Stockholm life and the wisdom of four-year-olds

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A Christmas or two ago, both I and my brother’s family were staying with our parents. One morning, I got up early with the four-year-old (well he got up and climbed into my single bed with me and after twenty minutes of every one of his limbs digging into every one of my ribs I decided it was breakfast time.)

As I was making him breakfast, somebody came down with his baby brother and handed him to me before popping back upstairs for something. My parents had a new puppy who was still in the ankle-nipping stage, so I was making porridge whilst shoogling the crotchety baby and trying to stop the puppy eating our pyjama bottoms. When I finally sat down the kitchen table, the four-year-old looked at me soberly and, with all the gravitas one would expect from a person wearing dinosaur pyjamas, observed that “this is a lot for one Aunty Claire.”

I often think of that, when life gets a bit hectic and I’m verging on feeling overwhelmed. When you’re lucky enough to get to tell stories for a living, when you fought like hell to get to do it full time, when you’re fully aware that you’re hardly working in A&E or down the mines, it’s easy to feel pressure to be like that character in The Crucible shouting for more weight. ‘More work! More drafts! OF COURSE I can rewrite this twice in a week — how about three times?’

Every once in a while it’s worth remembering that it’s a lot for one Aunty Claire.

It’s been a busy work period for quite a few months now and that has upped since arriving here. There’s been lots of work on one of the Top Secret TV projects and some potentially exciting news on the other. I’ve managed to make progress on no less than two books I’ve been working on, and also made plans for some book events over the next few weeks. I’ve managed three whole runs, done fairly terribly in two pub quizzes, and taught an aerial yoga pose even I couldn’t do beforehand.

Adding setting up a new flat in Sweden, catching up with all my Stockholm friends and teaching aerial yoga a few nights a week all conspired to make me feel as though I’ve been in a tumble dryer for the past month! This weekend was the first I’ve had to myself since arriving here (I had lunch on Saturday with a friend and her little ones and that was IT!). I pottered about the flat, marathoned Love is Blind and that was more or less it. By Sunday night I’d melted into a very contented puddle.

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Claire