Tuesday, 29 June 2010


Totally trying to make myself crash, I think. I'm doing so much at the moment! My house is tidier than it has been in years (although let's not mention the ever-present ironing mountain), I'm winning the battle with the weeds in the garden (for the time being at least!), have successfully grown my first ever vegetable plants from seed (sweetcorn, in case anybody cared), doing chairman of the board stuff all over the place, and still helping my little amazing Pearl grow and learn and play and everything else that goes along with that. I'm tired just typing this.

We leave for our grand Floridian holiday in exactly a month and I could not be more excited. Pearl knows we are going on a plane to visit Mickey Mouse with her cousin and Nana and Grandad and everyone else, and that it will be hot, and we will have a swimming pool, and she just about poos herself if you mention that we will see turtles like from Nemo. This will be the trip of a lifetime, I cannot wait. I haven't been in 5 years and I miss the place!

Before the holiday I've got to fit in a load of meetings and Pearl's birthday celebrations and I just know that the next month is going to disappear. I'm loving this weather, I love the Summer and I never want it to go away. But since I live in England I know it won't last long so I'm just enjoying it while it is here. I'm catching myself a lot of freckles working out in the garden most afternoons with my little helper. Vitamin D, I love you!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

I do not like them, Sam-I-Am!

1. I kinda just mostly forgot about making blog entries. Oops, sorry bout that. (Also means my google reader has hundreds of unread items, cack.)

2. Four teeth sprouting at once + very bad hayfever + growth spurt = a poorly, irritable and in pain Pearl. For weeks on end, with no end in sight. Which means at the end of the day all I want to do is pass out. It's been an effort just to sit on the sofa; the ironing pile is competing with Mount Everest; etc etc. I'm not happy about having to give Pearl Piriton multiple times a day, but she was really suffering and while it doesn't relieve her symptoms entirely, it helps enough to make it worthwhile.

3. Perhaps this is compounded by the aforementioned (Point 2), but I cannot remember what I did before we got our Boba carrier. Praise be to that wonderful, wonderful creation. We LOVE it.

4. Just to add to the general madness around here, Pearl is now nappy-free during the day. And most nights her night-time nappy is dry, and she just goes on the toilet when she gets up in the morning. I've had a few people ask how we did it, what made her learn so quickly... and I can honestly say I have no idea. I'm loving not having to wash nappies every other day. I love that it just happened so naturally, almost without me realising. One day I bought knickers for her, the next she was wearing them, and we haven't looked back since. In hindsight I think she may have been 'ready' for longer than I realised, but hey-ho we're on the same page now. I really didn't do anything specific. We've always cued her about when she was eliminating, and for a while she's been telling us when she was wee-ing or when she needed to poop. I don't know, I really don't. To be honest I think I'd got worried about "potty training" until it just happened. People seem to make such a big deal of it, like it's some big thing to tackle. We're probably just lucky with our Jamjam. I know that (like weaning, or walking, or talking) children reach milestones at different ages, and she just happened to reach hers a bit early. (She's been in knickers constantly for two weeks, and she'll be 2 at the end of July).

5. Peekatures:

On an old bus at Amberley Working Museum
Old bus

Dippy eggs
Dippy eggs

My poor puffy-eyed misery guts
Poor puffy face

Looking all grown'd up on a toy tractor at Spring Barn Farm

Best boot fair buy of the year - 10p for a brand new pack of bath crayons! I love these colourful additions to our bathroom. (Yes, she is sitting fully clothed, playing in the bath in the middle of the day. I love my girly!)
Bath crayons

6. I've had some really lovely evenings out lately, just at that sort of party where people try to sell you things, but it's been with wonderful company and it's making me not hate Worthing quite so much.

7. That's all, folks. Somehow in the midst of this hideously awful hayfever, I've also got myself a chest infection. Hellooooo additional wheezing, and a hoarse voice. Yesterday I sounded all husky and sexy, today it's almost completely gone. Boo, hiss, ouch.

5. Last one, I promise (and completely unrelated): Britain's Got Talent is such a pile of shite. Wish I could find the remote, or be bothered to get up off my arse and switch of the damn television. Also on my shit-list: fucking football. Don't even get me started.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Three, five, four, five, six, five, six, Baa Baa Black Sheep, yessss

1. Cats

(Disclaimer: don't judge me please, this is just my ramblings about our cat situation at the end of a very long day, after nearly 2 years of this stress).
Our cats are strange little creatures. They were weaned too early, although we only discovered this by accident when the lady who sold them to us inadvertently told us their date of birth (weeks after we'd bought them), and when we counted back it made them only 5 weeks when we took them away from their mother. We're not sure whether their mum and dad were related, but they're definitely kitties with additional needs. Not the sharpest book on the train, as my sister would say. Anyway. They stopped using an indoor litter tray when they were about 6 months old, and went out the cat flap and enjoyed time outdoors as well as lots of lap time and cuddles. (As an aside: I know there are lots of differing views on letting cats outdoors, but in the UK this is the norm, in case you're reading this from another country and are appalled.)
When Pearl was born they began going to the toilet in the house - in protest, because they were stressed, whatever - and we ended up having to keep them shut in the kitchen, because I became overwhelmed with having to look after a newborn and clean up after two cats. Since then we have trialled giving them full access in the house lots of times, and they always end up fouling in our home again. We think that there are some neighbourhood cats who haven't been helping the situation, chasing our cats around. Although from what we can gather talking to our neighbours, our cats do their fair share of terrorising as well! We took them to the vet, who basically confirmed what we'd suspected: that they are probably stressed because of Pearl. I can deal with the neighbours' cats but I can't get rid of Pearl! We let them loose in the whole flat this week, and today I came home from shopping with Pearl to find they'd shat at the bottom of the stairs, and pee'd at the top of the stairs. We've already had to remove a huge section of carpet because they'd urinated on it so often we just couldn't get rid of the smell. We've managed to remove the offences (cos if they smell it and that can make them go in the same place again) as much as we can but I am at my wits' end now. I know that we could just get a litter tray, but when they are shut in the kitchen (with access to the garden) they go outside to go to the toilet. I don't want a litter tray in our small kitchen - literally enough room for the cats beds, scratching post, the hoover, and a bucket. I can't take the risk of letting them in the house again, and that breaks my heart.
I love our cats so much because they were our babies before Pearl was our baby. We got them not long after I had the first miscarriage and they were our everything. It is not fair on them to be confined to one room in our house. It is not fair for us to try and re-home them. Pearl loves them so much too! I'm in tears typing this because I don't know what to do. I hate that I am that awful person who had pets and then had children and pushed the pets out.

And together as one giant fluffball of gorgeousness:

2. Carriers

Today we got our new Boba carrier. I could not be happier! We have already used it for over an hour today. Since she was no longer able to be worn in the Moby wrap, we'd had no alternative to her sitting on my hip for most of the day. My back was getting so sore and the Boba is just what we needed. I am one happy Mama. I tweeted a picture this morning if you want to see what a happy toddler looks like!

3. Cocksucker

I think I've mentioned before that our flat was previously owned by a total cock, who must've done all the work himself and has done a totally shitty job. The latest thing to come to light is the plumbing under the kitchen sink. Two weeks of hell with backed up pipes has somehow culminated in the washing machine getting emptied into the cupboard under the sink. The pipe that sends all the wastewater outside into the drain became separated from the plumbing under the sink. Most of the kitchen was flooded: all under the cupboards and the floor tiles. Of course it happened just as we were going out the door to Tumble Tots - I'd just nipped back in the kitchen to grab Pearl a snack for afterwards, and lucky I did otherwise the flooding could've been much worse. I shoved a giant tub underneath the aforementioned pipe, which is now filled with wastewater. It occurs to me I don't know how we'll lift that thing out from underneath. Nevermind.

4. Career

Bobby is so busy at work! So busy! It is amazing for him, for us, to have everything we worked so hard for finally coming to fruition. But I didn't account for the loneliness I would experience in the evenings when he is working late yet again. Some evenings I don't mind, and I just get on with some housework or ironing, or watch a film, or waste time online. But evenings like tonight I just want a hug and some adult conversation. I was meant to be going out actually, to a card making workshop, but had to cancel because he told me this afternoon his appointments were running over. He didn't even start his last appointment till nearly 8pm. It's good, it's so gooooood. I am looking forward to getting 3 whole days together as a family this weekend before he jets off to Rome to work the tattoo convention there. I am so lucky to have such a talented hard-working husband. Now we just have to find the time in his schedule for him to tattoo me.... heh. One day!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

On and on

The garden is coming along beauuuuuutifully. I couldn't be happier with it! We're still getting out there most days. Pearl is getting very good at watering everything in sight, and at digging, and planting seeds. Today I let her loose with a packet of sunflower seeds. We managed to plant a few intentionally, but she got quickly bored of that and wandered off pushing them in the soil randomly around the garden. I'll be interested to see how many of them actually grow! Today we planted our new lavender plant, and a teeny starter rose bush, and some other things I can't remember the names of but that looked and smelt glorious. We also planted some chives and rosemary seeds. I've never grown either of those herbs before, so I hope they are successful. We've got some gorgeous golden thyme and sweet marjoram growing in an old sink, that Pearl loves sniffing. When getting her undressed for bed this evening I found a load of pulled sprigs of thyme inside her vest... that must've been itchy but she smelt lovely!

Other things we have been up to this week are documented below. (The pictures are from my phone; camera is still hanging in its bag in the hallway, charger is officially lost.)

Organising our living room bookshelves by colour (which is the most impractical thing I have ever done - before they were organised by subject/type, now I have NO idea where anything is!):


Took Pearl to a beautiful Park with our beautiful friend Monique, where she forgot briefly whether she liked swings or not:


Found a bargain at a jumble sale - a lil table and chairs for Pearl for just £2.50!

Got Pearl's name printed on the back of her Tumble Tots t-shirt. Chose a super girly font and I'm not even sorry:


And finally, my favourite shot, taken this afternoon. We'd just spent 2 hours working in the garden, and when we came back inside she wanted her shoes off and she climbed up there and laid back. She asked to watch Peppa Pig, and then she ate her snacks and chatted with me about our day, and then she chose her favourite book at the moment (one of the Alfie series, this one in particular) to read together. My baby is growing up.


Sunday, 11 April 2010

All change, please!











The picture quality really needed to be infinitely better than that of my phone, but at least I remembered to document this transformation in some form. (Bob had his camera at work, and my camera is still hanging in the bag in the hallway, with a completely dead battery.)

So, yeah, my family are amazing, and this week they all rallied round. They turned our shoddy, overgrown, rubbish tip of a garden into a useable beautiful outdoor space that we have already spent hours and hours in. Pearl loves being outside, but the garden was so overgrown before that it just wasn't an option. Everytime we go outside she squeals with sheer delight. She loves running around on the poor freshly laid grass, and digs in the soil, and pulls the plants out of the pots, watering everything in sight with her child sized watering can... toddler heaven!

My whole body aches from digging and from lugging giant bags of compost around, and I have gathered numerous freckles and even slightly sunburnt my head. My fingernails are dirty and I can't seem to get them clean. I have swept an outside concrete path more than I ever imagined necessary. I am so excited at the prospect of spending this Summer outdoors, watching our little garden grow.

My head is full of ideas for things to grow, and we have plans to paint the fence, and put up a new gate and and and...

I am so happy right now!

Monday, 5 April 2010


Pearl's first proper Easter has been a success. Somewhat. She isn't a chocaholic (unlike her mother), so while she was very pleased to have people giving her gifts all day, she seemed disappointed that they were all just chocolate underneath the boxes and foil. Like I tweeted (with some incredibly poor grammar - one must not tweet while distracted) earlier, she ate more peas than chocolate yesterday. She opened up all the eggs and put them in a little bucket, and just carried it around. She liked playing with the toy bunnies her grandparents bought her. She loved the egg cup and the plate and spoon, and the set of books. She loved the Easter ring that her Daddy gave her:

Pearl pointing to her 'classy' easter ring! on Twitpic

She enjoyed baking the chocolate fudge cake for dessert on Sunday, and making the chocolate nests. Making biscuits in the shape of bunnies was the highlight of her week. But, yeah, the chocolate thing confused her I think! People were very generous, so I think she'll be living off Easter's supply of chocolate for a good while yet.

My friend Alex blogged about her feelings about Easter and its mixed meaning and messages. That really got me thinking. I grew up in a Catholic family where Easter was the whole shebang, starting on Ash Wednesday and going through lent until He rose again. It wasn't that my family were overly religious, but we went to Catholic schools where it was hammered into us. We'd have new dresses to go to Mass on Easter Sunday, but when we got home my mum had always got us Easter baskets with some kind of gift and chocolate combo. I know what Easter is meant to be about, but I know what it has come to be about for most modern families. One of my friends (in fact, quite a few) posted on Facebook complaining about how children these days were taught that the Easter bunny came like Santa to leave chocolate. And how nobody understood the 'real' meaning behind it.

Like most people I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things; but it's only been very recently that I've begun questioning the things I was brought up to 'believe'. My feelings about religion change almost weekly, depending on what I've read, my frame of mind, or who I've been talking with. I know that I made the conscious decision to stop going to Church, and not to get Pearl christened. I know that I am probably closer to Atheist than the Catholic that I was brought up. But still the Easter debate of Jesus vs. Bunny did cause my brain to go into overdrive for a moment or two. I quickly told my brain to shut the hell up, and just did what I knew Pearl would enjoy.

We bumped into the Easter bunny in M&S the week before the big day, and he gave Pearl a chocolate egg, so when we gave her the eggs on Easter Sunday she made the connection herself that the "bunn abbat" had sent her the chocolate. She is too young to understand anything about Church, we have never taken her to Church. I will explain it all to her when she is old enough, but for now it was enough that she enjoyed the time with all her family gathered together. Running around with her cousin, eating peas off everybody's plates during Sunday lunch. And of course, unwrapping all that bloody chocolate.

Hope everybody else had a lovely extended weekend.

(Re-reading this, I find it noteworthy that while I can try and enlighten myself about all sorts of things, it's hard to change your habits about capitalising words when writing about religion!).

Friday, 26 March 2010

One sleep forward, two teeth back.

I totally jinxed myself by writing about how much sleep I'd been getting. Cue: new teeth, an ear ache, snotty nose, and some miscellaneous pain that she can't pin point but that makes her wake up crying every 15 minutes. Long stretches of sleep are totally over-rated anyway.

In other news: new wardrobes are fitted, but I had to do an emergency trip to Ikea to get more hangers. I own waaaay more dresses than I realised, and putting away the dozens of bags of clothes is turning out to be a very long process. I'm having to try on everything as I put it away, so that I don't end up with things in my wardrobe that I don't/can't wear. Easier said than done, because I get all nostalgic about things I haven't worn in a while, and can't quite bring myself to part with some serious crap! I need a best friend to come and assess my clothes with me and tell me honestly whether something suits me or not. Pearl just doesn't seem to be able to give the feedback I need... haha.

(Will post pictures of the allllmost completed bedroom after the weekend. Got to fix up bookshelves and finish the aforementioned mammoth clothes sorting task. But trust me it looks good!)

Sunday, 21 March 2010


So, if you've read my blog before or you know me in real life, you will know that Pearl is what I like to call a 'milky baby'. She has always needed to nurse very frequently. Didn't matter what I did to try and space out her feeds, nothing ever worked and if anything it would make her more frantic about wanting milk. There's never been any kind of rhyme or reason to her feeding pattern, other than wanting more when she was poorly. And although I'd go through stages where I felt like I needed to get control of the situation, for the most part I just went with the flow. I believe that babies know best what they need, and it's our job to learn to interpret and provide.

You might also remember that Pearl has never been what people call a 'good' sleeper. I don't like talking about babies in terms of 'good' or 'bad', but if I were to classify her sleeping behaviour I would say that perhaps waking 4-20 times every night wasn't an ideal situation! Along the way we'd tried night weaning on more than one occassion. Tried everything that people like Dr. Sears suggested. And Pearl very politely suggested that she wasn't ready. (By very politely, I mean, screaming endlessly - and this is crying in my arms, not the dreaded CIO [which I have strong feelings about, but I will save that for another post]).

Anyway. Over the course of the past week, Pearl spontaneously started sleeping for longer stretches at night. She asked for milk less during the day, and woke up less for it at night. We've gone from sometimes stirring every 15 minutes to make sure that she was still nursing (cos god forbid I roll over and button up my pyjama top!)... to sleeping her longest stretch of sleep ever. Last night I nursed her to sleep at 7.30pm and the first time she stirred asking for milk was 2am. That is a miracle in our house. I feel so much better for having had a decent stretch of sleep for a few nights in a row. If you'd have said to me a few years ago that anything less than 8 hours constituted a decent stretch of sleep, I would've laughed in your face. The problem with Pearl was never getting her to sleep, it was getting her to stay asleep. Turns out I really did just need to trust her to get there in her own time.

The only downsides to all of this: the sudden drop in frequency of nursing meant I got a blocked duct for the first time in 19 months. And apparently if you go to bed at 7.30pm and sleep really well, you have to then wake up for the day at 4.30am. I'm very glad it's daylight savings time at the end of the month!

And now for the non-Pearl part of this post: a whole year after we bought new wallpaper for our bedroom, this week we finally got the chance to put it up. Freshly painted woodwork, beautiful wallpaper, new bedsheets waiting to go on, red bookshelves going up tomorrow, and new wardrobes being fitted on Tuesday. It'll only be the second room in our home that we have totally decorated ourselves - all the others are still half finished because a certain baby arrived two weeks before her due date. Slow and steady wins the race.

Friday, 12 March 2010

My Funny Valentine

One of my favourite songs to sing to Pearl is by Kimya Dawson, it's from the childrens' album she made and is called "Little Panda Bear". (Kimya's daughter is called Panda).

I love singing the line "...and there's no other one like you". Cos particularly at the moment I really feel like there is no other one like Pearl. She's always been a very definite character but lately her personality is literally exploding out of her. She's so funny! Like, proper makes me crack up funny.

She's discovered that shopping can be fun if there are things for Pearl to choose. Finally, shopping without a meltdown at the end of every aisle! At Sainsbury's yesterday she chose a punnet of strawberries (flown all the way from Egypt, ack!) but because she never really used to like fruit, and because she'd chosen it herself I obliged and bought that strange out of season food. By the time we got to the till she also had some flower and cupcake hair clips, a CBeebies magazine, some cheese and some bagels. She was SO pleased with herself and has since told everybody we meet about what she chose. How empowering for her to realise what she can do, how she is able to communicate! But she also understands if we can't take things home (or, "paaaay", because I explain to Pearl that we can't take it because we haven't paid for it, so it has to stay in the shop). In Tesco she wanted to pick up one of those childs' digital cameras, but was perfectly fine about saying "byebye" to it when we had to move to the next aisle. In that same Tesco trip I got her her very first dressing up costume, a Woody outfit from Toy Story. She's been wearing it at every available opportunity since then, I think I tweeted a picture a few days ago and can't figure out how to post that twitpic here, so have a look in the twitter feed over there ---->

For the past few days she seems to enjoy using the word 'no'. She's said 'no' before, but I don't think she really understands what it means because we try not to use negatives when talking to Pearl. For example, instead of saying "No, don't tip your water cup onto the floor", I'd say something like, "Water stays in the cup for drinking, please keep the cup held up". For a while she liked putting her hand in her drink and licking the water off her hand. I didn't stop her because it doesn't really hurt anything, but I would say that she'd get more to drink if she used her hands to bring the cup to her mouth and drink water like that. Of course I'm not perfect and today I did yell "Nooooooo!" when she knocked 4 raw eggs onto the floor! But on the whole we try and keep it positive, and I really think it shows in how Pearl behaves. The times when I'm tired, or haven't quite got my brain in gear, and I just go into auto-pilot saying negatives, it really affects her behaviour immediately. Like if I give her a positive explanation about changing what she's doing it goes down way easier. Today she also tried to climb up and pull down the television, and once I'd uttered the immortal word "don't", it became climbing city!

But yeah, the past few days she's been loving saying 'no'. No to lunch, no to nappy change, no to going, no to staying, no to sling, no to a drink, no to pushchair, no to puzzles, no to taking shoes off, no to mummy going for a wee.... the list is endless! If you phrase your question differently (or just don't make it an option!) you'll usually discover she does want lunch, and she does want her shoes off. She is the funniest lil creature.

Twwly recently blogged about changing tactics, and it made me realise we'd gradually stopped using distraction as a tool because it often just made things worse. It almost highlighted the thing she was doing, like bringing negative attention to the situation. I've found that letting her work through her emotions, and acknowledging them by saying we know she is sad for whatever reason really helps. We went out with her grandparents last week and when we were in the cafe she wanted to get down and run about, but it was very busy and I just didn't feel it was safe. Not to mention we still had plates full of food. She got upset but somehow when I said to her calmly, "Pearl, I know you are sad because you want to run around, but it isn't safe, and Mummy is still eating her lunch. When Mummy has finished eating we can go and play together". She did a little bit more crying but I didn't try to shush her like I might've done before, and she then settled down happily to eat some of my cake! It was nothing compared to previous outings where in a similar situation I'd try to distract her and everything would escalate so quickly.

Oops this is a bit long, particularly with not much in the way of visual stimulation. I got all carried away typing, if you read all of that you may have one of these Lindt chocolates I'm eating right now. I'll send it through the power of internet magic... pahaha sorry. (Especially sorry to Alex, know how much you love them!)

Thursday, 4 March 2010


Today Pearl said 'milk' properly for the first time. And the word had a fantastic South-East London twang to it. (One can run from one's roots, but one can apparently not hide them when one has a tiny parrot in the form of a child). Until today it had been a strange throat-y or nasal-y noise, like 'mmmmmnnnk', or even better, 'gnnk', accompanied by lots of signing. But this afternoon I asked her what she wanted, and clear as day she said 'miyohlk'. I think my heart pretty much melted/exploded on the spot.

Then she got straight back to her two-day long assault of whining. But that brief, sweet moment of clarity in Pearl's toddler gobbledy-gook language made all the whining bearable.

Totally off topic: all these crazy ass weather events have really got me spooked. Bob is out for the evening and so far all I've done is eat chocolate orange and read news stories about the natural disasters that have been happening. Damn scary earthquakes and freaky waves and floods and shit. Because I needed something else to keep my stupid paranoid mind occupied... I really have seen 'The Day After Tomorrow' one too many times. Haha.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

The bath of times

She loves bathtime! Always has done, and it's such a lovely part of our day. She doesn't have a bath every day, because unlike most children who seem to respond well to the bedtime routine of bath-story-bed, if she has a bath it ramps her excitement up about 34 levels. She then not only has trouble settling down to sleep, but then has a really restless night. We never bothered with putting her in a baby bath, we just had her in the bath with us. Sometimes these days she has a little bath by herself, but we like sharing that precious time together. Her favourite bath pasttime at thte moment is to examine our tattoos and she sometimes checks her own skin for them. She had a bit of a melt down last week because she couldn't find her pizza ("pitzz") tattoo... the one that is on MY arm. I wanted to laugh so much but I had to be restrained and explain kindly, and validate her feelings about the situation etc. What a little cracker.

I love this photo, it looks like we're having a super serious in depth conversation. Often times Bob will just snap away with the camera, and it's not till we look back on the photos afterwards that we realise just how grown up our lil bubba is. She has such a wide range of facial expressions that you sometimes miss when they happen in a microsecond. It's times like these I am so grateful that we live in the age of digital photography, because we get to re-live all of this amazing-ness instantly and up close and forever. The photo I posted at the top there makes me smile from ear to ear, and also laugh a little at how crazy her teeth are. One day she will have a proper mouth full of teeth but right now they're still crazy. She seems to be a bit behind her peers with regards to teeth, but the way I see it is the later she has them, the less time they'll have to potentially go rotten. My Granny was telling me that my Dad didn't have a tooth in his mouth till he was 13 months old, so at least we're doing better than that. She seems to have realised that she has proper teeth for chewing now that she has 4 molars, so she's enjoyed nomming on more raw veggies lately.

Back to the topic at hand: bath. Pearl loves the bath so much she likes to make all her favourite objects take trips to the bath too. This morning it was my phone. My 'already-battered, not insured, still got another 10 months left on its contract' phone. Bob was in the shower, and I was down the hallway getting a clean nappy for Pearl. I was just heading back when I heard Bob yelling my name. She'd apparently just walked right in there and dropped my phone over the edge of the bath. (We have one of those showers over the bath). Under orders from Bobby, I took it apart immediately and towel dried it, then put it on the radiator. I left it there till lunchtime when I braved putting it back together. Miraculously it still works! Usually Pearl has been very good since we explained to her that only bath toys can go in the bath, but obviously the lure of my phone just lying on the side was too much temptation. At least it wasn't in the toilet... we haven't had any mishaps in that area yet and I'm just keeping my fingers crossed!

Friday, 26 February 2010

No sleep till Brooklyn

So, I've discovered the only downside to my 'job'... the lack of sick leave. I'm proper poorly but can do fuck all about it. Can't do the one thing my body really needs, which is rest, because I have an extremely rambunctious 19 month old to look after, and a home to take care of. Meals need to get cooked, nappies need to get changed (and washed, along with all the other million clothes she wears in one day!). Time doesn't stand still just because my stupid crappy immune system was unable to protect me from yet another virus.

What do full-time mothers do in these situations? I'm lucky that my husband has been willing and able to get up early with Pearl, to allow me to try and grab whatever additional sleep I can. But then he has to go to work and we're left to our own devices. I feel awful because I've had the television on far more than I would like, but it's a good distraction that doesn't require me doing very much. She was happy to sit on the sofa under the duvet with me to watch Ratatouille yesterday, and if she's happy then I'm happy. Well, coughing, aching, snotty, but sitting down so that equals some kind of happy.

But yeah, I'd love to know what mamas do in these situations. These are the situations in which I would be grateful to have had my child when I was older, so that her grandparents would be older and retired and therefore perhaps able to help look after her while I feel like a bag of crap. Would also help if I hadn't moved far away from my own parents... what I wouldn't give for a bowl of my mummy's chicken soup right now! I'm having to make do with whatever super quick meals I can bear to stand and cook for us all.

This too shall pass.

Sunday, 14 February 2010


Ask me anything http://formspring.me/lallydone

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Who needs actions when you've got...?

I'm having a very strange February so far. I would like a do-over, or to apply for a transfer to another month, or some sort of time machine to get me back to January, because January was probably the most awesome month of my life. I just didn't know it at the time. I don't think that there are enough words to explain it, or maybe there are too many words, and I'm worried that if I start typing I won't stop until my hands physically break.

I think maybe I will be able to talk about February once this month has finished. I'm pinning all my hopes on a super March. Springtime, new beginnings and all that.

Here's a musical interlude in the mean time. Listening to this song at every available opportunity at thte moment. 7 times on the drive to London today alone. Music is my saviour, as always.

(Excuse the strange youtube user video, dont know how else I can share this amazing version of this song with you though.)

In the mean time... http://www.formspring.me/lallydone

Peace out

Tuesday, 2 February 2010


To update briefly on Friday's events: I managed to get out of the house, albeit while Pearl was shouting 'Mama' in a very wobbly voice behind me. I had a bit of a wobble in the car, and did consider turning around more than once, but made it to Brighton eventually. By all accounts her grandparents were able to calm her quickly, however she didn't want any part of her 'normal' bedtime routine if it didn't involve Mama or Milk. They read lots of stories and played quietly, just letting her lead the way really. She finally succumbed to sleep while watching "Ratatouille" from the comfort of Grandma's lap, about 2 hours after her normal bedtime. She stayed asleep until about 11pm, by which point I was already on my way home, but it meant she cried inconsolably for about 15 minutes until I came legging it in the door.

I did have a feeling that she would go down relatively easily, but that the first time she stirred she would want me and only me. She nursed for well over an hour once I lay down with her, and hasn't wanted to leave my side since then, but that is totally understandable. She's been asking for milk very frequently for the past few days, although I think that's a combination of her molars giving her jip and the Friday night stuff.

Today I am feeling a bit fragile. My back is up and I'm all defensive about our style of parenting. The past week has thrown some strange encounters our way, and I hate feeling like I have to defend the way we have chosen to raise our child. So many people just blindly go through their parenting career, and seem to take offense if somebody else does something other than what is 'normal'. If I choose to do something with Pearl and you've done it differently, it doesmt mean that I'm criticising your choices. Does that make sense? It's a scenario I encounter all the time with breastfeeding, but more and more it's happening with every day things. I think I want to write more about this when I have more time. Right now Pearl is napping and I want to use the time to read more of my current book, "Mothering Your Nursing Toddler".

I need to remember to breathe, and that the proof will be in the pudding. And Pearl is already the best pudding I ever made.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Nnnnng blergh

I have a cold, again. So does Pearl, although hers is already waning thankfully. I've been breathing through my mouth all week. This is not attractive and needs to end soon. I want to be able to taste my food again, and to be able to sleep lying down without feeling like I'm suffocating. Additionally, a cold plus sleep deprivation can drastically reduce one's ability to behave rationally. Pearl's cold preceded mine, so for a few days before I got snotty she was stirring almost every 10 minutes overnight. My poor body just didn't stand a chance. I've got a mouth full of ulcers, which is my foolproof sign that I am run the fuck down. I don't just get one or two at a time, I get clusters of the buggers, and usually on my tonsils too. This time they're on my soft palette and going down to my tonsils, also under my tongue. Real nice, immune system, thanks.

Anyway enough of the poorly whining. Tomorrow I'm meant to be going out with my husband in the evening for the first time since Pearl was born. Snot and all. Pearl usually nurses to sleep, and during night-time hours she will usually only accept comfort from me, so it would've been unfair to her and to any potential babysitters for me to leave her after hours. At 18 months she still usually only wants me at night, but Bob's parents are the ones who will be babysitting. I know that she loves them so much and... well I don't know how she's going to act but I will only be about 1/2hr away, so can be back here quick if she really needs me.

Part of me thinks that she might not go to sleep at all. Maybe cos of the excitement of having her grandparents here, maybe because she won't get the warm milk and relaxing hormone nightcap. Part of me is totally panicking and thinking about cancelling, because I'm abandoning her when she needs me most and will she think I'm a mean heartless mummy? Part of me just knows that nothing Pearl has ever done has been predictable, and really what's the worst that could happen? One night won't permanently disturb her bedtime routine. I mean, she sleeps so unpredictably already, perhaps an evening shakeup might be what she needs. Who knows.

I won't be drinking but I am looking forward to some adult conversation, and an excuse to get dressed in something other than my daytime mummy clothes. I've been outfit planning all week, like an excited school girl, but it just occured to me that most of the clothes I'd been thinking about are probably in the giant mountain of washing in the bedroom. Tomorrow morning I will have to root around and see what I can wash on a quick cycle, so that it will dry in time for our evening adventures.

Fingers crossed I can at least make it to the party before I have to come back to my bubba.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Recipe for success

An additional hour's sleep for Mama, a lovely bath, the most delicious juicy orange we've ever eaten, drop Dada to the train station, a morning of playing, food shopping while Pearl slept in the pushchair, lunch at M&S cafe, a new owl rug for Pearl's room, Pearl biting a raw unpeeled garlic clove, cooking our best ever spag bol, a super-long pre-bed story session, 4 new words in one day, Green & Blacks Maya Gold chocolate, Design*Sponge blog browsing, and a present in the form of an American Apparel long hoody from my husband.

Tomorrow's recipe will include such classics as, "going to Carpet Right to choose new carpets", "buying a new nappy pail", "making rhubarb crumble", and "cleaning the bathroom".

(Forgot to say, this photo and the other one a few days ago were both taken by Bob. Still haven't charged my camera, crap.)

Thursday, 21 January 2010


We live in a hundred year old house that was converted into two flats (one on each of the two floors) about 10 years ago. It's great because we get high ceilings, and access to our own bit of garden, and some gorgeous original period features. Beautiful windows that let in lots of light and alcoves either side of the chimney breast. But it's rubbish because it isn't purpose built, so the sound-proofing is pretty much non-existant. The person who carried out the conversion obviously did not give a shit about helping the occupants of the two flats live peacefully in such close proximity. Downstairs have beautiful original wooden flooring, but combined with the high ceilings, open fireplaces and their lack of soft furnishings, we can hear 99% of what goes on in their home. When we're busy during the day, this isn't really an issue. (Aside from a couple of occasions of unusually loud reggae music, but thankfully that's been few and far between). However, like most young couples, their lives would appear to revolve around the evenings and weekends. Their kitchen is directly below our bedroom, and while I'm trying to help Pearl go to sleep, we can hear them chopping their food, talking, moving pots and pans, getting things out of the cupboard, even hear their boiler clunking as they use the hot tap. We hear them walking up and down the hallway, shouting down the length of the flat to each other, moving chairs at the table. The other night I lay in bed at 2.30am listening to the only slightly dampened sound of their television. The male neighbour has got such a deep booming voice, it sounds like he's speaking in a bloody megaphone. If he laughs or speaks loudly it wakes Pearl with a start.

We share a communal entrance hallway (about 1m wide by 2m long), which contains both of our front doors and the main front door to the outside world. Because of where these doors are, we have the stairs to our home actually within our own front door. Somehow, anything they cook or have within their flat that has any odour, manages to waft up our stairs and make our whole flat smell like whatever they've been using/eating/doing. Today that smell was marijuana. I got home from a frantic shopping trip with Pearl, during which she'd spent the whole time doing that back-arching tantrum thing because I hadn't let her bite into a raw onion ("Pah [Pearl speak for apple]?" "No Pearl, onion". "PAH!" "Bubba, it's an onion, look here's an apple!" "MmmmmNO Mama, PAH!" etc). I was laden with shopping bags and the nappy bag and a wriggling Pearl, trying to open the front door in the dark, and the last thing I wanted to do was come back to a home that stank like it had been hot boxed by some teenage stoners. Blergh. I've never smelt it before from them, so I really hope it's just a one off. I don't have a problem with people smoking weed, but it's just not something I do, particularly with a small child in the house.

Anyway. I'm sure they hear everything we do as well, particularly lil' Miss stompy pants. All her monster impressions must annoy the hell out of them - she may be tiny but she makes the floor shake when she runs up and down the hallway. And the other morning she was hitting her hammer and peg toy ten to the dozen, probably long before they had to be awake. How very considerate of her, hah! I'm sure they have no idea how much of their lives we can hear, and I'd probably be embarrassed if I knew how much they could hear of us. Still, annoying none the less, to have Pearl's sleep so unnecessarily disrupted every single evening.

All I know is that if we ever have the money to move, I want somewhere detached. No stinky noisy neighbour worries in my future, please.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


I get to spend every day (and night, don't forget the nights!) with this wonderful lil' human. Growing and learning and playing and non-stop all the time amazingness. Her speech and language are developing so quickly. She says new words almost daily, my favourite is still how she says 'flower'; "hlaw-lawh', lots of exaggerated mouth and tongue movements but she tries so hard to get it just right! Her co-ordination amazes me, especially how she feeds herself with cutlery. She can feed herself soup too, which took a few weeks of extremely messy lunchtimes but now she's got the hang of it there's no stopping her! She plays with toys and uses her imagination in ways I wouldn't have expected for someone of her age. She makes me cups of tea with her tiny tea set, she "COOK!"s multiple meals every day, mixing and pouring and "snip"-ping ingredients from her play food set. She loves going through all her animal finger puppets and making all the different noises together.

I know that every parent thinks their child is a genius, but I hope I never stop being amazed by all the things she is capable of. She is so considerate of others, too. I can't remember if I've mentioned it before, but she seems to understand the concept of taking turns. And if she sees another child upset while we're at toddler group, she'll come to find me to tell me, or she stands near them making enough noise to alert somebody that she knows something is wrong.

I get kissed by that cute little face and climbed all over by that ever-growing body, I get hugs and I get my trousers tugged in a frantic manner when I spend too long doing something that doesn't involve her. I get my nose, eyes, mouth, and ears poked whenever she feels like she needs to remind me that she knows what all those body parts are called. I get to be the one who scoops her up if she's fallen over... or if she's landed on her face after trying to run down a slide! I get to battle with her to let me help her clean her teeth, explain to her that we mustn't empty out the whole pack of babywipes in one go. I get to make pictures with her and make sure she is clean and presentable. I get to wake up 20 times a night to help her get back to sleep, and yet still I feel a huge grin take over my face when she wakes up in the morning, immediately full of beans and excitement about the day ahead. I get to chase her round the supermarket, and let her chase me down the hallway while she practices being a monster.

I must've done something good.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Floor beans

Today was back to business as usual. A 'normal' Tuesday, the first 'normal' day we've had since before Christmas I think. It was fucking awesome! We had playgroup this morning, which Pearl loves. She got to make a snowman picture with glue and cotton wool, although I think by the end she had more stuck on her fingers than on the paper. She ran around and played with the dolls and the cars and the kitchen, and moved chairs around, and went on the mini slide a shit ton. She was super excited when it was time to do singing today, frantically clapping her hands and saying "Yeahhhhh" at every opportunity, which everybody seemed to think was adorable. Ok, I thought it was adorable. I'm just glad to have my proper girly back, and to be rid of that snotty whine monster.

It was also a return to business as usual for her eating habits. She's still asking for milk really frequently, but I can manage to get her to have a drink or snack instead, or to have a cuddle, or sometimes I can just distract her by saying "oooh look what's over here...". If I've tried those things and she then still asks for milk, of course I will oblige. But as I was saying; her appetite appears to have returned. Thank goodness for that! I'm feeling very proud of what she ate today, considering how little she has been eating, so I'm going to type it here for my own purposes. She has always had a relatively small appetite without being poorly, so this was a really amazing day for her.

1/4 of a bagel
1/4 biscuit and some raisins
Bowl of soup and 1/2 slice multiseed bread toast
1/2 orange
1/2 pack mini cheddars
2 mini sausages
1/4 banana
1/2 apple
1/2 avocado
Bowl of wholegrain rice and half a chicken breast
1 yoghurt
Loads of water and milk throughout the day

Written like that it may not seem like a lot, but it was superb for us. By the time she'd finished eating her dinner, she kept saying "poo", and rubbing her tummy... don't think she'd ever experienced having such a full stomach, she must've felt like she needed to poop! It was so cute because she looked really concerned about her lil tummy. I'm also really pleased that she ate that variety of fruits. She's always preferred savoury foods - for months she favoured green foods (broccoli, avocado, peas, spinach were top of the list), and would hardly touch anything else. She doesn't seem to have the massive sweet tooth that I have, which can only be a good thing really. Lots of parents complain that their bubbas won't eat savoury foods, so I'm not complaining because she loves vegetables! I also know that there are far better snacks for toddlers than mini cheddars, and usually she has something better than that, but I feel like I would be being hypocritical if I sat and ate mini cheddars and never gave her anything remotely treat-y.

Speaking of treat-y, I bought some bourbon biscuits today that I just remembered about. I'm going to get off the laptop and go eat those. Who needs exciting evenings down the pub when you can have a pack of bourbons while you watch Bill Bailey's guide to the orchestra?!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Whatcha gon' do, come back back again

Pearl is fiiiiiinally better! She's not completely back to her old self (see: excess snot, cough, and whining) but she's not sleeping/crying all day and night long, so anything is a marked improvement on that dire scenario. Fuck me that was a challenging few weeks. It was heartbreaking watching her get more and more poorly, and being able to do fuck all about it other than make her distressed four times a day, trying to force her to take some medicine to alleviate some of her discomfort. I have never been more grateful for the fact that she is still nursing, otherwise she would have had pretty much nothing to eat in over a week. I mean, she'd nibbled like a bird at some tiny amounts of food, and we'd offered her nutritious snacks and meals as usual, but the only thing she would regularly take was breastmilk. Now she's on the mend she's still asking for milk a gazillion times a day, but we are gradually getting back to 'normal'. She devoured all the food we had today and that made me do big smiles.

I love cooking for Pearl (and Bobby). (And therefore me, I suppose!). It's especially more rewarding now Pearl is able to "help" cooking, and that she is able to "help" me pick out the produce at the supermarket. I think she's getting old enough to make the connection between what we've bought and how we prepare it, and the final outcome of the meal. She gets so excited when she sees the stack of broccolis for sale, and she was squealing "pepper" over and over when we were choosing red peppers. She understands when I say that we can't eat things if they're not cooked (see: trying to break into a pack of uncooked sausages while we were unloading the shopping). She appears to understand if we have to wait for something to cook. I love it when she bends down to look in the oven to check how something is doing! I desperately want to get her a toy oven of her own, but we have a fairly small home, and plus those things cost money. I'm keeping an eye out in our local charity shops for one, because I think I could sacrifice some space in our cramped home just to see the fun she would have playing with her own sized pots and pans. As part of her Christmas presents we got her a huge pack of toy foods. It contained loads of fruit and veg, but also fun stuff like pizza, and chicken, and pasta, and even some pringles. Not that she's ever eaten pringles, but still. She knows what crisps are! She spent ages on Christmas morning playing with it, and putting together plates of food for us. I think this 'role playing' stage of her development is already the most fun to be a part of and to witness. And there's so much more to come. My baby is growing so fast!

I wanted to say that I know my blog is visually boring because I never add any photos, but that will change soon I promise. Gotta upload all the latest ones off Bob's camera, and also gotta charge up my little point'n'shoot thing to capture more of the day-to-day stuff that Pearl and I get up to.

Friday, 1 January 2010


Life totally went into overdrive for a few months there. I didn't forget about my blog: but every time I remembered, I just didn't have the time to sit down and write something even semi-interesting. I kept thinking, "Oh I'll update when such-and-such has happened", or "When I've finished doing this", but nothing is ever really finished, so I don't know what on earth I was thinking.

Right now I can't think of anything else that happened since I last wrote a blog, because I am incredibly tired. Exhausted, actually. Pearl is very poorly. Today we took her to the hospital for the very first time since she left it after she was born. We're still at my parents' house, and since we arrived on Boxing Day, Pearl has been getting gradually more ill. Her temperature has been rising and her mood worsening. She's full of snot, and coughing, and vomiting... today she was crying inconsolably and just not herself at all, which combined with all the other things meant we took her to a&e. I'd originally phoned grab-a-doc (the local out of hours Drs service around here) but the Doctor I spoke to said that it sounded like she just had a virus that was going around, and that she'd be fine in a few days. My mama instinct told me that this was not a satisfactory answer, and calpol was doing jack shit. My Dad drove us to the hospital since I was all in Mama-freaking-out mode. The thing on the wall said that the wait was around 4 and a half hours, but we were seen within 10 mins. I haven't got the energy to type out the long and short of it, but basically her temperature was 38.6 when we got there (thats about 101 something or other, I think) and the Dr wouldn't let us leave till she was more calm and not burning up. She refused to take any medicine, so they had us strip her off and brought in a huge fan to try and bring her temperature down. It took about 45minutes for it to get to 37.8, at which point the Dr said we could go but that if we were at all unsure, or if she got worse, to bring her back in. We were sent away with antibiotics and a 'diagnosis' consisting of a severe upper respiratory tract infection, severe left inner ear infection, and suspected tonsilitis. My poor, poorly bubba!

As it turns out, today would be the first day ever that Pearl decided she no longer liked medicine. She's always taken calpol fairly easily if it's been necessary, but today - no way was that getting anywhere near her mouth! So getting some foul tasting antibiotic in her has been an interesting challenge. We've managed about 1 and a half doses so far, and hoping for better luck tomorrow. She is the most poorly I have ever seen her, and it breaks my heart. She's woken up a gazillion times since she went to bed this evening, just sobbing in her hoarse throated voice, smearing snot all over my shoulder and generally being not right at all. I hope the second day of 2010 is better for my lil jam.