Monday, 18 May 2009

cl-awesome; an i.d. crafting update. woo.

yes, i have been doing crochet. i'm so unbelievably rock n' roll.

but please noone think for a minute that a) i am fashioning cozies for yorkshire terriers, or b) that i am any good at it whatsoever. no.

when out shopping with my sister, we fawned over a pale blue crochet thing (i am hesitant to say "throw"- this kind of etimological travesty only makes me want to suffix with an "up") which was both exorbitantly expensive and mass produced. and, while we're on the subject, dry clean only. we checked the price. we hastily put it back.

so then, after frowning over youtube for several hours, i started making my own. i've torn 3 days worth of work on it down. twice. see, i am bringing both ineptitude and perfectionism to this one.

and i can't get the hold right, so i am also developing "the claw". epic.


Sunday, 17 May 2009

going dental

my daughter is losing teeth at a rate of knots- in a good, colgate approved way of course. tonight she lost her fourth in as many months; thankfully she didn't swallow this one, so the tooth fairy won't have be putting on her size 0.3 sparkly hunters any time soon.

p.'s one of the first in her class to be losing teeth, by virtue of the facts that she is the oldest by a good few weeks and has a mother who lost her teeth early. and, whom, incidentally, kept the new ones in immaculate condition until the advent of her twenties, what with all the diet coke and intensive gestational periods that they hosted. not at the same time, of course. much.

so p. wants to take her tooth in to show to her classmates, but is concerned about any peceived lapse in protocol.

"mummy, we'll have to hide it from the tooth fairy, or she'll take it."

"no problem, honey pie, i'll text her. like that time we had to text her because you were at granny's house when you lost your last tooth. i'll just ask if she can come tomorrow night instead."

"did you have to text her then to tell her where it was? that we were at granny's?"

"yes. i sent directions. it wasn't a problem. so this time she'll just come to get it tomorrow."

"will she know where it is tomorrow?"

"yes. i'll put at the end of the text that we are at our usual address this time. just put it on the mantelpiece, baby girl."

i noticed that when she did, she tucked it carefully out of sight, behind a postcard of john simmons' titania, who could presumably see off the tooth fairy if it came to it. nice touch. she turned around again, on her tiptoes, thoughtfully.

"mummy, don't you meet the tooth fairy in starbucks like you do father christmas? i thought that was how she knew when to come?"

i couldn't remember what i'd said. i had to hide behind my wineglass while her scepticism bored into my temple.


Saturday, 16 May 2009

blessed three (3); stability

right. haven't posted in a while.

couple of reasons:

1) crochet

or, manic stitches as coping mechanism.

2) realisation

for a while now, i've been so busy getting used to the neuro-smorgasboard my family bring to the table, i had quite forgotten to consider the other half of my children's genetical input- or should i say their biological father.

it may come as something of a surprise to some of you that my children were not, as a matter of fact, immaculately conceived. and if it doesn't, believe me, remembering that fact is bit of a shock to me. i don't remember much of it at all.

a few years ago i found myself in a bad situation. unknown place. job and home fell through; nowhere to go. friend of mine wanted to make it better. he didn't- he made it different. we entered into something that i am reluctant to describe as a relationship, it was more a hostage situation. violence. drugs. every job, every career opportunity, i had was sabotaged. the police were involved. i got used to being terrified. despite every precautionary measure available to me, my daughter was conceived, and despite ending up in hospital a couple of times during her gestation, she was born. shortly after i got pregnant again with my son and he, again, somehow, made it to term. his father went to work in another city a short time after, and we never saw him again.

bewilderingly as it seems now, it took a while to realise the relief. i needed answers. i attempted to maintain contact between him and the children, and got in response death threats, trumped up delusional accusations regarding the children's provenance and bizarre pleas that i take him back and we run away together. he had no bank account of his own, and before i could realise what was happening, he ran up huge debts in my name. my credit is wrecked. he has since had at least one other child. it turns out that there is at least one other, older, child too. so that's going to be one of many interesting conversations for the future.

this man had a terrible childhood. no, that doesn't make everything he has done since alright, but it remains. he had a severely disabled older brother that i some ways his parents found much easier to deal with. things at home were bad. he went into care and was moved from foster home to foster home until leaving entirely at the age of 15. he had bad problems at school despite his intelligence, is barely literate, can't countenence authority of any kind, still has problems maintaining friendships and relationships, is manipulative and controlling, is hugely insecure and gullible; vulnerable and easily led despite the scary tough guy image he attempts to maintain. i think you know what i am saying. i am not going to list the myriad other quirks. incredibly, he found training and got very good at a trade that allows him to change jobs every two weeks whenever he falls out with his boss and/ or goes on a two week jack daniels and gaming jag. we have zero contact- he has completely reinvented me in order to justify his actions.

i know it would impossible to have attained this level of forgiveness were he still in my life, but all of a sudden, i'm there. i don't often think about him. no, this maybe isn't what i had hoped my life would look like, but i have to be grateful for my two brilliant children, and that their differences have been identified early, before they can fester and turn on us all.

our understanding and stability are worth more to our children than any of us can really imagine.

and now, for balance, some more spongebob. not normal.


Sunday, 10 May 2009


right so anyway i've had a wholly crappy few days but today fate, the stars and (trying to think of some appropriate deity here; all i can come up with is elmo...) whomever colluded to bring me out of this godforsaken funk.

it was a sunny day today. we got up early and did that nice sunday morning pottering thing where it feels like you are in an ongoing conversation even though noone says anything, necessarily, and you may all be in different rooms.

p. went to a birthday party this afternoon, so my son and i went to the park. nothing can coax r. out from behind his cuddle blanket like an opportunity to get dizzy, so we hared about the playground in a manner reminiscent of those pharmaceutical trials on spiders, from swings to slide, to smaller slide, to swing, to wierd rocking cockerel thing, to slide, to metal toadstool, to swing, to slide, to slide. but something caught my eye. i came over all private benjamin.

"rudy, " i said, "how would you like to try the super grown up balancing journey."

together, we looked across at the small course. stepping stones. logs on springs. small rope bridges. a low-wire of chain. we squinted into the dappled light that fell on the course, surrounded as it is by trees and low seasonal flora. we checked the windspeed and direction. we prepared ourselves mentally. we camouflaged our faces with boot polish.

"yeah," said rudy. and we went for it.

i was surprised and encouraged by r's enthusiasm and confidence, and his insistence that he would do this thing at his own pace. older boys came up behind us. rudy explained very reasonably that they would have to wait. they did. it didn't take long to do, this course, but it was quite meaningful for me; something i will remember.

as we reached the end, in a particular hairy part, r., slightly in front of me said,

"mummy, look! there are crocodiles all below us!"

"gosh, well, we need to be careful then."

"noooo, mummy. they won't eat us- they're cheering for us! yay!"

and with that, he jumped off the end of the course- something i would never have thought i'd see him do even two months ago.

i have a lot to learn from this boy.


Friday, 8 May 2009


being on my own is fine until i have a glimpse of an alternative.

being alone is one thing; loneliness is quite another.


Thursday, 7 May 2009

where's rudy?

rudy's keyworker has the week off, ("she is at holiday, in the north pole." states rudy, definitively; she is in poland) and the room at nursery is full of agency staff. he keeps coming home with food all over his face, his trousers unbuttoned and his shoes on the wrong feet. he is really quiet, whiney and withdrawn when i go to get him and twice so far has actually fallen asleep after getting home at around 2pm. i notice when the temporary staff attempted to engage him- for example, rudy went to get his thomas from his drawer to take home with him and on the way back tripped up over a book. he just picked himself up and carried on. as per normal. maybe because i was there, one of the temps asked him, in baby talk, if he was okay... you know, the way that you or i might talk to a pink cgi chihauhau with a broken arm out of politeness- he completely ignored her.

this has happened before. last time she had a week off, he refused to go in at all. i wouldn't say that they are especially bonded, but they get eachother. they're fond. she has in the past, even in a diagnosis environment, played down rudy's differences. that is cool, because to her that's just how rudy is. she understands that differences exist nontheless, and knows that there are some things he won't think to do or needs support doing. she understands and respects that he often plays by himself, will only really engage on his own terms, and stims out from time to time. they have a laid-back-buddy kind of rapport. this might not be the case if he was disruptive, but he's not. so it works.

seeing how much he has regressed this week makes me slightly concerned about the impending big change in environment and person-scenery, when he goes to school. he is floppier this week, taking his thomas everywhere (rather than wall-e or some other robotic conversational prop), has to be reminded to take his thumb out of his mouth to talk, after which he decides he can't be bothered. i couldn't engage him, there was nothing he wanted to do. i picked him up and took him out into the garden to watch the guy next door's pigeons, but he whined until he was lying back down on the sofa, preferably curled up on my lap, being rocked. he didn't even want to read the book about cogs and levers. he's staring into space a lot. won't play. coping.

i'm missing him.


let's be co-people

or, part 5(?) of the occasional series in which all the best things in life are claimed by indigo doll on behalf of the neuro-atypical.

i'll be quick because i'm supposed to be cleaning my house, but i just had a flashback of an interview i saw with will ferrell. and then i thought i'd dreamt it, so i turned to google (obv) and found this:

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

my bathroom mirror

for anyone reading who may not be familiar with the comments section of this blog (think of it as a sunny backstage area at glastonbury where a previously undiscovered, and only slightly warm, crate of becks has just been found behind a hay bale. on day 3. oh alright then, don't.) the lovely LPC of privilege recently furnished me with this award (see above), and i've been a little at a loss what to say actually, apart from thank you, whilst brushing tears away from a huge pink ralph lauren frock . oh no, that wasn't me. anyhoo.

LPC started blogging in february, like me. her first post concerned weddings, like me. but she wrote from a very different perspective, and whereas i droned on about some grey dress and awkwardness with my boyfriend in the transparently bitter code of [/spinst], LPC finished her first post like this-

"A key to dealing with the problem of eventual death is to find an ironic stance towards one’s identity, while still embracing all the acts and experiences that create that identity. Embracing them over and over and over again. While irony gives distance, embrace brings immediacy. In an immediate moment, who can worry so much about eventual death? "

LPC writes with honesty, humility and insight, and a stark, evocative elegance; she can be deep about the superficial, and after lurking for a while this prompted me to comment. she recently posted on taste and had me thinking analytically about my bathroom mirror for two days. it's all really very good.

so yeah. chuffed.


any given wednesday

ohmygodiamjustsoridiculouslytired. how is it just a wednesday at the beginning of may rather than a friday at THE END OF ALL TIME. i ask you.

several people asked me this afternoon in the playground- as i attempted to herd my silverfish-ish children in the general direction of home- if i was okay. this is unusual, (but i suspect that by this point i had actual steam actually coming out of my actual ears) and i responded, "i will be by the time i have a glass of wine". and this was heartily endorsed. at 3pm. by a largely middle class, and by that i mean guardian reading, and by that i mean child-led child-rearing of the home-knitted-hummous sort, test audience.

just like occasional fried egg sandwich dinners and having a world view shaped entirely by vogue and charlie brooker columns, the occasional glass of wine at hometime is something that i make absolutely no apology for. yeah- i said it. in fact, i'll go so far as to say a glass of wine, on occasion, makes me into a better parent (see also- girlfriend, friend, daughter, cook, psychic, international ambassador, and ninja assassin. oh. i've said too much.) in this afternoon's case, it allowed me to sit and do my daughter's spellings with her, rather than taking off down the street babbling snippets of dialogue from footloose to myself before assuming the foetal position in a lift in the house of fraser, rocking. i just have to watch that it doesn't become the occasional therapeutic can of special brew. at the school gates. seriously.

in other news, i had an incisor crown fitted today at the end of a fairly epic post childbearing course of dental treatment which is just frigging amazing. i can't stop looking at it. somebody there wasn't drinking on the job.


Tuesday, 5 May 2009

just a canada dry, thankyou, dear

my grandmother is a legend.

born in colonial south africa as one of the very few english children in a largely afrikaaner community, she met my grandfather during the war when he was stationed out there with the RAF. after the war, she relocated to england with the rest of her family, mainly so that her sister, my great aunt, could pursue her ballet career.

my grandmother became the family's sole breadwinner for a while, and reestablished contact with my grampa. they were married soon after. from a farming background, he said he chose her for her incredible genetic stock and finely turned ankles. he sent her some money for her engagement ring, which she bought in south africa (of course) and sent him the exact change. she looked for all the world like jane russell... and actually she still does, but still with naturally dark hair and no scary face lift.

a champion of the pussy bow and never known to leave the house without lipstick or chanel no. 19, my grandmother exemplifies that adage "strong words, softly spoken"- her approval is everything to all seven of her grandchildren. all of us lived under her and grampa's roof at various times, and she has never been anything less than lovingly consistent and outrageously generous. nana's gravy is painstakingly replicated every sunday at my house; her bread sauce perfection continues to elude me. life has thrown her some curveballs in the lifestyles and predicaments of her children and grandchildren, but she has always graciously rolled with the punches, bolted to the ground with that incredible smile. when my grandfather sadly passed away on the side of a mountain in 2002, she put him into the recovery position and calmly called the air ambulance from the mobile phone i had taught her to use not a month previously. it was like he knew, but that is another story. i wrote to her, thanking her, and him, for showing me an example that made marriage look like a viable life option. my daughter was born the following year. my children adore her, and i love her very much.

it his her birthday today. may there be many happy returns, nana.


Monday, 4 May 2009

the windmills of my mind

1. triskaidekaphilia (as always.)

2. redecorating (as always.)

3. is it really acceptable to wear a navy v-neck cashmere blend jumper/ t-rex t-shirt with navy skinny jeans and ballet flats practically every time you leave the house now? because that is what is happening, madam.

4. swine flu has made it to gloucestershire. if it comes to it, i am *totally* drawing handlebar moustaches on the children's surgical masks.

5. i need to get better at working alcohol into my food budget. how many calories are in tequila?

6. i'm growing my hair back. it turns out i am not, actually, amelie.

7. has rudy got socks for tomorrow? where are all rudy's socks? (as always.)

8. tomorrow, my love, we sow a meadow.

9. a waitress asked me if i was, "like, actually dairy intolerant" the other day after i ordered my soy latte, and i almost felt justified in answering "yes- if i have it now i get really disgusting spots and this rash all over my chest and OMG the MUCUS," but that sounded a little diva-ish so i just said "nah. just faddy."

10. i recently pruned my satellite tv subscription right back and this weekend it has been nigh-on impossible to find a film to watch that didn't have jim carey in it. jenny mccarthy has ruined eternal sunshine of the spotless mind for me, and she's not even in it.


Sunday, 3 May 2009

may day/ pink boots

yesterday, i went boots shopping with my little girl.

we went to the uk's most prolific purveyor of sensible shoes, which, as usual for a saturday, resembled the dunkirk landings. my sister came along for moral support and to periodically say to me, in a low voice, "we are going to starbucks after this kafka-esque nightmare, aren't we. tell me we are, or i might have to run screaming from the mall right now, possibly kicking that woman in the temple on my way. who wears capri length khakis, really. jesus."

once we were eventually served, the boot choosing process was a cinch (which colour do you like? pink. sold.) we three trudged back to the car bearing our frappucinos and something of a thousand yard stare and arrived home to some great news. two of our cousins have managed to knock up their respective wifes/ girlfriends at the same time and so we have two new babies arriving in the autumn. yay.

sitting in silence digesting this news, it occurred to me that two years ago one of these pairings were involved in the hunt for madelaine mccann when she first went missing; they were living in that particular portugese resort at the time. when i saw them some months later, my cousin spoke to me with something approaching bitterness of the hoo-ha surrounding her tragic disappearance, obviously coloured by the complex and yet by that time prevalent anti kate and gerry mccann feeling in praia da luz.

i hope that the happy news my cousin has shared this weekend helps him to develop something of an understanding as to why the mccanns acted the way that they did, and why they continue to hope that their little girl is still out there somewhere.

watching my poppy play football at his wedding in her flower girl dress certainly did it for me. she can have all the pink boots and mango frappucinos in the world. (caveats apply.)

huge congratulations and lashings of preparation h to both couples.