Back From Outer Space and A Boy Turns 12

Indeedy, I am back from outer space, 

I’m sure this is a one off return to blogging. Don’t know why I stopped, I just did, and the longer I hadn’t blogged, the harder it became to set off again.

BUT, today is a special day, my baby, he who shall always be my baby, is 12 today. Don’t know how that came around so fast. All is well, happy as a clam he is with his new DSi, not expecting much conversation out of him for the foreseeable future, and he said if I give him 300 yen, when he’s 13, he will not exhibit any raging hormone behaviour, Deal done. Money on the table.

His birthday and a latent urge to blog again makes me share this story with you.

Recently young Jim mentioned to me that when he talks he has too much spit in his mouth. His S sounds come out as sh sounds. Always have done. Have in the past taken him for speech therapy but they said he would grow out of it. He hasn’t.


Anyhoo, he is talking about it, so I said, ‘are you worried? Do you want to go to the kotoba kyoushitsu and get some exercises that will improve it?’

He says ‘no’.

I said, ” it’s the shape of your mouth, remember I told you, when you were born, your mouth wasn’t formed properly, and that’s why you had the operation, and that’s why you were so ill as a baby’

‘I was ill as a baby?’

‘ Yes, I told you before, when you were just 2 weeks old, you were very sick, your organs were shutting down.’


“because you couldn’t get enough milk to drink”

” Couldn’t get enough milk?’

” that’s right, you couldn’t get enough milk, and I didn’t know, and you got really ill’

” why didn’t I have enough milk? WERE YOU WORKING?”

That’s right honey, I’m the kind of mother that leaves a newborn at home with no milk.

Birthday Memories

As said previously, tis Doris’ birthday today. Perhaps today’s post will be a departure from my usual fodder, a ( small) step out of my comfort zone.
It goes without saying that the births of my children were all incredible and empowering and special in their own ways, but Doris’ was really
quite special to me for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, unlike her older sister’s birth, I felt like I surrendered the whole process to my body, to let it just get on and do its thing, the thing that it was made to do, without trying to step ahead of it, to grab control of the situation, I was just somehow able to just go with it.
Doris was born in November 1996, in September of 1995, I got a call, an early Saturday morning call from my brother. He told me our mother was dead. It was sudden and shocking brutal news, which 15 years later sometimes still shocks me.
So the following year was bad, it was hard and there were dark days and inert nights and climbing out of it was like getting out of a hole where the walls were covered in vaseline.
But we did get out of it, we learned, eventually, to live with it and expecting Doris was a big part of that, knowing I had to get my act together, move, find a path and my three and half year old Sunshine and this new baby were my compass. I wanted a girl. We had a girl.

As I said, giving birth to Doris, was a surrender. I was at home for most of the labour, going in and out of the shower, and while I realise
some people may dismiss this as rambling, hallucination whatever, I saw my mother as clear as day standing next to me. She was there, right next to me, through labour and the birth. She said to me over and over, ” It’s only pain.”

I never saw her again after Doris’ birth, I’ve never even dreamed of her. I’ve heard friends who’ve lost their mother say they often see her in a dream, I never do, I never have.
Somewhere along the line Doris got stuck coming out, and when she was born, she was battered and bruised, looked like she’d done 5 rounds in the ring. Sunshine had come out looking like a fresh peach. Doris, was red and purple, she had red lines across her eyes that took weeks to disappear, she was swollen and mottled. This was Doris’ first fight.

So there we were, a family of four, 2 perfect little girls, going about our lives until the rug was pulled out from us.
At 4 weeks Doris got meningitis. She was in the hospital for a couple of months, back to dark days and dark holes, back to a view of the universe as inhospitable, hostile. this was her second fight.
Obviously, as I am here, remembering this and celebrating her 14th birthday, the universe was giving, Doris survived. they told us that she might be blind, or deaf, she may never walk, it was too early to tell if damage was done, we had no frame of reference, she was too young.
So the following year we anxiously awaited her achieving her milestones, when she walked at 8 months we thought she was telling us to just chill out, it would all be okay.
And it was, and it is. And here she is, with us today, with a magnificently strong, sporty body, that she takes care of, that she’s aware of.
And then on top of all that, pure icing, the gravy that Raymond Carver so brilliantly writes about, she’s so much more too, all these things that are just her, that have nothing whatsoever to do with nurture, she’s wise, she’s kind, she’s compassionate.
I’m really very fond of her.

What’s Going On?

What’s happening here?
I’ve not been blogging cos bugger all has been happening here. New Year was a bit of a wash out to be honest and it didn’t put me in a super jolly, can’t -wait frame of mind for 2010. So it wasn’t that great first time around and I have no wish to relive it. ( On the plus side Sunshine and I did watch to the end of Prison Break, which means we have now devoted about 4 solid days of our lives to Wentworth Miller).
I actually said to her, if you found out you only had four days to live would you watch it? and she said she would but knowing what she knows now she’s skip season 3, ‘Michael was too puffy’.
To be honest it is unusual for me, not to find a little JOY, I am Pollyanna, I WILL find the damn JOY, if it’s out there I will get it, I can get excited over a moldy spoon most of the time, but this year I had a hard time keeping the level of JOY high, think I might have peaked to early.
So here we are, January. January is my fine young son Kevin’s birthday and he is a Year of the Tiger boy, it’s HIS year.
You’d never know it from his grumpy attitude though.
I was disappointed on his birthday, I didn’t get a parade. I rather think I deserve one. Not because of the ( blah blah ) labour, body falling into disrepair, sleepless nights etc, none of that bothers me or ever did. I think I deserve a parade for staying positive, upbeat and creative with this child for ELEVEN years, when really, most of the time I wanted to saw my own head off. With a blunt saw, not one of those fancy sharp super turbo powered ones. Just a regular, hand held, hand powered, blunt, even rusty saw.
The desire has been with me throughout these years and I have resisted it. That alone qualifies me for a parade. A long parade with ticker tape and marching bands, and floats and drum majorettes and stuff.
There was no party. If you recall last year, we committed to print the idea that Kev does not play well with others.
He didn’t want a cake, he wanted a ramen lunch. So that’s what we had.

In other news. Sunshine is heading for a melt down. We have no eggs. Apparently ‘she’ had 7 eggs yesterday and today there are none. She has a plan to make birthday muffins for Big Love 2, ( didn’t make any for her brother.. not judging, just saying is all…) and now , the egg monster has crept in in the dead of night and stolen ‘her’ eggs. I pointed out that there were 2 this morning, not 7, and I used 1 for her packed lunch and the other for her dinner, so if that’s cleared up the mystery of at least two missing eggs it’s good right ?
I’m all about solving mysteries cos I’ve just read a cracking good Val McDermid.
So that’s all that’s happening here.
Oh yes, the kids went back to school. YAY!!!

Almost Halfway….

Through my life that is. A time for pondering and reflection. At almost halfway does that make me middle-aged?
I think of middle-aged as being about 55, but who lives to 110 these days ( or ever?).
This post is partly inspired by the lovely words over at More Canterbury Tales, which I shall add to my blogroll because I have no idea how to post the link here in a cool techno-savvy way. More on that inspiration later.
So yesterday was my 45th birthday and what a lovely birthday it was.
I started the day having breakfast with Doris and the softball team, all of them surpisingly not bleary eyed from a night of chatting and giglling until 4a.m., oh to have back the stamina of youth, one late night and it takes me a month to recover.
After they had put away all the futons and washed the breakfast dishes, they all went outside to play softball and I was left alone to enjoy many many episodes of The Amazing Race.
Later I had lunch out with Sunshine and she told me of her current plan to attend a certain university which will involve us selling our house, children and internal organs to finance.
Met up with The Man and The Boys for some shopping and wandering.
The Man made a lovely shabu shabu dinner and the gifts rained down.
Jim bought me a notebook with a picture of a chicken on the front. It’s a very close-up photo, so close -up I can see the bobbly-nobbly bits on it’s comb, which caused a sudden flashback to the attack and induced psychosomatic pains in my leg.
From Kev I received a beautiful antique silver locket that I suspect The Man may have funded.
From my gals, bath salts and a sweater and from The Man a lovely ink pen with which to craft my memoirs;)

So with More Canterbury Tales in mind I got to thinking about my Bucket List again, a list I have reserved the right to modify over the years.
I once planned to write a bestseller, this was modified to simply writing a book,but a good friend who also acts as my Life Coach has pressed upon me the importance of attainable goals, so now I am aiming to write a ‘thank you’ letter to my Aunty Muriel before year’s end.
Most of the things I’d like to do involve travel, I love going to new countries and have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel a lot, particularly through Asia. Still on my list though, I want to see The Taj Mahal, I want to meditate in Puna, go to Base camp Mount Everest, go on safari, see the Aurora Borealis, go to Kakadu National Park, see Urulu, see The Red Sea and The Dead Sea, Damascus, Jerusulem, Bethlehem, in the US I want to visit Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans.Take my kids on a UK road trip….. I doubt I’ll ever be short of places to visit.
I want to pass level 1 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test but it involves more studying and then APPLYING for and TAKING the test, maybe next year….
Be fabulously bendy in yoga, be able to do all the really funky poses.
Learn a musical instrument, a real one, not the spoons.
Know as much about gardening as my friend Feet.
Know everything there is to know about, and live an entirely macrobiotic lifestyle.
Quit smoking.
Remember everyone’s birthday and send them a card for a year. ( Mmm maybe I’ll do that one in 2010, so send your dates peeps.)
I know there’s more, they’ll come to me, maybe I’ll set up a bucket list as new page.( another goal?).

The Hormones Are Coming.

Tonight’s the night, the teens will descend upon us.
About 12 laughing, excited, hormone riddled gals are coming to stay the night.
The boys will be at the out-laws, the cats will be locked in upstairs.
Every futon we own will be laid out downstairs, optimistic that the gals will sleep at some point.
I’m wondering just how much breakfast 13 teenage girls can scoff in the morning, methinks quite a lot.
Doris is beside herself with excitement, too excited it seems to help with the tidying up, but not too excited to pour over the pizza menu.
I have baked two large chocolate cakes which I am planning to ice to look like softballs, looks easy enough but I am no icer of cakes, so we’ll see shall we. Anyway, should be enough sugar there to keep them bouncing off the walls a while.
I plan to be upstairs watching a dvd with Sunshine, I don’t think they require my presence, it’s not like they’ll be over-doing the punch. These are sporty gals, ‘my body is my temple’ types, keep ’em full of food and they’re happy.

One thing that surprises me though, out of 12 ( or is it 13) girls, I’ve lost track, invited, not one single parent has called me to confirm that their darling daughter is staying here. It’s not that I don’t trust my girls, but if they were staying over somewhere and I hadn’t already spoken in the flesh with the other girl’s mother I would call, I would check, I would confirm. Am I just over-protective?

Happy Birthday Doris.

YAY for us, another teenage girl in the house.
Today Doris makes the leap from tweendom to teendom.
Being, as of, oh so very recently, a self-obsessed teenager, she thinks this day is all about her.
I beg to differ. I find myself thinking back to this very day 13 years ago.
For obvious reasons the birth of each of my children provokes very happy memories, but for Doris, it’s special, because I had the most perfect, empowering, wonderful delivery. With the other kids, some deatisl are hazy, but with her I recall in vivid detail each and every moment of the day she came into this beautiful world. The Man claims my memory is selective, and as the one who was not in agony much of the day, his memories are more reliable.
Too bad there isn’t a video to prove me right.
I’d like a parade.

This weekend is a busy softball weekend so the young lass has asked for a pizza/sleep-over party for next Saturday night for 12 of her closest friends. Thirteen, 13 year-olds, whacked out on sugar, hormones and life, trashing my house.
Oh that everyone could be me!

We discussed the details.
For cake, she would like cupcakes, iced in the form of softballs, nestling in a net.
In your dreams darling. I am not a baker of cakes. I am not an eater of cakes so have never been able to embrace the pay-off of labouring. I can make a wicked chicken pie, but picky-picky Doris doesn’t want a ‘wicked’ chicken pie for the birthday bash, she wants cupcakes.
Entertainment, there will be games and for pre-sleep settling down ( huh yeah right!) scary dvds.
Gifts, Puma sweats please.
My fine young sons will be despatched to the Out-Laws for their own safety.
The lovely little girls will come clutching their toothbrushes, and PJ’s early evening.

Contingency plans? What if the school closes again due the flu ‘epidemic’? Will we postpone, will we downsize?
I do not know.

Doris: Mama?
Me : Yes oh little one?
Doris: You know I might get the flu right?
Me : Indeed you might.
Doris: Well, if I do, and I die, can you tell everybody that I died saving a small child from being hit by a truck.
Me : I can if you want I suppose.
Doris: Or… I know….an old woman who could hardly walk asked me to help her across the road, so I piggy-backed her, but she was actually a bad person and she stabbed me.
Me: Okay, but no more Criminal Minds, Third Watch or Law and Order for you, okay?
Doris: Okay.

Happy Birthday darling.

Heelys and Kickboards.

Young Jim is 9. My little one, ever my baby is now 9 years old. Actually I am lying it isn’t his birthday until Thursday but he had his party yesterday.
The days are long the years are short.
We dashed off to Toys R Us on Saturday morning where we purchased a kickboards and Uncle Brick bought him Heelys.
Have I mentioned the Sutton Bank- like incline right outside our house, that we live up a mountain?
All was well we got together with good friends, for good food.
He was a bit nervous about trying out the Heelys in front of everyone because apparently you have to get used to them, can’t just whack them on and fly off.
We had a co- party with Uncle Brick and his family because their son’s birthday is today, so Happy Birthday to you Mr T.

So Jim tried out his Heelys today when I took him to the dentist. The school dental check up sent both Kev and Jim home with letters. Kev’s was circled around ‘cavity’ because over the years I have learned the kanji for that. Jim’s was circled in two places, one a cavity and the other no bloody idea. I thought it might be to get him checked for orthodental treatment, because Doris once brought home a strangely circled letter that turned out to be just that. You see this is my life here, look, guess, cross reference with previous experience, then go and see what happens.
So we went, and it is indeed the brace thing. We always knew he would need one anyway, but the good news here is that, the dentist suggested I take him back to the surgeon who operated on his mouth, who will then refer me to the hospital ortho chappie, which means, which means my friends, my insurance will kick in, saving me A LOT of money.
Then he removed two teeth. OW!

So we left and he tried out his Heelys, which meant he had to hold my hand and ponce along, slipping and tripping, with a lump of sodden, bloody, cotten wool hanging out of his mouth.