Friday, 29 October 2010

The One with the Lippy and the Mascara

So last night I had a few girlfriends over for a home cosmetics party.

You know the sort of thing. Someone comes to demonstrate the products, you all sit there with a glass of wine and some crisps and get tempted to buy pretty, girlie make up and bubble bath and glitter on a wand and so on.

So with sausage casserole consumed from the slow cooker for tea and the boy safely dispatched to bed, proceedings commenced!

Now before I start I must explain that I used to do this. Indeed I used to do this for the exact same company represented last night. So, most unlike me, I'm not in the market to take the mick. I genuinely love and use the products. The thing is I've had a few really bleak days, where I've questioned my ability as a mother and feared my old adversary, depression, was rearing it's ugly head again so basically I was apprehensive about facing people. I'm usually an "entertainer" and I just wasn't in that place. But having done the job myself there was no way I was going to cancel at short notice. The show must go on.

But something happened yesterday afternoon. Suddenly I was "up for it"!  I got a cheeky glass of rose and a few Pringles (other salty snacks are available but seriously once I pop I can not stop) and I went into "performance" mode.

I was larking about with blusher making my cheeks look like Aunt Sally from Worzel Gummidge.

I was sharing intimate details of how difficult it is to get up from the floor since having the boy, without a little... hmm,hmmm ... leakage...

I was popping on creams and gloss and glitter and cracking jokes and gags left, right and centre.

For someone who has spent the best part of last week in tears and borderline depressed, last night wasn't just about lotions and potions.

It was actually a tonic!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The One with the Floater!

Tonight we had another parental rite of passage.

We have a downstairs bathroom separated from our kitchen only by a small back lobby and we can chat quite easily between the rooms. So hubby was bathing the boy and I was boiling the kettle for his last bottle of the day and making dinner (Thai prawn and butternut squash curry - Jamie Oliver would be proud of me).

I hear a commotion.

"Oh no! What's that floating in the water?"

It could only mean one thing. The inevitable had happened. The boy had had a number two in his bath.

The reason hubby wasn't alerted and lifted him out in time was because it wasn't accompanied by the usual red faced grunting that signals a poo poo. The boy was quite serene, gazing into space and playing with his ducks! We can only surmise that the warm water had "relaxed" him!

"What do I do now?" asked hubby, trying not to laugh and holding the boy aloft, dripping over the offending bath tub.

"Well he's only just done it. Lift him out and dry him off. He wasn't wallowing in "it" that long, and it is  solid"

Parenthood doesn't half take all the romance out of your conversations with your other half!

We are now both trying not to laugh.

The boy, to his credit, is cracking up and has a very pleased with himself smile.

I go back to making dinner (yes I did wash my hands) and hubby carries on. With the boy now dry and nappy on, hubby proceeds to "fish" the offending items out (the water having broken it up a bit) with wads of loo roll. This is actually more successful than I thought it would be but we still have some "bits" to deal with.

"I'll do it" I volunteer "I've had experience of this."

The experience I refer to is from a weekend spent with friends and their two little girls when their youngest poo'd in the bath and I helped my friend fish it out with a jug!

Hubby takes the boy through to the lounge for his bottle and "In the Night Garden."

I get a plastic jug and proceed to chase my sons poo around a baby bath and flush the soapy, excremental water down the loo. Everything gets a good dose of disinfectant!

There was a time when something like that would have put us both off but we must be getting the hang of this parenting lark.

The boy went to bed and we tucked into our Thai!

Done job! If you pardon the expression......

Saturday, 23 October 2010

The One with the Sausage Song

We've been going to a a children's music class!

It's about 45 minutes long and just before the boys lunch so in the first few weeks his attention span waned towards the end but each week he's getting a bit more into it. 

We play musical instruments and learn about movement, sound and rhythm. You should see how the boy has taken to a maraca! I've had to get him one for home he loves it so much. It's like Mardi Gras in my house most days!

We also sing songs.

Some of the songs have visual aids.

One of the songs involves sausages!

Now at this point I will add a few bits of information you may need to get the best out of this story. One, I go along to this class with my mate and her little boy. Two, I like making my mate giggle inappropriately if something strikes me as funny. Three, the teacher is a bit "children's TV presenter", infact she reminds me of Playaway Circa 1977 (that shows my age). She also takes the class very, very seriously and sings the songs very,very high!

So this week we get to the sausage song. Join in if you know the words....

5 fat sausages, sizzling in a pan, all of a sudden, 1 (pause for effect) went bang!

So the teacher got out a large piece of red lycra, that we all had to hold and stretch, and then she produced, from one of her many tubs, the sausages for the song.

They looked like turds!

Hand made, knitted, brown, long, fat, sausage shaped, turds!

And we didn't have just 5. There were millions of the little things. All jumping about on the piece of lycra like big bouncing poo's!

Well I got the giggles!

My mate could tell I'd got the giggles and couldn't look at me! She later said it was like being back at school, when the person you sit next to is trying to make you laugh so you'll get in trouble with the teacher, and you know if you look at them you'll just burst with laughter and get told off.

And it's not just the dancing poo's that makes me laugh. There's a man's deep voice on the last song of the class that sounds like he's going to offer me sweeties or ask if I want to see some puppies any moment and I smirk at that too.

I'm lucky the boy is having a great time and doesn't realise his naughty mummy is taking the p!

I'm also very lucky not to get detention.....

Repeat 100 times. I must not muck about in class.....

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The One with the Poorly Baby

The boy had had his first proper illnesses since he arrived!

It's not been pleasant!

Let me explain first that I am petrified of people being sick (I'm not keen if i do it myself but I can just about cope) but anyone else and I'm out of here. It's a proper phobia and has on occasions stopped me doing things or staying in situations where I feel vulnerable (like out and about after the pubs have closed for example). I manage but it's sometimes hard for hubby to understand being a big old rough, tough, hulk of a fella who doesn't flinch at such things.

I was concerned when I knew I was becoming a mum about how I'd cope when the inevitable sickness struck. I was always worried I'd be rubbish at looking after him and what if instinct didn't kick in and what if it wasn't "different when it's your own flesh and blood"?

On Sunday afternoon I found out!

The boy went down for his nap after lunch, seemingly with not a care in his baby world. When he woke up, 2 and a 1/4 hours later (the length of nap being most out of the ordinary and really I should've been alerted to what might happen next by it) he was grisly, pale and out of sorts.

Nanny P and Granddad G had arrived for a cuppa by this point and the boy smiled bravely at them but I could tell something was up.

What was "up" was the milk he'd downed moments earlier, plus most of his lunch, all over me and Granddad G!

As I've said before the boy is not a sickly baby, for which I am grateful, so this was a rite of mummy passage to be projectile vomited on with such force. Twice!

My concern was completely for my boy. We cleaned him up then hubby took him for cuddles and bed while I stripped off the sick clothes, put on a dressing gown and bunged everything in the wash. I didn't flinch. I didn't care about me. I was just worried about my darling boy, all poorly sick and listless lying on his Dad's lap sleeping again.

Maybe it's a bit silly but I was proud of myself. He's never been properly ill before, not like this so I didn't know how I'd cope until now.

The thing is I coped.

I know so many of you all do cope all the time and don't think a thing of it but for me this was a big thing.

On Sunday I didn't think about my phobia, or flashbacks, or reoccurring dreams or any of the usual problems I encounter if someone is sick.

On Sunday I became a mum!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The One with Jamie's 30 Minute Meals.

I love a cookery programme!

So I've been watching the new Jamie Oliver 30 Minute Meals on Channel 4 every night at 5.30pm. There's the obligatory book to accompany the series too. Christmas present anyone?

Unlike the traditional "here's one I made earlier" style, the premise is that Jamie cooks the food in real time and you can replicate this at home, making everything he does in just under 30 minutes. Perfect for midweek teas after a long day at work. Pukka as the boy Oliver would say!

So far this week everything has looked delicious so last night I thought I'd give the pasta dish from Fridays show a try.

Now Jamie's menu included frangipane and raspberry jam tarts too but I dispensed with this as Hubby hates almonds.

I'm glad I did!

30 minutes! 30 minutes!!!

You are having a laugh!!!

Granted once I got going with my "30 minute meals head on" as Jamie would say then yes the cooking did only take about 20 or so minutes to do. The problem was finding all the stuff I needed to cut down on the preparation time.

You had to start by chopping very, very finely some spring onion, celery, carrot and chilli in a food processor. I couldn't get spring onions and we don't like celery so I improvised and used a normal white onion and a leek. I thought I'd save time too and whack the garlic in with this lot as I don't have a crusher.

Right start the clock...

"Darling, where's that food processor you bought me for Christmas?"

"What food processor?"

"You know the one you bought me last... no... two Christmas's ago."

Not to worry I'll use the attachment on the little blender I use for the boys puree, that's more to hand. Roughly chopped veg goes into the bowl and I switch it on. About 3 minutes gone at this point.

"It's not chopping it. I think I've got too much in here."

Hubby arrives in the kitchen

"What are you doing?"

"Making that Jamie Oliver pasta thing, I've got to chop all this really finely but it's not working. "

About 10 minutes are now wasted trying to get the chopper attachment to click properly so it will cut effectively. No joy! The various bits of the small chopper are tossed in the washing up bowl for later. We need the big processor.

"I think it's at the back of that cupboard"

"That cupboard" is systematically emptied. Baking tins and jugs and long forgotten bit of plastic that I don't know what they do anymore are dumped onto the kitchen floor.

"Found it! Christ, it's 20 past. X factor starts in 10 minutes!"

I could've chopped all this by hand by now by never mind, I carry on. Big processor found I fit it to the base which also is my food mixer. You have to get the angle just right or the top won't press down properly and you can't switch it on.

Another 6 minutes gone! By this time the water has boiled and re-boiled ready for it's pasta but we are not ready for it!

Yeah! I've switched it on. Veg is being chopped. Although it is sticking to the sides of the bowl and I have to keep stopping and using a spatula to scrape it back to the middle.

X Factor is on sob story singer number 1 now. Thank the lord for Sky +.

Veg now sizzling in a pan with olive oil. Food processor discarded to the washing up bowl. Contents of the cupboard still on the floor. We are getting somewhere.

"Babe, I've got the recipe on the computer screen tell me what do I have to do next?"

"Put the sausages in the food processor and mince them up."

Oh bum! The processor is covered in hot soapy water. I start putting everything back in the cupboard while the veg fries. Putting it back the way in went in is a game worthy of the Krypton Factor!

Hubby calls from the computer:

"Have you put fennel seeds in it? It says to put fennel seeds in it."

With my head in the cupboard:

"No. I don't like aniseed. I've left them out and put thyme in instead."

"You're not making the tarts as well are you?"

"No, You don't like almond. I've enough on my plate with this pasta."

"It says here you're supposed to be able to make this all in 30 minutes!"

I swear to god!!!

I skin the sausages and break them up in the pan. This of course takes longer but so far this 30 minute meal has taken about 40 minutes just to chop an onion so I'm past caring.

"You're supposed to present it on a big platter"

"Where's the one we use at Christmas time for the turkey?"

"In the loft!"

Hubby is by this time so hungry and has waited so long for dinner he's gnawing off his own arm so I take an executive decision and whack it straight into bowls with a flourish of fresh basil and parmesan.

So I have learnt three valuable lessons about me, TV cookery and chefs here.

I'm a luddite. Give me a chopping board and a knife any day of the week.

TV chefs have F off great kitchens with powerful gadgets that work and enough free work surface so that everything is to hand all the time and doesn't languish at the back of cupboards.

They don't keep their serving platters in the loft!

And the result? Well see for yourself.

So after all that it was delicious and one of the tastiest things we've had for a long time.

And how was I after all that stress?

Well, I still want the book for Christmas!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

The One with the Self Service Till

Another trip to the supermarket yesterday and this time I had the boy with me. I was in a bit of a hurry to get back for teatime so I went to one of those self service tills. That'll save some time I thought, there's no queue there!

I now understand why!

They are the most frustrating thing known to man.

Anything alcoholic, sharp or medical has to be verified by a member of staff so they can see you're over 21 (you can buy all these things at 18 so why it's 21, and in some shops I notice 25, I don't know?)

Anything loose that needing to be weighed has to be found on the screen.

And anything on special offer just blows it's mind!

Twice I had to "wait for assistance" because it didn't scan my butter properly and then didn't understand the price of my chicken!

Then to cap it all I put my handbag down to get my purse out to pay, with nowhere specific to rest it I placed it on the conveyor belt, this set the motion off and it sailed down towards my shopping which was bunched up and squashed at the end with no one to pack it. Of course my handbag wasn't scanned and the electronic voice went completely berserk

"Unexpected item in bagging area. Please remove. Please remove."

I thought for one terrible moment I was in an episode of Doctor Who and she was going to turn into a Dalek and exterminate me!

With my handbag retrieved she started shouting at me again,

"Please scan your loyalty card"

"Yeah alright love, let me get it out first"

I was talking back to her!

They say the first sign of madness is talking to yourself.

It's not!

It's not even talking to the machine.

The first sign of madness is even contemplating using one...

Monday, 11 October 2010

The One Where the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon

I managed to use 4 bowls and 5 spoons for tonight!

This never happens and it was only now as I was clearing away, that I noticed the sheer amount of plastic cutlery and crockery consumed!

I had "encouraged the child to sit in the highchair as I cleared away" as per Gina Ford. Now I don't normally subscribe to Gina's mantra's but this does seem sense and she makes it sound so idyllic doesn't she? In reality bits of food are getting chucked on the floor, the boy is screaming to get out and a plastic flower that is supposed to stick to the tray table but clearly doesn't, goes whistling past my ear at alarming speed and velocity!

So the trouble tonight lay with my trying to introduce lumps!

The boy is 7 and a half months now and I feel I should be getting to grips with stage 2 but he's more of a smoothly does it kind of a guy.

I'd given him some of my Bolognese with little pasta stars mixed with a cube of pureed peas and some cheese. The Bolognese and pasta had been previously whizzed but it still had more texture than the lads gag reflex would allow. After 4 or 5 spoonfuls the spoon was pushed away and most of my hard work was being spat out.

I'll pass it through a sieve I thought! Genius! That'll smooth it out!

So one bowl of food was passed to another via a sieve. Still no good! That's two bowls and two spoons down.

So I opened a jar of sweet squash and chicken.

I decanted some into a third bowl using yet another spoon, thinking he won't want it all, he's had some of the Bolognese (well the bits he didn't spit back). This was received with much more success so I went back to the kitchen and spooned a bit more out into the bowl. Obviously he'd used spoon number three so incase we didn't want it all and I could save some for tomorrow I used spoon number four.

But he did want it all so spoon number four wasn't technically needed.

After all that bowl number four and spoon number five were for dessert, Mummy's special apple and pear with cinnamon and vanilla which thankfully always goes down, and stays down, a treat.

So tell me, should I have persevered with the first dinner or would you have done what I did and give him something you know he likes, so he's full and happy and more likely to sleep through?

Does it simply come down to that old choice, like it? or lump it?

Saturday, 9 October 2010

The One with the Good Winter Telly

This weekend it all begins!

It's the return of what was always known in our house as "Good Winter Telly"!

I know the shows in question have actually been back a few weeks so that's not strictly (how apt) true but what I mean is the preliminary stages are over with. We're onto live shows and elimination's now. The partners have been picked and the first dance, danced (or in some cases dragged round) and on the other side the ones that need to "work on their vocals" have left, the disillusioned, dishevelled and downright wrong have packed up and gone home and the clip of the friend who punch her other friend in the face can mercifully stopped being played!

Yes tonight's the night!

Order the curry, chill the wine, sit back and relax.

Only there's two major problems with this!

As horribly addictive as Strictly and X Factor are, they're no Jim'll Fix it, Generation Game or Two Ronnies are they? They're not a patch on the good winter telly of my youth in the 70's , often referred too as the "Golden Age of Television" when summers were longer and Wagon Wheels were bigger and you could play in the street until half past ten and it was still light (my friend has a theory that everything was black and white back then too but she wasn't born until 1983 so what does she know)!

And secondly they are on all night!

Literally, ALL NIGHT!

Strictly starts at 5.45pm and when that finishes X Factor starts and goes on until ten past ten! Then if your eyes, stomach and constitution can stand it, Piers Morgan is doing a poor man's Parky with a new series of his Life Stories show.

Hubby will freak when he realises he's got to put up with that lot! (I'll break it to him gently that there's another hour and a half of results shows on tomorrow) And the boy has to have bath, bottle and bed during all this too.

Whatever your thoughts on these reality shows, my reality is that Saturday night TV and parenthood just don't mix. On a rough estimate I'll be running about two hours behind the rest of the world tonight.

You can buy new parents all the gadgets, gizmos, travel systems, clothes and toys in the world but I'll give you a tip.

The most useful thing you can get anyone expecting a baby is Sky+!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

The One with the Inappropriate Comment

This bog carries a warning! If you embarrass easily, look away now! 

I did the weekly shop this morning. Hubby looked after the boy  and I visited a leading supermarket that was offering 25% off all it's clothes this weekend!

Needless to say I stocked up on the next size up for the boy to see him through the winter. 

Job done!

I got my other shopping which included some cartons of formula and jars and pouches of baby food for days out when he can't have something from my extensive range of "cubes" from the freezer! So the contents of my trolley left no doubt I had a little one but it also contained plenty of other things, food, cleaning products etc and a.. hum, hum.. (clears throat)  packet of condoms!

Unable to decide on our future contraceptive needs we are currently using, what my friend delightfully calls "ski-masks"! It's a straight choice it would seem between the coil for me or the snip for him! Or to put it another way (which would also work as a contraceptive) a bit of metal in me or something maybe a bit too permanent! for us to contemplate at this stage!

Hubby is insistent he doesn't want anymore children but apparently is reluctant to get the job done because "it hurts"! So does carrying another person inside you for 9 months and then spending 12 hours trying to push them out again but hey ho! 

I went to the till and was being served by a guy,  aged about 50 or so. The baby clothes, food and formula went through first, followed by my other items, including "something for the weekend" (probably next weekend now but even so).

The man had been chatting about my having a baby, how old was he, does he sleep through the night, the usual, when the condoms "beeped" through.

"Bit late now for these isn't it?" he said.

I was flabbergasted!

I don't embarrass easily. I'm fairly unflappable and I pride myself on my quick wit but even I was lost for words.

The cheek of it!

25% or no 25% off I was peed off I can tell you!

Their advertising may want me to "Taste something different" but this was one shopping trip that left a distinctively nasty taste in my mouth....