Wednesday, 28 April 2010


I have a fear of flying. For the most part I am incredibly rational but planes do something to me I can't quite explain. Once up in the air I'm generally okay. At that point, I no longer have a choice about being on the plane and therefore there seems to be very little point worrying too much. Don't get me wrong, I never actually relax, I'm just not screaming 'let me off'.

We didn't fly much as a family when I was younger but there was the odd trip to Portugal with my Dad. I don't remember being afraid. I do remember the first time I was a bit apprehensive. I was 18 and going to Ibiza with my boyfriend (the quiet side of the island for those who might envisage me raving). I was aware that I didn't have an adult with me and that made me a bit nervous. But it was fine.

My first major flight was to Australia to visit my Mum when I was 21 (different boyfriend) and I was so excited that I don't think I was scared. I flew out again when I was 24, on my own this time. On the way out I felt quite intrepid - I'm not reknowned for doing things on my own and I was proud of myself. But I was visiting specifically to see my Step Dad who was on his last legs (aged 60 but a diabetic who didn't really look after himself). I had a lovely 10 days. My Step Dad was actually really well and you'd be forgiven for thinking it was a false alarm; that he wasn't dying.

They took me to the airport and we said goodbye. I've never liked goodbyes (since Mum emmigrated when I was 14) but this was really bad, as you'd expect I guess. My Mum doesn't really do tears (not openly anyway) so I pulled myself together and that was that. I boarded the flight feeling so sick and so scared. I think it was just all too much emotionally. Saying Goodbye to Mum everytime I see her is always tough for me - a lot of sadness and some anger, the feeling of abandonment all over again. But with the added knowledge that I wouldn't see my Step Dad again, it was a tough flight.

I don't know if this is why I'm scared of flying but I know that from that point on, I've dreaded flying. I have flown but never willingly and it really takes the edge off holidays. Monkey was a well travelled little boy - Italy, Spain, South Africa and Scotland. And I was much better for having the distraction of a Monkey. But the last time we flew (to Scotland), there had been an incident on the runway (turned out to be reasonably minor) and the flight home was delayed. I persuaded my husband to hire a car and we drove from Edinburgh to Northampton.

I haven't flown since. It would be helpful for work sometimes but I don't. The recent volcanic ash cloud was a godsend for me (couldn't have got to Belfast if I'd wanted to).

But here's the thing. I'm going to Mexico for my nieces wedding in a few weeks. It will be the first time Pickle and Wotist have flown. And I need to be brave. I promise to be brave. I will not show my irrational fear. I will make it part of an exciting holiday for the boys. And at no point will I refer to the contraption we are flying in as a 'scaryplane'.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

I am truly selfish

When Monkey died, we wrote a few words for his funeral, maybe one day I'll share them. One of the things that came to mind was that I was glad that he was no longer in pain. There's no doubt that he was often very uncomfortable. Constipation was sometimes hideous. He cried and I cried. Air in his tummy from his gastrostomy. Stiff arms and legs. The tightest hamstrings. Seizures that would twist his neck very sharply. Reflux burning.

All that pain and I could not write those words, they would not have been true. I was not glad. I wanted him back.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

I am selfish

At the minute, I'm working compressed working hours. This means I'm in the office at 7.30am and rarely get to see Wotsit before he wakes up. Doing this means I can have Wednesdays off with the boys and get paid for 5 days a week. A little while ago, we needed the money. Now my husband is about to start a new job and I can't decide whether to continue these hours or go back to 4 days.

A bit of me says carry on, at least until husband is through his probationary period at work (6 months), earn a bit more money, save it and help towards the long term plan of finding a different job when the boys start school. If I'm on honest, the bit of the day I'm missing out on is normally quite stressful. Getting everyone dressed and out the door on time. I've always found this easier if there's just one adult trying to be in charge! Do the boys miss me? Pickle's okay I think. Wotist's a bit clingy but not sure if the two things are connected. I'm also a lot better at my job and I like that.

I think mostly my motives are selfish but I think it works for the family so I may carry on a bit longer and see how we get on. The bad news is there's less time for blogging!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Run a mile

Finally feeling better after a couple of weeks of some kind of lurgy. Scared myself by passing out at my in-law's house. Only happened the once, 4am whilst sitting on the loo (how glamarous). I was reassured in the morning that everyone heard the crash, thought one of the children had fallen out of bed, waited for the cry and when it didn't come, rolled over and went back to sleep. I did wake my husband up - he cleared the blood off the bathroom floor and bought me some frozen peas for my head.

A few days holday with family followed. Definitely the best place to be when you're feeling under the weather. Kids had a blast at the 'pirate ship' hotel, were well behaved and grew up before my eyes.

Back to work, still feeling groggy but not groggy enough to stay at home. Week was busy but all ok. And then a lovely weekend. Swimming with boys, shopping with friends, a babysitter for a night out on Saturday.

Today, managed a short run this morning and then took the kids to the park where we watched the end of a 10k run in our local town. This was followed by a kids fun run - 1 mile. Pickle was desperately uninterested, he was working his way through a picnic and running didn't appear that attractive. Moments before the race started he decided he wanted to join in. He was going to do it with my friend but, at the last minute, needed Mummy. We weren't aiming to do the whole mile but turns out Pickle has some of my determination and responded fantastically well to encouragement from marshalls along the way. Much to his delight, he pipped me at the post and crossed the finish line ahead of me. He was rewarded with a medal. I was very proud. No need to scratch around for something to take to show and tell tomorrow morning!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

3 is a magic number

I always wanted to have 3 children. I am one of the 3 (the middle one - can you tell?). My husband is one of 3 (the eldest (for completeness)). I always wanted to have 3 children (have I said that?). My husband really only ever wanted to have 2 (never let the buggers outnumber you - the words of a close friend). But when we had Monkey, we knew that one day he would die and we didn't want baby number 2 to be an only child. To be the sole focus of our attention. To have to cope with the loss of his brother on his own. So we started our plan to have 3. No hardship for me, as you can tell.

The thing is, I think I forgot to clarify my requirement - to have 3 children at the same time. We assumed that Monkey would be here until his teens. Maybe that would have been long enough, I don't know.

I know that Monkey can't be replaced but in my mind, my family is incomplete. Of course it is - Monkey isn't here. But that's not the only point. I also have an unfilfilled dream of having more children than we can handle; of being outnumbered, too much noise and an element of chaos (ok, we maybe do have a little bit of chaos).

I am jealous of those who have 3 children. I can't help it. I am delighted for you. I mean it - truly delighted. But the green eyed monster appears.

We have, jointly, decided not to go for number 4. 3 pregnancies, 2 c-sections and 37 this year, means it's not a particularly sensible option for us. I am very glad that my husband, with my agreement, was very happy to go for the snip (Valentine's Day last year - how romantic). As by now, I would be on my knees. And I could probably be quite persuasive.

I know that life rarely goes to plan for any of us and I am so incredibly grateful for the children that I have and the one I had for nearly 3 years. And I am particularly aware that some people struggle for a long time and are unable to have any children. So know that I am grateful but forgive me for still being a fraction envious.

Friday, 2 April 2010

To Monkey's Dad

You don't get mentioned here very often so I thought I'd write you a short note. We've had some good news this week, you have been offered a job. You had a second interview on Monday which you were reasonably confident about before you went. The interview started at 2pm and when I hadn't heard from you at 5pm, I was guessing that was a good sign. And it was.

I picked the boys up from nursery and they were reasonably vile! By the time you got home with the champagne, I was in tears. I kept trying to congratulate you but I couldn't get excited and I couldn't describe how I was feeling. Which was reasonably miserable. You see, it isn't the first time you have needed to look for a new job because the one you were doing wasn't going so well. And that's fine. I understand that. But I get scared that it's something of a vicious circle. In an ideal world this isn't the kind of work you would do. You'd be a gentleman farmer or an estate manager. We've looked at alternative options/alternative lifestyles but we can't find what we're looking for (or we can't afford it!). I've offered to be the sole breadwinner. Selfishly, I don't want that, I'd like to spend more time with the boys (however vile they can be!) and you don't want it either. But it would give us the stability that I crave.

However, if you insist on working, then I want to plan my dream (which I think you share). I want to be able to pick the boys up from school, do their homework with them and generally be a bit of a nuisance to them. Before they grow up. Whilst they are at school, I want to help some families who either have children with special needs or who have lost a child. I want to honour Monkey's memory in this way.

But I am scared of being disappointed. I love you.