A Good & Comfortable Sofa Can Improve Your Life

Anyone who has small children, an active life and constantly struggles to catch up sufficiently on sleep is a paid up member of the 21st century. Some Prime Ministers have claimed that they ran the country on only 3 hours sleep – but they had assistance in many a form. If you master the art of cat napping on a sofa, life can improve.

A good sofa isn’t just for sitting on

Despite running low on sleep, you’ve succeeded in getting yourself and your family ready in the morning. Now everyone’s out of the house, this might be the time to try and grab a few minutes for yourself. Put on some music, open your favourite book or anything else that will calm you down and give you the chance to sit or stretch out – and maybe even lull you into a relaxing snooze. There are many ranges of sofa that will accommodate your need for relaxation. For the height in relaxation, find a store which has Gplan sofas for sale, lie back and discover out why they really do live up to the hype. I can guarantee you’ll walk away with a suite, or at least coveting one.

Ancient rules are there to be broken

Our mothers used to tell us that a woman who sat down during the course of the day was a lazy woman. But our mothers didn’t try to run a business from home, look after a family and pay the bills. In the 21st century women are expected to be Mother Teresa and Alan Sugar rolled into one, a nearly impossible task. A 2013 article in The Daily Telegraph extolled the virtues of the power nap. The article quoted a sleep specialist who said: “If people don’t sleep enough at night and have some restorative sleep during the day that’s perfectly fine.” A comfortable sofa is a perfect place to enjoy a quick nap before facing the rest of the day head on.

A comfortable and relaxing room can help your inner calm

If you design your sitting room so that you really can unwind, then you should start to feel better. Try and restrict all the children’s paraphernalia to their bedrooms. Invest in a baby alarm so that you’ll be confident that your child is safe at all times. No one is a ‘super mum’. Any of the TV shows or magazine articles that display happy cheery women against the backdrop of pristine elegance have done so with the help of legions of assistants and set designers. There’s probably been a nanny in the background to care for the children. Just be realistic: grab a nap when you can and try to strike a balance between enjoying time with your young children and getting the most out of life.

Research source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10361149/Do-power-naps-really-work.html

This is a guest post.

All the Small Things #4

Apologies for my lateness, my blog apparently self combusted at some point last night and a crack team of techies have been working to glue it back together again. Or something. I think servers were mentioned. Maybe. IDK.

This weeks All the Small Things was a totally easy one for me, in amongst the shitty appointments, shitty weather and Things. To. Do pouring out of my eye sockets, one thing has been a real standout.

Two words.

Wanna guess?

No, not white wine.

Although, let’s be honest. It helps right?

Anyway.

Team Honk, innit.

For a few days this last week I’ve been helping out on the Team Honk twitter feed, drumming up support for the teams on the epic Lands End to John O’Groats relay for Sport Relief, getting cramp in my fingers from the amount of tweets I’ve stabbed into the keyboard and burnt a hole in my mousepad from continuously clicking “Retweet.”

It’s been incredible to be on the other side and really see the power of blogging in action, seeing #teamhonkrelay and #honkopoly trending, the simply vast amount of support and energy for everyone involved – from the virtual world and their local communities, and general COME ON TEAM HONK, YA BEAUTY!

honkyHONK

Totally inspiring, utterly humbling, and properly warm and fuzziness left in your belly.

Go on, you know what to do. Donate here.

Please feel free to add your linky in the dooby-doo below, pop the badge on your blog post if you fancy it and try to comment on the other posts linking up so we can spread the happy vibes! And you can read what I’m going on about with all this “Small Things” waffle here.

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She’s Hearing Voices

I shrink into the corner, next to the wall smothered in posters for local support groups, emergency telephone numbers, notices, “If you’re waiting longer than 15 minutes for your appointment, please let the reception staff know.” I check my phone - twenty two minutes, and place it back into my pocket without any intention of getting up or telling anyone.

My hands are shaking violently. I can sense the woman a few chairs away watching me, I stare at the floor hard, really hard and try to disappear. A man is at the reception shouting at the staff. He’s upset and threatening to do something if they refuse him to see someone. Out in the lobby area, someone else is shouting into their phone. The claustrophobic waiting area fills up with even more people, full of questions and names, clinging onto tattered letters as if their lives depend on it and I can’t breathe.

The man shouts again. Slamming his bag to the floor. Punching the Perspex partition that separates us from them.

A baby cries somewhere.

It sounds like Noah.

The woman in the lobby swears into her phone, growing louder as the door between us swings open.

People walk around in the lobby, without any idea of where to go or how they got here in the first place.

A man appears at the door. He looks around the waiting room in chaos as if it’s completely normal. He searches the faces.

“Cassandra?” he says to the room, directing it to no one.

I stand and follow him to the door. He walks and I follow through halls full of locked doors. My heart begins to hammer against my ribs and a sense of hopelessness fills me as we trudge deeper and deeper into this labyrinth of closed doors. No natural light reaches the corridors, the mock Andy Warhol prints dotted along the walls, bold colours, child-like shapes and squiggles completely out of place on the dead, grey walls.

Like a bright red ball gown at a funeral.

Footsteps.

We reach a door, he unlocks it and we walk in.

“Take a seat,” he says.

I perch at the edge of the chair closest to the door.

Fight or flight. Fight or flight. Fight or flight.

“Please, make yourself comfortable.” he laughs, sitting back in a way that I should copy him.

“I’m fine.” I say, staring at the door.

We begin the well-trodden routine of questions and one-word answers. All I can think is that I’m sat in a room I don’t know how to get to the outside from, the man I don’t know asks me personal questions, I don’t know his name. I don’t know what I’m doing here. Or what the end point is.

“Are you ever happy?”

“No.”

“Do you have highs and lows?”

“No.”

“Do you think of harming yourself?”

“Yes.”

“Have you?”

“Yes.”

“Show me.”

“No.”

It continues. For an eternity. I keep staring at the door. My hands keep shaking.

He asks if there are any significant life events from my childhood. I look at him for the first time.

“Well?”

“It should all be in my notes.” I point at the stack of papers in front of him on the desk.

“Yes, I know, but it’s better if I can hear it in your own words.” he laughs. Again.

I shake my head and then the tears start.

“OK, you don’t have to.” he looks scared. I gaze at the door again.

I tune out while he talks about what we do next. How they’re going to fix me. Where he’s referring me to. Who’s going to call me. I don’t allow myself to listen as I’ve heard it all before. I pinch my hand to stop the tears, to concentrate on something.

“What we can do is give you an anti-psychotic to take with your anti-depressants.”

“What?”

“It should give you a high, so you’re not so low. Do you want to give them a try?”

“No.”

“… OK. So we’ll continue with what you’re on for six more weeks?”

“Yes.”

“Alright. And I’ll see you again in six weeks, I’ll send you a letter confirming the appointment.”

“OK.”

He offers his hand for me to shake and I ignore it.

Eventually we’re back in the corridor, he’s leading me to the exit, away from the locked doors.

Footsteps.

He says goodbye and I duck past him, desperate to see sunlight again. I can’t breathe.

My feet carry me through the maze of doors, the stairwells, the figures standing around.

The walls caving in, they talk to me as I dash past. Echoes of voices. Shouting. Babies crying. My lungs feel ready to explode as I reach the final door to the exit. Cold air rushes over me. Greying sunlight. The voices stop midsentence as the automatic doors close behind me.

 

All the Small Things #3

See my inane, desperately-clinging-onto-being-more-positive-in-2014-resolution grin? Can you feel it vibrating through the screen? All teeth and stretched muscles and OMFG, CAN YOU FEEL IT? Can ya?!

So…Small things… Small things… I’m struggling a bit this week if I’m honest… This doesn’t count but I need to share it somewhere. I was awoken on Sunday by Bean unzipping my onesie while I was asleep. Obvs I wasn’t wearing a bra, that defeats the whole point of perfect onesiedom. He then tried to ogle my boobs, so in my bleary-eyed panic, I grabbed the zip, yanked it up and managed to catch a nip in the zip. Nip in the zip. Oh yes. That is precisely not how to wake up on a Sunday. Make a note of it. You’re welcome.

photo (19)

Coffee & Savlon. Welcome to parenthood.

Anyway.

Yesterday morning Noah woke me at fuck knows past stupid o’clock, (i.e pre-6am) with a blood curdling scream of “MUMMYYYY, I’M DYYYYYING!”

It transpires that he had taken it upon himself to go downstairs to prepare some breakfast. Which is fine. In fact, that’s like the ultimate dream innit? There was only half a box of Shreddies and two pints of milk cemented to the floor and flung up to waist-height on the walls. The issue was that he’d then decided that wasn’t enough, he needed some sugar, dammit. So a four year old, giddy from his own sense of freedom, a veritable death trap pre-prepared upon the floor, and a glass sugar bowl equals… Yeah, he slipped over quite spectacularly, smashed the sugar bowl, and somehow, somehow, only got away with a little nick on his hand.

The sickening feeling in the top of my chest is still clinging to me like smoke. Just… I won’t even say it. You’re thinking it too, aren’t you? Yeah.

Suffice to say, the stairgate is back up now.

With a fucking padlock on it.

But look, LOOK, STILL SMILING FFS.

The end of the day all came to a dramatic crescendo, after my eye was at the receiving end of a Cadbury’s Creme Egg, thrown with such velocity from the overtired, angered paw belonging to my son. I’m still seeing stars. Plus after daring to go to the bathroom for approximately 50 seconds, I opened the door to find that Noah had thrown a dirty protest. A really dirty protest.

Seriously? Do other four years shit on the carpet?

Back to my original point, nothing exactly happened. I didn’t achieve anything as such. There were still mini disasters, as there apparently always will be, I ended it scrubbing poo out of carpet and it was still a good day.

As he was climbing into bed, unfathomably still full of energy, mischief bubbling just under his cotton pyjamas. He grabbed my ear –  because, y’know, ears are the source of all sleepy powers, right?  - cocooned himself under his duvet, those little strong fingers still grasping my earlobe, there was finally silence.

“I had a good day with you, mummy.” he says.

I brush away his fringe, kiss his forehead and quietly read to him until he eventually drifts off to sleep, to dream about Crème Eggs, wrestling and poo. As I close his bedroom door, all tip toed feet, missing the creaky floor boards like a minesweeper, I think – Me too, actually.

I mean obvs, it still means my child is a sadist, and a perverted one at that, but at least he’s a happy sadist.

Please feel free to add your linky in the dooby-doo below, pop the badge on your blog post if you fancy it and try to comment on the other posts linking up so we can spread the happy vibes!

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Social Media Pariah

  • Firstly, to be at all popular on social media, you must clone yourself. Mm hmm. Yes. You absolutely need at least two of you to make this online presence shit at all possible. One of you chained to the laptop / phone / iPad doing all the geekery and the other, complete with SLR in hand, like, doing stuff to actually talk about. Then take serene photos that you can edit and make the whole of Pinterest weep at your superior creative skillz.
  • Talk. Talk talk talk. If you can’t think of anything hilariously witty or profound to say, and your funny photos of cats with captions stockpile has been decimated – talk to other folk innit. Make little online relationships, no, not those relationships, unless you’re into all that, and take revealing selfies and take part in #tittytuesday. This is totally going all wrong here, MAKE FRIENDS, that’s all I mean. Christ.
  • Keep poo talk to a minimum. I personally enjoy a bit of a poo talk, I think working in a pub, owning a managerie of animals and most importantly, a small child, has totally desensitised me to poo. I find it amusing when my kid announces proudly that he has “DONE A NUMBER 2!” to discover that yes, he’s done a poo in the toilet - BUT OMFG LOOK, IT’S IN THE SHAPE OF AN ACTUAL NUMBER 2! GENIUS! Others might not like this, tread with poo carefully, both literally and metaphorically. At least try to refrain from Instagramming it.
  • Be self deprecating. Post photos of yourself looking like shit. But not in the highly annoying actually I look fine but I’ll say I don’t so people say I do mind fuckery bollocks. No. In a proper, IKR? I totes look like Dot Cotton after a bender at 6am. People like to be able to relate to your down-to-earthiness.

tweet tweet

  • Have no shame. None. Zero. And then on top of that, have no shame for your loved ones either. Did they do something utterly cringe? Put that shit on Facebook. Preferably with a photo. Or a collage of photos. Find some selfies taken by your kid on your phone? That’s going straight to Twitter. Accidently flash the postman? Go out with yesterday’s pants stuck to your jeans? What? It happens, don’t judge me. You get the idea. Confess all in a “Forgive me Father Twitter, for I have sinned, it has been one hour and thirty seven minutes and five retweets since my last confession…”
  • Hashtag the fuck out of everything. This makes you look proper profesh and as if you really know what you’re doing. Sod it - speak solely in hashtags. Make the most of those 140 characters and just use no spaces. Efficient, right?
  • Multi-task. You have to possess the ability to tweet thoughtful witticisms whilst watching that must-see episode of Bake Off / Sherlock / X Factor as it happens. You can go deeper and do the same with Question Time et al, but you must also have balls of steel for that trick.
  • And finally, never ever take any notice of stupid lists on the internet that tell you how to be a success on social media. Just be yourself. If that doesn’t work, fake that shit.

All the Small Things #2

He appeared at the classroom door, first in line, while his teacher signalled gently with her hand for the children to wait as she located the correct parents huddled in the biting cold of the playground. He spotted me. I could tell from over twenty feet away that we was brimming with excited energy, so much so he seemed to buzz and fizz with it.

Slowly, his teacher said something to him and took her hand away.

And he was off, like a greyhound from the traps. A blur of scuffed school shoes, wild blonde hair and MUMMYMUMMYMUMMY LOOK!

He crashed into me, a tirade of jumbled, breathless words fell from his mouth and it took me several moments to understand exactly what he was trying to tell me.

ST-STAR, BOOK BAG, STAR OF THE WEEK, MUMMY, LOOK IN MY BOOK BAG – I’M STAR OF THE WEEK!

I duly did as I was told, obvs, and had a look in his book bag, to find the class bear, Chestnut and a rather special looking certificate. Without properly seeing the words, I popped it all back into his bag for when we got home, gave him a kiss and told him how proud I was of him. By this point, he looked so happy he was going to burst.

Once we were home, muddy shoes were kicked off, coats reluctantly hung up, and leftover food from his lunch had been carefully disposed of. We all sat down together to have a proper read of his special certificate and talk about Chestnut the bear.

photo (5)

Oh I thought. Oh. And then I maybe cried a little and hugged Bean a bit too tight.

He flapped away his emotional mothership and proceeded to spend the rest of the evening showing Chestnut all his favourite things, playing with him, sharing his dinner with him while he told him our plans for the weekend, before finally curling tightly around him in bed and falling asleep, sighing contentedly as he dreamt.

photo (11)

I’m so proud. Sickeningly so. And beyond amazed, that against everything, all the bad stuff, the shaky starts and stumbles, the shit circumstances and the depression that cripples me in various ways every single day, that he’s happy.

photo (8)

Time and time again, I’m told what a lovely smile he has, how he’s always so pleased to see anyone and everyone, and how he’s so full of joy.

I hear the words, but I’ve never let myself believe them, completely convinced that I’ll eventually break him or that he was faking it because all this stuff was affecting him.

But now, I’m actually letting myself believe it’s true. And that’s a pretty special feeling.

photo (10)

Please feel free to add your linky in the dooby-doo below, pop the badge on your blog post if you fancy it and try to comment on the other posts linking up so we can spread the happy vibes far and wide! You can also have a nose about what the dealio is with all this Small Things business here.

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All the Small Things

My eyeballs are broken. They simply refuse to work without my strong, stupidly obnoxious glasses that seemed like such a fantastic idea at the time of purchase. This affliction is definitely not aided by reading thousands and thousands of tiny pixelated words upon various screens every single day. Usually in the dark. Always when I’m exhausted and forget to wear said glasses. Obvs.

This results in a mighty ball of pain and misery radiating somewhere in my skull behind my right eye.

allthesmallthings

Whilst attending a blog conference last November, I did what any self respecting Essex girl would do on her first day out sans-child in six months and ended up violently vomming in the loos by the end of the day. Not due to the jolly cocktails expertly shaken by somewhat terrified looking twenty-something men dressed as lifeguards faced with a room full 200 women, heady from the fumes of free booze, freedom and being within close proximity to Richard Bacon.

More to do with staring at a bloody massive projector screen all day, so luminous it was bordering the realms of neon, reading tweets by people I was sitting in a room with. Of course I forgot to take my glasses with me. I tried not to look, honestly I did. I found myself intensely squinting at the panel on the stage, trying to look deep in thought, but my eyes kept being pulled back to the fucking massive glowing elephant in the room and it was Poltergeist all over again. Once I went towards the light all that could bring me back was evacuating my stomach contents and leaning my head against the cool, cubicle partition walls for half an hour.

Anyway.

This seeing thing is right high maintenance, innit?

First you’ve got to have a tracking device on the things at all times, or else they end up in the bread bin or in Alvin and the Chipmunks – The Squeakquel  DVD case. Next, you need to duct tape them to your face. And then, you need to clean them. A lot.

Suffice to say, I don’t do any of this. The glasses get re-homed to the bread bin by evil, prankster pixies for weeks at a time. And when I do find them, they’re so filthy I’m worse off than I was without them.

The past week has whispered past me in a blur of punch-drunk, medicated vacancy. I’m floating through everything in a state of nightmarish dreamyness, nothing seemingly real. When I’m desperately trying to concentrate on anything for longer than two minutes, whether I want it to or not, my head just keeps floating along. It’s a bit inconvenient tbh.

And during yet another spell of the headache of doom yesterday, I aggressively polished my glasses on my sleeve, expecting them to be a smeary mess when I stuck them on my head and hurriedly left to pick up the Bean from school without giving them another thought.

As I walked, there was a moment. A brief spell of clarity, the sun came out from behind the blackout blind of thick cloud and suddenly I was thrown into a Hi-Def world and it was fucking amazing for the five minutes it lasted. I mean, yeah, the ground was still sodden from the unrelenting rain and all I could smell was fox piss, but I could see, and I felt like I was actually here for five minutes.

If you’d like to link up your own All the Small Things post, please feel free to add your URL to the thingy below and spread a bit of love around amongst yourselves for me. You can also add the badge below if you fancy it and read what it’s all about here.

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Honk!

Seriously, what came over me?

Flapping my arms wildly and over enthusiastically proclaiming “YES, YES I’D TOTALLY LOVE TO WALK MILES AND MILES AND MILES FOR YOU!” With the addition of probably wearing some sort of comedy get up. At stupid o’clock in the morning. On a Sunday.

Initially I thought I’d be facing the 20 odd miles alone. But after dragging in some back up, we’re now sharing the leg between three of us, so it’s roughly 7 miles each now. But you can bet your sweet ass that I’ll bloody do the whole lot if I have to and it gets us more pennies.

Bearing in mind I need a sit down after doing the school run or a bit of a brisk vacuum, I’m by absolutely no means fit at all. As in, by no stretch of the imagination whatsoever. I’m a sedentary creature, I’m at my best when I’m not in motion, with cake in hand. I get all anxious and itchy at the thought of wearing funny costumes and asking people for money. Plus I’ll be forced to wear Converse for it. Yeah I know, I’m mega prepared for this.

So again, WTAF was I thinking saying yes?

Because, quite simply, I couldn’t not.

th

This time last year the blogging world got whipped into a right frenzy for Comic Relief, all in the name of Team Honk, the brainchild of T, Annie and Penny. From epic bike rides, to clambering up Mount Snowdon and Annie chopping off her gorgeous locks, together we all managed to raise £10,000 for Comic Relief in just four weeks. This year, for Sport Relief the aim is to raise £20,000 with the immense Team Honk Relay.

Comparing my lack of agility and suitable footwear to exactly what Sport Relief do to help disadvantaged people in the UK and across the world is frankly laughable. So with that firmly in mind, we’ll be collecting the Team Honk baton which has travelled all the way from Lands End from the amazing bike-riding ninja Mari on Saturday, to help it on its journey to John O’Groats. Then bright and early on Sunday, I’ll be donning my bright red onesie and Converse to walk until I can literally walk no more. And yes, I’m petrified. I’ll then pass the baton on to the beautiful Jamillah, to then be passed on to Sherry (who are both a lot more able with their running skillz than me and will put me to utter shame) to run it up to the next team.

But folks, I can’t do this without your support, seriously. If you can spare us a tweet or sponsor us a quid, then please, please do, it’ll truly make so much difference.

Here’s a little idea of where your money goes:

• £1 could provide a hot meal for a child in the UK living in extreme poverty.
• £5 could pay for a mosquito net to protect a mother and her baby in Africa from contracting malaria while they sleep.
• £10 could enable an older person in the UK who just lost someone they love to attend a group activity.
• £25 could run a sports session for disabled children in the UK, giving them the chance to play with other young people.
• £100 could feed 200 children living on the streets in India for one day.
• £300 could provide a water point in the slums of Tanzania, giving hundreds of families access to safe, clean water.
• £500 could provide six months of support for a young person in the UK with mental health issues.

Team Honk 2014 blogger Relay

Some extra info to feast your eyeballs on:

The official text donate number: Text HONK to 70005 and donate £5 to Sport Relief .

  • The Team Honk Blogger Relay starts in Lands End on the 12th January 2014 and finishes in John O Groats on the 23rd March 2014.
  • We aim to raise over £20,000 for Sport Relief.
  • #teamhonkrelay involves over 200 bloggers, their friends and families in a route that zig zags up the UK taking in 38 regional teams.
  • Here you can see the official regional route details and dates for the relay : http://teamhonk.org/2014-blogger-relay/team-honk-2014-relay-route-and-masterplan/
  • The Team Honk Story so far has info on Red Nose Day last year.

The first ever Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games take place from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd March 2014. The public can join the fun and games by running, swimming or cycling their way to raising cash at over a thousand venues around the country, including the landmark events at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

As one of the biggest fundraising events, Sport Relief brings the entire nation together to get active raise cash and change lives. The money raised by the public is spent by Comic Relief to help transform the lives of some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people both at home in the UK and across the world.

Whoa

Do you ever get that thing, where you’re all immersed in your mundane stuff, contemplating why it’s always the teeny Mars bars and Bounty bars left at the bottom of the Celebrations tin, or suddenly, seven hours later thinking of the perfect Pointless answer. Or… Ya know… Just walking or something, and then BOOM, just thinking…

WHOA.

WHAT AM I DOING?!

WHO AM I?!

And obvs, you don’t actually scream it out loud, then you’d really panic the poor woman on the checkout in Tesco at 2am, ya know, cos you couldn’t sleep and thought it’d be a good idea to buy some humorously named pasta instead of staying in bed and reading. Oh no. You keep the mini crisis to yourself of course.

A mini existential blip, all in your head that lasts for about 3.8 seconds.

As soon as it hits you can feel the sudden adrenalin, the pulse as your nervous system kicks in, the panic starting to rise, the heartbeat quicken and in that moment, poof, it’s gone.

DUDE.

CHILL. IT’S YOU, CAS.

YOU’RE FOOD SHOPPING FFS.

Weird, isn’t it?

Similar to when someone dies. You can forget about it for a while, a few hours maybe, when suddenly you’re reliving it all over again, in desperate need to sit down for five minutes to take it all in and absorb it.

I keep getting this sudden, scary, sad WHOA feeling. I have for a few weeks now. This one’s a bit harder to shoo away though, and doesn’t seem to abate. The day is peppered with them, dotted unevenly throughout the day like tea breaks or unfathomable tantrums from a four year old.

Some of you might already know what I’m about to type, and I’m sorry for sounding like the proverbial broken record, I am, truly.

OH LOOK, CATS WEARING MONOCLES!

*points frantically*

I won’t say we got some news, it wasn’t news, it was stuff we already feared and hoped we’d never hear actually said out loud and be forced to deal with it properly. It wasn’t said maliciously or unkindly, just a comment, a worse case scenario, out in the open for us to really look at.

That his M.E is so aggressive.

His quality of life is so poor.

It’s all so sad.

He’s so young.

And that he probably won’t see 50.

And then… Then what? I know it’s not set in stone. I know it’s not a death sentence around his neck, ticking down the last 16 years of his life. I know new drugs are being made every single day and something, something might just turn this mess around somehow. I know that.

But…

Now more than ever, it’s more obvious of what he’s lost. Of what we’ve lost. Of what Noah and the other children who we’ll now probably never have, have lost.

And all that’s left is the sadness.

Until another few seconds have passed, and I’ve got to smile through it, for him, for them, and put the kettle on again, dreading the next time it’s going to hit me.

Seeds of Doubt

They say these things are sent to test us – accompanied with an inane smile with a hint of fear in their eyes. They say that. Well, if that’s the bloody case, have I won yet? Have I passed? I’ve had everything thrown at me this month, from my boiler breaking, anti-depressants sending me loopy, my oven blowing up, sickness bugs, insomnia, my nan having a stroke, colds, the TV packing up, a child with awful constipation that left him sobbing on the loo and Rob collapsing. Twice.

That’s all on top of the standard mentaldom of everyday life. With schools never ending demands of “Please send your child in with a star costume / money / plastic cups filled with sweets / cardboard boxes / a stamped address envelope (delete as applicable) etc etc. Christmas meltdowns ensuing and bajillion other things I’ve successfully managed to block out with exhaustion and a lack of caring.

It’s all been dealt with though. Somehow. I’ve found if I try really, really hard I can shit miracles.

But do you know what’s got to me the most? Above not being able to have a shower for five days? Above spending every last penny I had to pay for some mysterious part to magically resurrect my boiler? Even beyond my blind panic about my nan’s and partner’s health?

My four year old getting it into his beautiful head that he’s fat.

Yes, that’s right.

Fat.

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Watching him in horror climbing down from the dining table once he’s finished his dinner and immediately dropping to the floor to (attempt to) do push ups. Hearing the words I don’t want to have a big tummy, tumble from his mouth with a tangible edge of anxiety in his words. Him saying that he has to do lots of exercise so he doesn’t get a big tummy.

Realising with a massive thump in the pit of my stomach that my four year old has already made the connection that big equals bad. I had no doubt in this day and age it would be inevitable when he’s older, even if it wasn’t a full blown complex, then it’d more likely be just a smidge of lingering doubt about himself, no matter how many times I tell him he’s beautiful.

But not when he’s fucking four. Not when his physique is still very much like a toddler’s with a protruding tummy that will only diminish as he grows and gets older – not with a bloody push ups.

So how did this ugly little seed get planted into his gorgeous little head?

I know what your thinking.

You’re thinking, Ahhh, Cas, you have a some extra junk in the trunk, he’s got it from you, right?

And actually, no, as much as I blame myself for every single minute thing, no. I make a point not to say negative things about myself in front of him, however subtle. I’ve even ensured I never use the word “fat” with him around because I know from experience it’s one of those words that sticks. I don’t go on crazy-arsed diets, I don’t fall into the trap of pigeon holing foods as “good” and “bad”.

So where then, you ask?

Peppa motherfucking Pig, that’s where.

“I don’t want a big tummy like Daddy Pig.”

“I have to do exercises like Daddy Pig so I don’t get big, mummy.”

A children’s program. A program that’s mainly watched by pre-schoolers and toddlers.

A program where for some reason, it’s a running joke that Daddy Pig has a big tummy and is lazy, and we must all poke fun at him for this, even though he’s the same bloody size and shape as all the other daddys and male characters in the program.

What the actual fucking fuck?

I’m absolutely crushed.

My little boy, who accepts everyone without question, be it their size, age, colour, sex or what cartoon character they have on their lunch bag, has already descended on the downward spiral of not being able to accept himself. And no matter how many times I say to him that him having a big tummy is a good thing, as it means he’s been very clever and eaten all of his dinner, how many times I tell him he’s beautiful, and so special and that I love him more than anything, I’m terrified that this is a slippery slope that I just can’t cushion and the damage is already done.