Sunday 28 October 2012

Week 60- neck skin, Final Destination 2 and crossing on the green man

I used to wonder who ever phones the numbers on back of lorries that say stuff like, 'how's my driving?'

Turns out it's me.

Nancy's sleeping has taken a turn for the worse, with 5.30am being the new seven. And when I bring her into our bed, the only way she seems to ever get back to sleep is if she snuggles right into my neck.

Which is lovely.

And pinches the skin on my throat.

Which is not.

There comes a point in sleep deprivation, when you get past the soft focus, half dream like fug. And just turn into a short tempered, miserable old bastard.

Which is no fun for you, or anyone around you for that matter.

Luckily for them, there seems to be an unprecedented number of rubbish drivers on the road who ride around with their bosses numbers painted on the side, which seemed like a brilliant outlet for the ongoing grumpiness.

So far, I've complained about a bus driver, two lorry drivers and a taxi driver.

The complaining started with letters to companies when products had stopped working.

I imagine the customer services department think you'll give up after two emails. But on an average of four hours sleep, I could happily write everyday until the kettle/ straighteners/ coffee machine gets replaced.

And then I was pushing Nancy into town, and crossing a road on the green man. And a local bus took the corner far too quickly, didn't slow for me and Nancy, and as I raced to the pavement, and shouted that it was on green, he shrugged and shook his head.

Bad move.

It felt very unBritish the first time ringing up the company to tell them about it. And I was very apologetic. But I genuinely worried for other people. You also can't run that fast with a pram.

And he did do that head shaking thing, which is blood boilingly annoying.

When the lorry cut me and Nancy up on the pavement and then laughed when he caught my furious eye, I didn't think twice about ringing his boss.

And then I was on a roll. One lorry driver and a taxi later, I can't work out whether I'm on a road safety crusade. Or just venting at someone other than my long suffering boyfriend.

Either way. I've never felt more vulnerable than pushing Nancy around.

And I don't want to live in fear that every time we leave the front door there's going to be some kind of Final Destination 2 pile up cos people can't be bothered to use their mirrors to spot a mardy woman and baby waiting on the curb.

And if you're going to piss someone off, best not to choose someone whose hanging in there by a thread.

That, or drive a bit better if you're going to put your bloody number on your van.

Sunday 21 October 2012

Week 59- posh coffee, Chanel make-up and split lips

So, I had a proper ladies day in London with my mum. Nancy was with the childminder and I'd taken the day off work.

I met mum in Knightsbridge and we had coffee at the Mandarin Oriental. Pretended we were posh. Ignored the fact it was a fiver for a flat white. Seriously. A fiver? I know I don't go out much/ ever. But wow.

And then went to Harvey Nicks, where we talked about our skin routines to a hot Russian lady from the Channel concession. Not revealing mine is just using Nancy's wet wipes. Before she lathered us in mega expensive creams. I'm talking, up of a hundred smackers for the stuff that only goes under your eyes.

We sat off upstairs, drank wine and ate sushi from a revolving table.

And it felt ace.

I wasn't the mum who was covered in snot (well I was a bit)/ wearing pyjamas to the shop round the corner/ or planning another quorn based tea that could be chilli, could be spaghetti bolognese, depending on if you put the big light on or not.

I was a 34 year old woman in a dress and heels who was having lunch in Harvey Nichols on a Wednesday, like it's the most normal thing to be doing when most people were at work.

At one point I was laughing with my mum as the waiter had offered her children's chop sticks, which meant a spoon.

And then my phone beeps.

And it's the childminder.

And Nancy's fallen on her face and split her lip.


What do you do with that info when it was just an FYI text in the first place.

If I was working round the corner, and not in London a bit tipsy with my mum, I still wouldn't go and get her. Cos the residing overtone was,  'she's fine, don't panic, just don't be shocked when you pick up Rocky Balboa.'

But as I'm a walk/ tube/ train/ taxi away from her- the shit mum siren goes off in my head.

And I wonder when that will silence.

 I know I can't be there to catch Nancy's every fall. Although I really wish they would happen less regularly. I realise she's pushing her boundaries, and exploring new territories. But she doesn't have to keep doing it face first.

She is a law unto herself now. You can almost see the cogs working in her brain as I say 'no!' as she goes to throw yet another meal over the side of her high chair. She maintains eye contact as her little hand slowly moves, she releases her grip, and half a lasagne falls on the floor.

Or strategically pulls every wet wipe out of the packet, one by one, with absolute concentration, disgarding them over her shoulder as she goes. While all the wooden toys remain untouched in the corner.

And she's started trying my clothes and jewellery on. By trying on I mean wrapping them around her neck and crawling off with them.

But still.

And I think, I've got all this to come with my daughter. The days out together. The lunches and laughter.

As I stood off in the railway station on the way home, eating my second pudding that evening of Upper Crust croissant, a grey haired, orange faced man on the platform winked at me.

And just as I double checked it wasn't a tick, he did it again.

I've had a Chanel make-over. I'm dressed in an outfit that I'm sure I've worn to at least one wedding. And I get winked at by David Dickinson.

I guess that's my trade off. Worrying about a little person on a daily basis obviously doesn't promote youthfulness. Even with two hundred quid eye cream on.

But as I look in on Nancy when I get home, sleeping on her front with her bum in the air, completely unbothered by the welt on her lip which isn't a bit as bad as I'd imagined it to be, it's worth it.

Nancy can always buy me the Chanel face cream for Christmas.

Sunday 14 October 2012

Week 58- odd shaped vegetables, cheese strings and beer injuries

We're giving up our allotment. It hasn't been an easy decision. Well, it hasn't been an easy decision for Ben, who has done all the hard graft over the last two years.

But turns out you can't do everything.

And be Felicity Kendal.

I don't get how people do it. Work. Have a tidy house. A garden with stuff growing in it other than weeds. And a family.

They must hire people to do some of it. There's only 24 hours in the day, even for the richest, most successful people.

The allotment was a step too far. I loved the idea of being self sufficient. Of having people over for dinner and being like, yep, grew that, grew that, bought that but it was locally sourced from the health food shop down the road, grew that.

But the reality was I forgot about the allotment, remembered, felt guilty, popped up there and looked at our kingdom which was armpit high grass, cut it with shears which were so blunt I might as well have used nail sissors, felt overwhelmed, and then didn't go up for months again.

I sometimes find the way you want to live, and the reality, are two totally different things. Especially when it comes to children.

I want to get up with Nancy when she wakes at 5.30 and be full of energy and fun, playing games involving cornflour and water, stuff like that. The reality is, I know the morning kids TV schedule by heart. (Cloudbabies, Postman Pat, Bob the Builder, Everything's Rosie, in case you're wondering.)

I want to bound back from work, and be able to effortlessly change heads from being a professional, to being a mum. Not be knackered, not be grumpy or stressed out, but be the person Nancy can't wait to leave the childminder's to hang out with.

But the reality is somedays I'd give my right arm to sit off and watch Home and Away and Neighbours when I get in. Have toast and Marmite for dinner, without having to think about cooking or feeding anyone else. Go out with a moments notice and have a night out I can only piece together through beer injuries and pub receipts.

I want to cook Nancy ace dinners, from stuff I've grown, or a recipe I found in the Observer Magazine. The reality is, I'm so delighted if she eats anything these days, that I don't care if she eats at the table, or for that matter, if it's another Petits Filous tea, as long as she swallows it.

The worst recent tea was when Nancy refused everything, apart from one of those cheese stringy things. But only if it was separated out, and was carefully dangled over the handle of her walker, so she could push it round, and stop for a snack when she fancied it. That was a bit of a culinary low point.

But more than anything, I want Nancy to know that she always comes first. And that's never going to happen if we have committed to so many things that we don't really have time to do any of them.

So, maybe we'll get another allotment when Nancy's old enough to enjoy it too, instead of being strapped in her pram watching us dig in vain.

And in the meantime, we can always buy odd shaped vegetables from the overpriced health food shop and pretend we grew them ourselves.

Sunday 7 October 2012

Week 57- grown up Zumba, sports bras and Man in The Mirror

I am a 34 year old mum who goes to keep fit classes wearing stained t-shirts and glasses.

And it kills me a little bit.
When Nancy and I went to the baby Zumba class together, it was ace. I could keep up with the routines, kind of. I knew the music, well who doesnt know Tinas Rolling on the River?
And to top it off, two of the mums had asked me if Id taken dance classes before.
Thats all the confidence boost I needed to be convinced, that, yes, Zumba was the sport for me. And that, in months, if not weeks, Nancy would no longer be able to knead my tummy like dough.
So it was a bit of a shocker when Ulrika and I turned up to grown up Zumba, and it was like watching a fitness video on fast forward.
The first challenge was the routine. Now, I'm no Darcey Bussell, I did get an A in dance A level, mind, (who takes dance A level?), but suffice to say that this was a whole new realm of moves.
With boob shaking, early 80's whooping, and samba legs going all over the shop, all to full on Brazilian music, it was worlds away from the gentle dance off we'd done at mum and baby Zumba.
It was a bit of awake up call. I'm at the back of a Zumba class unable to keep up what I thought was really complicated, fast steps, but turns out to just be the warm up.
The second challenge was the wall length mirror.
 I genuinely didnt recognise myself to start with.
As I scanned the slim, young women, searching for my reflection, I was more than a bit surprised to see myself in an oversized red and white stripy nighty, and the glasses I wear for driving. It was like looking at a middle aged Where's Wally. When did this happen?  When did I swap camps from ticking the 20- 30 category, to the 34- retired?
I was never uber trendy. But I think I used to be passable. When Ben and I were in Thailand, a hippy told us we were the coolest people hed ever met. I think he was on drugs at the time, but still.
And now I'm closer in style, age and dance moves, to the middle-aged women who click their fingers or swing their arms when the routine cranks up, instead of the svelte, bendy sixth formers.
I don't want to be the mum that Nancy cringes at at weddings, when I start doing my Man in The Mirror impression, or know the whole Ice Ice Baby rap.
So. it's time to man up. Knuckle down. Buy a sports bra. And learn the routines.

Otherwise I might as well throw in the towel, and join the over 60's water aerobics class.