A Trip To The Homeland

Oh the anticipation and excitement! Today, we get to go home for two whole weeks! Well, two weeks less the travelling time of a day each side, plus another three days each side for jet lag. So six days really. But I. Can’t.Wait!

We moved to Vancouver, BC from the UK just under eight years ago and, while I am enjoying living in one of the most beautiful and clean places on Earth, I miss my home and the people in it.

It’s the smell that invades my senses first. As soon as we step off the plane in London, it hits me. It reminds me of Carry On Laughing films, cockney accents, and cups of tea. It quite literally makes my eyes water. In an emotionally good way. Then it makes me laugh out loud, which makes me look odd in the middle of the airport.

After walking through the airport and getting in to the car, we start the drive home. On to the motorway and then we hit the countryside. The rolling green fields and fat hedges remind me of my childhood, running in the grass to the stream to catch tadpoles.

Every time we come home, I marvel at how small everything looks compared to Canada. The cars, roads, houses, everything. And I love it. It’s like being given a big secure hug from everything that you know and love.

So, adios Canada! See you in a few. I’m off for cucumber sandwiches, walks around old market towns, cups of tea on my Mum and Dads sofa, and quality time with my family!





Plant or Prescription?

Today we went to see a Naturopath, to explore options for our daughter’s ADHD treatment. The husband and I have both agreed that we don’t want to go down the prescribed medication route and, if at all possible, want her to be able to deal with her symptoms via natural and healthy options.

We have been doing A LOT of research recently, specifically in to natural alternatives for medication. It seems that the two main supplements that we should be looking at are Zinc and Ginseng.

Having met with the Naturopathic Doctor, we are now looking at food allergies and intolerances, to see if this is throwing her off balance. We ended up taking away a probiotic powder and Omega 3 oils, plus continued use of multivitamins and Siberian Ginseng.

The doctor also recommended Bach’s Rescue Remedy to calm her down and help her sleep. He mentioned it’s only a band aid and won’t sort out the root cause of the issue but, after nearly eight years of very little sleep, I’ll take it!

As I write, the doctor is putting together a diet plan and list of herbal remedies that E can start on, to see if this will help.

Hopefully, along with finding out if there are any food allergies, this may help little one with her sensitivities and concentration.

It’s a waiting game…..

The ADHD Journey

It’s been two years since I stopped working in the corporate world and decided to be a stay at home mum and, guess what? I lasted four weeks! Four very long weeks of not knowing what I should do with my days, because let’s face it, after twenty odd years of working, I am brainwashed in to feeling guilty if I’m not out there making money for the family.

Fortune favoured me and I was offered a job working as a consultant for the family on the site where we live. Which means I can drop E off at school and then drive home to work.

Which has turned out to be super handy and a bit of a lifesaver as E has just been diagnosed as “HSP” (Highly Sensitive Person) and High Functioning ADHD.

The Husband and I always knew she was “unique”. She runs at a high level from the moment she wakes up to the moment her little head hits the pillow in the evening. Almost like she has a motor and someone switches the on/off button twice a day. She has NEVER slept, and I mean in seven and a half years she has only slept through the night once. And that took four days of intensive skiing and four nights of no sleep to accomplish. Exhausting.

Recently we had to get an extra tutor for her after school as she is struggling greatly with reading, writing and maths. She is grade 2 but with a reading level  of a kindergarten student. We have always read to her and encouraged her to pick up a book and try, but it just doesn’t seem to stick in her brain. It makes her frustrated and angry when she can’t read a sentence and this invariably ends up in a meltdown.

E can’t be in any situation where her senses are tested; if we go shopping and there is a squeaky wheel on the cart, she ends up curling up in the the foetal position with her hands over her ears. She literally can’t stand it. There are also problems with clothing sensitivity, colours, smell, music etc etc.

After consultation with the school, we ended up in the offices of a child psychologist. He is a lovely person, gentle and funny with E and is helping us along the start of our journey in to ADHD. As one of the main issues at the moment is anger episodes, the Doctor is giving us tools to work on this, as we don’t really want to go along the medication route.

We have also decided to see a naturopath who specializes in children with ADHD. Our first appointment is tomorrow so we will see what happens.

But that’s enough of the harder parts of ADHD. On the positive side, E has a lot of energy and stamina for sports such as skiing and kayaking. She also loves drawing and painting, and she has a natural ability to sing on pitch. Her powers of observation are ridiculously good and she can memorize a song after only hearing it once. She is also hilarious. She makes me laugh every single day.

At the moment, we are waiting for a consultation with the paediatrician to see what the options are for E’s treatment. We want to try and help her along the journey in the most natural and unmedicated way possible. Because, at the moment, she is finding it hard to get through the day without crying. And that breaks my heart.

It’s a Love Hate Thing

It’s hard moving to a different country. You leave literally everything and everyone you know and love behind and throw yourself in to the unknown. It’s scary, but also very exhilarating. It gives you a chance to evaluate your life and really find out what’s important to you.

We moved five years ago from the UK, to Canada. With hindsight, we were completely unprepared, totally naive, and I was also four months pregnant. I thought it would be a breeze having a baby, carrying on working, finding and furnishing a home, just my husband and me. I was wrong. Luckily, our amazing parents and friends hauled themselves over on a regular basis, enduring the long flight with not one complaint. Without them, I think the outcome would have been very different.

But back to the love hate thing. I have struggled, quite openly, with the issue of whether it’s better to bring up our little one in one of the most beautiful places on earth, with wonderful opportunities, great skiing, brilliant schools, and a lovely cottage to live in, or if it’s better to have your family around you. Should my daughter be growing up in a tight-knit, loving, big, noisy family, or do we give her the best start in life that we possibly can?

No one tells you that it’s lonely at times, trying to carve out a new space for yourself in the world. It doesn’t matter how many Skype calls you make, you are still acutely aware of the fact that you are 4,000 miles away from everyone. It’s only after five years that I’ve stopped crying at least once a day, for the things I miss the most, some of which are;

1. Popping round to my mum and dads for coffee on a Saturday morning. Just sitting and talking about our week.

2. Our family, especially my brother and sister-in-law, and their children. We are so close, and I know it sounds corny, but literally so far away

3. Shopping. I miss Waitrose, Marks and Spencer’s, and Sainsburys! Most of all, I miss cheese. It’s just not the same here.

4. Sunday lunch and reading the papers. Nuff said.

5.  A pint of bitter in a country pub.

6. Watching a rugby match. Especially if it’s raining.

7. Getting all of my friends round a table for dinner and laughing until it hurts. You can only properly do this with the friends that you have known for most of your life.

8. Christmas at home. Luckily, we have managed to make it home for a couple of Christmases and the feeling of being exactly in the right place at the right time is priceless.

9. London. When I was working there I hated it. But now I see it through rose-tinted glasses, especially when watching  programs like “Love Actually” or “Sherlock”. I don’t remember it being dirty and crowded, I just remember the great meals we had, the interesting places we went to, and the diversity and history of the city.

10. The feeling of smallness. Everything here is big! The food, drinks, cars, roads, buildings. Nothing is on a small scales, and sometimes that’s a good thing.

So, on the flip side, some of the things I absolutely love about our new home;

1. The fact that in the same city, you can ski or board in the morning and go to the beach in the afternoon. The list of outdoor pursuits is vast.

2. It’s so clean here! Apart from one small part of the city, its immaculate.

3. The healthy lifestyle. It’s almost a crime to drink coca cola here. And this is giving our little one the right attitude towards food. The city is very multicultural, so the dining options are endless, and the chance to try new food. Our daughter now thinks it completely normal to juice fruit and veg for a drink instead of reaching for something sugary. She snacks on watermelon, granola bars, and roasted kale instead of crisps and chocolate. It’s also completely normal for her to do a yoga class at school and go skiing on a Sunday. That’s got to be good right?

4. The opportunity to do really well in your career if you put the time and effort in. If you have a good work ethic in this city, people are willing to give you that chance. And because it’s a relatively young city, a lot of the companies are new and still growing, They listen to ideas and are willing to change if it’s the right thing to do. And this makes you feel as though you are making a difference.

So, what do you think? Opportunity or family? I still don’t know.

A new journey, a new day

Day one. 

Sooooo, no going to work today. This is novel!

For the first time in twenty years, I don’t have to schlep out of the house before the sun comes up. Normally my day would consist of trying to coax a grumpy five-year old (known as “E”) out of the door at some ridiculously early hour of the morning, and drop her off at before school care, which she hated. The poor little thing has been putting in ten-hour days at daycare since she was eighteen months old, which makes me feel immensely guilty. So, due to a blessed mixture of circumstances and an extremely understanding husband, it has brought me to the conclusion that I should jack in my job and take a little time to look after my family. To be honest, it got to the point where between myself and E, we could barely get ourselves together enough to get out of the house in the morning, with all of the necessary bits, pieces, bags, lunch boxes, library book, paperwork, coffee etc etc… without a huge argument and one of us having a meltdown (usually me). It had just become TOO MUCH!

I was starting to feel like a neglectful mother. My commute was long and involved cars, walking and a boat trip, my job was stressful to the point of inducing anxiety attacks, and there was no “off” button; emails and phone calls were coming through at all hours of the morning and night, and it was starting to take a toll on me, E, and the husband.

I want to volunteer at school, cook a proper meal, live in a clean house! Now, I get that millions of people do this every day, and its nothing different, and single parents have it a lot harder than I do. But, in this small moment of time and after two decades of selling my soul to the corporates, I am in the extremely fortunate position of being able to do something about this.

So, enough is enough and today is the first day of this new journey. This doesn’t come without huge sacrifices, mainly financial, but after six months of humming and hawing over the matter, it was decided I would become a stay at home mum. At least for a little bit.

This is my list of things to accomplish in the next few weeks:

1. Work my way through the recipe section of Jamie Oliver’s website. No more stir frys for us! I’m on the second recipe and, for someone that doesn’t have a lot of interest in cooking apart from the basic instinct to not starve, Ive been impressed with the outcome. The husband and the dog are both eating the meals so they cant be that bad. E has flatly refused both of the meals but as she is five and everything at the moment is “eeeew gross!”, Im not counting that as a vote in the matter.

2. Go shopping and walk around in a leisurely fashion. As opposed to screaming through it in twenty minutes because E is bored, shouting things like “don’t touch that, you’ll break it!”, “where are you? stay where I can see you” and “pleeeease put your clothes back on, now is neither the time nor the place to try on that Elsa dress”……..

3. Buy presents for all of E’s kindergarten class, wrap them, and have them ready to go BEFORE the actual day that they are due in school.

4. Volunteer at said school, so everyone knows that E actually does have a mother that is willing to help and isn’t just a horrible absent parent. Shame on me that I haven’t had a chance to do so up until now. I know mothers-waiting-at-the-door-every-day-since-school-started, I am a bad person. But I’m doing something about it! To date, I have signed up to volunteer at three events, and two school functions.

5. Get to know mothers-waiting-at-the-door-every-day-since-school-started. This is becoming easier now that they know I actually exist. To be honest, this is fast becoming a favourite part of my day. There are some lovely parents at the school, who have been very welcoming so far. Lets see how my volunteering skills go. This could all change.

Even though it’s only day one, I feel immensely peaceful. Ive completed my “to do” list and all of the outstanding things that have been plaguing me for the last few weeks, and I’m feeling pretty organized! Also, for the first time in a long time, I’m not constantly worrying about something. Its a great feeling and I am fully aware of exactly how lucky I am.

What the heck am I going to do tomorrow?

This may take some getting used to.