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!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Breastfeeding come down...

I've tried to record all my breastfeeding stories so that if I ever do it again I can remember both the ups and downs.

Turns out, in all the NCT classes and midwife visits, no one mentioned the come down.
We have been trying for the past few weeks to wean Mabel onto a bottle for when I return to work.
There was a period when I thought she was fed up of it anyway and it would therefore be a natural process. But it turns out she was just fed up of milk in general and when there was a food option she was happy just to take a quick milk snackette. From a boob ideally.

MILK BAR CLOSEDSo it hasn't been the easiest. We have had a couple of occasions of mild mastitis, a fair amount of late night expressing and a fed up baby when the milk bar closed signs come down and she is offered a drink from a vending machine instead
 It feels awful when she is getting all angry and just tries to launch herself at my chest. It must be really confusing for her.
(picture source)

And that's not to mention that I am feeling sad about finishing (G Kisby has discovered me doing a 'secret' feed - "but she was still hungry," came my response) and I think my hormones are a bit up and down again too.

Don't get me wrong, there are certain things I won't miss. No longer having my boob swung around in public (she doesn't sit still anymore so feeding discretely is no longer an option), not having to express if I am away from her (in a hotel toilet was a particular highlight or in a moving car with the family on Saturday, that was a joy). And I definitely won't be missing those teeth which are well and truly through now and very sharp (I have found it difficult to hold back the obscenities the odd time she has decided to clamp down).

I'll keep doing my first and last thing feeds for now so I've not hung up the old maternity bras yet but things are a changing and we are both going to have some adjustments to make!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Wow, this is a big bath!

Mabel and I went swimming for the first time this week.

Unbelievably, for me, it went without a hitch.

She seemed to like it, although I think her smile was more one of shock than true enjoyment.
She was doing the whole, "I'm having fun, I'm having fun" half smile, when really thinking, "what the hell, this bath is massive and what are all these other kids doing in it?"

We even remembered to try on her swimmers before we left. I asked if she wanted to pose for a photo, "I thought you'd never ask" was her reply.

I couldn't get a full shot of the frill on her swimmers so insisted that she lay down for another shot...

"Hmm not sure she has the figure for swimwear" was G Kisby's response to this picture - harsh

We had a fab time and she even slept for an hour in the afternoon - worth going again if only for that!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Back a forward again...

On Tuesday we went for a walk and for coffee with friends (nothing new there, though it has to be said this gets a lot less relaxing now they eat real food / wriggle etc). On the way home Mabel fell asleep, perfect I thought, can leave her in the pram and get a few bits done before she wakes up.
However, when arriving home I realised that the car was parked so close to the house that I couldn't get the pram past (it was me who parked it last clearly).
Hmmm, what to do. I couldn't leave Mabel on the road (it is a very quiet road but even so, even I knew that wasn't acceptable) but waking her just seemed too annoying.
I considered grabbing a book and sitting on my doorstep reading it but that felt a bit weird.
So, in my wisdom, I thought I would park the pram on the small rockery area at the front whilst I moved the car slightly.

Now I've never even stepped on this rockery area, it is full of those ever lasting shrub things, very low maintenance, not particularly pretty. When I told G Kisby I'd left her there he asked, "how the hell?"
I'll tell you how, with difficulty. I had to negotiate a large fern, go over some sort of huge feature rock and end up balancing with 2 wheels on an ornamental heather.

I ran in to get the keys, saying hello to our electrician who was there at the time, then nipped back to the car.

But it was the big flaming stupid car. The one I have crashed previously (twice, though the second doesn't count since there was no visible damage), the one that I have no spatial awareness in. So after about 4 attempts of backwards / forwards I gave up.

O.k I thought, I'll move the car off the drive instead, 'good plan' I credited myself.
So I reversed it out. Ooh, but where am I now going to put it. Realising there was no space outside the house due to the electricians van I drove up the road to find somewhere.

Half way down the road it hit me.
Oh my God, I have left our baby in her pram sat in our front rockery. What the hell was I thinking.

In my panic to get back I attempted a 3 point turn right where I was on our very thin road. 5 points later and no nearer to facing the right way I had to give up and carry on further down the road (yes, further away from our child).

Finding a drive I could turn into I managed to get round and whizz back to the house. Mabel of course was still where I left her so I abandoned the car and jumped out to move her. However, what I hadn't thought through was getting her off the god dam rockery. Hmm trixy. And of course when tilted to 90 degrees she just woke up.

So I learnt three things
a) Don't attempt to put your sleeping child on a rockery
b) Don't then leave your child on said rockery
c) To be fair, just don't have a rockery?!?

So after a 15 minute debacle, with now awake and hungry baby, I then had to put the car back on the drive where I started. Only now with the electrician stood on the front step watching as he waited to talk to me.

Oooooh no. No pressure. I had properly sweaty palms. At least let me crash my car in peace.

I didn't (promise G Kisby).

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Out until midnight - never!?!

It has been a funny old week which didn't start particularly well but ended much much better, hence my lack of blogging.

We had the electrician here to completely vandalise sorry partially rewire the house. He did a good job and we are thrilled not to have any re plastering but I couldn't help but be slightly frustrated that we have loads of retouching and 3 walls to repaint (particularly when 1 is a 'dulux mix your own' colour - never to be found again).

We also found out on Monday that our childminder couldn't do the days we needed - argh - so had to start all over again with the whole child care thing. Luckily on Friday we found a fab nursery which we really loved (Al came to visit too and even he was impressed, not easily done). The location is even better and they can accommodate our days. Clearly it was meant to be (ahhhhh....huge sigh of relief).

We also had some good parts to the week including a night out with the NCT girls on Wednesday, sans children. We had a great time and I very much enjoyed having both hands free (used the opportunity to use a real handbag, this little lovely was picked up by my mum at the old 'good as new' and is real knackered leather and full of vintage gorgeousness)

I did wake up in the night feeling sick following. Blamed too much food. Think it was probably either the rum (I have a particular love of dark rum) or the thought of how little sleep I was going to get!

We also had a parcel delivered with some more items for Mabel's treasure basket which we are loving playing with. has some good cheap wooden items and has a good article on the benefits and theory behind using treasure baskets (it is short and easy to read and I hadn't fully realised some of the theory behind it).

I have put an old silk scarf in there which she loves and pulls out even if I hide it under other things. It is fascinating watching her choose what to pull out (and then eat normally).

The week finished with a lovely city break (o.k not quite but we did have a night away in Manchester - thank you Mum for the use of your house if you are reading this in Prague) eating rabbit pie and drinking wine with some of our favourite people....

Now just about to watch Mad Men series 4 in bed with a glass of red wine and some chocolate...bliss!