Archive for the 'parenting' Category


Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Jenny’s animals

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Mao – cat

oosh-oosh – dog

bish – fish

nnnn – cow

nn-nn – monkey

rah – giraffe

gok-gok – horse

gak-gak – duck/bird

18 months

Monday, June 20th, 2011

…and such an urchin, with permanently bruised shins and grazed knees. She has about 3 or 4 words, mostly gibberish to anybody but me  (gagaga – with quack hand gesture = any bird. Hee hee hee = horse. Maa! – me or Maggie or Tamsin or comeherenow. tatata = drink now please. Dad-n = daddy or Tamsin. roro = …your boat. ba ba ba = round and round (as in what the wheels on your bus do), fff = fish*), but who’s comparing (with Maggie’s over-60 and Tamsin’s well, a few): she can make herself Very Well Known indeed.

* interesting – to me at least – how similar the list is to Tamsin’s list at the  same age.

A song by Tamsin

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Go to sleep Jenny-wrenny
Jenny go to sleep
Shut your eyes
(repeat at random for ages)
There’s a plastic beeeeeach
And it has plastic on
And frolicks in the ocean in a land called honalee
(repeat lines about Jenny going to sleep until your mother wants to weep)

From baby to toddler

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

She walks! Only a couple of metres unaided, and very wobbly at that, but give her a little finger to hold and she can do the full length of the house. She is safe up and down stairs (though I still have kittens if she tries to combine the two, walking and stairs). She climbs on anything that is left accessible, favourite being the wobbly old wooden chair in the kitchen.

She talks! Nana (banana); mama (me); gong-gong-gong (no idea); uh-oh (I have thrown my dinner/the clean washing on the floor); gak-gak (the noise a duck makes)

She plays! She rocks a baby doll and bangs drums. Favourite is anything that has beepy tunes and/or flashy lights:  no waldorf child, this. She disappears upstairs for hours with the big girls: they play Barbies, I have no idea what she does.

She points! Most forcefully, we are left in no doubt that what she needs is That Thing There.

She doesn’t sleep! She eats on a pattern best known to herself! When she does, she loves minestrone soup, bananas, shepherds pie, and thinks egg is weird.

Saturday, three children no husband

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

(who left for China at an exceedingly unnecessary 4 am, just as I settled the baby back to sleep for the I-don’t-know-how-manyth time)

6.30 – M awake: the tooth fairy has been (hooray!) but not replied to her note (boo!) go back to bed it is still night time {brief argument about why Tamsin is in my bed but asleep and whether the baby is still asleep – answer she was until you came down}.
7.00 – give up, all downstairs for breakfast and telly.
8.00 – Jenny has a rather lovely toy, a “discovery cylinder” – basically a portable hidey hole that she is supposed to put soft stuffed shapes in and out of. Just retrieved my car key, an old shrivelled bit of cucumber and 4 raisins.
9.00 – come on come on come on we have things to do! Co-op (croissants, paper, blueberries, cash); market (ice cream, bacon, steak, bread, tea cakes no we don’t need fairy cakes today; yes they are very pretty; yes I see them); home to put ice cream in freezer; costa coffee (where I remembered I had forgotten to eat breakfast myself so had some toast, what an excellent scheme). I can’t imagine what possessed me to think that would be a pleasant and civilised start to the weekend: not only was the only available paper the Mail (eurgh), the children hoovered their babyccinos in record time then set about being slightly too loud for the poor chap at the next table who clearly did like a civilised start to his weekend. They weren’t bad, they were just not operating at coffee-shop volume. Hobbycraft, where some sort of financial shift in the time-space continuum ensures I never come out without spending 20 quid, despite only needing some elastic. Tumbletots for Tamsin: I did actually read a bit of my paper, Jenny ate cereal and practised walking (just a few steps at a time, from chair to table to chair to table to chair…), Maggie read and coloured. Rather relaxing actually, despite the squawking recorders in the next room.
12.00 – home, exhausted. J asleep, girls have a plan: let’s play with barbies all afternoon! Which means their bedroom will look like a barbie bomb has gone off (and for some reason the bathroom is invariably flooded) but on the bright side I have peace and quiet which I feel I have earnt.
1.30 – I seem to have spent an hour on the PC without even opening the manuscript I intended to finish today. Microwaved leftover takeaway for me (momentarily glad C is away so I don’t have to share!); boiled eggs and soldiers for the big girls. J still asleep.
3.30 – dishwasher unloaded/filled; pots washed; laundry on tumbledrier on clean laundry folded ironing done; kitchen wiped down and swept (only because I had the news quiz on – otherwise wouldn’t have bothered as I am planning to have the kids make tea); Jenny’s entire breakfast and lunch picked up off the floor. Nice cup of tea with paper…3, 2, 1 Muuum!
5.00 – have finally opened up that word file, although I don’t have to listen very carefully to hear the wine plaintively calling my name from the fridge. When Cameron is about, we often don’t drink at all apart from at weekends (and there is a Wednesday ballet exclusion clause if necessary). When he is away I mostly have one glass around teatime every evening.
8.00 – One baby asleep (which is fortunate, as daddy has put her to bed since early December – wasn’t at all sure I could remember how); two big girls in bed in a reasonably barbieless bedroom; one manuscript near-as-damnit finished. One glass of wine drunk; homemade pizzas consumed. Washing dishes can wait until tomorrow. I am off duty!

Questions over breakfast

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

– Why can a “Y” pretend to be a vowel?
– Do brown-skinned people have more blood cells than pale-skinned people?
– Can your eyes get bigger? What about your mouth?


Friday, October 8th, 2010

Mostly, having three is great. Apart from never quite feeling like you have your eye on the ball (which is probably a good thing from their point of view), it has much to recommend it. It all goes to pieces, however, when one’s husband is about as far away as he can possibly get (I got a middle-of-the-night text “in Sydney on harbour cruise”); I am half-expecting him to announce his entry to NASA’s astronaut-training programme in a bid to get even further. When one has put the baby to bed at midday mere minutes before the school rings to say the 6-year-old has been sick and is very pale and can I come to get her please. I managed that, even persuading the baby back to bed on our return, but the collection of the 3-year-old from nursery was just beyond me. Fortunately we live in a Village with a Village Ethos and my very lovely friend not only went and collected her, and collected another friend’s little boy from school who I had been supposed to be looking after, but gave them tea and kept them until bedtime. And picked her up this morning for preschool. And brought her back again afterwards! Meanwhile, I have been trying to cuddle the poorly one as much as she wants, although 9-month-old babies are not entirely understanding of that. So it’s been cuddles during baby naps and pop her up to bed for some peace in between; I have consumed much cake in compensation for the two flights of stairs and can feel the cabin fever mounting. She is much better today, so I haven’t felt I have to check her quite so often – her breathing was scary yesterday and she wasn’t keeping anything down, not even a sip of water. I couldn’t have a medicinal glass of wine last night because I was slightly concerned I might end up driving to A&E, though by the time I went to bed she was relatively peaceful and her chest sounded rattly rather than wheezy. And she has eaten a bit of toast and a bowl of my smugly medicinal home-made chicken and fennel soup.

Number three

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Baby J is 6 months old. Six months! (And some weeks: it takes a good fortnight to get a post written these days.) And I find I am yet to write her birth story, which is not fair as I did Maggie‘s and Tamsin‘s), and somehow I haven’t written a thing here since April. Pesky facebook. She’s grand though: she sits, she moves around though not forwards yet, she is most enthusiastic about food and all she wants, really, is for somebody to take some notice and pay her some attention. Maggie and Tamsin adore her (though I am prepared for this to change when she starts properly moving and getting in the way).

(Birth story hidden behind the break for those of a delicate constitution – easier to write than the others as I have actually been treated like a grown up – that’s lovely independent midwives for you – and been allowed a copy of my notes)


Sling when you’re winning

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

You must tell the mums! Tell them! I was urged by our oh-so-hippy ex-GP. (He now runs the village farmers’ market and is gung-ho about unpasteurised milk and passionate about the village pig project.) I’m not entirely certain which mums he means, given that surely anybody who was interested would be quite capable of googling – these days there is an enormous array of websites dedicated to the black art of what I refuse to call babywearing – or approaching me on the street; an event that occurs about once every 3 weeks. (In between I am approached by elderly people who wish I would carry them.)

With hindsight, I should have started selling baby slings when M was tiny: if only a fraction of the people who enquired actually went on to buy one from me I’d still be well ahead. There just weren’t the options then; these days there are millions of different sling designs and manufacturers and websites. Unlike some dedicated shoppers, I only have four slings, and one other passed briefly through my hands before being sold on. The one in this photo was our first; bought in Japan (and look, here is baby Maggie in it), it is an Israeli-design stretchy wrap. A sling of some sort was essential in Tokyo, where subway stations often had two or three flights of stairs and no lift (and I learnt from bitter experience that you could stand at the bottom of a flight of stairs looking plaintively at your buggy for a really long time before anybody offered to help.) It’s just about 6 metres of black jersey with a pocket at the front and rings to fasten the ends together. Cameron’s sling of choice, as it is fast and easy to put on; my favourite for a tiny baby. The stretch means you can put the carrier on first then put the baby in – so great for a newborn who might pop up and down over the course of a day – but also makes it less supportive so it isn’t so good once baby is heavy.

My current favourite for Jenny is a didymos, a woven wrap (no photos of this one yet but it is stylishly black and silver). I wrap it in almost the same way as the stretchy, but around the baby as it doesn’t stretch to accommodate. I like it very much but wish it too had rings to fasten as I end up with a bulky knot at the back when I tie it.

Number three is a maya wrap, which I have yet to put Jenny in. I did use it for a newborn Tamsin but it really comes into its own for older babies and younger toddlers; I keep it in the back of the car, or carry it if we go for a walk, as it is so easy to just pop them in and out. I dislike the one-shoulderedness of it and am aware you should swap sides but like my handbag only really feel happy with it over the right side.

I’ve just come to number four and realised with a blush that actually we seem to have five. Blame baby brain even if it no longer officially exists. My fourth style of sling is a meitai, basically a square of fabric with four strap attached to the four corners (you can get meitais with wrap-style straps, padded straps, unpadded straps, head rests, rain covers… mine is just basic.) It’s pretty, in pink spotty satin, and I like it best to put babies on my back. In principle one can wrap onto one’s back but I don’t find it that comfortable; the meitai just feels right. (This is Tamsin again.)

(Lastly, I have a second woven wrap; it’s a turquoise and silver gauze which is supposedly cool for summer but was fundamentally bought because it is pretty. The only photo I have of this one – the curse of being the family photographer – is appallingly hippy.)