Weekend Activity

009

We've had fun this weekend. Well I have anyway. The Boy has just gone with it. Hubby has glared at me before cleaning up the mess (he's good at this). But generally it's been fun.

This weekend in my attempt to tidy up the house, I decided to do the plaster-casts of The Boy's hands and feet. We've had these kits lying around the house since he was born. Bought the first one, read the instructions, misunderstood the instructions in my post-partum befuzzlement and thought it involved making a plaster of Paris mould of his feet before casting it with the same stuff. I stood there wondering how the hell we'd get his feet out, all I could picture was his tiny squidgy toes stuck in a block of plaster. With the Health & Safety instructions from work about plaster of Paris and using it with children running through my head, I backed away from it pretty damn sharpish.

Then I bought another kit at Christmas time which seemed great and easy to do and this is the one that I decided to do yesterday. For a start it involved making a rubber mould. Hoorah, he will not lose his feet in a devastatingly awful accident with an over-zealous mother! I read the instructions carefully, really carefully. I made the mixture up and left it for a minute as per the instructions 'the mass will be ready in a minute'. I rushed it through to The Boy who was dutifully transfixed watching Justin and Mr. Tumble. I pressed his foot down and… it bounced off. It was ready in a minute, it set in a minute. Cue the tantrum from me as I'd screwed up the first batch of mixture and this was the last lot.

So I dug out the other kit and made that one up instead, because I had clearly realised I was not going to be providing my child with concrete shoes. The moulding kit powder reminded me of being sick as a child as it smelt of Kaolin and Morphine. Remember that? Tasted grim but worked a treat. Anyway, I digress (me? really? never!). I used the electric food whisk, poured it into the bowl and raced through to The Boy and hubby, who by now were on their second episode of 'Something Special'. Bless his little heart, he glanced down as mummy shoved his foot into the goo, wriggled his toes a little but held still for a few minutes until the mixture set. It only took three minutes to set, and I tentatively peeled it back from the edge of his foot and he slipped it out. Mix up the plaster of Paris, pour it in and wait for it to set.

This is the bit that I'm bad at. I can't wait for anything.

Tick follows tock follows tick follows tock…

While I was waiting, and it was clearly working as I thought it would, I did the other foot. Poor child, three episodes of the antics of a man wearing yellow trousers and a blue waistcoat and he was ready for bed. I cared not, I was in a creative mood.

This is the end result of the feet moulds:

The detail is absolutely amazing; I will admit to having a little lump in my throat when I saw his tiny weenie toes.

Today saw me doing his hands which are a tad more tricky. You have to pour the mix into a bag and then plunge their hands in. This I did and held his arm in the bag. He wiggled his fingers and I tried to stop him. This is harder than it sounds when his hand is incased in bag of purple gloop. Anyway, the little poppet kept still and we managed to get a mould of both hands.

As you can see they are incredibly detailed, but the left hand didn't work that well as there is an air bubble on one of the fingers, and because he wiggled his fingers too much they have ended up a little thinner than they actually are. I love them but they're also a little macabre aren't they? What the hell am I going to do with them? The feet are going to be painted silver and mounted in a box picture frame, but I am at a loss of what to do with the hands. Wrap them up and put them in his keep-sake box possibly. That'll traumatise the child in the future when he unwraps them!

Anyway, if you haven't done a cast yet, you have to do one! I wish I'd done it when he was younger. Now onto 3d sculpting next weekend!

Since posting this: several people have asked me where I bought my kit from. I bought it through e-bay using the seller ‘Borrowed Moments’. They also have a website here.

Versatile Blogger

versatile+blogger

I have been tagged by the Jenny over at Mummy Mishaps for being a:

Right so this is the second time that I've been passed this and I ignored the first one from @TheMummyLife (sorry Laura) but was in the mood to act on this one from Jenny.

So the rules are that you need to :
– thank the person who tagged you – so thanks Jenny for my award
– list 7 things about yourself
– pass the award onto 3 other fellow lovely people and explain the rules
– Pass on the 10 questions that I have to answer at the end of this

Ok? Ok! So here goes.

7 THINGS ABOUT ME

1) I'm scared of the colour orange.
2) I hate New York.
3) I play the National Lottery every draw (in the hope of affording said holiday homes) and one of the lines of numbers I play are the 'Lost' numbers, from which I've won £10 from those six numbers 5 times.
4) I have traced my family tree back to the beginning of the 19th century and have over 300 members in it.
5) I teach in the primary school that I went to as a child.
6) I miss eating tuna, steak and Christmas day turkey sandwiches.
7) I'm really chuffed that hubby persuaded me to go onto twitter.

I am going to pass this award and meme onto:
@AlliMarshall
@MumonaMission
@Mammywoo

They are lovely twitter people who are always their with a supportive word and a good laugh. I also bet they won't do this!

Finally…… 10 Questions

1. Why did you create this blog?
To share my experiences of being a mother and the adventures that we get up to with The Boy. Also to document my feelings about certain situations.

2. What kind of blog do you follow?
Blogs by other mums mainly and ones I chat to lots on twitter aswell (same answer as Jenny).

3. Favorite Makeup Brand
Foundation – Collection 2000, mascara – No.7 sensitive, lipstick – L'Oreal, bronzer – 17, eyeshadow – Chanel (random I know)

4. Favorite Clothing Brand
Any that I can get to fit being 5'10" and a big bird! I do tend to like M&S and Next though.

5. Your Indispensable Makeup Product
Foundation

6. Your Favourite Colour
Blue

7. Your Favourite Perfume
CKOne

8. Your Favourite Film
I can't decide between Fifth Element or Demolition Man

9. What country would you like to visit and why?
I want to go to the Galapagos Islands to see the turtles (a text I did with Year Five a few years ago focused on them and I found it fascinating).

10. Are you a Cat or Dog person?
Dog definitiely. Cats are evil and defecate in my back garden.

Top 5 Places You've Visited

Golden Cap - Lyme Bay

Oh I really like this one, good choice @katetakes5

It's a bit tricky to say which is my favourite so they all have equal weighting. I'm also going to admit to being a bit of a tourist and I don't care. I do the touristy things, yes. If I'm there for 4 days (I can't stand long holidays, I get fearful incase I don't like the place, in which case I'd have to come home straightaway), I like to get quick snapshots of the place. Yes of course I go off the beaten track a bit, but not too far because I'm frightened of getting stolen and sold for spare parts.

1) Prague, Czech Republic

Charles Bridge

We've been here three times and I adore it. The cobbled streets, the gothic architecture, the twee gift shops, the cheap beer and pizzas. Wandering across Charles Bridge and browsing the street-sellers. I completely immerse myself in Prague and love to wander off into the side-streets and the parks. Absolutely stunning. Even the tube stations are beautiful. You think Paris is beautiful? It is Prague's ugly step-sister in comparison!

Gaudi mosaic in Parc Guell

2) Barcelona, Spain

The other stunning super-model sister to Prague. But hotter. We adore Barcelona and again have been here three times. I love Gaudi's work everywhere, from the streetlights shining down on the pavements to the La Sagrada Familia towering overhead. More gawdy than Gaudi, but impressive nonetheless.


3) Las Vegas, United States of America

I know you're groaning, I know you are, but do not knock it until you have tried it! It is absolutely overwhelmingly beautiful in a completely manufactured way. From the top of the half-size Eiffel Tower, you can see the entirety of Vegas. And then you look up a little further and realise that beyond the streetlights, ridiculous helicopter rides along the Strip and rollercoaster rides around hotels is another world. Vegas is in a bowl in the desert surrounded by rugged mountains. Beyond that is the Grand Canyon where we had a champagne picnic 4000ft below the rim. No pictures for this one because it wouldn't do it justice.

Golden Cap

4) Lyme Bay, Dorset, United Kingdom

When my great-aunt was alive (her funeral was 3hrs after The Boy was born) we would go down several times a year and see the rugged coastline in all it's glory, especially in the Winter months. We still go down there every year and stay in self-catering for a week. The Boy loves it, as do we. 

 

5) My home-town, south Wales.

Well why else do I live here?
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A Windy Day

While it has been a little gusty here in south Wales today, I'm afraid that I am not talking about the meteorological occurrence.

Burps, plain and simple.

The Boy has always struggled with 'letting go of his wind' (as my mother calls it); not normally a problem in this household. At five days old mum turned up at the door with trusty Infacol, determined it would help. It made a small improvement but he still suffered with trapped wind and colic.

Breastfed babies don't get wind? Bollocks!

When he went onto bottles at three and a half weeks (you know that saga), I used the marvellous Tommee Tippee anti-colic bottles. That helped a bit more, but I was quite relieved when he could try gripe water at a month.

I even went to baby massage when he was five months old. That was no use, he'd just learnt to roll over and therefore wouldn't keep still. (To be perfectly frank, the yummy mummies who went all got on my nerves and so I was quite happy to stop going. There was always something up with their babies, one week it was gastric reflux, the next cranial osteopathy. After the sessions, I would go to my parents' & recount the new fads with a mix of glee & disgust. Plus I couldn't keep a straight face when I was supposed to be massaging The Boy's legs chanting "shimmy, shimmy, shimmy")

Weaning sorted it out a bit more but he still has issues now and again. We do have to occasionally open up a bottle of gripe water on a bad night, what a good job I like the smell of dill. But generally he's much better.

So the point of this post…

Tonight I find myself in The Chair with The Boy who is cuddling Oliver Monkey having just finished his bedtime bottle. He cuddled into my shoulder and the following happens,

Me: Have you got a burp for mummy?
Him: Burp!
Me: No, you can't just say it sweetheart. Try again.
(the sound of him blowing raspberries trying to get a burp out)
Me: ok, never mind, cuddle in and close your eyes. Give mummy a kiss now…

… yes you guessed it.

BURP!


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Guilt of the working mum.

So, back to work on Tuesday for me, and tonight I am exhausted, ill and emotional.

The Christmas break was amazing. Nearly three weeks off work (because of the days that I work), filled with happiness, merriment and family time. Hubby took two days off work over that time and we ended up with a five-day Christmas weekend and a four-day New Year's weekend. It was lovely. I thoroughly enjoyed (nearly) every second of it.

Which then makes going back to work even harder.

Tonight, I have felt terrible. Three full days of intensive work with a hacking, tickly and dry cough have meant that tonight I did not have the energy to do a thing. Hubby cooked tea, fed The Boy and put him to bed. I sat downstairs and tried not to cry.

It didn't work, I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. There was snot, it wasn't attractive (how come Sandra Bullock never has a leaky nose when she cries?).

And then came the guilt. You know what I'm talking about. The following goes through my mind: I hate leaving him; I did not have a child to not be there for him; I wish to God I was there for him 24/7 but the mortgage needs paying, clothes need buying, food needs to be provided, don't forget the debts!; I am lucky that my mum has him (he gets to spend time with nana & she has an input in his life); I wish it was me that was there everyday; (here we go, the biggy) I am a bad mum.

Only I'm not and I know I'm not.

But God it physically hurts to leave him every single day.

I wish I was lucky enough to be a stay at home mum.

Black out.

Bang!

Flash!

"Mum-meee! Dad-deee!"

And with that ensued a mild panic on my part while I tried to remain calm, keep The Boy happy and safe, find the candles and work out why we had returned to the dark ages.

A power cut? But it's 2011, we don't have things like that anymore!

Apparently we do though. I looked outside the front door & everything was a sea of non-light. It was like Ron Weasley had been along with his de-illuminator. No light pollution and the faint high-pitched wails of burglar alarms protesting and being rendered incapable of doing their jobs.

Meanwhile inside, The Boy was quite enjoying this new game and hubby was in his boy scout element finding torches, plugging in the basic, non-electric phone and feeling all a bit 'me man, protect family'-ish.

Busy, busy, busy. Where are the candles? Who put the matches at the back of the only kitchen drawer which was wedged shut with pens and red Royal Mail elastic bands?

So I heated up The Boy's milk on the gas hob ('that's why we have a dual-fuel cooker' thought I smugly) and hubby took The Boy upstairs to get ready for bed, ably assisted by his super-duper Maglight.

I texted a few people and it transpired the whole of the 40,000 strong town was out. Well now this is serious! I know, I'll ask twitter for advice. Ah, no wireless. But aha, I have 3G! So I duly tweeted, and they ignored me. Pah!

A lovely automated phoneline from SWALEC informed me that it would be 10pm before the power would be back on.10pm?! But that's 3 whole hours away, what will we do? No 'net, no tv, no reading… and no I'm sorry don't even think about suggesting that! No wonder the Victorians had so many children.

"It's like the Blitz," says I to hubby.

He looked at me. You know that look. "Yes darling, but without the aeroplanes and bombing," says he.

He may have a point there, I'll concede that one.

So there I am, putting The Boy to bed in the pitch-black (don't worry, that's normal) when I hear the heating strike back up, the phone blip, the burglar alarms silence and normality return to the world.

Electricity, how I love thee.

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My Top 5 Good Things About Having Children

Whilst reading twitter earlier, I realised that I hadn't put any posts on my blog for over a week. When your blog is not very old anyway, a week is a long time! Then I saw a tweet from @MetalMummy about a listography from @KateTakes5. Kate's idea is along the lines of the Wordless Wednesdays, Silent Sundays and The Gallery (all of which I'm pretty rubbish at remembering to do) but is a list with a topic.

So this week's theme is as follows:

My Top 5 Good Things About Having Children

1) Bearing in mind the time of year, it's got to be be Christmas hasn't it? The Boy's little face when he was 'ope'-ning his presents was priceless. He got a little excited and wanted to 'ope'-n every present he saw from then on in. He also adores the 'Chris (tmas) tree' and likes to go and examine all the baubles. Aside from the religious origins, it's what Christmas is all about isn't it?

2) Soft-play centres. I love them! Hubby loves them! The Boy loves them! Especially Coconuts, an excellent (if not pricey) local centre. There's an awful lot of wiffy play centres out there though, aren't there? But find a good one (like Coconuts) and wahay! The ballpits, the tunnels, going the wrong way up the slides (and trying to avoid getting told off!), we love it all.

3) Finally the downstairs of the house is constantly tidy-ish. I've managed to train hubby that stuff needs to be put away or it will be eaten or broken. Aside from The Boy's toys everywhere, the place is presentable. This is a major feat in our household.

4) Playing with his toys. The range of toys that are available nowadays is completely unbelievable. I used to have to play with a cardboard box and a wooden spoon (ok not quite, but you get the picture).

5) The look on his face when he looks at me. Absolute unconditional love. He doesn't care how many zits I've got, if I'm wearing clothes that have snot stains on them (his not mine), or if I'm a size or seven too big. I'm his mummy and he loves me. And I absolutely adore him with my whole heart, he is a complete and utter treasure and amazes me daily with all the things he's learning how do to. I grew him, that's the cleverest thing I have ever done!
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Apologies to Kate for two things: one is that I'm not very good at telegraphic writing, secondly I've changed it from kids to children in my list.

Traditions

The cheese counter at Wally's.

The question was asked on twitter the other day, 'what are your Christmas traditions?' and there were some lovely replies including one from @MostlyYummyMummy and @notesfromhome.

We haven't really started any Christmas traditions with The Boy yet, and it's very hard to say 'This is going to be a tradition from now on!' but this year I have tried. Last year was his first Christmas and, as many as you have done, we decided to give him a decoration each year so that he would have his own collection in the future. (Hope his future wife isn't OCD like me in that all decorations need to be colour coordinated, I may have to have words with her!). I have bought a copy of 'The Night Before Christmas' to read to him on Christmas Eve, not that I expect him to get much out of it this year especially as he tends to turn the page before I've finished the fifth word. We also intended to take him to a nearby Santa's Grotto but well, we've got 9 inches of snow outside and we're not going anywhere for a good few days, so The Boy will have to make do with the knowledge that Father Christmas has visited the house, albeit when he was tucked up in bed.

One tradition that I do have however, is shopping in the world's best delicatessen with my mum for the Christmas 'nice-eaties'. Wally's in Morgan Arcade is amazing! It's an old-style deli which has been going for 60+ years (in one guise or another).

The cheese counter at Wally's.

From the minute you walk in all your senses are bombarded, and it is such a pleasure! The Polish cooked meats, Hungarian salami, French charcuterie, Spanish chorizo and German hams have infused the wood of the traditional counters, floorboards and the beams from which these meats hang. Mixed with the pungent scent of the smoked, blue and speciality cheeses like Stinking Bishop, Black Thunder and Cornish Yarg and wham you think you've died and gone to aroma heaven.

 

Then there's the visual merchandising! There are food stuffs everywhere!

The sweet delicacies

And we're not just talking about on the shelves. You spot some Greek Delight in the distance (I don't like the lemon Turkish Delight, and the Greek version they sell is just the rose flavour) and on your way over you've got to duck under the pannettones and pandoras of every flavour (tiramisu, chocolate, amaretti, limoncello, Grand Marnier, etc) hanging from the ceiling, whilst simultaneously avoiding the baskets of pfeffernusse (white coating, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, jam filled, prune filled, etc) on the floor! It is an obstacle course that I'm happy to come last in.

 

Mum and I always get completely excited in the shop and end up having to do two laps incase we've missed anything! This year I was quite restrained and only spent £49.79, mum on the other hand spent a teenie-weenie bit more than that! Oops, where's the Mastercard?

These are my goodies. The thing is I just know we're going to be eating it all at the end of January!

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Christmas Panic

Whilst in the shower this morning, random thoughts popped into my head: hubby needs to make a snowman for The Boy, what veg can I sacrifice for its nose, how do people insulate their lofts when they've got an attic conversion, I wish my nose would unblock, I'll make the Christmas cake today.

And that's where I stopped. Cold. (Even though the shower was scalding hot)

My oven died on Friday; we think it's the element. I've got a double-oven but the top one's not fan-assisted so it's not as good as the main one; never quite reaches the right temperature. So you wouldn't want to cook a cake that takes three hours plus in it, because you'd have to double that time probably. I'm also not convinced it would cook all the way through, and I'm a bit squeamish when it comes to eggs.

It's also quite small. And this is where the cold panic set in. On Saturday I have to cook a three course meal for my parents, the hubby and The Boy. Not just any meal, and no not even a Marks and Spencer meal. The Most Important Meal of the Year! And my oven doesn't work.

Panic!

I would be quite calm about this but for one fact: there's six inches of snow outside and we live in Britain (ok, that's two facts). Britain freaks out in the snow. More so, Royal Mail isn't coping. What if the repairman  (who is hopefully coming tomorrow depending on whether his man-flu is better or not) has to send off for a part?! It will be sat in the sorting office next to the Glee CD for my niece (I'm so listening to that before I hand it over) and my father's 5-in-1 tape measure.

Mum & I will be ok, we're vegetarian and therefore happy with a plate of mashed potato and boiled sprouts. But I've bought meat for the men (one of my mother's sayings, my sister is also vegetarian. Family get-togethers involve some nice filo pastry thing for us and Meat for The Men. Ugg!). It's a really nice three bird roast. And then there's the roast potatoes, honey-roasted carrots and parsnips, and the stuffing. Oh and the pigs in blankets (both veggie variations and the traditional meat ones).

And my oven doesn't work!

Can you get microwaveable turkey?

The Chair

So what do you do?

When I was pregnant, we discussed this and there was no way on earth I was going to put up with it. Yet here I am! What am I waffling on about?

Bedtime practices & night-time disturbances.

I was going to be a 'put him down awake' type of mummy. I was going to be a 'he must learn to settle himself' type of mummy. Guess what? Turns out that I'm not!

When they're tiny weeny you can be cuddling them and all of a sudden they've fallen asleep. "Oh!" you say, "when did that happen?" So what are you supposed to do? Wake them up so you can then put them down in their moses basket awake (and screaming because they don't know why they're not asleep anymore)? What a prize bitch you'd have to be!

Anyway, I digress. We started with the bedtime 'awake under his cot mobile' malarky and it worked. Until he was 5 months old and learnt to roll over & grab the mobile. Hmmm, that went a bit wrong. Drop cot down a level, tuck end of sleeping bag in = sorted!

Then he got a bad cold. And he couldn't get to sleep flat on his back because his throat and nose got clogged up and he couldn't breathe and got scared. So to help this we cuddled him to sleep.

Oops!

And I say 'oops' because that's what we still have to do every night and he's 18 months old now.

Hmmm…

To be fair, I think it was also the change of milk-feeds that exacerbated the problem. If The Boy falls asleep in my arms having his bedtime bottle, what am I supposed to do; poke him 'til he wakes up & then ignore his tears? Just so I can do what Gina Ford says? (or as she is known in this house, 'evil, nazi woman')

So why am I sat here in this Ikea chair (you know the one; cream bucket chair, looks comfy but not when you've been sat in it for an hour and your arse is numb) holding my sleeping baby? 'Ignore him' you say. 'Let him cry it out' you say. 'No, bog off, he's my child' I say. I cannot listen to him cry. Can't do it. I'm not an advocate of controlled crying, I actually think it's a bit cruel (* disclaimer at bottom)

The reason why I won't use it is because The Boy does not wake up or play silly buggers at night. He slept through from 10pm – 6am at 6 weeks old! He goes down at 7.30pm & wakes up about 6.30am+. If he cries in the night, it will be because he's suffering from wind (he still gets colicky pains sometimes) or teething pains. And then he's sobbing in his sleep. I can't ignore him when he's hurting, it goes against every cell in my body.

So we cuddle him. It's not like we're going to be doing it forever. Can you imagine? 15 years old? Exactly.

And we have stopped excusing ourselves because he's our child! I don't criticise you for using a dummy with your three and a half year old child, or when he nutted The Boy on his 4 month old nose, so don't condemn me. (Oh I appear to be having a go at a work colleague here. How did that happen?)

And anyway, look at him…

God, my arse is numb.

(* I apologise to anyone to whom I may have caused offense: I'm not implying you're bad mothers if you use controlled crying, you're braver than I am. That's why your child is asleep, and I'm awake at 2am!)

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