Sunday, June 28, 2009

Non-supportive wife.

This is a bit of a weird one. Since we were serious enough to know we'd probably get married in the future, after about 6 months of being an item, HID and I would talk about our life plans and what they might involve, kids, jobs, that sort of thing. And what couldn't happen in the future, such as HID getting a second tattoo. He already had one (from age 15!! His voice broke very early and is deliciously deep so he passed for a lot older) when we met and I really dislike tattoos. I think there will come a time when they are regretted bitterly, no matter how much you like them at the time. (Although 12 years on, HID is still pleased as punch with his Asian style dragon. Which I have to admit would look stunning painted onto silk and mounted on a wall).

Another of my "no's" was motorcycle riding. I think it it unbelievably dangerous, even for the most cautious and safe of riders, there are just far too many idiots on the roads for it to be safe. Even if there wasn't, the temptation to just push yourself, and the bike, to "see what it can do" could prove overwhelming to even the most level-headed of petrol-heads. My step-dad used to ride in his youth, and was very irresponsible, especially before the drink-driving rules came in. My mum has never let him have a bike, and I've never wanted HID to have one either, although I've never forbade it, I'm not that kind of wife. I've simply made my views known, expressing how selfish it seems to me to risk one's life with a young family at home. I even told him I'd rather him get a tattoo on his face, and that's saying something!

After discussions, I decided when he was older and wiser, it possibly wouldn't be the absolute end of the world (or at least I may be able to pretend it wasn't and possibly even be supportive), so I said give me ten years. I had even planned in my head to cut this short by a few years, and present him with a bike & some gear on his 30th birthday. However, since passing his degree on Thursday with a mark that exceeding our expectations, he joked about me treating him to a bike. I was adamant that would not be the case. He'd just been watching too much of his "Long Way Down/Round" DVD (I curse myself for buying him these, and for enjoying it so much myself, it makes it seem like I accept it).

The text came through on Friday, informing me we'd have to cut our weekend away short as his CBT (basic training to ride a, I'm assured, very slow bike) was booked for 9am-3pm Sunday.

Not impressed. Floods of tears, imagining him dying before he even meets the new baby, and me alone, raising two under twos. Not just that, he'd done something I'd told him I was very unsure about. Not forbidden, but asked him to wait. For me. (Plus, spending all Sunday out enjoying himself, while I've to entertain a teething toddler while in pain with SPD. Great)

Sod's law, he passed. He's out now collecting his new (very slow, I'm assured) bike. He loves me, he says, he's bought above and beyond normal safety gear, stuff normal bikers don't bother with. He's such a cautious driver, how could he be a bad rider? He will factor in for other driver's stupidity. He used to ride passenger with his very cautious step-dad, he knows how to be a good rider, having seen it first hand via a great role model. I can't convince myself. I was forcing myself to congratulate him on passing, when I was really hoping he'd fail, although I knew he wouldn't. I don't even want to see the bike. What can I do to make myself feel ok about this? I've been bought flowers and chocolates, but it's not made a dent. I'm still mad. I'm never mad at him, he's usually the perfect husband! No really!

Plus, I feel like this has taken away from how very proud I am of hi for getting his degree while working full time, renovating a house, having a baby, and a very poorly wife to care for, he really is amazing.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Up, up & away!

Just to let you know, I will be cut off from the internet for a few days as we spend some time in my parent's cabin in the Lakes :-)
My parents are in Canada for a few weeks, do this may be the drill next week too! Lots of playing on the beach and running around the fields, can't wait. Must pack!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

new skills

My Boy is a bit of a late talker. Not by medical standards, you understand, just by my extended family's (who have experience of a same age baby who is a very early talker), and sometimes mothers at baby groups. As a boy, language does come a little later, I'm aware, and people are always telling me "they concentrate on one or the other, walking or talking". Considering he's been a late walker too, I think he's been concentrating on eating (typical BLW baby) and growing lots of teeth, he has more than most toddlers we know.

He doesn't often use noises to communicate, he prefers instead facial expressions and gestures, some of which we learned at baby signing classes, and some which are his very own invention. He does lots of signs: milk, duck, bird, plane, elephant, giraffe, rain, sun, full up, more, frog, tired, pain and fish, I think that covers it. He makes a tiny, quiet noise for a dog. For cow, pig, lion & tiger, he simply does a facial expression of what I look like when I make the noise for these animals, which is quite creative! Sometimes he adds a roar noise for lion/tiger, and roars for other beasties such as dinosaurs. He said his 1st word ages ago: it was "Granddad", not very clearly, but understandable nonetheless! He has sometimes copied sounds such as Dada, cat or "stairs" when going upstairs. And recently has started doing lots of actions to songs, and learning his body parts.

But the weekend just gone, there was an explosion of learning!It all seemed to come at once. He said "pasta" (several times) while we were out for lunch, "hello" while playing with a mobile phone, "mango" (combined with the "more" sign) while having mango for a snack, and "children" when watching children play out of the window. Hi existing words seemed to become much clearer too, I couldn't believe it!

Although, yesterday, when he signed for "more" strawberries, he took one off me, and ran happily away shouting "pasta! pasta!", so perhaps pasta may just mean food at this stage.....ha ha.

The most exciting thing he learned, at 18 m old, is to give kisses. Now he is not an affectionate or clingy child. He is the polar opposite. He pushes me (and everyone else) away, even if he has hurt himself. The only cuddles I really remember getting is when he was around 7m old and had to go to hospital with bronchiolitis. So a kiss is a major, big-ass, mega deal! On Sunday, I got one (I almost cried) so did Daddy, Nanna and Granddad. It was gorgeous, I'll never forget his 1st kiss.

On Monday, we learned that there was a baby in mummy's tummy, and where to point to when asked: "where's mummy's baby?" (after a joke answer of my knee, which he now does every time, before correctly pointing at my tummy!). He then, spontaneously, kissed the baby. I was so pleased. He now kisses the baby on request loads! More than he's willing to kiss me anyway....

I just think it's such a shame that all this development has been interrupted by a nasty bout of teething. We were up almost every 30mins last night, even with Boy in our bed. He was just so upset, I've never seen him so bad with teething. He's a total foodie, and it's clearly very painful for him to eat, and this distresses him no end. We are watching loads of TV, which I hate, but at least it's keeping him out of the blistering sunshine. That's right, he's feeling so poorly, he doesn't even want to play in the garden! So unlike him. Poor baby. Someone needs to make some new episodes of Peppa Pig...and quick!

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Desert Island at Withy Grove Park

Toddler area
Daddy & Boy off to explore
My 18m old tackles a mini climbing wall to the slide

Bamber Bridge, Nr Preston, Lancashire. This is one for all you North-West readers out there. And those reading from the South, I imagine you have amazing parks like this coming out of your ears, but this is kind of a big deal ooop North!

I plan to write a little review of an amazing park in the north west, but some scene setting may be appropriate to help you plan your day if you visit this park! You can see the park from the M6 (between J28 and 29 I think....), and it is next to Bamber Bridge Leisure Centre (in fact, they share a carpark). So if you have very energetic children, I would suggest perhaps also bringing your swimming things. The pool is an interesting shape and large parts of it are very shallow, great for tots! Although I wouldn't recommend it for the under 12 months without a wetsuit, as it can be very cold in that water. On the plus side, the changing rooms are unisex, with a few family booths, and they even have a playpen to put your dry, dressed tot while you get dry and dressed yourself. If you are making a day of it, quite close by (if you're in the car, it is just at the end of the m65) is a family friendly 2-4-1 pub with a small play area called the Poachers where you could have a cheap lunch/tea.

So, scene set, let's get on to the actual park! My 21 year old sister and her boyfriend took his niece to the park, the first I heard of it (other than thinking it looked amazing from the motorway), and apparently they practically pushed said niece out of the way to be the first to run to the swings. When I first set foot in the park, the feeling of wanting to be a child again is near overwhelming, I have never seen a more exciting looking park. Ever! A lot of the equipment I couldn't even name, as it's so innovative, I'm not sure it even has names. I have literally never seen anything like it.

The park enters onto a large nautical/under the sea themed area for small children. This is really where we spent most of our time with our 18m old, but there were many ages around us, from bump to 10, I would say! There are 4 or 5 different play “sets” in this area, some even suitable for new walkers or even crawlers with minimal supervision. They are mainly set on sand (with sand toys such as diggers dotted around), so if your child is a sand fan, bring your buckets. Your child may be too over excited by the park to use them though! :-) One of my favourite aspects of this area is the extra wide slide, where as a parent, you can take a small child on your knee with comfort and ease. There are steps, or a ramp to this slide.

Dotted all around the park are various types of swing: baby swing and big swings, but also large round swings on which a few children could lay, and special swings to cater for disabled users (harnesses available from the leisure centre). Other great disabled facilities include accessible roundabouts too. There are also many “games” around the park, such as a giant abacus, and my favourite, a sort of stand-on organ thingy that sounds like pan-pipes! Boy was not heavy enough for this though. I can provide any extra weight needed :-)

As you move further back, there is much more adventurous and grown up equipment for your pre-teens and dare devils, with small climbing walls, huge rope climbing frames, massive slides and other amazing gadgetry I would struggle to describe, let alone name! I did comment to HID that if he'd had a place like this as a boy, he may have had a few less injuries from botched rope swings and home-made BMX ramps. I think even the most too-cool-for-school big kids would be happy here. This area then leads into a skate park. I don't know enough about about skating to rate or slate this area, but I think it's fairly credible for a park to even attempt to cater for teens too. It did seem to be a meeting place for some quite cool looking teenagers (I wish I suited skinny jeans and messy hair!). Lets just say Boy enjoyed running up the ramps and sliding down them. Sorry for the short review of this area, but it's not really aimed at us :-)

Around the edges, there are some funky looking chairs and tables for grown-ups to sit and watch, although one family had clearly made a day of it and brought their own camping chairs. There are portaloos just outside the gate, along with a cafe that advertises being open Saturday and Sunday 10-4, but I've never been during those times and a few windows were boarded up, so I'd take your own drinks, or pennies for the vending machines just inside the leisure centre. Alongside the park is a huge rugby field for all your ball games/picnics/general running round. There may also possibly be some woods to explore behind, but we're always too enamored with the park to look around properly! The car park is right next to the park, it was easy for my son, who has been walking a month, to get there, and even me on my crutches.

As you can tell, it really is well worth the visit! The motorway links are quite good too. It's actually on the same road as the Bamber Bridge children's centre too, set in the grounds of the local high school, which has a truly amazing garden for pre-schoolers, and fab, free week day activities such as rap & rhyme or messy play (number: 01772 536845), which would be great if planned around for a weekday outing. Inbox me ( for a full list if you like!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Weekend with a full on toddler

So much for my lie in! The boys arrived home from (what I can only assume at the time as a failed) camping trip early on Saturday morning, I heard the stair gate and pointed a bleary eye at my digital clock: 5.38am. Considering Silverdale is an hour's drive from us, Boy must have risen very early, and I assume, not very bright. Luckily, they were sharing a large, 3 roomed family tent with friends, so to bail on a camping trip at 4am did not pose quite as much of a conundrum as it may have. Except for the rule that the farm gate is to remain locked til 7am to prevent car noise on the site (hubby currently driving a creepily silent hybrid), luckily, the farmer had forgotten to lock it, result! I did enjoy my evening off however, which started at 4.30pm, and I spent it on the computer, doing my pregnancy Pilates dvd, having a blisteringly hot bath with a Lush bubble bar and the last chapters of "Three in a Bed" (not about threesomes, to my husband's dismay) and an early night.

HID had thought Boy needed his mummy, but it turns out he just needed his own bed, and slept til 7.30 without even laying eyes on me, a lie in by his standards. But not Daddy's, especially after a midnight bedtime, and two wakes before the ditch. So we quietly dressed and breakfasted, and went out to play at a friend's, returning only at naptime, ensuring Daddy got 5 and 1/2 hours unbroken lie-in, and even with nothing the previous night, that makes the day survivable. (Though, his plans to go out on Saturday night and sleep over at a friend's were scarpered, two sleepless nights are just too much! On the plus side, this ensures he will not be hung over when he wakes, and we can do a nice father's day activity like visit the zoo, instead of father's day treat of being quiet and out of the way. Which is dull and tedious.)

HID has decided that Boy is not quite yet old enough for camping. He is still what can be called a "high need" child, and while other children his age like to stay close to their significant adults, and sometimes like to rest and sit down, or play a quiet game, Boy is FULL ON action man/boy 24hrs a day. He doesn't walk, he runs, as fast and as far as he can, to explore everything. Fine, at age 7 say, but at 18m, he needs constant supervision, pretty much anywhere that isn't our own house, and by nightfall (when he gave up and went to sleep in the tent) HID was shattered. Slings are great for Boy. People always say, don't you get tired carrying him? But the truth is, he sometimes gets put in the sling so we can REST! He can't escape when he's tied to your back! And so you don't have to run round like a loon after him. But he won't stay in happily indefinitely, especially if you're not walking. But hey, 20mins of rest is better than none at all.

On Saturday, we had HID's company BBQ at the MD's (stunningly coveted) house, well mainly the (huge, delicately planted, making me sick with envy) garden, which held a large bouncy castle with slide, and an Olympic sized trampoline, and full size football net, along with two gazebos and 10 or so tables. Dotted round the garden were wicker baskets of gorgeous wooden toy sets for the countless toddlers attending, which must have belonged to her 3 grown-up boys (who were serving Pimms and other (non-alcoholic for me) delights, including sweeties! Behind a makeshift bar). The caterers were in with an industrial sized coal BBQ, and as every year before, the food was utterly sumptuous. Boy particularly enjoyed sampling the many salads (and stealing crisps from unsuspecting bigger children.). Even the vegetarians amongst us were well catered for. And the deserts.....Boy ate enough fresh raspberries and strawberries to assume the look of a dyed-red person til bathtime, and I ate enough to ensure I don't need to eat again til Monday. But of course I will. Especially as we were sent some with half a carrot cake and several mini shortbreads and chocolate bites in clingfilm by the MD's lovely wife.

I quickly succumbed to lots of SDP pain during the event, due to Boy insisting on (and needing help) climbing the huge steps up to the house, and HID did have to take over hawk duties. He ran circles round Daddy (and anyone else he met), by leaping on the bouncy castle while it was full of the 10+ age group (who were mostly not careful about jumping on tiny tots), when placed on the empty trampoline for a little bounce, running full pelt to the other side and ONLY JUST stopping before careering off the edge into next-doors garden (several times), insisting he is big enough, and skilled enough, to join in playing football with the MD's teen sons and a few 10 yr olds, and frequently picking up the ball and legging it in my direction laughing his head off, much to the bemusement of the other players, and his "audience" in general. Other antics may include attempting to dive off a high part of the split level garden, and running through the pool tournament in the open garage to play on the (thankfully quiet) road at the front. Yes, he is a high needs child. He "needs" to cause mayhem! It was much (exhausting) fun. We've still got Sunday to go!

Pictured above is all that remains of his first ever (whole) ice-cream from the ice-cream van (eaten wearing a cover-all bib in a highchair, I'm not stupid) which he devoured just before we left for the BBQ. You may think this snack high in e-numbers is the cause of such full-on toddler mayhem, but BELIEVE me, he does not need extras to ensure he behaves as though he has consumed 12 litres of pure Vimto. He's always like that, even on a diet of fruit and oat cakes....

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I've been tagged! Thanks Clare. So....

Here are the rules:
1. Mention the person who tagged you
2. Complete the lists of 8s
3. Tag 8 other bloggers and let them know.

8 Things I'm looking forward to
1. The birth of my second baby: and knowing what the hell to do with a newborn this time!
2. The harvest of my first ever attempt at growing my own food
3. Getting Boy's wellies out of the campervan, which has been at the garage having work done for AGES. He may have grown out of them....
4. Hubby's office BBQ at the weekend, the MD always goes all out,and his wife is a doll. His sons (all around my age) are not bad to look at either! Will they have a mechanical bull this year too...?
5. Decorating my big Boy's room with a pirate theme!
6. Visiting the toy library at our children's centre again.
7. Water Babies swimming class later today.
8. Breastfeeding again. And carrying a newborn in a sling. (Similar to number 1....)

8 Things I did yesterday
1. Went to aquanatal and despaired of my small bump yet again.
2. Went to Rap & Rhyme and found that my 18mold was the biggest one there!
3. Bought and ate a Cadbury's Wispa
4. Looked after an off-sick HID
5. Watched almost all of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, really enjoying it.
6. Loved listening to my Boy roar like a dinosaur.
7. Enjoyed my Boy playing gently with my hair and cuddling me while riding on my back in the sling.
8. Returned some clothes to Matalan and bought HID a father's day present, and my step-dad a card, and a flat sheet for the bed in this hot weather, while we were there. More than we would usually do!

8 Things I wish I could do
1. Knit.
2. Use a sewing machine.
3. Have more patience with my Boy.
4. Be pregnant without SPD, and thus care for my son the way I want to.
5. Use my high-spec camera properly.
6. Cook better.
7. Be less self righteous: I'm always right don't you know!
8. Be dedicated to losing weight/exercising.

8 favourite fruits
1. Mmmmm could live on fruit. Grapes.


3. Strawberries

4. Melon

5. Raspberries

6. Blueberries

7. Apples

8. Oranges

8 Places I'd like to travel
1. Japan to visit my brother in law
2. Italy
3. Scotland (again)
4. New Zealand
5. Ireland
6. America
7. Wales
8. Paris (again)

8 Places I've lived
1. Lancaster
2. Accrington
3. Current residence!

8 people tagged: thought I'd uncover some new-ish (at least to me!) blogs.
  1. West of the Pennines
  2. Eve
  3. Lorna
  4. Spinning Plates
  5. Andrea
  6. Jo
  7. CrazyMaisey
  8. Half Mum Half Biscuit

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nagging will get you everywhere

Here is my brand new vegetable plot! And above is my little garden helper, doing his best to ensure his pajamas will be unwearable after a 30 degree wash in ecover powder. I had been trying to grow veg this year in just pots, as most of our garden is gravel (I had to beg to get the grass last year), but I soon realised the pumpkins were massive, and with large pots being so expensive, just don't look so good in bright orange B&Q buckets. They did start out on my kitchen windowsill. I'd been asking HID about large window boxes, to no avail really. Then last Saturday, we went to a (fairly new) friend's birthday BBQ, who had just had their garden redone, to include a vegetable patch! I oohed and aahed quite loudly at this, and it may have just made an impression, as the very next day: this appeared in my garden! Feeling rather chuffed. Best news is, my friend, who's husband's birthday it was, said that not only had her hubby's green fingers rubbed off on HID, but HID's love of slings rubbed off on her hubby! You see, as the night wore on, and the little munchkins got more and more sleepy (ours and theirs too), HID wore Boy in a sling on his back, as he often does. We use it as a pram really. Although me and my friend both use slings, it may have been seen as a "girl thing" by others, and many (men in particular) asked HID if he found an 18m old heavy, was it difficult to use etc. HID loves sharing this closeness with his Boy, so sang the praises of the sling to anyone who would listen, and the next day, my friend's hubby hunted out their own back sling and asked for help to use it! Result for my friend (sling), result for me (garden).

Even better, the babies stayed up til 11pm, and were not even grumpy! We even got a lie in til 8am the next day, and normal service resumed the following night. Our friends were not quite so lucky, and have only just got their daughter back into her normal sleep pattern. As sod's law would have it, the sleep will be upset again this weekend, as a small group of them are off camping, with babies in tow! This group will almost definitely include my very own HID and Boy, which will be quite strange as I'm not going due to my health at present, and the group are friends I have met through parent/toddler groups, and HID doesn't know them that well. Also, I am quite jealous! He is going out with all my friends! I must say though, the thought of a totally uninterrupted night, plus a small lie-in has me near giddy with excitement! I do hope HID is well enough to go, he has been off work poorly this week. (it's been an extra tough job keeping Boy out of his way...) I've been begging for alie in of my very own for weeks. I give HID one every Saturday AND Sunday til 8.30, that's up to 3 hours longer than I'll get.

I am not quite as jealous of this weekend's impending camping trip as I was of the mummy bloggers meet up last weekend. I am really quite cross at myself for not going! I know it probably wouldn't have been practical, or even do-able, to travel from way up north to London at 6 months pregnant with raging SDP and on crutches/using a wheelchair, but I still feel I missed out. For some reason, I just had it in my head that other Northern bloggers wouldn't go, and now I feel really sad to have missed out meeting local bloggers like Amy! Although, in the back of my mind, I'm not sure I could have been brave enough, even in fighting fitness, to attend. It's not the meeting people (you don't scare me!), more my blog title coming into play: I'd have felt like a kid playing at being a grown-up. Being 17 when I met HID, I went straight from my parents guiding me through airports and organising travel arrangements, to HID's complicated itineraries and guidebooks: I've never traveled anywhere, except into Manchester, alone. (Yes, I am aware I'm a wife in the 1950's. Yes he pays all the bills too. You'll be pleased to know I don't do any housework though. No one does!) I spent the whole time in Manchester being terrified of getting mugged/lost, and gripping my bag like the wet-behind-the-ears small town girl I am. Even though I've been countless times with HID, even for small gigs at nighttime, where he insists in parking for free down dark alleyways. I have been to London before, but always with people who either know it very well, or who I trust implicitly to protect me. But I'm a big girl now, and perhaps it's about time I did something on my own! I fully intend to attend the next meet when I am back to full health. I can hardly wait to see what unfolds from the idea to have an up-north bloggers meet!

Sorry, bit of a lengthy post, with three separate that pregnancy brain!

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Great Expectations on newborns

After reading Cave Mother's post about what society asks of tiny infants here, I decided I should get ahead of the game a little. Our new bundle is due in early September, and HID's company have a Christmas party every year mid-December, with an overnight stay in a hotel somewhere, different every year. The party is always great, but we don't always go as, before baby, we were often away on the weekend it was held, it's our wedding anniversary and my birthday (and now Boy's birthday) in December. We do want to attend this year, and have booked on accordingly, with sympathetic babysitters as it falls on our actual anniversary. I am, however, painstakingly aware that bump will be just 3 months old. We did leave Boy with the Grands overnight at a similar age,and he was up all night. Plus, we were not co-sleeping, (we intend to this time) and I was not breastfeeding at that stage (ditto). So, I have been brave, and gone against the grain, and what society deems acceptable to ask of tiny babies, and sent the following email to the lady organising the party (who I like very much and know quite well. She has three grown up children) :


Just a little query for you. We are really looking forward to this year's Christmas party, especially as it will be on our wedding anniversary! (Makes potential babysitters all the more co-operative). As you realise, new baby will be around 3 months old at that time. We do plan this time, as last time, to carry the baby round for most of the time in a sling. Newborns tend to sleep lots in the sling, Boy was always quite quiet and contented in his. I do not yet know what the new baby's temperament might be like: will we be unable to put baby down at all, ever, like Boy?? Or will baby be quite happy to sleep over at Nanna's at age 3 months (whether I'm still exclusively breastfeeding also plays a part in this conundrum). Do you think the venue would have a problem with me wearing the baby in a sling at the party? Like I said, it is unlikely to cry or make much noise at all. (It will probably enjoy all the music and sensations of dancing and chatter!) My argument to the venue would be that the child we are talking about is a newborn, and not one that is running around making a problem of itself. For the baby to stay overnight in the hotel would not present any issues for us in regards to facilities etc, as we plan to co-sleep (safely, of course), so we do not need any special equipment, it would just be whether you (and the venue) are happy to let us do that. (You may want to keep us away for guests that need a lie in! or consider seating us at a dining table on which the other guests have children & thus empathy! ha ha).

Of course, none of this will matter in the slightest if the baby is nothing like Boy, and you never know, it could be sleeping 12 hour nights by age 3 months! I just though I'd better check early, in case the baby is "high need" like Boy was (is?!), and needs us to bring him/her along. If this is not possible anyway, it would be a case of, I will come for a few hours, but not stay over, and HID will stay and I'll collect baby from my mums on my way home.

Hope this makes sense, if not, please get in touch and I'll try harder to explain!

Grown x

So what do you think, a reasonable request? If she agrees, will the venue? I'm seeing her later today at the company BBQ, I wonder if she will bring it up, and what she might say.

Furthermore,is it right to expect a new baby to be without mummy overnight? If it is, is it right for me? It seemed so last time, but I had PND, and it may have clouded my judgment somewhat....

Inner Strength

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to wrestle a crocodile? Or perhaps a bear of other fierce beastie? Not me. I have found a pass time so similar and mundane it may well shock you: toddler-wrestling. Now, I bet many of you, many a time, have used a (debatably) free arm to pin down a small child as you attempted to clothe him/her in today's loving chosen outfit/thoroughly dry the child after a bath in the hope of preventing discomfort & skin irritation/clean up a messy nappy without getting poo in/on his/her/your hair/hands/clothes etc. Although, realistically of course, toddlers are much louder creatures. I have decided that this is at least a two person pass time, due to it's you-pin-him-down-I'll-sock-it-to-him nature as a job. Unfortunately, 6-7, I'm on my own. I don't know if anyone else has ever worried this (apart from lovely husband, HID) but I do sometimes have a moment during nappy changes where I debate to myself the amount of "force" necessary to get the job done. If I gripped much harder, would there be a mark left? If he twists this way, god his arm could even break! What is it with children so very strong willed that they would whole-heartedly rather sit in a shitty nappy and stink and get a bright red and sore behind than lie still for two minutes? These extreme measures are a last resort obviously, for wet nappies, I'm happy to let him be "born free" for fifteen minutes while he gets himself more in the mood for a touch of obedience, same for getting dressed, I plan double or triple the time it actually takes, we don't need to rush. I have tried giving him a toy, book, singing, wearing animal masks, talking calmly, giving him milk during, etc, he is not fooled and this is the same as any other battle of wills, sorry, I meant nappy change. I am truly amazed at how very strong a person who has only been of this earth for eighteen months can be, it's really quite scary. Of course, it's not the physical strength that's the real issue here, it's the spirited child in him. He does not want the same things as mummy at this time, possibly never will. So how do I change a nappy without breaking my child's will?! I hate being big, bad mummy, the toddler wrestler. Daddy's not keen either, nor Nanna. Solutions? Bit early for potty training/learning to dress himself. Hmmm. Is anyone currently inventing a sort of strap-me-down device that also amuses small children no end, so they coo and gurgle when being changed (much like in my head when I was pregnant??)? Why did I ever encourage him to learn to rollover! (or sit up, or walk off, or shout at me........)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tip of the Day

Posting has been somewhat sporadic of late, I've just been too tired! Putting this down to a poorly little man waking 5+ times a night,and new painkillers that make me drowsy. So no matter how many times I go to bed at 9pm, or sleep during Boy's daytime naps, I'm not catching up. But I have got time for this top tip: for cooling hot porridge (or in this case, readybrek) at breakfast time for impatient tots! Whenever I make a smoothie, I make a little extra and pour it into ice-cube trays for freezing. Then pop one or two out into hot porridge, for flavour as well as to cool it down! Even more fun if you use funny shaped ice-cube trays like our heart-shaped one from ikea. Makes healthy but boring porridge much more interesting! Also would work with frozen baby purees, such as stewed apples etc. Lots of fun to stir in the swirly colours for my Boy. With his hands. Such lovely manners!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Good things

Here are some things that have made my week so far (including the weekend just gone)
  • Finding £1 on the road right outside my car door. It probably fell out of my own pocket last time I used the car, but I was still chuffed.
  • Crazy HID and Boy deciding it would be a great idea to paddle in the freezing Blackpool sea on Sunday as I looked on from my wheelchair safely warm and dry. A passing Asian lady and her pre-schooler exclaimed in mock horror at the scene in a foreign tongue, goes to show, toddlers and Daddies are crackers in all cultures. Her son then handed her his shoes and raced to join them. Much eye rolling ensued between us. We only had a spare nappy with us, so I was glad HID thought to strip him to his vest, which we later discarded, and glad HID had volunteered his hoody as a makeshift towel, although what onlookers must have thought of us toweling down a shivering naked child on a cloudy day with a jumper, I dread to think.
  • Going to feed the ducks today, and being pleasantly surprised to see my first ever baby moor hens,which were just black fluff really, but very cute. Even Boy approved. And the bread we threw on the water was ignored by the ducks, but spookily span and rippled from underneath as what must have been some very large fish snacked on it. This reminded me strongly of childhood trips to parks with my Granddad, a keen fisherman, who would always take us to feed the fish, rather than the ducks.
  • A considerate neighbor asking us if we minded him chopping down a small tree that was destroying his wall, and only starting his noisy work at 9am, and being finished for tea time each day. (With a small child still having daytime naps, this was by no means convenient, but definitely considerate.)
  • Seeing my Boy delight in playing and un-prompted game of peekaboo with another 18 month old, and having their squeals of hilarity make it extremely difficult to suppress a giggle, much less a smile.
  • Having the beginnings of a cold, but knowing it won't get worse, as it never has since I had Boy, as if my body knows I don't have time to be properly ill anymore. And enjoying the benefits that go with family colds: co-sleeping with our son, the only time he allows us cuddles. He slept from 1am til 5am last night in between us, on top of the covers, no blanket, on his front with his nappy-clad bottom in the air. So cute I could laugh out loud if I wouldn't wake him doing so.
  • Feeling some spectacularly big kicks from new baby, that are so powerful they wake me at night. And having hubby tell me that the tame one he just felt seems like baby is going for a jog in there.
  • Watching my Boy feeding his dolly some of his water, complete with him doing a pretend drinking noise on her behalf.
  • Both HID and I getting our first ever willingly given cuddles from our son, him on Monday and me on Tuesday.
  • Loving reading "Three in a Bed" by Deborah Jackson, and wondering why I'd ever considered doing anything but sleeping with my baby. Who had this stupid idea that tiny infants are safe/better off sleeping alone in cages in dark, cold rooms, rather than at mother's side? The Victorians have a lot to answer for!
So far, so good, wouldn't you say?

Friday, June 05, 2009


Thank goodness for friends and family. Yesterday, out of choice, I stayed in the house (and garden) with my Boy all day. I was most grateful to a friend and her family for coming to visit in the late afternoon, but by the time they arrived,I was already quite stressed as Boy was so very bored. I have now realised that even if it is physically tiring and not very good for me to get out, it is truly emotionally exhausting to have to entertain a small boy indoors for 12 hours, and I was really in no hurry to repeat the experience. I had arranged with a friend to go together to "jumping beans" group today, so that I could get some help while there.

So imagine my utter frustration and my fight to choke down the tears when I noticed, 15 minutes before ETD, that the carseat was 50-odd miles away in HID's car at work. He never forgets to take it out. And I'd stressed to him what a terrible day I'd had yesterday stuck inside. I tried to keep my panicked text in a neutral tone: "have you got the carseat?". In my head it read: "have you gone to fucking work with the fucking carseat???!!!". Reply came: "Cock. Yeah, sorry.". I text my friend to cancel our plans: he read between the lines and instantly called me, offering to utilise his one carseat by dropping off and setting his daughter into the group, to be watched by a friend of his, and coming to get us. I just manged to keep the tears out of my voice, I can only hope he realises the extent of my gratitude. We spent a happy hour and thirty minutes outside the house.

During lunch, my mum text to suggest we come round if we're bored. We are bored, I reply, but no way of getting to you without a carseat. A while later, when in the garden having just finished huffing and puffing to erect a trio of children's play tents/houses that HID had handily located at the back of the shed a few nights before (anything to keep Boy entertained), she wandered into the garden bearing a new paddling pool (ours had previously popped) and announced she was taking Boy out in his pram for a walk to the woods at the bottom of our road. Brilliant! I started to tidy up.

During which, I got a text from a friend I had not seen for months, who I met in the very early days of attending baby groups, suggesting we meet for coffee that very afternoon! I explained the situation, and we arranged for her and her son to come for a play later that afternoon.

So, what at 9.15am was looking to be a pretty dull day, turned out to be a fun and friend filled day of activity, the only downside being an afternoon shower needing me to bring inside the play tents (which have taken over our, admittedly large, dining room). So thank you everyone.

Also, must tell you about a very cute thing that happened with my Boy and my friend's 4 yr old: as 4yr old was leaving, Boy showed actual signs of giving his new friend his very first, ever, spontaneous and willing hug. Although it did not happen, they curled up in a cute manner on the couch, and with tummies on show, I could not resist giving my Boy a little tickle and saying "grrrr" while I did so, which he loves. 4 yr old picked up on this and shouted "rar!" into Boy's face. My friend jumped in, suggesting Boy was too little and may get frightened, but Boy laughed, and then: shouted "rar!" back at the big boy! It was so funny to behold, and this game carried on for some minutes. I was really pleased, I think it may well be the first time Boy has successfully shared a joke with a near age-mate. (I always laugh at his "jokes", so that doesn't really count). He's never interacted with another child like that before! And it was just so funny.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Belated awards...sorry

It's awards time, wooo! I've finally gotten round to posting up all the lovely awards that you lovely bloggers have given me of late. Now, having already received the lovely blog award from Emily, I'd like to direct you here to read my current obsessions, which are mush the same as before! And leaves me to say thanks to Sandy, and Clare, and Tasha for the "One Lovely Blog" award, thank you so much! Please can everyone reading check out the latest posts on their un-put-downable (if that's applicable to laptops) blogs.

Lemonade award: Thank you again to Sandy for this award, and here is how my attitude of gratitude came about. I was a late bloomer in terms of romance, and I (and society) had convinced myself by age 14 that I was never going to get married or have children, no body wanted me. What little patience I had! I am now pleased to say that at the young age of 24, I really do have all I ever dreamed of (including a new vegetable patch that my really dreamboat whipped up for me this weekend). To have a family of my own is really the most wonderful thing. And moreso, I have found I have made some lovely friends as a result of the condition in which I currently find myself (i.e. a pregnant mum-of-one), to whom I'm so grateful for their continued help and support. I'm also grateful for the new way in which my mum shows her love for me: by in turn loving her grandson. But my husband is the real trophy here, I really do not know what I'd do without him in my life. Love you x

Next up is the honest scrap award thanks to the wife of bold. The rule is 10 facts, but here are 6 long ones I hope will whet your appetite.
  1. I had my very first kiss at the tender, and very late by most standards, age of seventeen. I lost my virginity to that same man a few months later. Three years on, were were married, and I've never wanted another man since. (Except perhaps Ewan McGregor). I'm hoping to instill this value into my children. If you wait long enough, you may just hit the jackpot first time!
  2. 99% of my extended family, both mum's and dad's side, live within walking distance of my house. I don't see them enough. Shamefully, there are people I have not seen since my sister's 21st in March, and probably won't see again until the new baby comes and they want to meet him/her. Unless I bump into them in tescos.
  3. I don't like tomatoes unless they are chopped up in a sauce. Tomato-based pasta sauces are however a staple part of my diet. And I am currently growing about 20 small tomato plants.
  4. I never read any parenting books when I was pregnant with my first baby, just magazines full of tripe and pregnancy manuals. Now that I've read/am reading some wonderful ones (baby-led weaning, the attachment parenting book, three in a bed) for baby number two, I wonder why. We could have had a much more contented early baby-hood.
  5. I believe that we are all bi-sexual, it's just a case of who you fall in love with first.
  6. I can't sleep naked.I feel so exposed! I must have on at least a pair of knickers, socks too if you've got them. Happiest in thick fleecy pajamas and quilt coming up to my chin. (Couldn't sleep without a quilt!) A contradictory problem is that I get very hot in bed at night; perhaps a cause-effect relationship....
And for the winners: I'm just going to list some worthy bloggers here, please pick the one that would complement your blog most! Sorry it's a short list, I'm a bit of a technophobe, adding all this links has got me losing the will to live! Ha ha.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Party Nightmare

Warning: This is a rant. It won't be pretty. It will be self-indulgent. No-one likes a moaner, but that's what I am today.

I attended a children's party at the weekend. I decided to go on my own with my Boy, to give HID some "him" time, as weekends have been full on for him since my condition worsened. He is in charge of all childcare, cooking and home care at weekends, as I am no longer fit, and need the break in order to do all that during the week, with short periods of respite thanks to supportive family and friends.

I am aware children's parties can be stressful. I had asked a fellow mum also attending, and aware (to some extent) of my condition to keep an extra eye out for my son as well as hers. This did not do as well as planned, and to keep Boy in the age-appropriate soft-play area, and not running outside (it was boiling, he shouldn't be in the sun at 2pm) or into the big-kids area, involved me jumping up and hobbling around far more than had been the plan. So by the time it was "disco" time, I was not in the most accepting of moods, and neither was Boy. He was tired and hungry. A great combination to get obedience, no?

He, and many of the other under twos, did not understand that their time was "up" for playing, and they were no longer allowed to enter that area. They did not understand they were supposed to "dance". They were tired and hungry. Still, the clueless staff member carried on regardless, obviously it's been a while since she interacted with the under twos as a group of people. Boy kept making a break for it towards the door and I eventually decided it would be less painful to play outside with him, than keep running after him and carrying him back to the other children.

I was relieved when the staff member said the highchairs were ready and the meal was being served. So we hurried to our place, which was set out with colouring for the children, lovely. Boy is not yet there with the creative thing, and made a small mark on the page and lost interest. It was a dragging fifteen minutes before the meals started to arrive. I could have screamed. 18 month old children were not made to wait that long, especially already tired and hungry ones, who are surrounded by lovely toys they are no longer allowed to play with. None of the other parents seemed as haggered as me, and their little ones were fine. This could have been to do with the 8 "grab bag" large size of ready salted crisps the staff kept emptying onto the table for the 6 toddlers to help themselves to. I generally don't allow crisps due to the dangerously high salt content for such little ones. One is fine at a party, but Boy will eat until there is no food left! I was a little alarmed that everyone else thought it was fine
for children that age to eat such crap. I struggled to prevent Boy from eating too many crisps, as he was keen to steal from other children even though he could not reach. I got so sick of other parents either trying to give him crisps or asking me why I wasn't letting him have any that I eventually lied and said he was on a low salt diet. Which I suppose is partly true, just not for any reason other than to keep general good health. He will ask for these things when he's older, I'm trying to keep his diet as good as possible while I still have 100% (debatable) control over it.

The food started to arrive! Most of the children had a pizzas/nuggets/chips combo, but we had been given a choice, and I had picked the only healthy option, a sandwich and carrot sticks. Like I said, plenty of time for pizza when he can moan and beg me for it. The only non-cooked meal was the last to arrive (only after staff were reminded by the birthday girl's mummy) and Boy was beside himself with hunger, we actually left our seats so I could walk round to comfort my screaming baby. The sandwich was huge (yey!) and the staff member insisted we wait for a knife to cut it so my son didn't choke. My son who has been able to eat whole apple since around 8 months old. I declined this knife, and Boy happily tucked in. Carrot sticks absent. Birthday girl's mother inquired. Staff brought us a "grab bag" of crisps as a replacement, as they "didn't do" carrot sticks. Why put them on the menu then? Tried to explain health diet etc etc, obviously not part of her vocabulary. Another member of staff brought some cucumber sticks. Which the 1st staff member tried to insist my son would choke on again, and then offered my son's meal round the table to the other children. Luckily, he doesn't eat much, and the other mums seemed glad to have something green on their child's plate.

The only child-appropriate part of the meal was the mini-milk ice lolly for desert. However bad the party was, I was ashamed to have been making a less than positive comment to another parent who I had been sharing rolled eyes with all through the meal, which the birthday girl's mummy overheard. She obviously wanted her daughter's party to be a success,and had tried hard to get my Boy his proper meal. She had spent money, and was a lovely person. She is the lady we are considering as a temporary childminder for our Boy when I am recovering from my c-section. I was sorry I was ever negative for her to hear (for anyone to hear, it should have been kept to myself), and I've been feeling bad about it ever since. It's really isn't acceptable behavior. I have tried to make amends, and stressed how much Boy enjoyed playing in the soft play area and outside. She is such a lovely girl she was completely fine about it of course, which makes me feel worse!

Parties. What a nightmare! Will be taking the calvary, in the form of HID, next time.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Tips on eco-watering a thirsty garden

Sorry for the infrequent posting, we're having a busy time, socially, at the moment! I'm as surprised as you are, believe me. The calendar's pretty chocka for June too! May post more about a particularly stressful children's birthday party soon. But the subject tonight is the scorching weather that has seen me get overly paranoid about hats and suncream (not just Boy, but redheaded HID and freckly me too), have to search through vacuum bags for summer clothes, and eventually need a trip to Asda for short-sleeved vests, t-shirts and shorts for my Boy.

But as well as that, I've been worrying about my juvenile vegetable garden, which seems to need watering at least twice a day. I hate using water straight out of the tap for the garden, and we don't have a rain-butt as there is no room in our small garden (it was either that or a compost bin, we opted for the bin). So here are my tips for recycling water around the house.

  • if you have a fish tank, like us, do a water change, and use the dirty water on the garden.
  • keep a bucket in the bathroom and use old bathwater in the garden. In Lush Times this month, it recommends warm soapy water to discourage greenfly on plants.
  • we have a dripping tap that is on the "to-do" list, so I keep a jug under it when the sink isn't in use.
  • keep a watering can in the kitchen and fill it with the following things:
  • water used to boil or steam vegetables, eggs, fish etc.
  • when you rinse out a dish cloth or sponge, squeeze it into the watering can/plants on your kitchen windowsill.
  • when you rinse out tins/bottles etc for recycling, pour the second rinse into the watering can.
  • my Boy has water with his meals, and he often has messy hands/mouth when using the cup, so it can't always be re-used, even if it's still half full of water, so I pour the remainder into the watering can, and pop the cup in the dishwasher. (which has an eco setting! Don't worry!)
Anyone got any other ideas?

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