Addiction, the struggle is real…

I sat there, in bed, while my son was crying next to me due to a fever. He didn’t want me to comfort him but he wanted me close, so I sat there and ate apple pie with vanilla custard and had some coffee. This, after a decadent indulgence in chocolate pralines that lasted two days. Perhaps it wasn’t “that many” pralines but they’re rich and I shouldn’t have had them anyway. Regardless I sat there and ate apple pie from a bowl, filled to the brim.

And when the tiny man fell asleep on my lap I was left alone in the peaceful tranquility of my overworked brain. A perfect time for some introspection and meditation, or something equally poetic.

My poor brain was jolted out of its slumber pretty quick when the sugar high hit me like a ton of bricks. It was only then that I realized that my old addiction was back, and this time it means business!

I’m a sugar addict. A real sugar junkie. I self medicate with sugar, which is my drug of choice. I love sugar and consume it by the sleeve-full, with no regards to what form it’s in. From complex carbs to simple sugars, I love it all, and breaking that habit was a nightmare beyond all nightmares. It took me three months of torture to get myself to a good place, and then it took about that long to get back into it.

I remember a specific day especially, when I was out with my best friend for an amazing dinner to celebrate that I had beaten the sugar monster. We split a dessert, a chocolate and licorice lava cake. Delicious. But my body had been detoxed from refined sugars for two years so what happened was I got massive heart palpitations and stomach cramps. I thought I was going to die, so we paced through Stockholm until I settled down a bit.

And instead of that propelling me to never touch sweets again, instead it became a challenge to find my way back to where I started. And sure enough, I am there. I can consume my body weight in sugar, every single day. And I do. Not really considering it to be that big of a deal.

Until today. In bed, next to my sick child, I realized that I was the really sick one. An addict. And it’s been said so many times before, once an addict – always an addict. But I was recovering, which I no longer am. Today I’m not even knee-deep I’m waist-deep in addiction and I need to stop.

I will not quit cold turkey again, instead I will try and phase out the refined sugars first. Then we’re going to attack the part of life that’s always the hardest for me – complex carbs. The breads and pastas, the white rices and all of the good stuff. The things that can be substituted but never replaced.

But I miss fitting into clothes. I miss sleeping without waking because I have a hankering (yes, my addiction is that bad). I miss not being dependent on having something sweet at the house at all times and mostly I miss not being ashamed of my choices.

No new era will start, no new chapter or new book. Instead I will just do better now, where I am and with the tools I have at my disposal. Addiction is awful and a battle to end all battles, but it can be kept in check and it will be once again.

Life isn’t static and this is just a bit of a rough patch. Nothing new or revolutionary, but something that most people encounter on their journey – in one form or another.

May the odds be ever in my flavor… I mean favor.

B. Campbell

Knowing the price of everything but never the value of anything…

I think a lot of people, when they have kids especially, lose their minds a bit. It’s inevitable, really, as we get older we usually start making more money and can afford the things we wanted while still working our way up. Of course there are exceptions, the ones who grew up with money whose only struggle in life was to choose between their two favorite colors of any brand name bag they were eyeing at the time.

But for the most part we all sit and look up interior decoration ideas online, watch shows that inspire us and motivate us to make our homes more cozy. What we rarely realize while watching these shows is the amount of money that is thrown onto that project. Most of us have a finite amount of money and if we were to decorate our homes the way that media thinks we should we would be indebted for life. A nice vase for $5000 on a cute antique table worth $150000. It’s a pleasure decorating this home, the interior designer says. No prices are ever mentioned, of course, and it was all a bargain at some auction. And auctions are for the most part public, so I check the prices because I’m curious about what kind of a bargaing we’re talking about.

A bargain to me is something I get for less than my monthly income. A vase for $5000 is, to me, not a bargain and it sure isn’t a steal – as it was referred to in this particular show.

I look over at my IKEA couch and can’t help but wonder what the designers would say about it. How they would laugh and think “by God this place simply cannot be fixed up”.

I read a lot about interior design, it fascinates me – the combinations and the many styles that add up to one coherent look. But lately I have been kind of bored. Every interior designer does the very same thing, in Sweden anyway. It can be summed up with one word: KLONG.

I can’t remember if it was the “Äng/Meadow” vase or the “Gloria” candlestick holder that made its way into everyone’s home first, but it is everywhere. Paired up with the SKULTUNA candle holder “Feather” and/or “Celestial” preferably on a tray with some other knick knack that’s dictated by ELLE HOME.

I grew more and more weary of seeing the same decor in home after home. Page after page of the same items placed in different locations around the house. It got tiresome, that déjà vu of the same color schemes and items that were losing their charm with every turn of the page. MISSONI on every pillow and towel, the boring and boho- friendly zigzag pattern. A round SVENSKT TENN vase with the seasonal bouquet, on a Bruno Mathsson piece of furniture.

So I started wondering if the children’s areas were any better. Maybe I could get ideas for Erik’s play areas if I took a gander at what there was out there. And that’s when it hit me, when I opened page after page of white. A sea of white and gray, of aesthetically pleasing children’s toys in unison colors that all just blended into the crisp white walls.

What kind of a hell is this, I thought to myself. What happened to uniqueness, to ideas outside of the boring magazine frame. Is no one their own anymore? Sheeple.

It seems that to fit in you need to blend well with the wall, stay under the radar or go batshit and be above the radar. But maybe I’m dramatic for no reason, the middle is always scrutinized. I refuse the damn Svenskt Tenn bullshit, the seventies were stylistically fucked up if you ask me. I hate the color schemes, the patterns and the quirkiness that has now been reshaped to fit a more mainstream look. It’s been toned down, washed out and boxed so that it fits your wallet but leaves no space for life.

I’m done watching clean children sit on hardwood floors, afraid to spill and make a mess. Children playing in ball pits that look like something from a Mario Bros nightmare. I’m protesting the clean, sleek look as much as I am protesting bringing back the old crap we threw out and promised to never take back in. You keep your GANT satin sheets, I’m putting the cheapest ones from IKEA on. Granted the bottom sheet is satin, here too, but that’s because my mother made our bed (due to a herniated disc and sciatica).

I am done trying to look like one of the Stepford Wives. I am not you and honestly, neither is about 75% of you. You can keep your catalogue homes and your botoxed, filler- faces with those sun feather eyelashes and gel nails paired with hair extensions and any Gucci/Louis Vuitton- bag. I’m done. And terrified.

I need a cup of coffee and a cigarette, and maybe a ton of chocolate. I need to step outside of this situation and decide the direction I want to take our home in. But I promise you one thing, and one thing alone – it won’t look like something out of a magazine. It won’t be a museum, in stead it will be a home for me and my whale of a boy. Nothing else would ever do.

Look at him happily resting in cheap sheets.

Campbell of Sweden

Some ideas…

Having a baby suddenly made me look at things differently, much like it does for most people. But for me it was a matter of learning to accept that second hand things are not the enemy.

I was living by a quote from the mayor in Spin City, an episode where they were talking about buying antiques and he said “Why would I buy old things, I’m rich – I can afford new things”. And that was my life motto, I can afford new things. But life changed suddenly for me and my finances were depleted by somebody who was promising to pay me back but who in turn just vanished. But it is often said that one should never lend anyone anything they can’t afford to lose. So I was left with the realization that in order for me to be able to give Erik everything, that I thought he should have, I had to change the way I think and shop.

So I scoured the web for good buy and sell groups, I kept an eye on sales and had to reevaluate what was important. Clothes I didn’t want to buy second hand, and I still don’t. Anything that has to do with food (plates, utensils, bottles and such) is also a matter of not buying from others. But toys, and interior decorations – that was a free market.

Some of his favorite things were given away for free or for very little money. Something I am vastly grateful for. But it’s not just a matter of financial gain, it is also very good for the environment to not throw things out as soon as the kids stop playing with them.

In hindsight I’m happy I didn’t spend tons of money on Erik’s crib, he hates sleeping away from me. I think I actually got it for free. These days it acts like a couch in one of his play areas. I’ve bought a bunch of pillows that were on sale in different stores to create a bit of dynamics or life because it is way more fun for a baby to have different fabrics and prints that are more visually stimulating than a unison clean look, which of course is more aesthetically pleasing to the adult eye. But his area is an area full of life and color, textures and sounds. It is not adjusted to suit an adult, but a place where he can make any type of mess he wants and nobody can frown upon it.

I can’t wait to watch him grow up and really get to explore all the different things that he has.

A friend found a table and two chairs that somebody was giving away for free. Their kids had drawn all over the set and it looks really well used. So come spring and/or summer I will be sanding them down and giving them a fresh coat of paint. I will also draw some roads on the table top and maybe also on the seats of the chairs so that Erik can drive his cars all over that map.

And as I was writing that I realized that I wanted to do a specific thing, I wanted to put down a wax cloth on said table top depicting a roadmap, rather than to draw it on so I checked and found one I think will be perfect. I ended up ordering it even tho the delivery cost more than the cloth itself. But it is phthalate free and safe for kids so I figured why not.

This is what it looks like and I think it will be a fun addition to his play area. The chairs I was thinking of painting green to match the ones he already has.

But for all I know I might change my mind about their color too. They, too, could do with a fresh coat of paint.

I can’t wait for my herniated disc and sciatica to heal up so I can properly start doing things around the house. First up is Erik’s Stokke Trip Trap chair. Well, actually, first up is a castling. Livingroom and bedroom are going back to where they initially were.

Fun times ahead. No idea where this blog post went. But I guess you guys have gotten used to the lack of cohesion in my texts by now.

Campbell of Sweden

Teething, a hell of its own.

Some kids go through it without too much whining and pain whilst others go through hell. But as it’s often been said, if you’re going through hell – keep going. So we do.

Mr Pudgy the whale is having a shitty time teething, which translates to even worse days and nights for the mother unit. He’s whining nonstop and clinging onto me as if I’m somehow the cure. I’m not and he knows it but he keeps hoping that being on me while screaming might make things better. And who knows, maybe it does on some level. 

I’m sure you can tell, just by looking, that the pictures above are from his nap time. It’s obvious to see that he has no interest in sleeping, be it day or night. And most people will testify to less sleep during teething but for a child with a severe sleeping disorder this is devastating. Or rather it is that to his mother. His usually incrimental sleep has become even more incrimental and some nights even nonexistent which means no sleep for the mom either. And it’s one thing to not sleep a night and then catch up on your sleep later but after a series of some three nights where the boy has slept a grand total of an hour you are not human anymore.

So a few days ago I had a total breakdown. I spent all night crying along with Erik, wondering how I would pull through. But dawn came and I could see a bit clearer. So I packed up some stuff and took Erik into Stockholm. He slept for two consecutive hours, waking a bit here and there but fell back asleep when rocked.

I obvoiusly didn’t get any sleep but I had some retail therapy. Buying myself a dress, two sweaters and a ring. I also met up with my best friend and had both dinner and fika, while at it. Because if we had stayed at home I might have just spontaneously combusted.

Life as a single parent is hard, especially when your child has a sleeping disorder and there is no money coming in. It’s extra hard when his absetnee father doesn’t sign over custody on you so you’re locked into a place where you can’t even put the child in queue for a spot in a kindergarten. It’s a stressful situation knowing you have the full responsibility but absolutely no rights. But I’m hoping things will change in that arena, soon. I reached out to the boy’s father to sign over custody, today, in bopes that he might do the right thing for once. I have no hopes whatsoever that he will do what’s best for my child but one can always try.

In the meantime I do all I can and then some to ensure that my baby boy has all he could ever want or need. Even with a tremendous lack of sleep, a constant headache and enough stress to kill a normal human being I still trot on. Why? Because I love life. I love living, and each new day brings with it something positive. Something new and worthwhile. My boy is growing, sitting himself up like a pro and getting onto his stomach from a seated position. He’s full of energy and life, and if that doesn’t get you through the day then nothing will.

It is my will to live, my love for life that has gotten me through all the bad stuff. And in the end there is but one thing that controls how you respond to whatever is going on in your life – you and your perception. Change your outlook on life and you’ll realize that you are in fact living in the best of times.

If all else fails get yourself a new dress and a ring. Or whatever makes you equally excited.

But all that shopping aside, waking up to a view like this. Or going for a drive, making Erik laugh, trying new foods, talking to a loved one. Those are the real motivators. All else is gravy.

This. This is what heaven looks like: a happy and healthy boy who has everything he needs. Content. That is absolute heaven to me. All worries just melt away, all tiredness goes out the window. He is my love, my life – my boy.
Campbell of Sweden

Why oh why?

There were many questions when I moved from my fantastic one bedroom apartment in a fancy part of town. The town was Stockholm, the beautiful capital of this country. What I moved to was a bigger one bedroom apartment in a small town, adjacent to Stockholm, called Bålsta. Why would you move to that specific apartment, it’s old – it was said. And I agreed, it is old. And very run down. It hadn’t been cleaned in the five years the previous tenant had lived there.

When we moved in I was in the late stages of pregnancy and couldn’t do much about anything. After delivery Erik had colic, and for four whole months I was glued to him. In his fifth month his father lost his marbles and then followed an almost two month long nightmare that ended that faithful night when the police collected the monster that had terrorized this home. After that the clean-up slowly began. I started remodeling. Moving furniture to how I wanted it. Bought new stuff for Erik and suddenly our home was clean and neat.

It became a proper home for me and my son. A place we can use to its fullest potential. Something we could never do in my old apartment. It was a beautiful brand new apartment. All hardwood flooring, and a fluent floorplan. Barely any doors and none were needed because it was 38 sqm. A pocket sized apartment.

This place is 64,5 sqm. All linoleum floors, that are worn down. The wall paper is old and the kitchen is a 60’s standard issue. But you know what they say, all is not gold that glitters. So hear this.

My worn down floors give both me and Erik room to put scuffs in them without having to pay for any damage done when we move from here. Due to it being linoleum he can take baths in the bedroom where we have two big radiators keeping the room super warm and cozy. The apartment is located on top of a kindergarten which means that after 6 PM there is nobody under us. On the side of the bathroom there is no one making laundry possible late at night, same goes for the dishwasher. I can vacuum at midnight if I so choose without disturbing my neighbors. And speaking of neighbors, they are absolutely awesome. No problems with them what-so-ever. 4 months of colic, Erik has kept everyone up but not one person has complained. No one’s said a word.

So am I sad I made this move? Do I regret it? Not for a single second. It is by far the best decision I have made in terms of living arrangements. We’re about 20 minutes away from Stockholm city center. What is there to complain about? The landlord is great, the doctor’s office is close by, the town center is close too. We have everything we could possibly want or need, and it all comes with an amazing view.

But this is by far the best part of it:

Badpojke

A bath boy in his bathtub smack in the middle of the bedroom. Hard to beat!

Campbell of Sweden