Saturday, 11 September 2010

Week 9: I'll be there for you... (Prizes for the first to get what the title this week refers to...)

Baby Freshers Week
One of the things I wasn’t expecting when I decided that dropping a sprog was the next logical step, was the back to school kind of feeling that overwhelms me everytime I go to a new baby group. It is that slightly manic, desperate feeling that I last felt during freshers week at uni. It’s kind of like this: LIKE ME! PLEASE LIKE ME!

When you are stuck at home all day going mad, talking to yourself, humming the tunes from the Fisher Price toy, changing nappies, preparing for another feed, etc, etc, you need to know people who are going through the same thing. Sometimes you need to just be able to vent and for someone to say ‘I know! I totally agree!’, so it is imperative that you make some friends at baby groups, NCT or some other similar occasion.

It is similar to that first week at uni, in that you very quickly learn who will be a friend, and who to avoid. For all you prospective mums out there, here is the checklist… and for all of you who have done this already, hopefully you will all agree with me and say loudly, and as one ‘I know! I totally agree!’

1) If their first question concerned with what your baby can do (i.e. Little Jemima is already crawling, what is little CK doing?) then they will probably be posting Jemima’s report on Facebook in a few years time for all to admire. Steer clear.
2) If they tell you how beautiful their own child is before looking at yours, they are probably to be avoided.
3) Do they seem like the kind of person who you could discuss the new geography of your nether regions with? If so, they are a keeper.
4) Are they already skinny? Probably sack them off. Especially if they offer you hints on how to shift the baby weight. What baby weight? I shifted that months ago. This is just weight.
5) Do they seem repulsed by the streaks of pureed pear which adorn your sweater? Jog on. Anyone who can’t see the potential of wearing your snacks for later ain’t worth knowing.
6) Do they offer their number and a sympathetic smile? That’s a good ‘un. If they make you laugh at the horror of it all, then make sure you get that number straight away, put it in your phone, and use it.

The Mummatron

When my children were little my friends came in all shapes and sizes but they all had one thing in common – children that my children liked to play with. We all needed support, someone to go to when the afternoon was simply too long and fraught to face on your own or when you needed someone to look after one child whilst you took the other to the doctors/school/hospital. Most of these friends have faded into the past as we have moved house many times, but my memories of them are very fond. Friends in need and indeed.

Now we have a handful of friends who are a bit older than us, a couple of them we have known for over forty years and they have all been grandparents for quite a few years now. Eight of us regularly have long lazy lunches together and talk about every subject under the sun but I have always been surprised that they hardly ever mentioned their grandchildren. What did that say about them? Could it be that they were not interested in their offsprings’ offspring? Or maybe they hardly ever saw them? Perhaps they were much colder people than I had thought they were?

Then we became grandparents earlier this year and it was as if a secret ban had been lifted. The conversation these days is all about how wonderful/naughty/cute/funny/clever our grandchildren are. So now I think what it says about my old friends is that they are in fact warmer, more loving friends who care more about me than I ever knew! Now I find myself trying not to mention our new little grandaughter too much to other friends who do not have grandchildren yet, - you can learn a lot from good friends!

Granny Bloggings

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Week 8: Happy Holidays!

Please note that this post was inspired by the missing week... Week 6 was a week of holiday and relaxation for us mummy/granny bloggers! Sorry if you missed us!

Couch Surfing

Over the last few years me and my other half have been racking up our quota of ‘free-spirited, independent travel’, the kind that you do as a young, free-spirited independent person.

In 2006 we had a lucky escape when a tree fell within metres of our tent in the Ardeche; we were forced to flee Mexico in 2007 as Hurricane Dean threatened to destroy half of the Yucatan; and in 2008 we had a few close calls on our 4 month camping tour of Southern Africa - elephants grazing around our tent, a nasty sickness bug that ended up with a spell in a dodgy Zambian hospital and a brush with drowning when white water rafting on the Zambezi.

Now, I am not listing these occasions to brag – most of my generation have had similar experiences. I guess I am listing them because I have come to a recent conclusion.

I’m not sure it is fun anymore.

Something about my biology now tells me to stay at home, comfortable on my oversized couch, with my husband close and my baby closer. Is it the hormones? Is it is a post traumatic response to the process of giving birth? Or is it that secretly, somewhere inside, I’ve always wanted the couch and the comfort rather than the terror and excitement. Maybe I am more of a National Geographic channel kind of girl – it turns out I can explore the forests of Mexico, the savannahs of Namibia and the byways of France all from right here, and mostly with David Attenborough. Ah David, as trustworthy and reliable a travelling companion a girl could ever want.

So here’s to couches, and TV, and holidays by the beach with a bucket and spade and a knotted hanky and a deckchair. Bognor Regis, here we come!

The Mummatron

It’s that time of year again…

The sun has disappeared behind cold grey clouds, the drizzle is drizzling, the kids are grizzling, and it is August. What does this mean? It means the school children are on holiday after spending several long months sitting in smelly, sweaty classrooms and studying for their exams during gloriously hot sunny weather – now they are free to enjoy a few weeks of summer freedom – in the cold and wet.

Thus it ever was. I remember looking forward to the prospect of a week away with our two small children; the weeks of planning, the weeks of washing, the weeks of dieting to try and get into a bathing costume again, the weeks of explaining what a holiday is … by the day we were ready to set off I was exhausted and the kids were as high as kites, bouncing stickily off the walls and ceiling with excitement.

The plan was that the minute my husband got home from work we would set off – let’s not waste a minute – that was the idea. As we were going to visit Granny on the way I decided to dress my newly crawling daughter in the pretty white dress, white cardigan and white lacey tights which Granny had bought for her and she had never worn (the baby I mean, not Granny).

We washed behind our ears, we scrubbed various unmentionable crevices and by the time ‘daddy’ was due home we were totally gussied up. Feeling incredibly competent I decided that I was so efficient I should also pack the car. I told my three year old son to sit still and watch his little sister – although I must admit that to achieve the sitting still requirement I did put a cartoon of Scooby Doo on the TV, yes I know, mea culp, mea culpa. But I DID get the car packed – HA!

When I returned to the lounge I saw that my son really had stayed exactly where I left him, he had not stirred a muscle and his eyes were still fixed on the screen. However, everything else in the room had shifted into another dimension… the fire guard was lying on the carpet, a large rubber tree plant was lying on its side with the soil spread liberally around the floor and my previously, squeaky clean, little angel of a daughter was standing in the hearth with her hands above her head, examining the sooty chimney!

We were a little late arriving at Grannys’!

And PS, you cannot get the stain of soot out of lacy tights.

Granny Bloggings

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