Archive for November, 2007

If you’re happy and you know it

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Today so far I have nagged, bribed, cajoled and shouted to get the children out of the house in time for swimming (we have to leave at 8.50, which is a killer. Goodness knows how we will cope when M starts school next year), only to sit in traffic for half an hour to reach the end of the road; the two alternative routes I tried were no better. To the veg shop instead – might as well, since we are out and would have to go this afternoon – to find it doesn’t open until 10. I’ve promised soft play this afternoon in compensation; would it be really bad to not mention it and hope she forgets? I don’t really have the energy, and have rung round friends to no avail. If we go, we go alone.

Yesterday was not good either: the day started at 5 a-bloody-m with M complaining of a tummyache. Which received very little sympathy, it must be said (Bad Mummy) so she was sick to make her point. I packed her off to preschool anyway (Bad Mummy) because she scoffed two weetabix – how bad could she be feeling? – and she was fine. T was in bed asleep by 6 last night (having only managed a 20-minute nap during the day – and again today, Bad Baby!) and M not much past 7; I lolled about like a wrung-out rag until ooh 9.45 then gave up too. This week’s manuscripts are not getting the attention they deserve.

Dear readers, I need your advice. We have People coming for dinner on Saturday. I don’t know them well: he was Cameron’s first boss at Shell (and the terrifying head of the group I was in as a student there – fortunately he is no longer terrifying but really very nice) and she is his wife, who I have never met. What do I feed them? Also there is the getting-the-children-to-bed factor, which means it can’t be anything that requires much faffing, unless the faffing can be done 3 hours in advance. I’m thinking a chicken (in fact I have just bought a chicken so that is fairly set) which I can roast or pot-roast depending on the phase of the moon and the direction of the wind on Saturday. With rice and something spicey-and-squashy and something red-cabbagey, I think. But what to have for pud? The last few people (and People) to come have had Delia’s croquembouche: it looks most impressive and is really delicious, with very little effort. But it’s a bit summery and I’m a bit tired of doing it. Nigella’s bread-and-butter pud made with pain au chocolat? A pavlova? Something else? Whaddya think?

Spoke too soon

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

That’ll learn me – two sizeable manuscripts were lurking malodorously in my inbox this morning. And teeny tiny Tamsin, who has been unfillable this past week (a growth spurt, presumably, which had me all prepared to march back to the health visitor and say SEE) is once again neither eating nor sleeping. Teeth, all mums sigh in agreement – apart from me, who just sighs in fatigue and cannot summons the energy to consider the reasons. On the bright side, she took her first unassisted steps last night! So she can’t be doing too badly, can she.

Mrs Tiggywinkle

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Cameron is away again: five solo bath-and-bedtimes before he gets back. (One down, four to go.) He just rang from the Hamburg Christmas Market: it’s not all work work work y’know. Unusually, I find myself without a huge pile of work, just a few bits and pieces I really must tackle (radio Lymm website; tax return; Christmas shopping) and I confess, although the novelty will wear off sharpish, I am partly looking forward to an evening or two with my gripping (trashy) novel; the rest of the Buffy box set; a magazine and a pack of Crunchies. Both children are asleep at last, Maggie only requiring it to be explained 3 or 4 times that if she does not stop stomping about talking, singing and banging doors right now then Tamsin will not go to sleep and there will not be time for stories (last part hissed through clenched jaws). What I dislike most about singlemumming is not just having to get both children to bed alone, but the way that, having achieved it, you come downstairs to be faced with the kitchen full of tea stuff, the lounge full of toys, no fire lit, the kettle not on and piles and piles and piiiilllleeessss of washing to be sorted*.

*Not meaning to suggest for one minute that Cameron does all these jobs while I put the baby to bed: that would be heroic to the point of lunacy. But he does some, and that makes the rest feel less overwhelming.


Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

Well, that all went jolly smoothly. Friday night, Bill Bailey – perhaps not quite as funny as I might have hoped (the Guardian reviewer agreed with me): when he was funny he was very very funny but in between the funny bits he was not. Peculiar crowd too (and I was utterly amazed to realise he is popular enough to sell out 3 nights at the MEN arena). Unfortunately the first stand-up I saw live was Eddie Izzard and all others suffer by comparison.

Maggie went to bed as normal; Tamsin was up and down all evening (but fortunately Cameron was home so no real problem). A late night for me, so I was tired, but it was well worth it to get out for once, even if I was offically really rubbish and missed them.

Last night, Christy Moore. Worried would be too strong a word, but I was a little concerned Tamsin would be even more reluctant to go to sleep for an almost-complete stranger and I didn’t like to think of her crying (for the sake of either of them and selfishly for the sake of me ever going out in the future). Nona turned up around 6; the girls had had their tea and were getting into their jimjams. Tamsin did not want a feed so eventually I waved goodbye and drove to Manchester with some trepidation.

Christy was fabulous (of course): one of the friends I went with admitted afterwards that actually she hadn’t really known who he was and had certainly never heard him sing (brave of her to come, really – a few others were put off by his wiki entry) but she was converted. The chap next to me required no converting whatsoever but laughed unroariously at Mr Moore’s every amusing comment and sang loudly whenever the opportunity presented. (Fair enough up to a point but I had to consider* pointing out that I had paid good money to hear a professional singer. Churlish, me?!)

Best of all, I came home to find Nona serenely sipping a cup of tea and reading her Cheshire Life magazine. Maggie had gone to sleep after 3 stories and a drink of water (despite protesting she was not tired); and Tamsin. Well, Tamsin. I was agog and aghast (in a good way) to hear that she had not wanted to go into her cot at bedtime – as expected – but had, on being brought down to sit on the sofa and play with Nona’s glasses case, eventually put her little head down and then,  with a bit of gentle patting, fallen asleep by 7.45. Lifted into her cot, she didn’t make another peep until she heard me come in around 11.15 (and even then she just shouted, turned over, and went back off for another half hour). Astounding!

*No of course I didn’t. Nor did I tut or anything.

Vampires beware

Monday, November 19th, 2007

If I was able to remember where I kept my allotment diary, I would note that on Friday 16th November I planted one of my three garlic bulbs. I put them in pots last year: they grew most successfully, liked it when they finally were planted out, seemed quite happy – but produced virtually no useable garlic at all. This year I am trying one half-row in the (cold, waterlogged) ground over winter, without very high hopes; I’ll put the other two bulbs out in the spring with fingers crossed.

I also have good intentions of planting broad beans to over-winter (but given that I haven’t done it yet this also may not happen).

A productive Saturday, though – not at the allotment but in the garden, which is now all tidied away for the winter. It looks uncharacteristically neat and the (one, small*) flowerbed is manured and everything. Maggie helped me plant tulips and I finally brought in the houseplants, which had been put out to get some air in about August but seem none the worse for a bit of frosting.

*digging out more beds and borders has been postponed again.

Like buses

Friday, November 16th, 2007

Guess what I am doing tonight? Go on, guess.

No! Actually I am not vegging on the sofa in front of QI; neither am I editing any poxy manuscripts. I. Am. Going. Out.

After dark. On my own. Well not entirely on my own because that would just be a tragedy, but without the children (or Cameron) and with friends. We are going to see Bill Bailey, won’t that be fun? C is putting both children to bed on his own: it’s been a year, about time he tried it.

So: Tamsin’s first bedtime without me ever. And on Monday, she will have her second as I am off out again! Unfortunately Cameron is going to Mallorca next week “on business” so we’ve had to get a babysitter: much soul-searching as it is one thing asking somebody to sit and watch your telly and drink your tea while your children sleep upstairs but another thing entirely to ask them to put two hooligans to bed. I am nervous but Sara (godmother to both girls) ‘s mother-in-law is lovely and says she won’t mind at all if Tamsin refuses to go. I’m not actually worried about the girls per se, but about having a super-clingy baby for the next few days afterwards. We’ll see (hopefully she won’t even notice and it will be just fine).

Wish me luck!

12 things

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

About Tamsin, as she is 12 months old today! This time last year she was causing me no end of bother. (I did the same to mark Maggie’s first birthday if anybody would like to refresh their memory.)

1. Tamsin Sarah: apposite because Tamsin is the Cornish feminine for Tom. Cameron’s dad is Tom; my mum and all maternal ancestors are Cornish. Sarah was kind of oh we just like it but also one of Cameron’s favourite relatives (known as Sadie) and several friends including Sara (spelt wrong but pronounced right) who is godmother to both girls. I found out later that my great-grandmother was also Sarah.

2. Her favourite things to eat are satsumas and raspberries; she is also partial to lentils and meat. She’s generally quite keen on food and will even munch up mushrooms.

3. She’s the fastest crawler I have ever seen: she just zips about the house like a whirlwind. She isn’t walking yet but can cruise at speed.

4. Her favourite toys are her walker, the spinning top, Maggie’s doll “baby Hannah” (she likes to chew her feet), and some wooden tiles that make a lovely clattery noise. She also likes to play “fetch” with a ball.

5. She also loves books although I am ashamed to admit I don’t read to her anything like as much as I did to Maggie. Baby Boo is her top favourite.

6. She has a few words: Mummy (meaning “I want something” rather than me exactly), Daddy, Maggie (which sounds a bit like Daddy), Hiya.

7. She loves to help in the kitchen: crawling onto the dishwasher door to splash in the water and grab at the cutlery if given the opportunity, and pulling things out of the washing machine.

8. She has amazing big long-lashed eyes of an in-betweeny browny-grey colour (is that hazel?)

9. She dislikes wearing hats or socks and will pull them off to wave, chew or drop on the floor.

10. She has a very cheeky grin, especially when peeping round a corner at you, arms straight.

11. She can wave bye bye and gives kisses on request – on verbal request, nonetheless. Clearly she is a genius! Just this morning we progressed from mid-air smacky noises to slobbery face kisses.

12. Dancing always makes her giggle. The Libertines; Abba; Here we go looby loo (mostly my choice of music, to be fair).

Happy birthday little girl.


Friday, November 9th, 2007

No time to think of a title, let alone a witty one, I am aware that I only come on here to complain about being busy, and I apologise. The last few weeks? Months? I can’t actually remember any more I just feel I am constantly playing catch up: my to-do list is as long as the Nile and I am forever trying to get past the Must Dos to the Would Be Nice To Dos, while mainlining dairy milk and coffee. As I type this (fast) I am simultaneously eating lunch, thinking about how to fix my latest website design, which is apparentlyrather less beautiful in widescreen than on my little monitor, considering how to reorder the text of a manuscript so it makes basic sense, and making soup. Also worrying about T who has lost weight: worrying in a primeval mummy sense (it goes I am a terrible mother maybe I need to think more about what and when and how much she is eating perhaps she needs jars maybe I should insist she stop dashing about* and eat a proper meal perhaps she needs to drink formula** maybe I need to bake more cakes maybe if she had proper naps it would be ok) rather than a rational sense as there is clearly absolutely nothing wrong with her. Yesterday***’s health visitor even said – and I quote directly if you will forgive a moment of pride – “they are both doing really well, you are doing a great job”! How nice was that. But today’s HV was all: well I can see she is fine but we will just have to keep an eye on it and you need to bring her back in. Which of course, of the two, is the message that has sunk in.

Ping! Finished my lunch, time to run again.

*Some role model I am
**Ha ha ha. As if.
***Yesterday’s HV came to do her 1-year check but didn’t bring any scales so I thought I’d pop her on to get weighed today. She weighs the same now that she did when she was 8 1/2 months and has dropped down the centiles. But Maggie did exactly the same at this age and caught back up again; she has actually only lost 1 1/2 oz (which is I imagine less than the weight of a dirty nappy!); she’s crawling and cruising; I am really not worried in the least. Apart from that little niggle that is always there going BAD MUMMY.


Monday, November 5th, 2007

I feel like I’ve been accepted: I was invited to the allotment conservatory for coffee this morning. This sounds misleadingly posh – well we are in Cheshire darlings – where in actual fact it is some old lean-to that has been cobbled back together in the best allotment spirit. And a chocolate biscuit (a kitkat actually; I judged it best not to discuss the ethics of Nestle if I was to be invited back. And I secretly enjoy a kitkat as long as I haven’t paid for it).

My PSB is looking gorgeous and we are entering the time of year when I am convinced I’ll stay on top of it all next time. I have Plans (they’re multiplying). Next summer is bound to be less wet and T will be walking (I haven’t been able to take her for several months even if it hadn’t been raining: it’s one thing taking a stationary baby who will sit on a mat and play*, or a toddler who can run about in wellies, but quite another to contemplate taking a crawler) and I’ll just be able to get loads done. I got a good weedy bit (three barrowloads) cleared today while she snoozed in the car, ready for garlic, I think, or broad beans.

Good not to be too excessively tidy anyway – a bonus today when the “brambles” I have been eyeing with intent for, ooh, about a year now turned out to be raspberries! How fantastic is that. Only 4 berries, but that is 4 berries I hadn’t planned for.

In other allotmenty recycley news, I appear to have inadvertantly acquired 17 demijohns. Anybody want one?

*In theory.