2009
01.28

pigeon-tongued

I also forgot to mention a little peculiarity that you don’t hear people talking about much, so I’d love to hear anyone else’s experience. Ollie, when we let him walk along in the street, suddenly becomes extremely verbal, and doesn’t stop talking. I remember Thomas doing this, as I remember remarking that it was like the way pigeons look like their feet are connected to their heads when they walk, well with my boys, it’s as if their feet are connected to their tongues. Has anyone else had kids like this? Maybe I’m the only person in the world who thinks it’s funny…

Also, on a quick read-back, I realise I’ve written about meeting up with friends under the heading “boring”. It’s quite clear that I started the post with nothing in mind, and gradually remembered lots of things to say, but just in case of any confusion, getting together with friends, with or without babies, is always good for anyone, but for me who doesn’t have the little daily push of a job to propel me through life, these are lifelines. There is very little argument that having kids is great, but it is easy to get bogged down in the mundane and restrictive lifestyle, especially if it is the ONLY thing you do. “A change is as good as a rest” definitely applies, and ANYTHING that is out of the ordinary feels like a breath of fresh air.

And for the “…AND FINALLY…” section, Thomas has been bringing home rainforests’ worth of paper with painting, drawing, and what looks like odd bits of rubbish stuck to it, from playgroup for the last few months. But as I was heading for the recycling bin yesterday these caught my eye:
twriting
It seems he’s been trying to copy his name where it has been written in the corner. I’m really pleased, as I was a bit worried that he had poor “pen-manipulation” skills. He’s left-handed, which with our silly left-to-right english, makes it a bit awkward. Anyway, I’ve been trying to teach him the last three letters of his name this afternoon. It is fascinating to watch how hard it is for him, and the letter ‘s’ is completely out of his reach at the moment, but thankfully he’s interested, which is the most important thing.

2009
01.27

boom boom

I meant to say, but forgot, that I had another tachycardia episode on saturday. Luckily I didn’t have the boys with me, so I was pretty relaxed about it. I just sat down on the pavement until it stopped. Blowing into my syringe didn’t have any effect at all, other than making me look like a junkie, which on a sunny afternoon in Lewisham, didn’t draw any attention. Even the traffic police walked past me without a second glance. Anyway, I’ve got an appointment with the cardiologist next week, see if he can’t sort me out. For all you budding medics / internet-diagnosis experts out there, I’ll put up a photo of the ECG showing the tachycardia.

Also, when I mentioned Ollie’s shoes, I forgot to add that he walked all the way home from playgroup today, which is quite a way for a not-yet-two-year-old. Thomas lazed happily in the buggy instead.

2009
01.27

doldrums

So I’ve been spending a lot of time with people who work. Some are mums, some are not, but either way, everyone seems to be having a far more interesting and interactive life than me at the moment. I’m feeling a bit un-useful. My newest best friend in Uxbridge starts back at work on Thursday, and I’m getting the feeling that I’m the only person in the world that doesn’t work. Although I’m sure the news would prove me wrong with this latest recession and crisis. The news seems to be more depressing in the winter so I tend not to watch it.

Anyway, in best credit-crunch fighting mode, I was whizzing around on Monday between playgroups and toddler groups and nursery, when I got a puncture. Not a slow one, a big fat hole. I pumped up the tyre a few times, but it was flat within a minute each time. This was on the way to nursery. I’d planned to do quite a big shop (without a car) and wondered if I’d make it home. In the end, because it was sunny, I braved the strained wrists, and did it anyway. And thankfully have a hearty casserole for dinner tonight as my reward. When I got home I couldn’t find my main puncture repair kit (it’s probably where all the odd socks go) so I used screwdrivers and patched it up with some glue I found in the bottom of the cupboard. Here was the culprit: (the penny is, obviously, just to show scale – I know what you’re like…)
puncture
The truth is, if you can get through a week without broken glass or dog poo in Uxbridge, you are doing well.

Thomas doesn’t sleep at night any more, which is quite a strain on everybody. Ollie has started saying “YOURS! YOURS” instead of “Mine! MINE!” when you try to take something off him, probably because he’s used to hearing “NOT YOURS!” from his brother. I finally gave in and bought Ollie some new shoes today, so he doesn’t have to hobble around in shoes a size too small. £28 they cost me!! That’s more than my own shoes cost, and they’re half the size! Still, a kind friend passed on another whole pile of clothes, so that will probably offset the cost of shoes.

But I’ll leave you with one of the lighter moments of Christmas before we all got horribly ill:
tsanta

2009
01.24

Little splashes

So, it’s still very cold out, so we haven’t been to the playparks for a long time. There’s still fun stuff to do:

puddlesplash

The best news it that I got to go out and play bridge. That in itself may not sound so exciting (though it truly is!) but the fact that I get a whole evening with people I love, and away from the boys and allowed to get reasonably drunk, really made my whole year. These are friends I lived with for 3 or more years, and still feel like I want to live with them again! (we’ll buy a big house in the country…). I feel extremely refreshed, and have a list of books and music to catch up on, oh and we played lots of bridge too. Bridge is like nothing else when it comes to blowing out the cobwebs in the brain.
bridgejan09

2009
01.18

BORING!

So there’s really not much to report. The boys are growing, and learning, which is pretty obvious.

Thomas tells me, and everyone else about his bad dreams. He’s a bit plagued by mannequins at the moment. “A mannequin came into my room when I was in bed, and he didn’t have a head, but he talked to me, even though he didn’t have a head!” Also, when we bumped into a very new friend, who had never met Thomas, on the bridge crossing the river, she said “Hello!” and he said, “Hi! Last time, I died in this river!” My friend was a bit nonplussed, as I would be too! Anyway, it’s not all bad dreams. He’s getting to the age now where he can understand the concept of taking turns. This opens up lots more gaming opportunities. We had a game of dominos today, and memory (we only used 16 cards), and he still asks to play with the chess board every day, but I’m trying to teach him how the pieces move, which is of course a bit of an issue. I remember myself thinking it was unfair that I couldn’t put the pieces where I wanted, when I was learning! Anyway, a good way around this is to use the computer chess game, as of course that doesn’t let him move where he can’t! Also, he was watching me play Othello on the laptop, and he became interested, and I think it won’t be long before he understand the idea of “sandwiching” the other colour between our colour.

Ollie is all about words at the moment. He’s really copying. He even managed “dangerous” the other day. He met up with his friends Thomas and Josie (while I met up with my friends!) and his development seemed to shoot forward that very evening. He’d seen Josie fold in half, putting her head and hands on the floor, and practiced this as soon as she had gone home. I think he was also spurred by the fact she knows her colours, and this is why he wants to learn them now! It’s hard to get a good photo of 3 soon-to-be-two year-olds, but here is one of the better ones!
mates

My boys are pretty good at playing together, though they do tussle over the odd bit of lego or playdoh implement. The normal ritual is: Ollie picks something up, Thomas immediately wants it and takes it, Ollie screams and hits, pulls and pinches to get item back, Thomas runs to parent saying “MUMMY! Ollie pinched me!” Ollie gets “put in corridor” (like time-out, or naughty step) and Thomas gets told off for a) taking toys off Ollie and b) grassing on his brother. Anyway, here they are being occupied so I get a few minutes to sort the kitchen.
playdoh

We are big fans of “Me and My Mammoth” and “One More Sheep” at bedtime. I still haven’t managed to shake my Pratchett addiction, which is a bit irritating, as I’ve got at least 3 books I’m dying to read. I blame the fact that, being around toddlers most of the day I wear out my self-discipline chip, so that by the time I go to bed, I just give in to the addiction rather than exerting any self-control. I’ve also become addicted to Word Twist on facebook which is the fault of a certain family member, who I won’t name and shame. (will be playing right after this post!)

Well it seems I did have stuff to write about after all. I’ll leave you with a nice picture of the frozen canal in Woking, with Ollie and my mum in the distance.

wintercanal

2009
01.11

monkee

Thomas was driving us crazy at dinner by holding his arm out and repeating “exterminate” non-stop. We don’t even watch Doctor Who! Anyway, we told him to stop. He turned around and said crossly, “LOOK, I am a garlic and I am going to exterminate you!”

Anyway, I remember when he was very little, I wondered when he would start singing, as he started quite late. Ollie on the other hand is in full voice most of the time, and surprises me by often singing in tune. Thomas sings in tune most of the time, but is a bit young to concentrate for long enough manage a whole song:

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2009
01.11

Banoffee

Although I cook clean and don’t work, I wouldn’t call myself domesticated, as I only do these things because ultimately if I didn’t the family would die from one thing or another. On the other hand, while I was working at a restaurant around 17 years ago I developed a taste for a banoffee pie that we used to sell. Unfortunately, the ones we’ve found in the shops are never as good as the ones we sold at this place, which were home-made. Anyway, I lost the recipe and have found various ones that I didn’t like. The sole reason for this post is to put a link to a recipe so that I don’t lose it again.

Here: Banoffee

I do mine slightly differently, in that I like to put the toffee straight onto the base and put the banana on top, I like to use a more generous helping of banana, as even with quite unripe ones, if you use the whole tin of condensed milk, I think it’s overly sweet. Also, I always use digestive biscuits for the base (omnom).

But the even better news, is that Nestle have brought out a tin of already-toffee’d condensed milk, which is the equivalent of Dulche de Leche in spanish. This saves so much time and hassle.

Anyway, as I type, there is one setting in the fridge. I’ll let you know if it’s any good…

2009
01.03

soul-rummaging

So this post may be a bit soppy, so grab your bucket, or look away if you are of a good upstanding stiff-upper-lip disposition.

A couple of things have made me look inwardly recently, quite apart from many hours spent on the sofa being ravaged by the ‘flu virus. Firstly, I’ve just finished a book called “My Best Friend’s Girl” which I had to pad out with quite a few Terry Pratchetts as it was so intense and heart-wrenching. And secondly, I met up with some schoolfriends whom I haven’t seen for 14 or 16 years. What I found most surprising about it, wasn’t how everyone had aged (no-one looked a minute older than when I’d last seen them), nor what everyone was doing, but the fact that we were all so simliar to each other. I got the impression that we all felt the same about meeting-up, both before, during and after. I’ll just add, that it also left me really wanting to talk more, and get to know everyone all over again.

Anyway, I mentioned that I’d suffered from depression for quite a few years, including my teenage ones, and it turned out that most people didn’t know. This also surprised me, as I think part of depression is the paranoia that you are somehow “marked”. Like you are wearing a big sign above your head saying “MENTALLY ILL!”. Anyway, because I mentioned it, it got me thinking about it, and how I’m so far away from that person now. I think motherhood is a big factor in this. I’ve always felt best when I’m good at my job, and most miserable when I felt i didn’t know what I was doing (pretty common human attribute). Maybe as I’m not working at the moment, I’m experiencing parenthood quite intensely, but I actually feel that I’m good at it. I’m not the best, but that doesn’t matter. I had a friend who told me about the concept of “The Good Enough Parent” and really that’s quite easy to be. I make sure they eat healthy stuff most of the time, that they get physical activity, mental stimulation, routine, mostly consistent reaction to behaviour, and importantly I hug and kiss them at every opportunity. Really, if you don’t beat yourself up about the minutiae, these things are fairly easy and instinctive to procure most of the time, or more importantly, enough of the time. I can do this, and it feels like job satisfaction. I won’t go into the whole “love” part of parenting, as my writing would be inadequate and it would be cringeworthy to read. In purely practical terms, I’m feeling good about myself because of how I do my “job”.

Anyway, hopefully you can wash out and put away the vomit buckets now, and I’ll put a few pictures up to lighten things up a bit.
This is just what I thought was a cute picture of Ollie.
olliedec08

Here he is playing with a big box of duplo lego that I got from a netmum (netmums website) for only a tenner. Both he and Thomas love it, and have started to play really well together lately.

ollielego

And finally… this is the best photo I’ve managed to get of his spots that weren’t chicken pox (not very clear – I’ll work on it):
pox