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Updated: May 24, 2020

19th September, 2018

Gracie has learned the word 'why', followed by a million question marks. I was told this day would come. I was warned. But I didn't know how frequent it would be and I didn't know, either, how little satisfied she would be with any answer offered and that, after every lengthy and painful explanation, she would simply say but why?

As I write this, Isaac is 'sweeping up' in the kitchen. This is one of his favourite activities, alongside playing with wires and dipping his hand in a cup of water when you're trying to give him a drink. He isn't concerned with the existential questions of Life. If he's as laid back as his Dad, as like him in personality as looks, he'll never be plagued by such thoughts.

Another thing Gracie has said on repeat every day since being here is 'who's coming today Mummy?'. I've had to patiently tell her, every morning, that nobody is coming, that we're enjoying a 'nice family holiday', that her friends are far away. But she doesn't seem satisfied. I get the question daily. She's clearly not content to leave her social life behind. What will she be like as a teenager, I ask?

But the other day, Grace tried a new tactic, having come up against a metaphorical wall. She asked who was coming tomorrow. Sadly, that didn't work either. So she tried, later on, 'Mummy, who's coming tonight?'. Still no joy. Then she asked, as we were going to the swimming pool, whether Chloe was coming to the swimming pool (Chloe is her best friend). I said no but maybe one day we would go to Centre Parcs when Chloe was there (sorry, Lisa, but I had visions of us coming away together and having a sneaky Spa weekend). She replied 'it would be very nice to go to the swimming pool with you and Chloe', so that idea seemed to go down well. Now just to persuade Michael of the benefits of a wife-free long weekend...

Gracie has also talked about how there are three spaces outside the cabin for bikes and asked why. She provided her own answer by explaining that there's one available for Chloe. Clearly the company of parents is not enough. We have produced an A1 Extrovert. Or maybe we are just that boring. 

On another note, I had a lovely massage on Monday. It felt (and indeed was, at the price) very indulgent. I opted for the 25-minute option, feeling virtuous for going for the cheapest thing on the 'menu'. But then changed my mind at the last minute and upgraded to the 55-minute treatment. Good job, considering I made a wrong turn in the car park on the way and didn't manage to arrive ten minutes before the treatment, thus making myself late and resulting in said length of time being shaved off the treatment. 

But anyway, it was part of my (don't laugh) attempt to get better at real Self-Care, something I've been thinking about a lot. I used to think it was the right thing to do to pour all my time and energy into time with Grace and put all her needs before mine. And there is a place for that, when they're so tiny and you have to put their need for milk or sleep before anything. But I've realised, to my own cost, how that has to be short-term. After a while it's important for me to learn how to take breaks that recharge my batteries and such. And the quality is more important that the quantity, really. Forty five minutes on Facebook won't do it.

So I had an indulgent massage on Monday. What a way to meet the Monday morning blues (and thanks, Dad, for funding that one with your generous gift :). Afterwards I took full advantage of the fact you can sit in the treatment area on a lounger, with a herbal tea (I had two) . Luckily I'd taken my Kindle, so I wasn't limited to the magazine choice on the table next to me: Gentlemen Quarterly (I'd wondered why there was a guy on the front of the glossy magazine). And I tell you what, an hour and half in there reading Little Women, drinking my free fruity herbal teas and listening to the relaxing music that they always use in massage places, did the trick. It felt like a real break. 

I even snuck a piece of fruit tart in the cafe there post-massage. Everyone was dressed in white robes and it was quite weird, almost like something out of the Truman Show. But the fruit tart was delicious and sitting there eating it on my own with my Kindle felt like bliss. 

Boosted by such relaxation, I even had a look at the Decleor prices in the shop on my way out. Because the soothing gel they had used was amazing. But the list showed that those kind of things were fetching around £90, so at that point I went into the car park, sat on my bike and ate my free sandwich, earlier-prepared by my more frugal husband. Some things are just better left behind...

Gracie's phrase for yesterday and today: (in response to Daddy's suggestion that she give Starry Bear some food) 'He's just a teddy bear, Daddy. He doesn't have a mouth.')

'Isaac, we're all ready for going to Nora's house now' (bag in hand). 

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