On your siblings having kids

There will come an odd occasion when your cherished siblings will spawn.
You will always remember as quick to snitch to mummy when you stole the last cookie, for pinching your thighs under the dinner table, and stealing your glitziest mini skirt to take to a thirteen year olds slumber party. You’ll know quite how poor their judgement can sometimes be, for leaping head first into the stream in the heat of summer and ending up being hauled out with a cracked open skull, poking at bees nests, or bringing greasy haired rocker boys home from high school under mother’s disapproving gaze. You may know all this, and you can certainly just hope that they’ll bring a little more judgement into play when it comes to raising their own.

Don’t get me wrong, I love all my siblings. I now also adore all my little nieces and nephews (although I haven’t actually come face to face with one of them, beyond Skype, as he lives on the other side of the world). It is just terribly hard to imagine them as parents. I am personally semi blessed & half cursed in being surrounded with considerably older half-siblings. On one hand they are notably wiser and there were far fewer skirmishes when we did live together, growing up. On the other hand, it is slightly similar to having a posse of parents. There’s much less giggling in cahoots over having hidden daddy’s car keys, or gossiping over illicit teenage acts. Any talk of teenage crime receives a multitude of stern stares from across the dinner table.

Or at least it was. My brother was the first to bear his little boy (not physically bear that is, not quite a natural phenomenon). Seeing him with a mini-him did confirm quite what a wonderful father he is, and will be. It’s all the teasing of play of my childhood, but on a minimalist level with plenty of cuddles and care. Believe it or not, your siblings can actually change a nappy, even if they protested furiously at even clearing out the dishwasher, or cleaning up cat sick hidden in the study. My sister quickly followed suit with her daughter, even though we’re still at the stage of partially swapping and sharing clothes. Having just spent the Christmas period with my sister, her hubby and newborn, I was exposed again to just how tender my siblings can be. Clearly getting pregnant flips some sort of serious switch in the brain – or maybe they just save the brutal tormenting and ‘typewriter’ (which involves being pinned to the floor and repeatedly jabbed on the chest, courteously of my brother) for me nowadays.

Baby Amara

Christmas 2015-5

New year new me.

I’m not huge on completely revamping yourself and all your attributes on the yearly basis. I don’t think cracking open the champers come midnight, and disillusioning yourself that come tomorrow you’ll have gained the title of office sweetheart, the nicest neighbour on the block, or that one person unable to walk past a homeless person without sparing a penny and countless kind words. Beyond niceness (I’m not wholly sure if that is indeed a word), you’re unlikely to stick to a diet and fitness overhaul if you catapult yourself into an unbearable regime come the morning of the first, when your blood stream is no doubt still frazzled by the myriad of vodka shots you necked the night before. New year, for me, is more of an occasion to step back and appreciate the less thought of achievements of the year before.

Unfortunately my new years resolution of 2015 (to stop biting my fingernails) wasn’t quite achieved and will also stand as this years resolution. I’m hoping that by 2017 I’ll have pretty talons, and will spend less time in between gym sets furiously gnawing at my fingers. It is rather grubby, I’ve realised, considering all the other sweaty mits that have been plastered over bars, dumbbells and machines. Perhaps come 2017 I won’t have to study English, and could throw myself into the profession of a hand model for earning my millions.

Beyond quitting the un-quittable, and possibly most revolting habit I have, I’m hoping to move in short term to the local library and throw myself head first into studying for the next half year, until exam season rolls around. Perhaps I should have requested a blow up camping set and stove for Christmas as opposed to a never-ending supply of socks. I may indeed end up the infamous yeti-like creature of Exeter libraries, heavily bearded and rarely sighted, creeping in between book cases. (Unfortunately this is also unlikely as my sister continues to unknowingly fund my Netflix subscription, and evenings are far better spent engrossed in documentaries, head over heels at the sound of David Attenborough’s soothing voice educating me on the development of geodes).

Last but not least, having undergone another tragic sober night as a result of my commitment to Roaccutane, my new years ended in bed with a good helping of peanut butter and gogglebox. Therefore I was ripe and ready for an early morning gym excursion (early also taken lightly, as yet another resolution is sadly going to be waking up pre-lunchtime, upon returning to my studies). I haven’t set any formal weight targets since I’m not overly education on realistic increments over the next year (100kg deadlift does however seem an attractive prospect). Despite this I’m keen to continue improving my lifts and physique, and bring on all sorts of gains over the next year. Until then, I will continue to embarrass myself and everyone else in the vicinity – or rather attract shame from the onlookers – for my wanton gym selfies and sour pout.

Enjoy my first for 2016, and may you all have a fabulous year no matter how large or small your resolutions!

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