Friday, 31 August 2012

My, haven't they grown!


Mental starving cat got admitted to kitty hospital today: sad times. Dexter and I met up with my NCT gang this morning: fab times.

It was so lovely to catch up with the tinies and their mums. It's pretty nuts seeing them all now: proper little people with personalities and minds of their own (tinies, not mums). They all look so different. Dexter is still the shortest, but he'll always be a victim of his genes on that one.

We met up at Hove Lagoon. The boy kept wandering off - again - showing little desire to play in the same area as the others. To be fair, it was pretty difficult to get them all to 'play nicely' with each other - it's not how it works when you're eighteen months old. They had to be strapped into their buggies for a group photo. I have been so lucky to meet such a great bunch of people, all by dint of having a baby at a similar time, and bonding over practising putting a nappy on a doll and 'getting to grips' with a knitted boob...

Perhaps in another nod to true toddler-dom, the boy had NO NAP at all today. I am not sure I am ready for this latest development. Really.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Getting back to the old routine


Cat number two (the most mental one) is ill and had to be taken to the vet this evening as he has been on a week-long hunger strike. Dexter bawled when he saw Sarah holding another baby this morning. The boy managed really well without his dummy all day, but he really struggled at bedtime.

I spent the day at school. I got loads done; I enjoyed myself. I am looking forward to going back.

Don't judge me.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The witching hour - in the air


Last day in the Motherland today. One of my friends from last night's social popped round with her seven month old little boy. He's an absolute poppet and she is Super Mummy! Seeing her with her little man made me reflect on my slack mothering skills. I definitely have a sort of 'laissez-faire' approach to child rearing. This does have its advantages in situations where the boy is required to entertain himself. As featured above, he's big on transport at the moment.

Unfortunately, our flight home was an evening one. The boy was tired, fed-up and quite a whinger. I made the most of BA's free drinks trolley, downing a spritzer in record time.

Dexter insisted on walking from the gate all the way to Baggage Reclaim. By the time we got there, our flight's baggage had been cleared and our luggage was personally delivered to me by one of the airport staff.

I was very pleased to be greeted by the husband's taxi service home. He's missed us, and despite a lovely time, we've missed him too.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Lost for words?


Today, Dexter had a ball! Grandma and Grandad took care of him this morning while I enjoyed a lie-in; this obviously makes for a happy mummy. They then took him swimming. He LOVED it; I did not love watching him being 'dunked' by Grandad (which Dexter also loved). The boy then ran riot in David Lloyd and went home for a lovely sleep - albeit, a much shorter snooze than normal.

He spent the rest of the afternoon playing in the garden.

My cousin and her mum joined us for dinner. The latter is a primary school teacher, specialising in 'Early Years'. She answered lots of my questions and reassured me about his lack of words. She reckons Dexter just doesn't feel the need to speak as he has all of his needs met. She also thinks his gravel obsession signals a mathematical mind!

My mind put at rest, I enjoyed an evening of catching up and drinking wine with a couple of my best-friends from school. Safe to say, there was no lack of words there!

Monday, 27 August 2012

The strop department


Well, the boy showed his true colours today. On a lovely family visit to my step-sister's house, Dexter was generally temperamental but naturally ate an enormous lunch and had a big sleep in my niece's cot. Poor old (young) Ada had to forgo her afternoon snooze due to the tiny squatter in her bed.

On the way back, mum and I went in the local John Lewis store. Dexter got new shoes and his first duvet. He was a maniac. He just wants to walk/run/stagger everywhere. Think my mum was quite surprised by the epic tantrums he threw when trying to evade capture by Mummy/Grandma. We resorted to wedging him into a highchair in the cafe, with a view of the road outside, while he sulked and inhaled a tuna sandwich. I would love someone to buy me a pair of new shoes and a transport-themed duvet cover (okay, not the latter), but it seems the boy just wants to roam.

His wander-lust was satisfied in the late afternoon by a stint of playing in the garden with Grandad. Naturally, he headed for the gravel and soil. Fortunately, new shoes remained in the box and I squeezed him into his ageing Doodles: terrible parenting tip number 87. 

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Plane sailing


The husband took the boy and me to the airport today for our mini-break to Manchester. Dexter is becoming quite a seasoned traveller and took it all in his stride. In some ways, it's better travelling with him on my own. I obviously look totally incompetent and therefore am generally well-looked after by the airport staff.

The boy and I enjoyed a pizza-based date in 'Jamie's' before boarding the plane. Dexter was great during the flight; he just stared out of the window the whole time and didn't make a sound.

There are advantages to having a mute child sometimes.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Weekend kicks


Today I had real 'weekend fever' - not the one-too-many last night type - but more the real appreciation of a day that is markedly different to the rest of the week. I think my day at school had made me feel a little bit like I've gone back to work.

It's been a lovely day. We met up with a dear old friend for lunch at a sushi restaurant. Dexter had a special children's meal which he demolished, using his hands rather than the little kiddie chopsticks. I demolished my food using my hands too, rather than the regular chopsticks for civilised grown-ups. Despite my love of Japanese food, I'm a complete numpty at eating it properly.

Due to trip to Manchester tomorrow, I switched my riding lesson to this afternoon. I used to ride in exactly the same time-slot on a Saturday when I was a child. It made me feel all nostalgic.

Spent the evening watching crappy tv and making greetings cards (really).

Simple pleasures.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Everyday we're pootling...


I lunched with the boy in Pret today. I had sushi; he opted for a cheese sandwich. Sod the overdraft - these are my remaining days of freedom.

I've been reading way too many enviable interiors blogs recently during the boy's naps. It inspired me to start a bit of a clear out in his room in the afternoon. His sock drawer is now a work of art in itself.

We did some more reading, and I think he said 'yummy' during his tea. Again, he went to bed dummy-less. It took him a few hours to nod off, but he's done it again!

I've removed the 'magical pot of dreams' from his room (aka: the dummy tin), but don't yet have the courage to get rid of them completely.

Cold turkey can wait - maybe until Christmas! Geddit?!?

Thursday, 23 August 2012

He's no dummy


Another day at school/nursery today. In the frenzy of GCSE results and catching up with people, I achieved, er, well nothing really. But it did motivate me to start getting organised for the new term - just maybe not until next week.

In other news, after a gentle suggestion from the nursery owner to help with the boy's speaking, THE DUMMY IS GOING! It took Dexter about two hours to get to sleep without it (rather than the usual two minutes), but HE DID IT!

Am expecting at least a complex sentence from him tomorrow. Not really, but it's a start.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Word up!


Dexter and I had a lovely morning at the park with Stella and Arthur this morning. The boy had a slight disagreement with a swing, so was a little clingy after that. He was also a tad reluctant to share Arthur's ball with him. I think it's a little early to really get him to understand sharing yet.

It's not however, too early for him to be saying some words; however, Dexter is not, hence this afternoon's visit to the doctor. She was lovely - kind and supportive - but I have been given some 'homework' (a book recommendation and a gentle suggestion to forgo the tv and radio for quiet time, reinforcing key words). I feel a bit rubbish. I feel like I've not been doing my 'mum job' properly. I feel sure that Dexter will never speak.

He's very good at climbing up steps though.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Troublesome twos


Today, the boy and I took a long drive to visit a friend currently on maternity leave. She has two under two. They are beautiful children and she's another amazing mother. Again - not tempted.

During the time I was there, the paddling pool was filled with most of the contents of the living room, including the baby monitor. I think this happened on my watch, when I was giving the newborn cuddles. Clearly, I am not destined to be in charge of more than one pre-teen at any given time.

Dexter and I had an afternoon of reading 'Meg and Mog', and I mean an actual afternoon: he's obsessed!

Quiet time for me this evening was Waitrose (my sanctuary), and 'The Great British Bake-Off'. I am embracing what seems to be impending middle-age.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Fishy business


The husband returned to work today after his two weeks off. It's our third wedding anniversary today (Leather), and he'd filled my card with lots of colourful hand-cut leather hearts - cute.

Flying solo, it was a mission to leave the house by one. I visited my friend Emma who has a two year old and a seven month old. She's an amazing mummy and a generally fabulous person. She makes the whole mothering of two little'uns look easy. I am not tempted.

Dexter liked their fish tank. Really liked it. He kept trying to 'press' the fish, and when they moved away from his fingers, I think he thought it was a giant aquatic iPad app!

I managed to drag him away to the park with Emma's girls, but we had to leave early to collect my car with its new exhaust.

The husband and I enjoyed some vino and a Thai takeaway to celebrate the anniversary of our nuptials. It felt quite indulgent on a Monday evening. Cripes, what's happened to me?!

Sunday, 19 August 2012



Ten things I loved about Lollibop:

1. It's marketed as: 'The big bash for little people'. Team Wayne felt right at home then.

2. It was held at Regent's Park: both beautiful and mega easy to get to from Brighton, even on a Sunday.

3. I won a family pass worth almost a hundred pounds in a competition, so it was free to get in!

4. The sun shone for pretty much most of the day, apart from a rather dark half an hour during a torrential downpour when we got stuck in the under-fours disco tent with some very bright flashing lights and the Macarena on loop. To quote my friends Stella and Hannah: 'All time low.'

5. Dexter got to stomp around in relative safety. They give all children a wrist band on entry on which you record your mobile number in case they get lost.

6. Dexter still had his afternoon nap; there was a Pimm's tent. You do the math.

7. There was an Ella's Kitchen vending machine dispensing free pouches and snacks.

8. Toilets were plentiful and clean.

9. We didn't go anywhere near the live stage and therefore only had to endure Dick and Dom and the Zingzillas from a distance.

10. We saw the back of Edith Bowman and Masood from Eastenders with his family, twice.

Definitely up for it again next year!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

A tight spot


Boy oh boy today was hot, so it was a really sensible idea to take Dexter on the usually twenty minute round trip to the post office without his buggy. No really.

Just over an hour later, one huge meltdown and several stops at piles of (no doubt dog pee soaked) woodchips later, I had posted some gifts and we were home.

Perhaps an even bigger error was re-visiting the new-build estate mentioned in a previous blog post to view the 'house' that is in our budget. Suffice to say, our two felines need not fear for their lives as there was barely enough room to swing a gerbil, never mind a cat. The husband is convinced that most of the rooms probably contravene some sort of European Human Rights act on the acceptable minimum size for a living space. At a quarter of a million pounds, I'm not prepared to live in a hutch: sad faces all round.

Even sadder for me as on the way home, my exhaust fell off. Hello overdraft, we meet again, like old friends!

Friday, 17 August 2012

A good clear out


This morning, the husband and I did some major sorting in our room while the boy slept. We love our flat, but our bedroom is the one room that still doesn't feel quite right. For a start, it has had two huge redundant (but new) basin units in it since the bathroom was done ages ago - don't ask. Anyway, there was lots of sorting and rearranging. The huge boxes have gone. I'm still not one hundred percent thrilled with it, but the latest addition is a desk for me! Technically, it's not a desk but our old dining room table, half sanded, half not. It looks pretty cool and vintage, and the room is big enough to carry it off. I've got a place to blog in all to myself; no more excuses for being so behind now...

To celebrate, in the afternoon, we took Dexter to the park in the glorious sunshine. All he wants to do is stomp around. His natty footwear today was definitely made for adventuring!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Dipping a toe in


So, back to school today. Not in an actual sense of course; still many glorious weeks of freedom ahead - hurrah! I've booked the boy into three Thursday nursery sessions for the last three weeks of the holidays. I need to go into work and he needs some continuity.

It was a mixed reaction when he reacquainted himself with the Huffle-ites. He wasn't overjoyed to see Sarah with other children. Crumbs! He's going to have to get used to this as she won't be his key worker from September: sad face. All the Huffle staff are brill though, so I'm sure he'll get over it.

It was quite nice being in school. A Level results made for (mainly) smiling faces, and I pootled in my classroom, not really getting anything done, but dipping a metaphorical toe back into the educational waters always seems sensible.

Had to get a new tyre on way home as mine was about to blow, hence the slightly unusual photograph of the boy being somewhat oblivious to the mechanic's wizardry. Cars are such money pits, but a complete necessity for me. Too scared to look at bank balance, post-hols. Denial.

Dexter was very unsettled this evening, waking four times before midnight. Maybe he's getting the fear about going back to the old routine...

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Funky chicken


The boy managed another country-air induced epic sleep-athon last night: brilliant. He also managed some more chicken chasing (poor birds) and several laps of Nana and Granddad's garden.

We left Wayne Towers disappointingly early in the day, but we wanted the journey to coincide with nap-time. This worked out fine until the cat pooped in his basket in the car. The stench woke poor Dexter up and merited an impromptu stop at a service station for a frantic clean-up operation. Pesky cat.

Back at home it was business as usual. I obviously had to go to Waitrose just in case they thought I was dead. I managed to roast a chicken (oh cruel irony), while Daddy did bath and bedtime.

And relax.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012



Today was a good day.

We all had a really good night's sleep. The husband, the boy and I got up for breakfast at half past nine. Oh joy!

Dexter is absolutely loving the freedom to roam around his grandparents' garden and fields, indulge in a bit of chicken bothering and then sleep it all off for three hours or so.

During the boy's epic snooze, we all looked at old family photographs - and marvelled at how much hair the husband had as a baby, and I raided my mother-in-law's collection of vintage clothes. I'm going home armed with a thirty something year old Japanese kimono and a 1970s Indonesian maxi skirt amongst other things. If Dexter ever has a little sister one day, I'll be keeping them for her too.

We all feel so relaxed and switched off from the hectic real world. Long may it last.

Monday, 13 August 2012

The holiday continues...


Family Wayne had a slow start this morning, and the boy had a very lengthy and inconveniently-timed nap. This made for a late arrival at my in-laws in deepest, darkest Kent.

It's been a while since we visited, and a now-mobile Dexter thoroughly enjoyed exploring the extensive setting of their beautiful home - particularly the gravel on the drive, naturally.

He was also thrilled with the 'sandpit' Grandad John fashioned from an old sink. The boy's summer just gets better and better!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Home sweet home


I really enjoy going on holiday; I really love being at home. What a happy state to be in.

It was so lovely to sleep in my own bed last night, and lovelier to return to riding after a two week break.

I cooked all afternoon. I was feeling all homely and domesticated. The boy hung out with his beloved Daddy.

The husband and I attempted to watch the epic Olympic Closing Ceremony. It was somewhat disrupted by some epic bedtime tantrums from Dexter. Not quite sure he's settled back into the humdrum as quickly as his Mummy has...

Saturday, 11 August 2012

A week to remember


Homeward bound today. We made a very valiant effort to drive into Toulouse. Unfortunately, we only seemed to be able to find the rather edgy outskirts of the city. We'd had a long drive, it was baking hot, the boys were over heating, and so we took the collective decision to head to the airport... seven hours early.

Whilst this sounds completely insane, it really wasn't that bad. I discovered free WiFi and Dexter discovered escalators - check out that smile!

All of his airport exploring meant that the boy was wiped out on the plane journey home. He fell asleep as we landed, fell back to sleep in the taxi home, and did not stir as he was placed gently into his own bed.

What a wonderful week: fabulous company, gorgeous surroundings, beautiful weather, perfect family time.

Happy, happy holidays!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Holiday high-spirits


We all went to the lake again for our final full day. There's no reason to go anywhere else really, especially when the boys love it so much. And they serve chips.

Don't be fooled by today's photograph; snoozing during the day in his buggy posed Dexter no problems at all. This evening, he would not settle until gone half past ten, and only then because I had to get all teacher on him and tell him off for jumping on our bed.

It's been a glorious, brilliant week, but methinks the little man needs his own cot and his own room - and Mummy and Daddy need a decent night's sleep.

Thursday, 9 August 2012



Team Wayne managed an uncharacteristically early start today, despite three wake-ups in the night and me having to get into bed with the boy.

We went to the lake again. I had managed to put Dexter in both a swim-nappy and fetching Godzilla-esque swimsuit today, and he was very confident about going straight in for a paddle.

He had a post-paddle snooze in his buggy under a tree and then had chips for lunch again. He loves them; as his costume suggests, we've created a monster - a chip monster.

After a day of playing in gravel at the lake, the boy spent the rest of the evening playing in the gravel outside the front of the house. Funny little fella.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Check out my gravel pit, a mystery unravel it...


We made a great discovery today: a lake. A lake with a man-made beach, play areas, cafes, woodland walks, sun, shade - and gravel! Well, sandy gravel. The boy couldn't get enough of it. Check out how happy he is about the stuff!

Disclaimer: we forgot to put a swim nappy on him under his shorts. His Pampers absorbed the majority of the lake. He walked out of said lake like a finalist in the 'World's Strongest Man' dragging a double decker bus behind them.

Bad parents.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012



Today, we mainly hung out at the house; it's simply lovely. The boys braved the paddling pool, the crazy kids.

Team Wayne took an evening constitutional around the very tiny village we are staying in. Dexter the dinosaur prowled through the country lanes, somewhat distracted by a distant wind farm. I think he thinks it's Teletubby land. 

After the boys were put to bed, the adults played badminton in the back garden. Us ladies thrashed the dads, and the boy slept in his own bed again. As I believe my students would say: win!

Monday, 6 August 2012



We day-tripped today, to Carcassonne. Our cars got separated at some traffic lights on the outskirts of town, thus ensuing some parking/navigation chaos. Thank Crunchie for mobile phones.

It was very pleasant pootling around a very French town. We ate some really bad food in a so-called 'tapas' bar. Dexter discovered a love of French food - if 'French fries' count...

We also ventured up to the medieval part of the town. It was like Disney does history, jam-packed and boiling hot. The boy had the biggest meltdown and we headed back to the house.

He finally slept in his own (temporary) bed. Huzzah!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Slowing down


After a rather brief and not particularly restful sleep, we were able today to appreciate the beauty of our new surroundings in the cold light of day. The house we are staying in is stunning, and the setting more so.

We started the day with beer for breakfast (Dexter and Lenny stuck to fruit and cereal), and Sharon and I stayed in our pyjamas all day. There was alfresco snoozing for all concerned too.

In a brief flurry of activity, we inflated and filled a paddling pool for the boys; they both hated it.

After a broken and brief sleep the night before, we all headed to bed early. There was a massive storm and very heavy rain. The boy once again ended up in bed with Mummy and Daddy, kicking us both in the face at regular intervals.

C'est la vie!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Bon voyage!


Oooh, exciting times! En vacances today. After a quick trip out with a whiny toddler to get some Euros, we headed to the airport with Sharon, Andy and their boy, Lenny, in a very sensibly pre-booked, super-early taxi.

Alas, the great orange budget airline does not take such sensible pre-holiday planning into consideration, and we waited in a very under-staffed and quite hot and flustered queue to check in for over an hour. Dexter's self-inflicted face slapping seemed to be attracting some alarmed and concerned looks from our fellow travellers. We had to pay an additional twenty pounds for our overly-heavy suitcase, stuffed with Ella's Kitchen pouches, Pampers and Goodies raisins - a lot of Goodies raisins. Deep joy.

Once through check-in, we got through the family-friendly departures section relatively quickly. Dexter was thrilled at the freedom he was granted to roam around the airport, seemingly unaware of the novelty dinosaur backpack/toddler reins strapped tightly to his back.

After a slightly frenzied rush to the gate, the hour and a half flight to Toulouse was pretty painless (check out our happy faces above). The boy was kept entertained by a combination of the laminated safety card from the seat pocket in front, and his 'Peek-a-boo' apps on the iParent.

After a bit of kerfuffle in sorting out the cars we had hired in France, the brave dads managed the two hour plus drive, late at night, to our final destination. The journey was mental. We only had side lights on for the majority of it, the super-swish car kept turning itself on and off, and there was a slight hiccough at a toll booth, involving me testing my A* in GCSE French (from eighteen years ago), to the max.

Dexter slept through the entire thing, thus ensuring that upon our arrival at our beautiful home for the week, at approximately three in the morning, he was wide-awake, giddy as a kipper, and totally not up for sleeping in the 'Ready-Bed' on the floor. Team Wayne cosied up together for the remainder of the night. Zzzzz.

Friday, 3 August 2012



Today, I pitched up on the doorstep of a dear, dear friend's house, slightly frazzled and emotional and in need of some support and encouragement.

The boy is a proper toddler now, having proper toddler tantrums, which include the increasingly regular occurrence of hitting himself and banging his head, seemingly in frustration. Today was a particular low and I felt like I was failing at this mothering malarkey.

I had arranged to visit my lovely friend, Sara, anyway, but my timing was quite fortuitous. I've known Sara (Sazzle), for over ten years now, having worked with her and developed a really close friendship - she was one of my bridesmaids. Sara is: deputy headteacher, wife, mother of two, astonishingly bright and gifted, beautiful, funny and one of the most sane, down-to-earth and unpretentious people I know.

As I arrived, slightly at the end of my tether: she made coffee; got her beautiful, well-behaved children to entertain Dexter; dragged the sand-pit out of hibernation; made my boy smile; and reassured me I was doing a good job.

Sara has an inherent understanding of womanhood, motherhood and sisterhood, and boy did the boy and I need her today.

Thank you, Sazzle! x

Thursday, 2 August 2012

(Not) Going for Gold


Today was a very lazy day of the type I used to have in the pre-Dexter days. I mainly watched a lot of Olympic dressage - about three hours of dancing ponies in fact. The boy slept a lot. Poor little man takes after his mummy and uses the school holidays to recharge.

Our only token acknowledgement of the outside world was another completely un-noteworthy visit to Waitrose for some last-minute holiday gubbins. I'm not entirely convinced that a scoot round in a shopping trolley counts as adequate stimulation for a toddler, or is indeed a surefire way of ensuring future sporting excellence of the type I had been watching all morning. It does however mean we will have sunscreen and nappies for our imminent trip to France.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

National Play Day


Can't believe we're in August already; still a whole lot of blog posts left to write...

The day got off to a miserable start when I discovered that a hefty monthly loan repayment I've been making for the past four years, had its final payment today. I thought it had finished last month and I would have my holiday money all sorted and a generally happier bank balance. I should have known better. I am terrible with money and am only a teeny bit in control of it due to the spreadsheet the husband staples to my forehead on a regular basis. Guess our upcoming holiday will involve 'le overdraft' after all.

I decided to turn the situation into a sort of positive. I had arranged to meet another lovely NCT mummy friend (Stella) and her gorgeous boy, Arthur, at Hove Park for 'National Play Day'. In a bid to save a few pounds on parking costs, I decided to walk there, pushing the boy in the buggy. Half way through my forty five minute journey, Stella confirmed via a text that parking at the park is free. Really had to dig deep mentally to consider it as a saving on diesel instead.

It started to rain on the journey there and this didn't really stop. It didn't stop the boys from having a lovely time, running around on the damp grass and generally exploring. The only time they stayed still was for a picnic lunch under a tree.

Post-lunch, Arthur was being a friendly little chap and attempting to engage Dexter in some shared play. My anti-social little man didn't quite get it. The picture above on the right, captures the moment where a helpful Master Knight attempted to put a soggy Dexter's hood up. Despite Arthur's gentleness, Dexter ended up on the floor, a moment I just had to capture on film while Stella made sure the boy was okay!

All that running around wore our little pair of adventurers out and they were simultaneously sparko pretty much as soon as they were put back in their matching Maclarens.

After the epic walk home, I was pretty exhausted too. The boy and I had a gentle afternoon of blocks and books. And I didn't spend a bean.