Tuesday, 26 October 2010


I have just remembered a fat-related incident:

Years ago I went along to a ‘weight loss class’.

Thirty fat women huddled in a small village hall. A tall slim dyed blonde, big haired, instructress swept in. She stood before us and asked how many of us felt we had gained our weight by having children? Thirty chubby hands waved enthusiastically in the air. Then she asked, “how many of you have children under the age of five?” No hands were raised, not a one. Her gimlet eyes swept across the mounds of lard in front of her …. “and you still blame your children?” she sneered.

And, no dear reader, it didn’t work. Yes I lost weight whilst terrified of the weekly weight-in in front of her sneeryness but as soon as I had reached my correct weight and escaped her scary presence I was so relieved I had to have a mars bar ……… you know the rest!

Granny Bloggins

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Week 13: From Flab to Fab

My Badge of Honour

So we all know the story of the stork – she takes each little bundle of joy, wrapped up in a soft little blanket, gently lifts them in her beak and flies carefully to their loving, expectant parents. She gracefully flaps through the nursery window and deposits the cherub into his new cot, giggling and excited at the prospect of his new family. Lovely.

What they do not tell you is the visit that the stork makes after that. She swoops from the nursery window to the parents room with her second deposit of the day. While mummy is sleeping carefree, that malevolent bird sneaks in and slaps an extra tyre around mummy’s waist. Mummy wakes up in the morning with that wonderful little bundle of joy in the nursery and 3 extra stone that she has no idea where it came from.

OK well, maybe all those iced buns during the pregnancy might have something to do with it. But seriously, it isn’t my fault. It really isn’t – the little blighter in my tummy made me so sick that I had to eat the iced buns so I wouldn’t throw up.

I’m paying for it now though.

During my pregnancy, I stopped weighing myself after the midwife mentioned gestational diabetes. Eww. So I know I have lost most of it but I still have this stone that I can’t shift. But I read my share of Vogue and Elle and Grazia; Madonna and Angelina Jolie promised me the weight just dropped off when you were breastfeeding. Oh no, hang on, the secret to their success is to be the stork – go scoop up your lovely little bundle of joy from some other person’s nursery and you end up with the long skinny legs (and feathers and a beak??)

So I am resigned. I am going to wear this extra stone proudly as a badge of honour, a flag of my graduation to motherhood. It will be the sign that I am fertile and have produced. I have fulfilled my biological role and given my husband an heir.

Yeah right. Rice cake anyone?

The Mummatron

Loosing Weight

OK, this is my area of expertise! I have lost tonnes of weight over the years…ummmm………..

When I was pregnant with my first baby I put on about four stone – so how come the baby was only 7 pounds and 3 ounces? The rest of the weight decided it liked me enough that it wanted to stay.

This was not helped when the baby started to eat solid foods, but not all of what I offered, never all of it! Needless to say the surplus; banana pudding, custard, baby rice, and later fish fingers, bits of sausage, marmite fingers and lumps of mashed potatoes all seemed to find their way into my mouth and straight to my hips.

About this time a blonde goddess hove into view wearing a turquoise leotard and smiling in a slim, smug kinda way – Rosemary Connelly. It seemed you only had to buy her video to shed bucket loads of fat. I bought it – it didn’t.

A few years later Jane Fonda appeared leaping and sweating and going for the famous Burn. I bought that video too but this time I was coerced into actually nailing a smile on my face and huffing and puffing through the exercises by my slim husband who said he would do it too. You know what I am going to say: he lost weight every day whilst I enthusiastically rolled around the floor, leaped up and down steps, shed whole baths full of sweat and tears searched vainly for that elusive Burn, and only lost the tiniest ounce every month.

However, now that I am nearly sixty I have discovered a really effective way to loose weight. Last year I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and since then have lost four stone. Suddenly I have found a will power I didn’t have before, suddenly I can see a very good reason to loose those pounds, suddenly loosing weight has become a complete way of life.

My daughter introduced me to the website Cook Yourself Thin and I found that much more helpful than all the grunting and groaning of yesteryear, although I do make sure I exercise with a fast walk every day – every day! And guess what? I’m really enjoying it! Finally!

Granny Bloggings

Friday, 22 October 2010

Pre-post Post

Thank You Sarkozy

I never thought that would be a phrase I would say but... he floated the idea of putting up the retirement age... so the fiery French went out on the streets and raged against the machine... so the petrol stations ran dry... so my parents came home early... (see where this is going?!)... so I get to have some extra help this weekend... Yay!

More posts to follow - consider this as a half time announcement.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Week 12: MummyHalved

Very rudely, my parents have buggered off and left me. Yes, that’s right people, this week I am Mummyhalved. I am not sure that holidaying was in the grandparent contract. Let me see... Bringing bacon sarnies to the hospital while the labour is under way - check. Making endless cups of tea and meals and stacking and unstacking the dishwasher for at least a month after mummy and baby return home from the hospital - check. Doing any general DIY that has been required for the last three years that we have never got around to - check. Night feeds - check. Walking for miles trying to get the baby to sleep - check. Changing pooey nappies - check. Going off on holiday and leaving mummy to look after her 7 month old child all by her poor old self - nope, definitely not in the contract.

I have always been a very independant individual. I chose my own outfits from about the age of 2 (which accounts for the orange nylon shorts and the penchant for hats), I cooked for myself from about the age of 12 (pasta with peanut butter and sausages anyone?) and went off to uni at the age of 17 (a uni that was 5000 miles away from The Mothership). As an only child (oh yes, don’t worry, there will be a blog post coming up on that little gem) I guess it was always in my nature. So really, this should be a breeze.

Something strange happened when I got preggers though - my phone bills are testament to this. It is as if, by creating a new generation, somehow the family has been knit tighter together - I have always been close to my parents, but I never thought I would want them to move in next door. Now, I am thinking of converting the garage. I lean on them for everything - advice on weaning, teething, routines, whether CK needs a hat in this cold weather, the consistancy of those nappies I mentioned earlier, and the list goes on.

What amazes me is that they not only put up with this, but that they seem to enjoy it. I know they want to spend as much time as possible with their grandchild, but indulging my DIY demands, and cleaning my toilet is possibly a little extreme. Not to mention the phone calls discussing bowel movements in great detail (not just CK’s, anyone’s really, I’m not picky).

So lets raise a toast to grandparent far and wide - whatever you’re tipple (mine’s a nice cup of Horlicks). If you’re lucky enough to have some good ‘uns like me then drink to their health. If you have not been thus blessed you may like to propose a slightly different toast and I will support you with that every step of the way. I’ll just say this to my mum and dad; Cheers folks... and COME HOME SOON!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Week 11: The wonder of weaning

Die Hard 5.0; Lets Get That Baby Fed

I’m married to a superhero - no really, I am. I knew when I married him that he had his similarities to Bruce Willis, the sex appeal, the thinning hair, but I didn’t realise how far the similarities went. Since starting the weaning process, it has all come to light...

We have only been trying out proper food for a couple of weeks and when I am in charge it is generally a very messy occasion – I just wish Butternut was one of Dulux’s more popular shades for interior design. It isn’t. Apparently it isn’t this season’s new black either as no-one has complemented me on my new speckled orange look. At least I kill two birds with one stone – a free fake tan and baby gets fed.

But when hubby is in charge it is a different matter. Meal times start 30 minutes before baby has to be fed… He goes upstairs and changes into his oldest clothes (if he really was Bruce it would be a sweaty, dirty white vest top and stone washed jeans). He gets her into her feeding outfit (honestly, she has a designated baby gro for this), he puts on her long sleeved, full body bib, he places a muslin over her legs, he locks her into the high chair, he puts the tray table on so that her arms are restrained. And we are almost ready for food.

The 2001:A Space Odyssey theme tune starts to play in my head as he squares up to the challenge in hand. A spoonful of food is proffered and the gaping abyss of her mouth opens. The orange mush is deposited, the spoon is withdrawn before her little hands can grab it, the excess is scraped off the face and replaced in the bowl and not a drop has sploshed, smudged or even dripped. The Magnolia shade of the living room walls has not been sullied. The carpet will live to serve another day.

Thank goodness for my husband, the Bruce Willis of baby feeding, guarding over the carpets and wall coverings of the world.
The Mummatron


This year, for the first time in my life, I got a new kitchen. I chose the palest Ash wood for the cupboards and a pale sand coloured stone for the worktops. I had the walls painted a pale neutral colour called Linen Wash. I was thrilled with the whole effect and at no time did I consider adding dashes of orange colours in random patterns over the whole room … but now we are weaning!

Who would have thought that pureed sweet potato, pureed carrots and sieved fruit could travel through space so far when flicked from a weaning spoon! Little CK on the other hand is loving it. She is reveling in the tactile squishing, sqidging, and painting. Her granddad and I bought a high chair from e-bay for a fiver and gave it a nuclear scrubbing – why? Looking at it now after a few short days it is hard to see the outline of the chair through the miasma of fuzzy food - Jackson Pollack would have been proud.

Weaning is not a sport for the elderly. I know this is not exactly weaning but last night, as her sleep deprived husband had to leave us to go back to work, I offered to let my daughter have a much needed break from those delightful night calls from the baby’s room. At three o’clock I was summoned to the cotside when I clearly heard a little voice through the monitor say, “Granny, I need you, I love you granny and I want to smile at you”. Of course this may have been my sleep befuddled imagination, she is only 6 months old and obviously not actually talking yet – though as a besotted grand mother I believe it wont be long…..

So at three this morning CK and I had a little cuddle, a few sucks of milk and then a return journey to the cot. Using all my Pilates muscles I managed to heave her gently over the cot rail and ease her sleepy little self down without jolting or, heaven forbid, dropping her. I stood motionless over her and ssshhed and ssshed until I felt light headed. When I felt she was completely settled and, thankful that the floorboards in that room do not creak, I turned to creep away. Immediately the detonations of my knees and ankles ripped through the silent darkness like pistol shots – I ssshed some more – I crept towards the door and then realized that another involuntary bodily emanation of a more windy type was about to be released, I clenched but to no avail and a thunderous peal rang out into the night. This baby rearing is not for the faint hearted or the crumbling of elderly body!

Granny Bloggins

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Week 10: Competitive Mummies

Perhaps Blog is short for Back log? Sorry for the delay... but here it finally is!

Winners and Losers
Moving to Oxfordshire after living in Aberdeen for five years was a very strange experience. Men here use product in their hair, not all women have a strangely orange tanned complexion, and I have never heard a mother call her child ‘Shania’ down here. The whole approach to life is very different. Raising a child in Oxfordshire scares me somewhat though… let me explain.

I know everyone has their worries about whether they will be a good parent, whether they will be able to love their child enough, whether they will be too firm or too relaxed, whether they will know what to do with a little helpless being entrusted to them. I’m not worried about all that. I’m worried about my incorrigible and quite terrifying competitive streak.

It’s the kind of streak which gets me into trouble; on a Ryanair flight, I am the one who, despite reminding myself that there is a seat for everyone, will trample old people, wimpy looking business men and, yes, even pregnant women to get my pick of the seats; in a Monopoly game, it’s not the winning that counts but the crushing of my opponents; and don’t even get me started on what it takes to bag a bargain at the Next Sale.

How am I going to curb this ugly monster when it comes to my daughter? I have to admit, I think I would rather spend an hour in the company of a group (pack?) of trainspotters than I would some of the more competitive mothers I’ve come across. Anyone who thinks that a good way to get to know you is to grill you about whether your child can do all the stuff theirs can at the age of 5 months is probably not going to be a good friend: Them: Little Jimmy is rolling over AND sitting up… What is Little CK doing? Me: Erm…. Lying around on her back… Them: Oh.

The upshot of this is that I have to rush home and start rolling her around the floor and making her sit up, which generally results in a falling on the face incident.

So the good news is that thus far, I haven’t engaged in the competition, in fact I am the opposite. When faced with a braggy mummy my response is to do my daughter down. Them: My little Jemima is just so beautiful. Me: I’m not convinced that little CK doesn’t look like a little pig. Them: My little Bobby can pull himself up to standing – is CK doing that yet? Me: Nah -with those thighs she ain’t ever gonna be mobile.

I would imagine that if I was living anywhere else there would be different things to compete over; how much she cried when having her ears pierced; whether she enjoyed her first cheeseburger; if she has sheared her first sheep yet. But here I am in the land of Baby College, then, surrounded by mummies who are already thinking about whether to send their child to private school, and posting their report from nusery on Facebook (no joke!). I’ll just content myself with the hope that one day, she will roll over, despite her thighs.

The Mummatron

The Long Run
I don’t believe in competition, I mean, I know it exists and that some people think it is a good thing, but I think it leads to conformity and ultimately to dissatisfaction if not outright war.

Having said all that, in a rather haughty manner, why did I find it so upsetting when other peoples’ babies could: sit up, smile, laugh, recognise a picture of a cow AND make a mooing sound, whilst my own progeny lay cooing and smiling inanely and trying to gum the rag book?

I remember furiously trying to make my first baby mew like the cat in the picture and bark like the dog, things which would be embarrassing in any child older than three but it seemed terribly important after I had seen a friends’ child, of the same vintage as mine, doing these clever things.

When other mothers assumed a rather pitying look and asked how old he was I used to give his age in weeks until he was about two so that he would seem younger than he really was and therefore it would be forgiven that he was not already reading text books for the Open University, (in which, of course, he would have been enrolled to start his course in advanced mathematics at the age of eighteen months.)

As my little one grew and progressed at his own sunny rate, the competition shifted to behaviour and manners and I found to my delight that my babe was streaks ahead of many of his peers when it came to charm and pleases and thank yous. I began to get smug, to believe that I may yet gain a place at the head of the mummy race. Then came the day when several visiting children got into a positively feral scrap over a toy in my lounge. I was very aware that my son had not joined in the bad behaviour but was playing quietly behind the settee and the sin of pride settled on my shoulders like a cape of victory! Once we had sorted out the fracas and dealt with the bites, scratches and clumps of pulled out hair, I peeped casually over the back of the settee to see what my perfect son was doing. Oops! He was busy with his toy cars but next to him on the seat of the rocking horse was a freshly laid poo!

That was the moment when I realised that there is no competition between children, they will learn and progress at their own speed and nothing competitive mummies can do will change that. As the years go by and our children gain characters of their own it is the difference we celebrate – little Johnny can ride his bike without training wheels but he cannot stop picking his nose – little Jane can knit her own yoghurt but still wets the bed – and as for little Adolf,, well, the less said the better!

Once your child is old enough to decide for itself whether or not it will take drugs, smoke, or participate in under age drinking, or, please no, sex, it is important that they are not trying to compete with their peers but are happy to stand alone, different, confident in their own ability to be the kind of person they know their parents will be proud of.

Granny Bloggings

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