#464 A new way to Write

I had it REAL good when baby girl was in fact, a baby.

I mean, aside from the not-knowing what the hell I was doing, second-guessing every decision, crying a fair bit, being sleepless and fatigued most of the time, and just wondering when this confusing and struggling never-ending stage would pass.

But then, came the naps. That’s how I had it good.

During her day naps, baby girl would sleep for hours. Sometimes her day naps combined, would equal about 5 hours of sleep time for her, and non-baby time for me, a day.

This was really good. At first it was all catch up on this, maybe I should meal prep for dinner, pay an online bill, make that important phone call I’ve been putting off for 3 months, and wash that pile of soiled baby clothes that will re-fill by the day’s end.

But then, she settled a bit…. while the naps remained.

And as she settled, so did I. I relaxed into Motherhood, and so began journalling again.

I really wanted to capture as much of parenthood and her early months and milestones as much as I could, and so recommenced a fave past-time of mine that I hadn’t done for quite a while, a past-time that I both love and loathe simultaneously. I feel like I HAVE to do it, and that is exactly WHY I loathe it. Because I feel it needs to be done.

And I can’t stop.

And then, I relaxed MORE into Motherhood. And I began to do some food reviews, here and there, read some books, start notes on them that would eventually become my book reviews… and hell, I even started my parent blog, SmikG.

And years later, that followed with this one.

Now as the years have passed, her nap durations, as her naps, have significantly reduced to just one a day. It’s still allowed me some great ‘me’ time, to do whatever I need to do, and yet I always try to do what I feel I need to: write in some capacity, however I can.

However recently, I’ve come to a realisation. With baby girl getting cheekier and cheekier at bed time, her hyper-activity shooting through the roof, I decided I had to do the only thing that made sense.

Drop the nap altogether.

It was doing me good, because it meant she was more tired (or so we hoped) at bedtime, since she hadn’t napped at all during the day, and would be ‘out’ quicker. Well yes. She is ‘out’ a bit faster, a bit less reluctant to drink 15 sips or water, go to the loo 7 times, jump on the bed 10 times, and then ask for a tummy, hand, arm, leg, foot and back massage, following her 3 books read to her by lamplight.

Yeah, a bit less.

But anyway, bedtime routines are somewhat better. She does go to bed slightly earlier now. But it means my writing time during the day, IS GONE.

R.I.P precious writing time.

Or so I thought.

She’s 3 and a half, I thought today. Often, she is quite happy to play on her own, build some blocks, or watch some Paw Petrol.

Surely she would let me do some writing. She’s not 2 and climbing over me to grab at the laptop as I pay a bill or buy the one concert ticket I’ll be going to that year.

A year and a half, makes a difference.

And so, today, I tried. We had had our coffee/babycino/cake break, she was fuelled, she had Nickelodeon shows on in the background, a whole family room full of toys including her new Sofia the First mini figurines, and I sat in the same room as her, and began to do what I started all those years ago, so tentatively, while she was out cold in another room –  I began to write.

Journalling in fact. And there were times I stopped, and she called my name, repeatedly, and I looked back over my shoulder. Repeatedly. And she left the room and came back, and even walked on over and yelled “O” multiple times after looking at the keypad. But after about 90 minutes, I had written 3 pages long.

3 pages! I was a bit surprised, yet pleasantly so. Had I just learnt a new way to write? Multi-tasking, with child in room, interrupting me every so often?

And I did it?

I did it. Yes it wasn’t smooth sailing, but it was done. My quiet writing time may be over, but that’s not to say, I can’t write if I don’t want to.

Where there’s a will there’s a way.

No excuses people. That’s what I take from this. No excuses. And I’m pretty chuffed with that 🙂

 

#448 Early night

So, it’s 11:40pm as I write this. Clearly, I’M still up.

But, what makes the difference is I have had alone time since 10pm. This hasn’t happened in a LONG TIME.

For the first time in Forever… wait, I sound like a Disney movie. Start again.

For the first time in a LONG TIME, I managed to put baby girl down earlier than usual, since she missed her nap today, went to bed LATE last night, and also spent the previous night restless and unwell since she was complaining of a sore throat.

She went to bed with chills last night, she had two doses of medication during the day to thwart that and her sore throat off, and on top of all of that, being so unwell, she ate very little.

All in all, after her warm bath, she was tired. She was ready for bed.

So my reasons for being free don’t come from the best circumstance. But, now with her sound asleep (fingers crossed), I have been doing my thing – drinking camomile, writing lists, messaging sis, journal writing, and googling, and I haven’t even finished yet.

Just a bit more. A bit more of ‘me time.’ And then I too, will have an early night.

12am instead of 1am. It’s a Mum’s life.

#439 Memories from my past

Today I was at my parents house, pointedly going through the wardrobe of my old room, looking for… ‘something.’

In my search though, I found LOTS OF THINGS.

Some made me smile. Some made me proud. Some I took home.

These items included:

·   an old diary from 2004 (it made me smile – damn my writing was perfect then!)

·   a water bottle and water bottle warmer (to take home – you never know when you need one)

·   old Uni essays from when I took ‘Classic Hollywood’ (that made me proud when I read bits and observed the score, and the teacher’s comments)

·   a photo scrapbook my bestie put together and gave me the day of my wedding day (that made me smile, AND I took it home!)

·   a Sex and the City make-up case that contained all 6 season DVDs, back when I bought the box set over a decade ago! (that I took home – I already have the DVDs with me, may as well complete the collection)

·   also a Sex and the City board game that I have never played (that I took with me of course, due to the former!)

and then, I found the ‘something’ I had been searching for:

Angel memorabilia – in the way of Angel magazines from 2004.

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🙂

Going through memory lane was a blast, and I will do it again and go through more of my old ‘things,’ when I unpack more boxes here at home.

Yes, I am still unpacking, 8 months on. Not many to go, but I need to sort nonetheless.

And the reason for my Angel memorabilia search? I am very confident that tomorrow’s gratitude post will reveal ALL the answers…

;););)

 

#435 New library

I think, when we collectively call ourselves avid readers and writers, surely then we must be a member of more than a few reading institutions?

The first library membership I got was when I was about 10, and that was a school incentive since they had built a local library in our suburb, up in the North.

I loved it, and thrived on my library membership, for ages. I would bring home the maximum amount (back then 10 books only) of Goosebumps, The Babysitters Club, and then Sweet Valley High series books, up until my mid-teens. This phase lasted long, and had me happily perusing through the library shelves for years on end, maybe until I was 15 or so.

Then boys kind of became more prominent. I would still visit, but much more infrequently, and later in Uni days, a lot of material from my essays would come from those aisles. I would walk up and down, and reminisce about the good old days, where I could read 10 books well within a few weeks time, and come back to borrow more earlier than I needed to, thirsty for more.

Fast forward many, many years, and a brand-spanking new library opened near my work. It is a work of art, and it is my belief even a non-reader would find interest, solace, and a renewed sense of appreciation for the written word, in here.

Of course, I became a member. I borrowed a few books, and then when I realised that reading, taking notes, and then reviewing the book within a few weeks span became a bit too much to take on, I kind of stopped borrowing from there.

It’s temporary, and it’s only because I’m awaiting the day I can devote much more time to fiction books.

However, today baby girl and I ventured to our new, local library. The first time we went there was right after we moved, and so I didn’t have the proper I.D. with my new home address to subscribe. Today however, different story.

At the Mornington library, I am told I can borrow unlimited books at any one time. Woah. Up to 10 DVDs, and there’s a bunch of other benefits of becoming a member too. Baby girl enjoyed the kids nook, sat in a reading booth, and I just happened across (this stuff seriously jumps out in front of me) a couple of books that I just HAD to borrow.

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You can totally tell which are for me, and which are for baby girl, right? I mean, I’ve been hanging to read Dr Seuss’ take on fish for yonks now.

😉

Seriously though. Am I the only writer that has tonnes to read and write, a whole book shelf at home just crying out to me “read me! read me!” and yet I still go out and borrow/buy MORE books?

I think the novelty of the library, is the fact that if you do not read a book in your borrowed time span, not to fear – just re-borrow, or read it at a later stage. There is no commitments, and I think in my case, for now, with so much fiction for me at home just STARING at me whenever I go past my shelves, I can happily borrow reference books and the like, and then pick what content will serve me best from within its pages.

And while there, I registered baby girl for the ‘1000 books before school’ challenge, where she will aim to read up to 1000 books, and track her progress on a chart with stickers, with little incentives as she hits big milestones along the way. This number can include any books read at home or school or her grandparents house, and even the re-reading of favourite books. They can all be counted, starting from today. If you’re interested in doing so for your littlies, I understand many libraries are partaking in the challenge.

The end of the challenge is either the commencement of school, or when she hits 1000.

Do you seriously think I will let baby girl, the daughter of a writer, not get to 1000 books within these two years?

To answer your question… she already has 4 stickers today.

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God Bless the Library.

#416 A Writer’s Dream

Today, I officially became a writer.

This is because I lived out a dream. The dream, of all wannabe writers out there.

It all started a few days ago.

During the week my boss had asked me if I could do a 9-5er on my next shift, being Saturday. I usually work early shifts on Saturdays, for 2 reasons:

Getting to work early means I get out earlier, therefore having more time to spend with my family later, going out/shopping/dining/coffee-ing/

Also, leaving the house so early means that baby girl is still sleeping when I leave. She wakes up, MIL is there, they cuddle in bed, and all is good in the world. Hubbie and I both usually work Saturdays, and this routine is great. There are no tears, no tantrums, no pathetic displays, from ANYONE. And baby girl is unfazed too… because she doesn’t see us leave.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Likewise, don’t rock the boat. Having her still asleep when I leave the house is MORE than perfect.

Working a 9-5 shift however, posed a conundrum. Would I get up later? Undoubtedly so. This would cause possible issues. Would baby girl cry as she watched me leave? Would she have a hissy-fit, therefore making the rest of my MILs day exceptionally hard?

Simultaneously, as all this was circling around in my head, a work friend of mine was telling me about how she loved the bakery, Banjo’s. Being Tassie-born, the bakery there is prevalent, a part of most people’s upbringing, providing her with much nostalgia and sweet (and savoury) memories. However where her old grounds has a Banjo’s on every corner, in Victoria there are only two: one in regional Victoria, and the other in the town of the Morning, my new home turf.

I was telling her how I would bring in some special requests next time we worked together, saying I would drop by the bakery before my work shift to satisfy her Banjo cravings, when suddenly, an idea started to emerge.

It crept up and up, like a flower rising to face the sun’s beams, ’til suddenly, everything was perfect and the thought was standing there, alone, shining in all its immaculate glory.

This morning, I got up with Hubbie, and left the house almost as normal. By 6:30, I had parked minutes away from home.

Across from Banjo’s.

And inside I walked, with my…

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Laptop.

Ding!

It has been my long-held, deeply sought after ideal to write in a café. This dream of mine was so strong, it was there even before I realised I wanted to be a writer. I mean, the dream kind of came with the lifestyle choice. The vision of being cosied up in a café, writing to your heart’s content, eating food and sipping on coffee while the world rolled on by, and idling there like you had nowhere pressing to go, well that just looked so absolutely unreal and fantastically special for me.

I didn’t think I could get to do anything like that, ’til long long long after I had another kid, and then they were both in school. So like, 5 years or something.

But, it happened.

I sat in Banjo’s for over an hour. It wasn’t the kind of café I had dreamed of writing in, but today, for my first time, it would have to do. I ordered an egg and bacon toastie and while I waited for it (they were still opening so they couldn’t make my order straight away- I had been warned) I sipped on some oj, and I typed.

And typed. I wrote personal stuff. And I reviewed my story, squinting at the screen critically and re-reading several passages 15 times, ’til I realised, I NEEDED TO EAT.

Driving to work on an empty stomach is far different to writing on an empty stomach. The former is a default activity that requires little effort when it is a regular route. The latter requires the head.

Head requires food.

I didn’t have a coffee either (some coffee snob I am) since I can’t drink it on an empty stomach  – the beans just rattle my head. When my toastie did come, I scoffed the deliciousness down, and then all was good.

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I had still been productive though, and written about 45 minutes of the time. As I headed off I took some things with me: some snacks and some lunch for work… and also, a 6 pack of hot cross buns for my work colleague.

They’re currently sitting at her desk, waiting for her surprised face to turn up. She didn’t work today, but she sure as hell will get a lovely Happy Easter surprise tomorrow on her work shift.

And there you go, 3 events coincided brilliantly together this morning to create a happy harmony. I left the house early as preferred to keep baby girl in her happy routine; I got some memory-making buns for a work colleague; and I lived out my fantasy of writing in a café.

Gratitude done, by 7:50am. Is that a record? No, of course not 🙂

Now that I’ve broken the café-writing seal, I think a lot of re-occurrences will now follow… I may just volunteer for more 9-5 Saturday shifts… and I do have to get the café food arrival timing correct, and make sure I get coffee next time, and a proper window seat…

We can’t get these things right the first time… that would leave out the fun now, wouldn’t it? 😉

#390 Baby girl’s naps no.2 – catch-up

This post has very little to do with baby girl, and all to do with what I do when she is NOT around.

I’m lucky that at the age of 3 and a half, she still naps. About, an hour to 90 minutes a day, sometimes even 2 hours if we’ve been to the beach, or she’s been to kinder or run around heaps. And even then I start to make a lot of noise at the 90 minute mark, as I know that putting her to bed that night might be a tad difficult after a long nap.

She’s just like her Mum. She loves her sleep, and I’m fortunate to say, she always has.

Today she went for an hour 40 minutes. During this time, I plop myself in front of the laptop, and begin all kinds of writing tasks/passions.

Today it was personal journal writing; food review writing; and book review writing.

I’ve been behind in my food and book reviews for so long. Soooo long. You know when you are so behind in something, you start to consider giving it up?

‘It’s too hard. I can’t keep up.’

‘My life is too busy right now.’

‘This is getting out of hand.’

‘Maybe I’ll try this in 5 years time.’

I wasn’t sure, whether any of it was worth it. The reviews. The blog. Even the gratitude. I question myself on some days, when things are hard, when time is pressed, and I don’t think I’m going anywhere.

But, I am grateful for the stubborn Lion that I am.

Because I just can’t freaking give up so easy. It’s not in my DNA.

You shouldn’t either.

As hard as it has been in the last months/years/life since parenthood (!) I have still persevered. I have moved EVER SO SLOWLY. And I fortunately, have not given up. These moments I get when baby girl is napping, and then when she is sleeping late at night, I am able to move on, to try and catch up, to keep things going with my blogs, my personal writings, my passionate pursuits, as much as I can.

They are slow, ever so slow, baby steps. A snails pace. And there are days when I have to do other things. ‘Responsible’ things. I can’t write every day, and those days feel so wasted on me. But when I can, I try my damn best.

But today, after doing some more writing, and then taking a kind of step back to go ‘hmm, my food reviews are almost catching up,’ and ‘hmm, I’m heading through my current book review at a decent pace’ (with 3 more looming in the background but that’s not the point!) I felt, good. I felt like, I was getting somewhere. And I started to feel like, I might actually be catching up.

That was such a good feeling. And I am so grateful, I had it. More so, I’m grateful that baby girl’s reliable naps, gave me the opportunity for it 🙂

#327 Back to routine

I think we were ready for it. Even Hubbie said today, following his first day back at work at a new workplace nonetheless “I was happy to go to work.”

Holidays are amazing. They are freeing. They are a luxury, but also, they are very, very, very much-needed.

But, what tends to happen to us on holidays, is, like in the words of Elsa, we Let it Go.

Wake up early? Let it go.

Cook? Let it go.

Washing? Let it go.

Hobbies? Let it go.

It might seem a normal thing to sleep in during your holidays, but when you are going to bed late and then waking up late, every day, your body comes to expect so much more, until that first back at work morning when your 5am alarm gives you a very unexpected and rude awakening. Not to mention your body suffers.

Eating out everywhere might seem like the most first-world thing to do, the most luxurious of fanciful endeavours. But when you’re over-indulging night after night after night, and taking that extra bit of cake, just because holidays, well by night 12 you might be wondering why it’s so hard to zip up your jeans. Not to mention your body suffers.

Caring about the washing might seem like a fairly tedious and insignificant thing to pay much attention to… but when several week’s worth of everything gather up to the point of having piles on your laundry room floor, well, it’s hard NOT TO notice. Not to mention your body suffers… from lack of clothes.

And when you start to push away your usual everyday hobbies, passions and pursuits, whether they may be playing an instrument, writing a novel, learning a language, or practicing some form of dance… well you start to miss it, while your artform at the creative endeavour also slips. And your body, mind and soul, suffers.

Today was Hubbie’s first day back at work. And though I don’t go back for another 2 days, I like him, was also happy for the routine to recommence. To some degree, you need a routine. You rely on it. It keeps you on track. With just enough of it

*going to bed and waking up at a reasonable hour keeps you more alert

*cooking keeps you healthier, and mindful of what goes into your body

*washing keeps you with a smaller laundry hamper!

*and hobbies keep you happy, and with a sense of purpose.

Hubbie and I have realised that we need some sort of order in our lives. We always need something to do, something to work towards, and something to look forward to. Today I was quite happy getting back into the habit of washing (several loads), cooking (and really being mindful of what I was eating), and getting back into some sort of more regular writing habits.

As for the sleep? Step by step peeps.

I think we went a bit crazy over these last few weeks, because, well that’s what you do on holidays. We knew we would go back to some kind of routine eventually, and wanted to just Let It Go, for as long as we could.

And I mean, if we happened to ever be the recipients of a massive cash windfall, and never had to work again, hey, I WOULDN’T COMPLAIN. Not at all. It just means we would have to set up a regular routine, of looking after ourselves and our life, in amongst the fun of never working again.

Sigh. Dreams.

Random is good. Random is great. But I wanna enjoy my life in amongst the crazy times, you know? So I CAN enjoy those crazy times.

So today, I’m actually happy for the return of routine into my life. Hell, I’m even grateful for it.