A few thoughts on bubbles

Bubbles. It’s my son’s new word and new interest, so it’s now on the background of the blog. They’re great bubbles, fun and pretty and see-through. I’d like for things to be like this all the time. And I expect my husband would also like things to be like this for me all the time. No worries, just black and white like or not like, happy please and no complaints when we travel – we just went to Amsterdam. I love the town and the people, but he heard that I regretted moving out. No, I don’t regret moving, but it’s not so simple.

I really like our new life here, in Wales. The nature, the space, the people and people speaking English. I can already see the benefits this move had on my health. I suffer less from anxiety and I’m less on survival mode all the time. To the point that I’m really imagining the possibility to have a second child. Despite the fact that I’m still breastfeeding – yes, he is almost two years old, but he is still benefiting from it and I’m scared that I would have to make him stop, he is so happy like this. And despite the fact that we don’t really know the area yet. And that we only have one salary. But we will know the area if we stay long enough, it is so good for children, the schools are good, the people are nice, and my husband’s salary is good. I can see us managing! It’s new! I’m hoping! I’m enjoying life, seeing my son grow up and not scared all the time. Taking the time to visit farms and forests. Enjoying the easiness to go out of the house (no stairs!). Suddenly things look and feel good. We will take care with our expenses and put money on the side and we will try to buy a house as soon as we can. It will take a bit of time. If we stay here.

And that’s where it is difficult for me. Will we stay here or will we move again. I’m a bit lost there. I know what I want for our son. But will we be able to stay? Will we want to? Could we get bored or never settle? How do you settle…?? I loved Amsterdam and despite the fact that there were things I didn’t like so much, it really hurt when we left. I lost my roots. I lost confidence in us settling anywhere. I realized how little we left behind us after so many years. Not so many friends, most move around and having a child and anxiety issues changed things. Maybe we’re also not so good at it. Do we really need anybody else? Yes, it’s really nice to have visitors, people we know and trust. But could we really stay here, or anywhere?

Anyway, I was glad to go to Amsterdam, to see a few old places. I realized that I’ve already moved on for the most part. I love the city but it’s not home anymore. It’s good to know.

Source: flickr, NMK Photography
Source: flickr, NMK Photography

Seasonal topic: Five reasons why I will not welcome you in my home when you’re contagious

Of course, I hear people say, we don’t go near children – or elderly, or recovering people for that matter – when we’re contagious. They might catch stuff easily, or have health issues, and what we have might be more serious for them than for us.

As soon as they think of it the course of action seems easy and clear: stay away, phone call/email and calendar check. And yet.

We keep having to ask and remind friends and family. Please tell us if you’re sick (including from herpes sore, especially dangerous to newborns), please postpone your visit, please keep your distance and wash your hands…

After explaining again (or was it just an angry monologue in my head?) to friends why I would rather they postpone their visit then be in the vicinity of our first-born when sick – stuffed-nose-and-sore-throat kind of sick, we’re not talking ebola here – I decided to try and see if I could write it down and spread the word.

I know stuffed nose and sore throat are not dangerous, and nasopharyngitis may not be much of a disease for most of us, but I’ve got good reasons for not wanting you to cross our threshold while cohabiting with it. The first and foremost being that you could transmit this to my boy, and as much as I do not wish to catch your germs (though if I do he might get them too; and when he does I have good chances of getting them), I really really do not want my son to get them. Why, in heavens, is that?

Well, because when he is sick…

1) He cannot fall asleep and stay asleep well, and as a consequence is very tired. He wakes up, unable to breathe through his nose and not used to breathing through his mouth, panics a little, cry tired and heart-breaking sobs, coughs and coughs, until… see point 2 below.

2) He coughs, and because he is so small, continues coughing until… he throws up, everything, on the surface at hand. Which is often me, mama bear, trying to calm him down with hugs or a glass of water, nicely protecting the underneath surfaces such as the couch, the bed, or the carpet. Once is not great, more is tiring (and the washing up…).

3) He has a hard time eating and drinking, cries and refuses food. Swallowing is difficult with a stuffed nose and sore throat, and I expect the food tastes gross. But combined with number 2 above, he runs a (very dangerous for babies) risk of dehydration if it lasts for too long or is too severe.

4) Try giving him medication… Suppositories, why not; drops in water, hum; nose spray…? To his credit, after the first 5 or 6 days of him fighting us off crying and kicking, he somehow understands that it is meant to help him breathe, and waits calmly while we spray his nostrils. And shows us that it isn’t nice and he is being a good boy by cutely crumpling his face with his hands between the spraying of the left and the right nostril, spreading what comes out of his nose on his hands and clothes.

5) Not wanting to make it worse for him and/or spread the germs to other kids, we do not go to our usual weekly outings. Meaning that we (including I) stay in, not meeting with other parents and children, and with a grumpy, clingy, coughing and not-napping-well little man. Last time, four weeks. Poor little him and poor big me…

So please, please, please, think! Think of yourself – wouldn’t you be better at home? – and think of us before going to a house with kids/kissing/hugging little ones when you have a running nose, a sore throat and a fever. And, of course, even more if it is an actually potential dangerous-to-baby disease…

Source: flickr, Robert S. Donovan
Source: flickr, Robert S. Donovan

A few more YA book series – A short review and a list

Some time ago, I wrote a couple of review articles on books: Book series and Young adult books. Since then I read a few more series and books which I believe could go in either of these lists. Here are these books, in a list, and a short review of them:

  • House of Night series by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast: The first book is called Marked, there are 6 books in the series. Story is about a vampire school in the modern world where teenagers suddenly turn into vampires without any warning. I liked the books, though I started losing interest after the fourth and didn’t actually finish the sixth… I also read complaints from people who say that this series is very close to Vampire Academy. I didn’t read that series so I wouldn’t know…
  • Legend trilogy by Marie Lu: Set in the future with two class of people and two teenagers from each side of the “fence” who meet due to circumstances. I liked the first book and it got good reviews. But I lost interest in the second…
  • The Earth and Sky trilogy by Megan Crewe: I really liked these books! Set in our time with a teenager who can see wrong elements in our world. These elements turn out to be modifications made to our world from space. Lots of surprises, it was interesting. I almost lost interest during the second book – it is a bit long sometimes – but I’m glad I finished it.
  • Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (trilogy): Again, I really liked these books. Also set in the future, though far, far in the future of the Earth after a disaster. Some humans hid while others were left to the elements. I got into the story and liked the main characters.

I also downloaded a lot of samples on my kindle and try to get through them to find other books to read. And I re-read some that I liked 🙂 Good reading!

Mindfulness or how to be present in our bodies

After all the changes lately (mostly changing country again), I decided to have a go at this mindfulness class. The first class was yesterday evening. It wasn’t ground-breaking but it was interesting.

Stress and anxiety are natural reactions to dangers and threats – new ones or known ones. Our arousal system awakens, triggers our survival instinct and makes us particularly aware of our surroundings, to help us survive.

Only thing is… these systems are apparently very deep and old in our brains and cannot make the distinction between physical threats and mental threats, or even imaginary/non-existing ones: tigers vs job stresses vs unpleasant memories… Our body reacts the same way to all of these “threats”.

It worked, we survived as a species. And if we were still cavemen it wouldn’t be an issue, but in our modern world, tigers have grown sparse while mental stresses are very common. In survival mode, we are unable to deal with other things than the stressor: if a tiger was nearby we would focus all our attention on it and couldn’t listen to our friends or plan holidays – same with mental stressors. Also whenever we would come back to the place where we met the tiger, we would get a warning, we would remember so we could avoid the area or be very careful. Similarly, when going back to a place where we had a stressful experience (car broke down, heard a bad news, broke up with boyfriend), we will have a flash of these events, despite the fact that they are no more likely to happen there than anywhere else in the world. We might end up avoiding these places, for no more reason than that it reminds us of bad moments, unless we become superstitious and start believing that the place is “bad luck”…

Some of us are more worried than others, more anxious, with arousal systems that are awakened more quickly. If it becomes too much and we are unhappy because of it, if we are stressed and on survival mode constantly, one solution could apparently be to be mindful. Focus on the present, rather than what happened, what might happen, what will happen or what we should do. Be present in our bodies when we experience things: eat, drink, walk in the forest, drive, close the door (how many times do we wonder if we actually closed it?) or switch off the gas (I often check if it is switched off, even if I’m the one who did it).

Meditation could also be a tool which could help us practice. The teacher last night made us go through a round: sit down comfortably and focus on the feelings in your toes, legs, belly, arms, fingers, head. Imagine the blood moving around. Feel the touch of the chair or your clothes. And whenever the mind wanders off, bring it back to the feelings. We can chose to be present and when to be distracted. It just needs practice.

It sounds really good and practical and it’s probably a very good idea to try.

BUT I also think that we probably shouldn’t just close down all the mind-distractions and the warnings we get. They could be there for a reason – telling us that something is not right, in a situation or in our head. It seems to me that there is an equilibrium to be found between being present in our bodies and deciding to never listen to our minds, avoiding the distracting and stressful thoughts and memories all the time because we believe that they are useless. At some point the pressure might be too much and the body could take over, given us symptoms or making an existing disease worse.

Otherwise, I’m thinking knitting or crocheting could also help, maybe in complement 🙂 Rather than shutting down all the distracting thoughts, when my fingers are busy, sometimes my mind wanders off freely (if I didn’t put the TV on) and I can get ideas or just get stuff out of my system.

Source: flickr, Mrs Janet R
Source: flickr, Mrs Janet R