Sunday, 28 February 2010

Seven Months

Gilby was seven months old yesterday. The time has just flown by. He can now:

  • Sit unaided, and it's been a good few weeks since we had a wobble backwards
  • Giggle, brilliantly and repeatedly at the same silly thing. Over and over and over again. I think he will be easily pleased in later life. Big sister Gertie would laugh a maximum of twice before a thing no longer amused her.
  • Pick up little things like blueberries; though he chokes if he eats them...
  • Look at what you are pointing out to him instead of focusing on the end of your finger!
  • Push himself backwards but not yet crawl forwards. Oh yes, and move mysteriously to traverse long distances but only when you are not in the room to figure out how he does it.
  • Wake up only once in the night for a feed (hooray, hooray, hooray, but when will he be able to go all night without waking up at all? His big sister had been doing it for ages by now...)
  • Dribble as though his life depended on it (very hard gums, but no sign of a tooth yet).
  • Make his likes and dislikes very clear. If he doesn't want that mushed up parsnip then those lips are clamped firmly shut and nothing is getting past them. Ditto for the medicine he just had to take; no wonder the ear infection took a while to clear.

I find the whole process of watching this baby growing and developing absolutely amazing. Maybe even more so as I watch it second time round. And this time I don't care if other babies are doing more or less than him at this age, in fact, I don't even notice.

Monday, 22 February 2010

The Wonder from Down Under

Well, it appears that somehow it has been a whole week since my last blog post.

This is I think, my longest break since I began this blogging lark. Now, in my defence, it was half term, and having only been back at work for just over a month, I wanted to spend lots of time with the little people. But a week is a long time in the blogosphere, I have discovered, and I have plenty of catching up to do.

It has been a bumpy ride, but things this end are looking up. 'Brenda' has arrived, our very own wonder from down under. In fact, she has now been here for a month and has made herself completely indispensable in that time. She is 19, an ex-student of mine from my teaching exchange to Australia in 2005, and extremely capable and hard working. She is staying with us as a kind of au pair.

Brenda spent the previous twelve months working on a cattle station in the outback, mustering 1500 head of cattle and acting as a governess to two secondary children, so looking after a toddler and a baby for two days a week and managing a little ironing in Sussex is proving well within her capabilities.

And though we have to put up with the odd Australianism - 'doona' for duvet, or 'chooks' for chickens (not to mention a bizarre penchant for Celine Dion) - it is a small price to pay. The household is slightly less hectic and more colourful for her presence, and Gertie and Gilby love her.

Everyone should have one!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Sunshine on a Perfect Day

Thank you so much to Make do Mum for this Sunshine Award. Exactly what I needed to get the half term week off to a great start.

And it worked.

It's been a lovely day.

We did a quality little underwater photo shoot with both children first thing this morning.

After the first flash at Gilby, seemingly fully recovered after a lingering ear infection, the photographer took a look at the image and said, "Well, that's perfect. You won't get a better one." Job done.

And Gertie strongly objected (a euphemism for 'had a screaming tantrum') the last time I tried to take photos of her underwater, but was seduced today by the props - lots of fairy dresses, wings and magic wands to choose from. So he managed to take a good one of her too.

And the final shot was of Gertie holding her baby brother under water. It is more comic than, er, beautiful, but will be special nevertheless. Big Sis was terribly proud of herself for being entrusted with such an important task and managing to carry it out. In fact, by the time we got to nursery later on, it had turned into, "I rescued my brother under water."

So I got to take both children to nursery afterwards, leaving me with my very first time of no children and no work since Gilby was born. I went to my gym (the one where I pay monthly and never get to use it so when I do go it ends up being the most ridiculously expensive visit; I think today's cost £36...) and then I went and sat in a coffee shop, watched the world go by and worked on some writing. It was amazing.
And now I have to spread the sunshine to some fantastic blogs. Too many to mention, but here are some that have made me smile lately:
Wahm Bam
Withenay Wanders
And to accept the little ray of sunshine you merely need to pass it on to twelve other lovely blogs and let them know. Hooray!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Young Love

Oh God. It's begun. Already. And what timing, on the weekend of Valentine's Day.

On the way home from nursery in the car tonight Gertie gave me a quick sideways glance and struck up a conversation.
"Mummy, I want to tell you some-sing." (Her adult tone was offset by the funny lisp she has on 'th' words.)
"What's that?"
"Do you know Harrison?"
"Er, yes, I think so," I answered, rapidly trying to work out which one of the corduroy-clad toddlers she meant.
"Harrison is my boyfriend."
"I love him," she sighed, simply.

She's two!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

I'm Too Civilised!

Gertie's transfer from 'toddlers' to 'pre-school' at nursery has been a little fraught, since she is inconveniently a few months younger than all her friends. There was initial talk of her joining them despite being a few weeks too young, but that has not happened; so she has been left behind and is sometimes unhappy about it.

But depending on numbers, there are odd days she is allowed to go into pre-school and be with them. Today was one such day. Gertie was really happy about it when I collected her, telling me proudly,
"I'm too civilised to be in toddlers, Mummy."
I wasn't sure that I had heard correctly.
"Sorry, darling - you're too what?
"Too civilised."
"Really. And who told you that?"
"Andrew." (One of the carers there.)

I tried, and failed, to hide my amusement, and the damage was well and truly done after making her repeat it several times, then broadcasting it to Daddy as soon as he arrived home.

She realised that there was some value in whatever she was saying, and began running around the sitting room screaming, "I'M TOO CILVILISED! I'M TOO CIVILISED!" at the top of her voice whilst repeatedly bumping into different articles of furniture.

What a shame she is too young to appreciate the irony.

Eventually this metamorphosed into "I'm too 'fizilised'; I'm too 'fizilised'."
Far more appropriate, I think.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Inner Ear and Inner Sanctum

More guilt from the 'recently-working-and-not-very-happy-about-it' mum this week.

My baby, Gilby, got an inner ear infection and I didn't notice it until after the worst was over. I came home on Thursday and spotted lots of nasty gunky stuff in both ears, so rushed him up to the surgery. The doctor actually said to me, "Well he's not in pain now, but he would have been two days ago..." Excuse me while I just punch myself in the head.

On the upside, I have been invited into the 'inner sanctum', as I was included in a night out with the Ummer Nursery Mums this week. (Gertie actually stopped substituting 'ummer' for 'other' a year ago, but for some reason neither my husband nor I have made the same linguistic leap...)

I don't know what I have done to deserve such an honour, but it was good fun and something of an eye-opener. Discussion involved the politics of the nursery (I simply had no idea!) and Other Children. It did make me wonder what might have been said about us on all previous nights out. Whilst the wine flowed, I felt that I was undergoing some kind of test.

Only another invitation will determine whether or not I passed, and meanwhile I will contempate whether or not I want to!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

I Didn't Sign Up For This

Parenting is a 'lifestyle choice', apparently.

I knew some of what I was signing up for: anticipated sleepless nights, dreaded terrible twos and supermarket tantrums, and definitely pictured myself making lots of mushy food.

But it is replete with other stuff I wasn't aware of. The small print of parenting; the way you just become immune to things that would be otherwise revolting.

I never thought I would be picking dried snot from a bedsheet, for example, because it was clean on last night and I do enough washing without changing the linen daily...

It never once occurred to me that gradually, over time, it would be come acceptable to leave the house with dribble and/or vomit on my clothes.

And frankly, the thought of scooping a poo from the bath with my bare hands would have been abhorrent three years ago. I can now do it with my 'matter of fact' face on, and barely notice it at all.

What did you not sign up for?

Monday, 1 February 2010

Dry Night

We forgot Gertie's nappy last night.

She has been out of nappies during the day for nearly six months, but we only occasionally and apparently randomly have a 'dry night' and so she has been in a pull-up overnight for ages.

She was getting lazy though, and would just wee in it some nights, immediately before bed, as an excuse to get back up again. Very annoying, and of course they are not cheap. So we had taken to putting it on very last thing, post-last-visit-to-the-toilet. Except that for some reason we didn't put the nappy on at all. It sort of got lost in the goodnight kisses and bedtime story.

And so she came in this morning and it was the first thing she said. Accusingly. "You forgot my nappy. That was a bit silly."

I leapt out of bed immediately, imagining untold horrors in the bedroom. Unfounded.

So now I am wondering whether having the nappy on is the reason for Gertie not being dry at night. She will be three this May, so I suppose that we ought to get on with it.

Any advice for taking this next step gratefully received...