My, how we’ve grown

It’s worse than I feared. Three weeks. THREE WEEKS since my last blog and no earthly reason why.

Blogging is like all of those other activities that are good for you: exercise, healthy eating, reading with your kid and reading for yourself. It really only works if you maintain the momentum. Step of the bus and it’s so hard to get back on.

I can’t really offer up a definitive answer as to why I’ve neglected to blog for so long, but April has been a disjointed month, with Easter vacs, mum visiting for a week and the Monkey spending a week with my mum. Despite life being easier, routine can still be absent. Add to this spending April trying to focus in on a few things and blogging has fallen off a cliff simply because I turned my attention from it. Certain areas of my life were greeted with a sentence that commenced with the threat “Right!” Which is usually bad news for everything else.

One of the things I’ve turned my attention to is eliminating the should and trying to get through life at a more realistic pace. I’ve been reading (albeit not much with the monkey, but she’s been reading with other people every day, too) and that has been something of a treat. I’ve finally finished Great Expectations by Dickens. I loved it, second time around, and felt stung by some of Dickens’ sentences. I didn’t expect the story to have any resonance with me, but maybe it’s being a parent, maybe it’s just my age, but I looked at my history and much more than I’m comfortable with clanged around my head. (No, dear reader, I am not from East Anglia and have never been an apprenticed blacksmith. Nor, I hasten to add, have I ever helped anyone on the run.) I loved it. It took me four mad months to read Great Expectations, but boy did it turn me back onto reading. I followed up with Mike Skinner’s Story of the Streets, which I practically devoured and loved, and am now reading Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman which I’m reading with a nervous stomach. I live in South East London, where the child-narrator also appears to live. This opens with a stabbing of a teenager and makes for uncomfortable reading – I just know this is not going to end well for the protagonists. Maybe it’s a London thing, maybe it’s a SOUTH EAST London thing, maybe I’m just a scaredy-cat, but a child whose innocence is soon to be lost is my real, daily worry, living where I do. The book’s beautifully written, but it scares me too much for me to say I’m enjoying it.

April is also the month of re-starting potty-training and perhaps that is the opening sentence I should have written to grant me an instant get-out-of-blogger-jail pass. That would not have been entirely truthful in explaining the full absence of posts as I’ve only been doing it for the four days that Monkeyface has been home! That we commenced potty training only a few days after (and I’m ashamed to write this down) removing the side of my daughter’s cot-bed (my daughter is almost two and a half!) is testament that I still have a long way to go when it comes to approaching life in bite-sized chunks. I want immediate gratification! I expected problems, but so far so good although even writing that sentence makes me instantly believe I’ve doomed us all.

Back to reading. Because my daughter has been away from home for a week with mum, the first few days of her return were all about ransacking our home in order to play with every single toy she has ownership of and books were of absolutely no interest to her. For the first three of those days, getting the Monkey onto the potty and keeping her there took more episodes of Abney and Teal than I thought any reasonable person could handle, which left no time for books. But two days ago, the Monkey wanted Love Monster  and we’re back in the game. Last night I ventured as far as to read Each Peach Pear Plum with her on the potty. It was an unsuccessful night in terms of using the potty in any of the ways it was designed for (one foot in, one foot out is how she currently rolls), but it was very successful in getting us back into a reading routine. She really enjoyed it and – as ever when I think about the things we “should” be doing – a break from doing things can be as energizing and rewarding as doing them.

She’s growing up and over the last few weeks a little girl has emerged. Although, god help me, she’s starting to like pink. You may want to don sunnies before checking out the pic of us in her Disney tent. (I think I was vomiting off-centre.)

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