Monday, 30 April 2012

Heads or Tails?


Sometimes, life just feels like two opposing sides of the same coin. Today was Monday and the start of another week. But it was a gentle introduction to another five-day stint as I started the day with a free lesson and a Library lesson with a lovely group.

I taught an enjoyable lesson after break focusing on a poem which contrasts a Caribbean island with a dismal London day. We all decided we'd prefer to be on the island; in reality, I'd probably get bored quite quickly.

I had a long department meeting after school, but it did give me the opportunity to discuss some things with my boss which I now feel much better about.

Lift-share ladies and I didn't leave the school building until a quarter past five, but it was beautifully sunny when we stepped outside. The rain has finally stopped.

I was told that Dexter had a grumpy hour at nursery today, but he was all smiles on his favourite trike in the playground when I collected him.

I couldn't park outside the house. When we got into the house though, the cleaner had been and it's spotless.

Monday's the day I get least time with the boy. In the brief time before bed however, he practised some more of his standing. He's getting steadier and steadier.

He took ages to go to sleep. It's gone nine o'clock now and I've just looked in on him. He's flat out, slumbering peacefully. Priceless.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Positive mental attitude


I really enjoyed my riding lesson this morning. I was riding a lovely mare who used to be a showjumper in Ireland. She made the jumping completely effortless. I was feeling like quite the pro, channelling my inner Mary King, when my instructor laughed at the look of intense concentration I was sporting whilst tackling the fences.

As all experiences are new/difficult to a fourteen month old, the boy has to do a lot of concentrating himself. Whether it's working out the logistics of a new toy, or turning the pages of a book, Dexter's 'concentration face', involves his mouth gaping open with his tongue hanging out, usually accompanied by a healthy smattering of drool. This is the look I have captured in today's #366 photo. I hope it is not the look I have been perfecting in my riding lessons.

The boy spent all days in his pyjamas - we couldn't be bothered to accompany the husband on another trip to town, as the weather is still rubbish. Some further concentration this afternoon led to Dexter standing unsupported for over three minutes - yup, I timed him. However, it wasn't actually his balance he was focusing on - it was the television. Now if I could just move the screen slightly away from him, he might actually attempt a few steps.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Let them eat cake!


Lie-in and Waitrose: done. No real plans for the rest of this weekend, which makes a refreshing change. The weather is still horrific  - a refreshing change it is not.

We still trundled into Brighton. It's the general default plan, as it's just pretty straightforward. The husband was having his haircut, so I pushed the sleeping boy around in the rain, trying (unsuccessfully) to purchase various birthday gifts.

By the time Team Wayne was reunited, it was getting late, Dexter had woken up and I was thorougly soaked and miserable. Tea and cake were required. Cue a trip to Bill's. The husband had a piece of pavlova the size of a dustbin lid; I opted for scones with jam and cream. We ordered Dexter his own tea cake, which he demolished with gusto. He was really well-behaved, and being on super-cute form. There was just something rather lovely about hunkering down in cosy surroundings, imbibing caffeine and carbs, and hanging out with my boys. I almost forgot about the weather...

Friday, 27 April 2012

Looking back - and looking forward


Today's post-parents' evening day was fine, particularly as I was bolstered by Pat's super-strong coffee and a sausage sandwich. My favourite lesson today was with my GCSE class. We were studying a poem in which the poet reflects fondly on her experience of primary school. The class and I had a real nostalgia-trip, and it's amazing how much of an impact their first experience of education has had on them. It makes the pressure to get that choice right for Dexter seem all the more real.

He was asleep when we went to get him from Huffle. Sarah's theory was he'd worn himself out with all of his tantrums. He's quite 'up and down' at the moment. He seems to be testing us out, is frustrated and keen to push some boundaries, particularly if he doesn't get his own way. He was given a chip at nursery today, which he squished in his hand and rubbed into his hair. I just hope that chip doesn't make its way down to his shoulder...

Despite my tiredness on an epic scale, I went round to a friend's house for a lovely evening with the brilliant ladies I met through NCT. The wine flowed, the food was great, and between us, we put the world to rights.

A perfect end to a very long week.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Losing balance (without falling off)


Today's talking point is not really about Dexter's day. Our time in the car is all I had with him today. I finished my working day with a three hour Year 7 Parents' Evening, during which I talked to in excess of forty-five sets of parents. I lost my voice towards the end of it, and was being proffered water and Strepsils by students and parents. It was lovely though, to praise students and reassure parents that their babies are doing really well and that I am genuinely doing my best for them. I am increasingly conscious that it really won't be that long before I am on the other side of that desk.

When I got in just after nine o'clock, I was capable of little more than a hot bath and bed. As I have an unhealthy addiction to Twitter, I went through my usual pre-sleep skip through my Twitter feed on my phone. I ended up having a tweet conversation with a woman called Emma Cannon. She's an acupuncturist, fertility and natural health consultant and author. I read one of her books when we decided to have a baby, and it was because of her I really embraced acupuncture. As I flopped into bed, anxious about the five day lesson that is facing me tomorrow, and fearing that one of the many 'spinning plates' would come crashing to the floor, she sent me this message: 'Losing balance occasionally is part of a balanced life and Love is the goal.'

I think it may become my new mantra. 'Night. zzzzz

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Love Actually


The current weather is mental. I have never known so much rain and wind and general grimness. We are constantly being told by the media that we are in a drought. I am tempted to google 'flat-pack arks'; I fear we may be in need of one very soon.

My bus duty this morning was a delight. The borrowed umbrella and my giant winter coat weren't quite enough to protect me from the elements, or put me in a particularly good frame of mind for the day.

I was cheered up by my really lovely A Level class. They're bright and interested and up for discussing, well, anything really. Their upcoming exam is on 'Love Through the Ages' in literature, and we were looking at some extracts that explored the idea of parental love. This led to a discussion of whether parental love should be unconditional. They were very interested in my opinion on this, particularly in the context of being a new parent. I was emphatic in my response that, yes, it absolutely should be. They were cool with me getting a little misty-eyed at trying to describe the feeling that knocks you off your feet when you first hold your baby.

I've just finished reading a great book by Allison Pearson called 'I Don't Know How She Does It'. Granted, it's probably not going to make it to the A Level reading list anytime soon, that's not to say it's not wonderfully written - funny, warm and moving. I did tweet the author to see if I could use a quote from it on here. She didn't reply, but I'd still like to share a bit from towards the end where the central female character (a successful career woman and mother of two), goes to visit her friend in hospital as she's just had a baby. So, here goes:

"Place of pain and elation. Flesh and blood. The cries of the babies raw and astounded; their mothers' faces salty with joy. When you are in here you think you know what's important. And you are right. It's not the pethidine talking, it's God's own truth. Before long, you have to go out into the world again and pretend you have forgotten, pretend there are better things to do. But there are no better things. Every mother knows what it felt like when that chamber of the heart opened and love flooded in. Everything else is just noise and men."

I think my students hadn't really thought about that type of love before, and I know the boy is currently unaware of it. His unconditional love is for Iggle Piggle and co. I hope that one day he understands. Maybe reading this blog will be part of that process.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Water Music


Today was one of those days at school that really reminds me I work at a comprehensive: this is a good thing. A rather lively break duty was juxtaposed against working with some of our younger, but gifted students. It was a pleasure to see them really rise to the challenge of working in a completely different context, taken off timetable and given the creative freedom that a jam-packed curriculum doesn't always allow for.

It transpired today that I would definitely not have been put on the same list as these super-star students as I realised this morning I had forgotten my door keys again. So despite leaving school a little earlier than normal, lift-share friend and I had some time to kill whilst I waited for the husband to get home. Starbucks was the obvious choice (Am I becoming a tad predictable?) and we revisited the scene of last week's baby freefall. Thankfully, Dexter didn't seem too bothered and was happy to play with my phone while we swigged our drinks.

A bonus side-effect of the forgotten keys was that the husband got home slightly earlier than usual. We were therefore both there to witness Dexter's own achievement today: climbing up all of the stairs. Bathtime was a family affair - not all of us in the tub at once - but Daddy taking charge of (gentle) washing, whilst I serenaded us with several ditties on Dexter's special bath time, fill 'em with water, musical flutes. It felt a little like the 'Jazz Flute' scene in 'Anchorman', but Dexter seemed to be amused by several squeaky renditions of classic nursery rhymes.

The boy was zonked after his bath as he's taken to sporadically dropping his afternoon nap. I need to bank some early nights this week too in preparation for an epic parents' evening on Thursday...

Monday, 23 April 2012

Pathetic Fallacy


Today it has been wet, windy and freezing all day. It feels like October. I would like it to be July.

That is all.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

A storm in a coffee cup


On the way back to Brighton today, we took a stroll around the very civilised Richmond. It was a beautiful bright day, and Dexter slept soundly in his buggy.

We wanted somewhere quick and reasonable for a bite to eat before hitting the road. The Pret-a-Manger is tiny, so we inevitably ended up in Starbucks.

Dexter woke up and had a massive meltdown which even terrified a little girl at an adjacent table.

He is snot, he is teeth, he is spots, he is constant coughing. He is wanting to stand independently, but constantly falling down. I feel really sorry for the poor little man.

As referenced in an earlier post, I fear 'the storm' may be arriving this week...

Saturday, 21 April 2012

A connection with the past


Fell asleep mid-way through Graham Norton's chatshow last night, and Dexter didn't wake up until almost eight o'clock: now that's how I know my weekend has started.

After some breakfasting, ablutions and packing, Team Wayne was hurtling its way to West London to stay with some friends whom we haven't seen for ages. Said friends are currently living in a fabulous big house with its own guest floor, have a nine month old (we've never met) and a three year old, and are incredibly chilled-out and laid back. I felt that my relaxed day yesterday had perfectly prepared me for spending time in such company. I had no concerns that the length of time we hadn't seen them for would pose any problems.

The day panned out exactly as hoped for, with no real need to do anything apart from eating, chatting and playing. I really admire this couple's sense of style and was particularly impressed that their children get to play with some genuine Fisher Price original classic toys that have been lovingly stored away in a family loft.

Dexter was completely taken with the 'activity centre' - the same toy I cherished as a favourite in my childhood. It's garish and plasticky, but thirty years on, looks cool and retro too. I loved the fact that he was so engaged by something so basic and classic at the same time.

Prior to the boy's arrival in the world, the husband and I harboured the rather romantic notion that Dexter would own a haul of stylish, wooden, hand-painted playthings. He does have some of these, but of course, there is the obligatory bag of garish, plastic, flashing loot as well. Today made me reconsider simply passing them on to a younger child/charity shop in favour of keeping some token favourites as mementoes. I'm hoping our friends' love of the classic and retro has worn off on Dexter, and he'll be able to appreciate both the simple and special things from his own childhood.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Keeping calm (and carrying on)


Fridays are always mental. Today though, things just sort of washed over me. Our Friday morning pit-stop meant we arrived at nursery, and therefore work, rather later than usual. I did not fret.

I had a whole day of lessons. The way they are timetabled usually finishes me off by lunchtime. Today, all was very chilled; I enjoyed myself.

Aside from a brief moment of panic in the school car park, when a colleague had accidentally blocked me in (making me two whole minutes late for nursery pick-up), we got home at a reasonable time. Dexter had been chilling out on his special trike in the Huffle playground when I collected him. He'd had some moments of calm in his day ie. epic naps, and some moments of 'emotion' (bloomin' teeth).

When the husband got home to take over, I even had the strength to tackle the supermarket shop, just to get it done. This achievement was rewarded by some good parking karma, only making me feel calmer.

The obligatory glass of chilled white and collapsing on the sofa, made for a calm end to the day.  Sometimes, just sometimes, those (metaphorical) plates remain spinning without too much stress. I am not yet contemplating the potential 'storm' that may bring some crashing down - it is the weekend after all.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

'What have you done today to make me feel proud?'


Some of the young people I work with made me feel proud today. My lovely, lovely A Level group all handed in a really important piece of A2 coursework on time. It's not always that usual for all of your students to meet a deadline, especially at such a pressured time of year for exam groups. They've worked really hard on it, and despite my long-standing hatred of marking in general, I'm looking forward to seeing what they have come up with.

I felt proud of a student facing real personal adversity, but turning it into a positive to support others in the same situation, in a really public and constructive way.

It's made me think of the parental pride I already have flashes of, that hopefully will grow as Dexter gets older and as he achieves more milestones. I hope I will feel proud of the husband and me that we crack this parenting malarkey and manage to unleash a functional, well-adjusted boy on the world.

With a slightly celebratory feel in the air, dear lift-share friend and I decided that dinner in our lovely local was definitely in order - clelebrating the fact that we'd made it through another bonkers day and the weekend's in sight.

My favourite moment was when I gave a chip to the boy from my plate. He inhaled the whole lot in one go, reminiscent of the romantic spaghetti scene in 'Lady and the Tramp'. Proud.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Bumps and balloons


Dexter woke up three times last night. Am clinging on to the mother's mantra that: 'Everything's a phase'. That, combined with the filthy weather, made a mid-week coffee-stop obligatory.

I had morning bus duty in the bitter wind and driving rain. I arrived at lesson one with very large hair. I made it through a morning of lessons and detentions and tutor time, to the relative calm of a free lesson, with just enough strength and motivation to send some emails and plan some resources.

After an hour-long meeting after school, we hurtled to Huffle to collect the boy. He'd been a bit boisterous today and was 'told-off' for barging a little girl out of the way. They concurred that he definitely understands 'no', and I'm pleased we are all being consistent. I fear I may be a super-strict mummy...

Lift-share friend and I had to stop at Sainsbury's on the way home. The Starbucks there was 'celebrating' its tenth birthday (there was a sign, two balloons and a disappointing lack of freebies), so it seemed rude not to join in the 'celebrations'. Whilst waiting for our beverages, Dexter was doing some standing on one of the seats, as captured in the first of today's #366 photos. Very shortly after that was taken, he spotted his dummy on the adjacent table, reached for it, grasped the table for a second and then fell, in a skydiver style, to the floor. My heart momentarily stopped. He cried for about ten seconds. There was a small, red mark on his head and he was given his dummy and a balloon to distract him (as pictured in the second photo). He wasn't keen on having any ice put on his head. I think I remained calm about the whole thing.

On returning home, I phoned my sister who reassured me that as the boy was one hundred percent his usual self - playing with his beads, giggling and squeezing out a stinky poop - he was probably fine, and it sounded like a 'good' fall... She also informed me that it was no bad thing he was reluctant to have the ice pack foist upon him, as that is not the thing to do for a bump to the head.

The only concern I have now is that I want him to sleep through for the first time this week, but if he does, I fear I will be anxious that he is in his cot with concussion. Ah, the steep learning curve that is parenting. And it's still raining.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

An early start


Dexter awoke at a quarter to five this morning. He would not settle. I brought him in to bed with us. He fell back to sleep at ten to six. My alarm went off at six.

The post-lunch slot was a struggle.

Apparently, he slept really well at nursery, and has been practising his independent standing. I am hoping this will sufficiently wear him out for this evening's bedtime.

I managed to mark A Level coursework until nine o'clock. I also managed a chapter of a book - reading it that is.

Have I really just had two weeks off?...

Monday, 16 April 2012

Just another manic Monday...


This was the boy at six thirty this morning. I had already been up for half an hour, making tea, packing his lunch box and dining on an extraordinarily cosmopolitan breakfast of spaghetti hoops on toast. I didn't have the heart to wake him at six as he was flat out. I am still insanely jealous that he basically gets to wear his bed, even when he has been taken out of it. The early alarm call wasn't half as brutal as I had expected it to be though, simply by dint of it being such a bright and sunshiny morning.

I was soon back into the swing of running down the stairs in our building with several bags, running down the road to the car, driving the car back up to outside the house, and then running back inside to get the boy. By the time I get in the car to drive to work, I sometimes feel like I should be wrapped in a foil blanket, chomping on a Mars bar and swigging Lucozade.

Dexter seemed happy enough to be dropped off at nursery. His beloved Sarah wasn't there when I left him, but he gave the other girls some smiles and some analytical staring. School was fine. I started to catch up with myself and get on top of things, whilst simultaneously generating a to-do list the length of my arm, but that's the nature of the job. Mondays are meeting days, so it is a long start to the week, and a late collection at Huffle.

When I arrived to collect the boy. he was being pushed around/practising using his legs on a rather unique-looking, three (tiny) - person trike. Sarah was ably assisting with the pushing and Dexter barely gave me a second glance, and was fiercely determined not to let go of the handlebars when I tried to lift him off it. Two weeks of mother-son bonding has been over-ridden (literally), by the boy's love of anything with wheels.

I walked back through our door at thirty seven minutes past six. There was time for a perfunctory dunk, some rudimentary teeth-cleaning, a story at top-speed, and then back inside the wearable duvet cover. The school bag was opened and closed again dead on nine. All my evening has left in store is a hot bath and (ashamed though I am to admit it), the latest episode of 'Made in Chelsea'. I can't think of a television programme that depicts a 'reality' that couldn't be further removed from my life, but I think that's kind of the point. I'm not sure 'Knackered in Brighton' would draw in quite the same viewing figures, so I shall continue to write about it instead.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Pack up your troubles...


Had 'school dreams' last night: grim. Blew the cobwebs off with a very bracing ride on a slightly pesky pony. When I returned, the husband had taken the boy into town to catch up with some friends who were in Brighton to take part in the marathon.

I ducked out of the reunion, as I had to pop to Sainsbury's (there is just too much glamour in my life), and catch up with a friend for coffee. And so the child-free afternoon was dedicated to school work and chores, as are all of my Sundays at the end of the school holidays.

The bag was packed by nine o'clock this evening. I'm going to try really hard to get the balance right this term. It surely can't be completely impossible? I'm trying to feel positive about returning to the grindstone. Dexter will be glad to see Sarah and the girls, and he'll be back in his routine. I will appreciate the weekends and holidays even more.

I will never be positive about the six o'clock alarm call. 'Night 'night. 

Saturday, 14 April 2012

A super Saturday


Today was perfect. It started with a lie-in, despite having plans for the day. We then drove up to Kingston to visit some very dear friends. Dexter slept all the way, and the only imperfect moments were some traffic jams and the husband having a disagreement with the sat nav.

On arrival, we had a delicious lunch and then wellied-up and wrapped up for a lengthy yomp around Richmond Park. The sun was shining, the air was crisp, and the alfresco cream tea half-way through the walk was delicious. The boy only got slightly crotchety when he was prevented from crawling round in a flower bed.

We were back in Brighton by eight o'clock. Dexter had travelled home in his pjs, and was seamlessly transferred from car seat to cot.

Dinner, catching up with 'The Voice' to fuel my increasing obsession with, hot bath, bed. Perfect.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Supermarket Sweep


Friday 13th - I wasn't too worried anyway, as I'd planned a low-key day. Dexter and I only ventured out to Waitrose to do the weekly shop. It proved to be a marginally more exciting experience than usual, as I registered for one of those scanner thingies that means you get to scan and pack your shopping as you go round, and avoid all the queues when paying at the end.I thought it was pretty cool. I am clearly easily impressed. Dexter's face in today's #366 photo perhaps suggests he is not so easily impressed.

He spent the afternoon napping. I actually did some school work. The fear is setting in...

Thursday, 12 April 2012



Today the boy and I had a lunch date with a dear old friend from university. My venue of choice was 'Jamie's Italian'. It proved to be a good choice as Dexter devoured a selection of Italian breads, 'funky chips' and rice balls with great gusto. I can never quite contain my disappointment that this Italian doesn't actually serve pizza, but I'm not known for my refinement or sophistication.

Our waitress was lovely and very cool about the carnage Dexter created in the very stylish surroundings. She was somewhat alarmed when I suggested that one of the crayons from the children's little amusement pack may well have gone the way of the funky chips - and I don't mean on the floor. The boy didn't seem too perturbed. His nappies are already pretty colourful.

Post-lunch, I scooted round the shops whilst the boy snoozed in his buggy. In every shop I visited, I picked a load of things up to buy, did some swift mental calculations and then put them all back again. The spreadsheet this month doesn't allow for fancy lunches and new outfits. It doesn't matter at all. I'm just really relishing the Dexter-time, catching up with friends time and chilling out time. It's a long old term coming up...

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Doctor's Orders


The boy woke up at eight this morning. This is obviously (more than) fine, but I do tend to become a little nocturnal/drink two glasses of vino of an evening, rather than one, during the school holidays. So this morning, we  both just seemed to be chugging along at a leisurely pace.

I had a doctor's appointment at eleven. I made it during the last couple of weeks of term when I was feeling utterly broken and looking like a knackered old pit pony. The GP's verdict was I need to eat more and 'watch things' at work. I'm assuming she wasn't suggesting turning teaching into a spectator sport, and I explained that (despite my tiny frame), I do actually eat rather a lot.

Anyway, I felt it was acting on doctor's orders to pop along to a local deli on the way home and buy an enormous sandwich and flapjack, which I devoured when we returned home. The boy is still working his way through Daddy's banana muffins.

I put Dexter to bed at about quarter to one, and feeling a little sleepy myself, sidled into my own bed with a book. 

Three hours later, we both woke up. I had snoozed away vital cooking/cleaning/marking/watching old episodes of Jeremy Kyle time. Consequently, my plan to make one of Ms Karmel's cottage pies for dinner had to happen whilst simultaneously trying to entertain the boy. He spent a lot of time 'walking' around the kitchen, clinging to my legs. He also spent quite a lot of time whining, probably because he was bored. In trying to create delicious, home-cooked food, I was probably behaving like a bad mother.

The 'easy family dish' ended up taking the best part of three hours to make, during which time I also had to load and unload the dishwasher twice due to all the pots and pans used. I also managed to somehow 'break' the kitchen sink tap, causing a slightly alarming spraying and leaking situation. The book I fell asleep reading this afternoon is called 'I Don't Know How She Does It'. I am considering writing my own sequel: 'I Don't Know Why She Bothers'.

When we eventually sat down to eat, the meal was fine, and there seemed to be enough to feed a small third world country, so I've chucked it in the freezer as it will do for us all when the madness starts again next week. I'm hoping the doctor will approve: trying to ease the stress and thinking about my stomach.

It is now nine o'clock. The boy will not settle because of his teeth and I suspect we are in for a long night. Perhaps that three hour nap was a pre-emptive strike...

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Civilised soft play


I am writing today's post at quarter past two in the afternoon. I am aware that this is only halfway through the day, but I am showing off. True to yesterday's resolution, when the boy awoke at half past seven this morning, we both stayed up. Consequently, by ten o'clock, we were up, fed, dressed, out and hurtling our way to collect dear friend, Hannah, and the delicious Lady Lottie.

Hannah had convinced me to visit a soft-play centre on the basis that it is not the bowels of Hades/Monkey Bizness (which I hate). It was so lovely, calm, clean and colourful, that I am not even going to reveal where it was. It must remain a closely-guarded secret.

The boy was off to a slow start. Whilst Lottie gleefully crawled onto the miniature bouncy castle, I placed Dexter on it who immediately lay face-down and cried. He perked up in the 'Under Eighteen Months' section, and was all giggles at being pushed backwards and forwards repeatedly on a small, plastic, push-along toy.

The babies had their lunch there/Dexter decorated the table with a banana muffin. The coffee was good, and we were home, with the boy fast asleep in his cot by quarter to one. I have caught up on some washing and some blogging. Dexter continues to recharge his tiny batteries. The sun is shining. We may even squeeze in a visit to the park this afternoon.

Easter holidays are the best!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Bank holiday chilling


Bank holiday Monday: naturally, it poured down and was windy and freezing cold. The boy and I remained in pyjamas all day.

Dexter had an epic snooze in the afternoon, just short of three and a half hours. I really think he's stocking-up to keep him going through another hectic seven weeks of early mornings, long car journeys and the Early Years Curriculum.

His lack of routine during the holidays generally doesn't bother me, but today it meant that tea-time was all out of sync, and consequently, Dexter rejected a home-made pasta dish and a beloved child's chicken korma ready meal (M&S don't you know). He still managed to squeeze in a fromage frais. It has motivated me to get him a bit more back on nursery time this week, which is no bad thing as it means that I have to drag my lazy bones out of bed too.

The husband finally got round to making some banana muffins with the over-ripe bunch of bananas that have been adorning the kitchen table all week. Dexter was hysterical at the sound of the butter and sugar being beaten together in the food processor. It was all a bit too much for the little chap and he was back in bed by seven o'clock.

My mum has a theory that babies 'come on' in their sleep. If that really is true, I'm growing a little pet Einstein up there...

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Sunday Funday


Easter Sunday, and the boy discovered a love of hot cross buns, but pleasingly not chocolate buttons - I will obviously not let them go to waste.

We went to the christening of a dear friend's baby boy this afternoon. I am not remotely religious, but the little country church was beautiful and it did seem appropriate to be there on a day like today. Dexter was very well behaved. He 'read' his robot book and clapped in all the wrong places during the service. He also enjoyed the post-service celebratory tea and managed to cover Mummy and Daddy's Sunday best in sandwich and cup cake.

It was lounge wear all round when we returned home, and the boy got some more practice in with his new walker. He has realised he can transport books/his milk/himself round in it, which obviously adds a whole new exciting dimension. The cats look worried.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Making Plans


An uneventful morning, briefly punctuated for me by the obligatory visit to Waitrose. It was rammed. Every aisle was filled with Brighton's middle classes, panic-buying legs of lamb, hot cross buns and over-priced tulips.

In the afternoon, Team Wayne trotted over to the house of one of the families we know through NCT. The boy was not the best company; his teeth are driving him mad. Fortunately, his little buddy, Lenny, was sporting matching flushed cheeks, slight rash and commitment to Calpol. Dexter did manage to inhale a couple of Dairy-Lee sandwiches, but spent much of the time face down on the floor or trying to clamber up the legs of the husband or me.

Snacks over, the grown-ups got round to the serious business of booking a summer holiday in France. It's exciting to actually have it in the diary. It will also be the prompt I need to get the boy's passport sorted. I will probably have to pay some over-inflated price to get the pictures done professionally as I don't fancy my chances of getting Dexter to balance/sit still on a swivel stool whilst I remain out of sight behind a curtain.

We were home by nine o'clock in the evening. Dexter fell asleep on the way home and remained asleep as we changed him into his pyjamas and put him to bed. It's a shame he has passed the one year mark, as at less than twelve months, they don't have to have their eyes open on children's passport photographs. Now that would be a doddle.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Hey, I put some new shoes on, and suddenly everything is right...


Good Friday has been good. It started with a big lie-in for Team Wayne (ten o'clock if you will), followed by a brilliant brunch of 'special scrambled eggs': scrambled eggs with anything else left in the fridge chucked in. There was a minor blip involving a Vesuvius-esque nappy explosion followed by mandatory military-style shower and scrub.

When we finally left the house, the sun was out (I took my puffa off for twenty five whole minutes), and Brighton had that laid back, bank holiday, jollyday vibe going on which I love so much. The main mission of the day was to get the boy kitted out with some shoes. He's increasingly keen to be on his feet, and increasingly in need of a little support in the foot area.

In a flashback to my own youth, we trotted along to Clarks, where he was measured (three and a half,G), and kitted out with the latest 'Lad Cruisers'. And just how pleased does he look in today's #366 photograph?! I was not quite so thrilled upon checking out the 'First Shoes' welcome pack, to discover that we have to take him back in six to eight weeks, potentially to get a new pair. A horse in full work gets more use out of its footwear.

We also treated the boy to his very own little push-along walker to get best use out of his new shoes. Several laps of the living room floor and a new bout of tooth/gum ache later, the boy was ready for his bed. I have made a start on some of his Easter treats - I'm selflessly thinking of those developing teeth... 

I'm also hoping for another lie-in tomorrow. I love Easter.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Homeward Bound


My mum let me sleep until eleven this morning. Bliss. My batteries are in need of some serious recharging. When I woke up, the boy was out in his buggy with Granddad, on one of Granddad's thrice-daily trips to Sainsbury's - ah, the joys of retirement!

Today was heading back to Brighton time, but not before a big family breakfast, a catch-up with some more extended family members and having to borrow a suitcase to take home instead of my holdall, as Dexter has procured a number of Easter gifts.

Today's #366 photo is of the boy in the car park at Manchester airport. He looks quite chilled-out in the picture; he didn't remain quite so laid back for the remainder of the journey. Getting home was just a bit tedious. The boy was tired, tetchy and toddler-ish. Fortunately, various airport staff/members of the public were helpful with lifting/carrying/waiting patiently.

The poor boy's teeth are really bothering him. He's been proudly sporting just the two for about four months now - I definitely think some more are on the way. Dexter flashed a particularly broad (but gummy) smile as we turned the corner into 'Arrivals': Daddy had come to pick us up. Order was restored.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Cold Snap


Today's #366 photograph captures Dexter striking a pose that has become very familiar this week. He has become obsessed with staring out of the back door (I have caught him licking the actual glass on a number of occasions), with a quiet yearning for the outdoors.

My parents have a lovely garden. It is big and flat, with a swing, a little trampoline and several ride-on bikes. Sadly, this door-framed view of it is the closest the boy has got to exploring this week. It is freezing. No amount of my mother's reminiscing about last week's 't-shirt weather' is going to convince me to a) take the boy outside or b) remove my enormous, heavy, super-warm maternity winter coat that I have fallen back in love with (despite not being pregnant) and have brought oop North with me.

Today, the boy and I paid a brief visit to a family member who lives in North Wales. We drove through an actual snow flurry, and the skyline boasted a vista of snow-covered mountains. 

I'm afraid, Dexter dude, you're staying this side of the glass. You're a southern boy: you won't cope.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Best foot forward


This was the boy this morning: scooting up and down my mum's galley kitchen with his cousin's (now surplus to requirements) baby walker. We don't have our own walker yet, but they've been trying to get the boy going on one at nursery. They've resorted to an actual zimmer frame, as Dexter is so distracted by the buttons and lights on the genuine article, that he keeps falling over. He seems quite happy with the one pictured. He's still not bending his knees though and insists on walking on his ankle bones. Perhaps he's just not ready. I was eighteen months old before I walked; prior to that, I just shuffled along on my bottom.

I spent all afternoon sitting on my bottom, several floors up  at Manchester's Hilton Hotel, enjoying a belated Mother's Day afternoon tea with my mum. It was a little strange being there with my mum, as a mummy myself, as the last time I was at the venue was for cocktails for my hen-do. How times have changed. The food was delicious, and the experience oozed sophistication - that is until my mother got her Tupperware out of her handbag (I kid you not), to take home the 'left-overs'.

The boy spent the afternoon with Granddad. I figured his rather primitive attempts at being mobile, were probably best confined to the house.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Coffee and catching-up


Despite it being April, the weather in Manchester seems to be suffering from some sort of seasonal confusion disorder. Today's plan was a visit to the park with two of my school friends and their children. It ended up being a catch-up over coffee at the local David Lloyd; pleasingly, the idea of actual exercise was never even entertained.

It was lovely catching up with some dear old friends. We've known each other since being eleven years old, and now we have a five year old, a thirteen month old and an eleven week old between us. It was all very civilised. The eldest child played with my youngest niece; tiny baby just chilled out on the laps of various people. Dexter exhausted himself with an extensive game (about three minutes) of 'Peek-a-boo', and then slept.

In the evening, we hooked up again, but this time, without children. Wine was consumed, birth stories exchanged and much reminiscing about school crushes took place. There was crazy-talk of continuing the catch-up somewhere with later opening hours. Fortunately, sleepy suburbia offered no such opportunities. Given that I'm currently sharing a room with Dexter, I think fate was on my side.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Come fly with me


First of April today and this fool took a thirteen month old on a flight to Manchester. Actually, it transpired not to be such a ridiculous quest. As mentioned before, my roots are in the North, and my family is based in Manchester. As I have two glorious school-free weeks ahead of me, the boy and I are going to spend some time visiting ma famille.

The husband dropped us off at Gatwick. We travel light. I pack a wardrobe of small, black, lycra garments (much less exciting than they sound). Dexter's kit is all miniature man clothes anyway. My sister has two young children, so all the baby kit is still knocking around. My mum is more of a product junkie than I am, so I basically take a toothbrush in my washbag.

Travelling alone with a small person seems to be the way to do it anyway. I first flew up North with the boy (singlehandedly) when he was seven weeks old. I was treated like a slightly jollier, curvier and poorer version of Victoria Beckham, with people falling over themselves to help this poor tiny female with a newborn strapped to her front.

People were equally kind today, with the added bonus of being able to push the significantly larger baby round in the trusty Maclaren, pretty much until I stepped on the plane.

The boy and I ended up sitting amongst a twenty-strong hen party. He was very well-behaved, and they were very impressed I managed to juggle Dexter, his books and his blanket, and a complimentary tiny bottle of Pinot: months of practice.

The boy was charm personified - appropriately sleepy/smiley as required. The plane landing must have jiggled him around a bit, as he managed to fill his nappy just as we hit the runway. The plane cleared pretty quickly...