Two wheels, one sore arse

It’s been my first full week cycling to work this week. Note to self:

You are a 39 year old woman who hasn’t done any regular exercise for quite some time. To suddenly start cycling 11 miles a day will mean you get tired. This is ok. It doesn’t mean you are a failure.

Pigeons on the canal path are not your friend. Nor are the geese.

Neither are the workmen on Crown Island.

It may be worth the extra investment to get a more comfortable saddle.

The cycling app is not taking into account the roadworks and junctions when it says you are cycling slowly. Ignore the total – look at the split times.

Remember to give cars parked in the cycle path on the ring road a wide berth. I guarantee the drivers aren’t looking when they pull out or open their doors.

It’s going to get easier. And look, you’re enjoying it aren’t you?

 

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Little Miss Bossy

The irritating Facebook woman Sheryl Sandberg said the other day that she preferred people thought of little girls not as bossy but as assertive. Which is a fine statement. Bossy is a word that is only used to describe women; it’s rarely if at all meant in a positive light and she wants to stop people making girls feel rubbish for knowing what they want.

Problem is, sometimes the only word that accurately describes E is bossy. She doesn’t ask, she demands; she doesn’t request, she tells. And sometimes she points her finger at you too. It’s bossy. It’s not assertive. Assertiveness is not that rude.

I believe this is a natural thing – three year old girls are a horror. I read an article that says a three-year old girl is worse behaved than either sex are at eight years old. I didn’t care if it was true or not, but it did make a useful thing to tell S when he was despairing at E’s behaviour the other day. It’s just a phase.

I make her sound terrible and she really isn’t. Most of the time she’s lovely and fun. And much of her telling us off is a direct reflection of things and styles we say to her. She tells Daddy to say thank you if she takes him something, she looks at me and says “I said no!” with a cross face. It’s basically looking in a mirror. The hardest thing is keeping a straight face. There are times when she’s genuinely assertive – these often involve copying people she knows. She’s very fond of ‘circle time’ at the moment & organises me, S & some soft toys together to sing songs. She instructs us “big loud voices everyone!” It’s currently one of my favourite things.

The question is, how to erase the rudeness & bossy bits without getting rid of her assertiveness? I have no idea. But hopefully we can walk that line…

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Hormonally challenged

I threatened to write this last week. So here it is.

A few weeks ago I was reading my daily edition of The Pool on my phone on the tram (sentences your parents never thought you’d write) on the way to work when there was an article about no one talks about periods any more. We’ve become desensitised – they don’t even put the adverts with silly blue water on TV now. And I had a lightbulb moment. Of course! It’s my hormones!

It was like this. After giving birth, I was told I couldn’t go back to having the combined pill I’d been using so easily before we decided to conceive. I was too old for the combined pill and it was liable to cause blood clots. So they gave me a progesterone-only pill Cerazette. I didn’t like it. You took it everyday, didn’t bleed at all and never knew where I was with it, let alone a few other weird side effects. So I refused to take it any more and they suggested a hormone implanted coil. I believe I blogged about this being fitted.

It lasted only a few weeks as the main side effect was that it killed my sex drive. Pretty effective as a contraceptive but not really what we were hoping for. I may as well have been made of stone.

So I decided to turn my back on hormones for a while. The options were thin – the implant, injection and other pills are mainly all combined hormones and made for younger women. A whole industry that appears for younger women – like anyone younger than 37 is defunct in child bearing or sexual desires. I decided we’d manage without for a while till I had any idea what to do.

But this has meant other side effects. It turns out naturally I’m a physical wreck – tempers, headaches, painful boobs, all kinds of other nastiness. We’re were just trying to deal with this when I had my lightbulb moment and remembered that it might be an idea to go and see a doctor. Again.

She told me I’m a hormonal challenge – as my symptoms suggest a shortage of oestrogen and progesterone. She doesn’t think I’m going through the menopause which is disappointing. Frankly by now I just want the whole damn fuss over and done with. I’ve been bleeding since I was 10, I have no intention of bearing another child – this is nothing but extra hassle. But apparently you take after your mother in the timing – and my mum didn’t have the change for a while so I’ve got at least another 10 years. Oh joy.

They don’t want to give me oestrogen again. But they do in a small dose. I don’t think it’s quite HRT but it’s not far off. And so we wait to see how it works.

*sings* Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman…

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Healthy options…

So I’ve not been blogging for a while – mainly as I got stuck into the rewrite of my novel and couldn’t fit it all in. Here’s a quick catch up.

As I’m dealing with the ‘second summer of skin condition’ I thought I’d look at a few health issues, in case they could help. The main one was to reduce the amount of sugar that I consume – partly due to the skin and partly due to the fact that I’ve put on a stone since working compressed hours. Biscuits, offices and late hours – a killer for the waistline.

I’ve been using My Fitness Pal – a calorie counting app (though a misnamed one) which asks you to log all your food and calculates how many calories you have eaten. You can also log exercise. It sets you goals for how many grams of sugar, fat and carbs you should eat per day and yells at you if (as has happened with me) you don’t eat enough. I’ve been using it for just over a month and have lost the princely sum of no pounds. That’s right, I have lost no weight.

Now partly this is because I haven’t completely cut out sugar – I do have fruit, for example, and two whole glasses of alcohol in the weekends. I also have the habit of grabbing bread and lemon curd if I need to top up my calories to avoid being yelled at. And I believe going regularly without topping 1000 calories means your body goes into starvation mode and retains weight. I am honestly trying to eat the calories but it’s not always easy. And clearly, without consuming refined sugar, I’m still not eating the right things.

Basically the whole exercise is a lesson in nutrition. People told me nuts were good for you, the app says they are too fatty, I try to find some protein and fibre to snack on but practically everything is revolting. I tried endamame beans which my sister bought me as an experiment but they’re not very nice. Beef jerky is not really practical all the time.

So I’m now counting on losing weight through cycling to work – I’ve managed to find a route that takes me to work without going on any roads and I pick up my bike tomorrow. In the meantime, not eating a lot of sugar has made me feel better and not crave snacks all the time.

In addition to this I have two other (minor) health issues. One of these – hormones – will be covered in a separate blog for I feel the need for a full discussion. The other is my back. Even to type that I have a bad back makes me feel old. But there you go. So work arranged for me to see a physiotherapist in order to try some treatment that may prevent it getting worse.

In short, my long days at work (9 1/2 hours per day) followed by evenings in front of the computer at home, and days off where I lug E about, are straining my back muscles. Take this as a health warning, people working compressed hours – extra weight, no time to exercise and a buggered back. The thoracic section is straining the muscles. I have to get up from my desk every half an hour (another app – ReMind) and move about, plus do some stretches every night.

Getting up halfway through meetings is proving slightly embarrassing. And since I’ve been moving about and trying to retrain my muscles I’ve had a constant backache. I can only hope it’s going to improve soon.

This older mother lark is fine in trying to deal with behaviour, in feeling confident and passing on confidence, but physically I’m creaking…

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Room on the Broom – the stage show

Picture of the witch

Witch enjoyed seeing herself on stage and got this flag…

One of the things we’ve been waiting to do with E is take her to see a live show – a concert, a play, a panto – anything that captures how lovely it is to watch a live performance. With her favourite book, Room on the Broom appearing at Theatre Royal Nottingham, the opportunity was too good to miss.

The show was aimed at children from 3 upwards, and lasted just under an hour. To ensure that I had all bases covered, I packed juice, sausage rolls, fruit ‘sweets’ and a packet of elephant biscuits. We sat in the dress circle and had a good view of the stage. E was very impressed when I pointed out the lovely theatre interior and started to pay attention to the “action” taking place on stage as we arrived.

The show was an expansion of the book – giving all the animal characters a back story which they sang. There was also a slightly confusing and probably unnecessary intro section involving the four performers as campers, one of whom snored, and then as they camped they saw the witch fly by. It meant they were already on stage when we sat down and faffed about while everyone got ready. I’m not sure what it added to the performance.

The rest of the show was good fun – with puppets for the dog, the bird and the frog, and one of the performers dressing up as the Dragon. During the frog’s performance they all started laughing and had to delay until they got it back – which would have been funny if I hadn’t read in the local paper’s review of a few night’s before when they did the same thing. I have exacting standards.

E was very good – ate everything in sight but was quiet and her attention only wandered when the character collecting went on a bit too long. However, she leapt to attention when the dragon appeared and was rapt until the end. All in all, she was very good and seemed to enjoy it very much so I have the Christmas performance of The Snowman in mind for her next theatre trip.

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We have been reading…

It’s been a while since I covered any books on the blog. Miraculously in these straitened times, our local library has just had an injection of cash and there have been a lot of new books to read. So here’s a selection of our recent favourites:

This book just ate my Dog – Richard Byrne

This is great. Bella takes her dog for a walk but he disappears inside the fold in the middle of the book and so does the help – ambulance, friend and so on that she sends in to find him. Eventually Bella has no choice but to go in there herself and it’s down to the reader to get her out. Great fun.

The Story Machine – Tom McLaughlin

Elliott likes to poke around in the attic and one day finds a strange machine. He investigates and eventually manages to get it to work (it’s a typewriter). Although Elliott is not very good at writing or spelling, he soon finds ways to make amazing stories from his machine – ingenious creations are forthcoming! A nice story to show children that they’re capable of all kinds of splendid things.

Winnie’s Amazing Pumpkin –┬áValerie Thomas and Korky Paul

We’ve not had any Winnie the Witch books out before but E has taken to her nicely. In this story Winnie decides to grow her own vegetables – with disastrous results. Worth getting just for the pictures of the caterpillar bovver boys alone.

The Pirates Next Door – Johnny Duddle

A great tale of nimbyism in Dull-on-Sea. Matilda finds her neighbourhood are shocked when pirates move in next door. But Matilda thinks they’re great and soon the pirates find a way of winning them all round. Good rhymes and the illustrations are great too, as well as a thumbs on the end of noses to nimbyism everywhere. Oo-aarrrrrrrr!!

 

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Whoosh! She was gone

20150111_124835I’ve blogged before about how E’s toy witch (from Room on the Broom) has become part of the family. For a year, she’s been a constant companion, coming on trips and days out with us, cuddled, slept with and generally loved. She’s been made really dirty from so much love, she’s gone to nursery (sending the night there once by mistake), the seaside, farms, and family visits.

Until last month. E suddenly rejected witch and left her on the sofa. She got very cross if we suggested she came upstairs. I sat witch on top of a stuffed rabbit also on the sofa and she was greeted with laughs the next day before being rejected again.

20150404_121630For some reason I found this quite upsetting. For Witch’s sake I tried to suggest she might like to come upstairs but was told no. I realise she’s just a stuffed toy but it’s rather odd to watch someone E was so attached to suddenly be tossed away.

Witch is now allowed upstairs, sometimes she’s cuddled and sometimes she’s not. Sometimes she’s gently put to bed on the floor and we’re told to “shhh, she’s asleep” while E then leaves her there for hours. A lot of the time she is just forgotten about like the other toys on the bed. E doesn’t have a substitute – Witch is the only one who’s ever come about with us to the extent she has.

2014-08-31 18.11.37I know that this is probably something to do with E’s development but I have no idea what. Some tiresome quack might tell me I only get upset because I can forsee the age when she does the same thing to me.

Witch is still loved, but at a distance, like E’s other toys. Her other Room on the Broom toys seem to be played with and the book is still read. But I am still glad to see nights when Witch is tucked up in bed next to E, rather than tonight, when she sits alone on the microwave.

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