Friday, 30 January 2009

Spot report

The spots are everywhere. New ones appear every day, which means T is still infectious and we still can't leave the house (well, except for a quiz whizz in the buggy around the perimeter of the park, hoping not to see another soul). The oldest spots have scabbed over and are intensely itchy. T's nails are short and, when he's soundly asleep, I sneak in and put socks over his fists so he can't scratch in his sleep. The worst offenders are the pox under his hair, angry red bumps, visible through the fine fuzz of his almost-red hair. The spots are in his mouth now too, so he doesn't want to drink, and can eat only mushy things which wont scratch against the tender skin.

My poor boy :-(

Thursday, 29 January 2009

List: toddler food

In the first of an occasional series of lists, I thought I'd start with a run down of the things T likes, and loves, to eat:

1) Marmite - bleurgh, I'm a hater, sorry.
2) Olives - all types, but they must be pitted before they get to him, olives pitted by me and then handed to him are evil and must therefore be scowled at and tossed on the floor without even a lick. I ordered him a bowl-full during our Christmas Eve tea, and the waiter nervously told me he was sorry they only had chilli and garlic ones, which wouldn't be suitable. T ate the lot. All of them. Oh lordy the nappies on Christmas day!
3) Fish - the stronger the better, particularly smoked mackerel (cheap choice, huzzah!)
4) Wakey Wakey Cakey - I add an extra banana for added squish, and some chopped dates. Smushy Weetabix has never tasted so good!
5) Kidney beans - not just kidney beans, the kidney beans from chilli con carne. They can't just have been mixed with a chilli-type spicy tomato sauce (tried that) but he must be presented with a plate of very beany chilli, from which he will pick out the beans and eat them one by one, leaving everything else.
6) Chips - sigh. In my defence these are a very occasional treat. He does have good chip taste though, his favourite were proper cooked dripping ones from The Three Fishes. None of your oven chip rubbish here. Well, at least not until he's safely in bed.

As a sub list, things he used to love, the staples of his early weaning diet, which he now completely turns up his nose at:

1) Gnocchi - his first absolutely favourite meal, cooked and mixed with spinach and pesto, the perfect BLW meal. He now wont even entertain the stuff.
2) Blueberries - he went through a small phase (the small, round phase, see below) of eating nothing but blueberries, he is making up for this by now not eating them at all.
3) Peas - ditto above
4) Sweetcorn - ditto above, unless it's on the cob, which he adores

I am not sure whether this is fussy or not. On the one hand he has some very mature tastes, on other he can be totally irrational about his food and survive on next to nothing for days on end. We have toddler friends who gobble everything in sight, and others who still eat nothing but stage one lump-free jars and squishy packets. Horses for courses?

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Patient number two

We have rabbits. Two of them, Bigwig and Bernadette. Bigwig is the elder of the two, almost five. I will explain the names when I have a little more time. There is a good reason, honestly.

Anyway, Bigwig has a giant face abscess. A sort of furry Jimmy Hill chin, which looks most uncomfortable and doesn't add to his knowledge of football. The vet prescribed antibiotics and two weeks inside. Yes, inside.

My child has open sores (a couple of the pox have popped and are scabbing already) and I now have a giant sawdust and hay filled box, plus poorly bunny and poorly bunny poo, taking up most of the floor area in my kitchen. Joy of joys.

On the plus side, patient one is very taken with patient two, and has been sitting inbetween the bunny house and the washing machine for a while, distracted by both in turn. I had to intervene when patient one tried to feed patient two his hot cross bun though. And the impatient? That's me.


I have locked the doors and painted 'unclean' on the front path, for we are pariahs for the next week or so. T has chicken pox.

I was suspicious when, on Sunday, he was very upset and none of the usual panaceas worked - we tried food, drink, milk (the first daytime feed in a long time, of course I was wearing a dress, meaning I had to basically undress to offer it to him, he wasn't interested), toys, music, rocking, singing, fresh air and cuddling. Even Grandma couldn't get him to stop crying. Yesterday the first spots appeared, angry red blisters in the chubby cracks at the top of his legs, and today the doctor (magnifying glass in hand) has confirmed it's CP. Apparently the spots also appear on all of their internal 'skin' surfaces (on the liver and the lungs for example) which is why he's so upset. I'm trying not to think about that too much, as I'm a little squeamish. I have doled out Calpol and baby biscuits, bought Calamine lotion, and sent him for a nap. Fingers crossed a less grumpy baby wakes up this afternoon.

With two working parents (albeit one of them part-time), a poorly child opens a whole can, nay a bucket, of worms. My husband and I negotiated the early part of this week politely. I would sacrifice today, and he tomorrow. Thursday is a different kettle of fish. I have the second half of a radio workshop for a group of vulnerable adults I'm very keen not to let down, he has important meetings to tie in with something top secret which he couldn't possibly tell me in case I told someone else (no, he's not a spy, in fact he has a similar job to me, just with added intrigue obviously). We both pronounced ourselves utterly unable to take a day off work and sat with our backs to each other, arms folded and lips closed. Well, we might as well have done. Step in Super Grandma! My inlaws, much maligned in these very pages (sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry) have volunteered to do the 500 mile round trip from Essex to look after T for a couple of days and help us out of a bind. It sounds ridiculous doesn't it, and I'm baulking at the environmental impact of my insistence that Thursday's workshop is essential. Of course if T was seriously ill, we would drop everything without a backwards glance*, it's this not-well-enough-for-nursery-but-not-deathly hinterland which causes me to lament my lack of local support network.

Best run ... he's waking.

*Well, perhaps not my husband. This is the chap who was using his BlackBerry whilst I was in labour. I finished one contraction to the breaking news that Jose Mourinho had left Chelsea. Luckily I'd had sufficient gas and air that I was unable to deck him one for being so inattentive!

Monday, 19 January 2009

If you're a mother ...

... please read this book it's utterly humbling, and by turns laugh out loud funny and tissue requiring.

I have a handful of wonderful Mum friends who I first met online. Strangers sharing stories, tips and support during the worrying, frustrating, exhausting and downright amazing times of pregnancy, baby and toddlerhood. I have been lucky to meet friends who live locally and who have become a real-life support network.

I like to think, had this been 1930s England, I'd have been one of the women in the CCC. In practice, I don't think I'd have fulfilled their 'suitably interesting' remit, but the stories of a group of remarkable women and mothers are still amazing and well worth a read.

(I admit, I might have been slightly more accommodating of T's 5 am wake-up if I hadn't stayed up past midnight, reading the majority of the book in one glorious lump)

Early mornings

I am grumbling under my breath about counting chickens and such like. After a few weeks of T sleeping 12 hours a night, we have sleeplessness again. Not at night like last time, but first thing in the morning. For the last three days he's woken between 5 and 5.30 am!

There's something about this ungodly hour than undoes any parenting ambition I have. I realised too late (i.e. not before bed last night) that we don't have any milk. Our milkman, who delivers the white stuff fresh from a local farm from a flat-bed truck, arrives sometime between 12 pm and 4 pm, so there wasn't really any point checking the doorstep. T is sitting in front of CBeebies eating dry Cheerios. CBeebies has actually started now, before 6 am he was watching 'This Is CBeebies', a song about numbers and colours on a loop and featuring their best-known characters. I know, I know, I was one of those parents who promised to limit telly before T was born, and here I am hiding behind the laptop and hoping he's entertained for at least another half an hour whilst I come round.

I am hoping the 5.30 am wake-ups are a blip. T comes into bed with me when he wakes, for lying-down milk, which used to persuade him to snuggle in for at least another half an hour, but I don't know if my supply is dipping, or he's starting to self-wean, because it just doesn't cut the mustard any more. He likes his feed, glugs away, but there's no mistaking the sign for 'hungry' he does afterwards, and there's no point trying to persuade a peckish toddler to cuddle up. If nothing else, he can climb out of our bed and make his way to the kitchen himself, and I wouldn't like to guess at what he'd manage to scrabble from the cupboards given open access and a bit of time!

I have an extra day off work tomorrow, meaning my week is only two days long. I have an important meeting on Wednesday and a challenging workshop on Wednesday though. I'm crossing everything he decides to sleep longer by then!

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Seven Things

Inspired by The Manchizzle and late (as usual) here are seven things about me that you might, or might not, wish to know!

1) I have a history degree, three years of studying which bought me growing-up time but are of absolutely no relevance to my career. My dissertation, almost fifteen thousand words, was on gardening trends during the English civil war. I don't garden.

2) I gave my son a Celtic name. I don't have any (close) Celtic roots, but my husband 'likes Ireland' and we liked the name so went for it.

3) Given the financial means, I could quite happily live on sushi. One of the best meals of my life was at Nobu in New York. I'm not fussy though, the stuff in a black plastic packet on the shelves at M&S would do nicely.

4) I am breastfeeding a sixteen month old baby with sixteen teeth. I like it, he likes it. He doesn't bite.

5) I love my job

6) I hate my job

7) I had llamas at my wedding. They were a present from the groom because he knows how much I love them.

Friday, 16 January 2009


That's me. I think I wrote something along the lines of 'I'll update you with how Christmas went' and then bobbed off to church, for our Christmas Eve meal and to open a lot of presents and didn't come back. Anyone who was reading my blog before has probably given up and gone somewhere much more exciting, but I have finally recovered from the excesses of the festive season and am going to endeavour to spend 2009 updating here more regularly. So er, come back and hold me to it!

Anyway, Christmas was lovely. T awoke at a godly hour, enjoyed opening the first of his presents, napped and then ate dinner beautifully, revealing a previously unknown love of roast potatoes. And gravy, into which he stuck his fingers before sucking them. I know, I know, the salt content (eek!) but one day wont kill him. Besides, it's not like I gave him Ferrero Rocher for breakfast. To be honest, that's mainly because this year noone bought us any! He did share my smoked salmon bagel though, a boy with such good taste!

Presents this year were in turns big, noisy or both. Hits included a 1m high stack of In The Night Garden wooden blocks (for banging, building, destroying), a trike (thank you Aunty Clare!) and a mouse on wheels from my Mum.

We also received an amazing selection of new books. T loves to 'read'. He'll happily sit with a pile of board books, turn the pages and babble to himself. Now he's such a star at bedtime too (note to self, find out how to change title of blog!) he loves to be read 'proper' stories in bed before turning over, snuggling in with his poodle (not a real poodle, an IKEA soft toy which he snuggled during a shopping trip, which twanged my ovaries and my wallet) and going off to sleep.

New year was quiet. We enjoyed a freezing walk at Bolton Abbey on New year's Eve. That's me on the stepping stones.
Given that we're amongst friends I can admit that, shortly after this picture was taken, I chickened out and came back, before walking over the bridge. It wasn't just because I was worried about getting my new Christmas Uggs (thank you Mummy!) wet, but those stones wobble, and I knew our bracing walk would have been out had I gone up to my knees in fast flowing, freezing but crystal clear Yorkshire water.

We spent the evening at home, eating Marks and Spencer's finest and drinking home-made cocktails. That makes us sound quite metropolitain, but actually there was cherryade involved. Yum though. One of the best things about living up in Rammy is that, from an elevated position over the valley which cradles the city of Manchester and its environs, we get a panoramic view of new year's fireworks. At midnight, my husband and I jostled for position at our attic window, drinks in hand, and enjoyed our own personal show. Sadly the noise woke T (not the fireworks, the noise of two slightly drunken overweight parents creeping quietly - watch that creaky step - up to the top of the house) although after being allowed to snuggle with Mummy and Daddy on the sofa and watch the end of the Hootenany he was much happier, and let us lie in until 9 am on January 1.

It all seems like so long ago now though. 2009 is well and truly underway. We've had our first illness of the new year, T's reaction to his MMR jabs, and we're both back at work. I haven't made any resolutions this year, although getting rid of the stone (a whole one!) I've put on since going back to work would be nice. I do have dreams though, small hopes I'm carrying in my heart. This year is going to be a good one.