Sunday, 24 February 2013

Week 77- passport pictures, Chunk from The Goonies and running for Prime Minister.

Nancy's got her first passport.

With the worst picture ever.

I thought mine was bad enough. I've got some kind of weird side parting and tight bun, giving the illusion of a comb over.


I look a bit like a Hitler. Sans 'tashe.

But this is something else.

We'd had one failed attempt to get the pictures taken at the photo shop at the bottom of our road last week. We'd intended to pop in one the way home from town. But then there was the projectile vom incident, so we missed that window.

Aware that she's going to have this for the next 5 years, I left Ben with instructions to dress her in something nice. Something we're not going to look at in 2018 and wonder what possessed us.

So off they went. Nancy in an animal print top. Hair brushed. Face washed. Beautiful as ever.

Thing is, the fella in the photo shop must be mainly used to snapping pics of babies.

Not kids who can quite happily sit up, potentially sit still for a couple of seconds. And maybe even look in the direction of the camera, if given the right encouragement.

He laid her down on a pillow, and asked Ben to move her hair off her forehead, which had been carefully brushed at home.

So. With centre parting and gravity not on her side, the photographer took a quick picture from above.

And a minute later, Ben was a tenner lighter and in possession of photo that literally looks nothing like our daughter.

I know the camera adds pounds. But I thought that was just on telly. Nancy looks like shes been on the Atkins diet, with the addition of carbs, since birth.

Not too dissimilar to Chunk from The Goonies.

We've got a loose plan to go somewhere at Easter. Our first family holiday abroad.

So with no time to get another one done, I sent it off.

I can just imagine explaining to passport control for the next few years how she didn't ever really look like that.


That it was a dodgy photographer and a bad angle.

Bore some poor unsuspecting's ear off who genuinely doesn't give a shit, and just wants to get through the line-up of holiday makers who are waiting to go to Tenerife, how she was the most beautiful child when she was 18 months.

How she had the best toothy smile and sparkly eyes.

How shop assistants and bus drivers and librarians told her how lovely she was.

Because these are the kind of pictures that can traumatise a girl later in life.


When they crop up on some central government database when she's running for Prime Minister.

Probably in the same file as the picture of her mum with the middle aged fellas hair cut.


Sunday, 17 February 2013

Week 76- walking on Lego, Mulberry Totes and making yourself heard

Our flat feels like it's got smaller.

Now, it was never massive in the first place.

The front room and kitchen are the same room. The only difference is half the floor is covered in carpet, and the other half, lino. We tried to be clever with the space when we moved in, but turns out the walls are hollow so we can't even put shelves up.

So I just shove stuff wherever I can.

Under the bed. On top of cupboards. Under the sofa.

Thing is, Nancy now follows me round the house pulling it all out again.

In fact, half the time the flat looks like it's been burgled.

All it takes is for her to overturn a box of Duplo, and empty out her cupboard full of Tuppaware and suddenly, all the floor space is covered, and you can't walk across a room without treading on a razor sharp piece of coloured plastic.

When Nancy was little all she needed was my milk, a change of nappy and a constant supply of baby gros.

Now she's got more stuff than me. And I've got a lot of crap.

I guess it's like three people living together now, instead of two adults and a baby.

This feeling of her being a fully fledged person instead of a little baby is partly because she's started to string two words together.

Her latest line in 'conversing' is to wrap a tea towel round her neck, carry her lunch bag in the crease of her arm like an oversized Mulberry Tote, and say, 'bye bye mummy', as she waves then walks out the kitchen/ front room.

She says 'hat on', as she puts her hat on. Obviously.

And 'hot, hot', as she blows on her food before eating it, regardless of whether it's warm or not.

The conversations aren't really that different from those you'd have with the unsocialised flatmate you get shoved into halls with during your first year of university.

The boy who smokes too much weed and doesn't do any washing up.

But as Nancy acquires more vocabulary, we can start to reason. Fingers crossed.

I think, in fact, she probably understands more than she lets on already.

So give it a few weeks and maybe she'll start putting her stuff away. Not pulling dirty undies out of laundry basket and hiding them in her change bag for the childminder to find. Or throwing every morsel of food, bar gratings of cheese, onto the floor.

Or maybe she will carry on as she is.

The only difference will be our little flat will just become smaller AND louder as three people try to make themselves heard.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Week 75- police, wet T-shirts and stinking on buses

The only thing worse that seeing a child projectile vomit when in a cafe, is holding a child while they projectile vomit in a cafe.

Nancy’s had a cough for yonks, the downside to hanging out with other kids at the childminders. It doesn’t seem to bother her, but it would drive me nuts.
I’d gone to meet a friend for a coffee in one of the three pram friendly cafes in town.

I’d already been to this particular cafe the previous day, and spent the best part of two hours eeking out a two quid coffee, so I’m sure they were delighted when short-arms, long-pockets turned up again, bang in the middle of their lunchtime rush.

Nancy had her lunch. By ‘had her lunch’, I mean, chucked grated cheese everywhere.
Another plus for the waitresses.
Then had her milk, and went to sleep in her pram. Great stuff.

Turns out, one of the waitresses did an internship at my work, so we had a chat about how she’s decided not to go into writing, but joining the police force instead. Fair dos.
About five minutes later, Nancy started coughing in her sleep.

And a minute later she started to splutter milk.

I whisked her out the pram just in time for her to do an almighty, exorcist-style puke all down herself. All down me. And over my shoulder, in the direction of the table full of non-parents, mid meal.
Nancy looked terrified.

Being sick is grim when you know what’s going on. But if you’re tiny, and momentarily can’t breathe, it must be horrific.

And we both smelt disgusting.
In the loo, I took off the pongiest bits of clothes. Which didn’t leave much left.

I’m not sure what was worse.
The fact I had on a vest that was soaking wet and completely transparent.
Or seeing the work experience waitress on her hands and knees, blue rubber gloves on, cleaning up. Probably dreaming of a better life arresting drug dealers and murderers.

I insisted she left me scoop it into the bag. Which has to be up there with one of the grimmest job. With the exception, maybe, of being the person who cleans out the dog shit bins.

But sitting on the bus in a jacket and just my bra underneath, it struck me that when it comes to your kids; you instinctively do whatever you can to make them feel safe.
And reeking of puke also as its plus sides.

No one sat next to us on a super crowded the bus.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Week 74- clubbing, planning and noises that make your ears bleed

I think I now know the most annoying noise in the world.

A fire alarm.

Or to be more specific, a faulty fire alarm that goes off on the hour, every hour, throughout the night. 

And worse still, they now make them so the batteries don’t just come out normally, you have to find the manual, which I can almost guarantee was thrown in the bin moments after the fireman said, 'hold onto this, you might need it.'
So you now basically have to take to it with a hammer to make it stop.
Amazingly, Nancy slept through the whole thing.

For a girl who can hear you tip-toeing past her room to go for a wee in the middle of the night, I was astounded that she couldn’t hear a shrill noise that was so piercing that it could make your ears bleed.

The temporary solution was to take in down, wrap it in a blanket inside a jumper inside a pillow, and sleep through the noise.

And when that didn’t work, poor Ben slept with the alarm in the front room and turned it off and went back to sleep every time it went off.
I sometimes feel like it doesn’t matter how hard you plan, how organised you think you’re being; when it comes to children, it can all go to shit in seconds.

After firealarmgate, we woke to a message from the childminder saying she was ill and couldn’t look after Nancy for the next two days.

I guess this is the downside to being dependant on one person to look after your child.

It’s great when it works, but the moment they‘re poorly, you’re stuck in a battle of the wills about who’s jobs more important, or who has the most immovable meetings booked, as to who takes the day off work.
Now, if my family lived round the corner, then it wouldn’t be a problem. I’d just ask my mum to mind her, which I’m sure she’d love. But when your folks are a six hour train/tube/train/bus ride away, that isn’t really an option.

I’d kind of forgotten, though, how ace other people can be to you when you’re backed in a corner. Within half an hour, one friend was taking Nancy for the whole day, and another for the following afternoon. It’s the good old British war spirit. Mums in a crisis stick together and help each other out. Because, you never know when you’re going to have to call the favour in.

But on the plus side, I’ve been out. Twice in a week, in fact.

That’s twice more than I’ve been out in months.

The one thing I’ve come to realise is that if you want to have a full on, booze fuelled, dancing on the tables, losing your phone, mainlining white wine without having any lunch or tea, night- invite a mum of a small child along.

It’s like months of pent up not-going-outness waiting to explode all over some poor unsuspecting barman.

That, combined with a high resilience to embarrassment, because, let’s face it, once you’ve had five or more doctors, midwifes and students staring at your fanny during labour; falling over in the middle of a crowded pub isn’t really a big deal.

I realised how long it’s been since I’ve had a proper night out, when I a) was shocked by the price of a pint in the pub, b) called clubbing ‘nightclubbing’ without even flinching. And c) had totally forgot how late pubs close.
It’s a bit of a red herring that places continue serving until gone 1am.
In the old days, by that I mean about 10 years ago, last orders were called at 10.45pm and time at 11pm. It was very straight forward, and meant that, on the whole, you would be home before midnight.
But now, as I bought another beer, it turned out that I was unknowingly tipping the 1.30am mark.

On a school night!

Needless to say, the whole next day was a complete struggle. And Nancy had to find entertainment in climbing over me as I lay flat out on the kitchen floor trying to will the cold lino to freeze out my headache.
But at least that bloody firealarm won’t go off again, so that's something, I guess.

PS, if you like reading my blog, please could you vote for it in the MAD blog awards. Shameless plug, I know, but as my friend, Sarah, says; 'shy girls get nought.'