Sunday, 27 January 2013

Week 73- teething, puking and guilt-free Neighbours

A fundamental flaw with bodies seems to be that we’re not born with holes in our gums for teeth to grow through.
It’s massively unfair that so early on in your life, at a point where you can’t be reasoned with or explained to, you have over twenty individual teeth sawing their way through flesh.

I remember having my wisdom teeth taken out about four years ago, and I made such a huge deal about it. I had to go into hospital, was put under general anaesthetic, and woke up an hour later with a mouth full of cotton wool and blood, and a headache similar to a night on the sambucas.
But on the plus side I had two days off work, guilt-free watching Home and Away and Neighbours in the day, and being waited on hand and foot.


Nancy, on the other hand, has a fun day playing, tea and a bath, nods off after a bottle of milk, and then is woken a couple of hours later by the most excruciating pain.
And no explanation.

She’s got six teeth all coming through at the same time.
I think I would prefer to be headbutted.

And the worst thing is, there’s nothing I can do for her other than give her Calpol and a cuddle.
Actually, that’s not the worst thing.

The worst thing is still being up with her at 5am in the morning, having done the sleeping tag team with Ben every hour since 11pm, and then realising that there’s only two potential hours of sleep left until I need to get up for work.
But it’s not just the pain of the teeth; it’s the puking that comes with it.

I didn’t know that the teething could make you sick as well. Well, to be honest, I’m not all that well informed about most stuff since I stopped reading the baby books at month 2. I rely more on the panic Google search on my phone at 2am these days.

But I don’t remember any of this from being little.
I think your brain must block out the memory, in a similar way to childbirth. Because if we really remembered the actual trauma of having a baby, no-one would ever have another one.

What can be more grim than dribbling in your sleep so much it makes you wake projectile vomiting, and then being dunked in a bath before you’ve had chance to get your bearings.
I know that Nancy understands ball and milk and poo. I just hope she somehow understands, ‘this isn’t forever; life is going to get better and be loads more fun.’

Because until evolution develops the readymade teeth holes, it’s pretty rubbish being a baby with half a mouth full of molars.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Week 72- Ryan Gosling, Take Me Out and seventy quid dates

I feel ready to have a social life again.

In fact, I feel more than ready; I’m absolutely desperate to start going out again.
And not to the pictures at the bottom of the road on my own, although with a load of Ryan Gosling films coming out this year, that's not the end of the world.

But I mean proper going out.
Washing my hair and using a hair dryer instead of letting it dry Brian May style, going out. Wearing something that doesn’t qualify for the sniff test, going out. And heels. Actual high heels, going out.
I heard a girl chatting to her mate on the bus the other day, about how she was feeling rough as she hadn’t got in until 5am.
I get up then.
And I felt jealous of her feeling ropy.
It’s so stupid.
But I couldn’t help thinking that the only time I’m going to hear loud music for the foreseeable future is at the zumba class with the grannies. Or when I get the Casio keyboard out for Nancy to have a mess about with, and she turns the demo up to the max.

I knew that the potential to be spontaneous would cease when we had Nancy. Of course you can’t just drop everything and do stuff on a whim when you have a little person who is dependent on you to make sure they’re fed and put to bed.
But when your family live over six hours away, there’s not the option to ask your mum to come over for a bit so you can catch up with friends.

I arranged in November last year to go out with a friend at the end of February. That’s three months in advance.

I think of working on events in the evening as going out now. I don’t tell colleagues as don’t want to appear a total sad sack. But I’m out the house in the evening, so that is kind of going out. Isn’t it?
In an attempt to rectify this, I’ve started doing some reciprocal babysitting with a woman who has a child exactly the same age as Nancy.

I go and sit round her house watching her telly and eating her biscuits. And then a couple of weeks later, she comes and eats biscuits round mine.
Pre-Nancy, babysitting would have been a bit of a bore, I could have been doing lots of different stuff instead.

But now it’s a total treat.
There’s nothing you can do at someone else’s house, other than watching telly. You can’t clean their kitchen, or wash their clothes.

It’s just Borgen and a four finger Kitkat.
So after clocking up a babysitting credit a couple of weeks ago, I cashed it in last Saturday to go on a date with Ben.

I’d bought a posh dress from a charity shop, forgotten about it, remembered about it still in the bag, gave it a quick Febreze, and I was ready to go out.

And Nancy knew.
I think she smelt the Febreze/ Chanel combo, and thought, hang on a minute, something’s going on here.

After weeks of going to sleep at 7pm like clockwork, the babysitter turned up bang on 7.30pm, as Nancy chatted away loudly to herself and threw all her dolls out her cot.
It was a disaster.

I gave her two and a half bottles of milk.
Sang Show Me the Way to Go Home, 16 times.

At the point when I’d admitted defeat and decided that we couldn’t go out, the babysitter said that she didn’t mind playing with Nancy, and that we should just keep our phones close by in case it all went to shit.
Talk about taking one for the babysitting team.

No Take Me Out. You can’t even keep a cup of tea close to hand. It’s just Where’s Spot a hundred times.
So we went to the posh gastro pub round the corner.

Panic ate a two course meal, and downed two pints and a bottle of wine in just under an hour. Spend the best part of seventy quid, and paid the bill the moment the call came that Nancy was inconsolable.
But within 30 seconds of us returning home, she was fast asleep.

No fuss. Just straight off.

I couldn’t believe it.
Surely it can’t be this hard to have a social life with a child?
And at seventy quid an hour, I don't think I could afford to go out more than once a year anyway.
So I think it's just back to me, a bag of popcorn from Poundland, and Ryan Gosling, for a bit longer.
When I put it like that, it's not all bad.





Sunday, 13 January 2013

Week 71- strong-willed women and swearing in bed

Nancy’s speech is coming on at an alarming rate.

And I realise I have to really watch what I say now, as she’s repeating almost all one syllable and having a bash at a handful of two syllable words.
It's a bit disconcerting.
Especially when we brought her into our bed the other morning and she crawled over us saying what sounded disturbingly like: ‘shit shit shit.’
I guess the shh words are quite easy to master, so it could have been sheet.
Or sheesh.
But I'm not convinced...
And it turns out I say ‘oh dear’ a lot. As Nancy now says it after most events. A nappy change. An unsuccessful meal. When you drop something.
We often end up saying it in unison.
Which is a bit weird. 
But it’s not just the repetition, though. It seems that in the last couple of weeks she’s started to understand more.
She knows where her hair is.
If you ask her to point to her nose, she does.
And after an afternoon of being wheeled around in her pram, we took her out at home and asked her if she had done a poo.

To which she patted her bum like an Asda price advert and said ‘bum bum bum.’
She knows which button to press on the washing machine for it to start. And pause. So a 30 minute cycle can take anything up to an hour if Nancy’s involved.

And she's just started rocking back and forth to music like an elderly relative at a wedding.
She says no. A lot. Shaking her head and wagging her finger. Mainly when offered another mouthful of homemade food.

But it seems like she means it. Not just because she’s seen someone else do it.
To be honest, I feel a bit out of my depth.

Up until now, I’ve been the boss.
Deciding what we do and when.

But Nancy seems to have not only developed her own voice, but her own opinions, in what feels like a matter of days.

There is no question that I want her to be strong-willed. To challenge things. To speak up if she’s unhappy about stuff.
I just thought that would all come later on.

Like when she was 16 years old.
Not 16 months.


Saturday, 12 January 2013

Week 70- Family Days Out and chatting to monkeys

The week after New Year is always a bit of a duffer.

Taking down the decorations.

Realising that the flat’s too small for any of the gifts you’ve been given.

And then checking your bank balance to see that you’re not just a bit skint, but a pint of milk might tip you over the edge skint.

And I’ve totally run out of things to do with Nancy. It feels like we’ve been in the flat for weeks, emptying her cupboard of Tupperware onto the floor, then putting it all back again. About a million times.

So I was mega chuffed when I was given a Family Day Out ticket through MoneySupermarket Days Out Discounts to go to Battersea Park Children’s Zoo.

Firstly because I never win anything. Unless you count the odd quid on a scratch card.

But mainly because I had something to do with Nancy that didn’t involve plastic boxes.

Battersea is a bit of a nightmare to get to via train if you have children in prams.

We had to lurk at the top of a massive flight of stairs waiting for someone to give me a hand carrying the buggie down. After about 20 men in the prime ignored us, a Spanish woman with six-inch heels grabbed the front end and helped me. So worth bearing that in mind if you’re planning a trip there.

But the zoo was ace.

It’s got that old school feel, doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not. There are meerkats, donkeys, a couple of emus called Ant and Dec. It’s small enough to see everything, but with enough stuff to look at to spend an afternoon there.

And for me, the best bit was watching Nancy trying to converse with a monkey.

She’s recently started showing an interest in animals. She woofs at dogs. Moos at pictures of cows.

But when she came face to face with a brown capuchin, (I obviously looked the name up in the leaflet, I’m no primate expert,) she went bonkers.

Grabbing hold of the railings. Bobbing up and down. And then, and this was the Gorillas in the Mist moment, started ‘oooh oooh ooohing’ back at one particularly inquisitive monkey.


The last couple of weeks have been a cacophony of musical flashing toys, teeth zingingly sweet food, and kids programmes on in the background all the time.

So it was great to do something outdoorsy where I felt like Nancy was experiencing new things, and getting a bit of fresh air. Even if it was in central London.

The one down side was that the café was shut. But we were told we could go to the one round the corner and bring stuff in.

The café dubbed itself as a ‘restaurant’ and ‘pizzeria’, which was a tad ambitious, as it looked from the outside more like the public loos you used to get in market squares, and from the inside, a school canteen.

But that’s splitting hairs really.

I'd totally go again.

If only to see Nancy chatting off to the monkeys.