Friday, July 29, 2011

Word worship

God I love words!  I could gaze all day at a beautifully crafted paragraph, in much the same way others may appreciate a photograph or a gorgeous painting.

So please excuse me while I genuflect for this passage.

"Babies are soft.  Anyone looking at them can see the tender, fragile skin and know it for the rose-leaf softness that invites a finger's touch.  But when you live with them and love them, you feel the softness going inward, the round-cheeked flesh wobbly as custard, the boneless splay of the tiny hands.
Their joints are melted rubber and even when you kiss them hard, in the passion of loving their existence, your lips sink down and never seem to find bone.  Holding them against you, they melt and mold, as though they might at any moment flow back into your body.
But from the very start, there is that small streak of steel within each child.  That thing that says "I am," and forms the core of personality.
In the second year, the bone hardens and the child stands upright, skull wide and solid, a helmet protecting the softness within.  And "I am" grows, too.  Looking at them, you can almost see it, sturdy as heartwood, glowing within the translucent flesh.
The bones of the face emerge at six, and the soul within is fixed at seven.  The process of encapsulation goes on, to reach its peak in the glossy shell of adolescence, when all softness then is hidden under the nacreous layers of the multiple new personalities that teenagers try on to guard themselves.

In the next years, the hardening spreads from the centre, as one finds and fixes the facets of the soul, until "I am" is set; delicate and detailed as an insect in amber."

- Dragonfly in Amber, Diana Gabaldon.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

High Jump With Happiness

Isn't this beautiful? 

Idea from here...

I think this will also do for my Friday Gratefulness post :)  Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What 'colour' are you?

Ever attended a work "Team Building" session?  If you have, you'll know what I mean when I say...


or maybe,
Urge to kill......... Rising.......

or maybe, just:  LOL, WTF?

Most of these things are just fucking ridiculous.  There was one, for instance, where we had to pass around a "Bop It" gadget (for those who don't know, it's this thing that plays a techo-type beat and tells you to either 'bop it' 'twist it' or 'pull it' and you have to twist its various levers in time, or you're "out" ).  As I said: WTF?

So you'll understand my first reaction to being invited (read: compelled) to go to a team building session entitled "Understanding Self and Others" was somewhat lacklustre, to say the least.

But it actually turned out to be interesting.  It was something I hadn't done before, at least.

Apparently, each one of us has a unique behavioural style - at work and otherwise - in which we interact with others.  This has evolved usually from childhood, when we begin figuring out what behaviour "works" for us to get what we want.  We approach people with a certain behaviour that's innate to us, but it may not be the same behavioural approach of others, and that's where conflicts and misunderstandings can arise.

The author of this theory categorised the behaviours under four different colours:  Red, Green, Blue and Yellow.  You do a little survey to figure out which one you are.  I guess it's very Jungian in its approach and it's probably nothing new but I found it really interesting.  

Here are the four types:

RED: Spirited and fun, comfortable taking risks, charming, playful, good sense of humour and naturally optimistic.  Motivated by prestige and recognition.  Bored by details and structure. Handles ambiguity well and thrives on social contact. Can be inconsistent, emotional and unrealistic.

BLUE: Very goal-oriented, enjoy getting immediate results and love a challenge.  Enjoy looking at the 'big picture', comfortable being in charge, quick decision makers and thrive on competition, tough workloads and pressure.  Flare up quickly but just as quickly cool down again.  Inefficiency and indecision irritate them.

GREEN: Accuracy and numbers are important.  Perfectionism is inherent.  They have a systematic approach and thrive in orderly, conflict-free situations.  Great at critical thinking and planning.  Can resist change because it may threaten structure and order, can get buried in 'details' and feel overwhelmed when they don't measure up.

YELLOW: Have a warm and caring style.  Family is their number one priority.  Concerned with the needs of others; these are the best team builders, highly empathetic and sensitive.  Generally content with status quo, practical, dependable and patient.  Easygoing, but can hold grudges and procrastinate.

These are very short summaries of what were about a typed page each.  It's very interesting and I think relates not just to work but life in general.

Me... I'm mainly a RED with a few blue and green traits. (I can't believe I have virtually no yellow!!) It's a bit like star signs, isn't it... you're never ALL what they say, but I found a lot of mine remarkably accurate.

It's hard to do without the survey - which I'm attempting without luck to find online - but which category do you think you'd fit into?  What's your worst ever "team building" session story?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mummy, don't be so angry

Most work mornings I hold it together pretty well.  I have to get out the door at 7.50am to be sitting at my desk by 9, including daycare drop-off and about a 50 minute commute.  With all the palaver that goes on before it, stepping out of the door with mascara on, toddler dressed and sense of humour intact is no small victory; but usually I get there.

Today was not one of those mornings.

Eyes peel open to clock blinking 7.09am. Hey...I got out of bed 20 minutes ago, when my alarm went off, didn't I?  Remember turning it off at least.  Check self.  No, assuredly am still in bed.  Maybe has something to do with the four times Little Red got me up last night, but boss generally not interested in those kinds of excuses, so must haul ass.

Jump into the world's quickest shower and then bang around in the kitchen, very loudly, making a bowl of porridge until Little Red emerges, sweet and sleepy-eyed in her striped feety pyjamas.  "Mummy," she says reproachfully "You woke me up!"

"OH, did I sweetheart?"  (Fist-pump) "I didn't mean to... here, let's put on Hi-5".  

Make Red some toast, gobble my own breakfast and coffee and scuttle back to the ensuite to throw together The Look.  The Look generally consists of whatever clothes I chose last night (morning closet-debates are the luxury of the child-free employee), either a brush through the hair only, or a ponytail (today, a ponytail) and makeup.  Always makeup because; well, a girl's got to have something :)  Colleagues may come to work with ironed locks and carefully put-together outfits but at least I have blush and lippy on goddamit.

7.45am.  Late late late late late.  Go out to lounge to check on progress of Little Red's breakfast.  There's a lot of dancing to Hi-5 going on; pillows strewn from the couch and cat cowering in the corner, but not a lot of toast being eaten.  "EAT YOUR TOAST!" I yell, simultaneously putting a load of laundry on, feeding the cat and pulling my lunch out of the fridge.  Miraculously toast is consumed, although how one can dance and eat jam toast is a mystery to me. 7.50am.

Turn Hi-5 off to squeals of protest.  "Go to the toilet," I say.  "I don't want to go to the toilet!!" LR protests.  "Yes you DO!" I say and physically pull her undies down and sit her on it.   Lots of pouting.  Then, "I want to do a poo."  "GOOD!", I say, thinking 'you've got to be kidding me'. "Do a poo!  And do it quickly," I add.

"No, I want to do a poo on the potty!  I don't want to be a big girl!"

 7.55am.  This is a battle I'm not going to broach this morning.  The damn potty comes out.  Contemplate brushing her hair and partially dressing her while she's on the potty but stop myself.  Instead, hover over her with hairbrush and school clothes in hand.  "Have you done your poo yet?  Do it NOW please!"  I plead with increasing shrillness after minutes 1, 2 and 3 tick by.

"No," Little Red says serenely.  "I don't think I want to this morning.  I might go at school"


Right.  Clothes and hair.  Clothes go on with lightning speed - batting off suggestions of "I do it," with a look that could vaporize Medusa herself.  The hair though, won't be compromised on.  The battle lines are drawn.

"I want DOLLY hair, mummy; not DOGGY hair" (plaits, not ponytails).  "YOU'RE GETTING DOGGY HAIR!"  I shriek, completely at the end of my tether now.  LR goes silent.  "mummy, you angry."

I immediately melt and give her a big cuddle.  I explain at length that yes mummy's angry, and mummy is sorry, but if mummy is late for work, I get in big trouble and we don't have money to pay for nice things and more importantly, the roof over our heads.  This, of course, goes straight over her head but I feel a bit better.

8.05am.  Ridiculously late now.  Bundle Little Red, bags, lunches and coats in car with promise of listening to Incy Wincy Spider off the Playschool CD in the car.

Discover car is completely frosted over.  Decide to back out of driveway anyway, with vision approximating that of a skiier in a blizzard.  Back straight into hedge.

"For GOODNESS SAKE!" I exclaim with the well-trained restraint of the former potty-mouthed, but with the same fury as if I'd flung out a string of expletives.

"Mummy.... " came the small voice from the back.  "... don't be so angry!"

I looked at the little face in the mirror, not even with jam wiped off it yet, and sunk back into my seat.  "I'm sorry," I said and meant it.  We spent the next 5 minutes (post hedge extricating) singing to the Playschool CD while the car defrosted.  Bugger it; I'm going to be late anyway.

There extra hugs at preschool drop-off too... much much more to soothe my guilt than to comfort Little Red who'd already forgotten Angry Mummy the minute she saw her friends.
And a very long drive to work contemplating my bad-mumminess this morning.

Do you find yourself in situations like this or is it just me?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday gratefulness

I read an article today which said happiness is in recognising the little things right now that are good in your life, rather than fixating on the ones we think will make our lives better.

I've read articles like this a million times in the past, but for some reason today it really sunk in.  The author was grateful for things like a new pot she found for her plant, or for the fact her kids were enjoying their lego.  And she found one thing every day - even things about her partner, which is a very interesting concept.

I take my partner for granted for sure, we probably all do with our husbands.  This author was thankful her partner always gave her the largest slice of dessert with the nicest crust, although she admitted she was miserable for years waiting for him to make a big romantic gesture.

My husband always kisses me goodbye in the morning - no matter whether he leaves at 6am while I'm still dead asleep, or 7am when I'm stumbling out, bleary eyed like him.

And that I'm grateful for.  There are many, many other things but this one thing still makes me smile whenever I think of.  It's a courtesy he undertakes, whereas I know I'd often forget. 

Other things I'm grateful for today:

- Being 71.6kg, not exactly a tiny girl but still maintaining a loss of 6kg nearly a year on, and nearly 20kg from where I was after Little Red was born
- Having paid nearly 1 year off our house! (only 29 to go... LOL)
- Having a great new novel to read, half way in, and knowing there are not one, but FIVE sequels to this one... god I love a new series to sink my teeth into

This Friday I'm grateful for these things.  What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Baby, this is harder than I expected!!

I'm not your average Type A overachiever.  I'm pretty happy doing nothing much at all for very long stretches of time, and I can't say I've achieved anything particularly out of the ordinary in my life.

But, when I do decide I want something, and want it badly, something changes in me... laid-back me transformes into a steely, focused monster with Cyclops eyes that burn everything in my path until I get that thing or achieve that goal, right NOW.

It's always been that way with me, there just has to be that moment of "switch".  Weight loss - not a problem at all.  After the 'switch' I can stare down a piece of chocolate cake and nibble carrots at barbecues.  Saving to go overseas?  Not a drama.  Within 6 months penniless student-me had $10k.  Same with buying our house.  And same with having our first baby.

But this time it's different.  6 months into trying for our second and still no luck.  My house is littered with OPK's, and fertility forums are my new best friend.  The Tradie is typically unfazed by it all but you know what.... it's REALLY GETTING MY GOAT!

Never before has getting something I want been such a ginormous pain in the butt.   It's not just a case of deciding on an extra family member and them appearing "poof!" like magic (no I didn't really think this, but part of you does).  This...  is out of my control and that's scary.   I can't just read up on it, set my mind to it and make it happen.  Fertility, as it turns out, is a fickle bitch.

 I'm beginning to realise just how much incredible luck played a part in our first, almost-instant pregnancy rather than any sort of calculation or planning.  And so, I must close my Cyclops eye and practice some Zen, I guess.
AF arrived again this morning (those who know, will know what this is, and those who don't, I probably don't particularly want you knowing) and flushed away another month's dream, negated another month of frantic bonking and left me feeling pretty useless, again.

But I can already feel the optimist in me rise up because that's just who I am.  It's only been 6 months!  You already have one child! (yes, that does in fact take the edge off the desperation... but doesn't stop your heart craving another).  Each month is further away from 'birthday crush season jan-march'! It won't be an Aries, whom I'm apparently not compatible with! (scraping the bottom of the barrel now)

And finally, I won't waste that crate of mixed whites I bought on a whim from Cudo!
(hmmm... that is actually a comforting thought)


Monday, July 18, 2011

My friends are Cool (meer) Kats

Meerkats, when they have their first babies, are not alone in the world of the new mum.  ALL of the adults in the tribe take an interest in the new offspring and regularly offer 'babysitting' services, helping raise the baby meerkat as a tribe.

I was reminded of this today, when, at playgroup this morning I wiped the snotty nose of a friend's youngster and glanced across the room, to see another friend helping to put on my toddler's smock for painting.

My friends, they're Meerkats.  And I love them for it.  It's not the only thing I love my friends for - the boozy girls nights out might be few and far between now, but we still manage a races day or two throughout the year.  They're also incredibly funny and supportive in that laid back, when-you-need-me kind of way.  They don't expect phone calls all the time, but in a crisis they materialise out of nowhere with lasange, breast pumps or whatever's needed at the time.

But the thing I MOST love them for, now we're all mums to kids ranging from 12 months - 4 years, is that when we're with each other, everybody's child is your child.

You can go off to the toilet, or get yourself a coffee, without even needing to alert them of your absence.  They'll look after your kid as if it were their own.  I never imagined I'd wipe some other mother's kid's snotty nose.  But here I am, Lilly had a goober and her mum, my mate Rach was chatting with a friend.  I was in range of the tissues and that child needed my help, stat.  It was a no-brainer.  And I know that kindness has, and will continue to be, repayed time and time and time again.

It takes a village to raise a child.... sometimes a Meer mum needs that.