Friday, September 9, 2016

Everyone is here

Hello my friends...

Bullet points till I will find some more mojo to get back to writing!

  • Where has the summer gone? Children were in Italy for 6 weeks, we joined them for the last 2 weeks and I took them back with me to Nottingham. Let me tell you, it has not been easy. No childcare to speak of, I was facing 3 weeks of juggling the children and the work on my own. Thankfully I found a summer camp on campus which I used to the last available hour for Oliver and I dragged along Martina when she didn't have her induction time in the day care (also on campus). The weather has been very kind to us, and the house with the garden, and the trampoline (bless whoever invented the trampoline) helped massively to burn energies (the children) and keep the sanity (mine).
  • Mike has moved over last friday and as he is now officially in charge of the children and the house while I take a break and go to the seriously, I am in owe of single moms with young children and no help who seem to manage so gracefully. Kudos to you all out there.
  • Mike has no job yet but now that he is here it should be a bit easier. Meanwhile he is doing a lot of things that otherwise I would have to do. He has been great help and somehow filled his days with a number of tasks which is brilliant. 
  • Oliver started his new school on tuesday. It's a brilliant school, 7 minutes walk from home and Mike collects him in the afternoon. Both enjoy so much the time together, it's fantastic to see the bond growing.
  • Martina is in full time day care on campus, they have their own private woodland and she LOVES it. Every friday they will do this "Forest school", no matter the weather, where they will learn about respect for nature but also building shelters,  tracking games, camp fire cooking....I want to go to!! Its concept originates in Denmark and it sounds amazing.
  • Me. I'm doing ok. Now I have a bit more balance and I managed to catch up on a few things in work. We have been quite successful recently with our research and securing grants so I am more relaxed. My lab is still not ready and the group will relocate in 3 weeks. I'm told "there is plenty of time..." I suspect we will be playing cards for a while.
I will try and be back soon, I am reading though!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Move complete

Oh why is it so difficult for me to blog these days? I love to see what you have been up to and I think it's the same for you and yet I just seem to have nothing to say.

So after Brexit here nothing has changed. We all think it will change for the worse but nobody knows when it will happen. And we all just go along as normal. But one thing did happen, Mike had an interview with a company after Brexit, they went ahead with the interview, they didn't offer him the job but said he was great and everyone felt he would have been a great fit and to please apply again. I never heard such a thing. You either fit their profile or you don't. Yet it seems they didn't hire him because they decided to stay with the skill set they already had within  the company. We will see.

I moved over the car and now the house has relocated, I have all my things (albeit in boxes!) and Mike is the one who is roaming. The children are in Italy and my parents have been minding them for almost a month. The plan was for them to stay there till the end of August by my parents had enough, so we go for two weeks and then we taken them back....or I take them back to Nottingham. Which will be interesting because I don't know exactly what I can do with them till their school/daycare start. I have booked Oliver into a summer camps here on the University grounds and Martina will start her transition into the day care also on campus. The fact that the children are coming back with me in mid August means I have to have the house in much better shape and much quicker than I thought I had to. Their room was used much as the storage room while I was sorting out the wardrobes (which had to be built and Mike built two out of three already) and now every evening I'm shifting stuff in the attic or into a different room....not fun!!

Of course after months of intense travelling, plus the move etc I came down with the worse flu in years...all last week I had very high temp and a cough. On friday I started feeling a bit better, I still have a cough and very low energy but I'm no longer homebound.

Oh and I got my first UK grant!! So I feel a little less under pressure. Lets hope I continue to do well.

Friday, June 24, 2016


Seriously? Seriously?

Trump next?

Because everything that makes no sense at all is possible.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

It's been a long time

Hello there, if you are still there. I think I have lost the groove. Very happy to read what you are writing by never seem to be properly inspired to write a post myself. I'll do a bullet point update:

  • Oliver is in great form, since we met with the therapist that time back in March and she gave us a few pointers we are well on track and his behaviour is like night and day now. Of course we have the occasional moments but we manage them very well (mostly!).
  • Martina had her third birthday back in April and she went today for her developmental check. She is in the 75th % for height and weight and reached all the expected milestones and some. She is very reasonable on the majority of fronts a part when it comes to wearing things. She can change 3 times a day just because she wants to try on something different. She is obsessed with pink and purple, and leggings and dresses and skirts. Don't insist on her wearing a pair of pants or jeans as this is a capital offence. 
  • The move to the UK is happening, I have found a beautiful house and I have the keys as of last monday, we have tenants lined up for our house in Dublin and everything is falling nicely into place. We had a great stint of good weather which helps dramatically too! the house content will relocate the second week in July, I'm tendering at the moment for the best price. We will bring the children to Italy on the 2nd of July and they will stay there till they are ready to move to the UK in August. We will go to Italy on holidays sometime towards the end of July for a couple of weeks and we'll bring everyone back.
  • Work is going very well, I have been travelling A LOT. Switzerland, Holland, Puerto Rico...I'm going to Finland and Norway next week too. I have finished almost all my recruiting for next year, still have one position to fill but hopefully soon. Work has kept me busy and distracted a lot, Mike is amazing at minding the children and I am never worried they are doing well. My mom came over to Dublin the week I went to Puerto Rico to help a bit so that was great.
  • Mike and I have started couple therapy and I think it is helping. I have been positively surprised by the fact that Mike seems to be putting a lot of effort in, also for himself and see if he can overcome some emotional hurdles he clearly has and that clash completely with my needs. Lets give it some more time.
How have you all been?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

It's not Oliver, it's us

We went to see a children therapist about 10 days ago. The first appointment is called parental intake. We talked to her for 45 min going through a questionnaire we had pre-filled and she was asking additional things. We told her how Oliver can say things so so hurtful (and scary) like I will call the police, tell them you hit me so you go to jail. And how bed time is hell. How we are at the end of the tether we don't know what else to do. The main points we came out with from the session were that her first concern was that Oliver was somewhat above average for academic intelligence and that this is a problem as we forget he is only 5. While this seems a good thing, for a child and his parents it isn't. I't very difficult to parent a child that to you sounds more and more like a teenager and not a child. The next thing was that we treat Martina and Oliver much the same while Martina is still a toddler (even though we definitely don't see her as a toddler) and Oliver is a school boy. That really we should treat them differently, they should go to bed at different times and possibly be separated in different rooms (they love sleeping in the same room but we know this is one of the reasons why bedtime is hell...they wind each other up..). She also said we need to be much firmer in our parenting, not engage in any negotiation, we are those in charge, not him. We should also not reward normal behaviour (say it is normal that a child does not run around a shop, rewarding him when he does behave well in a shop is not ok). And that we should let them watch more television. Not games on the iPad (Oliver gets 5 minutes at the weekend only) but cartoons are ok. I suppose we just don't watch television during the day, we have one television in the sitting room and that's it, but she said actually letting the children watch a cartoon in the evening after dinner is calming and watching tv with them is an opportunity to talk about what's going on in the cartoon. She mentioned she may recommend that Oliver should be assessed and possibly we could be referred to a psychiatric clinic...

So I came out with a splitting headache and my heart weighing a ton. We decided to implement straight away the staggered bed time. We thought it was going to be hell but actually it's as if we discovered a new world. Oliver loves having a little longer downstairs and Martina is tired anyway. Mike was perfectly capable of doing this on his own too and Oliver in a matter of 3 days became a different child. And I mean the total opposite. Obedient, understanding. We made clear there will be treats twice a week and only linked to good behaviour and again that worked beautifully. Bed time no longer lasts 2 hours but it's 20 min per child. Seriously if someone had told me this would work I would not have believe it.

And we went back today, the idea is that we go in first, tell her about the week then Oliver goes in. Only things went a bit differently. We talked beforehand that we should tell her we are having issues in our marriage too (we didn't say this the first time). So after a round up of our amazing progress (she was delighted, had met Oliver in the waiting room already and thought he was your normal friendly child) Mike told her about our difficulties. She asked us to talk to her about it and basically in the end she said that maybe it's us needing therapy. We chatted some more, I told her how things have changed for me, about the lack of support I feel, how Mike has rarely be the person I would confide in and now not at all. We touched on a few points like forgetting birthdays, upbringing etc. Looks like next week she will see only us. She did spend about 20 min with Oliver and when she came out she said he is the most normal, though likely above average for intelligence and she doesn't need to see him again for a few weeks. So here we go, it's couple therapy for us.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The land of Robin Hood

Well, it's week two, my second trip over and I love it. I love the little apartment I have and I love the area I am in. The first impression is how clean the city is. Separate recycling facilities at every corner, this is amazing! And the city is very small, I'd say about the size of one of the towns in the suburbs of Dublin, so everything is very near and commuting is super easy. From where I live at the moment to the University I have 5 stops on the tram 10 minutes top, and for £1.70!! And the tram line is just outside the door. Traffic is clearly a fraction of what I would call "traffic" in it's about as busy as it is in Dublin at weekends or school holidays.

My plan is to get a bike hopefully next week and use that one instead of the tram. And the university has secure bike storage areas one can access only with the staff card. Amazing. I will have to look for a more permanent accommodation of course and now I have a much better idea what we can get and where. Despite the fact that I'm not in the city centre, very near me there is a 24h very large convenience store I can walk to (or one tram top). It feels very very safe and friendly too. Evenings are very quiet, maybe it will be more lively as the days stretch more, not that we ever went out that much of course but still one may want to at some point.

The children don't like my travelling much and neither do I. Specially the way Oliver has acted out recently (we have an appointment with a child psychologist on the 3rd of March). We had another very bad episode last staurday, full blown violent tantrum which he just could not control. And then he was a model child the day after. Go figure. I talked to the mother of one of his school friends, mostly I wanted to see if the friend would say something about Oliver's behaviour in school, and she told me they are going through exactly the same with her son...violent tantrums he never had before, zero listening, extremely bad behaviour when they are outside etc. We can't understand what's happening, they also were thinking of getting some external advice. We now wonder if it's something in school. There is a boy who is very physical and often sits on the "thinking chair" and apparently is really disobedient to the teacher also. We will have a parents-teacher meeting next week I think so we will ask.

And that's all for now my friends, I am doing well otherwise, anxiety settled completely, with Mike things are ok, I think he understand more the situation, I love my independence and freedom but I always look forward to going back home. Let's see how it goes once we all move here.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

How to be a Brit

It's nearly time. On monday I'm starting in the UK. And for the last 10 days or so my anxiety is back. Ah I was doing so well... but no obviously not. Just give me something to look forward to, some target, something to develop and the anxiety just seem to come associated.

I started having this back pain which moved to the left side and comes around the upper part of the stomach...I know I know it has the classic signs of stress and all, but what can I tell you...

Things with Mike seem to have stabilised, I do my things he does his. On wednesday, our of the blue, he took me out for dinner. First time in 13 years I think. It was a lovely evening, the conversation was very normal. But it's as if I am now living in my head, with my own real life somewhere else and my actual real life is some sort of intrusion. Science is going very well, my group is really delivering and in particular a collaborative project is amazing. I brought a student with me to Switzerland (where the collaborator is based) and we got a day on the slopes too. I so so love skiing, it was just one of those perfect days. Made me realise how much I actually miss the continent, the possibility of just hopping on the car and go to the Alps for a day. Maybe one day...

As for the UK. I thought I was just looking forward to starting, it will be really intense at least until the summer when the family moves over too, I'm flying out every monday morning at 8 am and back every wednesday night with a 9pm flight. I'm not even sure they will like this much at all in the new place, but there's no way I can stay without seeing the children for 5 days a week. Plus I'm teaching in Dublin thursday and friday and I still have my group here. But I also don't have any commitments till the autumn semester, I will just write papers and grant proposals. Can really do this anywhere.
I have an Airb&b sorted at least till I find a house, and it will save me a good bit of money as I will only pay for the day I'm using it. My office over there should also be sorted, at least I hope so.

Oliver has had a couple of really bad days. Days where I think I want to have him assessed. Today he got to the point of actually hitting me. I really don't think it's normal. And what makes him escalate is nothing. Literally nothing. And he would make a scene like he is possessed. Nothing calms him and even if you give in to whatever it is he wants that very second, 10 minutes later there is another more pressing request. Today we went from water (no problem) to juice (no there is no juice, I'm sorry) to ice-cream, to electric toothbrush, vitamins, cake, nuts, marshmallows. In the space of 2 hours. 2 hours. We were out shopping and what seemed to work was to let him take what he wanted (vitamins) only to trade it in if he then wanted something different. We went home with a bag of nuts.  And it started this morning just out of bed. We don't know what to do. And this adds to my anxiety. Any suggestions is welcomed.

Martina thank god is the sweetest child. I don't even know how she is not influenced (though at times she is) and is just very very reasonable, and fun to be around. Let's hope it will last forever.

Friday, January 1, 2016


And we turned another page of the calendar! We are still in Italy at my parents, not too easy at times but not bad either. We will be back in Dublin on the 3rd. Mike and I sleep at my sisters most nights but all is calm. I try to be affectionate but that's all I manage and we had not further talk.

Oliver turned 5 today, can you believe this? He is a very good child most of the time but can still be impossible. I hope next year I will be able to say we have finally gotten over the tantrums (much much rarer thankfully). He seems to need very little sleep, and that worries my a bit, mostly because I am certain when he sleeps less he also much more prone to silly behaviour. He is highly articulated and has a great memory so we have to be quite careful as silly distractions doesn't work at all anymore.

Martina is the sweetest girl, so so affectionate and just a very content child. Long may this last!

And I'm looking forward to the new year, I hope it will bring some clarity and calm in my mind, I am sure that moving will be great too and will give me so much to look forward to.

I wish you all much love and I feel blessed to have you to share my journey.