Monday, 25 January 2010

Cot - farewell my friend

If there is ever a seminal moment in a child's life, it's the transition from babies cot to big grown-up bed.

This normally occurs somewhere around the child's second birthday, which means that the child has no memory of the move, making it more of a seminal moment in a parent's life, as they lament the end of the baby years.

Which is exactly what I'm doing at the moment.

And I'm emotional.

For Edie, this transition has been, somewhat fraught, not to mention rather slow, starting more than a year ago and ending last night with the listing of it on e-bay.

I almost cried.

Edie may have already turned three, but she has show no signs of wanting to make the transition into her big girls bed, if 'Mummy, cot'. *wail, sob, sob, wail* 'Mummy, cot, pleeeeeease', is anything to go by.

Silly, maybe, but it has been more than just a place to sleep. For a child such as Edie, who lists her best friends as 'pillow' and 'thumb', 'cot' has been her little sanctuary, a place that she has always welcomed, never ever resisted and on numerous occasions, has had to be forcibly removed from.

But the time has come. She is now as long as the cot itself and, I hate to admit it, almost as wide.

It is, however, still in her room, and until e-bay works its magic, there it shall remain, a reminder of happier times. And I say that because last night at 2 o'clock in the morning, I sat cradling a crying child who had, unfortunately, thumped to the floor from her newly-slept in bed. The presence of 'cot' was not welcome, causing, as it did, even more tears.

Little Edie, we will never forget your cot. I was even tempted to write a poem, 'an ode to cot', but having sat here for the last half an hour trying to work out what rhymes with cot other than bot bot, I realise that I am, erm, not a poet.

So little cherub, this will have to do.

You were a baby.
And now you're not.
Hello bed.
Goodbye cot.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Your game is up

Over the weekend we had a French relative staying with us. I say 'relative' because I'm not sure what she was (other than being a person, obviously). What I mean is that I'm not sure whether she's a niece, a cousin, a second cousin even. My husband's side of the family is so big that it's almost irrelevant, as it is for this post.

What is important though, is that she works for a jeweller who makes big and beautiful rings and had come over to London to supply some of them to a very famous pop star to wear for her next video.

When she arrived at our house, having already deposited the chosen rings in London, she was armed with an array of jewellery which would have made even the fussiest of princesses happy.

As you can imagine, the girls were beside themselves with excitement, dressing up with the rings, trying each one on and posing for photographs heavily laden with jewellery.

Renée, especially, thought that this cousin and her rings were the best things ever. In fact, over the course of the weekend I had more than a few,

"Mummy, I want to be just like Clementine when I'm older."

It was kind of cute.

And when Clementine went back to Paris and left a ring brochure for each of the girls as a present, Renée was in no doubt as to what she wanted to do with it.

"Mummy, can I take it in to 'Show and Tell' please? Mummy, can I? Please?"

I didn't see why not.

"Of course you can darling."

Later that day Renée was met from school by my husband and the first thing he said as he entered the house was this,

"Apparently 'Show and Tell' went really well. Everyone loved the rings and they were looking at the brochure for so long that no one else had time to show anything. Even the teacher loved it."

I felt myself swell with happiness, imagining my little girl, the one that hasn't been that happy at school recently, so proud to show off the ring brochure in front of her friends.

"It was amazing Mummy. The book was passed round to everyone in the class and they all loved the rings."

"Yes, Papa just told me darling. I'm so glad it went well for you."

And that, I thought, was that.

Except it wasn't.

Later that afternoon, as Renée was sitting on the sofa, still turning the pages and looking through the brochure with wide eyes, while her friend Katherine, who had popped over to play, was starting to show signs of boredom, I decided to intervene.

"Darling, don't you think that maybe you've looked at that brochure a bit too much now? Katherine might be bored with it, especially since she's already seen it today at 'Show and Tell'.

Katherine looked at me, puzzled.

"But we didn't have 'Show and Tell' today."

I looked at Renée's crestfallen face as she realised that the game was up.

I was amazed.

Isn't it funny that at 5 years old, she's able to spin such a yarn that even her own Mother believes her. Or is a Mother the first one to believe?

I'm not sure whether to be impressed by her story-telling skills or annoyed that she lied to me.

Crikey, it's only slightly worrying for the future.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Blogging for Haiti

I would make a useless journalist. I just can't keep up with the news. I love writing, but I can only do it when I have a spare moment and not when I have a house full of guests. Which is why I am now a week late in joining the campaign 'Blogging for Haiti'. I even thought (for one milisecond I admit) that it was too late to write this post seeing as I'll be the last one doing it.


It is never too late.

The earthquake may have struck Haiti on Tuesday 12th January, killing over 200,000 people, but the deaths are still continuing. There is now a huge concern for the spread of disease in a country where HIV, tuberculosis and malaria are rampant.

So, I may be late in posting this, but it is still just as necessary to raise awareness.

The amazing English Mum has rallied all the bloggers into giving their support in hope that we can raise enough money to pay for a Shelter Box - see left).
Each box contains -
  • A ten-person tent with privacy partitions that allow its occupants to divide the space as they see fit.
  • A range of other survival equipment including thermal blankets and insulated ground sheets, essential in areas where temperatures plummet at nightfall.
  • Life-saving means of water purification. Water supplies often become contaminated after a major disaster, as infrastructure and sanitation systems are destroyed. This presents a secondary but no less dangerous threat to survivors than the initial disaster itself.
  • A basic tool kit containing a hammer, axe, saw, trenching shovel, hoe head, pliers and wire cutters. These items enable people to improve their immediate environment, by chopping firewood or digging a latrine, for example. Then, when it is possible, to start repairing or rebuilding the home they were forced to leave.
  • A wood burning or multi-fuel stove that can burn anything from diesel to old paint. This provides the heart of the new home where water is boiled, food is cooked and families congregate. In addition, there are pans, utensils, bowls, mugs and water storage containers.
  • A children's pack containing drawing books, crayons and pens. For children who have lost most, if not all, of their posessions, these small gifts are treasured.
Initially the aim was to raise £500 (just enough to pay for one Shelter Box). However, the blogging for Haiti campaign has been so successful that the total now stands at an amazing £3000, which means that 6 boxes have been bought.
If you haven't donated already, then please, please click on the following.
Remember, it's never too late.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Is your husband big enough for you?

My poor husband.

A look of anguish fills his face as he ponders the future, knowing that all is not as he thought it was.

He is depressed.

Today, however, it has nothing to do with health, or money, or work, or family. Ok, well it might have a little to do with each and every one of the above, but for the purpose of this post, it has nothing to do with them.

Today my husband has measured himself.

And before all you ladies start squealing with excitement, I'm talking about his height of course.

But this is no laughing matter, I can assure you.

For today my husband has realised that he is 5 foot 11, when, for the whole of his fully-grown, adult life, he believed himself to be a statuesque 6 foot 1.

Where on earth those missing two inches have gone is anybody's guess. Admittedly, the poor love is French and does get a tad confused with feet and inches.

But the plain truth prevails.

He is 5 foot 11.

For we have measured. And measured again, just to be sure.

So why is he so depressed? What is it about a man's height, or a woman's weight or dress size for that matter, that becomes such an obsession? Why do we lie, or kid ourselves or exaggerate or stand up loud and proud and tell the world that our baby is so huge that their vital statistics can't even be plotted on a graph?

Does a man have to be big to be a man, or a woman skinny to be a woman?

Of course not.

So what is it then?

Just as I'm sitting here pondering the answer, it lands directly in my lap.

A text message from my husband.

"My ears are burning. Are you writing about me? I don't mind as long as at the end you say that I'm big enough and tall enough for all your needs."

So there's the answer. It's as simple as that. All men want is to be big enough for their women.


And, for the record, husband, 5 foot 11 is enough for me.

Monday, 11 January 2010

A case of rose-coloured spectacles?

I was having a phone conversation with my Mother a while ago whilst at the same time trying to fend off various requests from one or other of my children. The conversation stopped, started, stopped and re-started a number of times while I listened to Renée tell me that Edie had pulled her hair, Edie ask me if she could have something to eat, Renée tell me that Edie had now bitten her and Edie ask me to wipe her bottom.

These days, it's extremely rare that I manage to have a phonecall without any interruptions, at least during the day. The important ones, the ones where it really won't do to have a screaming child in the background have to be left until the evening, by which time I'm completely exhausted and can think of nothing I'd like less than to be chatting on the phone. Needless to say, I don't make many phonecalls.

But during this conversation with my mother, she happened to say, something along the lines of,

"These days children really are the centre of attention aren't they?"

I bristled a little I think.

"What do you mean Mum?" I asked.

"Well when you and your brother were younger, it never used to be like that at all. Your Father and I had our own lives."

And before you start imagining me as a young child being herded around by an endless supply of Nannys, I can assure you that that couldn't be further from the truth. My Mother was at home with the two of us, trying her best to keep us entertained, just as I try my my little ones.

I pressed her on it a bit more, interested to uncover her secret to perfect parenting. Annoyingly, though, she couldn't recall the elusive elixir, only that things had been different.

But it did get me thinking.

Yes, my children are the centre of my world. But do I have any other choice? I mean, do I, if I choose to be a Stay-at-Home-Mother? They're five and three. Can I really expect them to entertain each other while I get on and lead an independent life in another room? Do I even want to? Well, yes, actually, sometimes I do, but that's probably because I've been couped up with them for rather too long, thanks to the snow.

But seriously, we've all heard the old expression 'children should be seen and not heard'. Now I can't imagine that that applies to anyone these days, but it must have done once.

Have children changed so much? Have the adults? Do we indulge our children with too much attention? Or perhaps, as I'm sure is the case with my Mother, she likes to put on her rose-coloured spectacles. I'll give you a quick example. We never had snotty noses as children. Oh yes, and childbirth didn't hurt at all.

See what I mean?

So maybe in a few years, I'll look back, put on my rose-coloured spectacles too and forget just how hard it was.

Here's hoping.

In the meantime, I just have a couple of bottoms that need wiping...

Apart from my own, obviously.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Favourite Photo Meme - 'the way we were'

I've been tagged by the gorgeous That Girl at 40 Not Out and the equally gorgeous Brighton Mum in the Favourite Photo Meme, started by the no less gorgeous Tara over at Sticky Fingers. So without further ado, here is my contribution.

Us, 'the way we were', before the two little monkeys came along. Would love to include some photos of said monkeys, but, they never appear on the blog.

Oh go on then, just one...

Aren't they just the cutest?
I hereby pass this meme on to the following five people...
Mamma Po at Island Mum of 2
Tasha at WAHM-BAM
Rebel Mother at the newly-named Rebel Mother (formerly Another Day in the Madhouse)
Good luck ladies. Can't wait to see your photos!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Do you shave or do you wax or do you even care?

I'd like to say that I'm not normally so shallow as to sit and ponder life's more mundane matters.

So here goes.

I'm not normally so shallow.

However, on occasion, even the deepest thinkers among us *cough*, enjoy chewing the cud about something as superficial as, erm, shaving our legs.

You see, it's not just me. I noticed a tweet the other day from @porridgebrain (aka Josie from Sleep is for the Weak) where she realised it was too cold to shave her legs because all she was doing was shaving off the top layer of her goosebumps.


I know exactly where you're coming from Josie. As I'm sure do most of us.

Except those who wax our legs, or just leave them to grow, heaven forbid.

But whatever our, er, under-trouser state of affairs, it's a topic which affects us all - even the husbands I'm sure, as they're spiked in the night by a bristly brillo pad masquerading as a leg.

But that of course leads to the eternal question.

Do you shave or do you wax, or do you even care?

So this is the thing. Before I had children I would enjoy my monthly wax, knowing that for three whole weeks, at least, my legs would be as smooth as, well, my just-waxed legs. I wanted to say as smooth as a baby's bottom, obviously, but at that moment in time I (a) hadn't ever touched a baby's bottom and (b) they were never really that smooth anyway.

And then I had my first child and after a few weeks of disposable knickers, rubber rings and the inevitable hirsute state of my legs, I decided that I'd better try to smarten myself up just a little.

So I booked a waxing appointment. And then I remembered that I now had a tiny baby who couldn't just be left at home. Hmmmmm. But that needn't be a burden, I thought - she sleeps in the pushchair most of the time - I'll just phone the salon and ask them for a ground floor room so I can leave the pushchair in the corner without waking her up.

Easy as pie.

Except, apparently, it wasn't.

"Oh no, we don't allow babies here," they informed me rather too matter-of-factly. "Health and safety you see."

"But she'll be asleep in the pushchair. She won't even move. I'll park her as far away from the hot wax as possible."

"No. I'm sorry, it against our Health and Safety policy."



So that was that. After 15 years, my monthly waxing sessions had come to an abrupt halt. I could have carried on at some point, of course, or even mixed-up some home-made concoction, but I didn't trust myself with a baby and hot wax (maybe they had a point) and besides, apart from it being much easier to shave, the moment you've picked up that razor, all the years of waxing benefits are undone in an instant.

And that's a fact.

However, like all good stories, of which this is one (obviously), there is a happy ending. Just bear with me for one more moment.

So, I was lying in the bath the other night, lamenting the fact that even with my 5-year-old Wilkinson Sword Lady Protector (in pink), my legs never seem to be smooth for more than two whole hours, when I spied my husband's Gillette Fusion Power Phenom thingy best a man can get, etc, etc, and I thought why not?

Why not indeed? Why should my legs be inferior to his cheeks?

So, of course, I tried.

And d'you know what?


That's all I'm saying.


Why had I never thought of it before?

I now have legs which are indeed as smooth as a baby's bottom and my husband has cheeks as prickly as a hedgehog's bottom and he can't quite work out why.

Hee hee.


Before I go just a quick, but huge apology to all my wonderful blogging friends who I haven't visited in a while. I've been struggling somewhat to keep my bah humbug attitude in check and have opted to completely ignore both Christmas and the New Year, at least in terms of writing about it, hoping that if I keep my head down I will be able to emerge in January to bright sunshine.

Snow anyone?