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We're still here

Wow, how did all that time go past? Things have been interesting in the household for the past week. Last Monday we visited Heidelberg Castle and got rained on. Mikey was very excited to be pushed in his stroller up the huge cobblestone hill and then even more excited to walk around on the cobblestones. He is just learning to negotiate steps and the cobblestones confused him, he thought they were steps too. Because it rained while we were there he also got to walk in the rain for the first time. He was nervous of puddles, even after me showing him he could splash in them. He pointed at the rain falling into the puddles and said "Ooooooo" which is his new word for something he thinks is interesting. Daddy took photos of us.

We've been playing outside a lot too. When we haven't been outside, Mikey has been bringing me his socks and shoes and lifting his feet for me to put them on so we can go outside. So when we're not outside I'm essentially diffusing tantrums about wanting to go outside. Poor boy thinks we're depriving him and that going outside at least twice in one day is not enough, no matter how hot it is (and it has been insanely hot). I've been reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block for some tantrum diffusing ideas. It's good, of course most of it is pseudo-science babble about how your toddler really is a cave man, but if you can get past that the main idea is great. The book can be essentially summed up by K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid). The idea that mid-tantrum your child is not interested in your reasoning because they "Want that now now NOW!" Understandable, I'm not particularly reasonable mid-tantrum either!

I've been using some of the ideas from the book today and I have managed to diffuse the majority of his tantrums more calmly and effectively than I had been able to previously. My problem is I'm also inclined to freak out if I don't get my way, so put us together and we're quite the pair. The book has served as good advice about how to improve myself and how I deal with his behaviour. Because let's face it, you're going to have at least some tantrums... that's how it works right? Mikey is quite spirited and liable to get frustrated easily, much like mummy.

Another book I've been reading is Creative Play for Your Baby, which I must first say is a beautiful book. I wish I had gotten it sooner. I bought the one for babies because it is for up to two year olds, I will most likely get the toddler version too. It is full of ideas for simple toys that you can make for your baby, the benefits of natural materials and imaginative play as opposed to generic plastic toys with rigid "games". Don't get me wrong, we have a ton of those too.

So I've got to get my crafty on. I have got such a huge list of projects to do, things that I put off and never get around to doing.

I am going to (in no particular order) -

1. Sand down and repaint the side table in the entrance hall. It's an ugly red and I would like to paint it white or grey... that area has no window so needs to be as light as possible. I'm also going to put on a little wooden decorative trim to fancy it up a bit, because it's quite boring.
2. Send back the world's ugliest military issue couch. In it's place I am going to re-upholster the foot rest from the chair in Mikey's room, put it there and over it with cushions.
3. Make previously mentioned cushions. I've been on about this for AGES. I've never embroidered before but it can't be that difficult, right?
4. Put up some shelves. Torn between getting a 4th bookshelf for the livingroom (yes we really have that many) or putting up some wall shelves. Raidhyn said he would prefer wallshelves because they are out of the reach of little fingers and don't have that attraction for small children who think they are mountain climbers, or are subject to bouts of biblioclasm. Not mentioning any names.
5. Make some of the toys from the previously mentioned book. There's a beautiful wall hanging with pockets for small teddies that I want to make.
6. Hang some plates. There's a spare wall right next to our kitchen area that is screaming "Pleeeeease hang plates on me!" No, really.
7. Finish the freakin' bedroom. One day. Probably in a few months(/years).

There's probably something else I've forgotten.

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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.