Hello. Are you out there? Are you alive? Half dead? That’s grand. It’s the winter and it’s totally fine to be only half living. Isn’t it?
I know people loathe the winter, but I find it all a little refreshing. I’m not really a summer type gal. I don’t have the skin for it. Or the glossy hair. No, I’m far better off drowned in wool and central heating, toasting by a log fire.
And Christmas! Oh we’re a clever old species putting a festival of lights and food and cheer in the bleakest part of our year.
This year, we’re really looking forward to Christmas, as long as Christmas means lots of sitting in, rest, movies, snacks and REST. Rest would be lovely thanks.
Things are a little hectic around here, as you can imagine with two small kids, working, studying and all the other commitments we signed ourselves up for. It’s all good of course, there’s nothing wrong with all that, it’s just it can be a little overwhelming at times. And nearly three year olds.
Yes they’re the worst.
I don’t know if I just forget what August was like at this age or if she just wasn’t as bad! It could also be that my tolerance levels for bad behaviour and tantrums evaporated somewhere over the past six years of childbearing.
I’m kind of done. I check out when it all happens. Last night, after a long few days of fairly intense illness in this house, my nearly three year old let rip and I went into the corner (in search of socks, but also perhaps, silence) put my fingers in my ears and said LA LA LA LA over and over while my nearly three year old screamed and whacked me on the ass.
Eventually I put her out of the room like a bold dog and then she screamed some more and we got ready and went to McDonald’s. As if nothing had happened. I think I left my body for those three minutes while I went a bit loo-lah in the corner.
Anything to get away.
The other night I found myself driving to the shop wondering if I could just keep going. You know, to Mars, or somewhere where there’s a bit of peace and quiet? No oxygen? I’ll take it.
Of course it’s a phase. Of course it won’t always be like this. But bloody hell, it’s tough when you’re in the middle of it.
Tantrums aside, the lack of sleep, or trauma around getting the child to sleep is probably what’s tipping me over the most. The angry outbursts can usually be reasoned to tiredness, hunger, being overwhelmed or not able to communicate. While they can look very irrational, I can usually associate or excuse the behaviour with some other factor.
The refusal to settle at night and to play up at bed time drives me absolutely batty however. I can’t quite comprehend how she can be so tired and yet find the energy to leave the bed 27 times to look for water, milk, warm milk, blankie, label off the blankie, to watch telly with me, to tell me there’s a noise, that her (asleep) sister is annoying her, that she’s hungry, that she’s still hungry, that there’s wind, that the dog is in her room (again) and that she needs socks. For her toes.
Bedtimes starts at one time and can still be going on two and a half hours later. It’s soul destroying. And even when you do get the little she-devil asleep, she gets up during the night to come visit you and throw herself into your bed.
We could go back to the sleep clinic that we had great success with before and I know we would probably see improvements. But I also know you need to work to get those improvements and if I ‘m very honest, I’m not able to commit to that right now.
I think I’m just going to struggle on for the moment and hope for the best. I don’t want to schedule another appointment. That’s how tired my brain is right now.
Our youngest, who we are having the tantrums and sleep issues with is a right little personality and with my motherly instinct, I can’t help but think of the stories my own parents told me about my antics at this age.
I ran the corridors at night. Was brought to the doctor for my refusal to sleep. Legally sedated for babysitters. What goes around comes around. And she looks so like me, right down to the way her little wiggy hair sits.
She got it from me!
I think part of the reason we’re so looking forward to Christmas this year is because of the stage we’re at with the girls. They were so excited to put up the decorations and they’re still at a really lovely innocent age where they’re asking for tiny presents from Santa and everything is a wonder.
We drove round last night just looking at lights and big outdoor Christmas trees and they were in their element. I hope in the next few years that we can book and save for a family trip to Disneyland perhaps, or Lapland. There really is such a few short years where you can create all that Christmas magic.
I can still clearly remember all my Christmas’ from the age of three up till about seven and after that they become a blur. What we’re creating now for our girls will stay with them for life.
(I hope she forgets about slapping me in the ass while I went cray-cray.)
I’m back gigging this year for Christmas too, which is a really good thing to get me out of the house, glammed up and in the festive spirit. (You can check out the band’s Facebook here and see some live vids) After a fairly few tough years health wise, it’s doing me the world of good, even if I struggle a bit with stamina and pain. (The energy is looked after now thanks to magic steroids, thank you doctor).
The difference between last year and this comes down to one little word with a very powerful effect.
When you’re ill with no diagnosis, plan or medicine to treat you, the future can look like a desolate place. It’s so hard to get excited about anything when you feel like death all the time and have no idea why.
Now when I feel unwell I can say ‘it’s because of this’ and it’s accepted and I have permission to rest if I need it. It’s taken the guts of a year but I’ve finally gotten onto a medication that should really help and even if I flare or never get back to the way I was, I can live with how things are now.
I never expected to become unwell in this way a nd sometimes I can’t help but wonder if stress and leading a too busy lifestyle led to my body giving up the ghost. In reality it was more likely a virus in pregnancy that caused the ongoing illness and in a way I prefer that thought and scenario.
Still, it all means I have to look after myself now in every way and I’m glad to say I am.
I still eat a lot of cake!
Publishing life is going very well and 2020 is set to be another exciting year with the release of my third book Adele in March. Eeeek, so much to do, so little time! I’ve worked really hard on this next novel as it’s based on the life of a real person, so I had to do extensive research to be able to write it. We’ll see how everything goes – I know there are a lot of books coming out early next year, from some very big names, but I’m happy to carve out my own little space in the literary world. I had to write this book – I couldn’t rest until I did and I actually feel satisfied now that it’s out of my system. I find writing like that – it consumes me until it’s done and out and I feel I’ve released that bit of energy back out to the world.
The Nanny at Number 43 is still holding its own and the feedback, reviews and personal messages from readers – mostly in Ireland, but also further afield has taken me aback to be honest. I never really know what to say to good feedback, I always say thanks of course, but somehow it doesn’t feel real. As if it’s not me they’re talking about.
I don’t think this is a bad thing either. It works the same for negative feedback. I let it roll off me. Keep the inner compass for what’s good / bad trucking and hopefully with practice, hard work and time, I’ll become an ever better writer.
I’ve updated my author website at www.nicolacassidy.com. One of the interviews I enjoyed this year was speaking to Allen O’Donoghue on his motivation podcast – it’s an hour long chat about growing up in the countryside and writing and you can listen back here if it so appeals!
It’s been a very long time since I got to blog – but it’s nice to sit down and look back and record where you are right now. Hopefully the next time I check back in we’ll have peace, harmony and a very level three year old who goes asleep after just two bedtime stories.
What dya think are the chances?!