Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Christmas Stockings Finished!!!!

I have finally finished them!!

If you want any info on what I did just contact me via a comment. Back in new year x

Nearly there and feeling ready!

Well, despite my panicking the other day I now feel more organised and ready to tackle the impending Christmas! M's birthday done. Friends visiting done. House sorted after friends done. Everything bought for Christmas day done. Now I just need to get to Mother's and enjoy it!

Loving the snow, makes you feel really in the spirit of things and lifts the light at this time of year.

JJ is in full crawling mode now. There seems no end to his ability to cover the floor at speed. He is even trying to pull himself up onto his feet - how things change so quickly! Lots of bumps to the head though - I'm sure we'll look back on those Christmas photo's and smile at the bruises one day...

Happy Christmas to you all. Oh, and the Mother is being much better. We went out for drinks with friends in St A on Thurs night when it snowed and ended up stranded, having to stay with friends. She was babysitting and was staying the night anyhow and was fantastic. I walked home in the morning and came back to a calm house. What a relief! Think it also did her good as she now knows she can cope. Brilliant!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Christmas next week????

I cannot believe that time is running away with itself. I keep looking in my diary and realising that it is next week! Aarrrrggghhhh, so much to do before then.

Things that need doing (in no particular order, although I must get it in an order at some point!):
Packing for Mother's
Packing for MIL's (heading pretty much straight there after leaving Mother's)
Sorting JJ's food, milk, bottles, clothes, nappies, bedding....etc
Wrapping presents
Writing cards
Going to supermarket
Making mince pies
Making a pudding
Icing cake
Taking cat's to cattery
Watering plants/Christmas tree
Cleaning house (I have a thing about coming back to a clean-ish house)
M's birthday (20th, how inconvenient!)
Putting people up, sorting spare room
Cleaning up after people have left
Actually spending time with M and JJ before mayhem at Mother's
FINISHING christmas stockings (yes, alas they are not finished...)
and many more I can't think of....

Is there a sense of panic....? Well, no, but it will come on the 23rd and I will be a raving lunatic rushing around trying to finish everything.

Oh well, it's Christmas after all. Enjoy! This might be my last post in a while so see you all again in the New Year!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Biting Baby

JJ is on a mission. Not only is he desparate to get his nashers on his food and toys but he's taken a liking to me, more specifically my left arm. I have bruises to prove it, teeth shaped and all.

If only I could blame them on a passionate night with M....

I ask you, is it a good look to have baby-sized love bites? Is it cute, is it endearing, or is it just downright painful?

How do you stop a baby biting when they don't understand the difference between your arm and a soft toy?

It's not the mother-in-law I'm worried about....

Ok, so this is a bit of a personal issue I have, but I'm going to talk about it anyway because I need some thoughts on it from others (and neither the mother-in-law or mother will read this, I hope).

It's my mother.

I thought that, when your daughter has a baby, your mother would be the most wonderful person on Earth. Well, it turns out that she still as no interest in my baby JJ. Part of me wants to provide lots of reasons, no, excuses, why she is like this and the other part of me just wants to shout at her. He's the story...

Alright, let's be personal here, my Dad died of cancer over a year and a half ago. I became pregnant soon after because, well, we really weren't thinking about getting pregnant then and it just kind of happenned. Great news, I though Mother would be really pleased and glad that something would take her mind off losing her beloved. No. She was pretty disinterested from the start. My sister-in-law was also pregnant, 2 months ahead with her second, and she was more concerned about her it seemed. I don't mean to come across as jealous, I really wasn't, but my Mother seemed to have let me down. I wanted support, I wanted emotional support and advice. All she gave me was the guilt-trip that I wasn't spending enough time with her or phoning her enough (hold on, really pregnant and holding down a stressful head of department teaching job does not equal enough time for the husband, let alone anyone else!). I could have screamed!

She was on holiday when I gave birth - she had actually asked me in advance whether she should go, but I gave birth early so it was just bad timing. She was excited at the start but kept away. Now, I'm not a shrinking violet when it comes to my thoughts about how I want to live my life and bring up my children, so I guess my Mother didn't want to interfere in case she got both barrels, so to speak. I can see that maybe I wasn't the most stable of people after giving birth (who is?!) but I remember her coming to visit sometime in the first week and asking whether I had the 'baby blues' and I promptly cried in front of her (cardinal sin). I thought the balance would shift and she'd take over, give me that emotional support, but she didn't. There, there, was all I got.

Moving forward 8 months to today - she has just looked after JJ this afternoon for 1 1/2 hours for the FIRST TIME since he was born. Ok, she has taken him for a walk once before for half an hour, but nothing since then. She hasn't even offered. I would have muscled in with my daughter and sent her off shopping or to have her hair done or something. Do I sound callous and unforgiving? Should I be grateful I have a Mother that I see every few weeks, if I'm lucky, even though she lives 20 mins away?

I have spoken to a number of friends about this and they say I should confront her about it. About the lack of interest - she will literally come for a visit, make me get the coffee whilst she parks herself in her 'chair' and updates me on her social life. She doesn't even pick up JJ unless I give him to her. Then she recoils when he squirms (which is about every other second) and passes him back to me. Heaven forbid it she should actually get down on the floor and interact with him. Aaaarrrgggghhhhh............. How was I entertained when little?

Well, the answer to that was that our Grandmother (Mother's mum) lived with us and I think probably took care of us most of the time. Maybe Mother isn't maternal? She doesn't seem to have the genes for it.

The title refers to my Mother-in-law. Now, she's a different kettle of fish. Ok, so she has 2 other grandchildren she's practiced on as they live nearby. But MIL actually plays with JJ and makes him laugh and gives him bottles/feeds him without me having to ask. We have left him with them on numerous occasions when visiting so we can actually get some time out together. Mother recently cancelled a babysitting session (on M's birthday in a few weeks) because she 'forgot' about a carol service she wanted to go to. Aaaaaarrrrggggghhhhh. MIL would jump at the opportunity to babysit, if only she didn't live in Devon!

I'm stuck with a dilemma. Mother is suppossed to be looking after JJ for 1 day a week when I go back to work. She doesn't even know him. She has no idea about his routine or how advance he has become. She never asks. But if I confront her (and I'll go both barrels) it will destroy this arrangement I'm sure.

So, we've arranged for some 'visiting' sessions at her house (I have to book these in weeks in advance because of her busy schedule! Ha!) for her to get used to him. I'm going to write EVERYTHING down about his routine and feeding etc. I'm looking into playgroups she can take him to in her area. What else can I do to ensure it works? I can't change her genes.... (unless science has advanced gene therapy to include the introduction of maternal genes that is).

Answers on a postcard.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Sleepless in St Albans has gone Off-line

Wooo Hoooo. A night of unbroken sleep!!!! Actually I was the one who woke up, but it is still classed as unbroken! He did it. Stirred a few times but made it through after his 10pm bottle.

I'm guessing you're looking at the dates of the posts and wondering what's going on - well I'd saved my last post to finish at a later date, hence why it's so short, and then Eureka! Now, how long do we reckon this will last?

I'll keep you posted!

Sleepless in St Albans

Sadly, nothing to do with Meg Ryan's tasteful impression. No, it's JJ. He has been waking in the night too many times to remember, wanting bottles of milk which he duly downs in one before returning to a short-lived slumber. I'm putting it down to lots of things - teething, cold/snotty nose, not drinking enough milk in the day (seems to have gone off it), not drinking much of his bedtime milk....the list is endless because there has to be some reason, surely?

I'd like to say I'm completely zombiefied, but my body seems to have got used to broken sleep as it's had so much practice at it.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

There's something on your shoulder...

Erm, excuse me, you have something on your shoulder.

Yes, I know, it's snot. Not mine I might add, but the silvery trails of my cold-ridden son. He has taken to burying his head in my shoulder/chest and leaving snot trails. Delightful, expecially when someone points it out. I must remember to change before I go out....

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

A crafty Christmas

Although it seems I may have been inspired by last weekend's crafty activities, I have actually already been dabbling with a little Christmas craft over the past few months.

It all started with my usual plunge into festive-ness around October, when the first Christmas magazines appear on the supermarket shelves. Oh, so tempting.... One or two inevitably find themselves at the bottom of the trolley, I'm such a sucker for marketing. Anyhow, these inspired me to get crafty (and thrifty this Dec as the ol' maternity money has disappeared) and make my own cards. I don't know how many hours vaporised as I delved into a world of my own. M looked on with interest and I'm sure he was itching to get gluey fingers too (don't you love the peely fingers you end up with when using that all purpose glue?...oh, the joy!). The result? Well, I have about 30 INDIVIDUAL (yes, I KNOW!) handmade Christmas cards to send out this year!!!! And that was by the beginning of Nov.

The second crafty Christmas task I took on this year was to make Christmas stockings for us all. I found a gorgeous little sewing shop, run by paper-skinned old ladies. A treasure-trove of sewing delights. I bought some felt and various threads, needles etc. I also went to JL haberdashery dept to get some other bits, again a delightful place you could spend a whole afternoon pottering about in (although they'd probably think I was a shoplifter). All in all it actually probably cost me the same as buying the damn stockings, but that is missing the point. Obviously JJ will delight in receiving his stocking, perhaps not this year, but in years to come, and M and I now have somewhere to put all those little pressies you invariably end up buying each other. The first one is made and I have to say I've impressed myself with my craftyness.

I must take a photo of the finished stockings and post them, that's if I get round to actually finishing the others.......

Enjoy some craftyness this December.

Sunday, 22 November 2009


Oh, I love curry....mmmmmm. We have something of a soft spot, well obsession really, for curries. They have to be authentic and, more often than not, homemade. It is easier than it sounds, believe me. You simply have to invest in a little retail therapy (yes, hard I know!) stocking up on basic spices then you are good to go! All good Indian cookery books usually give you a list of store cupboard ingredients you need, so it's not difficult to get a list together. Once you have these basic ingredients then shopping for each curry is easy, you just need meat and some fresh ginger/coriander usually.

My bible, and it literally is a bible, is Madhur Jaffery's Curry Bible. She is an amazing woman if you think about it. Not only did she overcome the being-a-woman thing, but also racist prejudice, to have had so many TV programmes exclusively about Indian cusine shown by the BBC in the 70's/80's. Wow. This was before the Delia explosion too remember (but not Fanny Craddock, so you understand what she was up against...).

Anyhow, this book contains a plethora of delicious dishes. You will salivate as you read it and have to go out immediately to get the ingredients for a number of different recipies! It also contains masses of vegetable and pulse dishes, all too often overlooked. Rice and bread recipies are included too. It should keep you going for a good number of years as it is a thick book! Go out and get it now, or, even better, put it on your Christmas list!

Another author I have to mention is Anjum Anand, who recently did some TV series for the BBC. She has a number of books out and her take on Indian cooking is a health-conscious one - something we will all be looking for in January no doubt.... Reading her introductions you will understand why she chose this route and it is without loss of flavour/richness in her recipies too. Another for the Christmas list.

Enjoy your spice-laden culinary journey!

Christmas Fun?

A weekend of Christmas fayres..... Luckily JJ seemed to have overcome his whingey baby syndrome on Saturday so the day out at Wimpole Hall Christmas Craft Fayre went very well. The fayre showed off the best of the region's local craftsmen/women, from wooden toy crafts to watercolour paintings, christmas nicknacks and decorations to cakes and snacks, pottery to glassware. It was lovely to see so many independent crafts people under one sodden roof. Obviously being the UK it bucketed it down in the morning, but the lovely people at Wimpole had been expected this and organised for some lovely marquees and even lovelier heating! What fun. The kids were entertained with a puppet show and puppet-making. What a great idea. JJ is too little for this at the moment, but had he been older he would have loved it.

Did we buy anything I hear you ask? Well, no, apart from a pork-pie to fortify the appetite created by looking at all the lovely goodies on offer.

Today we stayed more locally and went to Harpenden Farmers' Market. An amazing market held every 4th Sunday of the month - well worth a visit if you've never been. It was the Christmas market this month as it is the last one before christmas, obviously. It was great; fired up the spirits and made us feel very Christmassy. We made room for a delicious Bassingthorpe Beef burger as we ambled around. Did we buy anything? Well apart from some lamb shanks for our curry tonight and some sausages, no, but I could've spent a fortune on Christmas goodies (including some beautiful hand-made wreaths and wicker baskets). As I'm on maternity leave I don't have a fortune, so that's not possible, shame!

To finish I would like to say how fantastic these fayres/markets were - we came away with a glow in our hearts (and bellies). So what happenned to the St Albans Christmas Fayre/turning-on of the lights last weekend? What a shambles. The market seemed cheap and the fairground rides/stalls nasty and sadly the event seemed to bring out some 'interesting' people. And if you hung around for the lights to go on (as we sadly did) then you would have been truely disappointed. Whoever employed the lighting technicians should hang their heads in shame. They came on sporadically in patches, some not at all, and there were no cheers whatsoever. Actually it was all rather embarassing, luckily I wasn't the one who had employed the lighting guys.....

Friday, 20 November 2009

Whingey Baby

So, JJ is teething. Great. That means that I have been subjected to 'whingey baby' syndrome all day, so much so that I now have a headache. He seemed to enjoy the toddler group this morning but didn't sleep enough after lunch. This transformed him into whingey baby and nothing will pacify for long. One minute he is fine, the next he transforms, then back again, etc. No rhyme or reason, why?

Teething gel helped a little (it was also good for my mouth ulcer!) but this was short lived. The trip to the car wash provided him with a little more sleep but then whingey baby arrived not long after he woke up. Sadly I invested in a second-hand noisy toy over the weekend which passifies whingey baby for an instant but has resulted in said headache (oh, and the underlying whine all afternoon).

Sadly, I have recently employed the help of his 'dum dum', which he only used to have during nap times and at night, during the day as this seems to comfort him and give him something to chew on. It's that age old "I always said that my child would never use a dummy" quandry. Well, I have and he seems to like it. I'll have to deal with the consequences at a later date.

Another thing, does anyone else's child grind their teeth at this age? Since his top ones have started to come through he has been doing it. It must provide pressure to relieve some of the pain, or is it just something he can now do with teeth at top and bottom? Another question on the learning curve...

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

So, why the blog?

Finally I have some time at the computer (yes, it has been too long!). Baby JJ is asleep and I have tidied up before making the so-needed-coffee and attacking the question - why am I writing this blog?

Good question. I need and outlet to the 'bringing up a baby' learning curve I have found myself on and a chance to discuss things with others. And yes, I know there are already hundreds of thousands of people out there all doing the same. Does that mean I can't too?

Each day brings new things to deal with, so you are constantly trying to catch up; hindsight is such a great thing. Here's some background: married to gorgeous husband M, living in suburbia, baby JJ born, now 8 months, still on mat leave. Life has changed quite a bit....

However, I have to say that I am really enjoying time at home with baby JJ, especially as he seems to be coming along in leaps and bounds at the moment. I remember someone saying they became really interesting from 6 months and now I can appreciate that, not that he wasn't interesting before 6 month, don't get me wrong, but obviously being less able to do things was a restriction. Now the increased vocalisation and 'wanting to be on the move' means I have to keep an eye on him all the time. Why is it that, no matter how many cushions you put around them, they always seem to manoeuvre themselves into a position where they have nothing to fall back on and inevitably do fall and cry? See photo above

Well, right in front of my eye the above has happenned. Typical! Stay still please JJ. I can see that the relative peace and tranquility of having a static baby is about to be shattered. It is clear that it won't be long before he's crawling. Watch this space (and the loss on my sanity).

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Mummy's Learning Curve Number 1: Create a Blog

What was I thinking? 8 month old baby, house in a mess....guess what, I'll create a Blog....

Not the best idea in the world. It has taken me numerous hours to sort out once the little one's been in bed (oh, and fed husband and tidied up in mean time, as you do).

I guess I just need a little more time to think about the content....?