Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Force Runs In The Family

Guess what Matilda said when we asked who that creature on Peter's birthday card was:

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She said "Yaya!"

After that, her Nanny and Pop Pop carefully avoided asking her to name any other characters, for fear of being identified.

Peter's parents came over for his birthday and we sat in the garden for the first time:

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Matilda really enjoyed running up and down the path:

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And falling into my daisy bush a minute after this photograph was taken!

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Here is "baby Matilda" in the baby swing:

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And Matilda the Basketcase, eating a carrot (in a cunning attempt to win her brother's adoration)

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Notice the snazzy haircut? I did that! Erm, it's a bit crooked, but all in all, I felt quite brave and proud of myself afterwards.

Matilda having her world turned upside down:

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I took her to a public toilet with me (I should have learned my lesson!) and she wanted to wipe me... Then she started singing: "Change my mummy's butt, cange my mummy's but, wash it wipe it, clean it, kiss it, change my mummy's butt!" Note to self: Stop making up excrement related songs, she's getting too creative!

But, if I have to stop singing about it, I can still shop to make my point! I got this T-Shirt for Philip:

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Peter with his Mini Me:

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Obviously it won't be too long before they're beating each other up!

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I Stink? YOU Stink!

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tee Hee Hee


You know you want to....

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Looking after myself, looking into myself, looking for a new self?

The health visitor came to visit us yesterday for a chat, after I blubbed at her about not coping very well (I'd been thinking about doing it for a while, and was largely prompted by the infamous feed time disaster.) We had a good talk, and in the end she asked if I would consider taking antidepressants. Yikes! We discussed the options and in the end I decided that, since they can take 2-3 weeks to start working anyway, I'll wait for a couple of weeks, to see how I cope now that Peter is back to work. I tend to be better at coping with challenges than at anticipating them calmly. After two weeks we'll evaluate the situation again, and if needed I'll take the happy pills then.

So why am I blogging about this now? For that matter, why do I keep blogging about things after they stop being a problem? Well, for one thing, because at the time when they're a problem, they're too painful to talk about. There is something about admitting you don't love your newborn that can really break your spirit, and make you sound like a monster to boot. The image of a new mother looking at her infant with stars in her eyes is too powerful. Or, to put it another way, when I tried to talk to my own dear mother about it, her advice was "Don't tell anyone about this! Don't tell Peter! Well, if you must, make an appointment with your doctor and tell him you don't have normal feelings." Gee, thanks mum.

This blanket of silence is terribly unfair to those of us who flirt with depression after giving birth, or who don't get maternal feelings at the flick of a switch. And I think I SHOULD talk about it (even if it makes me cringe.) The thing is, you see, I don't love my newborns. I'm just not very good at newborns, I think. I love being pregnant, but after I give birth, there is this little creature that moves in with us, and to me, it's at best mildly entertaining and at worst annoying. Oh, I take good care of it, I mother it the way I know I want to mother my children; I feed it on demand (and my babies tend to demand feeding quite often,) I wear in in a sling for as long as it wants, I take it in my bed; but I don't love it. I didn't start loving Matilda until she was about 6 weeks. I'm only getting started with Philip (which is why I can write about this now.) And so what? I love Matilda more than anything now, and I know beyond doubt that the same will happen with Philip. It's already started happening since he's become more responsive. But I still feel a twist of pain every time I hear someone talk about her love affair with her newborn at the hospital. And it's just not fair that I have to feel this way.

Check out Philip in the cool bib Blue sent us from her shop!

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Continued on the next day. Erm... I mean today. Instead of...yesterday. You know what I mean.

On the other hand, I think I might be getting better. Let me tell you about my day:

Today after I got up and fed myself and the mites, I asked Matilda if she wanted to sit on her "special seat" (the potty.) She did, so I left her there and did some chores. After about 10 minutes she said she wanted to come down, so I helped her down and went to fetch a nappy. She promptly pooped on the carpet (twice!) and then stepped in it. And wasn't fussed about it in the slightest. Yes, friends and neighbours, by toddler can count up to three objects, recite her books from memory, recognise the letters of the alphabet and sing a whole load of songs (with the right pitch!) but she thinks walking in to her own excrement is normal. Any comments?

Me: Matilda, did you make a mess?

Matilda: Yes! (smiling enthusiastically)

I cleaned her up, cleaned the carpet up, and took them to the swiming pool. There, Matilda peed on the carpet of the creche. I cleaned that up too, fed her lunch, and walked her in the buggy for a nap. I tripped and fell down on the street, while holding on to the buggy, and with Philip strapped onto my chest. While I was falling, I managed to not let go of the buggy (it was downhill; she'd have gone rolling into the street;) and not to land on baby Philip. I made myself land on my knees instead (hands still gripping the buggy.) I reached out and put the buggy's break on before I got up. Yeah. Us mummies are tough.

Then I fed myself lunch, and rushed off to the local Surestart Implementation Board Meeting. They didn't have a place for Philip in the creche, so he stayed with me. Right in the middle of the meeting, in a room full of local minor politicians, agency representatives, health officials and Surestart managers, after the financial manager had finished giving her report, and just as she was saying "Any comments?" Philip had an amazingly explosive, and impressively loud poo. (This is my life! I couldn't make this up!) I ran out of the room with poo dripping out of the baby ond onto my trousers, and into the toilet, where I stripped Philip up, and run him under the tap. Yes, that's literally what I did, because the poop was so explosive that it had shot out of the nappy's leg holes and covered his legs with about 1 cm of brown and runny goo. I then discovered that I did't have any nappies or wipes in my bag, because I had left them with Matilda at the creche. I slunk back into the board room and asked the chair (the only other one with a baby at the meeting) if I could borrow a nappy and some wipes. Went back into the toilet, scraped the poo off of my baby, decontaminated the surrounding area, and returned to the meeting.

And then we went home. But my point is, my point is, that I actually thought this was funny. AT THE TIME. So I must be getting better, see?

Philip, smiling, pleased with himself:

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Doesn't he look uncannily like Peter?

Some Matilda funnies:

A few days ago we were out having cream tea. Well, Peter was having tea -I was having a delicious iced coffee, and I liked it so much I said "This is to die for!" Matilda spent the next ten minutes begging for a sip: "Have to die for! Matida have to die for!"

Today Matilda was singing: "One little babycakes, sitting in the highchair... She fell of and she bomped her head! Mummy called the doctor and the doctor said, No More Babycakes Sitting in the Highchair!" (This, for those of you who don't know it, is based on a song that goes "Five silly monkeys jumping on the bed, one fell of and bomped his head. Mummy called the doctor and the doctor said, No More Monkeys Jumping On The Bed!" But she's improvising on the lyrics! She came up with that on her own!)

She also likes to imitate me or try to take care of Philip herself.

Here she is breastfeeding her "baby":

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And wearing her "baby" in the sling:

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Notice the cool vintage looking rocking horse I picked up at the charity shop for £10, behind Matilda! Way to go, me! Not that she plays with it, but it's too nice to return to the charity shop... Maybe Philip will like it! (Yes, multiple exclamation marks... A sure sign of a diseased mind...) (If you recognise this -mis-quote and I don't know you already, I want to meet you!)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Lagophile

Philip is obsessed by bunnies. The four-legged kind, for the next 12-15 years at least, hopefully. He has a mobile hanging over his crib with some bunnies hanging from it, and he's in love. He'll lie under it staring in rapture and smiling like a toothless fool, even if it's not playing music. For ages. We also have a watercolour of some rabbits hanging on the wall over his changing mat. He totally loves that one too. He twists his head to look at it when I'm changing his nappy, and smiles and smiles. Today he was flopping on the mat, kicking with his little legs and jumping, until he twisted himself to a better angle to be able to enjoy the art. Then he continued to smile at his long-eared buddies.

You can see the alluring lagomorphs here:

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Now, I want to ask you a question: How many times do you think Philip has smiled at me? Ummm... one. Maybe. I'm not sure, to be honest. He might have been looking at the bunnies over my shoulder.

Do you think if I get out my rabbit ears, he'll like me more?

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

The most hated phrase in Mothering...

… Must be “Is it time for his feed?”

“Why is he crying? Is it time for his feed?” asked my mum yesterday at 6:30 in the morning, as I was coming down the stairs bleary-eyed, carrying a screaming Philip. “No, I just fed him upstairs; I don’t know what he wants,” I said good-naturedly enough, blinking in the bright light. 6:30 is REALLY early for a baby to wake up in our house, but I’d had a good night thus far and was feeling reasonably in control. I even decided to make the best of it after feeding Philip and giving him a nap, and get organized enough (for once) to drag my sorry self, my double buggy and the babies up the 20 minutes worth of hill to the swimming pool.

When I arrived, sweaty and out of breath but with a glowing sense of achievement, the lifeguard sitting at the front desk informed me that there was no crèche that day. “Oh… poor baby… Is it time for his feed?” he added sympathetically. I was too upset to respond; no crèche meant nowhere to leave Philip, which meant I couldn’t get in the pool with Matilda, which meant a) the walk was for nothing; and you all know how much I hate physical exercise, and b) I had to tell Matilda, who’d been saying “Go for swim! Go for swim!” all the way from the house to there, there wasn’t going to be one. In the end we borrowed a car-seat from another mum, plonked Philip in it and left him at the side of the pool, with a friendly granny who was there watching her grandchildren swim. After five minutes of blissful quiet, Philip started screaming.
“Your baby is crying,” informed me the granny helpfully.
“Yes, I know, don’t worry.”
“Oh, you don’t mind him crying, then.” About ten pairs of accusing eyes turned my way, or so it felt.
“Well, I don’t really like leaving him to cry, but I can’t drag Matilda out of the pool yet, she’ll be gutted, ” I muttered guiltily.
“Do you mind if I pick him up?” she asked (you heartless wench… she implied.)
“No… Go ahead if you would like to, I just didn’t want to ask you to do any more, but I’m happy for people to give him a cuddle.”

After about 15 minutes of on-off crying, the granny was looking at me pointedly and I was getting more and more flustered, so I asked her if she wouldn’t mind holding him just for a few more minutes, while I got myself and Matilda out of the pool and got Matilda dry enough to be strapped into her buggy. (Our swimming pool has notoriously unsafe changing rooms. There are no changing tables or anywhere to leave a baby –well, there is one, but it’s a matter of chance if it’ll be free or not. Also, there is no safety gate or door and the children can run straight from the changing room into the pool. Normally we get around this by running into the crèche and getting them changed there, but – wohoo! - there wasn’t one.) I changed Matilda as fast as I could, dropping things constantly because I was nervous, guilty, sweaty and harassed by that point, and I ran back to the swimming pool to find Philip being passed around between the life guard and the swimming instructor.
“Sorry,” I muttered guiltily, taking him from Those-Who-Specifically-Were-Not-There-To-Look-After-The-Children-Of-Incompetent-Mums.
“Don’t worry, Anna,” said the swimming instructor. “Is it time for his feed?
“No!” I said running away to the changing room, where Philip fell promptly, instantly and blissfully asleep on the single changing table.

Then we were off to the playground, to make myself feel less guilty for cutting Matilda’s swim short; and then off to the Health Visitor, to have Philip weighed. I would like to point out, at this point, that he woke up and got fed at the playground, then fell back asleep and remained so all the way to the Health Visitor, where he was smiling and happy while he was being weighed. –Happy that he had tricked me into a false sense of security, it turned out, because he commenced with the screaming as soon as we were out the door.
“Hello Anna! Is it time for his feed?” said the receptionist cheerfully while I was struggling to strap a toddler and a writhing bundle of fury into the buggy. THEN I lost it and started yelling and crying.
“No! It’s NOT time for his feed, it’s NOT time for his sleep, it’s NOT time for his nappy-change, he’s just screaming because that’s what he does, he screams!”

The receptionist promptly turned on her heels and disappeared without a word, while I yelled pathetically after her “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to shout at you, it’s not your fault!” She reappeared a minute later, followed by a nurse. (No, not to restrain me, although that was my first thought too. To pat my back x 4.) They led me to a nice, quiet, isolated room (without padded walls, ahaha, thanks for asking,) gave me a cold drink of water, determined I didn’t need tranquillisers right that minute and sent me on my way after making sympathetic noises.

I am not trying to claim I am not slowly going (even more) insane on my own anyway, but that question is certainly giving me a good shove in the right direction.
First of all, NO it isn’t time for his feed. He doesn’t HAVE a time for his feed. ANY time is a good time to have a face-full of boob, if you ask him. Is THAT the only reason why he would be crying, anyway? And don’t you think I, his mother, might have already thought of stopping and feeding him, if the solution was that obvious? Or do you think I’m secretly enjoying the screams? Listen closely to the string of profanities I’m muttering under my breath and think again. Oh wait, maybe you thought my “voices” told me not to feed him?

I am hereby starting a campaign to come up with alternative questions to ask unsuspecting, harassed mums.

When you’re thinking of saying: “Is it time for his feed?” why not try:

  • Is it time for his excorcism?
  • OMG, WHAT have you done to that poor baby?
  • Did someone just tell him you’re his mum?
  • So, when are you going to tell Peter that Dani Filth is the baby’s father?
  • My cat made that noise, until we got him fixed. No? Just a thought.

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Incidentally, while we were at the playground, Matilda fell down and cut her lip. Crying, blood sprouting everywhere, welcome to having a toddler, etc etc. Poor baby came home and ran to yaya to tell her everything. "Lip. It's painful. Fell down on the swing. Poor babycakes!" Today she looks a bit like a parrot:

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A few days ago she sat on Peter's lap and said "Daddy has great big feet... and a great big butt." Soooo happy she said that to Peter and not me! I would have been mortified. But since she used it to refer to Peter's skinny behind first, it doesn't count any more. Mwahaha!

By the way, she probably picked that up from the recreational activity known in our quarters as "Kiss the Butt." It involves carrying Matilda around the room after a nappy change, so everyone can smooch her yummy little tush. She absolutely loves it. Do you think it's a sign for the future?

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And a last funny: Last night she decided we had to sing happy birthday to everyone. Appart from mummy, daddy, yaya, baby Philip and Matilda, the birthday crowd included:

Curious Noah (Kyrios Noah, Mister Noah... get it?) Kangaroo, Baby Seal, Sheep, Cow, Dolly Snap (the cooking glove), Ernie LittleEye (the teddy), Frog, Nelly the elephant and Domino, looking too blase for the occasion.

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See, we DO have a good time at the beach too!

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