The Library

There is something about the smell, about walking in to a Library and, bang you are hit by that musty, booky smell.  The one that has stayed with you since childhood.

I often take the minimads to the small library in the village.  They love playing with the books, the stacking plastic chairs and also the jigsaws, which are never complete.  They adore the thrill of having their own plastic library cards and being responsible for taking out their own books and putting them in mummy's book bag.

But the other day I took Mini to the library of my childhood.  The main library on the street where I grew up, the street on which my mum still lives.

So much is the same, but so much has changed in the last 30 off years.  The smell is just the same, it hit me straight between the solar plexus triggering all sorts of happy memories of Meg and Mog, of dancing on graves and of worrying about fines for late returned books.
The children's section is still in the same part of the library, but you have to walk through a theft detection device now and go through a swing gate before you can enter it to the left.  It still has the wooden crates on the floor full of picture and board books.  The red train seats and the blue faux leather adult chairs.  There are still images on the red brick 1960 walls drawn by children who attend the regular reading sessions like I did.

The brick fishpond has gone and in its place a tank with small exotic fish.  No longer can you throw a penny in amongst the water and vegetation and listen to it plop against the bottom.  Gone are the vinyl seat cushions which used to rest on benches made of bricks.

However, all the rest remains the same, apart from the row of 12 PC's which run across the centre of the library where I remember their being microfiche.

The counter is still in the same place made with the same 1960's brick.  The whole library is a glass and steel structure with brick internal fittings and supports.  It must have looked for modern in the 1960's when it was build.

I remember meeting friends at the cafe in the entrance with my mum and baby brother in his buggy.  I loved the Eames metal chairs with their orange seats.  I would be allowed an orange squash and have a biscuit from the packet mum got with her tea.

How sad that these wonderful seats and squash have been replaced by a frothy coffee and bland brown leather sofa's.

A strange place for me it holds so many memories and lies juxtaposed between history, fiction and imagination.




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A New Beginning

The sixth of September marks a new beginning for Mini and I.  Yes you guessed it he will be going in to Reception full time and Maxi will be going in to year one.

I have trying to make the most of this summer together as it seems like the end of an era, but I have decided that I am not going to look upon it as such, oh no this is just the beginning, the start of something wonderful.

To help the boys on their way to school Clothing at Tesco sent us a school uniform bundle of each of the boys and also a voucher for me to spend online at Tesco clothes (which I am going to put towards an outfit for The Mads).


They have also said that I can nominate another Mum for a pack too, so I am nominating Cathy at Nurturestore, who has a little girl who is starting school in September too.



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Sometimes Mothering is harder than hard

I have a neighbour, yes we all have them, but I have one who manages to make me feel terrible with just a single glance and a turn of phrase.  She is always beautifully turned out, drives a brand new sports car, runs her own successful business,  has a hot tub in the garden and one perfectly dressed nine year old boy who in her eyes can do no wrong.

So this morning when I am screaming at the boys like a fishwife to get in the car or we will be late, hollering my lungs out to leave the drink at home and just get in the car, who would it be that walks past.  Yes you guest it the PP neighbour (practical perfect) and she says "I see you are having issues with the boys again".

I didn't know how to respond to that so I just mumbled something about having to be somewhere and get the boys strapped in the car, but it stings, it really does.
The thing is she is right and the truth hurts, I have gone back to the screaming banshee I was before we underwent the trying to give shouting up for lent and I am ashamed.   We all seem to be shouting to be heard, I shout, therefore, the boys shout and I feel the need to shout loudest, it is a contest and it shouldn't be.

I have a temper, a really bad temper and it bubbles up inside until it explodes with a vengeance and I am tired.  Mini wasn't well yesterday and it meant that we had to cancel plans and spend the day in the house and the boys don't do well without their exercise.  But in truth this is an excuse, there is nothing I can say, I shouldn't be dragging myself down the boys level.

This morning things went from bad to worse, Mini had taken a drink in the car with him, which went everywhere as I drove round a corner far too fast (blackcurrant oh joy) and I started shouting again.  

I am really struggling to hold it together, to be the mother I want to be and should be.  I miss Mr Smudge desperately, I see him everywhere around the house, a carrier, a cushion on the sofa.  I am trying to do the best I can on very little money, even less sleep and be there for my mum too and life is hard.  

I am still waiting for the results to my test on the 7 July and have received nothing but excuses from the hospital as to why I haven't had them - The consultant is on holiday, the radiographer is on holiday, we haven't received the report from the radiographer, the file is on the consultants desk, his secretary is on holiday.  They are sick of me, I rang up this morning and have cried at the cover secretary.  I am tired, tired of all the waiting, the not knowing, the health issues I have to live with on a day to day basis.
Please don't think this post is a cry for attention, as I don't do that.  I am not looking for sympathy, I just wanted to get it all out and to try and writing does that for me. 


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The Gallery – A photo I am Proud Off

Oh my I can not get that "What have you done today to make you feel proud" out of my head.  This week I am supposed to show you an image I have taken that makes me feel proud. 

I am not a professional photographer or even an amateur really.  I am a snapper.  I capture moments of our everyday lives to trigger wonderful memories.


This image was snapped with my now defunct original Olympus digital camera, the first digital I owned, which was the size of a house brick and I love it.

It captures a wonderful day, the first time we went out of the house as a family of four in July 2006.  Granted it was only 200 yards up the hill from our then rented house to the in laws garden, but we did it.


So this is me one week post c-section, first day out of bed, with two babies, one aged 15 months and one 2 weeks and really signifies the start of the parenting adventure for me and my two boys.  Proud - you betcha, I couldn't think straight, but I managed to capture a wonderful time.


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Lets Talk About Respect

There are things happening in the world of British Mummy Blogging, there are posts about Bulling, people giving up blogging, wondering why they bother and people questioning the validity of blogs with advertising, reviews and sponsored posts.
I wasn't going to get involved, I was going to keep my mouth shut, but I read something last night that made me realise that my silence wasn't helping anyone, in fact I felt pretty guilty by omission.  Some other wonderful woman have got there before me and had some very wise words about it all indeed.
If you are anything like me, you read these posts and even if they are not directed at you, you can not help feeling if it is someone pointing the finger at you.  Yes I know I am not that important and it is a sign of self obsession to feel that people are talking about you behind your back, but it does happen!
So what spurred me on to write well it was this comment by Maggy at RedTedArt, A woman I respect hugely
There is so much I want to say and comment on this, but I dare not, in fear of getting "lynched" "poo pooed" or "excluded" by some of those in the established blogging network.

Which means that the competition is fierce and makes newbies feel very unwelcome and unsupported (not by everyone I hasten to add).
 
So here is my two penneth worth and I would love to hear yours, if you are concerned about reprisals then please comment anonymously or e-mail me and I will comment for you.
 
The beauty of blogging is that there are so many out there, that if you don't like what someone is doing, then that's easy, stop subscribing and find one you like.  It takes all sorts really, that's why best seller lists are made up of much more than just chic lit and parenting manuals. The bigger the arena gets then it will start to splinter and people will form more close knit groups, this is inevitable. The thing is cyberspace is big enough for everyone and there is no reason why we can not be more tolerant of other people.
Just because I don't agree with everything, doesn't mean I stop respecting people. We should really live and let live, shouldn't we?  I am bring up my children not to follow the herd and to be individuals, who are true to themselves.  Nicky talks about the battle beginning and people bashing her square pegs into round holes here and it really struck a chord with me.
Bullying is never acceptable and neither is it acceptable to stand by and watch it happen.  I hope that I am never in a position where I do either.  We would not allow our children to be bullied, so lets not let our friends be bullied either.  I do sponsored post, review posts and take advertising. Does that mean that when I blogged about my issues with my health and parenting that it wasn't worth reading - I hope not. People should stop judging books by their cover and start to live and let live. I am all for healthy debate, right to reply etc, but I can not stand by whilst people like Maggy are scared to say what they think for fear of reprisals and being excluded. I think we should be concentrating on allowing people to have a voice and feel secure in the knowledge that their opinion is as valid as the next persons. Lets cut the crap and start respecting each other a little bit more.
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Living with a child with a health condition

When Maxi was 4 months old he became unwell.  He got a cold and was very unhappy, not his normal self at all.  He also fell off my knee and we were so concerned we took him to A&E at 6pm.  The doctor took a look at him and said he was fine and just to keep an eye on him and bring him back in if he was being sick.

Maxi on the afternoon before he fell off the sofa

We put our little baby to bed at 8pm that night and tried to give him a feed at 11pm, as usual, but he wouldn't take the milk, in fact he didn't cry, he was just struggling for breath.  We decided to ring the out of hours GP service and the doctor was with us within 30 minutes.  Within 2 minutes of entering the house, he told us to out our baby in the car and to drive straight to A&E.

He took our house keys and said he would lock up and meet us there, that there wasn't time to call an ambulance and we could get him there quicker.

A doctor and two nurses met us at the door to A&E and rushed our baby in to a cubical and then all hell broke out.  Maxi was ventilated and a cannula put in.  He has wires coming from his foot and finger and was put on a heart monitor too.  I have never been so scared since the crash section 4 months previous when we thought we were losing him.  
Maxi on CPAP in the HDU at Royal Berks

Our baby was moved to the high dependency unit as the Royal Berkshire doesn't have an ITU and we started what was our long long Vidual.  Maxi was suffering with breathing difficulties and they couldn't figure out why, he didn't have an infection, it was the middles of the summer not the bronchiolitis season, they were flummoxed.  Instead of getting better, our little baby got worse and was transferred to ITU at Great Ormond Street, it was suggested that we get him christened.

We didn't, he started to improve, we returned back to The Royal Berkshire High Dependency unit and began the long recovery, he was tube fed, changed on to nasal cpap and gradually got better.

A month later we did it all again, bar the Great Ormand Street part, as we managed to deal with it at the Royal Berkshire.  1 day after he was released we dashed down the M1 and had a joint christening for Maxi and my Niece (we basically hijacked their prearranged day), thanks to my wonderful sister in law, who arranged and planned everything.

Maxi's Christening

This became our life for until Maxi turned 3, we couldn't go a couple of month over winter without an admission.  We had over 10 sweat tests for cystic fibrosis, each time the results were in the grey area or there wasn't enough sweat to test.  Finally we for a negative test, we were overjoyed.  We were very lucky that we had a super Consultant, who agree that we needed to take some steps to prevent this happening.

So Maxi underwent numerous blood tests  and other tests and it was discovered that his specific antibodies were virtually non existent.  So Maxi underwent six months of re immunization and also had additional immunizations and guess what.  It made a huge difference.  He no longer picked up every virus going.

We have actually gone an entire winter without any hospitalisations.  It is wonderful.  We are able to manage his condition at home, which is wonderful.  He has done a whole year in Reception Class without one absence. 



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The Benefits of Play

I was invited by Pampers to come and look round their never ending world of play exhibit at the Metro Centre and to meet Pampers play expert Professor Dieter Wolke.


To be honest the interactive exhibit was pitched at children much younger than Maxi and Mini, so I bought them a slush each and we sat down to chat to the professor about why play is important and also the difference in play of boys and girls.

Firstly as a mum of two boys, I asked about the fact that the boys will always turn something in to a gun or a sword, they will build one from Lego, use a stick or even just use their hand and make the noises, should I be worried about this?

The professor reassured me that this was perfectly normal for boys and even children of pacifists will engage in this type of play and it is nothing to worry about or intervene with.

I also asked about developmental and educational play, as I am concerned that these terms are banded around so often at the moment.

All play is educational and you should be led by your children with the type of play that they enjoy, so if they seem to love dressing up, then dress up with them.  If they like to copy mummy cleaning, then get them a small cleaning kit and let them join you.

Play doesn't need to be end specific, children should be able to just enjoy being to see where it takes them.

A lot of this is just common sense, but as a mum I do know that sometimes you do worry.  I worried that the boys didn't get tummy time and other types of developmental stuff when they were small, but when you have 2 children in fifteen months then you learn to let go a little.

What is your child's favorite type of play?


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The Gallery – A Memory

This weeks prompt for The Gallery is A Memory.  I have thousands of photographs and each one is a precious memory in its own right, which makes this week harder than most for me.

How can I pick a specific memory, just one memory out of all of the millions that I have.  

At the beginning of July we all went to London for the weekend, I went to CyberMummy, but we made the most of the weekend and made many precious memories as a family.



So it isn't the best picture in the world, yes it was very dark in the Aquarium, but we were busy making a memory for years to come and surely that is what being a family is all about, making memories.

If you want to read more about our wonderful day making lots and lots of new memories then go and take a look at the review I did for Have a Lovely Time.

Also take a look at their fantastic 20 sites for summer fun, which I also featured on.



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Mummy bloggers head to Bangladesh

At the end of August 3 influential UK mummy bloggers will be heading to Bangladesh with Save the Children to see first hand the work they do first hand. 
Sian, Mummy-Tips and on twitter @mummytips
Josie, Sleep is for the Weak and on twitter @porridgebrain
Eva, Nixdminx and on twitter @nixdminx
Every year almost 9 million children under the age of five die, most of them from preventable illnesses such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria.
Why are they going to Bangladesh?
At the end of September Nick Clegg will be at the UN Summit in New York. Ten years ago world leaders set targets, called Millennium Development Goals , to reduce poverty, hunger and disease.
By going to Bangladesh and highlighting the work done, then hopefully the team can reaffirm the need for these health targets to be met.
What can you do to help?
Sign the petition to get Nick Clegg to push for commitment to the targets at the UN Summit
Donate direct to save the children
Help publicise the trip by writing, tweeting (using the #blogladesh hashtag) and putting the badge on your blog
You do not have to give if you can not afford it, but we have the chance to make a difference, to raise awareness and to try and afford change.
I am proud to know these 3 amazing woman who are going on this trip (I can not even watch comic relief without tears) and will be watching out for all their updates in the coming weeks and months.
So come on together we can all make a difference.
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Hearing but not Listening

My boys, especially MiniMad seem to have issues with listening. I and the preschool were so concerned with Mini's hearing that he was referred to an Audiologist.

Thankfully it turned out that Mini's hearing was perfect, although it took four different attempts to get him to co-operate with the tests.  You could see that he was hearing the sounds, he just refused to acknowledge them!

The Audiologist was a lovely lady who went on to explain that she sees now boys than girls and that they can hear, they just don't listen.   They tune out or focus on other things.

So what can I do about making the boys not only hear what I say to them, but also listen and take notice of it.

1)  I have been getting down to their level.  When I have something important to say I get on my knees.

2)  I gently turn mini's head to my face and ask him to listen and watch what I am saying.  I try to keep eye contact.

3)  I have been keeping it simple.  I am trying to say what I need in the least words possible.

4)  By keeping a good tone and not shouting, over lent I tried to give up shouting and it was pretty effective, but I am guilty of slipping.

5)  By rewarding listening with praise.

6)  By responding with the unexpected.

I am also going to try writing notes, especially for things that I keep having to repeat myself on. ie hanging up coats.  The boys have a low peg in the entrance for their coats but at the moment they just keep running in and dropping them, so I am going to leave a note on the door to the living room asking them to hang up their coats.

So what are your children like, do they listen to you, or do you sound like a stuck record?  How do you get round this? I would really appreciate all your hints and tips.




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