Sunday, 31 July 2011

A lesson learnt first hand?

So G Kisby nipped out this morning to gather supplies for our Sunday lunch with friends we haven't seen since before Mabel was born (he cooked fish stew with lots of fennel and large Gruyere croutons. I made gooseberry crumble with fruit from the garden. Yum)

And as he went to leave the house I noticed something alarming...
"Are you not taking the nappy bag?" I shouted after him as he left the house
"No I won't be long" came the reply


Apparently length of time is relevant. Actually, even if it was (it isn't, that baby can poo 3 times in an hour), she hadn't yet pooed all day. So the odds were not good. He was planning to play poo roulette.

"Seriously. You're not taking it?"
"No. I never do when just nipping out."

Now I don't know if this was true or he was trying to cover up the fact he almost forgot the nappy bag but I do think that he was then planning on leaving the house without it.
Hmm what to do? A small part of me said, "let him go, you'll only learn that lesson once"
Another part said, "harsh...", and yet another bigger part said, "...on your own child if nothing else".

So I insisted the bag went. But thinking about it afterwards I actually think he would have been just fine. G Kisby is very rarely flustered and somehow never gets in quite the mess that I do.

If it was me, I'd have gone to the toilets, taken off the nappy, only to then realise I didn't have provisions and had to put poo nappy back on. Or I'd have panicked and tried to call the AA or some other emergency back up (there should be a nappy support for new parents?) Or my first thought would have been to head to the safety of the car, then try and fashion a nappy out of my cardigan (that actually would be possible wouldn't it...if needs be? Note to self, always wear a cardigan).
G Kisby meanwhile would no doubt have just sauntered over to the nappy aisle, picked up the things he needed, then meandered over to the baby change. 

He would be in a supermarket when this occurrence happened. One other thing you need to know about G Kisby is that somehow he always seems to have that sort of laid back good luck. G Kisby would learn his lesson (or not) in a supermarket. I would find out in a church. Or in a restaurant with no change facilities. Or a car (why so many incidents with nappies in a car?)

So in fact it wouldn't really have been a lesson learnt first hand after all. And when I asked G Kisby what exactly he would have done when he returned (no poo having taken place notably) he answered, with as much nonchalance as expected,

"Well probably just have come home and changed her?"

Oh yeah...or that! 

Friday, 29 July 2011

Choosing childcare!

Gosh I hadn't even nearly realised how difficult this would be. There is the complete emotional battle, the fact that there are lots of childcare options but I'm not sure how many are brilliant and it is such a personal thing so where as with most other child stuff you can ask friends, it doesn't work quite so well on this front. Parred with trying to match availability with work requirements / location, argh nightmare.

Having a brother in law as an educational consultant has both helped and hindered (but in a good way). We were probably a bit naive as to what to ask and look out for so he has given us loads of good tips aside the from the standard advice you can find on Govt and parenting websites. However, showing examples of what excellent looks like has possibly made our already high expectations even more so.

I think we have finally found a child minder (she is just confirming availability). I am quite instinctual and it just felt right but I thought I would share some of the advice Alistair gave us incase any one else out there is going through the same thing and is as inexperienced in all this as us (I'm sure most people are way more clued up).

We created a shortlist based on a few key factors like location, ofsted results(, opening times and vacancies, before going along to visit.

Things we then asked about...

1. Staff turnover (consider when the last ofsted report was, if it was years ago there might be a completely different mgt structure)
2. Rotation of staff (between locations / rooms) - will she have the consistency she needs to form secure attachments
3. Examples of activities (look at what is around the room - have displays been completed by children or have adults just done something to look good on the wall, how are the adults interacting with children - are they on the floor with them / are the children responding well)
4. How are they fed / how will they manage differences in routines / how about naps?
5. What are the provisions like for outdoor play? How often do they go outside (as often as possible for us)
6. What info will we get back as a parent at the end of each day? (what do we expect compared to what is offered)
7. How do they stimulate babies? (there is so much more that can be done than play mats, I hadn't even realised!)
8. What is the overall ethos?

Ultimately I think everyone has their individual list of things which they are willing to give on or not.

We knew it was an important decision and I do wish we had started looking is tough but too important not to get right!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Developing communication...

I read some interesting stuff on the development of communication in children tonight. Most of it will be more useful when Mabel gets older but worth logging for future use if nothing else.

'Hello',a campaign highlighting the importance of communication in children run by the Communication Trust, has some good free resources:

Talking Point also has resources, a nice tracker for what your child should be doing at various ages as well as tips on how as a parent you can support their development:

Mabel turned 6 months old at the weekend...

She is now sitting up on her own pretty confidently, grabs everything she can get her little hands on and does a reverse worm action across the room on her back (may be something to do with the fact I don't ever remember to do tummy time. No not because I don't want to encourage crawling, honestly).

She loves being tickled, likes a good fright and continues to laugh in the face of daytime sleeping (despite not coping well with being tired).

We have also just spotted that her first tooth has come through on the bottom!

Our little munchkin has been out in the world a whole half a year...where on earth has that time gone?

Monday, 25 July 2011

I love a good wedding!

So we have just had the most gorgeous weekend.

We had my uni friend Cat up to stay on Friday night, who we don't see nearly enough now that she lives in London. Unfortunately I fell asleep on the sofa about 10.30 but there are only a few friends that you can do that with and I love how we can not see each other for months and still feels like it was last week...

Then on Saturday we had a fab time at the wedding.

Vicki and Dave looked so so in love, the weather was lovely and we even did some dancing (I can't remember the last time, how much fun is dancing!)

The day started slightly hectic - we decided to finish getting ready in our room at the venue but then didn't nearly leave ourselves enough time to do so. I pretty much applied lipstick with one hand whilst pulling on Mabel's tights with the other. Will we ever learn? I also had to admit to G Kisby in the car that 'trying on her dress to check it fits' had slipped my mind. Luckily it did.

Vicki walked down the aisle to an instrumental of 'One Day Like This' by Elbow which was very moving. I realised, out of the corner of my eye, that G Kisby was gulping back tears.
"What the hell, you didn't cry at your own wedding, what is wrong with you?" I whispered somewhat bitterly.
That soon put an end to any emotion. I find a harsh word or two does wonders to ruin a moment (I was still going on about it 3 hours later).

Mabel was very popular and received lots of attention (you do start to wonder what on earth you spoke about prior to having children). She found it all a bit much (alongside the lack of sleep) towards the end of the day but generally enjoyed herself and I even got to see most of the ceremony. I did try to remove my crows feet from the bottom picture but it was just too difficult - ha ha
 I also got to wear the beaded cuff from my own wedding - I've been waiting for an occasion to do so ever since. It was handmade by a lovely lady called Rachel whose website I now can't find but will keep looking for because she was fab...

 Then finally yesterday we had a lazy day (I tried to have 'sympathy' post wedding blues but G Kisby put an end to that idea pretty swiftly) which concluded with a walk to our local park where there was an 'open air concert' (which we found in Yorkshire means a brass band playing)

There were loads of old people who'd brought their own deck chairs and set up camp. Love it. The music was fab and the atmosphere really friendly, loads of families sat having picnics, as we walked around the park in the sunshine. It made me smile that in a modern age where we blog & tweet there is still an appetite for a nice open space and a good old band stand. Some things never change...

Sunday, 24 July 2011

The old lady and the rabbit...

Random kindness when it comes to children continues to amaze and delight me.
Whilst at my Mum's church 'Good as New' sale a couple of weeks ago a little old lady came over to the table, where we were drinking weak tea from china cups, to admire and talk to Mabel. After a few attempts at a smile (Mabel doesn't give them out so readily at the moment) she left and we had a wander round.
10 minutes later she came over and tapped me on the shoulder,
"Would it be o.k for her to have this?" she asked and passed me a little white and pink furry rabbit.

She had been and chosen it for her from one of the stalls,
"It looks new, I think she'll like it" she said

My heart melted. She had gone away and bought her a cuddly toy. This little old lady, who had only just met Mabel that day, had wanted to find something to make her happy. It was just too lovely and really touching.

Mabel's chubby little hands went to grab it but Mum whipped it away for later (apparently it needed a wash first). But we have put it through the washing machine and it has come up a treat.

We decided to name it after the lady so I called my Mum tonight to ask her name. So I'm thinking from that generation we'll have a Nancy or an Enid. Maybe Doris or a Rose. No. We now have Barbara rabbit.

I'm going to print this photograph off to give to her...

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Finally I do my award post!

Huge thanks to Cuckoo (and Fee admittedly about 2 months ago) for my Kreativ Blogger award. Finally I have got round to doing my 7 facts and passing it on. I actually got up v early this morning to try and do some nail painting / fake tanning etc for the wedding  this weekend before the munchkin got up. Unfortunately I got distracted reading lots of lovely blogs and doing this and I can just hear her start to babble - argh! I swear I used to be able to prioritise!

1.I am really lucky to have such a close family. Sometimes so much so that I feel scared it might be taken away. We genuinely love spending time together, G Kisby as much as anyone, which I realise can be rare. Our dad died when I was little and I wonder if in some strange way that has made us closer? Perhaps something positive has come from something so sad?

2. I worry too much. Not about the big things (that I probably should worry about) but about frustratingly small things...what other people will think...has everyone had enough to eat (I'm a feeder)...should I have eaten that second slice of cake (no).
I should have 'don't sweat the small stuff' tatooed somewhere!

3. I am currently learning to knit. I'm not great but have managed an ipod pouch and a scarf for Mabel. Because I was enjoying practising it is far far too long...

Apparently babies don't even wear scarves but I asked her and she said she likes it...

4. I don't understand why you dust under things (you don't see it), or have to wash a bread knife when it's been used only once (just brush off the crumbs?) I once did a cleaning job whilst a didn't last long!

5. I use too many exclamation marks! It probably mirrors the way I talk!!!

6. I dream of starting my own business one day. I'd like one of the many ideas I have in my head to finally come to something. It nearly happened about 5 years ago and although I still believe in the idea the timing wasn't good. It will probably be a good few years away now that we are busy creating our family but that's o.k, I am very happy right now. I find women who have managed it alongside parenting pretty inspiring!
7. I have an unbelievably low boredom threshold. I'm bored of doing this now...
so I am going to pass this award on to the lovely Ashley at Country Rose!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Now here's something I didn't think I'd be saying...

Why do these...

When you can just wear these...

(Pls note that the first photo was me prior to pregnancy...ha ha I joke obviously. Neither are me and never will be)

Why didn't anyone tell me this before? Oh that's right, because previously I didn't need to (do appreciate that I was pretty lucky in that, really wish I had appreciated that just a little bit more before it all went wrong).

O.k so they are fairly unattractive (but after G Kisby caught me in the kitchen squeezing milk directly out of my boob into Mabel's bowl of porridge the other day, I'm pretty sure that is no longer an issue. In my defence it was too thick and she was getting mad waiting for it. Apparently, the scene was way worse than that of the cow milking breast pump.)

And you can't breathe with them on (or you can't with the size I bought and the fact I've double layered with support tights)

And there is a slight issue that they seem to push the baggy tummy skin up towards my boobs which creates, well less of a muffin top, more of a kind of sausage roll effect.

But they allow me to wear the very unforgiving red dress to Vicki's wedding this weekend (G Kisby's little sister gets married on Saturday, very exciting).

I'll post some photos following, if said pants don't allow me to wear red dress respectfully please don't say will be too late!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

A tale of both laughter and tears...

This post has a bit of a split personality, you'll see what I mean...

I have had a gorgeous weekend, largely spent celebrating and then recovering from belated 30th birthday celebrations.
We had lots of friends over to stay, lunch at the farm shop, an unplanned game of quick cricket in the park during a (very) short break from the rain, then an Indian banquet cooked by my lovely husband for everyone in the evening. The wine flowed but it was more the 2am bedtime that has been the killer today (how old does that sound!)

I also received lots of lovely gifts including from G Kisby this beautiful ceramic tile ( completely unexpected and very much appreciated.

We had a fab time despite it not being quite the day we had planned. The original plan was to do a big picnic in the park with family / friends / a cake baking competition / games etc. However, rain stopped play, which made me grumble.

Which brings me on to the second part of my post. I grumbled about the rain ruining my birthday plans. I was then brought to tears reading about the droughts in Somalia - the irony wasn't lost on me.

I donated tonight, after meaning to do so since it started but being distracted by other things. I didn't read my book as normal whilst feeding Mabel her supper, I couldn't stop thinking about how unbelievably lucky I was to have food, warmth, a safe place to put her to sleep.
I guess we all donate to charities based on what we relate to personally and I find it incredibly hard (on a whole new level from before) to hear of children suffering. There were two stories which I couldn't stop thinking about. The first was of a new mum unable to feed her new baby who then wouldn't stop screaming from hunger, painfully unimaginable. Then tonight I heard of a woman who walked for 5 days to a refugee camp only for her baby to die on the day she arrived. I just can't contemplate it, the thought of the desperation you would feel as a parent, it is just too devastatingly sad. Oh God the tears are starting again now even writing about it.

I'm embarrassed to say that I normally find myself shutting my ears to such stories, I don't know whether it is because I just find them too hard to hear or that I would rather just carry on oblivious in my rich western world, worrying about my far more fickle problems. I hope its the former but either way I'm not 100% sure its right?

I really struggle to comprehend why in todays modern world we still have people dying from a lack of food or water. I know it is probably more complicated but still. And I struggle to know what I should / could / would do about it. How much is enough to give?

Sorry this is a bit of a contemplative post. I started by talking about all my lovely gifts and I really hope that the second part doesn't therefore look distasteful. I thought about doing two separate posts but then thought better of it - it pretty much sums up the paradoxical world we live in!
I live a very lucky life, there is nothing like a story from a huge natural disaster to bring that home and remind me to be grateful. I don't know the answers to some of the questions running round my head but do know that they shouldn't be ignored.

If you, like me, meant to donate something but hadn't got round to it I've popped the link to Unicef below...

Friday, 15 July 2011

So many changes!

A little bird told me that I would see loads of changes with Mabel around this time. She was absolutely right!

She is sitting up pretty much unaided (we've had a few nose dives but she seems to be getting better at dealing with them. Either that or I am not making as much fuss anymore)

She literally babbles on constantly and we are hearing lots of new sounds (yaya and da da are favourites. Nothing on the Ma Ma front yet but I continue on in vain. Come on Mabes...)
And she is LOVING her food. Banana goes down a treat (I had to stop tonight even though she was banging her hands in protest, she can't be eating more than half a banana surely). Yes I know she should be on carrot but lets face it banana is far quicker to whip out when you haven't remembered to defrost one of those blasted blended cubes. Yes I know it is only week two, she will be on ready meals before you know it (I joke Granny)

And she gets the joke. We had a battle over taking her bib off tonight and she thought it was too funny yanking it back from me with her chubby little fist.

Love it!!!!

Monday, 11 July 2011

More lessons on motherhood...

Last week I learnt a number of new things (as I do constantly with this parenting malarkey)...

1. Not to buy a high chair, or indeed any large object which you can't carry, whilst alone with a baby. On a whim, in Toys R Us, I got carried away with myself. I paid for said large object, sauntered over to the collection point where the lady passed me a huge box...ahh, not sure what I'm going to do here.
"Ooh I can't carry that and push this pram" I realised out loud
"And even if I put the pram in the car, I can't carry both a baby and a box, can I..." (yes I admit this was almost a question.
"Do you do a carry to car service?"
The look on her face said,
"Are you kidding me, have you seen the queue, I am here on my own, what do you think?"
I gave her my very best 'I'm a new mum and may well cry if you don't help me' smile,
"I'm literally just outside the door" I attempted (I wasn't obviously but there was no way I was going to say otherwise, I'd be lynched by some of the slightly dodgy looking characters behind me).
"Right, come on then", she managed to say through gritted teeth. To be fair she was actually lovely under the circumstances!

2. When babies have a cold they sometimes don't take to their milk. One night last week we had a full bed change, and no not because I still haven't been doing those blasted pelvic floors. Snotty nose, lots of sneezing, huge gulps of milk, sit up to wind and whooosh. The torrent was so loud that G Kisby woke up (or was it that his OCD has some sort of night alert system that kicked in?) Lovely.

3. You are always best to get looking for child care as early as possible. People told me this, I knew this, and yet I seemed to be in some sort of weird new baby bubble which has only just started to pop. We now have the added stress of finding somewhere with the right vacancies as well as somewhere which is right. I'm just not sure what the solution is to this, I genuinely couldn't have dealt with it that much earlier.

G Kisby is on holiday from work this week so we are spending some quality time together, doing some good family trips out and visiting childcare options for when I return to work.

We've both committed to spending less time on the internet and more time talking (this doesn't count - he is in the shower). We started this commitment last night with a baked Camembert, crusty bread and a large glass of red wine or two...yum yum and yum!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

A funny old week...

It's been a bit of a funny week...

It started with a lovely trip to Heaton Park with my brother and his boys where we fed the ducks and visited the farm (Mabel slept through most of the former and screamed through the latter due to a very yappy jack russell who ran past her pram and woke her up with a fright. My leg was very close to jutting out as it ran past me I tell you. Although it was called 'Russell' which did make me smile).

Then on Wednesday we had nothing on, no car, lots of rain and an unhappy baby with sore teeth. By 3pm as I trudged to the park hoping the drizzle wouldn't turn into anything more, I was struggling to make positive my internal monologue....
"It's just so hard...I know it is so ungrateful and selfish and wrong but I am a bit bored today...I really need some adult conversation..."

G Kisby rang to find me sat on a bench, Mabel finally asleep for the first time all day,
"Argh that sounds nice"
"It's not. It's wet, I'm knackered. I'm sitting here till she wakes up then at least she will be distracted for another half hour on the walk home"
"Oh no is that what it's come to"
"Sometimes babe, yes it is"

Then today was again very lovely. We spent time with Fee and Granny, visited the 'Good as New' sale at church and returned with some booty (I am obsessed with buying second hand toys - only the ones that I can Flash wipe you realise). I have left my lovely vintage typewriter with Fee who has promised that I can have it back once photographed (hmmm...)

Mabel is showing the first signs of some attachment issues this week. Smiles are no longer on offer for people she doesn't know, we have crying when I leave the room and her arms now go up when she wants lifting (which is most of the time, I am desperately trying to avoid her thinking she can be carried constantly).

She is getting better at sitting up all the time and is still enjoying her porridge. Today she had her first try at some fruit (I do know we should start with veg but I hadn't prepared any and a banana was close to hand. Oh no, it is only the first week...)

And even though we do still have difficult days she continues to be the best fun and we still both stand in her bedroom every night staring at her sleeping, giddy with just how lucky we are!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Down with the kids!

This morning I decided to do an experiment to find out which genre of music Mabel likes. I am constantly playing her, 'baby classics' and G Kisby obviously exposes her to his wide and varied range of 'music' but I wanted to see if she had any real preferences.

So we lay on the bed together, I pulled up iTunes, and trying very hard not to sway her by my facial expressions we turned up the volume (not too loud Mum, don't panic).

And I discovered two things...
1) It is incredibly easy, without realising it, to try and influence your child (or in my case believe that she must only like the same as me)
When going through the genres I got to rap.
"No need to stop at this one" I thought...then I remembered the point of the exercise and chose what I hoped was the least offensive 'tune'(?) to play.
I went for The Fugees and some Kanye West.

And yes, she loved it. Big smiles, legs kicking (to the hip hop beat).
What the hell? I play you a bit of gentle Rachmaninov and you look away, a bit of hardcore rap and you are all ears. It would appear Mabel is very much down with the kids!

2) There will be times ahead when I am disappointed

Yes I know this sounds harsh but hear me out. I thought it was a given, I turned it up that little bit louder (yes i know I said I wouldn't influence but after Kanye I felt a small amount of 'help' was required). It was my personal favourite, a bit of Kylie.

I watched her movements. I looked in her eyes. Nothing.
"Ooh bad song choice" I thought, "lets try another"
And another
And another

Well how about a bit of Madonna? Nope. Girls Aloud? (clearly getting desperate here, note the latter is G Kisby's album not mine). No reaction whatsoever to any 'pop'.

"She must be getting tired of the game" I justified, "let's read a story instead".
I turned on Adele (whilst I found a book) and got the best reaction of all, huge smiles.

"Ooooh o.k Adele is fine. We can work with that"
Thank goodness, I had a horrible feeling I was going to have to blast rap out of the family saloon - I really can't pull that off (and for the record G Kisby, neither can you).

Notably the other bit hit was Wuthering Heights, Kate Bush. Though I think this may have been because I acted it out in an Alan Partridge style, including climbing onto the bed for the window scene - YouTube footage available below if you want a comedy reminder or don't know what I'm talking about...

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Fruit from the, er, 'garden'...

We have been LOVING the sunshine this weekend. After a lazy Saturday we got outside bright and early this morning to tackle our garden.

The wilderness was cut back but not before we got some pictures of Mabel practically lost in the grass...

I picked our first basket of plump juicy gooseberries (we have purple and green ones)
And a quick trip to Habitat (huge closing down sale, don't mind if I do) resulted in a number of unnecessary purchases. Felt the need to photograph the evening sunshine pouring into our front room tonight. I absoutely love when you get that early evening, warm golden light. I think early morning and evening are my favourite times of day!

Mabel also had her first solids this weekend in the form of baby porridge. I was trying to get a photo but realised I was being far from helpful and hugely distracting (besides which to be honest it wasn't pretty). She has been constantly hungry this last week so we decided it was time. First attempt went fairly well, then we tried again today and already her mouth was wide open waiting for the next spoon load...shes probably thinking, "Thank God, I have been watching you two eat for ages now while I have been stuck on lukewarm milk..."

Ah not long till I can reclaim my boobs then!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Bathroom before & afters!

Goodbye horrible old bathroom...

Hello shiny new bathroom....

We couldn't afford luxury tiles and I always knew deep down that the roll top bath would neither fit nor suit the house (but you can't blame a girl for dreaming). So we went for white then added colour (loving all Amy Butler shower curtains). At least when we tire of greens we can move on to pinks this way...
 It's all in the accessories anyway is it not?  Yum xxx