Happy New Year!
I haven't felt like posting for a bit. I've thought about it, I've got a ton of photos to put up, but I've just lacked the motivation or energy to write a coherent post.
We spent 6 days in Holland over New Year. It was great seeing my mum again - the first thing I noticed when I first saw her again was how well she looked. She's lost about 3 stone now, which really suits her, she's got a healthy colour, she's got her energy back. You can still see the jaundice ever so slightly in the whites of her eyes, but I'm sure that will clear up too. While we were there, I could see she was getting stronger every day - to start off with, she'd still sleep in the afternoon, towards the end of our visit she was just going to bed early in the evening. She was enjoying going for a coffee and cake again, we had a lovely time visiting a spa place with her two sisters, and she seems to be looking forward to our holiday in Lyme Regis this Easter. All very reassuring.
It was also great to be in Holland just for fun, not for other, more worrying reasons. My dad and I took the kids to Amsterdam for the day, which N. in particular really enjoyed - going first class on a doubledecker train, top deck on the way out, bottom one on the way home - he thought he was in paradise ;-) New Year's Eve in Holland is always very festive, and it was great seeing N's face at midnight after I'd woken him up to see the fireworks. This normally chatty boy sat silently on his opa's arm, great big eyes gazing at all the colourful outbursts. Today he came home from school with a picture he'd made on the computer: mamma, for you, the fireworks in Holland. It's heartwarming when you feel you're doing something that's creating a memory, especially when it's something so simple.
There was a downside to this holiday. The tensions and stresses of the last 2 months suddenly caught up with I. It's hard to describe what was going on, the most worrying was her not eating and developing a fear of swallowing/choking. I could see her losing weight on a daily basis, to the point where relative strangers would comment. She wasn't coping with being away from J., by the time we got to dad's house after the ferry trip, I was ready to burst into tears myself for not knowing how to deal with her anymore. I'm not sure how much she enjoyed the trip, it was possibly a bit too long for her. She got on very well with mum and seemed very relaxed around her, I think those two have hit it off which was a bright spot every day. At some point during the trip, dad said something to me which made me realise I didn't feel she was my daughter anymore - and I almost burst into tears in the public library...
We've been home a week now and it looks like she's calmed down a lot. I spent a lot of time talking to friends about what was going on and how to deal with it, and the unanimous advice was to spend more time one-to-one with her. We've now got a new bedtime routine where she'll have half an hour with me before she goes to bed, and we can do something fun. So far it's been tidying up her room! but it's one of those things she does enjoy and was also much much needed... We're also going to have the odd Saturday together, to do just what she wants, and this Saturday is the first one. We're going swimming, Starbucks and to the bookshop to spend some of her book vouchers that she got for Christmas, and I'm really looking forward to spending some girly time with her. The last few days she's also come into the kitchen while I've been cooking and started to help me, setting the table for me and making it look all pretty with even a menu tonight (even if it was only pizza and custard ;-) When I was stirring carrot and lentil soup tonight, full of spices, she smelt it and said 'that smells good', and I felt we'd turned a corner on her eating too.
Work has picked up at a tremendous pace and most days I don't know whether I'm coming or going. Add to that some admin to organise for the impending Final Hearing, a tax return form to fill in and send off before 31 January, a decision to make on I's next school for September and the odd social event, and you can imagine that some days I wish I didn't need to sleep.
PS At least I'm trying to keep up with the knitting and I've finished one sock for myself. Its mate is cast on and I want to get going on it, as I love love love the first one - it's pretty, I love the stitch pattern and it's a perfect fit. Whatever else is going on around you, a sock like that can't fail to cheer you up!