Monday, 31 January 2011

Sat in the doctors waiting room

My appointment was meant to be 15 mins ago so I thought I'd see how much of a blog I could do before being called.

I've already wasted an hour this morning trying to get an appointment over the phone in the first place. You can't book in advance anymore. You have to phone on the morning you want to be seen.

Everyones ill in here. I'm not ill. Little m is 6 weeks today so I'm here for my post natal check.I can tell you how it'll go - I'll tell them I'm ok, they'll offer me contraception and I'll leave. Won't be mentioning the tandem feeding thing, even health care professionals can be funny about that one - especially my dr who told me to put little I on a bottle and into her own room at 8 weeks coz she wasn't sleeping through the night. My dr would be horrified to hear that little I still doesn't sleep through.

The musak here is naff. 25 mins later.

I'm running out of things to say! My name was put down for a breastfeeding peer councillors course this morning - very pleased.

Just saw the midwife who delivered little m.
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Sunday, 30 January 2011

A test blog via email

I am testing to see if I can blog via email. If this works I will have had a very successful tech savy weekend.

I'd like this to work so that I can still blog when we're away. We go away quite regularly, to Robs family, on band tour or holiday. I even have a hen weekend coming up, although how much henning I'll get to do with a little baby and toddler in tow is yet to be seen.

It would also be quite nice to be able to blog via email so that I can send blogs in when I've already gone to bed then suddenly remember that I haven't posted a blog - like tonight. I've just wasted half an hour trying to blog from my phone via the internet site, without realising that it won't let me post that way so I'm hoping this will work.

If it doesn't work this will be a complete waste of words. If it does work, it's just a waffle - so probably equally a complete waste of words!

In other news - I've had tooth ache, or more correctly jaw ache, for the past couple of days resulting in the consumption of pain killers. I was getting worried that I had a cavity or some other horrific dental issue (I've always had really good teeth up until now). But I've swapped to a sensitive teeth tooth paste and it seems to be getting better. Ache is reducing to only 2 locations instead of a quarter of my entire mouth and painkiller consumption is reduced, although I am considering a dose before bedtime.

also, little i has been ill. Fever and everything. She seemed to be getting better today and went out with the grandparents. She had a lovely day but it's come back this evening and she was in bed by 5.30 and asleep by 6. Although she's been awake and crying on and off since then. Fingers crossed for a better night than the last 2 nights and that she doesn't get up for the day at 4am!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Friends you don't need to tidy up for.

Two of my best friends came to visit today. I really loved seeing them and their daughter who has the dirtiest laugh I think I have ever heard from a two year old!

I now have all my music back on my itunes :-) can manage my ebooks usefully :-) know gossip from work :-) and have a toddler who is feeling better again :-) I also got to pay attention to the toddler while the baby fell asleep on someone else :-). All this and they were only here for a few hours.

I'm not just creeping here, but they are the kind of people who make an effort with people. It's far more effort for them to come and visit me than for me and Rob to go and visit them but still, they've been here far more often than I've been to theirs. So next time, we must go to theirs! Little i would love to meet the manic dog again.

I say friends you don't need to tidy up for, I'm pretty sure that one of them wouldn't notice our mess. The other, I know probably did but is kind enough not to comment on it.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Welcome to the world little man

An early one today but I just wanted to congratulate a friend who gave birth at 7.15 this morning to a little boy called Thomas.

If you take the miracle of birth away, it's a great story of the internet community. There is a group of us who 'met' on a parenting website when we were pregnant in 2008. There are so many stories within this group of women and so many stories still developing. Not all over us have always got on, but we work through our issues and are always there to lend each other support, just as it should be. Only this is on the internet, not in 'real life'.

Real life community has been stretched to the point where the support of good friends in the near vicinity can be lacking at the time when you need it. Through no fault of the people who live near us - they're just busy. In the same way as we are busy. On an internet forum (we have our own closed forum now) you can post your thoughts and friends can deal with them when they have time. It's good. Real life and the internet community is now so blurred that my best friends from work are people I talk to on the internet out of work through facebook and twitter.

Anyway - back to the new baby boy. 3 of us from our closed forum have had babies recently, with little m being the first and Thomas the last. Thomas' mum had two birth partners. The first was her partner and the second was her best friend from our forum. I like that, internet and real life become the same thing and the old style community is revived with a modern twist. Thomas will be welcomed into the world by 15 families, some of whom he will hardly ever meet but who will always be there to give him help and advice. To celebrate and commiserate with him. I'm already jealous that his mum will have those lovely warm few first weeks that me and little m have just had but we'll get to share it in our own way, even if it's not an actual real life cuddle.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

come on child, do it for the sticker - but it's always 8.30

We are trying a bit of sleep training with little i. She is an exceptional human being but if she has one fault, its bed time. She needs one of us to lie with her before she'll fall asleep and on a bad day, this will involve a stupid amount of mucking about before she switches off at 8.30.

We start the bedtime routine with a bath at 6.30 so 2 hours worth of bedtime routine is getting a bit much. We've tried starting the bath later but it's still 2 hours before she switches off. We've been trying to get her used to the idea of settling herself to sleep. She can do this during the night, she did it last night but she seems resistant at bed time. I don't hold with controlled crying, it's just not for us, so we've gone with the reward chart/sticker/blatant bribery route.

Last night we told her that she could have a sticker if she could settle herself to sleep. She didn't manage it at bed time, in the end Rob fell asleep lying next to her. But in the night she did settle herself so today I got one of the reward charts from Cbeebies magazine and she put an octonauts sticker on Wednesday. My theory is that she now knows she'll get the reward and what the reward is.

Tonight she is pleased as punch with the sticker and knows that if she gets a weeks worth of stickers, she'll get a new octonauts book (it has to be octonauts, they're her favourite) but she's still resistant. No longer was I lying with her but I had to check on her every 2 mins or she'd get out of bed and at 8.00 she decided to go for a wee. However, she was left just before 8.30 and she has settled herself to sleep. Yay for little i.

We still haven't achieved the aim for getting her to settle herself to sleep at a decently close time to her bath but hey, its a start!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Dear Egg Card - I would like to complain

Dear Egg Card,

I am writing my complaint here because you have given me no other opportunity to converse with your company.

In the last hour and a half, you have rung my house 4 times. The first time, even though I was asleep after being up all night with a sick toddler, I ran to answer the phone. You asked for Mr Rob, I told you he was at work and asked if I could take a message. You said 'no particular message' and said good bye, giving us no clue of who you were.

Twice you rang again but I ignored it as I has a sleeping new born on me. You are damn lucky you didn't wake her up.

The forth time, just now, you rang and I answered again. You asked once again for Mr Rob and I told you he was at work. The thing is, I wasn't even rude, even though you've repeatedly interrupted my afternoon. so why did you feel it was OK to hang up without even saying good bye?

You didn't tell me your company but I checked on 1471 and rang the number back. It's an automated response but I now know who you are and I will make sure that if you ever do get through to Mr Rob, he'll be tearing 2 strips off you blinking rude company.

Yours sincerely
Much pissed off.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Blinking itunes, any help out there?

A few months ago I changed my laptop for a netbook. Since then I've been trying to get itunes to register all my musict on my new computer.

There are a number of albums I've downloaded from CD that it won't recognise on the new comp and a few albums that I purchased years ago, that it won't recognise now either. This is annoying me. I don't want to buy all this stuff again and I can't load my back up as it's all on CD-ROMs and my new net book doesn't have a CD drive.

I've tried a number of things, including transferring my library from my old lappy to my new one using a data stick but it still doesn't want to do it.

If anyone knows what I'm on about and can help, I'd greatly appreciate it. All the titles of the songs are in my new library but there's a ! next to them and it says something like - can't find the location of this song.

I just want all my music back without having to buy an external CD drive.

Monday, 24 January 2011

One Born Every Minute

I love this programme. Back in my youth I wanted to be a Doctor, until I discovered I was - in fact - rubbish at chemistry, I have an A-level to prove I'm rubbish at chemistry! But One Born Every Minute really makes me wish I could retrain and work as a midwife.

Sensibly, I know I can't retrain. My present job pays me too much, has great hours for combining with a family and has fantastic holidays. So until my kids are older, and we've paid off more of the mortgage, I'm going to have to carry on teaching geography - which isn't a problem, I love geography. It just isn't an AMAZING job. It's an enjoyable job but not AMAZING.

I think one of the other reasons why this programme affects me so much is that it brings back so many memories - some not very old as little m is only 5 weeks old today. It makes me realise how lucky I was to have 2 relatively easy births and how utterly gob smacking it is that all these women do something as fabulous as bringing kids into the world - I'm talking about the mums now, but the mw's are all part of that.

Finally, I know someone who works on the maternity ward where they film One Born. She's an ex student of mine and has been working as a maternity assistant and admin assistant/receptionist on the ward. But she's applying to uni to become a midwife. I'm so proud of her. She did the lowest level of qualification with me but she's gone on to do so well for herself.

I think One Born Every Minute is a fantastic programme.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Chips or rice

The eternal Chinese takeaway dilemma.

I like the way rice soaks up the spare sauce but there isn't quite enough rice if you want to share with some one else.

Chinese chips are the best kind of chips. Chunky but crispy at the same time. But Chinese chips couldn't even hope to soak the sauce up as well as rice.

Then, it depends on the main dish you're putting with the rice or chips as to which one you pick. For example, egg foo yung is best with chips - the classic egg and chip combo. But chop suey is best with rice.

Which do you favour with your Chinese? Due to the fact that Rob and I were sharing the rice/chips we chose to have both.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

The definition of decadence!

This morning a HUGE box arrived from Thorntons. This concerned me at first because I had been mucking about of on the Thorntons website last week but I had been strong and deleted my basket before buying anything. So the arrival of this HUGE box made me panic that I'd inadvertently bought a huge amount of chocolate without actually putting any credit card details in.

The panic got worse when I opened the box and what was in it was very similar to the order I very nearly placed. This confusion arose because the box was delivered upside down due to the fact that the bottom was about to fall out of it. So I took all 5 boxes of chocolate - yes 5!! - out of the box and started looking for a delivery note. No delivery note. Finally I lifted one of the flaps that would have been at the top of the box, had the box not been upside down, and I found a message from a friend. This huge amount of choc has been bought for me to celebrate the birth of little m. How amazingly kind is that? It actually blew me away!

Anyway - one of the boxes was a huge slab of Thorntons milk chocolate. I have ear marked this slab to be melted down and used to make chocolate cornflake cakes with little i - and that is my definition of decadence!

Friday, 21 January 2011

The big sister

Little i is an exceptional human being. That's not just me saying that as her mum, she really is exceptional. She's bright and witty and good at almost everything she does. She's confident and friendly and stunning looking.

Before little m came also, little i was the centre of our attention. I worried about how she would deal with the new addition to the family. I worried that she would react badly and it would change the way I felt about her. I thought she might turn naughty, instead of cheeky, to gain attention.

But little i has taken to being a big sister brilliantly. She's loving and caring towards her little sister. Only on a few occasions has the strain of the change shown. On New Years Eve little i asked if little m could go away for a little bit. I could see why that request had been made. 2 weeks earlier, little i's exuberance and loudness was applauded as she would put on shows for the adults to watch. But all of a sudden she was being told off for things that were perfectly acceptable before. It had begun to get to me that people were telling her off or telling her to be quiet because of the baby but the request for little m to go away 'for a little while' was the only  come back from little i. We put little m to bed and let little i stay up later making cakes.

For a few days, while Robs been busy with OFSTED, me and the two girls have been on our own a lot. Little i started getting defiant, knowing that while I was holding little m, there wasn't much I could do about it. But even that has only lasted a couple of days. For the past few days she's been getting better and better again.

Today has been an absolute joy with her. She was a star at tumble tots, she's been a really helpful big sister and this afternoon she spent hours sitting quietly playing peppa pig on a Nintendo ds. She's even gone to bed without any fuss at all. She's been really good company. Bearing in mind that she's only two and a half, I think she's a truly exceptional human being. I love you little i.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

To dummy or not to dummy, that is the question

To dummy, or not to dummy: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The cries and sobs of outrageous child,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by giving dummy end them? To suck: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the hand gnawing
That baby is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To suck, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of the dummied baby what dreams may come
When we have silenced the child,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so short life;

Ok. I've just ruined Shakespeare to illustrate my point. I am not anti-dummy, little i had one that she called her me-me.  But I think she had it a bit too long and my gut is telling me that I don't want little m to have one. Then there are times when I think she should have one because she's beginning to suck her fist for comfort.

The thing is, little m is not a screamer. She's a very settled child and the only reason I'd be giving her one is to discourage the hand sucking. But then you get a bit dummy reliant. I don’t want it to feel like I'm giving her a dummy to keep her quiet. She's a very good baby. And I think that last statement sums it up. Little i loved her dummy but I felt like I was punishing her for making a noise. Mad? Maybe.

Oh, I just don't know. Right now, she's fine without but I know that later the doubts will come back again. I suppose all I can do is take it one day at a time and see where we end up.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Knitted stuff

I am the kind of person who has a 'to do' list. Mostly for work purposes but the habit has stuck even now I'm on leave. Ticking stuff off the list makes me feel like my day has been productive.

These days, it's mostly stuff I want to knit on my list. For example, little i has asked my to knit her some monster bum trousers. I have cast on for these today. She has selected the colours - purple and pink. I have a bad habit of knitting clothes up smaller than intended so I hope these will be ok. She's very excited.

Little m has already grown out of her hat already (getting big so quickly) so last night I knitted her a hat. Again, my problem with knitting clothes too small struck and I'm going to have to knit the next size up when I get the chance.

Two friends want Penelope dolls for friends. They could only find a crochet pattern but neither crochet so I've promised to make them one each when I get the pattern.

Also on my list is a jumper for me, a knitted paper chain (oxymoron?), some socks and a world map. The world map and paper chain, I've started but keep putting to one side while I do other projects.

So enough of this blogging - I have a monster bum to knit.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

so many topics

I can't decide what to blog about today.

I've thought about talking about my aim to lose the baby weight (and abit more). Because I'm feeding 2 children, I have to be careful to keep my calorie intake up so that I can make good milk. However, getting the balance right is difficult so I thought I'd try and lose the weight through exercise. I'm also aware that I'm quite tired right now so I thought I'd build it up slowly. Mostly through walking to nursery to pick up little i and playing wii Just Dance 2. Yesterday I thought I'd up it a bit and walked a couple of miles with little m in a sling. Today I hurt. I hurt bad. But little i had asked me to pick her up from nursery with the bicycle and trailer and, not wanting to let her down, this is what I did. Nursery isn't far away but biking with a trailer on 2 children is hard work! I'm hoping for a good weight loss tomorrow.

I thought about talking about the change in little m. She's been such an easy baby but today she's been a bit unsettled. I say a bit because she's no where near difficult but she's been sucking her hand a lot, wanting to feed more than before and generally preferring to be held than put down. Given that I was tired from yesterdays walking, I couldn't work out why she'd changed so much. I was even pondering giving her a dummy. Little i had a dummy but I'd rather she hadn't. so I wandered off to the coffee machine and put 2 expresso's in my latte and the problem suddenly dawned on me. I dug out my copy of 'The wonder weeks' which is all about the develop mental leaps that baby's go through in the first year and sure enough - she's started going through the first leap. Knowing that, I then knew that all she wanted was a bit of reassurance so I gave up trying to put her down and just enjoyed the cuddles.

Finally, I thought about talking about happiness. Sometimes I feel a bit like I shouldn't mention how happy I am with my life these days because I know that others are not happy and I don't want to rub it in their faces. But I thought today, by keeping quiet about my happiness I am denying my friends and family - the people who are making me happy. So yeah, I'm happy or contented, which ever sits easiest with you. I'm tired and achy but I'm happy because I have 2 lovely girls, a bloke who does tonnes for me, my family close by to lend a hand and some great friends to chat with.

Monday, 17 January 2011

You think you know someone

(For those in the know - I'm not actually going to go into specifics but, yes, it is about that)

It always amazes me just how much people think they know about other people. We assume that we know friends or family and then all of a sudden (or slowly and painfully over a long period of time) something comes along that proves that we don't know these people in the slightest.

And why is it that it's always something unpleasant that gives us the wake up call. Why is it that you hear people say 'I thought I knew so-and -so but he was wearing my knickers all the time' (that is not a real event, just an illustration). You never hear, 'I though I knew so-and-so but he was helping out at the old peoples home on the quiet all the time'. Maybe it's coz people are generally unpleasant more often.

I try not to fall into these assumption because half the time, I don't even know myself - let alone expect other people to know me! But still, human nature (or stupidity depending on your outlook) never fails to surprise me.

And then there are situations where, when you stop and think about it, it's not a surprise at all. You'd hoped and given the benefit of the doubt but actually, it doesn't surprise you.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Half an hour out on my own & other stuff

I have just spent half an hour out of the house on my own! It's the first time I've been on my own for a month.

Little i is out having a special picnic and walk with grandad j. Rob and little m were at home and I went to Tesco to buy toilet roll. Rock and roll baby! The thing about living in a small town though, is that you're never really on your own. True to form, in the cough medicine aisle I bumped into little i's godmother. It was nice to have a chat without littlies running about though.

The midwife came back this morning. There's no problem, just another midwife had used the wrong form for the heel prick test when little m was 8 days old so they're having to redo it. It was really nice actually because the midwife who arrived today was the lady who came in the ambulance with me and delivered little m. Anyway, we took the opportunity to get m weighted too. She's 9lb 4 now. That's a 14oz gain in 10 days. I've very chuffed.

All is well in the household, and we even have bog roll now.

Saturday, 15 January 2011


There are many reasons why teachers hate OFSTED (The education inspection body) but today, my reasons are purely personal.

Little m is still less than 4 weeks old and I'm acutely aware that the time with a newborn goes way too fast. This is also our last baby so every second is precious.

Yesterday afternoon Robs school got the call from OFSTED. They are going in Tuesday and Wednesday. This means that Rob has got to spend the weekend writing lesson plans and collating the paper work which may or may not be asked for. He's also still getting sorted after his paternity leave which means he's got more marking to do than usual to catch up.

So, because of this stupid inspection body, which is fighting for it's political life because it's basically utterly crap, Rob is missing these precious moments with his little girl.

What annoys me most of all is that all this work for OFSTED is additional. His lessons are planned and the paper work is there, just in a format that is useful on a day to day basis. OFSTED want it in a format convenient to them. It has nothing to do with how well the school is educating it's students.

I have been teaching over 10 years now and been through 3 inspections but have never been observed by an inspector. Never even been spoken too. Now, how can a body like this slag off the education profession when they can't even be bothered to see all the staff?

Dear OFSTED you are poo and I hate you for taking my baby's Daddy away at a time like this.

Friday, 14 January 2011


2 years ago today an amazing child was born way before her time. Her parents called her Mia.

She was a fighter but the odds were stacked against her. It snowed around this time 2 years ago. At times it snowed a lot. Mia never got to leave hospital. There were many highs and lows for her but eventually, her fight became too much and 7 weeks later, still before she was due, she left the world again.

The hole she has left behind is far bigger than her physical size and longer lasting than the few short weeks that she was here. Mia will never be forgotten by the people who felt her force. Family and friends, friends of friends, health care professionals who worked with her, people who are reading this with no connection to her in the slightest. The passing of a child cuts into every one but each person feels that differently and to different extents.

I'm not as eloquent as I'd like to be at times like these and this is a poor tribute in comparison to what she deserves. There are other families I think of and remember their lost children too and sadly, I know there will be more to come. Good things have come after these losses but it doesn't make the loss any less painful or acute.

I never met Mia, I've never even seen a picture of her but I don't need to, to know that she has made a big impact on a lot of people. I love snow (as I've mentioned before in my blogs) but since Mia, I always think of her when it snows. I don't know where the reader sits when it comes to religion but Mia will always remain because she will always be remembered and I like to think that she is a very positive force because she is remembered at a time when children (and me, as a snow lover) are happy and excited.

Happy birthday Snow Angel xx

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Baby beans.

Little m went to her first baby music session today. It's called baby beans, for those who don't know. My Mum came today as well which was really nice. I was so proud of little m - she did so well for such a young girl but again, I was struck by the differences between her and her sister.

I first went to baby beans when little i was 5 weeks old. We were meant to go the week before but the car had broken another battery (see 'my car' blog on more about my battery killing car). It was really nice, loads of ladies with babies around the same age. Little i used to listen and take part and then go to sleep under the listening cloth towards the end, which I always felt was a great shame coz all the other mums got cuddles with their babies during the last song and I used to just sit there staring at a sleeping girl.

Little m, while 2 weeks younger (which is important when you're only a handful of weeks old), was wide awake and attentive today. She was really interested in the bubbles and she even started communicating in her own little way. There was a rain maker see-through tube thing - I don't know what it's actually called - but when you turn it onto it's end, you can see coloured beads falling. We put this next to her and when all the beans had fallen through the tube she waved her hand until we turned it over again! She also had a unique reaction to the listening cloth, she got hungry. She wasn't due for a feed but all that hard musicianship must have affected her appetite!

Eventually, when little i was old enough, she graduated to jelly beans - which is also great. Its a lot more active for the toddlers (she'd stopped falling asleep at this point) and she'd come home singing all the songs that we'd been doing in the session. To see a child get so much from a group like that is amazing and every time I've had to leave (I've had to leave a few times now coz of changes in sessions or having to go back to work) it's upset me to think that she was missing out. Little i is an exceptional child and I do partly blame baby and jelly beans for that!

Little m will only get 7/8 months of baby beans because I go back to work in September, she won't even be old enough to go to jelly beans but I know she'll get just as much out of it as her sister did. If nothing else we'll keep stroking the bunny at home......I feel that I should explain that you stroke the baby from head to foot while saying 'stroke the bunny' 3 times  and then say 'and........tickle its tummy, tickle it's tummy, tickle it's tummy' while tickling the babies tummy. Babies love it, toddlers love it too. Trust me, try it!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Easy Jet and the saga of the baby on the band tour

The concert band are going on a tour to Germany at Whitsun. This is a much looked forward to event and we've been preparing for it since October. The flights were booked as soon as they were released by Easy Jet (needless to say, the instruments are going by road - can you imagine the cost of all those instruments on a budget airline!). However, at the time we didn't know what sex the new baby was going to be and we thought you'd need your passport number or at least a name to book a baby onto a flight so Rob, myself and little i were booked with the rest of the band and we agreed that we would amend the booking to add little m on after she was born.

I tried to do that today. The man organising the tour had rung Easy Jet and got instructions on how to add an infant, which he emailed to me. I went through the instructions (which Easy Jet had given us) and it removed me from the booking while adding little m as an adult with an infant. It also wanted to charge us £123!! So I tried again, not following the instructions and managed to get myself book as an adult with the addition of an infant which has cost us £40. This took me the best part of a day including a couple of failed attempts to get through to Easy Jet customer services on the phone. While they have you on hold, listening to music you would never willingly chose to listen to, they are charging you 10p a minute plus network charges. I now know how budget airlines make a profit - it's from all the poor saps waiting on hold for a stupidly long time. I can not emphasis enough at this point that I have spent good money here and I NEVER SPOKE TO ANYONE!!! I got bored waiting and sorted the problem myself...eventually.

In the end, they didn't want any passport details and weren't even interested in little m's name. Thanks alot Easy Jet. Oh well, never mind. Germany, here we come!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Something of value from a quiet day.

I haven't done anything today but watch Harry Potter 1 & 2 and pick little i up from nursery so I'm not very inspired for a blog post today. I see a flaw in this one a day plan.

However, I did something that is more valuable to me than almost anything else. I laid on the sofa with my baby snuggled up asleep on my chest. You can't beat that. It's too easy to forget the warmth of a new baby. What with the mentalness of the festive season, I don't feel that I've had enough time to snuggle on the sofa with little m. I intend to put that right over the next few weeks, before she gets to old and more interested in doing stuff. Like putting things in her mouth and falling off stuff.

I say it's more valuable than almost anything else because once we got home from picking little i up, we all laid on the sofa having a hug. The warmth from a toddler is different but the luxury of a quiet moment and a little hug and chat is so precious, particularly when it means a break in trying to get things out of their mouths or rubbing various bits of the body after they've fallen off stuff. (I have misrepresented little i here for literary symmetry; she hardly ever puts things in her mouth but often falls off stuff).

So I know I'm not very interesting today but I'm very centred and happy after a day devoted to the two most important things in the world.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Booby group

Little m is 3 weeks old today. Time is a funny old thing because 3 weeks old is really not very old but it feels like she's been here forever. I thought it was about time we got her social life going so at 9am this morning (thats stupid early when you've got a very young baby) we left the house to walk to booby group.

Now, we might dip into the realms of too much information for a millisecond. I breast feed. I still breast feed little i who is 2 year 8 months and now I breast feed little m as well. There are many reasons for this but mainly, it's coz we're lazy. We don't have to get up at night to do a bottle and we don't have to bother with all the washing up! The thing is, when I think about all the reasons I breast feed, laziness really does come top because I also express milk so that the grandparents can babysit, but never - not once - have we thought to use some of that milk for Rob to do a night feed, we're just too lazy!

Anyway, the booby group in town is a relatively new thing. It wasn't around when little i was a baby so I thought we'd make the most of the opportunity this time. I have to be honest, the jury is still out for booby group and me. We arrived and were greeted nicely, there are quite a few mothers there and lots of differently aged babies, little m being the youngest but there was also a 4 week old. But as soon as we got settled, we were asked how the feeding was going. Well, it's going fine. I had the usual PAIN in the first 2 weeks, that the NHS helpfully never warn you about fully but little i helped out in that respect and at least this time, I knew what to expect. And that's it. There's a few ladies who recognise me from about town so I will go back, it's nice to chat with people who are going through similar things and the peer supporters were really helpful to the mother of the 4 week old.

To be honest, I have no idea what I expected!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Christmas DVDs

Last year Rob got me Valkyrie on DVD for Christmas. Now, I'm not knocking the film. When we finally got round to watching it some time in November, it was a very good film. It's just not my kind of film. It's also not the kind of film I would watch over and over again. We don't get the chance to go to the cinema at the moment but really, it should be a Blockbusters rental, not a own forever type purchase. Or not for me anyway. It is exactly the kind of film Rob loves and in this small matter he had unfortunately fallen into the man trap that is present at every Christmas and birthday. 'I have no idea what to get the little woman, oh this looks good!'. Men (and women for that matter) if it looks good to you, it's probably not ideal for your partner. What you should be thinking is 'oh, she'd like this'.

This year he obviously made the effort - I'm not sure if it was the fact that it took me 11 months to watch last years DVD or if he was just more attuned this year but I got a fantastic haul of DVDs, all of which I would watch many times. Most of which, I have already seen but am over joyed to now own.

Muppet Christmas Carol
This film should be on every ones list of all time classics. You have the mix of timeless Charles Dickens story telling,  acting greatness of Michael Caine and the sheer brilliance of the Muppets. This is by far the best Muppet movie every made. I'd actually dropped hints about wanting this DVD. We have the Muppets Christmas Movie but it is nothing in comparison to the Christmas Carol. It doesn't stick entirely faithfully to the text of the original but that may be too scary for a Muppet offering. The only criticism we have found is from little i (aged 2) who thought that the ghost of Christmas present looked like a big ginger Santa and spent a good few minutes being more than a little confused.  She got her head round it in the end though. So in conclusion, I love the Muppet Christmas Carol.

Wallace and Gromit TV collection
From here onwards Rob chose the DVD's himself. I love Wallace and Gromit. I love most British films but Wallace and Gromit sum up why I love the British movie scene. They are a collection of basically simple stories with brilliant scripting. The humour is subtle and down to earth. They are short enough for you to watch and enjoy without having to invest serious time to. Again, we had a moment of confusion for little i who watched A Close shave before A Grand Day Out. If you try this, you will notice just how much the sculpting of Wallace has changed over the years. When A Grand Day Out started she asked 'what's happened to Wallaces face?' We explained that Wallace was very young in A Grand Day Out but had grown older by A Close Shave. She seemed happy with this explanation. As you can tell, I have already watched this DVD too.

The Chronicals of Narnia parts 1 and 2
As I said, we don't get the chance to go to the cinema very often these days and so I had not see these films. I loved the TV series and so am very pleased to see that The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is very close to that adaptation. There are some brilliant performances, namely Susan and Mr Beaver - both of which had me laughing out loud at some of their lines. We have only watched the first one so far as they are probably too dark for little i at present. While explaining why the ghost of Christmas present isn't a big ginger Santa is one thing, explaining why hundreds of mythical creatures are being murdered is beyond my skills at present. Still, these are Christmas DVD's for me, not little i, and I'm very pleased with this box set.

Harry Potter volumes 1-6
We have been having a debate for a long time now about whether we should buy the 1-6 box set or wait until 7a and 7b come out on DVD. Rob won the debate by getting me this box set for Chrimbo. Again, not one we're going to watch with little i because I would like her to read the books before watching the films like we did. I loved the books, as did Rob, and loved most of the movies so again, this has been a good choice. I say most because we found number 6 a tad disappointing in comparison to the book. As a film in it's own right I think it's good but as an adaptation of the book, it is a poor relative. Mainly because the title of this volume is 'The Half Blood Prince' and I don't feel the film made nearly enough of that connection. I won't say why, just in case you haven't seen the film but are intending to. I don't want to spoil it for you.

But what's more important than the critical analysis of these titles is the fact that every one of them is exactly my sort of thing. He thought about me and that's what makes these great gifts. I love my Christmas DVDs and would like to thank Rob very very much. xx

Saturday, 8 January 2011


The whole point of this was that I would post one blog a day for a year. Obviously, I failed before I began because I only started on the 3rd January but yesterday I added to that failure by not posting.

Does this mean I should give up? My target will not be achieved. I already know that and it's only the 8th January. The thing I've learnt about New Year Resolutions is that just because you miss one or two targets, it's not an excuse to give up. For me, resolutions aren't a 'complete this in it's entirety or it's not worth doing'. They are things that are designed to make me or my life better and so falling off the wagon once or twice will not change that. so I will carry on waffling inane crap for as long as I can!

I have a group of friends on the internet who don't really make resolutions. We make predictions. It's a far more positive way of doing the resolution thing. Here are my predictions for the year.

1) Get down to & stay in healthy BMI
2) Sash bust - I will end the year with less stash (wool) than I started with
3) Go back to work in sept as HoF
4) Go to the Isle of Man & rock pool with little i.
5) Be generally happy and thankful for everything I have and have done
6) Become a breastfeeding peer supporter
7) Try to be more tolerant and nice to Rob, in return he has said he will try to be more open and loving. I'm not sure either of us will get anywhere with this one lol.
8) As a mum of 2 girls now - I will attempt to make more effort with my appearance. This year - make up.
9) I will write a blog a day. Just because I can.

So you can see, they are the usual new year resolution stuff mixed with some aims for the year. We review them every so often. Even if it doesn't achieve much, it's a bit of fun.

As a teacher I have the attitude that I may have missed that one blog yesterday but I've done 5 blogs now that I would never have done if I hadn't started trying to do one a day. I say 'as a teacher' because I think that the attitude behind my thinking is what gets me through my job. It may be a ridiculously hard job at times. The work rate is relentless and people (management and kids) can be horrendously evil to you but in my mind, there is always something positive to focus on and that's how I finish every day. Focusing on the positive. My work friends may find this surprising because I can get very annoyed with stuff but at the end of the day, there really is always a positive - even if it's only that there will be a holiday soon!

So, what was going on yesterday which meant that I didn't have time to post at least a tiny blog? Truthfully? Nothing. Rob's still on paternity leave and little i doesn't go into nursery on a Friday so we were playing. Then in the evening the grandparents came to babysit, as is their tradition, and we went for a meal which was nice. I'd planned to blog when we got back but both girls were still up until 10pm and then we went to bed. See nothing interesting, no great excuses. I was just tired. Oh, I got my car back yesterday though, good as new.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

My car

My beautiful car! I love my car. It's 11 years old and it's been mine for 10 of those years. It's been my car longer than I've been a qualified teacher. If there's anything that sums up my existence more than my 2 girls, it's my mini. It's called Tuppy. This is because my first mini was called Bertie, as in Bertie Wooster, and Tuppy is a friend of Bertie.

For a mini, it's not ancient. For a modern car, it's old. But for a mini, it's probably just middle aged. But the years are beginning to show. It has a long term love/hate relationship with it's battery. This has been going on for a good 5 years now. I buy it a new battery, it tolerates it for a while and then rejects it, like an organ transplant gone wrong. In the past 5 years, it's probably had 5 batteries. We're about to take another one back to the shop because it's only 6 months old and has been driven to suicide by my mini already - but this battery came with a 2 year warranty, more fool the shop that sold it to us!

Tuppys' latest wheeze is over heating. It did this about 2 months ago on the way home from work (bearing in mind that I was 7-8 months pregnant at this point). The electrics started going mental. I ended up having to turn off as many electrical items as I could - which was a bit hairy at dusk, in the rain.  I decided not to pick up little i straight away and went home to park the car instead. By the time I got to the drive way, the engine was smoking. I ran out of the car and rang the Fire Brigade. Thankfully, the car wasn't on fire and stopped smoking while I was waiting for the engine. We rang 'the mini man' who is a local mechanic who specialises in old minis.

The mini man is brilliant. He's honest, doesn't over charge and loves the car he's chosen to work on. He has replaced a front light for me, on my way home or while I was at the swimming pool, in 5 mins and only charges £5!

The mini man came to pick the car up with his trailer and took it to his workshop. This was the first time I thought the mini may have been at the end of it's regular working life. However, he rang the next day to say that a wire had corroded so stopped the fan (and other electrics) from working. Wire replace - £30 charge for pick up, labour and parts - my car returned to me, good as new.

Since then my car has not been used as much as it's used to. The snow and ice before Christmas limited my ability to leave the house as a heavily pregnant woman on maternity leave. Then, of course, the baby arrived and my partner, Rob, has been off work and we've been using his car. Yesterday, he decided to check that the mini was ok. It wasn't. Another battery rejected, but we've learnt about my cars little ways and we had a spare battery in the garage.  Rob took it out for a drive. A little while later he returned and asked me if I was ok as soon as he walked through the door. At this point I knew something bad must have happened. So, understandably, I asked 'what have you done to my car?'

The mini had over heated again. This time, it couldn't get home and Rob had abandoned it in a pub car park and run (yes run) home. We rang the mini man who came and picked it up with his trailer once again and once again, I thought I may be looking at the end of my beautiful car.

But No! The water tank in the engine had cracked in the cold weather and all the water had leaked out. Now, if I owned a new style BMW mini a new water tank would cost about £180, but this is an old style mini we're taking about. These things are made to last and at a reasonable budget. Mr mini man has had to order the part from the internet but at the most it will cost £35.

The mini lives to fight another day!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The new baby

Little M came along nearly a week over due. After a minor drama with freezing fog and an ambulance ride, she was born completely uneventfully after a 2 hour 15 min labour. We spent 7 hours in hospital, 6 hours of those were just waiting for the baby checks to be done, and then we came home in time to meet the big sister (Little I) and have a Chinese.

To be truthful, I didn't really connect with this pregnancy. The day after we decided to try for another baby I got a promotion at work. We gambled and decided that because I was over 30, the chances of conceiving first time were under 15%. If I was pregnant we'd go with it. If I wasn't, we'd put the baby thing off for a bit longer. I knew before I even took a test that I was pregnant. The rest of the 9 months was just too busy to really think about a new baby. There was also a question mark over the viability of my chosen place for birth. I wanted to stay at home but a scan at 35 weeks suggested that  a c-section would be needed. After talking to a consultant, I managed to avoid that option (which really did horrify me, I've never even broken a bone let alone under gone major surgery!). Various events meant that by 40 weeks +2 days, it looked like I could have a home birth again and suddenly I began to feel connected to the fact that I was going to have a baby but by this point I just wanted the pregnancy to be over. Little I had been 2 weeks early and going over due was a very miserable experience. I was never ill or at risk but it was miserable.

The morning I went into labour the weather was BAD. Freezing fog. So to cut a long story short, just in case something did go wrong, they took me into hospital in an ambulance. I was fine, the baby was fine but in the modern NHS the risk assessment is king.

Saying that - even though my partner nearly missed the birth due to no parking at the maternity unit - less than on hour after me arriving at the hospital I had my second daughter with no complications what so ever. And, I have to say, the view was worth the unwanted trip!

Of course the baby was worth it too and from now on, you'll have to excuse the poorly hidden excuse to post loads of pictures of my baby!

There are many differences between my two girls. The first one is that little M is dark haired. Little I is ginger and always has been so everyone has been surprised to see that little M is different. She was also nearly a pound heavier at birth.

We mainly planned for another baby to give little I someone to play with and also to help her learn how to share toys and attention. Little I is a born performer and craves attention! So how the two girls met and got used to each other was very important to me and one of the reasons I wanted to stay at home to have the baby. The grand parents had picked little I up from nursery and brought her home when we arrived back at about 7pm. The next photo is little I's face when she first saw her sister.

She loved M immediately and would over love her given the chance!

M is only 2 weeks old but it feels like she's been here forever. She's a very calm and settled baby, cries even less than her sister did when she was little, and fits into our family perfectly.

She managed to arrive 5 days before Christmas so it feels like an age since she arrived but I think that's more because so much has happened between then and now.

I still feel a bit sad for little I, people react differently to her now and she's having to be a lot calmer than she would have been 2 weeks ago. I'm also a little sad that this is my baby making days over. We've decided that 2 children are enough for us and logically, I know this is the right thing for our family, but it's still sad to think that this is the last time I'll be taking photos of our own tiny baby.

She's more wakeful now and I've been planning her social life this morning. Music, swimming, massage! But it also saddens me that because of my new job, I'll be going back to work when she's 8 months old when I had longer off with her sister. I feel like she's losing out already but then I remember that poor little I just had me and her dad to play with where as little M has 'the big sister' too.

All this said - a new born is tiring and a new born with an overly excited toddler over Christmas is doubly tiring. Time for a nap.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011


We got some unexpected snow this morning. It came down hard and fast for about an hour or so but it had caught the gritters by surprise and settled on the main roads.

Now, I love snow. I love watching it falling, I love the way it makes the world look, I love the special feel in the air and I love the fresh snow smell. I love the meteorology of it!

What I don't love is the way some people in this country react to the conditions. During the snow before Christmas, I lost count of all the people who were saying the usual; 'a few flakes of snow and the country grinds to a halt!' The fact is that snow is not common for this country. We might get a few days of good snow a year but that's all and it's not cost effective to spend the millions necessary to make this country snow proof. The other alternative is that the general public modify their behaviour for the weather conditions. I really wish people would be sensible and when the police issue warnings against non essential travel, people shouldn't travel. What people class as essential travel staggers me. These people are just putting themselves at risk and getting in the way of key workers who really do have to get into work, to make life better for others.

These people who ignore extreme weather like snow, do they modify their behaviour for the conditions? Do they have snow chains or even snow tyres for their cars? In Germany there is a law that says snow tyres must be fitted from the 1st December onwards. Do these people have properly insulated homes or have they checked the antifreeze in their cars to make sure it will work at temperatures lower than -9 degrees Celsius? Do they even leave extra time for their journeys? I'm sure some of them do. But I know some of them don't.

We had to take our 2 week old daughter (who from now on will be known as little M) back to hospital this morning. There's nothing wrong but we had an appointment for her newborn hearing check. There was a weather warning out to take extra care but the snow had changed to rain by the time we left and most of the snow on the road was slush. Even though the conditions had been obvious and warnings issued, we passed 3 crashed cars on our way to Lincoln. All of them were on a straight road but just before junctions. It didn't take a huge amount of imagination to work out what caused the accidents.

I love snow. I will always love snow but I'm also realistic in knowing that my car (an old style mini) is not made for driving in those conditions. So I will continue to modify my behaviour and any journeys I make in the snow will either be on foot, with sledge or in a car far better equipped!

Monday, 3 January 2011


A friend has started doing a blog a day. I have thought about this for a few days and decided that it sounds like an interesting thing to do. So here I am - on the 3rd of January - starting my blog. I can't promise to be endlessly fascinating but I shall do my best.

So - who am I?
I am in my 30's, although it doesn't feel like it!

I have just had a baby. She is my second daughter and is 2 weeks old today. It feels like she's been here forever but the time is slipping by too fast as she will be my last baby. My first daughter is two and a half and a most exceptional human being.

I am a secondary school geography teacher. Although, for this year, it probably won't feature much as I am on maternity leave until September. I would class myself as quite academic. I have an MA in education. But I can't spell so please excuse me the odd mistake.

I knit things. I learnt to knit when I was on maternity leave with my first daughter and I have knitted many random things since then.

I am a musician. I play the french horn in a local concert band. During the course of the year we are going on a tour in Europe.

I think that about sums it up for now. Those 4 things, in that order. I'm probably going to write these blogs on the assumption that no one is reading them but it won't be a diary. So, with many a happy blog to come, I bid you all a happy new year (belatedly). May 2011 be as good for you as 2010 was for me. xx