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Starfish smiles!

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​This is my first ever vlog. I never would have done this before due to a lack of confidence in my speech, but my experience over the last couple of days has empowered me. So here goes….

I have often been asked how one should react to a person with a stammer and the easy answer is just like with any other individual, I.e. with interest, patience and polite focused ​​attention. 

If you are interested in further information on how I and many others who stammered gained control over our speech through the Starfish Project please get in touch and go to http://www.starfishproject.co.uk

If you would like to leave a comment, I’d be very keen to hear from you.

Please note that in this I refer to the experience of stammering being a very negative one.  I am describing my own experience and that those I have been fortunate enough to have met, it may well not be the case for everyone. 

Zx

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You’re alright.

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Letter to the me four years ago going through a diffult time and to anyone else in the same boat.

Dear clever lady,

You’re alright. Stand up off the kitchen floor and wipe your eyes. You’re alright. Now, put the kettle on and make yourself some tea. I’ve got some important things to tell you so while your baby sleeps, grab your mug and a custard cream (no dieting isn’t important right now, you need the energy) and come and sit down with me.

1. Firstly, I’m here to tell you it does really get easier. I know people tell you that all the time but it does. In truth it actually gets easier and then it gets harder and easier and harder and easier, however the good very soon out weighs the bad and you get stronger and better able to cope when things are tough. You learn how to hold it together, how to get through the difficult days, who can help you practically and emotionally and how to muster a smile from a weighed down frown.

2. Know that your baby is going to become a really lovely boy who is confident, happy, experimental and a pleasure to chat with. He will throw some unexpected challenges your way too and at times you won’t have a clue what to do, but talk to others, stick to your values and you’ll figure it out. There’ll come many days when you see him and his two wonderful brothers (yes you will do all this again twice more) are playing together and the sence of love and pride will be overwhelming.

3. Thirdly, relax about your husband doing things differently to you. I know how infuriating it can be, but he has his own ideas and if he gives them a biscuit before their lunch, reads them five stories at bedtime or forgets do up their coats right up to their chins on a mild autumn day just relax. He is being a wonderful father, he takes them out when you need a break, he helps to change dirty sheets in the middle of the night and calm upset children when one of them has been sick and he teaches them so much. So talk to him and just turn a blind eye sometimes. All will be well.

4. Stop feeling bad for all the things you feel you ought to be doing with your baby now and as he grows up. Just keep on with what you are doing and what makes sence to you. Admit it, craft stuff doesn’t come naturally so do it when you get the urge but don’t stress about it.

5. You’re alright. You don’t have to enjoy every moment of being a mother, nor berate yourself when you have a cry, feel like you can’t carry on. Just call your husband, your mum, your sister, a friend or another mother. Then get out of the house and meet up with people. You’ll feel so much better for it.

You’re alright and you are a good mother and it’s going to feel so much better really soon.

Keep smiling

Love me x

Let sleeping rabbits lie… A review of the book – ‘The rabbit who wants to fall asleep’

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I bought this book towards the end of the summer to help our sons, who was then approaching four and a half and three, to relax at bed time and get off to sleep faster than they had been. I haven’t looked back.
Having studied Neuro Linguistic Programming and hypnosis (aspects of both are utilised in the book as well as some guided meditation) I found it facinating. The instructions at the start are well set out to give a quick direction to the reader as to which parts to read firmly and clearly and which parts to read more softly. It also has instructions to the reader of when to yawn. The story is gentle and is about a rabbit called Roger who takes a journey with his mother across a meadow to see a wizard who helps him to sleep.
Reading this to both our sons has proved to be very successful, not just at helping them to relax and prepare to sleep but on a number of occasions they have both fallen asleep before I had finished reading!
I highly recommend it as a book and also the audio download available through the app- Audio is excellent as a ‘treat’ for when you are too tired to read the whole book yourself! As an aside, the audio version sometimes sends my husband to sleep too and I have to wake him up later in the evening!

#therabbitwhowantstofallasleep   

 

Just a mum?

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Recently I’ve been wrestling in my mind with the feeling of being ‘just a mum’. 
A colleague of my husband popped over the other evening and as I greeted him at the door I was aware of how messy I must have appeared. He asked me how I was and being that I was trying to cook a meal, clear up toys and find some painkillers for my headache, I told him that I was very busy but well.  
At the time I was taken aback by is response, ‘being a mum is very busy.’ I’m sure he didn’t mean to be condescending but to my tired self it felt like he had summed up my entire existence into three letters – m.u.m. I wanted to scream at him that I was so much more than that, that I had interests, passions, skills that were mine outside of my relationship to my children and the never-endingly-dull housework. I said that it was my newly appointed role of Chair to our local school’s PTA that was keeping me busy just so that he (and more importantly I) could see me as more than ‘just a mum’. 
I’m going to start getting a little more connected to the world, to share the fun parts of being a mum and the enjoyment of still being me through it all. 
Most crucially this is to celebrate the fact that no woman is ever ‘just a mum’ no matter how hard it feels sometimes. 

 

Well finally!

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ZLRESo it’s now been over a year since my last blog post (oops!) and we are now living in a lovely house in a wonderful Norfolk village.  I’m currently sat in my pjs at the kitchen table with our youngest child, Edward (six weeks old) reclining in his bouncer on the floor next to me and our eldest boys, Louis and Robin (aged 4 and 2 1/2) playing in the garden as my husband reads the latest PR book outside.  He is fighting the urge to pull up the ever prevalent weeds whilst  showing suitable excitement at the freshly dug-up worms he is presented with.

I’m just starting to ‘come-to’ after a busy couple of months recovering from an emergency c-section (my full respect to all other c-section mothers – I had thought the first weeks after a natural birth were bad enough!) and adjusting to being the mother of three lovely boys, all with very different needs.  Breastfeeding around the clock, wiping bums, calming or telling upset children not to be so silly when disasters happen like I give them the wrong bowl at breakfast time or the wrong top to wear, the wrong bedtime story, etc (instances when two wrongs definitley don’t make a right!), their brother picks up the green tractor and not the blue one, they missed seeing the rubbish lorry go past, …. the list goes on. All absolutely dreadful events as I’m sure you’ll agree.  I sometimes feel like saying ‘just grow a pair!’ but it’s regularly made clear to me that they all already have!

Thankfully Edward has followed in his brothers lead with regards to sleep and only now wakes between 5.30 or 6am from a last feed at 10pm so I am actually now getting some rest.  As a result I’m beginning to tick off things on my JFDI list (a list of things I’ve been putting for way too long) like clearing out the garage, cutting down hedges, sorting through those cupboards which are chock full of all the things which never really had a designated place when we moved and so had since been missing, presumed forever lost.  I’m also going out for long walks in the beautiful countryside which surrounds our village and this week I plan to start proper exercise in a bid to get fit again.

In September, all going well, I hope to begin an online diploma course to further my knowledge of literacy teaching and dyslexia and really get my mind functioning again – it has been on a go slow for a while now with nappies, play dough, laundry and supermarket orders absorbing all my cognitive abilities.

In the mean time, I will blog about kick starting my mind, parenting – the good, the bad and the ugly aspects and about life itself.   I hope you find it entertaining!

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She resolves not to dissolve!

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So after far too long delaying the start of this blog, I thought I’d grab the bull by the horns and put finger to ipad and begin. The time couldn’t be better, this year is already shining with big and small changes.

My husband (BC) and I are currently living in Cambridge enjoying the lovely culture and variety of people, BC has very well seconded himself in the local Liberal Democrat party and enjoying being involved in local decision making and I have been making the occasional appearance at the parties as the dutiful wife. In the last year I have ended an extended maternity leave with our second son (R), started a new (and brilliant) job in a lovely school and joined the WI, yes you read that right, the WI! It’s not all Jam and Jerusalem these days I’m happy to report – I’ve had lots of fun meeting lots of lovely, interesting and liked minded young women from across Cambridge and have made lots of friends. Despite all these roots that we have established in this city we are to up sticks and move our family to the Norfolk countryside from whence I came. It’s odd, when we moved to this beautiful city nearly five years ago I was certain, nay we were certain that this was the place where we wanted to raise our family, either in the city or in a nearby village. However from the birth of our first child (L) I have been desperate to return to my own childhood area, to offer our children a similar childhood to that which I had enjoyed and the chance for them to grow up close to their young cousins. Having my parents close by (but not too close by!) will also be lovely for friendship, support and for so our children can really know them. I can’t wait!!

So that’s the short intro, over the next few months we are to serve notice on tenants in one property and sell it, find the forever house of our dreams, sell our Cambridge house and settle into our new life in Norfolk – not too busy then!?! At the same time I am determined to offer our children more varied play opportunities after I get home from work and make far more concerted effort to support their cognitive development. Although some of what I mention here may seem very subtle, simple and basic ideas what a lot of mothers do and have done every day (and many I have already have done with the boys at odd times), I am resigned to work at these activities daily and explain at least to myself just how they can support child development from a psychological standpoint (with some down to earth mothers notes too!).

Please be patient, the blog proper will start very soon….