Sunday 28 April 2013

Week 86- high heels, self-confidence and thinking about joining the gym

I spotted Nancy in my bedroom looking at herself in the full length mirror, wearing my high heels, having draped one of my bras round her neck like a pashmina.  

She was saying, ‘hello Nashy,’ to her reflection.
And I got a flash of the future.

Not her wearing underwear as outerwear. Although that was unnecessarily fashionable for a time.

But more a snapshot of her as a girl. Not a toddler.

It brought home to me how I need to watch what I’m doing, as well as saying. Because absolutely everything goes in.
I’ve curbed the swearing around her since she started parroting ‘shit’ back to me.

In fact, I’m in search of a good non-sweary word to replace it that doesn’t make me feel like I’m an 18th Century Lady of a Manor every time I stub my toe.
But Nancy watches me getting dressed, and tries to copy.

She sees me on the computer, then climbs up onto the seat and starts hitting all the keys. She’s stumbled across shortcuts I didn’t realise existed, and I’ve had a nightmare trying to Google how to turn the screen to normal when Nancy’s managed to rotate it 180 degrees.
She picks up my mobile and holds it to her ear, chatting away.

And I have seen her rub her tummy, like I do.
Except she’s imitating me.

Where as I do it self-consciously, wishing I was slimmer, but not doing anything practical about it.
So it’s all changing.

It’s positive reinforcement all the way.
I’m brushing off the bobbly leggings. The sports bra is making a comeback. I know I’ve seen the other minging off white running sock lurking around somewhere.

After 19 months of trying to squeeze into my old jeans, I’ve made a decision.
I’m going to enquire about joining the gym.

It’s the first step.
And then I’ll think about joining it.

That’s step two.

We tell Nancy she is beautiful on a daily basis.
And I want her to believe it.
To feel self-confident, and know she can achieve anything.
And as I am the woman in her life that she, fingers crossed, looks up to. And will continue to do so until she finds me too embarrassing and out of touch, I need to set an example.  

So it's time to take the plunge and stop talking about getting fit and just do it.
And if I’m going to pull off the high heels/ bra on my head look of summer 2013, I need to learn how to use a treadmill properly.

Friday 26 April 2013

Week 85- the Radio One Roadshow, inner doom lords and wearing your neighbour's pants...

The sun has started to shine and everything feels much more possible.

The light evenings are like a gift of time.

It isn’t curtains closed; oven chips tea, Coronation Street and then bed.

Everyone becomes a little bit more sociable when the weather’s good.

The people on our road who have ignored us for the last six months start giving it the big, ‘morning!’ like we’re old friends instead of the annoying neighbours who fill up the recycling box with large tins of baby milk powder.

There’s lots of, ‘isn’t she big now!’ (Nancy, not me, I think.)

Coming out of hibernation couldn’t have come any sooner.

Nancy was starting to go nuts hanging out in the flat on the rainy days. Her cupboard of Tupperware and napkins has definitely lost its appeal.

She looks mockingly at it when I suggest we empty and refill it now.

Her prolonged time indoors hasn’t all been wasted for her though.

She’s now sussed out how to open doors and turn the oven on. So I can’t take my eyes of her for a second anymore. So there’s that.

The only down side of the sunshine, (inner doom lord- shhh), is it's the time to peel off about four layers of clothing and reveal what’s been lurking underneath during the winter months.

I decided to take the bull by the horns and dive straight into a pair of denim shorts, which are, without question, too young for me.

And a bit too tight.

And a tad unfashionable.

But at two quid from the Marlets charity shop, I couldn’t afford not to.

Unfortunately, as is often the case, Nancy and I will leave the house and it turns out I’ve dressed her in virtually the same outfit, completely unintentionally of course.

I'm not a total weirdo.

I'm not sure how it happens. I rush to get us both fed, clean and dressed, and before I know it; we're half way into town, both denim clad.

Except she looks fun and playful in her get-up.

And I look like I’m off to the Radio One roadshow, circa 1992.

I'm relieved to see I'm not the only one, mind.

There’s a lot of mottled flesh on display on my street, wrapped in Genesis T-shirts and ripped jeans, washing cars and pulling crap out of blocked drains.

Everyone’s smiling or at least nodding though, which is nice.

As we were hanging out the washing the other day I remembered that this time last year, I had, in a sleep deprived fuzz, done one worse than dress Nancy and I as a Danny De Vito/ Arnie duo.


I had, entirely by accident, worn my neighbour's pants.

And it is as bad as it sounds.

I was bringing in the seventeenth load of washing, only to come back out later in the day and find half a dozen pairs of black pants which I’d missed, draped over a begonia bush.

I brought them in and thought no more of it.

Until a day or two later when I saw the neighbour upstairs leaning over the outside steps that divide our two spaces.

It then struck me.

I had brought everything in.

The pants weren’t mine. She had put them out to dry over her balcony and the wind must have caught them.

And I was, at that moment, wearing a pair.

I put everything through the wash again, and left the offending items on her step.

And she never mentioned anything.

So, when I think about it, Nancy and I going to the park wearing matching bretton stripes isn’t the end of the world.

Just as long as they’re both ours in the first place.


Sunday 14 April 2013

Week 84- paragliding, weeing in public and You've Been Framed

I think Nancy and I share the same sense of humour.

Which either means she has the sophisticated understanding of an adult, and the subtleties of light conversation.
Or I have the sense of humour of a 19 month old.

I strongly suspect the latter.
This has been further reaffirmed with Ben telling friends that You’ve Been Framed is my favourite programme.

It is.
But doesn’t reflect all that well on me that I’d watch home videos of grannies slipping over at weddings over a David Attenborough.

At the weekend my mum went paragliding. The most exciting thing I have done all year is puke my face off on a ferry, and my mum has been paragliding. She's pretty incredible, my mum.
Nancy and I went along as her support team.

Turns out that she had to take off from the top of a hill which wasn’t buggy friendly, so we waiting in the field/ car park for her.
Also the wind carried her to the other side of the hill so we didn’t see all that much in terms of extreme sports.

It wasn’t all uneventful though.
A plumber’s van pulled up in front of our car. The man got out, turned in our direction, and did a wee, giving me and Nancy a full frontal, clearly oblivious to the mum and toddler hanging out in the Punto reading Meg and Mog for the hundredth time.

That is until Nancy banged on the window.
It might have just been chance. Or accident.

But the plumber nearly caught his bits in his zip as he rushed to put himself away. Which was pretty hilarious. And entirely instigated by Nancy, who grinned like she knew she’d pulled a funny.

And then, as Nancy looked at pictures of my mum soaring through the air strapped to a paragliding instructor, Nancy said, ‘it’s Nanny bird.’
Nanny bird. What a perfect description.

But the best one of late was when she pointed at Ben’s face and said, ‘bum!’ To which she and I both properly belly laughed.
I have a job with responsibility. A mortgage.

And I share a sense of humour with someone who can’t yet say her own name.
I should video all these and send them off to YBF (as it’s known to us die hard fans), then I could combine my favourite viewing with a bonus two hundred and fifty quid.

Then who’d be laughing?

Sunday 7 April 2013

Week 83- family holidays, sucking crisps and Chunk from The Goonies

Nancy’s awful passport photo got an airing this week, as we went on our first family holiday abroad.

There are certain things that I have learnt, and which I need to remember so that I don’t make the same mistakes again.
1.    A hotel room is romantic for a couple, but is more like a padded cell for two adults and a baby.

2.    The north of France is very close to the south of England, so similar clothing is necessary.

3.    Don’t be tight when it comes to sea sickness prevention methods. One parent being sick is a bit frustrating. Two parents tag teaming it to go for a vom in the loos is pretty grim. A family of three puking up for the entirety of a four-hour ferry ride is as near to a nightmarish journey as I can picture.
We fancied finding somewhere you could go on holiday which wasn’t going to cost the earth, and we could go more frequently than never, which was our previous tally of holidays abroad.
So, with a ferry terminal just 15 miles down the road, Dieppe was the thinking man’s choice.

We had a surprise early start.

Ben and I both had childhood memories of just rocking up to the ferry and driving straight onto the boat, so hadn’t budgeted that you had to get there 90 minutes prior to departure. We realised our error 10 minutes before nodding off, and as a consequence clocked up a night’s sleep of four hours.

So we were pretty knackered on arrival, and decided to spend our first night in the hotel.

We bought a metric shit load of stinky cheese and cheap red wine, with the idea of a picnic and a film on the laptop, once Nancy had got to sleep.

She obviously had different plans.

And after shouting, ‘get out, get out,’ from her travel cot, which was just centimetres away from our bed, we resorted to the only tactic we could think of.

Turn all the lights off and pretended we were asleep too.

It was 7.45pm.

And we were sat in total darkness sucking crisps for dinner.   
Turns out one room is not enough for three people with varying bedtimes. This also applies to getting up. If one person is awake at 5.30am. Everyone is up.

As Facebook was a flurry of people talking of snow in London, snow in Leeds, snow in Birmingham, I threw back the curtains to bright blue French skies and thought, ‘Merveilleux! This is why we came abroad.

Until we stepped outside the hotel and were hit with near horizontal icy winds.

I don’t know what made me think to only pack summer clothes for myself. It’s like I’d finished packing Nancy’s warm stuff and then had momentary holiday amnesia and thought I was going to the Bahamas.

Standing on the beach in Dieppe with tears streaming down my cheeks, and bitter gales blowing up the bell sleeves of my summer jacket, I starting wondering how far you’d have to go to get a thermal vest and pair of pants in a town that mainly sold scallops and mussels.
Nancy ran round in circles announcing, ‘not hot, not hot,’ and then we spotted it.

A beacon in the darkness.

A light at the end of the tunnel.

A sheltered children’s play area.

It’s amazing how quickly the transformation happens.  
I know the days of girls holidays in Rhodes, drinking fishbowls of booze the size of a small country and taking your chances with the sea at 2am are probably over.

But now I wet my pants over a ball pool on the ferry, or a slide in the middle of a built up area. Anything which means Nancy might have a nice time.

We spent quite a lot of time at the kids park. And the aquarium which also doubled up as a slightly boring fishing museum. And the swimming pool.

We also realised that the only way to eat past 7pm was to get Nancy ready for bed, put her in her pram, wheel her round till she was asleep, then wedge her next to our table in a restaurant.

I can’t see this working in a Wetherspoons, but it felt tres continental to take Nancy out for the evening.
So, having taught Nancy to say bonjour, and eaten an average of four croissants a day, we were warming to the idea of becoming frequent visitors to Dieppe. Of becoming regulars at La Coupole. Of getting a taste for shellfish.

Until we all got on the ferry home.
With the winds picking up, the ferry was choppy to say the least before we’d even left the harbour.
And less than 10 minutes in, both Ben and I had gone green.
30 minutes and we’d both been ill for the first time.
An hour at sea, and Nancy had also been sick down her clothes, her change of clothes, and my clothes.
It was like the description Chunk gave in The Goonies, when he started barfing in the theatre and then everyone around him started throwing up.

Those who weren't already feeling queasy, started to look decidedly off colour, and the waitress on the ferry doubled up as a reluctant puke clearer uper, patrolling the aisles with a massive roll of industrial blue kitchen roll and rubber gloves.

The plus side was that we managed to clear about four rows of seats around us in a previously crowded part of the ferry so there was room to stretch out.

So, we’ve not booking the next trip. Yet.

Before we set sail again we are going to:
1. book self catering accommodation.
2. pack climate appropriate clothes.
3. invest in a family pack of anti nausea wrist bands.

Then it’s bonjour Dieppe mon vieil ami. (Thank you Google translate...)