Things I want to remember

We’d had a lovely afternoon at Treefest, riding the merry-go-round and helter skelter, sitting in a tent listening to stories of gypsies and kings, eating churros and chocolate sauce, exploring treehouses and generally running amok in the bank holiday sunshine. When it was time to head back to the car we did the usual you-can’t-catch-me game… and then it happened. He fell over, head first, onto the sharp gravel path. Oh my loves, there was so much blood. In a flash Abby scooped him up and we planted ourselves on the side of the road, searching for tissues and water, knowing it wasn’t going to be enough. Noah’s dad ran to get the first aiders, and it was amazing how many other mums stopped and offered us tissues and wipes — one lady sat down and unpacked an entire first aid kit from her bag. Mums, women, people are so good. Help arrived in the form of two ex-army medics, a husband and wife team who were absolutely brilliant. Noah let the woman — I think her name was Jane, it was all a bit fraught — clean up his face and we could see there was a cut on his forehead, he’d taken the skin off above his lip and grazed his cheek. HE WAS SO BRAVE. Crying, distraught and scared, but so so brave, our little man. He even swallowed down a spoonful of Calpol without any complaint, which definitely helped to ease his head.

And while all this was happening, I sat like a rock beside my sister, helping where I could, but staying calm. We all react to scary stuff in different ways — apparently I get really zen. After a moment of sheer panic when i saw Noah’s bloody face, I went straight into keep-everyone-calm mode. Once he was all patched up Noah stepped out of his mummy’s arms and came to me. I picked him up and gave him lots of cuddles, showing him the ambulance (the “nee-nah”) while Abby talked to Jane and let herself feel what had happened. As we walked back to the car Noah wanted me to keep carrying him, and though his mummy just wanted him back in her arms, we agreed later that it was a definite sign that he was okay. Usually when really bad stuff happens he just wants his mummy, so wanting me meant things were normalising.

Back at home we tucked him up on the sofa with a DVD and offered biscuits and chocolate but Noah wanted an apple and some juice :) The next day we stayed at home, but he was jumping off the sofa in no time, fearless as ever. His face is scabby, and, of course, he’s constantly picking at it, but he seems absolutely fine. His mummy, daddy and auntie, on the other hand, are still processing it all!

Our brave boy.

brave boy
dinosaurtutusawdust snow1sawdust snow2sistershelter skelter


We’re having a heatwave here in the UK. It could be argued that we’re actually just having a summer (it’s been so long none of us can remember what summer is like) but apparently is really is a heatwave. We’re not really equipped for extreme weather. When it snows the country stops and everything breaks; in a heatwave everyone melts as air conditioning is not really a thing we understand. We’re very good at rain. Rain is where Britain excels. Everything else is a mystery to us.

If you’ve ever visited this country you’ve no doubt had a conversation with someone about the weather. Every time I get in a cab I chat with the driver about the weather. We talk weather in shops and while queuing in the post office. Weather is the topic every Brit knows inside out. Bemoaning the weather is like our national sport.

It’s because our weather is generally really really crap. Ludicrously so. The British aren’t miserable at all — we just have crap weather and it gets us down. But give us a sunny day and we’re all smiles! It’s why half the country seems to decamp to Spain every year, to get burned on the beach and drink their bodyweight in sangria. We just need a bit of sun now and then.

Those of you who live in a hot climate are probably giggling at our inability to handle the heat, but London in a heatwave is pretty intense. It’s blocking my ability to write. And think. And sleep.

But in all honesty, I don’t mind it one bit.

And neither does Noah :)

Things I want to remember

Our blondie bear is a real little chatterbox. I’ve lost count of all his words — he talks in sentences now! Once in a while he’ll say something in such a sophisticated way I just stare at him, wondering who this teenager is. His daddy says “oh em gee” a lot ( in jest, you understand) — Noah’s version is “oh eye jim” which he says emphatically and often. His pronunciation is becoming faultless for so many words, though there are still a few I hope he gets ‘wrong’ forever:

fallahs — flowers
butter fallahs — buttercups
mingos — flamingoes
atchalen — actually

Auntie knocked it out the park with the Rapunzel and Eugene dolls (Noah: Punzel and Nugene). We spent a very happy Saturday afternoon taking their clothes off and putting them back on again, ooh, about 50 times. Then we put Tangled on the DVD player and acted out half the film — it was EPIC, let me tell you. Later that evening I had the rare honour of reading him his bedtime story (no mummy or daddy allowed in the room!) I lay next to him on his big boy bed (he has a big boy bed now!) and read Room on the Broom while he finished his milk and drifted off. Then I tucked him in and tiptoed out the room, my swelling heart trying to escape out of my chest.

Sunday morning we went to see the most delightful children’s theatre, and played with the water hose in the garden all afternoon. We made a miniature garden (his mummy’s brilliant idea) and ate our dinner on the trampoline (Noah: jumpoline). Punzel and Nugene joined him in the bath at bathtime (of course) and there were a few dramatic tears at bedtime, but cuddles with mummy sorted that out…

On Monday morning we watched his current favourite music video (Feist’s 1234) then headed out in the car to Bristol Zoo (Noah: zoon). We saw monkeys and lion cubs and butterflies and lots of insects. He found the dinosaurs a bit scary at first, but quickly overcame this when we explained they were ‘pretend’, though they were animatronic models and pretty convincing!

Later we were in John Lewis stocking up on a few essentials when he looked up at me and said ‘Susie, I need a wee’ (our little man has been potty-trained for a while now and only wears nappies at night) so we hotfooted it to the nearest mother-and-baby room, luckily only a few feet away. It had a normal-sized toilet and despite Noah wanting to do a ‘standing-up wee’ I said it would be better to sit down, so I lifted him up onto the seat and he put his little arms around my neck for balance. ‘I’m going to do a poo,’ he declared breathlessly, so I said okay, and then he whisphered ‘I love you’ into my ear. It was the sweetest, most comical, spontaneously brilliant moment ever, me crouched in front of the toilet, holding on to him while he pooed and declared his love. Did i mention comical?

On the way home we stopped off at a supermarket to pick up dinner. While his mummy shopped we waited in the car singly along to his three favourite songs* VERY loudly (he knew all the words… like, all of them) and I made him scream with laughter at the silly shenanigans of a parrot hand puppet. Later, at bedtime, I curled up on the end of his bed and listened as his mummy read him a story our grandmother used to read to us as little girls. As the past met the future there were definitely angels dancing in the room that night.

He’s starting to get a handle on the concept of time, though it’s still hard to explain that even though I have to leave I’ll see him again soon. He knows what ‘missing someone’ means and says it a lot. I wish I lived closer and visit as often as I can, but it’s still hard. But he knows I love him as big as the sky, and I know he loves me, and when we’re together we have the best time. He’s my tiny little 3-year-old best friend, he really is.

* Bounce feat. Kelis by Calvin Harris
We are never ever getting back together by Taylor Swift
When will my life begin? by Mandy Moore

On accidental sabbaticals

I’ve just got back from a week away with my family. We were celebrating my mother’s 70th birthday and I was reassured there’d be internet in the house we’d rented (in a remote corner of Devon) so I brought my laptop with me, planning to squeeze in a bit of work. Blogging from the Heart was starting on Monday, my Unravelling group were about to enter week six, I have a bunch of ebooks to update urgently, not to mention the not-so-small matter of a book proposal to get finished………. BUT THERE WAS NO INTERNET!!!!

I panicked for the first hour. The thing I fear most in this little biz of mine is letting people down, and not being able to email, check the course Facebook and Flickr groups and be there for everyone when they need me is one of my worst case scenarios. Luckily I have an amazing part-time assistant (hi Nita!) who helps me out, and I discovered if I climbed up a hill and stood in someone’s garden I was able to access a sliver of internet, but standing in the rain shielding your laptop with an umbrella is not the best way to work. So last week I had to relinquish my need for online connectivity, and accept that, other than the occasional bit of signal on my phone, I was taking an accidental sabbatical.

I had moments when I wished I could do a quick Google search to find a piece of information. I missed Pinterest and Instagram, the two places I sink into for visual inspiration. I hated being so absent from my course peeps.

On the other hand, I did not miss Twitter or Facebook in the slightest. I also forgot all about my Google Reader — when I got back home on Saturday afternoon I skimmed through the blog posts I’d missed and came away an hour later feeling drained and despondent. Life online suddenly felt so uninspiring compared to a week out in the real world, something i want to hold on to as I endeavour to break out of my hermit ways — balance is needed!

We packed a lot into our week away, and being a full-time auntie for seven whole days was pretty much the Best Thing Ever. Every morning I had my wake up call from a three-year-old cutie opening the curtains and saying: ‘Wake up, Susie, the shine is out!’ My brother-in-law cooked us the most amazing meals all week; we played on the beach; fed “baby sheepies” and a tank full of insane grey mullet; saw deer, rabbits, swallows, bats and owls; watched a ferret race; shepherded a flock of sheep back into a field; held a starfish; explored a pirate ship; discovered a bluebell wood; marvelled at the beauty of nature; walked the Jurassic coastline; met Meggy and Indy, two of the loveliest dogs ever; ate the best fish n chips; fell in love with Lyme Regis; collected shells, pebbles, feathers, fossils and crystals; rode on a tram; taught Noah how to say my “big name” (Sus-nana); had two barbeques; got soaked in the rain; and loved the hot tub.

My favourite moment was Noah choreographing an entire dance routine to a Taylor Swift song, which we then copied down to the very last bum wiggle :)

It was an epic adventure and now I’m sitting here missing Noah like mad. As we said goodbye I tried to explain to him that I had to go back to London to go to work, but that I’d see him again soon. “But I need you, Susie,” he said. And I tried to do that thing where you’re smiling through your tears because you don’t want them to be sad, but I don’t know if I was very convincing. So I just kept cuddling him and kissing his cheeks and promising that I’d come and see his big boy bed soon. And that we’d play ‘Punzel and Nugene. And that he could come to London soon and we’d go see the dinosaurs.

I miss you, baba!