I’ve just gone back to work full time, which has meant kissing goodbye to any time we used to get to spend together (as well as any energy I used to have to do anything apart from teach and all the related paperwork exercises). So, as it was nice and sunny (if a little nippy) last Sunday morning, we decided to go out for a round of crazy golf at a local course.
I don’t know if this happens to other people, but our house is always littered with discarded socks. Stella loves to pick them up and put them on her hands, then tickle people with them. Very sweet, but a bit yucky!
Jet loves baking, and he is always asking to make things. Usually involving chocolate. I gave up trying to get Jet to embrace healthy cake – he never ate it, so it was just a waste of ingredients. And maybe he’s right – maybe baked foods shouldn’t be healthy, maybe they should be sweet and crumbly and delicious. Putting in the right quantities of butter and sugar results in food creations that my children will actually eat. So I’m going with that! Continue reading
On Monday we began the holidays by spending the morning mooching about in our pyjamas trying to get our breath back a bit after our awesome barbecue the day before. Jet did some drawing whilst Stella (who had done some drawing on her legs) helped me with the washing – she loves to take it out of the machine and put it in the basket. Continue reading
- Make sure you buy lots of snacks like crisps and that for people to eat whilst they wait for the real food. Then, and this is the important bit, forget to put them out and find them lurking in the cupboard after everyone has gone home.
A few months ago, Chris had a vision of a deck at the back of the garden. This was largely conceived as a *simple* way to cover up all the rubble, broken glass and oil drum fire debris left behind by previous homeowners that used to constitute the end third of the garden. Without ever having done it before, he placed a ceremonial pencil behind his ear and started saying things like “4 bee 2” like a pro, and lo and behold, a deck took shape.
Last month it was my Mum’s 60th birthday. For her gift I really wanted to treat her, so I thought long and hard and came up with 12 special ideas, one thing a month for the next year that she wouldn’t ordinarily do. Here’s my list:
Stella is developing more and more words and phrases. An increase in language has seen an increase in demands. “I want yoghurt, I eat all my chips – I want get down, I want cup tea!” It is good being able to understand her needs more easily now.
Despite his best efforts to look as though he lives on a different planet to the rest of us, he has been coming out with some pretty sensible stuff of late. Relatively speaking. In some of what follows, I could nearly see where he was coming from.
Throughout the summer, the children take it in turns to ruin our day, one of them always waking us up at silly o’clock whilst the other slumbers on undisturbed, as if they got together one night after lights out and drew up a rudimentary schedule. Today was Stella’s turn to trot into our room at 5.10 and try to squash her freezing cold feet between my thighs as I stared blearily at the clock in disbelief.
I saw this on the wonderful Imagination Tree. Yes, I thought to myself. We had a small raised bed on the patio that required some attention. Sorting this out could lead to some serious garden fun for the kids, aka mummy sits down unaccosted for a bit. And all it would take was a bit of gardening. Win!
Every month or so, my mum has a magazine declutter. She passes them my way, where I happily sift through to see if there are any new recipes I fancy, rip out a million pages and file them in my recipe folder. Well, I say file, they are shoved into the front to spill out every time the folder is taken out of the cupboard, until I get around to trying them. Then I might deem them worthy of actual filing and slip them into one of the plastic sleeves for wipe clean posterity. This is one that gets to enter the hallowed baking section. Definitely.
Easter arrived, along with its confusing messages and rabbits hatching out of eggs.
Stella is talking so much more, it now feels as if you are actually having a conversation with her. Some of the words are still missing from her phrases, replaced by garbles, but her meaning is increasingly clear. When I interrupted her reading by scooping her up to get her dressed, she exclaimed indignantly, “Mummy! Agoo-gee-goo book!” At breakfast time she spied my fruit, put her own down and demanded, “Mummy. Agoo-gee-goo apple. Eat!” At bath time, Stella saw the cat perched on a stool that she considered too close to the bath. “Juno! Noggin da baff!” she instructed, wagging a finger.
Jet had finished doing a puzzle – this, after a full on morning at nursery, was extremely hard work for both of us. After, painstakingly and at length, the final piece had been placed, I asked him to tidy it away. But he had another solution.
A new fascination has flourished, and with it more job prospects. In recent months, Jet has developed a thirst for knowledge around the organs, bones and systems of the human body.
You can last year’s washing line here
Those who know me well know that I am partial to a range of these. From a kakuro to a griddler, crosswords both numerical and word-based, there is a puzzle for my every mood. I love to sit down with one of my favourite pencils (everyone has a favourite pencil, don’t they?) and get down to business. I even have a clipboard dedicated to this purpose.
Yes, I do know how rock and roll I am. Continue reading
Stella is really growing up. She likes to brush her hair, she’s got a penchant for ‘shoesh’ – her own and others’ – and likes to put on “coves”, trying on hats (anything that can be put on one’s head makes a very suitable hat), sticking trousers on her head and pushing her little legs into the sleeves of a jumper.
The baby who didn’t like milk has grown up into a hungry little person who scoffs most of what is put in front of her. If she’s upstairs exploring (taking all of her clothes out of the drawers), a surefire way to get her to come downstairs is to let her know there is food in the offing. Meals or ‘nack’s, or even just seeing someone go into the kitchen prompt her to shout “Eat! Eat!” and run for the high chair. When she has finished her drink or snack, she will bring you her empty bowl or cup, saying “ere go”.
Charity begins at home
Jet, like most people, loves finding money. Normally ‘finding’ money implies a certain serendipity. You don’t know who the money belongs to – it is anonymous cash, perhaps dropped in the gutter by an unknown stranger. In which case, with no hope of reuniting it with its rightful owner, go for your life! Pocket that change without a pang of guilt! It’s what anyone would do.
In December, Jet and I went to the Lego show together. It was awesome – I am already looking forward to going next year. Anyway, we enjoyed ourselves in all the build areas and here’s Jet with his droids, which he made out of massive rubber Lego bricks. They all had names that went letter letter, number number, like his heroes R2 and C3PO.
Stella chats away 19 to the dozen. Even though most of it is babble, in some cases the words that are emerging sound a bit like the ones she is trying to say, such as ‘ba’ (bag, but this also doubles as bath), ‘bo’ (box). In others, her attempts to say what she sees bear no resemblance to the original at all. Still, her vocabulary is coming on rapidly now and her personality is strong.
I’m trying, with varying degrees of success, to run my own business from home designing and putting together tapestry kits using my own original designs. Unfortunately, I do not possess all of the prerequisite skills; organisation, planning and focus being just some of the areas in which I find myself wanting.
At the moment, Jet is fascinated by postcodes. If anyone looks like leaving the house – the mere mention of the word ‘shoes’ or a glance towards the door and he demands to know which postcode they will be going to. When told, he will nod sagely. “Ah, N13. Palmers Green. Yes.” The database mind starts flicking, almost audibly. “Nana and Grandad live there.”
Last weekend I went to a local nearly new sale
You know all those things you bought or were given for the children that you didn’t use/need? Those really cute outfits they grew out of before they’d worn them? The toys you bought them that they never really got into? Your five copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Well, everyone has that stuff.
Look. I know what I said. I know I haven’t always been grateful. I know I don’t always approve. I know I send the occasional indignant tweet, like when Ruff Ruff describes a sphere as a circle (that’s just wrong!). I know I get cranky every time Numberjacks comes on and my three year old freaks out because the baddies are so scary (seriously, you need to give us some warning!). I know I laughed at all those plot ideas people suggested for the new series of Topsy and Tim. (but that show really is twintastically irritating. And sexist. And smug.) I know I sometimes add sugar or salt to Katie’s recipes. And I know I said those things about Mike the Knight (but he is a tit. I don’t take that back.)
It is the end of a long summer, and Jet has obviously grown tired of our efforts to entertain him. He has missed his friends from nursery, and he wants to see them.
One morning Jet came into our room and climbed into the bed for a cuddle.
Putting his face on Daddy’s pillow,”You’re a bit stinky,” he said to Chris, charitably. “You smell like a, like a… like a dirty pillow.” (I really do not know where he got his inspiration from on that one.)
It is always a pleasure to be told you smell by your three year old boy, not often known for excellent personal hygiene themselves.
Later on in the day, Chris took the children shopping. Jet had been uncharacteristically lovely to his sister, showing her around his nursery and holding her hand as they walked down the road, so Chris decided that he deserved a special treat and bought
himself Jet a Star Wars lego set.
Walking back to the car, Jet benevolently suggested, “Would you like a special treat, too? For being a good Daddy?”
He had clearly been thinking about what Daddy should choose for his special treat, and was quick to make this suggestion.
“You could have a shower.”
Getting off a tube train in the not-as-leafy-as-it-sounds North London suburb of Wood Green, I indulge in one of my favourite bad habits and continue to read my book as I walk along the street. In my hand is a dogeared copy of one of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers’ novels, I forget which. Stopping to cross the busy street on my way to the bus stop, I look up to check the traffic and notice, to my delight, that one of the men walking towards me on the crowd is holding the same book. We sort of awkwardly gesture at each other with our paperbacks and exchange a wry smile in a manner typical of a Londoner who feels they have made a connection of sorts with a total stranger.
A few weekends ago we spent an idyllic day at my parents’ house, overindulging in barbecued meats and almost every type of carbohydrate known to man before pointlessly deciding which of my mum’s three desserts to have, only to finally, inevitably, succumb to having some of each. Prior to staggering home, we took a look around my dad’s vigilante allotment to pick some blackberries, french beans and courgettes to take home, Jet having only inadvertently trampled on a few of Grandad’s carefully tended vegetables.
I am grateful to have been nominated for the Sisterhood of World Bloggers by Charlotte from Our Daly Life. Being awarded by other bloggers is a lovely treat, giving you a virtual cuddle for your blogging efforts. Thanks so much, Charlotte. One of the great parts about blogging is being welcomed into this awesome community of people, supporting each other and taking a really genuine interest in each others’ experiences.
So, I am about to unleash another torrent of random information about myself, prompted by the questions Charlotte has set.
I’ll set the scene:
We had just returned from playgroup. Jet fell over on the way back, but soldiered on through my blearily recollected version of Rumpelstiltskin, and bravely traversed several walls to make it home. Having illustrated him a custom plaster to order, I had my drawing skills criticised (“Why is Bob so big?” Apparently my explanation that the angle Kevin was leaning against Stuart, who was in turn sitting down, was a less than adequate explanation for this discrepancy.), cleaned up his knee and applied some antiseptic cream along with TLC. It was definitely time for lunch.
Stella has been trying out her legs to see what they can do. Having found from an early age that they were pretty useful for kicking with, she earned herself the nickname Kicky-Legs McGee early on. In fact I have a large number of photos of Stella where her legs are just a blur, such is the force with which she is kicking them. I also used to really fear her coming through the ceiling when she was put down for a snooze and she’d just kick away in her cot upstairs…
Have you ever had difficulty trying to get a small person to walk from A to B? Although most of them have superb perambulation skills when it comes to pursuing their own agendas, when it comes to your’s they can adopt a pace more befitting of a snail. Therefore, parents throughout history have become remarkably adept at the following encouragement techniques. I share mine here, so you too can arrive at your destination at least a few minutes prior to completely losing the will to live!!!
Welcome back to my series on Pinterest fails, where you can laugh with me, but never at me as I attempt things that look like a good idea.
In this instances, I have to be honest – I didn’t see this on Pinterest, although I am fairly certain it would be on there. Neither is this, strictly speaking, a complete fail. If I only had one child, it would have been, but luckily Stella came to the rescue! In addition, the failure of this is partly self-induced. But my blog, my rules, okay?!
It’s time to share with you some of Jet’s latest
We were leaving the park the other day, after an impromptu visit that occurred on our way back from a milk restocking expedition. Walking along with him holding the buggy, suddenly I heard Jet’s brain whirr into action and he ran off ahead a little way, standing with his legs wide apart and his arms outstretched, blocking the path.
I have mentioned before my aching desire for my boy to sleep in beyond 4.30 am. In order to achieve this, we do our level best to exhaust the little tyke every day in the hope that he will need more hours’ kip. But where that fails, and it almost always does, I like to leave him a little selection of activities set up so he can play independently when he comes down, leaving us to languish in bed until 6 if we’re very lucky. Continue reading
I haven’t had the best of days with Jet today – I should have been more suspicious as to why he was so quiet upstairs for so long, but when he finally came down, I kicked myself for my lack of curiosity.
Jet: (Urgently, wearing nothing more than a rather wet t-shirt) I need your help.
Me: (startled) Okay. What’s happened?
Jet: There’s a plug emergency. And it’s a bad one, I’m afraid.
This did not bode well. Continue reading
Mike the Knight, he’s a brave young hero. Er… I’ll stop you there.
No he’s not.
Along with the rest of the population, Jet has been quite hot this week. Whenever the mood takes him he is to be found parading in the altogether.
My house and garden are now littered with discarded pants and I have become more accustomed to the sight of my boy’s bits and bobs than I would care to be. Continue reading
Why do some pull doors have handles?
When I arrive at the station in the morning, I am barely mentally coherent. Continue reading
5.30pm… Chris got up with the kids, so I lay in bed for a bit, bracing myself for the day. I showered and dressed whilst they all had breakfast.
7am… I bribed Jet with ‘gummy bears’ (he thinks his multivitamins are a delicious treat – a fact I use to my advantage) to get himself dressed, which he managed to do all by himself whilst I put Stella’s clothes on. I managed to fill the paddling pool so the water could warm up a bit before the kids would go in it later, a small act of unusual preparedness which made me feel like I was winning at life. Chris left for work before 7.30.
8 am… We walked to Enfield without too much trouble, although Jet did want to hold my hand to walk on a variety of walls, which was tricky given the pushchair and shopping trolley.
8.30pm… We went to the fishmongers where Stella was cooed over by one fellow customer, whilst Jet impressed another by eating an alarming quantity of ice from the shellfish display But in his defence it was really hot today, and at least it took his mind off running away. Continue reading
When you want to choose colours for a new project, you can look to the world of Fine Art for inspiration. Here are some palettes I have put together using some of my favourite paintings and prints. For each colourway, I have listed the shades of Anchor Tapestry wool I have used. Continue reading
Like most people who have children, my house looks like an explosion happened in toys r us and a plastic apocalypse ensued. We are unofficially sponsored by V-tech, market leaders and makers of edu-tastic, ear-worm spouting robots, baby walkers, electronic books and play computers. In short, they make something to delight and exasperate all household members.
What’s that you say? A hobby you can eat? Where do I sign?
I like to fill a good proportion of all that spare time we all have floating about with baking. Despite a fairly natty taste in jackets, I am no Mary Berry, but I can definitely produce something more than edible. I have a lot of fun baking and decorating the children’s birthday cakes.