Archive for January, 2013

Invisible Switches.

I don’t think any of us even give them a second thought as we are growing up from infanthood but they are alway there. They are only a small part of the magnitude of invisible cogs that work away at developing our lives, but they don’t reveal themselves until we are much older, well, grandparents really. In fact, it is only since I am enjoying being a ‘hands on’ grandparent that these little switches have unveiled themselves to me. Up to  this point I was aware of the little changes but took no notice, merely accepting life as it happened but a cute comment from my two and a half year old grand daughter made me stop and think.

Grandpa: ( thinking about a little friend she used to call her boyfriend ) ‘Have you got a boyfriend Millie?’

Millie: ‘I don’t like boys!’ she pauses for thought … ‘ but I like you Grandpa.’

Now it was less than a year ago she was managing one or two words, mainly repetitive stuff then a year later not only has she mastered language but is able to articulate an associated thought with perfect vocabulary. Personally, I think it is incredible how quickly comprehension and communication develops and how much it changes the way they behave. I have this theory that they don’t speak before because they are sussing us all out. They listen and understand then just as they get to the cute stage they open their mouths and out comes all this accurate and self opinionated language. Switch number one has been activated! Of course the terrible twos can be explained quite easily now…’ I have sat and listened to all the drivel for two years and it’s my turn now! Payback!’

So for the next few months they carry on practising their language and listening, playing out their scenarios with toys until another switch activates.. Bodily functions. Up to this point they have watched while parents have introduced the prospect maybe; they listened, placed dolls and teddies on the potty, toilet visits becomes a joint affair and all modesty is lost as they watch you… of course, learning by observation, but the commentary can leave the adult in us cringing. They are gearing up for the next switch, or is it two? The declaration of I don’t want to wear a nappy any more is the cue and body function control is being exercised, most of the time anyway. What we don’t notice is the switch that says ‘ I am two, I can speak and now I can get you back for all the embarrassing babytalk you poured onto our ears.’ Please, someone click the switch that teaches them that parents get embarrassed. OK we have learned to live with the smells and noises they make, most noticable on public transport or in crowded places, but to have ‘ I need a poo!’  announced in a loudspeaker voice has many a parent blushing.

As time passes, switch after unnoticed switch is activated at certain years and this carries on for the rest of our lives. Unnassuming, unnoticed by the host person yet obvious enough for the adults to make comments such as.. ‘Ah, terrible twos eh?’ with understanding nodding of the head. Then there’s the big one… the teenage switch! accompanied by well meaning relatives comments like ‘It will pass soon.’ with a condescending pat on the arm.

These are all very obvious signs of growing up but I was laying in bed the other morning and thinking about it all. It was then that I realised there are so many of these switches. Some occur naturally but others are triggered by external events. I remember my older daughter pointing out another one to me that I hadn’t noticed myself. Rather than continue her education in 6th form, she made the decision to go to college for her ‘A’ levels. After only a few months she mentioned the difference in her behaviour compared to that of the friends still at school. They were still school children and still rather childish but college had triggered off the maturity switch in her. She behaved differently, thought differently and was far more sensible in her approach to life.

It wasn’t until my younger daughters had their children that I noticed the other changes. The ‘Mummy switch’ changed my children into adults that were only able to communicate on mummy related issues for any length of time. What a big change that switch makes! This first of many in our adult lives, relationships, pregnancy and babies all have their own switches. I thought that might be the end of it but I took a look at how my life had changed. My way of thinking and acting were triggered by a silent code of behaviour that one would expect of a mature person. I hadn’t even noticed the change!

I think there is a link to the Mummy switch there though. I recognise it as clear as my daughters idolised their babies with every speaking moment only I was doing it as a grandparent. I want to share this extreme delight in these small people with everyone. I thought about family and friends and everyone is the same! It isn’t specific to any particular people. These are common among us all. What scares me is that I am beginning to recognise the older person switch twitching in myself along with the proud grandparent one.

If I go out my subconscious logs the possible loo stops, my bag carries a water bottle in case I am thirsty, tissues, painkillers, indigestion tablets, a plastic bag in case one of the children are sick, baby wipes… help!!! it will be comfy slippers next… noooo!!! this was the first winter I have felt the need for slippers rather than bare feet… it’s happening already!  I recognise my grandmother in things I do and say, the way I think is different. Thankfully I have plenty of life experience and education to be able to look at the ‘young generation’ (Agggghhhh)  and still be able to embrace change and fresh ideas. I do concede though and give my grandchildren encouragement by always calling on them to help me programme the tv remote or even the dvd player… I’m encouraging their self confidence aren’t I? The fact that I am relinquishing mine has nothing to do with the elderly switch. I am holding that back for at least another ten years and by then I shall let it go joyfully as having lived long enough to milk it for everything it has to offer.

Roll on the purple hat and behaving disgracefully to pay back all those embarrassing moments we have endured and just so we can watch the ‘Mum, what are you like?’ switch happen in our kids and smile to ourselves because we know that one day, it’ll happen to them too. The switches are in control!!!

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New Year a little late.

So how rubbish am I at blog writing? I console myself that at least some days and times I can be more consistent than others and so there might be something to read when I look back from the future. Happy , belated, New Year, well it’s only three days late and I refuse to mention those well thought out resolutions that might last oh about six to eight weeks maybe. The trouble is life… there are so many things to do, so many things I want to do and my lovely family life controls so much of my time – not that I am complaining in the least. I enjoy each precious moment with the children, the big ones as well as the little ones. This year I really want to try to fit in all the things that I have waiting for my attention.

My doll’s house that sits partially built on the table in my work room, half painted pictures that would take far less space on the wall, the stories waiting to be proofed and those that beg to be written. Dark winter evenings are so cosy beside the log fire and my patchwork memory quilt has grown to half king size now. It’s only taken 30 odd years. My step daughter calls it one of my UFOs… unfinished objects, I do disagree because it grows when the weather or light is too poor to be more productive, however the half-finished cross stitch pictures are another story. Christmas brought me numerous stamps again this year which reminds me my stamp collection needs updating again, and I have several postcards to also add to my collection… Oh where does the time go? I assure you, playing games on Facebook does have a lot to do with it.

2012 was a good year despite the end being a little ragged around the edges for me. I read other comments that say ‘I can’t wait for this year to be over.’ I think there must be something wrong with me because I can’t see what difference the calendar starting a new year makes to anything. After all it is just another day, isn’t it? I suppose it is a time we are expected to sit and reflect, but I do that often. Er, ok so you could call that procrastination, and that begs another question. Why, if I do sit and think about things at any other time is it not just reflection, assessment and a chance to change things? Why does the to do list seem to mount up during those moments yet at the ringing in of a new year it is ok, expected and nothing else matters. Ah well.

Now the new year has started the lighter evenings will begin to slowly brighten the darkness. In my garden tiny green shoots are already starting to appear. This year the resulting flowers will be an even bigger chance for reflection. My mother died at the end of October, which I am ok with. We were with her at the end and it does make all the difference to handling the situation. When my siblings and I cleared her flat there were several boxes of bulbs that she was waiting to plant in her balcony ‘garden’ and they were given to me. As much as I can’t wait to see the flowers explode their spring colours, I have mixed thoughts about how I shall feel. Will it make me sad? will I just enjoy the memory of my mother here? She never saw my home so all she had were pictures of my attempts at gardening.

This year is going to be much harder for me to spend time in the garden too. My health wasn’t too great around the same time. Pleurisy managed to knock me sideways a bit along with the diagnosis – finally – of an autoimmune problem, although they aren’t sure which one yet. At least I know that I am not imagining all the silly things I have coped with over the last year. All these things and yet I was still not sad to see 2012 go. I do welcome the wonderful things that have happened in the first few days of this year though. Seeing as the world didn’t come to an end on the 21st of December, I like to think that another explanation will come to fruition…and one that I am basing my thoughts, hopes and dreams on for the future.

I read that the winter equinox 2012 was the dawning a new age. The terrible times we have all been experiencing are gradually moving upwards toward a better future  – ok, over hundreds of years maybe. Everyone has heard of the Age of Aquarius haven’t they? Well that date was supposed to be the turning point to a better life. I reckon that we all need to embrace that and make it happen. No more complaining or doom and gloom stories, it is time we began to be more positive… No not positive it is going to be another bad year by the way, but time to change the way we think. The glass full type of thing..

I have a theory that if we think something long enough it will happen so when we go around thinking how bad things are, we wonder why they don’t improve. We expect bad stuff and, yes you got it, it happens to us.  And ok I can see how some people can find it difficult, especially when the dreadful damage of all the flooding is all around us wrecking our homes and disrupting lives but if we stopped for a few seconds to look for something good when everything seems so bad and focussed on that, I am sure things would improve.

So rather than any silly resolutions this year I am going to focus on being positive. In fact as much positive thinking that I can so that I am practically willing things to happen in a good way. I guess the wonderful things that are happening to me at the moment are proof of that, well the beginning anyway.. All last year I wanted to write and be published, not just the promotional anthologies that you get printed in then have to buy copious copies of just because it has one of your poems in, but my work in print. I started out painting pictures for a brilliant writer, Trevor Belshaw, and I began to believe in myself slowly. Through him I was put in touch with other websites where submissions for stories were wanted and I entered a couple of my own. I began to call myself an authoress and continued to work on my novel, despite still not being really published. I joined a writing course and refused to allow negative thoughts in. My first assignment was really encouraging and gave me another tremendous boost. Then the very beginning of this year I hear that two of my short stories are to be published in a book anyone can buy on Amazon!!! A real book! ‘The Best of Cafelit 2012’  I choose to believe my positive thinking is working. Btw, Trevor is a brilliant writer and I thoroughly recommend his children’s books    and his ‘grown up’ stories too.

The old year has been a brilliant springboard for the new one for me and I for one am looking forward to holding on tight and enjoying the ride. Come what may, my glass will be always half full… or maybe even full to the top,  I am going to achieve wonderful things this year – does anyone know a good life coach? …and who knows, I might be a bit more consistent with my blog writing too.

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