The silver lining of two weeks in bed.

Geez! Us parents! We’re always wanting something… some peace and quiet, some freedom, some time to ourselves, a drama free mealtime, some SLEEP (just a couple more hours… is it really too much to ask for!?) In the early years of parenthood we irrationally fear these luxuries have been snatched from us for good. Don’t we?

I’ve been guilty of all the above. And having just spent over a fortnight in bed I’m wondering if I should’ve been more careful in what I wished for. Peace and quiet? Tick; Sleep? Masses; Time to myself? Check. But unfortunately this wasn’t the stuff of dreams, no extended luxury Mummy break, but a darn evil virus that came for me on my birthday (timing eh?!) and clearly enjoyed my company so much that it hung around for Mother’s Day and beyond. It’s still flipping lingering.

So yes, I’ve slept. I’ve also sobbed. I’ve downed drugs. I’ve become acquainted with Judge Rinder and well educated in the UFO files and the World’s Wildest Weather via endless Discovery Docs. I’ve whimpered infinite declarations of love and gratitude to my non-complaining hubby as he offered me yet another gallon of Lucozade whilst maintaining two businesses and the lives of our two little darlings (whoever said men can’t multi task?!) I’ve even recharged my Kindle twice in the space of 7 days – something I haven’t done since, well, ever. Humour aside, I’ve actually been a bit scared too. Never in my life have I been in so much pain – never have I been so incapacitated.

Illness is up there at the top of parental fears: Illness in our children or illness that strips us of our ability to parent them, or worse. Thankfully I’m on the up. And thankfully this period of convalescence has offered me a great dose of relief from yet another parental worry – are we doing a good enough job the rest of the time?

The Internet is rife with articles, blogs, posts and opinions on how we know if we’re doing a good job at raising our young. You’d think that purely watching our offspring in their daily pursuits, heeding the words of their teachers and observing their social interactions would provide some relief from this constant anxiety. But in the busy whirlwind of life it can be difficult to take the adequate step back required to form a well rounded and objective opinion of our children’s social, emotional, physical, academic and spiritual development combined. And that’s before considering the pull of our own emotions, our own needs and wants and fears that sway our opinions. So we muddle on, we do the best we can and hope, we pray, that our kids are going to be ok and that we’re equipping them with the skills they’ll need for life – to be happy and healthy, to be successful and all round good human beings.

So being stuck in bed for over two weeks, unable to lift my head from the pillow at times, I was forced to take a lengthy step back. And what I’ve witnessed, I’ve liked. I’ve heard two little girls playing downstairs as they should – sharing, quarrelling, whinging, objecting, laughing, reading to one another. I’ve heard two little girls come bounding up the stairs to see their sick Mummy, wishing me better, stroking my hair, thrusting plastic medical syringes containing ‘magic potions’ into my mouth in a bid to make me well (‘I am the doctor, I’m going to make you better Mummy!’) I’ve received offerings – handmade get better soon cards, freshly picked daffodils, pictures of stars, a white feather, a sparkly piece of sellotape, a vinegar drenched chip.

But more than anything, my illness – whatever it has been – has had a silver lining. It has forced my temporary detachment from our crazy, busy lives: the next demand, the ensuing altercation to be mediated, the mess, the spelling practice, the uneaten dinner, the tantrum, the wee accident, the early morning wakings. And in doing so, it has laid bare the happy souls my bedside visitors are and the wonderful caring individuals they’re growing into.

Being ill has been a pain in the arse. But it has also given me one less thing to worry about.

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Thank you for reading.

Polly x

If you enjoyed this, why not head over to Amazon and check out my children’s book:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1906954801

You can also see what I’m up to at:

www.facebook.com/wormslugmaggotleech

Twitter: @pollymwalker

 

The Tale of the Watching Bird.

Following our Disney Detox in January we’ve had a few ‘hallelujah moments’ recently: Our eldest choosing a blue cycle helmet over any of the pink / purple / flowery ones. (Admittedly it is decorated with a rainbow but her declaration of wanting a blue helmet was a jaw dropping moment). She’s wanted to spend every waking moment in the den getting mucky or on her bike. She’s asked for a Batman t-shirt. She wanted her hair cut into a short bob. And she’s snubbed any thought of princess or fairy fancy dress options for Red Nose Day in favour of either Paddington Bear (first choice) or a rabbit (second).

Referring back to my desire for our girls not to be entirely ‘Disneyfied’ or spend their whole childhood completely surrounded by pink princesses, sparkly fairies, Barbies and ponies, you’ll know why I’ve also been following the Let Toys be Toys Campaign with interest. And it’s also why I’ve written a very short story for you to share with your little ones. Print it out, make a book with it, talk about the toys they play with and the books they read, the toys and books they don’t choose and why, what would happen if the girl’s and boy’s toys got mixed up…. Most of all, I hope you enjoy it. Here it is!

The Tale of the Watching Bird

The old watching bird lived in the branches of a willow tree on the bank of a gently flowing stream, beside a primary school playground. The bird spent its days watching the comings and goings on the playground. From the morning hustle and bustle with Mums and Dads and buggies and book bags; to busy lunch breaks, happy, excited children zooming from here to there, playing with toys, whooping with joy to be out of the classroom. The years went by, the bird grew older, but it never grew tired of watching the children’s fun and games.

IMG_20150309_0003Until the day came that the watching bird realised something had changed. The children didn’t seem to play like they used to. On one side of the playground were girls playing with dolls, with princesses and flowers and fairies. On the other side were boys playing with trucks and dinosaurs, superheroes and pirates. The girls didn’t ever play with the boy’s toys. The boys didn’t ever play with the girl’s toys. They didn’t play together. It made the watching bird feel sad.

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That night when all was quiet in the school grounds and the moon lit the night sky, the watching bird flapped noiselessly down onto the playground. Slowly and carefully it nudged and pushed, pecked and prodded, flapped and flew, until the girl’s toys and the boy’s toys were a big jumbled pile in the middle of the playground. And that’s where the watching bird left them.

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The next morning, the children arrived at school and were horrified at what had happened! Their beloved toys were all mixed up! Slowly and carefully they began to sort them out. But as they did, their sorting and tidying became play. The girls helped the boys and the boys helped the girls. They found toys they’d never seen before – and they liked them! The girls dug moats for their fairy castles with the digger trucks. They sailed pirate ships in their moats and they raced cars up and down the playground. The boys gave the dinosaurs wands and tiaras, they played Dads with the dolls; they helped the girls choose superhero names, characters and costumes. Together they made sand and mud cupcakes and they had more fun than ever before.

The watching bird sat in the branches of the willow tree and felt happy. Everything was back to normal.

IMG_20150309_0006Thank you for reading.

Polly x

If you enjoyed this, why not head over to Amazon and check out my children’s book:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1906954801

You can also see what I’m up to at:

www.facebook.com/wormslugmaggotleech

@wsmladventures

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