I live in Kent with my husband, toddler Tilly (henceforth known as Monkey) and another baby due in November. We have two cats, Duncan and Lady Macbeth, and four chickens who kindly lay us eggs daily. We live in the picturesque seaside town of Broadstairs. I enjoy reading, knitting and cooking. I'm trying to be a bit 'greener' (not sure how successfully), and to be a gentle parent. Extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping don't freak me out, we use cloth nappies and try to follow some of the ideals of Attachment Parenting. If that sounds as if I know what I'm doing, I don't! I am also a psychotherapist with an interest in Focusing-oriented therapy, and I have a small private practice in the area.
Isn't the weather just divine? I wish I was having this picnic, and I wish we were beside the sea rather than stuck here in the 'burbs. The Monkey is crashed out in her cot after spending a couple of hours in Nanny and Grandad's garden while I was at work. She's great at the moment, getting more confident on her feet, sleeping amazingly well, I feel very fortunate to have her around. She's the best. Her daddy was away for a couple of days last week in Cannes, so it's good to have him back too. I'm still trying to be mindful of what I am eating, although I'm finding that my resolve slips as we approach the end of the week and I get a bit tired of cooking from scratch and start fantasising about takeaways. The hot weather helps as it decreases my appetite anyway. I've been losing about 2lbs a week so far, which feels healthy and sustainable and hopefully will ease my passage into the funky new dress I've bought for some upcoming summery parties!
On Saturday I attended a professional workshop on CBT for Depression. It's the first professional development workshop I've done since I had the baby and it really reinforced to me that I need regular events like this both to update my skills but also to network with other therapists. Working in private practice can be quite isolating and it can rapidly become quite stultifying, just this one workshop has sparked ideas and plans and re-ignited my interest in my work. I've decided that once a month I am going to set aside a whole day for CPD and ask one of the grandparents to have the baby. I'll do a workshop as frequently as possible and if not, I'll go into London and spend the day reading or researching. When I was doing my MA dissertation I loved spending the entire day in Borders coffee shop, I'd gather a pile of books on my way up and just work my way through them. I've wholeheartedly enjoyed my first year of motherhood but until now work has felt like an intrusion into my time rather than a welcome additional facet to my life. I didn't realise until Saturday that my professional confidence has really taken a nosedive and I need to do something about that. Work is quiet at the moment, the flow of referrals is more a trickle, so it's the perfect time to do something constructive, particularly as we are still in the limbo of being on-the-way-to-moving-house.
And on a completely random note, can anyone tell me how to 'strike through' text on Blogger?
We all woke up late this morning- at 9.03am to be exact! After a quick snuggle/feed we got up an wondered how to spend the day. After spending most of the week at home with the Monkey I really wanted to go out for a few hours, Dave on the other hand had had a busy week at work and was looking forward to relaxing at home. I can completely understand, he has quite a glamorous job, gets wined and dined and his days are very social. Because he is the best husband in the world ever, he found a promotional code for the National Trust, joined us up and found a garden 30 minutes drive away. It was called Emmetts Garden, near Westerham in Kent. We wandered around the gardens, saw some amazing trees and a wonderful view across the countryside to Hever, Ashdown Forest and Bough Beech reservoir. We had a lovely bowl of vegetable soup with seeded bread, sitting outside on some picnic benches. And then we came back home. We were only out for a couple of hours but it was a perfect way to get some fresh air and a change of scenery.
I've been blogging a bit about food and diet on my new blog, WholeHearted. It's been a week now of eating sensibly and primarily whole/ organic foods, and I've lost 3lbs! It's not a Diet with a capital 'D', and as such I am hoping to demonstrate that eating Good Food can be as slimming as eating Less Food. The shopping, preparation and cooking is time-consuming but worthwhile, it's always good to discover new recipes, the ones you'll make again and the ones that get consigned to the dustbin (not that there have been any of those!). To celebrate my success I have got banana, caramel and chocolate chip muffins in the oven, ha ha!
Monkey has discovered a box of crayons in her play basket. She loves them, all 40 of them, in bright colours and preferably tipped out of the box and spread all over the floor. I found myself trying to demonstrate to her what they did, taking the crayon and drawing, or placing the crayon in her hand and holding it while moving the crayon across the paper. She wasn't interested and didn't really notice that lines were being created. So I gave up, even trying to put the crayons away, which Monkey objected to so I gave up and left her to it. Crayons are for crayonning, I thought.
This morning I just watched her. I noticed her looking at the scribbles of colour that the crayons had left in the bottom of the box. She put the box down and continued playing. But in that moment I understood that I don' actually need to show her how crayons work. She will figure it out for herself, and that will be an infinitely more useful process to her than my direction would ever be.
A plea to those members of the general public who exclaim that my daughter is "tiny". I don't tell you that your son/ daughter is fat/ bald/ ugly, so please keep it to yourself.
(okay, so I'm a bit tetchy about this at the moment but it happens every single time we are out and I'm really struggling to just smile sweetly and nod)
I took the Monkey to get weighed at the clinic yesterday. We haven't been in months but I wanted to know how she was doing in advance of our hospital check-up in a week's time. She's now 14lbs 11oz, so she's put on 11oz since the end of March. She's still under the 0th centile but I'm really not so fussed and the HV was pretty cool about it too. But I'm starting to worry about how it will affect her, being the "tiny" one. Will she be babied by the other children when she gets to playgroup or school? Will she feel self-conscious about her size? What about when she begins to understand when people say how tiny she is? Maybe she understands it now? I'm even worrying about whether we will find a school uniform to fit her, as she is 1 now and still wears 3-6 month baby clothes. I know I'm being a bit silly, and I certainly don't want to create an issue out of it but I does concern me. Will she be strong in personality to compensate for being small in stature? She is certainly showing signs of that!
Is the fact that I am even writing all of this an indication that I want her to be different in some way, that she isn't 'okay' as she is? We have the precious gift of a bright, healthy, happy little girl, that's all that should matter.
I stumbled upon this blog by Carla Kay White. She has created a Gratitude Journal application for the Iphone, which I downloaded this evening. It's a nice idea and a lovely app, so I thought I'd share my entry for today (which was a bit of a challenging day).
Today I was grateful for...
the opportunity to watch my busy daughter squeeze every last drop from the day;
a scrumptious veg box delivery (watermelon and nectarines, yum!);
a second day of eating well;
a firm offer on the house;
the fact that I didn't shout, even though I felt like it.
Just a few Monkey photos from the last few days. We went to the park and saw some baby ducks. I didn't realise that there was a huge children's playground at the big park, with water sprinklers and lots of fun things for children to do. It was polling day on Thursday and most of the primary schools were closed, consequently there were a zillion children playing in the sun. Monkey and I lay on a blanket, or rather I lay on the blanket and the Monkey clambered all over me, practicing her standing-up.
On Sunday we went to a 1st birthday party and Monkey played in the ball pit, as you can see! She loves balls but seems to prefer them individually rather than en masse. After the children's party we went to a 50th wedding anniversary party where the babe was greatly adored and admired. We heard the fantastic news that friends of ours, whose son sadly died in December when he was only a few weeks old, are expecting a new baby.
We went to Calais on Saturday for the day. The least said about that the better! What a horrible place!
I can't think of what else to write about this evening. I'm not feeling very crafty at the moment, and I haven't picked up any knitting for literally months. Isn't knitting more of a winter activity anyway? Summers are for the beach, the garden, the kitchen...
I've decided to create a new blog, WholeHearted, as a place to record my thoughts and 'doings' about diet, food and health. I could ramble on for ages about my weight, to the point where I start to bore even myself, so I thought I would channel those energies into something more productive. My aim is to to post meal planners, recipes, book recommendations and pretty much anything diet or health-related, as long as it has a reasonaly wholefoods/ organic element to it. I don't want it to be about faddy diets or quick-fix solutions. I'd also really like to open it out to other contributors, so please come and visit, and if you like what you see, consider joining me. I've created the blog on Wordpress rather than Blogger, so it's a new thing for me to get the hang of but I think I can create permissions for other authors, you may just need to sign up for a (free) Wordpress account. I look forward to seeing you at WholeHearted!
This is a more positive 'food' post. If you'd told me even two months ago that I could make my little girl a supper of pasta in tomato sauce with roasted courgette and watch her pick it up and eat her with her hands, I would have struggled to believe you. But here she is, and it warms my heart to see her do it. She's still a tiny girl, a dot, a dolly, but she's eating, and it's such a relief.