Saturday, 25 February 2012


Since we didn't really get a taste of the massage sessions during our taster, we signed up and were told a couple of days ago that there were places available this week.

All we had to do was turn up with a towel and a cheque. Oh, and the baby.

Somehow I still managed to forget one of those things, and running late, I headed into Wilkinson's to get a replacement as the session was about to begin. Just to be clear, I am talking about the towel, not the baby.

I bought a towel, ran across the park, switched my phone to silent and settled down in the room with THREE other mums. (And they tell us that there is a massive waiting list and that the room will be packed).

These sessions always start a bit late, so I needn't have hurried. I had met all three mums before, and despite my baby being twice the size of theirs (and when I say 'twice the size', I do mean literally), they were all born within a couple of weeks of each other.

We got going with the oil and actually did the same session that was demonstrated to us that I missed when the McBaby thought it would be a good time for a poo explosion. One baby started crying immediately, then the baby next to us and then the McBaby in a daisy chain of distress.

The course leader had put fibre optics around the room which seemed to calm the other babies. The McBaby simply knocked his over while pumping his arms around like Amir Khan in warm up, narrowly missing the next baby's head.

Incidentally, when his cousin threw something that hit his other baby cousin in the face, the McGrandad took that as a sign that he should buy him a boomerang.

So, the McBaby did get a massage, but kneading his legs and feet made him ultra hungry. I fed him, the session ended and then we chatted for 15 minutes. Then we left and I headed to the bank. While in the queue, I fumbled around for my phone. NOt in my pocket, not in the bag.

I retraced my steps back to the children's centre where the two members of staff were extremely helpful in assisting my search. Nothing. I checked the park. NOthing. Back to the bank. NOthing.

This is so unlike me. As we are so poor, I take good care of my belongings. As the comedian Jon Richardson would say, I'm a 'putter' rather than a 'leaver'. Well, except when it comes to car keys.

I know what's happened! SOmeone has found it and returned it to the Orange shop! I rock up there and it has not been handed in. They let me block the SIM card and tell me that I was actually entitled to an upgrade more than a year ago. So I come out with a new phone that is utterly unfathomable to me. I feel like my mum who accidentally hangs up on my every time I call her. Next I'll be turning it off "to save the battery".

They ask me if I want insurance. "Oh no," I said. "I never lose my phone"....

I even sheepishly swing by the police station on my way home. Nothing. I arrive home and tell my mum I've lost my phone. SHe doesn't believe me.

"It's not like you to do that," she said. "It must be in the bag or on the pushchair somewhere". I then demonstrated to her how thoroughly I had looked. "I took everything out and even opened up the nappies to ensure it hadn't fallen in one", I said, showing her by unfolding one and hearing a thud as a mobile phone slid out and onto the floor......

Wednesday, 22 February 2012


So what have you given up? Lent starts today and so for the next 40 days and 40 nights, I am going to try my best not to use the car, not to eat chocolate and not to feel guilty!

The last one should be interesting. In the past week alone, I've felt guilty about nearly burning the house down, about getting my son punctured and about not buying a cake when I should have baked it myself. I've felt guilty about not getting a better present for my friend's birthday, for making my mum babysit when I had my hair done and for not helping my friend out more with his book launch. I have felt guilty that I didn't graduate from Oxford, that I didn't do more work for my friend's band and that I haven't always had 'five a day'. I could worry for England. But no more! I shall desist!

(I now feel guilty for using the word 'desist')

Also, is it just me, or does Lent always makes me think about life's big questions;

Is there a God?

What is life all about?

Is there an afterlife?

And what would my son look like with hair?

I have an answer to the last one!

"It is time to stop worshipping machines"

I came across a copy of the Nursing MIrror from nearly 30 years ago during a quick half hour of clearing out yesterday. I'm not sure why it was kept (probably contains an article on dementia written by my dad), but it's been an interesting read as it contains a number of articles on home births which has recently become a topic of interest to me!

Back then, as now, the consensus was that highly-technological births in hospital were safer than home births. And in 1981, according to the piece, 94% of births in the UK were subject to active obstetric management.

One of the articles mentions the irony that the lack of home births back then meant that there was very little scope into research into their safety, leading to a catch 22 situation and a prevailing wisdom that anyone who gives birth at home - particularly for their first baby is "eccentric or irresponsible". (For the record, I am the former!).

The magazine also has a case study from 1985 with a story that sounds almost identical to our own home birth a couple of months ago. If only I had found this magazine sooner, it would have saved a number of sleepless nights throughout my pregnancy!

There's also an interview with the wife of natural birth advocate MIchel Odent. Quite honestly, she was never going to have a conventional birth, but the effect of the midwife's personality on each birth is a fundamental part of her story and if you have one that is supportive of your aims, then you're well on the way to a lovely birth.

It's a great magazine and I've offered it to Claire, the wonderful homebirth group co-ordinator who proved so supportive to me. If she doesn't want it, it's going on eBay as one of the messages from it is particularly pertinent for our straitened times - that of the financial savings available to the NHS from home births!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Hair of the dog

I have never enjoyed having my hair cut - and here's a couple of reasons why it's become even more traumatic after the arrival of the bean.

1. You can't just rock up and have a quick trim.

2. I never know what to talk about while in the chair. This is compounded by the fact that all I want to do is sleep. I got away with a five minute nap in the chair, undetected. (I think)

3. The price. WHile you're working, it's almost expected that your hair doesn't look like a rat's nest. When you're on little more than £100 a week of maternity pay, using more than half to pay for your hair is a little distasteful.

4. The chemicals. Wordlessly applying something toxic to my head with a wire brush that you use for creosoting the fence used to be FUN. Now I am worrying that it will get into the breast milk. I had a burning scalp and something akin to a hangover when I woke up this morning. The little man seems ok so far.

5. Ditto the hairwash. I've never thought it was safe to lean back into the sink and always feel lightheaded and strange as well as worrying that my neck muscles might spasm. I mentioned it to the stylist who thought I was bats. Should I print this out for her next time?

6. Ditto the "stain remover". "What is in it?" I asked. "STain remover" came the helpful reply.

All in all, I was gone for a massive three hours. At least I won't have to get my hair cut again for another 18 years.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

It's a mug's game

The hilarious Kate Takes Five posted about mugs the other day.

Funnily enough, I read it just after I'd served up coffee to two friends in a cup and saucer. They remarked on how rare it is to drink out of a cup and saucer these days and how classy it is, but the real reason I served up their coffee thus was because I only had enough coffee granules left for one mug (and also see my post on serving up instant coffee to the workman who tipped it down the sink!)

Additionally, our mugs are completely eccletic and hideous. And here is my entry into Kate's competition:

Where did it come from and how did it get into my house and into my kitchen cupboard?

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Valentine's Day - I love nappies!

So that packet of nappies that I spied in the bathroom were actually toilet rolls, necessitating a trip to the supermarket with the McBaby dressed in a homemade nappy that made him look like Tarzan....

Hope you're having a good Valentine's Day!!

An addendum to the previous post

So where was I? Oh yes, I was saying that the McBaby was giggling at the 30 Rock episode called "Emanuelle goes to Dinosaurland" and seemed to be ok after his 8 week jabs.

So, I put him in his bouncer and put some soup on the stove. Bang - then started the uncontrollable crying. Heartbreaking and unrelenting. I felt so awful. Then he went very purple, and with advice from ma soeur, I gave him some Calpol.

He was not his usual self and then started to flop around and shudder.

PUtting on my best calm voice, I called the nurse who advised us to come back to the surgery. I was there is 5 minutes. We went in and she suggested that he see the doctor who had to be called from his out-visits.

The doctor arrived and examined him, saying the baby wasn't as chatty and interactive as he had been and despite saying he was probably ok, said we should take him to hospital to be checked over.

McBaby then had a spurt of diarrhoea which went everywhere and the nurse - bless her heart - helped me clean up the mess. After that, he seemed a lot better and gurgled and smiled at the nurse.

I called MrM, who also appeared at the surgery within 5 minutes. We dropped my car off at home and took MrM's to the hospital. We checked in at the children's A&E department, waited for an hour and then were seen by the triage nurse. She put us in a room to wait and I had a sudden icy chill in my stomach. Which is ironic as it was caused by something that could be quite hot - the fact I suddenly remembered that I never turned the soup off when we left the house.

When I told MrM, he simply said: "I'll go and turn it off. And then I'll come back for you." No shouting, no drama, no reprimands. I think I literally kicked myself.

After an hour, a lovely doctor checked out the little man, and proclaimed him to be fine. "I feel like I've wasted your time", I said. But he could not be nicer and said it was normal for first-time mothers to worry and that their job was to ensure everything was ok.

"It's nice to see a healthy child for a change," he said.

Another nurse checked out the little man and he smiled and cooed at her continuously. And out we went into the night.

I tried MrM, but his phone was going straight to answerphone, giving me mental images of our house on fire, or his being in an accident on the M4 in his haste. In the meantime, I carried the McBaby for 20 minutes through the rain to the train station. FInally, I got hold of MrM who assured me that all was fine at home, but that he'd heard sirens near the house and had seen smoke nearby, giving him the same icy chill.

He said he'd come back to us and to wait in the warm. Unfortunately, this meant that green coffee shop. We waited and observed that we were the only people in there who weren't SPanish.

Then a call from MrM - that was quick, I thought.

"My car has broken down somewhere on the M4 near Theale," he said. "You will have to get the train after all".

MOre icy cold feelings in my stomach.

The McBaby slept all through his first experience of public transport and we arrived home before meeting MrM who was despatched to his work in a recovery vehicle.

And to think that we will have to go through this again when McBaby has his next injections in a month's time.....

Monday, 13 February 2012

I get so emotional baby

Poor Whitney. Her voice was awesome and I imagine there are many other 30sthings like me who bopped around their bedrooms to her songs as youngsters. Anyway, the title of the song above sums up my sleepness night before Mr Baby's injections.

He is 8 weeks old today which meant a trip to the surgery for his immunisations against diptheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (hib) Pneumococcal disease. He kept smiling at me in the morning, unaware of the massive betrayal I was about to inflict on him.

I think I might have looked upset when I arrived at the surgery as the ladies on the reception desk where exceptionally nice and the three of them seemed to be delighted when I asked them to hold the baby briefly while I ran outside to his pushchair to get a clean babygrow.

And it was awful. He looked so happy while I held him. Then he went purple with crying. But then my little tough guy smiled again. I've now stocked up with baby Calpol just in case he develops a fever, but for now he is enjoying season 4 of 30 Rock with me interspersed with bursts of Whitney.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Park Run

Exercise is just one (but not the foremost) thing that I used to do before the arrival of the McBaby. Thank God then for the Newbury park run which allowed me to put my trainers on and do a gentle 5K run.

Is it bad that I didn't feel bad about leaving the McBaby for an hour? I left him with his dad who took him into his office - just like my dad used to do with me!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Pssst pass it on

Nearly New sale on Sunday 11th March from 11.15 at Kennet School Stoney Lane Thatcham RG19 4LL.

I have signed up and am allowed to sell 90 items. Including the baby, I have about twice that number.....

Baby sensory

Ny son showed his impeccable timing once again. After sleeping all the way through "Bumps and Babes" this morning (the last time he was here, he was a 'bump'), we went to "baby sensory" at the library.

We sat down on the colourful mats and the lady welcomed us all, telling us to put our babies on the mat for the welcome song. May I be permitted to interrupt myself to put a link to a nursery scene from Modern Family as I couldn't stop thinking about it this morning!

After I put him down, he did a loud parp just like he did at the massage class a couple of weeks ago. He then started screaming, drowning out the sound of the music and 20 women singing. I took him behind the local history section where lots of buggies were parked and changed his nappy. As I was crouching on the floor, I heard a woman gently reprimanding her naughty child off in front of the group. Then, out of sight, she whacked her son around the head, not realising that one of the pushchairs was me in disguise.

I fed the little man and we returned to the class just in time for him to have a go with some maracas which scared him and delighted him in equal measure, before he unleashed a powerful burp that swept my hair backwards, impressing the lady next to us no end. We then sang "heads, shoulders, knees and toes" with colourful chiffon in our hands to point to each part of the body, before singing a goodbye song.

Here's hoping he'll be allowed to another class. Is there a trick to this? Do I feed him 20 minutes before we go or something? Any tips welcome!!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

6 week check

MrM accompanied the McBaby and I to the 6-week check. We had a double appointment with the doctor so he could ask about my health and then that of the McBaby. Except all I had to say about myself was "I'm fine" and I think I mumbled something incoherent when he asked MrM and I whether we'd considered contraception.

Before moving onto the McBaby, he asked me about my mood. I laughed and said he should ask MrM. By that, I meant that personally, I think I could not have been more charming since the birth of the baby, but I was hinting that MrM would probably give a more truthful answer.

However, he looked at MrM and said: "That's a very valid point. We don't usually ask the father about his mood, but it is really something we should do."

Thinking that I must stop joking as I was obviously confusing him, I was a lot more comprehensive for his next question which was about my MMR injection which I had somehow missed out on. I had been given it on the afternoon of the birth to ensure I was protected for any subsequent children.

"Where did you have the MMR?" he asked.

Me, trying desperately hard to be understood: "The Royal Berks in Reading."

"No, I meant where on your body - arm, leg?"

I give up. But he then weighed the little man and announced that we now have a stone's worth of baby!