A bit of a mishmash

Once again, friends, my apologies. It’s been a while. Truth be known, I’ve been dealing with a never ending snot trail that began with one child, transmitted to another and then another and then me, where it promptly turned into the sinus infection from hell and took a week of antibiotics to make it go away.

It’s been a rough couple of months. Medium and Little batted tonsillitis to and fro with serves that would rival Andy Murray. Big managed to ward off the germs until term finished and then the night before I was due to take her for a special treat to Olympia, her temperature suddenly rocketed to 40degs and instead we went to the out of hours doctor. A trip to Center Parcs was abandoned a few nights in and all three were on antibiotics by Christmas Eve. By Christmas Day, I could no longer move my head and looked longingly at All The Lovely Effective Decongestants in the medical box that I wasn’t allowed to take. By the time I saw our GP after the million bank holidays, I was in a right state and burst into tears as I sat down. Thankfully, Lovely Husband was off work and able to juggle the smalls, so I actually got to lie very still and concentrate on not moving my head. A further blip with Medium last week topped up my sleep deprivation levels, so you’ll be pleased to know that my eye bags are still capable of carrying a full week’s Big Shop.

Speaking of shopping, I finally bought something for the Miracle today. I’ve always been a bit superstitious about buying things for babies before they’re born, but unless this poor boy suits pink, he’d be a bit chilly, so I bit the bullet and bought him a very cute babygro and hat. It has to be said that shopping for boys’ clothes is nowhere near as much fun as shopping for girls. Everything either has dinosaurs or trucks on it.

I’ll be 23 weeks pregnant tomorrow. It’s certainly harder this time around. By the time I’ve finished the school run in the mornings, I feel like I’ve run a marathon. I feel huge and I’ve got aches on top of aches. My blood sugars, which will rise as the Miracle grows, are okay at the moment as long as I eat before 5.30pm. By 9pm, I’m starving. Despite this, I relish every moment that I feel the Miracle move. He’s a night owl (which doesn’t bode well for swapping my Tesco crate eye bags for a smaller, more chic tote bag, for example) and likes to have a disco just as I’m falling asleep. As time marches on, I can feel myself becoming cautiously excited. In 17 weeks, he will be here and we will be six. The love. There will be so much love.

I am always surprised by the way the love for your child can suddenly hit you ten fold in the chest when you least expect it. It happened to me today. I had a parent consultation with Big’s teacher. I nearly cried as she extolled Big’s amazing progress. Big is thriving at school; her teacher is her hero, and mine if I’m honest. My shy little button is getting stuck in. At pre-school, she rarely played with other children and struggled to understand them. Today, her teacher told me she is rarely on her own and always asking to be involved. This is a big step for a child like Big. She’s recognising other children’s emotions and trying to help them and, as she gains new feathers in her wings, her confidence is growing by the day. I’m so proud of her.

I’m also proud of myself. Over Christmas, Lovely Husband nearly bought me the horse of my dreams. I even flew to Portugal to ride him and have him vetted. He was delicious, and my heart was telling me to buy him, buy him, buy him. Sadly, an issue with his x-rays meant that I didn’t go ahead and I still feel sad about this. When I examine my feelings, though, I realise I’m sad about what he represented rather than the horse himself. He represented time to myself, a little freedom, an opportunity to be me, a childhood dream realised. I had an amazing livery arrangement organised, with a ton of expert support. But it would have been a dream compromised and I would have constantly been grappling guilt; guilt that I didn’t spend enough time with the horse (who frankly deserved a better rider and a more competitive home than I could give him) and guilt that my son spent too much time in a pushchair at the side of the school. My time with the horse of my dreams will come. Lovely Husband has promised me that. In the meantime, I will enjoy every second sniffing the Miracle and counting the dreams that have already come true.

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A bit of a mishmash

Back in the saddle. Literally.

Today I had a day off. As the in laws are currently staying, Husband took the day off so I took the opportunity and ran. The Little One and I drove around the M25 for me to get back in the saddle.

Ever since I was a medium one, I’ve loved horses. By the time I was about eight, I was usually found mucking out ponies at the local riding school in return for free rides. I rode solidly until my mid to late teens when I took a break until I joined the BBC Riding Club in the mid noughties. The riding bug took another big bite out of my bottom and I ended up as chairman of the club. As I’ve said, I do like a committee. Still frantically itching from the bug’s big bite, I looked for a horse to share but couldn’t find one. I decided to do my exams and I’m very glad I did.

Tina Layton at Contessa Riding Centre took me on as a part-time working pupil and despite holding down a full-time and demanding job at the BBC, I gave up my weekends and one evening a week to go back to mucking out in return for riding and lectures to get me through my British Horse Society exams. I loved my time there. I’ve always called it a boomerang yard because everyone returns. My time at Contessa saw me through bad break ups, losing my lovely Gran and a number of other hard life events and yet I’d describe it as one of my happiest times – second only to marrying Husband and having the smalls. Try as I might, I’ve never found another yard where I feel so comfortable and, in the nicest possible way, pushed. I made strong friends there, one of whom was my bridesmaid and is still one of the first people I turn to for all sorts of things. The horses are great, the staff are great and everything is… Well, great. So great I now drive two hours each way for a 45 minute lesson. I think that says a lot.

But I digress. Being around and in particular on the back of horse is therapy for me. I love the peace of mind I get when I’m riding. My usually flitting mind concentrates solely on what I’m feeling beneath me and what I need to do to make it feel better. Everything else slips away. Being back on board today almost felt like a relief. A chance to get back to being just me. For once, it was me doing the asking rather than three lovely but demanding smalls.

So with a pleasant ache in my muscles (it won’t be so pleasant tomorrow), I’m resolving to ride more. For the third time, the bug has sunk its teeth into me again and it feels fabulous.

Back in the saddle. Literally.