As I’ve been creating covers for my stories on Wattpad, I couldn’t help myself, but created one for my old flash fiction short story Day of Farewell. It’s so pretty that I just had to share.
In just over six weeks the Imp will be two years old. It’s hard to imagine. There’s this weird thing when you have a child where on the one hand you feel like they’ve always been around, and on the other, you wonder where the hell the time has gone, were they not a newborn like, last week?
I realise that my writing about the Imp might not be overly interesting to all, and I fully understand that. Other people’s children are only so interesting really. Though more interesting, funnily enough, once you have one. This surprised me. I also find it difficult to know how much to share, since I do want to respect her privacy (ignoring that teenagers and young people these days seem to share absolutely everything online, so who knows what it will be like by the time the Imp gets to that age?). Sometimes I feel like I’m “proud momma” who wants to plaster photos of her cute monster everywhere, while at the same time I don’t really want to put her photo up all over the internet. It’s why, as she’s gotten older, I’m generally trying to only post photos now and then, and usually ones where you can’t necessarily see that much.
Anyway, as I’m approaching the day she turns two, I wanted to write down a few of the things she does. She’s a proper little monster. Again, I realise this is only interesting for… Well, probably me as I will come back and read this in the future, and possibly some of my family.
Why is she a little monster you
no one ask?
Proof 1: The other week I found her in the cat’s litter tray together with some of her Duggee figurines. They were having a bath apparently. Cat litter all over the floor. I need an anti-bacterial shower. Like in the movies when they walk through that tunnel and get thoroughly sprayed.
Proof 2: Any time she can make it into the kitchen (there’s usually a gate locking her out) she will throw whatever she can in the dog’s water bowl. Like her toys, or kitten plush, or her feet! When I tell her off she just laughs in my face. She really respects me, people.
Proof 3: I left her in the living room for a few minutes watching nursery rhymes while I quickly washed up some dishes. I popped my head around after a couple of minutes (like I always do) to find her sitting in her high chair. It should be noted that when I left her she was on the floor…
Proof 4: She will tell the cat off whenever he’s on any furniture, loudly exclaiming “NO!” and waving him off. She will also chase him through the flat. Also the dog. The poor animals. (Yes, I do tell her off… See point 3.)
Proof 5: When she’s finished eating she can’t just… you know… Finish. She has to chuck any remaining bits on the floor. Including mug, plate and half-eaten yoghurt.
Still, I love my little monster. She can obviously be very lovely as well. And the truth is she’s probably no worse than any other toddler. They’re just little nightmares the lot of them.
The holiday period for us was quite busy, but not necessarily in a bad way. Our tiny flat was filled to the brim with visitors as my dad, his wife and two of my siblings came to celebrate Christmas with us. It was crowded, but a lot of fun!
Being a weird Swede, I’m used to celebrating on Christmas Eve, so with my family in town, we invited the boyfriend’s parents over and treated them to a Swedish style Christmas dinner. It included things like meatballs, sausages, potatoes, Christmas ham/gammon, fermented herring, egg halves, ribs and a home-made schnaps that my dad made from vodka and spices. I think it was fun, and while part of me just enjoyed getting to eat all the Swedish goodies, I also enjoyed sharing some of our traditions (and food) with my new English family. (And the Imp, but she’s a terribly picky eater at the moment and basically only ate sausages.)
Christmas Day we all invaded the boyfriend’s parents’ home for a more traditional Christmas lunch and presents. I say traditional, I don’t think theirs is entirely traditional as I saw no turkey! Amazingly we managed to fit a full 10 people (or 9,5 if you consider the size of the Imp) in their small lounge for presents. With that many people, presents took forever, but we had nothing better to do anyway. And it’s nice to see what everyone else gets. The Imp was so happy about anything she got, that she completely lost interest in unwrapping more presents, and would instead walk off with her latest discovery. This did not help with the speed for getting things unwrapped.
On Boxing Day (last day for my family before returning to Sweden), we all went out to our favourite restaurant for a meal. The Imp, true to her favour of beige food at the moment, ate nothing but chips (fries for those of you not British). I tried giving her some peas the other day. She put one in her mouth, promptly spat it out and started brushing off her tongue as if she had burnt herself. And when I tried to at least add a bit of pineapple to her favourite lunch (cheese toastie… we’re hitting all the major food groups here, people!), she just said “Yuck!” and wouldn’t eat it. I honestly don’t know what to do with this child and eating anymore.
But I digress.
Once full on chips the Imp no longer wished to participate at the table, so like the good mother (*cough*) I am, I brought up Netflix on my phone and she watched a bit of Chip & Potato. She then entertained our whole section of the restaurant by laughing her head off at a part of the show where the main character is running around/chasing the other. Apparently things running is hilarious. I swear she laughs at it every time.
After my family went back to Sweden the flat was blessedly empty. We loved having them here, but there’s something to be said of just being on your own for a bit too. New Year’s passed by without much ado. We didn’t do anything as some plans we had tentatively considered fell through, and so we spent the evening/night at home. The Imp, true to her aversion to sleeping, was awake at the stroke of midnight to toast the new year. We then all went to bed together.
So, only a week and a bit too late… But Happy New Year!
When I next get a moment I will write a post about Christmas and New Year’s, but today it all about shameless self-promotion!
I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, but I’ve set myself some goals for 2020. One is to finally revise my old manuscript and self-publish it to Kindle before the end of the year. (Still need to get cracking on this one!) The other is to start putting myself out there, as scary as it is… So I’m publishing some other material on Wattpad. (If you don’t know it’s a platform for readers and writers where you can publish your work and/or read others stories. Or just read, there are a lot of people supposedly who are only readers as well. You can either do it on their website or download their app onto your phone/tablet.)
So! I’ve set myself a goal of one chapter of a novella every Monday. It’s a fantasy romance novella called Bowstrings & Velvet. I will add the blurb below in case anyone is curious about my terrible writing. It’s Romance with capital R, and fantasy with lower case f. Just pointing it out. Definitely more internal conflicts/character-driven than big, sweeping fantasy settings. Basically it’s people falling in love but in a fantasy world. Still, it’s writing and I’m rusty. I need to start somewhere.
The idea is that there will be a bunch of novellas/short stories all taking place in the same fantasy world. They all take place after the big battle that usually culminates in a “regular” fantasy novel, where they usually end. These stories happen in what’s left of the world after the big bad has been defeated, as the people are getting back to a new normal. Just because you win the war/defeat the bad guy it doesn’t mean that everything is suddenly fine and dandy (demonstrated very well by the burning of the Shire, for those who read Lord of the Rings).
But I’m rambling now. (It is late and the Imp has been waking up a lot during the night, so my brain may not be at peak performance, I’ll be honest.)
Below is the blurb for Bowstrings & Velvet. And also for A White Rose, which is a short story in the same universe, also sort of in progress, so nothing is completed.
The Imp and I went to Sweden at the start of November and stayed until December 1st, so we’re only just back in the UK, really. While in Sweden I attended my grandma’s funeral, which was incredibly sad, yet a beautiful service. I’m glad that I could get there and pay my respects, even when living in another country. There’s always a fear of missing out on important events when living far away.
During the rest of the visit, we saw family, visiting my dad for a weekend and one of my sisters for another weekend. There was snow for a few days, but a good couple of weeks were just gray and dreary with rain every day. Those days were absolutely miserable.
I’m frustrated by myself and my lack of writing – both on the blog and otherwise. I was never a very prolific blogger, but since the Imp it’s been pretty dismal. In my last post I mentioned having written a chapter for a novella, that’s about as far as I got since after that the Imp decided that sleep was not something that she needed. Suddenly her already rubbish evenings turned into a flurry of “no I will not sleep until 11 pm at the earliest”, and I would most commonly fall asleep with her or shortly after. Even the odd evening when she did fall asleep I got nothing done because I was either exhausted or expecting her to wake up any moment (which she often did).
Four (and two more nearly through) teeth later, and it looks like there might finally be some light at the end of the tunnel. She’s actually been asleep by 9 pm a couple of evenings now. I won’t hold my breath, but if I can at least get a couple of hours to myself in the evenings again, maybe I can get some writing in. Wish me luck!
Our one week in Spain turned out really nice. There was quite a bit of running after the Imp as there was an open pool in the garden, but between three adults it worked out well. We took it easy most of the time, lounging at the house and in the pool, with only trips to the grocery store and twice to the beach. I think everyone just wanted a break, and it was lovely. The Imp, unfortunately, decided during the holiday that she hated the car seat, the highchair, and the buggy – so we had quite a few battles whenever we needed to go anywhere!
I’ve already booked my next holiday, which will be a trip back home to Sweden in November. Sadly it’s due to wanting to attend the funeral for my grandmother who passed away a couple of weeks ago. She ended up in the hospital while we were in Spain, but seemed to be doing better as we came back. I was on standby to book a ticket to come home sooner if needed. Then suddenly she took a turn for the worse, and then she was gone. It’s all very sad, but I’m glad that at least I can make it for the funeral. It’s instances like these that bring it home that I’m far away from my family, and it makes me miss them even more.
In completely unrelated news, I’m trying my hand at writing fiction again. It’s been absolutely forever, other than some fan fiction a few years ago, and currently, it feels about as easy as squeezing water from a rock to get the words to flow – but I am persisting. Hopefully, the writer’s block will subside if I can keep at it. I just need the Imp to sleep a bit better, so that I have more time to actually write. To sort of get myself back into it, I’m not jumping right back to my old Regency series, instead trying to write a little novella with a Christmas theme (still Regency romance). I’m considering publishing a chapter every week or so on Wattpad and/or blog as I finish them. Then for Christmas 2020, I’ll have it revised and properly edited, and maybe release it as an e-book.
We shall have to see how it goes. I only started yesterday so I only have one chapter so far. Wish me luck!
I’d like to write more often, but as the Imp apparently detests sleep I get very little time to do… well, anything. She seems to sleep in 45-minute intervals most of the time. The day time naps often end up being only that, but sometimes I can get her back down for an additional 30-45 minutes. It’s hard to get into the swing of anything though when you’re constantly interrupted.
At night time it varies. Right now she’s teething, so she’s been going to bed between 10-11 at night, then waking constantly all the way until morning. I’m very much hoping that these teeth will come through soon because I’m exhausted (and I suspect that she is too, not that she’d ever admit it).
So, what’s been going on over here since eh… May? Oops!
Well, we went to Sweden to visit my family for a few weeks, which was lovely. We had some really good weather and had time to meet most of the family. Then my mum and aunt came back with us so I wouldn’t have to fly alone with the tiny terror. They spent a few days here in England before flying back, and I was happy to get to show off some good British weather for once! (Last time they were here was when the Imp was newly hatched, and the weather was dreadful.)
At the end of July, we attended the wedding of some friends of ours, and the Imp was actually amazing and sat through the whole ceremony without trying to escape (her usual move when we’re still for too long).
August seems to have passed by without much notice. I had a birthday but didn’t really celebrate other than the boyfriend taking me out to dinner (which was nice). Now in September, we’re planning a trip to Spain, which will be the first time the Imp will travel somewhere that’s not just hanging out with my family, so we will see how that works out! Sadly the boyfriend couldn’t get time off work, so he has to stay home, but we’ll be meeting my step-mum and little brother (soon 10 years old) there. And we won’t have to fly alone, when we realised the boyfriend couldn’t get time off, we roped his mum into coming along for an extra set of hands for the tiny terror.
Now I shall stop boring you because I doubt anyone really wants to know what’s been going on. It’s really more for my own records, and abysmal records they will be! But it’s better than nothing. I think?
I’ve suffered from chronic fatigue (CFS) for a long time now, and I have periods when I’m definitely doing better – and others where I’m definitely doing worse. Same with my fibromyalgia. However, I always feel like I can cope better with the pain than I can with the tiredness and exhaustion. I realise that this makes me lucky in some ways, the fibro isn’t nearly as bad as it could be, and for that I am grateful. The exhaustion can be debilitating though. And somehow I decided that I would add a baby into the mix. (Well, technically a toddler by now.)
I will never regret having the Imp, I love her above all – but there are days when I feel like the worst mother because I simply don’t have the energy to do everything that everyone else does. There are days when we just hang out at home because I can’t contemplate leaving the house, I’m just too fatigued. Fortunately, the little Imp seems quite happy to potter around at home, wreaking havoc the way I imagine a small hurricane would.
For the last few years, I’ve managed my fatigue somewhat. I’ve been able to work full time, which has been a definite win, even if it’s been at the cost of some other things having to go. During the years I’ve noticed that I can’t have it all, I have to choose where to expend my limited energy. I can either do my hobbies, keep a clean, tidy home or work. The last couple of years I worked, and my hobbies suffered. (As for cleaning, I was somewhere in between. I managed to sort of keep on top of it, even if not perfect.)
Pregnancy was okay. I was exhausted, but I think even women with no previous health problems are exhausted during pregnancy. Especially if they, like me, work waking night shifts.
Then enter the Imp. I’ll be honest, the first few months after she came along I was doing great. Exhausted? Yes. But I don’t think any more than any other new mum (or so I like to think). My pain was nearly entirely gone. It was amazing. Maybe six months down the line the pain started creeping back though, and both it and the exhaustion has been getting progressively worse.
The Imp is 14 months old today, and yesterday I was so tired I just wanted to sit down and cry. I struggle with feeling inferior to other mums, who manage to care for their child, going out and doing things every day and keep a neat, tidy home. At the moment I can’t do either. I feel like I’m stuck, trapped in this body and mind that are sluggish and fatigued – all while the house crumbles around me.
There are so many things I want to do. I feel like I need to do. But I can’t bring myself to do them. I’m just so tired. All I want to do is sleep, it’s what I would have done in the past, but with a little one running around that luxury is beyond me.
For months the exhaustion has been getting worse and worse, the lack of sleep definitely not helping. The Imp isn’t a great sleeper, still waking up several times at night, and she won’t let anyone else settle her. Only I can get her back to sleep (I am also the only one that can get her to sleep when first going to bed in the evening). I’m not sure how to fix it. At this point, all I can think is that I need to rest. But there is no rest to be had.
Ps. I’m sorry about the rambling nature of this post. I don’t know if it’s making any sense, and I’m quite honestly too tried to make it make sense.
For the Imp’s birthday my sister bought her a counting primer, and she quite honestly couldn’t have found a better one. Just look at it!
I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but suddenly the Imp turned a year old on Saturday. How has it been a year already? It’s been a wonderful year, with little sleep, but a lot of love.
The Imp was born at 37+1 after an induction, following doctor’s recommendations due to growth restriction. She just wasn’t growing as she was meant to, and after a few weeks of regular check-ups (towards the end I was going every other day to check her heartbeat/that she wasn’t in distress), it was simply time to get her out. I went in on Thursday around noon for an induction, and the Imp was born on the Friday at 22.57.
I remember going into labour with practically no sleep due to the contractions starting Thursday evening, but managed a little nap in my room in the labour ward after being given my first bout of painkillers. Which was lovely. Less lovely when it wore off. I tried gas and air, some people swear by it – but I’ll be honest, it did nothing for me. I could as well have been breathing in regular air for all it did.
Having a low pain threshold and just not being a brave person (I’ve always feared the idea of giving birth, for as long as I can remember), and the fact that induction contractions are really bloody painful – I ended up having an epidural. Say what you want, but I don’t think I’d have managed without it. The drip to induce labour was bringing the contractions on quite strongly. There was quite a bit of fiddling up and down with it as
Eventually they seemed to find the magic formula though, and I was allowed to start pushing. It took awhile, and towards the end it seemed that she got stuck, and I just couldn’t quite get that last stretch over the finish line. I ended up with an episiotomy, and out she came! She was a tiny little thing at 44 cm and 2060 grams (just below 4 lbs 8 oz). We stayed in the hospital for a week since she was too little to breastfeed properly, so she had to be tube fed. We kept practicing though, and we finally cracked the code, and she became quite adept at it!
I look back on that first week now a year later, and I’m so glad it’s behind me. I hated being in the hospital. After about three days I was starting to go stir crazy. It felt like the whole day was a never ending circle of expressing, sterilising, and feeding. I’m so glad that the breastfeeding eventually worked.
Now, as a one year old the Imp is still relatively small. She’s wearing 4-6 months clothing (but I have high hopes that she’s about to grow into the 6-9 months clothing soon), but other than being small seems to hit most goals. We’re not quite there yet, but she’s started walking a few steps. At most she’s walked a few metres across a room, which is quite well done after all. She has four teeth, with another four on the way (at the same time!). Her talking is possibly a little bit behind, but I’m told it’s quite normal for bi-lingual children, so I won’t worry about that (yet).