Friday, 30 June 2006

ouais!




Oh yes. Time to fill up the cooler with Sleemans, unpack the gazebo, and make my sugar pie. Oh yes.

(Pictures and tales of great hilarity to follow, I'm sure.)

Thursday, 29 June 2006

moose-ic update


Big broad lovin' to Maggie and Stroppy Ms. H. for sending me some Canadian tunes!

Since I need to fill an entire afternoon (minus football match time) plus some evening time, I've had to resort to the CanCon rule - over 25% of my playlist is Canadian, while the rest is full o' stuff I just happen to like. You can see most of it here:



I would like to point out that the Snow Patrol track featuring Martha Wainwright counts as being 50% Canadian.

Wednesday, 28 June 2006

it'll make you i-raaate


I hereby declare that this Frosties advert is the most annoying commercial on British television for the following reasons:
-Poor rhyming. Changing the pronunciation of "pirate" to "pie-rate" to rhyme with "great" is just wrong.
-It'll get stuck in your head for days. Just you watch.
-The incredibly cringeworthy dance moves at the end.
-The fact that Frosted Flakes are called Frosties here. Why?

Watch at your own risk.

cure all


Monday morning was tough. I sat with the duvet pulled up to my chin while Jack climbed all over the bed and up the walls. He never stays still; I'm starting to suspect that the nursery feeds him triple espressos twice daily. I was feeling very low and covered my face with my hands and started sobbing. Jack went perfectly still, his fuzzy head turned towards me with a puzzled look on his face. He wriggled over to me, put his head on my chest and wrapped his pudgy arms around me. There he stayed for several minutes, not moving an inch.

And then I discovered, no matter how crappy everything seems, one cuddle from your little boy makes the world a good place again. Coupled with a hug from your husband, of course.

release the moose


It's that time of year again - our annual Canada Day BBQ is on Saturday and I need your help. I have compiled a collection of fine Canadian music, but more suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

The rules:
1. I will not, under any circumstances, not even after 12 bottles of Sleemans, include songs by Celine or Avril.
2. The songs must be available via iTunes' crappy-ass selection of Canadiana. I suspect song availability is regional, so I'm limited to more "popular" Canadian music available in the UK (e.g. I can't download Mitsou, and I'm very upset about this.)
3. Feel free to send songs to me via email. I'll try to find an imaginative way to express my appreciation. Please note this expression will not involve the covering of any body part with maple syrup.

Here is the current playlist:



I love you, I kiss you.

Thursday, 22 June 2006

just in case you needed more reasons to feel like a Bad Mother


Breast-Feed or Else

A two-year national breast-feeding awareness campaign that culminated this spring ran television announcements showing a pregnant woman clutching her belly as she was thrown off a mechanical bull during ladies' night at a bar - and compared the behavior to failing to breast-feed.

"You wouldn't take risks before your baby's born," the advertisement says. "Why start after?" [source]

I firmly believe that breastmilk is best - I don't think anyone disputes that. I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed my child(ren) and never considered things like breast reduction surgery just in case it affected my ability to feed. When I had Jack, he was put to the breast very shortly after his birth, regardless of being born surgically. For that, I was greatly relieved. I had images of my son latched on me while I expertly held him in one arm and continued to do things like make homemade bread and re-grout the bathroom tiles with the other. It's supposed to be the most natural thing in the world and if it hurt, you're doing something wrong.

So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that by the gods breastfeeding FECKING WELL HURT and some of us need eight pairs of hands and several pillows to feed our babies. I was certain that Jack wasn't getting enough milk from me because most times when I expressed, I only managed to get an ounce or two. My health visitor told me to supplement with formula and so I did, because what did I know about babies? I was tired and sore from both the c-section and from breastfeeding - any relief was met with extreme enthusiasm. She could have told me to give him a bottle of Mountain Dew six times a day, and I would have done it; I was so delirious with fatigue. After the health visitor left, I purchased my first box of formula and gave a bottle to Jack. And I cried my heart out.

There are many reasons why women don't/can't breastfeed, and it has nothing to do with being irresponsible. We need to be supported, encouraged, and educated by our health visitors and GPs, not shown a box of formula at the first hurdle and then made to feel like Bad Mothers. I will do my damndest to breastfeed our next baby, and armed with everything I learned last time, I am now far more confident. But if I do need to switch to formula or mixed feeds, I will not be made to feel like a monster.

The mechanical variety isn't the only bull in that ad.

Wednesday, 21 June 2006

happy, happy, happy, happy pox


Apparently, the chicken pox are a laugh riot. Jack woke up giggling this morning and was happy as a clam all day yesterday. He slept a lot yesterday afternoon (3 hours!) and slept through the night until 7 this morning. He hasn't hit the itchy stage yet, at which point I expect the happy mood to swiftly depart. He's covered in red spots and isn't fond of clothes at the moment, so he's been running around in a nappy. It's both cute and pitiful at the same time, especially when his nappy gets that "full of wee droop". I'm armed with Calpol (infant Tylenol) and calomine lotion, and friends have recommended lukewarm bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) baths and children's Piritin (an antihistamine). I've received phone calls from my mummy friends asking to come over for a chicken pox party. Seriously, if my in-laws weren't arriving tonight to lend a hand, I would have organised a pox party complete with cakes and cookies. It's no fun when you can't really go anywhere (except to other mummy friends' houses or the park) but your child is raring to go as normal.

Jack's latest talent is mimicking me while I'm on the phone. I sometimes give him my mobile to play with (with the keys locked - I don't want to find charges for 2 hour phone calls to Namibia on my next bill, thanks) and if someone calls while he's got the mobile, he'll hold it up to his ear and go "Blah blah blah, hahahaha!" It's pretty difficult to have a serious conversation when your child is making you giggle like a loon. "No no, I'm not laughing at you, it's just that BWAAAHAHAHA!"

It's all a bunch of laughs around here, I tell you.

Tuesday, 20 June 2006

cue violin music




Hi, I'm Jasper. I used to have my own blog and a regularly updated photo page until the pink hairless puppy moved in. Now I have to sniff around his food bowl for scraps and put up with my toys being stolen and/or chewed on. He pokes my eyes with his pointy little fingernails and uses me as a stepping stool. He takes over my bed but I get told off if I happen to knock him over with my tail. I'm a dog for crying out loud, of course I'm going to wag my tail vigorously! If you can't handle it, stay away from my back end.

So anyway, I'm Jasper and I just wanted to point out that I'm still around and still very cute. Much cuter than the hairless pink puppy, and I make less of a mess. Thank you.

meanwhile...


...please enjoy this short film while we tend to the pox. Thank you.


Video Hosting - Upload Video - Video Sharing

the chicken has landed


Jack's got the pox. Let the fun begin.

Monday, 19 June 2006

what we did on daddy's day


Jack pet an owl:



then turned into one!

two things


1. Foreshadowing: from last night's Big Brother, Lisa standing in the kitchen furiously stabbing a potato with a fork.

2. You know you're Canadian when...while following a streetcleaner this morning, my first thought was "What the hell is a zamboni* doing out on the road?" In my defense, the streetcleaner wasn't actually cleaning the street at the time and did look remarkably like a zamboni. And I'm really sleep deprived right now. Oh shush.

*(the big thingy that resurfaces the ice between hockey periods or other ice skating events.)

Tuesday, 13 June 2006

updates


PoxWatch: No signs of the chicken pox yet. Am starting to think that my son has superduper antibodies. He must get them from his father.

MediaWatch: I'm being interviewed tomorrow morning by a reporter from the Sunday Express (for the magazine). She wants to write an article about baby blogs, came across this site, and got in touch with me. We may be photographed again and maybe this time, we'll be able to smile. Will keep you posted.

FertilityWatch: Nine of my friends are pregnant right now (it was ten up until last Friday). My fertility powers are obviously still very potent, so feel free to place your hands upon this screen if you'd like to get pregnant. Of course, you need to have some interaction with a male member of the species as well for this to work effectively.

Sunday, 11 June 2006

reasons to smile


1. I completed my first knitting project - baby booties. Please don't point out any mistakes. I like to live in denial.



2. It's World Cup time!



3. It's beautiful and sunny outside, and we filled up the paddling pool so I can soak my feet for Jack to play in.



4. My dog does Elvis impressions.



5. We have tadpoles, tadpoles just starting to sprout little legs, and these tiny little frogs in our pond (using my thumbnail to give perspective):

Wednesday, 7 June 2006

i want to put little slices of cucumber on my eyes


I was reading a pamphlet from a spa at my in-laws' house the other day. It almost made me drool as I read (and re-read) the descriptions of the luxurious treatments on offer. Exotic face masks, manicures complete with arm and hand massages, pedicures preceded by bubbly foot baths and things involving loofahs, and all sorts of therapies that meant absolutely nothing to me but sounded deliciously indulgent. Their day spa includes a couple of treatments, the use of the pool and jacuzzi, a two course lunch, and a fluffy bathrobe and slippers to wear during your stay. I imagine people following you around with white towels, periodically misting you with some sort of herbal aromatic spray, and offering you drinks with fruit on a stick poking out of them. I want a spa day.

I'm not sure where this yearning comes from; I've only had one manicure in my life (I didn't even get one before our wedding) and never had splodgy goo smeared on my face before. Perhaps it's the tired mother in me wanting to spend a day doing something completely frivolous and self indulgent. Maybe I've suddenly become a girly girl? Nah, my shoes don't match my handbag and I have no urge to wax any part of my body.

I want a spa day. Who's with me?

Tuesday, 6 June 2006

cluck


The chicken pox are doing the rounds at Jack's nursery again, and it's made its way up to the baby room this time around. One of the workers informed me of this when I dropped Jack off and I jokingly responded "Yay! Maybe he'll finally get it this time!" at which point they all looked at me like I was clinically insane. What I meant was that I would prefer him to get chicken pox now rather than later when it's particularly nasty, not that I wished ill health upon my child. Another mother who was dropping her baby off understood what I meant and said "Maybe we could rub them all together." I refrained from making a joke about seeing if they stick to the wall afterwards.

Perhaps I should start selling "Ask Me How To Be a Bad Mother!" t-shirts on this site.

shove over, roger ebert


On Saturday, Paul and I finally got to see "The Da Vinci Code". It's based on a novel by some chap called Dan Brown; some of you may have heard of it. The plot of the novel involves a conspiracy by the Catholic Church to cover up the "true" story of Jesus. In the book, the Vatican knows it is living a lie but continues to do so to keep itself in power. The novel has helped generate popular interest in speculation concerning the Holy Grail legend and the role of Mary Magdalene in the history of Christianity. Fans have lauded the book as creative, action-packed and thought-provoking. Critics have attacked it as poorly written, inaccurate and creating confusion between speculation and fact. From a religious point of view, some critics consider it sacrilegious, and decry the many negative implications about the Catholic Church and Opus Dei.

It wasn't as rubbish as I thought it would be. That Audrey Tautou sure is pretty.

everyone sing


Here are all the verses to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" for all you Bad Mothers out there:
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!

When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!

Then the traveller in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!

In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!

As your bright and tiny spark,
Lights the traveller in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!

Seriously, who knew? (Apart from the friend of mine who informed me of this, of course.)

Friday, 2 June 2006

can i interest you in some of our literature?


It's official - I'm addicted to knitting. I've moved on from rectangles and squares, and I've learned how to increase and decrease. I know three stitches and am working on an irregularly-shaped project that involves buttons (but not button holes because that's just a bit too wacky for me right now). I have a "don't forget" list of things I need to bring to my in-laws' this weekend and on it is my bag of knitting paraphernalia. I have considered keeping it in front with me so I can knit on the drive down (please note that I'm not actually doing the driving), and I plan on going through my irregularly-shaped project with my mum-in-law to make sure I don't make a pig's ear of it, although I'm sure knitted pig's ears are in demand somewhere in the world. As indicated yesterday, I'm a little bit too excited about my personalised stitch markers. I'm also quite thrilled about my new bamboo knitting needles. I find myself searching for knitting patterns online and buying way too much yarn. I'm hooked.

It's a bit strange because I'm not really the crafty type and I don't usually have the patience for fiddly things. I can't sew/hate sewing, would never find the energy to do needlepoint, I haven't had the urge to make my own Christmas wreaths, and I can't quite come to grips with the concept of pottery. But for some reason, knitting has engulfed me. It's like someone's brainwashed me into enjoying it - expect to find me peddling furry scarves at the airport soon.

Seriously, if you find me knitting stuff like this and presenting it to people as gifts, feel free to stage an intervention.

Thursday, 1 June 2006

why you won't find me on the cover of prima baby magazine


Please forgive me, for I have been a Bad Mother. I have done the following Bad Mother things lately:
-I spotted Jack drinking out of the dog's water bowl. He likes playing with spoons while I unload the dishwasher, but I didn't notice that on this occasion he was using the spoon to daintily sip water out of Jasper's bowl.
-I watched a particularly sweary episode of "Big Brother" in Jack's presence this morning. If his first sentence is "I am f*cking dying of starvation!", we'll all know who to blame.
-I fed him half a chip on Monday.
-I don't bathe him every day. In fact, most days he just gets a wipe or a sponging. I'm not sure if this is a bad thing because surely items like oatmeal and eggs are good for the skin and hair, right?
-I had no idea that "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" had more than one verse.
-I often make up stories to go with the pictures in his books, particularly if I find the original story a bit boring. Once he learns how to read, he's going to be very annoyed about this.
-Ditto song lyrics.

In totally unrelated news, three cheers for Brewer's Fayre pubs! We went to the Highwayman in St Neots on Monday, and were impressed by the extensive children's menu (with much healthier options than most pubs offer) and the big soft play area. Children under 3 feet (that's feet, not years - don't ask me why) are free, and taller children are charged £2 to get in to the play area. Although you can't eat in the play area, you can let the kids run loose while you're waiting for your food and come back when you're finished eating. Service was friendly and the food was pretty good - similar to any large chain pub. We'll definitely return.

happy days


People don't often do nice things for each other these days, so getting these in the post today:



made me a very happy lady. My fabulously creative friend Melanie (her shop can be found here) made these stitch markers for me, and I think they're the cutest shiny dangly things (not involving diamonds) I've ever seen. Stitch markers are used in knitting to indicate things like changes in pattern or colour, so you can keep track of what you're doing on each row. Or at least I imagine that's what they're for - I'm not actually talented enough to knit anything that complicated (yet). So there you go: pretty beads aren't just for jewellery.

A few people have asked me what's happened to Jasper's blog and if I'll still write about him here. The dog blog has been retired, but his picture pages are still linked to the main photo album page - and yes, I will still write about him here. It was his third birthday last week; he got a new chewy toy, a giant tennis ball, lots of edible/chewable doggy treats, and a brand new collar. Here he is looking elated to be another year older:



Happy belated birthday, Jaspey!

And finally, another thing that made me smile today was this quote from last night's Big Brother: "She's always talking about places I've never been...like Harrod's." (Glynn, the very young Welsh boy who doesn't get out a lot)