The things we forget

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Even when we keep a blog or diary, it’s amazing how many of the little things we forget as the kids get older.

I was reminded of this last night. We don’t often have a babysitter, but it was our wedding anniversary so we booked one of our ‘regular’ babysitters for a night out.

When I say ‘regular’, the last time she came to stay was over a year ago, long before C arrived on the scene (you can tell how often we get out..!).

Talking her through the bedtime routine she reminded me that last time she came G was going through a phase of insisting that she wore one sock to bed. Just the one, and it had to be on the right foot, if I remember correctly.

Needless to say, G no longer wears one sock to bed. But it did get me thinking of all the other little things that she grows up and out of, but I don’t really want to forget.

Like the fact that for about a year when she first learnt to talk bananas were known as ‘lurger-lurgers’.

And the fact that she calls own label Shreddies ‘owl treats’ or ‘superhero snacks’ based on the picture on the box (guess where we shop?!).

The way if I pretend to pick her up like a baby she shouts ‘I’m not a baby! Look! I’ve got long legs!”.

Or the way she would crawl around the house for hours if we’d let her, pretending to be a dog.

Yeah ok, so that last one gets a bit annoying after a while.

Anyhow, my point still stands. I love seeing my children growing up. But I don’t want to forget the little things that make us laugh and smile along the way.

C’s still developing her little personality. She’s already proving to be a little explorer, determined to pull on, open and attempt to climb into every thing she can find, despite not having learnt to crawl yet (although she’s trying very hard).

She hates being on her tummy, and will only tolerate being laid down for a short while – ever since she learnt to sit she wants to sit and watch, reach and grab at anything within a 3 foot radius.

She smiles and laughs at the sight of her big sister or daddy coming home from school or work, and stares fixedly at people she doesn’t yet know, taking everything in before she decides whether she’s going to smile at them or not.

And she certainly knows how to get what she wants, mostly by shouting and looking at you pointedly until you figure out what it is. The quote “she may be small, but she is fierce” seems rather apt for my littlest girl!

If you’re interested, we had a lovely night out for our anniversary, with all you can eat ribs and chicken at the Southern Eleven restaurant in Manchester. And we came home almost too full to sample the cake I’d made earlier in the day at G’s request, mostly so that she could decorate it in her usual inimitable style.

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Coincidentally this evening, the story of how the husband and I first met has been immortalised in a BBC Online news story. No, our anniversary isn’t that big news – it turns out the venue where we first met, The Cockpit in Leeds, has closed down.

Sad times all round, and an opportunity to reminisce over the little things that happened during our university days, that otherwise might be forgotten.

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Play dates

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I had so many plans before I started maternity leave. So many things I was going to do, so many jobs I was going to get sorted even before baby arrived – my to do list was spread across 5 separate to do lists, split by theme and pinned to the fridge door.

And with baby here my social life was going to be booming! I still have a memo saved with a list of all the local baby groups organised by time and day, which I spent probably hours researching and now simply gaze at wistfully whilst I’m pinned to the sofa feeding C.

Because perhaps predictably, I’m not doing very well.

In terms of the to do list, we still haven’t even started the biggest job, decorating our spare room, which is currently adorned with a multitude of abandoned paint test squares on the wall. As our prime dumping ground in the house it probably makes the world’s least child proof place to change a nappy, and is therefore the place we obviously choose to do this. We’ve been here 6 months now, so at this rate we’ll be forced into painting when we move out, just to cover up the patchwork tester wall and get our deposit back.

And so far I’ve made it to the grand total of two playgroups and one breastfeeding support group. Which wasn’t really much of a ‘group’ as I was the only person there and had to spend an hour making small talk with the health visitor given I’d handily planned to get there for when C needed feeding.

The truth is, just getting everyone up, dressed, fed and either entertained or out is a challenge! And having been used to working in a fairly high pressure environment, with meetings, conference calls and to do lists coming out of my ears, that’s kind of hard to adjust to. I frequently find myself wondering quite how I managed to fit a full day’s work in between family and home.

A week or so ago someone posted a link to this blog post, which was a bit of an epiphany for me, if by ‘epiphany’ you can mean the dawning realisation that all the things I’d thought I was going to do were probably never going to happen.

Blimey, that sounds a bit depressing, doesn’t it?

So we’ve had a bit of a change of tack this week and both C and I seem to be benefitting from it. Rather than running around checking Sure Start timetables and worrying about whether anyone else was going to rock up, we’ve been on two of what I guess you could describe as baby’s first play dates.

We ‘did lunch’ with a group of people I ‘met’ online whilst pregnant and who’ve proved to be a fantastic support network already. And as a bonus got to bring home the biggest slice of chocolate cake I’ve ever seen (yes, I finished it all, and felt suitably sick afterwards).

And we went for tea and cake at the home of a friend I met through our NCT antenatal class, enjoying a sunny afternoon stroll through the golf course to get there.

Yeah, the cake thing does seem like a bit of a theme, doesn’t it?

And this week C has started to reward us with her first ‘social’ smiles. They’re a bit elusive (and apparently impossible to catch on camera), and it takes a bit of warming up – testing out the muscles either side before she launches into a full fledged smile. But they’re definitely there.

And as lame as it sounds, when she does manage a smile, it doesn’t matter whether or not we’ve made it out of our PJs, much less the house.

I’m not going to use the cliche that it ‘makes it all worthwhile’, but it certainly makes it all seem ok.

Bad Day, Good Day

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Nothing is predictable when you have kids, and especially so, it seems, when you have two. You would think the easiest days are when you have activities planned to entertain them and someone around to share responsibilities with, right?

Apparently not. This is how two days this week panned out for us:

The Bad Day

Baby wakes three times in the night for feeding.
Eldest wakes up early (on a weekend) demanding playtime.
Can’t find ballet cardigan. Hunt the house and eventually find it in ballet bag (hiding in plain view).
Hustle kids into the car and off to pick up eldest’s friend for ballet.
Running late, negotiate toilet trips and getting both kids ready to go into ballet with baby in sling.
Both kids promptly get upset by number of people in ballet class. Have to join in with ‘butterfly feet’ and ‘dancing arms’ (with baby still in sling). Remember I was never very good at ballet even as a kid.
Reverse the process of getting kids dressed again, this time with baby starting to cry. Alternate zipping coats with jiggling and ‘shh’ing baby.
Get back to car to find it won’t start. Phone full range of car literate mates to find nobody is answering the phone (probably still in bed!). Give in and phone breakdown company, husband and G’s friend’s Dad to pick up kids.
Baby’s simpering turns to wailing. Distinct aroma of dirty nappy.
Friend’s dad turns out to be a car whizz, huzzah! And husband has jump leads, double huzzah!
Send husband to football with eldest, drive wailing baby back home.
Leave car running on drive to charge up battery. Nip inside to change nappy. Discover pooplosion. Full change of clothes.
Baby hungry, sit in front window feeding with blinds open to keep an eye on car.
Husband returns with G. Turns out I’d misread an email which meant they’d missed the class.
Consider opening bottle of gin (it’s only 12 noon).

The Good Day
Wake up just before alarm. Baby has slept 5 hours straight. Feel like a new woman.
Nappy changed, baby fed, milk expressed for later.
G up bang on time, gets herself dressed (mostly).
Breakfast.
Bags packed for school, G collected by childminder.
Baby playtime.
Baby asleep.
Washing up done. Dishwasher unloaded and loaded.
Kitchen cleaned.
Lounge tidied.
Me fed, showered, dressed, make up on, even managed to cut my nails! Baby awake and contentedly gurgling in bouncer.
Feed baby again. Do some crochet whilst feeding.
All before 11am.
Pat self on back and wait for it all to go pear shaped.
Doesn’t go pear shaped.
Eat cake.
WIN.

So other than fluke, what makes the difference? I’m going with three things – sleep, childminder and cake.

Can’t really do anything about the first.

Second is officially a star (how does she do it every day?!).

Third – now that’s something I can get on board with!