Monday, 19 March 2012


The McBaby and I took our first proper trip away together on the train last week. Now, we did end up taking the train from Reading when MrM's car broke down (no, we never did get it fixed), but this was a proper four-hour journey down to the coast.

On the way down, we shared our carriage with Cornish people. The McBaby, for the most part, was fantastically well behaved but spent 15 minutes crying quite loudly. While he was doing that;

A young man gave up his seat for the baby.

A young newly wed tried to put the car seat on the rack for me.

One lad (a teenager) took the nappy bag out of my hand and put it in the bin.

A lovely couple showed the McBaby their unusual and beautiful dog to take his mind off his crying.

A beautiful woman (who turned out to be only a couple of years older than me), brought her GRANDDAUGHTER to come and meet the McBaby.

A lovely woman offered to go to the buffet car to buy me a cup of tea because she said I shouldn't be upset by his crying and that she had been through it more than 30 times thanks to her 8 children, 21 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.

Then, the return journey amongst Newburyites:

A woman who bumped the McBaby quite hard with her suitcase in her hurry to push past us while we were waiting for a man in front of us to take his coat off.

A man and woman who kept glaring at us when the McBaby cried. This was at a fraction of the volume of the outward journey.

A man who sat opposite us and then looked horrified when he noticed that he had placed himself near a baby.

Two youths who were throwing stones at each other when we got off the train. I had to wait behind an advertising hoarding until they'd finished.

The one saving grace was a woman (who was not from Newbury) who came over and said "I just have to have a look at your daughter. She must be about the same age as my granddaughter who I'm going to see. Your lovely daughter's been making lovely happy noises all the way. Oooh, she's beautiful. What pretty eyes! What a pretty girl!".

She was so lovely and friendly, plus he was wearing red, that I just did not tell her that it was a boy and even gave him a girl's name when we got off the train. "Say goodbye Cara!"


My beautiful little boy is 3 months old today and I find out from him whether I passed the probationary motherhood period later today.

WHile I wait for the results, here is a list of commonly used phrases in our house:

"You can't be hungry again already!"

"He's been like that since he was born" (I must stop doing this - I say it when people tell me how alert he is).

"8lb 12"

"Is he asleep?"

"Can you do a burp for mummy please?"

"He's not a bad sleeper"

"That would be wonderful if you could bring my coffee over please" - I used to boycott the big chain coffee shops. They're now my second home, although if the location is up to me, I try to choose an independent!

"You look just like your dad!"

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

It's the first time I've been on the receiving end and it's been wonderful to have been spoilt by my two lovely boys! Under the McBaby's guidance, MrM made me a fabulous (and very posh) breakfast in bed with mugs and mugs and mugs of tea for my poor sore throat.

Of course, I didn't forget my own mum. I phoned her and croaked at her to tell her that I had sneaked a card into her suitcase when she left us a couple of weeks ago in which there was a card, a photo of the McBaby and some cash for her to buy some flowers. We had a lovely chat except she told me something which annoyed me beyond all possible belief. She had showed her "friend" all of the pictures she'd taken while she was here - mostly of the McBaby and his cousin. Her "friend" deleted them all "by accident". When my mum nearly cried, she said: "Why don't you take some more next time". This is the same woman who asked her which grandson she preferred. Fortunately, my mum managed to find an IT expert who retrieved the pics, but her "friend's" card is marked. Grrr.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

"Support" from the health visitor

Following our visit to the Minor Injuries UNit, I got a phone call from a health visitor - but not the one who had come round before. The funny thing was that I was having a very rare nap when I answered the phone, so I heard her say her name, but missed the bit where she said where she was calling from.

She wears another hat and is quite well known, so I thought this was what she was calling about and she was quite miffed when I mentioned it and said I was confusing her with her husband who also wears this hat.

Her tone was one of accusation from the start, asking if the bump was an accident. Did she genuinely think we'd done it on purpose, or was this badly phrased. Then she asked: "DId you let the baby roll off the bed?"

We felt terrible about what happened, but at the same time, how on earth is it possible to go through life without the odd cut or bruise? We would never deliberately hurt our child and if we did, we would hardly be likely to take him to hospital, would we? And not one of the people who I've told about the bump has not done the same thing themselves.

She then suggested that as we left the hospital before being seen, that I wasn't concerned about the baby. With a flash of inspired genius, she also suggested that I mention the bump to the GP next time we see him.* It's this kind of out-of-the-box thinking that separates health visitors from us mere mortals.

I think she sensed that I was quite irritated and then said her phone call was to offer "support", which would have been much more useful the previous night.

In case you think I'm being unreasonable, let me quote from a hilarious book called "A parents' survival guide" by Laurie Graham. It was written in 1986, but still relevant, so it's going to the charity shop today for someone else to enjoy.

She says: "On her way out on the 10th day, the midwife will leave the door ajar and something called a health visitor will slip in. She won't have a uniform, so you may mistake her for a Jehovah's Witness. CHeck this out before you start yelling. After all, Jehovah's Witnesses will usually go quietly if you ask them to. The health visitor is a different kettle of fish.

"If you've never met a health visitor before, you may be wondering what sort of person would be attracted to the work. Misguidedly, you might suppose that they are people who have done time with their own children and want to be paid to pass on what they have learned. Not so. There are such people. But not many."

She continues..."Health visitors exist to advise us and police us in our parenting. WHich goes to show just what a cowed generation we are. SOme families need HVs - I'm talking parents who feed tiny babies on bottles of tea. Or tie them into their cots for hours. Or jump on them. Most parents don't need HVs. They only serve to raise your blood pressure and sap your confidence, but they are a fact of modern life, so you should know about them. One of her concerns will be your living arrangements. She will want to satisfy herself that you are not drawing water from a well or sharing your living quarters with a herd of cattle."

*To be clear, I was planning on mentioning it to the doctor when we see him.