Thursday, 31 May 2012

Mummy who?


The last day was a tad more easy-going and much more about pointing forward to the challenges we face in developing and facilitating a programme of our own: exciting stuff!

Lift-share friend and I were exhausted on the trip home. We could just about manage a coffee (naturally), and skimming through some magazines.

I was so excited about seeing my boys. The husband had deliberately kept Dexter up a little later than usual and seemed to have old episodes of 'In the Night Garden' playing on loop to achieve this. I burst through the door, all smiles and high-pitched enthusiasm.

The boy looked over me as I was obscuring his view of Iggle Piggle. Ouch.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Food is the answer


This morning was the culmination of last night's hard work. It was a snippet of what the programme is preparing us to do on a bigger scale. I thought it went really well, and it was a real confidence boost. The rest of the day had a distinctly slower pace; we'd reached the peak of the mountainous challenge and were on the descending path. The course facilitators were even ushering us away at five o'clock, to have some time out before the celebratory barbecue.

I took this opportunity to Skype home. I got a few pixelated smiles from Dexter. He'd spent the morning in the newly re-opened Brighton Sea Life Centre. Initially, he liked the tanks. Today's gem of a #366 photo was taken as the boy's daddy deigned to put him down. Shortly after this, Dexter fell soundly asleep, leaving Daddy, Nana and Grandad to enjoy the underwater creatures. The boy regained consciousness for lunch in an Italian restaurant where he was impeccably behaved.

I stuffed my face too at this evening's rather deluxe barbecue. Lights out at midnight; almost time for home.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Wired to the mains


I'm not sure where to even begin with today's post. I'm not sure I even have a proper post in me. Today has been massively intense, utterly exhausting and hugely rewarding. We were told by the programme facilitators that today would be the most challenging day and things would really step up a gear: they weren't lying. It is gone midnight and I am blogging in bed in the hope it will help me wind down as I feel wired to the mains.

No Skype session with my boys this evening as I simply haven't had time (bad mother/wife). I made a brief phone call to check in with the husband. Dexter has had an emotional day. In my head, he is pining for his mummy; in reality, he is probably teething - again. Dexter's low points were pretty much refusing to eat and having a tantrum every time feeding him was attempted. Highlights were another trip to the park and the arrival of Nana and Grandad.

In contrast to my son, I have managed to eat very well. Stepping up a gear has necessitated extra fuel. Being part of this four-day programme has felt even more like an episode of 'The Apprentice' today. I'm half-expecting Lord Sugar to rock up at breakfast tomorrow to give us our task for the day. I'm enjoying myself immensely; I'm meeting great people and learning lots. In true 'Apprentice' style, I'm hoping that if our team is successful, there will be a 'treat'. Right now, I'd settle for a great big cuddle with the boy.

Only one more night away.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Divided Duty


I had a very early start this morning: quarter past four to be precise. It was like the newborn days - but without a crying baby. Dexter was sound asleep; I had to be up to head off to Nottingham. I had a peek in the cot before I left, but my heart actually felt like it was going to explode, so I swiftly moon walked out of there.

One of the very good things about the four day residential course I am going on is that I am a delegate alongside lovely lift-share lady. One taxi, two coffees and two trains later, we arrived at our destination at about quarter to ten, for a prompt start to proceedings at ten. I won't go into too much detail, but the day was interesting and enjoyable, but incredibly intense, and, at times, felt like starring in a particularly gruelling episode of 'The Apprentice'.

Before dinner, I managed a quick Skype session on my phone with the husband and the boy. Initially, Dexter seemed very confused as to why mummy was inside the phone, but he soon got the hang of it and was clapping and smiling. Thank goodness for modern technology.

My boys have had a deliciously sunny day involving a lie-in, TV in bed, a trip to the garden centre, lunch at the park, swings and sand. The husband is living my maternity leave. The only dampener on the day for poor old Dexter was a trip to the car wash with his daddy. Apparently, the jet wash was a little too much to handle - no doubt too reminiscent of last week's shower disaster. 

I had a delicious dinner and enjoyed the company of some really interesting people. I was effusive about my work and I know I still have a real love for the job. I won't however, see the real loves of my life until Thursday. I fear I may be struggling by then. 

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sunday stuff


Today has been hot, hot, hot. I was envious of my friend's horse after my riding lesson this morning. She had a couple of buckets of cold water chucked over her after our ride; I was sweaty and a bit whiffy.

When I got home, the boy was snoozing, his feet propped up on the bars of his cot. We were supposed to be heading out to a friend's birthday BBQ, but I'd simply had too much sun, and it was a tad too warm again for Dexter, despite an ample layer of factor fifty. The boy and I spent half an hour or so in the garden, nestled in the shade.

I spent the rest of the day experiencing a creeping anxiety and sense of dread. I have to get up at quarter past four tomorrow morning. That in itself, is bad enough. However, I also have to get on a very early train to Nottingham, to go to a professionally exciting developmental course for three nights and four days. The boy is staying at home and being looked after by his daddy. I will miss them terribly, and can't help thinking I am doing a bad thing in leaving Dexter for so long.

The husband will also be in charge of the daily #366 photograph. I'm not sure what will happen with my 'ramblings' yet. It's going to be an interesting week...

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Sun and fun


After last night's random bout of sulkiness, today was ace! I made a lone and quick journey into town to pick up a few things I needed, then Team Wayne drove out to Goring-by-Sea, just beyond Worthing. It has been another gloriously sunny day, and the beach there is just gorgeous and lacks the chaos and crowds of Brighton in the sunshine.

We enjoyed a stroll along the promenade, some simply super fish and chips, and a play on the pebbles. Dexter had a ball, and, like his mummy, seemed to enjoy just watching the world go by. It's amazing how many people want to chat to a small crawling person in Hawaiian shorts and a sunhat.

After the weekly splurge in Waitrose, I headed off to a friend's annual Eurovision party, whilst the husband stayed at home with Dexter. It was brilliantly cheesy, Euro-tastic fun, with people taking along various national dishes and scoring some of the worst possible performances you could watch on television.

The Hump was robbed: the only low point of the day.

Friday, 25 May 2012

A shower of emotions


Another memorable day for some of my students today: time to bid the GCSE students farewell. I spent an hour in my very sweaty classroom, signing shirts - whilst students were wearing them - and therefore, avoiding writing anywhere other than a sleeve. They were so excited about their big day, despite the fact they'll be back in for exams next week. It was lovely to witness - and also made me feel very old.

Despite an earlier than normal nursery pick-up and the first iced Starbucks of the year, I was Mrs Mardy (a northernism for grumpy), this evening. It started with the boy's bath time, which I thought I would make both speedy and refreshing, by substituting it for a cool-ish shower. Error. He HATED it and was utterly hysterical. Going to have to work on that one. Put him to bed in nowt but a nappy and vest though as the warm spell continues.

I spent the rest of the evening feeling tired and sulky, for no real reason at all. I think I'm allowed to occasionally. Am sure I will perk up when the weekend starts.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The lows and the highs


Today was a momentous day for Dexter Rye Wayne. When I collected him from nursery, there seemed to be a little huddle of staff around him. The poor little dot had been stung by a wasp, on the palm of his left hand. Now, this was obviously a biggie. Don't think badly of me, but I'm actually quite glad it happened at nursery. Apparently the boy was hysterical: inconsolable. Sarah was there though with ice, antiseptic and cuddles.

The silver lining to this stingy cloud was that Dexter got stung taking some tiny independent steps. He actually had his first unsupported toddle yesterday, but the staff hadn't told me yet as they weren't sure whether I wanted to know about 'firsts' that happen at nursery rather than at home. I'm happy to experience them vicariously; I just want to know they are happening and when.

On the way home, the lovely lift-share ladies and I stopped off in Lewes. We went in a gorgeous, quirky independent shop that stocks homeware and kids' toys and clothes. Dexter was more than content playing with a little train set in there, so I feel happy that he wasn't completely traumatised by his day. And we are also happy in the knowledge that Dexter didn't have an allergic reaction to the sting.

Glass half full. 

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Moving on


Today proved to be another scorcher. My traditionally drizzly bus duty proved to be a balmy joy, even at such an early hour. The sunshine continued in a metaphorical way with some lovely lessons: more poems from the little ones in Year 7; last lesson with me for the oldest in the school - my Year 13 class. We had a lovely time, basically pigging out on doughnuts and brownies and chatting about the future. They presented me with a lovely card and bunch of flowers. It's so rewarding to feel that I may have had even a tiny impact on a person's life and experience in the world. Again, I saw things differently through 'mummy eyes'. Some other people's 'babies' are about to embark upon their next big life adventure - be it university, gap year or the world of work. I shall miss them.

My baby was in the sandpit when I collected him; his life journey is only just starting. The next stage for him though was not the lofty highs of academia or a round-the-world adventure, but a trip to Tesco before bath and bed.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Sunny side up


Today was wonderfully, seasonally, gloriously sunny: about time. I got in lift-share friend's car without a coat, knowing I had playground break duty today. That's how warm it has been.

The warmth and sunshine lifted spirits of staff and students alike. My classroom hasn't yet had the opportunity to heat up to the earth's core temperature - that will happen tomorrow. The kids were pleasingly blissed out and generally quite malleable.

When I collected Dexter from nursery, he was sitting in a highchair having his tea in nowt but a nappy. How lovely! He remained in his tiny sumo outfit for the journey home. We even stopped for ice creams; a bite from mummy's Cornetto received a somewhat mixed reaction.

We put Dexter to bed in short-sleeved pyjamas and no sleeping bag. I only glanced on Rightmove at enormous, over-priced properties with palatial grounds for five minutes or so.

La dolce vita - long may it last!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Powerful Poetry


My favourite lesson today was with a lovely Year 7 class. It was last lesson of the day and we spent it listening to the poetry they had produced as part of an anthology project. I asked one girl's permission to put one of her poems on here as it had made me cry.

Some say parents are cool
Some say parents are reassuring
Some say parents are embarrassing
I just say: "I love you."

Some parents give you their time
Some parents explain things for you
Some parents do what you want
I just want them to know I love them.

I loved the simple sentiment in it. I hope that one day Dexter will be able to articulate such feelings - once he has got over the fact that I keep posting photos of him on here in the buff!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Loving the little things


My nearest Starbucks is now open at ten (instead of eleven) on a Sunday morning. Now, this may seem a little thing to most, but it means I can squeeze in a chai tea latte and buttered fruit toast for breakfast on the way to riding: result.

Bolstered by my hearty/sugar-filled breakfast, I was raring to go when I reached the stables. I had been put on a tiny little pony called Monty. My heart sank. Not only is he a tiddler, but I have only ridden him once, years ago. He scared me and I cried and got off; I was thirty one. He actually turned out to be top fun - a super-talented pint sized pony - and I loved my lesson.

I spent the rest of the day putting coursework folders together - annotating endless essays and completing numerous cover sheets. It was not a little job by any stretch of the imagination and I had to fit it around playing with and feeding the boy.

My tedious afternoon was brightened up by capturing the little moment in today's #366 photo: my boys in their matching stripes, chewing the fat at bath time.

I follow a lady on Twitter whose blog is called 'Loving the Little Things'. She's a photographer and really sees the beauty in the most everyday occurrences. I hope she doesn't mind me borrowing her mantra; I think it's something we could all live by.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Weekend Fun


Today's #366 photo is supposed to represent a typical Saturday in the life of Dexter Rye Wayne. The day must start with a lie-in and then breakfast in pyjamas. The boy is partial to a couple of rounds of buttered, toasted milk roll. I like the toast photo. It got 're-tweeted' by Brit Mums this morning under their theme of 'cheese' - cheesy smile, cheese on toast.

I didn't get a snap of the boy helping mummy with the Waitrose run. To be honest, I only took him so I could use the parent-child parking spaces, but it's the most awkward car park in the world and there were none left anyway.

All this activity meant that by the time it came to leaving the house, Dexter was ready for a snooze, albeit a mobile, alfresco one. This allowed mummy ample time to run amok in Gap armed with some birthday gift vouchers and a 30% off promotion from a magazine.

The afternoon was rounded off with a visit from Lazza, a dear old university pal and the first person I met on arrival in Brighton too many moons ago. Lazza had been having a blissed-out time on Hove seafront and was in need of a caffeine fix - well, I fancied a coffee (obviously) and used her as an excuse.

Laz is an IT genius and technical saviour of this very blog as I initially spent a month writing it backwards. She doesn't have children, but thinks the boy is 'lush'. I agree!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Every picture tells a story


F-F-F-Friday! Thank Crunchie! Although this week has gone quickly, I struggle on Fridays. It's my busiest teaching day, which means the day doesn't drag, but I'm always exhausted. I'm also acutely aware of it being the day that my mummy friends who work part-time (ie. all of them), have as their day off. I know I should be much more grown-up about this, but sometimes, it just feels unfair.

When I collected the boy from nursery today I was given a huge pile of photographs of his many daily experiences. I had a momentary feeling that seeing all these experiences through photographs was 'unfair'... and then I got a grip.

There is nothing unfair about the fact that I have a job I love, a home that makes me happy, a brilliant bunch of friends and fantastic family, and best of all, my beautiful boys.

Cheers to the weekend!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Pub and Perspective


This morning I woke up with my eyes glued together with gunk. Deep joy: I have caught the boy's conjunctivitis. I also have a hacking cough (I fear there may have been some more germ transferal), and sound like a Woodbine-smoking octogenarian.

I'm feeling the pressure at work at the moment again; the balance is tipping the wrong way. Term five marks a very busy time in the secondary school teacher's calendar. It's exam season, which means endless assessments to mark, revision sessions to run, and spreadsheets to complete. This is all on top of business as usual with non-exam groups.

On the way home, we were diverted slightly from our usual route due to a road traffic accident. Lift-share friend and I decided that dinner and a glass of vino at the local were needed. We found out some more details about the accident which was actually very serious - a stark reminder that everything is just stuff really. Today's #366 photo captures what really matters. Blessed.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

What's in a word?


This morning, Dexter and I drove into work with only one of the lift-share ladies: Jo. The other third (Becka) had to attend a meeting after work at a different school, so took herself in. We still managed a coffee on the way, which took the form of a drive-by roll-out at the garage, to be greeted by Becka who had already purchased the required caffeine fix for us. Now that's what friends are for.

Back in the car, the conversation turned to my new toddler book as mentioned in a previous post. The lift-share ladies are very good at keeping any of my parental anxieties and over-analysis in check, but Jo liked the sound of the book as it's by Dr Tanya. I have chosen to fixate on the language acquisition part of the twelve to eighteen months section. According to Dr Tanya, by about fifteen months, toddlers are likely to have about ten words; Dexter has none. He is an expert in raspberry blowing and sing-songy babble. I'm not too concerned about this, but we are going to make the boy's chatting a lift-share project.

On the way home from school, we made a diversion via a farm that does a healthy annual trade in home-grown asparagus - don't worry, I'm not going to attempt that word with the boy. Dexter and I met a very nice lady and her ancient pony, Buzz. The boy was all smiles as he patted the pony's nose, and his little legs were wiggling about in excitement. This pleased me greatly, as it bodes very well for my aspiration that Dexter will love our hoofed friends as much as mummy does. I'd love his first word to be 'pony'.

Today's #366 photo depicts more bath time schooling - 'edutainment' if you will. I was overjoyed that he seemed to understand the word 'head', was able to point to it and balance a plastic cup on it. Now I've just got to get him to say it...

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Nobody puts baby in the corner


I woke up this morning with a pounding headache, swollen glands and a throat full of (metaphorical) razor blades. I was very, very close to phoning in sick. In teaching though, it's often easier to be there. By the time you've set cover, passed on various messages and jiggled your duty around - never mind the inconvenience to colleagues and letting the students down - the more straightforward option is to drag yourself in. So I did. I had got through half a packet of Nurofen Express by lunchtime.

I still felt pretty rubbish by the time I had got the boy home. We managed some snacking and some singing, and then Dexter was happy to crawl over to his special 'toy corner' in the living room.

In an attempt to avoid the flat being taken over by baby paraphernalia, and in a bid towards general neatness, Dexter has a collection of toys, books and his (Murray) Walker, stored down the side of an armchair. We have noticed that he is generally happy to play with said toys and 'read' his books, whilst actually sitting in the corner. A family member, who is also a primary school teacher, was telling me of the importance of a sheltered and quiet little spot where the tiny people can go to have some quiet play. She makes a real thing of it in her classroom. I love this idea. The husband spends hours in our study where the computer is. I am craving a stylish desk and iPad (wishful thinking) in the corner of our bedroom.

To quote Virginia Woolf: "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." Whilst the boy is unlikely to write any seminal modernist literary texts any time soon, I hope his little sanctuary gives him the space to relax and reflect after a busy day.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Doing things by the book


Today was a bit of a nothingy day. Pleasingly, there were no extremes. It felt a little bit like that advert, that I think is for some sort of low-calorie spread, which argues the notion that there's nothing wrong with 'the middle'. An even keel to start the week is very much appreciated as far as I am concerned.

The boy managed to give his mummy a smile at nursery pick-up time. Sarah informed me that he had thrown his tea on the floor - apparently with great intent and precision. I explained that he has had hours of target practice on the cats at home.

I guess the most extreme part of the day was the long and arduous journey home. An already hefty commute was compounded by some sort of bomb scare at the Sainsbury's/Starbucks on our route home. The whole of Brighton's emergency services seemed to have turned out to protect our coffee and orange carrier bags (and the good citizens of Brighton). It didn't half create some traffic.

A highlight of the day was receiving one of Amazon's distinctive cardboard-wrapped packages. Along with a couple of DVDs for school, I had ordered 'Your Toddler Month by Month', a book by Dr Tanya Byron. I think she's the lady who spent hours locked in a house with some feral youngsters on BBC3 a couple of years ago. As I've mentioned before, I pay scant regard to the words of parenting wisdom from published 'experts', but I really feel clueless about the toddler years, so I thought it might make an interesting read. I'll keep you posted on any nuggets of wisdom I pick up along the way...

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Festival Fun


The sun is still shining! You'd think it was May or something... First riding lesson outside this morning for what seems like an age. Happy ponies and this mummy's soul was certainly uplifted.

We met up with friends this afternoon at one of the Brighton Fringe Festival's family events: the 'Hurly Burly' tent. To be honest, I'm not really sure what was going on.  There seemed to be some interpretive dance (come on, this is Brighton we're talking about), some singing and some story telling. Dexter and his little buddy, Lenny, ate crisps and sucked on fruit pouches. Lenny hung around the portaloos due to an obsession with doors. Dexter whinged a bit and then fell asleep. I was bemused by Brighton's young families en masse. There was a lot of cheesecloth, Converse, beards, baby slings and kids called Vinyl - okay, I'm making the last bit up, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Brighton in the sunshine in the midst of its festival season is eclectic, buzzing and bonkers: I love it!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Sunshine Saturday!


Hold the front page! Today, it stopped raining, and the actual sun came out. Really. To celebrate, I went to Sainsbury's. Not really. Well I did go to Sainsbury's but not as a sun celebration, more because the fridge was empty.

It took me twenty whole minutes to park the car on my return, and then I was four roads away from the flat. At least I didn't get wet walking back from the car. Having put the shopping away, I met up with dear lift-share friend to view some artists' open houses as part of the Brighton Festival. It's something we do every year. I have completely given up the pretence of the purpose being to look at art. I have an interior design obsession and relish the opportunity to have a nosey around some of Brighton's characterful dwellings.

After said nosey, we met up with the husband and the boy at a local hairdresser's salon, as Dexter was very much in need of a haircut. He's currently more hair than boy, and it took a steady-handed hairdressing mummy, to whip off those 'hair handlebars' and thin out the substantial mullet. Dexter didn't really enjoy the experience and cried and wriggled a lot; the end result was a vast improvement on the previous Pat Sharp look.

We celebrated by going to our local's beer garden. Other lift-share lady (currently on maternity leave), also joined us with her five month old. A usually diminutive Dexter looked like such a big boy next to friend's baby, especially with his newly-trimmed barnet. Despite the boy's lack of walking, we're definitely in the toddler zone now: a whole new phase...

Friday, 11 May 2012

Mama do the Grump


Today I have mainly been an unhappy bunny. I should have seen this morning's breakfast stop and the lack of a sausage sandwich for me as some sort of sign. The seemingly innocuous cinnamon swirl replacement was clearly a portent of doom. The boy was fine; he got some cheap white bread and patisserie goods en route to nursery where he launched into Sarah's arms.

I have mainly been Mrs Intolerant (for intolerant, read: knackered and coming down with a cold). I tried to explain to a group of 'missing homework' offenders that the constant reminders, detentions, slips, phone calls home, etc is a tad wearing for me to administer. Granted, I could just slack off from such measures and let things slide, but it's not how I roll. I figure good teaching has a lot in common with good parenting: it's a bit of a war of attrition, and the key is fairness, boundaries and consistency. As I also explained to my forgetful (but sweet) little bunch of miscreants, I have one child of my own, but sometimes feel I have a couple of hundred to deal with.

My black mood was not lifted when I went to collect the boy from nursery. He took one look at me, and instead of his usual beaming smile, he cried and reached out to Sarah. A tiny part of my heart chipped away.

I got into bed fully clothed, aching and freezing cold, shortly after I had put Dexter to bed. He awoke at midnight, utterly distressed with sore gums and a tummy ache. He needed his mummy; the chip got repaired.

Thursday, 10 May 2012



At lunchtime today, I became involved in a conversation about Twitter and television - actually, I started the discussion. I mentioned the really inspiring blog of a lady I follow on Twitter, whose daughter has to wear a Spica. This led to further discussion of hospital-based, child-focused television programmes and how emotionally difficult they can be to watch. One of my colleagues, a mother of a little boy only a few months older than Dexter, was curious as to how I have the time for television and social networking sites. I fear it is yet more evidence of my questionable parenting. My iPhone is like an extra limb to me, and my capacity for terrible tv programmes is tremendous. Granted, most of my viewing takes place once Dexter has gone to bed, and is usually accompanied by planning/marking/Tweeting - hey, I'm a woman: I can multi-task.

The phone thing is more of an issue. It's all too easy to get through the door after a long day, get Dexter's toys out, settle on the sofa and half-heartedly play with him, whilst catching up with the day's comings and goings through a range of apps.

Slightly guilt-ridden, I collected the boy an hour earlier today. Instead of having his tea at nursery, he scoffed it in the back of lift-share friend's car. By the time we got home, he only needed to have his remaining snacks, so we enjoyed a little 'high tea' together. It wasn't quite The Ritz: I had a mug of builder's and two fig rolls, and he demolished a packet of raisins and threw some crisps at the cat - who ate them most willingly.

I have tried to capture this 'quality time' in today's #366 photo. I have recently discovered a brilliant app that enables you to create photo collages. It took me a good ten minutes to create the little montage above, during which time, Dexter 'read' some of his books to himself perfectly happily. He seems to be equally content in his own company as he is hanging out with mummy. Perhaps this is just how it should be...

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Two's company...


Today started with gunk o'clock, and the new morning ritual of bathing the boy's eyes so the poor little swamp-creature can open them.

The day definitely made me open my eyes to how naturally gregarious human beings generally are, and how my job allows for this sociable desire  to be indulged in the loveliest of ways. My first lesson was with a fabulous class full of students who are just really good company. My next lesson was with a slightly livelier bunch, but their excitement about life in general is really refreshing. After lunch, my very sweet Year Seven class was very interested in my blogging news from yesterday and attributed my success to any mentions of them in the blog! I ended the day with an A Level class. We were exploring a somewhat fruity text and generally putting the world to rights. Although I had another meeting after school, it's nice to have some adult company in the course of my day too.

One of the huge benefits of the boy being in full-time childcare is the varied company he spends his day with. There are enough other children at nursery to interact with, without feeling overwhelmed. He also has the company of the wonderful staff - top of the list being his beloved Sarah. She features in today's #366 photo. It's deliberately a little unclear as I'm not sure she really wanted to feature in a picture, let alone a blog post! Dexter adores her, and launches himself at her with great gusto every morning; you can virtually see the love hearts pouring out of his eyes! I think she reads this blog, but I also know she is quite reserved and very modest about her considerable skills. Sarah, if you are reading, Dexter and I think you (and the rest of the staff) are great! The boy is definitely in very good company on a daily basis.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

What a difference a day makes. Twenty four little hours...


Today didn't begin in the most positive way. I failed to hit the snooze button on my alarm and overslept by half an hour. Dexter woke up resembling the sort of creature that should have a cameo appearance alongside Sigourney Weaver in a Hollywood movie. His poor eyes are really suffering. As the husband attempted to wipe the 'eye snot' from the boy's peepers, Dexter thrashed about so much in my arms that the poor little sausage walloped his own head on the corner of the basin. Ouch!

The day got better though. I managed to get a prescription for some eye drops from the doctor without an actual appointment. Another highlight was my Year Seven class telling me the jumper I was sporting was 'awesome'. A birthday gift from the husband, it's a rather charming knit featuring a dashing dog (Jack Russell I think), by the name of Patch. It's not an iPad, but it's much more practical for warding off the unseasonably chilly weather.

However, the absolute best thing that happened today was opening my email inbox after school to discover I have reached the final of the Brit Mums 'Brilliance in Blogging Awards'. Thanks to readers of 'Brighton Ramblings', my cyber stream of consciousness takes its place amongst seven other finalists, all nominated in the 'Lit' category too. If you were one of those people who voted, then thank you very very much.

When I read the email, I felt completely overwhelmed and genuinely quite teary. What started as a fairly simple project - to take a photograph of Dexter everyday this year - has blossomed into something far more special to me. The blog has become a labour of love; it's cathartic, celebratory and therapeutic. But most of all, it's a testament to the completely life-changing and utterly 'awesome' experience that is being Dexter's mummy. I'm genuinely thrilled that I seem to have struck a chord with a completely eclectic audience. I do not think I stand the proverbial Hades-bound feline's chance of winning, and I'm definitely never going to win any awards for my parenting, but your support makes me feel that, in the grand scheme of things, I'm doing okay, so thank you.

I've been invited to the awards ceremony. I am not sure yet if it will be possible to attend. I've already started to consider what I could wear though - I've got a natty little dog-themed sweater. And, if I did win, it would surely be churlish not to purchase that iPad...

Monday, 7 May 2012

Keeping in touch - 21st Century style


The boy's eyes are even worse today; I didn't realise bodily fluids could be that colour. He still seems quite cool about it all though. Bank Holiday Monday obviously meant that it's been cold and damp today, so no park-action for us. Instead, the boy had to be content with being pushed around Waitrose in a shopping trolley. Wild.

After a big lunch and a truly epic snooze, the highlight of Dexter's day was a Skype session with my parents. He found it hilarious as my mum played peek-a-boo and sang songs to him. He repaid the entertainment with some toxic farts and a nuclear nappy.

Thank goodness there's no such thing as smelly-vision.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Bright Eyes


This morning, Dexter woke up and we had run out of his milk. He won't drink normal cow's milk and he was hysterical. Cue an emergency visit to Tesco Express at about half past seven. Thankfully, he calmed down pretty soon after that and promptly fell back to sleep.

By the time I had returned from my riding lesson, the boy was in the throes of full-blown conjunctivitis. I'm not sure today's #366 photo truly shows the extent of the gloopiness. Poor boy. I was hosting 'Book Club' this afternoon, so Dexter spent the afternoon in his room with his Daddy, reading playing and watching Mr Tumble. It was probably just what he needed.

This month's Book Club read was 'The Hunger Games', a book aimed at a teenage audience, which features a dystopian future North America where children compete in a competition by killing each other. We discussed how the story almost read like a description of a computer game, and perhaps this was one of the ways the writer had attempted to protect her younger readers. Dexter's current condition is bringing out my protective instincts. He's been really good, and he doesn't seem to be in obvious pain, but he does keep rubbing his eyes which are stuck together at the lashes. In the world of the book, his eyes would be magically fixed. In reality, he's probably in for a few days of discomfort.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Birthday Girl


Today was my 34th birthday. I'm not massively happy with this as it's a number that isn't divisible by five. The husband did Dexter's morning feed, and I got cups of tea and pastries, as well as some lovely cards and gifts. Dexter had bought his mummy the Rizzle Kicks album, which I promptly spilt a glass of water over. Less 'Mama do the Hump', more 'Mama is a Chump'.

I left my boys at home and whizzed into Brighton with lovely lift-share friend to have our make-up done at one of the stores in town. Swigging Starbucks and trying out eyeliners meant we missed the entire Brighton Children's Parade which signifies the opening of the Brighton Festival. I've never really coped well with all of the whistles and shouting, and am pleased to delay the inevitability of the time when the boy will be taking part, possibly dressed as a lobster and caked in face paint.

The husband treated us all to birthday lunch at Jamie's Italian. Dexter ate his own body weight in bread and chips, and had a minor meltdown when one of the 'Clean Plate Club' stickers got stuck in his hair.

After last night's escapades, I could only manage a quick wander round, before heading home for a snooze and an evening of 'talent' shows. It's not quite the birthday celebrations of old, but I'm perfectly content with it: that's how I roll nowadays.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Friday Frolics!


I have taken my #366 photos on the day as promised, but I'm updating the next four posts on Monday 7th May (bank holiday), as it's been my birthday weekend.

This picture was taken on Friday evening, when I was due to be going out with friends to celebrate the passing of another year in my life. I was in charge of the boy's bath time, hence in the photo he has sopping wet hair and is blowing raspberries at me in revenge for some inconsiderate hair washing.

Friday night was fun: cocktails and karaoke. I only had four drinks, but still managed to crawl into bed past one o'clock. Pre-Dexter, this would have been an early night, but now there's a small person in my life, the fear starts to set in around about midnight. I guess I'm a little like Cinderella and he's my handsome little prince.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Date Night


Today when I collected Dexter from nursery, the only children left were the boy and Lily. Lily is slightly older than Dexter, and as mentioned in a previous post, she's got a bit of a crush. I walked into 'Little Huffle' to see Dexter in his highchair, eating crisps, and Lily seated next to him on a miniature chair at a dinky table. I felt like I had interrupted a date - albeit one with a chaperone in the form of Lizzie. I swear I could see the love hearts flying out of Lily's eyes.

As we left, Lily went in for a kiss; Dexter turned away and she managed to plant a smacker on his shoulder. Undeterred, she also went in for a cuddle. The boy was having none of this. He may well have inherited his mummy's weirdness concerning hugging (I visibly bristle), or this was simply what will probably be the first of many occasions where I embarrass him. I am cool with this; I view it as part of a parent's job description.

For today's #366 photo, I continued in 'embarrassing mum' mode and perched him on the counter in Starbucks - yes, I need to buy shares in the place. He was more interested in the bits and pieces next to the till than being self-conscious. Long may it last!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Mrs Mum


It was lovely lift-share friend's birthday today. We sometimes feel like kindred spirits as we were born in the same year, three days apart. Dexter had bought her a lovely bunch of tulips. I think it is important for him to understand from an early age that women like to be bought flowers. I don't think this statement compromises my feminist values.

I could have done with a floral gift today. By lunchtime, I was uncharacteristically grumpy. I'd been teaching the younger students all morning. Despite their loveliness, they are inherently more needy and demanding, and therefore more exhausting. I honestly do feel like a parent to them sometimes: being fair but firm; consistent yet flexible; supportive, whilst trying to encourage their independence. One of my students calls me his 'school mum' (I nag at him a lot), and there is nothing more mortifying for a student who accidentally calls their teacher 'mum'. Incidentally, this happens quite regularly and it is usually boys...

I was definitely in 'teacher mode' this evening, when I was supposed to have my parent hat on. I did bathtime (yes, the boy cried at hair-washing time), and I was trying to teach Dexter his colours using his bath toys. We read 'Dear Zoo' three times, and we did some more colours and counting with his elephant mobile. Our pre-bedtime 'lessons' were rounded off with Dexter having a tantrum, chucking himself on the floor and rolling around crying. I'm glad my actual lessons don't finish like this - however much I feel like it sometimes...

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Eyes everywhere - or not...


Boy is the boy growing up fast. Today he has been 'painting' at nursery. Apparently he enjoyed smearing Sarah's face with paint; she got him back!

When we returned home, I discovered that Dexter's latest 'thing' is climbing. His perch of choice this evening was Noo Noo's armchair. This was a vantage point for about three and a half minutes of 'Charlie and Lola', before Dexter realised that all his toys lay on the other side of the chair. He attempted a scramble and a dive Tom Daley would be proud of into said toys, but I was just quick enough to grab the waistband of his joggers and prevent an unpleasant accident.

He also climbed every stair up to the bathroom (with me close behind), and it's made the husband and I super-conscious that we need eyes everywhere. I think we are entering a whole new phase: toddlerhood. I fear it may be rather hard work.

I supervised Homework Club as a favour to a fab head of year after school today. As we made sure the students knew what they were doing and supplied them with squash and biscuits, this colleague commented on my natural mothering instincts. I assume she was joking as she basically did all of the work. I was a presence, but I was also desperately trying to finish some resources on the computer for tomorrow's lessons, with one eye on what the students were doing.

I remember a friend describing my parenting style as 'benign neglect'. If I'm honest, I was a tad offended at the time by the term, largely because I didn't think it sounded very positive and I didn't understand what it was. I've since read a little bit about it on the internet, and it is actually the sort of parenting I'd like Dexter to experience. If showing some discernment in knowing what really needs attention and avoiding over-analysing every single behaviour my child displays defines the philosphy, then I'm all for it, and I now understand it was definitely meant as a compliment. As with eveything though, it seems to be about balance, and I won't be getting rid of the stairgates just yet...