Tuesday, 31 May 2005

croak, frog, croak


I must say something about this crazy frog ringtone nonsense. I concede that blogging about how this creature is truly loathsome is as unoriginal as saying "Gosh that new Star Wars film sure is popular, eh?", but it's causing me great emotional turmoil.

For those of you outside of the UK, let me explain. Some of you may remember seeing a joke called "The Insanity Test" in around 2001. The "sound effect" used in this test has been paired with an animated frog and has been reincarnated as a mobile phone ringtone by an evil force called Jamster. You can download this and other such wacky ringtones for the ridiculous price of £3/week, which judging by the £10m profit this company has made, a lot of you are doing. Please. Stop it.

Not only do the ads for this ringtone play incessantly throughout all commercial breaks on every channel available, the fecking thing has actually beaten Coldplay to take the #1 spot in the charts this week. It's been released as a single mixed with the song "Axel F". No, seriously.

What really browns me off is the fact that I now have this goddamn tune running through my head and sometimes I actually find myself humming it. And for that, Jamster, I will never forgive you.

hideous cold 1, lisa 0


Still hacking and snuffling away here, but fortunately Jack is still the happiest chappy ever. There are many things I never thought I'd say in my life, such as: "Awwww look! He's blowing snot bubbles! Hee hee!" I know I am a true mother because not only did I say that, I genuinely found it endearing. At least I didn't take pictures.

At the osteopath's this morning, Jack got a bit fussy; it's very warm outside and he was a bit tired. As I was having my limbs massaged and my spine cracked, I could hear my osteopath chatting away to Jack, keeping him entertained. Like the last time, he scooped Jack up and made silly faces at him while I did my porcupine impression. He lifted Jack out of his car seat and swung him around gently, then he stood and said "I'll be right back" and went out the door with my first born child. Although 99.9% of my brain completely trusted him, .1% was slightly concerned that perhaps being half naked and full of needles on a table while a relative stranger runs off with your baby might be a bad thing. He returned seconds later with an armful of toys, sat with Jack and rattled, spun, and shook brightly coloured objects at him for the next ten minutes. Things like this warm my heart and restore my faith in humankind.

Friday, 27 May 2005

having a cold is fun!


like mother, like son


On Wednesday, Jack had a very snuffly nose and was looking a bit under the weather. It got worse as the day wore on, and all I could do was offer sympathy and break open some Karvol.* Then last night, my throat started feeling sore. By the time Jack woke for his 2am feed, I couldn't even move (or at least that's what I told Paul after he was kind enough to take care of that feed). Both of us coughed and snuffled through the night, made a lot more uncomfortable by the recent heatwave. I'm amazed that Jack isn't really grumpy. I feel like cack, and I'm on cold tablets, paracetamol, and Halls. Jack can't even blow his nose and he's been cooing and giggling away all morning. Do babies get mini versions of colds? He really doesn't seem too bothered about the whole thing. Personally, if I had a cold and had to put up with a streaming nose and couldn't even have a nice hot cup of tea, I'd be pretty hacked off.

I thought that Jack might get a bit dehydrated due to the heat and having to breathe through his mouth, so I gave him some (cooled, boiled) water for the first time early this morning. It went something like this:
"So very sleepy. What's this? Ah, it's my bottle. Rightyo."
"What the...?! GAH!" [wrinkle nose and look perplexed, pull away from the bottle]
"What's this? Ah, it's my bottle. Rightyo."
"Wait a minute...that's not milk! That's some sort of wet tasteless nothing!" [make a face, pull away from the bottle]
"What's this? Ah, it's my bottle. Rightyo."
"Not this godawful stuff again! Oh, honestly!" [make a face, pull away from the bottle, and use both hands to push the bottle away]

Suffice it to say, it wasn't a hit, but at least I know he's not dehydrated.

*(Karvol is an oil made up of cloves, eucalyptus and other smelly things to help with congestion. You put a few drops on a tissue and place it near the baby's cot.)

kids, just say no


Please note: today's post has been written under the influence of cold tablets and slight sleep deprivation. Apologies in advance for the lack of coherence, seemingly random sentences, and if I become delirious and this post suddenly turns into a recipe for guacamole.

Thank you SO much Auntie Beeb for ruining tonight's final episode of American Idol. I realise that it aired on Wednesday night in North America, but we don't get it here until tonight. Spoilers: they're not just for cars, you know.

The American Idol Incident (or AII, as I shall now refer to it) reminds me of my mother's habit of forgetting that we are usually 6 months to a year behind for most American television programmes. When they were here visiting a month ago, an ad for Nip/Tuck came on, showing a scene with the evil and fabulous "life coach" Famke Janssen. My mother says ***spoiler alert - don't hover your mouse here if you still haven't watched the season finale and it's still sitting on your Sky+ box***. The final episode didn't air here until last weekend. Imagine everything suddenly moving in slow motion and me going "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!" She did feel bad about that, bless her.

The Cambridge Beer Festival ends tomorrow, and we're supposed to go and meet our mates for the afternoon. I'm not big on beer (I can hear Jim gasp in horror from here), but I love sampling one or two real ales and stuffing my face with local cheese. I have a cold, so I may not be able to go. This sucks. Hugely.

Peel and mash 3-4 ripe avocados, add one crushed clove of garlic, one chopped tomato, the juice of one lime, a handful of chopped fresh coriander, a few drops of Tabasco sauce or finely diced fresh red chillis, and season to taste. Ooops. Sorry.

Thursday, 26 May 2005

the lightbulb over my head only has about 5w


I have just realised something. Have you ever been listening to the radio and wanted to rewind it to catch something you've missed? Well, you can if you listen to the radio through digital television and you have Sky+ or TiVo!

Yeah, yeah. I am getting out of the house, I promise.

what's in a name?


Speaking of names (which I was in my last post - I make sense sometimes), we are currently organising Jack's baby naming ceremony. "What the hell kind of hippydippy nonsense is that?", I hear you ask. It's like a nondenominational christening, if that makes any sense. We all know that the "thing to do" is to take your baby to a church of your choice and make all sorts of promises with regards to your child's religious upbringing. That's great if you actually attend church, otherwise, I think it's hypocritical (and offensive to those who follow that religion) to baptise your baby with no intentions of following through any of the promises. So, for us heathens, there are baby naming ceremonies.

We are holding it at the hotel where we got married last year, and the ceremony will be performed by the same registry office that did our wedding ceremony. See, everything comes full circle. Neat, eh? During the ceremony, Paul and I will make promises to Jack (and I'll try not to cry), explain how we came up with his name (while I make another feeble attempt not to cry), name his "stand in parents", and pick a reading that someone else will have to do because I'll cry if I do it myself. This will be followed by an afternoon tea (I say, how terribly British) and general merriment. It's being held the day before Jack's 6 month birthday, and I'm so looking forward to it.

Hopefully Jack won't start teething that weekend because then I won't be the only one in tears.

luck be a lady tonight


For the third time in the past week, a lovely automated American lady called me today to tell me - yes, ME! - that I've won a free trip! I mean, what are the odds that I would win not once, not twice, but thrice? In one week! Fantastic. I must run out and buy a lottery ticket.

Wednesday, 25 May 2005

technomama


My fabulously fantastic husband surprised me with the gift of an iPod the other day (engraved, even!). That's right, I was one of the three people in the western world who didn't have one. Local kids pointed and laughed at me. Fellow travellers would look at my iPAQ with distaste as I fumbled with the external hard drive so I could listen to 2 gigs of music for 90 minutes. Now, I'm super trendy because I got me one of them there newfangled iPods. Of course my playlist betrays my newfound ubercoolness, but as long as no one actually looks at what's currently playing, I'm good to go.

So what's the first accessory I buy for my iPod? A fancy dock? An FM transmitter? A wireless remote? Nope, I've ordered a red leather case. It matches my handbag. No, really, it does. What?

Tuesday, 24 May 2005

my son is number one


So what if Jack has been the most popular boys name in England five years running? It means I will always be able to find stuff like this:



Yes, I know I've gone insane. No, I don't care a jot.

Finally, click here for an important message from Jack. (1.8Mb movie; please right-click and select "Save Target As..." and save it to your PC. Thanks!)

further proof that any eejit can have kids


A three-year-old boy became trapped in a toy vending machine, after crawling inside to get a stuffed animal when his mother wasn't looking.

His mother was initially amused, and took photographs of her son, but became alarmed when no one could find a key.

Firemen freed the boy, but, his mother said, "he definitely didn't get a toy". [source]

Right, so your child can't sleep and it's 3:30 in the morning. You take him to WalMart because you believe that the bright fluorescent lights, big neon yellow signs, and the aisles upon aisles of cheap homewares will lull him to sleep. Your three-year-old ends up being quite a bit more intelligent than you by managing to create a diversion while he crawls into a vending machine. Instead of running for help, you leave your child and buy a disposable camera while onlookers take pictures. And the punch line?

"I'm pregnant," she said.

Oh my dear lord.

i enjoy being a girl


Yesterday my scar hurt. A lot. After thinking about it, the only thing I could equate it to was the afterpains you feel when you breastfeed in the first couple of days. I hobbled around the house in a similar manner to my hobbling three months ago, popped some paracetamol/Tylenol, and imagined all sorts of horrifying things that surely must be occurring inside me to cause me this pain. I felt something similar (but not as painful) last month shortly before my period arrived, and wondered if this was related. After doing a bit of Internet research (which, as we all know, is generally not a good idea, but I was curious) I came across one site that mentioned scar tenderness during ovulation, which would make sense for me given the timing. After several more searches using as many relevant key words as I could muster up, I came across nothing else. Fabulous. The good news is, today I feel much better. The bad news is, I will be very irate if this is going to happen every single month when I ovulate.

The only thing that's getting me through this ordeal are the Peanut Butter Cups Dina sent me. Bless you, Dina. I will bring you exotic English sweets next time I go home.

Monday, 23 May 2005

three is a magic number


Jack turned three months old yesterday. It's amazing how much he changes day to day, and how he's becoming far more aware and "interactive". My friend TonyF was right, the first three months are tough because you don't get a lot of "return" for what you put into your baby (unless you count dirty nappies). You spend 24 hours a day doing something to or for the baby, while he stares at light fixtures above your head, cracks a slight smile when he's gassy, and screams the house down through the night. Then one day, he starts staring intently at you, captivated by your every word and silly facial expressions. A huge smile spreads across his face, and you know, without a doubt, that it's not gas. He giggles when you blow raspberries on his belly, he coos, blurbles, and gurgles at you. When you peer over his cot first thing in the morning, he looks at you in recognition and grins with pure delight, his little fists and feet flapping about. And this is what makes you think that maybe the first three months weren't so tough and next time, you'll certainly do much better.

You know all those books that say that babies start sleeping through at three months? What utter nonsense. Jack's sleep schedule has no rhyme nor reason at the moment, and seems to be getting more random as he gets older. He's sleeping far less during the day now, and still wakes through the night. He will have one long stretch between feeds in a 24 hour period, however this never seems to coincide with any overnight hours. For example, he'll go from 8pm until 2am without a feed, and then "cluster feed" every 2-3 hours or so to make up for that long stretch. We are still feeding on demand because I don't believe in forcing a bottle down Jack according to the clock rather than when he's hungry. The downside is that maybe this is why his eating pattern is all over the place. Incidentally, we are now convinced that the formula for "hungrier babies" actually makes babies hungrier, not that it's for babies with bigger appetites. Jack's been guzzling the stuff down with the same gusto as the regular formula. Of course with our genes, it's not surprising that we've got a kid who likes to eat.

I remember feeling such relief when I passed the first trimester. I had a sense of confidence and felt that I could now simply enjoy being pregnant without stressing about every twitch and niggle. It's a similar feeling after the baby comes. Now that we're beyond the three month point, I am feeling far more confident and capable with Jack. I thoroughly enjoy every moment I have with him and when we put him up to bed in the evening, I miss him.

Mind you, as much as I love being with him, I am still not enthusiastic about spending quality time with him at 2-4:00 in the morning. Oh and if anyone ever says to you that you get used to the broken sleep, you are legally permitted to fling dirty nappies at them.

Sunday, 22 May 2005

what's that? timmy's stuck in a mine?


It's Jasper's 2nd birthday today. We got him a couple of rawhide chews, a new plastic bed and fleecy bedding, and this chew toy:



Although he is generally a very intelligent dog, sometimes he does stuff like this:



He followed me around the living room like this, bumping into furniture the entire time. He's goofy, but he's all ours.

Saturday, 21 May 2005

things that make you go "um."


I have just noticed that if you are only half paying attention, Yoda's voice sounds a lot like Patty and/or Selma from The Simpsons. "Homer a no good bum, he is. Leave him you should. Hmmmmm."

I just happened to be sitting by a computer when this thought struck me. It's posts like these that probably make you wish my Blog Amnesia would return. I do apologise.

out on the town


Now that we are a mobile family, we've enjoyed many outings. This is a Good Thing: after being housebound for 6 weeks after Jack was born, I am grateful to get outdoors. We've had lovely afternoon visits to see Ruth and Naomi, Heather and Rebecca, we're off to devour some dim sum (YAY!) tomorrow afternoon with the ex-work gang, we're meeting the Ex-pregnant Ladies Lunch Club next week, baby yoga, lunch with the NCT mums and babes, and swimming starts the following week. I actually have to check my calendar to see when I'm free. I've started to carry my iPAQ around with me again. I feel something resembling a life making a reappearance. Gosh.

Although I'm confident taking Jack almost everywhere with me, I'm not keen on the idea of taking him places where I can't really get to him if he starts fussing (the hairdresser, for example). I was slightly nervous the other day when I decided to take him to the osteopath's with me. He would have to sit fuss-free while I get rubbed, stretched, cracked, and needled for 30 minutes. Indeed.

Hazel the receptionist made a big fuss over him, as did my osteopath. Jack napped quietly in his car seat while the osteopath worked on my weak, pathetic limbs. For the first time since I got pregnant, I had some acupuncture done as well. Lying flat on my back with a half dozen needles in me, I started to feel tense as I waited for the familiar sound of Jack's snuffly snorty I'm About to Cry My Head Off noises - I couldn't exactly leap up and console him if he started sobbing. Then I heard, "Hello Jack! Are you my friend?" as the osteopath put Jack's car seat up on his desk and kept him happy for the 10 minutes I was being a pincushion. I managed to turn my head just enough to see his desk, and watched the osteopath beam at my son, cooing and tickling him. How fantastic! I get osteopathic treatment with free daycare! It worked out beautifully, much to my relief.

And now, for no particular reason, some pictures:

 

Friday, 20 May 2005

alright, so


Have you ever experienced Blog Amnesia? This is when you're out and about (or "oot and aboot" as we say in the motherland) and suddenly you think of a really fascinating and hilarious topic to blog about, but by the time you reach a computer, you can't remember what it was. I have been plagued by this for over a week now. I really need to start writing things down or carrying around a small recording device ("Note to self: blog about this insightful topic when I get home").

On a completely unrelated topic, when you park in specially designated "parent/child" spots at your local supermarket, the term "child" does not refer to an offspring who is fully capable of getting from the car to the store without the aid of a pram or stroller. For example, your 11 year old son does not qualify as a "child" in this context, Mr. Took the Last Child/Parent Spot and Forced Lisa to Circle the Carpark Until Another Space Freed Up. I am very tempted to start a site called www.badparking.com and post pictures of people who park badly. Well, I would if someone hadn't already bought that domain name.

Normal service will resume as soon as I get over this bout of Blog Amnesia. Thank you.

Wednesday, 18 May 2005

le jambon


A short slideshow of my little monkey can be seen here.

by popular demand


Pictures!

Jack loves his Grandad...



...but isn't quite as impressed by the great outdoors.

Tuesday, 17 May 2005

bits n bobs


Jack had round two of his immunisations this morning, and both of us fared much better this time. Paul held him (sorry for foisting that on you at the last minute, Pauly) - Jack's daddy obviously has the magic touch. He let out a little grouchy noise for injection #1, and although injection #2 provoked a louder protest, it was not nearly as dramatic as last time. He's been a bit sleepy this afternoon but otherwise, he's just fine. And so am I.

We've been loving The House of Tiny Tearaways on BBC Three, featuring the ever-lovely Dr. Tanya Byron. It's like Supernanny meets Big Brother: three families with "problem children" (although in some cases, the parents are the real problem) live in a specially designed house for six days. Each day, they meet with Dr. Tanya and go through a series of exercises and techniques to help with their children's behavioural problems. We're addicted and thoroughly enjoy shouting parenting advice and snide remarks at the television each night. Of course we can be smug for now because our baby is perfectly behaved. I suspect the ability to walk and talk might change things slightly in future.

Ah, my perfectly behaved child is now expressing himself using an elaborate vocal technique called "shrieking". If you'll excuse me.

Thursday, 12 May 2005

babies babies everywhere


Yesterday was a day of many babies: I met up with the girls and babies for coffee/tea in the afternoon, then we had a reunion for our NCT antenatal class in the evening. I hadn't met all the babies from our class yet, so it was really fun to see how all the bumps turned out. Although it's lovely to be with babies who are Jack's age, it saddens me slightly to discover that other babies make the same noises/faces/gestures that Jack does. I know it's silly, but there were things I thought were "Jackisms", but apparently a lot of babies have similar traits.

Luckily, I've not met a baby that makes the same "talking" noises as Jack does. He often has a chat with me, with such riveting topics of conversation such as "ah gooooo!", "guhguhguhguh", "EEEoooh!", and "muhmuhmuhmuh". He sometimes gets a look of extreme concentration in his eyes (that isn't related to filling his nappy) while he's chatting. If he came with subtitles, it would say: "I am trying to tell you something really important. Quit giggling at me, I'm trying to be serious! Awwww don't call me cute! MUM!!" Or something like that.

I've joined a babysitting circle, made up of the girls from our class. One of the girls made up some vouchers totalling 15 hours, and we trade them for babysitting time. I think it's an excellent idea. We don't really know anyone in the immediate area and we have no family close by. Judging by the spotty teens I've seen in our neighbourhood, I wouldn't leave any of them in charge of my child for an evening. Although most of us are in agreement that we don't really feel the need to escape from our babies just yet, I'm sure this circle will come in handy after a few months.

I'm off to baby yoga next week (I'm pretty sure this doesn't involve bending Jack into a sun salutation while all the mums go "ohhhm"), and I'm signing up for Merbabies (baby swimming) in June. I think it'll be fun for Jack to get into a pool - he absolutely loves being in the bath - and it'll be a good excuse for me to paddle around a pool a couple of times a week. Otherwise, I'm still not keen on any of the mother/baby groups in my area (even though my health visitor keeps harassing me to attend and for some strange reason, she keeps insisting that I ring one of the mothers nearby - come to think of it, my health visitor is a bit annoying) and I am not co-ordinated enough to get to the NCT coffee mornings at 10am.

And finally in today's baby news update, Jack now weighs 12lbs. 14 oz. and is 24 inches long. Apparently he's still in the 50th percentile for weight and 75th for length. In realistic measurements, his torso is too long (and his belly too big) for 0-3 clothes, but his little legs are too stubby for 3-6 month clothes. How I know what it's like to be in that horrible in-between stage for clothing. *sigh*

Tuesday, 10 May 2005

now i can go on the dole!




I am now a permanent resident of the UK. I can work here without a permit, so this means that if my career as a technical author doesn't work out, I can work at Starbucks. It's a good thing I learned how to make frothy milk at Discreet (goodness, the picture on this page takes me back). I'm being flippant about it, but to be honest, I'm really pleased. When we had a round of redundancies in 2002, I was petrified at the prospect of losing my job. Since my arrival in the UK, all IT jobs have been removed from the "occupational shortlist" and are ineligible for work permits. In other words, if I lost my job I wouldn't be able to get another one in this country because my skills are no longer deemed "in demand". Now that I am a permanent resident, this is not an issue - and in today's market, it's good to have this sort of security. All for the bargain price of £325. Yerrs.

Coming in October: "They Let Canadians Have UK Passports?! They'll Just Steal Our Jobs and Women!"

Monday, 9 May 2005

reach out and touch somebody's hand


As I was getting dressed this morning, I heard a clunk clunk clunk noise coming from Jack's room. Usually any clunking sounds are from Jack's little fists hitting his "dreamshow" (a musical projector thingy that attaches to the side of the cot) as he waves his arms around, but I stuck my head round the door just to check. He had his fingers wrapped around a Tigger toy I had clipped to his cot, and the clunking was from him pulling on it and swinging it back and forth.





"Big deal," I hear you say. It is sort of a big deal to me - it's the first time I've seen him reach for anything. Babies usually start to grasp objects held out to them at around Jack's age, but he's always kept his hands in tight little fists. He's great at batting at things, but I've never seen him grab hold of anything other than my finger (and hair, necklace, shirt, and other things he uses to suspend his entire body weight when I try to put him down). To see him grab hold of something by himself and play with it was pretty cool. I love these little milestones - they make me look forward to what might come each day. Who knows? Maybe next week he'll try to stuff something into his mouth. Oooooooh!

actual item may differ from photo shown


I sent a bouquet of flowers to my mom for Mother's Day yesterday via an FTD florist online with an address in Mississauga (where my parents live). I usually ring a local florist directly because you don't pay extra for FTD costs and because I had success with one of the local florists in the past. Of course I never jotted down the florist's information and now I can't, for the life of me, remember what they are called. So order online I did. And I wish I didn't.

The image on the left is from the Flowers N Us site, and the image on the right is a photo of the bouquet they actually delivered:



I paid more for a "deluxe" bouquet, which was supposed to be even more fabulous and exciting than the one in the picture. What makes this extra irksome is the fact that the site states: "The floral arrangement is designed to look like the picture, with an upgrade of either more flowers, or more expensive flowers -- filled to value as selected." Unless carnations have quadrupled in price recently, I'm not convinced that the arrangement they sent to my mom was worth the $57 (plus delivery) I paid for it.

I sent an email of complaint, although I'm not really sure what they will offer me in compensation, if anything. I think the problem is that most people who order flowers online will likely never see the delivered bouquet, and florists can do whatever they like with them. Paul experienced the same mishap with flowers he ordered online for delivery within the UK, so this seems to be an international phenomenon. Luckily, my camera-happy family takes pictures of everything; I got to see what I paid for. My advice: ring a local florist directly so you know who to chase up if you have any problems.

Bah.

Saturday, 7 May 2005

jack would like to say...


"Britney is having a baby? Ewwwww! *gag*"



"You touch my milk, I break ya face."



"Who will win American Idol? Let me ponder that one."

maybe he's ordering two pints of milk


Is it my imagination, or has my son learned a rude hand gesture?

Friday, 6 May 2005

fetch the bicycle pump


Jack has always favoured his right side. Ever since birth, he lies with his head turned to the right. This didn't really strike me as being a problem until one day, we noticed that the side of his head was flat. It's like his head is made of Playdough and it's become squished on one side from the pressure. I did a bit of online research (which generally is a very bad idea) and discovered something called Flat Head Syndrome. Some sites said it'll sort itself out when the baby's old enough to hold his head up and when he spends less time on his back. Others were more alarming and claimed that it could lead to permanent facial disfigurement and that the baby needs to be fit with some odd-looking helmet to get his head round again. I think that Jack's head will become rounder again as he gets older, but now I have this nagging feeling that this might require more immediate attention.

I want to take him to see the health visitor next week to get him weighed anyway (it'll have been three weeks since his last weigh in, and I'm curious), so I'll ask her about it then. In the meantime, I've been propping his head to the left side with rolled up towels and pillows, put interesting books and toys on the left side of his cot, and have been feeding him on my right arm. Have I gone completely nuts?

Wait, don't answer that.

quit stealing my thoughts


Worried doctors plan to ask Jamie Oliver to do a school dinners-style overhaul of hospital food. Junior doctor Eleanor Draeger, 30, wants the telly chef to expose the "woefully inadequate" state of NHS grub for patients AND staff.

She said yesterday: "Good nutrition is really important to healing. Our hospitals all have kitchens but the food is brought in plastic cartons and cooked to within an inch of its life." [source]


I wrote about hideous NHS food in February and requested the services of Jamie Oliver to sort it out. I'd get excited, but I found this in the BBC news archives:
Naked Chef Jamie Oliver is wanted by the government to improve the standard of hospital food. The Department of Health is looking to recruit top chefs to an NHS taskforce as part of its plan to have tastier menus for hospital patients by 2001. [source]


By 2001? I don't recall enjoying any trendy, pukka meals while I was in hospital. Unless Oliver has introduced recipes like overboiled pasta and tuna, stale bread with a slice of cheese, and instant mash into his repertoire, I think the Department of Health is a bit behind. However the same article states that "The government has set aside £10m to deliver its planned improvements to NHS food over the next 10 years", so perhaps there's hope for this yet. Still, I don't think we need top chefs to come up with decent food for our hospitals. Hell, give me £10m and I'll create dozens of menus for the NHS. I'll even cut them a deal and do it for the low, low price of £9m. I can work on this while I'm on maternity leave. I eagerly await my invitation and big fat cheque in the post.

Thursday, 5 May 2005

the little one stopped to tie his shoe


So the other day, we noticed a couple of ants hanging around our kitchen. They weren't really causing any trouble - they hadn't figured out how to generate a large mountain of dirty dishes and didn't leave nearly empty containers of milk in the fridge, so we didn't think much of it. Then the ants brought a few of their friends around. Although they still weren't as bad as houseguests who drink your orange juice directly out of the carton, they were starting to become annoying. I resorted to flicking the ants around my kitchen with a teatowel yelling, "Get off of my counter, you bastards!!" but to no avail. Today, I came home to discover a long line of ants marching from the skirting board to our olive plant and back:



They are keeping to a nice neat line and off my countertop, but what's really annoying is the fact that their neat line skirts directly around the ant trap we set down last night. Whatever substance that is supposed to be irresistibly alluring in the ant trap is having absolutely no effect on these little buggers. Don't get me wrong; I like nature. Just get it the hell out of my house.

Wednesday, 4 May 2005

food for thought


I came across the concept of "baby-led feeding" in one of my many books, but had forgotten about it until Lisa S. pointed me to this site during one of our chats. Jack won't be introduced to solids for a while yet (the current plan is to do this at 6 months), but this is definitely something I want to look into and try out. In a nutshell, instead of spoon-feeding pureed things to your child, food is placed in front of the baby (in large pieces to avoid choking) so that s/he can experiment with it themselves. Of course spoon-feeding is still necessary when Jack cannot feed himself, but I love the idea of also letting him have a go at some food himself. I don't think food should be something that's only shovelled into a baby's mouth; it should be something they can explore themselves and enjoy. Plus, sometimes I secretly long to grab my food with my bare hands and smush it. I can do this vicariously through my child.

The only part of the article that I don't really agree with is this:
"It is not clear whether a baby-led approach to the introduction of solids is appropriate for babies who are bottle fed; more research is needed to establish this, since bottle-feeding seems to be more mother-led."

Isn't breastfeeding also mother-led? Unless your baby is clever enough to come to you when s/he's hungry, unclip your maternity bra, and latch on for a feed, I don't think this theory is accurate. I think the problem lies with parents who insist that babies finish the entire bottle, and perhaps in this sense, feedings become mother-led. In other words, the baby isn't feeding at his or her own pace, or feeding until s/he is no longer hungry. I think as long as you're not doing that, this approach should work with bottle fed babies.

I am really looking forward to teaching Jack about food and getting him involved in cooking. This has nothing to do with any plans to have two men who can cook in this house. *cough*

Tuesday, 3 May 2005

an open letter to the television channels i watch


Dear head honchos at various networks,

I am writing to beg you to remove the following commercials from your channels:

  • Comfort fabric softener: Maybe it's got something to do with my fear of puppets, but please, for the love of god, get these diabolical things off my television:

  • esure insurance: Michael Winner in drag. Words fail me.
  • KFC "singing" ads: All of them make me cringe, but the latest one with the telephone operators singing with their mouths full just makes me queasy.
  • Airwick "art gallery" ad: It's badly dubbed and I can't get over the fact that the piece of "art" that gets smashed is one of those glass blocks you put in bathroom windows (which probably explains why no one seems fazed when it's replaced by an air freshener).
  • Daz laundry detergent: It was bad enough when these ads featured Julian Clary, but the current fake soap opera series is unbearably awful.


Thanking you in advance,
Lisa Durbin

excuse me while i file my nails and polish off another box of chocolates


"So, what do you do with your days?"
"Are you bored yet?"
"Your scar still hurts?"
"It's nice because you can get everything done while the baby sleeps."

I have a theory. All mothers must go through some sort of pregnancy/birth/having a newborn amnesia because this is the only explanation for some of the comments and questions I've received. The quotes above were all said to me by mothers (and the third one was said by a mother who had a c-section), and the scary thing is, some of these mothers have young kids. I can totally understand how mothers of older/grown up children might not remember what life was like with a newborn, but I think the maternal brain must block out most of our experiences raising babies when our kids reach the age of two. Maybe that's why people go on to have more than one.

As a public service announcement, please, I beg you, do not say any of the above to a new mother. Additionally, try not to say things like "newborns sleep all the time" or "Four hours between feeds? That's great!" (I cannot tell you how many times I've had to explain that four hours between the start of each feed doesn't mean I get four hours of sleep each time.) What you should say are things like "You look great", "You sit down and I'll go make the tea", and "Here's the key to a luxury hotel in the area. You go there for the night and we'll stay here with the baby." (Okay, that last one is a stretch.) The point is, please try not to infer that the new mother hasn't got anything to do or that her life is easy in any respect. There was a point in time when you felt like running away and joining the circus after the millionth sleepless night, but it's been erased from your memory. Trust me, it happened.

I suppose this would be a good time to mention that I started my period yesterday. Go ahead; make my day.

Monday, 2 May 2005

Sunday, 1 May 2005

electrical storm


I woke up at 3am in a daze (nothing new there, really), trying to decipher the meaning of the flashing lights and low rumbling sounds outside. It took my brain a few seconds to realise that it was a storm, because it was an odd one. Lightning flashed all around us, constantly, like a thousand paparazzis outside Britney's rubbish bins (apologies for that appalling analogy, but I'm tired and that's the best I can do). It wasn't the usual flash of lightning followed by thunder a few seconds later, white bolts raced across the sky non-stop for several minutes while thunder roared in the background - and it wasn't raining. Eventually, the rain came and the storm continued on its way to confuse other people in the middle of the night. The dog didn't seem too bothered about it and Jack slept through the whole thing, and there's nothing about it on the BBC news site today. Regardless, I was mighty impressed.

Despite all the drama, the daytime weather has been fantastic. We had our first al fresco meal last night, which included my first taste of venison (it was delicious and no, I don't care that I ate Bambi), and sausages from our local farmer's market. It lifts my heart seeing the garden "done up" in anticipation of another summer; dolled up with fairy lights, the chiminea, torches, and a big green parasol. Bring on the margaritas.

jack's sunny day


Bare feet!



Laughing it up with Uncle Russ:



Being serious while trying to impress Auntie Debs: