When we lived in Zambia I used to write a letter home every month summarising what we had done and experienced. Given the last month's blog-void and life-rollercoaster I thought it was time for a quick revival.
The last month has rolled past with barely a moment to catch our collective breaths. It turns out that working part-time, two mornings a week, can take up so much of your life that there is no time for blogging. This is not good, but it is exacerbated by the extra hours I've had to work in order to sort one particular client's accounts out. I'd rather not.
September 2012 has brought about one of those moments when you know you are getting older, moving on to the next phase in life. My first-born, son and eldest child (one person!) has started secondary school. He's taken the change completely in his stride. His mother was much more of a mess, worrying about her baby amongst all the big kids. Still - there is nothing quite like distraction (see paragraph 1!) to take one's mind off the big life-changes. I have dutifully taken photos in the front garden of the boy drowned by blazer and trousers that are a couple of inches too long.
His aunt commented on his hair ("he's going to love that photo when he's older!") ... which leads us into the other life-changing event of the month: haircuts. My son's mop was in desperate need of a trim and so, in a moment of despair that I would ever drag him to the hairdressers, I set up shop at home. (This means I sat him on a chair in front of the mirror in my bedroom and attacked him with the scissors.) He wants long hair, but the natural curls prevent it lying beautifully and it grows into a ball of chaos. Now I've cut it to be something approximating smart.
If his hair was a trauma it was nothing compared to my daughter's. She too wanted long hair and over the last year or two it has steadily grown down to shoulder length. When washed and heavily conditioned it looked beautiful, but every morning there were horrific knots which resulted in screaming and agony as I tried to brush it. I kept telling her the only solution was to shut up or cut it short. Astonishingly, she decided one day to cut it. Not believing her I left it 48 hours before sitting her in my (bedroom) hair salon. With many a deep breath I cut her a short bob - probably 15cm of hair falling to the floor. She looks so much more grown up, and best of all there are no morning tantrums any more!
Other childish events? I tried to organise a sleepover for my son's birthday party (in advance of his December birthday) and failed. I am planning my daughter's 10th birthday party, which is causing me marginally less stress...so far... I've also been to-and-fro to hospital appointments for her incontinence issues and met up with teachers, classroom assistants and speech & language therapists.
Perhaps the biggest time consumer has also consumed the most money. After three years the lease on our car has expired. If my husband didn't work such long hours he might have got round to ordering a new lease car through work but, as it became apparent that wasn't going to happen in a reasonable timescale, I decided that we'd have to bite the bullet and buy a new one. So we have - or at least it is ordered. I have to reassure myself that it is a great offer, a good deal, and we haven't been sucked in by the car salesman.
To add to the financial stress my husband has decided to invest in a trailer tent. Long-term this will be fantastic. Already the children are planning our holidays in Holland and France (Modern Languages week at school has set my daughter's imagination rolling!) but I have never driven a car with a trailer on. Lots more deep breaths and telling myself that it will all be ok! I'm praying for a glorious hot, sunny summer in the UK next year!
Both car and tent took up weekends of family time and hours of analysis (Can we justify the expense? Is this the right way forward? Will my son's 6ft tall rugby-playing friends squeeze in the car in 3 years' time?) but I am hopeful that we have made good decisions for the family as a whole.
Throw in some grandparents visiting, church responsibilities, orchestra practices, swimming lessons, dentist appointments and puppy training and you've jammed September about as full as is technically possible whilst still allowing time to sleep. Well, doze lightly.
Roll on October. After all, it must be quieter. Mustn't it?