"Although I speak from my own experience, I feel that no one has the right to impose his or her beliefs on another person. I will not propose to you that my way is best. The decision is up to you. If you find some point which may be suitable for you, then you can carry out experiments for yourself. If you find that it is off no use, then you can discard it." Dalai Lama...

Sunday, 31 July 2011

We're heading to *toon* !!

Last year Amy and her family and some friends spent time in Newcastle. They had a great time and when she was telling us about it the idea of us three going was formed. As is the case with these things sometimes, it was oft talked about but nothing concrete was planned. Until now!
We got a room in the Travelodge for £29 a night and train fare with my railcard is under £20...

I am in the middle of packing and preparing and planning for our three day trip tomorrow! Two giddy kippers are unaware ( rightly so ) of all the twists and turns my mind is taking trying to cover every eventuality - well those I can think of ;-))

Travelling when my energy levels are so low means that I have to think of any way possible to eliminate unnecessary stress or lengthy walks. I have phoned all the places we are visiting and checked that they have facilities to store cases/eat within our budget/get to easily on the metro. I rang and ensured the girls are old enough to go into Wet and wild without me - they are - I will be able to sit in the viewing area and read. It will be a long day, but at least not at all strenuous for me and I will enjoy seeing them have a good time. Hopefully the next time I go I will be on top form and will go in with them. I draw the line at going down the slides though and much prefer the sound of the jacuzzis :-)

The first afternoon is taken up with shopping - a whole list of shops to get round.Wet and Wild the next day with The Center for Life being our destination on the final day before travelling home. 

I will have stocks of pills to relieve migraines/ headaches should one occur. Getting them regularly when my energy slumps at the moment. As long as I treat it quickly I am sure it will be ok.

We are ( for the first time EVER!) travelling light :-)

Phones are all charged and have credit so if we do by chance get separated whilst shopping we can find each other again.

Just got some ironing to do for Milly and a skirt of mine to hem up and I should be able to pack the case and have a long hot bath and read my book before I make tea.

I may not be as giddy as the girls but am quite excited non the less:-)

See you when we get back!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Just another day.

I woke to the sound of the phone ringing downstairs. Mum was going to go into B&Q in Carlisle to get some paint for us and left a message to say she was going out and would ring me at ten to see if the paint had arrived on the delivery ( as had been promised by a member of staff yesterday ) I came down to ring B&Q to find out if that was the case.
I spoke to various people and after some calls to and from it was decided they couldn't find six tins of the paint we wanted ( Weathershield by Dulux on offer at 3 tins for 2 ) but could do a different size tin and the price was only £5 different. They would be waiting at the service desk for Mum to pick up with my name on....

Needless to say they weren't :-/ Mum rang me and double checked what it was we wanted and then rang back to say that six tins of the ones we had originally wanted had been found in the warehouse and with the three for two special offer - and a 20% discount voucher they had on promotion - the price was reduced from £149 to £79 !! Great result in the end...

Milly and Amy chatted/lounged/played/watched tv in PJs until Amy left at two thirty.

I had a really bad head and it was raining so the planned trip into town ( I had arranged to take them in before I remembered the car was in the garage!!! )  meant we would have had to go on the bus and the thought of having to hang around in town for two hours - to fill in time waiting for the bus back - did not appeal. Hoping to take them both in tomorrow afternoon.

When Amy left I set about baking. I did two sweet potato cakes, sweet potato muffins, coffee and walnut cake with coffee butter icing, made the tea and did copious amounts of washing up.

Milly drew her fashion designs whilst watching tv in the sunroom. We chatted and she sieved flour for me now and again:-)

Al came home and after a cuppa and cake he walked Beauty down to the  garage in the next village to pick up the car.

Tea for us all and I started to do some paperwork and a shopping list. Al had a shower and arranged to play with Milly afterwards before they went on Education city for a while . Watching Torchwood was in the plans too. I had said I would have an early night.

Milly came through at 7.30 and said she was tired and was going to bed. I asked if she wanted me to read to her - which she did - so off we went. I left her to come and finish some research for our Newcastle trip on Monday.

Milly has just reappeared to watch Torchwood, she couldn't sleep.
I have not managed to get up there yet - but am on my way now :-))

Nothing exciting, just another day in the life of us....

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

A repeat performance with extras...

The day started in a similar way to yesterday.
Alan had gone back into work and I got up about 8.30. I had to clear some paperwork and await a couple of calls before I could head out to the sun though.

By the time I got out the clouds had taken over. No matter,  it was warm and I decided to listen to a guided meditation outside.
I had company. Miss Beauty got as close to me as she could - without actually sitting on me - and I meditated whilst stroking her:-)) 

 Milly had asked to be woken by 10.30 which I did before I started. As she hadn't appeared by the time I had finished it was obvious she had fallen asleep again . I woke her and she then chatted to El on the phone before having breakfast and then calling Amy to see if she could come round.

Amy did come round and the two of them got in the pool.

After an hour or so Amy's little sister and brother made an unexpected but pleasurable appearance and joined in the fun for a while:-)

Morgan having a deliberate dunking/capsize as part of a game they were playing.

My Sister and Nephew arrived and Amy and Milly walked the two younger guys home before coming back to go in the pool some more!

I had a lovely chat with Paula and Alex ( I do love that boy ) no sooner sat down in the sun with a cup of tea than Alan arrived home.The day had flown in. The girls got out of the pool and joined us for a while before heading to another table to draw. Alex filled me in on all his latest exploits and then spent some time chatting with the girls.

Alan had to take the car into the garage so he drove there and took Beauty with him so he could have a long walk back with her.

Bratz and monster high play for the girls.

I started the tea. I had intended to have a BBQ but time had ran away and it was quicker to do on the griddle inside than waiting for the coals to be ready. We haven't had a BBQ this year - must rectify that!
We ate outside in the last of the evening sun.

 I helped Alan to clear away all the cushions from loungers and chairs and picked up all the toys and lolly sticks from the grass. The pool was skimmed of debris and the cover put on. Washing was taken down from the line and the dinner pots were washed. It didn't feel like a chore though. I enjoy the tidying in the warmth of the evening after a long day in the sun, I find it quite therapeutic.

The girls have wangled a sleepover and are still outside on the grass doing what they do :-)

I have had a long hot bath.
I read my book then exfoliated and covered myself in cocoa butter with shimmer from the body shop.
I smell good and glitter like a twilight vampire in the sun:-))

A break in the weather tomorrow with rain forecast.
The forecast is good for the weekend though so fingers crossed for more blue skies.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

A fabulous day!

I woke to a wonderful sunny morning and had a choice to make. Should I get up and whiz around town and get the few bits I needed ( Alan was off Ill so would be there for when Milly woke) or should I head out and sunbathe for a while and head into town later on in the afternoon? Mmmm... tough one - not!!
I got my cossie on,  took out my phone, book and some water and spread my blanket on the ground. By about ten o'clock I was bathed in sunlight.

My view from the ground :-)

I listened to a guided meditation on my phone and had a blissful hour on my own.
Alan came out to read his book in the sun and I went to wake Milly and made her breakfast - then the fun began :-))

Come and join me Mum....

It was soooo cold. I chickened out of sitting down.

I stood in and spun her round and round on the tyre.
Then I stood in the middle and held the tyre at the side of the pool whist she went round and round to make a whirlpool...

Round and 

 Round and then under the tyre

and round once more:-)

Never did make it into town...
A good day, a very good day, a fabulous day in fact :-))

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Healing happens in mysterious ways!

Whilst visiting friends in Northumberland last week I had the opportunity to spend a day on my own. In the morning I listened to a guided meditation on my phone, I like to listen to Amy Steinburg, Exactly afterwards. I was in a very calm and relaxed state when the next song came on.

I have listened to and enjoyed the song before. I hadn't purposely added it to my phone though, somehow - as I have been downloading the guided meditations onto my phone - other songs from Milly's collection have been added.

It came on and as I listened to the words a floodgate opened and I cried all through the song. I have listened to it since with a similar reaction . It has been cleansing. Somehow a song I never intentionally put on my phone has helped to clear some old *stuff* I didn't even know was still there!

For those of us who have ever felt - or do feel -  less than perfect.

You're so mean
When you talk
About yourself
You are wrong
Change the voices
In your head
Make them like you

Remember to tell those you love just how perfect they are :-)

Friday, 15 July 2011

We have had a really full on fun filled week :-)

Milly has had three sleepovers and has been swimming, walking, and playing throughout the days.

Our friends left their caravan this morning and came here for brunch. We enjoyed each others company for just over three hours and even after spending the week together it was sad to see them go.

Milly and I had an appointment to see our homeopath. We went into Sainsbury first to get something very quick and easy to do for tea. I got an indian box meal for Al and I and Milly choose from the chinese section. She wanted to try chilli breaded prawns with sweet chilli dip, peking duck pancakes and spring rolls. That might not seem too extraordinary - however Milly is not known for being adventurous in her food choices. We have always cooked the food she likes - sometimes the same thing for breakfast for weeks and then it will change and something else will be enjoyed daily for a while. We have given her the opportunity to try new tastes from our plates if she wanted to.
I bought all the things she chose today and we left them in the car and went off to our appointment.
 As we walk around she often holds my hand or links arms with me - I love that she still feels happy doing that :-) We had a lovely chat with Dierdre and then made our way home.

We are both exhausted and when we got in she went to lie down ( she asked to be woken for tea if she fell asleep ) whilst I prepped tea and chatted with Al ( hardly seen him this week!) I popped up to see her and she had fallen asleep. Tea was ready shortly after so she might have been snoozing for 45 minutes or so. Al woke her and we sat down together to eat. 
 She ate the peking duck pancakes first ( she has had these before and for a period of time enjoyed duck breast roasted but went off it and hasn't eaten it for quite a while ) the prawns were rather chewy she said and she preferred the butterfly prawns she had tried in the past - she liked the coating though and picked it off and ate it leaving the prawns on one side. The spring rolls were ok, although there was something in them she didn't like and put to one side of her plate as well. In the past - had she tried something she didn't like - it would have put her off completely.  As this was going on we chatted about our week. There was no mention about wastage or cost - we were pleased she had tried them. We talked about going to a chinese restaurant and trying some more authentic food.
If she had wanted something else to eat I would have made her something, she had eaten enough though. As she grows she is becoming more and more adventurous and choosing to add new foods into her diet.

After eating I was desperate to lie down. Milly wanted to go to her room to read and listen to The Composer is dead . As she took it from the bookcase she asked if we could all do some more from the quiz book - she ran upstairs to get it - my lie down could wait :-) We did the quiz and whilst she was answering questions she sorted out some Emily the strange writing paper and envelopes to write some letters. She also sorted through some manga postcards and chose a Lemony Snicket postcard to send to El.

After doing the quiz I came through to lie down to watch The apprentice on BBCi. Milly popped through with a letter for me:-) Then she said she was going to bed - she warned me there would be some noise as she was going to make her bed. Her room is directly above the living room and the floorboards are really quite noisy as she moves around.

I heard a great deal of noise and eventually she came down - it was now 9.30 - she said she had cleaned and dusted her room! She has taken everything off her shelves and dusted and had also cleared her chair of the mountain of clothes and the floor was cleared and the sleepover bed had been put away!! This is the first time she has ever dusted her room - she said she enjoyed it :-) We don't require Milly to do chores - we haven't for some years now . She said she had done it because she knew I was feeling unwell and didn't want me to feel I would need to do it for her....

She has just been down again ( 10.15 pm )  - I thought she had gone to sleep - apparently her and Al have just watched an episode of friends on her portable DVD player and she wanted to watch another before she goes to sleep. She asked if she could have some ice cream, as she went out get some I asked if she would get me some and she said " of course, would you like some melted nutella on it " I declined that offer but asked her to squeeze some toffee sauce on :-)

Milly continues to delight us. She has a considerate, helpful nature and is joy to be around.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Sun, sand, sea....Super!

Boy oh boy am I tired!!
  Oh so happily tired :-)

Friends from Northumberland are staying in a caravan nearby.
  On Tues we had arranged to go to their caravan and spend the afternoon with them. Milly was due to spend the night with them. She had been very poorly over the weekend with a cough and cold . She had a high temperature and we had to miss a family get together and also a birthday celebration for a special friend on Monday. 
Luckily, later on the Monday afternoon she perked up and we were able to take D his card and pressie and catch up - it has been far to long since we spent time with them!

A good nights sleep and Milly woke feeling better on the Tuesday - the reality was she would have to have been bedridden to have stopped her going to stay at the beach!

Well, there were many, many hours spent at the beach, clambering around the rocks, swimming and splashing. Eating together and an opportunity for long conversations whilst the children frolicked :-) I then left Milly to have a sleepover.

I had invited everybody here for lunch today. I woke early and was unable to get back to sleep. The sun was pouring through the window. A perfect day to spend time at the beach - and it is not often you get that opportunity..... I texted Liz to see how everybody would feel if I came to them with lunch instead of them having to come to me - that way they could swim again. Everyone was keen on that idea so I took all the makings for lunch and we ate before getting ready to go to Whitehaven.

A wonderful sunny afternoon.... A little shopping, a little walking, investigating around the Beacon museum, coffee, cake, ice creams, cola, wall climbing, a little more walking, missed teatime at Morrisons - weary now and no-one wanting to walk much further. Mcdonalds was closest so off we went. Then park play for some of us, shopping for others. All met up to go back to the caravan and then the plan was I would take El and Milly back with me for a sleepover. They decided to go down to the beach - just to say goodbye to it!
An hour and a half later, two very wet children! Showers and clean clothes then finally at 9.30 the journey home...
Milly was very happy to see Dad :-))

Two very tired girls have gone to bed with books and torches. I doubt Milly will be awake long! El ( a real night owl ) even looked tired :-) I am going up to tuck them in and then I am going to climb into bed myself.
Thinking a lie in is in order tomorrow:-)

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Random page from Joyfully rejoycing... Respect and manners.

An excerpt from the page...
"Manners ... hmm. Kids really learn these by example. If you are polite, your children will learn to be polite.
Mostly true.
I've seen parents who are truly sweet and gentle and polite and the kids seem harsh and rude and demanding. I DO think parents ought to let kids know when they're being discourteous and actually talk to them about why courtesy is useful in lubricating social interactions and so on. In other words, I think my kids (who are generally very well-mannered) learned mostly from just living with parents who behaved with good manners, but I do think there are times for discussions AND times to bring things directly to kids' attention. And I do not think parents should let kids be really disruptive.
If a child IS being rude, for example, in a restaurant, and disturbing other customers -- I would not punish the child, no hand-slapping, no verbal reprimand (how many times have we seen parents being INCREDIBLY rude in telling their kids not to BE rude?). But I'd say, "Honey, that wasn't polite, it is bothering other customers." And if a child kept it up, I'd take him/her outside to run around a bit.
I'm not suggesting that parents do the "Go tell Mrs. Brown thank you," routine so much as giving information such as "Mrs. Brown would probably like it if you thanked her."
And even with much older kids, there are times they just don't think/realize what effect they might be having on others. So it isn't often, but occasionally I might STILL say,"So-and-so went to a lot of work for you, did you thank her enough?' And I might point out to them how other people's lack of manners impacts how people respond to them -- point out how people are more eager to do things for those who show their gratitude, for example.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Winnie the pooh, Taosim and unschooling ??

I posted a wonderful quote from Winnie the pooh a while ago on Facebook and my lovely friend Liz asked if I had read The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet. I hadn't. Sounded just what I needed to read so I sent for it ;-)

I have been reading a little at a time when I am in the bath. I love it. The part I was reading today talks about Wu Wei.

An excerpt from the book.

When you work with Wu Wei, you put the round peg in the round hole and the square peg in the square hole. No stress, no struggle. Egotistical Desire tries to force the round peg into the square hole and the square peg into the round hole. Cleverness tries to devise craftier ways of making pegs fit where they don't belong. Knowledge tries to figure out why round pegs fit round holes, but not square holes. Wu wei doesn't try. It doesn't think about it. It just does it. And when it does, it doesn't appear to do much of anything. But things get done.

Now,  my menopausal brain is struggling on a day to day basis, however this book is making sense to me. I have great difficulty articulating my thoughts on it - but am going to give it a go.
Bear with me - I will be using excerpts from a page I found that explains it better than I could hope to :-)

WuWei as described here 

The principle of wu-wei contains certain implications. Foremost among these is the need to consciously experience ourselves as part of the unity of life that is the Tao. Lao Tzu writes that we must be quiet and watchful, learning to listen to both our own inner voices and to the voices of our environment in a non-interfering, receptive manner. In this way we also learn to rely on more than just our intellect and logical mind to gather and assess information. We develop and trust our intuition as our direct connection to the Tao. We heed the intelligence of our whole body, not only our brain. And we learn through our own experience. All of this allows us to respond readily to the needs of the environment, which of course includes ourselves. And just as the Tao functions in a manner to promote harmony and balance, our own actions, performed in the spirit of wu-wei, produce the same result.
Wu-wei also implies action that is spontaneous, natural, and effortless. As with the Tao, this behavior simply flows through us because it is the right action, appropriate to its time and place, and serving the purpose of greater harmony and balance. Chuang Tzu refers to this type of being in the world as flowing, or more poetically (and provocatively), as "purposeless wandering!" How opposite this concept is to some of our most cherished cultural values. To have no purpose is unthinkable and even frightening, certainly anti-social and perhaps pathological in the context of modern day living. And yet it would be difficult to maintain that our current values have promoted harmony and balance, either environmentally or on an individual level.
To allow oneself to "wander without purpose" can be frightening because it challenges some of our most basic assumptions about life, about who we are as humans, and about our role in the world. From a Taoist point of view it is our cherished beliefs - that we exist as separate beings, that we can exercise willful control over all situations, and that our role is to conquer our environment - that lead to a state of disharmony and imbalance. Yet, "the Tao nourishes everything," Lao Tzu writes. If we can learn to follow the Tao, practicing non-action," then nothing remains undone. This means trusting our own bodies, our thoughts and emotions, and also believing that the environment will provide support and guidance. Thus the need to develop watchfulness and quietness of mind.
So much of this reminds me of  the unschooling approach. These stand out in particular....

In this way we also learn to rely on more than just our intellect and logical mind to gather and assess information. We develop and trust our intuition as our direct connection to the Tao. We heed the intelligence of our whole body, not only our brain. And we learn through our own experience.

Chuang Tzu refers to this type of being in the world as flowing, or more poetically (and provocatively), as "purposeless wandering!" How opposite this concept is to some of our most cherished cultural values. To have no purpose is unthinkable and even frightening, certainly anti-social and perhaps pathological in the context of modern day living

To allow oneself to "wander without purpose" can be frightening because it challenges some of our most basic assumptions about life, about who we are as humans, and about our role in the world.

From a Taoist point of view it is our cherished beliefs - that we exist as separate beings, that we can exercise willful control over all situations, and that our role is to conquer our environment - that lead to a state of disharmony and imbalance.

 This means trusting our own bodies, our thoughts and emotions, and also believing that the environment will provide support and guidance.

Another bit from the same source.

And finally, in the words of Chuang Tzu, we learn "detachment, forgetfulness of results, and abandonment of all hope of profit." By allowing the Tao to work through us, we render our actions truly spontaneous, natural, and effortless. We thus flow with all experiences and feelings as they come and go.

And finally this ...

Wu-wei refers to behavior that arises from a sense of oneself as connected to others and to one's environment. It is not motivated by a sense of separateness. It is action that is spontaneous and effortless. At the same time it is not to be considered inertia, laziness, or mere passivity. Rather, it is the experience of going with the grain or swimming with the current. Our contemporary expression, "going with the flow," is a direct expression of this fundamental Taoist principle, which in its most basic form refers to behavior occurring in response to the flow of the Tao.

Yes strange as it may seem - in my opinion - Winnie the pooh, an unschooling life and Taoism can be put in the same sentence :-)) 
I strongly believe in going with the flow and love the term purposeless wandering!
It is during some of our purposeless wanderings that our happiest moments have been and new paths to wander on have been found ;-))

Happy wandering. xxx

Friday, 8 July 2011

Sleep freedom......

I woke Milly at 12.40 pm today...
As I went up the stairs, I heard the voice in my head ( not sure where it comes from but it pops in now and again with unhelpful comments! ) saying, Oh my god, look at the time! She has wasted the best part of the day, she'll be turning night into day, how will she ever learn to get up and do a job of work if she lounges around all day and stays awake half the night!!

 I listened to the voice and decided I would examine the thoughts later. I let them go and went to gently wake Milly.
As we went to bed at midnight last night Milly decided to get in a bath. She had a sore throat and was feeling cold. I gave her a hug and said to come through if she needed anything. I heard her going to bed and heard her coughing til about one thirty, when it all went quiet.
I woke around 9 and after listening to a guided meditation I got up and got on with my day. I browsed online whilst having breakfast and then got on with jobs. Washed up, hoovered round, dusted the sun room, groomed the pooch - thought she was going to be bald the amount of hair she was shedding! Mopped the floors and hung some washing. Cleared some paperwork and made some calls. I am not a crafty type, otherwise I could have used that time to make something. I could have baked - there were many ways I could have chosen to fill in my time.  Not all days look the same. I wasn't just hanging around waiting for Milly to wake.
It might not be long before she will be confident enough for me to leave her and I will be able to go into town, do some shopping, visit the library etc whilst she snoozes.
Milly has her own rhythm. She always has. When she was little we didn't have a set bedtime for her, but we were very in tune with when she was tired ( this *usually* happened around the same time each night ) . We also knew that she needed a routine to sleep or else she would just keep going and going. We had stories downstairs to wind down and then a bath ( usually together ) we followed that with massage and more snuggles and stories in bed, then we would lay with her, singing to her as she fell asleep. She wasn't a child who fell asleep easily. It's a long story, but the shortish version is that Milly was born two months prem and had sleep apnoea and needed to have an alarm attatched to warn us if she stopped breathing. As she grew the alarm was dispensed with . We were seeing the pediatrician for regular checks but it wasn't actually diagnosed - they performed a sleep test in Newcastle - until she was about four. Athough we knew she seemed to gasp for breath during the night and was a very light sleeper we didn't think she still had Apnoea.  Her tonsils were HUGE and when she slept they closed and caused her to stop breathing many, many times a night. She always had a disrupted sleep and was often awake - fully wide awake, singing and talking awake - in the early hours of the morning.  Because her quality of sleep was so poor she couldn't always *catch up* on sleep. Her days could be stressful .
The Dr's thought as she grew it might not be as much of a problem. We just did what we could to ensure she got adequate naps through the day and our lifestyle was quite relaxed and very much centered around home. We tried to support her with complimentary treatment such as Homeopathy and acupuncture ( a Japanese form  Toyo Hari  and Moxa  that don't involve inserting needles) and used essential oils for massage at home. Life was good she was happy, healthy and content.
School interrupted that. We had to get her to bed by a certain time to ensure she had a decent sleep to be able to function at school. A horrible, stressful time - we had to totally go against her natural rhythm. I shudder at the memories of how stressed we were about getting her to bed - to be reading stories at a certain time - so that we knew she would have a good chance of going off to sleep at a reasonable hour. She had night terrors as well. If she didn't sleep well it had massive knock on effects on her ability to function at school . It wasn't the academic side we worried about but her ability to cope emotionally.
Eventually we had her tonsils removed when she was 7. This helped with her quality of sleep but her unusual ( obviously compared to others it was unusual - to Milly it was the norm! ) night-time wakening continued.
Then we saw the light :-)  We took her out of school and things have evolved to where we are now over that time.
The journey from bedtimes to allowing her the freedom to choose has not been an easy one for Alan and I. Many posts ( here's one ) about our struggle ;-)) Here we were trusting that she would learn what she needed to learn on the * academic* ( for want of a better word ) side and it just made complete sense to extend that trust into other areas.
When Milly started wanting to stay up later than either of us ( when she felt confident to do that ) Alan and I  had to work through any fears ( for us not her! ) that came up. What might she be able to watch late at night ( inadvertently or intentionally ) that could be inappropriate or scary. Alan and I have worked through those issues and the *fear* that she might be scarred by something she sees has subsided.
 In conversations with Milly ( she told me about it - I wasn't checking to see what she was
watching :-)  ) I know that she has switched over from a programme she was watching and seen parts of a scary movie but after watching a few minutes she chose to turn over. We have talked often about films and how images can stay with you for a long time. She remembers how - many years ago - she was terrified when watching a Beatrix Potter film ( The Roly Poly pudding I think it was ) where Tom Kitten gets rolled in pastry.
 She is interested in Horror movies and I have said we could watch one together . As yet she hasn't chosen one - even though the topic comes up in conversation . She will know when she is ready to watch a scary movie. The same goes for violence in movies - she asked to watch The boy in the striped Pyjamas and we all sat together to watch it. Early in the film one scene came on and as it progressed she could see where it was heading and she chose not to watch the rest and went out to play. Goes without saying that I believe the same will happen with any sexual content Milly might come across. She uses her own judgement about what she is ready to view. If by chance she did see something she wishes she hadn't she knows she can tell us and we can talk it through with her.  
She isn't censored by us and neither is she under pressure from peers to watch something she isn't ready to see.  I remember seeing some very unsavoury magazines that someone at secondary school had found hidden at the bottom of their Dad's wardrobe. He travelled in Germany and they were pretty hard core images - scarred me for a loooong time:-(  No one in the group seemed to be affected as they were passed round - I wonder now just how many were acting as they viewed those magazines, too scared to be seen as wimps in the group.
Had I felt able to go home and talk about it with my Mum I am sure I wouldn't have felt so bad about it for so long.
Last week I was in bed all day with a migraine. Alan and Milly popped in now and again to spend time with me. At around ten Al came up to bed. Milly had been in her room for a while and when he went in to say goodnight she hugged him and said she felt peckish so would make herself a sandwich and maybe watch some TV. We snuggled in bed and she popped her head round the door and said she would look in on us later..

As she left and went downstairs we both looked at each other and burst out laughing - it just seemed so odd - something wrong with this picture - us getting ready to go to sleep and her off downstairs ? Nothing at all odd in our house - it is happening more and more. I heard her come up and check in on us around 11.30.
She always turns off all lights and switches off everything at the wall. She often double checks all the doors are locked before coming up too :-))
She has just had a very full on weekend sleepover that involved a lot of travel - one of her least favourite things - that induces a lot of anxiety but which she chose to do so we could visit friends. There was little sleep had at the *sleepover* and a lot of physical activity. She had an absolute ball!!
Since coming home though she has followed her usual pattern after a hectic time and needed to spend time quietly. She has had one night where she slept from 7.30 to 10.00 the next morning and then that night -even though she was awake early - she was awake til 3 in the morning. She was in bed but couldn't sleep, so she watched DVD's, read and created pages of her lovely drawings. It will take her time to get back into her flow.  Wouldn't give up having or attending sleepovers though just because she doesn't *bounce* back as quickly as some might. We are able to adapt our days to fit ....
Back to that voice I heard in my head this morning.
Oh my god, look at the time! She has wasted the best part of the day
Milly hasn't wasted the best part of the day-  it might well be the best part of the day for someone else -  for Milly the best part of the day could be any point from waking to going to bed. Every day is different, her pattern isn't set, it shift. I would say she is more of a night owl though, so her best part of the day will naturally be later than a morning person...
She'll be turning night into day
It is a possibility that she could turn night into day. She likes to stay up late and to have long lie ins, however by choice ( after having the experience of sleeping til late ) she has decided she doesn't want to be in bed all day. She has asked to be woken before 1.00 - on the very rare occasions she has not woken herself.  Our days are a different shape to other families but they fit us perfectly.
How will she ever learn to get up and do a job of work if she lounges around all day and stays awake half the night!!
 Well, I have no guarantees here ( who does in life? ) our days do begin later than most and we rarely schedule anything for the morning. Milly isn't lounging in bed through boredom or depression though, she is following her natural rhythm. She enjoys days where we are active and out and about and also she enjoys days that are spent at a slower pace - daydreaming and seemingly filled with little activity.
Maybe Milly will shape her work life around her sleep pattern - that is a possibility if she creates a business for herself. I firmly believe that when she gets old enough to be thinking about a job and a way to earn money that she will be motivated and will do what needs to be done - even if that involves getting out of bed early! 

Now I can't say I don't get wobbles and worry that we are not doing the right thing. When I take an overveiw of our life and see how our days flow and how happy and content we all are (99%) of the time - they happen less and less.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Never too old to play....

I posted this on facebook today....

I Tried to Teach My Child with Books;

He Gave Me Only Puzzled Looks.

I Tried to Teach My Child with Words;

They Passed Him by Often Unheard.

Despairingly, I Turned Aside;

"How Shall I Teach this Child," I cried?

Into My Hand He Put the Key,

"Come," He Said, "Play with Me."

~ Author Unknown

I had just been talking to Milly about plans for our day and we discussed the Dr's app we had to go to and plans to go to the pool later and then have tea at Morrisons. All these - apart from the Dr's app ( obviously) were well received.
I then said, that I would have my lunch and how would she like to play after I had eaten. Well, the smile on her face made me feel that I had made all her dreams come true.

A reminder to make time every day to ask her - instead of waiting to be asked. What a small gift to give, to create such happiness.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Meeting the challenge I set.....

We went to visit friends in the Northeast at the weekend.
We have been for a sleepover a couple of times before. As it is so far from home Milly had wanted me to be close. Liz very kindly offered her playroom for me to stay in but I thought a B&B would be the best bet so I could rest ( I have Chronic fatigue for anyone who doesn't know ) and I also knew Milly wanted it feel like it was a real sleepover - without me there .
 Liz's Mum is in sheltered housing and they have a flat for relatives to stay in and I have been lucky enough to stay there :-)

 The first time we went on the train. The second time - for a two night sleepover. After discussion with Milly  - who wasn't too keen on long distance car journeys at that time - we decided it would be more convenient for us to drive and it would also be easier for Liz - who had very kindly met us off the train and drove us the half hour to theirs .
It was twice the distance I had ever driven but I thought it was time I challenged myself. We met up at Walby - which is the halfway point for us - and after a good play we followed Liz to hers :-) This time I decided to make the challenge a little harder and do the whole journey without being able to follow Liz.
Milly was a great co pilot and navigated well :-)

It has worked well each time. I get to spend some time with Liz and Gary and also get to cuddle Charlie the dog ;-) then head I off to the flat and Milly knows I am close by.

I spend the day after the journey in the flat - not because I wouldn't be welcome to join in with whatever Liz the kids were doing but -  knowing I have to drive home - I need to recoup. On both occasions I have needed to spend a good part of the day in bed. This time I spent the morning in bed. I meditated, read and ate breakfast, then had a bath. More reading and then some lunch before Liz's Mum came to take me out for a couple of hours. An enjoyable trip to Otterburn and then back to bed! I rested the whole afternoon and got up about 7.30 for some food. The gang dropped in for a visit about 9.30 :-) They had been to Wet and Wild in Newcastle and had had a ball - lots of fun!
 They headed home and back to bed to read for me - to end a very hectic day ;-))

I woke the next morning feeling well rested and ready for the journey home. I had a leisurely morning and packed up before going to chat with Liz's Mum to say goodbye. Then it was off to Liz's for brunch. Lots of chat and eventually we set off around 3.30. A good journey back with a break at my Mum's for a breather and a cuppa.

One day Milly won't *need* me to be nearby and I won't have to do the journey - we could just meet halfway and do a handover:-)
I would really like to keep going though. I have enjoyed stretching myself to do the journey. I may not enjoy the after effects of driving that distance but I love spending time in the car with Milly - she is such good company and we have a laugh. As I get back to better health I will be able to do the journey and also be involved in any activities - if they'll have me of course:-))