Monday, 29 November 2010

The One with the Holiday

A combination of illnesses and trying to pack for our first holiday away with the boy means I've been away from you for two weeks now. Sorry about that.

The run up to our week away last week was fraught with hassle. So much so my stress levels were off the chart and I was very close to going to the doctors for something to calm my nerves.

First the boy got sickness and diarrhoea, then it seemed to clear up but his appetite wasn't back and he wasn't sleeping so neither were we.

Then hubby got the D&V bug from the boy.

Then the boys diarrhoea came back.

With a vengeance!

In the middle of the night!!

All the time I was trying to pack and sort out everything we needed for a short, four night, self catering break to the coast with my parents.

Now I love holidays. Once I'm there. But the thought of them always makes me nervous. Will everything be ok? Will the accommodation be clean, comfortable, in a nice quiet area. Will we all be well enough to travel there and back? What if this? What if that? What if everything? I get myself in such a stew it hardly seems worth going. This could be one of the main reasons why we always return to the same little seaside town on the coast, only 2 hours drive away, year on year.

I know the shops, I know the good pubs, restaurants and take away's. I know the streets, the walk to the sea, the amusement arcade and the town in general like the back of my hand. Hubby and I spent our very first holiday together there and we've returned every year since. It might only be for a few days break in a B&B. It might not always be our main holiday that year. But we always go back. It's our second home.

I also hate leaving Oscar and I can't stand packing!

So packing for me and a 9 month old baby was a nightmare.

Especially as I thought I should pack extra of everything for the boy in case we had a repeat of our little midnight incident!

Then of course I started to panic about the boy. I know this place but he doesn't. He's never slept away from home before, or even in his travel cot. What if he has the screaming ab dabs for four days and goes crazy? Whose idea was this anyway? Oh yes mine wasn't it, well best keep quiet and hope he and his bum settle down as quickly as possible.

Nanny P and Granddad G were there when we arrived so the cottage was lit and warm and had familiar faces in so the boy just had a good look round and started playing.

He wasn't fazed at all.

It seems I totally underestimated my son.

He had a ball. And as a consequence so did we. Nanny and Granddad loved being with the boy and he loved being with them. So hubby and I got to spend quality time with him and, more importantly, each other. We even got lie ins and to go out for dinner, just us two, twice. He even slept through the night twice. So much for me thinking he wouldn't like the travel cot.

God bless Nanny and Granddad and god bless holidays I say!

Just what the doctor would've ordered had I called him!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The One with the Dry Toast and the Washing Machine

I have a poorly boy on my hands! 

Infact on Sunday night I had a poorly boy all over me. And all over poor old Daddy too! 

Least said about that the better.

We are now left with nasty nappies the kind of which I haven't seen since before we went on to weaning.

I'm not good with illness, as you know, but we're doing ok.

It's just difficult to know what to give him. It's all dry toast and mashed banana. I currently have some apples stewing on the stove for him lunch!

What can you do?

Personally I've been worried sick about him.

The boy on the other hand is in fine form wanting to play, climb, bounce and generally develop his new crawling skills!! Not conducive to a runny bottom situation! 

The washing machine being on constantly is testament to that!

I'm laying out towels on the lounge floor ready for when he wakes up from his nap and checking I've got enough anti-bac wipes in to last me to the weekend.

It's all glamour here guys.....

Friday, 12 November 2010

The One with the New Look

I've had a makeover!

I felt these dark Winter days were in need of a splash of orange and some swirly patterns. Much more Random Woman's style than the drab brown.

I feel cheerier already!

I hope you like the bright new look?  Let me know what you think?

Now if only I could re-vamp my wardrobe, post natal body and skin so easily I'd be laughing!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The One with the Big Chicken and the Left Over Stuffing

I did a big chicken on Sunday!

By "did" I mean roast of course (although given the current slang for that expression it still sounds dodgy but you know what I mean).

We are still eating the left overs. (and so is Oscar).

This, of course, was the point. My maternity pay has now ended and the economy drive begins.

So we had a roast dinner on Sunday, I minced some up for the boy to store in the freezer, I've made stock from the chicken carcass, we've had sandwiches for lunch on Monday,chicken salad, fajitas and now a pot of curry is bubbling on the stove.

All in all very good value.

But this leftovers lark has given rise to two questions.

What do you do with left over stuffing? I can't think of anything. As yummy as it is I didn't think it was appropriate to put it in with the boys roast dinner mix. It was Aunt Bessies and she may be the patron saint of the fuss free easy roast dinner but I'm sure it's not suitable for an 8 month old child!  

I've taken to slicing bits off and topping it with the left over guacamole from the fajitas! Now I read that back it sounds disgusting but in truth it is alarmingly good. Try it! I dare you!

Which brings me to my other dilemma.

What do you do with the leftovers of the leftovers?

I've used left over veg and chicken for this curry and I have a pot the size of a small manhole cover cooking away. We'll never eat all that in one sitting. They'll be leftovers. Of the leftovers.

If this carries on I may never cook a meal from scratch again. Everything will be traced back to that one big roast chicken and if I can do that now imagine what I can do with a Christmas lunch!

That's dinners for January sorted then....

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The One with All the Cakes

The boy has had his first taste of cake this week.

And it's been quite a week for cakes!

Monday saw a lovely walk in the park with a friend and her baby girl. We stopped at a cafe  for a cuppa and big slice of carrot cake. It was huge and came with whipped cream and chocolate sauce on the side ( a bit random that but never mind). Even I couldn't finish it! The boy woke up in his buggy, had his milk and then a few crumbs of cake fed from my fingers.

It was good!

After that we seem to have unleashed a monster!

Wednesday I made a lemon drizzle cake for a friend's birthday. He swears it was this cake that got him and his wife through a horrendous early night of feeding when their baby was first born and he has loved it ever since. I saved a bit for me to try (quality control you understand) so the boy had some of that for his afternoon snack too.

It was good!

Thursday we went to a NCT Halloween party for all the babies (at one point I resembled a pumpkin patch as I had three bubs clambering over me all dressed in their orange outfits). There was cake. Well it was a party! It was vanilla and sweet and very soft and yummy with thick icing and dolly mixtures adorning the top! 

He liked that one too!

Friday, and we visited the lemon cake friends where I was offered some with a cup of tea. By now the boy was recognising the afternoon pattern of plate and cup being presented to me and made a grab for the cake. So I let him have some again.

Well it was popular before so what can you do?

Saturday saw Nanny P's birthday. So I made my Mum a cake to celebrate. Victoria sponge, filled with strawberry jam and topped with chocolate frosting and shaved chocolate from a bar of milk and white.

You know the rest don't you....

Cake was licked greedily from my fingers and lips were smacked against the sweet crumbs left around his chops.

He had another little bit of it today!

Well we had left overs!

Now you understand it's only the soft, squashy cakey bit I'm giving him. I'm careful to not offer any filling, icing or frosting for fear I'd have to scrape him off the walls with hyperactive excitement.

I'm feeling a bit bad that I've let my 8 month old son have cake 6 days out of 7 this week but you see two things are true here.

One, I love making cakes. It soothes me. Even more so than eating them actually. Although that can have a calming effect given the right mood. If I need to have a think I go into the kitchen and I make a cake.

Two, the boy has a very sweet tooth.

So I can see the future six or seven years from now. He comes in from school with half a dozen mates:

"Any cake mum? We're all starving!"

And of course there will be. 

Let them eat cake I say!

Friday, 5 November 2010

The One with the Smell of the Greasepaint...

..and the roar of the crowd.

That's how the saying goes.

I prefer to turn it on it's head and say the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd.

And believe me I've smelt some pretty hostile crowds in my day.

You see in my BIBAM days  (Before I became a Mum), I used to do quite a lot of the old am dram.

I was your actual thespian.

Obviously pregnancy and the arrival of the boy put pay to that for a while but now I'm making a come back worthy of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard (without the scary manic overtones you understand).

Given my current malaise I knew I needed something back for me and that something turns out to be my acting.

I went along to visit my Theatre group this week for a read through of their next production and find myself with a good part, my old friends around me, laughs, a challenge and the green light from hubby that he'll watch the boy a couple of evenings a week.

I'm like a new person. Quite literally.

And the play we're doing?

Blood Brothers by Willy Russell.

And my part?

My character is simply referred to as The Mother!

The irony isn't lost on me .....

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The One with the Down Days

I'm not myself at the moment!

Who I am, seems to be question most mothers are asking themselves at this stage, judging by the conversations I've been having with my NCT girlfriends. We are all at a loss personally. Feeling tired and lacking a sense of "ourselves" and what we used to be.

Maybe it's that old thing that we have stopped being seen as us and we're now "just Mum"?

So I don't know if 8 months is a typical watershed, or it's the onslaught of Winter and darker days, or the prospect of a very wonderful, but very different Christmas approaching or what it is?

But I am not myself!

If my dear Nana was alive today she'd tell me I needed a "tonic". And she didn't mean the stuff Schweppes sell!

It seems to me to be a parenting paradox that just as this Mum needs to find herself and a little of her independence back, the boy is becoming clingy, and a little whingy and has the screaming ab- dabs when I leave the room!

In some ways it's amazing to be wanted. When he puts his arms up for a cuddle, or gives me that first smile of the day I melt. I truly do.  I wish I could bottle that rush of emotion and keep it for when he's moaning and frustrated and I'm on the edge. Like an elixir of love to keep me going.

So really the boy is the tonic my Nana would've prescribed.

Only when he's laughing though....