Our Alfie moto, Don't. cry because its over, smile because it happened.

Our Alfie moto, Don't cry because its over, smile because it happened.Dr Seuss

Monday, 20 August 2012

236-242 Yikes, Baptism of fire

what a hellish week, I returned to work on monday pretty keyed, was mucked around all day and finally at 3.30pm was told that my request to go pt was rejected - for now! what, we had no childcare in place for the end of the week, I was so upset - tears, rage, cuddles - sigh, rains but pours comes to mind.
I did manage however by wed to have settled down, dusted myself down and accepted that I may have to be a full time working mum.
All this has only been possible (in the manner of Oscar acceptance speech!) because once again our amazing family friends have stepped up.

The kids are really struggling wee lambs, Sadie follows me around constantly needing held, Archie is just exhausted and by Thursday was asking for a lazy day - Hmmm I wish son. I was on my knees by friday aft - no weekend rock n roll for us.

Sat we went to the park.
An awesome day was had by all, we spent the am doing housework stuff, such pleasure in making a pot of coffee and relaxing whilst pottering around the house and garden. The kids were so happy playing and relaxing. We spent the aft in the park, Momo took us. So peaceful, we walked and Archie rode his bike, we stopped at a bench and had a wee snack whilst looking out over the water, no rushing to be anywhere, the perfect antidote to a week of rushing every waking minute.

Sunday at the beach, just lovely. Costa coffee, digging, almond croissant, crabs, sea stars, worms, rock pools, new friends, sunshine, paddling - we all felt like we were back on holiday.

I have no idea how long I will have to be full time at work, I am trying to remain positive about the situation. Everyone keeps telling me that the kids will get used to it. I am aware they will, however I am also aware their getting used to 'it' is essentially them getting used to being without me. I want them to be independent but maybe no quite yet, sniff sniff.


Sunday, 12 August 2012

232-35 last precious days of summer

This last few days have been lovely, albeit filled with concern over my return to work. I have tried to push it to the back of my mind and until today have done pretty well......

Thursday we went to Edinburgh to let the kids see the madness of the festival, and mad it was! Try getting down the high st with 2 exhausted children a pram and not get annoyed with the enthusiasm of the performers thrusting flyers into my face, deep breathe and relax!!!  Actually considering the hectiness of it, we had a really lovely day. St Andrews sq was a big hit, sandpit and east links farm, so both Sadie and Archie were happy, sand and tractors what a combo.

We met Auntie Iny in the gardens, then walked round castle terrace to the high st - Archie fascinated by the castle, Sadie a little overwhelmed.
Then a stop for a cuppa at Saint Arbucks...mmmm I know on some levels I shouldn't love it but I do, my total guilty pleasure, blended decaf carmel mm mmm so glad we don't have one in kdy.

Archie enjoying his hot choc, the offending article in the foreground and Auntie Iny's cheeky wee Pimms.

We, planted Kale for winter soup.

We had our last visit on Friday to Busy Bee's - tomorrow the kids are totally flying solo - after the visit we went to Momo's - Archie and Momo mowed the lawn, and washed the car - He loves helping, I love that he is kept busy.....
Sadie and I enjoyed hanging out in the sun - Yes she does have her legs inside my top, that girl wants to be a 'wee joey' all the day long.

I am so apprehensive about returning to work the morn, I know in a few weeks we will be rolling with the sitch, but right now it feels exhausting. Shit, I'm no the only working mum and I am only doing 2.5 days, but it seems massive right now. I am reminded of last year at this time when I returned to work.

So this years lists.

My darling girl how you've grown. From a few words to non stop chatter.
1. Mummy 'why did you.....e.g. throw that on the floor'. Sadie 'Cause I am'
2. You still lvoe mummies boobies more than anything in your whole world.
3. You use mummies behaviour tactics with Archie... Sadie 'get up Archie, I count 1, 2, 3,'
4. Your hair looks like Muffin Mclays in the morning and you smell awesome when you wake up.
5. You insist your name is Sadie Moocher.
6. You love all things sparkly
7. Strawberries are you favourite food.
8. You don't have to wear a nappy anymore during the day
9 You call strawberry milk 'charlie milk' and have to help me make it every morning

My beautiful son, your sheer joy from the world brings me daily pleasure.
1. From a boy who said a few words last year at this time, you seriously never stop talking. Last night you asked me to sing you to sleep to stop your brain from asking questions....I hope this means your gonna be a smart cookie.
2. You love all things diggers and trains, so much so I might even go to diggerland Durham for a holiday!
3. You look like Hairy Maclary all day with your mad crazy scruffy hair.
4. You are so kind, I love catching you helping you sister out, even if you want to 'get rid of Sadie, because she doesn't follow the rules' - this from my freewheeling free spirited son Hmmmm
5. You love Pizza, hot dogs and cheese - most of all ice cream and sweeties.
6. Bob the builder and danger diggers at work are your fave TV shows.
7. Mrs Ewan from nursery is your best friend and you want to marry her.
8. You want to see daddy at a gig.
9. you still love to stroke mummy to go to sleep at night.

And finally, my never forgotten wee'st man Alfie. In a few days time you would be starting school, I very rarely go down the route of what you would be doing, school is a biggie not to be missed. As each year passes you are still remembered, most recently your brother is fascinated by your and saddened that he doesn't have a brother to play with....... your always in my thoughts wee man, I will think of you and imagine a wee curly haired boy off to school on Tue morning...kisses from mumma

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

231 -glorious sunshine....inside and out

We had a lovely day today.
The amazing sun and the warmth it brings has such a positive affect on us all. The kids were so happy pottering about in the garden, Archie wanted a 'lazy day', I did manage however to persuade him to go to nursery. We had the most lovely walk round, Archie took his tractor and managed to ride it most of the way there and Sadie wanted to walk. I wised I'd taken my camera she looked so adorable trotting along with her backpack on, our neighbour commented that it looked like a parachute it was so big on her. Mini spent the whole journey saying 'my school is busy bees', she is so grown up and independent it frightens me, where has my wee one gone?

Archie asked again this morning about his brother and where we put him, so as it was such a gorgeous day we all went up to the grave. Pugs, myself, the kids and mum and dad all went, we left beautiful sunflowers for Alfie and brought one home for us to remind us of him when we are away from him. I sat on the grass in front of the stone with Archie on my lap and explained that Alfie was below us, but is was only his bones left, Grandma showed him Alfie's name on the stone and pointed out that they have the same second name. He seemed pretty mellow about it, he did ask on the way there if we were digging him up!!! Luckily he forgot all about that request once at the cemetery.
A moment filled with such mixed emotions, I did have a wee tear in my eye as we sat there, so so so grateful, beyond words to be holding my lovely boy, feeling his warmth the smell of his hair and listening to his nonsense chatter and yer overwhelmed with sadness that I never got the chance to know Alfie, that as time goes on I feel sad in a empty feeble way. I know some people will disagree with the way we raise our kids and of course it is all coloured by the loss of our first born, yes I probably do indulge them  emotionally more than I should, but can anyone love a child too much! As for our way of including Alfie and making him a part of our family, I feel we have the balance right. I am always firm with Archie that we are not sad anymore, and that we have him and Sadie to love...I don't want the kids to grow up in the shadow of an older dead sibling, however I do feel it is important that they understand the cycle of life. Shit, I always remember thinking that losing a pet was such a great experience for kids, one less thing I have to worry about since our experienced death from the get go - I hope it only increases their emotional abilities and makes them rounder warmer and more compassionate individuals - One can  always dream for the best for their children.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

229-230 calm after another storm

This is what I needed, actually it is what we both needed. Archie in his 'natural' habitat.

After Sunday's emotional eve and another hellish bedtime drama, both Archie and I were shattered and tense on monday morning - Yikes, not a good combo.
We went as has been our holiday routine to just kiddin - an ideal place for the kids to run around and for me to try and grab a cuppa and a blether with pals. Oh no, not today. Archie was nip nip nippy from getting up and by the time we reached JK he was high hyper hypedog! I caught him pushing a wee girl over on the bouncy castle, he got a row and was told to apologise - at which point some otehr mother said he'd been hitting two other kids. Phew, I should have read the signs and left- but no, overtired and tense I gave him a wee cuddle talked about behaving well and then stupidly encouraged him to go chase Oliver on the play structure, he went belting off and pushed his way past all the other kids, I could see he was grabbing Sadie to get her out the way and was enroute to try and diffuse sitch, when some woman shouted to one of the employees - "sort it out, that he's bullying all the other" bairns! Oh Oh Lady, you picked the wrong mum on the wrong day - It's his sister I'll deal with it......I then took Archie away - well grabbed him by arm and frogmarched him past all other tables of glaring mums (that is the response they wanted isn't it? I really wanted to hug him and say what's up wee man, how come your being so mean - its no like you), I shouted at the woman 'I think bullying is taking it a bit far' so not like me to be confrontational, but hackles up and hating anyone saying that about my boy I couldn't stop myself. I am the first to admit he is a wee nutter, he gets hugely overexcited and when tired can be nothing short of annoying, however Bullying at 3yrs old come one, he was pushing other kids not holding them up in a corner and punching them...... I cried when I got to my folks house, i hated my reaction to her and I hated that I let Archie down and didn't read the signs.....

So, today my wonderful pal Susan bundled us all in her car and drove us to Bee craigs country park - one word awesome.

The kids loved it, I loved it - fresh air, woods, water an amazing playground, picnics good chat and crochet in the car, BLISS.

Thanks Susan, your a star - xxx

Archie and I had a fascinating chat this am about where Alfie's skin was. He has obviously been thinking about it and made the connection that if he is dead an no longer here then his body must be somewhere. I explained to him about Alfie being buried, I take him to the grave regularly to leave flowers and tidy up but I have never explained in detail about Alfie's body......to be truthful it is something I struggled with initially. I can handle the dry bones idea - which is what I told Archie, however I do struggle with the decomp stage. For a long time I couldn't settle when there knowing he was underneath me......as I say the bones don't freak me out, so I am much easier with it now.
Archie seemed to be ok with our chat, poor guy I wonder how much time he spends dwelling on it and whether he is bothered by it or not, he seems pretty matter of fact about it all  - wish I could say the same.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

227 + 228 stormy sunday

Yikes the rain today has been crazy,  stormy apocalyptic at one point. We were driving and Archie started chatting about badgers coming out.......realised it was because he thought it was night time, it was actually about the midday!

We had planned to go pick berries at Craigies after a wee trip to the carbootie, rain put paid to those plans, so we went to Ikea. We did manage a wee quick nip round the carboot first. Happy days, Archie got a wee polly pocket Thomas the tank equivalent, Sadie got an awesome senorita dressing up outfit with matching red and black polkadot shoes and I got 3 wee 60's storage tins and an amazing 50's 'arab' doll...with burka!

My dad has made a huge move forward, well I think so anyways - he went to the bank yesterday, yes it is still a regular occurrence, so much so the woman in the bank are now very much aware of the situation. Back to the point, Dad was asking the woman for something and she said sorry not sure  what you mean Mr Strachan can you write it down and he did! He wrote £60 debit on a bit paper and handed it to her. Phew, the 1st time since his stroke he has tried to communicate in writing - if we can get him to use this tool more often life would be so much easier for both him and mum. Most of the issues are due to him becoming irritated about not doing what he wants and poor mum getting upset trying to work out what he wants. I saw her in action again on fri and once again I am in awe of her love and commitment to my dad. Such an inspiration.....must remember that when I'm bitching at Pugs for no cleaning up the hoose!

Emotional storms tonight also, the kids and I had an unsettled bedtime. Every now and then Archie mentions Alfie and we have a wee chat. Tonight he was asking the usual questions - why did he die, did he get any food, will he come back, can I be his new brother etc...I thought I might let the pair of them see inside his memory box. The box sits next to my bed, not I may add for any sentimental reason, simply because I have never found a suitable place for it! I'm sure a psychoanalyst would have a bloody field day wi that reasoning, however it did have a place before we moved the room about and since then I've never found a new one. I showed the kids his hand and foot prints and his wee but hair, I was hoping ti might make them understand a bit better, they also saw a photo of us with Alfie for the 1st time...how weird, Archie said why are you not normal mummy, I was all freaked out and said what do you mean love, thinking he was worried about how sad I looked - nope, he was just confused as to why I had long hair. Not sure if my intentions were a success or not, I'm sure that only time will tell. I feel so ambivalent about the whole issue, how to keep a dead brothers memory alive with kids who've never met him isn't easy - how to make it normal and not freak them out? Another mum balancing act I have yet to achieve!

Friday, 3 August 2012

222-226 first, lasts - everything inbetween

We have had a lovely week, with many first - the beginning of the lasts of the summer and a few everythings thrown in.

Sadie's been achieving many firsts - she has slept through the night in her own wee toddlers bed, had a number of  'dry' days and has survived her first day at nursery on her own. Quite a momentous week for a wee one.
Nursery is going great, we all really like it and I feel comfortable leaving the kids there. I took mum and dad on monday to visit. Nursery needs to meet any people who will potentially be picking the kids up, this is a big move for us. Not so long ago I was unsure whether mum and dad would ever be involved in the kids care. As I left the wee ones for the first time I felt myself welling up, not because of myself, but because as I turned to leave I realised my dad had gone back inside, he was leading Sadie out by the hand  he was confused and didn't understand she was staying. He did get it and let her go back in, on so many levels this made me emotional, primarily because he understood that she didn't ordinarily go to nursery but also because I knew he was the one usually watching her.

On a lighter note we went to visit at our lovely pals house on tuesday. The kids haven't been for ages and were really excited about visiting. Luckily it was a glorious day and most of it was spent in the garden.

Trampoline and water fights = happy kiddos.

We left with bags of stuff -as usual, I got 3 vintage dressing patterns, Archie a huge bag of clothes but best of all - TONS of Thomas track and buildings.....it has kept him and Pugs occupied ever since.

Madam was so happy from playing she just had to rest
My fave thing about the day was when I came to get her changed for bed, she had 2 pairs of pants on! you can see a wee sneaky glimpse here of a pair she had 'borrowed'  from one of the older kids.

As the days move on I am becoming aware of the lasts of the summer, in a weeks time I will be returning to work. On some levels I am looking forward to teaching again, I miss the banter with the kids and the intellectual stimulation of teaching the seniors - I am however, saddened that summer is already gone. I had wanted to do so much, we still haven't had a visit to Cragie's nor Pillars.
This time of year always makes me maudlin - as summer ends, fall begins and I move into Alfie time. This year I am going to give a talk at Sands AGM in Oct on the Tuesday club, it will be good to have a focus for him at this time of year.

Today was dads birthday. I am pretty sure he realised it was his day, Antony had been to visit already so when we also turned up with a cake and a song he seemed to have the routine down. It was a day of mixed emotion, on one level I am totally appreciative that my dad is alive and able to celebrate his birthday, however on another it is  gutting that he isn't his usual self. I spent an hour last night traipsing round our limited shopping options starckly aware of our further limitations given my dad can't do any of the things he would normally -  no point buying the failsafe novel (can't imagine ever chatting about the booker list again), he has lost his passion for music - what the hell else is left! I just got him some beers and sweeties, at least I know he will get some pleasure from them.

Made two dresses thsi week, ran 15K, baked, finished a pickles vest and made a bigger dent in the epic crocheted blanket.