve been for weeks.

And to put the icing on the cake, the little one was fussing up a storm.

We can only use the doorframe bouncer when we are both here, as it takes two of us to strap him in.  And since he regularly goes down for his evening nap shortly after I get home, it’s been a while since he’s had the experience of this new toy.  But I managed to get away early today so we thought we’d have a go – with highly entertaining results.

Like a deranged puppet without strings, he kicked and squirmed, spinning and jerking.  This afternoon, he surprised himself – and us – when he planted both feet on the floor and kicked, launching himself into the air and back down again.  Eyes wide, he took our smiles and laughter as approval, and squealed in delight, kicking furiously as he worked to figure out the proper bodily sequence to repeat this quantum leap.

Which he did, several times, laughing and squeaking, and sending Dave and me into gales of laughter.

The knot in my shoulder disappeared, and the muscles in my face hurt from smiling so much.  As always, the antics of my little love erased the tensions of the day.  Who knew stress relief could be so simple?

May 9, 2010

An Ode to the Love of My Life

Filed under: Parenting Adventures — by Christie @ 8:09 pm
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It happens when he smiles.  When he does something amazing like rolling over.  When he sleeps in my arms.

Watching him, I am struck, daily, by the wonder, the mystery of life.

I look at the face and form of my baby boy, and a feeling of such incredible awe sweeps over me, I come close to weeping from the force of it.

I saw him for the first time when I was admitted to hospital for severe dehydration.  The onset of morning sickness left me physically depleted, unable to keep anything down, and in order to confirm pregnancy, I was sent for a scan.  After an early miscarriage a few months before, I was terrified that I would be told again that there was nothing there, that my body had rejected what I wanted most.  So it was with extreme relief and joy that I watched the screen and saw there, in the black of my womb, a pulsating star, a winking pinprick of light that pulsed counterpoint to my own heartbeat.

At 12 weeks, and again at 20, I saw my little bechgyn bach in the scans, visibly growing, warm and safe within the protective circle of my body.  I stroked his little foot as it stretched against my swelling belly, delighted in every movement of his tiny body no matter the discomfort it caused.  I remember the fierce mother-love that enveloped me when I held him for the first time, overwhelming the exhaustion and pain of labour.

In college, I took a course on female physiology, so I am all too aware of the intricacies of the reproductive system, and the many many chemical processes which must take place in order for a child to be brought successfully to term.  It is a fact that for anyone to survive to birth is a true miracle.

But the miracle is somehow deeper than mere chemical processes and the generation of cells.

I look at my son’s face, so like my own yet separate from; marvel at the tiny fingers with their own totally unique prints; watch as he learns how to grasp objects and to consciously control his body.  I watch him watching me, more specifically my mouth, shaping his own to copy the sounds I make, to gain a grasp of language in order to make his needs known.

And I wonder where he has come from.  For surely, he has been heaven-sent.  This beautiful, perfect little being could not possibly have come solely from my body, a collection of cells, of tissue and muscle and bone.  There must be something more, some divine spark which is the source of the light in his eyes and the utter delight in his laughter.

This, I feel, is the ultimate mystery: this inexplicable life-force, both a part of, and separate from, that which gives it birth.  And whether it is instinct or socialisation, I know for fact that I would die to protect him.  And I would kill anyone who threatened to take him from me.

For this miracle, this mystery, is the thread of my life.  He is everything I have been waiting for.

He is the love of my life.

May 3, 2010

Resumption of Normality (Or what passes as such….)

Filed under: Feeling Blue — by Christie @ 8:29 pm
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After nearly 2 weeks of feeling desperately depressed and generally out of sorts, I am back.

The day started off well – a lie-in (since it was Dave’s turn to do the morning feed) followed by breakfast in bed (do I have the best hubby or what?).  At noon, the three of us went down to the White Horse Pub by the canal for the annual duck race extravaganza.  Given that it was bitingly cold and by turns wet and sunny (as only British weather can be), we didn’t stay long but I had an enjoyable time nonetheless.  All proceeds went to the Breast Cancer Awareness Group (BAGS) which I am more than happy to support.  We bought Dylan a duck to race, and a Kewl Dude Duck keyring to commemorate the occasion – surprisingly, it was the first duck race for all of us – as well as a pot of trailing fuschia and 3 books which I have added to my BookMooch account (1 of which has already been snapped up by a fellow bibliophile).  Once we got home, I played my 2 hour break card which left me free of chores and babysitting duties to pursue my own interests guilt-free.  We had left-over Chinese for dinner (nothing like Chinese for huge portions, low cost, and excellent re-heat ratios) and the little one is currently having his pre-bedtime nap.

Yes, I gave birth to a little weirdo, is anyone really that surprised?  :)

Probably the best gauge of my improved mood is the fact that I had a little sing-song in the shower this morning.  And I have my friends and family to thank for my return to normalcy (or as close to normalcy as I can get!).  It’s very difficult to ask for help when my mood takes a dip, mainly because a) I feel like there’s nothing anyone can do to help and b) that no one could possibly care enough about me to help.  Just goes to show how utterly wrong I can be.

As an experiment, I asked family and friends to tell me one positive thing about myself, something for future reference when I’m feeling low to prove that I am not so utterly shite as to be beyond repair.  I didn’t get one thing – I got lists!  It was almost embarrassing reading the praise heaped upon me by those I most love and admire; and yet it was also utterly heart-warming.  I’m not ashamed to say that I cried as I read the responses.  Given that a lot of my emotional well-being is wrapped up in the approval of others, having that confirmation from the key people in my life that I am loved and appreciated went a long way to lifting my mood, and dispelling the shadows of depression.

In a further bid to keep those shadows at bay, I’ve been encouraged by a close friend to give counselling another go, and I’m trying to utilise cognitive-behavioural therapy techniques – something of a “duh” moment given I use these techniques at work.  At any rate, I’m now back in my happy place and once again capable of functioning at a reasonable level.  I would thus encourage anyone who is suffering from depression – or any mental illness – to talk about it, whether it be with a trusted friend, a sympathetic family member, or a professional (after all, it’s what they’re paid to do!).  Hard as it may be to find the courage to do so, it can only help and will do a lot more good than the harm caused by internalising all those negative thoughts and feelings.

To my family and friends, thank you from the depths of my heart for your love and support.

April 30, 2010

Not bad for a Friday…..

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Christie @ 9:22 pm

Following an extended period of feeling generally depressed and downright miserable, I was encouraged to try a bit of power dressing:

Which worked out quite well, as I spent the day at a conference in Northampton.  Carly, Louise and I avoided the motorway and took the scenic route, driving through some beautiful countryside dotted with picturesque villages and houses I tagged as “mine”.  Lunch was a splendid affair: chicken in a mushroom and tarragon sauce, steamed veggies (shocker: I voluntarily ate my carrots and green beans), and chips; strawberries, apple and cantaloupe, and Black Forest Gateau for dessert (I confess I scraped off the cream filling and gooey red stuff).  The conference itself was a lot of fun as well – meeting with other practitioners, discussing effective practice and the changes we would like to see in the organisation as a whole, and knowing our views and concerns would be fed back to senior management and ministers.

Even though it was a ten hour day, complete with hitting rush hour traffic ten miles from the house, it was not a bad way to spend a Friday – particularly with a bank holiday weekend to look forward to!

April 25, 2010

3 day weekends should be fun…..

Filed under: Feeling Blue — by Christie @ 8:33 pm
Tags: , ,

…… but sometimes they’re not.  Or at least not completely.

Friday wasn’t all bad – the house we viewed was as pleasant as the house on Thursday was appalling.  Less spacious than our present accommodation, nevertheless, it ticked the majority of the boxes with a few bonuses.  Halfway between my two offices, it is a decent size in a quiet neighbourhood and obviously well looked after by the owner.  The back garden is well-maintained with the addition of blackcurrant, raspberry and gooseberry bushes, and the beginnings of a veggie patch.  And we may be able to negotiate the loan of the washer and *drumroll please* a dryer.  I haven’t had one of those since I left the States, and oh I have so missed the convenience, especially since the arrival of our little one who goes through clothes faster than Dave goes through socks.  Anyways, it didn’t take much discussion (mainly as to what furniture we could part with) before we put in an application.

Saturday I woke up in a pissy mood, which had Dave walking on eggshells, a reaction that only infuriated me further.  Following a slight tiff in Asda of all places, I went from bitchy to morose.  The only highlight to the day was watching the little one’s delight as he tried out his new jumper, dancing about in a growing pool of accumulated dribble and spit-up that we weren’t quite fast enough to catch.

And today?  Not quite as bitchy, not quite as morose, but I still definitely felt off.  In between tending to the baby, I ignored my usual chores in favour of reading.  And again, the silver lining came in the form of watching Dylan roll from his stomach to his back, a trick he hasn’t done in weeks if not months, and it was obvious from the delight on his face that something clicked.  He knew he’d done something wonderful, and I’m eagerly anticipating a repeat performance.

I wish I had something more interesting to report.  I suppose I could complain about the finger-pointing going on over the volcano/flying ban (I have no sympathy whatsoever for the airlines, especially BA and RyanAir); I could whinge about trying to balance work and home life; I could even sing the praises of one of my favourite authors whose books I am currently devouring (Anne Bishop, Black Jewels novels, if you’re interested).

But frankly, I am just too tired, and still that extra bit moody.  So apologies for not providing something more entertaining to read.  Maybe tomorrow will be a better day……

How depressing that I’m looking forward to Monday!

April 22, 2010

Venture into the Unknown…..

Filed under: Ramblings — by Christie @ 8:39 pm
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*deep breath*

Right, I’ve done it.

I’ve submitted my entry to a travel-writing competition.

Inspired by Natalie’s entry – actually, if I’m honest, the only reason I’ve started writing again is by following Nat’s example – I thought I would have a go.  Not so much in any hope of winning, but simply to dip my toe in, after more than a decade of stagnation.  I used to write all the time, filling entire notebooks with poems and stories, coping with emotional turmoil by putting pen to paper and letting it all flow.

But somewhere along the way, I lost impetus, convincing myself that what I wrote was trite, average, ordinary and easily duplicated by any number of anguished young adults.  So I stopped writing, save on the occasions when depression had me firmly in its grip, and it was literally a choice of purging through journaling or self-harm.

It’s only been in the past few months that I’ve begun writing for pleasure, and using the experience not so much as a cathartic exercise but as a way of exploring the world and my own unique place in it.  It’s slow-going at times, particularly when all I want to do is curl up under the duvet, but I feel I am making progress.  A friend of mine who is an established writer encourages me, giving me feedback on my work and suggesting new avenues of exploration.  My aim is not to achieve any kind of celebrity status but rather to recognise in myself a growing maturity in my abilities, to look upon my work with satisfaction and pride.  If others find enjoyment in my writing, then that’s just icing on the cake!

So, if you please, have a look at my entry and cast your vote.  Even better, drop me a line and tell me what you think, what you liked or didn’t like; what worked and what didn’t; what was missing and what could be missed.  I would greatly appreciate any and all feedback.

http://www.geckogo.com/bradt/travel-writing/H61W.html

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