The pre-race day is here and its time to make sure that I am all ready for tomorrow mornings half marathon. Today and yesterday were about one thing, resting, which is equally as important as the training I have put in. I need to make sure the muscles in my legs are storing as much energy as possible. I even had a really good nights sleep last night, even though I went to bed a little later than I’d planned and probably should have only had the two beers instead of the four, but thankfully it looks like Olivia has got back into the habit of sleeping through again, and even slept until 8am which is a very rare treat for us, so I felt pretty good when I got up this morning!
An early morning text meant my assistance was required on the allotment today, and I couldn’t really say no as it was something me and my friend Dave had taken on together, but that he ends up doing most of the work on, although this is primarily because the allotment actually backs onto the bottom of his garden. He frequently pops over for 20 minutes here and there during the week, whereas I have to arrange to meet him there at the weekend as I don’t have a key to get into it. He doesn’t mind, its all worked pretty well so far, except that I keep saying I need to commit more time over there, and I do fully intend to, but it doesn’t always work out that way, with so many other things eating away at my time. Dave is currently doing the Sober For October thing, and so we’ll soon be heading back to the pub once that is over to sit down and plan what we’re going to be doing on the allotment next year. We have tended to wing it so far with a lot of things, and had some success here and there, but I think that with a bit more structure and a bit of a plan, we can actually get more out of it.
I stayed over the allotment longer than I had planned, although Dave’s wife did kindly bring us a McDonalds lunch halfway through. I felt a bit guilty eating a burger, as its probably the kind of food I should stay away from the day before a big run, but I was still very grateful for it! I walked home and in letting Clare know that I was on the way, as its only a five minute walk between the two houses, I was greeted by a wonderful beaming smile from Olivia who was standing at the window waiting for me. There is no better way to come home than to a treat like that. Our little girl is growing so fast, and has no proved to us that most things are no longer “out of reach” for her, as she demonstrated by pulling the remote controls down from their previous safe spot on top of the fire place, and also found my wallet, which proved to be a source of great interest to her!
She has also shown us that she no longer needs us to give her a bottle of milk any more. Apparently mommy and daddy are surplus to requirements now!
That was our last little link to her being a baby, the need to be given a bottle before her morning nap and before bed in the evening. Now she just gives herself the bottle. Its a very new thing, and if we even touch the bottle because she’s not getting any milk out of it, then she lets go and it becomes our problem again! But yes, we are seeing so many changes, on an almost daily basis now, it both excites me and makes me a bit sad inside all at the same time that our girl is no longer a baby. I can’t help but think what the next month will bring, and then what will she be doing by christmas, what will be happening in 12 months time? I still can’t help but look at her and wonder what she’ll look like as an adult. I see adults now, look at their baby photos and you can always see the likeness, but I can’t even begin to imagine what our little girl will look like as a teenager, or an adult. I just hope we instil all the right ideals and principles in her to make her a good person when she’s older. This parenting malarky is fairly easy at first, all you have to do is feed them, keep them clean, and generally don’t drop them. As they get older you start to consider the bigger implications of what lies ahead, and the seeds that you are planting… planting unwittingly just by the things you say and the things they see you do. For example, I have suddenly become acutely aware of the amount of time I spend on my phone while I am around her. While she is awake and in the room, she should be my primary focus of attention. I don’t want her looking at me, and wondering when I am going to put my phone down and give her some attention. I also want to be talking to her as much as I can, encouraging that communication, learning new words and attempting them by copying what I am saying, which generally wouldn’t be much if I had my face illuminated by the glow of a smart phone. I also want her to be using iPads as little as possible growing up, I can’t tell her no if I have one in my hand myself. I want her learning to be from books, from pens and paper, from putting a paint brush on paper and actual puzzles, there is so much more to learn that way. When you commit a pen to paper to draw a picture, there is no “undo” button if you make a mistake, and I also believe in proper grammar and punctuation, and there is no better way than to write it down and have it marked with a red pen by a teacher. An exercise book won’t let you use a spell check or put everything in Times New Roman size 12 for you, an exercise book will make you practise your handwriting and learn how to spell words and know when to use them correctly. Call it old fashioned, and yes maybe I do consider myself the grammar police, but nothing drives me more mental than kids who have already spent years at school and apparently learnt nothing. If they can’t understand basic grammar and spelling by 15, then what have they learnt? Its these sort of skills that can’t be learnt so easily as an adult and will have people judging you at interviews, or in fact any time at all when you have to pick up a pen. Plus I think there is joy in writing, I used to love writing stories as a child, and drawing too, I never consider myself much more than okay at drawing, but I used to get such pleasure from it. When I was growing up I would sometimes combine the two and create my own little cartoon segments with made up characters. If only I could find one of those sketch books now! So yeah, the iPad can stay switched off for a while, there is a lot for my little lady to learn as she grows up, and staring at a touch screen just can’t replace some of the fun that lies ahead for her!