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Showing posts from February, 2009

Letter to Lauren 23-2-09

Hi Lauren,

We've been here for nearly a month now and it still freaks me out every time I allow myself to think properly about it. Thankfully these moments are few and far between as I've been spending a minimum of 5 hours per day (in between the rather arduous school run) looking at villas to rent. Then it's the usual malarky, you know, the 'lost' hours between the end of the school day and kids bedtime. Then I collapse into a heap and brain shuts down.

Firstborn is now in school, which was a bit of a nightmare to find but we triumphed eventually. She's been recently diagnosed as being dyslexic so it made it all the more difficult to find her a place - one school turned her down after looking at her school reports, saying that her grades weren't good enough... at the age of 6! Rubbish. Think we had a lucky escape on that one. The Small(er) One is still school-less, which means that she has hang out with me all day (much to her disgust as my playing skills ar…

Letter to Kate 20-2-09

Dear Kate,

Dubai. Still wrapping my head around your living there. Such another world, and yet I imagine the constants are true — children go to school (!), families try to meet for dinner, light switches turn on and off, people Google.

I'm imagining the mood there has to be better than in London. Certainly better than in New York. It's as if the layer of cushion that everyone had wrapped themselves in after the election, following Obama's inauguration, has finally worn. New York has never been known as the city of warmth and joy — but it feels even darker still. The economic reality has finally kicked in, and as stores shutter, as the neighbor loses her job, people are biting at each other. I'm just waiting for the 'better you than me' attitude to appear. I'm afraid it actually will.

I see it so keenly in the moms — it's quiet, but there. Ice-skating outings with young girls and their mothers, now means a brown-bag lunch instead of a bistro after for hot …

Firing the Colorist...

Probably not the most PC thing to be saying during this economic time, but I am firing my colorist. And while I'm at it I'm adding The Rabbit's hair cutter and the nail salon down the street. Before you launch into an entire Manhattan Mama is a snob routine, let me add that the nail salon charges $6 for a manicure — I am not talking about expensive beauty routines here.

But this is the deal — I am frankly tired of paying for bad work. And worst of all? I am seriously tired of having to either A) not say anything about the bad work or B) say something and sound like a, well, hideous Manhattan snob.

What has brought this on? Three truly annoying encounters in 5 days.

1. The woman who adds some color to my hair. I get lowlights added once in awhile (brunette hair)— and as my grays have started to come in, this means some coverage. For the past year she's been encouraging me to keep the grey. Encouraging is the wrong word. Badgering is the right word actually. Telling me I wo…

Mompreneur? Mumpreneur?

Anyone out there using this phrase?

Truly not trying to step on toes here, but I'm not feeling the love with this coinage. Can't help but think of manure every time I hear it, and also hating the idea that this is a trend.

Moms more than anyone get that we are always entrepreneur-ing - - every time we literally start a new baby & me class, figure out a new situation to get some work crammed into a truncated day, or get "Laid Off" after our leaving the office at 5 pm to see a new child doesn't sit well with the powers that be — and yet refashion ourselves anyway.

We've been doing the "mompreneur" thing for decades. So why now do we need our own class of entreprenuer-ship? Why place ourselves in the "special" area along with female CEOs and single women who buy their own homes?

My opinion? We're just entrepreneurs. Phenomenal ones. Who happen to have a focus group that work for fruit snacks.

Down Time? Don't Drop Out

So maybe we don't need a reminder to slow down— the economy seems to be imposing this action on many mamas already.

However, that doesn't mean we're using this slow down effectively, usefully or enjoyably.

Many years ago, one of my mentors told me that every career is full of ups and downs. Every part of life, a hurry up phase and then a slow down. When the slower parts hit, the trick is not to panic into them — but to use them and revel in the time given. Launch projects you didn't have the time for previously. Tighten up skills. Re-connect with friends, family. Heck, even clean.

Here's how one town is taking the idea of slowing time to one extreme:

New note at 'longest concert'
Not such a good day today. Went to see a school which would have been perfect for Firstborn but they are full with no hope of places until September. Then Fistborn and the Small(er) One started fighting halfway through the school tour and ended up rolling on the floor scrapping over a furry teddy, which obviously was an incredibly impressive thing to do in front of the head teacher. So probably no place there EVER.

Tomorrow Firstborn is being assessed at another school (at the age of 6!!!), then the next day she's being tested for dyslexia (long story but in brief, something we've suspected for a while but we have to do it now we're in Dubai in order to help her to get into a school).

Someone tell me why I'm doing this?

First experience of a Dubai hospital

Firstborn got really sick today. A rocketing temperature that didn't respond to the usual Nurofen/ Calpol dosage, sore throat, bright red cheeks and lips, ghostly white and shivering with goose bumps all over her body (despite a temperature of 40C+).

Alpha took her off to the Medcare hospital as soon as he got home from work to get her checked out, a precaution we thought. Thank God we took her in so quickly. Poor Firstborn ended up in a hospital bed with an antibiotic drip to try and get her temperature down, and a battery of tests to try to find out what was wrong.

When I arrived at the hospital (we left the hotel so fast the Small(er) One was still in her nightgown) Firstborn looked so small and pale in the big hospital bed, hooked up to the drip with her hand all taped up, it felt as if my insides were being wrung out. She was very stoical about it, or maybe just exhausted.

After hours of waiting for the test results, it turned out to be a bacterial infection which had responded …

first impressions and all that

So here we are in Dubai. Still in a bit of a daze. Still keep thinking it's a holiday until I remember it's not a holiday at all. Still not sure what I think of that.

Alpha went to work today, which seemed to be fine (he's one of those strong silent types who refuses to chit-chat unless 100% necessary, sigh, sort of manly though so can be forgiven) while kids and I went to look at schools and figure out all the boring mundane stuff you get used to when you've lived in a place for more than five minutes... which immediately stops being mundane when you go somewhere new and realise that you haven't a clue about anything anymore. Culture shock is an understatement.

Funny/odd things I've seen/experienced in the past couple of days:
Waitrose's 'Pork Room' in Dubai Mall - a room full of pork products separated from the rest of the supermarket with a door made out of those thick plastic sheet things - huge sign at the entrance shouts 'Non-Muslims Only…