Monday, 22 September 2014

All Grown Up #PowerofSoft

I shared last week about Eli starting preschool, and marking the next major milestone in his journey towards starting school.  It has been a rocky transition, for both me and him, with lots of unexpected tears at drop off time.

I don't remember being this upset when Meg started school but I think this may have something to do with having Eli still at home.  The thing that really strikes me is the silence.  There is no little person chattering away, even if I was sitting and doing something else, I would still know that Eli was there, or that Meg was there by the background noise their presence provided.  There is none of that now and I have found that incredibly tough!

Of course, I can't keep Eli at home forever (much as I would like to) and I know that this is an important step for him, and me, because when he starts at school I will be completely child-free between the hours of 9am and 3pm.

Not only that but over the last month or two he has really grown up.  There is nothing babyish about him now, he is a real, rough and ready to rumble, little boy, always with a grubby face, always ready to run and explore.  He gets the freedom he needs at preschool and I know already of two friends he has made, which makes me feel very proud.

The best part of all of this, of course, is when we are reunited at the end of the day.  Meg (in all her Year One grown-up-ness) has entered the phase where she will only tolerate a kiss from me in the morning but not a cuddle, and there is certainly no excitable greeting at the end of the day.  To be honest I'm lucky if I get a word out of her until we get home!

Eli isn't like that yet and the minute he sees my face through the preschool window he is up and running towards me with his arms thrown wide for a great big squashy cuddle.  Which is just lovely.

Of course, for both Meg and Eli, in the comfort of our own home there are cuddles aplenty to be had.  For me, for Daddy and towards each other when they are feeling generous, so we are taking the advice of Fairy and really trying to make the most of these precious times.

I can remember laughing at my Dad when he used to come over all whimsical and start commenting on how we had grown up in the blink of an eye but I have to admit that now I'm a parent I really see what he means.  I can recall with perfect clarity the day we brought Meg home from the hospital; just this tiny, wrinkly, squawking baby, and I was positive for about two weeks that someone was going to knock on the door and tell me there had been some mistake, that actually, I wasn't able to have this baby after all because she was much too perfect and now she's in her second year at school and going on 15 some days...

Fairy have made a short video which is all about making the most of the precious soft cuddles we can have with our children.  Be warned, it might make you well up a bit!  It makes my heart squeeze to think that maybe one day Meg and Eli will be too grown up for them.  I hope not.

If you have a child who has started in preschool or BIG school this year, then I hope that they have settled in well.  It's a huge step and I'm right there with any parents who are finding it me!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Book Review: Sycamore Row by John Grisham

Sycamore Row by John Grisham
He will make them pay...

This book came as part of my anniversary extravaganza of new books from James but, to be honest, I wasn't sure about it.  The last Grisham book I read left me feeling cold and I didn't want this to be a repeat.

That said, I was excited as I really enjoyed A Time To Kill and as this is the sequel, I was intrigued to see where Grisham would take the story next.  As it happens this is not really related to the first book, other than it featuring the same lawyer, Jake Brigance, and having a fair few references to the trial.

The story begins a few years after the success of the murder trial in A Time To Kill and we discover that Jake is down on his luck.  During A Time To Kill, the Klan burn down Jake's home, forcing his family to flee and when this story begins, they are still living in rented accommodation, fighting with the insurance company for the money they need to rebuild their house.  Work has almost all but dried up for Jake as well and as idealistic as ever he is simply counting the hours and waiting for his next 'big break'.

Then one day a local, old, rich, white man called Seth Hubbard, hangs himself.  The day before he commits suicide, Seth rewrites his will, cutting out his ex-wives and children and leaving the vast majority of his fortune (which measures in the millions) to his black housekeeper, Lettie.

Jake has never met Seth but receives a copy of the will in the post, with instructions from Seth to fight to defend the new will and see that his wishes are followed.  

Therein follows a battle between Seth's children, who bring in the big city lawyers, against Jake who must prove that Seth wasn't out of his mind or pressurised into changing his will by Lettie.

It's the typical David and Goliath style story which Grisham favours and is full of his usual tricks and turns.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and found that I had no idea where Grisham was going to take the story.  The courtroom scenes are as grand as ever and I loved Judge Atlee; he was just perfect as the no-nonsense judge from the Deep South. 

Criticisms would be that in places Grisham waded through a lot of unnecessary peripheral stuff, such as the over the top reminders that Jake and his wife don't keep alcohol in the house, even to the point where they reprimand a guest who brings them a bottle of fact, weirdly, Grisham referred to alcohol pretty much all the way through the story which I found to be a nuisance at the end, 'okay we get it, they like a drink!' and I had a few eyes glazed over moments but it didn't take away from the story too much and overall this was much more typical of a good Grisham book than some of his other recent work has been.

Overall, I would recommend this to any Grisham fan.  It gets top marks from me.