On Friday I accompanied Arya to the Science Museum – this was a trip organised by her nursery and all the children who went were there with either of their parents. It is always a great experience for a few reasons, namely:
• it’s reassuring to know that teachers do a bloody good job facing a bunch of screaming, crying, temper throwing kids every day with calm, strict and loving manner; kudos to them because I barely stand a full day with two girls
• it’s reassuring to know that other parents more or less do the same as you do while raising the future conscious citizens of the world by giving them carrots and a snack, shouting to them to always walk nearby, explaining to them with a blushing on their cheeks that you shouldn’t point at a woman standing right next to them and say:” Look, she’s got red hair”
• you always find out something new about your child like that she has a best friend at school that she absolutely adore (and the feeling is mutual) and it’s not a girl but why you never noticed, guessed or found out earlier. We see what we want to see
• it’s always great to use these crowded places to teach your kids a lesson and give them a dose of fear of being lost (in a controlled environment)
The list is long but one small thing that fascinates me is the power of 1-2-3?.
It worked on me when I was little and I dealt with it same way as it is managed by kids nowadays, probably around the world. Funnily enough I never practice it on Arya. I think perhaps I don’t feel like counting and waiting patiently for the miracle of “three”. When I say now, it means now or the corner.
My sister uses the technique very often and the highest number varies depending on how pissed off she is and how much of lee way she’s giving her boys. If for example, she asks her son to clean his room NOW but they are still playing she would count to 10 and very often slowing down while getting closer to the 10 but the voice is getting louder and the pronunciation more through the clenched teeth.
If she however expects them to get ready to school but the are messing around it will be a quick 1-2-3.
And the magic is – by the time the counting is over, by the time the highest number is spelled (which is communicated prior to the counting) the receiver of the counting obediently actions what’s been requested of them before the counting started.
It’s like the kids never want to find out what happens after the counting is completed. They stretch their luck within the permitted limit but hardly ever abuse this privilege.
What happens after the “three” know one knows because no one dares to find out.
A few months ago I googled “funny books” because I felt a need for a laugh. I came across “Furiously Funny” and I decided to give it a go especially because it tackled depression. Having gone though it myself I thought it would be a great experience to see how the author managed to use humour through this gloomy emotional state.
And it was hilarious. I must say. I even recommended it to my friends who I knew also had gone through depression.
But then I got into a rather boycotting mode. Angry even. No, why on earth should I try to take distance to my own mental illness, find something funny in it as a sort of coping mechanism or to pretend that I am coping.
Then I googled “funny books about depression” and all the searches showed lists of titles whose authors were mostly women (Goodreads).
We really try our best to put our best face forward, we women, aren’t we…
I became very negative about this phenomenon. It is a problem that one laughs at their own mental disorder. What has it come to? Because it’s still so unknown, untouched, misunderstood, we try to grab any safety wheel to swim on the surface and being funny about it became a trend a sort of dilusionist gimmick that is supposed to help us survive.
Laugh is the best medicine (I realised it helps with migraines) but ridiculing your own illness is not. What’s needed is a fully fledged support mechanism, science,
Bastian my cat is annoying early in the morning. You might say he’s cute and beautiful and whatever words you want to use for this:
But he is making me consider slitting my veins in the early hours when I’m juggling breakfast and pee pee and dressing up responsibilities to the best of my ability and this mofo stares at me from outside scratching the kitchen door only to wait on the porch and lick his fur when I let him in in haste. Once he eats his food he claws my calf asking for more and I swear to an Egyptian cat he looks like this:
Is calling a cat “dog” counts as verbal abuse?
There’s nothing to be proud of but I did tell him: “No more food for you, dog”.
For 12 years I’ve been with Sanj, he’s never (NEVER!!!) contributed to the interior design of our humble abodes. And it was good. I think I have done a pretty decent job decorating our house (as a temporary abode) although there’s still canvas left for creativity hear and there.
And now the balance got disturbed as Sanj got bored during working hours. For a few weeks now we have been delaying the purchase of adhesive Velcro for the coasters to hang on my wall (for various reasons… because there are always more important things in life than ordering an alternative to a nail) but the idea of how I want to hang these coasters with poirtraits by Trechikoff has been there since I got them as a gift from South Africa.
Once I see something I know how I want it to be styled. I am terrible at making from scratch but when you give me a piece I can compose it into a whole. That’s my gift. Oh and don’t forget about symmetry. That’s the essence of my philosophy just like balance.
And there, I’m coming home after a long week at work and what I see? Velcro stuck to the wall in the most random places of the wall.
The speech started: “The whole life Sanj hasn’t make any decisions about what should be where in our house and when the moment comes it’s irreversible unless you strip the whole wallpaper off”.
He tried. He really tried to take these bloody stickers off but they were coming off even with the third layer of paint from the post-war time.
So now I ended up with this symmetry-less decor which looks like fridge magnets which some globetrekker brought from the gap year around the world.
If you’re ever near Lisbon – make sure you don’t miss Sinatra. I never knew a place like this exists, soaking in romanticism, rich history (and rich on many levels), mysticism and fairy tale spirit.
This is however not a post about travelling. The beauty of the place is just a bonus. It’s about the conversations between a parent and a 2 (and almost) half years old child.
So – pay attention to the first part when Sanj briefs me on what he’s taking with us and what not. Can you hear that the word “milk” is pronounced in spelling rather than a “human” word. It’s because in our family Arya’s desired objects, no matter how quietly and at what times are pronounced , Our daughter will pick on and will take advantage of to such an extent that we might regret even thinking them. “Milk”, “chocolate”, “ice-cream”, “tubby” (Teletubby) have this power of being needed right after they are called upon. They therefore simply have to be spelled and we are safe until the girl learns how to read (I’m very much in Catch 22 here when answering the question: “Do I want Arya to learn to read?”).
Secondly, there’s always the aspect of making decisions. They take long but if not respected irrespective of the outcome, we are screwed.
Thirdly, there are daddy’s lectures. Painful to hear for mummy, ignored completely by the daughter.
And most importantly – “Mummy! Put the phone down”.
I miscarried twice (although NHS would consider my unborn babies as insignificant foetuses) and Bastian fillled the long-hurting void. He is my first baby – he let me give him love I’ve had as a mother. I remember the day when I was with him after only a few days he had been with us and he got sick throwing up throughout the whole day – my stomach was churning, I was all in tears and scared out of my mind…
He became a man a couple of months after we moved to our first house. A lion guard, the man of the neighbourhood. People in the community speak about him as if he was the Man. But when Arya was born, very often I was being asked – “Are you not scared that your cat can hurt Arya?” Or I got warnings. ” Be careful! There are cases of cats killing newborns”.
Bastian was always cautious with my baby. When Arya was born, sleeping between me and Sanj, he slept at our feet and always so careful with his paws not to even touch her. Jealous and needing love from us but protective of her.
Only animal lovers will understand this – Bastian is an older brother for Arya. Right now he is sleeping in her room, curled up on the carpet, guarding her.
Don’t get me wrong if she’s bothering him, he can plonk her with his tail or scratch her (gently, never too hard – I’ve whitnessed that) as a warning. What do you expect if someone is pushing you off the chair if you cozily dozed off (that’s the only time he plonks her). Other times – he lets her have her way. Older brother, he is.
The blue crayon swishing across the pink paper. Sanj is in his element.
I’m peeping. This appears in front of my eyes:
I swear to Batman, a little pee came out when I saw this. And even more when I realised, while Sanj was colouring the “butterfly” he still believed, deep in his heart, that the drawing depicted a perfect butterfly.
I wanna conclude this post with this sentence: “The world is not what it is, the world is what you think it is”.
Arya slept in her own bed, on her own for the whole night. Not a single wake-up in between until 7:15. So I guess it’s another milestone for us, for me rather than for Arya as she probably doesn’t give a squat unless she gets milk once she’s up.
It’s one of those “happen when ready” moments again – for all this time I was simply not prepared to let my baby lie stranded in a big bed with no one beside her, checking if she’s breathing. The thought of sleeping snug with my husband while my poor daughter is out there, in another room with no one beside her. No one wants to sleep alone. Right…
But last night, we just put Arya to HER bed, (it took a while because this girl refuses to sleep) and returned to the sleeping arrangement from the time before Arya was born. Husband and wife reunited. And survived.
This is another era ending. I remember each milestone and having to let go. Very likely have been doing all this completely off the book and later than any other parent but I-DO-NOT-CARE! “Ready” is the magic word. Remember that!
It’s been a rather hectic roller coaster. Lots have been happening and fast. I managed to get flu twice, Sanj became a Brit Arya acclimatised perfectly in her new super nursery.
Yes, she cries here and there but it’s a type of a
cry I’m familiar with (stubborn, moaning type) so not a big deal.
Our lives are a little bit crazy at the moment. When I work in the office I take Arya to the nursery for a full day, running fast at 16:30 to collect her and get home just to get ready for my meeting with a client, intern, collaborator or whoever is in the schedule. The days when Arya is with me are tricky as in order to do some work I rely on her sleep which doesn’t happen as often and doesn’t last as long as a few months ago. But I put the mobile devices away when she’s awake in order to spend quality time with her.
I got a fold-up sofa for her to sleep on. It’s time for her to let her snoring and wriggling disturb no one… but am I ready? ??
Of course I’m not!
We keep defending our decisions by saying that the baby is not ready for this or that, but in reality – it’s us who have more difficulty facing the cruelty of time. So when last night, the first time we put Arya in her new bed in another bedroom, I eventually landed sleeping next to her. For no other reason than that I was missing her. I fell asleep holding her hand only to get kicks in my face next morning.
The styling business is literally rolling on adrenaline and the hits I keep getting while organising the events are incredible. They feel like punches in the face but at the same time they make me stronger. They show me how professional and how ambitious I am. Or at least I’m striving to be. They teach me a lot. But at the same time they hurt.
Intense period. Ups and downs. More ups please!
My time in Poland is coming to an end. I spent here three weeks and as much as I enjoyed my holiday I am glad to be flying back home. Yes home. My home is in London. My small house, decorated by us, my sweet little baby kitten – Bastian, our life.
The sad part is that I never fully felt the Christmas spirit. I know, it comes from within, but the lack of snow, Christmas carols on TV, Home Alone 😁 and Arya having a cold – all that contributed. Nevertheless, it’s been my first Christmas. My first Christmas in total happiness. Light, without the depression, the miserable hope for next year. Light, with wings.
Yesterday, at Christmas supper, as tradition goes we shared the wafer and said wishes to each other. I realised – I don’t wish for anything this year. Apart from health, all the rest I need to work hard for on my own. All I need- is here with me. I’m strong. I’m complete. The rest will follow out of my happiness.
When I was younger “a loner” was my unspoken nickname. Since I remember, since my family remember. That was my thing. People used to say: “Asia [my younger sister] is a cuddler and Agnieszka has her own world”. I was able to stay for days in my room, the door closed, a book in my hand. As soon as school was over, I ran upstairs, slammed the door and I was gone for hours. I felt so comfortable in my own cocoon. Safe. Alone and snuggled.
Then I fell in love for the first time and this warmth of being on my own suddenly disappeared and instead I insisted on at least spending nights together. I needed someone else’s warmth. Another heart beat. The need to feel loved. Had I not needed that before I found love? Or had I felt safe then because I had known the loved ones were just behind the closed door. I think that’s it. Until I left home to study at the university I actually had never tasted a true loneliness. Lost love, empty beds, empty houses. They all started when I left home. And they brought the chill of loneliness.
Last Tuesday I flew to Poland. Before Arya was born any travel on my own made me instantly sick with sadness. Now with my baby on my lap I felt so calm and filled with love to her. No loneliness. At the same time however I already missed Sanj. But I’m not sure if I missed him more or worried about him more because he’s the one who’s stayed on his own. I know the horrible feeling. I know the darkness of loneliness and I certainly do not want my husband to experience it. I want him happy all the time and especially at our home.
According to Buddhism – one achieves fulfilment only when one is able to find peace of soul in solitude.
I can only quote one very famous Polish singer, Kora Jackowska (a terribly interesting woman) who says in one of her songs: “Lubię samotność lecz we dwoje, na wyciagnięcie ręki twojej”.
“I like loneliness but when there’s two of us, at the length of your arm”.
It’s all so bizarre! I keep catching myself thinking: “What am I feeling? What is it now?”Most of the time I feel like I walk around a bit depressed. No, not depressed. This is not depression. I’ve been there and I know it’s not it but I’m scared that I’m getting into it and this is just a beginning. I’ve been down for the past couple of weeks. Lower and lower and I can’t pinpoint the cause. The only explanation that comes to my head is that Arya is growing up and when she hits 12 months we are planning to put her in the nursery or get a nanny. I’M NOT READY TO LET HER GO. I’m not ready to be apart from her. I keep having anxiety attacks at night imagining her crying desperately, looking around trying to find me and I’m not there.
People say – it’s normal. People don’t remember crying when they were babies. It’s all OK. But I don’t feel OK. I don’t feel it’s right. Perhaps I’m not strong enough or simply stupid to think and feel like that. Perhaps. But irrespective of what you call me it won’t change how I feel or think about my baby.
I even sometimes shed a tear or two, when no one looks. Where did these 10 months go? She is so grown up now, how long ago she was so tiny. It swished like a whiplash and I want to go back to those times to keep them for a little bit longer. Of course I understand there are still years ahead and many exciting moments but I wish I remembered more of this tiny little pea of 3.250 kilo. Only now I understand when people say: “When you have kids you will see how fast time flies”.
And there comes the second reason for my recent melancholy. I’ve always been scared of passing time. Since I was a little girl and death lived very close to our family I have been having bouts of panic attacks related to time passing and eventual end of life. I can get down by just seeing a new wrinkle on my face. I hold on to my memories from when I was a teenager. When I was struggling with getting pregnant one of the main thoughts that was haunting me was how little time I have left for trying to conceive. Time depresses me. Whatever form of reminder it takes. It scares me. I’m too aware of it passing.
The third reason of my sadness is my flight to Poland tomorrow. I’m taking Arya to my family earlier than we had planned due to the fact that San-Jay is completing a major project at work and he will hardly be home until the last week before Christmas so I won’t have any help. He also needs to sleep at nights to cope with the long working hours. I think this will be the longest I will ever be away from Sanj so I don’t know how I will manage. But my main fear is that Arya will miss him and he won’t be there. Again, I know you will say babies don’t remember. I don’t want to see sadness on my daughter’s face. EVER! Yes, I realise it will happen a lot. That’s life. But I want to try as much as I can prevent it.
Last Sunday was supposed to be a family day. I spent most Saturday styling while Arya was NOT missing me and having fun with her daddy. So at least yesterday was left for family of three extravaganza. As life has it, Arya was restless the whole of that night waking me up every 15 minutes (I’m actually not sure if I even slept) which resulted in the waking dead mode yesterday. So “having fun” ship has sailed, I would say and all I was trying to do was to not run into a brick wall to knock myself out, drank 3 coffees, tried going back to bed when Sanj took over “nanny-ing” our baby and even went for a run. Nothing helped. NOTHING!!! And cranky was my new fun. I still was doing my best to make that day count. We had a lunch booked in the Oval at the Wellesley Hotel and a glass of champagne came to the rescue for approximately one hour. It numbed the pain or maybe fooled my brained that I was OK. Someone enjoyed the food for sure though:
Coming back home was very much desired because suddenly I regained my sleepiness and, you might think it is impossible, I was passed out during most of my walking. As my baby suffers from (I should probably say that it’s me who suffers, Arya not so much) detachment anxiety, instead of chilling on the sofa for most of the afternoon (which felt like the middle of the night) I was a designated trampoline (my belly) and a walking pole (my leg). My nipple has recently also changed its function as Arya now believes she can take my boob and walk with it as if it was a cup of Coke with a straw. I don’t think you have ever seen a baby breast-feeding from a standing position, half bent and leaning over a boob sucking the stretched nipple. The view – hilarious. The feeling – far from amusement.
Oh and there came in Bastian, jumped casually on the sofa, straight from the wet garden convinced that he is simply helping me to find some entertainment. Because I’m perfectly fit for cleaning the paw mud spots off the couch.
Oh and then I see Sanj standing on a puffs seat fiddling with the wall lamp and in the next second he is on a carpet in a lying position groping the carpet.
“Oh for gods sake, what did you do? And why now?”
I was really irritate. Almost as irritated as before leaving to the restaurant when I was banging the wardrobe doors shouting that I have nothing to wear and I’m not going. Sleep deprivation is a perfect excuse for tantrums. You’re not thinking straight, you feel all depressed and what else the life is throwing at you…
So San-Jay is lying on the carpet and I have this odd need to ask why. And I do: “What the hell are you doing?
– Looking for a screw! Replied my husband with a large frown on his forehead and that’s a sign of a very very overheated brain from thinking. But why? Not much thinking is involved during a search for a screw. Unless… Unless it was “I’m blind” frown. Which definitely makes more sense. Also he got a bit pissed off that I’m questioning his (let’s face it: weird) behaviour.
– What screw?! What did you do?
– the screw. I heard it falling on the wood once and then it must have fell somewhere else. I don’t want Arya to find it and choke on it.
On that he stood up and moved his search to the sideboard and the mantelpiece. Again – groping all the surfaces. I still didn’t get why the hell he was looking for a bloody screw. Luckily he continued: “I wanted to unscrew this lamp to wash it because it has been bothering me all the time and now that Chris is coming to do this work at our house I thought it was a good opportunity for me to do that.
Certainly the motif did not speak to me. AT ALL.
Chris is a man who was scheduled for today to do some finishing touches on the wallpaper and other bits and bobs. Definitely not the wall lamp that Sanj was dabbling with. Can’t see the connection. And especially not after sleepless night. I just announced that I ain’t looking for no screw and lost a total interest in my husband’s actions. Until he started searching drawers and my bag. Then I burst out laughing (internally because on the outside my facial nerves were out of order and not able to make any motion). Because we have robot screws. Transformers, so to speak. One minute they are mere screws and the other – they unfold their wheels and wings and tiny dexterous hands to hide in closed spaces.
All our furniture were shifted, including the sofa with my body on it. I was just making sure that Arya didn’t fall of me while jumping and banging her head against my belly. Other than that – be as it is.
– I found it – I heard at some point but at that time I was preparing my tired body to get up and land in the bedroom.
Yesterday was supposed to be a fun family day and in its twisted, new mum way it really was. I can laugh only now though.
Recently the amount of energy that suddenly bunched up in me is so abundant I even struggle to fall asleep (my mind and body wants to keep on going). I wanna go out clubbing or to a theatre, for a late dinner, anything. Even on my own. I’m sure I will make friends with strangers because with a surplus of this energy you just run out of normal things you can do so then you turn to the crazy and the dangerous and the unheard of. It cropped up on me, literally, overnight – I wake up rested or at least without this “absolutely horrible sleep deprivation, mind debilitating sleepiness in my brain” , at nights Arya needs two or maximum three short breast milk top-ups (think tequila shots in a night club to keep you partying – this works exactly like that but in the opposite direction) and the same at daytime. There are therefore two explanations to my “new, reborn me”, possibly related – one: I breast-feed substantially less which means not everything I eat gets sucked out of me hence the energy; second: as Arya wakes me up fewer times I have more sleep ergo the surplus of energy.
I got so excited about this change that I started telling everyone that I’m feeling better, that hopefully this is another chapter in my life when I regained my brain functions and the power to survive throughout a day without falling on my face (although my body is still aching and don’t even get me started on my back but I try to do everything I can to not carry Arya since she’s now in the mode of mastering her walk). I just wanted to let everyone know that I’m OK now and that they will be ok too. It’s just a phase. It will pass. It will.
And last night – there it is. For some reason Arya got back to her restlessness. Although stripped down to her body shirt (and a nappy, of course) she felt boiling hot but not feverish. Constantly demanding the boob, not happy to sleep on her own. So we were back to square one. Brilliant. Obviously frustration sneaked in (to our whole trio). Sanj tried to walk around with her or to sleep in the other bedroom, hoping that if she doesn’t smell milk she will sleep fine. In my dreams! Well, not really in my dreams from last night because last night it was not only a horror in reality but also in my night visions – I had some terrifying hallucinations that some psycho murderers in hoods were threatening my family, that when I styled my my client, she suddenly left unhappy without even saying goodbye, and that I was out in shops without make-up. All SCARY!!! No joke.
Both Sanj and I had been waking up probably every 15 minutes for approximately another 15 minutes to pacify Arya. On top of that, Bastian (as it ALWAYS is the case at nights like this) was scratching the window to get in. How the hell he scratches the window I have no clue. Does he spread his paw fingers, shoots out the claws and DJs on the pane some cat music? And how is it possible that the window has absolutely no marks. Yet, the sound it unbearable and so irritating that you want to punch someone but it’s a night and you’re in bed and you can’t even scream because Arya will get even more upset. So then Sanj gets up , opens the window for the Lord and that vicious creature turns back waving his fluffy tail at you and leaves. Cruelty to animals my ass. It’s this monster who’s keeping us his hostages and tortures us for his own nocturnal entertainment…
I had some sleep (she said miserably). Sanj is knackered too I believe (I don’t know because I haven’t heard from him – his work is killing him; I sometimes wonder is it work or Arya at nights, or both the same amount; some men prefer to stay late in the office to avoid the baby drama but poor Sanj has such a hectic time at the moment that he probably wishes he could come back home to the crying, moaning daughter). And since this morning I might have seen Arya playing once… For 5 minutes. Not happy as she usually is. Constantly demanding the boob and being carried. Never see her like that before. Even when she was sick. It’s rather worrying but on the other hand I’m telling to myself that it’s just one of these odd days for the development. Some tuning of hormones, neurones and other “-ones” . In the meantime I barely ate and can’t move of the couch. Or perhaps I can, but I won’t risk it. I can’t afford to risk it. Just for the biscuit? Can’t risk it. My back and my energy level is on stake. This stake that burns for me as a witch in my past life.
Ok, I’m pretty sure I’m losing it now so I’d better end this post before some reader will call 911 thinking that i really need a psychiatric help.
I’m fine! I’m fine. It’s just a phase. There’s always “just a phase”.
Last weekend was very much desired, days countdown started with the first second after the booking confirmation had landed in my mailbox. The criteria for finding the right place were simple:
must have an amazing spa
must be within an hour drive from London (because my baby hates being restricted and locked in small places – I’m starting to suspect she’s got claustrophobic tendencies or perhaps she’s scarred after so many long distance journeys she’s already gone through)
must be a luxury hotel
must be available with short notice (because we needed it now, right now and not a day later)
And, being a master of finding super places to stay in (no, really I AM) I settled on this one. Just needed Sanj’s confirmation and after his approval I booked a Lavender suite – with a private terrace, hot tub and bathroom spa. Hell yeah!
The plan was that we will leave in the afternoon, stop for lunch somewhere closer to the destination and then check in the Sopwell House.
While Arya was falling asleep in the car (it was her nap time so perfect timing) I quickly googled a restaurant and found Paprika quite interesting so we “gps-ed” it. My jaw dropped though when upon arrival, casual entrance and asking for a table for two the waiter announced to us: “I’m afraid we don’t accept babies… We don’t have high chairs or changing facilities”.
Did I say that my jaw dropped? My jaw dropped. Probably down to the very floor and probably with a massive impact because I’m pretty sure all the guests turned into our direction and stared at me for a good 30 seconds. And for a good 30 seconds, while my jaw was lying (pretty bruised and battered I recon) there on the wooden floor of this pretentious small French &Asian fusion , there was silence. A long pause. Because my husband never says anything back, just politely adjusts to the surroundings and me? Well, my jaw dropped, remember? And since it was all in pieces I was not able to speak. WTF? What do you mean there are no facilities for babies. Who’s fault is that. So provide them you stuck up, “babist” dive.
We left and Sanj, quite annoyed with me (probably because of this whole “jaw thing”) snarled at me: “Oh come on, stop being so dramatic”. (Wel, if he’s saying that to me after 10 years of knowing that being dramatic is my thing, this whole Paprika thing must have affected him too but in such a way that he dropped his marbles!)
– What do you mean stop being dramatic. It hurts so bad. My baby was rejected.
– Oh come on, you know there are places like that. Leave it. Let them be pretentious, we don’t need them. There’s lots of places to eat here.
I really felt hurt. For Arya. Although she, of course, had no idea what was going on, I felt as if I didn’t protect her from the evil world. I failed her. I didn’t stand up for her rights. She’s a human for god’s sake, she should be allowed EVERYWHERE. EVERYWHERE!!!! You hear you stupid Paprika and all other restaurants who apply such rules.
But Sanj was right – no point dwelling on this for too long. We ended up in Hun•Gry where Arya burst into tears, on seeing a lady in a purple (ridiculous) hat, pink fan in her hand. Not sure if that was the fan or the hat. Hard to communicate with an 8.5 month old baby. The lady, apparently was a member of the Red Hat Society (I didn’t eavesdrop, I swear; it turns out the lady was American and as you must be already familiar with this phenomenon – Americans in England sound very loud, it’s probably because all places in England are compact comparing to those in USA and Americans, used to large spaces, always speak loud because the distances between people are bigger too and when they come here it’s hard for them to turn down a notch; I personally find it cute; Sanj considers it annoying and as we learned recently, Arya gets all in tears).
When we arrived to Sopwell House I spotted a couple of more Red Hats and when we entered into the building, the reception was all dotted in purples and reds. It’s like all the parrots from a some Zoo hating away and got attracted by mooing of the cows grazing on the neighbouring grass.
Surprisingly this time Arya did not even notice the ladies. She must have been admiring the place, just like her mummy.
And from this moment, everything (EVERYTHING!!!) is amazing. The receptionist who is so “incondesendingly” kind, I almost feel as if thousands of kittens were licking me while squeaking in human voice: “We love you, you’re so pretty and smart and you’re better than our mummy”. And the porter who’s showing us around, slightly shy but professional to the very top of his buttoned collar. And the gate that opens to the separate (read: for the privileged) area with a Thai style garden and a jacuzzi. And our suite with a private terrace with a private hot tub (which I plunged into the minute the porter was gone, although I was so excited that I almost invited him and all the other guests to join me in the tub). Two floors (a lift was missing – well, that’s a deal-breaker), plasma TV downstairs and upstairs and a bathroom spa.
I had my treatments booked for next morning so on Saturday we were celebrating with drinks and food. Arya had her whole box of toys brought from home and she enjoyed the views, new people and of course food. Oh help me god, how she enjoys food.
Next morning was a slight hangover moment which is rather sad because the previous night I drank only two glasses of wine and half of a glass of champagne (yes, I know it’s the mixing thing) – some things have to be done: since we didn’t take any headache tablets (how had I supposed to know that two glasses would kill me???) I was forced (by higher powers, aka headache) to drink the remains of Arya’s nurofen (well, this girl has everything packed for all circumstances), hoping that my tri-active facial and massage would do the rest of the magic.
Because we were departing right after my treatment I packed suitcases leaving just my makeup thinking that I would come back to make myself even more beautiful for the road and for the rest of the day. Sanj loaded the car, Arya fell asleep and I went for my “me” time. The nicest part was that I was able to have my eyes closed and not trying to overhear if my baby is ok, not hearing her crying or having a good time (because if she’s having a good time without me I would be all jealous and upset and all my quality time would be ruined) or not being slapped in the face or have my hair pulled or being jumped on or sucked on. Basically I could lie calmly and be PAMPERED. Oh my god, I said it. I was being PAMPERED. I can swear there were tears under the shut eyelids. The tears of incomprehensible happiness. And then there was a wide smile, while leaving the spa and hearing my baby’s cooing. Sanj already checked out and the happy trio left the building.
I must have known something was not right then but on the other hand, why would I. Everything was amazing. I only realised half way through when we quickly popped into Dunelm that… ARGH!!!!!! Somebody help the poor fellows around – my bare face with no makeup was exposed to public. And that’s dangerous. They might go blind or never get out of the shock after such a horrid view… Well, hold on. After all I had my face all lifted and rejuvenated so i actually might be mistaken for Arya’s twin sister for that matter. So this time it was ok. What was not ok was the fact that MY MAKEUP KIT WAS CASUALLY SPREAD ON THE DRESSER IN THE LAVENDER ROOM, probably enjoying its treatment too. But that I discovered only at home, while unpacking the bag and yelling at Sanj that heras the done the final check before he left the suite for good. What the hell. He always does. ALWAYS! He does a routine check of my check and his own three other checks and this time… Well, Aryabwas his priority. Let’s praise the almighty that he took her with him.
It didn’t change the fact though that I was fuming and started getting palpitations because I just realised WHAT EXACTLY WAS IN MY MAKEUP KIT LEFT BEHIND. I estimated the loss for more or less £300 but it was my limited edition lipsticks and contouring set that pushed me over the edge.
If you now turning your head in disapproval, thinking how materialistic I am then screw you. Because I’m not. I probably would live happily ever after without the face enhancing instruments. And yes, I am grateful for having a roof above my head, healthy family and bread on my table, for a beautiful autumn and clear blue sky. I am. And life is beautiful and all that jazz but if I can fume I will fume. This allows me to get the negative energy off my system. It always have and I’m doing it now. It never works at the moment of fuming by it definitely cleanses my aura for the future. So my dramatic snorting, preaching, heavy breathing and what not lasted as long as this brilliant idea came to my mind – go and collect it. Bingo.
And that is another asset of booking a spa 45 minutes away from home. Within 2 hours my makeup was safe at home.
After we came back from Sardinia, so… over a month ago, Arya’s wardrobe was undergoing a massive refurbishment. Nothing. I repeat – nothing fit her. Apart from tons of sleepsuits which we usually have in abundance I had, perhaps, two decent outfits (using trousers or leggings as shorts). I did try dressing her in baby pink but no, I couldn’t… Cringing was too strong. I thought I would sprain my spine. With all the honesty, not only because I’ve got allergy to this colour but also because she looks in it like an old lady in a night gown.
And yes, it took me the whole month to sit down and do the online shopping. Zara and Gap were my first choices – affordable and stylish and I don’t get a heart attack when they get food-stained or “code browned” (sorry, yes, I broke my promise).
On Thursday we went out for a nice walk to the park and I let Arya enjoy Autumn in full bloom. Back in Poland this time of year is called “Golden Autumn” because of the colour of the leaves but as you can see in the photos – nature is still in its green mood and only occasional leaves turned golden or even brown. I must say – London has been so charming recently due to the abundance of sunshine.
Here are some shots from our walk in the park. Mind that the shoes in the first photo were quickly pushed off and Arya was parading in too small socks (I was hoping that they would go unnoticed).
Ok, I promise this blog is not about code brown, but this short anecdote is quite hilarious and I have to mention it. So nappy changing is Sanj’s thing. We unspokenly decided that this task will be his bonding time with the baby. Of course I do the honours on weekdays until daddy comes back from work. As much as San-Jay has mastered nappy changing like a pro, including the “lift & shift” manoeuvre (oh yeah), there were moments, incidents, tiny hiccups… Like the other day I’m entering the scene and I see Arya dressed in her sleepsuit – legs in sleeves and hands in legs. Unbuttoned of course because something was not right according to my husband. But the one that makes me giggle is here:
I received the “Code brown” message which always means: “I won’t cope on my own, you need to join me and hopefully we will survive!”. So I’m coming in. The picture was pretty pathetic and we couldn’t save the clothes. I ran for scissors and cut the body open. For the sanity of readers I will not be too descriptive but all I can say is that probably half of the whole baby wipes packet was used up. Sanj got into a state of manic obsession as after seeing poo everywhere (literally everywhere) he probably “miraged ” it even more “everywherer” so he went into desperado cleaning mode, rubbing all possible surfaces. I myself was a bit engaged with sorting out my own hands when suddenly I see my husband wiping Arya’s butt cheek, wiping a few times then staring at it, then again, and again. At that point I was already convinced that he lost it so I just stopped his hand from making any more movements and I said quietly: “San-Jay, this is her birthmark. You will not erase her birthmark!”
“Oh” came out of his mouth and I chuckled like a choking squirrel.
That’s it. No more code brown stories (at least for some time).
Ok, I will explain the “lift & shift” because I can sense you are itching to know. Apparently this is a technical term in a professional environment. In baby environment however it’s a quick nappy change in a situation where there’s no tools except just a nappy or when the baby is sleeping and the nappy is too full for a comfortable night. This manoeuvre requires a skill to replace a diaper in a quick and gentle manner such that the baby doesn’t even know it’s being changed.
One last thing – and it’s a serious matter. When Arya was born I obviously was panicking on average once an hour, for various reasons (not that I don’t panick now) and poo was one of them. This article and chart were particularly helpful.
I always considered San-Jay creative (as much as I don’t admit it face-to-face and make jokes about his lameness) but only when Arya arrived in our family I started applauding his talent. Many times I caught him making up some sort of entertainment for her one of which was dressing her up into various characters with a single white cloth in front of the mirror and telling her who she was. “Oooh Arya, Egyptian princess”. And then: “Ahoy, Arya one-eyed pirate”. Or: “Babe, we’ve got a ghost here”…
A couple of evenings ago, it was one of those times when Arya decided not to sleep keeping us exhausted to the late hours. While Sanj was sitting with her I was trying to tidy up the kitchen. I came back to this:
It was brilliant. Pieces of magazine (anything will do, except my Vogue – that’s the rule in this house). Here how it kept Arya entertained:
Just got back from Sardinia. I think it’s a good time to start this blog. Rested and charged, Arya – six month in this world now.
Italy is our place, San-Jay’s and mine – it’s like our second home although neither of us has an actual, historical connection to it. I always say that I feel like I’ve lived there before. It’s this confidence and comfort in your heart, on your whole body, your mind of a little child. You’re back to innocence. Not even the familiarity but this safety and warmth. If you have a place like that, you know what I’m trying to express. For San-Jay it’s the sense of no judgement, no worries, the utopian la dolce vita and great organic wine (although this time it was Sardinian Ichnusa that was trending ).
And now I took my Arya Sofia with me. Of course she won’t remember this experience (unless she’s some kinda scientific marvel, which I wouldn’t mind if she was) but I do believe that the feeling associated with Sardinia will stay within her. Perhaps the sight of the azure of the waters, the smell of sun screen on her body mixed with iodine whiffed by the seaside breeze. Maybe the first touch of slightly foamy waves on her toes. Maybe. Maybe not but I’d like to create positive experiences for her, for us, for my family as much as I can only hoping that they will stay positive in our memory.