Wednesday, 30 July 2008

We can't take the pace of this rock and roll lifestyle.

Last night the cot-o-batics reached an all time high (or is that low).

I'd had a lovely quiet evening pottering about, watched a bit of telly from nine, went to bed at ten and happily finished off 'My Booky Wook' at about eleven.

Isobel, nearly always stirs around ten, has a fidget (or a rustle if heard through the monitor) and after about ten minutes of earnest thumb sucking is back asleep. Last night, true to form she stirred at about half past, after some rustling I thought, considering the lunchtime antics, I had better check where she was - all was fine.

More rustling...

Even more thumb sucking....

00:08 still thumb sucking....

So, I popped in.

Yep, she was on her tummy, earnestly trying, and failing to get back to sleep. I always admire the fact Isobel tries to get herself to sleep long before she starts shouting.

I turned her over, thought about it and thought perhaps the time for jiggling had come, just for expediency - I wanted to go to sleep!

I rocked for a while (see what I did with the tittle of the post yet?!), finally she looked sleepy again.

More thumb sucking....


Needless to say we are both a little weary this morning, and I'm a little confused; what I really don't understand at all, is that when she first rolled it was from front to back. Front to back is apparently the easiest, so why didn't she just roll back last night? But what I am begining to understand is why people have monitors where they can SEE what baby is up to!


Tuesday, 29 July 2008

First day at school... well kind of

Today Isobel went for her first visit to nursery.

As you can imagine with any first day at school, there was much dragging of feet; much sulking and much posturing on how unfair life is. Yes, I can be a child.

As I walked, dragging my feet, I imagined writing this post and that it would end with me saying how lovely it all was, how much Isobel loved it and that it was not as bad as I imagined. But that wasn't quite how it played out.

There were many children crying, but that was okay, it was explained by the babies having their settling-in visit to the more grown up part of nursery. I felt reassured.

I was there to fill in forms, which I did in the baby room accompanied by Isobel's key carer - another Saffir - would you believe it. She seemed nice enough, I tried not to stare at the angry patch of excema that was visible under her polo shirt.

The trouble is Isobel likes to play, she likes to have toys that do things, she likes to watch the world. So, plonking her in a bumbo seat facing away from everyone with a boring ball on her lap was bound to bore her. Lying her on her front where she can't see anyone with equally dull toys was also unlikely to stimulate her. Isobel likes to play, but needs some props at the very least.

And it was hot in there, yesterday was a hotter day than today so I dread to think how unbearable yesterday would have been.

There isn't room for our pushchair*... children were running around in just nappies...

Oh, I know I'm looking for excuses. Truth be told, I think Isobel is just a little bit too little for nursery right now.

*One thing I have discovered that is extremely challenging for a single parent is turning a pram into a pushchair, there are things that are definitely easier with two. That said, I've kind of done it; it was a struggle but worth it.

Heaven help us - realtime update

Okay, so Isobel went down for a nap at 11:30. At 11:50 I heard her chattering and afraid of what position she might be in, I sneaked a peek. She was fine, on her back, head in the right place, legs in the air - standard Isobel sleeping position.

Ten minutes later I heard a shout, it persisted so I went up to check it out. And I found this

My daughter has the turning circle of a London Taxi because this is how she should be

I do believe this is the thin edge of the Harry-Houdini-wedge; as I said before, I have the FEAR already.

And she's still not asleep!

Heaven help us

Isobel has become really quite mobile, not crawling or anything but mobile enough to get herself into trouble. I'm already feeling the FEAR.

In the last three days, these are the positions she has got herself into when, supposedly sleeping:

On her front, still in her sleeping bag with her legs trapped in the side bars of the cot - this position woke her up shouting, funnily enough;

On her front wearing her sleeping bag like a Superman cape as she discussed her dreams with Grandad teddy;

With her sleeping bag in perfect order, not a rumple in sight, but on her front facing the foot end of the cot chatting to Berry Doll about her dreams*.

And this is while all she can do is wriggle and roll...

*I was going to write that being quite a dreamer she gets from PD and not rumpling the sheets she gets from me, but I'm not sure that accurately portrays our characters!

Sunday, 27 July 2008

A picture of success.

A couple of years ago on holiday a friend was reading Paul Mackenna's Confidence book, not my usual cup of tea but, as I was devouring the books I had bought at the airport (one of my favourite rituals) and still had plenty of sun lounger time left (by which I mean I hadn't got a tan yet), I read it.

So flicking through said book there was an exercise to picture what success looked like to you. Mine looked a lot like today: my sunny garden, my baby and I surrounded by people I love, enjoying a sunny Sunday lunch complete with liquid sunshine. It may not have been quite perfect (there was someone missing) but it was close.
I'm a simple girl who enjoys life's simple pleasures and the fine things in life, good friends and nice champagne,respectively. And I think my daughter may be the same.
She now helps herself to milk which is a bit of a turn around from a few weeks ago!

And today she drank water for the first time out of a cup (both firsts).

But I think what she really wanted was the champagne. And NO, I didn't let her have any - what kind of a Mum do you think I am!

I hope to teach my daughter the lesson I'm not sure I have ever mastered: drink sensibly, NO-ONE is pretty when they are drunk.

... you are my sunshine, my only sunshine...

I hate the terms 'significant other' or 'primary care giver' because they sound too clinical for what a mother is.

But, everytime I walked into the room this weekend Isobel's face has lit up, she has smiled a smile so big I thought her face would split in two. It didn't matter who she was with or what she was doing, she smiled at me, a great big unsolicited smile.

I guess that makes me all of the above, AND her Mummy.

I don't know if she knew how much I needed that.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

This mornings conversation between two VERY proud parents...

PD (via text): She Rocks.

Me (by email): Yes our daughter ROCKS; she rocks so much it’s almost an understatement.

PD (by email): I'm happy to concede that rocking is an understatement: she is an ineffable joy.


(Funnily enough it had only been an hour since PD had left for work.)

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

I guess it's really just telly in disguise

Many moons ago I got a DVD free in the Sunday Times (not a paper I actually read that often, not that I really read any paper that often these days), anyway I'm digressing. The free DVD was a Brainy Baby DVD.

Said DVD purports to Inspire Creative and Logical Thinking in babes from six to thirty-six months. Both valuable characteristics for any little girl, so with interest in the mobile waning I have taken to playing it for Isobel, or is that with Isobel? Who cares, she loves it!

I play it on my laptop because.... I'm not really sure why, but I think it's because it feels less like plonking my little girl in front of the telly.

Speaking of which, here are father and daughter bonding over the cricket. (Apparently, according to PD, sport is the only telly she is allowed to watch until she is two!)

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Hayley Baby

Today my beautiful little niece is having an operation. I cannot imagine what my sister is going through waiting for it to be done. It must be very scary indeed, I guess being a parent brings fear to a whole new level.

Anyway, last week we made you a card, this week Isobel has been busy on her art wall, this is for you Hayley Baby:

Lots of love to you Amy-Blues and your lovely little girl. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Something I LOVE is books

And I really hope Isobel does too, so I was excited by this post on The Jackson Files (I guess as it was second-hand then it really is a third hand post here):

"Someone” reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed. It’s not the Big Read though — they don’t publish books, and they’ve only featured these books so far. So here we go…

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you started but did not finish.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Highlight the ones you still want to read but just have not had a chance yet!
5) Reprint this list in your own blog so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 or less and force books upon them.

1. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
2. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
3. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
4. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
5. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
6. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
7. The Color Purple - Alice Walker

8. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
9. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

10. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
11. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
12. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
13. His Dark Materials (trilogy) - Philip Pullman
14. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
15. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
16. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
17. Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
18. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
19. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
20. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
21. Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis
22. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis

23. Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
24. Animal Farm - George Orwell
25. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
26. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
27. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
28. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
29. Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
30. Hamlet - William Shakespeare

31. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
32. Complete Works of Shakespeare
33. Ulysses - James Joyce
34. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
35. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
36. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
37. The Bible
38. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
39. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
40. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
41. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
42. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
45. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

46. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
47. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
48. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
49. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
50. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
51. Little Women - Louisa M. Alcott

52. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
53. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
54. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
55. Middlemarch - George Eliot
56. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
57. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
58. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
59. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
60. Emma -
61. Persuasion -Jane Austen

62. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
63. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
64. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

65. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
66. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
67. Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
68. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
69. Atonement - Ian McEwan
70. Dune - Frank Herbert
71. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
72. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
73. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

74. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
75. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
76. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
77. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
78. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
79. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
80. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
81. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie * (next on my list as recommended by Jenny)
82. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
83. Dracula - Bram Stoker
84. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
85. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
86. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
87. Germinal - Emile Zola
88. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
89. Possession - A.S. Byatt
90. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

91. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
92. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
93. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

94. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
95. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
96. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
97. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
98. Watership Down – Richard Adams
99. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
100. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

Well, still a fair few unread, but I've definitely read more than six and I'm sure there are some that should be here but aren't, Slinky Malinki, the rapscallion cat is missing for a start!

Monday, 21 July 2008

Project Me

Funny how life gets divided up into phases which, more often than not, are defined by the people we are with.

Right now I'm in an Isobel phase and that probably will continue for sometime, but my shifting role into that of a mother and the accompanying hiatus from work allows me the opportunity to take a look at someone else who is important in my life, someone who, if honest, is normally too busy trying to be what she thinks everyone wants her to be to be herself. Yes, it's ME.

I want to find out what makes my heart sing and if I can bring that joy into my daily life, maybe even earn a living at it. Now the only ambition I've really had was to be on Jackanory, but I guess I'll settle for reading stories to my kid. And as I don't think anyone is going to give me a bookshop anytime soon I've started a new project; Project Me.

To this end I've bought a book called 'Zen and the Art of Making a Living', it seems quite a cool mix of karma and careers advice. But, and it's a big but, it's one of those books that asks questions, you know they want you to stop and fill in the blanks. Now I'm not good at that, I don't have reams of childhood memories from which to plot my future. But I'll give it a go.

Ps. Does it say something about me that I feel I have to have a brand new notebook to start this project? Something other than I used to love the trip to Woolies to stock my pencil case at the start of a new school year - ooh that was a childhood memory!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Why on earth do they call it 'Solids'

I have never seen anything less solid than baby rice in my life. It's like thick soup or runny Ready Brek and you move on from that to puree - equally lacking in solidity if you ask me.

Anyway, whatever it is and why ever it's called it, we have started to introduce it.

All in all I think it's been a success.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

I've forgotten how to sleep

Well, so it seems.

Isobel has not had a feed in the night for the last 3 nights, but somehow I don't feel well rested. This sleeping through is not the result of any grand plan of mine, but rather it has just happened. Oh, and when I say sleeping through the night, I mean from Isobel's bedtime until morning, none of this dream feed shenanigans.

It started on Wednesday night when Isobel woke up at 10:30; now I know my little girl and her rhythms, I knew if I fed her then then she would be up every three hours in the night, so I simply soothed her back to sleep. Okay, okay I admit it I rocked her - I was tired and wanting to go to bed. Well, she went off quite quickly, so wasn't starving and I thought I'd see her again in a couple of hours. Me, I woke up at 3am and was so convinced she would wake up soon I made up a bottle, but she didn't; that bottle was discarded and a new one made at 6 am when she did wake up!

The next night Isobel didn't even stir until 4am, spurred on by the 'Core Period' concept - yes those damn books again - I simply soothed her back to sleep again. She'd proved she could do it once and she did it again.

The third night Isobel soothed herself back to sleep at four am, while I listened for every breath, murmur and thumb suck.

Oh why, oh why can I not just SLEEP!

Friday, 18 July 2008

When I grow up I want to be...

... hmm ... aah ... *scratches chin* ... *gazes at navel* ...

... actually you know what, I have no idea. The only thing I do know is I don't really want to do my old job. It has it's perks: somedays I find myself dreaming of wearing high heels and a suit again - a pencil skirt can do wonders for the soul; the money is great; office banter can be fun and, sometimes, just sometimes, hanging out in the city can be quite cool.

Oh, and I suppose there is the satisfaction of a job well done.

I get that here at home too. I'm not saying that I think Isobel can be my world forever, well, obviously in many ways she will be, but I do need something for me too. Not to mention I have a mortgage to pay.

Last year a fortune teller told me I would be paid for doing something I enjoy, but what can that be?

Who knows but I can't wait to find out.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Child Unfriendly

Okay Rebecca, this one's for you.

Generally I have found the world to be not only baby tolerant but actually full of lovely people who are keen to hold doors, hold-up supermarket queues etc just to smile and coo at my lovely little Isobel.

I have felt truly honoured by being able to park in parent and child spaces and although I have been tempted, I have never abused this privilege. Being respectful of others I have only once taken my baby to a restaurant that is not child friendly and even then I rang in advance and they gave us a lovely cosy corner table - I couldn't bear the thought of my child being the cause of anyone else's discomfort or being one of those parents who thinks having children gives them the right to ignore the world around them.

Anyway, where is all this going?

Well I mentioned that we went, last Tuesday evening, to a picnic concert as part of Kew Garden's Summer of Swing. I've been many times but this was my first time with a baby in tow. I was as much concerned for her enjoyment as well as my own, so we took along some child headphones (I think they are actually, more aptly, called 'ear defenders'), the purpose of which was to enable Isobel to blissfully sleep.

Isobel, following a picnic bedtime story and a little boogie, dutifully fell asleep during the support act. Lulled into a false sense of security I popped her into her pram sans headphones but I zipped up the raincover for insulation.

Unfortunately Jools Holland was greeted with great enthusiasm by the crowd and his plinky-plonky piano woke up the sleeping princess. So, (instead of being clever and popping the ear thingies on in the pram) I picked her up and applied the ear defence, and indulged ourselves with a bit of a bop.

Too much to see and do meant Isobel didn't go back to sleep, I wasn't worried, she wasn't unhappy we just stood and had a dance, like you do at outdoors concerts.

I'd obviously consumed too much picnic and my bottom had grown to the size of a small country because a middle-aged sour puss (quite a polite way of putting it me thinks) came up and told me how 'patient' the crowd had been with me but I was interrupting their view. Now, it's an outdoor concert, a music concert so people were dancing, it wasn't bloomin' Songs of Praise (mind you that's probably happy clappy enough to illicit a bit of bottom shaking these days).

At the time I was mortified, embarrassed to think I was upsetting people by an innocent act of enjoying both my child and the music. PD's blood instantly boiled, but restrained himself to mumbling profanities under his breath.

Turns out the woman was a liar; on our way out another lady came up to us and told us she had had to restrain her husband from having a pop at sour-puss on our behalf. Seems we were doing no harm at all.

Then on Tuesday I discovered not all pensioners smile at prams, but I really can't go there right now...

PS. I did warn you it was a tirade.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008 make me happy when skies are grey

It is amazing the reserves of stamina, strength and smiles having a baby gives you.

When you can't believe it's morning already once that baby smiles it's as if you've suddenly changed your batteries.

No matter how pants the world around you is, you can't crawl under the duvet and hide; it's really hard to deliver the coos, raspberries and silly faces a baby requires while sobbing your heart out, so crying is out of the question.

At 5pm when you don't think you can smile anymore, you find the strength to pick up your beautiful baby and whirl her around your head just to let her know that the sky's the limit.

All in all, Isobel has inspired me to live a better life, and is a reason to never give in. I didn't know I had it in me.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Placebo - Daddy Cool

Happy Birthday Cool Daddy. x

Happy Birthday Daddy

A plethora of Daddy posts today as it's PD's Birthday.

Isobel has done her first ever painting, a birthday card nonetheless.

Personally I was proud she held the brush without trying to eat it, let alone managed to conect it with the paper!

Like Father Like Daughter


Happy Birthday, your first as a fully-fledged, drool-wearing, nappy-changing, baby-jiggling Daddy. A role that I'm sure you will live up to and be proud of, just as we are proud of you.

Just to show that there is something of you in our little girl:

Yes, the eyes may not be green (yet) but they are definitely yours, complete with your luscious lashes and unruly brows!

This may not have been planned but I'm pleased to have you as the father of my baby girl; I'm sure we'll have fun being her parents. Whatever else we achieve, together or alone, nothing will be as great as our little one, our baby Isobel.
Thank you

Monday, 14 July 2008

I'm so glad we had a witness

Isobel had been working up to it all day, she was contantly arching her back and reaching for toys that were behind her head.

And then, while playing with Eloise, she did it; she reached, and she stretched and she rolled from her back to her front and then she decided to roll back again.

How clever is she? I'm so glad someone else was there to see it.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Okay, so it's been a while

I guess there are times in every girl's life when she doesn't really feel like writing everything down. Sometimes it's best just to get on with it.

But we haven't been idle:

We've played with our friends

We've been to a picnic concert in Kew Gardens - cool headphones (not a yummy mummy pic mind), not so cool people moaning about our standing up to dance baby happy, but, I won't go there because it will become a tirade.

I've been for a girly trip to the comedy club to see Harry Hill. And we all went to our local french bistro, Ma'cuisine for supper, where Isobel behaved impeccably, by which I mean she slept.
PD has had friends over for a Rugby brunch - okay so we plused the game to watch it at the more civilised time of ten rather than 8, but it didn't stop his beloved Springboks winning.

See, so we have a life, in fact I've been out 3 nights this week, but we've just been keeping it to ourselves.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Another confession but there have been so many I've lost count

I have had to say 'bugger the environment'. I know it's not a very pc thing to say but it's true, we no longer use environmentally friendly disposables (if that isn't too much of an oxymoron).

The Natures Care nappies for newborns were great, they fitted beautifully and were lovely and kind to Isobel's bottom - generally an all round win.

Size 2 and size 3 nappies must have been styled on those eighties pants where the crotch hung down around the knees: they were longer but had to be worn slit to the thigh as they didn't seem to grow around the middle. Not a happy nappy and certainly not the look we are going for this season.

So now Isobel sports the sleekest in nappies which while they don't save the planet, save leakages and don't restrict the wriggle.


Wednesday, 2 July 2008

The Wonder of Modern Technology

I think this week I have sent PD every form of mobile phone message possible. Everday Isobel has done something that has just made me want to share the wonder of her with someone, and what better someone than PD.

On Monday I sent a picture message, I can't remember what it was in particular but looking that cute on a Monday morning has to be a feat.

Then it was a video message of Isobel singing to the trees.

Today it was a voice message by text (?!) of Isobel enjoying the sound of her own voice; where she gets that from I have no idea.

Where would I be without the mobile phone, heaven forbid I start to use it as a telephone!

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Oops A Third

Sorry baby you are a third of year old!

One Quarter

Well, my little one you are a whole quarter of a year old today, there are so many posts I am yet to write but here are some of the new things this month:

I love that you now recognise story time, not only do you look at the book you turn the pages too. Funnily enough books are the only thing you don't try and suck.

As fascinating as we find you, you find yourself fascinating too, you are as amazed at what your hands do as we are. It definitely beats telly any day.

Trees, you are a tree hugger, well you would be if your arms were long enough.

You look at the world as if seeing it in detail for the first time. You know that things happen behind you and often crane your neck and dangle upside-down to check it out.

I'm not sure where your chattiness comes from (?! )but you chat to your many friends animated or not.

Otherwise, yes you grumble when your teeth hurt, but you smile, not indiscriminately but at those people who deserve it. Not that earning your smile is hard, all you ask for is to be offered one first.

I know I have started to relinquish the intimacy of feeding you but I too don't feel right feeding you a bottle, perhaps we will manage both for a while yet.

Isobel, everyday I am forever grateful that you chose me as your Mummy and every single day you do something new, I may get tired but I will never get tired of you.