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Milk’s reckless 2011

31 Dec

So, what has 2010 taught me? That I can be far  too conversative (little c, little c)  a bit staid, careful, fearful. That I have experimented far too little and worried far too much.  That you really should stop once in a while and really take things in. That meticulous planning isn’t always the best way, and that sometimes,  just sometimes it’s better to lie down with no clothes on and wait for something to happen.  With that in mind here are my new year’s resolutions for 2011…

1) drive the shopping trolley recklessly in busy supermarkets, laughing in the face of anyone that dares to tut loudly

2) make it a mission to embarrass my kids frequently with my out-of-time dancing.

3) paint my nails a colour that’s way too young for me.

4) say “*ck it” more often, and really mean it (but not in front of the kids, obviously).

5) have totally ill-advised and nutritionally empty breakfasts – coffee and a cigarette leftover chocolate cake.

6) wear shorter skirts, naughtily short, and impossibly high heels I can’t walk a step in.

7) wear more eyeliner – in hardcore ’80s colours (preferably while rocking enormous shoulder pads).

8 ) take up yoga – and pass loud, joyous wind while doing it.

9) have more arguments – passionate, raging arguments with overly-dramatic reconciliations.

10) do much, much more public snogging.

Reckless? Well it’s best to start small…

Happy New Year everyone!  Thanks to everyone who’s stuck with me.


Friendships divided

21 Nov

The Milks have just come back from a sejourn in Manchester. Mr Milk and myself lived there for 11 years. In fact we met there. We came to London when i had big Milk because we wanted to be near our families, but it was, and is, with a divided heart.

We’ve done alright in London, and we adore being nearer to our families. In truth we wouldn’t and couldn’t move away again. But boy do we miss our friends. When you become parents in a new area, you do make friends but separately. I have lots of mummy friends, but with the exception of a few i never see them outside school times. Firmly “first base friendships”.

Likewise Mr Milk has made good friends at work, and they might down a few pints after work sometimes, but the relationship ends there.

So if me and Mr Milk ever go out, it’s always on our own, which is lovely of course, but it is a bit one dimensional. There’s nothing quite like the fun you have with a crowd; it takes the pressure off you as a couple and allows you to explore and enjoy other facets of yourself. There’s nothing like looking across the table at your partner sharing a joke with your friends and thinking “Phwaor, you’ve still got it honey”.

So we miss our shared group of friends in Manchester, and it was with thick glasses of nostalgia and longing that we trundled back down the M6.

But life has moved on. In truth, it’s not just geographical distance that has changed things, so much as life itself. We’re all parents now, short of time and low on energy. Gone are the days as students when we spent all of our waking time in the pub giggling into our watered down pints of Fosters. I’m not so sure we left them behind in Manchester, as much as they grew up, just as we did.

Still, we can’t wait for our next trip up North guys, so put the Fosters on ice.

Friends for life?

11 Nov

Tonight i found out that an old friend of mine had become a mum, and i never even knew she was pregnant. I feel absolutely gutted.

It’s not that i feel it’s my right to have known. I haven’t seen her in nearly two years. It’s just in those few words she might as well have drawn a line from here to China and said i’m here and you’re there.

Everyone has those friends, the ones you hardly ever see or speak to, but they’re special to you, and if you never saw them again that wouldn’t change it. You shared something important and that stays with you.

Every now and then something reminds you of them, and you feel a tugging in your heart. A cliche for sure, but the truth. It’s a real physical longing, a pang of regret, a feeling that something is unfair, amiss, that circumstances rather than choice have drawn you unjustly apart.

So i’ve been feeling a bit sad. Mourning a friendship that i wish i still had in exactly the same way i did when i was 16.

But then my sister said something to me today which made total sense. You mourn that friendship because you feel that you have lost it, but actually the something special you shared is always there. In the end that part of your life is still special, still cherished, even if the friendship has changed, become distant, or passed.

What’s more, just because someone’s not a part of your life in the here and now, doesn’t mean they never will be again. That’s the thing with these special friendships, they pop up again when you least expect it. And the best thing of all is that when they do, the magic is still there.

So if you’re reading this, I love you Joy. I miss you. But i’ll be waiting here for you until i’m old and grey, if you ever fancy a natter. I know for sure we’d talk for hours, and I’d laugh a lot.

child at heart

4 Nov

The other night Mr Milk and I went to parents evening at the school Big Milk will be starting in January. As they took us through a photo montage of all the things he will be getting up to all I could think was “Why can’t it be me?” (I didn’t stomp my foot in childish rage at this point, but I kind of wanted to)

I reckon there are two types of people. Those that much prefer being an adult, and those that would really quite like to be children again. I’m definitely in the latter camp and am regularly scoffed at in disbelief by the former.

Last year when I walked Big Milk into preschool at Christmas time I felt myself wanting to cry when i saw the room set up for panto. The buzz of excitement in the air transported me right back in time. I felt as if just seconds had passed since i was that child staring in awe at the cardboard stage.

Once when i dropped him off it took just a quick whiff of adhesive glue for a lump to form in my throat.

What is it that i miss so much it feels almost like a bereavement to me? I’ve written before about time, and how i grieve its passing like a lost friend. I relish every step of the journey with my kids and look on with immense pride, and yet there is this bizarre and slightly awkard smattering of jealousy.

I suppose it must be the security you miss. The protected world, so small and knowable. Never having to make difficult decisions, always being able to defer to someone bigger and meaner than you. Now the buck stops with you, and that can suck a bit.

This isn’t supposed to be a mawdling post, honest. This mourning of childhood is just a strange idiosyncracy of mine, that regularly surprises me. I’m a sad old bat. But i suppose i’m also very lucky to have had a golden childhood to look back on. Not everyone has that.

ill be happy when…

27 Jun

i’ve always been into delayed gratification.

Actually, i’m not talking about some kind of kinky sex game. I’m just not good at enjoying the here and now.

I seem to have always lived my life playing the “i’ll be happy when…” game. You know the one. If i can just get the house clean i’ll sit back and enjoy myself. When i get that promotion i’ll celebrate like there’s no tomorrow. If i could just have those shoes that’d be me. I’ll stop wanting then.

And of course, as soon as that need or desire is satisfied i don’t sit back and revel in gratitude, happiness, delight. I simply move on to the next task, and promise myself i’ll be happy when…..

Apparently it’s being in the thankless mindset of “doing” rather than “being”. From what i know about Buddhism (and i don’t know much) i think it may be based on just this premise. Living for the moment. Delighting in each sensory experience. Happiness comes from the here and now, rather than waiting for a perfect state of being that will never come.

I haven’t got what i know about this from Buddhism though, someone emailed me a chapter from a book. Can’t remember the name.

I’m not usually into self-development or self-help books but this one struck a chord.

I was in the hairdresser the other day having my hair washed and thinking “gosh that feels g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s, why doesn’t it feel this great when i wash my hair?”. Thing is, next time i washed my hair, i realised it does feel that great. Give your scalp a nice big scratch, feel the warm, soapy water melt over your head. I’m just usually too busy thinking thinking thinking to notice.

I’ll be thinking about the day ahead. Solving the little problems i think might come up. Practising discplining the children in a calm voice. Planning the shopping list. The moment comes and goes without me noticing.

It’s a really hard thing to do. Stop your mind from wandering away from the moment. But it’s actually really rewarding.

Here’s me going all new age on you. So uncharacteristic for someone like me who hates hippies, crusties and students. But that’s a whole new post.

A Milk retrospective

13 May

What happens to the posts we write?

People read them for a few days, and then perhaps occassionally, if you’re lucky, someone might chance upon them through a random search on google. (in my case searches on “David Essex” don’t do me too badly.)

It seems a shame.

You might pour out your heart. Be more honest than you’ve ever been, or even wish that you had. You reach heights of wit and comedy you didn’t think possible of yourself. Change the world, in your own small way.

And then they’re lost. Consigned to the last page of your blog. Purposeless and alone.

It doesn’t seem quite right.

So i’ve decided, when the mood takes me, to sneak in a Milk retrospective or two.

Give new readers a chance to read posts they missed, or loyal readers great reminiscing fodder.

Some of you might see it as laziness or a symptom of blogger’s block.

Some might find it boring. Repetitive.

I disagree. But indulgent? Definitely.

I suspect fellow bloggers might nod their heads in agreement.

So why not resurrect your favourite posts? Revel in repetition. Milk a little retrospection.

You might just be surprised by what you find. Just how far you’ve come on your journey.

In any case, let’s get back to David Essex.

(Did anyone see that picture of him in last week’s Saturday Guardian? Phwaor!)


28 Apr

When i became a mother i also became aware of time. How quickly it passes. How once it’s gone you can never get it back. That you don’t know how much of it you’ve got.

You look at your baby and they are a constant reminder. Forever changing. Growing bigger every day. Learning new things. Walking. Talking. Thinking. So clever. So quickly.

I suppose it’s about understanding your own mortality for the very first time.

I remember when i was a teenager existential thoughts were easily dismissed “Well i can’t do anything about that, so i might as well live for the moment”. It just felt so far away. So intangible.

I threw myself out of aeroplanes with abandon. Experimented. Invincible.

Then a baby comes along, and time doesn’t seem to pass so slowly anymore. The end isn’t quite as far away as you thought. You become more nervous. More vunerable. You have so much more to protect.

Memory is fragile. You only really remember your children as they are now. You struggle to picture them as a baby. Remember them toddling. Recollect their first word.

You never take enough photographs. Never capture the moments you really wish you had.

I grieve for time like a lost friend.

And where once you were at the centre of things. You’re now on the outskirts looking in. At your children. The New Generation.

And time keeps passing. Ever more quickly.

(Thank you to the ever wonderful Deerbaby and her gorgeous post Kind of Blue for the inspiration.)

Flash forward

5 Apr

I occassionally have flashforward moments. I don’t mean of the losing consciousness variety aka the Channel 5 series featuring Joseph Fiennes. I mean when you suddenly realise that life isn’t always going to be like this.

I had one the other day when I was queuing in Sainsburys. Having shouted, warned, bribed my way round the shop, i was at the final hurdle and paying. I only had +50% extra shopping i hadn’t intended to get (believe me that’s good) including two chocolate caramel bunny things intended to lure them back to the car without further incident. All was good.

Suddenly i realised i had forgotten the one thing i’d come for in the first place. Aaaargh!

I thought about leaving the boys in the trolley, strapped in of course. Would anyone notice? I’d only be quick. …..would i get tutted at, bad mouthed? I looked around at my fellow customers trying to see if anyone looked suspicious. Would my children be stolen?

And then, the flashfoward moment.

One day i won’t have this problem. One day i’ll be able to say “pls can you go and get mummy some milk darling”. And off he’ll trot. Okay maybe trotting is a bit opimistic and i’m sure there’ll still be a bribe involved here, perhaps the latest Emo album, or a can of cider. But the point is that i won’t be totally stuffed.

You get so bogged down in the here and now, the moments of drama, that you forget things won’t always be like this.

One day you might not be quite so exhausted. One day every moment of every day won’t involve negotiation. Whatever decision you make won’t always be the wrong one despite the fact it was what they wanted yesterday.

Flash forward moments are these moments of clarity, a rainbow in a dark storm, a sigh of relief where you imagine a day when things are simpler. A day when they’re older, more independent. Christ a day when they’ll wipe their own bum.

Now, don’t get me wrong, i’m certainly under no illusion that other ages won’t bring their fair share of challenges. The teenage years are going to be fun for sure. And i did wonder last night when i was giving the eldest the lame bribe that the easter bunny only visited boys when they were asleep, just what i will do when he doesn’t fall for it anymore.

But surely it becomes a little less – well – relentless? You get to go from A to B with relative simplicity. You get to do something each day that doesn’t involve a tantrum, a drama of some kind?

My current flashforwards:

  • i have to wake the kids up in the morning because they’ve slept in again
  • i don’t have to carry two children down the stairs because one can’t walk, and the other is threatening the world’s worst tantrum if i don’t.
  • i don’t find they’ve taken their shoes off when we’re running late for school AGAIN. (or in my case finding they’ve taken all their clothes off and are running around shouting N-U-D-E-N!).
  • i don’t have to bribe and coax them down from the parcel shelf by threatening that maybe i’ll just take the other one to granny’s later.
  • having arrived back in the car, the kids unstrap their own seat belts, open their own car doors, close them nicely and walk quickly and quietly into the house.
  • i leave them at home while i quickly pop to the shops to buy a bottle of wine. It’s 7pm, i’ve had a rough day and just realised there is no booze.

Maybe i AM burying my head in the sand a bit. But isn’t that how you get through the worst moments? Like a bad recession, if you can just get through, things will be easier the other side?

I certainly know other people used this tactic on me when i first had a baby. “Oh, things get easier at 6 weeks.” and then when they were 6 weeks it changed to “Oh, things will be a breeze at 6 months”. Soon you suspect there’s a bit of carrot dangling going on.

So, maybe i’m dangling my own carrot here. Even still, a girl’s allowed to dream isn’t she?

Oh mum, you’re so embarrassing

19 Mar

My husband told me the other day i dance like a mum. Actually, he laughed like a hyena saying “oh no, that’s terrible, stop it!” I’m sure my dancefloor moves used to be perfectly acceptable, he’s certainly never commented on it before. Ok so i’ve never been Mrs Timberlake, but I don’t think you’d have pointed me out in the crowd and had a good laugh. Has my dancing changed, or are we just more sober now than we used to be?

There are lots of things these days that I have to question myself about being too old to do. Watching Hollyoaks, listening to Radio 1, liking a band whose members were born before I went to school, wearing plaits, sitting on someone’s lap on the tube, doing the running man when overexcited (give me a few glasses of cava and I’m a regular vanilla ice. Hmmm, maybe my husband had a point..)

So, when exactly did i go from “moderately cool” to totally U-N-C-O-O-L? Suddenly you find yourself unable to have a conversation with anyone between the ages of 16 and 25 for fear of looking stupid. At the hairdressers the other day I had my hair washed by an 18 yr old girl, an experience which profoundly aged me. Not only was I shocked to discover she was born in 1992, but she talked at me for 30 mins about house music and i didn’t understand a word of it – minimal house, fidget house, micro house, midget house? (ok I made that last one up). Point is, i used to know something about house music. Now not only am I not the youth of today, but i’m not even in touch with them.

And what about our kids? It’s fine at the moment. 3 yr olds still think you rule so really you’re just embarrassing yourself. But what must that day be like when it all changes. Your little friend suddenly turns round and says, “I don’t want to hold your hand mum”, or even worse “can you drop me off round the corner from the party”? If i feel a little miffed now at my husband telling me my dancing is embarrassing, I’m gonna feel like all kinds of loser when my kids turn round and disown me.