Archives for posts with tag: resting

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A light has been turned off downstairs, I heard a click.

In bed, when it’s dark, I can hear the house.

I can tell which cat is running up the stairs.
I know which boy is snoring.
I can hear the wind on the back windows and the occasional clop of the cat flap.

I like sleep, I like sleep when I know everybody is safe, the doors are locked, the windows are shut and I have a warm duvet.
Oddly I like winter best, when I know it is cold out and it is all the more special that I am inside, warm.

I can hear Loz coming up the stairs.
She has a special rhythm to how she climbs them.
Our first step is lower than all the others and as a rule neither of us step on it when coming up the stairs.
The top step is a full three inches high than all the rest.
It is also the step you use to pivot round onto the landing so there is often a longer pause on this step.

The bannister creaks as she pulls herself round onto the landing.

The landing creaks.
It has chipboard laid over the original floor boards and the layers scrunch together in certain places.
They have a slight music of their own, the sound of the house being used.

She is coming up to the bedroom door and I can feel the room change slightly as she comes in.
It is dark but I can hear her take off her dressing gown and throw it on the floor.

We have hooks on the back of the door of course.
We just never use them.

I am aware of all this as I slowly wake up.
I have been deep down in a dream and it’s all still warm and fuzzy.
I should be annoyed because it is so late and I was happily asleep but it’s so lovely having her around, I don’t mind a bit.
I am just glad she is there.

I move over slightly so her side of the bed is clear and I can hear her sit down on the edge of the bed.
I am just thinking how nice it would be to give her a hug but I am just starting to get the shakes a little.

I can feel myself coming out of sleep and I am pleased because she has finally decided to come to bed and I don’t know what my growing worry is all about but it’s getting bigger and bigger.

And then the scales tip just a little too far and I start to remember and I am back pedalling and trying really hard to shut out the wakening and get back into a dream.

And I can’t.

And it’s not fair.

And there is this huge wall of unfairness and brutality and I slam headfirst into it.

And with a rush I am awake.

And Loz has been dead for years now.

I still get this dream sometimes, when she decides to come home again.

I know it happens to other people as well.

It’s rubbish.

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At 5.30am Prole2 came into my room.
He went to the toilet and came back and I could tell he was on his way to see me.

He actually fell over all the cars he had left there in the doorway and a tiny bit of me rejoiced.

My house is not tidy, you would not call it a tidy house.
The floor surfaces are slowly being removed and the results are a dusty house.
There are things around.
You can find stuff here and there.
A lot of bits are in the wrong place.

It has a level of tidiness that I am happy with, we could not become more untidy, messy or dirty without me getting quite upset about it.
I think everyone has their level.
Mine just happens to be relatively low.

I have been asked if I would not feel better about the place if I was more tidy.
I can only say I am very happy living as I do. It is only when other people come round that I feel self conscious about it.
I am selective about who comes round these days.
I hate to upset people.

The Proles’ ability to colonise whole parts of the hose with extensions from “Busy Island” or exploratory expeditions by “Captain Skull” or, as in the case of last evening, a super long racetrack, is one that I tolerate for a while, anything up to a week, before punitive and wide reaching clearing up.

By the time I went to bed last night an extensive series of garages, service vehicles and mechanised transport was making up the Pit area of the upstairs raceway.
his Pit area was just inside the door to my bedroom.
I often tell the boys that these things are a trip hazard and so it was that after Prole1 had trotted off to the toilet I heard him come up the last three stairs, step into my room and fall over his own Pit crew.

This I felt, served him right.
He climbed into my bed and we both fell asleep without speaking.

I had a good sleep for the next hour and a quarter or so until the alarm went off.
I sat up and Prole2 lolled over in the bed.

Prole2: I feel sick.

I switched instantly Parent-With-Sick-Child mode.

Me: You feel sick? Do you need to be sick now?

I was moving and getting dressed. Or at least a bit more dressed. The landing window has a clear view of my young neighbour’s garden and the last thing they need is the sight of a half naked mid forties man carrying a vomiting boy first thing in the morning.

Prole2: Yep. I was sick last night too….

His words trailed off as he began gipping and I got him out of my bed just in time.
He retched and burped and chucked his way to the toilet.

The tally of sick, not including the sitting on the sofa with a bowl on his knee, was impressive.

He was sick on my bedroom floor.
He was sick on my socks and my shirt.
He was sick on the landing carpet.
He was sick on the bathroom floor.
He was sick on two bathroom mats.
He was sick on a bath towel.
He was sick on himself quite a lot.

His attempt to wee and be sick simultaneously was daring, courageous and not entirely successful.

I looked at the utter devastation and at Prole2 cured up and shivering on the one remaining clean bath towel.
This was going to be a day of disinfectant, washing machines and not going to work.

Looking after sick children is an odd experience as an adult.

I am worried enough that I cannot stop myself checking him all the time, just to see if he is displaying new and terrifying symptoms..
I am aware it is a day off school enough and remember what that means enough to really get quite excited.
Neither of these attitudes really prepares you for how boring it can be.

Washing, scrubbing the floor, spraying anti-bacterial nonsense around the house, this is not much fun.
Sitting watching my son breathe wears a bit thin after a while.
Getting any work done is a bit of a non starter.

Sleeping, while not actually illegal, is probably immoral with a sick child.

He did look really peaky.
We tried breakfast.
Well, he sort of flirted with it in a digestive sense before returning it to the bowl.

Prole1 saw the whole thing as a bit of an adventure.
he stood with his hands in his uniform pockets and ‘stray sick’ spotted for me while I tried to clean up.
He looked like a diminutive Health and Safety Officer.
I should have taken a photo, just to compare to when he grows up and becomes a real Health and Safety Officer.

The dangerous bit of the walk to school is crossing the road outside our house.
It’s a very narrow road and the only think I am worried about is drivers not seeing him trying to cross between all the parked cars.
I walked him across the road and he went off to school on his own.
He bounced round the corner and off he was so excited.
I stepped back through the door.

Prole2 was dozing on the sofa.
The cats had found him and were draped all over him.

I sat in the kitchen and had a cup of tea before round two of washing.

It was quiet.
It was odd not to be at work.

Life suddenly seemed really very fragile again.

I squashed all that back down and started the clear up.

Never finished that cup of tea,

Got to keep going, the alternative is awful.

 

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It is Mothers’ Day here in Britain.
I dd not realise this happens at different times around the world.

The clocks have changed too which has made the whole sleep timing thing a bit of a lottery tonight.

There are no guarantees about sleep at the best of times but following the changing of the clocks and with the Proles squeezing in an unexpected car journey snooze I am not sure how this evening will pan out.

I used to love the car as a sleep inducer in children.

There was a rhythm to long journeys in a car.

Being front facing I could not see what the Proles were up to back there.

I am not a talker in the car.
When I am driving I like to watch the road.
When I was younger I looked forward to long journeys by car as an opportunity to stare out of the window and think.
I have and ingrained animosity towards family games like ‘I Spy’ and ‘Animal Vegetable Mineral’ because I remember them as points of friction in the family.
If I stared out of the window and said nothing there seemed to be no problems so over time I came to do that more and more.
Being on tour used to suit me for the same reason, an opportunity to sit and think.

These days when I have the Proles in the car I find the entertainment a real trial.
We do sing some times.
We do play word games sometimes.
We do have in depth or vacuously shallow conversations sometimes.

Most of the time the three of us sit in silence.
We don’t have a DVD player in the car, we don’t own tablets and the boys don’t have a DS between them.
The CD player is broken.
That leaves the radio or nothing.
Most of the time we have the radio on.
Since the boys have become more aware of music I have toned down the amount of Radio4 we all listen to.

They have always been fairly aware of music but in the last couple of years they have been able to suggest preferences and identify artists and songs.

I miss Radio4 terribly.
We flit between Radio2, HEART and occasionally Radio1.

The journeys are always punctuated every three songs or so by Prole2:

Prole2: Dad? Dad? Dad?

Me: Yes?

Prole2: I like this song.

Me: Yes.. it is..Duran Duran/Kid Creole and the Coconuts/Guns and Roses/The Pet Shop Boys/Motorhead…it’s good isn’t it?

Followed by silence for the next three songs.

In the past I could sense when the Proles were asleep.
I could tell within two minutes of Prole2 going from chatty, wriggly and weepy to falling asleep.

A peace would descend on the car and a quick glance in the rear view mirror and he was gone.
I can’t tell what had changed, with the engine and the radio and the sound of the tarmac beneath the wheels it is difficult to say it was just sound but something changed.
Tangible between the three of us.

I did not have such a success rate with Prole1.
Things would be silent for ages, I would glance back and he would stare back at me, or we would be half way through a conversation and suddenly he was gone, sleeping, head bumping against the window.

Prole2 has always been a bit odd though.
Like the time when he was four and it was his turn to click on the digital advent calendar door and he freaked, said he did not want to do it.
Me: Ok, ok, don’t worry, calm down. Why don”t you want to open it?

Prole2: I want to see the ducks doing the smashing.

Me: Right…you don’t want to open this one?

Prole2: No. I want to see the ducks.

Me: Right…um…will you swap with your brother?

Prole1: I don’t mind.

Prole2: Yes please thank you..

Prole1 clicked on the door and there was an animation of the London Eye.
The next day Prole2 clicked on the door and there was an animation of ducks trying to land on ice and skidding on it before breaking through and landing.

Prole2: Yay! Ducks.

Freaky, freaky, freak.

Today on the way back from St Austell there was a sudden peace in the car and I knew he was sleeping.
I glanced in the rear view mirror and they had both slumped sideways in their seats.
They used to fit, tucked into their chairs.
Now they pour in a gangly tangle across the back seat.

For a moment it was the most peaceful thing I have seen for months.
Then out of nowhere John Paul Young’s song ‘Love Is In The Air’ came on the radio.

A very Happy Mothers’ day to you all.

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The letter from Prole2’s teacher says he is going to get sex and relationship lessons soon.

I did not get sex education lessons when I was small.

I found everything out on the day I found a particularly elaborate prophylactic by the side of the road and being very pleased at my new found ‘balloon’.

I have never seen one quite like it since.

It was unused, in case you were worried.

Anyway, this sparked a quick and very precise conversation about reproduction which careered through the main issues in order to illustrate why I was not allowed to take it in the house, blow it up and/or take it to school to show my friends.

I never got ‘relationship’ lessons though.

I wonder if that is just a word they use these days to sweeten the pill of biology lessons in Primary Education or if they actually do teach about relationships.

It’s a tricky area.
I couldn’t teach about relationships.
Seems a bit broad.

What makes a good relationship?
I feel daunted by the subject.
Clearly I lacked guidance when I was at Primary School.

The other day Prole1 learned about Civil Partnerships.
I thought I had the subject pretty much locked down in my head but explaining the current situation surrounding Gay marriage in Britain is a mine field.
I have been trying to tease out the knotty subject of religion with him and am trying very hard to let him make his own mind up.

Prole1: So the first Gay marriage was in 1601?

Me: What?

Prole1: The first Gay marriage was in 1601. Why was it made not right? Why did people stop it?

Me: What?

Prole1: You know.

I didn’t.

Prole1: When men marry men.

Me: 1601? Really?

Prole1: Yes. I think so. A long time ago. Was it the Government that stopped it?

Me: Ummm…I’d have to look, it was probably them or the Church….

Prole1: Why would the Church do that?

Me: I am just cooking, can we talk about this later?

Later.
When I have had time to google the hell out of it and write down some bullet points.
I sort of need Stephen Fry and the Cannon Emeritus of Salisbury Cathedral in the room when we discuss it.
I always felt they would get on, despite apposing views in some areas.
I bet they both like the same puddings.

Prole1 is wrong about 1601 by the way.
Well, technically he is wrong, it happened in Spain not Britain.

And yes, I had to google that.

I could tell him what I think but my views are crushingly secular on this subject and others.
I can’t really talk about it all without getting cross.

I just hope Prole2’s lessons in relationships focus on the idea that most people are nice, respect should be given, that you can, if you try, be friends or friendly to almost every single person you meet and that love is something that chooses you, not the other way round.
I hope the lessons have nice pictures as well.

I was preparing the ground by trying to locate The Usborne Book of Where Babies Come From.

I have not seen it for a couple of months, it is one of those well thumbed publications that Prole1 read over and over, mostly for the nice pictures.
Prole1 keeps his books on top of the wardrobe.
He can reach them from the top bunk where he sleeps but I have to get a bathroom chair and stand on it.
From the chair, on tip toes, I can just see the top of the wardrobe.
The idiosyncratic way Prole1 ‘stacks’ his books means that inadvertent shifting of the stack could cause a book slide straight at you, at eye level.
If they miss your eyes you have to do the ‘don’t-hit-my-feet’ dance as hardbacks crash on to the chair.
Softback House At Pooh Corner is fine, hardback Harry Potter And The Order Of the Phoenix is a different toe crushing matter.

Prole1 watched with complete disinterest as I tried to make sense of his filing system.

I turned over a Secret Seven and found some folded pieces of paper.

On the front were the words: Alphabet Verson 2

Me: What is this?

Prole1: Oh, yes, I have worked out the whole alphabet in Dwarvish Ruins.

Me: Runes?

Prole1: Runes. Yes. I got them all from the Hobbit.

Prole1 has been given a leather bound hard backed copy of the Hobbit by the rockfather.
They sat together deciphering the first few letters of the Dwarvish Alphabet.
Prole1 has been sitting up the last two nights and has worked out the whole Alphabet.

Me: All of them?

Prole1: Yes, you have to go through the whole book and find them. Did you know there is no letter Q in dwarfish? You can use the ruins for C and W to make the sounds. I hope to copy this all up in best and then I will write the whole thing out in Dwarvish with and English translation instead of English with a Dwarvish translation. That will be Version Three.

Me: Right…

Would it have been tactless to suggest that he learn to spell in English first?

Can’t he learn Cornish? Or Mandarin?

I feel I should encourage him to learn a foreign language but should it be a dead language like Dwarvish?
And I mean dead in the sense that THE DWARVES OF TOLKEIN WERE NEVER ALIVE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

I looked at his writing, wobbly and uneven.
Every rune was copied out though and every one of them looked like a rune.

Me: It’s brilliant. Really brilliant.

Prole1: Thanks Dad.

I dug out The Usborne Book Of Where Babies Come From.

It has great pictures.

Half the battle is not what you learn but that you enjoy doing it.

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The absolute litmus test for how I am feeling occurs when I am watching the Proles swimming.

The early days of swimming lessons were mildly embarrassing things.
They began lessons aged four.
Prole1 was still quite rotund when he started.
With his tight red hat and over sized goggles and shorts he looked like a chubby, grumpy, bald owl.
His early attempts at co-ordination in the pool would often see him slowly going round in circles or inadvertently joining the next class by accident.
He was taught by a man who believed yelling as loud as you can at small children renders the best results.
He would bellow at the top of his lungs as Prole1 veered off into open water or slowly sank to the bottom.
Prole1 adored his teacher with every fibre of his body.

Prole2 was still a couple of years off lessons at this point and would spend the half hour waiting for his brother swinging on me, climbing on me and seeming to attempt to unscrew my limbs. We sang songs together, I bounced him on my knee, read books, played games and we generally annoyed all the other parents.

When Prole2 started lessons he was so skinny I could not find swimming trunks that would stay up on his snake hips.
Every time he got out of the pool his bottom was showing.
His teacher was a softly spoken lady who wore artificial flowers in her hair.
She showered love and positive praise on Prole2, even though he actually managed to go backwards in every stroke.
I am not making that last bit up.
He used to actually go backwards.
I would get a warm shot of pride if, during all the splashing and thrashing around, he managed to maintain his position in the pool, let alone go forward.
In return for all her kind words, Prole2 was mortally afraid of his teacher, it took several months for her to win a sliver of trust from him.

The Proles did not exactly rocket up through the classes, both taking the ‘wear them down until they cannot stand the humiliation of being unable to teach us and HAVE to send us up to the next class” approach.
Four years of lessons have been a marathon, not a sprint.

These days they take it in turns, Prole1 has his lesson and when he comes out Prole2 goes in.
This is the time in the week they officially get to play on my phone.
The spare Prole makes a small nest of towels and curls up for half an hour and crashes through their favourite games.
Some of these are universally popular with them both, Angry Birds in it’s various guises, Gravity Guy and Jetpack but then there is a definite separation.
Prole1 will spend at least quarter of an hour tending his Smurf Village, building houses, feeding the pets, checking in on the Smurfs and planting crops.
It is a bustling happy place where Prole1 can indulge in some civic planning and harvesting food for the population.

Prole2 has found ZombieSwipeout.
This is a game in which you dismember cute looking Zombies.
I know, I know, I should never have downloaded it in the first place and I should certainly have deleted it from the phone a long time ago.
Small children should not play with Zombies, it really sits ill with me but HE LOVES IT so I am waiting until he moves on into another phase and I can surreptitiously drag it to the waste bin.
Soon, and then I don’t have to listen to the awful chuckling that comes from him whenever he plays it.

So, one in the pool and one out playing games, quick swap, other one in the pool and the other one playing games.

This gives me the best part of an hour to stare at the water.

In the early days I though about nothing.

My mind was not a complete blank but there was not much going on. I would think about the trip home, which lane I might drive in. I would think about next weeks shopping a bit. I would stare at the water.

As the years have gone on I sort of think about more.
For a while there was a nice lady who would sit next to me whilst her daughter swam rings around Prole1 and we would sometimes chat.
She was divorced and sporty and wanted to get on her bike and take on the world.
I can only imagine that is what she did as I don’t see her any more.
A little girl from Prole1’s class comes over most weeks and we chat about school and shoes and little sisters and how far it is to travel to Cardiff.

When I have no one to talk to I just think.
I can tell a good day and I can tell a bad day by how I get on at swimming.

I can’t tell you what I think about on good days and bad days.

Seeing it written down is open to misinterpretation.
Suffice it to say it is the mind laundry for the week.
I can have a clear out and start the week again.

This is the time to think about what worked and what didn’t in the last week, how the Proles are changing, how our routines are evolving.
We are growing as a family and it’s hard, really hard, to let go of the things that have made us comfortable.
There is danger in complacency, things fester, things get stale, things have no room or grow disproportionately.

You must try to manage the danger in your life.

I don’t give this much time during the week and I shut these thoughts down at night time. I did not used to. I used to think all or nothing about it. Long sleepless nights of mind racing worry with the Proles about to wake at any moment or blocking everything out because it was all too awful and hung over me like a towering cliff.

Sitting by the pool and watching the water is a good place to rummage around in the back of my life and get some, little, tiny amount of perspective. It is not exactly tranquil in the middle of six sets of swimming lessons but it is a start.

Prole2 swipes out his Zombies and Prole1 builds his village.

I wonder what happens to all the odd socks…

Prole1: What are you doing on the sofa?

Prole2: Resting.

Prole1 Why?

Prole2: I had to lay the table.

Prole1: I need a rest.

Prole2: Why?

Prole1: I hurt my nose going up the stairs.

Prol2: Do you want some Blanket?

Prole1: Thanks. Move over. It’s been a tough day.