Alternative Reading

Isaac is learning to read. We’ve finally cracked that stage where, there’re not just random symbols, and he understands blending the sounds together. It’s really cool! It’s still mostly v-c words, but every so often he’ll nail the odd c-v-c word. It’s so bloody lovely to hear him do it, and especially that he’s doing it at a pace which works nicely for him. It’s a bit annoying that they don’t do any blending at nursery (but to be honest, nursery is a sore point with me at the mo..)

However, it’s safe to say that I can’t escape into Facebook or twitter on a 10 minute work break, without hearing “please can we read this story please mummy?”

It’s fucking awesome; I love that he does that. I remember learning to read early (not as early as him though) and being plunged into a world of Enid Blyton was one of the best things EVER. I think he’s the academic one. The kid will sit there and stare at books for AAAAAAGES.

Noah is reading just about everything in sight. It’s ACE. The boy has learned to read and is doing superbly well. If I’m honest, he’s doing better than I thought he would. For a little while, he hated it and would just clam up whenever someone said the word “phonics”. Now he’s all “check me out! I know what that says and I’mma READ IT RIGHT NOW.”

My favourite example of this, would have to be when he picked up a nursery rhyme book, and read aloud, “The… w-h-ee-l-s… Willies..On…The…Bus!”

I’m sure that makes for far more interesting reading.

However, I’m having to make the mental note of not leaving some of my stuff lying around. There’s not a lot to be concerned about; the odd business letter, maybe a manual for a camera which I’ll never read, or, a webpage I’ve left open, usually Amazon or (for the love of GOD) Ebay.

(If anyone knows of any Ebay therapy courses, I’d really appreciate the help. My quest for a decent Polaroid is becoming quite obsessive.)

I cannot stand people swearing in front of The Smalls, however I’ve never batted an eyelid to written swear words, since I know they can’t read them.

Might change a bit now that this (beloved) book (from a beloved friend) has entered my house.

f**k it

Thankfully, he’s not tried it out. Yet.

Oh hey, yeah, remember when it snowed?

Well I remembered to grab my camera in between trying to build snowmen out of powder snow (it’s really tricky).

I forgot these on my camera (I haven’t edited them because I didn’t want to, hah) but bloody hell we had some fun…

Fun in the snow Jan 13-1 Fun in the snow Jan 13-4 Fun in the snow Jan 13-7 Fun in the snow Jan 13-10 Fun in the snow Jan 13-15

And then there was MOAR EPIC SNOW! so I made Isaac go outside and be all cute and stuff, but he didn’t want to be all cute and stuff so I just photographed him anyway.

Fun in the snow Jan MkII 13-2 Fun in the snow Jan MkII 13-5 Fun in the snow Jan MkII 13-7 Fun in the snow Jan MkII 13-11

God Knows.

Almost every Sunday, The Mr and The Smalls go to church. I try to sleep until around 10am (though I’m lucky if I make it to 9:30) and then I’m up and straight to the computer, to get on with cramming as much work as possible before they get home for lunch.

The church thing bothers me. I went to church from the day I was born right through until I was about 16 (yes, really, would you believe it), and quite literally experimented with religion. I remember thinking it was time to stop going, when I realised the church I went to? I was only going because a) I liked some of the tunes (for real, some cracking harmonies to be heard), b) I was a regular campanologist and was too nervous going to ring at other churches and c) I was determined to find some answers.

I found answers, but not to the questions I was asking.

I hate that The Smalls (well, Noah, at this point) love to go to church with their Dad. Why don’t I go? Because it feels like the most hypocritical thing ever. I sometimes wonder how I haven’t burst into flames when setting foot inside the church. Added to that, I don’t care much for the view, beliefs, morals and {ahem} “attitudes” associated with religion. I see hypocrisy every where, and I am reminded of my own hideously broken background, littered with painful religious association.

My mother is religious, as is my grandfather; both very widely recognised in their circles. “High Up The Power Chain”, if you will. The whole of D’s family is very very religious; my siblings-by-law pretty much know who I am and what I’m like (I’m pretty sure they read my blog), but my mother and father in law…well, put it this way – I don’t even say the word “crap” in front of them. They have little idea who I am, what I’m like, what I’ve been through, what I think, where I’m going, what I’ve done…and all because I feel that horrible sense of judgement whenever I happen to let something slip. I have always (and most definitely will always) respect their views, the things they believe in, the practises they exercise. I just don’t feel like that respect is always returned.

I don’t blame anyone. How can I? Bit unfair, right? But fact is, Noah loves to go to church, with his dad, which I honestly think is ace. Weirdly, I’d feel better if he went to a slightly livelier church, a different church, but that’s only as a result me wanting him to have the freedom to “let go”, should he feel “moved by the spirit”. I grew up in a pentecostal church, spent time in a baptist church, then rebelled by doing CofE. Rebelled! Hah! That was weird. (I blame it on needing peace while going through shit at home. And to be fair, it really was peaceful.)

I’m waiting for the day when Noah asks me if I believe in God; if he questions my thoughts, and I dread the fact that Isaac shows little enthusiasm. I don’t want him to come under fire for not going, I want him to make his own choices. Like Noah is doing. But Isaac doesn’t show that same level of maturity. And the stupid thing is, they’re only 3 and 5 for crying out loud, I shouldn’t be stressing about it now. However, I remember the 9 straight years of dread, every Sunday morning, hearing the beep of the The Van to pick up me and my brother for Sunday School. Truth is, I think we hated it. I know I disliked it for a very long time. I think because I didn’t have any choices. I wasn’t given the choice to make up my own mind.

Do I believe in God? Right now? Right this minute? Couldn’t tell you.

I believe there’s a higher power, a greater force, something bigger and better. A God? I don’t think that’s what I believe. For a long time, I believed Christianity was just mass hypnotism. Sometimes I still believe that. And given those are just a tiny hint of my thoughts on religion, that bothers me when it comes to The Smalls and their beliefs. I tell you what I do believe in – I believe in guiding them. I believe in showing them, and I believe in helping them to understand, in order to make informed choices.

And that means showing them both sides of the fence. If they want to believe in Genesis – great. If they want to become fans of the Big Bang Theory (the show or the actual), then whoop. But I think I’m set for many years of trying not to live a lie; years of sticking to my guns beliefs, of not being bullied in how to raise my children. D is BRILLIANT at not pushing me; though I think he knows he more he pushes the subject, the more I’m likely to clam up. I hope he doesn’t become disappointed should Isaac choose to steer the same route as me. I don’t think he would be; he’s brilliantly understanding with that.

It’s everyone else’s religious fire I’m worried about.

You’d have my sympathy. If I even had any.

Right now, I’m lying in bed musing the fact that I don’t have to do the school run today. I’m not entirely glad about it, given the reasons why it’s not happening today. everyone in this house is ILL.

The Mr has barely recovered from his cough, I’ve just developed my own cough, sore throat and stuffy nose, and The Smalls…well. They are on fine form. Isaac has so much Facial Orifice Fluid, he cant keep up with it and it drips off his chin. I’m not even kidding. I’m talking actual dripping off his chin. And he’s just developed The Cough.

Noah is old hand to The Cough, and has had his cough for maybe four weeks now, and has been on an inhaler for over two of those weeks. Same thing happens, every single winter, every single year. He develops The Cough, and we spend every night willing him to sleep, while he spends every day too tired to do anything (but not too tired to whine a lot.).

Now, obviously, if someone is ill, I can offer some sympathy. But not much. I grew up in an environment where to be honest, I only told my mom if I thought I was reeeeeeaally ill. Like, “up-chucking my guts” ill, “coughing so much I can’t breathe” ill, or “2 of my fingers have been hurting and swollen after that basketball game and I caught the ball funny, they could possibly be broken oh it seems they are oh well” ill. (Turns out they were only fractured, but the biggest clue had been trying to play my cello and realising my left hand was kinda useless. I felt I could suddenly justify why my scales and studies sounded quite shit.)

So pretty much, I’m of the STFU and GTFOWI* camp.

One of the dangers with this is I can often seem like a cold hearted bitch. I’m really not! I’m just not good with pity; I don’t always get it. And so the trouble (and frustration and – oh of course – good old Mom Guilt) begins when my own to kiddos are poorly.

When they’re ill, they become restless. When they’re restless, they don’t sleep at night. When they don’t sleep, I don’t sleep. When I don’t sleep, I make Satan look like a pussy. Now normally, they both sleep through with no fucking about at all. They’re really good! But when they want to play up, omfg they are pains in the ass. Isaac insists on playing with everything: the light switch in the bathroom, the night light on the stairs, the toilet roll, his bedroom door, his bed, talking loudly to himself, laughing loudly to himself – you name it, he’s probably done it.

Tie that in with his (natural) feeling of not wanting to be left out (which means he forces his cough every time Noah naturally coughs), means, in short, dude ain’t sleeping.

Noah is the opposite. He doesn’t get out of bed, because I have made it perfectly clear what will happen if he keeps doing so (the world will explode, everyone will die, and he’ll be the only person left behind on his own forever. And then after forever, a shark will eat him). (…I’m kidding, but in short, I’m still pretty strict.)

So he has a different tactic. He flips and flops around in his bed, generally fussing, but not quite enough to land himself in trouble. And then when he’s done that for 30 minutes, he tries his next tactic. He calls and calls and calls (“Dad-dyyyyyyyyyyyyy…”) until he’s worked himself up into a frenzy. Which happens impressively fast. Needless to say, I’m a cynic and refuse to be baited, “Noah calm down and go to sleep” is all he’ll get from me. The Mr will fuss, have a chat, and respond in person to every whine and call.

You can see why Noah is smart enough to call “Daddy” and not “Mommy”, eh?

So last night they were both in full force. Isaac was horribly unsettled and Noah spent most of it crying complaining of stomach ache and ear ache. Both of those I can understand. My view is “go to sleep so you can feel better in the morning”, which of course they always do (though still coughing, obvs). This morning they aren’t going to school because, while they may have coughs and runny noses etc, I think they’re at the point where actually they do need to rest properly if they’re going to get over this shit.

Weirdly, I think one of the reasons I hate keeping them home is knowing they won’t get a perfect attendance record. It pisses me off that kids get penalised because of their immune system. Which sucks. I also hate them coming to the idea that being ill gets the, a day off school which means staying home to play; I’ve seen Noah pull this stunt a couple of times before. (Again, cynic? Me? Why yes, thanks.)

I just wish I could show a little more sympathy. Instead of feeling like I’m raising them in The School of Hard Knocks, I’d like to think I could cuddle them easily and say “there there, don’t worry, you’ll grow another hand, I know it hurts that it fell off, but I promise, my baby, you’ll be ok” instead of “you have another hand don’t you? Stop bloody whining and go do your homework.” maybe one day it will come. Maybe one day I’ll soften up a bit.

Until then, ignoring the Mom Guilt and will be feeding them breakfast and packing them off to their grandparents as usual.

Mamma gotta work, innit?

*Get The Fuck On With It

Parent nostalgia. Awesome kids.

Dear Noah and Isaac,

At the moment, you two are the most awesome siblings ever. I mean, sure you have a minor shout at each other every so often, but you’re both still learning The Art Of Negotiating. It takes time, trust me. I do it with you both every day, and I forever hope and pray swear you’re oblivious to it as yet. Sometimes though, you do stuff which I’m pretty sure you’re not going to believe when you’re older. So I’m going to list them anyway so I can look back and laaaaaaauuuugh take the piss remember how cute you both were.

Your current favourite game appears to be a regular bath/bed time occurrence – you both strip yourselves nekkid at lightening speed, and proceed to speed around on hands and feet, from your room to the bathroom. Sometimes, you’ll argue over who looks like a horse and who looks like a dog and who looks like Gaston the barking ladybird from Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom. I would normally ignore this, but the fact that you both insist on being naked so you can stick your backsides in the air, never fails to make me laugh. Even more so, when Isaac is in the lead and his already fragrant backside lets one go right into Noah’s “trail path”.


Another thing you love to do, and MY GOD this is adorable, is saying grace at the table. Obviously it’s usually Noah leading, with Isaac kind of trying to guess what Noah’s going to say, and therefore not being in sync at all, but still. Some of the stuff you make up has made me smirk somewhat. So far, some of the things you’ve both thanked God for include:

The birds that sing
The world so sweet
The mummies and daddies
Lightning McQueen
Christmas trees
Santa Claus
Train track
The radio
Coco Pops
Archie (the cat)
The tv

I’m quite sure your very Christian grandparents will be thrilled by this.

One of the things you do which I confess I don’t understand, is the early morning requests to smell each others bottoms. Now, I know you play games in your room in the mornings, before it’s time to go downstairs. I’m also aware that you two have asses more fragrant than most others I’ve had to endure. But really? Inviting each other to do so? Y’all are weird. Or sick. I’m undecided.

I LOVE that you give each other cuddles before school and at bedtime. Not half hearted cuddles, but proper ones like you actually mean it. The odd (and out of the blue) “I love you Isaac” promptly returned with “I love you Noah” is just perfection. And I love that it’s not followed up with a punch to the face or anything. I suspect that may change in time (it had better not, or I wil kick both your asses) but I’m kind of braced for the worst in a weird kinda way.

I think one of my favourite things is how well you work together (usually when I give you no choice). Sure I’ll build you a train track, but only if you’ve started it and worked yourself into a dead end. However, when you two start the track together, you usually end up finishing the track together (and share out the trains accordingly), and that is a Good Thing. And you build some pretty decent tracks too! Although, I think I’m allowed to complain when there’s nowhere to even put my feet on the lounge floor.

At the end of the day, you guys are amazingly cool. You do so much more stuff, more than the above, more than I can remember right now, but as you know this whole thing is our journal, eh? So keep doing what you do. Look back on this and remember how great you were at this time right now. You’ll still be cool in the future, right?

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