Life, pressure, nerves. Rest? A jumble of thoughts?

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The half term break is almost upon me. Last week at work was high-stress. However, the weekend was a rich reward and I got through. Prague weekends (even with toddling twins) refresh.

I don’t really know what this blog is about any more. I get very little feedback from readers, although I can see that people ARE reading, which is great. It would be lovely to get a few more comments – what would you like to hear more about? I mean, am I right in thinking that toddlers are just not that gripping? They are not your toddlers, and all toddlers are toddlery, and are amassing new skills all the time. To say that “Toddlers acquire new skill!” lacks originality is a bit of a non-sequiter.

I have always needed to write. When I was young, I kept a diary. I think I will need to throw them away in the end, as no one else ought to see them, ever. I really laid everything bare in there, and can’t even remember what I wrote or felt. I’m not sure I want to read them. Now I write this blog, and even if my readership is small and silent, it still helps me- it orders my thoughts and helps me process emotion. I am the sort of person who has written many outraged / heartrending letters and emails to people who have, offended, hurt or generally mistreated me- without needing to send them to make me feel better. The process itself is cathartic (ok, so I often begin with the intention of sending, but almost always have the prudence to wait till I have had a sleep or whatever, and find that I wake thankful that I only imaginarily said / virtually wrote /drafted my excruciatingly emotive/ deeply personal slaying/ scathing analysis of incompetence etc addressed to the offender. Those imagined readings are enough to help me work through my feelings, usually assured that it is not SUCH a big deal.

Back to now.

So I had the formal lesson observation from my head (one who doesn’t know me – based at the other site in the north of the city); there was a random open day when prospective parents could simply walk in; and in addition, there was parents’ evening (till 7pm). That’s 3 things in a week which subject me to intense scrutiny. That’s a lot on top of the usual duties I contend with.

Furthermore, I’m not the sort that thrives under such conditions. I work well under pressure if the task is, say, writing an assignment for a deadline. But ‘live’ nerves make me ‘do something stupid’ – like not being able to recall what I wanted to say, and instead of winging it, getting paralysed. It was always the same when I was singing in my teens and early 20s. I watch X factor and marvel at the confidence these whippersnappers have.

My work observation went well, however. Very well! I think I have managed to successfully transfer jobs, without cracking. It has not been easy. One of my most difficult students it turns out, is so advanced he’ll be moved up to the year above. We tried it yesterday (the parents suggested it after seeing at the open day that some of the children are only just able to form letters (expected level for their age)). The class dynamic was fantastic without him (he was the only one in the room defiantly not on side) and his two little sidekicks forgot about messing about and worked on their tasks. Having him in a class working at his level, with good behaviour all around him worked better for everyone.

Going back to me, confidence, or the lack of it, has really handicapped me in exploiting my talents- in particular my singing voice. I’m not so badly off and do have a job I love, but I would love to have has the courage to make a go of my singing in some form or another. I was always like a plank of wood when performing; paralysed. And I always keenly felt the ridicule of my father, who detests pop music. Mum would drive me to rehearsals and gigs, but we never had enough exposure for me to overcome my nerves. I still lack self-belief and I’ll be 40 before too long. I have sung at friends’ weddings, and gigs, which I enjoyed on the whole, but even in a relaxed setting I almost always find I’m plagued by my other problem: forgetting the words. I wonder if I’d be able to overcome that with enough rehearsal?

I have one (40-year-old) friend who was 31 when we met, many years ago. She was on the verge of being a rock star, she told me. She still isn’t a rock star and I’m not surprised. I never really liked any of her songs, and it would seem others felt pretty ‘meh’ about them too. But she plugged on and on and on for years… She only stopped when she found a new (and perfect) platform for her exhibitionism: she is a resident DJ with a penchant for stripping off. While it’s a job that I’d not ever want to do and that I’d be 100% terrible at, I do envy the fact that her salary matches mine and she works just a couple of evenings a week. What’s my point here? Well, I suppose that confidence is so highly valued, sometimes (often?) over ability. Not that I want to raise a pair of conceited little bumholes, but I want so much to instil self-confidence into my girls. (Maybe not that sort of famous-for-wapping-yer-baps-out ‘confidence’ – don’t think of that as the sort of career I dream of our girls having). I want them to feel their worth. If they want to do anything, I hope their lack of confidence is not something that holds them back.

Going back to singing, the girls have started- donor was a karaoke king (no confidence issues there) and I have some ability. We have heard ‘twinkle twinkle’ and ‘ABCD’, but the favourite seems to be ‘Rain, rain go away’. They are just toooooo cute.

Anyway, no chance for me to sing at the moment because I can’t go out in the evenings. That’s a decision we have made for now – AW is firmer about it than I am. That is probably because she has put them to bed alone, and Olive screamed for two hours without me and my milk-sacks. I’m not sure I’d be impressed with that if I were babysitting them, so she is probably right. I think we could go over the road though while my mum is visiting..? There is an old cinema across the street which has huge armchairs and serves champagne. It’s starting live shows too, and I want to go to the burlesque one for our 5 year anniversary (which was yesterday). We could easily pop home if there were an olive incident (but she would almost certainly be asleep before we left (show starts at 8)… Anyway I digress.

I hope that wasn’t dull. I guess it might have been. I have added a ‘parenting’ category, so I think I’m drifting into eyeball-peelingly yawny blog territory. Don’t leave me! Sometimes life is boring, I suppose!

Enough new stuff.

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It’s early morning tram time again, and lots has been happening, so here we are:

The key saga
Poor AW was locked out on Wednesday. One of girls, it eventually transpired, had removed them from AW’s packed bag and dropped them on the floor in the flat. Ivy slammed the door closed on the way out before Aw had had a chance to fish for the key in her bag. She had a huge panic and tried unsuccessfully to ask for help but after all managed: to get a taxi; to establish my school’s address; to find me in my classroom to get my keys; not to explode. That was not a good day for her. She left our buggy in the street the whole time and no one ran off with it. But she coped. Proud wife over here.(*waves* ^_^)

The shipping saga
It’s over. We have our belongings (I think I need to part with some of them – I can’t believe how many handbags I a) have; and b) thought they were worth shipping). It is a lot. Nothing was damaged. On delivery I thought that something very helpful about Thailand was highlighted- they always send enough people to do a job properly. Here, I was flabbergasted to greet one lone man to deliver our 18 boxes. To drag 18 boxes from the van, and up to the mezzanine where the lift is, and from the lift up another flight to our place. We plied him with water (sweaty work) and passed him a beer and a tip when he’d finished. Needless to say, there is nowhere to put the handbags (or shoes) in the apartment, and they are staying in a box in the storeroom for a while. Really happy to see my paintings and the girls’ toys. Not so fussed about the ridiculous boxes of documents ‘proving’ our relationship which we began collecting years ago when we imagined we might shimmy on back to the UK on an ‘unmarried partner visa’ (now defunct I believe). I am pretty sure that this path will not require us to use it, especially as we are now married with children and that the EU fully respects that. You never know though, with all this talk the UK pulling out of the EU. Best to be cautious.

The Oh-my-god-my-new-job-is-more-unrelenting-than-my-last saga.
There has barely been a ‘normal’ week, since the start of term. this is the first week we have been on any kind of normal timetable. But it is reports. If there is anything worse than writing student reports, it’s writing them for new eyes, with different emphases and different differentiness. Have I already mentioned how exhausting differentiness + twins is? I think I might have done!! Teaching… I know we get time off which is enviable. But are any of you in a profession which requires you to give presentations to audiences? Isn’t that exhausting? ImagIne if the whole of your job, every day, all today was this- like a salesman with a new product; you are endlessly performing, interacting, questioning. You have to earn the kids’ respect and keep it. Aside from those holidays there is no rest. When you aren’t in performing-monkey-teacher mode you are endlessly shuffling paper. Now I’m getting home, putting the girls to bed and getting my work out to carry on- it is unrelenting. I always had the energy before.

Once everything is just less damned new, I’m sure it will be better. Great even. Glad it’s Friday today! Now I put away my phone for my misty, soul-repairing woodland walk. I hear birdsong.

DOUCHE.BAG.

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Why are some people such douchebags? Why are fairness, thoughtfulness and a smidgen of consideration lost traits?

Thank goodness it isn’t all people, and that I have fair, thoughtful and wonderful people in my life.

(But WHAT ABOUT ALL THE OTHERS? How can they live with their douchbagginess?)

That’s all.

Which wellies?

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I heed help.

I have never been a tally-Ho, woodsy sort of girl, but perhaps that is because I have never lived near any. In Prague, and particularly my Prague, there are loads of parks and woods and I think I must already have bored you to death with my woodland commute.

The shipping (still not arrived..!!) is bringing me a range of shoes, but the flea-market wellies I bought on a whim have proved priceless. But they are also already in TATTERS. 20140930-103520-38120856.jpgStill better for 20140930-103519-38119004.jpgbad weather, forests and mud than the cute fabric shoes I brought with me from Bangkok, but the only intact bit is the sole.

So, I am carrying them on the way to work till I get to the forest and changing. Then changing out of them on the tram after work. It is a bit annoying. They are just too ridiculous to be seen in passing through Prague’s gorgeous inner-city. They never were subtle (leopard print), and now they are perished and shredded, I feel so stupid in their look-at-me foot-hugs. What’s more, winter is on the horizon. Wellies (and ones which can bear their soles (and uppers) in a city are a must.

But WHICH WELLIES? These are my faves

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(I love bees, i dream one day of keeping them), but the reviews for this supposedly durable brand suggest that I could very soon be walking about in another pair or leaky, split look-at-me feet.

There is certainly no shortage of choice. I do not want heels. That is all.

Any advice? I’m welly confused.

Boob wars

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Now I am sure, those of you following from my earliest days of motherhood will remember that Ivy never breastfed? That has been a source of guilt for me, and persists because Olive still breastfeeds. Ivy never cared until recently.

I think this has happened because Olive’s breastfeeding has increased a little again lately. Rather than only at night time and bedtime, she has been demanding a comfort feed just before dinner time, or whenever she is especially grizzly.

Ivy wants in. I always wanted her to understand that she is always welcome to ‘boobie’. She does not know what to do, so all she really wants is to cuddle me, putting her cheek onto the boob (it has to be, er, out- not in clothes or a bra).

Olive, being pretty rubbish at sharing, really struggles to accept this. When she feeds, she rests her hand proprietorially (annoyingly) across my body to my spare boob. Ivy’s blissfully happy boob-cuddling interferes with this. Both girls will wail and complain if their will is thwarted, but usually O will grumpily lapse into her remaining breast with the spare hand much closer to her. It is an uneasy compromise though, and the two of them irritate each other, O’s little hand absent-mindedly scootching over to its habitual position.

It is a new thing. I’m not a fan, and I’m not sure what to do. I want to be fair to Ivy, but it’s also hard to explain to such a little person that their personal one-to-one mummy time, which they have had from birth now has to be split.

Do any of you twin mummies have any experience or advice about this?

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Macro micro

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It is Sunday and we are here at the zoo in Prague. As usual, there has been lots of excitement and agitation; we lost our annual pass which was so annoying. Fortunately, in this day and age, all you have to do is show your ID and they zap your details from the database and wahay! A new card (for a small fee) is yours.

There is precious little to report over here except for the usual “my-babies-can-do-loads-of-stuff-cos-actually-they-are-small-humans-and-not-kittens” drivel (they can actually string words together, cats just mew). Ok, well there are a couple of Mini-Sagas.

Mini-saga 1: My toe.
Freaking OUCH. I think he is essentially saying he liked it better in flip-flops and that he is not going back in these closed-toe hellholes without a fight. So there’s that. I’m avoiding the dr as it will be the first time, and it’s really different here to Thailand. The medical insurance I had there meant you could turn up at any medical establishment, and that as long as you did not pick the poshest (and priciest) your bill would always be covered for minor complaints. Here, we have good cover, but it must be used at a specific clinic, and simply turning up is not the Czech way of doing things. We have been told by school, “Do it out of working hours,” and by the clinic, “Don’t be late for your appointment, you won’t be seen,” through a fixed smile. I feel stressed just thinking about it. So, toe, get better by yourself please!

Mini-saga 2: The shipping.
Oh the pain. It is coming today, so I hope the dealings with all the associated morons will end accordingly. However, having looked them up, I am not hopeful. The company is awash with appalling reviews, and most of them centre on the terrible state of customers’ belongings on receipt. My issue is that I am expected to be at home to receive the shipment apparently without any notice (ok, so at 7pm on a Friday night they confirmed it is coming ‘tomorrow’ and if I have any queries I should phone this number). Of course I phoned them repeatedly and was told by an automated moron that they were unavailable. Repeatedly. In my defence, they are not the company I booked my shipping with in thailand- they got my stuff over to the UK. This is the company which has done the second leg (and luckily it was a short one). I have to say that pretty much at every step of the way though there have been annoyances. And out stuff was packed on July 1. It is October 1 on Wednesday. Annoyance #1: telling us we would be notified when our shipment left or arrived somewhere. You’d think that would be a useful part of the service, but not in the mind of the shipping company. I had to chase them all the time.
Annoyance #2: not telling us that our stuff would sit, packed up for a whole month in Bkk before moving anywhere.
Annoyance #3: sending me URGENT REQUESTS for more documents. The wrong documents
Annoyance #4: sending me URGENT REQUESTS for the right document, intimating I had ignored previous correspondence.
Annoyance #5: Oh! You sent arrival emails several weeks ago! To Rasaly! Who the hell is that?
Annoyance #alltherest:
When is it coming? You have no idea? But I work and I have to arrange cover. Friday? What time? Oh it is now Monday? What time? Oh you don’t answer questions at the weekend? F*** you.

Is this the wonderful British customer service I’ve long forgotten?

I told work it is coming between 12 and 3. Leaving at 11 to go home. I hope that turns out to be about right. Above all, I hope our things are in an acceptable condition. They are probably going to feel my wrath anyway, but wrecked belongings will really see me breathing fire. What I can’t stand about this last bit of the shipping transport has been the absolute failure of the shippers to answer any of my 997 queries. There has been a ‘contact’ who has been placating me with, “I’m waiting for a reply from the carrier but it is proving very hard to contact them…” At this stage it doesn’t wash. The Carrier can’t be uncontactable for 10 days straight.

Anyway, there you have it. Macro post, micro sagas.

(I’m on the tram on the way to work now. The zoo was so nice yesterday. Did I mention, Prague rocks?!)

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