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The Great Work of Making Meaning

Excuse the relatively obscure title, it's a chapter title from Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog. It arrived in the mail room today, I read a few chapters while sitting with Mikey who was supposed to be falling asleep but kept looking up and grinning at me from his crib. I'm totally hooked though, it only took the first two short chapters.

Also in the mail was a long awaited Yoga DVD after Mikey destroyed my previous one, Geek love by Katherine Dunn and Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I'm not a vegetarian, but one can never have too many different ways of making vegetables appealing. Ok so I do like vegetables (now at least, not so much when I was younger) but I have no idea how to cook them. I like them in retaurants but they always seem to taste flat and bland when I attempt it. Or at least they did, hopefully not after I've had a read through this mass of pages (1008 according to Amazon). I'm sad there are no pictures though, I do like looking at pictures of good food. Raidhyn is excited that there is a whole chapter about potatoes.

I've been exhausted these past few weeks. I don't understand it. I'm sitting down now (with a glass of wine, which is surprisingly good for a dirt cheap bottle I originally bought for cooking with) at nearly 9pm after finally clearing up the house from the tornado that was today.

I woke up this morning tired, like I have done almost every morning for the past 3 weeks or so. I laid around in bed, Mikey woke me up and was climbing all over the place. I finally had to get up when he started taking the books from my bedside bookshelf and burying me in them. I drag myself to the coffee machine in a vague attempt to jump start my day. It worked, it always works. Mikey and I play around in the kitchen, he "helps" me unload the dishwasher and put things away. I gradually feel myself slowing down by around 9 so I get another cup of coffee, Mikey and I hang out, play and watch cartoons (He likes Fireman Sam and Pocoyo best of all). Technically I am laying on the couch while he either sits on my stomach watching cartoons or wanders off to find something interesting to show me. All toys must be placed on my stomach while he sits on my legs and plays with them, noisy toys must be as close to my face as possible.

By 11 Raidhyn is up and I am totally wiped out, done for the day. Shame there's another 13 or so hours to go. I essentially wander around for the rest of the day in a haze, punctuated by a trip to the grocery store to buy something to make for dinner. Chicken Schnitzel cooked with garlic, bacon and white wine, green beans on the side. Yes it was good.

(If you're interested - heat a tbsp of olive oil in a pan, put in chopped garlic. Cook bacon in this until crispy them remove and put to one side. Cook the chicken in the same greasy mess until golden, remove and put to one side. Put the bacon back in, throw in some white wine and let it bubble up. Pour yummy and grossly bad for you bacon fat and wine mixture over the chicken. The green beans are steamed.)

Why am I so exhausted? I get about 5 hours sleep... Raidhyn likes to go to bed late, I don't particularly like sleeping alone so I'm going to bed between midnight and 1am, sometimes later. Generally 2 hours after I've gone to bed Mikey wakes up. We then sleep until Mikey wants up for the day at 6am. So I'm getting about 5 hours of sleep, in a lot of 2 hours, waking for Mikey, then 3 hours. Sometimes I'll nap for an hour during the day while Mikey is napping, although I always seem to wake up more groggy than I was before I napped.

Personally I don't think it to be completely unreasonable to be able to function for a full day on that amount of sleep. It wasn't so long ago that mikey woke every 2 hours in the night as well as getting up at 4am and I managed then [just about]. Hell, I feel like I managed better when he was a teeny tiny baby than I am doing now. After walking 15 minutes to the grocery store, then back again with a grocery-laden stroller and pulling said stroller up 3 flights of stairs I feel like I want to hibernate for a week.

Oh and by the way, when I read beauty tips on websites and the first tip is "get at least 8 hours of sleep" I want to vomit. Give me something I can work with, please?


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I am a 24 year old British stay at home mother to a two year old boy. Married to a U.S. soldier and currently living in Germany.

I have seen the Vatican from the very top of St Peter's Basilica, the mud in the World War I trenches outside Ypres. I have walked through Montmartre side streets bustling with people in the evening, gotten lost in the streets of Greenwich Village NYC, run through cornfields on the Welsh border and sat outside with a cup of tea watching fireflies in the fields of the outer Chicago suburbs.

I have held the hands of others through addiction, fear, suicide, despair and come out the other side. I have left everything behind to begin anew.
I have fought mental illness and walked through snow in the mountains of the lake district, England. I have explored the morgue in the bowels of an abandoned hospital on a summer evening, climbed to the top of scaffolding on the outside of a five floor warehouse to look at the city lights of Nottingham at night and I have watched the sun setting on the Texas horizon.

I have held my son's tiny hand through the plastic window on an isolette in the NICU ward. Walked, speaking only in whispers, through the catacombs beneath the ground on the outskirts of Rome and seen the fireworks over Heidelberg castle.