Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Purple - a love story

In case it isn't startlingly obvious, this is purple cat. I made him on a playgroup trip in 1984. I know that he isn't purple anymore, 30 years sitting in the sun will do that to a mog. But I still love him. I think I remember making him, daubing violet paint onto his tummy. But I never completely trust those early, vague, foggy memories.

What I am convinced of is that his colour was no accident. Purple has always been my favourite and it was only as I cycled down to the shops that I realised that I am less than subtle about declaring my love.

The reason cycling made me realise this is that the duchess, yep my bike has a name, is purple. She matches my hair. Which matches the DM boots that will be surgically attached to my feet until spring. The DM's match my purse. This was all quite amusing. Then I wrote about it. In a purple notebook using a pen filled with purple ink.

It gets worse. In preparation for no2's arrival we have chosen this buggy

and this car seat

If I wasn't so utterly delighted by all the lovely purple I'd be thinking of getting help. Instead I'm considering redecorating - what do you think?

Monday, 15 September 2014

Air Heads

Crafting with smudge can be hit or miss. Her attention needs to be grabbed. If an activity doesn't do this then I can expect a peaceful crafting session while smudge is off doing something else. When I saw the Air Head balloon animals I wondered if I should bother. They were on Achica for £5 and loving a bargain I was unable to resist. For once I am really pleased I have no will power in the face of perceived money saving.

With g working a back shift and smudge under the weather, Sunday afternoon was the ideal time to create. The kit contains everything you need, all the paper shapes are perforated so we didn't even need to find the interesting place smudge had hidden her scissors and the double sided sticky dots made sticking the appendages to the animals easy. By easy I of course mean that I didn't teach smudge any new swear words fighting with the sticky tape.

I was concerned why this had an 8+ age recommendation but would say this was pretty accurate as smudge needed a fair bit of assistance. Folding some of the paper noses, horns and ears was fiddly and not something she had the patience or dexterity for. Also I've yet to meet a child who can tie a balloon knot. That said I had smudge in fits of giggles fighting with an incredibly inflexible grey rhino balloon trying to tie a knot.

Doing this together was all part of the fun and meant we had a really good afternoon sat on the living room floor making up silly voices for the animals and trying to pick a favourite. The only downside to these is that I now I have a vase of balloon animals on my dining table. I'd much rather have flowers!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Seeing Clearly

I'm proud of the way we have built and are extending our family through adoption. I am happy to stand up and shout about the massive difference adoption has made to someone who desperately needed and wanted a family. I'm talking about me. I was made whole by adopting.

While I remain happy talking about our family's less than conventional start, I am beginning to notice a change in smudge. With friends and family she is proud that we chose her. I've heard her shouting down another child with "my mummy and daddy chose me. Your mum had to take you." But with strangers and when she is less sure of herself she just wants to be the same as all the other 8 year old girls.

Going for an eye test really hit this home. Part of the form that the Optician was working through asked about family history. As I explained that we didn't know about her grandparent's, or even really her biological parents, ocular health as smudge is adopted I watched my confident girl shrink into the chair, her smile faltering.

Smudge wobbled her way through the eye test. No longer self assured enough to trust her instincts. Needing lots of reminding that she was doing brilliantly and that there are no right and wrong answers. My heart was fit to break. My words had done this.

What compounded the misery was my turn. G was on hand to take smudge off for sugar based compensation. Yes, she wanted specs and was not impressed with her near perfect vision. So I was on my own to have my eye test in peace.  At which point the Optician decided that my daughter's history was suitable small talk and even asked what her story is. This is what people say when they are really asking me to shock them with the horror of my daughter's early years.

The tragedy of reasons my daughter needed to be removed from her birth family and placed into the care system is not something I discuss with my nearest and oldest friends. I will not be sharing incredibly private and revealing aspects of smudge's story to satisfy anyone's nosiness.  

I left with a clean bill of eye health feeling wrung out. Filled with guilt that my need to be polite and answer all the questions left smudge hurting. Angry that people believe they have any right to smudge's story. Wondering how I align my feelings of pride that we are a family created by adoption with a genuine desire for normality, acceptance and not to be left feeling like a circus sideshow freak. 

I remain happy to shout about our experiences with adoption. I will not treat it like a dirty secret. This does not mean that I will share sensitive information with nosy strangers. I'm a Mum, my first instinct is to protect my child.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Growing Pains

Whilst I don't have any grand plans to embrace the Good Life and aim for self sufficiency, I do like eating the fruits of my labour. With this in mind I've been gradually incorporating more edibles into our garden. This year adding a herb garden and a couple of fruit bushes.

The herb garden, grown mainly from seed is a roaring success. I've made a mojito cake flavoured with homegrown mint. Smudge was incredibly impressed to be eating homemade pesto with basil she helped grow on the kitchen windowsill. I really must find recipes calling for massive quantities of parsley as it's about to take over the whole patch.

But the fruit isn't as big a success, abject failure might be a better description. My strawberries might not be too tasty given their still green colour.

The plum tree has been in for a couple of years now and has produced fruit. But I'm not getting excited about 1 plum buried so deep in the leaves that it too is failing to ripen. 

Our bargain from Aldi, blackcurrant and redcurrant bushes are looking lovely and healthy. Unfortunately, one naughty starling ate the entire crop. Given that the crop consisted of 3 blackcurrants I wasn't too cross.

The apple tree we picked up at Overton Farm's  apple fair last autumn didn't even bother to blossom so  no fruit from it either. Again it has grown and is looking healthy enough.

I'm planning on working lots of pot ash through the soil to see if this makes any difference. While I'm doing that I'm going to be offering thanks that we live in a time where I can just nip to the shops. It appears that the alternative for me would be starvation, or at least scurvy!