Monday, 25 April 2011

The One with the Space Hopper

The boy has discovered the great outdoors!

I don't know if it's because Easter is late this year but for a bank holiday weekend we have enjoyed the most glorious weather.

So the boy has been on the swings more times than I can count, had his first, fleeting taste of ice cream in the park (I had an old school 99 cornet so he licked the end of the flake then took a whooping great chunk off it) and spent loads of time in Nanny P's garden crawling around on the grass getting us all to play countless games with balls, hula hoops and a long forgotten and previously redundant Reebok trampoline (a one minute fitness wonder my Mum had that she swore she'd use use but went the same way as the hula hoop - the shed). 

But best of all he's fallen in love with a space hopper. A large, bright green space hopper with a little black face and two sticky up ears to hold onto. I had one as a child, although mine was orange and I used to call it a "hoppy" but regardless of colour or name I loved it too.

Nanny P had got it in a few summers ago for a visiting friend and her little boy so he had something to play with in her garden. She might be fickle with her keep fit equipment but she 's thoughtful like that my Mum. But if the friends lad and my boy happen to be there at the same time my money's on the boy to get in first with the bouncy bundle of boinginess! He has devised a game for it which evokes peels of laughter.

The only trouble is it's knackering!

The boy has the typical balance of a 14 month old. Fine one second and rubbish the next. So you have to position him on the space hopper, get him to grip the ears, then hold onto him for all your worth and bounce boy and hopper up and down across the lawn whilst saying "Boing. Boing. Boing!" repeatedly!

That's bloody tiring in anybodys book but with a dodgy back it's not only inadvisable but virtually impossible.

Enter, and god bless, Granddad G for his tireless grandson bouncing abilities! It's worth it to see the boys beaming smile and hear those infectious giggles but I remember bouncing around my Mum and Dad's garden as a kid unaided so I'm just waiting for the day when the boy can do the same.

And so is his Granddad!!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

The One with the Car Journey

Today we took the boy to visit Hubby's relatives in North London.

This involves a 3 hour round trip in a day. This didn't used to be too much of a problem when the boy was younger as he used to sleep a lot more but recently he seems to be happy on a one nap strategy for about 2 hours or so.

This would be fine but the time of the naps seems to be changing from a morning, before lunch, nap to an after lunch one. Then the late afternoon nap has gone altogether. So travelling in the morning so he can have a big sleep and driving home around 4ish so he can kip then used to be a great option.

Today we discovered that this option isn't as great as it used to be!

The boy did sleep on the way there but only for half an hour.

On the way home he didn't sleep at all!

The apple rice cakes pacified him onto the M25 and a short while of the A12 but by the time we reached Chelmsford the snacks had run out and the only thing to quieten the  boy was music.

Hubby wanted the football scores on Radio 5 Live so that meant I had to start singing!

Now, as I have blogged before, we have used songs from the shows to keep the boy from the screaming ab dabs on a car journey but this time "Bali High" and "Shall We Dance" just wouldn't cut it. 

It's amazing how many animals you can come up with for Old MacDonalds farm and the variety of situations with noises you can conjure up for a bus with wheels that go round and round!

Even so I was exhausted and had exhausted all the possibilities about 20 miles later.

The football scores had to be abandoned and Classic FM employed to work miracles. I can't say it has divine properties but the screaming did subside for a while.

Only for a while mind you, so we could be having some very, very long car journey's coming to us this summer!

All together now, The Wheels on the Bus, go round and round.........

Sunday, 17 April 2011

The One where Mummy's Got A Headache

Oh dear! For headache read hangover!

On Friday night I had "a bit of a do" at mine with some of the girls from work. What that "do" is and is called (it's "Bunnyfest", well I have it every year around Easter time) is a whole other post in it's own right, but suffice to say it's often a "boozy old do"!

This year was no exception!

We started straight from work, fairly modestly as the boy was up still up having his tea and loving a house full of attentive and pretty ladies (the boy is officially a flirt). Once he'd gone to bed the party really started as corks popped, pizza was cooked and crisps crunched. 

By the time the last reveller had left at 1.30am a lot of fizz had been consumed and I don't mean Panda Pop!

The next morning I was not myself. Who I was I wasn't sure but it wasn't me. Ah I remember who I was now, I was me but before I had the boy. Hung over on a Saturday morning after a night out, or in, with friends and worse than useless.

BTB I could put it away but now my tolerance for alcohol is considerably diminished as indeed is my taste for it. I like a G&T before a meal or a good glass of wine with it or even a brandy afterwards but not , now, all at the same time. It's one or other these days.

Hubby was a star, he'd got up with the boy and given him his milk and breakfast, tidied up, washed up and generally got on with a normal day.

When you're really young it doesn't seem to matter if you waste a day because you've had a bloody good night and don't get me wrong I'd had a bloody good night, but now my days are so precious I don't want to waste them being hung over anymore.

I got up at 9.30am and saw the boy smiling at me with all his expectant hope and innocent wonder at such simple things like a ping pong ball or a stacking cup (that boy is either the easiest audience I've ever had or has a surreal sense of humour as he spent an hour the other day laughing at a spoon) and I had a terrible feeling sweep over me.

Just like the joke where the little boy and all his friends are balloons and he pin pricks them, I'd let hubby down, I'd let the boy down and worst of all I'd let myself down!

I really felt guilty and that I wasn't being a good mum. I wasn't expecting to feel like that. I'm still a human being with friends and entitled to have fun. Hubby was fine, you had a great night he said you deserve it, stop worrying, you weren't sick or falling about or didn't know what you were doing. You didn't even wee yourself, which I can do at a moments notice sober nowadays, so all in all it was a result don't beat yourself up.

And yet what did I do all day...... You can fill in the blanks there.

I searched in the cupboard for Nurofen. It took away the headache but it didn't say anything about Mummy guilt on the box.

Determined not to waste the day I played with the boy, made walnut bread, went to see a matinee of Guys and Dolls at the local theatre and then had friends round for a civilised supper.

Virtue and calm was restored in my brain. 

Back in the day I would've spent the whole day in bed groaning so maybe my tipple tolerance is better than I thought it was.

Or maybe along with the Mummy guilt comes Mummy super powers to just get on with stuff however bad your headache is.... even self inflicted headaches!

Monday, 11 April 2011

The One with the Shameless Self Promotion - MAD Blog Awards

Today is my least favourite day of the year.

I find the day after my birthday frankly dull and mildly depressing. It's like Boxing Day, no presents, loads of leftover stale cake and a hangover!

At least, unlike the real Boxing Day, there wasn't wall to wall sport on TV all day today. Bearing in mind there'd been wall to wall sport on TV all weekend I was grateful for that. I like sport as much as the next man (the next man being my hubby) but after the Grand National, the Grand Prix and the Masters I'm all sported out until next weekend when we have the London Marathon and the World Snooker Championship.

So to cheer myself up I'm going to" big myself up big stylie" (see I'm down with the kids even at my age) and ask you all to nominate me for the MAD (Mum and Dad) Blog Awards 2011.

It might be shameless of me but I'm 41 and 1 day today, I've opened all my parcels, drunk all the champagne, eaten all the chocolates and the one long balloon with two round ones either side have shrivelled up so they no longer look like the proud comedy classic they are and more like an old man on a cold day!

I've been nominated so far in the following categories:

MAD Blogger of the Year
Best MAD Blog Writer
Best New MAD Blog
Best MAD Blog Post of the Year - these two posts have both received nominations but if you like a different one then go for it.


Best MAD Family Life Blog
Best MAD Blog for Family Fun
Best MAD Baby Blog

I'll leave it up to you but if you do put me forward for one of these you'll make an old woman very happy!

Or a middle aged mother slightly less p'd off......


Sunday, 10 April 2011

The One with the Moveable (Birthday) Feast.

Today is my 41st birthday!

This time last year I had a 6 week old baby and although it was my 40th it all whizzed by in a blur of nappies, random feeds and disorientation. 

I must admit it  wasn't the 40th I'd always thought I would have. 

As the date fell on a Saturday I'd considered a big party, or maybe a trip to New York or another major city with hubby. Or renting a house by the coast for all my friends with lots of wine, food and games. But in the end, with the boy on the way, all my ideas were impractical, paled into insignificance and were long forgotten. I was too tired to really care too much about myself and now in hindsight I feel a bit like my 40th passed me by. Friends and family made a fuss, I got great presents, cards and food but my head wasn't on this planet still and my nether regions had still to regain consciousness so top and tail were out of it!

In the end the boy was my best present and nothing could prepare me for the love I'd feel for my son and how my own birthday wouldn't really matter all that much even if it was a milestone one. Once my head and "bits" were working again I did lots of activities later on in the year like shopping trips and spa days and my slight "miffed at myself" phase was gone.

The final one of these activities was last night. Yes, strange as it seems on the eve of your 41st we went out to celebrate my 40th!

Well the meal was for my birthday but I was still 40. Convoluted? Me? Surely not. I just think it proves that celebrations are moveable feasts.

As was last night's dinner!

We went for a beautiful Chinese meal with Lemon Cake Lady and Lemon Cake Hubby. We were given a table at the back of the restaurant, ordered and had our starters at that table. There was plenty of room for drinks and food which was a good job because the table also contained a vase of flowers and a lit candle. Both were positioned between myself and LCL and after 10 minutes of trying to talk through both flame and flora we got fed up of risking getting our new hair do's singed or peeking through foliage like David Attenborough on a nature programme so we had them moved.

Then a waitress explained that we'd been seated by mistake at a table that takes 6 people and actually ours was the next one along. Would we mind moving? So we shifted up to a  slightly more cosy table for 4 for the duck course and mains!

Not a problem and it seems that, after checking the bill this morning, we got a few free drinks for the inconvenience, but I realise it was significant. Not to the restaurant, not to my fellow diners, but to me!

I celebrated my 40th with sesame prawn toast, seaweed and won tons on one table, then we moved and the rest of the meal was for my 41st. In my mind I got the best of both worlds as I shifted from one phase of my life to another, especially if being 41 is going to taste like Hoi Sin sauce!

So now I'm in my 40's officially. Life has begun. 

But then I already knew that the moment I laid eyes on the boy.....

Thursday, 7 April 2011

The One With the Grumpy List

I was in a right old mood this morning!

It all stemmed from a Nanny P, poo on a sleepsuit, where's the Napisan incident last night that I won't go into here. Needless to say I was not at my best and my malaise continued into the morning.

Never wise!

I barked and snapped at Oscar, hubby and the boy. None of them had done anything wrong but I just felt like the world was on my case and under my feet.

As I drove the boy to Jingly Music group later on I pondered over my grumpiness and came up with the following list of reasons why:

1) Hubby is staying in London tonight. He's going to a posh event and a fancy restaurant with work. In fairness this is work and he's kipping at his Mum's and has a meeting in the big city tomorrow anyway so it makes sense to stay, but...

2) I am home alone with the boy and the cat. I will have beans on toast and be making cakes.

3) I will be making cakes because I have caved in my resolve to not do treats at work tomorrow for my "birthday"as this was considered grumpy of me (oh the irony) - even though my birthday is actually Sunday.

4) I'm 41 on Sunday!

5) The woman who does the weather on Daybreak is impossibly thin and has lovely clothes.

6) I am overweight and have nothing to wear that isn't covered in dribble or sweet potato stains.

7) I do have a new dress coming on Saturday but it's a a bridesmaids dress for my friends wedding next year. It has been ordered in a size so large I daren't say it out loud.

8) It still probably won't fit.

9) I therefore have to join Weight Watchers and lose weight between now and next May.

10) I've just read the list back to myself and it's made me so miserable I've eaten a Twirl.

And if all that wasn't bad enough Chris Evans is on holiday for a fortnight and has got Richard Madeley in to cover for him.

It's like listening to Alan Partridge!

And that's why I'm watching Daybreak.....

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The One with the One Small Step for Babykind

The boy is on his feet and on the move!

However this is not the exciting statement it would first seem.

He's been pulling himself up and furniture surfing since he's been crawling but that was months ago and my prediction that he'd walk early and certainly by his first birthday has not come to fruition.

So now he's in his 13 month and according to all the books and Internet parenting sites (so it MUST be true) this is the prime month for walking.

On Mother's Day he did take a couple of unaided steps before lunging himself at me. I was so excited I declared that Nanny P and Grandad G must never sell their house and if they do I need the section of carpet where the boy first walked. I can just imagine them trying to make a sale to a vendor with a hole in their shag pile and the boy at 18 asking "Mum, why have I got a tiny rug in my keepsake box?".

However since Sunday there's been nothing. Every time I try and encourage him forward he smiles his cheekiest grin and works his way toward me using, furniture, fire guard or playpen. Once these have run out and he'd have to fly solo he sinks to his knees and does a sort of upright kneeling crawl instead.

It's a start I suppose and to be fair he is up and down with his walker like a whore's drawers (slightly vulgar yet favourite saying of mine and one I'll get in before the diversity training tomorrow at work and my right to ever say anything remotely controversial will be taken away from me forever).

The problem is we live in such a small house that as soon as he's done a few steps he hits an obstacle of some kind, a wall, a door, a bookcase, his highchair. There's not a long enough clear run for him to get going and as a result he gets frustrated and arsey. So I have to follow behind him, bent over like old man Steptoe, ready to turn boy and walker round and set them off on their merry, if truncated, way again!

It may be me, or it may be that my back won't take much more of this, but I feel under a tremendous pressure to get him to walk!

Everyone always asks is he walking yet but when you say no, not quite, I don't sense that they feel he's late at it., it's just a genuine enquiry and anyway why should I care?

All babies develop at their own pace and I always maintained that I wouldn't be a competitive Mum so I don't know what this is all about. I'm just hungry for progress I think and some news I can tell friends and family. Yes he is walking thank you very much. Mission accomplished!

The boy and his knees however, have other ideas.

We may have had one small step for this little man but there doesn't seem to be any giant leaps on the horizon yet...

Sunday, 3 April 2011

The One with my Second Mother's Day

Last year Mother's Day fell earlier. In my dim and distant memory I believe it was around 14th March. About two weeks after the boy was born. At that point I didn't know which way was up and to be honest with you still didn't feel like a Mum.

This year is wonderfully different.

Hubby bought me a cup of tea in bed and the boy joined us to have his milk, look at his books and have a few quick rounds of muzzy attack. He now muzzy attacks us and his toys back, so it is literally the game that keeps on giving.

I've come downstairs to beautiful flowers, a bottle of my favourite wine and a gorgeous, Oscar the cat inspired, card.

I feel extremely lucky and blessed and I hope all you Mum's out there, all over the world (Iran joined the Random fold last night so hello to you) do too.

So this year I can reflect more on motherhood and what I've learnt that has amazed, inspired and disturbed me.

I'll leave you to decide what statement has evoked which emotion!

1) Due to living on maternity pay and now part time pay I have come to consider a new pair of ovens gloves an exceptable and dare I say, desirable gift, for my birthday.

2) If you snag your fingernail and have run out of emery boards use the rusty funnel from the "That's Not My Train" book - it works a treat (if anyone sends this into Bella as a top tip I want half the £15 as commission please).

3) Finding Cheerios down your bra does not make you a bad mother. It just means your baby has incredible flicking dexterity and accuracy and may well grow up to be world Tiddly Winks Champion.

4) As great as CBeebies is it should never be used as a babysitter, (I'm not convinced Mr Bloom has been CRB checked).  This is nothing to do with your child's development this is to save your sanity because otherwise when you wake up at 3am needing the loo you'll have "Meet the Veggies" going round and round your head.

5) Don't wear a waterfall cardigan whilst having to go through a stair gate. You'll constantly trap the long pointy bits, at the bottom, on the latch and be stuck between kitchen and dining room with a cat one side clawing at your ankles to get out and a baby the other side banging on the bars to get in!

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, 1 April 2011

The One where I'm A Bit Tipsy and at Lemon Cake Lady's House

I'm on a night out!

Not out, out! As in going up the town, going out! ( Lemon Cake Lady has told me to stop using so many exclamation marks so I've used three to annoy her) but out at Lemon Cake Lady's house.

Mr Lemon Cake is away so I'm over at LCL's for butternut squash risotto, a lot of wine (and I mean ALOT of wine) and pecan tassies (please see my previous post on Pampered Chef).

We are making batches of the aforementioned mini morsels of delight and comparing them in a Ross and the chocolate chip cookies episode way (oh no people batch 17!).

This week I've been out three times and each one hasn't been what used to be a traditional night out yet all equally enjoyable. Pampered Chef party, a theatre group meeting on Wednesday and now eating, drinking and baking treats with my best friend.

We have made (and I use the term "we" loosely as I was in charge of the pastry on the first lot but have now had a few too many glasses of Gavi to be trusted with the molten lava that is the filling), several batches experimenting with cooking time; comparing crispness of pastry and chewiness of topping.

It's rock and roll here I can tell you.

Yet somehow is it, because I've laughed and had a great night (and got to blog from a different computer and place so very glamorous) although according to LCL my judgement is impaired by alcohol and sugar.

But it just goes to shows that fun is what you make it.

However chewy it's topping is!