Sunday, 31 August 2008

That Friday night smell

In my past life it wasn't unusual for there to be the odd incident of vomiting on a Friday evening, mostly not my own; PD manages it to make room for the next round. So, I guess I should have been slightly glad for the opportunity to reminisce when, at bedtime on Friday, Isobel was sick all over herself, me and the bed. But that wasn't what sprung to mind as I tried to remove her pjs and vest and make her smell lovely again.

I didn't even reminisce for Friday when she did it all over again at bedtime on Saturday.

It's my own fault really, you'd think that after being Isobel's mum for nearly six months and by finally feeling reasonably confident of my abilities that I would continue to trust my own instincts, but it seems I'm easily swayed.

It was an innocent enough conversation about Gina Ford routines. Now I'm not following Gina Ford, in fact we are doing the Isobel Grace Findon routine, but, as I did concede before, Gina's routines do seem to follow a baby's natural rhythm so it is reasonably similar.

Anyway, I digress. As the conversation progressed it transpired that Gina's babys, at about six months, should be having their whole bottle after the bath not half before anymore. So, I thought I would give it ago...

Two nights, four loads of washing later (a white and a dark each night) we are sticking to the I.G.F. routine of half before and half after (and I get two cuddles this way).

This evening all I got was a sickly burp, hooray.

Friday, 29 August 2008

There comes a time in every mother's life...

when it's time to buy a Maclaren.

Yes, no matter how much you love your pram, how comfortable your princess is being conveyed in her flowery pram, there is a time for a cheap light weight option that wipes clean and folds up small.

For the Bugaboo classes this often occurs when they discover the bag to keep their buggy safe in an aircraft hold costs more than a Maclaren.

For us it was the realisation that at nursery our precious perambulator will be shoved put in a low shed amongst the muddy wheels of everybody elses, if it fits that is; that nursery may not love our flower-power-mobile as much as we do.

(Picture taken with my phone on this mornings trip to Waitrose, who knew supermarkets could be such fun)

So, my next question is do I go for the red and black sport or the deco?

(Don't you worry, Isobel and I will NOT be abandoning the flowers, it's just she'll have a different buggy for school.)

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Missing you already.

I miss little girl when she is asleep.

I blow kisses through her bedroom door; I peer in, just to check of course.

But I've just had to confess that I look at PD's website just so I can gaze at the perfection that is my little girl.

Can you blame me?

Actually, part of me wonders if this makes me a little sad, and the other part of me doesn't care!

(I'm also very proud of PD's photos, but don't tell him I said that.)

Monday, 25 August 2008

Long lost Godfather

Another long weekend, another family outing. This time the three of us bunddled into my somewhat ailing car and headed down to the Cotswolds.

We were on a mission to flush-out a lesser-spotted Godfather - Gareth. PD needed to talk sh*t, I mean sport for a bit and Gareth needed to see how much his little goddaughter had grown.

I think they were both smitten.


PD and I even managed to behave appropriately for bestest-friends.

That said, we do kind of miss you PD. x

It's all a bit surreal

I realise I haven't been out much since Isobel was born, well not just me doing the things I used to do before I was pregnant, namely, going to the pub.

On Saturday I did just that, I even took the train further into town. This is nothing really out of the ordinary, or at least it wouldn't have been six months ago. But now, it was the first time I've taken a train without Isobel (I think we've only caught the train twice) and one of a few times I'd actually been out drinking.

Sitting in the pub, bitching people watching it seemed really odd to think I had a five month old baby waiting at home for me.

I suppose this is how it must be all the time for PD: he comes and bes a Dad for a while and then goes on with his life as before, it must all be a little surreal.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Best Summer EVER?

If anyone ever asked me about my favourite Summer the one between my two sixth form years would be well up there on the list: small jobs, cars meaning freedom and lots of time on the beach eating hot doughnuts from the pier.

But this Summer must now top the list. The Summer Spent With My Little Girl, probably the last time I will ever get to spend this much time with her, for this long, EVER.

So, sometimes it's not surprising that I get a little sad. I get sad because I can imagine how much more amazing it could have been, how I could have been so happy I would have popped; maybe it would have been greedy to expect sooo much happiness, but all this angst well that I think I find hard to forgive.

But I will, because that's what I do. I'll be fine because that's also what I do (one day someone will be there and care enough to help me fix it, and not just rely on the fact that I am always 'fine'). I'll fix the great big new financial shadow that is now lurking over my house and home. I'll sort it out, I will. I will make sure that nothing and no-one compromises my little girl.

Yes me, I will do it because, ultimately, I am all there is. But, it's bloody hard.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Let you entertain me

Having charmed the Isle of Wight into entertaining her, Isobel has quite high expectations everywhere she goes.

The ferry home proved no exception: Three, yes, not one, not two, but three little girls were lining up to smile, giggle and pull monkey faces all for the delight of Isobel.

Isobel dutifully bestowed upon them her best smile, she even giggled a lot.

But, Isobel is a girl and therefore she set her sights on a trickier target, the guy next to us who was playing hard to get by listening to his iPod and playing with his phone.

Needless to say he cracked and in no time at all she had him eating out of her hand, well he let her have his phone and I think that says it all.

A cast of thousands

We have had some lovely times, and Isobel has charmed and been entertained by a cast of thousands:

Her beloved Grandma and Grandpa (who never stood still long enough for a photo)


Auntie Amy and Cousins Hayley and Isla

Uncle Dan

(okay so she has met all of the above before, but sometime ago)



Great Auntie Gadar
Great Uncle Birdie

Handsome Cousin Paul (see earlier post)

Great Auntie Cherry and Uncle Bob (yes, Bob is my uncle)

Cousin Katie and Andrew


Little Alfie - who shared his birthday cake and his birthday with Uncle Tim

Little Finlay who didin't like having to share his blanket

Great Uncle Tim from Australia and his Wendy


Uncle Ross (okay so Ross' attempt at peek-a-boo resulted in more of a boo hoo hoo) and Amanda





And very importantly Great Grandma and just as importantly Great Grandad


Godmother Jenny, Mark, Thomas and my beautiful Godaughter Annabel who we were too busy enjoying to take pictures


... and those are just the ones whose names I know - I haven't counted the random waiters, shopkeepers and passers by that Isobel has chatted to.


Isobel has been so charming and so wonderfully well behaved, she even went to sleep on a duvet on the floor so I could have dinner with 12 of the above.

I've said it before, and I've no doubt I'll say it again, she is a STAR!


I think she'll be quite bored at home when there is only me to entertain her.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

What this picture doesn't show...


Is that Isobel now has tooth number 2. A matching pair of bottom pearly whites. The problem is that she is as excited by them as I am, so every time I try to take a picture she is busy running her tongue along them.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Matching luggage

It’s funny how dinner with an old friend can always help to remind you of the things that are important in life.

This evening served to remind me that in order to love and be loved it is important to be honest. No relationship, whatever its status, can be truly valued if it is shrouded in ‘little white lies’. If there is ever a need to withhold a part of oneself, then actually that friendship is worth precious little. If you feel a need to hide things from another then you are either being dishonest to them or yourself, and I don’t know about you, but either way if anyone is dishonest to me it amounts to disrespect, and disrespect should mean ‘adios’.

We all have baggage, and I once read that love means not only making room for someone else’s baggage but also helping them unpack. And actually I think this is very true. But what if they insist on carrying around their baggage, never unpacking but simply using it as a prop, then what? Can love in any shape, even platonic, actually be worth anything if there is dishonesty?

Having a little person in your life makes you look at all your relationships a little differently: you realise that there is little room for anything that distracts you being a happy stable influence on your little one; you want to shield her from the flotsam and jetsam of life, and just let her be shrouded in pure love. Now a life free of dishonesty may not be realistic but surely it should be a goal.

I want Isobel to be confident to be loved for her flaws as well as her perfection and to always expect respect.

Perhaps this is a lesson I need to teach myself first.

Isle of Wight Souvenirs

Last time I stayed on the Island for more than a week I took home a very special souvenir, my Isobel.

This time in true family tradition Isobel is taking home a special souvenir of her own: her very first tooth.

We have had only a minimal amount of grumpiness, not even on the same scale as her father's when the rugby doesn't go his way. I've administered no magic pink Calpol, but we have used two sachets of Teetha. No sleepless nights but, hey presto it's here. Maybe the Tlismi Moti works, I'm certainly not taking it off yet.

Grandma has done the spoon test: tap it with a teaspoon to see if it sings - it does.

Her second tooth is close behind and may even be through before we go home, I only hope it is as kind.

So now are off to buy Isobel her very first toothbrush.

(I will take a picture, but unfortunately that is another thing it seems difficult to do on my own!)

Saturday, 16 August 2008

I am one of those women aren't I?

You know the ones, the ones who believe there could be no child brighter, more beautiful, more cheeky, more loveable, more... than theirs.

Yes, you've got it: I'm a mother.

Sometimes, I think my heart will burst with pride for my little girl. I know I can love her enough for two.

x

And the Cup goes to...

Isobel of course!

Considering the problems we had with bottles I never expected Isobel to take to water quite so well.


A different meal a different cup...






She prefers to do it herself of course, and I think it impatience that makes the doidy cup the favourite, instant water no sucking.

Why so many cups? I hear you ask. Well, I'd love my daughter to be able to drink out of her doidy cup, but I suspect it will require a level of supervision that may not be available at Nursery.

That, and I don't ever want to have the bedtime panic of not having the 'right' cup because it happens to have been left behind.

Doesn't it sound like I planned it this way? But actually, to be entirely honest, I just wasn't sure which one would work!

(Is it just me, or is my baby growing up too fast?)

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Somethings go on whatever the weather.

I had been hoping to be posting sunny pictures snapped on my phone because I didn't have time to think about plugging in my laptop.

But, the wind has howled, rain has lashed and the power has even been cut. But the good thing about staying at Grandma's is that some things can go on unabated, things like eating and drinking.






And playing with cousins


Tuesday, 12 August 2008

A day at the English Seaside or Hut Day One explained

Okay, so all my posts are a little higgldy-piggldy. That's what happens when you try and back-post and test your mobile for real-time posting at the same time.

On Sunday I read that only a small percentage of British children had actually been to the seaside in the UK. As someone who grew up on an Island, in a beach hut renting /owning family, that just seems completely unbelievable.

Anyway, as you've seen, on Monday, Isobel and I went to The Hut. Normally the family do only go to the Hut on 'hut days', days when the sun is at least attempting to shine. But it was Paul's last day before returning to LA LA land, so we went to the hut to eat crab sandwiches and ice-cream, not at the same time of course.

Well, if you saw the weather forecast on Monday you will not be surprised to hear that at one point we were in the Hut sheltering from the rain. Luckily it was a somewhat heavy but only brief, shower.

Yes, we did look like sad grockles* determined to make the most of their holiday. Unfortunately, as it is forecast to rain for the rest of the week, I'm not sure we'll get any actual 'Hut Days'.

I'm really not sure what the point of this post is - it doesn't sound like I'm selling the paradise that is the Isle of Wight. Am I just boasting that my child WILL have to suffer the indignity of going to the English Seaside on an English Summers day, but she won't have to worry about getting sand in her sandwiches because we have a hut?

*Isle of Wight for holiday-maker.

Monday, 11 August 2008

One thing I didn't realise until I had a baby

Before Isobel I didn't realise there was such a thing as before 9am on a Sunday morning, unless it was as an extension of Saturday night of course.

But, yesterday we were so eager to get to Grandma's house that by 9am we were not only in Southampton, but we were boarding the ferry boat to the Isle of Wight.

By 10:30 we were surrounded by cousins and dogs having fun.

Not only are the days longer, they aren't coated in a post drinking fug, and actually I quite like it.

Hut day one


Isobel at the beach hut with Handsome Cousin Paul and Auntie Gadar. (Really just a test post from my mobile phone).

Sunday, 10 August 2008

I suppose being a part-time family has some benefits

As we are no longer together all the time, we seem to be putting a lot of effort in to the time that we are. Oh, I don't mean that it's hard work, far from it, we are just making the most of it.

Take yesterday for example, it was a miserable Saturday afternoon; we could have so easily spent the afternoon indoors with the Olympics as background. But, we didn't.

Nope, we went to Petersham Nurseries. It was raining so this was not an obvious choice but if the sun had been shining it would have been too busy, and Isobel loves trees, so indoors trees seemed to be a pretty good option. Not to mention that PD and I could have a good poke about at the far-too-expensive-just-because-they-know-where-to-find-them antiques.

Basically, it's ramshackle, well seemingly ramshackle but you know they aren't, greenhouses draped with magic carpets and Moroccan gates, with shabby chic (I hate that term) dressers etc. It really is a cool, if somewhat expensive (£6 for soup and bread) spot for afternoon tea. Just don't even think about buying furniture there.

Anyway, I thought PD's camera would enjoy the angles and colours, not that he bought it with him, but hey, he appreciated the aesthetic; me, I loved the coffee and cake and the lovely surroundings (and company, I suppose); Isobel just loved having both her parents doting on her and showing her flowers.





I doubt Isobel rememebers how much time she spent there as a bump: it was our favourite NCT pre-baby lunch meeting spot.







Pictures courtesy of our Leela and included because I can't believe how HUGE my tummy was, yet I also can't believe my little girl ever fitted in there. I think we were all about 36 weeks here, definately a good excuse for cake!

Saturday, 9 August 2008

You know the world is a pretty cool place when someone can do this...

http://www.vimeo.com/1211060?pg=embed&sec=1211060 *

Made me smile and cry at the same time, not bad going for a Saturday morning. It's great because it isn't slapstick and isn't laughing AT someone.

Certainly puts the Dance in 'Dance, Sing, Floss and Travel'.

I want to dance around the world with my favourite dancing partner, my Isobel. For now we'll settle for the sitting room, the dining room and the garden... it's a start.


*I know he was commercially sponsored, but hell, if someone offered me money to travel the world, I'd say yes!

Friday, 8 August 2008

It has to be said, it's not been a great week

Last week I was fine, really truly fine. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and the brave new world actually looked quite shiny. Mind you everything shines in the sunshine.

This week, well I told you about Monday, and things have kind of drifted from there. I'm not saying it's all been doom and gloom, not at all, but certainly has all felt some what tarnished.

I guess it was inevitable that there would be some fall out, but actually I preferred it when I felt fine, when the world was a sigh not a grin and bear it through very tightly gritted teeth.

Take yesterday, it started with me trying to hack my baby's thumb off.

Then we had a 'settling-in' visit to nursery, a half an hour stay for Isobel from which I had to flee before my sobs disturbed the other children. She was fine (there's that word again), apparently she cried a little - am I allowed to be a little pleased she missed me?- but was okay when I got back.

Now, if I was going for the mother of the year award and hadn't scotched it by snipping my baby, I would have lost it with what happened next. I'd taken Isobel to nursery in the sling and just as we were returning home, the heavens opened! No, I didn't have an umbrella. There we were me in an impractically long skirt and flip-flops and Isobel in a sling and sunhat.

So, we got wet, very wet. Isobel's first shower, she didn't seem too disturbed, just a little confused.

Then while making Rocky-road for the girls, I smashed a Pyrex bowl and got glass in my feet.

That really did it.

Not a good day at all, I was so looking forward to it being over I went to bed early.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Rite of passage

I do seem to recall the midwife saying everybody does it at some point.

But it doesn't seem to make me feel any better.

I've just nipped my baby's thumb while doing her nails. And yes, I drew blood.

I feel terrible.

(Isobel? Well, obviously she shouted for a second to draw my attention to the crime, but now she is asleep. Hopefully not dreaming of being hacked to pieces by her mother.)

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Please don't let this be a jinx

I'm almost loathe to write this post for fear it jinxes everything that I am about to say. But write it I must because I want to give thanks to the god of angel babies everywhere.

I know I often write about the bad stuff, for example Sunday nights shenanigans, but actually on the whole, my little girl is a star. A high above the world, twinkle, twinkle little star.

Take last night for example, my lovely friend Corri was here to play, and being quite keen to down to a girly chat I put Isobel down in her cot awake, pretty wide awake in fact. We hadn't had a yawn, just a bit of eye rubbing and, of course, it was bedtime (just after 7pm).

I always try and put Isobel down awake, but normally she is a little sleepier than this. But my little angel, just chatted to her toys and went to sleep. And actually this is what happens most nights which is probably why I never seem to bother to write about it.

See she is a star.

At present the cleaner is crashing about in bathroom, next to Isobel's bedroom. Now I heard Isobel do her mid-doze stir and chat, but amidst all the noise (bin being dropped, furniture being moved, rattling pipes, you get the picture) Isobel has gone back to sleep.

Did I mention that she's a star.

It's all relative when I say I'm having a tough day. A tough day is when Isobel needs a little help amusing herself. Otherwise , for example, I can rely on her to play for an hour on the floor of the osteopath while I get fixed.

So, yes she can be wilful, and yes she knows what she likes, but actually she is a pretty damn good kid. You can see her twinkling all the way from there, can't you?

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Ballast

I love carrying Isobel around in her baby sling, it's a lot like being pregnant again, even down to the way I can rub my 'bump'.

Not to mention that I can use her as weight resistance to increase my walking effort!

I'm not very good at economising, in fact there is no 'very' about it, I am rubbish. The one thing we did decide to economise on was our sling. I looked around (on the net, not always the best way of 'looking around') and thought the Mamas and Papas one looked fine, it even had a hood, and it was twenty quid cheaper than the Baby Bjorn.

BIG mistake, we hardly used it because it was sooo complicated - it certainly couldn't be managed by one person alone. So, a few weeks ago I went out and spent seventy-five pounds on a Baby Bjorn Active. Yes, there are cheaper ones, but, as we are coming to the Baby Bjorn party a little late it seemed wise to buy the one that lasts the longest.

Now with this simple sling, Isobel and I can be seen wandering around town under a parasol in the sun, or a good old brollie in the rain. I LOVE it.

Monday, 4 August 2008

A mood spiral

Today has been one of those days when I find being a mum a little tricky. I'm not really sure how it starts, it just does.

It's a day when I feel I need back-up but it isn't there, there will be no PD's return to spend the next hour promising Isobel, no-one to help with the giggles and smiles at bathtime. Perhaps I just feel I need it because I don't have it?

Am I struggling because Isobel is being a little grumpy or is Isobel being a little grumpy because I'm struggling?

I should have gone out; I should have done this that and the other, but I didn't. So, rather than looking forward to the funtime that is bathtime, I'm kind of dreading it.

I'm sorry little girl, I promise tomorrow will be a brighter day.

The only person who controls her crying is Isobel.

Last night I think I did an exercise in 'Controlled crying' But actually I'm not sure how in control I actually was, it certainly wasn't planned.

Isobel went to bed awake, was heard chatting to her bed friends a little and then went quiet - a point at which I can normally be pretty sure she is asleep.

Then she cried. Full scale I'm-in-immediate-peril-crying. So I ran up the stairs, burst in her room, my mummy cape flapping over my shoulder ready to rescue my little damsel in distress.

She smiled at me. Yes, she was lying on her back, she looked up at me and instantly smiled!

Ahh, she missed me.

I kissed her goodnight, again, and went back downstairs.

After a quiet moment or two, full scale crying, AGAIN. This time I waited five minutes; a very looong five minutes of me imagining her tangled in the cot bars or being strangled by her sleeping bag. (I'm sure the images got worse the more my wine evaporated.)

After five minutes, I ran up to her room thinking this just isn't like her AT ALL. Once again, she just smiled and I'm sure she even giggled a bit.

I kissed her goodnight, told her Mummy and Daddy love her very much, and I went back downstairs AGAIN.

She howled and wailed, but this time I was calmer and vowed to wait ten minutes.

By six she was asleep.

Not that my daughter is a wilful drama queen; no NOT AT ALL.

(Yes, she was fine, a peek confirmed she was asleep on her tummy, on the far side of the cot, holding flat bunny. Later, as she has mastered bi-directional rolling, she was back on her back still holding onto bunny.)

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Well, I like to think of it as kisses

As baby sizes go, Isobel is now the perfect size for hugging. You can wrap your arms around her tight, they overlap, squeeze her to your chest, she'll stretch her arms out wide and wrap them around your neck or pull you close using your hair as handles, and then she'll put her cheek against yours.

If you are really lucky, she'll open her mouth and give you a big slobbery kiss.

Well, I think of it as 'kisses for Mummy'. PD? He just thinks she wants to eat everything, including her parents.

Mothers always know best, don't they?


Saturday, 2 August 2008

I'm Henry VIII I am, I am

I do honestly think my relationship history is beginning to resemble dear old Henry's, without the syphilis of course.

Oh, and I haven't beheaded anyone, yet.

This is a hard post to write and is one I hoped I wouldn't have to.

...it's also a post I postponed because I respected PD and thought there were some people who wouldn't care to find this out this way. Yes, I know it's my blog and I can write what I want but I do want to show some respect for others feelings, even if it means censoring myself.

Okay, so that was a long preamble, more prevarication I guess, but it's time to be out with it.

I am now a single mum. That in itself isn't really that sad, to be honest nothing really has changed in that respect, Isobel still gets the same care she has always had, there is just one less smile around the house. What's sad is that our little girl will not be kissed goodnight by, and wake up with, both her Mum and her Dad. But I do kiss her for him and remind her that he loves her and tell her that I miss him too.

It just wasn't right, let's face it we never expected this relationship to go this far; whether you call it circumstances or destiny it has taken us from a dalliance; to living together; to being parents together. And actually it wasn't bad at all, in fact it was very good, there was just that something unquantifiable missing.

So, two months ago PD took the decision to leave, and last week he actually did. It wasn't easy for him as, in many ways, it is him that has the most to lose.

But you know what, we still love, and like, each other enough to bring up our child together. We've spent the weekend in each others company enjoying our little girl, and whiled away our evenings together, long after Isobel has been safely tucked up in bed.

I firmly believe we will make this work as a family, our own special kind of family.

Our cheesy family in the treetops today

Friday, 1 August 2008

5 Months old and finding her feet





I'm a little disappointed not be posting a picture from the Big Chill to be celebrating your five month anniversary little girl. I had everything sorted: disposable bottles and ready made milk; new baby sling; pram converted to pushchair so you could enjoy the sights and sounds; travel sleeping bag so even when ready for bed you would be safe in your chariot; a travel cot borrowed so you would sleep like a baby next to your mummy; we even paid for a tent to be put up for us so we would have less to carry but you. I worked out how to post from my phone so we wouldn't have to miss anything.

Basically a lot of thought had gone into making sure we could all enjoy the Big Chill and celebrate five months of you being in our lives.

But, we aren't there. We are at home. Rain was forecast, not just a little but mud inducing rain. And as little girl who likes to roll and play it wouldn't be much fun; it certainly wouldn't be the picture of us rolling around under the trees listening to tunes and drinking pear cider that Mummy had in mind. Gutted. Next year we can all wear wellies and dance in the mud!

Anyway, what that does mean is I can write a proper post about our last month.

Everyday you become less of a baby and more of a little girl, a fiercely independent, sometimes willful little girl and I must say I quite like it. As much as I don't want you to grow up, I'm excited to see what you grow into.

You are beginning to find your feet in the world, quite literally. You are standing taller and stronger everyday, a long way from going it alone but it is a sign of things to come.

You love your feet, and so you should as they will, one day, propel you where ever you wish to go (and allow you to wear the most beautiful shoes) . In the morning while having your bottle you keep checking to make sure they are there, making sure we didn't leave them in your sleeping bag. You hold them, and you try to eat them but your legs aren't quite long enough, yet.

It's a whole new world when you stand tall and proud, even if you do need hands to hold. You can always count on me to hold your hand and help you go wherever you wish my little girl.