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Gratitude

This Christmas morning our children didn’t wake until 8:15am. They chattered between themselves and acknowledged (but bypassed) the bulging stockings we had hung for them in the middle of the night. Instead, they scuttled down to the bathroom to take their morning routine and to say ‘Merry Christmas’ to us in our bed. When we asked them if they had spotted the stockings,  they gave an excited “有啊!” Together they ran back up to explore the contents.

For the following 15 minutes we heard squealing and yelping as they pulled out treat after treat, toy after toy… then our boy came to their staircase and asked “Mami, Daddy! 我地可无可以开的 presents噶??” [Can we open these presents??]. And with a quick reminder to put rubbish in the bin they began. All we heard were continued yelps of joy punctuated by the clang of the bin lid.

At roughly 8:50 our little girl happened to venture down to the living room for something. She gasped as she reached the bottom of the stairs. She switched the light on and immediately shouted for us to come see “络利梯吓啦!!” She told us Santa has been here and he’s left footprints! When she rushed back up to tell her brother, his reaction was: “Not again”

It was a full 30 minutes longer before they finally came back down to see Santa’s gift. With the new Hot Wheels and toys to play with, there was just no rushing! Teeth were brushed and faces were washed. It was now time to descend to the main unwrapping event.

Santa’s existence was acknowledged – their presents were opened and he had brought the requested gifts. Without skipping a beat they moved straight onto the gifts under the tree. This was indicated by our boy exclaiming from the depths of his belly:
“LEGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOÒOOOOOOOOO

我有新 LEGO 啊!!!!!!!”

Hilarious.

And so the time is now 9:50am.

The kids are still opening presents. The paper is going in the bin. And they continue to be excited. We have just heard a very loud gasp and our boy informed us from the stairs that they had just opened a present with “好多BOOKS啊!!” [Lots of books!!]

Omg too cute.

Meanwhile, we are still lying in bed. Relaxing. Surfing. Gaming. Blogging. Feeling blessed.

Merry Christmas everyone. May your day be filled with love, joy and laughter.

From a very happy and very grateful
Tu family
xx xx

Remember…

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” – Anne Lamott

Ring out the Old; Ring in the New

I’m not quite sure how yet another year has swung by me without me noticing, but it clearly has. More to the point though, how have a whole 7, SEVEN, months passed since my last blog post? I must have regained some semblance of ‘life’ IRL for me to neglect blogging.

Or if I’m honest, maybe I just hit writers’ block.

Nevermind. It’s never too late to start afresh – and there’s never a better time for that than in the New Year. Let’s take a look back at the [unrealistic] resolutions I made for 2011

How many of my 5 resolutions did I manage over the last 365 days? Hmm… How many… Let me see…

1) Save: Fail

2) Go to the bank: Once

3) Practice forgiveness: 0.75

4) Appreciate my Mum more: 9 out of 12 months… 0.75

5) Make time for family – it’s the most important thing and you never know how long you’ll have it for: Achieved.

So that’s approximately 2.5 out of 5. Not a complete failure. Not what I had envisioned and definitely not a complete success either.

It’s been a funny year though if I’m honest with myself. Less about my relationships with the people around me (which, btw, saw a lot of activity/changes/adjustments/edits) and more about my relationship with Me.

I thought that all the postnatal nuttiness had pretty much passed by the time 2011 began, what with Madam being around 18 months of age I felt that surely the hormonally charged funk would have waned, and sanity would resume.

I was wrong.

Having my two beautiful young children has taught me, particularly this year, that you should never rest on your laurels and think for even the minutest of seconds that you know what you’re doing, or that you have this parenting/family life “thing” nailed, with your eyes shut, in the dark. N-uh-uh. Nope. It didn’t work like that for me.

When Madam reached the grand age of 2 whole years, she attained a whole new developmental milestone. She’d been talking for 7 months, so had that on her CV already. She was more independent and self sufficient in that way that only little girls can be. The Little Man had finally grown in self confidence in all areas of life that he too was able to communicate proficiently his frustrations and needs. Life seemed to get good. Life seemed to get straightforward. The kids actually seemed to get easy. I know, right. You can see my mistake coming from a mile away.

And so, I plodded on, each day, nursery pick-ups, playgroup set-ups, laundry, dinner, groceries: The minutiae of daily life. As the days passed, I found the children becoming more draining. Requiring more discipline and thus creating more stress. I was at my wit’s end, wondering what the hell was going wrong. Why, when they should be reaching a plateau, were things suddenly becoming such Hard Work? I fumed, I ranted, I moaned, I whinged. For about 2 months. That’s quite a long time. My poor hubs. Then one evening, en route to a new Zumba class with a good friend, I was trawling through my activities that day to begin my usual listing of ways in which the children had been annoying/naughty/misbehaving, only to find I had nothing: They had been good as gold. All day. And I hadn’t noticed.

The Epiphany struck: I was Bored.

I came home that evening and lamented to poor old hubs that I was well and truly bored of my daily life. I was no longer feeling challenged. My brain felt like it was dying and I lacked any mental stimulus. Hubs stared at me, agog that I had finally seen what he’d known all along, but couldn’t say for fear of being executed. Thrilled and exhilarated by my epiphany he declared sanctimoniously: “You need A Job.”

Er, steady on…

So, I ignored him. And I carried on with a new fitness regime. With Zumba and Ju-Jitsu in my life, I found a physical outlet for frustrations and simultaneously discovered a love for exercise that I never knew I could be capable of. I choose a Zumba class that is known to be choreographically more complex (it’s way more fun, truth be told). And having attained my Ju-Jitsu white belt (and gii, and budo pass, and a whole bunch of great new friends) I’ve found myself to love the aches and pains that follow a really good session of learning new throws, locks and kicks. It’s simply awesome fun! About a month after I began this new weekly routine though, I could feel the boredom creeping up on me again, closely followed by hubs’ quiet smugness. It was time for me to find some work.

I had several suggestions thrown at me, but I trumped for good old fashioned evening food work in the end. One night a week with a view to increasing it to a few nights once I’m comfortable not only in the job, but also with leaving the kids so many nights. I leave them to hubs to do the bedtime routine on his own 3 or 4 nights a week now. The mothering guilt that entails can be awful. But it is a great comfort to know that they are with their Daddy, who is far more patient when it comes to Suicide Hour (4pm onwards), so in many ways they’re gaining a lot in my not being there. Still. The guilt pervades. I’m coping better with it now. It is now 9pm before I contact hubs, asking how the kids are. That’s a vast improvement on 4:30pm, 6pm and 7:30pm. Hubs and I are much better for it too tbh as I have a better understanding of his emotions when he goes to work, and he has a much calmer and fulfilled missus who is no longer scratching at the walls [and his face] from frustration on a daily basis. And to think that I thought maintaining the kids were the hardest part about parenting and family life. HAH. Never underestimate the importance of personal development and maintenance.

So here are my five New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 (I’m not writing them off the top of my head at all, honest):

1) Gain 3 new Ju-Jitsu belts before the end of 2012 (Yellow, Orange and Green)

2) Be working at least 2 nights a week by the Summer Holidays

3) One compulsory date night a month with hubs

4) Leave the children to stay with Grandparents (plus Aunties) for at least one night before the end of 2012

5) Practice tolerance with my parents dysfunctionality. (Long story – maybe another blog post someday)

And that’s it!

So, let me wish you all a very Happy New Year: May it bring you many happy reflections on 2011 and hopes for the coming new year :)

My final thought:

All Clear

I finally went to get my chest xray results this morning. I’m not a fan of seeing the Doctor if I’m honest. I’ve been known to procrastinate for weeks, months, years before going in (or if no-one is keeping an eye on me, I’ve even been known to never return for routine checks… *shamefaced). It’s been 2.5 weeks since the xray. And 2 years of various other ailments, which I also sprung on the poor Doctor in our 10 minute consultation. Poor fella.

Anyway. Long story short, the xray results came back absolutely normal & clear. Phew! Hurrah! Relief! I’m so thankful.

I’ve also come home with a muscle rub gel and a wrist splint for my chronic, untreated carpal tunnel type wrist pain. I blame my previous years of *major* MSN & forum addiction.

I guess this means I should prepare myself for RSI/thumb strain from using my smartphone so much now.