Friday, 28 January 2011

The Old Booby Question

Bringing Back the Boobies!

Disclaimer... if you are a) a squeamish male, b) a female who would like to breastfeed one day or c) anyone I have ever taught, you may not want to read this post!

I have reclaimed my boobs. Yes, that is right, after 10 months of breastfeeding I (and my child) decided enough was enough. And now that I am finished, there are so many wonderful things I can do with my new and (not very) improved breasts; I can give myself a round of applause with them if I run up stairs (but not too fast or I give myself two black eyes); I no longer need a pencil case for my stationary; and if ever I need to defend myself I can use them as a form of fleshly nun-chucks.

Despite all this, there is a lot of smugness involved in breastfeeding and after having now done my fair share, I can see why. First up, it isn’t the easiest. I expected to just pop the baby on and nurture her to her hearts content. I thought maybe I could do it whist carrying her in a sling, so that I could load the dishwasher and breastfeed, or maybe, hoover, read a book and breastfeed or even enjoy a latte, on the run, while catching the bus and generally gadding about town, while breastfeeding. How wrong I was... It took me about 9 weeks just to be able to give Little what she needed to keep her going, and another few weeks after that before I could do it comfortably without involving about 16 cushions. So when you do finally master it, yes, I can see why you might feel smug.

I suppose the whole ‘Best for Baby’ thing makes us breastfeeders feel pretty pleased with ourselves too. That is until the government, or the NHS, or a bunch of scientists come along and tell you that maybe, just maybe, it ain’t best for baby and that some babies might need something different. What, you mean to tell me each individual baby is different and has different needs? Shock horror! Don’t get me started on that one.

So I guess what I think I have learned over these many months of breastfeeding is that I am a closet bottle feeder. Despite the fact that I didn’t choose formula, I fervently want to defend the rights of women to choose. Some women can’t breastfeed, and some women don’t want to - and who am I to suggest that they should? The best thing about being a woman in the new millennium is having the right to choose; to choose whether or not to have kids, to choose whether or not to go back to work; to choose whether or not to marry; so why not have the right to a choice on this one too?


Back in the Day

Ah, the old breast is best issue, how nice to see that some things about the world of babies never change!

When I had my first baby back in 1976 we were given an information booklet at our first Antenatal class. Antenatal classes were similar to NCT classes, but they were spread over quite a few weeks, were very instructive and they were absolutely free! We were taught about the birth, our part in the production (‘scuse the pun), how to relax (not much use during labour but great for when dealing with a two year old tantrum) and about how to care for the baby once we were ‘home alone’. But I digress so back to the leaflet: there was a section on feeding, and to be fair, it explained about both bottle and breast-feeding.

The breast-feeding pages showed a beautiful coloured picture of a slim young woman with long blonde hair wearing an elegant white frock. She was sitting in an antique rocking chair breast-feeding her baby next to an open French window through which you could glimpse a perfect garden of rolling lawns and gently wafting willow trees. Aaah.

Turn the page to find out about bottle feeding; the picture is in stark black and white and depicts a fat old hag of a woman with her greasy hair only partly covered by a turban, she is sitting on a hard wooden kitchen chair surrounded by the debris of several meals and her floral overalls are grubby with nicotine stains. She holds the baby with one hand whilst using her free hand to tap the ash off her ciggie before shoving a dirty looking bottle into the poor little waifs’ mouth. Well, I may exaggerate a little but you get the idea ……..

So even back in 1976, no pressure about breast-feeding then……………..

I think it has always been a contentious issue which not only veers madly from one fashion to another but has always been a ‘class’ issue. I was a little bit hippy in my day and so knew without a doubt that there was only breast-feeding for me (oh yes, and, I nearly forgot, the baby too). The trouble was my baby had ideas of his own, and believe me, however hard I tried that baby would not take the breast. I struggled, he struggled, we all struggled until, one day, presented with a vaguely yellow, slightly jaundiced unhappy little baby I gave in and offered him a bottle. Reader, he didn’t just drink, he guzzled! He relaxed, I relaxed, we all relaxed.

Another Life lesson learnt – thank you baby.

Granny Bloggings

Friday, 21 January 2011

Meow - Make way for this Tiger Mummy!

Tiger Mummy - Loud and Proud

Good for Amy Chua. She published an article recently in the WSJ about Chinese Mummies and their attitude to child rearing. For those of you who don’t want to bother to wade through the article here is a potted version; a Chinese mother is the best mother because they zealously guard their children’s future by enforcing strict rules designed to create the most wonderful human being possible. Nothing major, just rules such as practising your chosen musical instrument (either violin or piano and no other) for at least three hours a day; never coming home with anything less than an ‘A’; never watching TV or taking part in a school play; and never (and I mean never) complaining about any of the rules.

As you can imagine, it has provoked quite a stir. But I say good for her. It’s great that she is so confident that she is doing the right thing for her children and that she feels she wants to spread a little of her success to the rest of us. She calls it being a Tiger Mother (not to be confused with a Tiger Moth - a whole different, but I am sure equally intimidating thing).

I have been inspired by her methods and have decided to become a Tiger Mother myself. Well, CK is 10 months now, and that isn’t too young to start...right? So here are my rules for successful parenthood which will be rigidly adhered to:
1. CK will be forced to enjoy herself for at least 70-95% of her waking hours. Everything will be made to be fun and games, and there will be no complaining about it.
2. Mess is a big part of the regime. I expect grubbiness and stains on all clothes and a clean face will be a disappointment - if there isn’t food all around her gob then she clearly isn’t fully engaging with her meals.
3. Music is key to producing a well rounded individual so we shall sing and dance our way through each day (I have already made a start - please see Brain. Mush. Bleugh.)
4. Just as Ms Chua recognises the major effect of the peer group on the development of her girls and so forbids sleepovers and playdates, I too believe that colleagues can have a formative influence over my little one. That is why we will strive every day to see at least one friend, we will always take someone on holiday for Little to play with and I will commit to driving her from one social event to the next.
So there it is folks, the game plan. I like to think of myself as a Lioness, ensuring that my child gets the best of everything in life. Fun, Happiness and the freedom to be who she wants to be.

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!
Tiger mothers? Well, I honestly think there is only one comment I can make on this:
I am SO proud of my daughter for her comments! She has said it all!!

(Do you think I could take a little credit though for bringing up my daughter to be able to see what is truly important in child rearing?) Also, because although I said that she has said it all, when have I ever managed to just be quiet? If asked my philosophy of child rearing I always say, ‘save it for the drugs, sex and rock and roll, and don’t worry about the sex and rock and roll.’

Granny Bloggins

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The Gallery

Once again, it is gallery time and this week we have the challenge of Mother Nature. Where better to find her than in Africa? So here are my offerings for this week (I couldn't choose just one!)

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Seven Things...

There is a big old party happening out there in the Blogosphere today. A mixer, of sorts. But without the pressure of getting dressed up, and without actually having to have a real conversation. Weird eh? The idea is this - one blogger lists their '7 things you never knew you wanted to know about me' and then nominates other bloggers to follow suit. They (those cool little media pups in the know) call it a meme. And, thank you, Ghost Writer Mummy, for inviting me to this party. So here we go...

But I thought I'd add a wee twist. As this is Mummysquared, I'm going to bring me old dame (Granny Bloggins will love that new title) to the party too. Some of the 7 below are me, and some are 'er. See if you can work out which is which and put your answers on a post card - or on the comment board below!

1. On the morning of my 16th Birthday I lit up a fag at the breakfast table, kind of because I could, but mostly to annoy my parents.
2. When I was 17 I got a tattoo, kind of because I could, but mostly to annoy my parents.
3. I have a scar from when I stabbed myself trying to peel the cellophane from a cucumber - see, eating your 5 a day is a very dangerous pursuit.
4. I used to drive a classic Beetle.
5. I rocked out at the Isle of Wight festival when I was 19
6. I have a number of unusual crushes, including Nialls Crane (Frasier's wimpy brother), Martin Sheen, and Phil Jupitus
7. I sing whilst doing my weekly shop. Loudly. It keeps my spirits up and keeps other shoppers at bay - "Beware the loon!"

OK... so that's it. See if you can figure out which is me and which is she... And then check out some other peoples lists. In this big game of blogger tag, I am slapping the following on the back:

Manana Mama (sorry I can't do the twiddly bit above manana) - because she writes so beautifully
Tattie weasle - because I wanted to write Tattie Weasle and because she makes me laugh
Tiddlyompompom - just because... As Marks and spencer would say.

Ready? Go!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Watch where you step...

Little Miss Independant
I am such a fool. I have totally wished away the last 10 months.

I'll admit it, I have felt somewhat inadequate since becoming a mummy due to the fact that I haven’t been filled with a ‘Sound Of Music’ style joy, revelling in my new found mummy status. No, that’s right folks, I haven’t been skipping through fields in bloom, flipping my dirndl (sp?) with one hand and swinging my picnic basket with the other, singing about the wonders of being at home with a baby all day long. I have spent the last few months saying “It’ll be easier once she can roll over/eat solids/nap properly/ sit unaided /crawl/stand/ walk/complete an open university course.”

And now she is crawling and I realise that I was wrong - for everyone of these milestones a new challenge comes along. What I wasn’t prepared for is the hard work involved in keeping her safe now that she is into everything, checking what scraps off the floor she is shoving in her mouth (such as ladybirds), and childproofing every door, shelf, cupboard and corner. Why didn't I make more of the last 10 months when she was a (cute) static blob?

I do, however, LOVE that she can now follow me from place to place, I love that she is Missy Independant (takes after her mother), and I love that she can find the cereal box cupboard and unpack every weetabix onto the floor. No I do, I love it *grits teeth*.

I even love that her favourite place in the house now is sitting on the inside of the dishwasher door. She stares at me with real glee every time on her face, "Look at me Mummy! I'm in the dishwasher" she seems to be saying, a dirty spoon clutched tightly in each hand and grubby, indeterminate food scraps stuck to her little derrière. Precious.

Love in a Larder Cupboard

So little CK has started crawling and I have just realised how slow I am these days. Obviously, over the festive season I spent quite a bit of time in the kitchen, little CK following me like Marys’ proverbial lamb. She spent hours playing with an empty syrup tin and enjoyed chowing down on a silicone baking tray. However, it seems that all that time she was in fact as alert as a wolf in a lambing shed. Whenever I thought she was completely absorbed in her tin or her tray and I tried to slip away into the larder, she achieved light speed and was in through the door at warp factor five. She would have her gums wrapped around an onion or an apple before you could say, “Nigella!”, Then she would sit back, clutching her contraband, and look up at me with a cheeky little grin on her adorable face. Of course I am a complete push-over and thought her capers cute in the extreme. That’s not to say that granny is a complete idiot and I can reach the high shelves so everything migrated upwards except for the fruit and plastic boxes – hah!

Granny Bloggins

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Take 5 Places... Listography

Mummy2's Top 5

So over at Kate Takes 5 (one of my favourite fellow bloggers) there is a weekly challenge to do a 'top 5' and this week it really called out to me as the challenge is to compile a list of your top 5 places. Oh yes, me likes. So here, with no further ado, and in no particular order are my Top 5 Hot (and cold) spots:

1. Sossusvlei - you know on Windows you can get a sand dune as your back
drop? That is Sossusvlei; well actually it is the dune just behind the vlei (that's a salt pan to you and me). When we visited there on our African Adventure, hubby insisted I get up before 5am, yes that's right before 5am, to see it in it's glory. Surely it wasn't going anywhere, I protested,
surely it won't be any different at 7am. But (and I HATE to admit this) he was right. We were there alone, as the sun rose, surveying the whole of the Namib desert which lay in front of us. Wow.

2. My house - smug much? Yep, I love my house. It is cosy and comfy and warm and has the biggest couch you have ever seen. A couch which will save us wh
en God sends the flood; a couch on which you truly could fit two of every animal. And this couch of prodigious proportions, it faces the TV. What more does a girl need?

3. Palenque, Mexico. In 2007 the much beloved and I decided to holiday in Mexico and we fell in love with it (once we
left Cancun and all the Starbucks bloody franchises behind - don't get me wrong I love a frappucino every now and again, but I don't go for an 'exotic' holiday in order to get a mini sanitized American experience). We loved the beaches, the food, the culture, the history and t
he ruins. We did not love hurricane Dean which hit when we had no accommodation and only our little tiny hire car to shelter us. So when
we heard he was coming, we packed up and headed in land and found
ourselves in Palenque. And what a find... a deserted
Aztec city hidden in the jungle. My very own Indiana Jones fantasy come to life... Except that my lovely hubby is not quite (almost, but not quite) Harry Ford. Dream on.

4. Loch Katrine - Growing up in Scotland this was one of our favourite family spots for long walks and even though I probably moaned the whole time (Oh come on, it was my job, I was a child) I have very fond memories of picnics and ice creams and roller skating around there.
even (believe it or not Granny B) have fond memories of
climbing the mountains nearby. And yes, I moaned all the way up and all the way down. I have perfected my technique nowadays though - always have a bar of chocky to eat at the top - it makes the whole ascent so much more worthwhile.

5. So I reckon I seem like a bit of a coutryphile (countryfile?) from these entries, but the truth is th
at big wide open spaces scare me and I would much prefer the crush of a city street. I love nothing more than romping around the alleys and winds of a foreign hotspot, grazing, gawping and generally gallivanting about. So my finally entry is Istanbul. What an awesome city - no really , it inspires awe in me. It offers everything one would ever want; history, culture, big stuff to look at, tall stuff to climb up, yummy (really yummy) stuff to eat, and we
t stuff to sail about on. Oh and some bloody good moustaches. Thus.
PS Sorry I am so crap at adding photos - other people seem much more proficient at this one.

Granny B's Top 5

I find it interesting that my top 5 places do not completely coincide with my daughters’. By the age of eight my daughter had travelled, with us, right round the world so I thought our 5 places might have been more shared, perhaps we should have left her at home and saved the airfare!

My top 5 places, like everyone elses’ are places where I have been happy, the weather has been, like baby bears porridge, juuust right, the company has been juuust right, the scenery/people have been juuust right…..

1. Milford Sound in New Zealand. We stayed the night in a little camper van, all alone facing down this most beautiful Sound. During the evening an opossum dropped from an overhanging tree onto our roof and then sat looking apologetic at our feet when we tumbled out to see what had happened. A couple of Kia (parrots) decided the liked the rubber on the windscreen wipers and tried to steal it, and when Gramps went for a pee in the middle of the night he found he couldn’t perform as he was accompanied by two curious Kakapo (different parrots) who seemed very interested in his wedding tackle (sorry). It is a truly awesome place and not to be missed.

2. OK here I agree Loch Katrine in Scotland was a favourite haunt of ours; where small visitors fell in the lake, daughter and friends broke the sublime silence screaming past on roller blades, bikes and skate boards, the Wrinkles strolled, friends sat and painted, and American visitors ‘wowed’ a lot.

3. A place on the Dorset coast which will remain namless because, although, dear reader, I love you very much I do not want to share my special place with you! Suffice to say, it is wild and woolly and requires quite long walk to get there but to perfect the experience there is a pub nearby where you can sit by a log fire and eat a pie with brown sauce off a paper plate – ye ha.

4. My daughters house, not because of that ridiculous sofa but, because my favourite people in the world live there.

5. My bed.

Having travelled a lot in my time and been very impressed with things like the Grand Canyon and loads of beautiful beaches I find it interesting that those are my top 5 places, it just goes to show that it is not all about the scenery.

Granny Bloggins

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Brain. Mush. Bleugh.

The Soundtrack of my Day

Hello Puppy calling, do you want to play with me? We’ll have fun together while you learn your ABCs... Is the theme tune of my life. Does anyone else find themselves singing this one as they push the trolley round the supermarket, apply their mascara or indeed head to bed with darling hubby? No? It’s just me whose life is supported by the V-tech soundtrack? Yes that’s right, I have traded my sound knowledge of the lyrics of current popular hits from that there hit parade, for the lyrics of my child’s toys.


And lets face it, it don’t get much better - being a mother has reduced me to spewing forth utter gibberish. I found myself in the kitchen earlier today making dinner in anticipation of lovely hubby’s return from work (oh what a wonderful housewife I truly am), singing (to the tune of ‘Here we Go round the Mulberry Bush’), “I’m making a yummy coq au vin, coq au vin, coq au vin, I’m making a yummy coq au vin, coq au coq.” An unfortunate ending to any song, I agree.

I blame my child (although I must confess she was actually napping whilst I was composing the above gem). Not only do all her toys play the same plinky plonky versions of the same vile melodies, but her mere presence, and her sleep patterns, have reduced me to this nonsense. Thank God I am opting to stay at home - not sure a classroom of 16 year olds would really appreciate the Coq Au Vin song. Either that or I would be a You Tube hit overnight.


Inane Gibbering

What is it about babies that makes us all gabble nonsense at them in an absurdly high tone of voice? I am sure there is a good reason for it, and babies do seem to respond, but do we really want to teach them to speak in a register which only small dogs can pick up clearly? And what’s with all the rubbish we spout?

Many years ago we lived next door to a Dutch family with three small girls. During that time there were a couple of incidents which made me realise that I excel in nonsensical drivel. The first was when the two year old appeared at the fence in her bathing costume. I complimented her on her attire:

Me; “I love your bathers.”

Annelise: “what?”

Me: “I love your cozzie, my sister in Australia calls it bathers.”

Annelise: “What?”

Me: “ I love your bathing costume, my sister in Australia calls it bathers”.

Annelise: “What?”

Me: “I love what you are wearing, I call it a cozzie, but my sister in Australia calls it your bathers.”

Annelise, showing some impatience: “yes, yes, but what is this Australia?”

The second was when we were in our respective gardens one lovely summer afternoon and the father of the three girls pulled the hover mower backwards and took off two of his toes. Gramps, who was considerably younger in those days, vaulted over the fence and ran to administer first aid, the mother of the three girls ran to call the ambulance, and I gathered the three girls and took them indoors away from it all. The inane gibbering began almost at once as I heard myself saying:

“Don’t worry, your daddy will be fine, it’s only his toes … I mean unless he wants to be a ballet dancer he will be just fine.” What?! “He doesn’t want to be a ballet dancer does he?” Three solemn little faces regarded me with utter disbelief but, bless them, three little heads shook in unison and one of them even tried a wan little smile.

So maybe one of my new years’ resolutions should have been to talk to my granddaughter as if she is a human being and not a cast member of a Punch and Judy show – think I’ll now go and practise a sexy lower register…

Granny Bloggings

Spread a Smile...

I am very excited today to have been featured on the very lovely Jax's site Mummy's Little Monkey for this week's edition of Spread a Smile (OMG, so many apostrophes... how many did I get right Granny B?).

Head on over to check it out and maybe nominate your own candidate :) (That's the smile BTW, feel free to spread at will).

Thanks Jax!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Reasons to be cheerful...

I like this bandwagon and I am going to jump on it... here are my reasons to be cheerful:

IT'S SATURDAY! Which means I get lovely hubby home for today and for tomorrow so that I only have to do half the number of nappy changes. Oh yes, life is sweet.

Little Tinkle finally has a TOOTH. Well, almost. There is a bit of something there sticking up through her gum. It has been a torturous process and I cannot even imagine what it will be like when those big muthas at the back start coming through, but as a mother of a 10 month old who has only just got one, I am allowed to be a little bit cheerful about it.

I'm in PARTY PLANNING mode - CK will be experiencing her first birthday in a couple of months and I have already started getting excited and planning the party. Yippeeee. Fancy dress for adults and kiddies, cake for little un's and lots of wine for big un's. Nice.

So despite a major lack of sleep, a sore back, a whiny baby and a boring domestic day of putting up stair gates and tidying dangerous substances out of baby-reachable-drawers... I am still cheerful.

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy with a Heart

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

New Year, New Rules

2011: The Year of...
I suppose my first resolution should be to be a bit more punctual. I mean, come on really, New Year’s resolutions on the 5th of January? That is not fooling anyone. But no, that is not worthy of a resolution. I used to be punctual and it was dull. I now have an excuse not to be. She is about 9 months old and called CK!

I broke one of my resolutions on New Year’s Day at breakfast time. What a loser. 2011: The Gluten Free Year. It was never going to happen.

I think as a committed stay at home mum (who has NO desire to return to work for the time being) it would be better to give 2011 the subtitle The Year of Living Frugally. I do have a bank account. It just has nothing in it. So here goes...

Birthday presents this year will all be handmade with love. So those of you who know me, please expect something somewhat squiffy, somewhat overstuffed, somewhat sticky-taped and somewhat ‘rustic’. Just know that I have put my heart into it. So be nice.

The fridge shall be empty before I go to the supermarket. I shall use up all the food that I buy. I found this great website Love Food Hate Waste that will help me to use everything up so that hopefully husband won’t have to eat mackerel, olive and broccoli omelettes. Sorry husband.

Taking my inspiration from the very lovely Kirstie Allsop (Oh how I love you Kirstie) I shall make my home into a wonderful haven of homemade wonder. I shall blow glass, I shall sew and knit, I shall stain all my glass windows. I shall wear wonderful shoes, and billowing coats and an oversized fur hat. I shall buy a ‘doer upper’ in Devon and harp on about how I have transformed it back to life. Oh no, hang on, my bank account definitely won’t stretch to that.

I shall, however, spend less money on baby and more time with her. Which may mean less blogging. Eek. (see Granny Bloggings resolutions!).

That all seems very frugal. And noble. And unachievable. Perhaps I will turn into a wonderful Martha Stewart style domestic goddess....Or maybe I’ll just pop out to the shops to take my mind off it all.

Granny Bloggings Commitments for 2011

Well, I suppose we had to do this one it is kinda de rigeur at this time of year.

So, for what it’s worth, here they are;

1. Try to keep up with my daughter at this blogging lark.

Being home-bound has turned her into a blogging supremo, or should that be an obsessive? It is hard to prise her warm little fingers from the keyboard these days now that she has discovered a form of adult communication which she can do whilst the baby hangs onto her pyjama-clad leg drooling and gurgling. I can just imagine her comments on other peoples’ blog sites winging across the world like a computer virus, is it possible that she may, single-handedly bring the whole world wide web crashing to a halt in 2011?

2. Try to stop worrying so much.

Becoming a granny has not helped my problem of seeing all manner of terrors lurking in the most unlikely of places; germs on door handles. Ice on the road, ice in the water pipes, ice sliding off a roof ready to decapitate one of my nearest and dearest. Other drivers, who are all morons. High winds which might blow my house down. Torrential rain which might flood my house down. My daughter driving on roads which certainly contain other drivers of the moronic persuasion, ice, high winds or torrential rain and there may even be germs on her door handles…. Argh!

3. To turn 60 with grace.

I know will find it hard to believe but yes, it’s true I shall be sixty this year. OK, so it's not so unbelievable, but how did it happen? It was only yesterday that I was 6 – I remember it well, although what I did last week is a complete mystery. So I shall be starting my grace-lessons this week as New Years' Resolution number three, any helpful hints?

4. To spend as much time as I can with my most adorable granddaughter.

During the festive season we all took a turn on the night shift so I spent several hours over the two weeks administering a bottle, then rocking and patting little CK back to sleep. Can there be anything more wonderful than a quiet middle of the night alone with a perfect, sleeping, snuggling, smiling, dreaming, grandchild? I wish it on all of you! It is so much more fulfilling than merely sleeping! I know this must sound like insanity to those of you whose sole aim in life right now is to get a complete nights’ sleep but that is the joy of granny-hood.

5. To teach the world to use the apostrophe of possession where it is supposed to be after the s! That should bring in a flood of comments but I shall be learning how not to worry so I shan't care!

I think that is quite enough to be going on with so I am off to eat a butter-dripping crumpet in front of the fire despite my already discarded New Years Resolution to loose a few pounds …

Granny Bloggings

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