Thursday, April 30, 2009

How do you pack yours?

After reading More than Just a Mother's inspired post here, I decided to share with you what useless bits of tat I carry round in my huge nappy bag:

Side pocket no. 1: my (very scratched) sunglasses, my Boy's teeny weeny sunglasses, a too-small sun hat. (all of which would have been useful over a week ago, when it was actually sunny.)

Side pocket no. 2: cotton bib

Front pocket no. 1: bottle hand sanitizer, wrinkled-looking satsuma, pencil, dummy, spf 30 sun stick, morning sickness sweet (stopped feeling sick about 3 months ago), whistle out of a children's party bag.

Front pocket no. 2: (a pen has leaked in this pocket) box of teething powders, tub of stale ricecakes, bottle spf 30 spray on suntan lotion, two morning sickness sweets, motion sickness bands, mini pot of sudocrem, crisp packet, squashed "real fruit" bar, sell by date aug 08, a button, 3 kirby grips, 5 raisens. All covered in ink, offending pen nowhere to be found.

Main pocket:
Ikea froggy changing mat
3 t-shirts
2 vests (no trousers)
cotton bib
reins (never used)
pair of socks
chewing gum: one left in packet
dummy chain
lip salve (never used)
messy bag (for dirty bibs etc. it has never been big enough for it's intended purpose)
several receipts and tesco vouchers
A small bag containing: two nappies, wipes, nappy bags and 2 sachets pf calpol and one or ibuprofen.

Hmmm. Not sure I need all of that. Not as bad as the time I was visiting another mum for a playdate, and while looking for a nappy, pulled out a pair of kitchen scissors...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Everybody loves jumping in muddy puddles"

To get pictures for my "Springtime" post, my Boy and I embarked on a morning stroll in the woods near to our house, an excellent way to fill the time between morning naptime and lunch time. He enjoyed himself immensely, we saw two dogs for him to woof at, and heard many birds singing, which prompts my clever boy to look indiscriminately upwards, squeezing his chubby fists in his version of the sign for "bird" (which incidentally, is the same as his sign for duck and milk. It can get confusing around our house). He also, much to my dismay, discovered the childhood joy of jumping in muddy puddles, รก la Peppa Pig. But not just jumping, "fishing" for debris at the bottom with his hands, and simply sitting in them.

Our twenty minute wander in the woods warranted the following, massive amount of housework:

Our pile of washing:

My Boy's things: coat, dungarees, shoes, t-shirt (the sleeves got muddy from picking up handfuls of mud), vest, nappy, (he sat in puddles. Repeatedly), socks, shoes.

My things: top, jeans, shoes (managed to save the socks), coat, sling.

Other things: muslin cloth (found, thankfully, in the car, the only thing, aside from a very small plastic sandwich bag I found, protecting the car seat.), inside of car and car seat, the bath, the bathmat, and the hallway rug could do with a hoover too, to be honest.

The irony of it is that he does own an all-in-one waterproof and super-tiny wellington boots in his size, with extra short calf length for tiny boys, and extra wide calf width for chubby baby legs. Of course, these items were safely tucked away at home.

Twenty minutes of fun for Boy and tongue-biting (don't spoil his fun, the clothes will wash, he's not hurting anybody) for me yielded at least double that amount of time in a huge clean-up operation. But at least Boy enjoyed his bath.

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I love it when the flowers start braving the cold and force their way out. Daffodils are by far my favourite flower, they're just so cheerful. HID's happy, a cheap bouquet or what?! The daffodil picture below was taken in a memorial garden, where older members of HID's family are laid to rest. My brother-in-law recently visited us from his home of 5 years, Japan, and he was amazed at how many cherry blossom trees there are in England, lining streets and proudly in front gardens, the difference being that in Japan, they are all planted in one place to stunning, pink-cloud type effect, whereas here they are simply spread out. The blossom trees pictured is taken in our local zoo, branches literally heavy with blooms. Can you spot the bluetit?

One of HID's favourite flowers are bluebells (after sunflowers), and he grew up with a place called "bluebell wood" at the top of his lane, a place where he and his brother built rope swings and bike ramps, and camped out in their boyhood. The bluebell pictures below feature this gorgeous hidden wood, and my Boy is very lucky, as seeing that we bought HID's childhood home from my MIL, bluebell wood is fast becoming one of our favored free and easy ways to entertain a toddler. Even better now spring is here, so much more to explore.

But by far my favourite thing about spring is surprisingly not daffodils, blossom, bluebells, or even less rain and more outdoor adventures, it's the view from my back garden. Pictured below are two shots of my back garden, one taken in the bleak mid winter, and one taken about an hour ago. In winter you see, when the trees behind the fence are bare, we have a less than charming view of an industrial estate, which this year saw fit to pile beer barrels a good few meters higher than our fence, literally spitting distance away. So after sending the image below to the council and never receiving even a reply, I have decided to simply be glad of spring, and the heavy, hide-a-multitude-of-sins foliage it brings.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I thought my friend and I had come up with a great idea when we worked out a plan for me to get my shopping done without the SPD sin of pushing a trolley: lets go together! What could be more fun and convenient than sharing a trolley, while or little "darlings" play together in the double trolley seats? I'll tell you what: tesco home delivery.

I thought I was being organised when I packed lots of snacks and toys for the babies to enjoy on the way round the shops, but what I was really doing was giving them another excuse to fight and cry, as they tussled for the favourite toy (which was always whichever one the other child had....) and tried to get more food than the other.

By the time we reached the checkout, my friend was jigging my Boy on her back in a sling, pushing a two-tonne trolley, and singing to entertain her bored-to-tears daughter, while I hobbled in her wake on my crutches. What a disaster. HID has promised to do the food shopping from now on...


Tuesday, April 21, 2009


My baby angel is having his delec
table sandy waves cut tomorrow. I'm really not sure if I want it to happen, but he is beginning to look like nobody owns him, so needs must. I won't even be there! My mum is taking him while I go to an ante-natal exercise class. He does know the hairdresser though, she's a family friend. Here he is before his haircut, isn't it gorgeous!? Will post an after shot too I think.

Update: Here is my Boy's new haircut, granted, he's just woken in the picture,so it is a bit fluffy with bed-head. And his head is tilted,so it's much straighter than it looks. I think it's really smart! He apparently had to be bribed with a biscuit in order to sit still, not something I would have done....


Monday, April 20, 2009

Beginner Gardener

I'm ridiculously excited about my seedlings! Here they are, all doing well (see how they grow??). I'm not very green fingered, but I'm having a go at some tomatoes (Boy loves them) and pumpkins (I love Halloween, in a very over-the-top American way), and sunflowers (HID's favorite flowers.) They came in handy, child-friendly pots with explicitly simple instructions, great when you're child-like and simple when it comes to gardening. Strangely, I was very surprised to find ordinary pumpkin, tomato and sunflower seeds when I opened the packet, exactly the same as the ones you would buy to eat. I'm not sure quite what I expected,but perhaps something more complicated? I needn't have bought any, could have just saved the seeds from the veg!

I bought the same set of three pots for my almost-eight-year-old goddaughter for Easter, her mother doesn't like her having too much chocolate (here, here!). I had hoped she'd be rather pleased, but vegetables can't get much further than chocolate I suppose, and it was a bit much for a seven year old to expect faked enthusiasm for a disappointing present. "Oh." She said flatly. "Thanks."

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Saturday, April 18, 2009


HID decided it would be a great idea to try out our new tent and go camping this weekend, it was supposed to be sunny after all! Well, posting this on a Saturday night, you may be spot on in assuming that if we didn't last the weekend, it hadn't gone'd be right of course.

We decided to camp near to where my parent's have a weekend cabin that we knew they'd be visiting, and had asked them in advance if their grandson could stay the night, in case the tent turned out to be too cold for little ones. I'm glad we had the foresight, as it turned out to be too cold for anyone who didn't waddle and live at the zoo. So HID dropped me off at the cabin (my parents had yet to arrive) to look after my Boy, who would have been very bored with tent-putting-up proceedings,and since my pregnancy health would have meant I was not much help either, we were better off out of the way. While I battled with a small boy and his nap time in a place that was not his usual cot, (it took 4 hours, and he only slept for 30mins), HID battled with a two roomed, family sized tent by himself, in the springtime coastal winds.

HID relayed some of what had happened later that evening. On top of the problems with the wind and an over-large tent that was in reality a four-man job to erect, a clumsily stitched seam ripped in a gust of wind,and left a badly placed hole: we were no longer able to attach the tent to our small VW camper van, the whole point of the operation. After three hours, my parents arrived (my mother thought I was a burglar when I opened her front door!) and my dad rushed off to HID's aid. HID tells me when dad arrived, he spent quarter of an hour surveying the tent and asking if it was "nearly finished", and claiming he had never "done" a tent before. Keyword "done", not the phrase "put up". HID's head was in his hands as he told me this. He looked up and confided that even if he wasn't too much of a help to begin with, it was nice to have the moral support, as he had been forcing himself to stay calm in the face of adversity for the past three hours. At which point my dad fingered the small rip and asked "What's happened here then?", and the rip, under the pressure of his fingers, traveled the length of the seam.

Five hours after he left me, HID returned, white faced, hungry and physically exhausted. We left the Boy, cooked curry outdoors on a gas stove, and sampled a drink at the local, then returned to bed. I had packed us both warm pajamas, but after half an hour in my sleeping bag realising I was never going to warm up, I put on extra socks (that makes 3 pairs), and a tracksuit over my pjs, hoodie with the hood UP. But my sleeping bag was bought from pound stretcher a few years before, it was not made of very stern stuff. We tossed and turned, grateful we hadn't put our baby through this. By 5am, impressed with the actual amount of sleep I'd managed to get, but resigned to the fact that I would not get any more, we abandoned ship, and woke the campsite with our VW's rumbles, heading off to park in a beauty spot overlooking the beach (close to where HID proposed) to eat our cereal in the dawn light.

We packed up the tent, collected Boy and left not long after. I know it was an utter failure as a trip, and the damaged tent will be returned, but those lovely moments alone with my husband, glimpsing Scottish hills over the sea through the angry clouds....well, it's not something we do often, and I enjoyed myself.


Update: Next door are having a massively loud party for Mrs Next Door's birthday, so it doesn't look like I'll be sleeping tonight much either. Although, I quite enjoyed their firework display, especially impressed at their skills in not setting the new fence alight in such a small garden!

Update II: The party went on until 2.30am, with the music taste getting steadily worse through the night as it sank in hardcore dance (which seems a lot louder than Indie when you're eavesdropping while getting in the washing at 6pm). They even set off fireworks at 10pm, (which I enjoyed) midnight, (which woke me up) and 1.45am. Am I getting old, (Mr & Mrs Next Door are actually the same age as us, they just don't have kids) or is that slightly beyond the realms of what is acceptable? It wasn't New Year's or Bonfire Night after all. I went to bed with ear plugs in, and my Boy woke about four times, most unusual. The next day, just deserts were served when Boy and I were playing in the garden, and I heard Mrs Next Door being spectacularly sick into her shrubbery......


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Are you sitting comfortably? Well, actually, no...

This is not what I'd planned to write about today, but I'm feeling a bit sad about it all and hoped writing might help. In my previous pregnancy with Boy, towards the end I suffered with a condition called SPD (symphysis pubic dysfunction) causing pain in my hips and legs. I required the use of crutches, a handsome support band and acupuncture. It made my labour HELL ON EARTH, as from about 8 hours in (it lasted around 50) I stopped being able to tell the difference between a contraction and SPD pain, so it was like one long contraction. (And the gas & air and pethidine didn't even touch it).

But I digress. This time, I knew I was more likely to suffer again, but I had been lulled into a false sense of security by my short lived morning sickness (just two weeks instead of the previous seven and a half months), and seemed to be having a blissed-out pregnancy.

Two weeks ago, (at just 16 weeks pregnant) while HID was away visiting family, my SPD kicked in while I bathed my Boy and I got "stuck" on the bathroom floor. As soon as Monday rolled around, I was at the midwife's, being booked in for physio, for which I only had to wait a week and a bit. Very impressive for the NHS.

I attended my appointment today, and described my biggest causes of pain, sitting on the floor to play, carrying my 15 month old who only took his first steps a week ago (it will be quite some time before he is a truly independent walker). She told me that under no circumstances am I to sit on the floor, in any position, to play with my baby. I choked back tears as I told her I understood. My Boy won't understand though. I'm going to seem like such a mean Mummy, not joining in his games and expecting him to play alone, with just a spectator for company.

Standing one one leg (i.e. putting more weight on one side of the pelvis than the other) is also a major no-no, and since when walking, you stand one one leg, then the other, then the other etc., I am also banned from any non-necessary walking. This is an outrageous shame, not least because Boy has just started walking, but also as I view walking as a free, healthy and enjoyable hobby, that gets us all out of the house. Plus the weather seems to be thinking about being spring.

So now I sit, writing this, on a straight backed dining chair that must replace my reckless lounging on the sofa (which would involve an uneven distribution of weight), already rather bored of putting both feet flat on the floor, it seems so unnatural to sit with my legs uncrossed.

Has anyone out there reading had SPD, perhaps with toddler in tow, any tips to save my sanity, and my overwhelming Mummy-guilt that saw me almost cry in the physio's office today?


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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pregnancy symptoms strike again

Over Easter weekend, my boy developed some long awaited (by me) skills in the walking department (I am most unwilling to carry one baby on each hip in the presence of a toddler that doesn't actually toddle). So to celebrate/hone his new skills, we high-tailed it to the nearest beach, where we were pleasantly surprised to find a wide expanse of short, flat grass leading down to the sand, filled with picnicking, playing families. A perfect place for toddle-practice.

When little legs could waddle no more, a pub lunch was in order, to satiate our growing belly-growls, so we popped into a quiet-looking place, and I ordered fish and chips for me, and bangers and mash for HID (the idea being Boy would share a little of both), while Boy got a tour of the pub, concentrating mostly on the flashing lights of the bandits.

As I waited for our drinks order at the bar, I became aware of a most familiar and horrible sensation; I was feeling faint, and as the feeling progressed to popping white light before my eyes, I knew I had but a few seconds before I hit the deck. I looked around for HID, not near enough to shout. Our seats were 10 or more paces away, not enough time to make it. The drinks arrived as I gripped the bar, I clasped my hand round one drink, hoping to not look like too much of an idiot if I turned and joined the party directly behind me, the closest empty seat.

I seem to remember the bar maid asking if I was all right, then I opened my eyes to find I was covered in coke and HID was standing over me, holding my boy, looking concerned, livid and mortified all at once. I was guided to the chair I had been aiming for, and realised the bar stool that lay on the floor must be the reason why my shins hurt so much. And my elbow, and hip, head and bottom. I must have crashed into it on the way down. Everyone was looking. I must have gone down like a sack of spuds! Inwardly, I was groaning, but as I spoke,my voice was shaky and tearful.

I managed to shake off everyone's concerns and eat my late lunch in relative peace, the real reason, I suspect, for my over-dramatic swooning.

Writing this post two days later, I am still feeling decidedly wobbly at times, and my bumps and bruises have come up a treat, making it hard work even playing on the floor with my boy. Perhaps a doctor's visit is in order....



Monday, April 13, 2009

Bun in The Oven

About ten weeks ago, when HID and I had thrown (pre)caution(s) to the wind for approximately three weeks, with regards to expanding our little family, I'd had enough of the nagging, and had agreed to take a pregnancy test. He was right, my period was late, but I just wanted to relax and go with the flow this time we were trying to get pregnant, and not becoming the scary, uptight nutter who thought she'd never conceive.

So when I climbed the stairs, and he called softly after me: "Don't worry if it's not positive." I replied, "I won't..." and added inside my own head, "...because I already know I'm pregnant." And I was!

I'd trudged upstairs, done the business, and left the stick to "cook" for the alloted time, because a watched stick never boils. My boy, safely tucked up in bed at this hour, began to cry, and required settling for quite some time. When I emerged from his nursery, HID was waiting in the hall.

"Was it positive?" he asked.

I began to explain where I had been, and that some brands of test were invalid if too much time is allowed to lapse before reading the result. While I spoke, I picked up the positive test and noted the result, to myself.

"I assume it was negative then..." he continued, as I seemed to be talking myself out of it.

"It's positive!" I breathe quietly outside boy's room. HID grasps my body in a desperately excited hug, even more so than when I announced boy's imminent arrival. We check the pack instructions for ourselves, the result
is valid, we're going to have a baby!