Food Fight

 

Food is going airborne in our house. Yep, you guessed it… the process of weaning has begun.

Baby-led weaning, that is. A lovely concept that sells itself as being baby-friendly whilst saving time and effort for the parent. No fussy purées to prepare. No baby rice that I am reliable told can double up as emergency polyfilla. Instead just arm your small one with a variety of steamed veg sticks and let them get on with it (under your watchful eye, of course).  No airplane noises required.

Sounds good, huh?

It is. As long as you don’t mind a full outfit change after each meal because the ‘perfect’ and highly recommended full-body bibs ordered before Christmas have gone AWOL in the Royal Mail system. What did turn up at least is a splash mat to protect the floor underneath the dining table. So far the missile range of flying finger food hasn’t exceeded the area covered by said splash mat. Result.

If ever it did, I have a funny feeling Jack would be at the ready to catch any errand morsels in mid-air. He’s all for the concept. Baby-led weaning is giving the dog diet variety whilst making Lilly a devoted four-legged friend. Note: Everyone subscribing to this way of weaning should invest in a canine vacuum cleaner. It keeps the splash mat clean, and your sanity intact.

Lilly’s all for the idea too. I mean, when else in life will it ever again be entirely acceptable to cover yourself and your surroundings in food? To make your avocado double up as a deep-conditioning hair treatment? Or to let anything you don’t quite fancy casually drop by the wayside?

I saw a friend of mine spoon-feeding her child sweet potato and parsnip purée in public the other day. It looked entirely civilized… for both of them. All I can say for me is this: carrots and cashmere don’t mix. So don’t get caught in the firing line.

Fibre Folly

 

One of the things that get me juiced in life is knitting. Don’t worry, dear non-knitter. This is not turning into a knitting blog. There already are plenty of those for the yarn addicts among us, ones with intriguing titles such as the Yarn Harlot or Knit Fast, Purl Young.

So even if balls of yarn and wooden sticks are not your thing, stick with me. After all, people often relate to their passion in other contexts. A VIP at my previous company used to sing at annual meetings. I heard The Beermat Entrepreneur deliver a business keynote themed entirely around The Beatles. So here you have it, a post on knitting.

I read an article the other day that addressed the perception that knitting is an old-fashioned pursuit, a ‘nana craft’. The author went on to point out that whilst previous generations may have done it out of necessity, the days of knitting to save money are long gone. My pocket book can attest to this. Especially if you shun acrylics, there’s pretty much no way you can knit something cheaper than buying it ready-made in the shop. So really, knitting today is a luxury, both in terms of the fancy yarns you can buy and the leisurely hours you devote to it. After all, the wartime generation hardly clicked their rosewood needles wrapped with cashmere or baby alpaca on a lazy Sunday afternoon. So knitting today really is more metro and less retro than you might think.

It’s also good for balancing your root chakra. Like gardening or drumming, but significantly more accessible. You can’t really feel the rhythm and pull a drum out of your bag on a busy train, but you can grab your sock-in-progress in a flash. And unless you pick a horrendously complicated pattern, knitting gives you time to relax and unwind and to make something beautiful in the process. Sounds like an all around win-win to me.

I believe I will be treated to some Lilly-free time this afternoon. I shall sit on the sofa and submit to the knit.

Pink Panther


Right, here’s a quick Friday round up… that’s all the brain cells I’ve got left for tonight.

Two days into the FUNdraising challenge, the stakes have been raised. I had a funny feeling this was gonna take on a life of its own. If you haven’t been following the thread on Facebook, these events occurred in real time:

I put out the challenge of becoming a brunette for a month if I manage to raise £430 doing the Moon Walk. Inspired by the Australian friend in New York and the Chinese friend in Germany, we now have the following target:

£430 – brunette

£590 – red

£750 – pink (yikes!!!)

(I just noticed that my first attempt at splitting the difference between £430 and £750 turned out to be wrong. I blame baby brain. Note that no one else spotted it.)

 

So I’m up for the challenge. I just trust that my hair doesn’t actually turn green from all that colouring by the time I turn 40 this summer.

You can access my fundraising page here:

http://www.walkthewalkfundraising.org/happy_hippies

I also vow to contact as many of you as possible directly in some form but please don’t wait to donate! 😉

 

So, pink. Fitting colour choice for a breast cancer charity, I admit. But pink hair? What was I thinking?

Yet again, I blame baby brain.

 

 

 

 

Stepping Stones


I recently saw a quote saying ‘I believe that what we want to write wants to be written’. I believe that too. I believe that words and stories have their own agency and evolve in ways that we can’t (and shouldn’t attempt to) predict.

 

I started my day thinking I might write about stepping up. About stepping out of my comfort zone. After all, at the end of your comfort zone is where life supposedly begins.

My act of stepping up was mailing a copy of my book to a publisher. I wrote a children’s book for my goddaughter’s second birthday some eighteen months ago and I have been wanting to get it published ever since. And towards the end of last year, it finally felt right to pursue the project. Anyway, I went to the post office this morning, and the book has gone on its merry way.

But by the time I got to writing this evening, I was feeling rather less pleased with myself. Pretty frazzled actually. Somehow the last hour before Lilly’s bedtime got the better of me. I was rushing to get various outstanding travel arrangements booked and she was getting tired and fussy. And then bumped her head to boot. Talk about feeling instantaneously guilty about having had your attention in a different place. And I mean guilty… it’s completely heart-wrenching to watch your little girl sob her eyes out. So I was feeling upset as a consequence even hours later after she had gone to bed and I was on the couch with the laptop. And being upset is no frame of mind to write. As a matter of fact, it’s not a great frame of mind for anything.

So I journalled about it. About why I sometimes get so caught up doing things that don’t matter when what really mattered in that moment was to spend time with Lilly. Then I went into the bedroom and cuddled up to watch her sleep. For ages. And told her I was sorry. I had a cuddle on the couch with Jack who’s not supposed to be on the couch. I had a long chat with Rob. Things that mattered.

So in the end a day that started with stepping up ended with stepping back. And that’s all good.

Money Money Money

 

The other day, I mentioned my second challenge for 2012 beyond writing a daily post for one month. So here goes:

In May, I am doing the Moon Walk (http://www.walkthewalk.org). It’s a marathon-length walk through London to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. You walk throughout the night. In your bra. Whilst howling at the full moon. <just kidding on the last one>

Which leads me to the subject of money. Because inevitably a challenge organized by a charity involves fundraising. Not my strong point. So I was pondering how I could make it more fun, and what I could do to go beyond simply asking people for money. This is ignoring the fact that walking a marathon overnight in your bra is a challenge in itself. I guess I wanted to spice things up.

I thought about shaving my head but that might get me divorced. But the hair theme stuck. After all, hair is a big thing for us girls. And I’ve never been particularly adventurous with mine. Yes, I have gone from straight to curly and long to short but mostly I stay with the same style for years. And I have always been blonde. With varying degrees of chemical enhancement I admit… but blonde.

 

So here’s my cunning plan:

If I raise £430 between now and May, I’ll become a brunette for a month. And I’ll blog about the experience. After all, they say that blondes have more fun. I am prepared to cross over to the dark side and find out.  You can make your donation under my name here:

http://www.walkthewalkfundraising.org/happy_hippies

Two of my team members have been rather successful on the fundraising front already. Both blondes. So my competitive side is itching to get in the game.

So please help me put the fun back into fundraising!

Any amount welcome. In any currency. After all, if every one of my Facebook friends contributed as little as £1, we’d be there in no time. It’s about momentum really. And the sooner I raise £430, the sooner I become a brunette! <gulp> Which may not get me divorced but might get me banned from the bedroom. I’m willing to risk it.

http://www.walkthewalkfundraising.org/happy_hippies

 

PS: Just be like Jack – BE UP FOR IT!

Jack at the ready

 

I talked about showing up the other day. One of my inspirations for that is actually my dog.

He’s a fabulous feisty Jack Russell Terrier named after Jack Bauer from the TV series 24. He’s got the same sort of persistence and tenacity. Although he also chills a fair bit. In his bed, in our bed (by invitation only), on the sheepskin in his favourite chair.

But if you offer a walk or any form of entertainment, he’s always up for it. He can be blissfully asleep one minute and chomping at the bit to go out the next. He sees you putting on shoes and a jacket and he’s by the back door ready to go. Rain or shine. No excuses. No procrastination. Ever. Ok, maybe on Guy Fawkes Night and New Years Eve. Fireworks are not his thing.

I don’t need to list the excuses I might on occasion come up with for not wanting to take him out. Conversations you might have on a day like today:

Jack: Let’s go out and play!
Me: Not today Jack, the weather is terrible out there.
Jack: So? Let’s go out and play!
Me:
No really, it’s windy and raining and and and...
Jack:
So? Let’s go out and play!

I wonder what the dialogue would sound like if the tables were turned:

Me: Jack, let’s go out and play!
Jack: Have you seen the weather out there? I don’t wanna get all wet and dirty!
Me:
So? I’ll just give you a bath afterwards!

Jack: Yeah, so I can smell like peppermint like a poof! <Please don’t mention that I tried to mount a dog called Rocky in the park. Twice.>                                                                                                                                                    Me: C’mon, it’ll be great to get some fresh air!                                                                            Jack: I’ve been out running with the big dude every day for the last week. I need a day off. As a matter of fact, I am having a duvet day. Have fun without me.

I think I’ve made my point. The only problem is now I have to go out with Jack. On a miserable and rainy day. For integrity’s sake.

Damn. 

Daddy Cool

 

Today is a day for a bit of a clear out… taking down the Christmas decorations and doing the laundry, that sort of thing. In the process, I happened to glance at the Christmas card I got from Rob. He’s great at writing really meaningful cards. I usually am too… expect this year, I hadn’t even gotten around to writing his by the time we were ready to exchange presents. I do give myself credit for having bought it though. It was funny, too!


Anyway, while we are on the subject of giving credit, I feel he deserves some too. I’d be lying if I said we effortlessly found our feet as new parents. We did pretty good at the beginning but after about two or three months, the workload in his business started building just about the same time as sleepless nights began to get the better of me. So we’ve had our fair share of disagreements about who should be doing what, and how much of it. After all, the credit for one dirty nappy change only lasts so long. Or one emptying of the dishwasher. More credit for doing the shopping.  Bonus points for soothing a crying baby back to sleep.

But then there seem to be endless deductions as well. For having an acute cooking phobia, for example. Or for suggesting that getting a cleaner in every six weeks is entirely sufficient. Biggest deduction of all for intimating that it is really my job to look after Lilly. Ok, the last one’s not funny. Not even months later. I think I made my point on that one.

All that being said, I am assuming it must not always be easy for the guys. Maybe some of them just breeze naturally into fatherhood but my guess is that it can be a bit of a rocky road for the best of them. Just like for us girls. It certainly seems that your intimate relationship stands a pretty good chance of taking a back seat to taking care of your little bundle of joy for a while.

And it takes a great husband to recognize that, and to make a conscious decision to put that relationship back on the agenda.

That’s what my Christmas card was all about. Best present I could have wished for. Thanks love!

New Dawn

So, today is not just ‘a new dawn, a new day’ as Michael Bublé would swoon.  It’s the first day of a whole new year. And not just any new year but one that has been rumoured to bring all sorts of fundamental energy shifts.

Despite the hype, I had a quiet start to 2012… dinner and a movie in, an intermittently waking babe and a dog drugged on Rescue Remedy to take the edge off the fireworks. The hubby and I took time to review the highlights and lowlights of 2011, which on the whole was thankfully more high than low.

I’ve also been pondering what’s in store for me in 2012. I think my motto is gonna be to show up. I’ve had a lot of references for this lately, some of which are likely to crop up in future posts.

For now, there are two challenges I have been plotting. One is to write a blog post every day for a month. And as it happens, January lends itself to this kind of resolution.  New dawn, new day and all that.

Now, I wish I could say that I’ve used the time between the holidays wisely and planned what I might write about. But I haven’t. There’s no secret mind map with 31 clever ideas waiting to be developed, nor a stack of half-written posts. There’s just me having tried all sorts of angles to convince myself that this is a bad idea. I mean, who has time, with broken nights, Lilly’s persistent aversion to daytime sleep, dog walks and all?

But there you have it, I’m gonna do it anyway. A friend of mine is going back to work in a few weeks with a six month old. People are climbing Mount Everest. (Yes, in my mind, both fall into the same category of effort.) So surely I can knock out one measly, semi-engaging post a day. (I am scribbling this one on a piece of paper in the car on the way to a pub lunch. No, I am not driving. I am in the back seat assigned to periodically putting the dummy back in and longingly watching those little eyes for any signs of wanting to go to sleep.)

 
So, be up for it. Whatever IT may be for you.

 
And the other challenge? Aaah, you just gonna have to keep on reading! 😉

Oliver

 

Last week, I went to see a friend and her little girl. We’re all part of a group of new mummies that met through our antenatal class, and we’ve been keeping each other sane on our journey into motherhood ever since.

My friend showed me the latest magazine of the organization that coordinated our course. It listed all the babies born for the various class facilitators. Under the names and birth dates of all our precious babes was a note about another mum who was in our group. She ended up having a very different journey. Her little boy was born and died the same day.

Reading that really got me. Even now, I can’t write about it without welling up inside. I knew it had happened… but it happened before I became a mum myself and I guess that means it happened before I could even begin to comprehend the enormity of that loss. Before I could really understand the intense love you feel for this little being that has come into your life. It might not be there straight away, or it might be a feeling that is present and continues to expand. I found myself falling in love more and more with Lilly over time. I loved her when she was born of course… and I have been falling in love with her ever since. To think of her being taken away before I could even get to know her seems unbearable.

When Oliver first passed away, we were told not to make contact. After some weeks, our antenatal teacher told us it would be ok to send a card. I never did. I just didn’t know what to say. I know there’s nothing you can say. But you can say you care. And that Oliver matters. That he’s not forgotten just because I didn’t (and don’t) know what to say.  

There’s no neat and clever way to wrap this post up either. Some things in life just don’t work that way. But I guess the least I can do is to finally have the courage to print this and send it to Oliver’s mum. Because even though we don’t see her, she is not forgotten either.

Pyjamas and Pearls

 

I am a mother and a writer.

 

This is one of my new mantras. A poignant reminder that I can be, and indeed already am both. Now I know that’s not revolutionary. After all, we wear different hats all the time. So in addition to being a mother and a writer, I already am a lot of other things too: I am a wife, a lover, a sister, a friend, etc.

I suppose the difference with writing is that it is something new I am allowing myself to explore and thus I figured it would be nice to have some kind of anchor. In case I forget in amongst Lilly cuddles, new mummy coffee mornings, dog walking and nappy changes.

In the movie version of Sex and The City, there are two scenes where Carrie Bradshaw is in bed wearing pyjamas and pearls. I love that. It’s impractical, of course. It even looks a little odd – like playing dress up at bedtime. But it’s also fun and whacky and different (unless everyone is wearing beads in bed these days and I’ve totally missed the trend in amongst those nappy changes). Most importantly, Carrie Bradshaw is a writer. So I went to the local charity shop and got me some beads.

I haven’t worn them yet but they are hanging over the reading lamp next to my sofa. Alongside Lilly’s nursing necklace. So I can see them during the day, and when I actually sit down in the evenings to write. And I am sure one day soon I will wear them when I’m all snuggled up in my pyjamas. So much more chic than wearing a hat, no?!

And in case you’re wondering about the nursing necklace, it’s a contraption that is supposed to keep your child interested in feeding once they get to an age when just about everything else in the room is more interesting than milk. It’s designed to withstand overexcited and incessant tugs and is probably strong enough to pull an 18-wheeler truck. It also has bells that, appropriately enough for the season, make me sound like Santa’s sleigh.

Ho Ho Ho.