Saturday, 10 December 2011

Both dark and light...

Is it normal that our 10 month old appears to have started to tantrum?

Now don't get me wrong I appreciate that a 2yr old tantrum is no doubt way worse but I thought I was immune from any kind of paddy for a while yet?

It is well documented that Mabel doesn't sleep during the day and despite improvements since grey rabbit landed on the scene it is still not unusual for nursery to tell us she only managed 20 minutes all day. And naturally this leads to a baby who is literally past herself prior to bedtime.

On a Thursday, perhaps due to the above, she does normally have a better day sleep wise and we will sometimes get as much as an hour and a half in one go. When this doesn't happen she is very grotty.

Today was one of those days. I have to admit it wasn't helped by my choice of activity - a trip to Eureka! with Uncle Mark (great museum, well worth a visit if you are in the Yorkshire area and haven't already). So so much brilliant stimulation.

And to my dismay we have also now gained a new element to being over tired / not getting our way (today wasn't the first time this has been apparent, I have just clearly been in denial). This is the 'back launch' and the 'it is the end of the world' tantrum.
The back launch is, quite literally, an action not dissimilar to that completed when doing the high jump, only without the finesse or the crash mat. The surprise back launch is one of my personal favourites. You know the type when she is sat on your knee on the sofa and only just catch a leg to save her fall.

The 'end of the world' drama tends to come in tandem with the back launch and involves 'get off me mummy' hand pushing away, struggling to get down, followed by throwing her head forward onto the floor and then screaming to be picked up again. Repeat x 5 times and you pretty much get the picture.

I am really really not looking forward to this happening in public. I am so going to be one of those parents who are judged for not 'managing' their child.
The only positive I can think of is that she will end up being so good at drama that she lands a starring role in a hit west end musical and the fact that neither G Kisby or I have a pension will all be resolved.

In which case, play on baby, you keep practising as much as possible.

On a 'lighter' note we popped along to the 'Festival of Light' in Huddersfield last weekend. It was sooo cold but we enjoyed the 'giant lobster' (what the hell?) Photographs are pretty poor on account of the camera struggling with the contrasts and my hands being nippy.

The garden of light was worth a walk through (Mabel and Belinda look completely unimpressed) and we did have our first experience of a carol concert, albeit a short one with the cold. I do love a good carol, especially with a brass band.

Ooooh bring on Christmas!

Monday, 5 December 2011

A green bean you say?

So a couple of nights ago I wake to hear Mabel coughing. Now this is not unusual, she is always coughing, but it was a particularly loud and continuous coughing fit. So much so that I eventually nipped through to check on her since it was becoming more like a choking sound.I went in and gave her a cuddle whilst rubbing her back.
A couple of big coughs later and something came out onto my shoulder before she snuggled her head into my neck and fell back asleep.

After putting her back in bed, half asleep and in semi darkness I removed what I thought was a big bit of phlegm from my top and popped it onto her chest of drawers thinking that maybe I should check it looked normal in the morning.

The next day I took it through to G Kisby who was getting ready in the bathroom,
"Look at came out last night. How horrible, a dried up bit of phlegm"
"Are you serious?"
"Yeah it came out last night during a coughing fit"
"Babe, that is very clearly a green bean"

On second inspection it was indeed very clearly a green bean. Someone in nursery needs to learn to chop. God knows where she had been hiding that all day. Probably in the same place she likes to store an entire loaf of bread.
How annoying, to wake in the night and find you have a flamin green bean tickling your throat. What are the chances.

We have also had a sudden
 'talking' surge in the past week. 'Hiya' is now repeated to the extent that I am pretty sure she has no idea what it means. And perhaps more worryingly she does a good rendition of 'dirty'. Don't judge me, the pram wheels that she was trying to suck at the time really were dirty.

I asked G Kisby if 'hiya' counted as her first word?
"Ah really? I'm gonna go for no. I think it is just a sound" came the reply

In other words, let's hold out for a better one. She will be about 3 and asking,
"Hiya, why the hell is the pram in the house, the wheels are clearly dirty"

And we will still be holding out for something a little more profound!

Monday, 28 November 2011

No time like 10 months!

So the last few weeks have been a bit hectic.

I had yet another tummy bug (luckily Mabel and G Kisby were fine) which led to my usual teary trips to the toilet (I am incredibly bad at being sick, it makes me panic leading to G Kisby rubbing my hand whilst telling me to calm down - I can almost imagine the eye rolling behind my head. I certainly would have been doing so at the drama I make of it).

We have had pretty busy weekends involving some splendid sunday lunches and excellent company.

And G Kisby has been working lots on his assignment for uni - in true student style he has left it to the last minute to write.

Oh and not forgetting the ongoing moustache growth, ooooooh it is really freaking me out now.

Mabel is clearly not impressed and this photo was about a week ago. It has got worse.

The other day he asked me to lick his moustache. I think I was a little bit sick in my mouth. I don't think there will be many babies born in August.

Oh and Mabel turned a big 10 months old. She is becoming funnier and more strong willed by the day. I find myself employing the 'chop' to get her in the car seat / pram / high chair on a daily basis. In fact when at the Trafford Centre last week, due to the very public nature of the screaming, I did give in and try to carry her whilst pushing the pram. After a few minutes of getting no where fast I suddenly asked myself what the hell I was doing and regained control. A short tantrum later she was back in the pram (probably thinking, "hmm, I will let her win that battle but let's see who wins the war).

She copies you with "uh deee" (oh dear) and "aaaa ioooo" (a'tish'oo) and a personal favourite 'm, m, m'
"Ahh look babe, she is trying to say Mummy"
"Yeah. Or maybe 'more'?" he kindly suggested as she lurched towards the spoon with a wide open mouth.

She will point to lots of the right pictures if asked when reading a book (pussy cat is a favourite) and the flamin' Vtech walker continues to be her favourite toy. We did have a small face plant into the wall incident leading to our first blood whilst it was in use. It was absolutely nothing to do with a lack of supervision should G Kisby ask.

And as always, we wonder where on earth 10 months has gone...

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

'Sick' of nursery

So no one told us about nursery sickness. Pretty much ever since Mabel started nursery (a month ago already) she has had a full on cold...or an ear infection...or a tummy bug.
In fact I don't think there has been a day she hasn't woken up with snot dried all over her face.

We almost didn't send her again today since she had a temperature when I collected her last night and wasn't great first thing. But we dosed her up with our trusty friend (calpol IS our friend, even the doctor told me so, grrr to the midwife who told us to try and avoid it) and she got through the day.

I just feel really sorry for her and a bit of that old guilt thing about sending her in when clearly her immune system has only just started to recover by the Sunday. Apparently in time her immune system will get stronger and this will be less of a problem, I really hope so.


On a slightly more light hearted note I texted G Kisby this morning, whilst sat in the car waiting for her to wake up so I could take her into nursery, suggesting he text Radio 2 for the chance to win some tickets for Chris Evans dine and disco as part of Children in Need.
"Text DISCO to this number babe, we might win tickets" I sent across by text.
"Is that definitely the right number?" came the response.
I checked.
"Oh no, sorry I've given you one of the digits wrong" I replied
"Good o. I appear to have just text Disco Gary to a gay dating number and if I just send my DOB they will get me set right up."

Uh oh.
Of all the things to text - disco. Love it!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Glorious North Yorkshire!

We are at home this weekend so decided to do some homely stuff.
I finally made chutney with the bag of apples we got from the charity shop (fill a bag for a £1, great idea to give your spare apples to charity)

I made spiced apple chutney ready for our legendary boxing day ham.

Then today we went on one of my favourite family days out – a gorgeous circular walk (hate retracing my steps) including a river, some fabulous countryside and a great pub. Mabel has an ear infection in both ears (sent home from nursery this week) so when she wouldn’t keep her hood up we had to improvise with a scarf...

For lunch we had thick cut ham sandwiches with plenty of real butter, home made piccalilli and chunky chips, washed down with a pint of local ale. All in front of a roaring fire in a gorgeously quaint beamed room.
Appletreewick, near Skipton, was a lovely little village with an even better name and a campsite right on the river which we hope to visit at some point and we also passed Bolton Abbey on the way home, a future visit required there too!
On the way back to the car we passed a field of sheep and I decided to impart a little animal knowledge on Mabel and G Kisby. About half the field of sheep had green dye on their behinds. I explained that dye is put onto the ram in an appropriate place so the farmer can see which of the ladies has been ‘fertilised’.
“Really?” he replied, half bemused, half doubtful (fair enough, I famously once told Alfie when about 3 years old that the large mammal we saw at the safari park was a buffoon).
“Yeah seriously. You can’t tell if a ewe is preggers until about 6 weeks before giving birth so this way they know” (o.k I admit I had to google this last bit because I only knew the first part)
I was sounding seriously credible until we walked out the other side of the field and G Kisby drew my attention to this:
Ah man. Really glad I didn't have to try and explain what might have gone on here!!!

Thursday, 10 November 2011


So G Kisby is sporting a moustache to raise money for Movember. I am all in favour since it is a great cause (supports mens health charities like Prostate Cancer) but lets face it, it looks terrible. Like some sort of 70's pxxn star. This picture was a week ago, it is far worse now. And according to G Kisby this morning, it might need some wax (OMG does that boy need any more excuses to buy products?)

"Do you not think I look like Tom Cruise with his moustache?"
"Erm, don't remember him having one?"
"In Top Gun?"
"...nope don't recall one?"
Strange how you can make yourself believe anything isn't it. Like when you go to the hairdressers, as I did last week, with a picture and say, "I want my hair to look like this?"
What you really mean is, "I want to me to look like this"
Funnily enough I was disappointed!

G Kisby was wrong on two counts.

Tom Cruise didn't really have a moustache in Top Gun (correct me if I am wrong - turns out he is quite handsome here, or maybe it is just the whole fighter pilot thing?)

Secondly, who is he kidding, Tom Cruise in Top Gun was about 18.

Couldn't in fact find a picture of TC ever having a moustache so I had to improvise.

See the resemblance?

No me neither.

For those who haven't heard this story, G Kisby 'claims' that on a number of occasions random strangers have approached him to ask if he was TC. Once in Starbucks in Manchester (because TC would be just popping in for a coffee), once in a slightly dodgy greasy cafe (begs the question what he was doing there in the first place) and apparently on a couple of other slightly less than clear times. 

I was never there.

Make of that what you will...

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Knit Granny Knit!

Granny has been knitting! Mabel has a new cardigan and hat set which are just gorgeous - though obviously she won't keep the hat on so behind the scenes G Kisby is putting on a performance just to keep it on her head for 30 seconds for a photo.
We have been lucky to receive not one but two cardigans. This little green number was also knitted by the Granny, excuse the pale (sick feeling) parent in this photo - it was taken last Sunday morning.

So we have got through another week of work and nursery. Mabel has become much more settled and can be found happily playing when we arrive to collect her. Aside from the ongoing snotty face, and another tooth (5 now), she is making lots of new noises, will try and feed you food and give you kisses.

On a slightly separate note I have done a number of things this week which have made me cringe / laugh out loud. On Tuesday on a call to America in work I spoke to a lady who introduced herself as "Paaaadee". Now we all know that isn't her name but just the way she pronounces it, and I especially knew this since I had already emailed her earlier. Her name was Patti. And if unsure I could have just introduced myself back and left it at that. But no, for reasons I am unsure of I decided to say, "Nice to talk to you Paaadeeeee".
I couldn't believe it came out of my mouth. She must have thought I was completely taking the pxxx when I genuinely wasn't. So wrong.

In a similar vein I had another car breakdown on Monday night. Now it so happens that I didn't have a breakdown, I just thought I did. I swear there was a large clang then something dragging on the side of the car, like the noise when your exhaust falls off. Only when the guy arrived there was clearly nothing wrong. He asked where I had come from (think he might have thought an asylum?) and despite my assurances that it must have fallen off again just down the road (no of course there was nothing there but play along with me) he nodded along but with a slight look of fear. So when we were filling out the forms I decided to try and endear myself to him. How you ask? By using his broad Yorkshire accent. Now it wasn't a conscious decision but it just happened, and I really don't do a good Yorkshire accent - my "I was just turning th 'corner" sounding way too forced and unnatural. I was made to feel worse by the fact that he asked me before I went, "so you're not from Huddersfield then?"
"Hmm, what gave it away?"

Then finally, after a week of humiliation, yesterday I smiled at a dog. And not in a, "ahh cute dog" kind of way. In the way you would smile at a fellow human being when passing in a shop entrance. In a way that says 'hi there". I looked at the dog and smiled to be polite.
I was polite to a dog.

What is wrong with me? I am so not cool...

Sunday, 30 October 2011

What time is it?

Is anyone else completely confused by the whole clocks changing thing?

I know it should be simple but I just can't get my head round the fact that you lose an hour. Now I can hear G Kisby in my head, "you don't LOSE an hour, you just change the clocks". But in my head we have lost an hour and how does that happen?

All day I do the whole, "is it 6pm or actually 5pm?"
To which I receive short shrift, "it is 6pm, just accept that it is 6pm and let it go"
("it is really 5pm then" I say to myself)

And babies clearly don't come programmed to manage a time change. So after deciding to hit the town last night to spend time with friends that we haven't seen for far too long, having a few too many glasses of wine so that things like, "lets get another round in" and "yeah I am up for staying out," started coming out of my mouth, then going for a late night curry and getting home about 1.30am, it was painful, yes painful to realise that Mabel's get up time of 5am was actually 4am (though it wasn't really, if you know what I mean).

Two of our best friends announced they are having their first baby - too exciting - I was giddy sharing and discussing the whole experience but being really careful not to give too much advice. I kind of think it is a journey you should travel yourselves, not cutting any corners and enjoying every bit of it along the way.

This afternoon in a bid to fight off the urge to nap (dangerous when so tired I find) we went for a family walk in the Autumn sunshine. G Kisby claimed he needed a farm shop pork pie to help with his hangover which meant we almost missed the sunset en route but just managed to capture the last of the days glimmer.

The light was just gorgeous, I think late evening sunshine might be my favourite time of day...

And Mabel debuted her bear suit, wouldn't you just love to be carried around wearing a fleecy all in one?

So I have realised, if I didn't already guess, that with a baby the reason you don't go out drinking that often is not the absence of a babysitter. No no, it is having to make up a bottle with a shaky hand, feeling slightly nauceous and counting in your head the hours till another sleep may be due. G Kisby nearly fainted in the curry house due to not eating all day so I decided to take one for the team and let him stay asleep.

Feigning illness in advance - the lengths some people go to to avoid a get up!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

9 months on...

9 months ago today our lives were very different!
And oh my do our lives continue to change...

Mabel can now crawl but primarily she chooses to climb and wants to try and walk. She coasts along any furniture she can find and takes her hands off despite being far too unstable
She copied me tonight when I showed her I was giving Katie doll a kiss - too cute.

Product DetailsShe has developed a love affair with her grey rabbit - whose ears are always wet from being sucked when she is falling asleep. She knows where all the flaps are on Dear Zoo (her favourite book by far) and loves turning the pages.
She copies you with an 'oh dear' noise after sneezing or coughing (which she does all the time since her constant nursery cold started).
She has definitely started to realise she has options. I regularly now have to employ the tummy chop to get her in the car seat / high chair or just to sit down for a second and I knitted her this hat (G Kisby calls it the condom hat - harsh) but she refuses to wear it. She'd take her coat off if she could negotiate the arms.

She never fails to laugh at her Daddy saying 'a tissue' (what the hell and I barely get a smile for the high quality entertainment I provide) and generally has such a gorgeous temperment.
I don't know how we got so lucky!?!

Sunday, 23 October 2011


This weekend has been a complete wash out due to a tummy bug hitting the girls in the house. Mabel and I visited nursery on Saturday morning for a baby signing workshop and on the way home she pretty much covered herself and the car in porridge sick. And once it had started it just kept coming all day, and all over us mostly.

"How glad am I that this has happened on a weekend" I exclaimed to G Kisby, "someone to help me clean up sick and give her cuddles."
About 2 hours later I realised just how glad I was that G Kisby was around as I started being sick myself. It was hard not to worry about Mabel dehydrating since she couldn't even keep water down but eventually just before bed time we did manage to get her to take a few sips. II'll stop there on the gory details but the night wasn't pleasant for any of us!

We had planned to get a load of odd jobs done and visit friends for Sunday lunch today. Hey ho, can't be helped, Mabel is much better today which is the main thing.
It did also make me stop and appreciate how lucky we are to normally be in good health. Looking after children whilst poorly must just be awful.

And while I remember, our first full week of new routine went well too. I already feel like I have never been off work, though for the first day it did feel like I was just visiting. I managed to avoid pulling out sudacrem when looking for lip gloss and enjoyed wearing my hair down and clothes not covered in dribble or snot. Though my feet were absolutely killing by Wednesday, clearly they are not used to be shoved into a heel. The evenings felt really short and she is so tired from nursery that it doesn't feel like quality time together but I try to console myself with the fact that she is tired due to all that positive stimulation and interaction. And avoid where possible doing jobs so I can concentrate on her for that period.

And oh my did I enjoy finishing on a Wednesday for the 'weekend'. I really appreciated our time together and still feel really lucky to have it since I know G Kisby would love some more.
So no doubt there will be some weeks harder than others but for now things are going well, fingers crossed it continues...

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Late for a very important date...

At the weekend we were in York for the wedding of two of our very close friends. We planned to take Mabel but after much deliberation decided that it was more for our benefit than hers, what with being whisked out the ceremony and held when just wanting to crawl. We thought that she would be much happier in the capable hands of her Granny.

So on Saturday morning we head off to York, Mum kindly encouraging us to leave early so we had time to change and get ready at the hotel. We stopped at M&S to get a picnic, I was really hoping the room would have a bath. Enjoying our time together we chatted all the way, too excited about seeing our friends tie the knot and guessing what the dress would be like etc.

When we pulled up at the hotel I saw a couple dressed for a wedding walking in the main doors.
"How funny" I exclaimed
"Why would you get here so early"

It took me about 10 seconds.
"Oh my God."
"Did you check the invitation, you were really sure it started at one?"
"Yessss" I replied slightly firmly (obviously not)
I literally jumped out of the car while it was still moving and dashed to the boot to pull out the invite, knowing what it was going to say...
"Oh. My. God. It is about to start at 12. Park the car, park the car, I will check in"
It is 11.45 at this point.
So I dash past bridesmaids arriving, staff tinkering with bouquets, guests stood pleasantly enjoying the surroundings, lugging my case behind me, arms wailing about like a crazy, bounding over to reception.
"Hi, er we have been stuck in traffic (in response to some guests stood a little too close by) and I am here for the wedding pls can I have our key"
"Hello madam, nice to welcome you to our hotel today. Can I ask which name please" said in the absolute stereotypical way a reception speaks, up at the end
"The wedding which is about to start..." I try again
"Oh the wedding at 12?" glances me up and down, hair scraped back, jeans and jumper
"Yeah can you just give me the key, I will come back and check in properly afterwards"
"I will need to take a few details from you today madam.."
"Give. Me. The key. I will come back" said more firmly but as quietly as possible
 "I suppose I can give you the key but you will have to come back and..."
I literally swiped the key out of her hand and ran. I didn't even listen to where the room was so found myself running down corridors asking every other person the way. At one point they pointed me through the main area where guests were congregated, my eyes started searching for a fire exit.

So we just made the ceremony. I chose makeup over hair (clearly no time for both and wearing red without makeup turns starlet into hooker). G Kisby nonchalantly strolled up to the room just after me, having tried to park in the space reserved for the bridal car and no doubt taken the more direct route to the room following directions given at reception. I had that horrible feeling you might have a zip undone somewhere or knickers hanging out the back of your dress but apparently not.

And I am so so glad we didn't miss it. It was one of the most emotional ceremonies we have ever attended (Adele's version of Make Me Feel Your Love being sung sent me grappling for the hand towel - classy - I had grabbed from the toilet on the way in). The vows were personalised, they both looked so in love, it was just fab. We slipped back upstairs straight afterwards to dress properly so all was well.

A slight hitch later in the day with the bridal suite setting on fire (first time lighting the open fire in the main room underneath apparently, not the curling tongs I panicked were still on in our room) - a couple of hours in the car park, fire engines the lot - so glad we didn't take Mabel. But even that didn't overshadow what was a beautiful day, stood outside in October (?) sunshine, drinking champagne, celebrating the best day of our friends lives - lovely!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Nursery time - phase two

Oh my, where to start about the last week..

So following our intro sessions we had 2 full days at nursery prior to me actually starting work. The first one went o.k, Mabel managed a short sleep but seemed
fine although absolutely knackered by the time she got home.
Then the second was a bit up and down. Mum and I made the most of the rare opportunity to be without any responsibility and went for a shop in Leeds. I dropped her off, leaving a bottle since her sore teeth were stopping her eating.

Around mid morning I rang to check how she was (in true first time parent style). The reply came that she hadn't eaten her breakfast and had only had 20 mins sleep which was in a pram since all the beds were busy. When I asked whether she had then had a bottle instead I was told no but they would give her one over lunch if necessary. 

Now this left me a bit irritated since I really want her to settle and have consistency so on the 2nd day to be in a pram was annoying. I had that horrible feeling in my tummy and literally wanted to just drive home and pick her up. However, Mum was very good at counselling me on the need to keep some context. I was absolutely jumping to all sorts of random conclusions. I liked that it was a small nursery, knowing that there were just a couple of baskets (research points to them as good for babies to sleep in). And I had no idea whether she was even wanting food - just because I am a feeder (adults or children to be fair, I am well known for force feeding) doesn't mean it is right.
To make things worse, when I arrived to collect her the sheet we receive every evening on her day said she had eaten all her breakfast and slept for 40 minutes. I did try and question why the difference but didn't really receive an answer.

I found it really difficult to know how much to say. On the one hand I want it to be right, she is the most precious thing to us in the world, but on the other I am aware we are trying to build a relationship with the nursery and work together to get her routine right. I basically didn't want to just pxss them off. Hmmm tough call.

But it left me feeling really uncertain and disappointed.

We decided that since it was only the first week to let it go and see how this week went - in actual fact it has been much better. She has slept in her basket every day and we are now up to an hour in the afternoon. And despite still being exhausted end of day, when I collected her yesterday I was greeted with a big smile and cuddle before she crawled off to continue playing. And at the end of the day I would rather they were engaging with our child than filling out paperwork.

And for me going back to work has been a very positive experience. It has been fab to see all my work friends again, I am looking forward to new challenges from my slightly different role and despite of course missing her terribly I have really enjoyed using my brain and the rest that comes from not looking after a baby full time.

So I have learnt a few things this week...

- The world of childcare does take a little time to adjust to - for both us and Mabel
- Part of this is letting go of control and building trust - I fully appreciate that second time round it won't be nearly as hard!
- It isn't wrong to discuss concerns and talk to them about how that first week was for us, but perhaps not in the heat of the moment - so when the time is right I will give some constructive feedback.

Oooh giving some feedback, you see I am right back into work mode already!!!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Nursery time

Last week we had our nursery introduction sessions - a play date together on Tuesday then a further 2 hours for her alone on Thursday.

They were absolutely fine. I did come away feeling a little flat. Two things really stuck out,
a) I hadn't fully considered how she is going to (not going to?) nap in a room with so much else going on
b) Although I know she will gain so much from the experience, she won't get the 1-2-1 really focused attention which I give her on a daily basis. But this is potentially no bad thing!

We had a few things to buy for her nursery basket (nappy cream / calpol etc.) and a fabric pen so she doesn't lose anything. And to help her settle I took with us her favourite book (Dear Zoo), grey rabbit, a blanket she tends to use for sleeps and her photobook (which contains photos of family, favourite toys, her bedroom etc)

I know she will be absolutely fine and I enjoyed my few hours off (a quick trip to Piece Hall in Halifax to mooch round some vintage shops, lovely). Apparently there were a few tears when I left but then she was off making friends (she will have been climbing on them but I think they were being polite). When I returned I was greeted with a cursory glance before her attention returned to some sort of shaker. Perfect, she was happy.

I did have to warn them that she climbs. Everything. I find myself moving away from her sometimes because she just climbs on me. When leaving her in the sitting room now my issue is not with her crawling but pulling herself up - the sofa, the walker, the t.v unit. And she really isn't steady enough on her feet to stand one handed but appears to have no fear and does it anyway.

Think we got the stair gate up just in time.

I wrote this post at the weekend and for some reason it didn't publish. Gosh with this and still being unable to comment on other blogs, blogger is starting to drive me mad. We have now had our first few days at nursery so I will write a new one shortly with the full saga!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Crazy in love!

I am trying to keep Mabel going until her mid morning sleep at the moment, rather than cat napping earlier, which means a fair amount of entertainment around breakfast time.
This morning Beyonce Crazy in Love came on which led me to do what can only be described as a 'performance'.

Suddenly I thought I was on the stage; we had singing full pelt, a routine with lots of extravagant moves (the more Mabel laughed, the more I stepped it up a notch), the iconic walk across the kitchen - there was no holding back.

For a minute I actually thought I looked good. Admit it, we've all done a routine (albeit most people are probably drunk at the time) and it has crossed our mind that we actually look o.k? No? Just me?

Then I caught sight of my reflection in the conservatory window, it is actually making me cringe even writing this.

Isn't it a funny feeling when you are embarrassed when on your own, embarrassed in front of...yourself. Obviously it wasn't Mabel I was bothered about, she was looking at me in complete wonder (gobsmacked perhaps at some of the moves I was attempting? You can imagine which ones..Or perhaps she was thinking, 'oooh good rendition, I have seen Auntie Fee Beyonce live only recently')

I did not look good. Oh no. Crazy in the community is what I looked like. Awful. The kind of crazy that could possibly end my marriage should G Kisby have been around.

I decided there and then, I am all for making my child laugh, I am happy to make a fool of myself on most occasions, but a pale white girl with bed hair, wearing sweat pants and covered in weetabix should not be busting any kind of moves - except perhaps say a gentle sway to something on the lines of Buble.

Oh and on another note altogether I appear to have lost the ability to comment on blogs. I write something then when I press post it just disappears - can anyone help? I have tried writing on a number of my favourites and at different times but to no avail.

Help, I might otherwise be forced to go back to doing something more practical like cleaning...

Monday, 3 October 2011

All the better for being unexpected!

How fab was that last little spell of summer sun, all the better I think for being so unexpected.
So much so that we were too busy to do any blogging - I did momentarily wonder if a lack of blogging had contributed to a tidier house then dismissed that thought back to where it belonged in the filing cabinet in my head titled 'denial'.

We managed some alfresco dining - don't you just LOVE having breakfast outside!

And lots of walking to collect blackberries to make jam.

It felt so strange to be crunching through fallen leaves with your toes out, having to choose your picnic spot carefully because of spiky conkers.

We have had some amazing sunsets recently - you know the type where the whole house becomes bathed in an almost eery red light. I wished I had a better camera to capture this one since it never looks as good as the real thing...

Today we came right back into Autumn with a windy walk to the shop for milk. Note to self though, it is still not cold. Really wished I wasn't so wrapped up when trudging back up the hill sweating. Think there will be lots of fashion errors over the next week, sandals in the rain are never good (or safe)
Anyhow, the guy who served me in the shop asked, “Is that a boy?”
“Er, no she is a girl” I replied (‘that’?)
“Oh, it looks just like a boy” ('it'?)
“Right”. Really not sure what to say to that. Note to self, must have wittier response when someone insults your child so blatently.
Anyhow, I digress. We had great week including a trip to see friends we hadn't seen for way to long which was just lovely.
Mabel is pretty much crawling now, though her technique is a little odd (if she is anything like me she will be bored of it in a couple of weeks anyway and just move on to the next challenge. When falling over trying to walk she will no doubt look back and think, "ahh, wish I'd stuck at that crawling thing")
We have finally had to look at how safe the house is. I suggested a full health and safety audit (think I may have had a pad in my hand). G Kisby looked at me with a mixture of dismay and pity.

It is funny how since she was born I have said, "If she could just do xxx, I think it would be easier". I said the same for crawling. Turns out it never does get easier, just a different type of difficult. But notably she is loads less frustrated now she can get around. And it is fab watching her glee at reaching something previously denied.

We have our first nursery introduction today, all starting to seem very real now. We completed a form last night stating all her likes and dislikes and I have made her a photo book to take.
I will keep my blog updated with how it all goes...

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

When is too late to do a weeks round up?

Gosh where did last week go? It is Tuesday already and I don't seem to have caught up yet.
It was a busy one that's for sure.

G Kisby turned the big 31 meaning we had steak and red wine on a week night - hooray. Unfortunately for him there were no gifts to open on account of my poor organisation skills and we were still in bed by 10 but hey, we still have a newborn to blame (don't we?)

Mabel and I tried out some new classes. Baby yoga - sounds lovely and relaxing, in reality was slightly stressful and hard work. Not sure if it was for all in the room (though Mabel's need to shout obviously affected everyone during the meditation bits) but when the teacher has to offer to hold her for a second to let you at least manage one position you know things aren't going so well. We will return this week to try again, suckers for punishment.

Baby gym - not so great either. Turns out when your baby doesn't crawl properly yet they can't do much and the ladies showing you how to use the equipment, though lovely, were a little safety conscious. I completely get that they have to be but as I gently rocked Mabel on a large gym ball she was just looking at me like, "er o.k, when you gonna turn this bad boy on and get things moving". And when things didn't get any more exciting she just started to thrash around, in the style of a contortionist. "Oooh she is a little tired today" I tried to justify whilst making my own escape (you can see why yoga was a no go). Dam the over stimulation as a baby.

We had continued teething pain (both of us that is), I do wonder if there is such a thing as too much calpol?
To quote my Health Visitor, "some people just dose their children up on Calpol, it's awful really".
Me, "yeah, really bad" whilst trying to discretely scan the kitchen for the location of the nearly empty bottle.

We had a lovely trip to the church of John Lewis for coffee and cake with my fellow Bryce women, spent money we don't have, as always.

And we ended the week with a meal out for G Kisby's birthday which was just fab. Aside from excellent company and good food / wine I was thrilled to be spared the hangover on Sunday. All day I expected it to arrive and when by bedtime I still had no headache I literally skipped to bed.

So a bit of a whirlwind and this is now our final full week without any nursery intro sessions etc. So we are making the most of it with another jam packed schedule. 

I'm off to dig out my sunglasses and sandals again in order to be typically British and get carried away the moment I hear the word sun.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

The final (milk) straw...

So I have finished my breasfeeding completely now and realised that I didn't do my final diary entry on the experience. So here goes...

I actually didn't have to make the decision to stop the final night feed, Mabel made it for me. I think she was just enjoying the full fat, faster flowing version too much. One night I offered her a boob and she looked at me like I was crazy. Like a serious, 'what, THE HELL, is that?' look - hmmm, way to thank a girl who has let you use her boobs as milk cartons for the past 7 months. It was actually really strange. I tried to encourage her to take a swig (thinking it might stop the blockages) but she didn't seem to know what to do (though she clearly did - she has drama queen tendancies).

I was really lucky not to have any more mastitis or need to do much more expressing. In fact the end was much less painful than I'd expected. Job done. Boobs returned (I say 'boobs', they have been returned way smaller than prior to getting pregnant, I wonder if it is a lack of contraceptive pill...?)

The only thing I'd say is that considering all the advice at the start, things dried up on both counts by the end. And I actually do think I could have done with knowing a little more about how to stop and the process of reducing milk down when weaning. 
I hadn't realised that by now she only needs a pint a day (we've just spent weeks getting her on to formula and working out what the hell we do with sterilising etc). In hindsight I might have given it to her in a cup with meals rather than even introduce day bottle feeds.

But we can't complain, she loves her food (doesn't refuse anything) and doesn't seem to have even noticed that we dropped one milk feed this week.

And I actually don't feel too sad in the end to have finished. It is lovely to have my boobs back and it has returned a load of freedom. I'm happy that I managed to do it for 7 months and will definitely try to do it again if we have more children. Only very occasionally, like the other day in M&S cafe when a lady was breastfeeding, do I feel a twinge of, erm, I'm not sure what really. Nostalgia? Sadness? Bizaarely perhaps I felt the need to say, "I did breastfeed, I have just finished" - hmmm a sudden insight into the feelings of those unable to breastfeed perhaps...? Or perhaps it is more to reassure, "Don't you worry about being discreet, you just crack on". I didn't have anyone make negative comments when I breastfed in public but you just don't seem to see it that often which did, particularly by the end when she wriggled, make me feel a bit consipcuous. I won't miss that! 

So all thats left for me to do is find a good push up bra!

Monday, 19 September 2011

8 months on and I still haven't learnt...

So the arrival of autumn has brought a load of changes for Mabel too as she comes up to 8 months old. A couple of weeks ago she learnt to pull herself up to standing and now does so pretty much as often as possible. She climbs on to or out of pretty much anything, even using other babies' heads to vault herself upright - I really wish she wouldn't.

Her babbling is becoming more coherent and dada is being used a lot - though I keep telling G Kisby that she doesn't know what it means (whilst whispering Mama to her continually).

Her understanding of cause and effect is also coming on well, dropping a toy from her high chair to get a reaction is just a joy (sarcasm sensed correctly).

Crawling is a skill not yet mastered (thank God) but she is getting much closer by the day.

And teeth are causing her some major issues at the moment but despite that she is great fun.

What isn't fun is my persistant inability to manage the basics. Poo gate happened again this happened 'a-flamin-gain'.

And I double bagged. I used a swim nappy and even put a towel under her just incase. I thought I had covered all bases, so to speak.

I even waited, heard the straining, watched and nothing came out. I come out of the bathroom and there it is. The towel had bunched up with the jumping, it was stuck to the sole, it was on the carpet, AGAIN.

This time I put her in the sink. She was so bemused at this decision that she actually sat still which was handy since she only just fit. After looking around in amusement she decided to try and eat the tap, fair enough.

That's it now, I thought, no more bouncer time. I even considered giving it away but then felt harsh since it isn't really her fault that bouncing causes bowel movement. Maybe they should have adult bouncers in the back of pharmacies, no need for constipation tablets, just come for a bounce. Prunes? Just head to the park...

When will I learn? Imagine if we had claimed on the insurance the first time and now had to call up,
"Er, yeah, I realise it sounds unlikely / unlucky but we were taking a korma up to our bedroom (again) and a large bird flew in the window and whoop..."

Saturday, 17 September 2011

I feel change in the air...

This week I have really felt the nights turn darker (horrible but true...X Factor does help though) and I realised half way round a walk that it is no longer acceptable to take your baby out without socks (or me without a coat for that matter).

Autumn is well and truly upon us and though we still had one gorgeous sunny but cold day this week, the fact that I was showing Mabel fabulously coloured trees and crunching her toes in the fallen leaves pretty much confirmed that the summer is over.

Which means that change is afoot. I have only got 3 weeks left now before Mabel starts nursery and I go back to work part time. I did think I would dread the day but actually I think I am ready - is that acceptable to say? I obviously feel guilt at admitting it since it suggests I am looking forward to leaving my child (dam that guilt thing again).

We have had the most wonderful summer together but over the past few weeks I have started to feel like I was going a little stir crazy. In lots of ways I would love to stay at home and look after Mabel full time and I have both admiration and a little jealousy of women who have the mental and the financial capability to do so.
But for me personally I need to be challenged intellectually. I think it will help me to retain a part of my identity and allows me to socialise with work friends in an altogether different environment which is good for my sanity and I know will make me a better mum too (and I am not just saying that to help with the guilt of nursery). And talking of regaining my identity, in preparation I did a spot of shopping this week and bought some work clothes. I have finished breastfeeding now so don't need to consider boob access and have pretty much accepted I am now staying this weight for a while. I realised I hadn't bought anything (other than maternity pants, thrilling) for such a long time and it was incredibly cathartic. I felt like me again, which sounds a bit bizarre but I think is just another step in getting out of the 'new baby' bubble.

The autumn also brings new baby groups and we start 'mother baby yoga' this week as well as a 'drop in' gym babes class. And I have started Zumba on an evening (much sweaty fun).
So bring on the changes I say, change is good, it keeps things interesting. I am embracing Autumn fashion (tights have always been kinder to my legs and who doesn't love a chunky knit cardigan) and in my mind I am ridiculously lucky; quality time at home with Mabel and returning to a job I enjoy!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

I did say it was the last but...

Unfortunately there is one more story on that same old topic...(no not cleaning but you will soon find out the relevance)
So this week I popped Mabel into her bouncer on the landing whilst I jumped in the shower, same routine most mornings, but after a minute or two I heard her grumbling,
"It's o.k, Mummy is right here" I shouted through, thinking she was having a little separation anxiety.

Quickly rinsing my hair I jumped out and popped my head around the corner to reassure her I hadn't disappeared.
"Oh. My. God"

Separation anxiety it was not, what she was having was a massive poo.
Not a problem you would think, it will have gone up the back with her being in a bouncer but nothing a decent wipe and a change of clothes won't fix?

But no, she was just wearing a nappy and a vest and had somehow managed to poo out the side of both (vest = completely clean). And it wasn't the more recent adult 'log' like poo, it was liquid korma with lumps. It would be wouldn't it.
I literally couldn't believe what I was seeing, poo on both the hall and bedroom carpets, with our baby happily jumping in it. Poo feet. Poo carpet. Poo hell.

Is it wrong that I took a picture? I haven't posted it, I decided it was!

You'll be glad to know that for once I stopped to think and decided the right thing to do was clean the baby first (o.k who am I kidding, I had no choice but to do so, she was jumping in it creating poo splashback).
So trying to avoid the poo feet touching me I grappled with the bouncer contraption, pulled her out (oblivious, of course) cleaned her up then set to tackling the mess. I cleaned more vigerously than I have ever done in my life (concerned about both staining and smell).
She had slept in till 6.45 as well which had made me wonder (just for a second you realise) if I did have the easier job staying at home on child care duties.
With 'korma' down my nails, scrubbing the floor in my underwear (no time to dress after the shower) I decided not.

We may yet need to claim on the insurance...for the 'curry spillage' if anyone asks!!!

Monday, 5 September 2011

What a fab present...

I recently found a present that I received from Fee a couple of years ago and had the joy of re-opening it all over again...
She made me a box which was jam packed with lots of 'mini' card making kits:
Not your Hobbycraft, 'card making made easy' kind of kit. Oh no, little pockets of gorgeous papers, buttons, ribbon and trinkets all wrapped beautifully with appropriate fabrics that doubled up as usable materials:
Each pocket has a theme - a colour or a print - with a fab name, making it really easy to knock up a card for any occassion.
My photos actually don't do them any justice. I have already decided that I can't use certain ones because they are too pretty.

Lovely idea, lovely execution (naturally), lovely to find a present you had forgotten all about!

Now I just need to get making again...

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Lovely Wales...

Not sure where the last week has gone....
We had a fab fab time in Wales with family Bryce-Clegg. We did some lovely walks and Mabel had her first experience of sand on the beach (we buried her feet - she was completely confused).
She also loved being entertained by her cousins who were surprisingly interested in her now
she is starting to be more responsive and sturdy.

The scenery was breathtaking and it is so nice to be away from technology for a while and just appreciate each others company. Fee also started to teach me how to crotchet and I completed my first Granny square over a cup of tea one windy afternoon whilst the boys played outside.

The weather was not particularly kind but on the positive we did get to try out the rain cover on our fab new baby carrier...

It is a LittleLife Cross Country which we bought from - the service in their showroom was really good. I think it will definitely pay for itself since we have already used it loads - it has lots of very clever features like hooks to hang toys on and space for nappies etc. and Mabel appears to love it.

Unfortunately my photos of our holiday are both limited and pretty poor - knowing Fee has her camera at the ready means I have become snap lazy.

So we are home and washed (clothes that is, it wasn't that basic) and enjoying not having the 'back to school' headache, for now. 

Maybe the sun will decide to come back out now the holidays are over!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Understanding of the term 'no'

In the interest of positive parenting (reinforce the right behaviour / remove from the situation / blah de blah) I am trying not to use the word 'no' too much with Mabel. I don't want to end up standing in a precinct somewhere (probably smoking) eating / feeding a Greggs pasty whilst shouting 'no' to a child who barely notices my existence.

However, with her new desire to grab EVERYTHING I find it coming out my mouth before I can help it....

As she goes to pull off the beautiful, no doubt highly rare, single flower as we walk through the 'butterfly jungle experience' yesterday on a trip out - Nooooo

As she pulls my glasses off my face when I have just cleaned them for the fifth time - Noooo

As she shoves yet more rice cracker than looks physically possible into her mouth - Noooo

Galt Soft Play Playnest & GymMy 'no' tourettes were at their height yesterday when I popped my head round the sitting room door from the kitchen to see her balanced precariously on her hands, legs in the air in a kind of hand stand, coming over the side of her baby doughnut ring thing (as per one seen here).

What exactly was I hoping to achieve? Did I think...
a) She knew the meaning of 'no' in the first place
b) She would even listen to me if she did
c) She was able to think, "o.k Mummy, you have a point, this is just plain dangerous, I will get myself back in". What she was probably thinking was, "shut up saying that word constantly and come and help me man, I am in a proper pickle here..."

Whilst feeding her dinner the other evening she even starting shaking her head at me. Oh no. So I have started nodding and saying, "yes yes yes" regularly in a bid to balance it out! Clearly she thinks I am nuts...

We are off to Wales this weekend for some outback, no technology, den making, walking, eating, wine drinking, good old fashioned family fun. Can't wait!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The 7 month itch...

Our bambino turned 7 months old today.

We celebrated by having our first dunking experience in the pool - she just looked completely bemused.

She is really enjoying swimming, I think it gives her an outlet for all her energy rather than floundering on her tummy like a beached whale (I am quite happy for her not to crawl just yet but she now gets onto her front from sitting up but is then stuck which leads to a frustrated cry. I pick her up. She does it again. I pick her up....)

It has been a tough few days with teething and a complete lack of daytime naps. Twinned with a new wake up time of 5am and therefore my own tiredness, not a good combination. 

Sometimes I then find by the end of the day I've been so caught up in the sleep battle and the entertainment of a grouchy baby that I'm frustrated and fed up (though still very much aware of just how lucky I am).

After a useful chat with G Kisby last night I have readdressed the situation and given myself some self help:
- Stop and step back from the situation
- Consider all the options, don't just plough on if something isn't working
- Yet again, trust my instinct
- Stop being obsessed with sleep

Today was much better! It is the hardest job I have ever done man but also the most rewarding (always the way, no pain no gain).

So what else has changed at 7 months...

- She is a big fan of her food. The photo below is from when Auntie Fee fed her primula and white bread followed by banana and custard. I tried to give her some aubergine at the same time. She pretty much laughed in my face. The other shows her eating brocolli (just to balance it out).

- Although not crawling she can make her way round a room using the 'back to front to back' method or a 'reverse worm' approach. She is desperate to move (literally rocking when sat on your knee). She has also just learnt to pull herself up to standing on your leg. She likes to use G Kisby's leg hair for leverage which makes me smile.

- She is very ticklish and extremely determined (batting your hand away when cleaning her face / eating cousin Luca's head despite his protestations)

- We are still completely amazed by how much she changes month by month....

Sunday, 21 August 2011

G Kisby is left speechless!

Not often this happens...

T'other evening we were sat enjoying a cup of tea and a biscuit on the sofa. O.k it was Friday, yes we are that rock and roll nowadays. We did have red wine with dinner which was 'Killer Mac and Cheese' (Jamie Oliver recipe ), killer both on the taste front but also the old arteries. Yeah admittedly this isn't helping the cool status.

Anyhow, after finishing my tea I cuddled in towards G Kisby on the sofa and whilst doing so discovered a few crumbs in a crease of my sweat pants. Without thinking, and I still am not sure what on earth went through my mind, I dropped them into G Kisby's still largely full cup of tea.

Speechless. He turned to me with a look of absolute disbelief on his face like, "You have to be kidding me? You don't crumb a man's tea...In fact you don't crumb anyones tea..."

"Oh my God, sorry, I can't believe I just did that. I just found crumbs in the crease of my pants" I tried to explain, causing only more horror.

"The. Crease. Of your pants" he repeated.

"Yeah, suddenly aware now of how that sounds. I must have thought it was my cup..."

They say that things can change in your relationship after having a baby and I did worry that with the whole labour thing G Kisby might never look at me the same again. I needn't have worried about labour, turns out I am pretty capable of doing that all on my own!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Buttons and Ovaltine!

Today I managed to clear out and sort the craft cupboard, a job which has needed doing for some time.

This meant rediscovering some hidden gems which had been shoved to the back, including a big old tin of buttons given to me by a friend who was renovating an old repossessed house which they had bought. Her husband was about to chuck them when she rescued and sent them my way.

Now I love any button, can't really describe why. But a tin full of vintage buttons, all different and in all colours - Mmmm.

When transferring them into a more suitable vessel I started to wonder about who owned them before me bringing on a wave of nostalgia and intrigue.

If you think about it, buttons in a tin like this are collected over a lifetime, how much could I tell of the owner simply from the contents....

I managed to find a ‘League of Ovaltineys’ badge which research tells me was children's club created by the drink Ovaltine in 1935. This gave me an idea of her age – at least late 70’s.

Then I also found, right at the bottom, a fabric name badge – Doris Roper. My button owner now had a name.

There are packs of buttons which I imagine may have been bought for some sort of sewing project, she was clearly a lady who favoured a shade of beige! And lots of them are tied into little bundles so I’d guess she was fairly organised.

What was Doris planning to use the buttons for? (there are children’s buttons, fabric buttons, fancy buttons), was she married to or have a son perhaps who was in the military (there are sturdy metal buttons from some sort of uniform), what relevance did the odd unusual button have to her? (where did she find it, had she saved it with something in mind?)

In an era where we are potentially far more materialistic and ‘throw away’ I enjoyed spending a bit of time imagining a time of thrift and ‘make do and mend’.
I hope that one day I own a 'lifetime' of buttons or other crafting trinkets which relate to times or things in my life (currently you'd find a half painted dolls house, a half completed rocking horse revamp, knitting half completed...ah a theme).
I will very much enjoy using these buttons for years to come, I’d like to think Doris would be pleased about that!