Proactive V Reactive – The ‘Contrast’ prompt…

So, today I thought I’d try getting two jobs done at once.  I thought my proactive V reactive challenge would work nicely for the ‘Contrast’ prompt from writing 101.  Will try to get some dialogue in here too!

Day 2

Today is going to be an emotional day for me.  MLS’ s first day at nursery.  Unfortunately I am unable to be there and I worry how he will get on.  MLS has quite a big speech and language delay.  He seems so much littler than the other kids!  I know I’m just worrying over nothing and he will probably be fine.

Daddy has a hangover this morning!  He completely forgot the kids were back to school and left the car at the pub (there is a silver lining in their somewhere).  So not only is it MLS’s first day, he is now going to have a half hour walk to get there – poor lad will be completely shattered.  I am very cross about this.

My usual reactive reaction to this would of gone something like this:

‘Are you joking?  Did you leave the car at the pub?  You knew the kids were back at school today’ she said angrily.

‘I didn’t know’ he said, with a confused look on his face.

‘It’s MLS’s first day – he’s going to be shattered.  She screamed.

(Blank look)

‘Do you ever think of anybody but yourself?  She questioned, accusingly.

(Storms out door)

Not good, right?  So this is how I dealt with it today.  I decided to choose my response.  I realised that there was actually nothing I could do.  So I chose to keep quiet.  I said goodbye to the kids, wished MLS luck and went to work. I felt that him having to get the kids ready for school much quicker than usual (due to having to walk) with a hangover was punishment enough.  Other positives I thought of on the way to work were that he wouldn’t of been driving our kids to school under the influence of alcohol.

Very little to report at work today.  I was office bound and didn’t see a lot of people.  A bit sad though as my best friend at work told me she may be leaving in a couple of months.  Again, I chose my response and kept positive.  She is moving on to brighter and better things – and will do very well for herself.  Unfortunately she is moving away so I don’t think I will get to see her very often.

Day 3

Today is my day off.  I hadn’t really been looking forward to it as I messed up the childcare arrangements and Daddy is also off today (which never happens).  That’s bad, right?  I hate that I feel this way, but I rarely get a day to myself and it’s like he’s encroaching on my time (I realise how bad that sounds).  What usually happens when we have the day off together is that I do everything while he has a lie in, sits on the couch all morning then disappears off to the pub for the afternoon, and possibly evening!  But I realise I am being negative so I will stop.

This is what actually happened.  He had a bit of a lie in and then got up to help with the kids!  We took them to school together!  I am now dreading going home because I know what he’ll be after when we get there – with there being no kids home and all.  Again I know making excuses will cause an argument so I decide to go with the flow.  Anyways, I’m glad I did.  We connected!  I think we needed to actually.  I sometimes forget how much I love him.  I forget how much I like him when he’s sober.  He’s just a normal, fun guy to be around and it reminds me of the person I fell in love with.  It reminds me that this is the man I want back one day – on a full time basis.

We watched a funny movie and then picked up MLS from nursery (he’s getting on great by the way!).  We chilled out in the afternoon and then picked up DLP from school together.  He did then go to the pub – but only for an hour and a half and he was back in plenty of time for bath time, bedtime stories and bed.  He also stayed in all evening.  So today has been a good day.  I’m actually still in shock!

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The people who inspire me…

I cannot speak.  I cannot see you.  I cannot hear you.  I know you are there, I feel your presence.  Your movement around me.  I feel the air move.  I smell your scent, I know exactly who you are!  I rely on you totally and completely.  I feel your touch, they way you move me gently.  I sometimes hold your hand, gripping you tightly.  Sometimes I stroke your hand.  If you startle me unexpectedly I may strike out with my arm, I may pinch, scratch or pull hair.  I don’t mean to – you just frightened me.  My name is ‘L’, I have a severe learning disability.

I’m a young man, hormones blazing.  I cannot speak or understand much of what you say.  It’s frustrating.  I like to shout out, sometimes all day long – I shout over people when they’re speaking.  I love to watch sports, anything with a ball – it makes me happy and will calm me down. I cannot walk or even straighten my legs, it causes me a lot of pain, but don’t worry – I’m used to it and I will always have a grin on my face.  My name is ‘C’, I have a severe learning disability and Cerebal Palsy.

I like to lie on the sofa and lounge the whole day.  I love drinking tea and eating biscuits.  I only get up when I need something or when you make me go out for a walk!  I make happy repetitive noises like ‘da da da’ or if I’m anxious I’ll make screeching noises and rock back and forth. If I’m very unhappy I’ll hit myself hard across the side of my face, I don’t even know why.  I love to dance striding back and forth and jumping on the spot.  My name is ‘D’, I have a severe learning disability and Autism.

I smile all day long – I’m not kidding, I just don’t stop.  I’m one of the happiest people you’ve ever met.  I see the world with such innocence – the eternal toddler!  I love to eat and lounge in my comfy chair.  I cannot see much but I enjoy lights and bright colours – they fascinate me.  I’m walking much better now – you helped me to get fitter.  I love to touch and try to hug you – but keep an eye out in case I try to bite.  I don’t want to hurt you – it’s just a sensory thing.  My name is ‘G’, I have Pierre Robin Syndrome and a severe learning disability.

I cannot speak or understand what you say.  I don’t like to be touched and will push you away.  I refuse to eat, so must have a liquid diet.  I am extremely underweight.  Eighteen years ago I was given a few months to live.  I am still here, fighting.  Strong.  I will not give up.  I can be cantankerous.  When you play my favourite music I will laugh and have a beaming smile on my face.  It reminds me of my Mum. It can bring me round from a seizure.  I like to rub paper on my head.  My name is ‘B’, I have a severe learning disability, Fragile X, Scoliosis and Epilepsy.

I had a road traffic accidest nineteen years ago which left me brain damaged.  I am an angry, frustrated man.  I was strong but my body is beginning to fail me as is my mind.  I hurl profanity at you and use rude hand gestures.  Later on, I feel bad – I know you’ve only trying to help.  I’ll apologise and cry.  When I’m happy I have a smile which would melt a thousand hearts and I love to hold hands and hug.  I remember what it was like before my accidental – life is very frustrating for me.  My name is ‘P’, I have mild down syndrome, severe learning disabilties, scoliosis and possibly early onset dementia.

These are the six incredible people who taught me about what principles really are.  They taught me what nurturance, patience, kindness, courage and strength really meant.  They continue to humble me on a daily basis and make me grateful for what I have.  My problems seem trivial in comparison.

Proactive V Reactive

I decided to set myself the challenge of listening to my language and the language of others for seven days.  I wanted to see how much people use reactive language or proactive language and what the result of this was.

Stephen Covey gives us the following examples of reactive languge:

  • There’s nothing I can do.
  • That’s just the way I am.
  • He makes me so mad.
  • They won’t allow that.
  • I have to do that.
  • I can’t.
  • I must.
  • If only.

He gives us the following examples of proactive language:

  • Let’s look at our alternatives.
  • I can choose a different approach.
  • I control my own feelings.
  • I can create an effective presentation.
  • I will choose an appropriate response.
  • I choose.
  • I prefer.
  • I will.

Day 1

A little background.  Daddy as been at the pub all day watching football and drinking so I will be sleeping on the sofa tonight – just so I get a decent sleep.  MLS is currently sleeping in Mummy and Daddy’s bed as he says he is a big boy now and is refusing to sleep in his cot bed (as it’s for babies)!  The sofa is very comfy by the way!

So Day 1 I find myself awake at 2 am!  MLS has woken up and is full of beans.  He climbs under the blanket with me and proceeds to fidget for the next three hours, finally falling asleep at 5am.  So, lucky me gets approximately half hour sleep before my alarm goes off at 5.30!  During the three hours DLP woke up also so I sent her in with her Daddy (it really is ‘musical beds’ in our house).  So, not the best start to the day, but I try to remember that the kids were probably wakeful due to me letting them play on their Leap pads before bed and being over-stimulated, so I can’t blame anyone but myself!

Everyone else in the house is up by about 6.  I try to remain mindful that I am tired and not to snap at anyone.  Then, of course the kids start arguing – I admit, I could of handled it better!  But, I realise and apologise to them for shouting and explain that I didn’t get much sleep, and all is well again.  Daddy managed to go unscathed and I left for work.

It is my first day back at work after a week off so I’m feeling a little ‘meh’ anyway.  On my way to work I decide to think positively about going back and all the good things it entails such as seeing the people I support, my colleagues who are also friends, and all the cake which might be left over from last week as there were four birthdays going on!  I try to remember that I am tired and to pace myself today.

I buy fruit and a healthy lunch on the way (this will make me feel better about eating cake).  I arrive at work on time with a smile on my face and pleased to see everyone (which I am).  We sit around the table for (green) tea and breakfast.  My friend asks about my week off and if I’m glad to be back, I tell her about my week and say that I am.  She then goes on to talk about what’s going on with her.  She has had a fall out with a friend (a work colleague), and it is causing tension for her at work.  I hear slot of ‘she did this’ and ‘she did that’.  I try to offer helpful comments but realise I’m just getting sucked into the negativity.  So I decide to keep quiet and just listen.  And as people always do (given half the chance), she came round to her own solution while my integrity remained intact.

Anyway, so much for pacing myself today.  It turns out to be very busy!  I support my residents to get out of bed, have breakfast etc.  I check on their finances and realise no one did their banking while I was off last week, so none of the residents have any money.  I huff about it a bit to myself and then use it as an opportunity to take one of the residents out to town in the lovely sunshine!  I remember to put my problems in perspective and think about what the people I support have been through.  It really is humbling.

I arrive back at the house after some fresh air and sunshine and have lunch (and cake). After lunch I sort out the rest of the finances.  My boss is in today and requests to see me in the office.  I know already what he wants – he knows that I am on  an office day tomorrow so he will give me some of his work load to complete!  Currently he has me writing staff appraisals (really should be his job – how would you feel if your colleague wrote your appraisal and not your boss?)!  I remember that his job involves crazy amounts of work which he just hasn’t got time to do and that he thinks highly of me and spent the last seven years fighting to get me a pay rise and promotion (achieved last month!).  He also knows I spend far more time with the staff team and know them better than he does so will probably do a better job.  He also knows I’m a paperwork geek and I like to have some days when I do office work.  So he talks me round again.  Which is fine!

I arrive home shattered.  I get the washing done, make the beds and finish the paperwork needed for MLS to start nursery tomorrow.  The grocery order arrives and then the children arrive home from nannies.

MLS is shattered and asleep by 6.15, DLP by 7.30.  Daddy calls to say he’s working late so to eat without him.I eat, write this post and am now off for an early night!  Sorry Writing 101 prompt, you will have to wait!

Considering how tired I was today I think I did pretty well!

12/4/15 – Building Rome…

Over the last week I challenged myself to complete the following goals:

Planning meeting and bonding activities with the children

Today we had our second planning meeting.  The children are really enjoying sitting down and having a ‘special time’ together.  Today we reviewed our planning from last week to see how many of the activities we managed to do whilst I was on annual leave.  I am pleased to say we managed them all! Our first activity was to go on our Spring walk.  Luckily we have had the best week weather wise.  The sun has been shining and it has actually been lovely and warm.  DLP got out her nature spotting books and off we went.  We also managed to sneak in a trip to the park whilst we were at it.  This is my favourite photo from our trip.

IMG_20140330_150803

We also went for a trip to Nanny and Grandads on the train so yet again got two activities done for the price of one!  We did Easter baking, sorted new school shoes out and spent their saved up money in the toy shop.  It has been hectic to say the least.

20150408_165716

We also sat down today and made a list of all the helpful things we could do for each other in our household.

Complete the ‘Love in Ten Sentences Challenge

I was asked to do this by the lovely Edwina at http://edwinasepisodes.com/

Here is what I came up with:

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/love-in-10-sentences-the-challenge/

Make a start on ‘Writing 101’

I am really enjoying this course so far.  I have so far managed to keep up with the tasks omitting only one which I didn’t feel was suitable for my blog.  I have been off work this week though so it has been easier to find the time, so I’m not so sure I will be keeping up as well from now on.  I will do my best.  Although this course has been fun this week it has also been quite emotional with one particular piece of writing being particularly difficult for me.  However it was also very healing.  I have met some wonderful supportive people this week also.

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/06/spring/

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/room-with-a-view/

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/three-important-songs/

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/losing-myself/

Write two posts on the first habit – Be Proactive

I managed to get one of these done, but it has been a very busy week.  The second one I had planned needed a little more research so will have a go at it next week.

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/stimulus-response/

My goals for next week are:

  • Doing my best with Writing 101
  • Writing a post about my experiences with reactive and proactive language (a seven day challenge)
  • Completing my Liebster Award questions from the lovely Jim at https://healthwealthlife101.wordpress.com/
  • Planning meeting and bonding activities with the children.

It’s going to be a busy week.  DLP is back to school on Tuesday and MLS is also starting nursery.  He is a late starter as he has quite a big speech and language delay so I am very worried about how he will get on.  I suspect he will surprise us all!  Will let you know.

Love in 10 Sentences – The Challenge

th-13I have been nominated by the lovely and very funny Edwina of http://edwinasepisodes.com/ to complete the love in 10 sentences challenge.

The Rules:

The challenge is to write a poem about love and title it “Love in Ten Sentences.”

It must have 10 lines, each 4 words long.

Every line must contain the word “love.”

At the end of the poem, you must include a favourite quote about love.

please note that I have not written poetry in about 20 years!

 Love in Ten Sentences

Love is a verb

Love, caress, hold, listen.

Love one and all.

Love is the ruler

Love is a healer

With love comes feelings

Love, sadness, anger, jealousy

Love is a minefield.

But first, love yourself

Before you love another.

My quote is at the top of the page..it’s a life-changer for those who have not realised it.

I nominate anyone who would like to have a go.’

Losing myself…

Please be aware that some may find this post upsetting.  It is about postnatal depression.  Please don’t read if you are sensitive to such issues.  Please feel free to comment.  I just needed to get these feelings out.

I did that thing… the thing I promised myself that I would never do…I had a baby to save my relationship.  Well, not quite.  I thought my chances of having children were extremely slim – or so I had been told.  Coming off the pill just seemed a natural thing to do… I wanted to give myself a chance to at least try.  We discussed what would happen if I did get pregnant – he said it would be great!  I’m not so sure that he truly meant it, I think he really thought that it would never happen.  He was just trying to make me happy.  Nine days later I am pregnant.

Our situation is not the best.  He has an alcohol addiction and has only just got a job after nine months unemployment.  We are skint and he has thousands of pounds worth of debt, twenty-seven to be exact.  I am not coping with his drinking at all.  I am depressed.  What on Earth was I thinking?  Did I actually think having a baby would stop him drinking?  Maybe I just didn’t think it would happen either…maybe I just didn’t think.  Depression does strange things to you.

The pregnancy is going well.  I’m feeling and looking great.  Everyone around us is so excited and pleased as they knew that this baby was my little miracle.  Pregnancy is suiting me – everyone says so.  I feel great.  My hopes are raised, maybe everything is going to be okay after all.  I am eating healthily.  I follow all the advice written in books.  I read so many books!  I feel knowledgeable and capable.  Everyone tells me I’m going to be a great Mum.  I believe them.  I feel great.  Even he is excited.

I’m eight months now, I’m on maternity leave. I’m home alone – too much time to think… that feeling deep inside, a sinking feeling.  Something not quite right.  I don’t tell anyone – I can cope.  He’s never home – working or at the pub.  Feeling isolated.  I’m anxious, I can’t sleep – just the baby moving around a lot.  I can cope.

I wake early morning.  Contractions…horrendous pain.  Something not quite right.  I tell him I’m fine as he seems concerned.  He goes back to sleep.  I run a bath and try to relax.  The pain comes and goes.  I notice that I’m bleeding a little – I don’t say anything, I’m scared.  A few hours later I wake him – the pain is much worse, the bleeding increased.  He calls the hospital – they tell me to come in immediately.

They tell me baby is fine and on its way.  The bleeding caused by an infection.  Baby is two weeks overdue.  The pain is like nothing I’ve experienced.  I’m told there are complications, I’m not pushing effectively.  They have to help her out – but the cord is around the neck.  They have to be quick.  I’m using too much gas and air – they take it away.  I feel calm.  Weird feeling.  Baby Is out and fine, I hold her for a second – I don’t feel anything… I should feel something.  I’m rushed straight into surgery.

I’m on the labour ward, Daddy is already there.  He has dressed the baby – they are bonding.  I hold the baby – she looks deep into my eyes – she is beautiful – we name her.  I don’t feel anything yet, I cry.  Daddy looks at the nurse – she tells him it’s normal – I’ve been through a lot.  I feel like I’m not in the room.

I hold the baby all night, she won’t sleep.  I had an epidural for surgery, I can’t get out of bed, my buzzer Isn’t working.  I tell the nurse doing rounds – she says she’ll fix it – nothing is done.  I cry all night – baby stares at me like she knows something’s wrong.  Such beautiful big blue eyes.  I cry all night – the nurses say nothing.  It must be normal to feel this way…

We bring baby home.  Everything is well.  I feel a bit better.  Friends and family are visiting a lot so I pretend everything’s great.  I cry a bit – everyone says that it’s baby blues.  The Health visitors come and go, I carry on pretending.  They don’t notice anything is wrong.  The visits die down.  Proud Daddy goes back to work. I’m alone with baby.  Baby stares at me with those big blue eyes – she knows.

Daddy throws himself back into work.  He does a lot of ‘wetting the babies head’.  I barely see him.  Some days I’m in tears when he gets home.  He looks worried but doesn’t know what to do.  I tell him I’m tired – baby doesn’t sleep.  Daddy takes baby from me, walks around a while, she falls straight to sleep.  I cry a bit more.  He doesn’t know what to do.

Daddy thinks baby is Mummy’s job.  Daddy’s life has returned to normal.  He doesn’t help much.  It’s my fault, I’ve alienated him, told him he wasn’t doing things properly.  Kept criticizing.  I didn’t want him to think I couldn’t cope.    I can’t blame him but I resent him anyway and blame everything on his drinking (which wasn’t helping).

Things are starting to get better, baby is easier now that she is older. I’m enjoying it.  Of course, it is time for me to return to work.  Sod’s law.  I tell everyone how great it was, how much I enjoyed it.  I lie.

I feel like I missed out on something special, something that should of been cherished.  I blamed him and his drinking – it didn’t help.   Maybe it wasn’t his fault.  I blame him anyway – I can’t help it.  I lost myself.

Three important songs…

Today’s Writing 101 task asks us to free write about three songs which are important to us.  My first thoughts were that I couldn’t think of three songs off the top of my head and nothing was coming straight to mind.

During my childhood my parents were mainly into folk and country music and for some reason my parents only ever used to listen to music on Sundays.  So our house was often filled with the sounds of Jim Reeves, Dolly Parton and Nancy Griffiths.  Other big names in our house were The Carpenters, Elaine Page and my Mum also had a very unhealthy obsession with Cliff Richard!  Although I do still listen to The Carpenters, there really Isn’t one particular song that sticks out.  The first albums I got given were Paul Young (who had ‘dreamy’ eyes) and Shakin’ Stevens (more about him later).  My parents did kind of influence my music tastes as I still like the story telling aspect of country music and I went through a ‘folky’ stage involving Dar Williams later on – when I was trying to be different and ‘cool’! (Gosh, I really hate that we can’t get CMTV in the UK anymore – at least not on any free channels).

th-25So  , we now head on to my angsty teenage years.  The name of the day was Alanis Morrissette.  The first CD I ever bought was Jagged Little Pill.  I loved it and listened to it every minute of the day.  I actually taught myself to sing well using it. much to the annoyance of my parents who had to listen to me wailing in my bedroom until I perfected it.  I still have a slight Canadian twang when I sing now.  I am famous where I live for my insistence on singing Alanis at karaoke nights for many years.  It’s still what people remember me for now.  Who am I kidding?  I am still a huge fan – I grew up with her and related to her all the way from angsty teenager to ‘attachment theory’ super mum (in my opinion).  So to pick one single song is very difficult, I love them all.  I will choose one as it is what the assignment requires – but I am not happy about it!  I could use all my three on her – but there are other songs I need to include.  So here it is – ‘Mary Jane’ from ‘Jagged Little Pill’.  Before I realised it was about smoking marijuana, which I’m glad I didn’t realise till much later (a couple of years ago actually – such an innocent!) This song was all about life’s struggles and ups and downs which I completely resonated with at the time.  It really helped me deal with my mum’s Bi Polar and my Dad’s depression and pretty much everything else that goes on when you are a teenager.

Anyway, back to Shakin’ Stevens.  In my current job I support a man with PMLD.  He has Fragile X Syndrome and severe scoliosis.  He also suffers from depression.  The one thing that can make him smile is ‘This Ole House’ by Shakin’ Stevens and my gosh it is the best smile ever!  It lights up the whole room!  I cannot tell you how many times I have to listen to this album on a daily basis.  He listens to it all day every day!  Some of my colleagues are sick to death of it but I just love it – and the fact that one single song can bring such happiness to an individual with many difficulties.

My last song would have to be ‘Make me feel your love’ by Adele – this song pure and simply reminds me of having my children.  I used to sing it to them when they were babies.