With yesterday being the start of meteorological Spring and with my Daffs in bloom it has given me hope that indeed Spring is surely on its way. It has been a depressingly long winter for us. So long infact that our wood burner has been on almost constantly that we have burnt our way through the best part of a tonne of firewood trying to keep the house warm for our babies without trying to match the GDP of Liechtenstein with our heating bills. We bought a tonne of firewood from Richard the Log Man which we thought would see us through winter and the Braai season together (that’s a bbq to the uninitiated). With my husband being South African the cooking of food, 99.9% of the time meat, is a religion in the former colony. They take it very seriously and soon as the temperature hits double figures (10 degrees+) our food is cooked either on a weber over wood & coals or (a cheats version) Gas BBQ.
When the firewood was delivered we neatly stacked as much as we could in the inglenook fireplace and put the rest in every crevice of our garage. Now not being bona fide country people i have to laugh at our naivety. The next morning we entered our lounge to discover it had been taken over by these small bug like creatures. We shut the door and prayed it wasnt wood worm. Especially as we live in virtually a wooden house. I had visions of us waking up in the morning laying on the grass whilst the bugs feasted like kings on our home. We weren’t aware that country folk only bring enough firewood in for the fire you’re burning and the start of the next one. Lesson learned.
Barry the Rat catcher (pest control expert) was summoned and he reassured us these bugs were just cluster flies and were pretty harmless but were living on the wood that we had spent hours bringing in. Now with two small babies in the house, one of whom is a newborn at this stage something quick had to be done about them. We bought a smoke bomb on Barry the Rat Catcher’s advice, to be deployed to smoke the little critters out. Worked like a treat, but i spent hours hoovering up the remains.
Finally though we got to burn our firewood, which I did with aplomb, which is why there are only a few logs left and winter is still here and not a braai on the horizon.
Circling back to my original point though that Spring is surely on its way, my daffs & the calendar are telling me so and i can not wait. My girls and I have been hibernating these last few months and it has really affected my mood. A change of air can do wonders for the mind but venturing out in arctic conditions is just not practical with two small babies so we have festered in front of the fire, reading, drawing, painting, sticking, building, singing, cooking and of course watching telly. Like i said, its been a long winter.
Its been far harder than i realised entertaining & looking after two small babies, without really being able to go outside. I think I underestimated just how tough having a 17 months age gap would be and when i think back to my earlier post ‘Wrap it in sugar’, i realise now what people were trying to say. Having two so young and dependent on me, two in nappies and two with very different needs and means of communicating, its been really tough. If I’m honest there have been weeks where i have lost my sense of perspective along with my sense of humour and the tears have flowed. Couple with the fact that I’ve felt enormous guilt that im not giving quality time to either of them, let alone my husband or time for myself. I have had to seriously manage my expectations about what is realistically achievable and quite often I’ve come up short. I’m embarrassed that I havent coped as i hoped i would.
When I try to explain to friends and family just how it is right now for us it comes across as a whinge, a rant or the very worst being ungrateful. Which really couldn’t be further from what i’m feeling. I feel blessed. Truly truly blessed with my lot in life, i just had no idea how relentless it would be having two so young and how overwhelmed i would occasionally feel by the small things. Sometimes just getting out the door is a military exercise worthy of Sandhurst. By the time i’ve got us all ready to greet the public & packed a change bag; snacks, drinks, bottle, bottle warmer, nappies, change of clothes, toys, wipes, changed everyone’s bum so we start the journey clean, coats, shoes & scarves on….im shattered. By the time ive carried everyone & everything to the car im done for and that’s before ive even pulled out of the driveway and dealt with any tantrums that are thrown. Thats not even mentioning that leaving the house can only be done during the small window i have each morning and afternoon, where no one needs a nap or feeding, if i plan it right. It’s impossible to be out and feed Jools and look after Belle who wants to run about. I just can manage both alone.
I do realise that these precious early days will not always be so and the girls will grow to be more independent and then there will come the day when i wish they were more reliant on me and not so independent. As much as i want to fast forward to a time when it gets easier i don’t want to wish anything away, I just wish living it day-to-day was a little easier i suppose.
I do think that i need to carve a little time out for me though. Today i went to hairdressers for a cut & colour. My tresses were in dire need of some love & after a couple of hours alone and out of the house, with Pedro taking charge of the girls, reading magazines & drinking coffee did me the world of good. Something I previously would take for granted as an irritant in my life (having my colour done) is now an utter luxury and I so enjoyed those few hours to myself, but i was also thrilled when they came to collect me and I saw my girls little faces light up when they spotted me.
Sometimes time away, even the smallest of time, reminds me how much i value what i have. It’s the same with the change of seasons, from Winter through to spring and back again reminds us of all that is in abundance and all that we are to be grateful for. When the pretty blossom has fallen from the trees and life seems dark and sparse come the winter in our hearts, the buds once more come and the flowers are reborn. It’s a powerful cycle and one which i am feeling.