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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Knowing and understanding

Recently my SuperHeroGirl explained to me the difference between knowing and understanding things. It found that truly fascinating; first of all, realising she sees the difference; second, realising she is able to explain it in clear and simple way; third and final, realising she is not a baby anymore...

Now I know that if something is a fact, mum, there is nothing to understand. You either know, usually because I tell you, or not. And when I explain something to you, well, then you can understand, or not.

I have a vague idea of who I was when I was six. I recall I loved hiding underneath a coffee table, so that my grandpa couldn't see me, and I would shout that I was there after he looked for me around the house (yes, that was not one of my reasonable approaches to him and his health, but what can I say, I was six...). And that joy in hiding is something me and my daughter seem to share. But I don't recall having that deep examination of words, phrases, and attempts to define expressions and emotions properly. I guess we may call it a side-effect of English being our second language.

Still, it is fascinating...

Let's hit the road again

No, no, we're not moving again; not that I'm aware of, at least.
Last Saturday we went to see the collection of mini-buses, all dressed-up, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, conveniently located just outside the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford.
We all enjoyed it, although the trip took longer than expected, with rail replacement service in place. Still, we got there safely.

It was veeery cold by the time we got there on a mid-afternoon. But that did not stop us from exploring the funny little buses collection. There was a real bus model on display, this one could be climbed on with no limits, which both of my children enjoyed enormously. How exciting a bus can be?!:) apparently there is something super interesting in hoping into one, even when we use buses nearly every day, on our way to school.

It made me think, how much effort is sometimes put into new toys, new playgroup activities, new places to join, new dance classes to attend. Meanwhile, all you need, sometimes again, is a little bit of effort to get outside, have a walk, and see what is out there. Just that. Oh, and also, to make sure you have a place secured where you can warm yourself up after that freezing walk. Like we did. It made me all smiles to see my mini-man, sitting happily, and actually sitting ;) in a cosy armchair, with my SuperHeroGirl, waving her legs on the opposite recliner, totally at ease with herself. They actually managed not to get angry with each other for, well, nearly 20 minutes, which puts our new world record on the let's be nice to each other 2015 chart (there is no such thing as of yet, but I'm more and more often thinking of getting one...), probably thanks to tasty shortbread and scones, and quite a large table between them...;)

Monday, 19 January 2015

Lazy Sunday afternoon and Blue Monday

It's late afternoon on a freezing Sunday. We had our quick walk, light lunch, slowly getting into hinking about preparing something unhealthy and good;) for tea time anytime soon. Now, however, I'm having a semi-nap with my 6-year old on my lap, watching 'The adventures of Filemon, the cat'; the cartoon I used to watch myself when little. Unexpectedly it brings up all the good memories from my childhood, which I spent untroubled with my grandparents always with me.
You know that feeling you're about to fall asleep, usually too tired to say or do something, with your mind still aware of what's around you. That's my definition of a semi-nap.
The Mini Man is having his midday nap, later than usual, tucked behind a striped blanket; he has a thing for stripes ever since he was born; it goes beyond a simple approval of fabrics that surround him. It's a mutual love, especially when his multicolour stripey hoodie makes him look even more of a completely innocent and cute trouble maker.

It's Monday, a blue one apparently. Well, for me it is definitely a sad one, since on that very day, several years ago, my grandma passed away; she was one of the best people I have ever met. I was fortunate enough to be with her every day for quite a long time, since she was my nanny, the best one I could have, and my teacher (she told me how to read when I was three; I wish I knew how she succeeded there, with a stubborn and capricious me as a student), and my best friend who I could tell anything, anything that bothered me, without feeling judged.

A chaotic note today, but the last two days had been quite chaotic for me really, forcing myself to stay calm and patient, and nice for my children, when I felt a bit of a little child myself.

Funny how a cartoon from childhood can open the chapter of your life you would have thought is closed, and nothing left there to think about...

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Clearance, reduction and further sale

If you're as cautious consumer as I am, you probably will now be getting loads of e-mails, with titles including heading of this post. I genuinely thought that registering with few retail dignity-reasoning-and-money-rippers was a great idea. Ok, more than few; definitely less than 27:) anyways, I don't know why I showed so much weakness, allowing them to kindly inform me not to forget buying necessary stuff they need to get rid of before spring kicks in, and everyone is even more ready to spend more, to look healthier, to be happier through increased consumerism.
I have nothing against things for sale. I am happy I have the opportunity to go and take (and yes, unfortunately, pay) what I need. Not all of us people living now have that much luck. In that sense, I feel grateful. At the same time, however, I feel miserable and snowed under all who really think I am that intelligence-missing person, seriously believing I need another pair of serums (maybe I do, but that's not the point), or a set of Christmas scented candles (probably to remind me of gloomy short December days; oh, and they're half the price, who wouldn't be tempted, really).

I am really starting to believe in the power of minimalism. I think it would only do me good to have that defined for me, and stick to that definition. And I also think it would be a good idea for all. Even if a selection of 3 spare cleansers gently tucked into a bathroom shelf, right behind 2 night creams is indispensable for someone (ekhm), it's great to have that included in that minimalistic plan.

Planning, again. I seem to be focused on one topic these days...

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

There's a first time for everything

My little one recently learnt how to jump on both legs, and he is sooo super overwhelmed with his new ability; it's so cute to watch his excitement.
My SuperSpiderGirl recently learnt how to cut with scissors using her left hand. No special need for that, she just found it easier for her, and went for it.
Me, in turn, I recently used public washing machine in a local launderette service for the first time. Needless to say, this doesn't fall into lifetime achievement category, unlike the ones of my children. But the excitement seems to be comparable. Beauty of little things that brighten up a day. Intriguing feature an individual judgement has; a thing of mere joy can make someone truly happy. Even if just for a while, so what?:)


This is how I felt for the last few days, in chronological order:
First; I damaged our dining table with a misterious liquid, or food. It looks awful now, although it is not huge, but you can see a drain of colour on its nice wooden surface, and you don't have to be close to notice. I should have said 'ruined' rather than 'damaged' really.
Next; our mini-man got sick. And it wouldn't have happened, should he had a less careless mother (or a more careful one, but I'm harsh with myself these days, no tarted up version for the public), which involved my negligence of absolutely frantic weather, with wind, rain, and even more wind.
Finally, the washing machine went on strike. Ok, I didn't do anything wrong here, followed all the guidance I could find in the manual (yes, I actually am that manual type of a person; we both are, which sometimes helps in a vivid conversation over, yes, a broken home appliance).

And last night, when I cuddled both of my children to sleep, I finally got that necessary distance, and I started to see things a little bit more clearly, despite the gloomy weather outside, that is. I mean, I used to think I should have lived in Werter times; sometimes I still think that way. But there are limits. No more room for semi romantic indulgence into selfishness. It's high time to get over myself.
After few days (ekhm, possibly even years) of self blaming and self pity, and such full concentration on my own disadvantages that made our last family weekend a dull experience of sleepless nights and zombie days, I think it's enough. Really, enough.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Back to the basics aka counting to 10

I found this really helpful recently. And calming. And soothing. And I'm actually amazed at results. And a bit annoyed with myself that I forgot about that great technique, which I almost overdosed with my SuperSpiderGirl when she was little (as she is a grown-up now, really, interesting how perspective changes with another baby on board; I meant when she was around 2).

It seems to be working fine now, when the Mini-Man is entering the tantrum 2-year old toddler no phase. When my patience is scarcely there, counting to 10 works great.
I used to be so good at that; where is my stoicism now, when I need it again? More than ever? Whoever said you get more subtle and tolerant when you are more experienced, obviously never met me... Actually, they use the word older, but it's so old-fashioned; there are no older people now;).

And there is a side effect to that, too. When I see my little one, with is head slightly tilted as in he knows very well he's teasing me, but at the same time he knows very well I love it, and he copies my intonation perfectly with whatever blabla he imagines, I cannot be angry any longer.

Sometimes not smiling is the hardest part. When you know that a happy face will mean you accept things you don't really want to be happenng. Ever. Again. Or, when you are fully aware you are being told a great secret, and you cannot, absolutely not, make fun of it, or you will never be referred to as confidence SME. Ever. Again.

Monday, 5 January 2015

January reflections of a 6-year old

What does it mean: 'handsome'? - she asks.
I say: 'Pretty, nice, good-looking. But you would say that about a boy, or a man. You wouldn't call a girl: handsome. I don't actually know why.'
'I do', she says. 'It's because it is a girl who chooses.' 

'I would like to have a tooth decay again.' - she says.
When I ask why, this is what I hear: 'It would be great to have another filling, like that one I already have. I could show it to everyone.'

'It would be great if we could all live forever. I mean all in our family. But then it would be sad, because there would be no fairy tales, since there would be no 'long time ago', no 'once upon a time'...'

Sometimes I just keep telling myself she just turned 6 last November...

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Lego - puzzled

There is a history there: both my husband and I, we never really owned any original piece of Lego set. Partially because of stock rationing in the environment we lived in, and also due to our parents' ignorance in the subject + our lack of awareness (no judging here).
In result, my SuperSpidergirl is a Lego fan for over 2 years now, with sets of 5-12 years Friends theme being still her favourite. Nothing unusual, but we are extremely happy she went for it after receiving a simple starter set to broaden her interests, up until then dollies-centric really (not that Friends are actually a girly stuff as well...;).
This afternoon we went to the art of the brick, truly amazing idea of displaying 70+ pieces of Lego constructions, both copies of famous art masterpieces and original twisted sculpture elements. While it was amazing, with absolute wow-factor, I felt disappointed with the way things were displayed.
Quite boring, really. While it should shout with its glory at us, make us speechless and empowered to create sth ourselves (there was a play area at the exit, next to a small Lego shop, obviously), nothing of that happened.
I know it might be because we are in the consumerism era, impatient and eager for more and more in no time, but still. No, I thought it over, not really. We like to cherish things, look at them when they catch our attention, and discuss them. That's it; the display didn't get to us. Was it because the display was too simple and killed the novelty of the topic; or because it was too packed in black areas; finally because our 19-month mini-man was more interested in chasing the invisible (invisible to me, at least) around the sculptures, and I was, in result, following him, breathless and terrified he might actually break something, so not really having time to contemplate, like I used to in galleries and museums back in the good old days when he was tucked in his pram, focused on how his hands are moving in the air...
But I was hoping my 6-year old would find it appealing, and it would act as a trigger for her to put a little rocket, or spaceship together in the play area (still in love with space). No, nothing like that. The duplo playground was also extremely disappointing, with really small Lego parts wandering around. And the space for toddlers was also small, too small indeed. 
In result, we found the actual getting there and coming back part of the trip more enjoyable, with Tower of London in the background, and 1 intersection which was more moving than the whole art of the brick altogether.
Maybe we are simply the extremely requiring customers, all of us in my family, and we wish to be presented with things interesting to us, just not being 100% aware as of yet what interesting actually means.
Still, I find the author of the art pieces an amazing creator, the whole idea great, sensational really. I just wish it was better tailored to viewers, more clearly channeled. Oh, and I would prefer the Lego shop near the exhibition exit not to be through the roof with the prices (35 for the price of sets, costing 12-15 anywhere else? Seriously? Do they think we all would be in such awe of what we saw we would pay any amount?)...

Thursday, 1 January 2015

The NYD Pressure

I feel it somehow: the first post this year should be breathtaking, tremendous, and speechless. I mean, in a sense that it makes any reader out of speech...;)
This is ridiculous. I never felt such pressure of any New Years eve, or the following day (you know, the one called NYDay...). I used to celebrate but, apart from few exceptions, in a moderate way, time goes by, I'm getting older, that's fine (who am I kidding here; all these beauty related items on the bathroom shelf crying: 'anti fatigue! anti age! youth defense!' define my real fear of getting visibly old, which is pathetic but true).

I started this semi-diary of mine out of curiosity (what is my definition of a long-term commitment, apart from marriage), undefined desire to challenge my own fears (I am the one who hides her own me as much as possible; a mistress of crouchingness I should be called indeed...), and finally a need to restart doing something outside of my comfort zone, which was a joyful kids centric approach to life, great as an idea, not necessarily the right thing for your whole life. I mean I am a woman, a person, and that came before I became a mum. Which is great as an experience, a bundle of positive emotions I could not possibly feel otherwise, and I feel grateful every day, even when irritated with minor stuff, that I have a chance to be in such moments. But that doesn't mean I am not complete without being a mum; I guess I'm trying to say that having kids is just an overwhelming thing wrapping you on top of who you already are, and it is essential not to forget that identity of yours inside.
Hm. Interesting how I turned to 'yous' from 'Is' there; this just proves how difficult it is to open yourself (ok, that is: myself;), and realize key things.

Looks like new year's day is important after all....