So we have begun the mammoth task of packing. I have been avoiding it by throwing everything away, instead of packing it! This means I’ve finally parted with 100s of Q Magazines. (sob!) The encyclopaedia of my teenage years gone into the recycling, to probably end up as toilet paper… it’s probably the best thing for my teenage years, to be honest! I even threw away a whole black bin bag of old cassettes.

To cheer us up, David whipped up a fantastic risotto, using some bacon we had in the freezer, a leek, and the chicken stock from the weekend. A bit of Pecorino on the top melted through and it was absolutely delicious! We gave fingerfuls to Thomas, who also really liked it! I’m making a note, so that we don’t forget about this. (ok, there was also a bit of wine in it, for the record!).

We decided in the end to invest in our own moving boxes, and got a great package from the “Big Yellow Self Storage Company” where we got a value pack for £43. This contains 3 large boxes, 10 medium, and 5 small, and 2 rolls of tape. The box Thomas is sitting in is a medium box, so I hope we’ll have room for everything!


sitting up

I’m afraid this post is chronologically-challenged, but it’s a picture from when Thomas could first sit up by himself. It seemed to happen within a week that he couldn’t sit, then he could sit for a few minutes but would then collapse, and then by the 7th day he could just sit for eternity!

Anyway, it’s taken round about the 11th May, in Woking:


cute things

Just a quick note to make a record of a couple of things Thomas does, which makes his dad and me smile:

Firstly, he holds his own wrist and does his wafting motion with the free hand, which is quite bizarre, and the other thing is, he thrusts his fist out in a sort of “power-to-the-people” salute, while saying “vvvvvrrrruuuue!” We don’t yet know what this means, but we are working on it!




This is a picture of Thomas this morning. He was waiting for his breakfast, which is why he looks hungry. He’s still not a ravenous eater, and really, I call it a successful mealtime if more goes in, than gets spread outside!

He ate his first fish yesterday, which was cod. He seemed to like it, and there is more in the freezer to try again later.

I’m starting to get nervous about moving house, in particular about making food for Thomas to put in the freezer, as we don’t have one in the new place! We are hoping to get one, of course, but in the interim, it could be a bit tricky – I mean, it’s ok for me to gorge on steaks and ice cream to use up the food, but you can’t exect a 7-month-old to gorge on all his baby food in one go!

My good friend Ellen pointed out that we were doing really well if he has only ever eaten home-made food. I have to admit, I did feel a bit proud at this. I think it’s simply the times we live in where processed and pre-packaged food are seen as unhealthy and bad, but actually, the difference is probably not even researchable, and we take it for granted because that’s what we’re told. Anyway, i’d be happier if he ate more of anything! He nibbled on a dried apricot for the first time yesterday, and actually seemed to eat it, which, according to Annabel Karmel, gives him iron, potassium and betacarotene: apparently good for growing babies. Funnily enough, we’ve discovered that he really loves houmous, which is fine with us, as we eat a lot of it too!

Thomas and I are really fighting over sleep at the moment. He’s much worse than when he was younger, so I am feeling more exhausted than ever. My health visitor reckons we should be able to cut out the 2.30am feed. Last night I tried that, and he did go straight back to sleep, with a bit of back-rubbing, but woke up at 3.30am absolutely ravenous! Maybe delaying it longer each night is the best way to stop it.

On a completely different topic, the wireless card I was borrowing, has had to go back to it’s rightful home, after a very extended loan. I now have a Bluetake, and an Edimax card, neither of which work automatically with Ubuntu, so, I’m going to have to do a bit of linux-struggling. In the meantime, I’m using the old-style cat5 to the modem, like they used to in the stone-age!

Thomas is still not crawling, but can get around by “body-popping”, which for those of you who missed the 80s is a breakdance move. It’s kinda slow, but he does look cool while going from one place to the next. I’m hoping this is not a reaction to the birthday present I bought for his dad: Grand Theft Auto 3, for the xbox, which Thomas is absorbing rather too much of at the moment. It’s great to see a grown man have such childish fun, with the associated pleasure. And Thomas can join in by chewing on the controller-cables.

I leave you with a nice picture of Thomas with his uncle. It seems all our pictures of Thomas-with-uncle involve a piano, but I’m sure the next family event will prompt some decent family pictures!


Behind Bars

Thomas is really changing rapidly now… I’ve decided to lower the cot to it’s “bigger baby” size, as otherwise it will coincide with moving to the new house, and I think there will be enough new things for him to get used to without this as well. He thought it was good fun to begin with:


But when he realised I wasn’t joking, he quickly reverted back to his usual annoyance at being in the cot!

Today he figured out how to crawl backwards. I haven’t actually seen him do it, but worked out from his start and finish position in time and space what had happened. Surely then forwards cannot be very far away!

Also, he had his first scrambled egg today… he seemed to like the first few mouthfuls, but got quickly tired of it. This is how he seems to react to most new foods, but he then goes on to like them – he can gobble up his spinach mix in no time, having been a bit wary to begin with!


David turns 33

So today was David’s birthday, which he is still out celebrating as I write! We also tried out babysitters for the first time, who scored 11 out of 10, even though I had to deduct a point for not accepting any money… YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! Anyway, it all went so well, that we might have to do it more often, though, I’d feel a bit better if we knew how to get Thomas to go to sleep before wishing that on anybody!

This was all in aid of taking David to his favourite local restaurant, Wagamammas:

Also, Thomas reached another milestone yesterday as he took his first ride in a grown-up-baby-trolley-seat, rather than the small baby seat at the supermarket. He charmed the pants off everyone, as he looked so tiny, but also was in the mood to smile at everyone who went past!


family photo

I felt it was time for a few more pictures, and we don’t have many of our small family, so I was really pleased with this one, taken by Farruca on Joseph’s boat.


Thomas was really taken with the controls, and I know he is really looking forward to his first trip on it.

thomas on boat

I just managed to get him to fall asleep in the cot, though I had to get imaginative with numbers in “Green Grow the Rushes-O” and even then I sang “Lady Margaret” twice afterwards. It was “Captain Kidd” that finally put him to sleep, and luckily that comes with about 100 verses anyway. Still, sing-a-thon aside, it is a small breakthrough, and maybe if we are consistant from here on in, he might learn that once he’s there, he doesn’t get picked up again, and then he will figure out that the quicker he falls asleep, the less of my hoarse warbling he has to put up with…

We have also decided to try a sort of “cue-list” which is a series of very simple steps that follow-on, which, if we repeat every night rigidly, he will know that he is going to sleep no matter what!! The steps have to be simple enough that we can carry them out even when on our own, such as “put pyjamas on” “turn light off” “sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. I’ll keep you posted as to how we get on with this strategy in the battle of wills…


The pain of wisdom

Well, symmetry may be beautiful, but I am experiencing it in it’s most painful form: wisdom teeth.

About 10 years ago, I had severe wisdom tooth palava on the left side of my mouth, and am currently experiencing the same on my right (though less badly, thank goodness!). The treatment is still the same, antibiotics, overlapping the stronger antibiotics, and the decision to take out the top wisdom tooth so that I might once again be able to shut my mouth – useful for keeping flies out, and dribble in. Again, no extraction can be carried out until the infection has gone, so again the fortnight of soup, semolina, and of course,luxury ice cream. (I do the shopping now!!)


taking the schmeichel

While I’m pretty certain Thomas will not grow up to be a great sporting hero, given his genetic make-up, I thought I’d start getting him into practice with a bit of “football”. This involves Thomas being goalie in his baby bouncer in a doorway, and me trying to score goals past him, where the door is obviously the goal, and the ball is, in this case a large, soft ball about 20cm in diameter. All we have achieved so far is proving that no matter how small the goal, and how large the ball, you really wouldn’t want a 6-month old baby to be in goal for you.


new home… nearly

So, it looks like we are finally going to be able to move.

merton road

This could be our small, budget, but adequate home for the next couple of years until we have a PhD under the roof. This saves us just over £150 a month in rent for that period. But the best news is that we can have a piano. We plan to put it on the end wall of the house. We will also have a small but safely enclosed garden, which is plenty big enough to accomodate Thomas’ first few steps. The bathroom in this house is upstairs, which is a luxury in Norwich. The downsides are that there are no mixer taps… I mean, what is it with this country and mixer taps?!? There is no shower either, which again seems backward, but Norwich is an old Viking city, and I guess they just didn’t see the need.

Still, we better not count our chickens, as we still have to pass referencing, which, by the way, cost an outrageous £180!? For that money, they should be able to track down and interview everyone who’s ever known us right down to our primary school teachers! Still this will be my 9th rental property in Norwich, so by now I resign myself to bending over and gritting my teeth.

It’s been really sunny up here the last few days, and Thomas has had a chance to wriggle his toes in the sun. He has experienced his first few nappy-only hours, and we are having to find cooler nightwear for him: