Saturday, 30 June 2012

Fun on the farm


Despite the generally knackered theme of yesterday's grumpy post, the boy decided that quarter to six would be a respectable time to wake up crying this morning. Poor little man is really suffering with his teeth. We put him into bed with us for a while, but after he'd brought his legs crashing down onto my skull for the third time, I decided to put him back to bed. Legend that he is, this time we all woke up just before ten - a much more pleasing wake-up call.

The husband disappeared for a haircut in town, so Dexter and I ran some errands at the little parade of shops up the road.

In the afternoon, we met up with some fabulous friends whom we are going on holiday with in a month or so. We went to Middle Farm - a really lovely and well-managed place that has animals a-plenty to bother, and cider by the barrel-full to sup.

Dexter loved showing off his new walking/running/falling skills, giggling at chickens and playing with dirt. His little buddy, Lenny, enjoyed some llama spotting, climbing the rope frame and learning to say 'Dexter'. It was lovely and sunshiney, very relaxing, and just what this tired mummy's soul needed.

We hit Waitrose on the way back; I whizzed round with the trolley whilst the husband supervised a snoozing Dexter in the car. The evening has been spent updating my many late blog posts, drinking wine and generally feeling back on track. And there's still another whole glorious day left of the weekend tomorrow. Magic.

Friday, 29 June 2012

To blog or not to blog?


I am tired and grumpy and have too much to do. Dexter is tired and grumpy and is really suffering with his teeth.

This post marks the half-way point of the year and I'm still blogging. It's been feeling like a chore recently. I have not had the time or the enthusiasm or the energy to keep on top of each daily post. I hope I'm not falling out of love with it.

I think we just need a restful weekend.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Mixed emotions


I forgot to eat breakfast this morning, so I stopped at the garage for coffee and a croissant. I was standing behind a guy in a smart work shirt and trousers in the queue. Dexter kept trying to chuck himself at the unsuspecting fella, until I had to explain that my boy thought he was his daddy. Awkward.

The day went by in a blur. Gone is the golden age of teaching when the summer term was a time for winding-down. I'm almost looking forward to September and having a straightforward timetable without all the extras thrown in.

My department organised a cream tea after school, for a lovely colleague about to start her maternity leave. She's due very soon, and already has another child under two. I really admire how she's kept going, always with a smile on her face, doing it for the working mums!

As ever, Dexter was overjoyed to see his (actual) daddy this evening, especially as he was home in time to do bath time. There was a slightly hairy moment when the boy ran with enthusiasm into the door as the husband was opening it. There were some tears, and then he seemed okay again. That's kind of reflective of how I'm feeling this week.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Sad face


I am tired. Really tired. Flying solo in the car this morning. The boy spat his dummy out about twenty minutes into the journey. The rest of the journey saw me 'singing' to stop him crying; he is the only person in the world who would stop crying at my singing.

I taught all day and had a trying last lesson. It left me feeling depressed that despite my best efforts, some of our challenging students are difficult to reach. I hope I don't ever feel so defeated in a parenting context.

I left early to collect the boy, hoping this would cheer me up. He cried (again) when I took him away from Sarah. We got stuck in traffic so the journey home took ages. Dexter fell asleep in the car, and the sunny climes I had left had been replaced by a chilly sea-mist, characteristic of Brighton in early summer.

Never mind. The hump of the week is over. Just need to shake off my grump.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012



Today was an INSET (staff training) day. Lift-share lady and I naturally saw this as an opportunity for a sneaky coffee-stop. I was involved in a couple of the sessions that took place at school. I like to volunteer for this kind of stuff because despite all the negatives of a demanding job like mine, I'm still genuinely passionate about it. I think staff training and development sessions are vital in keeping teachers motivated, engaged and evolving.

There was a big focus on the idea of 'progress'. I guess as part of this initiative, the school has purchased some iPads. I've volunteered to borrow one for a couple of weeks to play around with its educational benefits. I've realised it's great for reading other people's blogs on, but no good for writing my own. Dexter loves the usual story apps he watches on my phone in a more giant and accessible form. They kept him distracted this evening whilst I tried to tackle some marking.

Although the end of term is looming, I seem to be busier than ever. The animated pig only kept the boy occupied for a limited time however, before he began trampling over my marking to uncharacteristically seek some mummy cuddles. I didn't make much progress with my marking until he went to bed, but I was very glad of the affectionate distraction.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Back down to earth with a bump!


If yesterday's post extolled the virtues of the mundane, today exemplified the banality of the daily grind. Nursery run, lessons, meeting, nursery collection, home late. I didn't even bath the boy, but we still had time for a story. The boy is borderline obsessed with books, but particularly  'Tough Trucks'. I'm very happy that a literary moment is very much part of Dexter's daily experience - and I'm learning a lot about HGVs.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Craving normality


This morning I woke up feeling pleasingly un-hungover and more than a little smug about my decision to bring my evening to an early close. I was however, craving some normality - the mundane, the banal, the everyday. I volunteered with enthusiasm to do the Waitrose run. I relished sitting down to lunch with my boys, despite the fact that Dexter creates an almighty mess - as demonstrated above. I even embraced blocks, books and Beebies with the boy.

I am a firm believer in the idea of the special times in life being balanced with the humdrum of everyday existence. That way, both are highlighted as glorious in their own way, and I like just feeling, well... normal.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Cluck, cluck!


No lie-in for me this morning. I did breakfast with the boy, conscious of the fact that I would be an absent parent today, as the main part of dear friend's hen was scheduled.

It started with a pedicure in town. I was very impressed with their work, in transforming my hobbit-like feet into something I don't have to hide in Converse all-year round.

Pamper over, we had an alfresco brunch in the sunshine, Dolphin Derby on the pier, bucks fizz on the beach, and an afternoon cream tea. I love spending quality time with girlfriends old and new, and felt no guilt whatsoever, as Dexter was getting quality time with his daddy.

I saw both of my boys briefly in the early evening. Dexter allowed his mummy first dibs on the bathroom to get ready for the evening's events. I got a quick, pyjama-clad, smiley goodbye.

After a very tasty meal at my favourite Brighton haunt, Bill's, we headed to a club. Despite embracing heels and hotpants with great gusto, by midnight I was flagging, and my chest wasn't happy.

I made like Cinderella and hailed down a Brighton pumpkin to take me home. After reflecting (very briefly) on the nights when I could stay out until six the next morning, bed was a very welcome sight - as was the webcam baby monitor on my bedside table. I've changed.

Friday, 22 June 2012

You win some, you lose some.


I didn't go to work today as I was back at the doctor's surgery to have some blood tests as a follow-up to last week's ambulance shennanigans. I'm not too concerned about having more tests - I'm pleased they're being so thorough - but I'm going with my self-diagnosis of something muscular. I sent the boy to nursery with the lovely lift-share ladies; he needs to stick to his routine.

In the afternoon, I boarded a train to 'that there London' (as they call it on Corrie). It was the awards ceremony for the Brit Mums 'Brilliance in Blogging' awards. Knowing I didn't stand a chance, I was still intrigued by the idea of a night out at a bloggers convention's prize night.

I'm rubbish in London, and had already annoyed a rather grumpy London Underground worker with my inane questions, and walked out in front of a cyclist by the time I got to the rather glamorous venue. It was a bit overwhelming and rather nervewracking, pitching up on my own. One of the first people I saw in the venue's foyer, was the rather awesome Cherry Healey. I've got a proper girl-crush on her and I love her programmes, blog and Twitter action. I decided it would be totally appropriate to strike up a conversation with her. She was absolutely lovely and told me she'd have a look at the blog, so 'Hi!' Cherry, if you're reading.

Inside the ceremony room was pretty full-on. It was like a thirty-something hen-party, writ-large, complete with butlers in the buff, posh canapes, and an awful lot of mums with a 'one night only: get out of jail free' card. I'm not sure it was really my bag. The mummy blogging community is something I'm really new to, and I hadn't really anticipated that most women would have friends and connections to meet up with. I wasn't entirely excluded from this as I had informally arranged to meet the lovely and talented Chloe, the creator of the fabulous 'Chloe Witters' blog. I also met the equally lovely and talented Becky - head honcho at 'Ar-blog'. It was a slightly surreal experience, chatting to Chloe about her life and family, which I only know about through Twitter and blogging. It made me reflect on how quickly the world and communication is changing. Perhaps Dexter will have hologram mates when he is older...

Suffice to say, I didn't win. I didn't expect to and I honestly didn't mind - well, maybe just a teeny  bit. It was an interesting and original experience. I still cherish my blog and feel immensely proud of the gift I am creating for my boy.

I was back in Brighton by ten o'clock - just enough time to pop home, stroke the boy's hair, change my shoes and then fly out again for the start of a dear friend's hen weekend. There were no naked waiters, lots of lovely ladies I know very well, and fantastic homemade cocktails. My weekend had definitely started.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Bonding Session


I had a very frank conversation with a lovely friend and colleague today, herself a mother of two little girls. I confessed that sometimes, I feel I haven't bonded with Dexter as intensely as I'm supposed to have, and that he rarely seems to have those real 'needs his mummy' moments.

I'm over-tired, not one hundred percent health-wise and have too much to do at work, so I think I was giving myself a bit of a hard time. I was questioning whether my 'choice' to work full-time and have the boy in full-time childcare means that I don't have the closeness that perhaps a stay-at-home mum would have with their child.

My fears were assuaged when I collected Dexter from nursery and I got a beaming smile and a demonstration of his latest 'skill': listening to 'Row, row, row your boat...', the 'crocodile/scream version' and responding at the end with a sort of squeak - obviously intended to represent a scream. Brilliant.

Don't get me wrong, I love my boy more than I thought was humanly/physically/emotionally possible, but I do sometimes feel like his chauffeur or hired-help. I do not get greeted with the same state of euphoria that Daddy gets greeted with on his return from work. The only real quality time I have with the boy during the week is when we get home at about six o'clock, before bath time and bed, which happen somewhere between seven and eight.

Today's #366 photograph demonstrates a typical mummy and boy post-commute chill-out time. There's generally: some armchair-bouncing and window-watching; some book/toy action (today, climbing onto the walker); some walking/running/falling; and of course, some quiet watching of CBeebies. Today, there was also some vomiting on the sofa, but I didn't quite manage to capture that on camera. Shame.

Perhaps the boy's lack of mummy 'neediness' is more a reflection of his stable and content little routine. I hope so. Besides, I am privileged enough that I have six whole weeks of holiday coming up relatively soon when the boy will get his mummy back. Now that's plenty of time for some mother-son bonding. Can't wait!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Tired and emotional


Not a great day today. I'm sore. A sort of battered and bruised and somewhat tender sore. It was a long day. Nothing unpleasant happened, but after a day's teaching and leading a training session after school, we arrived at nursery ten minutes later than our pre-booked five o'clock.

Fortunately, the weather has been glorious today and so the boy was outside in the Huffle playground when I rushed out of the car to collect him. He was kneeling in some wood chip and dust, playing most happily. So happily in fact that he had an epic tantrum when I picked him up and got him in the car. He'd not slept during his afternoon nap time. A tired Dexter equals an emotional Dexter.

Usually, when he's in that zone, I would skip his bath and get him straight to bed. However, his afternoon in the dust had given him fingernails worthy of the most revolting Roald Dahl creation. He had a long soak in the tub, clean pjs and then was tucked up in bed.

And I think that is exactly what I need.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Hands on


Back to work today - we even stopped on the way for coffee and Nurofen: wild. Dexter's morning was significantly brighter too as Sarah was back - yippee! My lovely colleagues were extra lovely, and there was a lot of concern for my welfare. The student grapevine hadn't quite got to declaring me deceased, but there had been some rumour-mongering along the lines of broken waters and labour pains. Interesting, given I'm not pregnant.

Lessons are really starting to trickle away; it's difficult not to start counting down to the summer holiday, but there's still so much to do.

I sent the boy to nursery with some homemade beef stew from a 'Baby-Led weaning' cookbook. I'd asked the ladies to allow him to eat it with his hands. When I collected him, I was informed he'd shown no interest whatsoever in feeding himself the stew with either hands or cutlery, but had demolished the lot when it was cut up and fed to him.

I am slightly concerned that by not weaning Dexter the 'baby-led' way in the first place, he will now forever be fed in the manner of a tiny helpless baby blackbird or suchlike, having food dropped into his open mouth, whilst his wing-like arms remain outstretched. There is some irony in the meaning of his name being 'right-handed man'.

The boy redeemed himself when we returned home and he joined his daddy (who had been working from home) in the study. Today's #366 photograph shows some serious concentration on the laptop, and some rather energetic typing.

I wonder if Bill Gates was weaned on mush or chicken drumsticks...

Monday, 18 June 2012

Self sufficient


I stayed at home today. I'm not feeling one hundred percent, and if my ailment is muscular, then I'm supposed to rest. Rest is quite an alien concept when one works full-time (a significant distance from home), and has a small person to look after.

Due to the fact I still can't pick Dexter up, I sent him to nursery with the lift-share ladies/angels sent from Heaven. Turns out that the theme of the day was not only 'rest', but 'guilt'. Guilt for dumping my son, my friends, my colleagues and my students. Said guilt however, was not quite enough to counter utter exhaustion. A combination of  a significant trauma and a significant number of pharmaceuticals floating around in my body, wiped me out and I slept a lot.

Dexter was delivered home at six o'clock. He was tired and emotional. There had been no Sarah, no Mummy in the car, and no afternoon nap, but instead, a cheeky 'almost-home' snooze from which he had to be woken.

Unpacking his nursery bag, I discovered a personalised paper bag containing a homemade cheese scone; the poor boy had even made his own tea! He let Mummy have a few bites and it was delicious. As a one-off, he was allowed to have his highchair in front of the television. Iggle Piggle and a delicious savoury treat. All was well in the world once again.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Daddy's Day


Not comfortable this morning. Think the walk yesterday may have been an error. I was up though, putting the kettle on as today was Father's Day. Dexter presented his daddy with two cards and some robot cufflinks - we like robots in this house. I slept until midday; I'm definitely not right.

Sadly, empty cupboards do not recognise celebratory days, and we desperately needed to go to the supermarket. So the poor husband spent his 'special day', pushing a trolley round, dealing with an emotional toddler, and packing, carrying and unpacking the shopping.

We did manage a quick trip to the park before tea. I had to sit and watch as swing-pushing and sandpit digging was out of the question. I could still manage to take photographs though, and I think today's gem of my beloved boys is my favourite of Project #366 so far.

And now it's time for some more painkillers, a hot bath and bed. I'm hoping for a really quiet week.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Boy about town


After yesterday's drama, I slept surprisingly well; I suspect it was the cocktail of prescription drugs floating round my system. I was still in a state of discomfort though and unable to lift the boy up. I have my suspicions that too much carrying of Dexter on my left side, may have contributed to whatever it was that my muscles were playing at yesterday...

The discomfort was actually eased by some (less-strong painkillers), and moving around to ensure I didn't stiffen up. I decided I could cope with a gentle meander around town, so the husband, the boy and lovely lift-share lady/Mary Poppins, Becka, and I strolled into Brighton.

Dexter had the confidence and motivation to leave the sanctuary of his buggy for ten minutes and attempt some walking through (a very busy) Brighton; it was slow, but cute.

I treated us all to afternoon tea, as a thank you for yesterday. Dexter attacked the scones and miniature bagels with gusto, and left a most uncivilised mess at a very civilised venue - oops!

It felt good to be back to normal - even if that did involve Saturday night in front of the television: heaps better than a hospital bed.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Pain, pain, go away...


Well, where do I start? Today was like any other Friday. Breakfast stop, nursery drop, slight 'Friday feeling' in the air. I had a pleasant morning of lovely students and constructive lessons. As the lesson before lunch was drawing to a close, I felt a terrible sharp stabbing pain in my chest.

It was enough to take my breath away and cause me to grab a desk to steady myself. The students who noticed expressed some concern. I told them I was okay; it's frightening for them if the adult in charge is not in control or is vulnerable in some way. The truth was, I was in agony and needed them to go.

As the bell went, I dismissed them but asked one of the girls to send our first-aider up to my room. By the time she arrived, I was bent double over my desk in floods of tears and excruciating pain. Having checked me over, the decision was made to call an ambulance.

The ambulance arrived promptly as it was on base nearby. I was asked lots of questions, but was preoccupied by pain and was squirming around in an attempt to evade it and get comfortable. I was pushed through the length of the school in a wheelchair. My colleagues are amazing; the school was put into a sort of 'lockdown' and I didn't see a single student.

In the back of the ambulance, I was given an ECG and kitted out with a canister of gas and air. Entonox (to give it its scientific name), got me through a pleasingly straightforward labour. It really helped in this situation too, giving rapid pain relief and calming my fears about what was happening to me. A side-effect for me is that it seems to give me 'electric lips' - I did not stop talking, bending the ear of the poor ambulance technician who had to sit in the back with me.

I was taken to Eastbourne Hospital's Accident and Emergency department as a Category A patient - due to the fact that it was chest pains. Lovely lift-share friend, Becka joined me there (love her), and we were kept in a sort of 'holding corridor', waiting for a bed. As I needed prescribed pain-relief, I was not allowed to be just left in the waiting room. As I was feeling much more comfortable/off my face at this point, I was very chatty with Donna and Michael, the ambulance staff who were looking after me. They did an amazing job and I felt such a sense of pride in my fellow public-sector workers. I was getting a bit political and ranty and was even discussing correct semi-colon and apostrophe use with them at one point. I think they were very glad when a bed became available...

As I was put in said bed and given a new canister of gas and air (yes!), I was also gowned up, wired-up and had a cannula fitted. I had a real moment of clarity - and fear. It all seemed so very serious, and I briefly contemplated the worst case scenario. Of course, the boy came into my mind,  and I got emotional about the 'what-ifs'. The Entonox had clearly worn off, and through my tears, I managed some enthusiastic inhalations! I was soon back to sending text messages declaring myself to be Byron and speaking Portugese to the nurse - well, saying 'thank you' in her native tongue.

In total, I was there for seven hours, and had numerous tests, X-rays and examinations; they couldn't have been more thorough. The husband was there pretty much throughout. All the monitoring was pretty inconclusive - the pain was most likely to be a muscular strain/spasm. Whatever it was, it was distressing and agonizing.

And what about Dexter? My BRILLIANT lift-share ladies had collected him from the equally brilliant nursery. He'd been taken to Starbucks, fed, changed into pyjamas, had several stories and been put to bed. The ladies reported back that he was angelic throughout. Today's #366 photograph (taken by Becka), shows how content he was.

The husband and I got back to Brighton at about half past nine. The codeine I'd been given was disagreeing with me, and I crawled out of the car, into the gutter where I narrowly avoided throwing up and passing out. I was green by the time I got into the house. Becka was there; she'd bought us pizza and tidied up.

The whole experience left me feeling wiped out, and yet strangely uplifted. I was so well looked-after, supported and received so many words of concern and love throughout, that I just felt incredibly lucky. Sometimes, when life throws you some epic curve balls, it's nice to know that the most astonishing bunch of caring, selfless and big-hearted people have got your back.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

'Night 'night


I don't really remember much about today; I'm guessing it was pretty uneventful. I'm catching up on a few days, and tomorrow's post is a biggie.

As ever, true to the spirit of Project #366, I have been taking my photographs each day. Today's picture is a snippet of the boy's post-nursery, pre-bed routine. It revolves largely around books, television and bath time.

I've trained him well.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Walk like a man


This morning, we were a lift-share lady down and a boy (well, man actually) up. We gave a male colleague a lift into school. He was suitably distracted from the fact that he had to be squished in the back of the car with Dexter, as he had the ubiquitous cappuccino handed to him as he was collected from his house.

It was a busy day for me today. Having been off timetable yesterday, I was back at the chalk face (well, interactive whiteboard face) for a full day of lessons. I really enjoyed it. Time flies when you're teaching all day, and the teaching is what I signed up for in the first place.

When we collected the boy from nursery, he was marking the anniversary of his sixteenth month on this earth by doing several unsupported laps of the Huffle playground, unsupported, but with the ever-reliable Sarah not far from his side - just in case. I felt very proud of my mobile little man.

My pride was increased when Dexter was able to walk (holding Mummy's hand), from the car to the house. Today's #366 photograph captures his slight confusion at the front door! As ever: small steps.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Doing a Beyonce


Today, a celebratory post. This morning, I picked-up lovely lift-share lady and drove the boy to nursery. There, I handed him over to the competent young women who work there and whose care he would be in all day. I was then off timetable at school to work with other lovely lift-share lady and a massively hard-working and talented senior female member of staff as a follow-up to the course I went on a couple of weeks ago. Between us, we had a really constructive day and achieved loads.

Having collected Dexter from nursery, driven him home, clapped furiously at his increasingly steady walking, bathed him, given him medicine, cleaned his teeth and read him a story, the husband took over and put him to bed. I then made dinner (heated a pizza and opened a bag of salad), and have been working ever since. I have been writing emails and dealing with stuff on my to-do list; I am avoiding actual marking. I have made email contact with three other female colleagues in the last hour. It is now approaching half past nine in the evening.

The common theme here? Women. I'm not going to go on a feminist rant, nor am I going to write a post with 'man-bashing' at its heart. I work with amazing male colleagues and teach a huge number of fantastic boys. I also have a fabulous husband and peach of a son of course, and lots of brilliant male friends. But today, I just wanted to celebrate W O M A N in all her multi-tasking, getting on with it, seizing the day glory.

Dexter, my boy, when you finally read this, I hope I have instilled such respect in you for the women in your life.

Disclaimer one: I think the judge for my category in the BritMums 'Brilliance in Blogging Awards' is a man. I may well have shot myself in the proverbial foot...

Disclaimer two: the husband has done a load of washing (as is normal) this evening; I ignore the washing basket, aside from filling it.

Monday, 11 June 2012

C'est la vie!


Back to school today. Dexter got a wave from Sarah in the Huffle car park; she got a huge smile in return. He went straight in for a cuddle when I dropped him off, but then launched himself back at me. Whilst this was lovely, I was quite happy to hand him back again as he'd produced one of his toxic nappies on the journey in.

School was fine. It was good to catch up with colleagues and students, and I sort of get my 'work head' back on, meaning all of the stuff I avoid doing in the holiday, generally gets completed quite efficiently.

It was England's first game this evening in the European Championships. I have zero interest in 'the beautiful game', but it seemed to be intriguing the boy, post bath time as pictured in today's #366 photograph. He had one eye on the game whilst playing with one of his favourite toys: it involves putting small cylinders of wood into a row of holes. He was getting a tad frustrated at not being able to hit the target first time. Sadly, our national team didn't fare much better, only managing 1-1 against France. I guess he's learning early that success is not always guaranteed.

Sunday, 10 June 2012



I really enjoyed my riding lesson this morning, but I also found it quite frustrating. I was riding a really great horse (an ex-showjumper), and I just couldn't get it right. We weren't connecting and my riding teacher told me I was being a perfectionist. My frustration arose from knowing the capabilities of the horse and not getting the best out of her. I wonder if my approach to parenting will be the same. Looking back over previous posts, I doubt it! Perhaps with both my riding and parenting I'll learn to accept that I can't get it right all of the time.

Aside from my much-loved indulgent hour, the rest of the day itself lacked any lustre. The weather was filthy, I had a cracking headache, and I hadn't done the schoolwork I wanted to.

I took myself off to bed for a couple of hours in the afternoon, and left the husband in charge of Dexter. We managed a shared tea-time, team effort on the bathing front (more daddy really, as you can see from Dexter's smile), and I sorted out my lessons for tomorrow.

Alarm set, bath and bed. Some days, you just have to let go of and look ahead to the next.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Country Capers


Despite the fact that it took Team Wayne a characteristically long time to mobilise today (see many previous posts on laid-back/lazy approach to life), we made a decision to have a jaunt out to the country. Destination: Ardingly, for the South of England Show. I love a country show (well, mainly the ponies), and it seemed like a good opportunity to acquaint the boy with some rural inhabitants and customs.

Dexter expressed a worrying interest in the rabbit hutches in the 'Fur and Feathers' tent. Not worrying for fear he would be bitten/catch some horrid disease, but more a mild concern that he was launching his tiny grabbing fingers at what appeared  to be his favourite raisins...

Mistaken snack identity averted, we looked at some huge pigs, some grumpy cows (insert your own joke here), and some very cute ducklings. I spotted an ex-student in the sheep-shearing tent (see previous posts about the rural location of school), and took a dislike to Sebastian and Nicholas, the two local llamas; I was suspicious of their eyes and feet.

We eventually found the horse section and I was completely entertained by endless rounds of showjumping - lots of bouncy ponies jumping exactly the same course of jumps. The husband and the boy didn't quite express the same interest, preferring to play on the grass. I haven't quite made the equine thing a shared family interest yet, but I'm working on it...

Friday, 8 June 2012

A quiet spirit


This morning I had arranged to meet up with a couple of my NCT buddies. Destination: soft play. Perhaps it's because I don't take the boy to these places very often, or he's just not a rough and tumble kind of boy, but Dexter didn't seem to be overly impressed by the whole experience.

While his little friends raced around the brightly-coloured apparatus, exploring independently, the boy clung to his mummy. When he finally let me put him down, it was on to a little sit-on car. He did not scoot round pushing himself with his feet as I imagine is intended, but fixated on the various buttons and dials it featured. He was perfectly content in his quiet, slightly obsessive observations.

When he finally got off it and moved to the floor, he crawled round in a series of neat circles. I'm not going to over-analyse his behaviour; the husband informs me that as a child, he wasn't one for careering about the place. I'm more just interested  in how this may manifest itself as Dexter gets older. The husband is a big fan of gadgets and spreadsheets and doesn't know a huge amount about football.

My boys are gentle souls and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Rainy Day


After the laziness of yesterday, I decide to motivate myself to take the boy into town this morning. I had loads of gifts to buy - the husband despairs at how much of my money goes on presents - and I fancied some fresh air and a wander.

Mission 'get lots of gifts' was successful. Mission 'fresh air' was a little too successful. The heavens opened and I got absolutely drenched. The boy was fine and dandy under the waterproof buggy cover. He was still a tad temperamental today though, having meltdowns in Pret-a-Manger and Waterstones, despite the obvious presence of his favourites: food and books. I think he's just all over the place with getting up times and daytime naps; I'm going to be unpopular at nursery next week.

Despite getting the train home (one stop - I am that lazy), when we returned home, with Dexter sound asleep in his buggy, I was so drenched I had to change all of my clothes including underwear.

Today was not a day for leaving the house.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Busy doing nothing


Dexter and I didn't get up until after ten o'clock this morning. We had a leisurely 'hotel-style' breakfast (fruit, cereal, yogurt, toast), and then...well, we didn't really do much at all.

We played, read some books and watched some television. The boy had one of his epic afternoon snoozes - doing not much really is pretty exhausting.

A dear friend and her baby paid us a visit for an hour in the afternoon. She is also a teacher, but currently on maternity leave. We had a very honest discussion about the realities of being at home with a little 'un. We both agreed that a whole day can whizz by in a flash, when all that's been 'achieved' is rounds of nappy changing, feeding and laundry.

When I'm fed up about working full-time, I really focus on the idyllic days of maternity leave, which I re-live in my head as endless rounds of coffee, picnics, soft-play, music groups and domesticity. I picture it as a sort of Cath Kidston- filled whirl of 1950s homemaking. In reality, I did have quite a few days like today, where it rained, the boy and I barely got out of pyjamas, I caught up with the washing, and we didn't actually do a great deal.

I guess, when it comes down to it, I'm actually pretty lazy. At work, I'm anything but idle, however, when it comes to leisure time, I take down-time very seriously. I'm perfectly at one with the fact that I may not have something to document about my day other than (almost) emptying the laundry basket. Modern life is hectic; I shouldn't feel bad that I don't fill every second with 'stuff'.

My friend today commented on how content Dexter was playing by himself while we chatted. He mainly played with his beloved beads and looked at his books. There was a slightly hairy moment when he climbed into his push-along walker, and wanted me to push him around the living room. Generally, on days like today, the two of us are happy just pottering - just being I guess - and that's fine with me.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Jubilee Shoes


The final day of the extended bank holiday today; I am grateful to Her Maj for the half past ten lie-in.

Team Wayne finally left the house together this afternoon. According to the Clarks 'Magical Book of Truth'/booklet that came with his Cruisers, Dexter is due to have his feet measured again.

He had great fun crawling round Clarks, smiling at himself in the many mirrors. The boy has gone up by half a size apparently. We purchased some 'Doodles' - a lighter summer shoe. Coincidentally, they are a rather patriotic red, white and blue.

You can't quite tell from today's #366 photograph, but Dexter's outfit also features the three ubiquitous colours, including a top covered in toy soldiers. I have failed spectacularly to embrace the patriotism of the past few days, largely because I have no interest in the Royal Family, and I'm off for half term anyway. Perhaps I'll keep the boy's Doodles in his baby keepsake box when he's outgrown them, just to remind him of this little moment of history. This will probably be lower maintenance than my alternative idea of buying a souvenir corgi...

Monday, 4 June 2012

Nourishing the soul


This morning was a relatively early start for me - considering it's a bank holiday and all. I gave the boy his milk and put him back in his cot where he promptly fell asleep.

I drove out to a village not far away from school as I had been invited out for a ride with a lovely girl from my tutor group. We went for a gentle hack around an area called the 'Cuckoo Trail'. It was blissfully relaxing and chilled-out, and I was still home by lunchtime.

After feeding the boy his lunch, I headed to our lovely local with Dexter in his buggy. I spent the entire afternoon there with two very dear friends, sharing a bottle of wine while Dexter snoozed.

It's probably pretty obvious that I'm not a huge advocate of child-centric parenting. I firmly believe in the importance of parents attempting to keep hold of some of their pre-child life. Whilst I have no desire to set foot in a nightclub anytime soon, or indeed, spend a bank holiday afternoon and night in a pub (I was home by six), 'normal' life is really important to me. I still have to work as hard (and as often) since I had Dexter, so I don't see anything wrong in trying to do some of those things that nourish the soul.

Ponies, friends, wine and my boy: perfect.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Block Party


The boy has taken to waking later and declining his morning milk, opting instead for a hotel-style continental breakfast of muesli, fruit, yogurt and toast. It is lovely to see his healthy relationship with food (purely genetic), but it takes ages. I just about filled him up in time to get away for my riding lesson.

That, and a trip to Waitrose, has been my only real activity today. Team Wayne isn't great on a bank holiday. We tend to collapse, relax and re-group. Dexter has mainly practised his walking, played with his wooden blocks and pushed his plastic bus around today. Television coverage focused on the Jubilee flotilla on the Thames, which seemed to go on for ever and was a bit dull.

I'm sure we should be marking this historic event by dressing the boy as a corgi and making him knit bunting or something, but I'm just not that interested. Perhaps I can claim that he was doing the Lambeth Walk, building Tower Bridge and pretending his plastic toy is a London bus. Alternatively, there are still two more days during which we could motivate ourselves and embrace a bit of royal history. We'll see...

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Party in the park


Today marked the start of the Jubilee-induced four day weekend. I am still sulking (at no one in particular), that the half term holiday has been jiggled around so that the extra two days have been consumed by it. Anyway, sulking aside, we had a party to go to. Not that of an eighty-six year old woman, but a two year old little girl - the husband's goddaughter in fact.

It was a lovely family celebration in a local park - even the weather was kind to us. I think Dexter is punishing me for my time away, as he only has eyes for his daddy. Later on in the afternoon, he did manage to extrapolate himself from his hero to do some crawling round on the grass, interspersed with his rather unique 'knee-walk'. Despite the progress made last night, Dexter doesn't seem to see the point of using his feet when his knees are more efficient. According to my book, kneeling up unsupported is apparently a more advanced stage than walking unsupported. I'm liking that my boy is unconventional.

Friday, 1 June 2012

A leap forward


It was strange returning to school today. Dexter remained at home with his daddy, so no 'Huffle Shuffle'. There was something unsettling about leaping back into the chaos of school life which had just continued in my absence. I never want to be quoted on this, but it made me think that perhaps I don't want to work part-time after all. Shush, that's never to be repeated, but it's a huge leap forward for me.

My students seemed quite pleased to see me (more than my own son), which was very endearing. I was pleased to see my Year 13 tutor group, as it's their last day. We joined them at the pub briefly after work. There was a lot of gratitude and recognition going on in the beer garden, and they bought some lovely gifts and a really thoughtful card for me. Yet again, I felt a surge of love and enthusiasm for a job which genuinely allows you to have a tiny impact on  a person's life.

Dexter and his daddy had enjoyed a chilled-out day together. They'd had a little trot into town and returned with a generic oriental take-away in a box, M&S style. The three of us ate dinner together, with Dexter shovelling away most of the snacks.

Fuelled no doubt by some mono sodium glutamate, the boy managed the length of the living room on his feet and unsupported. Like my Year 13 students, he's ready for the next big steps.