Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Power Rangers / Spiderman / Ironman Megaforce!

It's been what can only be described as a full-on superhero Christmas...

Santa came good again this year and delivered a sackful of toys to each of the boys. C tore off all the wrapping paper within seconds, set up a perimeter of various superhero figurines, and went on to convince himself that he's officially the 7th Power Ranger - complete with special powers and the ability to become a teenager at a moments notice (that one I believe). E preferred to play with each toy as they were unwrapped. After present number 3 he asked if there was a yellow power ranger in any of the gifts he had left. When he didn't get a definitive answer he refused to go near them for a couple of hours...

Unfortunately the fun has been slightly marred with the advent of E's eyes being stuck together for a few days! Dealing with a 3 year old who has conjunctivitis isn't fun at the best of times. Dealing with a 3 year old who has Williams Syndrome & major anxiety about anyone touching his face is nigh-on impossible! It's taking us around 6 hours on & off to get them clean & put drops in them. Shortly after K & I congratulate ourselves on a battle well fought & don our superhero capes, E heads off to bed and the process starts again. 

By happy coincidence though I seem to have a never-ending stash of wine, Prosecco, Baileys and chocolate, so nothing seems too stressful at the moment. I will have to spend the whole of 2015 exercising & living on lettuce but it's worth it!

We had a great moment recently with C. His Granddad pointed out that K could conceivably be "Ironman" as he had completed one. C asked what that meant and K proudly told him about having swum for 2.5 miles, cycled 112 miles and then run for 26.2 miles. C mulled the information over and then announced that Daddy clearly wasn't a contender as he couldn’t fly. With a rather unimpressed look on his face he returned to his game. Sorry K. Must try harder!

Happy New Year!

Friday, 12 December 2014

Dry December

I’m trying something new – not drinking alcohol for a few weeks before the Christmas festivities really kick off. Unsurprisingly my resolve has been sorely tested…

Last week we announced my company’s financial Results and at the same time we closed a large acquisition. Usually before Results we tend to work a bit later so stay over in a hotel to ensure we're bright-eyed and bushy-tailed when we kick off with the City at 7am the next day.

So on Tuesday morning I set off for the lawyers offices with my overnight bag packed and a spring in my step, ready to finalise the communications and celebrate the close of the acquisition. By 9pm the aforementioned spring had faded to heavy walk. Both sides were trying hard to resolve the last few sticking points but the clock was ticking. 

Pizza was ordered, delivered and eaten. The chocolate stash was gobbled up. The fridge was emptied of pop and water… and still the talks rumbled on.

At 2am we thought we were close. And at 3am. And 4am. At 4.30am we polished off the cold pizza. Closer still at 5am. At 5.30am I went on a ninja-style hunt through all the meeting rooms to scavenge any type of sugar boost that I could find (a couple of toffees were all my search turned up). At 6am we started to panic slightly and rewrite the comms.

We finally closed at 6.42am and just in the nick of time posted our releases to the Stock Exchange. Whilst the negotiating team went off to open the champagne that had been on ice for a number of hours, my CFO & I had a 5 minute shower & change, reapplied make-up and reappeared ready for our first meeting of the day!

When I got home that night the bottle of wine in my kitchen was dancing before my eyes! I managed to hold fast and fall into bed instead, but that's certainly not the only time I've been tempted over the last few weeks. Hopefully I can hold out for a few more days...

Monday, 10 November 2014

Emergency in the lounge!

Well. It's been a while since I last posted. Life has been fairly chaotic with K changing jobs, me travelling a lot, E starting nursery and C continuing to suck in knowledge at a rate of knots.

Happily E has now begun to speak in sentences and, just like his brother, he comes out with things that I couldn't dream up.

I was in the kitchen the other day. He came running in shouting "Emergency, emergency, help, help!". He then grabbed my hand and said "Come on Mummy, emergency in lounge". I ran into the lounge with him where he proceded to hand me the remote control and say "Peppa Pig on tele please". It seems his opinion of what constitutes an emergency is a little bit different to mine.

He's a good ice-breaker though. Like most children with Williams Syndrome he has no concept of social cues. K and I were "exchanging words" the other day (us? never!) when E came running up, stood in the middle of us and shouted "Surprise!! I'm dancing!!" and then waggled his little bum around for a bit.:-)

Other recent conversatins between me and boys include:

"Please don't tip milk all over the stairs.. oh great. Nooo - now you've done it don't try and lick it up!"
"No, Zombies aren't real. No, really, they're not. No, they're... okay sure. They're real and you kill them with fire & arrows."
"Yes, I guess you're right. If a sabre tooth tiger, a bunch of fairies and a pack of preditor dogs got into a fight it might well be too close to call a winner"
"No, your best friend at school has not swum with Jaws"

So with all the big changes out of the way we're hopefully now settling down into a routine which means I'll be able to post a bit more regularly.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The case of the squished fairie...

According to my 5 year old, fairies do exist. They're an unequivocal fact of life, such as the sun coming up in the morning or gravity.

However, he does lament on a regular basis that whilst the tv says "all you have to do is believe and you'll see them", he apparently has never seen one - even though he believes "really really hard".

That all changed last week though...

We were preparing to go outside in the rain and the colours in the water caught his eye. Suddenly he had a wide-eyed look of wonderment on his face and was jumping up and down in excitment, shouting that he'd seen a fairy in the rain! He happily babbled away for a few minutes until we got into the car when he happened to glance down to the floor where there was a 5p that had been run over a few times. His face fell as he solemnly explained to me that he was very sorry, but it looked as though the fairy was dead. I had a moment of panic about how this would effect him, thought back to my childhood and dragged up memories of Peter Pan:

"Clap, C, clap. Apparently clapping brings fairies back to life!" - and I started clapping like a crazy woman.

My son then looked at me with an even more solemn look and replied:

"Mummy, I'm sorry, but she's been run over and is clearly dead. You'll be okay. Do you need a cuddle?". Er, right. So I guess there's no emotional scarring then.

The other exciting fairie related incident happened on Friday. C's first tooth fell out.. and he promptly swallowed it. This definitely wasn't what K and I had prepared for. C took it well but explained he was worried about how the tooth fairie would get it out of his tummy. We told him that she had magic and it would be fine.

Not completely convinced by our performance he decided to write a note to the fairie to explain what had happened. He's still learning to write and forming letters takes him a while, so the note he came up with said:

"Sorry fairy. My tooth is in my tummy." Short and succinct. With a satisfied sigh he decided that should cover it and he popped the note under his pillow. Sure enough, when he checked in the morning, the note had disappeared and in its place were two new shiny coins...


Monday, 9 June 2014

The opposite of "dressing to impress"

This weekend saw me jet off to the sunny climes of Indianapolis, USA, for a work event. After spending 16 hours getting here I decided I should attempt some sort of health & fitness regime and before breakfast I would first go to the gym and follow this up immediately with some swimming (not entirely sure why I thought this was a good idea).

SIDEBAR: In an attempt to waylay the signs of ageing I’ve recently taken up gymnastics. Those of you who know me will be aware that exercise of any sort is pretty alien to me, so gymnastics is quite a stretch (scuse the pun). However, it turns out that I love it! I’m of course not even close to being in the same league as some of the bendy 7 year olds who attend the class before me, but the fact that I can now do a handstand & cartwheel, and I’m learning how to use the equipment, makes me feel rather proud. 

BACK TO THE STORY – I wanted to minimise changing time so wore a swimming costume & a pair of lycra shorts to the gym. My thinking was that once I was done in the gym I’d slip out of the shorts and hey presto – straight into the pool. I did my workout, left the gym, went to open the door to the pool and realised that my card had stopped working. In fact, I couldn’t get through any door at all. I called for help on the emergency phone and was told the only way forward was for me to take my dodgy pass up to the main reception and have them redo it for me. So wearing my swimming costume, lycra shorts and no make-up I went and stood gingerly at front desk, willing them to make my time there as short as possible. I should at this juncture point out that the main reason I’m in Indianapolis is for a big industry event which has around 2,000 attendees - and it felt as though pretty much the whole lot of them were in reception at that point. However, I kept my head down, didn’t bump into anyone I knew and thought I’d gotten away with it.

It’s subsequently transpired that I most certainly did not get away with it, and, depending on the person I’ve been in the meeting with that’s brought it up (3x and counting) I’ve had a look of sympathy, some dodgy pats on the leg (really wasn't sure about that one!) and someone laughing out loud at me.

So am now fairly resigned to the fact that most of these potential clients have seen me prancing around in a swimming costume and am therefore pinning my hopes on our technology dazzling them as I’m pretty sure my dress sense hasn’t…!   

* Picture clearly not of me. Wouldn't mind prancing round Reception in that gear if I had her figure!

Monday, 14 April 2014

The Struggle with Williams Syndrome (part two) - the good bits

Last year I wrote a post entitled: The Struggle with Williams Syndrome. E was about to go into hospital for his second open heart operation and a couple of Williams Syndrome (WS) children had recently passed away. It was a difficult time and the pressures of caring for a special needs child seemed to weigh heavily.

This weekend, however, E celebrated his 3rd birthday with great gusto and it made me think proudly about everything he’s accomplished over the last year – against great odds. Some of his achievements may seem insignificant in the normal run of things - such as eating his first piece of toast - but for him every one was a huge milestone and I’ve clapped and cheered like crazy each time.

A couple of the "bigger" wins:
  • He’s learnt to walk (although he still has confidence issues and lacks spatial awareness)
  • He’s learning to talk – by the age of 3 most children will have mastered around 350-500 words. E has mastered around 35 but boy do they count. I was woken up this morning by him saying: “Mama - what ya doing?, what ya doing?, what ya doing?” and when I replied that I was sleeping, he yelled “WAKE UP, WAKE UP, WAKE UP”.
  • He’s learnt to count to 10
  • He’s developed a lovely sense of humour, is stubborn beyond his years and has a wonderful, caring little personality all of his own

He also does “typical toddler” things which frustrate and delight me in equal measures: A few weeks ago I went into the lounge to say goodbye to him before I went on a rare night out. As I stepped through the doorway someone called on my mobile. I wondered around the room chatting and not really concentrating on what E was up to. About 5 minutes into the conversation he came up to me and handed me a used nappy.

"Thanks sweetie," I muttered, and carried on talking. When I hung up a minute or two later I started wondering where in the world E had got a nappy from in the lounge.

Way too late my synapses fired up and I realised there was only one possible answer. I glanced over at him and he looked like the cat that got the cream. T-shirt on, no trousers, no nappy, laughing and jumping up and down in a big puddle on the carpet…

As E enters the next year of his life there are many things I'd like him to learn, and I'll try my best to teach him. However, one thing I've learnt over the past three years is that he's completely unpredictable and will do things in his own time. I may want him to learn how to feed himself, but he may decide not to bother with that and instead learn to speak French...J

Just a footnote to say it wouldn’t be fair to finish this post without mentioning C and how proud I am of him as well. He always protects his little brother, plays beautifully with him and never complains or “tells” when E gets rough and frustrated.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Turns out lions aren't all that cuddly...

The lapse in time between my last post and this one isn't due to the fact that I was almost eaten by lions (twice), or that Daddy Day Care didn't go according to plan (all three boys were alive & kicking on my return and all swearing blind that nothing had gone amis...hmm;-)). It's simply due to work being rather full on at the moment.

The trip to South Africa was fantastic. Don't get me wrong, there was a lot of hard work that went on and we only got between 3-4 hours sleep a night, but it was held in a amazing setting and each day kicked off with a 5.30am game drive (I quickly realised that I'd been a bit over-optimistic in packing my hair straightners considering that I had a max of 10 minutes each morning & evening to shower, throw fresh clothes on, tie my wet hair up and get back to the group).
On our drives we were given very clear instructions that whatever happened we were to stay in the vehicle (an open air truck that took about 10 people). Apparently the wildlife didn't view the trucks as threatening but would take out anyone who stepped outside. Okay. Point understood & filed away.

On the Tuesday evening we'd been on a good drive and were just about to head back when a male lion was spotted in a different part of the reserve. We all agreed that we weren't bothered about making it back for dinner and off we went to find it instead. It was a fairly impressive creature and as we got within a few feet of it there was a loud pop and our truck ground to a halt. We had a puncture. Our ranger & spotter had a chat and decided that they had to change it. The ranger opened his door, the lion stood up, the ranger closed his door.

We radioed another truck to come & help and when they arrived they pulled up in front of the lion obstructing his view of us. The ranger & spotter jumped out, jacked the truck up and started changing the tyre. At which point the truck started to fall over and they remembered that the hand brake didn't work properly. "GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT!!!" were the clear instructutions to us. So we all jumped out very quickly and stood in a circle like a little herd of impalas - waiting to get picked off!

The lion gave a couple of very loud roars and even the bravest amongst us started wishing that we hadn't finished all the G&T earlier! The gallows humour was coming thick & fast, particularly as we'd realised that whilst we clearly knew where the lion was we had no idea what was creeping up behind us. The other truck was still blocking our main predator's view though and they finally managed to herd him away from us.

Our brilliant ranger & spotter then quickly sorted the truck out and we all bundled back in and sped off back to the lodge - where we headed straight to the bar and stayed there calming our nerves until the wee small hours!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Daddy day care

We've had a whirwind of a month - C's 5th birthday party (who knew that 35 relevatively small people could cause so much carnage and put away so much food?!), E's language develpment (he now has a few phrases he can run together such as "whosdat" & "howareyou", although his favourite is "Idontwanna"), and who could forget the moment that C's intellect overtook mine: "Mummy, which period did the Ankylosaurus live in - Cretaceous or Jurassic?". Erm.

But today marks the start of something bigger - it marks the start of Daddy Day Care week.

I'm off to South Africa with work. I have mixed feelings about this. The "me" in me is excited as the long days of work will apparently be kicked off with game drives (5.30am but there's always a compromise!). The "mum" in me is sad to be leaving C & E for so long. C and I have already had the talk about the fact that he'll miss me horribly but his pain could be lessened by a big present. And I don't know if E understands.

K's keeping hs plans close to his chest. This could have something to do with the fact that last time I went away for a couple of days, by the time I reached the airport all three "boys" had engaged in a full on game of herding dinosaurs, the toys had been used as an extra carpet covering & K was being used as a substitute bouncy castle.

I have no doubt K will manage admirably and the boys will have a lot of fun, although if I had to guess, I'd say the conversations might mirror some of the ones from the Eddie Murphy film:

"Hey, how did it go in there?"
"I missed."
"Hehe...what does that mean?"
"I missed!"
"Oh, hell no!"

"So... what else can we learn about?"
"Dolphins. Dolphins are good. Dolphins are fish"
"No, they're not"
"Yeah-huh, they live in water"
"That doesn't mean they're fish. Perhaps we should just ask another question."
"Okay. Where do babies come from?"

"Ok, you're gonna go out straight for a pass, and I want you to be my blocker. You'e gonna come across and cut left and I'll..."
"How about we just run in a circle?"
"Yeah, ok, that's a better idea" How about we just all run in a circle."