Monday, 31 December 2012

A Letter to Dexter


To my darling boy,

As you lie snoozing on the sofa, finishing the year with the dreaded Norovirus, I thought I'd give a little bit of my soul to you.

This letter marks the end of your first full calendar year and the end of Mummy's ramblings about it. This little project started off as simply capturing a photograph of you every day for a year and seems to have taken on a life of its own! You know how Mummy likes to talk, well she likes to write too, and 'Brighton Ramblings' has become a cathartic space for me to celebrate, remonstrate, pontificate and sometimes just have a good old moan. I've sometimes had to write several posts at a time, but I have never cheated on the photos and it's so magical to see how much you've changed in such a short space of time.

What a year we've all had! I'm so proud of you, little man. Your life is quite hectic and demanding but you take most things in your stride. You've found your feet, your appetite and almost a full set of teeth. You're yet to really find your voice (although you did manage 'moo' and 'mine' over Christmas). When you read back on this one day, you'll see how worried Mummy got at times about your lack of chatter, but I'm feeling okay about it at the moment: you'll get there.

I think you'll do everything in your own time. Many people remark on how much of a character you are - including the epic tantrums. I think you have a really steely (stubborn?) core and a dogged determination. You are also a very happy little chap, so content in your own company, and still so fond of your sleep - thank you for that!

I will never lose the guilt I feel about everything concerning you. We don't get to spend as much time together as I'd like: holidays and weekends are sacred. You definitely seem to prefer Daddy to Mummy, and sometimes Mummy's friends take preference with you! I am learning not to take this too personally, particularly as it's me who has to be 'bad cop', waking you up to travel to nursery and then turning up to take you home when you're having lots of fun.

I cannot explain the feelings I have for you in words. You have the ability to augment my heart with love and make my heart physically hurt with worry or sadness. 

I love you unconditionally and always will. I never want to be a pushy parent and my only expectations of you are that you will be happy, kind and always try your best (oh, and vote Labour and never buy The Daily Mail).

I don't think I'm a very good Mummy - perhaps a little bit slack and definitely not a natural, but my love for you is boundless: I promise.

I don't know when, or indeed if you'll ever read this blog, but if you do, I hope you recognise that in the hurly burly of modern life, you are an inherent part of me. I still think a lot about carrying you in my tummy and the wonderful birth experience you gave me. I know that the beautiful boy with the long lashes and lustrous mop of hair will grow into an amazing young man who will make us proud. But I want you to know, you will always be my little boy.

Love always

Sunday, 30 December 2012

A promenade


Another long, lazy lie-in for Team W this morning. We did have a mild panic that the boy was going to get us up at six thirty this morning, but it proved to be a false alarm and Dexter just required some soothing strokes and his duvet pulling over him properly.

Miracle of Christmas miracles, it wasn't actually raining for once. We took advantage of the dry weather and drove to Hove Lagoon. Dexter caused a small queue at the children's swings, and then seemed most unimpressed by the wild and crashing sea. He quite enjoyed running along the promenade though with the cute and colourful beach huts as a backdrop.

We finished up with a visit to Waitrose - of course, so we're stocked up for the next part of the holiday.

The boy managed a whole day without a nap (please don't drop them, please don't drop them) and so was in bed at much more his usual time, rather than the tardy bedtimes of late.

I have spent the evening doing a small amount of work, and playing around with a new blog template. I can't believe tomorrow will be my 366th post of 'Brighton Ramblings'. It's going to be the blog's swansong. I'm definitely going to continue being a 'blogger', but this one is a gift for my boy.


Saturday, 29 December 2012

Driving back home from Christmas


The boy awoke at half past nine again this morning, as he has done for the past few mornings: loving this holiday business. We finished packing - bags full of toys and cases full of 'mum washing' (it smells so good) - before squeezing in one last set of visitors. This time, my younger step-sister and her family. Dexter was suitably sociable again and stared at the television whilst eating biscuits.

We then undertook the six hour journey back home in the wanging rain on traffic-filled roads. We stopped once at a particularly grim service station, ate toasties and drank over-priced coffee and let the boy stretch his miniature legs.

He went to bed very late this evening, having opened his present from Mummy and Daddy - a super-duper garage. Excitement levels seem to be at an all-time high. Whilst I type about twenty back-dated blog posts, I can hear him giggling away to himself through the monitor.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Toddler watch


Today has been a busy day. Because the three of us aren't back in the North very often, and because it's Christmas, we  have been getting a lot of visitors. Today was the turn of one of my step-sisters and her family, followed by auntie and cousin. I know they only want to see Dexter really, so it's a bit of a shame that any actual people in the house offer little distraction from CBeebies/food/new toys/sleep for the boy.

Grandma put him to bed this evening as the husband and I had a 'date' at the local giant shopping centre. John Lewis followed by Gourmet Burger Kitchen in the food complex: who said romance is dead?

Thursday, 27 December 2012

House Party


Today, we spent a lovely spontaneous afternoon at the house of an old school friend. There was another friend there too with her family. We've known each other for twenty three years now, yet it still feels funny being grown-ups with children, mortgages and family cars between us!

Dexter was somewhat erratic in his behaviour. Upon arrival, he screamed the house down, refused his lunch and went and sat on his own in a different room. He soon came round though and managed to play with all of the resident child's Christmas toys and eat his own body weight in sausage rolls. 

The husband and I ate our combined body weights in Chinese food this evening. My parents were going out to a party, so treated us to a take-away. The day finished with 'School of Rock' on TV and lying on the sofa. Happy holidays indeed!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Boxing Day Blues


After an epic tantrum this morning and a chilly visit to the park, it was clear the boy was out of sorts. We were supposed to go to a family party in the afternoon, but Dexter seemed genuinely unwell and unhappy and instead, spent the entire afternoon asleep on the sofa.

I suspect this may be a sign of things to come...

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Has he been?


It's Christmaaaaasssss!!!!! The boy enjoyed the big day. He received loads of fabulous gifts but was most enamoured by a set of four flashing rubber ducks that my mum had bought for his stocking for 99p. Watch and learn, broke parents!

It was a lovely family day, with Dexter getting to spend lots of time with his grandparents, auntie and uncle and his cousins. He troughed his Christmas dinner like a pro, being particularly fond of 'pigs in blankets'. He wasn't so keen on the noise the crackers made, but took the noise his excitable cousins made, completely in his stride.

I still think he's a little bit too young for true 'memory making' yet, but it was a low-key, cosy, happy day. Dexter spent most of the evening, surrounded by gifts and chatter, and my sister's enormous dog, having a very lovely time.


Monday, 24 December 2012

Choo choo!


We got up very early today and went with my sister and her family to the East Lancashire Railway. We had tickets for the 'Santa Express' - a steam train that makes its way through the Lancashire countryside with Father Christmas, a brass band and carols along the way. 

Dexter loved... a puddle on the platform and the dustbin truck on the other side of the tracks. He didn't have a meltdown though when Santa made his way through the carriage. I had my suspicions about the sobriety levels of 'Frosty the Snowman', and wanted to punch the so-called magician with his one trick (flicking a paper bag as the children 'threw' an imaginary ball into it). Hilariously, he accused me of 'dropping' said 'ball'. I held back from washing down my two 10am Ibuprofen with the complementary sherry.

It was actually a very lovely and very Christmassy experience - perhaps the start of a Christmas tradition? We followed it with a family lunch at a cutesy cafe near my parents' home. This meant a very late nap and a late evening bed time for the boy. Hope he keeps those eyes tightly shut for the big FC's second visit of the day...

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Driving home for Christmas


Team Wayne left the house at 9.15 this morning: this is unprecedented for a non-work day.

We drove the epic journey to my parental home in Manchester. It took less than five hours with only two stops. The boy slept for most of it.

The afternoon was spent with Dexter hanging out with his cousins and playing in my parents' lovely garden.

It feels like a very happy start to the holidays!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

House hunting - again!


Given my mood in the last couple of weeks, I had decided we would do something constructive about it today. I had booked an appointment to see more houses on a new development in a village very close to my destination of choice.

It was a really positive experience with three main highlights: we really liked all three houses we viewed; a hungry Dexter ate some plaster in one of them and seems to have suffered no adverse side-effects; the lovely sales guy is a former actor whose dad played Roy in EastEnders - I liked this piece of trivia.

The venture has given us the impetus for 'Project Move 2013' and hopefully, we will be putting the flat on the market in the new year.

Another highlight was a cheeky little visit to McDonalds on the way home. The boy devoured a Happy Meal with the same gusto he had just been trying to eat the infrastructure of the house with.

I went to a lovely wedding reception in the evening with a fabulous swing band playing. With two weeks off stretching out in front of me, I am definitely getting in the swing of Christmas now.

Friday, 21 December 2012



Today's #366 photograph says it all. We've made it to the last day of term! The lift-share ladies, the boy and I, just about made it to the pub for dinner. Dexter slept through dinner.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Have a little patience...


I am writing this post retrospectively as I am so behind with the blog. My notes for today say: 'Patience is wearing thin'. I can't remember actual details - lost in the fug of the festive term.

The other line of notes for today simply reads: 'Dexter cried at FC'. So, Santa's visit to nursery was a hit then... Toddler's end-of-term patience wearing thin too?

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Just Dexter


I had an hour long appointment with the nursery owner and Dexter's key worker today. He has an IEP (Individual Education Plan), with three targets focusing on joining in and social interaction. Developmentally, according to a bizarre series of charts and the Early Years curriculum, the boy is 'behind' for his age group.

I was surprisingly cool with all of this. The discussion was useful and informative; they're pleased with his progress; they think he is an interesting little character.

He is my boy. He will undoubtedly do things his way. He will get there eventually. He will have any support put in place that he requires. He will always be loved and protected with the lioness heart I grew when he was placed in my arms.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Little voice


I am struggling. My voice is very sore and weak; I sound like the love child of Marge Simpson and Deirdre Barlow. I suspect I may look a little like it too.

The boy kicked off royally at pick-up today but then held my hand in the back of the car (I wasn't driving), all the way home, while I mainlined Calpol.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Monday, Monday.


Today was up there with the grimmest of days. I taught all morning and then drove to the funeral of a former student, who died in utterly tragic circumstances. It was a celebratory funeral, but ultimately, I watched someone lay their daughter to rest: sad times.

I then got horribly lost on the way back to school, so the half hour drive back took two hours!

I had to return to school to attend an A Level presentation evening and cabaret. It was lovely to catch up with former students, but I feel so poorly. Lovely lift-share friend collected the boy from nursery for me and brought him into school; he wouldn't come anywhere near me.

We got home after seven o'clock. I feel physically, mentally and emotionally drained. And it's only Monday...

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Sagacious ladies


Riding this morning naturally lifted my low spirits. I will not give it up, but am considering moving to an earlier lesson so I don't miss out on so much of the day with my boys. They went to the park without me again today.

In fact, I had the whole day off from motherly duties. After riding, I drove straight to a pub in a West Sussex village to meet with my 'Book Club' ladies. As ever, we talked about the book for a short time and then generally caught up and put the world to rights  They were very kind to me when I shared my woes and offered plentiful words of wisdom.

I went home to the rest of the afternoon filled with Dexter tantrums and an evening of marking mock exams.

Deep joy.

Saturday, 15 December 2012



Today has been a miserable day - both in terms of the weather and my mood. I just can't shake this self-indulgent wallowing.

I popped out in the rain (with the boys in tow), for some more Christmas gifts, and spent the evening making Christmas cards. As a self-confessed Grinch, this did not inspire any festive cheer.


Friday, 14 December 2012



Despite a pleasant day at school, I'm exhausted and feeling sorry for myself. Obviously convinced that if I didn't work full-time, I wouldn't feel quite so exhausted - or that I'm missing out on time with my boy. 

We attempted the pub with my in-laws this evening, but it was a horrible rainy night and the pub was packed. Instead, father-in-law bought a take-away Thai banquet. It was delicious, and accompanied by 'big chats' about future plans for Team Wayne.

I ate too much, too quickly and thought too much. Ended up feeling sick and teary. It will pass.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Where's the finishing line?


We had a better night with the boy last night, but work seemed so long. Lessons, leading an assembly, and two hours of leading training after school. Again, I was home at seven. I was supposed to be getting festive at my Department Christmas Do. I just physically couldn't do it. 

We're limping to the end of term...

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Poorly boy


We had a bad night last night with a very poorly boy. I went back to work today; the husband stayed off.

The husband's parents arrived this afternoon as childcare reinforcements.

Look at my poorly boy with his Nana.

I spent the evening waving Rightmove under Nana's nose. I have a vision of us all living together in some country pile in the future. For now, I'm very grateful for the much needed help with Little Lord Chesty Cough.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012


So, the boy slept until eight this morning. He obviously needed the two hour lie in. He was super needy, cuddly and a bit floppy. I gave him a bath to remove the crusty snot from his face and began the strict regime of medicines to keep his temperature down and cough syrup to soothe his throat and hacking cough.
We mainly hung out, watched television, read books and played with cars. He's off his food a bit - must be ill.
Dexter slept for four hours this afternoon. He obviously needed it, and it's unlikely he would manage this amount of sleep at nursery.
I managed to do some mock exam marking, stay on top of my work emails and clear the washing basket.
There are officially only eight more working days - and twenty more blogging days. I'm digging deep. 

Monday, 10 December 2012


Today was totally, completely, utterly PANTS! From start to finish. Rubbish. To top it all, the boy is really quite poorly. My predictions have been correct.
I have taken the decision today to keep him off nursery tomorrow. I feel bad about the implications at school, but my boy comes first. It quite often seems to be the other way around; this isn't right.
Hence my evening was spent emailing and making phone calls. I feel better for making this decision now. I just need him to get better now.

Sunday, 9 December 2012


Don't think I actually drank that much last night as I felt fine this morning. Felt super-fine after an hour of riding.
The husband didn't take Dexter to the park today. Poor little chap (Dexter that is), is definitely out of sorts and it seemed too chilly for him to be venturing out today.
Instead, we tried to get him 'involved' in making our Christmas cards; he wasn't having any of it and screamed the house down. I have had to improvise and use some paintings that Dexter has done at nursery to fashion something distinctly 'homemade'.
Again, a bit like entertaining, I love the idea of creating things (I will never use 'crafting' as a verb), but I lose interest quite quickly. It's also pretty unlikely that I won't write/post them in time for Christmas. In fact, this blog is probably the only project I have shown any staying power with, and I can't wait to stop doing it!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Laid back

We were supposed to see a mortgage adviser this morning: they cancelled. I am a huge fatalist when it comes to house-buying and I can't help but see this as a portent of doom.
Ah well, despite falling at the first hurdle, we made our merry way to the market town of Horsham in West Sussex. The husband works near there, and we decided it would be a quieter option than Brighton for some weekend pre-Christmas browsing. It was! It was all crisp and sunny and twinkly. We enjoyed a hearty lunch and the boy (tummy full of pasta and garlic bread), enjoyed a lengthy snooze in his pushchair while we tackled Waitrose. He's looking a little ruddy of cheek in today's #366 picture and pleasingly Norwegian. I fear teething or coming down with something (Scandi-itis?)...
This evening, I hosted a little soiree for my NCT mummy friends. I say 'hosted' - I opened a few big bags of crisps and some bottles of wine. I fear they may have been a little disappointed by the lack of festive sparkle. Trouble is, I love the idea of proper Nigella/Jamie/Lorraine entertaining, but I'm just too...lazy.
Anyway, who needs fancy food and you know, bothering to brush your hair and put some make-up on, when you have lovely company and gallons of vino? Not me.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Friday foot forward

Post-parents' evening is always a bit gutting, especially when some of my planning and marking time was unexpectedly used up this morning. I had some lovely lessons though. I'm trying out lots of new stuff in my lessons at the moment and feeling professionally invigorated. I also managed to clear the decks a bit for the weekend so I get more time with this cheeky chappie...

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Cross country driving

I was, with hindsight, perhaps a little too smug in yesterday's post. Yes, I got my marking done and class notes updated in a gentle and relaxed fashion. I needed them for this evening's parents' evening. I left them at home. I drove home and back to school again in my lunchtime. I work miles away. I then got home again (after parents' evening and losing my voice) at 9pm. I am a spanner.
The boy had been brought home by the lift-share ladies. He had been kept amused by the wonders of the car's internal light going on and off. He is a little odd.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Marking my time...

It was flippin' freezin' this morning. My week to drive and I was running late. Fortunately, lovely lift-share ladies are really accommodating.
It was so cold that there was a little snow flurry during my Year 11 lesson; they went berserk. I am the 'Snow Grinch' and so their excitement was met with the blinds being pulled down and a 'Let's get on with it! You've got mocks coming up.'
The day passed by in its usual (snow) whirl. Nursery seem pleased with Dexter: this is good. The husband was working from home again, so it was nice to be able to do a hand over. It also meant I got to crack on with some marking, whilst listening to the radio. It's my new little week night ritual, and it feels like a gentle way of tackling my enormous workload. Got another mention from Jo Whiley too, so I feel like she genuinely keeps me company as I plough on with the books.
I like to think it's edging me ever closer to my true calling as a media butterfly. I suspect I am horribly wrong and shall be teaching/marking books until I am about 108 years old...

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A Day in the Life

Today was as follows:
1. Awoke at 6am. One small boy given epic breakfast.
2. 6.30am hand over to Daddy for small boy to be clothed. One teacher lady dressed and ready to go.
3. One small, dented car (parked on different street) driven to outside house.
4. One small and tired boy strapped in to car.
5. One lovely friend collected from her home.
6. One overly-long, but pretty drive to nursery.
7. One drive-by-roll-out of small boy at nursery.
8. One staff meeting. One cappuccino consumed.
9. One tutor group registered.
10. One GCSE controlled assessment supervised.
11. Twenty-nine 12-13 year old brains filled with a brief history of America and a Martin Luther King speech.
12. One 'break' spent working.
13. One lesson observed.
14. One GCSE lesson banging on about correct use of semi colons (again).
15. One beige lunch hurriedly consumed.
16. One Year 7 lesson on writing skills completed.
17. One meeting (official) with colleague.
18. One unofficial meeting with different colleague.
19. One lesson PowerPoint created for tomorrow.
20. One nursery collection. Tantrum scale: minimal.
21. One very long and dark journey home. Tantrum scale: rising.
22. One car parked nowhere near house. Tantrum scale: escalating further.
23. One walk back to house in cold and dark. Tantrum scale: epic.
24. Hand over to the husband (uncharacteristically working from home). Number of 'Meg & Mog' stories read: infinite.
25. Four bags of recycling sorted and put out.
26. One revolting cat litter tray cleaned and changed.
27. One load of dry washing put away.
28. One new load of washing put in machine.
29. One small, sleepy head kissed goodnight.
30. One very uninspiring and nutritionally deficient meal prepared, served and eaten.
31. One report (due tomorrow) completed.
32. Several emails dealt with.
33. One blog post completed.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Cyber Monday

Today was a special day: school was officially, unusually, gloriously closed.
The boy awoke at 6.40am; I ignored him until 8am.
We met up with the lift share ladies for brunch at Bill's. I am convinced the boy has a tapeworm. Today's consumption is as follows:
- one fruit pouch
- one large bowl of muesli
- one fromage frais
- beans on toast
- one bowl of chips
- pasta bolognese
We had a very nice day pottering about. The intention was to get my Christmas shopping done. I bought nothing.
Have just finished most of my list on Amazon.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Baby, it's cold outside!


My car told me it was literally freezing this morning; winter is definitely here.

Riding was ace - my favourite beastie on good form. Dexter went to the park with Daddy.

After a trudge round the supermarket, by the time I got home, the boy was in bed. He slept until it went dark, had his tea, a bath, and went back to bed again.

Hibernation for the nation.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Team Wayne

Team Wayne took a very long time to get going today. By midday, the only team member dressed was Dexter. The husband and I were very tempted to organise an enforced early afternoon doze, but we wrapped up against the elements and trotted into town.
We ended up having a lovely lovely Saturday. A quick browse of the shops, coffee, a seafront stroll, and then early tea at a local Italian with lovely lift-share lady and her sister's family.
The boy packed away an extraordinary amount of food, not letting the heavy 'grown-up' cutlery be a hindrance. He's a real pleasure at the moment. Today's #366 photograph summed up the mood. This spontaneous seafront snap received a flattering amount of 'Facebook love'. I just like the look on my boy's face.