Saturday, 29 June 2013

The new kind of tidy

So it turns out that for the last five years Ellie has been carefully lulling me into a false sense of security when it comes to tidying up. She's always been a child who likes to tidy and I've always appreciated this fact. It was only when I came home from work one night to a scene of utter chaos and found myself automatically going about tidying it; that I suddenly saw that times had changed, without me even realising. 

Ellie's belongings were literally strewn around the entire house. Bits of paper and the ends of those bits she'd cut were left on the table, together with pens, scissors and cellotape. Her doll and accessories were on the living room floor, her box of 'things' (aka crap) spread across her room and her dirty school clothes strung along the hall, stairs and landing between the front door and the washing basket. I note the fact that it headed towards the basket as if to make the point that she knew where it should be.

I stopped myself mid tidy and realised that Ellie had me - she'd been really subtle in moving from always keeping her things tidy, to leaving everything for me to sort.  During my subsequent discussion with Ellie, she seemed to understand what I was saying and told me she would tidy her room and her things. 

Sadly, as is so often the case my sense of satisfaction was a little premature. Whilst I thought Ellie was saying 'I'm sorry mummy, I'll tidy it from now on', what she was actually saying was 'phase one complete - she won't see this coming' and the next day Ellie introduced me to the new kind of tidy.

The new kind of tidy is a modern twist on actually being tidy - it seems to involve one large area of what can only be described as orderly mess with three key rules:

Rule 1: items must spread across the floor in 'sorted piles' so that you can find what you are looking for.

Rule 2: You must use copious amounts of cellotape to 'fix' everything up so you can 'see it properly'

and finally rule 3: a killer look of pride which means you can't possibly get told off.

Just in case anyone else finds themselves facing the new kind of tidy please be warned that whilst it is hard work, it is well worth persevering to negotiate two further rules.

Rule 4: the new kind of tidy is absolutely fine in your bedroom, not in any (or indeed every) other room in the house.

Rule 5: It must be physically possible to open and close your bedroom door, walk to the curtains and bed, aka the sacred bedtime must not be affected.

So there you have it - Ellie and I have found a suitable middle ground, agreed our terms and peace is again restored. When i think about it though it does feel a little bit like Ellie has moved me from requiring a traditionally tidy room to something slightly less tidy. Alas, I must move with the times and after all, it's the new kind of tidy don't you know.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

I'm going to BritMums Live!

This Friday I’m going to the Britmums live event. I’m super excited and with my train tickets ready, hotel for me and my roomy @shutterflies_uk booked, agenda printed and case almost packed the final bit of preparation is to join the BritMums live linky to introduce myself to everyone.

If you’re going too and haven’t linked up yet…go on…say hello! 

Name: Sharon

Blog: A great deal of honesty and a pinch of humour

Twitter ID@sharonmsmyth

Height: 5ft 4ish

Hair: Medium length brown hair – my plan is to have it down on Friday and then up (as a result of the early start) on Saturday. Apologies in advance for any confusion!

Eyes: blue

Is this your first blogging conference? 

Yes and I’m excited and nervous all at once!

Are you attending both days? 

Oh yes I am.

What are you most looking forward to at BritMums Live 2013?

I want to meet other bloggers and learn about how they do it. I’m still very much a beginner so I’m looking forward to picking up tips and encouragement.

I’m hoping to overcome my self-doubt about claiming to be a blogger when I’m only able to blog about once a fortnight, have no sponsors or links to brands. 

What are you wearing?

There’s been quite some debate about this (in my head!) and there’s a theme to my choices – let me know if you spot it:  

  • My favourite comfy jeans albeit I have snook out and bought a new version they are in fact identical in brand, style and colour to my old favourites...just less frayed!
  •  My flat comfortable shoes (again for comfort)
  • I have a couple of top options so this is still up for discussion but all choices are lightweight and require a cardigan or something like layer just in case

The theme of course is comfortable – all these items are things I’m going to feel relaxed, confident and myself in. so whilst I may not be the most fashionable or score yummy mummy points I will be comfortable and having fun.

What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live 2013? 

I want to meet other bloggers and learn about how they do it. I’m still very much a beginner so I’m looking forward to picking up tips and encouragement.

I’m hoping to overcome my self-doubt about claiming to be a blogger when I’m only able to blog about once a fortnight, have no sponsors or links to brands.

Tell us one thing about you that not everyone knows 

I’m a full time working mum and I wrote and self-published a book called ‘The things they never tell you about becoming mum’. As a thirty-something career woman who was used to being in control of my life, I was astounded by the number of things I truly wished I’d known before I had my daughter and it’s these things which I’ve put into my book. Remember those things no one told you…well I’m telling!

(If you want to know more about my book click here!) 

See you at BritMums Live! 2013

Friday, 7 June 2013

Sharing the past

On Sunday, Ellie came home from her Dad's talking about all the things her baby sister was now learning to do. This very quickly led to a conversation about what Ellie was like as a baby, and Ellie wanted to know when she'd started to do things like sitting up, rolling over and so on. 

There was a look of challenge in her eye which told me that she thought I wouldn't know.Forgive me for feeling just a little smug then as I told her that I had written it all down and would love to show her. I should have said ‘at some point’ because the next 24 hours (except when at work/school) consisted of Ellie asking me when she could see my ‘list’ and me hunting down the box with everything in it. That will teach me to feel smug.

Fortunately, I located the box (not without stress I might add) and the time came where we were both sat down next to my rather excessively large box full of ‘Ellie memories’. I should point out that this is just the things I've kept from pregnancy to age 4. I wonder if I should be classed as a hoarder?!

We both carefully unfolded the cardboard to peer inside the box. I watched Ellie’s eyes widen with anticipation…as though she’d found a treasure trove. I found myself feeling incredibly excited to be sharing this time and these memories with her.

The first thing she saw was her christening dress (on the top so as not to get totally squashed). I had to give an explanation of what it was and answer the more challenging question - what does being blessed mean? Suffices to say I kept my answer pretty simple and swiftly dived back into the box.

As we moved on we discovered pictures and art work from the two nursery’s Ellie had gone to, gifts received for her christening and birthday cards from every one of her years. The pictures got the most interest from Ellie who I could see wracking her brains trying to remember these things, places and people. At one point, she seemed genuinely frustrated that she couldn't remember all the names of the children from her nursery.

Clearly though by far the most interesting pictures to Ellie were the following…..

Me 38 weeks pregnant with Ellie:

Ellie just after she was born, when she was in Special Care Baby Unit at Ipswich hospital:

She glared at both of these pictures for some time – I could literally see the smoke coming out of her ears. Eventually she simply turned to me and gave me her conclusion: she looked just like her baby step sister.

Finally, I revealed my messy but pretty complete note pad which I’d used to write down all the key moments from Ellie’s early development. It also seemed to include a number of things which in hindsight don’t seem so key – but that I think is a sign of life moving on. We quickly found when she first sat up, when she first rolled and when she got her first tooth. At that Ellie was clearly satisfied. She promptly took the one picture she’d decided to claim and walked off, marking the end of a very enjoyable shared mum and daughter moment.

There are of course things I didn't show her this time – pictures when her Dad and I got married, my pregnancy diary and indeed the book I wrote and published about having Ellie. These are things I will share with her when she’s older of course and might appreciate them fully. 

And so there we are - Ellie got her answers and I got...well a clear reminder about how important it is to take pictures and keep memories. I also can’t hide my smile when I think how much fun it was to share the past with Ellie.