Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Warning: The follow blog entry may not be for the faint hearted (i.e. men)

Today I have an appointment with the nurse to try and resolve a matter close to the heart of most parents (I should imagine), birth control. 

I am not a massive fan of the condom, male or otherwise. The male condom I find slightly repulsive, so not really the response aimed for when engaging in an intimate moment. It's the smell, the texture and the fact that they are slimy that make me feel uncomfortable. Not having ever tried the female condom, as the idea of placing what appears to be a small carrier bag (sandwich bag maybe) inside my person was not that appealing and physically, although not an impossibility, extremely difficult I should imagine, not to mention time-consuming and well I would imagine a big mood killer!

So I have, mostly, always used the combined pill, with the exception of a six month period after Emily was born when I had to use the mini pill because I was breast feeding. However it would seem that myself and Cilest no longer shared a love for each other as we had before. Now I have heard the many horror stories from friends and relations about the numerous pills they have had to consume in hope of finding one that suited them. I was lucky enough to find 'that' pill the first time around but not anymore. Somewhere between my early twenties and post- Emily, Cilest and I have become incompatible. Oh the horror and the utter intolerance of it all!

See to say I was slightly testy in the lead up to my monthly visitor would, probably, if I'm honest, be an understatement. I was MONSTROUS! I adopted a vile, demonic, totally rageful alter-ego. I was so bad that even I didn't want to spend time with me during these periods (haaaa no pun intended), however being unfortunately unable to remove myself from my own skin, I was stuck with me. It was like the Jekyll and Hyde of Junction Road. So having removed myself 'post haste' from this pill, I am now stuck in the land of no birth control!

Having visited the nurse last week I was given another type, Microgynon, which I am informed by everyone I know and nearly all birth control forums, is the devil incarnate in the form of a contraceptive pill! My friend told me it turned her into a raving lunatic!

"OHHH great" was Gavin's reponse upon hearing this news. "So they take you off one pill that is making you insane and decide to give you one that will make you worse, that's just great isn't it?! And a typical example of what our National Health Service has come to"

'Well okay honey I didn't think it was that bad?'
"Hmmm" was his response. So....Clearly it was THAT bad then!

And well it must have been that bad as he begged me not to take the new pill until after Christmas. 
"Let's just have a nice Christmas" he pleaded with a look of intense fear and desperation in his eyes! 
"Well okay then" I conceded, not wanting to be the Grinch that stole Christmas. 

So anyway I am going back to the nurse this afternoon to plead my case. I quite like being relatively normally all month, not just for 21 days of it! And if you ever needed any proof that the pill was causing the insanity and it wasn't just 'me', bless my soul neither of us even knew I was due on last month. It was only when I went to the toilet and discovered the truth did I actually laugh to myself. And upon hearing this news Gavin said, 
"Well who would have known, you been quite nice recently" Cheers, thanks darling...

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Impatient me?! I don't know what you mean...

Okay, honestly now, I have to admit that I may not be the world's most patient person. 

No would never have kind of you to say.

Unfortunately at times (well actually quite frequently) I am very impatient, which doesn't bode well as a parent. And to make it worse I really dislike those parents that never complain about their children. The ones that wax lyrical about how wonderful their children are and how every single moment is a joy to behold. Some of them even write blogs about it all (AHEM!). Okay, okay so you have me on that one but I think, in fairness, not all I write is about the joys of parenting. I like to think I give quite a balanced view on being a mother, some of the good, some of the bad and everything inbetween. However what I do not do is live under the illusion that Emily is perfect and never does anything remotely naughty, annoying or just damn right infuriating at times. So yes I do raise my voice and sometimes I even lose my temper. 

It's just that I only have a certain amount of energy and enthusiasm and it is spread extremely thinly at times, particularly the enthusiasm. So I do love my daughter with a love so fierce it scares me BUT If I'm honest I could really do without the following:

  • Having to repeat myself four+ times before Emily will do as I ask (I think it doesn't help that I also have to adopt this same method with her dad too).
  • Having to listen to my daughter repeat herself four+ times, even though I answered her question or request the first time she asked.
  • Over-use of the word 'NO', by both of us actually.
  • Being rudely awaken, every morning, by the sound of my daughter whining and moaning at me to come get here but once in my bed immediately ignoring me in favour of daddy cuddles.
  • Over-use of the word 'CAREFUL'.
  • Over-use of the phrase 'Just a minute Emily'.
  • Over use of the phrases, 'Put that down/back', 'Don't touch that', 'Stop that', 'Please stop that', "Emily I am telling you right now to stop that!'.
  • Constantly falling over my daughter because she is stood just behind me.
  • Constantly walking around with something in my hand, which need binning, cleaning, fixing, tidying away because I am following the trail of destruction that my daughter has left in her wake.
  • That she cannot just eat her food without also having to decorate the room with it.
  • That everything in my life is always about what Emily wants, needs, would prefer, mostly to the exclusion of what I might desperately need sometimes (I think this last one is just called 'being a parent' though)
  •  Ohhh and because she has just engaged in one now as I write...TANTRUMS!

I think if I'm honest I am not just impatient but a little bit of a control freak too which doesn't help. However at least I am honest enough to admit that neither myself or my daughter are perfect but that we still love each other very dearly dispite out imperfections.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Would the real 'Anna' please stand up?

So I was asked on a recent, rather rare, 'night out' with a dear friend of mine, 

"But what happened to Anna?" 

And at the time I didn't really understand the question. Being already considerable inebriated at that point, I think my response may have been something along the lines of, 

"Erm well last time I checked...right here" just pinching myself to make sure of course.

However I think I now get what she was trying to ask or possibly say. So what happened to Anna?

See I write this blog all about being a mum and being me, but it's a strange thing becoming a mother (or parent), you do have a tendency to sort of lose yourself just a little. Not that I am sure I knew who I was before but something definitely shifted. I became Emily's mum and somedays I do look in the mirror and wonder what happened to Anna. In our house Gavin and I refer to each other as mummy and daddy, something we have done since Emily was born and whereas Emily is aware that Daddy's name is Gavin when asked what mummy's name is she just looks sort of blank and then after a moment of thought, smiles and says,


So who is Anna? Well she was a younger, slightly fresher faced version of me. She didn't have to wear a fringe to hide the lines on her forehead or workout every day just to keep a slim stomach and toned bottom. In fact that bitch didn't really work out at all...damn her! My friends and family often comment on how well I got my shape back after Emily was born, like it just miraculously re-appeared. 'Ah ha, there you are, I was wondering where you had gone to' but in reality I worked and have since then worked really hard to keep myself healthy. And don't get me wrong I enjoy it but it's still another thing I have to do, another things to add to the long list.

And emotionally or psychologically? Well I still feel like the same person just with a lot more responsibilities and a lot more riding on my decisions. Before I only had to worry about how my choices would affect me but now I have a child to think of, a partner, my family, his family and the list goes on and on.

Gavin relayed to me, whilst in conversation, that he can't help but see me through Emily but he did reasoned that maybe that was because we were only together for such a short time before she came along. So for the majority of our relationship I have been a mother or mother in training so to speak. Which I guess makes sense... 

And I have to say that it has changed the relationships around me, the way I relate to people. Take me and my own mother, before Emily came along we were always very tactile but now well sometimes we have to remember to hug each other before she leave. All that tactility that she used to show to me has been transferred onto my daughter, which is fine. I just hadn't realised how much it had change our relationship until I really thought about it. The moment I had a child of my own I suddenly understood everything my mother had been through and finally grew up and stopped being her little girl. We are more like equals now, which in itself isn't a bad thing.

So does becoming a mother mean I can't be me anymore? Well no I don't think so, I guess it just means I have to actually schedule 'me' time now, you know in between the housework and Emily and Gavin and College and my family and Gavin's family...ha, ha, ha! But hey next time my friend asks I can say,

"Anna... oh she's still here, you just need to look a little closer these days or maybe a little deeper"

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The road to success is littered with little puddles!

So I finally did it! Emily is potty trained! Sound the trumpets and let the celebrations commence. I want an award for getting through the last four weeks...greatest mum or maybe just most improved one anyway.

There are certain milestones that you look forward to, when your baby rolls over, learns to crawl, learns to walk, learns to talk and then there are events that you just push on through and hope to get to the end of such as teething and getting rid of a dummy. Potty training, for me, definitely falls into the latter category. And I am not alone it would seem. I recently shared my potty training woes with another mum in the nappy aisle of Morrisons. Our eyes met over the pull up pants and she gave me that understanding and sympathetic look. 
"It's hard work isn't it?" I asked her.
"Oh yes absoultely, if I have to ask my little boy one more time if he wants a wee." she laughed.
"Wow, I'm so glad it isn't just me."
"No, it's definitely not just you." 

We then discussed the options of a sanitary esk towel over a dry nights bed sheet for safe, accident free travel. She went with the bed sheet in the end as we both agreed that the sanitary towel thingy just didn't seem quite right somehow. To date, probably the weirdest conversation I have ever had in Morrisons, although there was the one about the different brands of diarrhoea tablets a few months back. Ahem...anyway!

So what have I learnt from my experiences? Well, in Emily's case that you have to approach each of the potty training requirements individually, i.e. don't just assume that because your child is weeing on the potty that she understand that she is also required to poo on it! We had a few accidents in knickers before we got that one right!

That gentle persistence is the key. Praise for success and no fuss for accidents, just clean it up and remind your child that next time they need to do it in the...?

"That's right baby, good girl."

And finally that they will only do it when 'they' are good and ready and not because you want them to, because other people are putting pressure on you or because you are under some misguided illusion that society will frown on you for having your child still in nappies at the age of two and a half. I mean, come on, cut us parents some slack, we are doing the best we can and as I have said many times before, that's all you can do! 

Friday, 30 September 2011

So whose the adult in this relationship?

Having to be the 'adult' all the time is actually really hard! That's what being a parent is about right? You are the adult to their child but sometimes we don't always react like the adult. If anything having children can sometimes bring out the child in you. 

At certain times of the month I find I am less able to cope with it all and yes I imagine those moments probably do coincide with changes in my hormone levels. I am not going to pretend that I am not a slave to my hormones because unfortunately I am. It's not something that I welcome or enjoy but it's as inevitable as the ebb and flow of the tides so I just grin and bear it. However I find at these times that my temper is quicker and my tears flow more freely. Very much like my two year old daughter. 

This morning we were butting heads, as per usual and as per usual she lashed out at me because she was frustrated. She slapped me across the face and for a split second I could have slapped her back. Of course I didn't but instead I just started to cry and she obviously thinking it very funny, laughed at me. So rather than just placing her on the naughty step and explaining to her (for the hundred time) why it is not acceptable to hit mummy, I simply walked out the room. This caused her to burst into floods of tears. And it struck me at that precise moment that I wasn't sure who was the adult anymore? 

We are of course friends again now and I except that I am not the 'perfect mother', not that I ever thought I was. Also I except that there will be times when I don't always feel like being the 'adult', similar to that feeling you get when your are ill and all you want is your mum, even if we are 30 and a mum yourself!  I just try my very best and sometimes that isn't always good enough but it is all I have to offer and I challenge anyone to give more than their best. And besides it is in these moments when daddies have to step up and take control, well providing you can convince them to leave the comfort of their bed before the alarm clock is due to go off (another constant battle in our house). In fact there are moments in the month when I realise that there are no adults left in our house, just two toddlers and a teenager!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Shades of Grey...

When you are a child you see the world in black and white. Emily often refers to things as 'mine' or 'yours' and she wants things to be ordered and to have a place or person to belong to. For example a few weeks ago she points to the hoover and asks,

"Yours mummy?"
"No baby (although I know that I am the only one who ever uses it so you could be forgiven for thinking that it may be mine but) no the hoover does not belong to mummy. It belongs to...well the house I guess."

All humour aside though, it is only once you have left your childhood, adolescence and even your early twenties behind that you start to realise that the world has incredible shades of grey. That our lives are a mass of greying contradictions and that in reality nothing is ever as clear cut as we might have thought or hoped. Practicality takes presidence over perfection and the older you get the more you learn to accept, to reside and adapt. 

Take our families and relationships. Some of us will have grown up with this ideal about the 'perfect family', however the reality of our adults lives could be very different. Lets take a typical scenario, a young girl dreams of meeting 'Mr Right' (that elusive figure), getting married and settling down to have 2.4 children and trust me there are still many girls and even women that dream this dream. But well they have reached 30 and Mr Right has still not materialised, although there have been a fair few 'Mr Right Now', 'Mr Wrong' and 'Mr what the hell was I thinking I must have been insane or extremely drunk' and they start to hear the tick, tock, tick, tock. So they endeavour to find the alternative, the shade of grey, the 'Mr he is nice and makes me smile'. They get married, have children and maybe live the rest of their lives happyish. 

Alternatively some people will meet who they think is 'Mr Right' fall madly in love and give themselves completely over to him. Only to find out a few years and a baby later that actually although at first everything seem very black and white, somewhere along the way they have slipped into greyness and are not quite sure how it happened.

There are of course many other examples that I could give but well I have to return to College in 20 minutes and beside my jacket potato with cheese is getting cold! So...

I am not stating that this is the way it has to be for all of us. I think there must be some extremely happy and contented people out there. People living in a world of black and white where they are safe and secure, the kind of people that never have a grey day. It's just that I have never met any of them but then maybe I don't get out enough. I think what I am trying to say is that we all learn to compromise and accept people for who they are. It's a part of growing up and if you love someone then you learn to live with your differences. You learn to accept the grey. 


Oh and as a finally thought I would like to strongly voice that this entry is in no way a cry for help. Purely an observation based on conversations that I have been privy to recently. So please dear friends (the ones that read this blog) please don't worry I am simply ruminating on life and relationships and am quite happy with my lot. I except the grey, it is a part of who I am.  

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Are our children really our greatest achievement?

Whenever my mother has gone for a job interview and they asked her what is her greatest achievement she has always said the same thing...being a mum. So are our children really our greatest achievement? Is parenthood the ultimate challenge? 

Well I guess for me it is. It's the hardest job I have ever had to do! Not so much because the hours suck, the pay is abominable and your boss is just damn right childess most of the time (she jests). It's because unlike most other jobs I have done I actually really care about this one. I actually want to be the best that I can be at being a mum. That doesn't mean that it's the only thing I want to be and I certainly don't think that being a mum is the only thing that defines me but it's a huge part of who I am now. When I look at my life so far I may have to say in all fairness and honestly that Emily is the greatest thing I have done to date.

And when I look at the parents around me, people I know, I can see it in them too. We sacrifice so much of ourselves for our children. You cannot understand what it is to be a parent until you become one yourself. You think you understand but you have no idea, you have no concept of how it will change you in all the expected and unexpected way. People literally transform and I have seen it right before my very eyes in the people that I know. People who appeared hopeless will rise to the challenge like never before. 

Sometimes people will even forgo their own happiness to make their children happy. They will put up with incredible sadness and loneliness to put their children first and do what they perceive to be the right thing. And that kind of sacrifice is not to be taken lightly. Some may call it martyrdom but I like to think of it as the ultimate in parenting. And to those people living through this I say I hope you find your happiness one day. I hope one day it is your turn...   

Monday, 1 August 2011

It's not who you are that holds you back...'s who you think you're not.

Life can be mighty difficult at times and no more so then when you are a parent. For me being a mother is a mind field of potentially hazardous or disastrous situations and then there are all the insecurities I collect along the way.

This may be just my experiences as a first time mother but it seems that you cannot help but compare your child to others around you. Although logically you know that all children develop at different stages and we all excel in certain areas more so than others, it's hard to think that your child could ever be bad at anything. Any failure they encounter you take as your own! Which can start to make you feel very overwhelmed and slightly inadequate when you add their failings to your own.  

Take potty training for example. Emily was really struggling last week and I started to ask myself why was I making such a big deal out of this? She is only just two and is obviously not ready. And whilst talking to my mum and Gavin I realised that I was pressurising her because I feel pressure from society to make my daughter conform. I worry that somehow I am failing as a mother because I cannot make my daughter understand that she needs to do a poo on the potty. I then realised that it is ridiculous to put such pressure on myself, especially over things I have no control over. As both my mother and Gavin pointed out this is something that Emily will have to do alone. She is the one controlling her body and I am a mere spectator guiding her through, simply providing her with the necessary equipment for the job in hand, i.e. the potty.

Once this realisation hit me it was like a wave of relief for both of us. I stepped back and stopped trying to control the situation and allowed my daughter to take control. Which to my surprise she did when on a number of occasions she took her nappy off and sat on her potty delighting in watching herself wee. Aren't they so funny small children, every new experience is a wonder to behold. I wish as adults we were still able to view the world in this way, although I'm not sure I need to watch myself pee. That might be a step too far! 

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Never grow up?

I often envy my daughter...

When we are children we are bold and fearless. Especially young children, just starting out. We jump off high walls. We investigate draws full of sharp knifes and we run with scissors. We climb to the top of the tallest tower in the soft play centre (even if we still haven't figured out how to get down without help). There is always someone there to catch us when we fall, wipe our tears, kiss our bruised knees and tell us that it will all be alright.  The world contains endless possibilities and chances to get 'it' right. We love, we live, we learn and we have nothing to hold us back. Not even our parents can really contain us, although they will try. 

And I realise now that the only time I was ever really 'FREE' was as a child. The older you get the more life grips you. We collect people, problems, experiences - good and bad, happiness, pain and sadness that tie us up in knots and make it impossible for us to go back. The older we get the more complicated it gets and we are never really as free ever again. And I do wonder, if only we had known back then, what we know now, would we have been in such a hurry to grow up? 

"Wasn't it easier in your lunchbox days?
Always a bigger bed to crawl into
Wasn't it beautiful when you believed in everything?
And everybody believed in you?

Wasn't it easier in your firefly-catchin' days?
And everything out of reach, someone bigger brought down to you
Wasn't it beautiful runnin' wild 'til you fell asleep?
Before the monsters caught up to you?"

(Taylor Swift - Innocent)

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Caution training in progress...

There are many things that we will have to master in our lives! 

We start of with the basics like, walking, talking, learning to dress ourselves or use a knife and folk when we eat so we don't end up wearing half of what we are eating. As we get bigger we move onto the harder stuff, reading, writing, making friends and riding a bike. And the older it gets the more complex it becomes, activities such as learning to drive, understanding that housework is a necessary evil unless you want to live in a squalid mess or (for some of us..ahem..not mentioning any names) with your parents till you are 28, we discover sex and relationships and all the complication that come with those. And eventually, if you grow up enough then one day you will maybe get married or have children, or both and end up having to do all these things again through someone else. And no I am not talking about your man (ha, ha...sorry fellas), I am of course talking about your children. 

I am currently in the process of potty training Emily and just the title suggests this is something that is Although I hadn't realised until now that it rather makes her sound like a dog.

"Is she house trained" people will ask,
"Well no not yet but we are working on it. Afterall you have to show them whose boss right?"
"Absolutely right! Can't have them peeing all over the place can we." 

Now this is a task that seem to have no set rules. Everyone talks about different methods, use a potty, don't use a potty go straight to toilet, use training pants, don't use training pants just normal knickers, they will tell you when they are ready, there are certain signals you can look for but remember every child is different. Somewhere between 18 months and 3 years they will be ready but it can be different for boys who are sometimes later bloomers but this isn't always necessarily the case. Don't push them if they are not ready but except that they should be day dry by at least the age of 3 and night dry by 4 but sometimes they will relapse due to illness, a new sibling, a change of house, a change of life-style, a change of environment. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I don't remember learning to use the toilet, obviously being too young and frustratingly even though my mother and mother in law have a total of six children between them cannot remember either. 
"I think it just kind of happened" they both tell me. So I feel like a blind woman stumbling around in a foreign place, full of people that don't know I am blind and keep bumping into me. Well something like get the idea. I guess, together, Emily and I will just figure it out like everything else and you know what give me potty training anyday over the impending 'Birds and Bees' chat or worst still the inevitable 'Why doesn't he love me back?' conversation! *Sigh*

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Are you smarter than a two year old?

So have you ever been in a shop, cafe, restaurant, supermarket, library or anywhere remotely public and your little angle has decided to choose that precise moment to have (the dreaded 'T' word) a tantrum? Yes...well join the club. 

Emily rarely bothers with tantrums at home because she has realised how ineffective they are in the home environment. Mainly because no-one will take the blindest bit of notice and it really doesn't matter if she trashes the whole house. We are parents afterall, disposable income has become a thing of the past and we no longer have anything of any value or if we do we aren't stupid enough to leave it lying around.

However Emily has realised that when we are out and about, potentially she has all the power, she holds all the cards. She knows that mummy will not just ignore her or walk away for fear that she could bring down a whole shelf of very expensive items mid tantrum (and as we have already established money is not something we have a great deal of...or any really *sigh*). So she has started to realise that in order to get things done, to get her own way or simply because she can, she will assert herself and her new found independence when we are out of the house.

Take today for example, after visiting the park and spending an hour swinging on the swings, sliding on the slide, climbing on...well the climbing wall, we met with my mum for a coffee. Emily attempted to crawl and climb all over my mother, whilst she was trying to drink a rather full, hot cup of coffee. My mother tried firmly to tell her to sit down but she just ignored her grandmothers pleas. So it was left to me to take her firmly and place her back down in her own seat, to which her response was screaming, crying and beating her fists against the chair, whilst people looked on in dismay. Obviously thinking me the worlds worst mother...I could see the inscription on my award...I could see it in their eyes!! 

So this is really the root of the problem isn't it. Children don't generally play up at home because mostly they won't get a response or if they do it normally results in the naughty step. However they have learnt that due to social conditioning we care a great deal about what others think of us, even if we try our best not to. So they know we will want to appear like a caring, concerned mother/father/parent, the kind that does not shout, that does not raise their voice or walk away exasperated at their two year old's behaviour. That pretty damn clever of them isn't it, considering most haven't learnt to talk properly yet or even use a toilet?! It's slightly worrying that the art of manipulation is learnt before our children can even communicate fully, before they learn to control their bowls, they learn to control their parents! 

So the solution? Well try not to care too much about what other people think I guess. Beside there are three types of people. The one's that have had children and understand completely, the one's that have had children but still judge you because well they think they are better than everyone else (and yes come on admit it we all know all one of those) and the ones that have not yet had children...but they will learn! 

Saturday, 28 May 2011

What toddlers say and what they really mean...

Emily's vocabulary is expanding at a fast pace these days and now includes phrases, such as I'm scared, I'm excited, is ready mummy? (normally referring to food) And my personal favourite...wake up daddy!

We are now able to have a conversation and she can understand almost everything I say or ask of her. This can be worrying when on occasion I forget myself and utter something I shouldn't. I am then disturbed to hear her repeating the word or sentence back to me. Not swear words of course, those were banned in our house about 6 months ago when all this talking malarkey started. Just adult phrases that sound alien when they are being said by a child and also make you feel just slightly uncomfortable in the realisation that you have started to sound just like your own parents. NOOOOOOOOO!

There are as always some phrases that my daughter still pronounces incorrectly and those are the ones that will make me smile or sigh as I realise that I really shouldn't have bothered banning swearing of any kind as it seems to have made absolutely no difference when so many simple words, mis-pronouced can unfortunately sound exactly like the words I was so desperately trying to avoid. And so many that I cannot recall at this time. However I may have to add them to the list as they come to me. These are some of the best ones though:

Tank you = Thank you
Cock = Clock...Kind of funny when Mummy is placed in front of it however not so funny when the first word is Daddy...*sigh*. And I thought we had got pass this word with the whole coat- cock debacle, clearly not! 
Dick = Drink
Emmy = Emily
Ya Ya = Emily or possibly me...I am unsure but it is the word Emily uses to refer to herself and as we have started to use it too, it has become something of a nick-name.
Shit = sit
Ga Ga = Grandad
Nannypaul = Nanny and Paul. My mother is starting to fear that she will forever more become known as Nanny Paul.
Pieces = Shreddies or possibly cereal (I have no idea what the connection is here).
Post Pat = Post man Pat. We have endured many a rendition of Post Pat, Post Pat, Post Pat mmmmmmmmm CAT! 

Also as they come to me...

Cudgies = Cuddles
Bobby & Mummy = Bob the bear and Molly the dolly
Nannygaga = Nanny & Granddad or sometimes just Nanna Christine
Daddy's Weaking = Daddy's working

Monday, 23 May 2011

Living it up in Ibiza...Bobby style!

So many things will inevitably change once you have children and last week I was witness to the end of yet another era and the start of a new one, the family holiday.

We had booked a week in Ibiza, sunshine, sandy beaches, relaxing by the pool. A gentle stroll into town of an evening, dinner followed by a few drinks. That was how I fondly remembered a 'holiday', however I discovered, as I have so many times over the last two years, that a lot changes once you bring a child into the mix. 

So there was some sunshine, mixed in with a little rain, just to really annoy all three of us and help in our new found loathing for Spain and it's lack of rainy day activities. Sandy beaches, check, however on being taken for a paddle in the sea my daughter's response was and I quote 'yucky' and the beach although lovely for adults, adults with the luxury of hours of child-free time to while away lying on a sun-bed soaking up the rays or reading a book, does not quite work the same when you have a toddler with the attention-span of a gold-fish. A toddler who very quickly tired of building sand castle and moved on to a much more entertaining game of moaning whilst chucking sand around, inter-spaced with spates of running off at a surprisingly fast speeds (my daughter can really shift it when the choice is hers and not me asking her to move a bit quicker because as usual we are late for the doctors, the dentist, nursery, a play date etc...). 

Relaxing by the pool...NO. Standing waist high in freezing cold water, whilst your daughter splashes you or pours water over you. Endlessly pulling her around in an inflatable dog, constantly berating her for taking other children's toys and for not sharing her toys with said other children. The constant rounds of sun-cream application, that are met everytime with utter indignation from your two year old daughter, her screaming and relentless attempts to run away from you so that you end up with one really well sun blocked arm and that's about it.

Gentle stroll into town, hmmm, well yes maybe but only after you have once again endured the 'BABY DISCO' with Spanish renditions of such classics as 'Agadoo' and 'I am the Music Man'. Once in town, you watch as your daughter goes around and around and around and around on the little fairground train actually, sadly, quite possibly the highlight of her holiday. Dinner, forget it, you have already had dinner about two hours ago in a restaurant full of other families, all kids screaming together.

Drinking...Now there is the one pleasure that I can say Gavin and I both enduldged in a little on holiday. Because eventually, come nine o'clock when it is time for madam to go to bed, confined to your room, the only options you really have are to go to sleep yourself (which trust me was actually really quite appealing to both of us) or sit on the balcony and drink a few beers and attempt to have something resembling an adult converstation. 

So all that coupled with a vomiting episode on the coach transfer and a two and half hour delay on our way home, this holiday was not quite holidaying as I so fondly remembered it. On the bright side I have a pretty good overall tan from all the moving around I did and I can honestly say that I now know all the words to the disco version of 'Head Shoulders Knees and Toes'. Hell before Ibiza I never even knew there was a disco version of Head Shoulders Knees and Toes', just goes to show you learn something new everyday!

In truth I know I paint a pretty grim picture and I think it may take Gavin and I at least another week to get over our 'family' holiday but we had our moments, we had some sunshine and quite a lot of laughter. Crazy rainy day fun with Bobby the 'Spy' Bear and the attack of the giant killer balloon, where mummy, posing as Bobby's right hand man (woman) got to beat daddy to death with a large pillow, daddy of course being the henchman of the evil giant killer balloon, ahhh what fun! Well Emily enjoyed it and that is what counts. Even if she did cry when she though mummy had actually killed daddy for real...opps! 


Saturday, 30 April 2011

Men are from Mars and Woman are from Venus...maybe so but we all still have live on Earth together!

So having just witnessed something of a 'small' domestic between the couple ahead of me in the queue at Morrisons, I started to wonder. Why is it that men and women after 200,000 (approx.) years of inhabitance, together, on this planet, still fail to understand each other?

I have read large portions of 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus' (not actually having read a book in full for ohhh about 2 years) and I have to say that although John Gray makes some interesting points, I am still non the wiser when it comes to the workings of the male mind...or the female mind for that matter. And yes I know I am female and so therefore should have a better grasp on how us women think, but I can honestly say that I only really, truly, understand how my mind works. I can sympathise, empathise even with my female friends when they tell me assorted tales of relationship woes. But I can't really understand because...well...I am not them. And just as we are all individuals, so all women are different in the ways that they think, although the sub-text might appear similar at times. 

So the couple in Morrisons? Well as an outsider I could hazard a guess at the root of the problem, he was teasing her about something and had obviously chosen the wrong moment, her reaction may have appeared a little over the top but well it could be the heat, or her hormones or whatever...who knows? Anyway she slapped him on the arm and stormed off toward the car, leaving him at the self-service check-out alone, looking very confused and a little forlorn. And I just felt for the pair of them.

So what have I found to be true? And trust me I am not the expert but men generally seem to expect us women to respond to their ridicule in the way that their friends would, as harmless banter with...'no offence meant mate'. Women expect men to be as sensitive as they are, to understand when it is appropriate to tease and when it is over-stepping the line. We expect our men to become mind readers. We want them to know, instinctively, exactly how we are feeling at any given time. And well that is just unfair, because half the time we don't know how we are feeling. As it is just as unfair for men to expect us to 'take it all on the chin' as we are not 'their mates' and as so should not be treated like we are...a bit of sensitivity goes along way lads! So what is the answer? Hell I don't know, if I did I wouldn't keep getting it so wrong...

But what I have always pondered on is this:

Why is it that a woman will meet a man, fall in love with him just as he is and then spend the rest of her life (or their time together) trying to change him, mould him into something he is not.

And why is it that men work so hard in the beginining to impress us, but once they have us they become complacent, lazy and at times, damn right uninvolved in the relationship and then they wonder why their woman has left them? 

It's a mystery, that's for sure!

Mars and Venus eh? Sometimes I'm not sure we are even from the same solar system...



Sunday, 24 April 2011

A week in the life of us!

So my baby girl turned two on Friday and she is not a baby anymore, although no matter how big she gets she will always be my little girl!

And wow what a week of memorable highs and terrifying lows! 

The week started out with a visit to the nurse to see if we could obtain some antibiotics to help rid Emily of a particularly vile and resilient cough, one that was keeping us all up nights. Violent coughing fits in the early hours, so terrible that they induced vomiting on a number of occasions. Wednesday saw mummy making a visit to the nurse to deal with a rather nasty case of conjunctivitis, suspected cause, removing gunk from Emily's eyes at the weekend and 'obviously' not washing my hands after...opps!!  

Thursday started out wonderfully with fun at the park but was followed by a not so fun and rather stressful treck around town, trying to collect all the last minute items required to make Emily's second birthday a memorable one. Once home, both mummy and Emily, hot, bothered, ill and miserable sat down to watch Postman Pat when mummy discovered a strange rash on Emily's neck, chest and face that 'DID NOT' disappear when a glass was placed against it. Tried to call the doctors, only to find out that they are closed Thursday afternoon (arrgghh...why?), took Emily to local Hospital, told we would have to go into the city. Got Emily back in the car, managed to track down my mother to occupancy me, and drove 40 minutes, in the blistering heat and rush hour traffic, into the city. Panicked and imagining the worst, the dreaded 'M' word rolling around inside my brain! The lovely doctor assured me that it was not Meningitis, but ruptured blood vessel from the violence of her coughing fits, gave us a prescription for some new antibiotics. Nearly got taken out by a lorry driver on the way home, ba*tard, ar*ehole man, that speeded up to stop me from getting onto the dual carriageway! I won't repeat the language I used and with my mother and Emily in the car too...once again...opps! 

Once home put Emily to bed, cooked the tea and then got a phone call from my sister telling me that all the trains from London were delayed and that she could get as far as Stafford. So got in the car at quarter to nine to drive the 20 miles to Stafford train station, picked her up, turned around and drove 20 miles home. Got back at half eleven, crawled into bed, having been up since six and with only 5 hours of disrupted sleep the night before. 

Friday was Emily's birthday and what fun. The weather was beautiful and we all went to Blackbrook zoo. The penguins, zebras and Meerkats being firm favourites among our group. We came back and I ran around like a crazy woman, preparing and cooking food whilst everyone else either slept or sloped off to Grindon with excuses of new house related issues to deal with, which I later discovered meant sitting outside the pub having a swift half. 

Birthday tea prepared and round two of the celebrations began, presents including a trike and a pop up tent, which is alot easier to put up then down! In fact you need a degree in 'festival' attendance to understand it as my sister relayed to me last night, whilst flattening and folding the thing into a circle resembling about a fifth of it's original size, in about 5 seconds!  Emily did cry, on a few occasions, but hey 'it's her party...' or maybe it was more to do with our singing, who knows?

So all in all an interesting week, maybe more lows than highs but no one ever said being a grown up was going to be easy and being a parent well that is the toughest job there is. So now my little girl is two and some days well into the terribleness but I grin and I bear it because she is still the cutest little lady I have ever known. I am hoping that next week will be slightly less stressful and a little quieter than the one I have just lived through, although based on it's events that shouldn't be too hard a request...right? 

Oh and as an afternote, Gavin woke up on Saturday morning with one red, weepy eye, see now that's couple sharing!  

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Make mine a triple please...that would be triple A's I mean!

In occasionally rare moments of insanity I consider having another child. I am currently surrounded on all sides by expectant mothers. Many of the women that I was pregnant with the first time around are in various stages of their second pregnancy, including one of my bestfriends. Also Emily is soon to have a cousin as Gavin's sister is expecting her first child in August. But then I have nights like tonight, or in fact weeks like this last week, where I realise that I am not sure I have the energy for the child I have, let alone another one! 

Emily has been ill on and off for about the last four weeks and we have spent many long evenings and even longer nights, of horribly disturbed sleep that is reminiscent of the early days, fighting running noses, high temperature and persistent coughs. 

Tonight I have spent the best part of two hours trying to settle my daughter, I have given her cough syrup (that does not work), rubbed vics into her chest and back, administered ibuprofen, been thrown up on as a result of a rather violent coughing fit, wiped her nose about a million times, lay on her bed, sat on her bed, held her in my arms until I thought my back and legs would give out under her weight. I have been up and down the stairs so many times that I won't need to do my Davina DVD for about a month or any other form of exercise for that matter. 

I am so beyond tired that I actually have no idea where the energy to keep going is coming from. All I want is for someone to tuck me up in bed with bob the bear, read me a bedtime story and then I can fall asleep for about a week! And yet what is my daughter currently doing? Playing! What is she, the fricken Duracell bunny or something? 

Another child? I DON'T think so! Not any time soon anyway!

So if you hear me talking about another baby, if I so much as utter anything remotely resembling the sentence 

" But another baby would be so lovely" 

Please feel free to hit me over the head, repeatedly, until my senses have returned!

However as a final note I would like to add 'Congratulations to all those lovely expectant mothers around me'. You are all braver women then I can currently claim to be!  

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Life - opera

So what do you do when your man is more of a drama queen than you? A trait, most men would argue, is normally reserved for women only.

Gavin, like most parents, is very protective of his daughter and her welfare. And whilst that is all good and fine and I am extremely happy to a) have someone else assisting me in helping to keep her alive - a challenge faced by most parents with a danger and inadvertent death seeking toddler and b) have a man that obviously loves our daughter with as much passion as me, it can at times be like living in the middle of an episode of Eastenders. And I much prefer my soap-opera's on a screen in my lounge, not actually just in my lounge!  

Take this afternoon for example. Having just shown his uncle around our house to discuss some work that we are hoping to have done. He comes back to inform me of the bad news! Not that his uncle cannot fit the new radiator where we were hoping, that the price may be considerably more than we had estimated or even that we would have to wait (what would seem like a millennia) to have the work done. 

No...He informed me that he and his uncle had been talking about the lack of ventaliation in our kitchen. And let me just set the scene, this is a kitchen that contains a gas Rayburn, fitted 16 years ago by the previous residence (namely my then married mother and father), installed by a corgi registered fitter, serviced every year by a corgi registered employee of Blakemore and Chell (local gas appliance specialists). So anyway, was I aware that if all the doors to the room were closed and someone was to fall asleep in our kitchen - as so often happens of course (I am rather partial to an afternoon nap on our kitchen table), that they would die of carbon monoxide poisoning? 

Or worse still that if child protection services found out that we had a child and were living in a property with an unventilated room. A room that contained a gas appliance that we had refused to have switched off  - because obviously we would stand and argue with a gas specialist if they told us to switch off a dangerous appliance, that they would take our child away from us as we would be deemed unfit parents?! And!!

After relaying this terrible tale to me, a story of potential death and neglectful parents. I looked up at him, sighed and said 

"There is ventaliation in the kitchen, the huge massive air vent in the bottom of the cellar door"

"Oh" he replies "well that's good to know" 

But the thing that really concerns me, is whilst he and his uncle were concocting this elaborate story of poison and protection services, they both failed to notice the air vent in the cellar door, right in front of them or came to ask me why there was no ventilation in the kitchen of the house that I have spent the last 21 years of life living in (on and off).

Just as I suspected, drama queen he might be but he is definitely still a man. Completely lacking in practicality and totally unobservant...ha, ha, ha!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

If you love someone, set them free...

This week has seen a new first for myself and Emily. Her first day at nursery. 

Tuesday morning, Emily and I got into the car and drove to the aptly named 'Learning Mill', because this was definitely one of those life lesson that people talk about and not just for my daughter but for me too. 

Taking her into a room full of strangers. The noise, the sounds and smells, all alien to my daughter. Her nervous little figure, clutching my hand as I lead her across the room. Having to crouch down and kiss my daughter goodbye. Leaving her alone for the first time ever with nothing familiar and only 'Bob the bear' for company. Watching her as I left with this look of confusion and apprehension on her face. Racing away so as to avoid literally breaking down in front of a room full of people. My heart ached! My chest was tight and I could feel a lump rising in my throat. The second I made it through our front door, into the safety of my own house, I just cried. As ridiculous as it felt, I couldn't fight the emotion.

Logically I knew that she would come to no harm, that the place was designed around children, for children - for their delight. That the friendly staff would welcome her, make her feel at ease and treat her as kindly as any mother could wish for. The logic in my brain told me that she would be fine but the love in my heart was screaming at me, to run back, take her hand and lead her out of this strange place and into the comfort and safety of my arms. 

How contrary it can be, a mothers love! In order to save our children, in order to provide the best for them, sometimes we have to do the opposite of what our intuition tells us. Sometimes we just have to let them go, let them live and hope that the decisions we make are the right ones. Which of course in this instance it was. 

On returning 3 hours later I found my daughter happily drawing pictures with other children, all stood around a big circular table. And when she saw me, she did not throw herself into my arms, she did not cry with relief that her mother had returned to her. She just smiled, kissed me and with a nonchalant greeting of "Hi mama" returned to her drawing!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011


Do you ever get the feeling that someone else stole your life and they are walking around wearing it? Like you have been single white femaled by an invisible counterpart, that exists in another universe and she is living the life that should be yours.

I have that feeling most days...

Things weren't always this way though, were they?

I sat in the park today, watching my daughter trying, with the help of her grandmother, to negotiate the slide the wrong way. And a group of high school girls caught my eye, so young and free that I had to ask my mother if I was ever like that because honestly some days I struggle to remember a time when my life was ever that simple. She assures me that I was and so I allow my mind to wonder and I begin to remember...

A time before all the madness began, when everything came down to the simply divine pleasures. Listening to Shola Ama, You Might Need Somebody, on repeat and singing along at the top of my voice. The exhilaration in watching as the hairdresser cut off my long tresses for a funky, short bob, rolling up my school skirt by at least an inch or two so I could show off a little leg but not too much, going fives on my last cigarette because my four best friends also smoked but I was the only one with enough dinner (lunch) money to be able to afford 10 Berkley Red. The night the boy that made my stomach somersault gave me his scarf and walked me home.

I allowed myself to drift away on a sea of nostalgia, momentarily lost in the 90's. Back then I couldn't wait to grow up and be independent, live my own life and make my own decisions. I wasn't going to let anyone tell me how things should be done, I was going to forge my own path and make the world stop and notice me! I was so full of passion then, so alive!

And now?

Most days, I just feel...old. My mother always laughs at me when I say this,

“How can you feel old at your age” she asks me.

I don't know mother but I do. I feel like someone sucked all the zest for life out of me. It's that woman I tell you, the one from the other universe, the one walking around with my life. It's her fault, right? Except I figured out that woman is just another version of me. And is it so inconceivable to imagine that I might be able to change my circumstances, change my outlook with a little bit of effort and some hard work? A positive attitudes goes a long way so I recall.

I know I will never get back to 1995 but that's okay, being a teenager once was enough for me and beside cigarettes are so expensive these day and, of course, extremely bad for your health. Another downside to getting older, eventually everything becomes bad for your health! There is, however,nothing to say that I can't bring a little of that free spirit into 2011. So stayed tuned blogger fans because as Bob Dylan would say, the times they are a changing.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

When I get older...

Today my daughter placed her head on my lap and went to sleep, something she hasn't done in a while and I realised that no matter what else life throws at me, I know love...real love for this little person. This little person that grew inside me and filled my life with love, joy, pain and sadness all at once, the kind of which I had never felt before.

I realised again, the same thing that I have known ever since those two blue lines appeared in that little window, that I was changed forever. That my daughter would be forever mine and yet never belong to me but only to herself. That I would literally die to save her life and that I would be forever done for, beholden to her beautiful smile and lost in her deep blue eyes. The same eyes that looked up at me the first time I held her.

Becoming a mother, a parent, is the most exhilaratingly terrifying experience I have ever known and trust me when I say I have known real fear, pain and joy in the 28 years previous to becoming Emily's mother. But the older I get, with every year that passes the more I realise what is important, what matters and what just doesn't. Because in the end everything falls away, till all we are left with are the things that matter the most to us. Whether that be people, possessions, money, status or whatever it is we value. Given enough time we can forgive most any sins committed against us, whether that be the heartbreak we feel when a lover doesn't love us back anymore, our parents failure to go the distance together or that 'bitch' that made our lives hell for 3 years because we fancied the guy she fancied and because...well she 'just could' (I'm still working on that one).

Anyway my point is that life changes us, getting older changes us and you can't fight it, you can try but it happens to us all and it doesn't have to be a bad thing. You can stop caring so much about what other people think, realise that it should only matter what you think and what those closest to you, the important ones, think. So take comfort in your life lived, in your family and friends because that's what I am learning to do. When I am at my lowest, darkest, when the sadness takes a complete hold of me, I look into those beautiful blue eyes and I know, that when everything else has fallen away, I did a good a GREAT thing!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

There once was a girl with a Strawberry curl...

Right in the middle of her forehead
And when she was good
She was very, very good...

It has probably not failed to escape your attention that my daughter has red hair and this has always been a source of great discussion among family, friends and even complete strangers. 

Take today for example, whilst being served in the chemist the woman commented on Emily and her red hair, informing me that her niece also has red hair. I smiled and responded in my usually way, something along the lines of

 "Yes it's lovely isn't it?" whilst patting my daughter head. And although people would have you believe that red hair is a dying gene, it would seem it is still a conversation starter. Although whilst in afterthought I realised that I may know the father of the niece in question, however it was early and I had forgone my morning coffee to rush myself and Emily to the doctors to deal with a suspicious rash that had appeared on both our hands. So in my caffeine starved, early morning haze, I did not make the connection, even when she told me the name of her niece. I blame lack of sleep (see 'Big girls don't cry' for more details) and my 'blonde' hair for this. Although lets be honest had I clicked am still not sure I would have shared this mutual connection with her, 

 "Right so that's £3.09 for the cream...oh and by the way, you don't know me but I think I might know your brother because he has a little girl with red hair too"...hmmm maybe not eh! 

Emily's red hair comes from Gavin's side of the family, his mother to be exact. I think she is extremely pleased to have some company being the only red head in the family prior to Emily's arrival.  So red hair, a dying gene? And why such a hot topic of conversation? 

Well according to Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge, red heads still constitute 4% of the European population and in Scotland 13 % of the population have red hair and around 40% carry the recessive gene. 

A history of red heads, as relayed from Hubpages, is that they have been feared, loathed, degraded, revered, adored and exalted. The ancient Egyptians believed that red haired animals and people were associated with the god 'Set', many of their Pharaohs had red hair, including Ramses who was the most powerful of all the Pharaohs. However they also regarded the colour red as unlucky and many red haired maidens were burnt to death to wipe out the tint.  What a fickle bunch we are those of us lacking the red gene!

Typically red heads are meant to have fiery temperaments and are prone to hot headiness and many songs have been written about red head. Mostly by men favouring the long red tresses, in particular Mr Springsteen who seems an extremely avid fan of the crimson haired lady...I won't repeat the lyrics of his song!

So no matter what you think, whether you ridicule reds or revere them it has to be said that the colour of their hair is certainly a topic of interest and I am now and have always been a huge fan of our auburn haired brothers and sisters. Particularly because one of my best friends is a red head, as feisty as they come and would have kicked my ass if I'd ever dared say anything against them...ha, ha, he, he!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Big girls don't cry...

So in a vain ( actually probably lame) attempt to psychologically prepare Emily for potty training and the transition from baby girl to big girl I have been slowly introducing her to various activities that I class as "Big girls...... (fill in the blank)"

So pull-up pants have become "Big girls pants", very similar to mummy's pants in that they go up and down and have an elasticated waist, not in the sense that they are nappy lined. I know I turned thirty last week but I am not quite in need of incontinence pants or adult nappies just yet!

We have also removed the lid from her Tommy Tippee cup, so she is learning to sip her juice. Invariable this comes with it's own set of difficulties, there is the chance of choking on the intake of too much juice. The fact that she has taken to coughing just before she takes a sip, therefore meaning she is more likely to inhale the juice rather than ingest it.  Also she does get rather over zealous at times and we end up with a certain amount of sloshing and splashing. However after pouring juice all over herself on several occasions she has started to comprehend the importance of slow, steady drinking and using both hands to hold her cup. Although even big girls still spill from time to time! Hot coffee on my new carpet...opps!

However the biggest and most important step in our journey has been the removal of her cot sides, the transformation from cot to bed. Allowing my daughter the opportunity to escape at will. We are on night three and so far we have only been disturbed once each night, which I think isn't bad going, considering some of the stories I have heard. I am yet to experience the sensation of being smacked in the head with an aftershave bottle in the early hours of the morning or find that my daughter has redecorated her bedroom with sudocrem and baby wipes. 

Although she has taken to crying as a form of verbalising her dismay at being left alone, inconsolable, heart-wrenching sobs only normally reserved for when she has seriously hurt herself, my daughter is obviously learning the art of manipulation. However timing, it would seem, is everything. She will wait until we have tucked her into bed, where she must now have both Bob (the cross dressing teddy) and her "book mama" old copy of Noddy, that of course she cannot actually read. So we tuck her and Bob and the book into bed, we turn down the light, say "night, night" about a hundred, thousand times, leave the room, close the door, wrestle with the ridiculously awkward safety gate that won't shut properly unless you jiggle it about in a certain way...the gate that I actually believe may be quite lethal if left in the wrong 'open' position, observing it nearly taking my daughter's eye out the other day. So you turn to begin your descent down the stairs and there it is...that moment right there, that is the precise moment that my daughter chooses to cry! *sigh*

So the next lesson I absolutely must teach my daughter, and very, very soon, is that "big girls don't cry..."

Well actually that's not strictly true is it? Big girls do cry too, especially when they have horrible, ghastly, ridiculously painful tooth ache!!! Grrr... please someone, quick, hit me over the head with an aftershave bottle and put me out of my misery...

Friday, 4 February 2011

It's a blogging birthday to me...

I managed to miss my blogger birthday by one day!!!!!!!!!!!!

As of yesterday, 3rd February, I have been officially blogging for one whole year! And I would like to say thanks to my family and friends for all their (reading) support and not minding the odd cameo appearance! 

I would also like to say thanks to all the people out there reading my blog who have no idea who I am, thanks to blogger stats I am now able to see that my little old blog has started to get a little following of it's own. People from as far as the US, Canada, Poland, Russia and lots of other places have been reading and it's great! I am truly amazed that anyone other than the people that have to read it because they love me (ha, ha) would be interested! So thanks to all of you and I am more than happy to return the favour if you have a blog to share...

But the biggest thanks goes to Emily for providing me with so much inspiration and potentially wonderful writing material! I think that our journey has only just begun!  

And finally to Gavin...who is yet to read a single entry...shame on you!!! No really he has never read a word, the world is weeping with me...well okay maybe not eh!! Ha, ha, ha. 

Happy blogger birthday to me and many more to come I hope x

Thursday, 3 February 2011

P.S I love you...

In a week full of revelations and some startling realisations, we all have to re-evaluate our character at times... humbling as it might be. There was a moment, one of those lovely little milestones that become rarer and rarer the older your child gets. My daughter told me she loves me...well okay technically I asked her if she loves mummy and she smiled and said 'yes'! I still like to think that this counts though. Especially because upon asking the same questions before this morning I would be met with the same answer every time 'no'.

Up until recently this question was tied into a game of sorts. I would ask her if she loved me and she would laugh and say 'no' and then I would say 'What do you mean you don't love me?' and tickle her, then we would repeat the whole thing.

Love is one of those funny things thought isn't it?! My sister and I were discussing this earlier in the week, we expect love to be this huge realisation, this moment of clarity where you suddenly shriek 'Eureka...i've got it, this funny feeling i've been feeling well it must be LOVE'. But in reality that isn't really true. My sister had an interesting analogy. She said it's like all our other emotions, it's there all the time it's just we feel it stronger at certain times, like sadness or happiness, anger, grieve etc...I like to think that love creeps up on us, unexpected, until one day you can't keep the words in anymore. It's when you are not thinking about it that love will find you, it's when you want to say the words to someone without knowing why or how, it's when it becomes an involuntary action...almost like a freudian slip. 

So did my daughter just wake up this morning and suddenly realise a) what the meaning of the word love is and b) that these were the feelings she had for her mummy? No probably not but I like to think that one day she will understand, one day she will say it for real and until then I will take all the positive responses she is willing to give! Besides I don't say I love you very often, but that's because I think it loses it's meaning if you just throw it out there all the time. Afterall it's just three little words and the important people in my life know how I feel about them. When I say it I want it to be involuntary, for the words to just come out because in that moment... I just can't possibly hold them in!  

Monday, 31 January 2011

English as a foreign language

Emily is now 21 months old and her vocabulary is expanding with every day and whilst some of it is amusing, some cute, some confusing (for both of us), some however is...erm...well lets just say it's not suitable for pre-watershed.

Now I have been making valiant attempts to think about everything I say before I say it, which is truly exhausting at times! And I am constantly berating those around me everytime some one lets slip an obscenity. And I honestly never realised what a foul mouthed, obscenity uttering family I come from and my friends aren't much better! 

However what I did not account for are the words, that if pronounced incorrectly, could be portrayed rather badly. Especially if we were, for example, in a public place with lots of people within earshot! 

So the word 'Coat' my daughter has trouble pronouncing it properly. And I bet you can probably guess where I am going with this one. Yes in the middle of the pub on a Saturday lunch-time, post food and about to leave my daughter points and announces, rather loudly,

 "Look mama, dada's cock"! 

Monday, 10 January 2011

Embracing your inner child...

So post Christmas my house now resembles an aisle in Toys R Us, every shelf, surface and available space has toys of every nature rammed onto or into it! Emily now has two toys boxes, both full and yet somehow my lounge floor space has still strunk and I already removed the coffee table last year. Most of the lounge is taken up by a huge, pink, trampoline (kindly donated and I mean this most sincerely, by a family friend), numerous items that Emily will either push around or sits on while I push her around, books, building blocks, jigsaws, teddies, a pretend till that actually has a scanner that makes the bleeping noise (no...really!), a play kettle - one of two she received, the other living upstairs in her play kitchen with a play toaster, play washing machine, play ironing board, a dolly's cot, dressing up clothes, fairy costumes (x 2), a magnetic drawing board, more books, teddies, teddies, teddies, teddies, did I mention teddies? A Waybaloo Nok Tok, Tickle me Elmo and on and on and on. You get the idea. Do I really only have one child? I keep expecting at least another one or two to appear from somewhere.

So you would have thought with all this to amuse her she would embrace hours of fun filled entertainment. However being, as yet, an only child (despite my suspicions that there may be more children around here somewhere), mummy becomes play mate to her doting daughter. So my days are now filled with not just real domestic chores but pretend ones also. I mean really, trust me ironing is still ironing even when it's pretend!

However I have to say that it's hard not to embrace your inner child, when decked out in fairy wings, sitting in the middle of your little girls bedroom being served imaginary food on plastic plates and drinking imaginary tea out of cups that smell suspiciously like apple juice. Even I have to admit that maybe it's just better to 'go with it' sometimes. Besides it beats the hell out of tackling the real piles of washing up waiting for you downstairs.

And I know I am not alone. Come on hands up, how many of you stood imaging yourself playing with your children's toys before purchasing them? Yes, yes you know who you are! And why not, we all need an excuse to behave like the children we still are, on occasion. Otherwise life just gets a little bit too serious.

Although I do have just one question;

"How come I still get left with the imaginary washing up??!"