Sunday, January 31, 2010


The past, second, week of the course I'm doing was - hard. No other word for it. I hit a wall inside and had to take a break because I couldn't see what was behind it.
The next day I sat down with it again, and made some discoveries about myself that were interesting. To say the least.
Funny thing is, when the hard work is done, and you've found a home truth, it seems so obvious that you can't believe you didn't see it before!
I'm not quite able to write about it here, in so many words (yet?). I'm not sure that is what I ultimately want to be, on this blog; naked, proverbially speaking. But I did hear a quote today that I think covers what I found out: "Every wall is a door" (R.W. Emerson).

Now all I have to do, is figure out where it hinges...


Squirt normally follows me around when I unpack groceries. He loves it when I leave a bag on the floor and he can unpack it. For me? Despite me? I don't know & it doesn't matter - he's having more fun with it than I do :-)

The other day, I looked around and didn't see him in the kitchen. Then I remembered I left one bag on the floor by the front door. And there he was. Having unpacked half the bag, amidst day-to-day essentials, he had found the grapes. He had opened the box and was sitting there, surrounded by smaller grapes, discarded in favour of the big ones, stuffing his face like a little kid lost in a French vinyard :-)

Thursday, January 28, 2010


"I'm living out loud," she whispered, "I think..."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


A link to this video was posted on the Inside Out FaceBook page, and I have just watched it. If you have 20 minutes, watch it, too!
From "Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity."
I've never thought about it much, but he makes some valid, thought-provoking points. Also, he's pretty funny, and the video comes with subtitles in 38 languages ;-)

Monday, January 25, 2010


The first - amazingly intense - week of my four-week e-course Inside Out by Shannon is over. To be accurate, the second week started today. But I'm still dealing with the fallout from week one. No small matter.

Remember what I said about anticipation? I've come to realise what it means and why I do it. It feels good: anticipation. Like the world could very well be your oyster! All you have to do is: get up & get it!
Which is where I'm stuck. Right before 'getting up'. Scared the oyster is just a mirage. Or it really is a bad clam & gives you acid. Or you can't open it. Or you can, but find out you don't actually like oysters. See, I don't know this. I never tried one... OR, you get up & get it, you paint it really nicely and hang it as a decoration and it starts to smell, after a while!
As long as you just anticipate - enjoy the idea of it & what you could do with it if you decided to act on your desire - you're safe. Nothing ventured? Nothing spoiled!
'Nothing gained, either', you say? True, I suppose. But who really wants a smelly painted oyster taking up wallspace?!

See, this is why I need to do this course! I like safe. But I also feel a really deep need to find out if it could work, me & oysters. Find life-changing revelations, or simply for future reference.

Here's to week two!


This is the photo I took of Squirt, right before we turned around & headed back to the car on our walk last Friday.

"Listen, guys, thank you for bringing me outside. I honestly appreciate it! But now I'm cold, I'm tired, and I really think this was enough fresh air for one day. Can we go home now? Please?"

Sunday, January 24, 2010

out there

I'm doing an online course at the moment. Maybe I'll go into that in more detail, later. For now, I just want to say - it's intense, it's fun, it's confrontational. I've had a bit of a tough time letting go inbetween sittings, so on Wednesday afternoon, we took a little walk around the local wetlands. I decided not to take my camera. First of all, when I bring my camera, the weather almost always suddenly changes from favourable to not so much so. Secondly, when I bring my camera, I tend to drive my companions a little crazy by wanting to stop and shoot a bit too often. But it was beautiful out there! And I so regretted not bringing my camera, that I just had to go back.

We did, last Friday afternoon. It was freezing and Squirt was tired, so it was a short walk this time. But I got my photos! Just in time, too - last night it snowed again...


Squirt passed his recent check-up at the Consultatie Bureau (which wonkily translates to consultations office. Informally known as consternation office, this is the Dutch institution that periodically tests your child's roadworthiness by prodding, poking, asking rather obvious questions and doling out officious advice) with flying colours, as usual. He's had a bit of a growth spurt & went from 0 - or average - to +2 on the comparative scale over the past 3 months!

When the doctor asked whether Squirt generally understands me when I talk to him, I answered yes. Whenever I tell him to come to me for a diaper change, he crawls in the opposite direction, double quick. That tells me he gets it, alright ;-)

Monday, January 18, 2010


True to the New Year's promises I made myself, in so many words, I have been stirring soul soup over the past week. And I've come up with something important. It's an open door, really. Something I have been telling myself for years (and I might have shouted it, too, once or twice). I'm not sure I will take it to heart this time, any more than I've been able to in the past. But I do want to type it down, black on blue, so I can revisit it if needs be.

I need to stop measuring my inner self - insecurities, fears, flaws and idiosyncrasies included - against other people's social identities.

There. That's it. My word for the future - right next to feel - is integrity.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


It's been a while, the last live feed. The deadline that never was - at 14 months - has come & gone, too. And I just wanted to say: we're doing fine :-)

The first week was difficult. It felt like - heartache. My baby is growing, and won't regress. And that is, of course, a good thing. But there is no such thing as 'taking a short break from breastfeeding'. When it's done, it's done.

It's funny when you think about it. Few things in life are irreversible. We make conscious decisions to break habits or change lanes, but we can almost always revisit, change our minds. If we really want to. But there are things that can't be undone. The first time I really thought about this, was when I got more grey hairs than I could ignore. It's okay - I'm not traumatised by turning grey. But you can't go back. You can dye your hair, but you will always know it's a pretence. But I'm digressing here.

The physical nurturing is over, and that really felt like the end of an era. Thirteen months might not be much of an era, generally speaking, but when it comes to the first steps into a new life as someone's actual mamma - thirteen months is an era alright!

But we've moved on from there. The end of one era is another era's beginning, after all! We had to find a new ritual that would work for both of us. And we have :-D
Every time Squirt wakes up, I get him out of bed and we spend some time in the comfy chair in his room. For as long as we want to. Sometimes as long as half an hour. We cuddle while he fully returns from his dreams, and then we talk. And he plays with my hair. And he points at everything in his room. He claps his hands a few times, scratches his nails over the changing table and puts his head down on my shoulder again. We have a few laughs, he yawns the last bits of sleep away, and when he gets restless, we get up and get on with our day.
And if I were to be really honest? Maybe this new - struggle-free - ritual is even better than the old one!

Friday, January 15, 2010

wonder week

From Monday through to Wednesday? Not so great. Squirt was so obviously not himself. Yes, we'd both had colds, and no, Squirt still isn't totally over his, still coughing (when I prompt him, so cute!) and leaking from all orifices, but that really wasn't all that was plaguing him.

He was playing with his food, refusing to drink, suddenly off tomatoes ("bah!"); he was driving his cars all over the coffee table, pushing them off on purpose - refusing to pick them up himself, crying till I did it, and then start the whole sordid game again; he was frustrated whenever he found a toy upside-down; didn't want his diapers changed; cried in the shower; he was naughty x 2 - playing with the potted plants, not listening to my protests till I reached my 3-warnings-quota and plucked him away from the mess he made, which made him cry and do it all over again - of course; no sleeping at nap time; crying; waking up at night, multiple times, crying, refusing to go back to sleep; crying... The list is longer, but I'm guessing this will do ;-)

I got so tired of it. Only intermittently successfully not showing it. At some stage I pulled back into the kitchen, telling Squirt Mamma had 'gone fishing'. For a bit. In the sink. Or something. Anything to reclaim my nurturing side.

Till the penny dropped. This has happened before; whenever Squirt 'plays up' (baby/toddler-style) for more than 48 hours, it hits me. I've got this book. A book I certainly don't use as a Be All & End All, but one still pretty handy to have lying around. Whenever I think something unusual is up. And I'm always dead-on. Which means, of course, the book is. Really. Or at least, the book is right, too ;-)

It's a book by Frans Plooij & Hetty van de Rijt, and it has been around for centuries. At least. I would translate its title ('Oei, ik groei!') to 'Wow, I'm growing!'. I get that that might be too literal, but it sure ain't worse than its current English title 'The Wonder Weeks'. Which is lame.

But that aside, this book is good! Not because of its patronising tone, so much - jewels like this one: "But Mother doesn't mind that the child is crying, because she knows something amazing is going on in her little one's head!" (not quite literally, but along similar lines) pop up every so often. But all condescendence aside, it's true! As soon as I realise Squirt is taking one of his 'Predictable, Age-Linked Leaps in Mental Development (Characterized By The Three C'S (Crying, Cranky, Clingy), A Change In Perception, And The Development Of New Skills)', all is fine with our little world again! I don't need to read the whole chapter; I'm amazed at Squirt's development on a daily basis! But it puts the whole episode into perspective again.

And the funny thing is, as soon as I've uncovered what's going on, Squirt is back to his happy, funny, cute & cuddly self again! I'm not sure whether that is because I'm so slow - finally grabbing the book when he's worked through the whole mess all on his own - or because I relax once the 'problem' is identified, but we're having fun again! Anyway, since the book is talking in terms of weeks, and Squirt is always pretty much back on track within around 72 hours, we're not doing that badly!

So. Momma put the fishing rod & tackle box away again. Only one leap left in the book, but I'll try my darndest to read through it before the need to go fishing arises again :-D

N.B. The Dutch version talks about 10 distinct leaps, the English version only explains 8. Either Dutch kids are amazingly slow, or we develop beyond everyone else. I think it's the latter. But then, I would ;-)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I love the first week of January.
When you live under the impression that a New Year lies ahead, unsullied. And things will be different!

And then I wake up. Almost always on a Monday. And I realise there was no magic fairy dust. Change needs to be, as always, hard-won...

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Squirt might not be radically expanding his vocabulary at the moment, he is developing a sense of humour :-D

What started off with an actual spot on the wall tiles in the kitchen has changed into a little game. One day, about a month ago, Squirt tried to pluck a drop of dried-something off a tile with his little tweezer fingers, to put it - where else? - in his mouth. When he found out it was still there, he tried again. And again. And again. Until I sort of took pity and cleaned the spot*. This didn't faze him, at all. He kept on pretend-plucking at imaginary spots, putting bits of nothing into his mouth, and he knew it :-D I still think this is so funny, that I keep prompting him to do it at least once a day... Yesterday, I pretended to take something out of his hair to eat, and he responded by doing the same :-)

I guess both me and Squirt are quite easily amused, at times ;-) Either that, or I don't feed him enough, and he is despairingly waiting for me to take a hint...

* Interesting, though... How I cleaned the spot out of pity - not because I was aware that it was there ;-)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

squirt, revisited

By popular demand ;-)

I heard someone call his little girl 'squirt' a long time ago. I can remember who it was, and where, although not quite when, but I won't bore you with the details. Or reveal myself as the soap addict I really am. It struck me as cute. I never looked it up, but took it to mean something similar to 'chick pea' in its endearing form, 'shorty', with a bit of a naughty connotation.

I have recently found out that googling 'squirt' will not exactly lead you where I, in good conscience, would send you to look. Now don't say I didn't warn you ;-)

Googling 'squirt synonym' will get you closer to the truth - here are results from
Main entry: child, definition: very young person
Synonyms: anklebiter, babe, bairn, brat, cub, kiddie, lamb, little one, minor, mite, moppet, nipper, small fry, sprout, squirt, tadpole, toddler, tot, tyke, urchin, young one, youngster (and that's after I've taken the liberty of omitting some!).

Obviously I take offence to definitions containing phrases like 'person of little or no significance'. And I can't find proof for the slight bit of naughty. But since I haven't found proof to the contrary either, just consider it attached for this blog's purposes, okay? ;-)

P.S. Incidentally, Squirt is also the cute little turtle in 'Finding Nemo' - courtesy of Google. I must have known once, but forgot. When you consider that a turtle/tortoise (one word in Dutch) is the only animal Squirt wants to acknowledge by name these days ('patta'), his nickname is an apt little coincidence :-D

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Happy New Year!

2009 has been a rollercoaster. Finding my footing as a mom. Great ups, deep downs, but overall it has been a good year. A happy year.

I expect 2010 to bring more of the same. Challenges, happiness, great big grins and a couple of tears, too. If it's in any way up to me, 2010 will be another happy year. I hope yours will be, too!

I want to feel more, smoke less and be more creative. Anticipate less, do more! Those are my resolutions, in so many words :-D

The New Year has begun, and I say - bring it on!