Saturday, May 21, 2011

The week past, from Saturday morning

It's Saturday morning, the babies are asleep, Nye is asleep, the washing machine is running, the kettle is boiling and the smell of cinnamon bagels drifts from the toaster.  A week ago we were moving to London (or maybe Brighton) at the end of the year, now we're not.  

I hadn't talked about it here but in February Nye and I decided we were going to move south, that we were going to be brave and uproot everything and carry it all with us and live our lives for a little while at least in a city that has whispered sweet words of enticement to us for years. We were going to leave the city that we Don't Love. We were going to have A Great Adventure.   
Now we're not.   
Our roof is sick and it needs fixed and we live in a communal building and it could take many years and thousands of monies to make it well again and in the meantime no one will buy a flat with a sick roof so we can't move.  So we're stuck.  In many ways it's a good thing (sort of.) We're tired, we just had babies, before that we spent a long time trying to make babies, and starting a business, and renovating a flat. Before that there were family upheavals and fights with educational establishments. Before that we hadn't met.  It would do us no harm at all to Just Be for a while.  The problem (apart from the thousands of monies, much mess and the fact that we don't really want to live here) is that we don't know how to Just Be. We've never Just Been. We've always (see above) had a project/battle to occupy/consume us.  But it's something that we need to learn and so begins Operation Just Be (The No Project Project) (subtitle thanks to Meg who has a way for noticing and illuminating the ridiculousness.)

In the last week Amelia has learned to talk. She says 'ahbahbahbah' 'adahdahdah' and 'ahgahgahgah'.  She has also discovered that she has volume control (thank the good lord) and it's more than a little hilarious when she says 'AHBAHBAHBAH ahbahabahbah AHBABAHBAHB ahbahbahbabah AHBABBAHBAH.' Just to practice.  Her new-found vocal skills seem to have released some of her frustration with the world.  Much like with the rolling, Ella did the whole talking thing a couple of months ago, for a couple of days, and has been pretty quiet ever since.  She's now fully occupied with eating.  That girl can eat moosh faster than we can get it in her and her enthusiasm kills me dead.  Sitting in her little seat on the table she spots the spoon, lunges for it, often misses entirely poking herself in the eye or cheek, then tries again. There's no point in me trying to guide the spoon to her mouth as her lunging for a moving object as opposed to a still one only increases the risk that she is going to swallow the spoon too.   

Amelia will not be fed.  Nuh uh, no way, not ever.  She sees the spoon coming and clamps her mouth shut so tight ain't nothing getting in there.  But.  Give her the spoon herself and she will put it straight in her mouth. Well not straight in her mouth, and therein lies the problem.  The process goes something like this: mouth open, spoon in ear. Mouth still open, spoon in eye.  Mouth open, spoon brandished through the air. Mouth open, spoon finally in mouth. By which point there is carrot in her ear, on her eyebrow, splattered across the walls and the baby is sucking on an empty spoon.  It's entertaining but I'm not sure how long she can last on milk and an empty spoon. Nye thinks that her determination to do it herself is a good thing. I'm going to remind him of this when she's 4 and we're running late for school and she wants to put her shoes on BY HERSELF DADDY.  

* Ammie, Ammie, Ella. For those of you who STILL can't tell the difference.


  1. First of all, your girls are slaying me with the cute! So sorry to hear about the flat mess- can you rent out the Glasgae flat, then rent in London? although the thousands of monies probably interferes with that idea. Booo!

    (I'm another person who doesn't know how to Just Be -- I've progressed through life by throwing myself in a series of increasingly difficult situations and then clawing my way through it, so I sympathise with you guys. Dougie is trying to teach me the Being thing, but I keep starting businesses when he's not looking. I'll let you know if I crack it!)

  2. golly they are cute!!! and think your project sounds, well, perfect, all things considered...enjoy! xxx j

  3. @danae, unfortunately rent in glasgow is something like a third of rent in London, otherwise we'd be there in a heartbeat! Also, they may well be taking down all of our ceilings to fix the roof which doesn't make the place very desirable to tenants. Poo.

    Do keep me updated with the Just Being. I feel it may be quite the challenge.

  4. I'm sure you have decided to stay put and are getting your heads around that (we all know that great things can come from pants things) BUT if you were to sell, solicitors can hold a retention fund from the proceeds of your sale for the new owners to cover the repairs bill. It would be a figure agreed by both sides. Whatever is left would go back to you after the works had been completed, I believe. IF, IF, IF that were possible would you then have enough left over in the meantime to put down a deposit or even just rent in your chosen city for a while to see if you like it?

    Just a thought, I've always made property work for me so that I have more options to do what makes me happy.

    Or 'just being' is a good option too :-)

  5. Just being is a difficult concept to get used to. I remember the first summer after I started working and thinking, this is the first summer in 15 years where I have not studied for or sat exams. What am I going to do now. We got engaged that weekend :)

    Let me know how it goes...

  6. I feel I've wasted years of my life waiting for my life to happen...

    The other week I was in a cute little homewares store where I live (and like yourselves, didn't want to be living) when I saw a tacky little wall hanging that I would never consider buying if my life depended on it. But the words spoke loudly - "Bloom where you're planted". And just like that, it changed my way of thinking.

    x claire

    P.S Your girls just get cuter and cuter. I love hearing about their deliciously odd little ways!

    P.P.S - Hope your roof gets well soon

  7. I don't know how to "just be" either. I'm constantly searching for my next project, my next step towards whatever goal I've set for myself at that point. Thus, I suppose, moving for two months for an unpaid internship followed by moving 2800 miles across the USA to start a PhD program. I really never thought I would get/need a PhD (luckily my boy is going with me). Hope that your "just being" goes well. And maybe you can give me a few pointers.

    Also, your girls are so beautiful. I love hearing about them and seeing those adorable pictures!

  8. Hi Peonies/Cara

    I've been reading you blog for a while now and I've only commented once before but your post struck a chord with me today.

    You see I've been struggling with Just Being and Living In Glasgow for some time now.
    I moved here to be a student in 2009. Glasgow was where my dad was from had always been one of my favourite places. It held all sorts of dreams for me, and even though I missed living right next to beaches and lochs when it was hot and in beautiful forests and fields when it was snowing, Glasgow and I got on pretty well for the first year. Then I moved, into a shitty basement flat, lost some close friends and depression hit me like a tonne of bricks. When our flat was flooded in December, meaning I had to move in with the people I childmind for I felt like the world was laughing at me. Glasgow, how could she be so cruel? I was homeless in the city I had to call home.

    Its been months now and my boy and I are still without a home of our own. He lives on one side of the city, I live on the other. The hardest thing to deal with was how there was nothing I could do about it. I would spend hours on the internet searching for places to live and cry myself to sleep, staring up at a ceiling that wasn't mine. Worse than being physically homeless was the feeling of homelessness - I had a roof over my head but I didn't feel comfortable. I was constantly restless, wanting to move with nowhere to go to.

    Learning how to Be is an ongoing challenge. But I have learnt to find my home in little things. Like a cup of tea and the crossword in Heart Buchanan. Getting a dram and a tune in the Ben Nevis bar. An hour sprawled on the grass of Kelvingrove park. People-watching from the bar stools in Little Italy. Catching the 44 bus all the way across town. Having a key in my pocket which opens a door, even if that door isn't to my own home. All of these things have helped me love the moment and slowly, I think I might be falling in love with Glasgow again. But one of the biggest things that I have relied on is your blog - knowing that there is a sane, funny, smart person seeing life I see it out there in this city is such a comfort. Your words make me laugh on bad days. And even though I don't even know you at all I always feel like I have a friend out there. You are an inspiration, not in a sappy ugh way, but just because you acknowledge that SOMETIMES NORMAL REAL LIFE IS HARD. Plus you wear Brat and Suzie tees (hero). And fucking hell, two beautiful babies at once?! That is insane. Double the nappies and double the oh-my-god-crazy-adorables. I could cope with the first but the second would 100% kill me dead. You are a super woman. You are obviously brave and strong and you will find it, whatever 'Just Being' is you will get it one day.

    So thanks for being there for me, and for all your readers. Good luck with the Project and if you ever need a completely awesome babysitter I WILL BE THERE IN AN INSTANT.

    Josie x

  9. I could clearly tell who was who in this one, yay! (Of course now I've got it again they'll go and change again...)

    A tip for feeding babies of this age is to use two spoons (or in your case three or four). While Ammie is spooning moosh into her ear, you sneak a little into that wide open mouth.

    I love these Saturday morning posts. And you and Nye and your two beautiful daughters. x

  10. their noses really tell them apart!
    also now that they're feeding themselves, sort of, are they natural leftys or rightys?

  11. I'm sorry to hear about your roof! But staying put for a while nigh be just what you need. Ps you have the cutest babies ever!

  12. Oh my it is so easy to tell the difference! They are so uniquely themselves!! And quite beautiful too.

  13. The last bit of this post made me laugh! Stumbled across your blog, and think your girls are very cute! Be encouraged - the feeding DOES get better....

  14. Our Just Being tends to involve a lot of time vegging out on the couch. That probably comes from trying to get in as much time together, doing nothing, after 3 years of a long distance relationship. Though we do also spend quite a bit of time perusing used bookstores and talking about projects we want to take on eventually.

    These photos are fantastic (and could almost have been labeled Nye, Nye, Cara). Ella made me laugh so much, and Amelia looks so long in that jumper!

  15. sorry about the sick roof and the not moving and good luck with the no project project, just bring is something I find particularly hard but something I need to get used to.

    your babies are beautiful - that last photo is perfect.

  16. It will be ok. I know how hard it is to just be, I still haven't mastered it! But just throw yourselves into the babies and the amazing careers and chasing solicitors/contractors to get that roof fixed quickly. Those all seem like pretty intense projects just there. And on top of that it's all for the Moving To London project.

    London, and everyone here rooting for you, will all be there when you can move. And, just like when you finally had the babies, it will be that bit more amazing when you get here :)

    In the meantime, see you really soon! x

  17. Feedings can be fun and frustrating...I always minded the clean up, though. It's too bad you have to stay put for now, however, there's nothing wrong with putting the project aside and revisiting the idea later. Oh, and that last picture of Ella is hysterical! Such Cuteness!

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  19. I stayed in Glasgow for the sum total of two days and one night, in a backpackers where the shower was mouldy and the carpet literally crawled.
    So I didn't really get to see much of the city, but we had fun whilst we were there, I have good memories of it, apart from the backpackers...
    I go through phases where it seems like life would be so much nicer if we were somewhere else but really life is what you make of it. If I'm in a good mood the house is lovely and I love where we live, so it's not the house, or the city, it's me.

    Things happen for a reason...

    Oh and I second Cate's recommendation of two spoons!


play nice.