Feeds:
Posts
Comments

If you’re looking here than that means you haven’t yet found your way to my brand new site

http://sleepisfortheweak.org.uk

So what are you waiting for! Get your ass over there! (…and don’t forget to re-subscribe)

thanksverymuchbye x

Moving On Up

suitcasesMorning all,

Just to let you know that Sleep is for the Weak will be taking a short hiatus for a couple of days while I transfer everything over to a brand new hosted domain!!

I know… it’s very exciting. I’ve given into blog envy – fed up of being jealous of all your gorgeous widgets and add-ons! This new site should allow me to obsessively tweek to my hearts content

Stay tuned for details. I’ve never attempted anything like this before so if you hear screams and curses eminating from the Staffordshire area then it’s probably me trying to get to grips with it all.

Wish me luck!

Logophilia

I have a confession to make to you.

I am having a love affair. A passionate, toe tingling, heart-wrenching love affair.

I have all the usual ‘being in love’ symptoms. That slightly ill feeling. Random transitory moods of weepiness alternated with extreme euphoria which I can’t quite verbalise. Obsessive thoughts and lying awake at night thinking about the source of my affection, what I want to say to them running round and round my head in an endless loop. An overwhelming, raging guilt at my neglect of my family, friends and the housework in favour of my new love. Paranoia (maybe they don’t love me back, maybe I’m not good enough!), and taking every single fleeting opportunity to sneak away and dirty myself in its embrace.

I should probably explain (and quick before my husband reading this at work falls off his chair).

It’s not another man. It’s this damn writing business.

I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s all I want to do. All. The. Time. God I’m a little sweaty just sitting here typing. I almost cried with relief when Kai decided he was tired and needed a nap. Just so I could sit and fire up the laptop with shaky hands and blissfully tap out some words.

Is there a Writers’ Anonymous group or something? Cause I think I need a referal.

*sigh*

But that’s the problem. That’s what’s making me weep into my keyboard and mope about like some pretentious, post-modern artiste with a floppy fringe and leggings and a wistful look. I’m NOT a writer. I don’t even pretend to be. I have no experience of it. In fact, this blog (and couple of others on various topics peppered about the bloggosphere) are the sole fruits of my writing efforts.  

But, but, BUT! I think I want be… or at least… oh I don’t know.

I’ve seen you fellow bloggers. In you ‘About Me’s. You list yourselves as writers, or freelancers, or ex-copy writers, or editors or whatever. And I internally seethe. At your confidence, your skill, your experience. Or even worse – you DON’T put ‘writer’ in your intro but instead scream it with every glorious, perfectly constructed, flawless entry.

I bet you have perfect hair and shiny teeth too. And tidy houses. I just know it. Oh how I hate you.

Except I don’t of course. Because I secretly love you. Love your lives, love your talent and your creativity. It’s what brings me back to your blogs over and over, leaving hesitant, unsure comments, or not doing so and slinking off unobseved because all I can think of to say is “I wish I could write something so beautiful”.

How did you get where you are? Where does a mummy blogger with appalling spelling and not one creative writing course to her name even begin? What is it I even want? What does this annoying internal yearning mean?

I guess I just have to write. ‘Writer’ seems an accolade I am a very long way from deserving. But I guess everyone has to start somewhere and I think maybe here is ‘it’. And hopefully I’ll figure out what what the hell it is I’m looking for and what I want to write about along the way.

God this is all sounding very pretentious isn’ it? I’ll stop now…

It’s been a long day. It’s been a tiring day. More than anything, it’s been a slightly disquieting day.

Because now, sat here writing to you, I suddenly find myself a Baptised Christian.

Yes friends you read that right.

“But Josie!” I hear you cry! “Are you not famous for your public and extremely vocal rejection of organised religion, favouring instead a more free-thinking, spiritually diverse discourse?”. Well, yes! Yes I am, person with a very eloquent way of putting it!

Ok, an involuntary Baptised Christian.

For today I went to a Christening.

Now I don’t like Christenings. As a non-Christian there is nothing more likely to cause me spiritual and philosophical discomfort, and internal pew fidgeting  than the Christening or Baptism of a baby. But, as my friends will keep insisting on producing gorgeous offspring, and as I love these friends and respect their choices, from time time I find myself attending one.

Needless to say, we didn’t have Kai Christened, opting instead to be the first of anyone we knew to write and conduct our own naming ceremony. Caused quite a few raised eyebrows amongst the elderly relatives but once they’d got over the misconception that it would involve some kind of elaborate goat sacrifice and women with bare breasts and names like “Ephinany Moon-Jewel” (it didn’t), it actually all went down rather well.

But other people? Well they like Christenings don’t they? It’s a big rite of passage for them and their child and a cause of much celebration and excitement and joy and silver plated trinket boxes. And that’s fair enough. So several times a year I force myself to swallow back my self-righteous opinions, put on something fancy, and… *deep breath*… go to church.

Today was one of those days.

So there we are. At church. Ant is resplendent in a badly pressed shirt and I am wearing make-up (an even rarer event than me attending church) and posh trousers with only a little amount of baby leakage on. And there are my lovely friends. H looking beautiful and radiant with an adorable new-mummy glow, and her precious new baby breaking all records for unbelievable cuteness and prettiness and making me rethink the whole “I’m not ready for another baby” with just a few heartbreaking smiles.

Kai has been miserable with a cold the last day or two and was not on best form, starting to whinge and squirm within a record ten seconds of the service beginning. So I quickly made a hasty retreat to the back of the church to the children’s play corner to observe the rest of the proceedings from afar whilst playing Thomas the Tank Engine Goes Large and Liturgical (very very quietly) .

And it’s all going ok! Kai’s only had one minor meltdown when a small child dared to look at him funny and I have done my usual trick of zoning out through the particularly irksome parts. Me and Kai did some half-hearted dancing and clapping to the hymn sung to the tune of the Flintstones just to show willing (Flintstones??! Yes really. Let no one say that church is not cool) and stood up to wave and smile at the important dunking moment.

And then it happened.

Young female vicar with a rather forced air of ‘hip and happening’ mumbled something about honouring all OUR Baptisms (a rather arrogant assumption if you ask me but there you go) and began prancing around the church waving a bunch of sticks spraying holy water all over the unwitting congregation (ironically if we’d done anything similar at Kai’s naming ceremony, no doubt all the ERs would have immediately condemned it as some kind of new age witchcraft tomfoolery!). Now I renounced my childhood Baptism when I decided that Christianity was no longer for me, (yep, I’m going straight to hell, but at least I won’t be going there a hypocrite!). So as hip vicar ambled her way towards me little did she know that she was approaching something of a clean sheet. Nope. No taint of Baptism here.

It took me a minute to figure out what was happening. First I saw my husband a few pews in front take an unsuspecting hit, and before I knew it, she was upon me. And upon Kai.

I saw Ant turn quickly round with a look of shock and apprehension on his face as he realised what was about to happen. He later told me in the car that he turned fully expecting to see a scene straight out of ‘The Bodyguard’ in which I, with a slow-motion NOOOOOOOOO! threw my unprotected body in front of Kai’s poor defenseless form to take the hit in his place, the holy water hissing as it hit my heathen skin. In reality, nothing quite so exciting happened, Kai (with more foresight than I) chose that moment to duck behind some soft play apparatus…

…but I wasn’t so lucky. No that’s right, I was blessed (and no, the water didn’t make a hissing sound as it hit me).

It was quite a shock I can tell you. Inadvertant baptism was certainly NOT on my lists of things to do that day.

But do you want to know what was worse?

Ant hurried over soon after looking pale and anxious (and a little damp) which I initially assumed was in anticipation of my inevitable (and probably vocal) rage over the whole affair.

But no.

Because as she feverishly sprayed the congregation, sitting, inoculously on top of the pew was a beautiful one-of-a kind hand-made piece of stationary I had crafted at the request of my friend for their after-Chistening Party. And now, held in Ant’s trembling hand was said piece of priceless creativity. Covered in water drops with the ink running in big blobs.

Unbelievable. Who knew church was such a dangerous place?

So what do you think I should sue them for first? The forced indoctrination into their religion? Or the ruined handy-crafts?

Either way, next time I’ll be sure to remember to wear my anti-baptism waterproof suit and keep my belongings in a zip-up plastic bag. Just in case it’s another Christening of the ‘spray-per-view’ variety.

 hh08pg52-85330

 

P.S. Congratulations H & D – despite the unexpected inclement indoor weather it was a lovely occasion and you both looked such a picture of pride and contentment (and L is LOADS prettier than all the other babies). Sorry we had to leave early – absolutely nothing to do with the accidental baptism and everything to do with a very tired, grumpy baby needing an early night! Love you loads x

Kiss Kiss

I have been lucky enough to have been on the receiving end of some particularly spectacular kisses in my life.

The first of any real significance must have been when I was about 8 and I fell head of heels in love with a boy a whole dizzifying year older than me. Him and his younger brothers would come to our house after school till their mum finished work and the two of us in secret, with me wearing my bridesmaid dress to look more beautiful, would reenact the scenes of many a Disney movie with numerous chaste but passionate kisses. Sometimes for real. ON THE LIPS. I can still feel my skin blushing. We’d quickly get bored and rejoin the boys in favour of wrestling matches (which I would win) and ingenious and complicated games involving dressing up and making maps and me being in charge and generally finding excuses to sit on the middle brother and beat him to a pulp. But still. Significant. 

Then there was rather a lot of kissing between the ages of 15 and 17 that shall remain mysterious and vague… you know who you are (male population of a small Staffordshire town).

Now we get to the good ones.

I have just turned 18 and am being kissed on a bridge under the stars. This was a earth-moving kiss, a life-changing kiss. Shortly afterwards the words “I love you” were uttered for the first time and truly meant and understood. And privately I vowed never to kiss another in my whole life.

Flash forward through gazillions of equally spectacular and earth-moving kisses, and an equal if not greater number of mundane “have a good day” kisses that still manage to make my knees go a little weak. All on the same lovely pair of lips. The lips that smiled and kissed me on our first night in our very first home. The lips that said “I do” on our wedding day and kissed me in front of all our family and friends as I quivered and tried not to cry, feeling like I was going to drop dead of sheer unequivocal joy right there and then. 

Jo Kissing Ant   First Dance 2

 I have had unrivalled and privileged access to those lips, and them to mine, for nearly a decade.

Until now.

For now our precious boy, born of those same kisses, has now discovered kissing all for himself.

He puckers up his little lips and leans forward full of all the seriousness and intent of any leading man. Each tender kiss accompanied with a little “mwah” to really seal the deal. Repeatedly kissing daddy is now a new favourite pastime; Ant can barely leave the room for two minutes at a time without being wooed. I don’t get quite as many but seem to have been targeted for the more serious kissing practice in which the baby bear fights to hold my head still and plant repeated, dribbly, open-mouthed and earnest kisses on my surprised lips.

Needless to say Ant and I are enamoured with our little Casanova, taking every opportunity to sneak another one in at every available opportunity. I imagine the novelty will wear off sooner or later, especially if Bad Mommy Moment’s wonderful recent post is anything to go by, but for now, well, we’re loving every wet, perfect smacker.

Who knew one kiss under the stars would lead us here?

Supporting Cast

I think it’s about time I introduced you to a few of the other supporting cast members in this strange surreal stage-show that seems to be my life at the moment (I think I shall name it “Talking Bread People On Ice”). You’ve met me and you’ve met Kai, and you haven’t run away yet. Let’s see after this lot…

Introducing: my family. Who have all been given super-hero secret identities for the purpose of this narrative.

THE HUSBAND (a.k.a The World’s Most Patient Man)

DSCF2916Super Hero Powers: King of the random fact and endless movie trivia. Able to put up with wife’s irrational, slightly bi-polar behaviour and giant paddys without even a flicker of annoyance. To laugh and make-fun of aforementioned irrational, bi-polar behaviour thus defusing tense situations with ease (It is very hard to stay stroppy with someone calling you a “big head pixie wife” over and over again). In similar fashion has a unique ability to come up with new and interesting ways to make the Kai-ransaurus laugh – including such popular games as “Ninja Dad”, “Sock-Ear Dad” and singing and dancing to such self-penned classics as “Just A Little Nugget Of A Poo”.

Can magically produce cups of tea and treats at much needed moments. Champion Washer-Upper and ‘tidying’ in the form of putting things in giant neat piles.

Generally just a complete super-star. I’m still wondering quite what I did to deserve him and hoping very, very hard he doesn’t figure out his misfortune and do a runner anytime soon. I am currently having to share him with the love of his life his new HTC Hero phone but I think I’m safe as long as it doesn’t develop an app that cooks his tea.

Kryptonite Style Weaknesses: Colds, or illness of any sort. Anything breaking, especially something gadgety and electrical, is likely to bring on apocalyptic style melt-downs.

Super-Hero Accessories: Mobile Phone. Crisps.

Most Likely To Say: “Did I mention my phone can scan the night sky and tell you the constellation you’re looking at? No? Well it can” and “Do we have any snacks?”

 

THE MUM

DSCF2542Super Hero Powers: Green fingers able to grow vegetables of monumental size and deliciousness. Increasingly talented post-modern flower arranger. Spectacular ability to piss off the Christian Right at her local church with her ‘lifestyle’ choices, being both gay and a Christian and generally lovely and hard to dislike however much they try. I’m trying to encourage her to start a guerrilla flower arranging campaign and fill her church with phalic symbolism but she’s taking some persuading…

One of her greatest abilities is to have a busier social life then me and be out most of the time. Hence my longstanding and fulfilling relationship with ‘answering machine mom’ in her absence. Currently sailing the Med in an enormous boat, living it large, and being generally fabulous. The most empathic and caring woman I know. I love her and am so proud of her I could burst.

Kryptonite Style Weaknesses: Rampaging Badgers in her vegetable patch. Anything even vaguely sentimental or emotional likely to bring on fits of ‘leaking’ from the eye area.

Super-Hero Accessories: A pair of deadly, poison tipped secateurs. A rainbow fish window sticker. 

Most Likely To Say: “I’m sorry I’m not here right now. Please leave your message after the tone”.

 

THE STEP-MUM

DSCF3308Super Hero Powers: My mother’s lovely wife. Ability to spot dust and dirt with radar-like precision and attack it in on sight – she would put the Stepford Wives to shame with her tireless enthusiasm for housework. Michelin-star standard cook (I’m thinking of moving back home just for the cooking). Enjoys arguing for fun and has an impressive ability of making out she knows a lot about something when she actually doesn’t. Vicious competitive streak – don’t expect her to bail you out of jail in Monopoly. Has a tendency to fall fast asleep mid conversation and then wake up and join back in when you’re least expecting it.

Also the most generous, thoughtful woman I have ever met.

Kryptonite Style Weaknesses: Time. Having absolutely no concept of it what so ever. Thinking that a spare ten minutes is ample time to clean an already clean bathroom, paint a shed and have a shower. Currently battling with her arch-nemesis the evil PHD monster that eats up all of her time and attention. Oh and fluffy socks that leave bits on the carpet.

Super-Hero Accessories: A hoover. A slightly evil cat.

Most Likely To Say: “I’m working from home today” and “Do you want a coaster for that?”

 

THE DAD

5775_1196691005268_1468270467_30538510_7495257_nSuper Hero Powers: Extraordinary ability to be loud and command everyone’s attention, making everyone like him in an instant (especially old ladies).  Deserves special mention for being mostly responsible for my sense of humour (and thus this blog) having given me and my brother the very finest comedic education. Tireless campaigner for naughty children the world over – what this man doesn’t know about Governmental Children’s Legislation just isn’t worth knowing. Published author of several absolutely-not-boring-in-the-slightest but impressively influential textbooks.

Globe-trotter adventurer extraordinaire. Witty, brainy, unbelievably generous and warm hearted and deserving of several shiny certificates for bravery and coping skills. Has the ability to look EXACTLY like Captain Birdseye when he grows a beard. Has successfully fought off a mid-life crisis so far but I fear it is only a matter of time.

Open to offers (rich, successful, sane women only please – will be vetted by daughter).

Kryptonite Style Weaknesses: The recession and it’s spectacular timing, arriving as it did at a time when he is trying to sell two houses. Illness – which needs immediate treatment with sympathetic noises and a comic.

Super-Hero Accessories: A bum bag. A jaunty walking hat and shorts in all weathers.

Most Likey To Say:“Compare the Meerkat… dot com” and “It’s a Kai bear after all” (to the tune of “It’s a Small World”).

 

THE BROTHER

n514046766_2037215_4614311Super Hero Powers: World’s most devoted Uncle, ability to make Kai weak with excitement at merely the mention of his name. King of the argument, serial Devil’s advocate. Scarily clever and disciplined. World domination could quite easily be his if only he put his mind to it. Currently dabbling with being a young professional graduate after playing with being an unemployed bum for a while but not finding it to his liking. Does not yet own a Blackberry but, much like dad buying a sports car, I fear it is only a matter of time. DO NOT challenge him to an argument on any philosophical or religious topic. HE WILL WIN.

His hair should get a mention all of it’s own (probably counts as a side kick) given it’s amazing ability to resist all forms of grooming and being water repellent.

My partner in random humour. Still makes me laugh more than anyone else in the world. My best friend.

Kryptonite Style Weaknesses: Stupid ignorant people (same as me) who will never fail to bait him into an argument. A complete inability to concede a point or back down in a ‘discussion’. Taking his glasses off (no he’s not Superman – just can’t see a thing). An irrational fear of mime artists.

Super-Hero Accessories: A big cup of tea. A copy of Nietzsche “The Gay Science”.

Most Likely To Say:“Do you fancy a cuppa?”, “Did I ever tell you about the time I was relaxing in a Budapest Spa…” “YOU’RE WRONG! REALITY IS ONLY A MATTER OF PERCEPTION!” and “Yeah? You fight like a cow!” (I could think of about a million more but won’t).

 

So there we go. My family ladies and gentleman. They assure me they are all delighted to meet you.

First of all, a HUGE thank you to Potty Mummy for naming me the British Mummy Bloggers’ Blogger of the Week – what an honour! Welcome to new folks joining the sleep deprivation party here at SIFTW (acronyms mean I’ve totally made it!) This does of course now put me under immense pressure now to come up with something vaguely entertaining for you all. Which no doubt means, according to the ‘rules’ that I will end up being dull and weird. Oh well. Popularity was nice while it lasted!

There seems to be a bit of a theme running through my blogging at the moment. First we had a post about my average accomplishments, then it was my average blog, and today, well, today I want to talk about average babies.

You see, now Kai has hit the big 1 the inevitable baby race seems to have taken on new and infuriatingly pervasive proportions. Of course, it’s always been something. Can he smile yet? Can he roll? Sit up? Stand on one leg while singing ‘I’m a little tea-pot’? (ok, not the last one. At least… not yet)

Right now it’s walking and talking. It’s all anyone seems to care about.

And as Kai is doing neither (apart from the odd random word and strange animal impersonation) nor, in fact, showing the slightest interest in doing so, I find myself once again the recipient of a multitude of wonderfully reassuring and self-affirming comments such as “Well, I’m sure he’ll get it EVENTUALLY *sympathetic look*”, and (my current favourite of the week) “It’s ok, some babies just have more ‘physical’ intelligence than others” (what does that even MEAN??! If you’re reading, person who said that – FOR SHAME!!)

I’ve talked about the infuriating affliction that is competitive mum syndrome before on here.  It’s something I try very, very hard to avoid. Mostly because I think it’s a huge big pile of bull crap.

But I’m going to admit it. A teeny tiny part of me cries as I watch Kai’s peers confidently run around reciting the alphabet backwards while Kai himself sits in a corner randomly pointing and laughing at inanimate objects and trying to bark like a dog. I am forced to face the fact that, despite my best efforts at parenting, my child hasn’t been gifted with supernaturally advanced powers of development.

Yes Josie, it’s bad news I’m afraid. Your child is *gulp*… average.

Why does it bother us so much? Cause I know it’s not just me, I bet you, mummy readers, have all had such moments of fleeting disappointment and vague feelings of failure which seem to rise, unbidden into our minds, every time your child’s friend does yet another extraordinary thing.

Saying that, I think this is mostly a first-born thing. Parents with two or three, or even (as in the case of some friends) , five or SIX probably don’t give a damn at what age their child decides to do something, or what anyone else thinks about it, too busy as they are trying to end the day with as many children alive as when they started. So parents of multiples – you have permission to take a smug position of superiority here – no doubt you learned these lessons long ago.

Anyway. Where was I? Oh yes…

Common sense tells us that obviously the rate of our child’s development has nothing whatsoever to do with our relative merits or failures as parents, or is, in fact, any indication of their future intelligence or success but far more likely down to random genetics, personality and well, chance. Despite what the competitive mums seem to infer, the fact that my baby is not walking and talking at the grand old age of thirteen months old, does NOT mean he is destined to become that man that walks around our town with a robe made of a sacking, sandals, and a straw hat shouting at the pigeons.

So why do we take it all so personally? Why DOES it bother us, if only a little?

I think the reason it seems to strike a nerve is due, in part, to a journey that began back in our teenage years. When we were forced to come to terms with the fact that no, we probably weren’t going to be a model, and that we weren’t going to ‘grow into’ our noses and magically wake-up looking like Angelina Jolie. Or that we were going to randomly bump into Robbie Williams in Starbucks one day and, looking mysterious and alluring (as, of course, we would), and being given his skinny cappuccino with extra foam in a hilarious coffee shop- misundertanding, cause him to fall head over heels in love with us because we ‘got him’ and didn’t care about the fame  thing.

I’ve STILL not quite got over that one.

And guess what. Our children probably aren’t going to be space men either, or prime minister, or nobel peace prize winners, or pirate ninjas, or a horse, or any of the of the things we ourselves dreamed of becoming as children. Unconciously we long for them to live extraordinary lives, the lives we did not lead, the lives we had to let go of.

Ok I’ll admit this is all sounding rather depressing in a kind of let me take your dreams and stamp all over them kind of way.

But the sooner we realise this as parents the better. The sooner we can let go of our need for our children to be so damn extraordinary, the sooner we are freed to see just how incredible they already are. Maybe if we can just stop worrying about the big stuff, the stupid milestones and the whole ‘my baby should’s, we’ll be less likley to miss all those teeny tiny subtle moments of everyday extraordinariness that our children show us just be being alive. Those moments that show us that sometimes it’s the ordinary and unremarkable that can be the most beautiful and precious of all.

Like eating mash potato with their hands. Or how watching a dog running round the garden can be the single most hilarious experience of their little life. Or they way their head seems to fit so perfectly nestled into your shoulder.

Not clever. Not exceptional. But just magic.

So let go Competititve Mums. Please. Because I can’t take this crap anymore.

Stop asking me if Kai’s walking yet and let us get back to rubbing mashed potato in our hair. Cause it’s ten million times more fun.

 

Nom Nom