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2011: a few things I’d like to remember

Last year was one of real change, discovery and personal growth for me.  Quite aside from the fact that that makes me sound like a wannabe X Factor entrant (“I’ve grown so much, learnt so much, please vote for me” yeah whatever) it is cliched because it’s true.  I went through some fairly hideous times at work, some fairly challenging times with my children and a whole host of other stuff that never felt appropriate to write about here. But I also had some amazing moments with my children, a hugely liberating experience at work when I was made redundant and some wonderful times with my friends. My husband began his new career as a teacher and after a restorative break I began a new job.

So the year ended very well for my family and I though and I wanted to use this blog to remember some of the highlights.

I’ve had some interesting parenting challenges and dilemmas and, being a storyteller at heart, I’ve navigated most of them by making stuff up.  Reference the Dummy Fairy.  Both Eliza & Tilly had dummies as we entered 2011, neither do now. It didn’t take a year (in case you were wondering) but it was certainly a journey.  I have to give credit to him indoors for standing firm on this one, I’d have given in after the 3rd night.

We had some issues with sleep, in particular the lack of it I was getting because of the children’s erratic sleeping habits. Enter Priscilla the story fairy and her mate Belinda (the sleep fairy).  A cracking success the pair of them, they still turn up every now and then although by and large night times are more settled now. Now I’ve said that it’ll start up again now. However if it does I’ll just re read this post to give me the perspective to see that it won’t last forever.

I realised early on in the year that the work life balance was a fool’s quest, or at least not one that I was going to achieve.  I learned about acceptance and became rather self indulgent with it all.  But as ever, the comments I received here (which sadly you can’t see as I took out the Disqus comment system a few months ago) bolstered me and made me see that although it was tough, it was by no means a challenge peculiar to me.

Things changed not long after that when I was made redundant and I felt a new kind freedom I had never experienced before.  It was an odd time.  A mix of emotions, but the overriding one being relief.  I absolutely needed time out. Time out to spend with my children, my husband and pursuing other opportunities.  I’ve been working since I was about 18 so to have this break was really rather incredible.

Whilst Eliza’s interest in the world and inquisitive nature has grown and grown and provided many fantastic conversations, Tilly’s also started to develop into in a little person with personality and dare I say attitude. She won’t take any crap from her big sis, neither will she do anything she doesn’t want to do.  She’s a good singer too as it happens.

One of the best things about last year has been watching the girls starting to play together.  It’s been a gradual thing but it’s happening more and more, and with that comes the conversations they have with each other.  Normally Eliza’s telling Tilly something about something or other of great importance (10 is a bigger number than 9 Tilly), but after Father Christmas brought them a dolls house for Christmas they’ve been playing together with that.  I could stand and spy on them doing that for ages, it breaks my heart.  My two little girls are becoming friends. Most of the time.

I started a new job in October and life changed again, it’s not easy being a working mother but I don’t suppose it ever will be and I’m in very good company.  We’ve managed our childcare so that there’s a bit less pressure on me at either end of the day, nevertheless I do my best not to miss their bedtime.  It really is the time that we talk and as Tilly is now even more of a chatterbox than her sister that’s important.

I’ve been lucky enough to escape for the odd weekend with friends, to recharge and gain perspective.  It’s a fundamental right of any parent to do this I think. Particularly after an extended period of sleep deprivation.

And finally Christmas.  We spent it here at our house with my dad, stepmother and my eldest sister and her two children.  Eliza & Tilly had the most brilliant day and so did the grown ups.  Him indoors did a sterling job on lunch, I did a sterling job on eating it and the girls did a sterling job of opening presents, playing nicely and getting glitter everywhere.  It was what Christmas should be.

So here’s to 2012.  I’m hoping for a year with fewer surprises. A year in which we all just get on with it, settle back into our routine after a year of change and mostly I’m hoping for a year in which some of our dreams might just come true.

Happy new year.

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