There was a time when I dared to swing so high my bottom left the seat and I risked going over the bar. I would spend long moments running so fast I'd feel my ribcage rattling up into my throat and I would be the first to leap off the wall not knowing what was on the other side.
Now I dare myself to hoover over a button, I won't run faster than a jaunty jog and as for any wall jumping - the very thought of it makes my back twinge in protest.
Everything suddenly seemed overwhelming and potentially dangerous. Even adding a little of Lloyd Grossman's Putenesca (can't spell it!) sauce to the leftovers resulted in diabolical diarrhea all over the garden (I should mention that I gave the leftovers to the dog - I don't shit in the garden), now even the dog is restricted to plain toast crusts and nothing else.
I felt sad dwelling on these self preservation barriers I've imposed upon myself. I felt like an old pot of jam, sealed beneath dust and rust, old but perfectly safe.
How did I become like this? Am I old before my time, or is it my time to be old?
Then I realised the answer - I became a mum.
Since becoming a mum I have watched my world shrink to fit in that jam jar, wishing it to be preserved just as it is, right now, watching the little ones safe and playing in their bedroom.
I didn't feel old and restricted anymore.
For when I looked upon the nape of my babe's back, his curly head bent as he scrutinised a piece of fluff in the carpet, it hit home how truly vulnerable these dear little ones are and how many little and apparently innocuous things can harm them.
In light of that, it's no wonder that I'm terrified of hurting my back leaping off a wall - how will I pick up and cuddle my tiddliwinks? If I don't hoover the button will they choke on it? And a garden showered in dog mess is not a safe playground anymore.
When I look at my babies I would gladly climb in the jar and screw the lid on myself if it meant they are safe and protected.
It occurred to me that a vast part of my mentality revolves around what I can get away with. By that I don't mean big things like tax evasion or bank robbery but the little things...
Can I get away with having a shower before the kids start squabbling, applying make before one of them gets stuck somewhere or putting washing out before one of them needs a poo or has done a poo?
This extends beyond the house...
Can I fart silently in a lift without children shouting 'Pooh mummy stinks' or doing the usual things in a public toilet without every detail being announced in loud falsetto voices?
Can I get away with eating out with both children and actually managing to drink some tea before its spilt or eat something before its trashed by a foot, a toy car or generally swiped off the table?
Sometimes, just sometimes I do get away with being a mum and don't find myself doing the walk of shame past disgusted fellow lift users, public loo visitors and other diners...sometimes.
The last time we went out on a family outing I didn't get away with anything. I did not get away with enjoying a live music performance without my son showering everyone within a metre radius with juice. I certainly did not get away with not having an entire mango ice cream daubed down my front or my child shouting a 'naughty drive word'* in the middle of the cafeteria!
The lovely thing to all matters of mummyhood is having a good laugh about it in the safety of my own home with an orange stained shirt.
* Naughty drive words are those unfortunate protestations about fellow road users when they do any idiotic manoeuvres
I've been a little quiet online this last week. The reason is that I am officially chasing my dream and it's very time consuming.
Ever since I can remember I've loved to write and draw stories and dream that one day I would actually finish an illustrated book.
Well it all starts here...
The project I've chosen is about a mum called Polly Pinn and her daughter Peggy. The working title is something like 'Is my mummy a witch?' but obviously all of the above could change drastically by the time I reach a conclusion.
So, a sneak preview of one finished illustration... ta dahhhh
I think it will be a daft book - fingers crossed I see it through to the finish!
Suffering from yet another cold and keeping her distance as waved her husband goodbye from the front step, Mrs Misfit pondered upon what intimacy they had shared during the cold winter months.
It occurred to her that sex,or indeed any real intimacy was difficult in winter if not impossible.
There was the obvious problem of the cold. The cold that gets into every nook and cranny, The cold that, being on a budget took hold of every corner of the house when the heating was perpetually turned off. The cold that even left her wearing warm clothing in the shower.
The possibility of sex lessened considerably when addressing house attire. What would normally be clothes worn on a country walk now became the norm for a night in front of the TV.
It was no surprise that the ardour they may have felt on their way to bed did not last long enough for the removal of their many layers...
There was no chance at all of making mad passionate love whilst swinging from a chandelier (though this was unlikely at the best of times and highly overrated, usually resulting in re-plastering the ceiling rather than sexual pleasure)
In fact, sex in general was reduced to a preoccupation with locating and maintaining the duvet rather than locating and maintaining erogenous zones...
In short, Mrs Misfit concluded that sex in winter was a difficult affair subject to the perpetual bouts of flu, trying not to get near each other for fear of passing on germs and the endless battle with preserving one 's own body heat.
Mrs Misfit was determined to break the mould resolve this problem...
When her husband came home from work that evening he was forced to strip naked and be thoroughly decontaminated on the front doorstep...
This process was repeated every night for the next few days,much to the shock of the neighbours.
Finally, germ free, no snot, no fever, Mrs Misfit managed to have sex in winter...
Mac Barnett Storyteller: Mac
Barnett has written a charming story expressing the nature of
creativity. Anabelle finds a box of colourful yarn and endeavours to
knit a variety of outfits for the folk of her usually grey and sombre
town. Her efforts become well renown attracting the attention of hoards
of spectators longing to see her knitting. There is a dark section of
the story which is beautifully resolved at the end. Reading
this story with my four year old little girl was lovely. There was a
character that reminded her of her papa and we talked about how colour
and the gift of creating something special brings happiness to others.
The story obviously stayed with her for an hour after she went to bed
she woke crying,'There's no wool for giraffe!' After
a little talk I discovered she dreamt that there was no wool to knit a
jumper for giraffe. I told her to talk to Anabelle and ask her to knit a
jumper for giraffe, she went to sleep smiling. Jon Klassen Illustrator:
book caught my eye immediately with it's fabulous illustrations. Jon
Klassen captures the cosy, rainbow, woven nature of wool in every
picture. The characters possess great expressions and the dark part of
the story is dramatic. I am always beguiled by the expressive, charming
and often hilarious drawings of Klassen.
The illustrations (apart from the book cover) are my own.